A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR — About the time west central Minnesota farmers were ready to plant sugar beets and pick up seed corn from the co-op, there was a blizzard whipping across the state. The late spring storm and lingering cold temperatures kept frost deep in the ground and kept farmers out of the fields in April. "We should've been planting peas that week and instead we had a blizzard," said Jamie Vanderweyst, Farm Service Agency director for Meeker County. But once May arrived with warm temperatures, farmers hit the ground running and quickly made up for lost time.
NEW LONDON — With plates heaped high with at least five varieties of lettuce picked that morning at an aeroponics farm a couple miles away, restaurant owners and volunteers working to bring a food cooperative to New London were clearly enjoying their salads. They were also talking with the farm's owners about getting the fresh greens on the menu and on the shelves. "Absolutely," said Leah Michaelis, owner of Lake Affect Coffee in New London, when asked if she would consider purchasing the leafy greens from Lettuce Abound Farms. "It's good and nearby and fresh."
NEW LONDON, Minn.—There's more than just beer brewing at the Goat Ridge Brewing Co. in New London, Minn. After 2½ years in business — and following an expansion last year — Goat Ridge is adding another 1,600 square feet onto the business. The addition will create space for an expanded taproom, a bigger brewhouse and a bigger dance floor for their frequent live music shows, as well as space for a farm-to-table restaurant. "It's a nice fit," said Josh Reed, who owns Goat Ridge with his wife, Christa Otteson.
RAYMOND, Minn. — After explaining how technology-driven, prescription fertilizer methods make economic and environmental sense because fewer chemicals are applied to farmland, Noah Hultgren invited Matt Dean to climb into the cab of a John Deere combine. Even though there was too much snow to harvest corn and the combine was in a heated shop, Dean got the rundown on how the mammoth machine operates and then followed Hultgren outside to see a grain dryer that was reducing the moisture content of already harvested corn.
WILLMAR, Minn. — A Willmar man was sentenced Monday to 45 months in prison for a long list of felony theft and burglary charges for taking nearly $30,000 worth of items from farm sheds and garages in his rural Kandiyohi County neighborhood and pawning or selling them on Facebook. Jordan Anthony Brede, 23, cried in court Monday as he pledged to change his ways while in prison. "I want to take this time to apologize to the community and victims of my crime," Brede said.
WILLMAR, Minn. — After a cool, wet spring kept most farm implements inside the machine shed in April, farmers are out in force this week getting field tillage and planting underway. Statewide in Minnesota, 35 percent of the corn was planted. That's 16 days behind last year and eight days behind the average, according to the latest crop report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
WILLMAR, Minn. — About 50 farmers and community leaders from around the region met Thursday in Willmar to talk about issues affecting agriculture and rural communities. "Let your voices be heard," said Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, which is conducting 15 listening sessions around the state over a two-week period. Health insurance was a major topic of debate at this March 30 session in Willmar. Emily Piper, commissioner of Human Services, responded to questions about the high cost of health insurance.
WILLMAR, Minn. — The driver of a runaway horse-drawn wagon that was carrying passengers as part of a local Christmas light celebration Saturday, Dec. 10, is in critical condition after the wagon crashed in yard. Some of the 15 passengers in the wagon were also transported by ambulance to Rice Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Most were treated and released, according to a news release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office.
WILLMAR, Minn.—Fear fueled by misinformation—and not science—is a driving force in the anti-GMO movement that could harm agriculture and make it difficult to feed a growing world population. That was the message delivered Tuesday during the sixth annual Ag and Animal Science Conference at the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar.
WILLMAR — This time last year — to be blunt — all hell was breaking loose on west central Minnesota poultry farms as thousands of commercially raised turkeys and chickens began dropping dead from a highly contagious bird flu. All told, more than 9 million birds in Minnesota were either killed by the disease or euthanized to prevent its spread. The economic cost to the state is estimated at $650 million.