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Serving: WI

Renewable Energy, Regional Food on Agenda for 2009 Value Added Ag Conference

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The 11th annual Midwest Value Added Agriculture Conference will run Jan. 22-23 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minn. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is one of the conference sponsors.

The theme for this year's conference is "Farm and Home Added Value: Profiting from Renewable Energy and Regional Food." The conference brings together farmers and local food advocates to address issues such as farm business management, marketing products and bio-energy options.

Speakers include:

* Kate Clancy, Minnesota Institute of Sustainable Agriculture, who will discuss her experiences with value-added food systems in today's business climate, with high energy costs, shrinking credit, and marketing challenges.

* Gary Zimmer, Midwestern Bio-Ag, will examine humane and safe food production, as well as developing unique products and markets.

* Margaret Adamek, University of Minnesota, a sustainable and local food systems specialist, will speak on "Relocalizing Our Food Systems."

* Mark Seeley, UM-Extension meteorologist, will address climate effects on Midwestern agriculture.

* Pat Walsh, University of Wisconsin-Extension, will speak on "Emerging Carbon Economy."

Other topics include intensive grazing, direct marketing meat, solar and wind electrical generation, obtaining federal financing, and business planning. There will also be a trade show.

Registration fee is $105 for an adult to attend both days. Reduced fees are available for additional members of the same family, students, children, and single-day attendance. Blocks of rooms have been reserved at the Radisson Hotel Rochester, 507-281-8000, at $95 per night and the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center, 800-552-7224, at $89 per night. Mention Midwest Value Added Ag Conference when reserving rooms.

For a conference brochure and registration form, go to www.rivercountryrcd.org. For more information, call Jeff Koster, 507-281-1959 ext. 4, or email lindsay.raab@rcdnet.net.

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