A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, January 13, 2020
Getting it Right- At the Red River Farm Network, we’re Reporting Agriculture’s Business. We focus on pocketbook issues in agriculture and accuracy is our number one priority. Hopefully, you’ll see that reflected in our on-air and digital reporting. This week, RRFN is traveling to Potato Expo in Las Vegas, a crop insurance meeting in Fargo, a livestock summit in McKenzie, Bean Day in Fargo and the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in Austin. Join us for timely and accurate news from these important events.
Trade Deal to be Signed Wednesday – The Chinese trade delegation arrives in Washington, D.C. today and is expected to sign off on the phase one trade agreement on Wednesday. The text of the agreement will also be released on Wednesday. With this deal, China will purchase $40 billion to $50 billion in U.S. agricultural products over the next two years. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts discussed the U.S. and China trade deal with the Red River Farm Network. Hear the interview.
Waiting for Details – With the phase one trade agreement, China will purchase an additional $32 billion in U.S. agricultural products over the next two years. NDSU Extension Crops Economist Frayne Olson says it is unclear what happens after those first two years. “We don’t know what the sunset is; is it a five-year agreement, a ten-year agreement or a perpetual agreement?” Olson says the trade waiting to see the text of the agreement. “The structure of that agreement is going to have a pretty significant impact on how this plays out.”
USMCA Moves Through Senate Finance Committee – On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee moved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement implementing legislation out of committee on a 25-3 vote. During the markup, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts said reliable markets are needed in farm country. “If we aren’t leading the charge and setting the rules, other countries will and they are. Lyndon B. Johnson once said sometimes you have to hunker down like a jackass in a hailstorm. That’s just about what our farmers have been doing the last four years.” Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley told reporters there’s at least one thing that must be done before the Senate can vote. “There’s something dealing with the budget committee and others. I don’t think that will be an impediment in getting it brought up in the Senate. It might affect the timing a bit. These committees may not take any action other than releasing the bill to the Senate, but that must be done before Mitch McConnell can bring it up for a vote.”
Impeachment Process May Delay USMCA Ratification – House Democrats will meet Tuesday to determine when it will send the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Once that happens, the Senate will begin the trial right away, pushing all other business to the sidelines. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will not happen until after the impeachment trial, which could last several weeks.
Administration Authorizes NEPA Modernization – On Thursday, the Trump Administration announced that the National Environmental Policy Act will undergo a modernization process. The Council on Environmental Quality has released a proposed rule with regulations aimed at updating the National Environmental Policy Act. NEPA requires all branches of the government to assess environmental impacts before acting. NEPA has not been comprehensively updated in more than 40 years. The proposed rule, along with a comment submission form, can be found at whitehouse.gov.
Lawmakers, Organizations React to NEPA Modernization – North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer, who sits on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, reacted to the announcement that the National Environmental Policy Act. “The NEPA process has grown incredibly complicated and unnecessarily burdensome,” said Cramer. “I encourage all stakeholders and interested citizens to engage in the rule making process.” The new regulations would cut the timeline for obtaining permits with federal agencies working together to speed up the process. Public Lands Council associate director of government affairs Tanner Beymer says ranchers must undergo NEPA reviews for many reasons. “Common examples include renewable of a term grazing permit, construction of range improvements or to participate in USDA programs.” Listen to the story.
2019 Corn and Soybean Production Increases in USDA Report – The 2019-2020 U.S. corn production is forecast at 13.69 billion bushels. Higher yields were offset by a reduction in the harvested area. Corn harvested acres are at 81.5 million. U.S. soybean production is at 3.55 billion bushels, boosted by an increase in the yield projections. The soybean harvested area is estimated at 75 million acres, lower than the previous forecast. The largest soybean reductions come from North Dakota and South Dakota.
USDA Lowers Quarterly Grain Stocks – USDA lowered its quarterly grain stocks estimate for corn more than the trade was expecting to 11.38 billion bushels. That’s friendly news for traders. Soybean quarterly stocks are estimated at 3.25 billion bushels, in the middle of trade expectations. Quarterly wheat stocks are estimated at 1.83 billion bushels, below the average trade guess. Quarterly grain stocks are the number of bushels on hand as of December 1, 2019.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – For perspective on the latest market news, listen to this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Market. Advance Trading Risk Management Advisor Tommy Grisafi discusses the USDA supply/demand report, the China trade deal and more.
