A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Sunday, January 21, 2024
Meeting Season – The Red River Farm Network calendar is filled during this time of the year with farm meetings. RRFN is in Salt Lake City to start this week for the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting. This past week, RRFN reported from the Wild World of Weeds Workshop, MN Ag Expo and Bean Day. Listen to your local RRFN affiliate radio station for continuing coverage of the events important to the ag sector.
A Call to Action – American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall announced a call to action for members during the opening general session of the annual convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Duvall asked members to reach out to lawmakers about the farm bill. Minnesota Farm Bureau President Dan Glessing said Congress needs to act on the appropriations bills to pave the way. “It’s important to get that done so we can pay some attention to the farm bill before presidential politics come into play.”
AFBF Announces New Partnerships for Mental Health – American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Scott VanderWal says the organization will focus on mental health in 2024. Farm Bureau has formed new partnerships to bring free mental health care to rural areas across the country. “Farming is so stressful and there have been numerous stories over the years of people not being able to handle it and bad things happen,” said VanderWal. “We don’t want anyone to hurt themselves or end their lives.” VanderWal also serves as president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. “Right now, property rights and eminent domain are extremely important to their membership. It will be difficult to separate the climate change agenda from economic opportunities for agriculture.” Click here for the full interview with Scott VanderWal.
State, Federal Policy Concerns – South Dakota Farm Bureau board member Jerry Runia represents the northeast district of the state. “We have drainage issues in northeast South Dakota,” said Runia. “We have an extended farm bill, but beyond that, we’ll be trying to get a new one established.” Runia is at the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention and wants to learn more about sustainable agriculture and how the organization can grow.
NDFB Member Participates in AFBF Promotion and Education Committee – Grand Forks farmer Nathan Schlief serves on the American Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Committee. “Our main point is to create a resource base that all state Farm Bureaus can go back to and recreate those successful events in our their states and counties.” Schlief would also like to help nurture understanding between farmers and ranchers in North Dakota. “One thing I’ve looked at it is having an event where we take farmers from one side of the state that are primarily more row crop farmers and take them over to ranchers in the western side of the state so when we have a better understanding about policy and where everybody stands.”
MFBF Wins New Horizon Award for the Second Year in a Row – Minnesota Farm Bureau was awarded the New Horizon Award for the second year in a row at the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. This award recognizes innovative new programs. MFBF was recognized for its Ag Day Gala. Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation Director Ruth Meirick said this event serves as a fundraiser for the foundation while celebrating the state’s diverse agriculture industry. “We have a lot of ag businesses and companies that bring food to tables around the world every day,” said Meirick. “As a part of the group that designs and puts this together, to be recognized for those efforts is amazing.” This year’s Ag Day Gala will be held on National Agriculture Day, March 19 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Listen to the full interview with Ruth Meirick here.
Another Short-Term Spending Package – Congress passed another stopgap spending measure and it was signed into law by President Biden, avoiding a government shutdown. This bill funds agriculture, transportation, energy and other departments until March 1. The rest of the government is funded through March 8. North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, who is the ranking member of the Agriculture Appropriations Committee, voted for the CR, but said Congress needs to get back to regular order and pass these bills on an annual basis.
Hoeven Highlights Farm Bill Priorities – North Dakota Senator John Hoeven made a stop at this past week’s North Dakota Grain Dealers Convention to discuss the farm bill process. Hoeven’s priorities include maintaining and strengthening the crop insurance program, updating reference prices and supporting export promotion. Hoeven also emphasized the importance of reliable transportation.
Time to Get Serious on the Farm Bill – Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow has outlined her plan to strengthen the safety net in the new farm bill. In the letter to her committee, Stabenow said farm programs must be targeted to active farmers and adjusted to provide more flexibility. Stabenow cited the cotton program that offers a choice between the traditional base acre programs and an area-based crop insurance policy. Stabenow said similar options should be available to all commodities in the next farm bill. To get the legislation wrapped up this spring, the Michigan senator said it is time “to get serious.”
Election-Year Dynamics and the Farm Bill – Combest Sell and Associates Managing Partner Tom Sell believes election-year politics could be good for the farm bill process. “People want to get something done,” said Sell. “That plays well for their constituencies, particularly throughout Rural America.” The presidential campaign also fits into that discussion. “There’s been a lot of positive tension around ag policy coming out of this Iowa Caucus and that’ll benefit us in the farm bill.”
GAO Offers Recommendations on Foreign Farmland Ownership – The Government Accountability Office has completed a report on foreign ownership of farmland. The GAO found the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States does not have regular or timely access to information about foreign farmland ownership. It calls for USDA to develop a better system for monitoring this information and sharing it with relevant agencies. This issue surfaced when the Chinese state-owned company, Fufeng Group, bought land to build a corn processing plant in Grand Forks. The location near the Air Force base was considered by many to be a security threat. A coalition of 130 members of Congress sought the GAO study.
Farm Debt on the Rise – Ag lending activity has been restrained by smaller loan sizes, according to the latest Kansas City Federal Reserve Ag Finance Update. A survey of commercial bankers indicates agricultural lending activity slowed at a fast rate over the past year. The number of new loans was higher than a year ago, but the average loan size when adjusted for inflation was the lowest since 2017. The report said farm debt grew during the third quarter.
