ASAP Connections

Local Food. Strong Farms. Healthy Communities

Business of Farming Conference


Get a feel for the event by watching this video from our 2013 Business of Farming Conference.

Register NOW for the 2015 Business of Farming Conference.

ASAP’s Business of Farming Conference is a day of learning and networking for farmers and those seriously considering farming as a profession. Each year our conference offers business and marketing themed workshops, networking opportunities, and resources to help farmers grow their businesses.  The conference also features meetings with wholesale buyers, professional consulting opportunities, business and agricultural exhibits, and a locally sourced breakfast and lunch.   

Give your farm some TLC this Valentine’s Day!

ASAP’s 2015 Business of Farming Conference will be held on Friday and Saturday, February 13-14, and will feature a new conference location at the beautiful Sherrill Center at UNC Asheville, located in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.  New this year go in-depth with our Friday afternoon intensives, 3-hour offsite workshops hosted by regional farms and professionals on topics including agritourism, GAP certification, and marketing.  

The main conference will be held on Saturday, February 14, 8-5:30 pm. Friday afternoon intensives will be held on February 13 in multiple offsite locations between 12-4pm.  Choose to attend the full conference (Friday + Saturday) or register for a Friday session only.  A 50% discount will be granted to farmers who register for the Saturday conference. Scroll down for more details for workshop topics and Friday sessions below.

Registration: Early bird registration is $50 per person or $75 for 2 farm partners by January 15; $75 per person or $100 for 2 farm partners after January 15. Friday sessions are $15 per person for Saturday conference attendees; $30 per person if attending a Friday session only.

Registration includes admission to the Saturday conference, a local breakfast and lunch, an electronic farmer resource notebook, and meeting opportunities with consultants, restaurant owners, chefs, and distributors. Hardcopy conference notebooks are also available for purchase for $10. The conference sells out every year, so don’t wait too long to sign up. Early bird registration ends January 15. 

Register online HERE. Or download and print our registration brochure to pay by check. 

Conference Workshop Topics: 

Our 2015 conference offers 15+ workshop options for new and experienced farmers covering topics including:

  • Farm business planning
  • Considerations for selling wholesale
  • Pricing
  • Appalachian Grown branding
  • Land access
  • CSA models 
  • Selling more at farmers markets
  • Agritourism
  • Marketing and promoting your farm
  • Building community capital
  • SNAP and EBT at farmers markets
  • Managing labor
  • Insurance and market requirements
  • Recordkeeping

*A finalized 2015 workshop schedule will be posted in December.

Friday Afternoon Intensives:


Agritourism: Opportunities and Considerations for Opening Your Farm to the Public
How can your farm business benefit from welcoming the public? Hosted by East Fork Farm in Madison County, explore projects designed to generate revenue and draw visitors to your farm including tours, farm dinners, lodging, and more. Discuss considerations involved in hosting groups and events, with a focus on risk management and strategies for diversifying farm income. This workshop will help you determine if an agritourism venture is a good fit for your farm.
Speakers: TBA
Location: East Fork Farm, Madison County, NC 

Adding Value to Your Farm Products – Processing, Packing and Pricing
Join Chris Reedy for a tour of the Blue Ridge Food Ventures value added processing facilities and hear the challenges and opportunities involved in diversifying your farm offerings with processed products. Farmers will share their experience extending the season and expanding into new markets with products ranging from baked goods to hot sauce.
Speakers: Chris Reedy and farmers (TBA)
Location: Blue Ridge Food Ventures

Principles of Fresh Produce Safety and Navigating the USDA GAP Audit
Designed for wholesale producers that want to take the first step towards GAP certification, this X hour workshop will combine classroom and on-farm instruction to provide producers with the tools needed to identify potential food safety concerns and develop strategies to minimize contamination. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance to fulfill a portion of the eligibility requirements to receive possible GAP’s Cost Share Assistance, as well as receive an outline of the GAP certification process and overview of what needs to be included in a Fresh Produce Safety Plan.
Speakers: Craig Mauney – NC Cooperative Extension & Patricia Tripp (CFSA)
Location: TBA

The Whole Hog: Strategies for Utilization, Working with your Butcher, Pricing and Marketing
Many farms in our region are diversifying their farm business by adding a small scale pork operation to their farm. This 3 hour intensive course is designed for beginning and experienced farmers who are interested in increasing profitability by efficiently utilizing the whole animal, improving communications with processors and discussing considerations for pricing and marketing. Includes a butchering demonstration to give participants first hand knowledge about optimization options.
Speakers: Casey Mckissick and farmer (TBA)

Working Lunchtime Activities:

Choose from a variety of activities during our 2-hour lunch period including consulting with wholesale buyers, meeting with legal, business, and agricultural professionals, visiting our now expanded exhibitor hall, or networking with farmers from across the region. All while enjoying a delicious locally sourced meal!

Grower-buyer Meetings
Meet with restaurant owners, chefs, distributors, and grocers in small groups to discuss your products and the possibility of a match between what you produce and what each buyer needs.

Consulting Sessions
Experts from around the region will be on hand to answer your questions. Areas of support include business planning, marketing, legal services, EBT at farmers markets, land access, and much more!

Exhibitor Hall
Network and connect with a wide range of businesses and agricultural resources from around our region. Interested in exhibiting at the 2015 Business of Farming conference? Sign up to exhibit here or contact for more information.  Connect your services with over 250 new and experienced farmers from across the region!

Check back here for our full conference agenda, overnight accommodations, and other conference details! 





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