2015 Harvest New England Ag Marketing Conference & Trade Show: Direct Marketing to Diversified Wholesale, Finding What Works

Sturbridge, Massachusetts
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Program updates and additional speakers will be added periodically

Wednesday, February, 25, 2015
7:30 am - 8:30 am:  Registration  

8:30 am - 10:00 am -  Keynote Speaker Jonathan Raduns:  Overcoming the 5 Dangerous Trends Limiting New England Farm Profits 
Speaker: Jonathan Raduns, Merchandise Food, Somerdale, NJ
Our keynote session will offer inspirational and practical knowledge to empower New England farmers to break through the resounding patterns and challenges which limit farm success.  Jonathan Raduns will share ideas and stories from the heart, as a fellow farm marketer who was raised on a small farm in Western New York.  His varied life experiences and marketing expertise will provide New England farmers with helpful insights and untraditional perspectives to build your farm market, grower-shipper operation, or roadside stand.
10:00 am - 10:15 am:  Break  
10:15 am - 4:00 pm: New England Farmers Market Managers Workshop
10:15 am - 11: 30 am: Choose One
SNAP/EBT Outreach Strategies
Moderator: Jeff Cole, Mass Farmers Markets, Waltham, MA
Speakers: Katy Hiza, SNAP Incentives Network Coordinator, New Hampshire Food Bank, Manchester, NH; Georgina Sarpong, Farmers Market Program Manager, Farm Fresh Rhode Island, Pawtucket, RI

Best practices for implementing SNAP at farmers’ markets, including  fundraising for match, community organizing, role of departments of health and human services, and promotion and outreach.  Learn what markets in our region, rural and urban, are doing well and ways to overcome challenges.
Boost Your Sales in a SNAP! (through the Working with Family and Budgets Track): 
Moderator: David Webber, MA Department of Agricultural Resources, Boston, MA
Speakers: Amy Crone, MarketLink, Alexandria, VA; Frank Martinez Nocito, Assistant Director, SNAP Nutrition Education, MA Dept. of Transitional Assistance, Springfield, MA; Maria Schamberger, Program Specialist, United States Department of Agriculture, Albany, NY

Taking SNAP (food stamp) benefits at your farm, farm stand or farmers’ market can boost your sales and customer base as well as provide healthy, locally grown foods to the community.  You will be provided an overview of the application process and hear about the latest innovations in the region. Learn about low-cost equipment options you may qualify for that can allow you to not only process SNAP payments but also credit and debit transactions.

12:45 pm  - 1:45 pm:  Plain Talk About Insurance
Moderator: Jeff Cole, Mass Farmers Markets, Waltham, MA
Speakers: Elizabeth Boepple, Attorney, Lambert Coffin, Portland, ME; John Herlihy, H & K Insurance Agency, Watertown, MA

General Liability, Product Liability, and Directors and Officers Liability insurance: Navigating through liability insurance options can be daunting for even the most seasoned markets.  Learn how these types of insurance differ, some guidelines for when each may be wise, and the questions to ask when making insurance policy decisions.

1:45 pm - 2:45 pm: 
The Place of Farmers Markets in Today’s Local Food Landscape
Moderator: Jane Lang, Salem Farmers Market, Salem, NH
Speakers: Lynda Brushett, Cooperative Development Institute, South Deerfield, MA; Sherry Maher, Brattleboro Winter Market, Townshend, VT, Martha Sweet, Mass Farmers Markets, Waltham, MA

What is the farmers’ market relevancy, role or place in a new world of local food purchasing options for consumers and local food marketing options for vendors?  What can markets do to compete for customers and vendors? What criteria would a market use in order to make a decision to close or stay open and change direction?

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm:   
Community Collaborations
Moderator, Lynda Brushett, Cooperative Development Institute, South Deerfield, MA
Speakers: Francie Randolph, Founding Director, Sustainable CAPE, Truro, MA; Renee Smyth, Bank of Maine; Jose Wendel, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
Explore ways in which farmers markets around New England are benefiting from innovative collaborations with banks, Chambers of Commerce, hospitals, farm stands, CSA’s, food co-ops and more to build traffic and sales.

