New Educational Forum for Farmers and Ranchers Jan. 10

Jan 2nd @ 6:53 am in Expo, Local Events, News, People, Public Service by Scott Staley

If you’re a small-acreage farmer or livestock producer, or if you’re interested in becoming one, you won’t want to miss the inaugural Western Colorado Food and Farm Forum (WCFFF). This new conference, which will be Thursday, Jan. 10, at the Montrose County Fairgrounds in Friendship Hall, will focus on sustainably improving the production, marketing and consumption of locally grown food products.

The forum is organized into three primary tracks—crops, livestock and business management. Participants will choose workshops from the three tracks for each of six breakout sessions. The morning sessions will include: Feeding Your Soil to Feed Your Crops: Cover Crops & Soil Fertility; Seed Saving and Favored Varieties for Colorado; Maximizing High Tunnel Production; Livestock Production: Local Finishing, Processing and Market Options; Getting the Most Out of Your Meat: Communicating with Your Butcher, Chef and Customer; Drought as Inspiration: Planned Grazing using Holistic Management; Managing Small Scale Livestock & Poultry Operation; Business Planning for a Small Farm Operation; Creative Labor Options; Expanding Into New Markets: Retail, Wholesale and Farm to School.

Fred Provenza, is the Keynote Speaker at lunch. His presentation will be on “The Web of Life: How Behavior Connects Humans, Wildlife and Landscapes.” His commentary will be very interesting and thought provoking.

After lunch, there will be wagon wheel roundtables on Hops, Orchards and AgriTourism.  Afternoon sessions will include: Irrigation Innovations: Successful Drought Strategies; Launching and Managing a CUSA; Biological Controls Using Insects; Cooperative Marketing: The Sweetgrass Livestock and other Innovative Models; Cooperative Marketing: Bringing Product to Scale; Magnetizing Customers: Booth Design, Online Options, Social Media and Loyalty; The Benefits of Wind Breaks: Design & Care; Organic and Natural Certification 101; Agri-Tourism is Value Added; Value Added Made Easier: An Update on the Cottage Food Bill; Updating Your Farm Food Safety Plan and Understanding GAP; and a Ranchers Roundtable. The day will close with a reception to allow for networking.

The conference is designed to allow time for networking and gathering resources from participating vendors. Vendor exhibit space is only $75. There is still space available for vendors.

The Western Colorado Food and Farm Forum is a collaborative effort between the Valley Food Partnership, CSU Tri-River Area Extension Service, the Small Business Development Center and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative and Economic Development Center. Sponsors include these organizations along with Community Banks of Colorado.

Learn more about the event by visiting the Valley Food Partnership website at www.valleyfoodpartners.org. Registration is $45 in advance by January 2nd or $60 at the door, and includes lunch plus morning and afternoon refreshments. Those interested in attending need to register via the CSU Extension website at: www.Colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/TRA/prog.shtml.

For more information about the forum, sponsorship, exhibiting at the event or attendee registration, contact Becky Denton at 970-874-2195 or via email, bdenton@deltacounty.com.