American Association of Sugar Beet Growers: 30 Jan-Feb 1, Scottsdale, Arizona; annual congress. Registrations are open until January 6. The theme is “Together Again to Shape Our Future”, and the agenda will focus on critical issues for the coming year, including the Farm Bill 2023. Scheduled speakers include leaders from the industry, researchers, economists and more.

Strategic agriculture: let’s talk crops webinar series. This free, live online program will provide up-to-date, research-based information to help optimize crop management strategies for 2022. Sessions will be held on Zoom from 9am to 10am from Wednesday January 5th to March 30th. start with a brief presentation by the facilitators of the discussion for the day, followed by a discussion built around questions from farmers / participants on the topic. Register at z.umn.edu/strategic-farming for the full suite of programs. The sessions will be recorded and published for later viewing. The first three sessions are crop fertility adjustments on January 5; compaction on January 12; and grain corn and silage management on January 19.

Fair farm rental contract: January 13, 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m., via Zoom; free program. Farmland rental rates represent the highest input cost for the farmer. Determining a fair farm rental agreement is always a challenge, and negotiating a fair rental agreement that satisfies the landowner and the farmer is a challenge. David Bau and Nathan Hulinsky, extension educators in farm business management, will provide several ways – through examples, fact sheets and worksheets – to determine a fair farmland rental rate for both parties. Zoom into z.umn.edu/LandRentWillmarCo.

Retreats for couples on the farm: February 4-5, Saint-Cloud. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is hosting a couples retreat to forge stronger partnerships. Couples will explore creative communication skills, personality differences, and discover resources that can help them achieve their goals and better cope with the stress of farming and family relationships. Accommodation and meals are included in the free retreat, although a refundable registration deposit is required. Each retreat begins at noon and ends at 1:00 p.m. the next day. Registration is limited to the first 10 registered couples. Participants must follow the COVID-19 protocols in place at each site. Find more information and registration forms at www.mn-dairy-initiative.org/events.html. Additional retreats are scheduled for January 21-22 in Faribault and February 11-12 in Thief River Falls.

The 34th season of Prairie Yard and Garden will air Thursday, January 20 on Pioneer Public Television. All shows will be available for viewing online at www.pioneer.org after the original screening.

Courtyard and prairie garden: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 20 and re-airs at 4 p.m. Saturday, January 22 and 1 p.m. Monday, January 24 on Pioneer PBS. Host Mary Holm visits Anna Anderson of ‘Glory Garden’ in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on how she is leveraging technology and relationships with local producers to connect meat, fruit, vegetables and more with consumers in his community.

Gardening for your health: The Olmsted County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Spring Gardening Seminar will consist of a series of weekly Zoom sessions, at a cost of $ 15 per session. There will be 10 classes between February 15th and March 24th. Topics include alternative gardening ideas. gardening with nature, bees and pollination, shade gardening, garden photography, tree and shrub maintenance, beneficial insects, the healing power of gardening, heirloom varieties and conservation urban water and soil. Register and pay the fees at extension.umn.edu/event/gardening-health-it-session-1.

Prairie Sportsman’s 13th season airs Sunday January 23 on Pioneer Public Television. All shows will be available for viewing online at www.pioneer.org after the original screening.

Prairie Sportsman: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, January 23 and replay at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, January 24 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 29 on Pioneer PBS. Host Bret Amundson visits Milan-area environmentalists Roger Strand on his hunting property and Brad and Kristi Fernholz on a meadow left over from their farm.

Sibley State Park: A vehicle permit is required to enter the park and is available online. Sibley State Park is located west of New London, just off US Highway 71. For more information, visit the State Department of Natural Resources website at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center: The trails in the Spicer Rural Center can be used free of charge during daylight hours. A bathroom with a composting toilet is opened by the pavilion. Animals must be kept on a leash. All equipment rentals (fat-tire bikes, kayaks, canoes) will be by reservation, made at least 24 hours in advance. To reserve the equipment for the weekend, please call before noon on Friday. The two-hour equipment rental is $ 20 for adults, $ 10 for members and $ 5 for all youth. Call 320-354-5894.

Several courses are planned for this winter, and all meet in the main building to start.

  • Snowshoeing: Jan 13, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., 4th year and up, $ 8. On snowshoes, you can explore “off the beaten track” and beyond the track. Enjoy this magical adventure through woods and quiet hills, while keeping an eye out for the tracks and signs of our animal neighbors. Instruction and all equipment provided.
  • Introduction to cross-country skiing: February 10, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Grade 2 and up, $ 10. Learn the basics of cross-country skiing. Then, hit the trails to practice your new skills. Instruction and equipment provided.
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