State News and Activities
Scaling Up Local Broccoli
Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile
Although broccoli is a popular staple vegetable that can be harvested for 20 weeks in the upper Midwest, the Twin Cities was experiencing a shortage of locally grown produce every summer. Local farmers found it difficult to scale up production to take advantage of demand.
A group of farms was able to attain a two-year agreement to guarantee the purchase of 100 percent of the satellite farms’ broccoli crop at an agreed-upon minimum price if production acreage, production schedule, and quality standards were met. Throughout the project, data were collected about yields, economic performance, labor inputs, product quality, and more.
Control of Buckthorn with Hogs, Cutting Feed Costs with Food Waste
Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile
Originally introduced by European settlers who liked the fast growth and thick hedges it produced, buckthorn is an exotic invasive species that forms an impenetrable understory that can cause long-term decline of woodland and wetland areas by competing with native tree seedlings and plants. Struggling with traditional treatment choices for this noxious weed, Minnesota producer, Nancy Lunzer, tested an original option for controlling buckthorn on her ranch.
On August 21st, 2013 the Paradox Farm in Ashby, MN will present “Let’s Talk Potatoes,” an overview of a Participatory Potato Variety Trial. This event will begin at 1:30pm with a potluck lunch on the farm followed by a tour of the potato variety trial and a presentation from the University of Wisconsin’s Dr. Ruth Genger. From 3:30-4pm guests will have the chance to participate in a discussion and ask questions before leaving the farm. Paradox Farm is located at 11643 State Hwy 78, Ashby, MN 56309, 10 miles south of Battle Lake and seven miles north of Ashby.
For more information contact...Read More
The fourth annual Festival of Farms will take place on July 13, 2103 at the Farm Market Café in Onamia, MN. The event is hosted by the Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) of Central Minnesota.
Adult admission is $25 per person, kids ages 3-12 are $5, and kids 2 and younger are free. SFA Members receive $5 off adult admission.
Admission covers breakfast, lunch, two farm tours, kids activities, presentations, and live music.
“The Festival of Farms is a family-friendly event with local chapters of SFA hosting field days and providing farmer-to-farmer and farmer-to-consumer networking opportunities...Read More
Wright County NRCS and University of Minnesota Extension are hosting a free event from 9am-1pm on April 19, 2013. It will feature speakers on cover crops, tillage, soil health and water quality.
- Field demonstration of the “Soil Warrior” strip till implement by Environmental Tillage Systems
- First hand experiences shared by local landowners
- Lunch and refreshments will be provided
- Jill Sackett U of MN, Cover Crops + Farmer Panel: Jill Sackett is a Local Extension Educator, Conservation Agronomist for University of Minnesota Extension....
This story features Elizabeth Kackman's NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant project. Through the project, Kackman and a group of Kenyan immigrant farmers were able to grow, harvest, and market a specialty crop called mwangani in Minnesota. Mwangani,...Read More
A 2013 Urban Agriculture Expo will be held on April 20th, 2013 at the Sabathani Community Center in Minneapolis, MN. The Expo will be from 9:00am - 1:30pm, with educational seminars beginning at 9:30am. This event is for those who currently have an urban farming enterprise, are considering starting one, are supporters of urban farming, or are just curious to learn more. No preregistration is required for the event. There is suggested donation of $5 to attend.
The 2013 Expo will include three different topic categories; growing topics, business topics, and people topics. The growing topics will...Read More
Source: Sleepy Eye News, Troy Krause
Education is not passive.
Students learn most effectively by being involved, and that involvement often takes its best shape in hands-on activities.
For students in the Wabasso Public School District, their science education is going to be taken to the next level through a recent donation of some state-of-the-art, high-tech equipment.
This past Tuesday morning, representatives from the U of M’s Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) were in the Wabasso school library presenting science equipment to one of the school’s educators. That equipment,...Read More
Source: Barb DeGroot, 952-433-1459
Chanhassen, MN (Jan. 2, 2013)- Learn the latest research in sustainable farming - both rural and urban - and network with leaders in the movement at the Sustainable Agriculture Summit: Growing the Farmer to Farmer Network, set for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15 & 16, at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The conference runs 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the fee is $90 a day (through Jan. 15) and $95 a day (after Jan. 15).
Presented by the Arboretum in partnership with the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota, the summit offers an opportunity for...Read More
Folks with an interest in grassfed beef production are invited to attend a pasture walk and workshop at the Jane and Joe Jewett farm near Palisade, MN on Monday, October 22 from 9:30am-2:30pm.
Jane Jewett has an NCR-SARE Farmer-Rancher grant to document finishing weights and time to finish for grassfed beef steers. Three other farmers in Minnesota are cooperating on this project, and preliminary results will be presented. Betsy Weiland, Minnesota SARE co-coordinator, will present information about the SARE grant programs.
