Looking Back at the 2016 Nevada Small Farm Conference


For several years this was the official website for the Nevada Small Farm Conference.
Content is from the site's 2016 archived pages providing a glimpse of what this conference offered its attendees.

If you have inadvertently ended up here while searching for the most up to date information about the next Nevada Farm Conference, go to the conference's current website at: http://nevadafarmsconference.com/


2016 Nevada Small Farm Conference – Celebrating our 10th Anniversary!

February 5-6, 2016 / Nugget Hotel Casino – Sparks, NV


The Nevada Small Farm Conference is celebrating its 10th anniversary! The conference planted its roots in 2003 at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks.  It moved to the Sands Hotel in Reno from 2004-2005.

The conference went dormant for several years due to lack of leadership and funding. In 2010, the conference found new interest and energy and moved to rural Nevada under the leadership of the Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute.  The 2010-2012 conferences were held in Fallon at Western Nevada College and the Fallon Convention Center.

Attendance tripled within three years, and the conference outgrew its site in Fallon. In 2013, it returned to its roots at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, which has since changed its name to The Nugget Casino Resort.

The Conference Planning Committee remains committed to growing and sustaining this valuable resource for Nevada’s farmers and ranchers. The 2016 conference returns to the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks.

Join us in celebrating our 10th anniversary. We look forward to seeing you!

Please note that the conference is going to be held in a different area of the casino this year than previous years. Look for us in the pavilions near the west tower elevators.



"This was one of the most enjoyable events celebrating the glory of farming since I was a 4H student attending jamborees and county fairs. My family grows a number of organic crops and I was introduced to a number of really useful strategies both for growing and marketing our harvest. One strange thing: when searching for information online I discovered that this conference had some very unusual Google results - mainly gambling sites focused on card counting and poker strategies that had nothing to do with the actual events. I thought they were due to the fact that the event was being held at a casino, but my website developer told me this is a common problem with Google - and one that can have devastating effect when the misinformation is negative, and you have no way to remove Google search results. Like when the search for your name is connected to crimes you never committed because your last name is the same as a criminal, or when personal information is revealed like divorce proceedings, etc. He sent me a link to a webpage that spells out the issues and I shared it with the organizers of the conference. They didn't seem to care, since most of the attendees were return patrons, or got their info via word of mouth. In any case, the speakers were top notch and it was obvious they had deep experience in the topics they addressed. We all had a great time sharing experiences and knowledge." Jason Pickle



Scholarships are available to qualified applicants who request financial assistance to attend the conference. Scholarship beneficiaries will pay a reduced registration fee of $40 instead of the full conference fee of $85.

The scholarship application form and criteria for eligibility can be found here. Applications must be submitted by December 31 to be considered.



2016 Schedule

We are celebrating our 10th anniversary with a new and improved schedule to accommodate our participants’ busy lives and your pocketbooks. The conference has been shortened from three days to two days, and pre-conference workshops have been combined with the conference and are now free for all participants to attend.

The schedule has been finalized

Friday, Feb. 5

7:30AM – 9:00AM Check-in/Registration
9:00AM – Noon Intensive workshops
Noon – 1:30PM Lunch with keynote speaker Gabe Brown & Kristin Ohlson
Holistic Regeneration of Our Farms, Families and Communities
1:30PM – 3:00PM Conference session  (choice of 4 different tracks)
3:00PM – 3:30PM Break
3:30PM – 5:00PM Conference session  (choice of 4 different tracks)
6:00PM – 8:30PM Friday Social Mixer at Nothing to It Culinary Center (Additinal fee of $30 to attend)


2016 Friday Night Mixer

Mix and mingle with your fellow conference attendees at this fun event that features local food and spirits! The mixer will be held on Friday, Feb. 5, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at Nothing to It Culinary Center, 225 Crummer Lane, Reno. There is an additional fee of $30 to attend the mixer. You can register online when you register for the conference. 

Mixer is open to conference attendees only.



Saturday, Feb. 6

7:30AM – 9:00AM Check-in/Registration
9:00AM – 10:30AM Conference session  (choice of 4 different tracks)
10:30AM – 11:00AM Break
11:00AM – 12:30PM Conference session  (choice of 4 different tracks)
12:30PM – 2:00PM Lunch with keynote speaker
2:00PM – 3:30PM Conference session  (choice of 4 different tracks)

Exhibitor booths are scheduled for:

Friday, Feb. 5         8:00AM to 5:00PM
Saturday Feb. 6     8:00AM to 3:30PM


Please note that the conference is going to be held in a different area of the casino this year than previous years. Look for us in the pavilions near the west tower elevators. For your convenience please find a floor plan here. Parking will be the same as years past in the east garage, or you can park in the parking lots on the west end of the building.


