A crowd of more than 75 small farmers, homeowners and gardeners packed the main room of the Worth County Agricultural Pavilion to attend the Small Farmers Training Conference in Sylvester on Jan. 11. Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Extension Program sponsored the training conference.
From 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m., conference attendees listened to presentations from representatives of FVSU’s Cooperative Extension Program, University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension Program and local farmers.
“The purpose of the Small Farmers Training Conference is to educate farmers by focusing on innovative agriculture topics relating to their farm enterprise,” said Charlie Grace, FVSU’s Extension agent for Dougherty, Lee and Worth Counties. “On a broader scale, the conference provides farmers information to sharpen their skills and become more productive and efficient on the farm,” Grace said.
In addition, Grace said the workshop gave farmers opportunities to learn different agricultural techniques and practices from each other through networking.
Topics of discussion included beekeeping production and pollination, raised bed boxes for gardening, record keeping and Hurricane Michael relief. Farmers also displayed crops or products grown on their farms and had some samples for sale.
George Hall Jr., a farmer in Worth County who has a 200 acre farm, said the in depth information presented concerning hurricane damage will be very helpful to him. “I was very interested in the insurance part of the conference in reference to seeking compensation for the damage we received to our pecan orchard,” Hall said.
The Worth County farmer also said he is looking forward to participating in an upcoming record keeping training course taught by Grace and fellow FVSU Extension agent Stefan Price to improve his bookkeeping methods. “I want to get everything up and running correctly when it comes to dealing with the government because I don’t need any tax problems,” Hall said.
“I wanted to learn as much as I could to help farmers,” said H. TiaJuana Malone, a community advocate and barber from Albany. She said she wants to help small farmers navigate the intricacies of the Farm Bill and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) process because food has to be certified as to where it’s coming from.
For more information about conferences for small farmers, contact Grace at (478) 235-7091 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.