More Clarity, But Not More Certainty – Progressive Ag Marketing market analyst Brian Strommen says USDA’s January Supply and Demand report provides more clarity, but not more certainty. “Looking at the report as a whole, the first reaction was bearish, but once you get into the numbers, there were a few things slightly positive.”
Slightly Higher Corn Yields in USDA Report – USDA is estimating 2019 corn yields at 168 bushels an acre. That’s at the high end of trade estimates and a slight increase from last month. The U.S. soybean yield estimate is at 47.4 bushels an acre, a half a bushel higher and in line with trade estimates. Price forecasts for soybeans are at $9 per bushel, an increase of 15 cents due to stronger soybean oil prices. The seasonal average corn price forecast is unchanged at $3.85 per bushel and wheat price is unchanged at $4.55 a bushel.
Soybean Production Took the Biggest Hit in ND – The size of North Dakota’s soybean crop is down 27 percent from 2018. At 32 bushels per acre, the average soybean yield dropped three bushels. Despite the harvest challenges, North Dakota corn production increased two percent year-over-year. The average corn yield of 141 bushels per acre was down 12 bushels from the previous year. Sugarbeet production is estimated at 4.4 million tons, down 23 percent from 2018. Yields averaged 26 tons per acre. Potato yields were record high, but production declined 14 percent with many acres not harvested. North Dakota sunflower acreage was up, but yields were down slightly for oil and non-oil sunflowers. Canola production totaled 2.9 billion pounds, down six percent from a year ago. Alfalfa hay production dropped 12 percent.
Difficult Crop Year Reflected in MN Crop Numbers – According to USDA’s Crop Production Summary, Minnesota corn production dropped seven percent from a year ago. Yields are estimated at 174 bushels per acre, down eight bushels from last year. Minnesota soybean production declined three percent with average yields at 44 bushels per acre. The size of Minnesota’s sugarbeet crop is down 20 percent from 2018 with average yields at 25 tons per acre. Oil sunflower production is down five percent; hay production is down four percent.
Corn and Soybean Yields Decline in SD – It was a disappointing harvest for South Dakota corn and soybean farmers. Corn production was down 27 percent from 2018 and soybean production declined a whopping 42 percent. South Dakota corn yields averaged 145 bushels per acre, down 15 from the previous year. Soybean yields averaged 42.5 bushels per acre, down 2.5 bushels from 2018. South Dakota alfalfa hay production increased nearly 20 percent from a year earlier.
Unknowns Remain for U.S. Corn – Following Friday’s USDA reports, unknowns remain for the 2019 corn crop. CHS Hedging market analyst Curt Abfalter says corn is still standing. “The latest USDA harvest progress report said less than ten percent of the corn acres still haven’t been harvested. North Dakota is much higher, 52 percent was the last estimate. What is the quality of those bushels? How much field loss will occur? There is hesitation to trust the USDA’s numbers, but we have what we’re given.”
USDA to Resurvey MN, ND and SD Farmers – According to a special note from the USDA, the National Agricultural Statistics Service will be recontacting producers who indicated they weren’t done with harvest in the last survey. When that survey took place in 2019, there was significant unharvested acres across North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. USDA says if the newly collected data justifies changes, NASS will update the 2019 corn and soybean estimates published in Friday’s USDA report. Stocks estimates may also be reviewed.
Walz Issues Disaster Assistance for Five MN Counties – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has authorized state disaster assistance five counties that sustained heavy rains and flooding from September 20 to October 17, 2019. The funds will aid in recovery efforts for Carlton, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Marshall and Roseau counties, which had roads washing out and prolonged flooding of rivers and streams. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security and Emergency Management identified over $1.3 million in eligible damages.
