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Wednesday, 10 February 2016 00:00

News for gardeners

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Farming and business to meet in Asheville 

An all-day conference on the business side of farming will be held Saturday, Feb. 20, at UNC-Asheville.

Organized by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, conference goers can chose from 15 business and marketing workshops led by experienced farming, business and agricultural professionals. Titles include “Farm Business Planning,” “The Dos and Don’ts of Selling to Restaurants” and “Making Social Media Work for You,” including new topics on legal issues and the new Food Safety Modernization Act.

Networking will also be an emphasis, with buyer-grower meetings bringing buyers and producers together. 

“I look forward to the Business of Farming Conference every year. Making a successful business out of a farming enterprise is by far the most challenging aspect of agricultural production. ASAP pulls together an excellent menu of local farmers to make presentations about how they are making a go of it,” said Steven Beltram, owner of Balsam Gardens. 

$70 early-bird registration ends Feb. 1; $90 beginning Feb. 2. A cost-share program is available to offset registration fees. or 828.236.1282. 


Garden club to get buzzing 

A bee-centered talk by Kathy Taylor of KT’s Orchard and Apiary in Canton will be held at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, at the Bethea Welcome Center at Lake Junaluska. 

Taylor’s been running her beekeeping venture since 2007 and helped launch the Haywood County Beekeepers Association in 2010 — the organization works with local beekeepers to promote the health of their bees and their business. 

Part of the Tuscola Garden Club’s regular monthly meeting. 828.246.0437. 


Loans to help farmers get in the game with land and equipment

Microloans to help farmers buy and improve agricultural land are now available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

“Many producers, especially new and underserved farmers, tell us that access to land is one of the biggest challenges they face in establishing and growing their own farming operation,” said Krysta Harden, deputy agriculture secretary. “USDA is making it easier for new farmers to hit the ground running and get access to the land that they need to establish their farms or improve their property.”

In its first two years, the Farm Service Agency microloan program gave 16,800 low-interest loans totaling more than $373 million to help with agricultural operations, equipment and living expenses — now, loans of up to $50,000 will be available to help with farmland and building purchases. 

Contact the local FSA office to learn more.

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