Red River Farm Network News

Help! — North Dakota’s congressional delegation wants Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to provide assistance to state ranchers facing early season drought conditions by allowing emergency haying of CRP acres. In a letter to Perdue, Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp, and Congressman Kevin Cramer said the western half of North Dakota has received less than 40 percent of normal rainfall thus far in June. Media accounts of herd liquidation are common, and many ranchers are being faced with having to decide whether to sell valuable assets of their livestock operations. The delegation says the resulting downsizing of the state’s cattle herd poses a threat to the viability of the industry in North Dakota.

A Call to Release CRP Acres — The National Farmers Union, along with the Minnesota Farmers Union, Montana Farmers Union, South Dakota Farmers Union and the North Dakota Farmers Unions have sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging the USDA open up CRP land for immediate haying and grazing. North Dakota Farmers Union President Mark Watne says feed supplies are deteriorating fast and hay is in short supply. Watne calls this an emergency situation with ranchers being forces to make a difficult decision of whether to downsize their herds.

Drought Request — North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has sent a request to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to release CRP acres for early haying and grazing due to the severity of the ongoing drought conditions in the state. In a letter to Perdue, Goehring says the ultimate goal is to help provide North Dakota’s livestock community with as many options as possible to secure grazing for the rest of the summer, as well as securing a feed source to carry them through next winter. This week’s USDA crop progress report rates 82 percent of North Dakota’s pasture and range conditions as fair to very poor.

A Wall of Corn — Farm lenders meeting in Bismarck were told to be prepared for a “wall of corn” being stored on North Dakota farms after last year’s phenomenal yields. North Dakota State University Extension crops marketing economist Frayne Olson told the Independent Community Banks of North Dakota that many farmers are sitting on corn, hoping for a price rally. “Lots of farmers are frustrated. We had fantastic corn yields last year. The bins are full of corn from last year because of the extra yield," says Olson. "That price has been so range bound for the last-almost all winter-that it’s been hard to get excited about grain movement. We are going to have to clean out some of that before harvest. I’m concerned the cash market will start to get softer. I’m a bit cautious and concerned about what will happen on the corn side.”  

Trump Agenda: Trade Priorities — In the same hearing, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley asked Lighthizer which areas were priorities for the Trump Administration’s trade agenda. Here’s Lighthizer’s response. “There’s been lots of talk about starting bilateral trade agreements with countries that were a part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I think there’s an analysis right now within the administration which countries we should start with, which would make the most sense economically. The president’s idea is to have a series of bilateral agreements. We’re in the process of determining which ones should come first.” Lighthizer says the area of the most focus is the TPP countries. There is a lot of activity in that area. Lighthizer expects to come to a conclusion which individual country the U.S. will start with, once NAFTA negations are underway. He does address talks with Japan. “Right now, I don’t think Japan is in the position where they want to do that negotiation. The U.S. isn’t either at that point. We are in talks with Japan. They’ve had a trade deficit with the U.S. along time. I think they should be making unilateral temporary concessions. It’s a simple way to get the trade deficit down.”

The Status of the 100-Day Action Plan — The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance hosted a hearing on U.S. trade featuring U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer Wednesday morning. Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts asked Lighthizer about the status of the 100-day action plan with China. “We have another few days in the 100-day period. There are a variety of items of which there are negotiations. There’s hope we’ll get another harvest of some level before the 100-days are up. The question before the administration is: what is the next step? There has been an exchange of priorities the U.S. has and the Chinese has. We’re trying to decide the procedure moving forward.” Lighthizer says the pressure is still on. We’ll find out if it’s a good way to organize thoughts with China.  

A North American Trade Commitment — Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and his counterparts from Canada and Mexico, issued a joint statement after meeting in Savannah, Georgia. The statement said the three share a commitment to keeping their markets open and transparent so that trade can continue to grow. The statement also said NAFTA has benefited agriculture and consumers. The three ag leaders also said their differences are relatively small in the context of the $85 billion in agricultural trade that takes place between the U.S., Mexico and Canada each year.

Dairy Cow Numbers Increase for 8th Consecutive Month — In the 23 major dairy states, milk production increased 1.8 percent in May. The U.S. dairy herd increased for the eighth straight month, coming in just under 9.4 million head. In Minnesota, cow numbers declined 2,000 head from year ago levels, but milk production increased 2.6 percent. South Dakota dairy farmers added 3,000 head to the state herd and milk output rose 2.8 percent. Last month, Wisconsin milk production dropped just under one percent and California output declined just over one percent.

COOL Lawsuit Filed — R-CALF USA and Cattle Producers of Washington have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against USDA. The suit alleges USDA regulations allow beef and pork to be classified as domestic products, even when those meat products are imported from other countries, confusing consumers and hurting American farmers. The complaint also argues that the USDA regulations violate the text of the Meat Inspection Act, which requires that imported meat should be labeled indicating its country of origin. 

