Two-day ag conference coming to McAllen

BY BARBARA STORZ

The Texas Hispanic Farmer and Rancher Conference will be held Sept. 14 and 15 at Casa de Palmas Renaissance Hotel, 101 N. Main St., in McAllen.

The conference is organized by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), a non-profit organization, partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA), the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (USDA-SARE) and the Texas Department of Agriculture.

NCAT provides educational programs, through grants, that are especially geared toward small and medium sized producers, military veterans and beginner farmers, including urban agricultural producers.

The title, “Texas Hispanic Farmer and Rancher Conference,” is intended to reach out to Hispanic producers, but not to exclude any other producers.

“Everyone is welcomed. We just want to specifically invite area producers who may not have participated in this type of conference before,” said NCAT’s Robert Maggiani. “We also encourage those who are just getting started in farming or market gardening.”

The Conference will have three tracks:

>> Ranching — with information on soil health, pasture management, carrying capacity.

>> Farming — focusing on row crops, medium to large farm specialty crops (vegetables) and forages.

>> Urban Agriculture — with information directed to those producers selling at farmer’s markets, community supported agriculture (subscription based sales), and those selling directly to restaurants.

Speakers for this event include ranchers, farmers, a farmer’s market organizer and agency and university staff members.

The keynote speaker is Paul Wolfe, a senior policy specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. The group works to develop national policy in support of sustainable agricultural producers.

This conference features a trade show as well as round table discussions and farm tours. The total cost of the two-day event is $25 per person or $40 per couple. This includes lunch snacks and farm tours.

Information and registration for the conference can be found on their website (texashispanic.ncat.org). You can also contact Robert Maggiani at (866) 319-1669 or via email at robertm@ncat.org.

You can also pick up a flyer from 9 a.m. to noon today at the Growing Growers Farmers Market located in Firemen’s Park on the corner of 1st Street and Business 83 in McAllen.

Barbara Storz is a local horticulturist. You can listen to her garden show at 7 a.m. Saturdays on 710 KURV or contact her by email at bstorz@rcommunications.com.