Red River Farm Network News


Peterson: Farm Bill Timeline — After the tax bill, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson expects congressional leaders to look for a bill that can draw bipartisan support. In Peterson’s words, the farm bill would be the perfect legislation to tee-up next. “I had a meeting with the Chairman (Conaway). We agreed that we’re going to start marking this up in committee at the end of January or the first part of February. We need to move this sooner-rather-than-later.”  In an interview with the Red River Farm Network, Peterson said House Agriculture Committee members and staff members have offered input on the farm bill. "We've seen some of the language, but not all of it. My expectation is that we'll have a starting draft document that will be supported by myself the the Chairman. We'll go through regular order; people will be able to offer amendments and the public will be able to weigh in. That's the way things should be done and that's how they should have done the tax bill." After the farm bill moves through the Agriculture Committee, Peterson believes it hit the House floor in February or March. The Senate is moving at a slower pace. Peterson said there are Senate Democrats who want to drag their feet with hopes they will have the majority in 2019. Peterson described that as “a really bad idea.”

Conaway Confident Farm Bill Will Move in 1Q — A spokesperson for House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway was unable to confirm the timing for mark-up of the farm bill, but said it will move in the first quarter. The statement said “the committee stands to be ready when the (Majority) Leader provides floor time.”

Not Enough Money Available for New Farm Bill Spending — Informa Economics Group senior vice president Jim Wiesemeyer still believes the new farm bill will be completed in 2018. However, without new money, it will be tough sledding. “There’s just not enough money to go around. There will be changes in the dairy safety net to make it more effective. Cotton needs to come back into the fold of Title One. Then, you need significant changes to ARC program. Some of those changes could be costly.” Wiesemeyer spoke at the Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative annual meeting. Sugar policy will face attacks again during the farm bill debate, but the Capitol Hill veteran says the industry will be prepared.  

Funding ChallengeA new farm bill is on the wish list for 2018, but that can be complicated by some of the actions being taken this fall in Congress. CHS Washington representative Sarah Gallo says is all comes down to money. “There’s been lots of concern about the cost of the tax bill and overall budget impact and what that means for writing a farm bill. We’re waiting to see what Congress decides to do with funding the government, how that overlaps with some of the tax discussion going on with some of the tax extenders and then, we’ll be able to evaluate its impact on the farm bill.” The farm community supports the investment in infrastructure, like roads and bridges. Gallo says an infrastructure package is expected to get attention within the next year. Funding will also be an issue for that legislation. “It’s a lesson we’ve been watching through the tax reform debate. When you start paying for things, it gets tricky. We don’t know what sources they’ll look to in providing pay-fors in an infrastructure package.” 2018 is also an election year, which will also have a significant influence on what moves through Congress next year.

Investing in Research — When it comes to farm bill budget discussions, National Pork Producers Council chief veterinarian Liz Wagstrom says research needs to be a priority. "For every dollar of ag research invested, $20 is returned to the economy," says Wagstrom. "One of the big concerns is new facilities coming online. Money has to be appropriated to operate them. It's about ten percent of the cost each year of building the facility to do so." With a focus on research funding, Wagstrom says dollars need to be invested in facilities and maintenance. "Without out one, the other isn’t possible."

Finding a Compromise on Section 199The Section 199 provision, known to many as the Domestic Production Activities Deduction, will likely not be included in the final tax reform agreement. National Council of Farmer Cooperatives President and CEO Chuck Conner says he’s working with the conference committee to find a compromise for co-ops. “Not that agriculture is that big of a number, but when you add in other industries, it was a very sizeable pay-for. The leadership of the House and Senate Ways and Means Committee don’t want to lose the pay-for. We have to look at alternatives for the Section 199. Hopefully, it will be something comparable and replicates that benefit. We don’t want to discourage investment in Rural America.” The outcome remains uncertain. “I think there’s still a chance. We will know the answer on this soon.”

Sugarbeet Growers Focus on Policy — The Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association met this past week. Dan Younggren, who was reelected to another term as RRVSGA president, said the Section 199 provision was a focus of policy discussions. “That’s a huge loss for all cooperative members up and down the Red River Valley. It’s going to reflect in higher taxes for me. We are still working hard. The House and Senate still have to come to terms on this tax reform. We will be working on something to get back to shareholders.” Younggren says the upcoming farm bill is also top-of-mind. Sugarbeet growers want to keep what they have for the sugar program. “It’s a bill that works. It works for us. We have to keep crop insurance in there as it stands. We can’t lose any of that if we want to keep young farmers coming back to the industry.”

