Short Takes

Make sure Chinese keep door open


When it comes Wednesday’s trade deal signing by the U.S. and China, it’s a trust but verify situation for farmers. The announcement was indeed good news for the U.S. agriculture sector. However, a spokeswoman for Farmers for Free Trade, Michelle Erickson-Jones, was skeptical that China would follow through on those promises since Beijing has not agreed to lift the tariffs on American-grown produce, which makes it more expensive to Chinese importers than what they can buy from other countries. “We will see whether Phase One takes steps to dig out from the hole the trade war created or whether like previous ag purchase promises it is all talk,” Erickson-Jones said in a statement. Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap sent an optimistic statement to the press after the signing. “A phase one agreement with China reopens a marketplace for Minnesota farmers and is a step toward normalized trade with a critical market for U.S. agriculture,” he said. “Reopening the door to trade with China and others is key to helping farmers and ranchers navigate current financial challenges in agriculture.” Paap urges the Trump Administration to continue to aggressively pursue an full trade agreement with China, but also move forward with protecting and expanding markets across the world. We agree, but also urge U.S. officials to continue to verify that China is following the trade agreement.

A changing population


Thursday’s Independent edition reported the drop off in couples applying for marriage licenses in Lyon County. The county recorder’s office recorded 118 licenses in 2019, down from 170 in 2018. Recorder Michelle DeSmet said she was surprised by the decrease. But is it really a surprise? While there could be a number of reasons for the decrease, last year’s total might be the start of a trend. We will know more when the 2020 Census is completed, but indications so far show the population in the county and throughout the nation is becoming older. That development is something to consider when it comes to governments and businesses offering services.

City makes wise move


While one city council member questioned the need for a five-month transition period involving the Marshall city engineer position, it’s a prudent move. Public Works Director Glenn Olson gave notice of his planned retirement set for June 12. The Council approved the appointment of Assistant City Engineer Jason Anderson to become public works director on Feb. 3. Olson will serve as an owner’s representative for the city hall building until June 12. Let’s face it, Marshall has a lot going when it comes to construction projects and the extra transition will benefit the city in the long run.


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