Red River Farm Network News

Morris to Oversee International Marketing for National Pork Board — Craig Morris has been named the new vice president of international marketing for the National Pork Board. Since 2004, Morris has been the deputy administrator of the livestock, poultry and seed program for USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Morris will join the Pork Checkoff staff on October 30.

Lawmakers Contend Jobs Will Be Lost With Biofuel Decision — A bipartisan group of 33 U.S. Senators has sent a letter to EPA, urging the agency to increase its proposed Renewable Volume Obligations for biodiesel in 2019. EPA has proposed a drop in the advanced biofuel volumes for 2018 and holds biodiesel volumes stagnant for 2019. The lawmakers signing this letter includes Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken; North Dakota Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp and South Dakota Senator John Thune.

New Leadership for New Co-op — With the unification of Wheat Growers and North Central Farmers Elevator, a new leadership team is in place. Chris Pearson is the chief executive officer. Pearson joined Wheat Growers in 2013 as the chief operating officer. Mike Nickolas is the new cooperative’s executive vice president and COO-grain. Nicolas was the general manager for NCFE.

Arnold Joins AgReliant Genetics Team — Megan Arnold is the new corporate communications manager for AgReliant Genetics. Arnold was working as an account manager for the Sandbox advertising agency.

New Leadership for Summers Manufacturing — Deb Anderson is retiring as president of Summers Manufacturing, but will transition to the board chair position. Ryan Gruhn, a longtime board member, will take over management as the company's CEO. Summers Manufacturing is based in Devils Lake, North Dakota and builds a variety of agricultural equipment. Anderson's father, Harley Summers, founded the company in 1965.

Label Changes Made for Dicamba UsageDicamba will be a ‘restricted use’ product in 2018. The Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with Monsanto, BASF and DuPont for over-the-top application of dicamba formulations. As a restricted use product, dicamba can only be applied by certified applicators. Additional record-keeping will be required for all farmers using dicamba. To reduce potential spray drift, dicamba products will only be allowed to be applied when wind speeds are below 10 miles per hour and there are requirements for the time of day application can take place.

A 'Tough Decision to Make' — Not only will states have to comply with EPA’s new restrictions on dicamba, states can also add their own restrictions on the product. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture assistant commissioner Susan Stokes says Minnesota doesn’t have all of the specifics yet on EPA’s decision and it will take time for them to figure out whether or not they’ll register the product for the next year. “We’ll look carefully at the restrictions EPA put on it and we’ll see if there are any Minnesota specific restrictions we need to impose or if it even makes sense. We’re in the process of investigating the complaints we’ve received over the summer. We need to wait until we get all of the information in before we can make a decision on it.” Stokes says farmers have some tough decisions to make. “Farmers should pay close attention to what the EPA has decided and make careful decisions about what they’ll buy for next year. I don’t envy farmers right now, they are in a difficult situation.”

Lessons LearnedWith the introduction of the new dicamba technology, farmers are adjusting to the new systems. Lessons Learned is produced by the Red River Farm Network to provide education and the tools to help growers prepare for 2018. Listen to the podcast. Thanks to BASF and Peterson Farms Seed for sponsoring this initiative. 

BASF to Purchase Bayer's Liberty/Liberty Link Business — There’s been another landmark shift in the seed and chemical business. BASF has agreed to purchase Bayer’s LibertyLink-branded seed and the Liberty herbicide business. The deal is valued at $7 billion. This sale is contingent upon Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto being approved. The BASF purchase of this Bayer seed and chemical business will likely appease regulators. The Bayer-Monsanto sale is expected to close in early 2018.

Palmer Amaranth Found in Todd County — A new Palmer amaranth infestation has been confirmed in central Minnesota’s Todd County in central Minnesota. Minnesota Department of Agriculture Noxious Weed Supervisor Anthony Cortilet says the investigation involves six conservation plantings on 123 acres. Palmer amaranth was found in five-of-the-six plantings. “The good news is the plantings were done in mid-summer. We had two consecutive frosts this past week, so all of the palmer plants are dead. That’s good for us right now. These were not matured to the point of high seed production by any sense, similar to what we had last year.” Palmer was first confirmed in Minnesota last year in Lyon and Yellow Medicine Counties. Cortilet is confident this weed infestation can be eradicated. All landowners are advised to work with reputable seed companies when buying native seed for conservation plantings. “Also, to require if they are buying seed, that seed dealer show they’ve tested that lot the seed will come out of and it doesn’t contain palmer amaranth.” Palmer amaranth has been confirmed in 29 states. That list includes Minnesota and South Dakota, but not North Dakota.  

Above Average Yields, But Lower Than Last YearNorthwood, North Dakota farmer Rick Ostlie says this year’s soybean crop is probably above average, but it is definitely yielding lower than last year. "The moisture has come down without getting too dry. A couple of areas have been a little wet, but not too bad. Averages so far have been in the mid-to-upper 40s." Ostlie says his corn crop should be ready to harvest early this week. "I think it's going to be a good, average crop. We may have to wait a few days after taking off 200-to-300 acres of early varieties. I don't want to go over 23 percent moisture, and ideally get it down to 20 percent." Harvest Hotline is sponsored, in part, by AgCountry Farm Credit Services. 

Waiting on Fields to Dry — Benson, Minnesota farmer Patrick O’Leary is waiting for fields to dry before getting back into soybean harvest. The area had rains over the weekend. His farm got less than an inch of rain. “The beans are maybe an average crop. We hope only a day and a half or two days left of soybean harvest. We’ll try some corn this afternoon.” O’Leary says harvest is behind about two weeks. There are three weeks of corn harvest left. “Harvest has been going pretty good.” Harvest Hotline is sponsored, in part, by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. 

Dry Bean Scene — The Dry Bean Scene airs Fridays at 12:37 PM on the Red River Farm Network. In this week's update, you'll get an update on harvest progress in northeast North Dakota and other parts of dry bean production areas.

Corn Matters — Hear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association's Corn Matters program. Get an update on a new program called 'Minnesota Corn Grows Minnesota.' For this election cycle, MCGA is engaging with all major party gubernatorial candidates. These candidates will join corn farmers in the cab of the combine and experience the harvest. “We have visits arranged in the next month with seven candidates confirmed," said Amanda Bilek, senior public policy director.

Grow More Sugar — This week, we visit with Hilleshog portfolio lead Tyler Ring. He highlights new beet genetics for 2018. Grower More Sugar, the Sugarbeet Report can be found online.

Potato Quality Looks Good in Red River Valley — Potato harvest continues in the Red River Valley. Associated Potato Growers general manager Paul Dolan says the late-season rains were a blessing to growers. For the most part, the quality of the potatoes look good. “The size profile is really good. There are plenty of them. The yields are above average.”

Fall Fertilizer Prep — Some farmers are applying or getting ready to apply fertilizer. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is advising farmers and applicators to check soil temperature before applying, making sure the soil temperature stays below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Waiting increases the availability of nitrogen to the next season’s crop and decreases the amount of nitrate which could potentially leach into groundwater or tile drainage. The MDA is currently proposing a rule which may restrict nitrogen fertilizer application in areas by 2019.

Recommendations Made to Improve NASS Surveys — The National Academy of Sciences wants the National Agricultural Statistics Service to use technology to improve the way it gathers information for crop reports and other surveys. One recommendation would involve the use of model-based estimates that bring together data from multiple sources. The study found statistical agencies, like NASS, are seeing declines in survey responses. As a result, USDA has been unable to publish crop estimates for numerous counties. The lack of county-level information also influences programs handled by the Risk Management Agency and the Farm Service Agency.

Agriculture Deserves a Fair Shake — North Dakota Farmers Union President Mark Watne is very concerned about the proposed cuts to agriculture in the House budget. “That’s what we heard when we were out in D.C. They said there may be some cuts, but we’ll try to hold the baseline. It’s sad when we’re told one thing and something else happens. The reality is we’ve had about $100 billion dollars in cuts and savings in the last ten years. We’re the only budget item that had that. It’s time agriculture gets back to getting its fair shake.” 

Co-ops CommitFor more than 50 years, October has been celebrated as co-op month. 'Co-ops Commit' is the theme for 2017. There are more than 40,000 cooperative businesses nationwide with 350 million members. A cooperative's sole purpose is to maximize benefits to its members rather than maximizing benefits to shareholders. Associated Milk Producers, Inc. and the North Dakota Farmers Union salute cooperatives during October Co-op Month. 

The Legal Challenge of WOTUS — The U.S. Supreme Court heard the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s legal challenge to the Waters of the United States rule on Wednesday. The Supreme Court is determining if the case should be heard in the district court or the appellate court. NCBA’s environmental counsel Scott Yager was at the Supreme Court. “It went really well. I was really happy with what I saw." Yager says if SCOTUS makes a unanimous decision, an announcement can happen in four-to-five weeks. It can take longer if they don’t all agree. Yager explained how the case can impact the rulemaking process at the EPA. “If the EPA rescinds the 2015 WOTUS rule before the court issues a decision, that would moot the case. Which means we wouldn’t get a decision here and we would have to relitigate that in the future. We don’t want that. We can’t control this too much, but we would want the court to issue their decision and the EPA rescinds the 2015 rule.”

A Leaner NDSU Extension Service — North Dakota State University Extension is maneuvering through budget cuts of $4 million for this biennium. Extension Director Chris Boerboom says about 80 percent of the budget goes for staff and salaries. “When vacancies existed with retirements or someone left their position, we were forced to leave those open. We are down about 20 positions right now. They’re frozen. That’s, in a nutshell, what it has meant for Extension.” Vacancies can be found in every aspect of Extension. At the administrative level, the districts have been realigned and there are now just three district directors statewide. To be more efficient, NDSU Extension will use more technology delivery systems. “Extension has evolved from where we were 100 years ago and we’re continuing to evolve right now. This budget situation will continue to help us examine what we’re doing so we do it the best way we can.” It has been a tough year, but Boerboom says NDSU Extension stepped to help farmers and ranchers deal with the drought and other difficult issues like weed resistance.

Criminal Penalties Seen in Some Counties for Buffer Non-Compliance — Unless a waiver has been granted, Minnesota landowners are facing a November 1 deadline for implementation of the buffer laws. Counties can impose a civil fine for non-compliance, but some counties have criminal penalties in place. Warren Formo leads the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center and says the decision comes at the local level. “As counties work on their local ordinance, it’s important landowners to be talking to their county commissioners to make sure they are sorting through that and putting together an ordinance that works for landowners. Also, they should recognize in the counties that have adapted criminal language, it’s generally because they’ve had criminal language related to similar types of ordinances in the past.”

MN Farm Bureau Minute — Here's the latest from the Minnesota Farm Bureau. In this report, we learn more about global trade. 

MnDOT Schedules Listening Sessions — The Minnesota Department of Transportation is seeking public comment about mowing road ditches. Late last year, the DOT sent out a news release saying permits were required to mow and make hay along state highways which kicked off a firestorm of reaction from the farm community. During the 2017 legislative session, a moratorium was implemented on permitting and a public outreach effort was put in place. Seven public meetings will be held statewide for Minnesotans to voice their concerns, kicking off October 30 in Crookston.

ELD Proposal Challenges for Ag Retailers — Livestock farmers and ranchers aren’t the only people in agriculture having challenges with the current Electronic Logging Device proposal. Ag Retailers Association president and CEO Daren Coppock says there is concern none of the retailers are certified by the Department of Transportation as being compliant with the regulation. “Even if you go out and buy a new system and put it in your truck, you’re not guaranteed you’ll be in compliance with the regulation because DOT hasn’t blessed them yet. That’s one problem," he says. "Another challenge is a lot of states will do exemptions during hauls during harvest or key seasons of the year. We also have the agriculture exemption which lifts the hour restriction within a 150-mile radius. All of those exceptions will make it hard to have an electronic system that catches them all. If there is a mistake and someone gets caught out of compliance, there will be a problem.” Coppock says the ARA is working with the transportation department to delay the rule and phase it in over the time.  

Grazing Cover CropsIt’s October, and with fall weather comes killing frosts and pasture deterioration. Lawton, North Dakota farmer Justin Zahradka has switched his cattle to grazing cover crops. "My forage mix consists of oats, peas, sorgum sudangrass, radishes, turnips and clover. I expect the cattle to add on a lot of pounds in a short amount of time this fall." Zahradka hopes his cattle can graze cover crops until December, and with that, calve out on cover crops come spring. "I'd also like to try bale grazing this winter, depending on the conditions. I just planted winter rye a couple weeks ago, so I pushed my calving date back to May."

Pasture Conditions Improve, But Are Still Difficult — The fall cattle run is well underway for Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange in Dickinson, North Dakota. Larry Schnell, who is the owner/operator of the auction market, says many calves are brining $100 per head more than one year ago. Conditions look better out west than they did a few months ago. “A lot of western North Dakota got three to six inches of rain. No matter how much they got, the grass greened up," he says. "We’re in a little better position than we were earlier. There are some farmers who rather than feeding calves, will leave them on the cows and put them on what is normally hay land, but will now be grazed. They’ll be able to hold onto those calves a little longer, but are still very short hay.”

Calf Sales Pick Up Later This Month in Aberdeen — Hub City Livestock co-owner Steve Hellwig says he’s not surprised about the decent calf prices seen this fall. He’s grateful for the decent prices for producers in the Aberdeen, South Dakota area. “Just getting started on the calves and we’re right in the middle of yearlings. People are weaning calves, starting to sell calves and wrap up harvest. Once we hit the first of November, we’ll be going strong.”

MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association in their weekly Minnesota Beef Update. Learn about the upcoming Minnesota Beef Expo.

High Stakes — National Corn Growers Association director of public policy Lesly McNitt is closely watching the negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Mexico is one of the top markets for U.S. corn. McNitt acknowledges trading partners have shown they’re willing to seek alternative options. “We believe strongly the grain produced in the U.S. is superior. There are lots of benefits to doing business with the U.S, but we recognize our global competitors are being proactive in their efforts to secure more free trade agreements.” Agriculture depends on trade. “We’re encouraged to hear that new free trade agreements are going to be a priority. They are a priority to us. We hold South Korea as a very important trading partner. Even though we have an existing trade agreement, it’s important KORUS Free Trade Agreement remains intact.”

WSJ Food Forum Tackles Big Issues — The Wall Street Journal hosted its Global Food Forum this past week in New York. This event brought together the thought leaders in the agriculture and food industry, including Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant, DowDuPont Chief Operating Officer James Collins and leading executives from Tyson Foods, Pepsico, General Mills and Cargill. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue were also on the agenda. Kristin Weeks Duncanson of Duncanson Growers at Mapleton, Minnesota was invited to participate and said it is a unique event. "It is always interesting to see what companies are working on and translate it to how we are going to operate on the farm." Duncanson said farmers are willing to adopt new practices, if there is an opportunity for profitability. "But, they need to remember that are crops in Southern Minnesota aren't even out of the ground and we've already ordered our inputs, our seed and fertilizer, for next year." The forum concentrated on ‘big picture’ topics, like sustainability, clean labels, and robotic farming.  

Canola Minute — Canola growers are partnering with a dietitan to promote canola oil to millennials. Here's the latest Canola Minute  from the Northern Canola Growers Association. 

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. 

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Dow and ADM Collaborate on Enlist E3 Soybeans — Dow AgroSciences and ADM have put together a closed-loop system to make Enlist E3 soybeans available in 2018. Protocols are in place to make sure these soybeans end up at specific ADM facilities which serve only North American markets. There are four ADM plants designated for the program, including one in Mankato, Minnesota.

Gene Editing Collaboration Formed — DuPont Pioneer and CasZyme have entired into a multiyear collaboration to advance gene-editing technology. CasZyme is a startup company based in Lithuania focusing on the use of CRISPR-based molecular tools. The goal of this effort is provide researchers with additional tools for gene editing across all applications.

NDFMGA Update — It was a good year for peppers. More in this update from the North Dakota Farmers Markets and Growers Association.

Dalrymple to be Honored at Harvest Bowl — Former North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple will receive the 2017 Agribusiness Award during the North Dakota State University Harvest Bowl program. Dalrymple grew up on a farm near Casselton. After graduating with honors from Yale University, Dalrymple returned to manage the farming enterprise. Dalrymple was named the Outstanding Young Farmer of the United States; was the founding board chairman for Dakota Growers Pasta Company and enjoyed a long career in public service. The Harvest Bowl awards program will be November 10 in Fargo.

NorthStar Genetics Adds DSM to Its Team — Mike Seyer is a new district sales manager for NorthStar Genetics, serving northeastern South Dakota. Seyer has a background in sales and agronomy and is based in Aberdeen.

Last Week's TriviaIn the classic Halloween cartoon, Charlie Brown only received rocks when he was out trick-or-treating. Patrick Gilligan of Marubeni America Corporation was the first in with the correct answer and is our weekly trivia winner. Kevin Schulz of National Hog Farmer, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Westbrook farmer David Van Loh and Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad earn runner-up honors. The 'first 20' recognition goes to Nick Sinner of MN-SD Equipment Dealers Association, Bruce Miller of Minnesota Farmers Union, Mark Mettler of PreferredOne, Phyllis Nystrom of CHS Hedging, Senator Franken's strategic communications manager Marc Kimball, Paul Sproule of Sproule Farms, Dianne Bettin of LB Pork, Mark Bernard of Agro-Economics, Holly Heintzman of R.D. Offutt Company, Roger Wippler of Minnesota Crop Improvement Assocation and Central Lakes College FBM instructor Bob Rick.