Community Calendar

February  |  March  |  April  |  May

Look here for events and field days to help you grow organic successfully.

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January

OEFFA Webinar on Soil Balancing
Jan. 30  |  1:00 p.m.

OEFFA and the Ohio State University will host a free webinar on soil balancing, “Finding Answers Through On-Farm Research: Soil Balancing for Organic Farmers.” Pre-registration is required.

Market Manager Certificate Program
Jan. 30-Feb. 28  |  Waterford, Mich.

Join MIFMA with this voluntary program designed to encourage farmers market managers to pursue leadership skills and professional development in topics essential to market management. Market managers will be recognized with a certificate which offers acknowledgement to market organizers and vendors that the market manager is a trained professional. The program consists of three in-person sessions and seven webinars.  Learn more and register.

Wisconsin Local Food Network Annual Summit
Jan. 30-31  |  Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

The ninth annual Wisconsin Local Food Network summit, “Seeds for Change: Learning from the past to grow food for tomorrow,” will be held at Hotel Mead in Wisconsin Rapids. Registration is $145 at the door, $125 for students or farmers, and $100 for a single day. Learn more here.

Local Foods: The Journey Continues
Jan. 31  |  9 a.m.-3 p.m.  |  $10  |  Buffalo, Minn.

Join the Sustainable Farming Association for the Crow River Chapter Annual Meeting featuring Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, food critic at Minneapolis/St.Paul Magazine, and Jenny Breen, a preeminent  Minnesota chef and local foods advocate. The gathering will bring together area farmers, food advocates, chefs, and supporters to discuss the potential for moving local foods further into the mainstream.  Learn more and register.

Deep Winter Production of Greens and Livestock Fodder Utilizing Passive Solar Energy
Jan. 31  |  10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  |  Ashby, Minn.

Hosted by the Sustainable Farming Association, farm owners Sue Wika and Tom Prieve will provide a detailed overview of the construction and operation of their deep-winter greenhouse, which utilizes passive solar energy with underground heat storage. The greenhouse provides greens for local consumers. In addition, the structure is utilized to produce fodder for the farm livestock. Learn more.

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February

Organic Farming 101
Feb. 2-Mar. 30  |  $250  |  Minneapolis, Minn.

Join the Women’s Environmental Institute to learn the How-To for full scale organic farming  along with the science that explains it.  Learn to plan your farm season intentionally with forethought and mindfully for the unexpected. Learn more and register.

Webinar: Sales Contracts for Farm Produce: Why and How
Feb. 2  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, learn how and why farmers should pay attention to the “terms” of their sales and strongly consider writing down sales agreements. The right sales agreement- a written one that addresses ordering, cancellation, and payment terms- can help keep everyone happy.  Learn more.

Webinar: Making Employment Law Work For Your Farm
Feb. 3  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, this webinar will break down federal minimum wage, workers’ compensation and overtime, plus migrant worker laws. Employment law is probably the single most complex legal concern for farmers. Worker-exchange programs, independent contractors, employment manuals, injury liability, discrimination and a host of other concerns round out the discussion. Learn more.

Webinar: Setting Up Fall and Spring Small Grain Production for Success
Feb. 3  |  7-8:30 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join Practical Farmers of Iowa to learn about growing small grains as part of the rotation on two Iowa farms. Small grains researcher David Weisberger will then share insights he gained from talking with organic oat producers across the state. This farminar will focus on the practical aspects of successful small grains: field preparation, plant populations and planter settings, stand assessment and harvest tactics. Learn more.

Conservation Cropping Seminar
Feb. 4  |  $20  |  Mattoon, Ill.

Hosted by the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District, learn how to improve productivity on your farm. Local agricultural producers and resource experts will share information and insights on soil health improvement options, cover crop success, and wise nutrient management techniques.  Learn more.

Introduction to Organic Farming Principles
Feb. 4  |  6-8:15 p.m.  |  $25  |  St. Paul, Minn.

Hosted by the MN Food Assocation, learn the basic concepts of what it means to grow sustainably and organically and the practices involved in an Organic Systems Plan.  Learn more.

Telling Your Farm Story on Social Media
Feb. 5  |  6-8 p.m.  |  $5  |  Hudson, Wis.

