Friday, February 25, 2011

MDA releases results of three commodity council elections

St. Paul, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced the recent elections of board members to serve on three Minnesota commodity councils.

Elected to serve three year terms on the board of the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council are Kenneth Asp of Thief River Falls, (Area 1); Mark Jossund of Moorhead, (Area II); and Scott Lee of Benson, (Area III).

In the Minnesota Dairy Research and Promotion Council election, members elected to serve two year board terms are Peter Ripka of Ogilvie, (District 2); Ken Herbranson of Clitherall, (District 4); Ron Rinkel of Hillman, (District 6); Corrine Lieser of Belgrade, (District 8); Kathleen Skiba of North Branch, (District 10); Charles Krause of Buffalo, (District 12); Paul Fritsche of New Ulm, (District 14); Keith Knutson of Pine Island, (District 16); Dave Schwartz of Slayton, (District 18); Christine Sukalski of Leroy, (District 20); Carolyn Freese of Lanesboro, (District 22).

The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council elected board members to serve three year terms. They are Kent Meschke of Little Falls, (Region 1); Phil Munson of Cokato, (Region 2); Duane Jaenicke of Roseau, (Grower At-Large); Gene Brownfield of Redwood Falls, (Grower At-Large); and Robert Orsten of Willmar, (Breeder At-Large.

MDA administers the elections and certifies the ballots for all 13 of the state’s agriculture commodity councils.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Increasing Wheat Midge Populations Expected in 2011

Soil sample tests in North Dakota indicate a dramatic increase in levels of overwintering wheat midge larvae (cocoons) for the 2011 season, according to Janet Knodel, North Dakota State University Extension Service entomologist.

Wheat midge larvae feed on the kernel and negatively affect yield, grade and quality.

One hundred eighty-one soil samples were collected from 19 counties to estimate the regional risk for wheat midge. The distribution of wheat midge in the 2011forecast map is based on unparasitized larval cocoons found in the soil samples collected in the fall of 2010.

"The 2011 forecast for wheat midge risk has increased significantly from 2010, especially in the northwestern and north-central regions of North Dakota," Knodel says.

In 2010, wheat midge larval cocoons ranged from zero to 3,750 larval cocoons per square meter and averaged 417 larval cocoons per square meter. In contrast, wheat midge cocoons sampled in 2009 ranged from zero to 750 midge larval cocoons per square meter, with an average of 129 larval cocoons per square meter.

"This is an alarming increase in the wheat midge population with pockets of 'high risk' in certain counties," Knodel says. "We haven't seen such high populations of wheat midge since the mid-90s."

Areas where populations of cocoons exceed 1,200 per square meter are at high risk for wheat midge infestation in 2011. These areas are isolated pockets in seven counties including the eastern half of Divide, most of Burke, northern Renville, southeastern Mountrail, western and eastern edges of Ward, western McHenry, and west-central McLean. If wheat is planted in these high-risk areas, producers must be prepared to monitor their fields closely for wheat midge infestations, and include the cost of an insecticide treatment in their wheat production budget. Otherwise, undetected and uncontrolled infestations may result in significant yield losses and/or unplanned pesticide costs.

The price of wheat is high, which should make pest management decisions easier for producers. Another strategy is to plant a nonwheat host, such as oats, barley, canola, soybeans or sunflowers, to mitigate midge populations.

"Wheat midge populations of greater than 500 to 1,200 larval cocoons per square meter have expanded into eight counties from five counties last year," Knodel says. "Pockets were found in south-central Bottineau, central Ward, central Cavalier, west-central Towner and north-central Walsh, in addition to the previously mentioned counties with a high risk. Areas where populations are above 500 larval cocoons per square meter also require close monitoring by wheat producers. If the wheat crop is heading during adult wheat midge emergence, wheat midge can cause severe injury to the kernels and yield loss can occur."

