Sunday, February 24, 2019

Farming our Future Conference

The Fifth Biennial Farming Our Future “Enhancing Agricultural Literacy in the Community” Conference will take place Saturday, February 23, 2019 at the Taconic Hills Central School Performing Arts Center, Craryville, from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm. The conference will focus on the importance of knowing where our food comes from as well as looking at sustainability, best management practices, land use, community engagement and farming techniques.

Jessica Ziehm, former Executive Director of the New York Agriculture Animal Coalition, will open with a keynote address that will be followed by a variety of one hour-long workshop offerings. A lifelong agriculture advocate, Ziehm grew up on a dairy farm in eastern New York. She has marketed livestock feed for Cargill, promoted milk in the Southeast through the dairy check-off program, worked on member publications for the New York Farm Bureau, and served as the sole spokesperson for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for twelve years.

Most recently, she served as the Executive Director of the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition, a group dedicated to enhancing the public’s awareness and understanding of modern animal agriculture. In this role, Ziehm empowered farmers to tell their story, while enticing consumers to learn about the industry she loves and lives. One way she accomplished that was through the creation of the Dairy Cow Birthing Center at the New York State Fair that brings together more than 300 dairy industry volunteers and attracts over 300,000 people annually.

Conference attendees will be able to take part in two workshops following Ziehm’s keynote address as well as mingle and network with a variety of agriculture-related exhibitors. Workshops will address such topics as food system interconnectedness, agricultural resiliency, agricultural mediation, NY Grown & Certified and more. Confirmed exhibitors include Columbia-Greene Community College, Columbia Land Conservancy, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columba and Greene Counties, and Columbia County Farm Bureau.

The conference is designed to attract a diverse audience from the community including established farmers, beginning farmers, interested non-farmers, suppliers, educators, community officials, industry leaders, and students. A $25 registration fee will cover the cost of breakfast, lunch and refreshments.

The conference is being sponsored by Berkshire Ag Ventures, Columbia-Greene Media, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties, Columbia Land Conservancy, Farm Credit East, and Taconic Hills Central Schools. For more information on the conference, contact steering committee members Steve Hadcock at email hidden; JavaScript is required or Sandra Gardner at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

The Taconic Hills Central Schools Performing Arts Center is located at 73 County Route 11A, Craryville, NY 12521. Individuals can register online at https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/Farmfuture_210 .

Contact: Theresa Mayhew (email hidden; JavaScript is required) or 518-828-3346, x-217