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Farm Briefs, April 11

Deadline for nutrient program is April 24

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Agriculture reminds farmers in 46 eligible counties there is still time to gain valuable information about the real-world results of their farm nutrient management strategies by signing up for the 2009 Nutrient Management Initiative program.

The program is sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, in partnership with Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The Nutrient Management Initiative provides farmers a tool for conducting an economic evaluation of their nutrient management decisions. With this program, farmers can evaluate nitrogen or phosphorous comparisons and see the results under their own farming practices following a set protocol.

Enrolled farmers are compensated $1,200 for completing program requirements and must work with a certified crop adviser. More details are available at

The deadline to sign up is April 24. To participate, farmers must visit their county USDA-NRCS office and complete an Environmental Quality Incentives Program contract, and complete a producer agreement with planned application information.

Area counties including in the 46 eligible counties are Big Stone, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Meeker, Redwood, Renville, Stearns, Swift and Yellow Medicine.

New online tool helps compare conservation options

ST. PAUL -- Farmers and landowners can now use a new online tool to get key information about financial assistance for conservation projects. Developed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the new Minnesota Conservation Funding Guide is a "one-stop" resource for information about agricultural and natural resource conservation practices and payments.

The guide provides quick access to overviews of more than 50 soil conservation, water quality, feedlot management, wildlife habitat and other practices, with side-by-side payment comparisons. The guide will help users find practices that match their land management goals.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson says the new guide was developed to help landowners more easily find the conservation practices that will work for them.

"There are many different conservation programs and it can be difficult to keep up with the changes in requirements and funding," Hugoson said. "We hope this online tool will help answer landowners' questions and encourage them to establish and practice these conservation methods on their land."

Conservation program payment details and eligibility requirements will continually be added to the tool to reflect recent and pending changes at the state and federal levels. Find a link to the guide on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Web site home page at

Women's ag conferenceis Tuesday

ST. PAUL -- Leaders in Minnesota agriculture will help set the stage for the next generation of agricultural businesses, educators and producers at the 11th annual Women's Agriculture Leadership Conference on Tuesday at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska. Registration begins at 8 a.m.; conference ends at 3:30 p.m.

The conference will focus on "Activating Generation Next" with networking, leadership and career planning sessions, as well as feature young presenters working in the agriculture industry.

This annual event recognizes women for their role in the agriculture industry. Anyone with an interest in agriculture is invited to attend the conference, but it is specifically aimed at women working in on-farm or agri-business jobs or students planning a career in agriculture.