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1st wolverine in more than a century found in ND

FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department said a wolverine has been confirmed in the state for the first time in more than a century.

Furbearer biologist Stephanie Tucker told KFGO radio that the last verified report of a wolverine in North Dakota was in the late 1800s.

Tucker said a ranch hand checking livestock last week near the western town of Alexander discovered some cows had a strange animal circled in their calving pasture. The ranch hand feared the animal was going to attack the cattle and shot it.

Tucker said department staff will examine the carcass to gather more information about the animal’s age and diet.

She said it’s possible the young male came from Montana, where there have been scattered reports of wolverine sightings.

— Associated Press

North Dakota man plows Prince’s symbol in farm field

EDGELEY, N.D. — A retiree in a tiny community in North Dakota has paid tribute to Prince in perhaps the most unique way a farmer can.

Gene Hanson is a retired farmer in Edgeley who always liked the song “Purple Rain.” On April 29, he hopped on his tractor and plowed on a football field-size version of the late musician’s symbol into his corn field.

The 75-year-old said he found an image of the symbol on the Internet. He put it on his tractor’s dash and followed the pattern. When done, he got on his airplane to check it out. He couldn’t believe that it had turned out so well.

The tribute is only temporary. Hanson said the field was seeded on May 2.

Prince died April 21 in suburban Minneapolis at age 57.

— Associated Press

NDSU to receive nearly $2.2 million to research crop productivity

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota State University is receiving nearly $2.2 million in federal money to help fund research into crop productivity and protect wheat from pests and disease.

Members of North Dakota’s U.S. Senate delegation announced the funding on May 3. The U.S. Department of Agriculture funds comes from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said the research and development will make sure North Dakota’s farms and ranches are productive and sustainable well into the future.

Sen. John Hoeven said the grant will help its researchers unlock solutions to problems in food and agriculture.

— Associated Press

Interstate semitrailer crash in ND kills 7 cattle

PEMBINA, N.D. — A semitrailer crash near the North Dakota-Canada border killed seven cattle.

The Highway Patrol said the semitrailer went off the side of an Interstate 29 exit ramp at Pembina shortly before 12:30 p.m. on May 3 and tipped on its side.

The trailer had to be cut open to free the 38 cattle inside, and seven of the animals died or had to be euthanized. Area residents helped corral the surviving cattle.

The driver was treated at the scene for minor injuries and cited for care required. The exit ramp was shut down for about four hours, but traffic on the interstate wasn’t affected.

— Associated Press

Fire destroys Titan Machinery building

in South Dakota town

MILBANK, S.D. — Fire has destroyed the Titan Machinery building in the northeastern South Dakota town of Milbank.

The blaze was reported about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Police Chief Boyd Van Voren said there were multiple explosions inside the building, and ash from the fire traveled as far as a mile. No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire was not immediately determined. Company officials said in a statement that they’re working with their insurance company and local authorities on a damage estimate.

Titan Machinery is a dealer of agricultural and construction equipment. It’s based in West Fargo, N.D.

The company said neighboring Titan stores will help support customers of the Milbank store.

— Associated Press

LATI receives $1,000 grant for ag demonstration farm

Lake Area Technical Institute received a $1,000 Working Here Fund grant for an Ag Demonstration Farm. The grant is provided through Farm Credit Services of America.

The Lake Area Technical Institute will offer hands-on learning experiences on a working farm for students. The farm offers 70 acres divided into four fields featuring specific crop demonstration purpose for the growing year. The demonstrations are all based on new agriculture practices that have been recently introduced into the market.

“To optimize planting, fertilizing and harvesting strategies at the farm, precision technologies are incorporated,” said Brian Olson, Lake Area Technical Institute. “All agriculture students, regardless of which ag-related option they choose, participate in activities on the demonstration farm.”

“At FCSAmerica, we appreciate the opportunity to support the future generation of agriculture producers” said Matt Lindgren, regional vice president of retail operations at FCSAmerica’s Watertown office.

— Watertown Public Opinion

2 men sentenced for killing 90-year-old Minn. farmer

CHASKA, Minn. — Two men will each serve 37 years in prison for fatally beating a 90-year-old man in his Carver County farm home last year.

Sentencing was held on May 6 for 36-year-old Reinol Godines Vergara of Richfield and 31-year-old Edson Celin-Dominguez Benitez of Glencoe.

The two were charged with second-degree murder after the body of Earl Olander was found in his ransacked farmhouse in April 2015. Authorities said Olander’s hands were bound with duct tape and that the killers covered his head with a blanket and beat him with a shotgun.

Authorities said Benitez and Vergara had painted Olander’s house, and then returned to rob him.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported the two men must serve at least 25 years before they’re eligible for parole.

— Associated Press

Analysis: Average farm pumps more than $1 million into economy

MITCHELL, S.D. — An analysis has found that the average South Dakota farm pumped more than $1 million into the local economy last year.

The Mitchell Daily Republic reported that Mitchell Technical Institute’s South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management found that farmers in the state spent close to $1.1 million in operating costs, capital investments and family living expenses in 2015.

Much of that spending stays in-state.

Instructor Kathy Meland said 2015 was a rough year for farmers because crop prices declined more than expenses. Cash-farm income is down to levels not seen since 2009. The average farm incurred more than $887, 000 in expenses in 2015, with cash-farm income just above $1 million.

Meland said 2016 so far doesn’t look like a better year financially for South Dakota farmers.

— Associated Press

Neb. Extension schedules tractor safety courses

LINCOLN, Neb. — University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension is scheduling courses on tractor safety and hazardous occupations at several locations this month, June and July.

Officials said federal law prohibits youths under 16 from working on farms for anyone other than their parents or guardians. Certifications through the courses grant exemptions that let 14- and 15-year-olds drive tractors and to do field work with mechanized equipment.

Classes consist of two days of instruction plus homework assignments.

Dates and locations are May 23-24 in Kearney, May 26-27, McCook; June 2-3, Valentine; June 13-14, North Platte; June 16-17, Gering; June 20-21, Wayne; June 23-24, Grand Island; and July 6-7, Gordon.

The cost is $60. Contact Randy Saner at 308-532-2683, Aaron Yoder at 402-552-7240 or Ellen Duysen at 402-552-3394 for more information.

— Associated Press