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PEKIN, Ill. – Composting sounds like dirty business but soil experts Duane Friend and Dr. Paul Walker will make it feel more like a cake walk. No matter how much space you have free in your yard, on your apartment balcony, or on your kitchen counter there are practical ways to start composti…

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FREEPORT, Ill. – The 22nd annual Joys of Gardening program will begin at 8 a.m. Feb. 16 at the Highland Community College Student Conference Center, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport,

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DECATUR, Ill. – Wipe away those winter blues and get excited about spring at the 22nd-annual Gardening Insights from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 16 at Richland Community College’s Shilling Center, 1 College Park, Decatur.

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DECATUR, Ill. – Spread the love and celebrate central Illinois’ small farms this February with Love Local, a winter harvest farm-to-table meal hosted at Richland Community College.

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CARTHAGE, Ill. – Fortress Bank will host its 32nd annual Ag Strategies Dinner Meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at Lake Hill Winery, 1822 E Co Rd 1540, Carthage. This year’s keynote speaker will be John McGillicuddy, a principal partner in MC Agronomics.

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Nancy Havener's picture of a glowing sunset at a Naperville preserve won December’s portion of the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Preserve the Moment photo contest, which concluded on Dec. 31. The Naperville resident's photo was the last of eight monthly winners.

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Congratulations to one of our very own Bureau County Young Leaders on his outstanding work in the Illinois Farm Bureau state Young Leader Discussion Meet. The state meet was held Dec. 1 at the Palmer House in Chicago as part of the Illinois Farm Bureau’s 103rd Annual Meeting. William Anderso…

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Gracelynn Dale recently began her term as the District 4 Representative on the Illinois Farm Bureau State Young Leader Committee. Members of the State Young Leader Committee are appointed by the District IAA Director to serve a two-year term.

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When you can easily dig down, elbow deep in your soil, you know you have something special. Having healthy soil is critical to the productivity and success of agriculture production land, no matter the size. University of Illinois Extension commercial ag educators are presenting a state-wide…

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FREEPORT, Ill. – Join the University of Illinois Extension for FAST Training 2019. This is a workshop focused on making informed decisions using your computer and spreadsheet tools developed by members of the University of Illinois’ farmdoc team. This one-day, hands-on workshop will further …

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GALENA, Ill. – Fifth- to 12th-graders are invited to join the 4-H Beekeeping Club. Meetings will be a blend of inside learning, field trips, and actual beekeeping. Participants will meet once a month. The first club meeting will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Galena Middle School libr…

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ELIZABETH, Ill. – The University of Illinois Extension and the National Wild Turkey Federation will address forest and grassland edge management issues for landowners at a workshop Jan. 18 at the Elizabeth Community Building, 402 West St., Elizabeth.

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FREEPORT, Ill. – “Updates in Nutrient and Pest Management” is the theme for the Northwest Illinois Agronomy Summit from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 15 at Highland Community College Student Conference Center, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport.

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Dashing through the snow. Nope! Not the Christmas song. For some of us, this has been the start of December. Blizzards, thundersnow, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. Oh, my! This holiday season is off to an intense start in Illinois.

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Thirteen teens from Illinois attended a five-day national conference in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 23-27. "Illinois delegates to National 4-H Congress are selected on their outstanding 4-H accomplishments," said Lisa Diaz, University of Illinois Extension assistant dean and director of Illinois 4-H.

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The successful 15th annual La Salle County Stockman’s Harvest Rewards Banquet was held at Seneca’s Oak Ridge on Nov. 20. An audience of 270 from around La Salle County came together to enjoy a banquet honoring La Salle County’s outstanding young people who raise and show breeding livestock.

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LOUISVILLE – The Illinois 4-H team took reserve champion honors in the 2018 National 4-H Livestock Skillathon Contest held Nov. 14 in Louisville, Ky. The skillathon division of the North American International Livestock Exposition tests the competitors’ knowledge in a wide range of livestock…

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ROCKFORD, Ill. – On Nov. 18, University of Illinois Extension hosted a special ceremony at Klehm Arboretum in Rockford to recognize local 4-H award winners and volunteers for their accomplishments over the past year.Winners selected based on project work, activity participation and leadershi…

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University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit Master Naturalist Cindy Intravartolo and Extension staff were part of a team who educated V.I.T. Elementary students about a variety of natural resource topics during the Youth Pollinator and Conservation event coordinated b…

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Arugula has been trending these past few years. You can bet if you turn on a cooking show, they’ll probably be using arugula at some point. Many chefs and hip restaurants have made this leafy green with a peppery zing very popular.

