The Blair Library and Technology Center welcomed the Seventh Annual Alternative Growers Group Conference to educate and communicate with acreage owners and other growers in the Washington County area.

The keynote speakers for the conference were representatives of Seed Stock Company of Murdock, Matt and Rod Fritz.

The company was founded by Lyle and Margaret Stock, who harvested their first acres of Nebraska Certified grass seed in 1956. The warm-season native grass allowed Lyle to act on his strong commitment to soil conservation and to diversify his traditional corn and soybean farm near Murdock.

The company is now run by Lyle and Margaret's son, Dave, and works closely with Soil Conservation Service and the University of Nebraska personnel.

The two discussed how to restore prairie grasses on a landowner's acreage and how to choose what prairie grass would best suit landowners for the type of acreage they have as well as how to maintain the prairie grasses that the owner chooses to plant.

The group also hosted speakers from the University of Nebraska Extension as well as private and commercial gardeners to discuss water quality issues, vegetable gardening, designing pollinator gardens, drip irrigation, among other things.

One speaker returned to the conference to address the area again about small fruit production, Vaughn Hammond of Nebraska City.

Hammond discussed raspberry, blueberry, and other small fruit production and maintenance.

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