February 26, 2024

Calendar: Dixon Springs hosts maple syrup production workshop

SIMPSON, Ill. — The eighth annual Backyard Maple Syrup Production Workshop will be 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Feb. 3 at the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center, 354 State Highway 145 N, Simpson.

The workshop will cover the basics of maple syrup production and allow attendees to see firsthand the entire process of backyard maple syrup production. Also discussed will be scaling up production and advanced techniques, and a tour the 100-tap sugarbush operation.

This program is free and open to the public. Register by visiting http://tinyurl.com/dtujpcr8 or calling the Dixon Springs Ag Center at 618-695-2441.

A pancake breakfast 4-H fundraiser will be held prior to the workshop at 8:30 a.m. Cost for the breakfast, which includes pancakes and maple syrup made at Dixon Springs, is $10; $8 for children 10 and under.

Bloomington-Normal Seed Swap

NORMAL, Ill. — The Bloomington-Normal Seed Swap will be 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 3 at the Normal Public Library, 206 W. College Ave., Normal.

Seed-starting presentations will include the basics of starting your seed, be it for your native pollinator patch, vegetable garden, or home orchard. Free seeds from the Normal Seed Library will be available for participants to take home.

Participants are encouraged to bring seeds that they would like to donate to the seed library for future events.

Register at http://tinyurl.com/chubwn3k.

Kendall County Seed Swap

YORKVILLE, Ill. — The Kendall County Master Gardeners Seed Swap will be 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 3 at the Kendall County Extension office, 7775 B IL-47, Yorkville.

Seed Swap participants can choose from a wide variety of free vegetable, flower, herb, and native plant seeds. No need to bring seeds to participate. If gardeners would like to bring seeds to share, they should be fresh and labeled, and not from F1 hybrids, so they grow true to type. All seeds collected pre-event will be labeled and come with care instructions. Master gardeners and master naturalists will be available to answer questions.

This event is free and no registration is required. For more information, call the Extension office at 630-553-5823 or email fellerer@illinois.edu.

Valentines for Vets

MT. CARROLL, Ill. — The Carroll County 4-H Valentines for Vets program will be 3 to 4 p.m. Feb. 3 at the Carroll County Extension office, 642 S. East St., Mt Carroll.

Youths ages 5 and up will show their appreciation to those who have served our country in this Valentine card-marking workshop.

Participation is free, and a light snack will be provided. Register by calling 815-244-9444.

Herb Gardens

GRANVILLE, Ill. — Learn about growing herbs from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Putnam County Public Library — Granville Branch, 214 S. McCoy St., Granville.

Participants will learn how to select, plant, and maintain herb gardens so that they add beauty to the home landscape, while offering added culinary and other uses.

Register at http://tinyurl.com/26axxn89.

Ag Outlook Breakfast

ROCKVILLE, Ind. — The Parke County Ag Outlook Breakfast will be 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. ET Feb. 5 at the Parke County Extension office, 1472 N. US Hwy. 41, Rockville.

Brady Brewer, Purdue University professor of agricultural economics, will speak on farm income and cost outlook. Climatologist Austin Pearson will discuss the weather outlook for the coming growing season.

For more information and to register, contact Kurt Lanzone, 765-569-3176 or klanzone@purdue.edu.

Forest Management

DUBOIS, Ind. — The Forest Management for the Private Woodland Owner workshop will be 6 to 9 p.m. ET Mondays, Feb. 5 through March 25, at the Southern Indiana Purdue Agricultural Center, 11371 E. Purdue Farm Road, Dubois.

The program is a Purdue University short course providing knowledge and resources to help landowners make informed decisions in the care and management of their forests.

Cost is $50. Register by visiting http://tinyurl.com/yuf6e5s3.

Beginning Farmer Workshop

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Beginning Farmer virtual workshop will be 7 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays, Feb. 5 to March 25.

The goal of the eight-session program is to help new and beginning farmers find success by creating a practical action plan. The program helps farmers set goals, identify assets and challenges, and become aware of outside assistance and resources that can lead them towards a successful farming operation. Each participant will be encouraged to explore outside resources and supplemental materials presented in the class as well as other resources shared by classmates.

Cost is $85. Register at http://bit.ly/VBF2024.

Commercial Tree Fruit School

HARDIN, Ill. — The 2024 Southwestern Illinois Commercial Tree Fruit School will be 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Feb. 6 at Knights of Columbus Hall, 19899 Illinois River Road, Hardin.

This year’s program features a wide range of topics to help growers meet the challenges of commercial fruit production in southwestern Illinois, including apple and peach insect and disease management updates, climate’s impact on production, biorational insecticides and fungicides, and tick awareness and surveillance tools. Industry representatives will also be on hand to talk about their latest products and services.

Cost is $35 and includes lunch. Register at http://tinyurl.com/mss7epyk.

