November 14, 2002

Scotland County Headed To State Playoffs After Beating Eagles 7-6

The final Friday night of the football regular season proved to be a roller coaster ride for both teams before Scotland County finally prevailed 7-6 over Knox County to capture the Class 1 District 16 championship and move into the state playoffs.

The district crown, the first for the Tigers since 1998, was not the only prize in the win. Scotland County continued it's dominance in the annual "Clyde" game, keeping the Kyle Peterson traveling trophy at home for the seventh straight season with a win over the Eagles. SCR-I has not lost to Knox County since the trophy game was started in 1996.

"What a game, I'm going to remember this the rest of my life," said first year Coach Brent Bondurant following the victory. "We're in the state playoffs, so now is when the fun really begins."

While the games two scores both came within 20 seconds of each other, the entire game was filled with plenty of ups and downs to keep the large crowd from both schools on its feet most of the evening.

Knox County took the opening kickoff but the SCR-I defense set the tone for the game. Knox tried two unsuccessful running plays before Eric Long broke up a pass attempt to force a Knox County punt.

The Tigers offense faired even worse on its first possession as a Curtis Cochran pass was intercepted by Ladon Force on Scotland County's third offensive play of the game. Force returned the ball to midfield before a clipping penalty backed up the line of scrimmage to the 35-yard-line.

Knox County couldn't get anything started on offense as the Tigers defense did not allow a first down in the opening quarter. But a good punt by Knox County had the Tigers pinned at the four- yard line.

A penalty backed SCR-I up even further before Joel Myers gave the team some breathing room. The junior back broke a run up the middle for 18-yards. However SCR-I would go no further, punting the ball back to the Eagles with 5:18 left in the first period.

The teams traded punts to close out the first quarter with Knox County holding the ball at the 40-yard-line.

The Eagles opened the second period with the teams first first down of the game. Quarterback Ty Parrish picked up a good gain on a scramble to put the Eagles in scoring position. The drive ended on the next play as the Eagles tried a halfback pass. Clint Cottrell stepped in front of the pass from Force and returned the interception to the 31-yard line.

Scotland County did not take advantage of the turnover. After a penalty backed up the Tigers, SCR-I coughed up the ball and Knox County pounced on the turnover when the Tigers mishandled the snap.

That proved costly as Knox County finally got the offense rolling on the short field. Faced with second down and goal from the 11-yard line, Parrish dropped back to pass. Finding no receiver open, the quarterback scrambled up the middle and found his way to the end zone with 4:31 left in the second period.

A bad snap on the point after kick forced the Eagles to try to run the ball in but the defense stopped the two-point conversion.

That play proved crucial as Scotland County answered just 20 seconds later. On the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff Cochran threw a bomb down the near sideline to Cottrell who had got behind the defense. The junior receiver momentarily bobbled the ball before pulling it in and going 67-yards for the touchdown. Aaron Dale made the PAT kick to put the Tigers ahead 7-6 with 4:11 left in the first half.

The two teams traded punts after that with Knox County looking to run out the clock on the first half. A fumble by the Eagles was recovered by Brett Masden at the 30-yard line but the Tigers were unable to take advantage of the scoring chance as time ran out in the half.

Neither team mounted much offense in the first half. Knox County was limited to just 64 yards, all on the ground. The Tigers racked up 111 yards, with 67 of that coming on the big touchdown pass.

Scotland County took the kickoff to open the second half. The Tigers looked determined to put another score on the board as the team marched down the field eating up much of the third period. But the drive stalled at the 14-yard line and SCR-I turned the ball over on downs.

The Tigers defense kept the ball on their end by stuffing Knox County. Michael Lodewegen made a big play, backing the Eagles up and forcing a punt.

Scotland County quickly was faced with a third and long situation on offense. Cochran and Cottrell teamed up again for another big play. The pass covered 31 yards to put the ball at the 30-yard line.

Coach Brent Bondurant looked determined to pound the ball in from that point, switching to the t-bone offense which features three runners in the backfield. But the Knox County defense was up to the challenge, stopping the Tigers twice with less than two yards to go. SCR-I turned the ball over on downs at the 22-yard line.

The momentum from the defensive stop didn't last long. Knox County turned the ball over for the third time. Travis Onken caused the turnover and recovered the loose ball at the 25-yard line.

