Ag Business Briefs

Farm Forum

Survey suggests rural economy remains weak in 10 states

OMAHA, Neb. — The economy remains sluggish in rural areas of 10 Western and Plains states.

The monthly survey of rural bankers released on May 19 shows the overall remains in negative territory even though it increased slightly. The index increased to 40.9 in May from April’s 38.2.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, said weak grain prices and farm values continue to weigh on the economy in rural areas.

On the survey indexes, any score below 50 suggests that factor will decline.

The farm equipment sales index remained exceptionally weak at 10.7 in May, just below April’s 11.1. Farmers are delaying major purchases because of the environment.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

— Associated Press

Ricketts, agricultural groups tout trade deal for Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and the state’s leading agricultural groups are touting the benefits of a major trade deal proposed between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations.

The coalition released an analysis on May 19 showing that the Trans-Pacific Partnership would increase Nebraska’s total cash receipts by more than $378 million annually from the sale of agricultural products.

The analysis said Cuming, Custer, Platte, Dawson and Lincoln counties would see the biggest economic benefits, but every county would see gains.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska Corn Born and the Nebraska Soybean Association are all calling on Congress to ratify the agreement.

Ricketts said lowering tariffs through the agreement would help Nebraska expand its trade relationship with Japan, one of the state’s biggest partners.

— Associated Press

Man pleads not guilty to making false claim for grazing land

PIERRE, S.D. — An Athol man accused of submitting a false claim for the loss of grazing land under the Livestock Forage Disaster Program has pleaded not guilty.

Authorities said 42-year-old Jason Sparling submitted the claim even though he knew he didn’t meet the requirements to qualify for a disaster payment.

Sparling is also accused of falsely saying in a document that he had entered into an oral contract with someone else to co-share cattle grazing on land in Fall River County in 2012.

If convicted, Sparling faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release, plus $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution could also be ordered.

An attorney for Sparling didn’t immediately return a telephone message requesting comment.

— Associated Press

SDSU Extension in Aberdeen hosts open house June 2

The SDSU Extension Regional Center in Aberdeen will host an open house and partner appreciation event on June 2, 3-5 p.m.

The Regional Center would like to introduce two field specialists who have recently joined the office: Kristi Spitzer, community development fields specialist, and Gared Shaffer, agronomy/weeds field specialist.

The event is open to the public.

— Staff reports

David Ganje selected as Super Lawyer for 2016

David Ganje has been selected to the 2016 Super Lawyers list in the category of energy and natural resources. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

For more information on this event or Ganje Law Offices, please call the South Dakota offices at 605-385-0330 and the New York offices at 518-437-9000 or visit

— Ganje Law Offices

New vehicle designation eases rules for

Nebraska producers

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Nebraska farmers and ranchers will have more freedom to move equipment around their operations using a new state vehicle designation.

Gov. Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Cattlemen said on May 20 that the new designation will allow producers to do so without having to obtain a commercial driver’s license.

Vehicles that may qualify include trucks, hay grinders and manure spreaders.

Ricketts said the covered farm vehicle designation cuts red tape for agriculture, the state’s largest industry.

The covered farm vehicle designation was placed in federal law in 2012 and made possible in Nebraska through a state law in 2014.

Residents can contact the Nebraska State Patrol’s Carrier Enforcement Division at 402-471-0105 with questions about whether their vehicles qualify for the covered farm vehicle designation.

— Associated Press