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Ag and Extension Briefs

PQA and TQA certification sessions scheduled

University of Minnesota Extension, in partnership with Minnesota Pork Board, will offer Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus and Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) certification sessions Wednesday, March 4, in Marshall.

The quality assurance sessions will be at the AmericInn (1406 E. Lyon St., Marshall). The PQA Plus certification session is scheduled from 9 a.m.-noon. The TQA certification session is scheduled from 1-4 p.m.

All certification sessions are free. Registration is requested by contacting Minnesota Pork Board at 1-800-537-7675 or colleen@mnpork.com to ensure adequate materials are available.

Winter Tree ID class is March 14 in St. Peter

Ever wonder how foresters identify trees in winter months? This workshop will take participants on a walk outside to learn the various ways to identify some of Minnesota’s most common trees and invasive woody plants. Summer identification focuses heavily on leaf structure; winter identification will focus more on persistent characteristics like branching, bark, buds, leaf scars and habitat.

This Winter Tree ID Class will be from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, March 14, at the Linnaeus Arboretum classroom at Gustavus Adolphus College. There will be some in classroom time, but most of the class will be outdoors. Come dressed for the weather. An optional trip to 7 Mile Creek to see the state record black cherry and black ash trees is available after class.

Registration is $20 and includes publications. Register online at https://z.umn.edu/TreeIDStPeter

Source: Gary Wyatt, University of Minnesota Extension, Mankato Regional Office

Washington potato farmers lost crops due to heavy rainfall

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Potato farmers in a Washington county suffered big losses after they were unable to harvest some of their crops due to early and heavy rainfall.

Skagit County farmers were unable to harvest an estimated 3 square miles of potatoes in the fall with losses valued between $5 million and $10 million, The Skagit Valley Herald reported Saturday.

Grants available for developing specialty crops in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says it expects to administer nearly $540,000 in federal grants for the development of specialty crops.

The agency said in a news release that groups looking to improve the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state are eligible to submit proposals for grants of up to $60,000 per project.

Spain tries to appease protesting farmers over unfair prices

MADRID (AP) — The Spanish government has introduced new regulations on the pricing of food in supermarkets, in response to weeks of country-wide farmers’ protests over plummeting incomes.

Under the new rules, adopted under a royal decree Tuesday by ministers in Spain’s left-wing governing coalition, contracts between farmers and the companies distributing vegetables, fruit and meat will have to reflect the costs of production and require that the final retail prices can’t be lower than those.

Government approves industrial hemp-growing rules in Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Industrial hemp-growing regulations in Wyoming were approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after producers expressed concerns about missing the upcoming growing season.

While industrial hemp was legalized by the state about a year ago, producers were unable to grow the non-psychoactive strain of the cannabis plant until they received approval from the federal department, the Casper Star-Tribune reported Monday.

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