AGENDA

Be sure to check this site often for updates.

Check out our exciting speakers, presentation topics, preconference events and breakout sessions by downloading our DRAFT COMPREHENSIVE AGENDA. (Below is an OVERVIEW of the agenda.)

* PLEASE NOTE: Each day has concurrent sessions. Attendees may choose between several topics at any given time, aside from the plenary sessions each morning. With all the options, we know you won't be able to participate in every session that is of interest to you, so attend with a friend and take notes for one another. Be sure to view the COMPREHENSIVE AGENDA above for speaker names and full presentation titles.


Tuesday, Feb. 23 — Preconference Workshops

8:30 – 5:00  From Pasture to Product: Practical Tools and Solutions that Increase Success for Natural Fiber Producers, Mills and Artisans, Carrie Hull, Natural Fiber Producers Cooperative, Idaho

Description: The pastoral scene of fiber-flocked animals peacefully grazing in pastures entice many to leave the hustle and bustle of corporate America for the farm and fiber life. However, fiber production can often bring us to the fringe of insanity! This interactive workshop shares with producers, mill operators and artisans important tools and solutions that improve quality, sustainability and sanity! Join our workshop as we work our way from pasture principles to successful products. Workshop Includes:
***Participants should bring a clipboard and small ruler 
  • Productive Fiber Preparation — A "hands-on" opportunity to learn fiber sorting and preparation skills which enable producers, mill operators and artisan to classify and organize their yearly fiber harvest for production, identify herd health and management issues, and improve breeding decisions.
  • A Good Yarn — It's more than just a beautiful bedtime story! Yarn is the building block of textiles. Learn the qualities and characteristics of a good yarn and how to work with your artisan or commercial mill to create a quality yarn and product that's more than just a fairy tale!
  • "To Be or Not to Be" — Critical practices of production and marketing that improve sustainability and support success for the small producer in today's textile markets. 

8:30 – 12:00  Budgeting for Farm Decision Making: Enterprise Budgets, Break-even Analysis and Partial Budgeting, Gina Greenway, College of Idaho

Description: Enterprise budgets allow producers to estimate the costs and returns of growing a particular crop or raising a particular type of livestock. Conducting a detailed inventory of current or potential resource requirements associated with various crop or livestock production choices can be a very valuable decision-making tool. Gina Greenway will teach the nuts and bolts of constructing enterprise budgets, helping participants to understand how to estimate the revenue, cost and profit section of the budget. Gina will then walk participants through practical applications of enterprise budgets including break-even analysis and partial budgeting.

Read through Gina's series of articles linked below to prepare for the workshop:

1:30 – 5:00 On-farm Food Safety and Marketing, Barbara Hanson, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and Johanna HerronAlaska Division of Agriculture

Description: This workshop is designed for small growers, institutional and school gardeners, and farmers market vendors. We will cover basic information on common food pathogens, risks to product safety throughout the growing, harvesting and distribution processes, and simple steps you can take to protect your customers from illness. The state Farms to Institutions coordinator will also present information on marketing opportunities at schools and state institutions.

USDA Quest Benefit Sign-up Event

On February 23 & 24 the USDA Food and Nutrition Service will be helping market managers and farmers become authorized to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, known as the Quest Benefits in Alaska, and formerly called the Food Stamp Program. 

Ordinarily, the sign-up process takes approximately 45 days, but USDA staff will be able to expedite the process in a few short hours. Market managers and farmers can leave with their SNAP authorization and potentially be able to receive free point-of-sale equipment to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards through our partnership with the Farmers Market Coalition.

This is a one-time event to start increasing sales for the summer market season while helping to expand access to Alaska-grown produce to Quest households. This event will be open to any farmers market or direct-to-consumer farmer.

For more information contact Brenda Mutuma at brenda.mutuma@fns.usda.gov or (415) 705-1365 or Diane Peck at diane.peck@alaska.gov  


Wednesday, Feb. 24 — Conference Day 1

*All sessions in the Redington Ballroom unless otherwise noted.

