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Ag Briefs

Applications being accepted to be a Master Gardener

Think globally, act locally. It’s a phrase that applies so well to the Lyon County Master Gardeners.

Now more than ever before Master Gardener volunteers are connecting with people to share University research-based knowledge on priorities that are important to Minnesota residents: horticulture skills, plant biodiversity, pollinators, clean water, local food, climate change and nearby nature. Master Gardeners are improving the quality of life and the environment in Minnesota communities

Through their broad and continuous public presence, and by their targeted educational efforts, Master Gardeners are helping neighbors understand and use research-based information and practices that are improving people’s quality of life while minimizing impacts on the environment and natural resources. Master Gardeners strive to make that scientific knowledge understandable to all, and to inspire and encourage lifelong learning through continued scientific exploration and discovery.

Just last year, the 2,408 certified Master Gardeners across the state contributed 143,821 volunteer hours and reached 195,124 Minnesota residents. Because of the work of Master Gardeners, more people are growing food locally, planting pollinator-friendly gardens, and creating resilient landscapes that help manage stormwater runoff.

Learn more about becoming a certified Master Gardener and taking the Core Course by visiting https://extension.umn.edu/master-gardener/become-master-gardener.

Applications to become a University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener are being accepted online now through Oct. 1. Those from counties not hosting a Master Gardener group may also apply.

Those selected for the program begin an internship with online training. Following the core course, interns complete a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer time during their first year. Interns will provide education to county residents while working alongside certified program members on a variety of community-engaging activities and projects that will improve the quality of life of people in their communities, and the environment. Former Master Gardeners may be reinstated for a discounted fee.

Contact Ron Halgerson, Lyon County Master Gardeners, at 507 829-9324, or the State Leadership Team at mgweb@umn.edu or 612-625-9864.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson named Minnesota Milk Legislator of the Year

ST. PAUL — Minnesota Milk Producers Association named Congressman Collin Peterson as its 2020 Legislator of the Year.

As Congressman and current House Agriculture Committee Chairman, Peterson has been a great dairy and agricultural advocate for 30 years serving the Seventh Congressional District of Minnesota.

“He really listens to the concerns that dairy farmers have,” said Dave Buck, Minnesota Milk president. “He truly understands the implications of dairy policy better than any lawmaker that we work with.”

Peterson is in his second term as chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, which has jurisdiction over a wide range of agriculture and rural development issues, including the Farm Bill, renewable energy, disaster assistance, nutrition, crop insurance, conservation, rural development, international trade, futures market regulation, animal and plant health, agricultural research, bioterrorism, forestry, and others.

“Representative Peterson is deserving of this award because of his overall dedication to all farmers nationwide,” said Garrett Luthens, Minnesota Milk policy chair. “He understands the role that farmers play in providing a secure food supply and works to ensure his colleagues on Capitol Hill recognize this.”

Congressman Peterson received this recognition recently in an award presentation at Sand Hill Dairy in Perham

Washington farms given masks for workers to combat smoke

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management in northwest Washington state has provided about 2,000 N95 masks to protect agricultural workers amid the widespread wildfires, officials said.

Thick smoke has made the air quality unhealthy and prompted orders for citizens to stay home as much as possible.

The smoke is expected to linger until at least Thursday, the Skagit Valley Herald reported, but area farmers cannot halt all of their outdoor work.

Farmers and farm workers were already required to wear face coverings because of the coronavirus, but cloth masks do little to protect from wildfire pollutants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

High winds and wildfires reduce nation’s largest apple crop

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Washington’s apple crop will be up to 10% smaller than expected because wildfires and extreme windstorms have battered orchards in recent weeks, the Washington Apple Commission said Wednesday.

Washington supplies 65% of the nation’s fresh apple crop each year, and the commission in August estimated the 2020 crop would total 134 million 40-pound boxes.

But over Labor Day weekend, a strong windstorm moving through central Washington state knocked many apples off trees, and damaged some trellis systems, the commission said.

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