Weeding workshops: Building weed management skills and networks with diverse farmers

Progress report for ONC23-120

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2023: $49,707.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2025
Grant Recipient: University of Wisconsin - Madison Division of Extension
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Anne Pfeiffer
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Project Information


Weeds can severely reduce crop yield and farm profitability. Choosing weeding tools can be confusing, and it’s not uncommon for vegetable growers to buy expensive tools that don’t work for them. Farmers learn more and learn better when they can experiment with weeding tools in the field, learning from experts and farmers in the process, but such opportunities are rare. Historically underserved farmers have additional barriers to accessing weed management resources. For example, immigrant growers often lack access to trainings delivered in their primary languages or presented in culturally relevant ways. This project will educate vegetable farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa about weeding tools through four on-farm workshops, hosted at farms operated by HMoob, Latinx, and women farmers, making these events more welcoming to HMoob and Spanish-speaking growers. Host farmers will receive expert training in the use of new weeding tools on their farms during the season so they can share their experiences in their native languages at the workshops. The workshops will demonstrate three scales of weeding tools for farmers to try and will include HMoob and Spanish interpretation. Post-project, the tools will be stored at Fondy Farm and available to farmers and ag professionals for training.

Project Objectives:
  • Improve weed management knowledge and skills on vegetable farms by hosting culturally-appropriate, farmer-led, hands-on workshops accessible to farmers in WI, MN, IL, IA (with targeted outreach to HMoob and Latinx growers)
  • Provide farmers with strategic understanding to guide their investments in weeding tools
  • Strengthen farmer networks to promote continued farmer-to-farmer learning
  • Promote and model the development of inclusive, culturally and linguistically accessible field days for other ag professionals and Extension colleagues
  • Build relationships and trust between Extension and underserved growers (with a focus on HMoob and Latinx farmers)


Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Stephen Petro - Technical Advisor (Educator)
  • Rodrigo Cala - Technical Advisor (Educator)


Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

18 Consultations
2 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
5 On-farm demonstrations
2 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

21 Farmers participated
6 Ag professionals participated
Education/outreach description:

UW-Madison Extension staff worked with organizational partners and farmers at Fondy Farm to coach growers in the use of mechanized cultivation tools. SARE funds were used to purchase a tool library that was made available to Fondy farmers throughout the 2023 growing season with several opportunities for small group demonstration and workshops allowing growers to utilize the tools and learn the benefits that each tool might offer to increase efficiency of farm operations. A small group of 4-6 farmers worked with the tools through the summer and an additional 18 attended a field day showcasing mechanized tillage approaches.

Information Products

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.