Red River Farm Network News

Learning Life Skills — This is National 4-H Week. Belonging to a 4-H club gave many of us that first taste of leadership and self-confidence. We learned to give a speech. We learned about record keeping and the importance of competition. These life skills may have started during those Cloverbud years, but continue today. During this special week, we salute the 4-H parents, leaders and supporters. This past week, RRFN covered the Oilseed and Grain Trade Summit in Minneapolis, the North Dakota Stockmen's Association All-Breeds Cattle Tour at Steele, and a controlled drainage roundtable discussion in Harwood. RRFN was also following the harvest across the region. Visit RRFN's Facebook page for photos and video from the harvest run.

Agreement Reached on Trans-Pacific Partnership — After dozens of rounds of negotiations and five days of haggling in Atlanta, trade ministers and other top officials from 12 countries have reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). For the US, TPP opens agricultural markets in Japan and Canada, tightens intellectual property rules to benefit drug and technology companies and establishes a tight knit economic bloc to challenge China’s influence in the region. In a last minute deal, Canada and Japan reportedly agreed to increase access to their tightly controlled dairy markets, allowing some US dairy products in, but New Zealand also persuaded the US to accept more of its dairy products. The TPP is expected to face a tough battle in Congress.

Brazilians Getting More Money for SoybeansWhile US soybean prices are down more than ten percent from one year ago, Brazilian farmers are getting 24 percent more for their beans. Brazilian beans are also much more competitive in the export market. The sudden turn is due to the drastic decline in the value of Brazil’s currency, the real, says Marcus Rubin, the head of grains with Brazil’s AgroConsult. "Our currency has devalued about 80 percent in the last year. That makes farm prices, producer prices of soybeans, higher than they were last year." The currency crash also gives Brazilian farmers the lowest breakeven soybean cost; and US soybeans now have the highest breakeven cost. The downside of the weak real is that that cost of production is up, too. "Farmers will need 22 percent more money to plant the next crop," adds Rubin. "That's a big change in terms of cash flow." Rubin says an improved highway and railroad will increase exports from northern Brazilian ports from eight million tons last year, to 12 million tons this year. 

Changes Being Made in Cuba — A University of Florida agricultural economist who has worked with a team of researchers at the University of Havana for 20 years, says changes are evident in Cuba. Bill Messina, Jr. has seen a lot of changes in Cuba, particularly since Raul Castro became president. “I think Raul is starting to realize the economic policies of the past were not going to be sufficient to bring Cuba out of the challenges they had,” he says. “He’s starting to introduce, gradually, some limited entrepreneurial activities. It’s a new day in Cuba. ” Messina told the Oilseed and Grain Trade Summit on Thursday that Brazil has invested in the Cuban port of Mariel and in Cuba’s sugar industry. “The Cubans are interested in reviving the sugar industry, because they’re trying to diversify their energy sector," says Messina. "I think they see prospects in ethanol production.” If the US embargo on Cuba ended today, Messina says Cuba would have to make some changes to attract more US investment, but he does not see Congress ending the embargo on Cuba anytime soon.

Fernandez Talks Past, Present CubaAlina Fernandez, the daughter of Fidel Castro, told a compelling story at the 2015 Oilseed and Grain Trade Summit about growing up during what she called the “endless revolution" in Cuba. Fernandez left Cuba in 1993 and saw changes in her native country when she returned 20 years later. Fernandez told the Summit audience she is just starting to see the Internet and cell phones in Cuba, but there is still more room for improvement. Fernandez said the Cuban economy needs stimulus from foreign investors. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, who will lead a delegation to Cuba later this month, thought Alina’s message was very genuine. “She reflected back on what Cuba used to be, what Cuba needs now and that there’s a willingness to change," Goehring said. "She says maybe things haven’t changed, but there is a strong will to change. I believe that’s in all of our best interests. We have an opportunity to go over there and do business, to help that country transform.”

