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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…
Recent posts

Minnesota County Cropland Rental Rates Available

By David Bau, Extension Educator

Average, Median, Ten Percent Lowest Average Rents and Ten Percent Highest Average Rents are listed by county in recently release publication titled “Cropland Rental Rates for Minnesota Counties”.  The rental rates come from rents paid by farmers who participate in Adult Farm Management programs across Minnesota. This publication provides a historical perspective on rental rates paid by a group of Minnesota farmers and trends in those rental rates over the past five years. This information is meant as a guide and starting point. The information and data is not meant to establish, determine, set, fix, or even hint at what actual rents should be. It is simply a reporting of historical land rental rates in Minnesota.

Historical rental data is included for years 2013 through 2017. Weighted average rental rates are listed by county for each year. The 2017 data also includes the median cash rent and the 10th and 90th percentile range, explained under “data re…

What's New in Farm Transition and Estate Planning Policy in the past year?

By Megan Roberts, Extension Educator

Over the past year, I have been asked often what is “new” in farm transition and estate planning. In general, there have been only a handful of recent changes in federal and Minnesotan laws and regulations impacting the farm succession process. Some of those changes are quite dramatic, such as the doubling of the lifetime estate and gift exclusion amount in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Other projected changes were not passed into law, resulting in continuation of past policies. In this blog post, I will briefly overview federal level policy changes, Minnesota level policy changes, and end by outlining key tenants of farm succession that remain unchanged. This post covers the year from July 2017-June 2018.

What to Expect in 2018

By David Bau, Extension Educator

Heavy spring rains resulting in flooded fields and delayed planting for many farmers in southern Minnesota.  Fortunately winter gave wave to summer heat and planting was hectic right up to the insurance final planting dates for corn and soybeans.  The majority of farmers were able to get the crop in with a few wet areas having been left behind and planted around although some will have prevented planting this year.  So how does 2018 look now?  With later planting dates, crop maximum potential was lowered.

For corn, maximum corn yield is generally obtained when planting occurs in late April or early May (100 percent if planted by April 30th). In years when spring arrives late when there are few growing degree days during late April and the first half of May, maximum corn yield also can be obtained when planting occurs in mid–May.  A couple of studies by Dr. Jeff Coulter, University of Minnesota Extension Corn Specialist. One from 2009 to 2011 at Lambert…

Managing Farm Profit Margins - The 5% Club Update

By Don Nitchie, Extension Educator

A single 5% improvement may be easy to overlook, but you should not take this small improvement for granted. Increasing revenue 5% while also decreasing costs 5% can have a big impact on your bottom line.  We have studied the potential impact this can have on a Southwest Minnesota Farm Business management Association average farm in 2017.

The table below compares actual outcomes for the average Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association farm in 2017, to the projected 2018 results for the average association farm if it joins “The 5% Club”. Our analysis of “The 5% Club” compares farm performance if the average association farm improves gross revenues by 5% and lowers operating costs by 5% over 2017 for 2018.

It is impressive how just these small changes result in Net Farm Income of an average farm doubling and Term Debt Repayment Capacity improves from 1.3 in 2017 to 2.3 in 2018.  In 2016, the same 5% changes would have almost tripled Net…

Prevented Planted Insurance Coverage Dates

By David Bau, Extension Educator

Heavy spring rains resulting in flooded fields have delayed planting for many farmers in southern Minnesota.  Many of these farmers will have to decide what to do when the final planting dates of May 31 for corn and June 10th for soybeans.

The USDA’s Federal Crop Insurance Corp. policies have prevented planting provisions for payment if planting cannot occur before the final planting date.  There are also options to plant after the final planting date, but with reduced insurance coverage.

For most of Minnesota, the final planting date for corn is May 31. It is May 25 for northern counties.  The final planting date for soybeans in Minnesota is June 10. The late planting period extends for 25 days after the crop's final planting date at this point the insurance coverage is reduced to 55% for corn and 60% for soybeans.

University of Minnesota Extension agriculture business management educators have posted extensive information regarding prevented and …

Dairy MPP - Strategies for MY Farm

By Nathan J. Hulinsky, Extension Educator


Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) was enacted in the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill). The program was an insurance mechanism for dairy producers to protect milk price/feed cost margin by selecting a coverage level from $4.00 to $8.00/cwt. Also producers need to select coverage percentage between 25% and 90% of annual pounds produced. The program initially had mixed results with most farmers only receiving enough payments to cover their enrolment fees. In April 2018 The Bipartisan Act of 2018 was passed, making changes to the MPP payment structure, resulting in better benefits to most dairy farmers.

Changes to MPP

Calculations are monthly, instead of bi-monthly of margins. Pounds of milk covered increased in Tier 1 to 5 million pounds/year, from 4.Premium rates reduced significantly.Certain groups, beginning, limited resource, disadvantaged, or military veteran farmers may qualify for administrative fees. Must re-enroll by June 1…