2020 Conference Menu

Our 2020 Sponsors

About the Conference

Full Conference Program

Poster Abstracts

Session Recordings
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In addition to the usual wide array of subjects and practical information for farmers, each Southern SAWG conference will offer specially-curated information and activities addressing a timely topic or issue. The special topic weaves through the normal conference agenda. A color code appears in the conference program to allow for easy planning. Follow the blue dot in this year’s program to follow the Climate Change special topic throughout the conference.



Pre-conference Intensive Short Courses

Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 23, 2020, 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

These 1 ½ day intensive short courses are high-value learning experiences that provide you comprehensive and in-depth information with practical lessons from some of the most experienced experts in the region. You must register to participate in the short courses. Pre-registration is strongly recommended, as space is limited.

The four short courses we are offering this year are:

  1. Beginning Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing

  2. Raising, Finishing and Marketing Pasture-Raised Meat

  3. Expand Your “Bees”Ness by Adding Honey Bees to Your Farm

  4. Story-Telling for a Cause in the New Media Age


⬤ Organic Agriculture Research Forum

Thursday, January 23, 2020 • 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Presented by the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and Tuskegee University in partnership with Southern SAWG

This day-long forum will bring together scientists, organic farmers and ranchers, extension agents, non-profit organizations, and more to explore the latest research and science-based grower education, particularly as it relates to production in the southeast. The Forum is supported by a grant from the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) program of USDA.

Please note that this forum is being offered at the same time as the short courses, field trips, mini courses.

Pre-conference Field Trips

Thursday, January 23, 2020, 12:30 – 5:00 p.m.

For those who learn best by seeing other farms, we have five excellent field trips for you to choose from.

  1. SOLD OUT! Arkansas Natural Produce—Growing Specialty Crops Under Cover

  2. Tammy Sue’s Critters—Creating a Value-Added Life! Developing Educational Workshops and Internships to Support a Value-Added Production Model

  3. The Farm at Barefoot Bend—Vertical Integration at the Farm

  4. Heifer Ranch—Small and Mid-Scale Tools 2.0 Co-Hosted with Johnny’s Selected Seeds

  5. ⬤ Heifer Ranch—Regenerative Grazing Systems: A Crash Course in Good Land Management for Livestock Production

Please note that these field trips are being offered at the same time as the mini courses.


Pre-conference Mini Courses

Thursday, January 23, 2020, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

These half-day courses give participants an opportunity to spend an afternoon learning from experts. You’ll go home with practical information that you can put to use right away. You must register to participate in the mini-courses. Pre-registration is strongly recommended, as space is limited.

  1. How to Make Your Own 300-Year-Old Apple Tree: The Principles and Practice of Grafting

  2. Year-Round Hoophouse Vegetable Production

  3. Community Organizing to Build Markets and a Just Food System

  4. CANCELLED—The Lives They Lead: How to Cultivate Equity and Leadership in the Workplace
    We are very sorry report that Mini Course #4 has been cancelled by the instructor due to a family emergency. As per our registration policy, we will refund fees for special events that are cancelled or sold out. Or, you can attend one of the other mini courses of your choice.

Please note that these mini courses are being offered at the same time as the field trips.


Thursday Evening Activities

Thursday, January 23, 2020, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Pre-conference Mixer, Seed Swap, Trade Show and Poster Display

This year our opening mixer is going to be held in the Trade Show. Come mix it up with old and new friends alike and get a sneak peek of all the great vendors at our trade show. We will have a cash bar set up for you with local brews.

New this year! The poster session during the Thursday evening mixer will include a “People’s Choice” award and an award for “Best Research Poster” juried by a small panel of judges. Topics will cover a wide range of issues relevant to sustainable farming, with an emphasis on the needs and priorities of organic farmers and ranchers. Be sure to vote for your favorite.

And we’ll provide space and envelopes for those who wish to swap seeds. This will be a good opportunity to meet seed savers and learn about varieties dear to their hearts. Don’t forget to bring your seeds! Bring photos and samples too if you can.


General Conference

Trade Show and Poster Display
Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. 

Growing Food, People and Community—The Truly Living Well (TLW) Center uses food production to create a culture of health and wellness in their community. Their programs demonstrate the power of urban agriculture to improve the future of the world's food production, improve health outcomes, and build strong communities. In this session, TLW founder K. Rashid Nuri will share his life-long experience of growing food naturally and organically, connecting communities and creating local food economies. His message will provide inspiration and guidance to a new generation of food revolutionaries. K. Rashid Nuri, Truly Living Well Center (GA)

Take Your Cut Flowers to Another Level—Cut flowers can be a great source of revenue and attract an entirely different group of customers from those buying meat and produce. But how can you stand out in an increasingly crowded field, and avoid mediocre flower quality and poor bouquet design? In this session, a long-time organic flower grower will offer some important pointers about production including species mix, quantities, successions, basic greenhouse and field production techniques, and post-harvest handling. He’ll also provide tips on marketing including display and pricing. Mark Cain, Dripping Springs Gardens (AR)

