Community Calendar

January  |  February

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

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November

Webinar: Extending the Rotation Beyond Corn and Beans
Nov. 25  |  7-8:30 p.m.

This Practical Farmers of Iowa farminar will describe how extending a common corn-bean crop rotation to three or more years by adding small grains can help farmers reduce input costs, manage pests and even out their workload. Dick Sloan will share his experience and discuss the learning curve to adding a third crop to the rotation. Then hear from agronomist Matt Liebman, who will discuss the results of his long-term research comparing two-, three- and four-year crop rotations.  Learn more.

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December

Webinar: IPM in Crucifer Crops: Focus on the Yellowmargined Leaf Beetle
Dec. 2  |  1 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join eOrganic for a webinar on the organic management of the yellowmargined leaf beetle.  The presenters will discuss the identification and crop damage of the yellowmargined leaf beetle, as well as trap cropping, attractants, and biological control.  Learn more.

Webinar: Nutrient Budgeting
Dec. 2  |  4 p.m.

Oregon Tilth and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service present this webinar about nutrient budgeting and organic considerations for implementing conservation practice standard 590.  The information needed to participate can be found at ConservationWebinars.net a month prior to each date. This free webinar is available to the public.  Learn more.

Webinar: Getting Started in Dairy Farming
Dec. 2  |  7-8:30 p.m.

Join this Practical Farmers of Iowa farminar and listen in as two beginning farmers, Kevin Dietzel and John Gilbert, share their experiences starting a dairy farm. Learn about the land base needed, market opportunities and demand, capital investments, barriers along the way and more. Learn more.

National Young Farmers Conference
Dec. 3-5  |  Pocantico Hills, N.Y.

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture hosts the 7th annual National Young Farmers Conference with speakers and workshops that address soil science, technical skills, agricultural policy, farm business management, conservation and more.  Learn more.

Homegrown Minneapolis Annual Open House
Dec. 3  |  6-8:30 p.m.  |  Minneapolis, Minn.

The annual open house is a great opportunity for local partners to showcase the ways they support our community’s ability to grow, process, distribute, eat and compost healthy, sustainable, locally grown foods. If you have any questions, please contact Laurelyn Sandkamp or 612-673-2482.

Creating Habitat for Minnesota’s Pollinators
Dec. 4  |  7:30 a.m.-12 p.m.  |  St. Paul, Minn.

Join Environmental Initiative to discuss the decline of honeybees and other insect pollinator populations. This forum will examine the status of insect pollinators in Minnesota and efforts to understand, protect, and support their populations, particularly through strategic opportunities to create additional habitat on both public and private lands.  Learn more and register.

Webinar: Introducing Radishes into the Organic Dairy Pasture
Dec. 4  |  1 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join eOrganic for a webinar on considerations for introducing radishes into the organic pasture. Radishes can provide two benefits to the organic dairy pasture: 1) to extend the grazing season with a high energy feedstock, and 2) to provide “bio-drills” by utilizing the tap roots of these plants to address soil compaction. Fay Benson and Liz Burrichter will describe their on-farm research with brassicas, including no-till seeding Daikon Radish into grazing swards.  Learn more and register.

2014 Acres U.S.A. Conference and Trade Show
Dec. 4-6  |  Columbus, Ohio

The annual Acres U.S.A. conference is where you find farmers and consultants from every side of eco-farming who come together to share their experience and expertise. Attend the non-stop event, learn the latest in cutting-edge technology and methods, and return home ready to make your farming operation the best it can be.  Learn more.

Western Sustainable Ag Crop and Livestock Conference
Dec. 6  |  8:45 a.m.-4 p.m.  |  $35  |  Ogallala, Neb.

Hosted by the University of Nebraska Extension, learn how to improve soil health through cover crops and crop diversity.  Keynote speaker is Keith Berns who will talk about “7 things I have learned about soil health.” Other workshop topics include using field peas as a cover crop, IPM, and on-farm diversity. Learn more and register.

Webinar: The Beginning Farmer’s Introduction
Dec. 8  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, beginning farmers will get a preview of the many legal issues they should consider when just starting out with farming. Learn more.

Webinar: Put Your CSA On Strong Legal Footing
Dec. 9  |  12  p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, learn how an attorney sees CSA and what you can do to protect your farm. CSA is an incredibly unique relationship between farmer and customer. But, this means it also has unique legal dynamics. CSA farmers who critically analyze their membership agreement, drop sites, and farm event programs beforehand set themselves up for success. This webinar will also discuss risks with farm volunteer programs and buying the right insurance. Learn more.

