by Rory Lewandowski, Wayne County Extension Educator
The 2017 Northeast Ohio “Living Your Small Farm Dream” small farm conference will be held on Saturday, March 25 at the RG Drage Career Center in Massillon located at 2800 Richville Dr. SW Massillon, 44646. The conference is a program of the OSU Extension Small Farm Program and will provide farm owners and landowners with the opportunity to learn more about skills useful on a small farm, how to make their small farms work better, expand their operations, or gather ideas on how to utilize rural acreage.
Participants will choose from more than 25 different sessions offered over 4 breakout sessions during the day. General topic tracks include horticulture production, livestock and aquaculture, small farm management, natural resources, marketing and selling. Presenters include OSU Extension specialists and educators as well as USDA agency personnel, and area farmer entrepreneurs. The trade show represents industries, businesses, services and organizations that provide products or services utilized on a small farm or rural property.
A sampling of some of the topics that will be covered at the conference includes:
- Chainsaw Safety, Maintenance and Operation
- Raising sheep and goats
- Grass-fed Beef Production
- Fruit tree pruning
- Hobby Maple Syrup Production
- Fruit Tree and Small Fruit Disease Management and Prevention
- Micro Greens Production
- Vegetable Production and Season Extension with Tunnels
- Using and calibrating hand held sprayers on the farm
- Growing Shitake mushrooms
- Selling eggs, poultry, produce and cottage foods
- Marketing Meat Goats
- Renting and Leasing Farmland
- Renewable Energy
- Small Farm Tax Issues
- Aquaculture Opportunities
- Vegetable Disease Diagnostics
The Chainsaw Safety, Maintenance and Operation topic as well as the Vegetable Production and Season Extension with Tunnels are both super sessions that extend over two break-out session time periods. The vegetable production and season extension with tunnels session will actually start at the OARDC high tunnels in Wooster and then move to the RG Drage Center for the in-door portion of the session. Participants may elect to do only the Wooster part, only the RG Drage Center part or both parts of this topic.
The conference begins with registration at 8:00 am, and an opening general session at 9:00 am. The conference concludes at approximately 3:45 pm following the final breakout session. Registration cost is $60 per person, which includes lunch and morning refreshments. The registration deadline is March 17. For those who are interested in attending both the Women in Agriculture conference (http://agnr.osu.edu/events/east-ohio-women-agriculture-conference-0) at the same location on March 24 plus the small farm conference on March 25 there is a discounted registration fee of $100 to attend both conferences. Student discounts are also available.
A conference brochure and registration form along with descriptions of all the breakout sessions as well as on-line registration is available on the OSU Extension Small Farm Program web site at: http://agnr.osu.edu/small-farm-programs . Questions can also be directed to the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722.