10: 15 am - 11: 30 am:  Breakout Sessions #1 
Working with Ag Commissions: Why Ag Commissions are Important to Your Town
Speaker: Douglas Gillespie, MA Farm Bureau, Marlboro, MA
Agricultural Commissions bridge communication between farmers and communities.  The architect for the agricultural commission resurgence in MA, former MDAR Commissioner, Douglas Gillespie, will talk about the vision he had for these municipal commissions, the basics on their formation and function, and the future roles that they may play for our region.

Working with Your Product:
 "Power Branding" and Professional Sales Secrets of Dynamic Farm Marketers  
Moderator, Jaime Smith, CT Dept. of Agriculture, Hartford, CT
Speaker: Jonathan Raduns, Merchandise Food, Somerdale, NJ
Learn how successful growers are leveraging opportunities to build brand awareness in the retail environment.  This session will highlight specific examples of how packaging, online marketing, and merchandising support tools can communicate your brand more effectively. Learn professional sales methods which will help you and your offerings become more relevant to today's retail produce buyers. Learn the secrets of strong sales minded farms to build sustainable profitable businesses.

Working with Institutions:
 Farm to Institution Nuts and Bolts - Shop talk with Sector Leaders 
Moderator: Peter Allison, Farm to Institution New England
Speakers: Stacia Clinton, Healthcare Without Harm; Kimberly Clark, Farm Fresh Rhode Island, Pawtucket RI; Simca Horowitz, MA Farm to School, Amherst, MA
Have you tried to tap into the institutional market but faced frequent barriers? In this interactive session you will hear the details of the purchasing structure of institutions from sector experts and have the opportunity for your questions to guide the direction of the conversation. You will leave with a better understand of the purchasing structure for schools, colleges, and hospitals and identify a variety of opportunities to sell to institutions through traditional and alternative supply chain.  

Working with Family and Budgets: Boost Your Sales in a SNAP!  
Moderator: David Webber, MA Department of Agricultural Resources, Boston, MA
Speakers: Amy Crone, MarketLink, Alexandria, VA; Frank Martinez Nocito, Assistant Director, SNAP Nutrition Education, MA Dept. of Transitional Assistance, Springfield, MA; Maria Schamberger, Program Specialist, United States Department of Agriculture, Albany, NY

Taking SNAP (food stamp) benefits at your farm, farm stand or farmers’ market can boost your sales and customer base as well as provide healthy, locally grown foods to the community.  You will be provided an overview of the application process and hear about the latest innovations in the region. Learn about low-cost equipment options you may qualify for that can allow you to not only process SNAP payments but also credit and debit transactions.  

11:30 am - 12:45 pm: Locally Grown Buffet Lunch  

Noon:  Trade Show Opens  

12: 45 pm - 2:00 pm:  Breakout Sessions #2  
Working With AG Commissions: Ag Terminology: Commonly Confused Terms and How to Explain Them to Customers and Community
Speaker: Richard Bonanno, UMass Extension, Amherst, MA
Today’s agricultural terms can be easily confusing or misinterpreted.  Dr. Bonanno will discuss an array of terms commonly used but oftentimes misunderstood.  For example: what does “the Right- to-Farm” mean; what are GMO’s; or what is the difference between organic, traditional growing, best and normal practices?

Working With Your Product:
 Visual Merchandising 101: Display Strategies and Techniques to Drive Food and Farm Sales
Moderator: Jaime Smith, CT Dept. of Agriculture, Hartford, CT
Speaker: Jonathan Raduns, Merchandise Food, Somerdale, NJ
85% of the information shoppers use to make buying decisions enters through the eyes. Learn how a direct farm marketer increased sales 78% over the prior year through strong visual merchandising and service. This session highlights specific visual merchandising techniques used by world-class retailers aimed to drive sales.

Working With Institutions: Models of Effective Farm to Institution Purchasing Agreements:
Moderator: Kimberly Clark, Farm Fresh Rhode Island, Pawtucket, RI; Dave Horner, Food Service Director, Chittenden County, VT
Speakers: Jerry Cerand, Farm Logix; Beth Myre, Farm Fresh Rhode Island, Pawtucket, RI; Shelley Pezza, Pezza Farm, Johnston, RI
In this session, we will examine several models of successful arrangements that facilitate institutional purchases of local food. We'll be using examples of contracts and growing agreements between institutions and farms, distributors and farms, and institutions and their food service providers. Panelists will tell the story of how they utilized a written agreement to achieve their goals.

