A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, June 08, 2020
On the Road – In this COVID-19 world, the road miles have been limited. That changed this past week as the Red River Farm Network joined Advance Trading Risk Management Advisor Tommy Grisafi for the ‘Boots on the Ground’ Crop Tour. Technology has kept us connected during the pandemic with Zoom, webinars and phone calls, which is great. However, it felt so good to be sitting at the kitchen table or standing out in a newly-planted field with our farmers. We’ve had a tough spring with weather challenges and more, but the attitudes seen on our trip was rewarding. RRFN serves the best farmers and ranchers in the world, and we enjoyed the chance to reconnect this past week!
Ninth Circuit Court Orders EPA to Ban Three Dicamba Herbicides – The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to terminate Bayer’s XtendiMax, BASF’s Engenia and Corteva Agriscience’s FeXapan herbicide registrations immediately. The court says EPA substantially understated risks that it acknowledged in dicamba use. The ruling applies to the current registration, which expires in December. The ruling does not apply to Syngenta’s Tavium herbicide. In response to the ruling, the EPA says they are reviewing the court decision and will move promptly to address the court order. Read the court filing.
Pesticide Program Specialist Responds to Dicamba Ruling – The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to appeal a recent court ruling on the use of dicamba herbicide. “Once the appeal is in place, it is likely the EPA and registrants will start marshaling their arguments and taking it to a higher court,” said Andrew Thostenson, pesticide program specialist, NDSU Extension. “I think it will be important for people to watch what the state departments of agriculture do on this for the next few days.” Thostenson noted one especially interesting thing from the ruling. “The EPA and registrants actually asked the court for some flexibility if the ruling went against them and the court said we hear you, but the potential damage to the environment is such that we must act. The court usually requires 60 days to respond. The EPA uses that time to file an appeal and work through the problems. This happened with chlorpyrifos, but that didn’t happen in this situation.” In the meantime, NDSU Extension is putting together guidelines on how to manage weeds without using dicamba, which should be available soon. “There aren’t a lot of good alternatives for farmers, especially if you haven’t been able to use a pre-herbicide and that herbicide hasn’t been properly activated. It’s a very tough situation farmers are facing right now.”
Exploring Additional Weed Management Options – Dicamba is likely not an option for 2020 weed control in North Dakota, which could present a challenge for farmers who already have Xtend soybeans seeded. “The court’s dicamba decision comes right after most farmers finished soybean planting. There will be broad issues and some unknowns,” said Adam Spelhaug, agronomy manager, Peterson Farms Seed. “There’s probably people who have dicamba products in their shed or at the dealership. What happens with that? We know that Bayer is going to be coming out with more details.” Spelhaug said many farmers will have to manage what they have already planted. There are options for weed management. “Glyphosate can still get 80 percent of weeds really well, but it’s taking care of resistant weeds that will be a challenge,” said Spelhaug. “In-season residuals are going to be really big to make sure we’re having long-season control. The Group 15 herbicides including Warrants and Duals will be top-of-mind. Then, the Flexstar, Cobra and Blazer herbicides to spray with Roundup will be some of our main options.” Hear the story.
Perdue: Producers Need Good Weed Management Tools – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue issued a statement regarding the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to vacate dicamba registrations. According to Perdue, producers need all the tools possible for their toolbox. Perdue also urged the EPA to use any available flexibilities to allow the continued use of already purchased dicamba products.
A Plan B for Managing Resistant Weeds – If the dicamba spray season is over, farmers will need to decide what to spray post-emergence for weed control on Xtend soybeans. NDSU Extension Weed Specialist Joe Ikley says there aren’t many options for farmers. “There’s a reason why Xtend soybeans were adopted on a lot of these acres, because of problematic weeds,” says Ikley. “Two weeds with limited options are kochia and marestail. With kochia, there are still some populations that glyphosate will work on. Another thing we have left is Flexstar, but the weed has to be small. There are also different parameters using Flexstar compared to dicamba.” Ikley explains why marestail control could also be tricky. “We’re still trying to figure out resistance profiles across North Dakota. It’s safe to assume glyphosate resistance. We do have populations where we can control things with FirstRate, but we do have resistance to that product as well. For weeds resistant to both products, there no effective postemergence options.” Check out the full list of non-dicamba weed control options.
ND Ag Department Stands By State Dicamba Registrations – The North Dakota Department of Agriculture will be moving forward with a 24c Special Local Needs label for Xtendimax, FeXapan and Engenia herbicides. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said while the court’s decision impacted federal registration of products, it made no mention of state registrations. North Dakota hasn’t received a formal notification revoking the three products. Until directed otherwise, Goehring said the state department will stand by state registrations, recognizing them as legal. Read the press release.
MN Ag Department Offers Guidance on Tavium Herbicide Use – With many dicamba registrations vacated for 2020, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture issued guidance for applying Syngenta’s Tavium. This dicamba herbicide is not banned, because it wasn’t part of the 2018 two-year registration for the other products. The herbicide cannot be applied after the V4 growth stage. Read more.
Crop Watch – Planting is nearing completion in the Northern Plains. Warren, Minnesota farmer Joe Pierce wrapped up on June 1. “It feels good to be done. Now, we’ll be spraying the crop,” says Pierce. “It was a long spring. We started planting May 7. The corn ground was a little tough, because we finished combining 1,200 acres in March. Now, everything looks good.” CHS Ag Services General Manager Ryan Anderson says seeding is more than 90 percent complete. “Corn acres are down at least 50 percent or greater, which is expected. We had a rough fall, a spring snowstorm and a nasty flood. We were one bad rainfall away from a train wreck, but it turned out okay. We will likely have very little prevent plant.” In the Warsaw, North Dakota area, Tony Gudajtes says it’s been a challenge to get the crop in. “We had to massage a few fields to make sure we could get the crop planted,” says Gudajtes. “It took one month to plant the crop and it usually doesn’t take that long. We could use a rain, but everything that’s in looks decent.” This week’s Crop Watch was also part of the 2020 Boots on the Ground tour. Listen to Crop Watch.
