Midwest Briefs - No one injured in pork plant fire

Wisconsin State Farmer


Midwest briefs


No injuries reported in fire at Marshalltown pork plant

Authorities are investigating what caused a methane-fueled fire at the JBS pork plant in Marshalltown.

Firetrucks were dispatched to the plant's methane collection lagoon about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Firefighters and JBS staffers isolated the plant from the methane collection system to prevent any gas exposure to the plant itself.

Officials say it took about three hours to extinguish the blaze. No injuries have been reported.

JBS officials estimate damage at $500,000 and say the plant remains in production.


Company plans $50M expansion at Fairmont ethanol plant

Flint Hills Resources has announced a planned $50 million expansion at its Fairmont ethanol plant.

The company will spend the money to produce a high-protein animal and fish feed ingredient from a portion of the plant's distiller grains.

The technology, called maximized stillage co-products, was developed specifically for the dry mill ethanol industry.

Flint Hills says its Fairmont plant will be just the fourth in the world to use the technology.

It says the project will require the addition of a new building and two protein dryers. Its construction, set to be completed in the spring of 2018, is expected to create about 120 jobs.

The Fairmont plant produces 120 million gallons of ethanol and 310,000 tons of distillers grain a year.


Stocking operations boost fish populations around Michigan

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says it stocked more than 300,000 fish around the state last fall, giving a boost to species popular with anglers.

The DNR's Fisheries Division says fish were released at 99 locations. Ten species were stocked, including brook trout, brown trout, lake trout, rainbow trout, steelhead, Atlantic salmon, lake sturgeon, channel catfish, walleye and muskellunge.

Altogether, more than 34 million fish were added to Michigan waters through stocking in 2016.

Officials say numbers and types of fish that are stocked vary by hatchery. Each facility has a different capability to rear fish that depends on water supplies and temperatures.

Michigan has six state hatcheries and three cooperative hatcheries that produce different species, strains and sizes of fish as requested by managers.


Many farmers still need training after Lake Erie algae

Ohio's agriculture leaders say thousands of farmers have gone through training that soon will be required to put commercial fertilizer on their fields.

But they say many more need to complete the program aimed at combating the toxic algae fouling Lake Erie.

The first of its kind requirement is one of the steps Ohio has taken to reduce the farm runoff that feeds the algae in the state's lakes and rivers. State lawmakers gave farmers three years to be certified when they approved the change in 2014.

Ohio Agriculture Director Dave Daniels says about 12,000 farmers and fertilizer applicators have completed their training. He estimates that anywhere from 6,000-10,000 still need the certification by the end of September.

Agriculture leaders say more training sessions are scheduled in nearly every county.


Buffalo quarantined due to poison 

Hundreds of buffalo are under quarantine in North Dakota and South Dakota after a poison was illegally used to kill prairie dogs.

An Environmental Protection Agency investigation earlier found 40,000 pounds of Rozol poison had been distributed across 5,400 acres on the former Cannonball Ranch near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and the Wilder Ranch, which straddles both states to the south.

The EPA-led investigation began last year after six bald eagles and bison were found dead at the Wilder Ranch. David Meyer sold the Cannonball Ranch to Dakota Access Pipeline five months after the Rozol incident. The company bought the ranch to build the pipeline that has attracted thousands of protesters.

The approximately 900 buffalo are under quarantine until September, though 1-year-olds were released from the hold Jan. 1.