Gardening

Spring Tasks for the Waking Yard and Garden: The May 21 class has been canceled.

Backyard Birdhouses: 6 to 7 p.m., June 16, display garden, University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center, 46352 State Hwy. 329 in Morris. Learn the various specifications of birdhouses for chickadees, wrens, bluebirds, wood ducks and tree swallows — and learn why they need different types of houses to meet their shelter and nesting needs, the best place to put your birdhouses, and what you can do to protect the nesting birds from predators. Bring along your binoculars for an evening of bird watching in the Horticulture Display Garden.

Presented by Dr. Margaret Kuchenreuther, associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris. She teaches courses in ecology, conservation biology and plant systematics and conducts research on prairie restoration and management. In her spare time, she is an avid gardener and bird watcher.

Registration is required upon arrival. Class size limited to the first 25 people; first-come, first-served. Social distancing and masks required. This “Come Grow with Us” class is free, but donations are accepted. For more information, call 320-589-1711.

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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.

Farming

Beef Quality Assurance and Secure Beef Supply training: Remaining workshops to choose from are May 18 and June 3, free, online via Zoom by the University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Beef Council. Advance registration required, codes at mnbeef.org/about-us/upcoming-events. BQA certification is being required by many major industry buyers and processors. It is still voluntary for producers to complete. However, when a producer does not have current BQA certification, the result is that many packers and feedlots simply cannot purchase those cattle because their company cannot source cattle from a producer who does not meet their certification requirements. If unable to attend a scheduled Zoom session, earn free certification online, anytime, at www.BQA.org.

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.

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.

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.