Cover Crops for Hot and Humid Areas—Cover crops can provide major benefits to the health of your soil and the sustainability of your farm—if you have the right crops and management plan. We'll discuss how to choose particular cover crops for integration into vegetable production schemes and how to get the best results in the Southeast. The discussion will be interactive so producers in the audience can contribute their experiences and challenges for group benefit. Come ready with questions and to share ideas. Justin Duncan, National Center for Appropriate Technology (TX)

Ecological Poultry Production—This session will provide an overview of ecological poultry production, including sustainable production systems and feeding, appropriate genetics, biodiversity, health management, and the social-economic dimensions. Based on research and experience at Appalachian State University, it will help farmers see pastured poultry production as a whole system and understand where they can improve their practices. Anne Fanatico, Appalachian State University (NC)

Time- and Money-Saving Designs and Techniques for Your Farm—Learn techniques and equipment hacks to make farming easier! Get ideas for automated CSA delivery, greenhouse heating, produce washing and marketing techniques. Drawing on concepts in The Bio-Integrated Farm, we'll explore creative ideas and designs to improve efficiency on your small- to mid-scale farm. Shawn Jadrnicek and Katherine Belk, Wild Hope Farm (SC)

Why Farms Fail: How to Make Tough Choices to Stay in Business—As farmers make decisions, especially when things get difficult, some choices have a greater impact on staying in business than others (like farming on credit cards or canceling your health insurance). When things get tough, how do you know what choices to make? When recovering from a disaster what do you invest in first? Hear from someone whose organization works with 100 farms per year that are facing bankruptcy. He will provide tools that you can use to get ready for the tough choices. Scott Marlow, RAFI-USA (NC)

Reaching SNAP/EBT Clients with Your CSA—SNAP/EBT funds are a valuable source of revenue for farmers markets and CSAs. Yet the USDA Food Nutrition Service (FNS) requirements for receiving funds from SNAP/EBT users can be confusing. Learn how Inglewood Farm has added this source of revenue allowing them to increase their market reach and provide more community members with access to fresh, organic food. In this session they’ll share a "mini-manual" that outlines how you can do this, too. Monica Clark, Inglewood Farm (LA)

After the 2018 Farm Bill: What's Happening in the Field, in Washington and What Does It Mean for Farmers?—The 2018 Farm Bill included some wins for farmers and eaters—along with some missed opportunities. Hear the latest on ag policy from Washington DC and share your feedback and stories from the field. Have the new federal policies and funding gained helped family farmers? Are resources going where they're needed? Bring your ideas, challenges, and questions—and look forward to an interactive discussion! Candace Spencer, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (DC) and Brennan Washington, Southern SARE (GA)

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Friday, 9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Managing Risks through Organic Soil Health Practices—Healthy soil enhances crop resilience and reduces risk. However, the path to soil health can be bumpy, especially on land that has not been managed sustainably in the past. This session draws on research findings and practical examples from the Southern region to provide guidance on integrating cover crops, rotations, organic amendments, soil-friendly tillage, and other practices to build soil health while reducing financial risk. All practices discussed are appropriate for certified organic farms and beneficial for all farms. Mark Schonbeck, Organic Farming Research Foundation (VA)

High Tunnel Production and Marketing Challenges—You Spoke, We Listened!—High tunnels provide great opportunities for growers of all sizes and market channel orientation. But new challenges and resource considerations come into play as producers add tunnels. In this session we’ll present potential solutions to the greatest high tunnel production and marketing challenges identified by growers in a recent, multi-state survey. These include impacts and strategies for dealing with labor and marketing strategies, as well as emerging technical assistance needs for production, such as sustaining soil fertility and crop and variety selection. Krista Jacobsen and Tim Woods, University of Kentucky

Growing Cucurbits for Market: Cucumbers, Squash and Gourds—This highly productive and marketable family of crops offers impressive yields, wondrous diversity, a huge range of flavors, nutrition, beauty and utility. In this session we’ll discuss cucurbit diversity focusing on varietal productivity, disease and pest protocols, cultural best practices, harvesting methods, keeping qualities, storage and curing requirements, and seed-saving practices. We’ll also cover flavor and nutrition so you can give your customers tips on culinary uses (including of the leaves, seeds and blossoms!). Patryk Battle, Living Web Farms (NC)

Pasture to Plate Marketing: Pigs Can Still Be the Mortgage Lifter—Learn how pastured pork production can be an important and profitable component of a multi-species rotational grazing operation. We will discuss genetics, husbandry, pasture-based systems and cost of production. Most of the session will focus on adding value to the pork you produce and maximizing profits through the utilization of the whole animal and direct marketing. Genell Pridgen, Rainbow Meadow Farms/Whiskey Pig Craft Butchery and Deli (NC)

