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COL Stearns County SWCD honored by state

ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- The Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts has named the Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District the state's Outstanding Soil and Water Conservation District of the Year.

The SWCD award is based on several factors, including training for staff and supervisors, program involvement, tours and demonstrations, supervisor and staff presentations to other organizations, soliciting grants, and more.

"We're honored to be recognized for this award,'' said Urban Spanier, chairman of the Stearns County SWCD.

The Stearns County SWCD has been active in protecting natural resources and has been successful in obtaining grants to help landowners install conservation practices. Those efforts include animal waste storage basins, soil erosion and sediment control practices and structures, unpermitted manure basin storage investigations, wildlife habitat, and other water quality projects.

Dairy Expo is Dec. 10-11 in St. Cloud

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- The Central Minnesota Dairy Expo and Minnesota Milk Producers Association have joined forced for the Minnesota Dairy Conference Dec. 10-11 in St. Cloud.

The event will be held in the St. Cloud Civic Center with educational seminars beginning at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 10. The educational sessions on the first day will conclude by 4:30 p.m.

The conference includes a large trade show with a variety of dairy equipment and supplies.

The opening speaker will be Gary Sipiorski, president of Citizens State Bank of Loyal, Wis. He will talk about successful dairy strategies. Rochester veterinarian Jim Bennett from Rochester will discuss prioritizing the jobs on your farm to maximize profitability.

Children sending gifts to war-torn Bosnia

WILLMAR, Minn. -- A Minnesota soldier will be trading in his fatigues for a Santa Claus suit this month while on duty with the Army National Guard in Bosnia.

Sgt. Jeff Anderson will be handing out presents -- made by children in New London and Spicer -- to young boys and girls who need basic things to survive in Bosnia, a country torn apart by war.

The kids "don't deserve the position they're in," Anderson wrote in an e-mail interview with the West Central Tribune. "The kids need just about anything, clothes to school supplies to toys."

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Anderson, a 10-year member of the Minnesota National Guard, has been in Bosnia on a peacekeeping mission since spring.

Anderson, 27, of Walker, told family members of the plight of some children in the mountainous village of Kamenica. They began sending boxes of candy and toys to Bosnia.

Deer Hunters Association offers art contest

The annual Minnesota Deer Hunters Association Youth Art Contest has started and will continue through March. The contest's goal is to encourage youth to appreciate wildlife in the state.

Youth can create a picture done with pencil, paint, crayon, watercolors, chalk, etc. Organizers prefer art on 8-inch by 11-inch paper. All entries must be submitted by March 31.

Artwork will be judged by a panel of three wildlife entusiasts and the top three finishers will be recognized.

Students interested in participating are encouraged to ask their school teachers for information. The Deer Hunters Association will mail information to every private and public school. Otherwise, students can call 1-800-450-3337 for more information.

Corn grain, silage trial results available

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The 2003 University of Minnesota Hybrid Corn Grain and Corn Silage performance trial results are available from the Southern Research and Outreach Center at Waseca's Web site.

The address is http://sroc.coafes.umn.edu/index.html.

The trials were conducted by the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station to provide unbiased information for use by corn growers when they choose hybrids.

The program is financed in part by entry fees from private seed companies that choose to enter their hybrids for testing.

Corn silage results are from the two primary dairy regions in the state -- the southeast and central. For a copy of the report contact your local Extension office.

Growers association wants quality focus

WILLMAR, Minn. -- The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association sponsored a meeting in Willmar last week to encourage growers to consider not only yield but seed quality, too, in making variety selections.

Protein and oil are the two components that are valued by processors. One bushel of soybeans will typically produce 44 pounds of soybean meal, 11 pounds of oil, and four pounds of hulls.

The northern Corn Belt is at a disadvantage because its overall seed quality is lower than in states located further south. Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota normally have the poorest quality soybeans in the country.

Soybeans in the Dakotas and Minnesota usually have protein levels less than 35 percent while fields in the southeastern United States have soybeans at 36 percent.

From a processed-value standpoint, northern beans contain 20 cents to 25 cents less value than soybeans grown in the south. It is estimated that northern soybeans are discounted at least 10 cents per bushel in the market.

Members sought for Minnesota Grown

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota farmers, farmers' market operators and others are invited to join the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Minnesota Grown program.

Established in the 1980s, Minnesota Grown promotes products grown by state farmers and helps them connect with consumers. MDA commissioner Gene Hugoson says the program is known for fresh food and ornamental products of breat quality and variety.

More than 750 growers are licensed to use the logo. The growers offer agricultural products and services as diverse as Angus beef, crop mazes, peonies and Christmas trees.

The Minnesota Grown Directory is distributed free statewide at farms, churches, libraries, information centers, Extension offices and realtors.

To request application forms for a Minnesota Grown license and a listing in the 2004 directory, call the Minnesota Grown Answerline at 1-800-657-3878.

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