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Published October 06, 2014, 09:59 AM

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Harvest delays lead to repeat NASS survey, an ordinance is under development in Bemidji, Minn., to regulate beekeeping and Hoeven lays plans to defund WOTUS.

By: Agweek Staff and Wire reports, Agweek

Harvest delays lead to repeat NASS survey in eight states

• Farmers who raise small grains in eight states, including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, will be surveyed again on their harvest progress. The National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, made the announcement Sept. 30. Operators surveyed in the first half of September will be asked to verify and update, if necessary, acreage, yield and production for barley, oats, durum and other spring wheat. If the responses result in changes to current estimates, NASS will publish updated acreage, yield, production and stocks in its Nov. 10 crop production report. When NASS originally surveyed the producers, large amounts of small grains weren’t harvested because of late planting and the wet fall. Here’s a list of the crops and states that will be surveyed again: barley: Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming; oats: Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming; durum wheat: Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota; other spring wheat: Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah.

Ordinance under development in Bemidji, Minn., to regulate beekeeping

• BEMIDJI, Minn. — Amid a national push to value America’s bees as crucial to the environment, a Bemidji, Minn., proposal seeks to propagate the pollinating insects within city limits. A group of beekeepers and sustainable practices advocates are working with the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board to draft rules for beekeeping, which appears to be unregulated in city zoning code. The preliminary draft of the rule is in the early stages but beekeeping proponents hope to develop a framework that both encourages domesticated hives and addresses possible safety concerns from neighbors. “The ultimate goal is for there to be more bees, and more beekeepers, and more backyard beekeepers,” Bemidji beekeeper Simone Senogles says. “We want the ordinance to include a management plan, so the beekeepers are knowledgeable enough to be responsible.” On the issue of safety, Senogles says the proposed ordinance has rules governing how close the hives can be to a property line and how many hives are allowed. The rules also call for easy access to water so bees don’t congregate in neighboring property when looking for a drink. Bees are sometimes erroneously lumped in by the public with their more aggressive cousins, wasps and yellowjackets, Senogles says, but honeybees are actually bred to be easygoing. Merschman says the ordinance would likely avoid more densely populated areas near downtown and instead limit beekeeping to larger lots on the outskirts of Bemidji, such as half-acre lots in Nymore. A draft of the ordinance has been submitted to the JPB’s special issues subcommittee, which is expected to discuss the proposal at its meeting this week.

Hoeven lays plans to defund WOTUS rule in January

• U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., says he has enough votes to derail funding for a government agency rule that agricultural critics say would expand the Waters of the U.S. Rule (WOTUS). Hoeven says he could defund the rule in a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, but that the issue probably won’t come to a vote until January. Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., chairs the Appropriations Energy and Water subcommittee and is unlikely to allow it to come to a vote. “She knows I have the votes to block it,” Hoeven says. Hoeven says, adding if he gets the provision defunded, it would take a vote of 60 senators to overturn it. Hoeven says blocking funding would take less effort than deauthorizing the plan, which is part of the administration of the Clean Water Act. The Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy recommended the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers withdraw the rule and study it further. The SBA Office of Advocacy says the rule would have “direct, significant effects” on small businesses, including farmers. Agricultural organizations in the region, including the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, have announced intentions to fight the proposal on grounds that 98 percent of the streams and 98.5 percent of wetlands meet the definition of “waters of the U.S.” under the revised definitions. EPA officials say there will be an agricultural exemption.

Briefly . . .

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• Farm bill dates: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the Farm Service Agency have announced beginning and closing dates for landowners and farmers to adjust yields and reallocate base acres and make a selection between the new Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs. Landowners can make base reallocation and yield updates from Oct. 6 to Feb. 27. Producers can make the choice between ARC and PLC from Nov. 17 to March 31. Producers can sign contracts for 2014 and 2015 crop years from mid-April through summer 2015. Payments for the 2014 crop year, if needed, will be made in October 2015.

— Agweek Staff and Wire Reports

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