Cahokia Rice to Host Twilight Meeting

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YES, rice is being grown in Illinois!  Blake Gerard of Cahokia Rice is teaming up with University of Illinois Extension to host the last of four twilight meetings at his farm on Monday, August 20, 2018 starting at 6 p.m.  University of Illinois Extension Local Food Systems & Small Farms Educators, Bronwyn Aly and Nathan Johanning, have been partnering with area farmers over the past four years to provide four evening “twilight meetings” to highlight and demonstrate diverse farming enterprises across southern Illinois.  Anyone involved or interested in local food production or learning more about farms in our region is encouraged and invited to attend.  Blake Gerard Farms/Cahokia Rice is located just north of East Cape Girardeau along the Mississippi River in Alexander County.  Blake has been row crop farming full time since he was 20 years old, currently farming a total of 2200 acres with 1100 acres in rice production.  He has the distinct honor of being the first farmer to grow rice in Illinois, and up until three years ago, Blake was the only rice farmer in the state.  Seeing the demand for local, Illinois grown products in other commodities, Blake began growing a high protein rice variety that is marketed as Cahokia Rice.  Cahokia Rice is custom milled in small batches and has found its way into local businesses, restaurants, and a few grocery stores across Illinois.  With nearly 20 years of experience, Blake has a passion for growing and managing this unique Illinois crop.

Over the course of the evening, Blake will share his experience with rice production in Illinois and how he has expanded his operation over the years.  We will be covering everything from production practices to water management strategies to post harvest handling and marketing.  We encourage anyone interested in learning more about rice production and marketing in southern Illinois to capitalize on this on-farm learning and networking opportunity.

DATE:                       Monday, August 20, 2018

TIME:                        6 p.m.

LOCATION:            26845 Ditch Rd., McClure, IL  62957

DIRECTIONS:        The farm is located behind the rest area on IL Rt 3 on Ditch Rd.  11 miles south of the intersection of IL 146 and Rt 3 at Ware, IL and 3/4 of a mile north of the junction of Rt 3 and IL 146 at East Cape Girardeau.

This program is provided at no cost but pre-registration is appreciated.  Please register online at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ghhpsw/or by calling 618-695-6060 no later than Friday, August 17, 2018.  For more information about the Twilight Meeting contact:

Bronwyn Aly – baly@illinois.edu; 618-695-6060

Nathan Johanning – njohann@illinois.edu; 618-687-1727

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