Cape Gazette

UMES Small Farm Conference returns Nov. 2 and 3

Register by Oct. 26
Sep 26, 2012

The month of November signals a long list of special days, including the Thanksgiving holiday. For more and more residents on the Delmarva Peninsula and the surrounding areas, that list of special days includes the annual Small Farm Conference slated for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2 and 3, on the University of Maryland Eastern Shore campus in Princess Anne, Md..

Entering its ninth year, the conference provides a venue for farmers, landowners and supporters of agriculture to come together to network and learn about new opportunities and strategies that promote farm profitability and sustainability. Gary Matteson, vice president at the Farm Credit Council in Washington, D.C., will deliver the keynote address to kick off the conference on Saturday.

Previously a small farmer who operated a greenhouse business growing anemones for the wholesale cut flower market in Epsom, N.H., Matteson brought a great deal of experience to his position, where he has served young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers since 2008. Connecting directly with organizations that advocate for minority farmers is another part of his duty as VP at Farm Credit.

Other conference highlights include sessions that are divided into three different educational tracks: alternative agriculture, farm business and marketing, and health and wellness. Featured topics include: Berry…licious! - Specialty Niche Berries, Beekeeping and Pollinator Habitat, Selecting Crops to Fit a Cash Flow Plan, Marketing Outside the Box to Reach New Customers, and much more. Friday afternoon’s preconference sessions begin at 2 p.m. and includes a Value-Added Opportunities for Woodland Owners tour, a sheep and goat tour, and a hands-on home food canning and preservation course that will be offered again on Saturday afternoon. Spaces are limited, so preregistration for the canning course is required.

AGsploration is the theme for the youth program. It encourages awareness of production agriculture, how the environment affects Maryland agriculture and how agriculture affects everyday life in relation to nutrition and health. For more information concerning the youth programming, contact Nicole Skorobatsch at 410-651-1350 or by email at Youth ages 6-12 are invited to attend.

Registration is $25 per person and $40 per couple. For youth attending with registered parents, registration is free. For youth who will not accompany a registered parent, registration is $10. All registrations must be received by Friday, Oct, 26, and registrants who need special services or accommodations must call at least two weeks in advance to make arrangements.

For more information about the ninth annual Small Farm Conference, call 410-651-6206/6070 or email Online registration and regularly updated information are available at


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