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 Agriculture News

KHRT AGRICULTURE NEWS - 01/14/14

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - South Dakota sunflower farmers last year rebounded from crippling drought in 2012, while their counterparts in North Dakota struggled through a wet spring planting season and a late harvest.  The end result is that South Dakota has supplanted North Dakota as the nation's top sunflower producer for only the second time in recorded history.
 
     The Agriculture Department says 2013 sunflower production in North Dakota was down 58 percent over the year to about 608 million pounds, while South Dakota production rose 12 percent to about 997 million pounds.
 
     The government started compiling sunflower data for the Dakotas in 1977. Until last year, the only year in which South Dakota's production topped North Dakota's was 2011, when North Dakota was hit hard by flooding.

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     HANKINSON, N.D. (AP) - An ethanol plant at the southeastern North Dakota city of Hankinson is under new ownership.  Arkansas-based Murphy USA Inc. has sold Hankinson Renewable Energy LLC for $173 million to Guardian Hankinson LLC. The deal closed late last year.
 
     The Daily News of Wahpeton reports that Guardian is a joint venture involving Minnesota-based Heartland Corn Products and Chippewa Valley Ethanol, Nebraska-based KAAPA Ethanol and South Dakota-based Dakota Ethanol.
 
     Plant Manager Neil Crocker says there will be no changes in staff or operations. He says the transition will be "seamless."  The plant was built in 2008. It turns about 130,000 bushels of corn into about 365,000 gallons of ethanol every day.

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     ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Two state agencies in Minnesota are working to protect the honey bee population.  The Department of Natural Resources is developing guideline to improve the habitat for pollinating insects that are so important to agriculture. In a report to the state Legislature Wednesday, the Department of Agriculture will outline its plan to study the use of a popular insecticide linked to bee deaths. The Legislature last year instructed agriculture officials to develop a process for reviewing the safety of widely used neonicotinoid insecticides, which are absorbed by plant roots, leaves and pollen.
 
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that more than a third of the nation's honey bee population has died in the last several years. Minnesota Public Radio says the bees are suffering from persistent disease problems and effects of the insecticides.  



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

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