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Bourbonnais, Ill. — New officers were elected at the October Kankakee County 4-H Federation meeting held at the Extension office in  Bourbonnais. The newly elected officers will be installed at the annual Recognition Banquet Nov. 18 at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Herscher, Ill.

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A snake slithering through silvery bridge slats on the I&M Canal Trail in Lockport won the October portion of the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Preserve the Moment photo contest. The picture was taken by Lisa Dinges of Lockport, who normally looks for owls, eagles or deer dur…

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EAST PEORIA, Ill. – The Illinois Pork Producers Association and the Illinois Central College Agriculture Program have teamed up to provide the ICC food pantry with a donation of ground pork. Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois, is a donation program made possible by contributi…

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In an ever complicated and changing world, I feel that Extension is needed now more than ever. Through my 30-year career with University of Illinois Extension, I’ve watched us adapt and change our educational delivery methods and program priorities to better meet the needs of the public we serve.

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I like the fall season with cooler temperatures and the fall tree colors. However, this season also creates a sense of urgency that I am running out of time to complete maintenance projects around my home before cold weather arrives.

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BLUFFS, Ill. — The Pike Scott Farm Bureau’s Agriculture Literacy Coordinator Rachel Smith visited Mrs. Erin Wahl’s third-grade class at Scott-Morgan Elementary in Bluffs. The students learned all about pumpkins through some fun, hands-on activities.

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For many years, gardeners were taught to clean up their landscape in the fall to dispense of lingering disease and throw out future insect infestations. However, horticulturists are encouraging gardeners to leave their landscape undisturbed for the overwintering of insect good guys in the garden.

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Channahon resident Barbara Parisi’s picture of squirrels locked in a heartwarming hug at McKinley Woods won the September portion of the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Preserve the Moment photo contest.

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The crowd couldn’t help but cheer when Brandon Austin hit his final clay target. The target was his 100th in a row and capped his championship win of the 2018 Illinois 4-H State 4-H Shotgun Shoot held Sept. 15 in Bunker Hill.

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MT. CARROLL, Ill. — The Carroll County Kids held their first 4-H meeting of the year. During the meeting they elected officers for the 2018-2019 4-H year.

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SYCAMORE, Ill. – Now’s your chance to ride in a combine. DeKalb County Farm Bureau is coordinating combine rides with local farmers during corn harvest. Rides will be given in Sycamore area cornfields on Oct. 13.

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The Perennial Plant Association membership has selected Stachys ‘Hummelo’ as the 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year. Sometimes called Betony, this well-behaved perennial offers a neat basal clump of glossy, dark-green leaves and rose-lavender dense spikes atop mostly leafless flowering stems.

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Enjoy home-grown herbs all year long by harvesting and drying them for tasty teas and added flavor for many meals.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois 4-H Foundation inducted 67 new members into the Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame during a celebration Aug. 14 at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

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The flavor of black walnuts lends a special flavor to many favorite recipes, and having a black walnut tree in the back yard can supply a large quantity of an otherwise expensive and difficult to find nutmeat.

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URBANA, Ill. – Fall is coming, and that means it’s a great time to bring home a new tree. But before they do, homeowners should repeat the mantra “right plant, right place.”

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URBANA, Ill. – Succulents have long been a favorite group of plants for gardeners, for one great reason: They don’t need to be watered often! For a gardener who feels watering is a chore, succulents are a dream.

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I have a love-hate relationship with spiders. I am continually fascinated when watching a spider spin its web. However, cleaning up cobwebs can be very frustrating.

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Plant diseases can be challenging for the home gardener. Unfortunately, by the time most diseases are noticed it is too late to avoid a reduction in yield, or in some cases, saving the plant. Hopefully, these strategies will help you prevent the devastation plant diseases can bring to your garden.

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