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Showing posts from August 2012. Show all posts

Minnesota Office of Higher Education at FarmFest

Posted on August 10, 2012 at 10:15 AM
Categories: Agriculture, Greater Minnesota, Education

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Director Larry Pogemiller from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education visited FarmFest last week to hear directly from those in the field about the connection between higher education and the Ag industry in Minnesota. 

The strong partnership between the two was made evident by a panel of experts from the University of Minnesota, including President Eric Kaler. The discussion, “Innovations in Agriculture…Opportunities from the University” focused on the significant contributions the states only Land Grant institution has made in both educating students to work in the agriculture industries and as a world-leader in research and development of new technologies. 

During the panel discussion, Kaler announced his intention to ramp up the University’s commitment to agriculture in the future, saying that Minnesota could be the “Silicon Valley” of the food industry. He plans to advance his idea of a stronger commitment to agriculture with state leaders leading into the next legislative session.


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Minnesota Poised to be One of the Best Places to Live

Posted on August 10, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Minnesota, already an outstanding place to live, is rated the second best state in which to live in the future, according to rankings released by Gallup this week. Minnesota ranks first among all states in economic confidence, and it is the state where it is easiest to find a safe place to exercise, according to the survey. Minnesota is second only to Utah overall.

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The Gallup poll measured 13 different metrics, including such concrete data as obesity and full-time employment rates; it also surveyed residents for their opinions – for example, on whether the area in which you live is “getting better” or “getting worse,” or whether you feel that your employer treats you more like a partner or an employee. Minnesota achieved an average rank of 10.5 among all states across all 13 measurements.

This ranking is a reflection of the commitment of Minnesotans to make this state a great place to live. Minnesota is a proven leader in innovation, job creation, and economic vitality; furthermore, our commitment to health is unparalleled. From health care access and clean water regulation to our devotion to leading healthy, active lifestyles – as well as maintaining the spaces, urban and rural, that encourage and foster healthy lifestyles – this makes Minnesota one of the best places to live, in the United States and beyond.


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Minnesota Department of Commerce Unclaimed Property Program Returns $19 Million to Consumers in 2012

Posted on August 09, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Categories: Commerce

As many Minnesotans know, sometimes money can go missing due to a change of address, a death in the family, or a number of other reasons. Fortunately, that’s when the Minnesota Department of Commerce steps in to help Minnesota consumers find and claim what is rightfully theirs. This year alone the Commerce Department reunited 7,200 Minnesotans with $19 million in missing bank accounts, life insurance policies, safe deposit boxes, unclaimed paychecks, and other real property and financial assets – a 13 percent improvement over 2011.

“Since 2005, the Department has helped more than 84,000 Minnesotans find $163 million that may otherwise have gone missing indefinitely,” said Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, whose Department oversees the state’s Unclaimed Property Program. “We estimate that one out of every twenty Minnesotans has at least $100 currently being held by the State of Minnesota. Our message to Minnesota consumers is simple: this could be your money, come and claim it.”

Lakeville resident Rick Masloski represents one of the thousands of Minnesotans who benefitted from the state’s unclaimed property program this year. Masloski’s father passed away 19 years ago, and left him with more than $1,300 in unclaimed stock shares that Rick searched for but for years was unable to find. With the assistance of Commerce Department staff, Masloski was able to find, claim, and cash out the shares, which were duly his.


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Investing in Minnesota’s Livestock Farmers

Posted on August 09, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Agriculture

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Photo by Dave Wild

Minnesota is one of the top livestock producers in the nation. The $7 billion livestock sector is a vital part of both the state’s agricultural production and its overall economy, and it is important that the industry remains able to produce at its top level. This is why the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced a new program to help Minnesota’s livestock farmers fund their operations in the long-term.

MDA Commissioner Dave Fredrickson has announced that $1 million in grant funding is being made available to livestock producers in the state for on-farm improvements – improvements that will encourage long-term development in the livestock sector The Livestock Investment Grant Program was first funded by the Minnesota legislature in 2008.  Since then, 89 grant recipients have invested an estimated $31 million in improvements to their operations. Farmers can use the funds to purchase, build and improve buildings and facilities for livestock production, as well as purchase fencing and pay for feed and waste management equipment.

The improvements and modernizations available to livestock farmers with this funding will also help expedite the process of transitioning the farm to their sons or daughters, a process that could encourage more young Minnesotans to stay with their family farm and continue their families’ legacies of producing vital agricultural output for the state.


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At Farmfest, Recognizing Minnesota's Farm Families

Posted on August 08, 2012 at 4:41 PM
Categories: Agriculture

With Farmest 2012 underway, it is important to accentuate the importance of Minnesota’s farm families—the foundation of both our agriculture and our rural communities. Minnesota farm families raise crops and livestock efficiently in an environmentally friendly way; they also account for more than $3 billion in exports and provide the raw material for Minnesota’s leadership in renewable energy. This is why Governor Dayton has proclaimed today, August 9, 2012, to be Farm Family Recognition Day in Minnesota. 

