Category: Agriculture

Finding My Way to CommonGround

Written by Kristie Swenson

An uneventful 6th-grade sleepover turned into a defining moment in my life: my passion for agricultural literacy was ignited.  I grew up on a farm 13 miles from the nearest town, and when my friends and I went to feed our cattle, my friend, Sara, asked, “So, those are cows… right?”

I was shocked that Sara, who lived in a rural town (of which agriculture was,

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Minnesota's corn harvest kicked into high gear last week

The combines were rolling in full force throughout the state last week as Minnesota corn farmers harvested more than one-fourth of this year’s total crop.

With 48 percent of Minnesota corn now harvested, we’re still behind the five-year average for this time by about 12 percent, but it’s a significant jump from from the week before when only 19 percent of the corn was harvested.

Nationally, 59 percent of the corn crop has been harvested,

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Helping farmers navigate the latest conservation-related reports, programs, strategies and initiatives

FarmKeeping up with the latest reports, studies, regulations, programs and initiatives related to conservation can sometimes make a farmer’s head spin.

Over the last couple of months, several reports have been released and strategies proposed by various agencies and organizations that aim to improve Minnesota’s water quality and enhance on-farm conservation efforts. These reports total almost 1,000 pages, span dozens of websites, involve multiple organizations and encompass several government programs and non-governmental initiatives.

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Mazes, Mascots, and More: MCGA Day is a Success at Sever's Corn Maze

A little hail and a few sprinkles weren’t going to dampen the spirits of those at Sever’s Corn Maze & Fall Festival this past Saturday. Smiles and laughter seemed to be the theme of the day as thousands of visitors ignored Mother Nature’s grumblings and, instead, enjoyed the many attractions and activities at Sever’s.

In addition to the normal dose of slide rides, corn maze fun, and exotic animals, visitors on October 5th got in on a special treat.

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New University of Minnesota professor spotlights nutrient management strategies

With support from Minnesota’s corn farmers, Dr. Fabian Fernandez is the new assistant professor of nutrient management at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Soil, Water and Climate.

“There is no single silver bullet that will solve all the problems in managing nutrients, but instead we have to use many different strategies to achieve that reduction,” Fernandez said.

The Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council has devoted approximately $1 million through farmer-funded corn check-off dollars to the creation of Fernandez’ position at the U and supporting his research activities.

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MDA wraps up N management plan listening sessions

Plan would create phased response to nitrates in groundwater, with a potential for regulatory action

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Six listening sessions have not turned up any earth-shaking critical comments about the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) proposed Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan, according to MDA officials. The comment period continues until Nov. 1, at which point Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson will consider the comments and publish the final version of the plan.

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Government Shutdown: What it Means for Farmers

Like the rest of America, farmers woke up this morning and learned that the federal government is shut down.

How will the shutdown impact American agriculture? Unfortunately, we’re about to find out. For now, here’s what we know:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has mostly gone dark. With the exception of food and grain inspections, fighting forest fires and monitoring government property, most of the department’s 100,000 employees are furloughed (put on temporary leave) and offices are closed.

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Ask a Farmer: How has the wild weather impacted corn fields this year?

“Ask a Farmer” is a monthly column from a Minnesota corn farmer that answers basic questions about farming for the non-farming public.

Written by Lori Feltis

If you know a farmer, you probably know that we like to talk about the weather. No news is typically good news when it comes to farming and the weather. Silence means Mother Nature is cooperating.

Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of weather news this year.

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