Ag Business Briefs

Farm Forum

Judge dismisses lawsuit over Sioux Falls Wal-Mart

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit over an election that paved the way for a Wal-Mart in south Sioux Falls.

Four homeowners in the neighborhood sued over an April election in which voters approved rezoning the proposed store site from agricultural to commercial use. They claimed misleading ballot language.

Judge Larry Long ruled that the homeowners didn’t properly file their lawsuit and that their claims were without merit.

City officials say Long’s ruling clears the way for construction of the store to begin.

South Dakota and North Dakota wheat production up

(AP) — Wheat production in South Dakota this year is up 69 percent from 2013, to 131 million bushels.

The Agriculture Department’s small grain production report estimates winter wheat production in the state up 127 percent, spring wheat up 40 percent and durum wheat up 7 percent.

The report estimates South Dakota barley production this year is down 14 percent, and oat production is up 1 percent.

Wheat production in North Dakota this year is up 29 percent from 2013, to 352 million bushels.

The Agriculture Department’s small grain production report estimates spring wheat production in the state up 25 percent, durum wheat up 4 percent and winter wheat up 216 percent.

Winter wheat is not a major crop in North Dakota, and subject to wide swings in production. Spring wheat is the state’s staple crop. Production this year is estimated at 294 million bushels.

North Dakota barley production this year is pegged at 37 million bushels, down 19 percent. Oat production is at 8.4 million bushels, up just slightly over the year.

Wheat, corn stocks up in Dakotas; soybeans down

FARGO, N.D. (AP) – Wheat and corn stocks are up in the Dakotas, while soybean stocks are down over the year.

The Agriculture Department says wheat stored on farms and at grain elevators on Sept. 1 was up 43 percent in North Dakota and up 40 percent in South Dakota.

Corn stocks were up 80 percent in South Dakota and up 258 percent in North Dakota. Soybean stocks were down 47 percent in North Dakota and down 43 percent in South Dakota.

N.D. ag commissioner awards specialty crop grants

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s agriculture commissioner has distributed nearly $3 million in specialty crop grants for 36 different projects.

The money was given to the state through the 2014 Farm Bill. The amount increased nearly sevenfold over 2013.

The federal government defines specialty crops as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops.

State Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says North Dakota is already a leading producer of several specialty crops, such as dry edible beans, dry peas, potatoes and lentils.

The state’s Department of Agriculture received 45 applications for the grants. North Dakota State University received most of them.

2014 North Central Extension-Industry Soil Fertility Conference

Each year the Soil Fertility Extension and Industry group meet in Des Moines, Iowa, to discuss current topics in nutrient management. This year, the 44th Annual North Central Extension-Industry Soil Fertility Conference will be held November 19-20 at the Holiday Inn Airport in Des Moines. This is a great meeting to catch up on nutrient management research being done in the North Central area of the United States.

Oral and poster presentations will highlight on-going soil fertility research from ten Universities in the region. The program starts at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 19, and ends at noon Thursday. For a look at the extensive agenda, visit the conference’s program page.

For more information about the Extension-Industry Soil Fertility Conference and for registration information, visit

Beef Bucks awards three scholarships

Beef Bucks, Inc. awarded three scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year. Receiving these scholarships are Christina Mogck of Olivet, SD attending South Dakota State University with a major in Animal Science; Kelsey Repenning of Mitchell, SD also attending South Dakota State University with a major of Agricultural Communication and Animal Science; Chesney Nagel of Springfield, SD attending Dakota Wesleyan University, majoring in Athletic Training.

These scholarships are awarded to students with a background in the beef industry who are attending a school of high education as either a traditional or non-tradition student. For more information regarding the Beef Bucks scholarship, go to

North Dakota man named to federal post with USDA

FARGO, N.D. (AP) – A North Dakota man has been named acting administrator of the Rural Utilities Service at the Agriculture Department.

Fargo native Jasper Schneider has spent the last five years as North Dakota’s director for USDA Rural Development. He previously served as a Democratic state representative and ran unsuccessfully for state insurance commissioner.

The Rural Utilities Service is responsible for supporting and expanding public utilities, including electricity, telephone, high-speed Internet, and water systems.

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says she looks forward to working with Schneider to “promote economic growth in North Dakota and throughout all of rural America.”

