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 Agriculture News


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's U.S. senators say a compromise version of the Senate and House farm bills has several provisions that will help farmers and ranchers in the state.
     John Hoeven was a member of the House-Senate conference committee that approved the compromise. It still needs approval by the House and Senate. The bill heads to the House floor on Wednesday.  Hoeven says the bill enhances crop insurance, renews a program to help sugar beet farmers, supports agricultural research and includes good conservation tools.
     Heidi Heitkamp says other highlights include the reauthorization of livestock disaster programs that will help blizzard-stricken ranchers and a compensation program that will help flooded Devils Lake farmers.
     Farm-state lawmakers have been working for more than two years to get a new five-year farm bill passed.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Stockmen's Association is hailing a livestock disaster program that's part of a compromise version of the Senate and House farm bills.  Under the bill that still needs approval by the House and Senate, ranchers who lost livestock to natural disasters will be able to recoup some of their losses. The provision would be backdated to when the programs initially expired in 2011.
     North Dakota Stockmen's Association Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson says that provision provides a safety net for ranchers and was the group's No. 1 priority.  Ellingson says the reauthorization of the livestock disaster program will help cattle ranchers in the Dakotas who lost thousands of animals in an early October blizzard

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Flooded Devils Lake farmers would be compensated under a compromise version of the Senate and House farm bills.  Under the bill that still needs approval by the House and Senate, Devils Lake farmers who have lost land to the lake's rising waters would be compensated under a buyout program.
     Devils Lake has swallowed more than 160,000 of acres of farm and pasture land since a wet cycle began in the early 1990s and caused the lake to quadruple in size.  Eric Aasmundstad raises grain in the area and has lost more than 2,000 acres to the lake's rising waters. He says most farmers in the area would rather see excess lake water drained than be compensated for lost land.


     MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Congressman Tim Walz is urging his colleagues to support the five-year farm bill that's headed for a floor vote in the House on Wednesday.  The Minnesota Democrat sits on the conference committee that approved the compromise package Monday.
     Walz says in a statement that nobody got everything they wanted, and there are things in the bill he doesn't like. But he says the bill saves taxpayers about $23 billion, helps new farmers, protects habitat, gives consumers certainty at the grocery store, and gives producers the certainty they need to make long-term planning decisions.
     The outcome of the House vote isn't certain. Farm-state lawmakers have been working for more than two years to strike the right balance to get the bill passed at a time when congressional compromise has been rare.


     VALLEY CITY, N.D. (AP) - Informational meetings are set in several North Dakota cities this week to update farmers on the effort to develop a biofuel sugar beet industry in the state.  The development of beets as a new industrial crop to turn into ethanol is a partnership between Fargo-based Green Vision Group and Iowa-based Heartland Renewable Energy. North Dakota State University is leading the research component.  Informational meetings are scheduled Tuesday in Jamestown and Valley City, Wednesday in Cando and Carrington and Thursday in Langdon.
     Commercial processing isn't planned until 2017, but NDSU researcher David Ripplinger says farmer involvement is critical because the choice of a site for a processing plant is dependent on the local availability of so-called energy beets.


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

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