Ag Business Briefs

Farm Forum

Minnesota to consider ban on certain pesticides

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota regulators are considering banning or restricting insecticides that have been linked to honeybee deaths amid population decline.

The Star Tribune reports the state Department of Agriculture disclosed the possibility of restrictions in a revised outline for a study of the chemicals. More than 400 people wrote to the agency earlier this year about a review proposal that didn’t explicitly include a ban option.

The review is expected to take more than six months.

The state Legislature ordered the agency to devise guidelines for protecting the insects in 2013. The number of bees and other pollinators in Minnesota and across the U.S. has dropped significantly in recent years.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also reviewing the effects of the chemicals on pollinators.

Temporary hold placed on Arkansas hog farm permits

MOUNT JUDEA, Ark. (AP) — Officials have put another temporary hold on new permits for hog farms near the Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas.

It’s the second moratorium placed on the permits for large or medium hog farms. The Baxter Bulletin reports the moratorium stems from a permit the state’s environmental quality department issued for the C&H Hog Farm to operate.

Having the temporary suspension in place gives time for the Legislature to review future animal feeding operations in the Buffalo River Watershed. The hold can last for up to 180 days.

Minnesota-based food processor Cargill holds the contract on the hog farm. It has already self-imposed a moratorium on expansion of hog production in the watershed area.

Environmentalists have feared farm waste could taint the river, but studies have shown that hasn’t happened.

Police: Man found dead in Brookings grain bin

BROOKINGS (AP) — Authorities say a missing man has been found dead in a grain bin full of corn at a Brookings elevator.

Police Chief Jeff Miller said Brookings Fire and Rescue found the body of 26-year-old Jacob Heisinger on Oct. 29 at about 1:30 p.m. He says grain removal continued until crews could safely remove the body around 7:30 p.m.

Miller says the incident is considered accidental at this time, but the investigation is ongoing.

Authorities began searching the grain elevator area on Oct. 28 after a tip from the public.

Heisinger was last seen leaving a bar Oct. 23. He was from California but lived in Brookings for at least a couple of years and took classes at South Dakota State University.

NRCS State Technical Committee to meet Nov. 13 in Pierre

Huron – The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will hold the State Technical Committee (STC) meeting on Thursday, November 13, 2014, at the AmericInn Hotel, located at 321 Island Drive, in Ft. Pierre. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 10 a.m. The STC serves as an advisor to the NRCS State Conservationist.

The tentative agenda for the meeting will include Wetland Compliance Action Plan update, State Offsite Methods update, Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Program Summary, Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) report, Wetland Mitigation Subcommittee update, FY2015 Allocation Breakdown, and the Conservation Reserve Program.

Persons needing special accommodations should contact Jeff McGuire at (605) 352-1228 or at least one week in advance of the meeting date. For more information, go to or call (605) 352-1200.

Cramer receives award from N.D. Farm Bureau

FARGO, N.D. (AP) – U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer has been recognized by the North Dakota Farm Bureau.

The group awarded Cramer its “Friend of Farm Bureau” honor.

Pete Hanebutt is the group’s public policy director. He says Cramer has “worked tirelessly on behalf of agriculture” since he was elected.

The award is given to members of Congress who have a record of voting in support of Farm Bureau issues.

ND farm products commission to review requests

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A group that funds developers of North Dakota farm products will consider grant requests totaling more than $346,000 at its quarterly meeting this month in Carrington.

The Agricultural Products Utilization Commission will review 11 requests on Nov. 20

Among the groups making requests is North Dakota State University’s Department of Plant Sciences which is requesting more than $54,000 to study the impact of heat processing on the shelf life of flaxseed.

USDA extends comment period on Argentinian beef

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – U.S. Sen. John Hoeven says the federal Department of Agriculture has extended the comment period for its proposed rule for importing beef from Argentina.

The proposed rule would allow beef from northern Argentina to be imported to the United States. The comment period on the rule has been extended through December 29.

Hoeven says the rule has raised concerns among U.S. livestock groups because of Argentina’s past cases of foot and mouth disease, which affects cloven-hooved animals including cattle, sheep, bison and goats.

Hoeven says it is important to make sure stakeholders are given enough time to review and assess any impacts that the imports could have on the livestock industry in the U.S.

4 groups in Dakotas get rural development grants

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Four groups in the Dakotas are getting grants through the federal Agriculture Department’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program.

The program aims to help develop or expand rural businesses, especially co-ops and mutually owned businesses.

