Red River Farm Network News

'Healthy' — The Food and Drug Administration is considering new regulations for food that is labeled as ‘healthy.’ To begin the process, the FDA is seeking public comments. Public forums are also planned. An FDA spokesman said this process will take some time, but the agency wants to make sure they get it right.

Hoeven Welcomes Court Ruling — North Dakota Senator John Hoeven is praising a decision by a federal appeals court, which said OSHA violated the law when it changed the rules for ag retailers that supply anhydrous ammonia. "The court ruling is very helpful in that it knocked down the memorandum that the Department of Labor put out on the anhydrous rule. I blocked that rule last year, but you have to block that a year at a time through the defunding method. We're in good shape now because the administration has to go back to the drawing board and start over, taking comments on the rule like they should have done in the first place." Hoeven said this rule had the potential to close as many as 90 ag retail businesses. That would have also led to higher costs for farmers.

Endangered Species Act Listing Process Reformed — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a final rule that makes adjustments in the listing process for the Endangered Species Act. The rule limits petitions for new listings to one species and will require more steps before a petition can be filed. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association welcomed the move, saying radical environmental groups have abused the process.

North Dakota Mill Expansion Celebrated — The North Dakota Mill has increased total milling capacity by 30 percent with the completion of the new G Mill. The project, which cost nearly $39 million, was celebrated with a ribbon cutting and grand opening. North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple was part of that program. "It is a great day for the North Dakota Mill with this huge expansion. Seven-and-a-half million bushels of additional wheat will come through this mill every year. This mill is number one in North America in size." The grand opening attracted political and civic leaders from throughout the state. Numerous North Dakota Mill customers participated, as did the head of an Italian firm that was a contractor for the mill expansion.

Mill Project is Positive News for Agriculture — North Dakota Wheat Commission administrator Neil Fisher says the expansion of the North Dakota Mill is exciting news for agriculture in this region. "This expansion brings this to a who new level. If you would count this as a foreign country importing wheat, it would be the fourth or fifth largest account of the 100 countries that import wheat." Fisher says the North Dakota Mill sources the best quality wheat in the world, marketing the equivilent of 12 percent of a North Dakota wheat crop each year."

Class Action Status — The lawsuit farmers brought against Syngenta can move forward as a class action. In this case, farmers sued Syngenta after traces of Agrisure Viptera corn were found in grain shipments to China. In 2014, China rejected U.S. corn and prices declined. A U.S. district court judge in Kansas has certified a nationwide class and statewide classes in eight individual states, including South Dakota. A Syngenta spokesman said an appeal to the class action certification is being considered.

Green Plains Takes Over Three Abengoa Ethanol Plants — Green Plains Incorporated has finalized the purchase of three Midwest ethanol plants. Green Plains purchased the plants in Illinois, Indiana and Nebraska for $237 million from Abengoa Bioenergy. The three plants are operational and will add 236 million gallons to the annual ethanol production capacity.

Pioneer Provides Grant Funds for Ag Teachers — DuPont Pioneer has committed $175,000 to provide additional training for agriscience teachers. The grant funds are for teachers who are implementing the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education. Training and classroom resources are available.

Ambassador Nominated — President Barack Obama has nominated Jeffrey DeLaurentis to be the U.S. ambassador in Cuba. DeLaurentis has directed the U.S. embassy in Havana since diplomatic relations were reestablished last year. The Senate is not expected to confirm DeLaurentis before Obama leaves office.

Shutske Honored — The University Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin Extension have presented its annual Award for Excellence to John Shutske. Shutske recently returned to an Extension post with UW-Madison after serving as associate dean for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and UW-Extension for seven years. Shutske previously was a farm safety specialist for the University of Minnesota.

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Dry Bean Scene — The Dry Bean Scene is on the air, with information about a reverse trade mission to the Northarvest region. This broadcast airs each Friday at 12:37 PM. 

Corn Matters — Hear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association's Corn Matters program. In this week's update, learn about new ethnol promotions.

ND Wheat Link — Hear the North Dakota Wheat Commission's Wheat Link. Learn more about the importance of Vietnam as a market for U.S. wheat. 

ND Soybean Minute — Hear the latest North Dakota Soybean Minute from the North Dakota Soybean Council and the soybean checkoff. Learn about the NDAWN weather system.

MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association in their weekly MN Beef Update. Learn more about beef quality assurance certification.

MN Farm Bureau Minute — Here's the latest from the Minnesota Farm Bureau. In this report, we introduce you to the new MFBF associate public policy director.

Alerus Spotlight on Agriculture — The weekly Alerus Agriculture Spotlight on Agriculture provides insight into issues important to the farm community. This week's update is with Alerus relationship manager Blaine Anderson.

Last Week's Trivia — The American author that wrote the Little House on the Prairie series of books is Laura Ingalls Wilder. Jon Davis of Davisco Foods was the first to respond with the correct answer. Congrats, Jon. Crookston farmer Ron Lanctot, Marla Thissen of the Litchfield Chamber of Commerce, Dennis Sabel of Minnesota Farm Bureau and Al Wimpfheimer of Simplot Grower Solutions earn runner-up honors. The trivia 'first 20' list rounds out with David Stewart of United Valley Bank, Justin Golden of Western Consolidated Co-op, Gary Sloan of BMO Harris Bank, Erin Nash of Woodruff Sweizter, Brian James of Simmons Multimedia, Mark Maris of Cargill, Linda Skelly of Columbia Grain, retired NDSU Extension dairy specialist J.W. Schroeder, Lawton farmer Dennis Miller, Roger Wippler of Minnesota Crop Improvement Association, Royalton beef farmer Darrell Larsen, for UM Extension Agent Russ Severson, Kyle Gustafson of WinField, Jennifer Klabunde of ProAg Services and Insurance and Westbrook farmer David Van Loh,