Farm, Garden & Outdoors calendar published May 7, 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: Registration is open for the Strategic Farming: Field Notes program designed for farmers and ag professionals. The free, 30-minute University of Minnesota Extension webinar over Zoom begins May 11 and 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. Topics will include soil fertility, agronomics, pest management, equipment and more. Speakers will include researchers and educators from the University of Minnesota and neighboring states in addition to crop consultants and farmers. 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.

Commercial dairy goat operation startup webinar: 7:30 p.m. May 12, free online via Zoom by University of Minnesota Extension. Advance registration required at to receive the sign-on link. The webinar will showcase a virtual tour of a dairy goat operation and highlight important topics such as facilities, milking equipment, farm/processor relationship, keys to success and more. Sheep and goat producers, 4-H and FFA members, and consumers are invited to attend to learn more about a successful commercial dairy goat operation. Featured speaker is Sherry Panuska, owner and manager of Sherry’s Saanens, LaManchas and Sables in rural New Richland. Hear from Panuska as she shares how she turned her hobby farm into a successful commercial goat dairy and view a tour of her farm. Registrants who are unable to attend the live session will receive the recording via email. For questions, contact Brenda Miller at , Emma Severns at or Travis Hoffman at .

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. Inquiries may be directed to Dr. Joe Armstrong at .


High Avenue 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 .

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 at 320-235-5403 .


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 stream bank 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-plus lakes and 92,000-plus miles of streams. This is the perfect opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts and those interested in helping protect the 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: Trails at the rural Spicer center 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. All equipment rentals (fat-tire bikes, kayaks, canoes) 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 .

  • Survival: June 18, 9 a.m. to noon, grades 4 and up, $20, advance 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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Events and classes scheduled in the outdoors, gardening and farming. Submit your event at by noon on Tuesday.
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