Jul. 23—Partners in Ag Innovation Conference: July 26, 7:50 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar or virtual live stream, free for qualified ag professionals. The MinnWest Technology Campus and the Kandiyohi County & City of Willmar Economic Development Commission co-host the conference. Dr. Matt Roberts, an expert on ag, commodity markets, energy issues, and biofuels, will be kicking off the event. Personal stories of sustainability, working with the next generation, and expanding opportunities will be woven throughout the day. The day closes with a session focused on farm management, transitions and legacy planning. Detailed list of speakers and registration available on the website
. For more information, contact Sara Mikolich at
or Sarah Swedburg at the EDC at
Central Minnesota Dairy Field Day: Aug. 16, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Janski Farm, 3731 200th St., St. Augusta. The University of Minnesota Extension event will focus on dairy management and the production of forages for farming operations in central Minnesota. It will highlight the farm's utilization of robots, forage management, and the use of cover crops on the land, and in the dairy cattle ration. Lunch will be provided at 1 p.m. Register for the meal at
or by calling Dana Adams at
Cover Crop Field Day: Aug. 18, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., free, Southwest Research and Outreach Center, Lamberton. "Setting up for Success" is for farmers and those who work with farmers, with or without cover crop experience, and anyone else who would like to learn more about cover crops. The field tour will start at 9 a.m., rain or shine. Register by Aug. 12 to ensure a meal at
. Later registrations and walk-ins are welcome but timely registration is required to reserve a meal.
Farm Beginnings: Sept. 1 is the deadline for applications for the Farm Beginnings class, which will take place in an online setting November through March 2023 with on-farm educational events to follow later in 2023. The training session helps beginning farmers clarify their goals and strengths, establish a strong enterprise plan and start building their operation. It is designed for new and prospective farmers who want to plan a profitable farm business. The class cost is $1,000, which covers up to two individuals per farm — discount for applications received before Aug. 1 and scholarships available. More information and registration is on the Land Stewardship Project website at
or email Annelie Livingston-Anderson at
Strategic farming: Field Notes: Wednesdays, 8 a.m., free, 30-minute University of Minnesota Extension webinar over Zoom for farmers and ag professionals. Register for the live sessions at
. The program will feature a live webinar with interactive discussion with attendees, addressing in-season cropping issues as they arise. Weekly topics will be announced on the week of the program, maintaining the flexibility to react to issues that come up in 2022. For those unable to attend live, the discussion-based series will be posted immediately following the webinar to podcast-streaming services. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or Google podcasts.
Dykstras: Bill and Helene Dykstra will have their garden open from noon until dark daily July 5 until frost. Freewill donations for Guatemala will be accepted. Take Kandiyohi County Road 5 south of Roseland for one mile, go east on 210th Avenue and turn south on 37th Street.
Douglas County Master Gardeners tour: July 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., five gardens in Douglas County, $5 for adults, pay at the first garden you visit. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions and provide helpful information. Visit the gardens in the order of your choice and go at your own pace. The gardens are Lucretia and Bruce Campbell, 3744 Little Ida Beach Rd. N.W., Alexandria; Connie Simon, 907 Curt Felt Dr., Alexandria; Ron and Ann Branch, Berry Ridge Farm, 1301 Firemen's Lodge Rd. S.W., Alexandria; Warren Schmidt, 1709 Firemen's Lodge Rd. S.W., Alexandria; and Barb and Bob Friederichs, 3400 Latoka Bay Rd. S.W., Alexandria. For more information or a brochure call the University of Minnesota Extension, Douglas County, at
or see the website at
Horticulture Night: July 28, 4 to 8 p.m. display garden, University of Minnesota's West Central Research and Outreach Center, 46352 State Hwy. 329 in Morris. Horticulture presentations, gardening demonstrations, keynote speaker, live music, food and vendor booths, farm tours and more. The presentations will be under a tent with bleacher seating. They include the following:
* Keynote presentation, 6 p.m., "Minnesota's Changing Climate: Implications for What We Grow" by Dr. Mark Seeley, professor emeritus, University of Minnesota climatologist and meteorologist.
* All Things Annual Flowers, 4 and 6 p.m., Carrie Larson, McHutchison Horticultural Distributors.
* Fall Gardening Starts Now, 4 and 6 p.m., "Succession Planting Your Fall Garden," Meg McAndrews Cowden, author and creator of @seedtofork.
* Living fence lines, 5 and 7 p.m., Adam Hjelm, Sauk River Watershed District.
* Drought-tolerant perennials, 5 and 7 p.m., Julie Schroer and Jodie Ramsay, Jean's the Right Plant Place.
Several hands-on demonstrations will be spread out throughout the garden, allowing participants to freely go from one station to another. There will be no set start and end time for these demonstrations. Participants encouraged to ask questions at the stations that are of interest to them, while going through the various stations at their own pace. The stations are as follows:
* Soil health for vegetables, led by Natalie Hoidal, University of Minnesota Extension.
* Bud grafting, led by David Vaske, Miltona Greenhouse.
* Build your own fresh-cut flower bouquet (purchase materials on-site), led by Farm Road Flower Farm of Hancock.
* Bugs for birds, led by Prairie Lakes Audubon Chapter, Alexandria.
Check the website
for updates, especially prior to coming to the event.
Sibley State Park: A vehicle permit is required to enter the park and is available online. Sibley State Park is west of New London just off U.S. Highway 71. For more information, visit the state Department of Natural Resources website at
Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center: Trails at the rural Spicer center may be used during daylight hours at no cost. A bathroom with composting toilets is open by the pavilion. Pets should be on a leash. All equipment rentals (fat-tire bikes, kayaks, canoes) will be handled on a reservation basis, made at least 24 hours in advance. To reserve equipment for the weekend, please call by noon Friday. Two-hour equipment rental is $20 for adults, $10 for members and $5 for all youth. Call
* Canoeing and archery: Aug. 6, 9 a.m. to noon, $20 per session, grades 4 and up. After a lesson in canoeing skills and safety, you will set off over the water to witness the wildlife of wetlands followed by learning the basics of Olympic-style target archery.
Volunteer water monitors: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is recruiting volunteers to measure water clarity in numerous lakes and streams — including several high-priority sites in the Willmar area — and then report back to the agency. Volunteers do a simple water clarity test in a body of water twice a month during the summer. Lake monitors boat or paddle to a designated spot in the lake to check the clarity, while stream monitors record data from the stream bank or a bridge over it. All equipment and training is provided, no experience is needed. The program relies on the volunteers to help monitor Minnesota's 12,000-plus lakes and 92,000-plus miles of streams. This is the perfect opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts and those interested in helping protect the state's natural resources. The MPCA uses the data to help determine whether lakes and streams are meeting water quality standards designed to protect aquatic life and recreational activities like fishing and swimming. In some cases, the information gathered by volunteers is the only monitoring done on a particular lake or stream.