Tag Archives: Gopher Tales

NASCOE Convention First Timer Stipend Contest!

2017 NASCOE Convention St. Charles, MO August 2-5 Historically Awesome!!Are you a MNASCOE member who has never been to a NASCOE Convention?  Are you interested in joining NASCOE members from throughout the country at the 2017 NASCOE Convention?

If so, enter your name in the MNASCOE Contest for first time NASCOE Convention attendees!!  Two MNASCOE members will each receive $500 stipend to be applied toward the cost of attending the 2017 NASCOE Convention in St. Charles, Missouri.

To enter, email MNASCOE Vice-President, Kayla Mattson, to submit your name.

The deadline for entry is June 1, 2017.


Visit the NASCOE Convention Page to learn more about the schedule of events and for information on how to register for the convention.

Don’t Forget!! January 1 – Scholarship & Award Deadline!!

With colder weather moving in it is a reminder that a new calendar year is coming quicker than many of us would like to admit.  I would like to remind our membership that January 1, 2017 marks the deadline for both scholarships and distinguished service awards (DSA).  There has been a lot of information posted on the MNASCOE and NASCOE website on how to apply for the scholarship or nominate someone for the distinguished service awards so if you have questions, those are great resources. The 2017 Awards and Scholarship Handbook has all the information needed to determine eligibility and how to apply.  However, in one more attempt to try to get scholarships and award nominations, here are a few simple steps on the process:


1) Look at the NASCOE website https://nascoe.org/ under the “Forms and Downloads” then “Awards & Scholarship Applications” https://nascoe.org/forms-downloads/awards-scholarship-applications/ and determine which scholarship you would like to apply for/meet eligibility.  As a reminder, there are six different scholarships available this year and MNASCOE also offers one $1,000 scholarship for anyone who will be entering their first year of college through their fourth year.  By applying for the NASCOE scholarships those individuals that meet the eligibility criteria are automatically applying for the MNASCOE scholarship.

Here is the direct link to the application  https://goo.gl/forms/ObCh1tVHKQ89VUaO2

2) Simply follow the instructions on the NASCOE website and complete the online application form.  Two things that are important to note.

  • Pay attention to the suggestion about working on your answers to the scholarship questions in word.  The online application doesn’t allow you to save in the middle so once you start you must finish.  So, if you complete the responses in word first then you can copy and paste your answers into the online application once you have all of them completed.
  • Minnesota has for the last three years required the applicant to write an essay.  NASCOE is now requiring all applicants to respond to an essay question and Minnesota has decided to use the same question.
    By completing the online application, including the listed essay in its entirety, it is automatically meeting all the Minnesota application requirements.   

3)  Make sure you complete the application and hit submit.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nathan Peterson by email at .

It is that easy!

Distinguished Service Awards (DSA’s)

In the recent newsletter, I also challenged our membership to submit at least 5 individuals for a Distinguished Service Award.  The process to nominate is extremely easy!  Once again go to the NASCOE website under the “Forms and Downloads” then “Awards & Scholarships Applications”.  Determine which of the three awards best fit your nominee, scroll down to the bottom of the page, click on the online application, complete it in its entirety and click submit.  It really is that easy so there are no excuses not to nominate an individual!

Here is the direct link to the nomination form https://goo.gl/forms/VjTuRhrfRFbtxSl93.

If you have any question on either process, please do not hesitate to contact Nathan Peterson via email at 

Last Minute MNASCOE Convention Updates!

The final MNASCOE Convention Agenda is available to view or download on the Conventions page.  On this page, you will also find links to the registration form and information on Friday Game Night.

If you are a social media user, share your experiences at the MNASCOE Convention with your friends and colleagues by including #MNASCOE16 in your Tweets, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram posts.  This will help us show our members what a MNASCOE Convention is like – and hopefully gain more attendance in upcoming years!

