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Grain bin safety

Reilly Davis, 9, pulls a weighted rope on an exhibit on grain bin safety at the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota Friday, as Jade Kempsen of the Southern Minnesota Center for Agriculture holds the bin tight. The model, presented by the center for agriculture, is meant to teach children the dangers of grain bins and how difficult it is to rescue people from them. Photo by Pat Christman

The Free Press

MANKATO — Grain bin accidents, sometimes ending in tragedies, are an unfortunate reality in farm country.

Yet families who don’t grow up on farms might not be aware of the dangers.

An interactive exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota Friday taught children the basics of grain bin safety, including how difficult it can be to perform a rescue.

Grain bin emergencies occur every year, most often after people walk out onto the grain, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. When the farm auger starts moving the grain, it can create a false floor that collapses under weight.

Jade Kampsen, coordinator of outreach and recruitment at the Southern Minnesota Center for Agriculture, said the moving grain can then suck a person down.

“Quicksand is the best way to describe it when the grain starts moving,” she said. “It’s very dangerous.”

The exhibit was presented by the center for agriculture, which often uses it for education. Children were invited to tug on a weighted rope to show how much force is needed to pull someone out of the bin to safety. The farther down, the more force needed — 325 pounds of force would be needed to pull a 160-pound person up from just 3 feet under the grain.

Friday's demonstration is part of the museum’s ongoing efforts to give children a full view of agricultural practices in the region, said Rochelle Koberoski, museum farm manager.

“Most children haven’t been exposed to a lot of the farm equipment,” she said. “With them learning about harvest outside, it’s nice to have this piece inside when they first come in the door to learn to be safe and aware.”

Reilly Davis, 9, and his friends tried their turn at the rope. Gaining leverage with his feet up against the base of the grain bin model, he exceeded 50 pounds of force. His mother, Beth Ann, said she liked how educational the exhibit was, as she didn’t realize how difficult rescues were.

“Yes we live in Minnesota, but it’s not something we deal with everyday,” she said. “Just this little bit of information helps them.”

Category: General Information
Published: Monday, 30 October 2017 11:35

CONTACT:    

Ashley Aukes                                                                  
(507) 389-8885
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

October 4, 2017 – The Federal Economic Development Administration has awarded Region Nine Development Commission funding to develop and implement the first ever South Central Minnesota Agriculture Resilience Plan.

The project will build on completed regional planning initiatives previous done by Region Nine and work towards creating a cohesive strategy for resilient agriculturally based communities across the region. This will lead to the capitalization on new opportunities and creation of jobs to diversify and strengthen the local economy.

“Agriculture is undoubtedly a major player in economic development in our region,” stated Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, executive director of Region Nine. “This project will provide insight into how the region can become more sustainable. Resiliency is key in ensuring the nine counties of south central Minnesota continue to thrive.”

The funding award was matched by local partners to complete the planning project. Local partners who provided matching funds or in-kind match include Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota State University, Mankato and the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture/South Central College.

“South Central College Farm Business Management Education, along with our Southern MN Center of Agriculture, are committed to improving the economic vitality in our rural communities and increasing positively the farm resilience across the region,” shared Brad Schloesser, executive director Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture and Dean of Agriculture. “This is great support for strong programs that are needed now at an ever demanding rate.”

“We are appreciative and proud to be able to bring this innovative project to the region with the support of our partners,” expressed Griensewic Mickelson. The project will begin in the winter of 2017 and will conclude in late 2018.

Category: Press Releases
Published: Wednesday, 11 October 2017 14:01

North Mankato, Minn. March 2, 2017 - Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture has partnered with RealTime Talent and AgriGrowth to launch the AgriGrowth Job Exchange, a cutting-edge matching technology that will transform the recruitment process and streamline how employers and candidates connect with each other during the job/internship search process. This is a first of its kind technology solution that brings significant efficiency to finding and hiring employees by matching optimal candidates to jobs or internships, reducing potential turnover and overall hiring costs.

Talent attraction is a key challenge facing the employers of all sizes and types and Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture is pleased to offer this state of the art technology platform to their stakeholders. The AgriGrowth Job Exchange uses sophisticated matching algorithms to connect employers to candidates based on skills, interests, and requirements. Using correlated question-sets directed to both employers and candidates, the platform systematically aligns talent with opportunity.

“Connecting quality talent with open positions is a significant challenge for our members. The Center of Agriculture is excited to provide them with cutting-edge technology to streamline the recruitment process,” stated Brad Schloesser, Dean of Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture.

