2019 Conference Program Schedule

General Conference Schedule Is Here!

 Cornelius Blanding

Cornelius Blanding

The general conference, with over 90 expert presenters offers a wide variety of sessions. We have sessions for those with years of experience and for those who are new to the field. The line-up includes a whopping 56 educational sessions, plus a state networking session for each of the 13 states in our region, and over a dozen information exchange/crowdsourcing sessions where you get to exchange ideas and information with those who share your interests. Also built into the general conference schedule are a trade show and research posters.

This year, our keynote speaker is Cornelius Blanding, the Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. The Federation of Southern Cooperatives have worked for over 50 years in support of family farmers, especially African Americans. They strive toward the development of self-supporting communities with programs that increase income and enhance other opportunities; and strive to assist in land retention and development. Their work is done with an active and democratic involvement in poor areas across the South, through education and outreach strategies which support low-income people in molding their communities to become more humane and livable. They assist in the development of cooperatives and credit unions as a collective strategy to create economic self-sufficiency.

Mr. Blanding has worked as a small business development and management consultant, manager of a multi-million dollar revolving loan fund, and domestic and international project director. We are excited to have him speak at our event.

check out All the pre-conference offerings too, and register Now!

 
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Intensive Short Courses

Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
   through
Thursday, January 24, 2019, 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

These 1 ½ day short courses are high-value learning experiences that provide you comprehensive, and in-depth information, with practical lessons from some of the most experienced experts in the region. Plus participants will get an invaluable collection of useful resources for continued learning.

Short Course #1 — Growing Farm Profits for Horticulture and Livestock

Short Course #2 — Start-Up Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing

Short Course #3 — Food Safety Practices for Small to Mid-Scale Producers

Short Course #4 — FSMA Facilities Rule—Preventative Controls for Human Food

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Field Trips

Thursday, January 24, 2019, 12:30 – 5:00 p.m.

For those who learn best by seeing other farms, we have five excellent field trips for you to choose from.

Field Trip #1 — Growing Organic in a Conventional World— Rattle’s Garden

Field Trip #2 — Sustainable Farming Sustains A Family of Veterans—Barnhill Orchards

Field Trip #3 — Pastured Poultry, Pork, and Beef—Permaculture in Practice with Farm Girl Meats

Field Trip #4 — What’s All the Buzz? Bemis Bee Farm!

Field Trip #5 — Work Smarter Not Harder—Heifer Ranch

Please note that these field trips are being offered at the same time as the mini courses.

 

Mini Courses

Thursday, January 24, 2019, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

These ½ day courses give participants an opportunity to spend an afternoon learning what the experts know and getting valuable practical tips.

Mini Course #1 — The Dual Plate: Food for Survival, Food for Comfort

Mini Course #2 — Cracking The Code: Dismantling The Dynamics of Oppression (Racism)

Mini Course #3 — Holistic Animal Healthcare—Healthy Livestock are Happy Livestock

Mini Course #4 — Hoophouse Production of Cool Season Crops

Please note that these mini courses are being offered at the same time as the field trips.

 

Thursday Morning Activity

Fresh Stop Markets Meet and Greet Session —
Thursday Morning, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

BROCC-N-ROLL! New Roots Fresh Stop Markets — University of Kentucky and University of Tennessee, Knoxville welcome the SSAWG community to a meet and greet. Come explore how farmers and neighborhood leaders are uniting communities to spread food justice throughout Kentucky. Meet researcher partners from University of Ky and University of Tenn. Let’s converse about how to build on the momentum and successes of this local movement and spread the model to more communities in the southern region and beyond.

Hosted by: Farmers of Rootbound Farm, Crestwood, KY, and Valley Spirit Farm, Campbellsburg, KY; Community organizers from New Roots, Inc. and Fresh Stop Market Leaders, Louisville, Kentucky; Universities of Kentucky and Tennessee; Southern SARE USDA Grant Recipients (2018-2021), Extending Roots of Fresh Stop Markets Across the Southern Region, Lexington, KY and Knoxville, TN.

Thursday Evening Activities

Thursday, January 24, 2019, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 P.M.

Pre-conference Mixer, Book signing, seed swap, Trade show and poster display

This year our opening mixer is going to be held in the Trade Show. Come mix it up with old and new friends alike and get a sneak peak of all the great vendors at our trade show. We will have a cash bar set up for you with local brews.

A variety of conference presenters will be on hand to sell and autograph their books for you on Thursday evening during the pre-conference mixer.

We’ll provide space and envelopes for those who wish to swap seeds. This will be a good opportunity to meet seed savers and learn about varieties dear to their hearts. Don’t forget to bring your seeds! Bring photos and samples too if you can.

