A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, August 10, 2020
Big Iron Farm Show to Celebrate 40 Years – The Red River Farm Network is counting the days (36!) to the Big Iron Farm Show. This is the only major outdoor farm show happening this year. With the craziness seen with the pandemic, Big Iron may be that opportunity to bring back a sense of normalcy. Certainly, the show will look different, but the Big Iron Farm Show remains the event for agribusiness. To accommodate the need for social distancing, RRFN is moving to a new location for our slate of forums. Other landmarks will also change locations this year with Acme Tool Crib and the food court moving to the west side of the grounds. AgCountry Farm Credit Services is also bringing their seminars to the RRFN stage. In this COVID-19 world, RRFN is also happy to debut live video streaming from Big Iron. The forums can be seen live at www.YourLiveEvent.com. To fit your busy schedule, those forums will also be available for viewing later.
Requesting a CFAP Sign-Up Extension – More than 25 agricultural associations are asking Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to extend the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program sign-up deadline and update the program. The associations say the August 28 deadline may exclude eligible producers from participating and the extra time would help the Farm Service Agency process more applications. There’s been lower participation in portions of least two key sectors of agriculture: the livestock industry and specialty crops. Data included in the correspondence says hog producers have only received $430,000 of the $2.1 million of estimated payments in the first 80 percent of the program. The letter also addresses CFAP eligibility criteria including sales dates and second tranche payment rates. Read the letter.
AFBF Economist: CFAP Payments Starting to Slow – The USDA has distributed $6.8 billion to farmers in Coronavirus Food Assistance Program assistance so far. With four weeks left in the sign up, American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist John Newton said at least 50 percent of the first tranche of payments remain. “There’s definitely a need. I don’t think the $16 billion available in CFAP even begins to make the agriculture industry whole after this demand destruction,” said Newton. “I think there were some people left out, partly because of the eligibility criteria.” A few commodities have yet to receive significant support. In the previous week’s data, the economist said only 18 percent of money for hogs and pigs had been paid. The specialty crop sector is also challenged. They have the potential to receive $2.3 billion in support. To date, Newton said the sector has received less than $300 million. “There is definitely a disconnect somewhere. This has been a challenging program to implement for the sector.” Farm groups are also ramping up program promotion to notify potential applicants.
U.S. Congressional Candidates Talk COVID-19 Relief – Ahead of the Minnesota primary elections, U.S. Congressional candidates from the seventh district talked rural issues on a virtual panel at Farmfest. Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association President Mike Landuyt asked candidates what’s needed in the next round of COVID-19 relief for agriculture. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson said there’s no question livestock took a hard hit. “In the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, there were payments made to cattlemen, but the way USDA did that wasn’t fair. Some farmers got $30 per head and others got $100 per head,” said Peterson. “The USDA hasn’t spent all of the CFAP money yet and we’re trying to get them to change the formula to treat people fairly. The HEROES Act also includes payment provisions that won’t be the way it’s done in CFAP.” Candidate Michelle Fischbach said it’s important to develop contingency plans and “make sure we’re less dependent on a small number of processing plants.”
NCFC Wants No Farmer Left Behind in CFAP Sign-Up – National Council of Farmer Cooperatives President Chuck Conner says the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program sign-up is more difficult to monitor and determine its success, because it’s much different from a regular farm program. “We just don’t know for sure what to expect, but we do know that we don’t want anyone left behind. If a producer’s commodity got approved late in the game, we want them to have the full opportunity to apply.” Conner thinks the USDA will be sympathetic to CFAP sign-up requests, because the agency wants the program to be successful. “I’m very inclined to think Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue doesn’t want this to drag on forever, you can’t run an agency that way, but USDA wants to give people ample time to apply.”
Rural Perspectives – Congress seems to be stuck in the negotiation process for a fourth round of COVID-19 assistance. That’s according to AgCountry Farm Credit Services Government Affairs Senior Vice President Howard Olson. Support for agriculture is included in both the House and Senate packages. Two big questions remain when it comes to the fourth round of coronavirus assistance: when will the legislation pass and how would those funds be distributed? Get those details in the latest Rural Perspectives podcast from AgCountry FCS.
