Starting this month, Purdue Extension will offer a series of traditional winter farm meetings with a digital-age twist: Participants and presenters from throughout the state will be linked via the Internet.

"Winter has traditionally been the time for farmers across the Hoosier state to get together over coffee and talk about the major issues in agriculture,” said Roy Ballard, a Purdue Extension educator and series coordinator. “Today we can still conduct these meetings, but we also have the capability of tapping experts from Purdue and around the globe and ‘bringing’ them here to our meeting place, your office computer or even your phone."

What organizers are calling the "Doughnut Series" of farm meetings begins Jan. 14 and runs every other Wednesday from 7:30-9 a.m. through March 25.

Ballard said the name was appropriate because, “We’re getting together early in the morning and our goal is to keep Indiana farmers 'in the dough' and 'out of the hole.'"

There will be host locations in 19 counties. Farmers attending a meeting at any of the local sites will be able to chat with other participants and presenters statewide.

Extension offices participating in the meetings, and the local numbers to call for site and schedule information, are:

Allen County, 260-481-6826; Bartholomew County, 812-379-1665; Boone County, 765-482-0750 (last four sessions only); Decatur County, 812-663-8388; Delaware County, 765-747-7732; Franklin County, 765-647-3511; Grant County, 765-651-2413; Hancock County, 317-462-1113; Jay County, 260-726-4707; Jefferson County, 812-265-8919; Johnson County, 317-736-3724; Knox County, 812-882-3509; Kosciusko County, 574-372-2340 (last four sessions only); Madison County. 765-641-9514; Marion County, 317-275-9305; Pike County, 812-354-6838; Rush County, 765-932-5974; Shelby County, 317-392-6460; Vermillion County, 765-492-5330; Washington County, 812-883-4601.

Each meeting in the series will focus on a different issue in agricultural production or agribusiness.

“These meetings will be offered as independent sessions on a broad array of topics from pest management, soil health and cover crops to farm equipment, weather forecasting, post-harvest management and marketing,” Ballard said.

Dates, topics and presenters are:

  • Jan. 14 - “The Basics of Introducing Cover Crops into Your Corn/Bean Rotation,” and “Cover Crop Selector Tool”: Eileen Kladivko, professor of agronomy.
  • Jan. 28 - “Farm-Related Research at Purdue University and the PACs”: Karen Plaut, senior associate dean for research and faculty affairs and director of agricultural research.
  • Feb. 11 - “Using Nitrogen Wisely for the 2015 Corn Crop”: James Camberato, associate professor of agronomy.
  • Feb. 25 - “U2U Decision Support Tools”: Melissa Widhalm, U2U project manager, and Hans Schmitz, Gibson County Extension educator.
  • March 11 - “Agronomic Checklist for a Successful Corn Crop”: Bob Nielsen, professor of agronomy and Extension corn specialist.
  • March 25 - “Maintaining Grain Quality in Storage”: Linda Mason, professor of food industry pest management and insect behavior.

Admission to the meetings is free, but registration is required. For more information, contact your local Extension office.