Farm Forum The Green Sheet: Where we grow. Mon, 24 Apr 2017 22:16:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MSU students train wild mustangs for Montana nonprofit that helps veterans Mon, 24 Apr 2017 22:16:03 +0000 http://ffimp-17193138 By Jessianne Wright
Montana State University News Service

BOZEMAN — Nine wild mustangs stepped foot onto Montana State University’s Agricultural Research and Teaching Farm on Jan. 3. They came to MSU virtually untouched, hailing from Bureau of Land Management facilities in Burns, Oregon, then were adopted by the Montana nonprofit, Heroes and Horses, to ultimately be used for therapeutic mountain pack trips with combat veterans.

Heroes and Horses is a program that uses horses and the remote wilderness to challenge and inspire combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The veterans learn horsemanship skills and wilderness survival, then embark on progressive, multi-day horse pack trips in order to overcome their difficulties and replace devastating memories with positive ones.

A handful of MSU students, with the help of local trainers and volunteers, assisted in gentling and training the adopted wild horses over the course of nearly 90 days as the first step in helping these horses transition into a life of mountain adventure. The horses, gelded males ranging from 2 to 6 years old, left MSU on March 28, headed to Arizona to begin the second phase of their training.

“The horses trained by MSU students, faculty and staff will ultimately serve as tools to teach military veterans new skills to start a post-military life,” said Dr. Shannon Moreaux, DVM and an associate professor of equine science in MSU’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences in the College of Agriculture.

“By using BLM feral horses for this service learning project, we are also providing a far-reaching service,” Moreaux said. “The horses will be uniquely repurposed and will have a better life than living in a long-term holding facility; we will have provided a significant amount of publicity for the BLM Wild Horse adoption program. And, ultimately, we save taxpayer money while helping to protect sensitive ecosystems from overpopulation.”

Professional trainers, including renowned horse trainer Buck Brannaman, along with his proteges Isaac Johnson, Noah Cornish, Wesley Fazari and Jon Ensign, began the gentling process, taking about a week to work with the mustangs upon arrival at MSU. During this initial phase, five horses were paired with volunteer students based on horse temperament and student experience, while the remaining horses continued their training under MSU equine faculty, staff and volunteers.

Each of the students selected to work with a mustang had prior horse-training experience, having taken MSU’s colt-starting class as part of their equine science studies. However, this was the first time several of the students had worked with mustangs.

Andrew Couch, a sophomore from Gardiner majoring in animal science and livestock management, said this was the first time he had worked with mustangs under guidance, learning how to prepare a horse for future situations.

Students worked with the horses for four hours, six days a week, beginning at 6 a.m. at MSU’s Bob Miller Pavilion, teaching the horses to stand quietly, accept a saddle and bit and respond softly to leg and bit pressure.

As the horses progressed, the students were also able to take them off campus to expose them to new surroundings, as well as varied terrain, said Stefanie Herrera of Helena, a 2016 fall graduate of the Department of Ecology in MSU’s College of Letters and Science. After graduating in December, Herrera began volunteering for the MSU Horsemen’s Club and was one of the students asked to work with the mustangs.

“Horses will show where the challenges are for veterans,” Herrera said, speaking on the connection between horse and rider. “If (a veteran) is angry or closed off, the horse will show it. This is (the horse’s) job. The horse has to be able to help that veteran out. Heroes and Horses is giving these horses and these people a purpose.”

Herrera added that the horses are rehabilitation horses as much as they are pack-and-saddle horses.

“I believe in the Heroes and Horses program,” Moreaux said. “It is important we honor the men and women who have suffered in foreign wars by ensuring they can reintegrate into a nonmilitary society.”

And, Moreaux said, it is important for students to participate in these types of service learning opportunities.

“Service learning is an educational application that integrates knowledge transfer with a social need,” he said. “Service learning enriches the learning experience, teaches civic responsibility and strengthens communities.”

“It was a pretty neat experience,” Herrera said. “I learned a lot and it was very humbling to be able to work with something wild that puts that much trust in you. I’m quite happy I got to be a part of that, and impact a horse that will go on to affect so many lives.”

SDSU Extension provides animal care and welfare webinars first Wednesday of each month Mon, 24 Apr 2017 20:36:02 +0000 http://ffimp-17247613 SDSU Extension

BROOKINGS — South Dakota livestock producers, industry professionals and 4-H youth are encouraged to tune in the first Wednesday of each month for webinars provided by SDSU Extension.

The Animal Care Wednesday Webinar series is made possible through a five-state partnership of university and extension staff from Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

“These webinars are designed to provide a brief snapshot of animal welfare and care topics,” said Heidi Carroll, SDSU Extension livestock stewardship associate.

Past webinar topics have included: antibiotic resistance and stewardship, show animal resources on the VFD (veterinary feed directive) changes, medication and remote delivery methods for cattle, equine welfare and neglect and understanding public perceptions of livestock practices.

“We see these webinars as a great way to provide information, while at the same time generating discussion on current animal care topics,” Carroll explained.

The 30-minute webinars are held the first Wednesday of each month at 11 a.m. CST. However, anyone is welcome to view the webinar once it has been aired at this link:

“These webinars provide a flexible way to learn about current animal welfare and care topics that impact animal agriculture in the United States,” Carroll said.

The May 3 webinar is titled “Cattle Transportation & Preparing for Emergencies.” The webinar will be presented by Lisa Pederson, the North Dakota Beef Quality Assurance specialist.

To learn more, visit

April 20 climate update, cool start to May 2017 Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:46:08 +0000 http://ffimp-17246330 SDSU Extension

BROOKINGS — The April 20, 2017 climate outlook released by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows a couple of weeks of cooler weather are ahead for much of South Dakota.

“According to the outlook, South Dakota’s planting season temperatures have an equal chance of being warmer, cooler or near average temperatures,” said Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension State Climatologist. “A week or more ago, I would have thought that eastern South Dakota would lean towards warmer temperatures in May but now the forecast is turning cool for the start of the month. So, we may end up near average overall, if the end of May turns warm.”

The forecast for cool temperatures, along with a mix of rain and snow across the state, will put a hold on field work for many.

“Wet fields in the southeast and cool soil temperatures across the region have prevented farmers and gardeners alike to make much progress in planting and spring activities,” she said.

Edwards added that thus far, the spring season has shown some early signs of weeds and insect activity.

“The warm 2016 fall season may have set the stage for both weeds and insects,” Edwards explained.

She added that SDSU Extension Weed specialists are already receiving reports of kochia and other species coming out. Some adult grasshoppers have also been observed in eastern South Dakota.

Precipitation outlook

Based on NOAA report, the precipitation outlook for May 2017 for the northwestern corner of the state shows a good likelihood of above average rainfall.

“This area was hit hard last summer with severe drought. The recent rains in April, along with a continuing stream of precipitation in May, could bring good growth to grasses and forages in the area,” Edwards said.

The current outlook for western South Dakota shows wetter than average now through July. As far as temperatures are concerned, the outlook is favoring warmer than average temperatures across all but the northern tier of the state from May through July.

“This could be good news, since we are starting out the growing season with cooler temperatures, and some warmth could help with plant growth in the latter spring season,” Edwards said.

Remember tick prevention this summer Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:46:06 +0000 http://ffimp-17246116 By Heather Hilbrands, DVM
Casselton Veterinary Service Inc., Casselton, N.D.

Sunshine and warmer temperatures are prevailing in the Upper Midwest bringing green grass and flower blooms to the prairie. Along with the sunshine and greenery, little brown and black ticks will soon follow. These tiny little critters will be prevalent among the pastures, tree groves, and trails near you, lurking in the prairie grass waiting to jump onto you or your horse.

Ticks can cause serious illness to your horse, such as anaplasmosis and Lyme disease. Ticks harbor these bacteria in their own body and when the tick takes a bite from your horse, the bacteria is given to your horse potentially causing an infection. Most infections occur in warmer weather, when ticks are abundant.

No vaccines are available for prevention of anaplasmosis or Lyme disease. The best prevention of tick borne diseases is tick prevention. Applying topical insecticides that include tick protection and removing any ticks as soon as you see them on your horse are the best recommendations. Reducing the tick population in your pastures can be achieved by removing brush that has accumulated along fence lines and in pastures and mowing long grass.

We should still be able to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather with our four-legged majestic friends, but before we go out cruising the pastures or meandering the Medora trails, be mindful of the little brown and black ticks that may be lurking in the grass.

Dr. Heather Hilbrands, DVM, grew up in Milbank, S.D., and received an animal sciene degree from South Dakota State University. She graduated from veterinary school at Iowa State University in 2006. She practiced large and small animal veterinary medicine in South Dakota prior to coming to North Dakota. She now practices at Casselton Veterinary Service, Inc. in Casselton, N.D.

Winter kill in alfalfa fields: What is next? Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:46:03 +0000 http://ffimp-17245915 #td_uid_1_58feddd8a3db3 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_58feddd8a3db3 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item2 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; }

SDSU Extension

BROOKINGS — Alfalfa stands throughout South Dakota are showing signs of winter kill.

“This year lack of snow coverage along with up’s and down’s in temperatures have caused several issues with alfalfa stands in several locations in South Dakota,” said Karla A. Hernandez, SDSU Extension forages field specialist.

Hernandez said that where damage has occurred, it is concentrated in areas of alfalfa fields where ice sheets formed, water ponded, there was poor drainage and not enough snow cover to insulate alfalfa against extreme temperatures.

“Late harvested stands that are three or more years old are showing more damage than younger ones’ under moderate management,” she said.

Before making decisions, Hernandez recommends that growers first analyze the severity of damage. “When assessing your fields, it is important to take roots samples and consider other factors,” she said, encouraging growers to read the article, Alfalfa Winter Kill: Top Contributing Factors, which can be found at this link:

If an alfalfa field shows signs of winter kill, yet the grower wants to keep the field what should they do? Hernandez answers this question below.

• For fields planted last year, consider interseeding alfalfa in thin spots.

• For older alfalfa stands, auto-toxicity and other problems could make interseeding alfalfa very risky in this case add other species to keep forage production.

If an alfalfa field shows signs of winter kill and the grower decides to replace the alfalfa stand, what are their options? Hernandez addresses this question below.

