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Published October 28, 2013, 10:35 AM

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Farm Aid is slated to make grants to South Dakota and Colorado farmers, the N.D. Stockmen's Association is offering a $10,000 reward for information on a recent pony death and a Kansas company recalls nearly 23,000 pound of meat.

By: Agweek staff and wire reports, Agweek

Farm Aid to make grants to SD, Colo. farmers

• Farm Aid has activated its Family Farm Disaster Fund to issue emergency grants to South Dakota and Colorado farmers who lost animals in the recent blizzard, but also warned that private aid cannot equal government aid, according to singer Willie Nelson, the group’s president. “Our hearts go out to the Colorado farmers who saw their precious soil ripped away by rushing waters and the South Dakota ranchers who have had the terrible task of finding and burying their dead cattle,” Nelson says. “Farmers and ranchers are caretakers first and foremost, and though their economic losses are huge, these disasters take a serious emotional toll.” Livestock disaster aid in the 2008 farm bill has expired, but the program would be revived retroactively in the new farm bill. Farm Aid singer-songwriters and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to “support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food,” the group says. Farm Aid has raised more than $43 million since it began in 1985.

Stockmen’s offering $10,000 reward in ND pony death

•BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of whoever is responsible for the dragging death of a pet pony in North Dakota’s Bottineau County. Owner Dave Boppre says the 38-inch-tall miniature Shetland pony named Bad Boy was chased from a hobby farm on Sept. 24, struck with a pickup truck, then tied to the back of the truck and dragged. Boppre also is accepting donations for a reward. Stockmen’s President Jason Zahn, of Towner, N.D., calls the killing of the pony a “senseless crime.” The rancher association is helping the Bottineau County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation.

Kan. company recalls nearly 23,000 pounds of meat

• WASHINGTON — Reser’s Fine Foods in Topeka, Kan., is recalling about 22,800 pounds of potentially bacteria-tainted chicken, ham and beef products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says the meat products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The meat was shipped to retailers and distributors in 27 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The FSIS listed various “sell by” dates for the recalled products. There have been no reports of illness. Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon and potentially fatal disease. Symptoms can include high fever and severe headache.

December hearing scheduled in ‘pink slime’ lawsuit

• ELK POINT, S.D. — Oral arguments are scheduled for December in a motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit over ABC News’ coverage of a meat product that critics dub “pink slime.” The lawsuit filed by Beef Products Inc. was moved in June from federal court to circuit court. ABC is asking the circuit judge to dismiss the case. Dakota Dunes-based BPI claims the TV network damaged the company by misleading consumers into believing that its signature product — lean, finely textured beef — is unhealthy and unsafe. It is seeking $1.2 billion in damages. BPI officials say the product is safe and the coverage led to the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs. The Union County Clerk of Courts office says the hearing is scheduled for Dec. 17 at 1 p.m.

Briefly . . .

• Pulse plant: Ground has been broken for a plant near the central South Dakota town of Harrold that will process pulse crops such as lentils, field peas and chickpeas. Gov. Dennis Daugaard says the plant is the first of its kind in the state and adds another piece to South Dakota’s value-added agriculture industry. The 11,000-square-foot, $4.5 million South Dakota Pulse Processors plant will employ about 10 people. It’s expected to start operations in the spring.

• Elevator fire: A fire at a grain elevator in the northeast South Dakota town of Frederick destroyed about 2,500 bushels of corn. The Oct. 22 blaze at the Frederick Farmers Elevator broke out in a grain dryer, about 35 feet above ground. Fire departments from Frederick and nearby Ellendale, N.D., responded. Frederick Fire Chief Kevin Barton says there were about 5,000 bushels of corn in the dryer and half of it was destroyed. A damage estimate was not immediately available. No one was hurt. The cause of the fire was not immediately determined.

• SD donation: The $15,000 that usually goes to Sturgis Rally Charities will instead go to ranchers affected by the early October blizzard. The funds will be split, with half going to Meade County producers and half helping Sturgis businesses recover from the storm. The city will also donate $11,000 to the Fire Department and $10,000 to police reserves.

• Driving advisory: North Dakota transportation officials are urging motorists to be cautious in eastern North Dakota with the sugar beet harvest underway. Roadways can become slippery from mud and other debris from trucks hauling the beets to processing plants. Large farm equipment also is out on the roads. The Transportation Department urges people to slow down, be alert for slow-moving vehicles and pass with care.