Ag Business Briefs

Secretary Perdue names FSA administrator

Washington, D.C. – On May 11, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the appointment of Richard Fordyce to serve as administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). In his role, Fordyce will provide leadership for FSA and its mission to support agricultural production across America through a network of over 2,100 county and 50 state offices.

“As a fourth-generation farmer, Richard brings firsthand knowledge and experience to this role,” Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “I am confident that he will continue to help USDA become the most efficient, effective customer focused agency in the federal government as he leads this customer focused mission area.”

Richard Fordyce most recently served as state executive director for FSA in Missouri. Prior to his appointment by the Trump Administration, Fordyce served as the director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture from 2013 to 2017. In 2015, Fordyce was awarded the Missouri Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award and the Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow Alumnus of the Year. He and his wife, Renee, have two children and grow soybeans, corn and beef cattle on the family farm.

— U.S. Department of Agriculture

Secretary Perdue names AMS administrator

Washington, D.C. – On May 11, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the appointment of Bruce Summers as the administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), part of the Marketing and Regulatory Programs mission area.

“During his many years at the department, Bruce Summers has earned a reputation for excellence and effectiveness,” Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “As the acting administrator, Bruce has proved he has the knowledge and steady hand needed to continue leading AMS in their service to American farmers and families. I know that as AMS administrator, Bruce will build on his great record of success.”

AMS administers programs that create domestic and international marketing opportunities for U.S. producers of food, fiber, and specialty crops through voluntary grading, laboratory and quality verification programs. The agency also manages the USDA Market News Service, which provides free, unbiased price and sales information on farm commodities, and ensures fair trade practices in the agricultural supply chain by enforcing contract standards for the livestock and fruit and vegetable industries as well as the National Organic Program. More than 4,000 AMS professionals work every day to support the country’s diverse agricultural operations, which range from individual farmers to international businesses and employ one-in-12 American workers.

Summers began at USDA in the Fruit and Vegetable program, working in a number of key leadership roles at AMS for more than 30 years, and most recently serving as acting administrator. He earned a degree in agricultural economics from the University of Maryland.

More information on AMS is available at

— U.S. Department of Agriculture

Winter wheat production in the Dakotas forecast to jump

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Winter wheat production in the Dakotas is expected to be up dramatically this year from 2017.

The crop that’s planted in the fall and harvested the next summer is subject to big swings, especially in North Dakota.

The Agriculture Department’s latest forecast is for an increase in South Dakota of 97 percent, to 40.9 million bushels, and an increase in North Dakota of 138 percent, to 3.1 million bushels.

Acres for harvest and average yield are forecast to be up in both states.

— Associated Press

McPherson County officials approve permits for two turkey facilities

Two special exception applications and building permits for turkey facilities were approved by McPherson County officials during an appeals hearing Monday morning.

The hearing lasted about two hours, according to an email from State’s Attorney Don Kallenberger.

The McPherson County Commission, sitting as the county’s board of adjustment, approved the applications for two turkey “pods” southwest of Leola in Howard Township. Each vote was 3-2, Kallenberger said.

The pods would consist of six barns, plus a biosecurity building. There would be about 7 square feet for each bird, according to previous information from a representative from Hendrix Genetics, which owns Farm Holdings S.D. 12, the group that submitted the applications.

— Shannon Marvel, American News reporter

Fertilizer giant, Mosaic, moving headquarters to Florida

PLYMOUTH, Minn. — One of Minnesota’s largest public companies is moving its headquarters to Florida.

The fertilizer giant, Mosaic Co., says it will relocate its corporate headquarters from the Twin Cities suburb of Plymouth to Hillsborough County, Florida to be closer to its phosphate mines and to accomplish long-term savings.

The Fortune 500 company mines potash and phosphate and processes the minerals into crop fertilizer. The company did not say how many employees would be affected or when it planned to make the move.

— Associated Press

No injuries in Hoven-area barn fire

No injuries were reported in a Saturday morning barn fire northwest of Hoven.

A fire was reported at 1:56 a.m. Saturday to Walworth County dispatch, according to a news release from the Walworth County Sheriff’s department.

A barn was on fire on state Highway 47, near mile marker 205 at the residence of Dave Van Well, according to the release. The person who had reported the fire removed horses from the barn and alerted others inside a residence, according to the release.

No injuries were reported to humans or animals and the structure was a total loss according to the release. Most agencies had cleared by morning, while Hoven Fire Department stayed on a while to make sure no embers spread to nearby bales, according to Travis Bentz, Walworth County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Walworth County Sheriff’s Office and the Hoven, Bowdle, Java and Tolstoy fire departments assisted on scene.

— Staff reports