More than 900 people made it to the “Our Farms, Our Future” conference in St. Louis – a celebration of the 30th anniversaries of both NCAT’s ATTRA Sustainable Ag program and USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).
And the crowd included a hearty sprinkling of NCAT folks:
Guy Ames, Devona Bell, Felicia Bell, Linda Coffey, Andrew Coggins, Rex Dufour, Justin Duncan, Kevin Ellis, Luke Freeman, Martin Guerena, Margot Hale, Al Kurki, Robyn Metzger, Mike Morris, Rich Myers, Nina Prater, Andy Pressman, Daniel Prial, Lee Rinehart, Thea Rittenhouse, Thomas Schroeder, and Rock Woods.
NCAT Board Member Margaret Krome stopped by the ATTRA table, as did Jim Lukens, who was the second director of ATTRA back when it moved from Memphis, Tennessee, to Fayetteville, Arkansas, all those years ago. And incidentally, if you’d like to see what Jim is up to in Fayetteville now, you can check out his “Fayetteville Folkus” show, streaming every Saturday morning on KSPQ radio at http://www.kpsq.org/local-shows/.)
Margaret, who works for the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, along with Ferd Hoefner of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, gave a presentation on Congress’ appropriations and Farm Bill processes.
The conference was four days of presentations, panel discussions, breakout sessions, poster sessions, networking, film screenings, and farm tours. On Monday, the day before the conference began, NCAT folks held two events for veterans, a “reunion” of Armed to Farm training alumni and a veteran farmer networking event.
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky was the conference keynote speaker, followed by a panel discussion on what sustainable agriculture might expect during the next 30 years featuring Deputy Secretary Censky and former Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden.
Andy Pressman co-hosted a screening of a new documentary about the changing face of agriculture in America, “Farmers For America,” during a young farmer mixer hosted by the National Young Farmers Coalition.
Many of the NCAT staffers moderated and presented during breakout sessions. The ATTRA table was buzzing throughout the conference. Of course, at a conference marking the 30th anniversary of two organizations, there was a lot of reminiscing. A real highlight was an entertaining plenary session discussion about the history of ATTRA by Rex and Guy. If you weren’t there, don’t worry, it will soon be up on the ATTRA site.
Altogether, the conference was a good start on the next 30 years.