A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
On the Go-The Red River Farm Network is ‘Reporting Agriculture’s Business’ from Washington, D.C. to start this week. We’re at the American Sugarbeet Growers Association Annual Meeting and will also spend time on Capitol Hill with key lawmakers. Later this week, RRFN will be flying to New Orleans for the Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show. The RRFN microphone was at the Northern Pulse Growers Association annual meeting, KMOT Ag Show, AgCountry Farm Credit Services AgFocus Conference and Minnesota Farm Bureau LEAP Conference this past week. As you can see in this edition of FarmNetNews, we’ve also been busy monitoring the action in Bismarck, St. Paul and Pierre.
Agriculture Needs More in the Next Farm Bill – Commodity prices are strong, but the margins are being squeezed by high input costs. Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association Executive Harrison Weber says that means agriculture will need more in the next farm bill. “It might be strengthening the farm safety net with crop insurance, it might be other tweaks on how certain programs are administered, but I think agriculture as a whole will be going to Congress and asking for more.” To be successful with the next farm bill, the sugarbeet industry needs to build coalitions. “We only have 1.1 million acres of sugarbeets across the United States and our growers are also raising corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and more so we want to continue our strong relationships with those commodity groups.” Commodity groups not represented in the Red River Valley, such as cotton and rice, are also allies in the farm bill process. Listen to the RRFN interview.
Farm Bill = Food Security – American Sugarbeet Growers Association Executive Vice President Luther Markwart believes food security will be at the heart of the this year’s farm bill deliberation. “Given all of the difficulties we’ve seen in other industries during the pandemic with computer chips and baby formula, I think there is a sensitivity with our members that sugar is an essential and strategic ingredient and that makes the industry a strategic industry to the U.S. food system and you better take care of it.” A large portion of Congress has never been part of a farm bill debate “so it is a huge education process.” The entire RRFN interview with Markwart can be found online.
Beet Share Values – American Crystal Sugar Company beet stock values have softened in recent weeks. According to Acres & Shares broker Jayson Menke, 117 shares were brokered last week at an average price of slightly more than $4,500 per share. “It’s been about three months (late October) since shares traded at $4,500 per share,” Menke said.
Fighting Overregulation – American Sugarbeet Growers Association Vice President Neil Rockstad cites the litigation coming out of the Ninth Circuit that have negatively impacted the use of certain crop protection products. The EPA responds with a ‘sue and settle’ strategy that takes tools away from agriculture. Without a competitive product on the market, Rockstad says it just amplifies the expense for farmers and consumers. “We have a good example in Europe who has made bold and major moves to ban what we would deem safe products and industries have nearly failed in one growing season without an alternative.” In addition to serving as vice president of the ASGA, Rockstad is president of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association and farms at Ada, Minnesota. Listen to the interview.
Burgum, Goehring Lead Off HB 1371 Testimony – North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum kicked off testimony Friday for a bill designed to expand animal agriculture in the state. Burgum downplayed questions about the siting of livestock operations and zoning. “As North Dakotans, I can’t believe that Minnesotans, Iowans, Nebraskans and South Dakotans can figure it out and we can’t.” Burgum advocated for the expansion of livestock and poultry operations during his State of the State Address and continued on that theme during his testimony before the House Agriculture Committee. HB 1371 would add exemptions to the state century code for dairy, cattle finishing, swine and poultry facilities that would lease or own less than 160 acres. “Our office has worked with producers over the last several years, especially, grain farmers, to support animal agriculture,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “One thing that continues to be an issue is the business structure issues that are in place.”
NDFU Testifies in Opposition to Corporate Farming Law Change – North Dakota Farmers Union is opposed to House Bill 1371. “This bill would allow meatpackers such as Smithfield’s, a Chinese company, and a JBS, a Brazillian company, to own cattle feedlots and hog barns,” said Mark Watne, president, NDFU. “These same companies own 80 some percent of the beef slaughter and have been signaled out for price-fixing issues.” Watne said consumers are looking for a connection to family farms and not corporate entities. “I would love to see us spend the time, do a study and find out how we can own most of it and profit from every level of the food dollar instead of just giving it away in a commodity type system.”
North Dakota Legislative Report – With the expansion of the soybean crush business, an agriculture coalition was created a year ago to help grow animal agriculture in the state. In this week’s North Dakota Legislative Report, comments from Thursday’s House Agriculture Committee are featured. HB 1437 would establish a grant program to help local units of government in the livestock planning and zoning process. Listen to the update.
