Oklahoma State University Extension’s Master Irrigator Program kicks off its third year in January 2023 to educate producers on water conservation and irrigation practices.
The Master Irrigator Program will take place 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday over the course of four weeks. The dates for 2023 are Jan. 17, 24, 31 and Feb. 7. Registration is $100 per person. Participants will also have the option of attending in-field events for hands-on learning next fall.
Curriculum for the 2023 program includes Ogallala hydrology, soil/water relationship, soil moisture sensors, economic value of Ogallala water, irrigation scheduling models, the Oklahoma Mesonet, irrigated forage production, irrigation equipment, well energy efficiency, drip irrigation, VFDs, center pivots, soil health and nutrient management.
Master Irrigators offers a platform for sharing peer-to-peer knowledge with producers while discussing irrigation techniques they have used, problems they have faced and management techniques they are curious about, said Jason Warren, OSU Extension specialist for soil and water conservation.
The Oklahoma Water Resources Center works with several state and federal agencies to provide funding and opportunities to producers following the program. They can receive up to $2,000 to purchase irrigation technology, such as soil moisture sensors or irrigation schedulers. Program graduates are also eligible for benefits to improve their irrigation systems.
Program participants can receive additional points on their Environmental Quality Incentives Program applications for financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service. They can also request free irrigation audits to measure how much energy and water an irrigation system uses in daily operations as well as locate leaks in pipelines and assess the uniformity of irrigation application.
High Plains Journal’s Soil Health U & Trade show will return to an in-person format for the first time since the start of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The two-day event will be held Jan. 18-19 at the Tony’s Pizza Event Center in Salina, Kansas. Soil Health U is designed to provide attendees with a roadmap to better soil health and increase productivity and profitability. This event includes a diverse line-up of keynote speakers, educational breakout sessions, engaging panels and a tradeshow of soil health-adjacent exhibitors.
The keynote speakers are Jerry Hatfield, Ph.D., retired United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service laboratory director, and Jay Fuhrer, a conservationist employed by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bismarck, North Dakota. Hatfield’s keynote, “What is the real value of soil carbon: Path toward increasing productivity and profitability,” will focus on increasing soil carbon for more efficient utilization of water and nutrients to increase profitability. Fuhrer’s keynote, “Rebuilding and maintaining soil life in the soil,” will delve into the increasing the longevity of soil, the damage landscape simplification can inflict and how to revitalize the soil to meet its potential for years to come.
Some of the breakout speakers include Macauley Kincaid, a farmer and soil health enthusiast from Missouri; Roy Pfaltzgraff of Pfaltzgraff Farms in Haxtun, Colorado; Trisha Jackson, Ph.D., director of regenerative agriculture at PrairieFood; Brian Alexander, host of the Ranching Reboot podcast; Cassidy Million, Ph.D., director of ag science at Heliae Agriculture; Kari Bigham, teaching assistant professor at Kansas State University; and Dr. Chris Grotegut, DVM, farmer, rancher and veterinarian. The topics covered in the educational sessions will include: cover crops, livestock, carbon, grazing, profitability and water management. There will also be opportunities for Certified Crop Adviser credits.
The Soil Health U & Trade Show event will also include Soil Health U awards, which will be presented on day one of the event. The awards include Regenerative Woman of the Year and Young Producer of the Year. Individuals that have made valuable contributions to regenerative agriculture can be nominated by visiting www.soilhealthu.net/award-nominations/ and filling out an online form. If selected, the recipients will be notified in advance and will receive two free registrations to attend the event, a one-year subscription to High Plains Journal, editorial coverage in the publication and recognition during the awards ceremony at Soil Health U.
This event also provides ample time to network with speakers, attendees and exhibitors at the trade show during the trade show hours and the Tailgate Social that closes out day one of the event.
This producer-initiated organic vegetable production conference is designed for advanced growers and attracts participants from throughout the Midwest and beyond. Participants who register by January 6 will receive a conference packet with handouts and swag through the mail BEFORE the conference. Those who register after January 6 may receive the packet before or AFTER the conference. All sessions will be over Zoom.
The Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association (TOFGA) 2023 conference includes three days of in-depth workshops and learning sessions, plus multiple off-site intensives and farm tours. Additional highlights include a farm-to-table banquet with keynote speaker, social and networking opportunities, and an excellent trade show featuring new and innovative material as well as mainstay agricultural tools, inputs, and services.
TOFGA is a statewide non-profit organization focused on education and advocacy for Texas farmers, ranchers, and gardeners who practice organic and sustainable methods.
The Fruit Guys Community Fund provides annual grant awards to small farms and agricultural nonprofits that support sustainable agriculture projects with large positive impacts on the environment, local food webs, and farm diversity.
Did your specialty crop operation recently incur on-farm food safety program expenses related to obtaining or renewing a food safety certification in calendar years 2022 or 2023? You may be eligible for financial assistance through USDA’s Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program (FSCSC).
The FSCSC program provides financial assistance for specialty crop operations that incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses related to obtaining or renewing a food safety certification in calendar years in 2022 or 2023. This program helps offset costs to comply with regulatory requirements and market-driven food safety certification requirements.
For each year, FSCSC will cover a percentage of the specialty crop operation’s cost of obtaining or renewing their certification, as well as a percentage of their related expenses.
Eligible expenses include developing, maintaining, or updating a food safety plan, food safety certification, certification upload fees, microbiological testing, and training expenses.
For more information or to apply, visit the program webpage.
The Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audit & Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants provides grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance (REDA) to eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses. This program helps promote American energy independence by increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements. Over time, these investments can also help lower energy costs for small businesses
and agricultural producers.
The 2023 Oklahoma Association for Environmental Education Expo has the theme, “The Sustaining Power of Nature”.
From oceans to the Amazon rainforest, keynote speaker Conservation Biologist Laurie Gillum, has dedicated most of her life to studying endangered species and their habitats, including cetaceans, chimpanzees, birds, and bugs. This passion for the natural world led her on a surprising journey to teaching kids about how their relationship to the plants and animals around them can make a positive difference in the world. There will be a variety of hands-on and lecture style presentations on topics such as creating living labs, Climate, Water & Resilience, Forest Therapy, Eco Audits, Wind Energy, Recycling and Composting, Lichen, Youth Climate Challenge, Bees, Living Loose Parts, and Virtual Reality for Outdoor Education.
Become a community scientist with this Monarch Larva Monitoring Project training! The MLMP team from the Monarch Joint Venture and the UW-Madison Arboretum co-lead these virtual one-day trainings on how to collect data that contributes to our knowledge about the monarch population. Participants learn about monarch biology, monitoring procedures, and data entry protocols, and are able to ask monarch biologists their questions about monarchs and monitoring.
This session will be relevant for both newcomers and individuals who are already participating in the MLMP or another monarch citizen science project. The four-hour training will be conducted in two parts with a one-hour break between them. This year, MLMP is offering three trainings focused on specific regions: western states on February 4th, southern states on February 25th, and northern states on April 29th.