ROANOKE, Va – The Virginia Cooperative Extension Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP) at Virginia State University will host the annual Small Farm Outreach Conference at the Hotel Roanoke Conference Center in Roanoke, Virginia from November 19-20. This year’s topic, “Better Ways for Better Days,” will include guest speakers and educational break-out sessions that will provide practical information for small farms, farmers and ranchers with limited resources, or who are socially disadvantaged, military veterans, or beginning farmers.
The SFOP provides outreach and learning opportunities to small farmers for production management, financial and risk management, marketing, USDA assistance programs, and more. The conference is an opportunity to hear about available resources, smart business strategies, and successful production practices – especially for those new to farming who want to learn more about what it takes to farm profitably and sustainably.
At this year’s conference, participants will hear from multiple guest speakers, and rotate through various informational breakout sessions. The conference will begin with a talk from guest speaker Jim Hankins, Executive Director of Fauquier Education Farm. Jim Hankins grew up on a small farm in Bedford County and served as an Agriculture Management Agent for SFOP prior to coming to Fauqueir Education Farm.
In the afternoon and throughout day two of the conference, participants can take advantage of the following breakout sessions:
- New and Beginning Farm Course
- Boots on the Ground, “How COVID Changed Farming and Selling”
- Farm Tax Planning and Risk Management
- Organic No-Till Vegetable Production
After the breakout sessions on day two, participants will enjoy a luncheon and hear from Keynote Speaker Anthony Flaccavento. A two-time Congressional candidate in Virginia’s 9th district, Anthony has been working on community environmental and economic development in the Appalachian region for more than 30 years. He founded Appalachian Sustainable Development in 1995, which became a regional and national leader in sustainable economic development. His private consulting business supports community leaders and farmers. Anthony speaks and writes extensively about sustainable food systems and rural development.
To conclude the conference, winners of the following awards will be announced:
- SFOP Small Farmer of the Year
- SFOP Volunteer of the Year
- SFOP Regional Program Assistant of the Year
“As in the past, the Small Farm Conference is a great place to network and hear about the available resources, smart business strategies, and successful production practices – especially for those new and beginning farmers who want to learn more about what it takes to farm profitably and sustainably,” says VSU’s Small Farm Outreach Program Director William Crutchfield. “Attending the conference this year will be particularly helpful as many small farmers have had an uphill struggle to continue farming profitably in these challenging times.”
The cost is $50.00 per person. You can register for the conference by visiting the Virginia Cooperative Extension Website, https://www.ext.vsu.edu/events
If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact the Small Farm Outreach Program office at email@example.com or call (804) 524-3292 / TDD (800) 828-1120 during business hours of 8 am. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations five days prior to the event.
–Michelle Olgers, Virginia State University