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HVADC Involvement: The National Farm Viability Conference

Mar 31, 2024

Sharing knowledge to strengthen the national food system

Since serving as a host organization of the National Farm Viability Conference in 2017 when it was held in Albany, HVADC has continued its involvement with the event and this year is a Silver sponsor, along with its affiliate organization, the Farm and Food Growth Fund. The conference, held this year from April 29 to May 2, at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center in Charleston, West Virginia, allows agriculture industry and policy leaders to share expertise and institutional knowledge, with the goal of strengthening the growing the national food system.


The conference, hosted this year by West Virginia University Extension, will feature engaging workshop sessions and bring together  professionals from across the nation for peer-to-peer learning and networking with a focus on strengthening farm sustainability, building stronger and more resilient local food systems, and supporting the long-term profitability of farming and agri-entrepreneurs from start-ups to generational businesses.


Since HVADC is focused on promoting the value of Business Technical Assistance (BTA) for farms and agriculture businesses in the Hudson Valley, HVADC Executive Director Todd Erling says he is just as excited to take lessons learned here to Charleston, to share with peers and grow BTA networks across the country. The conference will feature a multitude of sessions on a wide range of topics, many relating to BTA including, “Industry Insights: 1:1 Business Technical Assistance,” and “BTA Advocacy 201: Developing and Advocating for Better BTA Programming,” hosted by American Farmland Trust's Farm Viability Policy Manager Emily Liss and Policy Director Tim Fink.


With such notable attendees, the Farm Bill will also be a major topic of discussion and the conference serves as a prime opportunity to elevate the call for BTA funding in the bill. The conference is also a great chance for aid agencies to introduce policy influencers and other organizations to their high preforming and emerging programs.


“The National Farm Viability Conference allows HVADC, our peer organizations in the Agricultural Viability Alliance, and others across the country to collaborate and learn from one another,” said Erling. “I am excited to share the things we have learned over the years here in the Hudson Valley, but I’m also thrilled to have an opportunity to listen and see what more we can all do to enrich the entire U.S. economy by growing strong, durable food systems with robust and interconnected BTA programming.”


Erling also highlighted the importance of getting likeminded-stakeholders together in the same place and in-person. He said this type of networking with not just industry leaders, but also members of their talented staff, is integral in forging the connections that will allow new BTA pathways to be discovered. In areas like food system transpiration, storage and procurement methods, many solutions can be found during informal conversations - opportunities that were lost during the remote conferences of the pandemic. This is the first in-person National Farm Viability Conference post-COVID.


“I think it is also meaningful that the conference is being held in West Virginia,” Erling continued. “Rural Appalachia shares some similarities with our region when it comes to servicing BTA needs and being in Charleston gives the region’s farms a well deserved spotlight. The attendance of officials from Washington others shows that the federal government knows this event as an important and is useful in how they prioritize need in the Farm Bill.”


To learn more about the National Farm Viability Conference, visit

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