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Emerging ag markets seminar set

By Staff | Mar 23, 2009

AMES – The latest research on financing and managing niche enterprises, local food distribution networks and other emerging business opportunities for farmers will be presented Monday, March 30 at a no-cost workshop hosted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

The daylong event will feature short presentations by leaders of more than 25 projects funded by the Leopold Center’s Marketing and Food Systems Initiative as well as working groups in the Value Chain Partnership project. The workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames.

“Given the uncertain economic times, this workshop is more important than ever in helping farmers and entrepreneurs access new information that will help them succeed,” said Rich Pirog, who is associate director for the Leopold Center and leads the Marketing and Food Systems Initiative.

Keynote speaker Virginia Clarke, coordinator of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders Network, will provide insights on sustainable agriculture and food system funding trends. She will share how more funders are now “walking their talk” – communicating and collaborating with other funders and private and public sector partners to achieve their goals.

Headlining the workshop will be reports from five working groups that focus on niche pork, local and regional foods, fruit and vegetable production, small meat processors and grass-based livestock.

Several concurrent sessions will highlight results and updates for active projects. Topics include:

  • New tools to build local and regional food businesses;
  • Livestock production systems and Iowa Agritourism;
  • Building resilient local food systems;
  • Local and regional food distribution;
  • Business skills and financing in local and regional food enterprises;
  • Saving energy and labor on the farm, and
  • New farmers and new students in sustainable agriculture.

In addition to these topics, workshop participants will learn about new research on tap in nearly 20 new projects underway at the Leopold Center.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required by March 19 to ensure a lunch ticket. For more information, contact Rich Pirog at rspirog@iastate.edu, or Beth Larabee at blarabee@iastate.edu.

A detailed agenda and registration are online at: www.leopold.iastate.edu/workshop.htm.

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