A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, August 02, 2021
Another Busy Week for Agriculture – This past week’s wheat crop tour confirmed what we’ve been seeing all season, the drought has taken its toll. Cattle producers and packers were called to Capitol Hill to discuss market fundamentals. African Swine Fever is now too close for comfort. Those are just a few of the stories covered this week by the Red River Farm Network team. You’ll find those stories in this edition of FarmNetNews and the latest RRFN Reporter Roundtable.
Spring Wheat Tour Shows Lower Yields, Good Quality for ND – Final results from the Wheat Quality Council tour have an overall weighted average for spring wheat at 29.1 bushels per acre. Compared to an average year, like 2015, this is about two-thirds of the normal crop. The all-wheat yield estimate is at 28.9 bushels per acre. Council Executive Vice-President Dave Green thinks there is a sense of relief through some of the trade. “It’s a short crop, but we’re thankful for the quality.” The big question going into and also, coming out of the tour is abandonment. “That’s difficult to measure, because it can happen in many ways,” says Reid Christopherson, executive director, South Dakota Wheat Commission. More abandonment details are expected in the fall. Hear the story.
A Variable Spring Wheat Crop in Northeastern North Dakota – Variable is the way to describe the spring wheat from the final day of the Wheat Quality Council’s Spring Wheat Tour. The final routes covered the northeastern part of North Dakota with a calculated weighted average at 35.4 bushels/acre. NDSU Wheat Research Analyst Kelly McMonagle drove on the red route from Devils Lake, North Dakota into western Minnesota. “If you compare it to the first few days, they were pretty good fields About 50 percent of fields had been cut.” On the orange route, King Milling Company Vice President Patrick Doyle went north of Lakota, into Milton and then, down to Crystal, North Dakota. “We’re seeing ok yields around there.”
Spring wheat yields in western and north central North Dakota were estimated at 24.6 bushels per acre. That compares to 40.8 bushels per acre in 2019 and the five-year average of 42.2 bushels. “I was right in the middle of that big dark red blotch in North Dakota on the drought map,” said Dave Green, executive vice president, Wheat Quality Council. “I thought it was the lousiest set of stops I’ve had in a long, long time. There were about eight stops in a row that we put yields well under 20 bushels per acre, more like ten.” Josh Longtin with Miller Milling Company traveled north of Bismarck to the Canadian border, then headed east towards Rolla and back south to Devils Lake. Compared to the previous day, Longtin says fields were definitely poorer. “It will be borderline if farmers even try to harvest it for grain. On a positive note, we haven’t noticed hardly any quality issues, which is good for millers.” The average durum yield on day two was calculated at 23.6 bushels per acre. On the final day of the spring wheat tour, crop scouts will travel north and east from Devils Lake and end in Fargo. Listen to the story.
Spring Wheat Going Through the Baler – North Dakota Wheat Commission Administrator Neal Fisher says there are a few bright spots with the spring wheat and durum crop in the state, but there’s also disappointment. “Spring wheat harvest is sporadic right now.” Fisher is seeing more balers than combines running. “People may wince when I say that, but that’s the truth. I was talking with two farmers who were raking wheat this week, trying to get cattle feed. The economic value of some of this material as cattle feed probably outranks the harvest rate of it. I don’t want to be doomsday, but that’s a reality we’re dealing with here.” Fisher says it will also be an interesting year for spring wheat customers, because a lot of previous wheat inventory has been marketed. Photo credit: Charlie Vogel, Minnesota Wheat.
Spring Wheat Crop Done in Portions of North Dakota – Linton, North Dakota farmer and North Dakota Grain Growers Association President Tom Bernhardt was on the spring wheat tour this week. His spring wheat is finished. “Spring wheat was pushed along with the heat and lack of moisture. Our other crops look pretty good, but pastures aren’t good at all.” Bernhardt says there has already been some baling of the wheat crop. “In Emmons County, there’s been lots of spring wheat acres rolled up for feed. Some acres are going to be abandoned, it’s that short, and others are trying to go out with sickle mowers and tried to cut them and rake. I looked at some of the bales and it looks poor quality. I think they’ll add liquid protein supplement to some of that and make it work for feed.”