COVID-19 Reveals Areas of Improvement for Food Supply Chain – In a virtual discussion on the U.S. food supply chain at Farmfest, Associated Milk Producers Incorporated Co-President and CEO Sheryl Meshke said the COVID-19 pandemic is unmasking weaknesses in the system. “If our food supply is a pillar of national security, we need to focus on critical questions. Do farmers have a secure market and are we providing food security for this country and beyond our borders?” AMPI is analyzing consumer purchasing data, noting consumers are going back to the basics, picking foods they’re familiar with. “For dairy, that means significant shifts. Through July 12, year-to-date retail butter sales are up 31.5 percent and cheese is up 16.7 percent. That’s significant.”
Potato Industry Continues to Seek CFAP Changes – National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles said improvements can be made to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The potato industry would like to see adjustments to the reference period, among other things. “In order for farmers to participate in the program, they have to document losses at or before April 15. In that time, this crisis was just taking off,” said Quarles. “If the USDA moves the reference period, even to the end of the federal fiscal year in September, it will give the USDA a chance to quantify what part of agriculture is really suffering.” Northern Plains Potato Growers Association President Donavon Johnson said a few potato growers in the Red River Valley have received payments, but the association hasn’t been able to get confirmation on the exact number. Hear the story.
U.S. and China to Review Phase One Trade Deal – U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will connect by videoconference August 15th to review implementation of the phase one trade deal. Tension between the two countries has built up since the trade agreement was signed. The clash began with disagreements over the handling of coronavirus. One of the latest dustups has been over the closure of consulate offices in Houston and Wuhan.
Ending Discrimination for U.S. Wheat – The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement settled a longstanding dispute between the U.S. and Canada over the way wheat is graded. Under the agreement, Canada allows U.S. farmers to plant varieties approved north of the border for export to Canada. With a new crop year now underway a new standardized Declaration of Eligibility for Delivery of Grain is now in place. Previously, all U.S.-origin wheat was automatically downgraded to feed wheat when sold in Canada. The impact for the current marketing year is expected to be minimal, but USDA says the change may eventually encourage northern Montana and North Dakota grain farmers to plant more Canadian-approved varieties for export to Canada.
“More Work Needed” on Wheat Dispute – With the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in place, Canada is required to stop downgrading U.S. wheat. North Dakota Wheat Commission Policy and Marketing Director Jim Peterson said this has been in the works a long time; trade between the two countries has always been contentious. “U.S. producers always feel like we got the short end of the stick,” explained Peterson. “Even though we grow the same quality wheat, essentially, it’s Canada and U.S. spring wheat and durum competing for the best in the marketplace.” The USMCA also requires U.S. grown wheat to receive an official grade as long as the variety is approved in Canada. Right now, Peterson said U.S. producers aren’t growing a high share of Canadian-approved varieties and there still could be further segregation of U.S. wheat later down the line; there’s still more work to do. Hear the interview.
Risk Management Agency Defers Interest Accrual Due Date – The USDA Risk Management Agency is allowing crop insurance providers to extend deadlines for premium and administration fee payments. This allows the providers to defer interest accrual for these payments. In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he hopes this action will “help ease the burden” on farmers and ranchers continuing to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full press release.
MN Beef Update – Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association President Mike Landuyt recently attended the Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting in Denver. Learn more in the latest Minnesota Beef Update.
ND Groups Ask USDA to Adjust Haying and Grazing Deadline – Eight North Dakota agricultural organizations are asking Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to reconsider a decision to not adjust prevent plant haying and grazing dates. This would relieve pressure for farmers and ranchers holding animals due to a backlog at processing plants, guaranteeing another source of feed for livestock. A letter was sent on Thursday from the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, North Dakota Farmers Union and others reiterating a request to allow farmers to graze or harvest cover crops on prevent plant acres prior to November 1.
