Ag Business Briefs

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Hay bales being left too close to the roadway

PIERRE — The South Dakota Department of Transportation reminds landowners that baled hay shall not be left within the right of way closer than 30 feet from the painted shoulder stripe.

Officials say when bales are left too close to the roadway it creates a safety hazard for motorists by limiting site distance and creating an obstruction should a vehicle leave the driving surface.

All hay harvested under a permit must be removed from the right of way within 30 days after being processed.

Administrative Rule 70:04:06:06 states: No mowing of the right of way may begin in the west river counties of Gregory, Lyman or Tripp before June 15 and east of the Missouri River before July 10. All mowing by permit must be completed by Sept. 1 each year.

For questions, please contact the appropriate region or area engineer. Contact information can be found at this website: http://sddot.com/contact/.

House passes CFTC reauthorization

The House passed reauthorization legislation for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on June 24. The measure includes provisions that would require electronic confirmation of customer fund account balances held at depository institutions. It would also require the CFTC to conduct cost-benefit analyses of its proposed regulations. Provisions aim to scale back the impact of CFTC rules on farmers and manufacturers that use derivatives to hedge risks and would require the commission to boost the economic analysis of its rules. The CFTC would also have to conduct a study of high-frequency trading, ease restrictions against hedge-fund marketing to mirror looser Securities and Exchange Commission rules and boost the protections for customer funds at futures firms. The CFTC would also have to conduct a review of the metals warehousing industry over concerns of possible price manipulation. The measure now moves to the Senate who is not expected to take up the bill for a couple weeks.

Webpage details rules for anhydrous facilities

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Agriculture Department has created a webpage to help anhydrous ammonia dealers comply with federal Environmental Protection Agency rules, as the state agency prepares to begin inspections.

The site provides guidance materials and tools to help anhydrous facility managers better understand the EPA’s Risk Management Program and how they can comply, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said.

“At the same time, we want them to contact us with any questions or as a follow-up to our previous outreach meetings held around the state,” he said.

Anhydrous ammonia is a common farm fertilizer. The EPA is requiring all facilities that handle, process, or store 10,000 pounds or more of anhydrous to register with the agency and submit a risk management plan. The plan must be updated every five years, and companies must be inspected every three years.

Earlier this year the EPA granted authority to North Dakota’s Agriculture Department to enforce the requirements in the state. Pesticide and fertilizer staff will begin conducting inspections and compliance audits of anhydrous facilities in July, though most will be done over the winter, after the growing season is done, Goehring said.

Sugar company fights subpoena in federal lawsuit

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Officials with American Crystal Sugar Co. say they should not have to testify in a lawsuit involving the sugar and corn syrup industries.

American Crystal is not part of the suit, but KFGO radio reports that the Moorhead, Minnesota-based company is being asked to provide information on genetically-modified sugar beets.

The complaint filed in California accuses corn syrup marketers of misleading consumers by claiming that sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are nutritionally the same.

Lawyers for American Crystal say the information wanted by corn syrup marketers is “confidential, irrelevant or obtainable from other sources.”

A judge has not ruled on the motion.

Dog owners warned about dangerous Minn. algae

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Officials are warning dog owners to beware of a dangerous algae showing up in Minnesota waters.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says a dog died recently after swimming in a Sherburne County lake that had developed areas of heavy algae growth.

The Star Tribune reports officials suspect blue-green algae killed the dog. They are advising pet owners to check water conditions when dogs are playing in lakes or slow-flowing streams.

Blue-green algae “blooms” have a thick, cloudy appearance that can look like green paint, pea soup or floating mats of scum. Some species of blue-green algae contain toxins that can be deadly to dogs, livestock and other animals.

In this case, most of the visible algae on Prairie Lake was not blue-green algae. But MPCA staff found some blue-green algae mixed in.

Chuck wagon scholarships awarded

Clell A. Swanson, of Canton, S.D., and Ty Robertson, of Granbury, Texas, are the American Chuck Wagon Association Scholarship recipients for the upcoming school year. Both share a strong interest in chuck wagon cooking and 4-H. Ty, who assisted his dad, Homer Robertson, once needed a stepping stool to roll out the dough on the work table of their chuck wagon. Clell grew up on the family farm and playing fiddle, trick roping, singing and cracking whips with the family road show, Swanson Cowboyography, with his parents Steve and Cassandra Swanson. More information about these fine young men, and the ACWA can be found at the American Chuck Wagon Association website (americanchuckwagon.org).

