Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service
ASHLEY, N.D. — A South Dakota cattle feedlot operator embroiled in a financial meltdown has pleaded not guilty in a North Dakota criminal case related to his business operations. Robert Lee “Bob” Blom of Corsica, S.D., on May 13 pleaded not guilty to writing a non-sufficient six-figure check payable to Gader Livestock LLC, a company operated by Paul and Terisa Gader of Lehr, N.D. McIntosh County State’s Attorney Mary Depuydt, contends that Blom wrote a $134,837 check to the Gaders on about Jan. 29 that bounced.
SISSETON, S.D. — Sam Hanson, 39, and his cousin, Ben Hanson, 38, are partners in a custom-seeding business in the most northeast county in South Dakota. The Hansons this year bought a seeder that had been owned by Doug Martinson, who seeded for the Hansons. Now, it’s theirs. “We’ve got about 3,000 acres to get seeding,” Sam said May 5. “The ground’s just too wet yet.” This is the third year running that spring fieldwork has been slow in the Upper Midwest.
HORACE, N.D. — The region’s Grand Farm autonomous farming research initiative got a big boost on April 27 when U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was on hand for its ribbon-cutting ceremony for an autonomous farming technology development project. About 75 backers of the futuristic farming project gathered at the rural Horace property after a Perdue farm policy roundtable.
MENOKEN, N.D. — Planting season is arriving just about right on schedule for Thane Dockter, a certified organic farmer from Menoken, just east of Bismarck. “It seems about normal,” Dockter said. “Some of the crops we’re preparing the ground for, it kind of varies.” He has a variety of lighter or heavier soils, where more moisture is sitting around after a cold, snowy winter. Moisture levels in the field are good, offering hope for a fast start and potential for good yield. Better than 2018, he thinks.
HARWOOD, N.D. — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Saturday, April 27, heard a parade of North Dakota farm group leaders offer support, but also concern about ongoing damage from trade wars before announcing an extension for the Market Facilitation Program payment deadline. Perdue appeared at a roundtable event in Cass County hosted by U.S. Sen. John Hoven, R-N.D., and flanked by Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, among others.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — If the bearish numbers in the March 29 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Prospective Plantings Report get you down, Alan Roebke says he has a plan to perk things up — the Roebke Plan. Roebke, 69, in the 1980s was a sizeable Minnesota farmer and sugar co-op mover and shaker. He says his plan can do for corn, wheat and soybeans what the sugar program does for the region’s sugar beets. He says he thinks farmers need the government to raise commodity loan rates significantly and increased ethanol content in gasoline mixes.
PIERRE, S.D. -- While the South Dakota Legislature looks at studying changes to the way the state values ag land for taxes, the current system also is being challenged in the courts. The issue is the use of soil type to determine the value of the land, whether it be in the middle of a pasture, under a pond or on top of a remote bluff.
PIERRE, S.D. — A new Ag in the Classroom program for South Dakota is taking off in its first year, available in 102 of the 150 school districts in the state. Ground Works-Midwest, a nonprofit headquartered in Sioux Falls, had developed a program to help teachers create classroom gardens, and then healthy eating for kids, and saw an opportunity for Ag in the Classroom. A previous state ag in the classroom program ended about two years ago. Ground Works-Midwest has three major program areas — Teaching Garden, Youth Eating Smart, and Ag in the Classroom.
BISMARCK, N.D. — The clock will soon start ticking for farmers and others wishing to file claims against grain trading companies operated by Hunter Brian Hanson of Leeds, N.D. Courts in Ramsey County and in Burleigh County in late January appointed the North Dakota Public Service Commission as trustee in the warehouse license and roving grain licenses for Hanson.
FARGO -- Ongoing trade war fallout in corn and soybean markets could cause a production shift that could overwhelm the dry edible bean supply in 2019, speakers said at an annual Northarvest Bean Growers Association meeting in Fargo on Jan. 18. About 400 to 500 from the North Dakota and Minnesota region attended Bean Day, focusing on a major specialty crop category. Topics ranged from production issues, such as disease management and fertility, to the issues of trade.