2021 Drainage Workshop

March 9-11, 2021

524 S Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824
Farrall Ag Eng Hall, Room 106

Michigan's 2021 Annual Drainage Workshop will be held in East Lansing. This workshop is a collaboration between Michigan State University and Michigan Land Improvements Contractors Association.

1- Who should attend?
This workshop is intended for producers, landowners, drainage contractors, consultants, NRCS Soil conservationists, engineers, MAEAP technicians, agency technicians, technical service providers, MSU Extension Educators, and whoever is interested in learning about drainage concepts and design of subsurface drainage systems for crop production and environmental protection.

2- Why should you attend Michigan's drainage workshop?
You will learn how to use a user-friendly drain spacing tool to maximize return on investment in the drainage system. We have a NEW session in 2021, so you will gain hands-on experience using drainage design software taught by experts. Application of the tool and design software sets this workshop aside from other drainage workshops.

3- What will be taught?

3a- Topics for days 1 and 2 will include
  • Basics of soils and water movement in soils
  • Drainage principles
  • Economics of drainage
  • Interpreting contour maps
  • Drainage design concepts
  • Overview of a user-friendly Drain-Spacing Tool to maximize profit
  • Contour drainage
  • Estimating system cost
  • Legal Considerations of drainage
  • Safety and installation tips
  • Controlled drainage design
  • Controlled drainage impact on water quality and crop yield.

The drainage design process will include basic design considerations and a step-by-step design procedure.

3b- Topics for day 3 will include

  • Proper use of the user-friendly Drain-Spacing Tool to maximize annual return on investment.
  • Global Mapper software as an aid in design and to view elevation data:
    • Hands-on experience downloading DEM data, making contour maps, determining flow pattern, laying out mains, getting main profile, laying out laterals, getting lateral profile, drawing multiple parallel laterals, and exporting plan as a file usable in installation software. This software is an aid in design, so it will require manual design processing such as sizing main that will require more time designing, but it is a cheaper option than other drainage design software's.
  • Trimble WM-Subsurface software as a design tool:
    • Hands-on experience designing the drainage system (layout, grade, sizing main) for conventional drainage and controlled drainage. This software is for those who want to design systems accurately and quickly. This software automatically sizes the main, provides grade smoothing, provides pipe profiles, checks pipe grade as well as providing other useful features that simplifies the design process.

4- What are the goals of the workshop?
Learn new knowledge. Learn drainage design concepts through hands-on exercises so you can design on your own. Learn about conservation drainage. Learn the basics of using design software, so you can use your design software correctly.

5- General Notes:
MSU faculty members and experienced contractors with Michigan Land Improvement Contractors Association (MLICA).

Event provides:
We will provide notepads, ruler, pens, and mechanical pencil for each participant. We will provide a desktop computer for each participant to use during the workshop.

What to bring:
Please bring your calculator, if you have one. Otherwise, you can use the Calculator app on Windows 10 of the desktop computer.

We will offer a continental breakfast as well as a lunch buffet (meat and vegetarian).

There will be free parking in lot 39. Google Map address of the parking lot: 39 Okemos, MI 48864.

Participants are responsible for making their own hotel arrangements.

 Early registration ($400 for all 3 days, $250 for days 1 and 2, or $200 for day 3) is available until Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. Registration price goes up ($600 for all 3 days, $350 for days 1 and 2, $300 for day 3) starting from Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. Registration deadline is Monday, March 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. This workshop is limited to 30 participants, and on-site registration will be unavailable on the day of the event.

Registration cancellation:
Full refund will be provided, if canceled by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. A $50 service fee will be charged to the refund, if canceled between Tuesday, February 23 and 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 1, 2021. No refund will be provided, if canceled on or after March 2, 2021

What to bring: Please bring your calculator, if you have one. Otherwise, you can use the Calculator app on Windows 10 of the desktop computer.

Special Request: 
Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by calling Ehsan Ghane at 517-353-4458 by Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 at 5 p.m. to ensure sufficient time to make arrangements. MSU is an affirmative-action and equal-opportunity employer.

For workshop agenda with list of speakers, click on the Tentative Workshop Agenda link below.

Sponsor Registration

Sponsor registration for 2021 Drainage Workshop is open.

Sponsor registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on March 11, 2021.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For questions, contact Ehsan Ghane at 517-353-4458 or ghane@msu.edu