More Spring Wheat Tour Reflections – Horizon Resources Grain Division Manager Levi Hall monitored the Wheat Quality Council’s Spring Wheat Tour from afar. Hall is based in Williston, North Dakota. “I was surprised at the southeast corner of North Dakota. There were more fields at 20 bushel/acre than I expected. When you look at pictures from Napoleon and compare those to pictures from Mohall, there weren’t a lot of differences. There’s high drought stress in both.” Hall says the tour missed a lot of the heavy abandonment areas. “We’ve seen a lot of it in the Watford City area. I would expect 60 to 70 percent of that area abandoned this year. Then, if you look at the southwest corner and they’ll likely be around 25 to 50 percent abandonment. The other thing we’ve seen is not abandonment due to haying or grazing, but lots of grasshopper stress.”
Disappointing Spring Wheat Yields in NE North Dakota – In Crystal, North Dakota, O’Toole Seed owner and farmer Brian O’Toole got out into the spring wheat fields last Monday to start harvest. “I had a field of wheat planted on sugarbeet ground and that’s typically the first thing we harvest. Yields are disappointing and looking at other crops coming down the line, I don’t think that attitude will change as harvest continues.” O’Toole says the real harvest will begin the middle of this week. “Most of the crops that emerged this spring are very spotty. Germination is poor and the crops didn’t come up even. Being a seed grower, we can’t desiccate. We’ll have to wait until the crop dries down naturally. There’s a lot of green heads and plants so we’re about one month from finishing wheat harvest.”
Variability is Part of Small Grain Harvest – Agronomist Sarah Lovas farms near Hillsboro, North Dakota. She says barley harvest went well. “We didn’t have many acres to harvest. One of the challenges in Hillsboro is the green fields due to later barley germination. Farmers are trying to figure out what to do with the crop.” The barley quality looks decent. “The protein may be slightly higher, but the test weights are good. The barley is not as bad as I thought, but it’s not a bumper crop.” Now, it’s time for spring wheat harvest. Lovas thinks variability will be a story for all of the small grains. “The drier soils will be tougher, there’s no doubt. Yields around here range from 10 bushels to 40 bushels per acre. I have to believe that the really good fields are going to be the exception, not the rule.”
Uneven Fields Extend Barley Harvest – Aneta, North Dakota farmer Fred Lukens started harvesting barley at the end of July. There are uneven fields, which means Lukens is getting more strategic at harvest. “We’ve never harvested quite this way before; leaving lots of green spots in the field. Our overall moisture content is under 17 percent, but we’ll go from 15 to 22 percent at the edge of the green spots. We’ll have to go back and harvest that later.” Lukens says contract barley for malting can be rejected for having too many green kernels. This will be a longer harvest than usual. “I have a 200-some acre field that is two weeks away from harvest, because it has a lot of hills, ridges and green. Realistically from start to finish, our barley harvest may take three weeks when it should only take one week.”
Desiccation Recommendation – With the dry conditions this season, fields have been very uneven. Weed escapes have also been a reality. BASF Technical Service Representative Ken Diebert says a harvest aid, like Sharpen, can address those issues. For this region, dry beans are most desiccated crop. “You want to make those applications when 80 percent of the pods are yellow-to-tan and at that point you should have no more than 30 percent of the leaves still green in that canopy.” The Sharpen application for spring wheat should be made at the hard dough stage. For canola, the crop is ready for desiccation when the seeds turn brown-to-black in color. The best time for sunflowers is when the bract turns brown and the seed is at 36 percent moisture. “The key to all of these crops is to target these applications at the correct time.”
The Sugarbeet Report – Late season weed escapes are concern for sugarbeet growers. Extension agronomist Tom Peters has more in The Sugarbeet Report. This update is made possible by Premium Ag Solutions, Corteva Agriscience, REGEV Fungicide from Summit Agro USA, Inspire XT by Syngenta, SESVanderHave and H&S Manufacturing.
Be Aware of Grasshopper Issues at Harvest – Grasshoppers continue to line small grain fields and, in some cases, are eating the crops. NDSU Extension Entomologist Jan Knodel says many farmers have already sprayed and it’s too close to harvest to apply more insecticides. “Just be aware of those grasshoppers. Scout the fields, because grasshoppers can move to soybean and dry bean fields. For adults, thresholds are eight to 14 grasshoppers per square yard.”
Canola Minute – Gall midge in canola is getting some attention. Find out more from NDSU Extension Cavalier County agent Anitha Chirmumamilla in the Canola Minute. This update is made possible by the Northern Canola Growers Association.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – Midwestern rains, a private estimate on Russia’s wheat crop and labor issues all get attention in this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets. Advance Trading Risk Management Advisor Tommy Grisafi kicks of the week with a look at key market issues.
