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Published March 12, 2012, 09:31 AM

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SDPUC to hold revocation hearing on Anderson Seed

By: Agweek Staff and Wire Reports, Agweek

SDPUC to hold revocation hearing on Anderson Seed

• FARGO, N.D. — The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission will hold a hearing at 1:30 p.m. on March 13 to decide whether to permanently revoke the grain buying license for Anderson Seed Co., at its Redfield, S.D., location. Anderson Seed is a sunflower business based at Mentor, Minn. Assets of Anderson Seed and the associated St. Hilaire Seed Co., also of Mentor, recently were sold to Legumex Walker of Winnipeg, Manitoba. An American entity of Legumex Walker, based in Washington state, has become a mortgagor to the company’s Redfield plant, which processes sunflowers. The SDPUC meeting will be live on its website at www.puc.sd.gov, by clicking on the LIVE link on the homepage. On Feb. 17, the commission suspended the grain buyer’s license. Meanwhile, the North Dakota Public Service Commission has asked Cass County District Court to order the PSC as trustee in the Anderson Seed locations at Durbin, N.D., in Cass County, and Selz, N.D., in Pierce County. There were 28 formal claims as of March 9, some including more than one operator. Harley Olinske Jr., supervisor of the Minnesota Fruit Vegetable and Grain Unit for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, on March 9 said his department must wait until March 14 for any contest of a claim filed against the bond of the company in that state. If uncontested, the department will publish an announcement in the designated Polk County, Minn., newspaper, inviting others to file claims against the bond.

Conrad details need for a new approach to flooded farmland

• WASHINGTON — Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., met March 9 with U.S. Department of Agriculture National Resource Conservation Service Chief Dave White, to consider a new approach to address the concerns of farmers and ranchers faced with flooded fields and for the people of Devils Lake, N.D. “I appreciate that Chief White has made numerous trips to North Dakota in recent years in his role as head of the NRCS,” Conrad says. “He brings a pragmatic, producer oriented approach to conservation programs and the agency. And he understands the need to adopt a policy that ensures consistent and timely administration of the wetland rules.” Conrad says the meeting was a follow-up to the questions he raised during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing last year and a number of subsequent discussions that Conrad staff have had with White on these issues. North Dakota farmers have shared a number of concerns with Conrad which he relayed to White regarding inconsistencies in the way NRCS is making wetlands determinations in different states, the increase in potential wetlands as a result of these certifications in North Dakota, and delays in certifications due to a backlog of requests at NRCS. When wetlands legislation was first adopted in the 1985 Farm Bill, the policy was to ensure “no net loss” of wetlands. Today in North Dakota, farmers are worried that the current NRCS approach could result in a significant increase in wetlands determinations on their farms. Conrad emphasized that NRCS needs to develop a more timely approach to designating and certifying wetlands that treats all producers fairly and allows them to manage their farms and ranches consistent with the 1985 law.

U of Minn. honors three for excellence in agriculture

• ST. PAUL, Minn. — The University of Minnesota on March 8 awarded its annual Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture to a longtime state agriculture commissioner, an economist who works to improve agricultural productivity around the world, and a wheat farmer with a long record of community service. This year’s winners are former Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson, applied economics professor Philip Pardey, and wheat farmer Bruce Hamnes, the university’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences announced as part of National Agriculture Week. Hugoson served as agriculture commissioner for 15 years in three different administrations. His priorities were expanding markets for agricultural products and improving the protection of the state’s food supply. Pardey works to alleviate hunger through his strategic analyses of science policy and agricultural investment options for development foundations, governmental and non-governmental agencies. He’s co-founder of HarvestChoice, a Gates Foundation-funded initiative that works to boost agricultural productivity and address food needs in developing nations. Hamnes, from Stephen, Minn., has served on agricultural lobbying and advisory groups. He has helped lead research initiatives of the Minnesota Wheat Council and Wheat Growers and with national organizations to expand international wheat markets. The three will be honored in a campus ceremony May 24. Recipients receive a $50,000 award, plus a sculpture and a lapel pin especially designed by Minnesota artist Thomas Rose. The Siehl Prize was created in the early 1990s with a gift from New Ulm, Minn.,-area livestock breeder and businessman Eldon Siehl. The college says he was concerned that people were losing touch with their agrarian roots and wanted his gift to ensure that achievements in agriculture would be recognized and celebrated.

Briefly . . .

• CRP enrollment: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack remind landowners, farmers and ranchers that the opportunity to enroll in the Conservation Reserve Program general sign-up 43 is approaching. Producers who want to offer eligible land for CRP’s competitive general sign-up can enroll through April 6 at the Farm Service Agency service center. CRP is a voluntary program that assists farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers to protect their environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolling in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers in exchange for rental payments, cost-share and technical assistance. Information: local FSA service center or www.fsa.usda.gov/

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