Tax Reform Proposal Introduced – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith have introduced tax reform legislation. This bill increases the refundable amount of the child tax credit. It also changes the write-offs for research and development to allow for immediate expensing and restores interest deductions. This language includes the availability of a 100 percent bonus deduction for certain assets and increases the amount that can be expensed under the Section 179 deduction.
Lawmakers Urges USDA to Open DMC Signup – A group of nine House Republicans, led by Minnesota Congressman Brad Finstad, is asking USDA to quickly open enrollment for the 2024 Dairy Margin Coverage program. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux, the lawmakers said dairy farmers are facing a difficult market environment and need the ability to select their DMC coverage level for this year.
Red Sea Conflict Has Ripple Effect – The Ukrainian agriculture minister is warning the problems on the Red Sea will hurt its agricultural exports. The movement of commodities on the Red Sea has been slowed by Houthi attacks on cargo ships, forcing shippers to go around the southern tip of Africa to reach Asian markets. Ukraine had strong grain exports in December, but the ag minister believes the rerouting and shipping delays will have a ripple effect.
Maritime Commission to Review Red Sea Conflict – The Federal Maritime Commission has scheduled a February 7th hearing to consider how U.S. containerized shippers are being affected by the attacks on the Red Sea. This follows the commission’s decision to allow several container shipping companies to increase freight rates or add emergency surcharges sooner than they normally would. According to Drewry’s World Container Index, the average global container freight rates rose 102 percent since mid-December.
Panama Canal Adjusts Daily Limit – Due to low water levels, the Panama Canal Authority has limited daily ship crossings to 24 per day. That’s an improvement from the 20 slots previously announced for January due to recent rains providing some relief to the low water levels. For comparison, the Panama Canal had 38 crossings per day one year ago.
PNW Business Picks Up – The Houthi attacks on the Red Sea have primarily targeted containerized shipments. U.S. Grains Council Vice President Cary Sifferath said companies moving bulk commodities, like corn, are also trying to avoid the Red Sea. These vessels are now going south of Africa to reach Asia. The Minnesota native said that means more corn may be moving out of the Pacific Northwest. Commodities going to Central America and South America are facing transportation problems of their own with the Panama Canal and also turning to the PNW. “We’ve seen some corn vessels loaded for Guatemala and Columbia and El Salvador actually coming out of that Pacific Northwest which is quite unique to see happen.” Sifferath was part of MN Ag Expo.
Bypassing the Panama Canal – One of the largest container shipping companies in the world plans to bypass the Panama Canal by using the railroad. The Panama Canal is dealing with reduced water levels due to a drought which has impacted the volume it can handle. The Danish shipping firm, Maersk, announced it will use the rail line that runs next to the Panama Canal to make the connection between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Administration Considers Removal of Snake River Dams – The export business has been complicated by transportation issues, ranging from the conflicts on the Red Sea and Black Sea to low water levels at the Panama Canal. Bismarck lawyer David Barrett, who previously served as general counsel for the National Grain and Feed Association, sees a potential problem for grain shipments to the Pacific Northwest. “The Biden Administration seems to be moving forward with the Lower Snake River dams, they wanna take out four of those dams which flow into the Columbia River,” said Barrett. “That would have a devastating impact on North Dakota grain if you remove those dams and make the river system less navigable.” After a long legal battle, an agreement is in place to study the removal of these dams in the Columbia River Basin and rebuild the salmon population. “In the past, it just seemed like a crazy idea, but now the Biden Administration seems to be moving forward with it.” Barrett spoke on industry issues at the North Dakota Grain Dealers Association Convention.
Fielding Questions – In the latest edition of the Fielding Questions podcast, AgCountry Farm Credit Services Vice President of Insurance and Customer Education Rob Fronning dissects the latest market trends. Fielding Questions is a collaboration between AgCountry Farm Credit Services and the Red River Farm Network. The discussion includes South American crop conditions, global uncertainty and the importance of a marketing plan.
Record Crush – The National Oilseed Processors Association reported a record December soybean crush. Comstock Investments market analyst Joe Camp gives some of the credit to the new crush capacity. “We do have new plants in the west that have come online here and until recently, you’ve had near-record profitability for crushing beans into oil,” said Camp. “We talk about the biodiesel demand, but following the drought in Argentina last season meal export demand rose to a record this season.”
MFBF Minute – This week’s update from the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation highlights the successful inaugural Urban Agriculture Conference. Conference organizer Rachel Reisig is our guest.
NPC Voices Concern Over Canada’s Potato Wart Disease – The National Potato Council has submitted comments to the Canadian Food Inspection Service about the risk of potato wart. If the fungal disease was transmitted to the United States, the NPC said the U.S. would immediately lose access to all international fresh potato markets. The direct financial impact to the industry would be $225 million with the indirect costs well into the billions. The NPC said the current Canadian plan is inadequate in controlling the movement of the potato wart.
Kill Weeds, Don’t Stunt Them – NDSU Research Professor Kirk Howatt promotes a multi-faceted approach to managing resistance and weed control. “We have very limited situations where one post-emergent spray will kill the weeds.” Farmers can use a pre-emergence spray to prevent seedling growth early on followed by a post treatment. Later in the season, two applications of post-emergence herbicides can eliminate weed growth. “When it’s small, kill the weeds rather than just stunt them.” Howatt was on the program for the NDSU Wild World of Weeds Workshop.
