Business news and notes

PSC approves checks from elevator bond

BISMARCK, N.D. — Three farmers and two grain elevators owed money by a bankrupt elevator in the southwestern North Dakota town of Rhame are getting some of their money back.

State regulators have approved sending checks from the elevator’s $100,000 bond. Public Service Commissioner Tony Clark says those with valid claims are getting only 31 cents on the dollar.

Clark says the largest check is going to the Makoti Equity Elevator, which is getting $86,000. The elevator’s claim was $275,000.

The Rhame elevator was owned by Minnesota Grain Inc., which went broke in the spring of 2007.


Clark says the PSC had to make sure all court issues were resolved before checks could be approved.

Hurley and Associates hires Patti Uhrich

ALBERT LEA, Minn. — Patti Uhrich has been hired as a risk management consultant by Hurley and Associates in their Albert Lea office.

Uhrich will work closely with farm clients’ budgets, cash-flow requirements and risk management strategies.

"Patti is a great addition to our team’’ said Trent Hurley, CEO of Hurley and Associates. "Her experience with the ag industry and her excellent communication skills will allow her to excel in the role of risk manager.’’

Uhrich was previously an information specialist/project coordinator for Protein Sources.

Recession hitting Midwest, Plains states

OMAHA — Job losses continued last month in nine Midwest and Plains states, and a new survey of business leaders shows the national recession is hurting the region.


The Mid-America Business Conditions survey suggests the region’s economy will remain weak.

In January, the overall index increased slightly to 33.5 from December’s record low of 33, but remained in negative territory. The survey’s index ranges between 0 and 100, and any score below 50 on the index suggests a contracting economy over the next three to six months.

The employment index fell to a record low of 29 in January from December’s already weak 34.5.

The survey includes Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Farm Bureau cuts 76 jobs in central Iowa.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — FBL Financial Inc. has announced that it is cutting more than 70 jobs from its home office in West Des Moines.

Chief Executive Officer James Noyce says in a statement released on Jan. 28 that the cuts are necessary to reduce expenses. He says efforts were made to reduce costs without eliminating jobs but that more needed to be done to reach those goals.

The company already eliminated open positions, froze salaries and streamlined operations.


A total of 76 jobs will be cut companywide, including 73 from the West Des Moines office.

The company operates Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. and EquiTrust Financial Services and manages two Farm Bureau property-casualty insurance companies.

Gelbvieh Association issues Sire Summary

The American Gelbvieh Association has issued its 2009 Winter Sire Summary.

The summary is free on-line to seedstock and commercial producers. Go to and click on the Sire Summary link on the upper right hand side of the page.

The annual Gelbvieh Sire Summary lists trait leaders, percentile rankings for sires, dams, all Balancer cattle and non-parent animals. A hard copy is also available for $5 by calling the association at (303) 465-2333.

Electronic futures trading sets record at MGE

MINNEAPOLIS — Electronic futures trading of hard red spring wheat coupled with hard red winter wheat index futures hit a new daily record high of 7,494 contracts at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange on Jan. 16.

The volume topped the former record of 7,363 contracts set on Dec. 10.

The daily record brings the January electronic volume to 48,580 contracts, making it the fourth-highest monthly electronic volume in Exchange history.

Wyffels hires two district sales managers

GENESCEO, Ill. — Wyffels Hybrids has hired new district sales managers for northwest Iowa and central Illinois.

Jason Smith of Sioux Rapids, Iowa, will be responsible for the counties of Buena Vista, Calhoun, Cherokee, Pocahontas and Sac.

Smith most recently was a farm/field service underwriter for Farm Bureau Financial Services.

King was a sales representative at SMC Corporation before joining Wyffels.

Frontier expands its lineup of hay tools

LENEXA, Kans. — Frontier Equipment has expanded its lineup of hay tools with the introduction of a new line of hay tedders. The new Frontier TD24 Tedders offers two models — the TD2418 and the TD2427.

"These easy-to-use tedders help minimize crop drying time and evenly distribute crops so you can bale hay sooner,’’ said Michael Horrell, Frontier Equipment sales and marketing manager.

The TD24 Series tedders are available in either four-basket or six-basket models with seven tine arms per basket.

Project will evaluate renewable technologies

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The Energy and Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota has launched a $1 million project to evaluate renewable oil refining technologies for commercial production of diesel, jet and other fuels and chemicals from North Dakota oilseed crops.

The crops, which include crambie, will be refined at Tesoro’s Mandan oil refinery.

The project is a collaboration between the EERC and Tesoro Companies of San Antonio. The North Dakota Industrial Commission awarded $500,000 in cost-share funding. An additional $500,000 in funding came from the U.S. Department of Defense.

John Deere overhauls its web site

KANSAS CITY — Deere & Company has completely overhauled and redesigned its MachineFinder web site ( from the ground up to make it easier for used equipment customers to more quickly find the equipment they looking for.

The revamped MachineFinder used equipment Web site features an enhanced search and browsing system, built-in shipping integration and the ability to save searches.

NMPF, Dairy Management offer program

WASHINGTON — The National Milk Producers Federation and Dairy Management Inc. have introduced the National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management.

The joint effort Dairy Farm has been created to bolster consumer trust and confidence in the U.S. dairy industry and demonstrate the industry’s commitment to high levels of animal care and quality assurance.

"Consumers want to know that dairy products are safe, wholesome and nutritious, and that animals receive the highest level of care,’’ said Tom Gallagher, CEO of DMI.

What To Read Next
Caitlin and Jason Keck’s two-year term on the American Farm Bureau Federation committee begins next month.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met on Jan. 5, 2023, to consider the application for Summit Carbon Solutions.
Qualified Minnesota farmers will receive dollar-for-dollar matching money to purchase farmland.
Wanda Patsche, new Farm Camp director, has farmed with her husband near I-90 in southern Minnesota since the 1970s and shares her passion for farming on her blog.