Commissioners moving ahead with two new shop buildings
By Diane Stamm
The Wauneta Breeze
The process for two new county shop buildings continued at the Oct. 14. county commissioner meeting. Chase County Commissioners Jodi Thompson, Chuck Vette and Don Weiss, Jr. reviewed bids for the buildings, which will be completed this coming spring.
Bids were opened by Jeff Tidyman.
Two bids were received for the Lamar building, one from Imperial Contracting and the other from C and S Construction.
Imperial Contracting’s bid was $272,000 with a completion date of May 29, 2015, and C and S Construction’s bid was $282,840 with a completion date of April 30, 2015.
For the Wauneta building, bids were received from Imperial Construction, C and S Construction and McCook Contracting.
Imperial Construction’s bid was $142,000 with a completion date of May 29, 2015. C and S Construction stated the building would be done by April 13, 2015 at a cost of $133,690. McCook Contracting’s bid was $170,800 and the completion date May 29, 2015.
The commissioners asked Tidyman to get references for each business and will make a decision at a later date.
The new buildings will be paid for out of the county’s Inheritance Fund.
There were no members of the public present to challenge the vacating of a street in Champion.
The commissioners approved vacating four feet of right-of-way running east and west of property on Second Street, Lot 7-12 all in Block 6 of the original township.
Weiss, Thompson and Vette wrapped up the countywide inventories by approving those submitted by the Wauneta and Imperial ambulance crews.
Approval was given to the 2014-2015 levies and a $5,500 lease was approved for a skidsteer from NMC Cat. The skidsteer will be used countywide.
The group also took time to visit the jail and see the repairs being made to the cell after the alleged damages caused by Boone Huff Oct. 1.
The next commissioners’ meeting will be Oct. 28 at 8 a.m.
Chase County residents eligible for lucrative business competition
Prize money of $25,000 could be won
A popular business development contest which helped start up a number of successful McCook ventures is back with major changes that officials believe will make it better and even more enticing to residents in Chase, Perkins and Hitchcock Counties.
Through a partnership with McCook Community College and area business sponsors, the “new and improved” Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition is accepting applications through Dec. 1.
“If you have a business idea or plan to expand your current business, I encourage you to apply for the new 2014/2015 Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition,” said Andy Long, McCook Community College vice president.
The main changes from past years are that the winners will receive cash prizes no longer tied to loans and/or equity. In addition, residents from a larger area are eligible.
Multiple contestants will be awarded with $25,000 in prize money to develop business ideas or expansion—with no strings attached.
This year’s competition is open to residents from eight additional counties including Furnas, Gosper, Frontier, Hayes, Hitchcock, Perkins, Chase and Dundy.
“The main objective of the competition is to stimulate entrepreneurship and support business expansion in southwest Nebraska,” said Long.
After the Dec. 1 deadline, a select number of finalists and alternates will be chosen to compete in the Spring Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition.
Finalists will receive a scholarship to attend, for free, the on-line Entrepreneurship Business Plan writing class offered through Mid-Plains Community College during the 2015 spring semester. The scholarship covers tuition and fees (about $282). Successful completion of the course is mandatory for all finalists in order to receive a cash prize.
“We will also provide successful applicants assistance in writing business plans, money to help development and professionals to provide expertise in areas requiring assistance,” Long said.
After completing the on-line Entrepreneurship Business Plan writing class, each finalist will have until March 23 to comprise their business plan and business presentation to present in front of a panel of judges.
“The Hormel family has always believed that education and entrepreneurship are the strongest weapons against the population loss,” Long said.
The Hormel Family Foundation was founded in 1999 by the late Ben F. Hormel to support MCC. Among his entrepreneurial ventures, Hormel operated the Chevrolet dealership in McCook. When he died in 2002, he passed on the torch to his children and grandchildren, who operate the foundation today.
Moving forward this is a program the college plans to offer every other year. The support of local sponsors has allowed the college to doing this program every other year for at least the next five years (two more competitions after this one).
At the gold level, Community Hospital and MNB Financial stepped up to provide support. At the silver sponsorship level is McCook Economic Development Corporation.
There have also been bronze sponsor commitments from AmFirst Bank and Wells Fargo with media sponsorships from McCook Daily Gazette, Hometown Family Radio and High Plains Radio.
