Farmers from around the state will gather at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, Maine, November 5-7 to learn from their peers and agricultural experts from around the Northeast. Participants can join with their fellow farmers at this year’s conference for three days of offerings including 30 educational sessions, farm tours and delicious local food.
The conference begins on Saturday with farm tours. Located in Old Town, Rogers Farm Forage and Crop Research Facility is one of the University of Maine’s sustainable agriculture research facilities. Tour participants will learn about a project investigating planting cover crops over late season cabbage and sweet corn crops. Nettie Fox Farm in Newburgh is a small diversified vegetable farm that markets close to home through the Bangor Farmers’ Market and summer and fall Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. At Nettie Fox, participants will tour the 33-acre family farm and hear from farmers Molly Crouse and Everett Ottinger.
Farm tours are followed up on Sunday and Monday with a choice of educational sessions. Participants will learn from and engage with over 50 speakers on topics including cultivating market opportunities, crop management techniques, stress reduction practices, slaughterhouse capacity in Maine, mushroom cultivation and so much more. Keynote speaker, Maggie Cheney, will share lessons learned at Rock Steady Farm in Millerton, New York. They will talk about living wages, workplace culture and creative solutions for farmers navigating today’s endless economic challenges, while speaking to cooperative ethos, anti-racism and a queer lens to which some of these solutions stem from.
“I am really looking forward to talking with farmers about tough topics — the real challenges that make this line of work feel impossible at times. About the many creative ways to make farming a viable life choice, as well as how to center farmworker’s rights and workplace culture,” says Maggie Cheney.
New this year, the conference will feature its first ever Dairy Day on Monday, November 7, offering specialized sessions for dairy farmers on animal care standards and production quality.
The Farmer to Farmer Conference is known for its intimacy, in-depth treatment of topics, and amazing discussions; is based on the idea that farmers learn best from their peers and other practitioners; features prominent and accessible university faculty, extension educators and other agricultural professionals; features a unique three-hour workshop session format, in which one half is dedicated to talks by agricultural service professionals or farmers, and the other to a round-table discussion intended to solicit and capitalize on the accumulated knowledge of all the farmers in attendance; serves delicious meals featuring local, organic food; and is a rare and wonderful opportunity to get off the farm and catch up with fellow farmers.
“Our Farmer to Farmer Conference is the highlight of our year at Farmer Programs!” says Anna Mueller, MOFGA’s farmer professional development specialist. “It is MOFGA’s opportunity to bring together our farmers who often don’t have the time to connect and catch up over the season. There is nothing like being a part of the atmosphere as farmers celebrate and reflect on the season as it comes to a close and plan and lay the groundwork for the seasons ahead.”
For more details, including the complete schedule, session descriptions and information about accommodations, and to register, click here.