Hosted by UW-Extension, learn more about how creating and telling your farm’s story cannot only serve to generate interest in your business but also drive sales and traffic to your website, social media pages and farm. Learn more and register.

Farmshed’s 2015 Local Food Fair
Feb. 5  |  5:30-8:30 p.m.  |  Free  |  Stevens Point, Wis.

A free local food fair hosted by Farmshed will be held at Stevens Point Area High School. Activities include a local potato bar, mini workshops, children’s activities, a showing of the film Food Patriots, an info fair & marketplace of local food activists, farmers, business, organizations, and educators. Learn more.

Webinar: Soil Health in Organic Farming Systems
Feb. 6  |  1-2:30 p.m.  |  Free

Hosted by eOrganic, learn about new research focused on improving soil health in organic systems. Participants will learn about soil health principles and practices for building healthy soils such as no-till and minimized tillage, cover crops, and crop rotations. This workshop will help organic and transitioning farmers identify soil health issues and improve soil health management on their farms. Learn more and register.

Whole Farm Planning Workshop
Feb. 7  |  $15  |  Dodgeville, Wis.

Organized by Southwest Badger, learn the framework for whole farm planning as well as gain knowledge of financial and legal matters, identifying and managing natural resources, and using managed grazing as a conservation practice. For more information or to sign up for the workshop, contact Laura Paine (608-732-1202).

10th Annual Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference
Feb. 7 -8  |  Free |  St. Paul, Minn.

A collaborative of farmers, volunteers, and government, nonprofit, and University of Minnesota personnel will host a two-day conference to provide education and resources to small farm operators. The theme is “Honoring Legacy: Farmers Moving Forward.” Language interpretation is available in Spanish, Hmong, Karen, Bhutanese, and Somali. The conference is free for farmers, with a registration fee for other interested parties. Even after registration closes, no interested farmers will be turned away. Learn more here, contact Dolly Her at 651-223-5400, or email imfc2015@gmail.com.

Local Foods Meeting
Feb. 9  |  9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.  |  Free  |  Fairmont, Minn.

Hosted by Rural Advantage, join the conversation on local foods. Discussion topics include Minnesota Food Charter, foraging for wild plants, food licensing for farmer’s markets, building capacity for local foods and good agricultural practices and nutrient density.  Learn more.

Webinar: Housing for small poultry flocks
Feb. 9  |  2 p.m. Central

Organized by eXtension, Phil Clauer from Penn State University will be discussing various issues related to housing for small poultry flocks.  Learn more.

Webinar: Building Pest-Suppressive Organic Farms
Feb. 10  |  1 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join eOrganic and learn what tools and ecological strategies worked and what did not work on five long-term organic farms. They will also explore the question of how much diversity is enough and how to manage on-farm biological control organism habitat.  Learn more.

Southern Wisconsin Vegetable Production Workshop Series
Feb. 10  |  1-5 p.m.  |  Madison, Wis.

Hosted by UW-Extension, learn about detailed production information on two vegetable crops, from variety selection to postharvest handling.  Learn more and register.

Webinar: Oats for Iowa: Variety Selection and Agronomic Production Tips
Feb. 10  |  7-8:30 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa, learn about what oat varieties to select – including new varieties that are available – improved production methods, and agronomic decisions to ensure the best yields and quality. Learn more.

Intro to Organic Farming: Crop Profiles
Feb. 11  |  6-8:15 p.m.  |  $25  |  St. Paul, Minn.

Hosted by the MN Food Assocation, get a better understanding of the vegetable crops you can grow here in Minnesota.  Class covers the different vegetable families and information such as direct seeding verses transplanting, ideal growing conditions, fertility needs and pests and disease issues.   Learn more.

SFA Annual Conference – “25 Years of Loving the Land”
Feb. 14  |  St. Joseph, Minn.

The annual conference provides a forum for farmer-led networking discussions and exhibits by vendors with products or services related to sustainable farming.  Learn more.

Farm Dreams
Feb. 15  |  1-5 p.m.  |  Minneapolis, Minn.

Land Stewardship Project is hosting a four-hour entry level exploratory workshop to help people who are in the beginning stages of farming. Learn more and register.

Webinar: Blasting the Competition Away
Feb. 17  |  1 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join eOrganic for a webinar on using air-propelled abrasive grits for weed management in organic grain and vegetable crops. This webinar will provide an introduction to the concept of weed management with air-propelled abrasive grits, or “weed blasting”, in organic cropping systems.  Learn more.

