2018 Session Topics

We have a host of new regional and local speakers this year. Check out our Speakers Page for more information.

The intensive workshops will be held on the first morning (Friday, February 2) and are included as part of the registration fee. In past years, an additional fee was charged to attend workshops. Check out our final conference program here.


(Friday 9:00AM-Noon)

Hoophouse Production
Speaker: Andrew Mefferd, One Drop Farm and Growing for Market magazine
This workshop explores best practices in hoop house production, including the eight most profitable crops to grow. Farmer, researcher and author Andrew Mefferd discusses basic and advanced practices and techniques including trellising and when it pays.

Building a Brand
Speaker:  Jaclyn Coleman, Muse Group
This session is meant to help small business owners grow your reach through social media and online marketing. You will learn the ins and outs of how to market your business on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And you’ll pick up tips and tricks of the trade on how to turn leads into customers. Finally, you will leave feeling comfortable in the ever-changing social media world.

Farm to Flask
Speakers: Ron Godin, University of Colorado; Matt Drew and Woody Worthington, Bently Heritage; Tom Adams, Seven Troughs Distilling
The number of craft breweries and distilleries in Nevada is on the rise, providing new opportunities for local farms. Join us to explore the challenges and opportunities of this industry. Hops expert Ron Godin shares a decade of experience working with hops growers in Colorado. The Bently Ranch team updates us on their new hops production enterprise including harvesting and malting. And Tom Adams of Seven Troughs discusses the ups and downs of sourcing from local farms. The workshop will culminate with a sampling of local spirits and brews.


Friday Luncheon (Noon- 1:30PM)

Luncheon and Keynote Speakers: Robert Morris, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Gigi Morris
Small-scale farms began to disappear from our rural landscapes with the industrialization of food. Since the advent of the organic movement and local production, small farms have become revitalized due to a paradigm shift in how we think about food and how we think about profitability. Join us as we discuss some of the trends and shifts in production and how we think about food and profitability. You will leave this presentation realizing that successful farming is limited only by your imagination.


Friday (1:30PM-3PM)

Sell Before You Sow
Speakers: Ray Johnson, Custom Gardens Organic Farm; Rodney Mehring, Blue Lizard Farm
Learn from experienced farmers how to plan and find markets for your products. This session will give you some tips and tricks of the trade, all while making sure you can see how others have built strong sales markets, and you can do the same for your farm.

Updates in Nevada Research
Speakers: Patricia Ferreira dos Santos, Mitiku Mengistu, and Melinda Yurka, University of Nevada, Reno
Researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno will discuss the ongoing and planned research taking place throughout the state. The topics include plant breeding, Teff trials, potato storage issues and carrot enzymes. Meet the researchers behind these projects, and learn how the agriculture industry can collaborate on these and future projects.

Poultry Harvest
Speakers: Jake Dick and Anna Vickrey, Nevada Department of Agriculture; Randy Robison
Ever wondered if harvesting meat birds and collecting eggs was for you? Join in the discussion with representatives from the department of agriculture about how to safely harvest from your property and ensure that you are compliant with local regulations. Randy Robison will discuss how to make a profit on poultry through niche marketing in the community. 

Friday (3:30PM-5PM)

Using Weather Data to Determine Pest Emergence
Speaker: Jeff Knight, Nevada Department of Agriculture
State Entomologist Jeff Knight will walk you through a bug’s life and show you how to use weather data combined with simple math to improve integrated pest management on your farm.

Pasture Rotations
Speaker: Juan Solomon, University of Nevada, Reno
Resident forage expert Dr. Juan Solomon returns to cover the basics of pasture rotations. Join in to learn why you should move your animals (small and large) across your property and how to best manage your resources. Pasture rotations are critical to a sustainable and diversified farm or ranch.

Speakers: Andrew Mefferd, One Drop Farm and Growing for Market magazine; Ashley Jeppson, Nevada Department of Agriculture
Microgreens are sometimes called the “gateway drug” to farming since they need little space and are relatively easy to grow. Learn production and food safety practices, how to establish a sales market and how to tell the difference between microgreens and sprouts.



Friday Luncheon (6PM – 8:30PM)

Mix and mingle at Nothing To It Culinary Center, 225 Crummer Lane, and enjoy local food bites, local spirits and great company!


Saturday Morning (9AM -10:30AM)

Acidified Foods
Speaker: Holly Gatzke, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
Learn what is required to start a pickle, salsa, chutney or relish home-based business in Nevada. Holly Gatzke will walk you through the legal constraints and some of the basics of cooking at home.

Nursery Starts
Speakers: Andrew Mefferd, One Drop Farm and Growing for Market magazine; Jennifer Ott, University of Nevada, Reno
Whether you are growing for your farm or for other farmers, learn basic and best practices for growing nursery starts. This session will also help you learn about what can go wrong.

Speakers: Ron Godin, University of Colorado; Rodney Mehring, Blue Lizard Farm
Compost can be an important component to healthy soils or a food safety nightmare. Join this session to hear from a southern Nevada farmer on his methods for on-farm composting and from a former soil scientist on how compost, made properly, can boost yields from your soil.

Saturday Morning (11AM-12:30PM)

Overview of FSMA, PSR: Soil Amendments
Speaker: Ashley Jeppson, Nevada Department of Agriculture
New federal requirements involving large produce growers/packers were released in January 2016 through the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Produce Safety Rule (PSR).  An overview will be provided on what the FSMA, PSR will cover, how the state will be providing education and compliance services, and new updates involving soil amendments of animal origin.  The information provided will help both large and small growers identify best practices for minimizing microbial risks on the farm and the benefits of employing on-farm food safety practices.

Fruit Trees
Speakers: Bob Morris, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (emeritus); Michael Janik, Michaels Apples
Michael Janik, Nevada fruit tree expert, will share his knowledge on the feasibility of Northern Nevada fruit tree production from pricing to varying yields, to its potential as a side business. Bob Morris will share his expertise on fruit tree production in warmer climates such as Southern Nevada.

Speakers: Basin and Range Organics Certification Representatives; Catharine Anderson, USDA Risk Management Agency
Join representatives from local certifier, Basin and Range Organics, for an in-depth look at organic certification for crops, livestock, and processing/handling.  Obtain valuable information on the National Organic Program (NOP) about what distinguishes organic from conventional products, and how to successfully transition to become certified organic.

Saturday Afternoon (2PM-3:30PM)

Wool and Fiber Production
Speakers: Lani Estill, Estill Ranches, LLC; Rebecca Burgess, Northern California Fibershed; Jeff Creque, Marin Carbon Project
Learn about wool and fiber production and how fibershed communities are working to rebuild regional and regenerative fiber systems on behalf of independent producers.

Berry Production Options for Diversified Farmers
Speakers: Bernadine Strik, Oregon State University
Bernadine Strik, Berry Crops Specialist, Oregon State University, will explore various options for producers to diversify farms through berry production.  She will discuss what berry varieties perform well and how to manage crops in cold climates and varying soils.

Digging into the Benefits of Soil Health and Cover Crops
Speakers: Chris Bernau and Jim Komar, Natural Resource Conservation Service
Join Jim in a fun, informative, interactive tour through the living soil universe, discussing how to enhance our living soil habitat. One way to maintain and enhance soil health is by planting cover crops. Chris will discuss the benefits of cover crops and present his latest findings from a cover crop adaptation study that took place last summer in Smith Valley.