Red River Farm Network News


Prop 65 Case Being Heard in Court — A preliminary injunction regarding Proposition 65 is being presented in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on Tuesday. Prop 65 would require products containing glyphosate in California to carry a label linking the herbicide to cancer. The injunction would hault implementation of the label until a final ruling is decided by the court. Joined by a coaltition of agriculture groups, the National Association of Wheat Growers is the lead plaintiff in the case.

Biden to Speak at ND Democratic Convention — Former Vice President Joe Biden will be the keynote speaker at the North Dakota Democratic Convention next month. Biden will also appear on behalf of Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who is seeking a second six-year term. The convention runs March 15-18 in Grand Forks.  

DOC Releases Steel and Aluminum Investigation Report — The U.S. Department of Commerce is recommending heavy tariffs and quotas on foreign producers of steel and aluminum. Reports from the Section 232 investigation found that quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports are a threat to national security. The recommendations include a 24 percent global tariff on steel imports, and a 7.7 percent tariff on aluminum imports. The reports are currently under consideration by President Donald Trump, with a decision on the required by mid-April.

The Week AheadIt's National FFA week! To celebrate youth in agriculture and agricultural education, the Red River Farm Network is highlighting success stories of former FFA members from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Listen for special coverage in our daily broadcasts and look for stories (yes-there will be photos) on our Facebook and Twitter pages. This week, RRFN is reporting from the International Crop Expo Wednesday and Thursday in Grand Forks. In this week's FarmNetNews, there are reports from the Northern Corn and Soybean Expo in Fargo, local dicamba trainings and farm bill updates. RRFN's Lessons Learned program is back for a second season. This series focuses on what farmers learned in the 2017 growing season and how to prep for the season ahead. Check it all out below! Listen on your favorite RRFN radio affiliate. Also, follow us on Twitter and watch our daily Top Stories and news updates on Facebook.   

Mixed Feedback on Farm Bill TimelineThere’s mixed feedback about the farm bill timeline. National Corn Growers Association Executive Vice President Jon Doggett shares thoughts after visiting Capitol Hill a few times this week. “On the House side, people are saying we’re going to get a farm bill done this year. On the Senate side, they’re saying we’re probably going to have to do an extension into 2019. This hasn’t been a Congress that’s particularly productive. It’s a difficult time to get things done in Washington.” Doggett says there’s potential for a fourth continuing resolution.“We are still doing 30 day-or-two week extensions of funding bills, because we can’t find agreement on how to fund the government the rest of the year. That’s telling you quite a bit.”

Farm Bill Extension Always PossibleNorth Dakota Corn Growers Association president Carson Klosterman says the farm bill is a priority for growers right now. Klosterman says farmers understand there will likely be less money in a new bill. “There’s no doubt about it there will be cuts. We’re busy fighting to minimize the cuts. We hope the money that’s there will be in an area we’ll use to our advantage.” North Dakota Corn Executive Director Dale Ihry recently returned from Washington D.C. Ihry says not much has changed in farm bill discussions. There are talks about minor tweaks: updates to ARC-County and PLC. He also says there’s always a possibility of an extension.

MFBF Minute — Here's the latest from the Minnesota Farm Bureau. In this report, we get an update on the impact of the Continuing Resolution.

MFU Update — Here's the latest update from Minnesota Farmers Union. This week, National Farmers Union Biofuels Advisor Anne Steckel dicsusses biofuels development in Minnesota.

NREC Promotes Broadband Investment — The National Rural Electric Association sent a letter to members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The rural electric cooperatives want $2.5 billion in the White House infrastructure plan to be used for rural broadband. The group says the dedicated funds could be done through a combination of grants and loans.

Consolidation Concern — The nominees for the Federal Trade Commission faced a Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday. Montana Senator Jon Tester cited a problem with concentration in agriculture. Seed and chemical companies are merging. The beef, pork and chicken processing sector has also gone through consolidation. Tester said consolidation impacts rural America. “In my school, there were 40 kids in my graduating class. Now the whole damn school has 40 kids in it. We’re seeing that kind of depopulation across rural America. When it comes to competition in the marketplace, whether its selling it or the inputs you’re putting on the crop, it’s critically important. It will do away with family farm agriculture. If family farm agriculture goes away, this country changes and not for the better.”