“If the damaged alfalfa field was seeded more than two or three years ago, it is recommended to plant a different crop before planting alfalfa again to avoid auto-toxicity issues,” she said. “Interseeding forage grasses or clovers will fill the gaps left by winterkilled alfalfa, preventing weed competition while yielding acceptable amounts of good quality forage.”

Some forages to consider include:

Red clover: Average seeding rate of 6 to 10 pounds per acre. Red clover can help prolong the life of alfalfa by an average of two years. “This is a great option for producers that harvest their forage for haylage,” Hernandez said.

Small grains and annual cool season grasses: Examples: Oats, wheat, rye, or triticale, annual or Italian ryegrass can provide high quality forage fast, and prolong the stand life for one year.

Interseed perennial grasses such as orchardgrass: Orchard grass at a seeding rate of 5 to10 pounds per acre; timothy at a seeding rate of 3 to 5 pounds per acre or tall fescue, at a seeding rate of 4 pounds per acre.

“These perennial grasses could enhance stands for two or more years depending on production but might take longer than annual grasses,” Hernandez said.

Other guidelines to following when treating alfalfa fields with winter kill:

• Stem Counts: wait until new growth is about 6 inches tall and count all stems longer than 2 inches within a one square foot area.

— Healthy Stands: will have more than 55 stems per square foot, regardless of stand age.

— Intervention and decision making: stem count is below 40 stems per square foot. Consider interseeding with some of the options suggested in this article.

• When to keep or not your alfalfa stand? Decision on whether to keep the stand should be based on the total area lost. There is a tendency that when fields have more than 50 percent of alfalfa loss, starting over may be the best solution; whereas fields with less than 50 percent alfalfa loss may be worth salvaging for one additional year of production.

Horse Events Calendar Mon, 24 Apr 2017 18:06:04 +0000 http://ffimp-17246009 April 29, Brookings: South Dakota Horse Council annual meetin 1 p.m., Walstrom Room of the Animal Science Building on SDSU campus, 605-692-4615,

May 29, Bruce: Oakwood Riders Memorial Day Trail Ride and Horse Show, trail ride begins 10 a.m., show at 1 p.m., rain or shine, 605-690-0362 or 701-220-9840.

June 4, Aberdeen: Aberdeen Area Horsemen’s Association Open Horse Show, at Akkerman Arena, Pearl Holt 605-229-2111.

June 10, Corsica: Catalogue Sale, Open Consignment Sale and Loose Horse Sale, at South Dakota Horse Sales, or text/phone Cleone 605-770-5813.

June 10, Hill City: Mount Rushmore Rodeo at Palmer Gulch, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 12620 Highway 244, (605) 574-2525.

June 16-17, Estelline: Estelline Rodeo Days Rodeo, Rodeo Queen, Junior Queen, and Princess Contest on June 16,

June 17, Watertown: Watertown Saddle Club Horse Show, 10 a.m., at Derby Downs.

June 24-25, Brookings: Dakota Royal Charity Draft Horse Show, at Swiftel Center,

June 25, Aberdeen: Aberdeen Area Horsemen’s Association Open Horse Show, at Akkerman Arena, Pearl Holt 605-229-2111.

June 25, Hill City: Mount Rushmore Rodeo at Palmer Gulch, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 12620 Highway 244, (605) 574-2525.

July 13-16, Mitchell: Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo, 5-10 p.m., 4013 N Main Street, (605) 770-4919.

July 15, Watertown: Watertown Saddle Club Horse Show, 10 a.m., at Derby Downs.

July 16, Aberdeen: Aberdeen Area Horsemen’s Association Open Horse Show, at Akkerman Arena, Pearl Holt 605-229-2111.

July 25-29, Deadwood: Days of ’76 Rodeo and Parades, 18 Seventy Six Drive, (605) 578-1876.

July 30, Hill City: Mount Rushmore Rodeo at Palmer Gulch, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 12620 Highway 244, (605) 574-2525.

Aug. 6, Aberdeen: Aberdeen Area Horsemen’s Association Open Horse Show, at Akkerman Arena, Pearl Holt 605-229-2111.

Aug. 12, Watertown: Watertown Saddle Club Horse Show, 10 a.m., at Derby Downs.

Aug. 13, Aberdeen: Miss Rodeo Aberdeen Queen Pageant, Kathy Zambo 605-200-9060.

Aug. 19, Aberdeen: Brown County Fair Open Driving and Hitch show, at Akkerman Arena, Pearl Holt 605-229-2111.

Aug. 19, Hill City: Mount Rushmore Rodeo at Palmer Gulch, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 12620 Highway 244, (605) 574-2525.

If you have events for the calendar, call 605-622-2304 or 1-800-925-4100, ext. 304, or email

South Dakota Horse Council meeting – April 29 Mon, 24 Apr 2017 18:06:02 +0000 http://ffimp-17245928 South Dakota Horse Council

This is official notice of the 2017 annual meeting of the South Dakota Horse Council. The meeting will be held in the Walstrom Room of the Animal Science Building at South Dakota State University, Brookings, S.D., on April 29, at 1:00 p.m.

All members and horse enthusiasts are invited to attend.

South Dakota Horse Council is an affiliate of the American Horse Council and represents all horse interests. All horse organizations and horse related businesses are invited to join. Individual memberships are only $10 each.

Contact Jo Waldner, secretary, at 1805 Edgebrook Circle, Brookings, SD 57006, or call 605-692-4615 for more information for the annual meeting or the organization. The website is

Nelson: Cow turning Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:36:04 +0000 http://ffimp-17245784 by Jerry Nelson
Special to the Farm Forum

For many, springtime marks the start of the lawn care season. When I was a youngster, the advent of grass meant that it was time to step into the crucial role of cow turner.

Cow tipping is mostly an urban legend; I’ve never heard of anyone giving a cash bonus to a bovine who gave especially speedy service. Cow turning, on the other hand, is a very real activity.

When springtime greened the countryside, we would extend the life of our pasture by grazing our 25 Holsteins in the road ditches that ran past our farm.

It generally took two kids to form an effective cow turning team. We prepared for this duty by arming ourselves with sticks scavenged from our grove. The proper length of stick was determined by the size of the kid. A good rule of thumb was to select a stick that was roughly as long as its user was tall. Thus equipped, we would sprint out our farmstead’s driveway and half a mile down the adjoining gravel road.

Once the cow turners were in position, the cow pen would be opened. Our Holsteins bolted from their enclosure like racehorses leaping out of the starting gate. A black-and-white runaway freight train of two dozen three-quarter ton bovines began to rush toward the cow turners.

Few creatures are more exuberant than a milk cow who has just discovered that she is free. The cows bucked and bellowed, their head and tails held high, acting more like wild animals than domesticated cattle. Being a cow-turner was not for the faint of heart.

We had precious little time to steel ourselves for the onslaught of galloping bovines. We would gather materials to assist us in our cow turning efforts, things such as pebbles and dirt clods. Cow turners needed to have strong throwing arms.

As the charging horde of Holsteins neared, we would whoop and wave our sticks in an effort to convince the cows that we too crazy to mess with. If this strategy didn’t work, the pebbles and dirt clods would be deployed. Both cow and thrower were astonished whenever a direct hit occurred.

It was essential that the cows be stopped and turned back. If they got past us, they may have kept going until they reached the Gulf of Mexico. It would have been extremely inconvenient to milk them at that distance.

Our frenzied shouting and waving eventually persuaded the herd to stop. Abruptly realizing that they were standing amidst a lush smorgasbord, the cows began to gobble grass at a pace often associated with speed eating contests.

After the initial cow turning excitement subsided, boredom set in. We couldn’t abandon our post and with smart phones decades in the future, we were forced to create our own entertainment.

We searched for four-leaf clovers and discovered that they are indeed exceptionally rare. We would stretch a blade of grass between our upright thumbs and blow through the gap. With practice, we became adept at making a noise best described as “dyspeptic duck.”

Breaking a milkweed stem would reveal its sticky white sap. The sap looked similar to milk, so a taste test was conducted. This was an experiment that only had to be conducted once.

Batting practice would be held using pebbles and our sticks. The crack of a solid hit was followed by an imaginary soundtrack: “It’s a line drive to center! It’s going, it’s going… It’s a grand slam for the dairy farm rookie!”

If a car approached, we would officiously inform its driver that we were grazing our cows in the ditches and advise the motorist to proceed with caution. The driver usually opted to take a different route. The fresh cow pies dotting the road may have had something to do with this.

After a few hours, the cows would begin to lie down and ruminate. This was our cue to start easing them toward the farmstead.

The cows would stroll casually back into their pen, behaving in a manner that was the polar opposite of the way they had acted when they were released that morning. Full bellies can tame the wildest of beasts.

When we milked the cows that evening, we could smell the sharp tang of grass on their breaths. It was like being inside a giant fermentation vat full of lawn clippings.

At suppertime I would glance out at the road as I drank a glass of cold, fresh milk, tasting the grass that had been growing in the ditches only hours earlier. I would raise my glass in a silent salute to the worthy challengers we had successfully turned that day and whom, with any luck, we would turn again tomorrow.

If you’d like to contact Jerry Nelson to do some public speaking, or just to register your comments, you can email him at His book, “Dear County Agent Guy,” is available at and at booksellers everywhere.

1st farmer lawsuit on deck against Syngenta over China trade Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:26:05 +0000 http://ffimp-17245708 By STEVE KARNOWSKI
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The first of tens of thousands of U.S. lawsuits is about to go to trial against Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta over its decision to introduce a genetically engineered corn seed variety to the U.S. market before China had approved it for imports.

The lawsuits allege that Syngenta’s move wrecked an increasingly important export market for U.S. corn, and that the resulting price drops hurt all producers. Court filings show that Syngenta aggressively marketed the seeds even when it knew that Chinese approval was going to be a problem.

Plaintiffs’ experts estimate the economic damage to be about $5 billion, while Syngenta denies its actions caused any losses for farmers.

The first test case went to trial April 24 in state court in Minneapolis. The second goes to trial in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, on June 5. The two cases are meant to provide guidance for how the complex web of litigation in state and federal courts could be resolved.

Here are a look at some of the issues:

The problem

Syngenta decided to commercialize its Viptera brand of genetically modified corn seeds before China approved importing it. Syngenta invested over $100 million and 15 years in developing Viptera, which has a trait called MIR162 that protects against pests such as earworms, cutworms, armyworms and corn borers.

