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Conference targets farm diversification, new revenue streams

Many Wisconsin farmers are looking to diversify and add new revenue streams as they face low milk and commodity prices.

Compeer Financial and the University of Wisconsin-Extension want to help in the endeavor by hosting one day conference for farmers interested in exploring new business ideas for their farms.

The Resilient Farms Conference is Dec. 11 at Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

Farmers will have the opportunity to attend two dozen sessions to gather information, resources and tools that can help them explore potential new revenue streams. About 20 industry experts, including farmers who have implemented alternative enterprises, will be available for one-on-one consultations.

Rebecca Binsfeld, client education consultant with Compeer Financial, said in addition to helping with "idea generation," attendees will be able to connect with resources and tools to help evaluate shifts in business models and revenue streams.

"A wide range of experts will be available for consultations during the day and for post-event follow up," Binsfeld said. "Creating alternate farm revenue streams isn't a one-day process and analyzing the business, financial and market components are a key next step. Creating relationships with these resources and team members will ease the uncertainty that can revolve around business change."

The goal of the conference is to provide ideas and resources to farmers and producers interested in starting something new and diversifying their revenue stream. "It's planned as a farmer-to-farmer, peer-to-peer opportunity for farmers who are brainstorming or exploring ideas for additional revenue for their farm, many of which may already have worked successfully for their peers," Trisha Wagner, UW-Extension Farm Management Program.

Session topics will include value-added production ideas, marketing and business strategies, business planning and analysis, and guides to regulatory and licensing processes.

"These are challenging times for agriculture, and farmers realize that amongst the challenges, there is often opportunity," said Trisha Wagner, of the UW-Extension farm management program. "Farmers are trying new ideas for their business, utilizing resources in a different way, employing the skills of family members that haven't been realized in the past. The Resilient Farms Conference is an opportunity to hear from farmers from around the state who have learned how to navigate the times, and have created success."

The conference runs from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Wilderness Resort. The registration fee is $20, which includes lunch.

To register or for more information, go to eventbrite.com/e/resilient-farms-conference-tickets-51260941857.