Rural Advantage/Healthy Farms Conference begins Feb. 10
Nebraskans can learn about sustainable and value-added agriculture at the Feb. 10 to 11 Rural Advantage/Healthy Farms Conference at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City.
"This year's conference is shaping up to be an excellent one as we have some very interesting and diversified speakers for 2012," said Gary Lesoing, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator in Nemaha County.
This year's keynote speaker is Fred Kirschemann, a North Dakota organic farmer and a distinguished fellow of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Ames, Iowa.
The capstone speaker is Tom Field, the new director of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and the Paul Engler Chair of Agribusiness Entrepreneurship at the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Topics at this year's conference also will address livestock grazing systems, high tunnel food production, marketing and distribution, cover crops, organic production systems, transitioning the farm, the 2012 farm bill and Nebraska ag issues, Lesoing said.
Lesoing said the conference will provide opportunities to farmers looking to diversify their operations, acreage owners wanting to produce extra income or teens looking for money-making projects they can do on their farm. Participants also will be able to network with experts, university faculty and fellow ag colleagues.
The conference begins at 8 a.m. Feb. 10 with registration and commercial and education exhibits.
Another highlight of this year's conference is the Farmers Forum. These are sessions where farmers that have received NCR-SARE Farmer/Rancher grants will explain their grant project and what they learned from the project. Seven different grants will be highlighted by six farmers from Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska.
Concurrent sessions also are offered throughout the conference. There will be a live auction the afternoon of Feb. 10 and an All Nebraska Dinner the evening of Feb . 10. There will be a silent auction on Feb. 11.
In addition, there will be several youth hands-on workshops both days, including how to grow an herb garden, how to cook a stovetop pizza, tree adventure activities and FFA students sharing their experiences with growing flowers and vegetables in a greenhouse.
"Kids will also learn about the foods we eat and how to make a nutritious snack," Lesoing said.
For more information, including a detailed schedule, conference brochure and registration, visit the Nemaha County Extension website at http://nemaha.unl.edu or contact Lesoing at 402-274-4755.
Early registration for the two-day conference by Jan. 31 is $80 and includes two lunches, breaks and an information packet. Registration after Jan. 31 is $90. Additional adult family members can attend for $70 per person and additional youth family members (grades K-12) for $40 per person. However, the family will only receive one information packet. Single-day registrations are available at $50 and include one lunch, breaks and an information packet. The All Nebraska Dinner is an additional fee and can be attended separately for $35 for adults and $12 for youth.
The conference is sponsored by UNL Extension in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Nebraska Sustainable Agricultural Society.