Community Calendar

January  |  February  |  March

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

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December

Webinar: Direct-Marketing Grain-Finished Beef
Dec. 23  |  7-8:30 p.m.

Join this Practical Farmers of Iowa farminar  where Shanen and Beau Ebersole, of Ebersole Cattle Co., will share their expertise raising grain-finished beef cattle with no hormones or antibiotics. Learn about issues from production to marketing methods, then listen in as the Ebersoles answer beginning farmer Dave Hill’s questions on starting up this type of enterprise. Learn more.

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January

Webinar: Hosting Safe, Legally Secure Farm Events
Jan. 5  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, learn how to make sure your farm isn’t left with the short end of the stick after a good-intentioned event goes bad. From zoning compliance to guest injuries and serving prepared food, we’ll work through a checklist of things a farm should address before hosting an event. Learn more.

Webinar: Adding Value Without Adding Legal Liability to Farm Products
Jan. 6  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons. Although starting a processing operation, improving packaging, and developing new products are great ways to make the farm more profitable, these activities have a huge legal impact. Employment laws, liability potential, state/federal regulations, and tax factors all change when a farm begins to process product. Farms relying on cottage food laws should make sure to attend- we’ll talk about what these laws do not do to protect farms.  Learn more.

Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference
Jan. 7-9  |  Springfield, Ill.

Hosted by the Illinois Specialty Growers Association, this conference includes a wide variety of pre-conference workshops, cider contest, keynote presentation from Stacy Pasoni, and conference workshops spanning agritourism and marketing, fruits, vegetables, herbs, organic, and grain production.  Learn more.

Class: Rutabaga Riches—Farm Finances for Farmers
Jan. 8-9  |  Rockton, Illinois

Two authors of the book Fearless Farm Finances, Chris Blanchard and Paul Dietmann, will teach farmers how to gather, understand, and use financial information to improve profits. Information will be easy to understand—the goal is to get farmers comfortable working with financial tools that don’t require a lot of time to manage. Participants will receive a copy of Fearless Farm Finances. Save $40 by registering by Dec. 12 at purplepitchfork.com/rutabaga-riches-conference.

Winter Wokrshops
Jan. 8  |  St. Cloud, Minn.

Organized by the Minn. Dept. of Agriculture, both full and half-day courses are available prior to the beginning of the Minn. Organic Conference. Workshops span the subjects of CSAs, transitioning to organic, grazing basics, checking your farm plan and how to save your own seeds.  Learn more and register.

Minnesota Organic Conference
Jan. 9-10  |  St. Cloud, Minn.

Organized by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, this conference will include keynote talks, tradeshow and breakout sessions on organic production, certification, marketing and more.  Learn more.

Introduction to Regenerative Agriculture
Jan. 9  |  6:30-8 p.m.  |  Free  |  Amery, Wis.

Hosted by Hungry Turtle, learn about how perennial crops build soil, manage water efficiently, sequester carbon, and create habitat. Establishing a regenerative perennial agriculture system leads to long term economic security with less intensive labor and inputs. Join as they explore the opportunities and challenges of working with perennial fruits, nuts, vegetables and animals.  Learn more and register.

Introduction to Biodynamics
Jan. 9  |  7 p.m.  |  Free  |  Minneapolis, Minn.

Theory and practical knowledge of biodynamic agriculture will be harvested through lecture, practice, artistic movement and sharing. Biodynamically-based nutrition increases health, thinking, and learning. This series of workshops is open to gardeners of all levels. The course will take place at 4315 Xerces Avenue S, Minneapolis, Minn.

Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers
Jan. 9-11  |  $325  |  Madison, Wis.

UW-Madison CIAS brings you a three-day workshop for anyone planning to start a fresh market vegetable farm. Participants will learn about fertility management, greenhouse use, season extension, pest management and equipment needs, and get real-world perspectives on the financial and quality-of-life realities of running a small-scale farm.  Learn more.

Establishing a Perennial Farm Economy
Jan. 10  |  8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.  |  $100  |  Amery, Wis.

Join Hungry Turtle Farm as they explore the opportunities and challenges of working with perennial fruits, nuts, vegetables and animals. They will delve deeply into specific crops, succession planning, farm design and business plans, providing a set of tools to evaluate which crops might fit into your current or future farm.  Learn more and register.

Food & Film Shorts
Jan. 10  |  7:30 p.m.  |  Free  |  Amery, Wis.

