A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, December 11, 2023
Vilsack Highlights U.S. Climate Leadership – Rather than being on the defense, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the ag and food industry has been able to flip the script at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai. Vilsack highlighted the voluntary, market-based initiatives within agriculture to address climate change and world hunger.
Watne Participates in COP28 – North Dakota Farmers Union President Mark Watne is in Dubai for the UN Climate Change Conference. Watne is part of a delegation of rural farm organizations, representing the National Farmers Union. “We can be part of a solution but farmers and ranchers need to be compensated for what we do,” said Watne. “Farmers are really good stewards of land and some of the things we’re doing already is accomplishing this, but it can’t be with what I call the stick method; it needs to be the carrot method.”
GAO Report Focuses on Crop Insurance – The Government Accountability Office is calling for changes in the federal support given to crop insurance companies. This report recommends a reduction or recalibration of crop insurance subsidies for private insurance companies and farmers with the highest incomes. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker requested this GAO report and will likely use it to secure crop insurance reform in the upcoming farm bill debate. The American Association of Crop Insurers, the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau and National Crop Insurance Services issued a joint statement, saying these changes would “dismantle the successful public-private partnership” that delivers crop insurance to farmers and ranchers.
An Attack on Federal Crop Insurance – Combest Sell and Associates Managing Partner Tom Sell says the GAO recommendations for a cut in federal crop insurance subsidies would undermine its delivery system. “There are years where the federal government actually makes money on federal crop insurance,” said Sell. “The analysis in this study are not well done, it’s kind of a hack job.” There are areas where federal crop insurance can be improved, but Sell says the crop insurance program serves farmers extremely well across the country. Listen to the full interview with Tom Sell here.
ERP Payment Methodology Criticized – Nearly 70 Republican lawmakers have signed off on a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack voicing their disappointment in the methodology used to calculate payments for the 2022 Emergency Relief Program. The ERP program provided farmers with more than 75 percent of their calculated losses in 2020 and 2021. For 2022, those payments will be closer to ten percent of the calculated losses. North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, who is the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, was behind a similar letter two weeks ago. USDA officials have blamed Congress for not providing enough funding to adequately cover the losses for the 2022 growing season.
Strengthening Crop Insurance – During the House Agriculture Committee Member Day, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach testified in support of a strong crop insurance program as a way to save on ad hoc disaster assistance. “I believe there’s an important opportunity to address this in the upcoming farm bill,” said Fischbach. “Building these resources into the crop insurance program will provide the consistency and certainty that the ad hoc system currently lacks.”
Close the Book on the Farm Bill – Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association Executive Director Harrison Weber remains very focused on the farm bill. “We know we have that extension, but we want to close the book,” said Weber. “The asks are in to the committees, now it’s making sure we can get the votes once we get it onto the floor.” RRVSGA wants greater certainty in risk protection programs and a stronger safety net.
Clock Ticking on Appropriations Process – Congress is facing a January 19th timeline to address four major appropriations bills, including agriculture. The remaining eight spending bills expire February 2. There’s just nine days on the legislative calendar before the first deadline. Will Stafford, who is in the CHS government affairs office in Washington, D.C., says this is not a new phenomenon. “Its been a long time since they’ve been doing things through what we call Regular Order in the appropriations process, but I also think it’s encouraging that there seems to be a lot of momentum on both sides of the aisle to get back to that and do stand-alone appropriations bills for different topics like ag rather than these large scale funding items that are negotiated at the highest level.” Margins are razor-thin in both chambers of Congress, complicating the process. Margins got tighter with recent high-profile changes, including the upcoming resignation of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
River Shipping Outlook is Not Good – Low water levels on the Mississippi River and through the Panama Canal complicates the movement of grain and farm inputs. CHS Executive Vice President of Ag Retail, Distribution and Transportation Rick Dusek does not see a quick fix. “On the (Mississippi) River, especially south of St Louis, the projections are not good,” said Dusek. “The water levels going down means we can’t put as much grain in a barge which means your cost per unit goes up. It just does and so that is a real problem.” A drought has also reduced water volumes on the Panama Canal which is influencing exports. The interview can be found online.
