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MIDLAND, S.D. — The Steve Daly family missed the big snow at the farm and ranch west of Midland on March 5. Heavy, wet snow this time of year is "good for everything but the baby calves," says Daly, 41. "The wind was awful." Daly farms and ranches with his wife, Julie, and sons Carson, 14, and Dane, 12. They raise winter wheat, spring wheat, milo, safflower and other specialty crops on about 3,000 acres near Midland, about 70 miles west of Pierre.
LaCROSSE, Wis. — Fake organic grain imports are becoming an increasingly heavy weight that could sink some U.S. organic farmers. Fraud allegations loomed large at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) conference and trade show in LaCrosse Feb. 21-23. It's billed as the largest event in the U.S. about organic and "sustainable" farming, with dozens of workshops and roundtable discussions. The trade show attracts 170 vendors and 3,000 attendees.
LaCROSSE, Wis. — The dicamba volatilization controversy in rural America is a new top-of-mind target for those who already criticize pesticide use. Kristin Schafer, executive director of a group called Pesticide Action Network, was one of the speakers Feb. 23 at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) conference and trade show in LaCrosse. PAN North America has special emphasis in California, Hawaii, Minnesota and Iowa, 120,000 supporters in North America and is supported by foundations and organizations.
BRECKENRIDGE, Minn. — George Schuler IV, a co-owner and grain and logistics manager for Minn-Kota Ag Products Inc., is upset because of a tax law snafu that favors cooperative competitors over corporate grain companies. Schuler says a "fix" in the federal tax reform bill in January has artificially and suddenly given a 15- to 20-cent-per-bushel advantage to his cooperative competitors in North Dakota and Minnesota.
APPLETON, Minn. — If necessity is the mother of invention, then tom turkeys are fathers of Barn Boss, an invention designed to make working in turkey barns a whole lot easier. Appleton turkey farmer Brad Mitchell and his colleague Jeff Stitt led the creation of the machine that can help cut the workload in large turkey barns.
FARGO — Farmers and even corporate elevators are considering creating their own co-op entities due to the market-destabilizing effect of the so-called 199A tax reform provision, which favors cooperatives over other corporate grain marketers. Frayne Olson, North Dakota State University agricultural economist and director of the Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives, says "If the current tax law is not changed — if it goes on as-is and we don't make any adjustments — there's going to be tremendous incentive to form new co-ops to take advantage of this."
MELROSE, Minn. — The "We Do Cows" billboards make a big impression on Interstate 94 as people travel to and from the Twin Cities. Ag-savvy motorists often smile at the slogan, but few know Leedstone Inc. is a creative and transformative business in the region's animal health industry. Leedstone is led by veterinarian brothers, David and Dan Tomsche. David, 61, is Leedstone's president and chief executive officer. Dan, 62, is vice president.
FARGO — North Dakota farmland sale values declined by 3 percent in 2017, following 8 and 9 percent annual declines for the prior two years, respectively, according to an annual ag land survey. Ag land prices in the Red River Valley on the eastern side of the state declined by 9 percent in 2017, while values elsewhere ranged from declines of 2 percent to increases of 3 percent, the report from North Dakota Chapter of the American Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers said.
FORMAN, N.D. — A deal's a deal, but maybe it's not if the U.S. Department of Agriculture makes it, say Danny "Dan" Zirnhelt and his wife, Sherry Zirnhelt. The retired farmers and custom grain harvesters from Forman successfully appealed a Conservation Reserve Program contract payment dispute to the USDA's National Appeals Division. The Zirnhelts won partial victory but still lost $15,000. It all started in August 2015, when the Zirnhelts signed a 15-year contract.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — The trustee for a lake home in Minnesota involved in the McM Inc. farm bankruptcy case has denied any fraud and said the trust should not have to cough up money for creditors of the bankrupt farm. McM — a large farm based at St. Thomas, N.D. — filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Feb. 10, 2017. The McM trustee alleged a transfer of a lake place in 2015 was improper and that value should be returned to McM Inc. The lake property is at 41106 County Road 126, Detroit Lakes.