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ASAP’s annual Business of Farming Conference returns in time for the 2014 growing season, February 22 from 7:30 am until 5:30 pm at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa. While the conference—which focuses on the business side of farming, covering topics from recordkeeping to marketing—has always included workshops for both beginning and veteran farmers, this year’s event promises a heartier serving of options for experienced growers.
“ASAP takes great pride in seeing farmers come back to our conference year after year,” says Molly Nicholie, ASAP’s Local Food Campaign program director. “We make sure to offer new and engaging content every event. This year, that includes an advanced track of workshops for seasoned farmers, many of whom have been transforming WNC’s food system with ASAP for more than a decade.” Advanced topics include building community capital through farms and advanced QuickBooks™.
Of course, new farmers and those seriously considering farming as a profession will have plenty of workshops to attend. The popular offerings Beginning QuickBooks and Selling More at Farmers Markets remain on the docket, joined by new classes about land access issues and more. One-on-one opportunities return as well, including chances for farmers to meet with potential restaurant and retail buyers and to meet briefly with professional consultants like attorneys and marketing experts.
Michael Miller, an attorney with Ward and Smith, P.A., participated in last year’s quick consulting sessions. “It’s amazing how much gets covered,” he says, noting that farmers ask specific questions and seek general, big-picture advice. “We bring a team of three lawyers, with different skills and practice concentrations, and leave feeling like we’ve been of real help on important issues. These farmers work hard and are valuable to our community. It’s a privilege to have this time with them.”
Registration is now open at asapconnections.org/conference; attendance is $40 per person by January 31 and $60 beginning February 1, with a discount for multiple farm registrants. The conference is made possible with support from Katuah Market, Buncombe County, The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.