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NOVEMBER 2012

AGRICULTURE ‘We’ve been

blessed’ This year, area farmers grew possibly the best crops in the entire country

CreekSide Soils starts with the cows

Inside: • Minnesota speciality crops get a boost • Dealing with farm stress • Drought picture worsens for Minnesota • Livestock ‘waste’ is a valuable resource • Grain problems require swine feeding strategies • U of M Extension to host land rent meetings • New perspective on global agribusiness

Litchfield Independent Review • Hutchinson Leader


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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

What’s Inside

AGRICULTURE is published in March and November by ...

It starts with the cows

‘We’ve been blessed’

Hutchinson’s compost operation depends on area farms for a key ingredient

Area farmers this year grew possibly the best crops in the entire country

Page 18

Page 5

Minnesota speciality crops get a boost / Page 8 Drought picture worsens for Minnesota / Page 14 Grain problems require feeding strategies for swine / Page 17 Livestock ‘waste’ is a valuable resource / Page 20 U of M Extension to host land rent meetings / Page 23 Tips help families deal with farm stress / Page 28 New perspective on global agribusiness / Page 32

Agriculture 3

THE LITCHFIELD INDEPENDENT REVIEW P.O. Box 921 Litchfield, MN 55355-0921 Phone: 320-693-3266 Fax: 320-693-9177 E-mail: editor@independentreview.net Website: www.independentreview.net

Leader HUTCHINSON

THE HUTCHINSON LEADER 170 Shady Ridge Rd. NW, Suite 100 Hutchinson, MN 55350-2440 Phone: 320-587-5000 Fax: 320-587-6104 E-mail: news@hutchinsonleader.com Website: www.hutchinsonleader.com

Postage paid at Hutchinson, MN 55350 Distributed to farmers and agriculture-related businesses in the Meeker and McLeod County area and available at the offices of the Litchfield Independent Review and Hutchinson Leader.

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November 2012

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Agriculture 5

‘We’ve been blessed’ AREA FARMERS HAVE ENJOYED A GREAT GROWING SEASON, ROBUST HARVEST By ANDREW BROMAN

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ecord-high crop prices, along with good growing and harvest conditions, benefited many area farmers this year. “I’ve heard the words, ‘We’ve

Continued on page 6

STAFF PHOTO BY JENNY BERG

Cosmos farmer Duane Adams examines corn stalks in his field in July. Many crop farmers benefited from higher prices this year, as the region managed to avoid the drought-like conditions that affected other areas of the country.

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Season Continued from page 5 been blessed’ many times when I talk with growers about the harvest. I would agree we have a lot to be thankful for: good crop, great prices and the best harvest conditions you could ever ask for,” said Dave Schwartz, a seed dealer. A severe drought across many parts of the nation largely missed Meeker and McLeod counties, Randy Kath allowing farmers to benefit from higher prices. This summer, many farmers from other parts of the country were turning to Minnesota for feed supplies, including hay. In July, Randy Kath of Steffes Auctioneers in Litchfield said he was getting "getting bombarded" with as many as 25 calls a day from farmers around the country in

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search of hay. “We probably got the best crops in the entire country, right in this area,” he said. Hay prices almost doubled as a result of the shortage, jumping from about $150 a ton last year to as much as $250 a ton this year. “It’s an overwhelming demand right now,” he said. Dan Schlangen, an Eden Valley farmer, said some farmers bought in July in anticipation of shortage this winter when demand tends to increase. High crops prices are causing some problems for farmers, who are trying to plan for the future, he said. "I think there’s a lot of fear out there with people wondering where this is going to lead," Schlangen said. Nathan Winter, an agricultural educator with University of Minnesota-Extension, said higher crop prices are causing problems for livestock producers. Price gains for livestock and milk haven’t kept pace with rising feed costs, he said. “I do believe a lot of them are examining their business and trying to stay profitable,” Winter said of livestock producers. Winter said it will take time to determine whether higher prices is the new normal or a transitory phenomenon. Several factors are causing higher prices,

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including demand from developing nations as more people seek higher protein diets. Government policy affecting subsidies and crop insurance also plays a role in prices. Congress’ failure to adopt a farm bill this year creates uncertainty for farmers, Winter said. Another issue is weather. Many parts of the country are still experiencing a

drought, and it’s not clear whether central Minnesota might experience one next year. This fall, rainfall levels have been below average. Unless the region gets more moisture this winter, crop farming could suffer in the spring. “We haven’t recharged our soil moisture, and so we don’t know what to expect in 2013,” Winter said.

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Agriculture 7


8 Agriculture

Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Minnesota specialty crops get a boost PRODUCERS AND PROGRAMS GET HELP FROM USDA he state of Minnesota has been awarded more than $700,000 in 2012 Specialty Crop Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants, tree nuts, flowers, and nursery plants (horticulture and floriculture). The grants will give producers of these crops a competitive edge in today’s marketplace. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program for fiscal year 2012 supports initiatives that:  Increase nutritional knowledge and specialty crop consumption;  Improve efficiency within the distribution system and reduce costsp  Promote the development of good agricultural, handling and manufacturing

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practices while encouraging audit fund cost-sharing for small farmers, packers and processorsp  Support research through standard and green initiativesp  Enhance food safetyp  Develop new/improved seed varieties and specialty cropsp Control pests and diseasesp  Create organic and sustainable production practicesp Establish local and regional fresh food systemsp and Expand food access in underserved/food desert communities. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands received grants this year, totaling $55 million. Visit www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp to review the 2012 project summaries and view a list of all the awards, including the Minnesota projects.

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November 2012

Agriculture 9

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

What does the agriculture Extension program do? he program’s main emphasis is to develop and implement educational programs for agricultural systems that produce, market, or consume agricultural products in the McLeod and Meeker County area. Information can be obtained on all aspects of livestock, crops, horticulture, natural resources, and environmental management issues. Following are some examples of services conducted.  Coordinate technical information to the public on livestock, forages, crops, soils, and horticulture.  Develop programs for the public related to livestock, forages, crops, soils, and horticulture.  Provide horticulture technical assistance on wide variety of questions that include: insects, soils, lawns, water, gardens (commercial & home), as well as trees and shrubs.  Evaluate farm operations and assist

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new farmers with developing their plans and goals.  Increase awareness on agricultural and community issues related to the environment, manure management, pesticides, and water quality topics.  Assist committees and producer groups with information and resources to help aid in the development of active community groups.  Write timely news releases and provide information to the public by many means of communication.  Coordinate the activities of the Master Gardener Program. Feel free to contact the McLeod County Extension Office for more information on agriculture and horticulture at 320-4844303, or the Meeker County Extension Office at 320-693-5275. The University of Minnesota Extension website, www. extension.umn.edu, also has an extensive amount of information to help consumers with their questions.

