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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 763-682-2171.
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.
Garden exchange: April 21, 4 p.m., Willmar Public Library. Bring extra plants, seeds, pots, bulbs, etc. and swap them for something else. Everyone is welcome, outside the library. Wear a mask.
“Prairie Yard and Garden”: 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.
“Prairie Yard and Garden”: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 15, and repeats 4 p.m. Saturday, April 17, and 1 p.m. Monday, April 19, on Pioneer PBS. Host Mary Holm visits with Joe Bergeson of Fertile, a rose lover who shares the secrets of success with these beautiful staples of the garden.
“Prairie Sportsman”: 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.
“Prairie Sportsman”: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 18, and repeats at 12:30 p.m. Monday, April 19, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 24. Join host Bret Amundson for “An Inspirational Hike and Dining on Plastic.” Emily Ford of Duluth hikes the Ice Age Trail through Wisconsin to inspire women and people of color to connect with the outdoors. Explore why microplastics are showing up in our water, salt and beer.