Food connection event scheduled INDEPENDENCE — Registration is underway for a local food connection conference set for Jan. 29 hosted by the OSU Extension Small Farms Program and the city of Independence. The theme for the conference is Wholesale Marketing Connections. The purpose of this event is to connect food producers with buyers from grocery stores, restaurants and institutions through workshops and networking sessions. This is a venue for creating new food business partnerships, learning about emerging market opportunities, and exploring local food issues. The event is scheduled Jan. 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Independence Civic Center, 555 S. Main St. Cost is $15, which includes lunch. Vendor table space is available for $20 and is an opportunity for wholesale buyers and local farmers to connect during the buyer/producer networking social from 4:30 to 6 pm. For more information: Chrissy Lucas, 541-766-3556; email to Chrissy.Lucas@oregonstate.edu; online at http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/south-valley/events. Soil health workshop set for Jan. 22 PERRYDALE — Polk Soil and Water Conservation District is holding a soil health workshop Jan. 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Perrydale Fire Hall, 10820 Bethel Road, in Polk County. Cory Owens, a NRCS soil scientist, will present information on the principles of soil health, integrating principles into viable practices, as well as how soil microbiology affects crop production. Local Polk County farmers who have incorporated no-till and cover crop practices into their operations will hold an open discussion and share their experiences. There is no cost to attend, but an RSVP is recommended. For more information: Marc Bell, 503-623-9680, ext. 103; email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Extension district will meet Jan. 22 DALLAS — The Oregon State University-Polk County Extension Service District board will conduct its next quarterly meeting and speaker forum Jan. 22 beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the Polk County Extension Service office, 289 E. Ellendale Ave., Suite 301, Dallas. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear about some of the ways OSU Extension Service is working for the residents of Polk County. The meeting provides financial updates on the taxing district and features area Extension faculty serving Polk County. The January meeting speakers will be Gene Pirelli, regional livestock and forage specialist and state swine specialist; Robin Rosetta, Extension entomologist; and Brad Withrow-Robinson, forestry and natural resources Extension agent for Polk, Benton and Linn counties. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information: 503-623-8395. Local teen up for state dairy honor INDEPENDENCE — Olivia Miller of Independence is among seven young women hoping to become the 2014 Oregon Dairy Princess-Ambassador. Miller will represent Polk County during the Oregon Dairy Women's 55th annual Oregon Dairy Princess-Ambassador Coronation Banquet Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel in Salem. Miller will arrive with the other contestants and judges Friday afternoon for two days of interviews, speeches and prepared commercials promoting dairy products. The winner will be crowned at the conclusion of Saturday's banquet. For the past year, Miller has been representing Polk County, promoting dairy products, educating the public about nutrition, and enlightening her community about life on a dairy farm at local schools, fairs and events. Miller is a senior at Central High School. Her older sister, Emma, represented Polk County in last year's contest and is now serving as the 2013 First Alternate Oregon Dairy Princess-Ambassador.