Mikkel Pates / Agweek Staff Writer
RICHLAND COUNTY, N.D. — North Dakota's southeast corner in the Red River Valley — could use some rain. Charlie Mauch farms with four brothers — Jeff, Kevin, Craig and Wayne — in a company called JKCWC Mauch Brothers, named for their first name initials. The five Mauchs raise corn, soybeans and sugar beets.They got their crops planted swiftly, but now could use an inch or more of rain. Their farm ranges from heavy ground to really light soil, from Mantador, to Great Bend and to Wyndmere.
FARGO—The father of bankrupt megafarmer Ron McMartin Jr. denies a bankruptcy trustee's allegation that he participated in "sham' insider transactions of his son's McM Inc. farm. McMartin Sr. is the father of Ron McMartin Jr., who was CEO of McM Inc., a farm at St. Thomas, N.D., that grew to 50,000 acres and raised high-value crops, including sugar beets, potatoes, edible beans, corn and soybeans. McM Inc. filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation on Feb. 10, 2017, leaving some $62 million in creditor claims, including $43 million owed to BMO Harris Bank.
FARGO — The trustee in the McM Inc. farm bankruptcy is asking a judge to require the parents of a bankrupt farmer to cough up more than $2 million in assets that he alleges were improperly transferred as "inside" transactions. Erik Ahlgren, a lawyer from Fergus Falls, Minn., the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee in the McM Inc. case, in a complaint filed May 3 in Fargo, alleges the parents of principal Ron McMartin Jr. were involved in a "scheme to move" the farm assets to a "safe haven" from creditors for the benefit of their son, and not his creditors.
CARRINGTON, N.D. — Post Holdings Inc., parent to Dakota Growers Pasta Co., has taken a step that could lead to a change for the private brands business that includes the iconic North Dakota pasta company. On March 28, Post Holdings announced it had filed a document with the Securities Exchange Commission for a potential initial public offering for its private brands business.
WARREN, Minn. — Bill Sczepanski's farm insolvency at Stephen, Minn., isn't as widely known as Ron McMartin Jr.'s, across the river at St. Thomas, N.D., but both have had their impacts. The two large farms in the northern Red River Valley were 40 miles apart, both brought down by declining commodity prices and production challenges. Both had impacts on suppliers and associated businesses. In the Sczepanski case, creditors fought successfully at the district court level to get the benefit of about $1 million in "unit retains," owed by a sugar beet cooperative.
COOPERSTOWN, N.D. — April blizzards have added to difficulties for cattlemen in the region, as well as the veterinarians who serve them. Paul Motter is a veterinarian and owner of Cooperstown Veterinary Clinic, where he's served for 30 years. Today he operates the practice with veterinarian Quynn (pronounced "Quinn") Steichen. It's a mixed practice that is two-thirds committed to large animal work and about one-third with pets and some horses.
CARRINGTON, N.D. — Bryan Neville has joined North Dakota State University's Carrington Research Extension Center as an animal scientist. Before starting in late March, Neville, 38, worked with Nutrition Service Associates, doing nutritional consulting in the Northern Plains and Canada for two years. Prior to that he worked six years as director and animal scientist at the Central Grasslands Research Extension Center near Streeter, working in range and grazing areas.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Agriculture Department said a Page, N.D., elevator improperly disposed of farm chemical "rinsate" but the details — what and how much was released — are not disclosed. And they may never say. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring confirms that his department had found an infraction by the Arthur Companies, a group of grain elevators that is family-owned by the Burgum family. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum sits on the elevator's board of directors.
LAKE BENTON, Minn. — Jim Nichols campaigns like a politician, but he isn't running for office anymore. The 71-year-old former Minnesota agriculture commissioner is lobbying for farmers to learn more about how to boost their corn yields. He says he's achieved an impressive 300-bushel yield by paying better attention to nitrogen fertilizer timing.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — American Crystal Sugar Co. is projecting a stronger initial payment for the 2017 crop than they made last year and made a bit of history by electing their first female factory district board member, officials say. Robert Green, a St. Thomas, N.D., farmer and chairman of the 15-member board for the past six years, attended his last factory district meeting on Nov. 8 in Moorhead, in advance of the annual meeting on Dec. 7. Green served the maximum of four consecutive three-year terms on the board.