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Agriculture 11

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Dairy herd performance tools available online

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on their scores. These reports collectively became the database for a new suite of interactive herd performance tools available online to all dairy farmers. The online tools compare: somatic cell counts, milk production, percentages of milk fat and protein, clinical mastitis in the herd and culling rates. Any dairy farmer can use these tools and select a variety of management practices, herd characteristics and other farm criteria of which to compare his or her herd. Farmers have the option of storing their herd’s information into the system. As more and more farmers do so, the database will dynamically grow from the original 300 dairy farms — continuously providing the most up-to-date results. Creating a forum for dairy farmers to compare the performance of their herd to other herds is empowering since herd health can influence overall farm income. The peer benchmarking approach helps farmers identify areas of strength and weakness on their individual farms and set performance goals for their herd, such as improved diagnosis of future health-

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airy farmers have the opportunity to compare the health and production performance of their herd with other herds around the country as the result of a recent research project from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Approximately 200 organic and 100 size-matched conventional dairy farms across the U.S. were recruited to participate in a recent study examining the impact of organic management on animal health and well-being. Dr. Pamela Ruegg, UW Dairy Science professor and Extension milk quality specialist, and her research team visited each farm to collect herd health records, milk samples, body condition scores, disease treatments, usage of veterinarians, livestock housing, feed and routine milking procedures. Researchers selected indicators of animal health, such as somatic cell counts, and identified the management practices of the participating farms that were most closely associated with better herd health. The project team created individualized benchmark reports for each farm based


Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

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Agriculture 13

November 2012

ATTENTION FARMERS! Now is the time to report your 2012 production All 2012 production must be reported before any revenue losses can be determined. REMEMBER You must report any bushel losses within 15 days of harvest.

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Drought picture worsens for state By Mark Seeley Climatologist, University of Minnesota Extension he drought situation in Minnesota is being assessed by a number of state agencies as well as University of Minnesota Extension. The fall season is a critical hydrological recharge period for our state in terms of soil moisture, lakes and streams. Usually a very high percentage of the rainfall and snowfall is utilized by the landscape and little runs off during October, November and December. So it is critical for the overall health of our soil and water resources that adequate or surplus precipitation falls before the landscape freezes up for the winter. Let’s take a look at the current drought picture: Early growing-season rainfall was predominantly at a surplus during April, May and June, but the drought's imprint on the

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state has expanded since July. Severe or extreme drought as designated by the U.S. Drought Monitor is now prevalent in 45 Minnesota counties, most notably southwestern, south-central and northwestern agricultural landscapes. You can view the geographic distribution of drought around the state at the University of Minnesota climatology website by visiting z.umn.edu/climatejournal. Since mid-July, many counties have reported less than half of normal rainfall, while some areas also reported a recordsetting dry September. Moorhead, Willmar and Morris were among those locations reporting a record dry September, with less than 0.2 inches in total rainfall. In addition, observations of stored soil moisture routinely made at the University of Minnesota's Southern, Southwestern, and Northwestern Research and Outreach Centers are now showing near-record or record low values for the end of September. Other signs of extreme dryness in the

Minnesota landscape include lake levels that are drastically down, and flow volume on many Minnesota watersheds that is below the 10th percentile historically for this time of year. The danger of wildfires is very high in many areas of the state as well. Overall, the state has not seen this area and severity of drought since the fall of 2006. At this point in time, the additional precipitation needed to alleviate drought in most of the counties currently affected ranges from 6 to 12 inches. This is highly

improbable considering that all-time record amounts of precipitation would be needed by December. Only 17 of the past 117 years have produced a statewide average of 6 inches or more precipitation over the October through December period. This calculates to a historical probability of about 15 percent, or about one year in seven. The absolute wettest October through December period in state history, 1971, produced a statewide average precipitation for the period of just less than 8.5 inches. Probably a more realistic expectation is that enough precipitation will fall before the end of the year that there will be some modest alleviation to the soil moisture deficits now in place. A wet spring will be needed for a decent 2013 crop in Minnesota. Visit www.extension.umn.edu/drought for drought-related educational information, and climate.umn.edu for more information from the University of Minnesota’s climatology working group.

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Agriculture 15

Managing short feed supplies after the drought By Alfredo DiCostanzo Animal scientist, University of Minnesota Extension ecause most of the states hit by the 2012 drought were in the corn-producing areas of the country, serious feed shortages will occur for most livestock operations this winter. Yet, in spite of this ominous forecast, beef cattle producers likely will rely on the ability of their cattle to adapt to a variety of diets and ingredients. However, feeding strategies must be reviewed before considering use of drought-stricken crops and forages. For cow-calf operations, this winter will represent an opportunity to incorporate research-based discoveries when managing feed offerings to wintering beef cows. Cow-calf producers planning to have sufficient forage and grain inventories for winter in northern climates must consider stocking approximately 1,000 pounds of hay per cow during winter. This is approximately one large round bale per cow.

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Given the feed shortages, it is even more important than usual to avoid hay wastage during feeding. When delivering hay to cows, producers must ensure that only the hay that will be consumed over a 24-hour period is delivered in a feeder. Data from the University of Minnesota beef research facilities at Grand Rapids and Rosemount indicate that hay wastage is kept to within 5 percent when cows are fed long hay in a round bale feeder or ground hay in a feed bunk. Greater losses (over 18 percent) are expected when large bales are simply rolled or shredded onto the ground. Additional hay waste reductions occurred when limiting time access to hay feeder. Limited access by cows to round bale feeders for 14 hours reduced hay waste further. Because hay may not be readily available in certain regions, some producers are looking into alternatives for securing a forage supply in support of wintering beef cows or growing backgrounding cattle. Drought-stricken corn or other forage fields and late-season planting of wheat or

triticale provide possible alternatives to short hay supplies. Each option must be considered carefully; the former may lead to increased nitrate or other toxin concentrations in forage, and the latter is dependent on the extent of early drought recovery. Grazing or feeding winter wheat or triticale hay may lead to nitrate toxicosis, acidosis or grass tetany. Therefore,

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Farmers markets celebrate great season NOVEMBER CONFERENCE WILL HIGHLIGHT 2012 SEASON AND FUTURE TRENDS innesota farmers’ market vendors and managers are invited to celebrate the success of the 2012 summer season at the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association’s daylong conference Nov. 8 in Waite Park. The event is open to existing market vendors, managers, those considering the start-up of a farmers’ market, and the public. MFMA President Bill Otto said farmers’ markets have seen tremendous growth in Minnesota and across the U.S. “Every year we’ve seen the establishment of more markets and an increase in the number of vendors,” Otto said. “Conference attendees will be asked to share their highlights from the last season and

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we’ll examine some future trends as well.” Minnesota Department of Agriculture Food Inspection Supervisor Katherine Simon will give a presentation on the rules and regulations of selling and sampling at a farmers’ market, including licensing, hand-washing and food sample distribution requirements. Minnesota Grown Program Director Paul Hugunin and MDA’s Organic Specialist Meg Moynihan will discuss how these programs help promote farmers and their locally grown products at markets throughout the state. Other presentations will cover farmers’ market certification, available grants, insurance, and providing access to locally grown foods for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The conference will from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at the American Legion Silver Star Post 428 in Waite Park. Registration is $40 at the door. More information is on the MFMA website at www.mfma.org.


Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Agriculture 17

Grain problems require feeding strategies for swine

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 Feed the suspect feed or grain to a small number of “test” animals and closely watch for symptoms of mycotoxicosis. Pre-pubertal gilts are often good “test” animals when checking suspected feed for zearalenone (swollen vulvas) and vomitoxin (reduced feed intake).  Collect samples of the suspect grain and send to a commercial analytical laboratory for determination of levels of mycotoxins. Once the levels are known, contaminated grain can be blended with good quality grain to dilute the concentration of mycotoxins below critical levels.  Try marketing the grain to cattle (not dairy cows if aflatoxin contaminated) or sheep producers. Ruminants are less sensitive to mycotoxicosis than pigs and poultry. Uncontaminated grain can then be purchased to avoid health problems and performance reductions.

