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Hot Topics

    What is Beef Quality Assurance certification training and who needs it?

    An increasing number of local processors and buyers are requiring their beef producers to become Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified to ensure that cattle are raised using best management practices in optimal environmental conditions. BQA is a program which is nationally coordinated but implemented by individual states. Currently, several processors and buyers that get beef from Minnesota and surrounding states are requiring beef producers to take BQA training to earn certification for 2019.

    Rebuilding windbreaks after wind breaks them

    Windbreaks, sometimes known as shelterbelts, are plantings of trees, shrubs, or a mixture of the two, primarily established to reduce wind speed in an agricultural area, though they often serve several environmental purposes. Windbreaks can be used for various purposes and provide several benefits on farms. Many local windbreaks – as well as other forested areas – lost a large number trees in our September tornadoes. Because of their numerous benefits, you may want to consider reestablishing windbreaks that were damaged in the storms.

    Youth tractor safety certification required for those under 16 years of age

    We tend to give “farm kids” relatively advanced tasks on the farm. We assign them chores that we might not typically entrust to youth. Keeping this in mind, there are formal requirements regarding some of the tasks youth can perform on the farm. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Hazardous Occupations Order in Agriculture (AgHOs) law, youth aged 14-15 years old are required to earn tractor safety certification if they wish to drive tractors off their family farm.

    Dealing with volunteer corn after the storms

    Crops in our area were coming along pretty nicely until tornadoes and winds ripped through on September 20th. Soybeans are mostly okay, but the severe weather caused damage in corn fields. This “downed corn” causes a high potential for corn ears and kernels to be left in the field this fall. As a result, we expect a high occurrence of volunteer corn in these areas in 2019.

    Farmer stress resources

    Several of of our local agricultural producers are currently facing difficult times, due to various factors, but for some farmers, these difficulties were exacerbated by the storms and tornadoes of September 20th. In addition to general farm stress factors such as isolation, lower access to health services, and low commodity prices, the tornadoes caused turmoil for some local farmers. Read on for farm stress resources.

    Have a safe harvest season: tips for harvest safety

    Harvest is always a risky time of year, and with this year’s condensed time frame and additional stress, it is especially important to keep safety in mind. Here are some steps you can take to ensure safety for yourself and others during harvest.

    How to manage Japanese beetles

    The Japanese beetle is a serious pest of turf and ornamental plants. Learn some tips for battling this voracious beetle.

    Rice and Steele counties are crawling with caterpillars

    Two species of caterpillar have been found in large numbers in Rice and Steele Counties this 2018 growing season.

    Tips to identify Wild parsnip

    Wild parsnip is a noxious weed with several look-alikes. Learn how to discern wild parsnip from other roadside weeds.

    Leave your milkweed for monarch caterpillars to munch

    Learn how milkweed plays a vital role in the monarch butterfly's life cycle.
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