The 20th annual Business of Farming Conference, presented by ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project), will be held Feb. 11 at the A-B Tech Conference Center.
The conference focuses on the business side of farming, offering beginning and established farmers financial, legal, operational, and marketing tools to improve farm businesses and make professional connections.
More than a dozen workshops, including seven new, will be led by innovative farmers and specialists. Among the new sessions for 2023 are “Intro to Land Access,” guidance for new or expanding farm businesses on buying or leasing land; “Planning for Long-term Farm Success,” strategies for improving quality of life as a farmer and plan for retirement; and “Farm Resiliency,” drawing from peer farmer experiences to prepare for and recover from adverse weather events.
“Farmers need the chance to come together and learn from each other, as well as connect with ag support agents like me,” said Craig Mauney, Extension Area Specialized Agent for the NC Cooperative Extension and member of ASAP’s board of directors. Mauney will co-present the “Farm Resiliency” workshop with farmer Danielle Hutchinson of BNH Enterprises, as well as offer one-on-one consulting during the conference. “Especially with a topic like farm resiliency, I can provide resources and best practices for planning, but hearing from peer farmers who have worked through business recovery from unexpected events, like extreme weather, is invaluable.”
The popular Grower-Buyer Meeting, in which farmers meet with chefs, grocers, wholesalers, and other buyers to discuss their products and potential business relationships, will be held at lunchtime. Other networking opportunities include one-on-one sessions and an exhibitor hall. Embedded within the conference is the Farmers Market Summit, a chance for farmers market managers from across the region to come together for peer-sharing, technical assistance support, and annual planning.
Registration is now open at asapconnections.org. The cost is $75 by Jan. 15 and $95 after, with a discount for farm partners registering together. Scholarships are available for limited-resource and BIPOC farmers. The registration price includes a locally sourced breakfast and lunch. Lunch is sponsored by Farm Burger.
Support for the conference is provided in part by the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Dogwood Health Trust, NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, USDA, and Wells Fargo.