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Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline Available 24/7 

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) reminds farmers and their families that the Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free and confidential. The toll free number is (833) 600-2670.

“These are challenging times for growers who are facing a number of economic headwinds on the farm. And during harvest, that stress builds for a lot of farmers spending long hours in the combine,” said Minnesota Corn Growers Association President Brian Thalmann, who farms near Plato. “All farmers should know this number is available when outside help is needed.”

Farmers and rural communities face unique stresses and emotional situations, including financial challenges, unpredictable weather, and physically demanding work. Stress, anxiety, depression, financial burdens, and other mental and emotional challenges are common.

The Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline connects callers to financial help, mental health counselors, legal assistance, and more. Calls are confidential, but counselors may ask for a first name and phone number in case of a dropped call. Translation services are available in all languages.

The Helpline is also available to people who are worried about family or friends and aren’t sure how to help.

Farmers and rural Minnesotans can call the toll free number as often as needed at (833) 600-2670 or visit the MDA’s website for additional resources on farming and stress. 


Simple Ways to Increase Student Succcess

By: Nikki Cheskie

MCC Elementary Mental Health Coordinator 

MCC Schools are blessed to have so many great parents who care about their child’s education.  What happens in the home environment has tremendous impact on a child’s ability to reach their academic potential.  Here are some small but important changes you can make at home which can positively impact your child’s school success.

1. Make sure your child gets enough sleep!  The lack of enough sleep can have a serious impact on a child’s behavior and ability to learn.  Studies have shown that children who don’t get enough sleep can display the same behaviors and inability to focus as a child who has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  It is recommended that children ages 3-6 get 10-12 hours of sleep each night.  Children ages 7-12 should get 10-11 hours of sleep each night, and ages 12-18 should be getting 8-9 hours of sleep.  Have a regular bedtime routine that you stick to every night.  Also, turn off computers, television and other electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime.  The blue light and flashing images may interfere with proper rest.  Take away cell phones before bedtime and think twice about allowing computers or televisions in your child’s bedroom.

2. Praise children for hard work and persistence, not just for bringing home straight A’s.  Remember that each child’s “best” is different.  Your encouragement will help students to remain motivated and work to the best of their ability. 

3. Make a point to eat together as a family.  Studies show that kids whose families eat regular, relaxed meals together are more likely to get higher grades and are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.  If schedules prevent you from eating meals together on a regular basis, consider having a family snack time where everyone gets together to share a healthy snack and talk about their day.  It works best if you make it a regular routine.  

4.Make your house a “yell-free zone”.  Studies show that the conflict and stress a child experiences at home can negatively impact his or her learning.  Family-induced stress can affect a child’s learning for up to two days following an incident.  Teach your kids how to calm down in healthy ways and be a good role model for how to handle disagreements without screaming and fighting.


Flu Season Fast Approaching Vaccinate Now

With influenza (flu) season rapidly approaching and several local and national confirmed cases, it’s our job and passion to ensure the community understands the importance of getting the flu shot.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2017-2018 flu (influenza) season was considered high severity. There were 180 children who died and 80% of those children were not vaccinated. 

So, what can you do to help keep your family, friends, and community stay safe this year? 

The CDC and medical staff here at Murray County Medical Center recommend all patients receive an annual flu vaccine. In fact, the CDC recommends all individuals are vaccinated before the end of October.  It can take up to two weeks to develop an immunity after receiving the vaccine, so the sooner you vaccinate the better! And flu shots here at MCMC are preservative free. 

If you are wondering why receiving the flu vaccine is so important here are just a few reasons:

• Besides protecting yourself and your family, infants under 6 months old cannot receive the flu vaccine and often do not have a strong immune system.  They rely on their caregivers, family and the community to get the vaccine which in turn reduces their risk of exposure to the virus. 

• The influenza virus can spread from person to person up to two days before an individual shows signs or symptoms. So, you could potentially get infected with the virus from someone else before they know they have it and then you could infect others before you know you have it and so on

•You might hear that the flu shot causes people to get the flu. However, the flu vaccine is made up of an inactive, weakened virus that does not cause the flu. 

It takes 5 minutes to get your annual flu shot. One shot could ensure you see your grandchildren over the holidays, do not miss days or potentially a week of work and keep you and your loved ones safe. Vaccinate yourself, protect your loved ones. Get your annual flu vaccine today! 

MCMC Flu Shot Costs/Dosage:

• Regular Dose: $25

• High Dose: $45

* Billed through insurance or pay at time of visit

Flu Shots are available during clinic hours:

Walk-ins are welcome at MCMC. Pediatric doses are also available.

• Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 5 PM

• Saturday, 8 AM - 12 PM


Using FSA Direct Farm Ownership Loans for Construction

The USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Direct Farm Ownership loans are a resource to help farmers and ranchers become owner-operators of family farms, improve and expand current operations, increase agricultural productivity, and assist with land tenure to save farmland for future generations. 

