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Published April 16, 2012, 08:43 AM

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Check alfalfa for frost damage

By: Agweek Staff and Wire Reports, Agweek

Check alfalfa for frost damage

• FARGO, N.D. — Several producers reported that alfalfa fields were exposed to temperatures well below freezing the second week of April. Whether these low temperatures will kill alfalfa plants depends on many factors, such as the maturity of the alfalfa, duration of the freezing temperature and soil water level. To check for damage after a frost occurs, wait until the air temperature recovers. A hard frost will cause the alfalfa stems to “shepherd hook” or act as a lazy stem. If the stems straighten after a warming period, the stem is uninjured and will resume growth. If the stem does not straighten after a frost, it has been killed and will dry out.

SD Supreme Court rejects Veblen dairy appeal

• FARGO, N.D. — The South Dakota Supreme Court on April 11 ruled to uphold a district court decision against plaintiffs in a case against the former Multi-Community Cooperative Dairy, managed by Rick Millner of Veblen, S.D., and others. A group of ten “minority shareholders” in the then-cooperative dairy had sued eight defendants, including Millner and Wayne Viessman, Gary, S.D., and Michael Wyum, Rutland, N.D., and others for breaching fiduciary duties and unjust enrichment for removing most of the board of directors in March 2001 and for various actions of self-dealing. The plaintiffs, including MCC’s founding chairman Ralph Keintz of Eden, S.D., originally sued in November 2007 but the case was stayed when MCC went into receivership. The case resumed in March 2011, and Judge Jack R. Von Wald in Aberdeen, S.D., found in favor of the defendants and awarded $2,472 in attorney’s fees incurred when plaintiffs failed to show up at a deposition, which defendants initially had scheduled at a bar owned by Millner, but later was moved to a more neutral location. Chief Justice David Gilbertson, writing the unanimous opinion, explained in oral arguments that plaintiffs’ lawyer Steven Sandven of Sioux Falls, S.D., when asked where the record shows the defendants’ activities were actionable, simply directed the court to a forensic audit.

Agriculture Water Quality Certification committee nominations due

• ST. PAUL — April 16 is the deadline for nominating candidates to serve on an advisory committee to help develop the Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program. The new program’s goal is to enhance Minnesota’s water quality by accelerating adoption of on-farm water quality practices. The committee will provide recommendations to Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson regarding the development of the program, as well as its particular features and focus. Committee composition will be established by Frederickson, with other membership: two farmers or ranchers; two representatives of general farm organizations; three representatives of commodity or livestock organizations; one representative of agriculture-related business; one representative of crop consultants or advisers; two representatives of environmental organizations; two representatives of conservation organizations; and two representatives of local government units. Applications for the committee: www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=5. Information: www.mda.state.mn.us/awqcprogram.aspx.

ND officials organizing trade mission to Columbia

• FARGO, N.D. — Two government marketing experts are in Fargo, N.D., this week meeting with company officials who want to take part in a trade mission to Columbia. The trip is being scheduled after Congress approved a free-trade agreement with the South American country. The deal will eliminate most tariffs on U.S. exports to Columbia. North Dakota exported more than $11 million worth of goods to Columbia in 2011. The state sold $5.3 million worth of wheat and $3.9 million worth of heavy equipment.

Judge throws out water permit for SD dairy

• ALEXANDRIA, S.D. — A judge threw out a state board’s decision to give a water permit to a large new dairy operation in southeastern South Dakota. The proposed Hanson County Dairy would use an estimated 720,000 gallons of water a day. A number of county residents are protesting the operation. Judge Sean O’Brien says South Dakota’s Water Management Board didn’t follow state law when it granted the permit. He says the board didn’t consider whether the local aquifer could supply the heavy water demand. Now the water board will have to look at the issue again, or appeal O’Brien’s ruling to the South Dakota Supreme Court. An attorney for a citizens’ group that opposes the dairy praised O’Brien’s ruling April 11.

Briefly . . .

Conservation compliance: Former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and former Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman have written leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees that they should attach a conservation compliance requirement to government-subsidized crop insurance. “The conservation compact — a provision of the 1985 farm bill called conservation compliance — sparked a decade of unprecedented progress in limiting soil erosion, cleaning up waterways, and protecting wetlands,” Glickman and Veneman wrote. “As you take steps to modernize our farm safety net, we urge you to renew our conservation compact. The conservation compact should bring all income support programs under its umbrella, including eligibility for crop and revenue insurance premium subsidies.”

Correction

• SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. — In an Associated Press story that appeared in the April 2 issue of Agweek about governors of three states visiting a Nebraska plant that produces the finely, textured lean beef called “pink slime” by critics, the AP attributed the quote “If you called it finely textured lean beef, would we be here?” to Nebraska’s lieutenant governor. It was said by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

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