Jac's
 
 
VBC Video
"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
Online Edition
Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Volume ∞ Issue ∞
 

Submit a Letter to the Editor here


Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
Posted in

To the Editor,
Monday, March 19, 2001

It was satisfying to read Jerrold Tesmer's Extension Notes a couple weeks ago about the advantages food producers are capturing by gaining "middleman" profit share through direct marketing. The information and references for resources he listed are excellent. I would emphasize the timeliness of his column.

Southeast Minnesota is alive with producers who are moving into direct marketing. Local producers are selling meats, vegetables, eggs and dairy products directly to consumers and institutions here in the region. Some are working alone, others in small cooperatives or consortiums. They are finding strong market demand for highest quality, competitively priced local foods. Nationally, the market for sustainably produced food is growing at about 20% a year.

The Hiawatha Pantry project, an initiative of the Community Design Center of Minnesota (non-profit), funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is collaborating with dozens of local producers, the University of Minnesota Southeast Experiment and other non-profit organizations and businesses. These people are pioneering an alternative production, processing and delivery system here in Southeast Minnesota to help retain profits for local re-investment. They are building and strengthening community relationships around our food.

Producing and marketing food directly is not for every body. But, for some who have done the analysis Jerry writes about, it can be a choice. Nobody expects to get rich, but no one is going deeply into debt either. The success of these new businesses don't depend upon increasing volume of farm sales but rather upon net return per acre. And, although it is not measurable, there is a level of satisfaction expressed frequently among the producer/marketers that comes from taking good care of their land and water and in getting to know the people who depend upon them for family health and nutrition. It must be satisfying, as well, to be able to do something that some believe can't be done, make a living on the land.

Nancy Bratrud
Southeast Coordinator, Community Design Center of Minnesota

To the Editor,
Monday, March 19, 2001

It was satisfying to read Jerrold Tesmer's Extension Notes a couple weeks ago about the advantages food producers are capturing by gaining "middleman" profit share through direct marketing. The information and references for resources he listed are excellent. I would emphasize the timeliness of his column.

Southeast Minnesota is alive with producers who are moving into direct marketing. Local producers are selling meats, vegetables, eggs and dairy products directly to consumers and institutions here in the region. Some are working alone, others in small cooperatives or consortiums. They are finding strong market demand for highest quality, competitively priced local foods. Nationally, the market for sustainably produced food is growing at about 20% a year.

The Hiawatha Pantry project, an initiative of the Community Design Center of Minnesota (non-profit), funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is collaborating with dozens of local producers, the University of Minnesota Southeast Experiment and other non-profit organizations and businesses. These people are pioneering an alternative production, processing and delivery system here in Southeast Minnesota to help retain profits for local re-investment. They are building and strengthening community relationships around our food.

Producing and marketing food directly is not for every body. But, for some who have done the analysis Jerry writes about, it can be a choice. Nobody expects to get rich, but no one is going deeply into debt either. The success of these new businesses don't depend upon increasing volume of farm sales but rather upon net return per acre. And, although it is not measurable, there is a level of satisfaction expressed frequently among the producer/marketers that comes from taking good care of their land and water and in getting to know the people who depend upon them for family health and nutrition. It must be satisfying, as well, to be able to do something that some believe can't be done, make a living on the land.

Nancy Bratrud
Southeast Coordinator, Community Design Center of Minnesota

To the Editor,
Monday, March 19, 2001

Itís was heartening to see leadership exercised in the recent dialog between the County Commissioners and the Planning Commission (Journal March 5, 2001) as well as the invitation extended to cities and townships to participate.

Mike Tuohy of the Planning Commission recognizes the need for broad input from cities and townships. Hopefully the cities and townships will accept that invitation and in turn extend it to the citizens living within and even bordering their jurisdictions. In many cases there will be overlapping areas of concern for cities within one or more townships as well as neighboring jurisdictions.

What is at stake is the question of what Fillmore County should be and look like 20, 30 or more years into the future. What type of standard of living and quality of life would we want for ourselves and others? It starts by imagining a future and then picking possibilities considering the resources and assets we have that can help us get there as well as the difficulties weíll have to overcome. With a goal in mind, planning has a basis for helping us move in the direction we collectively and individually want to go. Without that vision and its goals there is no basis for planning that has substantial hope of leading us purposefully. We will continue to deal with ďsqueaky gateĒ maintenance instead of working toward something.

Because so much of what we want is based on social and individual values, itís essentially a political question that requires us to talk to each other. Without that discussion we canít really know what commonalities we share and where we need to work for reconciling needs. Getting people to participate in such a participatory democratic process is not trivial, but not impossible. It has to start someplace and land use planning is a good issue since it will impact everyone in some way.

Two important facts were expressed in the article; if the cities and townships donít get involved and consider their future at this time, someone else will decide for us and not necessarily with our input.

Perhaps this is the time, with new people, new ideas, and new pressures that we can get beyond the seeming difficulties of the past regarding planning. Land use needs to be viewed as an overall system, not piecemeal. It appears that we often get caught up in the details instead of looking at the underlying problems or questions. I suspect that we get sidetracked because we ask the wrong questions.

As was pointed out at the joint meeting, farm vs. non-farm homes donít have much to do with the use of the land. Why might non-farm related businesses be or not be viable in the various ag-districts?

Once vision and goals are established for the future there are any number of general questions that can be asked, perhaps starting with questions of how much and what type of development can be sustained into the future and what impacts will it have on the natural, social and economic resources in the county.

Even residential development is far from low impact. Residential areas require and demand services. Social services include transportation, energy, and various emergency services. Economically, who pays for new development requirements? Natural environment impacts include waste handling and draws on water sources. How much can the aquifers provide without draw-down exceeding recharge rates? Is there sufficient soil and decomposers in that soil to handle septic runoff? Is there a need to go beyond agriculture, commercial and residential to consider natural areas to insure continuance of the services such areas provide?

We canít refuse to take steps simply because somebody didnít fund us. It shouldnít require major funding to initiate conversation between community members. This is a critical first step to decide what it is we want to plan for. How does one plan if there is no understanding of what it is we are planning?

Erik Erickson
Canton, MN

No Comments Yet. Be the first to comment!







Your comment submission is also an acknowledgement that this information may be reprinted in other formats such as the newspaper.


Fillmore County Pork Producers
Hoffman Stables