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Keynote speaker Renard Turner owns Vanguard Ranch Ltd with his wife, Chinette Turner. The central part of the operation is commercial meat goat production with an emphasis on the marketing of value-added, gourmet quality, ready-to-eat goat meat products. The Turner farm supports sustainable and organic practices and takes farming as a lifestyle choice. His stint as National Secretary of the American KIKO Goat Association led to a greater understanding of the meat goat industry. His focus will always be on producing the best all-natural products. He integrates goat manure into organic vegetable and herb production, wasting nothing on the farm and building a living soil. 

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Sarah Cornelisse is a Senior Extension Associate in the Dept. of Agricultural Economics at Penn State University.  Her Extension programming is developed to educate agricultural entrepreneurs on issues associated with business management and marketing. Currently she focuses on value-added agricultural entrepreneurship with a particular interest in value-added dairy and meat product, business and marketing planning, and the use of social media for ag marketing.  She earned a bachelors in mathematics and two masters degrees, one in Animal Science and one in Agricultural Economics.  Her interests include value-added dairy, entrepreneurship, marketing, and business management.

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Kevin Deighan is general manager of Shore Gourmet.  After a stint with the 82nd Airborne, he earned an associate s degree in political science from Chesapeake College. He worked as a sales associate before getting married and starting his own successful company, Deighan Paving, which he owned and operated in Pennsylvania for many years before moving his family back to the Eastern Shore. Once back, he continued to be an independent equipment operator.  Prior to assuming the role as general manager of Shore Gourmet, he assisted marketing director, Fred Smyth, for several months. He says he s now at home with Shore Gourmet.

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Shannon Dill is currenty the Agriculture Educator and County Extension Director for the University of Maryland Extension in Talbot County.  She has been a faculty member of the University of Maryland, College of Africulture and Natural Resources since 2001.  She graduated from the University of Wyoming, receiving a bachelors in Agriculture Business and a masters in Agriculture Economics.  Shannon provides outreach and education to agriculture producers of Talbot and neighboring counties in farm business planning, sustainable small farm enterprises, marketing, and livestock management.  She has offered Quickbooks for Farm Businesses, Ag Tourism, Equine, Pasture Management, and Grain Marketing.

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Andy Hankins is a semi-retired Education Support Specialist at Virginia State University, providing support to grant-funded programs in sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry.  As Extension Specialist Alternative Agriculture in Virginia from 1987 to 2010, he provided educational programs in production and marketing of non-traditional farm products like medicinal herbs, mushrooms, value-added farm products and certified organic vegetables. He also provided educational programs concerning the development of agricultural tourism in Virginia. He served as a state coordinator for the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and also as a coordinator for the USDA Renewable Resources Extension Act program.

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Willie Lantz is the University of Maryland, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator for Garrett County.  Willie's extension work has focused on increasing local food production and marketing through the use of high tunnels, new production techniques, and the introduction of new varieties.  Willie is currently working with a group of growers that have formed Garrett Growers, a cooperative to market fresh local fruits and vegetables to area restaurants and grocery stores.  Willie also works with his family to produce vegetables from two high tunnels on their 100-acre farm. 

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Dave Martin is a Senior Agent in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources at the University of Maryland, College Park, and County Extension Director for Baltimore County.  A central Pennsylvania native, he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in agronomy from Virginia Tech.  Since 1988 he has worked for the University of Maryland Extension— first in Anne Arundel County and for the past 18 years in Baltimore County.  He works with commercial agriculture in the areas of fruit and vegetable production, pasture management, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and marketing.

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Dr. Brigid McCrea serves as Assistant Professor and Poultry Specialist at Delaware State University.  She is trained as a microbiologist and received her Ph.D. in Poultry Science from Auburn University.  She specializes in small flocks; niche market poultry products; and both pre and post-harvest food safety. 

Newell Photo Michael Newell has been the University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Wye Research and Education Center Horticultural Crops Program Manager for the past 29 years. Mike has also been a UME Strawberry Specialist for the past nine years, focusing on annual plasticulture systems and the seasonal extension of small fruits using high tunnels.

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Dr. Barbara O'Neill is Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management for Rutgers Cooperative Extension.  She has written over 1,500 newspaper articles and over 130 articles for professional publications. As a certified financial planner®, she is the author or co-author of eight books.  She provides national leadership for the Cooperative Extension program "Small Steps to Health and Wealth!" and directed the five-year "MONEY 2000!"  savings and debt reduction campaign in the 1990s that resulted in over $20 million of economic impact nationwide. She has received over three dozen national awards and over $550,000 in grants to support her financial education programs and research.   

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Donna Pahl works for the University of Maryland as a GAPs educator, providing personalized food safety assistance to farmers and speaking at food safety trainings. Donna received her master's in Plant Science at the University of Maryland, with a focus on food safety. She studied the effects of water quality on the bacterial load on grape tomatoes.  On the weekends, she works on her family's vegetable farm and at farmer's markets.

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Brad Powers is a marketing professional  and founder and president of Agribusiness Services.  He served the majority of his career with the Maryland Department of Agriculture where he rose through the ranks to Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.  He has vigorously guided the agribusiness industry many years following his retirement in 2002.  Among his many accomplishments at MDA are his involvement with organizing commodity organizations and check off programs, including the Maryland Grain Producers Association and the Maryland Soybean Board, and his co-founding of Delmarva's first agricultural branded marketing program, From Shore to Store.  March 2008, he converted his consulting business to pro bono basis only.

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Anthony Reed is Interim Associate Administrator for the Alcorn State University Extension Program.  He directs day-to-day activities for county and regional programs in Mississippi, including Community Resource Development, 4-H, Youth Development, Family and Consumer Sciences, Agriculture, and Natural Resources. He has over 20 years of experience working with small and limited resource families with the 1890 Extension System in Texas and Mississippi, which focuses on small farms and alternative enterprises. He served as a USDA Fellow and has extensive knowledge in grant writing, federal and state fund management, community enhancement, farm management, risk management, and small business development.

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Jennie Schmidt's family farm is a 3rd generation diversified crop, vegetable, and winegrape operation. In addition to growing winegrapes, Jennie started a custom vineyard management company serving the Upper Eastern Shore of Maryland providing a wide range of services to vineyard owners. She is the current President of the Maryland Grape Growers Association and was selected as this year's American Agri-Women's Farm Mom of the Year for the Northeast Region.


Harry Jan Swartz is a retired small fruit specialist from the University of Maryland. He is also owner of Five Aces Breeding (, a commercial breeding company servicing large fruit producers in Europe and North and South America, and he owns 8Sp Farm and Tissue Culture Lab on Backbone Mountain in Garrett Co., Maryland.

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Dr. Virginie Zoumenou is Assistant Professor, State Extension Nutrition Specialist and 1890 Family & Consumer Sciences Program Leader at UMES.  She earned a doctorate in Biochemistry and Nutrition (1994) and a Ph.D. in Dietetics and Nutrition (2006).  Dr. Zoumenou develops and conducts an extension education and research program focused on nutritional needs throughout the life cycle with a particular focus on obesity, food safety, and health.  She  provides leadership in family and consumer sciences at the UMES through collaborations at the local, state, and national levels.  Dr. Zoumenou was recently honored by the White House with the President’s Volunteer Service Award Volunteer Service Award.

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