Working With Family and Budgets
Where's the Money?
Moderator: Jon Jaffe, Farm Credit East
Speakers: Erick Delucca, Slow Money, Richmond, VT;  Dorian Gregory, Cooperative Fund of New England; David Holms, Northeast SARE, Burlington, VT;  Christine Kimball, USDA Rural Development, Amherst, MA; Carrie Novak, USDA FSA, Amherst, MA; Jim Oldham, Equity Trust, Amherst, MA; Dorothy Suput, The Carrot Project, Somerville, MA; Lynn Weaver, Farm Credit, East, Dayville, CT
Looking for a grant or a loan for a number of agribusiness projects? Meet representatives from organizations that provide capital to farm enterprises.  Size up what they have to offer, learn what is required, see if there is a fit with your needs and make an appointment to discuss your project in greater detail.  

2:00 - 2:30 pm - Break and Visit Trade Show  

2:30 pm - 3:45 pm:  Breakout Sessions #3
Working With Ag Commissions: Do's and Don't of Farming in the Wetland Resource Area
Speaker: Francis DiLuna, Murtha Cullina Law
The Massachusetts agricultural community enjoys an exemption from the Wetlands Protection Act.  This exemption, however, is not “carte blanche”.  Attorney Di Luna will discuss certain agricultural activities that may occur in wetland resource areas without the permission of the local conservation commission and what activities require approval of the conservation commission.  

Working With Your Product
Could Your Farm Benefit by Being Part of a Marketing Co-op?
Moderator, Kate Snyder, New England Farmers Union, Turners Falls, MA
Speakers: Roger Noonan, New England Farmers Union, Turners Falls, MA; Erbin Crowell, Neighboring Food Co-op Association, Shelburne Falls, MA; Warren Fancy, Bree-Z Knoll Farm, Leyden, MA; Kate Donald, Stout Oak Farm, Brentwood, NH; Anthony Miriscotta, Deep Root Organic Co-op, Johnson, VT; Julie Moran, North Country Farmers Co-op, Colebrook, NH

Learn from farmers about how your operation could benefit by being part of a marketing co-operative, and discover the steps involved in setting one up. Participants will receive a co-operative development manual prepared by Northeast Farmers Union. 

Working With Institutions:
 Working With Food Hubs and Processing Centers
Moderator: John Waite, Western Mass Food Processing Center, Greenfield MA
Food hubs and processing centers provide farmers with an opportunity to aggregate their product with that of other farms to generate sufficient volume to sell to institutional markets and to add value to the product for convenient use by institutions. This session will provide lessons learned from New England and national food hub and processing experiences.  

Working With Family and Budgets: Farm Business Succession: How Prospects for Succession Impact Your Business Life Cycle Decisions
Speaker: Kathy Ruhf, Land For Good, Keene, NH
Don’t put off succession planning for your farm. Marketing and other farm business decisions are influenced by the prospects for succession, whether or not you have an identified successor. This session offers information, tools, support and resources to help farm families integrate succession into business planning and take concrete next steps.  

3:45 pm - 7:00 pm:  Trade Show and Networking Reception

Thursday, February 26, 2015
7:30 am - 8:30 am:  Registration and Tradeshow  

8:30 am - 9:45 am: General Session Speaker, Nancy Clark: The Power of Millennial Thinking
"Millennials", those born between 1980-1995, are 80 million strong today, and will account for 50% of the USA workforce in 2020 and 75% of the global workforce by 2030.  They are entering their prime earning and spending years right now, so it is important to your business to understand what makes them tick.   They are connected, committed, and confident in who they are.   They are said to be the most educated generation in history, and are intensely passionate about their world and the future of it.   They are open to change but that change must be rooted in authenticity and genuineness.   They are becoming a powerful influence and effecting change in all other generations.   This fast paced session will explain why and how the power of millennial thinking can have a positive impact on your business and how to starting thinking like a millennial yourself.   

