Nicollet & Sibley County Ag News

April 2022

University of Minnesota Extension
Dennis Schmidt, Nicollet County

Silver Maple Tree Tapping

Dennis Schmidt, Nicollet County

Your Ag Educator- Notes from Emma Severns

Welcome to Spring!

It's so nice to be able to get outside as the temperatures are warming up and see all the plants coming to life again. Before we know it, it will be planting season. Thank you to those who attended our events last month. There were over 30 crop farmers who attended our 2022 Crop Management Update to hear from University researchers and educators on how to best manage their crops this upcoming season. We also had 30 dairy producers participate in our interactive panel discussion on calf and heifer care at our Dairy Producer Night Out. You can check out a few upcoming opportunities below.

I have highlighted a few hot topics in agriculture right now including the confirmation of High Path Avian Influenza in Minnesota and what you can do to protect your flock, as well as the confirmation of Equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) in Olmsted County. Check out that information to stay up to date on what you can do to help.

Take note of our calendar of events for upcoming programs in our county and check out the featured calendar of events for all Extension events.

Spread the word by forwarding this newsletter with others, sharing our Facebook posts, and most importantly, through your conversations with others.

Wishing you a warm spring,


Extension Events

Go to the featured courses and events for more Extension program opportunities.

Hot Topics in Agriculture

ATTENTION: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), H5N1, was confirmed in the United States in 2022.

H5N1 was introduced to the US by migrating wild birds and affects all domestic poultry: small

and urban flocks and commercial industries.

Poultry with HPAI do not survive the illness. Vaccines for HPAI are not readily available.

Signs of Avian Influenza:

  • Extreme depression
  • Very quiet
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Decrease in egg production
  • Swelling or discoloration of head,
  • eyelids, comb, wattle, and hocks
  • Not eating well
  • Sudden unexplained death

Biosecurity is your best option to prevent HPAI from entering your small or urban poultry flock.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health is the best resource for up-to-date information about cases and affected counties.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask! Extension is working closely with responding agencies and University experts to minimize the effects of this disease event.

Horse owners be aware of EHV1

The MN Board of Animal Health confirmed one horse in Olmsted County was humanely euthanized due to Equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) which is the neurological form of Equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). While vaccinations are available to control the respiratory and abortion manifestations of EHV-1, current vaccines do not reliably prevent the development of EHM. EHM is a reportable disease in Minnesota and details of the case can be found on the Equine Disease Communication Center website.

While it is not uncommon for EHM to periodically surface in Minnesota, it is a good reminder to practice biosecurity on horse (and livestock) farms. UMN Extension has the following information to help educate horse owners and professionals about EHM and biosecurity:

1. Website article on EHM
2. YouTube video on biosecurity away from home for horse owners
3. Website article on biosecurity for horse owners

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University Resources for You

Grain Storage Facility Cost-Share

The Grain Storage Facility Safety Cost-Share helps Minnesota farmers buy, ship, and install eligible safety equipment for on-farm grain bins or silos.

Accepting applications until June 30, 2022, or until funds run out.

  • A farm can apply only once per fiscal year.
  • Must receive all parts of the application before it’s considered complete. We will let you know if we need additional information.
  • They process complete applications on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • After your application is approved, it takes approximately two to four weeks to receive your payment.

Information and application

AGRI Livestock Investment Grant

The Minnesota Department of Ag announces the spring round of The AGRI Livestock Investment Grant. The AGRI Grant encourages long-term industry development for Minnesota livestock farmers and ranchers by helping them improve, update, and modernize their livestock operation infrastructure and equipment.

  • Reimburse 10% of the first $250,000 of an eligible investment.
  • For each project, the maximum grant amount available per fiscal year is $25,000.
  • Only one grant per project.

Application is due April 5, 2022

Information and Application

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.)

Farm Information Line

Contact the Farm Information Line for reliable, research-based answers from Extension agriculture and natural resources experts. It is a statewide service backed by a network of local educators, so you'll get information to meet your needs.

Call: 1-800-232-9077

Hours: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Afterhours: Leave a voicemail and we'll return your call the next business day.
Anytime: Email us at
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