Corn Matters — In this week's Minnesota Corn Growers Association Corn Matters, we learn more about efforts educating youth about corn.

Peterson Seeks an Increase in CRP AcresHouse Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson remains hopeful the farm bill can be done before the current law expires September 30. “We’re off to a good start. If they don’t screw up the food stamps, I don’t see why we can’t get this done. The other thing I’ll have heartburn about if we don’t get it done right is CRP. We’re looking at reforming that. Taking the money we save and increasing acres. There’s lots of demand out there now for CRP that wasn’t there five years ago, because of the prices.” Peterson’s proposal would move the cap on CRP acreage from 24 million acres to 30 million. The bump in acres would be possible by capping CRP payment rates at 80 percent of county rental rates.

Can't Reach an Agreement — Informa Economics Senior Vice President Jim Wiesemeyer says lawmakers have had more than a few weeks to work up a compromise on the Section 199a tax provision. “They’ve certainly had more time than it took to come up with the original Section 199a language. That tells me there are major differences between agricultural co-ops and some independent elevators and large grain companies. I think this is so important, I predict we will have a solution. If the agricultural cooperative lobbyists think it will be detrimental to them, this topic could linger longer than most people think.” Wiesemeyer says lawmakers should have vetted the language with the right people the first time. He is hopeful lawmakers won’t make the mistake again.   

Cramer Launches U.S. Senate CampaignNorth Dakota Representative Kevin Cramer held a rally in Bismarck on Friday. At the event, Cramer announced that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Senator Heidi Heitkamp. Cramer has served three consecutive terms in the House.

Promoting Ethanol WorldwideThe U.S. Grains Council markets corn, wheat, barley and sorghum around the world. In recent years, DDGS and ethanol were added to that list. Chad Willis, who farms at Willmar, Minnesota, is a member of the USGC board of directors. “India, China and Japan are the top export markets for ethanol. Our neighbors are almost the easiest for logistics, Canada and Mexico. Also Brazil; even though they are a big competitor, they use a lot of ethano and, they are a big market.” China has started an investigation into U.S. sorghum imports. This action follows the Trump Administration decision to impose tariffs on Chinese solar panels and washing machines. The trade skirmish will spill likely over and impact the rest of agriculture. “I’ve visited with friends from Texas. They’re going to change up their rotation, adding cotton and corn. We know what the corn market is already like with our surplus. It’s going to have a ripple effect on the farming economy.” The U.S. Grains Council meeting wrapped up this past week in Houston. In addition to the delegate sessions, the meeting included a tour of the ports.

Adjusting to the Cycles in AgricultureIn the last 100 years, there were four major peaks in the grain markets with the high marks separated by 25-to-30 years each. Mike Pearson, who is the former host of Market to Market, addressed this topic at the Northern Corn and Soybean Expo. “Folks in agriculture understand how cyclical we are and the length of time in which those cycles occur. I’ve noticed when I talk to younger groups, the beginning farmers, to them, it is news. We grew up with new trucks in agriculture because it was just like planting money. It’s not going to be that way. Growers have to make the adjustment. It’s a painful one for some of these folks.”

International Crop Expo This Week — The International Crop Expo starts Wednesday in Grand Forks. Show co-manager Lionel Olson says attendees will get industry updates as they prepare for the upcoming growing season. “Dr. Matt Roberts will give a market outlook. Farmers are in-tune with that with the tight margins right now,” says Olson. “On Thursday, we’ll hear from AgCountry Farm Credit Service’s Vice-President of Agribusiness Consulting, Succession and Retirement Planning, Russ Tweiten.” ICE focuses on small grains, soybeans and dry beans and potatoes. Programs in each section will focus on marketing, storage, pest management, policy and promotions. “Each group sits down and kind of goes over the problems we’ve had in the past and how we fix those and look ahead at what the future could hold, how farmers can deal with that.”

La Nina Sticking Around — La Nina is expected to hang around for the rest of the South American growing season. Commodity Weather Group ag meteorologist Dave Streit expects Argentina to stay dry. “We’re definitely not coming out of La Nina for the rest of the growing season. It’s still running strong enough that there will be that negative factor there. The only thing we can hope for is every now and then, there’s a rogue front strong enough to make a dent in this. The background is still drier than normal.” Streit does see a pattern shift for the U.S. “We’re going into a wetter pattern for the U.S. as a whole. We’re going to see more rainfall activity for the soft red wheat areas for the Delta and the Midwest, but it still looks like it manages to bypass the hard-red winter wheat belt. Particularly, from Kansas to portions of western Oklahoma and Texas.”

