Tricounty News

The grass is green, let’s get milking

I still remember when my father had dairy cattle, even though I was just a child.

He would spend hours working on the farm, milking cows, feeding cows, keeping them healthy, cleaning the barn, and so much more.

Having these dairy cows on our farm made me realize that dairy farmers don’t get time off. If they do, it’s far and in between.

Cows need to get milked at least twice a day. The cows don’t care if it is Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, your birthday, or your anniversary. Milking cows is a full-time job that demands the dairy farmer to be physically and mentally capable to manage the dairy herd every single day.


4-H’ers attend Gopher Dairy Camp

The 10th Annual Gopher Dairy Camp was held June 9-11, on the University of Minnesota – St. Paul Campus.  Gopher Dairy Camp was a fun 3-day workshop for teens wanting to improve their dairy cattle skills. The camp was open to all youth who have completed grades 6-11. Activities included: Dairy Fitting and Showmanship W-dairy-campersWorkshops, a Dairy Showmanship Contest, the Gopher Gold Auction, a Dairy Foods Workshop, fun at a waterpark, a pizza party, games, and an awards banquet.  All of these activities provided great opportunities to gain new knowledge that will last a lifetime. Campers also meet other youth interested in dairy cattle from across the state, many of which become lifelong friends.

Meeker County 4-H’ers in attendance included: Katherine Gathje of Richmond, Arnie Gruenes of Richmond, Shelby Kuechle of Eden Valley, Greg Lux of Eden Valley, and Tim Lux of Eden Valley.

For more information on how to become involved in 4-H, please call the Meeker County Extension Office at (320) 693-5275 (toll-free 1-877-993-5275), e-mail
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Those who attended 4-H Gopher Dairy Camp are from left to right, in back, Arnie Gruenes, Greg Lux, and Tim Lux. in front are Shelby Kuechle, and Katherine Gathje. Submitted photo.


The future of bio-plastics: The road less littered upon

There has been increasing research in the U.S. on the use of bio-plastics in society. The use of bio-plastics versus petroleum-based plastics is quickly becoming an increasingly popular way to make and use plastics without using continually limited natural resources, such as petroleum.

In the early 1900s, a majority of the plastic used in the United States were bio-based. During World War II the use of petroleum-based plastics increased to meet the demand for various plastic products. Now in 2013, of the 12.63 million tons of plastic produced each year only 2.6 percent is bio-based. There has been more than 1 billion dollars invested in recycling programs since 1990 to properly recycle these petroleum-based plastics while keeping them out of landfills.


FSA 2013 reporting of prevented planting extended to July 15

Farmers must report prevented planting acreage to their local USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA) office by July 15, 2013. FSA State Executive Director Debra Crusoe stated, “Due to an unseasonably cool and wet spring, planting has been significantly delayed or prevented in many areas of Minnesota this crop year.” “Farmers must remember to visit their local FSA office before July 15 to report all their crop acreage, including that which has been prevented from planting.” Crusoe said.

USDA policy requires farmers who request prevented planting credit to report the applicable acreage to FSA on form FSA-578 (Report of Acreage) and file form CCC-576 (Notice of Loss) within 15 calendar days after the final planting date for the crop. Final planting dates vary by crop but are all typically well before the final acreage reporting date of July 15. For 2013, however, FSA has simplified the process due to the widespread disaster situation by extending the various prevented planting acreage reporting deadlines for Minnesota to coincide with the final crop acreage reporting date of July 15, 2013. Prevented planting acreage reported on CCC-576 and FSA-578 after this date may be subject to late filing fees.


AgStar grant awarded to EV-W ag program

The AgStar Fund for Rural America, the corporate giving program of AgStar Financial
Services, recently awarded $30,000 in grants through its AgStar Agriculture Classroom Equipment Grant Program.

The program’s mission is to support agricultural education by funding educational experiences for students completing course work in agriculture and related fields. AgStar awarded grants to 14 high school agriculture departments in its 69-county service area.

“Providing equipment for students to learn about the ag industry is not always in the budget for agriculture departments in rural schools,” stated John Monson, Chair of AgStar’s Fund Board of Trustees. “Subsidizing equipment and technology needs through this program for rural schools allows students who are interested in the agricultural field to have new and applied opportunities. This program shows AgStar’s commitment to ag education and to the rural and agricultural communities where we operate.”