Latest newsAuthorities in Minnehaha County, S.D., have cited a teenager in a hit-and-run incident that killed three horses, a federal bankruptcy judge on Sept. 26 approved an idled South Dakota beef packing plant’s request for $2.25 million in credit so it can employ an investment banking firm to pursue a sale, and a review has upheld the suspension of a championship steer at this year’s Calgary Stampede for the use of banned substances.
SD teen cited in hit-and-run that killed 3 horses
• SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Authorities in Minnehaha County, S.D., have cited a teenager in a hit-and-run incident that killed three horses. The sheriff’s office says the horses escaped from a fenced area on Sept. 14 and were struck by a pickup truck. The driver left the scene without reporting the crash. The sheriff’s office says it received a tip that led officers to a 17-year-old boy from Crooks. Capt. James Hoekman says the boy hit the horses while driving to work and didn’t report it because he did not have insurance on the vehicle. He was cited for not reporting the accident and for not having insurance. Authorities did not identify him.
Vilsack backs SD in DM&E issue
• PIERRE, S.D. — The U.S. Agriculture Secretary is backing the state of South Dakota in its effort to make sure the old Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad keeps operating west of Tracy, Minn. Secretary Thomas Vilsack sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board urging the panel to support the state’s petition regarding the Canadian Pacific Railway and the former DM&E. Gov. Dennis Daugaard filed a petition in August with the STB to determine if the CP lived up to the representations it made while seeking to acquire the DM&E. Daugaard met with Vilsack Sept. 12 to discuss the potential loss of the only east-to-west rail in South Dakota and the impact it would have on agriculture. Vilsack told the STB that a full accounting of CP’s promised investment is reasonable.
Judge OK’s SD beef plant’s credit request
• SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A federal bankruptcy judge on Sept. 26 approved an idled South Dakota beef packing plant’s request for $2.25 million in credit so it can employ an investment banking firm to pursue a sale. Judge Charles Nail during a hearing in Pierre approved Northern Beef Packers’ request to borrow the money from White Oak Global Advisors so it can hire investment banking firm Lincoln International to market and sell the 420,000-square-foot facility in Aberdeen. Lincoln International plans to seek a “stalking horse” bid in which one potential buyer makes an initial offer to set the floor for an auction. Northern Beef wants the auction held by Dec. 3 with the sale to close by Dec. 27. On Sept. 23, Assistant U.S. trustee James Snyder withdrew his August motion to change the case to a Chapter 7 liquidation to protect the interests of creditors and the estate and to prevent further delay and default. Snyder in his initial motion said that White Oak was the only party offering financing terms that will allow the case to remain under Chapter 11 protection. Northern Beef Packers opened its $109 million state-of-the-art facility on a limited basis in 2012 after years of delays. But its owners filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection less than a year later, saying they didn’t have enough money to buy cattle for slaughter. Now, with $138.8 million in liabilities and just $79.3 million in assets, according to court documents, the plant has laid off most of its employees.
Smithfield Foods closes sale to China’s Shuanghui
• RICHMOND, Va. — Pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc. on Sept. 26 completed its sale to Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., the largest shareholder of China’s biggest meat processor. The $34 per share deal approved by shareholders last week is the largest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm, valued at about $7.1 billion including debt. The Smithfield, Va., company’s sale to Shuanghui comes at a time of serious food safety problems in China, some of which have involved Shuanghui, which owns food and logistics enterprises. Smithfield says the buyout and China’s growing demand for pork will be a boon for American agriculture and an opportunity to export to new markets. Smithfield’s existing management team will remain in place and Shuanghui also will honor labor agreements with Smithfield workers. The acquisition highlights what could be growing interest in American food by Chinese consumers. Foreign food, such as milk powder from New Zealand and vegetables from neighboring Asian countries, is prized by Chinese consumers because of the frequent domestic food safety scandals.
Disqualification of champion steer upheld for banned substance
• CALGARY, Canada — A review has upheld the suspension of a championship steer at this year’s Calgary Stampede for the use of banned substances. Drug testing of the top two steers in the July 13 Steer Classic Competition revealed the presence of two separate drugs, Ibuprofen and Flunixi, in the 2013 winner. The animal was immediately disqualified and a review by Stampede’s Agriculture Review Panel released Sept. 25 agreed with the original ruling. The two non steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs that were detected are prohibited in any quantity under event rules. The panel found that the rules were explicit and clear, the drug testing protocols were valid and the tests did reveal the presence of the two drugs.
• Sugar exchange: The recent extension to the third sugar exchange reduced the sugar inventory of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corp. by 26,003 metric tons. CCC received a weighted average ratio of 2.53187 tons of import access per ton of CCC inventory, with the import access ranging from 2.5 tons to 2.551 tons, and this latest action reduced sugar available to the market by 39,833 metric tons. This action depleted CCC’s current inventory of sugar and, combined with previous sugar exchange activities, has reduced the domestic sugar surplus by reducing import access by 551,429 metric tons.