“Workshops were packed with a knowledgeable and diverse array of speakers.”
Every year, the Business of Farming Conference features a wide range of business, marketing, and agricultural professionals offering practical experience and expertise for beginning to established farmers.
Amy Ager and her husband Jamie Ager own and operate Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, NC. They raise cattle, pigs, poultry and hosts guests at their on-farm store, kitchen and butchery and through classes, tours, and events. They also operate a wholesale meat business which distributes grassfed beef and pastured pork regionally.
Annie Baggett joined the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as the Agritourism Marketing Specialist in June 2014. With an extensive career in the private and nonprofit sectors, she has accrued invaluable training and experience in marketing, communications, and advertising. As co-owner of Sunshine Lavender Farm in Hurdle Mills, with both sets of grandparents from Ashe County and parents raised on dairy farms, Annie understands the needs of the agritourism farmer and welcomes the opportunity to offer her expertise, and NCDA&CS support, to farmers statewide.
Philip Bollhoefer is Executive Sous Chef for the Sammons Wing of the Omni Grove Park Inn. Philip Bollhoefer, began his time at the property in the summer of 2014 as Chef de Cuisine for the Sunset Terrace and EDISON Craft Ales + Kitchen at The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C. Bollhoefer has been recognized for his menu creation and kitchen operation expertise and is a true champion of locally-sourced cuisine.
Amanda Carter is the Manager of Foothills Pilot Plant, the sole nonprofit, independent USDA and FDA poultry and rabbit processor in the Southeast. She works with farms and individuals in six states to produce pastured poultry for wholesale, food service, and farmers markets. In addition, she and her husband Will operate Spirit Level Farm in Rutherfordton, NC, where they raise several thousand pastured broilers annually.
Maggie Cramer is a writer, editor, and communications consultant who helps local and national clients best tell their stories. She has a decade of communications experience working for consumer magazines and nonprofits. Her current work includes assisting a variety of businesses–from law offices to arts organizations–with their social media campaigns.
Jamie Davis runs A Way of Life Farm with his wife, Sara Jane. They raise vegetables and pastured pork with organic, soy-free feed for farmers markets, a CSA, and restaurant customers in Asheville, Rutherford County, and Charlotte.
Jason Davis opened North River Farms in 1999, with the goal of providing the highest quality hay and produce to the people of Western North Carolina. In addition to hay, North River grows a range of produce for wholesale markets, and offers agritourism options including farm field trips, you pick and a seasonal sorghum operation. In 2016 North River Farms will farm 1500 acres of diverse row crops and vegetables and specializes in cool season forages. When Jason isn’t running North River Farms, he’s working to improve the community of Mills River. He is a board member of Farm Bureau, Southern States, the State Extension Advisory, AgHC, and County Extension Advisory.
Patrick Doran has been with Mountain BizWorks since 2007. As Director of Business Finance, Patrick oversees the loan department and small business loan portfolio. He also has eight years of experience starting and operating his own business. At Mountain BizWorks, he has worked with a number of local farmers and value-added food producers.
Bill Durr is leader of the Litigation Practice Group at Ward and Smith, P.A. and his practice experience encompasses civil litigation in both the state and federal courts. He has represented clients in a broad variety of complex construction, business, and commercial disputes.
Aimee Ellingsen is a designer and marketer, and founded her own marketing firm, CAKE Websites & More, LLC in 2001. Located in downtown Asheville, her team has grown to 16 people and they serve clients around the country. Aimee loves to intuit the core desires of audiences and speak to them with insightful headlines and memorable designs.
Brad Evans is leader of the Agribusiness Practice Group at Ward and Smith, P.A. and his practice experience encompasses various areas of civil litigation in both the federal and state courts. He has experience in all aspects of civil litigation, including depositions, hearings, mediations, arbitrations, jury trials, and appeals. Mr. Evans advises clients and litigates cases involving all forms of commercial, business, estate, and intellectual property disputes.
Barry Gupton received his MBA from Western Carolina University, has led workshops on financial topics for farmers specializing in poultry and other farm enterprises, and is a business consultant and facilitator with Mountain BizWorks and Birds Eye Business Planning & Consulting. He grew up in WNC with entrepreneur parents and helps manage a family construction business and the family farm.
Edward “Eddie” Hannibal is the chef/owner of Glass Onion in Weaverville. Born and raised on Eastern Long Island, NY in a time when the Long Island potato and cornfields stretched all the way to the ocean, nobody has had to sell him on the benefits of local. Working in esteemed kitchens from New York to Hawaii, there isn’t a job in the kitchen he hasn’t mastered but has always been open to new adventures.
Adam and Emily Hopson own and operate Happy Hens & Highlands Farm located in Burnsville, NC. They raise pastured poultry and Scottish Highland cattle. They originally planned on raising cattle for beef, but recently have shifted to raising cattle for registered breeding stock and pets.
Charlie Jackson is the Executive Director, and one of the founding farmers, of ASAP. He has extensive experience in developing and implementing local food campaigns and creating local food systems that are socially just, health promoting, sustainable, and that build local economies. He has been responsible for the successful development and implementation of programs in farm to school, farm to hospital, farm to chef, direct sales, regional branding, farm tourism, and more.
