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The E-edition Citizen's Advocate


Fall harvest in full swing

About half the local soybeans had been harvested as of Wednesday, while prices remained below the break-even point, said agricultural representatives in Henning and Wadena.
“I’d say we’re about half done with the crop and I’d say we’re just a little below average,” said John Stueve, manager of the Farmers Elevator of Fergus Falls in Henning. Farmers were seeing yields of 20-40 bushels per acre on dry land, while irrigated fields were yielding about 50 bushels to the acre, he said.
Before last week’s rains, the beans that were brought in were very dry, with about 10 percent moisture, he said. The elevator doesn’t begin charging drying costs until moisture levels rise above 13 percent. Henning was paying $7.80 a bushel for soybeans last week, leading many farmers to store their crop until the price reaches $8, he said. Depending on yields, farmers are making even less money on soybeans than on corn this year.
The University of Minnesota Extension Service calls the break-even point for soybeans $10.74, while North Dakota State University puts it more precisely: the break-even price on soybeans is $9.59 per bushel for farmers getting 30 bushels per acre on rented land that fetches $50 per acre.
“The markets have been sliding for months,” said Ron Schertler, agronomy salesman with Leaf River Ag Services in Wadena. Leaf River no longer runs an elevator, but Schertler gets out into the fields with his weigh wagon. Yields in his area appear to be in the low 60s per acre for irrigated land and 45-53 bushels per acre for non-irrigated land.
Meanwhile, the cornfields are still weeks away from harvest, but Schertler said he expects above average yields, while the dry weather should save farmers money on drying costs this year. Irrigated land appears ready to produce 200 bushels and acre, while dry land varies wildly, with yields of anywhere from 80 to 150 bushels per acre.
Stueve said he expects loads of corn to start rolling into Henning in 2-3 weeks. Moisture is still 20-plus percent in the field, but a frost should accelerate drying, he said.  read entire story. . . .

Henning’s financial picture looks healthy

The Henning City Council gave the nod to buying a new ambulance, set its proposed 2016 levy and reviewed the 2014 audit at its September 22 meeting.
The ambulance will cost the city $147,255 after trading in the old one, more than the $110,000 the city had anticipated. Bob Reinbold, co-director of the Henning Ambulance Service, said he would try to get grants for an additional $26,500 in equipment.
Henning has asked the cities and townships it serves to help offset that cost. It had sought $50,000 based on the lower estimate but will now ask them to share $70,000 of the cost instead.
“I would be more than willing to try convince the townships to go in at $70,000,” said Mayor Jim Hermanson. He later added, “We’ve generally treated them with pretty gentle gloves all along...This is a great service we provide for them.”
Henning ambulance responds to calls in Vining, Clitherall, Ottertail, Deer Creek and Henning as well as 13 townships, although Deer Creek and Clitherall have said they can’t help pay for the ambulance. Ottertail has cited its share of the ambulance purchase as one reason it needs to raise its 2016 preliminary property tax levy by 10 percent.  read entire story. . . .

Vining FD receives $120,00 grant

The Vining Fire Department has been notified it will receive a $120,858 federal grant to buy new gear and breathing equipment, which will provide firefighters with a safer, more comfortable work environment.
“We have hand-me-down stuff and most of it is 10-20 years old,” said Fire Chief Todd Volden. “We have all kinds of different air packs and clothes and some of it doesn’t meet OSHA standards.”
Fire department secretary Diane Lineburg said some equipment was used past its expiration date, and that it lacked proper reflective markings to keep firefighters safe.
“We’re all going to get gear that’s new, that’s not dirty and torn and with broken zippers,” she said. “You’re working in that gear and you’re soaking wet. It’s almost like wearing a raincoat.”
Materials have improved in recent years, so that firefighters will now wear gear that is lighter weight, more breathable and with better heat protection than the old fabrics, she said. The new gear will be easier to move in, and the reflective markings will also bring the department up to code.
The award was part of $306 million given by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fire departments, state fire academies and non-affiliated EMS organizations. Called the Assistance to Firefighters grant, its goal is to help firefighters and other first responders obtain equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to respond to fires and related hazards.
Vining has one year to spend the grant, which it must match with $6,000 of its own. It has received one previous federal grant, a 2007 award it used to buy its pumper truck. It hired regional firm Widseth Smith Nolting to write both grant applications, Volden said.
“They’ve done it twice and we’ve been successful twice,” said Volden. “It pays to have someone who knows what they’re doing.”  read entire story. . . .

Henning EDA sells bowling alley building

A Vining businessman has purchased Henning’s old bowling alley for $1,022, saying it will be used for a new NAPA auto parts building, a car sales lot, auto detailing or some other retail use.
Wayne Schwartz, owner of the current NAPA store in Henning, told the Henning Economic Development Authority board on Tuesday that he intends to gut the building, which was badly damaged in a fire in 2013.
“The whole front of the building moves,” he said.
He plans to immediately spend $6,000 on the building, he told the authority, and expects that the building when complete could be worth $30,000. He plans to install a garage door on the side of the building facing the parking lot. Schwartz told the Citizen’s Advocate that he planned to order metal for the roof last Wednesday, and expects to begin working on the building this week.
Schwartz, a licensed Minnesota auto dealer, said selling cars from that spot is a definite possibility.
“I’ve got all kinds of ideas,” he said. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do.”
He said he had been talking to Henning officials “for months” about taking over the building, which was slated to be demolished if it wasn’t sold by September 30. Previous owners David and Pam Iverson gave the building to the city, and this month, the city ran newspaper ads looking for bidders for the bowling alley.
“We wanted to make sure everybody knew it was available,” said Mayor Jim Hermanson.
When none came in, they agreed to sell the building to Schwartz.
As far as when the building will open to the public?
“That’s all up in the air,” said Schwartz. “That could be next spring.”  read entire story. . . .