Latest newsAPUC funding, farm child labor laws, CRP policy and beef recall.
N.D. APUC grants 8 funding requests
•BISMARCK, N.D. — Eight projects are getting money this quarter through a state program that helps fund developers of North Dakota products. The grants through the state Commerce Department’s Agricultural Products Utilization Commission total about $348,165. Fargo, N.D.-based Northern Corn Development Corp. is getting the most money — $100,000 for work on a fertilizer plant that would use natural gas that’s burned off as a byproduct of oil production in western North Dakota. The APUC board will hold its next meeting Nov. 15 in Dickinson, N.D.
House acts to stop rules for child labor on farms
•WASHINGTON — The House on July 24 barred the labor secretary from imposing new safety rules for children working on farms, putting a legal stamp on a Labor Department decision to put off action on the rules. The Labor Department announced last April that it would not go ahead with the proposed rules, saying the decision was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about their effect on small family-owned farms. It added that the rules would not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration. But bill sponsor Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, says even with that assurance, legal action was necessary to make sure that federal bureaucrats in the future would not carry through with “misguided” regulatory attempts. “The regulations imposed by the Department of Labor went beyond all common sense and would have destroyed opportunities for youth across the agricultural economy,” he says. The Labor Department spent more than a year developing the new safety rules, which expanded and tightened existing regulations governing hired farm workers younger than 16. The rules would have banned children younger than 16, except for student learners, from operating tractors and other power-driven machines; tightened restrictions on youth working with bulls and other potentially dangerous animals; and prohibited the hiring of those younger than 18 for jobs in grain elevators, silos and stockyards. The rules specifically exempted children working on their parents’ farms, but farm groups and farm state lawmakers said they ignored the realities of farm life and could affect children working on farms owned and operated by uncles, grandparents or other relatives. The measure barring the new rules was approved by voice vote. The only lawmaker to speak in opposition, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., says it “prevents a rule that has already been prevented by special interests” and which would have increased protections in an industry that is one of the most hazardous for young people. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., has introduced identical legislation in the Senate.
N.D. ag commissioner pleased with CRP policy change
•BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says he is encouraged that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is streamlining the process to open Conservation Reserve Program acres for emergency haying and grazing in drought-stricken counties. To qualify, counties must have at least some land in D0-Abnormally Dry or worse drought conditions based on the U.S. Drought Monitor. “I applaud Agriculture (Tom) Secretary Vilsack for using his discretionary authority this year to open emergency haying and grazing on CRP in counties that are considered abnormally dry,” Goehring says. “It has been a difficult year for many of our North Dakota livestock producers to source feed, and this will certainly help. Currently, 87.05 percent of North Dakota is considered abnormally dry or dryer, but we will have to wait to hear from FSA on the official list of authorized counties.” To avoid the primary nesting season for wildlife, the earliest date farmers and ranchers can graze or hay their CRP is Aug. 2. Those in eligible counties should visit their local Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service offices to do the necessary paperwork before starting any haying or grazing on their CRP acres. “Fifty percent of the eligible CRP acres may be hayed and that hay may be sold for this year,” Goehring says. “However, there will be a 10 percent reduction in their CRP payments for those who elect to hay or graze their acres.” Producers looking to buy or sell feed can use the North Dakota State University Extension Service FeedList website, www.ag.ndsu.edu/
feedlist, or contact their local extension office. The FeedList serves as a clearinghouse for the purchase and sale of feed. The U.S. Drought Monitor for North Dakota can be viewed online at droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_state.
Cargill Beef recalls 30,000 pounds of ground beef
•SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Hannaford Supermarkets is alerting consumers that Cargill Beef is voluntarily recalling 29,339 pounds of ground beef that may contain salmonella. The 85-percent-lean ground beef was produced at Cargill’s plant in Wyalusing, Pa., on May 25, and repackaged for sale to consumers by customers of the Maine-based grocery chain. Cargill President John Keating says in a statement, “Food borne illnesses are unfortunate and we are sorry for anyone who became sick from eating ground beef we may have produced.” Hannaford’s says consumers should check their ground beef for “use or sell by” dates between May 29 and June 16. Refunds will be offered for ground beef that is returned. Additional information is available at the U.S. Department of Agriculture recall website at: www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/index.asp. Cargill is based in Minnetonka, Minn.
— Agweek Wire Reports