In North Dakota, the Mandan-based Common Enterprise Development Corp. is getting $200,000 to provide technical assistance to American Indian co-ops and businesses in the Dakotas and Minnesota. The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Co-ops is getting the same amount to help co-ops and mutually owned businesses in the state.

In South Dakota, the Value Added Agriculture Development Center in Pierre is getting about $72,000 for the same purpose. The Sturgis-based West River Foundation is getting $750,000 to provide for low-interest loans for community development.

USDA issues ACRE payments for certain 2013 crops in North Dakota

FARGO, N.D. — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Aaron Krauter recently announced that FSA has begun distributing Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) payments for revenue losses associated with corn grown in North Dakota. Discontinued by the 2014 Farm Bill, the ACRE program provided producers with protection from revenue losses for crops grown in 2009-2013.

Corn was the only crop eligible for October payments that was grown in North Dakota in the 2013 crop year. 2,359 producers on 4,551 farms in North Dakota enrolled 2.22 million acres in ACRE. Payments to North Dakota producers through ACRE total more than 43 million dollars; however, the Budget Control Act passed by Congress in 2011 requires these payments to be reduced by 5.1 percent.

For more information on ACRE, producers should contact their local FSA office or visit FSA’s website at

Deadline nearing to enter Sioux Falls farm show

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Organizers are reminding ranchers that the deadline to enter purebred cattle into the 2015 Sioux Empire Farm Show is coming up.

The 62nd Annual showcase in Sioux Falls will be held the week of Jan. 26 at arenas around the city, including the new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. The deadline to enter purebreds is Nov. 15.

The 2015 show will feature six different breeds for show and sale. It will also have commercial exhibits. Admission is free.

Event at UNL to discuss local food movement

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is hosting a panel discussion on the local food movement and its future.

The panel will include community leaders, restaurant owners and farmers. They’re scheduled to speak on Nov. 12 at 3:30 p.m. at the Great Plains Art Museum.

Local farmers will showcase their food in the museum’s lobby after the panel discussion. The Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society is sponsoring the local farmers. They’ll be available until 5:30 p.m.

The seminar is presented by the University of Nebraska’s Center for Great Plains Studies. It’s free and open to the public. Audio from the event will be posted online at on Nov. 13.

Fed aid given to ND water, sewer projects

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Three North Dakota cities, two water districts and an American Indian tribe will upgrade water and wastewater systems with the help of federal money.

The Agriculture Department is doling out more than $340 million in grants and loans for such projects nationwide through its Water and Environmental Program.

Finley is getting $1.1 million in grants and loans for a new water tower. Linton is getting $1.1 million for new water mains and fire hydrants. New England is getting $5 million for a water tower, and water and sewer mains.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is getting a $771,000 grant for a wastewater treatment system for Cannon Ball.

The Stutsman Rural Water District is getting a $600,000loan and the Grand Forks-Traill Water District a $500,000 loan guarantee for operations and infrastructure.

Report: Midwest economic index drops again

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly economic survey index for nine Midwestern and Plains has dropped again.

A survey report issued early Monday says the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index fell in October to 51.8 from 54.3 in September. The figure was from 57.2 in August.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says sharp declines in grain and crude oil prices drove down the overall index for the month. He says the index figure points to slow economic gains ahead.

The survey results from supply managers are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while a score below that suggests decline.

The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Weekend fire destroys upstate New York grain plant

CALEDONIA, N.Y. (AP) — Investigators in western New York are trying to determine what caused a fire that destroyed most of a large grain facility owned by Land O’Lakes.

Officials tell local media that fire crews were called around 11 p.m. Saturday after the blaze broke out at Commodity Resource Corp. in the Livingston County town of Caledonia, 15 miles south of Rochester.

Firefighters from more than two dozen departments battled the fire into Sunday morning and remained at the scene throughout the day to extinguish hot spots.

Officials say the blaze destroyed most of the plant, which is owned by Arden Hills, Minnesota-based Land O’Lakes. A locomotive inside the plant was also destroyed.

The plant was closed at the time of the fire. One firefighter suffered a minor injury.

Five acres burned in corn field fire Sunday

Approximately five acres of a corn field west of Aberdeen were burned in a fire this afternoon.

Aberdeen’s Rural Fire Department responded to the call at 2 p.m., which was approximately four miles west of Aberdeen at 38290 133rd Street.

Mark Stoks, assistant fire chief for the rural fire department said no farming activity was taking place in the field at the time and the cause is undetermined.

Firefighters were on scene about an hour and aided by Aberdeen Fire and Rescue and a local farmer who brought a tractor and disk plow to help turn the field and stop the fire from spreading, Stoks said.

— Reporter Elisa Sand