WIA Conference Agenda
Friday, November 17
10:30 – 11:30 a.m. -
West Virginia Agri-Women Fall Quarterly Meeting
10:30 – 11:45 a.m. -
Conference Registration for Tours; Exhibitor Check-in
Noon – 6 p.m. - Pre-conference Farm Tours
Buses depart promptly at noon. Don't be late! Boxed lunch provided to tour participants.
6:30 – 8 p.m. - Dinner and Networking Activity
Saturday, November 18
7 – 8:15 a.m. -
Exhibitor Booth Setup
7 – 11 a.m. - Registration
7:30 – 8:30 a.m. -
8:15 – 10 a.m. - Welcome and Keynote AddressIf You Risk Nothing, You Risk Everything
Keynote Speaker: Kim Nixon, Glenmary Farm
Kim Nixon, owner of the innovative Glenmary Farm in Rapidan, Virginia, will discuss the decisions she’s made while pursuing her passion for agriculture and the importance of passing this knowledge on to the next generation.
About the keynote speaker:
Kim Nixon has always had an incredibly strong passion for farming and knew as a child that she wanted to pursue a career in agriculture. She spent every allowable moment following her dad and learning firsthand all aspects of production agriculture. However, back then, women really didn’t take a seat on a tractor or have a real voice making daily decisions on the farm, but she didn’t let that stop her. She was very active in FFA and 4-H and received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from Virginia Tech.
After graduating, her career plans took a 180 and she worked for the Virginia State Water Control Board inspecting animal waste facilities and Virginia Cooperative Extension as an IPM Extension agent. At the time, she never realized that this job would lead her to Orange County, Virginia, where she would meet her future husband and her lifelong dream of farming would become a reality.
In 1992, Kim married Tom Nixon, whose family had a beef farm in Rapidan, Virginia. They have spent the last 30 years building a highly diversified farming operation. In the beginning, they found themselves in a highly leveraged farming operation, where they knew they had to take some risks to help secure a better future for them and their growing family. Kim is extremely proud that both her children, Elizabeth and Robert, share in her passion of farming and have both returned to the farm. Elizabeth and her cow crew manage the cow herd and feedlot and Robert manages the crop crew.
Over the years, the farm has evolved from farming several hundred acres to farming 10,000 acres with 15 employees. The farming operation now consists of a brood cow herd, beef feedlot, three turkey houses where they raise hens for Cargill, and row crop operation.
During the early stages of COVID and with experiencing low commodity prices, the Nixon family decided they wanted to have a retail agricultural business. They started a retail beef business called Glenmary Reserve Meats, where they sell dry aged beef from cattle they raise and finish themselves. Beef can be purchased through their ecommerce website, shopglenmaryreservemeats.com, and can either be shipped nationwide or picked up at their farm. The second business they started is Virginia Seed Company. This business operates a seed cleaning, blending and treating facility where they also sell cover crop seed and wildlife food plot blends.
8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. -
Exhibitor Booths Open to Participants
10 – 10:30 a.m. -
Visit Exhibitor Booths
10:30 – 11:20 a.m. - Farmer Highlights Joint Session
Speakers: Elizabeth Nixon Marshall from Glenmary Farm, Laura Glascock from Glascock’s Produce, Deb Hartshorn from White Picket Farm and Carole Daniels from Shady Grove Botanicals
In this joint session, we will hear from four of our producer speakers. We will focus on how these women started their farming journeys and how they ended up where they are today. This session is meant to give the audience a chance to get to know these producers who will also be speaking in their own individual sessions later in the day. Questions for the speakers will be guided by the audience.
About the speakers:
Elizabeth Nixon Marshall is from Rapidan, Virginia, where she grew up showing and judging livestock through 4-H and exhibiting Angus cattle across the country. Upon graduation, she moved back home to manage the cow herd on her family’s farming operation, Glenmary Farm, and she plays a major role of the daily operations of her family’s meat business, Glenmary Reserve Meats. She also runs her own communications business, where she offers photography, videography, web and print design services for the agricultural industry. In addition, she is the business coordinator for SaleRing.Live, which is an online livestock sale broadcasting platform.
