Four specialty crop listening sessions have been scheduled in the state, with one being held in Grafton in March. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the sessions are an opportunity for specialty crop producers to discuss the challenges they face in growing and marketing their crops, and to discuss the successes they've had. He says The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is very interested in hearing from specialty crop producers, especially those who have not contacted the department before. The sessions will be held jointly with grant writing workshops lead by NDSU Extension. These workshops are designed to help potential applicants understand, develop, and submit their federal grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. More information about these programs can be found online at, www.ams.usda.gov. “Having the sessions in conjunction with the workshops, will give producers the skills needed to apply for funding to further explore opportunities identified during the session discussion,” said Goehring. The listening session and grant writing workshop will be held the same day. Participants can come to either the session, the workshop or attend both.
· March 4, Dickinson, NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center, 1041 State Ave.
· March 5, Minot, NDSU North Central Research Extension Center, 5400 Highway 83 South
· March 9, Wahpeton, Baymont Inn & Suites, 1800 Two Ten Drive
· March 10, Grafton, Marketplace on Eighth, 43 East 8th Street
The grant writing workshop will run from 2 - 5 p.m. local time. The listening session will run from 6 - 9 p.m. local time. For participants attending both, a light meal and additional grant writing examples will be offered. Space is limited for the meals, so early pre-registration is required. Pre-registration is not required for the listening session.
To register for the workshop or session, go to: www.ag.ndsu.edu/smallbusiness.
The deadline to register for the Dickinson and Minot events is February 27.
The deadline to register for Wahpeton and Grafton events is March 4.
The listening sessions are funded through a specialty crop grant from the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.” Specialty crops now grown commercially in North Dakota include dry beans, peas, lentils, potatoes, grapes, honey and various vegetables
Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says a report issued by the U.S. Office of Inspector General (OIG) implicating North Dakota in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8’s failure to ensure that Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act inspections are fully implemented in the state is misleading and disappointing.
“I feel like we’ve been thrown under the bus,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “North Dakota inspectors have been routinely conducting producer establishment inspections, under state and federal law and authority, through a cooperative agreement with EPA to ensure there is no risk to human health and the environment.” Goehring also stated that the agreement does not specify these inspections are to be conducted with federal credentials. Producer establishments are facilities where pesticides are manufactured, packaged, repackaged, labeled or relabeled.
The report came as a surprise to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) since the state has an 86% pesticide compliance rate, the highest in the nation. North Dakota state inspectors use education compliance to ensure that state and federal laws meeting EPA requirements for compliance are met. North Dakota state inspectors conducted 918 pesticide inspections in 2014.
“There is a real disconnect between OIG and field level operators, like Region 8,” said Goehring. “OIG should praise EPA Region 8’s support of North Dakota’s programs which have developed new and innovative ways of doing business by clarifying and assisting the regulated community with tools like the pollinator protection plan, improving pesticide label language, creating web-distributed labeling, and innovative regulatory models, to name a few.” NDDA will continue to provide pesticide education and outreach within the state of North Dakota and work with EPA to safeguard the sale and use of pesticides through inspection, registration and labeling.
The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) awarded funding requests for four projects totaling $320,394.00 at its quarterly meeting February 19th at the North Dakota Department of Commerce in Bismarck. The Pembina/Walsh County Livestock Processing Committee from Grafton was awarded $35,170 for consultant and legal fees related to fundraising and the construction process for the design, procurement and placement of equipment for the establishment of a multi-species slaughter and processing facility to provide custom meat processing services to area livestock producers and plant processed meat products to the public. APUC is a committee of the North Dakota Department of Commerce that 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
Kristi Brintnell, County Executive Director at the Walsh County FSA Office is wondering…..Where are all the farmers? Why aren’t they coming into FSA to update their yields and bases? With only 1 week to go until the February 27th deadline, Brintnell says less than 50% of the Walsh County Farmers have been in to the office to complete this process. FSA Yields have been frozen since 1985 and farmers are getting a one-time chance to update those yields. According to Brintnell, she knows most farmers can and should prove up their yields. And, if the farmers just want to replace their 1985 yield with the county substitute yields, they still need to notify FSA. It’s a simple question…do you want to improve your yields at FSA or not? The deadline will not be extended so it’s now or never.
The North Dakota State University Extension Service is holding workshops in
March to help those applying for a federal grant through the Farmers Market and
Local Food Promotion Program.
The program's goals are to increase the consumption of and access to locally and
regionally produced agricultural products, and develop new markets for local
farm and ranch operations. This includes starting, improving or expanding
farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs and
agritourism activities. Grants are being offered in every state this spring.
NDSU Extension, in collaboration with the North Central Regional Center for
Rural Development, is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and National Institute for Food and
Agriculture to conduct workshops in North Dakota.
These workshops will be held:
* March 4 in Dickinson
* March 5 in Minot
* March 9 in Wahpeton
* March 10 in Grafton
The workshops will run from 1:30 to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Glenn
Muske, NDSU Extension's rural and agribusiness enterprise development
specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 328-9718. Go to
http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/smallbusiness to register for one of the North Dakota
Following the grant workshop, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture will
hold listening sessions to determine how it might help expand the opportunities
for specialty crops and local food producers. These sessions will be held at the
same locations and dates.
"The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program is a key to USDA's efforts
to revitalize rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems."
says Anne Alonzo, AMS administrator. "The grant workshops will ensure that more
communities and businesses across the country can participate in the competitive
grant process with proposals that create real economic opportunities and help
meet the growing demand for locally and regionally produced food."
