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Published June 18, 2012, 09:21 AM

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Minn. canola plant reaches rated capacity

By: Agweek staff and wire reports, Agweek

Minn. canola plant reaches rated capacity

• HALLOCK, Minn. — Northstar Agri Industries, a canola processing plant in Hallock, Minn., reached its rated capacity of 1,000 tons per day of canola seed on June 9. The company reached this important milestone, commissioning the new canola crush plant with an integrated refinery only 22 days after starting up on May 18. “The entire plant has been proven to operate at the design standard of 1,000 U.S. tons per day, while producing high-quality products,” says Neil Juhnke, president and chief operating officer of Northstar. “This is an outstanding accomplishment, achieved only 17 months after the project groundbreaking in mid-January 2011.” Northstar’s engineering firm, Karges Faulconbridge Inc. and general contractor, McGough Industrial Construction LLC, were instrumental in completing the project accident free, ahead of schedule and under budget. “Our production associates and management staff have also contributed mightily to our success, Juhnke says. “We couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the project. We look forward to a bright future in the canola industry.” Northstar Agri Industries is a subsidiary of PICO Holdings Inc. Northstar’s products, canola meal and refined canola oil, are marketed by Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC under an exclusive product marketing agreement.

Animal groups offer alternative to ballot initiative

• FARGO, N.D. — North Dakotans for Responsible Animal Care, a diverse group of animal stakeholders, is proposing new legislation that strengthens and clarifies the state’s humane treatment of animals law and offers a better, more comprehensive response to animal mistreatment than a proposed ballot initiative. The NDRAC’s draft language addresses animal abandonment, neglect and cruelty, and spells out appropriate exemptions to clarify the law’s intent. It also includes an array of penalties to reflect the severity of the act, from infractions for slight offenses to class C felonies for the most serious crimes, including repeat offenses and actions resulting in serious injury, serious illness or death. The proposed language also provides clarity and guidance to law enforcement officers and licensed veterinarians handling cases of animal mistreatment. Information:

Senate rejects amendment to end sugar program

• WASHINGTON — The Senate on June 13 debated and rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and others to end the sugar program. The Coalition for Sugar Reform, which represents industrial sweetener users, said it was disappointed by the 50-46 vote against the sugar reform proposal, but added, “We are encouraged that on a bipartisan basis, nearly half the Senate clearly sees the need to debate and reform current U.S. sugar policy.” The coalition noted it supports another Shaheen amendment that would roll back some sugar provisions of the 2008 farm bill. The American Sugar Alliance, which represents beet and cane growers, says “today’s vote to reject an amendment that would have repealed U.S. sugar policy is great news for taxpayers and grocery shoppers as well as the country’s food security. As many senators noted, the current system operates without taxpayer expense and U.S. grocery shoppers enjoy prices that are well below the world average.”

Potatoes in storage down from last two years

• FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota growers, dealers and processors held 1.4 million hundredweight (cwt) of

potatoes in storage June 1, down 18 percent from 2011 and 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service North Dakota Field Office. Current stocks represent 7 percent of the production, down from 8 percent in 2011 and 9 percent in 2010. Total stocks are defined as all potatoes on hand, regardless of use, including those that will be lost through future shrinkage and dumping. Disappearance from the start of harvest to June 1 totaled 17.5 million cwt, down from 20.3 million cwt a year ago, but up from 17.4 million cwt two years ago. The 13 major potato states held 43.9 million cwt of potatoes in storage June 1, up 6 percent from a year ago. Potatoes in storage accounted for 12 percent of the 2011 fall storage states’ production, unchanged from the previous year. Potato disappearance, at 336 million cwt, was 6 percent above June 1, 2011. Season-to-date shrink and loss, at 25.9 million cwt, was up 11 percent from the same date in 2011. Processors in the nine major states have used 177 million cwt of potatoes this season, up 10 percent from the same period last year. Dehydrating usage accounted for 35.3 million cwt of the total processing, up 37 percent from last year. The report can be found at

Anthrax case confirmed in white-tailed deer in Texas

• AUSTIN, Texas — The first confirmed case of anthrax in a Texas animal for 2012 has been detected in an adult white-tailed male deer near Uvalde in Uvalde County, Texas. At this time, no domestic livestock are involved. Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, which is a naturally occurring organism with worldwide distribution, including Texas. It is not uncommon for anthrax to be diagnosed in livestock or wildlife in the Southwest part of the state. In recent years, cases have been primarily confined to a triangular area bound by the Texas towns of Uvalde, Ozona and Eagle Pass. “The TAHC will continue to closely monitor the situation for possible new cases across the state. Producers are encouraged to consult with their veterinary practitioner or local TAHC office about the disease,” says Dee Ellis, state veterinarian. Information: or 1-800-550-8242.