OAK Conference
Virtual Agenda

Sowing seeds for healthy soils, resilient farms and thriving communities

January 27-29, 2022

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PRE-CONFERENCE SESSIONS (recorded): WEDNESDAY, January 26, 2022

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10:45-11:45am ET

Mathieu (Mat) Ngouajio

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Organic Programs

Learn about USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) programs that support research, extension and innovations in organic and sustainable agriculture. Hear from Mathieu Ngouajio, the National Science Liaison for Plant Systems & Organic Farming about how NIFA has supported projects through the years. Learn about NIFA grant programs and related priorities in this pre-recorded session.

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1:30-2:30pm ET

Myrisa Christy and Dakota Moore

Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD) and Kentucky Horticulture Council

Crop Insurance for Organic and Farmers Market Growers

Crop insurance isn’t all corn and soybeans! In the last year, the Risk Management Agency has updated how those selling directly to consumers can use the Whole Farm Revenue Program, reducing the paperwork burden. You no longer need records for individual crops to be insurable! This is a game-changer for small farms who want a safety net for their farm revenue. Learn more in this pre-recorded session.

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3:00-4:00pm ET

Daniel Eggert

High Mowing Organic Seeds

Getting the Most out of Your Seed

Join your Regional Commercial Grower Representative from High Mowing Organic Seeds for a pre-recorded discussion that will help you optimize your seed investment and make the most of your growing space. We will provide a glimpse inside the quality control measures that seeds undergo before they are shipped to growers. We will then address some of the more common on-farm challenges to successful germination and vigorous growth for specific vegetable crops.


4:30-5:30pm ET

Jann Knappage, Jackie Walters, and Michele West

UK Cooperative Extension Service

The Kentucky Farm to School Hub: Helping Kentucky Producers Feed Kentucky Children

The University of Kentucky Nutrition Education Program has partnered with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to produce an innovative website to help producers and school food service purchasers locate one another and plan production, purchase, preparation and service of local food. View this pre-recorded presentation to tour the website, and learn more about how it can work for you and Kentucky’s children.

Day 1: Thursday, January 27, 2022

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Multiple farmer voices - all are welcome!

Panel: Farm Hacks

Hear from a group of Kentucky and regional farmers as they share their creativity, innovation, and efficiencies developed and adapted successfully on their farms!  Time-saving, labor-saving, back-saving tips and tricks!

10:45am - 11:45am ET

KEYNOTE: Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin

Regenerative Agriculture Alliance

Decolonization and Indigenization: A Foundation of Regenerative Agriculture

This presentation will explore the precolonial ancestral roots of regenerative ways which gave origin to the current regenerative agriculture concept. We will explore practices preserved by native communities around the world who live according to their ancestral indigenous ways of thinking and being. These Indigenous communities have ensured the preservation of 80% of the biodiversity on Earth on no more than 20% of the Earth’s land surface and have done so under the constant repressive genocidal attacks of colonizer societies. This presentation is a call to return to those proven ways of regenerating the planet so that we may feed the world going forward with dignity and justice.

12:00-1:10pm ET
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Adam Chambers

NRCS Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Team

Farmer, Ranchers and Private Forest Landowners are Part of the Climate Solution

Agricultural producers can voluntarily implement working lands conservation practices and deliver agricultural products and climate solution. The NRCS has identified conservation practices that sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These voluntary conservation practices include cover cropping, agroforestry, crop rotations, nutrient management, and rotational grazing. Through the implementation of these NRCS conservation practices, agricultural producers have an opportunity to increase soil resilience, save time and money, and voluntarily pursue new and emerging markets that may lead to additional income from ecosystem service markets, such as carbon markets and renewable energy markets. Dr Chambers will share how we, as a farming community, can capitalize on the climate solutions and build an ecologically- and economically-resilient future.

1:30-2:30pm ET
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Laura Freeman and Ben Pasley

Mt Folly Enterprises

Customers, Climate, and Circular Economy Based in Agriculture

Our session will examine the elements of Mt. Folly Enterprise and Mt. Folly Farm’s developing model of a climate-resilient farm economy, wholly dependent upon connection with customers, forward-focused for our climate, and circular in its "give and receive" economy built within the local community. The Mt Folly project is one of co-creating a local restaurant, a local distillery, a downtown storefront, and a mail order company run from a rural town. Once the system is in place and functioning well, the idea is to duplicate it in other rural areas of the Southeast.  Join the conversation on how farms of any scale can use this model as a way to build your own circular, climate-resilient, farm-based economy. 

3:00-4:00pm ET
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Mitch Hunter, Matt Hutchison, Tara Littlefield, and Jason Nally

American Farmland Trust, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - KY, Kentucky Nature Preserves, KY Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

Panel: Farmland Biodiversity and Conservation in Kentucky

This group of farm allies and conservation professionals will share the importance of, and resources for on-farm conservation of native species and wildlife habitat.  Their work and their organizations view each farm as integral to landscape-scale efforts to promote thriving, connected ecosystems.  Cropping, grazing, forest management, diverse habitats, and systems thinking are highlighted in this inspiring discussion.

4:30-5:30pm ET

Day 2: Friday, January 28, 2022

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10:45-11:45am ET


Multiple farmer voices - all are welcome!

