The February 20 National Weather Service 90-Day Outlook did report the likelihood that a cooler than normal weather pattern would continue through March, April and May. For our part of the country, there was no indication of being either wetter or drier than normal. The next 90-day outlook will likely be posted around March 19 or 20. The weather has been pretty consistent for the last 4-6 months with a cooler than normal weather outlook. Some of the lessons we learned last year might be relevant again this year; and things can change quickly.
I’d guess one story here is that most farmers have learned better than many of us - that you make the best plans you can, and you play your cards each day the best you can - as you see the cards that get dealt. Farmers ride the cycles of the weather, markets, and other variables. They save for rainy days, for dusty days, and for the days the market is in the tank. They look for ways to hedge their bets and protect against risk. And yes, there are many other businesses and careers that are very weather dependent.
National Ag Week is coming up March 23-30 with National Ag Day on March 25. As we anticipate the arrival of a new planting season, it’s a good time of year to show and tell farmers and related businesses our appreciation for their efforts to put food on our tables. Every time I walk through the grocery store, I’m reminded of what a good job they do.
As the weather takes a little bit of a turn toward spring, it’s a good time to say thanks to lots of other people who help us get through the winter: emergency road responders, snow plow operators, milk truck drivers, school bus drivers, lineman, mail delivery, feed suppliers, vets and many others who are grinding through the cold and the snow to meet our needs around the community.
There will likely be plenty of need yet to be careful on icy, frosty or snow packed roads.
March is also Minnesota State Food Share Month where we have the opportunity to share with people and families who are not so fortunate with opportunities and financial resources to keep their cupboards and pantries stocked for adequate meals from day to day.
MEETING & WORKSHOP NOTES:
DAIRY CURRENT TOPICS DISCUSSIONS. Thursday March 13 at the Central Minnesota Credit Union (CMCU) in Sauk Centre; and Friday March 14 at the Morrison County Government Center Meeting Room 1 in Little Falls. Both will run from 12-2 p.m. with lunch provided. Topics will include milk quality in heifers and dry cows, land rent and crop budget tips for 2014, and a little bit of an introduction to the dairy portions of the farm bill. Presenters include County Extension Staff Emily Krekelberg, Brenda Miller and Dan Martens. Pre-registration is not required, BUT much appreciated for meal planning purposes. Call Emily Krekelberg at the Stearns County Extension Office 320-255-6169. Thanks to CMCU and Midwest Machinery Company for your help with this.
HIGH TUNNEL CONFERENCE for Minnesota Statewide, March 24-25 at Brooklyn Center MN. March 24 morning is a “Beginners” workshop. March 24 afternoon and evening and March 25 is the regular conference. Register by March 18. For more information call Sue Schuler or Terry Nennich at 888-241-0085 ext. 3001. It looks good and not a bad drive from the St. Cloud & Little Falls area. County Extension Offices should have copies of conference flyers.
FORAGES FOR “U” WORKSHOPS. March 26 in Fergus Falls, March 27 in St. Charles and March 28 at the Kingston Community Center. These three workshops have registration at 9:30 and the program from 10 to about 3.
Topics at Fergus Falls include Insect and disease management in forages, Maximizing forage utility and feeding, Nitrogen management for first and second year corn after 2013 alfalfa winterkill, and 2013 Hay production outlook and management for alfalfa and grass.
Topic at Kingston include Fungicide prospect for alfalfa, Alfalfa N Credits – What are we leaning, 2013 Winterkill survey results, and Reducing corn in cattle diets.
Watch for more detail in news releases; or for the Fergus Falls site call Doug Holen at 218-770-4396; for St. Charles call Jake Overgard at 507-457-6440; and for Kingston call Nathan Winter at 320-484-4303. Presenters will include U of M Extension campus and regional staff.
MEAT GOAT PRODUCTION. Saturday March 29 at Clear Lake Town Hall, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Topics include: Keith Wilts, DVM - Kidding and goat health issues; MN Dept. Ag – Processing and slaughter regulations; Market buyer perspectives; Feeding strategies; Producer panel. Please RSVP by March 20 by calling Kelly Anderson 320-808-4424. Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Department of Ag are working with this workshop co-sponsored by Clear Lake Farmers Elevator and Big Gain Nutrition.