With U.S. government approval, Syngenta began selling Viptera in the U.S. for the 2011 growing season. But China didn’t approve it until December 2014.

Court papers show that Syngenta initially assured stakeholders that China would approve MIR162 in time for the 2011 crop. But the date kept slipping. Some exporters sent shipments containing the trait to China anyway. After two years of accepting them, China began rejecting them in late 2013.

One expert working for the plaintiffs estimated the damage to U.S. farmers to be $5.77 billion; another pegged it at $4.68 billion.

Most plaintiffs didn’t grow Viptera, but China excluded their grain, too, because elevators and shippers typically mix grain from large numbers of suppliers, making it difficult to source corn that was free of the trait. So they say all farmers were hurt by the resulting price drop.

The legal landscape

About 60,000 individual cases involving farmers from across the country, plus a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Minnesota farmers, are consolidated before Hennepin County District Judge Thomas Sipkins. Syngenta’s North American seed business is based in suburban Minneapolis.

The other big bloc, which includes cases from corn belt states other than Minnesota, has been consolidated before U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum in Kansas City, Kansas. The lawyers themselves aren’t sure how many farmers are covered there, but it’s a lot.

The first two cases will serve as bellwether trials, which courts often use when there are large numbers of lawsuits concerning similar legal issue. This way the attorneys can see how juries react and determine whether to settle other cases or take them to trial.

The trial that started April 24 in Minneapolis is for a lawsuit filed by Daniel Mesnick of Morse Bluff, Nebraska, who grew Viptera and claims about $150,000 in damages. It is expected to last up to three weeks.

The second trial will take place in federal court in Kansas City and will be a class-action case involving Kansas farmers who claim about $200 million in damages.

“By the middle of July we should have one individual farmer and one class trial under our belt, which should give everybody a lot of information about how juries view these facts and what damages should be awarded,” said Lew Remele, lead attorney for the Minnesota individual plaintiffs.

A few thousand other less advanced cases have been consolidated with a federal judge in Illinois, while lawsuits by grain handlers including Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland are pending in Louisiana.

The Minnesota judge

Sipkins last year denied Syngenta’s motion to dismiss the case, ruling that the company had a duty to control the timing, manner and scope of taking Viptera to market. This January, Sipkins ruled that the plaintiffs’ attorneys had found enough evidence to meet the legal requirements for seeking punitive damages, and his order contained harsh words for Syngenta.

“There is evidence that Syngenta was at least disingenuous, perhaps mendacious at worst, about the timing of Chinese approval to induce farmers to buy and plant Viptera,” Sipkins wrote. He also said Syngenta was “less than forthright” about the anticipated approval date to dissuade grain elevators from refusing to take Viptera, which would have deterred farmers from planting it.

Syngenta’s defense

Syngenta attorney Mike Jones said the company sold a legal product fully approved for sale in the U.S. and other key importing countries, and that it complied with industry standards for international marketing. The company also argues that China’s rejection had no meaningful impact on U.S. corn prices.

Syngenta points to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures showing that China was just a small market for U.S. corn in 2010 when Syngenta launched Viptera. The company says it was larger market forces, and not China’s decision, that drove prices down.

Jones said corn prices fell sharply in 2013, even before China rejected its first shipment, because of a bumper U.S. crop that brought prices down from record highs. Jurors will see evidence that the rejections conveniently let the Chinese walk away from contracts they signed when prices were much higher, he said.

Minnesota farmers begin planting under optimal weather Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:26:03 +0000 http://ffimp-17245662 GARDEN CITY, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota farmers are heading into their fields for spring planting in a tight window of opportunity in which soil moisture, temperatures and sunshine optimum yields.

Ideal planting time for corn is between April 21 and May 5, and after May 5 for soybeans, the Mankato Free Press Freported. Farmers were already laying down seed by this time last year.

“Right now, if we aren’t in the field by this week or staring hard at it, we’re starting to get real nervous,” said farmer Bob Roelofs.

Roelofs said planting the seeds is a delicate balance of timing with the weather because money is lost if there’s a heavy rain after the fields are prepared. He usually plants three-quarters of corn and one-quarter of soybeans on in his fields, but he’ll plant 50 percent soybeans this year.

AgStar Financial Services senior vice president Mark Greenwood said some farmers might struggle to break even if prices don’t go up on commodities or down in other farming costs like rent.

A study from the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State University found that more than 30 percent of the state’s farms lost money last year, but it was an improvement over the previous year.

“They had really good yields last year, which helped a lot,” Greenwood said. “It could have been worse.”

Kent Thiesse, farm analyst and vice president of MinnStar Bank in Lake Crystal, said the warm weather and rain this winter could be a positive thing for farmers.

“I think that as we head into this growing season, our region is in great shape as far as stored soil moisture in the top 5 feet of soil,” Thiesse said. “It could be helpful if we have a hot and dry weather this summer.”

Farmland makes up about half of the state’s area.

Chickens may be allowed in South Dakota city Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:16:03 +0000 http://ffimp-17245657 LEAD, S.D. (AP) — It may soon be legal for residents in a western South Dakota city to keep chickens.

A proposed ordinance could come before the Lead city commission early May.

The proposal has a $100 registration fee for residents who want to keep chickens. Residents would not be allowed to keep roosters and would be limited to six hens, with secure and well ventilated coops needing to be at least 15 feet from neighboring properties.

“A lot of people are open to the idea as long as there’s regulation,” said Sarah Canida, one of the Lead residents supporting the proposal.

She added that fresh eggs would be an important nutritional resource for Lead families who are struggling financially.

Some residents are concerned about noise from the chickens, the possibility of them carrying diseases and the droppings they might leave. The Lead Garden Club said they would take the chicken manure and use it for fertilizer.

City commissioner David Vardiman said there was one recent incident where a resident housed several roosters on his property, in violation of the current ordinacen. When officers responded to neighbors’ complaints, the man had to be restrained as officers tried to remove the chickens.

The current 1998 ordinance only allows chickens on larger lots where coops are placed at least 100 feet from a dwelling.

Last week the city commission voted 5-0 to table a proposal which would have outlawed keeping fowl, livestock or rabbits within city limits.

Controlling weeds in perennial beds Fri, 21 Apr 2017 21:56:04 +0000 http://ffimp-17219387 #td_uid_2_58feddd8ac54d .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_58feddd8ac54d .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item2 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_58feddd8ac54d .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item3 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_58feddd8ac54d .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item4 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_58feddd8ac54d .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item5 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_58feddd8ac54d .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item6 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; }

By David Graper
SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist

Quackgrass and bromegrass are often two of the worst weeds in perennial flower gardens and in perennial vegetables like asparagus. Kentucky bluegrass and other lawn grasses can also be a problem. Perennial broadleaf weeds are also other common weeds among flowers and perennial vegetables. They are both aggressive plants that can grow among other plants so tightly that it is difficult to get them out. In addition, plants like quackgrass, bromegrass, creeping jenny and others produce creeping, underground stems called rhizomes that allow the plant to spread a foot or more in a season, producing new plants as they grow. You will be able to see those when you dig the plants up. They are usually white and about 1/8” in diameter. Note that quackgrass is entirely different from crabgrass. Crabgrass is an annual that only germinates from seed in the spring and it does not produce rhizomes. It will creep along the ground as it becomes more mature, later in the summer, but it does so by horizontal stems on the surface of the ground. Gardeners frequently ask how to get rid of these tough weeds, so here are a few tips.

First, prevention is usually the best way to deal with a weed problem. This is the place to start if you are thinking of establishing a new garden somewhere. Check the site to see if quack, bromegrass, or other perennial weeds are already established there. If they are, you are going to want to try to control them with repeated cultivation or better yet, a couple applications of a non-selective, non-residual herbicide like glyphosate. Wait until the vegetation has gotten several inches tall, then treat it according to label directions. If you are doing this during cool, spring conditions, try to wait about a week before tilling up the site after treatment. You only have to wait a couple of days if you are doing this later in the season in warm weather. If you can, wait a month or so and repeat the process to get rid of as many of the perennial weeds and newly sprouted annual weeds as you can before planting.

The second aspect of prevention is to be careful not to introduce new weeds into your garden bed. Gardeners love to exchange plants with each other. However, often those plants have unwelcome weeds growing along with the desirable plants. So, take a little time to carefully remove any weeds that might be along for the ride into your new garden bed. Plants purchased from a greenhouse, nursery or discount outlet store might also contain unwanted weeds, so always check before planting. Also, remember the definition of a weed – a plant growing out of place. Many gardeners love to share plants with friend but often the recipients of those plants later wish they had never planted them as the plants have taken over their garden. So, take a look at the plants growing in your friend’s yard first to see if if this might be an aggressive plant that might end up becoming a weed later on for you in your garden.

Another way to help reduce the chances of having weeds creep into your planting beds is to use exclusion, usually in the form of some type of edging. Most people use a black plastic edging but other kinds are also available like brick pavers or even steel, but these can be rather expensive. It’s easiest to install the edging before you begin planting so you don’t have to worry about damaging newly installed plants. Most plastic edging can be installed using a flat garden spade or better yet, rent a power edger to cut the small trench along the edge of your bed to install the edging.

If you are dealing with an established perennial bed, using an herbicide like glyphosate gets much more difficult because you have a much greater chance of misapplication, getting the spray on some of the plants that you want to keep. You might be able to do a little spot spraying but you may still get damage if you are not extremely careful. Use a coarse spray and only when there is as little wind as possible. Cover desirable plants with buckets or other containers if possible to protect them from the spray and leave the buckets in place until the spray has dried. There is another option in using some of the spray foam formulations of glyphosate. These products shoot out a narrow stream of the herbicide solution allowing you to pinpoint where you apply it, allowing you almost surgical precision during application. But, it does take some practice to hit what you are aiming for so still be very careful. Keep some water handy so you can immediately wash off any leaves of desirable plants that accidentally get hit with the foam.

