A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, April 20, 2020
Farmers and Ranchers Are On the Job-For those of us in agriculture, we’ve always known farmers and ranchers are critically important, but that point is amplified during this current COVID-19 crisis. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has emphasized that the “American food supply is strong, resilient and safe.” The food supply chain generally goes from the farm to the processor to the supermarket and to your family table without any interuption. Coronavirus has caused some hiccups in the supply chain but it also highlights the essential role we all have in our country’s food security. We see that connection from the farm-to-the-plate now more than ever before.
USDA Announces COVID-19 Assistance Program – On Friday, the USDA announced the details of a coronavirus aid package for farmers and ranchers. The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program includes $16 billion in direct support to farmers and ranchers and $3 billion to purchase fresh produce, dairy and meat for food banks. Direct assistance for farmers and ranchers includes $9.6 billion for the livestock industry, $3.9 billion for row crop producers, $2.1 billion for specialty crop producers and $500 million for other crops. According to North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, farmers and ranchers will receive a single payment using two calculations. For price losses from January 1 through April 15, producers will be paid for 85 percent of the price loss. The second part of the payment are expected losses from April 15 through the next two quarters, covering 30 percent of expected losses. The payment limit is $125,000 per commodity with an overall limit of $250,000 per individual or entity. To qualify for the program, commodities must have experienced a five percent price decrease between January and April. Hoeven said USDA will begin sign-up for the new program in early May and get payments to producers out by the end of May or early June.
Study Estimates COVID-19 Cattle Industry Losses at $13.6 Billion – Cattle industry losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are estimated to reach $13.6 billion. That’s according to a study by Oklahoma State University to help USDA allocate CARES Act relief funds to cattle producers. The study shows cow-calf producers will see the largest impact, with losses anticipated at $3.7 billion or just over $111 per head. Revenues losses of $2.5 billion are projected for stockers and backgrounders and at $3 billion for cattle feeders. View the full summary here. The Red River Farm Network talked with OSU livestock economist Derrell Peel about the findings in this interview.
What Does COVID-19 Assistance Provide for Livestock Producers? – Cattle producers will receive $5.1 billion of the $9.6 billion of the USDA direct payments for livestock producers. A study from Oklahoma State University estimates cattle industry losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will reach $13.6 billion, alone. That is $4 billion more than the total allocation of funds set aside by USDA for livestock producers. The remaining $4.5 billion is allocated for $2.9 billion in direct assistance for dairy producers and $1.6 billion for hog producers. According to the National Pork Producers Council, industry economists estimate hog farmers will lose $5 billion collectively for the remainder of the year. With the funds allocated for producers, the compensation will be based on price losses between January 1-April 15 and producers will be compensated for 85 percent of price loss during that period. The second part of the payment will be expected losses from April 15 through the next two quarters, and will cover 30 percent of expected losses.
Mid-Size and Beginning Dairies Remain Vulnerable – USDA will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers through the coronavirus economic stimulus package. From that total, dairy farmers will $2.9 billion. Minnesota Milk Producers Association Executive Director Lucas Sjostrom is pleased USDA is delivering a lump sum, up front payment. Each farm is limited to $125,000 per commodity and an overall limit of $250,000 for each individual or entity. “Which is obviously a huge amount of money and more than most people make in a year, but these business owners take millions and millions of dollars of risk. With the caps of $125,000 per commodity, I’m very concerned in that mid-sized range from 400 to 2,000 cows.” Sjostrom estimates 30 to 40 percent of the milk nationwide is covered by programs like Dairy Margin Coverage. Minnesota is far above that level with 60 to 70 percent of its milk covered by some form of insurance. The Minnesota Legislature offered incentives this past year for dairy farmers to enroll in DMC. “I hope Minnesota because of our risk management efforts, it maybe defeats the trends, but that doesn’t mean every single Minnesota dairy farm is going to be in good shape.” Class III milk prices were at $17.50 per hundredweight in early January with a typical bonus of $1 to $1.50. That price is now at $11. Sjostrom says mid-sized dairies and beginning farmers are the most vulnerable to the market losses.
More Help is Needed for the U.S. Potato Industry – The U.S. potato industry says more help is needed from the USDA. According to the National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles, the COVID-19 relief package is a down payment. The potato industry would like the USDA to include representative potato producers in this assistance, make fair payments to producers and quickly purchase potato products to help the supply chain.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – A stronger wheat market and big drop in nearby crude oil futures get attention in this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets. Advance Trading senior risk management advisor Tommy Grisafi has all the details.