9:45 am - 10:15 am: Break and Visit Trade Show  

10:15 am - 11:30 am:  Breakout Sessions #4  
Working with Wholesalers: Selling to Grocery Stores: The Pros and Cons of Wholesaling to National, Regional and Local Grocery Stores
Speakers: TBA
Join a grocery store produce buyer, a wholesale grower and CT Farm Bureau to hear about the pros and cons of selling produce to grocery stores.  Based on research and interviews, we will share our findings and provide producers with information and strategies for developing successful relationships with grocery stores.   

Working With Your Product: The Art of Fearless Storytelling
Moderator: Gail McWilliam-Jellie, NH  Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, Concord, NH
Speaker: Nancy Clark, Glen Group, North Conway, NH
Your story is unique, memorable and should be the single reason consumers choose your business.  Your story is why consumers are willing to pay more for your business, product, or service.  In this interactive session, you'll learn how to craft your own story, and tell it will confidence.
Working With Tourists: Practices for a Successful Agritourism Effort
Moderator: Lisa Chase, University of Vermont Extension
Speakers: Vera Simon-Nobes, Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT; Beth Kennett, Liberty Hill Farm, Rochester, VT; Cat Buxton, Cedar Circle Farm, East Thetford, VT
As agritourism has grown rapidly in recent years and more farms have jumped on the agritourism bandwagon, providing high quality, authentic experiences has been a challenge for some working farms. In this session, farmers and service providers share best practices for ensuring that agritourism is safe, educational, and profitable.  

Working With InstitutionsUnpacking the Distribution Dilemma: What Growers Need to Know about Selling Direct and Through Distributors
Moderator: Abbie Nelson, NOFA-VT and VT Feed
Spakers: TBA

Institutions provide a potentially large market for New England farms, but many factors influence the ultimate benefit to farmers. In this session, farmers and dining service directors will describe their selling and purchasing arrangements, and discuss factors relating to customers, business operations, budgets and regulatory framework. You’ll understand how farmers identify the best market or “tier” and how farm products are distributed to institutional markets via direct sales as well as opportunities to sell and/or deliver via food distributors.  

Working With Family and Budgets: Filling My Parents Shoes
Speaker: Erin Pirro, Farm Credit East
Farms are started by unique individuals who grow with the business and learn along the way. Their children often join in and work their way to daily management roles. But parents often forget what their children have learned and underestimate what they’re capable of. Discover how to successfully transfer knowledge and wisdom from one generation to the next for the benefit of the farm – before it’s too late.  

11:30 am - 1:30 pm:  Visit Trade Show  

11:30am - 12:45 pm: Locally Grown Buffet Lunch  

1:30 pm - 2:45 pm:  Breakout Sessions #5  
Working With Wholesalers: Game Changer: How Cooperatives Add Value to Farm Businesses
Moderator: Lynda Brushett, Cooperative Development Institute, South Deerfield, MA
Speakers: Jonah Fertig, Arundel, ME; Faith Gilbert, Letterbox Farm Collective, Hudson, NY

Cooperative farming is a growing trend, to address common needs for land, labor, equipment, facilities, and markets. Learn how farming collectives and co-ops with consumer and farmer members are organized. Leave with a game plan to explore collaborative relationships back home.  

Working With Your Product: Building A Strong Brand to Increase Sales and Customer Loyalty
Speaker: Myrna Greenfield, Good Egg Marketing. Jamaica Plain, MA
Every farm has a unique story that can help them attract loyal customers. This interactive session will show you how to choose words and images that will make your website, social media, and other low-cost marketing more effective.  

Working With Tourists: Farm Visits and What You Need to Know
Moderator; Isabel Burgess, MA Farm to School, Amherst, MA
Speakers:  Katie Carlson-Hardy, Carlson Orchards, Harvard, MA; Lauren Wetherbee, MA Farm to School, Amherst, MA

Come learn about hosting a farm visit: what are the benefits and challenges, are they a good fit for your farm, and best practices for providing engaging, age-appropriate activities and learning opportunities. Participants will receive Farm Field Trips 101 – a guide to getting started with farm field trips.  

