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Showing posts from September, 2016

Newsletter - Dispatch from the National Small Farm Conference

Last week, I attended the National Small Farms Conference in Virginia Beach (don’t get jealous, it was raining pretty much the whole time, I blame Poseidon, at right).  The conference is held every four years, this year it was hosted by Virginia State University, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and the USDA with support from Virginia Tech.  Three of us from the UMN Extension Small Farms team attended.
The conference is designed for folks like me in Extension, but also farmers, government, and researchers – along with anyone interested in learning how to better support small farms.  Here’s part 1 of what I learned followed by a training opportunity that’s coming soon to SE MN.
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Ideas for online education: Some of you have participated in our “Living on the land” program.  In the past year, our team has been working through a process of moving towards a hybrid in-person/online edu…

Newsletter - Farm Safety and Health Week

I was working last week to harvest a corn silage plot with a local farmer.  We’ve had wet weather in southeast MN lately, and more rain was in the forecast.  Needless to say, they were in a hurry.  I was doing my best to work as quickly and efficiently as possible so that I didn't slow their work down too much.  Having grown up and worked on farms, I was reminded of the pressure one feels in these situations.
That pressure can push us to take short-cuts, stress us out, and is simply tiring.  At these times, it’s important to remind ourselves and one another to always keep safety in mind. 
This week, we recognize National Farm Safety and Health Week by highlighting these useful resources.
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Article:  Farm Safety is a Year-Round Priority
Emily Wilmes, Extension Educator in Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties, shares ideas on working with livestock, training, equipment, and creating a culture of safety. 
Farm Safety…

Learn how to graze cover crops at field day

Livestock producers interested in cover crops should attend this field day in the Oronoco/Rochester area to learn about grazing cover crops, cattle nutrition, and the benefits to soils.  Speakers include Eric Mousel, UMN Extension Livestock Educator; Dan Nath, NRCS Soil Scientist; and Dean Thomas, Area 7 Soil Health Tech. 
The field day will be held at the Anthony Rossman farm.  On the farm, a 6 species cover crop mix was planted following peas.  The Rossmans produce beef cattle, the cover crop is being grazed this fall.  Attendees will learn how cover crops fit in their crop rotation and how they are utilized by cattle.

This free field day will be held September 27th from 9:00-11:30 am.  The Rossman farm is located at 7000 70th St NW, Oronoco, MN.  If you have any questions, please contact Dean Thomas by phone, 507-765-3878 Ext 3, or email, dean.thomas@mn.ncadnet.net

For more information, view the flyer.

Newsletter - Labor Edition

I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend!  Speaking of labor (what a transition!), here are some resources to help you understand the legal side of hiring employees and interns on farms, some labor saving tips, and recommendations for safely working with cattle.

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Legal guides:  Interns and employees Farmer Legal Action Group (FLAG) has produced two manuals for small farms with guidance on how federal and MN State law apply to farms in these areas. 
Labor and Management
Webinar: Tools for small scale crop production The focus of this webinar is on hand tools, principally for vegetable production.  From the National Center for Appropriate Technology.
Tools for Small-Scale Crop Production
Article: Ten steps to better weed control Weed management can require a lot of labor – here’s a list of ways you can reduce the time you spend handling weeds.  From University of Vermont Extension.
Ten Steps Toward Organic Weed Control