Last fall, Sherburne County joined a coalition of other counties in the University of Minnesota Extension. Because of this, farmers in Sherburne are now eligible to attend classes and workshops offered by the extension office.
Due to this, a new extension officer, Anthony Adams, was hired as an expert on small farms and local foods.
Adams says that the coalition has recently held a couple of successful workshops. In February, one workshop was held with a max capacity of 25 participants, but a total of 33 showed up to the event. So he knows there is a definite need and desire for the educational opportunities offered by the extension office. They also recently held courses on gardening, planning your dairy future, navigating agricultural resources, and more. And the coalition is only just starting to ramp up the opportunities for local farmers, now they have more resources to offer.
Workshops are typically offered free of charge. If they require a fee, the fee is as low as possible. Adams noted one popular course which is six weeks long for women in agriculture. The course cost $99 and that covered travel costs and meals for the students. But, he noted that the extension office knows all those who would like to participate are not always able to pay for classes, so they typically offer free workshops and courses.
Adams said the extension office is hoping that more people from the four-county coalition (Sherburne, Stearns, Benton and Morrison) will reach out the the extension office for any help or assistance they need. The extension officers are hoping to see common trends in what local farmers need so they can offer services to help.
A list of workshops and webinars being offered in Sherburne County is available at Extension.UMN.edu/courses-and-events. On that page, visitors can click “local office” on the left hand side to search by their county. Adams recommends searching all four counties, as any class offered in one county is available to the whole coalition.
Stay tuned in a future edition of the Patriot for an article covering what the extension office and the coalition does for Sherburne County, and how local farmers can utilize their services.