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2022 Agriculture Webinar and Dinner Meeting Series

Snow covered cattle in field.

Each winter, WVU Extension brings education, know-how and research right to your community through a series of educational dinner meetings. This year, we're offering a mix of virtual and in-person meeting opportunities across West Virginia for the 2022 agriculture education series!

Participants had the same opportunity to learn from WVU Extension specialists and industry experts about relevant topics to help you improve your own agricultural operations.

As part of the February series, a new farm-focused weekly webinar session will be presented via Zoom each Thursday. In March, additional agricultural topics will be explored during regional dinner meetings hosted throughout the state.

Below is an overview of each course. Be sure to check out the March dinner meeting topics! RSVP information for each session is provided below. The registration window for all February webinar sessions has already closed, but recordings from each session are available at the links below.

Webinar Series

Adaptive Grazing 101

February 17 at 7 p.m. Rescheduled for March 29 at 7 p.m.

Presenter: Allen Williams

Allen Williams is a sixth-generation family farmer and founding partner of Grass Fed Insights, LLC, Understanding Ag, LLC, and the Soil Health Academy. He has consulted with more than 4,000 farmers and ranchers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America, and other countries, on operations ranging from a few acres to over one million acres.

Allen pioneered many of the early regenerative grazing protocols and forage finishing techniques, and he now teaches those practices and principles to farmers globally. He is a “recovering academic,” having served 15 years on the faculty at Louisiana Tech University and Mississippi State University. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in Animal Science from Clemson University and a doctorate in Livestock Genetics from LSU. He has authored more than 400 scientific and popular press articles, and he is an invited speaker at regional, national, and international conferences and symposia.

Allen and his colleagues specialize in whole farm and ranch planning based on the concept of regenerative agriculture. Their approach creates significant “value add” and prepares the landowner for multiple enterprise/revenue stream opportunities that stack enterprises and acres. This approach allows for enhanced profitability and/or investment value. They routinely conduct workshops and seminars across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

This session will cover the principles of adaptive grazing management and illustrate the economic and ecosystem benefits of implementation.

Register for the March 29 Webinar

Grazing for Carbon and Ecosystem Health

February 3 at 7 p.m.

Presenter: Gabe Brown

Gabe Brown, along with his wife Shelly and son Paul, own and operate Brown’s Ranch, a diversified 5,000-acre farm and ranch near Bismarck, North Dakota. The ranch consists of several thousand acres of native perennial rangeland along with perennial pastureland and cropland. Their ranch focuses on farming and ranching in nature’s image.

The Browns holistically integrate their grazing and no-till cropping systems, which include a wide variety of cash crops, multi-species cover crops along with all natural grass finished beef and lamb. They also raise pastured laying hens, broilers and swine. This diversity and integration has regenerated the natural resources on the ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides.

The Browns are part owners of a state inspected abattoir, which allows them to direct market their products. They believe that healthy soil leads to clean air, clean water, healthy plants, animals and people.

Gabe and Brown’s Ranch have received many forms of recognition for their work, including a Growing Green Award from the Natural Resource Defense Council, an Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and a Zero-Till Producer of the Year Award, to name a few. Gabe has also been named one of the 25 most influential agricultural leaders in the United States.

This session will cover grazing management principles and techniques to improve carbon sequestration and overall ecosystem health.

The webinar has passed, but the recording is available for viewing at any time through June 1.

Watch the Webinar Recording

Managed Grazing in Challenging Terrain

February 10 at 7 p.m.

Presenter: Cooper Hibbard

Cooper Hibbard grew up near Helena, Montana. He studied Agricultural Business, Rangeland Resources, and Spanish at Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, and after graduating he spent four years traveling the world and working on ranches. He’s now the manager at Sieben Live Stock Co., where he is the fifth generation to manage the family ranch outside of Cascade, Montana. Aside from ranching, his other passions are good books, good music, and traveling with his wife, Ashley, and their daughter, Posey.

The webinar has passed, but the recording is available for viewing at any time through June 1.

Watch the Webinar Recording

Using Sheep and Goats to Improve Profitability

February 24 at 7 p.m.

Presenter: Brad Smith

Brad Smith is the WVU Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Grant County, West Virginian, and the former director of West Virginia Small Ruminant Project. Brad has been involved in raising sheep his entire life and has been in many multi-species grazing projects. Brad, along with his wife, currently run about 150 sheep with 15 goats and seven horses. They practice extended grazing, multi-species grazing and rotational grazing with a goal to graze 10 months out of the year.  