Panel: Farm Hacks

Hear from a group of Kentucky and regional farmers as they share their creativity, innovation, and efficiencies developed and adapted successfully on their farms!  Time-saving, labor-saving, back-saving tips and tricks!

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12:00-1:10pm ET

KEYNOTE: Jennifer Taylor

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU); Lola's Organic Farm

Growing the Organic Movement

A key issue within global and local agricultural research and development is the need to positively focus on the sustainable development of small farmers, resource poor farmers and their families. Though these farmers make up to 80% of the world’s farmers, often they have not had equal access and participation in programs and training designed to assist large producers and agribusinesses. Small farmers and underserved farming populations play an essential role as good food providers in their communities and the nation. Participatory capacity building strategies enable relationship building, access to organic farming systems and organic-agroecology farm practices that empower underserved farming populations and their communities towards their own wellbeing and change.

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1:30-2:30pm ET

John Kempf

Advancing Eco Agriculture (AEA)

Enjoy Disease-Free, Pest-Free Crops

John will describe how to manage plant nutrition and microbiome integrity to enhance plant immunity and produce complete disease and insect resistance.

Free Range Chicken Farm
3:00-4:00pm ET

Ben Abell and Dave Gonthier

Rootbound Farm and UK Department of Entomology

Integrating Poultry into Vegetable Production Rotations

There are many potential benefits to the integration of poultry into vegetable rotations, including: improved soil quality and health, which may lead to greater vegetable productivity, and overall farm profit. However, little research has validated these potential benefits. Further, there are many challenges to, and potential costs to integration that may keep many from adopting it. In this session, Ben Abell will discuss his strategy and experience integrating at Rootbound Farm. Additionally, Dr. David Gonthier, Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky, will share his team’s research findings from a multi-year study investigating the costs and benefits of integrating poultry into an organic vegetable rotation.

Vegetable Store
4:30-5:30pm ET

Bryan Brady, Mark Reed, and Amber Sciligo

The Food Connection at UK, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, The Organic Center

Panel: Food Safety on Your Farm

As food safety concerns are elevated in the policy and public eye, farmers are being asked to implement practices, protocols, and post-harvest tools that are new to them.  These Panelists will share free and cost-share resources, clarify policy and regulation, and explore challenges and frictions with Organic standards as they discuss and field questions from you - their farmer audience.  Join the conversation and learn more about food safety as it relates to FSMA, GAP, NOP, and more.


Day 3: SATURday, January 29, 2022

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Multiple Farmer Voices - All are Welcome!

Panel: Farmer Hacks

Hear from a group of Kentucky and regional farmers as they share their creativity, innovation, and efficiencies developed and adapted successfully on their farms!  Time-saving, labor-saving, back-saving tips and tricks!

10:45-11:45am ET
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KEYNOTE: David Johnson

Institute for Sustainable Agricultural Research at New Mexico State University / Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems at California State University, Chico

Regenerating the Diversity of Life in Soils - Hope for Farming, Ranching, Nutrition, Environment, Health and Climate

Join this fast-moving, information-packed talk on why diverse soil biology and appropriate farming practices are essential for soil health and regenerating the agri-ecosystem. Dr Johnson will share some of his latest research data from cropping land and grazing land, covering diverse cover crops; intentional grazing; and his open-source fungal-rich compost/bioreactor.

12:00-1:10pm ET
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Steve Diver

UK Horticulture Research Farm

Exploring the Integration of Minerals, Biology, and Energy for Plant Health and Pest Resistance

Farmers commonly observe a relationship between soil fertility and plant health which brings up a lot of questions. This workshop will explore the integration of minerals, biology, and energy for plant health and how it relates to enhanced pest control. Advances in soil organic matter management and soil biology include multi-species cover crops, on-farm preparations, and microbial ferments. Soil testing and in-season crop monitoring have led to advances in targeted fertility programs, foliar fertilization, and fertigation schemes. The holistic farmers toolkit now includes biomagnetism, resonant frequencies, vitalizing water treatments, and related technologies that integrate biophysics with crop and livestock health.

1:30-2:30pm ET
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Scott Gowers

Rolling Fork Farm

Life as an Organic Farmer: A Decade of Observation

Scott will share stories from his experiences over the past 9 seasons farming at Rolling Fork Organic Farm, including organic crop production, CSAs, high tunnel production, livestock, vermicompost, mushrooms, and riparian and woodland management. A decade into the work, Scott will offer his perspective on land stewardship, building relationships on- and off-farm, pacing yourself as a farmer of diverse systems, and building towards "closing the loop."

3:00-4:00pm ET
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Closing Session

The OAK Community

Collaborative Community

None of us does this work in isolation -  it takes our entire OAK community of farmers, ag specialists, food system allies, eaters, and supporters to nourish the connections, engage in the learning, support one another, and build soil, farms / farmers, and communities that thrive!  Join the entire OAK network in this interactive and engaging closing session to offer your reflections and add your voice to…

  • the learnings and inspiration gleaned in our shared virtual space of #OAK2022,

  • the ongoing work of OAK in the recent past and near future, and

  • the collaborative creation of takeaway plans, actions, and momentum - personal and collective,

…as we move into our shared future together!

4:30-5:30pm ET