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December 15, 2010     The Ortonville Independent
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December 15, 2010
 

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Partnerships help Minnesota processors, Turkey Valley Farms and lead in turkey production Ag News Northern Pride Turkey, als0 are based Wire By Sally Noll, University of in Minnesota. Minnesota Extension Since .the beginnings of turkey With the holidays fast approaching, farming in the early 1930s and the especially Thanksgiving, all things formation of the Minnesota Turkey turkey become top Of mind. As a Growers Association (MTGA) in University of Minnesota Extension 1939, the University of Minnesota has poultry specialist, I am often called been assisting turkey producers and upon to answer questions during the ~ processing companies and partnering holiday season, with the MTGA on research and Usually, the questions trend toward educational Extension programs in trivia, but they offer a chance to help nutrition, bird health, management, the public understand turkey genetics and breeding. production as an important Many changes occurred over the agricultural industry in Minnesota. years as production grew, but one of Minnesota is ranked No. 1 in the the major changes was the transition nation in turkey production, having of turkey production from a seasonal raised 47 million turkeys this year out to a year-round operation. A whole of a total of 242 million in the U.S. new body of knowledge was needed Minnesota is home to the second- and developed, especially related to largest turkey processing company rearing turkeys during the cold (Jennie-O Turkey Store) and one of Minnesota winters. the largest turkey hatcheries (Willmar The current Extension poultry Poultry Company). Two other program has two major areas of focus: • • • assisting producers in improving and maintaining turkey and chicken flock health, and developing best feeding practices when using corn co-products that are left over from the fermentation of corn grain for ethanol production (such as distillers dried grains with solubles). Approximately one-third of Minnesota's corn crop is used in ethanol production, so supplies of distillers grain is growing and is often available in areas where poultry is being raised. To learn about upcoming conferences and workshops for turkey and other poultry producers, or to access online educational materials, visit http:/ /www.extension.umn.edu/poultry www.extension.umn.edu/poultry. Sally Noll is a poultry specialist with University of Minnesota Extension. Oriental bittersweet has yellow fruit capsules. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has detected Oriental bittersweet infestations on rights of way in Anokal Dakota, Hennepin, and Ramsey Counties. In addition, a large infestation was discovered recently in Winona. To help prevent the spread of this nasty vine, MDA is asking Min- nesotans who find Oriental bittersweet in holiday decorations to bag or burn the materials. Minnesotans who be- lieve they have found Oriental bitter- sweet infestations can contact MDA's Arrest the Pest Hotline at 651-201- 6684 or 1-888-545-6684. Potential de- tections can also be reported to MDA staff by email at Arrest.th.e.Pest@state.mn.us. ST. NICK ALONG WITH ASSISTANTS RUPERT AND RUPA, stopped at Northridge Residence to share the spirit of giving on Feast of St. Nick Day, Dec. 6. Small crocheted angels were glven to all. Several bags labeled coal were handed out, but if the recipient truly had been good, by mira(miracle, the coal became a treat. Conversation flowed amon.ng residents and guests and St. Nick told stories of his sharing the royal wealth with [he desperately impoverished people in his father's kingdom. Then, all too soon, St. Nick and his assistants moved on to other commitments around the world. r taxes re you Is As Minnesotans deck their halls this for a common decorative holiday vine holiday season, the Minnesota Depart- called American bittersweet. ment of Agriculture (MDA) is asking Oriental bittersweet is established in them to watch for Oriental bittersweet many eastern states, and in 2010 was - an invasive imposter easily mistaken found in Winona and the Twin Cities. A health plan that covers preventive care A great way to keep the cost of health care down is to prevent the costs from happening in the first place. Catching a problem early can stop it from becoming a bigger problem later. Many plans from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota offer first-dollar coverage for preventive care right away without having to pay a deductible. And with all the options available, you can easily find a plan that's right for your budget. Give me a call. I can give you Tom Oakes all the details and answer your questions. Agent Authorized independent agent/agency for ~ BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota 40 NW 2nd St. Ortonville, MN 56278 320-839-2118 or 800-630-4978 The vine is sometimes collected for use in wreaths and other decorative arrangements