Conference Schedule ~ Overview

Monday, February 22 & Tuesday, February 23
New England Farmers Market Managers Seminar
Click here for more information, including workshop descriptions and speakers.

Wednesday, February 24
8:30 am: Opening Remarks
8:45 am – 1:00 pm: Conference Sessions 

Thursday, February 25
8:30 am: Welcome
8:45 am – 1:00 pm: Conference Sessions


Wednesday Schedule

All of Wednesday’s Conference Recordings

8:30 am – 8:45 am ~ Opening Remarks

8:45 am – 10:15 am Keynote Speaker
Farmer and Author Forrest Pritchard, Smith Meadows Farm, Berryville, VA

Lessons from 2020, Opportunities for 2021

Irrespective of what you grow, how you grow it, or where your farm is located, 2020 was an enormous stress-test on producers nationwide. With hindsight as our guide, what has the past year taught us about our operations, our markets and marketing, and most importantly, ourselves? And how can we use these lessons to sustainably pivot not only into 2021, but beyond? The talk will focus on diversification, marketing and point-of-sale, social media outreach, and the difficult task of properly pricing our products. 

Forrest Pritchard is a seventh-generation farmer and a New York Times bestselling author, holding degrees in English and Geology from William & Mary. Upon returning from college in the mid-90s, he took over his family’s farm—primarily growing GMO corn and soybeans—hoping to make the land profitable for the first time in decades. Following another year on the edge of bankruptcy, he pivoted into direct-marketed grass-fed meat and eggs and opened a commercial kitchen. Today, Smith Meadows is one of the oldest “grass finished” operations in the country and sells at leading farmers’ markets in the Washington DC area. Pritchard’s books have been starred by NPR, The Washington Post, and Publishers’ Weekly.

10:20 am – 11:45 am
Pandemic Pivot: Sharing Experiences on Navigating Farm Businesses Through the Pandemic.  

Are you curious about how others in your industry faired in pivoting their business during the pandemic? Join a panel of New England farmers, including a vegetable, fiber, cheese maker and maple producer on the opportunities and challenges they faced, what they learned, and where they go from here. We will discuss market channel pivots, labor concerns, handling customers, shifts in product offerings, online sales strategies, and more.  

Moderator: Abby Sadauckas, Maine Field Agent, Land for Good/Apple Creek Farm, Bowdoinham, ME

Speakers: Andre Cantelmo, Heron Pond Farm, South Hampton, NH; Wendy Pieh, Springtide Cashmere, Bremen, ME;  Chris White, Mount Mansfield Maple Products, Winooski, VT; Allie Catlin, Smith’s Country Cheese, Winchendon, MA

Handouts: Wendy Pieh’s Presentation   Andre Cantelmo’s Presentation  Allie Catlin’s Presentation    

11:50 am – 1:00 pm
From Field to Shelf:  Increasing Profits Through Season Extension and Diversification by Adding Value to Your Farm Products – Which Food Safety Principles Apply?

Are you considering adding value to your farm products?  Do you have questions about food safety regulations and what you must do? This program will describe some basic points of product development, food safety hazards, and an overview of key regulatory requirements, and is designed to provide a broad overview to meet the needs of small and emerging value-added farm businesses. Attendees will increase their knowledge in food safety principles to enable success in the marketplace. Topics include: Retail vs. wholesale; Residential vs commercial kitchens (and co-packing); Processed food regulations: Canning vs jelly/jam vs. juice vs others; Project supports and Q & A.

Moderator: Bonita Oehlke, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Boston, MA

Speaker: Amanda Kinchla, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Extension, Amherst, MA

Handouts: Amanda Kinchla’s Presentation

Thursday Schedule

All of Thursday’s Conference Recordings

8:30 am – 8:45 am ~ Welcome Back

8:45 am – 10:00 am
Diversification: Business Planning Tools to Achieve Your Goals

Doing the same old thing does not always work in today’s complex times. However, turning a good idea or new venture into a reality is not always easy, and can even be overwhelming, especially with the day- to-day tasks of keeping a farm business running. From writing a business plan to regulatory issues to funding, how to even begin? Together, we will explore strategies and resources to help you get started, prioritize decisions and not spread yourself too thin.

Moderator: Rebecca Eddy, CT Department of Agriculture, Hartford, CT
Speaker: Christopher Laughton, Director of Knowledge Exchange at Farm Credit East

Sponsored by DeMeritt Hill Farm & The Carrot Project

Handouts: Chris Laughton’s Presentation

10:05 am – 11:35 am
Diversification for Market Success: Considerations for Diversifying Your Farm Operation

Are you looking to diversify income streams, minimize risk, or both? How do you decide what will be a good fit? How do you determine the timing of adding another enterprise to your business? Our panelists share the hows and whys for their farm’s diversification story, including successes and challenges.

Facilitator: Stacy Brennen, Broadturn Farm, Scarborough, ME
Speakers:  Matt Kushi, Kushi Farm/North Hadley Chili Pepper Company, Hadley, MA; Seth Bahler, The Modern Milkman, Ellington, CT; Diane Souther, Apple Hill Farm, Concord, NH; Aaron Buckley, Buckley Farm, Leeds, Maine 

Sponsored by Frazer Insurance Agency, Inc and MarketLink / NAFMNP

Handouts: Matt Kushi’s Presentation   Seth Bahler’s Presentation   Diane Souther’s Presentation      

11:40 am – 1:00 pm
Effective Marketing Solutions – How to Make the Best of a Difficult Situation

Maria Miranda, principal of the brand management firm, Miranda Creative, currently guiding Connecticut Grown through a rebranding process, has more than 30 years of experience in helping enterprises make the most of marketing regardless of external marketing influences.  part of the team behind Connecticut’s successful Wine Trail, Art Trail and passionate advocates for many regional farms, join Maria for a fast-paced presentation about finding effective outreach options when marketing feels, well… out of reach.

Sponsored by Good Egg Marketing

Handouts: MirandaCreative’s Presentation

1:00 pm: Conference Ends