A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, January 27, 2020
Lifelong Learning – “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” That quote was highlighted in a presentation at one of the meetings RRFN covered this past week. There’s no doubt, agriculture is in a constant state of change. With ever-changing global politics, technology and market trends, farmers and ranchers know continuing education is critical. This past week, RRFN reported agriculture’s business from the American Farm Bureau Federation convention, the North Dakota Grain Dealers Association convention, the Wild World of Weeds Workshop, the AgCountry Farm Credit Services Marketing Day, the Precision Planting Winter Conference and MN Ag Expo. This week, the RRFN team will be at a drainage conference, a crop insurance meeting, a soil health event, a farm management conference, the U.S. Custom Harvesters Inc. convention, the KMOT Ag Expo and Governor Burgum’s State of the State address. Be sure to visit rrfn.com frequently to stay up-to-date on the news from these events, as well as the latest weather and markets.
Economic Impact of Coronavirus – Nearly 3,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in mainland China. To contain the disease, a lockdown is now in place for 57 million people in 15 cities in China. This comes during China’s Lunar New Year, which is one of the busiest times for travel each year. The phase one trade deal between the U.S and China is in place, but economic activity will be influenced by the coronavirus outbreak.
EPA Replaces the Waters of the United States Rule – The Environmental Protection Agency replaced the Waters of the United States Rule. The new Navigable Waters Protection Rule clarifies federal and state protected waters. There are four categories of jurisdictional waters under federal protection. Those include territorial and traditional navigable waters, intermittent tributaries, certain lakes and ponds and wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters. The new rule outlines the waters not subject to federal control. They include water that is in direct response to rain, groundwater, many ditches, including most farm and roadside ditches, and prior converted cropland. The EPA said all states have their own protections for waters within their borders. Read more about the rule.
Water Woes Turn to Water Wins – Woes about water from Farm Bureau members are now turning into water wins. That’s because the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is withdrawing the proposed water supply rule. Additionally, the Waters of the United States replacement rule has been unveiled. NDFB appreciates President Trump’s efforts to address water regulations. “Both of these are giving farmers and ranchers their private property rights back,” says Pete Hanebutt, public policy director, NDFB. “This makes water navigable and where producers can turn a profit; not just water that is sitting somewhere stagnate.” Hear more about the policy issues NDFB is focused on in this RRFN interview.
Burgum: States Can Now Manage Waters Effectively – North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum says the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule provides clarity and common sense for landowners. According to Burgum, the new rule can work with North Dakota regulations and states can now manage their own waters effectively.
Stenehjem’s Take on the Navigable Waters Protection Rule – North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is in the process of reviewing the text of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. According to Stenehjem, this new definition is an improvement from the Obama-administration rule, partially because of states being able to regulate their own water. “Just as important as what is included is now a definition of things that won’t be included,” says Stenehjem. “That’s everything that had our farm community up in arms because the former rule attempted to regulate farm ditches and prairie potholes. Those are now excluded under this rule and that’s a good thing.” Once the rule is published in the Federal Register, it will take effect within 60 days. Stenehjem thinks the new definition will stand up in court, though legal challenges are expected. “It’s also important to note the Obama-era rule is on hold. We got an injunction in North Dakota and we’ll be defending on both fronts to make sure we’re providing for farm and ranch operators.”
Courts Will Determine Legality of WOTUS Replacement Rule – If there are legal challenges, North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer says there is the potential for the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to be considered by the Supreme Court. “It will be important at some point for the Supreme Court to find the definition to be constitutional or legal. As long as its not legal or until Congress passed a clearer definition, we’ll always have a change from administration to administration on philosophy,” says Cramer. “If the Supreme Court makes a final decision this definition is constitutional and meets the definition of navigable water under the Clean Water Act, then it would be difficult to challenge in the future.” Cramer says portions of the rule’s text could be stronger. Other than that, he doesn’t know how the Environmental Protection Agency could have done better with the new definition.
A Cat-and-Mouse Game with China – Market analysts are still trying to understand the details of the new phase one trade agreement with China. Questions remain on the timing of purchases and quantities. According to Summit Commodities market analyst Tim Marsh, China can play hard ball. “I think we’re seeing China traders trying to wait out the market, seeing how far back it will drop before they jump back in and buy.” In the meantime, Marsh says any hint of China business will continue to catch the market’s attention. “I think China will buy U.S. corn and they very well may need U.S. ethanol, but it’s a cat-and-mouse game with them right now.”