Limits on COVID Aid Will Not Address the Needs of Pig Farmers – There is a staggering mismatch between the number of hogs that need to go to processing and the plants that are open and available to do so. Minnesota Pork Producers Association CEO David Preisler says the limitations in the USDA assistance package will not address the needs within the swine industry. “The cost to produce that pig is going to be $130-to-$140 depending on the farm and right now the revenue is under $80 (per pig),” said Preisler. “We’re going to need more assistance going forward or the consequences to rural communities is going to be pretty severe.” With the lost packing capacity, hog numbers are backing up. Preisler says each individual farm will need make their own decision on what to do with those animals. “We’ve been working to provide them information and options, but there is no one best set of recommendations that will fit every situation.” On-farm euthanasia is being considered. The Minnesota Pork Producers Association and the State of Minnesota are working together on guidelines in case euthanasia is necessary.
JBS USA Closes Worthington, MN Pork Plant – JBS USA is closing its Worthington, Minnesota pork production facility indefinitely. There’s been a growing number of coronavirus cases at the plant. The facility employs more than 2,000 people and processes 20,000 hogs per day. The pork facility will be winding down operations in the next two days with a diminished staff to ensure the existing product can be used to support the food supply. The company will continue to pay its team members during the plant closure. Read more.
Packing Plant Closures Impact Local Producers – The closing of the Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls has been felt throughout the swine industry. “Let’s face it, the last few years in animal agriculture have not been great.” said Bob Thaler, swine specialist, South Dakota State University Extension. “Farmers are already under a lot of stress and now, this will impact marketing decisions.” Thaler explains pork production is different from raising other livestock because there is a sense of urgency for getting hogs to market. “Due to pig flow and schedules, a lot of operations don’t have the flexibility to hold hogs. When a barn needs to be emptied, it’s got to be emptied. That really does create a huge burden. Some packing plants have been good to take the extra hogs, but there are only so many hogs they can take.”
Any Packing Plant is Important Right Now – According to Kerns & Associates economist Steve Meyer, any packing plant is important to the pork industry right now. “It’s the cumulative effect that gets us. If we would have lost one plant at a time, even just two plants down, I don’t think we’d see as big of an impact. As troubles at other plants pop up, we’ll start to see a few things including limited wholesale pork supplies and prices increase. On the other side, there will be a back up of hogs. Producers will have some real difficulties with inventories of market ready pigs with no place to go.” There are unknowns in some of these plant closures for hog producers, including Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “We don’t know how the decisions are being made on who goes where,” explains Meyer. “Smithfield Foods hasn’t said anything about moving hogs from Sioux Falls to other plants. They have a lot of processing at Sioux Falls and I don’t know if it helps them to kill hogs somewhere else if their processing is down. That’s another bugaboo in this thing.” Photo credit: USDA Food Safety Inspection Service
MN Hog Market in a “Tough Situation” – Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen says Minnesota’s hog market is in a tough situation. “A few of our hogs in Minnesota go to Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We’re trying to find homes for those hogs on the line at other plants,” says Petersen. “It’s challenging as other plants shut down. We’re only able to slaughter so many at local plants.” Keeping plants running will be key. “As you see around the Midwest, it’s not just Smithfield. There are other companies and plants going down and workers getting sick. We need to keep workers healthy. If we have more plants go down, we’re going to be in a perilous situation.”
Smithfield Closing Raises Questions About Food Security – In a podcast produced by Roll Call, South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson outlined the current shutdown of the Sioux Falls pork processing plant. Johnson was asked about possible food shortages with closures like this one. “We don’t have shortages now and I don’t think we’re going to get there, but this reiterates to all Americans how important it is to keep this (processing) capacity open.” Minnesota Congressman Jim Hagedorn was part of that same podcast. Hagedorn said the plant shutdowns put a lot of pressure on the livestock producers. “We’re ending up with a lot of extra hogs and we fear that we’ll get to the point where they might need to be put down and not even used for food because of the way this is going.”
