CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The hundreds of small farmers and those interested in small farming are gathering at Coliseum and the Charleston Convention Center this week.
The Thirteenth West Virginia Farm Annual Conference hosted the West Virginia West University University Expand Services, in association with West Virginia West Virginia Department (WVDA) and various partners, on Wednesday morning.
"We have farmers coming from all over the state and across the region," said Lisa Jones, the WVU Broadband Service Center Program Program Co-ordinator. "They come from our education classes, we have a trade show, our Saturday Blue Winter Farmers Market, a silk swap competition, popcorn, and more. All kinds of fun things that show small farming and farming specifically in West Virginia."
Wednesday morning went to various education courses that anyone can take. The conference has a 3 day pass, which is just good for Thursday, selling for $ 210 and one day pass, good for one day, selling for $ 90. One passport will allow one course that day.
Jones said there is something for every farmer to choose from over 100 education courses. She mentioned classes such as agricultural tax, food safety, and farm marketing for those farming beginners, and courses such as research trials and effective production practices, farmers.
"We offer a lot of different classes for start-ups," Jones said. "Beginners who may have a farm or a farm are not ready, they really do not really enter. We also provide classes for much longer, much larger individuals."
It is hoped that the conference, in its 4th year in Charleston, will see around 600 people serving five-generation farmers who are starting to grow products such as glittering and bumper. The last event on Saturday is the Winter Warriors Market in recent years, sellers are selling everything from bottled maple syrup to popcorn, fresh farm eggs with goat milk soap, WVU Expand Services i released. Fresh vegetable producers also sold in greenhouses and high tunnels in the middle of winter.
"We decided to put it on Saturday and it is hoped that more people from Charleston will be taking part in our event as it is officially open to the public at that point," said Jones. "We also wanted to have a way for our servers to be able to get a product to go home with them."
Jones said that all the event, and especially Saturday when the general public, will have a great opportunity in West Virginia for small farms because many people are interested in farming but also many buyers who are want to buy local.
"We want to encourage individuals to go up and grow more things on their farm so that we can connect them with those buyers who wish to enter local products into the school system, at a restaurant, on a farmer's market In the community, it may be looking for more producers, "she said.
According to the USDA's latest study on small farms across the United States, West Virginia had a small one-off rating with a 97 percent mark. That means that 97 per cent of farms in West Virginia are defined as small farms, such as farms with a main occupation by an operator other than farming, farms with small income and retirement farms.
The conference will have various key programmers and activities and ways to learn about small farming through vendors and education. For more information on the conference, visit the West Virginia University University Extension Service website or click here.