A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, April 13, 2020
Reporting Agriculture’s Business – The number of new coronavirus cases has declined for two straight days, offering some hope. With this pandemic, we’ve seen an unprecedented shutdown of the economy and an unprecedented response from the government. As you’ll read in this edition of FarmNetNews, the Red River Farm Network is providing comprehensive COVID-19 coverage for the agricultural community. Thanks for tuning in and stay safe!
Trump Pledges Support for Agriculture – President Donald Trump went on-air and online to show his support for farmers Thursday. Comments were made during the White House news briefing on coronavirus. “We have money going out to our farmers in the pretty near future,” said Trump. “Farmers got hurt very badly by all of this; we’re going to be helping out our farmers.” On Twitter, Trump also indicated he has directed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to expedite help to farmers, especially small farm operations. In Trump’s words, his administration “will always be there for our great farmers, cattlemen, ranchers and producers.” Perdue responded in a tweet, saying USDA is using all of its resources to develop a program that will include direct payments to farmers and ranchers hurt by COVID-19.
Perdue Gives Status Update on Farmer Coronavirus Aid – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the USDA continues the process of getting feedback from agricultural groups on the USDA’s response to COVID-19. “We’re meeting daily getting data, listening to stakeholders within the various commodity groups and getting their ideas, talking to members on the Hill,” explains Perdue. “Our goal is to get it done sooner rather than later. We want it done very inclusively. We are in the process of collecting proposals and ideas from every sector affected so we can be as balanced and fair in the allocation of the $9.5 billion.” Perdue says the Commodity Credit Corporation funds are limited at this time. “The replenishment won’t come until later so we’re limited to the CCC to our cash flow, about $6 billion. We’re looking forward to getting that out as soon as possible. I’m sure a rule will be required, but our goal at USDA is to move expeditiously, as soon as we feel like we have the appropriate input and data from the various people affected.”
COVID-19 Relief Highlighted in Peterson Townhall – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson held a telephone townhall on Wednesday. In the call, Peterson said the USDA will make payments to farmers. “They’re going to do another payment that’s not going to be based on trade, but how much damage was done to your industry due to the coronavirus. There will be some money to farmers,” said Peterson. “Farmers will get paid by the USDA on either a per-acre or a per-animal basis. In the case of dairy, it will probably be so much per hundredweight. It should come out in the next week or two. There will be some direct help for farmers and it will not have to be paid back.” Peterson said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has about $34 billion to help, but he doesn’t want to spend all of the Commodity Credit Corporation funds. “The dairy industry has asked the USDA for $6 billion, the cattle industry asked for $6 billion, hogs asked for $2 billion, ethanol asked for $5 billion, chickens and turkeys will probably ask for $2 billion, the specialty crops asked for $6 billion and the corn and soybean guys had me run some numbers. They’re asking for $30 to $40 billion,” explained Peterson. “These are all worthwhile things, but I don’t know where the money is going to come from to do this.” Listen to the townhall discussion.
Ag Groups Working to Determine COVID-19 Impact – Agriculture groups are working with the USDA to determine the economic impact of the coronavirus. The National Association of Wheat Growers is getting recommendations from growers across the country and paying attention to any disruptions taking place at ports. “We’re so heavily dependent on export markets and have seen recent big purchases from China, which is huge for wheat growers,” said Josh Tonsager, vice president of policy and communications, NAWG. “We’re watching to see if there are any hiccups that come up in the logistical side of the supply chain. If there’s an outbreak of the coronavirus at the ports that could slow down shipments.” Tonsager said there are some time restraints of when the USDA can disperse Commodity Credit Corporation funds replenished in the CARES Act. “However, there is $6 billion left in the CCC. They can move that soon or use it as part of a bigger disaster aid program or something like the Market Facilitation Program.”
Potato Industry Looking at Scope of Coronavirus Impact – The National Potato Council is working to capture the coronavirus impact on U.S. potato growers. There is a lack of demand for potatoes in the food service industry. “Our supply chain is backing up and it’s impacting 2019 storage potatoes that are supposed to be going to processing facilities. Those processing facilities are operating at a slower pace and could potentially shut down,” says Kam Quarles, CEO, National Potato Council. “It’s also impacting the 2020 crop being planted.” Quarles confirms the specialty crop industry is asking the USDA for $5 to $6 billion in COVID-19 assistance. This won’t all go to the potato industry. “There is $700 million to $1 billion worth of potato products in a compromised position right now. Potatoes are a $4 billion industry on an annual basis. Sixty percent is in food service,” explains Quarles. “When you shut down food service for one quarter, you can do the math, but those numbers pile up quick. This is something we’ve never faced before.”