Scott Kittleson from the Aitkin NRCS...Read More
In spring 2012, Stone's Throw Urban Farm in Minnesota received an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant to explore different ways in which cover-cropping could improve depleted, urban soils while also fitting into the management requirements of a small farm.
At this event, they will be explaining their cover cropping goals, experimental design, and initial ruminations. Then, they hope to enter into a broader discussion regarding soil fertility challenges and potential solutions for urban agriculture and small-scale vegetable production in general.
PLACE: Peace Coffee, 3262 Minnehaha Avenue, Minneapolis...Read More
Restoring the Soil Resource: Insuring for Resiliency & Profit, a Minnesota-wide video conference workshop on soil health will take place September 21, 2012, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m at 7 sites across Minnesota.
Through video conferencing technology, attendees and speakers at seven locations across Minnesota - listed below - will be able to participate in what promises to be an informative and stimulating workshop on the importance of soil health to all agricultural sectors, the economic and ecological benefits of focusing on soil health and the principles and practices that are key to achieving...Read More
August is the perfect time for a day trip. The University of Minnesota Extension, along with the Minnesota State SARE Program has developed a tour of farming operations in Norman and Mahnomen counties in Northern Minnesota. The tour, scheduled for August 16th, is an opportunity for friends and families to connect with the thriving local foods community. Participants will have opportunity to learn about natural and sustainable production methods that can be used in their own backyard gardens. The full day event has timed stops along the way offering a look into several local foods farm operations....Read More
The University of Minnesota Extension, the Minnesota State SARE program, and the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture havecome together again to host a bus tour of urban agriculture in the Twin Cities area.
The tour begins and ends in rooms 140A and 140B in the Plant Growth Facilities building, 1552 Gortner Avenue, University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus. Check in begins at 8:30am.
The selected sites for this year’s tour will highlight urban farms that bring communities together through agriculture. These farms show a variety of types of urban farms including :teaching...Read More
The University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center will present a free Organic Dairy Day on August 7, 2012. The field tour will include NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant Program recipient, Elizabeth Bjorklund's 2012 project, "Effect of Growth Meat Quality, and Profitability of Organically Raised Dairy-Beef Steers."
9:30-10:00 a.m. - Registration
10:00-10:10 a.m. - Welcome - Brad Heins, Lee Johnston, Asst. Commissioner of Agriculture
10:10-11:00 a.m. - Roger Moon, Dept. of Entomology, University of Minnesota, "Fly Management...Read More
NCR-SARE is seeking farmers and ranchers to join the NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Program Review Committee.
Each year, NCR-SARE funds a competitive grant program for farmers and ranchers in the North Central region of the U.S. who are interested in exploring sustainable agriculture. The North Central Region covers 12 states: IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MO, MN, ND, NE, OH, SD, and WI. The 29 members of the Farmer Rancher Grant Program Review Committee review the Farmer Rancher Grant proposals. The committee has one in-person meeting where they evaluate the grant proposals and make recommendations...Read More
Rural Advantage, in partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa, is seeking agricultural producers interested in utilizing cover crops. Cost-share dollars are available.
As part of an NCR-SARE Research and Education grant project, Rural Advantage is seeking farmers willing to establish cover crops. Funding is available for up to $20 per acre for up to 20 acres [$400 maximum per farm]. Participating farmers may plant the cover crop(s) of their desire. A demonstration aspect and simple reporting will be required. Funding for the project runs from Fall 2009 to Fall 2012....
The story below features the Minnesota Cover Crops Decision Tool by the Midwest Cover Crop Council (MCCC), a group which consists of eight Midwestern states and one Canadian province. The project to develop the Minnesota Cover Crops Decision Tool was funded through a Minnesota NCR-SARE mini-grant in Fall 2011.
Cover crops are any green crops grown between cash crops. They come in many different varieties, but until recently little information was available to help growers decide which varieties to select and exactly when to plant them.
This feature covers the research of NCR-SARE grant recipient Frank Forcella, who is experimenting with a physical weed control technique that involves sandblasting abrasive grit on in-row weeds. To read more about Forcella's NCR-SARE Research and Education project, visit the MySARE reporting site here.
MORRIS, Minn. — Organic farmers want to blast one of their greatest production challenges —weeds. They may be getting that chance thanks to Frank Forcelli's latest research project.
Forcelli, weed scientist at the USDA-ARS...Read More
In this article from the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute's newsletter, NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant recipient, Phil Batalden and his daughter Kathleen, talk about their marketing of camelina oil.
Lamberton, Minn. — After working on agricultural development in West Africa, Kathleen Batalden Smith and her husband Justin Smith came home to rural Minnesota and began some ag development of their own.
