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Looking for 'part-time farmers'

They go by many names and descriptions: part-time farmers, weekend farmers, secondary farmers and farmers whose off-farm jobs provide most of their income

Whatever you call them, their numbers make them a potent force: Fifty-two percent of U.S. farmers earn the majority of their income off their farm, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics.

And whatever you call them, their skill, passion and dedication strengthen their communities and U.S. agriculture in general.

Agweek will profile some of the part-time farmers and ranchers who live and work in the Upper Midwest. We're looking for agriculturalists who love what they're doing on the farm — but rely on their off-farm job to pay most of their bills.

If you know of such a person (and it's fine to nominate yourself), drop us a line. Here's what we're looking for:

• The person's name

• A short description of the person's on-farm involvement and off-farm job.

• The person's contact information, ideally both a phone number and email address.

Please send your nominations to Jonathan Knutson by April 15. My email is jknutson@agweek.com and direct phone number is 701-780-1111.

Being a part-time farmer brings special benefits, including health insurance through an off-farm job. Part-time farmers have special challenges, too, including balancing the demands of farming and off-farm job. The series will address both.

The series also will include updated statistics on the number of U.S. farmers whose primary source of income comes from off-farm jobs. Those statistics will be available in the 2017 Census of Agriculture, which is scheduled to be released this spring. The Census of Ag, conducted every five years by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides the most comprehensive information on part-time farmers.

The contributions of part-time farmers are numerous, interesting and important. Please help us tell the stories of a few of them.

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