Farmer Resources Winter 2015-2016

Upcoming Field Days and Workshops

Transitioning to Organic Grains:  A Seminar on Organic Field Crop Production & Marketing
Dorr Township Hall, Woodstock, Illinois
January 13, 2016 from 8am – 4pm

At this all-day seminar you will learn from the experience of other farmers who have transitioned to organic and non-GMO crops. Our experts will teach you how to select ideal alternative grain crop choices for your farm and markets, plan for soil fertility and pest management with fewer synthetic inputs, navigate the organic transition and certification, and find out how to get the best price for your premium product. Farm service providers, farm managers, and farmland owners will also benefit.Register online here.

Wholesale Success Workshop
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, Champaign, IL
February 2, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

This workshop prepares specialty crop growers for success in wholesale markets with the guidance of one of the region’s foremost experts. Farmer, author, and consultant Atina Diffley leads this all-day workshop that helps farmers tackle the complex issues of selling to restaurants, stores, and other large buyers, such as food safety, sorting and packaging, marketing, and post-harvest handling. Register online here.

Seed Starting Workshop
University of Illinois Sustainable Student Farm, Urbana, IL
February 7, 1-4 p.m

Farmers and gardeners who start their own seeds can save money and have far greater control over what they produce. Join us for a three-hour workshop of presentations and hands-on work that shows how a high-production farm grows happy, healthy seedlings. Growers of all kinds will benefit from this workshop. The cost of registration includes a comprehensive resource packet. Register online here.

Legal Issues for Farm Business
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, Champaign, IL
February 19, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Led by Rachel Armstrong, attorney and founder of Farm Commons, this workshop covers business structures, farmland ownership transition, land access, contract strategies, and financing options. You’ll also receive detailed guides on creating legal business entities and financing. Plenty of discussion and brainstorming time is built into the schedule to help you craft a personalized legal strategy. Register online here.

Farmers Market Workshop
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, Champaign, IL
March 6, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
The farmers market is the quintessential sales outlet for small farms. This workshop

features expert direct marketers from PrairiErth Farm and other businesses to show you how to succeed at market selling through eye-catching displays, customer relations, food safety regulation compliance, and other related topics. Register online here.

Small Engine and Tractor Workshop
Richmond Community College, Danville, IL
April 3, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Small engines (for tilling or mowing) and small tractors (for cultivation and light work), are essential farm tools. We’ll cover the operation and maintenance of engines in the morning, and tractors in the afternoon. Participants will work hands-on with the machines. You can attend either the morning or afternoon session, or both.Register online here.


Farm Commons Winter Webinar Series

Introduction to Sustainable Farm Law Webinar
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at 2pm Central (Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern)
Register for the tutorial now!

Insurance for the Farm: Policies and Principles to Efficiently Manage Risk
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015 at 2pm Central (Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern)
Register for the tutorial now!

The What, Why and How of Choosing and Organizing a Business Entity for the Farm
Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 at 2pm Central (Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern)
Register for the tutorial now!

Building a Legally Sound Intern and Volunteer Program for Farm Work
Tuesday, January 19th, 2016 at 2pm Central (Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern)
Register for the tutorial now!

Food Safety Liability and Regulations: FSMA and Beyond
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 at 2pm Central (Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern)
Register for the tutorial now!

Sales 1: Availability, Invoicing and Dispute Resolution with Food Buyers
Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 at 2pm Central (Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern)
Register for the tutorial now!

Sales 2: Contracts for Planning Ahead of Production
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016 at 2pm Central (Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern)
Register for the tutorial now!

Make Employment Law Work for Your Farm: State Specific Tutorials
March 14th, 2016 at 2pm Central (Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern)
Register for the tutorial now!

Small Farms Winter Webinar Series

Did you know that, even in the dead of winter, you can learn to raise Shiitake mushrooms, blackberries, and honeybees?  Your fields and gardens may be snowed over, but it is the perfect time to develop your skills in small farming and local food production.  University of Illinois Extension will once again be hosting the Small Farms Winter Webinar Series – featuring practical lunch-hour presentations on small farm enterprises and strategies you can use.  Tune in right from your desk every Thursday at noon January 14th through March 31st. It’s easy (and FREE!) to register for the Small Farms Winter Webinars.  Sign up for as many as you want at You’ll receive a webinar reminder, log-on instructions, and how to access the archived recording.  If you do not have broadband internet capable of streaming video, call your local Extension office to see if they offer live viewing.

Resource Guides

Check out these plain language resource guides from  New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.