Farming

2021 wetland restoration: The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources has announced a conservation easement sign-up period through April 7. The goal is to generate wetland credits in specific Wetland Bank Service Areas throughout the state for the Local Government Road Wetland Replacement Program. The program was formed to ensure road reconstruction and other road maintenance projects provide wetland mitigation for affected wetlands. Renville County is in a bank service area that is in need of generating credits. The Board of Water and Soil Resources will be paying a predetermined amount for cropland and non-cropland. It looking for marginal cropland that has significant drainage infrastructure that can be restored and have a functional benefit for the watershed. Fifty percent or more of the area must be restorable. For more information, contact Kyle Richter at the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District at 320-523-1550.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program: April 12-30 sign-up period. Applications can be started sooner and landowners are encouraged to do so. It is a voluntary state-federal program designed to improve water quality and habitat with a goal to protect and restore up to 60,000 acres of marginal cropland across 54 southern and western Minnesota counties with native plantings. Landowners simultaneously enroll land in a 14- to 15-year federal Conservation Reserve Program contract and a permanent Reinvest in Minnesota Program conservation easement. Private ownership continues and the land is permanently restored and enhanced for water quality and habitat benefits. For more information, contact your county Soil and Water Conservation District.

Walk-In Access landowner enrollment: Through May 14, sign-ups available at local soil and water conservation district offices. The program pays private landowners to allow public hunting on their lands. It has enrolled land parcels 40 acres or larger with high-quality natural cover. Hunters must purchase a $3 permit with a hunting license to access enrolled land Sept. 1 through May 31. The parcels are marked with highly visible signs posted by Department of Natural Resources staff and hunting laws are enforced by DNR conservation officers. Landowners are not required to purchase additional liability insurance. Lands enrolled in the Walk-In Access program are covered by Minnesota’s recreational use laws, which limit legal liabilities for landowners who permit outdoor recreational activities, as listed in Minnesota State Statute 604A.20. To sign up, contact your local SWCD office or contact Troy Dale, program coordinator for the DNR, at 507-537-6616 or on the website mndnr.gov/walkin.

Conservation practices cost share: The Kandiyohi Soil and Water Conservation District has cost share available for structural and nonstructural conservation practices. Landowners may receive up to 75% cost share on certain practices including pollinator plantings, field windbreaks, well sealings, cover crops, wetland restorations, sediment control structures, rain gardens and more. Call the Kandiyohi SWCD at 320-235-3540, ext. 3.

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Cover-crop cost share: Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District and Hawk Creek Watershed Project are offering cost-share for cover crops planted between April 1 and Sept. 15. Up to 75% of costs to plant cover crops (e.g. seed, labor, equipment use, seed incorporation) with a maximum payment of $2,000 per farmer per year with a maximum of three years of cost-share through this program. To qualify for the cost-share program, you must sign a cost-share contract, use a seed mix with at least three different species pre-approved by Renville SWCD, turn in all seed tags, and pass a field inspection by a Renville SWCD employee. For more information, call Ethan Dahl at 320-523-1550, ext. 101, or email ethan.dahl@mn.nacdnet.net.

Pesticide applicator testing: April 20, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Renville County Government Service Center in Olivia, conducted by the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District. Review the Minnesota Department of Ag website for testing requirements or call Ethan Dahl at 320-523-1550, ext. 101, or by email at ethan.dahl@mn.nacdnet.net with any questions. The website is www.mda.state.mn.us/pesticide-fertilizer/pesticide-applicator-licensing.

Poultry Health Management School: May 24-25, online, register at PoultryHealthSchool.com. Participants will learn about poultry housing and management in this intensive training course for poultry producers, farm employees and other poultry professionals. Typically, the number of students allowed is limited. However, this year it will be offered to anyone who wishes to participate due to the virtual structure. Fee is $300, each attendee will receive the most recent American Association of Avian Pathologists Avian Disease Manual, an instruction guide and other educational tools. For questions, contact Rebecca Groos at rgroos@minnesotaturkey.com or call 763-682-2171.

Partners in Ag Innovation Conference: July 29, MinnWest Technology Campus, free for ag producers and agribusiness professionals. The MinnWest Technology Campus and the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission are joining forces to co-host the conference. The theme is “From Survive to Thrive.” We are still emerging from the fast-track of change and unexpected events brought on over the past year but feeling hopeful and ready to emerge on the other side. Through this difficult period, comes a time for transformation and growth. Let us take what we learn from 2020 and learn to not just survive …but thrive. We are prepared to go entirely virtual or hybrid and will keep attendees informed as planning progresses. Even with a virtual format, this year's event will include more interaction and small group discussions. See www.partnersinag.com for a provisional agenda.

Farm Resource Guide: The 2021 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, University of Minnesota Extension Educator, by email at bauxx003@umn.edu or phone at 507-372-3900 ext. 3906, and specify format. Email cost is $25; CD cost is $29; hard copy cost is $31.

Gardening

Community 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.

Community 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.

Indestructible houseplants for your health and well-being: April 21, noon to 1 p.m., online by the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris. Explore the health benefits of indoor gardening, indestructible plants you can add to your indoor environment, and some easy care tips to keep your plants thriving. Extension Educator Robin Trott will answer your questions. This “Come Grow with Us” class is free, but donations are accepted. Advance registration not required. For more information, call 320-589-1711.

“Prairie Yard and Garden”: 4 p.m. Saturday, April 3, and 1 p.m. Monday, April 5, on Pioneer PBS. Host Mary Holm visits with Roger, Cheryl, Brian and Meredith Wagner of rural Fisher. They own and operate a successful retail garden center, and design all kinds of landscaping.

“Prairie Yard and Garden”: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, and repeats 4 p.m. Saturday, April 10, and 1 p.m. Monday, April 12, on Pioneer PBS. Host Mary Holm learns about rain gardens. Matt Solemsaas of the Stevens County Soil and Water Conservation District talks about the concept, design and construction of rain gardens, the function of which is important to manage water runoff and provide habitat for pollinators.

Outdoors

“Prairie Sportsman”: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 3, on Pioneer PBS. Join host Bret Amundson for “Road Trip on Ice and Donkey Patrol.” Learn about an automobile road on ice leading to the Northwest Angle and using donkeys to protect livestock from predators.

“Prairie Sportsman”: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 4, and repeats at 12:30 p.m. Monday, April 5, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 10. Join host Bret Amundson for “Vets Hunt and Ag-based Solar Cells.” Come along for a veterans’ pheasant hunt near Worthington and learn how University of Minnesota Morris researchers design solar cells made from agricultural byproducts.

“Prairie Sportsman”: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 11, and repeats at 12:30 p.m. Monday, April 12, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 17. Join host Bret Amundson for “Fish and Flora in Pine County.” Go fishing on Grindstone Lake, which reaches depths of 150 feet, and supports both warm and cold water fish species; visit Goose Garden and learn about flora used by Ojibwe tribes for food, medicine and ceremony.