The AgriGrowth Job Exchange is focused on Minnesota’s employer community because they are key to our region’s economic growth and sustained quality of life for all Minnesotans. “Locating and hiring quality talent is a significant issue for any growing business. We are pleased to provide a resource to our stakeholders that makes the hiring process more efficient and provides better outcomes for both employers and candidates,” said Schloesser.

The AgriGrowth Job Exchange ensures that employers are connected to the most qualified applicants while candidates get matched to opportunities that best fit their unique profiles. Because the system provides unbiased, correlated matches, the playing field is leveled and candidates and employers are exposed to each other in ways that they historically would not have been. Consequently, the AgriGrowth Job Exchange, which is powered by the WorkFountain platform, maximizes employers’ ability to reach a large and diverse candidate pool while ensuring equal access to opportunities for all candidates. The AgriGrowth Job Exchange expertly collects and reports on meaningful data analytics regarding employer needs, candidates’ career interests, and how they align with real-time market needs and trends.

While new to Minnesota, this proven system is already in use by thousands of employers and tens of thousands of candidates from across the country and is growing rapidly. 

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The Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture is a Minnesota State Center of Excellence established in 2013 and is located at South Central College in North Mankato, Minnesota. The Center focuses on connecting students with the resources of area academic institutions, which are aligned with the needs of and industry to develop and sustain a talented workforce. The Center’s work includes developing career exploration camps, seminars and workforce trainings; new agricultural career pathways, and supporting internship and job opportunities with area agricultural businesses. For additional information about the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture, please visit the organization’s website at www.centerofagriculture.org.

Category: Press Releases
Published: Thursday, 02 March 2017 12:32

ST. PAUL, MINN. February 13, 2017 – The Applied Plant Sciences Graduate Program from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities will host the 4th University of Minnesota Annual Production Agriculture Symposium highlighting cropping system diversity at the Continuing Education and Conference Center at the St. Paul Campus Wednesday, February 22, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration for the Symposium is free and Certified Crop Consultant Continuing Education Units will be available. Lunch will be provided.

The symposium aims to bring together researchers, producers, industry, students and various other professionals to share and discuss about increasing cropping system diversity. Cover crop and perennial crop researcher Dr. Marisol Berti of NDSU will be our morning keynote speaker, and landscape ecologist Dr. Lisa Schulte-Moore of Iowa State University will be our afternoon keynote speaker. In addition, there will be breakout sessions with researcher presentations, a poster session with prizes, a panel discussion, and space for exhibitors.

For more information and to register visit: https://productionagsymposium.dl.umn.edu/

The Production Agriculture Symposium is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, Coca Cola, University of Minnesota - Student Services, University of Minnesota - Council of Graduate Students, and Albert Lea Seed House.

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The University of Minnesota Production Agriculture Symposium is a free event designed to promote interaction among student scientists, producers, academia, and industry.  It is one of a series of symposia flag-shipped by DuPont Pioneer in collaboration Universities internationally. In Minnesota, we strive for an audience of those in agricultural production: farmers throughout the state and Midwest, University students and researchers in agronomic fields, as well as industry and research leaders in Minnesota and throughout the country. For more information on the DuPont Pioneer Plant Symposia Series visit https://www.pioneer.com/home/site/about/research/PlantSciSymposiaSeries/

Category: Press Releases
Published: Monday, 13 February 2017 15:33

Austin, Minnesota November 7th - Riverland Community College has formally joined the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture, a collaborative group of higher educational institutions with related agriculture programs that serve agricultural students, producers and businesses throughout the region.  

“Agriculture is the second largest employer in Minnesota, and Southern Minnesota is rich in agricultural diversity from cooperatives to processing to businesses and farms. We have an abundance of opportunities in agriculture, and we are pleased to expand the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture’s impact by welcoming Riverland to the organization,” said Brad Schloesser, Director of the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture.

In addition to broadening the reach of the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture, Riverland’s contributions will enhance educational efforts that promote careers in agriculture, support Farm Business Management education, and expand workforce training. Riverland has a long history in agriculture with the Farm Business Management program, and most recently started offering degrees in Agricultural Science and Precision Technology.

“Last year, Riverland established the Southeast Minnesota Global Center for Agriculture and Food Science Innovation through generous funding from The Hormel Foundation,” said Adenuga Atewologun, Riverland President.  “By joining the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture this year, Riverland expands resources available to its students in the Food, Agricultural and Biological (FAB) sciences program. This new partnership will enhance our collaboration with industry and educational partners that are already members of the center and help us develop talent that meets the region’s needs in the agriculture industry.”

The Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture was established in 2013, and is based at South Central College in North Mankato. Other member institutions include Minnesota West Community and Technical College, South Central College and Southwest Minnesota State University.

Riverland Community College, a member of Minnesota State, is a community college that has inspired personal success through education. Approximately 4,900 students are served annually through a wide range of credit-based educational opportunities. An additional 5,400 students are annually served in non-credit courses. Campuses are located in Albert Lea, Austin and Owatonna, Minn. Riverland may be found on the Internet at www.riverland.edu.

Minnesota State, formerly known as Minnesota State Colleges and Universities includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 400,000 students. It is the fifth-largest higher education system in the United States.

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The Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture is a Minnesota State Center of Excellence established in 2013 and is located at South Central College in North Mankato, Minnesota. The Center focuses on connecting students with the resources of area academic institutions, which are aligned with the needs of and industry to develop and sustain a talented workforce. The Center’s work includes developing career exploration camps, seminars and workforce trainings; new agricultural career pathways, and supporting internship and job opportunities with area agricultural businesses. For additional information about the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture, please visit the organization’s website at www.centerofagriculture.org.

Category: Press Releases
Published: Monday, 07 November 2016 15:59

Rochester, Minnesota - September 29, 2016 - Riverland Community College's Farm Business Management program will be hosting a 2017 Corn and Soybean Management Seminar sponsored by Bremer Bank to discuss the agricultural
outlook for farms in the coming year. Riverland's 2017 Corn and Soybean Management Seminar is scheduled for December 6th, 2016 from 8:30am to 3pm at the Eagles Club in Rochester, Minnesota. 

2017 Crop Management Flyer

The seminar will feature a variety of speakers on topics such as price risk management, rural mental health, leasing versus purchasing benefits, and data decisions for crop nutrients.

The cost to attend is $10 for current Riverland Farm Business Management enrollees or $15 for the general public. Fee includes lunch, coffee, and materials.

If you have questions about the event please contact Jack LaValla, Riverland FBM Instructor, at 507-951-9453 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Category: General Information
Published: Thursday, 29 September 2016 11:57

Farm Business Management Instructor Paul Lanoue of Minnesota West Community and Technical College was chosen as one of the eight finalists in the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Contest. See the press release below from USFRA for additional details and to find out how you can vote for Paul starting in October. 

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (August 30, 2016) - With enthusiastic farmers across the country, spanning beef, corn, cotton, dairy, pork, poultry and soybeans, excited to share the truth behind today's agriculture to consumers, U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA®) announces today the finalists of its third class of Faces of Farming and Ranching, a nationwide search to help put real faces on agriculture. The following farmers and ranchers were named finalists:  

Lauren Arbogast, Va.      Emily Buck, Ohio               Katie Roth, Wis.                Lauren Schwab, Ohio

Jeremy Brown, Texas     Paul Lanoue, Minn.         Geoff Ruth, Neb.             Joy Widerman, Pa.

Applications were received from dedicated farmers and ranchers from across the nation. Winners will share their stories and experiences about how food is grown and raised in the U.S. on a national stage through media interviews, consumer-facing public appearances, blog posts and more. This is the third class of Faces of Farming & Ranching that USFRA has sought to speak on behalf of the industry in this capacity.

"Farmers and ranchers care immensely about their animals, the environment, and their customers, and we need to share their stories in order to protect many of the tools and technologies that agriculture utilizes today," said Nancy Kavazanjian, USFRA Chairwoman. "These incredible finalists make it their highest priority to provide a nutritious and sustainable food supply, which is the story we intend to share with today's consumer through this program."

Through October 10-16, people can visit USFRA's Facebook Page to learn more about each of the finalists and the work they do, including short videos highlighting their operation. From there, the public can vote for the farmers and ranchers whom they believe best represents the passion and innovation behind today's agriculture. These votes will be factored into the final decision to determine the next Faces of Farming and Ranching.

Winners will be announced on November 9, 2016, during a USFRA press conference at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention (NAFB) in Kansas City.

For more information on the Faces of Farming & Ranching program, visit www.fooddialogues.com/Faces. Follow the conversation online at @USFRA #FoodD.

About U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®)

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) consists of more than 90 farmer and rancher led organizations and agricultural partners representing virtually all aspects of agriculture, working to engage in dialogue with consumers who have questions about how today's food is grown and raised. USFRA is committed to continuous improvement and supporting U.S. farmers and ranchers' efforts to increase confidence and trust in today's agriculture. To learn more, visit our website at www.fooddialogues.com. You can also find USFRA on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

This news release was wholly or partially funded by one or more Checkoff programs.