USDA Will Make Monthly Food Purchases for Food Banks – The USDA will be purchasing a combined total of $300 million each month in dairy, meat, fresh fruits and vegetables for food banks. In the next two weeks, the USDA will be taking proposals to supply commodity boxes to non-profit organizations. The USDA will award contracts for product purchases, assembly and delivery. A webinar organized by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service will be held at 1 p.m. central on Tuesday to provide more details on the program.
Rural Perspectives – USDA has released plans for the COVID-19 assistance package for farmers and ranchers. While agriculture is waiting on the specific details, the big picture items have been laid out. AgCountry FCS Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Howard Olson has more in this Rural Perspectives podcast episode.
Biofuels Industry Not Included in USDA COVID-19 Aid – The USDA aid package doesn’t provide assistance to the biofuels industry. According to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, there’s not enough money to go around. Perdue says helping the biofuels industry is more than the USDA could do at this time. Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Geoff Cooper says the USDA missed an opportunity and the industry would like to be included in the next round of relief.
More CCC Funds Become Available in July – The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program is partially funded by the Commodity Credit Corporation. The CCC will be receiving another $14 billion in July and those funds could be available for more coronavirus relief. “I was able to appropriate about $23.5 billion and this current package is $19 billion. Some of the money doesn’t hit the account until July,” said John Hoeven, chair, Senate Agriculture Appropriations. “This is important and a good chunk of the money. I told the USDA to use as much of the CCC funding and the funding from the CARES Act that we could.” In addition to the coronavirus aid package, Hoeven also said quality loss adjustments are coming for farmers and ranchers likely in June.
Paycheck Protection Program Funds Reach Limit – On Thursday, the Small Business Administration reached the $349 billion lending limit for the Paycheck Protection Program. Small businesses with unprocessed loans will now wait for Congress to approve more funding. Lawmakers are attempting to add $250 billion to the program, but nothing is agreed to yet. “I suspect something will have to be done in the next week or two to add additional funds,” said Randy Russell, president, the Russell Group. “It’s proving to be a very popular, much needed program.” Congress won’t return to Washington D.C. until May 4, but Russell said a pro forma session could be one option to approve funds. “A few lawmakers could come to run the House and Senate if needed. Anything that’s to be done would have to be done through unanimous consent meaning both sides would have to agree.”
Lower Crude Oil Demand Drives Ag Commodities – The collapse in the demand of crude oil continues to drive the ag commodities lower. “The production cut was by 10 percent, but some people are saying demand for gasoline dropped 30 percent,” explained Clayton Pope, president, Clayton Pope Commodities. “This is a drop in the bucket compared to what we’re up against. The ramifications for ethanol are just horrific.” Pope said the trade was looking for a 5 percent reduction in ethanol production but this morning’s report from the Department of Energy show a 15 percent decline in ethanol production coupled with record large supplies. “We had the smallest ethanol grind in history this past week. More and more plants are idling. Supplies are piling up.”
Poor Ethanol Margins Continue – Ethanol margins remain extremely poor with Reformulated Gasoline Blendstock for Oxygen Blending gasoline prices continuing to trade at a discount to ethanol prices. Kluis Commodities market analyst Jacob Burks says the ethanol market has been severely scarred. “There are still some mandates that have to be used, but the RBOB has recovered a little bit in the last month.” Burks thinks the reduced availability of distillers grains could also impact the number of cattle on feed. “The biggest fear now for the grains is how to maintain livestock. If we start backing up on some of these feed rations, it could be detrimental to feed numbers going into the next USDA report.”
Five States Ask for RFS Waiver – With the demand erosion due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, five states are asking for a national waiver from the Renewable Fuel Standard. The governors of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Wyoming claim the reduction in road miles makes the ethanol mandate unworkable.
Opening the U.S. Economy Could Help Corn and Oil Prices – Opening the U.S. economy could be a big deal for the corn and oil markets. “Getting people back driving again is huge for ethanol,” said Ted Seifried, chief marketing strategist, Zaner Ag Group. “It looks like under guidelines released on Thursday, there’s going to be some states eligible to reopen in the near future. Other states may take at least two months. There’s optimism there.” The crude oil market set new lows again on Friday, while the back months stayed strong. “We know that we have stockpiles building and there’s a significant loss of demand, but the optimism we have a few months out is good. It’s an interesting market to watch.”
