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Government can’t extend N.D. corn planting deadline

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The federal government says it can’t meet a request by U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp to extend a crop planting deadline for corn in North Dakota.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency says it’s prohibited by federal regulations from making a change to the May 25 deadline set for most North Dakota counties.

Many corn farmers in the state are having a tough time getting their crop seeded because of a wet spring. Farmers in 49 of North Dakota’s 53 counties will see reduced crop insurance coverage on corn they plant after May 25 because their crops will be deemed more susceptible to summer heat or fall frost.

On May 19 Heitkamp asked RMA to delay the deadline. A spokeswoman says the senator will continue to push for insurance program improvements.

Huron woman was leader in ag industry

A woman who has been a leader in the pork industry passed away on May 21. Wanda Mae Smith, age 88, married her husband Keith in 1944 and they raised hogs near Huron. She graduated from the South Dakota School of Agriculture in Brookings in 1944.

Her leadership roles included serving as treasurer of the South Dakota Ag in the Classroom, serving as the first female president of the Beadle County 4-H Leaders Association, and being elected to the South Dakota Porkette National Director position for two three-year terms.

In 1991, she was the first woman in South Dakota to receive the prestigious Pfizer Achievement award for her outstanding work in the pork industry. In the fall of 1996, she was recognized by South Dakota State University as Eminent Homemaker recognizing her service to agriculture in rural communities of South Dakota. She shared the honor with her husband of being recognized for Meritorious Service to 4-H. Of all of her accomplishments, she was most proud of her and Keith along with all their family members being selected as SDSU Family of the Year in 1997.

Gas pipeline explodes in NW Minnesota

WARREN, Minn. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the cause of a natural gas pipeline rupture and explosion in far northwestern Minnesota.

The Marshall County sheriff’s office received a call about a large fire about three northwest of Warren just before 6:30 a.m. Monday. Flames were shooting over 100 feet into the air from a farm field.

The county’s 911 coordinator, Jim Duckstad, says nobody was injured, but six or seven families living within two miles of the site were evacuated. He says the gas line was shut down and the fire extinguished itself around 8:30 a.m.

Duckstad says natural gas to the cities of Warren and Argyle may remain shut off for a couple days.

The pipeline is owned by Viking Gas Transmission Company, which sent crews to the scene.

N.D. Rural Development head to lead national effort

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The state director in North Dakota for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency has been tabbed to lead a nationwide initiative.

Jasper Schneider will lead USDA’s Community and Economic Development initiative. Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien appointed Schneider.

The goal of the initiative is to extend Rural Development’s reach, focusing on underserved areas, tribal regions and counties with high poverty rates.

Horseback rides begin at Roosevelt National Park

MEDORA, N.D. (AP) — Horseback rides have begun at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota.

Park Service officials say visitors can go on the popular rides starting this weekend.

Riders must be at least 7 years old, 54 inches tall and weigh no more than 240 pounds. Lessons are given before each ride.

Shadow Country Outfitters is the park’s only concessioner. The company runs the horseback riding operation from the historic Peachful Valley Ranch.

Basic rides are 1½ hours long. Riders travel along one of several trails within the park.

A schedule of the trail rides can be found online at www.ctctel.com/peacefulvalley.