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COL Perham Co-op celebrates 90th year

PERHAM, Minn. -- The Perham Co-op Creamery Association recently celebrated it 90th year of operations at their annual meeting in the Perham VFW.

The Association was founded in 1912 as primarily a creamery to accept milk and churn it into butter. Today, the diversified cooperative has businesses in several communities, including Battle Lake, Vergas, Detroit Lakes and Menagha.

The creamery currently handles 70 million pounds of milk annually. It has four retail gas locations, bulk fuel and LP, a full agronomy service, three feed feed outlets, a locker plant and the Budget Host Motel. From 1999-2003, Perham Co-op Creamery will return $1.1 million of cash to its members.

CRP sign-up scheduled to run May 5-30

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.

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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.

Alfalfa seeding divided into north, south

FOLEY, Minn. -- Minnesota can be divided into a north and south zone in alfalfa seeding date by a line that runs from about Wheaton on the western border to Pine City on the eastern border.

The recommended planting dates are May 1 to 30 miles north of this line, and April 15 to May 15 south of this line, says Dan Martens, Benton County Extension educator.

Where farmers are planting oats or barley as a companion crop with the intent of harvesting a good yield of forage or grain, seeding on the earlier end of the range may be more useful, he said. One farmer suggested in a conversation last week that his preference is to solo-seed alfalfa in a May 5 to May 10 timeframe.

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Wild turkeys released in central Minnesota

ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- The Minnesota Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation joined with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in relocating 135 turkeys to five different counties this past winter.

Birds released in Mille Lacs, Kanabec and Pine Counties will be used in an ongoing St. Cloud State radio-telemetry study to see if agricultural crops are necessary for their survival. Turkeys were also released in Wadena and Benton Counties.

Since 1976, DNR crews have been trapping wild turkeys from large flocks in southeastern Minnesota and relocating them to suitable habitat elsewhere in the state.

The DNR expects about 22,000 hunters to participate in one of eight five-day wild turkey hunting seasons this year.

CURE plans spring canoe trip May 17

BENSON, Minn. -- Clean Up Our River Enivornment is planning its 12th annual Spring Observation canoe trip May 17.

The 2.5-hour trip is for beginning canoeists and will start near Benson and end at Norby Landing.

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Participants are asked to meet at 10 a.m. on the Highway 12 bridge west of Benson, turn at the campground sign. The trip includes the Chippewa River, Hawk Creek, Lac qui Parle River, Minnesota River and the Minnesota River.

A CURE family event is planned for the next day. Shoe, canoe and bike races will be held at Volden's Pit. Other events are also planned.

Two boys hospitalized following accident

ERSKINE, Minn. -- Two boys were hospitalized April 21 after a freak accident on a farm near Erskine in northwestern Minnesota.

One of the boys was in stable condition at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, N.D., with a punctured lung.

Polk County Sheriff Mark LeTexier said the two friends were shooting a screwdriver from a homemade potato gun April 18. After failed attempts to discharge the gun, the boys gave up. But the sheriff said the gun went off when one boy picked it up.

The screwdriver just missed the other boy's heart but punctured a lung, LeTexier said. He is expected to recover. The boy who was handling the gun when it discharged was being treated for shock.

The boys' names were not released because they are juveniles.

Oliver Kelley Farm hosts fun event May 18

ELK RIVER, Minn. -- A special spring event is planned at the Oliver Kelley Farm May 18. "Still Time for Play'' is planned from noon to 5 p.m. at the historic farmsite located 2.5 miles southeast of Elk River.

Visitors can participate in special games, activities and horse-drawn carriage rides. The cost is $6 for adults, $5 for senior citizens, $4 for children ages 6-12 and free for children under age six.

Participants will learn such games as cat's cradle, play with hoops and sticks, make cornhusk dolls and listen to live music.

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.

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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