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Ethanol plant case may go to attorney general

DES MOINES — A state agency may ask the attorney general’s office to pursue bigger fines against an Iowa ethanol plant because of repeated violations.

A lawyer for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said the offenses at the Lincolnway Energy plant in Nevada warrant a fine of more than the $10,000 that the agency is allowed to assess.

The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission will meet Tuesday morning to consider referring the matter to the attorney general’s office.

Lincolnway President Rick Brehm declined to comment on the matter.


State records show inspectors have found a number of violations at the plant, centering on excess emissions of particulates and other air pollutants and a failure to properly test for emissions. The plant’s sewage also had high iron levels and there was a wastewater spill.

Barley institute branching out

FARGO, N.D. — A fledgling barley research institute based at North Dakota State University is preparing to expand.

The Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences, created last year, plans to hire a full-time barley production researcher to be based in Williston.

"This new person will do work in western North Dakota and eastern Montana and will focus on the so-called ’best management practices’ for barley, on the production side, to lower cost and maybe increased acceptance of barley in the marketplace," said Paul Schwarz, an NDSU malt barley quality researcher and director of the institute.

The North Dakota Barley Council pushed the idea of the institute for several years before NDSU faculty took a business plan to the university administration. The state Board of Higher Education eventually gave final approval, and NDSU’s College of Agriculture formally launched the project in March 2006.

Hydrogen Engine Center names new CEO

DES MOINES — A northern Iowa company that specializes in the development of alternative fuel engines announced new corporate leadership on Monday and unveiled a plan to commercialize its ideas worldwide.


Algona-based Hydrogen Engine Center Inc. named former Chief Operating Officer Don Vanderbrook its CEO. He replaces company founder and former CEO Ted Hollinger, who will direct the newly created Advanced Carbonless Energy Technology Group, a worldwide program to leverage the company’s patents.

HEC has developed internal combustion engines that can run on a number of fuels including propane, natural gas, ethanol and hydrogen. It also continues development of an engine that runs on ammonia, which is widely distributed and available in the form of anhydrous ammonia, a popular farm field nitrogen additive.

The company’s reorganization and emphasis on commercializing its creations is part of a four-point strategic plan.

EECT establishes headquarters in Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Energy-Efficient Combustion Technology, a new company, has established its office headquarters within the Energy & Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

EECT commercializes technology that improves combustion efficiency, operation, and the environmental signature of large utility broilers. The company will be working with EERC researchers to enhance and demonstrate the technology.

Case IH extends biofuels recommendations

RACINE, Wis. — Case IH has extended its recommendations on use of biofuels to include B100 — or pure biodiesel — on more of its farm equipment models.


Farmers now can use B100 on nearly all Case IH medium- to high-horsepower tractors, combines, windrowers, and most self-propelled sprayers — as long as proper protocols are followed for engine operation and maintenance.

"With record prices for crude oil, Case IH is committed to exploring better ways to use environmentall-friendly biofuels made from renewable raw materials,’’ said Don Rieser, Case IH director of tractor product and management.

CCC sets December interest rates

WASHINGTON — The Commodity Credit Corp. has set its December interest rates.

The CCC borrowing-rate charge is 3.75 percent for December, down from 4.12 percent in November. For 1996 and subsequent crop year commodity and marketing assistance loans, the interest rate for loans disbursed during December is 4.75 percent, down from 5.12 percent in November.

The interest rate for farm storage facility loans approved for December is 4.12 percent, down from 4.37 percent in November.

No partial payments for wheat, barley and oats

WASHINGTON — Because market prices are high, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says producers with wheat, barley or oats base acres who enrolled in USDA’s Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program won’t receive partial 2007-crop year counter-cyclical payments.

Producers enrolled in the program may receive counter-cyclical payments when effective prices for eligible commodities are less than their respective target prices specified in the 2002 farm bill.

Bunge contributes $100,000 to safety group

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Bunge North America renewed its support of the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day program for 2008 with a gift of $100,000 during Progressive Agriculture’s annual meeting.

"Safety is an essential part of our culture, and our company’s philosophies on safety closely mirror those of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation,’’ said David Kabbes, vice president of corporate and legal affairs for Bunge North America. "It is an organization Bunge is proud to support.’’

R-CALF foundation offering scholarships

BILLINGS, Mont. — The United Stockgrowers of America Foundation for Research, Education and Endowment is accepting applications from students interested in winning one of three scholarships that will be awarded in February at R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America’s annual convention.

Applicants are required to write a research paper about a current threat to the U.S. cattle industry and include a solution. The first-place winner will receive a $2,000 scholarship, the second-place finisher will get $1,500, and the third-place finisher will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Applications must be postmarked on or before Dec. 31. Applications can be obtained by calling (406) 252-2516.

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