A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, December 27, 2021
Turning the Calendar- There are two common themes as we move into a new year: reflection and anticipation. We are reflecting on the past year and anticipating the one to come. Throughout this week, the Red River Farm Network will look back on the big stories of 2021. Those stories will be featured in next week’s edition of FarmNetNews. RRFN will also focus on the issues that will make headlines in the year ahead. Snow is the story today in areas of North Dakota and northern Minnesota. The winds are expected to pick and near-blizzard conditions are anticipated. We’ll go into the deep freeze later this week with the lows dropping into the -20 category. We wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.
Inflation is an Unknown Entity for Many in Agriculture – A survey conducted by Farmer Mac and the American Bankers Association identified inflation as the biggest concern among agricultural lenders. Over 500 ag lenders were surveyed for this report. A return to higher inflation will be a first for many bankers, who have had no experience with it during their careers. A quarterly report from Farmer Mac indicates inflation is likely to be a bad thing for farmers, but the impact may be less severe than the lenders fear. Inflation levels are not expected to reach the extremes seen during the farm crisis days of the 1980s.
Build Back ‘Broke’ – As we move into the new year, Senate Ranking Member John Boozman is offering a hopeful tone. “I’m excited about the New Year,” Boozman told RRFN. “Hopefully, we can put ‘Build Back Broke’ aside and get back to the normal way of doing things with Democrats and Repubicans on the ag committee working together.” West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin shut down negotiations on the $2 trillion budget reconcilation bill more than a week ago, but the White House and Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promise to revisit this plan. In an interview with the Red River Farm Network, Boozman described the Build Back Better proposal as “massive” and “very inflationary.” Boozman said that bill would have a significant impact on agriculture. “They’re talking about spending about $90 billion in agriculture that directly changes the farm bill, something we’ve said we’d never do. It’s $90 billion worth of spending that had no input from anyone, but the White House and a few Democrats in Congress.” Boozman said his office has worked closely Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow’s staff in the past, but now is at odds over Build Back Better.
New GAO Report Flags 2019 Market Facilitation Program Calculations – A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office takes a closer look at the USDA’s 2018 and 2019 Market Facilitation Programs. Combined, the programs provided $23 billion to farmers and ranchers. The way USDA estimated the value of lost exports in 2019 resulted in higher payments and the baseline export values for corn and wheat were inappropriately high. The GAO also said the way USDA distributed the payments meant that there were uneven payments for the same crop. GAO told the USDA to improve their review process and provide greater transparency in future analyses. A USDA spokesperson responded. “When Trump Administration officials created the MFP to compensate for losses farmers and producers incurred due to the failed Trump trade policy, they built the program on a specific formula they selected, which favored certain regions, certain crops, and large operations. It doesn’t require much speculation to suss out their motivations. The role of USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist is to provide data-driven analysis. They did that. What happened from that point on was in the hands of President Trump’s political appointees.”
Bidn Offers Upbeat Supply Chain Assessment – In a meeting with his supply chain task force, President Joe Biden said a historic amount of goods is moving through the ports. “After working with our administration, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have nearly cut in half the number of those great big containers you see sitting on a dock for more than eight days,” said Biden. “The number of containers moving through our ports is higher than ever.” The ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach handle 40 percent of the imports into America. Since mid-October, the dwell time for containers at the Port of Long Beach dropped from 12 days to five days. In that same time period, the dwell time for containers in LA has gone from nine days to four days. Action is being taken to increase the number of truck drivers to move the freight. “We’re cutting the red tape so companies can set up registered apprenticeships with truck drivers in two days instead of two months.” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his counterparts from Commerce, Labor, Transportation and the National Economic Council also participated in the task force meeting.
