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United Way to Offer Free Get Connected Training

Get Connected is a free and easy to use platform provided by the United Way of Southwest Minnesota that allows volunteers to find opportunities that match their interests and abilities and allows organizations to find volunteers, wish list items and advertise events. The platform is accessed by visiting UnitedWaySWMN.org and selecting the blue ‘Volunteer’ tab. Get Connected is a powerful resource for both volunteers and organizations throughout southwest Minnesota to utilize at no charge.

Organizations looking for volunteer power, wish list items or board members can post needs on an ongoing basis or as a one-time opportunity.  The site offers many capabilities that allow an agency to truly customize it as their own.  Organizations can also post upcoming events within the platform.  All types of organizations including but not limited to: non-profits, schools, libraries, churches, civic organizations, 4-H clubs, etc. are welcome to create and maintain a Get Connected agency page.  

Once a user signs up as a volunteer, they are quickly able to respond to needs and connect directly with the organization posting.  Users are also able to view upcoming events and track volunteer hours through the platform.

Everyone is invited to attend this valuable training whether you are a volunteer wanting to learn how to use the platform, an organization wanting to register or an existing user or organization that would like to learn more and maximize site potential.  The training will include an overview of the platform and how to use it as a volunteer, tips for organizations on how to maximize their respective pages and one-on-one consultation at the end of the session.  To get the most out of this training, attendees are encouraged to bring a laptop.

UWSWMN will hold free Get Connected trainings on Wednesday, September 26th from 10:00am-12:00pm OR 1:00 pm-3:00pm at the Marshall-Lyon County Library. RSVP’s are required for planning purposes by emailing Sarah.Kicmal@UnitedWaySWMN.org.


USDA Authorizes Emergency Haying and Grazing of CRP Acres for Murray County

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has authorized emergency haying and grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for Murray County. 

The emergency haying authorization for Murray County became effective August 9, 2018, and ends 60 calendar days from the authorization date, not to exceed August 31, 2018. The emergency grazing authorization for Murray County became effective August 9, 2018, and ends 90 calendar days from the authorization date, not to exceed September 30, 2018.

Eligible producers who are interested in emergency haying or grazing of CRP must request approval before haying or grazing eligible acreage. It is also important for producers to obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that includes haying and grazing requirements. 

The eligible CRP acreage is limited to acres located within the approved county. Eligible producers who are interested in haying or grazing CRP under the emergency authorization and current CRP participants who choose to provide land for haying or grazing to an eligible livestock producer, must first request approval to hay or graze eligible acreage and obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to include haying or grazing requirements. 

Since Murray County is authorized for emergency haying and grazing, producers are reminded that the same CRP acreage cannot be both hayed and/or grazed at the same time. For example, if 50 percent of a field or contiguous field is hayed, the remaining unhayed 50 percent cannot be grazed; it must remain unhayed and ungrazed for wildlife. In addition, participants are limited to one hay cutting and are not permitted to sell any of the hay.

For more information and to request approval for emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres contact the Murray County FSA office at 507-836-8567.


Dairy Farm Stress Webinar Series Available For Viewing

St Cloud, MN – (8/8/2018) Farming is one of the most stressful occupations in the United States. This is particularly true for dairy farmers as they are experiencing an extended period of low milk prices.

To help dairy farmers deal with stress, the 4 State Dairy Extension Group hosted a series of three webinars that discussed how to recognize the signs of stress, how to deal with dairy farm families experiencing stress, analyzing a dairy for profits, the profitability of various dairy systems and what FINBIN says about production costs.

The webinars have been archived and remain available to be viewed through the Four-State Dairy Nutrition & Management Conference website at: 

http://www.fourstatedairy.org/webinars.html

The topics discussed in the webinars included:

Recognizing and Managing Stress in Dairy Farmers

Do you know your cost of production and where the dairy industry is headed?

Making Production Decisions During Challenging Times 

The webinars were presented and sponsored by extension specialists from ISU Extension and Outreach, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota.

For more information, contact Jim Salfer at salfe001@umn.edu or (320) 203-6093


Star Gazing Opportunity at Local Area Parks

Visitors will be treated to star gazing events on Aug. 24 and Aug. 25 at state parks in southwestern Minnesota.

With the planet Mars as the starring attraction, WCCO meteorologist and well-known stargazing guide Mike Lynch will host a star watch party at Lake Shetek State Park on Friday, Aug. 24, and Camden State Park on Saturday, Aug. 25. Both programs will take place from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

This summer, Mars is as close as it’s been to Earth in 15 years and nearly as close as it’s been in 60,000 years. Park visitors can get to know more about our Martian neighbor through giant telescopes aimed at the red planet, as well as the moon, Jupiter, Saturn and other great celestial treasures. They’ll also check out the constellations like The Big Bear, Cygnus the Swan, Pegasus the Winged Horse, and some of their great stories behind them.

Guests are encouraged to dress for the weather and bring lawn chairs.

Mike Lynch has been hosting star watch parties and teaching astronomy classes for over 45 years. He also writes a weekly stargazing column for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and is the author of the books, “Mike Lynch’s Minnesota Star Watch,” and “Stars, a Month by Month Tour of the Constellations.”


Nobles’ Operation Round Up Application Deadline Is Drawing Near

Apply for Operation Round Up funds today!

(Worthington, Minn.) - A local school needs to provide books for underprivileged students. A local hospice needs new equipment and a local fire department needs to raise money for pagers. You see these types of stories on the news and read them in the papers. What have they all got in common? Thanks to Nobles Cooperative Electric’s Operation Round Up program, the answer to this question is “help in time of need.”

Nobles Cooperative Electric members help their neighbors a penny, nickel, dime and quarter at a time through Operation Round Up (ORU). Thanks to the generosity of Nobles’ members, a lot of good work is done for the communities we live in. Operation Round Up is a community program of people helping people. Through this voluntary program, over 70 percent of the members of Nobles Cooperative Electric have elected to have their electric bills rounded up to the nearest dollar. As a group, Nobles Cooperative Electric members raise about $1,850 per month. These Round Up funds go into a trust fund. Nobles-Murray Rural Electric Trust Board administers the donations.

Operation Round Up is designed to provide financial assistance to non-profit organizations in the surrounding communities of Murray, Nobles and adjacent counties. Organizations that serve these communities can request funds for projects involving:

Community Service

Economic Development

Education and Youth

Environment

Disaster Relief

The trust board is currently accepting applications. The deadline for submitting applications is September 4. Call Nobles Cooperative Electric at 507-372-7331 or 800-776-0517, visit our website (www.noblesce.coop) or email nce@noblesce.com to request an application.

Nobles Cooperative Electric is a rural electric cooperative that serves approximately 5,800 members in Nobles and Murray Counties. We’re your good neighbor!