Spinning off its successful Strategic Farming webinars offered during the winter, crop scientists with the University of Minnesota are meeting online weekly to talk with farmers about current conditions and topics of interest.
At 7:30 a.m. every Wednesday morning, U-M Extension’s Field Notes program meets live for half an hour, offering a brief presentation on a specific topic and then opening it up with time for viewer questions.
“We were inspired by survey results from our winter programs,” says Jared Goplen, an Extension crops educator based in Morris. “It gave farmers a chance to be more engaging in virtual format.”
Realizing that at this point in the pandemic, some people are “Zoomed out” with virtual meetings, Goplen says Extension staff want to keep these weekly meeting short, informal and open for growers to ask questions. Weekly topics are announced ahead of time. Thus far, the meetings have covered current crop conditions, marketing, early-season crop pests, scouting and early-season weed management.
Goplen, along with Extension educators Anthony Hanson, Ryan Miller and Dave Nicolai, and soybean agronomist Seth Naeve, leads the weekly effort.
Interested? Register once online at Strategic Farming: Field Notes, click on “Register for Field Notes” and you will receive weekly email notices about upcoming webinars. You may attend one or all future webinars. It’s up to you.
If you want to submit questions to be asked during the meeting, email Goplen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can’t make the live session? Each webinar is recorded and posted later that day, so you can view it later. Listen to it at your convenience via your podcast streaming service. Listen in your web browser (z.umn.edu/fieldnotespodcast), or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher.
Goplen says Extension plans to host the weekly webinars throughout the summer scouting season and into August. Depending on conditions and feedback, Extension staff might cut back to every-other-week meetings or impromptu sessions if concerns pop up.
“It’s been a learning curve for us, too, working on these,” he adds. “We’ve received some feedback, and in general, it’s been positive.” An online brief survey form gives viewers the chance to comment after each webinar.
If you haven’t tuned in live or viewed a recent webinar, I encourage you to do so. The information shared and spontaneous discussion is timely and applicable.