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Annual crops day marks 10 years

Things are about to get very busy for Minnesota farmers, and for the 10th year in a row, the University of Minnesota Extension office in Farmington is helping them get ready with a day dedicated to learning.

The 10th annual Crops Day will take place March 16 at Dakota Electric. Among other things, the four-hour session will include lessons on technology for monitoring soil moisture, nitrogen fertilizer management and managing the business side of a farm operation.

Some topics come up year after year, but they also evolve as farmers’ needs change.

When the event started in 2007 it was known as the Nitrogen Management Meeting, and nitrogen remains an important topic because of concerns about the level of nitrates in Dakota County drinking water. Crops Day has evolved over the years as needs have changed.

“It’s just fulfilling that educational mission of Extension,” said Neith Little, one of the Extension educators in charge of organizing the event each year. “It’s continuing education, research-based information for farmers.”

Extension brings in researchers from the University of Minnesota and representatives from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, among others, to teach the courses.

About 90 people have attended each of the past two years, but attendance fluctuates depending on the level of interest in a given year’s topics.

For the farmers who attend, it’s a chance to learn and a chance to socialize.

“They like to see their neighbors they haven’t seen,” Little said. “Farming can be a little solitary. You see your friends at the grain elevator, but you also see them at the winter meetings.”

This year’s Crops Day will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 16 at Dakota Electric Association, 4300 220th Street. A free lunch will be provided. To RSVP or for more information call Little at 651-481-7723 or email

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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