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Published September 09, 2013, 10:01 AM

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American Crystal Sugar may be fined for alleged safety violations, overall crop budgets are down in S.D., and nearly 125 tons of unusable pesticides were collected and shipped out of N.D. during this year's Project Safe Send.

By: Agweek Wire Reports,

Near-record amount of waste pesticides collected in ND

• BISMARCK, N.D. — Almost 125 tons of unusable pesticides were collected and shipped out of North Dakota in the 2013 Project Safe Send collections. “This year’s total is the second highest since the program was started in 1992,” says North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “Together with 2012’s record total, almost 270 tons of unusable pesticides have been collected in the past two years. It demonstrates the need for this program that enables people to get rid of products they can no longer use or do not need safely and affordably.” The collections were conducted during July in the communities of Adams, Ashley, Bowman, Casselton, Cooperstown, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Kenmare, Minot, Underwood, Wahpeton and Watford City. Casselton recorded the largest collection with 57,313 pounds. Grand Forks was second with 35,183 pounds of unusable pesticides. Goehring says most of the collected pesticides — agricultural and home products that control plant and animal pests, such as insects, weeds, fungi and rodents — are no longer registered for use in North Dakota or have been damaged or are no longer of use to their owners.” Veolia Environmental Services, Blaine, Minn., was contracted by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture to collect, repackage and transport the waste chemicals to incinerators.

SD coalition urges Congress to pass farm bill

• HURON, S.D. — A broad coalition of South Dakota organizations is urging Congress to act quickly to reauthorize the farm bill. Members of the coalition took part Aug. 31 in a rally at the State Fair. Coalition members say the farm bill includes comprehensive programs that affect all Americans. Mike Stephenson of Pheasants Forever in South Dakota says the bill is important to hunters, anglers, farmers, livestock feeders and everyone who eats. After the Senate passed a farm bill in June, the House passed a different version that took out food stamps. The two chambers have not yet reached agreement. South Dakota Farmers Union president Doug Sombke, who led the State Fair rally, says a farm bill provides a safety net for farmers and feeds the hungry.

Overall crop budgets down in SD

• BROOKINGS, S.D. — A few weeks before harvest, South Dakota overall crop budgets are showing lower returns for 2014, says Jack Davis, South Dakota State University Extension crops business management field specialist. “With lower commodity prices and near constant costs compared to the past four years, returns to labor and management are projected below levels realized during that time,” Davis says. Davis says the projected prices used in the budgets are lower than 2013 projections. Projected prices per bushel are corn at $4.50, soybeans at $11.50 and wheat at $6.50,” Davis says. Direct costs estimates per acre are corn at $385, soybeans at $195, and wheat at $195. Direct costs as a percent of revenue are 57.6 percent for corn, 37.8 percent for soybeans and 50 percent for wheat. He explains that seed and fertilzer are the two key costs for each crop. “Fertilizer costs were the most variable category from year to year and prices have trended lower for fertilizer during 2013,” he says. He adds that corn on corn is not as profitable as the past few years. “If a farm experiences yield drags with continuous corn, crop rotation may offer a profitable alternative. The price and yields used in these budgets favor soybeans also giving incentive to use crop rotation,” he says.

American Crystal faces fines over alleged safety violations

• EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — Workplace safety officials have been investigating what they say were several safety violations at American Crystal Sugar’s East Grand Forks. Minn., factory this year. According to online records with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, inspectors found 26 violations of safety requirements at the facility during an April 9 inspection, including 22 classified as serious. The alleged violations have not been resolved, as American Crystal is contesting some of the citations. “We’re in ongoing discussions with OSHA,” says Brian Ingulsrud, American Crystal vice president for administration. “We look at them as a resource to improve safety at our factories.” The alleged violations from the inspection included processes for handling hazardous chemicals, hazardous waste operations, air contaminants, carbon monoxide monitoring, labeling of hazardous substances, wiring standards, and requirements for machines, stairs and ladders, power tools and welding equipment, according to online records. Fines for those alleged violations could amount to more than $49,000.

Briefly . . .

• Red honey: What appears to be red honey is showing up in some Utah beehives and state officials say it may be coming from bugs feasting on a candy cane byproduct. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food officials say they’ve received several complaints about the odd-colored goo in hives in Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties. They say the bees were apparently fed the byproduct that came from a candy factory. Officials say they don’t have any reason to call the red substance unsafe, but advised beekeepers not to mix it with normal-colored honey and to report it to the state. Regulators are investigating whether the substance can be considered honey. Beehive State standards define honey as a product that originates from a floral source.

• Hay removal: The South Dakota Department of Transportation is asking farmers and ranchers to follow deadlines for removing processed hay from highway ditches. State regulations require that hay be removed from the highway right of way within 30 days of being processed, but no later than Oct. 1. Department officials say removing hay bales from along highways is important for the safety of motorists. The bales can be a hazard for vehicles forced to leave the road and can sometimes restrict a driver’s view. Hay left in road ditches late in the year can also cause snowdrifts across the highway.