Annual Eastern Kentucky Farmer Conference scheduled

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, January 1, 2019

JACKSON — Join the Community Farm Alliance (CFA), Grow Appalachia, Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD), the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP), Kentucky State University (KSU), the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the University of Kentucky for the third annual Eastern Kentucky Farmer Conference (EKFC) on Feb. 22-23. The conference will have a new host: The University of Kentucky’s Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability (RCARS) in Jackson, Kentucky.

The conference will serve as a networking event for eastern Kentucky farmers, bringing resources to the region to help farmers grow in their production practices. The conference is designed to improve and adapt each year to better suit the farmers and participants in the region. Participating sponsors have used survey data to adjust conference topics, select speakers and create a conference that gives one something special to take home – relationships, tools, resources and more!

In 2018, the two day conference hosted more than 60 attendees from across the state including more than nine counties representing farmers, universities, non-profits, buyers and agricultural product suppliers. Topics ranged from vegetable production, high tunnel production, small ruminant livestock, maple syrup production, organics and digital marketing.

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When asked what she enjoyed most about the 2018 conference, Lori Gearheart, who homesteads with her family in Floyd County, said, “I enjoyed the different tracks in the workshops. The presenters seemed knowledgeable and passionate about their presentations. Gary and I split up and followed different tracks to get the most out of them. He liked the organizations and all the information they were able to offer in the big room. He wasn’t familiar with everything the organizations have to offer, so this was great.”

Chris Mackenzie with Grow Appalachia attended his first EKFC in 2018 and had this to say as a technical support provider, “I appreciated how practical and applicable the information sessions were, and how well they related to farm experiences in eastern Kentucky. Farming in Eastern Kentucky presents unique challenges, and I feel farmers in this region of the state are often underserved and overlooked when it comes to agricultural resources and education. This conference changes all that and brings otherwise isolated pockets of farmers together to share their experiences and learn from each other as well as from ag professionals who bring new perspectives.”

The upcoming conference will host topics that include Orchards in the Mountains, Practical Plasticulture, Selling Local Meat, The Why and How of Financials, Tapping into Maple and more. Join in Friday night for an evening of music by Dr. Ron Pen and a square dance called by Randy Williams.

Registration is open until Feb. 8 and can be found online at If you prefer to register over the phone, contact Camille at 859-756-6378. Registration includes meals for both days, featuring products sourced from local farmers and producers in eastern Kentucky.

Day-of registrations are also available via cash or check. Any cancellations received after Feb. 8 will not be eligible for a refund. For lodging, you may contact the Jackson Inn at 606-666-7551 for the EKFC group rate.