Master Naturalist Training- OGLE CO., Spring 2020

University of Illinois Extension invites adults of all ages to join them for the 2020 Illinois Master Naturalist training.  The classes will be held in Ogle County on Monday evenings from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., starting March 16 and ending May 18, 2020.  The training features instructors from local natural resource agencies and organizations as well as state Extension experts.  The training will highlight our rich natural heritage by hosting classes in different locations in the area such as Nachusa Grasslands and Kickapoo Mud Creek Nature Conservancy.

As a Master Naturalist, you will learn about ecosystems and interrelationships of plants and animals that make up our natural world.  You will also learn how to assist with land management and to share your knowledge with others in your community.  The goal is to encourage participants to seek out lifelong learning opportunities to further their development as a naturalist.

Master Naturalist participants agree to serve 60 hours of volunteer service within the first two years of their initial classroom experience.  Volunteers can then continue their certification with 30 volunteer hours and 10 continuing education hours annually.  Volunteer opportunities in your county are extremely flexible and tailored to fit your personal interests, abilities, and time restraints.

For more information and to apply to become a certified Illinois Master Naturalist for Boone County, please visit or call Judy Hodge, Extension Program Coordinator at 815-544-3710 or email at

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact your local Extension office. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your access needs.

Farm Legacy Seminars- February 2020

The Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) and COUNTRY Financial are partnering to host three farm legacy seminars in February of 2020. The informational meetings will provide information and questions that are essential to legacy planning, in order to allow farmers to keep their farm in the family.

Seventy percent of U.S. farmland is anticipated to change hands during the next two decades, with estimates as high as half of American farmers operating without an estate plan. Illinois farm families face a series of issues, including rising costs in agriculture and surviving financial stress year to year, that may pull their focus away from planning for the future of the farm. This meeting series will help realign that focus by sharing resources and knowledge that farm families may use when having family conversations about farm legacy preservation.

Each meeting will include a free dinner and a keynote presentation by Dr. Ron Hanson, Harlan Agribusiness Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and expert on farm legacy planning. Hanson has been a recipient of 31 university and national awards throughout his 46-year agribusiness teaching and student-advising career. Following Dr. Hanson’s talk, farm legacy planning information will be provided by a COUNTRY Financial Planning Support Specialist.

Meetings are set to take place in northern, central and southern Illinois. The 2-hour seminars will each begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner. Doors open for registration at 5:00 p.m. Dates and locations are as follows:

•                      Feb. 25 — Hickory Grove Banquet and Conference Center, Rochelle
•                      Feb. 26 — I-Hotel and Conference Center, Champaign
•                      Feb. 27 — Kokopelli Golf Club, Marion

Registration opens January 1, 2020, however you can direct families to sign up for additional information and reminders at

IWA and ISA Continue to Partner on Conference for Wheat in Illinois

The Illinois Wheat Association and the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program continue to join forces in 2020 and co-sponsor the Illinois Double-crop Farmers’ Forum. 

The forum will be held on Thursday, January 30, 2020, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 222 Potomac Boulevard, Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Registration takes place from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and conference presentations begin at 9:00 a.m. The Illinois Wheat Association annual meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. and participants also may attend. 

Speakers and topics at this year’s event include Phil Needham of Needham Ag Technologies on double-crop management, Pope Commodities on marketing strategies, wheat yield contest winners’ panel, and USDA agency representatives, amongst others. Conference agenda is posted on the Illinois Wheat Association website at: 

This event will focus on production and profitability issues that are key to Southern Illinois wheat double-cropping. The conference will answer:

• How do I maximize my profitability?

• What are my marketing prospects for 2020 for wheat and soybeans?

• How should I manage my wheat/soybean double-crop fertility and crop protection?

• How will adopting an “early wheat” system improve wheat quality and increase soybean yields?

• What strategies do I follow to get a good stand of double-crop soybeans?

Attendees will be able to visit with many exhibitors and sponsors who are key to your success as wheat and soybean farmers. Registration is $25 per IWA/ISA member and $40 per non-member, which includes lunch. Registration fees will be collected at the event. 

Certified Crop Advisory CEUs will be available.

2020 Illinois Dairy Summit to be held February 4, 5, and 6

Illinois Milk Producers Association (IMPA) and University of Illinois Dairy Extension have joined forces for the 10th annual Illinois Dairy Summit. Dr. Mike Hutjens, Dr. Phil Cardoso and Dave Fischer will again team up with Tasha Bunting and the IMPA to coordinate and present three Illinois Dairy Summits throughout Illinois. The 2020 summit theme is Planning for the Future and will share the latest in dairy management information with dairy producers and dairy industry personnel.

