Free farm “weather-readiness” seminar offered in Bureau Co.

© 2017-Mendota Reporter

PRINCETON – A free half-day seminar on “Making your Illinois Farm Weather-Ready” is being offered in Princeton on Tuesday, Dec. 12. The seminar will be held at the Bureau County Metro Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a buffet lunch will be provided. Certified Crop Adviser continuing education credits have been approved for the event.

Sponsored by Illinois-based nonprofit the Wetlands Initiative (TWI), the seminar will focus on water and soil management tools to address weather effects. The targeted audience is Illinois farmers and their advisers, but the event is open to the public. Four presentations will be given:

  • Jim Angel, Illinois State Climatologist, will speak on agro-economic tools to help manage weather risk and then discuss the 2018 crop season forecast for Illinois.
  • Jim Isermann with the Soil Health Partnershipwill give an overview of soil health science and perspectives on reducing production risk.
  • Jill Kostel with the Wetlands Initiativewill present on edge-of-field practices such as constructed wetlands that can be used to create farmland resilience.

“We know that weather patterns in the Midwest have been changing rapidly and are expected to continue shifting in the future with more frequent heavy rain events, longer periods of time between rain events, and extreme temperatures,” said Dr. Kostel, TWI’s senior environmental engineer. “Our goal in hosting this event is to provide useful information and tools for farmers to proactively make their land more resilient and maintain farm productivity and profitability in the face of these changes.”

In collaboration with the Illinois Corn Growers Association and resource conservation agency staff, the Wetlands Initiative has been working since 2015 in north-central Illinois on landowner outreach and technical assistance to advance the use of small, precisely sited constructed wetlands for tile drainage treatment. Constructed wetlands are a Farm Bill-eligible conservation practice specifically designed to help achieve nutrient loss reduction alongside other edge-of-field and in-field practices. The seminar will include an optional site visit after lunch to a leading Bureau County farm property where an example of the wetland practice was built in 2016.

The event’s headlining speaker, Dr. Jim Angel, has been the Illinois State Climatologist since 1997. The Illinois State Climatologist Office is a primary source for Illinois climate information and services. It is located at the Illinois State Water Survey and is part of the Prairie Research Institute on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

In addition to his 2018 crop season forecast, Angel will provide details on a suite of online agro-economic tools he and other Midwest climatologists, agronomists, and economists have designed to help farmers and their advisers make data-driven decisions for their farms.

“The Growing Degree Day is just one of the tools I will discuss,” said Angel. “While this tool is not meant to be a crystal ball, the data and information derived from it can be used to make helpful inferences about current conditions, especially when combined with personal experience and localized knowledge.”

The Soil Health Partnership is a farmer-led initiative fostering transformation in agriculture through improved soil health, benefiting both farmer profitability and the environment. Established in 2014, it is a unique network of real working farms where advanced farm management practices are tested and measured and the data are shared.

Jim Isermann, an Illinois field manager with Soil Health Partnership, said, “I will present the latest production considerations for how to best manage soil in our current crop production system in Illinois.”

The Bureau County Metro Center is located at 837 Park Ave. West, Princeton. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and the presentations begin at 9 a.m. Certified Crop Adviser CEUs of 2.0 Soil & Water Management (SWM) hours and 1.5 Crop Management (CM) hours have been approved.

Reservations are not required but are appreciated for planning purposes. Please RSVP by texting or calling Jean McGuire, TWI Field Outreach Specialist, at (515) 520-3036, or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Event information is available at www.wetlands-initiative.org/upcoming-events/gwcw-weather.


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