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Published January 06, 2014, 09:53 AM

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Donations to help SD ranchers hits $3 million, comments and review sought on proposed fertilizer rules and applications for CSP due Jan. 17,

By: Agweek Wire Reports, Agweek

Donations to help SD ranchers hits $3 million

PIERRE, S.D. — A fund aimed at helping western South Dakota ranchers who lost tens of thousands of cattle in an early October blizzard has collected $3 million, three times as much as had originally been expected. The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, Cattlemen’s Association and Sheepgrowers Association set up the fund. Stockgrowers Association President Bob Fortune says money was contributed by more than 5,000 donors from around the world. He says 394 applications for help have been processed so far, and additional relief will be given to ranchers now that the deadline has passed. At least 21,000 cattle, nearly 1,400 sheep and other livestock died in the storm.

Comments, review sought on proposed fertilizer rules

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is asking for public comment on proposed rules on the composition of commercial fertilizers and containment of liquid fertilizers. “The proposed rules on fertilizer composition are intended to assure both fertilizer consumers and dealers that the products they buy contain the minimum level of nutrients stated on the label,” Goehring says. “A set of reasonable industry standards for variances in product composition and micronutrient label claims also benefits fertilizer manufacturers.” Goehring says the proposed rules are based on national standards established by the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials. “The proposed language in the containment rules establishes requirements for primary and secondary containment of liquid fertilizer products,” Goehring says. “The requirements for primary containment would cover liquid fertilizer held in undivided quantities greater than 55 gallons. Requirements for secondary containment affect only fertilizer distributors and would apply when liquid fertilizer is held in undivided quantities greater than 2,500 gallons for a period longer than 30 days.” Primary containment refers to a liquid fertilizer tank and all of the associated hoses, valves and other appurtenances attached to a storage container. Secondary containment refers to structures, such as dikes, that contain spills or releases from a storage container. The proposed rules give distributors several options for secondary containment, including diking, elephant rings and double-walled tanks. Goehring urges interested persons and businesses to review and offer comments on the proposed rules, which are available, together with frequently asked questions and answers, on the North Dakota Department of Agriculture website at www.nd.gov/ndda or by contacting the department. People can submit comments at 701-328-1508 or at delzer@nd.gov. Comments can also be mailed to: North Dakota Department of Agriculture; Attn: Agriculture Commissioner Goehring; 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept. 602; Bismarck, ND 58505-0200. The deadline for submitting comments is Feb. 13. Goehring has also scheduled a public hearing on the proposed rules for 1 p.m. Feb. 3 in the Brynhild Haugland Room of the State Capitol in Bismarck.

Applications for CSP due Jan. 17

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has opened the Conservation Stewardship Program for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014. Through Jan. 17, producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS. “Through the Conservation Stewardship Program, farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are going the extra mile to conserve our nation’s resources,” NRCS Chief Jason Weller says. “Through their conservation actions, they are ensuring that their operations are more productive and sustainable over the long run.” The CSP is an important farm bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards take natural resource management to the next level to improve both their agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.

Briefly . . .

• Livestock grant: The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is making $1 million in grant funding available to livestock producers for on-farm improvements that help them stay competitive. The 237 Livestock Investment Grant recipients to date have invested an estimated $75 million in upgrades to their operations since the program began in 2008. Qualifying producers can get reimbursed 10 percent of the first $500,000 of their investment, with a minimum investment of $4,000. Qualifying expenditures include the purchase, construction or improvement of facilities for the production of livestock, and the purchase of fencing and feeding and waste management equipment. Producers who have suffered losses from natural disasters may also apply. The grants don’t pay for livestock or land purchases or for debt refinancing. The deadline to apply is Feb. 21. Information: www.mda.state.mn.us/livestockinvestmentgrant.

• University chair: Montana producers have raised $1 million for the new Montana Plant Sciences Chair in the College of Agriculture at Montana State University. The Montana Grains Foundation, MSU President Waded Cruzado and the MSU Alumni Foundation have embarked on a $5 million mission to perpetually endow the first chair in the 120-year history of the College of Agriculture. “The new Montana Plant Sciences Chair will have an advisory council with representatives from Montana’s crop production industry who will focus on the most compelling needs of grain producers in this state,” says Dale Schuler, who serves as chairman of the Montana Grains Foundation. MSU is ranked by the Carnegie Foundation as one of the top universities in the nation for research activity. “Research changes economies, and this chair will be instrumental in attracting top faculty and students to help advance crop science in Montana,” says Michael Stevenson, president and CEO of the MSU Alumni Foundation.

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