Depending on the applicant’s needs, there are three types of Direct Farm Ownership Loans: regular, down payment and joint financing. FSA also offers a Direct Farm Ownership Microloan option for smaller financial needs up to $50,000. 

Amongst other purposes, Direct Farm Ownership Loans can be used to construct, purchase or improve farm dwellings, service buildings or other facilities and improvements essential to an operation. 

To do this, applicants must provide FSA with an estimate of the total cost of all planned development that completely describe the work, prior to loan approval and must show proof of sufficient funds to pay for the total cost of all planned development at or before loan closing. In some instances, applicants may be asked to provide certified plans, specifications or contract documents. The applicant cannot incur any debts for materials or labor or make any expenditures for development purposes prior to loan closing with the expectation of being reimbursed from FSA funds. 

Construction and development work may be performed either by the contract method or the borrower method. Under the contract method, construction and development contractors perform work according to a written contract with the applicant or borrower.  An applicant for a direct loan to finance a construction project must obtain a surety bond that guarantees both payment and performance in the amount of the construction contract from a construction contractor. 

A surety bond is required when a contract exceeds $100,000, an authorized agency official determines that a surety bond appears advisable to protect the borrower against default of the contractor or a contract provides for partial payments in excess of the amount of 60 percent of the value of the work in place. 

Under the borrower method, the applicant or borrower will perform the construction and development work. The borrower method may only be used when the authorized agency official determines, based on information from the applicant, that the applicant possesses or arranges to obtain the necessary skill and managerial ability to complete the work satisfactorily and that such work will not interfere with the applicant’s farming operation or work schedule.

Potential applicants should visit with FSA early in the initial project planning process to ensure environmental compliance.  

For more eligibility requirements and information about FSA Loan programs, contact your local FSA office or visit www.fsa.usda.gov. To find your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.


Good News

By; John Stenen

The story is told of a well known atheist who was seen running as fast as he could to a burning church building intent on joining with others in extinguishing the flames. A neighbor said to him, “This is something new for you. I never saw you going to church before.” The atheist replied, “Well this is the first time I’ve ever seen a church on fire.”

It’s a sad thing when a minister cannot preach the Word of God in such a way as to make the Word of God come alive as it ought to be preached and made relevant for the day in which we live. “The Word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword…” Hebrews 4:12. Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8. Jesus still saves, heals and delivers. His power is just as available for the Church today as it was two thousand years ago. God is the Great I Am, not the Great I was. 

The Church bulletin board on one church read, “This Church is the gateway to heaven. We will be closed for the summer.” Why are so many Churches closing all throughout our nation? One reason is because Church can be so boring and people get almost nothing or very little out of the sermons each week. Another reason, and I believe it’s a big one is that too many people have lost their fear (reverence) of God. As Christians we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, our soul and with all of our mind. Does that describe you? Are you and your family growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ?  Are you maturing and becoming more and more like Jesus Christ? Read Ephesians 4: Do your children know more about all the rock stars and movie stars than they do of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Do you pray for your minister regularly?

Please, I urge you to go each week and support the Church of your choosing. Be an active soul-winner for Jesus Christ. It’s what He has commanded us to do. Raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord that they may learn Truth and Righteousness and have a love for our Lord Jesus Christ.


What to Know Now About COPD

(StatePoint) It claims a life every three to four minutes, making it one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

The culprit: COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Nationwide, more than 16 million people have been diagnosed with this debilitating lung disease, also known as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. But millions of others likely have COPD and don’t know it, as symptoms develop slowly and worsen over time.

Shortness of breath, chronic coughing, wheezing and excess mucus—all can make even the most mundane tasks difficult, yet many people think these are just normal symptoms of aging or being out of shape.

So, what are the chances you have COPD? Smoking, research has long shown, is the main risk factor for the disease. Some 75 percent of people who have COPD smoke or once smoked. But long-term exposure to lung irritants such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes and dust—from both the environment and workplace—can be a risk factor, too. In some cases, genetics can play a role. 

The good news is COPD is highly treatable and manageable. The bad news is, due to the slow progression of the disease, Americans often delay seeking help until the problem is severe, which can lead to serious, long-term disability.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), together with federal and nonfederal partners, has developed the COPD National Action Plan, the first-ever blueprint for collective action to reduce the burden of the disease.

With the action plan as a guide, NHLBI is working across the country to encourage earlier recognition of the disease. But it is giving particular attention to rural areas, where the disease is especially prevalent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COPD is almost twice as likely to affect people living in rural communities than in urban ones. Because of this disparity, NHLBI is taking special steps to help rural residents get the advice it wants everyone to follow: learn the signs and symptoms of COPD, and if breathing issues are impacting even the most basic daily everyday tasks, see a health care professional, such as a primary care provider, nurse practitioner or other specialist. With a diagnosis and the proper treatment, people with COPD can learn to ably manage their condition.

For more information about COPD and resources, visit NHLBI’s COPD Learn More Breathe Better program at COPD.nhlbi.nih.gov.

Talk to a health care professional as soon as breathing problems occur.