Annual Froid Field Day Set For Thursday, June 25th

A “drone 101 workshop” with flight demonstrations; discussion of a new on-farm energy audit program and a unique rainfall simulator demonstration are among the activities to be featured at this year’s annual Froid Research Farm Field Day set for Thursday afternoon, June 25.

But that’s not all, by far. Tour goers will also meet the new Superintendent at Montana State University’s Eastern Agricultural Research Center in Sidney, Dr. Chengci Chen, who will not only discuss his current research and plans for the Sidney facility, but also give a presentation on pea leaf weevil management. In addition, discussions on ARS cover crop research, Canada thistle biocontrol, wheat steam sawfly management and more are planned.

The half-day event is co-sponsored by the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab in Sidney, the Roosevelt and Sheridan County Conservation Districts, and the Roosevelt and Sheridan County Extension Offices. The activities kick off at 1 pm at the Froid Research Farm (located 8 miles north of Culbertson on Montana Highway 16) and conclude at 5 pm, with a free steak supper provided by the Conservation Districts. Two private and two commercial pesticide applicator points are available for those attending the field day.

Highlights of the day include the Drone 101 Workshop, being preasented by Brian McGinnis of Sidney, owner of Exdivio Solutions, Inc., a computer consulting firm in Sidney, and Roger Meyer, PLS, a Registered Land Surveyor and owner of Montana Land and Aerial Surveys in Lambert. The two men will demonstrate their own craft as well as highlight the rules and regulations and technology requirements for operating the drones, formally known as Unmanned Aerial Systems. McGinnis, who has been flying drones as a hobbyist for the past three years, will demonstrate his latest quadcopter, while Meyer, one of only a few Montanans that have applied for and received a Section 333 exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration allowing him to fly his craft commercially, will demonstrate his fixed wing Trimble UX5.

“There’s a lot of interest in the potential for drones in agriculture, which is why we wanted to provide people some basic information about what’s involved in operating unmanned aerial systems,” ARS Agronomist Brett Allen said. “We really want to thank Brian and Roger for sharing their knowledge and their aircraft with us at our Field Day.”

Richland County Extension Agent Tim Fine will also be on hand at the Froid farm to discuss a new “Economy-Energy-Environment” (E3) assessment program that identifies ways to help farmers and ranchers reduce energy consumption, increase productivity, minimize carbon footprint, and drive innovation on their farms. Fine is one of 11 agents across Montana trained in the new E3 audit program which looks at energy usage from irrigation to lighting to hazardous waste–and everything in between. Producers completing an audit will have access to USDA grant and loan opportunities, as well as programs with other E3 federal partners, to implement any recommended changes, Fine noted.

Speakers and topics for this year’s tour include (in order of presentation): Meet the new MSU-EARC Superintendent! - Chengci Chen, MSU Assoc. Prof. of Agronomy, Farm Energy Audits - Tim Fine, Richland County Extension Agent

Drones 101 Workshop – Brian McGinnis, Exdivio Solutions, Inc., Sidney and Roger Meyer, Montana Land and Aerial Surveys, Lambert.

ARS Fallow Replacement Study: Camelina, carinata and cover crop mix yields - Brett Allen, USDA-ARS Agronomist, Soil compaction - Jay Jabro, USDA-ARS Soil Physicist, Pea leaf weevil management - Chengci Chen, MSU Assoc. Prof. of Agronomy, EARC Superintendent, Biological control of Canada thistle: An update- John Gaskin, Research Botanist, Sidney ARS, Drought influences on wheat stem sawfly outbreaks and control by its natural enemies - Tatyana Rand, Research Entomologist, Sidney ARS, Attacking wheat stem sawfly inside the stem - A new option? - Stefan Jaronski, Research Entomologist, Sidney ARS, Root distribution of perennial grasses with different nitrogen rates - Upendra Sainju, Research Soil Scientist, Sidney ARS, Seeding depth and starter fertilizer for cover crop mixes (in ARS demonstration plots) - Brett Allen, Research Agronomist, Sidney ARS, Rainfall Simulator demonstration – Tom Beck, Roosevelt County Conservationist, NRCS and Mark Henning, Agronomist, Miles City Area Office, NRCS

For more information, contact Beth Redlin at 406-433-9427 or [email protected].


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