ND Soybean Processors to Build the Casselton Soy Crush Plant – The Minnesota Soybean Processors will be working with CGB Enterprises to build the new soybean processing plant near Casselton, North Dakota. The joint venture will be known as the North Dakota Soybean Processors. The Casselton facility is expected to crush 42.5 million bushels of soybeans in the first year, providing a more competitive market in North Dakota. In a statement, CGB Soybean Processing Senior Vice President Steve O’Nan said this project’s been in the works since 2019. A groundbreaking on the new plant is scheduled for spring 2022, with plans to have a fully operational plant in 2024, subject to approvals. The project is expected to have 50 to 60 new jobs. The new facility is being built about 60 miles away from ADM’s soy crush facility in Spiritwood, North Dakota.
Plans to Build the New Soy Crush Plant Started in 2019 – Minnesota Soybean Processors Executive General Manager Jeramie Weller says the conversations about the Casselton, North Dakota soy crush facility started in 2019. CGB Enterprises operates a soy crush facility in Indiana. “We met CGB through mutual contacts. The agriculture industry is large, but small at the same time. Since 2019 we’ve been looking at places to build and I think our relationship has gone well so far.” A groundbreaking on the new plant is scheduled for spring 2022, with plans to have a fully operational plant in 2024, subject to approvals. Weller says there are still many details to work out, mostly permit and infrastructure-related. The North Dakota Soybean Processors have tried to build a soy crush facility before. Weller explains what makes this project different. “I think it’s a more well-rounded sense of direction and expertise.”
Backgrounder: CGB and MnSP – The Casselton project is a joint venture between CGB Enterprises and Minnesota Soybean Processors. CGB is headquartered near the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana and has a wholly-owned subsidiary, Consolidated Grain and Barge, based at Savage, Minnesota. The company has been in existence for more than 50 years and is involved in grain origination, logistics and marketing. Minnesota Soybean Processors is based in southwestern Minnesota at Brewster. This cooperative operates a soybean crush facility and biodiesel refinery.
EPA Looks Back at 2021 Dicamba Incidents – Given the new information from the 2021 growing season, the EPA is trying to decide whether over-the-top dicamba applications can be used in a manner that doesn’t put non-target crops, plants or species at risk. According to a press release and memorandum, the agency received 3,500 dicamba-related incident reports this year. One million acres of non-dicamba-tolerant soybean crops were allegedly damaged by off-target movements of dicamba. The EPA is evaluating all of their options to address future dicamba-related incidents and the regulatory tools that could be used to address the severity of the alleged incidents are not likely to be fully implemented by the 2022 growing season, due to statutory processes. If states want to further restrict or narrow the over-the-top use of dicamba, the EPA will work with them. The agency also not likely to approve Section 24c requests under FIFRA to register additional uses of federally registered over-the-top dicamba products to meet special local needs.
Clarity Needed on Dicamba Announcement – In response to EPA’s dicamba announcement, the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association and others are asking for more information. A news release from ASA says it is not clear if off-target dicamba complaints were submitted by multiple sources and double-counted. The farm groups say it is also unknown if state or federal regulators investigate complaints to verify crop injury or consider its cause.
Concern Voiced by ASA – The American Soybean Association thinks it’s too soon to tell what will happen with dicamba use in 2022. “There were no actions tied to the EPA’s dicamba report and the agency made that abundantly clear,” said Kyle Kunkler, director of government affairs, American Soybean Association. “In the report, the EPA has not ruled out that they want to continue to look at what they’re reporting on. They haven’t ruled out the possibility of continuing to look at additional mitigation. We’d be very concerned about that, because many farmers have already made their 2022 purchases.”
MN Ag Department: Dicamba Data “Misrepresented” – Minnesota Ag Department’s Director of Pesticide and Fertilizer Management Joshua Stamper says not all of the report information in the EPA dicamba incident report is coming from the states, including the statistic that says Minnesota has 711 dicamba complaints. “We had almost 300 total dicamba complaints through the state for the year. Some of the data we submitted was misrepresented in this report. The EPA is in a tough spot, because they’ll likely face lawsuits regarding the registration of dicamba because they had so many complaints from counties with endangered species.” Minnesota announced application cutoff dates for next year. Stamper says the EPA will work with registrants and states like Minnesota to create a supplemental label with stricter requirements. If registrants are okay with Minnesota’s proposed restrictions, they could eventually end up on the federal dicamba label. More will be known about Minnesota’s proposed dicamba changes in 2022.