Analyst Says Corn Prices Haven’t Likely Hit Seasonal Low – Seasonally, corn prices tend to bottom out in late April before heading to their pre-harvest highs. “We aren’t quite at those lows yet,” said Naomi Blohm, senior market advisor, Total Farm Marketing. “Once we get into May, we’ll see if we get any friendly news out of the monthly USDA report.” According to Blohm, there are indicators to know when the low is in. “It’s a combination of a few things including the seasonals, and the daily, weekly and monthly charts looking at support. Usually, there’s a piece of fundamental news that will correlate with a technical reason for the market to make a bottoming signal,” said Blohm. “That would give us more confidence that maybe a summer rally is beginning.”
USSEC Reviews Global Market Situation – The U.S. Soybean Export Council hosted a global digital conference and situation report this past week. Despite the impact from COVID-19, American Soybean Association President Bill Gordon offered a clear message for the international marketplace. “We are open for business.” All sectors of the soybean industry were represented on the USSEC program. Cargill North American Soybean Processing Manager John Buboltz said the soybean industry has seen demand erosion with decline in foodservice sales. Biodiesel demand has also been affected. The opposite is true for China. “Their demand should be rising as we go forward; as they try to replenish their (swine) herds and feeding goes up in China.” An AGP official said coronavirus may have a long-term impact on the interaction between agribusiness companies and their customers. That will include more automation and digital options.
Uncertainty in Agriculture is like “Throwing a Rock in a Pond” – Agriculture was already dealing with a challenging economy, even before the COVID-19 pandemic started. According to Bell Bank Senior Vice President Lynn Paulson, farm program payments through the Market Faciliation Program and WHIP-plus did help the balance sheet come loan renewal season. Now in 2020, there are funds allocated to agriculture through the CARES Act. “Now there are Paycheck Protection Program loans. Clearly it all helps, but there are so many hogs lined up a the trough for this money. There simply isn’t enough to go around.” The coronavirus pandemic has been particularly tough on the commodity markets. Paulson says it’s like throwing a rock in the center of a pond. “The ripples just keep going further and further out and impacting more and more people. With stay-at-home orders there is less driving, which is impacting the ethanol markets. That could potentially take out two billion bushels of corn if that happens.” Hear more in the full RRFN interview with Paulson.
Optimism Remains for U.S.-China Trade Deal – During a webinar sponsored by the U.S. Soybean Export Council, ConsiliAgra Managing Director Emily French said soybeans continue to be range bound. Before COVID-19, demand was hurt by U.S.-China trade war. The demand uncertainty is now linked to the lockdown of the global economy. Moving forward, French is optimistic China will fulfill its obligations from the phase one trade deal. “China is under a lot of political pressure because of COVID. With all that political pressure, I think you will see China do it.” French said soybeans will be a big component of those purchases, but China will also buy other commodities. Low-priced ethanol was given as one example.
China’s GDP Takes a Historic Drop – China’s Gross National Product declined 6.8 percent in the first quarter. That’s the first time China’s economy got smaller since it started reporting GDP data in 1992. Coronavirus is blamed for the shutdown of most commercial activity during much of that time.
H-2A Adjustments Announced – USDA and the Department of Homeland Security are making a temporary change to the H-2A labor requirements. The new rule is designed to project the food supply by offering more flexibility for foreign workers. North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer praised this change. “I appreciate the Trump Administration for listening to our concerns and to our producers who requested these changes and of course for the continuing efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID on our food supply and our ag industry.”
MN Lawmakers Pass Fourth Coronavirus Relief Bill – Minnesota lawmakers passed a fourth coronavirus relief package on Tuesday. There are a few key pieces for agriculture included in this coronavirus relief package. Senate Agriculture, Rural Development and Housing Finance Chair Torrey Westrom explains the bill temporarily extends the farmer-lender mediation program from 90 days to 150 days. “In the last month or so, mediators, farmers and lenders haven’t been able to meet and get together to restructure farm loans. Those mediation will be extended.” The bill allows supplemental appropriation of $1.25 million for the Second Harvest Heartland food bank. The bill also encourages the process to remotely apply for seasonal CDLs. Read the bill.
Farmer-Lender Mediation Extension Granted by MN Legislature – The COVID-19 relief package passed in the Minnesota Legislature contains an extension for Farmer-Lender Mediation by 60 days. It temporarily extends the period before which a creditor can enforce a debt or terminate a contract for deed subject to the Farmer-Lender Mediation Act from 90 days to 150 days. The extension becomes effective the day following enactment and applies to any mediation request filed before July 31.
