18th Annual Virginia Biological Farming Conference
Hot Springs, Virginia
Pre-conference workshops Monday January 9
General Conference Tuesday-Wednesday January 10-11
Special early registration for VABF members ends Nov 11

The conference includes tracks on vegetable production, other specialty crops (industrial hemp, mushrooms, flowers, herbs), soil health, pollinators and beekeeping, livestock, and marketing and business.  Special topics include permaculture, biodynamics, rain harvesting, debt-free homesteading, understanding the Food Safety Modernization Act, and shaping the 2018 Farm Bill.Early registration (for VABF members) ends this Friday Nov 11 (you can still register thereafter, costs $20 more).  Non-member registration stays the same before and after Thursday.For more information and link to registration, visit http://vabf.org/conference/.

The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition will have its next Coalition meeting on:

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Frontier Culture Museum

Staunton, VA

The Management team and Advisory group have been meeting regularly since our last meeting in May, and it is time to come together again with all of our partners and Virginia’s farmers to:

  • Network
  • Discuss the work has been completed by the Coalition through our whole farm planning teams, action teams, and partners who have completed mini-grant projects
  • And plan for future Coalition work and partnerships.

We can compensate round-trip mileage ($.45/mile) for those participants who choose to use their personal vehicle (or VT Fleet vehicle) to attend the training and/or meeting. We will provide the appropriate forms for this process on-site. If you will be traveling a long distance (e.g. over 3 hours one-way) or have any special needs, we can provide hotel accommodations.

Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Program

Email: allys91@vt.edu

“Knee Deep” Grazing and Pasture Management Workshop Series (Verona, VA)

January 19, January 26, & February 2
Augusta County Government Center
18 Government Center Lane
Verona, VA

This course is designed for both beginning and experienced producers. The last night will offer the opportunity to sit down with our instructors to begin developing a custom grazing plan for your operation.

Thursday, January 19th

  • Grazing management
  • Matching forage quality and animal needs

Thursday, January 26th

  • Pasture renovation and improvement
  • Fencing and watering options
  • Creating a forage budget

Thursday, February 2nd

  • Designing a rotational grazing system
  • Strategies to extend the grazing season


  • Each evening will begin at 6 PM with a light dinner
  • A $20 registration fee which will be due at the first workshop
  • Space is limited to the first 30 participants. Please RSVP no later than January 9, 2017 to reserve your seat
  • RSVPs can be sent to Matt Booher at mrbooher@vt.edu, phone 540-245-5750, or Rebecca Webert at rwebert@fcvirginias.com, phone 540-347-3344
  • If you have any questiosn or would like additional information, please feel free to contact Matt or Rebecca at any time

Beginning Farmer Workshop Series that will be held in and around Louisa County

A Beginning Farmer Workshop Series that will be held in and around Louisa County meeting monthly beginning in January. The cost is $10 per person per workshop.  You must register at least one week before each workshop (for workshops with less than 10 participants one week out we reserve the right to cancel.) PS- You don’t have to be a “beginning farmer” to register- many of these workshops are very applicable to anyone who farms! Please contact Sarah Sharpe, seweaver@vt.edu to register.

-Farm Financials Part 1- January 26, 6 pm – 8:30 pm at the Louisa County Extension Office (The two part series will cover managing financial risk, farm budgeting, financial statements, and more)

-Farm Financials Part 2- February 15, 6 pm – 8:30 pm at the Louisa County Extension Office

-An Overview of NRCS, FSA, and Soil and Water Incentive Programs- March 16, 6 pm – 8 pm at the Louisa County Extension Office

-High Tunnel Production and Farm Walk- April 25, 5 pm—7pm, Hill Farm, Louisa County (address will be given to those who register)

-Goat Production- May (Date and Time TBA)

-What can I do with my forested lands?- August (Date and Time TBA)

Food Safety Best Practices for Farmers Market Growers:

A hands-on workshop focusing on a risk-based framework to increase fresh produce food safety from farm to consumer

Virginia Cooperative Extension

· Roanoke, Jan 25, 2017

Details (PDF)

The Roanoke Registration will be coming soon. For now, the Christiansburg and Abingdon dates are open.

