Short Takes

Research farm a good resource

THUMBS UP:

During a time of anxiousness in the agriculture community, it’s good to see there are experts like Randy Tholen trying to help farmers look at viable crop alternatives. Tholen operates a research farm in rural Balaton and he came up with something that is very interesting. Tholen is experimenting with rye and he held a field day Monday at his farm to put his results on display for farmers to check out. Tholen told the farmers that he discovered that rye he planted last fall had managed to tolerate both an extreme winter and a very wet spring. “Rye is an extremely resilient crop,” Tholen said. Rye, as it turns out, is a grain that is used both as food for people and as hog feed. The field day included how to grow and market rye. How valuable Tholen’s findings to southwest Minnesota farmers may be unknown at this time. But every little bit of information will help.

USDA delivers good news to farmers

THUMBS UP:

Farmers also received good news this week. On Thursday, the United States Department of Agriculture announced the easing of cover crop harvest rules to ensure livestock producers have adequate feed supplies. “This change will make good stewardship of the land easier to accomplish while also providing an opportunity to ensure quality forage is available for livestock this fall,” USDA undersecretary Bill Northey said. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson praised the decision.

It will be a long summer in 2020

THUMBS SIDEWAYS:

The Minnesota Department of Transportation delivered good and bad news Tuesday during an informational meeting held in Cottonwood about a Highway 23 construction project slated for next summer. The good news: The project will bring some much-needed safety updates and resurfacing. The bad news: The highway will be closed down between Granite Falls and Cottonwood all summer long. Motorists will have to maneuver to their destination using a detour.

Polluters get a break

THUMBS DOWN:

Interesting times. Four days after southwest Minnesota showed its support for renewable energy during a clean energy workshop in Marshall, the Trump administration announced it will scrap one of President’s Barack Obama’s key initiatives to rein in fossil fuel emissions by easing restrictions on coal-fired power plants.

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