Registration deadline approaches for SD Local Foods Conference

BROOKINGS, S.D. - Registration is open for the 2016 South Dakota Local Foods Conference which is scheduled for Nov. 4-5, 2016 in Mitchell. The event will be held at the Highland Conference Center at 2000 Highland Way . Three pre-conference sessio...

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BROOKINGS, S.D. - Registration is open for the 2016 South Dakota Local Foods Conference which is scheduled for Nov. 4-5, 2016 in Mitchell.

 The event will be held at the Highland Conference Center at 2000 Highland Way . Three pre-conference sessions scheduled for Nov. 3 are still open, and will be held at Mitchell Technical Institute at 1800 E Spruce Street. Registration for the pre-events closes Oct. 28, 2016. "Brand new this year are in-depth pre-conference sessions on hops production, grant writing, social media marketing, permaculture, and cooking with indigenous foods," said Kim Brannen, president of the South Dakota Specialty Producers Association.  Nov. 3 Pre-Conference SessionsHops Production 101 features Dr. Stacy Adams, of University of Nebraska, speaking on production in Nebraska; Dr. Diana Cochran, of Iowa State University, will speak on weed and fertility management; Dr. Cheryl Boyer, Kansas State University (via DDN) will discuss online marketing and social media for small producers; Ryan Heine of 6th Meridian Hops in Yankton and Dr. Christopher Graham, SDSU Extension Agronomist. There will also be a Growers Roundtable with North Dakota producers. This session is $35 per person. Social Media and Marketing will be presented by Janet Nicolaus of Mitchell Technical Institute and Kathleen Rykhus of Pomegranate Market, Sioux Falls. This session will inform local food producers on how to better connect to their market through Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media. This session is $45 per person. Grants-Resources & Technical Assistance will be taught by staff from the S.D. Value Added Ag Development Center, S.D. Department of Agriculture, and USDA Rural Development. This session is $45/person.  The three pre-conference sessions will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Lunch is included in the registration fee. These sessions require advance registration by Oct 28, separate from the full conference registration.   Nov. 4-5 Conference DetailsThe South Dakota Local Foods Conference provides educational programming and networking opportunities for producers, local food enthusiasts, chefs, and resource providers of specialty crops and other niche local food products. Production, marketing, business and cooking tracks are offered during the main conference Nov. 4 - 5. Some sessions include production of grass fed meat, hops, meat goats, herb, and organic vegetables, beekeeping, flower farming, orchard trellis systems, seed saving, season extension, food safety, record keeping, business planning, online marketing, specialty grain marketing, a chef panel, and the Dakota Fresh food hub. The conference will include two keynote speakers: Daniel Halsey, a certified permaculture designer and teacher for multiple academic institutions and organizations out of Prior Lake Minnesota; and "The Sioux Chef", Sean Sherman, who was born in Pine Ridge, and is now a caterer and food educator focusing on revitalizing indigenous food systems in a modern culinary context in the Minneapolis, St. Paul area.More information is available on the registration site. Other components of the event include vendor booths, meals using local foods and a networking event on Friday evening. A new fourth track "In The Kitchen" will be offered at Mitchell Culinary Institute on Saturday. "The conference is meant to continue the dialogue on local foods among producers, growers, consumers, school nutrition programs, grocers, restaurants and resource providers," explained Kari O'Neill, SDSU Extension Community Development Field Specialist. O'Neill encourages anyone with an interest in local foods to attend. Continuing Education hours are available to chefs who participate in the event. Reduced Rate Registration deadline is Oct. 25Registration for the two-day event is $85 per person. Registration for one day of the event is only is $45.Late registration, after Oct. 25, increases to $100 per person for the full conference or $60 per day. To register for this event, visit .  The South Dakota Local Foods Conference is sponsored by a collaboration of partners including the South Dakota Specialty Producers Association, SDSU Extension, South Dakota Department of Agriculture, USDA Rural Development, Dakota Rural Action, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, the South Dakota Small Business Development Center, Mitchell Technical Institute, Black Hills Food Hub, and Spearfish Local.

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“In our industry there aren’t a lot of young people in it. I like the fact that there are a lot of young people in agriculture here,” he said of the Mitchell area.