Canola Minute — Here's the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. This week, associate director Sheri Coleman shares more about the Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives Conference.

Spring Decisions — Plenty of seed decisions are still being made, but in the northern Red River Valley, corn acres are expected to be down from last year. John Martin is with Bayer CropScience. “The trend I’m hearing, it appears we will have more wheat, pressure against corn, soybeans will be holding in there, dry beans may be off a little bit and canola will stay strong.” Martin says canola helps mellow the soil, especially on the more alkaline soils. Martin is seeing more canola added to the rotation in his area.

Monsanto's Dicamba Lawsuit Dismissed — On Friday, an Arkansas state court judge dismissed Monsanto’s lawsuit against the Arkansas State Plant Board. The lawsuit was meant to stop Arkansas from blocking the use of dicamba. Arkansas is banning the use of dicamba from April 16 through October 31. 

Lessons LearnedWe're back with season two. Lessons Learned provides education and the tools to help growers throughout 2018. This week, RRFN visit's with Carl Peterson. You can go back and review this series by listening to the podcast.

Dicamba Trainings Continue — Kulm, North Dakota farmer Josh Gackle sees 2018 as a critical year for dicamba technology. Some farmers will apply dicamba. Others will only grow dicamba beans. Gackle says it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure the technology is being used correctly. “The opportunities to spray by the label and to make sure you’re on label every time you use it is less than what was available with the traditional Roundup. For the most part, if you’re careful to follow the label, just make sure you’re prepared weather-wise.” BASF, DuPont and Monsanto are training applicators ahead of the 2018 growing season. In addition to the dicamba training, BASF Technical Service Representative Ken Diebert said farmers "need to have that commercial applicators or pesticide applicators license that allows them to apply the product."

Check Those Bins — Approaching spring, keeping stored grain in good condition can be challenging. North Dakota State University Extension Agricultural Engineer Ken Hellevang says solar radiation is already producing a lot of heat on the south wall of grain bins. “You start looking at the south wall of a grain bin and because of the low solar angle and positioning, we’re going to see twice as much solar heat on the bin wall than we will in the summer. That’s a spot we need to watch as we’re checking the grain.” Another factor that will allow grain to store into late spring and summer is moisture content. “If we’re thinking of storing in the spring and summer, we really need to be at summer grain storage moistures. For corn, that’s down in the 13-to-14 percent moisture range. With soybeans, we’re down in the 11 percent moisture area. We’ve always been thinking 13-to-13.5. The other thing is to be monitoring it and keeping it as cool as we can.”

Coming Soon — The Red River Farm Network is working on an exciting new project. The details will be released in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, the RRFN App will be temporarily unavailable. Are you looking for ways to stay connceted to RRFN? Listen to RRFN’s broadcasts on your local RRFN affiliate, the RRFN website and subscribe to our daily podcasts (Country Morning, Agriculture Today and Market Analysis) on your iPhone and Android.  

Sombke Focused on Legislative Process — The South Dakota Legislature has picked up the pace of committee hearings ahead of Friday’s crossover day. South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke says the $55 million Precision Agriculture funding bill will be heard in committee on Wednesday. “Ourselves and other ag people and cooperatives in the state are supporting it. They have $14 million raised in private funds. There’s a major buy-in already." Sombke says SDFU has a major concern about a measure which could eliminate voter referendums. “We have legislators who aren’t listening to voters. That’s why this stuff comes about. It’s not because of some grand scheme against the government. It’s the government isn’t doing its job.”

SD Legislative Action Picking Up — The Crossover deadline is approaching in Pierre. Friday is the last day for a bill to pass out of the chamber in which it was introduced and sent to the other chamber. South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation lobbyist Michael Held says one pressing issue for South Dakota agriculture is the precision agriculture building on the South Dakota State University campus. “The ag groups are working with the administration. SDSU is trying to figure out how to replace a couple of 70 year old buildings on SDSU’s campus and help them get adequate facilities for precision agriculture.”

