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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Local Foods College

Source: Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships

Local Foods College is a series of eight sessions, meeting at 6 PM on Tuesdays from January 12 to March 1, 2016. This is the fifth year for this series, and the 2016 series will provide many options for participants to interact with one another. The webinar format is handy for many participants to access from home or office locations. There are also public sites that offer opportunity to network with your neighbors. For further information check out the website:

Topics remaining include:

· February 9, 2016 - Food Business Regulations

· February 16, 2016 - Animals on Your Homestead

· February 23, 2016 - Scaling up for Markets - Benchmarking, Engaging Economic Development

· March 1, 2016 - Farming in a Controlled Environment

Forages for “U” Workshops in Hutchinson and Rushford

The University of Minnesota Extension Forages for "U" will be held in Hutchinson on Thursday, February 11th and in Rushford on Friday, February 19th. Further information and online registration can be found at:

GAPs Workshop in St. Paul, MN on March 9th, 2016

Learn how good business practices, good agricultural practices, and marketing are interconnected. Attend this workshop to learn how GAPs can help minimize food safety risks with fresh produce, are good for business, good for getting new customers and keeping the ones you already have. This workshop is intended for fruit and vegetable farmers.

DATE: March 9, 2016
TIME: 9:00am - 3:30pm
LOCATION: Second Harvest Heartland, 1140 Gervais Ave, St Paul, MN 55109

You will receive more information after registering, closer to the date of the workshop.

PREREGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Please register by March 3, 2016. Registration link:

By the end of this workshop, you will have:
  • Learned the most recent food safety information including GAPs audits and the Food Safety Modernization Act and what it may mean for your farm
  • Toured the warehouse facilities of Second Harvest Heartland and learned how to mitigate and problem-solve potential food safety issues on the farm before produce gets to the warehouse, and
  • Practiced writing food safety SOPs and risk assessment statements
You will receive a pre-loaded flashdrive with a food safety plan template and resources to help you learn more.

What to bring:
1. Pencil or pen and paper if you want to take notes.
2. Your food safety plan (if you have one)
3. All your questions!

This workshop is FREE to participants thanks to support from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, but there may be a materials fee.

To register:
For more information on GAPs - our website


Annalisa Hultberg, MS
Research Fellow

On-farm GAPs Education Program

University of Minnesota
1390 Eckles Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108
phone: 612-625-1951 cell: 612-532-4888 fax: 612-624-3005

UMN GAPs website:
UMN GAPs page on Facebook
UMN GAPs YouTube channel
UMN GAPs Google+ page

Commercial Goat Dairies Expand in Size and Number in Minnesota

Source: Wayne Martin, Extension Educator, Alternative Livestock Systems,, 612-625-6224

St Paul, Minn. (02/04/2015)— Over the past few years the number of commercial goat dairy enterprises in Minnesota has increased dramatically. There are now 83 such entities, of which three process milk into cheese directly on-farm. The dairies range in size from 30-300, and together the commercial herds total almost 9,000 milking goats.

In November 2015, the MN Extension Dairy Team and the MN Department of Agriculture (MDA) conducted a survey of the commercial goat dairy community, in an effort to find out what information the producers needed in order to improve their management skills, to help them succeed. As a result, the Extension Dairy Team and the MDA will offer a workshop to address some of the needs identified in the survey. During the coming summer months on-farm field days will be held, and more workshops are being planned for later dates and locations.

The workshop currently planned will be held on Saturday, March 5, from 9:30- 2:00 p.m., at the St. Charles, MN, Community Center. Topics to be covered include managing nutrition, health, and milk quality in a commercial goat dairy. "Getting maximum production of high quality milk is essential for profitability in a competitive market,” said Tonya Schoenfuss, Associate Professor, Dairy Products Technology, University of Minnesota.

Please pre-register so that we can plan for food, by contacting Wayne Martin at the phone/email listed above. There is a $10 charge per person, to cover the cost of food. Pay at the door.


Registration 9:30-10:00 
  • Jim Paulson (UMN)- Feed and Forages, Nutrient Requirements of Young Stock
  • Tonya Schoenfuss (UMN) – Milk Quality
  • Lunch 
  • Speaker TBD 
  • Cindy Wolf (UMN)- Health Management 
Please pre-register so that we can plan for food, by contacting Wayne Martin at the phone/email listed above. There is a $10 charge per person, to cover the cost of food. Pay at the door.

For more information on the topic, go to:

For more news from U of M Extension, visit or contact Extension Communications at University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

University of Minnesota Extension Women in Agriculture Conference

University of Minnesota Extension is hosting a Women in Agriculture Conference on February 18, 2016 at the Kelly Inn, St. Cloud. This inaugural event will be a day of learning and networking for women involved in agriculture in the region. Registration begins at 9 am, with the conference convening from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm.

Keynote Speaker for the day is Dr. Robert Milligan, Cornell Professor Emeritus and Senior Consultant with Dairy Strategies, LLC. Milligan is a popular and frequent ag leadership speaker. His message for the day will challenge participants to proactively and aggressively address the future of their farm business.

Breakout sessions will feature farm communications and relations; farm transition & estate planning; farm payroll & tax planning; and the farm image. Topics throughout the day will encourage women to learn, lead, manage, and network – all which will benefit their farm operation.

Registration is required for the conference. The early bird registration fee is $50 and is due by Feb. 12th. Other registrations are accepted until Feb. 16th at a cost of $65. Registration can be completed three ways:

Online: $45 – Save $5! Visit to register online.

Mail to: University of Minnesota Extension, Willmar Regional Office

1802 18th St. NE
Willmar, MN 56201

Call: (320) 235-0726 ext. 2001

For more information on the conference visit: Feel free to contact Pauline Van Nurden at or 320.235.0726 ext 2008 with questions.

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.”
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