The 2020 summits will begin in southern Illinois on Feb. 4 and conclude in northern Illinois on Feb. 6. Kaskaskia College kicks off the first Dairy Summit on Tuesday, Feb. 4 in Centralia. The next program will be held the following day at the Asmark Institute in Bloomington on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The Dairy Summits will conclude on Thursday, Feb. 6 at Stephenson County Farm Bureau in Freeport.
Each summit will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will include these presentations: “What’s New in Nutrition for Transition Cows?,” “Is Dairy Beef in Your Future?” and “Feeding Strategies with the 2019 Cropping Season.” Other topics covered during the program include feeding updates and research updates.

Pre-registration is available online at, but is not required. The fee to attend the summit is $15 per person and will be collected at the door. On-site registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. Contact the Illinois Milk Producers Association by calling 309-557-3703 or by visiting the IMPA website at for more information.


The 2020 Certified Livestock Manager Training workshops, held in 10 locations throughout the state, will begin January 8, 2020, in Effingham and conclude February 26, 2020, in Springfield. The University of Illinois Extension workshops provide Illinois livestock producers the manure management training they need to meet the requirements of the state's Livestock Management Facilities Act.

The Livestock Management Facilities Act requires facilities with 300 or more animal units to have at least one employee certified in proper manure handling procedures. For facilities with 300 to 999 animal units, at least one employee must attend a workshop or pass the Illinois Department of Agriculture's Certified Livestock Manager exam. Employees of facilities with 1,000 or more animal units must do both to achieve certification.

Please note that all workshops begin at 9 a.m. with the exception of the Feb 5th training at the Illinois Pork Expo which will start at 12:30 p.m. All trainings will take 3 1/2 hours with the IDOA exam administered after the training.

2020 Workshop dates and locations are as follows:

Pre-registration is highly recommended so we may notify registrants if unforeseen circumstances require us to cancel or reschedule a workshop.

  • January 8 (starts at 9:00 am)- Effingham County Extension Office, 1209 North Wenthe Drive, Effingham, IL
  • January 9 (starts at 9:00 am)- University of Illinois Extension, 4618 Broadway, Mt Vernon, IL 62864
  • January 10 (starts at 9:00 am)- Clinton County Extension Office, 1163 North 4th Street, Breese, IL
  • February 5 (starts at 12:30 pm)- Bank of Springfield Center, 1 Convention Center Plaza, Springfield, IL
  • February 6 (starts at 9:00 am)- UI Extension/Pike County Farm Bureau Bldg., 1301 E Washington, Pittsfield, IL
  • February 7 (starts at 9:00 am)- Warren-Henderson Farm Bureau, 1000 N Main St., Monmouth, IL
  • February 18 (starts at 9:00 am)- UI Extension/Bork Nurseries Building, 916 W. Seminary Avenue, Onarga, IL
  • February 19 (starts at 9:00 am)- DeKalb County Farm Bureau Bldg., 1350 W. Prairie Drive, Sycamore, IL
  • February 20 (starts at 9:00 am)- Stephenson County Farm Bureau Bldg., 210 W. Spring St, Freeport, IL
  • February 26 (starts at 9:00 am)- Illinois Department of Ag Bldg. Auditorium, State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL

Each workshop will offer a general curriculum designed to keep producers current on the latest industry practices. The curriculum covers the basics of nutrient management as well as new technologies, research, and trends, so producers who have completed the training and are renewing their certification will benefit.

Registrations are on a first-come, first-served basis. Producers are encouraged to preregister at least two weeks prior to ensure a seat for the session that fits their schedule. To register, please visit For questions with registration, please contact UI Extension at 815-858-2273.

The registration fee is $35. If more than one employee from the same farm signs up, each additional registration will cost $25. Lunch will not be offered, but coffee and snacks will be provided.

The current training manual used for Certified Livestock Manager Training is the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Stewardship Curriculum. This curriculum is available for free online at If you have a manual or CD is older than 2003, you should check the website for information for update options. The IDOA CLM Exam questions are taken directly from this manual. Some of this curriculum will be covered during the workshops. However, it is impossible to cover all of the exam material in one workshop, so acquiring and reviewing the manual in advance is highly recommended.

Please visit the Certified Livestock Managers Training webpage at for more information about registration, manuals, online training options, and other resources.

