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Agriculture Briefs

Crop planting, emergence exceeds 5-year averages Crop planting and emergence statewide has largely exceeded five-year averages, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

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However, farmers are still having trouble spraying their crops because of wet and windy conditions.

For the week ending June 22, producers reported durum was 97 percent planted, ahead of the five-year average of 89 percent. About 87 percent of durum had emerged, surging ahead of 83 percent average.

About 97 percent of spring wheat had emerged, well ahead of a 92 percent average. But jointing and heading is lagging behind averages at the same time, at 45 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

Barley emerged at 97 percent, beating an 89 percent average. About 50 percent of the crops had jointed, and 3 percent had headed — below average.

Dry beans were 96 percent planted, equalling its five-year average. About 87 percent had emerged, well above current averages.

Sunflower planting was 93 percent complete, advancing beyond an 89 percent average.

Producers reported 95 percent of corn emerged, near a five-year average of 96 percent. Soybeans are 100 percent emerged.

About 85 percent of ranchers rated pasture and range conditions “good” or “excellent.”

Measures to encourage new farmers, ranchers This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the implementation of new measures aimed at encouraging younger people to get into farming, outlined in the 2014 farm bill.

Service fees will be waived for new and beginning farmers or ranchers to enroll in the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for 2014. The program provides risk management tools to farmers who grow crops for which there is no crop insurance.

Under this waiver, those already enrolled in the program for the 2014 crop year are eligible for a service fee refund.

For new farmers, payments under the Conservation Reserve Program will not be reduced over time. The program allows routine, prescribed and emergency grazing outside the primary nesting season on enrolled land consistent.

Payment rates will also increase for new farmers and ranchers under the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program. They will be able to claim up to 90 percent of losses for lost livestock, such as bees.

In the near future, the USDA will also introduce discounted crop insurance premiums, waiving of administrative fees and other benefits to new farmers and ranchers, according to a news release.

State to begin anhydrous ammonia inspections BISMARCK — Starting in July, state pesticide and fertilizer staffers will begin conducting inspections and compliance audits of anhydrous ammonia facilities, mandated by the Clean Air Act.

A new North Dakota Department of Agriculture webpage outlines Risk Management Program provisions and requirements for anhydrous ammonia dealers.

In a news release, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring encouraged anhydrous facility managers to contact his department with any other questions. They can call 701-328-2231 or 800-242-7535 for more information or to schedule a compliance assistance visit.

Last January, the Environmental Protection Agency granted authority to the state to enforce Risk Management Program requirements under the Clean Air Act, a federal law that regulates air emissions.

More information can be found at