Food and Farm Summit

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Summit flyer

Experience a one-day conference developed specifically with food, beverage, and agriculture-based businesses in mind. Keeping pace with the agribusiness industry and the issues impacting growth and sustainability is a full-time job. Join us and reflect on how to make your existing agribusiness or idea stronger and deepen your understanding of what it takes to be successful in the long term.

Session 1: Introduction to the Value-Added Food Industry

This session covers an overview of the food industry in America, including key concepts, understanding different categories of foods and looking at industry examples. You’ll also learn about key resources for new and expanding food businesses. Finally, explore major current trends in the industry and dig into market opportunities that exist for businesses in western NC and the Southeast. or

Session 2: Tips for Simple Food Manufacturing Safety

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture will be presenting this session which will define what low-risk foods are, as well as the federal and state guidelines that are important to know. You will also become familiar with the laws that cover “home processing” and “low-risk foods” in addition to a thorough understanding of the inspection process.

Session 3: Business Readiness for New Food Businesses

This session will uncover important aspects of successfully launching a new food business. You will receive a comprehensive checklist that includes everything from items needed to get started to marketing strategies to pricing. You will also learn about market entry and some essential “to do’s” for anyone starting or growing a small food business. Case studies of local success stories will be provided, along with one or two failures to learn from. or

Session 4: Bookkeeping and Tax Basics for Agripreneurs

Keeping track of income and expenses, budgeting and paying taxes admittedly doesn’t sound like much fun for someone working in agriculture, but it is without a doubt critically important to the long-term success of your business. Stay on top of these things by knowing what you need to keep track of and how to do it.

Session 5: Food Manufacturing for Small Scale Businesses

This session covers essential information about how food gets made and sold commercially in a safe and wholesome manner. Key topics include basic types of processing and packaging, regulatory compliance, labeling laws, and important pieces of equipment common to food processing. You will also learn about equipment options and costs, as well as some useful manufacturing resources. or

Session 6: Growing with the Right Marketing

Marketing is a top need of any small business, to include farm operators expanding into Agritourism. If you’re a small business owner, farm operator or not, this workshop is for you. In this session, gain practical promotional know-how to service the next generation, the Millennials, the largest consumer audience, having outpaced the Baby Boomers. Through an interactive workshop, leave with actionable, results-oriented plans to include spotlighting what is unique about your business and the framework of a communications and marketing plan to help grow your business.

Session 7: Marketing Your Product and Your Brand

Work on a marketing plan that will help your business catch eyeballs and make sales. Learn essential elements for successfully marketing your products and creating customer loyalty including things like building an online presence and direct retail marketing. You’ll also learn about trade shows, packaging designs, giveaways and other elements of marketing that will help you develop a strong presence and increase sales! or

Session 8: Is Agritourism an Opportunity for Your Business?

Exploring ways to expand the farm operation through guest experiences? The USDA recognizes Agritourism as the top opportunity for working farms in America to diversify and create new revenue streams. In this session, learn about the benefits of Agritourism, or welcoming visitors to the farm. Gain understanding of the industry’s best practices centered around safety, liability, and marketing, key priorities for Agritourism operators. Gather insight to enhance existing farm operations and discover new ideas to connect and engage customers.

Co-Sponsor(s): NC State Extension and Empowering Mountain Food Systems and Blue Ridge Food Ventures

A survey will be emailed to you for you to choose your sessions prior to the summit.

*Lunch will also be served.

Fee: No Cost

Phone: 828-339-4426


Southwestern Community College Small Business Center
Burrell Room 102
447 College Drive Sylva, NC 28779