A Shift in ND Soybean Marketing – North Dakota Soybean Council Director of Market Development Jena Bjertness says the primary customer for North Dakota soybeans has changed. Rather than the whole bean buyer in China, North Dakota beans are going to be destined for domestic markets. The new crush facilities coming on line in the state will use about half of North Dakota’s soybeans production for renewable diesel in California. “That’s a major shift for us.” The North Dakota Soybean Council has hosted marketing seminars to help growers adapt to these market changes.
Support for Ukrainian Rail Infrastructure – The U.S. Agency for International Development and a Ukrainian rail company have signed a memorandum of understanding. With this agreement, the United States will invest $225 million to support the development of a 50-mile connection between western Ukraine to the Trans European Network. This infrastructure will provide another option to export Ukrainian agricultural products.
New Mexican Administration May Have Different Approach to GMO Corn Issue – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with his Mexican counterparts during the climate change conference in Dubai. Vilsack proposed a joint meeting with the Mexican and Canadian ag ministers in 2024. Vilsack also offered hope regarding Mexico’s ban on U.S. biotech corn imports. A new president will be in office next fall and there is speculation the new administration will take a more science-based approach to this issue.
Oil Price Partially Buffered From Global Events – Global events, such as the wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, continue to make headlines. CHS Executive Vice President of Energy Darin Hunhoff said that keeps the market nervous. “Although, not quite as much as it did at one time,” said Hunhoff. “That’s because there is plenty of oil in the world and it is just a matter of where it comes from, how OPEC handles its supply and here in the U.S., we continue to produce a lot of our oil and I think that has reduced the volatility a bit.”
What’s Hot, What’s Not in Markets – In this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets, Martinson Ag Risk Management President Randy Martinson is struggling to find ‘hot’ market news. Wheat has traded higher in eight of the last nine sessions and gets a mention. “Everything else appears to be lukewarm with two full weeks left of the calendar year for trading so I think the market has already got into the holiday mood.”
Interest Rate Announcement on Wednesday – The Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow and Wednesday to discuss the economy. Most analysts expect the Fed to leave interest rates unchanged, but there may be additional insight offered into the monetary policy for the upcoming year.
A 2 Million Ton Cut in Brazilian Soybean Production – The most watched number in the December supply and demand report was Brazil’s soybean production estimate. USDA cut in Brazil’s soybean production by 2 million tonnes to 161 million reflecting the hot and dry conditions in southern Mato Grosso and northeastern Brazil.
Slow and Steady – Reflecting on Friday’s USDA supply/demand report, Walsh Trading market analyst John Weyer said only small changes were made. “Slow and steady as we go toward year’s end and I don’t think this changes too much from where we were before the report.”
No Surprises in Stocks Report – USDA only made minor adjustments to the corn, soybean and wheat ending stocks in Friday’s report. Corn ending stocks were estimated at 2.13 billion bushels, down from 2.16 billion in November. USDA made no changes to U.S. soybean ending stocks and cut wheat ending stocks by 25 million bushels.
A Record Year for American Crystal Sugar Company – American Crystal Sugar Company celebrated its 50th anniversary at its annual meeting in Fargo. ACSC CEO Tom Astrup also reflected on the 2023 crop year. “From a crop standpoint, it was really a record year.” This year’s average yield of 31.9 tons per acre exceeded the previous record of 30.4 tons per acre. Sugar content was the second highest on record at 18.6 percent. “It was just a wonderful, wonderful growing year. In fact, it was so good we didn’t harvest it all.” The estimated payment to growers is also expected to break the previous record at $84.67 per ton.
Beet Stock Values – A total of 205 American Crystal Sugar Company beet shared were brokered this past week in a range of $5,600-to-$5,800 per share. The average price was $5,616.59 per share. This data is courtesy of Acres and Shares broker Jayson Menke. On a weekly basis, Menke tracks sales from the three beet stock brokerage firms.