Be Flexible in Adapting to China’s Supply Chain – Speaking on trade at the North Dakota Grain Dealers Association Convention, NDSU Extension crops economist and marketing specialist Frayne Olson said a signed phase one deal with China doesn’t mean the grain delivery system in place before the trade war started will continue. “Supply chains have already shifted. China has diversified their procurement strategies. It’s not just the U.S. and South America anymore. Russia is also in the mix,” explained Olson. “We have to recognize that and consider how we fit in the new system. You can think through and say this is how it will go, but there will be twists and turns in this we don’t expect. People also need to be as flexible as possible so we can learn what this new system looks like and adapt.” Listen to the interview.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – Volatility, fuel costs, coronavirus and copper; these topics and more can be found in this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets with Tommy Grisafi from Advance Trading.
When Will Phase Two Negotiations with China Begin? – Rumor has it the next round of trade negotiations with China will begin as soon as possible. However, according to Pro Farmer policy analyst Jim Wiesemeyer, most think the second phase won’t be completed until after the U.S. elections in November. “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there could be a 2A agreement. I think their going to piecemeal this because they saw the success of agriculture in phase one.” What impact will an election year have on the trade agreement process? Learn more in this RRFN interview with Wiesemeyer.
Trade Relationships are Vital – American Soybean Association President Bill Gordon has been attending as many state soybean association annual meetings as possible ahead of Commodity Classic. This past week, the Worthington, Minnesota farmer was in his home state for MN Ag Expo. “It’s great to come back home and see fellow farmers. These are the grassroots delegate sessions and resolutions we take all the way to Washington D.C.” Trade deals are a bright spot for the soybean industry. “When you look at the U.S. and China phase one deal, the biotech part hasn’t been talked about much and it is a positive,” said Gordon. “We need long-term trading with China. We don’t want them to buy a bunch of bushels and quit again. We need to get the relationship and demand built back up.”
An Important Week for USMCA – The Canadian Parliament reconvenes today and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the first priority is the ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. President Donald Trump will sign the bill implementing the trade deal on Wednesday.
Aggressive Timeline Suggested for EU Trade Deal – While in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, President Donald Trump said he’d like to finalize a trade deal with the European Union before the 2020 election. With numerous protectionist policies in Europe, Trump admitted it won’t be easy to get a deal with the EU.
Dry Bean Scene – Trade with the European Union remains a top priority for the dry bean industry. U.S. Dry Bean Council Executive Director Rebecca Bratter has more in the Dry Bean Scene, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
US-UK Trade Deal Possible – The United Kingdom will formally leave the European Union at the end of this week. That opens up the opportunity for a trade deal between the UK and the United States. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is scheduled to visit the U.S. next month.
Treasury Asked to Address Section 199A – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and Ranking Member Mike Conaway sent a joint letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking for restoration of the Section 199A tax provisions. The 2017 tax law included language that distorted the grain markets and hurt farmer-owned cooperatives. Changes were made in 2018, but Peterson and Conaway indicate the Treasury Department is moving forward with rules that conflict with the intent of Congress and the wording of the statute. In an interview with the Red River Farm Network, Peterson said he doesn’t think this will get fixed without changing the law. “With this pass-through stuff that they did that allows partnerships and corporations to take a fictitious 20 percent deduction that does not exist, that’s what screwed this up. You can’t fix this unless you fix that.”
Perdue is Alert to Weather Challenges in the Northern Plains – Trade, the Market Facilitation Program and disaster assistance were just a few of the topics Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue addressed at the Farm Bureau convention in Austin, Texas. Perdue was asked if farmers could navigate 2020 without a new Market Facilitation Program. “You remember the cry of we want trade, not aid,” said Perdue. “We’re hoping and expecting that trade (with China) to develop soon enough that a Market Facilitation Program will not be needed. It may be the summer or fall when we see the full benefit of that $40 to $50 billion.” Farmers in the Dakotas and Minnesota are preparing for a challenging spring, as soils are saturated and crops remain in fields. The Red River Farm Network asked Perdue if these weather challenges are on USDA’s radar. “I think we’ll be prepared,” replied Perdue. “Obviously Congress is well aware of the challenges. (AFBF) Vice President (Scott) VanderWal has talked to me about the freezing/flooding and what it takes to get the soil prepared. We’ll be looking at that as we go along.” Listen to more in this RRFN story and view the news conference with Perdue here.