RMA Adds More Flexibility for Drought-Stressed Farmers and Ranchers – USDA’s Risk Management Agency is providing additional flexibility for farmers and ranchers dealing with the drought. Additional time is now available to pay premiums and administrative fees. Interest will also be waived for 60 days. In an interview, the Red River Farm Network asked RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy if drought-stressed corn could be released earlier from crop insurance to address feed shortages. “That is something we are allowed and that is part of the emergency procedures issued because once the acres are released, the crop can go for another use. We’re making sure the acres can be released as soon as possible.” With crop losses and current commodity prices, the majority of affected farmers would normally the automatic $200,000 APH review. With the volume of claims expected in the region, Flournoy said that is being addressed. “We’ve adjusted that where everyone that hits that mark will be audited. We use data mining to be more specific and precise about who needs to be audited: that will significantly reduce the number of audits.” Flournoy encouraged farmers with questions to contact their local crop insurance agent. Here’s the interview.
Lawmakers Push for Timely Decisions for Emergency Haying of CRP – It may be too late for this year, but bills have been introduced in Congress to improve the Agriculture Department’s ability to allow for the timely haying of CRP land during a weather disaster, like this year’s drought. The bill would make emergency haying available when certain conditions are met and with consultation of the state technical committee. The bill has been introduced by Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Minnesota Senator Tina Smith in the upper chamber. The House version was introduced by South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson and Minnesota Representative Angie Craig.
WHIP+ Extension Passes House Ag Committee – The House Agriculture Committee marked up the $8.5 billion 2020 WHIP+ Reauthorization Act on Tuesday. The bill covers 2020 and 2021 disasters and includes all causes of loss from the previous WHIP+ program, expanding on the drought. Minnesota Congresswoman Angie Craig talked about how the bill will help those in drought. “I’m encouraged to see the provisions in the language for the bill that includes D2 level impacts in the losses. Much of Minnesota is suffering from severe drought. That’s the case for many other committee members representing districts in the Midwest and west,” said Craig. “There’s a provision that provides eligibility only after eight consecutive weeks of severe drought conditions and that will be met for many, if it hasn’t been already.” The bill passed unanimously out of committee.
Goule Expects Strong Support on WHIP+ Revamp in Senate – There hasn’t been much action on a 2020 and 2021 WHIP+ program in the Senate. National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule says the Senate is more focused on infrastructure and climate. “As soon as WHIP+ heads that direction, I feel certain we’ll have the full support of the Senate Ag Committee to continue moving this legislation.” Goule would like to see a few changes made in the WHIP+ program. “NAWG definitely wants to make sure winter wheat qualifies, because it did not last time. For the quality adjustment, we want other record keeping besides receipts from grain elevators. That’s where there were pitfalls in the last program. We look forward to working with Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to improve on both coming out of the markup. We are also glad to see the appropriations move through the House.”
Boozman Supports WHIP+ Extension – Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman issued a statement of support following the passage of the WHIP+ extension bill in the House Ag Committee. Boozman said lawmakers need to explore all viable opportunities to reach producers who have been impacted by natural disasters. Boozman also said he’s committed to working in a bipartisan manner in the Senate to find a vehicle to deliver this relief to farmers and ranchers.
Dry Bean Scene – During the field day held at the NDSU Langdon Research Extension Center, research agronomist Bryan Hanson highlighted row spacing and population trials being conducted at the LREC. Hear more in the latest Dry Bean Scene. This radio update is made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association, Johnstown Bean Company, SRS Commodities and Sharpen Herbicide from BASF.
Senate Remains in Session to Work on Infrastructure Bill – After a weekend of negotiations, the Senate has finalized a $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal and will vote on amendments this week. This plan includes $110 billion for roads and bridges and $65 billion for broadband.
Beef Supply Chain Issues Highlighted on Capitol Hill – The fire at the Holcomb, Kansas packing plant, the JBS cyberattack and COVID-19 resulted in a historic spread between live animal prices and retail meat prices. National Farmers Union President Rob Larew testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, saying this is a matter of fairness. “These corporations are too big and when they fail or take advantage of their power, we all suffer; unbridled corporate power must be checked.” Tyson Foods Group Vice President Shane Miller also testified, emphasizing his company is committed to provide fair compensation to farmers and ranchers. The use of Alternative Marketing Arrangements was a frequent discussion point. “AMAs provide a mechanism for producers to realize premium prices for the investments made in superior genetics, herd health management and marketing,” said Tim Schellpeper, who leads the JBS USA Fed Beef Division. “They also help to ensure a consistent supply of high quality cattle for processing that results in a consistent supply of high quality beef options in the meatcase for consumers.”