But the Tigers gave the ball right back as Jason Pflum picked off the pass attempt from Cochran giving Knox County possession at the 11-yard line with 8:02 to play in the fourth quarter.

That looked like the deciding moment in the contest as Knox County began to march down the field behind the running of Michael Prebe and Nick Hettinger. The Tigers took a timeout with 4:40 left in the game trying to fix the defense as the Eagles were poised to score, setting just 14-yards from pay dirt.

The Scotland County defense stiffened and faced the Eagles with a fourth down and one to go. But the Eagles picked up the first down and with 3:23 looked poised to win the game with a first down and goal to go situation.

But the seventh turnover of the contest proved to be the most costly as the Eagles fumbled on the next play and Scotland County recovered on the three yard line.

However the game was not over, as a safety or even a field goal for the Eagles would be enough points for a win.

After Knox County stopped Myers for no gain, Coach Bondurant made a gutsy call, running Cochran around the end, The play paid huge dividends, not only getting the team out of the shadow of its own end zone but also picking up a key first down.

That forced Knox County to use all of its remaining timeouts. The Tigers ran three more plays but faced with fourth down and one, the Tigers were forced to punt the ball back to Knox County with 40.9 seconds left in the game.

The suspense ended a bit prematurely as Cottrell made his second interception of the night on the Eagles first play.

SCR-I took a knee on the final snap of the game and the celebration began as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

The Tigers offense had 10 first downs on the night. Myers ran for 77 yards on 22 carries. Eric Long finished with 25 yards on eight attempts and Cochran ran four times for 19 yards. The senior quarterback completed six of 13 passes for 113 yards and one TD. He was intercepted twice. Cottrell caught four passes for 106 yards. Jared Shelley and Chase Moore had the other receptions.

Prebe led the Knox County offense with 84 yards on 21 attempts. Hettinger had 23 yards on 11 carries. Parrish ran for 26 yards and four attempts while Force had 16 yards on six carries. The Eagles completed only one of four pass attempts for 12 yards. The Eagles had 12 first downs in the contest.

The Tigers defense once again had a big performance. Lodewegen and Long topped the list of tacklers with 11 stops each. Cochran and Onken each made 10 tackles. Kiel Fogle made nine stops while Shelley and Brett Masden each made eight stops.

The victory sent Scotland County to 6-4 on the season and gave the Tigers a third place finish in the Tri-Rivers Conference with a 5-2 mark in league play.

Scotland County will host District 15 winner, Princeton (7-3), in a sectional playoff game Wednesday, November 13 in Memphis at 7:00 p.m.

Sealing Operations Will Temporarily Close Route B

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, August 1, MoDOT crews will temporarily close Scotland County Route B between the Iowa state line and U.S. 136 from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for sealing operations.

Please use alternate routes during this time.

Again, this work is weather dependent and could be delayed or rescheduled. For more information contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK MoDOT (275-6636). All roadwork is posted on the traveler information map. You can also visit us online at

August 2nd Election to Decide School Tax Levy, Two County Races


The August 2nd primary election will decide a pair of Republican races for local offices and also will feature the return of a tax levy issue for the Scotland County R-I School District.

Local voters who take the Republican ballot in the open primary election, will decide the party’s nomination for County Assessor. Incumbent Jim Ward faces a challenge from Lisa Grubb for the party’s nomination for the position.

Residents in the western district of Scotland County will also have the chance to decide the Republican nominee for Western District Commissioner. Incumbent David Wiggins is being challenged by George Owings.

While the Democratic and Republican ballots feature a number of state races for U.S. Senator, Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer and Secretary of State, the lone other local issue to be decide is Proposition 1. The school district tax-levy question will appear on all ballots. Individuals not wishing to cast a Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Constitutional Party may select a non-partisan ballot, which will only have the Proposition 1 question.

Proposition 1, if approved, would allow the Scotland County R-I School District to borrow $3.3 million to build an early childhood development center and make other upgrades at the high school and elementary school. The process would be funded by a $0.33 debt service levy increase.

Voters previously had turned down a $4 million tax levy question from the school district in April by a 628 to 505 margin and a $5 million tax levy proposal was shot down in November 2014.