Kicking the Can Down the Road – This past week, the Environmental Protection Agency released reports on off-target dicamba injury, but offered no decision on what will happen with dicamba use in 2022. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the EPA kicked the can down the road and shifted responsibilities to the states. “Some of the things they cited don’t seem to make sense; there were all of these reports out of North Dakota, yet, they don’t seem to be factual.” After investigating a number of complaints this past year, drought was a significant issue. “That’s not to say everything was drought, there were a few things that were off-target and not all of those were dicamba related,” Goehring told RRFN. “It’s unfortunate that they took this approach, we were in the dark for so long and in the 11th hour they dump this.” Goehring says North Dakota will work with industry stakeholders on the dicamba labeling issue.
30×30 Progress Report Issued – The White House has released a progress report on the Biden Administration’s 30×30 conservation proposal, conserving 30 percent of U.S. land and water by the year 2030. The report cites the expansion of corn and soybean production in the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains. It says that shift is due to changes in the climate. The report also says soil in the Midwest is eroding and degrading faster because of an increase in humidity and rainfall. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is a co-chair of the 30×30 interagency working group.
NDFB County Meetings Planned to Discuss 30×30 – The Biden administration’s 30×30 proposal aims to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land and water resources by the year 2030. North Dakota Farm President Daryl Lies says “We’ve seen that a lot of our members are upset at the prospect of the government wanting to conserve, especially because a lot of their policies are aimed at preservation and non-use,” said Daryl Lies, president, North Dakota Farm Bureau. “We have counties and districts that have taken an active step and are holding informational meetings towards the end of January in the western part of the state to make sure that people understand what the 30×30 is. I think there’s a lot of conversation that has to be had yet.” The North Dakota Farm Bureau backed the 30×30 Termination Act introduced in May. Lies says this proposal considers multiple uses of the land, such as grazing. “We’re just constantly making sure that it’s in the minds of some of our congressional folks. It’s scary when you have an administration propose a massive government oversight of land like we’ve never seen before.”
Heitkamp: Incentives Needed to Adopt Climate-Smart Ag – Progressive Farmer/DTN has published a letter to the editor written by former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp. Heitkamp said the Biden Administration is investing in climate-smart agriculture, but more financial incentives are needed to offset the rising cost of technology. Tax credits are recommended to help agricultural businesses invest in farming practices that help mitigate the impact of climate change.
Lawmakers File Amicus Brief With Supreme Court – Forty-seven Senators and 44 House members have filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court over the EPA’s action under the Clean Air Act. The lawmakers claim the agency acted outside of its authority by trying to change the power industry through emissions standards in the Clean Air Act. Co-signers include both senators from North Dakota and South Dakota. North Dakota, North Dakota Congressman Kelly Armstrong and Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer.
Biofuels Absent From EPA Emission Standards for Cars and Light Trucks – The Environmental Protection Agency has announced its greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks. This for the model years 2023-to-2026. The EPA said this action will pave the way to “an all-electric” future. Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper describes the announcement as “a missed opportunity.”
More Regulatory Pressure Expected – Agriculture is playing defense, with more regulations on the way. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Environmental Counsel Scott Yager says the Environmental Protection Agency is one example. “Everything we saw happen at the EPA during the Trump Administration is now being reviewed by the Biden Administration and being rescinded or revised to some extent.” Yager says changes are expected with the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Rule. “The EPCRA rule excluded cattle producers and livestock producers from having to report odor emissions to local emergency responders. That was a rule that EPA did in 2020 by virtue of the Farm Act that passed in 2018 and we thought that was an issue that was going to make it through that process, but now we’re seeing EPA will either rescind or revise that rule as well.”
