Red River Farm Network News

Land Market Stays Strong — Farmers National Company says the land market is still very strong for quality land. Auctions are still generally a preferred way to sell land, and strong interest and demand remains from local buyers, operators and investors. Values are somewhat variable across different regions, but area sales manager Brock Thurman says high quality land still brings record-strong prices at auctions and all types of land continue to realize historically strong selling prices. Recent sale of more than 2,000 acres in Becker County, Minnesota brought an average selling price of $4,110 per acre. An 80-acre piece in Douglas County brought $4,750 per acre. In Cavalier County, North Dakota, 240 acres sold earlier this month for almost $2,000 per acre.

Good Stuff — University of Illinois ag economist Darrel Good says at this point of the growing season, there is little indication of how the U.S. average yields for corn and soybeans may deviate from trend values. However, Good continues to believe there is a higher-than-normal risk of yields falling below trend value due to the history of warmer, drier summers following extremely warm winters. Good thinks the risk of waiting for a summer price rally before aggressively pricing this year’s crops is probably larger for soybeans than for corn. If a summer price rally does occur, Good says farmers will likely want to aggressively price the 2016 crop.

Study Says Corn Exports Provide Boost for U.S. Economy — Informa Economics says the exports from U.S. corn and corn products generated $74.7 billion in annual economic output in 2014, with sales of U.S. feed grain products contributing $82 billion. Informa's analysis also says corn and corn product exports increased U.S. gross domestic production by $29.8 billion. The National Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Grains Council commissioned the study. NCGA president Chip Bowlingsays the study underscores the need for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

South Dakota Sales Tax Increase — The South Dakota state sales and use tax rate will increase from four percent to four-and-a-half percent on June 1. The new state sales and use tax rate applies to sales and rentals of tangible personal property, products transferred electronically, services, farm machinery purchases and amusement devices. 

A Bigger Seat at the Table — Speaking at the BMO Capital Markets Farm to Market conference, Cargill’s chief financial officer Marcel Smits says Cargill has a much bigger seat at the table with its customers as it seeks to address the consumer-led push for transparency about food formulation. Smits said the growing demand by consumers for disclosure about chemicals, hormones and food formulation is changing how companies such as Cargill direct investment in new technology, product development and sourcing of ingredients.

Goule to Take Over as NAWG CEO — Effective July 5, Chandler Goule will be the new chief executive officer of the National Association of Wheat Growers. Goule has been on the National Farmers Union staff since 2009. Before that, Goule was the staff director for the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry for former Chairman Collin Peterson. Goule replaces Jim Palmer, who has been NAWG’s CEO for three years.

Collins to Lead DowDuPont Crop Protection and Seeds Business — More details are becoming known about the planned merger between DuPont and Dow Chemical. James Collins Jr, who currently leads DuPont’s agriculture business, has been selected as chief operating officer for DowDuPont’s agriculture business. The merged entity intends to separate the agriculture company from the rest of the DowDuPont business.

Gehring to Retire — ConAgra Foods’ executive vice president and chief financial officer John Gehring will retire after 14 years with the company. Gehring will remain with ConAgra until a successor is named and will assist with an orderly transition. ConAgra has begun a search for Gehring’s replacement. 

Funds Awarded to Local Coop — The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission has awarded more than $440,000 for nine projects. Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative at Wahpeton was awarded $118,000 to support the marketing and use of a new soil amendment product created during the processing of sugar beets. Anchor Ingredients of Fargo received more than $90,000 to expand the market for organic and conventional commodities, and Richland IFC was awarded $78,000 to work with the Northern Crops Institute to research how corn flours and grits are made and applied to food products. 

A Bonus for Biomass — Farm Service Agency Administrator Val Dolcini has announced that incentives resume this month for farmers and foresters who grow and harvest biomass for renewable energy and biobased products. The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) expands the types of feedstock that can be used to make renewable fuels and biobased products, laying the foundation for growing more products made in rural America. BCAP currently supports almost 900 growers and landowners faming nearly 49,000 acres to establish and produce dedicated, non-food energy crops for delivery to energy conversion facilities. 

Weed Management 101The Red River Farm Network is airing a special radio series called Weed Management 101. Weed identification is vitally important. This week, our focus is on redroot pigweed. Redroot pigweed is summer annual broadleaf. It grows two-to-three feet tall, but may grow as tall as six-feet in certain situations. Cotyledons are long and narrow and followed by egg-shaped leaves with a notched tip. Hairs are visible along the veins and margins of the leaves from the third leaf on. Redroot refers to the pinkish-red color at the base of the stem and the taproot. Cultural and chemical methods provide control when pigweed is small. For more information, including interviews on weed management, visit RRFN online. Weed Management 101 on RRFN is brought to you by Bayer and Peterson Farms Seed. (Photo credit: North Dakota State University)

A Step in the Right DirectionHouse Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson says the higher targets in the Renewable Fuels Standard volume requirement released by the EPA are a step in the right direction. With the new requirement at 14.8 million gallons, Peterson is wondering why EPA didn’t go all the way to the 15 million gallons required by law. “We’re within 200 million gallons of what the law says. Two hundred million gallons isn’t going to change the price of corn or ethanol,” says Peterson. “Why are we having a huge fight over 200 million gallons? It just doesn’t make any sense.” Peterson says the new volume requirement will cover current corn ethanol plant capacity.    

ND Soybean Minute — Hear the latest North Dakota Soybean Minute from the North Dakota Soybean Council and the soybean checkoff. Listen for a farm safety reminder.

MN Farmers Union Legislative Minute — Throughout the Minnesota legislative session, the Minnesota Farmers Union has been keeping listeners up to-date with bi-weekly reports. Listen to the Minnesota Farmers Union Legislative Minute from this past week for the details on the session.

RRFN On-air, Online and On Your Smartphone — The Red River Farm Network serves its audience on-air, online and on your smartphone. If you want farm news headlines, agronomic information, weather, market analysis and RRFN's daily broadcasts, there are several ways to get it throughout the day. Listen to any of our 19 radio partners. "Like" the RRFN Facebook page. Check out the news headlines, our daily programs, the calendar of events and more at Or download the free RRFN smartphone app. The app is available for both iPhone and Android. Your way. When you want it. The Red River Farm Network is Reporting Agriculture's Business.

SunOpta Expands Recall — SunOpta has expanded its recall of a sunflower product due to a possible Listeria contamination. SunOpta calls the expansion a precaution. The initial recall was limited to sunflower kernel products produced at its Crookston, Minnesota facility from February 1 to February 19. The expansion includes products produced from February 20 to April 21. No illnesses have been confirmed related to eating the product.

Last Week's Trivia — The 1989 movie Major League offered a comedic look at baseball and the Cleveland Indians. Doug Brown of AGP Grain Marketing scored first, winning RRFN's weekly trivia challenge. Erin Nash of Woodruff Sweitzer, Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad, Lyle Orwig of Charleston Orwig and Brian James of Simmons Multimedia earn runner-up honors. Recognition also goes to Jim Altringer of Columbia Grain, Todd Good of AgCountry Farm Credit Services, retired AI instructor Lloyd Friske, Strasburg farmer Kenny Nieuwsma, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed, Marsha Van Laere of Gowan USA, Ron Dvergsten of Northland Farm Business Management and Kennedy farmer John Webster.