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2009 FSA election ballots mailed to all eligible voters

WILLMAR -- Ballots for the 2009 Farm Service Agency county committee election were recently mailed to all eligible voters. The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices, either by mail or in person, is Dec. 7.

To be eligible to vote, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by Farm Service Agency. Owners of land producing agricultural commodities or products, including spouses that are listed on the property deed, are considered eligible to vote.

A person who may not be of legal voting age, but who supervises or conducts the farming operations of an entire farm, is considered eligible.

Eligible voters who did not receive a ballot can obtain one at the office.

Under the committee election process, each county is divided into election districts known as local administrative areas. Each area has one representative on the committee.

There are nearly 7,750 county committee members serving the 2,248 Farm Service Agency offices located nationwide. Generally, committees consist of three to five members who serve three-year terms.

Since the terms of members are staggered, only one district conducts an election each year.

Committee members make many important decisions regarding the local administration of the various commodity, price support, conservation and disaster assistance programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

LSP receives $414K grant

During a recent visit to Minnesota, officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the awarding of $17 million in grants to 29 institutions to help address the needs of beginning farmers.

The grants were awarded through USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The program provides education, training, technical assistance and outreach activities designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers who have been farming or ranching less than 10 years.

Minnesota's Land Stewardship Project was one of the 29 grant recipients, receiving a grant of $413,820.

Any beginning farmers interested in participating in the educational, outreach, mentoring or internship activities being offered, should contact the Land Stewardship Project at 612-722-6377.

Sequencing swine genome

An international team of scientists, funded with a $10 million grant from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, has completed the first draft of the genome of a domesticated pig.

At 98 percent complete, the draft sequence will allow researchers to pinpoint genes that are useful to pork production, immunity or other important physiological processes in pigs.

In addition to enhancing breeding practices, se-quencing of the genome will offer valuable insights into diseases.

Oct. corn, soybean prices higher

According to the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service, corn prices received by Minnesota farmers during October averaged $3.40 per bushel, an increase of $0.23 from the September average price.

Soybean prices also increased in October to an average price of $9.65 per bushel, up $0.11 from September.

Hog prices averaged $38.70 per hundredweight, a decrease of $0.60 from September's average price.

October beef prices averaged $72.30 per hundredweight, down $1.20 from the previous month.

Minnesota milk prices during October averaged $14.30 per hundredweight, up $0.50 from September.

Nelson is director of the Farm Service Agency in Kandiyohi County.