New and seasoned farmers to swap stories at OSU conference

January 25, 2013
Frank Morton at Gathering Together Farm in Philomath. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)
Frank Morton at Gathering Together Farm in Philomath. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Experienced and newer farmers will share their wisdom at the Oregon Small Farms Conference at Oregon State University on March 2.

Based on the theme "Greenhorns and Grayhorns," the 13th annual conference will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The LaSells Stewart Center on campus.

A similar conference last year attracted a record 800 farmers and ranchers and this year’s event is on track to match that number, said Garry Stephenson, the coordinator for the OSU Extension Service's small farms program.

The keynote session at 9:30 a.m. will spotlight four new farmers whose essays were featured in the book, "Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmer Movement." Speakers are Sarahlee Lawrence of Rainshadow Organics in Terrebonne; Josh Volk of Slow Hand Farm in Portland; Cory Carmen of Carman Ranch in Wallowa; and Teresa Retzlaff of 46 North Farm in Olney.

Organic seed grower and "grayhorn" Frank Morton, of Wild Garden Seed in Philomath, will moderate the panel.

"The OSU Extension Service's small farms program is engaging the young farmer movement," Stephenson said. "There's a resurgence of young farmers in the United States now. As we brainstormed sessions and possible keynotes, we came up with the idea to give experienced and new farmers a place to interact."

Young and experienced farmers will have several opportunities to mingle throughout the conference.

Participants can choose from 21 concurrent sessions in three time slots. Topics will include how to make artisan cheese, sell farm products online, start a farmer network, and find, lease and buy agricultural land. Farmers and OSU Extension faculty will lead most sessions.

The conference costs $50 per person or $90 for two people from the same farm or organization through Feb. 15. After that, the cost increases to $60 per person or $110 for two. The fee includes refreshments and a lunch featuring products from local farms and ranches.

Register online at http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/sfc.

The day before the conference, participants can also attend the Oregon Agritourism Summit Part 2, co-sponsored by the OSU Extension Service and held on campus. 

Author: Denise Ruttan