Published on 09/20/13

Sustainable agriculture conference set for Oct. 3

By Merritt Melancon

UGA Extension and the Athens Land Trust are taking registrations for a Sustainable Agriculture Conference for New and Beginning Farmers, Oct. 3, in Watkinsville.

The conference will focus on farm business basics like food safety, record keeping, naturally grown and organically grown certifications, and developing markets for produce and meat.

“The conference is intended for new or beginning farmers who are interested in learning more about sustainable agriculture practices,” said Christina Hylton, manager and education coordinator for the land trust’s West Broad Farmers Market.

“But it’s open to anybody who is interested in sustainable agriculture — the farmer, the value added products producer, home gardeners, FFA or 4-H members, or anyone who is interested in where their food comes from.”

UGA Extension and the Athens Land Trust have teamed up to bring this conference to northeast Georgia farmers as part of their shared commitment to providing education on sustainable agricultural practices and serving farmers.

“There is such a strong movement towards sustainable agriculture across the country, programs like this are becoming more of a necessity to make sure new farmers understand what resources are available to them” said Amanda Tedrow, Clarke County Extension Agent. “Many new farmers do not have a farming background and are often starting from the beginning on their knowledge of farming.”

The USDA Rural Development state director will give a keynote address focusing on the opportunities provided to young and beginning farmers.

Representatives from the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, Fort Valley State University, Georgia Organics and the Georgia Department of Agriculture will also be on hand to share the opportunities available through their organizations.

Experts will also hold break-out workshops on beekeeping, food safety certifications, meat goat production, more effective composting and Farm to School programs.

The cost of the daylong conference is $10 if you register before Sept. 25 or $15 the day of the program.

All conference activities will be held at the Oconee County Civic Center at 2661 Hog Mountain Road in Watkinsville.

Registration materials and more information is available at and by calling the land trust at (706) 613-0122 or UGA Extension at (706) 613-3640.

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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