Upcoming Educational Opportunities:

  • Anytime:
    • SARE 2018 Conference: Our Farms, Our Future.  All conference materials available as video, podcasts, and posters.
    • ATTRA Tutorials – self-guided and comprehensive multi-lesson tutorials in Scaling Up for Regional Markets, Pest Management, Farm Business Planning & Marketing for Beginnners, and Getting Started in Farming.
    • USDA Science & Technology Training Library – contains hundreds of archived webinars on Bioenergy, Conservation, Forestry, and Sustainable Forests.  Lists of upcoming webinars are also available on the site.
    • Farmer-to-Farmer Podcast with Chris Blanchard.  "Chris is a veteran farmer and educator who draws on over 25 years of experience to get at the big ideas and practical details that go into making a farm work.  Whether his guests are discussing employment philosophy or the best techniques for cultivating carrots, his down-to-earth conversations with experienced farmers - and the occasional non-farmer - will be time well spent."
    • Summaries of presentations at the 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium are now available online at http://eorganic.info/node/16778. Many of the workshops and keynote presentations were recorded live and may be viewed via the eOrganic YouTube channel.
    • Recorded presentations and associated materials from the Bionutrient Association's Soil & Nutrition Conferences over the past several years.  Too many well-known names to list, connecting the dots between healthy soils, healthy people, and a healthy planet.
    • Videos and presentations from the 2017 National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health sessions are now available.


MSUE Beginning Farmer Webinar Series — Jan 15- April 8

Hosted by Michigan State University Extension a series of thirteen online programs addressing crop and livestock production, farm business and marketing on Wednesday evenings Jan. 15 through April 8, 2020. Participants will get an overview of various farm enterprises and topics, and have an opportunity through live, online chat to ask questions of MSU and other agriculture experts. Each 60 minute live webinar presentation will begin at 7 p.m. EST.  A $5 fee is charged for each webinar in the series, or $32.50 for the full series (50% savings!). You may register for all or some of the courses at any time, even if the session has already taken place. In that case, you will receive a link to the recorded program. The webinars will be delivered on the ZOOM Webinar platform. A high-speed internet connection is required, and connection information will be emailed to registered participants prior to each webinar. Following each webinar, registered participants will receive a link to the recorded webinar.  Webinar descriptions and a registration link can be found at this link.

Central Michigan Seed Swap — Feb 23

6th Annual Central Michigan Seed Swap at the Chippewa Nature Center, 400 S Badour Rd, Midland, Michigan.

  • Educational Workshops All Day!
  • Family Fun & Kids Activities
  • Seed Vendors & Artisans

Community Seed Table:  Thanks to generous donations from some of our favorite seed companies, we are able to offer a great selection of seeds, FREE of charge to anyone who is in need or interested.
Buy, Sell or Trade:  This is a buy, sell or trade event.. please plan to bring money and/or seeds for exchange. No seeds? No problem! Everyone is welcome to join us!
Sunday, February 23rd, 2020  11:00am – 4:00pm.  For more information:  https://www.smallhousefarm.com/seedswap/

OEFFA Organic Transition Basics — Feb 25

Are you interested in organic certification, but not sure where to start? Join Julia Barton, OEFFA Sustainable Agriculture Educator, and other interested farmers on a lunchtime webinar, February 25 from 12-1:30 p.m. EST.  We’ll cover the certification process, costs, basic standards, and timeline. There will be a presentation followed by plenty of time for discussion and questions, so please bring yours. Register here for this WEBINAR.
Questions? Contact Begin Farming Program Coordinator Rachel Tayse at rachel@oeffa.org.

MOSES Organic Farming Conference — Feb 27-29

This is the major organic conference in the midwest.  Early Bird rates end January 7th, but you will still get your money's worth. The event, Feb. 27-29, 2020, in La Crosse, Wis., features 60 workshops in 10 categories: field crops, livestock, market farming, certification, and more. More than 170 vendors will be in the 2-floor trade show—see who'll be there! Author and farmer Leah Penniman presents the Friday keynote, “Uprooting Racism; Seeding Sovereignty.” Visionary economist John Ikerd presents “Reclaiming the Future of Farming” for the Saturday keynote. See keynote details here. The conference also offers roundtable discussions, meetings, an organic research forum, film screenings, and many more opportunities to connect with your farming peers. View the conference guide and register today.


