PRINCESS ANNE — Plans are being finalized and registration is now open for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Extension Small Farm Conference slated for November 4-5.
The annual event for agricultural stakeholders in the Mid-Atlantic is in its 19th continuous year. This year’s edition features hands-on training clinics, bus tours to sustainable and unique farming operations, notable speakers, networking opportunities and agricultural vendor exhibits.
“We’ve put together a mixture of new offerings along with the return of a few ‘back by popular demand’ tours or sessions based on feedback from last year that should appeal to a wide range of agricultural producers,” said Berran Rogers, coordinator of UMES Extension’s Small Farm Program.
Things kick off on Friday morning with training clinics. Attendees can choose one of three sessions, including “Plant Propagation and Seed Saving,” “Learning How to Build a Beehive,” or “Controlling Wildlife Damage.” The afternoon will be filled with the ever-popular off-site farm and agricultural facility tours.
On one of the routes this year is Perennial Roots Farm in Accomack County, Va. The biodynamic farm features non-GMO open pollinated heirloom plants and heritage breed pigs, sheep, geese, chickens, rabbits and turkeys.
Another stop, SunX Analytical LLC, an independent industrial hemp processing and testing laboratory facility in Cambridge, offers technical resources and infrastructure in support of production in Maryland. A hit last year and worthy of a return is a visit to Newell Quinton’s farm in San Domingo for a scrapple-making demonstration and a look back at the history of the community he hopes to preserve.
The first day’s activities come to a close with an evening networking social with hors d’oeuvres and vendor exhibits.
The keynote speaker for Saturday’s luncheon is Tom McDougall, owner and CEO of 4P Foods, an e-commerce and food delivery business headquartered near Warrenton, Va. that delivers wholesale produce to consumers, retailers, restaurants, groceries, markets, businesses and institutions through partnerships. His presentation signals a break between morning seminars and afternoon workshops.
“Our immediate goal with the conference is to equip farmers and landowners on Delmarva and areas adjacent to the peninsula with tools and strategies to increase farm profitability and promote farm sustainability,” Rogers said. “The long-term objective is to use the event to better position limited-resource, new and beginning farmers and other underserved farmer audiences for success.”
Friday, November 4 is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, November 5 is from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $70 general admission, which includes both days, or $35 for one day, not including a nominal fee for registration. Discounts are available for early registrants. To register, visit https://wwwcp.umes.edu/extension/small-farms-program/conference/ . For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-621-5450.