Laura Glascock has been attending farmers markets in Northern Virginia since 1992. These markets are “grower only” markets; therefore, everything they sell must be grown and made with products grown on the farm. Glascock’s Produce grows over 35 acres of vegetables and 11 acres of fruit. The family orchard is over 100 acres. Glascock attended and graduated from James Rumsey Technical Institute with a horticultural certificate and began farming with her future husband after purchasing their first greenhouse in 1998. They helped form the Berkeley Springs Farmers Market in 2001 and helped form the non-profit organization to oversee the farmers market, Morgan County Association for Food and Farms. They participate with NRCS agricultural programs and were the 2011 Conservation Farmer of the Year for the state of West Virginia.
Deb Hartshorn of White Picket Farm refers to herself as an “accidental farmer.” She grew up in the most traditional way, “farm to table,” which meant you grew it, or the “pickings” were slim. They always raised a garden, and she is an avid flower grower. She now has an atypical setting of three acres adjacent to a cattle farm and golf course. They have an on-site farmers market that has quickly expanded in size and offerings.
Carole Daniels, and her husband Ed, own and operate Shady Grove Botanicals in Randolph County, West Virginia. They have been forest farming their properties since the 1990s, growing at-risk medicinal herbs, such as American ginseng, goldenseal, black and blue cohosh, bloodroot, etc. They grow and sell these native medicinal plants to beginning forest farmers and promote conservation for future generations, while also providing education across Appalachia. In addition, they also create value-added products from what they forage and grow on their land.
11:20 – 11:30 a.m. -
Morning Break | Visit Exhibitor Booths
11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. -
Breakout Session 1
Returning to and Expanding the Family Farm
Speaker: Elizabeth Nixon Marshall, Glenmary Farm
Elizabeth will give an overview of her role at Glenmary Farm and how she’s managed to create additional income after returning to the family farm.
About the speaker:
Elizabeth Nixon Marshall is from Rapidan, Virginia, where she grew up showing and judging livestock through 4-H and exhibiting Angus cattle across the country. She attended Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas, where she was on a Reserve National Champion Livestock Judging Team and she also won the All-American Junior Collegiate Livestock Judging Award. She then transferred to Oklahoma State University, where she graduated in 2016 with a double major in animal science and agricultural communications. During her time at OSU, she was a member of the National Champion Meat Animal Evaluation Team, the Reserve National Champion Livestock Judging Team and she also won the All-American Senior Collegiate Livestock Judging Award.
Upon graduation, she moved back home to manage the cow herd on her family’s farming operation, Glenmary Farm, and she plays a major role of the daily operations of her family’s meat business, Glenmary Reserve Meats. She also runs her own communications business where she offers photography, videography, web and print design services for the agricultural industry. In addition, she is the business coordinator for SaleRing.Live, which is an online livestock sale broadcasting platform.
Dr. Quesada will talk vegetable producers and gardeners through the ins and outs of managing pests with organic products.
About the speaker:
Carlos Quesada is an assistant professor and Extension specialist at West Virginia University. He creates and presents educational materials related to entomology and integrated pest management (IPM) for ornamental, fruit and vegetable crops. He also coordinates the Pesticide Education Program. His research interest is improving IPM programs to help growers produce high-quality crops in ways that are economically and environmentally sustainable. He also teaches a pest management course to WVU students.
The sky is the limit when it comes to the type of experiences that can be offered on a farm to diversify your income streams, and if managed properly, these small income streams can merge into a river. The cornerstones for adding successful experiences are authenticity, creativity, education and profitability. In this session, we will discuss how you can create authentic, educational and year-round on-farm events to enrich visitors’ experiences and improve your farm’s bottom line. The session also will touch on how to partner with peer businesses to complement and supplement your on-farm activities.
About the speaker:
Deb Hartshorn of White Picket Farm refers to herself as an “accidental farmer.” She grew up in the most traditional way, “farm to table,” which meant you grew it, or the “pickings” were slim. They always raised a garden, and she is an avid flower grower. She now has an atypical setting of three acres adjacent to a cattle farm and golf course. They have an on-site farmers market that quickly outgrew the space. She will share the story of how her custom greenhouse, home garage and tractor shed morphed into a White Picket compound, complete with outdoor gathering spaces, flower field, workshop and retail space.
So, you’ve got some woodland. Did you know you could make those trees on the hill work for you? Nearly all West Virginia farms have some forested acres, and there are various income opportunities for landowners to reap benefits from their woodland now and for years to come. This session will cover the basics of forest farming, wildlife habitat improvement, recreational opportunities, considerations for proper timber management and other ways to generate income from your wooded acres.
