a grant request/story to attend Acres conference

28 October 2011

I would like to thank Raising Organic Family Farms for this scholarship program. I appreciate the opportunity to request $2000 to attend the December 2011 AcresUSAConference and Trade Show.

With the ROFF grant, I will attend the “Comprehensive Eco-Growing Systems” pre-conference advanced learning course ($395), as well as the conference itself ($175); for a registration total of $570. Additional costs include transportation by car ($132 gas), hotel ($726, room and parking, 6 nights), food ($180); and the purchase of books, materials and incidentals at the conference itself ($400); totaling $1438. I foresee the total cost to be $570 + $1438 = $2008.

The Swier Family Farm is single-family, and includes organic diversified vegetables, flowers, mushrooms, honey, pastured pork and eggs. We direct market our foods and flowers in the centralMichiganregion. We have farmed for seven years. Our farm is small on purpose and out of necessity; as we further develop know-how, infrastructure, financing and marketing. Our growing is built upon healthy, resilient soils. We must proficiently and steadily communicate our farm and food’s value directly to our customers.

The intensive pre-conference course, “Comprehensive Eco-Growing Systems”, will directly inform my soil, plant, livestock, and customer care. From three master consultants, I will learn to better improve yield, both quantitatively and qualitatively, while decreasing pest and disease susceptibility. Farm efficiency and productivity will rise with improved quantity and quality of plant and animal output. Greater know-how will allow us to better produce and measure the health of our soils, plants, and animals. In turn, I will be better able to market our farm foods based upon the intrinsic health of these products to our customers. As I do a better and more complete job, our customers also benefit in their health! Doing this, and communicating this, are absolutely essential in our relational, direct-marketing approach. All of this will improve our profitability and sustained success!

The role-call and head count of presenters at the main Acres Conference is like a list of who’s who in current eco-ag. The number and variety of lectures and workshops are almost too many to choose from! I will benefit immensely from the interaction of the presenters with audience, the depth of subject exploration, and the practical nature of it all.

With your help, I will attend this conference this year. The film showings, the trade show exhibits, the mingling with other attendees, and the formal keynotes, lectures and workshops will benefit our farm’s networking, know-how, marketing and profitability from here on forward! Thank you!

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