Ag Business Briefs

Farm Forum

FSA: Guaranteed loan eligibility

Changes to FSA regulations have eliminated Guaranteed Operating Loan term limits. Previous and current guaranteed borrowers who were not eligible for further guaranteed loans due to the previous 15 year eligibility term limit are now eligible for further guaranteed loans through their commercial lender.

FSA: Direct loan changes

The interest rate for loans where FSA provides 50% or less of the total amount financed in the purchase of farm real estate has been lowered. This financing of real estate purchases, called Joint Financing, requires another lender to provide over 50% of the credit needs to purchase the real estate. The interest rate will be the greater of 2.5 percent or the current interest rate for direct Farm Ownership loans minus 2 percent, as a fixed rate for the duration of the loan. At present, the March direct Farm Ownership rate is 4.25 percent. Because the 2.5 percent floor is greater than subtracting 2 percent from the direct farm ownership loan rate, the rate for Direct Farm Ownership Participation Loans in March is 2.5 percent.

U.S. Grains Council accepting Advisory Team applications

The U.S. Grains Council is currently accepting applications for Advisory Teams (A-Teams) through April 30.

The A-Teams provide insight and guidance to the USGC Board of Directors on the direction and activities of the Council. A-Team members serve a two-year term, renewable without limit at the discretion of the Board. Current delegates whose terms expire in 2014 must submit a new application if they wish to continue to serve on an A-Team. Interested USGC delegates not currently serving are encouraged to apply.

The Board of Directors will finalize and announce A-Team member appointments for the 2014-2016 term prior to the 54th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in July. These new appointments will begin Aug. 1. Contact Valerie Smiley, USGC manager of membership administration, at 202-789-0789 or for more information.

S.D. agency hosting water quality conference

FORT PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources is hosting a ground water quality conference in Fort Pierre next week.

The 26th Annual South Dakota Environmental and Ground Water Quality Conference on March 19-20 at the AmericInn Teton Island Conference Center will feature exhibits and technical presentations on the environment, ground water, geology, mining and mineral resources.

The conference is free and open to the public.

Department Secretary Steve Pirner says attendees can learn about situ uranium mining, cleanups of oil spills in North Dakota, former manufactured gas plants, the Big Sioux River water quality master plan or agricultural tile discharges.

Farm water quality event set for western Minnesota

BARNESVILLE, Minn. (AP) — Farmers in the Whiskey Creek area of western Minnesota are being invited to learn more about how they can help clean up the region’s lakes and streams.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District are holding an open house in Barnesville starting at 9:30 a.m. on March 14 on how farmers can get involved in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program.

It’s a voluntary program to encourage adoption of on-farm conservation practices that reduce water pollution. Producers who sign up and maintain approved farm management practices get guarantees that they won’t face stricter regulations for 10 years.

The Whiskey Creek area was selected as one of four watersheds across the state to test the program. This pilot area includes parts of Wilkin and Otter Tail counties.

Annual drought symposium set next month in Lincoln, Neb.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The University of Nebraska’s Center for Great Plains Studies has scheduled its 40th annual symposium on drought.

The event is scheduled for April 1-4 at the Nebraska Union. The title this year is “Drought in the Life, Cultures and Landscapes of the Great Plains.”

More than 40 speakers will share their expertise and perspectives. Topics include agriculture and livestock impacts, Dust Bowl history, drought in literature and art, climate extremes and human health effects.

For registration and more information, go online at

Pride of Dakota Member Directory is biggest ever

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The new Pride of Dakota Member Directory features products and services from more than 500 North Dakota companies.

The directory is published by the N.D. Agriculture Department, which oversees the Pride of Dakota branding program. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the 108-page directory is the biggest to date.

Free copies can be obtained by calling the N.D. Agriculture Department at (800) 242-7535. The information also is available on the Pride of Dakota website, at