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Committee votes against Ducks Unlimited purchase

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A committee comprised of private agricultural groups and state agency heads has voted against a proposal by the habitat conservation group Ducks Unlimited to buy and conserve property in Foster County.

On May 6 the North Dakota Natural Areas Acquisition Advisory Committee voted 4-2 in favor of a motion to deny the request. The motion was put forward by Mark Watne, the president of the North Dakota Farmers Union.

Ducks Unlimited wants to buy the 47-acre plot of land from the local Carrington owner. The organization has said it plans to restore the wetlands and replant native grasses on the property, most of which is currently used for agriculture. The site would be managed for wetland mitigation.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple will decide whether to allow the purchase.

S.D. panel inspects Agriculture Department errors

PIERRE (AP) – A South Dakota legislative committee has reviewed expense reporting issues in the Department of Agriculture identified in the statewide 2013 audit.

The findings focus on a federal grant for forestry assistance. Agriculture officials say the grant is used for a variety of projects, including brush clearing and addressing the pine beetle infestation in the state.

The Government Operations and Audit Committee reviewed the findings May 7. The chairman of the committee says the under and over reporting of various expenditures were not major but needed to be addressed.

The department has set up a plan to correct the problems with improved accounting practices.

Audit Manager Bob Christianson says auditors found more problems in the 2013 audit than in previous years. He says the 2013 audit focused on more, smaller federal programs.

Calling for candidates for 2015 Leadership At Its Best program

The American Soybean Association is seeking candidates for the 2014 -15 Leadership At Its Best program, sponsored by Syngenta. The program is designed to provide state soybean leaders with advanced leadership training and the necessary communication skills to make a difference in American agriculture while advancing into leadership positions on a national level.

Leadership At Its Best is a two-part training program that includes advanced leadership, agricultural issues, communications and media training, culminating in Washington, D.C. with Capitol Hill visits. The candidate must be a current director or committee chair who has expressed a strong desire to assume a top leadership position AND must be able to attend both parts of the program:

• Part I: Aug.11-14, 2014, in Greensboro, N.C.

• Part II: March 8-10, 2015 in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the ASA Board Meeting

Please contact Michelle Hummel at mhummel@soy.org for more information or visit http://bit.ly/1oeH5PD. State Selection Forms are due by Friday, May 23, 2014.

Project Safe Send collections scheduled in N.D.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The state Agriculture Department has scheduled this year’s round of Project Safe Send chemical collections around North Dakota.

The program gives farmers, ranchers, pesticide dealers and applicators, government agencies and homeowners a way to dispose of unusable herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides and fungicides free of charge. It is funded by fees that pesticide manufacturers pay to register their products in North Dakota. Collected pesticides are shipped out of state for incineration.

“Over the past 22 years, thousands of people have brought more than 3 million pounds of these chemicals to Project Safe Send,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “It is a safe, simple and non-regulatory program that helps people safely and legally get rid of unusable pesticides at no charge.”

This year’s collections begin July 8 in Forman and end July 25 in Hillsboro. In between there will be collections in Edgeley, Steele, Mott, Belfield, Bowbells, Garrison, Rugby, Carrington, Michigan and Grafton. Details can be found at www.nd.gov/ndda/ .

People with more than 1,000 pounds of pesticides are asked to pre-register at least two days in advance. A maximum of 20,000 pounds of pesticides per participant will be accepted.

Police: White powder substance sent to Farm Bureau

HURON, S.D. (AP) — Huron police say authorities are investigating a white powder substance sent to the South Dakota Farm Bureau office in Huron.

The Farm Bureau office was closed briefly Friday morning while authorities investigated. Police say the substance arrived in a letter earlier in the week.

Fire Department personnel used hazardous material protocol to safely contain the substance. The materials were packaged and are headed to the South Dakota Department of Health Laboratory in Pierre for identification.

Police say the substance is believed to be non-hazardous and there is no threat to the public.

The origin of the letter and contents remain under investigation.