Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station
Ranchers study soil health during field school
Associate Professor and SDSU Extension Agronomist Chis Graham, far left, talks to a group of 2023 Field Day attendees at the West River Research Farm by Sturgis. (SDSU Extension photo)

Hands-on agricultural learning at free field school

STURGIS, S.D. – SDSU Extension is set to host a hands-on agricultural learning experience at its West River Research Farm near Sturgis, South Dakota. Scheduled for June 18, 2024, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. MT, the field school is an opportunity for western South Dakota residents to dive deep into the world of agriculture.

Organized every two years, the West River Field School combines informative educational sessions with an optional farm tour. This year’s event, as explained by Patrick Wagner, SDSU Extension Entomology Field Specialist, will focus on the agricultural diversity of western South Dakota.

The sessions will cover a range of topics:

  • Grazing cover crops and soil health by Dave Ollila and Tanse Herrmann, experts in soil health from the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition and the U.S. Department of Agriculture respectively.
  • A detailed look at entomology by Patrick Wagner.
  • An update on climate by Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension State Climatologist.
  • A practical drone demonstration by Logan Vandermark and Ira Parsons from SDSU Extension and SDSU’s Department of Animal Science.

Wagner will provide a hands-on learning experience by demonstrating how to use sweep nets for catching and identifying insects. “They’re not going to be sitting in a classroom,” Wagner said, emphasizing the active learning environment.

The day will also include a tour of the West River Research Farm, showcasing the various research projects. This tour is designed to give participants insights into the ongoing agricultural experiments and how they can apply this knowledge to their own farming practices.

This event offers learning opportunities, reference materials, and certified crop advisor educational credits, making it an essential opportunity for those seeking to enhance their agricultural understanding in a dynamic and interactive setting.

This free event requires pre-registration due to limited space. Interested attendees can sign up by visiting the SDSU Extension Events page and searching for “school”. The field day will include a complimentary lunch.

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