PINE BLUFF, Ark. – When the 63 rd Annual Rural Life Conference gets underway Friday, Feb. 1, at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, participants will find a wide variety of workshops ranging from traditional to trending and hot topics.


Those interested in traditional agriculture will find workshops on vegetable production and using producer’s grants to increase vegetable income, preparing for the beef cattle spring calving and summer breeding seasons, food safety and GAP certification for vegetable crops, and updates on the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Qualities Incentive Program (EQIP) from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.


The Arkansas Agriculture Department will give updates on their programs such as specialty crops, woodland owner, century farms, smoke management and protecting woodlands from wildfires.


Because of popularity in years past, three workshops will be repeating. They are tips on applying for microloans, heir property/estate planning, and the Rural Development single family housing/remodeling program.


Other participants may be interested in workshops on the opioid crises in rural America, urban farming and tools and resources to help urban farmers, the effect of adverse childhood experiences on children in their classrooms, and Arkansas family and community fishing programs. Or, others may be interested on the latest research on single parent vs. two parent homes.


Still others may be interested in learning about the conceptualization to commercialization of a largemouth bass production process; seeing a mobile aquaponics demonstration including explanations of engineering, chemistry and biology in a recirculating aquaponics system; or pond troubleshooting. Producers can bring water samples and get answers.


And, there is winemaking with no grapes necessary. Wine can be made from native fruits, berries, flowers and vegetables.


The Rural Life Conference begins with registration at 7:30 a.m. with the opening session at 8:30 a.m.


Sponsored by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences, the conference features a poster session highlighting research projects and exhibits by governmental and community agencies in addition to the 17 workshops.


Registration is requested of everyone even though the conference is free to producers/farmers/ranchers, homemakers and retirees. Registration for professionals and agency personnel is $75.


To register, for special needs, or for more information, contact Casandra Hawkins-Byrd at (870) 575-8123 or byrdc@uapb.edu.


The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all of its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


The Pine Bluff Convention Center is located at One Convention Center Plaza.