Immediate Assistance Sought for Dairy Farmers – The National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association have submitted a joint request to USDA, seeking assistance for dairy farmers. With school closures and the foodservice sector at a standstill, dairy product sales have crashed. That has resulted in big losses in the milk check. In a statement, NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said immediate actions are needed to help dairy farmers survive a devastating market.
Senators Ask Perdue for Biofuel Support – Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and 13 others sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting additional funds for the biofuels industry. The lawmakers said adding additional Commodity Credit Corporation funds to the Higher-Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program will drive future biofuel demand. The decrease in fuel consumption caused ethanol production facilities to idle production.
National Leader Offers Words of Encouragement on COVID-19 – When in uncertain times and continue market volatility, some positives can come from a negative situation. That’s according to National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Marty Smith, who shares this piece of advice. “I hope everyone would focus back on their families and their own health. Let’s work together and let’s fix the problems within the market system,” says Smith. “Let’s also be thankful we’re able to produce beef and continue to feed the world. One of the good things we’ve seen is unprecedented demand for beef. We’re thankful for that and that is good news.” Smith has more in this interview with RRFN.
Meeting the Demand for Small Business Loans – There’s been a strong demand for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program loans. North Dakota Bankers Association President and CEO Rick Clayburgh says there are still a few banks in North Dakota who can’t access the SBA portal, but it’s improving. The Senate is attempting to add additional dollars to the program, which could give farmers more time to apply. “We hope to address the needs of businesses, farmers and ranchers who haven’t been able to get to their lender and fill out an application.”
More Details on the Paycheck Protection Program Loans – Agriculture enterprises that employ 500 or fewer people are eligible for Paycheck Protection Program loans. These are the small business loans from the latest coronavirus economic stimulus package. In the past, the Small Business Administration hasn’t considered farms as qualified businesses, but this changed with the latest stimulus package. “There’s no revenue limitations for a farmer and also, this program can give farmers enough money to pay payroll for a two month period,” explains Mark Giddings, CEO, Giddings and Associates. “It has to be spent within eight weeks after it’s funded, with 75 percent on payroll and 25 percent for other costs.” The application process is open for small businesses, sole proprietorships and self-employed individuals. Loans are funded by the bank where a farmer applies. Giddings says the government authorized all financial institutions and all farm credit organizations to originate the loans. However, some of the institutions are struggling getting into the SBA system. They may not be able to get a loan processed quickly. Program funds will be allocated to small businesses on a first come, first served basis. Download the sample application and hear the interview.
Small Business Administration System Challenges Local Lenders – Farm Credit Services across the country are struggling to access the Small Business Administration portal to administer Paycheck Protection Program loans. According to AgCountry Farm Credit Services Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Howard Olson, AgCountry is not taking applications from farmers until they know applications can be forwarded to the SBA. Olson said customers should be talking with their local banks in the meantime. “At this point, as much as we’d like farmers to be able to work with us on it, we feel the most important thing is for farmers to get an application in. There’s a limit to the amount of money and it seems to be in high demand. We are concerned funding may run out on this before farmers get an application submitted.” Olson said AgCountry is working with lawmakers to resolve these challenges. Hear the interview.
Lawmakers May Try Again to Boost Funds for Small Business Loans – Lawmakers may try again to increase funding for small business loans. The first attempt was blocked in the Senate last week. Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said they’d continue to try and add $250 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program. The current program has $350 billion and there’s been a strong demand for the loans. South Dakota Senator John Thune said lawmakers don’t want the program to run out of money. “It’s the kind of program that does exactly what we intended it to do. There have been some hiccups and glitches with lenders, but the demand on the program has been substantial.” Thune clarified farmers are eligible for PPP loans. “I think there was an assumption that farmers wouldn’t be eligible, but we are asking them to go check with their lender. There are other things we’re trying to do in addition to this program to help farmers, but we think this tool should be available for them.”
MFBF Update – Assistance for agricultural producers passed in the recent CARES Act continues to be a top priority for Farm Bureau. Hear more from Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation Director of Public Policy Amber Glaeser in the MFBF Update.