2016 Session Topics

We have a host of NEW regional and local speakers this year! 

We have changed the format of the conference this year and shortened it by a day, in response to feedback from attendees. This year’s conference will be held for two days instead of three. The intensive workshops will held on the first morning and are included as part of the registration fee. In past years, an additional fee was charged to attend workshops.

If you would like to view this webpage as a printable document, please download our Nevada Small Farm Conference Program.


Friday morning (9am – noon)

Workshops are held concurrently.

Permaculture for the Commercial Farm
Speaker: Neil Bertrando, RT Permaculture
Back by popular demand, join Neil to learn the principles and practices of permaculture and how to incorporate these concepts to benefit your farm. Hedgerows, soil building and biodiversity are just a few of these concepts.

The Business of Beekeeping
Speakers: Troy Bunch, Bunch Apiaries; Marie Gibson, Gibson, Gale & Associates
Explore the business of beekeeping from two colonies to a thousand. Learn from industry experts how to establish and manage healthy hives and have a profitable business. Troy will share 30 years of experience in beekeeping, and Marie will discuss business planning including overhead costs, sales and marketing.

Speakers: Gary Romano, Sierra Valley Farms; Ty Whitaker & Constance Aguilar, The Abbi Agency; Matt McKinney, Bently Heritage
This workshop explores opportunities for farmers and brewers to maximize marketing opportunities through collaborative events and marketing.  As Nevada’s craft brewery and distillery industries and the local food movement continue to grow, the possibilities for collaboration are limited only by the imagination. Join a successful farmer and an award-winning advertising agency to brainstorm new ideas to make Nevada a destination for Farm 2 Flask. The workshop will culminate with a sampling of local beers and appetizers.

Farm Hacks
Speakers: Wendy Baroli, Girl Farm; Daniel Holley, Holley Family Farms;
Cristof Bernau, University of California at Santa Cruz
If you ever have wondered how to build a refrigeration unit, fertilizer injector or necessary items for your farm – all from hardware store parts – Farm Hacks is the place to be. In this session, the speakers will review tips, tricks and ideas on how to create gadgets to make life easier. Attend this session to get ideas on do-it-yourself equipment and share your own experiences of Farm Hacks.

Friday afternoon (1:30-3pm)

Selling in Quantity: What You Need to Know
Speakers: Susie Sutphin, Tahoe Food Hub; Wes Mewes, Whole Foods; Justin Bart, Renown Health; Chris Mills, Bonanza Produce
This panel discussion from top distributors and customers in Northern Nevada will cover information required for selling to large-scale businesses. From logistics, regulations, fruit quality and pack sizes, the panelists will review the needs of their own organizations and take questions from those looking to sell produce in quantity.

Fiber & Sheep Production
Speakers: Dr. Dale Holcombe, University of Nevada, Reno; Amilton de Mello, University of Nevada, Reno
Given the calm demeanor of sheep, fiber and meat production makes a viable income source for Nevada small farmers. This session will discuss what to be aware of when picking your breeds, how to know what your wool is worth, and which animals are acclimated to our high desert climate. Join Dr. Holcombe to hear how to become sheep-savvy. and meet Dr. de Mello to hear about his new animal research projects at the university.

Cottage Food/Pickle Bill
Speakers: Holly Gatzke, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension; Anna Vickrey, Nevada Department of Agriculture; Liza & Vicki Detomasi, Workman Farms
The ins and outs of the new craft food law (pickle law), effective January 2016, will be explained as well as how it compares to the cottage food law. The session will explain what foods qualify as cottage foods and how you can process them for sale from your home in Nevada.

Cover Crops for Pastures
Speakers: Gabe Brown, Brown’s Ranch; Juan Solomon, University of Nevada, Reno
Sustainable farmer and rancher Gabe Brown will show how his family holistically integrates grazing of grass-fed beef, sheep and poultry with a no-till cropping system, including a wide variety of cash crops and more than 25 multiple-species cover crops.  Gabe will explain how you can create a healthy ecosystem while obtaining high yields and strong net profits. Meet UNR professor Juan Solomon to hear more about his research on grassland ecology, management and utilization.

