Meeting of the local working group: June 14, 9 a.m., Log Cabin at Kandiyohi Fairgrounds. Join the Kandiyohi Soil and Water Conservation District and Natural Resource Conservation Service for conservation, coffee, and conversation. Officially known as the Local Task Force Meeting, this meeting is a locally-led process that provides the United States Department of Agriculture with information on local natural resource priorities and criteria for conservation programs and activities. from the USDA. It also provides information to the SWCD and the Natural Resources Conservation Service on what the region’s main natural resource concerns and priorities are to better respond to local funding priorities. If you have any questions, please call the Kandiyohi SWCD at 320-235-3540 ext 3.
Youth Tractor and Agricultural Safety Certification: June 14-15, Wright County Fairgrounds, Howard Lake. Cost $40 and includes all materials and meals on training days. Scholarships are available. More information and registration at z.umn.edu/TractorSafety. The University of Minnesota Extension Program offers youth 14 and older the opportunity to learn about the safe operation of equipment and general farm safety. Students will work in the field with large tractors and implements, receive training in basic farm-related first aid, and learn about farm safety from a range of experienced community members. Students who complete this program will receive a certificate of training from the United States Department of Labor. This certificate is required for young people aged 14 and 15 who wish to work with equipment of more than 20 horses outside their farm or family property. This course includes eight hours of online instruction, completed independently before the two days of in-person instruction.
Farmer’s Night: Stocking Density: The program, offered by the University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Dairy Initiative, provides networking and education on how to optimize space and return on investment in a free-stall dairy barn. This free program will take place on June 16 at the Greenwald Pub beginning with a free meal at 7:30 p.m. and then proceeding to evening speaker Travis Bischof, nutritionist at Form-A-Feed. Registration for the meal is encouraged and can be done online at /z.umn.edu/FNOsd or call Dana Adams at [email protected] or 320-204-2968.
Management of invasive species: June 28, all day, West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris. The hybrid event will feature four keynote speakers via Zoom in the morning and afternoon, in-person expert talks at each of Minnesota’s 10 Research and Outreach Centers. Attendees can view the virtual morning sessions in person at the center nearest to them or from anywhere they choose. During the afternoon in-person event, there will be direct access to field and research sites and participants will have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of local invasive species in their area. It will also provide hands-on, experiential learning that will focus on the science behind invasive species and how to take action in your own communities.
Summer beef tour: On July 12, from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the University of Minnesota Beef Extension Team and the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association will host the tour at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus with stops at Andrew Boss Laboratory of Meat Science, College of Veterinary Medicine and Forage Research Plots. The tour begins and ends at the Minnesota Zoo where participants will have exclusive access to the entire zoo from 4-8 p.m. Check-in opens at 6 a.m. at the zoo and buses leave at 7 a.m. Tickets are $25 per person through June 15. at z.umn.edu/MNSummerBeefTour. After June 15, tickets are $30 online or at the door. Lunch and dinner are included. Inquiries can be directed to Dr. Joe Armstrong at [email protected]
Beginnings of the farm: September 1 is the deadline for applications for the Farm Beginnings course, which will run in an online setting from November to 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 solid business plan and begin building their operation. For more information and to register, visit the Land Stewardship Project website at landstewardshipproject.org or email Annelie Livingston-Anderson at [email protected]
Strategic agriculture: field notes: Free 30-minute University of Minnesota Extension webinar on Zoom designed for farmers and agricultural professionals at 8 a.m. every Wednesday. Register for live sessions at z.umn.edu/strategic-farming. The program will include a live webinar with an interactive discussion with attendees, addressing in-season cultivation issues as they arise. Weekly topics will be announced the week of the program, maintaining the flexibility to react to issues that arise in 2022. For those unable to attend live, the discussion-based series will be released immediately following the webinar on podcast-streaming. Subscribe to iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or Google podcasts.
Willmar Avenue Garden Plots: Summer plots are available in the gardens on Willmar Avenue, north of the bus garages. The plots are 11 feet by 16 feet and cost $20 each. To reserve a plot, call Mary at 320-212-3471.
Wesley Community Garden Plots: Summer plots are available at the Wesley Community Garden at Willmar United Methodist Church. The plots measure 15 feet by 15 feet and cost $20 each, redeemable under certain conditions at the end of the season. To reserve a plot, call the church at 320-235-5403.
Meeting of the local working group: June 9, 10 a.m., Renville County Government Center, Olivia. The group provides a forum for partners, farmers, agribusinesses, conservation groups and local community members to share conservation activities and discuss which natural resource efforts and concerns should be prioritized. The group helps guide the Natural Resources Conservation Service in targeting farm bill funds for technical and financial assistance in Renville County in the future. For more information, contact the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District online at www.renvilleswcd.com or by phone at 320-523-1550.
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 www.dnr. state.mn.us.
- Cycle/walking path: June 11, 10 a.m., Sibley State Park Beach parking lot. Celebrate the completion of the connection between Sibley State Park and the Glacial Lakes State Trail. Bring your bike to ride the trail or enjoy a hike. No state park permits required to attend.
Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center: Spicer Rural Center 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. All equipment rentals (thick tire bikes, kayaks, canoes) will be by reservation, made at least 24 hours in advance. To reserve equipment for the weekend, please call before Friday noon. Equipment rental for two hours is $20 for adults, $10 for members and $5 for all youth. Call 320-354-5894.
- Survival: June 18, 9 a.m. to noon, 4th grade and up, $20, prior registration required. Get ready to survive outdoors. Teamwork is essential as your party builds shelter using the basics of survival. Try starting a fire using a bow drill, flint and steel.
- Climbing wall: July 23, 9 to 10:30 a.m., $20 per session, grades 3 to 8, prior registration required. Challenge yourself physically and mentally at your own pace. Beginners can learn about sports, exercise and have fun; experienced climbers can practice and hone their skills. The center’s instructors will be there to help you and the equipment is provided.
- Climbing wall: July 23, 10:30 a.m. to noon, $20 per session, grades 9 to 12, prior registration required. Other details as above.
Volunteer water monitors: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is recruiting volunteers to measure water clarity in many lakes and streams — including several high-priority sites in the Willmar area — then report back to the agency . Volunteers do a simple water clarity test in a body of water twice a month during the summer. The lake monitors the boat or paddle to a designated spot in the lake to check for clarity, while stream monitors record data from the creek bank or a bridge over it. All equipment and training provided, no experience necessary. The program relies on volunteers to help monitor Minnesota’s more than 12,000 lakes and 92,000 miles of waterways. This is the perfect opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts and those who want to help protect the state’s natural resources. The MPCA uses the data to help determine if 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 collected by volunteers is the only monitoring done on a particular lake or stream.