Disaster Relief for Sustainable Farmers—All signs point to an increase in natural disasters in the Southern region through hurricanes, floods, fires and drought. Yet there is a confusing array of programs available for farmers hit by disaster. This session will summarize federal disaster programs, how to think about deadlines for the programs, and what to do if farmers are unfairly denied benefits. We’ll also discuss the legal fallout from a disaster and how best to prepare for a possible disaster from a legal point of view. Stephen Carpenter and Lindsay Kuehn, Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG) (MN)

QuickBooks Online Setup for Fruit, Vegetable, and Meat Product Sales—Are you thinking about using QuickBooks for your farm recordkeeping? Learn how to set up and use QuickBooks easily to help you make the most of the information you gather and reduce the time you spend on recordkeeping. We’ll show you how to create accurate profit and loss statements, as well as keep up with your inputs, plantings, and harvests. Learn how to use your accounting software to its fullest potential to help you manage your farm profitably. Debbie Dangerfield, Dangerfield Consulting (GA)

Veterans Succeeding in Agriculture—Do you want to connect with other military veterans who are farming? Want to learn where to go for help and technical resources? Hear from three dynamic veteran farmers who will share about their farming journeys and their lessons learned. You’ll also learn about best tips and unique resources to support veterans seeking to run profitable farms. Margo Hale, National Center for Appropriate Technology (AR), Ryan Pace, Wholly Cow Farms (AR) and Davon Goodwin, OTL Farms (NC)

Shaping State Policy Through Local Mobilization—Do your state regulations support regional food systems or block local actions? Join us for a discussion about the state of state food systems legislation. Learn about state legislation that supports local food systems efforts. Listen to the experience of neighbor states mobilizing to block legislation that would harm family farmers and public health. Talk with peers about food and farm policies taking shape in your state and efforts to mobilize local coalitions to engage in state policy issues. Mark Winne and Karen Bassarab, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (MD)

Welcome Plenary
Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Climate Change, Resilience and the Future of Food

Laura Lengnick, Cultivating Resilience, LLC (NC)

Laura Lengnick, Cultivating Resilience, LLC

Laura Lengnick, Cultivating Resilience, LLC

Climate change is upon us and agriculture is inextricably involved. The evidence is clear: the way that we eat is fueling a climate crisis that threatens our way of life. The good news is we don’t need any more research or new technologies to put us on the path to a resilient food future. Although most of us didn’t realize it, sustainable farmers and ranchers, and the people that support them, have been hard at work over the last 50 years innovating a climate resilient agriculture. It turns out that soil quality, agro-ecosystem diversity, and regional networks of mutual benefit can slow climate change and enhance the resilience of farms and the communities they serve. Sustainable practices like whole farm management and diversified production systems promote the capacity to respond, to recover swiftly, and to make changes that sustain farms and food systems in the face of disruptions of all kinds.

Join scientist, author, educator and farmer, Laura Lengnick, as she weaves resilience thinking with practical lessons learned from some of America’s best sustainable farmers and ranchers to share a message of hope grounded in the work that we do together.

Laura is the founder and principle at Cultivating Resilience, LLC, an Asheville-based firm that works with organizations to integrate resilience thinking into operations, assessment and strategic planning. Her 2015 book, Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate, examines climate change, resilience and the future of food through the adaptation stories of 27 leading sustainable farmers and ranchers located across the U.S. Previously, Laura’s research in soil quality and sustainable agriculture systems at the Beltsville Agriculture Research Center in Maryland was nationally recognized by the USDA. She has broad federal policy expertise gained through work as a U.S. Senate staffer and USDA agency staff, and a lobbyist advocating for sustainable agriculture in the U.S. Congress. Laura led the academic program in sustainable agriculture at Warren Wilson College for more than a decade, where she also served as the Director of Sustainability Education, conducted research in sustainability assessment and holistic management, and developed an innovative sustainable dining policy for the college. Laura has also grown organic vegetables in Tidewater Virginia and in western North Carolina for community supported agriculture and farmers’ market sales.

Lunch on Your Own
Friday, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Lunch on your own. Visit the trade show and the poster display.

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Friday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

CANCELLED: Organic Farming and Organic Living: Practical Principles and Systems—This session will discuss organic farming systems with a focus on cover crops to build soil health, manage nematodes, control weeds and enhance overall yields. We’ll also share principles of "organic living" that include enhancing the welfare of farmers and farm workers, providing for healthy communities, and care for the local environment. Jennifer Taylor, Lola's Organic Farm (FL)

Hemp Farming in the South—Now that industrial hemp is legal to grow in many Southern states, what’s next for small and medium-scale farmers? Join our panel for a practical discussion on the production practices for hemp along with information on extraction and marketing hemp-based products. We’ll cover the various types of hemp that can be grown and the unique challenges that come with them, and hear what is working and what isn’t in these early days of a hemp Renaissance. Josh Hardin, Laughing Stock Farms (AR), Shawn Peebles, Peebles Organics (AR), Vic Ford, AR Cooperative Extension, Anna Minor, Minor Hemp & Specialty Crop Insurance (AR)

