From the tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
During the winter months, many farmers use this time to get their equipment in order, start planning for the upcoming season, check out new equipment and products and maybe attend their commodity association meetings.
I would also say it is a good time to take a class or attend a workshop.
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services hosts a variety of workshops and programs throughout the year designed to help growers better market their commodities, improve their bottom lines, maximize their social media efforts and make new business contacts.
If you have never attended one of our workshops, I would encourage you to make plans to attend one this year. I believe they are an affordable way to invest in your business, and many are one-day events making the time commitment minimal.
On the horizon, we have the Fifth Annual NCDA&CS Food Business Conference and an upcoming series of risk-management workshops focused on managing price volatility and identifying macro indicators in trade. The food business conference is geared towards those interested in value-added opportunities, while the risk management workshops focus on grains, cotton and energy crops.
At press time for this newspaper, details on both are still being finalized, but I would encourage you to check our website at www.ncagr.gov to find out more details.
Other events to look for in 2016 include one-on-one buyers meetings with retail outlets hosted by the Marketing Division and field days at research stations across the state.
We have also hosted workshops for farmers market managers, specialty food producers and agritourism operators.
No matter what you are producing, we likely have programs that would be of benefit.
Check back often on our website and in the Agricultural Review for updates and new events.