Emergency Haying and Grazing Regs Adjusted – Changes have been announced for the emergency haying and grazing provisions on CRP ground. Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce says this will simplify the process. “If you’re in a county that has triggered for emergency haying and grazing, the grazing is authorized for up to 90 days and haying is authorized for up to 60 days after that trigger happens.” As of August 6, three North Dakota counties have been categorized as D2 and are now are eligible.
Average-to-Above Average Wheat Yields – The wheat harvest is moving forward with progress dependent on when it was planted. Mosaic Territory Sales Manager Sherry Koch says yields are average-to-above average. “Considering the moisture we had this spring, we’d consider that a win.”Once the combine is parked, a soil test is recommended. “We have some pretty decent crops coming so we better keep in mind that 60 percent of our yield is based off of our fertility decisions. We need to know what we have and what we don’t as we plan for 2021.” Macronutrients like nitrogen and potassium get a lot of attention. Koch says micronutrients, including zinc and boron, covers a broad spectrum of fertility needs across the field.
NW MN Farmer “Cautiously Optimistic” for Spring Wheat Harvest – Grygla, Minnesota, farmer Gary Anderson is cautiously optimistic for this year’s spring wheat harvest. Weather pending, Anderson plans to start wheat harvest in the middle of this week. That’s a littler earlier than usual, due to the summer heat. “The wheat crop in most places looks quite good. I think it will be slightly better yielding than last year. The heads seem longer and it doesn’t seem like much disease pressure.” Anderson says there’s been more rain in the area than farmers want, but the wetness hasn’t caused too much damage to fields. “I know there are areas west of us inundated with rain, more than us, so we’ve been lucky in that respect.”
Small Grain Harvest Nears Completion in Wahpeton Area – In the Wahpeton, North Dakota area, small grain harvest is about two-thirds complete by the first week of August. GL Crop Consulting President and agronomist Greg LaPlante says spring wheat and barley harvest is expected to wrap by the end of the week. “We took a lot of the heat and early drought conditions when we were in the tillering and jointing stage. So, we don’t have a bumper crop of wheat, but we have pretty much an average crop ranging from 45-to-60 bushels an acre, depending on the variety.” LaPlante thinks the protein and quality looks good so far.
Hoping for a Better Wheat Harvest – Fisher, Minnesota farmer Curt Knutson says the heat may have taken the top off of the spring wheat crop, but he’s still looking at a 75-to-80 bushel crop. It’s been a compact growing season for Knutson. “We started late, but with the heat and growing degree units, we’ve pushed the crop fast. We’ve been worried about that, but apparently there’s enough moisture underneath the crop. ” The crop is short, but Knutson says it seems like the kernels will fill nicely to the top. “I don’t predict any disaster when it comes to the small grains. Last year, we had a nice crop coming only to have the rain in August destroy it. When we get into this one, we hope to get it harvested in a better way than last year.”
Spring Wheat Harvest Starting Soon for Jamestown, ND Farmers – In the Jamestown area, farmer Terry Wanzek is preparing to harvest spring wheat. “Within the next few days we’ll start harvest. The crop is really turning fast. It looks respectable, but I guess based on the June dry spell it may be off a bit, but you never know until you’re actually harvesting.” Wanzek wrapped up rye harvest in July. “The hot, dry conditions in June hurt some of our cereal crops to some degree. In fact, our rye crop was down 25 percent from normal. Now, we’re getting more rains and the row crops look pretty good.”
Small Grains Harvest Starting Soon in Aneta, ND – Small grain harvest is a few days away for farmers in the Aneta, North Dakota area. “The later seeded barley looks the best,” said Fred Lukens, farmer. “Wheat and barley don’t like the hot conditions early on and that will take some of the top end yield off. We’ll see how things do when we start harvest. The spring wheat was seeded ahead of the barley and there’s still some green heads in it.”
Canola Minute – This time of year is perfect for getting out to scout for clubroot. Northern Canola Growers Association Executive Director Barry Coleman has more information in this week’s Canola Minute.
