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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Backyard and Small Flock Poultry Workshop - St. Peter

By Jason Ertl, UMN Extension Educator

SAINT PETER, Minn-- Have you ever considered owning your own backyard chickens? Or do you already have a small flock and want to learn more about how to care for your feathered friends? Then join University of Minnesota Educators and Specialist for a day of poultry education on April 28th in St Peter, Minnesota.

Raising poultry on a small scale is gaining in popularity throughout all parts of Minnesota, but without access to education, many home producers are left scrambling to find answers to their questions. The Backyard and Small Flocks Workshop is designed to help start answering some of those questions.

The workshop will cover a range of poultry related topics including chicken breeds, poultry regulatory issues, poultry husbandry and nutrition, biosecurity, issues with raising poultry, and baby chicks. Whether you consider yourself a novice or an expert chicken raiser, this workshop will have something for you.

The workshop will be held on April 28th at the Governor’s Room in the St Peter Community Center, 600 South 5th Street, Saint Peter, MN 56082. The program runs from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM with registration starting at 9:30 AM.

If you are interested in attending the event please pre-register at least one week in advance. You may register by contacting Jason Ertl, Local Extension Educator at (507) 934-7828 or via email at

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Learn how to safely host groups on the farm

By Colleen Carlson, Extension Educator
Are you a farm with animals that also hosts Breakfast on the Farm, school field trips, has a pumpkin patch or apple orchard, or other similar activities? If so, you are participating in agritourism! 
Learn how to create a fun, safe environment for your visitors. Workshop topics include best practices for human-animal contact, working farm safety issues, food licensing and handling requirements, and more!  Learn how to create a fun, safe environment for your visitors. Owners, employees, and youth volunteers are encouraged to attend!
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Carver County Extension Office
11360 Hwy 212 W,
Cologne, MN, 55322
*Boxed dinner will be provided for registered attendees. Vegetarian options are available upon request.  Please register by April 12, 2018.  Class minimum 15.
For more information contact Colleen Carlson, Extension Educator Carver/Scott at 952-466-5306 or email

Friday, March 30, 2018

Lambing management workshop on St. Paul Campus

by Wayne Martin
Extension Educator

The University of Minnesota Extension Small Farms Program will host a workshop on lambing management on the St Paul Campus.  

Date/Location- It will be held on Saturday, March 31, 2018, 9 am to 3:30 pm, in the Beef Cattle Barn, on the St Paul Campus. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Pre-registration is encouraged so that we can plan for food. Cost of the workshop is $15/adult, $20/couple or business partners, and $10/student. Please contact Wayne Martin at , or (612) 625-6224. The Beef Cattle Barn is located at:

Sheep numbers continue to decline throughout the USA, while demand remains strong, a situation which provides a great opportunity for those who raise sheep, whether the flock is small or large. This workshop is designed for the person who is interested but with no experience raising sheep, or who already has a few sheep but wants to improve management skills. 

The morning will be spent in the Beef Barn Classroom, and in the afternoon there will be time for hands-on activities with the sheep. The workshop will be taught by Kyle Rozeboom, Livestock Specialist in the Animal Science Department, and Wayne Martin, Alternative Livestock Systems Specialist with Extension. Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Flock Management Overview, including  Sheep Management Calendar
  • Ewe Care- Preparing for Lambing
  • Housing/facilities
  • Post-Lambing Management Practices
  • Vaccinations, how and when to administer
  • The Importance of Selective Culling

Friday, March 23, 2018

Low Tunnel Day-Neutral Strawberry Production Workshop

White Earth Tribal and Community College, Mahnomen, MN

With the low tunnel, day-neutral strawberry production system, Minnesota farmers can
grow and harvest delicious strawberries late into the fall.

RSVP for this free workshop featuring Steve Poppe, Senior Horticulture Scientist at West Central Research and Outreach Center, who will share the latest research and best practices for day-neutral strawberry season extension.

