The Polar Vortex has caused many shivers around the area in humans and pets alike. With the re-influx of cold temperatures from the North remember that pets can be affected by the sharp drop in temperatures as well. Nathan Kjelland, veterinarian of Golden Valley Vet Clinic in Park River, says that all animals are different so you'll need to watch closely during cold temperatures to make sure your pet isn't acting abnormal. Kjelland says to especially be aware if you have a smaller pet. He says that cracking paws is a sign that the animal isn't withstanding the cold temperatures and should get checked out if that occurs. Kjelland says that pet owners also need to be aware of de-icers that are put on roads this time of year that can be toxic to pets. If you take your pet for a walk during the winter you should clean and dry off their paws once you get home so the animal doesn't have a chance to ingest that material.
Representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers were in Grafton on Wednesday night to discuss possible changes to the water control plan at Homme Dam. Corps officials Megan McGuire and Elizabeth Nelson delivered a power point presentation comparing the proposed changes with current procedures. Nelson explained that after the flood in 2009 the Corps had received public complaints that late February releases had damaged bridges by creating more ice during the Spring Melt. She said as a result, in 2010, 2011 and 2013 they submitted deviation requests to delay the February draw-down and any additional draw-down until March when the temperatures warmed up. Nelson explained that after continually asking for deviations, Division requested the Water Control Manual for the Dam be updated. The officials looked at 3 possible options, considering creation of ice, fish and wildlife, recreation and most importantly they said, warning time for Grafton. Grafton lies downstream and could benefit from the increased warning a later and larger draw-down could provide during spring flooding. Option 1 limited the maximum draw-down in March to an elevation of 1074.0 rather than the current maximum of 1064.0. At that elevation Grafton would receive around 15 hours warning, whereas at 1064.0, the warning time is between 20 and 25 hours. Option 2 called for a 1.5' draw-down in November with the additional draw-down to 1064.0 starting March 10th and ending March 31st. However the concern with this option was the amount of time needed to complete. Nelson and McGuire favored the 3rd option which called for a 3' draw-down in November and additional release when the maximum temperatures are forecast to reach above 25 degrees. With this option, the late draw-down would begin around March 15th and end by the 31st at an elevation of 1064.This option would give Grafton Maximum warning time as well as cut the duration of the spring draw-down. Those in the audience, which included Grafton mayor Chris West and 4 Walsh County Commissioners seemed to agree on option 3. Nelson and McGuire said the environmental impact statement for this alternative would take a few weeks to complete but said they want to move forward as quickly as possible. They said local officials will have another chance to review the plan after the impact statement is released.
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) is now accepting applications for 2014 Specialty Crop Grants.“Projects that promote the production, processing and use of specialty crops in the North Dakota are eligible for these grants,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “Organizations, institutions and individuals are encouraged to submit proposals on their own or in partnerships.”Goehring said delayed passage of the 2014 Farm Bill means the amount that USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service will award North Dakota for the grants is not yet known. “Eligible applications include developing new and improved seed varieties, reducing distribution costs, investing in specialty crop research, enhancing food safety, pest and disease control and development of local and regional food systems,” he said. “Projects that directly benefit specific, commercial products or profit a single organization, institution or individual are not eligible.”
USDA defines specialty crops as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops.” Specialty crops grown commercially in North Dakota include dry beans, dry peas, lentils, potatoes, confection sunflowers, grapes, honey and various vegetables.Goehring said an information manual with application instructions, scoring criteria and an application template can be found on NDDA’s website: www.nd.gov/ndda/program/specialty-crop-block-grant-program.Applications must be submitted in electronic form by 4 p.m., Friday, May 23, 2014. An external review committee will review and score the applications. The successful applications will be forwarded onto the USDA for final approval. The grants will be awarded in late fall/early winter.In the past, the maximum grant amount was $100,000, but Goehring said the possibility of increased funding from AMS means larger grants may be possible. Projects funded by the grants must be completed within 18 months.For further information, contact NDDA’s Specialty Crop Grant Administrator Emily Edlund at (701) 328-2191 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) awarded funding requests for six projects totaling $389,727 at its quarterly meeting held February 20th at the Choice Financial Community Board Room in Grafton. APUC is a program of the North Dakota Department of Commerce which administers grant programs for researching and developing new and expanded uses for North Dakota agricultural products. The grants can be used for basic and applied research, marketing and utilization, farm diversification, nature based agri-tourism, prototype and technology, and technical assistance.
