Agricultural Research Celebrated at Central Lakes College Field Day – Wadena Pioneer Journal

STAPLES – In a day dedicated to promoting agricultural interests, celebrating community partners and encouraging research, the leadership of the Central Lakes College Ag and Energy Research Center happily shared the day on the field on Friday.

Through several guided tours and self-wanderings, people tasted vine grapes, hoisted their kids on tractors, learned about mold and irrigation, and flew high with simulated drones. Attendees also heard about the center’s research and notes from lawmakers. Focusing on future generations and the people who have brought the center to where it is today, leaders thanked current and retired staff and farm managers like farm manager Ron Nelson who works at the center for more than 30 years.

“When we have a legacy like this, we stand on the shoulders of giants, … we all stand on the shoulders and when people leave, it’s our job to carry on that legacy,” said the president of the CTC, Hara Charlier.

Central Lakes College President Hara Charlier said “agriculture is in the blood at CLC” during a sharing at the Agriculture and Energy Center Field Day on August 27, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell/Pioneer Newspaper

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Andrew Olander enjoys digging up onions during the Agriculture and Energy Research Center Field Day on August 27, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell/Pioneer Journal

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Hannah Barrett, research coordinator for the Agriculture and Energy Research Center, shows a potato at the kindergarten on Aug. 27, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell/Pioneer Journal

In the kindergarten, encouraged to roll up their sleeves and take as much as they wanted, the children harvested potatoes, beets, onions and flowers for their family celebrations. You might even taste the kale before you decide to take some home. Walking barefoot through the garden, Agcentric’s assistant manager, Judy Barka, said gardening with the kids was her favorite part of the day in the field. With their smiles of thanks and their excitement even in the rain, the children left with loaded bags and their hands covered in mud.

After starting in 2020, the hydroponic pod ‘Sota Grown opened for public tours as part of the indoor farming project at CLC. The pod is a large shipping container that uses vertical panels, LED lights, timed watering systems, cooled space, and added nutrients to grow kale and different types of lettuce throughout the pod. year.

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Noah Boelter, research analyst at Central Lakes College, left, talks about the Sota Grown indoor hydroponic garden pod with Seventh District Deputy Michelle Fischbach, right, August 27, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell/Pioneer Journal

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The Sota Grown pod started in 2020 with kale. The team also grows different types of lettuce. Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Diary

From the agricultural center’s focus on irrigation in 1968 to approximately 2,000 acres of soil health and water quality research and demonstration, the projects range widely. The partners discussed new cropping systems, a cost-sharing program, white mold in soybeans, soil nitrogen management and disease resistance in sunflower. The college also launched a three-credit certificate program with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and internships on farms this year with agronomy and butchery meat-cutting programs coming next year.

With the drought ahead, corn kernels came out smaller and fields showed where irrigators left off. Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said that from 2018 to 2021, the hardships escalated from low farm income to the wettest year on record, COVID and drought. He noted a big difference between the 1988 drought and 2021 is partnerships and research.

“Water quality is one of the biggest issues we have, especially in this area, get into the central sand plains, I have to explain water quality many times…to city dwellers and we can tell them a lot of good projects we’re working on in that area,” Petersen said. “Irrigation is something that’s so misunderstood and this year with the drought guess what people are asking a lot? is irrigation and… we can point out different things that are going on in the state.

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During one of the few rainy days this summer, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen talks about the heavy impact of the drought on farmers at the Center for Agriculture Research Field Day. agriculture and energy on August 27, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell/Pioneer Journal

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Nathan Wiese discusses a VRI board during a presentation on irrigation at the Agriculture and Energy Research Center Field Day on August 27, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell/Pioneer Journal

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A rain simulator shows a rapid and heavy rain event along with the amount of runoff and seepage to see how much crops are capturing on August 27, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell/Pioneer Journal

Changes in agriculture will continue as they have done year after year, shifting from new practices to different technologies. And spaces like the CLC Agricultural Center will support this learning movement well into the future, Seventh District Assemblywoman Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, said. She also discussed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s conservation land opening bills, the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture to open land, and the upcoming farm bill in 2023.

“Agriculture was different 10 years ago and it will be different 10 years from now,” Fischbach said.

Isaac Schultz, Director of the 8th Congressional District and adviser to Congressman Pete Stauber, R-Duluth, discussed the importance of having farming opportunities and preparing for the future of farming and farm families.

“More needs to be done to make sure the next generation can take over that ranch or that farm because right now the herds … are subject to slaughter and how do we make sure that the next generation and in the together that our food supply chain stays is the question,” Schultz said.

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Nathan Wiese of the East Otter Tail County Soil and Water Conservation District notes a cover crop research project at the Central Lakes College Ag and Energy Research Center on August 27, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell/Pioneer Newspaper

Lana T. Arthur