Ag Business Briefs

Farm Forum

Coffee open house for man retiring from John Deere after 52 years

A coffee open house celebrating Leland Reppe’s retirement will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 3, at the Bruce Community Center. Leland worked the past 52-1/2 years for John Deere (most recently Schuneman Equipment Co.) in Brookings, SD. He retired July 1, 2014. The family requests no gifts, just come to Bruce and enjoy a cup of coffee.

North Dakota teachers learn about farming

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Some teachers from around the state spent part of their summer vacation learning about farming.

KXMC-TV reports the state-sponsored Agriculture in the Classroom program provided tours on July 15 of several farm operations in north-central North Dakota.

One stop was at the Nathan Fegley’s farm. Fegley says it’s interesting to hear the questions from teachers who may not have a lot of experience with farming.

The Agriculture in the Classroom program is designed to help students learn where their food comes from, and how to make healthy food choices.

Analysis: Aid, credits keeping Minn. property taxes down

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – A new report from the nonpartisan legislative office says Minnesotans who qualify for state aid and credits could see their property taxes decline by a total of $49 million this year, a projection the DFL is counting on. But, Republicans say taxes are going up for everyone, despite the DFL’s effort to send millions to local governments in an effort to drive down those taxes.

The analysis says taxpayers who own agricultural land, public utility and commercial property could see their taxes increase.

Research analyst Steve Hinze tells the Star Tribune the projected decrease is speculative because the actual numbers will be based on how many Minnesotans apply for tax relief.

The tax rates are a combination of local government, schools and state levies, which can vary widely in individual communities.

S.D. board repeals quarantine rules on baby calves

PIERRE (AP) — The South Dakota Animal Industry Board has voted to repeal a nearly 40-year-old rule requiring quarantine for baby calves entering the state without their mothers.

The ruled was proposed at the board’s annual meeting on July 15 by State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven.

The state previously required 60 days of separation for young calves who came to South Dakota without their mothers.

The board also repealed a rule from April 2013 that required cows from Idaho that were older than 18 months be tested for brucellosis before coming to South Dakota.

Oedekoven briefed the board on the status of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea in the state. There are 32 infected herds in the state.

Federal dollars are now available for newly infected herds to manage the virus and research vaccines.

Minnesota county designated primary disaster zone

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Farmers in four southwestern Minnesota counties are eligible for federal help with crop damage caused by recent heavy rain and hail.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has designated Rock County a primary disaster zone. That’s where storms damaged about 100,000 acres of farmland. Under federal regulations, counties bordering the primary disaster zone also qualify, allowing farmers in Murray, Nobles and Pipestone counties to seek federal assistance.

Rock County Farm Service Agency executive director Fraser Norton says farmers can apply for up to $500,000 in low interest loans. Norton tells Minnesota Public Radio News that some parts of Rock county got more than 20 inches of rain during a three-week period.

Statewide, Gov. Mark Dayton has cited more than $55 million in public response costs and infrastructure damage when applying for federal disaster aid stemming from June’s widespread flooding.

Photography classes in Mobridge

Photography classes will be held at Weigum’s Mobridge Arboretum Aug. 8 and 9. Mike LaLonde will be the teacher. Bring your point and shoot camera, and he will teach basics such as composition, lighting, camera handling. Classes will be held Aug. 8 6–9 p.m. and Aug. 9 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Preregistration required, $25 cost, and a limit of 12 students. Call either Peg Wunder at 845-2060 or Shirley Masteller at 762-3411.

Ash borer infestation found near Caledonia, Minn.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says it’s discovered another infestation of the destructive emerald ash borer.

This time it’s been found on private land near Caledonia in southeastern Minnesota.

Agriculture officials say the spot in a grove of trees in a cattle pasture is about 10 miles from previously known infestations in Houston County, but still within the quarantine area.

Other counties included in the quarantine are Hennepin, Ramsey and Winona. The quarantine is in place to help prevent EAB from spreading outside the area by restricting movement of firewood and other materials from ash trees that might have the ash borer’s larvae.

Since the pest was first discovered in North America, it has killed tens of millions of ash trees in 18 states.

Freeman arts/earth center gets $150,000 grant

FREEMAN, S.D. (AP) – The southeast South Dakota town of Freeman has received a $150,000 federal grant for toward a proposed arts/earth center.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded the money last week.

Senior project coordinator John Koch told the Press & Dakotan the project could cost up to $15 million. It would include a 400-seat theater, 120-seat recital hall, large commercial greenhouse and renewable energy to meet the site’s needs.

The goal of the arts/earth center is to promote the arts, tourism, agricultural research, locally produced products and studies on sustainability and stewardship.

Harsh Minnesota winter stomps out grape harvest

NORTH BRANCH, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota grape growers are reporting a harvest shortage after an especially harsh winter.

Minnesota Grape Growers president Irv Geary tells KARE-TV many northern vineyards have lost all or most of their grapes this year. He says a Forest Lake winery will harvest about 7,000 pounds of grapes this year compared to its usual 25,000 pounds.

A University of Minnesota horticulture professor says the past winter was particularly tough on grape vines because of prolonged freezing. Minnesota’s 50 wineries grow grapes that are designed to endure colder weather.

Geary says some wineries are considering using grapes from other parts of the country.

Farm Service Agency takes action on CRP changes

On July 15, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a draft Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (SPEIS) for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) based on the changes made in the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is taking action on the new provisions included in the bill and the few additional administrative actions in the SPEIS. The actions addressed are: continuous enrollment of grasslands, enrollment in other conservation programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Agriculture Conservation Easement Program; managed harvesting frequency; routine grazing frequency; targeting enrollment of environmentally sensitive lands through reverse auctions; and expanding the flexibility of emergency haying and grazing in drought designated areas on additional conservation practices. FSA will be accepting comments until September 8 and will hold a public meeting from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on August 6 at Courtyard by Marriott and Moorhead Area, Moorhead, Minn.

Applications for 2014 WILOT Program due Sept. 19

The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) is now accepting applications for the 2014 Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow (WILOT) program, scheduled for Nov. 15-20. WILOT is an annual program designed for up to 10 wheat growers who want to become involved in association and commission leadership. Workshops at the 2014 event will focus on the structure and priorities of the wheat industry as well as leadership, media and advocacy training. The WILOT leadership development program is funded by Monsanto and held in St. Louis, Mo. giving grower-participants the opportunity to visit Monsanto labs and talk with researchers working on wheat. Growers interested in the program should review and complete the application at All completed applications are due to Jinger Eberspacher, in the NAWG office by Sept. 19.

N.D. county getting $300K to rehab Renwick Dam

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Pembina County, N.D., is receiving almost $300,000 in grant funding to continue renovations on the Renwick Dam.

The funding comes from the National Resource Conservation Service and its Watershed Rehabilitation program.

The Renwick Dam is on the Tongue River, a tributary of the Pembina River. The money will be used to support the second phase of renovations to the Dam, helping provide a spillway and embankment.

The three members of North Dakota’s congressional delegation each announced and praised the funding separately on July 18.

The watershed Rehabilitation Program was recently reauthorized by the 2014 farm bill.