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SDSU Extension Launches New Virtual Vegetable Production Training Series

South Dakota State University Extension is launching a new online training opportunity for current and prospective vegetable growers.

The South Dakota Virtual Vegetable Short Course is a four-part educational series geared toward commercial specialty crop farmers, gardeners and Master Gardeners. Nonprofits, business partners and members of the general public are also welcome to attend.

Meant to empower South Dakota producers to improve and expand their operations, the Vegetable Short Course will provide practical, science-based vegetable production.

“This event will be great for curious, beginning, and current vegetable farmers who may be growing on a small to medium scale,” said Kristine Lang, Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist. “But home gardeners and employees of businesses and organizations who support farmers and gardeners are always welcome, and are certain to learn some tips and tricks, as well.”

The South Dakota Virtual Vegetable Short Course is made possible by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program award administered by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Topics presented will include cover crop integration, soil health improvement, weed management, and integrated pest management. This year’s event will feature farmers, researchers and technical experts from Iowa and South Dakota.

“This course is a wonderful balance of land grant university research updates and practical on-farm experiences,” said Lang. “We're excited to feature experts from South Dakota as well as our neighbors in Iowa to share new ideas with everyone who attends.”

Lang and Rhoda Burrows, SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist, are leading a growing team of Extension specialists, faculty and graduate students who are eager to meet the needs of South Dakota farmers through research and outreach to reduce tillage, improve soil health and improve vegetable production in a changing climate.

They are also working with regional partners to spread the message and impact even further. The first annual short course is an intentional move to increase support for South Dakota’s specialty crop producers.

“This is a great way to learn right from your own home without winter travel,” Burrows also noted.

Courses will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. MST/7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. CST on Jan. 31, Feb. 2, 7 and 9. They are free, but registration is required. One registration will provide access to all four events. To register, visit the SDSU Extension Events page at and search for “vegetable”.

  • Jan. 31, 6-7:30 p.m. MST / 7:00-8:30 p.m. CST. Mesotunnels: Do they make sense for organic cucurbits in the Upper Midwest? Speaker: Mark Gleason, Iowa State University
  • Feb. 2, 6-7:30 p.m. MST / 7:00-8:30 p.m. CST. Evolving Strategy and Tactics for Organic Weed Management. Speaker: Jordan Scheibel, Middle Way Farm
  • Feb. 7, 6-7:30 p.m. MST / 7:00-8:30 p.m. CST. Managing for Soil Health in the Garden. Speakers: Peggy Martin, Cedar Creek Gardens and Kent Vlieger, South Dakota NRCS.
  • Feb. 9, 6-7:30 p.m. MST / 7:00-8:30 p.m. CST. Managing Cover Crops as a Living Mulch for Vegetable Production. Speakers: Kristine Lang, SDSU Extension and Rhoda Burrows, SDSU Extension.

Some sessions may be recorded and made available after the event on the SDSU Extension YouTube channel.

For more information, contact Lang, Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist.

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Categories: South Dakota, Crops, Fruits and Vegetables

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