Working Ahead of MN Legislative Session – In the interim period ahead of the Minnesota legislative session, lobbyist Bruce Kleven has three key issues on his radar. The list includes climate change agency rulemaking. “We are also watching the movement of captive deer as a result of Chronic Wasting Disease. In late 2019, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued an order to stop the movement of deer from farms,” explains Kleven. “That’s significant, because that’s the first time I can remember the DNR weighing in to what is considered agricultural production.” Kleven says the other deals with testing deer for neonicotinoids. “Just before hunting season without warning, the DNR asked deer hunters to send in spleens for testing. The concern I have with that is if they find a neonicotinoid in a spleen, what does that mean? Does that mean the DNR will use the same analysis they used on the captive herds and ban the use of seeds, because it’s showing up in the wild deer?”
Noem Sets Guidelines to Legalize Hemp in SD – South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is proposing an outline to legalize hemp production in South Dakota. Noem said things have changed since she vetoed a bill to legalize hemp last year. “Federal guidelines are in place, a South Dakota tribe has been given the green light on hemp production and other states’ actions mean we need to address hemp transportation through our state,” said Noem. “The legislative summer study also did great work and included some good ideas.” Noem also said there are four guiderails that are needed for her support. “These include reliable enforcement standards, responsible regulations regarding licensing, reporting and inspections, an appropriate plan for safe transportation and an adequate funding plan,” she added. “If we can get this done in the coming weeks, it would be a good way to kick off this year’s legislative session.” The 2020 South Dakota legislative session begins Tuesday.
Beet Stock Snapshot – According to Acres & Shares, early last week there were two American Crystal Sugar Company beet stock sales totaling 109 shares at $3,100 per share.
Ag Input Chain in Wait and See Mode – Depending on weather, some areas could have a normal spring and others will be faced with more prevented plant. CHS President and CEO Jay Debertin sees a very fluid situation for all players. “It is going to take a lot of coordination with retailers working with farmers and with us so we have the very best information.” CHS reports first quarter net income of nearly $178 million, which compares to $347.5 million one year ago. Fertilizer sales were down, but the propane business was strong. Debertin says CHS is looking forward to the year ahead. “We’ll have to see how spring unfolds, but, frankly we’re going to move forward with a glass half-full outlook and feel we could be set up for a much better year in agriculture.”
Farmers are Doing Okay with Farm Financials – NDSU Extension Agriculture Finance Specialist Bryon Parman highlighted the farm financial situation during the Lake Region Extension Roundup. “There are folks definitely struggling, but based on our data, most farmers are doing alright. I think there is reason for optimism going into 2020, at least with trade.” Farm size is not an indication of financial health. “As farms have gotten bigger, the conventional wisdom is you have to get bigger to make ends meet,” explained Parman. “The data shows that may be true in some scenarios, but at the same time, you’re a lot more flexible if you’re in a medium-size farm range. Farmers can make decisions they may not be able to make if they were a larger scale farm.”
Profitability Projections Vary by Crop and Region – According to the new crop budgets from NDSU Extension, the outlook varies widely by region and crop. Spring wheat is projected to be in the red for all parts of North Dakota except the northeastern corner of the state. There are positive returns forecast for soybeans in all but two regions of the state, the northern Red River Valley and northeast. Profitability projections in corn is pretty evenly split across North Dakota with the highest returns in the southeastern region. NDSU Extension predicts profits in oil sunflowers for all parts of the state with the exception of the northern Red River Valley and the southeast. Canola is forecast to enjoy positive returns in north-central North Dakota. Malt barley shows slight losses out west and larger losses in the Red River Valley due to higher land costs. Hear more from NDSU Extension farm management specialist Ron Haugen in this interview.
Prevent Plant Could Spark ARC-IC Interest – As farmers consider 2019 and 2020 farm programs, prevent plant may encourage enrollment in Agricultural Risk Coverage-Individual (ARC-IC). “If you have a whole farm unit that’s 100 percent prevent plant acres, that means you have zero production,” said Kent Thiesse, senior vice president, MinnStar Bank. “In that case, you may qualify for a significant or maximum ARC-IC and possibly, the county may not qualify for the payment. That’s why there’s more interest in ARC-IC this time around.” Thiesse said when it comes to picking between ARC-CO and PLC programs, average county yields can make a difference. “Those probably won’t be announced by the March 15 sign-up so you’ll have to make your best guesstimate on where county yields will fall. If you don’t think it will fall below a certain level, you will probably lean toward the PLC program on corn. For soybeans, yields in most counties probably only have to fall off three to four bushels an acre to qualify for ARC-CO payments.” Thiesse reminds farmers to make the best decision for their own farm by meeting with the local Farm Service Agency office or by checking out online resources. The sign-up deadline for the 2019 crop year is March 15. Sign up for the 2020 crop year closes on June 30.
