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Ag Briefs

Cottage Food Producer Food Safety Training webinar and online course available

Do you get rave reviews on your homemade breads, cakes and cookies? Are family and friends asking to buy your yummy home canned salsa and pickles? Join University of Minnesota Extension Food Safety Educators, Kathy Brandt and Suzanne Driessen at a Cottage Food Producer Food Safety Training webinar or take the online course. Both the webinar and online course meet the Minnesota Department of Agriculture food safety training requirements to register as a Minnesota Cottage Food Producer. Once registered, you’ll be able to make and sell homemade non-potentially hazardous foods including baked goods, candy, home-canned peaches, pickles, salsa, jams, jellies and more. The specific conditions that must be met to qualify as an allowable Minnesota cottage food will be thoroughly covered.

The training focus is on food safety practices for all processes covered under the Minnesota Cottage Food Law (CFL) 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. Many details of the CFL will be covered including who needs to register, where allowed cottage food can be sold and the maximum gross yearly sales allowed.

Registration and $50/person fee are required. To register for the upcoming webinar on Saturday, Dec.4, or for the online course, go to z.umn.edu/CFPtraining.

USDA expands Farmers.gov to include farm records

Producers with farmers.gov accounts can now access farm records and maps online, the latest self-service feature added to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.

You can quickly and easily access your land information in real time by desktop computer, tablet or phone. Capabilities include:

• View, print and export detailed farm records such as cropland, base acres, yields, CRP acres, land ownership details, and much more;

• View, print and export farm/tract maps that can be provided to lenders, chemical or fertilizer providers, and FSA for reporting acreage and crop insurance agents; and

• Export common land unit (field) boundaries as ESRI shapefiles.

The ability to access these records on demand without a visit to the service center saves you time and money.

Farmers.gov now includes the most popular functionalities from FSAFarm+, the FSA portal for producers, while providing enhanced functionality and an improved user experience. A new enhancement expands the scope of accessibility to include farmers and ranchers who are members of an entity, as well as people with a power of attorney form (FSA-211) on file with FSA.

Using farmers.gov, producers, entities and those acting on their behalf can also:

• View, upload, download, and e-sign conservation documents.

• Request financial assistance, including submitting a program application.

• View and submit conservation requests.

• View technical references and submit questions.

• Access information on current and past conservation practices, plans and contracts.

Future plans include adding the ability to import and view other shapefiles, such as precision agriculture planting boundaries.

To access your information, you’ll will need a USDA eAuth account to login to farmers.gov. After obtaining an eAuth account, producers should visit farmers.gov and sign into the site’s authenticated portal via the Sign In/Sign Up link at the top right of the website. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge are the recommended browsers to access the feature.

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