Farm, Garden & Outdoors calendar published April 25, 2020
Events and classes scheduled in the outdoors, gardening and farming.
Minnesota CREP: April 30 is the deadline for a new sign-up period for the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement program. MN CREP is a voluntary state-federal program designed to improve water quality and habitat through permanent conservation easements across 54 southern and western Minnesota counties using buffer strips, wetland restoration, and drinking water wellhead area protection. Landowners simultaneously enroll land in a 14- to 15-year federal Conservation Reserve Program contract and a permanent Reinvest in Minnesota Reserve program conservation easement. Landowners receive payments to restore native vegetation on enrolled acres. Current rates range from $7,359 to $9,305 an acre dependent on township. Private ownership continues and the land is permanently restored and enhanced for water quality and habitat benefits. For more information, contact the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District in Olivia, 320-523-1550, www.renvilleswcd.com .
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, USDA’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 farmers.gov .
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 email@example.com
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.
Minnesota 4-H has a number of online STEM learning opportunities for youth. Links are provided with each event and some require pre-registration.
Meet a NASA engineer: Two online conversations with the engineers who work on the Mars Rover program at NASA, both at 7 p.m., on April 28 and May 7. Advance registration is required. Visit z.umn.edu/4h-nasa for more information.