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Century Farm program to expand in 2017

South Dakota farms and ranches that have been in the same family for 150 years will be recognized for the first time this year as Sesquicentennial Farms during the Century Farm celebration at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron, August 31, 2017.

“We are pleased to add another opportunity to recognize more family farms and ranches in South Dakota,” said Krystil Smit, South Dakota Farm Bureau Executive Director. “We are especially thrilled to be offering this during our centennial year celebration.”

South Dakota Farm Bureau has partnered with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture since 1984 to recognize Century Farms, as well as those that have been in the same family for 125 years as Quasquicentennial Farms. This will be the first year to recognize 150-year farm families as Sesquicentennial Farms.

For more information and an application please visit the South Dakota Farm Bureau website at www.sdfbf.org.

— South Dakota Farm Bureau

Seed library opens at library

The Fergus Falls Seed Library, located at the Fergus Falls, Minn., Public Library, is now open for 2017.

It will be open March through May. The seed library provides free seeds and education to create a more resilient local food system and healthier community. Anyone can join for free and take up to five packets of seeds. Vegetable, flower and herb seeds are donated by seed companies, Garden Pleasures (Erhard), Swedberg Nursery (Battle Lake) and local seed savers.

Seeds can be donated by dropping them off at the library. Those submitting are asked to include as much information as they know about the name, variety and planting and growing instructions. The library doesn’t accept genetically modified or patented seeds.

More can be learned by going to ffpubliclibrary.org or by calling the library at 218-739-9387.

— Fergus Falls Daily Journal, Minn.

Minnesota farmer drowns in manure pit when machine breaks though ice

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — Stearns County authorities say a Freeport man drowned when the skid loader he was driving broke through the ice on an abandoned manure pit on his farm.

The sheriff’s office says 46-year-old Duane Herzog was submerged for about 20 minutes before rescuers extricated him from the machine and pulled him from the water on Feb. 28.

He died later at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. The cause was listed as accidental drowning.

50-year-old North Dakota power plant closes

BEULAH, N.D. (AP) — Great River Energy has closed a 50-year-old coal-fired power plant in Mercer County.

The Bismarck Tribune reports the Minnesota-based company announced their decision to shutter the plant rather than move forward with expensive upgrades in July. Two weeks ago, the plant’s control panel and power was disconnected from the power grid for the final time.

Fifty-five of 68 employees and specialty contractors remain at the plant. They’ll clean and strip the facility down to mortar and steel for its final decommissioning May 1.

Some of the remaining employees will retire, while another 28 are moving to other GRE facilities. A few remaining employees will be left to seek employment.

Wade Aanderud, leader of plant operations, says the last moment of operations was always scheduled to occur sometime before March 1.

Tests find no new CWD cases on Minnesota deer farms

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The latest tests have turned up no new cases of chronic wasting disease on Minnesota deer farms.

The Board of Animal Health said on Feb. 28 that tests came back negative on five deer that were sent to other farms from an infected herd in Merrifield in Crow Wing County.

Because of the results, quarantines were lifted on one farm near Brainerd and another near Mountain Iron. The infected farm remains quarantined, as does a farm near Dassel and one near Freeport.

Dr. Paul Anderson, assistant director at the Board of Animal Health, says officials still don’t know how the original herd in Merrifield became infected, but the negative test results are good news.

Chronic wasting disease is fatal to deer and elk but is not known to infect humans.

Panel aims for lower North Dakota tax collection projections

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An advisory group of North Dakota lawmakers, state officials and business leaders is recommending lower projections for tax collections when crafting the next state spending plan.

State Budget Director Pam Sharp told the panel on March 3 that tax collections already are more than $50 million lower than what was expected so far this year. The deficit was based on a previous revenue forecast done in November.

A dramatic drop in North Dakota tax collections due to depressed oil and farm commodity prices has had North Dakota scrambling to make up for potential shortfalls to the state treasury.

The recommendations by the group will be used to craft a new forecast expected next week by budget analysts. The Legislature has idled major spending bills until the new economic assumptions are released.

Small plane crashes in Minnesota farm field

A small airplane’s engine failed before the aircraft crashed in a central Minnesota farm field, leaving the pilot with “significant injuries,” authorities said.

The wreck occurred about 2:45 p.m. on March 4 roughly a half-mile southwest of the Paynesville Airport, according to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office.

Police arrived and discovered Michael Jude, 71, of St. Cloud, standing outside his plane, an experimental, amateur-built model.

“Jude … received significant injuries,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Jude was first taken to a hospital in Paynesville and then to St. Cloud Hospital for further treatment.

Jude told authorities he had left the Clear Lake Airport for the 50-mile trip west to the airport in Paynesville “but aborted the landing and was coming back around to land when he experienced engine failure and attempted to land in a corn stubble field … southwest of the end of the runway,” the Sheriff’s Office statement read.

The plane wings and landing gear were damaged from the impact. The aircraft was amateur-built in 2009.

— By Paul Walsh, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Maine blueberry group says schools push is bearing fruit

DEBLOIS, Maine (AP) — The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine says its drive to get wild blueberries into school lunches is panning out.

The commission launched the Wild Blueberry School Foodservice Program as part of the effort. The commission says Minnesota public schools signed on to the program last month, joining Maine, Vermont and 14 other states.

The commission says Minnesota has become first in the nation to offer frozen wild blueberries to its 553 school districts in 24-pound cases.

The blueberries are offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Food Program. The commission says it is targeting the rest of the states in the country to add wild blueberries to their commodity food lists.

Maine’s wild blueberry industry has been looking to schools to boost sales amid recent years of surplus crop.

SD Cattlewomen encourage students to apply for scholarships

South Dakota Cattlewomen remind high school seniors and college students that the deadline for applying for scholarships sponsored by the Cattlewomen is May 1, 2017. Applications are available at the South Dakota Cattlewomen website, www.sdcattlewomen.org.

The cattlewomen appreciate the students’ help in promoting beef and request an essay telling how students would promote beef. Fifty percent of the application score will depend on the essay. Students planning to attend college or vocational school are encouraged to apply.

California police find 2 calves crammed inside car

BEAUMONT, Calif. (AP) — It was one of the more unusual calls the California Highway Patrol has received: Someone reported seeing a cow trying to climb out of a small car parked alongside an interstate.

Officers responding on Saturday, March 4, along a mountain pass in Southern California’s Riverside County discovered a calf trying to escape from a Honda Civic’s open trunk.

Another calf was crammed into the floor of the backseat. Both calves’ hooves were tied.

Investigators say the driver was nowhere to be found. The car is registered to an address in Tulare County, more than 250 miles away.

Authorities said on Monday, March 6, that the vehicle had not been reported stolen. It’s been impounded as evidence.

The calves will be cared for at a ranch while officials try to determine who owns them.

Holy cow! California police find 2 calves crammed inside car

BEAUMONT, Calif. (AP) — It was one of the more unusual calls the California Highway Patrol has received: Someone reported seeing a cow trying to climb out of a small car parked alongside an interstate.

Officers responding Saturday along a mountain pass in Southern California’s Riverside County discovered a calf trying to escape from a Honda Civic’s open trunk.

Another calf was crammed into the floor of the backseat. Both calves’ hooves were tied.

Investigators say the driver was nowhere to be found. The car is registered to an address in Tulare County, more than 250 miles away.

Authorities said Monday that the vehicle had not been reported stolen. It’s been impounded as evidence.

The calves will be cared for at a ranch while officials try to determine who owns them.