MN Soybean Update — Here's the latest Minnesota Soybean Update from the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. This week's report highlights the importance of harvesting beans at proper moisture levels.

Dry, Hot Weather Takes a Toll — The soybean harvest is going very quickly. WinField regional agronomist Jason Hanson says this is one of earliest soybean harvests in recent memory. The dry weather has hurt the soybean yields in the Devils Lake, North Dakota region. “Most guys are talking averages of the upper 20s to the lower 30s. We’ve gone over one month with no rain."

Moving From Soybeans to Corn in Western MinnesotaNew Horizons Ag Services grain procurement manager Tom Bovee says the soybean harvest is wrapping up in the Herman and Chokio areas of Minnesota. Yields vary considerably. Regarding corn, Bovee says growers are just starting to open fields. “We have a lot of green snap from high winds and storms that went through. That’s going to affect the yields. The crops all look good from the road, but you never know what you’re going to get until you get into them.”

Done with Beans — J.J. Johnson has wrapped up his soybean harvest in the Oklee, Minnesota area. "We had a pretty decent crop. There were a few pockets that caught some hail, but otherwise, the bean yields were somewhere in the mid-40s." The combine is parked now, but it won’t be long before Johnson will be back into the rest of his row crops. "We have some sunflowers and corn left to be harvested. We had a little bit of frost and that should help with the stalks on the corn."

Good Progress on Soybeans
Rugby, North Dakota area farmer Steve Fritel has been making good progress on the soybeans. “We’re halfway into the soybeans,” says Fritel. “It’s been average to above. They're as good as we could expect. Fritel is expecting the corn crop to be decent, but there hasn’t been any harvest activity on that yet. RRFN's Harvest Hotline is sponsored, in part, by Ag Country Farm Credit Services.

A Long Harvest Run Without a Rain — In central North Dakota, Sheridan County Extension Agent Nicole Wardner says the soybean harvest is going forward without interruption. "Ranchers want rain and farmers don't want rain, but we haven't had a good shot of rain for more than four weeks. That has allowed us to have a good run on the soybean harvest." Moisture levels have been very dry. "Some guys are combining early in the morning to avoid the splitting and cracking." Wardner says the pastures have been grazed hard and could use a rain. The soil profile needs a moisture recharge before freeze up.

Dry Bean Scene — The Dry Bean Scene is on the air, with information about the harvest. This broadcast airs each Friday at 12:37 PM.

Dry Weather Pushes the CropCustom combiner Kent Braathen just finished the soybean harvest near Onida, South Dakota. “It was pretty satisfactory, nothing big. Anywhere from mid-20s to around 40 bushels is where we were at. That’s pretty good for that area.” Braathen says the sunflowers are next. “It’s been a little drier down in this area through August and September, which pushed the flowers along a little,” says Braathen. “There’s not a bad looking field out here.” Harvest Hotline is sponsored, in part, by US Custom Harvesters, Inc.    

Controlled Drainage=Profit for Red River ValleyNorth Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer and Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson co-hosted a roundtable discussion with representatives of agriculture, business and the political world Friday. The focus of the meeting in Harwood was the use of controlled tile drainage. Peterson said a system that better manages the water could actually save the government money. "We're spending a lot of public money on diversions and whatever else; would we get more benefit if that went into tiling," said Peterson. "It would impact the economy. If you get a 25 percent increase in crop yields, that’s going to trickle over to everyone in the Red River Valley.” Cramer said more education has to happen about the benefits of tile drainage. That may include future sessions with groups like Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. "Agriculture and conservation used to be thought of as partners," said Cramer. "Now there has been a little more divide because there has been more activism, but we can bring that back together."  

Warm, Windy Weather Takes Moisture Out of the Flower CropThe sunflower crop was planted early, resulting in an early harvest. "With two weeks with the wind blowing, these darn things are just dry," said Derek Crompton, agronomist, DuPont Pioneer, "I'm talking eight (percent moisture) and some guys have flowers down to five percent." Early yields are in the ton to 2,700 pound range. RRFN's Harvest Hotline is sponsored, in part, by DuPont Pioneer. 

