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Extension > Small Farms News > July 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

August Small Farm Newsletter

Let's.  Talk.  Dairy.  (and about a perennial grain field day)

Those interested in organic dairy production have two field days to pick from coming up.  If you can't make it to one of those, take a look at the organic dairy resources shared below.

Plus, the UMN Extension Women in Ag Network summer tour is going to Redhead Creamery in August.

And, have you heard the buzz about the perennial wheat being developed at the U? Well, there's an opportunity to see it in production and learn more about the research and development happening.

Our website has been updated too, it's worth taking a look.

Click here if you'd like to receive this newsletter via email.

Jake Overgaard
UMN Extension Educator

Dairy Field Days and Resources
Organic Dairy Field Day - Southeast MN
Friday, August 4th

  • Learn from the Nelsons, who milk 90-100 cows on their organic dairy by Altura
  • Far tour includes a focus on pasture and forage production
  • Organic Dairy research update from UMN's Dr. Brad Heins

Organic Dairy Day - Morris
Tuesday, August 15

  • Economics of organic dairying - Dr. Larry Tranel, Iowa State University
  • Organic dairy research update - Dr. Brad Heins, University of MN
  • Guided tours
    • Pasture walk featuring Kernza
    • Organic silage variety trials
    • Feeding options for calves

Organic Dairy Resources from WCROC
The West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) in Morris uniquely researches dairy production, with side-by-side organic and conventional herds. 

They've developed great resources for farmers on the topics of herd health, forages and feed, pest and fly management, out-wintering, and profitability.  

Learn about a fly vacuum, feeding kelp and fodder systems, and out-wintering dairy herds among other topics at their website.


Other Upcoming Educational Opportunities
UMN is holding a Kernza Field Day on August 10th near Madison, MN.

Kernza (TM) is a perennial grain being bred & developed for commercialization in a partnership between the Forever Green Initiative and The Land Institute. Come learn from a farmer who is growing it and get an update on the research and development of the grain.

UMN Extension's Women in Ag Network's summer tour will be headed to Redhead Creamery. Attendees will get a tour of the farm, discuss managing a family business, and have the opportunity to network and socialize. The tour is on August 16th from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm. Learn more about the event and register here.

Website Update
A few brave UMN Extension Small Farms Team members took on the task of reviewing our website.  A number of changes were made to improve the look, but most importantly, we added resources on fruit, vegetables, crops, forages, livestock, farm safety, business and marketing, and general land management that ought to be useful.  Take a look!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Kernza Field Day


by Constance Carlson

The public is welcome to attend a field day and tour of one of the oldest stands of Kernza® in Minnesota on Thursday, August 10. This is an opportunity for growers, processors and others interested in learning more about this new and exciting grain.

As the first commercially produced perennial grain crop, intermediate wheatgrass (Kernza® perennial grain) has the potential to change agriculture landscapes by providing valuable ecosystem services and new economic opportunities. The University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative (FGI) has been engaged in research and development on this ground-breaking crop for several years in strong partnership with The Land Institute (Kansas), where the grain was first developed. 

The UMN and Land Institute research team includes ecologists, breeders, agronomists and food scientists working on everything from increasing seed size and yields to field trials and commercial opportunities. The crop has advanced to the point that early commercialization has begun, with local and regional food businesses as well as corporate partnerships with companies such as Cascadian Farm / General Mills, Inc. and Patagonia Provisions.

The Kernza Field Day will be held on A-Frame Farm in Madison, Minnesota, owned and operated by Carmen Fernholz. Fernholz has been working with the University of Minnesota and growing intermediate wheatgrass for six years and will be on-hand to talk about his experience growing Kernza®. Intermediate wheatgrass researcher, Jake Jungers, Ph.D. will also be on-hand to talk about the current research and where the University is hoping to take this crop. 

A tour of the Kernza®  plot on Fernholz's farm is planned. We recommend wearing durable shoes or boots to walk through the field. 

Kernza Field Day: A-Frame Farm
Thursday, August 10, 2017
1 - 3PM Tour followed by a social hour. 
 2484 Hwy 40  Madison, Minnesota 56256

Please RSVP by Aug. 3https://kernzafarmtour.eventbrite.com

Light refreshments will be served. 
This field tour is made possible through a generous grant from the MDA through the AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Grant. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

CSA Field Day - July 21

Join us for a field day on Friday July 21st from 9-11am at Golden Bee Acres, owned and operated by Harold and Pam Walz with the help of their farm manager Melissa May.

Golden Bee Acres raise and harvest over 20 varieties of produce and sell free-range eggs at the St. Cloud Farmer’s Market and to their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members.

Golden Bee Acres prides themselves on being guardians of the land raising food with sunshine, water, intelligent design, careful handling and love.

Discover the Walz Family’s story of Golden Bee Acres, see their high and low tunnels, and learn more about the Small Farms Program. In addition, hear from different experts including information on industrial hemp production.

Cost of the event is free and refreshments will be provided.

Register for the event at: z.umn.edu/smallfarms
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