Weather conditions prior to and during adult wheat midge emergence will play an important role in determining the level of economic damage. Conditions that favor midge development and outbreaks include high soil moisture in late June and warm, calm and humid conditions during the egg-laying stage in early to mid- July.

There also are several pockets of 201 to 500 larvae per square meter in most of the remaining counties, except in Eddy and Nelson Counties. Areas with more than 200 larval cocoons per square meter should be scouted to determine if an action threshold population level exists. However, these areas are considered lower risk.

"With a moderate to high risk forecast for wheat midge infestation statewide, early planting and field scouting will be critical for controlling wheat midge infestations during the 2011 growing season," Knodel says.

Early planting and selecting an early maturing variety of hard red spring wheat is one of the best preventative strategies to mitigate wheat midge populations and yield loss. The early planting of wheat prior to 200 growing-degree days (using a base of 40 degrees) can reduce midge damage because wheat will flower before peak midge emergence.

Early planting of wheat typically occurs before mid-May in most areas of North Dakota. Wheat is most susceptible from heading to 50 percent of the primary heads with anthers. Planting wheat between 200 and 600 degree days is in the high-risk window because the wheat midge emergence will likely coincide with heading. Producers who must plant during this high-risk window should stagger their planting dates. Late-planted wheat (after 600 degree days) will miss the peak emergence of wheat midge, but has the risk of frost damage and lower yields, or even greater losses due to barley yellow dwarf virus, a virus transmitted by cereal aphids.

Scouting should be conducted at night when temperatures are greater than 59 degrees and winds are calm (less than 6 miles per hour) during the heading to early flowering crop stages. The economic threshold is when the adult midge density reaches one midge per four to five wheat heads for hard red spring wheat or one midge per seven to eight heads for durum. The critical spray timing is from late heading to early flowering. Most insecticides labeled for wheat midge control can be tank-mixed with a fungicide if scab is a potential problem.

Wheat midge also can be monitored using pheromone and yellow sticky traps. For trapping guidelines and more information, consult the NDSU Extension Service publication "IPM of the Wheat Midge in North Dakota (E-1130)" at

To aid in scouting and risk evaluation, a degree-day model has been developed to predict the emergence of adult wheat midge and is available on the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network at form.html.

"The parasitic wasp, Macroglenes penetrans, also helps reduce wheat midge populations by killing the wheat midge larvae," Knodel says. "The average wasp parasitism rate increased slightly from 13 percent in 2009 to 17 percent in 2010."

"Parasitism plays an important role in keeping wheat midge in check naturally most years, so we need to continue to conserve parasitic wasp populations when possible by spraying insecticides only when necessary," Knodel says. "Avoid any late insecticide applications to minimize negative impacts on the parasitic wasps, which are active at that time."

The soil samples were collected by NDSU Extension Service agents and the wheat midge larval cocoons extracted by the NDSU Department of Entomology.

The wheat midge survey is supported by the North Dakota Wheat Commission.

Emerald Ash Borer training at UMC

The Emerald Ash Borer training is scheduled in Crookston from 6 - 8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25 and from 8:45 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26 in Kiehle 116. If you are an involved citizen, A believer in volunteerism, Someone who likes to speak to your neighbors, and A lover of trees. Then this is for you!

Be a part of Minnesota’s one-of-a-kind program to prepare communities for the Emerald Ash Borer. You may not be able to stop the borer, but you can help prevent catastrophic losses to your leafy communities.

The University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has funded a program that helps communities get the best information for identifying and combating the nasty borer as well as replanting the streets and parks with a more diverse palette of trees. However, we can’t do it without you!

We are looking for a few good volunteers that will become EAB-Community Outreach Volunteers. You will be the source of information for your community, the information that will help your town or county make the best decisions about managing the pest, recovering from the damage it causes, and planting a more diverse and healthy community forest for the future.

You will receive training on the use of a standardized Power Point program on emerald ash borer identification, management and recovery. This training is 100% funded by the agency partners…we ask nothing more than your willingness to volunteer and help your community by providing the best, unbiased, research-based information.