Fertilizer Bill Heard in Bismarck – House Bill 1369 would transfer $500 million from North Dakota’s Strategic Investment and Improvements Fund to the Fertilizer Development Fund. The goal is for the state to incentivize a plant to convert natural gas to nitrogen fertilizer. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring testified in favor of the bill in the House Appropriations Committee. “The resources to manufacture fertilizer are abundant, they’re reliable, and they’re cheap,” explained Goehring. “Between 2000 and 2021, the price of nitrogen fertilizer increased 400 percent; additionally, it’s estimated that anhydrous production will need to increase by 40 percent by 2050 just to feed the world’s demands. Agriculture and the public gain the biggest benefits from projects that this Legislature or this bill could support.”
More Study Recommended for Grain Bin Sales Tax Exemption – A bill proposing a sales tax exemption for the sale of grain bins in North Dakota is being referred to the Legislative Management Committee for further study. HB 1370 was heard in the House Finance and Taxation Committee. “We’ve had a huge increase in announced projects dealing with soybean crushing and corn wet milling,” said Representative Jared Hagert, who introduced the bill. “These projects obviously don’t store all of what they need for the year and there is a need to incentivize construction of on-farm storage to take care of the influx of product that remains in state.” Representatives of seven different agriculture groups testified in favor of this bill and there was no testimony in opposition.
An Exemption for Ag Property – North Dakota Senate Bill 2279 would allow for an agriculture exemption on commercial classified property. Crystal farmer Loren Estad testified in favor of the bill, explaining how the property taxes increased after the rezoning of his potato storage warehouse. “I’m doing nothing different than a grain farmer does; harvest the crop, put it in a truck, haul it to the bin site. In 2017, the land became commercial and it resulted in my taxes going from $300 on that parcel to $32,000.” This bill would allow for storage of specific agriculture products by the owner of the warehouse or direct relatives of the owner. Bill Wocken testified on behalf of the North Dakota League of Cities in opposition to 2279. “Each exemption only increases the tax burden for the properties that are not exempt.” The Senate Agriculture and Veterans Affairs Committee tabled the bill.
HB 1436 Seeks Changes in ND Beef Checkoff – Two bills dealing with the makeup of the North Dakota Beef Commission dominated the House Agriculture Committee schedule Thursday. Sioux County rancher Frank Tomec testified in favor of a bill that would open up the state beef checkoff program to elections. “House Bill 1436 creates a better avenue for cattle producers statewide to voice their opinion, concerns, and even ideas to their local representatives (and) it will better align all commodity groups in the state by making all commodities elected.” The governor currently appoints members to the North Dakota Beef Commission. Gackle farmer and rancher Warren Zenker likes the current system. “We heard from the proponents that the (North Dakota) Beef Commission is doing a good job, we heard it how many times. Why do we to fix something that’s not broke? I’m not understanding that.” The committee did not take action on either bill. A committee was created to clear up procedural issues with House Bill 1436, which was introduced by Representative Mike Beltz of Hillsboro.
Beef Commission Structure Debated – North Dakota Stockmen’s Association President Jason Leiseth says House Bill 1275 reconfigures parts of the state beef checkoff system to increase awareness and transparency. “It relates to the appointment process and how we get that notification out for the open positions.” Another bill, 1436 also relates to the creation of beef commission districts. Leiseth says there’s too many open questions with HB 1436. “Currently, the process is an appointed process and this bill would change it to a nominated process. My fear with this is that we would lose representation of groups of people like the dairy and feeder industry.” Sam Wagner represented the Dakota Resource Council, testifying in opposition to HB 1275. “We still believe that direct democracy is better than the appointment of individuals from an elected official. The way the current system is set up will only keep working toward the status quo and real performance needed in the (North Dakota) Beef Commission.”
Corn Conflict – Differences between the policy and promotion sides of the North Dakota corn industry were on display in the House Agriculture Committee hearing Friday morning. A bill has been introduced calling for the North Dakota Corn Growers Association to receive 50 percent of corn checkoff funding for policy development and corn grower education. Andrew Mauch leads the grower group and said the organization is at a crossroads. “In Farm Bill years like this, a lot of this stuff is changing very fast and we need to respond and adequately educate legislators or the growers of our great state,” said Mauch. “That is everchanging and (it would be helpful) having the structure to know the funds are there.” North Dakota Corn Council Executive Director Jean Henning testified in opposition to this proposal. “I am concerned with the fact that half of the checkoff would continue to be subject to extensive financial controls, as it should be, but the other half will be free to be spent at the association’s discretion without the same financial controls.” Henning reminded lawmakers about a decision by the Attorney General’s Office and the Legislature in 2017 to provide financial separation between the NDCGA and the NDCUC.
A Possible Status Change for Soybean Checkoff Council – North Dakota Soybean Growers Association Legislative Liaison Phil Murphy says a bill going through the North Dakota Legislature would eliminate the North Dakota Soybean Council’s role as a state entity. Murphy says if passed, this bill would allow more financial freedom with checkoff dollars. “It wouldn’t burden the state anymore. Since NDSC doesn’t utilize taxpayer funds, they shouldn’t have to obey state auditing rules.”