Introduction to Restoration Agriculture—Learn about a system of agriculture that imitates natural plant communities while utilizing agroforestry and water management techniques to produce an agricultural yield that also restores ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water purification and infiltration, nutrient cycling, and biodiversity. Perennial crops, livestock, fungus, and pollinators are integrated into a nutrient dense ecological landscape. Mark Shepard will share lessons learned from his 106-acre perennial agricultural forest farm and get you thinking about how you can incorporate some of these techniques into your farm. Mark Shepard, New Forest Farm (WI)

Healthy Sheep and Goats for a Happy Farm—Sheep and goats are productive, prolific, easy to manage, and fun to raise…when they are healthy! This session will cover the basics of how to acquire and maintain a trouble-free flock. Topics of discussion include managing internal parasites, recognizing and encouraging health, catching problems early and responding appropriately. Drawing on 40 years of farm experience, Linda Coffey will lead this interactive class and provide ATTRA publications to support the learning. Linda Coffey, National Center for Appropriate Technology (AR)

Cultivating Climate Resilience on Your Farm—Resilience is about much more than simply bouncing back. It involves a new way of thinking about how you can use all of the resources under your management—people, land, crops and livestock, markets, money and technology—to reduce production risk and enhance the adaptive capacity of your business. Learn how some of America’s best sustainable farmers and ranchers are enhancing the climate resilience of their operations, and how you can add new climate resilience tools to your management toolbox. Laura Lengnick, Cultivating Resilience LLC (NC)

Heirs’ Property and Land Preservation: What Are You Going to Do with Your Family Land?—Estate and transition planning is an important part of sustaining family land. However, heirs’ property owners face unique challenges in securing their land tenure. In this session, Monica Rainge, a legal expert in land retention, will explain how the 2018 Farm Bill addresses heirs’ property issues. She will present solutions for addressing the problems surrounding heirs’ property and help participants prepare for succession planning. Come learn how heirs’ property owners can resolve their property issues and create intergenerational wealth opportunities. Monica A. Rainge, Federation of Southern Cooperatives/ Land Assistance Fund (GA)

Tools for Coping with Farm-Related Stress—Farming can be incredibly stressful with multiple variables that are out of your control. So how can you juggle the duties of production, marketing and business management along with family obligations, and still keep stress at a minimum? Join us to learn about the effects of stress on health and well-being and how to get equipped with simple strategies for managing stress in the midst of day-to-day operations. Robin Tutor-Marcom, North Carolina Agromedicine Institute

Supply Chain Development in Rural Communities—There are logistical and market challenges to linking rural farmers to larger retail, wholesale and institutional outlets. This session will discuss the training, transportation and capital improvements necessary to support a grower's expansion. Based on successes from the North Carolina Growing Together project, we’ll discuss lessons learned and offer ideas on how other organizations can create regionally appropriate value chains and help rural producers enter a variety of markets to diversify their farm income. Laura Lauffer, EmPOWERing Mountain Food Systems (NC)

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Friday, 3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Exploring the Soil Food Web—Heard of Elaine Ingham’s work on the soil food web? Want to know more? This session will provide a primer on the principles of the soil food web, along with a discussion of benefits and how, in theory, to build a healthy one. Then we’ll move into the reality, as told from a farmer and soil health consultant who has been in training with Dr. Ingham’s team. She’ll share all the ways she made changes on her farm and screwed up her compost piles, and what she’s learned along the way. Kirsten Simmons, Ecosystem Farm (GA)

Crop Planning for Sustainable Vegetable Production—Learn to master the planning circle so you can produce the right quantities of crops when you want them, and sell them when and where you need, to support yourself with a rewarding livelihood while replenishing the soil. This workshop will provide planning tools for diversified vegetable production along with a step-by-step planning process that considers income, markets, crops, scheduling and mapping. You’ll also learn various fine-tuning tricks to fit more in and improve your plans each year. Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks Community (VA)

Seed-to-Seed: Closing the Gap in Sustainable Farming—High quality seed is the foundation of sustainable agriculture yet more than 60% of vegetable seeds are controlled by large petro-chemical corporations. Learn how seed saving can be integrated into your farm to provide a secure source for your own use or as a market crop to add income for your business. An organic seed saving pioneer and third generation family farmer will explain how he has gone “seed to seed” with certified organic sweet potatoes, industrial hemp, collards and more. Clifton Slade, Slade Farms (VA) and Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (VA)

Walk-Behind Farming Equipment for Small Market Growers—For small acreages, walk-behind farm equipment can fill a middle ground between hand tools and four-wheel tractors. Learn about the history, applications, availability, and maintenance of this type of equipment. Joel Dufour, who has been using, selling and servicing walk-behind tractors for over 35 years, will help you assess if a walking tractor is right for your farm. He’ll discuss everything from appropriate terrain and scale of operation to the human energy required to run and maintain one. Joel Dufour, Earth Tools (KY)