Pick Up the Torch and Advocate – During a grower panel at the American Crystal Sugar Company Annual Meeting, Hallock, Minnesota farmer Dan Younggren emphasized the importance of growers showing up in Washington, D.C. “We’ve had to continue to keep sending people out to tell our story to convince people that sugar policy is a good thing.” Youngren looks forward to seeing the next generation carrying on the advocacy efforts. “I’m proud to be a shareholder of American Crystal and I’m more proud to go out to Washington D.C. and fight for each and every one of you,” said Younggren. “It’s time for young people to pick the torch up and go on out there.” Younggren is a past president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association and the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association.
Farming for the Future – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is partnering with the Red River Farm Network and the Linder Farm Network on Farming for the Future, providing information of soil health events and topics. This week, regenerative farmer Mickayla Tabert talks about her farm’s approach to conservation.
CFTC Takes Next Step for Carbon Credit Trading – The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has approved its proposed guidance for the trading of voluntary carbon credit derivative contracts. This action tells the markets what they need to consider when listing a carbon credit contract. This wraps up two years of research on climate change and the financial markets.
Renewable Energy Roundtable Talks Hydrogen – The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute hosted the Minnesota Renewable Energy Roundtable at Sauk Rapids Wednesday. “We are set to see a hydrogen economy grow in Minnesota,” said Pete Wyckoff, assistant commissioner, Minnesota Department of Commerce. There are still questions regarding safety and public buy-in, but Wyckoff says there is opportunity. “Green steel, hydrogen production for fertilizer use, there’s potential to use hydrogen products as a supplement to help on our electric sector.”
Register Now for NCI’s Next Cereal Innovators Webinar – The Northern Crops Institute is hosting a Cereal Innovators webinar Wednesday morning at nine. This webinar will feature Glenn Roberts, founder, Anson Mills. Topics throughout the series include new processes, useful information on milling and baking, equipment information and uses for cereal grains grown in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. For more information and to register, go online.
Corn Matters – U.S. Grains Council Manager of Global Strategies and Trade Alexander Grabois talks about a recent study looking at the quality of U.S. corn in terms of feed efficiency in poultry. Hear more in the latest Corn Matters, brought to you by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.
Farmer Sentiment Improves – The Purdue University and CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose five points in November. Purdue University Director of Commercial Agriculture Dr. James Mintert says farmers feel better about their current conditions than a year ago. A surprising harvest was likely a major contributor. “I think the improvement in sentiment is probably pretty strongly related to the fact that yields this fall were better than expected.” Hear all the details in the full interview with Dr. James Mintert.
Paraguay and the Threat of FMD – A new rule from USDA allowing beef imports from Paraguay is being criticized in a letter signed by 21 members of Congress. The lawmakers claim outdated data was used when making this decision and it increases the risk for foot-and-mouth disease.
Cattle Rancher or Grass Farmer? – A large portion of the Southern Plains is still trying to recover from a multi-year drought. Corteva Range and Pasture Specialist Katie Koenig is encouraging ranchers to plan accordingly. “Coming out of winter, if we can delay grazing as long as possible would be a great way to preserve that root system.” While many of her clients consider themselves cattle ranchers, Koening said they also need to be grass farmers. “The worst thing we can do is stick to that old mindset that we’ve done it this way forever.” An integrated weed management strategy is advised.
A Budget Surplus and a Warning – Minnesota Management and Budget is forecasting the state’s expected budget surplus at $2.4 billion, an increase of $808 million at the end of the 2023 legislative session. Consumer spending and corporate profits were higher than expected. However, MMB warns higher spending estimates in health and human services and education will result in a “significant structural imbalance constrains the budget outlook in FY 2026-2027.”
Kupec Meets With Local Farmers – After meeting with Clay County Farm Bureau members, Minnesota State Senator Rob Kupec said property taxes were a major concern. “The value of land is going up, but what they’re actually producing on that land is not going up so they’re getting hit hard on the property tax side.” Kupec plans to explore ways the state can help alleviate some of that tax pressure during the next session. A bill to provide paid family and medical leave for workers was another concern of farmers hiring seasonal help. Kupec intends to revisit the issue to include an exemption for temporary workers.