The details:
1. Training will consist of 8.5 hours of class activities and exercises.

2. Small classes: 6-12 people.

3. You will be provided with a compact disk of the standardized Power Point program on emerald ash borer identification, management and recovery for your use.

4. You will receive ongoing support from the community preparedness team at the University of Minnesota, Department of Forest Resources and Extension.

5. Training will be conducted in March and April in a community near you.

6. Your role will be to voluntarily present the information to any group in your community that is looking for the best, University research-based information: county fairs, school programs, Arbor Day programs, city councils. Yours will be the voice of accurate information.

For more information: please contact Deborah Zak, Campus Regional Director, University of Minnesota Extension, Extension Regional Office, Crookston. Call 1-888-241-0781 or e-mail,

MDA implements exterior quarantine to protect state’s walnut trees from deadly disease

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson this week moved to protect the state’s 6 million eastern black walnut trees and the state’s walnut timber producers by issuing a temporary exterior quarantine restricting the import of walnut trees and certain related products into Minnesota from areas known to be infested with Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD).

TCD is caused by a fungus carried by a tree pest called the walnut twig beetle. The beetle attacks the walnut tree, introducing the fungus while it tunnels under the bark. This results in small cankers, or dead areas, under the bark. As more beetles attack the tree, these cankers grow together and cut off the tree’s circulation. This ultimately kills the tree. To date, TCD has been found in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Utah. The MDA quarantine restricts movement of products potentially harboring TCD from those states and from other potentially infested areas into Minnesota.

The list of walnut products covered by the quarantine includes live walnut trees, walnut logs, walnut lumber, walnut firewood, walnut nursery stock, wood chips and mulch made from walnut wood, walnut branches and roots, and packaging materials made from walnut wood. The quarantine does not apply to walnut nuts, nutmeat, walnut hulls, finished products made from walnut wood without bark, or processed lumber that is 100 percent bark-free, and kiln-dried with square edges.

“By taking this action, we will help protect a valuable part of our economy and our environment from needless damage,” Commissioner Frederickson said. “This targeted quarantine will help prevent the loss of millions of trees and avoid damage to a valuable segment of our state’s forestry industry.”

The black walnut tree is an important tree for Minnesota’s environment and economy. The tree is a natural part of the southeastern Minnesota landscape, and it is highly valued for its wood. Every year, Minnesota harvests up to 2 million board feet of black walnut for use in products such as furniture and musical instruments.

MDA has the statutory authority to issue quarantines excluding harmful plant pests. The TCD quarantine was implemented with input from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service. MDA will seek public comment prior to replacing this temporary quarantine with a formal quarantine. That formal quarantine may contain additional or different conditions based on information offered by the public. More information about TCD and the quarantine can be found on MDA’s website at


ST. PAUL — According to preliminary Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) traffic crash reports, nine people died during the last seven days (February 17–23), making it the deadliest period on the road in 2011.
DPS officials say the traffic death rate accelerated in February following a relatively safer January when 12 people were killed compared to 27 deaths during the first month in 2010. To-date this year, there has been 32 deaths compared to 35 at this time in 2010.

“Improving Minnesota road safety is the responsibility of every driver,” says Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol. “These fatal crashes demonstrate that it takes just one poor decision or one small lapse in judgment to lead to a tragic event on the road.”

Roeske stresses that motorists buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and never drive impaired.