You can register via the link provided on the form. You can also connect with us on our Facebook Event Page.

2017 Southern SAWG Conference:  Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms
Lexington, Kentucky
Pre-conference short courses, minicourses, and farm tours –  Wednesday and Thursday, January 25-26
General Conference – Friday and Saturday, January 27-28

This is a unique opportunity to gather with over 1,000 farmerr, researchers, educators, and advocates for sustainable agriculture from across the Southern region (TX, OK, AR, LA, MS, AL, TN, KY, VA, NC , SC, GA, FL, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands) to learn, shar resources, make new connections and deepen existing ones.  Two days of short courses, farm tours and the 2017 Organic Agriculture Reseasrch Symposium, then two more days of plenary and breakout sessions on a wide range of topics from how to build soil or grow vegetables organically to sustanable food systems, food sovereignty, and policy issues.  For more information, visit http://www.ssawg.org/january-2017-conference/.

Early registration closes December 21 (you can still register after that, but it costs a bit more).  Registration for all pre-conference events and general conference at: http://www.ssawg.org/registration.

Special Featured Event at the Southern SAWG Conference:

Student Farms Short Course: Maximizing Learning Opportunities on College Farms
Wednesday, January. 25, 2017  8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Thursday, January. 26, 2017   8:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Instructors: Shawn Jadrnicek, Clemson University; Robin Kohanowich, Central Carolina Community College; Mark Williams, University of Kentucky

This course addresses the unique challenges facing the creation, design and management of student farms on college campuses. Information in this course is designed for those already running student farms as well as schools and organizations interested in starting a student farm. Representing unique and successful models of student farms in the Southeast, each instructor brings a wealth of experience in managing farms where a key “product” is new farmers. By sharing their own experience in managing farms where student learning is a priority (but funding can be a challenge) this course will help you avoid common pitfalls and set realistic expectations for your school farm. Plenty of time will be given for questions and discussion. The course will cover:
Getting Started
University and Community Support
Red Tape (School, State, National)
Funding Models
Farm Designs
Curriculum Development
Education vs Production
Season vs. School Calendars
Sustainable Labor
Management Practices

Take-home materials will include a resource list for student farms and classroom training compiled by the presenters. Come learn from those at the forefront of college farm development in the South.

2017 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium

January 25-26 – Lexington, KY  – Held in conjunction with Southern SAWG Conference (above)
Scholarships available (apply by January 5), and the call for abstracts for presentations remains open through October 15.

Bionutrient Food Production 2-day Workshop

Richmond, VA February 18th and 19th

The local Virginia Chapter of the Bionutrient Food Association will be hosting Dan Kittredge for a Bionutrient Food Production 2-day Workshop! It will be taking place in Richmond February 18th and 19th at a cool place called Create Space. Dan Kittredge will be dropping knowledge to the max, so don’t miss it if you haven’t attended one of these workshops yet!

This two-day workshop is designed to teach the basic principles & practices of biological farming for higher quality crops — for better taste, pest & disease resilience, and shelf life, plus higher levels of nutrients beneficial to human health.

You will learn:

✓ Interpreting soil tests

✓ Mineral balancing and amendments

✓ Strategies for soil health improvement

✓ Biological seed inoculation

✓ Conductivity, refractometers and brix

✓ In-season crop monitoring and feeding with nutrient drenches & foliar sprays

Check out more details and register online here: http://www.bionutrient.org/workshop

Not sure you want to join us for the workshop? No worries, come listen to an Introductory Lecture on the Core Principles of Bionutrient Food Production with Dan on January 30th in Richmond at one of the following times and locations.

Monday, January 30th in Richmond (mid-day)
Date: Monday, January 30th, 2017
Time: 11:30am – 1:30pm
Location: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23228

Monday, January 30th in Richmond (evening)
Date: Monday, January 30th,2017
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: The Beet Cafe (Ellwood Thompson’s)
4 N. Thompson St. Richmond VA 23221