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March 17, 2011     Tri-County News
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Page 20 National Ag Day-March 15 In recognition of National Ag Day March 15, Linda Hennen, Exec- utive Director for the USD/Vs Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Minnesota, thanks farmers, ranchers and oth- ers involved in agriculture for their hard work and commitment to the industry. 'griculture is an important part of our daily lives and is often taken for granted, but in these uncer- tain times, it should be remem- bered that American Agriculture is not only important for obvious rea- sons; food, clothing and shelter, but the industry also plays an impor- tant part in homeland security," said Hennen. Hennen refers to American Agri- culture as, "Homegrown Security." She adds that the U.S. agriculture sector is almost entirely under pri- vate ownership and counts for nearly one-frith of the Nation's eco- nomic activity. "So, on National Ag Day, when we stop to thank farmers and ranchers who work day in and day out to provide a safe, abundant and affordable food, fiber and fuel sup- ply, we should also take a moment to thank these same individuals for serving as first responders and as the front line of defense in the effort to protect our food and water sources," said Hennen. According to Hennen, FSA's mission is to provide farmers and ranchers with the federal farm commodity and credit support they need to insure they remain viable in an increasingly unpredictable and volatile global market. Yarm 4' AA Thursday, March 17,2011 ..... Tri-County News Kimball, MN Through more than 43 federal farm programs, FSA provides pro- ducers with an economic "safety net." These programs, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, stabilize farm income, assist agriculture produc- ers to conserve natural resources, provide credit for farm ownership and operation and help produc- ers recover from the effects of nat- ural disasters. FSA also maintains the USDA's feed, seed and fertilizer data which uses geospatial infor- mation to maintain a detailed data- base on related storage facilities, another important component in homeland security. FSA understands and appreci- ates the amount of work that farm- ers and ranchers do on a daffy basis to produce the nation's sup- ply of food, fiber and fuel. Hennen encourages consumers to learn more about agriculture in their area and the people who produce the commodities we enjoy. "We never want to find our- selves dependent on a foreign food supply. And as long as farmers and ranchers remain competitive in a global market and remain stead- fast in protecting what's theirs, that won't happen," said Hennen "Take time on National Ag Day to show your appreciation for Ameri- can Agriculture... our Homegrown Security." For more information about National Ag Day, visit www.agday. org, and to learn more about the Farm Service Agency, visit online at www.fsa.usda.gou. World counting on U.S. crops amid soaring food prices By Heather Buchman, Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com AccuWeather reports with soaring food prices putting strain on family budgets in the U.S. and rais- ing concerns for civil unrest across parts of the globe, there are major concerns about what will happen if prices continue to rise. The U.S. plays a vitalrole, being the world's biggest exporter of wheat and corn. People across the globe are counting on these U.S. crops to come through this year. According to AccuWeather.com, Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler, there are concerns about how the weather this year will affect both the wheat and corn crops. Corn, especially, is a major concern with supplies being the tightest they've been in 15 years, according to Mohler. "That's after a very good production year in the U.S., the world's biggest producer, in 2010," he added. Mohler said the tight supply is primarily because of high demand with a growing world population and Thi graphic shows the major corn-producing areas of the United States with the "Corn Belt" stretching from Nebraska and southern Minnesota to.Ohio, The yellow numbers indicate the percentage each state contributed to the total national 3roducn, (Image courtesy of the. United Stete Dope,linen, of Agriculture) Dave Frederickson Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture March 2011: possible spring flooding ers and facility managers in flood- prone areas already knowwhat they need to do. However, not everyone who is at risk may realize they are at risk. For example, the Minnesota Department of Commerce reports that up to 25 percent of flood-dam- age claims come from areas not considered high risk. With that in mind, here are some tips to keep in mind regarding spring flooding: Have a plan for minimizing your losses. This may mean mov- ing valuable equipment, livestock or stored grain to other locations before the flood waters hit your area; Know how to contact your local police and fire officials, as well as the state duty officer, call (800) 422- 0798 if you have an emergency; Check your insurance coverage to make sure it is up to date and fits your circumstances; and As the waters recede, watch for information about recovery resources and guidance from local, state and federal agencies. The Minnesota Recovers website www. minnesotarecouers.org, is a great place to start. After a long and snowy win- ter, it's only natural to look for- ward to spring, especially if you are a Minnesota farmer. Unfortu- nately, along with warmer weather the spring of 201! is shaping up to bring us major flooding. While the last two springs brought damaging floods along the Red River and a few other loca- tions, meteorologists are calling for near-record flooding across much of Minnesota this year. Moderate-to-severe flooding is all but certain along the Red, Minne- sota, and Mississippi Rivers, and the National Weather Service esti- mates that chances are greater than one in three that we will see record flooding in some commu- nities. And it's not just the big rivers that are going to present big prob- lems. Saturated soils, heavy