Preserving the Tax Deduction — American Crystal Sugar Company vice-president of government affairs Kevin Price says the cooperative is looking at ways to preserve a tax deduction for stakeholders-similar for Section 199. “It’s unclear. The process is moving very fast. The issues at hand are very complicated.” Price says lawmakers want the tax bill done by Christmas. "Whatever timeframe they’re on, we’re on. It’s up to them how quickly this moves and we’re just going to make sure they understand the impact of the loss of Section 199 and what that means for growers.”

Concern for Section 199 — Section 199, an incentive for cooperatives, is not included in the House or Senate tax reform bills. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says there are people looking for solutions to capture some benefit for cooperative members. “That issue hasn’t yet been resolved. There is at least an effort to try and resolve it. The argument now the leadership is using against going back to the way the law was is this will just be another tax benefit for the rich farmers in the country and they don’t want to face that.” Johnson, who spoke at the American Crystal Sugar Company annual meeting, said says there is plenty of uncertainty in Washington D.C., but the sugar industry is well represented addressing tough issues.

Farm Organization Outline WTO Priorities — In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, 13 U.S. farm organizations urged the United States to defend the interests of U.S. agriculture. This comes as Lighthizer prepares for the upcoming World Trade Organization ministerial in Buenos Aires. The letter addresses concerns surrounding public stockholding and domestic support for agriculture, while stressing the importance of an effective dispute settlement mechanism.

NAFTA is Good for Dairy Farmers — Agriculture is concerned about the NAFTA negotiations. “I think many of us in the ag sector are starting to worry the administration is focused on things we make and exporting that, as opposed to things we produce," said Jackie Klippenstein, senior vice president of industry and legislative affairs, Dairy Farmers of America. "We’re making sure we’re not lost in the shovel.” While there have trade issues with Canada over its dairy policy Klippenstein says NAFTA has still been very good for dairy. “This is definitely a situation where we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. NAFTA partners are critical to U.S. dairy. While we do have challenges with Canada’s dairy policy overall, the partnership has been good for U.S. dairy.”

Mexican Buyers Preparing for a Post-NAFTA World — Many in agriculture talking about the threat of withdrawal of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Citing a recent U.S. Grains Council trip to Mexico, CEO Tom Sleight voiced concern about NAFTA. “Telling comments came from our past chairman (Chip Councell) who has been there before a few times already this year. He heard similar comments on uncertainty on the next negotiations and there’s concern. He says there was more acceptance maybe something was going to happen. Buyers were starting to crystalize their plans and some acting on the plans to buy from alternative sources. That’s a change in attitude a little.” Sleight thinks plan B means getting busy with other trade agreements across other parts of the world, but it’s a little early to speculate. 

ITC Takes Action on Subsidized Biodiesel Imports — The International Trade Commission has approved import duties on biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia. North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp welcomed the move, saying this decision is an indication the U.S. “won’t tolerate unfair trade practices.”  

Additional Drought Assistance Proposed — North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp has introduced legislation to expand the assistance for farmers and ranchers impacted by the drought. This bill would permanently remove the funding cap for the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program. That program is currently capped at $20 million, but the demand has been nearly $40 million and is expected to grow. The bill would also temporarily raise relief through the Emergency Conservation Program. In addition, to farmers and ranchers, this bill also supports beekeepers.

SD Lawmakers Urged to Fill Budget Shortfall — During the annual budget address, South Dakota Governor Daugaard asked lawmakers to address a $34 million shortfall for the current fiscal year. As it relates to agriculture, Daugaard said the drought and low commodity prices will likely result in a fourth year of declining farm income. Daugaard said the most direct economic impact from agriculture is on sales tax receipts on farm machinery. "In South Dakota, sales and use tax does apply to farm machinery. From 2007 and later, tax incentives and strong farm income fueled strong machinery purchases. During that time, sales taxes grew from $17.4 million in FY08 to nearly $45 million in FY14." However, with fewer farm machinery purchases today, that has resulted in less sales taxes.

