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Federal aid for livestock deaths

In its first public notice since the federal government reopened on Monday, the Farm Service Agency in Alexandria alerted farmers that they can get compensated for livestock that die in extreme cold, blizzards and other stressful weather.

The notice is timely, considering temperatures were predicted to sink to at least 30 below overnight this week, and remain in the teens and 20 below during the day Tuesday and Wednesday.

In case more livestock die than usual during this time, the federal Livestock Indemnity Program will compensate eligible producers. The program also helps farmers who lose livestock to disease and attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law.

Livestock owners must file a notice within 30 calendar days of when the loss is first apparent. They have 90 calendar days following the end of 2019 to provide proof of death, a copy of growers contracts and proof of normal mortality.

Under normal conditions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says, the death rate is 1.5 percent for adult beef cows and 3 percent for calves less than 400 pounds.

Producers must also submit an application for payment.

For more information, call the local Farm Service Agency office at 320-763-3191 or visit fsa.usda.gov.

The local office had been closed since December due to the shutdown.

Sesquicentennial farm applications due March 1

Families who have owned their farms for at least 150 years are invited to apply for the Minnesota Farm Bureau's Sesquicentennial Farm program. Since the program began in 2008, more than 225 farms have been recognized.

To qualify, farms must be:

• At least 150 years old in 2019 according to the abstract of title, land patent, original deed, county land records, court file in registration proceedings or other authentic land records. Please do not send originals or copies of records.

• In the same family for 150 years or more, including direct in-laws.

• Owned continuously, although owners do not have to live on the farm.

• Fifty or more acres and still involved in agricultural production.

Farms will receive a commemorative certificate and an outdoor sign.

For applications, write to: Sesquicentennial Farms, Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation, P.O. Box 64370, St. Paul, MN 55164; email info@fbmn.org; or call 651-768-2100. Applications are also available online at fbmn.org/farm-recognition. Deadline for application is Friday, March 1.

Recipients will be announced at the beginning of June.

Douglas County has one farm recognized as 150 years old, the Hanson farm in Brandon. It was purchased by Norwegian immigrant Swen Olson in 1867, who had fought in the Civil War and then moved to Minnesota.

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