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Semi crash sends hogs spilling onto Minnesota highway

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — Some pigs went hog-wild on the highway after a semi-truck overturned in southern Minnesota.

The semi crashed at an interchange of Highways 169 and 14 near Mankato on July 18. Hogs escaped from the punctured trailer and spilled onto the roads.

The Minnesota State Patrol says the 30-year-old semi driver lost control and rolled on the ramp. He suffered minor injuries.

The Mankato Free Press reports 90 hogs were in the trailer and more than 20 escaped through holes torn in the roof of the livestock trailer.

The loose hogs snarled traffic for hours until authorities corralled the porkers. A few of the hogs died.

Rep. Collin Peterson says mood in farm country is bad

Upon being named, not surprisingly, as one of the conferees from the U.S. House of Representatives that will work with conferees from the U.S. Senate on hammering out a compromise Farm Bill, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, longtime Democratic incumbent from Minnesota’s Seventh District and the Ranking Member on the House Agriculture Committee said on the House floor that there’s some doom and gloom in farm country.

“The mood in farm country is bad. It’s bad because of the Administration’s trade war; it’s bad because of declines in farm income; and it’s bad because of volatile weather like the floods in the southern part of my district,” Peterson said. “Farmers and ranchers are staring a historically bad year in the face, and another hit would mean devastation for many of them.”

Peterson’s statement came as the House approved by a 392-20 vote his motion that instructs conferees to provide 10 years of mandatory funding for a new federal initiative to prepare and respond to animal disease outbreaks.

The House farm bill would authorize $450 million in mandatory funding for the new initiative, known as the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, which includes a U.S. vaccine bank, according to a report in Politico. The Senate version, however, would leave it up to appropriators to decide spending levels for the program.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has so far named 29 Republicans as Farm Bill Conference Committee members, and 18 Democrats.

Now the race is on to see if negotiating Democrats and Republicans on the committee can hammer out a compromise Farm Bill before everyone goes home for the August recess. The deadline to finalize a bill is Sept. 30.

— by Mike Christopherson, Crookston Times, Minn., McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

South Dakota wind farm nears completion

KIMBALL, S.D. (AP) — A nine-turbine wind farm in a South Dakota county along the Missouri River is nearing completion after about four months of construction.

The Daily Republic reports that the project in Brule County is being developed by New York-based Con Edison, which is also planning a similar project in Aurora County. Both projects are each expected to cost more than $10 million.

Wanzek Construction began assembling the last tower on July 11. Each turbine generator will have the power output of about 2.3 megawatts when the project is completed.

That makes the total power capacity of the wind farm at 20 megawatts, which is enough energy to power about 2,250 homes for a month.

Con Edison hopes to have both projects operating by November.