Minnesota 4-H has a number of online STEM learning opportunities for youth. Links are provided with each science, technology, engineering and math event and some require advance registration.

STEM Learning Lab: April 4, 2 to 2:30 p.m. We will share several hands-on science and engineering activities and guide adults in how to provide great STEM learning for youth. We will also provide free 4-H STEM resources to tap into. These activities are for youth in grades K-5. Visit the Extension webpage z.umn.edu/4h-stem for more information and the link to join us.

4-H Agronomy (soil science and growing crops): Three online learning sessions, each set for 2 p.m. Weed Id on April 8, Farming on April 17 and Tasty Thursday on April 23. Join online via Zoom: z.umn.edu/growwith4-H.

Meet a NASA engineer: Three online conversations with the engineers who work on the Mars Rover program at NASA, all at 7 p.m., on April 20, April 28 and May 7. Advance registration is required. Visit z.umn.edu/4h-nasa for more information.

Essential Row Crop Management: April 6-10, 1 to 1:30 p.m, webinars. Extension specialists in Iowa and Minnesota will talk for about 10-15 minutes followed by questions. Topics and presenters are:

  • April 6: “Top 3 tips for cover crop termination” with Meaghan Anderson, extension field agronomist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
  • April 7: “Grain storage management for spring” with Shawn Shouse, extension ag engineer, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
  • April 8: “Management of fertilizer spread patterns” with Ryan Bergman, program coordinator, and Matt Darr, professor, ISU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
  • April 9: “Pre-emergence herbicide programs” with Lisa Behnken, extension educator in crops, University of Minnesota.
  • April 10: “Tillage options this spring” with Jodi DeJong-Hughes, extension educator in water resources, University of Minnesota
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For more information about the series and to register, go to: https://extension.umn.edu/courses-and-events/essential-row-crop-management-online. Once you register, you will be able to watch any or all of the webinars. Each webinar will be recorded for later viewing.

Pesticide applicator testing: April 24, 8 a.m. to noon, Renville County Government Service Center in Olivia, conducted by the Renville Soil and Water Conservation District. Review the Minnesota Department of Ag website for testing requirements or call Mike Sandager at 320-523-1550, ext 101 or email Michael.Sandager@mn.nacdnet.net with any questions. The website is https://www.mda.state.mn.us/pesticide-fertilizer/pesticide-applicator-licensing.

MARL Class XI: April 24 is the deadline for applications for the Minnesota Agriculture & Rural Leadership Class XI. MARL, now in its 20th year, is a two-year educational experience featuring nine two- and three-day, in-state seminars, a six-day national study seminar in Washington, D.C., and a 10- to 14-day international study seminar. Applications will be accepted through April 24. The first session will be Nov. 23-24 in St. Cloud. The application form, instructions and answers to frequently asked questions are available online at www.marlprogram.org/application. Interested individuals can join special webinars, and may contact Executive Director Olga Reuvekamp at 507-537-6430 or Olga.reuvekamp@smsu.edu. The MARL curriculum is designed to have immediate applicability for active leaders. Each session features a mix of leadership study, personal skill-building, and location-related subject matter. A majority of each class’ makeup is agricultural producers, and others are professionals involved in rural, and ag-related organizations. Most of the activities occur over the winter months.

Minnesota CREP: April 30 is the deadline for a new sign-up period for the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement program. MN CREP is a voluntary state-federal program designed to improve water quality and habitat through permanent conservation easements across 54 southern and western Minnesota counties using buffer strips, wetland restoration, and drinking water wellhead area protection. Landowners simultaneously enroll land in a 14- to 15-year federal Conservation Reserve Program contract and a permanent Reinvest in Minnesota Reserve program conservation easement. Landowners receive payments to restore native vegetation on enrolled acres. Current rates range from $7,359 to $9,305 an acre dependent on township. Private ownership continues and the land is permanently restored and enhanced for water quality and habitat benefits. For more information, contact the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District in Olivia, 320-523-1550, www.renvilleswcd.com.

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Farm Beginnings:Sept. 1 is the deadline for applications for the Farm Beginnings class that starts in October in Red Wing. The 12-month training session helps beginning farmers clarify their goals and strengths, establish a strong enterprise plan and start building their operation. The course uses a mix of farmer-led classroom sessions, on-farm tours, and an extensive farmer network. It is designed for new and prospective farmers who want to plan a profitable farm business. Students do not need to currently own land, but some farming or production experience is helpful to get the most out of the class. More information and registration is on the Land Stewardship Project website or email Annelie Livingston-Anderson at annelie@landstewardshipproject.org.

USDA Farm Service Agency: Open for business by phone only. Fieldwork will continue with appropriate social distancing as precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone, and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call to schedule a phone appointment. FSA will continue to deliver disaster assistance, safety net, farm loan and conservation programs that keep American agriculture in business today and long into the future. Contact your county office for more information.



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