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he hot, dry weather encountered this past summer has resulted in higher levels of mycotoxins in corn grain being harvested this fall. In order to minimize the potential negative impacts that can occur when feeding grain contaminated with mycotoxins to swine, pork producers should be especially cautious and evaluate grain for mycotoxins prior to using as feed. Once grain is contaminated with mycotoxins, there are no known methods of detoxifying it. Therefore, it’s essential to prevent further mycotoxin production by ensuring proper environmental conditions during storage. There are some management strategies that can be used to minimize the negative effects of mycotoxins on swine health and performance. These include:

 Consider putting grain through a grain cleaner to remove fines. Broken and damaged kernels are generally highest in mycotoxin contamination because the seeds’ natural protection has been broken. Avoid feeding grain screenings and fines to swine.  Sodium bentonite and a commercial feed additive called Novasil have been shown to be effective in minimizing the adverse health and performance effects of pigs fed aflatoxin-contaminated feeds. They may also have some benefit in partially alleviating negative effects from other mycotoxins.  Be sure that stored grain is dried and aerated to recommended moisture levels to prevent further mold growth and mycotoxin production. Consider adding commercially available additives or organic acids (propionic, fumaric, citric) to pre-

vent mold growth.  Avoid feeding mycotoxin-contaminated grain to the breeding herd and young pigs. Grow-finish pigs fed for slaughter are the best candidates for tolerating mycotoxin contaminated grain. For more information on swine, visit extesnion.umn.edu/africutlure/swine.


18 Agriculture

Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

It starts with the cows HUTCHINSON’S MUNICIPALLY OWNED COMPOST OPERATION DEPENDS ON AREA FARMS FOR A KEY INGREDIENT By TERRY DAVIS davis@hutchinsonleader.com reekSide Soils, the compostmaking, city-owned company, is a major user of livestock manure obtained from a large dairy operation just outside Hutchinson. There was a time when livestock manure was little more than something to get rid of. Sure, farmers knew it was good fertilizer, so they would pitch it into two-wheeled

C STAFF PHOTO BY TERRY DAVIS

CreekSide potting soil rolls over the bagging line as Andy Kosek, general manager of the Hutchinson-owned compost facility stands with a bag of WonderBlend 100-percent Composted Manure. It is one of many compost products CreekSide produces using composted manure purchased from a Hutchinson-area dairy farm.

spreaders hitched to tractors and apply it to their fields after clearing the crop. And all was well. But agriculture changed. Farms grew. Feedlots grew. Farmers specialized — some raised animals, others focused only on crops, and some still did both. Those raising hundreds, or thousands, of animals had more manure than they needed for their fields. What to do with the excess? In the early 1970s, state and federal regulations tightened controls on manure to assure that it wasn’t allowed to run off into surface waters or contaminate

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

From fields to yards But things change. Today, commercial fertilizers are expensive. Excess manure from large feedlots and dairy operations is a valued commodity, sought by many looking to enrich their soils. CreekSide has been buying composted manure from the Luthens family’s Skyview Dairy for about nine years. The 4,000 cubic yards delivered annually by the Luthens’ to CreekSide’s facility along Adams Street Southeast ends up being used in several lines of bagged compost the company sells. Up to 300,000 of the 1.6 million bags of material CreekSide packages each year has some composted manure in it, CreekSide General Manager Andy Kosek said. “It is a viable resource,” he said. Much of that material is used to enrich the yards and gardens of city-slickers. The material sold by Skyview to CreekSide is composted manure, not raw manure. CreekSide does not have the permits required to process it at its facility. But Skyview does. So the Luthens com-

post it at an inspected site near their farm east of the city. CreekSide, meanwhile, has the equipment needed to turn the piles to aid the composting process. “We go out and process the materials,” Kosek said. When it is ready, about a year after the pile began composting, Skyview trucks the 4,000 cubic yards to CreekSide about 35 yards at a time, usually during July and August. That is enough to cover the city’s current needs. About 90-percent to 95-percent goes into bagged products such CreekSide’s professional WonderBlend 100-percent Composted Manure, the premium CreekSide Compost with Manure, and the economy line SpendorGRO Compost with Manure. It also goes into WonderBlend potting soil and some privatelabel brands CreekSide bags. “It is a natural fertilizer that people are really going for,” City Administrator Jeremy Carter said. “In the metro area, growing gardens in containers filled with composted manure is becoming popular,” Kosek added. “The natural nutritional value is greater than commercial fertilizer. It is becoming more and more popular.” Landscapers have discovered its value in top-dressing lawns or as a soil material

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Agriculture 19

“In the metro area, growing gardens in containers filled with composted manure is becoming popular.” Andy Kosek, General manager, CreekSide Soils

for newly seeded lawns. “We looked at that as another thing to use in our marketing,” Carter said.

Growing demand challenge Not only is demand growing for such products across CreekSide’s six-state distribution area in the Upper Midwest, demand is also growing among farmers for the basic manure and composted manure. “I see a greater valued and demand for

it,” Carter said. The challenge now is that the price of commercial fertilizer is going through the roof, so more farmers are looking to Skyview Dairy for the cow-made fertilizer at a time when CreekSide and Skyview are negotiating a contract extension. Carter and Kosek are confident the long relationship with the local dairy producer will continue. For more about CreekSide, visit www.creeksidesoils.com.

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groundwater. And commercial fertilizers were cheap, easier to handle and apply, and readily available to all, even farmers who no longer raised livestock.

November 2012

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20 Agriculture

Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Livestock ‘waste’ is a valuable resource hile industrial waste and city sewage captured the spotlight leading up to the Clean Water Act in 1972, agricultural waste was also a growing public concern. For thousands of years, farmers used livestock manure as fertilizer for crops. However, in recent decades, commercial fertilizer took the lead because it was cheaper and easier to use. Livestock manure often came to be viewed as an odorous waste. And when allowed to run off into waterways, it causes pollution. The “waste” reputation is reflected in Minnesota’s rules enacted in 1971 to regulate livestock feedlots through the MPCA’s Agricultural Waste Division. Today, that’s changing as rising costs for commercial fertilizer and new technology are restoring the reputation of livestock manure as a valuable crop fertilizer. Today’s feedlot regulations focus on management rather than disposal of livestock waste. Over the past 40 years, the livestock

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industry has changed dramatically. In 1972, Minnesota Agricultural Statistics reported about 100,000 livestock feedlots in the state. Today, there are fewer feedlots, but more of them are much larger. Of the approximately 25,000 registered feedlots in Minnesota today, about 1,200 of the largest feedlots hold the majority of animals, and operate under federal permits.