Minnesota Budget Forecast Released — Minnesota Management and Budget has released the 2017 November Budget and Economic Forecast. For the current biennium, projections show a deficit of $188 million, with a negative balance of $588 million projected for the 2020-21 biennium. MMB Commissioner Myron Frans blames the deficit on the U.S. economy and legislation ennacted during the 2017 session. "This forcast is more a mist than a downpour. However, a federal policy change or a new law passed by Congress that negatively impacts our budget could become a rainy day," said Frans. In response to the budget projections, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said he "is committed to correcting the deficit during the next legislative session."

Making Healthcare Affordable for Farmers — Health insurance is one of farming’s most costly expenses.  “This is a really bad situation," said State Representative Dan Fabian of Roseau, Minnesota. "All of the stuff; the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare and so-forth, it’s just created havoc in the individual market. It’s a very tough situation.” Fabian says there is only so much that can be done at the state level. “We’ve tried to do things in the legislature to make it easier for small business owners and farmers to form a group. The 40 Square organization is working to help people out that way. We’re trying to do some things, but I don’t have a lot of faith in being able to do that until we make a major reform in Washington D.C. and get back to a free market type system.”

Progress Seen on Regulatory BurdenIn a speech at the American Crystal Sugar Company annual meeting, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said regulations are still impacting agriculture, but the industry is making progress in overcoming this burden. Burgum referenced EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s visit to North Dakota this summer. In addition, Burgum welcomed the Trump Administration's decision to rescind the Waters of the U.S. rule, EPA’s extension on the use of Lorsban and North Dakota’s new dicamba guidelines.

Removing Pre-Notification Dicamba Restriction — The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is dropping its plan to require applicators to notify the state before applying dicamba products. By removing the restriction, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says it’s one less thing for applicators to think about in the field. “Staying attentive on how you mix and are applying these products are going to be more beneficial. We want people to stay on track with that. That being said, if being down the road next year we have more problems or things don’t get better, it’s not necessarily off the table. We may have to put in place prior notification in the future."

NDFB Discuss Dicamba Guidelines with Goehring — The North Dakota Agriculture Department has dropped the notification requirement within its new dicamba regulations. North Dakota Farm Bureau met with Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring earlier this week. NDFB President Daryl Lies said the conversation centered on the pre-notification rule. “The pre-notification is a big burden on producers and his office, trying to field all of those calls and the responses and pre-notifications. I think that’s a good change he decided to make. That doesn’t remove the responsibility from us in agriculture keeping good records and proper label use.” Lies says regulations often go too far, but recordkeeping is important.  

Lessons LearnedWith the new dicamba technology, RRFN hosted a special radio series late this summer. Lessons Learned is produced by the Red River Farm Network to provide education and the tools to help growers prepare for 2018. You can go back and review this series. Listen to the podcast. Thanks to BASF and Peterson Farms Seed for sponsoring this initiative. 

Don't Make MN an Island of Regulation — The Minnesota Crop Production Retailers Trade Show and Crop Pest Management Short Course will be held Tuesday and Wednesday in Minneapolis. MCPR Executive Director Bill Bond is looking forward to the dicamba seminars. “Some of chemical companies and University of Minnesota Extension will provide an update on the recent developments. We’ll get the latest information on dicamba. Minnesota is looking at a label compared with the EPA label. We have asked the (Minnesota Agriculture) Department to not make Minnesota an island of regulation.” On Wednesday, there will be updates on the federal dicamba label from Wolf Consulting and Research owner Bob Wolf and University of Missouri plant science professor Kevin Bradley.

Dry Bean Scene — The Dry Bean Scene airs Fridays at 12:37 PM on the Red River Farm Network. This week, NDSU Extension Plant Pathologist Sam Markell discusses cyst nematode in dry edible beans.

Corn Performs Well Despite Difficult Conditions — Zaner Ag Hedge Group chief ag marketing strategist Ted Seifried says farmers have learned a lot about corn this year. It wasn't a perfect growing season, but USDA is forecasting a record national average corn yield. "We’ve learned corn can do well in adverse conditions. We also learned NASS crop condition ratings need to be taken with a grain of salt.” Seifried believes it will be difficult to build a weather premium into the market moving forward.

StatsCan Report Released — Wednesday's Statistics Canada report offered a few surprises. All-wheat production was just shy of 30 million tons, which is down from 31.7 million tons last year, but higher than the trade was expecting to see at 28 million tons. “In that breakdown, we had durum at 4.9 million tons, just shy of five million tons. A big drop from last year. Spring wheat was up and not really a huge surprise," said Intellli Farm market analyst Brian Voth. Canola production is estimated at 21.3 million tons. “Last year’s crop was already a record and this is higher than the trade expected. We had big canola yields in many parts of Canada. The flip side is there were many poor canola yields in a lot of the southern areas of Saskatchewan and Alberta where it was too hot and dry. There will be debate on this for sure on how big of an area had good yields and the area which had poor yields.”

