FARGO — Farmers in soybean production areas in the Upper Midwest have been nervous about proposed tariff increases on soy exports to China for several weeks, and some may have sold more beans earlier as a counter-move. If lower prices result in the long run, it would further weaken financial situations for farmers who have been hit financially by three straight years of commodity price declines, some experts said.
PRIOR LAKE, Minn. — Directors of Minnesota cooperative grain elevators are the "guardians" of those business and must be keenly aware of marketing risks and policies, especially when markets are volatile and farm-customers are facing cash flow problems. John Christianson of Christianson PLLP at Willmar, Minn., was one of the speakers on March 7 at the 111th Minnesota Grain & Feed annual meeting and trade show at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake.
BISMARCK — There will be a significant increase in dicamba-soybean production in 2018, says a North Dakota State University Extension Service economist who wonders if that was the strategy from the start.
FARGO, N.D. — Former large-scale farmer Ron McMartin Jr., of St. Thomas, N.D., has now filed personal bankruptcy in addition to his McM Inc. corporate bankruptcy, which was filed in February. McMartin filed a petition for Chapter 7 liquidation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fargo on Sept. 11. The three-page filing on an expedited basis doesn't yet include listing of debts and assets, a schedule which is due by Sept. 25.
MANVEL, N.D. — BMO Harris Bank of Chicago on Aug. 30 sold equipment collateral from the bankrupt McM Inc. farming behemoth, formerly based in St. Thomas, N.D. Scott Steffes, president of the Steffes Group of West Fargo, N .D., which handled the sale in Manvel, N.D., acknowledged estimates that the sale brought about $1.3 million to $1.4 million. The bank claims a debt of some $42 million, either from the McM corporation or Ron McMartin Jr., who ran it.
CASSELTON, N.D. — Tharaldson Ethanol quietly marked its 1 billionth gallon of fuel ethanol production last week. The company also announced Wednesday, April 5, it will increase annual production this year, making it the sixth largest ethanol producer in the United States. They'll increase by 180 million gallons — a 7 percent increase this year, but up 38 percent from its original design in 2008. The increase will be due to some changes in fermenters and cooling towers. The investment is expected to cost $2.5 million to $3 million.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A shift toward cage-free egg-laying has created challenges for egg farmers and manufacturers — as well as opportunities. And more agility training for the chickens in gymnasium-style equipment. Steve Walcott, vice president of sales in agricultural products for Big Dutchman USA, of Holland, Mich., was one of the exhibitors at the recent Midwest Poultry Convention in St. Paul, Minn., which drew 1,000 producers and 3,000 people from several states. Minnesota typically ranks seventh or eighth among states in egg production
MANDAN, N.D. — The Dakota Access Pipeline and an associated protest has packed a two-part punch for farmers and ranchers in North Dakota's Morton and Sioux counties. While completion of the pipeline is scheduled for the week of March 20, ranchers are fearing a third effect — soil erosion caused by reclamation delays. Doug Hille ranches with his wife, Carol, and daughter, Steph, at Chimney Butte Ranch. They have about 300 purebred Gelbvieh cows and harvest about 1,000 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat, plus hay and forage.
GRAND FORKS — The first meeting for creditors in the McM Inc. farm bankruptcy Thursday, March 16, drew a handful of lawyers from some of the major creditors and no individual farm landowners. The St. Thomas, N.D., area farm filed for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy last month — listing $49.7 million in debts and $10.3 million in assets. The high-value crop farm had reached a peak of 59,000 acres in 2012 and scaled back to 39,000 acres in 2016, focusing primarily on red potatoes, dry edible beans and sugar beets.
ELLENDALE, N.D. — Law firms are making one last sweep to gather in clients to participate in individual lawsuits in historic actions against Syngenta. The suits allege farmers are owed reparation for billions in lost markets because the company allegedly improperly released genetics into the marketplace before it was approved in key foreign export markets, including China.