Winter Solstice Edition

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A Quarterly Newsletter from KCD’s Farm Conservation Planning Team

Welcome Winter Solstice!

The days are going to start getting longer! If you own livestock, a subtle change you might notice is that your animals will very slowly start shedding a few hairs in the next few weeks. Shedding is triggered mostly by the increase in daylight and happens more in earnest once the warmer temperatures show up in March and April.

The Farm Services team is seeing more changes this winter.

Carrie King has joined KCD as the new Farm Services Program Manager. Carrie brings a 25 year career in conservation, working both on public lands and with private ranchers and landowners. She values and has emphasized community-based collaborative approaches to conservation. Carrie holds an undergraduate degree in Range and Wildlife Management and graduate degree in Conservation Biology and Forest Resources.

Kevin Watson finished up his Mt. Adams Institute AmeriCorps VetsWork placement with KCD. His service culminated with a Thanksgiving Poultry Processing Field Day. See more information below about how the workshop went.

Courtney Naumann has left KCD to join Anchor QEA as an Environmental Planner. She will be missed by fellow staff and her cooperators. We wish her well in her future endeavors. If you were working with Courtney on any projects, you will be assigned a new Resource Planner. Feel free to reach out to us if you need immediate assistance.

Megan Weldon is currently on parental leave. We wish her happy bonding time for her and her husband for the next few months.

In other KCD departments, we have welcomed Anna Beebe (Outreach), Anne-Gi Chan,(Restoration) and Minsahng Song (Education) as AmeriCorps Individual Placements for the upcoming Service Year.

Your KCD Farm Services Team,
Carrie KingJay MirroLiz ClarkMegan Weldon, Liz Stockton

Winter Reminders

Winter means rain, but doesn’t have to be synonymous with mud!

Dorper Sheep in Enumclaw
  • Protect your pastures from becoming muddy this winter.
  • Muddy conditions are no fun for anyone. They make chores more difficult and expose livestock to skin and hoof diseases.
  • Livestock also compact and damage soil, which means less grass to graze in the spring.
  • Mud and manure can also make its way into our streams and rivers, which is harmful for fish and aquatic wildlife.
  • Let’s keep our water healthy for our salmon.

So, what is the solution?

Heavy Use Areas

Bramasole Farm Heavy Use Area for Livestock

Heavy use areas, also called Confinement Areas or Sacrifice Areas, are fenced graveled areas, typically located next to barns and shelters, that confine animals and keep them off pastures from late fall through early spring. Consider boredom-busting activities for livestock, such as slow feeders, to occupy their time while confined and to prevent damage to troughs, sheds, stalls and barns.

For more detailed information about pasture management recommendations in western Washington, check out this resource from WSU, OSU and NRCS:
Western Oregon and Washington Pasture Calendar (Acrobat PDF)

Equine Influenza Outbreaks

On November 28, Washington State Department of Agriculture reported seven cases of equine influenza. Three cases were reported in Whatcom County, three in Snohomish County and one case in Thurston County. No quarantines have been established at this time.

On December 6, Washington Department of Agriculture has reported four additional cases of Equine Influenza. Two cases were confirmed in Snohomish County and two in Skagit County.

Reports indicate that most of the Equine Influenza cases have occurred in unvaccinated horses.

More information here: WSDA Warning Horse Owners About Equine Influenza on Washington Ag Network

Poultry Processing Field Day at Soggy Bottom Farm

Thanksgiving Poultry Processing Field Day Recap

On November 17 at Jay Mirro's Soggy Bottom Farm, KCD hosted a well-attended workshop demonstrating how to use KCD's Poultry Processing Equipment. Participants raved about the workshop and the wonderful job that Kevin Watson did. Kevin brought in Laile Fletcher and Mary Jo Burson from Crooked Shed Farm, LLC to help teach the good principles of humane and proper poultry processing. Laile and Mary Jo mentored attendees on animal handling, humane knocking, scalding, plucking, evisceration, cooling and packaging.

View a blog post and photo album of the day's happenings on KCD's website.

Kevin and Jay introduce the day's activities.
Laile talks about humane knocking techniques.
Laile and Mary Jo discuss poultry processing best practices.
Attendees had the option for hands-on experience with mentoring.
Laile taught Kevin how to properly bag and shrink-wrap processed birds.