North Dakota Bill to Redefine Dairy – North Dakota State Representative Dawson Holle has introduced legislation to update the state century code’s definition of milk. Currently, milk is defined as coming from a cow, but Holle says it’s important to include other mammals as well. “Goat farmers weren’t being included, and I wanted to update the definition to current national standards.” Plant-based beverages are currently not considered milk in the state code. Holle has also introduced House Bill 1515 that would allow the sale of raw milk in North Dakota mirroring South Dakota legislation. That bill has not yet been scheduled for committee hearing.
Difficult Decisions for NDSU Ag College – Due to budget concerns, North Dakota State University is scaling down from seven academic colleges to five. NDSU Vice President of Agricultural Affairs Greg Lardy says the merger plan has little impact the College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources. One change is the elimination of the ag systems management major. “Unfortunately, as we looked at enrollment and needing to make some changes here, we decided to phase it out over time,” said Lardy. “Enrollment in that major has declined substantially over the last several years.” Over the last six years, enrollment in the agriculture college declined from 1,600 students to 1,000. Three departments within the ag college are being affected by the budget cuts; plant sciences, agribusiness and applied economics. “With this budget cut, we’re making some decisions that are very painful and will affect a number of faculty and staff but we need to get our teaching resources in line with enrollment.”
MDA Budget Addresses Ag Needs – The governor’s budget includes an additional $117 million over the next four years for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This proposal includes $4 million for a soil health financial assistance program and $4 million in revolving loans to improve water quality. Deputy Commissioner Andrea Vaubel said additional dollars are being sought to address agricultural emergencies, like High-Path Avian Influenza or African Swine Fever. “Luckily, we’ve been able to get funds appropriated quickly from the Legislature in the past for response activities, but we want to ensure we have ample funding in case we are not in session and have to respond quickly.” The governor’s budget also calls for $3 million to build out the infrastructure for higher blends of biofuels and $300,000 to hire a climate coordinator.
Putnam Appreciates Walz Budget Plan for Agriculture – Minnesota lawmakers are scrutinizing all aspects of the governor’s budget proposal. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Aric Putnam like what he is seeing in the agriculture budget. “One of the things I’ve heard from a lot of farmers in the budget is some resources for a grain indemnity fund. There’s also lots of resources for different elements of the economy, like biofuels and resources for research to help us fix some of the problems we’ve got.” Putnam would like to see additional funding for beginning and emerging farmers. However, the St. Cloud lawmaker said decisions can be more difficult when there is a budget surplus. “Someone once told me it’s a lot harder to be in the majority because you’re fighting with your friends, it’s not like you’re not fighting anymore, you’re just fighting with your friends.”
MFU Minute – Minnesota Farmers Union Government Director Stu Lourey is happy with Governor Walz’s budget. Hear more in this week’s MFU Minute.
Fertilizer Fee Increase Proposed – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is seeking an increase in the fertilizer tonnage fee to fund inspections, permitting and nitrogen point source evaluations. The fee would increase from 39 cents per ton to 64 cents. State Representative Bobbie Harder questioned that move. “It can be a struggle to be a farmer with the uncertain times and the increase of costs,” was the comment from the Henderson lawmaker and farmer. “This is just one more burden that you’re going to be adding onto farmers.”
Carbon-Free by 2040 – With a party-line vote, the Minnesota House voted for the state to generate electricity from 100 percent carbon-free sources by 2040. Majority Leader Jamie Long said climate change needs to be addressed. “We also know that it’s having more serious impacts like the severe rain events that we are seeing with increasing frequency on our farms, in our communities and infrastructure.” Representative Chris Swedzinski is the ranking member on the House Climate and Energy Committee and is opposed to this legislation. “Will electricity be cheaper in the future because of this bill? Absolutely not. Will be more available when it comes to reliability? Absolutely not,” said Swedzinski. “That is because the technology doesn’t exist.” There was a motion to allow rural electric cooperatives to modify or opt out of this directive, but that was voted down. The Senate is expected to pass the bill in the week ahead and send it on to the governor’s desk.
Petersen Receives Unanimous Vote from Senate Ag Committee – The Minnesota Senate Agriculture Committee voted unanimously to recommend the confirmation of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen for a second term. The committee received letters of support from several farm groups including Farm Bureau, Farmers Union and commodity organizations. Testifying before the committee, Petersen said he plans to work on land preservation, farm transfers, dairy and climate policy during his next four years as commissioner. The confirmation process now moves to the full Senate.
