COL Master Marketer Program set in Owatonna

OWATONNA, Minn. -- Minnesota's Master Marketer Program will be held in the Holiday Inn, Owatonna. The 2006 program is scheduled Jan. 18-19, Feb. 1-2 and Feb. 15-16.

The six-day educational program for grain producers and ag professionals is designed to develop and improve the marketing skills needed to succeed in today's markets. The program was developed by the University of Minnesota's Center for Farm Financial Management.

Topics include basic and advanced marketing strategies using futures and options, fundamental and technical price analysis, the role crop insurance plays in marketing, climate trends and impacts.

The program costs $150 and includes lunches and workshop materials. For a brochure or to register, call 1-800-234-1111.

Bovine TB surveillance will increase


ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is preparing to expand its surveillance for bovine tuberculosis after a wild deer killed in Roseau County tested "presumptive positive" for the disease, officials said last week.

The state Board of Animal Health is working with other state and federal agencies to develop a coordinated response if it's confirmed that the deer had the disease. The test results won't be available for several weeks.

The response would include enhancing surveillance and testing, re-certifying veterinarians to test for bovine TB, providing information to the public, and expediting the establishment of a National Animal Identification System in Minnesota.

JOBZ report finds fewer business deals

ST. PETER, Minn. -- A new report released last week by the St. Peter-based Center for Rural Policy and Development concludes that the Pawlenty administration's rural economic development program, JOBZ, will likely end 2005 yielding slightly fewer business agreements than it did in 2004.

However, the report finds the quality of new jobs created may be improving. The report, which tracks the number of business agreements signed each quarter, found that 193 business agreements were signed in the first seven quarters of the program, with 131 of those agreements coming in 2004 and 62 during the first three quarters of 2005.

South East sheep producers plan event

STEWARTVILLE, Minn. -- The South East Minnesota Sheep Producers will hold their annual meeting and conference Jan. 14.


The event will be held in the Stewartville Civic Center. The day begins with registration and coffee at 8:30 a.m.

Several events are planned. Guest speakers are Nancy Ellison and Bob Padula.

For more information, call (507) 377-1045.

Christmas in Blue Earth until Dec. 30

BLUE EARTH, Minn. -- A Christmas Wonderland of Lights will be offered in Blue Earth on the Faribault County fairgrounds in Blue Earth through Dec. 31.

Highlights include 30 acres of animated holiday light displays, hot cider and the Red Bard Gift Shop.

For more information, call (507) 526-2916.

'Poultry Your Way' publication available


ST. PAUL -- Producers who are considering starting or modifying poultry operations have a new resource available from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture called "Poultry Your Way.''

The free 124-page book profiles a variety of poultry systems suitable for the upper Midwest.

Producers and poultry experts from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan contributed to the book.

The book is meant for farmers interested in contract production as well as those who want to be independent producers. Print copies are available from the MDA by calling (651) 201-6012.

Celebrate New Year's Eve in Willmar

WILLMAR, Minn. -- The Willmar Area New Year's Eve Family Celebration will be held at Willmar Senior High on Dec. 31.

Highlights will include ice skating, door prizes, games and contests, karaoke, bingo, inflatable bouncers, swimming and a food court.

The evening ends with the Grand Finale Fireworks Display. For additional information, call (320) 222-9622.

Food safety course set in Rochester

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- The Extension Service will offer Food Safety Certification and Renewal courses in Rochester of Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 in the Olmsted County Public Health Department in Rochester.

"Serve It Up Safely'' will be taught on Feb. 6 from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Registration is due Jan. 23. The initial certification course, "ServSafe'' will be offered Feb. 7 from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The course will be offered in both English and Spanish.

For more information or to register, call (507) 337-2819.

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.