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 Agriculture News


     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Some North Dakota grain elevators are urging farmers to bin their newly harvested winter wheat until the market figures out what to do with a heavily diseased crop.  High levels of vomitoxin are being found in the wheat. That's a toxin associated with scab disease. It can make grain unsafe for people and animals.
     North Dakota Wheat Commission Marketing Director Jim Peterson tells the Minot Daily News wet weather in late June and early July when the wheat was flowering was favorable for the development of vomitoxin.
     CHS Garrison Manager Chris Gratton says his elevator has seen wheat with vomitoxin levels that are 10 times higher than what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows. He says "it's almost to the point where it's a worthless commodity right now."


    BISMARCK, N.D. - BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) have publicly filed updated weekly status reports on the backlog in grain shipments. The figures from BNSF show a total of 1,336 past due rail cars in North Dakota averaging 10.2 days late as of August 22, compared to the report last week which indicated 1,262 past due cars were averaging 19.6 days late.

    The CP report shows a total of 10,266 open requests in North Dakota with an average age of 12.71 weeks. The previous report showed 21,518 open requests with an average age of 12.7 weeks.

    Congressman Kevin Cramer say that while good progress is being made against the backlog, he remains concerned about the ability of the rail system to handle a harvest which is just beginning to accelerate.  Cramer says the upcoming weeks will be crucial for agriculture producers, who need their crops to get to market in a timely manner.

    In June the two companies were ordered by the STB to report their plans for resolving the backlog of grain car orders, and begin issuing weekly status reports until the problem is resolved. The BNSF report can be viewed here, and the CP report can be viewed here.


     WINONA, Minn. (AP) - A record corn crop is predicted for Minnesota this year, but that might not lead to bigger profits for farmers.  The Winona Daily News reports that crop prices are down significantly.  A few years ago, the price for corn was more than $7 per bushel. On Friday, corn was priced at $3.71 per bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.
     Winona County Farm Bureau president Glen Groth says farmers can survive one down year for crop prices, but this year has been tough.  University of Minnesota Extension educator Jake Overgaard says Winona County farmers saw better weather than much of the state this spring. However, weather over the next couple of weeks will be crucial to the timing of the harvest, and the overall condition of the crop.



     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A top U.S. Department of Agriculture official is meeting today with North Dakota farmers and ranchers about the new federal farm bill.  U.S. Sen. John Hoeven says USDA's Michael Scuse will be at a meeting at Bismarck State College that also will be attended by state and local officials and representatives of agriculture groups.  Scuse is USDA's undersecretary for farm and foreign agriculture services. He's responsible for implementing many federal agricultural programs.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Farm Rescue nonprofit in the Upper Midwest is approaching another milestone.  The volunteer organization based in North Dakota will help its 300th farm family in the region by the end of the year.
     Farm Rescue plants and harvests crops for farmers in need in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and eastern Montana. It's been operating since 2006, supported by donations, business sponsors and about 1,000 people who volunteer to help with fieldwork in the spring, summer and fall.  It helped its 100th farm family in 2009 and its 200th in 2012.
     Founder Bill Gross says if Farm Rescue can increase funding, it hopes to expand assistance in a year or two. The organization currently is helping about 50 farm families each year, on an annual cash budget of about $450,000.


     CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) - Farming is hip in New England. Across the region, young people are choosing crops over cubicles, new farms are popping up and the local food movement is spreading.
     Farmers and industry experts agree New England is bucking a trend toward larger, but fewer, farms because many of its residents want to buy their food locally and its entrepreneurs want to produce it. The region's small size makes it easy for farmers and consumers to connect at farm markets and stands.
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent census found 95,000 fewer farms nationally in 2012 than in 2007. New England saw a 5 percent increase to nearly 35,000 farms, many less than 50 acres.   The number of beginning farmers also climbed in New England.

     (Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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