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COL CRP sign-up to run May 5 through May 30

ST. PAUL -- The Conservation Reserve Program sign-up runs from May 5 through May 30. Producers can enroll land at their local Farm Service Agency office.

The 2002 farm bill authorized USDA to maintain CRP enrollment up to 39.2 million acres. About 34 million acres were enrolled in CRP contracts as of March 1. About 1.5 million acres currently enrolled are scheduled to expire Sept. 30. Minnesota had 49,300 CRP contracts totaling 1.7 million acres with 66,998 acres eligible to expire on Sept. 30.

Current participants with contracts expiring next fall can make new contract offers.

"CRP is a cost-effective, voluntary program that helps producers improve our land, water and wildlife resources,'' said FSA state director John Monson.

Producers should contact their local FSA office for more information.

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County corn, soybean loan rates revised

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently revised county corn and soybean loan rates for 2003. The national loan rates stay the same at $1.98 per bushel for corn and $5 for soybeans.

However, county loan rates for corn have changed for everyone in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. New corn loan rates in Minnesota are 3 cents higher than in 2002 while 1 cent lower in Iowa, with the exception of Kossuth County.

2003 loan rates by county in southern Minnesota: Blue Earth, $1.84; Lincoln, $1.85; Redwood, $1.85; Brown, $1.84; Lyon, $1.84; Lincoln, $1.85; Redwood, $1.85; Brown, $1.84; Lyon, $1.84; Renville, $1.86; Faribault, $1.81; Martin, $1.80; Rice, $1.85; Fillmore, $1.86; Mower, $1.84; Rock, $1.81; Freeborn, $1.82; Murray, $1.85; Sibley, $1.85; Goodhue, $1.86; Nicollet, $1.83; Steele, $1.87; Houston, $1.88; Nobles, $1.81; Wabasha, $1.86; Jackson, $1.79; Olmsted, $1.85; Waseca, $1.85; Le Sueur, $1.85; Pipestone, $1.87; Winona, $1.91; and Dodge, $1.83.

FINPACK session for lenders planned

WASECA, Minn. -- The Center for Farm Financial Management has planned a one-day FINPACK session for ag lenders at three locations across the state. One session will be held May 13 at the Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca.

Other sessions are planned May 14 at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton and May15 at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris.

All sessions will run from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

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Registration is $25 and includes lunch and materials. For more information, telephone the Center for Farm Financial Management at (612) 625-1964.

Farmamerica elects three board members

WASECA, Minn. -- Three new board members have been added to the Farmamerica board. The three were elected during Farmamerica's annual meeting.

New members include Joe Eckert, Mankato; Alvis More, St. Clair; and Henry Kalis, Walters. Board members re-elected include Paul Day of Northfield and Jerry Rutledge of Waseca.

The three new members replace retirees Rod Searle, Mary Lou Ihrke and Ron Eustice.

Other Farm America board members include Les Anderson, Mapleton; Ed Frederick, Waseca; William Hoversten, Waseca; Barb Maher, Mankato; Virginia McCarthy, Janesville; Bob Moraczewski, Minneapolis; Jerry Groskruetuz, Faribault; and Jim Tippy, Waseca.

Frederick is chairman of the board. Day is vice chairman and McCarthy is secretary. Rutledge was elected treasurer of the board.

Farmamerica is an agricultural interpretive center.

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Viola Gopher Count scheduled June 19

VIOLA, Minn. -- The 129th annual Viola Gopher Count is planned June 19. The street parade will start at 10 a.m.

All parade participants are encouraged to sign in and pickup a number to display on their entry by 9:30 a.m.

General parade registration will be located on Market Street.

A tractor division will again be included. This year's division will feature Allis Chalmers tractors built before 1960. Family floats are again welcome.

Awards will be given out for all divisions following the parade in the park stage area. For more information, telephone Dale H. Bierbaum at (507) 545-2766.

Century Farm program has June 1 deadline

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota State Fair's Century Farm program will once again honor families who have owned their farms for at least 100 years.

The Century Farm program recognizes family farms that are at least 100 years old; have been in continuous family ownership for 100 years; and the farm must include a minimum of 50 acres.

A total of 7,709 farms have been designated Century Farms since the program started in 1976.

Applications are available by writing Century Farms, Minnesota State Fair, 1265 Snelling Avenue North, St. Paul, MN 55108 or telephoning (651) 642-2446. Applications are also available at county Extension offices and Minnesota Farm Bureau offices.

The application deadline is June 1.

Hammond receives federal grant, loans

HAMMOND, Minn. -- Hammond is one of eight communities in Minnesota that have been selected to to receive loans and grants for rural water and wastewater community infrastructure projects.

Hammond will receive a $1.1 million grant and loan package. The package will be used along with $200,000 in local funding to construct a wastewater collection and treatment system.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents.

Immigrant Project moving ahead

ST. PAUL -- The New Immigrant Agriculture Project is a program of the Minnesota Food Association, a 21-year-old statewide non-profit organization.

Educating and training new immigrants in all areas of farming from growing your own food products using sustainable agriculture methods and practices to farm business management and marketing skills is aim.

To learn more about the New Immigrant Agriculture Project, telephone Alvaro Rivera at (651) 766-8895.

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