MCGA Focuses on Educating Legislative Leaders – Minnesota Corn Growers Association President Richard Syverson says educating new legislators is a top priority. “We’ve had a lot of work to do just with education. Minnesota House Agriculture Committee Chair Samantha Vang and Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Aric Putnam don’t have a deep knowledge of real ag issues.” Land use, farm drainage and the availability of crop protection tools are other priorities.
Corn Matters – Minnesota Corn released their legislative priorities. Hear more from MCGA President Richard Syverson in the latest Corn Matters, presented by Minnesota Corn.
MMPA Release Priorities for 2023 – The Minnesota Milk Producers Association has released its policy and fiscal priorities for the upcoming year. Executive Director Lucas Sjostrom says there is overlap with many issues with soil health practices like alfalfa, conservation, and manure management at the top of the list. Sjostrom says the Dairy Assistance, Investment, and Relief Initiative was wildly successful last year and reminds dairy producers to sign up if they’re eligible. “Over 88 percent of dairy farmers signed up for the DAIRI program, so it essentially paid for itself the first year.”
SD House Ag Committee Passes Ag Nuisance Bill – South Dakota House Bill 1090 would modify protections for agricultural operations from nuisance claims. House Agriculture Committee Chair Roger Chase says farmers need to have protection against these kinds of complaints. “Agriculture smells, it stinks and has dust. We complain sometimes on our own operations about those things, but we need to protect producers so they can do what they need to do to get things done.”
SD Corn Comments – In this week’s edition of South Dakota Corn Comments, South Dakota Corn Executive Director DaNita Murray answers questions about the Farm Bill process.
SDCGA Farm Bill Priorities – The South Dakota Corn Growers Association have set their goals and priorities for the new farm bill. SDCGA President Scott Stahl says they are looking to modernize and make more relevant Title I of the new farm bill. “We want to strengthen the reference price and loan rate for corn and to take a look at base acres for corn as the Cornbelt moves farther west.” SDCGA also plan to keep crop insurance a priority.
ERP Round II Concerns – Round II of the Emergency Relief Program has been announced, but the plan for determining qualification will be much different. Rather than payments based on crop insurance data, total farm income will be the determining factor. Combest Sell and Associates principal Tom Sell says this is a different process. “A lot of people agree that Phase One turned out very smooth. What was announced for ERP Phase II was completely different. You would have to have a 30 percent loss on your Schedule F and there’s a lot of issues with that.” Sell encourages producers to reach out to elected officials to voice your concerns.
ERP Phase 2 Coverage Differs From First Round – The Emergency Relief Program Phase Two covers shallow losses not accounted for under Phase One. North Dakota Farm Service Agency Executive Director Marcy Svenningsen says farmers should note that the second phase is being based off of revenue and not loss. Signup began January 23 and runs through June 2, 2023. “It’s kind of a shift from previous disaster programs in that we typically look at a single disaster or targeted commodity. This time, we’re looking at a revenue-based program”. Svenningsen doesn’t expect farmers to receive the same coverage as Phase One, because the first phase was so successful in North Dakota. North Dakota received almost $1.1 billion, making it the highest recipient of ERP Phase One payments in the nation.
AURI Update – Join the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute for their new Ag Innovation News Podcast which features ag leaders and innovators. Learn more in this AURI Update with Director of Government and Industry Relations Dan Skogen.
Tax Fairness Act Introduced – Four Democratic members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, including Minnesota Senator Tina Smith, have introduced a bill to remove the tax liability for distressed farm borrowers that are at financial risk. The proposal also addresses financial assistance for black farmers and others who have faced discrimination through USDA farm lending programs.
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 remains optimistic about the soybean market, especially, in light of recent Argentine rains. The value of the U.S. dollar is seeing retracement and that is influencing crude oil and other outside markets.
Highlighting Geopolitical Change – At the Northern Pulse Growers Association’s annual conference, Cognitive Investments Director of Geopolitical Analysis Jacob Shapiro said wealth inequality is driving change globally. In recent decades, the U.S. dominated foreign policy, but a new international order is taking shape. “In a five-year time horizon, I think we’re in a true multipolar world where we can’t call the shots and there are a lot of different rivals out there from a geopolitical perspective. Every single one of those rivals is going to have a difficult next six-to-12 months.” Shapiro said the U.S. cannot afford to have amnesia and forget the multipolarity seen over the last three years.
Food Security Crisis – Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited Africa, where she said urgent action is needed to improve long-term food security. This has been a common theme for the former Fed chair. Yellen said the war in Ukraine has worsened the food security threat from climate change.
Providing Oversight for Foreign Investment in U.S. Agriculture – A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to strengthen agriculture’s role on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. This is the government entity that oversees the foreign investment and acquisition of American companies. This issue has gained attention with the proposed Fufeng corn wet milling project in Grand Forks. North Dakota Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer are cosponsoring this bill.
