Pine County has a new Ag Extension Educator who has firsthand experience in the subject. Rod Greder lives west of Pine City on Pokegama Lake, where and his wife Kelli have 83 acres of mixed use land with 50 acres of pasture, several acres of garden and orchard and the balance of woodlands and marsh.
“I bought the land in 2007 and have raised cattle, hogs, goats and chickens while also producing fruit, nuts and vegetables for the Pine City farmers market,” Greder said. “We also sell meat directly to consumers.”
After a 20 year career in the global seed industry with Cargill and Dow Agrosciences, Greder has worked as a University of Minnesota Extension Educator since 2014 in Wright and Isanti counties. He said he is happy to be closer to home.
“I used to commute one-way to Buffalo at 98 minutes, then Cambridge at 38 minutes and now it will be eight minutes,” Greder said.
Greder said his role as Ag Extension Educator is to help support the regional agriculture industry – including the producers, suppliers, processors, marketers and consumers who are all integral for food production in the county.
“We plan to make the pie bigger by encouraging more people to become farmers and ranchers while also making existing farmers more productive and profitable,” he said. “We do this with an eye toward conservation, stewardship and sustainability and by partnering with other ag-related organizations in the county. We will provide technical information via phone, email, over the counter, in person workshops, field days, social media, webinars etc. to expand our reach across the county. I hope to bring experience, evidence and energy to the role.”
He said that he has a passion for small farms, and for the people who are driven to make them work out for their families and their communities.
“I share that drive but I think I also bring some skepticism to the discussion and try to shine the light of reality on the situation and try to temper the romance,” he said.
Greder said that Extension’s role is to deliver evidence-based and research-confirmed information to the community.
“We are helping our neighbors and friends,” he said. “Extension not only helps farmers but also does youth development through 4H, supports nutrition programs, family development and community vitality – including the Pine County Master Gardeners program. We are a go-to source in our rural communities. Pine County is blessed with a great Extension staff.”
He asks that the community follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pine.county.extension, for the latest information. Those interested may contact him at email@example.com or 320-591-1662 with any ag production, food, small farm or ag-related questions.
“If I don’t know the answer I at least know where to find it,” Greder said. “Please let us know where you need help and what information you need.”