Looking for a winter conference that will improve your grazing operation, expand your mind and show you a good time? The 19th annual GrassWorks Grazing Conference, Feb. 13-15 at Wilderness Territory Resort in Wisconsin Dells, promises to deliver on all fronts.
The theme, "Grounded in Grazing," reflects this year's focus on soil as well as the down to earth nature of the event. An entire track of workshop sessions is devoted to the vital microscopic world under our feet and to the relationship between management and soil health. Additional tracks will address topics related to financial planning, marketing and distribution, policy and program support and the latest grazing research. New graziers will find a wealth of information, not only in "getting started" sessions but also in connecting with other graziers from around the state and region. Special discounts are available for multiple registrants and Water Park passes are free with room, so participants can come with a friend, plan a Valentine's Day get-away or bring the whole family.
On Sunday evening, Nina Planck, author of Real Food: What to Eat and Why, will discuss the value of grass-fed foods at 6 p.m. The talk is included in conference registration and open to the public (for a $10 fee). Attendees will also have a chance to meet local grazing farmers during the "Farmer Showcase" between 5:30 and 8 p.m.
John Ikerd, a well-respected economist, will speak at two general sessions: "Economics of Sustainable Farming" on Monday at 8:30 a.m. and "New Hope for the Future of Farming—and Humanity" on Tuesday at 11:00 AM. Ikerd is the author of several books, including Sustainable Capitalism; Small Farms are Real Farms and Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture.
On Monday night, Michael Perry, nationally know humorist and best-selling author will deliver a "Valentine to Farmers" at 7 p.m. His books include several memoirs on life in small town Wisconsin, including his most recent release, Coop: A Family, A Farm and the Search for One Good Egg. Perry's talk will be followed by a live auction and entertainment.
Conference registration includes workshops, general sessions, admission to the exhibit hall and evening entertainment, as well as dinners, lunches and snacks. Online registration is now available. For information on registration costs, volunteering, exhibiting and other opportunities or to register online, contact Bridget O'Meara ([email protected] or 715-808-0060) or visit www.grassworks.org
As always, the conference will serve delicious grass-fed meals, sourced locally whenever possible. Contact Cherrie Nolden (620-770-6162 or [email protected]) to find out more about donation opportunities.