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Farm, Home and Ministers' conference connects community to resources

Published: 03/23/15 4:45PM
By: bradleyc

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Robert Taylor, owner of Tilford Winery and Farm in Kathleen, (left) receives the 2015 Farm Family of the Year Award March 7. Dr. Mark Latimore Jr., FVSU extension administrator (right) presents the award to Taylor during the closing ceremony of the 2015 Farm, Home and Minsters' Conference.

Three days of learning and sharing came to a close on Saturday March 7, during an awards ceremony at the Pettigrew Center. The ceremony concluded the 38th annual Farm, Home and Ministers' (FHM) Conference which drew more than 200 participants.

The FHM Conference provides free education to persons involved in agriculture, community development and sustainability, as well as faith-based organizations. The 2015 FHM conference began with a pre-conference offering Master Goat Certification on March 5-6 for registered participants. On March 6-7, the traditional conference began where attendees participated in multiple breakout sessions taught by representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other professional organizations. Session topics included, the Farm Bill, financial planning and healthy cooking tips.

Fredando Jackson, social entrepreneur and representative for iGrow Americus, an organization that teaches people how to grow food, taught a breakout session about vegetable and organic production with Naomi Davis, executive director of Digging Roots Educational Farm, Inc., in Roberta.

Jackson said this year marked his second time attending the FHM conference, and he is grateful that FVSU connects with small-scale producers, socially disadvantaged farmers, churches and non-profits to sustain the community.

"The conference is beneficial to small farmers like my clients because it provides access to government agencies that can provide information that could help agriculture production," Jackson said.

On March 7, Jackson and more than 60 participants ended the conference with a breakfast, graduation ceremony for participants of the Master Goat Certification, and the presentation of awards.

John Dumas, a retired U.S. Department of Agriculture employee, received the Community Humanitarian of the Year Award. Dumas received the award for mentoring and training students to gain internships and co-op opportunities with government agencies as wells as conducting interview training sessions for graduates of FVSU.

Robert Taylor, owner of Tilford Winery and Farms, received the 2015 Farm Family of the Year Award for providing vegetables to the Women Infant and Children (WIC) Program and for the operation of a winery using muscadines and grapes. Click the link to see a video about the production at www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVvegNiOXe8.

For more information about workshops or conferences taking place in the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, or the Cooperative Extension Program call 478-825-6296.