Senators Denounce Anti-competitive Practices in the Cattle Markets – The Senate Judiciary Committee isn’t usually hearing about supply and demand, marketing agreements or the economics of beef production. That was the case Wednesday when lawmakers learned about cattle markets and consolidation in the beef industry. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is a longtime critic of the concentration seen in the meatpacking business. Grassley said formula pricing may offer advantages to some cattle producers, but there is no price transparency. “Captive supply is unfair and anticompetitive when packers use these type of arrangements to fill their needs and small producers can’t get a bid for their fed cattle.” Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said concerns about anticompetitive business practices go well beyond the meat industry. “In addition to meatpacking and retail, we have seen a handful of large companies dominating food-related markets such as corn and soybean seed, fertilizer, pest control, farm equipment, food distribution and food manufacturing.”
Experts Identify Issues Facing the Beef Industry in House Subcommittee Hearing – A House Agriculture Subcommittee met Wednesday morning to discuss the state of the beef supply chain. In opening comments, Committee Chairman Jim Costa reiterated the fact that many people don’t know where their food comes from. “A lot of people think food comes from the grocery store or their favorite restaurant. So therefore, I think we’ve learned that we’re vulnerable in a number of different ways.” Testimony was first heard from Jayson Lusk, an agricultural economist at Perdue University. “Don’t overly focus on today. Instead, make policies for the future.” Lusk identified three issues facing the industry: capacity, improved price transparency and policies that improve overall health of the cattle industry. Ranking Member Dusty Johnson of South Dakota asked about an additional 5,000 head of capacity coming online. “If so, what would be the impact on packer margins,” asked Johnson. “Expanding packing capacity would likely reduce packer margins,” said Dustin Aherin, animal protein analyst, RaboRearch. The House Ag Committee also discussed drought conditions, cybersecurity, market volatility and more. Similar discussions on the state of the cattle industry were held in the Senate Agriculture Committee last month. Legislation has been introduced in both chambers that offers up improvements for the sector. Listen to the story.
A Zero-to-Zero Approach to Sugar Subsidies – A bipartisan bill has been introduced in Congress to zero out foreign sugar subsidies. The American Sugar Alliance supports the bill, saying it allows farmers to compete on a level playing field. Minnesota Representatives Michelle Fischbach and Jim Hagedorn are co-sponsors of this bill.
Sugar in the Crosshairs Again – A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the House and Senate to make changes in the current sugar program. It calls for the end of production controls on the domestic sugar supply and it repeals a program where the federal government buys surplus sugar and sells it to ethanol plants. The proposal also gives USDA more flexibility in regulating sugar imports.
Changes Proposed to Federal Sugar Policy Program – Last week, four U.S. Senators reintroduced the Fair Sugar Policy Act of 2021. The bill proposes changes to the federal sugar program. American Crystal Sugar Company Vice President of Government Affairs Kevin Price says the bill sends a bad message to farm country, but on another level, this is not surprising. “This legislation gets introduced in some form or another every year in Congress. We have many friends on Capitol Hill and across the country that recognize this legislation for what this is, a cynical ploy.” Price says opponents of the sugar industry tried to attach similar legislation to the House agriculture appropriations bill this past week, but failed.
Pioneer Agronomy Update – Throughout North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, crops are under stress. “Everywhere is the same, we’re all on a razor’s edge as far keeping this crop alive with the moisture we’ve gotten,” said Pat VanLith, digital business manager, Granular. “If we’ve been lucky enough to pick up a rain or two we may look a little better, but, regardless, at two o’clock each day it is a good time to go inside and have a glass of lemonade because you don’t want to go look at crops.” With the dry conditions, there is extreme variability in the field. During the Pioneer Agronomy Update this past week, VanLith said tools are available to help farmers evaluate that variability. Granular Insights provides analysis to identify the impact of agronomic decisions.
Science-Based Biotech Approvals Sought From China – China’s uncertain biotechnology approval process influences the tools available in crop production. Biotechnology Innovation Organization President and CEO Michelle McMurray-Heath made that point while testifying before the Senate Finance Committee. “On average, it takes our companies seven years to just get approved in China and we estimate this has cost over $50 billion in a five-year period for U.S. farmers.” McMurray-Heath said agriculture needs a transparent, science-based process.