Our Farms, Our Future PodcastDo you listen to podcasts?

Winter means we are hiding inside, catching up on research and planning for the coming season. If you need some background audio educational entertainment while you are planning or doing your year-end bookkeeping, consider checking out the excellent Our Farms, Our Future podcast from Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE).

Farewell Courtney Naumann

KCD is wishing Courtney great success in her new endeavors! 

From Courtney:

The opportunity to work with KCD and farmers in this region has been an incredible experience. More than anything, I will miss being surrounded by the talented, inspiring people in this group who put their noses to the grind daily to positively impact natural resource conservation. I hope to continue being highly engaged with farmer advocacy and open space protection efforts with my work moving forward, and will be sure to keep an eye out for ways to connect with KCD in the future.

Equipment Share Program

Need help managing your pastures?

If you are ready to apply lime and boost your soil pH, consider renting KCD’s Rhino Limer Drop Spreader. The calendar is wide open, so it's a good time to put in your request.

If you raised turkeys or chickens, make sure you book early to use KCD’s Featherman Poultry Processing Equipment.

These tools are available for use for free, year-round:

Upcoming Events of Interest

Check out these upcoming events in early 2019.

KCD Farm Tour: Energy on the Farm

KCD in partnership with Puget Sound Energy.
Thursday, January 24, 2019, 11:00am - 1:00pm
Tour a local Organic Valley dairy that has been utilizing KCD programs and services, as well as other programs and grants, to maintain and grow a viable dairy business in King County. Representatives from KCD, Puget Sound Energy and other entities will be on hand to discuss how this dairy has improved infrastructure, ultimately helping the business cut costs and stay viable in our increasingly urban county. Limited to 40 attendees.

Partner Events

Pierce CD Workshop: The 3 'Legs' of the Livestock Farm Management 'Stool'

Tuesday, January 8, 2019, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Register for location (in Pierce County)
Find out what materials are being used to keep paddocks dry and learn how to install them correctly. Hear how to turn the mountain of manure into a useful soil amendment for your pastures or garden; or for others to take away. And learn how to transform that patch of weeds and bare soil into healthy pasture to provide grazing for your animals next summer. Also learn some band-aid measures that can be used now to make you and your livestock’s lives a little better until permanent solutions can be implemented in the summer when things dry out. A thumb drive of materials will be provided to each participant.

WSU Extension Cultivating Success:
Ag Entreprenuership and Business Planning

WSU Snohomish County Extension
Tuesday evenings, January 15 through April 2, plus one full Saturday
Cougar Auditorium, WSU Extension, Everett, WA

Pierce CD: 1st Annual Cover Crop Roundtable

Pierce Conservation District
January 31, 2019, Time and Location to be announced
Come join other local growers and WSU’s extension team to discuss using cover crops, share successes and challenges, and develop innovative approaches to making cover crops work for our region’s farms. E-mail Ali Nichols for more information.

Horses For Clean Water:
Horses and Land Management

Online Course from Alayne Blickle at Horses For Clean Water
Mondays, January 7 through 29, 2019
$49 Early Registration by 1/04/19, $80 Late Registration

Pierce CD Fruit Tree Education Series:
Pruning 101 and Plant Biology

Saturday, February 9, 2019
Basic tree biology, and what you need to know to properly prune trees, and vines.
Field Opportunity: Help collect scion wood from around Tacoma, cutting scion wood is similar to pruning and is a great way to learn how and where to make good cuts. To register click here. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Contact Chris Madden to request Scholarships and discuss work-trade arrangements.

Pierce CD Fruit Tree Education Series:
How and What to Plant in the PNW

Saturday, February 16, 2019, 10:00am - 12:30pm

This class offers an overview of the series, and an introduction to fruit trees, vines, and shrubs that grow well in the PNW?
Field Opportunity: Help plant fruit trees at PCD's community orchards. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Contact Chris Madden to request Scholarships and discuss work-trade arrangements.

Visit to register for all KCD farm tours, workshops and volunteer opportunities.

Copyright © 2018 King Conservation District, All rights reserved.

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