Red River Farm Network News

Rotation is Priority for Disease Management — Managing weed resistance continues to be a priority for sugarbeet growers. Extension Sugarbeet Specialist Mohamed Kahn says rotation continues to be a priority. “Growers in the upper part of the Red River Valley, they’ll plant a wheat crop before sugarbeets to get rid of any resistant weeds. That’s helped a lot. In the southern areas, they’re using Roundup Ready beets and other modes of action in their crops to have control with resistant weeds.” Kahn says cercospora control is also top of mind for beet growers. “We have to use different modes of action, mixtures. Growers have adopted the recommendation and had a successful year in 2017.”

Beet Seed Heading Out Soon — SESVanderHave Commercial Sales Manager Nick Revier expects beet seed to be shipped in the next couple of weeks. “We’re getting seed ready for delivery. We’ll have most everything boxed by the end of next week. We’ll have six yield trials across the Red River Valley and different nurseries. We’re getting it all ready.” Revier says there still is a good selection of top producing varieties available.    

Funding Still Obstacle in Infrastructure Discussions — As infrastructure discussions take place in Washington D.C., Soy Transportation Coalition Executive Director Mike Steenhoek says funding infrastructure projects is still the big obstacle. “That’s where we need leadership from Congress and the administration. It’s easy to express desire. It’s another one to say how we’re actually going to pay for it.” Steenhoek is hopeful a funding mechanism can be found. “Our Coalition is talking about a ten-cent increase to the fuel tax and indexing it to inflation. That’s something not popular, but we do need funding to make sure we can take care of and improve this system.”  

The Increased Interest in Drone Technology — Data drives so many farm decisions. AeroVironment director of sales and marketing Jonah Teeter-Balin says drone technology provides timely information. “Drone data can enhance decision making even more when you’re looking at yield maps, fertilizer and application maps and you’re able to add in a layer of aerial imagery that gives you a bird’s eye view to see if there’s something to do during the season. This is where drone technology plays an important role.” Teeter-Balin says the adoption rate for drone technology is growing. AeroVironment has been in the drone business for more than 30 years, working with the U.S. military. Teeter-Balin says that technology is now available to the average farmer.

Grain Movement Picking Up — As temperatures warm local grain elevators are seeing more grain move. North Dakota Grain Dealers Association Executive Vice President Stu Letcher says movement to the Pacific North West has been slowed by weather. “There’s been some winter weather and avalanches in the last few weeks. Now, traffic is getting back to normal. I think we’re seeing more grain move. I would expect in the next few weeks for grain to start picking up. They’ll try to move as we get into spring.”

Storing Grain Well — Grain stored in bins is susceptible to a wide variety of conditions that can make it go out of condition. One of those is insect pressure. Central Live Sciences Regional Manager Warren McDougal says to properly control insects in stored grain, you need to begin when the grain is put into storage. “Start protecting it as you’re putting it in the bin so you can maintain grain quality for an extended period of time. When we talk to people in the grain industry, any bug is a weevil. There are lots of those, but there are also lots of other critters in there from beetles to borers.” McDougal says keeping grain in good condition will also help with insect pressure. “There’s been some winter weather and avalanches. Traffic is getting back to normal. I think we’re seeing more grain move. I would expect in the next few weeks for grain to start picking up. They’ll try to move as we get into spring.”

Battle for the Acres — Grain traders are beginning to turn their attention away from South American weather and more toward planting intentions. AgResource Company President Dan Basse is expecting the corn and soybeans to battle for acres. “We believe both crops are profitable at the moment. We’ve been bumping up corn and soybean seeding estimates and also, some spring wheat. We think a little spring wheat moving forward. Farmers could be looking at better planting rates as we turn to spring.”

Beet Stock Market Strong — The beet stock market is strong this winter. FNC Ag Stock Specialist Jason Menke explains beets still pencil out for the year ahead. “We went through a good stretch of commodity prices and good net farm income, but we’re back to the historical pattern.”

Spring Fever? Wait for Right Conditions — Getting your crop planted in a timely manner is critical to good stand establishment. DEKALB Asgrow agronomist Eric Nelson says soil and temperature conditions should be your most important factor in deciding when to plant. “We want to put crops in during good conditions. We only want to do this one time in a best-case scenario. To have to go in on a field, because we didn’t make the right decision of when to plant, that’s troubling.” Nelson says changing weather conditions will also impact germination. “Soil conditions, soil temp and the forecast really need to look good," he says. "When I walk poorly established stands, most of the time, they’re not the early planted fields. It was the last quarter the grower had to plant. The weather was changing. Those are the fields with the weak stand.”

