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Showing posts from 2018

How do I start a cottage food business?

By Suzanne Driessen Extension food safety educator
Do you have extra produce in your garden? Make the tastiest granola? Perfected jalepeƱo apricot buffalo wing sauce? Why not turn these products into a cottage food business and join the ranks of 2600 Minnesota registered cottage food producers.
Under the 2015 Minnesota Cottage Food law, many shelf stable or unrefrigerated food products made in a home kitchen can be sold to the direct consumer at farmers’ markets and community events. Examples of cottage foods include high-acid, canned food products--preserves, pickles and salsas--and low-moisture baked goods fruit pies, bread, pastries, cakes, cookies and specialty items like candy, dried herbs jam and jelly dry mixes, flavored vinegars and more.
Interested? Here are tips to get started as a cottage food producer (CFP): Learn the provisions of the law.Check out the allowed and not allowed food list here. Stop by your local farmers’ market. What are other CFPs making and selling? What do…

Hops Workshop in Waseca

University of Minnesota (UMN) and Minnesota Hop Growers Association (MHGA) are pleased to offer a Summer 2018 Workshop at the UMN Southern Research and Outreach Center (35838 120th St, Waseca) on August 4th, 2018

Discussion will include new hop varieties from UMN and their future distribution, hop quality with brewer insights, and powdery mildew control and prevention. An on-site tour of UMN’s hop field plots will also take place later in the workshop. Lunch is included in the registration fee. 

Registration is $20 for MHGA members and $40 for non-members. 

Please register online here.
Workshop Agenda
9:00 - 9:30 - Registration - Coffee & snacks will be available.9:30 - 10:15  - Hop Breeding Research Update
Charlie Rohwer, UMN10:15 – 11:00 a.m. – Hop Variety Commercialization Process: Future Prospects for UMN Hop Varieties
BJ Haun, UMN11:00 – 12:00 – Post Harvest Factors Affecting Hop Quality
Dave Buss, Davali Ridge Farm, Waterloo, WI12:00-1:00 - Lunch
Included with regist…

Grape Grower Workshop - Get Ready for Harvest

UMN Extension along with the Southern MN Wine Grower Alliance (SMWGA) are partnering to hold a workshop focused on harvest preparations to include quality testing, netting, late season sprays, and cellar equipment maintenance, wine oxidation management, and more.

When: Monday, July 30th from 4-6 pm
Where: Indian Island Winery, 18018 631st Ave, Janesville, MN 56048
Cost: $25/person and $20 for SMWGA members.
Instructors: Annie Klodd, UMN Extension Educator Fruit and Vegetable Production and Drew Horton, UMN Enology Specialist

Register with Lisa Smiley, or call 651-492-5393. Checks can be made payable to SMWGA.

For more details view the event flyer.

What's Killing My Kale? Episode 7 - Diseases of Brassicas

This month's episodes of "What's Killing My Kale?" are all about plant diseases. In this episode, we talk with Michelle Grabowski about diseases in Brassica plants, and what growers should be thinking about in terms of scouting and management in the upcoming weeks.

You can listen to this episode here, on Stitcher, or iTunes.

What's Killing My Kale? Episode 6 - UMN Plant Disease Clinic

This month's episodes of "What's Killing My Kale?" is all about plant diseases. 

We start in part 1 with a trip to the University of MN Plant Disease Clinic to learn about the services they provide to growers. Visit their website here:

You can listen to this episode here, on Stitcher, or iTunes

Pesticide Drift on Organic Farms in Minnesota

By Natalie Hoidal, UMN Extension

Protect your Farm from drift

List your farm on DriftWatch so that applicators know to avoid spraying near your farm. It is also a good idea to plant buffers around your farm to create a physical barrier for spray droplets.