Options More Limited for Controlling Kochia – Agriculture and Agrifood Canada Weed Research Scientist Charles Geddes concentrates on integrated weed management and herbicide resistance. Kochia is a part of that focus. “Some of the big takeaways we’re starting to see in kochia are PPO inhibitors, meaning that some of the options for herbicides that farmers have in the toolbox are becoming more and more limited as time goes on.” Geddes was the keynote speaker at the Wild World of Weeds Workshop in Fargo.
Weeds Workshop Tackles Herbicide Resistance – Weed resistance was one of the hot-button topics at the Wild World of Weeds Workshop in Fargo. Once farmers get past the initial downtrodden phase, NDSU Extension Weed Specialist Joe Ikley said they can focus on a plan of action. “Figuring out what still works and just making sure our plan of attack is good going into the growing season.”
Job Opportunity in Agriculture – The Red River Farm Network can connect agricultural companies and organizations with future employees. The Job Opportunities in Agriculture tab on the RRFN website is that meeting point. At this time, Bayer is seeking a field testing agronomist. This is a residence-based, field-facing role for implementing a small plot research program in crops such as corn, soybeans and wheat. Primary responsibilities inlcude coordinating, negotiating and contracting leased land for field research trials. The job is based in Devils Lake. For more information, visit Bayer Operations Lead Travis Jenson at Glyndon, Minnesota.
Kochia Dominates Weed Workshop – According to NDSU Extension Weed Specialist Tom Peters, kochia was the word of the day at the Wild World of Weeds Workshop. “I think the challenge that we have is putting the right programs together that will enable everyone to get good weed control,” said Peters. “It may not always be a herbicide, tillage is still an effective way because kochia generally germinates early.”
Storm Influences Cattle Breakevens – When winter storms and extreme temperatures moved through the Midwest, cattle backed up in the system. In an interview with the Red River Farm Network, Denison (Iowa) Livestock Auction’s J.R. Pauley said the harsh weather may also cost cattle producers in the long term. “When cattle go through this brutal stretch, they don’t drink right and they don’t eat right so you could have a four-to-eight percent pencil shrink and not even know it.”
COF Report is Mostly Neutral – As of January 1, the number of cattle and calves in feedlots totaled 11.9 million head. That’s two percent higher than during January of last year. Placements are down four percent from one year ago and marketings were down one percent.
Cattle Inventory Report Coming Out at the End of the Month – The recent storms have taken weight off of fed cattle, which would normally be friendly for the market. NDSU Extension Livestock Economist Tim Petry said logistics at packing plants kept the market in check. “Some packing plants closed so that put kind of a lid on fed cattle prices,” said Petry. The market is waiting for the January 30 USDA Cattle Inventory Report. The beef cattle herd is expected to get smaller for the fifth straight year. “It all really depends on weather and how much herd rebuilding might take place, if at all.”
Resources Available to Feed More Cattle in ND – Rather than shipping cattle and corn out of the state, NDSU Extension Livestock Specialist Karl Hoppe says there is potential to grow the cattle feeding business in the state. “We have the feed, we have the cattle, we have the resources and we have the opportunity.” Hoppe was a presenter at the NDSU Feedlot School in Carrington. “We have almost a million cattle in North Dakota and we can feed that many cattle even beyond backgrounding to finishing if we develop what we have.”
Cattle Adapt to Cold Conditions – Feeding cattle in cold weather demands additional management. During the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association Feeder Council’s Beyond the Bunk Workshop in Towner, NDSU Extension Veterinarian Gerald Stokka said the cattle can acclimate to these conditions. “If you’re looking at cattle in cold weather and they can get out of the wind and you’ve provided some bedding, they’re pretty comfortable.”
Register for NCI Future of Feeding Webinar – The Northern Crops Institute is hosting a Future of Feeding webinar on Wednesday at 9 AM. This webinar will feature Andrew Baker, export manager, POET. This webinar series focuses on using innovation in the processing of animal food, the equipment being used as well as using grains from our region for co-products. Go online for more information and to register for the webinar.
Searching for a Solution to Prop 12 – Legislation has been introduced on the federal level that would prevent new initiatives like California’s Prop 12. National Pork Producers Council President Elect Lori Stevermer says the main goal is to avoid a patchwork of regulation across the country. “In an ideal situation, legislation would make Prop 12 go away, but we know that’s not likely to happen,” said Stevermer. “We want to look at what we can do to prevent something like Prop 12 from happening again.” It’s important to narrow down the true purpose of any proposal to prevent unintended consequences. Since the implementation there have been reports of higher prices and less pork purchases in California.
Spronk: Tell Your Story – In 1995, the United States was a net importer of pork. “In my career, we’ve gone from being a net importer to where we’re exporting 27 or 28 percent of the value,” reports Randy Spronk, chair, U.S. Meat Export Federation. “The number on pork was $7.4 billion of pork is exported, that came from zero 25 years ago.” Spronk, who farms at Edgerton, Minnesota, wants farmers to share their story. “There’s nothing better than a farmer with dirt under his fingernails and grease on his jeans, talking about how we raise our corn, how we raise our soybeans, how we raise our beef, how we raise our pork. There’s a lot of mistruths out there and there’s nothing better than a farmer going one-on-one with a consumer so they can see the passion, see the honesty of a producer and I think that’s the way we actually avoid making mistakes in our policy.”