More Sugar, More Tons — At Thompson, North Dakota, Andrew Grotte says his sugarbeet crop looks good. Yields appear to be better than last year. The beets have more sugar and there are more tons. "The sugar is anywhere from 18-to-20 percent and the tons are around 30 and last year, we were around 17 percent and 25 ton at the very most."

Red Potato Harvest Waits for RainTim Myron harvested irrigated yellow potatoes near Thompson, North Dakota last Tuesday. He normally harvests red potatoes right now, but he says it’s been too dry.“It’s an unusual problem to not have any rain in September,” he says. “We usually count a week delay in September, because of rain. Not this year. Now it’s a long delay because there’s no rain.” Myron also harvests sugarbeets and says if it doesn’t rain in the next few weeks, sugarbeet harvest might be done before the potato harvest. Despite the lack of rain, Myron says his potato crop will be average.  

La Nina Worry — As El Nino continues to strengthen, the worry mounts about the possible switch to a La Nina. Corey Cherr, head of agriculture and weather research and forecasts for Thompson Reuters, thinks it’s pretty likely we’ll move into something different than El Nino as we move into late 2016. Cherr says the first concern with La Nina would be the US corn and soybean crops. “In North and South America, we have a lot of heat and dryness,” he says. “When you have some combination of those two, you tend to get pretty extreme. That’s the risk.” Some years when La Nina followed a strong El Nino include the drought years of 2012 and 1988.

Lawmakers Ask White House to Support Ethanol in the RFS — Fourteen US Senators met with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough seeking a final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that supports US ethanol production. The meeting, which took place in Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office, highlighted the benefits of ethanol. The EPA is expected to finalize the RFS targets by the end of November. The lawmakers involved in Thursday’s meeting included Klobuchar, Minnesota Senator Al Franken, South Dakota Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds and North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

Commodity Prices Impacted by El Nino, Crude Oil — If El Nino flips to La Nina, The Hightower Report’s David Hightower thinks vegetable oil could go much higher. “I can’t rule that out if we have a financial market knockdown,” says Hightower. “It’ll take an outside financial influence to make lower lows.” Hightower told the Oilseed and Grain Trade Summit in Minneapolis El Nino could prompt a surge in the price of fish meal, and soybean meal could see a major new demand force as fishmeal prices skyrocket. Hightower also said crude oil is the bellwether of the commodity markets. “We’ve never seen a situation in the world with a modern day El Nino, switching it to La Nina, and that could just explode the soybean oil,” he adds. “That’s your early warning indicator.” 

Low Prices Likely to Last — The low price environment we’re in is likely to last through 2017. Informa Economics CEO Tom Scott says the Northern Hemisphere’s crop is known. Brazil will plant more soybeans this fall, no one is talking about less acres here in the Northern Hemisphere next year and he can’t make a case for any reduction in the Southern Hemisphere next fall. Scott says the only cure for these low prices is a major crop problem. Informa projects this year’s season-average corn futures price at $3.95 and with more corn next year, that price could drop to $3.65. USDA’s cut in wheat production is significant, but Scott says there’s still too much wheat in the world and the US is not competitive. Scott says, since 2008/2009, the world has added the equivalent of an entire US wheat crop. 

No Big Surprises — Wednesday’s USDA Quarterly Stocks report numbers were within trade expectations with wheat coming in at 2.09 billion bushels, corn at 1.7 billion bushels and soybeans at 191 million bushels. Wheat production totaled 2.05 billion bushels, up 1 percent from a year ago. Spring wheat production came in at 599 million bushels, down 26 million from trade expectations.

