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March workshop offers advice for Hillsborough County farmers

SEFFNER — Farmers can reap information on getting more out of their crops during a workshop in March on agriculture assistance.

Farmers will learn about services available through Hillsborough County Cooperative Extension Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Florida Department of Agriculture.

The workshop will run from noon to 5 p.m. March 10 at the Hillsborough County Cooperative Extension Service, 5339 County Road 579.

Some of the topics covered at the workshop will include business planning resources, agriculture production technical assistance, grant opportunities for value-added projects, renewable energy and farm labor housing, farm loans, farm planning assistance, water management district assistance and marketing assistance.

The county has put together small informational programs for farmers in the past, but the March workshop is the first time it has pulled everything together in one big workshop, said Stephen Gran, manager of the county's agriculture industry development.

"Farmers face challenges all the time," Gran said. "If we're able to do things to help them stay profitable, they won't have a reason to want to get out of the business and it will encourage others to come into the business. One of the issues farmers face is that the current farmer is often the last member of the family to stay in farming. ... Younger family members don't see the profitability."

If the government can help farmers improve their profits with programs, future generations may want to stay in farming, he said.

The workshop is free, but seating is limited. Register by calling Alayna Shiver at (813) 272-5909. For more information, call Gran at (813) 272-5506.

Saundra Amrhein can be reached at amrhein@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2441.

March workshop offers advice for Hillsborough County farmers 02/12/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 12, 2009 3:30am]
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