This spring the Scotland County R-1 School Board of Education used results from more than 200 public survey responses to help fashion the current levy proposal. The board scaled back some of the original proposals after more than 20% of the survey respondents indicated they did not support particular points in the initial bond issue, particularly spending on extracurriculars such as a new all-weather track and new lights for the baseball, softball and football fields.

Many of those items were removed from the current tax levy proposal, helping to lower the total cost to $3.3 million and decrease the tax levy hike from $0.40 to the current proposed levy rate increase of $0.33.

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center


Thursday, July 28 – Meatloaf, Mixed Vegetables, Cauliflower/Cheese Sauce, Bread, Peach Crisp

Friday, July 29 – Catfish Nuggets, Macaroni Salad, Baked Beans, Cornbread, Strawberry Shortcake

Monday, August 1 – Chicken Strips, Scalloped Cabbage, Buttered Corn, Bread, Apple Crisp

Tuesday, August 2 – Tenderloin/Bun, Onion Slice, Pasta Veggie Salad, Green Beans, Watermelon and Cantaloupe

Wednesday, Aug. 3 – Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Spinach, Wheat Roll, Jell-O Fruit

Thursday, August 4 – Taco Salad, Lettuce, Beans/Chips, Tomatoes, Peas, Applesauce, Cookie


Thursday, July 28 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, August 4 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Heat Wave, Visitors, and a Sad Farewell

Althea hugging a duck. Photo by Ben.

Althea hugging a duck. Photo by Ben.

Howdy. Ben here, bringing y’all news from the storm-swept prairies, soggy draws, and humid homes of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. It certainly has been an eventful week here, though to be honest I haven’t had an uneventful one yet in my four years of time on farm. I’ll just stick with the formula y’all have come to expect and give you the weather report first.

We’ve spent the past week enduring a nasty heat wave here, with temps pushing towards a hundred degrees Fahrenheit, intense humidity, and still, stale, boggy air. The top eight inches or so of our swimming pond are unsettlingly warm, like broth. The fish might not bite under such conditions, but the crawdads are really nipping my toes these days during my daily cool downs at the old swimmin’ hole.

The sole motivation for completing my afternoon chores is the mere thought of our animals running low on fresh water. Come three in the afternoon, the barnyard is reminiscent of a ghost town, ducks and chickens peering from beneath the shade of cedars and sheds, the pigs nearly completely submerged in their wallows.

Other telltale signs that this is the height of summer include the whine and drone of cicadas, the emergence of partridge peas out in the field, and a sudden abundance of blackberries, perhaps the most I’ve ever seen since I’ve been here. In our kitchen co-op we’ve had enough for pie, wine, and consistent, daily snacking. Still, there’s more on the way. The paths are speckled with blackberry scat, perhaps belonging to possum or raccoon.

The only thing I’m more abundant in than berries is flies. It has been a banner fly year. I’m not sure if you’d call it a good fly year, or a bad fly year, but let’s just say there’s a fair few of ‘em. Appreciative as I am of all forms of biomass, I could stand to have fewer flies tickling my ankle hairs and landing on my baby during naps, but I’ll just remain thankful I’m not a goat on pasture, as they’re also seeming quite annoyed, stomping and shaking in the midday sun. Bring on the spiders, I say.

The mud daubers agree, as they busily take clay from our cob buckets and construct nests stuffed with paralyzed little orchard spiders, the living meals for their young. Such strange, fascinating things, these itty bitty critters do.

As of yesterday evening the sweaty, nasty, dense haze of summer moved out for now, pushed along by a swift, torrential storm, complete with corn-flattening winds. Here at Critter Kitchen, dinner was about to be served. In addition to our usual crew of diners, I was preparing a meal for about a dozen or so visitors. Dinner would be the usual fare, turnip fritters, collard greens, and pintos. Yum yum.

Keep in mind that our kitchen is outdoors, and has only one wall. Caleb hollered down from his tree house that a storm would be blowing in shortly, but being tired of this same old story (we’ve had many rains inexplicably navigate around us this year), I shrugged it off as I added yet more grease to my turnip cakes.

Then came the rumble and roar of thunder, a creaking of tree limbs, and intense, horizontal rain. The sorta rain that hurts. Five-gallon buckets, cloth diapers, feed sacks, tin cups, leaves and thorny little sticks all started whipping about. I might’ve seen a chicken set a flight record.