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The initial rules in 1971 required livestock producers to control runoff from feedlots, and to properly use manure as a fertilizer. It set priorities for making feedlot improvements, triggered by complaints about pollution problems or plans for feedlot expansion. “The whole idea of environmental protection was fairly new, and it received a lot

of public acceptance,” says Wayne Anderson, who began working in the MPCA feedlot program in 1972. “We were able to find a way to link the public acceptance of environmental protection to farmer awareness of manure as a resource.” The late Milton “Jim” Fellows, a Worthington area farmer, served on the MPCA citizen’s board in the late 1960s and early ’70s. “It was quite an experience to be writing the first regulations,” Fellows said in an interview in 2003. He received one of the first solid waste-ag permits, not for a pollution problem at his cattle feedlot, but “because if we expected others to do it, I would do it myself. We used the site as an example of feedlot pollution control.” In 1974, the MPCA launched a program that brought counties into direct participation with regulation of livestock feedlots. Today, 55 counties participate in the delegated county agreement. “They recognized the value of local people being partners in this,” Anderson says. “There was no funding for counties in the early days, but they took it on because it

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review disposal of animal manure and other livestock operation wastes. The rules apply to most aspects of livestock waste management including the location, design, construction, operation and management of feedlots and manure handling facilities. There are two primary concerns about feedlots in protecting water in agricultural areas:  Ensuring that manure on a feedlot or manure storage area does not run into water;  Ensuring that nutrient-rich manure is applied to cropland at a rate, time and method that prevents nutrients and other possible contaminants from entering streams, lakes and ground water. Following a major revision of the state’s feedlot rules (Chapter 7020) in 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the state’s feedlot program: “Minnesota has a unique and successful program for preventing water pollution from feedlots. In addition to ensuring that larger feedlots meet Clean Water Act regulations, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency works effectively with county governments, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to make sure that feedlots of all sizes control pollution.”

Agriculture 21

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was the right thing to do.” Jackson County in southwestern Minnesota became first to join the delegated county program. The county was in the process of reorganizing, and in 1974 created an environment office, including parks and feedlots. The Jackson County Extension agent, Ray Palmby, urged the county board to become delegated and name a county feedlot officer. The job went to the late Paul Hartman, a livestock dealer and banker from Okabena, Minn. “Paul and I drove around to meet with farmers,” Anderson said. “We were out soliciting in many counties, meeting with county commissioners, and making personal contact. We’ve come a long way since then, with providing training and some funding for counties.” Dennis Hanselman, who succeeded Hartman as Jackson County feedlot officer in 1978 until 1990, recalls the early years. “Overall, it worked fairly well. We were ahead of other counties in planning and zoning, and feedlot permits. Land application was a big problem, and odor complaints, mostly from open pits.” Hanselman later joined the MPCA staff in Detroit Lakes, retiring last year. The MPCA regulates the collection, transportation, storage, processing and

November 2012


22 Agriculture

Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Agriculture 23

U of M Extension to host land rent meetings andlords, farmers, agri-business managers and ag professionals should make plans to attend “What is a Fair and Profitable Land Rent Agreement,” an informative land rent meeting which will be held at various locations throughout southern Minnesota in November and early December. Farm land rental rates have never been higher and determining a fair and profitable farm rent agreement is a challenge in today's economy with near record corn and soybean prices and record farm land

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values. Negotiating a fair rental agreement that satisfies the land owner and the farmer is a challenge. David Bau, Extension educator in ag business management, will describe several methods for determining a fair farm land rental rate for both parties. Topics covered at the meetings will include local historic and projected farmland rental rate trends, current farm land values and sales, a worksheet that will help determine a fair and profitable rental agreement. Input costs for 2013 will be

presented along with current corn and soybean prices. Worksheets will examine 2013 costs and what is affordable rent that a farmer will be able to pay in 2013, the rate of return to the landlord at current market values and examine flexible rental agreements. Make plans to attend one of these free meetings in your area. Visit http://z.umn.edu/renttalk for a complete list of locations and dates. Attendees will receive several informative worksheets and fact sheets to help them determine what is a fair and profitable 2013 farm

land rental rate. Two meetings titled “What is a Fair and Profitable Farmland Rental Agreement” have been scheduled in McLeod and Meeker County for landowners and land renters to attend. The McLeod County session will take place at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, in the McLeod County Fairgrounds Commercial Building, Hutchinson. The Meeker County session begins at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16, in Community Rooms A and B of the Meeker County Courthouse, Litchfield.

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24 Agriculture

Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012


Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Agriculture 25

Greenbook highlights agriculture innovations he 2012 edition of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Greenbook is now available. The Greenbook publication highlights the results of innovative projects that test new approaches to raising crops and livestock as well as marketing agricultural products. The projects are funded by the MDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program, which promotes environmental stewardship and conservation of resources and strives to improve profitability and quality of life on farms and in rural areas. MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson says the Greenbook is a valuable resource for farmers, researchers, and others seeking to advance Minnesota agriculture and improve the quality of life in rural areas. “Over the years, the Greenbook has provided the technical information and trial and error insights into hundreds of new

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projects,” Frederickson said. “Having this research has helped farmers more quickly adopt alternative farming systems that are sustainable over the long term.” Greenbook editor Jeanne Ciborowski says the new edition features 17 sustainable agriculture projects in four major topic areas: alternative markets and specialty crops; cropping systems and soil fertility; fruits and vegetables; and livestock. “Among the projects are strategies for growing blackberries organically under high tunnels which provides for winter protection and increased production, and growing fresh cabbage for markets using integrated pest management,” said Ciborowski. Other projects included a feasibility study of small farm commercial hops production and cultivating and marketing organic mushrooms in a northern climate. For a free copy of Greenbook 2012, call 651-201-6012, or visit the MDA’s web site: www.mda.state.mn.us/greenbook.

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

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Save your hay and your money with a hay hopper bale feeder! A Michigan State University study showed that hay waste from a typical round bale feeder could be 10% or more compared to some cone type feeders.

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With our hay hopper feeder the bale sits in the chain hopper and not on the ground. We use 16 chains for our hopper. We don’t need that many chains to support the bale but by having more chains the openings to the bale are smaller. Smaller openings mean the cattle can’t just pull the hay out. They have to eat it and this means less waste. The loose hay that does fall down falls into the bottom of the feeder and is eaten as well.

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26 Agriculture

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

Agriculture 27

November 2012

Shoppers pay more for items you grow hoppers paid slightly more for food at the grocery store during the third quarter of the year, with many popular breakfast staples showing an increase in retail price. Higher retail prices for eggs, bacon, orange juice, milk and toasted oat cereal, among other foods, resulted in a slight increase in the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Quarterly Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $51.90, up $1 or about 2 percent compared to the second quarter of 2012. Of the 16 items surveyed, nine increased and seven decreased in average price compared to the prior quarter. The cost for the overall basket of foods decreased about 2 percent compared to one year ago. Most of the slight quarter-to-quarter increase in the marketbasket of foods can be attributed to higher retail prices for breakfast staples, apples and bagged salad.

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“While prices were up from the second quarter, compared to a year ago, the marketbasket price was actually lower, by about 2 percent,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. “For most of this year, food prices have been relatively stable. This is consistent with the very slow but steady growth in the general economy that has been seen throughout the year, along with fairly stable energy prices.”

