Carolyn Lange / Forum News Service
WILLMAR, Minn. — Wes Nelson has spent his entire career helping farmers maneuver through the ever-changing — and always complicated — federal farm programs administered at county offices of the federal Farm Service Agency.
WILLMAR — After five years of low commodity prices, Minnesota farmers may feel like they've been through a grinder. "It's not only grinding on people's finances but it's also emotionally very, very tough," said David Kohl, a farm economist who spoke Wednesday in Willmar to a crowd of about 225 farmers, Ridgewater College ag students and farm lenders. "It's a grinder type of cycle," Kohl said.
NEW LONDON, Minn. — What had been a large, empty pole barn on a farm in rural New London last year is now becoming a climate-controlled maze of computer-operated, high-powered lights and a water misting system housed on a dozen massive stainless steel frames. By early spring, the building will be filled with lush, fresh lettuce and other leafy greens.
WILLMAR, Minn. — Concerned that a recent decision by the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners could have a negative effect on animal agriculture if similar action is taken in the future, a committee has begun planning a forum to increase awareness of the impact zoning issues can have on the ag economy. "Inaction by this committee is not an option," said Dan Tepfer, chairman of the Agriculture and Renewable Energy Committee.
St. MARTIN, Minn. – A barn fire early Thursday morning near St. Martin killed about 6,000 turkeys. According to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, the fire was reported at 1:21 a.m. at St. Martin Farm Inc. in the 28000 block of County Road 12. By the time emergency crews arrived a 1,000-foot barn was engulfed in flames. One section was totally destroyed but the other half of the barn sustained minimal damage.
WILLMAR, Minn. — Too much rain and muddy fields are slowing down harvest this fall in west central Minnesota. Usually by this time, soybean harvest is nearly done and corn harvest is well underway. But soybean harvest is just getting started and harvesting corn for grain is a long ways off for most. "We are slower than normal because we've had so much rain this fall," said Liz Ludwig, Farm Service Agency director for Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties.
WILLMAR, Minn. — The National Weather Service in Chanhassen has confirmed that a series of five tornadoes swept across west-central Minnesota last week, damaging several farm sites and small-town businesses, and uprooting trees. All of the tornadoes were ranked as EF-1, with winds that ranged from 88 mph to 100 mph. The storm started brewing just before midnight on Sept. 19 in Chippewa County, where a short-lived tornado with winds of 88 mph traveled about 2 miles across the south side of Montevideo, according to the weather service report.
BELGRADE, Minn. — Leaning against a wagon filled with items salvaged from his demolished farm shed, Darrel Henry looks across the road where all nine of his grain bins are in a smashed heap. With a total 350,000 bushel capacity, Henry had had a nice grain drying and storage set-up on his Swift County farm, located between Murdock and Sunburg.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Emily Annexstad, of St. Peter, Minn., was crowned the 64th Princess Kay of the Milky Way Wednesday night at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Kandiyohi County Dairy Princess, Jessaca Zuidema, of Blomkest, was in the top three and was selected as a runner-up along with Margaret Socha, representing Wright County. Zuidema, the daughter of Jan and Jolene Zuidema, was also one of three contestants awarded a scholarship.
WILLMAR, Minn. — Sitting near a soybean field that was planted this spring by students who will harvest the crop this fall, Ridgewater College teachers shared a meal and conversation with Kandiyohi County farmers Thursday afternoon at Ridgewater College in Willmar. Called a "Soil Social," the purpose was to talk about food that's grown and consumed in Kandiyohi County and find "common ground" in the topic of agriculture, said Kim Lippert, an instructor with Ridgewater's ag department.