PRINCESS ANNE — UMES Extension is setting the stage for its 18th annual Small Farm Conference—a premier event for agricultural stakeholders in the Mid-Atlantic. This year’s production is slated for Nov. 5-6 and features demonstrations on UMES’ Research and Education Farm, bus tours to private farms nearby, workshops, vendor exhibits and knowledgeable guest speakers.
“Like many events, the Small Farm Conference was forced to a virtual format last year due to the pandemic,” said Berran Rogers, coordinator of UMES Extension’s Small Farm Program. “We are fortunate that circumstances have allowed for an in-person experience this year with the appropriate safety protocols in place.”
Indoor sessions will be limited to 25 people, bus tours will be limited to 50 people and masks and social distancing will be required.
Day one of the conference offers either a morning visit to the 345-acre research and education farm on Stewart Neck Road in Princess Anne for demonstrations on alternative crop production or a tour of the UMES orchard and small ruminant farm on the main campus, Rogers said. A bus tour of area farms, including Wood Duck Landing Farm, Chesterfield Heirlooms, Coops to-Co-ops and the community of San Domingo fills out the afternoon.
Saturday is power-packed with a keynote luncheon featuring U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Senior Advisor for Racial Equity Dr. Dewayne Goldman, a pre-luncheon exhibit hall and a selection of morning sessions, including, “Strategizing Farm Business to Meet Consumer Buying Trends, “Farm Labor Management,” “The Power of Aronia” and “Reducing Cross-contamination between Animals and Produce.”
Participants in the afternoon can choose from one of two training clinics that are new to the line-up this year; a grant writing workshop for farmers and a value-added workshop.
Friday, Nov. 5, is from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 6, is from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $60 general admission, which includes both days or $35 for one day, not including a nominal fee for registration. To register, visit the website. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-621-5450.