Farmers urged to file claims

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is advising farmers who have done business with the Buckwheat Growers Association of Wadena to submit claims with the state if they have not received payment for grain or have had grain stored there. Buckwheat Growers is also known as Union Creek Organic or Union Creek Feed and Seed.

As required by law, Buckwheat Growers held a $50,000 bond with the state to help grain sellers and depositors mitigate any losses.

To submit a claim, a farmer needs to:

• Complete a Grain Bond Proof of Claim form. This can be found at mda.state.mn.us/grain.

• Include supporting evidence. This includes scale tickets, purchase agreements, purchase receipts, non-sufficient funds checks, contracts, warehouse receipts and assembly sheets.

• Send in the form and supporting evidence by email to maderMinnesota Department of Agriculture, Fruit Vegetable & Grain Unit, 625 North Robert St., St Paul, MN 55155.

Farmers should submit a claim as soon as possible. The deadline for claims is dependent on the date of non-payment.

The department said it will review all submitted claims to determine which claims are valid. In the case of multiple valid claims, a prorated share will be calculated and dispersed.

A June 10 posting on the Buckwheat Growers Facebook page said, "We are still CLOSED. Waiting to see what the MN Dept of AG's audit results will be. Until we know what is going on with that we have a Cease and Desist order."

It apologized for the inconvenience and directed customers to other sources for chicken feed.

The agriculture department said those who need more information may contact Christine Mader at 651-201-6620 or christine.mader@state.mn.us, or Nick Milanowski at 651-201-6076 or nicholas.milanowski@state.mn.us.

New directory includes local farmers

The new Minnesota Grown Directory is out, and includes 31 farmers from a 25-mile radius around Alexandria among 1,023 members from across the state.

Searchable by region, farm name or product, the directory is a marketing tool for growers who raise fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy items, wineries, nurseries, Christmas trees, Community Supported Agriculture operations and more.

"The Minnesota Grown directory is a great resource for Minnesotans and visitors to our state who are looking for fresh, local products," said state Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. "The directory is one of the best places to find local farms and farmers markets, and gives our farmers another avenue to sell their products."

The directory is available in print or online. For a free printed copy, visit the Minnesota Grown website or call Explore Minnesota Tourism at 1-888-TOURISM.

Risk workshops offered for dairies

Dairy farmers who want to want to learn more about how to use federal insurance programs through the new farm bill can attend short workshops to be offered locally by the Farm Service Agency and the University of Minnesota Extension.

"Dairy Risk Management Strategies" will compare the new Dairy Margin Coverage to the old program, which farmers despised.

Workshops will be offered Wednesday, July 17, from 10 a.m.-noon at the Extension office, 46352 State Hwy. 329, AgCountry Auditorium in Morris, and Thursday, July 18, from 10 a.m.-noon at the Government Services Center, 520 Fur Ave. W. in Fergus Falls.

Workshops last two hours and use spreadsheets and other tools to analyze how the new Dairy Margin Coverage compares with the old Margin Protection Program. It will look at prices for different coverage levels and the pounds of coverage, and compare the new Risk Management Agency's Dairy Revenue Protection program with the Dairy Livestock Gross Margin. Staff will help determine which dairy programs are best for which dairy.

Staff will highlight the pros and cons of each program and help calculate a farm's cost of production.

"With the current state of milk prices and the farm economy, maintaining profits is tricky," said Nathan Hulinsky, an Extension educator. "There are tools out there to help dairy farmers set a floor for their milk price, we want to highlight them."

Science day camps for kids

Douglas County 4-H will host multiple day camps this summer for local youth.

• The Super Hero Science Day Camp for grades K-3 runs from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and will be held: Wednesday, July 10, at Alexandria City Park in Alexandria

• Wednesday, July 24 at Lake Osagi in Osakis

• Wednesday, Aug. 7 at Brandon School in Brandon

• Friday, Aug. 16 at Douglas County Fairgrounds in Alexandria.

The fee is $10 per camp or $30 for all four camps.

For more information, visit the Extension office down the hall from the Douglas County Library.

 

New grazing helpline

The Land Stewardship Project has launched a toll-free grazing hotline to help farmers get the most out of their grazing systems.

Innovative grazing systems can provide a low-cost, profitable way to integrate animals into a farming operation, the nonprofit says, but farmers who use such systems must master the basics of pasture improvement, cover cropping, fencing technology and herd management.

Farmers and ranchers can call 1-888-664-7293 (1-888-MNGRAZE) or submit questions online on the project's website.

The Land Stewardship Project can provide advice and resources regarding managed rotational grazing, cover crop grazing, stockpile grazing, winter feeding and pasture rental rates, among other topics.