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AGRICULTURAL WORKSHOP TO HELP LOCAL FARMERS

July 25, 2002 – Interested community members, and farmers in particular, are invited to the Virgin Islands Natural Resources and Agricultural Workshop to be held on August 5-6 on St. Thomas and on August 8-9 on St. Croix.
The two-day workshop, held for the first time in the Virgin Islands, will allow local farmers to network with national agencies that provide assistance and programs.
"For the first time we're bringing the activity to the islands where local farmers can participate," said Dr. Louis Petersen. "It means direct contact with the heads of these USDA agencies or their representatives," said Petersen, district supervisor of the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service, referring to the U.S. Agriculture Department. UVI is a sponsor of the workshop.
Petersen said that farmers will learn firsthand about available services such as low interest loans and cost-sharing programs.
The workshop includes a full day of seminars hosted by local and national experts who will lecture on a variety of subjects, including farm management, financing small farm operations, local markets, and cooperatives. The second day will include seminars in the morning and a field trip to farms in the afternoon.
Many of the presenters from off-island are from the southeastern region of the United States. "We have identified people who are familiar with the subject matter, not only from a book perspective, but from a practical perspective," Petersen said, noting that one presenter teaches at a university along with operating his own farm. Farmers in the southeastern U.S. region face challenges similar to those in the Virgin Islands, Petersen added.
The workshop will be held at UVI's Sports and Fitness Center on St. Thomas and at UVI's Student Center on St. Croix.
The workshop is also sponsored by the V.I. Resource Conservation and Development Council, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the V.I. Agriculture Department.
To register for the workshop or for more information call 692-9632 ext. 5. Registration is free until July 26; a $10 registration fee will be charged from July 27.

SCHEDULE
Monday, Aug. 5, St. Thomas
REGISTRATION
WELCOME – May Adams Cornwall, Water and Power Authority,
President, V.I. RC&D Council
OPENING REMARKS:
–Juan Martinez, Caribbean Area Director,
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
–Henry Schuster, Commissioner, V.I. Agriculture Department
–Kwame Garcia, State Director, UVI Cooperative Extension Service
GENERAL SESSION:
–Farm Management and Planning/Record Keeping
–Acreage Reports/Noninsured Crop Insurance
–Environmental Quality Incentive Program
–Financing Your Small Farm Operations
–How to Approach Domestic Marketing
LUNCH
–Setting Up a Cooperative
–How to Make Your Cooperative Work for You
–How to Penetrate Your Local Market
–Panel discussion: How Can Farmers Access Your Market?
–Agro-Forestry and You
–What's in the 2002 Farm Bill
Tuesday, Aug. 6, St. Thomas
CONCURRENT SESSIONS:
–Session I – Moderator: Dr. Louis Petersen Jr.
–Crop Production Management
–Integrated Pest Management
–Session II – Moderator: Julie Wright, Extension Program Supervisor, UVI CES
–Proper Pasture Management
–Stocking Rate and Livestock Diseases
GENERAL SESSION:
–Organic Crop Production Practices
LUNCH
FIELD TOUR (VARIOUS FARMS)
Thursday, Aug. 8, St. Croix
REGISTRATION
WELCOME – May Adams Cornwall
OPENING REMARKS:
–Juan Martinez
–Henry Schuster
–Kwame Garcia
GENERAL SESSION:
–Farm Management and Planning/Record Keeping
–Acreage Reports/Noninsured Crop Insurance
–Environmental Quality Incentive Program
–Financing Your Small Farm Operations
–How to Approach Domestic Marketing
LUNCH
–Setting Up a Cooperative
–How to Make Your Cooperative Work for You
–How to Penetrate Your Local Market
–Panel discussion: How Can Farmers Access Your Market?
–Agro-Forestry and You
–What's in the 2002 Farm Bill
Friday, Aug. 9, St. Croix
CONCURRENT SESSIONS:
–Session I – Moderator: Stafford Crossman, Ext. Program Supervisor, UVI CES
–Crop Production Management
–Integrated Pest Management
–Session II – Moderator: Errol Chichester, Horticulturist, V.I. Agriculture Dept.
–Proper Pasture Management
–Stocking Rate and Livestock Diseases
GENERAL SESSION:
–Organic Crop Production Practices
LUNCH
FIELD TOUR (VARIOUS FARMS)

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