UMES hosts small farm conference
The 10th annual Small Farm Conference at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore takes place Fri., Nov. 8, and Sat., Nov. 9, in the Richard A. Henson Center. The two-day educational conference furthers the theme and the goal of the University of Maryland Extension Small Farm Outreach Program in “Sustaining Small Farms . . . 360 Degrees.”
On-site registration for the conference begins at 1 p.m. on Friday. Workshops and tours start promptly at 2 p.m. Participants may choose among four topics that cover a broad array of subject matter, including poultry processing, social media, using sheep and goats to aid in weed control and home food preservation. Saturday’s seminars fall under three educational tracks: Alternative Agriculture, Farm Business & Marketing and New & Beginning Farming.
Highlights for the conference include the innovative “New & Beginning Farmer Track,” with seminars chosen to equip participants with the knowledge and resources needed to own and operate a farm business more successfully. The “Home Food Preservation Class,” which was new to the conference last year, is back by popular demand. Participants will learn the basic USDA approved canning techniques, including pressure canning and water bath canning. Also returning from the previous year is the youth program theme, AGsploration. Youth of all ages, who come with or without parents, are encouraged to participate. Lesson topics include animal and plant agriculture, agriculture and the environment and agriculture technology.
Ben Burkett is the keynote speaker for the event and will address participants during the luncheon on Saturday. Burkett has worked throughout the south on behalf of small farmers to ensure their livelihoods through a movement known as food sovereignty, wherein proponents assert the right of producers, distributors and consumers to define their own food systems. To further define his work, Burkett is building the framework to sustain a new generation of small farmers.
For more information or to register online for the 2013 Small Farm Conference, visit www.umes.edu/1890-mce. Registration fees are $25 per person, $40 per couple, and $10 for each child who is registered without a registered parent. Youth who will attend with at least one accompanying parent may register and attend for free.
Suzanne Waters Street, agriculture communication specialist, UMES – University of Maryland Extension, 410-651-6084, firstname.lastname@example.org.