Kansas Rural Center Annual Conference
530 Richards Dr
Manhattan, KS 66502
The Kansas Rural Center’s annual conference, to be held November 17 – 18, will feature 12 to 15 workshops each day, providing practical information for diversifying farm or ranch enterprises, building and supporting local and regional food systems, and communicating effectively in order to improve on-farm, community, and public policy decisions.
The conference will be held at the Four Points Sheraton in Manhattan, Kansas. A full agenda and registration information is available online at www.kansasruralcenter.org.
Keynote speakers include Denise O’Brien on Friday Nov. 17, and Ferd Hoefner on Saturday Nov. 18. O’Brien will talk about “What Can One Person Do? The Perspective of a Long-time Activist.”
O’Brien, a long-time advocate for family farms, women farmers, and environmental protection, will also participate in a workshop session on the challenges of addressing spray drift with comments on the emerging Dicamba threat. O’Brien is current chair of the Pesticide Action Network.
Hoefner will provide a presentation called, “The Past, Present, and Future of Sustainable Agriculture.” He will provide an overview of farm policy, on-the-ground successes, and work yet to be done to ensure a sustainable food and farming future. He’ll share his 30 years of experience working in D.C. to shape sustainable agriculture policy and what’s on the horizon with the 2018 Farm Bill as well as the future for sustainable agriculture.
One track of sessions titled “The Farmer to Farmer Forum”, will highlight NCR-SARE (North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) funded farmer research projects, with presentations from across Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. These include a return of last year’s workshops on capturing local honey bee strains and sustainable beekeeping by Leo Sharashkin of Missouri and the economics of grazing and haying cover crops by Josh Roe, plus new presentations on diversifying crop rotations in a semi-arid environment, portable grazing system for goats on invasive weeds and brush, and exploration of a mobile meat marketing unit.
Other workshop sessions include conservation practices and cover crops in specialty crop production, a dialogue on opportunities and future vision for small meat farmers in Kansas, farming with limited resources, conservation & biological control/attracting beneficial insects to your farm, local food councils in Kansas, climate and health resilience, how agroecological practices can improve crop production and grazing systems, the future of organic farming, increasing biodiversity, carbon and forest products in woodlands, and the 2018 Kansas policy preview by the WEALTH network of organizations (Water, Energy, Air, Land, Transportation and Health).
Cost to attend the conference is $70 per day or $135 for both days, which includes access to all presenters, lunch and snacks both days, and a Friday evening social hour. A limited number of scholarships are available to students and beginning farmers. Both days will include a lunch from locally-sourced ingredients and will offer conference attendees time for networking and visiting exhibitor booths.
Hotel rooms at Four points by Sheraton available at a discounted rate until Oct. 24 for conference participants. To reserve a room call 888-627-8649 and request the group rate for “Kansas Rural Center Farm and Food Conference.”