August 23, 2017

Nation’s First Solar Honey Featured in New Ice Cream at MN State Fair

While new and inventive foods abound each year at the Minnesota State Fair, only one new food is responsible for creating new honeybee habitats, while simultaneously harvesting the nation’s first ever solar honey, deliciously drizzled throughout the new food – Solar Honey Swirl Ice Cream!

This new treat features ribbons of solar honey, produced and harvested fresh from Minnesota honey producers, Bolton Bees, springing forward on a simple backdrop of vanilla ice cream. Solar Honey Swirl will be served up at the Minnesota Honey Producers Association booth (a State Fair staple for more than 70 years) in the horticulture building, in partnership with Fresh Energy and Bolton Bees, at the Minnesota State Fair. The solar honey is sourced from solar arrays around the metro that are planted with pollinator-friendly native flowers.

About Bolton Bees

Bolton Bees, is a first-generation business, that breeds Minnesota-hardy queen bees and produces the nation’s first-ever solar honey, using Twin Cities solar arrays. Travis and Chiara Bolton are beekeepers who believe in promoting the collaboration between solar energy, pollinator habitat, and local beekeeping. They are passionate about encouraging the creation of new foraging habitat under and around ground-mounted solar panels for a wide variety of pollinators, birds, and other wildlife.

About Fresh Energy

An independent energy nonprofit, Fresh Energy’s mission is to shape and drive realistic, visionary energy policies that benefit all. Working purely in the public interest, Fresh Energy’s team of scientists, economists, policy analysts, and educators develops and advances solutions that secure a clean energy future where all can thrive.

About the Minnesota Honey Producers Association

The Minnesota Honey Producers Association (MHPA) is a nonprofit organization made up of commercial and hobby beekeepers. The goal of the organization is to promote the use of honey and to provide a better understanding of the role of honeybees throughout the Midwest. The organization was founded in 1907, and is one of the largest in the United States today. The MHPA is one of the founding fathers of the Minnesota Agricultural Society.


Audio Update/Developing Story: Growers and State Officials Documenting Dicamba Damage in the Dakotas and Minnesota

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association is assembling a task force to examine reports of dicamba injury across the state.

The group says there’s no denying farmers need options to combat the growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. But farmers also need answers to the growing number of dicamba-suspected damage reports cropping up in the state.

MSGA President Michael Petefish of Claremont, Minn., says the association will convene a task force to examine the data and science behind the reports and to work with industry and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to help get answers for the many growing questions regarding dicamba.

“MSGA works closely with industry in Minnesota and across the nation,” Petefish says. “We feel we are in a unique position to be proactive and lead the way in finding sensible answers for our farmers and for industry. Dicamba is a valuable tool for farmers and a technology MSGA will work to protect.”

We visited with Mike on Tuesday morning.

Petefish Dicamba Importance

Petefish says Minnesota soybean growers will work closely with the state department of agriculture and will involve researchers from the University of Minnesota, as well as industry partners.

Petefish on Problem Mitigation

He says MSGA acknowledges people want answers and want to lay blame, but he says those conversations are premature, and the data needs to be examined to get a fuller understanding of the situation and come up with appropriate solutions.

Petefish on Potential Litigation

Reports indicate that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture had recorded around 200 pesticide misuse complaints by mid-August.

Petefish on Data Collection

Minnesota growers can go online to report crop injury cases at

Meanwhile, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture has been gathering information on plant injury that may have been caused by use of the herbicide dicamba.

Growers and applicators who suspect dicamba injury are encouraged to complete a survey on NDDA’s website to help quantify the number of potential reports and acres impacted.

“We’ve had a lot of responses on the dicamba survey,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “The 2017 spraying season has wrapped up, but the information we’re gathering will help determine restrictions and protocols for the 2018 growing season.”

Dicamba is a selective herbicide used to control broadleaf weeds and woody plants. It has many applications, including lawn care, crop production and range management. Historically, it has been used in pre-plant applications on soybeans. Recently, new low-volatile formulations have been approved for postemergence use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans.

“I’ve been in talks with Monsanto, BASF and DuPont and they are willing to send representatives out to look at fields that may have been affected,” Goehring said. “Producers who would like to speak to a company representative should contact their local chemical dealers.”

Goehring is considering changing application protocols for dicamba to protect non-target crops. Producers are encouraged to provide specific feedback on the survey.

The survey may be found at

Information gathered from the survey will not be used for pesticide enforcement against applicators and no penalties will be issued based on the survey. Those wishing to file a formal pesticide complaint should contact NDDA at 701-328-2231.

In South Dakota, growers can file dicamba injury reports at


USDA Designates More Counties in ND/SD as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

In response to a request from Jamie White, Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) acting State Executive Director in South Dakota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Aurora, Charles Mix and Gregory counties in South Dakota as primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by a recent drought.

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in South Dakota also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are:

Bon Homme Douglas Lyman
Brule Hutchinson Sanborn
Davison Jerauld Tripp

Farmers and ranchers in Boyd, Keya Paha and Knox counties in Nebraska also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.

In response to a request from Brian Haugen, Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) acting State Executive Director in North Dakota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Burke, Lamoure and Renville counties in North Dakota as primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by a recent drought.

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in North Dakota also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are:

Barnes Logan Ransom
Bottineau McHenry Stutsman
Dickey McIntosh Ward
Divide Mountrail Williams