The first annual Western Slope Food & Farming Forum will be held on January 10, 2013 at the Montrose County Fairgrounds Friendship Hall from 8am until 5pm. This conference will provide education, resources and networking for western slope producers and land owners with the goal of sustainably improving the production, marketing, and consumption of locally grown food. Whether you have a half-acre or hundreds of acres, this conference will have information on important topics and contacts for you to be successful.
Specific topics presented in this conference will include “How to Start a Small Acreage Ag Business” with proper crop production and business planning; and, “How to Create and Launch a Buying Club”. There will also be seminars on maximizing your crop production through the use of cover crops and high tunnels; the best choice of seed varieties for our climate and soils, how to save seeds for future use and the use of insects for biological control. Best practices and tips on greenhouse and hoop-house production will be presented in another session. For those interested in livestock production, there will be seminars on grazing systems, maximizing your meat production and co-operative marketing.
Agricultural management seminars will include marketing, farm management and labor options including developing a quality farm internship program and agricultural tourism. The timely topics of organic and natural certification, implementing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and the latest farm food safety plans will be offered. Of course, this conference wouldn’t be complete without addressing specialty crop areas and creating value added products with an update on the Cottage Food Bill certification process.
Current sponsors include CSU Tri-River Area Extension, the Valley Food Partnership, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, and the Small Business Development Center. For information on vendor booths, conference sponsorship, or registration call the CSU Tri-River Area Extension office at (970)249-3935.