More Spring Wheat Acres Expected — South Dakota Wheat Commission executive director Reid Christopherson is hearing a lot of interest in the 2018 acreage mix. "We probably won’t see an increase in planted winter wheat acreage this year. People that have winter wheat as part of a rotational plan, they’re sticking with the plan and moving ahead. We may see an uptick on spring wheat planting.”    

Corn Matters — In this week's Minnesota Corn Growers Association Corn Matters program, we learn more about a soil health partnership and cover crops.

Reaching a Fair Rental Agreement — A series of land rental meetings are being held across Minnesota this month. University of Minnesota Extension Educator Nathan Hulinsky led the session held in Crookston. Hulinsky says farmland rental rates increased during the early part of the last half-decade. However, rentral rates have dropped in the last couple years. "We all wish we could see the same commodity prices as five years ago. During that time, people were willing to pay a little more for farmland. As commodity prices started to decrease, farmland has kind of come down with it." How do renters and landowners work toward a fair rental agreement in a tight farm economy? Hulinsky would like to see both parties happy. "A flexible lease option incorporates market prices and expected yields into the land rent. Other factors such as land history can be taken into consideration as well. Some long-term agreements might help reach a rate both parties are happy with."

Upward Pressure for Fertilizer Market — There hasn’t been extreme volatility in the fertilizer market, but there has been upward pressure, particularly for nitrogen. CHS Senior Vice President of Agronomy Gary Halvorson encourages farmers to monitor those price trends. “We still think we’ll see pre-pays challenged, because of sources of capital on the farm. At the end of the day, the market should provide a profit opportunity. Fertilizer is at 14-to-15 year lows. If farmers are forward marketing and managing basis correctly, we think there’s a way for them to come out of this okay. It certainly isn’t the joy we’ve experienced the last eight-to-ten years of this industry, but now we’re in a supply push. That transition is problematic not just for farmers, but the entire supply chain-the value chain is challenged.” Consolidation is the industry buzz. Farms are getting bigger, but, Halvorson says that’s not a surprise. “Consider that the average age for the U.S. farmer is almost 59 years old; people will be exiting the industry. It is a logical move with the age of our farmers and landowners. There will be a transfer of land and consolidation will be happening. It’s not new news, but it happens. We expect it will happen.” 

October Weather Gave Beets a Boost — Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative vice president of agriculture Tom Knudsen offered positive news about the 2017 beet crop. The overall crop was 32.3 tons per acre, 17 percent sugar and there was a respectable dirt tear. “With the heat we had to dodge, we didn’t get done until October 31. Growers were pretty understanding for the most part. They’d just switch to a different crop. It was basically dry for most of October and that really helped.” Looking ahead to next year, Knudsen is considering production issues. “We have no new chemistries for controlling cercospora leaf spot. It’s our number one production concern followed by weed control. We have glyphosate-tolerant weeds popping up. We’re dealing fairly well with that up to this point.”

American Crystal Projects '17 Beet Payment — American Crystal Sugar Company reported a projected sugarbeet payment for 2017 at $46 per ton. That compares to last year's projection of $38 per ton. The final shareholder payment for the 2016 crop was $42.45 per ton. “We are seeing pricing getting better," said Duane Maatz, executive director, Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association. "Most farms are able to make some money if they had a good crop.” The higher sugar content is the primary reason for the rise in the forecasted beet payment for 2017.   

Increasing Drayton's Slice CapacityThis past year, American Crystal Sugar Company harvested more than 12 million tons of sugarbeets. That’s a record for the cooperative. With more sugarbeets being harvested, American Crystal Sugar Company has completed the first year of a four-year process for increasing slice capacity in Drayton. “Last summer, we invested in a variety of different stations within the factory that we thought were the most critical bottlenecks," explained ACSC President/CEO Tom Astrup. "This next summer, the board has approved additional money for the Drayton factory to tackle some of the bottlenecks on the beet end of the factory. Over the next few years, there will be additional investments. The idea is to do it one chunk at a time. We want to do it right and in a way that manages the risk of spending that kind of money in a factory expansion.” Astrup said this decision is driven by economics. More beets are being grown in the Drayton factory district and the cooperative can save freight costs with this expansion. The capacity at Drayton was at 6,900 tons per day and the end goal is processing 9,000 tons per day. “This probably doesn’t mean more acres of sugarbeets, but it probably means if yields continue to increase, maybe acres don’t decline as they have in the past.”  