Category: Press Releases
Published: Friday, 02 September 2016 10:52

North Mankato, Minnesota - The Center for Business and Industry at South Central College will be hosting 2 informational seminars about the updates to the FDA Food Safety and Mondernization Act (FSMA). One will be held on Tuesday, May 31st at the Faribault campus from 6-7:30pm, and the second will be held on Tuesday, June 7th at the North Mankato campus from 6-7:30pm. The sessions will feature a panel of industry experts to answer question and discuss how the FSMA regulations will affect food businesses and the industry. 

The seminars are free of charge but an RSVP is encouraged. Faribault RSVP's can be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and North Mankato RSVP's can be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Additional details can be found online here. Panel information can be found here.

The Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture, a public-private partnership, is focused on expanding the footprint of services to producers, agribusinesses and agriculture lenders throughout Southern Minnesota. South Central College serves as the lead institution for the Center and partnered is Minnesota West Technical and Community College within the MnSCU system. A variety of services focused on program development and research, professional preparation, domestic and international marketing opportunities, and partnership development are offered.

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For additional information about this press release or the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture, please contact Sara Hewitt, Project Coordinator for the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture at 507-389-7276 or email: sara.hewitt @southcentral.edu.

Category: General Information
Published: Thursday, 12 May 2016 11:38

November 3, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASESouth Central College Winner Dru Leiding web

Leiding Wins Regional Minnesota Farm Bureau Collegiate Discussion Meet

The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) hosted a regional Collegiate Discussion Meet at South Central College in Mankato. The competition was held Monday, November 2.

This year's regional winner was Dru Leiding, a student from Mapleton studying agribusiness production agronomy. The runner-up of the regional contest was Savannah Zippel, a student from Le Sueur studying agricultural education.

Undergraduate students in agriculture from South Central College participated. Students participated in two rounds and were judged on their basic knowledge of critical farm issues and their ability to exchange ideas and information in a setting aimed at cooperative problem solving. The contestants discussed two topics:

• Should we draft policy to protect livestock farmers from false accusations regarding animal care? What could it look like?
• How should Farm Bureau protect and encourage farmers' ability to use new technology? How can Farm Bureau work with government and the public to ensure public acceptance while encouraging innovation?

Leiding and Zippel will advance to the state Collegiate Discussion meet to be held on Saturday, November 21 as part of the 97th MFBF Annual Meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington. The state winner receives an all expense paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, February 12-15, 2016 to participate in the national competition. The winner also receives a $250 scholarship from the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation sponsored by Gislason & Hunter.

Minnesota Farm Bureau representing Farmers • Families • Food is comprised of 78 local Farm Bureaus across Minnesota. Members make their views known to political leaders, state government officials, special interest groups and the general public. Programs for young farmers and ranchers develop leadership skills and improve farm management. Promotion and Education Committee members work with programs such as Ag in the Classroom and safety education for children. Join Farm Bureau today and support our efforts to serve as an advocate for rural Minnesota, www.fbmn.org.

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For more information on the Minnesota Farm Bureau log onto www.fbmn.org, www.Facebook.com/MNFarmBureau or www.Twitter.com/MNFarmBureau.

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For additional information about this press release or the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture, please contact Sara Hewitt, Project Coordinator for the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture at 507-389-7276 or email: sara.hewitt @southcentral.edu.

Category: Press Releases
Published: Tuesday, 03 November 2015 14:04

St. Paul, Minnesota - Brad Schloesser, Dean of the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture, testified on behalf of legistation for a Veterans to Agriculture program that would operate through the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture in conjunction with South Central College. The funding would be for a pilot program, taking place at South Central College, for training for veterans in 4-8 week programs specific to the agriculture industry workforce needs. 

Senate File 653, was laid over as amnded for possible inclusion in the omnibous budget bill. 

For additional details please read this news release from Minnesota Farm Guide. Specific questions about the testimony can be directed to Brad Schloesser at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture, a public-private partnership, is focused on expanding the footprint of services to producers, agribusinesses and agriculture lenders throughout Southern Minnesota. South Central College serves as the lead institution for the Center and partnered is Minnesota West Technical and Community College within the MnSCU system. A variety of services focused on program development and research, professional preparation, domestic and international marketing opportunities, and partnership development are offered.

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For additional information about this press release or the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture, please contact Sara Hewitt, Project Coordinator for the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture at 507-389-7276 or email: sara.hewitt @southcentral.edu.

Category: Press Releases
Published: Thursday, 09 April 2015 11:33