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Historic Win for Minnesota Young and Beginning Farmers

First in the nation land access bill for young and beginning farmers signed by Governor Dayton – bipartisan and agricultural groups supporting.

Saint Paul, Minnesota – On Tuesday evening, Governor Mark Dayton signed ten budget bills that included a first-of-its-kind beginning farmer tax credit. Authored by Rep. Nels Pierson (R-Rochester) and Sen. Mike Goggin (R-Redwing), the bill supports the transition of land to young and beginning farmers through a tax credit incentive.

Central Minnesota Young Farmers Coalition co-founder (CMNYFC) Matthew Fitzgerald, an organic grain farmer, said, “This bill offers a win-win solution for the future of farming in Minnesota. This is also the first bill to include an incentive for the sale of farmland – making it a historic win.” Co-founder and conventional hops farmer Eric Sannerud added, “Less than four percent of Minnesota farmers are under the age of 35 and access to land is the number one barrier to getting started. This bill offers a tangible way to address pressing problems.”

Through the bill, landowners receive a state income tax credit when they sell or rent land or agricultural assets to a beginning farmer. The credit equals five percent of the sale price or ten percent of the cash rent, or fifteen percent for a cash share agreement. In turn, the beginning farmer must take a farm management course to qualify for the tax incentive and would be eligible for a tax credit covering the full cost of training. The tax credit is effective in the 2018 tax year and is funded at 12 million dollars for the 2020-2021 biennium. The funds are available on a first-come-first-served basis. Finally, the sunset for the credit is 2023 with the Rural Finance Authority issuing a report on the effectiveness of the credit no later than Feb. 1, 2022.

Beginning farmer and Central Minnesota Young Farmers Coalition co-leader Andrew Barsness talked about the organizing effort to pass the bill: “Young farmers across the state worked hard to see this pass. We organized, testified, and worked with the authors to get a good piece of legislation. For many of us, this was our first time getting political. This effort showed that by working with a broad coalition and staying focused on practical solutions, beginning farmers have a voice and power.”

The bill had bi-partisan support: House File 608 was co-authored by Representatives Jason Rarick (R-Pine City), Josh Heintzeman (R-Baxter), Mary Franson (R-Alexandria), Greg Davids (R-Preston), Jeanne Poppe (DFL-Austin), Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona), Clark Johnson (DFL-North Mankato) and David Bly (DFL-Northfield). In the Senate, the bill (SF 1414) was chief authored by Sen. Michael Goggin (R-Redwing) and co-authored by Senators Andrew Mathews (R-Milaca), Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake), Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley) and Dan Sparks (DFL-Austin).

Additionally, the Central Minnesota Young Farmers Coalition worked with major agricultural groups that included: Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Farmers Union, Land Stewardship Project, and the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

Rachel Brann, a beginning cut-flower farmer, summarized the impact of the bills by saying: “More beginning farmers on the land means stronger communities for Minnesota. This bill helps all farmers -big or small, rural or urban, conventional or organic.”

Founded in 2016, the Central Minnesota Young Farmers Coalition is a membership organization of farmers from Benton, Grant, Sterns, Meeker, Milaca, McLeod, Wright, Carver, and Rice counties. A local chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition, the group meets regularly to socialize, network, and advocate for young and beginning farmers.

Spotlight On: Book Reviews

Farmer Pirates & Dancing Cows

Farmer Pirates & Dancing Cows

From humor-filled stories of a life of farming to incisive examinations of food safety, from magical moments of the re-enchantment of agriculture to the benches we would use for the sharpening of our tools, Farmer Pirates & Dancing Cows offers a full meal of thought and reflection.

Posts

Driving Fence Posts By Hand

Where the soil is soft, loose, and free from stone, posts may be driven more easily and firmly than if set in holes dug for the purpose.

Making Buttermilk

The Small-Scale Dairy

What kind of milk animal would best suit your needs? For barnyard matchmaking to be a success, you need to address several concerns.

An Introduction To Grasslands Farming

From Dusty Shelves: A World War II era article on grassland farming.

The Horsedrawn Mower Book

Removing the Wheels from a McCormick Deering No. 9 Mower

How to remove the wheels of a No. 9 McCormick Deering Mower, an excerpt from The Horsedrawn Mower Book.