Gardeners may be tempted to use various broadleaf herbicides to kill broadleaf weeds like dandelions, thistles or creeping jenny. But, be sure to read the label. I would probably never suggest using any of these herbicides in a mixed perennial flower bed because so many of the flowers we grow will be damaged by phenoxy herbicides like 2,4-D, Banvel or Trimec. Even trying to spot spray would be very risky because of the likelihood of drift or volatilization of the product that would likely damage nearby plants. Some of these products are labeled for use on asparagus but the directions must be followed closely. Never use any kinds of herbicides that say they are ground-clearing products that kill everything and will prevent weeds from coming back for several months. They are generally non-selective herbicides that will seriously damage your perennials or kill them, just like they would weeds. Garden weed preventors, like Preen for example, can be used, as long as the plants you are using them around are listed on the label. However, keep in mind that these kinds of herbicides prevent seeds from germinating. They will generally not have any effect on already-growing perennial or annual weeds.

Using organic mulches is another great way to help reduce the likelihood of weed problems developing around your perennial plants. I prefer using an organic mulch like shredded hardwood bark. It tends to stay in place, looks attractive, may be available in a variety of colors, helps to conserve moisture and will help to prevent new weeds from getting established by covering the soil. Bark or wood chips can also be used but may be washed off beds during heavy rains more easily than shredded bark. Apply the mulch about 2-3” deep to be effective. You do not need to apply a weed barrier fabric first, and I generally advise against using black plastic that can interfere with mater and air movement into the soil. As the mulch decomposes, it will add organic matter to the soil too. Even though rock mulch is quite popular, I usually advise against using it as a mulch. It is heavy and difficult to work with. It tends to heat up during the summer time causing heat stress to most perennial plants and is very difficult to remove if you decide to change a planting bed later on. While many think it is a low maintenance alternative, weeds frequently grow in rock mulch as the weed seeds are blown in between the rocks. Black plastic is often used in conjunction with the rock, which is not good for the perennials either. if you are really interested in having healthy perennial plants, an organic mulch is a much better option.

Generally digging out weeds by hand can be very difficult and often just results in causing more plants to spring up as you cut rhizomes in the process. However, at this time of year, the newest plants, which are sprouting up from nodes along the rhizomes, are just beginning to form their roots. Therefore, they are easier to dig now, than they will be any time during the rest of the season. Use a sturdy trowel to dig a few inches back from the new leaves you see growing from the ground. Lift up the soil and plant to loosen it from the ground. Then, rather than just jerking it out, see if you can loosen up more of the connecting rhizome and additional plants. You might be surprised as to how far one individual, but connected plant, can reach. If you dig carefully, you can get fairly close to established perennials and get rid of much of the quack or brome.

Extension Master Gardener training offered this summer

By Aimee House Ladonski

Volunteer Development Field Specialist

Want to become a Master Gardener or know someone who does?

Please share the attached announcement with potentially interested parties.

Registration deadline is May 1st, 2017.

SDSU Extension Master Gardener Training is provided by SDSU faculty and includes access to online training materials, a resource manual, and hands-on classes. Hands-on classes will be held in three locations, over eight sessions. Come join the fun!

Participants can select one of three training locations:

Sioux Falls: June 6, 13, 20, 27, July 11, 18, 25, August 1.

Aberdeen: June 7, 14, 21, 28, July 12, 19, 26, August 2.

Spearfish: June 8, 15, 22, 29, July 13, 20, 27, August 3.

Each session begins at 8:30 am and ends at 4:30 pm local time.

Topics Include

• Basic botany and taxonomy

• Soils and fertilizers; turf and weed management

• Plant pathology/composting

• Tree and shrub care

• Pest management

• Planting and landscape use;

• Pesticides

• Insects and pollinators, biodiversity

• Vegetables and season extension

• Herbaceous ornamentals, native plants, plant propagation

Training with Volunteer Commitment (Discount Rate $190)

To take course at discounted rate, you must provide 50 hours of volunteer service over the next two years. The balance of the full course fee will be invoiced if service commitment is not completed. Upon successfully completing the training and 50 hours of initial volunteer service you will become a full-fledged SDSU Extension Master Gardener.

Training without Volunteer Commitment (Full Price $540)

Participants will receive the same training, but will not be required to volunteer and will not become a certified Master Gardener. Instead, participants receive a horticulture training certificate upon successful completion of the course.

Register Today at Having trouble registering? Contact us at or call 605-782-3290

Calving time also can mean scours time Fri, 21 Apr 2017 21:56:03 +0000 http://ffimp-17216869 NDSU Extension

Cattle producers should monitor their newborn calves for scours, or calf diarrhea, North Dakota State University Extension Service livestock experts advise.

“Calves running, nursing and sleeping are signs of healthy calves,” says Karl Hoppe, Extension’s area livestock systems specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center. “A calf that isn’t joining the herd is a sure sign that something isn’t right.”

Scours is an intestinal tract infection. Symptoms include a wet tail, a puddle of liquid manure, blood oozing out of the anus, listlessness and dehydration. Calves with scours also have sunken eyes and may feel cool to the touch.

“Rehydration is the first step of therapy to help the scouring calf because in an attempt to rid the cause of the intestinal infection, the body tries to flush the bad bugs out of the body,” Extension veterinarian Gerald Stokka says.

He recommends producers immediately provide calves suffering from scours with liquids and electrolytes that are easy to absorb.

“Milk isn’t a good choice because it takes longer to digest and also can be a great media for unwanted bacterial growth,” he notes. “Intravenous administration of electrolytes may be needed to rehydrate a severely dehydrated, listless calf quickly.”

Calves with scours need constant rehydration, according to the specialists. Calves can require 6 to 10 quarts of electrolyte solution per day to replenish body fluids lost due to profuse diarrhea.

For example, a 100-pound calf that is 10 percent (severely) dehydrated needs 10 pounds (6 quarts) of fluids just to replace the lost fluids.

“Do not replace it all at once, but over several feedings, with no more than 2 quarts at a time,” Hoppe says.

“Some calves may not be strong enough to nurse; however, most commercial electrolyte solutions contain the energy source dextrose,” he adds. “When the calves have been rehydrated, they should be allowed to nurse because oral replacements do not meet the nutritional requirements of the calf.”

Getting the calf out of the wind and in a warm barn also helps because scouring calves have difficulty staying warm.

Antibiotic therapy may be indicated when producers are concerned that the intestinal infection has become systemic, Stokka says. Administering liquid antibiotics orally can be effective with bacterial infections when the digestive tract is functional, while antibiotics in pill form have a hard time dissolving and absorption is limited due to intestinal damage.

While scours can develop at any age, producers should be particularly watchful with calves that are 3 to 21 days old.

Scours can be caused by bacteria (E coli, Salmonella, clostridium perfringens), viruses (rotavirus, coronavirus) and parasites (cryptosporidium and coccidia). Scours often is caused by a combination of infectious agents.

“Adequate colostrum intake and reduced weather stress, plus clean bedding or new pasture, help reduce the number of new cases and exposure to infective agents,” Hoppe says. “Consider moving noninfected calves to a new pasture or a cleaned and bedded pen.”

Calves out of first-calf cows seem to have a higher incidence of scours. This may be due to a lack of adequate passive immunity transferred to the calf and a higher exposure to scours organisms because heifers normally are confined to less space for monitoring purposes, the specialists say.

Some strains of scours are zoonotic, meaning that it can be spread from calves to humans. The specialists recommend producers use disposable latex or nitrile gloves when working with calves, disinfect clothes and equipment that has come into contact with sick animals, and wash their hands before eating or putting things in their mouth.

For more information, check out the NDSU publication “Calf Diarrhea (aka Scours)” at

Keeping honeybees healthy: A role for veterinarians? Fri, 21 Apr 2017 21:56:02 +0000 http://ffimp-17216675 by Russ Daly
Special to the Farm Forum

I admit it. I’m biased when it comes to the term, “food animal.” Invariably, one of three animals usually come to mind: a feedlot steer, a Holstein milk cow, or a pig in a finishing barn. They’re the species I’ve spent the most time with over the years.

I certainly also consider turkeys, laying hens, sheep, and goats as food animals; they’re just not always top-of-mind. But at this year’s James Bailey Herd Health Conference, I – and other veterinarians – added another food animal to our awareness: honeybees.

Honeybees do produce food, of course. But their world and the world of veterinarians really never collided. We certainly had numerous hives in our practice area in southeastern South Dakota, as well as adjacent to our alfalfa ground back home in Brown County. But to think they would ever need veterinary assistance was a real stretch of the imagination.

It turns out that sometimes bees do need veterinary involvement! Katie Lee, a soon-to-be PhD at the University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab (yes, they have a Bee Lab!), gave us veterinarians a look inside honeybee health with a presentation at the conference.

Bees are prone to infectious diseases just like cattle and hogs. Ms. Lee presented a long list of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that specifically affect bee colonies and can potentially wipe out whole populations. There is not much that can be done, unfortunately, to stop most of these diseases once in the colony. In fact, only two diseases on that long list were treatable: the bacterial diseases called American Foulbrood and European Foulbrood.

If the bacteria causing these diseases make their way into a beehive, they can quickly wipe out a hive. The bacteria infect the bee larvae after they’ve hatched in their individual honeycomb cell. This causes the larvae to die and their previously white “cap” on the honeycomb cell to turn brown or black. Why is it called “foulbrood”? The hive takes on the fragrant aroma of rotting meat. Once a hive is affected, sometimes all that can be done to control the disease is to burn the box and frames.

Honeybee diseases share a basic similarity with other food animal diseases: prevention is key. Beekeepers can use antibiotics to kill the bacteria spread by their bees, in order to head off a full-blown foulbrood outbreak. Antibiotics are mixed with powdered sugar to form a medicated syrup or dust; or with shortening to form a “patty.” Bees consume this sugar and the antibiotic kills the bad bacteria.

This is where veterinarians come in. The same regulations that – as of January 1 – require Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) forms to be filled out for producers looking for feed-grade antibiotics for their cattle are affecting beekeepers now too. These medications, previously available over-the-counter, are now under prescription or VFD status. Beekeepers now need to have a valid veterinary-beekeeper-bee relationship in order to get these medicines. In turn, veterinarians are getting up to speed on bee husbandry and bee medications – subjects not taught in veterinary school!

Remember that these antibiotics only treat two of the long list of bee diseases. What about the others? Another very interesting concept brought to light by the researcher was that of biosecurity for beekeeping operations. The other germs causing bee illness and death are carried by other bees, but they can also be introduced into a beehive site through contaminated equipment, clothing, and people. It turns out that the same common-sense management steps taken by swine and poultry vets and producers to keep novel diseases away from their animals apply to bee operations as well. These include disinfecting (or better yet, not sharing) equipment, changing clothing and protective gear, and being careful about vehicle traffic between beehive sites.

