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.
ST. CLOUD, Minn.—Aerial applicators won't be applying some of the new and improved chemical formulations on this year's new herbicide-tolerant crops, but experts are urging them to keep an eye out for illegal use anyway.
ESTELLINE, S.D.—You can see it from the road: the year-old Blue Dasher Farm LLC research laboratory is right on the east side of Interstate 29 at the Brandt, S.D., exit. High-visibility is the perfect metaphor for what founder Jonathan Lundgren describes as "regenerative" farming practices. Lundgren, 41, is an entomologist who resigned from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a dispute about research openness.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — American Crystal Sugar Co. in Moorhead, Minn., says it has settled on dates starting in mid-April for talks with the factory union on a labor contract that expires July 31. Lisa Borgen, Crystal vice president of administration, confirmed the agreement with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers local union, which provides for several dates in months leading to the end of the contract. "But we're hoping we'll settle early so that everyone can get on with our daily work," she emphasized.
ST. THOMAS, N.D. — One of North Dakota's largest high-value crop farms has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fargo. McM, Inc., based in St. Thomas, N.D., north of Grand Forks, on Feb. 10 filed a voluntary petition for bankruptcy. The farm is one of the largest farms of high-value specialty crops in the region, including about 39,000 acres, with about 2,000 acres of sugar beets and about 4,200 acres of non-irrigated potatoes in 2016.