Nov. 16 Agriculture Briefs


Salty suit: Wahpeton sunflower seed company eyes competitor

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota sunflower seed company is suing a competitor in South Dakota over a packaging slogan.

KFGO radio reports that Wahpeton-based Giant Seeds is accusing Mount City, South Dakota-based Wild Dutchman Products, Inc. of misleading consumers about the amount of salt in its sunflower seeds with the statement: “Half the salt. All the flavor.”

Giants Seeds says test results from two independent laboratories show that Giants have less salt than Wild Dutchman products.

The suit is asking for Wild Dutchman to stop using the slogan and recall the disputed products. It also seeks damages to be determined during a trial.

Giants Seeds bills itself as the official sunflower seed of the Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants.

Wild Dutchman did not respond to numerous requests for comment.

North Dakota specialty crop projects get $2.2M in grants

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Projects in North Dakota that promote specialty crops are getting $2.2 million in grant money.

State Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring recently announced the grant awards to 29 projects that promote the development, cultivation, production or sale of specialty crops.

The federal government defines specialty crops as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops. North Dakota is a leading producer of several of them, including dry beans, dry peas, potatoes and lentils.

The grant money comes from the federal government. It’s distributed through a formula that takes into account crop acreage and production value. Projects at North Dakota State University are getting most of the money.

Study: Sheep can recognize Baaaa-rack Obama’s face

LONDON (AP) — A new study shows that sheep have the ability to recognize human faces from photographs on computer screens.

The Cambridge University study published Wednesday also shows that sheep can recognize the faces of their human handlers without any prior training.

It had been known that sheep can recognize familiar faces of other sheep and of humans.

The researchers say this study of the ability of sheep to recognize faces may be useful in research into Huntington’s disease and other human brain disorders that affect mental processing. Lead scientist Professor Jenny Morton says sheep have advanced face-recognition abilities comparable to those of humans and monkeys.

Among the faces they were trained to recognize were Barack Obama and Harry Potter actress Emma Watson. The research was published in Royal Society: Open Science.

Maine Harvest Festival will launch new potato variety

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — This year’s Maine Harvest Festival is also serving as a launch party for something Mainers celebrate: a new potato.

The Caribou Russet potato will be available at the festival, which is Saturday and Sunday at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The potato was made available to consumers for the first time at the same festival last year and organizers say it sold out quickly.

The Maine Potato Board says after this year’s harvest festival, the Caribou Russet will be available at supermarkets all over the state. It should be available by Monday. The University of Maine developed the Caribou Russet for fresh-market use as well as for processing.

The harvest festival will also include 150 vendors along with contests and demonstrations.

Oklahoma cattle producers reject fee increase

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture says that a referendum to increase the drop-off fee for cattle by $1 per head has been defeated.

Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese announced Nov. 9 that the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association rejected the measure, which would’ve raised the fee and generated an additional $3.2 million to be used to promote beef sales.

Some ranchers opposed the measure and requested the Montana-based Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund and the Organization for Competitive Markets file an injunction to stop the vote.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association supported the measure. Association President Richard Thorpe says he was disappointed the measure didn’t succeed.

Thorpe says that cattle raisers in Texas “have seen an immense benefit from their state-level checkoff program.”

Agribusiness contributes $23B to Arizona economy

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Researchers with the University of Arizona say agricultural businesses contribute more than $23 billion in sales to the state’s economy. A report released this week by the university’s Cooperative Extension’s Economic Impact Analysis Team also states that agribusiness supports more than 138,000 direct and indirect jobs.

According to the report, Arizona ranks among the top states in the production of lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cantaloupe, honeydew and other commodities.

Researchers found that a number of counties rank in the top 1 percent of all U.S. counties when it comes to various measures of crop and livestock production, and the vast majority of Arizona farm operations are family-run operations and partnerships. The findings are based on sales output in 2014 using the best available and most recent data.