Registration is now open for the 2014 Cascadia Grains Conference in Tacoma on Saturday, January 11. Conference organizers aim to rebuild the grain economy in areas of Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia west of the Cascade Mountains by bringing together growers, brokers, processors, end-users and investors to learn about the latest science and innovations in grain production and markets.
The conference will feature 18 workshops, a Resource Expo, three meals, and entry to the "Best of the Cascades Tasting Tour," featuring beers and spirits from around the region. There are three value-added enterprises that the conference will focus on—brewing and distilling, baking and other food uses, and other agricultural uses for grain such as animal feed. Sessions will cover a range of topics, including:
- Linking the Grain Producer to the Market
- The Development of the Gluten-Free Market
- Grains in Eco-friendly Crop Rotations
- Growing Quinoa and Buckwheat in the Pacific Northwest
- Bringing the Malthouse Back—A New England Story
- Grassfed versus Grain-finished—Thinking About Meat Quality
- Risk Management Options for Small Grains
- Establishing a Craft Distillery or Brewery
- Many more—Go to www.cascadiagrains.comfor the full list of sessions
"Despite a strong and growing demand for locally produced agricultural products like grains, developing outside markets isn't easy for growers in coastal Cascadia," said conference chair and WSU Thurston County Extension Director Lucas Patzek. Patzek pointed to critical handling and processing infrastructure having been moved, dismantled or repurposed for non-agricultural uses as one factor, and the loss of generational knowledge in many Cascadia farming communities as another challenge. "But there are ripe business opportunities out there in the grain industry," Patzek said. "Our goal is to bring together all of the people in the entire chain—from farm to financing to table—to get them talking, get them thinking, and get them excited about tapping into the grain economy west of the Cascades."
The Cascadia Grains Conference will be held Saturday, January 11, at the STAR Center, 3873 S. 66th St. in Tacoma, 98409. The pre-conference registration is $95 and $115 for those registering at the door. The conference is presented by the Washington State University in partnership with Oregon State University. Registration and more information about the full day conference events and programs are available at www.cascadiagrains.com
For more information, contact Lucas Patzek, Director and Agriculture Extension Faculty at WSU Thurston County Extension by calling (360) 867-2153 or via email at LPatzek@wsu.edu