Tools for Deer Depredation – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Big Game Program Supervisor Barb Keller is working closely with farmers and landowners about deer depredation. “Despite what populations are doing at a larger scale, there can always be localized areas of high deer density,” said Keller. “We do have some assistance we’re able to provide producers to help with prevention of damage.” This includes assistance for fencing and money for documented lost forages. Farm groups have met with DNR to discuss the issue and new legislation gives farmers another tool to prevent damage.
Township Officers Explore Animal Agriculture Opportunities – North Dakota Livestock Alliance Executive Director Amber Wood and North Dakota Pork Council Executive Director Tamra Heins briefed members of the North Dakota Township Officers Association Annual Convention in Bismarck this past week. Following the last legislative session, there are new opportunities for livestock operations to expand, diversify or get started in the state. Townships and counties have zoning authority on the size, scope and nature for new and developing livestock operations, but they must work within the state model zoning ordinance. “If they decide to take livestock authority, that’s the playbook they have to work within.” Hear the full conversation with Amber Wood here.
ND Ag Department Invests in Value-Added Projects – North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has announced the Agriculture Diversification and Development Fund awards. A total of $2.9 million was approved for seven projects. Approvals included $500,000 for Epitome Energy for the construction of the new soybean crush plant at Grand Forks; $500,000 for North American Bison to assist with safety and biosecurity at the New Rockford bison processing facility and $500,000 for Rock Valley Feeders for expanding a beef feedlot to accommodate bison.
APUC Funding Approved – The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission has awarded nearly $774,000 to 11 projects. Projects include $172,000 to PermanentFarms to support a large-scale beef finishing facility; $100,000 for Perennial Climate to expand organic carbon research and $32,5000 for Chapul Farms to support development of an industrial insect farm facility.
Compaction: A Hidden Problem – Compaction will reduce crop yields by as much as 30-to-60 percent. “It is tire tracks so you don’t always see it,” said Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Regional Extension Educator, University of Minnesota. “It can be a hidden problem.” Wet soil is most prone to compaction and that is controlled by Mother Nature. “What farmers can control is their axle loads and the PSI of their tires.” Compaction can be found as deep as three-to-four feet. DeJong-Hughes spoke at the Soil Management Summit in Alexandria.
Effective Weed Control Strategies – Weed resistance remains an ongoing problem. Wimbledon, North Dakota farmer Joe Ericson was pleasantly surprised with the clean fields he had this past year. “We actually did the Enlist trait, we did Xtend Flex and we did Xtend,” said Ericson. “They were all really clean fields so we were happy with all of them.” Ericson is a big believer in the use of pre-emerge herbicides to control weeds. “You can definitely tell the fields you don’t get it on and the fields you do get it on.”
Cereal Rye Has Advantages as a Cover Crop – There are a variety of crop mixes utilized as cover crops. University of Minnesota Extension Educator Liz Stahl says cereal rye has many advantages, including the ability to reduce weed pressure and adding biomass to the soil. “If you’re going to start out on cover crops, I encourage people to just hit that easy button,” said Stahl. “This is an easier entry cover crop and one that you’re setting yourself up, hopefully, for success.”
Pivot Bio Delivers Microbial Nitrogen to Replace Synthetic Nitrogen – Pivot Bio began in 2011 after two lab partners applied cutting-edge engineering principles to biology and changing nitrogen fixation in corn and other cereal crops. Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer Kartsen Temme says their objective is to deliver the nitrogen a crop needs with its microbes. “Plant the seeds in the spring along with the microbes from our product and everything takes care of itself,” said Temme. “That’s a lot we have to take on our shoulders to design those products, but we are trying to make life easier for the grower in a more predictable and productive way.” Pivot Bio wants to develop partnerships with seed and trait companies.
