Tech Talks is a online training series organized by the Technical Training and Certification Program. Rotating speakers cover a wide variety of technical topics at 1:00 on Mondays. The list of Tech Talks and links to replays for 2022 can be found below.

Training Type
Online Learning

United States

Date Topic Description
January 10 Basic Survey The goal of this training is to become familiar with terms and procedures, recognize features of different equipment, and make you more comfortable with surveying concepts. When you can get hands on experience, this training should allow you to understand procedures for completing a survey more quickly. This session covers general surveying concepts, what styles of surveying are used for various practices, the equipment commonly used in Minnesota’s field offices, and the principles of recording notes to document a survey.
January 24 Sheep and Goat Grazing and Browsing for Native Restorations

Join Audrey Lomax, Minnesota Native Landscapes, to learn about their ecological restoration projects. Audrey will highlight specific case studies, and go in depth on the use of goats in native restorations. A replay of this session can be found here.

February 7 Bioreactors and Drainage Management Practices

Mark Dittrich and Jeppe Hjaersgaard, both with MDA, will discuss drainage and conservation focusing on the human dimension of conservation.  How do you get to know you clients and better understand their operation?  Do you know their objectives?  What’s happening and what’s worked in southern Minnesota will be a part of this interactive discussion.  Bring your questions and examples of projects you’ve been involved with. A replay of this session can be found here.

February 14 Agricultural Chemical Handling Facilities (CPS 309) This session includes an overview of the Agrichemical Handling Facility (CPS 309) practice. What the resource concerns are, design tools and methodology, standard drawings available, and construction oversight and certification processes are all discussed. NRCS presenters include Mike Krcmarik, Mark Pearson, and Nichole Sternquist. A replay of this session can be found here.
March 7 Tree/Shrub Establishment (CPS 612) Join Callie Bertsch, NRCS State Forester, and Kelly Voigt, TTCP Training Conservationist,  for a Tech Talk session on the Tree/Shrub Establishment practice (CPS 612). This session will cover the use of Web Soil Survey to identify Conservation Tree/Shrub Groups and using the CTSG group spreadsheet to select species of trees/shrubs to plant. We will review tree spacing specifications for different planting purposes and other tree/shrub selection factors. In addition, participants will become familiar with the Implementation Requirements worksheet for the 612 practice standard. A replay of this session can be found here.
March 14 Pasture and Hay Planting - Species Selection (CPS 512)

Join Jeff Duchene, NRCS Grazing Specialist, where we will discuss:

  • Characteristics of common species that are planted for pasture in Minnesota
  • Advantages and disadvantages of the common forage species
  • Introduced cool season grasses, native warm season grasses, and legume options

A replay of this session can be found here.

March 21 Tree/Shrub Site Prep and Planting Methods (CPS 490) On Monday, March 21st, the Tech Talk topics will be tree/shrub site preparation (CPS 490) and tree/shrub planting methods. Join this Tech Talk session for a discussion of planning considerations for site preparation and matching the site preparation techniques to the site conditions. Different types of tree stock and planting methods will be discussed along with planning considerations for successful tree/shrub establishment. Available web soil survey reports will be demonstrated and other resources for practice planning will be provided. A replay of this session can be found here.
March 28 Pasture and Hay Planting - Practice Standard (CPS 512)

Join Jeff Duchene, NRCS Grazing Specialist, for this session which includes:

  • An overview of Conservation Practice Standard 512 Pasture and Hayland Planting
  • The differences between pasture and hayland plantings
  • A discussion of seedbed preparation, seeding methods, and companion crops as they relate to pasture and hayland plantings
  • Information on seed tags and how to calculate Pure Live Seed (PLS)
  • An overview of the 512 Seed Plan Development Tool
  • A demonstrated development of a seed plan

A replay of this session can be found here.

April 4 Drought Planning for Pasture and Forage Management

During this session Eric Mousel, UMN Extension, will focus on the impact of the 2021 drought on pasture and forage production in 2022. Eric will also discuss management actions producers should consider to aid in the recovery of drought affected pastures, as well as options to consider if the drought persists into the 2022 grazing season. A replay of this session can be found here.

April 11 Basic Irrigation

Brian Ebel, NRCS Water Resource Engineer, will discuss the basic concepts of Irrigation. This introduction to irrigation will include:

  • Water Availability in Soil for Plant Use
  • Types of Irrigation, with specifics for Center Pivot Systems
  • Irrigation Scheduling Methods
  • EQIP 449 Irrigation Water Management

Attendees will gain insight into why and when irrigation is used and how it is accomplished in Minnesota.

A replay of this session can be found here.

April 25 Forage Harvest Management (CPS 511)

Join Jeff Duchene, NRCS Grazing Specialist, for this session which includes:

  • An overview of Conservation Practice Standard 511 Forage Harvest Management
  • When and where CPS 511 is applicable
  • Types of forages
  • Harvesting equipment
  • Storing harvested forages
  • Additional livestock feedstuffs
    • Beet tailings
    • Potato processing biproducts
    • Soybean meal/hulls
    • Grain screenings
    • Crop residues - corn stalks, small grain residue, etc

A replay of this session can be found here.