Acres & Shares: Quiet Trade – According to Acres & Shares owner Jayson Menke, American Crystal Sugar Company beet stock brokerage activity was quiet the last few weeks with no trades. This season, 1,704 shares have traded through three brokerage firms for an average price of $4,121.95 per share.
House Ag Committee to Start Farm Bill Review in 2022 – House Ag Committee Ranking Member Glenn “GT” Thompson tells the Red River Farm Network the House Ag Committee will focus on the farm bill in 2022. In the new year, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is expected to make an appearance before the committee for an update. “The bulk of our priorities need to be dedicated with what we learn in these farm bill oversight hearings,” says Thompson. “I also hear feedback from agriculture that we need timely disaster relief and support for the farm safety net. Then, reliable broadband and supply chain resiliency.”
Wetland Mitigation Funds Awarded in North Dakota – USDA has awarded nearly $5 million in grant funds for the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program. With this program, farmers fulfills wetland conservation regulations by allowing for off-site mitigation with the purchase of credits from wetland banks. The biggest award, which was $875,000, went to North Dakota Agricultural Mitigation, Incorporated. This group is made up of North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Farm Bureau and the state corn, soybean, durum and grain grower organizations.
Adjustments Made to CREP – USDA is expanding the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program to deliver a more streamlined, partner-driven conservation effort. Changes have been made to bring in new partners. Those partners can also provide matching funds in the form of cash, in-kind contributions or technical assistance.
Canola Minute – Northern Canola Growers Association recently sponsored the Worlds of Flavor Conference. Communications Specialist Lindy Coutts has more about the event and canola promotion in this week’s Canola Minute.
Investing in Autonomous Agriculture – The State of North Dakota wants to be a global leader in autonomous agriculture. To attract businesses in this universe, the North Dakota Commerce Department is offering grants up to $10 million for companies to create an innovation facility and develop this technology. Proposals are due by January 10.
Northern Plains Still Waiting on FSA Appointments – The Northern Plains is still waiting to hear more details about Farm Service Agency State Executive Directors. FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux says to stay patient. “Announcements are coming out about every other week so I don’t think it will be too long until we see state executive directors named for this region.”
Fertilizer Prices May Bring More Sticker Shock in Spring 2022 – Nearing the end of 2021, fertilizer prices remain significantly higher. DTN Fertilizer Analyst Russ Quinn says fertilizer is expected to be available in the spring, but the prices may still bring sticker shock. “We’ve seen fertilizer prices increase for a solid year, ranging from 63 to 220 percent higher compared to 2020. It may be the second half of 2022 before we see prices level off and start to go lower. Nitrogen and potash may be able to turn before we get to the latter part of the year.”
Maximizing Fertizer ROI – Maximizing return on investment is the name of the game with high fertilizer costs. NDSU Extension Soil Scientist Dave Franzen says the focus should be based on maximizing “Our fertilizer recommendations are set up to do just that. We may not hit the highest yield possible, but it’s often more expensive to get the last few bushels than it does to let them go and use the higher rate.” Farmers can use available fertility calculators to maximize profit. “It doesn’t care yield goals. The yield goal formulas forget the soil is there too and that’s where a great percentage of our nitrogen comes from. It also takes into account the cost of the nitrogen and the price the farmer gets for their crop.”
More Corn Acres Possible in Western Minnesota – Despite higher fertilizer prices, Van Ahn and Company market analyst Kristi Van Ahn says clients in western Minnesota are thinking about more corn acres in 2022. “It was catching me off guard when I started hearing that. It’s a common theme from many producers we work with right now. There’s a sense of ease delivering corn compared to some of the specialty crops. With specialty crops, there are unknowns about pricing. Producers may be taking that into consideration.”
ND May Have a More Diverse Acreage Mix in 2022 – Martinson Ag Risk Management President Randy Martinson says southeastern North Dakota is expected to grow more corn next year. “When you get outside of that area of the state, there may be more barley, oats and dry edible beans. These are going to show strong revenue returns as far as crop insurance guarantees are concerned and that will secure interest. Canola and sunflowers may also be strong options.” When it comes to spring wheat, Martinson says there is a slight increase in acreage expected in the northern part of the state. “Yields are impressive up there and there may also be interest in spring wheat in the southwest.”
