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December 15, 2000

Third Annual Farm Conference Set for January

The Third Annual Value-Added Conference, "Bringing Profits Back to the Farm," will be held Friday and Saturday, Jan. 26-27, at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center in Eau Claire. Participants will examine ways that farmers and rural business people can tap into emerging and value-added agricultural markets.

Will Hughes, from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, will deliver the keynote address, "Emerging Agriculture: Are You In or Out?" Said Hughes, "In order for farmers to increase their profits, they have to increase their share of the market. This conference will focus on ways to do that."

A session on Friday sponsored by Wisconsin Rural Partners will offer participants a chance to speak with state legislators. The dinner speech, "Redefining Your Agriculture," will be presented by Dick and Kim Cates, Cates Family Farm, Spring Green. Saturday morning will open with a talk titled, "Agricultural Community: Building and Growing Together," by Will Allen of Growing Power Inc., Milwaukee.

A number of workshops will be offered, with topics that include forest landowner co-operation, e-commerce for small businesses, farmstead dairies (cow and sheep-goat), emerging crop oil developments, farming as a public event, challenges and opportunities in the organic industry, small-farm resources, "green" labeling, and marketing a local identity.

The two-day event is a cooperative effort of the River Country Resource Conservation and Development Council; the University of Wisconsin-Extension Emerging Agricultural Markets Team; the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; UW Center for Cooperatives; UW-River Falls, Agricultural Resource Center; Wisconsin Farm Bureau; UW Center for Integrated Agricultural Studies; Wisconsin Rural Partners; and Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

For those who register by Jan. 18, the conference cost is $75 per person and $65 for a second family member. Trade show exhibitors can register and secure booth space for $175, which includes meals and conference attendance. None of the costs include hotel rooms, and there is no discount for single-day attendance.

To obtain more information or to register, call Pam Herdrich, River Country RC&D at 715/834-9672; Jody Padgham, UW Center for Cooperatives at 608/262-0705; or DATCP╣s Wisconsin Farm Center at 800/942-2474.

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