Pesticide applicator testing: Feb. 8 and April 8. 8:30 a.m. to noon, Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District office in Olivia. Review the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website for testing requirements or call Ethan Dahl at 320-523-1550, ext 101 or email him at
with any questions. The website is
Hemp production forum: Feb. 9, 9 a.m. to noon, online, free. For anyone interested in hemp and hemp production, forum will feature updates on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s hemp licensing requirements, the new inspection requirements for those processing raw hemp from the field, and opportunities in fiber production. 2022 will be the second year Minnesota will operate under a federally approved state plan that governs hemp production and regulation. The state previously worked under a hemp pilot program from 2016-2020. More information and registration information can be found at
Small grain workshops: University of Minnesota Extension is offering small grain workshops across Minnesota to address successful small grain management, focusing on production agronomics, variety selection and economics. Workshops include an open forum for discussion of related topics and on-farm experiences. Lunch is included at all sites with registration. Registration is free but required to assist with meal planning. Please register by visiting
or contact the number listed with each workshop. Workshops in the area include:
- Feb. 18: Cold Spring, 9 to 11:30 a.m., Great Blue Heron, contact Nathan Drewitz at 608-515-4414.
- Feb. 18: Benson, 1 to 3:30 p.m., McKinney’s on Southside, contact Scott Lee at 320-760-6129.
- Feb. 23: online, 9 to 10 a.m., virtual workshop
Strategic Farming: Let’s Talk Crops webinar series. This free, live, online program will provide up-to-date, research-based information to help optimize your crop management strategies for 2022. Sessions will be held over Zoom from 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesdays through March 30. Sessions will begin with a brief presentation by the discussion leaders for the day, followed by discussion framed around farmer/participant questions on the topic. Register at
for the entire program series. Sessions will be recorded and posted for viewing later. The next three session are:
- Feb. 9: Cover crops: Termination timing and planting green; Axel Garcia y Garcia, sustainable cropping systems specialist, and Anna Cates, state soil health specialist.
- Feb. 16: Tar spot of corn: Status and options for this rising issue; Dean Malvick, Extension plant pathologist, and Nathan Kleczewski, plant pathologist, GROWMARK Inc.
- Feb. 23: Small grains management update; Jochum Wiersma, Extension small grains specialist.
“Prairie Yard and Garden”: The 35th season of the television show premieres Thursday, Jan. 20, on Pioneer PBS. All the shows will be available for online viewing at
after the original showing.
- 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10, and repeats 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, and 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14. Host Mary Holm visits with Andy Carlson and Roger Boleman about landscape design. Roger Boleman added a new deck at his home in Taylors Falls, he called designer Carlson to help with the landscaping.
- 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, and repeats 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, and 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21. Host Mary Holm talks with Mary Meyer about pollinator-friendly alternatives to traditional lawn turf at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen.
- 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, and repeats 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, and 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28. Host Mary Holm talks with Steve Henry of Alexandria about his methods and a secret ingredient he uses when composting.
Gardening for the Health of It: The Olmsted County Extension Master Gardener volunteers spring gardening seminar will be a series of weekly Zoom sessions, with a cost of $15 per session. There will be 10 classes between Feb. 15 and March 24. Topics include alternative gardening ideas. gardening with nature, bees and pollination, shade gardening, photographing gardens, tree and shrub care, beneficial insects, healing power of gardening, heirloom varieties and urban water and soil conservation. Register and pay fee at
Gardening from the Ground Up: Feb. 22-25, 1 to 2:30 p.m., online. University of Minnesota Extension educators present the third annual webinar series. The free virtual workshops will cover a wide variety of topics ranging from soil nutrients, plant health and insects — useful for any curious beginner gardener or yard owner. More information and registration available on the West Central Research and Outreach Center
. Recordings of the webinars will be sent out at the conclusion of the series.
“Prairie Sportsman”: The 13th season of Prairie Sportsman premiers Sunday, Jan. 23. on Pioneer PBS. All the shows will be available for online viewing at
after the original showing.
- 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6, and repeats at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12. Join host Bret Amundson for “Rick-a-Shay, Regals and Goats.” The Rick-a-Shay Riders drill team performs, regal fritillary butterflies are introduced in a metro park and goats clear buckthorn from bluff prairies.
- 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, and repeats at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19. Join host Bret Amundson for “Lake of the Woods Remembrances” as he joins veterans who memorialize a friend at Lake of the Woods and celebrates his family’s Lake of the Woods traditions.
- 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, and repeats at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday Feb. 26. Join host Bret Amundson for “Lakes and Legacies” as he visits Alexandria to spear fish with decoys hand-carved by Glen Tomoson’s grandfather in the 1950s and stops by the Legacy of the Lakes museum.
Fort Ridgely State Park: Feb. 12, 5 to 8 p.m. A waxing gibbous moonlit evening hike lit by candlelight starts at the chalet and is suitable for beginner-level snowshoers or hikers of all ages. Equipment is not required to participate in the hike, but visitors can bring their own snowshoes or ice cleats if desired. Visitors are also welcome to bring their own hot cocoa or cider to warm themselves after the hike near the bonfire. A vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks and be purchased in advance at the DNR website
. Call the park for more information at
Ice fishing tournament: Feb. 19, noon to 3 p.m., Smith Lake in Douglas County., Alexandria Industries’ 15th annual “Fishing For the Cure” ice fishing tournament. Advance tickets are $20 for adults through Feb. 18, $30 on the day of tournament; ages 12 and under are $10. Tournament allows fish house shelters and participants can fish anywhere on Smith Lake.
Sibley State Park: A vehicle permit is required to enter the park and is available online. Sibley State Park is west of New London just off U.S. Highway 71. For more information, visit the state Department of Natural Resources website at
Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center: Trails at the rural Spicer center may be used during daylight hours at no cost. A bathroom with composting toilets is open by the pavilion. Pets should be on a leash. All equipment rentals (fat-tire bikes, kayaks, canoes) will be handled on a reservation basis, made at least 24 hours in advance. To reserve equipment for the weekend, please call by noon Friday. Two-hour equipment rental is $20 for adults, $10 for members and $5 for all youth. Call
- Intro to Cross Country Skiing: Feb. 10, 4 to 5 p.m., grades 2 and older, $10. Learn the basics of cross country skiing. Then hit the trails to practice your new skills. Instruction and equipment provided. Meet at the main building.