Nicollet & Sibley County Ag News

January 2023

University of Minnesota Extension
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Your Ag Educator

Notes from Emma Severns

Goodbye & Farewell -

As we enter into the new year, I will be entering into a new position elsewhere. I have resigned from my position as the Nicollet & Sibley County Ag Extension Educator. My last day will be Thursday, January 5th, 2023.

While I’m excited about this new opportunity, I want to say that these past two years have been amazing. I appreciate the time I spent working as an Extension educator and will miss everyone here that I have gotten to know. It was a wonderful experience to work for such a great organization that allowed me to do such fulfilling work in the community.

Thank you for the support and encouragement you have provided me during my time at Extension. Please continue to use Nicollet & Sibley County Extension as a resource for all your agriculture and horticulture needs. I hope you will stay in touch and I wish the very best for Nicollet & Sibley County Extension.




Hot Topics in Agriculture


Upcoming Local Events

Women in Dairy: Using Baler Twine and Barn Lime- January 12th, 2023

The Minnesota Dairy Initiative and University of Minnesota Extension are excited to announce the upcoming Women in Dairy: Using Baler Twine and Barn Lime event! The event's purpose is to inspire women with ties to the dairy industry through networking, education and empowerment.

This year’s program will feature Laura Daniels. Laura Daniels is a farmer, coach, consultant and agriculture advocate. For 15 years Laura served as the general manager of her dairy, Heartwood Farm, in charge of day-to-day operations. Now, she advises fellow farmers and business owners in the areas of team building and strategic planning with Hitch Pin Consulting. Laura founded Dairy Girl Network in 2013 to help fellow dairy women across the United States connect and succeed. Laura enjoys sharing this passion through giving speeches and leading workshops that inspire many to find their purpose, build their skills and have the confidence to tell their story.

The event will begin with registration and social gathering, followed by dinner and presentation starting at 7:00 p.m. Cost to attend is $20.

Dairy Producer Night Out- February 7th, 2023

The University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Dairy Initiative are excited to announce the Dairy Producer Night Out: Farm Transition to be held on Tuesday, February 7th, at Hahn’s Dining & Lounge in Winthrop. Come enjoy an evening of networking and learning with other dairy farmers. This event will run from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and is free to attend. A meal will be provided for attendees.

Succession planning for farmers is important, but it can be complicated. Join Jared Holt from Ascent Financial as he shares suggestions on when to begin planning farm transitions and options for reaching farm transition goals. Participate in a panel discussion including Jared Holt and area dairy producers.

Registration for the event is requested by February 1st. Cost to attend is free. Register at or by calling the Sibley County Extension office at 507-237-4100.

Private Pesticide Applicator Training Workshops

Farmers who apply restricted use pesticides (RUPs) to their land can apply for a private applicator certification.

Certification lasts for three years. To check your certification number, status and expiration date, go to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Private Pesticide Applicator Search page.

If your certification has not yet expired, choose one of the following recertification options (each option costs $75):

  • Complete a mail-in exam,
  • Take an online exam, or
  • Attend an in-person workshop offered in January or February.

Local workshops include:

  • Lafayette, February 3; 9:00am- 12:30 pm
    • Lafayette Community Center
  • Arlington, February 16; 12:30 - 4:00 pm
    • Arlington Community Center

More information and register here.
Walk-ins welcome (checks only)


Online Extension Events


Financial Resources

Down payment assistance grant MDA

Applications are now being accepted for a new grant program to support Minnesotans purchasing their first farm. The Down Payment Assistance Grant Program is managed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and offers dollar-for-dollar matching up to $15,000 for qualified small farmers to purchase farmland.

The MDA’s Rural Finance Authority (RFA) is awarding this funding using a first-come, first-served application process that will open at 9 a.m. on January 4, 2023. The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $500,000 in Fiscal Year 2023 for these grants. The RFA expects to award between 30 and 40 grants in this cycle, depending on the size of requests. A second cycle of $750,000 in funding has been secured and will be made available on July 1, 2023.

The application and more information on the Down Payment Assistance Grant can be found at


University Resources for You

UMN forage and cover crop species database

The UMN forage and cover crop species database is a tool for understanding and providing a description of 30 different crop species. This includes agronomic recommendations and soil health implications. You can also view "The Forage Field Trip" series of videos for more information.

UMN Soil Testing Laboratory

The Soil Testing Laboratory is part of the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources.

Soil testing takes the guesswork out of fertilizer recommendations, ensures fertile soil without pollution of the environment, and makes good economic sense. Our recommendations are based on laboratory results, soil characteristics, crop history, crop nutrient requirements and are specific to Minnesota locations and conditions.

Please email us at, or call 612-625-3101 for more information. (Email messages often result in the fastest response.)


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