Farm Bureau Sets 2020 Policy Priorities – Delegates to the 101st American Farm Bureau Federation convention finalized policy priorities for the year ahead. AFBF Vice President Scott VanderWal, who farms at Volga, South Dakota, says the decisions made by members address important issues facing the American farmer. “Our members are looking for economic opportunity to succeed. Trade continues to be a major focal point for us to provide a level playing field.” Voting delegates updated labor and immigration policies, emphasizing significant changes to the H-2A program. After a year-long process to review ways to modernize Federal Milk Marketing Orders, AFBF’s delegates also voted to support creation of a flexible, farmer- and industry-led milk management system. “The lack of profitability has been pretty severe and long standing for the dairy industry,” says VanderWal. Other key policy areas include conservation compliance, hemp, rural broadband and climate change research. Listen to the RRFN story.
RMA Issues Reminder About Top-Up Payments – Farmers who received a prevented planting top-up payment last fall must purchase federal crop insurance for the next two crop years. USDA’s Risk Management Agency is advising farmers to pay their premiums on time so they don’t become ineligible to buy crop insurance. Friday is the deadline to pay that crop insurance premium.
Rural Perspectives – The 2018 Farm Bill brought changes to crop insurance and other programs for farmers and ranchers. So, what does that mean when enrolling for the respective USDA programs in 2020? AgCountry Farm Credit Services Vice President of Insurance and Commodity Marketing Education Rob Fronning has those details in this episode of Rural Perspectives.
Court Rules on Small Refinery Waivers – A federal appeals court decision is demanding the Environmental Protection Agency revisit the small refinery waivers for three oil refineries in 2016. According to the court decision, the EPA went beyond its authority to grant these three specific exemptions. A coalition of agriculture and biofuel groups is behind the lawsuit that challenged the EPA waivers.
NBB Announces Big Target at Annual Conference – The National Biodiesel Board has an aggressive goal for biodiesel production. NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen says the industry currently produces three billion gallons of biodiesel each year. “Because of changing dynamics in carbon policy, we see a future that has the biomass-based diesel at six billion gallons in the next ten years.”
U.S. Ethanol Demand Stymied By Trade and Waivers – According to Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper, trade and small refinery waivers have stymied ethanol demand. “Our industry has grown accustomed to seeing consistent demand growth each year. We didn’t see that in 2019. That had to do with trade barriers and a reduction in export volumes. We also blended less ethanol domestically in the U.S. market because the EPA was mismanaging the Renewable Fuel Standard, letting some refiners avoid their obligation to blend ethanol.” Cooper says it’s been seven years since the EPA enforced ethanol volumes in the law. “We’ve seen the RFS volume eroded by the small refinery waivers for the last several years. In the previous administration, the Obama administration came up with waivers and reductions in volume.”
SDFB Focused on the 2020 Legislative Session – The South Dakota legislative session is underway. While South Dakota Farm Bureau members and staff are in Austin for the national convention, Executive Director Krystil Smit says the focus is still back home. The first week of session was full of organization and monitoring the posting of bills. “We will be keeping an eye on a pesticide feed bill and have been wanting to draw more attention to livestock zoning,” says Smit. “Hopefully we can continue to build a dialogue around building up livestock agriculture throughout the state.” Smit has more in this RRFN interview.
MN Corn Growers Pushing for E10 Policy – The Minnesota Corn Growers Association held their delegate and annual meeting on Thursday at MN Ag Expo. Delegates set policy priorities for 2020. Past President Brian Thalmann says the Better Fuels Initiative is a big push. “Minnesota has been a leader in so many ways. We were the first state that went to an E10 policy and we want Minnesota to be the first state to go to E15,” explains Thalmann. “We’ve been having discussions with the governor in the last year. I finally asked Governor Walz in the fall if we can do this. He said let’s do it. We’re looking forward to working with the governor and state lawmakers to make it happen.” Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper attended the meeting and praised Minnesota’s leadership in renewable fuels. “They’ve been at the forefront of developing the ethanol marketplace.”
Farmers are Trying to Stay Optimistic in 2020 – The philosophy behind AgCountry Farm Credit Services annual Marketing Day is providing farmers and ranchers with tools for success. “Generally this time of the year farmers are starting to get optimistic,” with spring around the corner,” says AgCountry FCS CEO Marc Knisely. “Obviously 2019 won’t just go away, but having these trade agreements getting inked in different phases is helping.” Hear the full interview with Knisely here.