Will Land Values Veer from Plateau Trend in 2020? – The land market in 2019 continued the plateau trend of the past several years. Farmland sale activity in the first part of the year was slower with the late spring and planting delays. “Despite the slower land market, Farmers National Company saw a 25 percent increase in acres sold in 2019 from the prior year and the most since 2014,” says Randy Dickhut, senior vice president of real estate operations, Farmers National Company. Will 2020 be the year that the land market breaks out of its plateau? Dickhut says there are several factors indicating the market will continue to be steady. However, a lot of uncertainty remains.”Interest rates are low and are poised to remain so during the foreseeable future and government support through MFP payments will likely continue if Chinese trade issues are not fully resolved.” Hear from Dickhutt in this RRFN interview.
MDA Takes Proactive Approach to Palmer amaranth Eradication – All of the Palmer amaranth finds from 2016 to 2018 have been monitored and there have been no other plants found at those sites. Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Whitney Place says two seed companies self-reported Palmer amaranth this past year and that was managed. Native seed plantings were the first pathway for Palmer in the state. “We’ve found a lot of different situations. In one case, Palmer was moving through seed screenings that were being fed to livestock and the manure ended up in the field. We also know it can come in on equipment.” The Minnesota Legislature funded Palmer amaranth control measures in 2017 and renewed those funds this past year and made it ongoing.
Dry Bean Scene – NDSU Extension has published research on plant population and row spacing for navy and black beans. Now researchers are working on furthering that information for pinto beans. Find out more in the Dry Bean Scene, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
There’s One Chance to Start the Crop Correctly – Wheat does best under certain rotations, but WestBred Technical Product Manager Grant Mehring says a variety of conditions will be seen this year. “How will you put wheat into unharvested sugarbeets or places with incredible moisture and there’s big ruts in the field? How is my wheat going into the ground in these challenging conditions?” Mehring expects to see a few headaches for those planting into unharvested sugarbeets. “The unharvested sugarbeet will be releasing its nutrients into the growing season. They may be all of a big flush of nutrients available later in the season.” Mehring says moisture will be the biggest challenge for 2020.
Yields are the Key to Profitability – Peterson Farms Seed agronomy manager Adam Spelhaug says yields are key for corn profitability. “Farmers can make a bigger difference on yield than trying to save on costs. Many times, cost savings are impacting yield negatively. Anything farmers can do to bump yield up, it broadens the revenue difference from expenses more.” Seed placement and stand establishment can help get to bigger yields. “You only get one shot to put it in. There were some replants last year and lots of that is still standing, because it didn’t make it. Get stand establishment good and then, proper fertility timing and placement.” Listen to the story.
Wiersma: Tips for Selecting a Spring Wheat Variety – If it wasn’t for a record wet fall, sprout damage and falling numbers, University of Minnesota Extension Small Grains Specialist Jochum Wiersma says 2020 spring wheat variety discussions would be solely focused on bacterial leaf streak, vomitoxin and scab. “We can’t ignore these other issues. We want to be on the forefront and select good varieties.” Wiersma says pre-harvest sprout tolerance will also be important in selecting a variety this year. “Farmers should be looking at the most pre-harvest sprout tolerant varieties out there. The varieties can help to yield falling numbers above 300, the market minimum. In addition to yield, another priority is straw strength and stand.” Wiersma also says there’s a new wheat variety called MN-Torgy. The small grains specialist is part of the Minnesota Small Grains Update Meetings.
Working on Hybrid Wheat – BASF plans to commercialize hybrid wheat by the mid-2020s. BASF lead spring wheat breeder David Bonnet spoke at the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association, saying this will be a game-changer for the wheat industry. “There’s been a relatively small investment in wheat genetic improvement and hybrids offer a big jump in yield.” In addition, the new hybrid wheat varieties will also offer disease resistance and protein. “Hybrids offer flexibility in terms of being able to make new combinations very quickly. There are different ways to put parents together to meet the changing needs.” Spring wheat and winter wheat varieties are being developed for the North American market. The BASF spring wheat breeding operation is at Sabin, Minnesota.
