(02/15/2012)
Submitted by Brandy Brabham
WVU-Roane County Extension Agent

There will be a Progressive Farmer Dinner Meeting offered by WVU Extension Service on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at the Roane-Jackson Technical Center in Leroy, WV. This is the second in the local series of educational dinner meetings that are conducted across West Virginia by WVU Extension. Tuesday night's main topic will be on beginning a pastured poultry operation. The meeting will also include a brief presentation on grant funding available to help small farmers farm sustainably.

According to WVU Extension Agent Brandy Brabham, organizer of the meetings, the first meeting was held in January and it covered the topic of season extension for garden crops and small fruits." Brabham adds , "These meetings provide an excellent opportunity for local producers to learn how to become more profitable or sustain their operation, during these difficult economic times of high input costs." The university covers expenses for the speakers, while agents like Brabham work with local sponsors to provide the meals. "We are very fortunate to have several experts from this state and surrounding states, including professors and Extension Specialists, and agents to share their expertise and offer research-based information to help local farmers make informed decisions."

Backyard flock owners (or potential owners) are encourage to attend this dinner meeting to learn more about the cost benefits of pastured poultry from raising healthy poultry to marketing it. The program will also include specific strategies to produce value added products such as DHA and EPA (omega three fatty acid) enhanced eggs and to prevent salmonella contamination.

The speaker for the workshop will be West Virginia University's Poultry Science Professor, Dr. Joe Moritz. Dr. Moritz has been working at WVU for approximately 10 years. He has been recognized as an outstanding teacher in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design. Dr. Moritz has worked with poultry producers all over the state from the industry leaders to backyard flock owners. He is an expert in animal nutrition, flock health, and breed characteristics.

At this year's meetings, participating farmers will be provided with a small dinner meal thanks to the Little Kanawha Conservation District, Southern States of Spencer and Farm Credit of the Virginias, who provided funds to make the meals and refreshments possible. "This is a nice service to participating farmers, who might not have the opportunity to catch a bite to eat after coming home from work," says Brabham. "Many farmers must tend to the chores around the farm, like feeding hay or checking of livestock before attending the meetings."

Pre-registration is requested by Monday, February 20, 2012. For more information or to pre-register for this workshop, call the WVU-Extension Office in Roane County at 304-927-0975.


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