2020 Conference workshop descriptions
Thursday Farm tours and workshops
Between the misinformation, disinformation and bad advice out there, it’s no wonder that there aren’t more certified organic farms in Texas. This class will clear up any questions you have about the certification process covering not only the forms, pricing and agency information but also details about the materials and methods that are allowable in accordance with the regulations. Then we’ll discuss marketing, market factors and the economic incentives and benefits connected to organic certification. We’ll finish off the class with a mock inspection at a farm in Riesel, TX to show participants what to expect during an inspection.
soil health for Crop Producers: Friday 9:00-12:00The Soil Health panel will provide soil health information from Organic Farming Research Foundation research and educational projects. Panel speakers will also include small and larger scale farmers to tell of their practical solutions to improving soil health. Results will be discussed for practical applications, lessons learned , and building soil techniques from UTRGV cover crop research.
animal health and first aid: Friday 9:00-12:00This presentation will be part lecture and part hands-on. You will learn tips and tools that will help you better manage your livestock herd. The 3 presenters will cover animal care, land management, and natural options for health management.
business and marketing track
Big Profits from Small Spaces: Friday 9:00-10:30Ever dream of growing vegetables for a living? Don't have a ton of land? In this class, we will go over the infrastructure, marketing, and decision-making skills needed to make it happen.
introduction to korean natural farming: Friday 9:00-10:30Korean Natural Farming (KNF) is an agricultural system that emphasizes utilization of local resources to create amendments on-farm that support soil and crop health. The basic inputs will be covered as well as the KNF system for timing plant nutrition. We will get some hands-on practice making one of the foundational recipes as well.
collaborative special interest meetings
The Urban Rural Divide: How Regional Food Systems Can Help: Friday 9:00-10:30
Rural and urban communities seem to be more polarized than ever. This session provides a place to talk positively about how local and regional food systems need the collaboration of urban eaters and rural producers. Joining us for the conversation will be Lillian Salerno, native Texans and former USDA Deputy Under Secretary in Rural Development.
farmers market managers collaborative: Friday 10:45-12:00There are 87 Certified Farmers’ Markets in the state of Texas from Brownsville to Lubbock and everywhere in between. These markets provide fresh food to communities and steady income to farmers thanks to the tireless work of managers, board members, and community volunteers who organize these events, yet Texas has no central organization to support these workers. This session is a place for folks who run markets, market vendors, and people interested in the farmers market model to discuss the needs and opportunities for a state farmers’ market association with the goals of strengthening farmers’ market infrastructure, providing regional marketing assistance, shaping public policy, and providing training and educational resources for farmers’ market staff.
organic farming research foundation listening session: Friday 2:00-3:15
Organic Farming Research Foundation works to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policies that bring more farmers and acreage into organic production. This Listening Session will provide an opportunity for farmers to discuss their information and research gaps. Participants will have an opportunity to identify production concerns and tell of their successes. Identification of major topics will lead to breakout sessions to discuss in-depth research and on-farm solutions. Sources of research information will be provided for further review and identification of future research and educational needs. This session will be particularly
Local Food Policy Work in Texas: friday 3:45-5:00
This is an open discussion forum for anyone who works to (or wishes to) improve their local food system. It is not limited to food policy council members. If you're working to improve the policy climate where you are, or if you want to know how to get started, this is for you.
Grant Opportunities in Urban and Rural Conservation: Saturday 9:30-10:45
Learn about the grant opportunities offered through the USDA-NRCS Texas Urban and Rural Conservation Project for gardens, pollinator habitat, high tunnels and rainwater harvesting systems.
Healthy Soils Listening Session: saturday 2:00-3:15
Elected officials and conventional agriculture are both showing an unprecedented level of interest in "healthy soils" to sequester carbon, increase drought resilience, reduce flooding, and improve water quality. The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance is coordinating a working group to develop proposed legislation to provide support for farmers doing regenerative agriculture to improve soil health. Come to this session to hear about what's happening in other states and to share your perspective on what we should try to do in Texas.