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Indiana Small Farm Conference Coming at End of February

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Amid arctic air and snow yet to fall, organizers of the 2019 Indiana Small Farm Conference want you to know: It’s never too early to think spring.

“Planting season will be here sooner than you expect,” says Tamara Benjamin, assistant program leader and diversified agriculture specialist with Purdue Extension and one of the conference’s organizers. “The Indiana Small Farm Conference is a great way to learn about what’s new and what’s next in production, marketing, and other critical areas so you can make the most of your efforts in the 2019 growing season and beyond.”

The 2019 conference and trade show will be held from Feb. 28 to March 2 at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Complex, 1900 E. Main St., Danville. Registration for the conference is now open at purdue.ag/sfc.

Benjamin says conference registration is still available at reduced early-bird rates. Those signing up before Feb. 4 will pay $75 for one day, $135 for two days and $190 for all three days. (After Feb. 4, prices go up to $90, $162 and $228).

Admission for children 18 and younger is $20, $35 and $45 before Feb. 4 ($24, $42 and $54 after Feb. 4).

One discounted registration fee for a plus-one – such as a spouse/partner or a worker on an attendee’s farm – is available at $50, $100 or $140 before Feb. 4 ($60, $120, and $168 after Feb. 4). Any additional attendees beyond a plus-one pay for full admission.

“We encourage you to register early, especially if you’re interested in one of our daylong workshops that kick off the conference,” Benjamin says. “Space is going fast.”

Daylong workshops are offered on Feb. 28. Topics include:

  • Crop planning for vegetable growers.
  • Mushrooms, molds and mycorrhizae: A fungal immersion course.
  • Successful biological orcharding.

Two tours also will be available, a butcher shop and livestock processing tour with Moody’s Butcher Shop, Smoking Goose and more; and an agritourism farm tour encompassing Hunter’s Honey Farm, Chandlers Orchard and Country Market and Mallow Run Winery. There will be an additional cost to attend the agritourism farm tour. Please see the registration page for details.

Breakout sessions on March 1-2 will cover such topics as food safety, farm management, value-added products like herbs and oils, pest control, price trends, poultry, high tunnels, marketing, infrastructure, disease management, policy and diversity.

Keynote speakers for the conference are:

  • Michael Phillips (March 1) of Lost Nation Orchard, whose “Soil Redemption Song” encourages farmers to more deeply consider the role of soil biology in healthy crops. This means minimal soil disturbance, rational grazing and respectful forest management. Phillips also serves as coordinator of the Holistic Orchard Network and is the author of “The Holistic Orchard: Growing Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way.” He will offer a full-day workshop on holistic soil nutrition and biodiversity in biological orcharding.
  • Karen Washington (March 2) of Rise & Root Farm. A New York native and urban agriculture advocate, Washington has pioneered access to fresh, locally grown food for large metro populations. She is a board member and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition and a co-founder of Black Urban Growers. In 2012, “Ebony” named her among America’s 100 most influential African Americans for her promotion of the power and dignity of growing your own food. She received the James Beard Leadership Award in 2014.

Vendors will display a wide range of agricultural equipment, products and services during a trade show March 1-2 in the facility’s exhibit hall. Those interested in exhibiting at the conference can find more information or register as an exhibitor online through Feb. 15.

“The diversity of our programming at this year’s conference reflects something I love about the small-farm community — that there is no one definition of what small farms represent,” Benjamin says. “Bringing people from all walks of life together — and connecting them to Extension educators, fellow farmers, expert speakers, and vendors — makes the Indiana Small Farm Conference a premier destination.”

For more information — or to sign up — visit the Indiana Small Farm Conference website at purdue.ag/sfc. Follow the conference on Twitter and Instagram at @SmallFarmPurdue or on Facebook at @PurdueExtensionSmallFarms, #PurdueSmallFarms.

Source: Purdue University News Service