Ag Business Briefs

Farm Forum

Moo-ving out: Sensor sends text alerts from cows in labor

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) — University of New Hampshire dairy researchers are more relaxed these days about monitoring pregnant cows: A sensor attached to their tails sends text alerts to help detect when they’re in labor.

Moocall measures tail movement patterns triggered by labor contractions. On average, it alerts dairy managers by cellphone and email about an hour before a cow gives birth.

Moocall was developed in Ireland and released commercially last year. The company says the University of Kentucky also uses the technology.

Doctoral student Kayla Aragona says with about 70 calves are born every year at the farm, it’s a help.

But it’s not foolproof. One unhappy cow rubbed her tail up against everything and banged the sensor on the wall to try to get it to fall off, leading to false alarms.

Officials approve egg farm that will use cage-free barns

PARKER, S.D. (AP) – Officials in Turner County have approved an egg farm that will house up to 2.5 million chickens in cage-free barns.

The county’s Board of Adjustment on July 19 unanimously approved the project that will be located near Parker.

The approval for the project proposed by Sioux Falls-based Sonstegard Foods comes with several requirements, including a disposal plan for potential bird-flu losses without composting carcasses and a promise to maintain odor and fly control measures.

The company had initially proposed a 6 million-bird operation. It sparked controversy and a lawsuit against the county and the company.

Some area residents still oppose the pared-down chicken farm, fearing harm to human health, the environment and property values.

The company still has to secure a permit from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

North Dakota APUC funding six projects this quarter

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Agricultural Products Utilization Commission is funding six projects this quarter, for a total of more than $407,600.

The group better known as APUC funds developers of North Dakota farm products. The money is typically used for research, marketing, farm diversification, ag tourism and technology.

It’s a program of the state Commerce Department.

The largest grant this quarter is going to North Dakota Soybean Processors of Fargo, which is getting $103,000 to defray engineering costs for a soybean crushing facility and refinery.

The award also includes nearly $60,000 to the Fluffy Fields Vineyard and Winery in Dickinson for a marketing campaign.

Certification aid

available to organic producers, processors

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Producers and processors of organic food in South Dakota can now apply to have up to 75 percent of their certification costs reimbursed.

The state Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications from producers and processors interested in getting a reimbursement through a partnership between the agency and its federal counterpart.

Kimberly DeSchepper is a grant and loan specialist with the state Agriculture Department. She says annual certification costs are a major expense for new and established organic producers.

The reimbursement for costs paid between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016, won’t exceed $750.

Certification enables organic producers and processors to label and sell their products with a federal seal that assures consumers the products were produced using recognized organic methods.

Applications are due Nov. 15.

Land O’Lakes, Inc. announces new

sustainability business division

ARDEN HILLS, Minn. — Land O’Lakes, Inc. recently announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership. SUSTAIN will focus on aligning environmental sustainability efforts across the full Land O’Lakes, Inc. enterprise.

“Stewardship of the land, water and air has been a hallmark of our farmers for generations, and we’re excited to announce a new step forward to serve our members and customers even better, and ultimately, continue our commitment to preserving our resources,” stated Chris Policinski, Land O’Lakes, Inc. president and CEO.

SUSTAIN will focus on helping to ensure sustainable crop production by delivering insights, products and services; enhancing sustainability within the Dairy Foods and Feed businesses; and partnering with other entities, including government, to improve efficiency and collaboration on conservation and sustainability programs.

— PR Newswire

South Dakota June milk production up 7 percent over 2015

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — A government report shows South Dakota dairy farms increased milk production in June compared to last year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says milk production in the state totaled 210 million pounds last month, a 7 percent increase over June 2015.

The average number of milk cows last month was 115,000, up 9,000 during the same period last year. Milk production per cow averaged 1,830 pounds.

North Dakota milk

production up 4

percent during quarter

FARGO, N.D. (AP) – A government report shows milk production in North Dakota during the quarter running April through June was up 4 percent from the previous year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says milk production in the state during the quarter totaled 88 million pounds.

The average number of milk cows was 16,000 head.

Goal for Hunger Free ND Garden Project is 250,000 pounds

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is asking gardeners to donate at least a quarter of a million pounds of fruits and vegetables this year.

The Hunger Free ND Garden Project is now in its seventh year generating fresh produce for food pantries, shelters and charitable feeding groups.

Goehring says hunger is a problem even in a state that produces so much food. He says the Great Plains Food Bank served 11.2 million meals in 2015. He says about a third of those needing help are children.

Information about the Hunger Free ND Garden Project including drop-off points for produce can be found on the Agriculture Department website, at