Working With InstitutionsFarm to Institution In State Policies
Moderator; Cris Coffin, American Farmland Trust
Have policy makers in the room heard farmer feedback on current and proposed policy? Bring together state department of agriculture commissioners, state representatives and policy advocates to determine how our six New England states can think strategically and create policies that will promote farm to institution.  

Working With Family and Budgets: Budgeting - From the Bottom Up
Speaker: Erin Pirro, Farm Credit East
A budget is a road map to get you to the end result: a profitable year. But like any road, it’s full of detours and potholes! All of a sudden income minus expenses isn’t very encouraging, but operating without a plan is painful and expensive! Join us to learn about a new strategy for developing an operating budget, monitoring your progress, and making sure you get paid first.  

2:45 pm - 3:15 pm:  Break and Visit Trade Show  Trade Show closes at 3:15  

3:15 pm - 4:30  pm:  Breakout Sessions #6  
Working With Your Product: Keys to Success in Value-Added Product Development and Marketing
Moderator: Bonita Oehlke, MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources, Boston, MA
Speakers: Jen Faigel, Director, CCK Pearl Kitchen, Dorchester, MA; Amanda Kinchla, Extension Specialist, UMass Amherst; Nico Lustig, Food Business Development Specialist, Western MA Food Processing Center, Greenfield, MA;  Caroline Pam, The Kitchen Garden, Sunderland, MA

A panel will share important insights and resources available in adding value to their farm products and selling both directly to consumers as well as wholesale channels.

Working With TouristsSavoring the Farm to Table Experience
Moderator: Julia Grimaldi, MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources, Boston, MA
Speakers: Elizabeth Almeida, Fat Moon Farm, Westford, MA;  Ben Elliott, Saltbox Farm, Concord, MA; Jim Gop, Fire Roasted Catering and The Meat Market, Great Barrington, MA; Lynn Stromberg, Lettuce Be Local, Sterling, MA
Are you looking for a welcome change to your farm’s experience? Food enthusiasts enjoy exploring new destinations, especially farms where there is an increasing interest to learn where our food is produced, directly from the hands that produce it. Learn from a panel of experts on how you can create a culinary adventure on your farm!

Straight Talk About Insurance for Farmers
Richard G. Bourgault, A & B Insurance Group, LLC, Westford, MA        

Come with all of your questions about the risk that affects your farm. We will explore how insurance may help you reduce that risk. We will together explore what is insurable and what may not be. This will be your session to take the discussion wherever you want. Don't miss this chance to learn what you have always wondered about.

Working With Family and BudgetsAgricultural Business Planning: The Critical Elements
Moderator: Mary Jordan, MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources, Boston, MA
Speaker: Roy Henshaw, Agricultural Business Consultant, Sudbury, MA

Agricultural Business planning is an activity that is performed continually by managing the farm business, paying the bills, compensating the help and making sure that all farm and business reporting compliance is completed each and every year. Running and operating a farm requires organization and strict attention to federal and state laws. Farming is a complicated, experience based activity. This workshop will provide a listing of necessary documents that will help accomplish the phenomenon of planning. The participants will gain an understanding of what needs to be done and how to do it. Topics will include specific information centered around taxation, operating a farm inside an entity and what that entity will provide as you go through the years of ownership and transition

4:30 pm:  Conference Ends  



Contact Information

  • Mrs. Jaime Smith
    CT Department of Agriculture

Payment Instructions

  • Early Registration EXTENDED (by 2/16/2015)
      Full Conference.............$90.00
      Add'l Family/Employee..$75.00 
      One Day, Wednesday......$60.00
      One Day, Thursday.........$60.00

    Late Registration (after 2/16/2015)
       Full Conference.............$125.00
       One Day........................$85.00

    PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard accepted online.

    To pay with a check, download the registration page and send it in with payment.

    Your conference registration includes lunch and a reception in the trade show on Wednesday evening.

    Thank you to our financial sponsors!
    Farm to Institution New England
    MA Assoc of Agricultural Comms
    CT FarmLink, MarketLink
    Rhody Fresh

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