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Published August 12, 2013, 10:03 AM

Latest news

A new fruit pest was discovered in Bismarck, N.D., a 50-year-old man and his 5-year-old grandson from Minnesota were killed in a tractor accident, and a runaway bull caused injuries to several visitors to the Dakota County Fair in Minnesota.

By: Agweek Staff and Wire Reports,

ND Energae investors want Smith removed from company

• FARGO, N.D. — Two Fargo, N.D.-based investors in an Iowa renewable energy company filed a petition in a Mason City, Iowa, court to appoint a receiver to temporarily control the company. Plaintiffs Robert Hylden and Darren Sheldon on Aug. 5 asked that Energae L.P. be temporarily put in the control of an outside receiver. Hylden and Sheldon ask for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, and legal costs. A hearing for a temporary injunction has been scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Aug. 13, in Cerro Gordo County District Court in Mason City. The plaintiffs say Energae and Darrell Duane Smith of Forest City, Iowa, had “orchestrated an unregistered an unlawful offering of securities in the form of partnership interests in Energae,” among other things. The two say that if the court won’t appoint a receiver, they want it to freeze all of the company’s funds until Smith is “permanently removed,” according to the petition. Hylden says he invested $8,000 in Energae or its I-Lenders affiliate. Sheldon invested $39,000, including $7,000 for a “green energy” tax credit. They say a May 20 letter from Energae indicates the company lost money in 2012, 2011 and 2010. Separately, the Iowa Insurance Division on July 15 permanently revoked Smith’s insurance and securities licenses. The plaintiffs allege Smith has continued to “stay in contact with investors and solicit investments in Energae,” despite those orders. Also separately, another law firm from Cleveland, has filed a separate action on behalf of investors against Smith’s former stock brokerage employer, alleging that the company failed to adequately supervise him. In March 2012, Smith spoke in Grafton, N.D., about how farmers might invest a minimum of $10,000 in Energae, and enter contracts to grow 2012 sugar beets to put through a mothballed former Alchem Ltd. corn-ethanol plant. Smith said Energae planned to remodel the plant for multiple feedstocks. The plans fell through and the plant was dismantled.

Bull injures visitors at county fair in Minn.

• FARMINGTON, Minn. — A runaway bull caused injuries to several visitors to the Dakota County Fair in Minnesota on Aug. 7. The bull escaped from his pen, then broke through the gates and ran through the fairgrounds. At least seven people were injured in the incident, according to Farmington Fire Marshal John Powers. One woman received significant injuries and had to be airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center. A handful of bull riders grabbed lassos and went after the bull. Several bull riders and the rodeo’s pickup man tried to lasso the bull. After being chased and shot twice by a sheriff’s deputy, the bull was secured. Many spectators wanted to leave after the incident, but deputies held them back until all emergency personnel were finished tending to the injured fairgoers. The animal’s owner had it put down the next day. The rodeo started up again about 45 minutes later. The rodeo was a Midwest Bull Riders Association event, presented by Rice Bull Riding Co. of Princeton.

2 killed after tractor flips in Minn.

• CLEARWATER, Minn. — A 50-year-old man and his 5-year-old grandson are dead after being pinned under a tractor in Wright County, Minn. According to the county sheriff’s office, deputies received the call Aug. 2 at about 5:45 p.m. of a tractor that flipped into a ditch in Clearwater Township. Both Ron Gustafson, of Monticello, and the boy, Rollie Gustafson, were killed. The man’s son and the boy’s uncle, Roger Gustafson, says the boy and his sister had been living with their grandparents. He says his dad and nephew were always with each other, hand in hand. He says his father was helping him put up a fence Aug. 2. While Roger Gustafson was moving some machinery, his father and nephew went for a tractor ride.

New fruit pest discovered in ND

• BISMARCK , N.D. — The spotted-wing drosophila (SWD), a major fruit pest, has been detected for the first time in North Dakota. “This insect is capable of causing serious damage, and growers and gardeners should be on the lookout for the larvae in seemingly healthy fruits,” says North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “It can be confused with the common fruit fly, but SWD prefers fresh fruit while the fruit fly prefers rotting fruit.” Goehring says the insect was found in Foster County. A sample submitted from the Carrington Research Extension Center to the North Dakota State University Plant Diagnostic Laboratory contained several cherries with SWD larvae and one adult female. Goehring adds that early detection of the insect by growers is important because symptoms do not always appear until the fruits are harvested and sometimes not until the fruits are in possession of the consumers. An invasive pest of Asian origin, SWD was first detected in the continental U.S. in California in 2008 and has since rapidly spread to other fruit-producing regions of the country. In addition to the damage caused directly by the larvae, infested fruits are susceptible to other insects, fungi and bacteria. The SWD is a small fly, only 2 to 3 millimeters long, yellowish brown with prominent red eyes. SWD cannot be identified without an adult specimen. Goehring says growers and gardeners who find an abundance of small, white maggots in what were apparently fresh fruits at the time of harvest should contact the North Dakota Department of Agriculture at 701-328-2231 or 800-242-7535 or the NDSU Extension Entomology at 701-231-7064.


• SD beef plant: A judge has denied a request by Northern Beef Packers in Aberdeen, S.D., to obtain secured credit and has scheduled a final hearing in two weeks. Judge Charles Nail says he'll also wait to rule on whether Northern Beef, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, can hire investment banking firm Lincoln International to pursue a sale of the plant. Lincoln says it will be looking for a “stalking horse” bid for Northern Beef, in which one potential buyer makes an initial offer to set the floor for an auction that invites competitive bids.