This is about the time all the visitors showed up. After a few moments of sorting out the sensible and unsensible desires of this crew, most folks headed to our root cellar on the count of three. It can fit a lot of people when there’s no food in there.

Eventually, the severe weather subsided, I checked on the toilet paper, the livestock, the rain gauge, and dinner, in that order, and after a few more moments spent picking up and drying off our plates, we had a swell time eating greasy turnip patties, joking and dripping wet.

While some folks have a preference for slightly more formalized get-to-know-you type activities and conversations, these are the kinds of bonding moments that I appreciate about our visitor sessions: sharing in the experience of the natural elements, be they as pleasant as the taste of wild berries, or rough as the late July heat followed by an intense gullywasher. Nobody, as far as I figure, makes it through Dancing Rabbit without at least a little mud on ‘em. You ought to come on and try it some time. The mud you have at home ain’t quite the same.

After a storm, especially a windstorm, a common sight in our village is helpers. A handful of folks will usually walk about, check on people, animals, tents, and homes for signs of damage, and help out if an outhouse needs propped up, or if some laundry needs to be found somewhere out there in a three-acre radius, or if some scattered chickens or goats need herded. I’d like to think of us as a community of helpful doers. No one can probably help me with my windblown tomatoes, or my wet toilet paper, though.

Sadly, I must announce that one of our helpful doers has passed into the next cycle of existence. Dennis Hoffarth, my neighbor and good friend, and a very helpful doer well before Dancing Rabbit was even an inkling of an idea, was laid to rest here one week ago.

Anyone who’s spent time with Dennis can tell you that he was a tireless worker for change, a dedicated builder of hope, and the sort of idea man who was willing to walk his talk. That is not to mention that he was a truly fun friend to work with, and funny as hell, too.

I can only attempt to memorialize Dennis from my own point of view, as I know his impact was felt in innumerable ways, by innumerable people. I will probably always think of him when I’m riding or tuning a bike, training my left hand to saw as well as my right, or hoisting an improbably large object into the air.

In my first year here at DR, I had the opportunity to work on the frame and foundation of Robinia, the home he built with his partner Sharon, and in that time I was introduced to concepts as mundane yet useful as shims and kerfs, and some greater, deeper ideas, about how to treat people and the planet with thoughtfulness and respect. I myself, and many others, will miss his wit, observations, and ideas. I aspire to be near as helpful a doer as he was.

For a person dedicated to cooperation, Dennis did things against the grain, at least when that was beneficial for all of us. One of his major pursuits in that department was practical, functional bicycling. Before it was cool for grown adults to ride around on bikes (ok, it’s always been cool, just not hip), Dennis was talking that talk, and walking it too.

Maybe peddling the pedal, would be the appropriate wordplay. He paved the way for whippersnappers like me to ride bikes safely and meaningfully. That’s why it seemed obvious that he ought to be brought to his final rest by bike. Supported by many friends, family, and neighbors, Dennis took his final ride last Monday morning, as well-secured cargo on our community bike trailer. Many helpful doers made preparations for the burial site and ceremony, and even more were on hand and available for the necessary help and support in Dennis’ final days. I lack the words for all y’all. Maybe just thanks, and I’m sorry, and love you.

An ecovillage, by definition, is meant to be a fully featured settlement. We have the occasional need of midwives, and yes, the occasional need of undertakers. A few hours after Dennis was laid to rest, our July visitor session began, and although we had let them know by email and phone what the community was going through, I am sure that many of them became more immediately aware that Dancing Rabbit was in a place of tenderness and mourning. I hope that they see it as a place of great caring, too.

Death sure can be scary, and it is coming for all of us at some point. What happens after that ain’t none of my business.  I’d like it to come for me in a place like this, where the experience can be shared and felt more equally, where we can be as present for the dying as we can be for the children growing up in the world that the dying have given us.

And Dennis wanted to give us a better world for growing up in. I cannot help but look at my own kids, one of them fierce, free, and occasionally sweet, the other one basically either sleeping, laughing, or crying, but typically drooling, and hope that all of us together are going to build the world that others have so thoughtfully dreamt up for us. Happy trails, neighbor.