Our veterinarians learned a lot about bee husbandry and diseases and are now better poised to help their local beekeepers on health issues. There is definitely more to learn. However, on the other hand, beekeepers could probably learn a lot from food animal veterinarians. The expertise in biosecurity and disease containment they’ve gained through working with swine, poultry, and cattle can be of great value in keeping this more unusual food animal species safe from devastating disease.

Russ Daly, DVM, is the Extension Veterinarian at South Dakota State University. He can be reached via e-mail at or at 605-688-5171.

ND Crop Improvement and Seed Association donates $25,000 for seed conditioning facility Fri, 21 Apr 2017 21:26:02 +0000 http://ffimp-17216646 NDSU Extension

The North Dakota Crop Improvement and Seed Association (NDCISA) has donated $25,000 to North Dakota State University’s North Central Research Extension Center (NCREC) near Minot for a new seed-conditioning facility.

“This facility is a long-term investment in North Dakota’s agriculture producers and we thank the NDCISA for their donation,” says Shana Forster, NCREC director. “Once built it will help us meet the current and future needs of the seed industry and serve our clients’ needs.”

In the 2015-2017 legislative session, the N.D. Legislature granted $750,000 to the NCREC for the new facility, with permission to raise funds for an additional $1.5 million to contribute to the project. The State Board of Higher Education approved these numbers.

An active fundraising campaign is ongoing through the NDSU Foundation and Alumni Association.

Groundbreaking on the project is expected sometime this year.

USDA seeks applications to support rural businesses and create jobs Fri, 21 Apr 2017 21:16:03 +0000 http://ffimp-17216443 U.S. Department of Agriculture

HURON – U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Acting State Director Bruce Jones has announced the agency is accepting applications for the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program.

“This grant promotes long-term economic growth and community vitality in rural areas,” said Jones. “We encourage non-profits, tribes and public agencies to apply.”

The Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) is designed to assist with startup and expansion of small and emerging private businesses and/or nonprofits in rural communities. Eligible applicants include public bodies, government entities, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations. Funds can be used for business incubators, leadership and entrepreneur training, acquisition or development of land or buildings, capitalization of revolving loan funds to be re-lent to local businesses and many other purposes – all to assist small businesses.

For example in 2015, Brookings Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) leveraged their own funds with RBDG funds towards workforce education efforts with the South Dakota Education Campus (SDEC) located in Brookings. SDEC works closely with Brookings businesses and provides training in the areas needed by those businesses. In some cases, they have individuals who want to learn a new skill so they can get a job or develop new skill sets that will support their career development. Examples of training provided include CNAs, welders, and carpenters, as well as classes in Quicken, Excel, and other computer programs. Their emphasis is in STEM, and have worked with Minnesota West Community College in Granite Falls, Minn. as well as the Brookings School District. In 2015, BEDC also leveraged their own funds with RBDG funds towards the Brookings community entrepreneurship growth strategy that they titled Makerspace. The Brookings Area Makerspace provides affordable access to unique space and specialized equipment in several areas. Categories include wood shop, kitchen area, industrial sewing machine, 3-D printer, electronics bench, welder, CNC router table, laser engraver, plus more. The Makerspace is intended to be used by entrepreneurs, artists, makers, and hobbyists to collaborate on projects and experiment on innovate ideas – to encourage learning and entrepreneurship.

Funds have been set aside nationally to assist Native Americans, and additional monies will be allotted among the states for non-set aside applicants. All grants will be awarded competitively, based on several areas including:

• Evidence showing job creation to occur with local businesses.

• Percent of nonfederal funding committed to the project.

• Economic need in the area to be served.

• Consistency with local economic development priorities.

• Experience of the grantee with similar efforts.

Complete applications must be received by USDA Rural Development at the South Dakota state office no later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28, 2017. If you are planning to submit an application in South Dakota, we encourage you to contact a local Business and Cooperative Program specialist or the state office for more details about the application requirements and process.

DENR reissues general permit for concentrated animal feeding operations Fri, 21 Apr 2017 19:06:02 +0000 http://ffimp-17217613 South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources

PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced today the General Water Pollution Control Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations has been reissued and is now effective.

There are 429 livestock operations covered under the existing general permit for concentrated animal feeding operations.

“While the existing permit has been successful in protecting water quality in South Dakota, those operations now have one to four years to apply for and obtain coverage under the new reissued permit,” said Kent Woodmansey, administrator of DENR’s Feedlot Permit Program. “DENR will send letters to all permitted operations with information about the process and deadlines for applying.”

Livestock operations need coverage under the general permit if they are a large concentrated animal feeding operation, or are required to obtain state permit coverage by units of local government. Producers may also voluntarily apply for and obtain permit coverage.

Large concentrated animal feeding operations confine at least 1,000 beef cattle, 700 dairy cows, 2,500 swine weighing 55 pounds or more, 10,000 swine weighing less than 55 pounds, 500 horses, 10,000 sheep, 55,000 turkeys, or 30,000 geese. Large concentrated chicken and duck operations range between 5,000 to 125,000 animals based on the type of operation and whether a liquid or solid manure containment system is used.

The content of the reissued general water pollution control permit for concentrated animal feeding operations includes:

• State and federal requirements for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of manure management systems to protect surface and ground water quality.

• Nutrient management plan requirements to ensure that nitrogen and phosphorus in the manure are properly land applied as a fertilizer for crop production.

• A roadmap for livestock producers, design engineers, and crop consultants to reach environmental compliance in South Dakota.

The process to reissue the general permit for concentrated animal feeding operations began two years ago during April 2015, when DENR staff started meeting and talking informally with agricultural groups, producer groups, and other interested parties. After a statewide webinar was held, DENR public noticed a draft general permit on Oct. 8, 2015, but it was contested by 11 intervention petitions. A contested case hearing initially scheduled for December 2015 was delayed, rescheduled, and held on Sept. 27-29, 2016. Petitioners represented at the hearing included Dakota Rural Action, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Dairy Producers, South Dakota Pork Producers Council and Sonstegard Foods.

After listening to two-and-a-half days of testimony at the contested case hearing, DENR Secretary Steve Pirner, acting as hearing chairman, approved revisions and adopted a final permit. Attorneys for the DENR Feedlot Permit Program submitted to the Secretary proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. Dakota Rural Action’s attorney submitted to the Secretary objections to the proposal. On March 10, 2017, the Secretary adopted final Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. Parties to the hearing had 30 days to appeal the Secretary’s decision to circuit court. Since the Secretary’s final Findings were not appealed, the general water pollution control permit for concentrated animal feeding operations is reissued and in effect.

More information about the reissued general permit can be found on DENR’s Feedlot Permit Program website at

GROW South Dakota receives State Farm grant to prepare homebuyers Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:36:03 +0000 http://ffimp-17216846 GROW South Dakota

GROW South Dakota recently received a Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant from State Farm for its Preparing Homebuyers project. The purpose of the project is to support prospective homebuyers in evaluating their readiness to purchase a home, preparing to apply for a mortgage, and building their understanding of all aspects of owning a home.

The grant will fund the preparation of an information sheet on basic steps in preparing for homeownership as well as coaching by GROW South Dakota staff to make a successful application for a home mortgage. The project has a goal of particularly supporting low-income potential homebuyers. The grant also will support technology training for staff.

For more information about GROW South Dakota housing, community and business development programs visit or call (605) 698-7654.

Report examines state of farming and impact of consolidation Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:26:03 +0000 http://ffimp-17216662 Farmer’s Business Network, Inc.

SAN CARLOS, California — Farmer’s Business Network, Inc., an independent farmer-to-farmer network, has released The Voice of the Farmer, a special research report on the state of American agriculture and the challenges facing farmers.

The Voice of the Farmer examines the state of modern day farming through a combination of candid interviews with farmers and analysis of millions of acres of real farm yield and thousands of farmer seed and chemical invoices and price records.

What issues are weighing on the minds of farmers in 2017? What does the data say about the impact of ag industry mergers and farm consolidation on farm profits?

“Independent family farms are the core of our food system, but are too often left out of the most important discussions affecting their livelihoods,” said FBN network co-founder and VP of product, Charles Baron. “We created The Voice of the Farmer to examine the most pressing issues facing farmers and what they mean for their farm incomes and the future of their industry.”

What’s on farmers’ minds and what the data says

• Farm profits are under pressure. Despite record high yields in 2016, many farmers saw both revenue and profits fall last year as a result of low commodity prices and high input costs.

• Ag industry consolidation will likely further hurt farm incomes. The report analyzed thousands of recent seed and chemical invoices by farmers as well as their related yield results from millions of acres. The analysis found that with market share increases among input manufacturers, come higher prices for farmers in both seed and chemicals. Furthermore, yield gains from innovation tapered off as input manufacturers gained market share.

• Farm consolidation is putting pressure on independent farmers and is changing the business practices and productivity of operations. We studied the relationship between farm size, price paid for inputs, and yields relative to revenue trends. Larger farms typically pay less for key inputs and concentrate buying from major seed brands but not major chem brands. Larger farms also realize lower yields per acre as it becomes harder to optimize each individual field.

• Health care coverage and cost is a major concern for farm families. A family of five might pay thousands of dollars for health care premiums, forcing farm families to add off-farm jobs and further pressuring their profits.

• Technology needs to prove its return on investment, but is creating reasons for optimism. With incomes under pressure, farmers are questioning the true ROI of many farm technologies. Though despite the scrutiny, technology innovations are creating new sources of optimism.

The full 72-page Voice of the Farmer report ( includes first of its kind analysis on the impact of consolidation and increasing market share among input manufacturers on the prices farmers pay. The report draws directly from millions of acres of anonymized precision crop yield records spanning thousands of seeds and their associated prices actually paid by farmers.

