Sessions (Farming)

Classroom at Focus on FarmingFFA students during Focus on FarmingPeople sitting at a table during Focus on Farming

Session Information 

2022 Focus on Farming will feature 24 great workshop classes, with six industry tracks, presented by some of the top experts in the country. 

Please check back for Session descriptions and Speaker information. 

Focus on Farming

Track A: New and Beginning Farmers

Session 1: Pacific Northwest Agroforestry • Carrie Brausieck, Senior Natural Resource Planner & Agroforester, Snohomish Conservation District

What is agroforestry and how is it applied in Western Washington?  Come and learn about these incredible farming techniques, what their benefits are, and how farmers around Western Washington are utilizing agroforestry on their own farms.

Session 2: Growing in High Tunnels, Cold Farms, and Unheated Greenhouses • Kate Ryan, Agricultural Program Coordinator, WSU Snohomish County Extension

A variety of structures can be used to grow greens during the fall/winter/spring, start warm season crops, propagate perennials, grow warm climate crops like melons, peppers, and tomatoes, as well as   shelter frost-tender plants through the winter chill. Learn the ins and outs of the different structures available, things to know when choosing a site, dealing with ventilation and weather challenges, along with a few tips and tricks for getting the most out of these structures.

Session 3: NW Farm Credit Services • Jess Sarsfield, Relationship Manager, Northwest Farm Credit Services

All of us in agriculture share a responsibility to launch the next generation of promising young producers. Many grew up in agriculture as the sons and daughters of Northwest Farm Credit Services’ customers. Others are entering agriculture for the first time. Helping young beginning producers start their own business is an integral part of the cooperative mission at Northwest Farm Credit Services.  Come learn about how we can help support you and your business.

Session 4: Farm to Farmer and Land Access in WA State • Emily Trabolsi, Statewide Farm to Farmer Coordinator, Washington Farmland Trust; Nayla Jimenez Cabezas, Senior Farm to Farmer Network Manager, Washington Farmland Trust

Defining and outlining the Farm to Farmer Program, technical assistance for farmers/landowners, and comprehensive overview of accessing land as a beginning/expanding farm business.

Track B: Livestock Production

Session 1: Disaster Preparedness at home and on the Farm • Kerri Love, Program Specialist with Washington State Department of Agriculture's, Emergency Management Program & Jennifer Coe, Wildfire Resilience Coordinator for Western Washington, Department of Natural Resources

Take charge and set yourself up for success in the face of natural disasters such as floods, wildfire, severe weather, and drought. Resilience on the farm begins with you and starts well before disaster strikes. In partnership with Snohomish Conservation District, representatives from the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Management Program and the Department of Natural Resources, Wildfire Resilience Program, information will be provided on considerations and resources to help you prepare for whatever nature throws your way.

Session 2: Who Knew?  Antibiotics--going from OTC to RX June 2023 • Dr. Jill Swannack, DVM Swanneck Veterinary Services

This session will discuss the implications of the new FDA rule changing livestock antibiotics to prescription only in June 2023.  We will discuss what this means for your operation, the requirements, and the opportunities this can provide you to better manage your farm or ranch.  The program will start with a presentation about this new rule and be followed by a question and answer session covering this and related topics regarding veterinary care for your animals.  Handouts will be available.

Session 3: Minerals--How most people get it wrong • Dr. Jill Swannack, DVM Swanneck Veterinary Services  

This session will cover the importance of feeding salt and minerals to livestock and horses.  What is a mineral, what do we mean by salt, why they aren't the same thing and how to properly feed minerals and salt for your animal's health.  We'll discuss what you need to know to decide upon the right minerals for your location and operation.  Proper mineral feeding is critical for healthy animals and too much of certain minerals or the lack of one can create a train wreck.

Session 4: Agricultural Hot Topics Roundtable  • Bobbi Lindemulder, Agricultural Program Director, Snohomish Conservation District and Todd Macomber, President, Snohomish County Cattlemen and owner/operator of Macomber Farms

This engaging facilitated discussion will be a conversation covering hot topics impacting agriculture, opportunities that may be on the horizon, informational updates, and how to get better networked and participate in your agricultural community. This is also a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

Track C: Business of Farming

Session 1: The Page • David Pratt, CEO Emeritus, Ranch Management Consultants, Inc. 

Getting everyone on the same page starts with having a page! Learn the 7 things that need to be on that page to have a successful business and maintain healthy relationships. In this engaging session you’ll identify 5 policies that every family business needs to produce outstanding results on the job and at home.

Session 2: Who's Job Is It? • David Pratt, CEO Emeritus, Ranch Management Consultants, Inc. 

How do you hold family members accountable in your business without having a food fight at Thanksgiving? In this workshop you’ll learn simple, effective tools thousands of family businesses have used to clearly define roles, hold people accountable while building stronger, more effective business and personal relationships.

Session 3: This Is How We Do It Here • David Pratt, CEO Emeritus, Ranch Management Consultants, Inc.  

A business is more than a collection of assets and a bunch of jobs. It is also the systems (written and unwritten) for using those jobs and assets to produce results (e.g. products, cash flow, profit, customer satisfaction and owner value). Learn a simple process for systematizing your business that will improve employee effectiveness, reduce stress, and produce consistently outstanding results.

