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Sixteen boys and girls from the area, ages 9 to 14, were named local champions of the 2017 Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship and have earned the right to compete at the district level.  St. Ann’s Council #2587 sponsored the local competition at the Murray County Central high school gym on January 15th.

Carter Hanson of Slayton won the 9 year old boys division and Kelli Miller of Balaton won the 9 year old girls division.  Hudson Schryvers of Slayton won the 10 year old boys division and Lily Daniels of Slayton won the 10 year old girls division. Aiden Dierks of Slayton was the 11 year old boys winner and Casey Miller from Balaton was the 11 year old girls winner.  Abram Paulzine of Slayton was the winner of the 12 year old boys division and Danika Jackels of Slayton won the 12 year old girls division. Blake Schmitz of Currie won the 13 year old boys division and Josie Harms of Slaton won the 13 year old girls division.  Fourteen-year-old winners: in the boys division was Kyler Deacon from Slayton and for the girls Amber Boock from Slayton. Each contestant was allowed 15 free throw attempts in the contests.  Ties were settled by successive rounds of five free throws per contestant until a winner emerged.

Each of these winners will compete in the district competition on February 5th in Slayton with an eye toward moving on to the Regional and State levels.  Good Luck to all our local winners!

USDA Makes it Easier to Transfer Land to the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers

Allows for Transfer of Certain Conservation Reserve Program Land to New Farmers; Provides Priority Enrollment in Working Lands Conservation Programs 

Beginning Jan. 9, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer an early termination opportunity for certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts, making it easier to transfer property to the next generation of farmers and ranchers, including family members. The land that is eligible for the early termination is among the least environmentally sensitive land enrolled in CRP.

This change to the CRP program is just one of many that USDA has implemented based on recommendations from the Land Tenure Advisory Subcommittee formed by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in 2015. 

Normally if a landowner terminates a CRP contract early, they are required to repay all previous payments plus interest. The new policy waives this repayment if the land is transferred to a beginning farmer or rancher through a sale or lease with an option to buy. With CRP enrollment close to the Congressionally-mandated cap of 24 million acres, the early termination will also allow USDA to enroll other land with higher conservation value elsewhere.

Acres terminated early from CRP under these land tenure provisions will be eligible for priority enrollment consideration into the CRP Grasslands, if eligible; or the Conservation Stewardship Program or Environmental Quality Incentives Program, as determined by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

According to the Tenure, Ownership and Transition of Agricultural Land survey, conducted by USDA in 2014, U.S. farmland owners expect to transfer 93 million acres to new ownership during 2015-2019. This represents 10 percent of all farmland across the nation. Details on the early termination opportunity will be available starting on Jan. 9, 2017, at local USDA service centers. For more information about CRP and to find out if your acreage is eligible for early contract termination, contact your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office or go online at To locate your local FSA office, visit

“USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).”