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Friday, December 4, 2009

Networking with industry members

There are many, many trade shows and conferences available for ag entrepreneurs to attend. But why should you go? These events can help you network with people in your industry, learn about new products and services (you always need to know what the competition is doing!), and you can advertise your own products to gain customers. Many conferences even offer workshops so that you can learn about new techniques and ideas from experienced industry people. Below are a few events that may be of interest to you.

-PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) will be holding its 19th annual Farming for the Future Conference on February 2-4, 2010 (http://www.pasafarming.org/). Location is to be announced soon. At the 2009 event, two keynote speakers were featured as well as 75 workshops pertaining to sustainable agriculture.

-The Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention will be holding its 33rd convention in Hershey, PA on February 2-4, 2010 (http://www.mafvc.org/html/). This event combines educational workshops, a large industry trade show, and a diverse group of crop producers.

-From February 5-12, 2010 in Lancaster, PA, The North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association will hold a conference to bring together farm direct marketers and agritourism operators to discuss farm business management practices (http://www.nafdma.com/Pennsylvania/).

-Also in February, the USDA will host the Ag Outlook Forum in Arlington, VA (http://www.usda.gov/oce/forum/) with session topics including nutrition, food price trends and farm income, food safety, commodities, energy, and food security.

-The International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York will be held February 28-March 2, 2010 in New York City to showcase the latest trends, strategies, and product innovations.

-For wine industry members, http://www.wine-expos.com/ lists wine events including the New York Wine Expo to be held February 26-28, 2010.

As an ag entrepreneur, have you ever attended a trade show or conference? What have you learned from the events? How do you determine what events will be the best for you to attend?

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