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LAWRENCE, KS

Sunflowers ready for center stage

An eastern Kansas farmer is hoping to attract visitors to his sunflower plot over Labor Day weekend. 

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that George Hunsinger has a 6-acre plot of sunflowers in Lawrence. The field attracted about 200 visitors in its first season last year. 

The field has gray mammoth sunflowers growing up to 12 feet tall, and Peredovik sunflowers growing up to 6 feet tall. The mammoth sunflowers should be in full bloom by Labor Day weekend.

Visitors are welcome to photograph the flowers for free and can take home a bloom for a suggested donation of $1 per flower.

FOLEY, MN

Hops farm prepares for large harvest 

A hops farm in central Minnesota is preparing for its largest harvest to date. The St. Cloud Times reports that Mighty Axe Hops will soon harvest its first batch of hops since moving to Foley a year ago. 

The farm originally began five years ago at a location in Ham Lake but relocated to the 40-acre Foley site for more space. 

The harvest is expected to yield about 60,000 pounds of hops, with the four different varieties of hops will likely being harvested in late August or early September. Most of the hops in production are already contracted to several local breweries.. 

BISMARK, ND

Bee project aims to improve bee health 

Three North Dakota farmers have partnered with a beekeeper on a pilot project to improve the health of bees and other pollinators. 

The project, Bee Integrated, is an experiment aiming to better practices of both beekeeping and farming in unison. As part of the experiment, the beekeeper compares the best and normal practices of the colonies. They test the pollen the bees bring back from the farmer's land to see what they're foraging on. 

Honey bees contribute their pollinating powers to a third of the country's food supply but pollinator populations are declining due to loss of habitat, pests and exposure to chemicals. 

By signing up for the project, farmer volunteer a portion of  their land to be used for planting pollinator mix. 

MOLINE, IL

Deere reports third-quarter earnings of $642M

For the first nine months of fiscal 2017, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $1.649 billion, or $5.11 per share, compared with $1.239 billion, or $3.91 per share, for the same period last year. 

Worldwide net sales and revenues increased 16 percent, to $7.808 billion, for the third quarter and increased 8 percent, to $21.720 billion, for the first nine months. Net sales of the equipment operations were $6.833 billion for the third quarter and $18.791 billion for nine months, compared with $5.861 billion and $17.737 billion for the periods last year. 

"We are seeing higher overall demand for our products with farm machinery sales in South America experiencing strong gains and construction equipment sales rising sharply," said Samuel R. Allen, chairman and chief executive officer.

BISMARK, ND

MN company, Plains farm aid group set up hay convoy 

A Minnesota towing and hauling company teamed up with a Plains farm aid nonprofit to ship tons of hay to about a dozen drought-stricken ranchers in North Dakota. 

Beyer Towing in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and Farm Rescue have organized a convoy of 14 semi-loads of hay on Aug. 26 and another half-dozen on Aug. 27. The cattle feed being sold at a reduced price will be trucked about 225 miles from Rothsay, MN, to Menoken, ND. 

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows 63 percent of North Dakota in some form of drought. Nearly one-fourth of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories.

Many ranchers have been forced to sell off cattle because they have no hay crop or can't afford to buy hay with demand pushing prices to as high as double the normal cost. 

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