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Published March 10, 2014, 11:05 AM

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CHS stock sale might fund Spiritwood plant, calling small farmers and specialty crop funding available.

By: Staff and Wire Reports, Agweek

CHS stock sale might fund Spiritwood plant

• CHS Inc. is offering nearly 17 million shares of stock with a possible intended purpose of partially funding the anticipated construction of a nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing plant in Spiritwood, N.D., according to Lani Jordan, director of corporate communications for CHS. Jordan says the company is required to indicate the possible use for the funds by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission when offering stock for sale. The listed use of the funds is not binding on the company. “This indicates what the stock may be used for,” she says. “Obviously the CHS board has not made the go-forward decision yet.” CHS announced plans to construct a nitrogen fertilizer plant in Spiritwood on Sept. 18, 2012. Costs were originally estimated at $1.2 billion. More recent estimates have the plant’s costs at about $1.8 billion. A final board decision concerning the construction of the plant is anticipated in the second quarter of the year, which begins April 1. This sale of shares is anticipated to raise about $406 million, Jordan says. It follows a previous sale of stock in September, which had a stated use of updating and expanding the CHS oil refinery in Kansas. “We’ve had excellent results with our stock sales,” Jordan says. “They have been well-received in the marketplace.”

Calling small farmers

• The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2012 Census of Agriculture finds that the number of very small farms continues to grow in the Upper Midwest. Typically, operators of such farms support themselves primarily with off-farm income. Agweek would like to profile one or two of these farms in a future issue. If you fit that description and are interested, or know of someone else who does, please let us know by March 28. Include a few details such as what the farm raises, what the operator does off the farm and how he or she got started. Send the information to Jonathan Knutson, Agweek staff writer: jknutson@agweek.com or 375 2nd Ave. N., PO Box 6008, Grand Forks, ND 58206-6008, or call him at 701-780-1111.

Specialty crop funding available

• HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Department of Agriculture announced that funding is available and applications will be accepted to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. After receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state will disburse $305,000 to successful applicants through a competitive grant process. Specialty crops are fruits and vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs, dried fruits, horticultural and nursery crops, including floriculture. Eligible plants must be intensively cultivated and used by people for food, medicinal purposes or aesthetic gratification. A list of specialty crops is available, along with a companion list of ineligible commodities, on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website. Proposed projects must enhance the competitiveness of U.S.-grown specialty crops in either domestic or foreign markets. Projects must benefit more than one commercial product, organization or individual. Examples include research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, plant health, education, “buy local” programs, conservation or product development. Funding is available to interested state and local organizations, academia, producer associations, community-based organizations, specialty crop stakeholders and local, state and federal government entities. Grant proposals are due to the Montana Department of Agriculture by close of business on May 21. For more information, eligibility guidelines and resources, visit agr.mt.gov/agr/Producer/GrantsLoans/SCBG or contact Angelyn DeYoung, specialty crop block grant program manager, at 406-444-2402. Projects will be evaluated by the department and a technical review committee. Approved proposals will be forwarded to USDA. Successful applicants will be notified in October 2014.

GMO Inside announces campaign to get GMOs out of Starbucks’ dairy

• WASHINGTON — Green America’s GMO Inside campaign has launched a major push to get Starbucks, America’s largest coffee chain with more than 20,000 stores in 62 countries, to serve only organic milk sourced from cows not fed genetically modified organisms (GMO). The new campaign calls on Starbucks to stop sourcing milk from cows fed GMO in feed, including corn, soy, alfalfa and cottonseed, and to use a third-party verifier to ensure that the milk used at Starbucks stores is, in fact, sourced from cows eating non-GMO feed. GMO Inside’s campaign is launched on the heels of the consumer victory to get GMO ingredients out of original Cheerios. General Mills’ decision to remove GMOs from original Cheerios was joined in the past year by Post Cereals removing GMOs from original Grape Nuts, Chipotle, Ben & Jerry’s and Kashi agreeing to phase out GMOs from their foods, and Whole Foods announcing that it will label GMOs sold in its stores by 2018.

Farm Rescue to receive matching funds From Otto Bremer Foundation

• JAMESTOWN, N.D. — Farm Rescue, a nonprofit organization that provides planting and harvesting assistance free of charge to farm families who have experienced a major illness, injury or natural disaster, received a “one for one” grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. The Otto Bremer Foundation will award $1 to Farm Rescue for each dollar donated by new sponsors, grantors and individual donors, up to $35,000. Farm Rescue helped a record number of farm families in 2013 and plans for another successful year of helping farm families who have experienced major injury, illnesses or natural disasters. Fifty farm families were helped in 2013, bringing the total number of families helped since the inception of Farm Rescue to 252. The Otto Bremer Foundation and Bremer Bank were one of the first sponsors of Farm Rescue and continue to be strong supporters of helping farm families through the nonprofit organization. In 2013, Bremer Bank donated $25,000 and the Otto Bremer Foundation donated $75,000, for a cumulative donation of $100,000.

Briefly . . .

• China GMO: China’s process to approve Syngenta’s MIR162 genetically modified corn is underway after the firm submitted additional material to authorities in November and should go through quickly, says Vice Agriculture Minister Niu Dun. Asked if the corn variety could be approved within the first half of 2014, he says, “It is possible.” He says the exact timing would depend on the agriculture ministry’s biosafety committee.

— Agweek Staff and Wire Reports

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