2014 SFA Annual Conference Recap
By Jason Walker • SFA Communications & Membership Coordinator
Did you attend the SFA Annual Conference on Feb. 8 at St. Ben’s?
If not, you missed the Minnesota farmer networking event of the year. Here are some highlights:
The Farmer Emeritus Award was given to Richard Handeen and Audrey Arner, nominated by Kent Solberg. Richard and Audrey have been farming sustainably at their Moonstone Farm in Montevideo for four decades, and Richard sits on our Association Board. Few farmers are more deserving of this award than Richard and Audrey, and we especially thank them for being sustainable farming role models to so many.
The Distinguished Service Award went to Cree Bradley, nominated by Kelly Smith; and the late Chuck Waibel, nominated by Jerry Ford. Waibel’s wife, Carol Ford, accepted in his honor. Thanks to all for their ongoing support of sustainable farming in Minnesota and beyond.
The Friday night social event at Minnesota Street Market was a hit. Official hootenanny count was two guitars, two mandolins and one banjo. If you missed it, be sure to put it on your calendar for next year and let’s make it even more of a barn-burner.
The children’s programming was back, and it will continue in future years. Parents, we are determined to make the SFA Annual Conference an event for the whole family. Next year, load up the kids and bring them along!
I saw a LOT of gray “Farmer To Farmer” t-shirts at this conference. Very cool. We’re glad you’re proud to be an SFA member. If you didn’t get your shirt at the SFA Conference and regret not purchasing one, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll work out payment and shipping. New this year was a women’s style T-shirt that was both organic and Made in the U.S.A.
And, as usual, the informational sessions were well-received. A personal highlight was being inspired by John Fisher-Merrit in the Root Cellaring session. John’s farm now gets 30 percent of its income from winter vegetable sales, all thanks to the innovative and practical root cellar he envisioned, wisely planned and finally built.