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Ortonville, Minnesota
March 24, 2009     The Ortonville Independent
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March 24, 2009

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ri 4in 0 April is National Donate Life Month, making it a great time to con- tinue donating blood, or making your very first blood donation. In 2003, President George Bush proclaimed April as National Donate Life Month in an effort to raise awareness of the critical need for blood, organ, tissue and bone marrow donations. The American Red Cross joins the United States Department of Health and Human Services to celebrate this month by urging healthy, eligible indi- viduals to become regular blood donors. "Nearly five million people need blood transfusions each yeai'," said Geoff Kaufmann CEO of the local Red Cross North Central Blood Services Region. "Giving blood dur- ing National Donate Life Month is an easy way to help ensure blood is available for these patients in need," Whether you give blood at a com- munity blood drive or at a donation center, you play a critical role in mod- ern healthcare. Blood transfusions are needed for the treatment of many dis- eases and conditions, and for surg- eries. The stability of our nation's blood supply is in the hands of healthy, volunteer blood donors who give generously for others in need. This April, give the gift of life by donating blood in honor of National Donate Life Month, and join a family of blood donors across the nation. You could change a life, starting with your own. Upcoming Blood Dofiation Opportunity will be Ai~ril 4, 2009 from 9-2 p.m. at the New Life Baptist Church, 605 N Minnesota St. 'in Ortonville. How to Donate Blood Simply call 1-800--GIVE-LIFE (1- 800-448-3543) or visit giveblood- to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Eligible donors must be at least 17 years old, or 16 years old with a signed Red Cross parental/guardian consent form where state permits, must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health. About the American Red Cross Governed by volunteers and sup- ported by giving individuals and com- munities, the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red Cross also helps ensure no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it. In addition to providing nearly half of the nation's blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains mil- lions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts. Farm Program Sign up Continues at Farm Service Agency Signup for the 2009 Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment (DCP) Program continues until June 1, 2009. The June 1, 2009 deadline is mandatory for all participants. FSA will not accept any late-filed applications. Producers are encouraged to enroll their farms into the DCP program as soon as possible as there are no provisions for late enrollment after June 1st. Please do not wait to sign-up, call for an appointment today. The ACRE signup will most likely start in April or May and if you choose to enroll your farm into ACRE we will complete that sign-up at that time. ACRE informational meetings are scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Apr. 2 and 3 at the Memorial Building in Clinton. FSA computes DCP Program payments using base acres and payment yields established for each farm. Eligible producers receive direct payments at rates established by statute regardless of market prices. For 2009, you may request to receive advance direct payments based on 22 percent of the direct payment for each commodity associated with the farm. FSA will issue advance direct payments later this month. Counter-cyclical payment rates vary depending on market prices and are issued only when the effective price for a commodity is statutorily set below its target price. MCCL thoughts for hfe By Carol Karels Pregnant women are not told of the dangers to partial birth abortions nor given all the options; our tax money is paying abortionists. There are so many pro-life arguments you could get into and are not necessary if people would accept the scientific fact that a baby in the mother's womb is the same baby soon to be in her arms. We have been indoctrinated with false information and we have a huge part of our population hardened toward a baby's life. Let's each take our part in correcting this before we are hardened to more and our society doesn't care about anyone. program Beginning in June 1, 2009 the Farm Service Agency will have Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) available for enrollment. ACRE is designed to provide an optional alternative for crop producers to the counter-cyclical price support program that has been in place for several years. Farmers who choose to elect the ACRE program must accept a 20 per- cent reduction in direct payments and a 30 percent reduction in marketing assistance loan rates. Acre is designed to cover revenue shortfalls in years with lower prices with the 20 percent reduction in direct program payments considered as your premium. If you choose ACRE, you will not receive any countercyclical payments. The main benefit is having the oppor- tunity to share in revenue protection for the duration of the farm bill should there be a drop in commodity prices based upon state and farm revenue loss formulas. Should a farmer enroll in ACRE? This will largely depend upon where you think commodity prices will be over the next four years Which is the duration of the program. If crop prices are strong or increase compared to the base price established, it is unlikely that the ACRE program would pay enough to recoup the 20 percent reduction in direct payments. If prices fall below the average level of the base year of 2007/2008, then ACRE payments could pay more than 'enough to cover the 20 percent that was given up. What can I do as a producer to learn more about ACRE? First, know your base acres and what your pay, ment is on a per acre basis as ACRE payments can only be made up to your base acres. Do not make your decision solely on the calculations of v~hat other crop producers are doing. While the program formulas are very complex, decision aids available can give you some percentage proba- bilities and expected