Kathleen and her family are growing and bottling organic camelina oil for the health food market....Read More
Maawanji’idiwag Ji Gizhaadamowaad Miinkaanan (They are Gathering to Protect the Seeds).
The Great Lakes Indigenous Farming Conference returns on March 8-11, 2012 at Deep Portage Learning Center, Hackensack, Minnesota hosted by White Earth Land Recovery Project. This conference is open to the public.
The conference will feature local, regional, and international speakers. Hear how indigenous nations are restoring traditional foods and working towards sustainable communities. In addition, network with neighboring tribal nations and get information to further develop your own community programs....Read More
Type: North Central SARE Grantee-Produced Info Product
This informative book contains history and present day stories about how food is regarded as the medicine and economic staple of the Anishinaabeg people.
Type: North Central SARE Multimedia
In this video clip, NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant recipient, Xe Susane Moua, talks about City Backyard Farming, LLC, an urban farming project in St Paul, MN.
The story below features SARE grant recipients turning to alternative energy practices-despite the steep learning curve often involved.
Source: AgriView, Jane Fyksen, Crops Editor
High energy prices aren't going to go away. Concerned about the impact energy costs will have on the long-term sustainability of their operations, more producers are turning to alternative energy practices-despite the steep learning curve often involved.
While energy-efficiency measures are generally the fastest and cheapest way to reduce energy-related costs, many farmers are now turning...Read More
The 2012 Minnesota Statewide High Tunnel Conference will be held Wednesday and Thursday, February 8 and 9, at The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes in Baxter, Minnesota. This conference is sponsored, in part, by NCR-SARE.
A Beginning High Tunnel Grower Workshop with a “Basics of High Tunnel Production” session will be held the morning of the first day, February 8th, from 8:30 a.m. to12:00 p.m. for beginning growers and those that need a review.
The main conference will start at 12:45 pm.Keynote speakers for this year’s conference include:
- Mary Gardiner from Ohio State who will present ”Identifying...
The story below features a SARE-sponsored Beginning Farmer Institute to be held in Minneapolis in January 2012. Participants of the Beginning Farmer Institute meet throughout the year to discuss topics, such as financial planning, USDA farm programs, risk management and communication skills, which they and the National Farmers Union have identified as important.
This month, first-time farmers from across the U.S. will converge in Minneapolis for the second session of the Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI), a learner-centered program sponsored by the National...Read More
A Conservation Tillage Conference is scheduled for February 7th - 8th, 2012, Rochester, MN. Conserve soil, time and fuel with conservation tillage. This conference will send you home with hands-on, how-to information in nearly every aspect of conservation tillage. Whether you are an experienced steward looking to fine-tune what you are doing, a crop consultant who helps growers, or a novice looking to get his feet wet, put this conference on your calendar now. Speakers include experienced growers, agronomists, academic experts and production economists. Sponsored, in part, by NCR-SARE. Visit the...Read More
In the story below, read about a Local Foods College taking place in Minnesota on January 24, 2012, sponsored, in part, by NCR-SARE.
If you are interested in growing more of your own food or scaling up production to market garden scale, the upcoming Local Foods College is designed for you. The series, which begins on January 24, 2012, will offer an overview of the basics, from planning to soils, fruit and vegetable production and business planning. The series, available via interactive television (ITV) at several locations across northwestern...Read More
Type: North Central SARE Multimedia
This video features farmer rancher grant recipients, Carol Ford and Chuck Waibel, and their winter CSA. They show us different types of Asian greens grown in their passive solar green house.
Minority and Immigrant farmers are invited to participate in the 7th Annual Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference February 3-4, 2012. Hosted by The Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women in Minnesota, Minnesota Food Association and USDA-Farm Service Agency and USDA-NRCS, the two-day conference provides education and resources to small farm operators and fosters relationships between farmers and community partners.
Major sponsors of the conference include: AgStar, Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Land Stewardship Project, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, USDA - Risk Management...Read More
The news story below features Winona LaDuke, an NCR-SARE grant recipient. To read more about LaDuke's NCR-SARE grant projects, click here and type "LaDuke" to begin your search.
KRAGNES, Minn. - The harvesters break off dried corn stalks at the base with a brisk snap.
They twist off the ears and place them in recycled plastic grocery bags. A few of the pickers – anxious to see the corn beneath – peel back the crackly husks to reveal kernels ranging from burnt umber to eggplant to a pale, buttery hue.
Some of the cobs are studded with fat, off-white...Read More
The news story below features a related NCR-SARE grant LNC09-313, Farmer Field School Approach to Increasing Cover Crop Adoption in Iowa and Minnesota.
