The 11th annual National Value-added Agriculture Conference is set for June 2 to 4 at the Stoney Creek Inn and Conference Center in Moline, Ill.
"This conference is a ‘must’ for any public service provider or economic development agent that recognizes the importance of a strong rural economy,” said Ray Hansen, program director, Value Added Agriculture Program, Iowa State University Extension.
The conference will feature three tracks: local foods, agritourism, and business development. Integrated into the breakout sessions will be a focus on feasibility work as speakers provide a look at management, technical feasibility, finances, markets and more.
Conference keynote speakers include Gary Zimmer, Mary Holz-Clause, Sara Wyant, David Dahlquist and Michael Perry. Zimmer is a Wisconsin farmer and author dedicated to the biology of agriculture and continual soil improvement. Holz-Clause is interim assistant vice president for extension and outreach at Iowa State University and co-director of the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. Wyant is president of Agri-Pulse Communications, a communications firm covering farm and rural policy issues from Capitol Hill. Dahlquist is a nationally recognized public artist and design consultant from RDG Planning & Design firm in Des Moines, Iowa. Perry is a Wisconsin humorist and author. His essays have been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered and he has produced segments for a public television show.
Conference participants also will have an opportunity to ride the mighty Mississippi River on the Celebration Belle.
Registration is $150 and includes conference materials, the opening night reception, refreshments, lunches and the concluding dinner on board the Celebration Belle riverboat.
To register or for more information, visit http://nvaa2009.homestead.com/. The conference is sponsored by the Value Added Agriculture Program at Iowa State University Extension, University of Illinois Extension, the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center and the National Food Industry Market Maker.