General Conference

Friday, January 25, 2019 and Saturday January 26, 2019


Trade Show and Poster Display
Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Demystifying the Haney Test: Inside the Life of Living Soils — We often hear “The Haney Test” bandied about as single number that is either great or meaningless, depending on who is talking. In reality, the Haney Test (not one, but a series of tests) provides unique insight into your farm’s soil biology and gives you valuable information on how to reduce inputs, especially nitrogen. Dr. Buz Kloot will take the hood off both the Haney Test and the traditional soil test and make a few comparisons to show where these tests differ and how they are similar. Then he will provide a framework for using soil tests to educate yourself on your farm’s soil, rather than just to provide a number. Buz Kloot, University of South Carolina (SC)

Diversify Your Vegetable Crops — Learn how to make your selection of vegetables the most interesting one around. Offer a broader range of vegetables and keep your customers’ coming back for something new and different, while still supplying their old favorites. Attract restaurant chefs by offering crops and varieties they don’t easily find elsewhere. Introduce your CSA members or your school and other institutional clients to crops they haven’t tried before. This session will help you distinguish between the crops likely to succeed and the siren call of too many weird eggplants. Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks Community (VA)

Bring Home The Bacon: Understanding the Production, Business and Marketing of Niche Pork — Raising pigs for local markets can be hard, but selling, marketing and sustaining the enterprise can be even harder! In this session we’ll discuss the importance of taking the “emotions” out of business decisions, adequate record keeping, proper land management, and using social media effectively. You’ll also learn how to market your farming practices, sell the whole animal, find your niche, create value-added products for clients, and turn your farm into an event space. Jon Jackson, Comfort Farms (GA) and “Pork” Rhyne Cureton, Pig Farming Consultant and Advocate (NC)

Self Care Practices for Farmers — The truth is, being a farmer means you are constantly giving your energy with little time to recharge and recenter. It’s hard to find time for yourself, which can lead to a downward spiral of burnout, depression and even death. The more responsibilities you have, the more essential it is that you take care of yourself. Learn how three farmers implement self-care in their work, how to identify your emotional needs and communication style, and walk away with a few key tools that you can implement into your daily farm routine in just 10 minutes a day. Marlena Nip, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (LA), Felicia Bell, RD & S Farm (MS), and Mark Cain, Dripping Springs Garden (AR)

Beyond “Organic Labeling”: The Next Generation of Food System Transparency — While much about the National Organic Program has been a success, many organic farmers feel that the USDA label no longer adequately reflects how they farm. Come learn about, discuss, and question ways farmers are trying to differentiate their products in the marketplace. Marty Mesh will discuss the “Food Justice Certified” standard, which has been widely recognized as the gold standard for social justice. Linley Dixon will cover the why, current state, and future of a farmer-led effort to protect and improve upon organic standards. Marty Mesh, Agricultural Justice Project (FL), and Linley Dixon, The Real Organic Project (CO)

If You Don’t Carrot (Care It) Won’t Happen — Learn how New Roots leaders and farmers are igniting community power to bring farm-fresh produce to families living in our nation’s most under-invested neighborhoods. The New Roots Fresh Stop Market model leverages the tradition of cooperative economics and the utilization of community leaders and spaces to access fresh and local food. Join this session to explore how these markets are changing our food system so farmers get a fair price and the community gets to eat. Karyn Moskowitz, New Roots, Inc. (KY), Ben Abel and Bree Pearsall, Rootbound Farm (KY), Joseph Monroe, Ashbourne Farm (KY), and Jeremy Porter, Lexington Fresh Stop Markets (KY)

Building Farmer Networks — Are you interested in connecting with other farmers in your region? Do you want to find a way to create more farmer-to-farmer learning opportunities? Learn about successful models for building relationships, networks, and learning between farmers from two organizations with established farmer-to-farmer networks, including the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT). We’ll discuss how to lay the groundwork for, and maintain, a successful beginning farmer-to-farmer network whether you are a small group of farmers or an agricultural support program. Cameron Farlow, Organic Growers School (NC) and TBA, CRAFT Network Leaders

Solving the Riddle: Dismantling Racism — This workshop teaches us to “Solve The Riddle” of racism by creating more emotionally authentic and honest dialogue devoid of unconscious personal attacks to ourselves or each other. Such honest dialogue — within and between groups — facilitates real personal, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural change to combat racism and oppression. This session is appropriate for all conference participants regardless of which side of the fabled superior/inferior social dynamic society has placed you. Wekesa Madzimoyo, AYA Educational Institute (GA)

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Friday, 9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Organic Soil Management for High Tunnels — High tunnels are high-value real estate, so how do you sustain your soil in these intensive systems? This session will cover strategies for managing soil fertility, soil-borne diseases, and soil conservation practices for high tunnels, emphasizing organic and biological practices that can be used by any grower. Krista Jacobsen will discuss strategies to sustainably manage nutrients, salt and organic matter in tunnels, as well as soil testing for high tunnels. She’ll also present what researchers in Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia are learning about managing cover crops for high tunnels in the Southern region. Krista Jacobsen, University of Kentucky (KY)

Add Cut Flowers to Increase Your Farm’s Diversity… and Your Income! — Are you already producing vegetables for local markets? Do what many market farmers have done — add cut flowers to the mix. Learn about “must grow” varieties, seed sources, succession planting, crop rotation, harvest and basic post-harvest handling from an experienced organic grower. She’ll also help you decide if cut flowers are right for you by discussing the ways they fit with vegetable production and the complexities they create. Cathy Jones, Perry-winkle Farm (NC)

