Farm, Garden & Outdoors calendar published May 28, 2022

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

Round hay bales in a field


Strategic farming, Field Notes: Registration is open for the program designed for farmers and ag professionals. The free, 30-minute University of Minnesota Extension webinar over Zoom continues weekly at 8 a.m. Wednesdays. Register for the live sessions at . The program will feature a live webinar with interactive discussion with attendees, addressing in-season cropping issues as they arise. Weekly topics will be announced on the week of the program, maintaining the flexibility to react to issues that come up in 2022. For those unable to attend live, the discussion-based series will be posted immediately following the webinar to podcast-streaming services. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or Google podcasts.

Youth Tractor and Farm Safety Certification: June 14-15, Wright County Fairgrounds, Howard Lake, $40 and includes all materials and meals on training days. Scholarships are available. More information and registration at . The University of Minnesota Extension program provides youth 14 years and older the opportunity to learn about safe equipment operation and general farm safety. Students will work hands-on with full-sized tractors and implements, receive training in farm-related basic first aid and learn about farm safety from a range of experienced community members. Students who complete this program will receive a U.S. Department of Labor certificate of training. This certificate is required for 14- and 15-year-olds who wish to work with equipment with over 20 horsepower off of their family farm or homestead. This course includes 8 hours of online instruction, completed independently before the two days of in-person instruction.

Invasive species management: 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 expert talks in person at each of the 10 Research and Outreach Centers across Minnesota. Participants can view the morning virtual keynote sessions in person at the closest ROC near them or from anywhere of their choosing. At the afternoon in-person event there will be direct access to field and research sites and have an opportunity to deepen their understanding of invasive species local to their region. 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: July 12, 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., University of Minnesota Extension Beef Team and Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association will host the tour at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus with stops at the Andrew Boss Laboratory of Meat Science, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Forage Research plots. The tour starts and ends at the Minnesota Zoo where attendees will have exclusive access to the entire zoo from 4 to 8 p.m. Check in opens at 6 a.m. at the zoo and the buses will leave at 7 a.m. Tickets are $25 per person until June 15 at . After June 15, tickets are $30 online or at the door. Lunch and supper are included. Sponsorship opportunities for the event are available, and inquiries should be directed to Dr. Joe Armstrong at .

Farm Beginnings: Sept. 1 deadline for applications for the Farm Beginnings class will take place in an online setting November through 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 strong enterprise plan and start building their operation. It is designed for new and prospective farmers who want to plan a profitable farm business. The class cost is $1,000, which covers up to two individuals per farm, discount for applications received before Aug. 1, scholarships available. More information and registration is on the Land Stewardship Project website or email Annelie Livingston-Anderson at


Farm Resource Guide: The 2022 guide is now available at many University of Minnesota Extension county offices across the state. It includes a wide variety of useful farm business management information and is available for a fee plus sales tax and postage, if mailed. Order from Dave Bau, Extension Educator, by email at or phone, 507-372-3900 ext. 3906 and specify format. Email cost $25; CD cost $29; hard copy cost $31.


Willmar Avenue 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.

Wesley community garden plots: Summer plots are available at the Wesley Community Garden, at the United Methodist Church in Willmar. Plots are 15 feet by 15 feet and are $20 each, which is refunded with certain conditions at the end of the season. To reserve a plot, call the church 320-235-5403.


Local workgroup meeting: June 9, 10 a.m., Renville County Government Center, Olivia; The group provides a forum for partners, farmers, agro business, conservation groups and local community members to share conservation activities and discuss natural resource efforts and concerns that should be prioritized. The group assists in guiding the Natural Resource 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, or by phone 320-523-1550.

Volunteer water monitors: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is recruiting volunteers to measure water clarity in numerous lakes and streams — including several high-priority sites in the Willmar area — and then report back to the agency. Volunteers do a simple water clarity test in a body of water twice a month during the summer. Lake monitors boat or paddle to a designated spot in the lake to check the clarity, while stream monitors record data from the streambank or a bridge over it. All equipment and training is provided, no experience is needed. The program relies on the volunteers to help monitor Minnesota’s 12,000+ lakes and 92,000+ miles of streams. This is the perfect opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts and those interested in helping protect our state’s natural resources. The MPCA uses the data to help determine whether 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 gathered by volunteers is the only monitoring done on a particular lake or stream.

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 .

Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center: Phone number is 320-354-5894, office hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. Trails may be used during daylight hours at no cost. A bathroom with composting toilets is open by the pavilion. Pets should be on a leash. Pre-registration required for all classes. All equipment rentals (fat-tire bikes, canoes and kayaks) will be handled on a reservation basis, made at least 24 hours in advance. To reserve equipment for the weekend, please call by noon on Friday. Two-hour equipment rental is $20 for adults, $10 for members and $5 for all youth.

  • Survival: June 18, 9 a.m. to noon, grades 4 and up, $20, pre-registration required; prepare to survive outdoors, teamwork is key as your group builds a shelter using survival basics. Try to build a fire using a bow drill and flint and steel.
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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