MFU Minute – In the MFU Minute, Minnesota Farmers Union Special Projects Coordinator Dave Endicott outlines the organization’s work on regional meat processing. MFU has projects happening at Ridgewater and Central Lakes College.
Remote Beef Grading Project Announced – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced a pilot program to determine beef carcass quality grades on a remote basis. With this program, small and medium-sized meat processors can take a photo of the carcass and receive a grade from USDA remotely. “Right now, about 90 percent of graded beef in this country is done in large packing houses,” said Vilsack. “We’d like to change that percentage because that gives expanded opportunity.”
A First for Lab-Grown Beef – For the first time, lab-grown beef has been approved for sale. An Israeli company plans to market steaks created by cultivating cells from an Angus cow in California. The proponents claim lab-grown meat removes the environmental impact of conventional meat production. Limitations include high production costs and safety concerns.
Argentine Leader Promotes Free Market Economy at Davos – Argentine President Javier Milei had a warning for Western nations while addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos. Milei spoke about the growing risk of socialism and state intervention in the West. The Argentine leader used his own country as an example. He said Argentina was once one of the richest countries in the world due to its farm sector, but more than 40 percent of its population now lives in poverty. Milei is a libertarian economist who was elected in November. Since taking office, Milei has revoked price controls, reduced regulations and is trying to privatize state-owned companies.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – In this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets, Martinson Ag Risk Management President Randy Martinson says all-time highs are being seen on Wall Street. Friday’s cattle-on-feed report was “somewhat friendly.” The grain markets continue languish.
NCGA Disappointed in Phosphate Fertilizer Decision – The International Trade Commission upheld its previous decision for duties on phosphate fertilizers imported from Morocco and Russia. The U.S. Court of International Trade will now review the decision and issue a final ruling. The Commerce Department will also weigh in on this issue. Mosaic launched this issue in 2022, claiming foreign companies were involved in unfair trading practices. The National Corn Growers Association has released a statement, saying it is disappointed in the ITC decision. NCGA said it will continue to fight for the elimination or lowering of the tariffs.
Pioneer Hosts David Hula Wednesday in Minot and Fargo – David Hula holds the world record with a corn yield of 623.8 bushels per acre. Since 2003, Hula has won the National Corn Growers Association yield contest six times and has two world records. Pioneer is hosting the yield champion in Minot and Fargo on Wednesday. “David is notoriously known for pushing the yield limit on corn,” explained Jesse Moch, District Sales Lead, Pioneer. “Growers can learn about the mindset he has to try different things on the farm; he’ll go through some of the practices he’s done with success to push that yield.” Rush River Seed and Chemical will host Hula Wednesday morning at its new location on the east side of Minot. Late Wednesday afternoon, Hula will be featured at the Fargodome. University of Minnesota Extension Integrated Pest Management Specialist Bruce Potter will also be part of Pioneer’s Fargo event to discuss corn rootworm control.
USSEC Drives Aquaculture Growth Worldwide – According to United Soybean Export Council Director of Animal Utilization and Aquaculture Tom D’Alfonso, the U.S. soybean industry is delivering a high-quality product to the global market. “That nutrient bundle is really ideal for animal utilization including aquaculture,” said D’Alfonso. “We’re seeing aquaculture diets using 30, 40, even 50 percent of soy in their diets as a result of the superior quality.” D’Alfonso was part of this past week’s MN Ag Expo.
Canola Minute – The Canola Minute is a presentation of the Northern Canola Growers Association. NCGA Executive Director Barry Coleman recaps the recent USDA canola production estimates. It was a record year.
Lowering the Carbon Intensity Score – All the ethanol plants that belong to the Minnesota Biofuels Association have committed to have a net-zero or net-negative carbon intensity score by 2050. Executive Director Brian Werner says there are several ways to achieve that goal. “One is doing energy efficiency measures at the plants; one is working with our feedstock growers to make sure that we’re lowering the carbon intensity score of the corn that’s being grown,” Werner told RRFN. “The last one is what do we do with the carbon dioxide from the fermentation process.” Werner was a speaker at MN Ag Expo.
Dickinson to Host State of the State Address – North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum will deliver his State of the State Address Tuesday morning at Dickinson State University. Tax relief, workforce development, and infrastructure are expected to be among the issues discussed during the speech.
Burgum Will Not Seek Reelection – North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has announced he will not seek a third term as governor. Burgum said serving in this role “has been one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences” of his life. Burgum was a candidate for president. Former State Senator Tom Campbell is expected to announce his candidacy soon. Campbell is a partner in Campbell Farms based at Grafton.
Walz Proposes New Infrastructure Plan – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is proposing another $1 billion investment in infrastructure. That’s on top of the $2.6 billion bonding bill that was approved this past year. In addition to money for roads and bridges, there’s $3 million for port improvements on the Great Lakes and inland river navigation systems. The proposal also includes $10 million for the Reinvest in Minnesota program to acquire permanent easements to improve water quality and wildlife habitat.
