Published July 1, 2021
August 8-10, 2021
Texas State University | San Marcos
Hosts Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, the Council for Healthy Food Systems, and the Small Producers Initiative of Texas State University cannot wait to gather in-person with our amazing community of farmers, ranchers, allied organizations, homesteaders, gardeners, chefs, and advocates of local and regional foods!
This annual Conference, previously known as the Farm & Food Leadership Conference, has a new name to reflect our ongoing partnership and our expanded reach.
Sunday, Aug. 8, is devoted to in-depth workshops, while Monday and Tuesday present a wide range of topics with six concurrent tracks covering livestock, crops, policy and social issues, technology, finance/business/marketing, research, and topics for homesteaders and startups.
Will is recognized as a worldwide leader in humane animal husbandry and environmental sustainability. He is a fourth-generation cattleman, who tends the same Bluffton, Ga., land that his great-grandfather settled in 1866. In the mid-1990s, Will became disenchanted with industrialized methods of ranching and (with much success) returned White Oak Pastures to the type of regenerative farming his great-grandfather had used.
Lyla June Johnston
Lyla June is an Indigenous public speaker, artist, scholar, and community organizer. Her messages focus on Indigenous rights, supporting youth, traditional land stewardship practices, and healing inter-generational and inter-cultural trauma. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in Indigenous Studies with a focus on Indigenous Food Systems Revitalization.
A Sampling of Monday & Tuesday Sessions
Livestock Track Includes:
- Livestock nutrition
- Sustainability in dairy management
- Goat & sheep management
- Best breeds for heat tolerance
Crops Track Includes:
- Equipment for small acreage crop growing
- Orchard and fruit production
- Specialty row crops
Policy/Social/Economic Issues Track Includes:
- Who controls our food: The issues with consolidation
- The carbon market debate
- Power dynamics & systemic injustice in our food system
- Texas and Federal legislative updates
Finance/Business/Marketing Track Includes:
- Selling to a wholesale distributor
- Lessons learned in 36 years of market farming
- Become a social media marketing wizard
- The value of “organic” and other certifications
Sunday, August 8
Come a day early and attend one or more of these in-depth workshops:
1. Boosting Resilience (and Preventing Failure) for Your Farm (Full-Day)
The morning will cover whole enterprise planning and goal setting, and the interface between the farm and home. That includes the impact of family dynamics as well as planning for a variety of crises, whether they be weather- or market-related. We’ll also touch on resilience “backups” through USDA programs, from crop insurance to disaster relief. The afternoon will offer your choice of one-on-one consultations or attending the marketing or co-op workshop.
2. Designing Food Safety Into the Farm (Morning/Half-Day)
This half-day workshop will present ways you can set up your wash-and-pack area for optimal flow and produce safety as well as offer tips and best practices for worker training and management in the wash-and-pack space.
3. Small Farm Marketing Strategies & Tools (Afternoon/Half-Day)
New and beginning farmers will gain knowledge to determine which marketing strategies will work best for their farm and seasoned farmers will leave with new information about the latest local food marketing strategies.
4. Starting & Running a Successful Co-Op (Afternoon/Half-Day)
Co-op development experts and co-op founders from across Texas will explore the many ways that cooperation can build strong, resilient farmer and rancher networks as well as a committed, reliable customer base.
SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE
Small Producers Initiative, thanks to a grant from USDA, has a number of scholarships available to attend the Monday and Tuesday sessions. Farmers and ranchers from historically underserved groups are strongly encouraged to apply.
If you are interested in being a Sponsor or Exhibitor, please download our Sponsorship/Exhibitor Packet for details.