For more information on The Voice of the Farmer, contact:

Bradstreet’s design influenced by multiple styles Thu, 20 Apr 2017 23:16:12 +0000 http://ffimp-17204878 BY TERRY AND KIM KOVEL
Kovels’ Antiques and Collecting

As fashions change in clothing, so do fashions in furniture and design. Norman Rockwell was considered a commercial artist of little value for many years, but now his original paintings for magazine covers can sell for millions of dollars. A strange table made by John Scott Bradstreet (1845-1914) recently was offered at a Cowan auction in Cincinnati. Bradstreet was a leading interior designer, decorator and tastemaker in Minneapolis for many years before he died in a car crash in 1914. The table was in the Arts and Crafts style — sort of. Bradstreet went to Japan many times, and his designs were influenced by Asian arts and bits of many other styles — English Arts and Crafts, Moorish, Gothic, the Aesthetic Movement and the works of Whistler. The wooden center table sold in the auction was covered with shallow carvings that followed the grain. The technique, called by the Japanese name jin-di-sugi, used cypress, a soft wood that, after a long time in water or mud, develops raised lines in the grain. The wood was then scorched, brushed, carved and waxed, a process that was modernized and patented by Bradstreet. Few pieces like this are known, and many of these are in museums. The auctioned table had side panels that flipped down to make small display shelves on each side. We looked for more information about this table and the maker, and found that it had sold in 2005 for an estimated price of $50,000 to $75,000. This time, the table brought $24,000.

Q I have three Royal Doulton blue-and-white vases depicting scenes of children playing blind man’s bluff in the woods. They are dressed in 19th-century clothing. What can you tell me about them?

A These are part of Royal Doulton’s “Blue Children” series, which was made from 1890 to 1930. The series often is called “Babes in the Woods” by collectors. The series included 24 blue-and-white scenes, most picturing young girls. The designs were hand painted on earthenware. Vases, plates, plaques, biscuit jars, jugs and other pieces were made, most before 1915. Some pieces made before 1902 were signed by the artist. Fakes also have been made. A 9 3/4-inch vase, signed with the artist’s initials, recently sold at auction for $224. An 18 1/4-inch vase sold for $1,180. You should have an expert look at your vases to get an idea of their value.

Q I’d like information about a teddy bear I have. It has long mohair, felt pads on its feet, glass eyes, straw stuffing and a growler. The arms, legs and head move. It’s in good condition. There is a label that reads “Made in Federal Republik of Germany.”

A Your teddy bear was made between May 1949 and October 1990, when the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was in existence. Bears made before World War II are more desirable than newer bears. Without a maker’s name, it’s not possible to give a value for your bear.

Q My mother gave me the metal dentist chair from my father’s office. It is not like today’s dentist chairs; it’s more like a lightweight skeleton chair with a round enameled metal seat, rectangular slotted metal back and spindles for the headrest, legs and mechanical parts. There are no arms. It looks very uncomfortable and smaller than a regular dental chair. Is it worth anything? How was it used? How old is it?

A The 17th-century dentist held the patient on the floor to pull a tooth. By the early 18th century, a Windsor chair with a piece of wood added as a head rest was used. Then inventors made improvements to metal, mechanical and upholstered chairs. Your chair was made in about 1910. Bacteria and diseases were a worry during that time. The enameled metal furniture was very popular in the 1930s. Large padded chairs used today and as early as the 1850s are sometimes bought for a family room or home bar as a conversation piece. They are hard to sell. A collector of dental antiques might pay a few hundred dollars for the chair, or a dental museum might give you a tax deduction if you donate it.

Q I’d like to know the value of a violin that is about 100 years old. The inscription inside reads “Copy of Antonius Stradivarius, made in Czechoslovakia.” What is it worth?

A Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) made violins, violas, cellos and other stringed instruments at his workshop in Cremona, Italy. Fewer than 600 of the original Stradivarius violins still are in existence, and they sell for several million dollars each. Thousands of copies have been made and don’t sell for high prices. Your violin was made after the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Recently, a violin like yours that included the case sold for $57.

Tip: To clean the stem and bowl of a collectible briar pipe, dip a pipe cleaner in vodka. Push the pipe cleaner through the stem. Use a dry pipe cleaner for any pipe but a briar pipe.

By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for use in any Kovel forum. For return of a photograph, include a stamped envelope. Write to Kovel, Farm Forum, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.

Is it time for an oil change in your kitchen? Thu, 20 Apr 2017 23:16:10 +0000 http://ffimp-17204462 By Julie Garden-Robinson
NDSU Extension Service Food and Nutrition Specialist

Have you ever been startled by the unpleasant aroma of a previously opened container of oil or solid shortening?

I have a recipe that works best with a particular type of solid shortening. I hadn’t made the recipe for several months, so I reached into the cupboard and pulled out the container. When I opened the lid, I think my hair blew back. I turned my head to escape the odor.

Well, my hair really didn’t move, but I replaced the lid and walked straight to the trash can and threw it away. Even though I bought the smallest container of shortening I could find, I still didn’t use it before it became rancid. While rancid fat does not cause foodborne illness, some researchers have noted that eating rancid fat may cause chemical changes in our body that could promote chronic disease.

Rancidity is the natural spoilage of fats or oils due to changes in the chemical structure of the fat. Exposure to light, warm temperatures and oxygen can promote the rancidity process. If you deep-fry foods, be aware that moisture in the food and added salt can promote rancidity, too.

While most of us know that oils usually are considered more healthful than solid fats, oils tend to become rancid more quickly than solid fats. Plant-based fats such as canola, corn, olive, peanut and sunflower oil are more unsaturated than animal-based fats such as lard and butter.

Oils provide essential fatty acids (the type our bodies can’t make) and also vitamin E. We need essential fatty acids found in oils to help regulate our body’s biological functions and as part of our cell membranes. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that helps protect our cells, tissues and organs.

Because fats and oils are concentrated sources of calories, we have been cautioned to limit them to avoid excessive calorie intake. On a typical 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, the recommendation is about 5 teaspoons per day contained in foods. One teaspoon of oil has about 40 calories.

Many oils have distinct flavors and properties that make them tasty additions in your cooking. For heart health, nutrition experts recommend replacing solid fats with oils. Some shortenings are high in trans fats, which are formed when oils are hydrogenated to form solid fats. We need to minimize trans fats in our diet.

When incorporating fats, oils and foods high in fat in your diet, keep these tips from nutrition experts in mind:

• Use oils containing monounsaturated fat such as olive, canola, peanut and sesame oil instead of oils high in saturated fat such as coconut and palm oil.

• Try oils high in polyunsaturated fats such as corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower and cottonseed oils instead of coconut oil, palm oil or hydrogenated vegetable fats.

• Use liquid oils in place of butter, lard or hardened vegetable shortening. On average, use about 3/4 cup of oil for every cup of shortening.

• Enjoy foods high in unsaturated fats (omega-3 fats) such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel and tuna) regularly.

• Incorporate foods high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as avocados, nuts and olive oil into your recipes.

Choose healthful oils and be sure to buy what you will use in a reasonable amount of time. Store the oils in a cool, dark, dry place away from heat sources, such as near your stove.

Unopened containers of oil usually last about one to two years on the shelf, depending on the type of oil. Opened oil lasts anywhere from a few months to a year on the shelf. Storing oil in the refrigerator may extend its storage life.

Here’s a recipe that allows you to put on your chef hat and create your own salad dressing. Many store-bought salad dressings are high in sodium, so creating your own can help you trim sodium from your recipes.

Create a Salad Dressing

1 c. salad oil (your choice)

1/3 c. acid, such as red wine vinegar

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. salt (or less, to taste)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Pinch of sugar (optional)

Put all ingredients into an airtight container such as a glass jar. Secure the lid and shake until ingredients are combined. Store salad dressing in the refrigerator. On average, 1 tablespoon of this recipe will have about 100 calories, 11 grams (g) fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber and 60 milligrams sodium.

Make this recipe your own signature recipe by substituting different ingredients that you have on hand.

Oil: Try canola or olive oil. They have different flavors, but they both provide healthful monounsaturated fats. Canola oil costs much less and will make your homemade salad dressing a bargain, compared with store-bought salad dressings.

Acid: Try different flavors of vinegar, such as balsamic vinegar, or try fruit juice. With fruit juices, you can use more acid and less oil, making a lower-fat salad dressing.

Seasonings: Try any herbs or spices, salt, pepper or chopped vegetables (such as onions or peppers). Add some mustard if you like.

Improper grazing steals from the future Thu, 20 Apr 2017 23:16:09 +0000 http://ffimp-17204263 By Kris Ringwall
NDSU Extension Service Beef Specialist

Proper cattle management means proper pasture management.

Correct pasture stocking rates and grazing plans are essential for the short run and the long-term survival of a beef operation. Producers have many approaches to grazing systems. The key point is to have a plan because improper grazing steals from the future.

Simply utilizing grass or forage of any type on a production whim is a mistake. Minor stocking rate adjustments are all right because of above-normal or below-normal precipitation. Adjustments need to be minor, and even the adjustments need to be options within the plan.

Cattle allotments and pasture assignments are being planned for the pastures the Dickinson Research Extension Center (DREC) manages. Beef producers should be doing the same for their summer grazing units.

The basic grazing system should not change from year to year. Keeping up and monitoring the system is important.

Let’s look at an example. This year, one unit the center manages has not had a consistent annual grazing plan. That’s because the center has not always managed the unit. Now that the center again is managing the unit, the question is, “How many cow-calf pairs should the center stock within a re-implemented twice-over grazing system?”

This is not “lean on the gate and guess” but rather an answerable question. As with any grazing unit, stock conservatively at the start and plan for stocking rate adjustments as the grassland or forage base improves.

What numbers do you use? Begin by consulting a grazing expert. In the center’s case, Lee Manske is the DREC range specialist, so we have good advice. For producers, start with a visit with the neighbors, the local county office of the Extension Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service office.

For the unit in question, Manske reviewed ecological site maps and determined the unit has a stocking rate of 1.92 acres per animal unit month (AUM), or 790 AUMs of forage for the 1,519 acres of pasturelands. This information gives us what we need to know.

The grazing system is 4.5 months, early June to mid-October. The 790 AUMs are divided by 4.5 months (or actual days) to determine the actual number of animal units available. Dividing by the number of months or days of grazing spreads the total AUMs over the full grazing season. In this case, 175 (790 divided by 4.5) animal units are needed to graze for 4.5 months.

An animal unit is defined as a 1,000-pound cow plus the calf, so one could say 175 cow-calf pairs with the cows weighing 1,000 pounds each. In this case, 175 1,000-pound cows could be anticipated for a total herd weight of 175,000 (175 times 1,000) pounds.

