A story posted Monday by Dana Melius of the Le Center Leader updates the turkey/chicken virus that’s spreading throughout the state. “Poultry farmers continue to battle the avian bird flu virus which has cost turkey and chicken operations throughout Minnesota millions of dollars and over 5.7 million birds,” he wrote, adding that the flu has hit 21 counties. He noted that a Jennie-O Turkey Store plant in Faribault issued 233 temporary layoffs.
Rep. Collin Peterson says that despite finishing the farm bill and a bruising battle in 2014 he’s anxious to tackle a 2016 race, according to an MPR story appearing in the West Central Tribune. Peterson won’t make a firm commitment yet, but he’s talking like a candidate. And although no one would accuse him of being a Democratic Party toady, the last paragraph of the story is telling: “I’ve learned how to deal with the left wing in my party and they’ve finally gotten used to me,” Peterson said, adding that he then tells his Republican friends, “At this time in my career, I do not want to spend any time learning how to deal with the right wing in your party. They say, ‘Oh, we get that.’ ”
Speaking of wanting a spot in Washington, Jim Hagedorn is going to take another run at Rep. Tim Walz. The Associated Press reports that Hagedorn, of Blue Earth, says he will have more money and a bigger campaign this time around. The AP notes that Walz has been a leader on veterans and agricultural issues, while Hagedorn says Walz has failed to make his mark in Congress.
School districts in Brainerd, Willmar and in North and South Dakota swapped superintendents this week, as the Brainerd Dispatch noted that Superintendent Klint Willert will lead the Brookings, South Dakota, district starting next year. Willert had been offered the top job in Willmar but turned it down to go to Brookings, so Willmar has hired Jeffrey Holm, the assistant superintendent of the Minot, North Dakota, district. Brainerd will now look for another superintendent, although one board member noted it’s a little late in the school year to conduct a proper search so the district may have to appoint an interim superintendent. Willert has served as superintendent for Brainerd Public Schools since July, 2014. Holm, a Minnesota native, has been an assistant superintendent in Minot since 2006, reports Linda Vanderwerf of the West Central Tribune. Willmar’s current superintendent, Jerry Kjergaard, is retiring this summer.
If you don’t mind leaving some corn stalks up after harvest, the Minnesota Department of Transportation wants to talk to you. MnDOT wants to see what happens when Central Minnesota farmers leave a minimum of six rows of corn stalks standing through the winter to help reduce the amount of snow blowing onto roads. The Brainerd Dispatch reports that if they can find some farmers who have fields in areas where blowing snow is a problem, they’ll pay them to leave the stalks standing to assess snow protection. Farmers generally agree to leave six to 16 rows of corn until the end of March. Farmers usually dragoon family or groups like 4-H or Future Farmers of America to hand pick the corn to salvage the crop. For more information, go here.
Kelli Holliday, 33, of La Crosse, was sentenced to five years on supervised probation Monday after she admitted she stole from La Crescent’s Applefest where she served as treasurer, reports the Winona Daily News. She must also serve 240 hours of community service, pay $5,000 restitution, and her one-year prison sentence was stayed. Applefest Board President Mary Lehrman said the organization lost $13,469 last year. Holliday admitted taking $2,418 for personal expenses, so Lehrman says there’s $8,000 missing and unaccounted for.
The Albert Lea Farmers Market is opening Wednesday and will feature a new sampling program, writes Sarah Stultz of the Albert Lea Tribune. The program gives people the chance to try products — both raw and prepared. This week, the market will have a fresh selection of rhubarb and asparagus along with baked goods, eggs, jams and jellies, salsa, pickles, bedding plants and craft items. Here’s the rundown on what will be available at the market:
• Late May and early June: green onions, lettuce, spinach, radishes, asparagus and rhubarb
• June: herbs, broccoli onions, peas, kohlrabi and strawberries
• July: green beans, yellow beans, beets and broccoli
• Late July: sweet corn, cucumbers, cauliflower, eggplant, peas, sweet onions and potatoes, raspberries, zucchini, summer squash, melons and early tomatoes
• August: early apples, green beans, beets, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, melons, onions, green peppers, hot peppers, potatoes, squash, zucchini and tomatoes
• September: apples, beets, cabbage, sweet corn, gourds, Indian corn, winter squash, melons, watermelons, musk melons, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, fall raspberries and tomatoes