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SDSU Extension to host virtual training series on vegetable production

Rows of vegetables are shown with netting protection over them
The second annual South Dakota Virtual Vegetable Short Course topics will include cover crop integration, soil health improvement, weed management and integrated pest management for field and high tunnel production. (SDSU Extension photo)

BROOKINGS, S.D. – SDSU Extension’s horticulture team will host a webinar training series for current and aspiring vegetable producers. 

The second annual South Dakota Virtual Vegetable Short Course is a four-part educational series that will take place via Zoom from 6 to 7:30 p.m. MT/7 to 8:30 p.m. CST on Jan. 22, 24, 29 and 31, 2024. Registration is required to access the Zoom link. They are free to attend. 

Each webinar will provide practical, science-based vegetable production information. Small- to medium-scale commercial specialty crop farmers, gardeners and Master Gardeners, nonprofits, industry business partners and members of the public interested to know more about vegetable production are encouraged to attend.

Last year’s inaugural event drew more than 400 participants from across the Midwest, featuring regional speakers and dynamic engagement from attendees during question-and-answer sessions. 

This year’s event will follow a similar format with expert presenters for three of the sessions, plus one session featuring a panel of SDSU graduate and research assistants. Sessions will be moderated by SDSU Extension specialists Kristine Lang and Rhoda Burrows. 

Topics will include cover crop integration, soil health improvement, weed management and integrated pest management for field and high tunnel production. Attendees will have plenty of time to ask questions and engage with each presenter.

“We have a great lineup of topics for growers wanting to learn more about managing soil fertility, especially in the unique environment of high tunnels,” said Burrows, professor and SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist, also highlighting pest management in high tunnels and the use of cover crops. “The speakers are all regionally based, so they bring particular expertise to our growing conditions.” 

Presenters are Natalie Hoidal, a local foods and vegetable production Extension educator at the University of Minnesota; Laura Ingwell, assistant professor of entomology at Purdue University; and Moriah Bilenky, assistant professor of sustainable horticulture at Purdue University. 

“This year we've invited three research and Extension specialist from across the Midwest, so we'll get excellent technical production information from some fresh perspectives,” said Lang, assistant professor and SDSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist. “The great thing about a virtual event is a speaker from Indiana can talk about high tunnels right in your South Dakota living room.” 

The student panel features Alexis Barnes, Connor Ruen and Hannah Voye, graduate research assistants, and Joslyn Fousert, who is the agronomy and horticulture research assistant at the SDSU Southeast Research Farm by Beresford. Their research work includes cover crops, mulching, and the effects of soil tarping.

“This will be a great chance to get research updates from the work going on within South Dakota,” Lang said. 

To register, visit the SDSU Extension Events page and search “vegetable”. 

For more information, contact Kristine Lang, assistant professor and SDSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist; or Rhoda Burrows, professor and SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist.