WEST PLAINS, Mo. — Area residents can learn how to contribute to their regional food supply using their own land resources by attending the fourth annual “Bringing Back the American Small Farm” conference March 19-20 at the West Plains Civic Center.
The event is hosted by Missouri State University-West Plains, the Ozark Farmers Agriculture Cooperative (OFAC), the University of Missouri Extension and the City of West Plains.
Conference activities will take place 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
Featured speakers at this year’s event include Teddy Gentry, a cattle breeder and bassist of legendary country group Alabama, and author and long-time farmer Ellen Polishuk.
Gentry, who developed his own breed of cattle, South Poll, in 1989, will share his wealth of first-hand knowledge on how to successfully adapt your livestock to fit into the environment of your farm during his keynote address on the first day of the conference.
Gentry also will lead a roundtable discussion with breeders and meet exclusively with area 4H and FFA members.
Polishuk, co-writer of the recently released book “Start Your Farm” and a writer for “Growing for Market” magazine, will discuss how to become a successful 21st century farmer, among other topics.
Officials with Lincoln University in Jefferson City will bring their Jesup Wagon 2.0 exhibit to the conference. The wagon is a modern day re-imagining of Dr. George Washington Carver’s original educational horse drawn wagon. It contains modern day technological advancements designed to increase farm efficiency. It also highlights ergonomic tools that reduce the risk of injury which are available to today’s farmers.
In addition, conference attendees can attend a variety of workshops that will teach them how to create income from small acreage, adapt their environment to be more productive, and contribute to their regional food supply.
“Whether that’s a backyard garden area or 100 acres, the conference will provide the information they need to start producing local foods,” organizers said.
Early bird registration is now open, and group rates are available.
To register or for more information about the conference and presentations, visit www.americansmallfarm.com/conference or call Patrice Jennings at 417-293-0590.
— Missouri State University-West Plains
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