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November 18, 2013

UMN Extension announces restructuring of statewide nutrition education program

Today, University of Minnesota Extension announced a restructuring of the federally funded SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Education Program - Education) for low-income audiences.

Contact: Allison Sandve 612-626-4077 office, 651-492-0811 cell; ajsandve@umn.edu
ST. PAUL, Minn. (11/182013)—Today, University of Minnesota Extension announced a restructuring of the federally funded SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Education Program - Education) for low-income audiences. The restructuring is made necessary by a significant cut in the program's federal funding. Minnesota, like all states, received an unexpected 28 percent cut in SNAP-Ed funding in January through the American Taxpayer Relief Act.
Federal funding cuts imposed by the American Taxpayer Relief Act have not been restored and the future of federal funding under the Farm Bill has not yet been resolved. Due to the loss in federal funds, Extension must now restructure the SNAP-Ed program to reduce the number of nutrition education staff to match current federal funding levels.
"Because of the importance of nutrition education to low-income Minnesotans, we did not make immediate cuts in the program," said Bev Durgan, University of Minnesota Extension Dean. "Since January, we have been working with our federal partners to try to restore the federal funding, while covering the cuts with significant cost saving measures and non-federal funds."
To ensure that Extension continues to deliver statewide nutrition education to eligible families, while operating with reduced federal funding, Extension will:

  • Create a regional SNAP-Ed program using Extension's regional delivery model. Nutrition staff will cover multiple county regions. Counties may choose to contract with Extension for additional county-specific services as they do now for 4-H program coordinators and county agriculture educators.

  • Identify multi-county service areas based on income-eligible populations and free-lunch eligible schools.

  • Staff the new regional system with 40 percent fewer positions.


The restructuring was announced to Extension nutrition staff this afternoon. New regional positions have been posted on the University's employment website. Extension nutrition staff are being encouraged to apply during an internal hiring process that will be completed by mid-December. At that time, nutrition staff who did not apply or were not offered a regional position will receive layoff notices effective mid-January.
The new regional SNAP-Ed educators will be in their new positions in early 2014. They will then work with local community partners to determine educational programs and delivery methods based on income-eligible participants in the counties.
"Extension will continue to provide nutrition education to low-income families, but we will have fewer nutrition educators to reach the same number of participants," Durgan said. "We have a proven track record of success with Extension's regional delivery model, which we will rely on as we work closely with our local and state partners to deliver nutrition education to low income families in new ways."


For more news from U of M Extension, visit www.extension.umn.edu/news or contact Extension Communications at extnews@umn.edu. University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

November 11, 2013

Farmland rent trends for 2014

An increase in 2014 farmland rent in Minnesota may indicate a loss for producers at current corn and soybean cash forward contract prices available.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (11/11/2013)—An increase in 2014 farmland rent in Minnesota may indicate a loss for producers at current corn and soybean cash forward contract prices available.
This calculation factors in other expenses and projected total income with historical yields. If corn or soybean prices increase--or if yields are better than expected in 2014--producers may be able to pay higher rental rates.
Based on the current corn and soybean prices for 2014, however, there is a real potential for farmers to lose money. If this occurs, it should cause lower or flat farmland rental rates in 2014 compared to 2013.
The Minnesota Agricultural Statistic Service reported an 11.1 percent increase across Minnesota from 2011 to 2012 and an 18 percent increase from 2012 to 2013.
The continual high prices in the grain markets had put pressure on rental rates to increase in 2013. Now the current prices for 2013 and 2014 corn are much lower than one year ago, but land rents continue to increase. For example, on Oct. 11, 2012 in Lamberton, the cash bid for 2012 corn was $7.38 and for 2013 corn it was $5.79 per bushel. As of Oct. 9, 2013, the cash bid for 2013 corn was $4.18 and for 2014 corn it was $4.35 per bushel.
Cropland rental rates can vary significantly. Factors include crop returns based on current grain prices and projected yields, land quality, tile and drainage on the farmland, the federal farm program, previous crops, herbicides and fertility, use of facilities, and length of contract.
Extension workshops "What is a fair and profitable farmland rental agreement?" taught by Extension Educator David Bau are available in central and southern Minnesota in November and December. The workshops will cover farmland rental rate trends, land values, increasing input costs, flexible leases, and rental lease examples. For details, visit the Agricultural Business Management blog.
The "Cropland Rental Rates for Minnesota Counties" publication prepared by Gary Hachfeld, William Lazarus, Dale Nordquist and Rann Loppnow, which uses the FINBIN database, is a helpful resource. View the publication on the Center for Farm Financial Management website: http://z.umn.edu/hgr.
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Source: David Bau, University of Minnesota Extension Educator.
Media Contact: Allison Sandve, U of M Extension, 612-626-4077, ajsandve@umn.edu
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For more news from U of M Extension, visit www.extension.umn.edu/news or contact Extension Communications at extnews@umn.edu.
University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

November 10, 2013

Thanksgiving is a time for Minnesota local foods to shine

Many of the foods found on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner plate are mainstays of Minnesota farms. Minnesota leads the nation in production of turkey, red potatoes and green peas and has contributed to great advancements in wheat, butter, honey, and fruit and vegetable production.

November 06, 2013

"Minnesota Counties" newsletter November column

By Bev Durgan, University of Minnesota Extension Dean

Extension and counties benefit from the 87 county Extension committees that advise Extension and counties. In addition, I value the input from the statewide Citizen's Advisory Committee (CAC) that provides a grassroots perspective on the operations, strategies and impacts of Extension at the broader statewide level.
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