This year’s Indiana Small Farm Conference begins with a series of workshops and a tour of some of the state’s most innovative urban agriculture operations.
“It’s the most ambitious agenda we’ve had so far,” said James Wolff, Purdue Extension-Allen County educator and one of the conference organizers. “Participants will have an opportunity to learn more about everything from new food safety regulations to farm financial management. But we’ve also made sure there will be plenty of opportunities to network with Purdue Extension educators, specialists, speakers and other producers.”
The daylong workshops will be offered March 2, at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Center, 1900 E. Main St., Danville.
* Hop Workshop: Indiana farmers and nationally recognized hops producers will discuss varieties, disease issues, processing and marketing. Speakers are: Lori Hoagland, assistant professor of horticulture at Purdue; Tim Weigle, integrated pest management specialist at Cornell University; Tom Cresswell, clinical engagement associate professor at Purdue’s Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory; Jean Jensen, research associate in Purdue’s Department of Food Sciences; Steve Miller, senior resource educator and hops specialist at Cornell; and Sara Williams, treasurer of the Indiana Hop Growers Association.
* Starting and Sustaining a Small-Acre Farm in Indiana: Participants will learn what skills and resources they will need to start a small-scale farming operation. Speakers include Sam Smith, farm business specialist with the Intervale Center, an organization promoting local food systems; Tamara Benjamin, Extension diversified agriculture specialist; and Eliot Coleman, author of the books The New Organic Grower, Four Season Harvest and The Winter Harvest Handbook and one of the country’s foremost experts on organic farming.
* On-Farm Food Safety for Fruit and Vegetable Growers-Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training: Scott Monroe, Extension food safety educator, and a team of PSA-certified trainers, will discuss how the FSMA produce rule impacts farms of all sizes and how producers can minimize the risks associated with foodborne pathogens. This session meets federal FSMA Produce Rule training requirements.
New this year is an Urban Agriculture Tour. Participants will visit a school-based livestock project, a commercial hydroponic farm and commercial market farm. The tour runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. March 2.
Conference sessions March 3-4 will cover more than a dozen topics, including:
* “Tools and Innovation on Small Farms”
* “Pricing Strategies for Your Products”
* “Carcass Quality and Animal Health and Production”
* “Balancing Farm and Family on a Small Acre Farm”
Vendors will display a wide range of agricultural equipment, products and services during a trade show March 3-4 in the facility’s exhibit hall. Exhibitor registration will be accepted through Feb. 20.
Cost of the conference is $75 for one day, $135 for two days and $190 for three days for those who register before Feb. 6. Afterward, costs are $90, $162 and $228. The last day to register is Feb. 20.
For more information and to sign up, go to the Purdue Extension Small Farm Team website at https://www.purdue.edu/dffs/smallfarms/indiana-small-farm-conference/ or visit https://www.facebook.com/PurdueExtensionSmallFarms/ on Facebook.