The Pope SWCD is offering a 10% discount on tree orders done by December 10th, 2019 for spring 2020 delivery. Call our office today at 320-634-5327 and ask for Kelly.
Pope SWCD is working alongside the U of M and Stearns SWCD on studying the benefits of a new crop called Kernza. The study being done at our Rosholt research farm in Westport is to test the amount of nitrate leaching present in perennial crop productions. This spring we started with preparing the site and planted wheat after a corn/soybean rotation. This early fall we were then able to assist in the planting of the Kernza plots. Our office looks forward to what we can learn about Kernza and what this crop will be able to do for not only agriculture but for water quality.
The three goals of the Kernza project are: 1) Test that Kernza and other native seeds are more effective at reducing nitrate leaching than alfalfa and prairie under irrigated and rain-fed conditions by measuring nitrate samples collected from lysimeters. This work is being done by U of M and Pope SWCD staff. 2) Establish Kernza fields within the City of Cold Spring’s DWSMA and near the City of St. cloud’s Water Treatment Plant. These sites will be monitored for leaching and field production by the Stearns SWCD staff. 3) Examine Kernza as a food ingredient (bread, cereal pasta, beer, etc.) and non-food (straw) with MN companies and map local processor capabilities, opportunities, and barriers. Characterize and provide technical information on handling, storage, formulation, and shelf life of Kernza product development concepts. Supply nutritional profiles for food/beverage containing Kernza and conduct sensory analysis. The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) will take lead.
Kernza is a domesticated variety of intermediate wheatgrass. This grain is already attracting attention from restaurants, bakeries, and breweries as being a new perennial grain. What is unique about this sod-forming grass is the very deep roots, growing to a depth of 10 feet. With such deep roots the plant is able to capture and use nitrate in the soil that otherwise leach into our groundwater. Excessive nitrate in groundwater can cause health problems and treatment for drinking water can be expensive. For more information please contact our office at 320-634-5143.
On behalf of Pope and Stevens SWCDs, we would like to congratulate Kaley Poegel a 4th grade teacher at Glacial Hills Elementary School. Kaley was nominated by these SWCDs for the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation District’s Teacher of the Year. Kaley was selected as this year’s recipient. She will be honored in December at the MASWCD Conference on December 9th and by the County on December 17th. Congratulations Kaley for all you do for our area youth and especially your work on teaching them about the environment.
The Pope SWCD would like to congratulate this year’s Outstanding Conservationist, Don and Shari Opdahl. Don is an employee of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (seed, biotech, and noxious weed unit) for the past 28 years. Shari is a retired music teacher of 34 years and most recently worked at Glacial Hills Elementary school.
The Opdahl’s operate an 820 acre corn and soybean farm south of Starbuck, Minnesota. The entire farm is on a 4 year rotation for grid soil sampling. The Opdahl’s have implemented 9 water and sediment control basins starting in 2015.They also installed approximately 20 water quality inlets on the remaining open intakes on their farm. They converted 1 open intake to a rock inlet design. Don and his family have been very supportive of the Pope SWCD and NRCS. They have on at least 2 occasions allowed our office to use their sites for educational program tours.
Don and Shari are very deserving of this recognition as the 2019 Outstanding Conservationists of the Year. They addressed their erosion concerns by implementing structural practices but were receptive and did implement new management to their tillage program. Their entire operation was reviewed under the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification program and did meet the criteria for certification once the tillage was adjusted, intakes were closed, and structures were installed. Don is a fourth generation Pope County farmer who hopes to pass this farm off to the fifth generation, his son. These investments Don and Shari have made will have a large impact on the future of the farm. Congrats again to the Don and Shari Opdahl Family on their efforts to improve their land for future generations.
They will be recognized in December at the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annual conference in Bloomington, Minnesota and by our County Board. Congratulations to the Opdahl Family on this well deserved recognition.