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Pre-Conference Workshops


Most workshops have reached capacity. Except for Mark Shepard's water workshop, we will not accept any walk-ins on Sunday. Thank you.

All pre-conference workshops are in the Agriculture Building at Texas State University. Parking is free, located across the street in the Peques Lot. Lunch is provided for full-day workshops, or for those attending more than one half-day workshop.

Optimizing Your Land's Relationship to Water

9:00 AM-12:00 PM | $45

Where do you begin to transition land from non-farm use or a traditional one-crop farm to a sustainable, diversified farm with healthy soil and minimal input? It all begins with earth shaping and water management. Learn from certified permaculture designer and author of the book Restoration Agriculture, Mark Shepard, how to assess and utilize the unique characteristics of your land to manage water and build the best soil.

Learn about keyline design and expand your knowledge of how water moves across landscapes and how farmers can slow and spread water so it can either be stored  or allowed to infiltrate soil to recharge groundwater. Mark also will introduce the concept of perennial crops and agriforestry and the way those plants produce more edible calories per acre than conventional row crops while preventing erosion and creating soil. Half-day; time to be determined.

Implementing SNAP Incentive Programs at Farmers' Markets

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM | $15

Led by Hilda Gutierrez and Alex Mace of the Sustainable Food Center's Food Access Team, the purpose of this workshop is to introduce Market Managers to SNAP incentive programs like Double Up Food Bucks and provide an overview of the administrative requirements and implementation methodologies. Since every Farmers’ Market has its own challenges, strengths, and limitations, attendees will gain an understanding of the various costs and benefits to operating an incentive program at their markets. Additionally, information will be provided on the process for joining the Double Up network in Texas. 

Topics to be covered: 
•    General overview of incentive programs
•    Brief history of Double Dollars/Double Up Food Bucks
•    Program types and/or methodologies to implementation
•    Market readiness 
•    Application process
•    Applying for a FNS Number
•    General program costs
•    Administrative processes
•    Reporting tools

How to Form a Successful Cooperative 

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM | $45

How can a small-scale farmer or rancher access the same economies of scale and achieve the same market saturation as their much larger competitors? By Cooperating! Cooperation — with other farmers, with customers, and with a range of community members — can help farmers achieve success as vital parts of the food system. Led by Annelies Lottmann, co-op development experts and co-op founders from around the state will explore the many ways that cooperation can build strong, resilient farmer and rancher networks as well as a committed, reliable customer base. This full-day interactive workshop will address the following topics:

  • Reducing expenses and increasing market access through co-ops.
  • Start-up process basics.
  • Roundtable discussion with existing Texas agricultural co-op participants.
  • Co-op business planning and design.
  • Worker cooperative farms and cooperative land trusts.
  • Legal and tax considerations for cooperatives.

On-Farm Food Safety for Produce Growers

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM | $15

Small to mid-scale fruit and vegetable growers interested in learning about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and co-management of natural resources and food safety will benefit from this comprehensive course. Participants will learn the “why and how” of managing food safety risks, standard operating procedures, and documentation to meet FSMA requirements, regardless of farm size. Upon completing, this course will give you the requisite certification as regulated by the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule § 112.22(c). Participants completing the entire course and documentation will receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials. This course is partially supported by a grant from the NIFA Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grants Program in association with the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (TOFGA).

Food Safety Training for Processing Facilities

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM | $15

Description coming soon.

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM | $15

Still under development, but this workshop will focus on the benefits of good on farm record-keeping and how good records can translate into financial opportunities like low-interest loans and grants.

Major sponsor, Capital Farm Credit logo