About the speakers:
Barbara Breshock is a WVU graduate who was the first female professional forester hired by the West Virginia Division of Forestry. She retired in 2018 after 39 years of service. Most of that time, she was managing state forests for multiple uses. The last few years she was Assistant State Forester in charge of the Landowner Assistance Program. In 2017, she partnered with Amy Cimarolli to develop the West Virginia Women Owning Woodlands program to teach women woodland owners about the resources available to help them with managing their property and to encourage networking. Since retirement, she contracts with the Division of Forestry to coordinate this program. Barb lives in western Raleigh County with 25 acres of woodland.
Amy Cimarolli co-owns a farm in Tucker County, where she focuses on forest management and forest farming activities, and she is excited to add farm operator to her biography! What keeps her from diving into more agricultural pursuits on that land is her full-time work as a land protection specialist with the West Virginia Land Trust. With the Land Trust, she is privileged to guide private forest and farm owners through the process of establishing voluntary perpetual conservation easements on their land. Prior to this position, she worked as a forester and ecologist for private landowners, including the Nature Conservancy in West Virginia and Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, emphasizing protection of high conservation value resources and maintenance of forest and wildlife diversity. Amy received her master’s degree in 1993 in forestry and forest products from Virginia Tech, where she examined relationships between forest types and forest fuels at Richmond National Battlefield Park and co-authored Vegetation Management in Historic and Recreational Parks with Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. She completed a bachelor’s degree in 1987 in forestry and wildlife, with a minor in biology, also at Virginia Tech. She currently lives in Davis, West Virginia.
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. -
1:30 – 2 p.m. - Visit Exhibitor Booths
2 – 2:50 p.m. -
Breakout Session 2
Alex will be speaking on her current research project that dives into micronutrient availability and their effects on sheep health and production. This project is funded by SARE Northeast.
About the speaker:
Alexandria Smith earned her bachelor’s degree in animal and veterinary science, minor in horticulture, and a master’s degree from West Virginia University. As an agriculture and natural resources Extension associate professor in Hardy County, her goal is to help the people in her community increase knowledge in agriculture, which will make lives more fulfilling and profitable. Aside from her role as an Extension agent, she raises and manages sheep and goats.
Laura will speak on what she’s learned from pursuing her farming passion.
About the speaker:
Laura Glascock owns and operates Glascock’s Produce in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, with her husband. They have attended farmers markets in Northern Virginia since 1992. These markets are “grower only” markets; therefore, everything sold must be grown and made with products grown on the farm. They grow over 35 acres of vegetables and 11 acres of fruit.
The Glascocks helped form the Berkeley Springs Farmers Market in 2001 with the same approach. They also helped form the non-profit organization to oversee the farmers market, Morgan County Association for Food and Farms.
They participate with NRCS agricultural programs and were the 2011 Conservation Farmer of the Year for the state of West Virginia. Conservation, preservation and sustainable farming practices are very important to the Glascocks.
Building a business and watching it grow has been a 31-year journey and they are proud of what they have accomplished. They have grown into three greenhouses, four high tunnels and their own roadside stand. They are currently building a storage unit with coolers, fruit grading and fruit storage. Their ability to provide for the community with healthy plants, fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade baked goods and value-added products has been a blessing and they look forward to many harvest days ahead.
Throughout her career in agriculture, Laura has served on many boards, including the Morgan County Farm Land Protection, Berkeley Springs Farmers Market, Farm to School and Morgan County Association for Food and Farms.
Only about 6% of farmers actually turn a profit, and even less than that actually make a living wage. As for Liz, she says, “This Mother Farmer makes money - I love the lifestyle, but it's got to pay the bills in order for me to keep the animals and build the fences!” In this session, Liz will take you through the journey of growing a profitable farm and will introduce you to her top six farm business profitability secrets, including understanding your farm numbers, managing your farm holistically, getting creative and planning for profits.
About the speaker:
Liz Riffle is the owner and operator of Riffle Farms, located in Terra Alta, West Virginia. Riffle Farms raises grass-fed and finished bison tucked in the hills of Preston County, where the grasses are cool and the snow is heavy. Liz is a U.S. Navy veteran, and she runs the farm as her husband, Jimmie, is currently still serving on active-duty as a Navy Nurse Corps Nurse Practitioner. Riffle Farms was the first commercial bison operation in the state, and the first to field harvest animals for state certified commercial sale. Liz is passionate about meat transparency and humane practices, as well as the financial viability of farming operations. Riffle Farms is part of a growing movement to facilitate the large-scale regeneration of the world’s grasslands and the livelihoods of their inhabitants through holistic management.
