Living and Working on the Land conference Sept. 3-4 in Sheridan

(Press release) — Backyard poultry, horse health, beekeeping, growing small fruits and alternative energy are among the topics at a Sept. 3-4 conference in Sheridan that celebrates rural living. Other sessions include making local food systems work, women on the ranch, marketing, small-scale dairies (including cheese-making) and ag of the future.

One of the organizers, University of Wyoming Extension specialist Cole Ehmke, calls the “Living and Working on the Land: Building Blocks of Success” conference a superb networking and learning event for the region’s agriculture community.

“Bring your coffee cups and gather in Sheridan for food, workshops, tours and the best insight from preeminent rural thinkers,” Ehmke said. “The conference is an excellent opportunity for people interested in exploring new ventures on their land, direct-marketing, stewardship and networking with others of similar interests.”

Agricultural producers, land managers, hobby farmers, small-acreage owners, backyard gardeners and local food enthusiasts will all find something to fit their skill level and areas of interest. 

Ehmke said the conference will feature two nationally recognized experts in their fields, Ken Meter, president of the Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, and Fred Kirschenmann, distinguished fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

Meter is one of the foremost analysts of food systems in the country. His work with communities on local food systems integrates market analysis, business development, systems thinking and social concerns.

Kirschenmann is a longtime national and international leader in sustainable agriculture. In addition to his work at the Leopold Center, he manages his family’s 2,600-acre certified organic farm in North Dakota.

Talks by the two keynote speakers and others will help participants who want to accomplish more with their properties, and the event is also designed for those interested in the future of rural areas. 

Early registration by Aug. 15 is $50, while the fee after that date is $65. This includes meals and tours. The first 50 agricultural producers to register for the conference will be eligible for a full refund of the registration fee. A limited number of scholarships for lodging are also available to producers.

The conference begins at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the Sheridan Holiday Inn Convention Center. The day includes talks and concurrent sessions on practical homestead and rural enterprise management followed by dinner at 5 p.m. and entertainment at 6.

After the morning sessions and lunch on Thursday, Sept. 4, participants can choose from three tour/workshop options, including trips to an apiary, community-supported agriculture operation or fiber mill, or a food preservation workshop.

Sponsors include the University of Wyoming Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency, Wyoming Business Council’s Agribusiness Division and Audubon Rockies.

To register, contact Kacy Atkinson with the WBC’s Agribusiness Division at (307) 777-6319, or email her at kacy.atkinson@wyo.gov.

For additional information, visit www.blocksofsuccess.org, or contact Cole Ehmke at 307-766-3782 or cehmke@uwyo.edu. 

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