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Chocolate Affaire Coming Soon

Slayton, MN - The Chocolate Affaire is coming soon. This annual event sponsored by the Friends of the Slayton Public Library is on Friday, Feb., 10, 2 to 6 p.m., at the Dinehart-Holt House, corner of 28th Street and Linden Avenue, Slayton.

Chocolate is the theme with a buffet of treats including hot beverages. Fudge and other Valentine goodies are available for purchase. Admissions is $6.00. Entertainment adds to the afternoon. Musicians featured this year include Alex Carney, Mary Molitor, Theresa Nysetvold, Becky Hudson and Murray County Central students. 

The Chocolate Affaire is the major fundraiser for the Friends organization. A Silent Auction with donations from Friends, community members and local businesses helps to bring in funds. Handcrafted items such as jewelry, scarves and bags are popular as well as variety gift baskets which might contain wine, jams or jellies or other specialty food items. Books, garden tools and décor as well as quilted items round out what has been offered. 

The purpose of the group is to support the library’s services, facilities and needs. In the past year, the Friends have used proceeds from the Chocolate Affaire to add to the children’s area of the library. An activity center for preschoolers was purchased to help keep them occupied as parents and caregivers use the library. A new bench with book shelves was designed and built locally. Several other bookshelves were remodeled to better display books popular with children. More purchases to make the children’s area a little more inviting are in the works. 

Over the years, the Friends have assisted with a variety of projects over the years. Currently Friends members Krista Keller and Rhonda Cousins host  Preschool Story Time on the second Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. and again the next morning at 10 a.m. “Like” the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FriendsOfTheSlaytonPublicLibrary to get reminders.of Story Time and other library events and information. Other efforts include help with hosting library programs, stocking a book cart with used books available for purchase, providing refreshments and books for the 1,000 Books before Kindergarten graduates and their families and support for the Summer Reading Program.  

Mary Perry and Colleen Gengler co-chair the group. Amy Rucker is the group’s treasurer with Kelly Muldoon serving as secretary. The Friends have about 50 members with ten to twelve actively attending the every-other-month meetings. Dues are an affordable  $10 per individual, $5 - student, $15 - family and $25 - organization or business. 

For more information on the Chocolate Affaire or to donate fudge or something for the Silent Auction, contact the Slayton Public Library at 836-8778.


USDA Announces New Conservation Opportunities to Improve Water Quality and Restore Wildlife Habitat

USDA will offer farmers and ranchers more opportunities to participate in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The announcement includes new CRP practices to protect water quality and adds an additional 1.1 million acres targeted to benefit wildlife, pollinators and wetlands.

The new conservation initiative known as Clean Lakes, Estuaries and Rivers (CLEAR) will add new tools to CRP that can help to improve water quality. CLEAR will assist landowners with the cost of building bioreactors and saturated buffers that filter nitrates and other nutrients from tile-drained cropland. Early estimates indicate that CLEAR could help to reduce nitrate runoff by as much as 40 percent over traditional conservation methods. CLEAR may cover up to 90 percent of the cost to install these new practices through incentives and cost-share. These new methods are especially important in areas where traditional buffers have not been enough to prevent nutrients from reaching bodies of water.

USDA will also add an additional 1.1 million acres to a number of key CRP practices that are critically important to wildlife and conservation. These include 700,000 acres for State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) efforts, which restore high-priority wildlife habitat tailored to a specific state’s needs.  In addition to SAFE, 300,000 acres will be added to target wetlands restoration that are nature’s water filters and 100,000 acres for pollinator habitat that support 30 percent of agricultural production.

The continued strong demand for CRP combined with the limited acreage available for enrollment and lower land rental rates, allows USDA to modify certain program components without affecting the integrity of the program. Signing incentives are being reduced by $25 per acre on certain practices for fiscal year 2018 enrollments (incentives are currently between $100 and $150 per acre) and a cap on the maximum soil rental rate is being instituted for Continuous CRP at $300 per acre. The savings from these changes are being reinvested back in CRP, including the additional acres for SAFE, pollinator habitat and wetlands restoration.

To learn more about FSA’s conservation programs, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation or contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.