7:30 – 8:15 Registration

8:15 – 8:30 Welcome, Steven Seefeldt,  UAF School of Natural Resources and Extension

8:30 – 9:30 Developing Cooperatives: The Work of Converting Passion to Practice, Carrie Hull, Natural Fiber Producers Cooperative, Idaho

9:30 – 10:00 Veterans to Farms Programs , Michael Williams, Alaska Peony Distributors, LLC. and EagleSong Peony Farm

10:00 – 10:30 Break ~ network and visit exhibits

10:30 – 12:00 * Farm Management Session, Redington Ballroom 1

10:30 – 12:00 * Fruit Growers Session, Redington Ballroom 2 and 3

10:30 – 12:00 * Meat and Fiber Production Session, Lake Spenard Room

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch, served on site in the Redington Ballroom

1:00 – 3:00 * Vegetable Growers Session, Redington Ballroom 1

1:00 – 3:00 *Farms and Gardens in Rural Alaska Session, Redington Ballroom 2 and 3

1:00 – 3:00 * Meat and Fiber Production Session, Lake Spenard Room

3:00 – 3:30 Break ~ network and visit exhibits

3:30 – 5:00 * Sustainable Farm Practices Session, Redington Ballroom 1

3:30 – 5:00 * Marketing and Sales Session  Session, Redington Ballroom 2 and 3

3:30 – 5:00 * Meat and Fiber Production Session, Lake Spenard Room


Thursday, Feb. 25 — Conference Day 2

*All sessions in the Redington Ballroom unless otherwise noted.

7:30 – 8:15 Registration

8:15 – 8:30 Welcome, TBA

8:30 – 9:30 Strategies for Strengthening and Growing Alaskan Agriculture, Gina Greenway, College of Idaho

9:30 – 10:00 Meeting the Demand's of Alaska's Agriculture, Kevin Fochs, Alaska FFA Advisor, UAF School of Natural Resources and Extension

10:00 – 10:30 Break ~ network and visit exhibits

10:30 – 12:00 * Marketing and Sales Session, Redington Ballroom 1

10:30 – 12:00 * Sustainable Farm Practices Session, Redington Ballroom 2 and 3

10:30 – 12:00 * Qiviut Special Session, Lake Spenard Room (workshop continues after lunch)

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch, served on site in the Redington Ballroom

1:00 – 3:00 * Vegetable Growers Session, Redington Ballroom 1

1:00 – 3:00 * Report on First International Birch Sap and Syrup Conference, Redington Ballroom 2 and 3

1:00 – 3:00 * Qiviut Special Session, Lake Spenard Room (workshop continues after break)

3:00 – 3:30 Break ~ network and visit exhibits

3:30 – 5:00 * Breakout Session and Rountable Discussion, topic TBA, Redington Ballroom 1

3:30 – 5:00 * Breakout Session and Rountable Discussion, topic TBA, Redington Ballroom 2 and 3

3:30 – 5:00  * Qiviut Special Session, Lake Spenard Room


Qiviut Special Session - Alaska's Qiviut Industry: from Teal to Tomorrow

February 25 from 10:30-5:00 PM in Lake Spenard Room

Qiviut is gaining an international profile in the luxury fiber market. Awareness of the fiber has grown steadily over the past 10-15 years and options for gathering, processing and marketing qiviut are changing almost daily. Alaska is a major player in this market and the objective of this session is to bring together representatives from the different aspects of Alaska’s qiviut industry to:

  • Enhance communication, knowledge sharing and relationships among qiviut producers, processors, retailers and artists in Alaska
  • Compile a knowledge base about qiviut as a fine fiber and raise awareness of quality issues
  • Document the past and future - ideas/problems – that members of the qiviut industry want to discuss 

Although this session is focused specifically on the qiviut industry, all interested individuals are welcome to attend.

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