Tight Small Grain Seed Supplies – Small grain seed supplies are tight going into 2022. North Dakota State Seed Department Commissioner Ken Bertsch says the number of spring wheat acres under certification increased in 2021, but farmers should act now if that want a specific variety. “At the seed department, we’re seeing seed moving earlier than normal.” As of Friday, the number of certified spring wheat bushels is almost double what it was last year. “There’s a lot of seed being conditioned and moved for retail purposes.”
Dry Bean Scene – Even with dry conditions, NDSU Extension Plant Pathologist Sam Markell says the dry bean crop was challenged by disease. Markell will be part of the NDSU Dry Bean Production Workshop January 6 in Portland, North Dakota. The Dry Bean Scene is sponsored by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
RMA Numbers Surprise Grain Trade – The winter wheat market traded on thoughts of less than expected acres in the last week. AgResource Company President Dan Basse says RMA insurance numbers surprised the grain trade. “There’s a bullish theme moving into 2022. Traders are trying to protect the big gains they had throughout the year.” According to Basse, it’s too early to tell how much damage December’s wind storm caused to the Kansas wheat crop.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets? – Corn and soybeans were higher in the overnight trade. In this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets, Advance Trading Risk Management Advisor Tommy Grisafi says South American weather is a big driver. A ‘Santa Claus’ rally is often seen in the outside markets during the end-of-the-year trades.
Be Cautious with Weather Markets – The grain market has been well supported by ideas of continued good demand. Bower Trading President Jim Bower says uncertainty over South American weather is another big factor. “The weather looks reasonably good in South America.” As with any weather market, Bower tells farmers to be very cautious. “A lot times weather can cause a fall. I’m not looking for a big fall, but when people are sure things won’t break, it typically happens.”
Drought Will Influence Cattle Market for Years – This past year’s drought dramatically changed the normal feeder cattle run. In the Upper Midwest, feeder cattle were marketed early because of the drought. “A lot of pairs came to town all summer long,” said Billy Bushelle, co-owner and manager, Bagley Livestock. “As we got into the fall feeder cattle market, a lot of the guys that would normally background, wean their calves, precondition them and sell them from now until March-April weren’t able to do that because of the shortage of hay and other resources so they had to market them early.” Bushelle says the drought will leave a mark on the market for a few years. “The calves that were sold still exist, but they were marketed at different times. It’s going to throw a wrinkle in the fed cattle market going forward because these calves have been placed in feedlots during their unnormal times and channels. It’s going to be unpredictable and play a little havoc on the future of the fat cattle market for the 2021 calves.”
Better Than Expected Feeder Cattle Market – The feeder cattle market moved sharply higher in the last two months of the year. “I would describe the feeder cattle market as appreciatively stronger than what we expected with the number of calves that have had to be moved due to the drought all over the western United States,” said Larry Schnell, president, Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange. “It would have been very understandable to see a lot of pressure on the market, but even in the last few weeks or so we’ve seen a pretty good jump in the market in all weight categories.” Schnell predicts the market will take a dip in numbers heading into the New Year due to the overwhelming number of calves that sold this fall. “Talking about head count and I sure could be wrong about this, but I think after the first of the year our numbers will be down from a year ago. Whereas normally, we would be selling 3,000-3,500 or more a week, I think we’ll be 20-to-25 percent less than that. I really think we might be out of calves by mid-February, but you never know how many cattle are out there.”
SD Corn Comments – In the last week of 2021, many are reflecting on the year and looking ahead to 2022. This week’s South Dakota Corn Comments looks back at the relationship between the corn and cattle industry.