Soil Health Workshop

SALEM, Ind. — The 12th annual Southern Region Soil Health Workshop will be 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET Feb. 6 at Cornerstone Hall, 1500 RC Morris Drive, Salem.

Topics and speakers include:

• Bio Strip-till, Diversifying Cover Crop Mixes, and Utilizing Biologics — John Pike, Pike Ag LLC.

• Drones in Agriculture: Regulations and Uses — Alex Helms, assistant director, Purdue Agricultural Center; and Zach Trueblood, Open Fly Aeronautics.

• PARP Regulatory Topic — Danielle Walker, ANR educator.

The event is sponsored by the Washington County Conservation Partnership. Register by calling the Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District at 812-883-3006, ext. 3.

African Violets

FRANKLIN GROVE, Ill. — Learn about the care and propagation techniques for African violets from 6 to 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Winfred Knox Memorial Library, 112 S. Elm St., Franklin Grove.

Register by calling the library at 815-456-2823.

Purdue Beef Basics

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The 2024 Purdue Beef Basics in the Eastern Corn Belt virtual series will be held Feb. 6 to March 26.

This program is aimed at producers with less than five years of experience or those interested in exploring the beef industry; however, anyone is welcome to attend. Extension educators, specialists and industry experts will facilitate and lead program sessions. Among the topics covered will be an overview of beef cattle, behavior and facilities, health, genetic selection, forages, nutrition, and reproduction.

Sessions will be 6 to 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesdays and 7 to 8 p.m. Thursdays.

Cost is $50. Register at https://cvent.me/EBNPNV. For more information, email allen484@purdue.edu or jmrichards@purdue.edu.

Master Gardener Training

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue Extension Master Gardener virtual basic training will be 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesdays, Feb. 6 to May 7.

Master Gardener volunteers assist Purdue Extension with home horticulture education in local communities. Purdue EMGs receive training in horticulture to equip them to fulfill this educational role through volunteering in a variety of projects approved by their local EMG county coordinator.

The requirements for Purdue EMG certification include acceptance into the training through an application and screening process, payment of registration fee, completion of the EMG Basic Training which includes passing the open-book final exam with a score of 70% or higher, and contributing at least 40 hours of volunteer service approved by the local EMG county coordinator within two years. Purdue Extension Master Gardeners are also required to complete at least 12 volunteer and six continuing education hours every year in order to stay active.

The live webinar topics will include Purdue EMG Orientation, Plant Science, Soils and Plant Nutrition, Herbaceous Ornamentals, Weed ID and Control, Vegetable Gardening, Insect ID and Control, Animal Pests, Pesticide Safety and Alternatives, Plant Disease Diagnosis, Invasive Species, Woody Ornamentals, Lawn Care, and Fruit Gardening.

Cost is $185. Register by visiting http://tinyurl.com/3fds4cka.

Fruit and Vegetable School

MT. VERNON, Ill. — The 2024 Southern Illinois Fruit and Vegetable School will be 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Feb. 7 at DoubleTree Meeting and Event Center, 222 Potomac Blvd., Mt. Vernon.

Industry experts will address the challenges of growing fruit and vegetables commercially in southern Illinois and Missouri, and share current trends in insect and disease management, as well as a variety of other production-related topics. On-site vendors will be available to discuss production needs.

Cost is $35. Register at http://tinyurl.com/2teh5c54.

Crop Management Conference

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Stay current with updates impacting Illinois crop production at the Crop Management Conference — Champaign, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 7 at the I Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 S. 1st St., Champaign.

Cost is $100 and lunch is included. Register at http://tinyurl.com/2wenxv4f.

Presentations wil include:

• Insect Management in Corn and Soybeans — Nick Seiter, University of Illinois Extension field crop entomology specialist and assistant research professor.

• Navigating a New Era: Understanding the Endangered Species Act and its Impact on Pesticide Regulation — Aaron Hager, University of Illinois Extension weeds specialist, professor.

• What do “The Data” Really Tell Us? — Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois Extension agronomy specialist, professor emeritus.

• Corn Diseases: Outlook and Options to Mitigate Loss — Darcy Telenko, Purdue University, field crop pathology specialist, associate professor.

• Mineralization of Nutrients from Soil Organic Matter: How, How Much, and Can it be Managed? — Andrew Margenot, University of Illinois assistant professor, Department of Crop Sciences.

• Managing Cover Crops in Illinois Systems — Giovani Preza Fontes, University of Illinois Extension crops specialist and associate professor.

• Making Weather and Climate Information Work: Existing Tools and Monitoring to Help Agriculture Decision-Making — Trent Ford, state climatologist, Illinois State Water Survey at University of Illinois.

Dairy Summit

FREEPORT, Ill. — The 2024 Illinois Dairy Summit will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Highland Community College Conference Center, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport.

