Ag Business Briefs

Farm Forum

Winter wheat production down in the Dakotas from 2014

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — This year’s winter wheat crop in the Dakotas is expected to be quite a bit smaller than last year’s.

The Agriculture Department estimates South Dakota’s crop at 48.4 million bushels, down 19 percent from 2014. North Dakota’s crop is pegged at 11.2 million bushels, down 59 percent.

Winter wheat is not a main crop in North Dakota, making it subject to larger swings in production. Acres for harvest in North Dakota are estimated to be down 60 percent from last year.

In South Dakota, they’re estimated to be up 2 percent over the year. The production drop is due to a 20 percent drop in average yield.

Nationally, winter wheat production is forecast at 1.5 billion bushels, up 7 percent from 2014.

Nebraska governor declares emergency to help battle bird flu

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts declared an emergency to make sure state agencies have what they need to battle bird flu in the state.

Earlier this month, agriculture officials confirmed the contagious disease’s presence in a flock of 1.7 million chickens in Dixon County, Nebraska. Ricketts issued his declaration on May 13.

Several state agencies are working to quarantine the farm where the disease was found and carry out the destruction of the infected birds.

Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach says the declaration will give him additional resources to respond to the disease outbreak.

Officials say the bird flu doesn’t represent a significant health risk to humans.

Wisconsin company recalls chicken over disinfectant concerns

RIDGELAND, Wis. (AP) — A northwestern Wisconsin poultry processor is recalling more than 2,000 pounds of chicken over concerns it may have been contaminated with an industrial disinfectant.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the disinfectant is not approved for use in poultry processing.

The recall covers roughly 2,191 pounds of whole and cut chicken and 21 pounds of turkey pieces produced by Ridgeland-based AA Poultry Processing LLC between May 4 and May 11. The company’s recall was announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Products in the recall have the establishment number “P-45525” inside the USDA inspection mark on the label. The USDA says the agency and the company haven’t received any reports of allergic reactions from the meat.

House discusses pollinators as new bee health report is released

The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing on the federal response to pollinator health issues on May 13. Many topics of interest to the American Soybean Association (ASA) were covered, including the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rebuttal of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study that concluded that neonicotinoid seed treatment products show little benefit for soybean yields.

EPA officials confirmed that the pollinator health task force report, ordered in a presidential executive order from June 2014, would be released “in the very near future.” Stakeholders have expected the report for several months. Another development for pollinator issues was the release this week of a new report from the Bee Informed Partnership, USDA and the Apiary Inspectors of America. The report for the first time shows that beekeepers are losing more hives in the summer than in the winter. While winter losses from 2014-15 were below the average, the summer loss numbers far exceeded the average rate.

— American Soybean Association

2nd Nebraska farm quarantined after bird flu confirmed

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The bird flu outbreak that reached Nebraska recently has spread to a second farm in the northeast corner of the state.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture said on May 14 that a second flock of 1.8 million chickens in Dixon County is infected.

The original farm where the disease was found earlier last week had 1.7 million chickens. All the chickens on both farms, which are owned by the same producer, will be killed to help limit the spread of the disease.

State Agriculture Director Greg Ibach says officials have established a perimeter around both farms.

Ibach says the spread of the disease is unfortunate, but not unexpected. The disease has been difficult to contain in other states.

Officials say the bird flu doesn’t represent a significant human health risk.

Ag Women’s Day set for Brookings June 9

Women involved in agriculture are invited to attend the 6th Annual Ag Women’s Day on June 9 at the First Lutheran Church Activity Center in Brookings.

The keynote speaker is Dee Dee Rapp. Illustrator Steve Stark will tell the story about South Dakota pioneer women while fast-drawing it before your eyes.

Attendees will choose two break-out sessions from topics that include “Gifts for Me!”, Coffee 101, Telling Your Ag Story, The Real Dirt on Estate Planning, The Other Beef Cuts, and Commodity Marketing.

The conference also will provide attendees with information about the Farm Services Agency. The event will end with speaker and author V.J. Smith. The day’s events begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration starting at 8 a.m.

Registration is requested on or before June 1 and costs $10. Interested individuals should contact the Brookings County FSA Office at 605-692-8003.

— Watertown Public Opinion

Farm finances weaker at start of 2015

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Many farmers in the region are starting off the year in weaker financial shape than a year ago.

The Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, Missouri, says farm income declined again in the first quarter because crop prices are relatively low while expenses are up.

Corn prices were about 27 percent lower than a year ago at the end of April, and wheat prices were about 30 percent lower than last year.

The low grain prices help improve profits for livestock producers, but when corn is selling for less than $4 a bushel it’s hard for farmers to break even.

The 10th Federal Reserve District in Kansas City covers Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado, northern New Mexico and western Missouri.

New buffer strip plan speeds implementation, carries fines

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Late changes to a plan seeking stricter rules on buffer zones separating farmland and public waterways speeds the timeline for compliance and carries possible fines of up to $500 for violators.

The modifications were made early Monday to suit Gov. Mark Dayton’s objections to an earlier proposal he regarded as too lax. He made the buffer strip push a session priority in hopes of slowing agricultural chemical runoff into lakes and streams.

A compromise agreement calls for rooted-vegetation buffers of at least 30 feet in width but an average of 50 feet along public waters. The strips could be narrower along drainage ditches. Compliance deadlines would be late 2017 for public waters and 2018 for ditches.

Farmers who don’t comply could face fines and orders for corrective action.

Yankton Area Chamber of Commerce to host 10th annual Ag Gala

The Yankton Area Chamber of Commerce Agri-Business Committee is holding the 10th annual Ag Gala on June 30 at the Pine Acres Kiwanis/4-H Ice Arena at 709 Whiting Drive.

The Farm Family of the Year Award will be announced along with the eight P.A.Y. Scholarship recipients for 2015 from Crofton, Gayville-Volin, Hartington, Irene/Wakonda, Menno and Yankton.

Lt. Gov. Matt Michels is the master of ceremonies and South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch is a speaker.

The Ag Gala begins at 5 p.m. and features a social hour, a Prime Rib dinner catered by Rollin’ Smoke BBQ, a raffle, and a musical program by Vern Kaul, the East River Cowboy.

Sponsorships for this event are still available.

To register for tickets and/or tables of eight or if you are interested in a sponsorship, contact Carmen Bodden at or 665-3636.

— Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan

2 million more Minnesota chickens to be destroyed due to flu

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — One of the nation’s largest egg producers says it will destroy 2 million egg-laying hens in Minnesota due to a deadly bird flu virus.

The outbreak at the Minnesota chicken farm brings the total of affected birds to 35 million in 15 states, with Minnesota and Iowa poultry flocks hit the hardest.

The Star Tribune reports the chickens at Rembrandt Enterprises farm in Renville will be killed in the next four weeks.

The company’s vice president of marketing, Jonathan Spurway, said Saturday one barn holding around 200,000 birds was infected but the entire flock will be killed as a precaution.

Rembrandt Enterprises suffered an outbreak in its Rembrandt, Iowa, facility May 1, contaminating one barn housing about 250,000 hens. A third plant in Thompson, Iowa hasn’t been affected.