Pastures Went Bare During Drought – NDSU Extension Rangeland Management Specialist Kevin Sedivec says the fall moisture helped pastures develop new tillers, which are important for pasture recovery. “That moisture that we received in September and October created those tillers that we rely on for the next year’s growing season. If producers grazed those pastures that received rain and grew tillers, then we’ll see a delay in production in 2022. For the producers that didn’t graze off those tillers, then we should see a really good growing season.” Another issue that livestock producers faced was a lack of water resources. Going into 2022, Sedivec says ranchers should develop water management strategies.
Grazing Under Ice and Snow – This was a good year for late-season grazing, which was helpful with limited feed available. “This year has been a really good one for the state to graze residue and dormant pastures,” said Zach Carlson, beef specialist, NDSU Extension. “I think most producers have some type of plan whether that’s pulling in some feed or monitoring grazing activities now with a snow cover.”With too much snow, the energy expended by the animal gets to a point where supplementation is needed. “Once we start to get 6-8 inches of light snow, those animals can move through it, but we want to keep in mind those younger animals like calves that are grazing and have higher protein and nutrition requirements.”
Beef Certification Programs Gaining Traction – NDSU meat science professor Rob Maddock says the demand is going up. ” We’re seeing increases in those certified programs and cattle that qualify for them. I think part of that is the higher demand for branded beef or beef that has some sort of identity to it.” Maddock says more cattle are achieving prime and choice quality grades. “We’re at record high quality grades, ten percent or better choice in the northern tier and ten percent or higher in prime in the northern tier. There’s definitely been a greater emphasis on beef quality.”
Clear Labeling Necessary for Lab-Grown Protein – In a year-end recap of the issues impacting the beef industry, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association discussed alternative proteins. “NCBA policy is very clear on this issue,” said Danielle Beck, Director of Government Affairs. “Regardless if we’re talking about a plant-based product or a lab-grown product, the term beef should only be applicable to product derived from livestock and raised by farmers and ranchers.” Beck says consumers want clear labeling between beef and the new novel products. “We believe that these products should be called lab-grown protein, but we know there is more work to do as USDA and FDA move forward.”
COF Placements, Marketings Increase – The number of cattle and calves on feed as of December 1 was 12 million head, up one-half of one percent. Placements were up four percent from one year ago at 1.9 million head. Marketings were up five percent at 1.87 million head. That’s the highest marketing number since this series of reports began in 1996.
USDA: Dairy Cow Numbers Increase in SD and MN – Milk production in the 24 major dairy states totaled 17.3 billion pounds in November. That’s down a fraction of one percent from one year ago. In Minnesota, milk output increased two percent. The size of Minnesota’s dairy herd grew by 6,000 head over the last year. South Dakota milk production rose nearly 17 percent and added 22,000 cows to herd.
H & P Report Released – According to USDA’s Hogs and Pigs Report, the total inventory was down four percent from last year. The breeding herd inventory was up slightly and marketings were down four percent.
Rising Retail Pork Price Due to Input Costs and Supply Chain Bottlenecks – Pork prices may be rising, but profits at the farm, retail or wholesale level are not a significant factor. A new report from Iowa State University, North Carolina State University and the National Pork Producers Council cites labor costs, the supply chain crisis and transportation as the reason for higher consumer prices. Rising feed costs, higher energy costs and the worker shortage have also influenced retail pork prices. The report found the difference between what farmers receive for hogs from packers and what packers receive from for pork from retailers has remained relatively constant over the past two years. The one exception would be May of 2020 when numerous packing plants shut down due to the spread of COVID within the workforce.
Willmar Farmer Leads Trade Mission to South Korea – Just before Christmas, U.S. Grains Council President Chad Willis made a quick trip to South Korea and back. The Willmar, Minnesota farmer led a trade delegation. “They were so appreciative that we took time out of our schedule and with the (travel) difficulties with COVID to come over and see them face-to-face.” South Korea is the fifth largest importer of U.S. corn. “Their biggest issue is with quality and one group showed us an example of corn that came out of the Pacific Northwest,” said Willis. “That’s probably from our general area; it came from the 2019 marketing year and that was a year when you had really wet areas in the (Red River) Valley. They ordered No. 3 corn and that’s what they’re going to get.” The quality of the 2021 crop was emphasized during the trade mission. The USGC also highlighted Northern Crops Institute research on the feed value with northern-grown corn.