How Farmers Can Combat Climate Change—Management intensive grazing is recognized as one of the most effective ways to sequester carbon in order to mitigate climate change. This session will begin with an overview of the use of adaptive grazing to increase soil organic matter, forage yields and animal production. Experienced farmers will then describe how the unique systems they have created enable them to make a living on a small farm while building soil organic matter through intensive rotational grazing. Johnny Wray, High Hope Farm (MS), Marshall Bartlett, Home Place Pastures (MS), Jody Reyer, Reyer Farms (MS), Allen Williams, Joyce Farms (MS) and Jim Worstell, Resilience Project (AR)

Seed to Student: Selling to Schools—Interested in the nitty-gritty of selling your products to schools? Want to know about getting started, navigating challenges, and promoting successes? Join us to hear from two producers and a school child nutrition director working together to bring healthy, locally produced strawberries and beef to thousands of students. We’ll discuss their partnership, the systems and operational logistics used for managing their farm to school process, and lessons learned along the way. David Dickey, Dickey Farms (AR), Randy Arnold, Arnold Family Farms (AR), Ally Mrachek, Fayetteville Public Schools (AR), and Emily English, Arkansas Farm to School/Arkansas Children’s Research Institute

Inspiring Your Community to Better Health and Wellness Through Agriculture—Kay Bell promotes gardening, entrepreneurship and the teaching of natural holistic health in Waco, TX. As an urban farmer, entrepreneur, herbalist, doula and teaologist, she provides coaching and encouragement to community members of all ages, convincing people from all backgrounds to consider becoming an agricultural entrepreneur and to improve their health. Hear how she inspires people to dig deeper in the soil and move their gardening and health to a higher level. Kay Bell, National Women In Agricultural Association (TX)

CANCELLED: Sustaining Your Mission in a Changing Landscape—Organizations are formed to provide a structure and capacity to address an unmet need or a burning issue. As a mission-based legal structure capable of receiving tax-deductible donations or soliciting grants from corporations and foundations, nonprofit organizations have unique challenges. Using Community Farm Alliance’s 34-year history as an example, this session will explore the challenges of organizational sustainability and fulfilling a mission from funding, leadership, staff, and administration in a constantly changing landscape. Martin Richards, Community Farm Alliance (KY)

Poster Presentations on Research and Project Outcomes—Interact with researchers, educators, extension staff and others who are presenting research results and innovative program outcomes through posters. Poster authors will be present! This is your chance to learn directly from people involved in the research and willing to share. Topics will cover a wide range of issues relevant to sustainable farming, with an emphasis on the needs and priorities of organic farmers and ranchers.

State Networking Sessions
Friday, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Gather with others in your state working for sustainable agriculture and community food systems to learn what’s happening, how you can be involved, and how you can make a difference. We provide the room and a facilitator for each of the 13 Southern states. You make the discussion useful.


Trade Show and Poster Display
Saturday, 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Regenerating Soils Using the Five Principles of Soil Health—Robust soil health can lead to more resilient, productive, and profitable farms. In this session you’ll learn the five principles of soil health, and how you can adapt these principles to build healthy, thriving soils. We’ll look at the science of soil ecosystems as well as real world examples of producers who have regenerated the health of their soils using a wide range of practices. Participants will leave with the knowledge necessary to improve their farm’s soil health and will take with them a selection of relevant ATTRA publications for further study. Nina Prater, National Center for Appropriate Technology (AR)

Growing Fruit in High Tunnels—Learn about growing strawberries, blackberries and grapes in high tunnels, and get practical recommendations based on the latest research from the University of Arkansas. We’ll discuss the benefits of growing fruit crops in tunnels, how to select the right tunnel design and fruit cultivars, crop care, pests (insects, diseases, etc.) of concern, and the economics of high tunnel fruit production. We’ll also provide specific recommendations for growing table grapes successfully in high tunnels in the south. Luke Freeman, NCAT/ATTRA (AR) and Elena Garcia, University of Arkansas

Bioinsecticides 101: Pest Management with Organically Approved Methods—Learn about several of the major insect pests in vegetables crops in our region and join a discussion on the effectiveness of bioinsecticides as organic controls. We’ll provide an overview of major insect pests along with a hands-on experience at identifying specimens. Then there will be in-depth discussion on the effectiveness of bioinsecticides as stand-alone products or as tank-mixes and premixes to reduce disease and insect damage. Bioinsecticides include microbial formulations, botanical insecticides, physical desiccants, etc. Ayanava Majumdar, Auburn University (AL)

Pastured Poultry Production with the “Nomad” System—Learn about pastured poultry production from a central Virginia farmer raising broiler chickens and meat ducks using a completely portable infrastructure. For producers who have struggled with Salatin-style pens, we will highlight our “Nomad” system which allows more flexibility on varied terrain and more protection from ground predators. We’ll discuss production from day one in the brooder, to field care, to processing day. And we’ll discuss adaptations which have become necessary in our changing climate. Erica Hellen, Free Union Grass Farm (VA)

