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Small Grains Workshop

Registration is $75. Sign up here!

Small Grains Workshop 
Spence Farm Foundation
December 10, 2015, 9:00am-4:00pm
The workshop costs $75 and includes lunch, plus a folder and flash drive packed with resources. 

Marty and Will Travis - owner/operators, Spence Farm, Fairbury, IL
Bill Davison - Extension agent, Bloomington, IL
Andy Hazzard - owner/operator, Hazzard Free Farm, Pecatonica, IL
Greg Wade - head baker, Publican Quality Bread, Chicago, IL

Our upcoming Small Grains Workshop brings some of Illinois' best growers together to share their knowledge and experience. The workshop will feature presentations and question-and-answer with successful small grain growers. It will also include perspective from a Chicago chef who buys small grains, and a detailed tour of the equipment, milling and storage facilities at the farm. Attendees will leave with detailed knowledge of production and marketing practices for small grain production in the Midwest, and the ability to network with like-minded regional growers and buyers.


Directions to Spence Farm, Fairbury, IL: 

From Chicago  -  I-55 south to Dwight, exit 220. South on Rt. 47 approx. 30 miles. After Forrest, Right on County Rd 300. Straight 6 miles (two stops, do not follow curve), Left on Road 2100. First farm on Right side (red barn, white roof).


From Champaign  -  I-74 west to Mahomet. North on Rt. 47 approx. 45 miles. After Strawn, turn Left on County Rd 300. 6 miles (two stops and do not follow curve). Left on Road 2100. First farm on Right side (red barn, white roof).


From Bloomington/Normal  - I-55 north to Chenoa. Right onto Rt. 24 toward Fairbury. In Fairbury, Right at stop light (only one in town). Right at “T” and follow this road (2100) south approximately 4 miles. Just after Country Rd. 300, first farm on Right side (red barn, white roof.)



9:00-9:10 Introductions

9:10-9:30 Opening discussion

  • What is the current demand for small grains?

  • What are the barriers to the market?

  • What do farmers need?

9:30-10:15 Presentation, Bill Davison

  • Opportunities, challenges, and potential for small grain production in Illinois

  • Historical perspective on small grain production in the region

  • Latest on breeding and other research that could influence Illinois small grain production in the coming decade

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-11:15 Presentation, Greg Wade

  • Why buy local small grains?

  • Challenges of working with local small grains

  • Upcoming opportunities in both his work and the larger region

  • How to successfully market to chefs, bakers, and other small wholesale buyers

11:15-12:00 Panel: Bill Davison, Greg Wade, Andy Hazzard, Marty and Will Travis, Harold Wilken

  • Marketing challenges and potential for growth in the small grain market

  • “What sells and what doesn’t”

12:00-12:45 Lunch

12:45-1:45 Tour of Spence Farm

  • Storage, milling, and packaging at the farm

  • Production equipment

1:45-2:00 Small grains production quiz

2:00-2:45 Presentation: Marty and Will Travis

  • Varieties for successful production

  • Weed and disease challenges

2:45-3:00 Break

3:00-4:00 Presentation: Andy Hazzard

  • Transitioning from produce to grains: why and how

  • Start-up pains

  • Selecting varieties

  • Retail small grain marketing

Contact Jeff Hake at if have questions about the workshop.