Difficult Year for CHS — For the 2017 fiscal year, CHS suffered a loss before income taxes of nearly $55 million. That’s down from income before taxes of almost $420 million in 2016. Two significant write-offs make up most of those losses. One was associated with a Brazilian commodities business that partnered with CHS. That company is going through the U.S. equivalent of bankruptcy. The other write-off happened after a large Michigan farm customer defaulted on more than $145 million in loans from CHS Capital. While CHS will issue no cash patronage in Fiscal Year 2018 based on 2017 performance, the board voted to issue non-qualified equity certificates for the remaining patronage earnings. These non-equity certificates will be part of the equity revolvement program and will be redeemed at the discretion of the CHS board.

A Year of TransitionThis past year has been a year of transition with a new president/CEO, Jay Debertin. Debertin is an East Grand Forks, Minnesota native with 30-plus years with CHS. With this rough patch, the new CHS leader is emphasizing transparency. “It helps a lot when you’re open about things. The culture of the people who own us and the people who work here, truth is in our nature. We talk about the things that are going well and when things aren’t, we talk about that, too.” In a tight farm economy, there are opportunities for growth. Debertin recognizes that, but is more focused on keeping his eye on the ball. "We want to look at opportunities for growth, but really, in this environment like this, it’s a practice of buckling down, doing well with what we have, keeping costs under control and grinding it out.”

We're Going to Fix It — During a question/answer session, the CHS senior leadership team said patronage will not be made to members this year. While a tough decision, CHS board chairman Dan Schurr said CHS must restore its financial situation. “This year, we’re going to manage our patronage and watch our cash. We’ll have to control our asset base and reevaluate. We will get through this and want to be a strong cooperative and pay patronage. Patronage is a vital tenant of what a cooperative is. I hope we do it better than we’ve done in the past and bring more value to our owners.” Two write-offs weakened the financial situation for CHS. In a frank discussion with members Thursday, Schurr was unwavering about the financial situation. “It’s unacceptable. It’s an unfortunate situation, but we’re hitting it head on. We’re going to fix it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Potato Industry Leader Previews '18 Market Demand — At the Black Gold Farms annual meeting, CEO Eric Halverson highlighted the current challenges seen within the potato business. “In some of the contract potato business, there’s maybe a little bit of headwind relative to the amount of potatoes in storage. We expect less demand early on in the year. That could prove to be a bit of a challenge, but we see that correcting itself as we get toward the end of 2018. Just making sure we plant the right amount of acres on what we can sell.” Black Gold Farms is based in Grand Forks, North Dakota and has farming operations in seven states.  

Surprising Canola YieldsBayer CropScience North Central Sales Lead Kristie Sundeen says canola growers had a decent year. “We had a few drought issues in areas. Considering the lack of rain, there were lots of surprise yields in northwestern North Dakota. In northeastern North Dakota yield was good. The varieties could hold on longer and got late-season rains, which helped. Seeding those varieties later also helped in some areas.” RRFN’s coverage of the Northern Canola Expo is sponsored, in part, by Bayer CropScience’s InVigor Canola.

Be Alert for Blackleg and Clubroot — Speaking at the annual Canola Expo in Langdon Tuesday, Cavalier County Extension Agent Anitha Chirumamilla told canola growers that awareness is a major key in preventing the spread of blackleg. “The first time it was found was 2013. We don’t want the disease to grow. We want to be ahead of the disease and create awareness of the implications of the disease to growers.” Chirumamilla says field practices and seed selection is the only way to control blackleg and clubroot. “When you have clubroot in your field, it’s very important to follow the lentil rotation. Otherwise, you’re just pushing yourself towards more inoculum. It’s not going away. Once it gets in your field, it is going to stay there for 20 years.”

Canola Minute — Here's the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. We hear more about Invigor Agronomics. 

