Livestock Grant for MN farm updates

Livestock grant opportunities that came across my desk today for farmers in Minnesota…

“Minnesota livestock farmers and ranchers seeking to improve their livestock operations are encouraged to apply for the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) Livestock Investment Grant program. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) anticipates awarding up to $768,000 using a competitive review process.

Applicants may apply for up to 10 percent of their project’s total cost. Grant awards can range in size from $400 to $25,000. Each livestock operation is eligible to receive a lifetime maximum of $50,000 from this livestock grant program. To be eligible for reimbursement by this grant, you must be invoiced and pay for all project materials and services between Jan. 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

Proposals are due no later than 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18. We encourage you to use our online application. If you cannot apply online, you can fill out the application at the end of the Request for Proposals, which can be found on the AGRI Livestock Investment website.”

Are you ready to start your MN dairy farm improvement? Contact Ronnie at Williams Engineering and get it started!

New Funding Options

We all have those projects that get put off for another day but maybe this is one of those programs that could help your dairy farm bring in the extra cash to get it started?

Could this be the “cost share funding” you’ve been waiting for that could help start the planning and design process for your new barn, manure storage, or separation facility? 

We’d love to help you realize your vision for your farm utilizing this or any other funding option – just give us a call! 

Are You Ready for your Next Farm Inspection?

On-site farm inspections by agencies like the County, DNR, MPCA or EPA can happen at any time, especially close to your permit renewal date. A little preparation can help that surprise inspection at your farm go much smoother.

This article from Manure Manager Magazine gives some good recommendations: on questions to ask your inspector, information that may (or may not) be available to them, and some other points to help you before, during, and after any inspection.

Even if you’ve never worked with Williams Engineering Services or we’ve never visited your farm before, Williams Engineering Services can help your facility work through inspection and compliance at any stage in the process. It’s a small world and you might be amazed by what we already know about your farm.

We do recommend having an engineering consultant on-site during the farm’s on-site compliance inspection, whenever possible, in order to:

  1. Demonstrate your ability to provide both an immediate and follow-up response to items presented by the inspector,
  2. Illustrate your commitment to the quality of your farm and how it is presented, and
  3. Show that you take the inspection of your farm very seriously.

Having an experienced consultant on-site during the inspection can help you better react to inspector questions and address concerns before they become a written violation. Having an engineer at your side can also keep the inspector accountable so that the discussed topics and issues are limited to only those items that are relevant and enforceable. The last thing a farmer wants are inspection notes with incorrect information (or even false allegations about the farm) written into a violation letter that becomes public information.

Our professional staff at Williams Engineering Services have experience being  inspectors. We have reviewed hundreds of facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and are familiar with the current rules and regulations. We have years of experience working with and being those government officials at all levels and can help you better understand how to navigate governmental policies.

At Williams Engineering Services, we will do our best to work with you at any time day or night, including inspection time, on the farm. Give us a call today at 715-829-3231 and we’d be happy to help you start preparing for your next inspection (or reacting to the letter if that is where you are).

~ Kelly Jacobs, Senior Environmental Scientist

Calculating…Farming Smarter

You know you work for an engineering firm when you start calculating stuff for fun!

Our water fountain calculates how many water bottles we save by using it instead of buying a bottle of water. The digital display is 8 numbers long, so eventually we could ‘max out the display’.

The post it reads: “At our current rate of saving bottles, we are on pace to max out the display (ie. 99,999,999 bottles) by the year 41,623.”

Our detail guy Jeff helped point out that we don’t have to worry about running out of space on our drinking fountain display.  How cool is it that we can track this kind of thing and make projections using known data for our specific location.

This example really is kind of a silly calculation; but, on farms there are always times when you can use data to make calculations and projections that help you ensure efficiency, compile reports, plan for replacements, and even ensure a sustainable operation over the long term. 

Why wouldn’t you want to get a leg up by farming smarter? 

~ Kelly Jacobs, Senior Environmental Scientist

Can Your Dairy Farm Benefit From Market Trends?

Markets can drive the decisions you make on your farm.  This is especially true in dairy farming… even if you reduce your input costs, how do you know that you can sell your product for a fair price? 

Understanding that dairy product export markets can vary depending on the policies and trade agreements of the moment, you might be looking at options to sustain a profitable farm right in your community.

Many farming organizations have recently re-affirmed the need to sustain a viable dairy economy in our country with phrases like “Dairy Supply Management” frequently being discussed in the industry.  Efforts like the Dairy Together initiative are also encouraging a continued discussion in order to ensure that dairy farms remain a vital part of our rural communities.

Whether adding cows to your farm is part of your story or not, a little ingenuity and invention can help create a vision for your farm which will allow you to sustain a thriving agricultural business.

Williams Engineering Services, LLC (WES) has the specialized expertise you need so that your farm can prepare for and benefit from the anticipated dairy market improvements that we’re already starting to hear about. By working together with your team and by utilizing your unique management approach, WES can help develop a plan and design concept customized for your specific site so that your dairy farm can achieve continued success in your community for many years to come.

Give Williams Engineering Services a call at 715-286-5726 to discuss the possibilities for your dairy farm in Wisconsin or Minnesota.  

~ Kelly Jacobs, Senior Environmental Scientist