Rural Life Conference, Feb. 21, Features Workshops on Trending Topics

Will Hehemann, writer/editor
UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

Attendees of the 64th annual Rural Life Conference, scheduled for Friday, Feb. 21, at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, will be able to attend a wide variety of workshops on trending topics in agriculture and family and consumer sciences.
One workshop will highlight the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) “Keeping it in the Family” forestry project, which works to stem the loss of African American-owned land in Arkansas. Attendees will learn about how to properly manage their forestland and apply conservation practices to improve its sustainability and value. A related workshop addresses challenges landowners face when their land becomes heir property and is inherited by a group of individuals.
During a workshop on industrial hemp production, producers can learn the requirements and information needed to grow hemp in Arkansas. A local hemp processor will be on hand to discuss processing and marketing programs.
Other agricultural topics include pea production, high tunnel vegetable production and a value-added grant. Ranchers can learn about cow-calf management and new pasture management strategies. Another workshop, hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, will walk producers through changes in the new farm bill.
Specialists from the UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries will demonstrate a mobile aquaponics system. Aquaponics is a trending technique for growing premium-quality produce indoors and an excellent teaching tool in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classrooms.
During the “Eating Healthy Across the Lifespan” workshop, participants will be able to learn about nutrition recommendations and sample a healthy dish. Another workshop will explore the impact of adverse childhood experiences on student retention. And in a workshop hosted by the UAPB Merchandising, Textiles and Design Program, participants will learn about the historical background and current social context of fashion in China.
There will also be an information-sharing and panel discussion addressing rural community challenges that are impeding prosperity and preventing wealth creation in Arkansas. Topics discussed will include economic development, workforce readiness and quality of life.
Sponsored by the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences, the Rural Life Conference will also feature a poster session highlighting research projects and exhibits by governmental and community agencies.
The conference begins with registration at 7:30 a.m. The opening session is at 8:45 a.m.
This year’s conference theme is “Vision 2020: Empowering Communities Through Education, Research and Extension.”
Registration is requested of everyone, even though the conference is free to producers, homemakers and retirees. Registration for professionals and agency personnel is $75. To preregister, if you have special needs or for more information, contact Tamera L. Ford at (870) 575-8806 or fordta@uapb.edu. The registration form is also accessible online.

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