* * *

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and educational nonprofit outside Rutledge, MO, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. We offer public tours of the village on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, April-October; the next is Saturday, August 13th at 1 pm. Reservations not required. Tours are free, though donations to help us continue our educational and outreach efforts are gratefully accepted. For directions, call the office at 660-883-5511 or email us at To find out more about us, you can also check out our website:

Area Families Stepping Up to Meet Needs of 57 Foster Children

Efforts of local families are meeting the needs of 57 area foster children in Scotland, Clark and Schuyler counties, but more foster parents are needed.

Efforts of local families are meeting the needs of 57 area foster children in Scotland, Clark and Schuyler counties, but more foster parents are needed.

In Clark, Schuyler, and Scotland Counties there are currently 57 children who are not able to live with their own family due to safety concerns.  Foster families provide a safe, comfortable and caring haven for these children during this traumatic time.  Staying connected to familiar and reassuring things, such as friends, school, and routine activities, helps lessen the stress and change a child must cope with in his or her young life.

“It is through the commitment of foster parents that children who have been abused or neglected are able to remain in their community in a safe and nurturing environment,” said Rachelle Curry, MSW, Circuit Manager.

Unfortunately, remaining in the community is not always an option if a foster family is not available when a child comes into care. Some children must go to a neighboring community, far from the community they know.

“We are always in need of more families who will open their hearts and homes to children in Clark, Schuyler, and Scotland counties,” said Curry. “Foster parents make children feel safe, nurtured, and loved, and they provide support for children and families during a challenging time in their lives.”

Anyone can apply to become a foster parent in Missouri, as long as they are 21 years old and willing to go through the training and assessment process.  That process includes background checks, health screenings, financial discussions and home assessments.

“You don’t have to be married or own your own home,”‘ said Curry. “As long as your housing and income are stable and meet licensure standards and there is room in your home and heart for more family members, you are likely to be approved.”

There are other ways to support children living in foster families in your community, and Curry said she and her staff will be happy to work with community members to explain how to donate items or personal time to support children in foster care.

To learn more about foster foster parenting or ways to get involved, visit or call Laura Babington at 660-727-3393, ext 229, or 1-800-554-2222 for more information.

“The Missouri Children’s Division would like to thank everyone in Clark, Schuyler, and Scotland Counties for their generosity and support of foster families during our foster parent appreciation activities this year,” said Curry. “We have outstanding foster parents and it was a wonderful opportunity to recognize their dedication to helping children in foster care.”

Recently a local a pool party was held to demonstrate appreciation to foster parents and the children they are supporting. The following local businesses donated to help make it fun and memorable event: Casey’s General Store, Community Bank of Memphis, Exchange Bank of Kahoka, Memphis Pizza Hut, Scotland County Ministerial Alliance, Scotland County Pharmacy, People’s Bank of Wyaconda, Shelter Insurance – Tim Bertram, and Vigen Memorial Home of Kahoka.

Edina Woman Hurt in Crash Near Baring

An Edina woman was injured in a one-vehicle crash near Baring early on Monday morning. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Jessica L. Leckenby, 37, suffered moderate injuries in the crash that occurred at 6:35 a.m. on July 25th.

Leckenby was southbound on Highway 15, two miles south of Baring when the 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer she was driving went off the right side of the roadway and struck a ditch before overturning. Leckenby was flown from the scene by Air Evac helicopter to Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Baring Fire Department, Knox County Fire and Rescue, and the Knox County Ambulance Service.

The vehicle sustained total damage and was removed from the scene by Lakeside Towing of Memphis.

What America needs is a good Irish nun to stand up to bully Donald Trump

A dear friend of mine, Irish writer Dermot McEvoy, recently wrote an article first published in Irish Central which I consider one of the best ever on the subjects of anti-bullying and Donald Trump.  It’s a two-fer! Dermot was born in Ireland and moved with his family to the US at the age of four.  I’m not that fond of Irish Central itself since it leans so center-right, but I do appreciate reprint permission from their editor Niall O’Dowd.  (Dermot also wrote my favorite book on Micheal Collins, ‘The Thirteenth Apostle’, as valid a piece of historical fiction as ever came down the pike.)