ND Livestock Alliance Formed — The North Dakota Livestock Alliance has been created to support livestock production in the state. The organization was organized by the state corn, soybean, pork, dairy and ethanol checkoff councils and the North Dakota Farmers Union. The Alliance will help farmers and ranchers develop or expand the livestock industry. The chairman for the new group is Craig Jarolimek of the North Dakota Pork Council. The vice-chair is Kenton Holle of the Midwest Dairy Association. Scott German of the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council is the secretary and Austin Langley of the North Dakota Soybean Council is treasurer.  

A Slight Move from GMOs — A survey by Farm Journal shows a slight move away from GMO crops compared to a year ago. The survey shows a 4 percent drop in GMO seeds planted and a 4 percent increase in non-GMO seed planted.

Stay Connected with RRFN — Are you on social media? Connect with RRFN and get updates on farm news, markets and weather on Facebook and Twitter. The RRFN team: Carah, Mike, Randy, Jay and Don are also on Twitter. Listen each day on your local RRFN affiliate. 

The Sugarbeet ReportLearn more on taking care of your crop during the growing season. Here's a cercospora update. The Sugarbeet report is sponsored, in part, by SES VANDERHAVE and Dow Agrosciences. 

Dry Bean Scene — The Dry Bean Scene is on the air, with information about the dry edible bean industry in the Northarvest region. This broadcast airs each Friday at 12:37 PM. 

ND Soybean MinuteHear the latest North Dakota Soybean Minute from the North Dakota Soybean Council and the soybean checkoff. 

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JBS Divests — Brazilian meatpacker JBS has revealed a $1.8 billion divestment plan to raise capital after a corruption scandal raised concerns about financing. The plan includes divesting of 19.2 percent of its Brazilian dairy operation; its Northern Ireland; unit and it ownership of Fiver Rivers Cattle Feeding in North America. Five Rivers has a combined cattle feeding capacity of more than 980,000 head with locations in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and Idaho. Fiver Rivers also manages a 75,000 head feedyard in Alberta, Canada.

FCS of Mandan Elects Vander Vorst — James Vander Vorst of Hauge was elected board chairman for Farm Credit Services of Mandan. Michael Schaaf of Glen Ullin is vice chairman. Dawn Martin of Beulah and Carson Kouba of Regent were elected to the board.

Kessel Elected to Chair Northern Crops Council — Belfield, North Dakota farmer Greg Kessel has been elected as chair of the Northern Crops Council. Kessel is the North Dakota Barley Council representative on the Council. Gettysburg, South Dakota farmer Tregg Cronin is the new Vice Chair. Cronin is the South Dakota Wheat Commission representative on the Council.  

Whitehill Joins SDBIC Staff — The South Dakota Beef Industry Council has a new communications director. Kylee Whitehill has been working as a journalist for the Capital Journal in Pierre.

Dairy Princess Crowned — North Dakota’s 70th State Dairy Princess is Heidi Jacob from Linton, who was crowned at the Midwest Dairy North Dakota Division board meeting Monday. Jacob graduated from Linton High School in May and currently works on her family’s dairy farm near Linton. She plans to attend Bismarck State College this fall, to study secondary education.    

Cooper Honored — Renewable Fuels Association Senior Vice President Geoff Cooper has been awarded the 2017 High Octane Award, presented today at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Minneapolis. Since the inception of the awards 18 years ago, only two other trade association staff members have received this honor.

MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association in their weekly MN Beef Update.

AURI Update — Catch this weekly update from the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. Learn about new products created from waste products.

Canola Minute — Here's the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. Get an update on the Menus of Change project.

Corn Matters — Hear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association's Corn Matters program. Learn how the MN Corn Growers are supporting the 4-H Science of Ag Challenge.

Last Week's TriviaPresident George Washington's image can be found on the U.S. quarter. We didn't need to flip a coin. Patrick Jirik of University of Minnesota Extension wins our weekly trivia challenge. Dean Nelson of Kelley Bean Company, Kevin Schulz of National Hog Farmer, Rene Scheurer of Betaseed and Ron Dvergsten of Northland FBM earn runner-up honors. The 'first 20' recognition goes to Curtis Noll of Noll's Dairy Farm, Brian Rund of Nufarm Americas, Jim Altringer of Columbia Grain, Bruce Miller of Minnesota Farmers Union, Jon Farris of BankWest, Mandy Kvale of Farm Credit Services of Mandan, Greg Guse of Paulsen, Mark Bernard of Agro-Economics, Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed, Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad, Royalton farmer Darrell Larsen, Twyla Wulf of Clear Springs Cattle Company and Clearwater County auditor/treasurer Allen Paulson.