Zac Lamb is a member of the Trusts and Estates Practice Group at Ward and Smith, P.A. He is certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law. Mr. Lamb’s practice experience encompasses estate planning, estate and trust administration, and multigenerational tax planning. His practice also involves assisting closely-held business owners in various transactional matters and business succession planning.
Paul Littman owns and operates Ivy Creek Family Farm with his wife Anna in Barnardsville, NC where they grow vegetables, mushrooms, flowers, and small fruits. They sell through their CSA, to both large and small restaurants, and at the North Asheville and Weaverville Tailgate Markets.
James Lumley, as Chef de Cuisine at Vue 1913, continues the tradition of developing innovative classic American cuisine using fresh ingredients acquired from local producers throughout Western North Carolina. A graduate of the Johnson and Wales University, James has worked for several venerated resorts, served as a Food Safety Trainer, and has close ties with several certified master chefs.
Molly Lutton is the Research Coordinator for the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI). She works on a variety of RAFI’s research projects with a focus on risk analyses of sustainable farming practices. One of the main areas of her work is risk management tools, including crop insurance.
William Lyons and his wife, Marie farm full time in Morganton, NC. At Bluebird Farm, they raise pastured pork and chickens with certified organic feed, graze sheep and layer hens, and raise three acres of vegetables with organic methods. Bluebird Farm sells at farmers markets, a CSA, and a few restaurants. They are passionate about growing good food and crunching the numbers to make farming a financially viable project.
Rendi Mann-Stadt’s practice experience encompasses a wide range of labor and employment law and transactional matters at Ward and Smith, P.A. Ms. Mann-Stadt has represented clients before professional boards, administrative agencies, and in state and federal courts in a wide variety of employment matters. She also represents clients in general and business litigation matters, and closely-held businesses and their owners on such issues as the formation of business entities and the acquisition and sale of businesses.
Craig Mauney has worked as an agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension for over 20 years. He is presently the Extension Area agent specializing in commercial vegetable production in Henderson, Haywood, and Buncombe Counties. Craig had a small sustainable farm for many years and has experience in all aspects of commercial vegetable and fruit production, home gardening, and landscape design. His special interests are woodland botanicals and unusual edibles like pawpaws.
Mike McCreary works for ASAP as manager of the Asheville City Market, a farmer-led market with locations in downtown Asheville and South Asheville. His work with ASAP also involves training, consulting, and supporting farmers markets and vendors specializing in sales, marketing, promotion, management, operations, and SNAP access.
Casey McKissick is co-founder, co-owner and general manager of Foothills Meats. He has over 15 years of experience working in local food systems includes production, processing, retail, and supply chain development. McKissick also works as a private consult to meat producers and processors and food-service professionals as well as educational and governmental agencies.
Joel Mowrey is the owner of Smoking J’s Fiery Foods, a farm based business in Candler, NC that grows a wide variety of chile peppers as well as manufactures a diverse line of hot sauce, salsa, barbecue sauce, and more. Joel is a passionate entrepreneur who enjoys interacting with others who share the love of business, farming, and food.
Molly Nicholie is ASAP’s Local Food Campaign Director. Her focus lies in helping farmers with market connections and planning, as well as working with area businesses to better feature local food. Her responsibilities include guiding the marketing efforts of ASAP’s Local Food Campaign, supporting farmers markets, and providing farmers with training, resources, and technical assistance around marketing and promotions.
Chris Reedy is an instructional designer and facilitator in Industry Training for BioNetwork where he works with food, beverage and natural products businesses to develop customized training programs on topics including the FSMA, HACCP, food safety and defense, regulatory compliance practices, self audits, and documentation practices. As the former Executive Director of Blue Ridge Food Ventures, the southeast’s largest food business incubator, Chris has worked with hundreds of businesses on HACCP, GMP compliance and Food Safety, and numerous entrepreneurial issues.
Jodi Rhoden is the owner and founder of Short Street Cakes in West Asheville, and the author of Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition. An advocate for social justice and community food security for almost two decades, Jodi supports small-scale food and farming entrepreneurs through her work as a coach and class facilitator at Birds Eye Business Planning and Mountain Bizworks. Jodi specializes in social media and authentic marketing.
Esmeralda Sandoval and her husband Antonio R. Sandoval own and operate Del Valle Fresh, a 80-acre family farm with two locations in Candler, NC. and Spartanburg County, SC. They specialize in tomatoes, squash, cucumber, and watermelon production. They are committed to growing quality and safe food for our local communities, and are always exploring new ideas on farm sustainability.
David Smiley is ASAP’s Local Food Campaign Program Assistant. His work includes facilitating the operations of the Local Food Guide and Appalachian Grown branding program, managing the cost share program, and providing marketing and promotions assistance to farms, businesses, and tailgate markets. David is the former market manager for the Historic Haywood Market in Waynesville and continues to be involved on their advisory committee.