Registration is open for the 5th annual Piedmont Grown Conference, held March 10 in Raleigh at the Hunt Library on Centennial Campus. This year’s theme is “Increasing Farm Profitability through Efficiency, Diversified Markets, and Unique Branding.” The keynote speaker will be Ben Hartman, farmer and author of “The Lean Farm”:
Ben grew up on a corn and soybean farm in Indiana. He and his wife, Rachel Hershberger, own and operate Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, where they make a living growing and selling specialty crops on less than an acre. Their food is sold locally to restaurants and cafeterias, at a farmers’ market, and through a community supported agriculture (CSA) program.
Lean principles were originally developed by the Japanese automotive industry, Hartman has applied them to farming. As a result, he’s been able to drastically cut waste, increase profit, and make his family farm more environmentally and economically sustainable. Hartman’s approach of working smarter, not harder, aims to prevent the kind of burnout that start-up farmers often encounter and enable a new generation of young people, as well as seasoned farmers to maintain and increase profits in small to medium scale farming.
Workshops will explore branding, how to build supply chain connections, how to tap into niche markets, and how to add agritourism to a working farm. Registration ranges from $15-$150. Read more here.