Small farmers may not get as much attention as large operation producers but taken together they add up to big business.
Aware of just how true that is, the U.S. Department of Agriculture holds the National Small Farm Conference every three years to cast the spotlight on small farm problems and solutions. The 2005 conference will be held Oct. 16-19 at the Sheraton/Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Past conferences have focused on diverse topics such as methods that small farmers can use to tap into extension and other resources and ways of building community partnerships. But in 2005 the focus is on something even closer to the hearts to small farmers - maximizing small farmer prosperity.
The theme for the 2005 conference is "Enhancing Opportunities for Small Farmers and Ranchers." Speakers will give ideas on a variety of topics that are important to small farmers to agriculture education and training professionals at the conference. Some of the topics that will be discussed are:
â€¢ Ways to get the most out of a small farm's existing resources;
â€¢ How agencies can work towards building a safety net for small farmers and ranchers;
â€¢ Ways to put risk management techniques to practice in small farm programs;
â€¢ Ways to design small-farm program initiatives with measurable outcomes.
During the three-day conference there will also be 10 educational tours open to attendees. A few of the tour sites include: Goat Lady Dairy; Nu-Horizons Web-Based Meat Marketing; Stanley Hughes Organic Tobacco; the Peregrine Farm Cut Flowers and Produce and the N.C. A&T State University Farm Tour.
Regular registration for the conference is $175. Early registration (by August 26) is $175.
Learn more about the conference on the web at www.csrees.usda.gov/nea/ag_systems/in_focus/smallfarms_if_conferences.html.
To register contact Tiffany Slade, N.C. A&T State University Cooperative Extension, P.O. Box 21928, Greensboro, N.C. Her telephone number is (336) 334-7734. You can also e-mail her for information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greensboro Sheraton will give special rates for the event. Call 1-800-242-6556 and ask for the group rate for the 4th National Small Farm Conference.