Soybean Yield Estimates Increase, Corn Yield Estimates Decrease — Informa Economics raised its soybean yield estimate two-tenths of a bushel from last month and cut its corn yield by four-tenths of a bushel. The 47.2 bushel bean yield and the 168.4 bushel per acre corn yield are both above USDA’s September estimates. Informa indicated that it expects USDA to cut corn harvested acres 570,000 and reduce soybean harvested acres by 1.34 million. Informa forecasts the US corn crop at 13.6 billion bushels, down about 130 million from last month. The soybean crop forecast is almost 3.9 billion bushels, down 44 million from September.

StatsCan Crop Production Estimates Released — Statistics Canada forecast its all-wheat production at 26.1million tons, up from 24.6 million in August, but down 15 percent from a year ago. Canola was estimated 14.3 million tons, up from the August estimate of 13.3 million. The canola total is down 12 percent from a year ago.

CR Passes — Congress approved a short-term spending bill keeping the government running through Dec. 11, avoiding a government shutdown with little time to spare. The House voted 277-151 in favor of the bill, which passed the Senate Wednesday in a 78-20 vote. Washington lobbyist Mark Rokala, with Rokala Public Affairs, says the speculation has already begun about the December 11th deadline. “There is a lot of speculation that the planned parenthood issue and other topics will cause a lot of problems,” he says. Following House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to give up his seat, Rokala thinks the TEA party feels emboldened, and their next target will be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Rokala thinks that will slow down the entire process and it could impact agriculture.

Government Shutdown Anticipated in December — It went right down to the wire, but the government avoided a shutdown by passing a continuing resolution (CR). The CR funds the government through December 11. Lobbyist David Crow, who leads DC Legislative and Regulatory Services, expects a bigger confrontation between Congress and the Administration when this CR expires. "It is hard to predict these things accurately, but I will go out on a limb and say I really feel we will face a shutdown at that point." When Congress eventually passes an omnibus spending bill, Crow expects an amendment to be included stripping EPA’s authority to enforce the Waters of the United States. "That will buy some time, but ultimately, I don't think there is a legislative solution, because what gets to the president will get vetoed and the legal chaos is unpredictable." A North Dakota court delayed implementation of the controversial rule in 13 states, including North Dakota and South Dakota. Other lawsuits are also in play. Crow says the Obama Administration wants all of these cases consolidated. Ultimately, this issue could return to the Supreme Court.

Another Component for Farm Program Payments Released — The National Agricultural Statistics Service has released the final corn and soybean prices for 2014/2015 marketing year. Corn is at $3.70 and soybeans are at $10.10. North Dakota Farm Service Agency farm program director Dale Ihry says these prices are one component to determine if farmers qualify for payments under the ARC or PLC programs. USDA must release county yields to move forward. "It looks like corn will trigger in a lot of counties under the ARC-County program and will only trigger for soybeans in a few counties," said Ihry. "We have a couple other crops that look like they may trigger in some counties in the state, but we'll be a lot smarter once Washington, DC releases those final yields in the next few weeks."

Obama Signs Off on Agriculture Reauthorization Bill — As expected, President Barack Obama has signed the Agriculture Reauthorization Act. This renews mandatory price reporting and the US Grain Standards Act. The livestock reporting provision requires meat packers to report to USDA the prices paid for cattle, hogs and lambs. The grain standards language is necessary to continue USDA grain inspections.

Tri-State Small Grain Production Updated — Recapping the USDA crop report, 2015 spring wheat production in North Dakota is estimated at 319 million bushels. That’s up nine percent from last year. At 48 bushels per acre, North Dakota set a new record high yield. North Dakota durum wheat production was up 50 percent from 2014. Barley production is up 87 percent from last year. Minnesota spring wheat production at nearly 86 million bushels is up 32 percent. Minnesota spring wheat averaged 60 bushels per acre. That’s up five bushels from last year and is a new record. Barley production nearly tripled the level seen last year. Barley yields also reached a new high in Minnesota, averaging 77 bushels per acre. In South Dakota, spring wheat declined 16 percent, dropping to 60.5 million bushels. South Dakota durum production went up 37 percent and oat production increased 36 percent.