New Opportunities with Canola — The Minnesota Canola Council Canola Symposium was held in Roseau Wednesday. Bayer CropScience InVigor U.S. sales lead Kyle Rollness says there are lots of new things happening with canola, including a shatter-proof pod. “The new technology with pod shatter is driving the canola acres across Minnesota and North Dakota.” The shatter-proof pod gives farmers more options at harvest. “Farmers are embracing this as an insurance policy. Some who don’t own a swather today like that they can direct harvest. Others like it as an option to swath later to get through their season in a timely manner.”

A Resilient Bred Female Market — According to Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange co-owner Larry Schnell, a lot of cows have been sold this fall. The drought prompted ranchers to cull 25-to-50 percent of their herds. The bred female market has been stronger than expected. “We had a stock cow and bred heifer sale this past week," said Schnell. "We sold some cows for $1,800 and sold some bred heifers for $1,700, which is stronger than what looked like could happen early on.”

MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association in their weekly Minnesota Beef Update. Learn more about popular beef cuts and recipes for the holidays. 

Risks and Rewards in the Hog Market — Huge hog numbers have been moving through the system in the fourth quarter and that trend is expected to continue into the New Year. Even with that supply, analyst Steve Meyer says the market has held up. “We’ll have more pigs next year than this year and look where the futures market is. The last time I ran my cost of returns model, it was $22 profit for 2018 on average. Those are probably the best producers out there, but even the average would be up around $12-to-$15 a head. That market is offering you that money today. I’m not sure you’re going to go too far wrong locking in a profit for next summer.” A volatile trade environment is the biggest risk to the hog market. Meyer, who is with EMI Analytics, says there are many variables with trade. “That scares me and I think it scares everybody. The Trump Administration is like the proverbial tomato; you don't know which way they're going to squirt when you step on them. The biggest risk, I think, is with NAFTA because Mexico is our number one volume customer for pork muscle meats and for variety meats."

There's Room for Advacement in the Sheep Industry — American Sheep Industry Association President Mike Corn says sheep producers need to get paid for their product, which creates excitement. "There are two markets so to speak. The ethnic market, which is a very stable and high market compared to the conventional market," said Corn. "Those in the conventional market don't really rely on the ethnic market. It's still a dictator, and the conventional market has been constricted a little bit." At ASI, one of the main goals is to see how sheep imports can be addressed. "There is talk about free trade, but not necessarily talk about fair trade. That's something we want to see addressed in D.C. There is always going to be desire for foreign countries to put lamb into the United States. Americans only produce as about half of the lamb consumed in the U.S."

Opioids Impacting Rural America — The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union are calling for dialogue and action after a national survey revealed the impacts of opioids on Rural America. The survey found says 74 percent of farmers and farm workers say they have been directly impacted by opioid abuse. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says the survey shows the challenges Rural America is facing when it comes to addiction. These challenges include access to services, treatment and support. "Time and time again, farmers and ranchers have come together to help their families and neighbors through challenging situations. That same resolve and compassion will help us break the grips of opioid addiction in Rural America." American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says there is a definite problem with opioid abuse and help is available. "We're a family of farmers and ranchers across the country, and we stick together to help people in our communities. We need to recognize this is a sickness. While there is a stigma of people being ashamed to go seek out help, we want to let them know we understand and we want them to find help."

High Court Won't Hear Dow-Bayer Case — The U.S. Supreme Court will not settle a legal dispute between Dow AgroSciences and Bayer. The two companies have been in court for the past seven years in a dispute over patent rights for a gene that delivers glufosinate resistance. A federal appeals court ruled Dow must pay Bayer $469 million and the payment was made this past spring. The Supreme Court decision brings the long legal battle to an end.

Monsanto Asks Court to Block Dicamba Ban — Monsanto is seeking a preliminary injunction that would prevent the State of Arkansas from banning the use of dicamba while the lawsuit with the Arkansas Plant Board continues. Monsanto also wants the judge to block previous restrictions on the use of its XtendiMax product. Monsanto claims the Arkansas regulatory board overstepped its authority and the court injunction would prevent further confusion in the marketplace.

engAGe: a series for women in agribusiness Listen to the Red River Farm Network's podcast, called engAGe: a series for women in agribusiness. engAGe is sponsored, in part, by AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Dow Agrosciences, Thunder Seed, Black Gold Farms, North Dakota Soybean Council, Peterson Farms Seed and the North Dakota Grain Growers Association. 

