Tractor drive and picnic

The local antique tractor club, Pioneer Power Club, will host a tractor drive and picnic on Sunday, July 7, with the drive at 1 p.m. and the picnic at 5 p.m., hosted by members Dave and Lola Anderson at 11077 East Rachel Rd SW in Farwell.

Non-members are asked to pay a $20 fee to participate in the tractor drive, which will travel 20 miles around Lake Rachel. After the drive, the Andersons will show their collection of tractors and equipment.

The club notes that due to the challenges of keeping the food cold, the meal will not be a potluck. The club will provide the food and is asking everyone who attends to chip in to help with the expense.

Prevented planting deadline extended

Douglas County farmers unable to plant their crops because of spring flooding and rains now have more time to report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency.

Producers now have until July 15 to report acres they intended to plant this spring but could not due to weather conditions. Douglas is among a number of counties benefiting from the delayed reporting date, along with Pope and Todd.

The new deadline coincides with the July 15 crop acreage reporting deadline already in place. Farmers report their crops to receive federal benefits.

Normally, the prevented plant reporting deadline is 15 calendar days after the final planting date for a crop. The deadline extension only applies to the Farm Service Agency and does not change any Risk Management Agency deadline requirements.

The extension does not apply to crops covered by the agency's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, or NAP. Producers should check with their local agency office regarding prevented planting provisions for NAP-covered crops.

Cover crops for fallow fields

Farmers who couldn't plant because of wet fields should sign up by Friday, July 12, for help planting cover crops through the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Environmental Quality Incentive Program helps farmers plant a cover crop which they could later cut for hay or graze. It provides an alternative to letting fields go fallow and uncovered. Landowners should coordinate with other USDA farm agencies when participating in related programs.

The goal of the program is to encourage farmers to plant cover crops to increase water quality, suppress weeds, and improve soil health on areas not planted to crops. Cover crops also bring soil vitality by adding nutrients and organic matter. Many fields that are saturated for a long time face a loss of soil organisms. Cover crop roots reestablish soil health and create pathways for air and water to move through the soil, which is key to restoring it.

To apply in Douglas County, visit the agency's office in Alexandria, 900 Robert St. NE, Suite 102, or call 320-763-3191.

Consider the lilies

Master gardeners Kathy Janke will speak about lilies on Tuesday, July 9, during the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners of Douglas County's Gardening Brown Bag talk.

Her talk will cover how to plant and care for them and what varieties will grow in our area.

These gardening sessions offered free of charge without pre-registration from noon to 1 p.m. in conjunction with the Douglas County Library. Participants may bring their lunch or snack to the library.

The next talk is "Houseplants" by Robin Trott on Tuesday, July 23.

For more information, call 320-762-3890 or visit the Extension Program down the hall from the Douglas County Library.

Douglas County 4-H Demonstration Day results

Jacob Loween of GoBees 4-H Club in Alexandria was named grand champion for an illustrated presentation and Ethan Radil of Liberty Livewires 4-H Club in Carlos was named reserve champion for a demonstration on Tuesday, June 25, which was judging day for Douglas County 4-H members in the demonstration project area.

During these public presentations, youth develop self-confidence, learn to express their ideas clearly, acquire subject matter knowledge and educate their audience. A good presentation should lead to increased attentiveness, learning and performance.

Demonstrations and illustrated presentations on various topics were also given by Elaine Mergens, Vivian Mergens, Hazel Mergens, Moriah Loween, Elim Jo Loween and Aubrey Wolf, all of GoBees, and Trent Radil of Liberty Livewires.

They were evaluated on their ability to communicate their information, proper use of visuals, correct use of introduction, body, and conclusion in their demonstration, and also the ability to answer questions.

Douglas County 4-H sent 16 to camp

Sixteen local 4-H'ers got a chance to work on crafts and arts as well as learn how to shoot and build things out of wood, plus other activities, during the 2019 Regional 4-H Camp at the University of Minnesota, Morris campus in June.

The camp is open to grades 3-6, and this one drew 141 campers and 28 teenage counselors from 13 Minnesota counties.

Camps offer more time to spend on learning experiences than do clubs, events or fairs. Activities are designed to nurture a relationship with nature. Campers get to choose from six educational tracks: agriculture, agronomy, crafts and fine arts, shooting sports, shop/woods, and engineering design/STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).

Campers came from several 4-H clubs, including Lake Mary Troopers, Carlos Happy Helpers, Chippewans, Lucky Star, Liberty Livewires, Christina Lakers, Working Wonders and Moe.

To learn more about 4-H in Douglas County, visit www.extension.umn.edu/douglas or contact 4-H program coordinators Jodi Hintzen at 320-762-3890 or hintz010@umn.edu, or Jackie Kokett at 320-762-3890 or jkokett@umn.edu.