This session will discuss how adding small ruminants to your production systems can increase profitability, focusing on the areas of multi-species grazing, herd health, marketing, out-of-season breeding and general small ruminant management.

The webinar has passed, but the recording is available for viewing at any time through June 1.

Watch the Webinar Recording

Dinner Meeting Series

High Tunnel Management – New Ideas for 2022 and Beyond 

March 7-9 in Raleigh, Fayette and Mercer Counties

Presenter: Lewis Jett

Lewis Jett is the WVU Extension Commercial Horticulture Specialist. Dr. Jett is a native of West Virginia and works with commercial horticulture crop producers across West Virginia. His interests include vegetables, fruits, herbs and native plants. A major focus of his research and outreach projects has been high tunnel crop management. 

This presentation will provide new, up-to-date information for anyone interested in high tunnel crop production. New and more efficient ways to heat, cool, irrigate and fertilize will be discussed. In addition, new crops with high profit potential will be discussed. Producers will receive information which can improve efficiency of high tunnel specialty crop production and will be presented options for year-round specialty crop production using high tunnels in West Virginia.

High Tunnel Management Dinner Meeting Details:

March 7, 6 p.m. at Shady Spring Middle School – To RSVP, contact David Richmond at david.richmond@mail.wvu.edu, 304-244-9321 or 304-466-7166.

March 8, 5:30 p.m. at Sunday Road Baptist Church  – To RSVP, contact Brian Sparks at bsparks@mail.wvu.edu 304-574-4234 or 304-872-7898.

March 9, 5:30 p.m. at Glenwood Park 4-H Camp  – To RSVP, contact Jodi Richmond at jodi.richmond@mail.wvu.edu or  304-425-3079 .

NOTE: Please RSVP for all dinner meetings at least two weeks in advance.

The Eastern Coyote: Ecology and Management

March 7-10 in Ohio, Monongalia, Harrison and Tucker Counties

Presenter: Sheldon Owen

Sheldon Owen earned a bachelor's degree in Forestry and Wildlife Management from Mississippi State University in 1998. He then conducted graduate work at the University of Georgia, where he earned a master's degree in 2000, and at West Virginia University, where he earned a doctorate in Forest Resource Science in 2003. The primary focus of his graduate research involved the ecology of forest-dwelling bats and raccoons in association with intensive forest management. He served as a Wildlife Disease Biologist for the National Wildlife Disease Program within USDA/APHIS Wildlife Services in South Carolina for five years. Then, he served as a Supervisory Wildlife Biologist for the South Carolina Program of Wildlife Services until 2010. He is currently the wildlife specialist for WVU Extension. 

Join us to learn more about the ecology of the eastern coyote. This session will discuss their natural history, interesting behaviors, as well as their record-pacing range expansion. Finally, we will cover management techniques to help WV landowners minimize coyote conflicts.

Easter Coyote Dinner Meeting Details:

March 7, 6:30 p.m. at Valley Grove Community Building – To RSVP, contact Karen Cox at karen.cox@mail.wvu.edu or 304-234-3673.

March 8, 6 p.m. at WVU Monongalia County Extension Office – To RSVP, contact Sheryl Jarvis at sbjarvis@mail.wvu.edu or 304-291-7201.

March 9, 6:30 p.m. at West Milford Community Building – To RSVP, contact Jennifer Friend at jefriend@mail.wvu.edu or 304-624-8650.

March 10, 6 p.m. at Camp Kidd – To RSVP, contact Jesica Streets at jesica.streets@mail.wvu.edu or 304-478-2949.

NOTE: Please RSVP for all dinner meetings at least two weeks in advance.

Changing the Grazing Mentality: Learning to Treat Pasture as a Crop 

March 7-10 in Mineral, Hampshire, Hardy and Berkeley Counties

Presenter: Ben Goff

Ben Goff is originally from Grafton, WV and was raised on a small cattle farm. He earned is BS in Agronomy from West Virginia University in 2007 before continuing his education and earning his MS from Iowa State University in Crop Production & Physiology and his PhD from the University of Kentucky in Crop Science. Ben currently serves as the Agriculture & Natural Resource Agent for Mason and Putnam Counties.  Before coming to WVU, Ben was an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky and taught courses on forage management and statistics, while conducting research on improving the utilization of forage legumes in various cropping systems.

Despite having the largest acreage of farmland devoted to its production across WV and the nation, many producers overlook the systematic management of pastures compared to other crops.  This talk will discuss the most common overlooked management needs of pasture systems and provide several simple tips for changes producers may make to change the grazing mentality and increase profitability.

