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 the identified Mondays. Miss a session you were interested in? We record every presentations and make replays available in the Online Learning section of the TTCP website.

We use Webex Meeting for Tech Talks. For optimal participation we recommend installing the desktop app and joining the audio from your computer. If you would like to try Webex ahead of the session you plan to attend, you may join a test session here.

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Meeting Number: 963 843 093

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Training Type
Upcoming Training

Scheduled Sessions


January 22Seed Calculator Revisions

The new version of the seeding spreadsheet has the ability to do seeding checkouts based on seed tags listing a Pure Live Seed (PLS) applied column. This method streamlines the checkout data entry to just one number per species. The spreadsheet still accommodates doing a checkout with a seed tag using the traditional purity and germination data entries. It also provides for a two step process whereby a seed tag utilizing purity and germ data can be combined with a PLS style tag to get a single efficient printout to document  the seeding meets standards and specs.

All species included in the calculator can now be brought into a seed mix using a reference number assigned to that species. The reference number will bring in the data used for that species in mix evaluation, such as seeds per pound, bloom period and etc. The use of the reference number will streamline the process of customizing a mix.

A replay of this session can be found here.

January 29Back to our Roots: Managing Alfalfa for Yield and Environment

Join Joshua Gamble, ARS Research Agronomist, for this session on the role alfalfa roots play in mediating yield, stand persistence, and ecosystem services. Joshua will discuss how root systems can be managed for improved outcomes, and he will highlight some of the current ARS research in breeding and root architecture. Craig Shaeffer, UMN, will provide an overview of alfalfa fertility with particular attention to K, S, and pH.

A replay of this session can be found here.

February 5Source Water/Wellhead Protection

During this session Courtney Cheever (NRCS), Mark Wetlauffer (MDH), Aaron Meyer (MRWA), and Katie Breth (MRWA) will provide an introduction to the wellhead protection rule, Drinking Water Supply Management Areas (DWSMAs), and Source Water Protection (SWP) priority areas, including examples and success stories from existing plans. Conservation practices, planning tools, and financial assistance programs will also be discussed.

A replay of this session can be found here.

February 12Updated Engineering Practice Standards

Join NRCS engineering staff as they go over the latest NRCS engineering practice standards. They will be discussing what has changed in the latest updates to several practice standards.

A replay of this session can be found here. This replay will be available until January 31, 2025.

February 26Minnesota Seed Law

The Minnesota Seed Law is one of the oldest consumer protection laws in MN and also is in place to ensure a fair marketplace. The law requires certain content on seed labels so that the customer knows what they are buying. The Minnesota Seed Regulatory Program inspects seed labels and takes samples of seed lots at all sites where seed is produced, labeled, or available for sale. Samples are tested by the MN seed lab using American Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) rules and the result is compared to the label to see if they are truthful. Most of the MN seed industry follows these regulations and when there are issues the seed program works to help stakeholders achieve compliance.

A replay of this session can be found here.

March 4Implementing Successful On-farm Research Trials: Lessons from MN Wheat's On-farm Research Network

Join Minnesota Wheat’s On-farm Research Network coordinator, Melissa Carlson, for an overview of how they work with growers in northwest Minnesota to successfully implement replicated on-farm research trials. Learn about helpful hints on how to move a trial from the first phone call to the final data report, as well as lessons learned as the network evolved over the last 11 seasons of conducting field scale research trials.

A replay of this session can be found here.

March 18Pest Management Follow Up

This two hour Tech Talk is a follow up to the in person Basic Pest Management Concepts training sessions that were held in early January. Courtney Cheever, NRCS State Water Quality Specialist and TSP Coordinator will discuss the certification/check-out process for Integrated Pest Management Systems (CPS 595)  as well as explain the relationship between NRCS, the producer, and the TSP. Adam Reed, Regional Agronomist, will demonstrate the Excel worksheet tool that helps document IPM techniques and conservation practices for reducing pesticide environmental risk using a MN specific WIN-PST scenario.

A replay of this session can be found here.

April 12024 Pest Management Forecast

Join UMN Extension Integrated Pest Management Specialist Bruce Potter for a look at pest management considerations for the coming year. Bruce will discuss the expected effects of the 2023-24 winter on insect pest survival and pest problems to be aware of during the 2024 growing season.

A replay of this session can be found here.

April 8Core Concepts for Designing and Evaluating Native Seed Mixes

Join Karin Jokela, Xerces Society Partner Biologist, for a training on how to design and evaluate native seed mixes using the latest version of the NRCS seeding and certification calculator plus some complementary tools. Finding the right native mix that achieves multiple conservation objectives and conforms to practice standards can be a complicated endeavor. This will be an overview of the unique considerations that should be factored into diverse native seed mixes used to support pollinators and other wildlife.

A replay of this session can be found here.

April 15Brush Management (CPS 314) in Grasslands and Savannas

Brush Management is becoming increasingly needed on our grassland and savanna habitats to maintain their open character. However, this tool can be very expensive, and if not used properly, somewhat ineffective. This session will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of the techniques used in brush management, plus how knowledge of basic brush biology can increase the effectiveness of a brush management program.

A replay of this session can be found here.

April 22

Intro to Urban Soil Health for Conservation Planning and Management

In this webinar, Josh Beniston, NRCS Regional Soil Health Specialist covering urban areas, will present an overview of soil health in the context of urban soils. We’ll look at what aspects of urban soils may be different than rural agricultural soils and discuss the additional questions and observations we should address for conservation planning in urban soils. The information in the presentation will follow the topics that are presented in a new series of technical notes from the NRCS Soil Health Division. Specific topics in the presentation include:

  • Basics of urban soil health: current understanding on classification, unique properties, and resource concerns commonly found in urban soils

  • Site evaluation for urban soil health: background investigation of urban sites for conservation planning, tools for field evaluation of urban soils, and laboratory testing of urban soils

  • Conservation practices for urban soil health: discuss the small-scale application of several NRCS conservation practices with the potential to improve urban soils

A replay of this session can be found here.

April 29Soil Health Resource Concerns

Stephanie McLain (NRCS State Soil Health Specialist) provides an overview of the soil health resource concerns including how to evaluate them. This session also includes a brief introduction to the In Field Soil Health Assessments.

A replay of this session can be found here.

May 6TTCP Onboarding (Repeat)This training will provide newer employees with an orientation to the Technical Training and Certification Program. Participants will become familiar with the training resources that are available to them through TTCP. In addition, participants will start to develop their own personalized learning plan. Those who plan to attend should bring your job description to the training and ask around to find out the five most commonly used conservation practices in your work area.
May 20Conservation Tree Shrub Group (CTSG) UpdatesCTSGs are a planning tool that aid in the selection of trees and shrubs for planting based on soil type. During this session Garett Christiansen (Forster, NRCS) and Brandon DeFoe (Soil Scientist, NRCS) will share information about recent updates to this tool and the lists of tree and shrub species recommended for different soil types.

If you would like to suggest a topic, please contact us.