Mikkel Pates / Agweek Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, on April 26 introduced a bill that would reauthorize and double funding for a beginning farmer programs over the life of the next farm bill. Heitkamp and Collins, in a joint news release, said they hope to get the Next Generation Act into the next farm bill. Congress is working to replace the existing multi-year farm law that is set to expire at the end of September. The overall cost score for the bill is about $390 million over 10 years.
MINNEAPOLIS — Two North Dakota farm families are plaintiffs in a class action fraud suit against one of the Texas law firms in the Syngenta corn suits, alleging the lawyers duped farmers into filing individual suits rather than joining what would become a $1.51 billion settlement against Syngenta AG. The Texas lawyers told farmers they would get more out of filing individual suits than joining the class action suit against Syngenta.
A journalism instructor at South Dakota State University said it flatly: "Just remember, you're not the ones who make the money." As a college sophomore, I wondered if he was just joking or feeling glum about leading some unsuspecting students into a low-pay career. I wondered whether he wanted to make a point about seeking and writing the truth as a kind of calling — something that had value beyond money. Maybe he was a martyr — an academic "Eeyore."
CARRINGTON, N.D. — Post Holdings Inc., parent to Dakota Growers Pasta Co., has taken a step that could lead to a change for the private brands business that includes the iconic North Dakota pasta company. On March 28, Post Holdings announced it had filed a document with the Securities Exchange Commission for a potential initial public offering for its private brands business.
WARREN, Minn. — Bill Sczepanski's farm insolvency at Stephen, Minn., isn't as widely known as Ron McMartin Jr.'s, across the river at St. Thomas, N.D., but both have had their impacts. The two large farms in the northern Red River Valley were 40 miles apart, both brought down by declining commodity prices and production challenges. Both had impacts on suppliers and associated businesses. In the Sczepanski case, creditors fought successfully at the district court level to get the benefit of about $1 million in "unit retains," owed by a sugar beet cooperative.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — American Crystal Sugar Co. stock share prices and trading ran steady to stronger in the trading season, which seems to be coming to a conclusion, says Jayson Menke, ag stock specialist at FNC Ag Stock LLC, in Grand Forks, N.D. American Crystal of Moorhead, Minn., is a farmer-owned cooperative in which members purchase shares, which offer the right and obligation to deliver beets. Shares typically are bought and sold from harvest until spring.
FARGO, N.D. — With sugar beet planting likely delayed until early May because of snow and cold, Tom Peters says farmers should set their sites on using pre-emergence herbicides to control waterhemp, and focus on that as much as they do on getting seed in the ground.
CARRINGTON, N.D. — Bryan Neville on March 26 stepped into a new role as an animal scientist with North Dakota State University's Carrington Research Extension Center. He's no stranger to the region's cattle industry or the Green and Gold. Neville, 38, (pronounced "ne-VILL") for the past two years worked with Nutrition Service Associates, doing nutritional consulting in the Northern Plains and Canada. Prior to that he worked six years as director and animal scientist at the Central Grasslands Research Extension Center near Streeter, working in range and grazing areas.
FARGO, N.D. — Flags on farms: When you're looking for them, it seems like they are everywhere. Patriotism and rural life often seem linked. National pride and celebration transcend politics and is something that this region can share within communities. This spring, we're asking Agweek readers and viewers to let us know if there is a particularly moving display of the flag in a farming or agribusiness setting that is meaningful to you. Do you or a neighbor display the flag in a special way that helps make your locale distinct?
FARGO, N.D. — Alex Kubicek wants you to make your farm into an automated weather network. "It's about using that network to help make daily decisions easier by having knowledge about what's happening," he says. Kubicek, 30, in 2012 founded Understory Inc. of Madison, Wis. Raised in Wisconsin, he holds a master's degree in atmospheric science from the University of Wisconsin. In the past six years the company has raised $10 million and has partnered with entities including Monsanto to launch a "hyper-local" weather networks for agriculture and other purposes.