West Virginia Small Farm Conference to be held Feb. 24-26


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia Small Farm Conference will be held Feb. 24-26 at the Ramada Inn, Morgantown.

In its fifth year, the conference will address the challenges and opportunities all small farm families face as they strive to manage their farm energy use, grow more profitable crops and animals and better market what they produce tailored to the consumer.

Local food movement

The local food movement will be in action each day of the conference. Food from more than 25 West Virginia farmers will be connected to the conference for the first time to bring three days of local food luncheons, local food breaks in the morning and afternoon and one local food dinner to its participants.

Continuing with the local food lesson, a pre-conference kick-off event, the Winter Blues Farmers’ Market, will be held from 4-7 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Ramada.

The event will feature farmers across the state who have brought their locally grown products to sell directly to the invited Morgantown public in the lobby.

Workshop focus

The first day’s workshop focus will be aimed partly at “Farming with Fewer Fossil Fuels” including conservation, alternative fuel sources and farm applications for small solar and wind.

Grant opportunities that make adopting these new technologies easier will be reviewed as will energy tax credits.

A workshop on biofuels using recycled cooking oils is planned and an alternative energy exhibit featuring wind turbines, solar, geothermal and many fuel sources will be open all three days of the conference.

Marketing workshops, many dealing directly with improving the operation of farmers’ markets, will he held throughout the conference.

A WVDA agritourism workshop with veteran agritourism farmers sharing their experiences will also be held.

Workshops titled “Tracking Market Performance,” “Real-Life Pricing” and “Understanding the Roles of Market Officers” promise to illuminate the job of market management.

Improving soil fertility and diverse horticulture workshops, the latter coordinated by Lewis Jett, will take place, including many classes for those who raise animals as part of that all important goal, soil improvement.

“On-Farm Composting As Revenue Generation,” “Ask the Butcher,” and a pastured poultry workshop are several more of the topics.

Steve Groff, NE SARE farmer/educator, will share the many lessons he has learned on his Cedar Meadow Farm during “Soil Health through Cover Crop Management.”

Keynote speaker

The keynote speaker during the Feb. 25 local food luncheon is scheduled to be Brian Snyder, executive director of Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture.

Linda Whaley, director, W.Va. State Health Department, will give an update on safe food handling regulations, acidified food challenges and will answer questions from the audience.

The W.Va. Farmers’ Market Association will host their second membership meeting and unveil the new Buy Fresh Buy Local West Virginia chapter logo.

More information

For more information contact Tom McConnell at 293-6131, ext. 4237, e-mail trmcconnell@mail.wvu.edu. or visit www.wvu.edu/~agexten/sustanag/events/SF2009.


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