Skip to main content


Women in Ag Network - November Feature

By Megan Roberts, Extension Educator

November’s Women in Ag Feature is Tiffany Klaphake, Agriculture Program Coordinator for Central Lakes College, AgCentric, and MN FFA Alumni. Tiffany also lives and works on a dairy farm near Sauk Centre. Below Tiffany shares about her experiences growing up on a farm, leaving to seek an education and career in agriculture, and then finding herself back on a farm again.
WAGN: Tell us a little about your background and farm.
Tiffany: I grew up on a 60 cow dairy farm in central Minnesota by the small town of Burtrum. Growing up I was your classic FFA judging, 4-H showing, dairy princess waving farm girl. Being involved in so many agriculture related activities in high school made me want to pursue an agriculture degree in college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my degree, but knew I wanted my degree to be in agriculture. After graduating with an Agribusiness degree from Ridgewater College, I decided to transfer on to the University of Minnesota …
Recent posts

Dairy Margin Coverage

September 20 is the last day for dairy farmers to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage program with your local Farm Service Agency office.Even dairy farmers who have signed up for the program can change their coverage levels or the one year or five-year option for the program until September 20.

Just a reminder, Dairy Margin Coverage is part of the new farm bill. It is the replacement for Margin Protection Program (MPP). DMC uses a nation-wide formula for feed cost and subtracts this from the US all milk price. This is the national milk price to feed margin and is calculated monthly. The premiums for DMC are substantially reduced from MPP, Tier 1 is under 5 million pounds.Tier II is 5 million pounds and up. DMC premiums are listed in Table 1.Discounted premiums are available for Tier I if a farm signs up for five consecutive years of DMC in 2019 – which is a 25 percent reduction in the premium cost. If a dairy farm participated in MPP-Dairy during 2014 through 2017, the farm can get 7…

Beyond the Economics of Prevent Plant Cover Crops

By David Bau, Extension Educator

Wet cool spring of 2019 left many farmers cramming to get their crops planted.  Many were unable to get all the crop planted on time and continued planting even after final planting dates lowering their level of insurance coverage.  Many fields were not planted at all and many acres applied to prevented planting acres.

Some reports show close to 20 million acres in the United States were prevented planted acres. With 11 million prevented plant acres for corn and 4.5 million prevented plant acres for soybeans. This created a problem never experienced by many farmers, what to do with these idle acres.

Some used tillage to control weeds, some used tillage and chemicals to control weeds, others just used chemical control while many others planted cover crops. All of these weed control systems have costs associated with them.

The majority of farmers carry crop insurance that will provide income for these prevented planted acres. If a farmer had 75% coverage…

Women in Ag Network - August Feature

By Megan Roberts and Sarah Schieck, Extension Educators

Our August 2019 "Woman in Ag" feature is Chandra Pagel. Chandra is a special education teacher and a dairy farmer. In addition to her busy career responsibilities, Chandra is active in her community; for example, she and her husband currently serve on the Young Farmers and Ranchers state committee for MN Farm Bureau. Below Chandra shares about her farm and more. Thanks Chandra for sharing your story.
WAGN: Tell us about your farm. Chandra: Together with my husband and his parents, I farm in Southeastern Minnesota. As a family, we care for and milk a small herd of Holstein cows. We raise and house all of our replacement heifers on the farm. In addition, we have a small herd of beef pairs. We grow a variety of crops such as corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and rye grass and utilize cover crops to improve soil health.
WAGN: During the school year you are very busy teaching. How do you balance helping out on the farm when you have a …

Outlook 2019 with Weather and Price Variables

By David Bau, Extension Educator

The spring of 2019 will go down as one for the memory books. Wet, cool and late spring left many farmers cramming to get their crops planted. Many were unable to get all the crop planted on time and continued planting even after final planting dates lowering their level of insurance coverage. Many field were not planted at all and many acres applied to prevented planting acres.

Last winter I prepared crop budget for corn and soybeans total $722 per acre for corn and $469 for soybeans with cash rents or return of investment plus property taxes estimated at $186 per acre. How do the economics look today? Cash corn for harvest of 2019 at Lamberton’s Meadowland Coop was $4.17 and soybean price was $8.30.  The budget used yields of 190 bushels per acre for corn and 52 bushels per acre for corn. Though yield were projected for normal planting dates which did not take place for many Minnesota farmers. 

Using a 10 percent yield loss due to later planting dates…

Farming with No or Little Profit Leads to Stress

By David Bau, Extension Educator

There is no question that farming can be a stressful business. But when profits are small and cash flows becomes tight, stress builds up. A big problem in this equation is while farmers are so busy caring for everything else; they sometimes forget to care for themselves. Stress management may not seem like the most important topic to farmers, but it is critical to your health and your success.

If you still feel like something isn’t right or you can’t get a handle on your stress, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  There are many University of Minnesota Extension resources available to help you work through your stress.

Call Farm Information Line to set up a financial counseling session at 1-800-232-9077. Financial counseling is free and completely confidential. Extension farm financial experts from areas like banking and farm business management education provide free, one-on-one financial counseling to farmers who are experiencing financial stress.


Dairy Farmers Need to Sign Up for Programs

By David Bau, Extension Educator

Beginning this month, dairy farmers will have to make decisions on new dairy programs available for revenue protections. In order for dairy farmers to make informed decisions, they need to understand how these programs work and connect to their current farm finances.

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) has a new program called Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) that helps protect the milk price to feed margin. Dairy Revenue Protection is available through the Risk Management Agency and is a new tool that is like crop insurance for milk.
Farmers need to know their farm’s cost of production when making revenue protection decisions.
Your cost of production is the minimum price you need to break-even or make $0 profit. Knowing this will help you decide the milk price you need to fully cover your farm costs. You can calculate this on a per cow or per hundredweight (cwt) basis. Cost of production will vary by farm and by size of the farm. If you do…