The following requests were awarded:
Cummings Ag Inc. (Buxton) was awarded $58,069 to defray costs associated with implementing a marketing plan which will include: new corporate branding, new website, radio and print advertising, digital advertising and trade shows.
Woodshed Renewables, LLC (Finely) was awarded $87,593 to defray costs related to a detailed market research project. The project will help to verifying and pinpointing the potential customer base; fund a marketing campaign, trade show attendance, packaging design and prototyping, website development and promotions.
NDSU Dept of Vet and Micro Sciences (Fargo) was awarded $83,765 to help fund research to increase understanding of microorganism’s heat resistance in various low moisture environments. Research will protect the food industry from the negative effects of pathogenic contamination and food recalls.
Bio-Sunn, Inc (Garrison) was awarded $92,000 to hire a consulting firm for conducting a final feasibility study necessary to apply for USDA, State and private financing for constructing a landmark plant in Walhalla, ND. The plant will manufacture ethanol, gas methane, waste stream by-products, flax composites and treeless paper products.
NDSU – North Central Research Center and Dept of Plant Sciences (Fargo/Minot) was awarded $33,100 to help cover costs necessary to conduct research for enhancement of the grape germplasm currently available to North Dakota wineries and provide new grape varieties capable of adapting to the cold climates of the state and producing high quality wine.
NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center (Carrington) was awarded $35,200 to explore the potential for bioremediation of marginal and saline regions using industrial beets. The grant funds will be used to support agronomy research technicians and student assistants to carry out the day-to-day tasks of the research. Funding will also supports research materials and supplies, soil and leaf sample analysis, travel to the off-station locations and meetings to present the results.
The next APUC board hearing will be held May 15th, 2014 in Williston. Applications for the February meeting must be received by January 1st. Prototype and Technical Assistance grants must be received by December 1st.
APUC is an office within Economic Development and Finance, a division of the North Dakota Department of Commerce. For additional information, please visit www.NDAPUC.com.
True North Equipment, the local John Deere organization has opened the doors of its newly constructed ag technology resource facility. Known as the True North Resource Center, this futuristic looking two-story facility serves as a go-to place for area farmers seeking local training as well as distance learning from John Deere experts worldwide. The center offers computer workstations for hands on learning in a classroom setting for interactive distance training education(IDT). “We see our new resource center as a singular place for customers and non-customers to find the information they need to run their equipment and operations more efficiently,” says True North’s president Dan Gorder. The center also serves as a training facility to keep True North employees up to date on global advances in farming. Located just off 42nd Street at 4325 18th Ave South, the center also serves as headquarters for True North Equipment support staff and senior management. Company vice president John Oncken, who handled many of the details during construction, says this was the perfect time for building the True North Resource Center. “The new Resource Center is here to provide Optimization training and Services for customers region wide.” says Oncken.
Ag Themed Design
Oncken says he and his colleagues were mindful of the valley’s heritage when planning the 7,000 square foot resource center. As a result, many of the building’s features pay tribute to local agriculture. For example, the center’s corrugated metal exterior is reminiscent of traditional grain bins and shed siding, while many building materials found inside had their roots in farming — literally. Desktops made from boards of pressed soybean stems and accent wall panels made from pressed sorghum straw are just two examples of the center’s enviro-friendly construction, says Duane Kautzman, VP/Sales Manager of True North Equipment. “Our goal was to create an environment that feels familiar to anyone who enters,” Kautzman says. “Using materials found right here in the region added greatly to that effort.”