Big Wheat Yields Offset Lower MT Wheat Protein – Nebraska-based custom combiner J.C. Schemper is harvesting in central Montana. “We have seen some pretty big yields in the winter wheat from 45 bushels an acre to 90 bushels an acre. It’s been very good,” says Schemper. “Protein levels are at nine to 10 percent, nothing too big. We are seeing some nice test weights of 64 to 65 pounds.” The big yields are offsetting the lower protein. “The crop never struggled and the yields have been phenomenal.”
On the Air From the Pioneer Revolution Plot Tour – The Red River Farm Network will broadcast from the Pioneer Revolution Plot Tour Wednesday at the site west of Gwinner, North Dakota. The tour will take place from 9 AM-Noon on Wednesday and Thursday. The plot tour will feature the Pioneer Enlist System, nitrogen management in corn, corn rootworm management and drone technology. Listen to RRFN for special coverage.
Pioneer Agronomy Update – The Red River Farm Network was in the Hallock, Minnesota area for the Pioneer Agronomy Update. “In this area, we’re pushing a little over 200 growing degree days over the five-year average,” said territory manager Jerod Hansen. The crops have stretched out after suffering water damage earlier in the year. “Southern Kittson County has had over 25 inches of rain since planting; the northern part of the county, up by Humbolt, St. Vincent and Pembina is doing better and the crops really look nice.” Hanson also highlighted new technologies for the canola and sunflower markets.
As Small Grain Harvest Ends, Sugarbeet Pre-Pile Begins – Wendell, Minnesota farmer Steve Lacey is already done with small grain harvest. Despite the hot growing season, the crop fared better than expected. “We started barley harvest about two weeks ago and we got through that in a few days. Bushels were a little off, but we made malt. Then, we went into wheat harvest. Spring wheat harvest was slightly above average for yield, with good protein and decent test weights.” Pre-pile sugarbeet harvest begins this week for Lacey, who grows for the Minn-Dak Farmer’s Cooperative. “We were told we have a nice, respectful crop coming. As long as we can stay on top of the cercospora, we should have a good, healthy crop coming in.”
Sugarbeet Stands Generally Look Good Across the Region – The exception may be in the area south of Grand Forks and in the northern Red River Valley, where there was too much moisture. Syngenta sales representative Marc Rinke says the beet co-ops have already announced early start dates for pre-pile harvest. “Earlier start dates usually mean the anticipation of a larger crop.” Cercospora has become an annual management decision. Rinke credits Inspire XT for its activity on cercosopra and powdery mildew. Rinke recommends Sequence herbicide, which is a soil residual mixed with glyphosate for resistant weeds. “Glyphosate-tolerant waterhemp continues to move north. As we continue to see the advancement of resistance, sugarbeet production gets more difficult.”
Crop College – Peterson Farms Seed agronomy lead Adam Spelhaug says the recent warm, dry temperatures are welcome for the crops getting too much moisture in the Northern Plains. Hear more in this episode of Crop College from Peterson Farms Seed.
Local Researcher Takes Closer Look at IDC Soybean Scoring – Peterson Farms Seed Research Director Dennis Schultze is exploring more accurate and reliable scoring methods for soybean defense against iron deficiency chlorosis. Variety scoring is happening right now and Schultze says it is a complex process. “There have been many new herbicides type of soybeans introduced recently. In addition to them being new, the iron chlorosis scoring we’re seeing on a few of them could be problematic. We’re working really hard to clarify the varieties we sell.” The goal of the research is to help local farmers better understand performance as they make seed decisions for next year. Data from the research will be available at the Peterson Farms Seed Field Day. Hear the story.
Peterson, Conaway Ask for Cattle Market Review – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and Ranking Member Michael Conaway are asking USDA to work with university research centers to analyze the cattle market. The lawmakers want the Agriculture Department to evaluate price discovery, price reporting, purchasing mandates and barriers to entry in the packing industry.
Lawmakers Seek Relief for Sheep/Lamb Industry – A bipartisan group of House members, including Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and Ranking Member Michael Conaway, are asking USDA to help lamb and sheep producers hurt by COVID-related market losses. This action follows the closure of the second largest lamb processing facility in the country, representing 20 percent of the U.S. slaughter capacity.
