Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


County Assessor, Doreen Pehrson has recommended a 10% increase in the value of agricultural land for the year 2009. This will bring the average estimated market value for tillable land in Nicollet County to $4,450. The sales used to make these determinations were over the past year and we saw some high value sales of land – most likely fueled by the summer highs in the commodities of corn and beans. The highest value ag land lies in Belgrade Township followed by Nicollet Township and then Lake Prairie Township.

Some of us “old timers” were not set whirling by these conditions. The history that comes with age makes us a bit skeptical of the aberrations in the market. Land has already taken a turn south. Recent auctions of farms have been cancelled or were not able to be held because of a lack of bidders. Whether we will see this value of $4,450 decrease in the future is anyone’s guess. End.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


One morning this week, we had the opportunity to sleep in. As a result, we were later than usual in retrieving our Free Press from the box. Our carrier, an her return trip by our farm, noticed the paper was waiting to be picked up. She was concerned about our safety and drove up to the house to see if we were okay.

It is refreshing to know there are people out there who care enough to take the extra steps to assure others are safe. I wish we could read about this and other stories like it in the Free Press on a more regular basis. The world is full of good people, we need to remember that. end


As recently as seven months ago, this writer explained that the criticism of using corn for fuel was bogus. However the naysayers kept right on preaching their message– right through the recent election. The ethanol proponents pointed to higher fuel prices as a more direct relationship to the increased cost of food than the higher corn prices. Guess what? Corn is selling for around $3.00 per bushel and the cost of fuel has come down considerably.

If the naysayers were correct, the lower price of corn should bring lower food prices. It hasn’t happened. So that leaves the culprit to be the cost of converting raw commodities to food we can eat, the fuel and labor costs associated with this process and the fuel costs of distributing the products. Fuel costs have come down, but the end price we pay at the supermarket has not. Now is the time that the middle men are probably making their “fair share”. Even the experts have a hard time explaining the commodity markets and the end cost for consumers when we buy food at the super markets. end

Friday, November 07, 2008

MINNESOTANS - A love/hate relationship with taxes!

Listening to the commercials during this past election, it would seem that it was all about taxes. “Candidate X will raise your taxes; candidate Y will not raise your taxes. Don’t vote for him/her – look what they did – they voted for a zillion tax increases. Minnesota is a state that is way over taxed. Many other states are much better off because they don’t pay so many taxes. I will have to lay off employees if they get elected because my tax burden will be so high. Etc. etc. etc.”
So why did 56% of the people in Minnesota vote to raise their own taxes? The constitutional amendment to increase the sales tax and spend the money on land and water carried by that percentage, and voters seem to be happy about it!
Something is amiss, when a number of school referenda failed and we are even going to see one school district dissolve. Something does not make sense. end