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Emerging Farmers Conference

Friday January 26th and Saturday January 27th, 2018 marked the 13th year for this Conference, which was formerly known as the Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference. As has been the tradition for the past several years, the Conference was held at the University of Minnesota’s Community Education Center on the St. Paul Campus. Pre-event registration exceeded 300 people of which 80 farmers were first-time Conference attendees.

Historically, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has been a principle sponsor for this event. The event was originally established to facilitate access to agency agricultural programs and provide educational opportunities for the traditionally underserved and limited resource farmers. It has expanded into a farmer piloted venue for information exchange, success stories, and a forum for continuing education.   

In addition to our traditional role of serving on the event planning committee and providing financial support to sustain the free to farmers’ registration culture, several NRCS staff, from across the State, served as workshop moderators and via a NRCS information booth, interacted with farmers regarding NRCS assistance options. Of special note this year was a High Tunnel System workshop developed and presented by NRCS staff and local urban farmers.   

This annual Conference serves to advance the success and sustainability of farmers who traditionally face barriers to the education and resources necessary to build profitable agricultural businesses, including but not limited to immigrant farmers and farmers of color.