If you are exposed to pesticide drift

If you suspect that you’ve been personally drifted on, consider seeking immediate medical attention. Take a long shower (30 minutes) as soon as possible, and use plenty of soap. Put your unwashed clothing in a plastic bag and freeze it separately from food to prevent cross contamination; your clothing could be used as evidence in a drift complaint. If you choose to file a complaint, contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) immediately or as soon as you able. Most pesticides degrade quickly in the environment, so act quickly to improve the likelihood that your Agricultural Chemical Inspector (ACI) can determine a pesticide or fertilizer violation of the law. Contact your certifying agenc…

Silvopasture Workshop: Central Minnesota

Farmers, livestock producers, natural resource professionals are invited to learn how to use silvopasture to improve productivity of wooded and marginal pastures while achieving environmental conservation! At this workshop, you will learn how silvopasture can be employed as part of your rotational grazing plan.

About the Workshop: The workshop will begin Friday evening, July 13th, with a networking and a panel discussion composed of practitioners, and natural resource professionals to share their experience about Silvopasture. And then it will continue on Saturday morning, July 14th, with indoor presentations and site visits to three sites in the afternoon. We will visit three farms including the Camp Hill Village, the Early Boots farm, and Stonebridge Beef that is practicing silvopasture and is raising grass-fed beef using the system. At this workshop, participants will conduct a case study as an exercise applying the establishment and management principles of silvopasture.

Expert sp…

Biosecurity During Fair Time

By Michaela Simcoe, University of Minnesota Extension
County fairs and other livestock exhibitions will soon be in full swing around Minnesota. Fairs are a great way for people in the community to learn more about livestock and the people that take care of them, but it can also be a risk for the animals and people involved. The combination of animals coming from multiple farms in one area and increased stress due to new environments can present a biosecurity hazard for animals at the fair as well as your herd at home. The following fair biosecurity checklist will help to prevent disease spread during the busy fair season.

At the Fair  ❏Check out the livestock housing area. The barn should be clean and properly ventilated with adequate space between animals. Nose-nose contact is the quickest way to spread disease, so preventing contact between livestock from different farms is very important. ❏Provide animals with ample feed and water. The stress of new surroundings combined with exces…

Farm Tour in Todd County

By Eric Koehlmoos, University of Minnesota Extension

The University of Minnesota Extension is pleased to announce that there will be a Small Farm Tour in Todd County this summer. The Small Farm Tour is an opportunity for small farm producers to interact and learn from University of Minnesota Extension Educators and from their fellow producers.

This year’s Small Farm Tour will take place on Wednesday, July 18th from 2-5 PM at Kleinschmidt Farms. Kleinschmidt Farms is owned and operated by Russell and Jess Kleinschmidt, located at 44910 County 21, Staples, MN. A detailed tour and program with extension educators will take place from 2-4 PM, with an open question and answer session from 4-5 pm.

About the farm

Kleinschmidt Farms features over 60 varieties of vegetables in their outdoor gardens and in their high tunnel. In addition to vegetables, they also have a grass-fed beef herd and a pasture broiler and egg-laying operation. They market their goods through a variety of channels, includ…

What's Killing My Kale? Episode 5 - Spotted Wing Drosophila Part II

This month's episodes of "What's Killing My Kale?" focus on Spotted Wing Drosophila. This invasive vinegar fly, now widespread in Minnesota, is a major concern for small fruit growers as it lays its eggs directly in the flesh of many high value fruits. 
This podcast episode provides growers with top recommendations on managing SWD from Jim Riddle, long-time organic fruit grower and owner of Blue Fruit Farm.
Additional information on SWD can be found at
You can listen to the podcast here, on iTunes, or Stitcher.

What's Killing My Kale? Episode 4 - Spotted Wing Drosophila

This month's episodes of "What's Killing My Kale?" focus on Spotted Wing Drosophila. This invasive vinegar fly, now widespread in Minnesota, is a major concern for small fruit growers as it lays its eggs directly in the flesh of many high value fruits. 

This episode of the podcast provides growers with top recommendations on managing SWD from Mary Rogers, Assistant Professor of Horticulture at the University of MN. Additional information on SWD can be found at

You can listen to the podcast here, on iTunes, or Stitcher.