The nine deaths include:

4:18 p.m., Feb. 17 — Thomas Steven Briggs, 19, of Crookston, and Lawrence Louis Trudeau, 77, of Red Lake Falls, collided head-on on County Road 11 in Polk Co. Both died at the scene.
9:29 a.m., Feb. 17 — Ashley Meuwissen, 23, of Cologne, was broadsided by a vehicle while attempting to cross Hwy. 212 in Carver County.
3:26 p.m., Feb. 21 — John Kalas, 62, of Bloomington, was eastbound on I-94 in Stearns County when he spun out, hit a bridge wall and was struck by a another vehicle. He died a day later.
6:52 p.m., Feb. 21 — A triple fatality crash on Hwy. 27 near Little Falls claimed the lives of Melissa Lorenz, 31; Angela Lorenz, 10; and Desiree Lorenz, 7, all of Flensburg. Their vehicle was westbound on Hwy. 27, crossed into oncoming traffic and hit an eastbound vehicle head-on. A third vehicle traveling westbound then crashed into the two vehicles.
8:03 a.m., Feb. 22 — Vanessa Vaj, 37, of Walnut Grove, was westbound on Hwy. 30 in Cottonwood County and collided with a semi-trailer traveling eastbound.
8:05 p.m., Feb 23 – William B. Hofman, 78, of Superior, Wis., lost control of his vehicle on Hwy. 133 in St. Louis County and was broadsided by a vehicle going in the opposite direction.
The state’s traffic safety efforts are driven by its core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). A primary vision of the TZD program is to foster a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.

Driving Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.


ST. PAUL — The Minnesota State Patrol’s message to motorists — pay attention. Troopers are underscoring the importance of their message after eight troopers have been hit on the road since Sunday, February 20. The latest crash happened Tuesday night (February 22, 2011) in which the squad car of a state trooper was struck while the trooper was arresting a drunk driver on 694 and Silver Lake Road in New Brighton. Trooper Tim Peterson sustained facial injuries.

“It doesn’t matter the road conditions; drivers need to pay attention,” says Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol.” A majority of troopers have been hit because people were not paying attention or driving too fast. Drivers need to be alert for flashing lights and move over to ensure we can do our jobs safely and the people we are helping are out of danger.”

During winter (Nov. 1, 2010–present), 31 troopers have been hit (compared to 13 at this time last winter).

This week marked the 33rd anniversary of the death of Trooper Roger Williams. He was struck and killed by an out of control vehicle while helping a motorist on I-94 near Alexandria.

Minnesota’s “Ted Foss Move Over” law is over 10 years old. Foss was killed by a passing vehicle as he was conducting a traffic stop on the shoulder of I-90 in Winona in 2000.

Minnesota’s “Move Over” law:

• When traveling on a road with two or more lanes, you must keep over one full lane away from stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights activated, including ambulance, fire, law enforcement, maintenance and construction vehicles.
• Reduce speed if you are unable to safely move over a lane.
• Failing to take these actions endangers personnel who provide critical and life-saving services.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Minnesota secures federal health reform grant for people with disabilities and older Minnesotans

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced that Minnesota will receive $187.4 million to improve community services and support people in their homes rather than institutions. These new dollars will help DHS provide more individualized care for some of Minnesota’s most vulnerable residents. First-year funding is $13.4 million.

The funding, part of the Affordable Care Act administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is a Money Follows the Person demonstration program. While the program has operated for five years, Minnesota had not applied for the funding until Gov. Mark Dayton directed state agencies to more aggressively pursue opportunities for health reform funding.

According to Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, the funds will be used to:

• Simplify and improve the effectiveness of transition services that help people return to their homes after hospital or nursing facility stays

• Advance promising practices to better serve individuals with complex needs.

• Increase stability of individuals in the community by strengthening connections among healthcare, community support and housing systems.

• Decrease reliance on institutional care and increase use of HCBS by setting priorities to address specific institutional needs for reform, beginning with ICFs/MR and children’s psychiatric placements.

“This grant is a great opportunity for DHS to provide more value to our clients. With it we are able to better provide more individual choice while at the same time streamlining the home and community-based service delivery system,” Jesson said.

