market-farming "Farmer Conferences" -- Left Out Again

Jill Taylor Bussiere jdt at
Fri Nov 17 10:01:49 EST 2000

    In Wisconsin too, the University had disinvested  in extension -
partially because the University of Wisconsin is run more and more by
private funds - business, corporations, rather than public funds.   Yes
there is some sustainable research (small bit) but largely the research is
in the agribusiness.  And our Governor Thompson wants Wisconsin to lead in
the biotech field.  This will push UW evermore in that direction.

    Our universities, media, government, etc.etc.etc.etc.etc. have been
bought out by corporations.  It will be a long haul to get them back.

----- Original Message -----
From: Bill Shoemaker <wshoemak at>
To: market farming <market-farming at>
Sent: Friday, November 17, 2000 8:49 AM
Subject: Re: market-farming "Farmer Conferences" -- Left Out Again

> As someone who organizes meetings in Illinois for the specialty crop
> community, I can tell you that attendance is the primary criteria we use
> determine whether or not these meetings should be held on weekends. We set
> up a series of weekend meetings for specialty crop agriculture several
> ago. Amost all of them were weekends. At first they were well attended. We
> were encouraged and we continued. But soon, attendance dropped off.
> Meanwhile, our weekday meetings, which were primarily (but not totally)
> attended by full-time farmers who made 100% of their living from farming,
> continued to sustain good attendance. Eventually, it became clear where we
> should invest what few resources were available to us for putting on these
> programs.
>     It is a difficult decision with many considerations. If we had more
> resources we might be able to go further down our list of priorities to
> on programs. Cooperative Extension Service in every state has been reduced
> considerably over the last two decades. In Illinois I work with perhaps
> one-third the number of colleagues I had when I started in the early 80's.
> have the same operational budget I had in 1990. This is primarily due to
> state and federal priorities disinvesting in agriculture generally.
>     Though you can point to Dennis Bishop as an example of Extension
> against you, most people I know in Extension want to provide a service to
> their clientele, including those in the organic/sustainable movement. But
> can only be spread so thin. And it's usually easier and more productive to
> work with people who want to work with you.
> Bill Shoemaker
> Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
> Univ of Illinois - St Charles Hort Research Center
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dori Green <dorigreen00 at>
> To: market farming <market-farming at>
> Cc: steuben at <steuben at>
> Date: Friday, November 17, 2000 7:22 AM
> Subject: market-farming "Farmer Conferences" -- Left Out Again
> >I just received notice of the 2001 New York State Farmers Direct
> >Conference in Owego, "Growing Your Profits".
> >
> >Once again, it's information I would love to have.  Looks like a great
> >conference.
> >
> >And once again, it's being held on a Monday through a Wednesday (February
> >5-7), so I can't attend without losing several days of pay.
> >
> >I'll probably take the financial hit and attend -- at least it's enough
> >advance notice that I might be able to put in a Saturday or two to lessen
> >the impact (I thank Jim Grace at CCE for the early notification that
> >this an option, and my progressive employers who are usually willing to
> >least discuss flexible schedules as long as the work gets done).
> >
> >But I still don't see why at least a few of these conferences can't be
> >scheduled on weekends.  Aren't the organizers aware that many thousands
> >farmers are still in business only because they support their efforts
> >
> >off-farm jobs?
> >
> >Gnarf.
> >
> >Dori Green
> >Ash Grove Community Farm & Center for Sustainable Living
> >Corning, NY
> >
> >
> >
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