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Living History: Spilled milk a cry for help

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15 years ago

Excerpts from the April 22, 1999 Pioneer Journal

• Spilled milk a cry for help

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In a move reminiscent of another troubled time, a dairy farmer from Bluffton dumped 100 gallons of milk in front of the Capitol April 15 to "protest the economic rape of rural Minnesota."

Mark Rohr said he dumped the bulk of his morning milkings on Constitution Avenue to draw attention to the precipitous drop in dairy prices.

Since December, the basic milk formula has dwindled from $17.34 to $11.27 per hundredweight. Based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he said, a Minnesota dairy farmer must make at least $17.60 to cover his production costs.

"There's a lot more at stake than this little amount of milk going down the drain, people," he said, as Captain J.C. Swanson of the Capitol security detail stood nearby.

Swanson told Rohr that if he made his protest without driving on the sidewalk, steps or lawn at the Capitol, he would not be arrested.

In the Capitol, lawmakers sympathized with Rohr's plight, but said there was little they could do to help him and other Minnesota dairy farmers. Rep. Doug Peterson, DFL-Madison, said more farmers should be doing the same thing.

Peterson said people in the cities have become so used to cheap food that it has put farmers in dire straights. He said statistics show that people in farm-heavy southwestern Minnesota have suffered a 79 percent cut in pay over the last year.

"We have become used to stealing from the farmer," he said.

30 years ago

Excerpts from the April 24, 1984 Pioneer Journal

• Sebeka, Verndale men charged with burglary

A Sebeka man and a Verndale man were both charged with one count each of felony burglary last week.

Guy Thomas Meyers, 21, of Sebeka, and Laszlo James Smathmary, 19, of Verndale, were arrested April 14 after police investigated two vehicles parked by the gas pump at the Nimrod Forestry Office.

The two allegedly broke into the station to remove the keys to the gas pump, according to the Wadena County Sheriff's Department. Meyers was also charged with transporting a loaded firearm.

Both were held in Wadena County jail before appearing before Judge Paul Ballard April 16. They were released on their own recognizance pending trial in district court.

Maximum sentencing for felony burglary is $5,000 and or five years' imprisonment. Maximum sentencing for transporting a loaded firearm is 90 days' imprisonment or $700 or both.

45 years ago

Excerpts from the April 24, 1969 Pioneer Journal

• County agent reports excessive moisture in corn cribs

Miles Rowe, County agent, reports that he has visited several corn cribs this week and finds that excessive moisture has collected during the spring and winter.

Much of this corn went in with excessive moisture last fall or either has collected additional moisture during the winter and spring so farmers should check over their cribs at this time. If they find excessive moisture, heating or molding, corn should be removed into more aired cribs in some cases.

If a dry storage such as a silo is available and it is going to be used on the farm for feed grinding this may be the most economical way to handle this wet corn.

70 years ago

Excerpts from the April 27, 1944 Pioneer Journal

• Menahga bachelor farmer found dead; pinned down by boulder

Apparently the victim of a slow death while lying pinned by a huge boulder which he was attempting to bury in his field nearby the buildings on his farm about two and a half miles west of Menahga, the body of John Hanson was found monday evening. While passing the Hanson farm on their way to town, two young farmers were attracted by the bellowing of stock in the barn. They, however, continued their trip to town, but upon returning stopped to investigate.

They made a thorough search of the premises but found no one. However, since Mr. Hanson's car was in the garage, they felt certain that he had not gone far. Their search included the area near the buildings and during this, they observed a heap of dirt about 40 rods out in the field. Upon arriving there, they discovered the body in a six-foot deep hole, pinned down by a huge boulder which rested on one hip and over part way on the stomach. The feet and legs protruded on one side and the head and upper part of the body was exposed on the other.

No opinion as to the time of death was given by the coroner, sheriff and county attorney, who were called to the scene of the tragedy, but because of the commotion caused by the livestock, it is thought that the unfortunate man had been pinned there for at least two or three days and possibly died a slow and painful death.

The body is resting at funeral parlors in Sebeka awaiting word from a cousin in North Dakota and a sister whose whereabouts are unknown. The cousin was notified Monday night.

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