Anyway, you might want to keep in mind that Irish humor is very dark; I don’t believe Dermot meant his advice to be taken TOO literally in favor of actual violence.  But here’s the article he wrote, with very minor bleeps I added for the sake of more tender local ears; that’s another part of general Irishness which might be news to Midwesterners – some of us lean toward rather salty language!  

What America needs is a good Irish nun to stand up to bully Donald Trump

An Irish nun would know how to take care of a bully like Donald Trump. 

All my life, all my heroes have been revolutionaries, writers, and nuns. 

After watching the GOP convention last week, I have decided to change that order.

What this country needs are fewer politicians—and more nuns!

I am an immigrant to this country—you know, the folks the Trumpster doesn’t like—and I had a lot of trouble adapting when my family came to Greenwich Village in 1954. My first attempt at the first grade was a total disaster. I came out of the year without learning how to read and arithmetic was a total mystery to me. People started to presume I was an idiot—some still hold that opinion.

My mother changed schools to St. Bernard’s on West 13th Street in the North Village. There was an ancient nun there, Sister Perpetua, who quizzed me. She asked me about my teeth—all rotten in the famous Irish tradition that Frank McCourt brilliantly portrayed in Angela’s Ashes—and I gave the right answer—the black buggers would eventually fall out. Sister Perpetua decided to take a chance on me.

I ended up in the first grade for the second time with Sister Anthony. She told my mother that she was an artist by avocation. She was young, tough and caring. She paid special attention to me and—finally—Dick and Jane and Spot began to make sense.

There was a kid in this class. A tough little Irish Catholic (bleep!) called Bobby Gallagher. This was, after all, the far north Village when most of my classmate’s fathers were longshoremen (from the Irish, by the way, Loingseoir, which means someone works near the boats and the water).

Little Bobby was blond and incorrigible. Sister Anthony, a cultured woman of great patience, couldn’t take his impertinence anymore and finally let Bobby have it—she picked up a yard stick and hit the little (bleep!) with it, breaking it on the little (bleep!)’s (arse). No one in the class said it a word—but everyone approved.

Which brings me back to Donald J. Trump and his hate-filled convention that just went down.

Never, in my years monitoring American politics, have I seen such an uneducated narcissist come out and flaunt his ignorance before the American public. This guy hates everyone.

In my youth, under the protective guidance of the Catholic Church—in my case a wonderful institution totally concerned with my well-being—a vulgarian like Trump could never get away with absolute bigotry like that. In that era, there were three ethnic groups of Catholics at St. Bernard’s—Irish, Italian and Hispanic (mostly Puerto Rican). Because of those Irish Catholic nuns of the Sisters of Charity there was ZERO ethnic hostility. Everyone was pals with everyone.

Today, we look at a bum like Trump and he gets away with murder in the media. Why? Because he’s good copy and the rating go up when he’s on TV spewing his hate. Next week in Philadelphia the Democrats better get moving and start hitting this bully with everything they have.

He’s just like Bobby Gallagher.

What this country needs are more people like Sister Anthony—she knew how to take care of the class bully.

Unfortunately, the bully in this case, is the nominee of the GOP for the presidency of the United States.

You know, I’d like to see how big tough strutting Donald J. Trump—he, the lover of dictators like Putin and that North Korean guy with the bad haircut—would have handled Sister Anthony. I’m betting on Sister Anthony—she could spot a fraud and a bully without breaking a sweat. Bring on the yard stick. 


Dermot McEvoy is the author of the The 13th Apostle: A Novel of a Dublin Family, Michael Collins, and the Irish Uprising and Irish Miscellany (Skyhorse Publishing). He may be reached at Follow him at Follow The 13th Apostle on Facebook at

Reprint submitted by Frances Perkins, Memphis, Missouri

Missouri Producers Reminded of Nearing Deadline to Submit Nominations for Farm Service Agency County Committees

Columbia, MO July 26, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Missouri Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Mark Cadle, today reminded farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers that they have until Aug. 1, 2016, to nominate eligible candidates to serve on local FSA county committees.

“The August 1 deadline to submit nominations is quickly approaching,” said Cadle.

“If you’ve been considering nominating a candidate or nominating yourself to serve on your local county committee, I encourage you to go to your county office right now to submit that nomination form. I especially encourage the nomination of beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as women and minorities. This is your opportunity to have a say in how federal programs are delivered in your county.”

