Ag Business Briefs

Farm Forum

Tree from Huron selected as state capitol tree

PIERRE, S.D. – A 28-foot tall Colorado blue spruce from Huron has been chosen to serve as the featured tree in the South Dakota State Capitol Christmas tree display.

“This tree was donated by Bob and Cheryl Krutzfeldt and has a unique tie to the state department of agriculture,” says Rachel Ormseth, urban forestry coordinator for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Resource Conservation and Forestry Division. “In 1986, the tree was given to the Krutzfeldt’s daughter Linda by department forester John Hinners, who was giving an Arbor Day Presentation at Linda’s school. She planted the tree outside her window so she could see the tree every day. Now, that tree is inside our state capitol building as the featured tree in this year’s display.”

The South Dakota State Capitol Christmas tree display will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily from Nov. 23 through Dec. 26.

— South Dakota Department of Agriculture

MDU Resources subsidiary sells interest in gas plant

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A subsidiary of MDU Resources Group has agreed to sell its interest in the Pronghorn natural gas processing plant.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that WBI Energy Midstream has a 50 percent non-operating share in the plant near Belfield, as well as the associated natural gas and oil-gathering pipelines, with Whiting Oil and Gas Corp.

Tesoro Logistics Rockies has agreed to purchase the plant and associated gathering lines for $200 million. WBI’s share of the sale price will be about $100 million.

The sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, pending Federal Trade Commission approval.

WBI Energy Midstream acquired its interest in the Pronghorn facilities in May 2012 for $66 million.

Financial training coming to Watertown

The Codington / Hamlin Farm Bureau will be presenting a year-end financial training on December 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Watertown Pizza Ranch. The event is free and open to area Farm Bureau members.

Corey Maaland, with Dakota Mac, a division of First Dakota National Bank will be leading the event. In addition, Maaland will be providing info on cash flow projections, balance sheets and budgeting as well as will be available to answer questions.

For additional information please contact John Moes with Codington / Hamlin Farm Bureau at 605-881-8234.

— South Dakota Farm Bureau

Drug-resistant salmonella linked to Wisconsin calves

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Federal and state health officials say a multistate outbreak of salmonella bacteria that is resistant to several drugs has been linked to infected dairy bull calves purchased in Wisconsin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 21 people have been infected in eight states from Jan. 11 through Oct. 24. Eight of the 21 people sickened were hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

Those who were sickened ranged in age from 1 year to 72. Wisconsin has the most cases with 12 people infected in eight counties.

The CDC says its investigation identified dairy bull calves from livestock markets in Wisconsin as the likely source of infections. Minnesota and South Dakota each have two cases and California, Iowa, Idaho, Missouri and Oklahoma each have one.

Accountant admits stealing $3 million from grain shipper

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — An accountant has admitted stealing at least $3.1 million from a Minnesota-based grain shipping company she worked for at the Port of Albany.

Diane Backis of Athens, New York, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Albany to mail fraud and filing a false income tax return. U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian says Backis not only stole from Cargill, Inc., but caused at least $25 million in losses to the Minnetonka, Minnesota-based company by manipulating customer invoices and payments.

Backis admitted she stole hundreds of customer payments over a 10-year period. As part of her guilty plea, she agreed to pay at least $3.5 million in restitution to Cargill and to forfeit her house and other assets.

She faces up to 20 years in prison when she’s sentenced on March 28.

South Dakota wildlife sanctuary hopes to regain license

SPEARFISH, S.D. (AP) — Officials of a western South Dakota wildlife sanctuary that lost its federal license and had most of its animals removed hopes to regain the license by spring.

Fred Erdman, president of the Spirit of the Hills board of directors, tells the Black Hills Pioneer ( ) the sanctuary is creating a new board that will see if it can get its U.S. Department of Agriculture license back.

But Bobbi Brink, the director of California-based animal sanctuary Lions, Tigers, and Bears, is calling for the South Dakota sanctuary to dissolve. Brink has been assisting Spirit of the Hills with the removal of animals to other facilities around the country.

Brink says she wants all of the sanctuary’s animals to be removed and for it to sell off its assets to pay for animal care at facilities that took in the animals.