Extension Educator, Community Development
Brenda E. Derrick
Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness
Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
January 30, 2010
Wondering what to do with that 5 or 10 acres? Here is the opportunity to learn about all kinds of interesting, economically beneficial opportunities for you and your family. This program will offer ideas for both existing producers and those looking for potential opportunities. Breakout sessions will include: Grape production; Vegetables; Tree fruits; Intro to food preservation; Timber; Poultry (eggs and meat); Blueberries. A general session will cover Marketing Your Products.
Topics include: Industry updates; Apple degree day modeling for insect control; managing scab, fire blight and fruit rots; insect control in cole and solaneceous crops; tomato diseases. Each participant will receive a copy of the U of I Spray Guide.
Participants in the Pies and Pastries workshop will learn how to make basic pie crust dough. Then each participant will use the dough to make a one-crust pie shell, an individual tart and a fruit turnover.
Learn traditional methods of bread making which includes, kneading, shaping and baking. Taught by Brenda Derrick, U of I Extension Nutrition & Wellness Educator, the session will include demonstrations, but mostly hands-on baking.
Youth ages 8-15 are also welcome to participate in the baking workshops, but must be accompanied by an adult. The youth and adult team will be charged the $20.00 fee, but only one set of pastry or bread products will be prepared by the team. Youth 16 and older do not need to be accompanied by an adult.
January 29, 2010
University of Illinois Extension is looking for organic and sustainable farmers with weed problems to participate in on-farm research. "In 2009, 15 Illinois farmers participated in the project," said Dan Anderson, University of Illinois Extension Specialist. "We visited their farms, helped them identify weed-management issues, and developed some strategies to help solve the problem."
This year Anderson hopes to have a total of 20 participants in the program.
Anderson said that across the Midwest organic and sustainable farmers report that managing perennial weeds without chemicals is one of their most difficult challenges. "We hope to help organic and sustainable ag farmers improve their skills and practices in managing perennial weeds using integrated management approaches."
In order to participate in the program, farmers must be currently farming in Illinois or in neighboring states within close proximity of the Illinois border.
"We are looking for sustainable and organic farmers interested in learning methods to cope effectively with perennial weeds in their grain or vegetable systems," Anderson said. "We'll be looking at an applicant's farming system, farm location, and how open they are to innovative approaches to managing perennial weeds."
All applicants will receive a packet of material on a number of ideas for integrated management approaches to controlling perennial weeds in crop and vegetable farming systems. These might include, cover crops, tillage, soil balance, flaming, scouting/early removal (by hand or tillage), rotations, mowing/fallow or hay rotation, livestock/rotation, sprays (organic), biological control (release of beneficial, predatory insects or organisms), and optimizing competition from growing crop.
Participating farmers will be chosen from the applicant pool. Those chosen will be contacted by the on-farm research coordinator to develop and finalize plans for their on-farm project.
Anderson stressed that these on-farm research projects are a win-win situation. "The participants will each receive $500 per year of participation, but more important, they will benefit from getting the latest research-based info on managing perennial weeds without chemicals and one-on-one assistance in developing a viable on-farm research project."
The mini-grant program is supported by funding from the North Central Region – Sustainable Agriculture Research Education Program.
January 28, 2010
Soil testing, cover crops, rotational grazing and selecting the right equipment are some of the topics that will be addressed at six New Farmer Field Days being offered this spring and summer for small-scale farming operations.
"The Central Illinois Farm Beginnings (CIFB) Field Days are geared toward people interested in launching a small farm business that is both economically and environmentally sustainable," said Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, University of Illinois Extension Specialist, Small Farm and Sustainable Agriculture and CIFB co-facilitator.
Now in its fifth year, Central Illinois Farm Beginnings is a program co-sponsored by the U of I Extension and The Land Connection. The year-long program includes course work, field days and workshops, and hands-on mentorships.
"CIFB Field Days give aspiring farmers an opportunity to learn important small-scale farm production information while simultaneously observing and touring successful sustainable farms in our region," said Kathy McGroarty-Torres, Director of Farmer Programs at The Land Connection.
There is a fee of $15 per workshop for registrants who have not been enrolled in CIFB or are not members of the CI-CRAFT network.
For more information or to register, visit http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/smallfarm/begin_farm.html or contact Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant (217-968-5512; email@example.com).
January 27, 2010
The Winter issue of the Illinois Small Farm Newsletter is available at http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/smallfarm/newsletter/
January 27, 2010
The UW Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) and UW Extension are pleased to announce the release of "Scaling Up: Meeting the Demand for Local Food." This report profiles 11 enterprises active in local, wholesale food supply chains.
BACKGROUND: Robust local food systems offer social, environmental and economic benefits. Increasingly, wholesale buyers are seeking local food and growers are looking for new local markets. To meet the demand for locally grown food and move large quantities of it into markets such as restaurants, grocery stores and institutions, local food systems must expand from farmer-direct sales of small quantities to wholesale transactions. By scaling up, local food systems may borrow economic and logistical efficiencies from the industrial food system while r! etaining social and environmental values such as sustainable agricultural practices and profitability for small- and mid-scale family farms and businesses.
To develop informed business development strategies for Wisconsin farmers and other supply chain start-ups, the UW-Madison CIAS and UW-Extension Agricultural Innovation Center documented and analyzed eleven models of regional food aggregation and distribution.
To access an electronic copy of the document, please visit: www.cias.wisc.
January 27, 2010
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has funds available for the 2009-2010 Illinois Organic Cost Share Program through funds from the United States Department of Agriculture. The program will provide cost share assistance to organic producers and handlers receiving certification or continuation of certification by a USDA accredited certifying agent commencing October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2010. Under the Act, cost-share assistance payments are limited to 75 percent of an individual producer's or handler's certification costs up to a maximum of $750.00 per year.
To be eligible for reimbursement, an organic production or handling operation must be located within Illinois, comply with the USDA National Organic Program regulations for organic production or handling and have received certification or continuation of certification by a USDA-accredited certifying agent between the eligible dates.
One year of certification reimbursement is available:
Costs incurred for noncertification activities, such as, membership associations or farm/ operation inputs are not eligible for assistance through this program.
Based on the receipt of the completed application packet by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, reimbursements will be on a first-come, first-served basis until the limited program funds are exhausted.
For more information, contact Delayne Reeves at 217/524-9129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 23, 2010
Wondering what to do with that 5 or 10 acres? This is the opportunity to learn about all kinds of interesting, economically beneficial opportunities for you and your family. This program will offer ideas for both existing producers and those looking for potential opportunities. Breakout sessions will include: Grape production; Vegetables; Tree fruits; Intro to food preservation; Timber; Poultry (eggs and meat); Blueberries. The general session will discuss Marketing Your Products.
The program will be offered on Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Adams County Extension office, 330 S. 36th St. Quincy, IL. Cost is $30 per person, which includes lunch. Pre-registration is required. Click here to register online.