Dont Eat the Seed Corn

Don’t Eat the Seed Corn: Strategies & Prospects for Human Survival

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from issue:

Gary Paul Nabhan’s book “WHERE OUR FOOD COMES FROM: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov’s Quest to End Famine” (Island Press, 2009) is a weighty tome, freighted with implications. But as befits its subject it is also portable and travels well, a deft exploration of two trips around the world, that of the author following in the footsteps of a long-gone mentor he never met, the Russian pioneer botanist and geneticist Nikolay Vavilov (1887-1943).

Honoring Our Teachers

Honoring Our Teachers

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I believe that there exist many great practicing teachers, some of who deliberately set out to become one and others who may have never graduated from college but are none-the-less excellent and capable teachers. I would hazard a guess that many readers of Small Farmer’s Journal know more than one teacher who falls within this latter category. My grandfather, and artist and author Eric Sloane, were two such teachers.

Book Review Butchering

Two New Butchering Volumes

Danforth’s BUTCHERING is an unqualified MASTERPIECE! One which actually gives me hope for the furtherance of human kind and the ripening of good farming everywhere because, in no small part, of this young author’s sensitive comprehension of the modern disconnect with food, feeding ourselves, and farming.

Art of Working Horses Hunter Review

Art of Working Horses – A Review

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Over 40 years Lynn Miller has written a whole library of valuable and indispensable books about the craft of working horses. He has helped beginners acquire the basics of harnessing and working around horses, and has led those further along to focus on the specific demands of plowing, mowing, haying and related subjects. But, in a fitting culmination, his latest book, The Art of Working Horses, raises its sights and openly ponders secrets at the heart of the work that may over time elevate it to an art.

Old Man Farming

Old Man Farming

Long after his physical capacities have dwindled to pain and stiffening, what drives the solitary old man to continue bringing in the handful of Guernsey cows to milk?

One Seed To Another: The New Small Farming

One Seed to Another

One Seed to Another is staggering and bracing in its truths and relevance. This is straight talk from a man whose every breath is poetry and whose heartbeat is directly plugged into farming as right livelihood.

Starting Your Farm

Starting Your Farm: Chapter 4

Assuming that you’ve found a farm you want to buy, next you’ll need to determine if you can buy it. If you have sold your property, and/or saved your money, and have the means to buy the farm you are sitting pretty. If you do not have the full price of a considered farm, in cash or any other form, you will likely have to look for financing.

How To Prune a Formal Hedge

How To Prune A Formal Hedge

This guide to hedge-trimming comes from The Pruning Answer Book by Lewis Hill and Penelope O’Sullivan. Q: What’s the correct way to shear a formal hedge? A: The amount of shearing depends upon the specific plant and whether the hedge is formal or informal. You’ll need to trim an informal hedge only once or twice a year, although more vigorous growers, such as privet and ninebark, may need additional clippings.

Livestock Guardians

Introducing Your Guard Dog To New Livestock And Other Dogs

When you introduce new animals to an established herd or flock, you should observe your dog’s reactions and behavior for a few days. Since he will be curious anyway, it is a good idea to introduce him to the new animals while he is leashed or to place the new animals in a nearby area.

Starting Your Farm

Starting Your Farm: Chapter 3

What goes with the sale? What does not? Do not assume the irrigation pipe and portable hen houses are selling. Find out if they go with the deal, and in writing.

Woodstove Cookery at Home on the Range

An Illustrated Guide To The Wood Fired Cookstove

Illustrated guide to the wood stove and it’s accoutrements.

Art of Working Horses Another Review

Art of Working Horses – Another Review

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from issue:

One could loosely say this is a “how-to” book but it is more of an “existential” how-to: how to get yourself into a way of thinking about the world of working horses. Maybe we need to explain what a working horse is. A working horse is one, in harness, given to a specific task. So, in that context, the book illustrates the many ways Miller has worked with his equine partners over the years – helping them understand what he wants them to do, as both work together to create relationships that help achieve desired goals.

Work Horse Handbook

The Work Horse Handbook

The decision to depend on horses or mules in harness for farm work, logging, or highway work is an important one and should not be taken lightly. Aside from romantic notions of involvement in a picturesque scene, most of the considerations are serious.

Journal Guide