2021 Conference Program

AUGUST 8-10, 2021

San Marcos, Texas

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The Small Family Farmers & Food Systems Conference kicks off with half-day and full-day pre-conference workshops on Sunday, Aug. 8. Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 9-10, are packed with dozens of opportunities to learn and to enhance your local foods business. Both days offer six concurrent tracks, ensuring that, no matter your interest, you’ll find plenty of topics that fit your needs.

(Sunday’s pre-Conference workshops are described following the Monday-Tuesday schedule.)

Be sure to join us Sunday, 5-7 p.m., in the LBJ Student Center/Exhibit Hall for a pre-Conference social!

(Please note that this schedule remains tentative, times are subject to change.)


7:30-8:45 a.m.

8:45-10 a.m.
Session 1

Who Controls Our Food: The Issues With Consolidation: Doug Constance, Scott Marlow

Gardening for Food Production: Boone Holladay

Soil Health: Cover Crops & More: Ray Archuleta

Working With Your Meat Processor: Wendy Taggart

Lessons Learned in 40 Years of Market Farming: Alex Hitt

Academic Research Presentations 

10:30 a.m.-noon
Session 2

The Economics of Local Food – What Will It Take to Grow Market Share: Chloe Sorvino, Frankie Bayne, Margaret Smith, Will Harris

Basics of Beekeeping: Walt & Heather Draker

Starting a Successful Vegetable Farm: Becky Hume, Diana Padilla

Sustainable Dairying: Jim Goodman, Craig Miller

Farm-to-Table: COVID and What Happens Next: Erroll Schweizer, Sonya Cote, and Mark Jacob

Academic Research Presentations

1:30-3 p.m.
Session 3

The Carbon Markets Debate: Jim Goodman, Jim Blackburn

Success with Cottage Foods: Judith McGeary, Kelley Masters

Equipment for Small Acreage: Andy Pressman, Brent Heironimus

Animal Nutrition & Phytochemicals: Stephan van Vliet

Selling to a Wholesale Distributor: Evan Driscoll, Margaret Smith, Jarryd Brennan

Academic Research Presentations

3:30-5 p.m.
Session 4

Power Dynamics & Systemic Injustice in Our Food System: Dr. Gail Myers, Anita Ross, Matt Solberg, Lyla June Johnston

Preserving Food – Fermenting, Canning & More: Ryan Farnau, Aislynn Campbell

Food Safety for Produce Growers: Michelle Akindiya, Frankie Bayne, Codie Brown

Goat & Sheep Management: Liz Benavides, Lauri Celella

Grant & Cost-Share Programs for Producers: Samantha Salinas, Nelson Daniels, Kat Neilson

Academic Research Presentations

5:15-6:15 p.m.
FARFA Member Meeting

6:30-8:30 p.m.
Dinner & Keynote with Will Harris


7:30-8:30 a.m.

8:30-10 a.m.
Session 1

Healthy Soils – Why They Matter & How We Get There: Alex Racelis, Kara Kroeger, Stephan van Vliet

Resources for Beginning Farmers: Jay Bragg, Michelle Akindiya, Doug Havemann, and Bertha Venega

Successful Orcharding & Fruit Production: Betsy Ross, Guy Ames, Dan Rohrer

Livestock Breeds for Heat Tolerance: Steven Lukefahr, Travis Krause, Heather Blewett

Social Media Marketing: Jeff Bednar, Chaz Daughtry, Lisa Seger

On-Farm Renewable Energy: Will Harris, Semih Aslan, Nick DeVries

10:30-11:45 a.m.
Session 2

Legislative Update from DC & Austin: Patty Lovera, Judith McGeary

Floriculture for Profit: Gretchen O’Neil and Grant Winkelman

Hyrdroponics & Aquaponics: Jeff Bednar, Kevin Wheeler

Pastured Poultry: Doug Havemann

Certification Options for Producers – Organic, Grassfed, & More: Morgan Ehmling, Don Davis, and Alice Varon

Technologies for Remote Monitoring: Liz Benavides, Matt Kutugata, Rishab Basutkar

Noon-1:30 p.m.
Lunch & Keynote by Lyla June Johnston

1:45-3:15 p.m.
Session 3

Engaging Youth in Food & Agriculture: Stephen Lucke, Lauren Maples, Angela Vela, Hernan Colmenero

Grant Writing for Producers & Producer Organizations: Susie Marshall, Ken Mix, Elise Haschke

Silvopasturing: Integrating Trees & Livestock Production: Colin Mitchell, Justin Graham

Pasture Diversity & Nutrition: Peggy Sechrist, Kara Kroeger

Farmers’ Markets from the Farmer’s Perspective: Ben Guyton and Michelle Akindiya

Software Tools for Producers: Pedro Schambon, Liz Jeffers, and Mason Zepeda

3:45-5 p.m.
Session 4

So Many Ways to Be an Activist! Leslie Provence, Marie Tedei, Matthew Posey

Mushroom Production: E. Ray Gard

Raising Pastured Pigs: Tina & Orion Weldon

Financial Essentials for Producers: Tim Traister, Jarred Maxwell, Bertha Venegas

Sunday Pre-Conference Workshops

Approx. 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. & 1:30-5  p.m. (Lunch will be provided for full-day attendees)

1. Why Farms Fail: Planning for a Resilient Family 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 offers three alternatives for attendees:

    • Roundtable session with FARFA and other organizations involved in the disaster relief efforts, to discuss how to better coordinate and support our community in future disasters.
    • Individual consultations (15-20 minutes, one-on-one meetings with farm crisis experts).
    • Attend one of the other afternoon sessions (Small Farm Marketing or Starting a Successful Co-Op).

Presented by Scott Marlow, Glen Miracle, Stephen Carpenter

2. Designing Food Safety Into the Farm (9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

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. We’ll also touch on any recordkeeping necessary for the process. All of the topics discussed in the workshop will focus on produce safety within the FSMA produce safety rules.

Presented by Lorig Hawkins, Billy Mitchell

3. Small Farm Marketing Strategies & Tools (1:30-5 p.m.)

This workshop will help new and beginning farmers determine which marketing strategies will work best for their farm and will provide seasoned farmers with new information about local food marketing strategies. You’ll hear from a panel of Texas farmers and ranchers about the benefits, drawbacks, and their personal experiences with several local food marketing strategies: community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, farmers markets, and wholesaling, to name a few.

In the second half of the workshop, you’ll learn about online marketing platforms and how this rapidly expanding technology can help farmers connect to the thousands of consumers who now shop for their food online. There will be plenty of time for Q&A, so bring your questions!

Presented by Lorig Hawkins, Ivy Walls, Mark Hutchins, & representatives from online marketing platforms Barn2Door, GrownBy, Local Food Marketplace

4. Starting & Running a Successful Co-Op (1:30-5 p.m.)

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. Topics include:

    • Reducing expenses and increasing market access.
    • Start-up basics.
    • Co-op business planning and design.
    • Worker cooperative farms and cooperative land trusts.
    • Legal and tax considerations.

Presented by Annelies Lottmann & Drew De Los Santos