Webinar: Cereal Rye: Stand Evaluation and Seed Selection
Feb. 17  |  7-8:30 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa, learn management tactics critical to success with cereal rye. Greg Roth of Penn State University will discuss his experiences and research with rye. Discussion will include some of the equipment a farmer uses for seeding, harvesting, storage and seed cleaning. Learn more.

Iowa Cover Crops Conference
Feb. 17-18  |  West Des Moines, Iowa

Join the Soil and Water Conservation Society for a forum for farmers, industry leaders, and agribusiness professionals to exchange information, discuss opportunities for collaboration, learn about successful cover cropping practices, and troubleshoot challenges that may be encountered.  Learn more and register.

Conservation Cropping Seminar
Feb. 18  |  $20  |  Macomb, Ill.

Hosted by the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District, learn how to improve productivity on your farm. Local agricultural producers and resource experts will share information and insights on soil health improvement options, cover crop success, and wise nutrient management techniques.  Learn more.

Southern Wisconsin Vegetable Production Workshop Series
Feb. 18  |  1-5 p.m.  |  Madison, Wis.

Hosted by UW-Extension, learn about detailed production information on tomato crops, from variety selection to postharvest handling. The second session will cover pack shed design and flow.  Learn more and register.

Plot Planning and Crop Mapping
Feb. 18  |  6-8:15 p.m.  |  $25  |  St. Paul, Minn.

Hosted by the MN Food Assocation, learn how to map out a small plot to maximize production, taking into account things such as crop rotation, time of planting, time of harvest, spacing, water needs and companion planting.  Learn more.

Midwest Soil Health Summit
Feb. 18-19  |  Alexandria, Minn.

Organized by the Sustainable Farming Association, this conference includes workshops and a presentation from soil health pioneer, Gabe Brown.  Learn more.

Cover Crop Management for Small Farms
Feb. 19  |  6-8 p.m.  |  $5  |  Baldwin, Wis.

Hosted by UW-Extension, learn more about how cover crops are an essential component of a diversified vegetable operation. Presenter Mike Racette will share his expertise on how cover crop planting and management can add organic matter, prevent erosion, build nutrients and increase the water holding capacity of soils on small scale, diversified vegetable farms.  Learn more and register.

Organic Management of Root and Tuber Crops Workshop
Feb. 19  |  9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  |  $40  |  East Troy, Wis.

This workshop will cover in-depth organic management strategies for several root and tuber crops, as well as storage options and soil management. Registration is $40 for the first person on the farm and $20 for any additional family members or business partners. Lunch is included. Learn more and register here.

Hopyard Establishment, Harvest and Processing
Feb. 21  |  Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Eau Claire-based Grow More Hops, LLC offers this seminar for Midwest growers who want to meet craft brewers’ increasing demand for locally grown hops.  Learn more.

Organic Berry Workshop
Feb. 21  |  $75  |  North Branch, Minn.

Hosted by the Women’s Environmental Institute, this daylong, interactive workshop will focus on the establishment, management and production of perennial fruits, including blueberries, black currants, elderberries, aronia berries, juneberries, honeyberries and plums. It will not cover strawberries or raspberries. Learn more and register.

Soil Building, Crop Rotations, & Landscaping for Pollinators
Feb. 21  |  9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  |  $40  |  Baldwin, Wis.

This workshop will cover crop rotation, fertility design, drought-proofing, reducing weed pressure and dependence on tillage,  and how to landscape your farm for pest management, pollinator habitat, and food safety. Learn more here.

Natural Home Beekeeping
Feb. 21  |  9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.  |  Newburg, Wis.

This day-long class teaches the information and skills to begin beekeeping this spring. Registration is $75 before February 17 and $85 after. Learn more and register here.

Hazelnuts Workshop
Feb. 23  |  9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  |  Free  |  Fairmont, Minn.

Hosted by Rural Advantage, learn about establishing, growing and harvesting hazelnuts and enterprise budgets.  Learn more.