Seed Saving: Preserving Genetic Diversity, Community Culture and Adding to Your Bottom Line — Preservation of seeds is one of the foundations of sustainable food production. Hear how GMO agriculture, consolidation in the seed industry, loss of genetic diversity, and rapid decline in the number of active seed savers among black farmers affects our farms and our communities. Then learn about the basics of seed saving and seed production for your own farm and issues to consider when deciding whether to sell seeds directly to gardeners or contract for sales to independent seed companies. Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (VA)

Using Social Media to Grow Your Farm Business — Learn how you can leverage social media for your farm business to grow your customer base and market your products. We will provide an overview of Facebook and Instagram, show how to set up a business profile, and discuss strategies for creating content and how to engage with customers. This session will provide an introduction for those who are wondering how to get started or are looking for ways to improve their social media skills. Participants will also get access to a downloadable workbook on how to make the most of social media marketing for your farm business. Lauren Manning, University of Arkansas School of Law (AR) and Luke Freeman, NCAT (AR)

Planning to Buy Farmland: A Demonstration of the Finding Farmland Calculator — The choices you make when buying farmland are some of the most complex and important you will make as a farmer. The National Young Farmers Coalition designed the Finding Farmland Calculator to help beginning farmers navigate the real estate financing process with confidence. In this workshop we’ll use real farmers’ land access stories to demonstrate how you can use the calculator to learn about the financing options available to farmers, compare properties, understand affordability, and prepare to work with a lender. Michael Parker and Cara Farver, National Young Farmers Coalition (DC) and Julia Asherman, Rag & Frass Farm (GA)

The Price Is Right… Or Is It? Developing Realistic and Profitable Product Pricing for Your Livestock Products — Do you have an intentional strategy for developing your meat prices that ensures you’re making a profit? Do you ever wonder how to connect your actual sales price to all those intangible expenses that aren’t directly related to production — like insurance, electricity, property tax, repairs, and equipment and tools? Can you be sure you’re earning the salary you need to thrive? Learn how to account for all your day-to-day expenses and capital expenditures in your product pricing. Then learn how to connect with customers who are willing to pay the prices you need to stay in business and grow. Jerica Cadman, Shady Grove Ranch (TX)

Farmers Markets: What Is the Future? — One of the most traditional outlets for sales, farmers markets have evolved over the years with some markets going online, others focused on incentives and accessibility, many staying the same but losing new and beginning farmers. Join us to explore farmers markets today and to discuss the benefits and challenges, how we can improve coordination and collaboration to maintain supply and demand, and how farmers markets can continue to serve our farmers of today and tomorrow. Emily English, Arkansas Farm to School (AR), Katie Kraemer, Tecolote Farm (TX) and Josh Hardin, Laughing Stock Farm (AR)

Digging in the Farm Bill: Using a Racial Equity Lens on Food and Farm Policy — This session will encourage participants to explore the racial inequities built into the food and farming policy of the United States. Participants will apply a racial equity lens to the Farm Bill — the overarching federal agriculture and food policy. Utilizing this lens, we will examine the challenges and opportunities for the sustainable agriculture movement and advocates — both people of color and white — to advance racial equity in the Farm Bill. Participants will also discover how to connect advocacy efforts across the South to federal policy. Qiana Mickie, Just Food New York (NY), Marla Karina Larrave, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (DC)

Welcome and Plenary
Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Transformation through Cooperative Innovation

Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director of Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, (GA)

Join us for an engaging session with Cornelius Blanding, the Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund as he puts a fresh face on cooperative innovation to address some of the most daunting challenges facing farmers in the South. While farmers often feel isolated due to both the nature of their work and the fact that so few are engaged in farming today, Cornelius has a different perspective to share. He will draw on inspiring examples and over 21 years of experience in rural, international and cooperative economic development to help us understand the potential power we can unleash in conserving our natural resources, fighting climate change and strengthening our economic foundation through innovating together. Then he will go a little deeper with us in clarifying what it will take to shift into this vision for cooperative innovation and challenging us not to be bystanders in building a strong future for the rural South and southern agriculture.

Cornelius Blanding has been the Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund for nearly four years. His experiences include business and project development, management and marketing. He has worked as a small business development and management consultant, manager of a multi-million dollar revolving loan fund, domestic and international project director, Director of Field Operations and Special Projects and Deputy Director prior to his current service as Executive Director.

Cornelius has also served and continues to serve on various boards and committees, including the National Cooperative Business Association, Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America, Southeast Climate Consortium and the Presbyterian Committee on the Self Development of People.

Lunch On Your Own
Friday, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Patronize at least two of our featured establishments while at the conference and you could win either $500 or a free registration to the 2020 conference! Get your scorecard stamped and turn in at our closing mixer to be eligible to win.

