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Extension > Small Farms News > January 2018

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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