Farm Crisis Forum: 'Resiliency, Resources & Taking Action’ Feb. 12 in Plainview & Feb. 13 in Preston

LEWISTON, Minn. — As the farm financial crisis deepens in our rural communities, the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) and Izaak Walton League of Minnesota are partnering to offer an event called, “Farm Crisis Forum: Resiliency, Resources and Taking Action,” on Wednesday, Feb. 12, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Immanuel Lutheran Church (45 W. Broadway) in Plainview, and again on Thursday, Feb. 13, at St. Columban Catholic Church in Preston (408 Preston St. NW) from 12:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. These events are free, but RSVPs are appreciated for food planning purposes. To reserve a spot or for more information, contact LSP’s Karen Stettler at 507-523-3366 or stettler@landstewardshipproject.org.

These workshops will bring together farmers, community members and a resource panel. Through these meetings, farmers will gain 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 as well as advance policy solutions that keep family farmers on the land.

Both events will include a light meal as well as farmer presenters sharing their experiences farming during stressful times and what they have learned in the process, along with time for attendees to network with other participants. This will be followed by a panel bringing relevant information and advice for farm families who are making important short- and long-term decisions. Policy solutions to the farm crisis will also be offered, along with the opportunity to take action.

Panelists will include Stephen Carpenter of Farmers’ Legal Action Group; Minnesota Department of Agriculture Farm Advocate Wayne Pike; farmer Dan Miller of Farm Business Management at Riverland Community College; Cynthie Christensen, a licensed therapist and farmer; farmer Paul Sobocinski of LSP’s Policy and Organizing Program; and farmer Bonnie Haugen of the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship and the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota.

On Feb. 13, an additional dairy crisis meeting is planned from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (registration at 10 a.m.) to discuss and take action on policy-driven solutions. Featured speaker Dr. Richard Levins, a U of M emeritus professor of applied economics and a dairy policy adviser for the National Farmers Organization, will speak on “A Plan to Take Action for Family Dairy Farmers.”

“It is important for farmers to know that they are not alone and they don’t have to try to solve all of the problems alone,” said Stettler. “There are people they can talk to for help and I just want more people to know about what exists.”

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