BOONE, N.C. — Do you know about US Department of Agriculture resources available to local farms, and how they can be leveraged to improve Specialty Crops Production? USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service offers a number of cost-share and technical assistance programs that can help farms in the region improve their bottom lines. These programs are available to family farms and incorporated agricultural producers, large or small.
The Watauga center of NC Cooperative Extension will offer a free workshop on making the most of NRCS opportunities on Monday, February 27, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. at the Watauga Agricultural Conference Center, 252 Poplar Grove Rd., Boone, NC 28607. The Program will be from 4:30-6:30 p.m., concluding with a light dinner cooked by one of the presenters.
This workshop is open to farmers, extension agents, and related entities. Dr. Kathleen Liang (Kellogg Distinguished Professor and Director of CEFS at NCA&T) and Mr. Jacob Crandall (NCDA&CS, NRCS Specialist) will be the main presenters, with other local USDA and Cooperative Extension staff on-site and available to answer questions from participants.
Jacob Crandall’s presentation will cover:
- Understanding NRCS eligibility, programs, and popular initiatives
- Identifying resource concerns and conservation practices that could qualify your land for NRCS assistance
- Completing necessary forms to apply for NRCS cost-share assistance
- Making successful contact with your local NRCS agent
- Connecting to other farmers with successful NRCS conservation projects
Dr. Liang’s portion of the workshop will cover growing demand for new varieties of fruits and vegetables and how farmers could achieve higher profit margins via specialty crops sold through diverse market venues. She will conclude with a cooking demonstration to showcase health benefits and the marketing potential of creatively preparing and presenting specialty fruit and vegetables in a manner that farmers can easily replicate for customer sampling, on-farm dinners, etc.
If you are interested in this workshop, please email Tiffany Slade (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get registered by February 20, 2023. Additional information is also available by contacting Watauga Extension by phone at 828-264-3061.
–Richard Boylan, N.C. State Extension