Young Farmers Receive Crow River SFA Scholarships

SFA’s Crow River Chapter recently recognized two area youth as recipients of the Outstanding Youth in Sustainable Agriculture award.

Two aspiring farmers received $100 awards at the Crow River SFA annual meeting Jan. 31. Pictured (from left) are scholarship winners Emily Hackbarth and Charlie Otto with Crow River Chapter President Nick Neaton.

Two aspiring farmers received $100 awards at the Crow River SFA annual meeting Jan. 31. Pictured (from left) are scholarship winners Emily Hackbarth and Charlie Otto with Crow River Chapter President Nick Neaton.

These hard-working young people each received a $100 cash award towards their farming projects. It is the CRSFA’s hope that this financial assistance will inspire new generations to start farming!

Emily Hackbarth raises goats, llamas, and gardens at her family’s farm near Silver Lake. Emily is especially interested in pasture management and holistic health for her herd of dairy goats. She is active in 4-H, which has helped cultivate her lifelong passion for agriculture.

Charlie Otto of Delano is also a longtime 4-H member. Charlie raises sheep, cattle, and chickens on his family’s farm, as well as helping with the vegetable gardens. Charlie hopes to use the $100 award to create a better fencing system for his pastured chickens.

For more information, visit the SFA Crow River Chapter homepage.

Lake Agassiz Seed Swap April 26 in Bagley

SFA_LakeAgassiz_RGBSFA Lake Agassiz Chapter is hosting a Seed Swap and potluck from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 26, at the American Legion, 112 Main Ave N, Bagley. This event is free and no registration is required.

Attendees can bring extra seeds saved from crops or leftover purchased seeds, all in containers that are not spill-prone and clearly labeled, along with small envelopes to carry home your exchanges. Do not bring treated or GMO seeds. Cuttings, scion wood, etc. are welcome.

No seeds? No sweat! Come anyway and pick up some things that interest you. Discussion welcome on the history of heirloom seeds and ancient grains.

For more information, contact Jim Ingvaldson at 218-694-3071.

From the Executive Director: Volunteering for SFA is Win-Win

John Mesko

John Mesko

By John Mesko • SFA Executive Director

SFA’s website is loaded with helpful information. A key part of the SFA website is our volunteer page. If you are a volunteer, you will need to be familiar with the volunteer handbook, which can be found there. If you haven’t already been through the handbook, please read it, and then sign and submit a volunteer release form. This is required of all volunteers.

Also on the volunteer page, you can track your volunteer hours. This is a great way to make a formal donation to SFA. By recording your hours here, you are actually making an “in-kind” donation to SFA. This is very useful to us when we write a grant that requires matching funds. But we can only take advantage of this if you record your hours.

If you have a volunteer opportunity in your chapter, listing it here may help you find the right person for the job. We get frequent requests from people who want to volunteer, and since we don’t always know everything going on in each region, this is a great tool for communicating your need for volunteer assistance.

Association Board Elects New Officer Slate

Executive CouncilAt its meeting on Feb. 13, 2015, the SFA Board of Directors elected a new slate of officers.

At-large member Libby Wyrum was elected Vice-President, Lake Agassiz Chapter representative Marie Petry was elected board Secretary, and at-large member Chris Kudrna was elected as Treasurer.

Jim Chamberlin will remain in his role as Board President.

Wyrum has been on the Association Board since 2012. She is the founder of Frank & Ernest Foods, a local marketing consultancy, and is the director of the Linden Hills Farmers Market. She lives in St. Paul with her husband Dan and their two dogs, Frank and Ernest.

Petry has worked tirelessly for the past few years to revitalize SFA’s Lake Agassiz Chapter. Most recently, she has organized three popular “Good Food From Good Farms” events and is planning a yearly Lake Agassiz Chicken Festival. She and her husband, Bob, operate GrassStain Farm near Wolverton.

Kudrna is a longtime SFA Board member and past President who is a stalwart of Crow River Chapter and vendor at Minnesota Garlic Festival. He and his wife, Joanne, own Plum Creek Garlic near St. Cloud.

Chamberlin and his wife, Audra, own Island Lake Farm south of Deerwood, a 107-acre diversified farm where they raise food and fiber for their nine children, seven grandchildren, extended family and friends.

New SFA East Central Chapter Hosting First Meeting

A new SFA chapter is forming in the East Central part of the state, and all are invited to the first official chapter meeting, set for 6 p.m. March 29 at Kimberly-Glen Town Hall in Aitkin.

Admission to this event is free and no registration is required.

The purpose of this meeting is to elect a Chapter Board of Directors and discuss the direction and goals of this new Chapter. Here are the particulars about the event:

  • Date:  March 29, 2015
  • Time: 6 pm
  • Location: Kimberly-Glen Town Hall, 32631 Dam Lake St, Aitkin, MN 56431
  • Cost: Free

For more information, contact Jerry Ford at gro.n1432654636m-afs1432654636@yrre1432654636j1432654636.