Red River Farm Network News


CHS Joins With Fessenden to Build Fertilizer Warehouse — CHS has formed a 50-50 joint venture with Fessenden Cooperative Association to build and operate a fertilizer warehouse at Hamberg, North Dakota. The facility will have the capacity to handle 28,000 tons of nitrogen, potassium, sulfate, phosphorus and micronutrients. Plant construction is scheduled to begin this summer and be completed by the fall of 2015.

Renewable Fuels Impact Tallied in Billions — Nationwide, the renewable fuels industry supports more than 850,000 US jobs. An economic impact study conducted by John Dunham & Associates found renewable fuels are responsible for $184.5 billion of economic output. In Minnesota, the total economic impact is valued at nearly $12 billion. The figure approaches $9 billion for South Dakota and $2.5 billion for North Dakota. This report was commissioned by Fuels America, which is a coalition of ethanol and agriculture groups.

Old Rail Cars Not Meant for Crude — The National Transportation Safety Board says older model rail tanker cars were not built to carry hazardous material like crude oil. Outgoing NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman says the older model DOT-111 tanker cars are safe for carrying corn oil but not crude oil.

USDA Scientific Breakthroughs — The USDA has issued a report on scientific breakthroughs from USDA. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the new report highlights scientific breakthroughs discovered by USDA researchers that led to new patents and inventions with the potential for commercial application and economic growth. The USDA reports receiving 51 new patents and disclosed 180 new inventions in the last fiscal year.

UND Gets First UAS Clearance in the US — Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta has granted Grand Forks the first authorization in the US to allow a test site to begin flying unmanned aircraft. The announcement came following a tour of the UAS educational facilities at the University of North Dakota. Huerta tells RRFN agriculture is one of the more promising areas for unmanned aerial systems. “These aircraft hold great potential for things like surveys and crop dusting, but there are a lot of questions we need to answer. There’s a lot of research we need to do to make sure that as we integrate unmanned aircraft into these uses, that it’s done safely.”

Ready to Start UAS Testing — The head of North Dakota’s UAS authority, Bob Becklund, tells RRFN the Northern Plains Unmanned Air Systems Authority is ready to begin testing. Its first missions will be early next month, monitoring crop conditions and soil quality at the Carrington Research Extension Center. Northland Community and Technical College was approved last week for a certificate of authorization to fly drones in Roseau County.

Canadian Pacific Up in 1Q — Canadian Pacific Railway reports first quarter profits of $254 million, a 17 percent increase from the previous year. The results are the best first quarter profits ever for CP. Revenues were up one percent while operating expenses declined four percent.

CME Changing Daily Limits — The CME Group plans to change the way it sets one-day price limits in corn, soybean and wheat futures trading and to remove price limits for all grain and oilseed options. The new variable limits, which will apply to all grain, soybean and soybean-related contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade, will be based on market prices and will be changed twice a year-on May 1 and November 1. For corn, the new daily price limit will drop to 35 cents, from 40 cents currently. The soybean limit rises to $1.00 from 70 cents, and the Chicago wheat daily price limit will drop from 60 cents to 45 cents per bushel.

Cellulosic Biofuel Requirement Lowered — The Environmental Protection Agency cut the 2013 cellulosic biofuel portion of the Renewable Fuels Mandate from 6 million gallons to less than 1 million following petitions from the American Petroleum Institute and the American Petrochemical Manufacturers. EPA says it is using the actual volume of around 810,000 gallons of cellulosic ethanol produced in 2013 as the benchmark to set a percentage standard for the cellulosic biofuels in the RFS. The American Petroleum Institute applauded the action by calling on Congress to repeal the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Cellulosic Study — A new study out of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says cellulosic ethanol made from corn stalks, leaves and cobs would release 7 percent more greenhouse gas than conventional gasoline. The study estimates carbon loss for 12 Corn Belt states when stalks, leaves and cobs are removed rather than left to naturally replenish the soil. The study is drawing criticism from other researchers for removing all of the residue. Other researchers and the EPA thinks only about half the residue would be removed.

