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Oscar "Hank" Will III as keynote speaker at the Small Farm Conference last week in West Plains, Mo. (Hill 'n Holler photo by Mariann Hyslop)

Oscar “Hank” Will III as keynote speaker at the Small Farm Conference last week in West Plains, Mo. (Hill ‘n Holler photo by Mariann Hyslop)

Ozark Farmers Co-op 1West Plains Mo. — Keynote speaker for the Small Farm Conference held last week at the West Plains Civic Center and sponsored by the Ozark Farmers Cooperative was Oscar “Hank” Will III of Mother Earth News, the leading agriculture magazine in the U.S..
Will spoke about growing up in Bismarck, N.D., amid agricultural seed growing and farming. Talking to farmers, he said that if you have the drive and the passion to do something to —Do what you want to do and don’t be afraid to fail. He advised farmers to make sure you have a three-year plan and that if things go well to work on a longer range plan.
He talked about victory gardens through the war years and how it helped to feed the troops. He said you could start urban gardens by using vacant city lots.
Discussing marketing small farm produce he said it was a good idea to have a good story to go along with the produce.
In order to keep food costs down he told farmers to keep the produce as local as possible and to help re-invest in the community.
Because gardening is labor intensive there are advantages and disadvantages, but once things are going well Will suggested looking into selling to restaurants. Will is editorial director of Ogden Press, Mother Earth News, and Grit magazines.
The conference, which drew 395 people from states as far away as Indiana, Georgia, Iowa, Tennessee, neighboring Arkansas Oklahoma and Kansas, listened to seminars on many subjects including fruit production, solar energy, soil health, no till organic farming, social media marketing, and agriculture tourism. All of them were very informative, and the information was useful for those who have few to lots of acres.
To view the full agenda of presentations, click HERE.
There were 16 exhibitors ranging from feed for livestock, honey products, newspapers, Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine and many more. To view the list of vendors, click HERE.
All in all it was a good two days and helpful to the small and big farmers.
The conference, “Bringing Back the American Small Farm,” was sponsored by Ozark Farmers Agriculture Cooperative, University of Missouri Extension, West Plains, and Missouri State University-West Plains.The conference has already been scheduled for Jan. 26 and 27 at the Civic Center 2017.
To view the flyer for the event, click Bringing Back the American Small Farm – Flyer.
Mariann Hyslop
West Plains Mayor Jack Pahlman welcomes those attending the Small Farm Conference.

West Plains Mayor Jack Pahlman welcomes those attending the Small Farm Conference.

Garden Tools - Homestead Iron was among the vendors at the conference.

Garden Tools – Homestead Iron was among the vendors at the conference.

Attendees checking out vendors

Attendees checking out vendors

Morgan County Seed

Morgan County Seed

Caleb Arthur and Ted Keller of Sun Solar

Caleb Arthur and Ted Keller of Missouri Sun Solar

Mark Kennedy, sheep and goat grader at BUB Ranch buying station in Koshkonong

Mark Kennedy, sheep and goat grader at BUB Ranch buying station in Koshkonong

Master beekeeper Grant Gillard talks about beekeeping, honey processing and marketing.

Master beekeeper Grant Gillard talks about beekeeping, honey processing and marketing.

Attendees at the working lunch

Attendees at the working lunch


Hill ‘n Holler photos by Mariann Hyslop

Ozark Salvage 18Fish Shack 4