Transitioning Your Farm: The Positives of Passing It On
Dec. 9  |  1-7 p.m.  |  Grand Forks, N.D.

Sponsored by the Minn. Dept. of Ag, join Jolene Brown and a panel of experts for a dynamic interactive workshop. Seating is limited. Workshop is free of charge to MSGA members and $50 per family for non-MSGA members. Register online or by calling 888-896-9678.

Webinar: Permaculture on Organic Farms: The State of Play
Dec. 9  |  1 p.m. Central

Hosted by eOrganic, get an overview of farm-scale permaculture, focusing on opportunities and challenges of diversification, perennial crop development, and market development for perennial crops. For each topic they will draw on their own ongoing research projects as well as existing literature, and refer participants to resources for learning more or getting involved.  Learn more and register.

Webinar: To Bee- or not to Bee-Keep: What are your Options?
Dec. 9  |  7-8:30 p.m.

This Practical Farmers of Iowa farminar is for farmers who like the idea of having beehives on their property, but aren’t sure if they are ready or willing to manage their own hives. Adam Ebert of Ebert Honey Company will talk about what it takes to keep your own bees, then discuss with Susan Yario and Cheryl Daman of Heartfelt Heirloom Farm their beehive-hosting arrangement. Adam will also discuss farmer questions and concerns, how to find a beekeeper in your area, and what to expect from and ask of your tenant beekeeper. Learn more.

Transitioning Your Farm: The Positives of Passing It On
Dec. 10  |  9 a.m.-3 p.m.  |  Fergus Falls, Minn.

Sponsored by the Minn. Dept. of Ag, join Jolene Brown and a panel of experts for a dynamic interactive workshop. Seating is limited. Workshop is free of charge to MSGA members and $50 per family for non-MSGA members. Register online or by calling 888-896-9678.

Webinar: Feeds & Feeding of Pullets & Layers
Dec. 10  |  10-11 a.m.

Hosted by eXtension, learn how feed represents over 70% of the production costs in an egg production operation. Dr. Paul Patterson from Penn State University will discuss the feeding of replacement pullets and laying hens. The central theme of his extension and research programs is environmental poultry management. Learn more and register.

Grass Bred and Fed
Dec. 12  |  Multiple locations, Minn.

Hosted by Minn. Grazing Lands Conservation Association, this video conference will take place at multiple locations across Minn. This year’s conference is all about grazing from all parts of the state and will include a program with a panel with area grazers telling about their hands on experiences and their operations.  Learn more and register.

Transitioning Your Farm: The Positives of Passing It On
Dec. 16  |  9 a.m.-3 p.m.  |  Marshall, Minn.

Sponsored by the Minn. Dept. of Ag, join Jolene Brown and a panel of experts for a dynamic interactive workshop. Seating is limited. Workshop is free of charge to MSGA members and $50 per family for non-MSGA members. Register online or by calling 888-896-9678.

Webinar: A Certified Organic Winter Nursery for Corn Breeding
Dec. 16  |  1 p.m. Central

Learn from eOrganic’s experience with an organic-certified winter nursery for corn breeding. This is part of a cooperative effort to produce available corn varieties tailored to meet the needs of organic farmers. The intended audience is corn breeders, but other who are interested in learning more about corn breeding or organic production systems may be find value as well.  Learn more and register.

Webinar: Haney & PLFA Soil Tests: What, How? Why?
Dec. 16  |  7-8:30 p.m.

Join this Practical Farmers of Iowa farminar and learn the basics of two increasingly popular tests – the Haney and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) soil tests and how the results are determined and how to interpret these results. Farmer and grazier Fred Abels will then describe how he’s used the Haney test on his farm to inform his management. Learn more.

Transitioning Your Farm: The Positives of Passing It On
Dec. 17  |  9 a.m.-3 p.m.  |  North Mankato, Minn.

Sponsored by the Minn. Dept. of Ag, join Jolene Brown and a panel of experts for a dynamic interactive workshop. Seating is limited. Workshop is free of charge to MSGA members and $50 per family for non-MSGA members. Register online or by calling 888-896-9678.

Webinar: Preventing Pasture Problems on the Organic Dairy
Dec. 18  |  1 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join eOrganic for a webinar presented by grazing and organic certification specialist Sarah Flack, who will review the key grazing principles that help your cattle maximize dry matter intake from pastures and avoid potential problems. They will also look at examples of how to observe the livestock, their manure, soils and pasture plants to determine how well your pasture management system is working.  Learn more.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hopyard Establishment, Harvest and Processing
Feb. 28  |  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.

 

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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.