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Friday, February 5, 2016

Living on the Land Workshop Series for Managing Your Rural Property or Small Farm

Do you dream of owning acreage in the country? Do you have an existing farm that is in need of a plan and strategies for the best possible results? The Living on the Land Workshop Series, offered by University of Minnesota Extension, will equip you with the education and resources to be successful.

The eight-week course is designed to provide rural landowners with information and resources to enable them to be good stewards of their land. The course will begin with goal-setting and individual property inventory, then address soil, plant, water and animal management basics.

The Living on the Land curriculum addresses a growing need for information regarding small acreages. The series incorporates knowledge and experience from a team of instructors to address topics including: what do you have and what do you want, what you can do with your land, protecting water quality, what to do about weeds, pasture management, getting down and dirty with soils, and caring for and managing your animals. The series also includes a farm tour.

The series will be taught by Extension educators and other subject matter experts at the Rogers Community Room, Rogers, MN, and the State Bank of New Prague, New Prague, MN. The series will be held 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday evenings in Rogers (Feb 24-April 13) and Tuesday evenings in New Prague (March 15-May 3). Light meals are provided at each session.

Early registration is $199 until Monday, February 22 for Rogers and Monday, March 14 for New Prague. All registrations received after those dates will be $209. Each registration is valid for up to two people representing a single farm who will share materials. For example, a husband and wife team or two siblings may attend together. Benefits include useful educational publications, an educational farm tour, soil test kit, a site visit/consultation from a University of Minnesota Extension educator in your area, as well as the tools to help you succeed with your goals and dreams on your country acreage.

For more information, please contact:

For Rogers:
Rod Greder at 763-682-7381,, or Karl Hakanson, 612-624-7948,

For New Prague:
Contact Abby Neu, 952-492-5386, or Karen Anderson, 507-332-6165,

Register today!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Workshop on avian influenza and biosecurity in pastured poultry to be held 12/12/15

University of Minnesota Extension, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, and USDA APHIS will hold a workshop on highly pathogenic avian influenza and biosecurity in pasture and outdoor production systems.

The workshop will be on Saturday, December 12, 2015, from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. with registration starting at 8:30. The workshop will be at the Community Resource Bank (CRB) community room, located at 1605 Heritage Drive, Northfield, MN 55057. It is free to the public. Please register for this event by December 10 by contacting Wayne Martin, at, or 612-625-6224.

Speakers will address the following topics:

  • The development and progression of the recent outbreak in Minnesota.
  • The Board of Animal Health and APHIS roles and responsibilities during an outbreak.
  • What producers need to know during an outbreak regarding testing and movement of poultry.
  • Biosecurity in pasture or outdoor settings.

"It is essential for all farmers, whether using a pasture or confinement system, to make their farm as bio-secure as possible,” said Carol Cardona, University of Minnesota veterinarian and Extension specialist. “This workshop will help farmers understand more about what occurred last spring and help them prepare for an outbreak in the future.”

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Grazing Management Field Day

Source: Rod Greder, Extension Educator

University of Minnesota Extension, NRCS and Thousand Hills Cattle Company are hosting a FREE grazing management field day on August 18th from 5pm-8pm. See attached flyer for more information on topics, speakers and activities.

More information is available at the following link:

Benefits of attendance include:

  • Hear from successful graziers 
  • Walk pastures and see best practices firsthand
  • Learn techniques to improve production
  • See demonstration of several tools to measure forage quality 
  • Improve animal gains while improving soil health

Please call 763-682-7381 if you have questions.

Wild Parsnip

Source: Nathan Winter, University of Minnesota Extension

Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) continues to spread throughout Minnesota. This plant is considered an invasive species and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture considers it a prohibited noxious weed on the control list. Prohibited noxious weeds must be eradicated or controlled in accordance with the Minnesota Noxious Weed Law (MN Statues 18.75-18.91). This law defines a noxious weed as an annual, biennial, or perennial plant that the Commissioner of Agriculture designates to be injurious to public health, the environment, public roads, crops, livestock, or other property. This weed is on the same prohibited noxious weed list as Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.).

According to, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the Ohio Perennial and Biennial Weed Guide, wild parsnip is a biennial/perennial herb that can grow up to 5 feet in height.  Most often this plant is a biennial and is typically 3-5 feet tall. Leaves are alternate (1 leaf per node), compound (5 to 11 leaflets), and branched with jagged teeth. Leaflets are yellowish-green, shiny, oblong, coarsely-toothed, and either mitten- or diamond-shaped. Flowering occurs from May to June, when hundreds of yellow flowers develop. Flowers are arranged in an umbel. Fruits are dry, smooth, slightly winged, and flattened on back. Fruits each contain two seeds, which are dispersed in the fall. Wild parsnip reproduces through seed. Wild parsnip is native to Eurasia and occurs in sunny areas with varying degrees of soil moisture.  Typically, this plant is found in ditches and in perennial non-cultivated landscapes. Some similar species that look similar include golden alexander and giant hogweed.