Simple Tank Mix Tweak Can Reduce Fine Particle Drift – WinField United has new research on managing particle drift when spraying crops. Lillian Magidow, who is the senior research manager at the WinField United Innovation Center, used a wind tunnel to create a real-world experience. When drift reduction adjuvants are added to the spray tank, bubble-like membranes are created. When the spray hits a crosswind in the field, fine droplets are created. With the potential for drift from the new dicamba formulations, Magidow says it is important to use the right adjuvant. “A lot of tank mixes require that DRA (drift reduction adjuvant) and that does reduce drift, but they have these bubbles popping and still creating fine droplets; I think there is a play there to get the most out of the application.” The InterLock adjuvant from WinField United was found to optimize the spray application for both dicamba and non-dicamba herbicides.
High Speed Planting System to Debut in Louisville – Ag Leader Technology and Kinze Manufacturing have jointly introduced a new high-speed planting system. The SureSpeed system will deliver accurate seed placements at speeds up to 12 miles per hour. This system will be on display at the National Farm Machinery Show in February and available commercially for the 2021 planting season.
Potato Expo Begins Tuesday – There are new programs and structure for this year’s Potato Expo. “We have a terrific line-up of speakers and educational programs,” said Kam Quarles, CEO, National Potato Council. “It will all take place at the Mirage in Las Vegas.” The Potato Business Summit kicks off the Expo Tuesday morning, followed by a trade show, along with keynote speaker and digital leadership expert Erik Qualman. There are breakout sessions on research, seed potatoes and ag policy. “Front and center, there were some unfortunate weather-related events we faced in 2019. For those folks impacted, we are focused on their needs. There are disaster relief programs the USDA is implementing to help those folks out,” explained Quarles. “More broadly, we’ve had an incredibly volatile trade environment over the past several years. It looks like we’re starting to pull out of that.” A National Potato Council meeting will follow the Expo. The Red River Farm Network is reporting from the Potato Expo on Tuesday, January 14 and Wednesday, January 15. Check out the event schedule.
Bloomberg Tours Southern MN Farm – Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg stopped at Darin Johnson’s farm near Wells, Minnesota on Wednesday. Johnson, secretary, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, said the conversation centered on the issues impacting rural communities. “We discussed what we use broadband for on our farm. His big thing is expanding rural broadband. I think he was a little bit shocked with the technology on farms.” Johnson said the farm is open to any politician who wants to learn about agriculture.
NASDA Announces Policy Priorities – The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture board of directors has identified policy priorities for the year ahead. NASDA plans to focus on international markets, workforce development, food safety and hemp production rules. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is the current president of NASDA.
NFU Presidential Election in March – There are three candidates seeking the presidency of the National Farmers Union. Those candidates are NFU Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew, Kansas Farm Bureau President Donn Teske and Pennsylvania Farmers Union board member Mike Eby. NFU President Roger Johnson, who is the former agriculture commissioner in North Dakota, is retiring in March.
Packers and Stockyards Administration Violation for SD Firm – USDA has assessed Sisseton Livestock a $20,000 civil penalty with $10,000 held for two years. In April of last year, Sisseton Livestock was investigated for issuing false invoices.
Meatless Pork Sandwich Coming to BK – The company that brought the Impossible Burger to the market this past year is now planning to introduce plant-based pork products. Impossible Foods will produce an imitation pork sausage product that will sold at Burger King restaurants. This breakfast sandwich will initially be on the menu in five U.S. cities.The National Pork Producers Association says the company’s naming convention for the planted-based product violates a labeling law, which prohibits the use of words that redefine pork.
Another Bankruptcy Filing in Dairy Industry – Borden Dairy Company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The dairy processor plans to continue with its normal operations during the reorganization process. Borden CEO Tony Sarsam said the company is being impacted by the rising cost of raw milk and the market challenges facing the dairy industry. Borden is the second major U.S. dairy processor to seek bankruptcy protection in recent months, following Dean Foods which filed in November.
Weather Influences CHS Quarterly Financials – CHS reports first quarter net income of nearly $178 million. That’s down from $347.5 million in the same quarter last year. The demand for farm inputs and crop nutrient products was hurt by the late and smaller harvest. Ongoing trade tensions also influenced grain volumes and margins. CHS’s propane business was up, helped by a late harvest and a bump in demand for grain drying.
