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Published January 21, 2013, 10:22 AM

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South Dakota beef plant clears final financial hurdle, USDA offers microloans, and the U.S. and Canada will update procedures for controlling animal disease outbreaks.

By: Agweek Staff and Wire Reports , Agweek

SD beef plant clears final financial hurdle

•ABERDEEN, S.D. — A beef processing plant in northern South Dakota that has been operating on a limited basis since last fall has raised enough money to enter into full production. Land for the $109 million Northern Beef Packers plant in Aberdeen was secured in 2006, but numerous problems including financial issues, lawsuits and flooding repeatedly pushed back the opening date. Northern Beef, which is largely financed by Korean investors, has now raised more than $150 million, an amount that includes working capital. The plant eventually will process 1,500 cattle a day from the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota, producing more than 1 million pounds of boxed beef and beef byproducts daily.

Goehring approves bird repellent for corn

•BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has issued special local needs (SLN) registrations to Arkion Life Sciences LLC, allowing North Dakota corn farmers to use Avipel Hopper Box Corn Seed Treatment and Avipel Liquid Seed Treatment to repel ring-necked pheasants. Goehring emphasizes that the products are nontoxic to pheasants or other birds. Goehring says using scare tactics such as decoy owls and noisemakers have proven ineffective, and that management by hunting is inconsistent. The SLN labeling allows use of Avipel as a seed treatment at a rate of 0.5 pounds of active ingredient per 100 pounds of seed. North Dakota ranked 12th in the U.S. in production of corn for grain in 2011 and is expected to climb in rank in coming years.

USDA offering loans to farmers growing for locals

•MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has created a new loan program to help small farmers, including growers who want to take advantage of the soaring interest in locally produced food. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says new “microloans” of up to $35,000 are designed to help bolster family-run farms, as well as minority growers and military veterans seeking to start a farm who might otherwise have trouble qualifying for small loans from banks or other USDA loan programs. The loans can help farmers grow niche or organic crops to sell directly to ethnic and farmers markets, or contribute to community-supported agriculture programs. The loan also can cover the costs of renting land, seed, equipment and other expenses. The goal is to create more opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment in the farming industry, Vilsack says.

Canada, US to recognize control areas in animal disease outbreaks

•WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Canada and the United States have agreed to recognize each other’s control zones during animal disease outbreaks. The agreement means that if there’s an outbreak in one area, the other country will continue to allow imports of live animals, animal products and byproducts from disease-free areas. Canada’s Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz points to 2003 when mad cow disease was found in Western Canada. Ritz says cattle from disease-free areas such as Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada would still have been able to cross the border if a zoning deal had been in place. He says the agreement will still prevent the spread of disease, but minimize disruptions in the trade of healthy animals. A framework outlining exactly how the arrangement is to work is being developed. It will involve extensive consultation with industry groups, states and provinces.

Dethloff family settles

•Julie Dethloff, daughter of Bill Dethloff, and owner of a 20-acre cattle operation in Bismarck, N.D., that has been in a dispute with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department over deer depredation protection, acknowledged that she had signed an agreement after a North Dakota Mediation Service session with her father on Jan. 14, but declined to elaborate on it. The North Dakota Legislature expanded mediation duties in 2011 to include deer depredation, as well as mediation with various oil-related disputes between landowners and various parties. Bill Dethloff says the game and fish agency had offered $36,000 for constructing a woven wire fence around the property, but he had objected, saying the wooded area required a sturdier, panel-type fence that would cost more than $112,000 to construct. He had been convicted in 2011 of shooting 17 deer to protect a feedlot and feed.

Briefly . . .

Clarification: Lucinda Reiswig manages the warehouse for Premium Gold Flax Products & Processing Inc. of Denhoff, N.D., the company featured in Agweek’s Jan. 14 cover story. Jordan Miller, the son of owners Randy and Deborah Miller, works in milling and manages Organic Farming, a separate but related entity. Also, the shelf life of Gluten Free Flax & Whole Grain All-Purpose Flour is 12 months.

Crop record: North Dakota farmers produced record corn and soybean crops last year. The Agriculture Department says North Dakota’s corn crop was a record 422 million bushels, up 95 percent from the previous year. The state’s soybean crop totaled 161 million bushels, up 40 percent over the year. Oil sunflower production was up 91 percent, canola up 60 percent, flaxseed up 126 percent and dry edible peas up 287 percent. Many of the crops rebounded from 2011 flooding. North Dakota sugar beet production for 2012 is estimated at 6.02 million tons, up 31 percent.

Temple Grandin: World-renowned livestock handling scientist Temple Grandin will speak at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at the North Dakota State University Memorial Union Ballroom in Fargo. Her presentation, “Different is Not Less” is open to the public and she’ll be available during an open reception from 2:30 to 3 p.m.