Skip to main content


Women in Ag Network's October Feature

By Megan Roberts, Extension Educator
Our October 2018 "Woman in Ag" feature is Michelle Page. Michelle has dual roles. She is both the Executive Officer for Minnesota Farm Service Agency (FSA), and she is a cattle farmer in northern Minnesota. Michelle balances a lot each week, including a six hundred mile roundtrip commute! As I read Michelle’s responses, I was impressed by her commitment to sharing her 40 years of career experiences and knowledge with others in agriculture, particularly those in the early stages of their careers. Michelle shares more about herself in her responses below.
WAGN: Tell us about your career and farm. Michelle: I am currently the Executive Officer for the Minnesota Farm Service Agency (FSA) in St. Paul.  I have worked for FSA for 40 years in a variety of positions.  My FSA career began in Crookston, MN as a Program Technician in the West Polk FSA Office, serving in that capacity for 25 years.  I was hired as a manager trainee in 2002 and served as …
Recent posts

Farmers still have time to sign up for corn settlement payments

By David Bau, Extension Educator

A year with slumping crop prices seems like an odd time to leave money on the table. So far, that’s what’s happening with the $1.51 billion settlement of a nationwide class action lawsuit against Syngenta. Most U.S. corn farmers are eligible, and the deadline is October 12.

Last spring, 643,000 notices went out to farmers who can submit claims. Most haven’t.
Farmers who grew corn sold between September 15, 2013, and April 10, 2018, can submit claims by going to

Sign up only takes a matter of minutes and hopefully there will be a rush to submit claims before harvest. The Settlement may affect your rights if you are: (1) a Corn Producer; (2) a Grain Handling Facility; (3) an Ethanol Production Facility or (4) Landlords sharing in the risk of producing corn. To stay in the Settlement and get paid, submit an eligible Claim by October 12, 2018.

Each farm’s claim is based on the annual acreage report submitted to the Farm Service Agen…

New Farm Program Available to Counter Tariff Effects

by David Bau, Extension Educator

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations.  The USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with our World Trade Organization obligations.  These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets. The USDA aid package will be implemented in 2018 and will include three components:
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide direct payments to farmers for corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers starting September 4, 2018. Total allocation for phase 1 of the MFP program is approximately $4.7 billion, plus a similar amount for phase 2, if all payments are allocated.USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution P…

What Direction will 2019 Farmlands Rents Go? Stay the Same? Up? or Down?

by David Bau, Extension Educator

Each year I put together tables listing actual farmland rental rates by county from Adult Farm Management Records.  Unfortunately farmers and landlords are starting to negotiate 2019 farmland rental rates and the last actual numbers available are for 2017 so I am forced to estimate figures for 2018 and 2019.  When I did this last year I used an estimate of a 2.5% decline and the actual figure came in at 3.9% decline statewide.  For 2017 I heard many times that rents were down, although some rents went up and some remained the same, in table 1 below I estimated a 4% decline in 2018 from 2017.

But what direction should 2019 farmland rental rates go?  How do I determine an estimate for 2018 farmland rental rates?

Should they stay the same? 
Landlord property taxes continue to increase. While the state legislature help with some of the school referendum costs, they still increase taxes.  If rents stay the same, a landlord’s income will go down if taxes incr…

Women in Ag Network's September Feature

By Megan Roberts, Extension Educator

This September, the Women in Ag Network (WAGN) is continuing our interview series featuring a woman involved in Minnesotan agriculture. Our aim is to connect you to other agricultural women across the state.

Our September 2018 "Woman in Ag" feature is Allison Bastian. Allison is a recent college graduate and is starting her career in agricultural business. She balances a full-time job with farm work since she became an owner of a hog barn this past year. For many women in agriculture, myself included, this balance between off-farm and on-farm employment is a part of life. I met Allison recently when she was assisting with UMN Extension’s 4-H Livestock Interviews and I was immediately impressed with her passion for agriculture.

WAGN: Tell us about your career and farm.
Allison: I work for Compeer Financial in Mankato, MN where I sell crop insurance. I graduated from Iowa State University in Ames, IA this past December with a bachelor’s degr…

2018 Agricultural Tax Issues Course

University of Minnesota Extension is offering an agricultural tax school in October. This course targets income tax professionals that work with farmers. Additionally, this course will benefit agricultural professionals such as agricultural lenders and farm management instructors. The agricultural tax school will be offered in five locations and the course has been approved for eight hours of continuing professional education.

Locations and dates for Agricultural Tax Issues Course:

Rochester, Minnesota
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Kahler Apache Hotel and Water Park
1517 16th St. SW
Rochester, MN 55902

Marshall, Minnesota
Friday, October 5, 2018
Ramada Inn Conference Center
1500 East College Dr.
Marshall, MN 56258

Fergus Falls, Minnesota
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Bigwood Event Center
925 Western Ave.
Fergus Falls, MN 56537

Crookston, Minnesota
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center
University of Minnesota Crookston
2900 University Ave., Crookston, MN


Women In Ag Network's August Feature

By Megan Roberts, Extension Educator

As the Women in Ag Network grows and evolves in our third year, we asked ourselves how we could create more connections with women in agriculture across Minnesota.  Our advisory committee suggested featuring the stories of Minnesota women that farm and work in ag business. Each month we will interview a woman involved in agriculture and feature it in our newsletter as a way of connecting you to other agricultural women across the state.

Our August 2018 featured "Woman in Ag" is Alison Rickeman. Alison serves on the WAGN advisory committee, is a farmer, and has worked in the agricultural and food industry since graduating from college in 2010.

WAGN: Tell us about your farm and career.
Alison: I currently serve as the state director of the Minnesota Dairy Initiative. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Management Communications from NDSU with minors in Public Relations, Mass Communications, and Ag Communications.  I’ve been with MDI for over 3 yea…