2021 Live Local Technical Virtual Series

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) Live Local Conference will not be held in its traditional format. IFB transitioned to a technical professional development workshop series focused on farmers, small business, agritourism business, farmers market managers, nonprofits, and value-added producers. These technical workshops are a chance for you to gain new skills, expand your business, and connect with others facing similar challenges.

Summer Workshops

Our summer workshops have ended. Four different summer workshops were offered including Grant Writing, Food Safety, Farmer Market Vendor trainings, and Farmers Market Manager trainings. Thank you to our attendees, partners, and the presenters who made these sessions a success.

Fall Workshops (October thru December)

Workshops will resume in the fall with a QuickBooks Intensive Workshop, Advanced Grant writing, Conflict Management, HR Systems Development, E-Commerce for Farming, and the Certified Farmers Market Manager Class. Read more about our fall line-up below and check back to reserve your spot!

Illinois Certified Farmers Market Manager Course
Illinois Farmers Market Association
All virtual & interactive utilizing Zoom and Google Classroom

Recommended Prerequisite; completion of ILFMA Farmers Market Manager Bootcamp or market manager with at least 2 years’ experience.

  • IL-CFMM offered twice per year; November-January and February-April
  • Monday evenings from 6-8:30 pm
  • Optional technical assistance call held weekly to address individual concerns or topics of interest.

The Illinois Farmers Market is pleased to offer a Certified Farmers Market Manger program for Illinois farmers market managers. In 2020-2021 the pilot was offered, with 19 completing the course.

Managing a farmers market is challenging, and requires a wide range of knowledge and skills. This interactive program learning experience will address real-world market issues, and train market managers in best practices for successful farmers markets. The Certified Farmers Market Manager Program is offered by ILFMA in partnership with the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Registration cost: $250 for member and $350 for non-member of ILFMA

QuickBooks Intensive Workshop
Take a deep dive into understanding your financials.
Instructor: Julia Shanks Food Consulting
Every Tuesday November 9 thru December 7 (2 hours each week for 4 weeks)
*No Class Tuesday November 23

The workshop covers the following topics:

  • How reading your financial statements can help you improve profitability and manage cash flow
  • How to calculate your cost of production, and how does that effect your pricing strategies.
  • Using break-even analysis to set sales goals

This weekly workshop is designed to help both established and beginning farmers understand the financials of their business and learn how to make informed decisions to increase profits. The goals of the workshop are to plan for profit, examine YOUR farm enterprises and better understand financial statements.  It is best suited for those with at least one year of farming or similar experience.

Meet Julia Shanks. A business coach, entrepreneur and author, Julia works with food and agricultural entrepreneurs to help them achieve and maintain financial sustainability. She gives her clients the tools they need to launch, stabilize and grow their ventures. She is a frequent lecturer on sustainable food systems, accounting and small farm business management. She is the author of two books: “The Farmer's Office: Tools, Tips and Templates to Successfully Manage a Growing Farm Business” and “The Farmers Market Cookbook.” Julia earned her MBA from Babson College, and is a QuickBooks certified ProAdvisor.

Advanced Grant Writing Workshop
Completing Your Proposal Workshop
The Grant Training Center
Two days / virtual (3.5 Hours Daily)

This workshop is the third in our series. Put knowledge to action and write your grant proposal. This workshop is designed for advanced grant writers who want to begin or finalize their proposals. It is recommended to have completed the previous two workshops or have experience writing grants. Complete modules toward the development of your full proposal. You will be writing a grant proposal during this workshop.

Human Resource Bundled Workshops

Conflict Management
Instructor: Kristine Ranger, Knowledge Navigators

Begins with an introductory 90-minute Zoom session on Understanding Conflict, plus:

  • Complete one Everything DiSC® Productive Conflict Profile
  • Schedule a one-hour phone coaching session with Kristine Ranger
  • Reconvene for a two-hour Zoom session

Conflict is inevitable and a normal part of life, however, people respond to stimulators in a variety of different ways. At the conclusion of this bundled workshop series, you will have knowledge, skills, tools, and strategies for navigating conversation and conflict in your everyday interactions.


HR System Sessions and Resources
Begins with a two-hour Zoom session on Implementing a Complete HR System:

  • Complete an HR Self-Assessment (HRSA) plus a one-hour phone consult (plus)
  • Schedule a one-hour phone consult with Kristine Ranger
  • Reconvene and deep dive into one or more “Best Practices” workshops (45 minutes each)

Remember, a bad system beats a good person every time! If you skip steps in the process, the resulting system will lack integrity and only cover up the symptoms without addressing the underlying problems. Your business will have integrity and be healthy when it is whole, consistent, and complete; that is, when its management, operations, strategy, and culture fit together and make sense.

E-Commerce for Farming
Instructor: Taidghin O'Brien, The Land Connection
Check back for more information.


For more information, contact Raghela Scavuzzo at 309-557-2155 or rscavuzzo@ilfb.org.