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On Farm Food Safety Workshop

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By Jake Overgaard
Extension Educator, Winona County

We've seen the headlines linking spinach, sprouts, melons, or what-have-you with an e. coli outbreak. The impact of an outbreak on an individual farm and the industry in general is significant. Also, with the recent Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) legislation, and more scrutiny from buyers and the public, addressing food safety risks on the farm is becoming more important. This is especially true as more local producers are selling to co-ops, restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets, and through CSAs. As a grower you might be wondering...

  • When would I need a certification to sell fresh produce?
  • How will FSMA affect my operation?
  • How can I create a food safety plan for my farm?

To address these questions and provide more information regarding on-farm food safety, the UMN On-Farm GAPs Program http://safety.cfans.umn.edu/ and UMN Extension - Winona County, have put together a workshop for commercial produce growers. At this workshop, you will...

  • Learn about GAPs, GAP Certification, and FSMA.
  • See how Whitewater Gardens implements GAPs on their farm
  • Practice writing risk assessment statements and standard operating procedures.
  • Learn about additional resources available to you.

Location: Whitewater Gardens, Altura, MN
Date/Time: June 26th, 9 am to 4 pm
Cost: $15 (Includes lunch and refreshments)

For more info and to register, visit the registration page: https://docs.google.com/a/umn.edu/forms/d/1Y0dhZWbmr2WH9sUx8Q4CjyBsQzM6JIfMiwaDtuMXCPY/viewform

We hope to see you there!


Paul Sobocinski has a 240 acre diversified farming operation in Western Minnesota, near the town of Wabasso. He has a farrow to finish hog system that produces pigs for Niman Ranch, and a beef cow/calf herd using rotational grazing. Paul also raised corn, beans, alfalfa, grass hay, pasture, oats, wheat, and also has some land in the CRP program. In the 5th year of a CSP contract for rotational grazing, pasture watering system that includes wildlife escape, nitrogen management, resource conservation crop rotation, and cover crops to scavenge nitrogen.

After the hog market collapse of 1998, Paul remodeled an existing raised-crate farrowing barn into a deep-straw farrowing barn. In 2001, he modified an existing pole barn into a deep bedded sow and piglet nursery.

Paul had another older hog confinement facility that was originally slatted floors with liquid manure storage underneath the slats. With the help of a SARE grant and input from engineers, he remodeled the building into a friendlier, more enjoyable environment for both pigs and people. That process is described in this webinar. With the changes, Paul is now able to use the building to raise pigs for Niman Ranch Company. Paul sells pigs to Niman Ranch and is paid a premium for raising them without the use of antibiotics, and using straw bedding.

This presentation is about converting a nursery/ growing confinement building, with a pit, into a deep-bedded growing unit that meets Niman Ranch standards for improved animal welfare, while utilizing existing resources.Following is a link to the presentation: https://umconnect.umn.edu/r50553019/

Source: Wayne Martin, Extension Educator, Alternative Livestock Systems

The Small Farms U Program at the University of Minnesota Extension is offering a workshop on basic lambing management practices that will be held on Tuesday evening, April 15, 2014, from 5:30-9:00 p.m. The workshop will be held at the Beef Cattle Barn on the St Paul Campus. The Beef Cattle Barn is located on the corner of Buford and Gortner Avenues.

This workshop is designed for the person who has little experience raising sheep, or is thinking about starting a flock, or who already has a few sheep but feels that more management skills would be a worthy investment. It will be taught by Kyle Rozeboom, Livestock Specialist in the Animal Science Department, Wayne Martin, Alternative Livestock Systems Specialist with Extension, and Sarah Easter Strayer, Veternarian, UMN. Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to the following:


  • Ewe Care

  • Housing/facilities

  • Lamb Management Practices

  • Disease management/Vaccination program


Starts at 5:30 with registration and dinner that will include freshly roasted lamb, sliced for sandwiches, and other goodies to go with it. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Cost of the workshop is $20/adult, $30/couple or business partners, and $10/student. Please contact Wayne Martin at marti067@umn.edu , or (612) 625-6224.

By: Julie Sievert, Extension Educator, Sibley County
Christian Lilienthal, Extension Educator, Nicollet County
Mike Donnelly, Extension Educator, Rice & Steele Counties

Do you have the dream of owning acreage in the country? Do you have an existing acreage that is in need of a plan and strategies for the best possible results? The Living on the Land Workshop Series, offered by University of Minnesota Extension, will equip you with the education and resources to be successful.

The eight-week course is designed to arm landowners with agricultural information to enable them to be good stewards of their land. The course will begin with goal-setting and individual property inventory, then address soil, plant, water and animal basics.

