Farm, Garden & Outdoors calendar published May 9, 2020

Events and classes scheduled in the outdoors, gardening and farming.

Round hay bales in a field


UMN Extension Swine Podcast: The University of Minnesota Extension swine team has released its latest podcast to assist producers feeding pigs in this climate of interrupted markets. Swine educators Sarah Schieck Boelke, Lee Johnston and Pedro Urriola discuss nutritional strategies producers can implement to slow the growth of pigs whose harvest plants have closed due to COVID-19. The podcast recorded May 1 can be accessed at . Additional information for managing the swine farm during plant shutdowns can be found on the UMN Extension Swine blog at . COVID-19 resources for pork producers are located on the UMN Extension Swine blog at .

Managing market hogs destined for local meat lockers: With pig harvest at commercial packing plants currently disrupted, consumers have an opportunity to purchase market hogs directly from the farm. These pigs destined for local custom processing facilities may have to wait until they can be harvested. The University of Minnesota swine team has put together a fact sheet detailing how consumers can keep market hogs in anticipation of their harvest at local meat lockers. Pig diets, housing, feed and water equipment, the pigsโ€™ environmental needs, and health and biosecurity information are all included in the fact sheet. It can be found on the University of Minnesota Extension Swine blog at .

Pesticide Container Collection: Empty pesticide container collection days will be from 9 a.m. to noon on July 22, Aug. 19, and Sept. 16 at the Renville County Landfill located at 32877 County Road 4, Olivia. To be eligible for collection, pesticide containers must be high-density polyethylene plastic (imprint of HDPE & #2 on the bottom); have been triple- or pressure-rinsed; be pesticide free; and have all caps, foil seals and labels removed. No mini-bulk containers or containers with dirt or other materials stuck to the outside will be accepted. These are the only dates containers will be accepted for collection. For more information, contact the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District at 320-523-1550.

USDA Farm Service Agency: Open for business by phone only. Fieldwork will continue with appropriate social distancing as precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone, and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with USDA's Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call to schedule a phone appointment. FSA will continue to deliver disaster assistance, safety net, farm loan and conservation programs that keep American agriculture in business today and long into the future. Contact your county office for more information.

Conservation Stewardship Program: May 29 is the deadline for applications to be considered for screening and possibly ranked to compete for Fiscal Year 20 funding. Through the program, USDAโ€™s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps farmers earn payments for enhancing conservation while addressing agricultural production needs on their land. It encourages adoption of new technologies and management techniques in addition to existing conservation activities. The 2018 Farm Bill makes some new improvements to the program. It is now able to fund eligible, high-ranking applications based on dollars rather than acres and increased opportunities for organic and transitioning to organic production activities. For additional information about CSP, contact your local service center. USDA Service Centers are open for business by appointment only at this time. More information can be found at .


Farm Beginnings: Sept. 1 is the deadline for applications for the Farm Beginnings class that starts in October in Red Wing. The 12-month training session helps beginning farmers clarify their goals and strengths, establish a strong enterprise plan and start building their operation. The course uses a mix of farmer-led classroom sessions, on-farm tours, and an extensive farmer network. It is designed for new and prospective farmers who want to plan a profitable farm business. Students do not need to currently own land, but some farming or production experience is helpful to get the most out of the class. More information and registration is on the Land Stewardship Project website or email Annelie Livingston-Anderson at .

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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