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1995 Farm Conference - Visalia

Tremendous strides this century in agricultural science and technology have not made traditional, small, family farms obsolete. In fact, 60,000 small farms in California produce crops valued at roughly $1 billion using sophisticated production and marketing systems.

These innovations are the hallmark of the annual California Farm Conference, which this year brings farmers, farmers' market managers, agricultural consultants and other members of the agriculture industry from all over the state to the Radisson Hotel and Convention Center in Visalia. Three days of workshops, tours, speakers, and special events at the conference all focus on sustaining farm profitibility.

"Operating a successful farm requires many special skills and abilities," said conference coordinator David Visher of the Small Farm Program. "These talents including an intimate understanding of land and crops, market intuition, and familiarity with new agricultural technology are no where more important than on small, family farms."

The conference begins Sunday, February 18, with optional tours and short courses, and formally opens that evening with a reception featuring California wine, food grown by local farmers and dishes prepared by local restaurant chefs.

"The reception offers participants the chance to taste some of the best food in the valley, and, perhaps more importantly, it helps connect the produce harvested on farms with the food on consumers' tables," Visher said.

The agenda Monday and Tuesday, February 19 and 20, features nationally known keynote speakers and nearly 40 workshops. The workshops focus on four themes: marketing, production, sustainability, and farm management.

"The workshops offer a wide variety of information, everything from improving soil fertility and using cover crop systems to selling produce to restaurants and wholesale distributors," Visher said. "Participants can tailor the conference to their needs by selecting the workshops of their choice."

Keynote speakers include Mas Masumoto, a Dinuba farmer and the celebrated author of Epitaph for a Peachand Marty Strange, program director and co-founder of the Center for Rural Affairs in Walthill, Nebraska. The Center is devoted to the economic, social and environmental well being of rural America.

Basic conference registration is $95. For more information, call the California Federation of Certified Farmers' Markets at (818) 449-0179 to request a registration packet.