USI offering noncredit agriculture programs

University of Southern Indiana Outreach and Engagement is offering a series of noncredit agriculture courses as part of its Lifelong Learning program. These low-cost programs, designed in part from feedback provided by farmers in the region, will cover a variety of topics and will be offered throughout the year.

Lifelong Learning courses are open to anyone in the community regardless of educational background. All courses are presented in a noncompetitive atmosphere, where interest in learning is the primary consideration. No grades are assigned and formal admission to the University is not required for course registration.

The first four one-session courses offered in August and September will be on the following topics:

  • Soil Sustainability- Back to Basics – This program will discuss the concept of sustainable agriculture and why it is important to satisfy human food and fiber needs, enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends. Participants will learn to make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources, integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls, sustain the economic viability of farm operations and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society. Soil basics will be discussed including soil structure, minerals, organic matter, humus, living organisms and nutrients. This one-session class will be offered from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18.
  • Family Farm Transfer and Estate Planning – This class is designed to guide estate planning and transfer of assets process. Participants will learn how planning now can help reduce taxes on the transfer of appreciated farmland and address the settlement problems that may arise. The class will discuss the pros and cons of various entities including: Limited Liability Company, Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, Limited Partnership and Corporation. This one-session class will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 25.
  • Ag Technology-GIS, GPS and Drones!– This course will discuss the development and implementation of precision or site-specific farming that has been made possible by combining Global Positioning System (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS). These technologies combine real-time data collection and accurate position information. GPS-based applications in precision farming are being used for farm planning, field mapping, soil sampling, tractor guidance, crop scouting, variable rate applications and yield mapping. GPS allows farmers to work during low visibility field conditions such as rain, dust, fog and darkness. Drones can cover more ground in a shorter amount of time than people and can collect data on plant height, count and biomass estimates, presence of disease and weeds, plant health and field nutrients and 3D elevation. This one-session class will be offered from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26.
  • Yield Risk Management: Beyond the Field-Utilizing the Federal Crop Insurance Program- This course will examine the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) program and the role of private and governmental participants. Learn the relationship between the private insurance companies, their managing general agencies (MGAs), the FCIC, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) and the private reinsurers that are the foundation of the program. This course will not focus on policy selection, coverage levels or other matters best answered by crop insurance agents or adjusters and no specific companies or products will be recommended. This one-session class will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 2.

For more information or to register, contact USI Outreach and Engagement at 812-464-1989. Registration also may be completed online at