Dairy Industry Represented at USMCA Hearing – The U.S. dairy industry has had some heartburn with Canada’s dairy tariff quotas and Mexican regulations designed to limit imports. Idaho dairy farmer Allan Huttema addressed the need for enforcement of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement during testimony before the Senate Finance Committee. Huttema said the dairy industry has a couple priorities for any trade agreement. “Number one is market access, especially when it comes to Mexico. The zero tariff on our imported product there was a great thing to go after. Number two, there’s a resolution process put in place, which we have and we’ll see how that plays out.” Huttema, who is a member of the executive committee of the National Milk Producers Federation, said the U.S. should go beyond the USMCA and work on new trade agreements worldwide.
Senators Seek Audience with President Biden on Biofuels – South Dakota Senators John Thune, Mike Rounds and others sent a letter to President Biden on Wednesday, requesting a biofuels meeting. In the letter, the senators note the lack of biofuels in the administration’s energy, environmental and transportation agenda. The lawmakers also outline what they’d like to discuss with the president, including additional support of biofuels infrastructure, fostering expanded export opportunities and restoring integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard.
EPA Will Host Virtual Meetings in August to Revise WOTUS – The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of the Army are revising the definition of Waters of the United States. The WOTUS definition will be updated through two rulemakings. This includes a foundational rule to restore regulations defining WOTUS that were in place until 2015, consistent with Supreme Court decisions. The second rulemaking process would refine the regulatory foundation and update the WOTUS definition. Starting August 18, the agencies will host a series of five public, virtual meetings to hear all perspectives on both rules. Written recommendations are also being accepted. Click here to register or submit comments.
FY ’22 Ag Spending Bill Advances – The House has passed the 2022 agriculture appropriations bill. The language includes additional money for research, broadband and increased field staffing for the NRCS. The bill does not include new funding for WHIP+, but a separate plan with those dollars passed this past week in the House Agriculture Committee. North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, who is the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Ranking Member, said he wants to include WHIP+ funding for 2020 and 2021 in the new spending bill.
USDA to Help Heirs Resolve Land Ownership and Succession Issues – USDA is providing $67 million in competitive loans to help farmers and landowners resolve land ownership and succession issues. Community development lenders, including co-ops, credit unions and nonprofits, can apply to the Farm Service Agency for loans up to $5 million at one percent interest. Heirs’ property is land inherited without a will or documentation of ownership. Once that issue has been addressed, those farms will become eligible for loans and USDA programs. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said these land ownership issues have challenged Black, Native American, Latino and other farmers in poverty-stricken areas. In a separate announcement, USDA announced $1 million in funding for risk management education for historically underserved farmers and ranchers.
Potato News – The National Potato Council met virtually for the summer meeting last week. National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles says there’s work to do across all issue areas including infrastructure, immigration reform and fresh potato market access with Mexico. Hear more in Potato News, brought to you by Gowan USA, BASF’s Zidua for Residual Weed Control and Corteva Agriscience.
Economy is Making ‘Progress’ – The Federal Reserve has kept the benchmark interest rate near zero since March of last year. To boost the economy, $120 billion in Treasuries and mortgage bonds have also been purchased each month. Upon the conclusion of its two-day meeting, Fed officials said the economy has made progress signaling a possible tapering of these purchases before the end of the year.
ASF Creeps Closer to the U.S. – African Swine Fever has been confirmed for the first time in the Western Hemisphere. The disease has been found on two hog farmers in the Dominican Republic. ASF is a human health concern, but it is a devastating disease for the swine herd.
Prop 12 Appeal Rejected – A federal appeals panel has unanimously denied an attempt by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation to strike down California’s Proposition 12 as unconstitutional. Proposition 12 bans certain animal housing standards with ramifications that go far beyond any state border. Activist groups, including the Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary intervened in this case. The NPPC argued Prop 12 will drive up the costs for pork producers and consumers.
Another Attempt to De-List Gray Wolves – A coalition of 70 conservation and animal welfare groups is petitioning to have gray wolves relisted as an endangered species in nine western states. Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota are not included on that list. Gray wolves were removed from the federal endangered species list last year.
Beef Checkoff Ruled as Constitutional – The Ninth Circuit Court has upheld a lower court ruling in support of the beef checkoff program. R-CALF USA began this legal action in 2016 claiming the beef checkoff violated the First Amendment rights of beef producers. The Ninth Circuit agreed with a lower court ruling that determined state beef checkoffs operated with oversight from the federal government and qualified as government speech and does not violate the rights of free speech.