Friday afternoon (3:30-5pm)

Hoop House Design & Tomato Research
Speakers: Dr. Felipe Barrios Masias, University of Nevada, Reno; Zev Ilovitz, Envirotech Greenhouse
Join Dr. Masias as he presents his current research on tomato production applicable for the small grower to the commercial producer. Hoop house expert Zev Ilovitz will talk about what to look for in hoop house structures and design.

Pastured Poultry
Speaker: Tom Delehanty, Pollo Real Pastured Poultry; Sue Kennedy, Kennedy Ranch
Are you curious how to make poultry production profitable and sustainable? Tom Delehanty of Socorro, New Mexico, has a pastured approach to raising all types of poultry. Tom will share his knowledge including the use of portable yurts for housing to outsmart predators, soil improvement, feed rations and other methods to efficiently produce top quality poultry. Sue Kennedy, Nevada’s only licensed poultry producer, will join to answer processing questions pertinent to Nevada.

Marketing Made Easy and Other Business Myths
Christof BernauUniversity of California at Santa Cruz, Michael Salogga, Nevada Small Business Development Center
UC Santa Cruz farm manager Christof Bernau will kick off the session with his experiences on direct marketing sales including the campus farm stand, CSA, institutions, special events, local restaurants, natural food stores and florists. He will provide an overview of UCSC’s Direct Marketing & Small Farm Viability manual. Michael will discuss planning strategies and items to consider when budgeting for sales.

Ask the Inspector
Speaker: Bob Stulac, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services; Tony Macaluso, Washoe County Health Department
Do you have questions about food safety and sampling at farmers markets, processing, or cottage foods?  Come meet your local health inspectors to discuss state requirements and have your questions answered!

Saturday morning (9-10:30am)

Harvest to Packaging
Speakers: Rodney Mehring, Blue Lizard Farm; Ray Saliga, Desert Farming
Wonder how to keep those leafy greens looking crisp and fresh?  Rodney will discuss his process from harvesting to packing and how he keeps his customers happy. Ray will discuss the University’s harvest to packaging system and how this process minimizes food safety risks and addresses buyer requirements.

Pollinators & Beneficials
Speaker: Rex Dufour, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA)
Join Rex  to learn farm management practices that attract pollinators and beneficials from bats to wasps, and let Mother Nature take it from there.

Social Media for Beginners
Speakers: Nicole Duxbury, The Abbi Agency; Kaitlin Godbey, TravelNevada
Join award-winning digital media professionals in learning how to jump-start your presence on social media. You will spend this session learning social media basics, including everything from the different social media platforms to best practices for creating posts. With these social media building blocks, you’ll be ready to dive in and maximize your visibility with social media.

Diversify Enterprises to Increase Profits
Speakers: Gabe Brown, Brown’s Ranch
The current production model is extremely inefficient compared to a stacked enterprise model.  Gabe will discuss how to stack enterprises to increase dollars per acre profit, and how it takes much fewer acres to support a family as compared to the current model.

Saturday morning (11-12:30pm)

Organic Farming Management
Speakers: Christof Bernau, University of California at Santa Cruz
Join Christof, farm manager of the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, in a discussion about whole systems approaches to organic farming. Christof will introduce the UCSC CASFS Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening training manual, as a tool both for growers seeking to deepen their understanding of organic farming practices and for anyone teaching farming skills in a hands on setting. Farm system thinking, careful observation, skills and capacity in many different practices and informed decision making are all critical to creating and sustaining a successful farm, and through this session, participants will gain new insights into the complex of experience and knowledge needed in organic farming.

Developing Specialty Food Products
Speakers: Holly Gatzke, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension; Mark Williams, USDA Rural Development
Learn the first hand experiences of developing a specialty food business from Nevada food manufacturers and what to consider in pricing your products. Mark will talk about value-added producer grant opportunities.

Social Media – Advanced
Speakers: Nicole Duxbury, The Abbi Agency; Kaitlin Godbey, TravelNevada
Are you managing your business’s presence on social media and ready to take it to the next level? This session will help you dive deeper with your social media plan and strategy. You’ll learn winning social media strategies and look at successful case studies from other businesses, as well as get insights into tools to make your social media presence more successful overall.

Pest Management/Squash Bugs, Spider Mites and Flea Beetles Oh My!
Rex Dufour, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA)
Are you constantly at war with insect pests that wreak havoc on your crops?  Join Rex as he presents various methods for addressing harmful pests, from biological control to pheromones. Troublesome pests that will be discussed include squash bugs, aphids, spider mites, flea beetles and coddling moth.

