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FARGO - Xcel Energy, North Dakota State University Memorial Union Gallery and NDSU Civic Engagement Programming have partnered to present "Be Green," a series of talks to spur discussion and creative thinking on the topic of sustainability. Fargo City Commissioner Mike Williams will kick off the series at noon Thursday in Memorial Union Gallery and will discuss the city's sustainability efforts, as well as ways the city and its citizens can look to the future. The series of talks will continue every other Thursday with the following speakers and topics (all times are noon to 1 p.m.
FARGO - This could be a challenging year for pork producers, according to David Newman, the North Dakota State University Extension Service's swine specialist. One major issue will be feed costs. A projected increase in pork production in 2013 means producers will need more feed at a time when drought continues to be a problem in major corn-producing states, a large portion of the U.S. corn crop is being exported or used to produce ethanol, and other feedstuffs may not be available in sufficient quantities or at reasonable prices, Newman says.
Although dogs were domesticated from wolves as long as 30,000 years ago, available historical and genetic evidence suggests raising animals solely for food and clothing began about 10,000 years ago. Last week's column was devoted to growing crops, a form of agriculture that developed first in the fertile crescent of southwest Asia. Today's column is about domesticating animals. For today's article, I drew from Jared Diamond's book "Guns, Germs and Steel," and many other books and articles, both popular and scholarly. A bibliography is available at www.agbehavioralhealth.com .
FARGO - A warm spell in January is a good time to check stored grain. "Search for small changes that are indicators of potential problems," advises Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension Service agricultural engineer.
Life always has been about deoxyribonucleic acid, which commonly is called DNA. Early discussions about DNA were reserved for chemistry labs. However, as our scientific endeavors increased our understanding of DNA, the concept slowly gained in popular reading, and even grade school science books thoroughly cover the topic. More recently, technical advances have allowed even more practical uses and applications of technologies that involve DNA.
The final cattle were ultrasounded for pregnancy at the Dickinson Research Extension Center. These were replacement heifers that still are on grass. The heifers have been foraging all summer and fall with the bulls turned in on Aug. 1. The pregnancy checks were routine and uneventful, and the heifers handled their reacquaintance with their caregivers well. Of the 47 replacement heifers, two were open. However, seven additional heifers were culled as late-calving because the center restricted calving to 42 days or two cycles.
FARGO - Agricultural producers should do tax planning before the end of the year based on the information known at this time. Traditionally, producers try to do tax planning to limit their tax liability. With uncertainty in Congress, tax rates may be higher in 2013 than 2012. If so, it may be best not to defer as much income to 2013. "In tax planning, it is best to start with year-to-date income and expenses and estimate them for the remainder of the year," says Ron Haugen, North Dakota State University Extension Service farm economist.
FARGO - The North Dakota State University Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, grant supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency, will work to develop enhanced energy sugar beets that are optimized for biofuel production. Other partners in the $1.8 million, three-year program are Plant Sensory Systems, Baltimore, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which will engineer beets to use fertilizer and water more efficiently and produce higher levels of fermentable sugars.
Don't forget the bulls because the first winter storm brought in the reality of seasonal changes and the need to take care of the bulls. For many, the cows and calves head home, and then the calves are sorted for market. The busyness of it all is mind-boggling at times. The pens are stretched to the max, and there is not enough time to get every animal fed and watered on a normal schedule. A quick sort often will move the bulls aside and put the cows and calves at center stage.
FARGO - Five executives from the China SDIC International Trade Co.