We have a busy month planned so I thought I would share the long list of conferences going on this winter in my area. I'm not sure how many Michigan readers I have but in any case maybe this will motivate others to look for educational opportunities in their area. I've included links when I have them and a little more about why each applies to our operation for those interested.
Jan. 3,4: MSBA (MI Sheep Breeders Asso.) Michigan Shepherd's Weekend
Where: Sheraton Lansing Hotel; Lansing, MI
Cost: $30/person or $40/family + $20 to join if you're not a member, assuming you didn't register before Dec. 26th.
Highlights: What is the optimum size for YOUR flock?, Recycling nutrients from manure (hoping we can apply what we learn to all our animals), Getting Lambs to Market on Grass.
Why it applies: We have 4 Suffolk ewes and expect our very first lambs in late winter/early spring. We'd like to learn a much as possible to help us produce high quality lambs whether they go to 4H kids for show or directly to buyers as meat.
More Info: www.misheep.org
Jan. 17th: Michigan Family Farms Conference
Where: Lakeview High School; Battle Creek, MI
Cost: $35/adult $25/children $30/MIFFS member
Highlights: How to Sell at a Farmers Market, Selling to a Grocery Store, Farm to School, Preparing to Sell: Business Aspects & Legal Requirements
Why it applies: The lines seem a little blurry when I try to research these topics on my own so I'm excited to hear a presentation that applies to Michigan specifically. My uncle owns a grocery store and he is unsure of the requirements for farmers like us to sell him our goods but there is potential for a future marketing opportunity. Legal issues are my biggest concern as we begin direct marketing so any knowledge gained on the topic will be piece of mind to me. I am also very excited to hear more about the new Farm to School program which may provide an outlet for farmers to sell products directly to loca l schools!
More Info: http://www.miffs.org/mffc.asp
Jan. 23,24,25: Michigan Veterinary Conference
This is something I'll be going to for work. I am a Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT) working in a small animal practice. If you'd like more info on the conference comment on it and I'll get you the link.
Jan. 28th: ACE - Agriculture's Conference on the Environment
Where: Lansing Center; Lansing, MI
Cost: $50/before Jan. 19th $20/students $75/at the door
Highlights: Marketing Your Farm in Your Neighborhood, Wind Energy in Michigan, The Role of Agriculture in Climate Change, Food Safety Related to Manure & Bio-Solids, Water Use in the Great Lakes Basin
Why it applies: It is a combination of my two favorite things: agriculture and the environment!! Unfortunately I don't think I'll be attending this one. It is one of the most expensive seminars and would require me to take a day off of work. Plus it is sponsored in part by Farm Bureau and I do not agree with their stance on a lot of issues so I question the integrity of the presentations.
More Info: http://www.maeap.org/modules.php?name=NavSystem&id=1&mt=2
Jan. 31: Northern MI Small Farm Conference
Where: Grayling High School; Grayling, MI
Cost: $45/1st person $30/additional $15/youth 8-18
Highlights: Daniel Salatin as Youth Keynote Speaker!!, Growing Pasture Poultry on a Small Scale and Now Taking the Next Step
Why it applies: I have a lot of respect for the Salatins (although noone is perfect) and plan to sit in on some of the youth sessions. I am very excited about the pastured poultry presentation as well because this is something I hope to integrate in to our operation on a small scale this summer. There are a lot of great books on the topics but I find myself asking, "What about Michigan blizzards? Are the laws the same here? Etc." so this should be well worth it.
More info: here
Feb. 4,5: Midwest Women in Agriculture
Where: Swan Lake Resort; Plymouth, IN
Cost: $75 by Jan. 16th
Highlights: New Generation Agriculture (multiple topics), Connecting Kids With Cows (agritourism for kids), Telling YOUR Story - Public Relations Training for Your Operation, Farm Safety, Wind Energy
Why it applies: There are several presentations where young farmers will give examples of how they made their family's operations work for them which is exactly what we are trying to do. I'm not sure if I'll be going to this one yet since I would like to find someone to go with me. Although a lot of our friends farm very few of the wives are directly involved with the business. I think a lot of the husbands like it that way too. ;)
More info: https://www.extension.purdue.edu/ces/Vermillion/AG/09_WomenInAg_Flyer.pdf
I'll keep you posted on future events and would love to hear of any other bloggers heading out to these conferences. Also, anyone wanting to meet up at the Women's Conference just let me know! Happy learning!
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