Saturday afternoon (2-3:30pm)

Hoop House Production Techniques
Speakers: Rodney Mehring, Blue Lizard Farm; James Gatzke, Canyon Gardens
Rodney Mehring and James Gatzke join us from the southern part of the state, Caliente, to talk about their hoop house production practices. Rodney is refining greens production for higher yields and uses overhead sprinkling for cooling. James specializes in peppers and tomatoes in his hoop house production.

Marketing Poultry
Speakers: Tom Delehanty, Pollo Real Pastured Poultry; Sue Kennedy, Kennedy Ranch
Come learn how best to market your poultry business. Tom Delehanty is the first organic pasture poultry producer in the United States, as well as the first poultry processor in New Mexico. He will be offering insight on the lessons learned through his many years in the poultry business. Sue Kennedy, a licensed poultry processor in Nevada, will be present to address questions on the legal steps to becoming a licensed processor in the state of Nevada.

Face to the Farm: A Marketing Strategy
Speakers: Isidro Alves, Sand Hill Dairy; Gary Romano, Sierra Valley Farms
One of the most challenging obstacles to overcome as a seasoned or new farmer is how to market your product. From raw goods to value added to special events, these local farmers will offer their insight into how they crafted their marketing strategies and “put a face” to their farm.

All Things Water
Speakers: Jay Davison, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension; David Hillis, Turnipseed Engineering, LTD
What are water rights, how do I obtain them, and how do they work? What are efficient ways to manage water in Nevada, especially in times of drought? Join two industry experts for answers to these questions and many more.  Extension specialist Jay Davison has worked with Nevada producers for more than two decades to help manage water efficiently. David Hillis specializes in Nevada water rights engineering and water resources.

Session descriptions are subject to change.


2016 Speakers


We are excited to have several NEW  regional and local speakers presenting their knowledge, along with fresh topics and exciting presentations from many of our excellent past speakers:

Isidro Alves, Sand Hill Dairy, Fallon, NV
Isidro Alves owns and operates a dairy with his wife and two young sons at Sand Hill Dairy in Fallon, Nevada. The main business is their dairy farm that milks 500 cows which was started in 2003. In 2012 they were the first dairy in Nevada to start processing milk on farm which began with cheese making. (there is now a second producer). In 2014 they started bottling milk on site as well. Sand Hill Dairy currently processes a small amount of their farms milk and it is mainly sold into stores, restaurants, coffee houses in Northern Nevada.

Jim Barbee, Nevada Department of Agriculture
Jim received his appointment as the Director of the Department of Agriculture in 2011. He has worked on policy issues with both the Nevada State Board of Education and the Nevada Legislature. Barbee has served on the National FFA Board of Directors and Foundation Board of Trustees.  Jim has a Masters of Agriculture Science, Agriculture Education from Cal Poly SLO and a Bachelors of Science in Animal Science from CSU Chico. He is a graduate of Douglas High School in Minden, Nevada.

Wendy BaroliGirl Farm, Reno, NV
Wendy is from a fourth generation local truck farming Italian family. She has been producing commercially as a nursery woman, orchardist, and CSA farmer for over 15 years at Grow For Me Sustainable Farm. Wendy has managed the Personal Farmer Program since 2008 and holds a strong passion for educating and providing fresh food to people.

Felipe Barrios Masias, University of Nevada, Reno
Felipe Barrios Masias obtained his PhD in the Horticulture and Agronomy Program from the University of California, Davis. His background is in agroecology with a strong focus on cultivar trait performance, crop development, water use and ecosystem functions. He has experience working in different cropping systems from small-holder, low-input agriculture in Peru to mechanized, high-input agriculture in California. His work focuses on understanding how a suite of plant traits can contribute to enhancing crop performance, increase yield and water use efficiency.

Christof Bernau, University of California at Santa Cruz, CA
Christof is the Farm Garden Manager, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UCSC. Christof has been part of the CASFS since coming to the Santa Cruz as an Apprentice in 1994 and has been an Apprenticeship instructor since 1999. Christof has extensive experience in nursery management, propagation, vegetable, and specialty cut flower production. He holds a BA in Asian History from Reed College and an MA in Equity and Social Justice in Adult Education from San Francisco State University.

Neil Bertrando, RT Permaculture, Reno, NV
Neil Bertrando MS manages a 1.3 acre homestead with his wife Katie and the help of many in the community.  His passion is enriching bioregions by building community and broadening the local genetic resources of practical plants and animals to relocalize resource supply networks.  He strives for collaboration in his work and runs RT Permaculture, a Permaculture consulting, design, and education business. In his teaching and design he applies Keyline Design, Permaculture and Holistic Management as interconnected systems approaches to managing the complexities of ecosystems.

