MSU Extension in Pondera County is hosting a Master Farmer program to give beginning producers a strong foundation of agronomy and farm business knowledge as they start their farming career and to refresh the knowledge of veteran producers. This six-part course will start on Jan. 23 and be held every Thursday until Feb. 27 at the Moose Lodge in Conrad. Classes will start at 6 p.m. with dinner and will go until approximately 8 p.m. 

Classes will include some hands-on activities as well as some classroom style learning. Two of the classes in this program will have pesticide points available for those with current private applicator licenses.

In the first class on Jan. 23, John Diekhans, Northwest Farm Credit Services will go over the basics of acquiring land to farm. He will cover buying vs. leasing as well as some of the finer legal points of the matter. 

On Jan. 30, Joel Schumacher, MSU Extension Agriculture Economics Associate Specialist will cover Long Term Operational Success. He will go over how to make your operation successful today, plan for the future, and make sure your farm survives the transition to future generations.

The third class, on Feb. 6, will feature Mat Peterson-Walter, MSU Extension Lewis & Clark County Agriculture Agent, speaking on incorporating new and specialty crops in to your crop rotations. Mat will discuss how to determine if new crops are right for you and how to incorporate them in to your current rotations. 

On Feb. 13, Tyler Lane, MSU Extension Chouteau County Agriculture Agent, will discuss noxious weeds. Tyler will cover some important weeds in the area and the best ways to fight them.

Dr. Clain Jones, MSU Extension Soil Specialist, will discuss soil health on Feb. 20. Dr. Jones will answer all the questions you have about your soil and give you the knowledge you need to keep it productive for future crops.

In the last week, Scott Johnson, manager of Columbia Grain in Conrad will talk about elevator marketing. He will help you gain the knowledge to make sure you are selling your grain at the best price possible. 

Registration costs $75 and is open through Friday, Jan. 17. Registration is available online at or by contacting the Pondera County Extension Office at 406-271-4054 or  

Checks should be made to the Pondera County Extension Office and sent to 20 4th Ave SW, Conrad, MT 59425.    

The Montana State University Extension Service is an ADA/EO/AA/Veteran’s Preference Employer and Provider of Educational Outreach. Requests for special accommodations must be made to the Extension Office prior to any event or activity.

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