More Corn Acres Could Challenge Prices – In a new analysis, the American Farm Bureau Federation says U.S. farmers may need to scale back corn acres to support prices. The March USDA Prospective Plantings report is forecasting 97 million corn acres to be planted this year. Farm Bureau says corn acres will need to decline 6.6 million acres to keep sustainable ending stocks. If 97 million acres are confirmed with a yield of 178.5 bushels per acre, there would be 88.8 million acres of harvested corn. Adding that to the latest corn ending stocks, new crop corn supplies could reach 18 billion bushels; the highest on record. Farm Bureau says there’s not enough demand at this time to offset the large supplies, including the idle ethanol production capacity.
Dry Bean Scene – As the planting season nears, dry bean growers are weighing fertilization options. NDSU Extension soil specialist Dave Franzen has more in the Dry Bean Scene, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
Spring-Like Weather Returning Soon to Northern Plains – More spring-like weather is in the forecast for the Northern Plains. “It looks like we have a stretch of relatively milder and drier weather. The pattern is shifting,” said Mark Ewens, meteorologist, Home On The Prairie Weather. “As we get to the second half of the month, we’ll experience more warm spells than cold spells. Overall, precipitation should be quieting down.” There should be enough warm and dry stretches to get the crop planted. Ewens said it could be a more normal spring compared to recent years.
Spring Fieldwork Begins – Drier and warmer conditions in the forecast for the Northern Plains have farmers eager to start spring fieldwork. Hazen, North Dakota farmer John Weinand started planting barley on Friday. “We’ve also been working in the fields doing some fertilizer application and tillage,” said Weinand. “The plan is to stick to our same rotation for the most part.” Weinand said winter wheat emergence looks good and there’s plenty of moisture in the ground. “I would expect the winter wheat to be a nice crop, because of the good moisture and the winter survival is excellent.” Other farmers in region may start spring fieldwork in the next few days.
MN Farmers Starting to Plant the ’20 Crop – Minnesota farmers are starting to put the 2020 crop in the ground. University of Minnesota Extension crops educator Jared Goplen says both wheat and corn have been planted in the Morris area. “This is the first time in a couple years we’ve been able to get small grains in the ground before May,” says Goplen. “I know there has also been a little bit of corn planted, but certainly soil temperatures are still quite cold.” When deciding between when to plant or not to plant, Goplen’s recommendation is to take soil temperature and the forecast into consideration. “I think a lot of farmers learned some lessons last year with the poor planting conditions in 2019. I think they’ve be more cautious of getting into fields before they are fit to plant, making sure they’re not in muddy conditions.” Goplen has more information on planting and evaluating alfalfa stands in this RRFN interview.
Fields Need to Dry Before Sugarbeet Planting Can Begin – While it’s still too wet to begin planting right now, American Crystal Sugar Company General Agronomist Joe Hastings says a couple of warm, dry weeks will help. “We’ve got some good weather in the forecast. It’s been a long winter and we’ll need patience,” he says. “There’s some wet soils out there, but fortunately, about 75 percent of sugarbeet acres are planted on wheat ground.” Patience and shallow passes will be critical. “Ruts make things tough. How do you smooth them out without going too deep or too aggressive with tillage? Farmers want a nice three inch tillage depth for sugarbeets.”
Beet Stock Snapshot – If there are no additional American Crystal Sugar Company beet shares brokered this season, Acres and Shares says shares volume would be slightly less than the ten-year average. The average price-per-share would be greater than the average. During the previous ten trading seasons, an average of 4,018 shares were brokered per year for an average price of $2,670 per share. The 2020 numbers sit at 3,892 shares brokered for an average price of $3,193 per share.
Benefits Seen with Seed Treatment – To get the crop off to a good start, seed treatments are recommended. “That fungicide is so key in keeping that seed healthy when we’re waiting for it to emerge,” said Jesse Moch, field agronomist, Pioneer. “Last year, especially in soybeans and the saturated soils, we had a lot of phytopthora and rhizoctonia for those in a beet rotation.” Coming off a wet year, Moch also promotes the use of an inoculant in soybeans to nurture the microbial population. Look for weekly updates from Pioneer on RRFN’s social media platforms starting this week.