Gabe Brown, Brown’s Ranch, Bismarck, ND
Gabe, along with his wife Shelly, and son Paul, own and operate a diversified 5,000 acre farm and ranch near Bismarck, ND.  Their ranch focuses on farming and ranching in nature’s image. The Browns holistically integrate their grazing and no-till cropping systems, which include a wide variety of cash crops, multi-species cover crops along with all natural grass finished beef and lamb.  They also raise pastured laying hens, broilers and swine. They maintain this ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides.

Troy Bunch, Bunch Apiaries, Hughson, CA
Troy began beekeeping as a hobby in 1978. His hobby grew to 400 hives and in 1986 he purchased more hives and went into beekeeping as a commercial beekeeper in central California. Over the past 30 years he has learned much through the ups and downs of beekeeping. He now runs 1400 hives. Troy has been on the board of California State Beekeepers for over 20 years and is a past president of this association. He is married with 2 children and 5 grandchildren.

Jay DavisonUniversity of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Fallon, NV
Jay Davison is a Plant Soil Specialist for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. His major interests are livestock grazing as an environmental management tool, evaluating low water use, high-value alternative crops suitable for producers, invasive weed control, and forage production/harvest strategies. Jay is well known and respected in the agricultural community for his dedication to helping Nevada’s farmers.

Tom Delehanty, Pollo Real, Socorro, NM
Tom Delehanty is a 6th generation farmer from Wisconsin, where the family farm of 170 years is operated by family yet today! Tom has farmed all animals and crops for over 50 years and have had a passion for poultry production models. Tom moved to New Mexico 21 years ago and has focused on developing a holistic model including breeding, incubating, hatching, brooding, and field production. This includes crops and portable shelter design, feed processed on farm, on farm processing and packaging, marketing and distribution to stores, restaurants, farmers markets including CSA’s.

Amilton de Mello, University of Nevada, Reno
Dr. de Mello is the Meat Science and Food Safety Program Leader for the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources at the University of Nevada, Reno. He earned his D.V.M. in 2001 from the University of Marilia and his M.S. in Animal Products Technology from Sao Paulo State University in 2004. In 2010, Dr. de Mello earned his Ph.D. from the the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in Meat Science and Muscle Biology. Dr. de Mello also worked for JBS, the largest beef meat processor in the world as technical specialist and quality assurance and food safety superintendent. He joined UNR in August 2015 and his broad research program approaches all steps of meat production, including Animal Welfare, Food Safety, and Meat Quality.

Rex Dufour, ATTRA, Davis, CA
Rex Dufour has been with NCAT since 1994, and opened a new CA office for NCAT in 2001. The focus of his work is writing about, and training agriculture professionals on organic practices and certification, ecological pest management, ecological soil management, and farmscaping. Rex is responsible for developing NCAT/ATTRA’s Ecological Pest Management Database and several other publications related to organic production. Rex is also registered with NRCS as an Organic TSP (Technical Service Provider) in CA and NV.

Nicole DuxburyThe Abbi Agency
Nicole Duxbury has been a part of The Abbi Agency team since January 2015. Born and raised in Reno, she strives to support local business as much as possible and is excited to see Reno continue to grow. She received her degree in Psychology from the University of Oregon and believes that this insight into the human mind is what helps her succeed in this industry. She sees social media as a creative outlet and enjoys creating content that people enjoy and respond positively to. Outside the office she has a love for traveling, her three poodles, and the city she calls home.

Holly Gatzke, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Caliente, NV
Holly is Cooperative Extension educator for Lincoln County.  Her areas of interest are developing programs for diversifying agriculture production in Lincoln County, servicing premium niche markets in Las Vegas, and works on economic and community development in Lincoln County. Holly has helped educate farmers on hoop house production and season extension practices. She is actively-involved in expanding value-added processing for Nevada’s producers.

James GatzkeCanyon Gardens, Caliente, NV
James Gatzke has a B.S. in Forestry from Utah State University and a Master of Agriculture from Colorado State University. James has worked in natural resource management and agriculture for 20+ years from the subarctic to the tropics with most of his experience in the desert Southwest. Currently, he manages Canyon Gardens a small, diversified farm located south of Caliente. Approximately 30% of the farm’s production is under hoop houses using shade cloth. Key hoop house crops on the farm include tomatoes, peppers, and a variety of herbs.

