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Contact Us

Laurie George
Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
University of Illinois Extension
4618 Broadway
Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
Phone: 618-242-0780
FAX: 618-242-0781



2019 Winter Webinar Series

  • 2018 Updates on Illinois Cottage Food Law
    Join our Nutrition and Wellness team for an overview of the new legislation surrounding home cottage foods operations. Can you can tomatoes for sale at farmers markets? What's the difference between harvest cut greens and fresh-cut prepared salads? Your value-added questions will be answered along with an overview of a new Extension website to help guide you through the new law.

  • ABC's of Tomato Production
    Customers are looking for high quality, great tasting tomatoes. Understanding basic production practices, including variety selection, integrated pest management, and fertility, can help to improve your overall yields and sales.

  • Agroforestry for Diversification on Small Scale Farms

  • Five Years In: What Do We Really Know about Growing and Processing Industrial Hemp?
    Industrial Hemp Production continues to expand in Kentucky and Nationwide. What have we learned in those first 5 years? Can it actually replace tobacco as some have touted? We’ll explore these questions and look at some of the hard production over the last few years. Join Univeristy of Kentucky's Tom Keene introduce the lessons learned from 5 years of reserach with industrial hemp production in kentucky and what this might mean for Illinois.

  • FSMA Produce Safety Exemptions and Guidance: What you Need to Know for 2019
    With FSMA and the Produce Safety Rule in place, is your farm exempt? What do you need to know for 2019 in order to comply with the new federal standard? Learn the critical and timely information for compliance necessary to make sure your operation is on track for compliance or conditional/qualified exemption.

  • Healthy Soil Produces Healthy Vegetables
    Most vegetables are annuals, and farmers prepare each year by tilling the land, incorporating fertilizer, cultivating to manage weeds, laying plastic mulch, and other activities to enhance crop productivity. Yet, this disturbs soil structure and exposes organic matter and ultimately leads to loss of soil carbon to the atmosphere. Soil organic matter (SOM) is of great importance as a soil health indicator and contributes significantly to nutrient retention and availability in soil, aggregate and water-holding capacity, and nutrient recycling. Healthy soil is a living ecosystem in which SOM forms the base of a food web consisting of microscopic and larger organisms. In the natural environment, plants form mutualistic relationships with soil microbes to obtain water, nutrients, and protection against some pathogens, while the plants provide food. The presentation will discuss the soil health concept and recommend some ways of enhancing the quality of soil without using synthetic fertilizers.

  • Intro to Digital Marketing in the Local Food System
    Digital marketing is a strategy that lends itself well for farmers in the local food system to utilize. With changes happening regularly, it can be intimidating to know what the best practices are and how to implement a successful digital marketing plan. This presentation will provide an introduction to getting started by using Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads, and others to setup a digital marketing plan for the 2019 season. Participants will also learn about new/emerging digital trends and ideas on measuring data/impact.

  • Maximizing Your Production: Succession and Companion Planting
    Discussion on incorporating succession planting into your production system, and using companion planting to help increase biodiversity in agro-ecosystems.

  • Reducing Damage to Livestock and Specialty Crops from Wildlife
    Protecting livestock and crops on the farm from predation can be challenging. In this presentation, an integrated pest management approach will provide options for reducing the likelihood of loss to wildlife. The discussion will include wildlife population management, limitations, exclusion techniques, fencing designs, and options in the use of guard animals.

  • The Best Practices for Maintaining Healthy Bee Hives
    Join the University of Illinois Extension Doug Gucker for a discussion on maintaining the health of your beehive.

  • Understanding Financial Statements: Preparing Farmers for Uncertain Times
    Harvest is over. Outside pressures on net farm incomes continue to mount. Uncertainty for farmers and their families as well as lenders may create challenges when the time comes to increase or renew credit lines for the 2019 crop year. University of Illinois Extension Educator, Pam Schallhorn will be presenting an informational workshop on understanding farm financials from a lender’s perspective. Schallhorn will also provide insights and lessons learned on negotiating credit accommodations based on her experience as an Agricultural lender during the Ag Financial Crisis from 1987 to 1991