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USDA Reopens Application Period for Producers Recovering from Cattle Loss, Other Disasters 

Signup Begins June 4 for Livestock Indemnity Program and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting disaster assistance program applications on June 4 from agricultural producers who suffered livestock, honeybees, farm-raised fish and other losses due to natural disasters. 

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is reopening the application period for two disaster assistance programs in response to statutory changes made by Congress earlier this year.  

Beginning June 4, FSA will accept new applications for losses for calendar year 2017 or 2018 filed under the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) or Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP). Producers who already submitted applications and received decisions on their applications for these years do not need to file again, but they can reapply if they have additional losses or their application was disapproved because it was filed late.

In February, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which made several changes to these two disaster programs, including:

• Removing ELAP’s $20 million fiscal year funding cap, enabling FSA to pay producers’ 2017 applications in full and their 2018 applications as soon as they are approved.

• Removing the per-person and legal entity annual program payment limitation of $125,000 for LIP for 2017 and future years. (The income limitation applies as it did before, meaning producers with an adjusted gross income of more than $900,000 are not eligible.)

• Changing LIP to allow producers to receive a payment for injured livestock that are sold for a reduced price due to an eligible event. Previously, the program only covered financial loss for livestock death above normal mortality.

Producers interested in LIP or ELAP should contact their local USDA service center. To apply, producers will need to provide verifiable and reliable production records and other information about their operation.

Drought, wildfires and other disasters continue to impact farmers and ranchers, and LIP and ELAP are two of many programs available through USDA to help producers recover. Learn more at 

Emergency Blood Shortage: Red Cross Issues Urgent Call for Blood Donors

Blood supply dwindles after donations lagged during Fourth of July holiday week

ST. PAUL, Minn. (July 9, 2018) — An emergency blood shortage is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an urgent call for eligible donors of all blood types – especially type O – to give now and help save lives. 

The Red Cross escalated its call for blood and platelet donors after a difficult Independence Day week for donations. More than 550 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as individuals across the country celebrated the holiday and enjoyed summer activities. This could equate to as many as 15,000 fewer donations than needed, causing donations to now be distributed to hospitals faster than they come in.

“Each and every day, individuals across the country depend on blood and platelet donations for lifesaving treatments and emergency care, so it’s critical that people donate now to meet these needs,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Whether you’ve never donated or give a couple of times a year, you’re needed to give as soon as possible to help save patient lives. Yours may be the donation a patient is counting on.”

This need is especially critical for type O blood donors. Type O is the most in-demand blood type and often the first be depleted from hospital shelves during a shortage. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type. 

How to help

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross has added about 6,500 additional appointment slots at donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

Who blood donations help 

Because of generous donors, the Red Cross is able to provide blood products for patients like 9-month-old Krew Anderson. Krew is a happy, laid-back baby boy. His wide grin frames two tiny teeth. He likes to play with balloons and just experienced his first boat ride and fireworks show, but Krew has faced more challenges in the last four months than many people will experience in a lifetime. 

In March, Krew was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer that causes bone marrow to produce a large number of abnormal blood cells. Since then, he has gone through four rounds of chemotherapy and received 15 blood and platelet transfusions to date.

“The first time he got [a transfusion], I was just super nervous and didn’t know really what was happening,” said his mother, Stephanie Anderson. “Now, when he gets one, I’m like, ‘Yes, please, get him some blood to help him get more energy and back to normal.’”

Krew’s father, Richard Anderson, donated blood a couple of times a year prior to his son’s diagnosis, but after seeing Krew receive blood, he now plans to give as soon as he’s eligible again.

“For me, just knowing that if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone. I want to make sure there’s enough blood out there for everyone, and that there’s no shortage,” he said. 

Missing Types sees encouraging increase in new donors – all donors needed now

Facing a decline of about 80,000 new Red Cross blood donors each year for the past several years, the Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign in June to encourage new donors, and those who have not given recently, to donate blood. While the campaign has already inspired thousands of new donors to give, the Red Cross is now calling on all eligible blood and platelet donors to roll up a sleeve as soon as possible to overcome the emergency blood shortage.

Through the Missing Types campaign, which runs throughout the summer, the letters A, B and O – letters used to identify blood types – disappeared from corporate logos, celebrity social media accounts and favorite websites to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays in ensuring blood is never missing from hospital shelves.

PQA and TQA Certification Sessions Scheduled 

Marshall, Minn. (7/9/2018) — University of Minnesota Extension in partnership with Minnesota Pork Board will offer Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus and Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) certification sessions in Marshall on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

The quality assurance sessions will be held at the AmericInn (1406 E Lyon St., Marshall, MN).  The PQA Plus certification session is scheduled from 9 AM-noon.  The TQA certification session is scheduled from 1-4 PM. 

All certification sessions are free.  Pre-registration is requested by contacting Minnesota Pork at 1-800-537-7675 or to ensure adequate materials are available.