MCGA Delegates Finalize Policy Book – The Minnesota Corn Growers Association held its annual meeting during the MN Ag Expo. MCGA President Dana Allen-Tully said the downturn in grain prices is top-of-mind. “I think as producers are looking to put in next year’s crop, we’re being astute with our dollars.” After the delegate session, Minnesota Corn Executive Director Adam Birr said the organization “is ready to take on any issues that arise at the Capitol.” MCGA priorities include the protection of crop protection tools and drainage issues.
Farming for the Future – The Red River Farm Network and Linder Farm Network collaborate on the Farming for the Future program. A Martin County farmer highlights his involvement in the state water quality certification program and climate-smart agriculture. Farming for the Future is made possible by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
MN Ag Expo Panel Highlights Nitrate Concerns – Environmental groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to address groundwater contamination in eight southeastern Minnesota counties. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency must report on their work to provide safe drinking water to those with contaminated wells. At MN Ag Expo, Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said there is no overnight fix for the nitrate contamination. The nitrate issue extends beyond the southeast corner of the state. “Up to St. Cloud, up into that Verndale area, up into Ottertail and then southwest Minnesota down to towns like Adrian,” explained Petersen. “These are issues we’ve been working on for a long time, but we have to respond to the petition right now and that’s what we’re working on.” MDA has released its vulnerable groundwater area map.
Water Issues to be Heard in Upcoming Session – Minnesota Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Aric Putnam participated in the MN Ag Expo in Mankato and was thankful to hear from farmers their concerns as they gear up for the 2024 legislative session. Putnam plans to work on soil and water issues. “There’s a fair amount of controversy about water currently, but we have to approach the issue thoughtfully,” said Putnam. “Farmers don’t want to pollute, they drink the water too. That has to be where we start.” The legislative session begins February 12.
Finding Middle Ground for Right-to-Repair Policy – Right-to-repair can be a complex issue. “There’s a lot of things farmers can fix and having access to those codes to tell the computer it’s fixed and get going again is very important to our growers,” said Joe Smentek, executive director, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. “Finding a middle ground where we can fix our equipment but not modify it in any way is where we landed.” MN Ag Expo welcomed over 1,300 attendees over the two days of the event breaking the previous attendance record.
Membership Makes a Difference – Numerous topics were addressed during Saturday’s South Dakota Corn Conference in Sioux Falls, including foreign farmland ownership and CO2 pipelines. South Dakota Corn Growers Association Vice President Taylor Sumption said another focus was on growing its membership. “We’ve come out with some new membership options, including student memberships and couple memberships, to try and engage more people with South Dakota Corn.”
Policy Discussion Included in SD Corn Convention – South Dakota Corn hosted its annual conference on Saturday in Sioux Falls. Policy discussion kicked off the day. South Dakota Corn Growers Association President Dave Ellens said issues included private property rights. “Carbon pipelines comes up and there’s always talk about protecting the rights of farmers,” said Ellens. “Everything from the freedom to farm to just smart policy.” National Corn Growers Association President Harrold Wolle also addressed the group.
SD Corn Comments – The South Dakota Corn Utilization Council has made a significant financial contribution to Feeding South Dakota to help fight hunger through the school pantry program. Feeding South Dakota Executive Director Lori Dykstra is our guest for SD Corn Comments.
The End in Sight for SDSU Dairy Farm – South Dakota State University is shutting down its dairy research and training facility by the end of June. As a result, SDSU plans to cooperate with large dairy farms in the region to provide hands-on experience for its students. Degrees in dairy production, dairy manufacturing and food science will continue to be offered. The SDSU dairy farm has approximately 300 head of dairy cattle.
Dairy Farm Feedback Sought on Technology – The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine is seeking input from the dairy industry regarding the use of precision technology. Extension Educator Jim Salfer explains. “We’re trying to understand what dairy farmers are thinking about from a technology standpoint,” said Jim Salfer, Extension educator. “Between the medical community and agriculture, they’re the two areas where technology is moving the fastest.” The survey results will help the University of Minnesota Extension serve the needs of dairy farmers.
Promoting MN Ag Exports in Morocco – Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen is leading a trade delegation to Morocco. The six-day trade mission began over the weekend and included representatives from six different farm groups. Minnesota exported $13.5 million in agricultural products to Morocco in 2022.
Powerful Speaker Lineup at Pulse Growers Meeting – The Northern Pulse Growers Association annual meeting will be held Tuesday in Minot. The program kicks off with Texas A & M University Economist Joe Outlaw with a discussion about farm policy and the new farm bill. That will be followed by a presentation by Jacob Shapiro with Cognitive Investments. “He’ll be speaking on geopolitics and the future of U.S. agriculture,” said Erin Becker, marketing and communications specialist, NPGA. “He’s a wealth of knowledge and gives a very in-depth, enlightening presentation.” A market outlook and trade show are also on the agenda.
