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Ag and Extension Briefs

Food regulations class has been canceled

The free training on local food regulations scheduled for April 7 at the Marshall Area YMCA has been canceled because of COVID-19 concerns, said Kim Guenther, Marshall Farmers’ Market coordinator. All unnecessary travel, including for such trainings, is postponed. The Farmers’ Market was coordinating the training with the Minnesota Institure for Sustainable Agriculture, Renewing the Countryside, and the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association.

Environmental review required before project implementation

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires Federal agencies to consider all potential environmental impacts for federally-funded projects before the project is approved.

For all Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs, an environmental review must be completed before actions are approved, such as site preparation or ground disturbance. These programs include, but are not limited to, the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program and farm loans. If project implementation begins before FSA has completed an environmental review, this will result in a denial of the request. There are exceptions regarding the Stafford Act and emergencies. It is important to wait until you receive written approval of your project proposal before starting any actions, including, but not limited to, vegetation clearing, site preparation or ground disturbance.

Remember to contact your local FSA office early in your planning process to determine what level of environmental review is required for your program application so that it can be completed timely.

Applications cannot be approved contingent upon the completion of an environmental review. FSA must have copies of all permits and plans before an application can be approved.

Staples to host 2020 CEC conference

University of Minnesota Extension has selected Staples to host the 2020 Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities conference Sept. 10-11. This community development initiative will bring together entrepreneurs, business leaders, economic development professionals, decision makers, and community champions to strengthen and broaden regional entrepreneurial networks. The 2019 conference, in Waseca, hosted 142 attendees from 75 Minnesota communities.

The Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference features local success in providing support to entrepreneurs. The city of Staples has a long history of public and private partnerships to achieve its economic development goals. Highlights include a four-unit incubator building, managed by the Staples Economic Development Authority (SEDA), that provides new businesses with low rental fees and technical assistance. The community  has also partnered with private developers  to attract 115 housing units over the past three years and secured the development of a childcare center with public and private partners.

 “We are very excited to be selected to host the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities conference,” said Melissa Radermacher, economic development director for Staples. “This is a great opportunity to showcase our community.”

Information about the conference is available at https://z.umn.edu/CEC2020.

Source: Elyse Paxton, senior editor, Extension Center for Community Vitality, 1420 Eckles Ave, St Paul, MN 55108, epaxton@umn.edu, 612-624-9736.

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