Ag & Hort Leap slated for Feb. 8-9

Regional agricultural conference returns to Quesnel

100 Mile or Williams Lake are possible destinations for next year, but on Feb. 8-9, Ag & Hort Leap, the regional conference on agriculture, returns to Quesnel, bigger and better than ever before.

After successful one-day events in 2011 and 2012, this year’s conference hosts 24 speakers over two days. Approximately 100 farmers from Clinton to Prince George and beyond are expected to attend.

People from 100 Mile have already registered. The conference is organized by FARMED, the North Cariboo Agricultural Marketing Association.

The conference is being held at the College of New Caledonia, Quesnel Campus.

Highlights include: Edward Walker (Thompson Rivers University) on the important relationship between producers and local restaurants, Allen Dobb (private sector consultant) on the growing export of hay to the Far East, and Jillian Merrick (Beyond the Market initiative in Prince George) on the support available for new farmers.

Says FARMED director Wilma Watkin: “This is a major event, not only for farming but for the wider regional economy.

“The primary objectives of the conference are to help, encourage and educate new entrants to farming and to help in building local food-producing capacity. We also seek to facilitate networking between producers and other producers, their suppliers and their customers and to assist farmers in diversifying into new and growing markets.”

At a time when the region’s lumber industry is being challenged, Watkin adds it is important to encourage other sectors of the local economy.

The main conference sponsors are the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition, the Quesnel Community and Economic Development Corporation, Community Futures North Cariboo and the BC Ministry of Agriculture.

For information, contact conference co-ordinators Michael and Sue Furminger at 250-249-0079.