Society news and notes

NDSU Extension’s North Dakota Master Gardener course starts Sept. 19

If you love gardening and sharing your knowledge with others, consider becoming a North Dakota Master Gardener volunteer in collaboration with the NDSU Extension Service.

Master Gardener training is convenient and flexible. The course will be offered both online and in a traditional classroom setting. “If weekday morning classes conflict with your schedule, watch online lectures in the comfort of your home on your own schedule,” said Esther McGinnis, director of the North Dakota Master Gardener Program. For those that prefer traditional learning, classroom training will be conducted in Devils Lake, Minot, Rugby and Williston.

Online and classroom sessions will run for 10 weeks beginning Sept. 19 and ending Nov. 21. Classroom training will be held every Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during this time.

Course topics will include annual and perennial flowers, tree selection and maintenance, soil health, composting, fertilizers, plant diseases and pests, and vegetable and fruit production.

Classes are taught by NDSU faculty and by Extension personnel.

Once training is completed, interns will volunteer 48 hours over two years on horticultural projects in their home counties before earning the title of Master Gardener. Projects include answering questions at county fairs, organizing horticultural workshops, and managing school and community gardens.

Tuition for the 2014 class is $150 for volunteers or $400 for non-volunteers. Computer knowledge, Internet access and an email account are required.

Class size is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration deadline is Sept. 2, 2014. Registration is online at (www.ag.ndsu.edu/mastergardener). For more information, contact your local NDSU County Extension office or Esther McGinnis at 231-7406.

Farm Credit Services provides FFA student handbooks, support

With this year’s contribution, three independent Farm Credit Services associations in North Dakota have donated FFA Handbooks to agricultural students in area schools for 38 consecutive years, according to a press release.

Approximately 80 high school agriculture education programs in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota will receive more than 2,500 of the donated student handbooks for the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

Over the past 3 1/2 decades, more than 68,000 of the books have been presented to FFA-first year “greenhands” to be used throughout the four-year FFA program.

The three independent North Dakota Farm Credit associations are headquartered in Minot (farmcreditnd.com), Fargo (agcountry.com), and Mandan (farmcreditmandan.com). Farm Credit Services has been serving rural America for 98 years.