Nebraska studies new technology

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) -- During a conference in Grand Island next month, agriculture professionals will learn how to take advantage of new agricultural technologies.

The 11th annual Nebraska Agricultural Technologies Association Conference and Trade Show is scheduled for Feb. 9-10 at the Midtown Holiday Inn in Grand Island.

Among the sessions will be one on variable rate irrigation. Other session topics include advanced electronic grain management and Slingshot technologies.

Early registration is $110 for association members and $135 for nonmembers.

Smithfield wraps up Prestage sale

SMITHFIELD, Va. (AP) -- Smithfield Foods Inc., the world's largest pork processor and hog producer, said that it completed the sale of its Texhoma, Okla., hog production operations to Prestage Farms Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

Smithfield said in a statement that the farms do not supply any of the company's pork processing plants. The sale is part of its commitment to sell non-core businesses.

Prestage Farms is based in Clinton, N.C.

ADM pins profit to ethanol sales

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Agribusiness conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland said Feb. 1 its second fiscal quarter profit jumped 29 percent as a recovery in the ethanol industry and growing demand for grains boosted revenue and profit margins.

The company, whose operations range from processing crops to making ethanol and shipping food exports, said its net income was $732 million, or $1.14 per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That's up from $567 million, or 88 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 31.6 percent to $20.93 billion from $15.93 billion a year ago. Analysts expected $17.24 billion.

The Decatur, Ill., company said its results were driven by higher profits in its corn-processing division, which includes its network of ethanol plants, and in its agricultural services division, which includes grain trading.

The results surprised many analysts who expected moderate improvement as global demands for crop-based fuel and grains. Much of the gain resulted from Archer Daniels Midland ability to trade grain on global markets, both buying and selling large quantities of crops in a way that lets it benefit whether prices rise or fall.

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