More Funds Requested for RFA — The Minnesota Agriculture Department wants the legislature to fund a $20 million bonding bill for the Rural Finance Authority. The funds would provide low interest loan programs for farmers. Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson says the bulk of the current program is going for beginning farmers. Ten percent of the money is for restructuring. “Our outstanding balance today is $65 million, which represents about 478 active files we’re working on.” Frederickson believes the Legislature appreciates this program. “This is really important for agriculture in Minnesota. We always boast the issues impacting agriculture aren’t partisan. We hope to make that case as we move ahead.” Minnesota’s legislative session starts on Tuesday. 

‘Supporting Farmers in Stressful Times’ Workshops Underway — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has been hosting ‘Supporting Farmers in Stressful Times’ workshops throughout the state. MDA Senior Advisor Meg Moynihan says the workshops are designed for those working with farmers on a regular basis. "So this would be for bankers, farm business management, Extension educators; people who serve farmers. They may see farmers struggling and want to do a better job of knowing how to talk about it and where to find resources." Moynihan reminds them that the Farm and Rural Helpline is available 24 hours, seven days a week. The number is 833-600-2670.

Dry Bean SceneListen to the Dry Bean Scene every Friday at 12:37 PM on the Red River Farm Network. This week, Northern Feed and Bean General Manager Larry Lande reflects on the 2018 Bean Congress.

MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association in the Minnesota Beef Update. This week, we hear from the local Beef Quality Assurance award winners. 

Working Together to Promote Dairy Sustainability — USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy plan to work together to promote environmental sustainability. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Dairy Management Inc. Chairman Paul Rovey signed the new Memorandum of Understanding at a California dairy farm. A similar MOU was signed in 2009. Previous efforts in research and sustainability projects include anaerobic digesters on dairy farms and the development of nutrient recovery technologies.

Inspiring Others Through FFAFormer Wessington Springs South Dakota FFA member Kari Fagerhaug now works in agriculture lending. Her local FFA chapter planted the seed to transition into this career. “I'm able to help farmers with their operations, financials and working through different scenarios for their long-term and helping them achieve their goals. I tie a lot of that back to the opportunities in FFA. I can’t give enough credit to the FFA program. I hope the students involved now are taking advantage of it to the best of their abilities and understand how it will help them long-term.” Fagerhaug says her FFA advisor Craig Shyrock continues to inspire students. Hear her story. RRFN’s National FFA Week coverage is sponsored, in part, by Dow AgroSciences. 

Part of the FFA Family Former National FFA Officer Valerie Earley says National FFA Week is one of the best times of the year. “Being able to help students get excited about the FFA, it’s just a big celebration across the country. Hopefully, it’s helping people in the community and people in schools understand more about the opportunities. I think there are some awesome traditions. FFA is an awesome family and hopefully, FFA week brings more people into the family.” Earley is transitioning to a career in agriculture. She recently joined a training program, leading others at Aldi. “A lot of what we talk about in the FFA, including experiences on officer teams, organizing events and working with people, I’m experiencing every day. I’m so glad I had a chance to be in the FFA and be around different kinds of people and take on challenges with them. I don’t know who I would be or what I would be doing without the experience that prepared me for the real world." As a student, Earley was part of the Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA Chapter in Minnesota. Listen to Earley's story. National FFA Week coverage is sponsored, in part, by Thunder Seed. 

Chapter Visits Underway North Dakota State FFA Secretary Marissa Tuhey says there’s lots going on across North Dakota for National FFA Week. The state officer team is making many chapter visits. “The majority of chapters will participate in agriculture Olympics: teaching others about agriculture. I’ve heard of a few chapters doing farm safety days with elementary students. Also, reading to the elementary and service projects.” The officer team wraps up the week with Career Development Event contests in Beulah and Lisbon. State FFA Parliamentarian Warren Swenson is looking forward to visiting his home chapter-Beulah. “I think it’s a lot different to me now. I know I can have a bigger impact on students, not just in my home chapter, but across the state, ending with the competition in Buelah. It’s fun to see their hard work getting put into competitions. It’s different for me now that I’m not competiting.” RRFN's National FFA Week coverage is sponosored, in part, by Bayer.