Understand Costs – Expenses were up this past year for sugarbeet growers. Northland Farm Business Management instructor Josh Tjosaas says the difficult harvest influenced fuel and equipment repairs. Labor costs were also an issue. “We definitely had a bad harvest year up and down the (Red River) Valley so growers need to understand costs for land rent, seed, fertilizer and even the cost of joint ventures.” Tjosaas says beets look like a profitable crop for the year ahead, but costs must be managed. “This is a crop where farmers are probably spending between $900 and $1,300 an acre so it doesn’t much for things to change. A five or ten percent change can move things really quickly.” In addition to the farm business management instructor, Tjosaas encourages sugarbeet farmers to get input from their lenders and input suppliers as they prepare for the upcoming growing season.
Kohl: Young Farmers Have Tools for Success – Virginia Tech Professor Emeritus David Kohl says younger farmers are doing well in three areas: cost control, creating and executing marketing plans and knowing how to get money out of their capital assets. “While they have their challenges, they are adapting and repositioning given the environment we’re in.” Speaking at MN Ag Expo, Kohl says one of the big challenges in the current environment is the net farm income coming from the government. “We’re going to have to watch that. If it’s pulled out in the short-term, farms are going to struggle.”
Surprising Yields Create Market Skepticism – While there is a bit more optimism in the markets as of late, Clayton Pope Commodities consultant Clayton Pope thinks there is still a lot of skepticism. “It seems like it’s always harder and harder to buy a rally each year based on market fears of crop conditions. That’s because these crops keep on miraculously coming through and surprising everybody positively in terms of yield.” Pope goes on to say good yields make it hard for speculators to sell in to it. “That makes pricing opportunities pretty fleeting.” Hear more from Pope in this RRFN interview.
Forecast Calls for Increased Corn, Soybean Acres – IEG Vantage, which had been known as Informa Economics, is predicting U.S. corn planting will top 93 million acres this year. Soybean acres are forecast to be up more than 10 million acres from last year at 86.5 million. Informa is also forecasting a record Brazilian soybean crop, at 126 million metric tons.
Local Grain Cooperatives Prepare for Busy Spring – Corn harvest and spring planting will run close together for some North Dakota and Minnesota farmers. Local grain cooperatives are preparing to help make the transition. Maple River Grain and Agronomy assistant general manager Alex Richard says there’s still about 40 percent of corn still standing in the Casselton, North Dakota area. “If you drive by corn fields you can definitely see the big snow banks. Last week, farmers were doing some combining, but I think most producers are content at this time to wait another month or wait until early March.” In a typical year, that’s about the time farmers are gearing up for spring planting. “We hope to get a good spring to finish combining and get the 2020 crop in the ground. Elevators are preparing for the spring fertilizer run, building up stocks,” says Richard. “Not a lot of fertilizer was applied last year. It’s our goal to do as much as we can to help farmers make quick progress in the spring.”
Maximizing Your Farm – Fargo was one of the satellite locations for the Precision Planting Winter Conference. This is an event where agronomy, technology and equipment come together on one program. “A lot of us have done extensive planning as we go into the season and by some outside factors, we can still have failures; we want to manage those pitfalls to the best of our ability and get a good start for 2020,” said Matt Grove, northwest regional manager, Precision Planting. Minto, North Dakota farmer Steven Schuster utilizes the seed singulation and downforce technology was at the conference to learn more about nutrient management. “This is my favorite event of the year,” said Schuster. Premium Ag Solutions of Hitterdal, Minnesota sponsored RRFN’s live broadcasts from the Precision Planting event.
Build a Program Around the Most Important Weeds – University of Minnesota and NDSU Extension sugarbeet agronomist Tom Peters challenged attendees at the Wild World of Weeds, asking them if a weed control program should begin or end with a trait. “With resistant weeds and weeds in general, you have to know what your most important weeds are and build a program around the two most important weeds. That program may be only useful in one field on your farm,” said Peters. “Farmers don’t have to do the same thing on every field. In fact, farmers probably shouldn’t do the same thing on every field. Build your programs on the weeds that you have in the field.”
Herbicide Research a Focus at Wild World of Weeds – During the Wild World of Weeds workshop, North Dakota State University weed scientist Kirk Howatt answered questions on the latest weed control methods. In small grains and row crops, Howatt’s research is confirming antagonism between the broadleaf herbicides and the grass herbicides. “We see that in trying to control volunteer corn. It’s a larger plant, a little more difficult to control. Some of the herbicides we use for broadleaf weed control can reduce the activity of the grass herbicides,” explained Howatt. “We found in our research you needed to use the highest labeled rates of the grass herbicides in the Enlist or Xtend systems to overcome the antagonism of 2,4 – D or dicamba on the grass herbicide.”
