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 Agriculture News


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The number of cattle in North Dakota is down slightly from a year ago.  The federal Agriculture Department says in its latest report that the state's cattle and calf inventory on Jan. 1 totaled 1.77 million head, down 1 percent over the year. There were 943,000 beef cows and 17,000 milk cows.  Cattle on feed for slaughter in North Dakota feedlots totaled 35,000 head, down 22 percent.  The 2013 calf crop totaled 920,000 head, up 6 percent from 2012.


     WASHINGTON (AP) - Small farms have been off-limits to the federal agency that oversees workplace safety for decades. But lawmakers in North Dakota and other states are warning the Obama administration to keep regulators away from family farms and preserve years of precedent.
     In recent days, members of Congress from both parties have signed on to separate letters directed to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez.  The letters express concern that small farms are becoming the subject of new federal scrutiny. They warn that only Congress can authorize the Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspecting small farms.
     Since 1976, Congress has banned OSHA from regulating farm operations with 10 or fewer employees. But concern has been growing since a 2011 memo asserted the agency can regulate so-called "post-harvest activities."


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The two sides in a lawsuit filed by a prominent North Dakota businessman against his insurance company over defense costs in an alleged potato price fixing scheme are asking a judge to rule without the case going to trial.
     Ron Offutt Jr., of Fargo, is among the defendants in a lawsuit filed in June by Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. against United Potato Growers of America, its affiliate United Potato Growers of Idaho and other parties. The suit accuses potato growers of driving up prices while limiting production.
     Offutt filed a separate complaint accusing Twin City Fire Insurance Co. of breach of contract for failing to cover defense costs in the suit.  Both Offutt and the insurance company filed motions last week stating that the case should not go any further.

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

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