More than 400 farmers and agricultural professionals are expected to attend the 22nd statewide California Small Farm Conference, March 1-3 in Sacramento. The three-day event will include 25 workshops related to farm transitions, specialty crops, direct agricultural marketing, farm equipment and other topics.
Optional tours on the first day of the conference will highlight cherry production, urban agriculture, small-scale livestock, regional marketing, transitioning to organic and farmers’ market innovations. The UC Small Farm Program at UC Davis is an organizing sponsor of the conference, which will also include speakers from UC Davis, UC Cooperative Extension, and UC Berkeley. To register or for more information, visit californiafarmconference.com.
URBAN FARMS -- Sunday, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m: Growing and raising food within a city full of consumers is one more aspect of local food. Tour three Sacramento County urban and urban-edge farms with Kristin Reynolds of the UC Small Farm Program. An additional workshop, 3-4:30 p.m. March 2, will include information from urban farmers and new results from an urban agriculture survey.
CHERRY FARMING -- Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m: The rows of cherry orchards in Linden will be the setting for a day-long course “Cherry Production & Marketing: Avoiding the pits, reaping juicy rewards.” Host farmers will be joined by UC Davis and UC Cooperative Extension experts to discuss the cherry industry, including trends, organic production, orchard management, marketing issues and financial analyses.
FAMILY RANCHES -- Sunday, 8:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m: Tour family-owned farms and ranches in the foothills for a look at small-scale livestock and niche meat operations. UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Roger Ingram will be joined by foothills farmers such as Dan Macon, who will be honored at the conference with the 2009 Pedro Ilic Award for Outstanding Farmer.
SPECIALTY CROPS -- Monday & Tuesday: The latest news and research about specialty crops such as pomegranates, dry beans, olives and olive oil, and specialty root vegetables will be the topic of a series of workshops, to include 10 speakers from UC Davis and UC Cooperative Extension.
FARMERS’ MARKETS -- Tuesday, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m: The conference is a primary training opportunity for managers of farmers’ markets. College campuses are the latest communities to seek their own markets, and coordinators of the UC Davis Farmers Market will share insights at this workshop.