Cargill FY19 Earnings Decline – Cargill finished the year with earnings of $2.8 billion, down 12 percent from one year earlier. With the challenges of African Swine Fever, Cargill saw profits increase for its beef and poultry sectors. The grain operations improved after Cargill completed the divesture of its malt business.
New Beginnings for Countryside Insurance Agency – Jennifer Otteson has launched the Countryside Insurance Agency in Buxton, North Dakota. Countryside Insurance Agency, which is owned by Otteson, purchased the Cornerstone Ag Services-Buxton book of business, which had been operated by Jennifer Otteson and Kayla Otteson. Countryside Insurance Agency specializes exclusively on crop insurance.
ND Companies Awarded $23 Million for Broadband Projects – USDA is investing $23 million in two high-speed broadband projects for more than 2,600 rural households and 78 businesses in North Dakota. Polar Communications of Park River and Daktel Communications of Jamestown will use the funding to create and improve broadband technology in rural areas. In total, the expansion covers 2,224 square miles in the respective areas.
ND Corn Farmer Places in Yield Contest – A Berlin, North Dakota farmer is a first-place state award winner in the National Corn Growers Association yield contest. Situated in the southeast part of the state, Steve Huber credits the success to advanced precision agriculture technology. “I’m pretty particular, wanting the corn planter tuned in as best as possible,” says Huber. “The variety I chose was a new 95-day one.” Huber’s winning entry was DEKALB DKC45 with a yield of 299 bushels per acre. “Dry down was actually better than some of my lower-day corn, and it was easy to harvest because the ears were higher up above much of the snow.” Listen to the RRFN interview.
Syngenta Group Formed – ChemChina and Sinochem are consolidating their agricultural assets into a new holding company that will be called Syngenta Group. Mark Patrick, who is the chief financial officer, will leave the current Syngenta executive team at the end of this month. Chen Lichtenstein, current president and CEO with ADAMA, has been named the CFO for the newly formed Syngenta Group. Lichtenstein has been ADAMA’s chief executive office since 2014.
New Holland and Hemp Announce Partnership – New Holland and the National Hemp Association are partnering to further the return of hemp raised as a commodity crop across North America. Under the phrase “Pushing Progress Together,” the duo will showcase hemp at 16 national farm shows through educational sessions, panel discussions and exhibition of hemp products. The alliance will also address the absence of commercial scale harvesting and equipment needed to meet demand. The announcement came at the Pennsylvania Farm Show this week.
Inventors HOF to Recognize Irrigation Innovator – The National Inventors Hall of Fame will induct 22 new honorees in May. This 2020 class includes the Nebraska farmer that invented center-point irrigation. Frank Zybach received a patent for his irrigation system in 1952. Two years later, Valley Manufacturing acquired the patent rights from Zybach. Today, the Omaha-based company is known as Valmont Industries and is a global leader in center-pivot systems.
MN-Torgy Debuts at Small Grains Meetings – The University of Minnesota released a new spring wheat variety called MN-Torgy. The breeding destination is MN 14205-7. It crosses Linkert, 01S0377-6 and Sabin. According to the University of Minnesota, the variety shows high yields and medium protein levels. Disease resistance is good, in particular for bacterial leaf streak and offers a moderate resistance to scab. The variety’s straw strength is moderate. The new variety is named for David Torgerson, the former executive director of Minnesota Wheat.
MN Corn Matters – Farmers can get a free bus ride to the MN Ag Expo in Mankato. Minnesota Corn Growers Association district field manager Marlene Dufault has the details in this edition of Corn Matters.
AFBF Communications Team Adds New Staff – The American Farm Bureau Federation has hired Mike Tomko and Cole Staudt. Tomko is the new director of communications. Most recently, Tomko was the news director for a Baltimore television station. Staudt is a media relations specialist, who previously worked on Capitol Hill as a communications director.
