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Showing posts from December, 2021

USDA Webinar: Insurance and Disaster Assistance for Specialty Crop Growers

The Food Group of Minnesota- Big River Farms is hosting the Risk Management Agency (RMA) and the Minnesota Farm Service Agency (FSA), to provide information about insurance and disaster programs for vegetable, fruit and other special crop producers; including small scale operations and those that market locally, during a webinar on Jan. 12 from 6 to 7 pm . There will be additional time available for growers and participants to ask questions. Producers requesting language interpretation for Hmong, Spanish, Somali, and Swahili can request interpretation directly in the registration link above. Additional language interpretation will be available upon request, please make request by Dec.29, 2021 using the registration link or contact KaZoua Berry at, 651-433-3676.   Register at:  

2021 broccoli trial results: screening for Alternaria and black rot tolerant varieties in the Midwest

 The results from our 2021 broccoli trial are finally here! We hope they can be useful to you as you choose varieties for the year to come.   We conducted a replicated trial, inoculated with black rot, at the Southern Resarch and Outreach Center in Waseca. 80 farmers and gardeners also planted mini trials on their farms. In addition to screening for disease tolerance, we measured yields, earliness, bolting, and a wide variety of other factors. The full report can be downloaded here.  Sign up for the 2022 trial:  Early trial (June 1 planting) Late trial (August 1 planting)  

Evaluating the Performance of Plastic Mulch Alternatives in Morris, MN on strawberries and peppers

Author: Nate Dalman, Research Professional 3, West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris, MN. Weed control is a major concern for all farmers and gardeners regardless of field size. Many growers rely on plastic mulch due to its effectiveness, and because it can help conserve soil moisture and increase soil temperature. However plastic mulch must be discarded at the end of the season resulting in a large amount of plastic waste. Fortunately, new products are being developed to achieve the same benefits of as plastic mulch but are biodegradable and can be incorporated into the soil rather than ending up in a landfill. In 2021, at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, MN, two experiments took place to test some of these new mulch products against plastic. One involved growing day neutral strawberries in a white on black plastic mulch, paper mulch, and a product called BioMulch. The paper mulch used was WeedGuard Plus® creped version

Important updates to the FSMA Water Rule - comments needed

Annalisa Hultberg, Extension Educator, food safety On Dec 2nd, 2021 the FDA released the proposed revisions to Subpart E - Agricultural Water for the FMSA Produce Safety Rule. If you have attended a FSMA training in the past, you have learned about the previous rules for the use of agricultural water. After a long process of revision from the FDA, the agricultural water rule is now ready for comment from the public.   Read more about the proposed revisions from the FDA here. Even if your farm might not be covered by the FSMA PSR, it is important to understand what the rule requires of growers, as the FSMA rule is industry standard and has implications for anyone that grows and sells fresh produce.  Here are some key things to know about the proposed revisions to the ag water rule: The FDA said that they heard from a variety of stakeholders that certain pre-harvest microbial quality criteria and testing requirements in the previous rule were too difficult to understand, interpret, and i

Farm business management tuition cost-share now available to transitioning and certified organic Midwest fruit and vegetable growers

The University of Minnesota, in coordination with the Farm Business Management (FBM) program, has released scholarship money for transitioning and certified organic Midwest fruit and vegetable growers through the Organic Farm Financial Benchmarking in the Upper Midwest project led by Associate Professor/Extension Economist Joleen Hadrich in the Department of Applied Economics. Scholarships equal to 25% to 50% of the FBM tuition cost were previously only made available to certified organic dairy and row crop producers. Beginning in fall 2021, the scholarship program was expanded to include all organic and organic transition producers including specialty crop growers producing fruits, vegetables and value-added products. “Farmers and ranchers are invited to apply for the scholarship regardless of operation size, commodities produced or marketing channels used,” says Hadrich.  Nearly 23% of certified organic farmers in Minnesota are fruit and vegetable producers (2019 Organic Survey,

Grape Pruning Resources to Help You in 2022

Author: Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Crops. While hands-on tutorials and experience are the best ways to hone your grape pruning skills, in-person help isn't always available right when it is needed. Therefore, University of Minnesota Extension is continually developing a library of pruning videos and articles for grape growers of all levels. Please feel free to use these resources as needed, to review or learn throughout the pruning season:  Videos: Pruning grapevines in Minnesota (Level: Beginner) UMN Extension Grapevine winter injury (Level: Beginner to advanced) Pruning out grapevine trunk diseases (Level: Beginner to advanced) Pruning New Vines – One or Two Years Old (Level: Beginner to advanced) Pruning high cordon grapevines in Minnesota (Level: Intermediate to advanced)   Frequently Asked Questions in Grape Pruning - Feb. 2021 webinar recording (Level: Intermediate to advanced)    Articles or web pages:    Building New Grapevine Cor