Outdoors

Gathering Partners Conference: May 13-15, virtually, $60, registration deadline May 10. Event is a favorite for friends of Minnesota’s natural resources, including volunteers, landowners, citizen scientists and advocates. From phenology to climate change, wildlife watching to invasive species management, participants can learn about Minnesota’s ecology virtually. Evenings will include a virtual happy hour, game show night, and more. Optional field trips at various northern Minnesota locations. Each optional field trip is $35; financial assistance is available. More information and registration on website at gatheringpartners.umn.edu.

Farming

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.

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.

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Conservation practices cost share: TThe 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.

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.

Gardening

Spring Tasks for the Waking Yard and Garden: Noon to 1 p.m., May 21, online by the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris.

Steve Poppe and Nate Dalman from the center's horticulture department will discuss and show how to perform a variety of lawn and garden tasks, ranging from cleaning up perennials/shrubs and lawn fertilization to picking out plants in the greenhouse in order to help you properly prepare your yard and garden for the upcoming growing season. Topics include pond care, turf care, pruning shrubs, media for containers, and cleaning up perennials. This “Come Grow with Us” class is free, but donations are accepted. Advance registration not required, for more information call 320-589-1711.

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.