Mikkel Pates / Agweek Staff Writer
BISMARCK, N.D.—North Dakota Public Service Commission officials plan insolvency actions against two grain-related marketing companies in Devils Lake, N.D., after reports of bounced checks. Konrad Crockford, PSC director of compliance, on Nov. 15 verified that investigators from the state agency were in the offices of Midwest Grain Trading of Devils Lake, and NoDak Grain, a company with facilities at the former villages of Rohrville and Tunbridge, a location near Rugby, N.D. The companies are operated by Hunter Hanson.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — A cooperative of sugar beet growers plans to purchase American Crystal Sugar Company's Sidney, Mont., sugar processing facility. Representatives of American Crystal Sugar Company and Big Sky Sugar Cooperative of Sidney, Mont., on Friday sent out a news release confirming that they have signed a non-binding letter of intent "providing the framework by which Big Sky would become the owner of the Sidney, Mont., sugar processing facility." American Crystal officials met with staff members in Sidney on Friday, Nov. 16, to announce the negotiations.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — American Crystal Sugar Co. of Moorhead has announced a projected payment for 2018 beets at $48 per ton, with $4 per ton withheld as a "unit retain." Tom Astrup, president and CEO, announced the payment to shareholders of the company in a series of annual factory district meetings the week ending Nov. 7. More details may be available at the company's annual meeting on Dec. 6 at the Fargo Holiday Inn. The 2018 projection compares to a $46 per ton initial projection for the 2017 beet crop.
ELBOW LAKE, Minn.—The defunct Ashby (Minn.) Farmers Elevator has formally asked a court for permission to enter the property of its former general manager, Jerry Hennessey, to start inventorying taxidermy and other property in the wake of a multi-million-dollar embezzlement accusation that toppled the company, Hennessey's wife, Rebecca "Becky" Hennessey, already has agreed to allow the co-op access to inventory property. He said that may happen as early as Nov. 12.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Tim Leonard was awoken early on Monday, Sept. 10, by a steady knocking on the front door of his house in north Fergus Falls. "I yelled, 'What the hell! It's 4 a.m.'" Leonard recalls. His alarm turned to confusion when he heard the familiar voice of Jerry Hennessey, his revered friend and general manager of the Ashby Farmers Elevator Cooperative. There was "trouble at the elevator," Leonard remembers Hennessey explaining. "I need your help!"
FARGO, N.D. — Trump administration tariffs are upsetting the dry edible bean trade in Minnesota and North Dakota and are likely to harm processors for a long time to come. "Our biggest concern is the future going forward," says John Berthold of Thompson, N.D., who is president of Green Valley Bean Company LLC, with its processing plant east of Park Rapids, Minn. His company processes only kidney beans — dark red kidney beans, light red kidney beans and white kidney beans.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—Darrell Duane Smith, the Iowa biofuels fraudster who on Oct. 5 was sentenced to 14.6 years in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution, has filed a "notice to appeal" his sentence to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
SIDNEY, Mont.—The second annual MonDak Ag Research Summit will be held Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mountain Time at the Richland County Event Center in Sidney. The event is a collaboration of North Dakota State University Williston Research Extension Center, Montana State University Eastern Agricultural Research Center, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney. This year's program includes: • Control of horseweed, narrowleaf hawksbeard, kochia, Russian thistle, with Brian Jenks, NCREC, Minot, N.D.
ASHBY, Minn.—The soybean harvest is all but complete in the Ashby area, where the Ashby Farmers Elevator Cooperative shut its doors Sept. 14, and the corn crop is starting to come in. The small stand-alone grain co-op ceased operating after its trophy hunting general manager was accused of stealing nearly $5 million and disappeared. The Wheaton-Dumont Cooperative Elevator stepped in to reopen it on Oct. 3 under the name Ashby Grain LLC.
BATTLE LAKE, Minn.—Kathy Evavold has heard the rumors and they make her angry and hurt. Kathy, 59, is the widow of Leland "Lee" Evavold, a Battle Lake, Minn., a 64-year-old farmer and former board member of the former Ashby Farmers Elevator Cooperative. The couple farmed 10 miles north of Ashby. Lee killed himself July 9, 2018, after what she describes as a private battle with depression.