Cabin fever can set in during Minnesota’s winter weather, especially for farmers used to outdoor work.

State agriculture officials are countering that with a number of workshops for farmers on Jan. 7 in St. Cloud at the River’s Edge Convention Center.  Farmers can choose one of four workshops, most of which last all day.

A session on winter greenhouses will present information about the design, construction, financing and management of greenhouses to produce fresh market crops, even in the dead of winter.  Experienced greenhouse growers and university experts will teach the full-day workshop.

Transitioning from conventional to organic field crops will be the focus of a different session. It will emphasize strategies for producers to cope with the 36-month transition period that is normally required in switching to organic.

Livestock health care with less reliance on antibiotics and medications will be a third workshop, with emphasis on practical homeopathy for swine, beef and dairy producers.  It will be taught by Pennsylvanian veterinarian Susan Beal.

And a final choice, with a half-day schedule, will be a workshop introducing interested growers to perennial fruits in Minnesota, which can include strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, plums, apples, and even pears.  The session will include information about the varieties that grow in the state, site selection, pollination requirements, sources for planting stock and other tips.

Full-day workshops cost $50, and more information is available at

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