Small Farmer Bus Tour Slated for Late June

  • Friday, May 28, 2010

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - May 28, 2010-Summer days promise an opportunity for small farmers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware to join the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Small Farm Outreach Initiative as it embarks upon an educational, two-day farmer bus tour to "Explore New Farm Income Opportunities" on Monday, June 28, and Tuesday, June 29.

    The goal of the tour is to provide small farmers a chance to learn from successful and innovative farming ventures in the Southeast/Tidewater region of Virginia.  Although farmers face many obstacles, there are many alternatives and opportunities for increasing farm profits.  Hands-on demonstrations and first-hand explanations from well established farmers and agriculture experts will help tour participants see the potential for themselves.  Select tour stops offer diverse and practical examples of what farmers can do to help their bottom line while implementing sustainable practices.  Major foci of the tour include direct marketing, value-added products, sustainable farming practices, alternative "niche" crops, agri-tourism and more.

    The tour bus is scheduled to leave UMES at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, June 28, and returns on the following day around 6:30 p.m.  The registration fee is $25, and it covers bus transportation, hotel accommodations for one night, educational materials and snacks/refreshments throughout the tour.

    The UMES Small Farm Outreach Initiative is a grant-funded project established to help small-scale and underserved farmers prosper and become successful agriculture entrepreneurs through education, training and outreach.  Currently, the project provides on-going outreach and program activities that address a variety of issues and needs as identified among target audiences, including alternative enterprise selection, direct marketing strategies, improved agriculture production systems, farm business management, better management of natural resources, and minimum participation in USDA farm programs.

    In the project's second year, under the leadership of Small Farm Program Coordinator Berran Rogers, over 400 clients have participated in informational meetings, workshops, field tours, conferences and other program activities hosted by the Initiative.

    For more information about the "Exploring New Farm Income Opportunities" bus tour or the Small Farm Outreach Initiative, contact Rogers at 410-651-6206 or 6693.

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    Suzanne Waters Street, agriculture communication specialist, UMES - University of Maryland Extension, 410-651-6084, sstreet@umes.edu.