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Farm Forum

7 noxious weeds are banned in SD. Could absinthe wormwood be No. 8?

PIERRE — The state Weed and Pest Control Commission decided on April 12 to hold a public hearing Sept. 11 on whether absinthe wormwood should be added to the list of banned noxious weeds in South Dakota.

Seven species are already on the list: Canada thistle, hoary cress, leafy spurge, perennial sow thistle, purple loosestrife, Russian knapweed and salt cedar.

Also known as wormwood sage, it’s now in 40 South Dakota counties, said Brenda Sievers, plant industry program manager for the state Department of Agriculture.

Absinthe wormwood is native to Eurasia and northern Africa but has become common in the northern United States and Canada. A mature plant is 2- to 4-feet tall and its oil can be used for the spirit absinthe.

Many county-level weed boards have declared absinthe wormwood a locally noxious weed. Commissioner Duane Buckmeier of Prairie City said many landowners won’t listen, however.

Paul Johnson, the South Dakota State University Extension weed science coordinator, said pesticides containing 2,4-D control absinthe wormwood.

— Bob Mercer, Farm Forum correspondent

Minnesota firm tries to solve metal pollution with peat

Minnesota Public Radio reports that American Peat Technology applies processed granulized peat to plants to help draw nitrogen from the air and reduce the need for fertilizer. The company harvests and processes peat in Aitkin.

CEO Doug Green says reed-sedge peat is also capable of extracting metals from water. He says the company is also working on a proprietary method use peat to capture sulfates in water.

Metal can flow into water from runoff from industrial and agricultural producers.

The University of Minnesota Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute is helping the company improve its pollution-fighting products. The company paid the institute to research peat and refine patent applications.

— Associated Press

Equine herpes virus confirmed in horse in South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota Animal Industry Board says equine herpes virus has been confirmed in a horse in Lincoln County.

The board says the horse became ill and had trouble with coordination and walking. Lab tests confirmed the disease.

According to the board, the horse has traveled extensively in South Dakota for cutting and sorting events in the past few weeks.

State veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven says the disease can result in respiratory problems, abortion or neurologic disease among horses. Since the disease is contagious and can be spread between horses through direct contact or through contaminated buckets, brushes or tack, Oedekoven recommends cleaning and disinfecting feed and water buckets, stalls and trailers to prevent the disease from spreading.

The virus is not a threat to humans.

— Associated Press

Annual 4th grade Ag Fair is April 24

The Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Ag Committee is hosting their annual 4th Grade Ag Fair on April 24 at Prairie View Farms. Around 550 students and their teachers from Leola, Ipswich, Groton and nine schools in Aberdeen will participate in the Fair.

The Groton FFA is instrumental in making this event happen. They provide the livestock and set up stations educating the students about cattle, swine, goats, sheep, dairy and horse shoeing. In addition, Agtegra Cooperative will teach farm safety. As they board their buses to head back to school, the students will get a sack lunch and goodie bags of information from South Dakota livestock, crop and dairy councils.

— Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce

Building permit for Edmunds Co. turkey facility appealed again

The Edmunds County Commission will meet in special session at 9 a.m. April 30 for a public hearing of appeal regarding a building permit for a turkey facility.

The meeting will be in the community room in the courthouse, 210 Second Ave., Ipswich.

The permit was submitted by Farm Holdings SD 12, a limited liability company owned by Hendrix Genetics, which is based in the Netherlands. It would allow for seven connected barns to be built as part of a “pod” that would house 26,800 turkeys, according to information from Hendrix Genetics. It would be about 2 miles southwest of Ipswich and about a half-mile away from a home. Some residents have expressed concerns about odors.

This is the second time residents have appealed the permit. Last time, the county commission sent it back to the planning and zoning commission because its meeting agenda was not properly published on the county’s website. That led to the planning and zoning board approving the permit a second time.

Two other Hendrix Genetics building permits for turkey pods in Edmunds County have been approved.

— Staff reports