Regional Workshops to Benefit Small Farmers

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As farmers try to recover from the effects of record rainfall in 2018, punctuated by Hurricane Florence, one question they will ask is: How can we better manage risk? Risk has always been a part of agriculture, but farming in America has changed drastically over the past few years. Increasingly, farmers are learning that it is now a game with new risks. The most successful farmers are now looking at a deliberate and knowledgeable approach to risk management as a vital part of their plan. For them, risk management means farming in a more rapidly changing world. It is the ability to deal with risks that come with new farming opportunities.

Any production-related activity or event that is uncertain is a production risk. Agricultural production implies an expected outcome or yield. Variability in outcomes from those expected creates risks to your ability to achieve financial goals.

Growers have three choices in dealing successfully with production risks:  

  • They can control or minimize risk through management practices by doing a better job than what they currently do.
  • They can reduce production variability by making changes such as diversifying, integrating, and applying new technology.
  • They can transfer production risk to someone else through contracting, purchasing insurance, etc.

Small farmers will have two opportunities to learn about new production practices and technologies in upcoming workshops being held at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Bladen County Center in Elizabethtown, N.C. On February 6, 2019, there will be a Regional Small Farmer Production Workshop. The workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end around 5 p.m. Extension Specialists from North Carolina A&T State University and county N.C. Cooperative Extension staff will conduct the workshop. Growers will have an opportunity to learn a number of production innovations and alternative systems, such as utilizing plastic mulch and drip irrigation, the economics of high-tunnel production, industrial hemp production, small-scale animal production, pastured pork production, and hydroponics. On February 7, there will be a Small Farms Academy. The academy will begin at 9 a.m. and end around 4:30 p.m. Growers will have the opportunity to learn the latest in ginger and heirloom tomato production and marketing. Lunch will be provided both days.

With these tools, local farmers can build the confidence they need to deal with both the risks and the exciting opportunities for the future.

For more information, or to register for the workshops, please contact Nelson Brownlee at 671-3276, by email at, or visit our website. For accommodations for people with disabilities, contact N.C. Cooperative Extension of Robeson County at 910-671-3276 no later than January 30.

NC State University and N.C. A&T State University are collectively committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, and veteran status. NC State, N.C. A&T, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.