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LETTER: Agriculture is vital part of Douglas County

To the editor:

National Ag Day is March 21. In honor of this, the staff at the Douglas County FSA office thanks all the farmers and ranchers that make agriculture such a vital part of Douglas County.

Douglas County has a strong production ag economic presence, with producers reporting upwards of 65,000 acres of soybeans and 58,000 acres of corn to the Douglas County FSA Office in 2016. We have a growing presence of diversified agriculture with the resurgence of fruit and vegetable crop production like grapes, strawberries, apples, honey and several others.

Animal agriculture is vital to the success of many operations here in Douglas County. Forage production is a must for these operations and their yields suggest that they clearly know what they are doing. Successful dairy, beef, hog and poultry operations from Douglas County are recognized for the quality and care of the animals they produce. Specialized animal agriculture is on the increase here in Douglas County and is visible in the 4-H program. Producers recognize the need for niche markets and are capitalizing on these opportunities, including organics.

The staff at Douglas County FSA is dedicated to assist producers in the success of their chosen facet of agriculture through the USDA programs. The farm program team in Douglas County includes Melissa Donovan, Shannon Groetsch, Amy Kerns, Kevin Ptacek and Steve Frericks. The farm loan team consists of Cindy Schlapkohl, Dean Meyer and Craig Goemer. We all wish to thank you for what you do. Your hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed.

Spring is starting to look like it could be early. Producers are encouraged to stop in the office to complete any program related paperwork including farm records changes, ARC/PLC enrollment for 2017, CRP enrollment and the annual crop certification process. Please be safe this spring.

Steve Frericks, County Executive Director

Douglas County FSA Office

Alexandria, MN