By Chris Hicks, County Director – UT Extension Smith County
A number of virtual learning opportunities are being made available to farmers this Winter/Spring. While we still plan to conduct a number of face-to-face meetings in 2021, these online meetings make it possible to learn from industry experts across the nation from the comfort of your home or office.
Master Farm Manager: One of two new Master certification programs, the Tennessee Master Farm Manager class will focus on solid business principles and efficiently utilizing resources on the farm. Zoom-based webinar sessions will be held on Thursday nights for eight weeks starting January 21 at 6:00 p.m. Topics include financial statements, recordkeeping, lease agreements, transition planning, and more. Program cost is $100, and online registration is due January 21.
Master Row Crop Producer: This second new educational program is designed to further improve the profitability and sustainability of today’s row crop farming operations. Training module topics include agronomics, integrated pest management, weed and disease management, precision agriculture, irrigation, grain drying and storage, marketing, and more. Producers can receive credit by watching virtual presentations or attending UT Extension events and Field Days. Program cost is $100, and registration is available now.
Master Small Ruminant: This program starts January 26 and will continue every Tuesday night until March 30th from 5:30-7:00 p.m. for 10 total classes. Topics include reproduction, nutrition, health, forages, parasite management, and more. Program cost is $110 and includes a sheep or goat manual, hat, farm sign, and other promotional materials.
Master Beef Producer: The longest running program on this list, Master Beef has been tremendously successful in helping Tennessee farmers learn how to improve their operation. This webinar series will take place on Monday evenings at 5:30 p.m. from January 25 – March 22. Topics include weaning and backgrounding calves, price risk management, pasture weed control, sire selection for commercial producers, and more. Cost is $75 and includes a hat, sign, and certificate.
Master Beef will also be conducted face-to-face at the Smith County Ag Center at 6:00 p.m. on February 16, 18, 23, 25, and March 2. We will be following CDC guidelines and limiting the class size.
For more information on any of these programs, you are encouraged to call the UT Extension office at 615-735-2900.