NDSU Extension Service - Traill County


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Traill County Extension

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NDSU Extension Accepting Limited Applications for 2018 Master Gardener

Program If you love gardening and sharing your knowledge with others, consider becoming an Extension Master Gardener volunteer in collaboration with the North Dakota State University Extension Service.

The NDSU Extension Master Gardener Program is a volunteer service program that beautifies our communities, educates the public about gardening, works with youth and encourages conservation of natural resources.

This year’s Master Gardener online training program will run for 10 weeks beginning Jan. 19 and ending March 23, 2018.

“Online students can login on their computers and participate in the live Friday classes from 1 to 4 p.m (CDT),” says Esther McGinnis, NDSU Extension horticulturist and North Dakota Master Gardener director. “Alternatively, students can watch the recorded lectures at a more convenient time.”

Course topics include annual and perennial flowers, tree selection and maintenance, soil health, composting, plant diseases and insects, vegetable and fruit production and lawn maintenance. NDSU faculty and Extension personnel teach the classes.

Once participants complete the training, they are known as Master Gardener interns. They must volunteer 48 hours of time during a two-year period on horticultural projects in cooperation with the NDSU Extension Service. After that, they will be certified as Master Gardeners.

Projects include planting and designing pollinator gardens, organizing horticultural workshops, managing school and community gardens, working with youth and growing fresh produce for local food pantries.

Tuition for the 2017 class is $195 for those wishing to become a certified master gardener or $400 for those just interested in taking the class. Computer knowledge, Internet access and an email account are required.

Thirty-one North Dakota counties will be accepting a limited number of Master Gardener applications including Traill County. The application deadline is Dec. 1.

Online registration is available at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/mastergardener/. For more information, contact your local NDSU Extension Service office or McGinnis at 701-231-7406, or esther.mcginnis@ndsu.edu.

Crop Improvement and Seed Association Meetings Set

Agricultural producers and others will be able to learn more about the North Dakota Crop Improvement and Seed Association (NDCISA), new varieties, producing seed and seed laws at NDCISA district meetings Nov. 29-Dec. 4.

“This is an exciting time for people in the North Dakota seed industry," says Toni Muffenbier, NDCISA office manager. “Some farmers are unfamiliar with what roles the NDCISA plays in North Dakota’s agriculture. Attending one of these meetings is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the organization, ask questions and meet others who are passionate about agriculture in North Dakota.”

The Southeast district, date, location and time of the meeting is Southeast, Dec. 4, Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Casselton, 9 a.m.

Topics during the business meetings include:
Financial report
County membership and checkoff update
Dakota Select Seed update
District resolutions
District elections

In addition to a business meeting, program topics to be covered during the meetings include:

Research fee update and impact - North Dakota State University Research Foundation executive director
State Seed Department update - North Dakota State Seed Department representative
Small-grain variety update - NDSU Extension Service representative
Foundation Seedstocks update - NDSU Foundation Seedstocks director

The meetings are free and open to the public. Door prizes will be given away at each of the district meetings. For more information, contact Muffenbier at 701-231-8067 or email toni.muffenbier@ndsu.edu.

Cash Rents – More than just a Number

Questions that we receive at the office this time of year often pertain to cash rent. I will be sharing how we address these types of questions and other information regarding this topic below.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service has a survey each year asking what the cash rent you are paying or receiving. This is only a snapshot and they get some low responses and some high responses but usually not the top rents in the county. The information in the survey is based on the returns and it includes the best land and the poorest land in the county. We receive a lot of absentee landowners calling from all over the county and country. I always make it my priority to give everyone the same information.

I will not tell any landlord or renter what the rent dollar amount should be. We discuss the averages and their options. I always mention that there are other factors to consider besides the actual dollar amount. For example; is the renter or landlord good, does the renter take good care of the land, is the landlord or the renter improving the land by improving drainage or fertilizing properly? Is the renter a local farmer and somebody that will be farming for many years to come or are you going to take the high rent and maybe they will be farming the land for a year or two?

The farm economy is also a consideration because the better the farm economy the greater the competition for the land. When crop prices are high and good yields the competition for the land increases and cash rents increase. When crop prices are low and yields are low the cash rents stabilize. The bottom line is that I relay information from the current year’s survey, give the person who is calling variables to consider and from there on it is up to the parties involved to negotiate.

The 2017 County Rents and Values North Dakota can be found at https://land.nd.gov/docs/surface/ctyrent17.pdf  

Attracting SongbirdsCardinal

It’s cold outside and birds need some food to keep them warm. Now is the perfect time to attract them to your home for winter. Bird feeding grows in popularity every year and it is easy to understand why. Songbirds provide us with entertaining sounds, bright flashes of color, and curious movements that are enjoyable to watch.