Picture of Gopher Tales Tweet #MNASCOE16 MNASCOE

Martin County celebrates Ag Day with Education

The Martin County FSA staff met with Kindergarten to Second Grade children at St. James Lutheran School in Northrop, Minnesota for National Agriculture Day.  The students were taught the meaning of agriculture as well as all the different things created from a variety of agricultural items: the cereal they ate for breakfast that morning and the clothes that they were wearing all came from agricultural commodities.  The students were also introduced to the faces of agriculture and their roles:  Produce Buyer, Farmer, Veterinarian, Mechanic, Pipeline Engineer, Park Ranger, and Agri-Businesswoman.   Technology was also a large topic as the staff discussed with the children how things have changed over the years in agriculture to make farming easier and more efficient.

The staff separated the children into two groups and had two different Ag Day stations prepared.  The first station was about soils and seeds.  The experiment started with three 2 liter pop bottles cut horizontally.  Each pop bottle contained different items:  the first held soil, the second held soil and debris, and the third held soil and plants.  We poured water into the pop bottles and the students were able to see how the water drained through each soil as it poured into a cup hanging over the edge of the open spout.  This also portrayed soil erosion and how plants “drink” the water in order to stay healthy.  After this the students were given a plastic food glove and the staff explained the parts of seeds, the similarities and differences of each, and how seeds grow.  The students were instructed to put a single seed into each finger of the glove and then place a wet cotton ball on the top of the seeds.   The students were instructed to hang their gloves in the sun and make sure that the cotton balls remained wet and then once the seed started growing into a seedling they could plant it in soil.  These activities made the kids feel like farmers themselves, but as the plant grows, the experiment will also demonstrate the students how a plant grows.

The second station was created to educate the students on the history of agricultural technology, teamwork, and production.  The students were taken outside to a jungle gym where apples were placed in the middle of the jungle gym.   The FSA Staff and the students discussed how things have changed over the years for agriculture and harvesting.  The students were split into two teams and the staff explained how the jungle gym represented an apple tree and how in the “old days” people handpicked all their produce. Their first activity was working together to bring the apples down and place into a designated area with proper care not to bruise them so they could be sold.  After the students completed that portion of the activity, they were given two baskets per team and again asked to “climb the apple tree” and work together to bring the apples to a designated area using the baskets (reminding the children take heed on their produce).  The final round consisted of the students working together to figure the best technique for “climbing the apple tree”, retrieving the most apples possible, placing them into a wheelbarrow/wagon and taking them to a designated area.

The staff provided the each student with a small bag  containing an  FSA notepad,  FSA pencil, and FSA temporary tattoos that were stapled to activity sheets for them to share with their families at home.  The FSA Staff also allowed the children to select their own apple from their pickings. The remaining apples were donated for a future school lunch.

FSA_kids_apples-in-wagon_PROC FSA_kids_erosion_PROC FSA_kids_erosion2_PROC FSA_kids_seed-planting_PROC FSA_kids_wheelbarrow_apples_PROC National Ag Day Pic2

National Ag Day Celebrated by Blue Earth – Nicollet FSA

The Blue Earth/Nicollet County staff is celebrating National Ag Day by handing producers thanks you and providing meat, cheese and crackers for those that stop in the office today.  Ag trivia questions are hung up throughout the office.


Blue Earth-Nicollet Ag Day Thank You's

Blue Earth-Nicollet Ag Day Thank You’s

Ag Day refreshments at Blue Earth-Nicollet FSA

Ag Day refreshments at Blue Earth-Nicollet FSA

Ag Day trivia hung at each desk

Ag Day trivia hung at each desk

Wright County Celebrates Ag Day

Wright County is celebrating National Ag Day Today!  We have put the message below in our GovDelivery and have had it posted on our doors for about a week.  We are just waiting excitedly for customers to show up so we can share our appreciation.

“National Ag Day is March 18th.  We would like to show our appreciation for all you do for our office, the farming community, and our country.  Please stop by the office to enjoy a treat and a cup of coffee.  You can also assist our office with a scavenger hunt or answer a few trivia questions for a prize.  We look forward to seeing you on the 18th!”

Wright County FSA producers and staff enjoying National Ag Day refreshments

Wright County FSA producers and staff enjoying refreshments

Wright County FSA Staff is ready for National Ag Day

Wright County FSA Staff is ready for National Ag Day

National Ag Day refreshments served at the Wright County FSA Office

National Ag Day refreshments served at the Wright County FSA Office


Faribault County Office Celebrates Ag Day

Ag Day 2015 - Faribault County Milk, Coffee and Cookies

The Faribault County staff celebrated National Ag Day by providing coffee, milk, and cookies for producers who stopped into the office.  We also have a display with some Faribault County facts as they apply to milk and cookies.  Happy National Ag Day!

