Tricounty News

Local girl promotes pork

Erin Wicker of Kimball is the Stearns County Pork Ambassador for the year of 2013. This year, she has applied for Minnesota State Pork Ambassador.DSCF0814-RGB

Raised on an independent pig farm near the town of Marty, Northwest of Kimball, Erin has grown up around farming and pork production. The Wickers keep around 2,800 pigs that they finish out before they go to market, with raising pigs they also farm about 620 acres of crops.

Erin’s passion for pigs has helped influence her decision to be a pork ambassador. “I really enjoy working with pigs,” explained Erin, “In FFA I got really involved in general livestock and went on swine tours. I learned about this opportunity from the Minnesota Pork Board.” She loves advocating for agriculture and also gaining a lot of experience.

By being a county ambassador, Erin has received a scholarship from the Pork Board. She also enjoys learning about the swine industry and helping others understand more about swine production.


Introducing Emily Krekelberg

Greetings! I’m Emily Krekelberg, and I’m the new Livestock Educator for University of Minnesota Extension in Stearns, Benton, and Morrison counties.W-emily

I grew up on my family’s dairy farm near Le Sueur, Minn., where we milked about 40 Holsteins and raised 100 acres of corn and alfalfa. My parents are Dale and Patty, and I am the youngest of five children. My dad, Dale, still milks a small number of cows on the original farm. One of my brothers, Dan, co-owns and manages Fairview Dairy near Kenyon, Minn. They milk about 320 Holstein cows.

I spent 13 years as a member of Le Sueur County 4-H, and I was very active with the Dairy project, participating in quiz bowl and showing at the county and state level. I served three years as a Scott-Le Sueur County Dairy Princess. I was honored as a Top 12 Finalist for Princess Kay of the Milky Way in 2011.


Program for water quality named as pilot project

Stearns County’s Middle Sauk River Watershed named pilot project area for new water quality program

The Middle Sauk River Watershed in central Stearns County has been selected as one of four pilot project areas for the new Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification program. The program is designed to accelerate voluntary adoption of agricultural practices that enhance water quality, while maintaining Minnesota’s productive agricultural economy.

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification program is the first of its kind in the nation and is the product of a state-federal Memorandum of Understanding signed by Governor Dayton, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in January 2012.

Under the certification program, farmers who implement and maintain approved conservation plans will be certified and in turn assured that their operations meet water quality goals and standards for a set period of time.

“A goal of this program is to offer certified farmers a 10-year exemption from regulations that would be enacted at the State and Federal level, said Chuck Uphoff, New Munich dairy farmer and board supervisor for the Stearns County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD).

“Producers will need to take a hard look at their entire operation and incorporate water quality best management practices such as buffers, grassed waterways, manure storage structures, nutrient management, and conservation tillage.”


Meeker K-9 is certified

Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin announces that the Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit attended the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) Region 12 trials for patrol dogs. The certification was held in the city of St. Peter, Minn., July 1 and 2. 

The Meeker County Sheriff’s Office K-9 (Titan) with handler Deputy Reggie Sandstrom passed the certification trial. The events that K-9 Titan certified in were evidence search, agility, suspect search, obedience, criminal apprehension, criminal apprehension with gunfire, and handler protection. 

Titan is a 6-year-old German Shepard who has been in service with the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office since 2008. Titan is a dual-purpose dog which means he also certifies with the USPCA for narcotic detection.

Meeker County 4-H youth participate in Dan Patch Award competition

Since 1966, one member of the Minnesota 4-H horse project has been awarded the Dan Patch Award. This award is based on the individuals overall achievement, W-jade-kayla-tori---dan-patchleadership, and service. The winner receives a plaque bearing a picture of the famous pacer, Dan Patch, who set the world pacing record for the mile of 1:55 on Sept. 8, 1906, at the Minnesota State Fair. To apply for this award, youth complete a resume, portfolio, and all chosen finalists give a presentation. Recipients and finalists will be recognized at the Minnesota State 4-H Horse Show, which will be held Sept. 13-16. The Dan Patch award focuses on youth in 10th grade through one year past 12th grade at the start of the contest year. Grades 6 through 9 compete for Youth Leadership Trips.