Innovation, Resiliency for Farmers at NOFA's Winter Conference

1/17/2013

Record temperatures, droughts, floods, and novel pests are becoming farming's "new normal." Learning how to farm with resiliency and innovation will be key to thriving in a changing climate--the good news is that no one is in a better position to adapt than Vermont's small and family farms. Growers can improve their odds at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont's annual Winter Conference--a highlight of the winter for Vermont's farming community.

Taking place on February 15-17, 2013 in Burlington, Vt., the conference includes several highlights just for commercial growers, including intensive seminars, double-session workshops, and farmer networking sessions.

Farmers can jump-start the conference with one of three Friday Intensive seminars designed for commercial growers, taking place at Main Street Landing on the Burlington waterfront on Friday, February 15. Farmers of all kinds are invited to Farming for Resiliency in a Changing Climate, a full-day workshop with experts and innovative local growers. Learn strategies for managing changing weather patterns and the new pests and diseases that will come with them, and participate in a farm-specific risk management planning exercise.

Two half-day Friday workshops focus on berry production, Improving Blueberry Yields and Longevity in the morning and Increasing Strawberry Profits in the afternoon. Producers may attend either or both sessions, which feature extension staff from Cornell and the University of Maine, as well as experienced local berry farmers.

The weekend's offerings include almost 50 workshops for commercial livestock, dairy, vegetable, crop, and fruit farmers at the University of Vermont campus in Burlington. From pastured chicken to high tunnel greens, oats to efficiency, marketing to labor laws, farmers are sure to find something to improve their production and their bottom line.

Lunchtime farmer roundtables are the perfect place to discuss irrigation techniques, pests, and politics. New farmers can schedule a consultation with business planners from the Vermont New Farmer Network to help set, prioritize, and meet their business goals. Featured conference speakers include four-season farmer Clara Coleman on Saturday and local food system innovators in a TEDTalks-style presentation on Sunday.

Preregister by February 4 for the preregistration discount. Preregistration is required for Friday intensives; walk-in registration will be accepted for the weekend. Learn more at www.nofavt.org/conference or call 802-434-4122.