Monday, February 21, 2011


MCA’s FAR NORTH SYMPOSIUM will be held Saturday March 26th at Metropolitan State University 700 7th Street East, St. Paul, MN

Sponsored by Minnesota Canoe Association, Inc. Co-sponsored by: Cooke Custom Sewing,, Metropolitan State University

Registration opens at 8:15 am, Program begins at 9:00 am

Topics: (not necessarily in order of presentation)
Kayak Admiralty Island Alaska John and Kyle Rust, on the Seymore Canal. Admiralty Island is a 1 million acre wilderness known as the “The Fortress of the Bears”

Canoe from MN to Churchill on Hudson Bay Lucas Olson, part adventure-part research MN to Norway House and then the Churchill river to the Bay.

Canoeing Across the Barrens Jumping Watersheds Rob Kesselring, jumping watersheds on the Taltson, Elk, Thelon in search of Caribou, a diminishing 3resource.

Kazan River, Nunavut Brad West--a unique trip with no wind bound days, high water, fast travel, great rapids and good wildlife.

Rafting in the Arctic National Refuge Alaska on the Kongakut River Clarence Chaplin, one of the most remote areas of the north that few people ever get to see.

Technology and Outdoor Travel Andrew Jenks, a how to/awareness incorporating many facets of the digital world into outdoor travel.

Tripping across Northern Saskatchewan Jim Murphy--up the Wheeler river then cross country to Cree Lake and headed south. Paddled past the abandoned Hudson's Bay Post and then the old Fish plant. Went up the Brustad River over the Height of land and then down the Gwillim, Ithingo and Mudjatic Rivers then up the Churchill into Patchunak. This was part of JB Tyrell's Route to the Barrens.

The Back River Peter Marshall, a great voyage the entire back ending in Gjoa Haven on King William Island. The Back is the “premier arctic river” in Nunavut.

Program ends about 4:00 pm
Lunch on your own. Bring a bag lunch or sample one of several nearby restaurants.

Directions to Metropolitan State University:
From West: I-94 east to Mounds Blvd. Exit (#243B, left lane); straight ahead on Sixth Street one block to Maria Avenue and turn left; parking lot on right.
From East: I-94 west to Mounds Blvd. Exit (#234C, right lane); straight ahead on Mounds Blvd. ~ five blocks to Sixth Street and turn right; one block north on Sixth Street to Maria Avenue and turn left; parking lot on right.

From North or South: I-35E to I-94; east on I-94 to Mounds Blvd. Exit (#243B, left lane); straight ahead on Sixth Street one block to Maria Avenue and turn left; parking lot on right.

Parking at Metro State: Get ticket as you enter lot on Maria Avenue; pay $2.50 as you leave.

Directions to Auditorium: From Metro State parking lot on Maria Ave., cross Maria Ave., head southwest, walk through center of campus with St. John’s Hall on your right and Founders Hall on left. Auditorium is in far end of Founders Hall.

Need More Information? Bob O’Hara: or call 952-927-0874

Registration: MCA’s Far North Symposium 2011 Preregistration is encouraged and appreciated for beverage/snack planning.
Admission: $15 on or before March 22 --- $20.00 after / at door Students pay $8.00 in advance or at the door. MCA Members special discount --$12 before March 22 or $20 at door MCA membership form located at

You will not be sent a confirmation, unless an e-mail address is included and readable. Save money and guarantee your seat with preregistration. Preregistration also helps for beverage and snack planning.

Friday, February 18, 2011

RLND Recruiting for 2011-13 Class

If you want to improve your organization, business, farm or ranch operation, or community, the North Dakota State University Extension Service's Rural Leadership North Dakota program can help.

Rural Leadership North Dakota is looking for participants for its next class, which begins in December.

RLND is an 18-month leadership development program that includes in-state seminars with experts; tours of agricultural and community businesses; out-of- state trips (Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis in 2012) to meet with agricultural, business and government leaders; and a trip to another country (Brazil in February 2013) to learn about international agricultural and community issues.

Participants learn leadership skills, such as thinking critically and creatively, communicating effectively and managing conflict. They also learn about agricultural and rural policy, the agricultural economy and future trends that could affect North Dakota agriculture, finding innovative ways to fund local and regional development projects, marketing, civic engagement, the value of coalitions and partnerships, industry and community advocacy, and how to work with the state Legislature.

