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Sat, Jul 20

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Jer Thao Farm

High Tunnel Build and Learn Weekend: July 20-21 in Deerfield, WI

Join in and help to build a high tunnel hoop house! You'll learn, help, eat, and make great new friends with like-minded farmer peers.

High Tunnel Build and Learn Weekend: July 20-21 in Deerfield, WI
High Tunnel Build and Learn Weekend: July 20-21 in Deerfield, WI

Time & Location

Jul 20, 2024, 8:00 AM – Jul 21, 2024, 5:00 PM

Jer Thao Farm, 3946 WI-73, Deerfield, WI 53531, USA

About the event

Come help construct a USDA-funded EQIP high tunnel July 20th and 21st! Led by Go Farm Connect partners and Golden Sands RC+D, participants will assemble the hoophouse skeleton and attach the plastic. There will be instructional sessions on the full hoophouse build process, from working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to obtain high tunnel cost share funding to growing produce successfully in the high tunnel. 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided to attendees!  Breakfast will be served at 7am, before work begins at 8am. Breakfast, lunch, and refreshments will be provided by Golden Sands RC+D. Dinner will be traditional Hmong food served at 5:30pm, provided by the farmer Jer Thao and his family.  

The farmer hosts for this event are Go Farm Connectors Nicholas Leete and KO Thao, of Rooted WI; Yimmuaj Yang, of Groundswell Conservancy; Chiang Rai Lor, of FairShare CSA Coalition; and Nou Thao, of Marbleseed.  They are trained peer mentors, to help fellow farmers navigate the federal farm assistance system and find useful programs for a variety of growers at differing scales.    Space is limited! For more information, call KO at 608-338-6982 (speaks both English and HMoob. Hais Lus Hmoob).

Also present at the high tunnel build will be Kaitlin Schott, USDA's NRCS Urban Ag Specialist for Wisconsin, and other USDA staff from the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service who will explain how to get started with federal farm programs, including those that provide cost-share funding for high tunnels, irrigation, raised beds, solar power, disaster assistance, facilities loans, and technical expertise.  

Paul Huber, of Rooted WI, will lead the construction and share information as the process unfolds. 

In order to maximize learning for attendees, we are limiting the number of attendees for each day to 20.  We will also try to prioritize registrants that can come for both days, to provide education about the full build process for attendees, though we know it might not be possible for all participants.  Which days are you able and planning to attend for the full day?  We will prioritze space for people who can attend both full days.

Who Should Attend

All interested parties are invited to attend and learn, including beginning and prospective farmers, landowners, family, friends,  and agricultural and cultural support professionals. No prior experience with federal farm agencies is required. Land ownership is not a requirement to participate in assistance programs.  This information will pertain to all federal programs offered in county offices across Wisconsin. 

Instruction will be given in Hmong and in English, with Spanish or other language upon request on the registration form. 

What To Expect

Dress for the weather and a long day outside. No prior experience is necessary - and we'll have all the tools you need. You will, however, be expected to be physically engaged and able to lift construction materials. Please read through our liability waiver HERE and do not register if you are not physically able to participate. You will be asked to fill that form out when you arrive. 

If the weather isn't safe, the rain date for this event will be the following weekend, July 27-28. 

About Go Farm Connect

Are you lost in an alphabet soup of federal acronyms? Need help finding the right resources?

Navigating USDA programs can be overwhelming, confusing and intimidating. We get that! We've pulled together an experienced team of farmers to help you connect to the right programs. We offer FREE services that focus on different aspects of building a successful farm business. We can provide a Connector to be a personal guide, coach, and ally who shares your goal of running a successful farm operation.

Go Farm Connect is a farmer-led initiative to build relationships between historically underserved specialty crop farmers (beginning, women, veterans, BIPOC and new Americans) and federal farm agencies.  Our Connectors are trained to help farms of all sizes and specialties in Minnesota and Wisconsin access agricultural assistance programs. The three-year project is led by Renewing The Countryside in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, and Natural Resources Conservation Service. Registration through this link is helpful so that USDA staff can be aware of what questions you might want answered. Go Farm Connect staff may take photos and videos at this event to promote programs and future events. Your RSVP gives your permission to be photographed. Please let a Connector know at the event if you want to be kept out of photos.

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