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Willmar’s Farm to School program is model

WILLMAR, Minn. — The effort to serve local produce in school cafeterias here has caught the attention of school districts elsewhere in the state.

"I see Willmar as a model for the region," said Lynn Mader, a nutritionist who helps the district find local products.

Twin Cities area schools have contacted the Willmar district wanting to know more about its Farm to School program. Other Minnesota school districts have started using local produce, but Willmar’s program is the most developed, Mader said.

Mader and Annette Derouin, the school district’s food service director, are developing a guide that other districts could use to start buying and serving local produce.

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Work begins on agronomy services facility

WARREN, Minn. — Early site work began last week on a new agronomy services facility in Warren, which will serve producers in the surrounding eight-county areas of northwestern Minnesota and northeastern North Dakota.

The facility will be jointly operated by CHS-owned Northwest Grain, based in St. Hilaire; Agri-Valley, based in Grand Forks, N.D.; Mid-Valley Grain, based in Crookston; and Salol Elevators, based in Roseau.

"The common thread between these four operations is an overriding commitment to patron success," explained Carl Younce, regional director for CHS Country Operations division. Current construction plans call for a 24,000-ton agronomy facility, shuttle-train ready and strategically located on the Burlington Northern/Canadian Pacific rail line. The plant is scheduled to be up and running by spring of 2008.

State Fair Milk Run entry forms available

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — Entry forms for the 23rd annual Minnesota State Fair Milk Run scheduled Aug. 26 are now being accepted.

The race starts at 7:45 a.m. and the course starts on Randall Avenue and heads through St. Anthony Park and the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus before finishing on the fairgrounds.

Awards will be presented to the top three men and women finishers in 12 age categories from 19 years old to 70 years old and older.

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Each participant will receive a Milk Run collector T-shirt, admission to the fair, a malt coupon and the opportunity to win door prizes. The entry fee is $20 and the race is limited to the first 1,500 runners. Entries must be postmarked by July 30. Entry forms can be requested by calling (651) 288-4395.

Camera catches illegal ATV use

HALLOCK, Minn. — Evidence gathered by a trail camera has helped convict a man of illegally operating an all-terrain vehicle in a state wildlife management area.

Officials from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources filmed a 66-year-old Mound man on two occasions using an ATV in the Beaches Lake Wildlife Management Area near Karlstad. ATVs and other motorized vehicles are banned in WMAs.

The DNR set up cameras in three WMAs where illegal ATV use was occurring in Kittson and Marshall counties.

The man was charged in November with two counts of illegal ATV use in a WMA. On April 20, Kittson County District Court Judge Donna Dixon ordered him to pay $364 in fines, fees and surcharges.

Farmers Union county meetings planned

PALISADE, Minn. — Minnesota Farmers Union county meetings are planned for June.

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The Aitkin and Carlton County FU meetings will be June 10 at 1 p.m. in Berglund Park in Palisade. The Becker County FU meeting will be June 20 at 7 p.m. in the Country Kitchen, Detroit Lakes.

The Todd County Farmers Union meets the first Monday of every month at 8 p.m. in the Fire Hall in Eagle Bend.

Lake Region farm labor force down 2 percent

ST. PAUL — The number of farm workers in the Lake Region is down 2 percent from a year ago, according to the NASS Minnesota Field Office.

The Lake Region includes Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Lake Region farm operators paid an average wage rate of $11.08 per hour during the April 2007 survey work, which is up 78 cents from $10.30 a year ago.

Field workers received an average wage rate of $10.11, up 79 cents from 2006. Livestock workers earned an average $9.99 compared to $9.94.

All Goat Expo is June 2-3 in Howard Lake

HOWARD LAKE, Minn. — The third annual All Goat Expo will be held June 2-3 on the Wright County fairgrounds in Howard Lake.

The two-day program offers participants a chance to prepare and practice for upcoming shows. This year marks the introduction of the first 4-H meat goat classes at the Minnesota State Fair.

On June 2, "The Ideal Boer Goat," seminar runs from 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Pre-registration is required and there is a $40 fee for attending, which includes lunch. The seminar is followed by a meat goat barbecue from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. that costs $5.

All events are free on June 3. Presentations will feature new opportunities to market goat mea, dystocia, drenching and tubing goats, kid goat diseases, a showmanship clinic, dairy goat show, meat goat show and the obstacle course.

For more information contact Brenda Postels, University of Minnesota Extension, Wright County at (763) 682-7394.

DNR awards $1.7 million for trail projects

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has awarded more than $1.7 million in Recreational Trail Program grants for 37 trail development and maintenance projects.

"These projects will help expand and preserve current trail recreation opportunities in Minnesota,’’ said Andrew Korsberg, DNR Trail Program coordinator.

The program provides matching grants up to $100,000 to units of government for local and statewide projects that expand or maintain outdoor trail recreation opportunities.

Kelley Farm hosts Children’s Day June 28

ELK RIVER, Minn. — Children’s Day will be held June 28 on the Kelley Farm near Elk River.

The event will feature games and chores typical for children 150 years ago.

Participants can help the oxen bring in wagonloads of grain, shock freshly cut grain in the field, make pickles, weed the garden and feed the livestock.

Activities are planned from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The cost is $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and college students, $4 for children 6-17 and children 5 and under free.

For more information call (763) 441-6896.

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