Join Hungry Turtle Learning Center and discover short films from filmmakers who explore how we engage with food, sustainable living, and our food systems effect our personal lives and our communities. Featuring short films from The Perennial Plate, The Lexicon of Sustainability, Real Food Media, and more. Learn more.

Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference
Jan. 14-17  |  Mobile, Ala.

The 24th annual Southern SAWG conference is for serious organic and sustainable producers, farm to school participants, urban farmers or those interested in creating more vibrant community food systems. The event offers informative pre-conference courses and field trips, practical conference sessions, networking, trade show, Taste of Alabama event and more. Learn more and register.

2015 GrassWorks Grazing Conference
Jan. 15-17  |  Chula Vista Resort  |  Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

This conference includes session topics such as silvopasturing, thinking regeneratively, cash flowing the grazing farm, grazing cover crops, using animals to change the landscape and much more. Keynote and general session speakers include Joshua Dukart, Inga Witscher, Mark Shepard and Joel Kuehnfeld.  Learn more and register.

Growing a Hops Business
Jan. 17  |  St. Paul, Minn.

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.

Webinar: Farmland Leases Built to Last: Content and Legal Context
Jan. 19  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, learn how to prevent problems with a strong lease that addresses water usage, equipment access, payment strategies, dispute resolution procedures, long-term concerns, and termination processes, plus more. Negotiating tactics and various laws affecting farmland leases will be on the agenda.  Learn more.

Sustainable & Urban Agriculture Courses
Jan. 20  |  Triton College

Online/hybrid courses in Sustainable/Urban Agriculture starting January 20 at Triton College. In district tuition of $108 per credit hour for online courses plus fees no matter where your home address is located. Spring online courses include Sustainable Agroecology, Urban Agricultural Issues, and many more. Contact Benjamin Newton with questions. Learn more.

Webinar: Food Safety Liability and Regulations for the Farm
Jan. 20  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, learn about the upcoming regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act. A food safety incident could have potentially disastrous implications for any direct-to-consumer farmer. They will talk about how a food safety incident plays out, from lawsuits to recalls and contract breaches. Learn more.

35th Annual EcoFarm Conference 2015
Jan. 21-24  |  Pacific Grove, Calif.

The EcoFarm Conference offers more than 70 workshops featuring an array of educational and technical workshops for farmers, ranchers, distributors, retailers, activists, consumers, students, and educators, along with notable keynote speakers, an exhibitor marketplace, live entertainment, discussion groups, mixers, delicious organic meals and libations.  Learn more and register.

Webinar: Managing Bad Stink Bugs with Good Stink Bugs
Jan. 22  |  1 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join eOrganic for a webinar on managing stink bugs using the spined soldier bug, by Yong-Lak Park of West Virginia University. The efficacy and utilization of the spined soldier bug as a native biological control agent will be presented and discussed. This webinar is for a mixed audience including researchers, extension specialists and agents, and growers seeking information on biological control of stink bugs.  Learn more.

36th Annual NPSAS Winter Conference
Jan. 22-24  |  Aberdeen, S.D.

Conference includes workshops on livestock, planting trees for food, gardening, canning, small farm dairy production, bee keeping, recycling, cover crops, local foods and more. Speakers include microbiologist Don Huber, journalist Alan Guebert, and Missouri rancher Cody Holmes.  50+ exhibitors, youth workshops and organic/local foods.  Learn more.

Post-Harvest Handling, Food Safety and GAPs Compliance
Jan. 24  |  12-5 p.m.  |  $50  |  Amery, Wis.

Join the Hungry Turtle Learning Center to learn about production and handling systems designed to minimize microbial contamination. Chris Blanchard, farmer and consultant, has been through the audit process and helped others through it for this review of practical food safety, how to develop a written food safety plan, and how to set up record keeping systems that support business processes rather than existing outside of the system.  Learn more and register.

Growing a Hops Business
Jan. 25  |  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.

Conservation Cropping Seminar
Jan. 27  |  $20  |  Sycamore, 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

Voting is going on through Oct. 30, 2014 to decide topics for networking discussions at this conference, organized by the Sustainable Farming Association. Early bird rates of $35/members and $45/non-members holds through Sept. 30. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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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.

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.

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. Each track builds on the information that attendees found helpful at last year’s annual conference, while providing up-to-date information on timely topics related to farmers market management and/or marketing.  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.

 

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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.