Keep Building on U.S. Soybean Trade in 2022 – The Biden administration hasn’t been majorly aggressive on trade this year, but the U.S. soybean industry hopes that changes going into 2022. With an increase demand for protein in Asia, American Soybean Association CEO Steve Censky says the U.S. soybean industry wants to continue to pursue new trade agreements and new markets. “I know that they wanted to focus on getting the economy back on track after COVID, but we’ll continue to message about soybean farmers dependent on growing export markets.” Even after the trade war, China is still a large buyer of U.S. soybeans. When it comes to follow through on the phase one trade deal purchase commitments for agriculture, Censky says China will fall short. “They’ve come the closest with their soybean purchase commitments, which is positive. No matter what, as this agreement comes to a close, it’s important for us to keep trade going.”
Xi Stresses the Need for Food Security – Following the Central Rural Work Conference in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said it is important for China to safeguard its supply of grains. The strategy includes stabilizing corn production and expanding soybean production. China’s food security goals also include self-sufficiency in pork production.
Dry Conditions Continue to Affect Brazil’s Crop – Hot, dry conditions persist in Brazil and Argentina. Nutrien Ag Solutions Principal Atmospheric Scientist Eric Snodgrass says that’s especially true in southern Brazil. “The dryness goes from Parana to Rio Grande Do Sul, a quarter of Brazil’s entire soybean crop. That dryness will extend further north in the next 10 days into Sao Paulo, that’s 40 percent of Brazil’s crop at risk of very dry conditions.” It’s unclear if the dryness will stick around throughout the rest of the growing season.
UM Seeking Nearly $1 Billion From State Legislature – The University of Minnesota will be asking the Legislature $935 million in funding for the year. That includes $60 million for an agricultural research and education complex. The budget request also includes scholarship funding for the Twin Cities campus and outstate campuses, including Crookston and Morris. The legislative session begins January 31.
Farmers, Retailers Consider All Options – Due to shortages of Roundup and Liberty, AMVAC Technical Service Manager Joe Bruce is seeing more interest in other chemistries. “It seems like growers and retailers are looking at Plan A, B, C and D because there are so many issues out there with supply. Several of our products are coming into the picture often because of the shortages that are out there.” Bruce says farmers can’t take their eye off the ball when it comes to weed resistance. “Growers really need to use a good pre-emergence residual-based program to help combat any of these weeds that potentially have resistance. They’ll end up with better control overall regardless of what program they are utilizing.”
Look to Local Expertise – To determine the best soybean varieties for each field, Asgrow Brand Lead Clint Chaffer is encouraging growers to look back over multiple years to see if there are any trends developing. Chaffer says there is also expertise at the dealer level. “They are the experts and they’ll be able to tailor a solution specifically for your farm and maybe down to the field, getting hyper-local and driving that return-on-investment.” This introduction of XtendFlex was the largest trait launch in Asgrow history. Over 70 products are part of the company’s current XtendFlex portfolio.
New York Biodiesel Mandate Coming in New Year – The State of New York is implementing a new biodiesel blending requirement for heating oil. As of July 1, five percent of the heating oil must contain biodiesel. That moves to 10 percent by 2025 and 20 percent by 2030. Blending requirements are already in place in New York City.
A Year of Innovation – In a review of the past year, BASF Agricultural Solutions reports it launched 37 new products and programs in the past year. That includes 14 new Xitavo soybean seed varieties, the launch of Teraxxa Seed treatment, the introduction of Sphaerex fungicide for wheat and a label update for Provysol fungicide in sugarbeets.