Help Feeding S.D. win a $60,000 grant

Feeding South Dakota is currently in competition to win a $60,000 grant and you can help. All you have to do is go to You can vote once each day through Nov. 5. As of this morning, Feeding South Dakota is in first place, but second place is catching up fast and is less than 100 votes behind. Help Feeding South Dakota stay in first place! Be sure to vote to show your support.

Each week Feeding South Dakota provides temporary food assistance to 21,000 individuals and families in our state. Feeding South Dakota has two food pantries in South Dakota (Sioux Falls and Rapid City), and also organizes the backpack program and mobile food pantry. These programs strive to serve each area of the state and may be active in your community.

Red Angus Magazine photo contest accepting entrants

The American Red Angus Magazine (ARA) is awarding cash prizes up to $500 to winners of its annual photo contest. Submissions will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31.

Categories in the contest include general ranch life, calves, cow-calf pairs, females, bulls, summer pasture, fall pasture, winter pasture and spring pasture. Cash prizes of $100 will be awarded to the winner of each category. All entries must include a minimum of one Red Angus animal. The grand prize winner in each of the adults-18-years-and-older category and the 18-years-and-younger category will be awarded $500.

All eligible entries must be in a mega-pixel digital format, and all photos will become property of the ARA Magazine.

The contest is open to all individuals with the exception of Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) employees, contractors and their families. For additional information about the contest and to submit your photos, email Kevin LeMaster at

Norwegians visit dairy farm as part of ag tour

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A group of Norwegians participating in a statewide agriculture tour has made a stop at a dairy farm in Mandan

KXMB-TV reports that the Norwegians visited the Northern Lights Dairy Farm on Oct. 2.

Norwegian farmer and rancher Gunnar Lefsaker says he’s always wanted to see how farming is done in the United States.

He says the farming equipment in North Dakota is much bigger than the equipment Norway.

Lefsaker says he likes meeting North Dakotans and learning about their livestock.

Railroad delays hitting hard in western Minnesota

MADELIA, Minn. (AP) – Experts are expecting a high demand for grain shipment caused by a record harvest this year to drive long waits and high prices in Minnesota and across the county.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports all farmers are being affected by delays in shipping commodities by rail, but some are having a harder time than others. Farm groups in western Minnesota, as well as North and South Dakota, are experiencing some of the longest waits and highest prices.

Jerry Fruin, agricultural economics professor at the University of Minnesota, says grain shippers in the northern and western parts of the state have few options beyond rail. But farmers in southern Minnesota are able to ship by barge via the Mississippi River.

A recent study estimates the state’s farmers have already lost $100 million, mainly because of the shipping shortage.

Drivers should be careful during harvest season

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska drivers and farmers are being reminded to be careful during harvest because large equipment and trucks will be entering and leaving fields.

Tim Scheer is chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. He says farmers will be working long hours to harvest their crops, and that can contribute to errors.

But other drivers also need to be careful, especially in rural areas where traffic will be heavier than usual. And drivers should watch out for slow-moving agricultural equipment.

Tall crops in the fields may also make it hard to see traffic at some intersections.

Nebraska drops taxes on farm equipment parts

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska farmers and ranchers who want to fix some of their equipment will be able to save a little money, now that the state has dropped its sale and use tax on repair and replacement parts.

The Hastings Tribune says the state last week dropped the taxes it had been charging on repair and replacement parts for agricultural machinery and equipment that qualify. The change was prompted by legislation the Legislature passed earlier this year. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Annette Dubas, of Fullerton.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau has cited estimates that the state’s farmers and ranchers collectively will save between $9 million and $10 million a year.

$19M grain facility nearing completion near Emery

EMERY, S.D. (AP) — A $19 million grain-handling facility being built in Emery is a few weeks behind schedule in part due to rainy weather but is still expected be handle grain from the current harvest.

The 5.2-million-bushel facility was announced in December 2013 and was to be completed in time for the 2014 harvest. Cargill AgHorizons Regional General Manager Dennis Inman tells the Daily Republic he hopes the facility can start accepting grain in about a week and a half. It likely won’t operate at full speed until November.

Inman says that with low prices, farmers might be holding onto their grain for a while before selling anyway.

Inman says much of the grain that will be handled by the facility will go to the Pacific Northwest and eventually to Chinese markets.