Ag Business Briefs

Farm Forum

Minnesota farmers honored at White House

LAMBERTON, Minn. (AP) – A southern Minnesota farm family was being honored at the White House.

Ryan and Tiffany Batalden, of Lamberton, were among 15 special guests at the White House on July 29 who were honored as agricultural leaders who are laying the groundwork for the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

WCCO-TV says the Bataldens are fifth-generation farmers and grow organic corn, soybeans, oilseeds and small grains on nearly 400 acres. They have a direct market popcorn business called Patriot Pops.

The event is part of the White House “Champions of Change” program for agriculture.

More land enhancement grants available in N.D.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has announced a third round of land enhancement grants in North Dakota.

The grants are aimed at helping landowners enhance their property and restore habitat damaged by overland flooding, erosion, and weed infestations.

People can sign up for the Land Enhancement and Habitat Renewal Program Aug. 1-29.

Goehring says the program will provide up to 50 percent reimbursement of most costs associated with reclamation, landscaping, soil conditioning, re-vegetation and weed control. Proposed projects must involve land that has at least 10 percent woody vegetation or is adjacent to wooded vegetation.

The state Agriculture Department since last year has awarded 14 grants totaling $55,000. Goehring says another $30,000 is available.

Weiland discusses agriculture and rural development plan

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland discussed South Dakota agriculture and rural development on July 30 as part of a series of news conferences.

Weiland talked about expanding the use of ethanol fuel and the need for the federal farm bill to become more of a safety net for small farmers rather than a handout to big agriculture and corporate interest.

“If the rural communities of South Dakota are going to survive, we have to change course,” said the Sioux Falls small businessman, pointing out that both parties have ignored the needs of rural Americans.

In the general election in November, Weiland will face former South Dakota governor Mike Rounds, a Republican, and two independent candidates.

— Reporter Haley Hansen

North Dakota farmer dies in grain bin accident

NAPOLEON, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota farmer has died in a grain bin accident.

A Logan County sheriff tells KXMB-TV that Marvin Grenz of Napoleon died on July 26 after being buried in grain for nearly 40 minutes.

He was found by family members who called police. Emergency responders say they retrieved his body after eight minutes.

The sheriff says everyone will miss the Grenz’s smile.

It’s the second grain bin death the town has seen in less than a year.

N.D. Ag Coalition clarifies conservation fund position

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The North Dakota Ag Coalition has clarified its opposition to a proposed ballot measure that would set aside more oil taxes for water, wildlife and parks projects.

The group represents more than 40 organizations with interests in agriculture. But some are nonvoting associate members.

The coalition says voting members have decided unanimously to oppose the proposed Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Fund. Some nonvoting coalition members have not taken a position.

Conservation advocates want 5 percent of the state’s oil extraction taxes for the proposed fund. The current fund is capped at $30 million during the state’s two-year budget cycle.

Supporters say more needs to be done to protect the state’s air, water and land. Opponents worry about the amount of the fund and taking land out of agricultural production.

Nebraska lawmakers tout benefits of hemp

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska senators are touting the agricultural and medicinal benefits of hemp, and are likely to revisit the issue next year.

Supporters of the crop gathered at the Capitol on Friday and briefly raised an American flag made of hemp fibers.

Industrial hemp is a close plant cousin to marijuana, with only a tiny fraction of the ingredients that lets marijuana users get high.

Lawmakers approved a bill this year that allows the University of Nebraska to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. Sen. Norm Wallman of Cortland, who sponsored the measure, says hemp can serve as a good rotational crop.

Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue says she’s working on legislation that would allow for increased research and access to low-potency hemp oil as a treatment for epileptic seizures.

New ag center unveiled at Sioux Empire Fair

SIOUX FALLS (AP) – A new agriculture center was unveiled at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds in Sioux Falls when the Sioux Empire Fair opened this week.

The $300,000 Pipestone Discovery Barn was constructed this summer. It has bottle calves, an area to mix rations to feed baby pigs, two dairy cows that are scheduled to have their calves during the fair, eggs ready to hatch chicks, and other educational displays.

The 60-by-150-foot facility was built by Pipestone Holdings, a veterinary service and swine management company in Pipestone, Minnesota.

Fair manager Scott Wick tells the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that the addition is an excellent project that falls in place with the intended use for fair land.

USDA extends deadline for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program

The enrollment deadline for the 2012 and 2013 Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) has been extended to Aug. 15, 2014. Originally, program sign-up was scheduled to end Aug. 1.

The new deadline gives livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers who experienced losses because of disease, adverse weather, wildfires or colony collapse disorder between Oct. 1, 2011 and Sept. 30, 2013, an additional two weeks to enroll in ELAP.

Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA service center or visit FSA’s website at for additional information regarding ELAP.

Managed haying or grazing of certain CRP acreages

CRP participants may hay or graze certain CRP acreages under Managed Haying/Grazing provisions. The haying and grazing period begins August 2nd. The haying operation must end on September 1, 2014, whereas the grazing activity could be authorized as late as September 30, 2014, depending on the approved stocking rate for the acreage. Interested CRP participants must complete the applicable application process and receive approval from their local FSA Office prior to any harvesting or grazing of CRP.

Early land prep for CRP contracts expiring September 30, 2014

CRP participants may receive authorization to begin seedbed preparation for a fall or spring-seeded crops during the final year of the CRP contract. This provision applies to acreage enrolled in certain CRP practices. Participants should contact the County FSA Office to determine eligibility. Participants will also have to revise their Conservation Plan of Operations at the NRCS office and receive approval from FSA prior to destruction of the cover.

Participants who are preparing for a fall-seeded crop may physically destroy cover beginning July 1 of the final year without a payment reduction. The fall-seeded crop must be planted if the cover is destroyed.

Participants who are preparing for a spring-seeded crop may destroy cover chemically beginning August 2 of the final contract year.

Fall acreage reporting deadline

Producers with the following crops have a reporting deadline of November 15 for FSA purposes: apiculture, perennial forage, PRF, rye, and all other fall-seeded small grains. Therefore, a producer planting winter wheat in the fall of 2014 for harvest in 2015, for example, will be required to report the acreage to FSA by November 15, 2014, to be considered timely filed.

N.D. organic farmers can apply for certification aid

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Producers and processors of organic food in North Dakota can apply for help paying their certification costs.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says applications are now being accepted through the National Organic Cost Share Program for fiscal 2014. Organic farmers, ranchers, handlers and processors can receive up to $750. Applications are due Oct. 31.

Certification enables organic producers and processors to label and sell their products with a federal seal that assures consumers the products were produced using recognized organic methods.

The national program last year provided $99,000 in certification reimbursements in North Dakota.