Farm, Garden & Outdoors calendar published Jan. 21, 2023

Jan. 21—Farm couple retreats: Jan. 27-28, St. Cloud. The Minnesota Dairy Initiative is holding a couples retreat to forge stronger partnerships. This retreat is for all farming couples, beef, dairy, hog, crop, etc. Couples will explore creative communication skills, personality differences, and learn about resources that can help them reach their goals and manage the stresses of farming and family relationships better. Lodging and meals are included in the free retreat, although a refundable registration deposit is required. Each retreat starts at noon and ends at 1 p.m. the following day. Registration is limited to the first 10 couples who sign up. Find more information contact Emily Mollenhauer at


or by email at

. An dditional retreats is Feb. 10-11 in Mankato.

Women in Ag Network conference: Feb. 7, 8:30 to 3 p.m., Willmar Conference Center, $75, early bird through Jan. 16, $100 after, students $25, register at

. Theme is "Building resilience on your farm and in your family" with keynote speaker Monica McConkey and three breakout tracks and closing panel discussion.

Cow/Calf Days: Feb. 7, 9:30 a.m., Clear Springs Cattle Co., 30819 T-53, Starbuck. The 50th year of the Cow/Calf Days tour and trade show by University of Minnesota Extension will be held at several locations. Event will feature information on the cattle market outlook and where to go from here, simple things that add value, integrating grazing and soil health, and vitamin and mineral nutrition. It is for cow/calf producers, allied industry representatives, and is open to the public. Registration is $10 and includes a meal, proceedings book, and program materials. More information available at

or contact Eric Mousel at



Farmland rental: Rates are the largest input cost the farmer has. Determining a fair farm rent agreement is always challenging. Both in-person and webinar sessions will be held this year. Attendees will receive several informative worksheets and fact sheets that will help to determine what a fair 2023 farmland rental rate is. The final meeting is:

* Hutchinson webinar: Jan. 26, 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m., Zoom presentation

More information including location addresses and additional dates available at


Strategic Farming: Let's Talk Crops webinar series. This free, live, online program will provide up-to-date, research-based information to help optimize your crop management strategies for 2023. Sessions will be held over Zoom from 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesdays, Jan. 11 through March 29. Sessions will begin with a brief presentation by the discussion leaders for the day, followed by discussion framed around farmer/participant questions on the topic. Register at

for the entire program series. Sessions will be recorded and posted for viewing later. The next three sessions are:

* Jan. 25: Climate factors and nitrogen management; Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist, and Brad Carlson, Extension educator in water resources.

* Feb. 1: Semi-dwarf corn & soybean cyst nematode breeding efforts; Rex Bernardo, University of Minnesota professor and endowed chair, corn breeding and genetics, and Aaron Lorentz, U of M associate professor, soybean breeding and genetics.

* Feb. 8: Are biologicals in corn & soybean logical? Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist, and Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist.

Farm transfer planning workshop: March 11, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., MinnWest Technology Campus auditorium, Willmar, ages 25 and older, $150 per farm owner. Instructors are Samantha Nelson, David Nelson and Mark Santelman. Register at Willmar Community Education at

. Designed for owners who are serious about starting their farm transition and want to include their family or successors in the process. It will focus on family dynamics by exploring personal and team strengths, as well as personal resilience building and stress management during the transfer process. Second part will focus on case studies and logistical questions guided by the wisdom of local experts and professionals seasoned in the transfer of farms. The final part will focus on building a practical farm transfer action plan for participants to use as a catalyst for their transition efforts. Our facilitation model is centered around your family (or farm owner and successor) first. Once your legacy is well-articulated, local resources can follow up to equip and empower you to fulfill your vision.

Creating your own pollinator habitat: Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., free, advance registration required, contact Tarah Young,



. This three-part webinar series will cover how to create a pollinator-friendly garden on Jan. 31, a bee lawn on Feb. 1 and starting a pocket prairie on Feb. 2.

Gardening from the ground up: Feb. 20-24, 1 to 2:30 p.m., free, online; University of Minnesota Extension educators present the fourth annual webinar series. The free virtual workshops will focus on trees and shrubs in the home landscape. Webinars will cover topics ranging from tree establishment to proper pruning techniques, to tree pest management — all useful for any curious beginner gardener or yard owner. Recordings of the webinars will be sent out at the conclusion of the series.

'Prairie Yard and Garden': The 36th season of "Prairie Yard and Garden" starts Jan. 19 on Pioneer PBS. All the shows will be available for online viewing at

after the original showing.

* Jan. 26: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, and repeats 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, and 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30. Host Mary Holm presents "SDSU Local Foods Program." South Dakota State University in Brookings has made local foods a field of study to help students understand how to produce safe, healthy and sustainable food for their community.

* Feb. 2: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, and repeats 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, and 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6. Host Mary Holm presents "Udderly Beautiful" at Jackie Rickeman"s Floralawn Farm near Hutchinson. See her cows, flower beds and flower containers and experience her love of life on the farm.