Public Comments Requested on APHIS Plan — After the recent detection of biotech wheat outside of permitted fields, public comments are requested on a new plan to strengthen oversight. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) plan calls for better post-harvest monitoring to detect volunteer plants before they can become established or spread. No varieties of biotech wheat have been deregulated, but under the restrictions proposed by APHIS, companies who want to test a new variety of biotech wheat would first have to obtain a permit from APHIS before planting. Public comments are being accepted until October 26, 2015.

Biodiesel Benefits — California’s new Low Carbon Fuel Standard recognized biodiesel as the best carbon score in all liquid fuels. According to the National Biodiesel Board Director of sustainability, Don Scott, a comprehensive lifecycle analysis was completed as part of California’s revised standard. The analysis evaluated the environmental impacts of biodiesel from feedstock to fuel. “The new carbon intensity scores embedded in the readopted low carbon fuel standard reaffirm the US EPA’s national assessment of biodiesel from diverse feedstocks. Biodiesel reduces emissions between 50 and 80 and as much as 85 percent relative to conventional fuel.” Scott says estimated market projections for biodiesel could be modest in California. However, there is room to grow the program. 

ND Soybean Minute — Hear the latest North Dakota Soybean Minute from the North Dakota Soybean Council and the soybean checkoff. Find out more about the work of the North Dakota Soybean Checkoff.

GMO Labeling Challenge — An Organic-Non-GMO Forum in Minneapolis last week examined how to supply the 10 to 12 percent annual growth in demand.  Washington ag lobbyist, and Minnesota native, Mark Rokala, said part of that issue is labeling. “There’s a strong feeling among the younger generation, they don’t want to eat non-GMO products,” says Rokala. "Right now, 25 of the 50 states have had initiatives or legislation introduced related to banning local labeling or allowing it to happen. If you’re a grocery manufacturer, you can’t have 50 different labels." The House has passed a bill establishing federal labeling standards, eliminating state’s rights to mandate labeling. In the Senate, North Dakota’s John Hoeven is still looking for a Democrat to cosponsor his bill.

MN Farm Bureau Minute — Here's the latest from the Minnesota Farm Bureau. In this report, MFBF recaps the issues discussed at recent county meetings.

Activist Lawsuit Over Farm Info Dismissed — A US District Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit initiated by animal rights and environmental activists against EPA. The Natural Resources Defense Council, Waterkeeper Alliance, the Humane Society of the United States and the Sierra Club sued EPA over its withdrawal of a proposed Clean Water Act rule that would have required livestock and poultry farms to release personal information. National Pork Producers Council President Ron Prestage applauded the court decision.

EPA Updates Revised Worker Protection Standard — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says children under 18 years old are not allowed to handle pesticides, farm employees will be trained on safe pesticide application and no-entry signs must be used when applying hazardous pesticides. These rules are all part of the revised worker protection standard. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy says all states will be doing inspections and will be responsible for enforcement.

Vilsack: Embrace Innovation — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed the International Association of Ag Production Insurers this past week in Kansas City. Vilsack said agriculture needs to be more productive to meet global food demand. "In order to feed an ever-increasing world population at the rate we're seeing population increases, it will take about a 70 percent increase in agricultural productivity in the next 30-to-40 years," said Vilsack. "To put that in context, that represents as much technology and advancement as we've seen in past 10,000 years in agriculture." Vilsack said that means innovation must be embraced and communicated to the non-farming public.

Possible PEDv Source Identified — An investigation by USDA found a possible source for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and similar diseases in the United States. The most likely cause is contaminated bulk containers. These 1,000-to-3,000 pound reusable containers are used to transport things like animal feed or soybeans. USDA said it could not prove that PEDv entered the country this way, but it was a likely scenario.

MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association in their weekly MN Beef Update. In this report, you'll learn about new promotion efforts.