National FFA President To Visit Minnesota — The National FFA President Breanna Holbert is visiting Minnesota for National FFA Week. Minnesota FFA Sentinel Maddie Weninger says the team will be visiting all eight regions. “We’re excited to see what each chapter has to offer. We want to show FFA members a national officer really has a great role throughout their year.” Weninger says different FFA chapters do different activities throughout the week. “It’s cool to see each chapter has their own traditions and how they implement those each year and seeing those continue regardless of the ag teacher and students.” RRFN's FFA Week coverage is sponsored, in part, by the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council.

Fellowship and Fun During FFA Week — State FFA Secretary April Hamilton is traveling to Rapid City for chapter visits. “Also, Friday night there’s a Rapid City Rush hockey game. They’re sponsoring FFA members. It’s exciting, because we get to talk with members, but also people who may not know much about the FFA and what we do.” Hamilton says the best part of FFA Week is fellowship and having fun. “You have fun times with members in your chapter, but you’re also there to grow. FFA lets the members choose what they do in their chapters and make it fun for people in their community.”  

Perdue Featured at Commodity Classic — Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will be the keynote speaker at Commodity Classic. Perdue is expected to discuss the farm bill, trade and rural development. Perdue’s speech is scheduled for Wednesday February 27. Commodity Classic will be held that week in Anaheim, California.

It's Time for the Aberdeen Ag Expo — The Aberdeen Ag Expo is coming up Tuesday through Thursday. Dakota Broadcasting general manager Devin Reints is excited about the show. “It will be a great line-up this year. We’ve moved locations to the Best Western-Ramkota. It gives us a little bigger footprint to have outdoor space. In February, people are still interested in equipment. We have different business categories; seed dealers, building folks and precision agriculture. A good variety of something people will find going through the show.” In addition to the trade show, seminars will be held on farm succession planning, the weather outlook and markets. Check out the line up. 

engAGe: a series for women in agribusinessDo you have miles of meeting travels ahead? Listen to the first season of the Red River Farm Network's podcast called engAGe: a series for women in agribusiness

John Deere Forecasts an Uptick in Equipment Sales — Deere and Company is projecting an increase in equipment sales for this fiscal year of nearly 30 percent. Losses were seen in the first quarter, but Deere is projecting full-year net income of $2.8 billion. Agricultural equipment sales in the U.S. and Canada are forecast to increase ten percent.

Syngenta Penalty Criticized — Environmental activist groups are upset with the fine EPA levied against Syngenta. Syngenta reportedly violated pesticide use rules at a seed farm in Hawaii. The Obama Administration proposed a fine of $4.9 million. The new settlement has Syngenta paying a fine of $150,000. The company must also pay $400,000 to train small-scale farmers. Earthjustice and the Center for Biological Diversity claim the penalty is too small and fails to protect farm workers.

Investing in Innovation — The Agtegra Cooperative is donating $500,000 to South Dakota State University for the proposed precision agriculture building project. Agtegra officials said this was an investment in the future of precision agriculture. Agtegra is based in Aberdeen and was launched earlier this month with the unification of Wheat Growers and North Central Farmers Elevator.

Last Week's TriviaCurling is the Olympic sport that uses "rocks" made with polished granite from Scotland. The gold medal for trivia goes to Dennis Inman of Land O'Lakes. Pam Vilchis of Hutchinson High School, Jeff Hamre of Legend Seeds, Laurie Hoffman of Vistacomm and Mike Brinda of Columbia Grain earn runner-up honors. The 'first 20' honors also go to Brian Brandt of Rabo AgriFinance, Wayne Benbo of Fish's Sporting Toys, Randy Knudsvig of First State Bank, Jim Altringer of Midwest Ag Energy, Justin Golden of Western Consolidated Co-op, Mandy Kvale of Farm Credit Services of Mandan, Mike Spieker of The Sugarbeet Grower Magazine, Bob Nielsen of United Farmers Co-op, Kevin Schulz of National Hog Farmer, Nathan Green of Green Farms Association, Mohall farmer Gene Glessing, Brad Hertel of Meridian Seeds, Annette Degnan of CHS, Rene Scheurer of Betaseed and Mary Ann Strombitski of Ardent Mills.

This Week's Trivia — It's National FFA Week! E.M. Tiffany has a significant role in the history of the FFA. Can you name (or recite) Tiffany's impact on the blue and gold? Send your answer to don@rrfn.com. Please include your name and business.