Agricultural enthusiasts looking to improve their understanding of agriculture and connect with fellow farmers are invited to register for the eighth annual West Virginia Small Farm Conference March 1-3 at Waterfront Place Hotel and Conference Center in Morgantown.
Registration is available on the West Virginia Small Farm Center website: smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu
The Conference brings together many experts, including West Virginia University Extension agents and experienced farmers, for a three-day learning experience with more than 70 classes covering everything from beekeeping to farm taxes.
“People learn about more than 50 issues and methods that can make their farms and families more profitable, including new crops,” said Tom McConnell, WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center leader. “We’ve learned from our farmers that it’s more than answering ‘what opportunities are out there?’ It’s about teaching them how to embrace the opportunities.”
The conference begins with daylong intensive workshops on Thursday, March 1, covering the topics of high tunnel construction and management, cheese making, poultry processing, grant writing, alternative energy and youth entrepreneurship.
Some daylong workshops offer field trips to nearby WVU facilities for hands-on experiences. Other workshops, like grant writing, use class time to help attendees hone specific skills. The Youth Entrepreneurship Workshop gives young agriculturalists an open forum to exchange ideas and learn from professionals.
On March 2 and 3, the conference will offer more than 70 classes, including returning favorites, such as post-harvest storage, edible landscaping, marketing, agritourism, managing a layer flock, wind and solar energy, as well as classes about timely and important topics in horticulture and farmers market management.
New topics include sessions on forming cooperatives, farm-to-school issues, managing wildlife damage, taxation of Marcellus shale, greenhouse management, medicinal plants, beekeeping and youth entrepreneurship.
Also new to the conference is a partnership with the annual West Virginia University Aquaculture Forum, which takes place on Saturday, March 3. All aquaculture sessions are open to conference attendees.
The annual Winter Blues Farmers Market is open to attendees and the public from 4 7 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at Waterfront Place. Vendors will sell everything from local meats and veggies to breads. Admission to the market is free.
A Local Food Dine-Around will take place following the farmers market. Tickets for this event are available at an additional cost for attendees and may be purchased by the public. Tickets will be available at the door. The dine-around features local foods from 15 restaurants.
To register for the conference or to view a tentative schedule, check the website: www.smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu.
For information about the W.Va. Small Farm Conference, contact Program Coordinator Carrie See at 304-293-2715 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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CONTACT: Carrie See