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Field Notes

Extending the growing season

Gardeners can learn how to extend their growing season as the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners of Douglas County kick off their Gardening Brown Bag series of lunchtime sessions.

Market gardener Ron Branch will talk about the effectiveness of low tunnels and row covers in adding extra growing time. The kick-off is set for noon on Tuesday, April 16.

These gardening sessions offered free of charge without pre-registration from noon to 1 p.m. in conjunction with the Douglas County Library. Participants may bring their lunch or snack to the Library.

The next talk is "Planting New Trees" by John Stone on Monday, April 29.

More dairy farmers eligible for 2018 benefits

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced recently that dairy producers who participated in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program may now retroactively sign up for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy for 2018. The sign-up will take place through May 10 through local Farm Service Agency offices.

Under the old farm bill, farmers could not sign up for both programs. The Margin Protection Program is a safety net program that protects farmers when high feed costs and low milk prices erode the farmer's profit margin.

"The 2018 Farm Bill included substantial changes to USDA dairy programs," said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce in a news release.