Items showing retail price increases for the third quarter included apples, up 36 cents to $1.86 per pound; large eggs, up 33 cents to $1.94 per dozen; bagged salad, up 20 cents to $2.94 per pound; bacon, up 19 cents to $4.23 per pound; whole milk, up 19 cents to $3.55 for one gallon; orange juice up 13 cents to $3.30 for a half-gallon; boneless chicken breasts, up 8 cents to $3.17 per pound; sirloin tip roast, up 5 cents to $4.74 per pound; and toasted oat cereal, up 1 cent to $3.00 for a 9-ounce box. These items showed modest retail price declines: ground chuck decreased 19 cents to $3.47 per pound; white bread decreased 13 cents to $1.75 for a 20-ounce loaf; vegetable oil, down 7 cents to $2.91 for a 32-ounce bottle; flour decreased 5 cents to $2.57 for a 5-pound bag; Russet potatoes decreased 5 cents to $3.01 for a 5-pound bag; sliced deli ham decreased 4 cents to $5.20 per pound; and shredded cheddar decreased 3 cents to $4.26 per pound. Several items showing an increase in

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retail price from quarter-to-quarter also showed year-to-year increases: sirloin tip roast, up 11 percent; eggs, up 9 percent; bagged salad, up 8 percent; and apples, up 2 percent. The year-to-year direction of the Marketbasket Survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped. “Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Anderson said. Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this quarter’s $51.90 marketbasket would be $8.30.

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28 Agriculture

Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Tips help families deal with farm stress From the University of Wisconsin Extension

!

ost families find communication to be interesting and difficult. Each of us is a unique individual with his or her own beliefs, feelings, needs and agendas. It’s not always easy to be heard or to get our unique needs and agendas met within the family setting. Communication can be even more difficult in farm families. Why? For one thing, farm family members live and work side-by-side. There is no separation between work and family and the tensions of farming often spill over into the family arena. But there is another factor as well. Farming often involves intergenerational or multi-family arrangements and significant tensions can develop between father and son, between mother

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and daughter-in-law, or between the various families involved in a family corporation. It helps if farm families understand a basic concept: interpersonal issues are a lot like weeds — they don’t go away unless you root them out and, if left alone, they can choke out the crop. Farm families need to find ways of promoting self worth and preventing interpersonal conflict so interpersonal issues don’t “choke out the crop.” The following skills can be helpful in doing this. Practice the art of active listening. Active listening involves paraphrasing or restating the other person’s ideas and feelings in the listener’s own words. It’s a way of drawing out the other person and checking on whether you really heard what the speaker was saying. The active listener avoids evaluating what the other person has said and refrains from blaming, interpreting, persuading or giving advice to the other person. You simply feed the message back in a caring way that encourages a response. The use of certain phrases lets the other person know that you are actively listening. These include: “I hear

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you saying____.” “It sounds like you ____.” “You seem to be feeling ____.” Watch for early warning signals that conflict is just around the corner. External signals (in others) include sarcasm, teasing, nit-picking, criticism, yelling, avoidance, and the stony, silent glare. Internal signs (in yourself) include accelerated heart rate, faster and shallower breathing, increased muscle tension, butterflies in the stomach, and cold clammy hands. These external and internal signals indicate that there is tension occurring within a relationship. It’s important to recognize these signals, pay attention to them, and take some action to head off future conflict. Remember that conflict can be good if it makes people aware that a problem exists and if it causes them to become involved in solving that problem. Share something of yourself — disclose what you are thinking, feeling and wanting. One of the biggest problems in communication is not knowing what other people are thinking, feeling or wanting. Sharing our thoughts and feelings sometimes involves risk — risk that the other person won’t

2.

3.

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review listen or care; risk that your wants and needs will conflict with those of others. But it’s the only way others can know what we want and need in our relationships. It’s also helpful to share what you are willing to do to resolve a conflict. Use of the following statements can be helpful: “I sense that we’re in conflict over this issue.” “I’m concerned (or worried, anxious, afraid) about it.” “What I’d really like is ____.” “I’m willing to _____ to resolve the issue.” When you feel angry, count to 10…or 50…or 1,000 and then report this anger to the other person. The two most common forms of dealing with anger — burying it and exploding at others — are not very effective. Burying it hurts the person who is angry and exploding at others hurts those other people. It’s helpful to take a few moments (or a few hours) to cool off and reflect on the situation — to get in touch with what you are thinking, feeling and wanting. Then report this anger to the other person in ways that encourage a productive response. Use words that describe what the person did or what happened to make you angry. Here is an example of phrases that communicate anger without putting the other person on the defensive: “John, I was angry at you when ____. I don’t like feeling that way.

4.

What can we do to resolve this issue?” Use one-minute criticisms as a way of expressing interpersonal gripes in families. One-minute criticisms (delivered in a minute or less) can be an important problem-solving tool since they allow individuals to raise concerns and feelings without demeaning or demoralizing the other person. The following guidelines should be kept in mind when giving one-minute criticisms: a) focus on the other person’s behavior (what’s bugging you), b) do it soon (unless you’re angry) c) express your true feelings (if angry or resentful, say so), d) stop for a moment of silence, e) emphasize that you value the other person, f) give support through touch, g) allow time for the other person to respond, and h) recognize that the criticism is over. Criticism can be an important problemsolving tool, but not when it’s used to punish or demean the other person. Use one-minute praisings as a way of expressing support and caring in families. A supportive, caring family will be in a much better position to deal with conflict when it does arise.

5.

6.

November 2012

One-minute praisings provide other people with positive feedback on something they’ve done. Thus, it’s one of the best tools for strengthening an individual’s self-concept and for creating a supportive climate within farm families. Guidelines to be kept in mind for one-minute praisings are: a) focus on the other person’s behavior (what you liked or appreciated), b) do it soon, c) express your true feelings (if happy, say so!), d) stop for a moment of silence, e) emphasize how much you value the other person, f) give support through touch, and g) encourage more of the same behavior. Use adult-to-adult problem-solving in farm businesses that involve intergenerational arrangements. Significant problems arise if a parent treats a son or daughter like a child when that person is a full-grown adult. Parent-type actions such as finger pointing, head shaking, and use of such evaluative words as “always,” “never,” “remember,” “you ought to know better,” and “if I were you” can get in the way of intergenerational problem-solving. Problems also arise when adult children fall back into kid-like behaviors (using Mom as a con-

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Agriculture 29 duit rather than approaching Dad with problems or ideas) or when either party resorts to profanity or name-calling. It’s important that both parties in the relationship treat each other as adults and enter into a mutual problem-solving process that involves: a) a clear definition of the problem, b) a look at what options are available, c) an exploration of which option will work best, and d) the choice of a specific course of action. Problem-solving works best when it’s focused on one issue — try not to bring up past history or solve all of your problems at one time Since farm and family issues are closely intertwined, minor issues can escalate into major conflicts within a short time. Thus, it’s important to deal with interpersonal issues when they first arise — when there is a low level of emotions, little distortion of the other person’s position, a reasonable level of trust, and a willingness to listen to the other person. The skills outlined above should be helpful in promoting self worth and in preventing interpersonal conflict. Try them — they work! To access more information to help analyze your situation, link to the Extension Responds web page at: www. uwex. edu/ces/ag/farmingindifficulttimes.html.