Shutdown Order for DAPL Reversed – The U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled the Dakota Access Pipeline can continue operating while the courts determine if an environmental impact statement is needed. A month ago, a district court judge ordered the pipeline to shut down and be emptied. The Court of Appeals stayed the shutdown order in mid-July and has now reversed the shutdown order.
Small Refinery Waivers Continue to Challenge Ethanol – Over the past 15 years with the Renewable Fuel Standard, regulatory challenges, including small refinery waivers, have been a challenge. Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper says it would be insane for the Department of Energy to recommend approval for retroactive small refinery exemptions. “If refiners experienced hardship in 2012 or 2013 and didn’t ask for an exemption back then, how in the world can they now go back to the DOE and the EPA and claim hardship? It doesn’t make sense.” Al-Corn Clean Fuel CEO Randy Doyal says these exemptions put pressure on Minnesota’s ethanol plants. “We’ve got plants that are closed, throttled back and we’ve got a lot of farmers who have invested money that haven’t seen a return. It’s laughable to me the DOE can decide that refiners, making millions of dollars, have suffered a hardship. They’re trying to put us out of business.”
Biofuels Caucus Asks USDA to Include Biofuels in COVID-19 Relief – The Congressional Biofuels Caucus sent a letter to Congressional leadership on Friday requesting additional resources for the biofuels sector in the next piece of the coronavirus relief legislation. The leaders are still working through the details of the fourth economic stimulus package. The biofuels caucus supports biofuels language included in the HEROES Act for the final package. In turn, biofuel groups have expressed their support for the funding assistance and prefer specific language in the final deal.
Retroactive Waiver Relief Concerns SD Corn Industry – According to a Reuters report, the U.S. Department of Energy is recommending partial relief for oil refiners applying for retroactive waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard. There are nearly 60 pending retroactive waiver requests for 2011 to 2018 at the EPA. South Dakota Corn Growers Association Executive Director Lisa Richardson said the oil industry doesn’t have a good reason for wanting the exemptions. “In 2018 and 2019, small refinery waivers gave an upwards of four billion gallons of the Renewable Fuel Standard away. Then, the National Corn Growers Association and others took oil refiners to court and won,” explained Richardson. “The industry is in a crisis mode; 2018 was terrible, 2019 wasn’t good and obviously, the pandemic is affecting the entire economy, not just one industry.” While U.S. ethanol production has improved since the start of summer, there are plants not running at full capacity. The EPA has 90 days to act on the Energy Department’s recommendations.
A Big Month Ahead for Grain Markets – There’s a big month ahead for the grain markets. Van Ahn and Company market analyst Kristi Van Ahn says it all starts with Wednesday’s USDA Supply and Demand report as traders monitor the U.S. crop. “This crop report will be the first look at boots on the ground yields, with ear counts and weights taken into consideration. Typically, the August report increases yield.” Van Ahn also says the recent export sales are great, but follow-through will be key. Van Ahn will join the Red River Farm Network at the Big Iron Farm Show. Check out the lineup of market analysts.
Grain Markets Balance Weather, Crop Size and Demand – As August begins, grain traders continue to monitor the weather and U.S. crop conditions. “The temperatures are expected to heat up again in a few weeks, but the rain is supposed to come right along with it. That’s keeping the lid on the market prices at the moment,” said Naomi Blohm, senior market advisor, Total Farm Marketing. “Seasonally, we see grain prices stretch lower in August. The market is balancing weather, the size of the next crop and demand. The next few weeks will be critical for price direction.” There have already been some export sales to unknown destinations this week. Blohm said additional, significant purchases would be needed to get the grain markets excited. “In the back of our minds, we’re still wondering if China will actually meet their phase one deal commitments.”
