German company to bring 100 ag manufacturing jobs to St. Cloud

Courtesy of Geringhoff
German firm Geringhoff manufactures high-end agricultural equipment.

German firm Geringhoff Worldwide announced Tuesday that it will open its first North American plant in St. Cloud to manufacture high-end agricultural harvest equipment, most likely corn headers to go on top of combines, tweets St. Cloud Daily Times reporter Kevin Allspach. The announcement was made at the shuttered Donlin Co. millwork factory. Geringhoff, of Ahlen, Germany, plans to create 100 non-union jobs and have products ready to ship in time for the 2013 harvest in Mexico. Gov. Mark Dayton, who was at the announcement, said state incentives helped land the deal, although Allspach’s tweets didn’t elaborate on those incentives. Geringhoff Worldwide CEO Daniel Hansmeier, 31, said the company looked at more than 60 facilities and chose the one in St. Cloud “because of the people.”

Rep. Collin Peterson told Per Peterson of the Marshall Independent on Monday that Republican House leader John Boehner will probably put the farm bill on hold for this year. The current farm bill expires at the end of the month. A new farm bill would involve safety-net programs and fund the food-stamp program that helps more than 46 million people. If a new farm bill isn’t passed, the process will start over after a new Congress is sworn in. “The problem is half of the Republicans and their caucus don’t like this bill for a lot of different reasons,” Peterson said. “They have some division within their side and they don’t want to bring it up; that might be because it’s an election year.” Lee Byberg, Peterson’s GOP opponent in the 7th District, dislikes the food-stamp plan. “In a time when our government is totally financially inept we are now tripling the food stamp portion and that’s unreal,” he said.

An unidentified man, whom witnesses said is from St. Paul, has been dropping off pigeons by the thousands at the Tru Shine Truck Wash in Worthington, reports Kayla Strayer of the Worthington Daily Globe. The man released 1,300 pigeons on Sept. 1 and let 830 go the week before, said John VanEde, the truck-wash supervisor. “When he opened the trailer, it just exploded with birds,” VanEde said. Security camera footage shows the man parked his tractor trailer, stayed for about three hours, then released the pigeons at about 8:30 a.m and left shortly after. Robert Humphrey, a spokesman for the department of safety and inspections for St. Paul, said the city is not responsible for the pigeons. “I find it odd that a truckload of pigeons was dropped off in Worthington,” Humphrey said. St. Paul’s pigeon control is handled by OvoControl, which puts formula in pigeon feed throughout the city that causes eggs not to hatch. Erick Wolf of  OvoControl said “relocating pigeons from urban areas doesn’t work. The birds just come back again. If you drop them off 200 miles away, they will beat the truck back.” Wolf said some of the pigeons may stick around Worthington for “a couple hours or days,” but most will leave. While pigeons can carry diseases, Wolf said he doesn’t think there is a health risk to Worthington. “I just don’t think it’s a very nice thing to do,” he said.

More than 70 farmers gathered at the recent Mower County Corn and Soybean Growers Plot Day at Corey Hansen’s farm south of Austin. They were there to see the progress and quality of 14 corn and 12 soybean varieties and compare each variety, reports the Austin Daily Herald. Hansen said some of his corn is averaging 75 bushels per acre. About 180 bushels is average. Farmers are already picking some beans, as well. Mower County farmers are battling what some call the worst drought in 50 years. “It’s been a very dry year for us,” said Bruce Nelsen, Mower County farmer and Corn and Soybean Growers treasurer. “The southern two-thirds of the county has been hit especially hard. Some farmers are chopping their corn for silage early to sell to livestock producers.” Ron Smith, risk management officer at AgStar Financial Services, warned farmers to check with their insurance agents to get estimates before deciding to harvest early.

Spotted Wing Drosophila is an invasive pest with a taste for soft fruits, and its presence has been confirmed in western Wisconsin and in southeastern Minnesota. Area growers have reported finding the bug in fall raspberries, writes Geri Parlin of the Winona Daily News. Commonly called fruit flies, the pest can destroy fruit by laying its eggs inside. The bugs likely were blown into the area during the summer by strong winds from Michigan. Spring crops weren’t a problem because the pests weren’t here yet, said Bill Halfman a UW Extension agent in Monroe County. He suggests that home growers look for a little white worm. The female lays her egg in the ripening fruit, and that leaves an open wound upon which the larvae feed. The bugs may not be a problem next year if the insects don’t survive the winter. The insects have been in the United States since they showed up on the West Coast in 2008. They also attack blackberries, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, cherries, peaches, plums and some apple varieties with very soft skins. Halfman said the fruits that are most susceptible are raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, and fall raspberries appear to be hardest hit.

Arson is suspected in a fire that destroyed the contents of the Renville County Food Shelf in a downtown Olivia building on Sunday night, according to the Bemidji Pioneer.   The fire also caused extensive smoke and heat damage to a local business, the Red Cross office and an apartment unit. No one was injured, the Olivia Police Department reported. The use of a thermal imaging camera greatly aided the firefighters in attacking the blaze and confining it to the Food Shelf area of the building, according to Olivia Fire Chief Tim Seehusen. Renville County Food Shelf director Mary Schroepfer is hopeful the Food Shelf will be up and running soon in a new location.

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