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THE SORTING PEN

The peach crops from the south have been slow because of a variety of weather problems, Jenny Schlecht learned. It was a good reminder that farming isn't easy whether you've got wheat fields or orchards.
Listening sessions are underway for a new farm bill. What needs to be there and what doesn't?
Helping a child prep for the county fair -- and then actually making it through the fair -- can help the adults in their life get in shape. But the County Fair Workout is one that only works for a limited time.
"The cool, dreary May meant that we kept pushing back our planting until it was a good week or two past the point we would have liked to have seeds and plants in the ground. But the weather warmed up, and we certainly haven't been dealing with drought."

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Jenny Schlecht describes how two calves on her farm needed milk replacer to stay alive.
"Last year at this time, when we already were watching the U.S. Drought Monitor turn redder and redder every week, we would have danced with joy to see even one of the storms we've had this year. But right now, at this minute, can it please stop?"
Losing the bank in town seemed like it could be the beginning of the end for the community. Instead, it revealed that there are still some business leaders who believe in small towns.
"I think this one could have been way worse, for a number of reasons."
"When it comes down to it, all planting right now feels very 'prospective.' Something will go into the ground, but we don't know when and we don't completely know what. We're at the mercy of the weather, and we know well enough that we don't know what that will look like."

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An unexpected crop of calves bring optimism for a good year.
More than just learning how to evaluate livestock, youth participants in livestock judging are gaining real workforce development skills.
"We aren't likely to ever have labels that really tell the story about the deep origins of our food or the conditions under which they were produced. But don't be afraid to share a little of the reality of what it has taken to get your livestock to market."

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