Marie Gibson, Gibson, Gale & Associates
Marie is an Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of Intuit’s National Speaker and Writer Network. She is a professional educator, speaker and author with more than 25 years of business experience. Marie comes from a ranching family in Northern California and consults with farms and ranches on business planning.

Kaitlin GodbeyTravelNevada, Carson City, NV
Kaitlin Godbey is an avid iPhoneographer and social media junkie who loves adventuring across the west coast. She’s currently the communications specialist for TravelNevada promoting all things quirky, weird, fabulous, and fun in the Silver State. When not at her desk you can find her hiking with her three black labs or writing her next blog post.

David HillisTurnipseed Engineering, LTD
David obtained both his Bachlors and Masters Degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno. His professional career has focused exclusively on Nevada Water Rights and water resources. He  is the principal engineer at Turnipseed Engineering, LTD. and has assisted farmers, ranchers, golf courses, commercial businesses, and municipalities with water right issues.

Dale Holcombe, University of Nevada, Reno
Dr. Holcombe received her B.S. degree in Animal Science from Berry College in Rome GA, a M.S. degree in Animal Reproduction from Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS and her Ph.D. degree from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM in Reproductive Physiology.  Dr. Holcombe accepted a position at the University of Nevada (UNR) in 1988. During her tenure at UNR she has taught a variety of animal related classes but her all-time favorite is the Sheep Management class where she gets to teach students the many joys of raising sheep.  She has worked with sheep since 1984 and has directed her research towards studying the effects of nutrition on wool and reproductive performance in Fine Wool sheep while working at UNR.

Daniel HolleyHolley Family Farms, Dayton, NV
Daniel is a sixth generation farmer (the fourth generation to work the same piece of land) working on the family farm, and is pursuing his B.S. in Agricultural Science from UNR. He spent two years in the Welding program at Western Nevada College, has worked at the Main Station Field Lab of the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station, is currently interning under Dr. Dale Holcombe at UNR as well as learning from other farmers and ranchers. Daniel specializes in designing and constructing farm tools and buildings on a budget, utilizing recycled and repurposed materials.

Ashley Jeppson, Nevada Department of Agriculture, Sparks, NV
Program Officer for the Nevada Department of Agriculture, Ashley received a BS degree in Rangeland Management and Animal Science from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Ashley started with the Nevada Department of Agriculture in 2010 as an Agriculture Inspector and is currently working with various programs including the Farm to School Grant, Good Agriculture Practices, Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, and Federal to State Marketing Improvement Program.

Sue Kennedy, Kennedy Ranch, Lamoille, NV
Sue Kennedy is a fourth-generation cattle rancher from Lamoille, Nevada, at the base of the beautiful Ruby Mountains. She took over operation of the ranch in 2008 and immediately transformed it from a conventional to a grass-finished beef business. She and her team started raising pastured poultry two years ago to complement the beef business, and are working with other local producers to grow a Lamoille farmer’s market.

Janet KurversWhole Foods Market, Reno, NV
Janet is the Store Team Leader for the Whole Foods Market in Reno.

Rodney Mehring, Blue Lizard Farm, Caliente, NV
Rodney started keeping bees in Arizona over twenty years ago, and now produces high quality vegetables and honey for high-end Vegas markets. He has a lifelong passion for agriculture and innovation, and is always on the lookout for new and better ways to grow.

Rick Lattin, Lattin Farms, Fallon, NV
Rick Lattin is co-owner of Lattin Farms, a five-generation family farm in Fallon. He sells at farmers markets and retail outlets, operates an on-farm roadside stand and commercial bakery, and is co-owner of Great Basin Basket, a 200-member CSA. Rick is a small business development counselor for Churchill Economic Development Authority and founder of NevadaGrown, a nonprofit Nevada corporation working on behalf of Nevada farmers.

Wes Mews, Whole Foods Market, Reno, NV
Wes is an assistant store team leader at Whole Foods Market in Reno. He has been instrumental in helping local producers get their products on the shelves of regional Whole Foods Markets. He is the point of contact for local producers who want to sell to Whole Foods Market.

Kristin Ohlson, Author, Portland, OR
Kristin is the author of The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet, which looks at the work of pioneering scientists and agriculturalists to develop land management practices that respect nature and heal landscapes. An independent journalist, she has published articles in the New York Times, Salon, Discover, Gourmet, Oprah, and many other print and online publications. Her magazine work has been anthologized in Salon’s Life as We Know it, Best American Travel Writing 2008 and Best American Science Writing 2011.

