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Published January 23, 2012, 09:03 AM

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Two being inducted into N.D. Agriculture Hall of Fame

By: Agweek wire reports, Agweek

Two being inducted into N.D. Agriculture Hall of Fame

VALLEY CITY, N.D. — A former state seed commissioner and a man who has been involved in the potato, farm implement and biofuel industries are being inducted into North Dakota’s Agriculture Hall of Fame. The late Everett Tool of Fargo, N.D., worked for the state seed department for more than two decades and was appointed seed commissioner in 1968. Maynard Helgaas of West Fargo, N.D., currently is the president of a Fargo-based company promoting the energy beet industry. He also has a history in the farm implement dealership business, and was a leader in the development of the irrigated potato industry between Jamestown, N.D., and Bismarck, N.D. Helgaas and Tool will be inducted in March during the annual North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City, N.D.

S.D. legislative panel endorses ag property tax bill

PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota lawmakers have given first-round approval to a measure that would speed up increases in the taxable value of some farm land and could raise actual tax bills in some cases. The state’s new farm property tax system bases the taxable value of agricultural land on its ability to produce income, but annual increases have been limited to 10 percent. A House committee endorsed a measure allowing taxable values to rise by up to 25 percent a year in some cases. Lawmakers say the change is needed so taxable values can catch up to the actual value of land. Officials say an increase in taxable values would not necessarily lead to a corresponding increase in actual tax bills, but it would lead to higher taxes for some agricultural land.

Ag pollution prevention program tested in Minn.

ST. PAUL — Minnesota farmers could share up to $10 million as part of a federal pilot program aimed at encouraging conservation and reducing agricultural pollution, officials said Jan. 17. Details on how the new program will work remain sketchy, including how money will get distributed and to whom. It’s also unclear what conservation practices will qualify for the additional federal assistance. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton announced the framework in St. Paul. In essence, farmers would get special certification, technical assistance and government aid if they voluntarily agree to follow land management practices to soil erosion and runoff of fertilizers, pesticides and manure into streams and groundwater. Guidelines will be developed by regulators in consultation with groups representing farmers, environmental interests and others. Paul Aasen, head of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, says the goal is to come up with a laundry list of conservation practices with proven results. Dayton administration officials say meetings with stakeholders could begin this week.

Signup begins for Direct and Counter Cyclical Programs

FARGO, N.D. — Signup for Farm Service Agency’s Direct and Counter Cyclical Program and the Average Crop Revenue Election Program during the 2012 crop year begins Jan. 23. Signup for both programs will continue through June 1. Producers who choose to participate in either the revenue-based ACRE safety net or the price-based DCP safety net must apply for the program each year. All owners and operators who will share in the DCP or ACRE payments on the farm must sign the enrollment form (CCC-509) by June 1. If a producer does not get the signed form in to their local office by June 1, they will not be enrolled in the program for the current year and will not receive benefits. Producers who choose to participate in DCP or ACRE were allowed to choose between the two programs in 2009. A producer who initially chose to remain in DCP does have the option to switch to the ACRE program when they apply for the program before the June 1 deadline. However, producers who elected to enroll their farm in ACRE cannot switch back to DCP. Additionally, if a producer has a farm that is enrolled in ACRE and buys another farm that is enrolled in DCP, the two farms cannot be combined unless the DCP farm is changed to ACRE.

N.D. dairy meetings scheduled with cow college

HAZELTON, N.D. — Midwest Dairy Association’s North Dakota Division District annual meetings are scheduled throughout North Dakota Jan. 30 to Feb. 3, in conjunction with North Dakota State University Extension Service Cow College events. Midwest Dairy’s portion of the meeting is designed to bring dairy producers up to date on activities and results from their dairy promotion checkoff program. Dates and locations: Jan. 30 in Linton at KEM Electric Co-op; Jan. 31 in Dickinson at Elks Lodge; Feb. 1 in New Salem at Youth Building, Morton County Fairgrounds; Feb. 2 in Towner at Sandhills Dairy; Feb. 3 in Jamestown at Gladstone Inn and Suites. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m., and the program runs from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Briefly . . .

GIPSA antitrust regulator: A top federal antitrust regulator for meat companies is stepping down. J. Dudley Butler will end his tenure as head of the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration, people familiar with the matter said Jan. 19. Butler oversaw key parts of the Obama administration’s effort to pass sweeping antitrust reforms covering the meatpacking industry. The effort ended late last year after Congress killed funding for the proposed regulations. The Packers and Stockyards Administration has special antitrust authority over the nation’s biggest meatpackers and poultry companies. During Butler’s tenure, the PSA sought to expand its authority giving greater protection to chicken farmers and cattle ranchers in part by making it easier for them to sue packers over such issues as prices or which production costs they cover.

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