Register for NCI’s Next Market Update: Special Edition Webinar – The Northern Crops Institute is hosting another Market Update: Special Edition webinar on Wednesday at 8 AM. This month will feature Antonina Broyaka, Extension Associate of Agricultural Economics Department at Kansas State University. Brovaka will present on ‘Where Grain Markets Stand: Ukrainian and Global Production, Supply and Demand.’ This webinar series focuses on providing new market insights on commodities and trading to those across the globe. Register for the webinar online.
Climatic Changes Benefit Northern Growers – Speaking at the AgCountry Farm Credit Services AgFocus Conference, Nutrien Ag Solutions Atmospheric Scientist Eric Snodgrass said northern states have seen an increase in the length of its frost-free season. That allows regional farmers to be more aggressive with early planting. “Overall, since 1980, we’re up on average about three inches (per year) with a lot of it’s coming from big one-off events, but there’s more water over that whole time period,” said Snodgrass. “You could say that our weather systems could be profiled by the conditions we may get in central and southern Minnesota or parts of southeastern South Dakota or even western Iowa. That kind of change is overall a net benefit to growing crops in this area.”
Canola Acreage Increase Will Come From Non-Traditional Areas – There are estimates North Dakota could see canola acres approach 2 million acres this year. Pioneer Field Agronomist Kristie Sundeen says that is a possibility, but the growth would have to come from the non-traditional canola areas. “In the traditional canola areas, guys are widening out the rotation,” Sundeen told RRFN. “Anything that was running in a tight rotation this last year didn’t do as well as they were expecting and had some lodging issues and standability issues. So soybeans are actually up in those geographies and canola’s down a little bit.” Pioneer was part of the KMOT Ag Expo trade show lineup.
Optimism for Canola – The KMOT Ag Expo took place in Minot this week. The Red River Farm Network caught up with Northern Canola Growers Association Executive Director Barry Coleman. Coleman said 2022 was a record crop with a record yield. “I’m hearing from a lot of people that for 2023, canola acres are going to be up from last year. For North Dakota, I think we’ll be in that 1.8-2-million-acre range”. According to Coleman, the oilseed market in the U.S. is growing at a fantastic rate.
Wireworm Worries – Establishing a good stand is critical for final yields. BASF Regional Seed Treatment Account Manager Carrie Pederson says controlling wireworms in small grains is essential. “As soon as that root germinates, it attracts wireworms that start feeding and will kill that crop. A lot of products on the market just make that wireworm tired without actually killing them, so the population is still there.” Pederson says Teraxxa uses a different mode of action on wireworms by interrupting their nervous system and terminating the pest.
Wary of Spring Weather – Northarvest Bean Growers Association President Eric Samuelson is worried a dry spring could start the crop off on a bad foot. “Weather is always a challenge, so I’m a little leery going into spring with the lack of rain we had last summer.” The market price for dry beans is steady, but expenses are narrowing margins. Samuelson says there’s interest in growing dry beans, but it still has to be economical for the farmers.
Dry Bean Scene – Northarvest’s Bean Day took place January 20, 2023 in Fargo, ND. Northarvest Bean Growers Association Executive Director Mitch Brazier recaps the event. The Dry Bean Scene is sponsored by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
Droplet Size is the Missing Piece of the Puzzle – NDSU Extension Plant Pathologist Michael Wunsch says irrigated fields had the most problems with white mold last year. “In my geography, a lot of the dryland producers didn’t seem to have that many problems, but the irrigated producers had a bad year.” The temperature swings that led to 70-degree weather mid-summer boosted white mold growth. When it comes to managing white mold, droplet size is key. “Fine droplets give tremendous coverage on the top of the canopy, but dense droplet size helps penetrate the canopy when there’s more coverage.”
Seed Genetics Continue to Improve – Proseed General Manager David Blue says there are options for the grower. “Whether you’re an Enlist guy or XtendFlex guy, we’ve definitely taken major strides in just one or two years and it’s definitely a change that has been fun to be a part of,” said Blue. “We used to think of it as frustrating, we’d fall in love with something and it’s gone, but now it’s become exciting as we’re constantly improving.” Blue said it is beneficial to have products that fit every acre. Proseed was part of the KMOT Ag Expo in Minot.
USDA Announces Assistance for Dairy Farmers – USDA announced additional assistance for dairy producers, including a second round of payments through the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program. The second round of payments will consist of nearly $100 million to close out the $350 million commitment under PMVAP. USDA will contact handlers with eligible producers to notify them of the opportunity to participate. Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Moffitt also announced a new program, the Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program, that targets small and medium sized organic dairy’s. ODMAP has been allocated up to $100 million in distribution payments.