Taking Your CSA to the Next Level with Customized Boxes—Chris and Jenny Jackson produce food for a 150-member CSA and a thriving on-farm market on their small farm. After 12 years of operating a traditional CSA, they decided to transition to customized boxes using Harvie, a software company that helps manage the CSA. This has allowed for a significant amount of extra sales and growth in the membership. Chris will discuss the challenges and benefits of customizing boxes and talk about other strategies they've used to consistently maintain high retention rate of membership. Chris Jackson, Jenny Jack Farm (GA)

Financing Opportunities for Farm Business Development—What are your options when it comes to farm financing? In this session we’ll discuss conventional ag lenders like Farm Credit and FSA, along with some creative alternatives. Learn about crowdfunding strategies that create mutually beneficial relationships between sustainable farmers and responsible investors. Hear about creative ways to partner with local landowners and organizations to gain access to land and capital. Aaron Newton, GoSteward (NC) and Julia Asherman, Rag & Frass Farm (GA)

Plant, Water and Hoe, Then It’s Off to Class We Go!—Learn how an organic farm at a liberal arts college combines production and pedagogy to enhance the education of their students. Two farmer-educators will explain how they engage student workers, provide internships, host class lectures and laboratory assignments, lead K-12 field trips, conduct research, and supply food to the school dining hall. Everyone can learn something from this session, as they will go in depth about balancing their marketing with programming and scheduling of their student workers and volunteers. Daniel Parson and Ruth Geiger, Oxford College Farm (GA)

Agriculture and Climate Change: Policy Imperatives and Opportunities to Help Producers Meet the Challenge—Learn about proposed policies that can help producers meet the challenges caused by climate change, as well as possible actions that you can take to get helpful programs enacted. In addition, we’ll address the role of academia in helping to disseminate, enhance and implement research and policy toward a more sustainable food system in a changing climate. Sarah Hackney, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (DC) and Dodd Galbreath, Lipscomb University (TN)

Information Exchange: Crowdsourcing Knowledge
Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – Noon

These facilitated group discussions provide you the opportunity to build on what you learned during the conference by exchanging ideas and information with your peers from around the region. Come prepared to ask and answer questions, share your experiences and listen to others.

People of Color in Sustainable Agriculture—Join in a discussion about how People of Color can best position ourselves to succeed in the sustainable food and agriculture movement—and continue our conversation from past conferences. Share your insights, concerns, and ideas on vital topics such as health and wellness, intergenerational relationships, representation and power, land access, funding and finance, marketing and racial justice.

Young and Beginning Farmers—Join with new(ish) farmers to discuss the critical decisions you need to make in the early stages of operating a farm. How are you accessing land and capital? How are you creating a support system to sustain you? How do you determine your focus and the scale of the operation? Discuss your challenges and share what’s working for you.

Military Veterans—Join this session to connect with other veterans in the southern sustainable farming community. Share resources, your successes, and discuss your unique challenges. Network, learn from each other, and get information from organizations that provide resources and technical assistance to veteran farmers.

Out in the Field: LGBTQ+ Diversity in Ag—How can we increase visibility and support for LGBTQ+ farmers and ranchers in our community? Though disclosing sexual orientation may put careers, families, financial wellbeing and possibly even physical wellbeing at risk, statistics suggest these farmers and ranchers are hardly alone. Come to discuss the needs of diverse communities and how we can do better for ourselves financially, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, by grounding in agriculture. This session is meant to be a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals, but open to anyone willing to show up with respect and solidarity.

Industrial Hemp—Join a group of growers, buyers, engineers, and academics in an open discussion about some of the opportunities and challenges that exist to entering the industrial hemp market. Share experiences with other novice hemp growers and hear about the types of products that are being created from the crop.

High Tunnels—Share with other producers the issues and solutions you’ve encountered in high tunnel production. Come ready to discuss challenges like fertility management, heat regulation, crop rotations, and the advantages of fixed vs. moveable tunnels.

Grazing Management—Come and learn from other graziers. Bring your questions, your challenges, and your tips. This session is designed to help beginners learn from those who have "been there, done that" and for experienced graziers to share challenges and solutions.

State Inspected Meat Processing—Arkansas and three other states in the South do not have state inspection for meat processing, which hampers local marketing efforts. Join a conversation with farmers and processors on what it would take to get a program in place. Join this conversation if you’re interested in getting state inspection for your state or if you already have state meat inspection and want to provide information to others.

Managing Farmers Markets—Share your experiences with fellow market managers and board members. What trends have you noticed at your market in the last several years, and how is your market evolving to stay relevant in a changing marketplace? Share ideas on organizational structure, rules, marketing, funding, and building community support.

