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Small Farms Newsletter - December, 2019

Take advantage of the off-season

Conference and workshop season is upon us. I hope you have time to leave the farm for a bit, get some new ideas, and chat with fellow farmers. In this newsletter, I'm highlighting workshops and conferences happening in the next few months, as well as a survey for produce growers.

Happy holidays!

-Jake Overgaard
 Extension Educator
Local foods college 
Local Foods College is a weekly @ 6 pm webinar series going from January 28th to February 25th with topics on pastured hogs, edible insects, hazelnuts, and soil health. Participate in these from the comfort of your own home. More info and link to register is here.
Regional conferences
MN Organic Conference, January 9-10, St. Cloud, MN.

Northern Growers and Marketers Conference, January 16-17, St. Cloud, MN.

GrassWorks Grazing Conference, January 23-25, Wisconsin Dells, WI.

Emerging Farmers Conference, January 24-25, St. Paul, MN.

WI Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Conference, January 26-28, Wisconsin Dells, WI.
Organic Vegetable Production Conference, January 31-February 1, Madison, WI. 

Growing Acres Conference, February 15-16, Austin, MN.

MN Grape Growers Cold Climate Conference, February 20-22, Rochester, MN.

MOSES Organic Farming Conference, February 27-29, La Crosse, WI.

Sustainable horticulture training program
This program is a hands-on technical training in local food production for sale and  community health. It is offered in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Department of Horticultural Science and Extension. Participants receive a combination of classroom, lab and field experience at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and partnering farm sites. This includes a 14-week paid work experience in vegetable production at the Arboretum and local farms, with the opportunity to earn up to $7,500 during the internship.
The program starts in February, for more information, visit the Arboretum website.
Cow-calf days
Cow-Calf Day workshops will be held in ten locations across the state. The program highlights production management, efficiency, nutrition. Locations include; Staples, Lancaster, Bagley, Roseau, Iron Junction, Mora, Starbuck, Pipestone, Oronoco, and Le Center.

More information and registration can be found here
FSMA produce safety rule training

Beginning in December, University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will host 10 FSMA Produce Safety Rule Grower Trainings around the state. This one-day training course is for produce growers. If your farm is not excluded or exempt from the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, at least one supervisor or responsible party from your farm must complete a training that uses FDA-recognized curriculum or equivalent. This course meets those requirements.
There are locations across the state, from December 2019 through April 2020. More information and registration can be found here.

Does the produce safety rule apply to you?
Watch the video below to find out.
FSMA Produce Safety Rule: How does it apply to my farm?

Blazing trails through the jungle of food regulation

These workshop will offer insight into the world of food regulations. It is a chance for anyone with a passion for local farms and local food but is confused or intimidated by food regulations. This program is designed to be valuable to a wide range of people working in local foods markets; farmers, chefs, and business owners are a few of the expected professions of the attendees. 
Currently scheduled workshops will take place in Grand Marais, Sartell, Cold Spring, Eagan, Little Falls, Cambridge, and Marshall. More information can be found on the MISA website.
Cottage food producer training
Do you make and sell baked goods, home-canned pickles, salsa, jam or jelly?
This training is for you. It focuses on food safety practices for all processes covered under the cottage food law including drying, baking, confections, jams and jellies, acid and acidified fruit and vegetables, and fermentation.
You will learn how to produce, package, label, store, and transport a safe food product. Ask questions of the food safety experts! In the in-person workshops, you can have your product tested to see if it is an allowable non-potentially hazardous food under the Cottage Food Law.
You'll find info about the training available online or in person here
Pesticide safety for fruit and vegetable producers

Back again this year - the University of Minnesota Extension Pesticide Safety and Environmental Education Program will offer a Private Pesticide Applicator Recertification workshop focused on fruit and vegetable growers.

This workshop is intended for individuals who are currently certified Private Pesticide Applicators whose current certification expires on March 1, 2020. Growers who are not certified but wish to learn more about pesticide safety are welcome to attend.  
This recertification workshop will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday, January 15 (the day before the Northern Growers Conference) in Saint Cloud, MN. More information about this workshop and registration can be found here.   
Calling all MN produce farmers

Your help is needed to better understand the impact of cold storage and refrigeration on your farm operations. If you grow produce for sale, we want to hear from you through a quick survey -- whether or not you use cold storage or refrigeration on your farm. Farmers who take the survey may enter a drawing for one of two $25 visa gift cards. The anonymous results will be shared with farmers and people who work with farmers in Minnesota.

You can find the survey here.
Thanks to contributors

Thanks to Kathy Brandt, Katie Drewitz, Suzanne Driessen, Tana Haugen-Brown, Annalisa Hultberg, Ren Olive, Anne Sawyer, and Tim Wilson for contributing content for this newsletter.

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