SPHAEREX Fungicide is New for ’22 – Every growing season is different. One year may have severe crop disease and drought could be the story in the next year. BASF Technical Marketing Manager Kelly Liberator says that’s why it is important to focus on plant health. “Whether it is disease or environmental stress, it can help growers get through that stress and our portfollio also optimizes growth efficiency and photosynthisis so even during perfect conditions, we’re making the most out of that plant’s machinery and building yield.” Head scab is the most aggressive disease for the wheat and barley crops. The resulting DON levels will damage the quality of the product. “Having a plan in place to make that application at the right time to have the best success is really critical, instead of waiting for that disease to become an issue and be behind the eight ball with an application.” BASF has introduced a new fungicide for use in wheat and barley called SPHAEREX. This product includes two proven active ingredients and is designed to preserve quality and yield potential.
Hefty Fine Levied for Pesticide Violation – Monsanto will pay $10 million to settle two federal pesticide-related violations in Hawaii. Monsanto, which is now part of Bayer, reportedly had workers enter research plots during a required restricted entry time period. A similar case happened in 2014 that was subject to a 2019 deferred prosecution agreement. The company will pay a $6 million criminal fine and make $4 million in payments to four Hawaiian community groups. This settlement is subject to court approval.
AGCO Picks Up Fargo Tech Firm – AGCO has an agreement to acquire Fargo-based Appareo Systems. Appareo specializes in software engineering, hardware development and electronic manufacturing for use in agriculture and transportation. This deal is expected to be finalized in January.
Would You Like Fries With That? – Rather than medium or large-sized French fries, McDonald’s customers in Japan are being limited to the small fries. Potato shipments have been delayed due to supply chain disruptions. Rather than depending on ocean freight solely, McDonald’s Japan is now going to fly in the required potato supply.
NPPGA’s Kreis Transitioning to Part Time in 2022 – Northern Plains Potato Growers Association Marketing and Communications Specialist Ted Kreis will be retiring from full time work at the end of the year. Kreis will be working remotely on a part-time basis, continuing to write the association newsletter and working with fresh growers. Kreis started the job in 2004.
Junkert to Retire – The North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Director of the Administrative Services Division Ken Junkert will retire at the end of January. Junkert has been with the department for 25 years and also served time as acting deputy Agriculture Commissioner in 2013.
Preisler to Retire in June 2022 – After nearly 28 years as the CEO of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association and Minnesota Pork Board, David Preisler will retire in June 2022. “The real highlight of may career is the people. I’ve had fantastic boards to work with, pork producers and a really talented staff.” Preisler plans to enjoy time with family. “Then, just see where things go from there. A few members want to know if I still know how to drive a semi or tractor. We’ll see where we’re at after next fall.” Preisler was raised on a farm at Mahnomen, Minnesota and spent time as an ag teacher and an Extension agent before joining the pork groups in 1994. Preisler will help Minnesota Pork transition to new leadership. The board will start their search for a new CEO in January.
MTGA Names Outreach/Member Services Coordinator – The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association has a new outreach and member services coordinator. Brandon Severns is a University of Minnesota graduate with a degree in animal sciences. Most recently, Severns worked at a bank in Plymouth, Minnesota.
Last Week’s Trivia- Egg Nog is the Christmas beverage that is also known as milk punch. Mark Mettler of Preferred One wins our weekly trivia challenge. Runner-up honors belong to Brian Rydlund of CHS Hedging, Regent farmer Aaron Krauter, Kristal RIck of MAGNO Seed and Jim Altringer of CHS Dakota Plains Ag. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed, Val Dolcini of Syngenta, Pete Carson of Carson Farms, Todd Good of AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Renville County farmer Mickey Peterson, Shell Valley farmer Steven Greiner, Sherry Koch of The Mosaic Company, Justin Golden of Western Consolidated Cooperative, Kevin Schulz of Dakota Farmer/Nebraska Farmer, Twyla Wulf of Clear Springs Cattle Company, Dianne Bettin of LB Pork, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Burleigh County farmer Jim McCullough, Dennis Sabel of Minnesota Farm Bureau and Kevin Praska of Stone’s Mobile Radio.
This Week’s Trivia- Which television network rings in the New Year with ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve?’ Send your answer to email@example.com.
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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.