Community Forum on the ‘Farm Crisis’ Jan. 9 in Granite Falls

GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — As the farm financial crisis deepens in our rural communities, the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) is offering special workshops and forums for farmers and rural communities, including one on Thursday, Jan. 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Kilowatt Community Center in Granite Falls (600 Kilowatt Dr). The event is free, but RSVPs are appreciated for planning purposes. To reserve a spot, request childcare, or for more information, contact LSP’s Scott DeMuth at 320-269-2105 or sdemuth@landstewardshipproject.org.

Farmers in Minnesota and across the country are facing an economic crisis that is entering its sixth year. The 2018 median farm income for U.S. farm households was negative $1,533, and 70 percent of the total income of farm families comes from off-farm sources. And yet, agribusiness firms and corporate interests continue to make record profits at the expense of farmers and rural communities.

For the Jan. 9 workshop, LSP will be bringing together farmers, community members, and a resource panel. Farmers leaving this meeting will have a stronger network to support them through this crisis, and community participants will help identify potential opportunities to come together and create a vision for their communities.

The event will include a light meal and time for attendees to network and talk to other participants. This will be followed with a presentation by farmers and community members, a panel of resource people, and a Q & A. Each of the panelists will bring relevant information and advice for farm families who are making important short- and long-term decisions. Panelists will include Stephen Carpenter of Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG), Farm Business Management instructor Kami Schoenfeld, and Minnesota Farm Advocate Ruth Ann Karty.

“It is important for farmers to know that they are not alone and they don’t have to try to solve all of their problems by themselves,” said Connie Dykes of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Farm Advocates Program. “There are people they can talk to for help and forums like this can help them find out what resources exist.”

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**This workshop is partially funded by USDA, Risk Management Agency under award number RM18RMEPP522CO40.