Rethinking Agronomy Day at U of I means pop-up events and more
URBANA, Ill. – In its 65th year, the University of Illinois’ “Agronomy Day” is a day no more. Instead, the Department of Crop Sciences, the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and Illinois Extension will host a series of events all season long. They will include traditional field days as well as new pop-up tailgate events and shade tree talks.
Field days happen throughout the summer and the state, and some require pre-registration. For example, a small grains field day is set for June 8 on the South Farms in Urbana. As usual for field days, participants will tour research demonstration plots and hear directly from researchers on the latest findings.
Shade tree talks will mirror traditional outreach talks, but with a less formal feel. These will be at the Seed House at the South Farms and will include light refreshments. Field days and shade tree talks will be listed in a live calendar on the Agronomy Days website.
Tailgates offer an in-the-moment, behind-the-scenes look at crop science research as it’s happening.
“An on-farm tailgate is an impromptu invitation for our stakeholders to visit us informally on our research farms to see something interesting as it’s happening. No tents, no food, just a field operation or demo plot and conversation. If the field operation is in process, we’ll have a docent on hand to explain what’s going on,” says Adam Davis, head of the Department of Crop Sciences.
Davis says possible tailgates include typical field operations as well as more specialized events such as harvest days at the Morrow Plots, experiencing biomass crop harvest on the Energy Farm, or helping move the high tunnels on the Student Sustainable Farm.
“Every week of the growing season, something interesting is happening on our research farms. Because field work unfolds unpredictably, these events won’t be scheduled months in advance—rather, it’s a standing invitation to the public to visit our farms, with the understanding that if they check in regularly, they will be able to find something useful to attend,” he adds.
Davis says the farming public can head over to the Crop Sciences YouTube channel for even more informative content. The channel features presentations from past Agronomy Days and many other practical resources, making it a great choice for the cab or the recliner.