IPM Field Days Next Week

Annie Klodd UMN Extension Educator Fruit and Vegetable Production 
These workshops have been postponed due to low registration.

UMN Extension’s Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Team is hosting three Vegetable IPM evening field days throughout MN in June, from 5:00-8:00 pm.
Locations and dates include:
June 12: St. Paul @ UMN Student Organic Farm (This location has been cancelled) June 14: Waseca @ UMN Southern Research and Outreach Center June 19: Alexandria @ Berry Ridge Farm
Integrated Pest Management emphases combining diverse techniques for more sustainable and effective pest management. Join us for an evening of IPM strategies for vegetable crops. In Alexandria, the field day will include additional information on high tunnel pest management and fruit as well. Hone your skills, or learn new ones, to better tackle our most challenging diseases, insects, and weeds.
Activities include: Insect and disease management strategies Weeds: Innovative equipment and tactics for controlling weeds Spra…

Organic Pig Production Workshop in Morris

by Wayne Martin
UMN Extension Educator

The University of Minnesota Extension Small Farms Program will
host a workshop on Organic Pig Production at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), University of Minnesota in Morris, MN.

Date/Location- It will be held on Thursday, June 21, 2018, from 9:30-3:00 p.m. in the Ag
Country Auditorium of the WCROC. A map of the area can be viewed here.

David Stender, Extension Educator at Iowa State University, Lee Johnston, Professor of Swine Nutrition and Management at the University of Minnesota, Jim VanDerPol, an innovative hog farmer from Kerkhoven, MN will be the speakers.

Tentative Agenda:
9:15 – 9:30 am Coffee
9:30 – 10:30 am Feeding organic pigs – traditional (corn/SBM) vs. alternative feed – Lee Johnston
10:30 – 11:30 am Benchmark and financial management of organic pig production – David Stender
11:30 – 12:30 pm Lunch
12:30 – 1:00 pm Breeds and genotypes for organic pig production – David Stender
1:00 – 1:30 pm Designing farrowing pens – our…

Winter Camelina Field Day to be held June 27 in Waseca, Minnesota

By Connie Carlson Associate Program Director Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
University of MinnesotaRegional Sustainable Development Partnerships Waseca, MN. --  The University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) invite processors, food entrepreneurs, culinary professionals, growers, and the curious public to learn about a new oilseed crop, winter camelina, on June 27th in Waseca, Minnesota.

Winter camelina (Camelina sativa) has a long history as an oil seed crop with great potential for use as a cash cover crop providing both protect soil and water while providing economic benefits to farmers in the Upper Midwest.

The Field Day event will be held at the Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca, Minnesota and will highlight current research and work underway to launch camelina into Minnesota’s agricultural landscape. Visitors will see camelina growing in the field and learn from UMN agronomists best production pra…

What's Killing My Kale? - Episode 3 - Weeds in Perennial Systems

This month on What's Killing my Kale we're talking about integrated weed management (IWM) with Annie Klodd and Charlie Rowher.

In part three, we explore specialty systems. Charlie shares his experiences with weed management in hops, Annie discusses considerations for perennial systems like grapes and apples, and we finish with some insight from Charlie on weeds in high tunnel systems.  

You can listen to the podcast here, on iTunes, or Stitcher

If you listen, please provide your feedback via this short survey:

Fencing workshop in Faribault

New to modern energized fence technology? University of Minnesota Extension and the Sustainable Farming Association are holding a hands-on workshop focused on the utilization of temporary energized fencing on the farm.
Kent Solberg, the Sustainable Farming Association’s Livestock and Grazing Specialist will discuss how an energized fence works, how temporary fences fit in grazing/cropping situations, and he will also discuss various options for temporary livestock fence equipment as well as cover how to install and maintain these temporary fences. If weather permits – meaning there is no lightning – the workshop will also involve hands-on use of energized temporary fence materials for participants.
The workshop is free for attendees thanks to our generous sponsor, K Fence Inc. of Zumbro Falls, and will be held on Friday June 29, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm on the Rice County Fairgrounds. (1900 Fairground Drive #17 Faribault, MN 55021).
To register, you can visit or call the Ri…

Local Food Fine Print Podcast - Episode 6

In Episode 6, I continue the conversation with Colleen, Kitchen Manager at the Blue Heron in Winona, MN.

