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2020 Small Farms Winter Webinar Series

Event Date(s)
Online Webinar

The University of Illinois Extension presents a weekly educational series for the small farm community. This series will provide practical knowledge on emerging topics which advance local food production in Illinois. These online presentations will give small farm producers a look at how leading practices in production, management, and marketing enable operations to improve profitability and sustainability. The complete list of topics and speakers is included below. Webinars will be held from noon -1:00 pm on Thursdays and are free.

Choose any number of the following webinars to attend when you register.

Topics 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. 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 20, 2020   The Basics for Goats and Sheep    James Theuri and Doug Gucker


The webinars can be accessed online from your personal computer. In case you cannot attend these dates, register anyway to view an archived, recorded version. Information will be provided via email (by the Monday after airing) for viewing at your convenience.

Contact you local Extension educator Katie Parker at 217-223-8380, for more information about live viewing sites.

For more information, contact: Zack Grant, University of Illinois Extension, Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator at 708-679-6889,