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30 Agriculture

Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

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Agriculture 31

Steps to success outlined for organic farmers THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OFFERS A NEW ASSESSMENT TOOL he Minnesota Department of Agriculture has made a new, free farm management resource available to organic farmers. The publication, “Organic Farmers: Steps to Success,” contains five simple worksheets designed to help organic farmers assess their own management and financial strengths and identify areas they want to improve. “Not all successful organic farms excel in the same way, and there is no ‘recipe’ for what will make somebody an exceptional organic farmer,” said Meg Moynihan, the MDA organic program administrator who led development of the worksheets. “But there are some skills and personal qualities that help, and these worksheets are designed to help people figure

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out what those are.” The booklet is the culmination of a comprehensive organic farm business management project supported by the USDA Risk Management Agency and was designed with input from farm business management instructors, agricultural economists, and organic farmers. It is free to use and share and can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/organic. Farmers and other agriculture professionals may also be interested in actual production and economic performance data for Minnesota organic farms collected from 2007-2011. The Minnesota Organic Farm Performance Report is available at www.mda.state.mn.us/fbm. Other organizations that participated substantially in the project include Minnesota State Universities Farm Business Management Education programs, University of Minnesota Center for Farm Financial Management, Organic Crop Improvement Association — Minnesota Chapter 1 and the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota.


32 Agriculture

Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

New perspective on global agribusiness EDEN VALLEY FARMER TOM HAAG WAS PART OF A MINNESOTA DELEGATION THAT VISITED CHINA, THE STATE’S TOP MARKET FOR AGRICULTURE By Juliana Thill he 10 days that Tom Haag of Eden Valley spent in China earlier this year served multiple purposes — Tom Haag from gathering market insights and understanding exports to discussing farming operations. Haag is vice president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and was among the 50-member delegation that Gov. Mark Dayton led on a trade mission to China. “China does a lot of importing of our products — corn, soybeans, soybean

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meal, pork — and they’re importing a lot more. Their culture is changing,” Haag said. The delegation, made up of business and industry association executives, higher education leaders and state government officials traveled June 8-17 to Beijing, Shanghai and Xian (the capital of Shaanxi Province) for market and industry briefings, business match-making events, networking events and meetings with key U.S. and Chinese government officials. Agribusiness was strongly represented during the trade mission, which makes sense, given that China accounts for more than one-fourth of Minnesota’s agricultural exports, said state Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, who traveled with the delegation.

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review “In the past 10 years, our ag exports to China have jumped 800 percent, mostly driven by exports of bulk and intermediate commodities,” said Frederickson. “China’s the top buyer and the main market for Minnesota soybeans and a growing market for our pork.” Having an agricultural presence among the business delegation was important from a goodwill effort, as well as a business aspect, Haag said. “Anytime you have ag people going, it’s a plus for them to talk to us about farming or to find out more information about how efficient American farmers are,” he said. With sales of $2.3 billion in 2011, China is Minnesota’s second-largest export market for manufactured goods. It is the state’s top market for agricultural commodities and related food products, with purchases of $1.35 billion in 2010. State export growth to China is expected to continue, providing opportunities for Minnesota companies to sell manufactured goods, services and agricultural commodities. “China is a growing market for Minnesota manufacturers, service providers and agribusinesses,” Dayton said. “Building relationships with Chinese leaders,

expanding markets for Minnesota products and encouraging reverse investment are all aimed at growing our state’s economy and creating more jobs for Minnesotans.” Haag sees the ag industry growing as ag-related businesses expand. “There are more jobs being related around agriculture — you’ve got people on the chemical side, a lot of people on the seed side and machinery side,” he said. “There are a lot of small farmers out there, but there are a lot of jobs related to agriculture.” During the mission, delegates explored new trade opportunities, gathered market insights, acquired business contacts and potential partners and distributors, and worked to attract Chinese investment in Minnesota. “Entering a new foreign market or expanding existing operations requires sound market intelligence, experienced technical expertise and key business connections,” said Katie Clark, director of the Minnesota Trade Office. “Our trade mission to China provides these essentials for companies and organizations exploring this market and looking for new opportunities for export growth.” Haag also saw the trip as important for

November 2012

“A large farm (in China) is 40 acres.” Tom Haag gaining a better understanding of Chinese operations for growing food and how they process food, he said. Haag, who was elected vice president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association three years ago, helps lead the 6,100 member commodity group. He had the Minnesota Corn Growers Association in mind during the scheduled stops to a food market, Cargill’s animal nutrition feed mill where it grinds corn and soybean meal for animals, Hormel Food Co., and a dairy processing plant in Shanghai, Hagg said. Haag, who other than making a trip to Hawaii had never traveled overseas before, was interested in seeing how farms in China operate.

Agriculture 33 “A large farm (in China) is 40 acres. Everything is done by hand,” said Haag, who farms 625 acres of corn and soybeans. Haag, 60, and his wife, Linda, have two grown sons, Nathan and Lucas. Nathan works with his dad on the farm, which has been in the family for 100 years. Haag is the fourth generation of the family to farm the land, having taken over the family farm in 1979 when his father passed away. Farming has changed in the 100 years that Haag’s family has been operating a farm. Today, it “is more like running a small business than running a small farm,” he said. “I think the biggest thing is farming 30 years ago, or when my dad farmed here, it was more of a smaller family farm and you didn’t put a lot of inputs back into the ground. When my dad would plant corn, he planted 18,000 plants per acre. Now, we’re doing 34,000 plants per acre — we’re about doubling what we were doing. Now, times have changed. The cost of everything has gone up. Land’s gone up, inputs into corn or soybeans has gone up. You have to make sure you’re a better marketer because of the costs.”

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November 2012

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Agriculture 35

Grants target sustainable farming innovations DEADLINE TO APPLY TO THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE IS JAN. 11 The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program will award up to $100,000 in 2013 for on-farm sustainable agriculture research or demonstration projects. The MDA is accepting applications for the grant program which promotes environmental stewardship and conservation of resources and strives to improve profitability and quality of life on farms and in rural areas. Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson says the MDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program has helped move new ideas and concepts into viable production practices. “With these grants, farmers and researchers have the opportunity to pur-

sue their ideas, track the results and then share this valuable information with others,” Frederickson said. “For example, we’ve seen the development of high tunnel systems to increase fruit production and new successes with cover crops.” Grant applications are available on the MDA website at http://go/use.gov/YBSj, or by contacting the Agricultural Marketing and Development Division at 651-2016012. Completed applications must be received by MDA no later than Jan. 11. Since 1989, the MDA Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program has awarded 281 grants. Examples of eligible projects include fruit and vegetable production, conservation tillage and weed management, integrated pest management, livestock production, organic farming, alternative energy crop production and use of cover crops. These and other grant projects are highlighted in the Greenbook, which is free and available at www.mda.state.mn.us/greenbook.