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Friday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Organic Weed Management on a Diversified Vegetable Farm — Weed management is often ranked as the number one challenge for organic growers. Weeds are also the challenge that we have the most tools to combat. In this session, you’ll learn to think like a weed and explore the different ways weeds are successful. Then, you’ll learn strategies from someone who has been managing weed pressures organically for 20 years. While helpful for any grower, the specific tools and techniques covered will be especially helpful to beginning and small-scale farmers. Daniel Parson, Oxford College Farm (GA)

Growing Fruit That Is Suited to the South — The South lags behind the rest of the nation in organic fruit production because we persist in trying to grow species and varieties ill-adapted to our climate and soils. Learn about some of the lesser-known species and varieties that are suited to our conditions: natives like pawpaws, muscadines and persimmons, and non-natives like jujubes, figs, cudrang, and Asian persimmons. We’ll also discuss a few of the lesser-known varieties of apples and pears that can be grown naturally with some care. Participants will learn the specifics of how to grow them naturally in the South for homesteads as well as for commercial production. Guy Ames, Ames’ Orchard & Nursery (AR)

Planning for Success: Whole Farm Planning for Livestock Farms — It’s hard to hit a hidden target. This interactive session will help you and your farm partner articulate goals, take a thoughtful look at the resources available, examine the strengths and weaknesses of your farm business, and be ready to move forward in planning a successful future. Geared to farmers who have at least a year or two under their belts, participants in this class will leave with goal-setting worksheets filled out and a print copy of a whole farm planning tool from ATTRA that is designed for cattle, dairy, or small ruminant farms. You’ll be empowered to get a big-picture view of your farm and find and take action on the weak links. Linda Coffey, NCAT (AR)

Do I Need a Lawyer for That? Addressing Small Farm Legal Issues — Making the right legal decisions can sometimes make or break a small business. But unfortunately there are few public resources available to help farmers navigate legal matters like business entity choice, food safety, food labeling, liability exposure, tax and land issues. This session will identify common legal issues that farmers encounter when starting and operating a small farm business, and will provide attendees with a checklist that they can use to assess when legal assistance may be necessary. Lauren Manning, University of Arkansas School of Law (AR) and Andrew Branan, North Carolina State University (NC)

Why Do You Farm? Set Your Goals and Figure Out Your Finances — When times get tough on the farm, the “why” of farming is as important as the “what.” This interactive session will help you think through your goals for life on your farm and how your goals connect to the choices you make, what resources you use, what programs you sign up for, and whether or not you stay together as a family. Participants will leave this session with planning documents and a range of other resources in digital form that they can use for discussions with their families after they return home. Scott Marlow, RAFI-USA (NC)

Accessing School Markets: Selling, Marketing, and Relationship Building — Farm to school programs offer great potential to expand sales, broaden your client base, and participate in your community. Join us to think through whether or not selling to schools is the right strategy for your farm, and how to make that happen. This session will guide you through questions to ask of your operation and your business when considering farm to school as a market opportunity. Participants will: Understand how farmers can access school markets; learn best practices for selling to schools; and hear real-world examples about school sales. Rachel Spencer, USDA Farm to School Program Southwest Region (SW) and Margo Hale, NCAT Southeast (AR)

Black Land, Liberation and Power — Land-based resistance work is both the root of the Civil Rights movement and the future of the Food Justice movement. Join this dynamic session and commit to a deeper practice around racial justice as we explore why the reclamation of land is the first step towards freedom, food security and reparations for black people. Find out about the work of the National Black Food and Justice Alliance and the Land Loss Prevention Project and how you can be part of the movement to revive and strengthen black agrarian identity and power. Savi Horne, Land Loss Prevention Project (NC) and Dara Cooper, National Black Food and Justice Alliance (GA)

Finding Your Voice in Policy — Storytelling is the art of communicating and sharing culture and values to others. It is also a powerful tool to educate elected officials on the real-world impact of their legislation and policies. In this session participants will learn how to craft and frame their stories to more effectively influence public policy. Join our panelists as we explore the skills needed to tell impressive stories and to get an update on the Policy Collaborative Action Network. Ash Bruxvoort, Women, Food and Agriculture Network (IA), Marla Karina Larrave, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and Judith McGeary, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (TX)

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Friday, 3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Improving Soil Health by Using Cover Crops — Cover crops can increase the overall health of the soil while improving plant life and production. But they can be tricky to manage. In this session learn how cover crops work by depositing carbon organic matter deep into the soil while improving water filtration, water holding capacities, and the overall life of the soil. We’ll review specific cover crops for diversified vegetable operations in our region, and point out the benefits and challenges of each. Troyce Barnett, NRCS (AR)

Edible and Medicinal Mushroom Cultivation — Mushrooms can provide an additional income source for a diversified farm, and can be marketed fresh or as a value-added product. Mushrooms can be grown indoors and outside, and many can be cultivated with agricultural waste products readily available on a farm. This session will cover cultivation techniques for some varieties, and feature a hands-on demonstration inoculating substrates with oyster mushroom fungus for participants to take home. William Padilla-Brown, MycoSymbiotics (PA)

Alternative Dewormers for Sheep and Goat Production — This workshop will cover the basics of herbal, natural and alternative dewormers for sheep and goat production. Topics will include classes of compounds that may be responsible for deworming activity, what works, and other methods for controlling the barber pole worm in sheep and goats. David Fernandez, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (AR)

Trouble’s Coming: How Did Their Farm Survive? — Hear how two farms have learned to cope with major disturbances and still survive. In this session on resilience, you’ll hear about a highway bypass that destroyed the character of Hardin Farms and the hurricane that ravaged the Mauthe Dairy Farm. We’ll examine the qualities that helped each farm adapt and survive, and point out tips for others on how to become more resilient. Jim Worstell, Resilience Project (AR); Jamie and Kenny Mauthe, Mauthe Progress Milk Barn (MS); Randy Hardin, Hardin Farms (AR) and Josh Hardin, Laughing Stock Farm (AR)

Purpose-Driven Record Keeping: Tracking and Using Labor Data to Improve Profitability — No one gets into farming because they like record keeping. And most of the time it feels like we only keep records to satisfy others: the IRS, organic certifiers, health inspectors, bankers, etc. This session will focus on the essential records needed to monitor your business, set prices, and make critical decisions that can improve profitability. For many farms, the largest expense category is labor; whether it is your own, family labor, or hired. Join this session for tips and tools to track labor and use the information to set and meet goals for your farm business. John Hendrickson, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (WI)

Growing for Restaurants — Direct marketing to restaurants can be financially rewarding… and extremely challenging. Michelle Akindiya, who has been on both sides of this equation — as a farmer growing for restaurants and as a forager securing local products for restaurants — will help you weigh the benefits and challenges of this market for your farm. She’ll discuss how to create relationships with chefs as well as look at crop planning techniques to insure that you have a consistent harvest for your customers. Michelle Akindiya, Farmshare Austin (TX)

Racial and Economic Activism in Rural Arkansas: The 1919 Elaine Massacre — In 1919, black farmers in Elaine, Arkansas challenged deeply entrenched racism and economic privation when they organized the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. This session considers the scope of rural and agricultural unionizing and the subsequent racial terrorism that ensued because African Americans dared to assert their right to organize and to access the financial benefits of their agricultural labor in the post World War I Arkansas Delta. Cherisse Jones Branch Arkansas State Univ. (AR) and Brian K. Mitchell, UA Little Rock (AR)

Protecting Farms and Farmworkers — Our immigration system, including increased immigration enforcement and the termination of existing immigration protections, is having a destabilizing effect on agricultural labor. The imminent expiration of temporary protected status for some farmworkers will particularly affect the South. Join us for a summary of current immigration policy developments affecting agricultural workers and a discussion on why immigration reform is vital to the health of small farms and farmers in our region. Iris Figueroa, Farmworker Justice (DC)

State Networking Sessions
Friday, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday

Trade Show and Poster Display
Saturday, 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Integrated Pest Management for Vegetable Crops in High Tunnels — Vegetable production in high tunnels can create unique pest problems and also opportunities for unique solutions. In this session, extension entomologist Ayanava Majumdar will provide updates about major insect pest issues affecting our region and share research-based information on high tunnel control tactics like permanent pest exclusion systems and bio-insecticides. Long-time organic grower Lynn Pugh will share her experience with the pest exclusion system, bio-fungicides and use of grafted vs. non-grafted tomatoes in tunnels. Participants will also receive IPM publications that will be useful for their crop protection needs. Ayanava Majumdar, Auburn University (AL) and Lynn Pugh, Cane Creek Farm (GA)

How To Scientifically Select The Best Varieties For Your Farm — In this session you’ll learn how to design a personalized system for selecting and testing crop varieties that are best suited to your farm and growing abilities. We’ll review the process of incorporating scientific trials into current crop production. We’ll discuss the process of taking new and unfamiliar crop varieties, and effectively evaluating them in the field for their potential for success. We’ll also show participants how to set up science-based field trials in a practical manner, accounting for variables and the importance of record keeping. David Pitre, Tecolote Farm (TX)

Sustainable Commercial Hemp Production in the South — The commercial hemp industry is gaining ground every day in the South. For commercial hemp production to become sustainable, growers must have a full tool kit of resources to understand the legal, financial, and market challenges that exist in this emerging industry. Join our group of panelists to discuss the implications of commercial hemp on the farmer, the local economy, and on our regional economy in the South. Josh Hardin, Laughing Stock Farm (AR), Victor Ford, UofA Cooperative Extension (AR), Garrett Stanley (OK) and Daniel Sanders, MaryGold Laboratories (AR)

Mobile Processing Units: An Overview for Farmers — This session will give an introduction to mobile processing units, which are used to slaughter, clean and package all types of small livestock including poultry, fowl, small mammals and aquaculture products. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of mobile processing units, and how to determine and comply with USDA and FDA regulatory policies when setting one up and operating it in your state. We’ll also give an overview of raising poultry and small livestock from start to finish in compliance with the USDA and FDA regulations for mobile processing. Steven Skelton, Kentucky State University (KY)

