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December 19, 2013     Tri-County News
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December 19, 2013
 

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...... ......... e__-- o t_ A,I PAGE . r00[m  &apos;g [ursda, December 19, 201 Dairy Expo highlights Dan Martens Univ. of Minnesota Extension No doubt, attendance at this year's Midwest Dairy Expo was hampered by weather conditions. The first significant snow event and the first dose of subzero tempera- tures, make remaining items on the "get ready for winter do-list" more urgent. "Take home message" summa- ries of most of the presentations made at the Midwest Dairy Expo are posted at Minnesota Milk Pro- ducers Association website: www. mnmilk.org. At the home page, click on the "Programs" tab. Then click on "Midwest Dairy Expo." Then click on "Proceedings" and pick from the topic list. Raising healthy calves, dairy outlooks, family tran- sitions and relationships, genetics and reproduction are some of the useful 2013 topics. I'll share a couple key points I heard. Dan Rice from Prairieland Farms, near Lincoln, NOb., talked about sustainability. His definition of sustainability is, "Will my grand- children be able to farm here some- day IF they want to?" He talked about things they were doing to stay viable financially, environmentally, and in relationships with family, the community and consumers. Rice works at strength-based management. He sees his strengths as looking to the future, find- ing new ideas, and keeping people connected. He is weak with num- bers and relies on others to keep him straight with the numbers - like the financial realities related to ideas he's thinking about. If some- one has an interest in coming into the operation, they need to consider together whether their strengths fit a need, whether there's an oppor- tunity to diversify to make use of those strengths, and whether they recognize where they need to rely on other people's strengths. They manage to maximize return on investment. With their parlor milking system, they are thinking about switching from 3 times (3X) a day milking to 2 times (2X) a day milking because they could milk more cows with the same facility investment per day with 2X milking. Milk per cow also counts, in terms how getting the most milk per day for the facility investment. There are also overhead expenses in having more cows and handling more manure. Every farm needs to consider things in the context of the whole farm and their own personal and family priorities. The Rice family spends time giving people in the community a chance to see their dairy and to tell people what they are doing. They talk to and listen to their neighbors. They listen to consumers. They are learning about practices that pro- vide higher omega-3 fats that have more health benefits. Prairieland Farm considers manure as a product they produce that is just as important as the milk and meat they produce. They pro- vide manure to neighboring cash crop farmers. They compost part of their manure and bag some of that for garden and landscape use. They use their compost process to provide a disposal opportunity for food waste, leaves, and grass clip- pings in the community - noting that as much as 80 percent of what goes into the garbage stream can be composted. They handle it properly. Dr. Dennis Schaffler from Elanco Animal Health talked about "Food Security" - availability, quality, and access. Studies around the world show that where children have some high quality animal protein in their diets, their intellectual devel- opment is stronger. When countries have adequate food, there is less war. Key factors for reducing world hunger are innovation, consumer choice, and trade. For more information check www.sensibletable.com. Regional Extension Dairy Edu- cator Jim Salfer shared informa- tion from data being collected from 50+ farms with robotic milkers to see what can be learned. His favor- ite quote was from Doug Kastan- schmidt at Ripon, Wis., "Manage- mere makes milk; robots only har- vest it." We're fortunate to have an orga- nization like Minnesota Milk Pro- ducers Association that works with dairy farmers, U of M Extension, farm management instructors, businesses and others to conduct an educational event like the Midwest Dairy Expo. We're fortunate to have businesses that see the value of sup- porting good educational programs to help maintain a strong dairy enterprise in Minnesota. The com- mercial exhibits are also a signifi- cant part of the education opportu- nity at Midwest Dairy Expo. Please consider SAFETY first with work and other activities with cold and snowy winter weather. Funding is announced for rural business USDA officials announce economic development funding to strengthen businesses and create Jobs in rural communities of Minnesota USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced the selection of three organizations for grants to help rural cooperatives and small busi- nesses expand, create jobs and strengthen their capacity to serve rural citizens and communities. "These grants help cooperatives support projects and initiatives that create jobs and improve rural economic conditions," Landkamer said. "USDA funding helps provide the expertise and capacity-build- ing resources that cooperatives rely on to succeed in carrying out their missions." Funding is provided through USDA Rural Development's Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program. The grants are being awarded to non-profit groups to create and operate:centers that help establish, expand or oper- ate rural businesses, especially cooperatives and mutually-owned businesses. These competitively awarded grants may be used to con- duct feasibility studies, create and implement business plans, and help businesses develop new markets for their products and services. Since fiscal year 2009, the RCDG program has awarded grants totaling over $1.2 million in Minnesota. The Friday, Dec. 13, announce- ment includes several recipients who are developing new market opportunities for rural farmers and ranchers by capitalizing on con- sumer interest in locally produced food. For example, the Latino Eco- nomic Development Center (LEDC) is being selected for a $200,000 grant to assist food hubs - facilities that aggregate local food and mar- ket it to large-volume buyers in the region. LEDC will assist the Ague Gorda farmer cooperative with increasing their marketing oppor- tunities to include urban business clients and expand the reach of their locally-grown specialty vege- tables. A recent Michigan State Uni- versity study found that the aver- age food hub creates nearly 20 jobs and generates close to $4 million in sales. LEDC has also assisted in the development of nonprofit organi- zation Willmar Area Multicultural Business Center (WAMBC), which provides economic development services to local Latino entrepre- neurs as well as projects across nine counties in the St. Cloud, region. The Agriculture Utilizaton Research Institute 0kUKI)is receiv- ing a $200,000 grant to continue its research and assistance of local food processing, storage and deliv- ery cooperatives. AURI will pro- vide direct technical assistance and applied research services to meet the cooperative development needs of at least six cooperatives represent- ing 4,550 producers in various stages of development in economically dis- tressed areas. The technical assis- tance these centers provide will help generate new opportunities for Min- nesota farmers and ranchers, create jobs in local food processing and dis- tribution industries, and serve grow- ing consumer demand for locally- produced products. Funding/To page 28 ARNOLD'S Kimball 320-398-3800 Glenoe 320-864-5531 St. Martin 320-548-3285 No. Mankato 507-387-5515 "$0 down, 0% A.ER. frmndng for up to 60 mor, ths on hases of new Kubota BX, 8, L M, RW (exclud, RW.X ), , , U, R, S and TI.B Sodos eq<Jpment is avaja to ,difled ptcch from per deakn, in.siock bveloff ihfoogh 12/31/2013. Exanlpk): A 60-month monly mlalment repay bnn at 0% A.pR. reqxmm 60 pay of $16.67 per $1,000 f, narced. 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