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A heritage of horsemanship


Fri, Mar 12th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

Horse people. In this area, it's likely that you know at least one of them. In essence, they live and breath horses and the lifestyle that accompanies it. The countless hours of grooming, feeding, veterinary care, pasture management, and of course, barn cleaning are all worth those exhilarating moments on the back of an animal whose sweat is "sweet." For the combined Ukkestad and LaFleur families of Rushford, horses are a passion and tradition that have led to what Beth LaFleur lovingly dubs, "The Other Season."

Maynard and Rachel Ukkestad began their family's journey into the equestrian lifestyle when daughter Beth was just three. Although Maynard had grown up in town, he had always wanted horses. Rachel grew up in Looney Valley, near Houston, MN, on a farm where her father used Belgian draft horses, which she rode from time to time. Little did they know that little Welsh pony given to Beth would spark a lifetime pursuit in showmanship.

The family joined Root River Saddle Club in 1970, during its inaugural year. At the time, the group was largely restricted to trail riding due to participation and locations available. In the earlier days, the group took to riding where they could. They even had an arena of sorts in now laughable locations such as within a snow fence behind the municipal liquor store in Rushford and tucked into an area behind a restaurant near the golf course.

In 1985, the family, which now included son-in-law Allen LaFleur, contemplated the idea of a structured arena on their property in south Rushford. The saddle club was still very much in need of space so the decision to develop and construct Ukkestad Arena was made. Although privately-owned, it became a hub for 4-H, Western Saddle Club Association (WSCA), Southeastern Minnesota Saddle Club Association (SEMSCA), National Barrel Horse Association, and Class A Arabian events throughout the region.

Since, the family has boarded horses in pasture and breed some of their mares, foaling out at least four times. However, the family decided that showmanship was their passion. So each year, beginning on Mother's Day and continuing through the end of September, equestrian events rapture their lives.

As the family grew to include grandchildren, Julia and Phillip, the horsemanship tradition continued. Starting out working on lead lines when they were toddlers, the children learned first-hand from their elders the work ethic and joy that is horse keeping. Bo .....
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Local resident participates in AQHA Horseback Riding Program

Fri, Mar 12th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

Jamie Solberg of Preston, MN, recently earned an award for logging 1,500.0 hours in the American Quarter Horse Association Horseback Riding Program. The program recognizes and rewards AQHA members for time spent with their American Quarter Horses in ..... 
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Options to limit property taxes on Forested Land

Fri, Mar 5th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

Mel Baughman, professor and Extension Forester, University of Minnesota, led the group of farm and forest property owners through several options and programs that may be available to them to control the property tax bill on forested and some types ..... 
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Information session on Rural Energy for America Program

Fri, Mar 5th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

Rural Development is a federal agency under the United States Department of Agriculture, designed to help not only low income persons to acquire, build, rehabilitate and improve dwellings in rural areas, but to help rural communities with funding fo ..... 
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Cover crop meeting March 10

Fri, Mar 5th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

Ag producers interested in learning more about how to use cover crops in their own operations have an opportunity to learn from the experience of other farmers. A panel of local farmers will highlight their experiences with cover crops at a meeting ..... 
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Initiative pays farmers to compare fertilizer application rates

Fri, Mar 5th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

It's not too late to sign up for the 2010 Minnesota Nutrient Management Initiative, which is paying farmers $1,200 annually for comparing the profitability and productivity of two different fertilizer application rates on one of their fields. Farmer ..... 
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Farm Service Agency News - March 8, 2010

Fri, Mar 5th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

SURE Signup

Signup for the 2008 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments program (SURE) began on January 4, 2010. SURE 2008 is for those who suffered crop production losses during crop year 2008.

SURE provides crop disaster assistance ..... 
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Pasture Walk Series to continue in 2010

Fri, Mar 5th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

The last two years a series of events under the general title "Pasture Walks" have taken place in Southeast Minnesota. Generally, we have started with an indoor activity and then later in the summer gone to a number of farm locations to observe vari ..... 
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Nation's Largest Organic Farming Conference Continues to Grow

Tue, Mar 2nd, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

The nation's largest organic farming conference, hosted by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) had approximately 2,700 organic farmers and agriculture professionals attend this year's Organic Farming Conference (OFC) from al ..... 
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