Faribault county facts in regards to milk & cookies Ag Day

Ag Day 2015 – Faribault county facts in regards to milk and cookies

Ag Day 2015 - Faribault County Ag Facts Display

Ag Day 2015 – Faribault County Ag Facts Display

Ag Day 2015 - Faribault County Milk, Coffee and Cookies

Ag Day 2015 – Faribault County Milk, Coffee and Cookies

Mora Service Center Celebrates Ag Day

Ryan Brunn, CED shown reading the book Tops and Bottoms to class for Ag Day Celebration

Mora Service Center staff celebrated National Ag Day one day early on March 17, 2015 by visiting Fairview Elementary School’s 1st and 2nd graders. Over 300 students enjoyed learning about farm animals and crops, farm safety, and recognized our area farmers and all they provide.

FSA employees shared their passion for agriculture through a question and answer discussion, a children’s story – Caldecott Honor Book, Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens – read by Ryan Brunn, CED, live Phoenix chicks – raised by Tanya Lundeen, PT, and singing “Farmers are the best, best!” song – led by Julie Kolodji, FLM. Happy National Agriculture Day!

Julie Kolodji, FLM leading students in the song, "Farmers are the best, best!”

Julie Kolodji, FLM leading students in the song, “Farmers are the best, best!”

An image of a thank you note from student.

A thank you note from student

Ryan Brunn, CED shown reading the book Tops and Bottoms to class for Ag Day Celebration

Ryan Brunn, CED shown reading the book Tops and Bottoms to class for Ag Day Celebration

Live phoenix chicks raised by Tanya Lundeen, PT

Live phoenix chicks raised by Tanya Lundeen, PT

Ryan Brunn holding a live phoenix chick raised by Tanya Lundeen, PT

Ryan Brunn holding a live phoenix chick raised by Tanya Lundeen, PT

Ice Bucket Challenge Supports Retiree

Recently, co-workers and friends of Gloria Laue took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Gloria worked at the Martin County FSA Office for over 30 years, and retired after being diagnosed with ALS earlier this year. Both Gloria and current Martin County employee, Lori Janssen are interviewed in the video.

Courtesy of KEYC 12, Mankato, MN:

KEYC – Mankato News, Weather, Sports –

You’ve probably seen a fair amount of people dumping buckets of ice water on their heads for a good cause. Today, a group of coworkers and friends took the challenge in Fairmont to support their friend who’s battling ALS.

You’ve probably seen it on TV a few times, and maybe your Facebook Newsfeed is full of them.  But one thing’s for sure, the act of people dumping ice water on themselves has never been so popular, and neither has the advocacy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis known for short, as ALS.

Friend of a person battling ALS, Lori Janssen says, “Nobody really knows what ALS is. They’re taking this challenge but do they actually know?”  It’s a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, progressively taking away one’s ability to control their muscles.  Janssen says, “So this is making everybody aware of what’s going on.”

And those diagnosed with the disease, appreciate all the attention it’s been getting.  Laue says, “I don’t think people realize it’s still a fatal disease. And they still don’t have a cure for it.”  Gloria Laue was diagnosed with ALS in April of this year. Laue says, “I thought maybe I had parkinsons. But never ALS.”

Janssen says, “Two months ago she was living at her house by herself and now she is in Ingleside here.” An assisted living center in Fairmont, where this afternoon, friends and coworkers of Gloria’s gathered outside to keep the challenge going, with a little twist of their own …along with help of the Fairmont Fire Department.

Janssen says, “I know it’s not the ice but I hear it’s just as cold is what I hear.”

Raising spirits, money and awareness so that one day the wishes of those affected by the disease will come true.  Laue says, “That they come up with a cure very soon and help a lot of people.”

As of Friday, August 22, The ALS Association has received $53.3. million dollars in donations compared to $2.2 million during the same time period last year

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