Briefs Filed in COOL Lawsuit — Briefs have been filed this week in the federal appeals court over mandatory country of origin labeling. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, American Meat Institute and others outlined their opposition to the labeling law. The National Farmers Union, R-Calf USA, the American Sheep Industry Association and others filed paperwork, supporting the continuation of COOL. Friend-of-the-court briefs have also been filed by a variety of groups, including the Canadian government and the American Cancer Society. Oral arguments are scheduled for May 19.

CHS Ag Services Opens New Dry Fertilizer FacilityCHS Ag Services in Larimore, North Dakota held an open house Tuesday showcasing their new dry fertilizer facility. Site manager Terry Yahna tells RRFN the new facility will drastically increase the speed they’re able to blend and load dry fertilizer. “We’ve expanded to a 3,000 ton dry fertilizer facility with the capability of loading in 200-plus tons per hour into the building and 200-plus tons per hour out of the building. It’s going to increase our efficiency greatly.” See pictures from the open house on RRFN’s Facebook page.

Starting to Roll in the Ulen/Ada AreaWest Central Ag Services sales manager Clyde Kringlen tells RRFN farmers are starting to roll in the Ulen/Ada, Minnesota area. “It kind of got going yesterday pretty good. Mostly last year’s sugarbeet ground is what guys are going on. Wheat is what’s mostly going in, especially in the Ada area. I am hearing a field or two of corn going in too.” RRFN’s Crop watch is sponsored, in part, by West Central Ag Services.

Don't Rush to Get Corn in Too EarlyDespite a late start, growers are starting to scratch around in the dirt. Plains Grain and Agronomy agronomist Travis Messer tells RRFN activity is underway in the Enderlin, North Dakota area. “A lot of guys have spread fertilizer on small grains. We’ve been out doing some custom seeding on wheat and malting barley. The higher, dryer fields are good to go. The lower, wetter ones need a little more time for some of the frost to work its way out.” While small grains are being seeded, Messer is urging patience for those with corn. “The biggest problem we run into, when we put that corn seed into the ground and get that first drink of water, that seed is going to absorb ten times its weight in the first 72 hours. If that first drink of water is 70 degrees versus 40 degrees, it makes a big difference in the stand establishment in that corn.” RRFN’s Crop Watch is sponsored, in part, by AgCountry Farm Credit Services.

More Delays Mean More SoybeansCHS Ag Services sales agronomist Tom McEnroe covers an area from Larimore, North Dakota to Crookston, Minnesota. McEnroe tells RRFN he’s seeing some action in the fields. “There are actually some people starting to farm, so that’s encouraging. But, most of the area’s a little on the wet side.” McEnroe says he expects to see more soybeans this year. “The more delayed we get, the bigger the shift to soybeans will be.” RRFN’s Crop Watch is sponsored, in part, by Minnesota soybean farmers and the soybean checkoff.

Winter Wheat Looks Good in Pierre AreaMilt Handcock with Midwest Cooperatives in Pierre, South Dakota tells RRFN spring wheat seeding is rolling right along. “The frost is pretty much all out. Winter wheat, so far, looks good. It’s a little spotty along the edges of fields, but for the most part it’s in pretty good shape.” RRFN’s Crop Watch is sponsored, in part, by Ihry Insurance.

Getting Cleaned Out By July Harvest — Efforts are being made to deal with rail service delays, but grain elevators have a big hurdle to cross on this issue. Oahe Grain general manager Tim Luken, who is based in Onida, South Dakota, tells RRFN he sees the problem dragging beyond harvest. “There’s a lot of grain on farms that has to be moved to town yet. I’m 510 cars behind. I’ll never get this cleaned out before harvest gets here in July.” Oahe Grain is now served by the Canadian Pacific. As of June 1, a short-line railway known as the Rapid City-Pierre and Eastern, will take over.