Franken Says He Plans to Resign — Minnesota Senator Al Franken announced Thursday he will resign in the coming weeks following a wave of sexual misconduct allegations. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton says he hasn’t decided who he’ll appoint to fill Senator Al Franken’s seat. Dayton expects to announce his choice in the next couple of days. Dayton’s temporary appointee will serve until the next general election in November when a special election will be held to fill out the rest of Franken’s term through 2020.

Wellman Accepts Nebraska Ag Post — Nebraska has a new state director of agriculture and it is a familiar face for people in the soybean industry. Steve Wellman is a past president of the American Soybean Association. Wellman replaces former Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach, who is now the USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.  

Land O'Lakes Promotes Ford and Oelmann — Land O’Lakes has promoted Beth Ford and Brad Oelmann. Ford has been named the chief operating officer for Land O’Lakes Businesses. Her role expands to include responsibility for the WinField United business. Ford will continue to oversee the Purina Animal Nutrition and Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods businesses. Oelmann will take over as chief operating officer for Land O’Lakes Services. Oelmann was named executive vice president for member relations earlier this year. In addition to Member Services and Business Development, Oelmann will now have responsibility for SUSTAIN, Crop Nutrients, FLM Harvest and Government Relations.

New American Crystal LeadershipThe American Crystal Sugar Company board has a new chairman. Fisher, Minnesota grower Curt Knutson succeeds Robert Green of St. Thomas, North Dakota. Cummings, North Dakota grower David Mueller will be vice-chairman. Green spoke at Thursday's meeting, saying sugarbeets have a bright future ahead. “I think we have all of the resources in place to find advances, if there are any left out there, because of the way we conduct research. The investment the sugarbeet seed companies make in the new genetics, they have kept us in business," said Green. "We’ve absorbed the cost of inflation for close to 40 years. It’s been improvements on the farm and our factories that have kept us in business.” Sugarbeet growers John Brainard and Brian Erickson wrapped up their terms on the board. The new additions to the board are Cindy Pulskamp from Hillsboro, North Dakota, Ernie Dusek of Grafton, North Dakota and Mark Nelson, who farms near Oslo, Minnesota. Pulskamp is the first woman to serve on the ACSC board.

Younggren Reelected to Serve AssociationHallock, Minnesota sugarbeet grower Dan Younggren has been elected to serve another term as president of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association. This was announced on Thursday afternoon during the annual meeting.

Arnold Named Willowood CEO — Willowood USA founder Brian Heinze has stepped down as the company's CEO. Tony Arnold is the new CEO. Most recently, Arnold was president/CEO of the Solae Company. Arnold has also worked for American Cyanimid, DuPont and BASF. Willowood markets generic crop protection products.

ASA Board Members Elected — Keota, Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer has been elected as the president of the American Soybean Association for 2018. Heisdorffer succeeds Illinois farmer Ron Moore. Worthington, Minnesota farmer Bill Gordon was elected for a second term as ASA treasurer. Valley Springs, South Dakota farmer Kevin Scott was elected secretary. New board members include Josh Gackle of North Dakota and Brandon Wipf of South Dakota.  

National Biodiesel Board's New Board Announced — Rolette, North Dakota soybean farmer Ryan Pederson has been elected to another term on the National Biodiesel Board. 

State Conservationist of the Year Named — Sandhill Dairy and Toad River Farm of Perham has been named Minnesota’s outstanding conservationist. Bob Dombeck and his farm were nominated by the East Ottertail Soil and Water Conservation District. The Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annual meeting was held this week in the Twin Cities.

Last Week's TriviaThe three wise men gave the baby Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Scott Roemhildt of the Minnesota DNR was the first to respond and is our weekly trivia winner. Dennis Inman of Land O'Lakes, Solen farmer Woody Barth, Thomas Chute of CHS-Drayton Group and Erin Nash of Woodruff earn runner-up honors. The 'first 20' list includes Vince Restucci of R.D. Offutt Company, Strasburg farmer Kenny Nieuwsma, Mark Haugland of Bayer CropScience, Edgely farmer Richard Schlosser, Kelly Loganbill of High Plains Journal, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, Angie Skochdopole of Adfarm, Brian Langeland of Golden Harvest Seed, Lawton farmer Dennis Miller, Alma farmer Curtis Noll, Brian Sieben of Agrium, Mandy Kvale of Farm Credit Services of Mandan, Randy Knudsvig of First State Bank, and Brian Brandt of Rabo AgriFinance.