"RLND is designed for men and women who are dedicated to strengthening agriculture and rural North Dakota," says Marie Hvidsten, RLND program director. "It helps participants create a network of contacts and resources they can continue to tap into for ideas, answers and support long after they graduate from the program."

Participants also find a way to use the skills they've learned to improve their operation, business, organization, community or region. For example, one member of the RNLD class of 2009-11 worked on obtaining year-round weather radar coverage for southwestern North Dakota's Bowman County and the surrounding area. Residents had been able to receive warnings about threatening weather only from May through August.

Another class member organized a group of volunteers who checked smoke alarms and changed batteries in smoke detectors for elderly residents in Bismarck. A third class member developed the Rural Renaissance Festival, a fall celebration to draw attention to Maddock as a great place to work, live, and raise a family; boost the community's economy; and involve the entire community, including residents, businesses, clubs and organizations.

The tuition for the RLND program is $3,750. That covers all meals, hotels and travel expenses such as buses during in-state seminars and airfares to out-of- state seminars. Participants are responsible for their travel costs to in-state seminars and points of departure for out-of-state seminars.

The deadline to apply to join the class of 2011-13 is May 31. Applicants must have been a state resident for at least a year and be able to attend all of the seminars.

For more information, to register or nominate someone for the class, visit RLND's website at, send an e-mail to or call (701) 231-5803.
Seventy-two people from 48 communities in 32 counties have participated in RLND since it began in November 2003.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NDSU Offers Information on Coping With Flooding

A wet fall and heavy snowfall across most of North Dakota this winter have
increased the likelihood of flooding this spring.

The North Dakota State University Extension Service has information online at to help you prepare your farm, ranch or home for a flood and deal with the aftermath of flooding.

"This flood information Web page provides up-to-date, research-based information for homeowners, farmers, ranchers and anyone else who wants help in protecting themselves, their families and their property," says Ken Hellevang, NDSU Extension agricultural engineer and flood expert.

The site has information on general topics such as sandbagging; standby
generators; sump pumps; plugging drains; evacuation preparation; coping with stress, including helping kids deal with disasters; finances during disasters; restoring flood-damaged property; food safety; and agricultural preparation and recovery topics such as protecting stored pesticides, grain and feed; protecting livestock during a flood; agricultural building issues; and late planting of crops.

The site also has resources in other languages and links to information from other universities and organizations, such as the Extension Disaster Education Network, eXtension (national university-based site), National Weather Service, American Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

You can follow major updates to the website via Twitter at

Otter Tail Power Company urges snowmobiling safety

Fergus Falls, MN – Snowmobiling had its start as a recreational sport in northern Minnesota in 1955, according to the Minnesota Historical Society. In April 1968 Ralph Plaisted of St. Paul, Minnesota, further popularized snowmobiling when he and his expedition reached the North Pole on snowmobiles, being the first mechanized expedition to accomplish such a feat.

No doubt, snowmobiling is a popular activity in Otter Tail Power Company’s service territory in west central Minnesota, eastern North Dakota, and northeastern South Dakota, especially this season with optimum snow conditions throughout this area.

Most snowmobilers do some riding in road ditches, especially now with warmer weather because the greater snow pack in ditches tends to last longer. A lot of right-of-way for electrical fa cilities borders road ditches, and Otter Tail Power Company’s Safety Services Manager Ryan Smith urges special emphasis on safety. “Watch for electrical equipment such as substations, poles, guy wires, junction boxes, and padmount transformers that often are located near road ditches,” says Smith. “Beware of excessive speed that could keep you from seeing these and other obstacles in time to avoid them. And with this year’s snow depths, be mindful that some smaller equipment could be obscured just below the snow surface.”

