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General Information

August 11-13 | Texas State University | San Marcos, TX


Farm & Food Leadership 2019 Conference logo

Hosted by:
Small Producers Initiative, Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance, Council for Healthy Food Systems

Pre-conference workshops Six educational tracks | Exhibitor Hall | Silent Auction | Farm-to-Table Banquet Dinner | Keynote Speakers

Scholarship applications and registration is now closed.

Sunday, 8/11

Pre-Conference Workshops $15-45

Monday, 8/12 and Tuesday, 8/13 
General Conference

Two-day: $160
Students/Seniors*: $145

One-day: $85
Students/Seniors*: $75
* Seniors are 60 & over

Monday Evening Farm-to-Table Dinner: $70 for conference attendees

Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard of Restoration Agriculture Development

KEYNOTE, Monday Banquet

Mark Shepard heads Forest Agriculture Enterprises, is founder of Restoration Agriculture Development, and is the award-winning author of the book Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for Farmers. The book represents Mark’s belief in the ability of sustainably grown perennial food crops to feed us into “our resource-compromised future.”

Mark is most widely known as the founder of New Forest Farm in Wisconsin, a 106-acre commercial-scale perennial agricultural operation that was converted from a row-crop grain farm. It is considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States.

The farm was developed using oak savanna, successional brushland, and eastern woodlands as the ecological models. Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants, and fungi are planted in association with one another to produce food (for humans and grazing livestock), fuel, medicines, and beauty. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts, and various fruits are the primary woody crops.

Mark is a certified permaculture designer and teaches agroforestry and permaculture worldwide.

Deborah Clark & Emry Birdwell


Deborah & Emry run a stocker operation of 5,000-7,000 head of cattle on the 14,000-acre Birdwell & Clark Ranch in Clay County, northwest of Ft. Worth. While a portion of the livestock is kept on leased land, about 5,000 head remain at the ranch they purchased in 2004, fed using a high-density grazing management plan, resulting in consistently improved range conditions, soil health, and cattle productivity.

Emry’s proudest accomplishments are the changes he sees at the ranch in terms of decreasing bare ground, improving diversity of grasses and forbs, soil health, and the ability to add more gain per acre. As a Holistic Management Certified Educator, Deborah works to help others learn to manage their resources in a way that keeps the business, land, family, and community healthy.

In 2018, the couple earned one of six regional Environmental Stewardship Awards, presented by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. in recognition of outstanding land stewardship. Deborah also serves on the board of directors of the Texas Wildlife Assn.

Their grazing system utilizes 340 paddocks to rotate the cattle three-six times a day. In addition, a pipeline and mobile watering trough system allows them to fence the cattle out of riparian areas and stock tanks, ensuring protection of local water and allowing grazing distribution over broad areas of pasture.

After 13 years of intensive land management, Emry and Deborah doubled their stocking rates and significantly improved wildlife habitat, primarily for deer, quail, and dove.


General Conference Location: LBJSC

LBJSC Renovation Model
Drawing of the remodeled LBJSC

The General Conference is on the 3rd floor of the LBJ Student Center. If using GPS, please navigate to the "Matthews St. Garage" on Student Center Dr.

Volunteers will be available and signs will be posted to help guide attendees from the parking garage to the LBJSC. The building is currently under construction, so attendees will enter at the back of the building. 

Registration tables will be right inside the doors to help direct you to the opening plenary, exhibitor hall, and conference session rooms.

A map of conference locations is below. Please note the campus buildings: 

AG: Agriculture Building, Pre-conference Workshops
LBJ: LBJ Student Center, General Conference
JCK: JC Kellam, Monday's Farm-to-Table Banquet Dinner & Keynote

P: Matthews St. Garage (for the General Conference; pre-conference workshops will park near the AG Building)

Driving directions to LBJSC

Campus map (virtual)

Conference locations map

Monday Evening Banquet Dinner

Photo of JCK Building in fall
JCK Building, view from University Dr.

The Monday evening banquet dinner, featuring keynote speaker Mark Shepard, will be hosted in the 11th floor of the JCK Administration Building on Texas State campus. From the top of JCK diners have a picturesque view of San Marcos and the historic building we know as Old Main.

The banquet upholds FARFA's tradition of serving local, farm-to-table ingredients for attendees. The menu is still under development, but please feel free to reach out if you have questions!

Tickets for the banquet dinner are $70 for conference attendees.

Lodging - Special Rates!

We have a limited amount of rooms blocked at the Wingate Hotel in San Marcos on all three nights: Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

Wingate Hotel (by Wyndham)
108 N. Interstate 35, San Marcos
(2 miles from the University)
$89/night for two queens or a king
Breakfast included
(512) 754-6621 for reservations

Make sure to request the "Farm & Food Leadership Conference" rate!

Photo of cottages   The Cottages at Boldheart Farms in McMahan, TX have offered a special 10% discount to conference attendees.

  Check out their website for       more information:

  Reserve your space via phone, and make sure to request the "Farm & Food Leadership Conference" rate!

   Miss Maggie