payments for each of the next four years based upon your individual farm base acre and yield information. Decision aids are available from Iowa State, University of Illinois, and FAPRI. The NDSU spreadsheet is available for North Dakota producers only. The University of Minnesota also plans to release a spreadsheet soon. averse amon Governor Tim Pawlenty today signed Executive Order 09-05 declar- ing a State of Emergency in Wilkin, Clay, Marshall, Polk, Norman, Kittson, and Traverse Counties due to rapidly warming temperatures, signif- icant rainfall and other factors that have created the potential for serious flooding. By his executive order, the Governor is activating the National Guard to assist in flood preparations in the Red River Valley and to provide emergency relief services. Initially, 25 members of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry will help with preparation activities in Moorhead. Additional soldiers will be activated as necessary. The Governor's executive order also directs the Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to activate the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan and to continue on- site support and assistance to the affected local governments. In addi- tion, all state agencies, in cooperation with appropriate federal agencies, are directed to provide the assistance nec- essary to help respond to and recover from this emergency. Free speech. Free press. Free country. Speak up for the First Amendment. Grief Support and Education for The groups are open to those who are grieving the death.of a They are confidential andfree of charge. Adults loved one. Graceville HOL Y TRINITY HOSPITAL Hospital Conference Room Mondays for 6 weeks April 6, 13, 20, 27 and May 4, 11 5:00-6:00 PM Meal provided Ortonville ORTONVILLE AREA HEAL TH SERVICES Dialysis Building - Lower Level Conference Room Wednesdays for 6 weeks April 8, 15, 22, 29 and May 6, 13 2:00-3:00 PM Coffee and cookies provided FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE A BO VE GROUPS, PLEASE CONTACT RONDI KA MPMEIER, MSW, LICS W A T (320) 589- 7641. J Our support groups are confidential and open to any adult who has experienced the loss of a loved one through death. There is no charge to participate and no need to register. Sponsored by Lake/and Hospice & Home Care and Larson Funeral Homes of Ortonville, Cfinton, Graceville and Browns Valley "Ce brating Li,One Family at a Time } ~ Serving Ortonvllle, Clinton, Graceville and Browns Valley, MN West AGRALITE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE'S OPERATION ROUND UP donated $250 to the fundraiser that was recently held for the Family Readiness Group. Operation Round Up helps meet some of the charita- ble needs of people who live iri the area served by A~ralite Electric Cooperdtive. Agralite members that participate in Operation Round Up have their electr,c bills rounded up to the next whole dollar each month. This money goes into the Round Up account and is dispersed by the nine member board made up of individuals from across the Agralite service territory. Local board members are Eldon Knutson and Barb Wiese. Pictured above from left to right are, Leah Kellen, Barb Wiese, Lisa Cox and Pat Collins. values go? By David Bau, University of Minnesota Extension After the crash in farm land values from record high prices in the 1980s, farmland values continue to rise and are once again reaching all time record levels. At the end of each year a survey is conducted for farm land sales in four- teen southwestern Minnesota coun- ties. The survey reports bare farm land sales to non-related parties for the first six months each year. Data collected from the counties of Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, Watonwan and Yellow Medicine indi- cated prices increased from an aver- age of $2262 in ,2005 to $3702 in 2008 or an increase of 64 percent. A large portion of this increase (30 of 64 percent) happened in 2008. Farm land prices increased, in these fourteen counties, from an overall average of $2849 per acre in 2007 to an average of $3702 in 2008. Only one county experienced a decline in .2008 and that was Lincoln County with a negative 2.4 percent change while having the largest increase in 2007 of 47.8 percent. Land sold each year can vary by region even in a county so values can fluctuate. For example farmland could be sold one year closer to a larger city like Marshall and none is sold the next year. So what is making land prices increase? Farm income, grain prices, interest rates, return on other invest- ments and 1031 exchanges are often mentioned as reasons for the increase. Farm profits are up in 2008 to record levels according to USDA forecasts. This trend will probably continue. Record prices for corn and soybeans were recorded in 2008. This would add local demand for the land from farmers. Interest rates are at histori- cally low levels with the current national recession and land rental income is comparable or larger than what an investor can earn from trea- sury bills or a certificate of deposit at financial institutions. Money continues to leave the stock market and flow into more cash- based products. The 1031 exchange is for farmers or landowners who have land in an area of increased value due to location to city or devel- opment and rather then pay taxes on a large gain from the sale of the land they purchase like property or other farmland at a more reasonable price. This has the effect of increasing prices even in non metro locations, but this impact will be tempered by the national recession. How high can farm land values go? Supply and demand will determine this. The simple return on investment which is determined by rental rates will determine how competitive farm land is compared to other investments and this will determine a value for farm land. If interest rates rise, or farm rental rates fall, the value of land is sure to be affected in a negative way. But as long as these factors do not occur, the price of farmland will continue to climb. There are indica-" tions that land values have started to decline 10-15 percent in the second half of 2008 as the stock market and grain price fell considerably. 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