Mikkel Pates / Agweek Staff Writer
PERLEY, Minn. --Paul Houglum knows farming has taken its toll on his hearing. In mid-March he was hauling grain to the local elevator, emptying wheat from bins with a large vacuum machine. "It's a very loud machine," says Houglum after stopping the task. "The new ones have gotten better, but they're still loud." Noise is "one of the things you try to put up with" as a farmer, he says. "You try to wear ear muffs or ear plugs when you're doing it. But, there's certain things you have to hear, too. There's times you don't using hearing protection as much as you should."
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., is weighing whether and how to correct problems that have come up in the wake of a fix designed to restore a tax break for farmer co-op members. The first fix was a provision for the tax relief measure and was designed for beet cooperative shareholders and others. But some private grain elevators say the fix went too far and could be a fatal blow to their businesses if not repaired within weeks.
PERLEY, Minn. — It's been a popping good corn year on the Colten and Katie Gehring farm near Perley, Minn. — a hobby enterprise they call "Farmers Gold Popcorn." Gehring farms commercially by day, and she's a florist in Fargo, but in their spare time they're heating up an on-the-cob popcorn business. The 2017 season was their first year at the Red River Market, a farmers market which runs from 10 a.m to 2 p.m., Saturdays through the end of October in Fargo. Their products also are at gift stores in Fargo.
SISSETON, S.D.—Farmer Robert Hanson pulled up to the pumps on a moonlit Saturday night at Sisseton, S.D., but the horsepower was provided by the actual horses. "Methane," Hanson replied, when asked what kind of fuel the Percheron/Morgan team were associated with. Of course, they'd be producing it, not buying it.
WEST FARGO, N.D. — The Environmental Protection Agency predicted it might take six months to do an initial evaluation of "energy beets" for their environmental footprint as a feedstock for biofuels. Six years — not months — later the agency has a thumbs up on energy beets as a feedstock — rating it for greenhouse gases and other environmental issues. Proponents say it's a the first of three hurdles in making it accepted as a viable biofuel.
VALLEY CITY, N.D. — Dicamba damage on 2017 soybeans has shifted into a new phase of high-stakes public relations, regulatory and legal battles. The Arkansas State Plant Board on Aug. 25 recommended limiting the chemical's use to before April 15 in that state for 2018. Low-volatility dicamba herbicides include Monsanto's XtendiMax, DuPont's FeXapen and BASF's Engenia. The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing label instructions for the chemicals for 2018.
MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge has granted a bank's motion to put a receiver in charge of gathering personal assets of Ron McMartin Jr. to pay off creditor claims and denied the farmer's effort to dismiss the case. BMO Harris Bank N.A. alleges the large-scale, specialty crops farmer, formerly based in northeast North Dakota, purposefully engaged in a pattern and practice of misrepresentation to obtain or continue credit from the bank.
KENSINGTON, Minn. — Erica Sawatzke is joining a tradition of turkey production that dates back to the Civil War, with lots of female and male role models. Earlier this year, Sawatzke, 30, left a staff post with the Minnesota poultry groups to join her family's Oakdale Farms Inc., of Kensington. Sawatzke joins her father, Dana Nelson, and his brother, Paul, who now manage Oakdale Farms. The farm has about 8,000 breeding turkey laying hens, with another 8,000 young stock, as well as corn and soybeans.
FARGO — An early victory in cases against Syngenta is only one step in what could be another year or two lawsuits and appeals. Some U.S. farmers claim they're owed money because of the release of a certain genetic modifications into the corn market before it was fully accepted.
JAMESTOWN, N.D. — Head, hands, health and heart: Charlotte Wilson is throwing all of those into her idea for a relief effort for Kansas ranchers hit by wildfires. Wilson, 10, of Jamestown, N.D., is a daughter of Sarah and Jeremy Wilson. A member of Country Kids 4-H Club, she decided to take action about the Kansas disaster after viewing a Facebook video on the topic last March. Wildfires there burned over 700,000 acres in 21 counties.