Pasture Grazing Dinner Meeting Details:

March 7, 7 p.m. at Brookdale Farm Wedding Barn, Fort Ashby – To RSVP, contact Stacey Huffman at smhuffman@mail.wvu.edu or 304-788-3621.

March 8, 6 p.m. at Location TBA, Hampshire County – To RSVP, contact Candace DeLong at candace.delong@mail.wvu.edu or 304-822-5013.

March 9, 6 p.m. at Northfork Ruritan – To RSVP, contact Brad Smith at brad.smith@mail.wvu.edu or 304-257-4688.

March 10, 6:30 p.m. at WVU Kearneysville Tree Fruit Education Center – To RSVP, contact Mary Beth Bennett at mbbennett@mail.wvu.edu or 304-264-1936.

NOTE: Please RSVP for all dinner meetings at least two weeks in advance.

Soil Testing and Fertility

March 14-17 in Pendleton, Pocahontas, Greenbrier and Monroe Counties

Presenter: Tom Basden

Tom Basden is an extension associate professor and nutrient management specialist with WVU-Extension. He currently works in the areas of soil fertility, nutrient management and water quality. During the last 15 years as an extension educator Tom's focus has been on agricultural non-point source pollution and watershed protection issues. His area of concentration is animal waste and nutrient management research and educational programs for West Virginia beef, dairy, and poultry farmers. Tom also provides composting and soil fertility educational programs to master gardeners and small vegetable farmers throughout the State. An example funded research project tall grass hay yield and forage quality response to different rates of poultry litter, fertilizer and bio-solids  

This talk will focus on the new soil testing lab system, including a review of sampling methods, submission of prepared soil samples, new method of analysis, new recommendation system that includes determining the predominant soil series where the soil sample was taken.

Soil Testing & Fertility Dinner Meeting Details:

March 14, 6:30 p.m. at Pendleton Community Building, Franklin – To RSVP, contact Dave Seymour at dave.seymour@mail.wvu.edu or 304-358-2286.

March 15, 6:30 p.m. at Marlinton Municipal Building – To RSVP, contact Greg Hamons at greg.hamons@mail.wvu.edu or 304-799-4852.

March 16, 6:30 p.m. at WVU Building, State Fairgrounds – To RSVP, contact Josh Peplowski at joshua.peplowski@mail.wvu.edu or 304-647-7408.

March 17, 6:30 p.m. at Location TBA, Monroe County – To RSVP, contact Brian Wickline at brian.wickline@mail.wvu.edu or 304-772-3003.

NOTE: Please RSVP for all dinner meetings at least two weeks in advance.

Alternative Enterprise Opportunities

March 21-24 in Cabell, Roane, Ritchie and Wood Counties

Presenter: Allison Tomlinson

Allison Tomlinson- a wife, mother to two, entrepreneur, farmer, and community servant.  Tomlinson is a Monroe County native that currently serves her home county as a part-time WVU Extension Service Agent in Family Community Development.  Much of her Extension Service efforts focus on sustainable tourism development and marketing.  She enjoys incorporating business development and financial literacy into her programming, especially when she can include her love for agriculture.  Allison is part of a multi-generational beef cattle operation.  While their operation is primarily comprised of commercial cows, they also retain calves for stockers and also have a Spring and Fall Calving Purebred Angus and Hereford herd. 

Alternative enterprises allow farmers to potentially earn higher profits by supplementing or replacing traditional farm operation income sources.  The intention of this session is to consider one’s resources, goals and skill sets to explore entrepreneurial opportunities that may or may not closely align with current agricultural endeavors.  Willingness to look at diversification and profitability can strengthen the core business and personal goals/objectives. 

Alternative Enterprise Dinner Meeting Details:

March 21, 6 p.m. at WVU Cabell County Extension Office – To RSVP, contact Evan Wilson at jewilson@mail.wvu.edu or 304-272-6839.

March 22, 7 p.m. at Roane County Library – To RSVP, contact Brandy Brabham at brandy.brabham@mail.wvu.edu or 304-927-0975.

March 23, 6 p.m. at Ritchie County 4-H Grounds – To RSVP, contact Audra Cunningham at audra.cunningham@mail.wvu.edu or 304-643-5200. 

March 24, 7 p.m. at Fort Boreman Room, Judge Black Annex, Wood County Courthouse – To RSVP, contact J.J. Barrett at jj.barrett@mail.wvu.edu or 304-424-1960.

NOTE: Please RSVP for all dinner meetings at least two weeks in advance.