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News from Around the Farm World - Feb. 6, 2013
Fire tears through SE Iowa hog facility

COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa (AP) — Firefighters are investigating a fire that tore through a southeastern hog containment facility.
The Burlington Hawk Eye reported the fire at Mipa Hog Farms, 10 miles west of Columbus Junction, was reported around 1 p.m. Friday. The Columbus Junction Fire Department and several others responded.

There were no reports of human injuries, and it is not known whether any hogs were killed in the fire. Messages left Saturday by The Associated Press for the Columbus Junction Fire Department and Mipa Hog Farms were not immediately returned.

Man killed in Shiawassee County farm accident

HAZELTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Shiawassee County farmer died after getting trapped under a pile of soybeans in a silo.
The Argus-Press of Owosso reported Roy Wayne Potter was trying to fix a mechanical problem at his Hazelton Township farm on Jan. 26. According to sheriff’s Det. Lt. David Kirk, the soybeans were hung up by the mechanical glitch, then suddenly broke loose and buried the 65-year-old Potter.

Ports, longshoremen avert strike in tentative deal
WASHINGTON D.C. — Port operators along the East Coast have reached a tentative deal on a new contract with the union for longshoremen, averting a possible strike that would have crippled operations at 15 ports, according to a federal mediator.
The deal was announced late Friday in a statement from George Cohen, head of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Cohen, who has been leading the talks since last year, said the agreement remains subject to ratification by both parties and additional local union negotiations. But he said local talks would continue without threat of interrupting any port operation.
Cohen declined to offer any details on the deal.

Both sides had been in intense negotiations since the previous contract ended in September. The parties initially postponed the deadline to reach a deal for 90 days, then postponed it again until Dec. 31. Just before the end of last year, the parties resolved a thorny issue involving royalty payments made to union members for each container unloaded. They extended the deadline on the rest of the issues until Feb. 6.

Indiana pulls support for proposed fertilizer plant
MOUNT VERNON, Ind. (AP) — State officials have suspended their support for a proposed southwestern Indiana fertilizer plant while they investigate a Pakistani company involved in the project.
The Indiana Finance Authority issued $1.3 billion in bonds in December 2012 for a nitrogen fertilizer plant Midwest Fertilizer Corp. plans to build at the Port of Mount Vernon in southwestern Indiana’s Posey County. Midwest Fertilizer Corp. is part of Lahore, Pakistan-based Fatima Group.

Indiana Economic Development Corp. spokeswoman Katelyn Hancock said the agency learned Jan. 14 about concerns Fatima Group might not be cooperating with U.S. officials worried that fertilizer made in Pakistan ends up in improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan that have killed American troops.

Hancock told the Evansville Courier & Press the agency immediately ordered the fertilizer plant project suspended “pending further investigation.”

Indiana lawmakers consider protecting right to hunt

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (AP) — Indiana lawmakers have delayed action on a proposed state constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right of residents to hunt, fish and farm.
The state Senate’s agriculture committee had scheduled a public hearing on the proposal last week but postponed it until this week after using its meeting time on unrelated bills.

Republican Sen. Brent Steele of Bedford said he is sponsoring the amendment in reaction to animal-rights activists who he believes are trying to interfere with legal hunting and livestock production. Steele’s resolution calls hunting and farming a valued part of Indiana’s heritage.

Both the Senate and the House approved the proposed amendment during the 2011 session. If the same version is approved by lawmakers this year, it would go before voters for a statewide referendum in 2014.