2017 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 3) and are included as part of the registration fee. In past years, an additional fee was charged to attend workshops.

Please find the Final Farm Conference Program here.


(Friday 9:45AM-Noon)


Managing Those Pesky Insects
Speaker: Carol Sutherland, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension/New Mexico Department of Agricultureladybugpupa
If you plant it, they will come. Dr. Sutherland will poke her proboscis into the farm field of dreams and explore the insect pests lurking there. She will discuss identification, ecology and management for common high desert pests.


Building Soil Foundations
Speaker: Steve Moore, Elon University
Healthy soil is the foundation of a healthy farm.  Learn the basics of building a healthy soil. Included will be soil building practices such as the use of compost, cover cropping and crop rotation.  Salinity monitoring and its importance will be discussed.


Holistic Land Management & Planned Grazing
Speakers: Spencer Smith, Jefferson Center for Holistic Management
Learn how regenerative agriculture works for both large and small farms. Spencer will discuss the differences between holistic planned grazing and rotational grazing and benefits vs. costs. Topics will also include range and crop planning, financial planning and why regenerative agriculture deserves to be considered. 


Beginning Farmer Workshop
Speakers: Rex Dufour, ATTRA; David Hillis, Turnipseed Engineering; Staff, Nevada Farm Service Agency
Setting up a new farm can be overwhelming, including how to acquire land and equipment, obtaining funding, and water laws and ordinances. The list goes on. These industry experts will help you navigate the maze and direct you to resources to get a healthy start on your farming enterprise.


Friday Luncheon (Noon- 1:30PM)

Steve Moore
Elon University
As a farmer and researcher, Steve Moore has traveled the world working with growers from all walks of life. Steve shares some of his most memorable experiences while he was working in the Russian dachas almost a decade ago.


Friday Afternoon (1:30PM-3PM)

Pasture Stand Establishment
Speakers: Juan Solomon, University of Nevada, Reno; Ed Kleiner, Comstock Seed
Resident forage expert Dr. Solomon will teach the basics of establishing a healthy pasture. Combining his expertise with local, native seed expert Ed Kleiner, the duo will help answer questions you have concerning your field of dreams.

Animal Diseases
Speaker: Mike Teglas, University of Nevada, Renohome-grown-nevada-cattle-5
University veterinarian Dr. Teglas will provide an overview of notable diseases of cattle and sheep, including identification, prevention, and treatment strategies.

Nevada Climate: How to Find, Interpret and Use Weather Data
Speaker: Stephanie McAfee, University of Nevada, Reno
Weather data is available from multiple sources, and knowing how to use the data is key to making wise farming decisions. Nevada’s Deputy State Climatologist Dr. McAfee will demonstrate how to find the latest weather data and how to apply the information to farming. Participants are encouraged to bring a  computer or mobile device to view this data on their end.

Photography for Social Media
Speaker: David Calvert, Calvert Photography
A picture is worth a thousand words, and you need your pictures to stand out in social media. Learn how to plan and compose images, use simple lighting techniques and other tricks of the trade from this accomplished photographer.


Friday Afternoon (3:30PM-5PM)

Nevada Melons: History & Future Speakers: Rick Lattin, Lattin Farms; Bryce Omer, Meadow Valley CSA, Moapa, NV; Jennifer Ott, UNR Desert Farming Initiative
Nevada is developing a regional reputation for tasty, high quality melons. Learn more about production, the history and future plans for Nevada’s melon industry.

Specialty Lamb & Fiber Production
Speaker: Dan Macon, Flying Mule Farm
Learn from rancher Dan Macon as he relates his experiences pasturing sheep in the California foothills.  Dan will discuss small flock management techniques as well as sales markets and marketing strategies.

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.

What’s New in Nevada Research?
Speakers: Chris Bernau, Natural Resources Conservation Service; Jay Davison, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension; Felipe Barrios & Sonia Heckler, University of Nevada, Reno
Local researchers will discuss their ongoing work, updating farmers and ranchers on current projects and trials. Learn the latest developments, and discover the potential for farmer-researcher collaboration.

