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WVU: Small farms mean big business

MORGANTOWN – Officials here are preparing for next month’s West Virginia Small Farm Conference at Waterfront Place Hotel and Conference Center in Morgantown. The 10th annual conference happens Feb. 26 to March 1.

The conference brings together a number of experts, including WVU Extension Service agents and experienced farmers, who will offer more than 100 sessions covering everything from livestock and crop production to packaging, marketing and record keeping.

Next month’s West Virginia Small Farm Conference in Morgantown will include a pay-as-you-go “Local Food Dine Around,” where anyone may purchase foods prepared with locally raised meats, West Virginia smoked trout, jams, hydroponic lettuces, cheese, breads and more.

Next month’s West Virginia Small Farm Conference in Morgantown will include a pay-as-you-go “Local Food Dine Around,” where
anyone may purchase foods prepared with locally raised meats, West Virginia smoked trout, jams, hydroponic lettuces, cheese,
breads and more.

Explains Tom McConnell, program leader for the WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center: “It’s not enough just to tell farmers about the opportunities that are out there. To make their farms and families more profitable, they need to know how to embrace those opportunities. This conference is all about teaching and networking.”

The conference begins with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Good Handling Practices/Good Agricultural Practices course and a Better Process Control School as well as the 2014 West Virginia FFA Business Plan competition.

Feb. 27 brings intensive sessions ranging from farmers market nutrition voucher training to the business aspects of operating and managing a farm. Some hands-on sessions will be offered as well.

Also planned: a wide variety of hour-long classes; the Winter Blues Farmers Market, a free event that is open to the public from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. featuring locally raised meats, West Virginia smoked trout, eggs, cider, nuts, maple syrup, honey, jams, houseplants, garlic, commercial-kitchen canned goods, winter-stored apples, potatoes and other root crops, hydroponic lettuces, cheese, breads and more.

Registration information and details on the conference schedule may be found at smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu.

 

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