A Decline Expected for U.S. Dairy Exports – U.S. Dairy Export Council President and CEO Tom Vilsack says the coronavirus pandemic is a gut punch for commodity prices across the board, especially for the U.S. dairy industry. At the beginning of 2020, there was momentum in dairy exports. “Our February numbers showed that dairy was exporting at a rate better than last year, but we fully anticipate because of the virus, there will be a decline going forward,” says Vilsack. “I also want to emphasize the fact that we have products. Cows don’t know there’s a virus and they’re continuing to produce milk. Farmers are continuing to work 24 hours each day, seven days a week to produce milk. There are processing plants making the ingredients, cheese, milk and other products. There’s no need for retailers to restrict the amount of milk being purchased by consumers nor is there any reason for people on the export side to believe any order they need can’t be filled by the U.S. dairy industry. We’re going to look for creative ways to get as much U.S. product to as many people around the world as possible.”
USDA Adjustments for Dumped Milk – The Risk Management Agency will not penalize dairy farmers if their milk is dumped due to recent market disruptions. The milk will count as actual marketings for the Dairy Revenue Production program or the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy program. The closure of schools and restaurants destroyed demand for milk and dairy products at a time many processing plants are operating at full capacity.
USDA Grants Marketing Loan Extensions – Farmers are being given more time to repay USDA marketing assistance loans. The loans now mature at 12 months rather than nine. Eligible commodities include barley, canola, corn, soybeans, sunflowers and wheat.
Infrastructure Investments On the Wish List – The immediate focus of the government is on emergency measures to battle coronavirus, but once the attention turns to rebuilding the economy, infrastructure could be a priority. “We’re going to be turning our attention to long-term wellness. The temptation will be to postpone everything on our to-do list for another time, but infrastructure needs to remain on our to-do list,” says Mike Steenhoek, executive director, Soy Transportation Coalition. According to Steenhoek, infrastructure projects are investments that are seen. “The nice thing about infrastructure, in contrast to other forms of spending, is when you actually build a bridge, invest in a port or anything else, there’s a tangible asset people can see and use.”
Demand Destruction Has Trickle-Down Effect on Diesel Fuel – With the shelter-in-place directives, fewer miles are being driven. CHS Senior Vice President of Refined Fuels Jason Schwantz says the gasoline sales influence the diesel fuel sector. “Diesel fuel is readily available, but gasoline and diesel fuel move through the same pipelines and it is a logistics issue; we’ve got to make sure enough gas keeps moving so we can get that diesel fuel to the farmers that use it.” The energy sector has been battered by the oil dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia. The ethanol industry has also been devastated by demand destruction. “This does provide an opportunity to buy cheaper diesel fuel; let’s fill those tanks up to take advantage of this lower price.”
ND Winter-Grade Fuel Sales Extended to May 1 – North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has issued an executive order allowing winter-grade fuel to be sold until May 20. The order was warranted due to the state having an oversupply of winter-grade fuel due to travel restrictions and economic downturn caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The typical cutoff date for winter-grade fuel is April 1 in North Dakota.
USDA Schedules ’19 Harvest Resurvey – The National Agricultural Statistics Service will resurvey farmers one more time about their unharvested corn and soybean acres. Farmers in Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan will be contacted later this month with the new data released in the May crop production report. North Dakota still has a significant amount of 2019 crops unharvested and will be resurveyed at a later date.
USDA Investigates Beef Trade – The USDA Packers and Stockyards Division is extending an investigation into the wide separation between box beef and live cattle prices to include the current coronavirus pandemic. This investigation has been folded into a similar inquiry into beef margins following the August 2019 fire at beef packing plant in Holcomb, Kansas. A bipartisan group of senators is also asking the Justice Department to examine allegations of price fixing within the cattle industry.
Trump Voices Optimism About China Trade Deal – President Donald Trump remains confident China will honor its phase one trade deal with the United States. “It’s time that our farmers benefited. We’ll see if that deal is honored and I think it will be because I know President Xi who I like and respect and I think he’ll honor the deal he made with us.”
