Specialty cut flowers offer great potential for farmers to diversify operations, fill a need for Nevada consumers and businesses, and can increase farm profits.
Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute offers a specialty cut flowers, growing your business workshop on Monday, July 30, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at WNC campus. The event will include a farm tour as well as a lecture. Cost is $35 for those registering by July 23, $45 afterward. Lunch is included. Seating is limited, and registration is required.
The workshop will begin at Smith & Smith Farms in Dayton where participants will tour the cut flower fields during peak harvest season. The tour will emphasize proper harvesting techniques for cut flowers and best practices for post-harvest handling to ensure long vase life. Following the farm tour, a classroom lecture at WNC will focus on the opportunities and challenges of a specialty cut flower business, including production and marketing details.
Featured speaker and local farmer Brenda Smith is a leader in the cut flower industry and former West Regional Director for the Association of Specialty Cut Flowers. She co-founded Smith & Smith Farms and has been growing cut flowers commercially since 1996. Three generations of the family are involved in the business - Smith's mother and nephew also manage the flower operation.
While most cut flowers are imported, there is rising demand for locally grown flowers, which typically provide longer vase life, offer more variety and do not require shipping. With consumer demand for locally grown products at an all-time high, farmers can find sales opportunities at florists, farmers markets, restaurants and retailers.
Funding for this project was provided by the Nevada Department of Agriculture and USDA/AMS through the Specialty Crop Block Grant.
Nursing graduate thrives in Saint Mary's program
Making the move from being a student in a college nursing program to becoming a full-time hospital nurse can require plenty of adjustment. At Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center in Reno, a new program is offering a select group of new nurses the chance to benefit from its Registered Nurse Transition to Practice Program.
Western Nevada College graduate Sarah Thompson is one of them. Thompson began her career at St. Mary's after being one of only three state residents and 17 overall applicants chosen from a national pool of 150 candidates. New registered nurses are supported and nurtured through orientation and classroom instruction, along with a three-month, supervised shadowing by an experienced nurse.
Jamie-Sue Coleman, project director for Transition to Practice Program, said Saint Mary's is the first facility in Northern Nevada to offer a residency program.
Thompson specializes in telemetry and monitors heart patients during her evening shifts. The program has helped her comfortably adapt to the surroundings and responsibilities.
"What they have set up is a very supportive system where you don't feel you are on your own. You have guidance and teaching," Thompson said. "I'm so excited to be in this position where I have the support system to succeed. It helps you build confidence so you can do the best job possible for your patients."
After a three-month training period on the floor, Thompson, a full-time Saint Mary's employee, is transitioning to an independent position at the medical center.
"The best part is they set you up to succeed," Thompson said. "They give you all the support and tools that you are going to need to succeed. They make you feel very confident to do your job."
To be considered for the program, Thompson fulfilled a GPA requirement, submitted a required application, wrote a letter of interest and went through a formal interview process.
The WNC nursing program blends a curriculum of bio/social sciences and humanities to prepare students for the national licensure examination. Thompson supplemented her classroom learning experiences with clinical training in Carson City and Reno.