Iowa State Extension and Outreach recently welcomed a new field specialist focusing on commercial vegetable and specialty crops. Dan Fillius took over the role on June 7 and is looking forward to helping growers be successful and facilitating communication between them and specialists.
“I want to use the experience of being a vegetable farmer to share successes and troubleshoot problems growers are having,” Fillius said. “But I want to emphasize that I haven’t seen everything, so I want to listen to growers and facilitate knowledge sharing between them. There is so much knowledge held in our grower population.”
He said that communication between growers and Extension specialists should be open and flowing both ways, so everyone’s knowledge can expand. He is looking to communicate and can easily be reached at (319) 551-7200 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fillius comes into this position from the Safe Produce team in Extension, as well as running a small farm south of Des Moines, so he already was in the vegetable growing world. Before that, he was a farmer for 13 years, and an outdoor education teacher in California.
“I’ve always been excited about knowing what goes into the things I use,” Fillius said. “I first worked on a farm that raised sheep and goats to make fiber, but when we visited a neighbor farm that did vegetable production, I was almost spellbound by it.”
After attending a farm education program in Wisconsin, he knew it was what he wanted to do.
“I want to help farmers by listening to their needs; expanding the perspective that growers have by facilitating farmer to farmer sharing,” Fillius said. “I want to spread knowledge about a wide variety of techniques, whether conventional or not, large or small, I want to be able to connect people together.”
Fillius is looking to start a tips and tricks video series to start, so any growers with a great tip can contact him for further details.
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