Small Farm Conference And Trade Show In Brooksville Oct. 24

By:
Chuck Woods (352) 392-1773 x 281

Source(s):
Wayne Odegaard (352) 754-4433

BROOKSVILLE—The Florida Small Farm Conference and Trade Show will be held at the Hernando County Fairgrounds in Brooksville on Saturday, Oct. 24. Farmers throughout Florida are invited to attend the free program, which begins at 8:30 a.m.

Theme for the statewide event will be “Opportunities at Your Scale,”according to Wayne Odegaard, Hernando County Extension Director with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and conference coordinator.

“The program will include presentations, panel discussions and demonstrations on a variety of small scale farming practices,” Odegaard said. “Topics range from organic farming and raising livestock to value-added production and marketing, aquaculture, vineyard establishment,vermicomposting, shitake mushroom cultivation, beekeeping, soap making,enhancement of wildlife habitat and more,” he said.

The conference and trade show also includes producer association meetings and livestock displays featuring ostriches, rabbits, dairy goats, pigmy goats, boar goats, mules, donkeys and Romagnola cattle from Italy.

Keynote speaker will be Dave Oien, farmer, co-founder and director of the Alternative Energy resources Organization (AERO) based in Helena, Montana. AERO is a 20-year-old grassroots, non-profit organization working to support small and part-time farmers and their communities.

Kathy Colverson, southeast representative from the Arkansas-based Heifer International, will join Alachua County farmer Paul Jennings to discuss and demonstrate pastured poultry farming.

Don Coker of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will offer a short course on entrepreneurship skills development and value-added production and marketing for the small farmer.

Two concurrent panel discussions will cover (1) the benefits and challenges to forming farmer networks, and (2) livestock processing opportunities and legal considerations for small scale farmers and ranchers.

The conference is sponsored By UF/IFAS in cooperation with Florida A&M University in Tallahassee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (SARE) program. For more information, call your local county extension office or visit the conference Web site: http://www.ifas.ufl.edu/~F2F/

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