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A conversation about farming


Sun, Aug 13th, 2000
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Monday, August 14, 2000

A farmer friend of mine, who has been milking cows for the past 30 years, was recently lamenting the fact that all of his immediate neighbors no longer milk cows for a living.

“The valley used to be full of dairies,” he told me. “Now there’s just a few of us left in the township.”

He believes that this trend is not just about the dairy business, with its complex pricing system, but about livestock farming in Fillmore County as a whole.

“There are less grasses being grown,” he explained. “It used to be that you could make money selling hay around here. Not anymore.”

It’s a fact, there are less dairy farms. According to Fillmore County Extension Educator Jerry Tesmer, there were 286 herds in Fillmore County in 1999 as compared to 431 in 1992. Of the 286 herds, 168 are Grade A herds, where drinkable milk is produced. There are 118 Grade B herds in the county, operated mainly by Amish farmers, where the milk is used for cheese.

“Beef cattle are down too,” Tesmer said. “But not as dramatically as dairy.”

My friend thinks that there is a relationship between less livestock farming, and more corn and soybeans replacing grasses. “More and more farmers need to work off the farm to make ends meet,” he reasons. “And raising livestock can be pretty labor intensive. When you work off the farm you don’t want to be up calving all night.”

He calls these people “weekend farmers”. He understands their need to simplify farming by minimizing the need to keep costly equipment and by contracting out spraying and sometimes, even, planting and combining. Overall, he reasons, crop farming is an efficient way to farm part-time.

Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Gene Hugoson recognized this group of farmers in a speech he gave at the Rural Summit in Rochester recently.
“You need $40,000 income or more to support a family, so you’ve got to have an operation that’s going to generate that kind of revenue or work off the farm,” Hugoson said. He went on to say that we need strong rural communities as more and more farmers move to off-farm employment.

According to Hugoson, Minnesota has 80,000 farmers, of which, a quarter are full-time farmers. This statistic holds true for Fillmore County. 1997 data shows 1170 out of 1546 farmers (75%) working off-farm in Fillmore County.

“With $1.20 corn, the marketplace is saying were producing too much corn,” my farmer friend says, .....
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Foods Weekly Ads

What I do when I can’t find anything to do

Sun, Aug 13th, 2000
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It helps if I make a list of things to do when I have the time. I think of all the nice things that I might be able to do for the people less fortunate than I am; such as giving advice to those in need of it and time to the timeless.

When the ..... 
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Journal Profile # 77

Sun, Aug 13th, 2000
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Name: Pat Hudella
Home: Carimona
Age: 56
Profession: Retired Medical Secretary
Family: Husband Roger; 2 daughters, Laurie & Bonnie; 6 grandchildren
Hobby/Interests: Reading, watching the many b ..... 
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Apple Walnut Squares

Sun, Aug 13th, 2000
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1 1/2cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups fi ..... 
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8/14/00

Sun, Aug 13th, 2000
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Max, Maxxximum, Madcap, Cartoon, Food for thought, Fud 4 thot

Sun, Aug 13th, 2000
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Sun, Aug 13th, 2000
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Sun, Aug 13th, 2000
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Sun, Aug 13th, 2000
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