SSAWG logoOur 2014 conference was a great success!

Thank you to all who participated in this event, led sessions, hosted field trips, facilitated sessions, provided scholarship funds, contributed food, donated milk, displayed posters and exhibited. Thank you, also, to those who coordinated these activities!

Our First Registrant Was Also a First Time Attendee!

Mack LaneMack Lane is a young, third generation family farmer from Bainbridge, in Southwest Georgia. Previously, some of his friends had forwarded him a Southern SAWG newsletter, so he became intrigued about our conference. Last fall, he was out on his John Deere 8345R, working in his cotton fields and reading his email, when our newsletter came through announcing that conference registration was open. He decided to immediately register— riding along with not much to do on that big computer-operated tractor! And just like that, he became the first one to register and win some recognition (and a door prize) at the 23rd Annual Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference.

As the third generation to farm the land, Mack was born and raised on the family farm and loves the land. They row-crop cotton and peanuts on 2,500 acres (some owned and some leased) and operate a cow-calf operation with about 350-400 grass fed, Black Angus momma cows. They also have 12 broiler houses on their place. Mack describes their farm as "medium scale" for their area of Georgia. There were times when Mack didn't think he could stick it out as a farmer, but he also couldn't walk away. He loves building the soil and learning real "stewardship of the land".

Mack is unique in his farming community because of his love of "playing in his vegetable garden", so he was very comfortable at the Southern SAWG conference with so many like-minded folks. He shared with us that he made two new friends and they are all staying in touch going forward. He has some big dreams about how to share his passion for the land and to feed people as he grows a larger garden and creates his own market. He came to the conference with an open mind and learned a lot of new things and put faces with folks he's heard or read about. Mack says, "Not a day goes by, that I don't read some information that I picked up at the conference, and it's all great!"

It Was Quite the Crowd!
Scenes from the 2014 Conference

Nearly 1,000 enthusiastic producers, market managers, researchers, service providers and community food activists, representing 30 states and the Virgin Islands, gathered in Mobile, Alabama for an extensive program of sessions, intensive courses, field trips, trade show, poster display, seed swap and more. Anthony Flaccavento gave an inspiring plenary "What's Love Got to Do With It?" Click here for the recap.

Visit us on Facebook to see photos from the conference. Do you have any pictures you would like to share? Please contact us.

If you have never been to our conference, and are wondering if the conference is for you, check out the past program or read some of our stories from first time attendees or listen to this podcast one Alabama couple created about their experience at the 2014 Southern SAWG conference. We've also posted below some of the presentations our 2014 presenters have posted on slideshare.

How to Attend Next Year's Conference!

Save for next year!Each year we hear from so many people who desperately want to attend our conference because of our excellent program, but feel they can't afford the expense. Successful people know quality education and network building are a wise investment in yourself, your business, or your organization, and will save you much money and heartache in the long run.

Try these tips for getting ready to attend next year's conference.

Take the Survey: Complete the 2014 Conference Feedback Survey and register for a chance to win a registration to the 2015 conference. See article below for details.

Start Saving Now: Get a piggybank or canning jar into which you deposit small amounts each week, starting with just $1, then $2. You'll be amazed at how quickly it adds up! Use this chart to see how to save more than enough to participate in the conference by setting aside a specific amount of money each week. Click to download PDF.

Ask Friends and Family: Ask your friends, customers and family to forego purchasing gifts for you throughout the year, and instead, contribute to your conference fund.

Seek Outside Help: Start checking now with land grant universities, organizations, churches, local businesses, etc. that you are affiliated with to see if they would sponsor you to participate in this conference.

Southern SAWG is a non-profit organization. Our costs are not covered by an institution or agency. The registration fees must cover the full cost of this event and it's not cheap to gather together this much expertise in one place for you. We keep registration fees as low as we possibly can. Given our program offerings, we are confident you won't get this value anywhere else.

We hope this information will help you understand the cost, the value and that, yes, you can afford to participate in this conference and take advantage of all it has to offer.

See you next year in Mobile!

Southern SAWG 2015 Conference logo

Attention 2014 Attendees: Register to Win 2015 Conference Registration

We want your feedback on the 2014 Conference so we can make the 2015 Conference even better. We have set up an online survey, as a quick and easy way for you to give us your feedback.

Once you complete the Conference Evaluation Form, your name will be entered into a drawing for ONE FREE 2015 CONFERENCE Registration in Mobile, AL. Only one entry per participant. Prize is non-transferrable. Although evaluations will be accepted until mid-March, the deadline for entry into the FREE REGISTRATION is midnight on March 1st. The winner will be notified via email.

Take the Survey

Many Thanks to Our 2014 Conference Sponsors



If you'd like information about sponsoring our 2015 Conference, please contact Julia Sampson.


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