Johnson qualifies for state in FFA

Hate it when you're asked about strengths and weaknesses in a job interview? For one Alexandria Area High School student, job interviews are a strength.

Kailei Johnson, a member of the school's FFA team, will compete at the state level in April in the employment skills category, after finishing second in the regional event in Willmar on Feb. 14.

"She had to complete a resume, complete a job application and then go through a mock interview," said advisor Andrew Steiner. "It's great practice and a real-world skill."

Two Alexandria students, Kallista Roers and Tyler Burgess, were among seven chosen from 18 applicants to serve as officers on the Region 3 team that runs activities throughout the upcoming year. They won't know their positions until the regional banquet in April.

Alexandria's Parliamentary Procedure team placed third out of five teams, narrowly missing a chance to go to state. Coached by Dave Peper, this team learns how to run formal meetings that govern the affairs of government officials and many organizations. They learned how to make motions and make arguments for or against motions.

Brenna Thompson placed fourth regionally in Creed Speaking, a competition for first-year FFA members. She memorized the five paragraphs of the FFA Creed, recited it and answered questions about what it meant to her.

Farmers asked to participate in survey

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will interview wheat and hay growers for its annual pesticide and fertilizer use survey beginning Monday, March 18, through Friday, April 5.

Data gathered helps the department track the use of agricultural chemicals on Minnesota farms and is "critical for research purposes," the department said in a news release.

Questions will focus on the 2018 growing season and ask farmers about pesticide and fertilizer applications on wheat and hay grown in Minnesota. The voluntary survey does not ask personal questions.

The survey is conducted for Minnesota by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Statistics Service from their regional offices in Missouri.

For more information or to view results of previous surveys, visit, or call 651-261-1993 between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Clinic set for irrigators

A clinic for anyone irrigating farmland is scheduled for Thursday, March 21, at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in Spicer.

Speakers are coming from the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Discovery Farms. They will address topics such as cover crops and soil health, precision irrigation technology, groundwater use permitting and the impact on surface water, and subsurface water quality research.

Soil and Water Conservation districts from several counties, including Douglas, are organizing the event.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the program will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Lunch is included.

To sign up, send $10 to Pope SWCD, Attn: Holly Kovarik, 1680 Franklin St. N., Glenwood, MN 56334 by Friday, March 15. Registration at the door will increase to $20 and a meal cannot be guaranteed.

The learning center is at 12718 10th St. NE in Spicer, about 60 miles southeast of Alexandria.

For more information, contact Jerry Haggenmiller at 320-763-3191, ext. 3, or at

'Let's Get Growing' workshop set

University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners of Douglas County will hold their annual "Let's Get Growing" workshop on Saturday, April 6 at Discovery Middle School, 510 McKay Ave N. in Alexandria.

This year, a sales representative from plant breeder McHutchinson, Inc., Carrie Larson, will deliver the keynote address.

"A lot of new and exciting breeding has taken place in the industry recently regarding tomatoes, strawberries, herbs and vegetables to make these plants productive in containers as well as the garden," the master gardeners said in a news release. "There are so many new plants to choose from and Carrie will help you weed through those that are worth your time and space."

Larson will also review new varieties of flowering plants available this spring, how to grow them and how to put them together to make the most complementary containers.

The workshop also offers a marketplace with vendors and breakout sessions for gardeners of different skill levels. This year's breakout session topics include backyard chickens, begonias, choosing the right apple tree, and using plastic mulch.

Registration takes place between 8 and 8:45 a.m., and the keynote speech begins at 8:45 a.m.

Registration includes refreshments, lunch and sessions. Early-bird registration is $30 if received by Wednesday, March 27. After that deadline, participants can register at the door for $35.

To register early online, visit To print a registration form, visit Registrations and checks may be mailed to the Extension Office at 720 Fillmore Street, Suite B090 in Alexandria, MN 56308. Registration may also be done in person at the Extension Office, which is in the Douglas County Service Center Building down the hall from the Douglas County Library and Lakes Area Recreation.

For more information call 320-762-3890.