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Agriculture briefs

Five hundred farmers and others are expected to gather Sunday and Monday at the DoubleTree Hotel in Rohnert Park for the California Small Farm Conference.

Participants today will tour local farms and ranches in Sonoma and Marin counties as part of educational field courses.

Leonard Diggs, manager at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm, will give the keynote address at a breakfast Tuesday.

The conference, which began in 1982, attracts small-scale farmers, managers of farmers markets, students and other industry professionals.

Both one-day and full conference registration are still available.

Biochar workshops set for March 21

Farmers can learn a cleaner way to manage burn piles and to create a valuable soil amendment at workshops March 21 in Sonoma.

The amendment is called biochar, and its creation can help sequester carbon in soil.

The workshops will be given by the Sonoma Biochar Initiative, a project of the Sonoma Ecology Center, and will be held at Circle Bar Ranch in Sonoma.

The morning workshop will be 8 a.m. to noon and will feature in-the-field training on “the conservation burn method” and biochar.

The afternoon workshop will run 1-5 p.m. and will focus on biochar.

Fees are $45 per session or $75 for the entire day. For information, contact the center at 291-3240.

Bud’s wins big at meat competition

Bud’s Custom Meats of Penngrove won a number of top awards recently at the California Association of Meat Processors’ Cured and Processed Meats Championships.

Bud’s was named grand champion in three of 15 categories: Hickory Smoked Pork Loin, Chorizo, and Beef Summer Sausage.

The company was named reserve grand champion for Smoked Turkey and Smoked Spicy Country Links and champion for Old Fashioned Beef Frankfurters and Pork Garlic Sausage with Jalapeño and Artichokes.

The competition involved more than 180 entries from members who cure and smoke hams, bacon, jerky, snack sticks and various sausages. It was held last month at Chico State University in conjunction with the association’s annual meeting.

(Compiled by Robert Digitale. Send items to robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com.)

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