Mikkel Pates / Agweek Staff Writer
BALATON, Minn. — Drones may be all the rage, but a South Dakota-based machinery dealer network is counting on human pilots and airplanes to deliver the desired data.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The sale price for American Crystal Sugar Co. beet stock declined 6 percent in the 2016-17 selling season after an unusually long trading season. Jayson Menke is ag stock specialist for FNC Ag Stock, based in Grand Forks, a subsidiary of Farmers National Company. FNC Ag Stock is a registered broker dealer that facilitates public sales for American Crystal stock, as well certain other cooperatives and limited liability companies.
CHAFFEE, N.D. — Matt Poulson farms with his father and uncle near Chaffee, N.D., in southwest Cass County — one of the biggest soybean acreage counties in the U.S. Poulson was speeding toward completing 1,000 acres of seed soybeans in May and reckoned the Poulson Brothers were a bit ahead of the typical pace. In 2016 the Poulsons finished soybean planting on May 9 or 10, so this year they may be a day or two past that — perhaps finishing by May 11. "We're definitely not behind by any means," Poulson said, noting sometimes soybeans are planted into June.
BROOKINGS, S.D. — An Australian architectural professor visited South Dakota State University in late April to advise on how to preserve a 90-year-old rammed earth experimental building on campus. SDSU research in the 1920s and 1930s helped the technique that has thrived worldwide, even as it has fallen out of favor here. Steve Burroughs spent about three weeks in Brookings, conferring with state historical officials on the future of a rammed earth building and other experimental structures across campus, as well as giving lectures.
WALHALLA, N.D. — McM Inc. may be in Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation, but a set of its former landowners have scrambled to start a brand new company — Elkhorn Farms LLP. The new farm accounts for half of the acres that were farmed by the huge McM, which filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in February. McM, headed by Ron McMartin Jr. from St. Thomas, N.D., was a 59,000-acre farm in 2011 and had down-sized to 39,000 acres in 2016.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — American Crystal Sugar Co. said it will pay $2,000 bonuses to contract employees if a new labor agreement is reached by May 22. Company officials and factory labor union representatives met Wednesday, April 19, in Grand Forks to begin contract talks. Both sides say the want to avoid a lockout from recurring.
FARGO — North Dakota State University agriculture officials say budget cuts imposed by the North Dakota Legislature will mean leaving vacant positions open and over time could cut their competitiveness for top talent with other research institutions. "It takes 30 years to build a reputation, and it takes 30 seconds to destroy a reputation," says Ken Grafton, vice president for agricultural affairs and dean of the college of Ag Food Systems and Natural Resources, as well as director of the NDSU Agricultural Experiment Station.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — American Crystal Sugar Co. of Moorhead, Minn., has agreed to give Cargill Inc. an option to buy half of its half interest in ProGold LLC, a corn fructose plant at Wahpeton, N.D. The potential sale price was not disclosed. American Crystal owns 51 percent of the plant while the Golden Growers Cooperative of West Fargo, N.D., owns 49 percent. In the past, ProGold had leased to Cargill for 10-year spans. This lease will run through Dec. 31, 2022.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Health care has emerged as one of the top issues for agriculture in Minnesota, according to a lobbyist who represents more than 18 state ag groups in the Minnesota State Legislature. "I'm not a health care lobbyist, but I'm getting to be one," said Bruce M. Kleven, a Minneapolis lawyer.
REDFIELD, S.D.—Losing a hometown Titan Machinery store is about convenience but also about taking jobs out of Redfield, and the one-on-one relationships out of the business of farming. Ronnie Frericks, 55, farms near Northville, population 143. The town is about 13 miles north of Redfield, population of nearly 2,500. Redfield and Spink County are vital agricultural cogs in northeast South Dakota.