A panel discussion featuring growers and culinary professionals who are growing, seeking or using Minnesota-grown strawberries will follow Poppe's presentation.

This event is intended for growers interested in strawberry production, as well as culinary professionals and other local businesses interested in sourcing locally grown strawberries.
Networking lunch from 12 - 1, with optional site tour after lunch. Event Hosted In
Partnership with the Lake Agassiz Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association.

Date: April 6, 9AM - 1PM  
Location: White Earth Tribal and Community College  

For more information:  612-709-6790

Living on a Few Acres, Make the Most of Living on the Land

By Colleen Carlson
Extension Educator
Scott County

Want to raise sheep but have been too sheepish to ask for information? Want to know what’s the difference between sod and soil?  Can a pasture also be a pig pen? Would you like to grow your knowledge of what it takes to live in the country or get more enjoyment out of your current acreage? The University of Minnesota Extension will present a Living on the Land Workshop in Elko New Market.

Living on the Land, an eight session course will be held Monday nights, April 2, - May 14, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Firehouse Grill meeting room, 7875 Old Town Road, in Elko New Market, MN.  The class fee is $225.00, for up to two people per farm.
Living on the Land is designed to walk those new to land ownership through a process of selecting a purpose and developing a plan for their small acreage, says Colleen Carlson, Scott County Extension Educator. “This class will provide residents a unique learning experience to prepare them for living on the land.” Participants will take stock of what they have; land, soil, woodlands, and buildings to assess their personal resources and skills to develop long and short term goals. They will learn why the living soil shouldn’t be treated like dirt, what’s up in the watershed, how co-exist with wildlife, woods and weeds along with the basics of growing pasture, fruits and vegetables as well address the raising of animals-feeding, fencing and manure management.  

These basic, yet essential topics will help you become a good steward of your land and prepare you for more advanced learning opportunities.  The program includes classroom discussion, field trips, fact sheets, booklets, and online resources.

Past participants of Living on the Land, enjoyed interacting with other beginning land owners, appreciated having face to face access with subject matter experts and gained new insights as what is possible on their acreage.
For more info, take a look at the brochure. To register contact Colleen Carlson, Extension Educator Carver/Scott,,
 952-492-5386 Scott County Extension

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Vegetable and Fruit Pest Workshop

By Beth Berlin
University of Minnesota Extension

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (03/14/18) — Do you grow vegetables or fruits to sell at your local farmers market, grocery, restaurant, or other market? If you do, you probably deal with a variety of pests impacting your produce every year. Join the University of Minnesota Extension for “Strategies to Tackle Pests in Vegetable and Fruit Production” workshop on April 4, 2018 in either Little Falls or Alexandria.

Annie Klodd, Extension Educator-Vegetable and Fruit Production, will cover problem weeds in vegetables and fruit fields, and early season weed control tactics in vegetable production.

Extension Entomologist Bill Hutchison, will address a variety of insect pests including spotted
wing drosophila, tarnished plant bug, squash vine borer, cabbage looper, and Colorado potato
beetle. In addition he will highlight insects on the horizon for central and west central Minnesota
growers like the brown marmorated stink bug that will greatly impact vegetable and fruit

Two workshop locations are being offered, Little Falls from 8:30-11:30am and a repeat session
in Alexandria from 1:30-4:30pm. The Little Falls location will be held at Little Falls City Hall.

The Alexandria location will be held at the Douglas County Extension Office Meeting Room.
To register online visit or call the Morrison County Extension Office at 320-632-
0161 or the Douglas County Extension office at 320-762- 3890.

When registering please indicate which location you plan to attend. Cost of the workshop is $10/person Space is limited, payment must be received to hold reservation.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Beef Cattle and Pasture Management Workshop

University of Minnesota Extension will host a Beef Cattle and Pasture Management Meeting on Thursday, March 22nd at the Genesis main office building, located at 901 N. 4th St. in Le Sueur, Minnesota. 

