Outdoors

West Central Chapter Minnesota Darkhouse and Angling Association: 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, at O’Neil’s in Spicer. The annual raffle will be held. Everyone interested in winter fishing is welcome.

Snowshoe-lacing workshop: Feb. 5 is the registration deadline for the two-day class from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 22 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Lac qui Parle State Park office and education center. Learn how to string the laces on pre-built wooden snowshoe frames, then learn how to use them. This workshop requires some hand strength to tighten the cords: Participants should be at least 10 years old. Fee is $80 and includes the snowshoe kit and materials. Bring a sack lunch. Class size is limited to 20 people. To register, call the park office at 320-734-4450, ext. 222, or email Chris at christine.kleven@state.mn.us.

Candlelight hike: Feb. 8, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Lac qui Parle State Park. The Lower Campground's one-mile trail is suitable for beginner-level hikers of all ages. The trail is packed and lined with ice luminaries. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight. After exploring the trail, visitors can enjoy s’mores and hot chocolate while warming up around a crackling fire inside the historic warming shelter. Turn into the Lower Campground entrance road and drive forward until you reach the greeter who will direct you to parking.

Farming

Women in Ag Network: Feb. 4, 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Willmar Conference Center. The fifth annual conference, “Celebrating Agriculture,” will be a day of learning and networking for women involved in agriculture. The keynote speaker will be Kim Bremmer, founder of Ag Inspirations. She will speak about tangible steps farmers can take to positively move their farms and careers forward, even during difficult times in agriculture. Breakout sessions will feature three diverse tracks for attendees to choose from: personal development, financial management and soil and water quality. The day will end with a panel discussion, “Celebrating Innovators,” featuring local women in agriculture who have taken unique approaches in their areas of agriculture. Advance registration is required at z.umn.edu/2020WAGNConferenceReg. Regular registrations are $65 and accepted until Jan. 28. Late registration is $80 and accepted after Jan. 28 if space allows.

Private pesticide applicator certification renewal: Feb. 14, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., American Legion, Montevideo. Certification is required if you apply pesticides to land or sites you own, rent or lease for the production of agriculture commodities. For more information, contact Liz Stahl at 507-372-3900, ext. 3912, or email at stah0012@umn.edu.

Grow your bottom line, increase your farm profitability and weather resiliency: Feb. 18, 9:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., Renville Community Center, 221 North Main Street. The Hawk Creek Watershed Project and Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District are hosting the workshop. Ted Matthews will begin the meeting with his presentation on managing farm stress. Dr. Jerry Hatfieldwill speak on water quality and the interaction with ag practices and the weather. There will be local farmers discussing implementation of reduced tillage and cover crops and a table discussion with presenters. RSVPs by phone at 320-523-1550, ext. 116, or by email to Melissa.Edmondson@mn.nacdnet.net. Lunch will be provided to those who reserve by Feb. 12.

Pesticide applicator testing: Feb. 28 or April 24, 8 a.m. to noon, Renville County Government Service Center in Olivia, conducted by the Renville Soil, Water and Conservation District. Review the Minnesota Department of Ag website for testing requirements or call Mike Sandager at 320-523-1550, ext. 101, or email Michael.Sandager@mn.nacdnet.net with any questions. The website is https://www.mda.state.mn.us/pesticide-fertilizer/pesticide-applicator-licensing.

Nitrogen Smart: The Nitrogen Smart educational program for producers presents fundamentals for maximizing economic return on nitrogen investments while minimizing nitrogen losses. The morning fundamentals session delivers high-quality, research-based education. The certification is valid for three years after participants complete the fundamentals course. The advanced session is available to returning participants or to new participants that attend the morning fundamentals course. Both are also available as an online course. The classes are free and no advance registration required.

Classes in the area include:

  • Willmar: March 2, 9 a.m. Fundamentals, 1 p.m. Advanced, Willmar Conference Center;
  • Appleton: March 3, 9 a.m. Fundamentals, 1 p.m. Advanced, Appleton Civic Center.
  • Century Farm: Minnesota families who have owned their farms for 100 years or more are invited to apply for the 2020 Century Farm Program. Family farms are recognized as a Century Farm when three requirements are met: 1) at least 100 years old according to authentic land records; 2) in continuous family ownership for at least 100 years (continuous residence on the farm is not required); and 3) at least 50 acres and currently be involved in agricultural production. Applications are available online at mnstatefair.org/about-the-fair/awards-and-recognition/ or at a county extension office or county Farm Bureau offices. The submission deadline is Monday, March 2. Recipients will be announced in May. Previously recognized families should not reapply.

    MARL Class XI: Applications are now being accepted for the Minnesota Agriculture & Rural Leadership Class XI. MARL, now in its 20th year, is a two-year educational experience featuring nine two- and three-day, in-state seminars, a six-day national study seminar in Washington, D.C., and a 10- to 14-day international study seminar. Applications will be accepted through April 24. The first session will be Nov. 23-24 in St. Cloud. The application form, instructions and answers to frequently asked questions are available online at www.marlprogram.org/application. Interested individuals can join special webinars, and may contact Executive Director Olga Reuvekamp at 507-537-6430 or Olga.reuvekamp@smsu.edu. The curriculum is designed to have immediate applicability for active leaders. Each session features a mix of leadership study, personal skill-building, and location-related subject matter. A majority of each class’ makeup is agricultural producers, and others are professionals involved in rural and ag-related organizations. Most of the activities occur over the winter months.

    Gardening

    The Scoop on Soil: Feb. 19, noon to 1 p.m., AgCountry Auditorium, University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center, 46352 State Hwy. 329 in Morris. Nate Dalman, horticulture researcher at the center, will compare common fertilizers and potting soils and discuss which one(s) are the best for gardens, containers and hanging baskets. This “Come Grow with Us” class is free, but donations are accepted. For more information, call 320-589-1711.

    Douglas County Let’s Get Growing: April 4, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Discovery Middle School, Alexandria, the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners of Douglas County annual educational day. Keynote speaker Dr. Joe Storlien will speak on “Gardening in Minnesota’s Changing Climate.” There will be breakout sessions with more than 30 topics. For more information, call the Extension Office at 320-762-3890 or online at extension.umn.edu/douglas. Tickets are $30 in advance by March 27 or $35 cash or check at the door.