Outdoors

Conservation activities: June 9, 10 a.m., Kandiyohi Soil and Water Conservation District in cooperation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service will be having its annual Local Work Group meeting by teleconference. The locally led process provides the U.S. Department of Agriculture with input on local natural resources priorities and criteria for USDA conservation activities and programs. It also assists the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service and other USDA agencies to identify conservation needs, resource concerns and priorities and seeks recommendations. Anyone interested in attending the meeting may either call 320-235-3906, ex.t 3 ,or email Sandra.Laumer@mn.nacdnet.net for the log-in information.

Gardening

Healthy Lawns: June 17, 6 to 7 p.m., instructions of how to join the West Central Research and Outreach Center online class will be available at wcroc.cfans.umn.edu/. Lawn care can be expensive and puzzling. Learn some simple tips and techniques that can help you get the best performance out of your yard while protecting area lakes and streams from pollutants and runoff. Adam Hjelm of the Sauk River Watershed District will cover a wide variety of topics and answer questions about watering, fertilizing, weed identification and so much more to make your lawn the best it can be. This “Come Grow with Us” class is free, but donations are accepted. For more information, call 320-589-1711.

Farming

Managing market hogs destined for local meat lockers: With pig harvest at commercial packing plants currently disrupted, consumers have an opportunity to purchase market hogs directly from the farm. These pigs destined for local custom processing facilities may have to wait until they can be harvested. The University of Minnesota swine team has put together a fact sheet detailing how consumers can keep market hogs in anticipation of their harvest at local meat lockers. Pig diets, housing, feed and water equipment, the pigs’ environmental needs, and health and biosecurity information are all included in the fact sheet. It can be found on the University of Minnesota Extension Swine blog at z.umn.edu/MarketHogs-LocalButcher.

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.

UMN Extension Swine Podcast: The University of Minnesota Extension swine team has released its latest podcast to assist producers feeding pigs in this climate of interrupted markets. Swine educators Sarah Schieck Boelke, Lee Johnston and Pedro Urriola discuss nutritional strategies producers can implement to slow the growth of pigs whose harvest plants have closed due to COVID-19. The podcast recorded May 1 can be accessed at z.umn.edu/PodcastEpisode16. Additional information for managing the swine farm during plant shutdowns can be found on the UMN Extension Swine blog at z.umn.edu/ClosedPorkPackingPlantResources. COVID-19 resources for pork producers are located on the UMN Extension Swine blog at z.umn.edu/COVID-19SwineResources.

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 annelie@landstewardshipproject.org.