“I feel that even the individuals who don’t win the cash prizes will still benefit from the development or improvement of a business plan,” Long said.
“Most people know someone who has a business idea or who has opened a business in the last five years and we hope you encourage them to apply,” he said.
If someone is selected as a finalist they will receive a free on-line class with a chance to win prize money to advance the business.
“There really isn’t anything to lose,” Long said.
To apply or learn more, go to the webpage mpcc.edu and click on Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition where you can find the application and more details about the competition.
Questions can also be directed to the McCook Center for Enterprise at 308-345-8122.
Nebraska third on list of top 100 ag co-ops
Coop is No. 53
Nebraska is home to nine of the U.S. top 100 agricultural cooperatives, third in the nation behind Iowa and Minnesota, according to recently released USDA data.
The number of top 100 co-ops in Iowa, 16, is up from 11 a decade ago. Minnesota has 13 co-ops in the top 100.
These statistics underscore what most Midwesterners already know – Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska are extremely important to the nation’s agricultural economy, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Farmer-owned co-ops play a major role in making it an agricultural powerhouse.
USDA’s annual list of the nation’s top 100 agricultural cooperatives by business volume indicates that Illinois and Wisconsin have five each, then California, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio are all tied with four.
Looking at business volume where a cooperative has its headquarters, Minnesota ranks first among the states, with $68.8 billion. Missouri is second at $16.2 billion and Illinois is third at $13.2 billion.
Like the nation’s ag co-op sector as a whole, the top 100 cooperatives also enjoyed a third consecutive year of record sales. They reported revenue of $174 billion in 2013, an increase of almost 9 percent over the $166 billion reported in 2012.
Net income (after taxes) remained virtually unchanged from 2012 at $3.5 billion. The previous records for sales and net income were set in 2012.
The largest co-op in Nebraska continues to be Ag Processing Inc. of Omaha. It remains in the number 5 spot in the nation, with revenue of $5.678 billion, up from $4.937 billion in 2013.
Other top 100 co-ops in Nebraska and where they sit are: 27. Producers Livestock Marketing Association of Omaha; 30. Aurora Cooperative Elevator Co. of Aurora; 33. Cooperative Producers Inc. of Hastings; 43. Farmers Cooperative of Dorchester; 47. United Farmers Cooperative of York (up from # 52 in 2013); 50. Central Valley Ag Cooperative of O’Neill; 53. Frenchman Valley Farmers Cooperative, Inc., of Imperial; 88. Ag Valley Cooperative Non-Stock of Edison.
Don’t let nitrates cost cattle lives
By Robert Tigner
Red Willow Co. Extension Educator
Will you feed cane, millet, oat hay or maybe corn stalk bales to your cows this winter?
If so, don’t let high nitrate levels kill them or cause abortions.
Nitrates occur naturally in all forages. At low levels, nitrates either are converted into microbial protein by bacteria in the rumen or they are excreted. But when nitrate concentrations get too high, they can kill cows and maybe abort calves.
When stress affects pasture and hay production, nitrates often reach potentially toxic levels. Some plants are more likely to be high in nitrates than others.
Annual grasses like cane, millet, oats and even corn often have elevated nitrate levels. So do certain weeds like pigweed, kochia and lambsquarter. If your hay has lots of these weeds or is an annual grass, be alert to the potential for high nitrates.
That doesn’t mean these feeds always are toxic, nor does it mean that high-nitrate hay can’t be fed safely. But always test these feeds for nitrates in a lab to determine how to feed them safely.
There are many ways to feed high nitrate hay safely. Diluting with grain or low nitrate forages is most common.
Frequent, small meals that slowly increase the amount of nitrate fed helps cattle adapt to high nitrate hay. And make sure cattle have plenty of clean, low nitrate water at all times.
Nitrates cause deaths most often after animals have been prevented from eating naturally for a day or more, like after a snow storm. Avoid feeding high or even marginally high nitrate hay at this time because cattle will eat an extra-large meal when very hungry. This could create an overload of nitrates to their system, leading to death.
More details about nitrates in forages are available in a NebGuide at your local extension office or online.
You can also find the NebGuide on the internet at www.ianrpubs.unl.edu.