due to its bright fruit. However, this attractive indoor garland turns ugly in a forest environment by strangling and smothering trees. When established, it can dominate the forest canopy, reduce forest productivity, and block sunlight from understory plants. "Oriental bittersweet is considered a serious threat to our forests based on what it has done in eastern states," said MDA Invasive Plant Specialist Monika Chandler. "You don't want this vine on your property if you can avoid it, so be wary if that bittersweet you're using to decorate this season has fruit capsules that are yellow instead of orange." Oriental bittersweet plants spread when people unwittingly transport the vines or seeds, or even plant them on their property, mistaking them for the desirable native and non-invasive American bittersweet. While Ameri- can and Oriental bittersweets have red fruit and look very similar, they are easy to distinguish in winter by the color of their fruit capsules, which sur- round the red fruit. American bitter- sweet has orange fruit capsules, while April 15, the usual date for "tax day," seems so far away. But doing some quick planning now could poten- tially lower your tax bill and give you something to be extra thankful for next spring. Well there is good news and more good news for you in this coming year. First, because of a holiday in Wash- ington, DC, the tax deadline for next year has been extended to April 18, 2011. Last minute tilers will have three extra days to procrastinate. Smart taxpayers, however, will take the advice of the tax experts at the Min- nesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) and use the last months of 2010 to get their records in order and prepare for the coming tax season. Even more signifi- cantly, individuals and businesses can take action to reduce their 2010 tax bill. The results of the 2010 elections suggest that the tax cuts passed a decade ago will probably be extended before the end of the year, at least for some individuals. But the uncertainty about that situation makes good ad- vance preparation even more impor- tant, so you will be able to respond quickly, if necessary. Now is the time to plan. Meet with your tax advisor. Take constructive steps that must occur before the end of the calendar year. Avoid costly mis- takes caused by last minute filing. Tips for individuals Max out your retirement savings op- dions _ : ., If you are fortunate enough that your employer is still offering a 401 (k) plan, be sure to take advantage of it. No 401(k)? Then check out the options available in 2010 for individual retire- ment accounts (IRA) and Roth IRAs. In 2010 only, taxpayers will have a choice to convert their traditional IRA to a Roth IRA and report the entire amount of the conversion in 2010 or defer taxes by reporting the income rat- ably over two years, in 2011 and 2012. Consider contributing the maximum allowable as it pertains to your unique financial situation. Donate to charity If you itemize your deductions and want to take a charitable donation de- duction on your 2010 taxes, you need to make the donation by Dec. 31,2010. If you have been putting off those do- nations, holiday time is a great time to do some good-for someone else and for your taxes. Benefit from losses If you have incurred losses on indi- vidual stocks, mutual funds or other in- vestments that are not in a retirement account, you can either hold on to what you own in hope that its value will rise in the future or sell it and take a loss on the investment. Last call: What expires in 2010 There are several tax breaks that ex- pire at the end of 2010, so take advan- tage while you can: • Energy efficient home improve- ment credit • Hybrid vehicle tax credit (all mod- els) • Guaranteed 15 percent maximum rate for long-term capital gains • Child and dependent care tax credit will be reduced starting in 2011 • 2010 child tax credit of $1,000 per child will revert to $500 per child in 2011 ~ • Computers as a qualified expense for section 529 college savings plans • Earned income credit for third child • Student loan interest deduction is scheduled to change • American Opportunity tax credit for undergraduate education Small businesses Self-employed individuals have more leeway with deductions than other taxpayers. Be sure to structure your business transactions to achieve the most efficient tax results for your business. Small business options • Deduct, deduct, deduct. Need new anti-virus software, office supplies or a new computer? Get the items pur- chased and put into use by December 31, 2010, and take the write-off on your 2010 taxes with IRS Section 179 deductions. • The HIRE Act offers two new tax benefits to employers who hire certain qualified employees. You can benefit from the HIRE Act until December 31, 2010. • Consider delaying or accelerating billings and/or payments. It may be possible to buy equipment on your credit card now, take the deduction, and pay for it next year. A CPA keeps you ahead of the game If you are uncertain about the op- tions available to you or have any ques- tions, a CPA can help. Contact the MNCPA at (800) 331-4288 or visit the MNCPA's free CPA Referral Service at www.mncpa.org/referral. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) serves the public interest by advancing the highest standards of ethics and practice within the CPA profession. MNCPA delivers on that promise by offering ex- tensive continuing professional educa- tion and resources; advocating for members and the public with regula- tory agencies and boards; and mentor- ing and encouraging the CPAs and business leaders of tomorrow. Founded in 1904, MNCPA's 9,400 members work in public accounting, business and industry, government and educa- tion. To enter the contest, fill out this entry form and return it to whichever store you will be bringing your cookies to. (If you are entering the contest in both stores, you will need separate entry forms and cookies delivered to both stores.) On the day of the contest, bring 2 dozen cookies to our store prior to the times listed above. The cookies will be identified by number only for judging purposes. Judging will take place at that time and the winners will be announced immediately after the judging. Judging will be based on taste, appearance and presentation of the cookies. The Grand Prize Winner will receive a 5 quart KitchenAid Mixer, retail value of $299 in their color choice (some colors may not be in stock but can be ordered.) Second and Third Place bakers will receive a set of bakeware. Baker's Name: (please print) Address: Phone Number: Name/Type of Cookie: Hardware Hank Christmas Cookie Baking Contest Sat., Dec. 18, lUgg 2010 As Minnesota's snowmobile season fort of home, till out the exam, and begins, conservation officers from the send in results to be officially certified. Department of Natural Resources It's as easy as that," Owens said. (DNR) remind snowmobile operators The CD-ROM course for those 16 to drive safely and to drive smart, and older is available from the DNR "They need to contain their enthusi- Information Center by calling 651-296- asm for that first ride and get this sea- 6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 and by son off to a smooth, safe start," said Lt. e-mail at. Leland Owens, DNR recreational ve- In addition to safety training re- hicle coordinator. "Drivers should also quirements, snowmobilers should fol- be aware of potential hazards and use low these DNR safety tips: good judgment." • DON'T' DRINK - Drinking and To legally ride a snowmobile in driving can be fatal. Drinking alcohol Minnesota, residents born after Dec. before or during snowmobiling can im- 31, 1976, need a valid snowmobile pair judgment and slow reaction time. safety certificate. There are two ways Snowmobilers who have been drinking to do this. First, the traditional class- may drive too fast or race across unsafe room course taught in local communi- ice. ties by volunteers is available for • SLOW DOWN - Speed is a con- anyone 11 or older. These are listed on tributing factor in nearly all fatal snow- the DNR website atwww.dnr.state.mn.us, mobiling accidents. Drivers should travel at a pace that allows ample reac- Second, a DNR adult or youth tion time. When driving at night, a Snowmobile Safety CD-ROM for PC speed of 40 miles an hour or higher or MAC is available for those 16 or often results in "overdriving" headlight older. "People can learn from the corn- illumination. All Within Your Reach by placing just ONE ad with your local newspaper • It's Easy • It's Effective • It's Affordable Expand your market and increase your profits by advertising in newspapers all over the state through the Minnesota 2x2 Display Ad Network. Tr • BE PREPARED - Bring a first aid kit, a flashlight, waterproof matches and a compass. • STAY ALERT - Fatigue can re- duce a driver's coordination and judg- ment. • ICE ADVICE - Avoid traveling across bodies of water when uncertain of ice thickness and strength. Snow cover can act as a blanket and prevent safe ice from forming. Never travel in single file when crossing bodies of water. • DRESS FOR SUCCESS - Use a full-size helmet, goggles or face shield to prevent injuries from twigs, stones, ice and flying debris: Clothing should be worn in layers and should be just snug enough so that no loose ends catch in the machine. • WATCH THE WEATHER - Rapid weather changes can produce danger- ous conditions. • BRING A BUDDY - Never travel alone. Most snowmobile accidents re- sult in some personal injury, which is particularly dangerous if alone. If trav- eling alone,tell someone about the des- tination, planned route and expected time of return. • REPORT ACCIDENTS - The op- erator of a snowmobile involved in an accident resulting in medical attention, hospitalization, death or damage ex- ceeding $500 must file a written report with the DNR. If the operator is l~illed or is unable to file a report due to inca- pacitation, any peace officer investi- gating the accident can file the accident report within 10 business days. MINI PRAIRIE WATERS Free Visitors Guide 866.866.5432 Tuesday, Dec. 14,2010 I.NDEPENDENT Page 9