Early Success for Midwest Dry Bean Coalition – The Northarvest Bean Growers Association and North-Central Bean Dealers Association are seeing success with their new Midwest Dry Bean Coalition. “It was formed to try to sell more beans all over the United States and the world,” reports Eric Jorgenson, president, Northarvest. Jorgenson cites a recent USDA Section 32 food assistance purchase. “We hope that we can get more sales like that; that’s a big help, especially, when we have a surplus of dry beans.”
A Perfect Food – Dry edible beans are being described as a perfect food. Consultant Chelsea Didinger, who founded the ‘A Legume A Day’ educational platform, cites the availability of protein. “Animal proteins are excellent sources of protein but it’s great when you can also have fiber included and beans are one of the best natural sources of fiber,” said Didinger. “That can help keep you nice and satiated, nice and full and help with just a lot of different aspects of health.” As a plant-based food, dry beans are seen as a trendy food option. “Another trend that is predicted for this year is sustainability, specifically on water conservation and beans have a low water footprint so they just fit a lot of the trends that consumers are looking for.” Didinger is a contractor for the Northarvest Bean Growers Association and was part of Friday’s Bean Day.
USB Releases Annual Sustainability Report – This report highlights the range of renewable soy-based products available or in development today. Checkoff-funded research into new uses for soybeans is also cited. USB and its partners are in the midst of a three-year project to reduce the impact of drought on soybean varieties. This overview said this research could result in a ten-to-15 percent increase in yields.
Alfalfa Approved for Conservation Crop Rotation in MN – NRCS has added a short-term perennial option to the list of crops approved for a conservation crop rotation in Minnesota and Michigan. The National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance has been working with USDA and Congress to incentivize the use of alfalfa in NRCS programs. With this language approved in two states, the trade group said it will continue to work to get more states approved for this scenario.
MSGA Hosts Beginning and Emerging Farmer Program – The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association hosted a beginning farmer program in conjunction with MN Ag Expo. MSGA board member Adam Guetter hopes this program will help new farmers understand the organization. “I want a lot of these young leaders to understand the work that’s done behind the scenes,” said Guetter. The program focused on important skills, including “basic bookkeeping, taxes, and even estate planning.” The participants heard from long-time farmers about their successes and failures.
KMOT Ag Expo Begins Wednesday – The KMOT Ag Expo will be held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the North Dakota State Center in Minot. “We’ve got about 350 plus vendors, over 1,030 booths that are filled,” said Jeff Emmert, assistant show manager. “This will be a lot of new equipment and if you’ve ever been to the farm show, you know there’s no more space in there but they keep filling it up with newer and newer equipment.”
Harvest Aid Resource Available – The timing of the desiccant application is an understandable question when growing dry beans, canola, sunflowers and other crops. BASF has a new resource to answer those questions. “We created a new book that you can get at your retailer and it shows timing with pictures,” said Ryan Casavan, business representative. “On top of that, it tells you what adjuvant to use with it, the rate and the timing.” Casavan was part of the BASF-sponsored RRFN broadcast during Bean Day.
Dry Bean Scene – The Dry Bean Scene is sponsored by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association. NDSU Extension Cropping Systems Specialist Greg Endres offers details about the upcoming Getting it Right in Dry Bean Production webinar.
BASF: ‘The Dry Bean Acre is Very Important’ – BASF sponsored RRFN’s Agriculture Today broadcast during Bean Day. “For BASF, the dry bean acre is very important and we continue to bring farmers different tools to control tough weeds,” said Nick Salentine, business representative. For tough-to-control weeds, like waterhemp, a layby application of Outlook herbicide is designed to reduce the population of weeds at emergence. Another economically important issue for dry bean growers is white mold. “It is obviously very aggressive and we need to be on our ‘A game’ when we’re tackling this disease,” explained Ken Deibert, technical service representative. “Endura fungicide is the market leader in the white mold control segment.”
AgCountry Announces Special $125 Million Patronage Dividend – AgCountry Farm Credit Services will distribute a record $125 million patronage dividend to its member-owners. The AgCountry board has issued a one percent patronage dividend for the past five years. Due to the success of this past year, the board has declared a special secondary 50 basis point patronage dividend. The first installment will be paid in March with the second tentatively set for mid-year.
Deere Takes on Rural Connectivity Concern – John Deere equipment will soon have satellite internet service for its farmer/customers in the United States and Brazil. With a new strategic partnership with SpaceX, Deere hopes to solve the problem of connectivity in rural areas. Deere Senior Product Manager Mike Kool said 30 percent of U.S. cropland and 80 percent of Brazilian cropland have connectivity issues. The technology will be retrofitted into existing equipment. “The first goal here is to get this out broadly and we’re going to do that via aftermarket kits. In the future, we’re looking at what’s needed to have this come out of the factory.” A limited release is expected before the end of the year. “That’s still a very aggressive timeline in our view; we want to get this to the market as fast as we can, but we’re not going to sacrifice quality.” Entrepreneur Elon Musk owns SpaceX, which operates the Starlink internet network.
New Technology Introduced at Precision Planting Winter Conference – Precision Planting has unveiled its new product introductions, including the CornerStone Planting System. This system comes fully built with everything but the planter bar and is integrated with Precision Planting’s technology. It is being beta-tested and should be commercially available in 2025. The Panorama system to manage maps and agronomic data is available now along with a suite of soil sampling and analysis tools called the Radicle Agronomics platform.
