Rural Life Conference Feb. 27 features 12 workshops
PINE BLUFF, Ark. – The 59th annual Rural Life Conference, scheduled for Friday, Feb. 27, at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, will feature 12 workshops. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with the opening session at 8:45 a.m.
The workshops address the conference theme, “Innovations and Opportunities: Sustaining Farmers, Families and Communities.” A workshop on U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs with an emphasis on veteran producers offers advice on how to receive financial assistance to improve crop and pasture land and farm efficiency.
A soil scientist will share tips on improving soil health and explain how producers can develop custom soil reports, and a professor of aquaculture will discuss the basics of aquaponics–the practice of growing fish and plants together in a recirculating system.
Several workshops pertain to the 2014 Farm Bill: one explains changes in the Noninsured Assistance Program and USDA microloans, while the other covers an online tool that helps row crop farmers make decisions about topics such as updating or retaining yields and reallocating or retaining base acres.
Two African-American farmers will share information on marketing, production practices and government-assistance programs for producers. A workshop hosted by the USDA offers information on improving farm efficiency and how to increase the value of a raw product by processing it as a value-added product.
Beef cattle ranchers can learn how to manage pastures for maximum production and efficiency, while foresters can learn about improvement practices for timber production.
Health-based workshops pertain to healthy diets and chronic disease prevention, as well as programs that aim to improve nutrition education in the Delta. A workshop on personal finance offers advice to budding entrepreneurs about what to expect in the initial years of business ownership.
In addition to the workshops, the conference will also feature informational exhibits and posters.
James E. Tillman Sr., regional conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will be the morning speaker. Ann M. Bartuska, deputy under secretary for research, education and economics at the U. S. Department of Agriculture, will be the luncheon speaker.
Pre-event registration for the conference is requested of everyone, though the conference is free to farmers, ranchers, homemakers and retirees. Preregistration is $50 for professional and agency personnel and is $25 for students. After Feb. 13, late registration will be $75. To register in advance of the event, or for more information, contact Margaret L. Taylor at 870-575-7144.
The Convention Center is located at One Convention Center Plaza in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Program offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
By Will Hehemann