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Minnesota Department of Commerce at Farmfest

Posted on August 08, 2012 at 1:23 PM
Categories: Commerce

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The Minnesota Department of Commerce returned to Farmfest this year, with more information relevant to Greater Minnesota economies than ever before.  With an estimated 40,000 visitors over the three-day event, the Commerce Department took this incredible opportunity to host a booth and meet directly with people and businesses in the agriculture sector to discuss the varied services the Commerce Department provides to help support economic growth.

To give visitors a sense of the services provided by the Department to farming families and businesses, Commissioner Mike Rothman spent Wednesday speaking one-on-one with Minnesotans at the pancake breakfast, visiting Farmfest exhibits, and personally answering questions at the Commerce booth in the Agriculture Building on the following topics:


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Minnesota Health Care Exchange for Farmers

Posted on August 06, 2012 at 4:52 PM
Categories: Agriculture, Health

Minnesota’s health insurance exchange will give farmers affordable health care coverage choices for their families and their employees. Farmers can select low cost health insurance for their families from the consumer exchange, or purchase coverage for themselves and their employees from the small  business exchange. Whatever the choice, farmers will see savings between 7.5 and 20 percent after federal tax credits.


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My Week at Farmfest

Posted on August 06, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Categories: Agriculture

Farmfest 2012

From Grand Old Days to the State Fair, Minnesota has a terrific set of summer get-togethers.  One particular event that is happening this week may not be on the radar screen for many urban Minnesotans, but it is a big deal for Minnesota farmers and others who work in agriculture. 

Farmfest, held every August just outside Redwood Falls, is an opportunity to showcase the latest and greatest technologies and equipment, as well as an opportunity for farmers to learn about the range services provided to them by a bevy of organizations. Farmfest 2012 will be held this week, from Tuesday, August 7, through Thursday, August 9.  Governor Dayton will be there on Tuesday, and will speak at the main forum tent at 1 p.m. just before Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson and a number of other leaders from partner agencies participate in a panel discussion on agriculture and water quality.

In addition to the forum events, several state agencies will have displays at booths around the Farmfest grounds.  The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will have a sizable booth (#619) displaying information about new and notable programs and services of interest to farmers.  This year, the display will feature segments on the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, as well as informative displays on anhydrous ammonia safety, plant pest controls, and agricultural marketing and development services designed to help farmers.


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Minnesota Named Top State for E-prescribing

Posted on August 02, 2012 at 3:12 PM
Categories: Health, Technology

Minnesota leads the country in e-prescribing, making it one of the most safe and efficient places to get your medication. E-prescribing allows a prescriber to electronically send error-free prescriptions directly to a pharmacy from the point-of-care, which decreases the risks associated with the traditional method of prescribing; research has shown that e-prescribing reduces medication error rates by almost sevenfold in community-based office practices, including elimination of errors due to illegible handwriting. 

Minnesota's success is due to its collaborative approach, which is led by the Minnesota e-Health Initiative, a public-private collaborative established in 2004 that is guided by a 25-member advisory committee appointed by the commissioner of health to provide advice and feedback on policy making related to health information technology (HIT) in Minnesota.

The rankings are put out by Surescripts, the nation’s largest health information network. For 2011 and are determined by an analysis of data that measures the electronic prescribing use by physicians, pharmacies and payers in each state. Minnesota came in first place for e-prescribing in Surescripts’ 7th annual Safe-Rx Awards. See Surescripts profile of Minnesota here.


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MCA Results Show Improvement in Reading, Math by Minnesota Students

Posted on August 02, 2012 at 10:22 AM
Categories: Education

From Kare 11: Minnesota students are making gains in both math and reading, according to the results of the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) Comprehensive Assessment (MCA), which was released today.

Minnesota students are making gains in both math and reading, according to the results of the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) Comprehensive Assessment (MCA), which was released today.

Some of the highlights of the MCA include:

  • 3rd grade reading scores have increased two points since last year
  • Reading scores for grades 4-8 as well as grade 10 also improved
  • Math scores for grades 3-8 improved across the board
  • Grades 7 and 8 showed the most improvement in math, with 7th graders improving from 50.9 to 57.2 percent proficient, and 8th graders improving from 52.6 to 60.7 percent proficient.
  • Nearly every category among the state’s students of color and special populations saw an improvement in their scores. The biggest gains in math were made by American Indian and Hispanic students in grades 3-8.
  • While the state still faces a significant achievement gap, the MDE’s heightened focus on making sure all students are successful is expected to yield continued improvement in years to come.

The Governor is pleased to see these results, which help highlight the positive work of the Minnesota Department of Education, as well as teachers and parents, in improving the academic performance of Minnesota’s students and future leaders. 


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