Standing on a LOT of Love: Preserving Family Land — This session will address the legal challenges of heirs property and provide tools for optimizing economic opportunities of African American-owned land. Participants will learn more about the unique legal issues of heirs property/tenants-in-common ownership, legal solutions to simplify ownership of heirs property, and will discuss the motivations for saving family land. Participants will also learn ways to protect and preserve family property, including how and why to develop an asset map. Mavis Gragg, The Gragg Law Firm, PLCC (NC)

Is a School Market Right for You? Hear from the Buyers — In this introductory session on farm to school programs, learn about schools, daycares and other child learning facilities as potential markets for your farm products. Hear from the individuals responsible for purchasing, planning, and serving meals to students in these different institutions and learn how to work with them to increase your sales year round. Emily S. English, Arkansas Farm to School (AR), Jenna Rhodes, Arkansas Farm to School (AR), Sarah Martin, White River Regional Juvenile Detention Center (AR) and Dolores Sutterfield, Harrisburg School District (AR)

How Resilient Is Your Farm and Community? — We are experiencing an increasing number of destabilizing forces in our lives, on our farms, and in our communities. From climate change to market volatility to debilitating injuries, these challenges can knock us off our feet at any time. In this session you’ll learn about the eight qualities of resiliency that can help you survive disturbances. We’ll do some interactive exercises to help you think more broadly about what creates a more resilient community, and show where your county stands compared to our region overall on a resiliency map. Jim Worstell, The Resilience Project (AR) and Anne Cafer, University of Mississippi (MS)

Funding Your Mission — Meeting the mission of your organization can be a challenge when staff are constantly faced with funding shortfalls. So how can you diversify your funding streams without falling victim to mission drift or burning out your staff? This session will provide an update on the current funding climate. Then we’ll help you understand how to evaluate your current process, streamline your funding plans, and learn how to cost/benefit a funding opportunity. Participants will walk through actual scenarios, work through a hands-on activity and have an opportunity for Q & A. Nikki Seibert Kelley, Wit Meets Grit (SC) and Elisa Muñoz-Miller, New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee (LA)

Information Exchange: Crowdsourcing Knowledge
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Farmers of Color in Sustainable Agriculture: Goals, Challenges and Strategies for Success — Join in a discussion about how people of color can best position ourselves to succeed in the sustainable food and agriculture movement and continue the conversations from the 2017 and 2018 people of color sessions. Share your insights, concerns, and ideas on vital and everlasting topics such as health and wellness, intergenerational relationships, representation and power, land access, funding and finance, marketing, and racial justice. Let us find the unique and fruitful conversations that only we could have.

Grazing Management — Come and learn from other graziers! Bring your questions, your challenges, and your tips. This session is designed to help beginners learn from those who have “been there, done that” and for experienced graziers to learn new techniques, too. Attendees will receive a packet of new ATTRA materials geared to grazing planning and management.

Growing and Marketing Industrial Hemp — The Farm Bill of 2014 created the opportunity for hemp research programs on farms across the United States. Though each state has its own laws and political climate, the industry is growing at a rapid pace. Join our group of growers, buyers, engineers, and academics to have an open discussion about how small scale farmers can access the market. We will also discuss some of the challenges that exist to entering the industrial hemp market and what types of products are being created from the crop.

Vegetable Crops — What are your favorite vegetable crops for management and profit? Join this discussion to share your experience about crops and varieties that have been successful for you. Share tips and techniques for finding crops that are a good fit for your farm ecosystem, markets, and farmer personality.

Pest and Disease Management — A difficult problem can have multiple solutions! Join this session to share and learn from others on some of the most challenging problems with pests and diseases. Share what works as well as strategies that have failed.

Lean Farming — What are some aspects of your farm work that eat up too much time or don’t go smoothly? In this session, participants will share ideas on ways they’ve eliminated steps or created more efficiency to increase the joy and profitability in day-to-day farming.

Resilience: How to Survive — Join this continued conversation on survival for your farm and community and explore a tool that can help you determine how resilient your county is. Have you experienced storms, death, or illness? These variables can hit you out of nowhere and you need to be ready with a plan. Bring your stories and learn from others on how to hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

Community Supported Agriculture — Join us for a discussion on how and why CSAs have long attracted farmers as a model for reliable, often in-advance, income, as well as an outlet for bumper crops and imperfect produce. From online grocery shopping to aggregation food delivery hubs, non-farm based “CSA” services, and more. There is more competition for our customers’ attention and appetites than ever before. What questions, suggestions, and stories do you have about CSAs?

Farm to School — Join us for a discussion about engaging in the farm to school market, including selling to local schools and other child learning facilities, hosting farm visits, and offering educational activities for students in the school environment. What tips and tricks do you have for engaging in the school market? What has worked for you? We’ll spend some time in both large and small group formats to maximize discussion and networking.