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November 2012

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Agriculture 37

Cover Crops Field Walk planned for Nov. 17 GOAL OF THE EVENT NEAR LANESBORO IS TO SHOW HOW TO BUILD HEALTHY SOIL he relationship between cover crops and better soil is the focus of a short field day Saturday, Nov. 17, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at the Brian Hazel dairy farm north of Lanesboro. This is a free event, but to help guarantee enough coffee and rolls, please reserve a spot by contacting Caroline van Schaik at 507-523-3366, or caroline@landstewardshipproject.org. Hazel’s farm is at 27919 State Highway 250. Soil health has long been understood as foundational to successful farming. Healthy soil is directly linked to better production and farm finances, as well as to erosion control and related resource priorities. In a recent statewide video conference on the topic, Minnesota State Conservationist Don Baloun of the Natural Resources Conservation Service put an emphatic priority on helping farmers and

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other landowners do everything possible to build better soil. One of the most important tools for building healthy soil is to integrate cover crops into rotations. Hazel, a member of the Fillmore County Soil and Water Resources District board of directors, will talk about his use of tillage radishes and oats, and how these cover crops fit into his management decisions. Peter Hartman, area soil scientist with NRCS, will cover the basics of soil and present research results related to the effects of tillage on soil health. Biology professor Bruno Borsari of Winona State University will explain how the biological activity below ground and plant growth above ground interact. The Land Stewardship Project and Fillmore County Soil and Water Resources District are organizing this free event in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.


38 Agriculture

Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Ethanol pumps $5 billion into state’s economy MINNESOTA HAS 21 ETHANOL PLANTS innesota’s ethanol industry generated more than $5 billion in total economic activity in 2011 and supported more than 12,600 jobs, according to a new report from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The state’s 21 ethanol plants have the capacity to produce 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol, putting Minnesota fifth nationwide in ethanol production. According to the MDA report, ethanol added $912 million to the value of the state’s corn crop in 2011, a second record high. For every bushel of corn processed into ethanol, $2.07 was generated in additional revenue. The report also shows that for every dollar invested into the ethanol plants, more than eight dollars were generated for the Minnesota economy. Last year, Minnesota farmers harvested more than 1.2 billion bushels of corn and 440 million bushels were put into produc-

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tion of ethanol and its co-product, distillers dried grains. The report’s author, MDA economist Su Ye, says the ethanol industry continues to have a critical role in bringing increased returns to the state’s largest agricultural crop. “While there have been ups and downs in the ethanol industry, the fact is it’s a huge advantage for us to keep more of the value of the corn we produce rather than ship it to another state or country as a raw commodity,” Ye said. “The ethanol industry is an important economic driver that adds value to every bushel of corn grown by the roughly 11,000 farmers who supply it to the plants.” Ye said Minnesota exports 42 percent of its corn, while 39 percent of it is processed. In comparison, the U.S. exports 12 percent of its corn and 50 percent is processed. MDA’s latest Minnesota Ethanol Industry Report can be viewed online at http://go/use.gov/YBJB.

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Agriculture 39

OPINION

Don’t ignore ethanol’s great successes From Tom Haag Minnesota corn farmer, Eden Valley ive years ago, ethanol was the darling of the media. It was a movement toward energy independence and security, a tribute to American ingenuity and innovation, and a renewable fuel developed in fertile farmlands across the United States. Ethanol embodied the true American spirit. Fast-forward to 2012, and somehow, ethanol opponents have managed to villainize it, painting it as being the root of nearly all that is wrong in our country. Ethanol has been blamed for the worst drought in 50 years, for the skyrocketing costs of our grocery bills, and for creating a continuous cycle of subsidies. It’s convenient to point an angry finger at farmers and ethanol producers, when one is unencumbered by facts. What other trouble has ethanol been causing? The fall of Wall

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Street? The housing crisis? Facebook’s IPO disaster? You have to ask yourself if there is something else at the root of all this ethanol blame game. I can’t help but wonder what went so wrong so fast. Things started off so well with the introduction of ethanol, finally giving us a choice at the gas station. Ethanol kicked off a conversation about renewable fuels, teaching us that we can be less dependent on foreign fossil fuels. We found a renewable fuel that made the air cleaner. We started saving money at the pump. And, we sparked an economic resurgence in many of our rural communities, pumping money into towns that so desperately needed it and adding $42.4 billion to the national GDP. The list goes on and on. But frankly, I wonder if people are ignoring the successes. Don’t get me wrong. Ethanol is not perfect, but it’s a healthy start in the right direction — and certainly better than petroleum. Ethanol is an emerging tech-

nology, and every year, it gets better, cleaner and more efficient. We aren’t asking anyone to turn a blind eye to ethanol’s shortcomings, but we are asking for a balanced approach to the story. At the root of the issue is the perception that there is not enough corn for both food uses and ethanol production. Let’s start with some facts. Nearly three-quarters of our field corn supply still goes into food and feed. Remember, you don’t use the entire kernel of corn when making ethanol, just the starch. After the starch is removed, the remaining part of the kernel, including all of the proteins, is used to make high-quality livestock feed. Furthermore, the corn that goes on our plates and on our grills is sweet corn — that’s not used to make ethanol. Here’s another fact: Farmers today grow five times as much corn as they did in the 1930s — on 20 percent less land — a fact that ethanol opponents seem to ignore. And even in the midst of a devastating drought, our yield

averages are still better than they were just 20 years ago. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, the U.S. used 13.9 billion gallons of ethanol last year, displacing the equivalent of 485 million barrels of imported oil and saving the country $49.7 billion. And if none of this information gets you thinking a little more positively about ethanol, how about the fact that in the Midwest, ethanol reduced gas prices by an average of $1.69 per gallon? Instead of working so hard to vilify ethanol, can we at least agree that it’s done some good things for our country? It would be difficult to deny that ethanol has started a biofuels movement in the United States by forcing us all to look at sustainability. Energy is a big tent. We know there are new developments to come. Some of those will include ethanol. But for that to happen, we must commit to focusing on the facts when it comes to telling the story.

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Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

CRP on hold until new Farm Bill passes CONGRESS’ FAILURE TO PASS THE BILL HAS PUT NEW ENROLLMENTS IN JEOPARDY SINCE SEPT. 30 he U.S. Department of Agriculture announced plans in October to allocate an additional 400,000 acres of farm land for conservation and wildlife habitat restoration efforts as part of the Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP. With 400,000 acres available, USDA plans to work with producers and landowners to target habitat for high-priority species, such as the lesser prairie chicken and sage grouse, as well as game species including pheasants and quail. Pheasants Forever and other conservation groups have touted the new project, called State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement Program, or SAFE. Other species expected to receive protection under the project include northern scarlet snakes, ferruginous hawks and the American woodcock.

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But, farmers won’t be able to enroll additional acres in the CRP until Congress passes a new Farm Bill, which expired Sept. 30. Without a bill, the USDA cannot convert the 400,000 acres into CRP. The voluntary program aims to conserve and restore habitat for wildlife species that are threatened or endangered, have suffered significant population declines or are important environmentally, economically or socially. Land designated for conservation efforts is located in 36 states and Puerto Rico. In March, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA’s intent to enroll up to 1 million acres in a new CRP grasslands and wetlands initiative meant to target environmentally sensitive land through continuous signups. In addition, USDA announced a continuous sign-up of highly erodible cropland, which seeks to

protect the nation’s most environmentally sensitive lands. According to the USDA, CRP has provided numerous benefits:  CRP prevents the erosion of 325 million tons of soil each year, or enough soil to fill 19.5 million dump trucks;  CRP has restored more than two million acres of wetlands and two million acres of riparian buffers;  Each year, CRP keeps more than 600 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 100 million pounds of phosphorous from flowing into our nation’s streams, rivers,

and lakes;  CRP provides $1.8 billion annually to landowners—dollars that make their way into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating jobs; and  CRP is the largest private lands carbon sequestration program in the country. By placing vulnerable cropland into conservation, CRP sequesters carbon in plants and soil, and reduces both fuel and fertilizer usage. In 2010, CRP resulted in carbon sequestration equal to taking almost 10 million cars off the road.

