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Snohomish County Focus on Farming Conference expands regionally

To accommodate a larger, regional audience this year, Snohomish Countys Focus on Farming is being held at the new Lynnwood Convention Center on 196th Street in Lynnwood on Thursday, Nov. 30 and will include as partners, King County and the new Northwest Agriculture Business Center.
This years theme, New Opportunities for Northwest Washington Agriculture will offer new market ideas and proven methods for business success, with workshops targeting value-added products, alternative crops, marketing, dairy, nursery and finance, with breakout topics as diverse as Agritourism, income diversification, organic production, new customer demographics and selling techniques. A complete program is listed at www.focusonfarming.org.
The popular annual Focus on Farming Conference is part of Executive Reardons larger Agriculture initiative to find new financial opportunities for local farmers and preserve valuable farmland for generations of new family farms.
We are pleased that our Focus on Farming Conference is generating interest and support for the Ag industry beyond our local borders, said Executive Reardon. Ideas produced from these partnerships and shared experiences offer us great opportunity to reinvent the future of our regions Ag industry.
Conference doors will open at
7 a.m. Keynote addresses begin at
8 a.m., followed by more than 20 concurrent educational sessions, a gourmet lunch, and a wine and cheese tasting featuring local growers and producers.
The day will begin with welcoming statements by Executive Reardon and King County Executive Ron Sims. Executive Sims has made farms and sustainability a high priority in King County, and is working to cultivate a vibrant agricultural economy through farmland preservation and buy local programs.
Also on the agenda is Washington State Department of Agriculture Director, Valoria Loveland, the NABCs Board Chair, Keith Stocker, and WSUs College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences Dean, Dr. Dan Bernardo. The morning will be emceed by Snohomish Countys Economic Development Manager, Steve Pottle.
Keynote addresses will be delivered by farm marketing experts Jane Eckert of Eckert AgriMarketing and Don Stuart from American Farmland Trust. Eckerts Sowing Seeds for Profit Right on the Farm, will introduce Agritourism, a new national trend in tourism. Stuart will speak about the value of saving farmland and the need for government policy and funding to support these efforts.
Innovation is essential to a thriving agriculture economy, and breakout sessions will focus on new product development, assessing changing demographics, and ideas for collaboration. Notable national experts on-hand will include, Dr. David Dickson, dairy expert from the University of Wisconsin; Ian Baldwin, nursery marketing consultant from California; Joel and Cynthia Huesby, researchers and trendsetters from the award-winning Thundering Hooves; Tom Bronkema, wine connoisseur; Frances Hopkins, creator of the runaway nursery hit, STEPABLES(R).
Conference sponsors also include the Washington State University Snohomish County Extension, Northwest Farm Credit Services, the Washington Farm Bureau, and Darigold.
The registration fee for the one-day conference is $30 with a special youth rate of $5 for those under 18 with an interest in farming. The fee includes a gourmet lunch prepared by regional chefs using farm-fresh products, including Holly Smith from Cafe Juanita, Charles Ramseyer from Rays Boathouse, Cafe & Catering, Michael Felsenstein from the Lynnwood Convention Center, and caterer and chef Russell Lowell.

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