University of Illinois Extension offers free webinars for small farmers

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[January 27, 2020]    During winters, farmers may not be out in their fields, but that doesn’t mean they are taking a break.

Starting in January, University of Illinois Extension is providing a weekly educational webinar series for the small farm community. This online series will provide small farm producers practical knowledge on the leading practices in emerging topics that advance local food production.

The webinars are free and will be noon to 1 p.m. on Thursdays. They are available to the public to view online from the comfort of home or anywhere with internet access. Sign up online now at WinterWebinar or no later than the day before the class. Participants will receive a confirmation email with webinar connection details and session handouts.

Webinars Include:

January 30, 2020
Asparagus Production and Marketing
Nathan Johanning

Asparagus is an excellent crop for a small farm operation. It is one of the few perennial vegetable crops we have and once established, and if maintained, it can be productive for many decades. The quality and taste of fresh, local asparagus make it reasonably easy to develop marketing opportunities. It is an early-season vegetable that can stand alone or complement the marketing of strawberries or other early high tunnel crops. This webinar will cover the basics of establishment, maintenance, harvest, and marketing.

February 6, 2020
Farm Stress and Impact on Health Dr. Josie Rudolphi

Farmers experience tremendous amounts of stress. Chronic stress can have negative effects on one's physical and mental health. Participants will identify the signs and symptoms of chronic stress, or distress and evidence-based strategies to reduce stress and improve overall health.

February 13, 2020
Updates on Industrial Hemp in Illinois

Phillip Alberti

February 20, 2020
Soil Organic Matters
Grant McCarty

Organic matters are plant or animal-based products that, when added to the soil, contribute to physical, chemical, and biological properties. The most common ones are manure, leaf litter, cover crops, and compost. By adding different organic matters to the soil, they can address soil health problems and be a positive action for better soil management in both the short and long term.

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This webinar will help you decide which organic matters to use, how they contribute to the soil, impact soil biology, and add to soil nutrient cycles.

February 27, 2020
Saturated Media Extract
Zack Grant

For decades the Saturated Media Extract (SME) test has been a routine method used for greenhouse bench crops growing in soil-less mixes and also in irrigated arid production systems. Many protected culture growers and high compost input farmers grow in media or soil that can exhibit very high nutrient levels above the capacity of the soil or media to retain those nutrients. SME represents an option to monitor and manage nutrients at the water-soluble level.

March 5, 2020
Selling through Food Hubs and Co-ops: A Growers Perspective
Laurie George

March 12, 2020
Getting Started in Drip Irrigation Bronwyn Aly

Water management is a key component in maximizing yields of specialty crops. Join Bronwyn Aly, Local Foods Systems and Smalls Farms Educator, as she discusses the basics of setting up a drip irrigation system.

March 19, 2020
The Basics for Goats and Sheep James Theuri and Doug Gucker

The Local Food Systems and Small Farms program is a branch of University of Illinois Extension that provides research-based information about agriculture health and safety, environmentally and economically sound pest control and improving profitability and sustainability. More information is available at or follow Educator Doug Gucker on Twitter @SoilWaterDoug.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please call (217) 877-6042.

[News Source: Doug Gucker, Small Farms Educator, University of Illinois Extension]


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