Land For Good is a proud sponsor of the fourth National Farm Viability Conference that will take place October 22 – 24 in Red Wing, Minnesota.
Originally established by the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program in 2008, the conference is coming to the Midwest for the first time and will be hosted by the regional organization Renewing the Countryside. Despite significant growth, the conference’s mission remains the same: to strengthen farm sustainability, build stronger and more resilient local food systems and support the long term profitability of farming and agri-entrepreneurs from start-ups to generational businesses.
The conference is geared towards professionals in farm and food business planning, financial planning, agricultural financing, crisis management, farmland conservation, agricultural market development, and food hub management, but any interested persons are welcome to join in on the activities and conversations. Participants will have the opportunity to network with fellow professionals from across the country, visit farms and value-added processing facilities, and develop new knowledge and skills. There are limited scholarships available for qualified participants, which can be applied for through the conference’s registration page.
Land For Good’s Executive Director, Jim Hafner, is a member of the 2019 National Advisory Committee helping shape the agenda with conference organizers. The committee is reviewing session proposals, and a preliminary Schedule is now available.
The National Farm Viability Conference comes at a critical time in U.S. agriculture, when consolidating and changing markets are affecting many family run farms, farmland is changing hands at an increasingly rapid rate as farmland and other agricultural assets transition to the next generation. Many farmers are facing particular hardships in many areas of the country, at the same time as many emerging opportunities and new business models are explored by new and beginning farmers as well as those that see a need for change.
In this economic climate, it is key for farm and food entrepreneurs to focus on sound financial planning, long-term business strategy, accessing new markets and transitioning to different production methods, and as well plan for business succession. The National Farm Viability Conference provides the opportunity to learn about key efforts to support farm and food entrepreneurs as they navigate markets, growth and change, and to develop relationships with and learn from your colleagues from across the country. Consistent with a recent publication by the founders of the conference, A 2018 Exploration of the Future of Vermont Agriculture, this year the conference will put an emphasis on new, innovative approaches to protecting our country’s agricultural resources and the economic viability of our country’s farmers.
The previous National Farm Viability Conference was held in May of 2017, where over 300 participants gathered in Albany, New York. Conference hosts included the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Program, the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, Grow NYC, Kitchen Table Consultants, and the American Farmland Trust. The conference is held every other year, and will likely be held on the west coast in 2021.
After three conferences in the Northeast, conference organizers and sponsors are thrilled to see it move to the Midwest. We hope to see you in Red Wing!