May 1, 2016

North Dakota Woman Finalist For America’s Farm Mom Of the Year

Each year the American Agri-Women select five regional women who personify the “ideal”.  Someone who has a balance between their home life and helping on the farm and being active in their community.   This woman is also someone who is active in the agricultural industry and is actively working to help bridge the gap between consumers and producers.  This year, one of those five finalists is Katie Heger, a farmer from Underwood, ND.  Heger is originally from the suburban twin cities but moved to the farm in North Dakota upon marrying her husband, Steven.  The two have five children and operate a 8,000 acre operation while also participating in 4-H.  Heger is also a volunteer with the North Dakota Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee and operates a blog on farm life at  She also participates in Common Ground and is a vocal proponent of biotechnology use. She will represent the Northwest Region.

Other regional winners this year include: Karen Kaspar, Owatonna, MN (Midwest Region), Nikki Weathers Yuma, CO (Southwest Region), Ann Stamp Cranston, Rhode Island (Northeast Region), and Mary Courtney Bagdad, Kentucky.


America’s Farmers is sponsored by Monsanto.  Voting will until May 4th and each person may vote once per day until then.  Those interested in supporting one of the nominations can go to


Dedicated Cage-Free Egg Facility Planned in Lake Preston

There’s word from the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development that Rembrandt Foods has announced plans to build a fully dedicated cage-free egg production site in Lake Preston, South Dakota.

The facility expansion will initially house approximately three million cage-free layers, in planned phases. The facility will have on-site breaking equipment, with further growth planned.

The South Dakota location was selected for its central location, access to feed, and biosecurity benefits. Construction will begin in 2016, with the first hens introduced in 2017.

“Rembrandt Foods will be a welcome addition to South Dakota’s robust agriculture industry,” said South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.

“We look forward to becoming a part of the local community and building long term, mutually beneficial relationships in this agricultural region,” says Jonathan Spurway, Vice President of Marketing at Rembrandt Foods.

More than 100 food companies and industry leaders have announced plans to switch to 100 percent cage-free eggs over the next ten years and the list continues to grow.

“We recognize the growing consumer demand for cage-free eggs and egg products and as a leader in this industry, we are committed to supporting our customers’ cage-free needs,” says Dave Rettig, President of Rembrandt Foods. “The Lake Preston operation reflects our interest in a cage-free future and we are excited to make this investment.”

The Iowa-based company supplies eggs and egg products to food manufacturers, foodservice providers, restaurant chains, and retail grocers.

“A cage-free supply chain isn’t built overnight,” Rettig adds, “but the Lake Preston facility puts us another step closer to facilitating a cage-free standard.”



SDSU Student Places in Alltech Young Scientist program

Nirosh Dias Senevirathne, a South Dakota State University graduate student, was awarded second place in the Alltech Young Scientist North American regional graduate division. The title of the award winning paper was “Calf nutrition and growth performance.”

Senevirathne was nominated to participate in the Alltech Young Scientist program by his mentor, Jill Anderson, assistant professor in the SDSU dairy science department. For individuals to compete in this year’s competition, the student had to be nominated by a professor from their university.

The Alltech Young Scientist program is an opportunity for students to participate with the company in pursuit of natural solutions in animal health, plant technology, environmental sciences and other biotechnology-related sectors, while also gaining valuable experience with Alltech, a global leader in the feed and food industry.

“I feel amazed and am delighted to have achieved this award through my education. I am proud to be an Alltech Young Scientist winner,” said Senevirathne. “I someday hope to help the agriculture industry through my research and in the future obtain a position in research and development.”

For Senevirathne’s second place award, he received $1,000 cash prize, a certificate of achievement, an Alltech Young Scientist Medal and a gift basket.

Senevirathne is working toward his doctorate through South Dakota State University. He completed his undergraduate degree in Sri Lanka and his master’s degree in Japan.

SDSU Senevirathne




Nirosh Dias Senevirathne, South Dakota State University, along with his mentor, Jill Anderson, assistant professor in the SDSU dairy science department, accepts his second place award in the Alltech Young Scientist North American regional graduate division.