COL Heck is new president of ASA board

ST. LOUIS -- Ron Heck has been named president of the American Soybean Association board of directors. Heck is a soybean producer from Perry, Iowa.

Board members also elected Neal Bredehoeft, Alma, Mo., first vice president; Corwin Fee, Knoxville, Iowa, secretary; and Rick Ostlie, Northwood, N.D., treasurer.

Four vice presidents were also elected. They are Bob Metz from Browns Valley, Minn.; Johnny Dodson, Dyersburg, Tenn.; Darryl Brinkmann, Carlyle, Ill.; and Gary Joachim from Claremont, Minn. Elections were held during the recent ASA summer board of directors meeting in St. Louis.

"U.S. soybean producers must be competitive in the global marketplace,'' Heck said. "It is in our country's best interest that the United States negotiate trade agreements favorable to U.S. agriculture, guard against unfair and illegal trade practices that disadvantage U.S. producers, and appropriate funding for lock and dam improvements along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers to modernize our transportation system.''

Jacobsen is new president of MSGA


NORTH MANKATO, Minn. -- Ron Jacobsen, a soybean producer from Wells, is the new president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. He was recently elected by the MSGA board of directors.

"My goals as president of MSGA are to increase our membership base by showing value to non-members and communicating the importance of being involved in setting policy and monitoring legislation,'' he said.

Other officers elected include Mark Beedy, Moorhead, treasurer; Sue Meyer, New Prague, secretary; and Lance Peterson, Underwood, treasurer.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council selected Jim Call, a producer from Madison, as its chairman. Call has chaired the Minnesota Soybean International Marketing Committee and has been a member of the Strategic Planning Committee.

Lakeside Foods acquires three facilities

MANITOWOC, Wis. -- Lakeside Foods has completed acquisition of three manufacturing facilities in the Midwest from Seneca Foods Corporation.

The three plants had previously been owned and operated by Chiquita Processed Foods.

In the deal, Lakeside acquired facilities in Owatonna, Minn., and New Richmond and Eden, Wis. Lakeside will also acquire a distribution center in Poynette and part ownership in a sauerkraut joint venture at the same location.


"This is the largest single acquisition in Lakeside's history,'' said Doug Quick, Lakeside's president and CEO. "We believe these new plants, together with our existing facilities, position Lakeside well to meet the present and future needs of our customers.''

Weber leaving Red River Valley association

FARGO, N.D. -- The executive director of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association is leaving for a new job.

Mark Weber, 46, of Casselton, will be a partner in a Cooperstown company called Sheyenne Tooling and Manufacturing, which makes snow blowers and other equipment.

"This is a great opportunity," Weber said. "I've got to take the next step in life and see what happens."

Weber said he will finish his work for the Sugarbeet Growers Association this week. The Fargo-based association lobbies on behalf of about 2,300 beet growers.

DFA pursues joint venture to build plant

KANSAS CITY -- Dairy Farmers of America said last week that it is in advanced negotiations with Ireland-based Glanbia and the dairy farmer members of the Greater Southwest Agency to form a new joint venture.


Plans for the joint venture include construction of a $170 million cheese and whey products plant in the western Texas/New Mexico region.

The new plant would annually process more than 2.27 billion pounds of milk and produce 253.5 million pounds of cheese and 16.5 million pounds of whey protein.

Union employees reject Excel contract

OTTUMWA, Iowa -- Union employees rejected a contract proposal between Excel's pork processing plant and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 230, leaving union and company officials to look to mediation to settle their dispute.

About one-third of the 1,500 union members at Excel's plant voted on the contract July 13. No final vote count was available but both sides confirmed that the proposed contract failed. Officials said the next step is continued negotiations.

"From our perspective, we are continuing to work with the local union team," said Randy Zorn, general manager of Excel's Ottumwa plant.

Ron Brown, local union president, said the union would continue negotiations to avoid a strike.

County studies potential of wind power


SHERWOOD, N.D. -- Renville County is the latest in the state to begin studying the potential of wind power.

The Energy and Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota has set up a 66-foot tower between Mohall and Sherwood to measure wind activity. Bismarck-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative donated the equipment. County Economic Development Director Orlin Hanson said the goal is to attract companies eager to harness the wind and turn it into electricity.

"Nobody is going to come in here and talk to us about setting up turbines unless we have some concrete evidence that we have good wind speed," he said.

USDA finalizes benefit disqualification rules

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has finalized rules concerning benefit disqualification because of crop insurance fraud.

The rule implements statutory provisions that make producers found to have engaged in crop insurance fraud ineligible for certain programs.

Anyone who has been proven to have fraudulently obtained insurance benefits will receive notice and an opportunity for a hearing. Offenders can be disqualified for financial and non-financial benefits through USDA programs for up to five years.

Gary Leeper hired by Dairyland Seed


WEST BEND, Wis. -- Dairyland Seed has appointed Gary Leeper has joined Dairyland as its vice president of sales. Leeper will oversee Dairyland's entire sales efforts, which includes the Upper Midwest Dealer Sales Network and the Dairyland Distributor Sales network.

Leeper formerly worked at Northrup King, Asgrow and most recently for Mycogen Seeds. He is a native of Iowa and a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa.

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