Conference helps farm owners live their dream

ZANESVILLE, Ohio — Small farm owners who want to learn more about how to make their farms work better for them or expand their operations, or those new to agriculture who are looking for ways to utilize acreage, can attend workshops and presentations on these and more issues during a small farm conference March 23 in Zanesville.

The “Living Your Small Farm Dream” conference and trade show is designed to help participants learn more tips, techniques and methods for diversifying their opportunities into successful new enterprises and new markets as a way to improve economic growth and development on their farms, said Mark Mechling, an Ohio State University Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources.

It may be a person who is new to agriculture, or someone that may have acreage that they aren’t using to the fullest, or even someone who has newly acquired land and may not know what to do with it.

“What we try to do with this conference is to give participants a smorgasbord of ideas that may interest them by offering a wide variety of sessions in which they can learn more in-depth about an issue, gain resources and learn how to finance a new venture,” he said.

Planing and goals

The conference, which will be held at the Muskingum County Convention and Welcome Center, 205 N. Fifth St. in Zanesville, kicks off with a keynote address on “Planning and Goal Setting,” presented by Mike Hogan, an OSU Extension educator.

Following Hogan’s address, participants can choose from more than 20 sessions from Ohio State and industry experts on issues related to small farms and a trade show for small farmers that will offer information that can benefit a variety of growers.

Some of the topics to be addressed include maple syrup, sheep production, goat health and production, forages, livestock nutrition, direct marketing of meat, social media, Christmas trees, legal issues for small farms, soil basics, brambles, high tunnels, beekeeping,vegetables, financing/loans and tax issues.

The conference is an outgrowth of the Ohio New and Small Farm College, an eight-week program created by OSU Extension that offers an introduction to the business of small farming for those who are new to the industry. The program offers information on budgeting, business planning and how to develop a farm structure, among other issues.

The conference is co-sponsored by OSU Extension’s Small Farm Program, Farm Credit Mid-America, USDA’s Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Agricultural Statistics Service and Rural Development.

The conference starts at 8:30 a.m. and runs until 4:15 p.m. Registration is $50. The deadline to register is March 18. For more information or to register, go to http://muskingum.osu.edu or contact Mechlingat 740-454-0144 or mechling.1@osu.edu.

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