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Published December 02, 2013, 09:27 AM

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Farm Credit and Minnesota Farm Bureau donate to South Dakota rancher relief effort and raw milk rules will take effect on Dec. 11.

By: Agweek staff and wire reports, Agweek

Farm Credit donates to SD rancher relief effort

• DENVER — The Farm Credit System, a national network of cooperatives that provides financing and related services to agricultural producers, agribusinesses and rural infrastructure providers, made a $175,000 donation to the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund. Established by the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Stockgrowers Association and South Dakota Sheep Growers Association, the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund will assist livestock producers impacted by Winter Storm Atlas. Heavy rain, followed by up to 55 inches of snow in the state’s western region, killed tens of thousands of farm animals over two and a half days in early October. Experts predict that it will be several months before the full economic impact of the storm is determined. Multiple state FFA groups raised funds, also. In six weeks, individuals, chapters and foundations from nine states raised $17,630.06. Members from South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Indiana, Minnesota, West Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado and Montana held fundraisers and sent donations to help South Dakota FFA members.

Minn. Farm Bureau raises funds for SD ranchers

• Farm Bureau members, county Farm Bureaus in Minnesota and the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation came together during the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation Auction to raise more than $22,000 for the South Dakota Farm Bureau Cares fund. Farm Bureau is encouraging individuals and county Farm Bureaus to continue to give to support their fellow farmers and ranchers in western South Dakota. In addition, all proceeds from the auction were donated to assist ranch families impacted by the early October blizzard. Tens of thousands of head of livestock were lost in the storm. The ranch families are facing a very difficult economic hardship as they decide how to regain footing and rebuild. South Dakota Farm Bureau Cares is designed to help ranch families impacted by the blizzard with immediate financial needs: cash for groceries, utility bills, or whatever they feel would be helpful to their family and household. All of the donations will go directly to ranch families impacted by the blizzard. Donations are tax-deductible. Checks should be made payable to: Farmers & Merchants Bank/S.D. Farm Bureau Cares and sent to South Dakota Farm Bureau, PO Box 1426, Huron, SD 57350.

Raw milk rules take effect Dec. 11

• SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota’s agriculture secretary says new rules covering the production, testing and labeling of raw milk sold in the state will take effect Dec. 11. The Agriculture Department had been trying to pass the rules since last spring and has held three hearings on the issue. The Legislature’s Rules Review Committee approved the changes in November. Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch says he hasn’t granted any requests for a 90-day delay. He says department staff will continue to work with farmers on the transition. Department officials contend the rules are necessary to ensure the safety of raw milk sold in the state. Raw milk producers and their customers argue the product is already safe and the new rules would impose too many restrictions.

US Foods to close Fairmont, Minn., plant

• FAIRMONT, Minn. — US Foods says it plans to close its plant in southern Minnesota and transfer work to other facilities. The company did not say how many jobs will be impacted by the closure or the targeted date for shutting down the plant in Fairmont. Company spokeswoman Lisa Lecas issued a statement saying the work at the Fairmont distribution center will be sent to plants in Plymouth, Omaha, Neb., and Iowa City, Iowa. US Foods says severance benefits will be available for employees who don’t find other jobs in the company. US Foods has owned the plant since 2012. City administrator Mike Humpal says the plant closing hurts because the jobs have been in Fairmont for a long time. The plant dates back to the 1940s.

Precision Agriculture Summit to focus on crops, livestock

• JAMESTOWN, N.D. — The Red River Valley Research Corridor and North Dakota Farmers Union are again co-hosting the third annual Precision Agriculture Action Summit, scheduled for Jan. 20 and 21 at the North Dakota Farmers Union Conference Center in Jamestown. The event is an opportunity to learn about trends and practices shaping the industry. And new this year, the conference features two education tracks focusing on crop and livestock management technologies. The tracks will run concurrently on the first day of the conference. While crop management sessions will cover soil variation, crop prescription maps, pesticide application technology and precision animal technologies, the livestock management sessions focus on precision animal technologies, animal tracking and health sensors, genomics and reproduction technologies and robotics and imaging technologies. The main stage speaking agenda includes panel discussions and demonstrations that will address topics such as unmanned aircraft systems in agriculture, the economics of precision agriculture and how new digital technologies such as Google Glass are impacting the farming world. Registration is $75 until Dec. 31. To register as an attendee or sponsor, please go to www.theresearchcorridor.com.

Briefly ...

• Farm income: Updated forecasts for the U.S. farm sector show that 2013 will be the most lucrative year in decades for many agricultural producers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA estimated net farm income of $131 billion for 2013, a significant revision from an earlier forecast of $120.6 billion and up 15 percent from $113.8 billion in 2012. After adjusting for inflation, 2013’s net farm income is expected to be the highest since 1973, USDA says.

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