Maintaining Mental Health—Although farming is often portrayed as a pastoral lifestyle, we all know that it can be stressful. Join this conversation to discuss some of the factors that create stress in your farm life and share tips and strategies on how to maintain mental health.

Regenerative Agriculture—Join this open dialogue about regenerative farming—what is it, and what are the opportunities and challenges for scaling up across the South? Learn what other regenerative farmers across the country have been telling the National Resources Defense Council in a series of facilitated interviews. Add your perspective to this conversation to learn from each other and to make sure your voice is represented as future programs and policies are created to support family farmers.

Resilience in the Midst of Climate Change—Join this conversation on dealing with the effects of climate change while farming. Have you experienced damaging storms and other disasters as a result? Bring your stories and share tactics and tools for becoming more resilient. Learn how others have recovered from disaster or avoided the worst.

Equitable Networks, Food Councils and Coalitions—Are you engaged in food and agricultural program and policy work on a local, state or regional level, or do you want to be? Join this conversation to share strategies and resources that you use in your work, and learn how others have tackled food, farm and related policy issues that might be facing your community.

Poster Presentations on Research and Project Outcomes—Interact with researchers, educators, extension staff and others who are presenting research results and innovative program outcomes through posters. Poster authors will be present! This is your chance to learn directly from people involved in the research and willing to share. Topics will cover a wide range of issues relevant to sustainable farming, with an emphasis on the needs and priorities of organic farmers and ranchers.

Lunch on Your Own
Saturday, Noon – 1:30 p.m.

Lunch on your own. Visit the trade show and the poster display.

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Saturday, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Profitable Vegetable Farming—Want to hear how two people selling five months of the year gross $100,000 yearly on a certified organic vegetable farm in Northeastern Oklahoma? Now in their 17th year of production, Emily and Michael of Three Springs Farm have been able to create a profitable business relying mostly on their own labor and only marketing from April to Labor Day. They will show how they make their operation work by relying on few external inputs, through one farmers’ market per week and with a unique CSA model. They will also open their financial records, so come with your financial questions—there are no questions they won’t answer. Emily Oakley and Michael Appel, Three Springs Farm (OK)

Cover Crops and Cultivation for Weed Management in Organic Cropping Systems—Leguminous cover crops can be used for weed and nematode management and also for improving soil. In this session, we’ll examine legumes like sunn hemp and cowpeas that can be used as cover crops and green manures. Researcher/educator Carlene Chase will discuss how specific varieties and cultural practices can influence weed suppression. Organic grower John Bitter will discuss how he complements off-season cover cropping with cultivation for weed management on his organic farm. Carlene A. Chase, University of Florida and John Bitter, Frog Song Organics (FL)

Farming on Challenging Soils: Adaptations for a Changing Climate—Barr Farms has been raising mixed vegetables and livestock on a fragipan (shallow soil) in the Ohio River Valley for 13 years. In response to increasing climate challenges—heavy rain events, high humidity all year, wetter than normal summers, and the possibility of droughts in the fall—they have implemented several mitigating systems. Hear about their use of rye grass and cover crops, biochar, drainage and other adaptations they have tried. Join in a discussion of the pros and cons of various strategies across our region for a changing climate. Adam Barr, Barr Farms (KY)

Practical Agroforestry: Establishing Silvopastures—More than just ‘grazing the woods’, silvopasture is the intentional integration of trees, forages, and livestock that has a multitude of benefits. Using examples from farm case studies, we’ll take you through the process of converting woodland into a productive silvopasture. We will explore the complexities of calculating stand density when thinning, best species for forage establishment, options for fertility management, and other practical considerations. A panel of agroforestry practitioners and experts will be on hand for discussion and Q & A. Matt Wilson, Grow Appalachia of Berea College (KY), Christine Nieman, University of Arkansas, and Gregory Ormsby Mori, University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry

Farmer Story: Marketing with a Vision—Learn how one farm family took a dream to revitalize their local community and developed it into a market for their diversified farm products and the products of other Arkansas farmers. Veteran, farmer and entrepreneur Damon Helton and his wife Jana have opened two stores selling local farm products in Central Arkansas. Hear how Damon transitioned from the battlefields of war to the agricultural fields of America—and then turned his vision and passion into a community-supported market. Damon Helton, Olde Crow General Store (AR)

QuickBooks Reporting for Your Farm Business—Are you using QuickBooks, but don’t know how to get the right reports for managing your farm business? Come to this session to learn how to get the information you need. You’ll learn how to design reports on crops and profitability that will help you make better decisions. We’ll also provide tips and tricks to make the most of your QuickBooks software gained from the instructor’s 30 years of accounting software training and consulting, primarily on QuickBooks. Debbie Dangerfield, Dangerfield Consulting (GA)

