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Columns

"Growing up in upper Midwest agriculture taught me the certainty of two things: consistently inconsistent weather and regular disputes between the Farm Bureau and Farmers Union, the area's two largest farm organizations."
Mychal Wilmes recalls the personalities and problems he encountered with milk cows at his own farm and his neighbors', as well as the now known to be false tale of the cow that started the Chicago fire.
"I know 125 years isn't a long time in the whole scope of human history, but it's pretty impressive for this part of the world. What's more impressive to me is that the town hasn't just stayed alive but has recently found new and interesting ways to stay lively."
Nick Stromme recently gave a beeswax candle and beehive demonstration a local 4-H meeting. Stromme increased his family's beehives from 500 to 3,500 growing the commercial honey business while he and his wife Lisa also utilize the by-products of wax and bee pollen for new products they sell locally.

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Mychal Wilmes' mother took care of her family, including 12 children, as she found ways to feed them and ways to make her stubborn husband happy.
Like many farms of the late 1800s and early 1900s vintage, ours has several wooden outbuildings, each of them named to reflect their original function.
Sometimes, Myron Friesen says, there are things in a farm's story that one can't unhear and that are vital to understanding a family's decision making process.
Mychal Wilmes reflects on the way things used to be -- both good and bad -- and how rural areas can hold on to the things and people that still make them special.
As the summer waned, Jenny Schlecht thought she had won the battle against garden pests and looked forward to a feast of sweet corn. The area raccoons made sure to let her know that she was wrong.
“An ideal buyer would have a good understanding of the food industry and an entrepreneurial mindset that allows the business to continuously grow," said Mary Hodny, current owner of Leo's Potato Dumplings. "They must also have the insight and open-mindedness to see its potential.”

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Mychal Wilmes recalls the changing challenges of corn harvest, from hand husking to equipment problems.
Earlier this summer when I was mowing the farmyard near the machine shed and saw the baler sitting idle, I started missing what had been an annual rite of fall.
"With farm estate planning, not understanding what the other person says can be a multimillion dollar error or years of agony that no one will be laughing about."

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