The Change in Glyphosate-Resistant Weed Management – It’s been 20 years since the first glyphosate-resistant broadleaf weed was confirmed. University of Delaware Extension weed specialist Mark VanGessel documented the first case of resistant marestail. “We documented it and about the same time Tennessee started working with it.” Resistant marestail continues to expand across the country. “There are more than 25 states reporting resistant marestail. We are managing it differently now,” said VanGessel. “There are new technologies available including dicamba and 2, 4-D.” VanGessel was the keynote speaker at the Wild World of Weeds workshop.
Short Potato Planting Window Anticipated – NDSU Extension and University of Minnesota Extension potato agronomist Andy Robinson is expecting a compressed planting window for potatoes. Robinson says emergence will likely be faster because of the warmer soils with late planting. “Warmer soils mean quick emergence. A plant is like a big solar panel. The more light energy you can harvest, the more that can be produced for yield.”
Canola Minute – Clubroot management in one area of focus for the canola industry. Learn more from BASF assistant canola breeder Sean Harder in the Canola Minute, made possible by the Northern Canola Growers Association.
Seed Potato Supplies Could Be Short – Gonvick, Minnesota seed potato grower Peter Imle says certain varieties of seed potatoes could be in short supply in portions of the U.S. this year. “A lot of the certification agents from various states were at the Potato Expo and that was a chance to discuss what’s happening across the region.” Imle says it could take time to establish early generation varieties again. Karlstad, Minnesota seed potato grower Justin Dagen is optimistic for spring. “There may be some prevent plant consideration for crops. In the absence of a perfect spring, not all acres will get planted. We are hopeful for a real good spring to get everything done.”
Above Normal Spring Flood Risk in Red River Valley – According to the National Weather Service, the risk of spring flooding is above normal in the Red River Valley. The wet fall and near-to-above average snowfall increases flood risk. “Right off the get-go, we’re sitting with conditions charged for runoff. It’s a lot of wet overlaid with some pretty good snow pack,” said Greg Gust, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Grand Forks. “We have more snow and snow water than an average winter would produce. So far, there’s been more than 40 inches of snow in the southern part of the Red River Valley and up to 50 inches of snow in the northern part of the Red River Valley.” Gust also said from September 1 to now, the basin is four to eight inches above normal for precipitation and winter isn’t over yet. “Going into February, there’s not a lot of precipitation in the forecast. The February, March and into April outlooks are showing colder than normal temperatures and a return to slightly wetter than normal conditions. Usually we aren’t talking this serious about flooding until we get into late February, but it’s pretty substantial. Everyone can see all of that excess moisture carrying over from fall.”
Beet Stock Snapshot – According to Acres & Shares, there were no brokered American Crystal Sugar Company beet stock trades last week. For the 2019-20 trading season to date, there has been 30 trades totaling 1,320 shares for an average price of $2,960.61 per share.
Policy Wins Highlighted at MN Soybean Meeting – The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association held their annual meeting and delegate session ahead of the MN Ag Expo. MSGA President Jamie Beyer highlighted a few 2019 legislative wins for Minnesota’s farmers. “Finding ways to help with rural mental health and the Soy Innovation Campus are two big wins. We are always looking at water quality and pesticide regulations, too.” Minnesota First District Congressman Jim Hagedorn addressed the soybean meeting. “Agriculture has big wins in the trade front. We are pleased Congress passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. That’s really going to help our farmers. Half of our trade goes to Mexico and Canada,” said Hagedorn. “There are also challenges in agriculture like the Renewable Fuel Standard. We need the EPA to administer the RFS the way Congress intended.”
Walz Addresses MN Ag Expo Attendees – During the MN Ag Expo, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz praised agriculture for coming together and getting work done is spite of a difficult growing season. “In the political realm, there was lots of bipartisan cooperation from the early relief for the dairy barns that collapsed to the emergency contingency fund to some of the things we did for tax relief.” With the legislative session coming up, Governor Walz said Minnesota is in a good position. “The idea of de-stigmatizing mental health issues, understanding this is a normal reaction to stressful situations is important,” said Walz. “Being at the MN Ag Expo, you have peripheral issues that go with this from renewable energy to healthcare. These issues are critical to rural Minnesota.”