Creating a Village to Support Youth Education—Learn how to create a village to support youth and community education. The Village Community Garden goes village to village, bridging art and agriculture, to provide youth-led STEM, agriculture, healthy living, and entrepreneurship education. The project has built a network of strong collaborations with municipalities, city governments, judicial, hospital, school and university systems, non-profits, and business leaders. Learn how to get young people and community members involved in your community/educational garden—and how to engage donors and philanthropists to help fund your project. Sam X. White, Village Community Garden (GA)

Successful Strategies for Conserving Agricultural and Forest Land—Partners for Conservation is a national landowner-led group that focuses on building collaboration and communication to sustain working landscapes for people and nature. Learn how they build productive relationships and engage diverse perspectives to conserve working lands including farmland. They will discuss how to create effective public-private partnerships and share strategies that have been successful. Steve Jester, Partners for Conservation (TX), Bill Sproul (KS) and Jim Stone (MT)

Concurrent General Conference Sessions
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Advanced No-Till Techniques—Learn new no-till techniques appropriate for an organic farm using the roller-crimper. Two experienced farmers will discuss growing a weed-free cover crop, biomass requirements, raised bed production, crimping early, delaying cover crop maturity, adding mulch to extend weed control, cover crop mixes, seeding rates, covering seed, equipment and techniques for all scales. Shawn Jadrnicek, Wild Hope Farm (SC) and Patryk Battle, Living Web Farms (NC)

Microgreens: Tiny Plants That Can Generate Big Profits—Microgreens have become the most profitable crop on Jenny Jack Farm because of their popularity with CSA and market customers. But beware! There is a steep learning curve to getting started. Jenny will share valuable insights on how to produce high quality, soil-grown microgreens and herbs in a year ’round system. Come learn tips for efficient seeding, harvest, and post-harvest handling for a crop that can boost your farm profits. Jenny Jackson, Jenny Jack Farm (GA)

Dish Dive Right into Restaurant Sales—Are you interested in expanding your farm sales to restaurants but don’t know how to start? Have you had difficulty in getting to the root of the problem in one of your chef relationships? Lauren Cox, a former farmer who now runs Georgia Organics’ Farm to Restaurant program, will help you understand the true barriers to getting food from farm to restaurant, and key considerations for becoming ‘restaurant ready.’ Topics include successive planting techniques, ideal crop varieties, availability lists, and packaging strategies, along with a task-oriented breakout session. Lauren Cox, Georgia Organics (GA)

Native Forages for Livestock Production in the Southeast—Although non-native grasses and legumes can provide some advantages for livestock producers, they also have limitations. Using native grasses and forbs as forage can increase the number of grazable days and reduce feed needs. An Arkansas livestock producer will explain how he changed to native forages on his operation, along with the events that led to trying native forages and what he continues to learn about grazing natives every day. Twig Satterfield, Over the Hill Ranch (AR) and Ryan Diener, Quail Forever (AR)

Collective Strategies and Solutions for Land Access for Beginning Farmers of Color—Beginning farmers face many hurdles as they try to scale up, with land access being one of the most challenging. Hear about collective models of land acquisition and ownership within southeastern communities of color that include strategies such as conservation tools, collective investing, alternative lending, and more. We’ll provide time for an interactive discussion, as well as, shared resource mapping among participants. This session is designed for beginning farmers of color from across the southeast. Tahz Walker, Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (NC) and Alsie Parks, SAAFON (MS)

Recordkeeping Software for Diversified Sustainable Farms—Do you need help in tracking all the records that you need to run your farm business? A farmer with 15 years of experience in operating an organic farm and selling to multiple markets will share his ProFarmer Software. This program helps you track information and run reports for FSMA, GAP and GHP compliances as well as organic audits. It also can be used to calculate planting schedules, track farm equipment, generate labor time sheets, run cost analyses, and much more. Pedro Schambon, Jr., My Father’s Farm (TX)

USDA Agency Resources for Sustainable Farms—There are more USDA resources than most people know about for small and sustainable farmers. Learn about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and other agency programs that can help you with infrastructure and improvements. Hear about USDA money available for development of conservation management practices on your farm to improve soil stability and health, maintain water quality and quantity, and improve wildlife habitat. Join this session to find out if you qualify for some of these programs. Gena Moore, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (NC), Mike Sullivan, NRCS (AR) and others (TBD)

Hemp: Developing Policy to Maximize Growth and Profitability for Family Farms—This session with two attorneys will provide an overview of the current federal rules and regulations affecting hemp growers, as well as an overview of the legal frameworks in the Southern states. It will also cover banking issues around hemp. We’ll highlight how policy can support different hemp uses and create more profitable opportunities for sustainable growers in the South. Scheril Murray Powell, Black Farmers and Agriculturalists of FL and Green Sustainable Strong, LLC, Michelle Namer, The Law Farm (GA), and Jonathan Mohr, Southern SAWG (SC)

Closing Mixer
Saturday, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Join us for a relaxing closing mixer to rub elbows one more time with friends and colleagues and share your experience at the conference! There will be a cash bar and live music, so we can mingle, dance, and end our conference on a high note!