Redefining Market Opportunities – As the grain and livestock markets trend lower, farmers can still look for marketing opportunities. “Challenge the paradigm you’re using to define an opportunity,” says Mike North, president, Commodity Risk Management Group. “In a world where ethanol is taking it on the chin, the price of corn is going to look very different than it did even one month ago when ethanol was running at full speed.” Managing risk should be the top priority. “Rallies need to be rewarded and risk needs to be protected,” says North. “Have a game plan in place and don’t let the volatility spook you.”
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – The copper market may offer optimism for the rest of the economy. Advance Trading risk management advisor Tommy Grisafi offers insight into that possibility in today’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets. Grisifi offers his thoughts on the OPEC+ oil production cutback and the coronavirus impact on the meat processing sector.
USDA Report Confirms Large U.S. Ending Stocks – USDA’s April Supply and Demand report confirms larger U.S. ending stocks of corn, soybeans and wheat. All were within the range of trade guesses. USDA raised corn ending stocks to 2.09 billion bushels on lower ethanol demand. That more than offsets greater feed and residual use and lower imports. Soybean ending stocks were raised to 480 million bushels on lower exports and seed use. There are higher crush numbers due to lower use of dried distillers grains. Wheat ending stocks were raised to 970 million bushels on lower exports and reduced domestic use. Read the report.
Lower Ethanol Demand Impacts Northern Plains Farmers – The Northern Plains corn producer could be impacted more by lower ethanol demand that Midwestern farmers. “As we see plants going offline because of poor profit margins, the net impact will be a wide basis,” said Bob Utterback, president, Utterback Marketing. “There will be some hard decisions for the western corn producer to make if they have too much inventory and have to sell off the combine.” Farmers should be prepared to make tough decisions. “This is a year where I’d want to be selling on a timely basis. You’re going to hate every sale you make, but hopefully the sales improve each time,” explained Utterback. “By the summer of 2022, I think things will be coming back, but I will take that long to recover.”
Beet Stock Snapshot – According to Acres & Shares, there was no brokered American Crystal Sugar Company beet stock last week. For the trading season, 3,892 shares have been brokered for an average price of $3,193.60 per share with a trading range of $2,800 to $3,500.
OPEC+ Countries Reach Deal to Reduce Oil Production – Russia, Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing countries have reached an agreement to cut oil production by 10 million barrels per day. This is the largest production cutback in history. North Dakota Senator John Hoeven describes this as “a welcome step” to provide stability in energy market.
Melby: Brazil Soy Production Still Strong – Brazil’s soybean crop is expected to be slightly smaller due to dryness in southern Brazil. However, Brazilian Ag Consulting owner Kory Melby says northern Brazil will more than make up for a reduction in the southern production. “A few million tons were nipped in Rio Grande do Sul. Was it as bad as some are saying? I don’t think so,” says Melby. “We had such fantastic yields and it seems like everyone had 65 bushels an acre. That’s offsetting a lot of these drought issues.” Melby says the coronavirus hasn’t had too much of an impact on soybeans going to port. “Ports are functioning fine so far. Truckers are keeping stuff moving. The trains are moving. Fuel prices are dropping here also. There’s a big line-up at the ports in April. It could be another record month of exports for Brazil.”
Cautious Approach Warranted for Spring Planting – Premium Ag Solutions President Beau Jacobson is advising growers to plant their key crops into good soils and forego the ground that’s not fit to plant. “The guys that have enough prevented plant eligibility between their planted and prevented plant acres will be able to make solid decisions,” said Jacobson. “Guys in a 50-50 rotation that still want to get their corn acres planted are going to be at risk of running out of eligibility and having to potentially mud in soybeans on challenging ground or standing corn stalks.” Jacobson, who is based at Hitterdal, Minnesota, is seeing a late push for soybean seed. “We have guys that are leaning back a little bit on corn; soybean sales have really picked up lately.”
Dry Bean Scene – NDSU Extension is a dry bean production webinar on Wednesday, April 15. Find out more from NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center agronomist Greg Endres in the Dry Bean Scene, make possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
Sudden Demand for Wheat Seed – Acreage decisions may be shifting as planting season approaches. East River LLP owner Tim Hoggarth is seeing farmers trim down their corn acres. The downturn in the ethanol industry is a big part of that decision. “We need to remember ethanol plants take up nearly 40 percent of our U.S. production and if those boys aren’t in production, that will be a big number where we have no where to go with that corn.” For Hoggarth, wheat seed is in demand. “It was like a light switch; I’ve sold more wheat in the last five or so days than I did almost all year.”
