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What Works III and National Value-Added Agriculture Joint Conference

A conference co-organized by the Penn State-based Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development and the National Value-Added Agriculture Conference took place on May 13-15, 2014. The event, which had a theme of “Enhancing Food Security and Rural Viability through Innovative Food System Practices and Opportunities,” featured 33 workshops and breakout sessions, and a selection of those presentations is available here.
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An explanation of the various projects that the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development is involved with and how they relate to food system development in the region. PDF file.

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This presentation is about how entrepreneurship can be a catalyst for ensuring food security for consumers and a driver of value-added agriculture that improves producers' lives. Presented by Dr. Tom Lyons of the City University of New York. PDF file.

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MidAtlantic Farm Credit partnered with Fox Management Consulting to conduct a market research study on the "new generation" farming sector. Bill Kitsch from MidAtlantic Farm Credit shared their findings. PDF file.

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The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program accelerates the commercialization of technology in Maryland by jointly funding collaborative R&D projects between Maryland companies and University System of Maryland faculty. This presentation includes highlights of how the program works, funding and application information, and specific examples of successful projects. PDF file.

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The Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council adn the Frostburg State University are developing a five-acre former strip mine into a site that will produce fruits, vegetables, tree seedlings, and compost. The program was described by Dan Fiscus and Corey Armstrong of Florda State University and Willie Lantz of the University of Maryland. PDF file.

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Eight focus groups that were conducted as part of a larger regional food system project. The focus groups explored perceptions of regional foods, or foods that grow in the Northeast. Anne Palmer, Ryan Lee, and Philip McNab of Johns Hopkins University and Carol Giesecke of Delaware State University shared preliminary results from these focus groups.

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A group of produce farmers in Garett County, Maryland, decided to develop a producer cooperative that would focus sales on local restaurants and grocery stores. Willie Lantz of the University of Maryland and Cheryl and Charles DeBerry, two farmers involved in the cooperative, talked about their experience thus far. PDF file.

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King Whetstone II, of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, presented data from the 2012 Agricultural Census that are relevant to value-added agriculture, agritourism, and local and regional foods systems. PDF file.

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Dr. Luanne Lohr of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service provided an update on the USDA's Farmers Market Program. PDF file.

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An overview of the USDA's farm-to-school program, presented by Matt Benson. PDF file.

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The Agricultural Resource Management Survey can be a valuable tool in researching local food farms. Dr. Mary Ahearn, a retired volunteer senior economist with the USDA Economic Research Service, shared advantages, disadvantages, and advice about using the ARMS to conduct research, as well as information yielded from the survey. PDF file.

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The Farmers Market Training Network Pilot Program (FMTNPP) is designed to provide training, networking opportunities, and technical assistance to selected farmers markets. The purpose of the program is to strengthen the long-term viability of farmers markets and the income-earning capacity of their vendors through targeted technical assistance and peer networking. PDF file.

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On-farm shops/stores, where producers can sell their products, are popular direct marketing avenues in the UK and in some Eastern US states, but there are very few in the West. Kynda Curtis of Utah State University presented on a study aimed at developing best practices and economically feasible models for incorporating farm stores into direct-marketing operations in the Intermountain West. PDF file.

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Anu Rangarajan of the Cornell University Small Farm Program presented on the results of a NY state small-producer survey, which was conducted to better understand current markets and wholesale channels of interest, as well as information and education needs to support decision making to enter a wholesale channel. PDF file.

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As agricultural producers look to diversify their operations, food tourism is gaining momentum. An investigation into food tourism best practices in Utah was presented by Kynda Curtis of Utah State University and Susan Slocum of George Mason University.

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Local and regional food system entrepreneurs as catalysts: Key themes from NARDeP Case Studies. Presented by Dawn Thilmany McFadden of the University of Colorado. PDF file.

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As part of a session that used a set of case studies to explore the degree to which entrepreneurs are catalysts for food system development, this presentation by Martha Sullins of Colorado State University offers a look at Zia Taqueria, a restaurant in Southern Colorado. PDF file.

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As part of a session that used a set of case studies to explore the degree to which entrepreneurs are catalysts for food system development, this presentation by Michael Wilcox and Jodee Ellett of Purdue University offers a look at Lone Pine Farms Moody Meats, Inc., in rural Indiana. PDF file.

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As part of a session that used a set of case studies to explore the degree to which entrepreneurs are catalysts for food system development, this presentation by David Hughes and Harry Crissy of Clemson University and Kathryn Boys of Virginia Tech University offers a look at Limehouse Produce, a locally owned wholesale food broker in Charleston, SC. PDF file.

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As part of a session that used a set of case studies to explore the degree to which entrepreneurs are catalysts for food system development, this presentation by James Matson of Matson Consulting offers a look at Sandhills Farm-to-Table Co-op in Southern Pines, NC. PDF file.

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The AgMRC is the place to go for easy-to-read information and links to more detailed information on food safety, agritoursim, entrepreneurship, and more. Christa Hartsock and Craig Tordsen of Iowa State University provided an overview of this program. PDF file.