May 9 Sharptail Grouse and Early Successional Habitat (CPS 647)

Join Jacob Granfors, Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist, and Garett Christiansen, NRCS Forester, for this session on open landscapes, early successional habitat, and young forest/brushland wildlife habitat. During this session Jake and Garett will cover the range, population status, habitat needs, and ongoing management for Sharptail Grouse. This session also includes a discussion of other early successional wildlife species that utilize similar habitats and/or adjacent forests, such as Woodcock, Ruffed Grouse, and Golden Winged Warblers.

A replay of this session can be found here.

June 13 Tile Flow Design Using CPS 606/620

These supporting practices are only a small part of the designs for waterways, WASCOBs, and other main practices.  Fundamentals for following practice standards 620 and 606 are usually briefly covered.  This Tech Talk will go a little deeper into the practice standards, terminology when using these “tile” practices, and explain their connection to their main counterparts like 412 and 638.  Join in to get a better understanding of the “why” when utilizing and meeting these standards in your design.

A replay of this session can be found here.

June 27 Waterway Design Spreadsheet

The MN NRCS’s grassed waterway design spreadsheet uses the same methodology as the EFT waterway program and is an acceptable design tool. In this Tech Talk Elizabeth Oolman, NRCS engineer, will use the design spreadsheet and review data entry for the waterway design tab, data entry for the out-of-bank flow, and how to use the cut sheet tab. The spreadsheet is available for download on MN FOTG  > Section IV > Engineering Tools. This Tech Talk is intended for staff who know how to design a waterway but are looking for training on this particular tool.

A replay of this session can be found here.

July 11 Groundwater Resource Concerns

Join Tim Weisbrod, NRCS Geologist for MN and WI as he discusses why the four Nutrient Management (590) Groundwater Resource Concerns need to be inventoried and assessed during the planning process. Tim will cover the scientific background on how groundwater and nutrients move through the landscape and how those resource concerns can effect excess nutrient content in groundwater and surface waters.

A replay of this session can be found here.

July 25 Livestock Pipeline Design

Join Amanda Deans, TTCP Engineer, as she runs through a real-life pipeline design using the MN NRCS Livestock Pipeline spreadsheet. The "Livestock Pipeline" design spreadsheet can be found in the Minnesota FOTG, Section 4, Engineering Tools.

A replay of this session can be found here.

August 8 Introduction to Managed Grazing Systems

This session will discuss basic grazing management principles, benefits of prescribed grazing, and considerations for planning a grazing system.

A replay of this session can be found here.

August 22

Well Decommissioning (CPS 351)

During this session Patrick Schultz, TTCP Engineer, will provide an overview of topics related to the CPS 351 Well Decommissioning. There will also be a discussion of different real world scenarios, based on project experiences, as they relate to planning, design, and construction oversight of sealing abandoned wells.

A replay of this session can be found here.

September 26 Prairie Strips Part 1: A New Option for Water Quality, Pollinators, and Wildlife

Join Jim Fritz (SE ARC, MN NRCS), James Fett (Watershed Technician, Mower SWCD), and Andrea Eger (Regenerative Ag Project Manager, TNC) as they discuss the following topics on CP43 CCRP Prairie Strips:

  • FSA CRP eligibility, contract length, eligible for SIP and PIP payments, acreage limits
  • Program policy specific to CP43 such as field locations, size requirements, grass and forb requirements
  • NRCS CP43 suitability and feasibility worksheet, CP43 Implementation Requirement job sheet
  • Seed design calculator
  • Pollinator concerns with adjacent cropland, referencing Agronomy Tech Note 9 and 31 for guidance to planners and landowners
  • What makes CRP prairie strips the newest most exciting conservation practice?
  • Outreach and promotion in Mower County
  • Partnerships to leverage incentives for landowner adoption
  • Grant opportunities to promote STRIPS

A replay of this session can be found here.

October 3 Prairie Strips Part 2: Addressing Pesticide Risks to Pollinators

Emily May and Karin Jokela from the Xerces Society will present on pesticide risks to pollinators in habitat near cropland, including field research on pesticide contamination and impacts, and how to address and mitigate those risks in planning prairie strips. The talk will include local case studies and partner experiences.

A replay of this session can be found here.

November 28 Side Water Inlet (CPS 410) Planning and Design

Join Patrick Schultz and Aaron Peter, TTCP engineers, as they cover planning and design criteria for side water inlets (SWI’s). SWI’s are an option within the 410 grade stabilization structure practice. Participants will learn what resource concerns are addressed by this practice, data needing to be collected to design the practice, and the design process using an example project.

A replay of this session can be found here.