Rabobank Offers Beef Price Outlook — According to a quarterly beef report from the Rabobank Food and Agribusiness Research and Advisory Group, US fed cattle prices are expected to see price strength in the fourth quarter. However, the current price situation may limit the upside. Rabobank says the strong US dollar has resulted in a reduction in beef exports. The devaluation of Brazil’s currency is expected to support Brazilian beef exports in the fourth quarter.

Cover Crops are a Growing TrendCover crops are a growing trend for ranchers near Bismarck. Darrell Oswald works with the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District. Oswald says cover crops can help improve soil health and extend the grazing season. Justin Deckert, a rancher near Arena, North Dakota planted cover crops on his farm in July as part of a rotational grazing system. The mix of crops Deckert planted includes sunflowers, purple-top turnips, millets, cow peas, soybeans and sweet clover. He plans to graze cattle on it during the winter. “The cows really do well on it. It really enhances the soil,” he says. “Next year, we’ll go with corn on there and we can reduce our fertility rates on everything and hopefully be more profitable on everything.”

North Dakota Seeks Dairies — North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring was in Madison, Wisconsin at World Dairy Expo last week. Goehring promoted the benefits of locating dairy operations in North Dakota. “Farmers are interested in North Dakota,” said Goehring. “They see us as a prime area where we can provide biosecurity. We have the feedstocks and we have the environment to really move things forward.” The North Dakota Legislature passed a law to relax the state’s anti-corporate farming law for dairies, but that has been referred to North Dakota voters. Goehring says that hasn’t changed the interest in the benefits the state has to offer. “Farmers are still calling and saying we want an opportunity to invest or support a facility in our backyard."

FSA Reminds Dairy Farmers About MPP Enrollment — Dairy farmers are being reminded to make their annual election for the Margin Protection Program (MPP). Minnesota Farm Service Agency chief program specialist Michelle Page says about two-thirds of the state dairy farmers still need to get that job done. “Producers who previously registered in MPP dairy are obligated to pay the $100 administrative fee annually and in this case, for 2016, by November 20 to ensure they have coverage.” In addition, those signing up will also receive an update in their production history.

What Goes Up Must Come Down — The butter market has been making crazy swings up and down. When McDonald’s announced it would switching from margarine to butter at its US restaurants, the butter market surged. This past week, the butter market plunged dropping about 65 cents over three days. "Now is the time to find a level that makes sense to be at relative to supply and demand," said AgDairy President Robin Schmahl. For Class III milk futures, Schmahl expects prices to chop sideways and slowly erode going into the end of the year.

Pheasant PlanIn a recent news conference on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ 10-point pheasant plan, Governor Mark Dayton presented some negative comments toward Minnesota farming practices and gave the perception that the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation supports the pheasant plan. President Kevin Paap says Farm Bureau has not taken a position. “We have not taken a position, because there’s really no avenue to take a position,” says Paap. “We had a spot at the table on the steering committee; we let our members' thoughts be known, but there was no formal vote. We certainly do not support the entire plan. We have some concerns with permanent easement.” MFBF also expressed concerns about the process used in the early promotion of the pheasant plan and over the nature of comments made about agriculture during the press conference.

Corn Matters — Hear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association's Corn Matters program. In this report, you'll hear a special event that took place this past weekend at the Minnesota Arboretum.

Zinc Deficiencies Seen in Red River Valley — According analysis of soil and tissue samples, zinc and boron deficiencies are widespread in the Red River Valley. Compass Minerals territory sales manager Kevin Boehm encourages growers to learn more about micronutrients. "I think it is important to work with your agronomist, give him your tissue or soil samples and set up a nutrient management plan based on what you need in the field." Margins may be tight, but Boehm says micronutrients must be part of the crop nutrient plan. "Cutting corners isn't going to help them get more yield."

FAA Misses Drone Deadline — The Federal Aviation Administration missed a September 30 deadline for legalizing unmanned aerial systems. In 2012, Congress established that deadline, telling the agency to come up with a plan for safe integration of drones. The FAA is still working on the proposed rules. FAA has approved flights on a case-by-case basis, but has not made a decision for the widespread use of the technology.   

