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FT. PIERRE, S.D. — Central South Dakota has had a bit of a rain revival, but many areas have back-slid into drought. Brothers Pete and Rick Severson farm and ranch in conjunction south of Onida, S.D. After an excruciatingly dry May, they got 1.2 inches on June 11, another .3 inches on June 15, then smatterings after that. They're still about 3.6 inches below average rainfall for the growing season.
FARGO — North Dakota State University served up a heaping helping of nutritional and food safety information along with flavor enhancing tips at the season's first BBQ Bootcamp event. The Fargo event on May 23 was the first in this city for a few years. It was a sell-out with 180 registrations, said Eric Berg, an NDSU meat science professor and co-director for the event at the NDSU Beef Cattle Research Complex.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — American Crystal Sugar Co. officials say eight days of talks with their union leave the parties "far apart," but that a "best and final" offer has been sent to union leaders. The farmer-owned cooperative with five factories in the Red River Valley is negotiating with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union over a multi-year contract that ends July 31, 2017. The contract covers about 1,200 workers. A failed negotiation ended in a union lockout in 2011 that lasted two years.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A federal judge in Iowa has refused to allow a biofuels promoter out of jail before his trial on fraud charges, saying he is a risk to obstruct justice. In 2016, Darrell Duane Smith was sentenced to 13 months in jail for failing to a pay employment taxes for biofuels businesses he led. Initially, he was scheduled to leave jail April 28, but federal authorities retained him to face new, more extensive fraud charges.
WOODSTOCK, Minn. — Excuse him, but Clint Magnus can only take a minute or two from his fertilizer spreading duties. The cold, damp conditions this spring have everyone hopping to get everything done. For the past three years, Magnus has operated a TerraGator fertilizer applicator for Schmitz Grain out of Slayton, Lake Wilson and Curry, Minn. During the rest of the year, he's hauling grain for the elevator. On the side, he farms with his parents, Doug and Brenda, near Slayton.
DELL RAPIDS, S.D. — Federal rules that expanded the list of medications that need veterinarian oversight to be given to animals have been in place for five months, and animal producers, veterinarians and feed mills continue to move forward on the process. The Veterinary Feed Directive was put in place as a way to strengthen the oversight of certain antibiotics that are used in both humans and animals and to prolong the life of those products. Beginning Jan. 1, the list of antibiotics that need oversight expanded and now includes many common medicated feeds.
VOLGA, S.D. — Sheep shearing is a chore, but the weather on April 1 was so balmy that the whole thing was pleasant for the sheep and the people on a Brookings County farm. Shearing is a part-time job for Ronny Parmely, assistant manager for the South Dakota State University Seed Testing Laboratory in Brookings. He shears evenings and Saturdays and lambs out about 125 head of sheep that are a combination of purebred Southdown and weather-type market lambs (the equivalent of a steer in beef animals).
Last September, in the aisles at the Big Iron farm show in West Fargo, N.D., I heard rumors of financial troubles for Ron McMartin, Jr., a famously large farmer at St. Thomas, N.D. I'd previously interviewed McMartin, founder of McM Inc. — one of the most significant farming entities in the region. In the 1990s, he and a brother gained a reputation when they peaked at 11,000 acres of sugar beets — before the era of Roundup Ready beets.
FARGO - North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced a $240 million soybean processing plant to be built at Spiritwood, N.D., by Minnesota Soybean Processors of Brewster, Minn., at the Northern Soybean Expo Tuesday, Feb. 7, in Fargo. Officials said the plant will bring over $1 billion in investment to the region, and will process up to 23 percent of the state's soybeans.
BISMARCK — Commodity organizations in North Dakota are mulling the implications of a bill in the North Dakota House of Representatives that would allow the governor to remove board members on the recommendation of the agriculture commissioner. HB 1282 has been introduced by Reps. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley; Kevin Kempenich, R-Bowman; and Chet Pollert, R-Carrington.