Not Hurt By Rail Backlog, So FarCHS Ag Services Sales agronomist Dave Ness, who works in the Larimore, North Dakota area, tells RRFN so far the railroad backlog hasn’t hurt their fertilizer supply. “We did have some pretty decent news with the Surface Transportation Board putting the spurs to the railroad to get this fertilizer hauled. That’s going to be a major benefit to us when we start rolling. Our Warren plant is our central location and that all comes in by rail. Then we disperse it out. All of our supply at Larimore comes in by truck.”

Investment Fund Created — USDA has created a new investment fund to support small business growth across rural America. The Rural Business Investment Company will allow USDA to facilitate private equity investments in agriculture-related businesses. Eight Farm Credit institutions are providing the initial $150 million investment. That list includes AgriBank, AgStar Financial Services and United Farm Credit Services, all based in Minnesota. CoBank, which is based in Denver, and Farm Credit Services of America, based in Omaha, are also part of the investment group.

Habitat Deadline Extended — North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has extended the deadline for the second round of grants designed to help landowners enhance their property and restore habitat damaged by overland flooding, erosion, and infestation by noxious and invasive species. A total of $50,000 is available for this year’s program. The new deadline is May 9.

New Canola Hybrids — DuPont Pioneer is introducing four new canola hybrids for western Canada. The new hybrids feature traits like built in Clubroot and Sclerotinia resistance as well as early maturity. Pioneer Agronomist Aaron Miller says the new canola varieties are designed to help Western Canadian farmers meet emerging challenges like Clubroot and Sclerotinia.

ND Mill Down in 3Q — The North Dakota Mill had a profit of $2.2 million in the third quarter, down 30 percent from the same period last year. Sales fell 10 percent. Flour shipments of 2.7 million hundredweight were down three percent, while bag shipments were up five percent. Family flour shipments were up 23.5 percent. Profits through the first nine months total $8.6 million, up 11 percent from the same period the previous year. Sales are up $1 million from a year ago, as shipments were a record 9.2 million hundredweight.

Dow Up in 1st Quarter — Dow Chemical Company’s first quarter earnings topped $1 billion, a 65 percent increase from the same period last year. Dow AgroSciences delivered record earnings before taxes of $529 million, up nine percent from a year ago. Crop protection sales rose four percent, while seed sales were down seven percent in part due to the late spring in North America.

Elanco and Novartis Joining Together — Eli Lilly and Company has announced an agreement to acquire Novartis Animal Health. This $5.4 billion deal, which brings together Elanco and Novartis Animal Health, creates the world’s second largest animal health company. This deal is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2015.

Dow Biotech Soybean Deregulated — USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has given deregulated status to a biotech soybean, engineered for insect resistance by Dow AgroSciences. The biotech soybean variety also contains a gene that makes it tolerant to glufosinate. USDA provided a finding of no significant impact.

4,500 Particpating in "Right to Grow" — According to Syngenta, more than 4,500 growers will plant just over 250,000 acres of Agrisure Duracade corn this year. These growers are part of Syngenta’s ‘Right to Grow’ program. With this program growers are working with grain buyers who have agreed to accept the corn even if export marketing options are limited. At this point, China has refused to accept this biotech trait. In February, Gavilon partnered with Syngenta, saying it would accept this grain. Sygenta indicates other grain buyers have also agreed to accept corn with the Agrisure Duracade trait.

Three Rivers Joins Growth Energy — Ohio based Three Rivers Energy is the newest member of Growth Energy, a coalition of US ethanol supporters. The addition of Three Rivers Energy brings plant membership to 83, with another 85 associate members.

RoboFlight Buys Aerial Precision Ag — RoboFlight Systems has acquired Aerial Precision Ag, which is a manufacturer of unmanned aerial systems. RoboFlight collects data from remote sensing drones for agriculture and other sectors.