Dairy Dollars – USDA is offering another round of assistance to dairy farmers. This includes a second round of payments through the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program. There’s nearly $100 million left from a $350 million commitment under this program. This will cover a level of production that was not eligible in the first round of payments. The National Milk Producers Federation praised USDA for resolving a gap in this relief effort.
Seeking Consensus on Federal Orders – If the International Dairy Foods Association and National Milk Producers Federation can not come to terms on Federal Milk Marketing Order reform in the next month, IDFA will submit its own proposal to USDA. The two groups have been meeting on dairy policy, but have not resolved all of their differences. IDFA represents dairy processors while NMPF represents dairy farmers and their cooperatives.
USDA Updates Milk Production Report – Milk production in the 24 major dairy states totaled 18.1 billion pounds in December. That’s up 0.9 percent from December of 2021. South Dakota milk output rose nearly nine percent with an increase of 16,000 head of dairy cows in the past year. In Minnesota, milk production declined 0.3 percent. The leading dairy states of Wisconsin and California saw milk production increase a fraction of one percent.
Dairy Markets Trend Lower – Class III milk prices have generally trended lower. Total Farm Marketing market analyst Naomi Blohm points to the overall milk supply. “The reality is that production has been slowly increasing for the last four-to-five months,” said Blohm. The dairy export scenario remains bright, but production is starting of overwhelm demand. “The (Class III milk) markets slid lower, below the $19 support area and now testing 18; we’ll see if we can hold at this level or not.”
Seeking More Competition – South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson has reintroduced two bills to increase competition in the cattle packing business. This proposal allows for the financing of cooperative stock for producer-owned processing facilities and establishes a grant program to assist with new construction or expansion planning and compliance.
Courts to Review Subtherapeutic Antibiotic Use for Livestock – Environmental and health groups have gone to the courts to ask the Food and Drug Administration reconsider rules that allow farmers and ranchers to administer subtherapeutic levels of antibiotics to livestock. The Natural Resource Defense Council, Public Citizen and other groups claim this practice is causing antibiotic resistance to increase for people.
Selling ‘Till the Cows Come Home – Herd liquidation hasn’t slowed down with the new year. Aberdeen Livestock owner Kevin Larson says the cull cows flowing through the sale barn are never-ending. “I’ve been around for 27 years, and I’ve never seen this many cows moving; just pot load after pot load. We’ve sold 500-900 cows every week since the beginning of January.” Larson says there was still demand left in the market for cull cows. With bull sale season almost here, old herd bulls are bringing good money too. “What really jumped was the bull market. They came in hot last week at $.96-$1.11 per pound.”
MN Beef Update – Join us in the latest Minnesota Beef Update to hear from the new Minnesota Beef Council Director of Industry Relations Jon Dilworth.
New Forage Association Formed – The newly formed Northern Plains Forage Association held its first meeting this past week at the Sioux Falls Farm Show. SDSU Extension Forage Field Specialist Sara Bauder said it s a partnership of forage growers and industry partners to promote sustainable and profitable forage production. “We’ve put together a board of ten people that consists of growers, industry personnel, and livestock producers.” Bauder says South Dakota is one of the top producing forage states in the nation and this group will help promote the industry.
The Red River Farm Network will be reporting from the Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show in New Orleans this week. RRFN’s coverage is sponsored by Zoetis, North Dakota Beef Commission, Minnesota Beef Council, AgCountry Farm Credit Services and North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.
No Resolution Seen on GMO Corn Dispute – Mexico’s proposed ban on biotech corn imports brought USDA Undersecretary Alexis Taylor and agricultural trade ambassador Doug McKalip to Mexico City for another round of negotiations. In a statement, the U.S. trade officials said the proposal is not based in science and would disrupt billions of dollars in trade. The United States will look all options, including formal steps to resolve this dispute through U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
GM Corn Debate Still Unanswered – With Mexico’s proposed ban on biotech corn imports, National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag says it would take years before corn growers could produce enough conventional corn to fill the gap. “Secretary Vilsack is in agreement that our GM-product is safe. Non-GMO means different tillage practices, bigger insect problems, co-mingling concerns, and possibly higher costs.”
Grain Logistics Improve, Challenges Remain – After poor performance in 2022, rail service is improving with increased grain carloads and train speeds. However, the USDA Grain Transportation Report says the number of unfilled grain cars is record high. Barge rates and freight rates have fallen in recent weeks and are below the levels seen one year ago.
MN Wheat Minute – The Best of the Best in Wheat and Soybean Research meetings are starting soon. Tune in to Minnesota Wheat CEO Charlie Vogel the latest MN Wheat Minute to find out more.
AI Collaboration – The United States and European Union will work together to develop artificial intelligence to improve agriculture, climate forecasting and other key parts of the economy. An agreement was signed Friday to accelerate AI technology.
