Red River Farm Network News

2Q Results Released by DuPont — For the second quarter, DuPont is reporting sales of $7.1 billon. Strength in the agriculture division helped overall sales increase two percent. Agriculture sales increased three percent, helped by higher seed corn and insecticide sales. At the same time, soybean sales volume declined. The DuPont agriculture business had operating earnings of $865 million, up from $772 million one year ago.

Inaugural Minneapolis Ag Club Meeting Scheduled — The HighQuest Group is forming an agriculture group in Minneapolis. Similar groups are in places like Chicago, Des Moines and New York. Individuals in the food, agribusiness and ag investment community meet for networking purposes and to discuss business trends. The first-ever Minneapolis Ag Club meeting will be held Tuesday, August 3.

Forage Genetics International Expands Its Alfalfa Business — As of September 1, Forage Genetics International will acquire Syngenta’s alfalfa seed business. The NEXGROW alfalfa brand and the lineup of alfalfa varieties will be available from FGI. The Syngenta alfalfa dealers and seed advisors will have the opportunity to become dealers for the NEXGROW brand of alfalfa seed.

Activist Shareholders Challenge SunOpta — SunOpta is facing pressure from a second activist shareholder. In late May, the U.S. hedge fund Tourbillion Capital Partners urged SunOpta to consider the sale of all or part of the company. It is now apparent that Toronto-based West Face Capital is also seeking strategic changes at SunOpta. Tourbillion is SunOpta’s largest shareholder, while West Face is the company’s third-largest shareholder.  

Canola Minute — Here's the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. Learn more about the Langdon Canola Field Day.

ND Soybean Minute — Hear the latest North Dakota Soybean Minute from the North Dakota Soybean Council and the soybean checkoff. Learn about Soybean Cyst Nematode. 

Stay with 250 Soybean Aphids Per Plant Threshold — Soybean aphid populations are being found in the region, but at fairly low levels. University of Minnesota Extension Entomologist Ian MacRae encourages farmers to be alert for economic thresholds before treatment. “Stick with 250 aphids per plant. I know you'll hear lower numbers, but they aren’t really justified,” says MacRae. “At 250 aphids per plant, you're not losing yield at that point. There have been comments about soybean aphids perhaps opening the plant up for bacterial infection, but that's not really the way it works."

Responding to Soybean Aphids — The University of Minnesota Extension crop science faculty has led a multi-state effort in issuing a white paper to remind the agricultural community when insecticides are an appropriate response to soybean aphids and when they’re unnecessary and even potentially harmful. Extension specialists say long-term returns can be reduced if insecticide resistance becomes fixed in the soybean aphid population, which has happened many times in the history of pest management. Management recommendations are based on a 250-aphids-per-plant economic threshold for treatment. Regional Extension educator Phil Glogoza says spraying insecticides when they’re not needed can lead to aphids developing resistance and kill beneficial insects. 

Dry Bean Scene — The Dry Bean Scene is on the air, with information about dry bean conditions. This broadcast airs each Friday at 12:37 PM. 

The Sugarbeet Report — The weekly Sugarbeet Report shares an update on crop conditions. Thanks to SESVANDERHAVE and Dow AgroSciences for their sponsorship.

Corn MattersHear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association's Corn Matters program. In this week's update, learn about the University of Minnesota Extension Crop News blog.

National GMO Labeling Law Takes Pressure Off States — The federal GMO labeling bill awaits President Barack Obama’s signature. With a national standard, Minnesota AgriGrowth Council public policy director Cory Bennett says state legislatures will no longer have to deal with this controversial issue. "It takes a lot of pressure off of the states on having to deal with that issue and figure out the intangibles of it. Hopefully, that takes care of the issue for awhile and we can move forward and put our efforts into other places."

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MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association in their weekly MN Beef Update. Learn more about the Region 3 National Environmental Stewardship award winner. 

North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association UpdateListen to the latest from the North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association.   

Checkoff Changes — Changes have been proposed for the beef and soybean checkoff programs. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is adding language that would allow beef and soybean farmers to redirect their entire checkoff assessments to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board or United Soybean Board. This change would only apply to states where there is no state law overseeing the checkoff or refund provisions. Public comment on this proposal will be accepted until September 13.

MPP Enrollment Extension Requested — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, Ranking Member Collin Peterson and Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow want USDA to extend the enrollment period for the dairy industry's Margin Protection Program. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the lawmakers say extending the deadline to December 31 would encourage more participation. Since MPP was created in the 2014 farm bill, milk prices have dropped almost 40 percent and cheese stocks now stand at record high levels. The current enrollment deadline is September 30.

MN Farm Bureau Minute — Here's the latest from the Minnesota Farm Bureau. In this report, MFBF highlights the recent water issues forums.

UM Research and Extension Positions Funded Through AGREETT — In 2015, the Minnesota Legislature passed legislation to support agricultural productivity research. University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Dean Brian Buhr says the Agricultural Research Extension Education and Technology Transfer program is moving forward. "Right now, we've identified what those positions are by working with Extension, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the advisory board made up of commodity and farm organizations." Buhr hopes to have the first positions filled by January 1. These researchers will take a broad approach to issues like water quality and animal health. "We're looking at the bigger picture issues. We're hopeful this is a significant enhancement to our research and Extension capacity."

