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Fairmount, IL

Illinois farmers help Kansas farmers

A convoy of trucks from Illinois is headed to Kansas carrying hay to farmers who've lost fields in wildfires that have caused widespread damage.
Wildfires have burned more than 650,000 acres in nearly two dozen Kansas counties.

Illinois farmer Vern Rohrscheib tells The (Champaign) News-Gazette it was a conversation topic last week between colleagues and they came up with the idea to take their extra hay to Kansas.

His daughter, Lynn Rohrscheib, says they're thankful to help out farmers in any way they can. She says after the wildfires, the cattle that are left behind don't have much to eat. The convoy leaves Thursday morning from central Illinois to the Ashland area in Kansas.

Earlier this week the group had collected 500 bales of hay, along with donated feed.

ALTO PASS, IL

Illinois peaches survive late-season freeze

Peach farmers in Illinois say the state's crop will make it through the fickle spring weather.

The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale reports the delicate fruit survived early-season freezing temperatures. Wayne Sirles, president of Rendleman Orchards, says he says he was surprised to see the peaches make it through the cold which followed an unseasonably warm February in southern Illinois.

Peach buds began sprouting two weeks ago in the sunshine. Following temperatures fell as low as 17 degrees, with many blooms succumbing. But Sirles says a good crop is still possible with only one in ten blooms struggling through.

DES MOINES, IA 

Des Moines downtown farmers' market season opens May 6

The Downtown Farmers' Market , presented by UnityPoint Health - Des Moines, starts its 42nd season on Saturday, May 6. The Market is produced by the Downtown Community alliance.

The Market spans nine city blocks in the Historic Court District, from First Street to Fifth Avenue. It extends north and south on Second Avenue, Third Street and Fourth Street in Downtown Des Moines, Iowa.

The Downtown Farmers’ Market presents Iowa producers from 58 counties across Iowa, offering locally produced fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, cheese, wine and so much more. The Market supports more than 300 farmers, growers and artisan food entrepreneurs, and welcomes an average of 25,000 visitors each Saturday. An estimated 40,000 shoppers typically visit on Opening Day and key peek dates throughout the season.

LANSING, MI

Kroger Co. of Michigan receives milk producers award

The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) honored the Kroger Co. of Michigan with the inaugural Valued Partner Award at its State Delegate meeting.

In conjunction with the award, MMPA announced the donation of 150 gallons of milk per day for one year—a total of 54,750 gallons— to recognize the 50th anniversary of Kroger’s Michigan Dairy plant.

MMPA dairy farms have supplied the Kroger’s Michigan Dairy plant in Livonia, MI., since it first opened in 1967 and the two organizations have sustained a partnership that extends into a variety of initiatives.

SIOUX FALLS, SD

Pig that fell from truck on way to new home

Wally the pig is headed to hog heaven. The 250-pound pig was rescued last week after he fell off a truck on Interstate 90 in South Dakota, just a few miles from a hog processing facility. He has been staying at the Sioux Falls Humane Society.

Wally has been adopted by the SoulSpace Farm Sanctuary in New Richmond, WI. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports that he left for his new home on Friday.

Wally was not eager to get back on the road. His movers tried using a trail of Milk-Bones to get him into the trailer, to no avail. It eventually took a pole and a harness to get him inside.

Wally will join 32 other animals at the Wisconsin farm.

ST. PAUL, MN

MN farm incomes rise slightly in 2016 amid low prices

A new report says Minnesota farm incomes marginally improved in 2016, but more than 30 percent of the state's farmers were in red last year amid the third straight year of declining commodity prices.

Crop producers could tread water financially, thanks to record yields. But the median crop producer still didn't earn enough to meet family needs. Livestock producers generally fared worse as milk, pork and beef prices hit new lows.

Those are some of the key findings in the annual study released Tuesday by University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Across all types of Minnesota farms, the median net farm income was $35,636, up from $27,478 in 2015. But net farm incomes have fallen dramatically since 2007-2012, when farm earnings were general strong.

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