Smith reminds snowmobilers to ride responsibly. Wear a helmet, eye protection, and other safety gear. Take a snowmobile safety course. Use extra caution when riding at night, and don’t go faster than what your lights can illuminate in front of you. Nine out of ten snowmobile fatalities occur after dark, according to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. And don’t mix riding with alcohol or drugs. Out of the 212 snowmobile accidents in Minnesota during the 2009-2010 season, 81 percent involved alcohol use, and 8 percent were fatal.

Friday, February 11, 2011

UMC International Dinner Series

The wonderful flavors and unique cultures of countries across the world are the center of the popular International Dinner Series to be held on March 7, 21, 28 and April 6, 2011, at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. Dinners in the series, featuring China, Ghana, and Nepal, begin each evening at 6 p.m. in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center. Tickets for the dinner series are available by contacting Rae French at 218-281-8339 ( Adult and senior tickets are $15 per evening or $50 for the entire series. Children under 10 years of age are $10 per evening or $35 for the entire series. Tickets are limited.

Students representing each of the featured countries will share their favorite dishes and a special presentation related to their home country. The series concludes with an international dinner and showcase.

The evening of Monday, March 7, features the country of China. Join Senior Qian Liu, a business management major from Guangdong, China, as she presents “So you think you know China?” Traditional dance along with special selections from the U of M, Crookston choir will highlight the evening.

On Monday, March 21, Ghana is the featured country for the evening. Senior Nana Boaten, a marketing major from Accura, Ghana, will present with Senior Shawn Friedland, a biology major from New Bern, N.C., who worked at a health clinic in a village in Ghana in the summer of 2010. Music from the U of M, Crookston choir will be a part of the evening.

For guests on the evening of Monday, March 28, the country of Nepal will be the focus. Senior Lhakpa Gurung, an early childhood education major from Mustang, Nepal, will share information on educational systems of Nepal. The evening will include traditional dancing and music from the music department on the Crookston campus.

The final event in the series on Wednesday, April 6, is a dinner hosted by the International and Multicultural Club and includes talent showcase, along with demonstrations, table displays, and entertainment from countries all over the world. At 4:30 p.m. students will present a showcase of talent followed by the dinner at 6 p.m.

The International Dinner Series is a longstanding tradition at the U of M, Crookston and highlights the culture and cuisine of selected countries annually. To learn more about international programs on the Crookston campus, visit

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Grain Dryer Energy Audit Training Set

The North Dakota State University Extension Service is holding a grain dryer energy audit training program Feb. 28 at the Holiday Inn in Fargo.

The program is for people who want to conduct grain dryer energy audits,
producers or others purchasing dryers and those who want to help their customers or clients understand how efficient their drying system is or how to compare the energy efficiency of grain drying systems.

"Grain drying costs can be reduced by improving the energy efficiency of grain dryers," says NDSU Extension agricultural engineer Ken Hellevang, who is the primary instructor for the training program. "A grain dryer energy audit determines the energy efficiency of a current dryer or drying system."

He will cover the types of grain dryers, energy conservation features of grain dryers and drying systems, and the expected energy consumption of various dryers and systems. He also will cover how to complete an energy audit.

Dennis Rodin, North Dakota program coordinator for the U.S. Department of
Agriculture Rural Development program, will explain Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) requirements. REAP provides grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to help make energy-efficiency improvements.

Applications for an energy-efficiency grant for improvement projects totaling more than $50,000 require an energy audit performed by a certified energy manager or professional engineer. The audit report includes a description of the project, an assessment of current energy use and efficiency, expected energy use and efficiency of a new dryer, and detailed costs and savings information with a high level of confidence sufficient for major capital investment decisions.

The training program starts with registration at 9:30 a.m. and will conclude by 3 p.m.

Hellevang, also a professor in NDSU's Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department, has completed more than 50 grain dryer energy audits and has 30 years of experience in grain drying, handling and storage as an Extension engineering specialist.

Preregistration for the program is required by Feb. 24. To preregister, send an e-mail to that includes your contact information or call (701) 231-7261.

The program is limited to the first 50 participants. A grant from the North Dakota Department of Commerce is covering the cost of the training program with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.