W.Va. direct marketing conference spotlights diversification opportunities

WHEELING, W.Va. – The West Virginia Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference will be held at the Ramada-Downtown in Wheeling Feb. 2 and 3.

It will feature more than 20 educational sessions covering a wide variety of direct marketing enterprises.

An update on the newly published USDA organic standards and sessions on organic aquaculture and poultry enterprises are scheduled. A conference session also covers the use of microbial fungi in production.

Roger Rupp, owner and operator of Rupp Seed catalog, will present production information on pumpkin production. Ed Grose of Montcroft Farms, West Virginia Soil Conservation Farmer of the Year, will speak on sweet corn production.

A Farm Family Business track will feature a panel discussion from West Virginia University Extension.

Additional sessions in farm accounting and agricultural labor issues, including immigrant and seasonal workers, will be presented by WVU professionals and Mike Pechart of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

An additional business management session addressing the services of the West Virginia Manufacturing Technology office will assist small producers in business planning services.

Exploring the potential of fiber production for small operations will be the subject of several sessions. Case studies of the successful fiber project to Canada, the Poplar Forest Craft Cooperative and the Highland Harvest project in the Eastern Panhandle will demonstrate the benefits of value-added and cooperative efforts.

Niche production for beef enterprises will be addressed in a session on rotational grazing and another on the Headwater Farms: Petite Beef program.

National award-winning craftsperson, Tom McColley, will present a session on how to successfully photograph your work for promotional, brochure and presentation purposes.

Specialty food and food service workers can also take advantage of a special food handler’s certification program to be held on Friday morning of the conference. At the conclusion of the course, participants will hold a valid food handler’s card valid statewide.

For additional information on the conference program call 1-304-527-2030.

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