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Small Farms Newsletter - July 2019

Small Farms News
I think this spring and early summer season is another reminder of how we increasingly need strategies for dealing with highly variable weather. 

I do a lot of work related to nutrient management and conservation, this type of weather has me thinking about how precipitation might be affecting us in these respects. In this newsletter, I'm sharing a number of resources that can help you address soil and nutrient management.

Also, this growing season may be compounding other issues you're dealing with on the farm. If it's starting to weigh heavily on you or someone around you, please see the resources below.

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-Jake Overgaard
 Extension Educator
Stress on the Farm
I asked my Extension colleague Emily Wilmes to recommend a few resources that struggling farmers might start with. Whether it's you, a family member, friend, neighbor, client, whoever - please reach out.
  1. The Farm and Rural Helpline: 833-600-2670. Whether the issue is financial, mental health related, or legal, the helpline can connect you with resources.
  2. Ted Matthews, Mental Health Counselor: 320-266-2390 (here's a good articleabout the excellent work he's doing for MN).
  3. Mobile Crisis Teams: quick response with short term counseling in crisis and emergency situations. 
Emily also notes: if you are concerned a neighbor, friend, or family member is in immediate danger (they plan on hurting themselves) DO NOT leave them alone, contact the Mobile Crisis Teams, 911, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255.
Nutrient Management Guides
Commercial fruit and vegetable crops: For a large range of fruit and vegetable crops. Includes info on tissue testing.

Field crops: Corn, soybeans, small grains, alfalfa, and more.
Pasture: Guidance based on presence of legumes, warm vs cool season grasses, and organic matter levels.

   
Other Useful Publications
The Soil Fertility chapter of Tools for Managing Pest and Environmental Risks to Organic Crops in the Upper Midwest is excellent. It includes a discussion on pH, green manure, gypsum, manure, compost, and other amendments (like blood meal, fish emulsion, etc). 

For those of you who grow field crops, the Upper Midwest Tillage Guide found on our Soil Health and Management page is an excellent resource for learning more about reduced and no-till systems. 

I've always been a fan of SARE's Managing Cover Crops Profitably too, and the Midwest Cover Crop Selector Tool can be quite handy.
Other News
Our horticulture educators are putting out new episodes of the What's Killing My Kale podcast, it's a good listen. They've also created a Facebook Page and you should check out their newsletter too.

For those of you in Central MN (or who would like to visit), Extension Educator Katie Drewitz will be holding an event designed to help farmers market products to grocery stores, restaurants, and larger, direct to consumer bases. It will be on November 7th, email her for more information.

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