For many regional farmers, the weather made 2007 a difficult year. While continuing education can't affect killing freezes or drought, it can help the bottom line. That's why field days are so valuable, say officials with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.

The institute sponsors several educational events throughout the year at 10 research and education centers within the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station system. Each event is designed to help farmers improve their operations.

Topics range from dairy and beef production to growing vegetables and forage and conservation tillage methods.

The first event is the Dairy Nutrition and Milk Quality Conference on March 26 at the Dairy Research and Education Center in Lewisburg.

The popular Milan No-Till Field Day returns on July 24, and the Plateau Research and Education Center's Steak and Potatoes Field Day is planned for Aug. 5.

Most of the events will be free and open to the public and will feature a trade show of vendors demonstrating the latest technologies available for purchase.

A complete schedule of the 2008 UT Field Days is available online at http://agriculture.tennessee.edu/news/FieldDays/. Details about each event will be posted as they become available.

In addition to the field days that focus on producer education, several events will be held for the benefit of homeowners and specialized businesses. The West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson will hold its annual Summer Celebration — focusing on home gardening and landscaping — on July 10, and a Turfgrass Day will be held in September for those in the turf industry.