Mikkel Pates / Agweek Staff Writer
FARGO -- Financial stresses on farmers and grain elevators should make board members for agriculture-related cooperative more vigilant in their duties, experts say. A September 2018 grain elevator cooperative embezzlement scandal that cropped up at Ashby, Minn., and other instances of malfeasance should awaken companies to the challenges, says John O. Christianson, a certified public accountant and managing partner of Christianson PLLP, at Willmar, Minn.
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. -- Hunter Hanson, 21, of Leeds, N.D., is a young man in a hurry. Over the past three years, he has seemed to be an entrepreneurial wonder, registering seven businesses with the state of North Dakota. In early November, the North Dakota Public Service Commission started getting complaints on two of his businesses -- Midwest Grain Trading company and NoDak Grain, both based in Devils Lake.
FLORENCE, S.D. -- Larry Halse grows corn, soybeans and runs a beef cow-calf operation, and, for the past several years, is back into sheep. His most profitable enterprise these days? Sheep.
MILBANK, S.D. — Valley Queen Cheese Factory Inc. recently opened the Valley Queen Heritage Center, an interpretive center in downtown Milbank, chronicling its nearly 90 years in cheese making. The space was available, and the company moved a cheese retail store into an available vintage space downtown.
SIDNEY, Mont. — This is the second year in a row for early sugar beet harvests at Sidney Sugars Inc. on the Montana-North Dakota border. Mike Steffan and his son, Jeff, raise beets just to the north of the factory in Sidney. Their Steffan Farms started opening fields on Sept. 17. The family has been raising beets for Holly Sugar at Sidney since 1926, when his grandfather came over from Germany.
ASHBY, Minn. — Ashby Farmers Cooperative Elevator is closed for business but is talking with three other cooperatives in the region to buy or lease it, hoping to get one of the community's vital businesses up and running.
ASHBY, Minn. — The investigation is only starting into how much Jerome "Jerry" Hennessey could have stolen from the Ashby Farmers Cooperative Elevator that he managed for many years and Hennessey himself is "nowhere to be found" the Grant County sheriff says. Much of the missing money — believed to be more than $2 million — appears to have gone to safari guides and taxidermy.
AURORA, S.D. — Jan Sanderson says some of the same strengths that made him a big-time collegiate wrestler have helped him succeed with Sanderson Gardens — perhaps the longest-running commercial gardens in the Interstate 29 corridor. Sanderson, 66, was born in Sisseton, where his father, Cecil, was the long-time Roberts County Extension Service county agent. Cecil eventually was promoted to an agent supervisor at South Dakota State University, and moved to Aurora, just a few miles east of Brookings.
CASSELTON, N.D. — Meet the the future — spot-spraying with a drone. The model AG V6+ is a 6-foot-wide spray boom, acquired by North Dakota State University. It will soon be tested for its ability to accurately spray herbicides autonomously. The new industrial "unmanned aerial vehicle" arrived three weeks ago. It is capable of carrying more than 4 gallons of liquid. Operators can send it to spray precise locations of problem weeds. The scientists hope to determine the locations separately from high-resolution drone imagery.
If the Chinese government wants to hit Trump where it hurts over tariffs, I would bet on their ability to stick it to Midwest farmers for a bad, long time. I think the Chinese will: 1) find beans somewhere else at a premium and force their consumers to pay more 2) grow more beans or make it seem so 3) reduce the amount of beans imported by reducing the rise in meat consumption 4) all of the above.