Starting Strong in 2020 – Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen says local agriculture had its challenges and successes in 2019. “Last year was one of the wettest on record, the lowest farm income in 23 years and trade was a challenge.” There are positives in the start of the new year. “In 2020, we have trade agreements signed and are hopeful for better weather.” The Minnesota Department of Agriculture wants to continue the positive by making the Rural Finance Authority a priority in the upcoming legislative session. “We need money. We’ll run out at some point and we’ll have a $50 million ask of the legislature to replenish the funds.”
ND Presidential Disaster Request Approved – President Donald Trump has approved North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum’s request for a presidential disaster declaration. An October snowstorm caused up to $9.7 million in damage to public infrastructure, according to preliminary assessments. The declaration covers 16 counties including Grand Forks, LaMoure, Stutsman and Walsh. This is the second presidential disaster declaration granted for the state for events in 2019. The other was granted in June 2019 in response to spring flooding. Read more.
New Loan Package for ND Ag Producers – The Bank of North Dakota is making another loan program to help farmers and ranchers hurt by rising costs and existing debt. The Ag Disaster Relief Program allows up to a 10-year amortization for chattel and up to a 25-year amortization for real estate. Both programs have a five-year balloon payment and the first year may be interest free. Farmers and ranchers can access the program by working with their local lender. The North Dakota Industrial Commission approved this new loan program.
ND Grain Dealers Review Grain Licensing Program – An interim agriculture and transportation committee is conducting a study to review all aspects of North Dakota’s grain licensing and inspection program. As of July 2019, the North Dakota Agriculture Department oversees the state program. “In moving the service to the North Dakota Ag Department, we needed legislation passed,” explained State Representative Dennis Johnson. “That’s part of the study, to see what is needed and how to move forward.” North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring reviewed proposed program changes with attendees at the North Dakota Grain Dealers Association convention. Some of the changes include annual license periods, a better inspection program and a potential bond fund. Ultimately, grain dealers want a fair and balanced program. Hear more of the story.
Acres Sought for Hemp Grain Production – With hemp farming, most of the attention has been on CBD production. Legacy Hemp is taking a different approach, focusing on hemp grain production. Legacy Hemp agronomist Bryan Parr says production will be contracted in the region. “For 2020, we’re looking for about 7,000-to-8,000 acres primarily in the Minnesota/North Dakota area.” With the current prices for corn, soybeans and wheat, Parr says farmers are looking to diversify. “There is a learning curve because it is a new crop, but the farmers would not have to retrofit or purchase new equipment for (hemp) grain production. We’re planting this crop with an air drill or grain drill and harvesting it with a combine.” Legacy Hemp hosted a meeting about hemp grain production on Wednesday in Grand Forks.
Latest COF Numbers Come In at 12 Million Head – The latest Cattle on Feed Report was mostly in-line with expectations. The USDA report says there are 12 million cattle on feed for slaughter as of January 1, a two percent increase from one year ago. That includes 7.3 million steers and 4.5 million heifers. Placements in feedlots during December were up three percent from 2019 and totaling more than 1.8 million head. Marketings of fed cattle were up five percent from the previous year at 1.83 million head. Disappearance totaled 67,000 head, 11 percent less than last year. View the January report here.
A Small Bump in U.S. Milk Output – Milk production in the 24 major dairy states totaled 17.4 billion pounds in December, up 0.9 percent from last year. In Minnesota, the size of the dairy herd declined 5,000 head and milk production is down 0.1 percent. South Dakota’s dairy herd grew by 5,000 head and the milk output increased nearly four percent.
Dairy Industry Responds to Starbucks Decision – To be more sustainable, the Starbucks coffee chain plans to offer more plant-based options. That includes a move away from dairy products. Starbucks claims the dairy industry is a major contributor to its carbon footprint. Dairy Management Inc. responded, saying dairy can be part of the sustainability story. Over the past ten years, DMI said the environmental impact from producing a gallon of milk involves more than 30 percent less water, 21 percent less land and a 20 percent smaller carbon footprint.
SD Corn Comments – The South Dakota Corn Grower will meet Friday, March 27 in Sioux Fall. Learn more about the rescheduled event in Corn Comments, a production of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council.
