Conference has plenty of information for farmers

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 28, 2018

By Michael O. Fine

Rowan Cooperative Extension

A few weeks back we mentioned the fact that in the agricultural sector, there really isn’t an off-season for farm operators.

Though vegetative production ceases and there is a short window of time before field-prepping begins in the early spring, farmers take advantage of this time to maintain and service all equipment, repair infrastructure, re-assess last year’s operations, and plan the season ahead.

Seasoned farmers will also take advantage of the off-season to attend conferences and trade shows in order to educate themselves and stay on top of the newest farming practices and procedures. It’s important as a farm operator to recognize that farming is a lifelong learning adventure and that the lessons learned from year to year accumulate over time to equip farmers with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful.

For newly aspiring farm or homestead operators with little to no background in agriculture, a little up-front education can go a long way towards equipping them with a base of knowledge during those first, formidable, start-up years.

Too many times we see folks dive into an “agri-adventure,” whether for profit or for personal objectives, without a baseline of good knowledge under their hats. For some, mistakes are made, lessons are learned and they persevere.

For others, the turbulence of starting a new agricultural enterprise from scratch is too severe and as hard-ships mount, monetary resources and motivation decrease. In either case, the folks who have experienced those hard-taught lessons in agriculture will all agree on one thing: They wish they had sought more advice in the early stages, which would have saved them a lot of heartache and money.

In recognition of the need for good educational opportunities for aspiring farmers, The North Carolina Cooperative Extension is hosting a free educational conference and trade show at the Iredell County Extension Office, 444 Bristol Drive, Statesville, on Saturday, Feb. 9. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. and lasts until 2:30 p.m.

Guest are encouraged to bring their farm-related questions and take advantage of the good connections that can be made at the adjoining, indoor trade show. Three concurrent educational tracts will cover a broad range of agricultural enterprises with a focus on new and beginning farm/homestead operators.

Presenters will include seasoned, local farmers, N.C. Cooperative Extension specialists and apiary professionals from North Carolina Department of Agriculture.

Helpful hint: It’s always a good idea to travel with a group from your operation or family in order to split up and take part in various sessions, ensuring that your farm captures all the information possible.

It’s a free event and the information you learn can be the difference between setting up a solid farm enterprise that prospers or a chaotic mess marked with “would’ve, could’ve and should’ve.” So please take advantage of this “Agritunity” and we hope to see you there.

For more information or to register, visit