Ag Briefs

Nov. 1 is deadline for tax credits for farmers

State Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, reminds beginning farmers Nov. 1 is the deadline to apply for state tax credits the Legislature provided in 2017 to assist in starting operations.

Beginning farmer credit through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are available to Minnesota residents for the sale or lease of land, equipment, machinery and livestock. Qualified applicants include those looking to start farming or those who began farming within the past 10 years. Applicants must provide projected earnings statements, have a net worth less than $816,800, and enroll in an approved financial management program. Other stipulations apply, such as the farmer cannot be directly related to the person from which he or she is buying or renting assets.

“Agriculture is crucial to our way of life here in greater Minnesota and our future success relies on new generations of farmers,” Swedzinski said. “Unfortunately, start-up costs can be a big barrier for beginning farmers. These tax credits are designed to lessen that burden and help more young farmers reach of their goals.”

Three levels of credits are available to agricultural asset owners:

5 percent of the lesser of the sale price or fair market value of the agricultural asset up to a maximum of $32,000;

10 percent of the gross rental income of each of the first, second and third years of a rental agreement, up to a maximum of $7,000 per year;

15 percent of the cash equivalent of the gross rental income in each of the first, second or third year of a share rent agreement, up to a maximum of $10,000 per year.

The Beginning Farmer Tax Credit is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The MDA also indicates farmers can apply for a separate tax credit to offset the cost of a financial management program — up to a maximum of $1,500 per year — for up to three years.

Call the MDA 651-201-6000 or visit for more information.

Bovine TB detected in large Michigan beef cattle herd

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials say bovine tuberculosis recently was confirmed in a large beef herd in Alcona County.

It’s the 73rd cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB in the state since 1998.

Bovine TB is a bacterial disease that also has infected free-ranging whitetail deer in parts of the northeastern Lower Peninsula.

Cattle in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties must be tested before they are moved off the farm, which can help prevent the illness from spreading.

Assistant State Veterinarian Nancy Barr says farmers in that area should do all they can to prevent deer from having contact with cattle feeding and watering areas.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will host meetings to discuss the latest findings Oct. 29 in Mio and Nov. 1 in Hillman.

Animal sanctuary, farm team up to save pig from slaughter

HAVERHILL, N.H. (AP) — An animal sanctuary and a farm in New Hampshire are working together to spare a young slaughterhouse-bound pig to promote local agriculture.

Beans and Greens Farm of Gilford is hoping to send the pig named Grover to the Tomten Farm and Sanctuary in Haverhill where it will live out its days.

Grover, described as the “runtiest of runts,” has touched the lives of people who know him via the farm stand’s petting zoo, The Caledonian-Record reported.

Sanctuary founder Jenifer Vickery said Grover was to have become “a farm to table meal.”

She said they’re fundraising to expand the sanctuary’s pig area to accommodate Grover and future pig rescues.

Vickery said it’s imperative that small New England farms work together to promote consumer awareness, animal welfare and secure the agricultural way of life the region has enjoyed for generations.

“The time to act is now and in the case of Grover, that action will not only save his life, but could make an impact that goes beyond one animal, two businesses and a few people blazing a trail,” Vickery said. “We have no doubt that Grover is an ambassador for meat pigs everywhere and are hopeful that his pardon will stimulate thought and conversation among many.”

She’s hopeful the collaboration with the Gilford farm stand will “stimulate thought and conversation” between other sanctuaries and farms.