ADM Expands Traceable Soybean Pilot – ADM is shipping its first cargo of verified, fully-traceable soybeans from the United States to Europe. This is being done ahead of the EU’s implementation of its deforestation rules at the end of the year. The EU adopted these new regulations last year. This policy requires companies that import soybeans and six other commodities to guarantee they are not produced on land deforested after 2020. ADM plans to expand these capabilities to other North American locations this year.
Vive Introduces New Sugarbeet Fungicide – Vive Crop Protection has received federal approval for a new fungicide for Cercospora Leaf Spot protection in sugarbeets. Northern Technical Sales Agronomist David Reif is excited about the field trial results for Phobos FC. “I personally visited our Cercospora Leaf Spot trials at North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota and you could visually see reduced Cercospora in the Phobos trials compared to Proline and when we got the yield data back, we saw improved recoverable white sugar because of the better disease control.” Phobos has the same active ingredient found in Proline with the addition of Vive’s patented nano-polymers to optimize performance. “This is a new tool for farmers to step up their game to control this Cercospora Leaf Spot and achieve better sugar yields at the end of the day.” Vive plans to use this same technology as an in-furrow corn product in 2025 to control stalk and root rot.
Beet Stock Values – According to Acres & Shares broker Jayson Menke, American Sugar Company beet stock continued to trade at $5,400 per share last week. Menke said 230 shares were brokered at that price.
Relyena Seed Treatment Launched for Dry Beans – Seed treatments help establish a stand and allow the crop to reach its full yield potential. “Across all of our crops, it is becoming more and more common, especially with the weather getting more diverse,” said Tracy Hillenbrand, regional seed treatment technical representative, BASF. “It’s an insurance policy to make sure the crop stands are great.” BASF has launched a new seed treatment for dry beans called Relyena. “It is a group 3 triazole that is really going to strengthen your portfolio for fusarium and rhizoc root rot diseases.” Hillebrand said Obvius Plus fungicide seed treatment also protects dry beans from seed and seedling diseases.
New Analysts Added to Rabobank Team – Rabo AgriFinance has welcomed four new analysts. Chase Beisley comes to Rabobank from Seaboard Foods and will serve as an animal protein analyst. Eric Gibson is a new farm inputs and crop production sustainability analyst. Gibson’s most recent experience was with Aimpoint Research. Charlotte Talbott joins the team as an animal agriculture sustainability analyst. Talbott previously had a similar role for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Matt Lewis is a new consumer food and beverage sustainability analyst and previously worked for Aeterra LLC.
Carlson Brings Policy Experience to NPPC – Steph Carlson has joined the National Pork Producers Council as assistant vice president of state and national relations. Most recently, Carlson was the deputy legislative director for Iowa Senator Joni Ernst.
Lucas, Hill to Receive AFBF’s Highest Honor – The American Farm Bureau Federation is presenting its Distinguished Service Award to former House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas of Oklahoma. The group’s Founders Award is going to former Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill.
Titan Machinery Founders Heading to the HOF – Titan Machinery co-founders David Meyer and Peter Christianson will be inducted into the Farm Equipment Hall of Fame. West Fargo-based Titan Machinery was founded in 1980 and now has over 100 locations in the United States, Europe and Australia.
MN FFA Hall of Fame Class of 2024 Named – The Minnesota FFA Alumni Association has announced its FFA Hall of Fame Class of 2024. The six individuals selected include Corynn Food of Cokato, who is the central region representative to the National FFA Alumni & Supporters Advisory Committee. The inductees also include past Minnesota FFA Foundation Chair Jean Johnson of Grand Forks; University of Minnesota Professor Emeritus Sally Noll; retired Heron Lake-Okabena/Southwest Star Concept FFA advisor Keith Place of Okabena, University of Minnesota-Crookston Ag Ed Program Lead and former Ada-Borup FFA advisor Nathan Purrington and retired Watertown-Mayer FFA advisor Russ Runck.
Towner Dairy Farm Recognized – Pak-Dak Dairy of Towner received the Commissioner’s Award of Dairy Excellence during the North Dakota Dairy Convention in Bismarck. Jonas and Sam Heyl milk 300 cows on a farm that started in 1941. The Milk Producers Association of North Dakota presented its Milky Way Award to Nancy Jo Bateman, who was the long-time executive director of the North Dakota Beef Commission. The Merit Award was presented to Jon Melby, Purina Animal Nutrition.
Meshke Elected IDFA Cheese Board Vice Chair – The International Dairy Foods Association has announced the new members of its executive council and the leaders for the five industry segment boards. Associated Milk Producers Inc. President/CEO Sheryl Meshke is the new vice chair for the IDFA Cheese Board.
Red Angus Producers Honor Hub City Livestock Auction – The Red Angus Association of America has recognized Hub City Livestock Auction of Aberdeen for its excellence in marketing Red Angus and Red Angus-influenced cattle. “Hub City has continually supported Red Angus producers throughout the years by hosting special Red Angus feeder calf sales and is well deserving of this award,” said Rachel Oliver, commercial marketing specialist, RAAA.
