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 businesses 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-building 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 operate rural businesses, especially cooperatives and mutually-owned businesses. These competitively awarded grants may be used to conduct 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.
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 temperatures, make remaining items on the “get ready for winter do-list” more urgent.
“Take home message” summaries of most of the presentations made at the Midwest Dairy Expo are posted at Minnesota Milk Producers 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 transitions and relationships, genetics and reproduction are some of the useful 2013 topics. I’ll share a couple key points I heard.
“What is a Fair and Profitable Land Rent Agreement?” Workshop to be offered in Stearns County
The meeting in Stearns County will be held from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at American Legion Post 455 in Cold Spring (209 Main St.).
Landlords, farmers, and agri-
business professionals should make plans to attend “What is a Fair and Profitable Land Rent Agreement?” This free meeting is being provided by University of Minnesota Extension. Farm land rental rates have never been higher and determining a fair and profitable farm rent agreement is a challenge in today’s economy with recent record corn and soybean prices and record farm land values.
The Midwest Dairy Expo will be held Dec. 3-4 at the River’s Edge Center in St. Cloud. Admission is free; so you’re free to pick the pieces that are useful to you. A noon lunch can be purchased on-site.
Look at the schedule with the whole family in mind, and employees too. For example, it could be the person who does most of the work of taking care of calves who gains the most from the topic, “Keys to Raising Healthy Calves” – presented by Dr. Sandra Godden (University of Minnesota) from 1:30-3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3. On Dec. 4, from 8-12,
Dr. Godden offers a lab workshop for using on-farm cultures for managing mastitis. Space is limited, so check this out early.
The Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and University of Minnesota Extension have released the 2014 Minnesota Gardening Calendar. This award- winning calendar is developed for home gardening and landscape enthusiasts across the state. Minnesota Gardening 2014 is the only calendar designed and written exclusively for Minnesota.
This new calendar includes features on native prairie grasses, grasses for attracting pollinators and butterflies, and grasses for slopes and shade. The calendar also includes suggestions for helpful Minnesota gardening resources, maps showing the average frost-free dates for Minnesota, and a USDA plant hardiness zone map.