Ag Business Briefs

Farm Forum

Minnesota beef producers reject check-off fee hike

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s beef producers have rejected a proposed increase in the check-off fees they pay for research and promotion.

The Minnesota Beef Research and Promotion Council had asked the state to hold a referendum on increasing the current state check-off by an additional $1 for each animal they sell.

But the Minnesota Department of Agriculture says 63 percent of the 1,525 voting producers opposed the proposal, while 37 percent voted for it.

The current $1 per head check-off fee supports the state and federal beef councils and will remain in effect. Half of the fee supports the state council and the other half supports the national beef check-off.

Minnesota’s legislative auditor last month called for greater oversight and transparency for the state’s 13 farmer-elected agricultural research and promotional councils.

N.D. fines Atlanta-based company for robo-calls

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The North Dakota attorney general’s office has fined an Atlanta-based company for making illegal automated calls to residents on behalf of the state Farm Bureau.

The office on Wednesday fined Concentric Direct LLC $500 for making robo-calls asking residents who they support to lead the state Department of Agriculture as commissioner.

Parrell Grossman from the attorney general’s fraud division says robo-calls are illegal whether they’re political in nature or not.

Grossman says the company contacted him after he spoke with the Farm Bureau. He says the company was unaware of North Dakota’s law and agreed to stop making calls.

Pete Hanebutt with Farm Bureau says Concentric Direct had assured the organization it would do things properly. Farm Bureau won’t be fined.

AgriBank pays quarterly preferred stock dividend

ST. PAUL, Minn. – St. Paul-based AgriBank, last week, paid a quarterly cash dividend of $1.7188 per share on its 6.875 percent non-cumulative perpetual class A preferred stock to holders of record as of March 1, 2014.

AgriBank issued 2.5 million shares of preferred stock on Oct. 29, 2013 to provide the Bank and the 15-state Farm Credit District it serves with long-term access to high-quality capital, helping ensure the District is well-positioned to meet the long-term growth and credit needs of farmer and rancher customers.

Pollinators in the Black Hills Workshop April 23

BROOKINGS — SDSU Extension will host a workshop focused on Black Hills pollinators April 23, 2014.

During the workshop, Paul Johnson, SDSU Extension Entomologist, will discuss the common native bee as well as other pollinators call the Black Hills home. He will share how landowners can attract and protect them.

“Pollinators are often overlooked however they play an important role in keeping our forests, prairies and garden productive,” Johnson said.

There will be no fee for this event which will be held at the Pennington County 4-H Office (601 E. Centre St., Rapid City). For more information, contact Mary Roduner, SDSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Field Specialist 605-394-1722 or

Trustee: MF Global customers to be fully paid back

NEW YORK (AP) — The trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of MF Global says its customers are going to get paid back 100 percent of what they are owed by the boutique brokerage.

MF Global Inc., which was led by former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, collapsed in 2011 after a disastrous bet on European countries’ debt. When it fell, customer money was discovered to be missing and was later found to have been used to support the firm’s trading operations.

James Giddens, the court-appointed trustee for MF Global’s bankruptcy, announced the payment decision Thursday.

With this distribution, $6.7 billion in total will have been returned to more than 26,000 securities customers and commodities futures customers.

Distributions will continue for several weeks.

11 appeals judges to review meat labeling ruling

WASHINGTON (AP) — A full federal appeals court will review meat labeling rules that would require country-of-origin information on packaged steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat.

The meat industry went to court in an effort to block the government regulation, which went into effect last year. The industry says the regulations are costly and provide no health benefits to consumers. The rules require labeling with where animals are born, raised and slaughtered.

A week ago, three judges on the appeals court refused to block the rules, but suggested that their decision might be incorrect and that the entire appeals court consider the case.

The American Meat Institute says it is encouraged by the appeals court’s decision to present the case to all 11 members of the court.

Commodity loan rates for 2014: Wheat, feed grains, pulse crops and oilseeds

County loan rates have been announced for the 2014 crops of wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, soybeans, lentils, dry peas, chickpeas and other oilseeds (sunflower seed, flaxseed, canola, rapeseed, safflower, mustard seed, crambe and sesame seed). The rates are posted on the FSA website at:

2013 ACRE program: Farm benchmark yield update

Producers who have a 2013 Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program contract on one or more FSA farms must complete the FSA-658 (Record of Production & Yield) for each ACRE farm and each covered commodity planted in 2013 by not later than July 15, 2014.

Producers are encouraged to complete the 2013 production certification as soon as possible.

Production evidence that can be used to support the certified yields can be from the following sources:

• Crop Insurance loss records

• Sales records (buyer specific)

• Crop Insurance APH data base records

• Farm stored production records, appraisals

FSA assists Risk Management Agency

FSA county office staff will be assisting Risk Management Agency and insurance providers in monitoring crop conditions throughout the growing season. FSA staff will be making two inspections; one during the growing season and one during the time harvest is normal for the crop.

The staff will be checking to see if reported crops have been planted and cared for in a workmanlike manner. All suspected cases of fraud, waste, and abuse of the Federal Crop Insurance Program will be referred to RMA. Producers may report suspected cases of fraud, waste, and abuse to the county office staff, RMA office or Office of Inspector General. Additionally, FSA will assist RMA with auditing claims.