Session 4: Succession Success • David Pratt, CEO Emeritus, Ranch Management Consultants, Inc.  

How can one generation step up if the current generation can't step down or at least side? In this workshop you’ll learn a surprisingly simple effective process for creating succession and estate plans that deal with the most difficult issues and challenging discussions that every family business eventually faces. 

Track D: Agritourism

Session 1: Tribal and Rural Agritourism • Trevor Lane, Director and Associate Professor - Community & Economic Development, Washington State University

Collaboration, cooperation, and communication are critical components of successful operations and agritourism ecosystems leading to powerful experiences connecting people to food and agricultural education or entertainment.  These activities impact economies, health, and how communities partner around culture.

Session 2: The Promising Practice of Agritourism • Trevor Lane, Director and Associate Professor - Community & Economic Development, Washington State University 

Farming is hard work. Agritourism is a growing promising practicing that helps farmers or ranchers generate additional income supporting the farm.  Attendees will learn about the economic impacts and opportunities available to improve access to capital.

Session 3: The Switch: Moving to Admission •  Hugh McPherson, The Maze Master, Maize Quest

Your prices aren’t high enough. Is revenue stuck? Are you finding à la carte pricing means customers pay the least? This presentation lays out a road map to successfully transitioning your business to admission - the right way.

Session 4: Agritainment Today • Hugh McPherson, The Maze Master, Maize Quest 

Ever notice there are a lot of cornfield mazes around? Innovation beyond the cornfield maze will drive agricultural entertainment in the future. Maize Quest’s Discovery Maze Catalog was the first step, this presentations takes off from the catalog’s pages to explore what is possible for mazes of the future.

Track E: New Technology in Agriculture

Session 1: Upcoming Technology Trends in Farming • Scott Waller, Steve Mantle, and Dan Maycock

Scott, Steve, and Dan will discuss upcoming technology trends in farming, including the work they do within the AgTech space and the trends they are seeing industry-wide. The team will discuss what to keep an eye out for, what to ignore for now, and what to start getting up to speed on based on early trials taking place on farms across the globe. In subsequent sessions during the day, each will dive in more into their specific areas of specialization but will start with discussing the overall AgTech landscape to help get the conversation started. 

Session 2: Data Analytics & Farming • Dan Maycock, Principal and Co-Founder of Loftus Labs. 

Dan will be speaking on the topic of farming and analytics. As a data consultant working with farmers of all sizes, Dan will discuss methods you can use to collect and analyze data and how best to put it to use regardless of the size of your farm. Data can be a powerful tool in farming, but it can often be hard to collect and even harder to put to good use. Dan will discuss tools, methods, and best practices to help you better collect and analyze data on your farm as well as provide useful examples of driving real impact vs just building interesting charts.

Session 3: Mapping soil variability: Impact on fertility, irrigation, & yield outcomes • Steve Mantle, CEO & Founder of provides ag data services to growers large & small, from hops to potatoes to alfalfa, berries and apples.  In this talk, Steve will share real-world examples where PNW farmers are benefiting from mapping soil variability across their farm.  Whether it be Swans Trail utilizing soil moisture sensors to optimize water applications, Andrews Hay saving hours by remotely turning irrigation pumps on/off, Eastern WA growers applying fertilizer & lime only where needed, or Sakuma Bros understanding profit zones across their blueberry fields - do join this interactive session about putting tech & soil data to work for you.

Session 4: IoT Sensor Technology in Farming • Scott Waller, CEO and Founder of

Scott, CEO & Founder of Thingy IOT and CTO for the 5G Open Innovation Lab, will discuss how your agribusiness can take advantage of IoT technology and connectivity solutions based on the work he does with farmers along the west coast. His number of years of experience working across farms of all sizes and commodities has given him a significant background and expertise in the area of connected sensors and farming and he will share with us the best practices for taking advantage of this emerging technology regardless of the size of your farming operation.

Track F: Nursery Production

Session 1: A Pragmatic Approach to Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M.) • Zackery Zobrist, Production manager, Puget Sound Plants

Zack will present a specific case study with Fragaria (Strawberry) and Cyclamen mites comparing previous control strategies and associated costs with facultative results.  Zack will also discuss where and when biological control has proven to be useful at a wholesale nursery and the challenges and triumphs that come with using natural parasites and predators based off of personal observation and experience.

Session 2: Let’s Pollinate with Native Plants! • Joy Routh, Sales associate, Wetlands & Woodlands, Inc.

Joy will talk about a great selection of hardy PNW native plants that are vital for seasonal pollination.  She’ll have with her a selection of native plants to view as well as a take-home diagram placard card to help get those garden ideas going!   Bring your plant questions to this session.

Session 3: Was that a Stink Bug!? • Washington State Department of Agriculture (W.S.D.A.) 

Stink Bugs, what are they and what can we do to control them?  This invasive pest has become an issue in the PNW, especially in the Agricultural sector.   They can damage food and agricultural crops quickly if not managed correctly.  Get the most current information available for this pest and ways to go about prevention and control.

Session 4: Coming Soon!

Focus on Forestry Session Information