Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Minnesota sugar producers are spearheading a new super PAC, called the Committee for Stronger Rural Communities, formed July 19, to help get Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., reelected in 2020. American Crystal Sugar Co., a Moorhead, Minn.-based farmer-owned sugar production and processing cooperative, made an initial $150,000 contribution to the super PAC, which raised $300,000 in its first week.
FARGO — U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., hosting a top U.S. Department of Agriculture official, told farm group leaders the first part in a second major round of $14.5 billion in agricultural trade war aid will be delivered before the end of August. Hoeven hosted the USDA’s Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce on Monday, Aug. 5, in Fargo. A room full of agricultural organization officers came to Fargo to hear Fordyce, who later attended a farm visit west of Grand Forks.
BISMARCK — One of North Dakota’s outstanding pulse crop marketers has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganization, a victim of tariffs and weather. JM Grain Inc., with offices at Garrison, N.D., and Great Falls, Mont., filed a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy June 25 in Fargo. The company says sales in the current year are about $3.5 million compared to the average of about $13 million, in part due to tariff and trade disruptions.
DAWSON, N.D. — A wet spring followed by a cool early summer means crops in the central part of North Dakota are between two or three weeks behind schedule and not yet catching up. “We’ve got some stuff that the stand wasn’t great on and did a little replanting due to the moisture,” said farmer Neil Fanta, of Dawson, about 50 miles east of Bismarck. “Did a little replanting due to the moisture. Now we’ve got everything planted and doing some spraying and doing some top-dressing.”
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Jerry Hennessey, who admitted stealing more than $5 million from the co-op elevator he managed, was sentenced Friday to eight years in federal prison. Hennessey admitted in February that he’d used his position at the Ashby (Minn.) Farmers Cooperative Elevator he’d managed for three decades to bankroll big-game hunting trips around the globe and then built a showroom at his house for his trophies.
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.