- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Farming is a life of sacrifice, but a part of Americana that should be protected, according to speakers at the California Small Farm Conference, held earlier this month in San Diego.
“You need to know the odds are against you," Michael O’Gorman, executive director of the UC Davis Farmer Veteran Coalition, told young farmers, according to an account published yesterday by the San Diego News Network. FVC helps returning veterans find employment, training and places to heal on America’s farms.
O’Gorman said farmers too often under estimate the value of their services and their contribution to the economy. He encouraged young farmers to be competitive and ethical in developing their businesses.The article quoted Penny Leff of the UC Small Farm Agricultural Tourism Program in Davis as saying that agritourism “is putting a value on the [farming] experience.” She told farmers that the public wants to experience farm life and they’re willing to pay for it.
Leff sees tourism as a means for farmers to increase profits as well as to educate the community about farming. Creating relationships between farmers and community members is critical for farmers’ success, according to the Network article, authored by Susan Russo.
The three-day conference included speeches by Rayne Pegg, administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and A.G. Kawamura, Secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture.