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Minnesota farmland prices starting to decline

PLUS: Gov. Dayton requests a temporary stop on the Red River flood control project; another development planned along the Green Line; Republicans mock the new state Senate office building; and more.


Uh oh. Mark Steil of MPR reports, “The boom in farmland prices of recent years could be cooling, setting up a potential economic blow to Minnesota farmers. Minnesota’s farmland is worth about $100 billion, and given that land often accounts for 80 percent of a farm’s assets, that value has served as an economic engine. It provides farmers the collateral they need to buy equipment and grow crops. But the most recent quarterly survey of agricultural bankers by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, which tracks the important asset, shows Minnesota farmland prices have started to decline.”

You may recall that Gov. Dayton is not a fan of the big Red River flood abatement project. The AP is saying, “Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has requested that crews temporarily stop working on the Red River flood control project. Dayton sent a letter to Jo-Ellen Darcy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking the federal agency to hold off on supporting the project until Minnesota conducts an environmental review.”

Michael Brodkorb is merrily chronicling the Michelle MacDonald circus at his blog. The latest are texts and the tape of the weekend phone conversations party representatives had with MacDonald trying to pressure her out of her Supreme Court endorsement. “According to phone and text message records provided by MacDonald to, [attorney Patrick] Burns called MacDonald 14 times between Friday, August 22, 2014 to Saturday, August 23, 2014. During the same time span, Burns sent MacDonald approximately 22 text messages. All of the communications were focused on the offer from the Republican Party of Minnesota. … Burns said in the phone conversation: ‘They’re [The Republican Party of Minnesota] going to squash you like a bug. That’s what they want to do.’”

Well, thank you for your input. Dave Chanen of the Strib reports on an odd moment in jurisprudence. “For the jury in Damin Lee Shufford’s murder trial, it was a difficult moment made even harder by the comments of a courtroom deputy. The Hennepin County District Court jurors were walking back to the jury room after making the agonizing decision to acquit Shufford in the mid-July trial when the deputy felt compelled to tell them that she was sure they had erred. Shufford was guilty of killing that man in a New Hope parking lot, she said. She knew this, she told them, because a police officer had told her so. The deputy’s words moved some jurors to tears.”

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Another big development along the Green Line LRT. Laura Yuen at MPR says, “A new housing and retail development will reshape a vacant auto sales lot along the Green Line light rail route. Government leaders and housing officials will break ground Monday on a $28 million complex that will include more than 100 units of affordable rentals. A portion of the units will be occupied by people with disabilities and the formerly homeless. The new development, called Hamline Station, is a block long and will be built with a mix of private and public money. It will be built on the site of the former Midway Chevrolet used car lot.”

First golf. Now pheasant hunting. Says Doug Smith in the Strib: “Minnesota’s pheasants and pheasant hunters are hitting rock-bottom. Just 62,000 pheasant hunters went afield last fall, and they bagged only 169,000 roosters. That’s the fewest hunters and lowest harvest in 27 years. Hunter numbers declined 19 percent and the harvest was down 32 percent from 2012. Hunters likely were responding to a huge loss of habitat, poor nesting weather and a corresponding large drop in the ringneck population in recent years. Last year, the pheasant population dropped 29 percent.”

Further indignity for the Postal Service: Paul Walsh and Jeremy Olson of the Strib say, “Patients often plead they’ll do anything to avoid a colonoscopy for cancer screening. Now doctors at the Mayo Clinic have an alternative that will put that sentiment to the test. Mayo officials announced Monday they will be the first in the United States to offer patients the Cologuard test, by which patients collect their stool samples and mail them in sealed containers for DNA analysis of their colon cancer risks.”

Sports Illustrated has gotten in on the deep meaning of Kevin Love trade. Rob Mahoney writes, “The liquidation of any superstar for assets requires a sacrifice in security, and in that the Wolves are no exception. The quality of these particular wagers, though, suggests this could be the finest return yet in the modern age of star-engineered exits. That potential exists in part due to the relative lack of mobility afforded to rookie-scale players. Upon coming into the NBA, first-round picks like Wiggins negotiate within a small window of contract terms. There is some slight wiggle room in salary and the like, though the structure of the deal for any first round pick is non-negotiable: Its two guaranteed seasons are followed by two years of team options. After those four years, the team then has the ability to channel the player into restricted free agency, in which any offer sheet can be matched. What the Wolves have acquired then is not just talent but the means to control it.”

At Wonkette, Kaili Joy Gray takes her swipe at the hunting lodge that at first refused a gay couple’s request to hold a wedding party, then reversed course and is picking up the tab for the bash.  “To top it all off, the Minnesota Family Council, aka the Association of Dead-enders Who Are Still Battling Uphill To Uphold the Sanctity of Who Even Knows What Anymore? is super mad about it.

The Minnesota Human Rights Department’s treatment of Minnesota families is deplorable. They are choosing to enforce the same-sex ‘marriage’ law in an unconstitutional manner, targeting Minnesota business owners and, to top it all off, claiming victory for settling with a hunting preserve owner who should have never had to face a human rights case against him,Council CEO John Helmberger said in a statement.

Now that is what we call a happy ending.”

The GOP may be having a hard time mounting a campaign based on the bungled economy, but it feels a winner in that new Senate office building. Tim Pugmire of MPR says, “Minnesota Republicans took aim again today at the new Senate office building they oppose by unveiling a butter sculpture of the building at the State Fair. They said during a news conference that the sculpture was intended to highlight what they view as the absurdity of the building, which was backed by majority Democrats.”