Orange County to Host Agricultural Summit, Open to the Public

Karen and Howard McAdams of McAdams Farm. Photo by Alicia Stemper.


By Laurie Paolicelli

February 10, 2020, from 8 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Cedar Grove Community Center

As world leaders address the challenge of feeding the earth’s growing population, Orange County is providing entrepreneurs with both the inspiration and the resources to find solutions.

Each year, Orange County and its North Carolina Cooperative Extension division host a one-day seminar bringing together farmers and suppliers, government officials, and other specialists to explore the state of farming in Orange County and contiguous counties, discussing topics and trends that are impacting our agricultural industry.

This year, the Orange County Agricultural Summit is on Monday, February 10, 2020 beginning at 8 a.m. at Cedar Grove Community Center. The conference concludes at 2 p.m. after a complimentary lunch – locally sourced, of course.

Tyrone Fisher

According to Tyrone Fisher, Orange County’s Director of Cooperative Extension, the 2020 Summit will explore, among other issues, crop diversity, especially where Millennialism and new farmers are concerned. Diversification among traditional farmers and a look at hemp farming, including new regulations currently being studied at the federal level, will also be on the agenda.

“Our focus on agriculture means working not only with food industry businesses, but with the community as well,” said Fisher.

“Just one topic will involve exploring the trend towards diversification of products, from fruits such as berries and tomatoes, local craft beverages, and key changes at the state level.”

Fisher has served as Orange County’s Extension Director since August 2017. He is based in Hillsborough and is responsible for administration and agriculture.

Agriculture is a vital part of the economy and quality of life in Orange County.

Steve Troxler

To discuss issues related to the state and local agricultural industry, Commissioner Steve Troxler will speak and stay for a question and answer session with the audience.

N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler was raised in the Guilford County community of Browns Summit and has spent his entire career in agriculture as founder, owner and operator of Troxler Farms. Over the years, the family-owned farm has produced tobacco, wheat, vegetables and soybeans.

Since taking office in 2005, Troxler has focused on developing new markets for N.C. farm products, preserving working farms and protecting the state’s food supply.

In addition to updates, many regional vendors will display their goods and services.

Cedar Grove Community Center
5800 NC Highway 86 N
Hillsborough, NC 27278
Call to register: (919) 245-2050

Agenda Snapshot

8:00 AM – Registration, Refreshments, Visit Vendors

8:30 AM – Welcome & Introductions

9:00 AM – Agricultural Updates

9:15 AM – Keynote: Commissioner Steve Troxler, North Carolina Department of Agriculture

10:00 AM – Break

10:10 AM – Workshops #1

  • Value-Added Processing and Expanding the Market for Local Food: How can an annual agriculture census help farmers inform Orange County policies, programs and funding? Annette Hiatt, Orange County Food Council, Land Loss Prevention Project and Eric Knight, Orange County Food Council, Pluck Farms
  • Having the edge of producing Value-Added Products! Panel Discussion. Durham Farmers’ Market and Piedmont Food & Agricultural Processing Center
  • What are Wholesalers looking for from Local Growers? Lauren Horning, Fresh Point and Mike Ortosky, Orange County Agricultural Economic Development

11:10 AM – Workshops #2

  • What happens to Hemp once it leaves the farm? Open Book Extracts
  • Can I survive from On-Farm Sales? Howard & Karen McAdams, McAdams Farm
  • Do I have a Bona Fide Farm and what is my Present-Use Value (PUV) Tax Status? Michael Harvey, Orange County Planning & Inspections Department and Roger Gunn, Orange County Tax Department

12:00 PM – Lunch

1:00 PM – Plenary Session

What it Takes to Build a Successful Small Farm! Panel Discussion

Tracey Lafleur, Sugar Hill Produce and Ken Dobson, Maple Springs Garden and Howard Allen, Faithful Farms

2:00 PM – Closing Remarks

Merry Hill Farms Hemp Growers, Orange County, NC

Laurie Paolicelli is the Executive Director of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau.

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