Yankton, S.D.- S.D. Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA) invites specialty crop and agricultural producers, hobbyists, and gardeners to a conversation on developing a tool and agriculture equipment sharing system in South Dakota. The 1-hour, online discussion is scheduled for July 6, 2022 at 1 p.m. CT/ noon MT.

During the meeting participants will discuss different tool sharing systems to pursue in South Dakota, brainstorm funding ideas, and find out who is interested in helping launch this concept. 

In April, SDSPA brought together a panel of tool sharing organizers who discussed their setup, advantages of tool sharing, and other considerations, and answered participant questions. The panel included Doug Koenig of Sprouting Farms in West Virginia, Benée Hershon of Cheshire County (New Hampshire) Conservation District, Liesl McWhorter of 21 Acres Center in Washington, and Diggers Mirth Collective Farm in Vermont.

“Tool sharing is economic development for beginner and small scale agriculture. Taking away that initial investment and providing access to good tools that they need to be successful is really the biggest benefit,” Koenig said.

This system has the potential to help producers, especially small to medium size operations, to reduce the cost of purchasing equipment. McWhorter shared that taking away storage logistics, allowing the land to be used for growing rather than storage is an additional benefit. 

“Our tool sharing program has helped producers in our area to reach their soil health and conservation goals in an accessible & affordable way.  Another benefit has been that ‘farmer to farmer’ peer learning,” said Hershon.

If a physical space was set up for a tool sharing site, this would likely be focused in the southeast part of the state. If discussion leads towards the creation of a database to help current equipment/tool owners connect with renters, that would be set up as a statewide system.

Register on Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/354690497827 for the free ticket to access the zoom link.

Those interested in learning more on the background of tool sharing systems are encouraged to access the digital recording of our Ag Tool & Equipment Sharing Webinar recording from April at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/331510465727

For more information on this event contact SDSPA at 605-681-6793 or SDSpecialtyProducers@gmail.com. Specialty producers and local foods enthusiasts can also stay up-to-date on relevant issues and educational opportunities by visiting our website at  http://www.sdspecialtyproducers.org/ or by following SDSPA on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sdspa/

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