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Annual zero-tillage workshop set for Jan. 6-8 in Minot

By Staff | Nov 29, 2013

The Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association is holding its 36th annual workshop and trade show Jan. 6-8, 2014, at the Holiday Inn – Riverside in Minot. The theme for the 2014 workshop is “Unlock Your Soil’s Full Potential.”

Workshop presenters and farmer panels will discuss research and farm-based information relating to topics such as soil biology, soil compaction, managing wet and cold soils, zero-tilling corn and soybeans in adverse conditions, zeroing in on resistant weed management techniques, research updates and the economics of better soil health through zero-tillage.

Along with the presentations, there will be several panel and rap session discussions, an international show and tell and beer and bull sessions.

One of the featured speakers will be Barry Todd. He is a plant and weed scientist and now retired deputy minister of agriculture of Food and Rural Initiatives in Manitoba.

“Todd, through his wide experiences of dealing with problems from the perspective of a scientist, agricultural program administrator and farmer, along with his wry sense of humor, will help workshop participants understand the seemingly complex world of production agriculture,” says Roger Ashley, North Dakota State University Extension Service area cropping systems specialist at the Dickinson Research Extension Center and adviser to the association.

Mark Jennings, farmer and former agricultural lender in Washburn, will discuss the economics of better soil health and zero-tillage. Jennings will point out that the dynamic nature of farming should foster a business structure that allows for change while improving soil health, productivity and profitability.

“Jennings feels that improving management knowledge and skills will remove the ‘can’t’ and ‘impossible’ from a producer’s vocabulary while providing the confidence to make the right decisions when it comes to using and conserving resources,” Ashley says.

Producers have questioned if specific practices will improve soil health and productivity, as well as the bottom line. Several presenters will address those questions.

Abbey Wick, NDSU Extension Service soil health assistant professor, will discuss the components and complexities of soil health. Jon Stika, Natural Resources Conservation Service soil scientist, will discuss evaluating soil health and Kris Nichols, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service scientist, will discuss the how and why of specific practices, as well as interpreting soil tests for biological activity.

“Producers also will be exposed to the practical side of using cover crops in cold, wet climates, soil compaction and vertical tillage, determining the suitability of soils for specific drainage techniques and other technologies,” Ashley says.

Additional topics, speakers and registration information can be found on the association’s website at www.mandakzerotill.org or by contacting Bonnie Staiger, association executive secretary, at (701) 223-3184 or email mandak@westriv.com.

The Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association was created by farmers to facilitate the exchange of ideas, encourage zero-till research and disseminate zero-till information.

Temple Grandin to Speak in Mandan

Internationally known livestock-handling facilities designer Temple Grandin will speak in Mandan on Jan. 14, 2014, as a part of the Winter Workshop at the Best Western Seven Seas Hotel.

The Morton County office of the North Dakota State University Extension Service, Morton County Soil Conservation District and Natural Resources Conservation Service are hosting this event.

Grandin, a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, will speak about improving cattle handling and animal welfare.

Her insights into animal behavior and innovations in livestock handling have made her one of the top scientists in the humane livestock-handling industry.

She also has developed an objective scoring system for assessing cattle and pig handling at meat plants. Many large corporations are using this scoring system to improve animal welfare.

Her other areas of research include cattle temperament, environmental enrichment for pigs, bull fertility, training procedures, and effective stunning methods for cattle and pigs at meat plants.

She also is a book author and advocate for people with autism. Her struggles with autism are the subject of an award-winning film.

The Winter Workshop runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Other speakers for the workshop and their topics are:

Susan Keller, North Dakota state veterinarian – inhumane treatment, animal welfare and jurisdictional issues

Larry Schnell, managing partner of Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange in Dickinson why using animal-handling techniques is important

The registration deadline is Jan. 2, 2014. Preregistration is required. The cost is $25 per person ($20 for students). That includes lunch and breaks.

The registration form is available at www.ag.ndsu.edu/mortoncountyextension. Mail registrations to the Morton County Soil Conservation District, 2540 Overlook Lane, Mandan, ND 58554-1593.

The Morton County Extension office also is hosting Grandin’s presentation at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Mandan Middle School, 2901 12th Ave. N.W. She will discuss autism and how it has affected her life. This hourlong presentation is free and open to the public. Call the Extension office at (701) 667-3340 to register.

Grandin’s books will be for sale at both events, and she will be available for book signings.

Grandin will also appear at the Mandan Middle School at 7:30 p.m. on January 14th to speak on autism.

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