Red River Basin Drainage Conference Underway – The Red River Watershed Management Board is hosting the second annual Red River Basin Drainage Conference in Moorhead. The conference covers a variety of drainage issues for watershed districts and county leadership on the Minnesota side of the Red River Valley. Throughout the day, legal experts will update on case law and current regulatory issues on drainage law. “We have a speaker from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that will be covering the state permitting process and environmental review,” said Rob Sip, Executive Director of the Red River Watershed Management Board. “We will also discuss the national wetland inventory maps and how that information can be used in the permitting process.” Download the conference agenda.
USCHI Meeting This Week – The U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc. annual convention will be held later this week in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Red River Farm Network farm broadcaster Randy Koenen will be at this meeting to report on the 2020 crop outlook and the issues impacting custom harvesters. RRFN’s coverage is sponsored by USCHI and AgCountry Farm Credit Services.
Simplot Completes Acquistion – The J.R. Simplot Company has finalized its purchase of Pinnacle Agriculture. The combined Pinnacle and Simplot staff will operate as Simplot Grower Solutions and focus on the distribution of crop inputs and related services.
FBN Releases HedgeCommand – Farmers Business Network has launched a new grain marketing system that uses data science and economic analysis to generate personalized pricing recommendations. HedgeCommand pulls together cash sales, futures and options and crop insurance to offer a perspective on profitability and the risk of loss.
FMC Introduces New Herbicide for ’20 Growing Season – FMC has launched a new preplant and preemergence herbicide called Authority Edge. The EPA has approved registration for use in soybeans and sunflowers. Authority Edge controls a wide spectrum of weeds including waterhemp, Palmer amaranth, pigweed, kochia and foxtail. The new herbicide is effective against ALS, triazine, HPPD, glyphosate and PPO herbicide resistant weeds.
Provysol Can Help Manage Potato Disease – Potato growers are preparing for spring. BASF Technical Market Manager Steve Broscious says Provysol is a tool that can help manage diseases, like potato blight, efficiently. “It’s residual control allows producers to have flexibility,” says Broscious. “If they miss the application timing because of weather or equipment problems, we’ve got a little bit extra residual.” Read more about Provysol.
New Sugarbeet Root Maggot Control Labeled – Vive Crop Protection has issued a label recommendation for its Midac FC for control of sugarbeet root maggot. The EPA registered this product in 2019. Midac FC can be mixed with liquid fertilizer or water and applied in-furrow.
New Planter and Tillage Options From Kinze – Kinze Manufacturing has released new planter and tillage equipment. The ’05 Series’ planters were designed to reduce downtime and repairs while increasing performance. In addition, Kinze has introduced a new configuration for the 4705 planter that features tires in front of the toolbar with a front fold design. This model includes capacity for 600 gallons of liquid fertilizer. The new Mach Till configuration is designed for easy transport from field to field.
A New Tool for Weed Control in Potatoes – A weed control plan will be especially important this spring. According to BASF Technical Service Representative Curtis Rainbolt, Zidua SC herbicide can be applied as a pre-emergent for potatoes. Rainbolt says pigweeds have been challenging in the last few years. “The more tools you can use is helpful, so it’s great to have something new for potatoes. It brings very good control of pigweeds and nightshades, which are difficult weeds we have,” says Rainbolt. “From a chemical standpoint it is different. It is much less water soluble, so it has a better fit on sandier soils.”
Kemps to Shutdown Operations at Rochester Milk Plant – Kemps plans to discontinue operations at its Rochester, Minnesota milk processing plant in June. This announcement follows a decision by the owner of the plant, Associated Milk Producers Incorporated, to suspend operations and sell the facility. Kemps leases a portion of that plant.
Duvall and VanderWal Re-elected – Delegates re-elected American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall and Vice President Scott VanderWal for their third two-year term. VanderWal served as chair of the meeting on behalf of Duvall, who is grieving the loss of his wife, Bonnie.
Roberts Receives Honors – Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Farm Bureau Federation. The award honors those who have devoted their careers to serving American agriculture. The Kansas senator is not seeking re-election.
Schaefer Represents MN in Excellence in Ag Contest – Karin Schaefer of Howard Lake represented the Minnesota Farm Bureau in this year’s Excellence in Agriculture contest at the American Farm Bureau convention. Schaefer, who serves as the Minnesota Beef Council executive director, was challenged to identify three issues critical to agriculture. “My choices were antimicrobial stewardship, mutually beneficial trade and sustainability,” said Schaefer. “I supported these points by talking about my involvement with both Farm Bureau and the Beef Council and how I address those issues to better agriculture.” Schaefer says the opportunity allowed her to grow both personally and professionally. Listen to the full RRFN interview.
