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Published November 07, 2009, 12:00 AM

Farm Briefs, Nov. 7

Montevideo Farm Beginnings approach becomes national model

Montevideo Farm Beginnings approach becomes national model

MONTEVIDEO — A program offered by the Land Stewardship Project in Montevideo office to help young farmers get started was cited recently as a model for the nation.

Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary with the United States Department of Agriculture, called the program a national leader while announcing $17 million in grants to 29 groups and institutions nationwide that are working with new farmers. Merrigan made the announcement Nov. 3 at a farm near Elgin in southeast Minnesota, according to a news release from the Land Stewardship Project.

The USDA is launching a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program modeled on the Land Stewardship Project’s program. It takes a farmer-to-farmer approach to provide training and education to new farmers.

Amy Bacigalupo, director of the Land Stewardship Project’s Farm Beginnings program in Montevideo, said the key to the initiative’’ success is that it takes a community-based approach by relying on local farmers and others to coordinate the program.

U of M offers resources for dealing with wet harvest

ST. PAUL — Soybean moisture levels of 16 to 20 percent or more at harvest have been reported throughout the state as this challenging harvest season continues, according to Lizabeth Stahl, crops educator with University of Minnesota Extension. At these moisture levels, mold becomes a storage concern. Much of the state’s corn crop is also wet and unharvested, meaning that drying and storing is an important topic for corn as well as for soybeans.

To provide detailed information for growers, University of Minnesota Extension has developed a Web site of resources devoted to dealing with this unusually cold and wet harvest season. Find these resources at http://www.extension.umn.edu/lateharvest.

Detailed information about the drying of soybeans and corn can be found at this site as well as information about potential corn grain quality issues this fall and advice on minimizing the effects of soil compaction.

Online workshop teaches about finances

ST. PAUL — The University of Minnesota’s Center for Farm Financial Management has created a new online workshop series titled “Interpreting Financial Statements and Measures” to help agricultural producers understand and use common financial statements and measures.

“One of the unique things about agriculture is that most ag producers are also their own chief financial officer,” said Dale Nordquist, an Extension economist and workshop co-creator with Bob Craven, also an Extension economist. “(The series) will teach producers the basics of interpreting the four major financial statements and the 21 financial measures recommended by the Farm Financial Standards Council.”

Interpreting Financial Statements and Measures is a series of free online videos that producers can work through at their own pace. Each session provides benchmarks, based on actual farms, that producers can use to evaluate their financial position and their financial performance. Case farm examples are used to bring the data to life. There are also optional “test your knowledge” quizzes at the end of each session.

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