The eighth annual Louisiana Small Farmer Conference was held March 15-17 at Southern University Land-Grant Campus.

More than 300 small farmers from around the state attended this year’s event with the theme “Transforming and Elevating Louisiana Small Family Farms.”

The conference opened March 15 with a ribbon-cutting for the campus’s new Mobile Education and Technology Center. The mobile unit serves low- to moderate-income families in the most marginalized areas and remote corners of the state, providing educational training, internet access, hands-on testing and live instruction.

Sessions topics during the day included grant writing, emergency preparedness and integrated pest management.

Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain opened the second day with an address, and Leonard Jordan, acting chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Resources Conservation Service, delivered the keynote address. Session topics included programs for veterans; intensive small-scale farming; agro-tourism; farm liability insurance; social media marketing; biodiversity on farms; estate planning; record-keeping; and urban farms.

The Louisiana Living Legends Banquet in the evening honored people who have made significant contributions to Southern in the areas of agriculture, family and consumer sciences. The honorees were Winzer Andrews, retired county agent and parish chairman with the LSU AgCenter’s Cooperative Extension Service in Caddo Parish; state Rep. Barbara West Carpenter, dean of international affairs and university outreach at Southern; and Veeraraghava R. Bachireddy, professor emeritus of plant and soil sciences at the Southern University College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.

Anthony Reed, director of special projects for the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences at Alcorn State University, was the speaker at the banquet, which has recognized 24 others since its inception in 2005.

The final day of the conference featured a workshop on managing feral hogs. Guest presenters were Gene Cavalier, a biologist with the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and Derrick Banks, Extension Agent at Prairie View A&M University.