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.
Practicing Emotional Resilience During COVID-19 – The current reality of the coronavirus is impacting everyone differently. Some are moving forward with business as usual and others are feeling overwhelmed. According to Monica McConkey, a rural mental health specialist with Eyes on the Horizon Consulting, emotional resilience is key right now. “We are always experiencing uncertainty, unknowns and uncontrollables. This COVID-19 time has added an aspect to that, but I think we as an agricultural community are pretty darn resilient in getting through times of stress,” says McConkey. “The goal is how do we come out stronger? How do we go through it better? How do we grow? How do we maintain relationships? It’s about the process.” McConkey says you don’t have to come out of this time having accomplished major goals. “Many of us are in situations right now where we are just focusing on feeding our families, taking care of them, running our farms and keeping life going. Other things in our life on pause right now and that’s ok,” she says. “Sometimes mental resilience is getting through the day and meeting your goals for basic needs.” McConkey has more tips in a webinar called “Dare to Lead through Challenging Circumstances.”
MFBF Update – Farmers and ranchers are certainly living in a new world with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation has been working closely with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. MFBF President Kevin Paap has more in the latest MFBF Update.
ND FFA Association Cancels State Convention – The North Dakota FFA Association is cancelling state convention. However, there will still be a celebration for members. “We can’t gather in Fargo in June, but we’ll spend some time celebrating the accomplishments of members in a virtual aspect,” said Aaron Anderson, state supervisor, North Dakota FFA Association. “On our social media pages, we’ll be recognizing the proficiency award winners, state degree recipients, STAR award winners and the current state FFA officers.” Anderson said associations across the country are trying to find ways to adapt to COVID-19 requirements. “We’re going to see a lot of virtual conventions and competitive events as students try to qualify for nationals.” Follow the North Dakota FFA Association on Facebook for more details of the celebration.
ND Dept. of Ag Offering Letters for Essential Businesses – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is providing letters to critical and essential agriculture businesses for verification purposes. “With more requests coming in from agribusiness and ag sectors asking for proof of being a critical and essential business, we are making letters available to those who request it for use when traveling,” said Goehring. “We have heard of some issues from those traveling in adjacent states that were stopped and asked what their business was. We want to ensure that those who provide products or services to agriculture are not being disrupted. Employees in these industries may carry this letter in the event they are stopped and asked.” The list of essential members of the food and agriculture workforce released by the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are vital to the continuous availability of a safe and reliable food supply. The full list from CISA can be found here. To request a letter authenticating a business as critical and essential, call the North Dakota Department of Agriculture at 701-328-2231 or visit the NDDA website.
BASF Makes Digital Tool Available Free of Charge – BASF has announced it will make its xarvio FIELD MANAGER free of charge for farmers in the U.S. and Canada this year. BASF officials said this digital tool will help farmers maintain their operations with as little impact as possible during this challenging time.
Label Change for INTERLINE – The EPA has approved a label change for UPL’s INTERLINE herbicide. Previously, this weedkiller was also available for use in the LibertyLink system. With this change, it can be used on all systems that contain glufosinate-resistant traits. The updated label includes over-the-top weed control in soybeans, corn, canola and sugarbeets.
TransFARMation: Self-Care is Not Selfish – The coronavirus outbreak has impacted everyone. When it comes to farmers and ranchers, University of Minnesota Rural Stress Task Force Director Emily Krekelberg says COVID-19 has been devastating for the markets. “That is stressing an already stressed population,” Krekelberg explains. That stress is being compounded by uncertainty. “I don’t think anyone is immune to that (stress). We all are feeling the pressure from it in some way, shape or form.” Coping strategies are critical. That’s why it’s important to connect with family and friends, especially during this time of social distancing. There are three aspects to wellness: physical, mental and emotional. “A lot of things we can do to take care of ourselves really touches on two or all three of those aspects. I remind people all the time that self care is not selfish. It’s little things done everyday to make sure we are well.” Hear more from Emily in the latest TransFARMation podcast episode.
Three Ag Groups to Co-Locate – CropLife America, The Fertilizer Institute and the Agricultural Retailers Association plan to co-locate offices in Arlington, Virginia next year. Each group will remain independent, but will share common services.