U.S. Grains Meeting Underway — U.S. Grains Council members are in Louisville for their summer meeting. Delegates and guests at the 56th Annual Board of Directors meeting will hear from dynamic speakers on the impact of trade to U.S. agriculture and the grains sectors specifically as well as updates on Grains Council programs operating in more than 50 countries. U.S. Grains Council Chairman Alan Tiemann, a farmer from Nebraska, says exports of corn, sorghum and barley were worth nearly $12 billion to the U.S. economy last marketing year, with exports of dried distiller’s grains and ethanol worth another $4.6 billion.

New Sustainability Division at Land O'Lakes — Land O’Lakes has formed a new sustainability business division. The new division is designed to enhance conservation and environmental efficiency in Land O’Lakes dairy foods, Purina feed and WinField agronomy. The new business unit will be known as Sustain and will be managed by Matt Carstens. Carstens previously served as vice president at United Suppliers, which merged with Land O’Lakes last year.

A Game ChangerA new tool is available for farmers growing alfalfa. WinField alfalfa specialist Jeff Jackson says reduced lignin alfalfa will give farmers more options. "It is really a game-changer because now we have the flexibility of taking higher quality alfalfa when we used to harvest or the flexibility of delayed harvest and having the same quality alfalfa seven days later than the conventional products used today. Now we have options. We can either take higher quality hay on the same cutting schedule or we can reduce our timing a little bit with the same quality with a little extra tonnage at the same time." WinField had a limited launch of the reduced lignin alfalfa this year with a full commercial launch in 2017.

AURI Update — In the weekly update from the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. AURI invites you to visit their booth at the upcoming FarmFest celebration.

Deere Layoffs — Effective September 6, 120 production employees at the John Deere Harvester Works facility in East Moline, Illinois will be placed on indefinite layoff. Deere & Company said the adjustment in the size of its workforce is due to market demands for agricultural equipment.

Learning About the U.S. Wheat Industry — Five executives from Colombia will visit North Dakota, Montana and Louisiana this week to gain a better understanding of the U.S. wheat industry. The team represents the major flour, cookie and pasta groups in Colombia, and account for about 40 percent of the country’s wheat imports last year. The Colombians will be at the Northern Crops Institute in Fargo today, and visit a grain elevator as well as Todd Ellison’s farm in Mapleton, North Dakota. 

Kaine's New Chief of Staff has Ties to Agriculture — Former USDA communications director Matt Paul will be the chief of staff for Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine. Paul was an advisor to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack up until March of last year. That’s when Paul took over as the state director for Hillary Clinton in Iowa.

MDA Deputy Commissioner to Retire — Minnesota Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Jim Boerboom will retire in early October. Boerboom was appointed Deputy Commissioner in 2007 under former Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson and has continued in that role with current Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. Boerboom has been at the Minnesota Agriculture Department since 1995, when he led the Rural Finance Authority. Assistant Commissioner Matt Wohlman will succeed Boerboom as the Deputy Commissioner.

DMI Promotes O'Brien — Barb O’Brien is the now the president of Dairy Management, Incorporated, which manages the national dairy checkoff. This is a newly created position within DMI. In this role, O’Brien will oversee strategic planning and operations. O’Brien has been with DMI for 15 years  and will remain the president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Jones Accepts Illini Job — Robert Jones has been named the chancellor the University of Illinois. For the past three years, Jones was president of the University of Albany. Before that, Jones spent 34 years at the University of Minnesota. Fifteen of those years were in administrative leadership roles. Before that, Jones was a professor of agronomy and plant genetics.

New USW Officers Installed — Maryland farmer Jason Scott has been installed as the new chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates. Crystal, North Dakota farmer Brian O’Toole will transition to past chairman and chairman of the budget committee. Mike Miller of Washington is vice chair and Chris Kolstad of Montana is secretary-treasurer. The installation of new officers capped off the U.S. Wheat Associates summer board meeting in Fargo.

Local Students Recognized for Fellowship — The World Food Prize Foundation and USDA have confirmed 37 students from across the country for the prestigious Wallace-Carver Fellowhsip, which offers exceptional college students the opportunity to collaborate with world-renowned scientists and policymakers through paid summer internships at leading USDA research centers and offices. The list of 37 students include two from the University of Minnesota, Eva Henningsen and Shantal Pai. Kierra Leddy, a South Dakota State University student, has also earned a fellowship. The Fellowship culminates in a week-long leadership symposium at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Secretary of Agriculture.

Star Finalists NamedThe National FFA Organization has named the 16 finalists for its American Star awards. Tysen Rosenau of Carrington, North Dakota is one of four finalists for the American Star Farmer. The region has two finalists in the running for the Star in Agribusiness, David Stenzel of United South Central FFA in Minnesota and Shane Mueller of Garretson FFA in South Dakota. Brett Petersen of Kerkhoven Murdock Sunburg FFA in Minnesota is a finalist for the American Star in Agricultural Placement and Elizabeth Renner of West Central FFA in South Dakota is a finalist for the American Star in Agriscience. Four winners will be named at the National FFA Convention in late October.

Farm Families to be Recognized — Eighty-one Minnesota farm families will be recognized as the 2016 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota Extension during Farmfest. UM Extension says the families were selected based on their commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture. 

Minnesotan to Lead NALJA for 2016-2017 — Anna Johnson, who is from Sebeka, Minnesota, is the new president of the North American Limousin Junior Association. This is Johnson's second term on the NALJA board.