|photo credit: MeganRae. via photopin cc|
There may not be much sprouting from the ground right now, but ideas, passion and inspiration can rise up with a just little nurturing. Over the next three months, feed your soul with new information, renewed friendships, and re-inspired projects by attending one of the regional conferences or workshops listed below. Each one offers knowledge in its own way, be it from technical experts, farmer experience, research trials, or tested innovative approaches. Many of these opportunities offer scholarships, ride and room shares, and volunteering exchanges, so you can get what you need at an affordable price.
Plant a knowledge nugget in your mind this winter. You'll be amazed at what takes root in your heart and blossoms early Spring.
JANUARY 18: 10th Annual Catskill Regional Agriculture ConferenceSUNY-Delhi, Farrell Hall, NY
10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $25 by January 14, includes local food lunch; $35 at the door
Who's it for? Farmers in dairy, livestock, grazing and vegetable farming
What to expect: two early-bird sessions (Understanding Risk Management or Pasture Renovation and Weed Control); 12 sessions in four tracks; keynote speaker Patrick Hooker of Empire State Development. Sponsored by CCE-Delaware and the Watershed Agricultural Council. Register online, mail in the print brochure, or call Kim Holden, (607) 865-7090, ext. 241.
JANUARY 25-26: The Winter Green-Up Grass-Fed Grazing ConferenceThe Century House, Latham, NY
Saturday 8:30 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sunday 7:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $145 for both days
Who's it for? You grow grass, you raise meat on pasture, you gotta be here.
What to expect: 8 workshops, networking time, local foods banquet, and semen auction. Sponsored by CCE-Albany, NESARE, and GLCI. Mail in the print brochure, call Gale Kohhler (518) 765-3500 or visit www.ccealbany.com.
JANUARY 25-27: NOFA-NY 31st Annual Winter Conference "Resilience"
Saratoga Hilton City Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
Friday through Sunday
Cost: Full conference $235 members (annual membership $40-125); reduced rates for single day entry
Who's it for? New and experienced farmers, producers and growers, gardeners and wannabes, advocates and the curious.
What to expect: 80+ workshops, socializing and networking, trade show, auction for agriculture, local foods meals. Can't stick around? Check out two free Friday sessions on food council policy forum and Introduction to organic certification. Sponsored by NOFA-NY, Pure Catskills among many others. Register online, mail in the print brochure, or call (518) 765-3500 or visit www.ccealbany.com.
FEBRUARY 6-9: PASA 22nd Annual Farming for the Future Conference
Penn Stater Conference Center, College Station, PA
Wednesday through Sunday
Cost: Depends on many variables, anywhere from $50-210 (become a member and save big)
Who's it for? farmers, processors, consumers, students, environmentalists and business and community leaders -- you eat? There's something here for you.
What to expect: Where do we start? This conference is the best of its kind in the East: workshops, banquet, movies, free legal advice, trade show, it's the over-the-top farming mecca.
Sponsored by Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and MANY others. Visit the PASA Conference website, print off the brochure or register online.
FEBRUARY 5, 12, and 19: CCE Strategic Marketing Webinar Series
CCE-Delaware County, Hamden 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $30/farm (2 people) for the 3-session series
Who's it for? Designed specifically for meat/livestock producers, but content will benefit any farm
What to expect: Session broadcast live to the CCE office. Topics include how to identify a target market and focus the farm's marketing efforts.
Call Kim Holden, (607) 865-7090, ext. 241.
FEBRUARY 5 or 6: Business Planning for Profit
Delaware County eCenter, Delhi
Repeat on February 6 at the Agroforestry Center, Acra
Who's it for? farm, food and wood business owners looking to improve their operations through better planning
What to expect: Business basics and a chance to finally get your ideas, goals and direction down on paper
To register, contact CCE Columbia/Greene Counties at (518) 622-9820.
FEBRUARY 12 & 26: Writing Successful Grant Proposals Workshop
Delaware County eCenter, Delhi 3 - 5:30 p.m.
Cost: $65 for both sessions. A notebook with resources and sample grant proposals is available for $30
Who's it for? Anyone who wants to apply for grants but has been too timid to give it a try.
What to expect: The workshop emphasizes writing compelling, concise and well-crafted grant proposals; developing a grant concept; finding funders; establishing goals and objectives; writing the narrative; making a budget; developing a work plan; and gathering support letters. Contact Kevin Hodne at (607) 434-8254.
FEBRUARY 9: Demystifying Woods and Wildlife Management
Agroforestry Resource Center, Acra, 1 - 4 p.m.
Who's it for? Need a break from farming? Head for the woods.
What to expect: Video format walk through three seasons of specific projects designed to enhance forested property. Learn about attracting more wildlife, pruning wild apple trees, tree planting, increasing the value of your trees along with an introduction to basic forestry concepts and terminology. To register, contact CCE Greene County (518) 622-9820.
FEBRUARY 10-12: It Takes a Region 2012: A Working Conference to Build Our Northeast Food System
Saratoga Hilton, Saratoga Springs
Who's it for? Movers and shakers looking to make it happen
What to expect: Roll up your sleeves and get to work on building a food system. Rescheduled from October 29-30, 2012. Sponsored by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Register online, or call Betsy Johnson (617) 536-1711.
MARCH 24: Farm to Market Connection
CVI Building, Liberty 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Who's it for? Farmers looking to expand their market base, connect with buyers
What to expect: Catskills food hub panel, 6 additional breakout sessions, technology gurus, networking time, renew your Pure Catskills membership
FMI:Sonia Janiszewski (607) 865-7090, ext. 217
Want to share what you learned? Let us know how you made out and we'll post your comments and observations in a conference wrap-up. Did we miss a winter workshop or conference? Post it here under Comments or share it with us on Facebook.