FSA county committees help local farmers through their decisions on commodity price support loans, conservation programs and disaster programs, and by working closely with county executive directors.

To be eligible to hold office as a county committee member, individuals must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and live in the local administrative area where they are running. A complete list of eligibility requirements, more information and nomination forms are available at

All nominees must sign the nomination form FSA-669A. All nomination forms for the 2016 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 1, 2016. Ballots will be mailed to eligible voters by Nov. 7 and are due back to the local USDA Service Centers on Dec. 5. The newly elected county committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2017.

Since 2009, USDA has worked to strengthen and support American agriculture, an industry that supports one in 11 American jobs, provides American consumers with more than 80 percent of the food we consume, ensures that Americans spend less of their paychecks at the grocery store than most people in other countries, and supports markets for homegrown renewable energy and materials. USDA has also provided $5.6 billion in disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; expanded risk management tools with products like Whole Farm Revenue Protection; and helped farm businesses grow with $36 billion in farm credit. The Department has engaged its resources to support a strong next generation of farmers and ranchers by improving access to land and capital; building new markets and market opportunities; and extending new conservation opportunities. USDA has developed new markets for rural-made products, including more than 2,500 biobased products through USDA’s BioPreferred program; and invested $64 billion in infrastructure and community facilities to help improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

What a “liberal” is.

In July 21’s Democrat Ron Alexander, bless his heart, seems to have no idea of what a “liberal” is. A liberal may be a Republican, Democrat, Green Party or any just plain citizen. The word liberal is not a dirty word and in fact it probably is most appropriate to describe a good Christian man or woman.

Liberal politicians, both Republican, Democrat and Independent have been the leaders in protecting Mr. Alexander’s “constitutional” rights. They have been the ones who have gone out of their way to establish the rights that each American should not go hungry, should have the right to be educated, should have the right to a good job protected from unjust dismissal.

It is time that we revisit our understanding of where American liberal tendencies are rooted. Our “Declaration of Independence” was conceived by liberals who believed ALL men have the right to be a part of government. Our “Constitution” was hammered out by liberals. And our “Bill of Rights” was demanded by liberals in the separate states. Liberalism is a founding principle of our country. The concept of being liberal is being a free thinker and not allowing anyone tell you how to think.

The beauty of this is the liberal concept accepts the fact that people will have different thoughts than them. It doesn’t make those thoughts right, but it does allow for discussion.

The next part of being a liberal is my Christian background. If Christ wasn’t a liberal talk with the Pharisees and Sadducees who were frightened of him. See, that is the part of liberal that causes all this venom. Those in power are frightened and bewildered. They are being challenged. Christ might have even been for gun control, heaven help us, for he certainly wasn’t in favor of the sword.

I wish to make it clear I am not an apologist. I am an advocate. Where there is injustice, there I will be. Where there are the hungry, there I will be. Where there are the incarcerated, there I will be.

And where there are the ones foaming at the mouth (Just my opinion) there I will be. Just call me a liberal.

Tom Reel

Downing, MO

Local Corn Farmers Briefed on Mass Tort Lawsuit Against Syngenta

Representatives of the Midwest Corn Lawsuit, a mass tort action versus Syngenta, were in Memphis on Monday seeking prospective clients. The legal team met with farmers whom they are seeking to represent in a case against the seed company, that the lawsuit says cost Midwest corn farmers billions of dollars.

Representatives of the Midwest Corn Lawsuit, a mass tort action versus Syngenta, were in Memphis on Monday seeking prospective clients. The legal team met with farmers whom they are seeking to represent in a case against the seed company, that the lawsuit says cost Midwest corn farmers billions of dollars.

Jessica Dodd, not Erin Brockovich, was in Memphis Monday morning but the storylines were similar enough to the famous movie about a class action lawsuit, that the analogy has become a common one when Dodd and her fellow representatives visit with prospective clients considering joining the Midwest Corn Lawsuit.

“We kind of joke about it, because we are faced with many of the same challenges like the law team in the movie, visiting small, rural communities and trying to get people to trust us so we can help them seek damages they are entitled to because of the mistakes made by large company,” said Dodd, of the Mauro Archer & Associates law firm, one of the many components of the legal team that make up Midwest Corn Lawsuit.

