Ag Business Briefs

Farm Forum

Fredonia man illegally imported 27 cattle

FREDONIA, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota State Board of Animal Health says a Fredonia rancher illegally imported cattle into the state from Michigan.

The board says the man brought 27 cattle back to his ranch but didn’t have a veterinarian verify the animals were free of bovine tuberculosis before crossing the border.

An importer must have a licensed veterinarian sign off on cattle before they’re imported to the state.

State Veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller says the board agreed to fine the man $5,000. She says the board will waive the fine if he returns the cattle after they’ve been tested and doesn’t have more violations in the next three years.

Keller says there’s no indication the cattle are sick or that wildlife and other domesticated animals in the area have been affected.

May deemed ‘Beef Month’ by S.D. governor

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has declared May “Beef Month.” The tradition extends back 40 years.

This year’s “Beef Month” draws special attention to West River ranchers who lost cattle in a blizzard last October. An estimated 43,000 cattle and other livestock in the state died in that storm.

Daugaard says the blizzard has revealed ranchers’ resilience. He says the state looks forward to their ongoing recovery.

The month historically recognizes the overall importance of the beef industry to the state.

South Dakota is sixth in the nation for cattle and calf production.

Cattle outnumber humans in the state by more than four to one.

North Dakota Heritage Center reopens to public

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota’s official history museum has reopened to the public after nearly two years of renovations.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple and first lady Betsy Dalrymple toured the upgraded Heritage Center on Monday. The first two galleries of the three-gallery expansion then opened to the public.

The center on the state Capitol grounds in Bismarck had been closed since the fall of 2012 for a $51.7 million makeover.

The center’s Adaptation Gallery focuses on ancient North Dakota and includes dinosaur skeletons, while the Innovation Gallery centers on the state’s history from about 13,000 years ago to the present. It includes exhibitions on agriculture and technological advancements.

The grand opening for the expanded and renovated center is scheduled for November.

Southwest Grain announces $5.8 million expansion

LEMMON (AP) — Southwest Grain is embarking on a $5.8 million expansion project in the South Dakota town of Lemmon.

Location Manager Ben Hetzel and Regional Manager Delane Thom tell KBJM radio that work has begun on a new grain cleaning and handling facility and concrete upright grain storage bins. Taylor, North Dakota-based Southwest Grain held an open house this week to show off its new office complex.

Officials say the project will enhance grain cleaning and handling and will allow the co-op to hold about 210,000 bushels of grain at the Lemmon site. The operation has grown to 27 fulltime employees.

Work is projected to be completed by the summer of 2015.

Southwest Grain, a division of CHS Inc., has 16 locations in North Dakota and South Dakota.

France suspends US pig imports over diarrhea virus

PARIS (AP) — French authorities have suspended imports of live pigs and certain pig products from North America and Japan to prevent a deadly virus from contaminating the food chain here.

The Agriculture Ministry said on May 2 no cases of the virus, known as porcine epidemic diarrhea, have been recorded in France since this epidemic broke out.

The virus has killed millions of pigs in the U.S. over the past year, driving up pork and bacon prices. It causes severe diarrhea in newborn piglets, which then die from dehydration.

The French ministry says the ban will enter into effect on May 3 pending a larger Europe-wide decision on pig imports. The ban does not apply to all pork products.

Hundreds of hogs believed killed in barn fire

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Hundreds of hogs housed in a facility near Pierre are believed to have died in an early morning fire in a hog barn.

Pierre Rural Assistant Fire Chief Sean Kruger tells KCCR radio he isn’t certain how many pigs were actually in the 1,000-head facility, but he estimates a 50 percent loss of life.

The fire was reported about 6 a.m. at a hog barn owned by Christensen Farms east of Pierre.

Kruger says one half of the large facility was destroyed while a fire wall protected the other half. He says farm staff took care of the pigs, while firefighters tended to the blaze.

Kruger says a cause hasn’t been determined but the blaze is not considered suspicious.

There were no injuries.

Boy, 5, dies in Minnesota farm accident

WOLF LAKE, Minn. (AP) — A 5-year-old boy has died after a farm accident in Becker County, Minn.

The sheriff’s office says the boy apparently had tried to get into a skid steer by crawling between the bucket and frame. Authorities say the machine was not running but was under hydraulic pressure. When the boy grabbed the control level to pull himself up, that released the hydraulic pressure, pinning him between the hydraulic rams and the frame of the skid steer.

The accident was reported around 6 p.m. Thursday south of Wolf Lake.

KBRF-AM reports the boy died at the scene. His name was not immediately released.

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.

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: New average AGI limitation

With the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, a new adjusted gross income (AGI) limitation has been established for program eligibility purposes. If the participant’s average AGI exceeds $900,000, the person or legal entity will be ineligible for payments and benefits as follows for the respective programs/years:

• October 2, 2011, and subsequent years – LIP, LFP, ELAP, and TAP

• 2014 and subsequent years – NAP

• 2014 through 2018 – ARC, PLC, LDP, and MLG

• 2015 and subsequent years – Conservation-related programs.

The average AGI is based on the average of adjusted gross income for the 3 taxable years preceding the most immediately preceding complete taxable year. For the 2014 program year, for example, the 3 taxable years for AGI purposes would include 2010, 2011, and 2012.

FSA: Beginning Farmer Down Payment Loans

The Beginning Farmer Down Payment Loan Program helps beginning farmers purchase real estate by using funds from FSA, another lender, and the applicant to accomplish the purchase.

The applicant is required to provide a minimum of a 5% down payment, FSA can contribute up to 45% of the purchase price, and a commercial lender must provide the remainder of the credit needed.

Recent changes allow FSA to increase the agency’s potential contribution from $225,000 to $300,000.

Interested producers should contact their local Farm Loan Program team.