PQA Plus and TQA are part of the industry-aligned, We Care responsible pork initiative, which establishes ethical principles for pork producers to produce safe food, protect and promote animal well-being, protect public health, safeguard natural resources, provide a safe work environment and contribute to a better quality of life in their communities.


Persons from selected communities that have experienced flood damage will have general admission tickets this Thursday night, July 12th, reduced from $18.00 to $5.00. General admission tickets will be sold to anyone with a driver’s license from Tracy, Balaton, Currie, Walnut Grove, Wabasso, Slayton, Westbrook, Lamberton, Storden, or Jeffers. This is a $13.00 discount. Children with the license holder will get the same discount. Bring blankets and lawn chairs. The story of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family overcoming adversity is also your story.

Murray County Medical Center Designated as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital

Murray County Medical Center (MCMC) was recently designated as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital by the Minnesota Department of Health. This designation is valid for a three year designation period, beginning July 1, 2018. 

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and one of the leading causes of disability in Minnesota. Over 8,000 people have a stroke every year—and many will go on to experience another stroke in their lifetime.

“The designation of being Acute Stroke Ready demonstrates our commitment to our patients and our continued ongoing efforts to provide the best care possible,” states Brian Chabot, PA-C and Emergency Medicine Provider at MCMC. “Our goal is to continue to be an example of the benefit that rural hospitals can make in their communities. Emmie Lolkus, Assistant CNO & RN, was instrumental in achieving this designation and the collaboration with our EMS and medical team at MCMC. Make sure to schedule your yearly physical and establish care with a primary provider to reduce the risk for stroke and other medical conditions.”

F.A.S.T. – Signs of Stroke Should Prompt FAST Action

The American Stroke Association developed this easy-to-remember guide to help identify the signs of a stroke.

F – Face drooping. Is one side of the person’s face drooping or numb? When he or she smiles, is the smile uneven?

A – Arm weakness. Is the person experiencing weakness or numbness in one arm? Have the person raise both arms. Does one of the arms drift downward?

S – Speech difficulty. Is the person’s speech suddenly slurred or hard to understand? Is he or she unable to speak? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Can he or she repeat it back?

T – Time to call 9-1-1. If any of these symptoms are present, dial 9-1-1 immediately. Check the time so you can report when the symptoms began.

About Murray County Medical Center

Located in Slayton, Minnesota, Murray County Medical Center is a critical access clinic, hospital and emergency department that provides many in-house services, outreach services and is managed by Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  For more information or to make an appointment please call 507-836-6153 or visit                 

About Minnesota Stroke System

A coordinated statewide system of care ensures all hospitals are equipped and ready to provide the best care possible for all Minnesotans. The Minnesota Department of Health’s Stroke System designates facilities as Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals, Primary Stroke Centers, and Comprehensive Stroke Centers. In addition, they train emergency medical service (EMS) providers to recognize the symptoms of stroke and take patients quickly to hospitals for fast treatment. As a result of the system, 90% of the state’s residents live within 30 minutes of a designated stroke center.


Murray County has designated the Murray County Recycling Center as the drop-off site for flood debris starting the week of July 9 through September 9. The Murray County Recycling Center is located at 1820 Erlandson Avenue in Slayton.

Flood debris will be accepted from the following 6 categories:

Demolition materials (from building structures):

Sheet rock, Wood, Insulation, Carpet, Etc.

Garbage from flood damage:

Furniture, Household items, Clothing, Etc.

White goods/or appliances:

Washers, Driers, Microwaves, Etc.


Computers, TVs, Etc.

Household hazard waste:

Paints, Chemicals, Pesticides, Herbicides, Etc.


Make sure your load is secured. Debris delivered to this site must be pre-separated as defined in the categories listed above.

Debris drop-off site personnel will ask from where the debris has been hauled.

Large loads of garbage and demolition materials may be re-routed directed to the county’s demolition landfill. The demolition landfill is located at 1080 71st Street, Slayton, and is open Tuesdays and Thursdays and 1st and 3rd Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to noon.

There will be no charge to county residents for disposal of this flood debris.

Hours for flood debris drop-off at the Murray County Recycling Center will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday from Monday, July 9 until September 9. Flood debris may not be dropped off outside of these designated hours.

Please contact Jon Bloemendaal, Murray County Ag and Sold Waste Administrator, with any questions: 507-836-1164.

Get The Dirt

Kathy Schwartz, Murray County Master Gardener

Do not water or bring the lawn out of dormancy unless you can maintain a regular watering schedule throughout the drought.

To control weeds, continue to mow high. Taller grass is better able to out compete weeds. Three inches is ideal for best turf growth. Moisture is conserved, weeds are suppressed and grass roots stay cool and healthy. 

Crabgrass is just starting to appear. Mark locations of your problem areas on a lawn map. This will help with your pesticide applications next spring.

Information provided by the University of Minnesota Extension Service.