Producers and employees also have the option of taking five online quizzes. Passing them is the equivalent of having attended a workshop, but does not substitute for passing the state administered Certified Livestock Manager exam. Registration is open for the CLM Online Training Program at There is no charge to take the online quizzes other than the cost of a manual.

Local Contacts:
Stanley (Jay) Solomon, Jr.                                                                   Neslihan Akdeniz
Environmental and Energy Stewardship Educator                       Clinical Assistant Professor
Jo Daviess, Stephenson and Winnebago Counties                       Dept. of Agriculture and Biological Engineering
(p) 815.235.4125                                                                                 (p) 217.300.2644                                                                                                              

U of I Extension, DeKalb County and the DeKalb County Farm Bureau present Industrial Hemp Workshop on February 10

The signing of the Illinois hemp bill has provided opportunities for the cultivation, distribution, and processing of hemp for fiber, grain, and CBD. Learn more about the options available in legal hemp production. This versatile cash crop has the potential to empower small farmer, but is not without its own set of challenges.

To help give some perspective and provide information on this new crop, University of Illinois Extension, DeKalb County will be presenting an “Introduction to Industrial Hemp” program on February 10, 2020. This program is being co-sponsored by the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. The workshop will be held from 1PM-4PM at 1350 W. Prairie Dr, in Sycamore, IL, and will discuss grain, fiber, and CBD production along with focusing on the many applications for this new crop. Demonstrations of various production systems and planting methods will also be conducted while addressing issues faced throughout the growing season.

Join Extension Educator, Phillip Alberti as he talks about his experiences with this potential new cash crop for producers in Illinois. Additional topics covered include licensing, rules and regulations, end-products, and an update on hemp across the state of Illinois. This will also be a great opportunity to network with persons of similar interests and get some of the most up to date information around.

Alberti will be discussing Industrial Hemp and how farmers looking for an alternative crop that takes up a small acreage might consider growing Industrial Hemp as a short term cash crop. Topics include types of hemp, production systems, licensing, rules, and regulations, end-products; and an update on hemp in Illinois.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, please call your local Extension Office.

Updates in Nutrient and Weed Management Focus of Agronomy Summit- January 14

The 2019 growing season was one of the most challenging years in recent memory for crop producers in Illinois. A cold, wet spring prevented us from getting into the field to conduct scheduled operations resulting in many acres which were not planted. For the crop that did get planted, extensive late-season rainfall delayed us in getting it out. Things were far from perfect this year as a wide array of issues popped up throughout the growing season to cause problems for producers including: nutrient deficiencies, insect pest and disease issues, and weed escapes among others. The situations we found ourselves in, and the decisions which were made can have lasting impacts on our production systems moving forward. In the hopes of answering producers’ questions and providing the most up to date research in the region, the Northwest Illinois Agronomy Summit will be held at Highland Community College Conference Center in Freeport, IL on January 14th, 2020 from 8:30a.m.- 3:00p.m.

The theme for this year’s conference is Updates in Nutrient and Pest Management. For Certified Crop Advisors, five CEU’s will be available, including the categories of nutrient and pest management. Our 2020 agenda for the regional program includes the following topics and presenters:

Updates in Pest Management- Dr. Nicholas Seiter, Research Assistant Professor and Field Crop Entomologist, University of Illinois

  • Updates on 2 Years of Waterhemp and Dicamba Research – Rodrigo Werle, Assistant Professor and Extension Cropping Systems Weed Scientist, University of Wisconsin Madison
  • 2020 Forage Update – Laura Lant, Agronomist, Midwest Grass and Forage 
  • Tar Spot and Southern Rust: Corn Diseases to Keep on Your Radar –Dr. Nathan Kleczewski, Research Assistant Professor and Field Crop Pathologist, University of Illinois
  • Data Intensive Farm Management – Daniel Smith, Nutrient and Pest Management Extension Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison

While this event is most suited for our producers, there will be CEU’s available for our Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs), including the categories of nutrient and pest management. Those interested in viewing a complete agenda or attending the summit may register online at or by calling the University of Illinois Extension-Stephenson County at 815-235-4125.

The cost of the program is $30, which includes a light breakfast and lunch. Pre-registrations are encouraged due to limited seating. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the Extension Office, early requests are strongly encouraged to allow enough time for meeting your access needs. For additional questions, contact Phillip Alberti, Crop Science Educator with University of Illinois Extension in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences at, 815-599-3644 or on Twitter (@NorthernILCrops).