Cold Weather Considerations – NDSU Extension Farm and Ranch Safety Coordinator Angie Johnson says when temperatures drop below zero, challenges can arise from machinery, especially hydraulic hoses. “This time of year, during our peak cold season, there’s challenges with our farm equipment that may not have enough time to warm up properly.” When conditions become too cold, hydraulic hoses can become stiff and brittle and lose their ability to bend causing cracks to form. If the hydraulic oil doesn’t warm up, it won’t flow as well and it can build up, leading to excess pressure put on weak points of the hose. Johnson recommends farmers allow their machinery to warm up properly and routinely check or oil leaks or worn hoses.
AgCountry to Deliver $83.5M in Cash Patronage – A major infusion of cash is going out to farmers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. AgCountry Farm Credit Services President and CEO Marc Knisely made the announcement at the cooperative’s AgFocus Conference. The board of directors has approved a cash patronage dividend of $83.5 million which equates to that one percent number that we’ve shared with stockholders over the years,” said Knisely. “It’s actually a sizeable increase from the payout last year which was $76 million and that just reflects the growth that we’ve had over the course of the year so really excited about that.”
Lawsuit Over Loyalty Programs – Syngenta and Corteva are in federal court, defending their customer loyalty programs. Ten state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission claim the two companies paid distributors to block competition from selling generic products. The Minnesota AG’s Office is included in this complaint. Syngenta and Corteva officials indicate their rebate and incentive programs are voluntary.
CNH Industrial Union Workers End Strike – Union workers at the CNH Industrial tractor plants in Racine, Wisconsin and Burlington, Iowa have agreed to a new contract. More than 1,000 union employees have been on strike for the last nine months. Labor Secretary Martin Walsh helped mediate the final deal.
Job Opportunities in Agriculture – The Red River Farm Network is connecting agricultural companies, organizations and farms with high quality job prospects. Click on the Job Opportunities in Agriculture tab on the RRFN website to see the latest listings. Minnesota’s AURI is looking for a business development director. R.D. Offutt Farms is seeking a team lead and has three agronomy internships available. Dakota Ingredients, Pioneer and others are among those listed at this time. If you want your job listed, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
New Products Showcased at IPPE – Amlan International was recognized as the Best of the Best in Live Production at the International Production and Processing Expo New Product Showcase. Phylox is a proprietary mineral technology than can be used to promote gut health in chickens and turkeys. Amlan Vice President Dr. Marc Hepfer says this natural product improves digestion in the bird. “When this material is included in animal feed rations, it’s like a conveyer belt in the sense that our mineral can bind these toxins,and they do not enter the bloodstream,” said Hepfer. “The toxins eventually get defecated out of the animal, thereby preventing the diseases associated with a lot of these toxins.” The IPPE in Atlanta is one of the largest trade shows in the country, attracting visitors from more than 100 countries. “There is exceptional attendance, a lot of excitement and a lot of vendors.”
Soil Fertility Minute – On this week’s Soil Fertility Minute, University of Minnestoa Small Grains Specialist Jochum Wiersma joins us to talk about spring wheat applications. The Soil Fertility Minute is sponsored by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council
Correction – In last week’s edition of FarmNetNews, there was a story about soybean reference prices with an inaccurate acreage number. The story should read 30 million acres of soybeans were grown last year that were not covered by ARC and PLC.
Bronaugh to Leave USDA – Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewell Bronaugh is leaving USDA. Bronaugh released a statement, saying she is stepping away from this role in the coming weeks to spend more time with her family. Bronaugh previously served as Virginia’s agriculture commissioner, as the Farm Service Agency state director and the Dean of the Virginia State University College of Agriculture.
Canola Minute – In this week’s Canola Minute, Northern Canola Growers Association Executive Director Barry Coleman discusses canola acres in the latest USDA crop report.
Johnson to Serve on Select Committee on China – South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson has been named to the Select Committee on China. Johnson has been critical of China’s purchase of U.S. farmland and its role in the supply chain headache.
Lahman Joins NDSU Center for 4-H Youth Development – Samantha Lahman has joined North Dakota State University as a 4-H animal science specialist in the Center for 4-H Youth Development. Most recently, Lahman was a regional Extension educator for the University of Minnesota. Lahman also spent time as the Pembina County Extension agent and was an adjunct professor with the University of Minnesota-Crookston.
TransFARMation: Chance Shares Recovery Story – On July 18, 2022, 15-year old Chance Jacobson was checking fences. While making a left turn off of the highway on his way home, Chance’s side-by-side was hit by a minivan. The ATV rolled, resulting in severe injuries. “I have a broken right femur: I have what is called internal degloving where the skin on my right leg was sheared from the muscle. On my left knee, I’m missing my miniscus and a little bone.” As a result, Chance spent nearly 40 days in the hospital and went through about a dozen surgeries. “At first, it was just about survival, but as time went on it became more about the mental part when I couldn’t go out and do things.” Chase’s dad, John Jacobson, is also featured in this TransFARMation podcast. Thanks to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture for its support of this project.