Community Impact of Nonprofit Teaching Farms — Join this session to discuss programs that use farms as classrooms and farming or gardening as educational tools. What do these programs mean to the communities surrounding the farm? How do we better measure our successes, address problems and tell the stories of what we do every day. Come ready to share and learn some ways to grow farm education programs that better meet the needs and make up of the communities around them.

Military Veterans — Preceding the Veterans Succeeding in Ag panel, join this session to connect with other veterans in the southern sustainable farming community. Share resources, your successes, and discuss your unique challenges. Network, learn from each other, and get information from organizations that provide resources and technical assistance to veteran farmers.

Queerness in Agriculture — What is the diversity of genders, bodies, colors and shapes that make us a powerful part of the work? This session is the first of its kind for Southern SAWG, and we are here to not only reduce that isolation but also to gauge what the needs of the community are and how can we do better for ourselves financially, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, by grounding in agriculture. This session is meant to be a space for queer people but open to anyone willing to show up with respect and solidarity.

Food and Farming Policy — Policies guide many of the resources and opportunities farmers have to succeed. Join this session to share your main concerns, learn how you can get engaged locally and discuss the efforts of groups that fight for policies and regulations that support sustainable small and mid-sized family farms.

Lunch On Your Own
Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Patronize at least two of our featured establishments while at the conference and you could win either $500 or a free registration to the 2020 conference! Get your scorecard stamped and turn in at our closing mixer to be eligible to win.

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Saturday, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Creating a Closed System of Soil Fertility Inputs: Managing Risks and Benefits — Although a closed system of on-farm fertility seems ideal instead of relying on off-farm inputs, the reality is that there are risks and rewards either way. In this session, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of various fertility inputs in terms of sustainability, as well as their applicability on large and small scales. Farmer and scientist Linley Dixon will draw on her recent experience of visiting 50 organic farms around the country that are moving beyond the current organic standards to foster improved soil fertility to fuel this discussion and help you think more deeply about your fertility management. Linley Dixon, The Real Organic Project (CO)

Cut Flower Crop Plans: How to Let Martha Stewart, Social Media, and Bloggers Do All the Work for You — We have to grow for our customer base, but we must first understand who those customers are. An experienced cut flower grower will share how she uses the media (especially print and online wedding magazines), blogs, and social media to develop each season’s crop plan. You’ll learn more about several key markets for cut flowers, current trends in floral design, and how to tailor your crop plans to appeal to your customers. Laura Mewbourn, Feast & Flora Farm (SC)

Getting Started in Pasture-Raised Beef — Are you a fairly new cattle producer or thinking about adding cattle to your farm? This session will help you determine goals for your cattle operation and how that will help you with cattle selection decisions. Learn how to select heifers that will work best with your situation. What attributes of bulls will meet your needs the best and how to go about finding that bull. Vaccinations and what they provide and don’t provide. We’ll also discuss how to keep your costs low by utilizing pastures more effectively, and how to decide which animals to cull or sell. Ann Wells, Springpond Holistic Animal Health (AR)

Lean Farming Ideas: What’s All the Buzz About? — Join this session for a dive into the foundational principles of lean farming which are designed to help you identify and reduce waste (wasted motion, wasted product, wasted potential), maximize efficiency (creating flow), and de-clutter your farm operation. Borrowing from work that Ben Hartman documents in his book The Lean Farmer, a former farmer with over 25 years of experience will show you how common sense and thrift can be combined to help you plug leaks in your cash flow by going to the source, and improve the design and functionality of your operation. Ellen Polishuk, farm consultant (MD)

Upping Your Record-Keeping Game — We all know record keeping is not very exciting. But records can be critical to improving profits, making decisions, and building a viable farming operation. This session will touch on the role of farm goals in record keeping needs and show how one set of good production and sales records can serve multiple purposes, including Whole Farm Revenue Protection insurance, FSMA qualified exempt compliance, and organic certification. Participants will leave with tips and tools to better their record keeping as well as an understanding of the many ways record keeping can help with farm viability. Susie Marshall, TOFGA and GROW North Texas (TX)

Are You Ready to Work With a Major Grocery Chain? — Join a panel of farmers working with Whole Foods as they share their experiences on vending and food recovery within their Southern stores. Moderated by a Whole Foods Culinary Coordinator, this session will help participants understand what it takes to become a vendor and what other types of partnerships are available. In addition to hearing directly from farmers, this session will also give examples of other small and medium chain suppliers and describe the store’s standards and commitment to LOCAL. Tara Treffry, Whole Foods Market (TX), Don Bennett, Tri Cycle Farms (AR) and Farmer TBA

Veterans Succeeding in Ag — Creating a solid connection with other veterans and knowing where to go for help and technical resources can make all the difference for a military veteran turned farmer. Hear from three dynamic veteran farmers who will share their lessons learned, best tips and unique resources to support veterans seeking to run profitable farms. Also learn about digital tools you can use like the Farmland, Farm Employment, and Training Program Locator Database as well as the Veterans in Agriculture Listserv. Margo Hale, National Center for Appropriate Technology (AR), Jon Jackson, Comfort Farms (GA), Damon Helton, The Farm at Barefoot Bend (AR) and Althea Raiford, Gilliard Farms (GA)

