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Carlos Robles Appointed Ag Commissioner of Virgin Islands

Carlos Robles (left), recently appointed Ag Commissioner for the Virgin Islands, is recognized at the 2015 Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms conference by Southern SAWG's Executive Director Steve Muntz.

Carlos Robles (left), recently appointed Ag Commissioner for the Virgin Islands, is recognized at the 2015 Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms conference by Southern SAWG's Executive Director Steve Muntz.

While attending the Southern SAWG conference this year, Carlos Robles received notification that he had been appointed the Ag Commissioner for the Virgin Islands. Robles is a long-time attendee of the Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms conference. He holds a bachelor's degree in agriculture science from Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University and a master's degree in horticultural science from the University of Florida.

Robles has worked at the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service since 1981 and is the state coordinator for sustainable agriculture. He was the first certified arborist in the Virgin Islands, and regularly teaches the public about the care of plants and trees in the territory through workshops and seminars.

The new administration seeks innovation in the agriculture system and believes Robles will be very instrumental in growing the farm to school effort, as well as linking farms to other institutions. Governor Mapp envisions making the island more sustainable by coordinating with farms and supplying a widely varied fresh food source to the population and proposes an Agriculture Revolving Fund to help farmers acquire the equipment they need. 

Southern SAWG is delighted and honored that one of our own has been appointed to such an influential position in the Virgin Islands cabinet. We wish Carlos Robles all the best with his new position. 

Warmer Weather Awaits You in Mobile!

Did you miss this week's pre-registration deadline? No worries! You don't have to miss the conference. Register right at the door in Mobile.

If you aren’t registered yet, come on down and register at the Mobile Convention Center. Save some time by filling in a registration form and bringing it with you. We accept checks made payable to Southern SAWG, VISA, Master Card, American Express and Discover credit cards.

There is still room in our pre-conference short courses, field trips and mini courses. 

Attention Conference Attendees:

If you are already registered for the conference, get ready to have a great time. We’ve got a big crowd coming, giving you lots of cool and interesting folks to meet and learn from. Remember we’ve added a mixer on Thursday evening with live music and cash bar. So come on over to the convention center Thursday night for the mixer, the film and the seed swap. 

We got more vendors this year, so don’t forget to visit the Trade Show in the ballroom on Friday and Saturday. Plan to purchase your farm supplies for the season and avoid shipping fees! 

If you decide you’d like to add a short course, mini course or field trip to your conference registration, come on down early and we’ll get you set up. 

Click here to see the full description of general conference sessions 
and all the pre-conference options in this year's program.

Let's Connect!

While you are onsite, don’t forget to connect with us via social media! Join our Facebook and Twitter pages and share the highlights of your experience. Please add #SSAWG to your posts so everyone can connect. 

Hurry Up If You Want to Be Pre-registered for Our Annual Conference! (or you’ll need to register onsite)

Pre-registration Ends on January 7th

You don't want to miss this year's incredible program. Go to ssawgconference.org to pre-register by the end of the day on January 7th. If you are mailing in your form, don't delay! Get your registration form in the mail TODAY so we will receive it by the 7th.

Plus, Sign Up for Pre-conference Courses and Field Trips 

There is still room in most of our pre-conference short courses, field trips and mini courses. It is always better to pre-register for these options to be sure to get your first choice. Click here for a list of the special courses and events happening before the general conference. 

Just Can't Make This Week's Pre-reg Deadline?

After the 7th, please come register on-site at the Mobile Convention Center. Save some time by filling in a registration form and bringing it with you. Walk-ins are always welcome.

Pre-conference Short Courses are LONG on Value

These intense short courses are high-value learning experiences that provide you comprehensive, and in-depth information on the topic most important to you right now. 

Add extra value to your conference by attending one of these short courses beginning on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and continues the next morning on Thursday, January 15, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

The presenters’ instructions are based on their own practical experience and lessons they have learned over the years through study and collaboration with others around the region. In addition to excellent classroom instruction, participants will get a collection of useful take-home materials that you can use for continued learning and to share. Be sure to pre-register, as space is limited.

Learn more about these pre-conference short courses here.

Mini Courses Serve Up Big Helpings of Information

Five great ½ day mini courses are on the menu at our Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms conference in Mobile! Register for one of these pre-conference offerings.

Mini courses are offered on January 15, 2015--starting at 1:00 pm and ending at 5:00 pm. Spend an afternoon learning what the experts know and how they do it. You'll go home with practical information you can put to use right away. You have to register for these courses and space is limited.

Learn more about these pre-conference mini courses here.

Southern SAWG Trains Trainers in Organic High Tunnel Production

Organic hoop house training at Sunbright Organics, Tuskegee, AL.

Organic hoop house training at Sunbright Organics, Tuskegee, AL.

Southern SAWG, in cooperation with several partners and with the support of a generous Southern SARE PDP grant, has completed a series of organic high tunnel vegetable production “train the trainer” events in Kentucky and Alabama. The goal of the trainings was to better equip service providers to assist producers interested in organic and high tunnel production. Natural Resources Conservation professionals were particularly targeted because of the special funding initiatives they have for high tunnels in their EQIP program. 

Over 100 service providers participated in the programs and, based on evaluation results, the trainings were very effective. Some comments from participants included:

 “Worth a long trip. Practical information was outstanding”

“Great technical explanation on soil, practical management and site specific application for AL.”

“I hope to spread the news among communities of color in the black belt how hoop houses can increase their income & how marketing can increase it as well.”

When Southern SAWG puts together trainings such as this, we gather a team from across the region who have proven themselves in their work. For this particular set of trainings we had a three person training team that included Andrew Williams from Alabama, Mark Cain from Arkansas and Mark Schonbeck from Virginia.

 

Editor's Note: Did you miss out on these high tunnel trainings OR do you want to learn more? Register for the 2015 Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference. We are offering a dynamite short course and four general sessions on high tunnel production and management. Of course, high tunnels are just one of the many topics that will be covered at the conference. See the whole program here.