True North Resource Center hosted its first seminar only a few weeks ago, and according to early reports, the place is living up to expectations. “Training courses have been great,” says Travis Kiesel, Integrated Solutions Manager at True North. “The positive feedback we’ve received absolutely reaffirms our belief in this facility.” Registration for upcoming classes is available on the company’s website (www.truenorthequipment.com). Classes are aimed toward those who currently operate — or plan to integrate — the latest technology available, but are organized so all in attendance are working from the same level of experience and product understanding.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Walsh County fair and those attending will notice some big changes this year. Walsh County Extension agent and fair manager Brad Brummond says last week's fair board meeting was intense. He says the biggest item of discussion was the contract signed with country music group Confederate Railroad. The group, known for hits in the early 90's like Jesus and Mama and Queen of Memphis is scheduled to play in the Coliseum on Friday August 8th. Brummond says in the addition to the big band, the board is trying to expand some of the other things they do for the event as well. He says they're looking to pull out all the stops for the anniversary and they won't be able to get it all done in the fair's regular 3 day run. Brummond says to listen for more updates in the future as the fair board continues to work on the fine tuning. For those interested in learning more, the next meeting for the Walsh County Fair Directors and Officers will be held on Tuesday March 25th at the Extension office in Park River.
A meeting will be held The Walsh County Courthouse Wednesday evening to discuss a proposal by the Army Corps of Engineers to make changes in its operation of Homme Dam in Park River. The Corps is proposing to release water from the dam in the Fall and then again in March rather than releasing the water in February. The Corps reduces the reservoir level by 6 feet over a period of 4 months. In recent years they've had an agreement with the County to lower the level by 4 feet in November and an additional 2 feet in February. The corps proposes to lower the reservoir by 3 feet in November and lower the last 3 feet in March. They hope the change would make the yearly flood fight downstream in Grafton a bit easier. The public meeting concerning the proposal will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday evening at the Walsh County Courthouse
The director of North Dakota’s Department of Career and Technical education says career-tech ed has taken on a new importance. Wayne Kutzer says there’s a growing recognition of the value of this kind of education – both in high school and in college. He says if you took a look at the top 15 job openings in the state right now, at lest 12 of those would require career-tech ed training. He says he's not encouraging students to avoid getting a four year degree, but he says there are many opportunities for those that chose to go with technical education. Kutzer says he hopes the program can expand – to include more students in more school districts. The North Valley Career and Technology Center in Grafton opened in the 1973/74 school season. Over 400 students are enrolled in courses at North Valley this year. The tech school began offering a new class in Ag Technology this year which deals with plant science, robotic, gps and other new farm technologies.
Spring light goose hunters in North Dakota can track the general locations of geese as the birds make their way through the state. The Game and Fish Department says hunters can call 701-328-3697 to hear recorded information 24 hours a day. Migration reports also are posted on the Game and Fish website, at www.gf.nd.gov. Updates will be provided periodically during the week as migration events occur. North Dakota's spring light goose season opened Feb. 15 and continues through May 18. Wildlife officials say the availability of food and open water dictate when snow geese arrive in North Dakota. Early migrants generally start showing up in the southeast part of the state in mid-to-late March, but huntable numbers usually aren't around until the end of March or early April.
The 2014 Pembina County Spelling Bee was held Wednesday, February 19, 2014 in the Farmer’s Room of the courthouse. Participants were Hannah Muth and Cameron Jennings from Cavalier School, John Heuchert and Bramdon Nelson from St Thomas School, Casey Vargason and James O’Toole from Valley-Edinburg School, Spencer Peters and Garret Symington from Neche/Pembina, and Noah Bateson and Suzanne Wieler from Walhalla. John Heuchert of St Thomas School won first place, Hannah Muth of Cavalier School placed second and Cameron Jennings of Cavalier School placed third. John Heuchert, son of Carlton and Stacey Heuchert, and Hannah Muth, daughter of Jason and Jennifer Muth, will be advancing to the State Spelling Bee which will be held at the Ramkota Inn in Bismarck, ND, on Friday, March 21, 2014. The ND Council of Educational Leaders, the North Dakota Association of County Superintendents, and the North Dakota Newspaper Association cosponsor the State Spelling Bee. The State Bee is affiliated with the National Spelling Bee which will be held in Washington DC, in May 2014, to which the state winner will advance.