UGA Extension, Athens Land Trust team up for sustainable agriculture conference Oct. 3

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia Extension and the Athens Land Trust are taking registrations for its Sustainable Agriculture Conference for New and Beginning Farmers, which will be held Oct. 3 in Watkinsville.

The conference will focus on farm business basics like food safety, record keeping, naturally and organically grown certifications and market development for produce and meat.

“The conference is intended for new or beginning farmers who are interested in learning more about sustainable agriculture practices,” said Christina Hylton, manager and education coordinator for the land trust’s West Broad Farmers Market in Athens.

“But it’s open to anybody who is interested in sustainable agriculture—the farmer, the value-added-products producer, home gardeners, FFA or 4-H members or anyone who is interested in where their food comes from.”

UGA Extension and the Athens Land Trust have teamed up to bring the conference to northeast Georgia farmers as part of their shared commitment to provide education on sustainable agricultural practices and serving farmers, said Amanda Tedrow, a UGA Extension agent in Clarke County.

“There is such a strong movement toward sustainable agriculture across the country,” she said. “Programs like this are becoming more of a necessity to make sure new farmers understand what resources are available to them. Many new farmers do not have a farming background and are often starting from the beginning on their knowledge of farming.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development state director Quinton Robinson will give a keynote address focused on the opportunities provided to young and beginning farmers. Representatives from the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, Fort Valley State University, Georgia Organics and the Georgia Department of Agriculture also will share opportunities available through their organizations.

Breakout workshops will be held on beekeeping, food safety certifications, meat goat production, effective composting and Farm to School programs.

The cost of the daylong conference is $15 the day of the program. All conference activities will be held at the Oconee County Civic Center, 2661 Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville.

Registration materials and more information are available at www.athenslandtrust.org or by calling Athens Land Trust at 706-613-0122 or UGA Extension at 706-613-3640. The registration form is available at http://www.athenslandtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Conference-Registration-082313.pdf.