October is Co-op MonthOctober Co-op Month is an opportunity for cooperatives to celebrate their business values. Cooperatives are owned by the people who use their services. In addition, cooperatives focus on developing and giving back to their communities. The first offical Co-op Month celebration was in 1964. The North Dakota Farmers Union recognizes the power of cooperatives during this special month.

AURI Update — Hear the latest from Minnesota's Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. AURI has an update on a Minnesota snack success story.

Bye Bye BirdieAs the temperatures drop, the blackbirds will start migrating and causing problems for sunflower growers. USDA Wildlife Services has personnel that can help North Dakota producers that have blackbird problems. They’ll respond to farmers during the damage season by providing loaner cannons and pyrotechnics. These offices will also provide further assistance in an attempt to break up large roosts. More information is available on the National Sunflower Association’s website,

Mosaic Agrees to $800 Million Settlement — The Mosaic Company has reached an agreement with the EPA, settling claims over fertilizer waste management and recovery. With this agreement, Mosaic will pay an $8 million fine and $170 million for new waste management systems at facilities in Louisiana and Florida. An additional $630 million will be held in reserve to cover additional costs. This settlement still needs court approval.

Tractor Supply Company Settles with EPA — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has settled with Tractor Supply Company for alleged violations of emission standards under the Clean Air Act. EPA says TSC imported and sold more than 28,000 all-terrain vehicles that did not comply with the federal regs. A $1 million civil penalty will be paid to EPA.

Toepfer Settles with CFTC Over Inaccurate Reporting — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is taking action against Alfred C. Toepfer International, which is owned by ADM. Toepfer is accused of submitting inaccurate reports about its physical grain positions that were hedged in the futures market. The time period in question is from 2010 to 2013.  Toepfer is being forced to pay a $400,000 settlement.

Wheat Breeding Development at Syngenta — Syngenta is continuing the transition of its wheat breeding to the development of hybrid varieties. With this plan, Northern Seed will acquire Syngenta's triticale program, including the Vernon, Texas site. With this transaction, Syngenta will concentrate its resources on its work to commercialize hybrid wheat. Syngenta's North American cereal seed carries the AgriPro brand.

New Fertilizer Facility Opens in BuxtonReynolds United Co-op held an open house at its new 24,000-ton fertilizer facility in Buxton, North Dakota last week. Manager Paul Coppin says this expansion has made the co-op a lot more efficient. “One of our goals when we built this was to have enough on the ground for a season,” says Coppin. “This allows us to do that." Coppin says it has been a good soybean harvest. “Had we received a rain a few weeks ago, it would have been a bumper crop, but 35 to 40 (bushels-per-acre) is going to catch all the beans. That’s not bad.”

SD, IA, NE Co-ops Form Consolidated Ag Solutions — Aberdeen, South Dakota-based Wheat Growers and co-ops in Iowa and Nebraska have developed Consolidated Ag Solutions to bring new opportunities to the three cooperatives and their member-owners. Wheat Growers CEO Dale Locken says the three co-ops know each other well. “We formed a venture about five years ago to source relevant fertilizer information directly from the larger fertilizer manufacturers and to source fertilizer supplies for each of us," he says. "Each year, we would get together and review how that was operating and somebody would come up with another idea to collaborate on together. We finally said we’d get together and hire someone to address these opportunities.” Locken says the collaboration may lead to improved internal efficiencies on issues like insurance.

Hormel Employees Reject Contract Proposal — Union workers at the Hormel Foods plant in Austin, Minnesota, have rejected a proposed three-year contract. Hormel released a statement, saying negotiations will continue.

Choice Genetics China Launched — Iowa-based Choice Genetics has launched a new subsidiary in China. Choice Genetics China will operate a research and development center, consisting of a 1,500 sow farm with pure line breeding stock. In addition, Choice Genetics breeding stock will be sold in China. This is the first foreign pig genetics company to establish an R & D center in China.