Ohio Soil Health Symposium — March 5

This is the 4th Annual Ohio Soil Health Symposium at the Kehoe Center in Shelby, OH.  OSHS 2020 promises to build on the last three years of success AND add a twist with more farmers and discussion topics.  The Agenda is packed with topics you can pick from.  Barry Fisher, Indiana State Soil Health Specialist from NRCS, will create a very simple plan for all farms to improve their resilience to markets, weather, critical neighbors, and pests.  Additional speakers and topics include Kasey Bamberger, Sjoerd Duiker, Daniel Brothers Farm, regenerative ag, livestock integration, social media, securing grants, and more.  See the full agenda and register here today.  Registration is $50 if you attended in the past or $60, if this is your first visit to the OSHS.

Cultivate Your Legally Resilient Farm  — March 6

MIFFS is excited to partner with Farm Commons to offer the information-packed workshop "Cultivating Your Legally Resilient Farm" on Friday, March 6, 2020. Farm Commons’ collaborative, accessible approach to learning farm law alongside farmer-peers will set you on the right path. “Cultivating Your Legally Resilient Farm”  isn't a set of boring lectures filled with legal lingo. This workshop is led by a farm law expert and local farmer co-presenters Rebecca Titus and Jerry Hebron, guaranteeing you’ll pick up the practical wisdom and the knowledge you need to navigate legal issues with confidence. 
Framed around the 10 steps every farm needs to take to build legal resilience, you’ll leave this workshop with a personal action plan for your own farm. Checklists, model documents, and more show farmers how to get the job done. Together, we will build strong local farms and resilient community businesses with the law on our side. The workshop addresses farmers’ greatest vulnerabilities in land matters and leasing, business structures, farm employment law, diversification and agritourism, as well as liability and food safety issues. 
Registration for the workshop is $25 and includes locally produced and sourced lunch. Check out more details and register for the event today.

Indiana Small Farm Conference — March 5-7

The 2020 conference at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds & Conference Complex, Danville, Indiana begins with a series of daylong workshops on Thursday, March 5. Topics include writing a food safety plan, vegetable crop planning, mushroom cultivation, biological orcharding and two tours: on the subjects of agri-tourism and livestock processing.  Breakout sessions on March 6-7 will cover topics ranging from vegetable and livestock production to farm management and marketing. Participants will have an opportunity to network with Extension educators, expert speakers, other farmers and vendors. The Small Farm Trade Show takes place on March 6-7 where more than 50 vendors will showcase their products and services. The Small Farm Poster Session on March 7 will feature research and programs on local foods, diversified agriculture, and small farm production and education. Find more details and how to register for this conference at this link.

Free Workshops for Food Businesses and Farmers — March 9 - May 4

Growing Hope partners with local experts to provide free educational workshops for food entrepreneurs and farmers looking to start or expand their business. These workshops build skills and knowledge around concepts including business planning, cottage food laws, labeling laws, marketing, food safety, and selling at a farmers market or for retail.  Mondays March 9 - May 4 6:30pm - 8:30pm at the Ypsilanti Farmers Marketplace 16 S. Washington St.  More information and registration can be found at this link.

Farming for the Future Conference — March 10

North Dakota-based farmer and author Gabe Brown (author of Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture) will be the keynote speaker at the Van Buren Conservation District’s annual “Farming for the Future” conference. The free event will be held on Tuesday, March 10 at the Van Buren Conference Center in Lawrence. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the conference runs until 3 p.m. with free lunch included. Pre-registration is required and space is limited.  HURRY and register today.

