Ask any farmer and he'll tell you it's getting hard to make a buck in agriculture, but the Ohio Valley Farm Marketing Conference will give people the tools to address that challenge.

The conference is Feb. 25-26 at the Holiday Inn Lakeview in Clarksville, Ind. It is geared toward producers in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky who are looking for ways to market their products and make money on the farm.

Several conference presenters will suggest agri-tourism as a way to augment dwindling farm incomes. Matt Weber, project manager for the Southern Indiana Rural
Development Project and member of the conference planning committee, points out that farms involved in agri-tourism can capitalize on the public's inexperience with agriculture.

"Only about 2 percent of the U.S. population is involved in agriculture, so many people think it's fascinating to visit a farm, pet an animal or ride a tractor," he says. The conference will present several agri-tourism discussion topics.

"Whether someone is considering a winery, a farm as a field-trip destination or becoming a farmer's market supplier, there will be plenty of ideas and useful strategies presented," says Weber.

Roy Ballard, a Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service educator and planning committee member, says the two-day conference as a chance for producers to learn about new marketing options for horticulture, livestock and agri-tourism.

"This conference will offer discussions on value-added marketing, new market opportunities, business planning and financing and market development," he points out. Attendees can select from one of three tracks– horticulture, livestock or agri-tourism.

Presenters from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana will talk about marketing organic products, opportunities in aquaculture, marketing to institutions, cooperative marketing and other topics. Educators, growers, financial and business experts will lead most of the sessions. The event is a partnership between agricultural organizations and supporters from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

Registration prior to Feb. 14, is $15 per person; it increases to $20 after that date. Fees include three meals and all conference activities. Send your registration request and payment to Historic Hoosier Hills RC&D, P.O. Box 407, Versailles, IN 47042. Make checks payable to Historic Hoosier Hills RC&D. Hotel rooms are available at the Holiday Inn Lakeview by calling (800) 544-7075 or through http://www.holiday-inn.com.

More information about the conference can be found at http://www.sirdp.us

Purdue University