Ag Alliance Advisory Committee Named – The South Dakota Ag Alliance has named the members of its newly formed advisory committee. Lorin Pankratz of Pankratz + Associates in Sioux Falls will serve as chair. Committee members include former State Representative Kim Vanneman of Ideal, former National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Jensen of Lake Preston, American Coalition for Ethanol Past President Ron Alverson of Wentworth, former State Representative Ryan P. Olson of Onida and Roseland Ranch owner Sal Roseland of Seneca. This group was created to mediate and advocate for reasonable solutions to difficult agriculture and rural development issues, such as the CO2 pipeline.
Thune Honored at SD Corn Event – During the South Dakota Corn Conference, the South Dakota Corn Growers Association presented the Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award to South Dakota Senator John Thune.
Harrison, Waibel Recieve MCGA Awards – The Minnesota Corn Growers Association named Combest Sell & Associates Senior Counsel Jeff Harrison as this year’s Friend of Agriculture award winner during MN Ag Expo. The Golden Kernel Award was presented to New Ulm farmer and corn grower advocate Tim Waibel.
Gill, Krusemark Receive MN Soybean Checkoff Awards – The Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council Industry Leader of the Year is National Association of Farm Broadcasters Association Past President Joe Gill, KASM Radio. Trimont, Minnesota farmer Rochelle Krusemark was named Council Director of the Year during MN Ag Expo.
MSGA Recognizes Industry Supporters – The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association awarded Representative Angie Craig, and Representative Brad Finstad with the Spirit of MSGA Award during its annual meeting at MN Ag Expo. This year’s Industry Partner Award is University of Minnesota Extension 4-H. The MSGA named lobbyists Cory Bennett and A.J. Duerr as the Soybean Advocates of the Year.
Northarvest Presents Awards to Kandel and Thompson – The Northarvest Bean Growers Association recognized retired NDSU Extension Specialist Hans Kandel with its Bean Industry Achievement Award. The Northarvest Friend of Bean Award went to Steve Savell, Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
This Week’s Trivia- Pluto is the name of Mickey Mouse’s dog. Kristal Rick of Magno Seed wins our weekly trivia challenge. Runner-up honors go out to Mackenzie Derry of CHS Ag Services, Bob Brunker of JL Farmakis, Ramsey County farmer Paul Becker and Todd Good of AgCountry Farm Credit Services. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Sara O’Toole of O’Toole Seed, Dean Nelson of Kelley Bean Company, Ron Dvergsten of Northland Farm Business Management, Mark Schmidt of KWS Seed, Shell Valley farmer Steven Grenier, Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed, Ron Claussen of Ag Media Research, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Lawton farmer Dennis Miller, Dave Gehrtz of Proseed, Brenda Elmer of North Dakota Corn Growers Association, Nick Sinner of Northern Crops Institute, Eric Lahlum of Corteva Agriscience, Barry Walton of BW Farms and Regan farmer Jim McCullough.
This Week’s Trivia- In geometry, how many sides does an octogon have? Send your answer to email@example.com.
|RRFN Upcoming Events
|January 19 - January 24
|American Farm Bureau Federation Convention - Salt Lake City, UT
|Northern Pulse Growers Association Convention - Minot, ND
|Crop Insurance Conference - Fargo ND
|Cow Calf Day - Staples and Bagley, MN
|Cow Calf Day - Roseau, MN
|January 24 - January 25
|Advanced Crop Advisers Workshop - Fargo ND
|January 24 - January 26
|KMOT Ag Expo - Minot, ND
|Cow Calf Day - Iron, MN
|Southern MN Sugarbeet Growers Seminar - Willmar, MN
|January 25 - January 27
|US Custom Harvesters Inc. Annual Convention - Oklahoma City, OK
|NDSU Best of the Best in Wheat Research - Minot, ND
|January 31 - February 2
|Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show - Orlando, FL
|Beef Cattle Update - Aneta, ND
|SWROC Winter Crops and Soils Day - Lamberton, MN
|February 2 - February 3
|MN Farm Bureau Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Promotion Conference - Fargo ND
|February 4 - February 6
|American Sugarbeet Growers Association Annual Meeting - Orlando, FL
|Northern Corn Soy Expo - Fargo ND
|Cow Calf Day - Starbuck, MN
|Cow Calf Day - Pipestone, MN
|Agronomy on Ice - Devils Lake, ND
|RRFN Affiliate Stations
|Aberdeen, SD – 105.5 FM
|Ada, MN – 106.5 FM
|Bagley, MN – 96.7 FM
|Bemidji, MN – 1300 AM
|Benson, MN – 1290 AM
|Bismarck, ND – 1270 AM
|Bismarck, ND – 1270 AM
|Casselton, ND – 103.9 FM
|Crookston, MN – 1260 AM
|Devils Lake, ND – 103.5 FM
|Fergus Falls, MN – 1250 AM
|Fosston, MN – 1480 AM
|Glenwood, MN – 107.1 FM
|Grafton, ND – 1340 AM
|Jamestown, ND – 600 AM
|Langdon, ND – 1080 AM
|Mahnomen, MN – 101.5 FM
|Mayville, ND – 105.5 FM
|Roseau, MN – 102.1 FM
|Rugby, ND – 1450 AM
|Thief River Falls, MN – 1460 AM
|Wadena, MN – 920 AM
|Worthington, MN – 730 AM
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.