Farm Emergencies: Beyond First Aid — March 14

Rural farmers have a longer wait time for help in the event of an emergency on the farm. Emergency Services Rescue Training, in conjunction with MIOSHA, will be going into depth about 20 different agricultural specific situations in this 5-hour workshop. Topics covered will include vehicle rollovers, crush injuries, machinery injuries, farm chemicals, silo fires and large animal hazards. Bob Schultz, a retired firefighter and EMT, will teach growers how to help themselves before help arrives.  Cost is $40 per person or $65 per farm couple/duo—includes a catered lunch.  Saturday, March 14, 2020 @ 10:00 AM  4:00 PM. Banks Township Hall 6520 Center Street Ellsworth, MI 49729. Register here.

MSU Organic Farmer Training Program — March 16-Nov 9

The MSU Organic Farmer Training Program (OFTP) teaches aspiring farmers in a 50/50 mix of field and classroom activities every Monday from 9am to 5pm at the MSU Student Organic Farm. In the field, everyone participates in hands-on activities, farm walks and equipment demonstrations. In the classroom, we focus on small group activities, full group discussions, guest speakers and participant presentations. You will also visit over 20 Michigan farms! Outside of class, video lectures, readings and practical assignments, like writing a Farm Business Plan will connect learning themes from the class to YOUR farm goals. The OFTP is a vibrant, diverse and positive learning community where students learn from each other and share their unique skills, experience and goals.

More information about the 2020 Organic Farmer Training Program and the application can be found at this link as well as a link to a scholarship application.

Soil Health Innovations Conference — March 30-31

Emerging technologies and innovative practices have recently begun to shine a light on the importance of healthy soils for the future of sustainable agriculture. And those promising new approaches are dawning at a time when there is a growing commitment among producers, food companies, and policy makers to improve the resilience of healthy food systems at their very root. NCAT is sponsoring this conference in cooperation with USDA Rural Development, Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), and Montana State University to bring together leading experts and innovative farmers from around the U.S. to share the latest in soil science, best practices in soil management, and the emerging technologies that will drive the future of sustainable and regenerative agriculture.  More details on speakers and registration can be found here.  It might be a long way to go but it looks like it would be worth the trip.

Three Part Beekeeping Series — March 8-22

At North Central Michigan College, this class is being taught by Barry Fitzpatrick and Jim Anglewicz.  Both are Master Beekeepers and members of Little Traverse Bay Beekeepers Guild.  This series is free - through a  generous donation from the Marana Tost Fund. 

Sunday, March 8 - Beekeeping - what's it all about?
Sunday, March 15 - The first year
Sunday, March 22 - A successful apiary and its produce
Classes will be held on Sundays, in Room 536 in the SCRC Building, at North Central Community College,   From 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
We look forward to seeing those who are considering starting a hive, as well as those who want to learn more about these amazing creatures.  Register here.

Michigan Recycling Coalition, 38th Annual Conference — May 5-7

Looking to establish, improve, or expand your program or services? Join local and state colleagues for Michigan's premier recycling conference. The three-day event will provide educational opportunities through tours, trainings, and keynote and concurrent presentations that focus on recycling and composting best practices, innovations, and illuminating case studies. The MRC Conference attracts more than 400 attendees from both the public and private sectors. Service providers and program managers of all kinds will benefit from a large exhibit hall land numerous networking opportunities. With 40-50 exhibitors annually, the exhibit hall delivers an exciting variety of recycling resources and contacts to Michigan professionals. More info can be found here.

Michigan Good Food Summit — Nov 16

The 2020 Michigan Good Food Summit will bring together over 500 people to celebrate achievements and launch a renewed effort to advance a good food system in Michigan that promotes equity, sustainability, and thriving economies.  Save the date.  More details coming soon.

Acres Eco-Ag Conference — Dec 1-4

The Eco-Ag Conference sets the standard for innovation and learning in modern agriculture. An educational experience and trade show, the conference unites farmers, ranchers and ag professionals from every facet of eco-farming to share their experience and expertise. Learn the latest in cutting-edge technology and methods, and return home ready to make your farming operation the best it can be. If you’ve never attended, make this the year you do!

We have a lot in the works for the 45th year of the Eco-Ag Conference – including top-notch speakers, educational sessions and unmatched networking opportunities – plus some celebration. Stay tuned for more announcements coming soon!