Providing Nitrogen in a Predictable, Weather-Proof Way – There is a lot of noise in the ag sector about biologicals. In a meeting with reporters in Fargo Tuesday, Pivot Bio CEO Chris Abbott said the company’s nitrogen fixation products are different. “Our products by naturally fixing nitrogen with microbes ; we focus on the source of the problem, providing nitrogen in a better, more predictable weather-proof way.” In the past year, Pivot Bio introduced its on-seed product. “Our first product was a liquid in-furrow that was very successful, but a lot of our new growth is coming from the on-seed product,” said Abbott. “If I can plant my same variety in the same way with my same high-speed planter while 40 pounds of nitrogen in my bag, that’s a powerful thing.” The microbes have a 60-day life span on the seed after it is treated.
Dry Bean Scene – In this week’s Dry Bean Scene, Northarvest Bean Growers Association Marketing and Communications Director Jed Brazier previews Bean Day coming up in January at Fargo, North Dakota. The Dry Bean Scene is sponsored by Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
A Fresh Look at the Ag Retailer-Farmer Relationship – Farming has been in a state of constant change since the beginning of time. That evolution includes big farms getting bigger. “The average age of the farmer has actually dropped a little and that’s because of retirements and baby boomers exiting their careers,” said Gary Halvorson, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Customer Development, CHS. “That puts the onus to look at supply chains differently, look at our sales teams differently and Rural America isn’t blessed with more people coming to work in agriculture so that is another layer for us took at efficiency.” CHS is making its largest-ever investment in customer-facing technology. In an interview with RRFN, Halvorson said people still come first. “Ag is a relationship business; every customer is custom and they each have their unique challenges and their own strategies.”
MAELC Encourages New Ag Teachers – The Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council is hosting the Midwest Regional Future Agriscience Teacher Symposium in January. The event is for ag ed students. “They meet other first year teachers that are learning about looking for a job, contracts, interviewing, starting that first year,” explained Sarah Dornink, executive director. The Symposium is an effort to retain and encourage young agricultural teachers. Students from all area colleges are invited to attend. Registration is open through December 15th.
Investing In Bioprocessing Education – POET has partnered with South Dakota State University and the School of Mines to offer degrees in bioprocessing. “It’s important to get young people involved in this area because we’ve got so much to do,” said Doug Berven, vice president of corporate affairs, POET. POET is expanding production and venturing into biomass energy to open new markets and reduce their carbon footprint.
Advice for Those Going Through a Farm Succession Plan – During the Soil Management Summit, Jon Olson of Madison, Minnesota spoke about transitioning the farm from one generation to the next. Olson is at the beginning of that process and offered one piece of advice for anyone going through a farm transition. “Your son is never going to do it the same way you did and you’re going to have to understand that,” Olson said. “You’re need to bite your lip once in a while and he’s gonna have to fail once in a while. In the long run, he will learn a new way and it might be a better way.”
Filling the Veterinarian Gap – A shift in herd size and scope of need has resulted in a drop in the number of food animal veterinarians in rural areas. Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association President Dr. James Bennett says their organization is asking state legislators to act. “Minnesota is one of only eight states where our veterinary technicians are not licensed and that creates some problems.” A licensure bill would allow veterinary technicians to do some things under indirect supervision and go to farm calls for some activities normally performed by a veterinarian. While Bennet says this would not be a complete solution, “we do think that would help extend the reach of veterinarians in rural areas.”
Ag Census Coming Early ’24 – The Census of Agriculture is scheduled to be released February 13. The census is released by USDA every five years providing an in-depth look at farming operations across the country. “We’ll look at new things that are coming,” said National Agricultural Statistics Service Acting Methodology Division Director Lance Honig. “This is the first Census where we’ll have information about hemp grown in the U.S.”
Two Consecutive Record Years for CHS – CHS has enjoyed back-to-back record years. The nation’s largest cooperative has returned more than $1.7 billion to its member-owners over two years and more than $3.2 billion over the past ten years. During the annual meeting, CHS President and CEO Jay Debertin described the current evolution in biofuels as “a game changer.” CHS is included in the expansion of the domestic soybean crush business. “We have plants in Fairmont, Minnesota and Mankato, Minnesota that we have expanded by 30-to-35 percent and we are looking at building a new one in southern Wisconsin. It is all driven by renewable diesel. It is, I think, one more reason that I look at agriculture and say the future looks bright.”