Supply Story Keeps Pressure on Grain Markets – The size of the U.S. crop is outshining export sales. According to Summit Commodities market analyst Tim Marsh, the supply story will continue to keep pressure on the grain markets. Traders are awaiting the details of the USDA August supply and demand report. “The trade will expect to see at least a modest increase in the corn yield and the soybean yield, because of the good crop,” said Marsh. “One thing about the report that’s interesting is the USDA won’t go to the field to look at the crop this year due to budget constraints; they won’t do a field survey until September. The crop size and yield estimate will be made entirely with farmer surveys and satellite imagery.” In the meantime, the price of crops could continue to attract more export sales.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – Kids are going back to school and that sense of normalcy is good for the markets. Advance Trading Risk Management Advisor Tommy Grisafi also offers perspective on the gold, silver and copper markets and the impact on the grain trade. Find out more in this edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets.
Market Encouraging Farmers to Store Corn and Wheat, Sell Soybeans – Ahead of harvest, farmers are starting to make decisions regarding on-farm storage and capacity. It could be benefit farmers to have on-farm storage this year, but farmers should weigh the costs and benefits. A combination of the futures and cash markets is providing economic incentive for farmers to store corn and wheat. “We have adequate supplies for harvest delivery, but there is an economic incentive to also spread out a few of those sales,” said Frayne Olson, crops economist, NDSU Extension. “The expectation is we’ll have a good corn crop and there’s a good spring wheat crop coming in the North American market.” Soybeans are the opposite. “There’s a disincentive to store soybeans for a longer period of time. For harvest efficiencies, farmers may want to take soybeans and put them in on-farm storage temporarily, but the market wants soybeans sooner rather than later.” Hear more from Olson in the NDSU Extension webinar series.
Demand for Cheese Declines, Prices Take a Tumble – Cheese prices nosedived this past week. AgResource Company President Dan Basse says that’s due, in part, to a drop in demand as the USDA Farmers to Family Food Box program winds down. “We’re now seeing the dairy markets reflecting less demand and because we’re not seeing a big change in cow numbers, prices retreated sharply in recent days. Then, the cheese markets were down a record amount.” Basse says the government stimulus program produced a “sugar high,” but, it is not a long lasting situation. Basse says dairy farmers need to understand Class III milk prices could decline to $15 to $16 per hundredweight.
A Roller Coaster Market – The dairy industry has seen huge swings in the market. “We had $2 cheese and we went to $1 cheese and then it was $3 cheese and now we’re back in the neighborhood of $2 again,” said Michael Dykes, president/CEO, International Dairy Foods Association. With the loss of the foodservice business, some food processors have been unable to fulfill contracts. Others have seen a buildup in inventories. Dykes says access to capital is critically important for those companies. The dairy recourse loan program is still part of the discussion for the latest COVID-19 relief package.
Potato News – Aphid populations haven’t been high for potato growers in the northern part of the Red River Valley this year, but University of Minnesota Extension entomologist Ian MacRae says the pest has been an issue in the east-central part of the state. Hear more in this week’s Potato News. This update is made possible by Corteva Agriscience, Bayer, Sipcam Agro and BASF’s Provysol fungicide, the new standard for early blight.
Parade of Champions: Jazlynn Folland – The Folland Family of Halma, Minnesota made the tough decision to forgo their livestock projects this year because of the cancellation of the State Fair and many other livestock shows. Jazlynn, who is entering her junior year in high school, says it was certainly a tough decision. “I was looking forward to teaching my younger brother about sheep. He is just beginning to show livestock.” The family thought long and hard about their decision. “We usually purchase our sheep right in March and that’s when the coronavirus outbreak was starting here. You know, we thought maybe it was okay to take a year off.” Hear more from Jazlynn, in this Parade of Champions story. This Red River Farm Network effort is sponsored by AgCountry Farm Credit Services, NDFB, Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association and Association Milk Producers, Incorporated.
Parade of Champions: Kasi Holm – Kasi Holm of Forbes, North Dakota is a recent graduate of Ellendale High School. That means her 4-H and FFA careers are coming to a close. Kasi encourages younger members to step outside their comfort zone. “I livestock judged for many years. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy doing it, but I wanted to try something new.” After talking to her FFA advisor, Kasi decided to try agricultural sales. “Everyone knows I like to talk. I took the leap with 4-H as well and showed different animals every year.” Hear more from Kasi in this Parade of Champions interview. This Red River Farm Network effort is sponsored by AgCountry Farm Credit Services, NDFB, Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association and Association Milk Producers, Incorporated.