MAYER, Minn.— The Schuettes' neighbors probably weren't sure what has been growing for the last few months on a field near Mayer.
Dean Schuette is taking part in a cover crop demonstration project that is trying out tillage radishes. A 17-acre area was planted to spring wheat and harvested this year. On Aug. 10, seven of those acres were planted to tillage radish, seven acres went to a mix of tillage radish,...Read More
The story below features the Minnesota Cover Crops Decision Tool by the Midwest Cover Crop Council (MCCC) which consists of eight Midwestern states and one Canadian province.
Source: Echo Press
Interest in cover crops has been increasing in the Midwest in the last few years. Field days, workshops, and multi-day conferences on the topic are being held around the region. Educational events, research, on-farm demonstrations, and utilization can be found right here in Minnesota. Cover cropping is still somewhat of an enigma, however, and many agronomic questions exist....Read More
A Cover Crop Workshop and Field Day will be held Thursday, October 27, 2011, from 10:00am to 12:30pm at University of Minnesota’sSouthwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC).
Shannon Osborne with USDA-ARS will start off the workshop portion of the day with ageneral cover crop discussion. Jill Sackett, UMN Extension Educator, will show attendees the new Minnesota Cover Crop Decision Tool website and Brian Christiansen, NRCS – Redwood and Murray Counties, will give a short presentation on the EQIP and CSP programs. The last hour of the program will be a tour of the cover...Read More
Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile
The Organic Dairy Short Course for Ag Professionals, a Professional Development Grant Program project, aimed at improving the ability of public and private sector agricultural educators and advisors to serveorganic and transitional organic dairy producers.
The project developed, delivered, and evaluated a professional development training module called “Organic Dairy 101: A Workshop for Agricultural Professionals” at four locations in Minnesota and three in Wisconsin, training a total of 174 dairy andagriculture professionals.
Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile
In Minnesota, Mhonpaj Lee, NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant recipient, is researching and documenting information about traditional Hmong herbs. In addition to her job as a translator at Hennepin County Medical Center, Lee farms with her family. They are currently offering shares from the first certified organic Hmong owned and operated Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation.
Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile
After working at a treatment facility for juveniles for 16 years, Tim Carroll never planned to have a successful career logging with horses. But when Carroll married his wife, Doreen, who had three riding horses, he soon grew attached to draft horses and began using them to plow his driveway and do other work on his property.
Soon after, down the road from his home in Minnesota, Carroll noticed a neighbor had hired a machine logger. The rest, you could say, is history.
What does soil quality mean? Why is it so important? How do we measure it and how can we impact soil quality with our management practices? Hear experts from the University of Minnesota, Ohio State University, the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, and the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service address these questions and more at the "Soil Quality Workshop". This program will be held at two locations: Monday, September 12 at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, and Tuesday, September 13 at the Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca. Each workshop will...Read More
Nationally known grazing expert and author Greg Judy will lead two days of workshops on how farmers and landowners can produce profits from pastured livestock Sept. 9-10 at the Broadway Ballroom in Alexandria, MN. The charge for both days is $80, which includes meals. Attending one day of the workshops costs $50, which also covers meals (a limited number of scholarships are available). Pre-registration is required; to register and for more information, call the Land Stewardship Project’s Julia Ahlers Ness at 320-269-2105, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to download the...Read More
Source: Pioneer Press
Nathan Schrecengost drives bushels of organically grown zucchini, potatoes and heirloom tomatoes six miles from his St. Paul croplands to the Lake Street farmers' market in Minneapolis, and if anyone claims his produce is more "local" than that, he'd like to see his odometer.
His four micro-farms are modestly sized, even by a hobby farmer's standards. Combined, they total three-quarters of an acre, in lots in and around St. Paul's heavily urban Frogtown neighborhood, known as the least green neighborhood in the city. And he's fine with that.
"So far, it's been...Read More
by: Winona LaDuke and Lauren Scott
Indigenous farmers and gardeners from the region and beyond gathered at the 9th Annual Great Lakes Indigenous Farming Conference in March to share knowledge, stories, and of course, their seeds.
More than 100 native people, organic farmers, students, and community members participated in the conference hosted by the White Earth Land Recovery Project held on the White Earth Reservation in Northern Minnesota.
"I had a Hopi Squash run up a tree last year," Frank Kutka, USDA Sustainable Agriculture representative...Read More
Steven Schwen’s farming roots were established during the ‘back to the land’ movement in the 1970s. Earthen Path Organic Farm grew out of his vision of a sustainable world based on local economies.
Steven Schwen uses thermal banking to significantly reduce the energy costs of running a greenhouse for cold-season production.
Steven Schwen's innovative energy conservation strategy uses thermal banking technology to conserve heat in his greenhouse and for cold storage.