PRINCESS ANNE, Md.--COVID-19 will not prevent the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Extension from holding its 17th annual Small Farm Conference November 6-7. Registration is now open for the event that will take place this year in a hybrid format to ensure the safety of participants.
“During these challenging times, farmers need our support more than ever. The conference has been instrumental in keeping them abreast of agricultural resources and strategies that can improve their farm operations over the past 16 years,” said Berran Rogers Jr., event chair and coordinator for UMES’ Small Farm Program. “It was therefore decided that we restructure this year’s program to meet necessary guidelines and continue to provide this essential service to our stakeholders.”
An average of 200 participants reap the benefits from attending each year, Rogers said. Day one of the 2020 edition of the Small Farm Conference will consist of on-site field tours and demonstrations limited to 15 participants per tour due to social distancing requirements, while the second day’s schedule is full of virtual sessions and roundtable discussions. Opportunities also exist, he said, for virtual networking.
Registrants can choose one morning and one afternoon tour on Friday, November 6. Field tours in Princess Anne include the Coops to Co-ops Farm, the UMES Sheep and Goat Farm and the UMES Education and Demonstration Farm. A workshop on vegetable fermentation will also take place on campus.
A dynamic mix of speakers will share their expertise on Saturday, November 7, Rogers said, under the following themes, “Alternative Agriculture,” “Farm Business & Marketing” and “Sustainable Farming Systems.” The day ends with afternoon roundtable discussions centered around trending topics such as “Hemp Industry Updates and Grower Network,” “Food Safety Regulations and Concerns” and “Financial Lending Opportunities” among others.
This year, the first 100 to register on Eventbrite will receive a special souvenir gift. Registration is $15 for one day and $25 for both days. Paid registrants will be able to view the virtual sessions for up to 60 days after the conference.
The 2020 UMES Small Farm Conference is sponsored by UMES Extension with funding support provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and local partners. For more information, contact Rogers at email@example.com or Sharon Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 410-651-6070.