Parade of Champions – Bridger Mongeau – Bridger Mongeau is from the Barnesville/Moorhead, Minnesota area and shows pigs and horses. “I made a state fair trip with my horses and won grand champion market barrow, grand champion market gilt and overall supreme showman.” Ahead of the fair, Mongeau works with his pigs multiple times per day so the animals will perform at an optimal level in the show ring. With all the purple ribbons, Mongeau is most proud of the recognition for showmanship. “Showmanship is based on how well you show the hog to the judge and not just what your hog looks like.” In addition to showing pigs and horses, Mongeau is involved with a variety of community service projects with his club. The Red River Farm Network Parade of Champions celebrates 4-H and FFA across the region.This salute to the next generation is sponsored by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Wheat Commission, AgCountry Farm Credit Services and Associated Milk Producers Incorporated. Listen to the story.
Biotechnology is in the Courts – The Center for Food Safety, the National Family Farm Coalition, Friends of the Earth and others are back in court, challenging the Trump Administration’s regulatory changes for the approval of biotech crops. The lawsuit, which was filed in California, claims this action did not fully consider the risks to agriculture, the environment and endangered species.
Minnesota Beef Update – Farmfest is back in-person and the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association will be there. Find out more from Executive Director Allison VanDerWal in the latest Minnesota Beef Update.
Farmfest: Ag Policy at the Crossroads – Farmfest begins its three-day run Tuesday near Redwood Falls in southern Minnesota. “There will be close to 500 exhibitors at Farmfest and you’ll be able to see the latest and greatest in machinery and technology,” said Kent Thiesse, forum coordinator. “The forums focus on the big issues and we think we have a great lineup this year.” The lead-off forum will look at U.S. agriculture policy. Panelists include former USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey and Representatives Michelle Fischbach, Jim Hagedorn and Tom Emmer. “The four of them will be joined by national farm leaders including American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, National Farmers Union President Rob Larew, Bill Gordon who is a farm operator from southern Minnesota and chairs the American Soybean Association board, and Dave Preisler, the CEO of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association.” Red River Farm Network farm broadcaster Don Wick will moderate the forum.
Minnesota is Officially a Clean Cars State – Minnesota is officially a clean cars state. Governor Tim Walz said this action is good for the environment and created good paying jobs. “We’re the 15th state to do this and the first in the Midwest,” said Walz. “In the 14 other states, the sky did not fall; the car industry did not collapse; jobs were not lost. In fact, just the opposite happened in the 14 other states.” The clean car standards include two tracks; one to reduce vehicle emissions and one promoting electric cars, trucks and SVUs.
Walz Highlights Drought Concerns in Meeting with President Biden – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz talked with President Joe Biden Friday about the drought, expressing concerns about the haze from wildfires and what’s happening to Minnesota’s farmers and ranchers. “Seventy-five percent of my state is in severe drought conditions. We’re going to see a massive impact in terms of production,” said Walz. “My concern is that we remain flexible enough to adapt to situations none of us have ever seen. In Minnesota, the gray hairs are talking about the last time we’ve seen drought like this is 1988 and it’s probably more like 1961. We need to have the capacity to use some of these lands for livestock.” Walz has been working with Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to provide more access to forage. “The ability to move quickly saves livelihoods.”
Two New Drought Loan Programs Available for ND Livestock Producers – The Bank of North Dakota has two new loan programs available to help livestock producers recover from the extreme drought. “These programs are similar to others we’ve rolled out in other droughts, but we made changes,” said Todd Steinwand, president, Bank of North Dakota. “In 2017, drought was more localized. This year, it seems like the entire state is in the drought and there’s a lack of feed across the state.” The Livestock Drought Loan Program provides more immediate assistance for farmers and ranchers. This loan program will cover ag-related costs related to feed purchases, transportation costs and getting water to cattle during the drought. The Livestock Rebuilder Loan Program will provide financing to help livestock producers rebuild their herd after the drought is over. Livestock producers are encouraged to work with their local lenders to apply for the programs.
ND Takes Additional Steps to Assist Farmers and Ranchers – The North Dakota State Water Commission has approved two new water supply programs and allocated another $2 million to the Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Project Assistance Program. Due to the current demand, the wait list for drilling new wells is often longer than six months. This program is intended to help fill the gap until a new well or other water source is secured. Cost-share funds are also available to reimburse producers for 50 percent of the costs for temporary water supplies, equipment and hauling. Applications can be made until August 23rd. The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is administering the program.
Walz Waives Trucking Regs to Help Farmers Get Forage – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order waiving trucking regulations to support Minnesota’s livestock producers who are facing a decrease in the availability of hay and other forages. Severe drought conditions have caused a decline in 10,000 acres of harvestable hay. This means farmers and ranchers will travel farther to get their forage needs. This new executive order goes into effect immediately and remains in effect for 30 days.