Corteva Hires Alonzo to Lead DC Operations – Corteva Agrisciences has named Anne Alonzo as its senior vice president for external affairs and chief sustainability officer. Alonzo will oversee the company’s Washington, D.C. office, succeeding Krysta Harden who left Corteva in 2019. Most recently, Alonzo was the president and CEO for the American Egg Board. Previously, Alonzo was the administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
ASA Adds Combelic to Government Relations Staff – Alexa Combelic has joined the government affairs team for the American Soybean Association. Combelic will focus on biofuels and infrastructure. Most recently, Combelic worked for Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney.
Ag Industry Represented on Administration Economic Recovery Panel – President Donald Trump is taking input from all sectors regarding a post-COVID-19 economy. For agriculture, Trump’s Great American Economic Revival Industry Group includes American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, Cargill CEO David MacLennan, Corteva CEO Jim Collins and Deere & Company CEO John May.
SD Corn Comments – The agriculture industry has taken action to achieve sustainability and the results are positive. Learn more in the latest Corn Comments, a production from the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council.
Klobuchar, Hoeven, Thune Appointed to Trump Committee – President Donald Trump has appointed members to his Opening Up America Again Congressional Group. This group includes Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, North Dakota Senator John Hoeven and South Dakota Senator John Thune.
Grain Entrapments Can Happen Quickly – NDSU Extension Engineer Ken Hellevang says it doesn’t take long to get trapped in a grain bin. “If a farmer is unloading grain at 5,000 bushels per hour, that’s a few cubic feet per second. Someone can become entrapped in about three seconds,” says Hellevang. “Everyone refers to flowing grain as quicksand and that’s essentially what it is. The grain starts flowing and you can flow with it.” Here’s a few tips for working around grain bins. This farm safety reminder from the Red River Farm Network is made possibly by the North Dakota Wheat Commission, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and North Dakota Corn Utilization Council.
MN Sunflower Council Election Results – Kennedy farmer Tom Dowdle and Dumont farmer Steven Schmidt has been re-elected to the Minnesota Sunflower Council, representing growers in Regions 1 and 2, respectively.
A Pair of AASV Awards Went to Pipestone Veterinarians – The American Association of Swine Veterinarians awarded Dr. Joel Nerum as its swine practitioner of the year. Nerum is the chief veterinary officer for Pipestone Veterinary Services. The award for the young swine veterinarian of the year went to Dr. Wesley Lyons, who is a regional health director for Pipestone Veterinary Services.
MN Veterinarians Recognized – The Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association named Dr. Trevor Ames its Veterinarian of the Year. Ames spent 12 years as the dean of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Former State Veterinarian Dr. Thomas Hagerty received the MVMA President’s Award. Dr. Timothy Goldsmith received the outstanding faculty award. Dr. Jessica Fox, who is with Ralco, was honored with the emerging leader award.
Schaefer Named MN Farm Bureau Executive Director – Karin Schaefer will be the new executive director for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation starting June 1. Schaefer is currently serving as the executive director of the Minnesota Beef Council. The current MFBF executive director Chris Radatz will retire after more than 40 years with the organization. Hear more from Schaefer in this RRFN interview.
Last Week’s Trivia – When texting, the LOL acronym means Laugh Out Loud. (We had folks suggesting Land O’Lakes and there was the Norwegian translation of Left Over Lefse.) Cargill Agricultural Supply Chain Seed Origination Manager John Zietz is our weekly winner. Kristal Rick of SES VanderHave USA, Tim Book of Verdesian, Hilary Paplow of Graff Feedlots and Jody Saathoff of CHS earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Kevin Schulz of National Hog Farmer, Erin Nash of National Association of Farm Broadcasting, Pete Carson of Carson Farms, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Crookston farmer Tim Dufault, Mark Haugland of Bayer, Sheldon Melberg of Melberg Farms, Jon Farris of BankWest, Nick Sinner of Northern Crops Institute, Bruce Trautman of Living the Dream Consulting, Jim Altringer of CHS Dakota Plains Ag, Crookston farmer Ron Lanctot, Ramsey County farmer Paul Becker, Brian Brandt of AgriFinancial and Kelly Kliner of Simplot Grower Solutions.
This Week’s Trivia- In this world of social distancing, meetings and teaching have gone online. What is the name for the popular video-conferencing tool that provides a virtual face-to-face meeting? Zend your answer to email@example.com.
|Contact RRFN||Don Wick
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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.