Milk Specialties Global Earns Trade Award – The Minnesota Trade Office has presented its Governor’s International Trade Award to Milk Specialties Global of Eden Prairie. In 2022, MSG exported to 42 countries on six continents.
AgroTech Brings Positive ROI – After its start in 2014, AgroTech USA has been working to find efficiencies for farmers. Co-founder James Paterson says the company is focused on phosphorus deficiency. Higher Ph soils can mean phosphorus is less available to plants. “You may only be recovering from a single season application, maybe 10-to-20 percent of the phosphorus being available to the plant, the remainder fixes into the soil.” AgroTech USA has developed chemistry that will allow greater return on input investment. Research has shown an 8.5 bushel increase per acre on corn. “Even on the low end of $4 corn, you’re still looking at over $30 an acre return on a small initial investment.” Hear the full interview with James Paterson here.
Drone Tech Provides Leaf Level View – Taranis is partnering with Nutrien to bring drone data directly to farmers and crop advisors. “You can have a leaf level view that brings good advisors and suppliers together with excellent growers to really understand what’s happening on the acre,” said Mike Dipaola, chief commercial officer, Taranis. The goal of this platform is to provide more value to ag retailers and growers.
Canola Minute – Here’s the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. This week, Northern Canola Growers Association Executive Director Barry Coleman gives an outlook for the Canola Research Conference coming up Tuesday.
Technology Showcased at Soil Summit – During the Soil Management Summit in Alexandria, Precision Planting Regional Manager Brent Horner highlighted a row-by-row monitoring system for granular operations. The Clarity system helps identify a blockage or even a partial blockage. “Where your typical system would only just say either I’ve got flow or no flow, we’re truly going to say there’s this much particle going through or it’s going to give a magnitude value,” said Horner. “Looking at that magnitude value, I’ll be able to detect meter issues, blocks in the meter, maybe a chunk in one of my distribution hoses that’s actually causing flow problems.” All of this information will be mapped so it can be viewed at a later time. The Clarity system will be addressed at the Precision Planting Winter Conference next month in Fargo and Aberdeen.
Thompson Faces Cancer Diagnosis – House Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson has announced he is being treated for prostate cancer. Thompson said he feels well and is continuing his work.
Burgum Drops Out of Presidential Race – North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has suspended his presidential campaign. Burgum highlighted his rural, small-town values throughout the campaign, but failed to get much traction in the national polls.
Walz Elected to Leadership Role – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has been elected as chair of the Democratic Governors Association. Walz will have a leadership role in the effort to elect Democratic governors nationwide in the 2024 election and a more significant profile within party politics.
A New GM for Rob-See-Co – Dr. Calvin Treat is the new general manager for Rob-See-Co. Treat has over 30 years of experience in the seed and trait business including 14 years with JC Robinson Seeds. Treat succeeds Chuck Lee who is retiring at the end of the year.
NASDA Adds Iliohan – Amelia Iliohan is the new associate director of events and member engagement for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Iliohan has worked in a similar capacity for the U.S. Grains Council and American Farm Bureau Federation.
BIO Names New President/CEO – John Crowley will take over as president and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization on March 4. Crowley will succeed Rachel King who has been the interim CEO. Crowley is the co-founder and executive chairman for Amicus Therapeutics.
Bishop Moves to ASTA – The American Seed Trade Association has hired Katrina Bishop as its senior director of strategic communications. Most recently, Bishop was in a public affairs role with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.
Susa Joins Minnesota Corn Staff – The Minnesota Corn Growers Association has hired Kelly Susa as its program manager. For the past five years, Susa was an agriculture instructor and FFA advisor.
SD Native to Serve as USB CEO – The United Soybean Board will have a new CEO on board at the beginning of the New Year. Former South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch succeeds Polly Ruhland, who is retiring. Lentsch is now an executive vice president with Dairy Management Inc. Previously, Lentsch was the CEO for Midwest Dairy.