SD Couple Places in Top Ten of Excellence in Ag Competition – Nick and Bekah Ihnen of Tulare, South Dakota were among the top ten finalists in the Young Farmers and Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture contest at the national Farm Bureau convention. The competition is an opportunity for young agriculturalists to share their contributions and involvement in agriculture. Bekah’s efforts are focused on the disconnect between agriculture and consumers. “Even in rural areas of South Dakota, there are so many people that just do not know where their own food comes from,” she says. “We need to tell our story so they are not afraid of their food.” Nick works full time as a Pioneer field agronomist in South Dakota. With this career, he sees the challenges young farmers and ranchers face every day. “It can be challenging to get started as a young producer. There are so many tools out there they can grasp on to.” Hear more from the Ihnen’s in this RRFN interview.
Farm Bureau Women Raise Money for Ronald McDonald House – In celebration of 100 years of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a large donation was made to Ronald McDonald House charities. The effort was launched during the 2019 AFBF convention, and state Women’s Leadership Committees accepted the challenge. “The goal was $100,000,” says Cindy Foster, Women’s Leadership Team chair, South Dakota Farm Bureau. “In the end, we raised $237,863 nationwide.” Foster says the challenge extends beyond just raising money. “For years in South Dakota, Farm Bureau has donated to this charity by buying groceries once a year. There isn’t a location in western South Dakota, so we purchase meal trays for parents of the children in the Rapid City hospital. Last year, we purchased over $5,000 in goods for the cause.” Listen to the RRFN interview with Foster.
Promoting Agriculture Year Round – There are a variety of resources available to showcase agriculture in your community, classroom and more. “We are working on an online resource that anyone can use from any state, featuring ag games, presentation resources and more,” says AFBF Promotion & Education Committee member from North Dakota Heather Lang. Throughout the year, NDFB does book readings, classroom visits and “Operation Pizza” lessons. Lang says it is important to share about where food comes from. “Many people are generations removed from the farm, so its important to share the message of where our food is coming from.” Lang shares more in this RRFN interview.
Severance Dairy Receives Honors – Severance Dairy Farm of Dickey received the Dairy Excellence Award during the 2020 North Dakota Dairy Convention. The Severances milk 60 Jersey cows, as well as run a seed and agronomy business, and have been a Grade A dairy farm since their start in 2016.
Dosch Honored by NDAREC – The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives has presented Vern Dosch with its Helping Hand Award. Dosch is the president and CEO of the National Information Solutions Cooperative and helped create software solutions for electric cooperatives.
True North Equipment Announces Change to Team Structure – Dan Gorder is now the chairman of the board and John Oncken is chief executive officer for True North Equipment. for the company. Gorder and Oncken are long-time partners in the business. True North Equipment has eight John Deere locations in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.
Held Retires – South Dakota State University Extension sheep specialist Jeffrey Held has retired. Held taught sheep and wool production courses at SDSU and supervised the SDSU Sheep Research and Teaching Unit. Held has been with SDSU for more than 30 years.
AgriGrowth Board Elects New Executive Committee – Rod Hebrink, who is president/CEO with Compeer Financial Services, has been elected chair of the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council. Hebrink succeeds Pat Lunemann of Twin Eagle Dairy. Tom Wegner of Land O’Lakes was elected vice chair. Jake Hamlin of CHS is secretary and Sheryl Meshke of Associated Milk Producers Inc. is treasurer. Red River Farm Network President Don Wick is a member of the AgriGrowth board of directors.
Last Week’s Trivia- The Recording Academy celebrates music achievement with the Grammy awards. Brian Rydlund of CHS Hedging takes home our trivia honors for this past week. Dean Nelson of Kelley Bean Company, Kevin Praska of Stone’s Mobile Radio, retired controller Evonne Wold and Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad earn runner-up honors. Recognition also goes out to Norm Groot of Monterey County Farm Bureau, Ron Dvergsten of Northland Farm Business Management, Phyllis Nystrom of CHS Hedging, Mohall farmer Gene Glessing and Jim Altringer of Dakota Plains Ag.
This Week’s Trivia- What American fast food restaurant chain has an item on its menu called the Blizzard? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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FarmNetNews is a production of the Red River Farm Network. RRFN is based in Grand Forks, North Dakota and provides news to farmers and ranchers across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.