Ag Business Briefs

Farm Forum

Federal grants give rural Nebraska $20 million

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – More than $20 million in rural development grants were approved in 2013 to help Nebraska businesses.

The USDA programs helped 153 businesses, 75 agricultural producers and four cooperatives during the year.

One of the companies that benefited was Laurel Biocomposite. That firm received a $5 million guaranteed loan to help it get started making products for the plastics industry out of ethanol byproducts.

Other programs helped pay for upgrades to Gothenburg Memorial Hospital and helped a dairy in Hartington produce more dairy products.

More than 100 projects supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency were also approved in Nebraska.

Nearly 34,000 attend Pride of Dakota showcases

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Nearly 34,000 shoppers attended the four Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcases over the holiday season.

The showcases were held in North Dakota’s four largest cities in November and early December. State Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says attendance set records at the Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot events, and the Bismarck showcase had a record number of participating vendors showing their North Dakota-made products.

Goehring says total attendance fell 269 people short of last year’s record, largely because of bad weather during the Bismarck showcase.

More than 500 companies are members of the Agriculture Department’s Pride of Dakota branding program.

Economic survey suggests optimism for Midwest

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A monthly economic report suggests supply managers surveyed in nine Midwestern and Plains states are optimistic about the regional economy over the next six months.

The confidence index for the Mid-America Business Conditions Index jumped to 66.5 last month from 57.2 in November. However, the overall index rose just 2 points, to 53.2 from 51.2 in November.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says businesses tied to agriculture continue to report softer economic conditions.

The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth, while a score below that suggests decline.

The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Bayer CropScience seeks applicants for Young Farmer Sustainability Award

Bayer CropScience is looking for growers, 40 years or younger, who demonstrate excellence in the business of agriculture and environmental sustainability. The 2014 winner will be selected by a group of industry experts and Bayer leaders, and will be recognized in February at the 2014 Ag Issues Forum held in conjunction with Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to the trip, the winner will receive a new 4th Generation iPad with Retina display, Wi-Fi + Cellular (Verizon) 128 GB, Griffin Survivor brand military-duty case and an all-expense paid trip to a Farm Journal learning event of the winner’s choice during 2014. Apply through Jan. 17. Learn more at

Minnesota Grown directory update coming in April

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is updating its annual Minnesota Grown directory of farms and farmers markets.

The 2013 edition listed 970 farmers and farmers markets. Producers who grow or raise products to sell directly to consumers are eligible to be included.

The department says eligible farmers should sign up by Jan. 31 to be listed in this year’s directory, which will be released in early April. New registrations cost $60. The new directory will coincide with the launch of a redesigned website, which the department says will have a new look and be easier to use.

The department distributes 190,000 copies of the Minnesota Grown directory. Farms advertising in the print directory are also included in the online edition, which had more than 265,000 unique visitors in 2013.

Area man named bank VP

Derek Holt, an agricultural and business banker, has been promoted to the position of vice president at American Federal Bank in Hallock, Minn.

Holt grew up outside Cresbard and worked on Holt Farms.

He began working for American Federal Bank in 2007 and has a decade of experience in the financial services industry. The bank has locations throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.

A graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., Holt and his wife, Kayla, have two children. They live in Hallock, Minn., where he is a Hallock Eagles Club member and a junior varsity girls’ basketball coach at Kittson Central High School.

S.D. Angus Queen Contest set for Feb. 10

The 2014 South Dakota Angus Queen contest will be held Monday Feb. 10 in conjunction with the S.D. Angus Association Annual Banquet and Meeting at the 2nd Street Station Restaurant in Watertown in conjunction with the Watertown Winter Farm Show. The contest consists of a written application and committee interview. The deadline for applications is January 28th, 2014. All young ladies with an interest in Angus cattle between the ages of 16 and 20 are urged to apply. If you have not received an application and are interested or have any questions you can contact Erica Styles, PO Box 62, Brentford, SD 57429, (605) 887-3657,

2 Devils Lake firefighters treated for frostbite

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — Two Devils Lake firefighters were taken to a hospital to be treated for frostbite after battling a fire at a grain elevator.

Fire Chief Jim Moe tells KZZY radio that crews were called to the scene just after 8 p.m. on Dec. 5. He says firefighters had to fight the blaze in wind chills that reached about 50 degrees below zero.

Moe says the state fire marshal is on the scene to investigate the cause.

Huron Outstanding Farmer nominations accepted

The Ag Committee of the Huron Chamber & Visitors Bureau is accepting nominations for active and accomplished area farmers for the 2013 Outstanding Farmer Award. The award will be presented at the Farmers Appreciation Banquet on Jan. 27, and is sponsored by South Dakota Farmers Union and Beadle County Farm Bureau.

Nomination forms are available online at Nominees may include a single individual, a married couple or any combination of immediate family who are actively working for the farming operation in the Huron or surrounding area. Anyone other than the nominee may complete the nomination form. The winner will be selected by the Ag Committee and will receive $500 and an acrylic award.

The Ag Committee recognizes the invaluable contribution that farmers and ranchers make to our community and our economy. Their function is to support the interests and understanding of agriculture through providing educational opportunities, recognizing productive members of our community, promoting business relationships through networking within the agricultural community and supporting value added products.