4 upcoming Ag conferences for young farmers

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Each year farmers, educators, industry experts and food advocates unite at agricultural conferences. Conferences provide education and networking opportunities to help young farmers grow successful farm operations and make a difference in our communities.

  • Educational workshops offer beginning farmers an opportunity to learn from seasoned experts.
  • Panels discuss Ag policy and hot issues.
  • Networking sessions cultivate meaningful connections.
  • Trade shows present proven tools and methods, as well as the latest and greatest innovative technologies.
  • Compelling speakers, delicious food and entertainment make events memorable.

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Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Practical Tools & Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference

Who: Sustainable agriculture farmers and advocates

When: January 27-28, 2017

Where: Lexington, Kentucky

Cost: $199 early registration through December 21st. Scholarships are available at http://www.ssawg.org/fee-waivers.

What to expect: Focus is sustainable and organic production. Educational workshops in farm and food policy issues and advocacy. Courses in permaculture and livestock management. Up-to-date info on USDA food hub and farm-to-school programs.

Voices from the Field panelists, like Joel Salatin and Wendell Berry, share their experience and vision for the future of farming.

In 2016, 1,450 people attended the 25th annual SSAWG conference.

Extras: Pre-conference courses and field trips January 25-26, 2017. Taste of Kentucky banquet dinner featuring local foods.

Learn more: http://www.ssawg.org

Ohio Farm Bureau Cultivating Connections Conference

Who: Farm Bureau members, Young Agricultural Professionals (YAP), state and local Ag leaders

When: February 3-4, 2017

Where: Columbus, Ohio

Cost: $100. Register by Dec 16th. Full or partial scholarships may be available through your county farm bureau office https://ofbf.org/counties/.

What to expect: Gain leadership and professional development skills. 20 educational workshops covering everything from farm finance to local food initiatives to winemaking.

Ohio Senator Bob Peterson will speak about getting involved in grassroots policy. RFD-TV personality will share her journey in Ag media.

Extras: Connect with your county Young Agricultural Professional chapter.

Learn more: https://ofbf.org/events/young-ag-professionals-winter-leadership-experience/

Download the brochure from https://ofbf.org/app/uploads/2016/09/YAP_WinterBroch_Final_10.24.pdf

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) Growing Today, Transforming Tomorrow Conference

Who: Sustainable agriculture farmers and advocates

When: February 9-11, 2017

Where: Dayton, Ohio

Cost: $160 members, $220 non-members. Scholarships are available https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BFScholarships2017

What to expect: Focus is organics, sustainable production and local foods. Nearly 100 workshops educate participants on diverse subjects: urban Ag, activism, biodynamic and permaculture farming methods.

In 2016, 1,200 people attended the conference. 2017 will be the 38th annual OEFFA conference.

Extras: Book room, raffle, trade show, locally sourced meals, teen and child programming, evening entertainment.

Learn more: http://www.oeffa.org/conference2017.php

American Farm Bureau FUSION Conference

Who: Farm Bureau members, young farmers & ranchers, women leadership

When: February 10-13, 2017

Where: Pittsburgh, PA

Cost: $235 early registration through December 30th. Scholarships may be available at through your state farm bureau http://www.fb.org/statefbs/.

What to expect: Networking with leaders in Ag and farm bureau members. Economic and rural development call to action. Education and empowerment to lead farm bureau at state and local level. Workshops in entrepreneurship, technology, finance and communication.

College students discuss Ag issues: labor, food labeling and tax policy, for a chance to win scholarships.

Last conference in Kansas City, Missouri drew 1,100 participants from across the country.

Extras: Motivational speakers, trade show, social hour, banquet, evening entertainment.

Learn more: http://www.fb.org/programs/yfr/home/

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