It’s difficult to believe, but we passed up Tom’s Top Ten Tax Tips (sorry, Tom) and began day three with Farm Woodlot Management. Two very interesting presentations – Dave McGill from WVU Extension on woodland management and the WV Woodland Stewards then Guergen Wildman from the WV Division of Forestry provided information about Forest Stewardship. Both gentlemen talked quite a bit about invasive plants endangering West Virginia forests; more information about that can be found here.
Well, you know, we had to give our peeps equal time, so our next session began with Managing the Small Scale Layer Flock presented by Jerry Ours, WVDA. Jerry advised the class how to make an operation more efficient and a layer flock more profitable. It was educational, but now I have to say that the next speaker was definitely the rock star of the conference. Wes Davis, FFA member and entrepreneur, gave his presentation – My Own Laying Flock, sharing his experiences producing eggs. Young Wes runs a thriving free-range egg business called Turkey Hill Farm in Mason County. He was a delightful speaker, and everyone was talking about him after class and throughout the rest of the day. He is an aggressive marketer, and even carries a cooler to school to deliver eggs to his teachers. Hats off to this young man. As the ladies waiting in line at the restroom were saying, “That young Wes is going places!”
While one of the Shepherdess/s next attended Nutrient Enhanced Eggs & Affordable Broiler Production from the Backyard Flock, the other went to 50 Best Agritourism Ideas. Both classes were great, but the Shepherdess that went to the agritourism class got to churn butter, make a chia pet out of a sock and play a pumpkinized version of cornhole. Lots of wonderful information from both classes, but I think maybe someone got the short end of the stick there.
Don Kretschmann of Kretschmann Farms spoke at lunch about establishing his organic farm over 30 years ago and becoming one of the first to offer a CSA program. Don, also, is a thoughtful and inspirational speaker. Honestly, we can’t say enough about the first-rate job that the staff at the Small Farm Center does in putting together a top-notch group of speakers and a wide variety of classes. It’s hard to believe but while we were attending the classes mentioned here there, were five other classes that could have been chosen – six classes running simultaneously- all day long . Many thanks to Tom and his staff for such an educational and memorable conference.
(And thanks to all of you for your patience in our conference ramblings. Many times we also use this blog as a personal reference tool. So thank you for bearing with us, we will be back to more pictures in the morning.)