Farm Bill Big Policy for Sugar — American Crystal Sugar Company’s CEO Tom Astrup says the farm bill is a big policy focus for the sugar industry “Policy wise, it’s really about the farm bill this year," he says. "Trade wise, we’ve resolved the Mexican trade situation. So far, the revised suspension agreement is working well. We’ll have to continue enforcing that agreement.”

Staying Competitive with Sugar — McKeany-Flavell Vice President Craig Ruffolo updated the International Sugar Beet Institute on sugar trade, policy and economics Wednesday. Ruffolo says the U.S. sugar industry remains competitive on a global scale. “In the U.S., the one thing we have going for us as farmers is the farm program. We do have the payment system that allows us to have a safety net. Other countries don’t necessarily have that. We are still consuming plenty of beet sugar.” Ruffolo sees the sugar price stabilizing above 30 cents a pound. “Plus 30 cents per pound on an FOB before freight is probably a good idea for net backs for this coming year. It’s not just simple supply and demand economics. You can make it as simple as you need or as complex as you want.”

Fewer Sugarbeet Maggot Flies — Going into the 2018 season, North Dakota State University Research and Extension Entomologist Mark Boetel says the good news is sugarbeet maggot fly numbers have been trending lower. “The trends suggest we’re pushing them down. The growers and a lot of the agriculture advisors are doing a good job of monitoring what’s going on and managing the populations.” Boetel says they will be testing some new technologies. “We’ve just received some funding to review electronic insect traps. They’re not specifically designed for the root maggot, but they’re a mobile enabled trap. We’re not recommending them at this point. We’re going to look at baited and non-baited traps.”

A Potential Hiccup for C-Corps — Cooperatives are pleased with the proposed solution as well. East Grand Forks, Minnesota sugarbeet grower David Thompson says farm coop members just wanted the Section 199 to stay the way it was. There are some noting farms operating as a C-Corporation won’t get a pass-through deduction in the new solution. Giddings and Associates President and CEO (and accountant) Mark Giddings says there are some C-Corporations in the Valley and in South Dakota. But he only has about one farming client as a C-Corp. Giddings says C-Corps could be double taxed if they become an S-Corporation. However, Giddings says it’s better to wait and see what happens in Congress before making any big decisions. “There are people who would still like to see what we have in place stay. Going back to Section 199 would put more control over the deduction the farmer might get in the hands of the coop operator. Whereas, the new Section 199A is a lot clearer this was a deduction the farmer was going to get based on the fact they just did a transaction with the coop. We knew exactly what the farmer was going to get: 20 percent of the sale.” Giddings says there's lots of interest in forming new cooperatives, but will wait and see what happens in Congress first. 

A Level Playing Field — Private grain companies hopeful for technical corrections in the new tax law could get that fix included in the upcoming omnibus spending bill. There is concern the provision in the new tax law makes it more beneficial for farmers to sell to farm cooperatives compared to private companies. The proposed fix, reverting back to the former Section 199, makes it a level playing field, according to Minn-Kota Ag Products CFO Dale Beyer. “I don’t know if there’s anything we’d want that would be different," he says. "I would say we’re pleased with the language.”

Drop in Corn AcresAllendale has released its acreage survey results. For corn, a planting of 88.51 million acres is anticipated, down 1.65 million acres from last year. Soybean acres are pegged at 92.10 million acres, which would be a new record planting. Western Cornbelt acres could drop by almost one million to 42.4 million acres. "Minnesota could have the largest drop out of all states," says Allendale Chief Strategist Rich Nelson. "Even though the Eastern Cornbelt had record yields in 2017, those farmers told us we're going to drop about half-a-million acres to 25.60 million acres." Nelson adds there’s still a lot of acres to play in the other crop mix. "The big question for the trade is North Dakota. A lot of people have suggested we'll see a sharp decline out of corn and move into soybeans or wheat."

Cotton in Kansas — All eyes are on this month's planting intentions report. With poor wheat prices, Kansas farmers may be turning to alternative avenues. Stewart-Peterson Senior Market Advisor Naomi Blohm says cotton is one commodity to keep an eye on in the future. "There are producers who have never grown cotton before, but now they are. So I'm curious to see how big cotton acres are come March 30," says Blohm. "I don't think it's just Kansas. There could be more southern states, which could be a surprise for the market."

Gearing Up for Spring — Acreage decisions and seed sales have moved into overtime. Barnes County, North Dakota Extension Agent Randy Grueneich expects corn to follow the downward trend. "Most of the guys geared up for corn will plant their acres. There's a few farmers on the fence in terms of how many soybeans acres can be pushed," says Grueneich. "I'm also hearing of some increases in wheat. There will be some last minute seed sales once we know where the market settles." Grueneich adds most of Barnes County is in good shape with some stored soil moisture. "Some replenishing moisture came last fall. I'm hoping for a better-than-average crop this year."

A Time of TransitionAmerican Crystal Sugar Company is held their Allied Industry Meeting in Grand Forks on Friday. Agronomist Tyler Grove says items such disease, pests and weeds are always on the list. "For 2018, we may have areas with increased sugarbeet root maggot. We're always under constant vigilance of resistant weeds as well," says Grove. "With dieases, we continue to focus on rhizoctonia in the root area and definitely cercospora leaf spot." During this time of transition, Grove says farmers are getting ready for spring planting. Last year’s crop is still moving through the factory. "We're dealing with last year's crop for basically 14 months, but all eyes are now on getting in the field."

Sugarbeets on the Rise — USDA ERS agriculture economist Michael McConnell provided a current and long-term sugar market outlook at the International Sugarbeet Institute Show. Production for 2017/18 was driven by high sugar content. "Record production boosted supplies available in the U.S. We've also seen growth and demand for sugar, largely driven by population growth and people substituting cane and beet sugar for corn sweetners." Long-term, McConnell expects prices to stablize and possibly increase.  

A Section 199A Fix — South Dakota Senator John Thune, North Dakota Senator John Hoeven and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch have announced an agreement has been made to deal with the Section 199A glitch. With this proposal, cooperative members would no longer be able to deduct 20 percent of their sales. Farmers who only sell to cooperatives would get a deduction that is a pass-through and would be similar to the previous domestic production activities deduction. Farmers who sell to cooperatives and independent companies would need to keep separate records for tax purposes.

Getting Section 199A Through — North Dakota Senator John Hoeven is confident about including the Section 199A proposal in the omnibus spending bill. “We have a strong hand with all of agriculture on board. The House would pass the omnibus first, and then it would come over to the Senate," says Hoeven. "They could vote on it the first part of next week, and the Senate could get it later next week. The objective is to have it done by March 23.” However, the proposed resolution may hit a snag. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer says he won’t let the technical correction to Section 199A be made in the omnibus spending bill, unless Republicans agree to reopen the entire tax law. That would be a non-starter for the Republicans.

Restoring Section 199 — National Council of Farmer Cooperatives President and CEO Chuck Conner says they've wanted to save Section 199 since the beginning of tax discussions. “You never get 100 percent of what you want. That’s part of the legislative process. I think everyone has something they can point to as a big improvement," says Conner. "Obviously Cargill and the private grain folks were very anxious to see the 20 percent of gross revenue deduction taken out, and this agreement does that. They have a big thing they can point to in terms of that change.” Conner adds it’s up to Congress to get it passed. 

Corn Matters — In this week's Minnesota Corn Growers Association Corn Matters, U.S. Grains Council Director of Trade Policy Floyd Gaibler discussions the  recent North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

RFS Rhetoric Continues — The corn industry continues to discuss the Renewable Fuel Standard. National Corn Growers Association board member and Eden Valley, Minnesota farmer Tom Haag says if a cap was put on Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs, that would mean lower prices. "And there isn't a major influencer for the refineries to blend heavier amounts of ethanol like E-15 or E-85," says Haag. "So, a cap on RINs would really hurt corn farmers. In Minnesota, it could impact us by 25-to-30 cents a bushel on corn." Haag says the situation has more to do with political action being taken by the Administration. "It's not the oil and ethanol companies battling against each other. Refineries are liking the RINs."

Digging Beyond the Surface of RINs — Al-Corn Clean Fuel CEO Randy Doyal says, on the surface, capping Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs, doesn’t look that damaging. However,  in reality, it’s an attempt to avoid using ethanol. "The oil industry is trying to set the price to buy the credit so they don't have to blend. Instead of creating addtional demand, a cap would destroy demand." Doyal says if oil companies would blend ethanol, they would get the RINs for free. "Here in Claremont, Minnesota, we just invested $146 million to expand our plant to make more free RINs. Every gallon we produce has a RIN attached to it, and we give it away for free."

Rethinking RINs — The corn, biofuel and ethanol industries have made it clear: capping Renewable Identification Numbers would negatively impact agriculture. American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings says media activity may have grabbed the Administration’s attention. "I think postponing another White House meeting, in part, reflects that the Administration has been hearing from us," says Jennings. "Maybe they'll try to learn more about viable options and distinguish those from non-viable options, like a RIN cap." If further progress were to be made, Jennings says the ethanol industry’s concerns lie beyond economic ramifications. "Our read of the statute is EPA doesn't have legal authority to waive the RFS or impose a price limitation. If the Administration were to go down that road, we would likely see them in court and prevail."

Dry Bean Scene — Listen to the Dry Bean Scene every Friday at 12:37 PM on the Red River Farm Network. This week, we visit with Northarvest Bean Growers Association President Tom Kennelly about Agriculture Secretary Perdue's visit to North Dakota.

Negotiations Continue — Farm bill action in the House is being delayed while House Agriculture Committee leadership hammer out SNAP and the nutrition title. Chairman Michael Conaway had hoped to mark up the bill before Easter, but it now looks like that will be pushed back until early April. Ranking Member Collin Peterson says his caucus will not support the proposed changes to food stamps. Peterson and Conaway are in negotiations over that language. Conaway says he is encouraged by these discussions.

Truck Shortages in the Potato Industy — Truck shortages are still impacting the potato industry. Part of the challenge is the hours of operation and the Electronic Logging Devices mandate. The Department of Transportation is extending agriculture’s exemption of the ELD mandate another 90 days. National Potato Council Vice President and CEO John Keeling says 90 days won’t produce a solution. “But 90 days gives us an opportunity to continue to understand the problem and the need for a solution. We’ll continue to press for a solution or longer time to study it and determine right thing to do.”

USDA to Withdraw from Organic Practices Rule — USDA has announced their decision to withdraw from the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule. The rule would have increased federal regulation of livestock and poultry for certified organic producers and handlers. USDA says policy and legal issues were identified within the rule, negatively impacting costs for producers and consumers. The withdrawal takes effect May 13.

Mixed Reactions to USDA Withdrawal — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association applauded USDA’s withdrawal of the organic marketing rule. In a statement, NCBA President Kevin Kester said the rule would have vilified conventionally raise livestock. "Under the rule, USDA did not have legal authority to implement animal-welfare regulations." National Farmers Union called the withdrawal “a mistake.” NFU President Roger Johnson said it will cost producers who already meet ‘organic’ standards, putting them on an uneven playing field with operations who also benefit from the USDA organic label. "It will also create consumer confusion about the meaning of the organic label."

MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association in the Minnesota Beef Update. Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association Executive Director Ashley Kohls has details on the group's recent trip to St. Paul. 

ASA Wants a Sit-Down with Trump — The American Soybean Association has requested a meeting with President Donald Trump. The ASA wants to avoid a trade war over the proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. In a letter to the White House, ASA President John Heisdorffer said the importance of the Chinese market for U.S. soybeans cannot be “overstated.”

Pruitt Meets with Farm Bureau Members — Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt reiterated his commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard. At the same time, Pruitt said the Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs, need to be reformed. While making comments to Farm Bureau members in Washington, D.C., Pruitt also said the changes to the Waters of the United States rule will respect private property rights.

MFBF Update — Here's the latest from the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation. This week, MFBF Director of Public Policy Amber Glaeser shares more about the farm bill, which is starting to take shape.

Crop Insurance Reform Sought — Minnesota’s Land Stewardship Project has released a report on the farm bill, claiming the crop insurance program needs to be reformed. LSP wants caps placed on the crop insurance premium subsidy for each farm. In addition, the report says budget cuts within the crop insurance program would free up money for conservation and nutrition assistance.

Mental Health Measure Introduced — A bill has been introduced in Congress to help farmers dealing with financial, emotional and physical stress. Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer introduced the bill, which would provide crisis hotlines, outreach services and training for farmer advocates. The National Young Farmers Coalition praised the bill, saying mental health impacts farmers and ranchers, regardless of age.

Addressing Groundwater ConcernsDuring the first go-around, it was better known as the nitrogen fertilizer rule. After release of Governor Dayton's proposed groundwater protection measure, some Minnesota agriculture organizations feel it is “overly broad” and will burden farmers. Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Fredrickon says the department will try to address all concerns. "Particularly, in parts that will be significantly impacted. It really starts in the central sands and moves down through the far southeast corner." The Minnesota Legislature will have a chance to review the rule. Fredrickson says there are a couple of bills coming from the northwest part of the state. "They would just assume remove rule-making authority from MDA on this specific issue. I just think that's bad government. They could go ahead and pass those bills and put them on the governor's desk." The final rule will likely be published in May, with a series of public meetings to follow. If accepted, the rule would take effect in 2020.

MCGA Asks Dayton to Release Nitrogen Rule Immediately — The Minnesota Corn Growers Association has asked Governor Mark Dayton to immediately release the draft nitrogen rule, followed by the 90-day comment period. The current timeline would publish the rule in May, followed by a 30-day comment period. MCGA said farmers need adequate time to provide input on this rule, and the governor’s schedule is “unacceptable.” Detailed maps were also requested so each farm can understand how the nitrogen rule will impact their operation.

Lessons LearnedWe're back with season two of Lessons Learned. RRFN's weekly podcast provides educational tools to help growers throughout 2018. This week, we visit with North Dakota State University Extension Agronomist Tom Peters about the new dicamba label. Lessons Learned is brought to you by BASF, the North Dakota Soybean Council and Peterson Farms Seed.

Putting ND on the Cover Crop MapNearly 250 farmers, researchers, and those alike, gathered in Fargo for the Midwest Cover Crops Council annual meeting. North Dakota State University Soil Health Specialist Abbey Wick says this meeting is exciting for area farmers utilizing cover crops, as it puts North Dakota on the map. "Farmers are interested in cover crops here to control wind erosion" says Wick. "I think you can tell by the attendance that farmers are interested. We've figured out how to use cover crops in a short growing season, and farmers want the information to be successful."  

The Cover Crops MindsetUniversity of Maryland soil scientist Ray Weil delivered the keynote address at the Midwest Cover Crops Council annual meeting. Weil says for farmers just starting with cover crops, it’s really a mindset. "It's really a rotation, not just throwing seed out after harvest. If you don't manage cover crops, they won't be successful." Weil adds cover crops are a no-brainer for farmers who raise both crops and cattle. "How do farmers get seed costs back? Graze it," says Weil. "If you have both rangeland and cropland, you can bring them together to improve both. Grazing is only efficient when the farmer is doing the thinking. Cows are not great managers. If you don't give that rangeland a rest, it's won't be productive."

Cover Crops Gaining Popularity — Over past couple years, NDSU Plant Sciences Professor Marisol Berti says cover crops have become more widely used throughout the state. A wide variety of cover crop research is taking place right here in North Dakota. "We've been able to do testing on interseeding into standing corn and soybeans. It's important because one limitation with cover crops is a short growing season," says Berti. "Because of that, there's not a chance to plant cover crops after soybean or corn harvest. The development of interseeding equipment has been beneficial."  

Soybean Marketing Seminar for WomenThe North Dakota Soybean Council hosted a Marketing Seminar for Women. Twenty women involved in soybean production learned more about the importance of marketing from the standpoint of running a business. Stewart-Peterson Senior Market Advisor Naomi Blohm led the seminar. In a global marketplace, Blohm says it’s important to understand what the markets are doing and why. It was Hazelton, North Dakota farmer Temree Appert’s first marketing seminar. Now-a-days, it's not just about producing a crop. "There's so much more to it, and the seminar was so beneficial," says Appert. "Aside from bookwork, I want to help with the marketing. Now, when the guys are talk about markets, I can understand what it means for our future."

Stay ConnectedLooking for ways to stay connected with the Red River Farm Network? Listen to our broadcasts by tuning in to your local RRFN affiliate. Our daily news segments - Country Morning, Agriculture Today and Market Analysis - are available on the RRFN website and by subscribing to podcasts on your iPhone and Android devices.

Honey Production Drops — U.S. honey production from producers with five or more hives declined nearly ten percent last year. North Dakota is the number one honey producing state, but production still dropped 11 percent. South Dakota, which is ranked second in honey production, saw production decline 27 percent. Minnesota honey production rose seven percent.

A Variable Propane Market — The United States exports approximately one million barrels of propane per day. CHS Propane Marketing Manager Andy Ernst says farmers should prepare for a variable market by “right-sizing” their tanks. "They should talk with their co-op about supply needs," says Ernst "Also, as farms get bigger and have more propane needs, farmers have to right-size their tanks. If a 500-gallon tank use to work with 500 acres, and now the size has doubled, the tank should double as well."

'18 Combine Sales Increase — Year-to-date, combine sales are up over 22 percent from a year ago. The sale of four-wheel drive tractors increased 15 percent. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers says two-wheel drive tractor sales dropped more than three percent.

MFU Minute — Here's the latest update from Minnesota Farmers Union. This week, National Farmers Union President Gary Wertish shares an update on the Minnesota Legislative Session.

Judge Rules on Air Quality Standards — A federal judge has ruled the EPA must designate areas for ambient air quality standards by April 30. Farm groups are concerned about the standards for particulate matter. Simple things, like driving on a gravel road, may be an issue. The American Farm Bureau Federation, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Fertilizer Institute are opposed to the changes.

Authority Supreme Approved — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency has registered FMC’s Authority Supreme herbicide for soybeans, sunflowers and other crops. The product controls a wide spectrum of weeds, including waterhemp, pigweed and kochia.

China Acts on Bayer-Monsanto Deal — Bayer’s plan to acquire Monsanto is one step closer to reality. If the new company is willing to make some changes, the Chinese Commerce Ministry has approved the deal. Due to one condition in the antitrust review, Bayer will need to sell off its vegetable seeds business. The Chinese government also wants its own agricultural software developers to have access to the digital platforms owned by the merged company.

Syngenta Settlement — If approved by a federal judge, Syngenta will pay the largest agricultural litigation settlement in U.S. history. A total of $1.5 billion will be split between four groups: growers who bought Viptera Duracade corn, those who did not, grain handling facilities and ethanol companies. China rejected U.S. corn shipments in 2013 due to the presence of the biotech hybrid, sending the market lower. If the settlement is approved, payments could be made in 2019.

Canola Minute — Here's the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. This week, NCGA Associate Director Sherri Coleman shares more about the Natural Products Expo West in California. 

Sinner Drops Interim From Her TitleThe North Dakota Soybean Council has named Stephanie Sinner as its executive director. Sinner has been in that role on an interim basis since December. "My passion has always been working in agriculture," she says. "I'm excited to continue working with farmers and soybean producers in North Dakota. The council has a team long-dedicated to the role of the checkoff and supporting farmers." Sinner has been with the Council since 2013 as its director of market development.

ND Soybean Council Seeking USB Nominations — The North Dakota Soybean Council is seeking farmers to fill a director position with the United Soybean Board. All checkoff paying soybean producers in North Dakota are eligible to apply. To be considered for the position, farmers must complete a nomination form and "Agreement to Serve" statement by April 3. The farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. 

Ag Facility to be Named After Ed Schafer — A bill to rename the Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center as the Edward Schafer Agricultural Research Center is on it's way to the president’s desk. Senator John Hoeven and Congressman Kevin Cramer introduced this legislation to honor the former governor and agriculture secretary.

New Ag Comm Major at UMC — The University of Minnesota-Crookston has added a new agriculture communications major to its degree offerings. This degree combines the agriculture and communication curriculum for the new major.

Alumni Honors — The University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences is recognizing two of its alumni. Dr. Bruce Behrends of Sparboe Farms will be presented the Golden Alumni Award for Achievement in Industry. Dr. Bradley Johnson, who holds the regents chair in meat science at Texas Tech University, is being recognized with the Golden Alumni Award for Academia. The awards will be presented April 4 on the St. Paul campus.

New Adjunct Professor Named — The University of Minnesota Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences has a new adjunct professor. Mary Jo Baarsch is a Minnesota native and oversees the biologics division for Pharmgate Animal Health.

Correction: Schutz to Lead UM Animal Science Department — The University of Minnesota has named the new head of its animal science department. Dr. Michael Schutz is an alumnus at the University of Minnesota who is now at Purdue University. In the last edition of FarmNetNews, Schutz's name was misspelled.

Last Week's TriviaFt. Meyers, Florida is the spring training home of the Minnesota Twins. Crookston farmer Ron Lanctot hits a home run in this week's trivia. Bob Volk of Pinnacle Ag, Duane Maatz of Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association, Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad, and Jim Altringer of Midwest Ag Energy earn runner-up honors. The 'first 20' honors also go to Todd Good of AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Brad Hertel of Meridian Seeds, Dianne Bettin of LB Pork, Curtis Noll of Noll's Dairy Farm, Kevin Schulz of National Hog Farmer, Bruce Trautman of Living the Dream Consulting, Erick Grafstrom of Performance Ag, Neal Plante of SunOpta, Brian Langeland of Golden Harvest, Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed, Mark Bernard of Agro-Economics, Greg Guse of Paulsen, Kyle Gustafson of WinField United, Evonne Wold of Vigen Construction and Jodi Johnson of AgCountry Farm Credit Services.