Webinar: Farm Sole Proprietorships, LLCs, S Corps, C Corps and Coops: Which? Why? How?
Feb. 23  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join Farm Commons to learn what an LLC or corporation can and cannot do to protect the farm business. A any solid business entity also needs managing paperwork. Learn what an operating agreement or bylaws can do for the farm and what to write into them. Discussion also includes options for cooperative ventures, entity structures to pass on the farm business, and some tax aspects of business entities.  Learn more.

Webinar: Going In-Depth with CSA Farm Law
Feb. 24  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, farmers will get in-depth tools to move forward on managing sales, drop-site, volunteer, and worker share matters. We’ll also discuss some of the more unique CSA programs like farmers’ market pre-pay programs and multi-farm cooperative CSAs. Farmers who’ve already attended one of Farm Commons’ basic CSA law programs will get a lot out of this advanced session.  Learn more.

Webinar: Custom Grazing with Goats
Feb. 24  |  7-8:30 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa, this webinar will focus on contracts, fencing and water systems needed for custom grazing land that a farmer doesn’t own. Expert grazier Lani Malmberg will draw on her 25- plus years of experience taking her goats to places in need of weed management, brush control, re-seeding, erosion or flood control, and restoration. Learn more.

Introduction to Markets
Feb. 25  |  6-8:15 p.m.  |  $25  |  St. Paul, Minn.

Hosted by the MN Food Assocation, the discussion of what markets are available for local produce and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each. Most detail will be about Farmer’s Markets – what is available and how to sell successfully at Farmer’s Markets.  Learn more.

26th Annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference
Feb. 26-28  |  La Crosse, Wis.

The MOSES Conference is the largest event in the U.S. about organic and sustainable farming. This event includes 65+ workshops, inspiring keynote speakers, and a two-floor Exhibit Hall with more than 170 exhibitors open exclusively to conference attendees. This farmer-focused conference is celebrated as the foremost educational and networking event in the organic farming community.  Learn more.

Spring Fruit Tree Pruning
Feb. 28  |  1–3 p.m.  |  $30  |  Newburg, Wis.

Learn best practices for spring fruit tree maintenance and pruning to enhance yield. Registration is $30 by February 25 or $35 after. Learn more here. 

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March

Webinar: Getting Farm Work Done Legally with Interns, Apprentices, and Volunteers
Mar. 2  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, learn how using interns, apprentices, and volunteers is legally complicated and farms have gotten steep fines for doing it wrong. Get out ahead of the curve and build a legally compliant intern or volunteer program for your farm. Learn more.

Season Extension
Mar. 2-4  |  $375  |  Champaign, Ill.

Hosted by the Land Connection,  learn the essentials of season extension from farmers and other professionals in a classroom setting,  visit farms that have made season extension a vital component of their success, and get a hands-on demonstration in high tunnels. Learn more and register.

Webinar: Marketing for your Farm
Mar. 3  |  7-8:30 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa, hear from beginning CSA farmers Tyler Magnuson and Caitie Caughey, along with their farm advisor, Gene Gage. Tyler and Caitie are currently enrolled in PFI’s Savings Incentive Program, where they are mentored by Gene on how to effectively market their fresh produce in southwestern Iowa. Learn more.

Small Fruits Workshop
Mar. 9  |  9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.  |  Free  |  Fairmont, Minn.

Hosted by Rural Advantage, learn about elderberry production, making vinegar, blue fruits, and how to reduce chemical use and inputs in cold climate grape harvest.  Learn more.

Webinar: Promoting Native Bee Pollinators in Organic Farming Systems
Mar. 10  |  1 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join eOrganic for a webinar on promoting native bee pollinators in organic farming systems. The webinar will cover the importance of native bee pollinators in organic farming systems, particularly diversified systems that produce many crops per year. We will first discuss the diversity of native bees in farming systems, and the roles they may play in supplementing (or replacing) honey bees for pollination services.

Webinar: Meat Pricing
Mar. 10  |  7-8:30 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa, tune in and learn how to fairly price your meat cuts for direct or wholesale markets. Bobbie Gustafson,of Story City Locker, will share the factors she considers when making pricing decisions. Then hear experienced livestock farmer Tom Cory share his insights and perspective as a producer. Learn more.

Michigan Farmers Market Conference
Mar. 10-11  |  East Lansing, Mich.