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FREE Lunch & Learn 2012 Farm Tax Issues and Planning

Tuesday, November 20th Lunch 12:00 Learning 12:30-2:00 Hutchinson Event Center Call 320-587-2722 to register

Glen E Steiner, CPA MSA 121 1st Ave. SE, Hutchinson, MN 55350 320-587-2722 Email: gsteiner@ steinerfinancial cpa.com 90831 AG

www.steinerfinancialcpa.com

Septic & Excavating Services, Inc.

Quality Septic Service •Septic Installations •Design •Inspection •Pumping •Basement Excavation Now offering: Hydrojetting, Drain Cleaning, Video Line Inspection Licensed • Bonded •Insured Serving the counties of: Meeker • Renville • McLeod • Kandiyohi • Wright • Sibley

1-320-894-8779

82776

• Management Accounting • Entity Selection • Tax Reporting/Planning • Ownership Transitions


Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Agriculture 41

LifeStyle Homes of Litchfield Featuring Custom Modular & Manufactured Homes OWNER OPERATED SINCE 1977

MODEL HOME CLOSE-OUT SALE OR ORDER NOW FOR SPRING SAVINGS!!! SAVE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS BEFORE THE FEBRUARY 2012 PRICE INCREASES

Thank you all our farming clients... We appreciate your business.

8 Decorated Model Homes for Your Viewing. FEATURING OPEN FLOOR PLANS, MAIN FLOOR LAUNDRY, LARGE FAMILY-STYLE KITCHENS, SPACIOUS CLOSETS, MAIN-FLOOR BEDROOMS & BATHS ON-SITE PLANNING FOR: BASEMENTS - GARAGES - DECKS FULL LINE OF CONTRACTING SERVICES USING LOCAL EXPERIENCED CONTRACTORS.

581 Linden Ave. E, Kimball, MN 55353 Ph.: 320-398-3600 Fax: 320-398-3601 www.kimballveterinaryclinic.com

800-247-8426 • 320-693-7993 Hwy 12 & 22 N., Litchfield

Estate Auction

80 acres of Land, Farm Equip, Tools, Vehicles & Collectables

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012 • 10:30am • Land sells at noon (Blizzard Date: November 15th, 2012 – noon)

7657 – 195th St., Silver Lake, MN Directions to Site: Go East from Silver Lake on St Hwy 7 turn South onto Falcon Ave (Co Rd 15) and go 1 mile, turn West onto 195th St., 1 mile to property on south side of road. Land: Hale Twsp, McLeod Co, T-117-N, R-28-W, Sec. 36. Acreage: 80 acres Tillable: 55.2 acres Sold as one parcel. Terms on land: There is no buyer’s premium. The buyer shall pay a nonrefundable 5% down earnest money on the day of the auction and enter into a purchase agreement with the balance to be paid upon closing in approx 30 days. The sellers to pay all present assessments, buyer to pay any future assessments. Seller to pay all 2012 Real Estate taxes, Buyer to pay all taxes due and payable in 2013. The property will be sold in “AS IS” condition, no warranties expressed by sellers or seller‘s agents. The seller has the right to reject any or all bids. The sellers or seller’s agents are not responsible for any errors in information. This is a guide. Buyers are responsible to collect their own info. Anything said the day of the auction takes precedence over written material.

Tractors: JD 620, factory WF, good tin, 13.6x38 rubber (tight); Farmall 450, Schwartz WF, Good tin, 15.5x38 rubber (tight); Farmall H, NF, 11.2x38 rubber (tight). Farm Equip: Hesston 5540 round bailer w/ monitor, belt type; 9’ New Holland haybine; 3 pt rd bail mover; 12’ hay conveyor; JD 24T bailer w/ thrower; JD #8 sickel mower; Loftness 7 1/2‘ 2 stg snowblower; JD 1250 6 rw planter. Combines & Heads: JD 3300 gas combine; JD 13’ bean head; JD 343, 3 rw N, corn head; JD 244, 2 rw W, corn head; Case 660 gas combine; Case bean head; Case402, 2 rw W, corn head; Case 2 rw W, corn head w/ oilers. Shop items: 5 hp Magna Force air compressor; Knipko heaters; cement mixer (stationary). Truck, Cars & Boat; Collectibles; 1972 Holly Park Trailor House. Will be auctioned off & to be moved from site. All equipment has been resting for some time – some can be used, restored, used for parts or scrap. Items must be removed by December 1, 2012. Note: Seller and sellers agents have provided information to the best of their knowledge. This is a guide. Information provided the day of the auction takes precedence over any written material. Auctioneer has the right to run the sale however best serves the seller. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE LAND AND TO RECEIVE A LAND PACKET, PLEASE CALL 800-803-8761

91022 Ag

Edward Kulinski Estate Auctioneers: Joe Maidl 507-276-7749 ::: Matt Mages 507-276-7002 Lic# 08-12-006 Auctioneers: Larry Mages – Lafayette ¨ John Goelz – Franklin ¨ Joe Wersal – Winthrop Broker & Clerk: Mages Land Co. & Auction Service LLC - All Items Sold “As Is” - Not Responsible for Accidents. Preview 1 Hour Prior to Sale – Restroom & Lunch available on site. magesland.com

www.lifestylehomesmn.com Contractor ID#5143

92829

Both conveniently located on Hwy 55.

OUR SALE RUNS THRU JANUARY 31, 2013

83210

701 State Hwy. 55, Watkins, MN 55389 Ph.: 320-764-7400 Fax: 320-764-7401 www.watkinsvetclinic.com


42 Agriculture

Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

November 2012

Farm insurance with service you can count on.

We have protected area farmers for decades with quality insurance coverages and friendly, local service. Call someone you can depend on for your insurance, your local FarMutual® agent. Lehr Agency, Inc. 82334

Derek J. Penk, Agent Laurie Johnson, Agent 426 North Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-693-3271

82794

When You Need Help...

With each of our attorneys focusing in specific areas, we cover all aspects of agricultural law. AUTO & RADIATOR

Radiators Oil Coolers Heater Cores A/C Condensers A/C Hose Repair Turbo Inner Coolers Marine Heat Exchangers Antique Tractor Radiator Repair & Rebuilding • Complete Auto Repair Auto & pickup, domestic & imports

• Cooling System and A/C Service on all vehicles including agricultural equipment, construction equipment and semi trucks

Steve Hettig

Chris Kleiman

Sene Zupke

KRAFT WALSER LAW OFFICE 107 North Ninth Street, Olivia, MN • 523-1322 217 South Broadway Avenue, Cokato, MN • 286-2396

805 Hwy 7, Hutchinson

131 South Main Street, Hutchinson, MN • 587-8150 90895 AG

(Between Hwy. 15 and School Road)

320-587-4328

Dan Honsey

Visit our Web site at www.kraftwalser.com

93158 AG

Why Gamble with Your Equipment?

• • • • • • • •


November 2012

Agriculture 43

92886

Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review


44 Agriculture

Hutchinson Leader/Litchfield Independent Review

We now have a scale on site!

November 2012

Come c out howhteck place hashe changed!


Agriculture-2012  
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