Farm, Garden & Outdoors calendar published April 24, 2021

Events and classes scheduled in the outdoors, gardening and farming. Submit your event at by noon on Tuesday.

Round hay bales in a field

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program: April 12-30 sign-up period. Applications can be started sooner and landowners are encouraged to do so. It is a voluntary state-federal program designed to improve water quality and habitat with a goal to protect and restore up to 60,000 acres of marginal cropland across 54 southern and western Minnesota counties with native plantings. Landowners simultaneously enroll land in a 14- to 15-year federal Conservation Reserve Program contract and a permanent Reinvest in Minnesota Program conservation easement. Private ownership continues and the land is permanently restored and enhanced for water quality and habitat benefits. For more information, contact your county Soil and Water Conservation District.

Walk-In Access landowner enrollment: Through May 14, sign-ups available at local soil and water conservation district offices. The program pays private landowners to allow public hunting on their lands. It has enrolled land parcels 40 acres or larger with high-quality natural cover. Hunters must purchase a $3 permit with a hunting license to access enrolled land Sept. 1 through May 31. The parcels are marked with highly visible signs posted by Department of Natural Resources staff and hunting laws are enforced by DNR conservation officers. Landowners are not required to purchase additional liability insurance. Lands enrolled in the Walk-In Access program are covered by Minnesota’s recreational use laws, which limit legal liabilities for landowners who permit outdoor recreational activities, as listed in Minnesota State Statute 604A.20. To sign up, contact your local SWCD office or contact Troy Dale, program coordinator for the DNR, at 507-537-6616 or on the website .

Conservation practices cost share: The Kandiyohi Soil and Water Conservation District has cost share available for structural and nonstructural conservation practices. Landowners may receive up to 75% cost share on certain practices including pollinator plantings, field windbreaks, well sealings, cover crops, wetland restorations, sediment control structures, rain gardens and more. Call the Kandiyohi SWCD at 320-235-3540 , ext. 3.

Cover-crop cost share: Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District and Hawk Creek Watershed Project are offering cost-share for cover crops planted between April 1 and Sept. 15. Up to 75% of costs to plant cover crops (e.g. seed, labor, equipment use, seed incorporation) with a maximum payment of $2,000 per farmer per year with a maximum of three years of cost-share through this program. To qualify for the cost-share program, you must sign a cost-share contract, use a seed mix with at least three different species pre-approved by Renville SWCD, turn in all seed tags, and pass a field inspection by a Renville SWCD employee. For more information, call Ethan Dahl at 320-523-1550 , ext. 101, or email .

Beef Quality Assurance and Secure Beef Supply training: Remaining workshops to choose from are May 6 or 18 and June 3, free, online via Zoom by the University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Beef Council. Advance registration required, codes at . BQA certification is being required by many major industry buyers and processors. It is still voluntary for producers to complete. However, when a producer does not have current BQA certification, the result is that many packers and feedlots simply cannot purchase those cattle because their company cannot source cattle from a producer who does not meet their certification requirements. If unable to attend a scheduled Zoom session, earn free certification online, anytime, at .


Poultry Health Management School: May 24-25, online, register at . Participants will learn about poultry housing and management in this intensive training course for poultry producers, farm employees and other poultry professionals. Typically, the number of students allowed is limited. However, this year it will be offered to anyone who wishes to participate due to the virtual structure. Fee is $300, each attendee will receive the most recent American Association of Avian Pathologists Avian Disease Manual, an instruction guide and other educational tools. For questions, contact Rebecca Groos at or call 763-682-2171 .


Community garden plots: Summer plots are available at the High Avenue Gardens, south of the Willmar Community Center. Plots are 10 feet by 15 feet and are $20 each. To reserve a plot, call 320-262-5288 .

Community garden plots: Summer plots are available at the Willmar Avenue Gardens, north of the bus garages. Plots are 11 feet by 16 feet and are $20 each. To reserve a plot, call Mary at 320-212-3471 .

“Prairie Yard and Garden”: 4 p.m. Saturday, April 24, and 1 p.m. Monday, April 26, on Pioneer PBS. Host Mary Holm visits with Jerry Ford of Living Song Farm as he explains how to grow garlic to spice up your life and how to store and enjoy garlic for year-round flavor.

“Prairie Yard and Garden”: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 29, and repeats 4 p.m. Saturday, May 1, and 1 p.m. Monday, May 3, on Pioneer PBS. Host Mary Holm visits with Joe Zeleznik, Extension Forester, about the emerald ash borer, how it damages trees and how it spreads. Learn about what the community of Marshall is doing to lessen the borer’s effect.


“Prairie Sportsman”: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 24, on Pioneer PBS. Join host Bret Amundson for “An Inspirational Hike and Dining on Plastic.” Emily Ford of Duluth hikes the Ice Age Trail through Wisconsin to inspire women and people of color to connect with the outdoors. Explore why microplastics are showing up in our water, salt and beer.

“Prairie Sportsman”: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 25, and repeats at 12:30 p.m. Monday, April 26, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 1 on Pioneer PBS. Join host Bret Amundson for “Flatheads and Get the Lead Out.” Fish for flathead catfish at night on the Minnesota River and learn about the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency promoting lead free fishing tackle to protect loons and other wildlife.

Donna Middleton started working at the West Central Tribune in 1975 and has been the news assistant since 1992. She compiles the arts, health, farm and community page calendars, as well as rewrites and works on the special sections.
She can be contacted at or phone 320-214-4341.
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