SD Native Joins Senate Ag Committee Staff – Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman has named Jackie Barber as the minority chief counsel. Previously, Barber was the chief counsel and deputy staff director for the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the chief counsel for the House Agriculture Committee. Barber is an Onida, South Dakota native.
LEAP Conference Honors – The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation recognized four leaders at its Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Promotion Conference. The Promotion and Education Committee presented the Advocate of the Year Award to Paula Mohr, who recently retired as the editor of The Farmer. Tiffany Kobberman was recognized for her work with the Ag in the Classroom program with the Golden Apple Award. Lender and farm management expert Kent Thiesse took home the Golden Pitchfork Award for his efforts helping young farmers and ranchers succeed throughout a 40-year career. The Outstanding Friend of the YF&R went to Robin Kinney, who is the membership and marketing director for the MFBF.
Last Week’s Trivia-‘Pig Pen’ is the Peanuts character that has his own personal cloud of dust. Stephen auctioneer Jason Rominski wins our weekly trivia challenge. Runner-up honors belong to Val Dolcini of Syngenta, Ramsey County farmer Paul Becker, Norm Groot of Monterey County Farm Bureau and Joan Hoovestol of North Dakota Beef Commission. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Kevin Praska of Stone’s Mobile Radio, Ron Claussen of Ag Media Research, Micheal Rose of Grand Forks, Erin Nash of National Association of Farm Broadcasting, Mike Trosen of Meadowland Farmers Cooperative, Phyllis Nystrom of CHS Hedging, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Clyde Tiffany of Pioneer, Jon Farris of BankWest, Kevin Schulz of The Farmer, Mark Mettler of PreferredOne, Richard Maatz, Ron Dvergsten of Northland Farm Business Management, Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed, Tammy Ternes and Nick Sinner of Northern Crops Institute.
This Week’s Trivia-In 1985, this soda company introduced a new recipe for its signature product. The original formulation returned less than three months later. What is this pop-ular brand? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|RRFN Upcoming Events|
|January 27 - February 4||Black Hills Stock Show - Rapid City, SD|
|January 27 - January 28||MN Farm Bureau LEAP Conference - Hinckley, MN|
|January 28||UM-Crookston Ag Arama - Crookston, MN|
|January 29||ND Gelbvieh Association Golden Rule Sale - Mandan, ND|
|January 29 - January 31||American Sugarbeet Growers Ass’n Annual Meeting - Washington DC|
|January 30||East Polk County Crop Improvement Association Annual Meeting - McIntosh, MN|
|January 31||Lake Traverse, Mud Lake Water Management Plan Public Mtg - Wheaton, MN|
|January 31 - February 2||ND Rural Water Systems Association Expo - Bismarck, ND|
|February 1||Agronomy on Ice - Devils Lake, ND|
|February 1||National Hard Spring Wheat Show - Williston, ND|
|February 1||Sugarbeet Grower Seminar - Fargo, ND|
|February 1||Lake Traverse, Mud Lake Water Management Plan Public Mtg - Wahpeton, ND|
|February 1 - February 3||Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show - New Orleans, LA|
|February 6||NDSU Extension Women in Ag – Leading. Linking. Learning. - Mandan, ND|
|February 7||UM 9th Annual Nitrogen Conference - Mankato, MN|
|February 7||Women in Ag Network Conference - Willmar, MN|
|February 7||Countryside Insurance Farm Meeting - Reynolds, ND|
|February 7||Sugarbeet Grower Seminar - Grand Forks, ND|
|February 7 - February 8||Advanced Crop Advisers Workshop - Fargo ND|
|February 8||Best of the Best in Wheat and Soybean Research - Grand Forks, ND|
|February 8||ND Livestock Alliance Livestock Summit - West Fargo, ND|
|February 9||Sugarbeet Grower Seminar - Grafton, ND|
|February 9||Best of the Best in Wheat and Soybean Research - Moorhead, MN|
|February 10||Beef Cattle Update - Aneta, ND|
|February 10 - February 11||NDSU Little International - Fargo, ND|
|February 14||Northern Corn and Soybean Expo|
|February 20 - February 21||AMPI Annual Meeting - Bloomington, MN|
|February 20 - February 22||MN Pork Congress - Mankato, MN|
|February 21||NPPGA Annual Meeting - Grand Forks, ND|
|February 21||NDFU Evolution Ag Summit - Jamestown, ND|
|Contact RRFN||Don Wick
|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|
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.