Bid for haying in Sand Lake Wetland Management District

The Sand Lake Wetland Management District (USFWS) will be making select Waterfowl Production Areas available for haying in your area. Counties included are Brown, Spink, McPherson, Edmunds, and Faulk. Bid packages are available now. All bids must be submitted to Sand Lake NWR by July 22, 2014. Bids will be accepted by mail, fax or phone. For any further questions or to receive a bid package call Sand Lake NWR, 39650 Sand Lake Drive, Columbia, SD 57443 and ask for Eric Hoggarth. Sand Lake NWR office phone number is 605-885-6320 extension 11.

N.D. wheat stocks down 2 percent

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s wheat stocks are down 2 percent from a year ago.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the state’s wheat stored in all positions at 81.4 million bushels as of June 1. Durum wheat dropped 19 percent from a year ago to 11 million bushels.

Corn stocks totaled 132 million bushels, up 83 percent from a year ago.

Barley, at 26.7 million bushels, is down 7 percent from 2013.

Soybeans in storage totaled 14.3 million bushels, a 7 percent increase from a year ago.

Oats dropped 14 percent to 2.06 million bushels.

USDA: Farmers plant record soybean crop, less corn

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — American farmers have planted less corn than in any year since 2010 but more soybeans than ever, as expected.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in its annual Acreage Report released Monday that farmers planted 91.6 million acres of corn. That’s 4 percent less than last year but still the fifth-largest corn crop planted since 1944. Analysts expected some farmers to devote more acreage to soybeans because of a drop in corn prices.

The USDA says farmers planted a record high 84.8 million acres of soybeans, up 11 percent from last year. Record soybean acres have been planted in Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Seventy-six percent of the corn crop is in good to excellent condition, compared with 63 percent last year.

Project to clean contaminated soil gets county OK

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) — A proposal to clean oil-contaminated soil for use as topsoil or in construction projects is moving forward in Fall River County, despite the objections of some people who worry about whether it’s safe.

The Rapid City Journal reports that the Fall River County Commission recently approved a resolution allowing construction and operation of the proposed 5-acre soil farm near Edgemont. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources has the final say on a permit.

The High Plains Resources company is planning the project. Spokesman Kerry Barker says the contaminated soil currently is being buried at a regional landfill. He says most of it could be cleaned up and reused, saving space in the landfill.

Barker says an independent lab would certify that the cleaned-up soil is safe.

Flooding causes damage to farms in several states

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Area farmers are dealing with damage to their crops and fences after all the rain that fell in June.

The Sioux City Journal reports farmers in northwest Iowa, southeast South Dakota and northeast Nebraska face significant work ahead because of the flooding on the Big Sioux, Rock and other rivers.

The flooding and heavy rains could also have a lasting effect on their crops because fertilizer may have been washed away and standing water in fields could have killed some plants.

Janna Whitlock says her pasture in Union County, S.D., was underwater, and three lawn mowers, a snow blower and some other equipment in a shed was damaged.

Farmer Jack Kruse says he knows he faces weeks of fence repair ahead.

Minn. biodiesel mandate increases to 10 percent

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota raised the bar on biodiesel this week.

Starting Tuesday, state law requires all diesel fuel sold in Minnesota to contain at least 10 percent biodiesel. The mandate will drop back down to 5 percent in winter months.

Supporters say the requirement will benefit Minnesota both economically and environmentally. Biodiesel is often made from soybean oil and Minnesota is third in the nation for soybeans. Minnesota will have the highest biodiesel mandate in the country.

Minnesota Trucking Association president John Hausladen tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press the biodiesel industry is mature enough to stand on its own and doesn’t need a mandate.

The state’s three biodiesel plans can produce 63 million gallons of fuel each year, mainly from soybeans.

Wheat Growers eyes rail service, loader facility

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — Wheat Growers says it is looking forward to the eventual return of heavy rail service from Chamberlain to Presho as it looks at potential locations to build a $40 million facility west of Chamberlain.

Nearly 150 people attended a series of meetings in Lyman County this past week to hear details of the Rails to the Future plan.

The South Dakota legislature has appropriated $7.2 million to the railroad trust fund, and Rails to the Future has received more than $1 million in pledges from private investments.

Wheat Growers Dale Locken CEO says the benefits of the facility would reach further than patrons, providing an economic lift to central South Dakota.

Potential locations have been identified for the 110-shuttle loader facility, but a final location hasn’t been picked.