Saturday Morning (9AM -10:30AM)

Herbs: A Small Scale Production Alternative
Speakers: Bill Mewaldt, Mewaldt Organics
Join local growers as they share their knowledge of growing basil, parsley, cilantro and more, using both indoor production and traditional outdoor farming practices.

Basic and Emergency Animal Care for Small Farms
Speakers: Samia Macon, Flying Mule Farm
A veterinarian with lots of on-farm experience will discuss animal care on the small farm. Topics include working with a veterinarian, critical equipment and supplies, and care and prevention strategies for poultry, ruminants and working dogs.

Land to Market Program
Speakers: Spencer Smith, Jefferson Center for Holistic Management
Introducing a new data-based program that verifies farmers and ranchers who use practices to regenerate the soil. The program allows producers to connect with buyers who support regenerative agriculture and invest in farms that use sustainable practices.

Key Elements of a Business Plan
Speakers: Jake Carrico & Alex Soeth, Nevada Small Business Development Center; Catharine Anderson, USDA-Risk Management Agency
Business counselors from the Nevada SBDC will discuss the key elements to a business plan to ensure a successful new business venture or farm expansion. Topics will include how to organize information and find resources to plan for a profitable farm or cottage foods enterprise. The session includes information on risk management and crop insurance.


Saturday Morning (11AM-12:30PM)

Seeds: What’s New for Farmers?
Speaker: Rebecca Morse, Osborne Seed Company
Discover from a seed company insider and Washington farmer the latest offerings for next spring. Learn more about new trends in the seed and specialty crop industry.

Labeling for the Conscientious Consumer and Producer
Speaker: Amanda Hull, Animal Welfare Approved
Join Amanda for a discussion on labeling, animal welfare standards and free resources available through Animal Welfare Approved. She will take you through the maze of many of the common food labels to learn what they really mean (or don’t mean).

Food Safety Modernization Act: What You Need to Know
Speakers: Ashley Jeppson, Nevada Department of Agriculture; Jennifer Ott, UNR Desert Farming Initiative
The FDA released the final rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule in January 2016, established to regulate growing and handling practices to ensure that food borne illness will be minimalized. Local experts will provide an overview of what to expect from the regulations, who will be required to comply, and how local growers can get assistance.

Value Added Production
Speakers: Holly Gatzke, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension; Mark Williams, USDA Rural Development
Learn how the new Nevada Craft Food Law allows for the sale of pickled products made at home.  Discover how to add value to your produce by cutting, packaging or freezing into convenient products. Learn how the value-added producer grant can be used to increase farm sales.


Saturday Afternoon (2PM-3:30PM)

Breathe Garlic with Local Experts
Speakers: Bill Mewaldt, Mewaldt Organics; Dennis Jamason, Jamason Farms
Join these garlic gurus for a garlic-breathtaking session. They will share their experiences growing garlic and seed garlic, enlighten you on the pros and cons of growing hard neck vs. soft neck garlic, and discuss how scapes can be a viable market.

Agritourism – A Little Can be a Lot
Speakers: Holly George, University of California Cooperative Extension; Tom Renner, Renner Farm; Delane Pennington, Agape Organics A.K.A. The Apple Basket
Learn the nuts and bolts of starting a small-scale agritourism operation on your farm. Listen to the stories of two local farmers who reap the benefits of inviting customers to their farms without having to “go big”.

Off Season Production in Hoop Houses
Speaker: Steve Moore, Elon University; Albert Mulder, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Servicesmith-valley-high-school-hoop-house-3
Strawberries in November, leafy greens in February. Providing fresh produce in the winter months can extend the sales season and often garner higher prices. Learn some of the techniques, rewards and challenges of growing off-season in hoop houses, and learn about the NRCS High Tunnel Program.

Processing & Co-packing Value-added Products
Speaker: Tim Sullivan, Sage Food Group
Increase sales by creating a unique product from your farm. Learn about co-packers, what they are, how they work, and why you should consider using a co-packer. Bring your food business questions for answers from an industry expert.