Jennifer Ott, Desert Farming Initiative, University of Nevada, Reno
Jennifer received a degree in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master’s in Business from the University of Nevada, Reno. After working in the California wine industry for 10 years, she participated in the planning for the University’s High Desert Farming Initiative and now manages the program.

Gary RomanoSierra Valley Farms, Sierra Valley, CA
Gary is owner and operator of Sierra Valley Farms, a certified organic farm nestled on the Middle Fork of the Feather River in Sierra Valley, California. The farm’s diverse operation includes cool-season vegetables, fruits, micro greens, herbs and value-added products. The farm hosts an on-farm farmers market, restaurant CSA and a summer series of concerts and “Dinners in the Barn”.

Michael Salogga Nevada Small Business Development Center, Carson City, NV
Michael is the Business Development Manager for Carson City as well as a Business Counselor for the Nevada Small Business Development Center. He holds a bachelors in Information Systems and a MBA in Finance from San Diego State. His gray hair is from over 30 years of experience in manufacturing, distribution, retail, professional services and non-profits. His focus in approaching business challenges is one steeped in proper planning, taking calculated risks and having tons of fun along the way.

Juan SolomonUniversity of Nevada, Reno
Juan Solomon received his graduate degrees that is, MS and PhD from Mississippi State University in Agronomy focusing on forage crops utilization and management and a Minor in Animal Nutrition. His research work focusses on understanding and unraveling the intricacies associated with grassland ecology, management, and utilization. Developing and promoting sustainable pastoral-based feeding systems for ruminant livestock production with emphasis on grazing management, systems, and forage quality evaluations. Screening forage crops for key adaptive traits, namely drought tolerance and water use efficiency for both improved and native forages in semiarid conditions.

Bob Stulac Nevada Division of Public & Behavioral Health, Carson City, NV
Bob oversees the Cottage Food Program for the State in all of the rural counties that don’t have a local health department.  Bob has a BS & MS in Environmental Health and has been working for the State Health Division for the past 12 years.

Susie SutphinTahoe Food Hub, Alpine Meadows, CA
Susie Sutphin is 15-year Truckee resident. Her varied careers have brought her from Couloir magazine to Patagonia Clothing and later the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival where she ran the national tour growing it from 10 cities to 110 cities in five years.

Anna VickreyNevada Department of Agriculture, Sparks, NV
Anna is the Operations Manager-Food Safety for the Nevada Department of Agriculture.  Anna received a BS degree in Environmental Resources with a focus in Rangeland Management from Arizona State University. She started working with the Nevada Department of Health in 1997 as an Environmental Health Specialist. She has since managed the Interstate Milk Shippers program and currently manages the Food Safety section for the department.

…and more to come



2016 Exhibitors

Be sure to visit the exhibitor booths that offer a wealth of information, farm supplies and equipment. And enter into the Exhibitor Raffles for a chance to win fabulous prizes that will be awarded at the conclusion of the conference on Saturday. You must be present to win!

Are you interested in being an exhibitor?  It is a great opportunity to showcase your business or organization. If you would like to have a booth at the 2016 Conference, you can register online or complete and return the Exhibitor Application form.

Exhibitor booths are scheduled to be open the following hours:

Friday, Feb. 5         8:00AM to 5:00PM
Saturday, Feb. 6     8:00AM to 3:30PM

Questions? Contact: Ann Louhela, (775) 250-1339 or send an email to ann.louhela@wnc.edu.


Special Thanks to the 2016 Nevada Small Farm Conference Exhibitors
(as of February 1, 2016)

American Ag Credit
ATTRA National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
Basin & Range Organics
Country Financial
Desert Farming Initiative
Eastern Nevada Food Bank
Farm Supply
Gibson, Gale & Associates
Irrigo LLC
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Nevada Agricultural Foundation
Nevada Deptartment of Agriculture
Nevada Farm Bureau Federation
Nevada Farm Service Agency
Nevada FFA
Organic Ag Products
Polygrarian Institute
Rail City Garden Center
Shirley’s Farmers Markets
Turnipseed Engineering
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
University of Nevada, Reno – College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources (CABNR)
USDA Rural Development
WNC Specialty Crop Institute


The members of the 2016 Nevada Small Farm Conference Planning Committee provide essential local resources and contacts that ensure the conference reflects the richness and diversity of the local agricultural community. The committee is made up of farmers, ranchers, businesses, public and nonprofit organizations, and community members.