Drought Brings More Cow-Calf Sales in Northern MN – More cattle are moving through Minnesota auction barns. In July, Bagley Livestock Exchange co-owner Billy Bushelle says the auction moved waves of slaughter cows and bulls, and close to 2,000 cow-calf pairs. Bushelle anticipates moving more pairs in August. “We’ve had a good response from a large area, coming up and buying the animals as families. The price topped at $1,750 on pairs and the lower quality pairs are selling from $1,000-to $1,300.” Bushelle cannot remember a time when cow-calf pairs have been sold due to dry pasture conditions and says Minnesota’s farmers and ranchers aren’t as prepared. “This is a once and a lifetime thing for us. In June, I was saying it’s northern Minnesota, what are you talking about? One weekend of rains can change the scope of things, but it’s gotten worse.”
Fielding Questions: Young and Beginning Farmers – Young and beginning farmers are an important segment within agriculture. Although there are challenges to getting started, resources exist to help young and beginning farmers get off the ground. In the latest Fielding Questions episode, AgCountry Farm Credit Services AVP Loan Officer Sarah Schaffer discusses what resources can be used along with tips for keeping a good relationship with your lender. This podcast, produced in collaboration between AgCountry Farm Credit Services and the Red River Farm Network, explores the world of farm finance and rural life. Listen now.
Bayer to Replace Glyphosate in Lawn & Garden Products – Beginning in 2023, Bayer will no longer use glyphosate in its lawn and garden weed control formulations. The decision has been made to reduce the risk of litigation. In addition, Bayer is estimating the cost of future legal action over the use of Roundup will cost another $4.5 billion. Bayer plans to petition the Supreme Court over the Ninth Circuit court decision, which could influence those costs. Bayer officials emphasized glyphosate will still be available for agricultural use.
ADM Enjoys a 52 Percent Increase in 2Q Profits – Archer Daniels Midland reports quarterly earnings of $712 million, up from $469 million in the same period last year. Strong Chinese export demand is credited for those gains. ADM officials also cited stronger oilseed crush margins for its success.
Bunge Releases 2Q Financials – Bunge reports second quarter net income of $363 million, down from $516 million one year ago. The commodities trader raised its full-year adjusted profit outlook based on demand for vegetable oils and renewable fuels.
AGCO Farm Equipment Sales on the Rise – AGCO is reporting second quarter net sales of $2.9 billion, up over 43 percent from the same quarter in 2020. For the first six months of the fiscal year, North American tractor sales are up 22 percent and combine sales are up 13 percent.
Price-Fixing Indictments in the Poultry Sector – The Justice Department has filed indictments against Koch Foods and four executives from Pilgrim’s Pride. There are allegations of a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition in the poultry business. Fourteen individuals have now charged in this price-fixing case.
Peterson Farms Seed Celebrates 25+1 – COVID sidelined a big silver anniversary celebration for Peterson Farms Seed last year. The Prosper, North Dakota company brought together employees, dealers and customers for music, food trucks and fireworks last night, recognizing 25+1 years in business. “One of the things we said when we started was we’ll sell no seed that we wouldn’t be happy to plant on our own farm and that hasn’t changed,” said Carl Peterson, president, Peterson Farms Seed. “There were three of us when we started and there are more than 60 of us now and that whole crew is committed as Julie (Peterson) and I are to that vision.” Click this link to see a video update from the 25+1 Peterson Farms Seed celebration.
Groundworks Begins for Ag Innovation Campus – Site preparation, including utility work, is taking place at the Crookston campus and the construction should be complete next year. The Ag Innovation Campus will feature a specialty crushing facility to promote value-added products. This facility will be the first crush plant in the world dedicated to purchasing and selling soybeans based off the amino acid value.
Well Grounded – Episode 5 – How are drought conditions impacting land values in the Northern Plains? In the latest Well Grounded podcast, Wells Fargo agricultural economist MIchael Swanson discusses those impacts and more. Well Grounded is a monthly podcast hosted by Jayson Menke of Acres & Shares and Randy Koenen of the Red River Farm Network. Listen now.
Senate Ag Committee Considers Two USDA Nominations – The Senate Agriculture Committee considered the nominations of two USDA officials last week. Xochitl Torres Small, the nominee for USDA’s Under Secretary of Rural Development, and Robert Bonnie, the nominee for Under Secretary of Ag for Farm Production and Conservation, appeared before the committee. Torres Small told Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar if confirmed, she plans to prioritize rural housing. “It’s especially important as we recover from the pandemic to make sure people aren’t evicted from affordable housing.” Bonnie answered questions about carbon, climate and the Conservation Reserve Program from Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. “The plan with the Soil Carbon Network is not only to start with CRP, but look at U.S. working lands to document carbon storage. CRP is a critically important program for a lot of reasons and it’s important we get the right lands into the program.”