More Communication Advised Between the Grower and Ag Retailer – The combination of a wet fall and coronavirus has ramped up the demand for communication between the farmer and the ag retailer. West Central Ag Services territory sales manager Clyde Kringlen says coronavirus protocols are in place. “We’re an on-the-farm type company and now it is all by phone, e-mail or text.” Kringlen says product is in position for the season ahead, but just-in-time delivery could be an issue. “If you know that next quarter is going to be ready in a couple days, it will be better to let the company or the applicator know that you want to do that. If you call in the morning and say you need this field spread this afternoon, it will be a challenge this year because of the lack of fall last year.”
Tool Available to Weigh PP Decision – NDSU Extension has developed a spreadsheet to help farmers evaluate prevented planting decisions. The program uses partial budget to compare the economics of PP with either late planting the crop or planting some other crop. The analysis also considers crop insurance indemnities.
MN Corn Matters – There are several ways farmers and ranchers can stay safe this spring. Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center outreach coordinator Megan Schossow offers tips in MN Corn Matters, an update from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.
North Dakota Cropland Rental Values Remain Steady – According to NDSU Extension, North Dakota cropland rental values remained mostly unchanged in the past several years. Across the state, the average rent was $63.17 per acre in 2014 and $63.04 per acre in 2020. “Regional swings are much wider, but they still paint the same picture,” said Bryon Parman, ag finance specialist, NDSU Extension. Parman said land rents are the highest in the southern Red River Valley with an average of $127 per acre. Read more about North Dakota cropland values.
Custom Harvesters Maneuver Labor Challenges – Custom harvester crews are looking for help in preparation for the upcoming season. U.S. Custom Harvesters Incorporated President Glen Jantzen says the times are unprecedented. “Some of the people from our southern borders have been able to get in. It depends on where you’re at and how workers have to quarantine. Workers from Europe aren’t able to come in right now,” explains Jantzen. “Everything is changing so fast.” Some crews are optimistic there could be more help coming around May. In the meantime, others are sourcing local help. Jantzen says it can take some to time for local workers to get a CDL. “Lots of states have closed down their licensing departments and you can’t get a test for the written or the driving part of the CDL and some states are worse than others.”
NMPF Submits H-2A Visa Request to USDA – The National Milk Producers Federation is asking the USDA and Labor Department to accept and approve H-2A visa applications from dairy farmers, offering temporary immigrant farm worker employment up to 364 days. In a letter, NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern says the dairy sector is facing an ongoing labor crisis and the coronavirus has only amplified the challenges. By making the temporary changes to the H-2A program, NMPF says the dairy industry would get equal treatment with other livestock sectors.
Nutritional Deficiencies Showing Up this Calving Season – The 2020 calving season has brought forth some unexplained calf abortions or deaths. NDSU Veterinary Diagnostics Lab director Brett Webb says those issue can often be linked back to nutritional deficiencies. “There’s a pretty good association with Vitamin A deficiencies, pregnancy loss and birth of poorly viable calves.” The lab is seeing an increased amount of feed being tested due to quality issues in forages and crops this past growing season. “We have seen quite a bit of corn and other grain coming through (the lab),” says Webb. “For the most part, the corn has been clean and haven’t seen a whole lot of mycotoxins.” Webb has more in this RRFN interview.
MN Beef Update – Minnesota Beef is reaching people during this time of the coronavirus, as more people are staying home and cooking. Learn more about that outreach from Minnesota Beef Council communications director Beck Church in the MN Beef Update.
“Business as Usual” for Seedstock Producers – The coronavirus has caused a decline in live and feeder cattle prices, but how has it impacted the seed stock business? Since the beginning of winter, Western Ag Reporter field editor Will Bollum has been traveling across North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota providing ringside services for seedstock cattle producers. However, the coronavirus started to spread rapidly in the U.S. during the heart of the sale season. “Sale prices have been holding about the same as last year, several have even been up quite a bit. What’s really saving the industry is the option to bid online or over the phone,” says Bollum. “Some ranches aren’t allowing anyone on the premise, so a lot of buyers are getting their picks beforehand. Everyone is following the (CDC) recommendations.” Hear more for Bollum in this RRFN story.