The two-day conference features three tracks led by experts in farmers market management and agriculture: (1) a market manager Boot Camp Track designed for beginning market managers; (2) an Advanced Track for managers who are looking for specialized information; and (3) a Farmer/Vendor Track designed for farmers who direct-market through farmers markets. Learn more.

Midwest School for Beginning Apple Growers
Mar. 13-15  |  $300  |  Madison, Wis.

Sponsored by CIAS, the course will prepare participants to grow and sell apples using a variety of management strategies and tools. The school emphasizes sustainable and organic production methods, including integrated pest management strategies, and  helps students understand the full cost of establishing an orchard. Learn more.

Building a Regenerative Farm
Mar. 14  |  8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.  |  $75  |  Amery, Wis.

Join Hungry Turtle to explore the inner workings of the regenerative farm and how to design, stage and manage perennial crops. Look at the farm from a whole systems perspective delving deeply into the nuts and bolts of specific crops and creating a viable financial plan based on your assets, your site, and your community networks.  Learn more and register.

Webinar: Head-to-Head: Comparing Two Insurance Options for Specialty Crop Farmers
Mar. 17  |  7-8:30 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa, learn about two promising insurance options available in 2015: Non-Insured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) and Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP). Listen in as Kevin McClure of FSA and Mark Shilts of RMA work through costs and benefits of a sample farm. Learn more.

Webinar: Financing a Farmland Purchase
Mar. 23  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, learn more about the legal basics with bank loans, land contracts (aka contracts for deed), and family financing. The legal language behind promissory notes, security agreements, land contracts, and mortgages isn’t just “boilerplate.” Farmers will learn the basics behind these documents. Learn more.

Webinar: Efficiently Manage your Farm’s Risks with Insurance
Mar. 24  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, learn how insurance is vital to build a resilient farm. What’s a farm liability policy and is it the same as a property/casualty policy? How does it work with a homeowner’s policy? Is workers’ compensation required and how does it work? Find the right policies for you with this webinar.  Learn more.

Webinar: Pesticide Drift: Prevention and Response
Mar. 24  |  7-8:30 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join Practical Farmers of Iowa hear Andy and Melissa Dunham share the processes they have gone through to find out who is accountable and how to receive compensation for damages from pesticide drift, as well as their strategies for preventing it from happening again.  Learn more.

Minn. Lamb and Wool Producers 2015 Spring Workshop
Mar. 28  |  9 a.m.-4 p.m.  |  $15  |  Kensington, Minn.

Day will include on-farm sessions, lamb lunch, virtual tour of Dennis Leiser’s farm and producer questions. Learn more.

Marketing Workshop
Mar. 30  |  9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.  |  Free  |  Fairmont, Minn.

Hosted by Rural Advantage, learn about accessing wholesale markets, building a resilient food system, building a website for direct marketing and how to save seeds. Learn more.

Webinar: Food Safety Modernization Act: Implications for Farmers
Mar. 31  |  7-8:30 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa, hear from Sophia Kruszewski, a policy expert at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, about what the Food Safety Modernization Act is and what its implementation will mean for farmers. Organic farmer and farm consultant Chris Blanchard will discuss details about who it will impact and how to comply with the new rules and regulations. Learn more.

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April

IAC Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit
Apr. 14-16  |  Green Bay, Wis.

Hosted by the Intertribal Agriculture Council, spend three days of working sessions, hands-on workshops, tours and more. Summit focus is on accessing USDA programs as a Tribal member or Tribal farming operation.  Learn more and register.

Organic Trade Association’s Policy Conference
Apr. 14-16  |  $349  |  Washington, D.C.

Join OTA with this conference comprised of three activity days. Events include a day for members to conduct trade association business, an informative and thought-provoking policy conference, and a final day, when members will take the organic message to legislators on Capitol Hill during hundreds of pre-organized Hill Visits. Learn more and register.

Farm Skills 101
Apr. 17-May 1  |  Alexandria, Minn.

Organized by the Sustainable Farming Association, the Deep Roots Farmer Development Program is a much-needed beginning-farmer curriculum that emphasizes all three tenets of sustainability, plus provides extensive skills training. Learn more and register.

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May

14th North American Agroforestry Conference
May 31-June 3  |  Ames, Iowa

Join the Association for Temperate Agroforestry for their biennial conference. Early registration ends Mar. 15. They are currently accepting abstracts for poster and oral presentations. Learn more.