Select the Best Feeder
A sturdy, comfortable perch is important for many birds. A traditional wooden feeder mounted on a post will work well. If you can only afford one feeder, this is the one to choose. Hanging feeders are preferred by nimble birds, such as chickadees and goldfinches. Some birds prefer to eat insects and meat, rather than seeds. Nylon covered wire cages filled with suet will attract woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees. A combination of all these feeders will give you the most bird feeding activity.

Select a Good Location
Place your feeder where you can comfortably watch the birds. Feeders should be placed fairly close to trees or shrubs. This will provide birds with nesting sites, sanctuary from predators, and protection from winter winds. The feeder should be at least five feet high to discourage cats and squirrels. Place your feeder at least ten feet away from steps, rooftops, or sturdy tree limbs. Cats use these objects as launching pads to get at birds.

Provide Good Food
Sunflower seeds are the favorite food of cardinals and several other popular birds. Sunflower seeds, especially the solid black oil-type, are loaded with calories that keep birds warm over winter. A mixture containing sunflower seeds, white proso millet and cracked corn is a good economic value. Don’t be cheap. Bargain mixes often contain large amounts of wheat, milo, peanut hearts, hulled oats, and rice. Bargain mixes are not attractive to popular birds. They also create a mess around the feeder since birds pick through the seed mix. Rather than buying bargain mixes, save money by purchasing good quality seed in bulk.

Growing Herbs Indoors

Now is a great time to start growing herbs indoors. You can enjoy fresh herbs in your holiday meals or grow pots of herbs to share as gifts with fellow gardeners. Dig small clumps or take cuttings of rosemary, chives, thyme and sage from your garden. Sow seeds of basil, parsley, dill and cilantro. Use potting soil mix. Small (3–4 inch) pots work well on a windowsill. Larger pots can be used with plant stands. Fertilize monthly. Set near a sunny (south) window with at least 6 hours of sun per day. “Grow light” tubes are another option. Keep them on for at least 12 hours daily and set lights close (6–15 inches) to plants. Room temps will work well. Winter homes are dry. Set pots on a tray filled with gravel and then add water to the tray. A humidifier and misting can help.

Tips on Rodent Control

MouseThe house mouse and Norway rat are two of the most destructive pests in the United States. Both rodents can be a problem in the home, but the rat is the more serious problem in warehouses, urban areas and agricultural buildings. They both eat a wide range of foods and do considerable gnawing to wear down their continuously growing incisors. The reproductive potential of a single pair of rats or mice is staggering, thus, you should control an infestation quickly.

To control a rodent infestation, your primary goal is to reduce the population. You can do this by trapping, or through the use of rodenticides (poisons). Trapping with the right size common wooden base snap traps for rats or mice can be very effective, but requires some effort and skill.

Some helpful tips are: (1) use plenty of traps, 1 every 10 feet or so is enough; (2) use bait the rodents are already eating, if at all possible. Otherwise, rolled oats in peanut butter makes good bait; (3) put the baited traps out but do not set them for a few days to let the rodents get used to them; and (4) place the traps near a wall or obstacle with the trigger next to the wall.

Rodenticides fall into two categories, multiple-dose anticoagulants and single-dose poisons. The anticoagulants are much less dangerous to humans and are available in ready-to-use bait formulations. The rodents need to eat them for several days to get a lethal dose. Several new anticoagulants do not require multiple feedings. The single-dose rodenticides are more dangerous and are generally unavailable to the public without training and certification. Any infestation severe enough to justify use of single-dose rodenticide is best handled by a professional pest control operator. Some tips on the safe use of rodenticides include keeping them away from children and pets, keeping the bait fresh, and using covered or protected bait stations in places rodents frequent.

After you reduce the population, clean up and sanitize the infested area. Remove all potential food. As a last step, rodent-proof the home or building by sealing all access points such as cracks, utility openings or broken windows. Clean up and rodent-proofing are done last to avoid disturbing the rodent's environment, which can make them very wary and more difficult to remove.

Traill County Courthouse


NDSU Extension Service/Traill County
114 Caledonia Ave. W.
Box 730 (mailing address)
Hillsboro, ND 58045
Phone:  701-636-5665   
Fax: 701-636-5666

Office Hours:
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
Summer Office Hours:
(Memorial Day - Labor Day)
7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.,  Monday-Thursday
8 a.m. - Noon, Friday

Related Links:
NDSU Extension Service
North Dakota Department of Agriculture

Traill County
City of Hillsboro
Cities of Mayville-Portland
City of Hatton

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