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Sustainable food, farm conference to focus on new farmers

Special to the Legal News

Published: January 9, 2018

Early-career farmers and those considering a farming vocation are the target audience of the upcoming Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association's annual conference.

Themed "A Taste for Change," the 39th annual conference is scheduled Feb. 15-17 at the Dayton Convention Center in downtown Dayton.

"Our goal is to help people increase their knowledge and skills, find leads on farmland, and make business and professional connections," said OEFFA Begin Farming Program Coordinator Kelly Henderson.

Scheduled the first day of the conference, "Finding and Funding Your Farm" is a full day of instruction led by the National Young Farmers Coalition. The workshop was developed to prepare beginning farmers how to approach their land access journey with confidence, according to a press release announcing the conference schedule.

The remaining days of the conference are slated to feature a number of 90-minute workshops covering a range of topics, including:

• Your Top 10 Organic Transition Questions Answered, presented by Julia Barton, OEFFA;

• Land Access and Affordability for Beginning Farmers presented by Mike Durante, National Young Farmers Coalition;

• In the Trenches with Farming and Government Regulations presented by Jacob Coleman, Sweet Grass Dairy;

• Marketing Your Farm: Sell More of Your Product presented by Gretel Adams, Sunny Meadows Flower Farm;

• Health Insurance and Risk Management: Tools for Navigating Health Insurance for Farmers presented by Shoshonah Inwood, Ohio State University;

• Pasture-Raised Humans: A Conversation About Raising Your Children on the Farm presented by Lindsey Teter, Six Buckets Farm; Sherry Chen, Andelain Fields; and Jeff Suchy, Darby Meadow Farm.

The association offers budding farmers access these educational opportunities via a limited number of full scholarships for early career farmers. Scholarship application deadline is Jan. 10.

Begin farming workshops and scholarships are made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program.

Additionally, the conference is scheduled to feature keynote speakers Jeff Moyer of the Rodale Institute and Stacy Malkan of U.S. Right to Know and a trade show featuring dozens of businesses, non-profits, and government agencies offering an array of food, books, products, and services.

The conference's Farm Land of Opportunity reception is designed to connect farmers looking for land with established farmers in need of employees, retiring farmers interested in a transition plan, and landowners with land to sell or lease. It is free and open to the public.

Online registration will be open through Jan. 29.

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