Letter to the editor:
I farm near Marietta in Western Minnesota where I raise beef cattle as well as hogs.
For several decades we have seen giant meatpackers take control of our industry by buying up packers and feedlots for their own production. They have left farmers with little choice over where we market our animals.
As a result of this corporate concentration, meatpackers are making record profits and consumers are paying higher retail while farmers are losing money. In turn we are losing farmers. In 1980 we had 1.3 million cattle operations in our country, in 2009 that number dropped 41 percent to 750,000.  On the hog side, there were 670,000 operations in 1980 and by 2009 there were only 63,000-a 91 percent decrease. Rural America cannot survive this way.
Minnesota's 81,000 farmers are the backbone of our rural communities. We support our main street business such as equipment dealers, hardware stores, lockers, and banks. When we lose farmers we lose rural economic prosperity.
Livestock farmers need open and transparent markets. We need price discovery so we know what a fair price is. We need multiple places to sell with multiple buyers so we can get that fair price.
It's long past time to fix this broken system. The proposed Grain Inspectors, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule is a step in the right direction to ensure more competitive markets and fix these problems. I know corporate interest groups such as AMI, NCBA, NPPC, and other lobbyist groups are opposing the rule, but they don't represent me.
Livestock producers need to speak up and demand that this rule move forward. Take time to comment on the GIPSA rule at www.regulations.gov. Also contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Tell them to support these GIPSA rules.

G. John Schmidt
Land Stewardship Project Member
Lac Qui Parle County Farmers Union President
Marietta, MN

Letter to the editor:
To the Big Stone County Board of Commissioners, it would be good to see the U.S. flag flying above the courthouse again.

Arlen LaCombe
Richard Lane
Dave Torgerson
Elwood Throndrud

Letter to the editor:
I have noticed this summer how beautiful the roses are in the parking lot between Second and Third Streets.  They are absolutely lovely!
I don’t know for sure who to thank, but it seems to me that Bob Dybvig planted them, or helped to plant them.  This has been a WOW summer for their beauty and a visual treat for not only Ortonville’s residents, but for our visitors as well.
Thus, I thank the people who are keeping the lots free of weeds now, as well as all the people who have worked in the past on such a delightful project.  Those roses are a joy to behold; my thanks to any and all who have kept them looking so nice this year!  God bless you for putting that kind of joy into our hearts. And we give thanks to God for timely rains too...

Sincerely, Joan M. Jurgens

Previous Letters

To the Editor:
I would like to thank all the people that supported the 2010 Big Stone County Fair.  In spite of all the wonderful events and exhibits the fair offered this year, the problems with the carnival seemed to cast an aura of negativity on the fair this year.  The carnival did not abide by the terms of our contract and unfortunately, this is not unusual in the carnival industry.
I appreciate those of you that realize 99 percent of the people that organize and make the fair happen are volunteers.  We meet in the evenings all year long, we take vacations from our jobs, put our own businesses on hold, and take time away from our own hobbies and families to put on the fair for the community.  Volunteers mow the grass, maintain the barns and buildings, participate in the 4-H program, operate the malt stand, run the Grandstand events, and do a myriad of things that likely go unnoticed.  
We deal with people upset with judging results, irate about Demolition Derby calls, unhappy with carnival rides, and a number of other unpleasant items.  Yet each year, we continue on because we believe in the importance of the County Fair tradition.
Thank you to all who remained supportive both in words and actions.  Thank you for attending the Grandstand events, free entertainment, supporting the foodstands, exhibiting in the buildings and booths, showing your animals, tractors, etc. and or enjoying the carnival rides that were there.

Lynette Wellendorf

To the Editor:
I am concerned, oh yes I am concerned!
Close proximity owners and local officials were called today, Aug. 6, to listen to, and comment on, a variance request by a feedlot operation. Their request? Increase the number of hogs currently allowed by the Big Stone County feedlot ordinance. The intent to enlarge this operation was masked as needed room to expand due to a new, more humane hog operation, and a healthier product for public consumption. It was evident no one intended adjusting the existing animal units to accommodate this new process within the limits of the existing ordinance.
So?? More hogs, more hogs!
Should you be concerned, as a Big Stone County landowner?
Should the Planning and Zoning group listen to, and at least pretend to care, for the concerns of close proximity and lakeshore property owners?
Didn’t happen today! It was evident the decision to grant the request had already been pre-determined, regardless of those present who voiced their several concerns.
May I suggest?  Call Darrin Wilke at the Environmental office, 839-6376 , and let him know you do care, the “lake” people and all Big Stone County people do matter. Too many hogs do smell, and do affect many environmental and value issues for all of Big Stone County taxpayers. Do you want to see the next feedlot operation use this variance approval to justify their next expansion? Won’t happen? Want to bet?
Kari Henneberg

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