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Last September, in the aisles at the Big Iron farm show in West Fargo, N.D., I heard rumors of financial troubles for Ron McMartin, Jr., a famously large farmer at St. Thomas, N.D. I'd previously interviewed McMartin, founder of McM Inc. — one of the most significant farming entities in the region. In the 1990s, he and a brother gained a reputation when they peaked at 11,000 acres of sugar beets — before the era of Roundup Ready beets.
FARGO - North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced a $240 million soybean processing plant to be built at Spiritwood, N.D., by Minnesota Soybean Processors of Brewster, Minn., at the Northern Soybean Expo Tuesday, Feb. 7, in Fargo. Officials said the plant will bring over $1 billion in investment to the region, and will process up to 23 percent of the state's soybeans.
BISMARCK — Commodity organizations in North Dakota are mulling the implications of a bill in the North Dakota House of Representatives that would allow the governor to remove board members on the recommendation of the agriculture commissioner. HB 1282 has been introduced by Reps. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley; Kevin Kempenich, R-Bowman; and Chet Pollert, R-Carrington.
FORT PIERRE, S.D. — A large farming company from Fargo, N.D., has completed a contract-for-deed purchase of a large grain farm near Fort Pierre, S.D. R.D. Offutt Co., for four years has been farming the land on a contract-for-deed. The so-called Gunsmoke Farm includes 34,000 under which 31,200 are tilled. Offutt raises spring wheat, winter wheat and milo.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Rocky Schumacher just wrapped up a 41-year career in agricultural input sales, and a good share of those years were spent as general manager for the iconic AGSCO Inc., based in Grand Forks, N.D. The company sales force distributed chemicals and fertilizer in four states and Canada, driving "Ryder yellow" vehicles.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Federal labor officials have rejected a union's accusation that American Crystal Sugar Co. illegally threatened to lock out employees if they fail to negotiate early on a labor contract that expires July 31, 2017. In a decision on Oct. 6, the National Labor Relations Board said the company's letters to the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union members on Nov. 30, 2015; April 4, 2016; and July 15, 2016, did not constitute a lockout threat.
BROOKINGS, S.D. — Some farmers are concerned about the weather, even when they grow their crops entirely under cover. Trever Gilkerson, owner of Gilkerson Gardens Produce, east of Brookings, S.D., says the mild winter, followed by a lot of heat early in the summer, caused insect pests to survive and then multiply quicker than usual — spider mites in the cucumbers, white flies in the tomatoes.
FARGO, N.D. — New technology is likely to help prevent cattle theft in coming years, speakers at a recent event event said. The International Livestock Identification Association held its annual conference July 17 to 20 in Fargo, N.D., hosted by the North Dakota Stockmen's Association. Among the main speakers was Lt. Blaine Northrop, supervisor of ag enforcement and brand inspection for the Nevada Department of Agriculture, oversees enforcement officers and 90 brand inspectors in the field. Northrop, who formerly worked with the
LONG PRAIRIE, Minn. — Monte Benz is a North Dakota farmer and vegetable processor who has picked up much of his processing operations and moved it out of state — mostly to find workers and labor infrastructure. On May 10, Benz, of Steele, N.D., and partners John and Dan Brown, of Browerville, Minn., started making vacuum-sealed vegetable packages at Minnesota Fresh Inc., in Long Prairie, Minn. The Brown brothers have experience in meat packing and red potato growing. John, 37, who worked as a supervisor in local food plants, is operations manager.
MEDINA, N.D. — David Deutscher feels like he's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Deutscher and his wife, Linda, who works as a web designer, have a diversified grain and livestock farm. They raise spring wheat, soybeans, alfalfa and grass for their cow-calf operation, where they background-feed calves until they're in the 750- to 850-pound bracket.