Committee Members:

Bill Chounet – Bill Chounet is  a representative for Stanislaus Farm Supply and former owner of Silverado Ranch Supply in Yerington. He has been working closely with area farmers since 1993 and is a certified crop advisor with the American Society of Agronomy. Bill was born on a farm, and his heart has never left.

Heather Emmons –  A native Nevadan, Heather is the state Public Affairs Officer for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Reno. For 17 years, her career has entailed planning and implementing community relations, public participation, public relations, employee relations and advertising for corporate, federal and nonprofit/education industries statewide in Nevada. She serves as the PR director for the Western Nevada Regional Science and Engineering Fair and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

Holly Gatzke – Holly is Cooperative Extension educator for Lincoln County.  Her areas of interest are developing programs for diversifying agriculture production in Lincoln County, servicing premium niche markets in Las Vegas, and works on economic and community development in Lincoln County. Holly has helped educate farmers on hoop house production and season extension practices. She is actively-involved in expanding value-added processing for Nevada’s producers.

Rob & Loni Holley – The Holley family has been farming in Dayton Valley since 1970.  They raise grass-fed beef and lamb, heritage pork, and USDA organic hay and vegetables.   Rob and Loni are both graduates of UNR and pleased to be involved with the Specialty Crop Institute, the Nevada Small Farm Conference, and Basin and Range Organics.  The Holleys can be contacted through holleyfamilyfarms.com

Ashley Jeppson – Program Officer for the Nevada Department of Agriculture, Ashley received a BS degree in Rangeland Management and Animal Science from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Ashley started with the Nevada Department of Agriculture in 2010 as an Agriculture Inspector and is currently working with various programs including the Farm to School Grant, Good Agriculture Practices, Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, and Federal to State Marketing Improvement Program.

Clint Koble – Clint is state director for Nevada Farm Service Agency. Clint was raised on a family farm prior to earning his B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Dakota.  He has spent over 30 years in business and general management.  In 2006, Clint became the Executive Director of the Nevada Rural Development Council and later became the Western Region representative for the Rural Nevada Development Council.

Rick Lattin – Rick  is co-owner of Lattin Farms, a five-generation family farm in Fallon. He sells at farmers markets and retail outlets, operates an on-farm roadside stand and commercial bakery, and is co-owner of Great Basin Basket, a 300-member CSA.  Rick is a small business development counselor for Churchill Economic Development Authority and founder of NevadaGrown, a nonprofit Nevada corporation working on behalf of Nevada farmers.

Ann Louhela – Chairperson of the planning committee, Ann is the project director for Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute. She has worked with local farmers and ranchers for more than a decade, including managing farmers markets. She is a board member of NevadaGrown and a member of the Washoe County Food Policy Council.

Diego Lozada – Born and raised in Northern Nevada, Diego has been immersed in small scale agriculture his entire life, with over 16 years of experience. The farm that he is tenured at first began with vegetables, meats and eggs but has since transitioned into specialty cut flowers. Diego has recently gained a degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Nevada, Reno and serves as a board member for NevadaGrown.

Peggy McKie

Peggy McKie – Peggy recently retired as an Agriculturist IV with the Nevada Department of Agriculture where she managed the Nursery, Export Certification, and Producer Certification programs.  Peggy graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a B.S. degree in Horticulture and started her career working for the San Luis Obispo County Agriculture Commissioner’s Office.  She has enjoyed working with Nevada’s organic and conventional farmers for nearly 20 years and is a founding member of the Nevada Small Farm Conference planning committee.

Jennifer Ott – Jennifer is the Manager of the University of Nevada, Reno’s High Desert Farming Initiative. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and Master’s degree in Business from the University of Nevada, Reno. Prior to living in Nevada, Jennifer worked in the California wine industry for ten years consulting on wine making processes and providing education to winemakers. The High Desert Farming Initiative is beginning their second year of operations.


Liz Warner – Liz served as the public affairs officer for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Nevada for 26 years.  Liz has assisted with organizing and conducting many of the Nevada Small Farm Conferences and continues to serve on the planning committee since her retirement in June 2013.

Mark Williams – Mark is the Energy Coordinator for USDA Rural Development in Nevada where he is the primary contact for its energy programs including the Rural Energy for America Program.  He has worked for USDA for more than 20 years. Prior to coming to Rural Developed in 2010, Mark worked for the Farm Service Agency where he made and serviced loans to family farmers and ranchers.  Mark is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara and Santa Clara University.



Nevada Small Farm Conference

Thank you to our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and attendees for making our  2016 conference a success! See you next year!