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Mar 9 18

MnDOT Releases Mowing/Haying Permit Recommendations Report

by Melissa

MnDOT releases mowing, haying permit recommendations report

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation has released a report with recommendations regarding the agency’s mowing and haying permit process.

MnDOT developed the report, required by the 2017 Minnesota Legislature, with input from a stakeholder group of environmental, agricultural and other interests. In addition, MnDOT held nine listening sessions across the state during the past several months and took public comment via the website, email, regular mail and face-to-face. The information from the public engagement shaped the recommendations that were made available March 1.

“MnDOT is charged with managing and maintaining the roadway right of way,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “We worked closely with Minnesotans from across the state to ensure that we fully understood the wishes and needs of others and how those things could be integrated with the state’s need to care for that land.”

The Legislature outlined specific elements for the recommendations, including:
• Ease of permit application or notification
• Frequency of permits or notification
• Priority given to the owner or occupant of private land adjacent to a state highway right of way
• Determination of authority to mow or hay state highway right of way in which adjacent land belongs to state or local government
• Recognition of differences in the amount of wildlife habitat based on geographic distribution across the state

The cover letter and the full report are available at as well as on the mowing/haying webpage. The cover letter contains MnDOT’s recommendations for changes to the permit process. The full report contains the recommendations as well as the feedback from the public meetings, including suggestions from the stakeholder group for changes in state law. It also details the process used by the stakeholder group to develop the recommendations.

Locations of the mowing/haying listening sessions and stakeholder meeting minutes can be found on the MnDOT mowing website at

Mar 8 18

MN Renewable Energy Roundtable

by Melissa

MN Renewable Energy Roundtable
March 14, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Join AURI in an event dedicated to Renewable Chemicals

With Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Toby Ahrens
National Program Leader
Agricultural Bioproducts, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture


Registration, refreshments and networking

Welcome and overview

Keynote Speaker:  Dr. Toby Ahrens, National Program Leader, NIFA-USDA “Opportunities with NIFA”

Sun Grant Panel

Moderator:  Dr. Vance Owens, Regional Director, North Central Regional Sun Grant Ctr., SDSU “Sun Grant Funding for Renewable Chemicals”


  • Dr. Gregg Johnson, Associate Professor, Dept. of Agronomy & Plant Genetics, Biomass Cropping Systems, Southern Research and Outreach Center-Waseca, University of Minnesota “Feedstock Development for Renewable Chemicals and Other Bioenergy
  • Dr. Goutham Vemuri, Chief Technologist, Sasya LLC “Developing Renewable Chemicals from Crop Residues from Biomass Sugars
  • Dr. Qi Hua Fan, Associate Professor, Depts. of Electrical and Computer Engineering & Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Michigan State University “Energy Storage Options Using Renewable products

Networking Break 

Bioeconomy Panel

Moderator:  Rod Larkins, Senior Director of Science and Technology, AURI


  • Brendan Jordan, Vice President, Great Plains Institute, Lead Staff for Bioeconomy Coalition of MN
  • Dr. Eric Singsaas, Initiative Director-Wood Products and Bioeconomy, NRRI and Entrepreneur


Highlight:  Entrepreneur in Renewable Chemicals

  • Dr. Goutham Vemuri, Vice President of Technology Development, Aemetis Inc.

Financing and Technology Support Panel

Moderator:  Michael Sparby, Senior Project Strategist, AURI


  • Kevin Hennessy, Bioenergy Manager, Ag Marketing and Development Division, MN Department of Agriculture
  • Pat Dillon, Director, MN-SBIR, Minnesota Innovation and Commercialization Consortium; Minnesota High Tech Association

Table Discussion

Wrap Up

Register Here

Mar 8 18

Farmers Market Funding Available

by Melissa

Who in your community is planning your local farmers market?

Let them know they can sign up for Market Bucks through Hunger Solutions to help provide local products to eligible local families!

What is Market Bucks?
Market Bucks is a state program to match SNAP-EBT customer’s dollars (up to $10 per visit) at participating Farmers Markets across Minnesota. In order to participate, a farmers market must:
• Have an FNS # and functioning equipment to accept EBT cards at the market
• Have at least 3 vendors selling SNAP-eligible foods
• Sign up for the program through Hunger Solutions

Now is the time to get signed up for Summer Market Bucks 2018!

Remember that you must have a current FNS# and functioning equipment to accept EBT cards at your market. You can fill out your application here:

Once they have received your application, you will get a notice that includes the administrative grant proposal. Then, once they have approved your application for Market Bucks, they will notify you and send the MOU to sign, along with a request for ACH information (if different or new for this year), and the number of Market Bucks and Outreach materials you want for your program.

If you have any questions, please contact Patti Whitney-Wise, Program Manager at or 651-789-9850.

Mar 7 18

Introducing kids to technical careers

by Melissa

This is a great opportunity for our schools to collaboratively connect students with careers in demand across SW MN. To learn more check out

Feb 16 18

New Funding Opportunity for Career and Technical Education Courses

by Melissa

There is a new funding opportunity through the SWWC Service Coop to introduce new career and technical education courses at area high schools. Several schools in the region are already participating and several more are in the planning stages.

“The Rural Career and Technical  Education Advisory Board is excited to announce that Launch Your Future Today (LYFT) Pathways funding is available to high schools (and their partners) to develop shared career and technical education (CTE) courses and programs.


LYFT is a rural CTE pathway initiative with the purpose of rebuilding CTE in southwest and west central Minnesota. The goal of LYFT Pathways is for every secondary student in the region to gain marketable skills through meaningful CTE courses and opportunities which lead to further education and careers that match our region’s labor market needs.


LYFT is funded through a $3 million Rural Career and Technical Education Consortium Grant, which was passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2017. The legislative funding is scheduled to run through June 30, 2019 (with an opportunity to extend the use of funds beyond that date).”


LYFT Highlights

  • At least two or more high schools cooperating with one another
  • Development of new CTE courses or expansion of existing courses
  • Courses match local or regional labor market needs
  • Collaboration with business partners for program content
  • Hands-on learning opportunities
  • Sustainable after first year funding


Courses Include:

Basic Mechanics

Information Technology Concepts

Intro to Manufacturing and Engineering

Intro to Medical Careers

Nursing Assistant


You can also check out additional collaboratives by school district using this map

To contact someone about the program follow this link: