Red River Farm Network News

Lerner Cautious About Early PlantingWorld Weather, Inc. senior ag meteorologist Drew Lerner says there should be some opportunities for farmers to get their crops planted. However, Lerner sees quite a variety of weather ahead. “I think planting early is a great idea since I think it’ll turn a little drier later in the year. My biggest word of caution is be careful not to get too far ahead of the last frost/freeze date because I think there is a little bit of a higher risk of such occurrences taking place this year because we are still going to be dominated by a northwesterly flow aloft. That will bring shots of cold air periodically. We are going to see that repeated quite often as we go through April and May. There is a chance we may see something like that occur in June as well.” Regarding moisture, Lerner thinks we may run on the short side.

Planting Spring Wheat in the Onida Area — Farmers have been seeding spring wheat in the Onida, South Dakota area. Oahe Grain Onida location manager Tim Luken says farmers started seeding a couple of weeks ago. “We have some guys that are done, some that are in the middle and some that are just starting. The winter wheat is starting to come out of dormancy. From what I’ve been told, the winter wheat west of Highway 83 is in good shape. The wheat east is touch-and-go because we were kind of dry last fall.” Luken says moisture is a big concern in his area.

Waiting for the Ground to be Ready — Underwood, Minnesota farmer Lance Peterson is waiting for his ground to get fit before he can head to the field. Peterson thinks it could be another week. “Our soil temperatures are still very cold, there’s still frost in some areas. We only got about a half an inch of precipitation last fall and very little snow. It’s a real change over last year. It’s appearing that we might have a chance to plant from one end of the field to the other.” Peterson is expecting slightly less corn acres. “I think we’re going to see corn off some and soybeans are probably going to pick those acres up. We’re too far away from the sorghum growing areas where they’re seeing big changes in light of the tremendous price on that crop.”

Genotyping Center Aiming for June 1 OpenRenovations are underway at the USDA-ARS Research lab in Fargo, North Dakota to turn it into the National Agricultural Genotyping Center. National Corn Growers Association Director of Research and Business Development Dr. Richard Vierling says they’d like to open June 1. “We’re looking to buy equipment soon. We have a lot of things to do between now and June 1. Hopefully we can get them all done.” Vierling says job openings may be posted this week. “We’re going to start small, about ten employees to start. You can look at the North Dakota State University employment website to see the job descriptions.”

USDA Awards Economic Development Loans — USDA has awarded $31 million in loans and grants for 38 projects in 12 states to promote rural economic development. Agralite Electric Coop got a $1 million loan to help expand the Benson, Minnesota propane terminal and build a propane rail offloading facility. Sioux Valley Southwestern Electric Cooperative, Inc. in South Dakota got two grants, totaling $415,000, to help the Jasper Rural Fire Department buy a fire truck, and to help the Lake Area Improvement Corp. build a spec building in the Madison industrial park.

ADM Buying Belgian Company — ADM has reached an agreement to buy AOR, an edible oil bottling company based in Belgium. ADM’s Oilseeds Processing business president Matt Jansen says this acquisition will allow ADM to expand its product offerings and customer base in Europe, offering entry into the continental European retail and foodservice markets and a better ability to export value-added products internationally.

Rotate Modes of ActionWeeds are piling up on fence lines, which may result in additional weed pressure this growing season. Dow AgroSciences market development specialist Abe Smith is encouraging growers to scout early. Smith says weed resistance is becoming a concern in places like Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. “I would encourage you to investigate and understand what sort of modes of action you’re putting out on your fields year-to-year. Make sure you rotate modes of action where you can to improve your efficacy for the long term for your farm.”

Corn Matters — Hear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association's Corn Matters program. The Common Ground program is highlighted in this report.

Canola Minute — Here's the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. Canola production trends are showcased in this report.

Seeking a Solution to Wolf Depradation — The American Sheep Industry Association was on Capitol Hill this past week. Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers Association Secretary Jeremy Geske says the wolf depredation issue remains a concern. Federal funding has been made available to help offset losses. Geske says that’s a short-term fix. "We did have positive feedback from our congressional delegation." If the courts don't reverse the most recent decision, "there seems to be good bipartisan support for congressional action to remove the wolf from the Endangered Species Act."

Buffer Bill Remains in Play — The Minnesota Legislature has 12 weeks under its belt and another eight weeks to go. Agricultural lobbyist Bruce Kleven says one agriculture issue getting a lot of attention during this session is the Governor’s buffer initiative. This would require a 50-foot buffer around all ditches and waterways in the state. "The buffer bill did not make the committee deadline so for it to come back in the session, it must be as an amendment or in the budget bill," said Kleven, "Because it is a Governor's initiative, you can't rule that out and I think it will still be in play until the very last day of the session."

TRF Holds 35th Annual Farmer Appreciation Breakfast — Thief River Falls Radio hosted its 35th annual Farmer’s Appreciation Breakfast Saturday in Thief River Falls. Morning host Curt Quesnell says the breakfast is just one small way to say thank you to all of the farmers in northwestern Minnesota. “We appreciate our farmers and this is a great way to show that. It’s a little thing to do, but people seem to like it.” Photos from the event can be found on Facebook.

Leadership Appointments Made at AFA — The Agriculture Future of America board has promoted two staff members to executive management roles in the organization. Nancy Barcus will serve as chief operating officer and Mark Stewart is the AFA's president. Most recently, Barcus was the AFA's vice president of leader and organizational services. Stewart was the vice president of development and communications.