Ten Acre Marketing Adds Strategy VP – Erin Dickson has joined Ten Acre Marketing as the senior vice president of strategy. Dickson, who is part of a family farm operation at Gilby, North Dakota, has been the brand manager for Alerus Financial in Grand Forks. Previously, Dickson was an account manager for AdFarm. Ten Acre Marketing CEO Leah Halverson established the company one year ago, which is focused on branding, public relations, advertising and event planning.
Consumer Reports Hires Former USDA Official – Consumer Reports has hired former USDA deputy undersecretary Brian Ronholm to lead its food policy division. Ronholm was part of the Obama administration where he focused on food safety issues.
A New President/CEO for FMC – Effective June 1, Mark Douglas will take over as the president and CEO for FMC. Pierre Brondeau will continue as chairman and CEO through the end of May. Douglas, who is already the FMC president, has been with the company since 2010.
Bovee Moves From CHS to Hurley & Associates – Tom Bovee has joined Hurley & Associates as a farm marketing consultant in Wheaton, Minnesota. Bove has spent the past 12 years with CHS managing grain elevators and merchandising grain.
Stranz Returns to NFU – Mike Stranz is the new policy director for the National Farmers Union. Stranz has been part of the farm commodities and risk management subcommittee staff for the House Agriculture Committee.
Mauer Makes the Move to CHS – Dan Mauer has joined CHS in its Washington, D.C. office and will concentrate on energy, tax, transportation and infrastructure. Most recently Mauer was the vice president with the Porter Group. Previously, Mauer served on the staff of Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman.
Sheffer Transitions to CEO at Zinpro Corporation – Zinpro Corporation, an animal wellness and performance mineral company based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has a new CEO. Former President Rob Sheffer is overseeing management and leadership of the organization as of January 1. Former CEO Bill Scrimgeour retired at the end of 2019.
Award Presented at ND Weed Forum – Jamen Windish of Barnes County has been presented the Weed Control Partner Award from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. Windish has been the Barnes County weed officer for four years and worked in a similar capacity for six years in Stutsman County. The honor was given during the Noxious Weed Forum in Bismarck.
SD Pork Honors – The South Dakota Pork Producers Council will present the Dedicated and Distinguished Service Award to former National Pork Board President Steve Rommereim of Alcester. The Family of the Year is the Paul Brandt family of Clear Lake. Jeri Westra, who is with John Morrell and Company, will receive the Friend of the Industry Award. Craig Anderson of Centerville will receive the Pork All-American honor and Garret Gross of Sioux Falls will be recognized as the Pork Promoter of the Year. The Master Pork Producers Banquet will be held Wednesday.
Developing Leaders – The American Soybean Association Corteva Agriscience Young Leaders class for this next year includes representatives from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The participants from Minnesota are Mike and Dawn Kunerth of Brewster and Ryan Mackenthun of Brownton. Justin Sherlock from Dazey represents North Dakota. For South Dakota, the class includes Jesse and Emily King of Toronto and Drew Peterson of Salem.
Willett Retires – National Corn Growers Association Senior Director of Public Policy Sam Willett has retired. Willett has been on the NCGA staff since 2001.
Kjesbo Passes – Funeral services were held Thursday for a past president of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers. Noel Kjesbo, 73, farmed in the Wendell area.
Last Week’s Trivia – Red, yellow and blue are considered primary colors. Val Dolcini, who is the director for California’s Department of Pesticide Registration, is our weekly trivia winner. Honorable mention honors go out to Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, farm business management instructor Bob Rick, Carver County feedlot officer Alan Langseth and Jamie Reed of Valley United Co-op. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with David Hallberg of Pennock, John Zietz of Cargill, Bob Nielsen of United Farmers Cooperative, Dennis Sabel of Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation, Ron Dvergsten of Northland Farm Business Management, Norm Groot of Monterey County Farm Bureau, Ramsey County farmer Paul Becker, Tanner Johnson of First International Bank and Trust, Strasburg farmer Kenny Niewsma, Dianne Bettin of LB Pork, Ryan Taylor of Ducks Unlimited, Judge Jesson of South Dakota Grasslands Council, Twyla Wulf of Clear Springs Cattle Company, veteran ad agency executive Greg Guse and Jon Farris of BankWest.
This Week’s Trivia – Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz travel the country to find antiques, collectables and more for their shop in Le Claire, Iowa. Those escapades can be found on a long-running television show on the History Channel. What is the name of the show? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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