The law team is compiling a mass tort lawsuit versus Syngenta for the seed company’s alleged role in destabilizing the global corn market. Having been named the lead counsel by the Minnesota District Court overseeing this case, the legal team is representing more than 50,000 farmers. And with more than 2,000 town hall meetings, like the one held in Memphis on Monday, that number continues to grow.

The legal action is based on a 2009 Syngenta release of a new corn seed in United States markets. The claimants are seeking billions of dollars in damages, alleging that because the new strain released before it was improved for import by China, and was subsequently refused for import into China in 2013 and 2014, resulted in a global collapse in corn prices.

The new genetically engineered corn trait, labeled M1R162, into the U.S. market initially under the name of Agrisure Viptera and advertising its varieties as genetically engineered to protect corn against damage from insects such as the corn borer and corn rootworm.

The lawsuit claims that Viptera was marketed and introduced to the U.S. market without import approval from China secured while Syngenta maintained that approval was imminent, with statements like this April 2012 release by Syngenta’s CEO. “There is an outstanding approval for China, which we expect to have quite frankly within the matter of a couple of days.”

The import approval was not granted until December 2014, a delay the legal team believes created billions of dollars in damages to farmers and related industries such as grain storage, shippers and even manufacturers of corn products.

The lawsuit highlights the alleged destruction of grain shipments from the U.S. by China, one of the  world’s largest corn importers and subsequent rejection of U.S. corn shipments because they contained a genetically modified variety that had not been approved. The action has indicated that by the end of 2013, over 545,000 tons of U.S. corn had been rejected by China, generating a significant downward drag on corn prices.

“By April 2014, the rejected corn tonnage had reached 1,450,000. China was not the only country that rejected this GMO corn. 3.3 million metric tons of U.S. corn were rejected globally as of March 2014,” said Dodd. “The export market disruptions cost U.S. farmers billions of dollars.”

The National Grain and Feed Association estimates the total economic damage of Syngenta’s commercialization of Viptera MIR 162 prior to Chinese approval to be as much as $2.9 billion.

Unlike the many law firms currently seeking class action lawsuits against Syngenta, the Midwest Corn Lawsuit team is seeking a mass tort action, noting that class action cases usually result in outrageous fees for the attorneys pursuing them, while farmers and those directly impacted by Syngenta’s actions will only receive a nominal award.

Dodd noted that  a mass tort lawsuit can give farmers the representation and compensation they deserve, ensuring compensation is awarded based on actual damages as a result of Syngenta’s commercialization of unapproved traits. And unlike a class action suit, a mass tort will not be settled without the claimants decision to opt-in to the proposed settlement.

“Our action is based on the belief that any corn grower, regardless of whether or not they planted Viperta or other Syngenta seed, should be made whole by Syngenta,” said Dodd.

She visited with a small number of producers on July 25th at Keith’s Cafe.

“Our town halls offer a small-group setting, giving interested parties a chance to get answers and to find out more about the process,” said Dodd.

She noted of the most popular line of questioning relates to possible backlash from Syngenta.

“It is not unusual for farmers to be reluctant to sign on to what they might perceive as controversial, as they often voice fears about reprisals by such a larger company.” She noted that farmers face no liability for any countersuit.

The initial process at the town hall meetings is simply to sign a contract with this legal team to serve as representation in the mass tort action against Syngenta. With more than 90% of the farmers seeking relief from Syngenta signed up with this law team, Dodd said the numbers continue to grow daily.

“We basically are meeting with folks all across the Midwest, determining their eligibility to participate, and if they are interested, presenting the case for why they should allow us to represent them,” said Dodd.

With the first set of trials scheduled for March of next year, a deadline has been established for December of this year for producers to participate.

“That means that sometime in October we will likely halt the signup process, as we will have to have all of the follow-up work completed by December,” said Dodd.

The follow-up work basically is the collection of documentation from the lawsuit participants. After completing the initial brief one-page contract with the representatives, the law team will then send participants a welcome package with information on how to begin preparing copies of documentation of farms records that will demonstrate the negative economic impact Syngenta’s action has on the complainant.

Dodd indicated the group will likely be holding additional area town hall meetings, noting that an August 29th date has been set with a local location to be determined. Or for more information, interested parties can contact the law team at 515-635-1626 or via email at

« Older Entries