The Blue Heron incorporates a lot of locally sourced produce and meat on their menu, we discuss communication, farmer check-ins, size specifications, pricing, deliveries, and sourcing.

You can listen to the podcast here, on iTunes, or Stitcher.

I'd also love your feedback, fill out a brief survey at this link:

Deep Winter Greenhouse Workshop

Are you a deepwintergreenhouse producer? Are you in the planning stages to become one? Do you want to know how to maximize your success in one of these passive solar structures?
On Friday, June 15, the Lake City Catholic Worker Farm will host a day-long DeepWinterGreenhouseproductionworkshop led by experienced DWG producer Carol Ford. This workshop will take place at the Lake City Catholic Worker Farm and include tours of the newly completed DeepWinterGreenhouse which will be used to grow produce all winter long with minimal use of external heat.
Space is limited for this hands-on workshop. Please register early to ensure your spot.

To register, call or email Greg Schweser: 612-625-9706,
See the flier for more information.

What's Killing My Kale? - Episode 2 - Tools for Weeding

By Annie Klodd and Natalie Hoidal
UMN Extension

This month on What's Killing my Kale we're talking about integrated weed management (IWM) with Annie Klodd and Charlie Rowher.

In episode 2, we discuss different tools we've worked with for mechanical weed management. Annie shares her top 5 tools, and Charlie provides some insight on how flame weeders can be integrated into your weed management strategies. 

You can listen to the podcast here, on iTunes, or Stitcher

If you listen, please provide your feedback via this short survey:

What's Killing My Kale? - Episode 1 - Integrated Weed Management

This month on What's Killing my Kale we're talking about integrated weed management (IWM) with Annie Klodd and Charlie Rowher. In part 1, we talk about how integrated pest management applies to weeds and explore the four pillars of IWM. 

You can listen to the podcast here, on iTunes, or Stitcher. If you listen, please provide your feedback via this short survey:

What's Killing My Kale - Episode 1

Youth Tractor and Farm Safety Certification

The Youth Tractor & Farm Safety Certification Program is designed to provide youth 14-years-old and older the opportunity to learn about safe equipment operation and general farm safety. 

This program is based on the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operations Program curriculum and meets the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Hazardous Occupations Orders for Agricultural Employment. 

Completing this or other similar programs is required for youth who wish to work off of their family farm or homestead with equipment with over 20 horse power.

In-person Dates:

June 11-12, 2018
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM both days
Kingsland High School
705 North Section Avenue
Spring Valley, MN 55975
Michael Cruse, UMN Extension Educator - Fillmore & Houston County;
Phone: 507-765-3896 or email:

June 14-15, 2018
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM both days
Meeker County Fairgrounds
1230 N Armstrong Ave
Litchfield, MN 55355
Karen Johnson, UMN Extension Educator - McLeod & Me…

Small Farms Newsletter - May 2018

Have a great growing season! We're finally getting into the fields, and things are greening up. I hope you all have a productive and safe growing season. 
There are some UMN Extension events coming up that I want to draw your attention to, a new Local Food Fine Print podcast episode, and MISA turns 25. Enjoy the newsletter.
If you'd like to receive this newsletter directly in your email, sign up here.
-Jake Overgaard  Extension Educator
25th Anniversary Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) MISA turns 25 this year. I think many of us in the small farms community can appreciate the significant impacts the organization has had. As a frequent user of their resources, past collaborator, and current board member, I'd like to reflect on a few.
I'm not sure which MISA publication I was exposed to first. It was probably Building a Sustainable Business or Marketing Local Food. Either way, it was easy to recognize the quality and usefulness of the publications. They…