Even through a global pandemic, our local farms and food systems have proven to be vital across West Virginia. However, there were still plenty of struggles among our small farm community over the last year.
To continue supporting our state’s producers while also ensuring their safety, the West Virginia University Extension Service Small Farm Center will host its annual West Virginia Small Farm Conference virtually this year, from Tuesday, Feb. 23 until Friday, Feb. 26.
“Our small farms face trials and triumphs every year, but 2020 posed a lot of additional challenges as farmers tried to keep up with demands while delivering their products in new and unique ways,” Lisa Jones, WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center program coordinator, said. “Even though this year’s conference experience will be a bit different, we knew it was important to maintain this event and offer our West Virginia small farmers a chance to grow their knowledge and stay connected to industry experts as well as their peers.”
With a variety of classes available, attendees will learn how to adapt their enterprises to meet the rising demand for local foods. There also will be more traditional offerings to help small farmers increase the profitability of their operations, from vegetable production to value-added products.
This year, the virtual conference is being offered free of charge due to the economic situations that individuals may be facing as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
Registration information and step-by-step assistance, as well as the full conference schedule, be found at https://extension.wvu.edu/small-farm-conference.
“Farmers from West Virginia and beyond are invited to take advantage of this opportunity to participate in the conference and learn more about how they can run their operations more efficiently and profitably without worrying about the traveling expenses or time away from the farm,” Jones added.
All conference classes will be recorded and made available with accompanying materials after each live session has ended, allowing conference registrants to watch the classes on their own schedule.
The popular Winter Blues Farmers Market, a collaboration with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, has been postponed for this year and will return until 2022.
The conference also focuses on partnerships, not only from farmer to farmer, but also farmer to supplier or agriculture service providers. Many sponsors have helped make the conference possible, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service, Farm Credit of the Virginias, and the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.
CONTACT: Hannah Booth
WVU Extension Service