Jacobs-Young Nominated for USDA Research Under Secretary – President Biden has nominated Chavonda Jacobs-Young as the nominee for the Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics at the USDA. Jacobs-Young is the administrator of the USDA’s Ag Research Service. She previously served as a senior policy analyst for agriculture during the Obama administration. When confirmed, Jacobs-Young will be the first woman and person of color to lead the agency.
Another USDA Post Filled – Adrienne Wojciechowski has been named as USDA’s assistant secretary for congressional relations. Most recently, Wojciechowski was a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee staff. Previously, she worked for the Nature Conservancy.
Minnesota Farmer at the Helm of USGC – Willmar, Minnesota farmer Chad Willis is the new chairman of the U.S. Grains Council board of directors. Willis represents the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council on the board. Brent Boydston of Bayer CropScience was elected secretary-treasurer.
Greenwood Earns Lifetime Achievement Award – During the National Pork Industry Conference, Compeer Financial Chief Diversified Markets Officer Mark Greenwood was presented the first annual Larry Graham Pork Legacy Award. The award recognizes a pork industry leader who demonstrates excellence in industry knowledge-sharing, skill enhancement and serving the industry through education and collaboration.
Demeter Award of Excellence Recipients Named – During the Women in Agribusiness Summit in Minneapolis, three individuals will receive the Demeter Award of Excellence. The honorees are AgBiome COO Toni Bucci, Wilbur-Ellis Vice President Anne Cleary and Texas A&M University Economist Vicky Salin. The conference will be held September 21-23.
Murray Moves to ADM – Stephanie Murray is the new manager of marketing communications and brand experience at ADM. Most recently, Murray was vice president for Reputation Partners. Previously, Murray spent time with FleishmanHillard and G&S Business Communications.
Farm Credit Services of Mandan Releases Election Results – The Farm Credit Services of Mandan board has elected Clair Hauge of Carson as its chair. Dawn Martin of Beulah is the vice chair. Sheldon Wolf of Mandan will continue to lead the audit committee and serve as the board’s financial expert. Jim Vander Vorst of Hauge was elected vice chair of the audit committee. Aleen Roshau of Dickinson and Carson Kouba of Regent will remain as the North Dakota Farm Credit Council representatives. Roshau will also serve as the AgriBank District Farm Credit Council representative.
ND Beef Commission Appointments Announced – North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has reappointed Fred Helbling of Mandan, Sharon Kickertz-Gerbig of Amidon and Matt Lachenmeier of Mandan to the North Dakota Beef Commission. They will serve a three year term.
Lovas and Sorenson Added to the Pioneer Seed Roster – Two additions have been made to the Pioneer Seed team in the region. Sarah Lovas is a new field agronomist and Brent Sorenson is taking over as a strategic account manager. Lovas is based at Hillsboro, North Dakota and has her own crop consulting business. Sorenson is now based in Mankato with Legend Seeds, but is relocating to the Red River Valley.
NPPGA Announces Peycke Retirement – Northern Plains Potato Growers Association Finance and Operations Director Diane Peycke will retire August 13. Peycke started working for the Red River Valley Potato Growers Association 35 years ago.
Last Week’s Trivia – Maize is more commonly known as corn. Jeff Triebold of Prairieland Ag tops our corny trivia question. Lyle Orwig of Certified Ag Dealer, Polk County farmer and Pioneer rep Ken Hove, Al Wimpfheimer of Simplot and John Zietz of Cargill earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed, Dave Gehrtz of Proseed, retired banker John Stone, Jacob Downing of Cargill, Ron Dvergsten of Northland Farm Business Management, Kevin Schulz of Dakota Farmer/Nebraska Farmer, Nick Sinner of Northern Crops Institute, Mike Trosen of Meadowland Farmers Co-op, Jordan Hulm of Farm Credit Services of Mandan, Jim Altringer of CHS Dakota Plains Ag, Lawton farmer Dennis Miller, Michael Rose of Grand Forks, Kandiyohi County Business Development Director Connie Schmoll, Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad and Sara O’Toole of O’Toole Seed.
This Week’s Trivia – Katie Ledecky is a three-time Olympian who won two gold and two silver medals in this year’s games. What sport does Ledecky compete in? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|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.