The 2014 farm bill authorized $30 million annually through fiscal year 2018 for
the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program to award competitive grants.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to make permanent a tax deduction for equipment and property investments made by small businesses including farming operations. America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act, supported by Congressman Kevin Cramer, sets the section 179 expensing limitation permanently at $500,000. Current law sets the limit for tax year 2015 at $25,000.
“Nearly every day I hear from North Dakota agriculture producers and other business owners about the need for certainty on section 179 of the tax code. Last year the House voted in June to make the $500,000 limit permanent, but the president waited until December to ultimately reject this solution in favor of yet another temporary extension. I hope the Obama Administration will work with the new Congress to finally bring certainty on this important part of our tax code to small business owners,” said Cramer.
Businesses are typically allowed to recover the cost of certain property through annual depreciation deductions. Under section 179 of the tax code, small businesses have been granted the temporary ability to deduct those costs immediately, instead of over the useful life of the property. From 2010 through 2014, the expensing limitation was raised repeatedly on a short-term basis to $500,000, but current law sets this level at $25,000 for tax year 2015 if no action is taken. Under the legislation, section 179 expensing would be made permanent at the 2014-enacted level of $500,000, with the deduction phased out for investments exceeding $2,000,000 and both amounts indexed for inflation. The legislation also would restore and make permanent rules allowing computer software and certain investments in real property to qualify for section 179 expensing. In addition, the legislation would now allow investments in air conditioning and heating units to qualify for section 179 expensing.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Gallup Job Creation Index has ranked North Dakota the nation’s best state for creating jobs. “North Dakota maintained its pre-eminent position in Gallup’s annual ranking of state job markets in 2014, with North Dakota residents providing a strongly upbeat report on hiring conditions where they work – the most positive of any state,” the 2014 Gallup Job Creation Index states. Following North Dakota, Texas ranked second, Nebraska third and Wisconsin fourth in Gallup’s annual job creation index. "The fact that North Dakota leads the nation in job growth year after year is a testament to the hardworking people and the innovative businesses all across our state,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “We have worked hard to develop an environment that supports job growth in North Dakota and we will continue to do our part to further diversify our strong economy which is producing a growing number of career and business opportunities.”
Gallup’s Job Creation Index is derived from full- and part-time workers' reports of whether their employer is hiring and expanding the size of its workforce, not making changes, or reducing its workforce. The index is based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 2-Dec. 30, 2014, with a random sample of 201,254 employed adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The full report is available at http://www.gallup.com. North Dakota continues to have the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.8 percent. In January 2015, the state recorded having about 19,700 open and available jobs – about 17 percent more job openings than the state recorded in January 2014, North Dakota Job Service reports.
The Walsh County Spelling Bee was held on Thursday, February 12, 2015 in the Farmers Room at the Walsh County Courthouse in Grafton. The bee lasted eighteen rounds, and students spelled words such as quotidian, tawdry, shebang, and Naugahyde correctly.
Sydney Beneda, daughter of Jon and Lori Beneda, representing Fordville-Lankin School, placed 1st; Marissa Sluke, daughter of Dale and Denise Sluke, representing Fordville-Lankin School, placed 2nd; and Vanessa Cooper, daughter of Joey Cooper and Rebeca Carr, representing Fordville-Lankin School, received Honorable Mention.
Other participants representing Walsh County schools ranging from grades 5 – 8 included: Maxwell Masko from Fordville-Lankin; Jase Lehfeldt, Kayla Laskowski, Sydnee Ebertowski, and Vivienne Heidt from Grafton; Morgan Hovde, Weston Napier, Marvella Rodriguez, and Shannon Perez from Minto; and Gigi Brouillard, Joshua Ham, and Eric Smith from Park River Area. Pronouncer was Sue Callahan; judges were Sheryl Jahraus and Luanne Kotnik, and bee coordinator was Lori Zahradka.
The top two spellers from Walsh County are eligible to participate in the State Spelling Bee on March 30 in Bismarck. The North Dakota Association of County Superintendents sponsors the State Spelling Bee. The State Bee is affiliated with the Scripps National Spelling Bee which will be held near Washington, DC, May 24-29, 2015 and to which the sponsor will send the state winner.
Congressman Kevin Cramer says the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce has approved major education reform which reduces federal overreach and restores local control while empowering teachers and parents. The Student Success Act replaces the existing No Child Left Behind law, significantly updating and reauthorizing nation’s K-12 education funding for the first time since 2001. The legislation is now ready to be considered by the full House of Representatives later this month.
“The Student Success Act, as marked up in committee, returns education decision making to where it belongs: in homes, school districts, and states,” said Cramer. “An important part of this legislation prohibits the Secretary of Education from expanding federal control over education by coercing states into adopting Common Core standards.”
Increases local flexibility
o More than 65 federal programs are merged into a new Local Academic Flexible Grant, designed to put funding decisions back into the hands of states and local entities
o Prevents the Secretary of Education from forcing states to adopt Common Core or any other common standards or assessments
o School and teacher quality standards are also turned over to states and local school systems, repealing such overreaching measures as the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) metric and the Highly Qualified Teacher requirement
· Strengthens impact aid
o School districts located near federal lands, Indian reservations, military bases, or other areas impacted by the presence of the federal government will receive stronger Impact Aid support
· Eliminates waste at the federal level
o The Secretary of Education is required to identify and eliminate full-time Department of Education positions which are no longer necessary as a result of the efficiency measures in the bill