Not all cows weigh 1,000 pounds, so now an adjustment is made for the actual average weight of the cows that are going to graze. The average weight of the cows is critical for proper AUM stocking and percentage of utilization. The center’s cows average 1,462 pounds, so the center could stock 120 (175,000 divided by 1,462) cow-calf pairs on this grazing unit.

Then, each producer needs to predetermine the percentage of utilization desired. Pastures in poor shape require lower utilization, with the anticipation of greater utilization in future years as the pasture improves. The goal is 100 percent utilization of the calculated AUMs available through a proper grazing system.

For the center and this grazing unit, the plan is to stock at only 65 percent of the previously calculated full stocking rate. That would be almost 114,000 (175,000 times 65 percent) pounds of cattle in early June. So, at the desired percentage of utilization, the center could stock 78 (114,000 divided by 1,462) cow-calf pairs.

That is lots of math, but the answer is to know what is proper for this point in time to achieve the desired grazing outcome. If the center continues to manage this unit, the goal is to approach 120 pairs gradually.

The point is that the unloading of cattle at a pasture gate is not a “lean on the gate” decision.

Perhaps one wonders why weather is so often the first thing in a conversation, but once one appreciates weather impacts, one understands why we start the day with the weather news. In the ranching community, weather is serious and, even though ranchers cannot control Mother Nature, plans can be developed and put in place to accommodate the weather.

Beef operations with effective grazing systems in place are in a position to manage through drought and wet times without upsetting the focused direction of the ranch operation. I cannot tell a producer how the summer is going to turn out. I can tell anyone that the cattle will have grass, the cows will re-breed and the calves will gain well because the center has a plan that supports long-term grass production.

No one at the center will panic; they’ll just have options if needed. Develop a plan and stick to it.

May you find all your ear tags.

For more information, contact your local NDSU Extension Service agent ( or Ringwall at the Dickinson Research Extension Center, 1041 State Ave., Dickinson, ND 58601; 701-456-1103; or

How to get a head-start on fly control Thu, 20 Apr 2017 23:16:06 +0000 http://ffimp-17203755 Purina Animal Nutrition

Shoreview, Minn. – Summer’s heat seems far away. But it will be here soon and so will pesky flies. Don’t wait for flies to emerge to start your fly control program. For maximum effectiveness, now is the time to evaluate and start your fly control strategy.

“Starting a program before flies appear goes a long way in prevention for calves, heifers and cows,” says Gary Geisler, calf and heifer specialist with Purina Animal Nutrition. “A well-planned, holistic fly control program can keep calves healthier, maintain intakes and growth for heifers, and keep cows milking.”

So, how can you beat the buzz and protect performance?

Consider a feed-through larvicide

A simple and effective way to control fly populations is to use a feed-through larvicide. This form of fly control:

• Does not require additional labor as compared to other fly control options with multiple steps (i.e. pour-ons, ear tags, walk-throughs, etc.).

• Is easily combined with an Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) – a multi-faceted approach to pest management to make the most of your fly control program.

• Has an Insect Growth Regulator in the manure where flies lay their eggs. This stops the fly life cycle by preventing fly larvae from molting into pupae and, eventually, adult flies.

To be most effective, feed-through larvicides should be fed from 30 days before flies appear through to 30 days after the first killing frost.

“Implementing a feed-through larvicide before flies hatch will help keep fly populations in check. This type of control can help by reducing the first swarm of adult flies’ ability to reproduce,” says Geisler. “The earlier you break the life cycle, the fewer flies you’ll have buzzing around later.”

Look at the big picture

While a feed-through larvicide can help curb fly populations, it’s only one piece of the bigger IPM puzzle.

In addition to using a feed-through larvicide, these management practices can help keep fly populations to a minimum:

• Identify the type of flies present and locate where maggots might be. Identifying these will help eliminate additional fly breeding locations and determine how to make these areas less of an attractant for flies.

• Determine if there are any other forms of fly control that could help reduce populations in the areas identified.

• Clean all pens on a regular basis to help eliminate fly breeding sites and store manure and soiled bedding away from calf and heifer housing.

• Keep feed fresh and dry as molasses can be an attractant for flies.

• Avoid accumulation of feed, manure and water, which will attract flies.

• Use scatter baits for adult flies as needed.

“Taking a look at the whole fly control picture and getting an early start on your program can help calves stay healthy, heifers growing, and cows producing during fly season,” concludes Geisler.

For additional information on dairy nutrition and management, sign-up to receive the monthly Purina HERDSMART E-Newsletter; a free online tool to improve operational efficiency by visiting

Food and conservation groups invest in soil to sustain food production Thu, 20 Apr 2017 23:16:04 +0000 http://ffimp-17203314 PRNewswire

MINNEAPOLIS — A national effort to enhance farm sustainability through soil health has additional backing from a major consumer foods manufacturer. Leaders from General Mills, The Nature Conservancy, the Soil Health Institute and the Soil Health Partnership announce a collaborative effort to advance soil health on America’s farms and ranches, paving the way for measurable economic and environmental gains for farmers, businesses and communities for generations to come.

Global populations are expected to grow to more than 9 billion by 2050, doubling the demand for food, fuel and fiber production and placing unprecedented stress on the health and viability of soils. To help ensure soil health, General Mills has made a three-year, $2 million commitment to The Nature Conservancy, Soil Health Institute and Soil Health Partnership to support the development of tools and resources for farmers, landowners, and supply chain leaders to achieve widespread adoption of soil health practices.

“Soil health is critical for everyone including farmers, farm communities, consumers, and companies,” said Jerry Lynch, chief sustainability officer at General Mills. “We are grateful to partner with farmers in our supply chain in their ongoing work to build healthy soils, and welcome further collaboration with all interested parties in the value chain.”

Collaborating across business, science and policy sectors will help achieve meaningful soil health outcomes more quickly and at an unprecedented scale. Specifically, these organizations will partner to:

• Improve soil health measurements and standards.

• Increase support for soil health practice adoption by absentee landowners.

• Target, plan and expand the field network of on-farm demonstration sites.

• Coordinate soil health activities and communications for maximum impact.

• Mobilize and support diverse constituents in advancing public policy solutions.

“This commitment from General Mills will help us plan for strategic growth and expansion into new cropping systems, new partnerships and new geographies, both inside and outside the Upper Midwest where we have focused our efforts so far,” said Nick Goeser, director of the Soil Health Partnership. “It will also assist us in developing a framework to help others working on soil health efforts in the areas of research, education and networking.”

According to the organizations’ leaders, the scale-up of integrated research and soil health promotion is essential to enhancing global food production and protecting the ecosystem.

“The needs for advancing soil health are far greater than any single organization can provide – public or private,” said Wayne Honeycutt, president and CEO of the Soil Health Institute. “Soil health management systems can build resilience to drought as well as provide protection from other extreme weather events, such as flooding. In fact, when we increase soil organic carbon by a single percent – just 1 percent – we increase soil water-holding capacity by approximately 2,500 to 12,000 gallons per acre in many agricultural soils. These same soil health practices that are good for farmers can also improve water quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance pollinator and other wildlife habitat. Partnering is the way we can achieve national scale of such benefits.”

“Healthy soil is the foundation for all life, yet we estimate that less than 10 percent of U.S. soils are managed optimally today,” said Michael Doane, global director of working lands for The Nature Conservancy. “With a goal to transform the soil health management systems on at least 50 percent of US croplands by 2025, healthier soils can create substantial economic benefits for farmers and provide consumers and future generations with resilient food systems, clean water and a stable climate.”

Wilcox a modern home with classic look Thu, 20 Apr 2017 23:16:03 +0000 http://ffimp-17194196 Brick veneer and keystone arches give a classic look to the Willcox, but inside it is a truly contemporary home. Gathering spaces are not separated by walls, as they are in traditional dwellings, and vaulted ceilings in the core rooms add to the sense of spaciousness.

With the exception of the skylit recreation room over the garage, it’s a single-level dwelling that could be made wheelchair accessible. The recreation room has a half bath, storage closet, narrow window, and two large skylights. It can be outfitted as a separate playroom for the kids, or a secluded workspace for a writer or anyone else who enjoys retreating from the normal hustle and bustle of everyday home life.

The large, open gathering space that fills the core comprises a vaulted living room, dining room and kitchen. Abundant natural light washes in through wide windows, front and rear.

The living room’s gas fireplace offers mess-free, stress-free warmth, and colorful flames. It’s simple to fire up on chilly days or when darkness falls. Wide cabinetry, designed to house a home entertainment center, fills the space between the fireplace and the rear wall.

A long, three-sectioned eating bar is all that stands between the kitchen and the rest of the gathering space. The Willcox’s pantry is exceptionally roomy, as is the nearby utility room. The latter is a pass-through space that links with the garage, and makes an ideal mudroom to boot.

The plush owners’ suite fills the right side of the home; secondary bedrooms are on the left, where they share the main bathroom. Owners’ suite amenities include: a spa tub, dual vanity, deep walk-in closet, and separately enclosed shower and toilet.

Associated Designs is the original source for the Wilcox 30-232. For more information or to view other designs, visit or call 800-634-0123.

Informal Palermo has flexible living space Thu, 20 Apr 2017 23:16:02 +0000 http://ffimp-17194146 Relaxed and spacious, the Palermo is designed to suit families who prefer an informal lifestyle. Family living spaces flow together at the rear in the naturally bright vaulted great room. The room by the entry could be outfitted as a media room, study, or home office.

Storage space is generous throughout, with large cabinets and closets in the entry, great room, kitchen, owners’ suite, and utility room, not to mention the three-car garage.

The entry’s lofty ceiling is 12 feet high, and begins sloping up as you move into the great room. A parade of windows spangles the back and side walls, while a gas fireplace fits neatly into a corner. Deep shelving is ample for housing a home entertainment center.

A long conversation bar with an overhead plant shelf marks the kitchen boundary without cutting it off from the larger space. Someone standing at the kitchen range can survey the entire room, or gaze past the skylit dining area through French doors to watch the changing seasons. A partially covered patio spans the rear.

Utilities and a compact bathroom are nearby, nestled in a pass-through space that leads to the garage.

French double doors in the lavish owners’ suite offer direct patio access. A perfect spot for a hot tub is right around the corner. Other amenities include two huge walk-in closets and an owners’ bath with double vanity, enclosed toilet, oversized shower and deep soaking tub.