Developing: What Your Organization Should Be Doing — Organizational development can sound like a scary concept but you can see the need for it with just a few simple questions. Does your organization have a clear vision and mission statement? Does everyone know your work and who you serve? Are your staff and board representative of your constituents? Learn about crucial steps like getting clear on your vision and capacity, having a dynamic strategic plan that you evaluate annually, putting the proper internal policies in place, the importance of an outside financial audit and much more. Dr. Calvin R. King, Sr., Arkansas Land and Farm Community Development Corporation (AR)

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Role of Fungi in Soil Health — Fungi are integral to soil health. Whether you put intention into the fungal life in your soil, or not, they are there working with you. Learn why mycorhizzae or root fungi are some of the most predominantly important fungi in plant health, and how soil molds and edible mushrooms are a key component of composting. This lecture will dig deeper into these beneficial fungi and explain how you can work with them to improve your farm’s soil health. William Padilla-Brown, MycoSymbiotics (PA)

Putting the Fertility Pieces Together: New Tools for Managing Cover Crops and Organic Fertilizer — Research has shown that nitrogen is a major factor in limiting organic crop yields. A huge variety of nitrogen sources are available for organic farmers from cover crops to commercial organic fertilizers. Deciding how best and efficiently to use these sources can be difficult. In this session, learn about the newest tools and practical on-farm advice available to help you create a comprehensive fertilizer strategy. Julia Gaskin and Kate Cassity-Duffey, University of Georgia (GA) and Daniel Parson, Oxford College Farm (GA)

Livestock Guardian Dogs — Guardian dogs are a great solution to reduce and eliminate losses to your livestock. Learn about several old-world breeds that have proven themselves for centuries all around the world. They are not your usual dogs! We’ll discuss how to raise and train guardian dogs to get the best protection on your farm. Renard Turner, Vanguard Ranch (VA)

Post-Harvest Handling Techniques for Maintaining Quality — Don’t spend time and energy growing a healthy crop only to have it lose quality by improper post-harvest handling. In this session, and experienced farmer and teacher will describe proper techniques for harvesting, cleaning and storing your crops in order to get them to market in peak condition. Michelle Akindiya, Farmshare Austin (TX)

Understanding Crop Insurance Options for Organic and Sustainable Farms — Learn how crop insurance works and how to determine what crop insurance options are right for you. In this session, we’ll go over information on insurance and coverage, farm record-keeping, working with crop insurance agents, and processing a claim. We’ll also provide a review of risk management strategies and how crop insurance can be part of overall farm resiliency planning. You’ll hear from a farmer about their experiences with crop insurance, as well as a crop insurance agent who has experience working with organic and sustainable agriculture producers. Michael Stein, Organic Farming Research Foundation (DC) and others TBA

Cooperative Development in the South: Past, Present and Future — This session will discuss the history, praxis, challenges and future opportunities for cooperative development in the U.S. South through the unique lens of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives’ experience. For 51 years, the FSC has engaged in cooperative development with communities traditionally marginalized both by public and private sectors, which itself creates a powerful incentive for community members to work together economically. The lessons drawn from FSC’s ideas, experiences and practices will be instructional for anyone interested in building economic models rooted in justice, equity and democracy. Terence Courtney, Federation of Southern Cooperatives (GA) and Eric Simpson, West Georgia Farmers Cooperative (GA)

Sisters of the Soil: Cultivating the Next Generation of Food Movers and Shakers — Learn how the Sisters of the Soil program at Spelman College provides hands-on training and community service learning opportunities in urban agriculture to their students. The program focuses on the environmental, social, economic, and health benefits of urban agriculture to empower women and girls on the Westside of Atlanta to take control of their food choices. You’ll hear from participants of the Sisters of the Soil program and their partner, Helping Africa by Establishing Schools Home and Abroad (HABESHA), its successes, and impacts on the local community. Charles Greenlea, HABESHA, Inc (GA), Andrea Irvin, Spelman College (GA) and Spelman College Sisters of the Soil Students (GA)

Plate to Politics: Moving People to Action Through Stories — Learn how to use stories to help motivate potential supporters to take action, give money, volunteer or vote for you. This session will help all grassroots organizers discover their inner leadership skills. We will identify a story you can use to move people to action and practice telling that story in a compelling, effective way. Plate to Politics was created as a collaborative effort to support and strengthen the national leadership role of women transforming our nation’s food system, from the federal agriculture policy agenda to what’s on our family’s dinner plate. Ash Bruxvoort, Women, Food and Agriculture Network (IA)

Closing Mixer
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Join us for a relaxing final evening mixer to make some last connections with friends and colleagues and compare notes on what you have learned. We will have live music and a cash bar, plus we will conclude our Local Rocks Little Rock scavenger hunt with drawings for $500 cash, a CoolBot ($349 value), and a free registration to the 2020 Southern SAWG conference! You must be present to win.