Ag and Extension Briefs

U of M Extension Beef Team will present the 2017 Cattle Feeder Days Program

The University of Minnesota Extension Beef Team will present the 2017 Cattle Feeder Days Program in December.

The U of M Extension Beef Team will present two programs focused on opportunities to influence cattle growth through targeted backgrounding feeding strategies and the use of growth-promoting technologies to maximize efficiency and profitability. Both programs will feature Dr. Robbi Pritchard from South Dakota State University discussing “Precision backgrounding to achieve targeted outcomes.” The program also will feature Dr. Grant Crawford from Merck Animal Health. Dr. Crawford will address “Growth-promoting implant strategies to maximize profitability.” Additionally, Dr. Alfredo DiCostanzo will assess “Observations on backgrounding cattle.”

The workshop will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Willow Creek Golf Course in Rochester and at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, at Grand Prairie Events in Luverne. Cost of the program is $20 per person at the door which includes educational materials and a meal. For more information, contact Allison Vanderwall at or 507-822-5921.

NY farmers donate 9 million pounds of food to food banks

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York has received an early holiday gift from its farmers: 9 million pounds of food donated to food banks around the state.

The New York Farm Bureau announced the contribution on Tuesday. It’s part of the organization’s annual “Harvest for All” program that encourages farmers to donate local agricultural products to state food banks.

The Farm Bureau says this year’s number could rise in the year’s final weeks. Last year, farmers contributed more than 13 million pounds of food.

Local food bank directors say hunger is an increasing problem with more families, seniors and even college students relying on soup kitchens and food pantries for food.

New York state food banks distribute more than 225 million pounds of food to almost 3 million people annually.

Southeast Nebraska farmer to lead state ag department

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A farmer from southeast Nebraska has been named director of the state Agriculture Department.

Gov. Pete Ricketts’ office announced Monday that Steve Wellman, who owns and operates a family farm near Syracuse, will take over the position. Wellman will replace Greg Ibachb who left the state post to become undersecretary of marketing and regulatory programs in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Wellman, 56, will begin work on Tuesday with a $115,000 annual salary.

Wellman’s operation in Syracuse produces soybeans, corn, wheat, alfalfa and cattle. Wellman said his 30 years of experience farming in southeast Nebraska gives him an understanding of what farmers go through every day. He said he’ll focus on raising the state’s profile national and internationally.

“He will be a voice for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families, and will work to expand market access, add value to our quality commodities, and advocate for property tax relief,” Ricketts said. “My administration’s vision is to grow Nebraska, and our state’s No. 1 industry is absolutely critical to realizing this goal.”