Hawk Creek Watershed Project: The 21st annual meeting will be from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, Jan. 27, at the Renville Community Center. Presenters include Doug Lovander, one of the original founders of Pheasants Forever and a longtime resident of Eagle Lake. He will discuss how his lifetime of living on Eagle Lake and the changes and observations he has seen motivated him to become a founding member of Pheasants Forever. Lee Ganske with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will talk about Minnesota water quality trends with a focus on Hawk Creek and the Minnesota River Basin. Heidi Rauenhorst, Hawk Creek Watershed Project coordinator, will give an annual update, sharing best management practices projects, water quality monitoring, aquatic invasive species, and other activities the organization has accomplished in the last year. The full agenda is available at

. Lunch will follow the presentations for those who RSVP by Jan. 20 to




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

. Cross-country ski and snowmobile trail conditions available at

* Luminary hike: Jan. 21, 5 to 7 p.m. Enjoy the evening on a self-guided, lantern-lit hike on the Pondview Interpretive trail, a 0.7-mile loop with a maximum 7 percent grade for 190 feet. Wear appropriate clothing for the weather. Before or after hiking, drop by the campfire at the amphitheater to socialize and warm up.

* Great Backyard Bird Count: Feb. 18, 11 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Interpretive Center and join the staff on the Pondview Trail to identify and count as many birds as possible. Bring your own binoculars if you have them. If you do not have a pair of binoculars, please contact Savannah, 320-354-2055, at the Sibley Interpretive Center to borrow a pair from the park. There is a limited number available. If you can't join us on the trail, drop by the Interpretive Center to check out a birding kit and turn in your count at the end of the day.

* Snowshoe hike: Feb. 25, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meet at the Interpretive Center and take a snowshoe hike on the Pondview trail. If there is not sufficient snow, we will be taking a winter hike instead. Contact the Sibley Interpretive Center for an update a week before. Advance registration is required due to limited equipment. Please contact Savannah, 320-354-2055, at the Sibley Interpretive Center to reserve your spot.

Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center: Trails at the rural Spicer center may be used during daylight hours at no cost. For trail conditions, check the website at

. A bathroom with composting toilets is open by the pavilion. Pets should be on a leash. Advance registration required for all classes. All equipment rentals (fat-tire bikes, cross-country skies, snowshoes and kicksleds) 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



* Intro to Cross-Country Skiing: Jan. 24, 4 to 5:30 p.m., grades 1-12, $10. Learn the basics of cross-country skiing. Then hit the trails to practice your new skills. Instruction and equipment provided. Dress for an outdoor experience.

* Climbing wall: Jan. 26, 4 to 5:30 p.m., $10 per session, grades K-12, advance registration required. Challenge yourself both physically and mentally at your own pace. Beginners can learn about the sport, exercise and have fun. Experienced climbers can train and refine their skills. Instructors will be there to help, and equipment is provided. Additional dates are Feb. 7, Feb. 23, March 7, March 23.

* Winter Fun Day: Feb. 12, 1 to 4 p.m., $5 per person, $20 max per family. Celebrate winter with fun outdoor activities for everyone in the family including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, Scandinavian kicksleds, and fat tire bikes. While indoors, warm up by the fire, learn about some winter hobbies and try your hand at the climbing wall. Dress for an outdoor experience.

* Snowshoeing: Feb. 16, 4 to 5:30 p.m., grades 4-12, $10. On snowshoes, you can explore "off the beaten path" and beyond the trails. Enjoy this magical adventure through quiet woods and hills, while watching for tracks and signs of our animal neighbors. Instruction and all equipment provided. Dress for an outdoor experience.

* Pioneer Winter Survival: March 2, 4 to 6 p.m., grades 3-6, $10. Do you have what it takes to survive a Minnesota winter, pioneer style? Come to the 1888 cabin, dress as a pioneer, help saw wood, make candles, learn how to build a fire with flint and steel, try snowshoeing and Scandinavian kicksledding and warm up by the fire with some hot apple cider. Dress for an outdoor experience.

Lac qui Parle State Park: A vehicle permit is required to enter the park and is available at the park by self-registration that night. Lac qui Parle State park is west of Watson. For more information, visit the state Department of Natural Resources website at

. Cross-country ski and snowmobile trail conditions available at

* Lake Which Speaks Ice Luminary Hike: Feb. 4, 6:30 to 8 p.m. The hike to the historic Works Progress Administration warming shelter is just short of a mile on a flat, packed snow trail and is suitable for beginner-level hikers of all ages. The trail is lined with ice luminaries using real candles that illuminate the trail. It starts at the park shop on the southwest side of the lake near the group camps. Hot chocolate and s'mores available at the historic shelter. For more information, email or call 320-734-4450, ext 229.

Fort Ridgely State Park: A vehicle permit is required to enter the park located south of Fairfax. For more information, visit the state Department of Natural Resources website at

. Snowmobile trail conditions available at

* Candlelight snowshoe or walk: Feb. 4, 5 to 8 p.m. Drop by any time for snowshoeing or hiking as stars twinkle overhead and candles flicker in the snow. The 1-mile trail starts at the Chalet and is suitable for beginner-level snowshoers or hikers of all ages. End the evening with a cup of hot cocoa near a crackling bonfire. Roasting sticks are available for visitors.

'Prairie Sportsman': The 14th season of "Prairie Sportsman" starts Jan. 22 on Pioneer PBS. All the shows will be available for online viewing at

after the original showing.

* Jan. 22: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, and repeats 12:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. Host Bret Amundson presents "Lac qui Parle Remembrance and Restoration," Pauly Larson Memorial Fishing Tournament, revisiting Marsh Lake restoration and mussels in the Pomme de Terre river.

* Jan. 29: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, and repeats 12:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4. Host Bret Amundson presents "Coldwater Trout," ice fishing for rainbow trout and southeast Minnesota trout hatcheries.