Ag Business Briefs

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ARC reinstates scholarship program ag communications students

New Prague, Minn. — The Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) is pleased to announce it is reinstating its scholarship program for college students studying ag communications. The organization, through its foundation, will grant one, $1,500 scholarship for the 2015-2016 school year.

ARC conducted a scholarship program up until about 10 years ago. Through the financial contributions of recent Hall of Fame recipients Richard Howell and Gary Myers, along with pledges from several others in the organization, ARC will now award its scholarship in the spring.

In the next couple years we hope to reinstate our internship program as well. A career in public relations can be satisfying and rewarding. Scholarships and internships are ways to show college students the value of pursuing jobs in this area.”

Notices were sent to universities and colleges in October and January announcing the program. Students will have until March 1, 2015, to submit their applications. Among those contacted will be Ag Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) students through its state chapters.

Please direct all questions to the ARC office; email ARC at arc@gandgcomm.com, phone: 952/758-5811.

Construction underway at site of deadly plant collapse

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A year after the partial collapse of an Omaha animal feed processing plant killed two people and injured nine others, a new, modern plant is being built at the site.

After the Jan. 20, 2014, collapse of the International Nutrition plant, the facility was demolished.

Construction has begun on a new plant, and officials say it will look nothing like its predecessor.

Company president Steven Silver says the new design brings the building “up to today’s code,” with state-of-the-art mixing equipment and safety features. He says the plant will resume livestock feed production.

The Omaha World-Herald reports about six of the 25 employees laid off after the accident have been rehired, including at least one injured employee.

Silver says he expects the new plant to open by late summer.

Nebraska AG Peterson establishes agriculture bureau

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson has created a stand-alone bureau in his office that will focus on agriculture, natural resources and the environment.

The new bureau was pulled from an existing section of state’s Consumer Protection Division. Peterson said on Jan. 20 that the bureau will focus on longstanding legal battles over water and federal regulations.

Justin Lavene, an assistant attorney general, will serve as the bureau’s chief.

Lavene supervises the litigation support for Nebraska state agencies and boards, including the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Agriculture, the Game and Parks Commission, the Environmental Trust and state commodity boards.

Nebraska Farm Bureau endorses 4 property tax measures

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Farm Bureau has endorsed four measures designed to lower property taxes for farmers and ranchers.

President Steve Nelson said on Jan. 20 that the bills would ease the financial burden on producers.

The bills were introduced by Sens. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft and Dan Watermeier of Syracuse. Two measures would lower the taxable value of agricultural land, although one would only apply to schools. Those schools would likely see an increase in state aid.

A third measure would send 20 percent of state income taxes collected in a local school district back to that district. Under current law, the state only returns 12 percent.

The fourth proposal would boost the state’s property tax credit fund by $60 million annually.

2015 Forages for ‘U’ Workshops: Forage production topics for today’s producers

The University of Minnesota Forage Team will host three winter workshops during the month of February. They will take place in Hutchinson, Minn., (10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) and Fergus Falls, Minn., (5-9 p.m.) on Tuesday, Feb. 10, and in Rushford, Minn., (10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) on Friday, Feb. 20. The winter workshops were selected in areas that represent significant forage production and grazing acres. The UMN Forage Team Regional Experts have worked diligently to produce programs that deliver high-quality research-based education to forage producers, grazers, crop consultants, industry representatives, and the general public on the importance of forage production systems, both from an economic and environmental perspective.

The Forage for “U” Workshops are open to all interested in learning about forage production systems. Our goal is to ensure that your questions are answered. With the lineup of regional, local and statewide experts, there will be educational opportunities for all. For more information please visit our registration website at http://z.umn.edu/foragesforu

Grand Forks Bean Co. ordered to stop doing business

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota regulators have ordered Grand Forks Bean Co. to stop doing business after complaints by farmers about not being paid for delivered crops.

The state Public Service Commission has asked a judge to name the commission as trustee in insolvency proceedings against the company.

Calls to the Grand Forks company were not answered Jan. 23.

Nebraska to get $1.2 million in federal conservation grants

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says it will receive $1.2 million in federal grants over the next five years to help private landowners improve grasslands and croplands for wildlife habitat and agriculture production.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The new program, created in the 2014 Farm Bill, is managed by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Through service forms a public-private partnership that enables private companies, local communities and other partners to invest in efforts that protect natural resources.

Game and Parks’ assistant wildlife administrator Alicia Hardin says the cost-share grant dollars will be used to enhance grasslands in southeastern Nebraska for livestock grazing and wildlife, such as quail and prairie chickens.

Nebraska farmer visits South American counterparts

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – A Nebraska farmer recently visited Colombia and Brazil to learn more about international markets for U.S. crops.

The Nebraska Corn Board says John Greer from Edgar was part of a delegation with the U.S. Grains Council.

Greer says the recent U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement seems to be creating new opportunities to sell American corn and related products.

That’s encouraging because Colombia is one of the largest importers of corn in the region. But Brazil will compete with the United States to sell grain to Colombia.

NAP coverage available for 2015 crops for livestock feed intended for grazing

It is important that producers note that NAP coverage WILL be available for annually planted crops for livestock feed intended for grazing because RMA is not offering CAT level coverage under the Rainfall Index-Annual Forage Insurance Plan. The NAP sales closing date for this insurance is March 15th for crops planted in the spring.

Please contact your local FSA office for questions concerning NAP or your crop insurance agent for questions concerning RMA crop insurance. A list of agents can be found at www.rma.usda.gov.