This new event will feature a diverse lineup of speakers to address various aspects of cattle nutrition and pasture management in effort to equip beef producers with information to help their operation succeed.

Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. and the program begins at 10:00 a.m. There is a cost of $15 per person at the door. Pre-registration is not necessary, but it is requested for a meal count. To pre-register or more information, contact Colleen Carlson, Extension Educator in Carver and Scott Counties at or 507-521-3640.

A detailed agenda and more info can be found here.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Raising Backyard & Small Flock Chicken Workshop

Colleen Carlson
UMN Extension
Carver and Scott Counties

Small-scale and backyard poultry is emerging throughout Minnesota.  Our workshop’s agenda is filled with multiple topics geared toward the needs of the beginning farmer, hobbyist or backyard producer and those who would like to raise birds on a small scale.

Join University of Minnesota Educators and Specialists to learn about poultry husbandry, breed of chickens, regulatory issues, city ordinances, biosecurity, raising baby chicks and listen as others share their experience raising chickens.

Backyard & Small Flock Chicken Workshop will be held:
Saturday, March 3, 2018 –9:30 a.m. to 3:30p.m.
Elko New Market Library
110 J Roberts Way, 
Elko New Market, MN 555054

Please pre-registration for lunch count is appreciated
$10.00 per person or $20 max per household.

For pre-registration or further questions about Small Flock Poultry contact Colleen Carlson, Extension Educator, Ag Production Systems in Carver and Scott Counties. Email or call Colleen at the Scott County Extension Office – (952) 492-5386.  

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Local Food Fine Print Podcast - Episode 4 - The Good Acre Part II

In episode 4, I continue our conversation with Nick of The Good Acre. We discuss negotiating price, the grower support they provide, volume requirements, liability insurance, food safety, roadblocks to entering the wholesale market, product specifications, and you won't want to miss the "produce battle".

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

We discussed a resource for wholesale producers called "Wholesale Success", you can find information about it on the MISA website:

We would really appreciate your feedback on this episode via this short survey:

Women in Ag Network Third Annual Conference on February 15

by Sarah Schieck

St. Cloud, Minn. (1/30/2018)—“Overcoming Adversity,” the third annual Women in Ag Network Conference will be February 15, 2018 in St. Cloud, MN at the Holiday Inn and Suites.  This third annual event will be a day of learning and networking for women involved in agriculture.  Registration begins at 8:45 a.m. with conference program from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Katie Pinke, publisher of AgWeek and blogger of the The Pinke Post, will be the keynote speaker.  The title of her presentation is, “Accepting Interruptions to Define Your Path Forward,” where Katie will explain that even the most well-orchestrated plans aren’t exempt from interruptions on the farm or off the farm.  Drawing upon trials and triumphs in her personal life and ag business career, Katie will help attendees define their best path forward through life’s pivotal moments.

Breakout sessions will feature five diverse tracks for attendees to choose from: farm business planning, stress management on farms, consumer advocacy, risk management, and farm safety and health. The day will end with a panel discussion  with panelists sharing how they have overcome adversity, whether it be a health challenge, weather event, farm transition, or other farm challenge.

Pre-registration is required for the conference at  After February 1, regular registrations are $65 and preferred by February 8. College students studing production agriculture may register for free. A limited number of registration fee scholarships are available for beginning farmers.

The Women in Ag Network is a collaboration between University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota’s Farm Service Agency.  For more information please visit  Feel free to contact Sarah Schieck ( or 320-235-0726 ext. 2004) or Megan Roberts ( or 507-389-6722) with questions.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Help us out - Pesticide needs assessment

The Pesticide Safety and Environmental Education team with Extension is working to develop more resources for fruit and vegetable growers as well as organic growers of all kinds. We aim to address safety, technical education, questions about effectiveness of different products, and integrated pest management. In order to do so effectively, we are conducting this survey to gain a baseline understanding of current practices, questions that farmers have, and how we can share information and resources most effectively. 