The front of the Palermo’s two secondary bedrooms is vaulted. Its boxed bay provides an ideal location for a wide window seat with built-in drawers.

Associated Designs is the original source for the Palermo 30-160. For more information or to view other designs, visit or call 800-634-0123.

Ag Women’s Day – June 7 in Faulkton Thu, 20 Apr 2017 19:46:05 +0000 http://ffimp-17204764 Farm Service Agency

What: 9th Annual Agricultural Women’s Day, hosted by USDA Farm Service Agency.

When: June 7, 8 a.m.

Where: Faulkton Community Center – Faulkton, S.D.

Theme: “It’s All Perspective.” Women play a major role on the family farm and/or ranch and are increasingly more involved in the agri-business world. This conference is designed to provide an overview of FSA as well as provide tools and information to help their family farm and agribusinesses succeed.

Keynote Speaker: Dairy Carrie — farmer, blogger, speaker mother.

Pre-registration is requested by May 24. Please call your local FSA office to pre-register as it helps the organizers plan properly. Registration is $10 per person and includes lunch. First come, first served, so RSVP soon.

Persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in this event should contact Dawn Nagel 605-258-2613 by email- or Federal Relay Service at 1-877-387-2001 by May 26.


The Faulkton Community Center is located at 1214 Court St. On Highway 212 from the west, turn right on 13th Ave. for 1 block, then turn left. From the east, turn left on 11th Ave. for 1 block then turn right.


8:00 – 8:55 a.m.: Registration and visit vendors

8:55 a.m.: FSA welcome

9:00 a.m.: “FSA Today” by Jamie White, South Dakota FSA executive officer

9:30 a.m.: “Mastering the Grain Markets” by Elaine Kub, author

10:15 a.m.: “Fun Steps” by Cindy Geditz, FSA retiree, Door Prizes

10:30 a.m.: Break and visit vendors, sponsored by Faulk, Potter and Spink Conservation Districts

11:15 a.m.: “Hungry for Truth: Putting it all on the table to develop consumer trust” by Sarah Tveidt, communications director, South Dakota Soybean

12:10 p.m.: Door Prizes

12:20 p.m.: Dinner break, by Cheryl ’s Catering

1:30 p.m.: Door Prizes

1:40 p.m.: “Health and Fitness” by Nikki Walters, Team and Clean Eating Parties, LLC

2:15 p.m.: Door prizes/bathroom break

2:35 p.m.: Keynote speaker, “Dairy Carrie” by Carrie Mess – farmer, blogger, speaker, mother

Following the FSA program, there will be wine tasting sponsored by Faulkton Drug and King Insurance Agency.

Pesticide maker tries to kill risk study Thu, 20 Apr 2017 15:56:05 +0000 http://ffimp-17202120 By MICHAEL BIESECKER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dow Chemical is pushing a Trump administration open to scrapping regulations to ignore the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species.

Lawyers representing Dow, whose CEO is a close adviser to Trump, and two other manufacturers of organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three of Trump’s Cabinet agencies. The companies asked them “to set aside” the results of government studies the companies contend are fundamentally flawed.

Dow Chemical wrote a $1 million check to help underwrite Trump’s inaugural festivities, and its chairman and CEO, Andrew Liveris, heads a White House manufacturing working group.

The industry’s request comes after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced last month he was reversing an Obama-era effort to bar the use of Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide on food after recent peer-reviewed studies found that even tiny levels of exposure could hinder the development of children’s brains. In his prior job as Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt often aligned himself in legal disputes with the interests of executives and corporations who supported his state campaigns. He filed more than a dozen lawsuits seeking to overturn some of the same regulations he is now charged with enforcing.

Pruitt declined to answer questions from reporters on April 19 as he toured a polluted Superfund site in Indiana. A spokesman for the agency later told AP that Pruitt won’t “prejudge” any potential rule-making decisions as “we are trying to restore regulatory sanity to EPA’s work.”

The letters to Cabinet heads, dated April 13, were obtained by The Associated Press. As with the recent human studies of chlorpyrifos, Dow hired its own scientists to produce a lengthy rebuttal to the government studies.

Over the past four years, government scientists have compiled an official record running more than 10,000 pages indicating the three pesticides under review — chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion — pose a risk to nearly every endangered species they studied. Regulators at the three federal agencies, which share responsibilities for enforcing the Endangered Species Act, are close to issuing findings expected to result in new limits on how and where the highly toxic pesticides can be used.

“We have had no meetings with Dow on this topic and we are reviewing petitions as they come in, giving careful consideration to sound science and good policymaking,” said J.P. Freire, EPA’s associate administrator for public affairs. “The administrator is committed to listening to stakeholders affected by EPA’s regulations, while also reviewing past decisions.”

The office of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Natural Marine Fisheries Service, did not respond to emailed questions. A spokeswoman for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service, referred questions back to EPA.

The EPA’s recent biological evaluation of chlorpyrifos found the pesticide is “likely to adversely affect” 1,778 of the 1,835 animals and plants accessed as part of its study, including critically endangered or threatened species of frogs, fish, birds and mammals. Similar results were shown for malathion and diazinon.

In a statement, the Dow subsidiary that sells chlorpyrifos said its lawyers asked for the EPA’s biological assessment to be withdrawn because its “scientific basis was not reliable.”

“Dow AgroSciences is committed to the production and marketing of products that will help American farmers feed the world, and do so with full respect for human health and the environment, including endangered and threatened species,” the statement said. “These letters, and the detailed scientific analyses that support them, demonstrate that commitment.”

FMC Corp., which sells malathion, said the withdrawal of the EPA studies would allow the necessary time for the “best available” scientific data to be compiled.

“Malathion is a critical tool in protecting agriculture from damaging pests,” the company said.

Diazinon maker Makhteshim Agan of North America Inc., which does business under the name Adama, did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Environmental advocates said on April 19 that criticism of the government’s scientists was unfounded. The methods used to conduct EPA’s biological evaluations were developed by the National Academy of Sciences.

Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said Dow’s experts were trying to hold EPA scientists to an unrealistic standard of data collection that could only be achieved under “perfect laboratory conditions.”

“You can’t just take an endangered fish out of the wild, take it to the lab and then expose it to enough pesticides until it dies to get that sort of data,” Hartl said. “It’s wrong morally, and it’s illegal.”

Organophosphorus gas was originally developed as a chemical weapon by Nazi Germany. Dow has been selling Chlorpyrifos for spraying on citrus fruits, apples, cherries and other crops since the 1960s. It is among the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States, with Dow selling about 5 million pounds domestically each year.

As a result, traces of the chemical are commonly found in sources of drinking water. A 2012 study at the University of California at Berkeley found that 87 percent of umbilical-cord blood samples tested from newborn babies contained detectable levels of chlorpyrifos.

In 2005, the Bush administration ordered an end to residential use of diazinon to kill yard pests such as ants and grub worms after determining that it poses a human health risk, particularly to children. However it is still approved for use by farmers, who spray it on fruits and vegetables.

Malathion is widely sprayed to control mosquitoes and fruit flies. It is also an active ingredient in some shampoos prescribed to children for treating lice.

A coalition of environmental groups has fought in court for years to spur EPA to more closely examine the risk posed to humans and endangered species by pesticides, especially organophosphates.

“Endangered species are the canary in the coal mine,” Hartl said. Since many of the threatened species are aquatic, he said they are often the first to show the effects of long-term chemical contamination in rivers and lakes used as sources of drinking water by humans.

Dow, which spent more than $13.6 million on lobbying in 2016, has long wielded substantial political power in the nation’s capital. There is no indication the chemical giant’s influence has waned.

When Trump signed an executive order in February mandating the creation of task forces at federal agencies to roll back government regulations, Dow’s chief executive was at Trump’s side.

“Andrew, I would like to thank you for initially getting the group together and for the fantastic job you’ve done,” Trump said as he signed the order during an Oval Office ceremony. The president then handed his pen to Liveris to keep as a souvenir.

Rachelle Schikorra, the director of public affairs for Dow Chemical, said any suggestion that the company’s $1 million donation to Trump’s inaugural committee was intended to help influence regulatory decisions is “completely off the mark.”

“Dow actively participates in policymaking and political processes, including political contributions to candidates, parties and causes, in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws,” Schikorra said. “Dow maintains and is committed to the highest standard of ethical conduct in all such activity.”

Associated Press reporters Jack Gillum in Washington and Sophia Tareen in East Chicago, Indiana, contributed to this story.

GFP Commission proposes expansion of nonresident waterfowl opportunity Thu, 20 Apr 2017 12:16:07 +0000 http://ffimp-17133946 Staff reports

During its April meeting in Watertown, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission proposed expanding the boundaries for where 1,500 existing three-day nonresident waterfowl licenses can be used.

Currently, the 1,500 nonresident licenses, which are in Unit NRW-00X, can only be used on private land in six central South Dakota counties along the Missouri River, or on private and public land in several counties in the north-central part of the state.

The proposal would make the licenses valid on private land statewide except for a nine-county hunting unit in the northeast corner of the state, a hunting unit along the Missouri River near the Nebraska border and Bennett County.

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for the commission meeting in Chamberlain on June 8, according to documents submitted by GFP staff to the commission.

For more information, go to

Study: Outdoor recreation an economic boom in South Dakota Thu, 20 Apr 2017 12:16:07 +0000 http://ffimp-17133771 Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Outdoor recreationists contributed more than $1.9 billion worth of economic activity in South Dakota between October 2015 and October 2016, according to a new study.

The study commissioned by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department said recreational activity supported nearly 18,400 jobs, generating more than $534 million worth of income to state residents and about $85.5 million in state and local tax revenue during the survey period.

The department found that hunters spent more than $682.7 million and anglers spent over $271.3 million. Trappers, wildlife viewers and boaters were also big spenders with a combined contribution of almost $140 million.

“We were curious about these numbers,” said the department’s administration chief, Scott Simpson. “I don’t want to say we were surprised.”

The Capital Journal reported that marketing and analytics firm Southwick Associates conducted the study. More than 9,600 people were surveyed directly. Nearly 35 percent of people surveyed were South Dakota residents, while 65 percent were nonresidents.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used to track the economic impact of outdoor recreation, but there were significant holes in its tracking, such as using small sample sizes and not including state park visitation.

The South Dakota study found that state park visitation contributed almost $214 million to South Dakota’s economy in a one-year period.