Hillshire Buying Van's — Hillshire Brands says it will acquire Van’s Natural Foods for about $165 million. Van’s makes a variety of frozen and cereal products including frozen waffles, French toast sticks and animal crackers. The deal is expected to close in May.

Johnson Brothers Facing New Charges — Federal officials have expanded its list of allegations against two Cooperstown, North Dakota farmers. In the original indictment, Aaron and Derek Johnson and their company, Johnson Potato, allegedly conspired to receive more than $800,000 in illegal crop insurance payments dating back to 2006. The new complaint, accuses the brothers of receiving more than $2 million in illegal payments since 2002. Authorities claim the brothers intentionally destroyed seed potatoes to secure crop insurance payments.

SD Leopold Conservation Award WinnersSand County Foundation, the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association and the South Dakota Grassland Coalition have announced that the Rock Hills Ranch of Lowry is the recipient of the 2014 Leopold Conservation Award. The award honors landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources. The Permans receive a $10,000 award and a crystal at the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association's Annual Convention in December.

Perry New Western Sugar CEO — The Western Sugar Cooperative Board of Directors has named Rodney Perry as its new president and CEO. Perry, who comes to Western Sugar from Bunge Limited in Geneva, Switzerland, assumed his new role yesterday. Perry has also worked for ADM, ConAgra and Bethel Grain Company.

MN Corn Growers Recruiter Hall of Fame Inductees — The Minnesota Corn Growers Association has named five inductees into its inaugural Recruiter Hall of Fame. The honorees are Doug Toreen and Mickey Peterson of Renville County, Robert Nelson of Murray County, Gayle Bergstrom of Mower County and Richard Peterson of Jackson County. Each of these individuals have recruited more than 400 new members to the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. Toreen tops the list, adding nearly 1,100 new members to MCGA roster.

Red River Farm Network: Reporting Agriculture's BusinessTune in to any of these Red River Farm Network radio partners to get the latest information: Ada, MN KRJB 106.5 FM Aberdeen, SD KMOM 105.5 FM Bagley, MN KKCQ 96.7 FM Bismarck, ND KLXX 1270 AM Casselton, ND KVMI 103.9 FM Crookston, MN KROX 1260 AMDevils Lake, ND KZZY 103.5 FM Fergus Falls, MN KBRF 1250AM Fosston, MN KKCQ 1480 AM Grafton, ND KXPO 1340 AM Langdon, ND KNDK 1080 AM Mayville, ND KMAV 105.5 FM Mahnomen, MN KRJM 101.5 FM Jamestown, ND KSJB 600 AM Roseau, MN KCAJ 102.1 FM Rugby, ND KZZJ 1450 AM Thief River Falls, MN KKAQ 1460 AM Wadena, MN KKWS 105.9 FM Learn more about our 18 radio partners on our website.

Last Week's Trivia — An ATM is also known as an Automated Teller Machine or an Automatic Teller Machine. Crookston farmer Ron Lanctot was the first in with the correct answer is our weekly trivia winner. Dennis Inman of Cargill Ag Horizons, Jeff Herman of Monsanto, Grand Forks County Extension Agent Willie Huot and Randy Knudsvig of First State Bank earn runner-up honors. Our 'first 20' list rounds out with Morrison County FSA executive director Darrell Larsen, Jeff Triebold of Prairieland Ag, DuWayne Miller of Western Equipment Finance, Rene Scheurer of Betaseed, Teresa Spaeth of AURI, University of Minnesota student Chelsea Vilchis, Bruce Miller of Minnesota Farmers Union, Cary Sifferath of the US Grains Council, Holly Cassidy of Ag Radio Network, Jeanne Miller Mansk of JL Farmakis, Larry Johnson of LLJ Consulting and Business Development, Nick Sinner of Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association, Kyle Rollness of Bayer CropScience, David Fraser of the US Potato Board and Erin Nash of Woodruff Sweitzer.