The survey takes 5-10 minutes to complete, depending on the respondent's comfort level with using computers. It can be taken on a computer or a smart phone. 

Here is a link to the survey:

If participants choose to include their email at the end, they will be added to a random drawing to win a pair of safety gloves.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Local Food Fine Print Episode 3 - The Good Acre

In Episode three of the Local Food Fine Print, Nick of the Good Acre is interviewed about what the Good Acre is, talk about product demand, communication with growers, annual meetings, and how farmers can approach buyers about selling them produce.

You can listen here, on iTunes, or Stitcher.

We would really appreciate your feedback on this episode via this short survey:

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

LFFP Podcast Episode 2, Bluff Country Co-op, Part 2

In the Local Food Fine Print, we interview food buyers to learn how farmers can access their market and improve relations with buyers. The focus is on intermediate markets like co-ops, restaurants, food hubs, grocery stores, etc. Plus, we discuss details like insurance, pricing, food safety, and more.

In this episode, I continue the interview with Jason of Bluff Country Co-op. We discuss grade standards, packaging, PLU codes, pricing, common roadblocks to selling produce to the co-op, and you won't want to miss the produce battle.

Listen to it here, you can find it on iTunes and Stitcher too.

We would really appreciate your feedback on this episode via this short survey:

Small Farms Newsletter

Take advantage of the off-season

Honestly, I think "off-season" is the wrong term. I know you're all busy year-round, and while you may not be putting in 14 hour days in the field, you've got work to do. It may be appropriate to say "different-season", or we can just call it winter.

Either way, I hope you have the time to take advantage of the valuable educational opportunities coming up. This newsletter focuses on a few online options, some conferences, and a new podcast I've created.

-Jake Overgaard
 Extension Educator
Online options
Local Foods College is a weekly @ 6 pm webinar series going from January 23rd to February 27th with topics on fruit and nut production, pasture management, deep winter greenhouses, seed saving, and pollinators. Participate in these from the comfort of your own home. Sign up here.
 Backyard Chickens - Science and Practice  (ANSC 1201) is a course offered online by University of Minnesota and is available to the public. The class is perfect for those currently raising or interested in raising chickens at a small scale. Students will learn basic biology and behavior, selection, housing, nutrition, management, and diseases of chickens. You can find enrollment instructions here.

Regional conferences
MN Organic Conference, January 11-12, St. Cloud, MN

WI Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Conference, January 21-23, Wisconsin Dells, WI

Emerging Farmers Conference (Formerly the Immigrant and Minority Farming Conferece), January 26-27, St. Paul, MN
GrassWorks Grazing Conference, January 30-February 1, Wisconsin Dells, WI

Conference, February 2-3, Madison, WI. 

SFA Midwest Soil Health Summit, February 14-15, Fergus Falls, MN

MOSES Organic Farming Conference, February 22-24, La Crosse, WI
There are more (!), take a look at MISA's list of 2018 conferences.
Food Safety Modernization Act
Upcoming Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training

UMN Extension and partners have scheduled two Produce Safety Alliance Grower Trainings, one on January 17 in St. Cloud and another on March 20th in Monticello. 

Whether you're exempt from the rule or not, the training can be of value, find out what you can expect to learn at the Produce Safety Alliance website.

Registration is required, visit the MDA registration page to sign up.

Looking for more info on FSMA? Find info from UMN Extension here, there's a ton of info from the Produce Safety Alliance, or take a look at FDA's At a Glace publication.
Local Food Fine Print Podcast

Earlier this year, some of you responded to a survey I put out on accessing local food markets. The product of that feedback is a new podcast from UMN Extension Small Farms - the Local Food Fine Print podcast. 

Listen to learn directly from food buyers (like those at co-ops, restaurants, food hubs, and more) how to enter their market, communicate, and about the "fine print" like insurance, liability, food safety, delivery schedules.

The first episode is out! I interview Jason, the produce manager at Bluff Country Co-op in Winona. You can find the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or listen on the UMN Extension Small Farms site.
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