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Great Plains ranchers eye restocking herds as pastures green up

p. 9 brief - cattle WEBRecent rainfalls across most of the nation’s key cattle grazing areas are greening up pastures and refilling farm ponds, fueling optimism among ranchers that they may soon begin the difficult process of rebuilding herds decimated by years of drought.

The rain that has soaked the Great Plains and most of the nation’s cattle grazing region has spurred talk of rebuilding the herd.

It’s likely to take the beef industry years to recover from the widespread drought. Cows have a nine-month gestation period, and it can take up to two years after calves are born for them to grow big enough for slaughter. The time needed to repair drought-damaged pastures will only extend that timetable because ranchers must have grass for grazing before they can add animals.

While the nation’s western grazing region — an area that includes New Mexico, California, Oregon, Idaho and Montana — have had worse pasture conditions this year than last, this region accounts for only 10 to 12 percent of the nation’s beef cow herd. The vast majority of the grazing lands for cattle have seen improving pasture conditions, said Glynn Tonsor, an Extension beef specialist at Kansas State University.

The Associated Press

Contractor sues Hoku Materials parent company

A contractor is suing the parent company of Hoku Materials over work done at Hoku’s failed polysilicon plant in eastern Idaho.

Officials with JH Kelly Inc., a Washington state construction company, have said the company is still owed about $25 million for work on the plant in Pocatello. The Idaho State Journalreports the company filed a lawsuit in Pocatello’s U.S. District Court August 20, contending Tianwei New Energy Holdings committed fraud and racketeering in connection with the plant. JH Kelly is seeking unspecified damages including money owed for work completed and attorney’s fees.

Tianwei New Energy Holdings has not yet responded.

Hoku is in bankruptcy proceedings in eastern Idaho.

The Associated Press

Lawyers increase their mobile device use

Lawyers are using mobile devices more than ever.

The American Bar Association’s latest Legal Technology Survey Report, an annual multi-volume document, says the smartphone is the most popular mobile device. Ninety-one percent of lawyers report they used them in their law practices, up from 89 percent last year.

Solo practitioners were the most likely to use mobile devices, with 85 percent reporting use of mobile devices in their law practices in 2013, up from 77 percent in 2012.

Lawyers overwhelmingly preferred iPhones, with 62 percent of those lawyers surveyed reporting that they used an iPhone, up from 44 percent last year. Androids were the second most popular smartphone, with 22 percent of respondents using an Android phone.

Tablet use also increased. Nearly half of all lawyers surveyed reported using tablets in their law practices, with 48 percent of lawyers now using tablets, up from 33 percent in 2012.

The report said few lawyers took the security precaution of enabling the remote wiping of their phones; only 25 percent enabled that feature in 2013. That’s an increase from 2012, when only 18 percent of lawyers reported enabling that feature.

Dolan Media Newswires

Stewart Title adding Eagle office

Stewart Title Co. will open its fourth Treasure Valley location in Eagle on Sept. 1. District supervisor Jeni Sexton said the new office, located near Eagle Road and State Street, should be more convenient for clients in Eagle, Meridian, Star and surrounding areas.

“With the local real estate economy increasing, we wanted to be able to better serve all of the areas of the Treasure Valley,” she said. The four offices have 27 employees and Sexton said the company is looking to grow.

Stewart Title handles residential, commercial, agricultural transactions and other title and escrow-related services and already has two locations in Boise and one in Nampa. Stewart Title is a subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp. Besides the four Stewart-owned offices in the Treasure Valley, Stewart offers services through 24 independent agent offices in Idaho, including AmeriTitle, Land Title & Escrow and North Idaho Title Insurance offices.

IBR Staff

Sugar company fined for water quality violation

Federal regulators say the Amalgamated Sugar Co. has agreed to pay $7,500 for violating the Clean Water Act at its facility in Paul.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the enforcement action Aug. 19.

EPA investigators say the company discharged stormwater without a permit last year. The agency cited the company for discharging 4,000 gallons of stormwater from a storage lagoon to a drainage and irrigation ditch that empties into the Snake River without permission in its permit.

Regulators say if the company had complied with its permit, officials at the Paul facility would have been required to develop a pollution prevention plan and conduct regular inspections of stormwater controls.

The Associated Press

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