A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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PENNOCK — Nearly two years to the day that a ferocious storm ripped apart barns at the Carlson Dairy farm — injuring cattle and throwing the fourth-generation family farmers into an expansive renovation project — the family is hosting the 2019 Kandiyohi County Dairy Days celebration June 15 at their farm near Pennock.
WILLMAR — Farmers who can't plant their crops this spring because of excessive rain and muddy fields spent Wednesday afternoon in Willmar listening to a crop consultant talk about how bad yields could be for late-planted crops. Then they heard an insurance consultant talk about the financial pros and cons of not planting crops and instead utilizing a crop insurance option called prevented planting. It is crunch time for farmers to make a decision. The insurance deadline for planting corn is Friday and June 10 for soybeans.
WILLMAR — Jason Duininck has 20 jobs available right now at Duininck Inc. for applicants with a commercial driver's license. He's concerned those jobs may not be filled. His company is not alone. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, in the next decade central Minnesota is projected to have just over 4,000 job openings to fill — a combination of new positions and departing heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. The 13-county region included in DEED's data stretches from Pine County to Renville County.
WILLMAR — It was a muddy day to be on a farm Thursday, but that was just fine with the group of 18 students from Cardinal Kids Preschool who tromped through the immense — and very muddy — tire tracks on Kyle Knott's farm and craned their necks to look up at the tall grain bin full of corn on the rural Raymond farm. Thankfully, most of the kids were wearing mud boots. After petting the farm cat, the 4-year-old students filled baggies with corn, soybeans and wheat that Knott grows on his farm and climbed into a couple of his John Deere tractors.
WILLMAR — Last month 5,000 blue and green lights were lit on the "Tree of Hope" at the Jennie-O Turkey Store headquarters in Willmar with the promise the lights would stay on until Jayme Closs was found. Now those lights are shining in celebration that Jayme has been found alive. Three months ago, the 13-year-old girl went missing on the day her parents, James and Denise Closs — who both worked for Jennie-O in Barron, Wisconsin for 25 years — were murdered.
WILLMAR — Industrial hemp, which will become legal now that the new federal farm bill has been signed, is the new buzzword in agricultural and processing sectors and a local group is looking for ways to capture that market in west central Minnesota. "I think it'll be moving pretty fast," said Dan Tepfer, chairman of the Ag and Renewable Energy Committee that is part of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission.
WILLMAR — In an effort to diversify their farming operation, the Hultgren family planted 40 acres of organic industrial hemp this year on their land in northern Kandiyohi County. After making adjustments on the combine to prevent the rope-like stems from wrapping around the equipment, the hemp seeds were harvested and cleaned in September. "I thought it went OK," said Noah Hultgren, who farms with his brother, Nate, and parents Duane and Nancy Hultgren.
WILLMAR – Early election results in for the race in Minnesota’s Seventh District had DFL Congressman Collin Peterson running neck-and-neck with Republican challenger Dave Hughes.
WILLMAR — Heavy rain and days of drizzle that blanketed much of the region earlier this month created muddy fields that kept most farmers inside doing paperwork instead of field work. That changed this week as sun and wind started to dry out fields, allowing farmers to get equipment moving in corn, soybean and sugar beet fields. Compared to the five-year average, harvest of all three crops is behind schedule. With a stretch of good weather ahead, farmers are hustling to make up for lost time.
WILLMAR — An investment in education, the ability to adapt to new technology and a willingness to welcome diverse cultures are some of the things needed to create a positive environment for agriculture to grow, according to a speaker Tuesday at the annual Ag & Animal Science Conference at the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar. Another component is active community collaboration to find ways to keep people in rural Minnesota and meet the needs of ag businesses, said Tony DeLisi from Avalanche Consulting of Austin, Texas.