BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Public Service Commission on Thursday, Oct. 31, approved a recommendation to pay out 19 cents on a dollar for cash sale claims against the trust fund assets of Hunter Hanson's fraudulent grain trading. The PSC unanimously recommended paying 45 claims of $7,247,469. The trust fund holds $1,371,837, or 19% of those claims. Further, the PSC recommends only seven claims qualify as valid credit sale contracts with Hanson's businesses. Those $836,913 in claims could be paid at an 80% indemnity rate, for another $669,530, plus PSC costs.
CAVALIER, N.D. — Mahar Farms will probably end up with "average" precipitation this growing season, but when much of it comes at the end it's anything but normal. Mahar Farms has been around since the early 1900s. Pat Mahar and his son, Scott, as well as Pat's brother, Jim, and Jim's son, Thomas are running the farm. They planted about 1,600 acres of beets this year and harvested about 40% of those a 20-inch snow Oct. 10-12 stopped them in their tracks.
FARGO — Radio campaign advertisements started running Thursday, Oct. 10, in western Minnesota's 7th Congressional District for Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., paid for by a new super political action committee led by sugar advocates. The ads are paid for by the Committee for Stronger Rural Communities, a political action committee announced in August and chaired by farmer Kelly Erickson of Hallock, Minn., a board member for American Crystal Sugar, Co., a farmer-owned cooperative based in Moorhead, Minn.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — The opening of the full-scale harvest at American Crystal Sugar Co., was largely stalled due to excessive rains. The only harvest station operating on the Tuesday, Oct. 1, opening day was in the Moorhead factory district Hitterdal, Minn. Brian Ingulsrud, the company's vice president for agriculture, said record-setting September rains in some areas, including Grand Forks, N.D., were keeping producers out of the fields on the first scheduled day of the company's so-called full-scale harvest.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is the third in a multi-part series: "Farm Crises — The 1980s and now." Agweek will interview experts who can compare the economic and political conditions between what was known as the "farm credit crisis" of the 1980s, a decade when one in four farms failed because of economic losses. FARGO — Ken Knudsen would just as soon forget the farm stress of the 1980s, but he hopes today's ag lenders remember its lessons.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., in a phone conference with agricultural media, said he is looking into why the U.S. Department of Agriculture has cut staff by a quarter in a time when demands on offices have increased. Peterson, speaking to reporters from Minnesota and the Dakotas, on Sept. 25, said people in his district indicate that Farm Service Agency staffing declined by more than a fourth from 2004. "It looks to me that there's not adequate staffing," given increases in responsibility.
FARGO — North Dakota State University specialists are warning that toxic ergot is showing up in some livestock feed this year. Ergot is a fungus that develops in grasses and cereal grains, especially in this damp weather and delayed planting. Ergot sclerotia are hard, puplish-black dark fungi bodies that grow at the same rate as plant seeds.
FARGO, N.D.—The North Dakota Agriculture Department took its grain regulation town hall meeting to Fargo on Sept. 17, as the industry shifts after the "Hunter Hanson effect." Hanson, a Devils Lake, N.D., area grain marketer estimated he'd traded $23 million in a year and a half, ending with $11.2 million in claims for unpaid or unfulfilled contracts. Hanson was shut down by the state in November and in July 2019 pleaded guilty on federal fraud charges.
WEST FARGO, N.D.—U.S. Department of Agriculture checks to farmers will play a vital role in economic survival in 2019, a year of devastating wet conditions and marketing losses due to a tariff trade war with China. Most of the money that flows to farmers comes through the USDA's Risk Management Agency. The USDA's Farm Service Agency delivers most other support programs, including Market Facilitation Program payments to offset the farm effects of a tariff war.
FARGO, N.D. — The Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association is looking for a new executive director. Association president Dan Younggren of Hallock, Minn., says the executive committee about three weeks ago parted ways with Duane Maatz who had been the group's executive director since spring 2015.