Ag Business Briefs

FF Editor
Farm Forum

North Dakota man sentenced for cattle theft

A Hazen, N.D., man has entered an Alford plea in a McHenry County, N.D., livestock theft case. Dwight Todd Mehrer was accused of selling unbranded cattle owned by his deceased girlfriend under another party’s name and then collecting the proceeds for himself.

An Alford plea is a guilty plea in which the defendant does not admit to the act and asserts his or her innocence.

Northeast District Court Judge Michael P. Hurly sentenced Mehrer on June 12 to 30 days at the Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center in Rugby, N.D., 18 months of probation, $15,000 in restitution, and $775 in criminal administration, defense and facility and victim-witness fees, which were waived.

— Staff reports

North Dakota Stockmen’s All Breeds Cattle Tour to be held Oct. 5-6

Each year, the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) coordinates an All Breeds Cattle Tour to showcase seedstock operations from different regions of the state. This year, the tour moves to Dickinson, N.D., and surrounding areas Friday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 6.

A block of rooms is reserved at the Astoria Hotel in Dickinson. To make reservations and receive the discounted rate of $79 plus tax, call (701) 456-5000 and ask for the All Breeds Cattle Tour block.

The All Breeds Cattle Tour is a project of the NDSA Seedstock Council. The NDSA is a grassroots producer organization that has served cattlemen and cattlewomen since 1929.

For more information about the tour, contact NDSA Special Projects Director Elizabeth Neshem at (701) 223-2522 or

— North Dakota Stockmen’s Association

SE Minnesota hog farm critics seek full environmental review

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Residents near a proposed large-scale hog farm in Fillmore County want Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration to order a full environmental review.

Waukon, Iowa-based Catalpa wants to build a 4,980-sow piglet-producing facility about 10 miles east of Harmony. It would general over 7 million gallons of manure annually in a geologically porous area of southeastern Minnesota.

Around 400 people packed a community meeting last month to express concern over the impacts to groundwater and the odors.

The Land Stewardship Project and Responsible Agriculture in Karst Country organized a recent bus trip from the area to St. Paul so residents could meet with Dayton and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency officials as the comment period on the initial environmental review closes.

The MPCA will decide if a full environmental impact statement is necessary.

Smithfield permitted for $12 million expansion

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — One of Sioux Falls’ largest employers is getting bigger.

Smithfield Foods has received a city permit to build a $12.5 million holding barn addition at its meat processing plant. The Argus Leader says Smithfield received a permit in May for a holding barn addition totaling $2 million.

Smithfield is a subsidiary of WH Group of China and employs 3,400 people in Sioux Falls.

Rescuers pull man to safety from Sioux Falls grain bin

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Rescuers have pulled a man to safety after he became trapped in a Sioux Falls grain bin full of soybeans.

The man was cleaning out a bin with a grain vacuum shortly before 11 a.m. on July 10. Lincoln County emergency manager Harold Timmerman says while the man was in the grain bin, he was “sucked down to the bottom of the bin.”

The Harrisburg Fire Department responded to the bin, where the man was trapped up to his chest. Timmerman says it took between 30 to 45 minutes to free the man using grain rescue tubes.

The man was not hurt. The Argus Leader reports fire departments from Canton, Split Rock and Sioux Falls also assisted in the rescue.

USDA applauds housing eligibility for temporary farm workers

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released internal guidance on changes made to farm labor housing eligibility. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 amended a section of the Housing Act of 1949 to extend the Farm Labor Housing tenant eligibility to agricultural workers legally admitted to the United States and authorized to work in agriculture. Due to this rule change, domestic farm laborers legally admitted into the country under an H-2A work visa are now eligible for this state-inspected housing.

“Finding suitable housing for temporary agriculture workers has always been a challenge faced by our farmers and producers,” Secretary Perdue said. “The seasonal workers coming to the United States do tremendous work for American agriculture. I am pleased that USDA programs can now better assist farmers needing to provide housing while they’re here. I thank Congress for addressing this issue in its most recent funding bill and hope to continue the conversation on farm labor for our agriculture industry.”

The application period is now open, with a deadline of August 27, 2018.

— U.S. Department of Agriculture

2018 Public Presentation Day results

Six Brown County 4-H Members participated in Public Presentation Day on July 12 at the South Dakota Agtegra Building. Participants gave illustrated talks which related to a 4-H project area they are enrolled in. Each participant could receive a purple, blue, red and white ribbon placing. Receiving purples were: Carter Dreyer, Travis Sharp, Emma Bowser, Zachary Bowser and Alicia Davis. C.J. received a blue ribbon. All the participants will be giving their presentations at the Brown County Fair in the Home Arts building, Wednesday through Sunday. They also have the option to participate at the State Fair over Labor Day weekend.

— Brown County 4-H Program

Farmland Co-op members approve merger

Members of North Dakota-based Farmland Co-op Inc. approved a merger with the Agtegra Cooperative on July 12.

Farmland has about 100 members. Of those, 55 voted, with 51, or 92.7 percent, voting in favor of the merger. Voter turn out was 39.6 percent.

The merger will take effect Sept. 1, when the current fiscal year ends for Farmland.

According to American News archives, Farmland approached Agtegra about the possibility of joining the company earlier this year. Agtegra then signed a letter of intent in April.

The merger allows Agtegra to increase its capabilities in a geography it already serves, CEO Chris Pearson said in a post on the cooperative’s website.

“Having Farmland join Agtegra allows us to build on their expertise and enhance our fuel offering to our North Dakota customers,” he said.

— Victoria Lusk, American News Reporter

SD Animal Industry Board repeals negative tuberculosis test rule

PIERRE, S.D. – The Board has moved to repeal the 2004 Board Order requiring a negative tuberculosis test of dairy cattle prior to import to South Dakota. Effective immediately this test is no longer required for dairy animals imported to South Dakota from tuberculosis free states and zones.

— South Dakota Animal Industry Board