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Farm, Garden & Outdoors calendar published Jan. 7, 2023

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

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Farming

SowBridge: Jan. 20 is the registration deadline for the distance education program that begins Feb. 1. The 12-session SowBridge is for people involved in managing or caring for sows and/or their litters, and boars, including operation owners, caretakers, technicians, managers and technical service providers. Online registration at z.umn.edu/SowBridgeRegistration .

Women in Ag Network Conference: Feb. 7, 8:30 to 3 p.m., Willmar Conference Center, $75, early bird through Jan. 16, $100 after, students $25, register at z.umn.edu/WAGNconf . Theme is "Building resilience on your farm and in your family" with keynote speaker Monica McConkey and three breakout tracks and closing panel discussion.

Farmland rental: Rates are the largest input cost the farmer has. Determining a fair farm rent agreement is always challenging. Both in-person and webinar sessions will be held this year. Attendees will receive several informative worksheets and fact sheets that will help to determine what a fair 2023 farmland rental rate is. The remaining meetings set for this area are:

  • Willmar webinar: Jan. 12, 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m., Zoom presentation
  • Hutchinson webinar: Jan. 26, 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m., Zoom presentation

Strategic Farming: Let’s Talk Crops webinar series. This free, live, online program will provide up-to-date, research-based information to help optimize your crop management strategies for 2023. Sessions will be held over Zoom from 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesdays, Jan. 11 through March 29. Sessions will begin with a brief presentation by the discussion leaders for the day, followed by discussion framed around farmer/participant questions on the topic. Register at z.umn.edu/strategic-farming for the entire program series. Sessions will be recorded and posted for viewing later. The next three sessions are:

  • Jan. 11: Forecast for the season — weather, economics and supply chains; Ed Usset, University of Minnesota Extension grain marketing economist, and Pete Boulay, assistant state climatologist, Department of Natural Resources.
  • Jan. 18: What’s bugging my corn? An outlook on corn rootworm and more; Anthony Hanson, Extension educator in integrated pest management, and other IPM specialists.
  • Jan. 25: Climate factors and nitrogen management; Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist, and Brad Carlson, Extension educator in water resource.

Keep reading for more of this week's calendar items below the related content.

More agriculture-related news:
Minnesota Corn Growers Assocation presented Minnesota state Sen. Torrey Westrom with the Friend of Ag Award.
Louis and Cyril Keller are the inventors of the Bobcat skid-steer loader and were selected as 2023 inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Leadership takes honest reflection and thinking about the needs of others, Jenny Schlecht writes. With that in mind, do we have the right leaders to get a new farm bill passed by Sept. 30?
Events and classes scheduled in the outdoors, gardening and farming. Submit your event at news@wctrib.com by noon on Tuesday.

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Gardening

Creating your own pollinator habitat: Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., free, advance registration required, contact Tarah Young, tarahy@umn.edu or 218-384-3511 . This three-part webinar series will cover how to create a pollinator-friendly garden on Jan. 31, a bee lawn on Feb. 1 and starting a pocket prairie on Feb. 2.

Gardening from the ground up: Feb. 20-24, 1 to 2:30 p.m., free, online; University of Minnesota Extension educators present the fourth annual webinar series. The free virtual workshops will focus on trees and shrubs in the home landscape. Webinars will cover topics ranging from tree establishment to proper pruning techniques, to tree pest management — all useful for any curious beginner gardener or yard owner. Recordings of the webinars will be sent out at the conclusion of the series.

'Prairie Yard and Garden': The 36th season of "Prairie Yard and Garden" starts Jan. 19 on Pioneer PBS. All the shows will be available for online viewing at www.pioneer.org after the original showing.

  • Jan. 19: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, and repeats 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, and 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23. Host Mary Holm visits with Dan and Jerry’s Greenhouses, one of the largest production facilities in the Upper Midwest on “Growing Bedding Plants at Dan and Jerry’s.”
  • Jan. 26: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, and repeats 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, and 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30. Host Mary Holm presents “SDSU Local Foods Program.” South Dakota State University in Brookings has made local foods a field of study to help students understand how to produce safe, healthy and sustainable food for their community.

Outdoors

Hawk Creek Watershed Project: The 21st annual meeting will be from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, Jan. 27, at the Renville Community Center. Presenters include Doug Lovander, one of the original founders of Pheasants Forever and a longtime resident of Eagle Lake. He will discuss how his lifetime of living on Eagle Lake and the changes and observations he has seen motivated him to become a founding member of Pheasants Forever. Lee Ganske with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will talk about Minnesota water quality trends with a focus on Hawk Creek and the Minnesota River Basin. Heidi Rauenhorst, Hawk Creek Watershed Project coordinator, will give an annual update, sharing best management practices projects, water quality monitoring, aquatic invasive species, and other activities the organization has accomplished in the last year. The full agenda is available at hawkcreekwatershed.org . Lunch will follow the presentations for those who RSVP by Jan. 20 to 320-523-3666 or jordan@hawkcreekwatershed.org .

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 U.S. Highway 71. For more information, visit the state Department of Natural Resources website at www.dnr.state.mn.us . Cross-country ski and snowmobile trail conditions available at dnr.state.mn.us/snow_depth/index.html.

  • Luminary hike: Jan. 21, 5 to 7 p.m. Enjoy the evening on a self-guided, lantern-lit hike on the Pondview Interpretive trail, a 0.7-mile loop with a maximum 7 percent grade for 190 feet. Wear appropriate clothing for the weather. Before or after hiking, drop by the campfire at the amphitheater to socialize and warm up.
  • Great Backyard Bird Count: Feb. 18, 11 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Interpretive Center and join the staff on the Pondview Trail to identify and count as many birds as possible. Bring your own binoculars if you have them. If you do not have a pair of binoculars, please contact Savannah, 320-354-2055 , at the Sibley Interpretive Center to borrow a pair from the park. There is a limited number available. If you can't join us on the trail, drop by the Interpretive Center to check out a birding kit and turn in your count at the end of the day.
  • Snowshoe hike: Feb. 25, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meet at the Interpretive Center and take a snowshoe hike on the Pondview trail. If there is not sufficient snow, we will be taking a winter hike instead. Contact the Sibley Interpretive Center for an update a week before. Advance registration is required due to limited equipment. Please contact Savannah, 320-354-2055 , at the Sibley Interpretive Center to reserve your spot.

Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center: Trails at the rural Spicer center may be used during daylight hours at no cost. For trail conditions, check the website at www.prairiewoodselc.org . A bathroom with composting toilets is open by the pavilion. Pets should be on a leash. Advance registration required for all classes. All equipment rentals (fat-tire bikes, cross-country skies, snowshoes and kicksleds) will be handled on a reservation basis, made at least 24 hours in advance. To reserve equipment for the weekend, please call by noon Friday. Two-hour equipment rental is $20 for adults, $10 for members and $5 for all youth. Call 320-354-5894 .

'Prairie Sportsman': The 14th season of "Prairie Sportsman" starts Jan. 22 on Pioneer PBS. All the shows will be available for online viewing at www.pioneer.org after the original showing.

  • Jan. 22: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, and repeats 12:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. Host Bret Amundson presents “Lac qui Parle Remembrance and Restoration,” Pauly Larson Memorial Fishing Tournament, revisiting Marsh Lake restoration and mussels in the Pomme de Terre river.
  • Jan. 29: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, and repeats 12:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4. Host Bret Amundson presents “Coldwater Trout,” ice fishing for rainbow trout and southeast Minnesota trout hatcheries.  
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 dmiddleton@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4341.
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