Get ready for lambing and farrowing season: January 26, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., online; Kyle Rozeboom, an instructor with the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota, will provide guidance on lambing and kidding of small ruminants, early rations, and overall lamb and kid health. Extension educator Emma Severns will present a “tool kit” of items to have on hand for lambing and whelping. Pre-registration is required at z.umn.edu/GoatSheepBabies. If you cannot attend the live session, you will receive the recording by email.
Strategic Agriculture: Let’s talk about crops webinar series. This free, live online program will provide up-to-date, research-based information to help you optimize your crop management strategies for 2022. Sessions will be held on Zoom from 9-10 a.m. Wednesdays through 30 March. The sessions will begin with a brief presentation by the facilitators of the day, followed by a discussion around questions from farmers/participants on the subject. Register at z.umn.edu/strategic-farming for the full suite of programs. Sessions will be recorded and posted for later viewing. The next three sessions are:
January 26: New discoveries with sulfur fertility; Nutrient management specialists and researchers from the University of Minnesota.
February 2: Strategies for Effective Weed Management in 2022, University of Minnesota Weed Scientists and Researchers.
February 9: Cover crops: end time and green planting; Axel Garcia y Garcia, Sustainable Cropping Systems Specialist, and Anna Cates, State Soil Health Specialist.
Regenerative grazing workshop: Feb. 1, 9 a.m. to noon, Vinje Lutheran Church, $10 per person, registration deadline Jan. 28, call 507-523-3366 or email Barb Sogn-Frank at [email protected] . Livestock producer Alejandro Carrillo will share how he used regenerative grazing to boost soil health and bring life back to his ranch in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert, about 250 miles south of El Paso, Texas. It consists of 30,000 acres, 25,000 of which is pastureable and is operated as a dryland operation with no irrigated grasslands, and the terrain consists of valleys with rugged canyons, mesas and mountains, all located within the Range of the Sierra Madre. No hay is produced on the ranch as the cattle are expected to graze year round. There will also be a panel discussion with Minnesota farmers Jim Van Der Pol of Pastures A Plenty cattle farm near Kerkhoven and grower and rancher Terry Barchenger, who farms near Brooten, as well as local specialists from the district of county soil and water conservation. A mask mandate will be in place and event attendees will be required to sign a waiver.
Retreats for couples at the farm: February 4-5, Saint-Cloud; the Minnesota Department of Agriculture hosts a retreat for couples to build stronger partnerships. Couples will explore creative communication skills, personality differences, and discover resources that can help them achieve their goals and better manage the stresses of farming and family relationships. Accommodation and meals are included in the free retreat, although a refundable registration deposit is required. Each retreat begins at noon and ends at 1 p.m. the following day. Registration is limited to the first 10 registered couples. Participants must follow the COVID-19 protocols in place at each venue. Find more information and registration forms at mn-dairy-initiative.org/events.html. An additional retreat will be held February 11-12 at Thief River Falls.
Small cereal workshops: The University of Minnesota Extension offers small grain workshops throughout Minnesota to address successful small grain management with a focus on production agronomy, variety selection, and economics, and include an open forum discussion for related topics and on-farm experiences. The workshops are sponsored by the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council. Lunch is included at all sites with registration. Registration is free and is required to help with meal planning. Please register by visiting z.umn.edu/SGWorkshop or by contacting the number listed with each workshop. Area workshops include:
February 18, Cold Spring, 9-11:30 a.m., Great Blue Heron, contact Nathan Drewitz at 608-515-4414.
February 18, Benson, 1-3:30 p.m., McKinney’s on Southside, contact Scott Lee at 320-760-6129.
February 23, online, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., virtual zoom workshop
The 35th season of Prairie Yard and Garden airs Thursday, January 20 on Pioneer Public Television. All shows will be available for online viewing at pioneer.org after the original screening.
Prairie Courtyard and Garden: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27 and repeats at 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Monday on Pioneer PBS; host Mary visits Holm Frank Forcella from Morris to explain why it’s important to identify grasses and broadleaf weeds and give advice on how to control them.
Prairie Courtyard and Garden: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 3 and repeats at 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Monday on Pioneer PBS; host Mary Holm will visit Tim and Linda Johnson of Coon Rapids and enjoy a scenic setting with 13 fountains, statues and 200 hostas.
Gardening for health: The Olmsted County Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Spring Gardening Seminar will consist of a series of weekly Zoom sessions, at a cost of $15 per session. There will be 10 classes between February 15 and March 24. Topics include alternative gardening ideas. gardening with nature, bees and pollination, shade gardening, photographing gardens, caring for trees and shrubs, beneficial insects, the healing power of gardening, heirloom varieties and conservation of water and soil in urban areas. Register and pay fees at extension.umn.edu/event/gardening-health-it-session-1
Gardening from scratch: Feb. 22-25, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., online; University of Minnesota Extension Educators present the third annual webinar series. The free virtual workshops will cover a wide variety of topics ranging from soil nutrients, plant health and insects – useful for any curious newbie gardener or garden owner. More information and to register is available on the West Central Research and Outreach Center website. Webinar recordings will be sent at the end of the series.
Season 13 of Prairie Sportsman airs Sunday, January 23 on Pioneer Public Television. All shows will be available for online viewing at pioneer.org after the original screening.
Prairie Sportsman: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23 and repeats at 12:30 p.m. Monday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday on Pioneer PBS; host Bret Amundson visits conservationists in the Milan area – Roger Strand on his hunting property and Brad and Kristi Fernholz in a leftover meadow from their farm.
Prairie Sportsman: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, January 30 and repeat at 12:30 p.m. Monday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; join host Bret Amundson for “In Service and Healing.” Ian Ives, an Army sergeant who lost an arm in Afghanistan, receives a custom-made rod and reel; and at the Raptor Center, an eagle is examined after being hit by a car.
Ice fishing tournament: Feb. 19, noon to 3 p.m., Smith Lake in Douglas County; Alexandria Industries’ 15th Annual “Fishing For the Cure” Ice Fishing Tournament; advance tickets are $20 adults through Feb. 18, $30 on tournament day, 12 and under $10. The tournament allows fishing houses to be housed and participants can fish anywhere on Smith Lake.
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 US Highway 71. For more information, visit the State Department of Natural Resources website at dnr.state. mn.us.
Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center: The phone number is 320-354-5894, office hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. Trails can be used during daylight hours at no charge. A bathroom with composting toilet is open by the pavilion. Pets must be kept on a leash. Pre-registration required for all courses. All equipment rentals (fat bikes, cross-country skis, snowshoes and scooters) will be processed upon reservation, made at least 24 hours in advance. To reserve equipment for the weekend, please call before noon on Friday. Equipment rental for two hours is $20 for adults, $10 for members and $5 for all youth.
Introduction to cross-country skiing: February 10, 4 to 5 p.m., 2nd grade and up, $10. Learn the basics of cross-country skiing. Then hit the trails to practice your new skills. Instruction and materials provided.