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Upcoming Farming Best Practices Workshops

The MPCA publishes “Watershed Connections” each month. This month’s article lists several opportunities to learn more about farming Best Management Practices. Six of the workshops are listed below.

To sign up for the MPCA Watershed Connections monthly updates, go to

Tillage and cover crop workshop Jan. 22 at Heron Lake
A tillage and cover crop workshop will be held starting at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 22 at the Heron Lake Community Center. The program includes soil health demonstrations; featured speaker-Jodi DeJong-Hughes, U of M Extension speaking on tillage effects on soil structure, erosion, compaction, water infiltration and storage; Dept. of Agriculture and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grant research findings; Haney soil test and infiltration test results; and local farmer panel. Lunch will be provided at 12:30 p.m. To register contact Dane Huinker by Jan. 16, 507-662-6682 x3 or email Soil and water management CEU credits available.

Soil health and cover crop program Feb. 21 in Renville
Hawk Creek Watershed Project and Renville SWCD will be presenting a program on soil health and cover crops Wednesday, Feb. 21 at the Renville Community Center. They will be covering steps for implementing soil health and cover crops, the economics of soil health and more. Similar previous programs have been very well attended. Program details will be provided soon.

Freeborn Area Soil Health Team workshop Jan. 23 in Albert Lea
The Freeborn Area Soil Health Team will hosting its 4th annual winter workshop at Wedgewood Cove in Albert Lea on Jan. 23, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be CEU credits available for certified crop advisors. This cost is $20 payable at the door. RSVP by emailing or calling Lindsey at 507-373-5607 Ext. 3.

Winter Crops and Soils Days Feb. 7-9 at Extension research centers
The Southwest Research & Outreach Center (SWROC) along with the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) and University of Minnesota Extension will hold Winter Crops & Soils Day programs on Feb. 7-9 in Lamberton, Luverne, and Morris, respectively. Click here to register online.

This public event highlights current University of Minnesota research that is specific to southwest and west central Minnesota. 2018 marks the first year that the Southwest and West Central Research and Outreach Centers are collaborating to share regionally focused research results and recommendations with area crop and livestock producers.

Program presentations and speakers include:

Integrating cover crops and livestock to improve farm profitability – Bradley Heins, Associate Professor, Dairy, WCROC
The good, the bad, and the reality of Minnesota farm profitability – Joleen Hadrich, Associate Professor and Extension Economist, Applied Economics
Do reduced pest management inputs mean increased economic risk? – Bruce Potter, Integrated Pest Management Specialist, SWROC
Interseeding cover crops into standing corn and soybean – Axel Garcia y Garcia, Assistant Professor, Agronomy, SWROC
Opportunities and challenges for supplemental irrigation in southwest Minnesota in record yielding years – Jeff Strock, Professor, Soil Science, SWROC and Tamas Varga, CFANS PhD student, Soil Science
Overview of research conducted at ROCs and how it impacts your farm – Curt Reese, Scientist, Agronomy & Soil Science, WCROC
Pre-registration is encouraged. Registration for the programs costs $35 and includes refreshments, handouts, and lunch. All programs are cash or check only. Registration for all programs begins at 9:30 a.m. with presentations beginning at 10 a.m. and concluding at 3:15 p.m. The program on Wednesday, Feb. 7 is at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center near Lamberton; Thursday, Feb. 8 at Prairie Events Center in Luverne; and Friday, Feb. 9 at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris. Continuing education units for certified crop advisers have been applied for. Click here to register online.

Winter Crops & Soils Day is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Southwest Research & Outreach Center, West Central Research & Outreach Center, College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences, and Extension. Download a program brochure and registration form here.

Nitrogen, nutrient management conferences in February
Farmers, agronomists and other ag professionals with an interest in nutrient management and water issues are encouraged to attend upcoming conferences showcasing the latest research on fertilizer and manure management, water quality and tile drainage, and more.

The Fourth Annual Nitrogen: Minnesota’s Grand Challenge and Compelling Opportunity Conference will be held Feb. 6 at the Rivers Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, with registration beginning at 8:15 a.m. Attendees can expect to learn more about cover crops, tile drainage and on-farm testing to improve profitability and water quality. Speakers include Dr. Matt Helmers, Iowa State University; Dr. Howard Brown, Illini FS; along with several University of Minnesota researchers. Click here to register.

This year marks the tenth Annual Nutrient Management Conference. Conference will be held Feb. 20 at the Verizon Conference Center in Mankato, with registration starting at 8:15 a.m. Sessions will cover trends in phosphorus and sulfur management, in-season nitrogen applications and cures for phosphorus runoff losses from farmland. Dr. Don Flaten, University of Manitoba and Dr. Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois will be joined by Minnesota researchers. Click here to register.

Hosted by the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center and University of Minnesota Extension along with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and several other sponsors, the two conferences continue a partnership effort that has grown in recent years and attracts several hundred attendees. Several presentations will provide updates on research funded by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council, an industry-led program funded through an assessment on fertilizer sold in Minnesota. Learn more about AFREC here.

Certified crop advisors will earn continuing education credits in nutrient management and water quality. To register, go to Online registration is encouraged but not required. Conference registration is $20 up to one day prior to the event, which can be paid online (requires a $3.16 service fee) or at the door by check or cash. On-site registration is $25, payable by cash or check. For the latest nutrient management information, visit the UMN Extension Nutrient Management website.