Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service
FARGO — A little sunshine, a recent bump upward in prices for crops and another federal program to help ease the pain of a trade war are not completely relieving anxieties for farmers. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., held a roundtable Tuesday, May 28, with farmers and lenders to outline the $16 billion in agriculture assistance in what he called “MFP 2.0,” a second year of the Market Facilitation Program for the ag sector but with a different way of calculating payments for farmers.
CORSICA, S.D. — The Blom cattle fiasco of 2019 in Douglas County, S.D., will affect farm families for decades and generations to come, victims say. A bank is foreclosing on feedlot operator Robert Lee “Bob” Blom, who they say overdrew his bank account by $1 million and owes the bank some $6.8 million. Documents filed in the case show that Blom may have sold the same cattle multiple times, complicating matters for those looking to get paid by Blom.
BISMARCK — Last fall, state Rep.
MENOKEN, N.D. — Planting season is arriving just about right on schedule for Thane Dockter, a certified organic farmer from Menoken, just east of Bismarck. “It seems about normal,” Dockter said. “Some of the crops we’re preparing the ground for, it kind of varies.” He has a variety of lighter or heavier soils, where more moisture is sitting around after a cold, snowy winter. Moisture levels in the field are good, offering hope for a fast start and potential for good yield. Better than 2018, he thinks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Alan Bjerga thought he’d leave the farm far behind in Minnesota, but he discovered his knowledge of growing up in dairy country was a unique knowledge base in an urban world, and an especially rare advantage in Washington, D.C. On Oct. 1, 2018, Bjerga, 45, became vice president of the National Milk Producers Federation. The trade group represents dairy farmers who are members of cooperative processors, ranging from small co-ops to the big ones, including Land O’Lakes and Dairy Farmers of America.
HARWOOD, N.D. — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Saturday, April 27, heard a parade of North Dakota farm group leaders offer support, but also concern about ongoing damage from trade wars before announcing an extension for the Market Facilitation Program payment deadline. Perdue appeared at a roundtable event in Cass County hosted by U.S. Sen. John Hoven, R-N.D., and flanked by Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, among others.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — If the bearish numbers in the March 29 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Prospective Plantings Report get you down, Alan Roebke says he has a plan to perk things up — the Roebke Plan. Roebke, 69, in the 1980s was a sizeable Minnesota farmer and sugar co-op mover and shaker. He says his plan can do for corn, wheat and soybeans what the sugar program does for the region’s sugar beets. He says he thinks farmers need the government to raise commodity loan rates significantly and increased ethanol content in gasoline mixes.
ELBOW LAKE, Minn. — The defunct Ashby Farmers Cooperative Elevator Co. in west-central Minnesota is going after more than $800,000 from six guiding services who had received checks direct from the co-op to pay for “exotic and expensive” hunts by its former general manager.
FARGO — Two adult daughters of bankrupt farmer Ron McMartin Jr. have reached an agreement that will allow the sale of a valuable piece of lake property near Detroit Lakes, Minn. The property of about 50 acres on Island Lake has been valued as high as $2.5 million. McMartin, of St. Thomas, N.D., paid $1.3 million for the property in 2011.
PIERRE, S.D. — A new Ag in the Classroom program for South Dakota is taking off in its first year, available in 102 of the 150 school districts in the state. Ground Works-Midwest, a nonprofit headquartered in Sioux Falls, had developed a program to help teachers create classroom gardens, and then healthy eating for kids, and saw an opportunity for Ag in the Classroom. A previous state ag in the classroom program ended about two years ago. Ground Works-Midwest has three major program areas — Teaching Garden, Youth Eating Smart, and Ag in the Classroom.