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Ag and Extension Briefs

Cottage Food Producer Food Safety training is March 30 in Marshall

University of Minnesota Extension Food Safety Educator Kathy Brandt is offering a “Keep it Legal! Keep it Safe Cottage Food Producer” class in Marshall from 1-5 p.m. Monday, March 30, at SWWC Service Cooperative. The class meets the Minnesota Department of Agriculture food safety training requirements to register as a Minnesota Cottage Food Producer to sell homemade baked goods, candy, home-canned peaches, pickles, salsa, jam and jellies and more.

The course 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. Participants learn how to produce, package, label, store, and transport a safe food product. Wonder if your product is an allowable non-potentially hazardous food? Bring it along to the class and have it tested to see if it meets exemption requirements under the Cottage Food Law.

Registration and $50/person class fee is required. To register go to https://extension.umn.edu/courses-and-events/cottage-food-producer-food-safety-training. For more information contact, Karla at 507-337-2808 or engel114@umn.edu

Marshall Farmers’ Market to host free training on local food regulations April 7

The Marshall Farmers’ Market is partnering with the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Renewing the Countryside, and the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association to provide a free half-day training on local food regulations. The training, titled “Blazing the Trails Through the Jungle of Local Food Regulation,” is a project funded by a Professional Development Program grant from North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE).

The training is scheduled from 1-5 p.m. April 7, at the Marshall Area YMCA. The class will provide access to information and resources on how to navigate food regulations that pertain to local food, in order to help individual food entrepreneurs and local food systems move forward.

Registration is free and open to anyone with a passion for their local farmers and local food, who sees potential for local food systems where they live, and wants additional information on food regulations.

Possible attendees include SHIP coordinators, Extension educators, farm group leaders, school board members, school food service directors, economic development staff, public health staff, restaurant owners, farmers, and community garden coordinators. Anyone is welcome.

Register today at: https://forms.gle/oknzBatYdtjCdU3y5.

For more information, contact Kim at: market@marshallareaymca.org or 573-470-4445.

2020 Farm Management Profitability ConferenceMarch 25

Minnesota’s economic and agricultural conditions, rural stress and characteristics of highly successful farmers will be featured at the 2020 Farm Management Profitability Conference on Wednesday, March 25, at the University of Minnesota Southwest Research & Outreach Center near Lamberton. Agricultural producers and agribusiness professionals throughout southwest Minnesota are encouraged to attend.

The program features two keynote presentations on pressing topics in agriculture. Joe Mahon, regional outreach director at Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, will review indicators of the economic outlook for the year ahead and discuss current conditions in the regional and national labor markets and in agriculture. Monica Kramer McConkey, a rural mental health specialist with MN Dept. of Agriculture, will explore unique stressors affecting farmers, warning signs that may indicate they are struggling emotionally, and strategies to assist.

U of M Extension Economist and Associate Director of UMN CFFM Dale Nordquist will present on the characteristics of highly successful farmers from a recent farmer research study. The conference will also feature an analysis of the 2019 profitability trends of the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association’s (SWMFBMA) member farms and an overview of how to choose the right business entity for your farm business.

Registration for the conference begins at 8:30 a.m. with the program beginning at 9 a.m. and concluding at 3 p.m. The registration form and fee is due by March 18. To download a registration form, visit swfm.umn.edu. Walk-ins are welcome but registration is encouraged. For more information, call the 507-752-5094 or email gthillen@umn.edu.

The 2020 Farm Management Probability Conference is sponsored by the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association, University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center, and University of Minnesota Extension.

Minnesota National Farmers elect officers

Joe Neaton of Watertown was re-elected state president of Minnesota National Farmers Organization at the annual reorganization meeting in Sauk Centre March 3. Joe and his wife LuAnn operate 450 acres of alfalfa, corn, and soybeans near Watertown and raise Holstein steers. They have two sons with separate farming operations and a third son who has a maintenance business for horse owners. Their daughter Kelly is married and lives near Wausau, Wisconsin.

Gregg Klinkner of Sleepy Eye was re-elected to a third year as vice president. Klinkner and his wife have farmed 270 acres for about 30 years and raise Holstein steers. He is also second district president.

John Zschetzsche of Mountain Lake continues as acting secretary until a permanent replacement can be found.

Bruce Zeidler of Eagle Bend was re-elected to his 23rd year as state treasurer. Zeidler and his wife Cindy have four children and operate a dairy and crop farm.

John Zschetzsche of Mountain Lake was re-appointed public relations director and editor of the Upper Midwest Newsletter, a publication put out four times a year by state leaders.

Other state board members are Mark Rohr of Bluffton, a national director; Reed Christensen, Battle Lake, a national director; Doug Suhr, Kasson, first district president; Jen Minten, Perham, seventh district president; and Steve Koering, Fort Ripley, eighth district president.

Trustees on the board are Bob Arndt, Echo; Don Koep, Clitherall; and Mark Bauman of Delano.

This year’s state convention will be Dec. 5 with a location yet to be determined. The 2021 national convention will be in Bettendorf, Iowa, one of the “quad cities,” Feb. 9-10.

National Farmers Organization is a marketing and collective bargaining organization for farmers and ranchers, and works together on many issues with Farmers Union and Land Stewardship Project.

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