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News from Around the Farm World - Nov. 21, 2012
Indiana ethanol plant’s owner files for bankruptcy
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — An energy company has filed for bankruptcy a couple of weeks after shutting down Indiana’s oldest ethanol plant, as the ethanol industry struggles with higher corn prices and larger inventories of the fuel.

The plant, owned by South Bend-based New Energy Corp., has been up for sale since last year and the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization filing could help in finding a buyer, company President Russ Abarr told the South Bend Tribune.

“The margins have been really challenging in the industry essentially all year,” he said. “We are not the only company going through this. There are a lot of other plants that have shut down, slowed down.”

New Energy laid off 40 employees this month when it indefinitely idled the plant just west of South Bend. That plant opened in 1984 and can produce 100 million gallons of ethanol a year.
Eleven other ethanol plants and three biodiesel plants have been built in Indiana since 2006, according to the state Department of Agriculture. San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp. stopped production at its ethanol plant at the central Indiana town of Linden this summer.

Abarr said the Midwest drought that pushed up corn prices contributed to the company’s decline. “Everything plays into it,” he said. “They were all factors: the drought, lower corn harvest, higher corn prices, high ethanol supply, low ethanol pricing, low gasoline demand. Everything has played into it.”

FSA urges voting in county committee elections by Dec. 3
WASHINGTON, D.C. — USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan Garcia announced the 2012 FSA county committee elections began Nov. 5, with the mailing of ballots to eligible voters. The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Dec. 3.

Eligible voters who do not receive ballots can obtain one from their local USDA Service Center. Dec. 3 is the last day for voters to submit ballots in person; ballots returned by mail must also be postmarked no later than Dec. 3. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1, 2013.
While FSA county committees do not approve or deny farm operating loans, they make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues. More information can be found at or at a USDA Service Center.

Man killed in Iowa farm accident identified

TOLEDO, Iowa (AP) — The central Iowa man who was reported killed in a farm accident last week has been identified.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported that 79-year-old Russell Behounek, of Chelsea, died the afternoon of Nov. 8. Authorities said Behounek was working on “an old corn picker” when it fell on him, pinning him underneath it. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Iowa man, of Badger, injured in tractor mishap

BADGER, Iowa (AP) — A central Iowa man is struggling to recover from injuries he received when he was run over by a tractor on his farm.

The Fort Dodge Messenger reported Jerry Warehime, of rural Badger, was hurt late Friday afternoon while he was working on the tractor at his home. The Webster County Sheriff’s office said Warehime’s wife was home and discovered him injured. She called authorities and neighbors.

Group seeks to improve health, fight urban blight

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A group of food professionals say they are planning a project that will help improve the health of Memphis residents while also fighting urban blight.

The Memphis Daily News reported Green Girl Produce plans to create the city’s first indoor vertical farm, which will supply residents with microgreens that are organic, cost-effective and available year-round. Emma Self, a silkscreen printer, gardener and veteran of the restaurant industry, says microgreens offer “intense flavor, texture and vivid color” to dishes and they are nutritious.

Green Girl Produce plans to use special lighting and an automated, recirculating hydroponic system. The company plans to lease an old 1,260 square-foot building on Broad Avenue for its farm.