The Living on the Land curriculum addresses a growing need for information regarding small acreages. The series incorporates knowledge and experience from a team of instructors to address topics including: what do you have and what do you want, what you can do with your land, protecting water quality, what to do about weeds, lawn and pasture maintenance, getting down and dirty with soils, and caring for and managing your animals. The series also includes a farm tour.

The series will be taught by Extension educators and natural resource professionals at two locations. One of the locations is in Gaylord at the Sibley County Service Center. In Gaylord, the series will be held on Monday evenings from February 4th to March 25th. The second location is in Northfield at the Northfield Community Resource Center. In Northfield, the series will be held on Thursday evenings from March 7th to April 25th. Both workshops will run from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with light meals provided at each session.

Early registration is $175 until Monday, January 28 for the Gaylord location and Thursday, February 28 for the Northfield location. All registrations received after those dates will be $200. Each registration is valid for up to two people representing a single farm who will share materials. For example, a husband and wife team or two siblings may attend together. Benefits include useful educational publications, an educational farm tour, soil tests, a site visit/consultation from a University of Minnesota Extension educator in your area, as well as the tools to help you succeed with your goals and dreams on your country acreage.

For more information about the series in Gaylord, please contact Julie Sievert at 507-237-4100 or schu0944@umn.edu or Christian Lilienthal at 507-934-0360 or lili0004@umn.edu. For questions regarding the Northfield location, please contact Mike Donnelly at 507-332-6109 or donne099@umn.edu.

Register now--space is limited at each location. Additional information and the Living on the Land workshop series brochure can be found on the Small Farms website.

Raspberry Renovation Workshop

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By Jake Overgaard
Extension Educator, Winona County

Jake Overgaard of University of Minnesota Extension Winona County will be giving a free on-farm workshop July 14th, from 1-2 pm on raspberry renovation at Hoch Orchard and Gardens near La Crescent, Minnesota. Participants will learn how raspberry plants develop, the importance of renovation, and how to renovate. High tunnel production will be discussed as well as variety selection. There will be an opportunity for hands-on learning (bring a pair of work gloves if interested!). The workshop will be held at Hoch Orchard and Gardens near La Crescent, Minnesota. Weather permitting, this workshop will be held entirely outdoors, dress appropriately and bring your sunscreen.

Hoch Orchard and Gardens will also be holding an open house the same day with farm tours from 11 am to 5 pm. Feel free to attend either or both events! Please see the attached flyer for directions and contact information for the open house.

Directions to Hoch Orchard and Gardens: Take Houston County Road 6 West of of La Crescent 8 miles and turn right on Forster Road. Send questions on the workshop to over0128@umn.edu or call 507-457-6440.

By Nathan Winter
Extension Educator, McLeod and Meeker Counties


Do you have the dream of owning acreage in the country? Do you have an existing acreage that is need of a plan and strategies for the best possible results? The Living on the Land Workshop Series, offered by University of Minnesota Extension, will equip you with the education and resources to be successful.

The eight-week course is designed to arm landowners with agricultural information to enable them to be good stewards of their land. The course will begin with goal-setting and individual property inventory, then address soil, plant and water basics.

The Living on the Land curriculum addresses a growing need for information regarding small acreages. The series incorporates knowledge and experience from a team of instructors to address topics including: what do you have and what do you want, what you can do with your land, water quality, protecting household drinking water, how plants grow, what to do about weeds, lawn and pasture maintenance, getting down and dirty with soils. The series also includes a farm tour.

The series will be taught by Extension educators and natural resource professionals at two locations. Both workshop series will be held on Thursday evenings from March 8 - April 26 from 6-9 p.m. One location will be in Hutchinson at the McLeod County Fairgrounds 4-H Café and the other location will be in Mankato at the Historic Courthouse in the Conference Room.

Early registration is $175 until Friday, March 2 and all registrations received afterwards will be $200. The registration fee includes participation of two people, for example a husband and wife team or two siblings, who may attend together and share materials. Benefits include useful educational publications, an educational farm tour and dinner, a site visit/consultation from a University of Minnesota Extension educator in your area, as well as the tools to help you succeed with your goals and dreams on your country acreage.

Register now because space is limited at each location. Contact Nathan Winter for a hard copy of the brochure and other questions regarding the Hutchinson Location at 320-484-4303 or by e-mail at wint0146@umn.edu. Contact Diane DeWitte at 507-304-4325 or by e-mail at stouf002@umn.edu for more information on the Mankato location and registration questions.

View the 2012 Living on the Land Workshop Series Brochure at the following link: http://z.umn.edu/6b4.

Any use of this article must include the byline or following credit line:
Nathan Winter is an agricultural production systems educator with University of Minnesota Extension.

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