According to the University of Minnesota Extension Wild Parsnip publication regarding toxins and toxicity, wild parsnip may contain chemicals called furanocoumarins. There is toxicity during all growth stages of the plant, when eaten fresh or dried in hay. High concentrations of furanocoumarins have been founds in the seeds as well. The toxic dose of wild parsnip is not known. The toxic dose of other plants known to accumulate furanocoumarins has not been established either.  The publication continues:

Severe sunburn (photosensitivity) occurs in people and animals ingesting furanocoumarins if they are exposed to UV light after ingestion. Sunburn occurs after ingestion due to the furanocoumarin circulation in the blood vessels just below the skin. The UV light exposure is almost always from the sun. Severe sunburn occurs on the white or other light skinned areas, but not the black, brown, or other dark skinned areas, because melanin in the dark skin absorbs the UV light and prevents it from reacting with the furanocoumarins. Consequently, severe sunburn in livestock ingesting furanocoumarin-containing plants is reduced if the livestock are shaded from the ultraviolet sunlight.

Problems can also occur when in contact with wild parsnip. Sap contact with the skin in the presence of sunlight can cause a rash that often leads to blisters and discoloration of the skin (phytophotodermatitis). Be sure to wear gloves, long sleeves, and pants when in contact with wild parsnip.

The University of Wisconsin Extension Wild Parsnip publication highlights some of the control strategies and effectiveness in season and following season after treatment. Pulling or cutting the root out 1-2” below the surface is 90-100% effective in season and 70-90% the following year. Mowing after the emergence of flower heads, but before the seeds enlarge is 90-100% effective in season and 50-70% the following year. Prescribed burning in the spring is 50-70% effective in season and less than 50% the following year. Grazing during the midseason is 50-70% effective in season and less than 50% the following year. Remember that grazing can cause photosensitivity if they consume large amounts of wild parsnip.

Foliar herbicides can be applied directly to plants or broadcast across an infested area. The University of Wisconsin Extension suggests the following herbicides for control of wild parsnip: 2, 4-D, aminocyclopyrachlor + chlorsulfuron, chlorsulfuron, dicamba + 2, 4-D, glyphosate, and metsulfuron. Remember to read and follow the label for proper application and use. Some herbicides are selective and others are non-selective in regards to the control of weed and desirable plants. Typically, herbicides are going to be the most effective when utilized in the spring and fall on smaller plants. Wild parsnips is a biennial/perennial and they will typically be a smaller (6”) in the rosette stage. Control during this stage will help alleviate the number of larger mature plants the following year. Be sure to follow the label if you intend to hay or graze areas that have been treated with an herbicide. Some restriction periods may apply.

Desired weed control can be achieved over time and it will probably include a combination of non-chemical and chemical control. Plan a strategy to control these weeds for more than one year. Once under control, continue to watch for new problem areas.

Photo Credit:
Schaefer, Kristine. Wild Parsnip. N.d. Iowa State University Extension Integrated Crop Management Image Gallery. Wild Parsnip | Integrated Crop Management. Web. 29 July 2015. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

University of Minnesota Extension Small Farm Survey Results 2015

Thank you to those that provided feedback on the University of Minnesota Extension Small Farms Survey!

The University of Minnesota Extension Small Farms Team developed this survey in order to better understand the needs and interests of our audience. The goal of this effort is to utilize the feedback to strategically plan educational events and team activities on a local and statewide level.

The 314 responses help us focus our efforts on what small farmers in Minnesota are doing and where help is needed. Following is a link to the University of Minnesota Extension Small Survey Results:

Be sure to let me know if you have any further questions regarding the survey results or about the University of Minnesota Extension Small Farms Team.

Small Farms U hosts a Pasture Walk on the St Paul Campus

Source: Wayne Martin, Extension Educator, Alternative Livestock Systems

On Tuesday evening, August 4, 2015, Small Farms U at the University of Minnesota will host a pasture walk on the St Paul Campus. A small flock of sheep are grazing on a field just east of the Dairy Barn. The pasture needs to be renovated, and planning in August can help prepare for that activity in the fall.

Tom Gervais, MN NRCS Grazing Specialist, will lead the discussion on the current state of the pasture forage, and what can be done to improve it in the coming fall. He will also address a number of topics on pasture management, including but not limited to the following:

Pasture Management 6:00-8:30 p.m.
  •  Rainfall simulator
  • Evaluating pasture condition
  • Improving pasture condition
  •  Useful products for pasture management
  •  Importance of weed management
  • Financial and Technical assistance – where and how to get it

Discussion led by Tom Gervais - MN NRCS Grazing Specialist. Registration is from 5:30-6:00. Please rsvp so that we know you plan to attend. Cost of the workshop is $10/adult, $15/couple or business partners, and $5/student. Please contact Wayne Martin at, or (612) 625-6224.

Meet in the parking lot at the Beef Barn, corner of Gortner and Buford Avenues.

Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) Field Day

Source: Rod Greder, Wright County Extension Educator

University of Minnesota Extension and NRCS are hosting a FREE subsurface irrigation field day on July 22nd from 10-2. See attached flyer for more information on topics, speakers and activities.

More information is available at the following link:

Benefits of subsurface drip irrigation include:
• Water application efficiency
• Energy savings
• Yield increases
• Less nutrient movement

Please call 763-682-7381 if you have questions.
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