Michigan Family Farms Conference, January 16th

The 2010 Michigan Family Farms Conference is January 16, 2010 at Lakeview High School in Battle Creek

December 14 , 2009 - “Holding on to Good Food, Good Families, Good Farms” is the theme for the 7th annual Michigan Family Farms Conference on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at Lakeview High School in Battle Creek. Come learn how small, family farms are shaping Michigan’s diverse agricultural future, discuss challenges and growth opportunities for these growing farms and get information on how to overcome challenges and take advantage of these open doors. In spite of tough economic times around the state and country, agriculture is growing in Michigan! The scopes and sizes of farms, the diversity of farmers and products and the booming local food scene are all part of our state’s expanding agricultural landscape, and there is great opportunity for growth and success for those who want to make a difference, and a profit, growing food.

Corey Flournoy, the first ever non-rural, African-American National FFA President from 1994-1995, is this year’s keynote speaker and will share his experiences and his mission to help youth and adults seek, discover and capitalize on the creative elements of success within to make a positive contribution to our world.

Corey is a native of Chicago and has more than 20 years of experience in agricultural education. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is now an adjunct professor, and a Masters degree from Michigan State University in Agricultural and Extension Education. He has received national recognition, including the Outstanding Young Men of America Award and one of the top “30 under 30” business leaders in Chicago, for his energetic, creative and powerful presentations, inspiring many diverse audiences, from businessmen to government officials to today’s youth. Come to the conference and let him inspire you to make a difference in the world!

This conference is a great opportunity for small and limited resource farmers to connect with other growers and great resources, network, and learn about small-scale sustainable and local production.

Conference sessions include: Small-scale Farmer Opportunities with Bioenergy; the Top 5 Things Families Do to Break up Their Business; Increasing Your Markets Using Michigan MarketMaker; Successful Organic Specialty Crop Production; Planning for the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP); Determining which Farmers Market is Right for Me; The Economics of Grass-based Dairy Operations and Robotic Milking; Putting Together a Food Safety Plan for your Farm; Conserving Pollinators for Sustainable Crop Pollination & USDA Funding; Farm Loan Assistance and Specialty Crop Disaster Information; So You Want to Sell Local?; Revitalizing Your Community with Youth and Small-scale Farming; Growing Your Agripreneurial Business; Telling Your Farm Story by Using the Web; Are High Tunnels Right for Me?; and two Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Farmer Rancher Grants Farmer Forums. Special youth activities focused on agriculture, too, make this family farms conference truly a family event.

Each session is led by an experienced individual or panel, representing a range of farms, agencies and organizations from all across the state to offer unique perspectives and experiences on each topic. These individuals are the leaders in their field and have information, connections and resources to share. Speakers are also accompanied by a farmer who has lived through it to share his or her personal experience in the challenges and successes. Together, these people offer a unique and comprehensive mix of technical, practical and hands-on experience and information.

Registrations after January 10 or at the door are $40 per person and do not guarantee a lunch.

For more information or to be a sponsor or exhibitor, visit www.miffs.org/mffc or contact the MIFFS office at (517) 432-0712 or miffs@msu.edu. Some scholarships are available; contact Barbara Norman at (269) 208-4588 for more information. No refunds after January 10.

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