Ag Business Briefs

Drought conditions in Dakotas change little over the week

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Drought conditions in the Dakotas haven’t changed much over the past week, due to above-normal temperatures and little rain.

The Sept. 7 U.S. Drought Monitor map shows 66 percent of North Dakota in some stage of drought, unchanged over the week. Twenty-one percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought, down slightly from 22 percent.

The Drought Monitor says conditions improved in south central North Dakota but worsened in the north central part of the state.

In South Dakota, 71 percent of the state is in some stage of drought, up from 69 percent. Forty-four percent of the state is in severe or extreme drought, up slightly from 43 percent.

The Drought Monitor says conditions improved in southeastern South Dakota but worsened in the western part of the state.

ND governor meets with feds to advocate for drought relief

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Gov. Doug Burgum says he has met with federal officials to advocate for drought relief for North Dakota.

Burgum says he met on Sept. 7 with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

Burgum made a request on Aug. 8 for a presidential major disaster declaration for drought. That request is still pending.

Drought conditions in the Dakotas haven’t changed much over the past week, due to above-normal temperatures and little rain.

The Sept. 7 U.S. Drought Monitor map shows 66 percent of North Dakota in some stage of drought, unchanged over the week. Twenty-one percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought, down slightly from 22 percent.

Drought conditions improved in south-central North Dakota but worsened in the north-central part of the state.

Donated hay divided up among ranchers in Northern Plains

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State agriculture officials in the Northern Plains have divided up 16 semi-loads of hay donated from around the country to help drought-stricken ranchers in the region.

Nearly 1,400 ranchers from the Dakotas and Montana applied to the hay lottery program set up by North Dakota’s Agriculture Department, North Dakota State University and the Michigan-based nonprofit Ag Community Relief.

Drawings were conducted this week. Hay is going to 12 ranchers in North Dakota, two in South Dakota and two in Montana. The numbers correlate with the percentage of applications from each state.

More drawings are possible if hay donations continue to come in.

2017 Minnesota State Fair sets attendance record, nearly 2 million

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The just-concluded Minnesota State Fair has set an attendance record of nearly 2 million.

Fair officials announced on Sept. 5 this year’s Great Minnesota Get-Together drew a record total of 1,997,320 people over its 12-day run. That breaks the previous record of 1,943,719 set just last year.

The fair set three daily attendance records, on Monday, Aug. 28, with 144,504 visitors; Friday, Sept. 1, with 187,066 visitors; and Sunday, Sept. 3, with 242,759 visitors.

Attendance on Labor Day, the last day of the fair, was 171,299.

The fair’s agricultural and creative competitions drew more than 35,000 entries this year. Competitors vied for a share of ribbons, trophies and more than $1.5 million in prize money.

The 2018 Minnesota State Fair will run Aug. 23 through Labor Day, Sept. 3.

Federal judge declines to dismiss visa

program lawsuit

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A federal judge has declined to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the architect of South Dakota’s EB-5 investment-for-visa program after finding potential public policy and state law violations.

The Argus Leader reports that former program administrator Joop Bollen had sought to be dismissed from the lawsuit brought by Tentexkota LLC and eight of its members. The group borrowed $32.5 million from EB-5 investors and rehabilitated the historic Homestake slime plant into the Deadwood Mountain Grand resort.

But Tentexkota defaulted, and a financing company controlled by Bollen sued to collect the money from Tentexkota and its members, who had guaranteed the loans. Tentexkota members countersued, arguing that the guarantees should be voided because they violate federal law.

Judge Charles Kornmann wrote in his order that there are genuine issues of material fact about the guarantees’ validity.