2024 Schedule of Events

Content and discussions will be relevant to next generation and established producers as well as local food enthusiasts, educators, and community members.

The schedule is subject to change; details will be added as they are finalized.

Wednesday, March 6th: NextGen Networking Event
4:30-6pm, Soulcraft Brewing, 248 W. Rainbow Blvd.
This event invites aspiring farmers and ranchers, students and young people getting into agricultural and food systems work to gather and connect!

Thursday, March 7th: Workshop & Tours
Locations held across Chaffee County

9-11am – Workshop
Watershed Ranch, 140 Years In The Making:  Upgrades, Experiments, and Partnerships.  Year 8/50

Rick Bieterman has been operating Watershed Ranch 9 miles north of Buena Vista for seven years.  With 170 acres at 8,800 feet and 50 acres of traditional irrigated hay fields, he battles a short growing season on a relatively small footprint making it difficult to rely on traditional farm operations alone.

As part of this hands-on workshop, Join Rick to learn about (1) infrastructure upgrades, (2) forest management projects, (3) soil, compost, and organic fertilizer experiments, and (4) on site historic preservation efforts, (5) agritourism and special event opportunities. Included within this presentation is a discussion of grant opportunities and partnerships with the NRCS, Colorado State University, National Forest Foundation, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Central Colorado Conservancy, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, and the State Historic Fund, History Colorado, and OEDIT.  

Space is limited! Register early to reserve your spot for this multi-faceted learning opportunity!

12:30-4pm – Farm and Ranch Tour
This year’s farm and ranch tour will include Jefferson Farms, Rocky Mountain Garlic and the Hutchinson Ranch. Shuttles will be provided and encouraged, as sites do not have large parking space availability. Specific details will be provided to registrants the week of the tour. Space is limited!

4-6pm – Happy Hour
Join us for Happy Hour at local, downtown Salida brewery, Tres Litros! Sweet Home Soups food cart will be on-site for dinner options, or head to one of Salida’s local restaurants. Tres Litros is just a few blocks walking-distance from the Steamplant for those planning to attend the film screening.

6-8:30pm – Film Screening of ‘Common Ground
In partnership with the Salida Steamplant’s March Movie Madness series, please join us for a screening of the award-winning film, Common Ground. Doors open at 6pm. Film begins at 6:30. 1 hr. 45min run time. Tickets available HERE!

Friday, March 8th:
Full Day Conference
8am-5pm, SteamPlant Event Center, Salida

Find Full Friday Session Descriptions HERE

8am – Registration Opens/ Famers Market-Vendor Tables
8:30-9:00am – Opening Remarks/ Welcome Address with CO Commissioner of Agriculture, Kate Greenberg

9:15-10:15am – Breakout Sessions

  1. Roadmap for Success: Local Food in Motion – Southwest Colorado Food Hub Connectivity
    Presenters: Holly Conn, Mountain Roots Food Project; Al Stone & Nick Chambers, Valley Roots Food Hub
  2. Stories of Land Access Successes and Challenges across Colorado
    Presenters: Helen Skiba, Artemis Flowers; Benu Amun-Ra, National Young Farmers Coalition. Facilitated by: Emma Lietz Bilecky, Guidestone
  3. Partnering for Land & Water Conservation: Options for Landowners
    Presenters: Ben Lenth, Colorado Open Lands; Tony LaGreca, Colorado Water Trust
  4. The Value of Agritourism as Part of Your Business Plan
    Presenter: Tandy Key, Colorado Mountain Lavender

10:25-11:25am – Breakout Sessions

  1. Biochar for Soil Remediation, Municipal, Agricultural, and Climate Action on the Western Slope and Beyond
    Presenter: Ricardo Vazquez-Perales, Assistant Professor of Environment and Sustainability at the Clark Family School of Environment and Sustainability
  2. Simplify Your Farm Planning with Backcasting
    Facilitated by: Jen Visitacion, Business & Leadership Coach, Moonstone Ventures
  3. Living Roots: Rhizosphere Science and Medicinal Crops that Work for You
    Presenter: Amy Kousch, Berchta Botanicals
  4. Economic Development Corporation as a Community Driver for Food Systems and Ag Infrastructure
    Presenter: Mercedes Rodriguez, Taos County Economic Development Corporation

11:30-12:30pm – Locally-sourced Lunch/ Famers Market-Vendor Tables

12:30-1:15pm – Keynote Address: Occupations of Hope, Filled with Challenges, Changes and CourageRobert Sakata, Ag Water Policy Director, CO Dept. of Agriculture

1:20-2:20pm – Breakout Sessions

  1. Protectors to Providers
    Presenters: Taylor Drew and Rich Murphy, Veterans to Farmers
  2. Soil Health in the Arid West
    Presenter: Annie Overlin, Southern Regional Specialist, CSU Extension

  3. Colorado Seed Farmers Adapting Seed To The Rockies
    Presenters: Penn Parmenter, Miss Penn’s Mountain Seeds; Laura Parker, High Desert Seed + Gardens;  Casey Piscura, Seed Peace

2:30-3:30pm – Breakout Sessions

  1. Federal, State, and Local Incentives for Rural Clean Energy
    Presenters: Sam Anderson, CO Department of Agriculture; Austin Kinzer, American Farmland Trust
  2. Climate Smart Grazing Network of Western Livestock Producers
    Presenter: Bre Owens, Western Grazing Network
  3. Innovative Design and New Funds for Water Solutions on Small Farms
    Presenter: Abe Rosenberg, Jack Rabbit Hollow Farm

3:30-5pm – Community Open House and Seed Swap
-seed swap (bring seeds to swap and share!), farmers market-vendor tables, local libations tastings, live music with The Whiskey Sweets, cash bar

5pm – The Ark Valley Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union will host a Farmer’s Social at Mo Burrito, 311 H St, Salida – located just a few blocks from the Steamplant. All AgriSummit participants are welcome!

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