Ag Business Briefs

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Feds reviewing court ruling on fertilizer dealers policy

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The federal government says it’s reviewing a federal appeals court ruling that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration didn’t follow proper procedures when imposing stricter regulations on farm fertilizer dealers.

The policy change announced last year would regulate retail dealers of farm fertilizer such as anhydrous ammonia under the same standards as manufacturers.

It came after a deadly explosion at a Texas plant in 2013 and is aimed at improving safety, but some believe it would unfairly burden the industry. The Agricultural Retailers Association and The Fertilizer Institute sued a year ago.

The appeals court ruled on Sept. 23 that OSHA can’t implement the change without going through a formal rule-making process. Labor Department spokeswoman Mandy McClure didn’t comment on whether that was being considered.

The change was to take effect Oct. 1.

North Dakota asks pipeline company to explain ranch purchase

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is asking the developer of the four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline to explain its purchase of a ranch where a protest turned violent earlier this month.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners recently purchased the 7,000-acre ranch last week for an undisclosed price.

Stenehjem is giving the company 30 days to say how the land, where tribal officials said construction crews destroyed burial and cultural sites, will be used.

North Dakota law generally bars corporations from owning agricultural land unless the property is controlled by a farm family. The company must prove to the state how its purchase complies with the Depression-era anti-corporate farming law.

Group in Crow Creek Rez gets $169,000 to help minority farmers

FORT THOMPSON, S.D. (AP) — A nonprofit on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation is among several organizations across the country sharing $8.4 million in federal grants to help socially disadvantaged, tribal and veteran farmers and ranchers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded over $169,000 to Fort Thompson-based Hunkpati Investments Inc., which helps individuals and businesses through education, access to capital and entrepreneurial development services.

Hunkpati Investments offers entrepreneurs micro loans starting at $500, as well as other small business loans. Individuals with past credit troubles or no credit history can also apply to receive a loan through a plan designed to help them increase their credit score.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the grants will “help bring traditionally underserved people into farming, as well as veterans who want to return home to rural areas.”

Man expected to survive corn-picking accident in Minnesota

COKATO, Minn. (AP) — A man is expected to survive a corn-picking accident in central Minnesota.

Wright County sheriff’s authorities say the 37-year-old man from Watkins was picking corn when the machine got plugged. The man’s hand became caught in the rollers when he tried to unplug the machine.

The man’s hand was crushed. A farmer who works with the man found him and called police.

WCCO-TV reports it took rescuers an hour and a half to dismantle part of the machine and separate the rollers. The man was hospitalized on Oct. 1, but authorities say his injuries are not life-threatening.

High court rejects appeal over New Hampshire

auto dealer law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from John Deere and other farm equipment manufacturers seeking to overturn a New Hampshire law they say unfairly treats their products like cars and trucks.

The justices on Oct. 3 let stand a New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling that upheld the state’s Automobile Dealer Bill of Rights law. It was expanded in 2013 to include protections for farm equipment distributors in addition to auto and truck dealers.

The law bars manufacturers from terminating dealer contracts without just cause.

Farm equipment makers claim the law unconstitutionally interferes with their contracts. The state says the law simply merges regulations that dealt separately with auto makers and farm and tractor manufacturers.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan said the law leveled the playing field between manufacturers and dealers.