Planning and Programming the 2021 National Farm Viability Conference in Oregon

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $73,119.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2021
Host Institution Award ID: G251-21-W7903
Grant Recipient: Oregon Tilth
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Chris Schreiner
Oregon Tilth


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: mentoring, networking, workshop, facilitating peer-to-peer learning for farm viability professionals

    Proposal abstract:

    Oregon Tilth seeks WSARE funds to support planning and program expenses associated with the 2021 National Farm Viability Conference (NFVC), to be held in Corvallis, OR, in October 2021. Oregon Tilth will co-host the conference with Oregon State University. This three-day event is for agricultural service providers working on dimensions of farm viability such as business development, financial management, agricultural financing, farmland conservation, succession/transition strategies, market development, value-added enterprise, food hubs, and farm incubators. Attendees learn about new program and service models, network with other professionals, tour farms and facilities, and gather ideas and models they can use in their viability work.

    NFVC has been held five times since 2008. It is intended to move around the country to highlight regional issues and initiatives; the 2021 conference will be the first in the western region. Fifty to sixty sessions and events, including six farm tours, are anticipated; at least 350 people from more than 225 organizations are expected to attend. WSARE funds are requested for salary and travel expenses associated with planning the event; speaker honorariums; farm tour transportation; and attendee scholarships. Other expenses will be contributed in-kind and solicited through sponsorships and fundraising. Past hosts and organizers will be involved; two national committees and one regional committee will share planning responsibilities. A detailed set of resources has been developed to guide conference planning and development.

    The NFVC's history, continuity, and collaborative approach, along with co-hosts' extensive networks and expertise in educational conference programming, will ensure the project's success. This unique event directly aligns with SARE priorities on farmers' quality of life, rural livelihoods, and sustainable, diversified agriculture. It will continue to build the field of farm viability and grow a diverse cadre of professionals supporting thriving small farms, farmers, farm families, local food systems, and rural economies.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The goal of the NFVC is to strengthen farm sustainability, build more resilient local food systems, and support the long-term profitability of farming and agri-entrepreneurs from start-ups to generational businesses. The event aims to strengthen the individual and collective ability of diverse professionals to advance this goal. We expect to attract even more attendees to the 2021 conference due to its increasing exposure and the abundance of  farm viability-focused professionals in the western region. New themes and content will be developed by the Planning Committee with broad input from regional advisors and contributors, reflecting regional issues and priorities and featuring projects, programs, and practitioners in WSARE states.

    Our objectives include:

    1) To increase attendees’ knowledge in domains such as farm and food business development, financial planning and management, agricultural financing, market development, succession planning, and other areas of farm viability.

    2) To increase and/or strengthen attendees’ relationships and networks expected to support and/or improve their farm viability work and increase its value to farmers. 

    3) To increase and/or strengthen attendees’ intentions to advance and/or expand their viability work by developing, implementing, and/or improving viability programming, services, and/or resources for farmers.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.