The Dairy Summit, hosted by University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Milk Producers Association, will focus on innovative ways to tackle the forecasted increase in production expenses and the drop in farm income.

There is no fee to attend the Dairy Summit, but registration is required. Lunch will be provided along with milk snacks courtesy of Prairie Farms.

Register at https://www.illinoismilk.org/events/2024-dairy-summit/.

Fruit Tree Pruning

DECATUR, Ill. — The program Fruit Tree Pruning will be 11 a.m. to noon Feb. 7 at Crossing Healthcare Garden, 320 Central Ave., Decatur.

Learn how to prune fruit trees in this free workshop hosted by Macon County master gardeners.

Register at http://tinyurl.com/2hwne35u.

Steps to Investing

URBANA, Ill. — The online program Steps to Investing: What to Know Now will be noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 7.

The program will explore new trends in the securities world and cover the basics of investing for beginners.

Register for this Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff webinar at http://tinyurl.com/2khcuaxx.

Be Heart Smart

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue Extension Be Heart Smart virtual series will be 1 to 2 p.m. ET Wednesdays, Feb. 7 to Feb. 28.

The series is for anyone interested in reducing their risk for heart disease. Learn how to monitor your risk factors for heart disease, and make simple changes to your daily routine that will improve your heart health.

Lessons will include: Know Your Risks, Know Your Numbers, Heart Healthy Cooking, and Taking Action.

Register at http://tinyurl.com/FebruaryBeHeartSmart. For more information, contact Jane Horner at 574-753-5570 or horner8@purdue.edu.

Beginning Berries

CARLINVILLE, Ill. — The program All About Berries: Beginning Berries will be 10 to 11 a.m. Feb. 8 at the Macoupin County Extension office, 60 Carlinville Plaza, Carlinville.

Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Andrew Holsinger will discuss the basics of berry crop production, including site selection, cultivar choices, precise planting techniques, and effective ongoing maintenance practices.

Register for this free program at http://tinyurl.com/hftzy69u.

Strategies to Reduce Nutrient Pollution

URBANA, Ill. — The online program Empower Illinois: Strategies to Reduce Nutrient Pollution and Protect Waterways will be 1 to 2 p.m. Feb. 8.

Explore what nutrient pollution is by learning about the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and how it works to reduce nutrient pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus. Whether you’re a local landowner, concerned citizen, a steward of the environment — or all three — this presentation with University of Illinois Extension water quality experts will equip you with practical tools and knowledge so you can contribute to healthy waterways in your community.

Register at http://tinyurl.com/2xebh27k.

Home Hydroponics

CARLINVILLE, Ill. — The program Home Hydroponics will be 3 to 4 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Macoupin County Extension office, 60 Carlinville Plaza, Carlinville.

Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Andrew Holsinger will discuss the essentials of creating your own hydroponic system, including nutrient solutions, lighting considerations, and the art of maintaining a balanced and productive hydroponic environment.

Register for this free program at http://tinyurl.com/mvek2cj2.

Taxes for a Single Adult

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The program Taxes for a Single Adult will be 6 to 8 p.m. ET Feb. 8 at the Allen County Extension office, 4001 Crescent Ave., Fort Wayne.

Are you a young single adult, newly divorced or widowed and need to file your 2023 taxes as a single individual? This class will answer your questions about status, which forms to use and any other situation you may have. The class will be led by Nicki Headlee, CPA.

To register or for more information, call the Extension office at 260-481-6826.

Chainsaw Safety

BAYLIS, Ill. — The program Forest Stand Improvement and Chainsaw Safety will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 9 at the JWCC Ag Center/University of Illinois Orr Research Center, 37803 IL-104, Baylis.

Participants will be trained in safe use of chainsaws, safety gear to use, chainsaw cleaning/maintenance, and an opportunity to practice these skills with experts. Chainsaws and personal protective equipment will be on hand to use, but participants can bring their own chainsaws and PPE, such as chaps, helmets, hearing and eye protection.

Cost is $15. Register at http://tinyurl.com/mwjdpbhp.

Herb Gardening

MAROA, Ill. — The program Herb Gardening will be 11 a.m. to noon Feb. 9 at the Maroa Public Library, 305 Garfield St., Maroa.

Macon County master gardeners will discuss how to grow herbs and common uses.

Register by calling the library at 217-794-5111.

Charcuterie Boards

STREATOR, Ill. — The Heart Smart program Charcuterie Boards will be 4 to 5 p.m. Feb. 9 at Streator Public Library, 130 S. Park St., Streator.

Susan Glassman, Extension nutrition and wellness educator, will discuss how to build your own charcuterie board.

Participants will:

• Learn how to swap calories and fats, but not the flavor.

• See a display of charcuterie boards.

• Take home resources and recipes.

• Enjoy a taste of charcuterie board foods.

• Have fun using what they learn to make their own charcuterie board.

Register at http://tinyurl.com/5bfr2pke.