SAN ANTONIO – The Texas AgriLife Extension Service and others will be presenting a new educational series on the business aspects of running a small-acreage vegetable- or fruit-growing enterprise.
The “Small-Acreage Fruit and Vegetable Grower Business Series” will be presented as four separate workshops to be held April 19, May 3, May 17 and June 7 at two different locations in San Antonio.
Other presenting agencies and individuals include the Texas Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service, Frost Bank, the Metropolitan Health Office and several South Central Texas area small-acreage growers.
“This series is designed for those interested in or already involved in small-acreage production of fruits and vegetables on plots anywhere from the size of a backyard garden to up to 100 acres,” said Dr. Luis Ribera, AgriLife Extension economist-management and a series developer. “If you’re interested in operating a small-acreage entrepreneurial business, this series will provide valuable information and discussion on how to go about doing it.”
Ribera said the series was developed by AgriLife Extension in response to the growing number of small-acreage producers wanting to sell directly or indirectly to the consumer, but needing more information on business planning, resources available to them, quality standards and other important factors related to a successful small-acreage enterprise.
He added that the business series was made possible through a USDA-Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers grant awarded to the developers.
“Smaller growers have various bits and pieces of information on the production of crops but really need more detailed information to understand the pros and cons of a small-acreage enterprise and marketing to outlets in order to be successful,” said Dr. Juan Anciso, AgriLife Extension vegetable specialist and series co-developer.
The first two workshops — April 19 and May 3 — will be held at the San Antonio Livestock Exposition’s International Room on the exposition grounds, 3201 E. Houston St. in southeast San Antonio.
The April 19 workshop registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. with presentations 8:15 a.m.- noon, followed by lunch and a tour of Peterson’s Nursery. Presentations will include an introduction to the “Farm-to-Table” training series, programs for small-acreage producers, a panel discussion with small-acreage growers, the pros and cons of growing transplants of recommended varieties, and an overview of production from start to finish. Lunch will be from noon-1 p.m., and the tour will be from 1-3 p.m.
The May 3 workshop will address business planning and marketing for the small-acreage operation. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. with presentations from 8:15 a.m.-noon, followed by lunch and an educational tour to end about 4 p.m. Presentations will cover business planning and budgeting, outlook and marketing, the Texas Department of Agriculture’s GO TEXAN program and other practical aspects of running a small enterprise.
The May 17 and June 7 workshops will be held at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service office in Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge Dr., Suite 208 in northwest San Antonio.
The May 17 workshop will focus on good agricultural practices, or GAP, training for the small-acreage enterprise. Registration will be at 7:30 a.m. with presentations from 8:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. Presentations will address health department concerns, an overview of U.S. Department of Agriculture practices, farm microbiology, and employee training and documentation.
The June 7 workshop will address funding for new and transitioning small-acreage producers. Registration will be at 7:30 a.m. with presentations from 8:15 a.m.- noon, followed by lunch and an educational tour to end about 4 p.m. Presentations will include a Farm Bill 2008-2012 update, Farm Service agency programs and insurance, TDA’s Young Farmer Program, an overview of the NRCS and value-added funding sources.
“We’re happy to be hosting these business-related workshops and feel they will be of great benefit to small-acreage grower-entrepreneurs throughout South and South Central Texas,” said David Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Bexar County and a local series coordinator. “We’ll also be getting feedback from participants to find additional opportunities for topics of interest to address in future small-acreage grower workshops.”
The cost for the workshops is $20 each or $60 for all four. Seating for the May 17 and June 7 workshops is limited to 45, so attendees are asked to register for these as soon as possible. To register online for any of the series workshops, go to http://texaslocalproduce.tamu.edu.
For more information, contact Rodriguez at 210-467-6575 or email@example.com.