Rebranding — The North American Equipment Dealers Association has rebranded its organization. Effective immediately, the group will be known as the Equipment Dealers Association. The new name is designed to draw attention to the renewed focus of the organization.

An Emmy for Harvest Film — 'The Great American Wheat Harvest' has received a regional Emmy award as best cultural documentary. This film is the story of the US harvest, from Texas to the Northern Plains. Film maker Conrad Weaver of ConjoStudios produced the film.

University of Minnesota Wins WDE Contest — The University of Minnesota has won the dairy cattle judging contest at World Dairy Expo, topping the next closest team by more than 50 points. Minnesota also had the top two individual judges in the competition.

Canola Minute — Here's the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. Don't miss the special events coming up for the canola industry.

Assistant Commissioner Cruz is on the Job — Santo Cruz has been named an assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). Cruz will oversee the ag marketing and development division and the plant protection division. For the past two years, Cruz has served as the MDA legislative director. Andrea Vaubel has been named the legislative director. Vaubel has been on the commissioner’s staff for two years. Previously, Vaubel worked for Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz.

NPPC Promotes Boelling — Craig Boelling has been named vice president of resource development for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Boelling has been on the NPPC staff for almost 12 years; most recently, serving as the director of industry resource management.

CropLife America Caps Year With Awards — The CropLife America Lifetime Achievement Award went to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. The Chairman’s Award, recognizing CropLife America staff, went to senior vice president and general counsel Rachel Lattimore and senior director of government relations Kellie Bray.

Prime Promoters — The South Dakota Beef Industry Council has awarded its Prime Promoters for 2015. Hugh Ingalls of Faith was named the Prime Promote Individual. Ingalls operates a large Angus herd. Sparkey's Bar and Grill of Isabel was named the Prime Promote Business for its work promoting beef. Dr. Charles Willis of Watertown was honored as the Distinguished Service Award recipient. During his career as a veterinarian, Willis developed a technology for spaying heifers.

SDBIC Elects Officer Team — The owner of Kimball Livestock Auction, Wayne Tupper, has been elected president of the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC). Eric Sumption of Frederick is vice president. South Shore rancher Laurie Johnson will serve as treasurer. Scott Jones of Midland and Becky Walth of Glenham were elected to serve as directors for the Federation of Beef Councils. The SDBIC board has approved a $3.5 million budget for the new fiscal year.

Smit Accepts SDFB Leadership Role — The South Dakota Farm Bureau has a new executive director. Krystil Smit will begin her new duties October 12. Smit is currently a public relations director for a Sioux Falls-based advertising and public relations agency, Paulsen. Previously, Smit was the communications director for South Dakota Corn and the editor of the Tri-State Neighbor.

Last Week's Trivia — AAA is the organization that rates hotels/motels from one diamond for modest to five diamonds for world-class. Gary Sloan of BMO Harris Bank was the first in with the correct answer. Thanks, Gary. Brad Hertel of Meridian Seeds, Kristal Rick of SES VanderHave USA, Dennis Sabel of Minnesota Farm Bureau, and Pam Vilchis of Hutchinson High School earn runner-up honors. The 'first 20' includes Rene Scheurer of Betaseed, Randy Knudsvig of First State Bank, Kathy Noll of Noll's Dairy Farm, Jim Altringer of Columbia Grain, Bruce Herz of Bader Rutter, Jim Linn of United Farmers Co-op, Kevin Schulz of National Hog Farmer, Gail Holcomb of Charleston Orwig, David Fraser of US Potato Board, Kevin Stiles of Midwest Dairy Association, John Shutske of UW-Madison, Bruce Miller of Minnesota Farmers Union, Twyla Wulf of Clear Springs Cattle Company, NDSU Extension dairy specialist JW Schroeder and Dianne Bettin of LB Pork.

This Week's Trivia — "I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service." The next line of the 4-H pledge is "my health to _______ ________."  Can you finish that line in the pledge? E-mail your answer to Please include your name and business.