American Soybean Association Celebrates 100 Years – The American Soybean Association celebrated their 100-year anniversary on Tuesday. At an in-person event, former leaders reflected on their time in the association and the progress made in agriculture. Current ASA President and Minnesota farmer Bill Gordon considered what would happen if the ASA hadn’t been established. “What would key policy like the farm bill look like,” asked Gordon. USDA Deputy Secretary and former ASA CEO Steve Censky was the keynote speaker, discussing the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on agriculture and recent trade deals. “We think China can do better (in the phase one trade deal) and they are going to have to step it up. We are reminding the Chinese they have to continue to do better to live up to their commitment.” A historical marker was also unveiled at the site of where the first Corn Belt Soybean Field Day was held in Camden, Indiana. Learn more about the history of the association here.
COVID-19 Impacts Tyson Foods Quarterly Report – Tyson Foods finished the third quarter with earnings of $527 million. That’s down from $676 million one year ago. The 22 percent decline in profits was influenced by additional costs for safety equipment, pay raises for workers, plant shutdowns and other pandemic-related expenses. Tyson President Dean Banks, who will take over as CEO in October, said he doesn’t expect a full recovery until restaurant sales increase.
MFBF Update – While there was no pork chop on a stick or a pancake breakfast, the Farmfest forums still took place virtually. Hear more from Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap in the MFBF Update.
2nd Quarter Profits for Corteva – Corteva finished the second quarter with net income of $760 million. That compares to a loss of $680 million one year ago. Seed sales rose six percent on a reported basis, boosted by strong corn and soybean sales in North America. Crop protection sales declined four percent.
A 2Q Loss for Bayer – Bayer finished the second quarter with net loss of $11.2 billion. That compares to profits of $468 million one year ago. The losses were attributed to litigation over glyphosate and allegations of cancer, dicamba drift and a dispute over waste water contamination. Bayer has settled the majority of the lawsuits over the use of Roundup herbicide, costing $9.6 billion. There’s also an agreement to pay $400 million for dicamba-related claims pending now in federal court. The head of the Bayer CropScience division, Liam Condon, said the legal settlements are not an admission of guilt, but a cost-effective way to end this “distraction.”
A Record Year for CP – Canadian Pacific Railway moved a record amount of grain and grain products during the 2019-2020 crop year. CP transported 29.5 million tons of grain. That’s ten percent more than the previous record, which was set last year.
Pandemic Influences Outlook for Zoetis – Zoetis finished the second quarter at $377 million. That’s a $6 million improvement over last year. Sales for the animal health products are expected to remain weak for the next six-to-12 months due to disruptions in meatpacking and the coronavirus.
Merck Acquires IdentiGEN – Merck Animal Health has completed its acquisition of IdentiGEN. IdentiGEN’s technology uses DNA and data analytics for animal traceability. That includes the traceback of beef, pork and poultry that is verifiable from farmer-to-table. Terms of the deal were not announced.
MN Corn Matters – The Minnesota Corn Growers Association had a presence at the 2020 Virtual Minnesota Farmfest. Find out more in the latest Corn Matters from MCGA Public Relations Manager Brent Renneke.
Legend Seeds Signs On as a Distributor for Mustang Seed – Two regional independent seed companies are working together. Mustang Seeds, which is located at Madison, South Dakota, has added DeSmet, South Dakota-based Legend Seeds as a distributor. In addition to distribution, this agreement will allow both companies to share research, testing and data.
New Seed Treatment Released – Willbur-Ellis has released a new seed treatment product called STEPUP 2.0. This new formulation is designed to supplement the protein and amino acids released during the early stages of germination. The goal is to provide faster, more uniform emergence in soybeans.
