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Highlights of the 2014 New Farmer Summit
The first-ever New Farmer Summit brought together over 150 farmers, wanna-be farmers, and ag professionals for learning, networking, and fun.
Summary: Summit gives beginning farmers food for thought
Over 150 farmers, wanna-be farmers, and ag professionals gathered to learn, network and have fun at the New Farmer Summit April 3-5, 2014 at Primrose Valley Farm in Belleville, Wis.
Cold, misty rain and sleet didn’t stop this hardy group from enjoying an all-day farm tour on Thursday. First stop was the Summit’s host farm, Primrose Valley Farm, owned and operated by Jamie and David Baker. Then the group moved on to Lindsey Morris-Carpenter’s Grassroots Farm to hear her talk about how she raises her vegetable crops and livestock varieties. Finally, the group visited Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast to see Lisa Kivirist’s and John Ivanko’s off-grid business and learn about ways to diversify farm income.
A little soggy and cold, but no worse-for-wear, we held an impromptu get-together at Cow & Quince in nearby New Glarus. The kind owners, Lori Stern and LeAnn Powers, opened for our New Farmer Meet & Greet on Thursday night even though the still-under-construction café is not set to open until this summer. Local farmers generously brought snacks to share—everything from artisanal cheese, breads and vegetables to scrumptious homemade desserts. The meet and greet was a great kick-off to the 2-day New Farmer Summit and a wonderful way for folks to get to know each other.
Friday morning started bright and early with good food and an entire day of great workshops. Twelve workshops were offered in three different sessions, which gave attendees a lot to choose from. National Young Farmers Coalition gave a lunch presentation and had a panel of farmers talk about land access issues and possible solutions, followed by more workshops in the afternoon.
La Fortuna Pizza wheeled in their portable brick oven and, despite the strong winds and cold temperatures, set up shop outside and cranked out personal pizzas that attendees were able to order on the spot. Pizza, music by Grandpa’s Elixir and local beer donated by Minhaus Brewery set the tone for a night of discussion, dancing and fun.
Saturday started with hot coffee, more wonderful food and another full day of information with a lunch panel by Agrarian Trust on land access.
By Saturday afternoon, everyone was full of new information, new friendships and inspiration about their upcoming farming adventures.
Stories from the Summit
Conference aimed at supporting beginning farmers
Country Today Apr. 14
When organizers from the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service and Renewing the Countryside decided to have a conference aimed at new and beginning farmers, they were hoping to attract 100 people to make the event a success.
But the two-day conference drew about 150 people and another 20 or so had to be turned away due to space availability. The event was held at Primrose Valley Farm near Belleville. Read more…
One Farmer’s View of Summit
Just a Farm Apr. 8
Nothing gets you energized in the spring more than spending three days with 150 other people who are also looking forward to getting their hands dirty as soon as possible. I was lucky enough to squeeze in another conference before the season starts again in earnest. Once again, the three days were packed with new information, though-provoking conversation, and lots of awesome people. There’s really nothing like knowing that you could walk up to any person in a room and almost instantly engage on a thoughtful and passionate level about any number of things. Read more…
This project was supported by a grant through the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The USDA has additional resources to help beginning farmers and ranchers. See Start2Farm.