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COL Archie Glenn loved John Deeres

VOLANT, Pa. -- Archie Glenn's family made sure he was Deere-ly departed.

The 99-year-old dairy farmer had a passion for John Deere tractors. So at his Feb. 4 funeral, his family had his casket pulled to the North Plain Grove Cemetery using a 1950s vintage John Deere tractor.

"He loved those machines," said Glenn's daughter, Ruth Wigton. "They never let him down."

Glenn bought his first John Deere tractor in 1935. When he retired in 1977 at age 72, he continued to use a tractor to mow 20 of his own acres and his neighbors' land.

Glenn's green casket had a liner embroidered with a yellow-and-green tractor image. Flower arrangements were yellow and green. The family downloaded music featuring the sounds of a running, idling and stalled tractor engine from the John Deere Web site to play at the funeral home.

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Rancher loses 20 cattle to rustlers

PARSONS, Kan. -- Fred Wheat says his cattle operation will recover after having 20 head of cattle stolen from his pasture. But if rustlers hit his herd again, it could be enough to send the 63-year-old rancher out of business.

Wheat is among a number of southeast Kansas ranchers who have had parts of their cattle herds disappear since November. Possibly tempted by high beef prices, modern-day cattle rustlers have stolen about 50 head from the area.

"At first, you don't believe it," Wheat said. "It really took three or four days to dawn on me that they're not coming back."

Wheat said the cattle stolen from him have a market value of about $20,000, and he estimates he lost another $80,000 to $100,000 in long-term income from their calves.

The loss of a few dozen head of cattle won't put a dent in the state's cattle population, but it can be devastating for small farmers who rely on their animals to make ends meet.

Pest decimating honeybee colonies

FRESNO, Calif. -- A tiny pest is decimating honeybee colonies across the country, worrying beekeepers and farmers who depend on the insects to pollinate their crops.

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Honeybees pollinate about a third of the human diet and dozens of agricultural crops, including almonds in California. The state produces 80 percent of the world's almond supply.

"It's simple. We can't produce almonds without bees," said Scott Hunter, an almond farmer near Merced who's getting ready to lay 2,500 hives among the bare branches of his Butte and Padre trees.

A $1 billion-a-year crop, the nuts have become the state's top agricultural export, ahead of wine and cotton.

The bees pollinate California's almond orchards from mid-February to early March, then move to apple orchards, cherry groves and melon patches before finishing in New England's cranberry bogs in early summer.

That's why researchers, beekeepers and growers are scrambling for ways to save the honeybees. Because almonds are the first crop to flower, the state's growers are the first to suffer from the bee shortage.

Experts believe the mites may have arrived in the mid-1980s from Asia, where they coexisted with local honeybees.

Federal judge rules against administration

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- A federal judge ruled last week that the Bush administration violated the Endangered Species Act when it relaxed protections on many of the nation's gray wolves.

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The decision by U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones in Portland rescinds a rule change that allowed ranchers to shoot wolves on sight if they were attacking livestock, said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group.

In April 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service divided the wolves' range into three areas and reclassified the Eastern and Western populations as threatened instead of endangered. The Eastern segment covers the area from the Dakotas east to Maine, while the Western segment extends west from the Dakotas. The agency left wolves in the Southwest classified as endangered.

But the judge ruled that the government acted improperly by combining areas where wolves were doing well, such as Montana, with places where their numbers had not recovered.

Stuttgart will pay $78,397 to Syngenta

LITTLE ROCK -- Stuttgart Seed Co. should pay $78,397 to Syngenta Seeds Inc. of Minnesota for selling proprietary wheat seeds developed by Syngenta, a jury in federal court decided Tuesday.

The judgment was far less than the damages sought by Syngenta, and the jury also exonerated 11 people associated with the Stuttgart company who had also been sued.

"Syngenta was asking for millions of dollars in damages and, in fact, told us they would not settle the case for less than a million dollars," said Douglas Carson of Fort Smith, a lawyer for Stuttgart Seed. "The jury awarded a figure that was the exact figure we told the jury was the amount that was owed, if we did anything wrong at all."

Syngenta called expert witnesses who estimated that the company had suffered damages between $15 million and $157 million as a result of the Stuttgart Seed sales.

The suit filed in June 2003 by Syngenta, based at Golden Valley, Minn., claimed that the defendants had illegally sold more than 341,000 bushels of mixed wheat seeds that contained one or more of three proprietary soft red winter wheat varieties -- NK brand Coker 9663, Coker 9803 and Coker 9543.

High-voltage line route may be modified

SUPERIOR, Wis. -- Utility officials say they will ask state regulators to modify the route of a high-voltage power line across northern Wisconsin after the Douglas County Board voted for a second time against allowing the use of county land for it.

The board voted 15-11 last week against granting the easements for American Transmission Company's Arrowhead-Weston power line after an emotional, five-hour public meeting.

More than 200 people attended the meeting, at which representatives from ATC and Save Our Unique Lands, which opposes the line, were each given 10 minutes to speak.

One person was escorted out of the meeting by a sheriff's deputy, and when the vote was announced, opponents of the line jumped from their seats and hugged.

Greenspan: Weaker dollar will help trade

WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Friday that a variety of factors from a weaker dollar to tougher budget discipline in Congress may finally start to restrain the explosive growth in the U.S. trade deficit.

Greenspan, however, cautioned that the global economy is essentially in uncharted waters given the unprecedented level of economic interaction between countries and thus any forecast of where the trade deficit is headed could prove to be wrong.

"The dramatic advances over the past decade in virtually all measures of globalization have resulted in an international economic environment with little relevant historical precedent," Greenspan said in remarks prepared for a business conference in London. A text of his speech was released in Washington.

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