Tim Fine

Chances are good that if you have tried to call the office recently to get in touch with me, you were not successful. Between our annual conference, meetings, workshops, meetings and a couple of sick kids it seems as though I have been away from my desk more than usual the last couple of months. And I just glanced at my December and January calendar and it looks like that trend will continue into the New Year.

Two of these calendar events are coming up soon and are open to the public. The first has been publicized in this paper quite a bit and the other is a workshop that I just found out about yesterday.

For the last couple of years (I believe this will be our third one) the research staff at the Williston Research Extension Center, the MSU Eastern Agricultural Research Center, and the USDA/ARS have combined to put on what we have termed the MonDak Ag Research Summit. The purpose of the summit is to highlight research being conducted at each of the research centers and provide some interaction between those doing the research and those who benefit from it. While the agenda and topics have already been advertised, we just found out that the program will be worth one credit for Montana private pesticide applicators and one credit for commercial applicators who are licensed in Agricultural Plant Pest Control, Demonstration and Research Pest Control, and/or Dealer. The Ag Research Summit will be held at the Event Center on our Fairgrounds and will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The next event that I want to highlight is a workshop that the Williams County (ND) Soil Conservation District and the Williams County Natural Resource Conservation Service are hosting. The title for this workshop is “Changing Dirt into Soil” and will focus on various aspects of soil health.

Soil health has become a very popular buzzword in agricultural circles over the past decade or so as agronomists and producers have come to learn how important a healthy soil is to crop production. The Williams County Conservation District and NRCS Offices will be bringing in two well known speakers to discuss this important topic; Jay Fuhrer and Derek Axten.

Jay, as soil health specialist with NRCS is well known for his work on soil health principles. He has worked for NRCS for 40 years and will be retiring soon. Derek Axten and his wife operate a diversified farm near Minton, Saskatchewan. The Axten’s have implemented innovative ideas to improve their soil health and regenerate their farm ground.

In addition to these two speakers, Keith Brown with the Williams County Conservation District will show participants how to use the internet-based Web Soil Survey and there will be an update from Justin Jacobs with the WREC on intercropping research that is being conducted at the Center.

This workshop is free and open to anyone. It will begin at 8:30 (Central Time), include lunch, and end at 12:30. Pre-registration is not required but they would like a head count for lunch is possible. To register, you can contact the Williams County Conservation District at 701-648-9841.

I hope to see you at either, or both, of these workshops. If you have questions about either you are welcome to contact me at 433-1206 or send an email to timothy.fine@montana.edu.

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