Woodland Management Track:
Local Tree Species in the Woods Around Canaan Valley
Speaker: Dave McGill, WVU Extension Forest Resources Management Specialist
Canaan Valley is uniquely located close to many different vegetation types in West Virginia. The high elevation and accompanying high rainfall also allow some uncommon tree residents. This presentation will brief the audience on local forest cover types and some of the common species.
About the speaker:
Dr. Dave McGill is a professor and Extension specialist for the West Virginia University. Since 2001, he has developed programs in forestry outreach education for private forestland owners in West Virginia and conducted a broad range of applied forestry research. His WVU Extension assignment takes him around the state to teach landowner and nature enthusiasts concepts of basic forest science and management. On campus, Dave teaches and co-teaches courses in forest fire control, global forest resources course and vegetation of West Virginia.
Prior to his position at WVU, he worked as a natural hardwoods silviculture scientist for Westvaco Corporation, focusing on forest regeneration in southeastern West Virginia and supported the company’s Populus genetics research team and pine provenance testing and research. He has also served as a Peace Corps volunteer working in arid land forestry in Niger, West Africa. Dr. McGill received his doctorate in forest resources from Penn State, master’s degree in forestry from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and bachelor’s degree in natural resources management from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He is a long-standing member in the Society of American Foresters and participates in the International Union of Forest Research Organization’s (IUFRO) Small-Scale Forestry Group.
2:50 – 3:15 p.m. - Afternoon Break | Visit Exhibitor Booths
3:15 – 4:05 p.m. - Breakout Session 3
Want to rotate your cattle, but don’t know where to start? Ben will give you all the tips and tricks you’ll need to make the jump.
About the speaker:
Ben Goff is originally from Grafton, West Virginia, and was raised on a small cattle farm. He earned is bachelor’s degree in agronomy from West Virginia University in 2007 before continuing his education and earning his master’s from Iowa State University in crop production and physiology, and his doctorate from the University of Kentucky in crop science. Ben currently serves as the WVU Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Jackson County. Before coming to WVU, Ben was an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky and taught courses on forage management and statistics, while conducting research on improving the utilization of forage legumes in various cropping systems.
Curious about certified organic? Julie, the owner of the Potager, will give all the details on how she obtained her organic certification.
About the speaker:
Julie Schaer is the owner of the Potager, a 1.5-acre USDA Certified Organic farm located Putnam County, West Virginia. She has grown with certified organic methods since 2006, growing high quality heirloom vegetables and cut flowers for direct markets. Julie manages a 26-foot-by-70-foot high tunnel, growing directly in the ground using plastic mulch and drip irrigation to manage weeds. During severe cold, she uses light row covers to keep crops from freezing. Julie worked with the NRCS cost share program to build the high tunnel in 2012.
Are you interested in trying out a new idea on your farm? Have you thought about applying for a grant but weren’t sure where to start? A variety of grants exist for beginning, mid-level and experienced producers, processors, value-adders and agritourism operators. However, knowing where to look and how to match the grant program to your farm activity is often challenging. This session will cover the basics for navigating the grant process and understanding what grantors want to see. We also will introduce a few applicable grant programs, including grants for testing sustainable agricultural ideas, scaling-up operations, marketing strategies and food safety improvements.
About the speaker:
Dee Singh-Knights is an Extension professor at West Virginia University and State Coordinator for Northeast SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension). She specializes in agribusiness economics and management with the goal of contributing to sustainable agricultural production systems through research, teaching and Extension education. Dee believes that there are enormous opportunities to increase production of and demand for locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for agribusiness operations serving local and expanded markets. Dee works to help operators capitalize on these growing opportunities, while managing the resultant business risks
Carole will give a deep dive into her forest farming practices and how they market their products
About the speaker:
Carole Daniels, and her husband, Ed, own and operate Shady Grove Botanicals in Randolph County, West Virginia. They have been forest farming their properties since the 1990s, growing at-risk medicinal herbs, such as American ginseng, goldenseal, black and blue cohosh, bloodroot, etc. They grow and sell these native medicinal plants to beginning forest farmers, promote conservation for future generations, while also providing education across Appalachia. In addition, they also create value-added products from what they forage and grow on their land.
* Schedule is subject to change.