snow cover, and a delayed thaw make serious flooding likely along many of the state's smaller rivers, streams and creeks. MDA is taking action to help Minnesota's agriculture commu- nity prepare. Our field personnel have been contacting at-risk busi- nesses such as agricultural chemi- cal storage facilities and retail food businesses in recent weeks to make sure they are prepared and have all the information they needed. We are updating our records for these facilities, and as flood waters rise, we will team up with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and other partners to provide a coor- dinated response to any emergen- cies. Spring flooding doesn't typically cause the catastrophic crop dam- age we see with summer floods because crops are not yet planted. However, flood waters can still damage fields, drainage struc- tures, and erosion-control features. Spring fieldwork can be delayed by slow-draining fields. Livestock facilities and farm outbuildings can be damaged or destroyed. And as you'd expect, there are special risks for farm-related businesses such as agricultural chemical facilities, grain elevators, and grocery stores. To help these businesses prepare, we have posted tip sheets for vul- nerable facilities on the MDA web- site at www. mda.state, mn. us. Many of the farmers, ranch- The AecUWeether:c0m Sp,)ng 20:[1 Iorecat cai,s for above - norm,a} precipffaon across: the Nide.ti increasing amounts of the corn crop going toward ethanol production. "The weather has generally been favorable for the world's major production areas over the last several years," Mohler said, "but the favorable weather needs to continue. If not, there will be a huge stress on the world's supply, especially if adverse weather affects the U.S. crop." Mohler is concerned that wet soil in the Midwest could slow early planting efforts this spring. Corn is usually planted in April in the Midwest. "In a worst case scenario, it is possible that some fields may be abandoned, never planted or replaced by another crop," Mohler said. In addition, if planting is delayed too long, Mohler said the maturity period of the crop could be pushed back to the point that the crop may get damaged by an early frost in the fall. The nation's primary corn- growing region, the Corn Belt, spans an area from Nebraska and southern Minnesota to Ohio. The corn planting situation will be monitored by AccuWeather. corn in the coming weeks, so keep checking back for updates. There will also soon be releases on weather-related concerns with wheat and other U.S. crops. Seedlings still available from Minnesota state forest nurseries The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) state for- est nurseries have a wide variety of native, bare-root tree and shrub seedlings available to purchase for spring planting. Tree seedlings, while typically used for reforestation, also are an excellent way to improve wild- life habitat, create shelterbelts, and improve air quali "One acre of ground can easily support 500 bare-root seedlings" said Craig VanSickle, DNR nurser- ies supervisor. By statute, the min- imum seedling order is 500. Seedlings vary in price from $90 to $290, depending on the spe- cies ordered. By law, seedlings pur- chased from state forest nurseries may not be planted for ornamental purposes, nor can they be resold, given away or removed with roots attached for a period of 10 years from the date of purchase. In addition, state forest nursery seedlings can only be planted in Minnesota. The tree seedling order form and a list of available seedlings for sale can be found at www.mndnr.gov/ forestrynurseries. To order seed- lings, call the nursery tree sales office at (800) 657-3767. Checks and major credit cards are accepted. Interested individuals can also stop by their local DNR Forestry Office for ordering information. Since 1933, Minnesota's state for- est nurseries have provided healthy, native stock for Minnesota plantings. Seedlings grown from a local seed source are generally more adapted to prevailing and changing environ- mental conditions. Learn how to help MN shorelines "RestoreYour Shore" is a multime- dia lakescaping program that shows landowners how to protect a natu- ral shoreline or restore a degraded shore with a natural buffer, and it is now available online. The program is located on the Minnesota Depart- ment of Natural Resources' (DNR) website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/ restoreyourshore/index.html. "This web version of the popu- lar CD-ROM is the culmination of a 10-year process to make high-qual- ity information about the values of natural shorelines to fish, wildlife and water quality accessible to all Minnesotans," said DNR Nongame Wildlife Supervisor Carrol Hender- son. "It teaches Minnesotans how to restore, enhance or conserve their own shorelines." Henderson, the author of "Lakes- caping for Wildlife and Water Qual- ity," adds that the new format enables the DNR to reach a much larger audi- ence. It also allows for modifications to content as new techniques and tools are developed. Visitors can follow four differ- ent shoreland owners' experiences as they share their shoreland trans- formation projects. Worksheets and forms are also available to guide peo- ple step-by-step through the design and implementation process. "This program will help peo- ple develop a deeper understand- ing of shoreland ecosystems and natural shoreland management, and to discover how others have resolved lakeshore problems simi- lar to theirs," Henderson said. Visitors to the website will find solutions to common shoreline issues and select from more than 400 ecologically appropriate native plants on a searchable database. Everyday activities can affect the health of the shoreland, Henderson said. "For example, lawns that stretch to the shoreline without a buffer are detrimental to habitat for native ani- mals," he adds. "When we remove native vegetation, from upland trees to underwater plants, we destroy nat- ural cover and water quality protec- tion. And the chronic use of fertil- izers, herbicides and pesticides can contaminate the water and disrupt natural processes."