Local News

The DeWitt County Regional Planning Commission Tuesday night voted 3-1 against recommending a proposed wind farm in DeWitt County.

 

Tradewind Energy outlined their plans for the proposed $300-million project that would put an estimated 67 turbines across 12-thousand acres in the northwest corner of DeWitt County. The turbines would not exceed 591 feet. 

 

The Zoning Board of appeals next month will begin taking public input next month on the proposal from Tradewind. Those hearings are scheduled for February 5 beginning at 5 pm at Clinton High School with other dates to include February 7-8 and February 19-22. Hearings last from 5 pm to 10 pm, all at Clinton High School.

 

After the ZBA hears all testimony, they will send a recommendation to the County Board. 

 

This story will be updated. 


Lincoln Fire Chief To Retire

The Fire Chief in Lincoln is set to retire later this year. 

 

Chief Mark Miller tells Regional Radio News he's started to work with the Mayor to begin to find his replacement. Miller has been the Chief since 2010.

 

 

Chief Miller says he has been asked to help find his successor and is hopeful the hire could come from within.

 

 

Miller has been instrumental in helping the Lincoln Fire Department purchase a new fire engine that will be delivered in February. The new Chief will likely be instrumental in helping find a new home or expansion of their current home for the Lincoln Fire Department. 



The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will be reopening some Farm Service Agency offices around the country to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue made the announcement and says they won’t be able to reopen all offices…

 

 

Offices will temporarily reopen on Thursday, January 17th and Friday, January 18th. The offices will be closed on Monday, January 21st for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and then reopen one more time on Tuesday, January 22nd. Perdue says, while the offices are open, they won’t be able to offer their usual full range of services…

 

 

Secretary Perdue talks about some of the services the FSA will be able to
offer…

 

 

For a complete rundown of services available during the three-day window, check out www.usda.gov.


The partial government shutdown is having a profound and cascading impact on American farmers and ranchers. Because of this, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture is calling on Congress and the Administration to rapidly get to a settlement and end the shutdown as soon as possible. 

 

The organization says in a news release that, “We know that some USDA employees are working on a limited number of programs, but we also know that all hands on deck are required to successfully direct every program American farmers, ranchers, and communities depend on.” 

 

The organization says that includes successful implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill. Jeff Witte is the Secretary of Agriculture in New Mexico and the President of NASDA. He says “The impacts of this shutdown are real. Not only are farmers and ranchers unable to use a host of existing USDA programs they depend on, they also can’t use the programs now available in the recently enacted farm bill.”

 

Witte says if farmers can’t access those programs, the financial stress and challenges farmers are facing will only get worse. Many farmers depend on the Farm Service Agency for loans and need the shutdown solved as soon as possible.


Around 4:40 pm Wednesday afternoon, Maroa Fire officials were called to a house fire at North Wood Street in Maroa.

 

Fire officials indicate upon arrival, they found smoke coming from the home. Upon making entry, it was discovered the home was vacant and firefighters extinguished the fire while venting through the roof. 

 

Crews were on scene for roughly two hours. Departments from Hickory Point, Argenta, Oreana, Clinton and Kenney were on scene for assistance. Latham Fire Department was on scene at the Maroa Department during the event. 

 

No injuries were reported. 

 

A cause was not was determined. The State Fire Marshall's office will investigate. 

 

Picture courtesy of Maroa Fire Department Facebook page. 


Farmland Sales Starting to Rise

The Farmers National Company says there are some questions abounding in the current farmland market. 

 

There is legitimate worry that the negative financial situation will finally drive land prices lower. Farm and ranch lands make up 82 percent of the total assets owned by American agriculture. 

 

 Randy Dickhut, senior vice president of real estate operations says “At Farmers National Company, we’re seeing an uptick in land sales as more families and inheritors want to sell now. Within our 28-state service area, we’re also seeing more landowners coming to us to talk about marketing and selling their land, as evidenced by the total volume of land for sale which is up 21 percent.” 

 

The company says overall farmland values have held up well over the years in spite of lower commodity prices and farm income compared to just five years ago. However, there are questions looming ahead for the market. 

 

“Even though the rate of bankruptcies and forced farmland sales is low, there are expectations that those numbers will rise over the next year as farmers’ cash flows continue to be stressed.”

 

 He says there has also been an increase in the number of “quiet sales,” in which neighbors quietly sell their land to other neighbors without advertising it as being for sale.”


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