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col Hog transporters course in Lamberton

LAMBERTON, Minn. -- A training and certification course for hog transporters is planned April 9 at Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton.

The program begins at 9 a.m. in the main auditorium at the Lamberton center.

The program, which was introduced by the National Pork Board in 2002, provides training on handling pigs correctly when loading, transporting and unloading. Bio-security measures that ensure maintenance of pig health standards will also be discussed. After the two-hour session ends, participants will be tested.

The cost is $10. Pre-register by calling Mark Whitney at (507) 389-5541.

Minnesota rank high in graduates

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota has the highest percentage of residents with a high school diploma and is among the top 10 states in the number of people with college degrees, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

State demographer Tom Gillaspy said the numbers show the state manages to attract bright young people even as a "cold state at the end of the road."

Other Midwest states are not doing so well. Michigan and Iowa have struggled in this aspect, and Wisconsin, even with one of the nation's top public universities, only ranks with the Dakotas and way behind Minnesota.

Minnesota's record more closely resembles Colorado and California.

Livestock issues focus of coalition meeting

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- The Minnesota Farm and Food Coalition is sponsoring a "Minnesota Livestock Crossroads'' open house April 14 from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. in the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Rochester.

Participants will be able to hear from agricultural experts at the University of Minnesota, the department of ag, the MPCA, and several farm organizations.

Other topics include the Governor's Livestock Task Force report, livestock odor control issues and more.

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For more information, call the coalition at (612) 386-4070.

Value-Added applications due April 22

ST. PAUL -- The deadline for making Value-Added Producer Grant applications is April 22. The grants are designed to help eligible producers of ag commodities develop strategies to create marketing opportunities.

Eligible applicants include independent farmers, cooperatives, agricultural producer groups and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures.

Draft applications must be submitted to St. Paul by April 22. A USDA Rural Development specialist will review each application for completeness only and respond by May 2. Final applications will be submitted to Washington, D.C., by May 6.

For more information, call USDA Rural Development in St. Paul at (651) 602-7812.

Bongards reports $3.2 million loss

BONGARDS, Minn. -- Bongards Creameries suffered a $3.2 million loss in 2004 compared to a $1.3 million gain a year earlier. The Creamery's purchase of the Perham-based plant is one of the main reasons for the loss, says Bongards general manager Roger Engelmann.

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There were some issues in the first three to four months of that plant's start up, he said. The Perham plant, which started operations in late 2003, is now at the production level plant officials anticipated.

"The volume and quality of product is where we expected it," Engelmann said. "The things that affected the start up are not a factor at this time."

Watonwan County plans Spring Rally

ST. JAMES, Minn. -- The Watonwan County Home Council Spring Rally will be April 12 in Marian Hall in St. James beginning at 7 p.m.

The program is titled "Finding Gold in Something Old." Don Johnson from St. James will discuss antiques. The entertainment will be a video by Dorothy Stager of Pipestone as Granny. The title of her video is "I'm Pedaling As Fast As I Can."

Participants are invited to bring antiques to be appraised by Johnson, Phyllis Thompson and Zoe Isaacson.

Door prizes and lunch will follow the program. For more information call Lila Evers at (507) 375-4048.

Earleywine joins Land O'Lakes

SHOREVIEW, Minn. -- Thomas Earleywine is the new director of Nutritional Services for the Land O'Lakes Animal Milk Products Company. He replaces Mike Fowler, who is retiring after 34 years with the company.

Earleywine began his career working for the Extension Service in Wisconsin and Washington. He also spent 15 years working for TC Products Company, a vitamin-mineral premix and milk replacer manufacturer.

Earleywine will be based in the Twin Cities

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