A Busy Time for Crop Tours – The DTN/Progressive Farmer Digital Yield Tour kicked off today with a look at the crop potential in ten states. The focus is on South Dakota and Nebraska today. One week from today, the ProFarmer Midwest Crop Tour will be on the road. Due to the pandemic, the evening wrap up sessions will be held online. Closer to home, the Red River Farm Network Crop Tour Presented by Pioneer will be traveling the region during the week of August 24.
Lohr Leaves the NRCS – The chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Matthew Lohr, is stepping down from the position. The Virginia native and was appointed to the job in December 2018. Lohr plans to return to the family farm full-time.
Grafton Adds ‘Emeritus’ to his Title – After 40 years at North Dakota State University, Dr. Ken Grafton has retired. Grafton held several administrative roles over the last two decades including time as the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources and Vice President for Agricultural Affairs. Grafton joined NDSU’s dry bean breeding program in 1981 and was involved in the development and release of over 30 dry bean germplasm lines.
Sterling Smith Moves to DSMG – A veteran in the grain trading business has taken on a new role as the director of ag research at Diversified Services Marketing Group. Most recently, Sterling Smith managed Bloomberg’s agricultural product worldwide. Previously, Smith worked for CHS Hedging and Citi. Smith is now based in Omaha.
New Officer Team in Place for NDGGA – Linton farmer Tom Bernhardt is the new chairman of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association. Bernhardt succeeds Dennis Haugen, who resigned. Ed Kessel of Dickinson is second vice president and Ryan Ellis of Williston is secretary-treasurer.
Spelhaug Goes to GDM Seeds – Peterson Farms Seed Agronomy Lead Adam Spelhaug has left the company after 15 years and accepted a new position as a regional account manager with GDM Seeds, a plant genetics company. “It will be a good opportunity to see different things in this area, but still focused on finding better genetics for Northern Plains farmers,” says Spelhaug. “I’m trying to advance what we have going on up here for soybeans.” Last Friday was Spelhaug’s last day at PFS.
Last Week’s Trivia – Wheaties is the cereal that is known as ‘the breakfast of champions.’ Dean Nelson of Kelley Bean Company wins our weekly trivia challenge. Jeff Hamre of Legend Seeds, Dennis Duvall of Dakota Environmental, Kevin Praska of Stone’s Mobile Radio and Carver County feedlot officer Alan Langseth earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Anna Kemmer of Southeast Region Career and Technology Center, Erin Nash of National Association of Farm Broadcasting, Jim Altringer of CHS Dakota Plains Ag, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Teresa Kjellberg of Farm Credit Services of North Dakota, Dianne Bettin of LB Pork, Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed, Mark Mettler of PreferredOne, Pete Carson of Carson Farms, Sara O’Toole of O’Toole Seed, Karlstad farmer Kurt Aakre, Gary Sloan of BMO Harris Bank, Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad, Keith Bjorneby of Lone Wolf Farms and Royalton farmer Darrell Larsen.
This Week’s Trivia – Forty-eight individuals have served as U.S. vice presidents. Two of those men called Minnesota their home state. Name them. Send your name to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|RRFN Upcoming Events|
|August 11, 2020||NDSU Extension Online Composting Workshop - Online Webinar|
|August 11, 2020||ND Corn Classic Golf Tournament - Mapleton, ND|
|August 11, 2020 - August 13, 2020||National Agri-Marketing Conference - Online Webinar|
|August 11, 2020||NDSU Extension Cover Crops Cafe Talk - Online Webinar|
|August 11, 2020||Fill Your Resiliency Toolbox - Online Webinar|
|August 12, 2020 - August 13, 2020||Midwest Poultry Federation Virtual Convention - Online Webinar|
|August 18, 2020||U of MN Extension Cover Crop Field Day - Online Webinar|
|August 18, 2020||Cultivating Resiliency Virtual Coffee Chat - Online Webinar|
|August 20, 2020||Pasture to Plate Webinar: Mandatory Price Reporting and Price Discovery - Online Webinar|
|August 21, 2020||CLC Ag and Energy Center Field Day - Staples, MN|
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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.