CHS 2Q Financials Released – CHS reports second quarter net income of $125.4 million. That compares to nearly $249 million one year ago. The co-op reports revenues of $6.6 billion for the quarter, up slightly from the second quarter of 2019. CHS cites poor weather conditions this past year and global trade tensions for negative margins within the ag sector.
DOJ Takes No Action Against CHS – The U.S. Justice Department has closed its inquiry into CHS and will not be taking any action against the cooperative. CHS informed DOJ and Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018 that payments were made to Mexican customs officials between 2015 and 2016. The transactions were tied to grain shipment inspections. In a statement, a CHS spokesperson said “reporting this matter to the Department of Justice was the right thing to do, and we appreciate the opportunity to cooperate with the agency during its review.” A SEC civil investigation remains underway.
Sioux Falls Pork Plant Closes Due to COVID-19 – The Smithfield Foods’ Sioux Falls pork processing plant has been shut down indefinitely. The company announced a three-day closure last week to sanitize and implement barriers for social distancing, but that was changed to an indefinite closure over the weekend. South Dakota has 730 confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 300 of those worked at the Smithfield plant. Smithfield President and CEO Ken Sullivan said closures like this will have “severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions” for the livestock farmers and the rest of the supply chain.
Lockout and Tagout When Working in Grain Bins – If a farmer has to go inside a grain bin, don’t forget to lockout and tagout. “Make sure there’s no way for someone to power anything on,” said Megan Schossow, outreach coordinator, Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center. “Have someone with you when you’re working with grain. Also, be mindful of personal protective equipment. A lot of respirators and masks are being diverted to healthcare professionals. If you still have appropriate protection, keep using it when working around grain.” This farm safety reminder is made possible by the North Dakota Wheat Commission, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and North Dakota Corn Utilization Council. Here are more tips on safely working around grain bins.
POET Idles Three Ethanol Plants – POET is idling production at three ethanol plants across the country. The locations include Chancellor, South Dakota, Ashton, Iowa and Coon Rapids, Iowa. POET is also delaying the start up of its new plant in Shelbyville, Indiana. POET continues to slow production at other facilities. Ethanol facilities are being challenged with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
First Saltie of the Year Reachs Duluth Port – The first oceangoing vessel of the year has made its way to the Port of Duluth-Superior Wednesday. The first ship loaded 23,000 short tons of durum wheat and is bound for Italy. The latest arrival at the port was May 7, 2014 and the earliest was March 30, 2013.
NCI Adds Two New Members to Technical Team – The Northern Crops Institute has hired Dr. Minwei Xu as a food scientist and Mary Niehaus as a food technologist. Xu has fine years of supervisory experience as a lab director in the area of food analysis. Niehaus spent the last 20 years working at NDSU’s cereal and food science groups.
Retired Wheat Industry Leader Passes Away – The former lead of the Wheat Quality Council, Ben Handcock, passed away on Saturday from a long battle with cancer. Wheat Quality Council Executive Vice President Dave Green remembers Handcock as a true friend of the wheat industry and said Handcock will be sorely missed. Leave a message for Handcock’s family.
Former KROX News Director Passes – Longtime KROX news director MaryAnn Simmons, 81, passed away Saturday. Due to COVID-19 limitations, services for Simmons will be delayed. RRFN extends our condolences.
Last Weeks Trivia – There are nine players on a regulation baseball team. Eric Lahlum of Corteva Agriscience scored first in our trivia contest. Nick Sinner of Northern Crops Institute, Brian Brandt of AgriFinancial, Pam Vilchis of Hutchinson High School and Brian Rydlund of CHS Hedging earn runner-up honors. We round the ‘first 20’ with Ramsey County farmer Paul Becker, Mohall farmer Gene Glessing, Randy Knudsvig of First State Bank, Dean Nelson of Kelley Bean Company, Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed, Kevin Schultz of National Hog Farmer, Ron Claussen of Ag Media Research, retired Royalton farmer Darrell Larsen, Mickey Peterson of Peterson Partners, Kelly Kliner of Simplot Grower Solutions, Crookston farmer Ron Lanctot, Twyla Wulf of Clear Springs Cattle Company, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading and Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad.
This Week’s Trivia –We use numerous abbreviations when we text. Examples would include ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) and OMG (Oh My God). What does the acronym LOL stand for? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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FarmNetNews is a production of the Red River Farm Network. RRFN is based in Grand Forks, North Dakota and provides news to farmers and ranchers across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.