Gast and Sukalski Serving on USB Executive Committee – Ohio farmer Steve Reinhard is the new chair of the United Soybean Board. Two of the region’s farmers have been elected to the USB executive committee, Matt Gast of Valley City, North Dakota and Lawrence Sukalski of Fairmont, Minnesota.
North Dakotan to Lead ASA – Kulm, North Dakota farmer Josh Gackle will serve as the 2024 president of the American Soybean Association. Caleb Ragland of Kentucky will be the vice president. Scott Metzger of Ohio is the new secretary and Dave Walton of Iowa is the treasurer. Jim Kukowski of Strathcona, Minnesota is one of three individuals elected as at-large members of the executive committee.
Casper, Sorenson, Thykeson Join ASA Board – The American Soybean Association has welcomed 14 new directors, including Paul Casper of Lake Preston, South Dakota; Jeffrey Sorenson of Morgan, Minnesota and Brad Thykeson of Portland, North Dakota. Nine board members retired from the ASA board. That list includes Monte Peterson of Valley City, North Dakota and Joel Schreurs of Tyler, Minnesota.
NDSU Extension Hires New Soybean Specialist – Wade Webster has joined NDSU Extension as a soybean specialist. Webster is an Iowa native who was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for his doctorate with a focus on white mold and sclerotina stem rot in soybeans.
Baldwin Elected President – Brent Baldwin of St. Thomas, North Dakota was elected as president of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers association. RRVSGA represents the 2,600 members of American Crystal Sugar Company.
ASGA Adds VP of Science and Innovation – The American Sugarbeet Growers Association has hired Dr. Nicholas Storer as its vice president of science and innovation. ASGA Vice President Niel Rockstad looks forward to seeing how this new position will advance the industry. “He’ll be based out of Washington D.C. but working for sugarbeet growers all across the country,” said Rockstad. “He’ll be working in the areas of research primarily, and bettering sugarbeet production for all of us growers.”
NSA Re-elects Officer Team – Colorado farmer Tom Kirkmeyer will serve another term as president of the National Sunflower Association. Lance Hourigan, who is from Lemmon, South Dakota, will continue to serve as board chairman. The NSA first vice president is Chuck Todd of Onida, South Dakota. Josh Greff of Regent, North Dakota is second vice president and Lacey Zahradka of ADM is secretary/treasurer.
AAW Honors Attorney – The American Agri-Women awarded its Veritas Award to Damien Schiff, a senior attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation. Schiff has worked extensively on property rights and land-use regulations, including the Sackett v. EPA Supreme Court case dealing with the Waters of the United States rule. The Veritas Award is given annually to people who have given witness to ‘the pursuit of truth.’
Last Week’s Trivia-In the movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ an angel gets its wings whenever a bell rings. Dean Nelson of Kelley Bean Company wins our weekly trivia challenge. Runner-up honors belong to Lyle Orwig of Certified Ag Dealer, Jim Altringer of Dakota Plains Ag, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading and Eric Lahlum of Corteva Agriscience. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Bob Byrnes of UM Extension, Randy Knudsvig of First State Bank, Lee Hutchinson of Farm Credit Services of Mandan, Val Dolcini of Syngenta, Kristal Rick of MAGNO Seed, Ramsey County farmer Paul Becker, Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed, Bruce Trautman of Living the Dream Consulting, Ron Claussen of Ag Media Research, Carrington farmer Charles Linderman, Dianne Bettin of Bettin Consulting, Crookston farmer Tim Dufault, Lloyd Kuster of Bremer Insurance, Tim Alcorn of Southwest Minnesota State University,, Karmen Hardy of Proseed and Underwood farmer Paul Beckman.
This Week’s Trivia-What fictional character and his dog, Max, try to stop Christmas from coming by stealing all things Christmas in the town of Whoville? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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FarmNetNews is a production of the Red River Farm Network. RRFN is based in Grand Forks, North Dakota and provides news to farmers and ranchers across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.