Little Fall Tillage Done, Limiting Options for ’20 – Mayville, North Dakota farmer Tim Garrett will see a significant number of acres in prevent plant. Garrett’s 2019 harvest ended in December, limiting any opportunity for fall tillage. Field conditions are tough. “It’s sealed up so bad and mush underneath. I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Garrett. “PP is not what I think of when I talk about farming. I do not like it; it just stays wet year after year and it never dries out.” Garrett estimates 50 percent of the crop acres in his area won’t be planted this year. Listen to the entire interview. #BOOTS20
Corn Residue is Holding in the Moisture – Last year’s corn ground is the big hurdle for farmers in the Devils Lake region. Some of that crop is still going through the combine. Pat Tronson of Tronson Grain at Doyan says it’s been a tough go for planting corn. “Acres are way down; I’d say 25 or 30 percent of last year’s corn ground got seeded max.” Prevent plant will be the only option for many growers. Tronson says area farmers will be happy if they can get 80 percent of their acres planted. “It’s not due to a lack of effort either; they’re trying to get to that corn ground, but it is so wet it is unbelievable.” Listen to the complete Boots on the Ground interview.
Prevent Plant a Reality for Some, Others Got Crop In Ok – The central and northern Red River Valley experienced a wet fall, delaying harvest and for some, spring planting. Prevent plant will be a reality for some farmers. However, Mayville, North Dakota farmer Brent Kohls got all of his corn harvested, which helped set the farm up well this spring. “We were able to get going early on planting. From April 28 to May 1, we got 1,300 acres planted. Of that, we planted 600 acres of soybeans early,” said Kohls. “Those soybeans are looking nice now. They sure look good.” Kohls said there are some who have struggled with the wet soils. The Mayville area will have a better idea of prevent plant this week.
Fewer Corn Acres Planted – Like many growers, Brian Engstrom, who farms at Leeds, North Dakota, made adjustments in his acreage plan. “Our corn planting went from seeding one-third of our farm to corn to planting corn on two-to-three percent of our farm. We switched to wheat and dry edible beans and we’ll have quite a few prevent plant acres.” The early wheat emergence is decent, especially with the sticky, wet conditions when it was seeded. The full interview can be found here.
Conditions Vary Across Bremen/New Rockford Area – In the Bremen/New Rockford, North Dakota area, Donny Allmarus says the planting season started slow, but progress was made this past week. “Corn is pretty much done. If they’re planting corn, they’re just planting early corn to finish out a field. There are guys done with soybeans and others who are just getting going. In this area, there’s a lot of pinto beans and the economics looks strong for pinto beans so guys are trying to get pinto beans in first and than they’ll go to soybeans.” Allmarus is also in the seed business. Unfortunately, about 40 percent of the seed corn was returned this spring. “That’s the most we’ve ever done since I’ve been doing this.”
Pioneer Agronomy Update – During this past week’s Pioneer Agronomy Update at Fisher, Minnesota, Pioneer Product Agronomist Zach Fore outlined the testing process for new hybrids. The IMPACT (Intensely Managed Product Advancement Characterization Testing) plot evaluates hybrids for traits like harvestable yields and standability, “This is one of 20 corn plots that I work with in northwest Minnesota and northeastern North Dakota that are north of I-94.” Learn more about the breeding process online.
Dealing With the Aftermath of a Wet Fall – The pace of this planting season is very dependent upon on the conditions last fall. Arthur Companies grain merchandiser Jenna Knutson recaps the harvest season in the Harvey, North Dakota area. “We saw 30 inches of snow in early October and after that, some areas saw up to eight-and-a-half inches of rain; it was a very wet fall.” Despite that, Knutson says there is little prevent plant in the immediate Harvey area. Marketing has been at a standstill. “Compared to previous years, we’re definitely behind on our forward selling just because the market has not helped us out with new crop.”
Super Wet – In south-central North Dakota at Braddock, Daniel Mock faced grueling conditions this spring. “It was super wet and none of our ground was fit to seed early on. A little later, the bean ground dried out faster and we were able to start on corn, but for soybean planting, the corn stalks are wet, wet, wet.” Prevent Plant is not unusual in the Prairie Pothole Region, but Mock will be seeing a higher-than-typical situation with 25 percent PP.
Year-Round Harvest – All eyes are on planting progress, but the 2019 harvest is also limping along. That’s the case at TMT Farms west of Jamestown. “We combined rye in July and literally every month since we’ve been combining something,” said Ryan Wanzek at Windsor. “We combined field edges (Thursday) so we could go out and seed it.” Wanzek says 900 of the farm’s intended 2,000 acres of wheat are seeded. Fifty percent of the intended corn acres and 65 percent of the soybeans are in the ground. The rest will likely be prevent plant. There have been issues beyond the difficult field conditions. “Road conditions were the biggest problem during corn planting. A lot of these roads, you couldn’t take a truck much less a planter or heavy tillage tool; the roads were just awful.” Listen to the complete interview.
More Sunflowers Going In – Solen, North Dakota farmer and rancher Kenny Schmidt typically grows wheat, corn and sunflowers. More acres this year have flipped from wheat to sunflowers. “Wheat is hard to make work anymore; it appears like there’s always some kind of discount and you almost need a longer ticket at the elevator to get all discounts on it.” Soybeans have been added to the acreage mix this year. What about prevent plant? “Not sure, we’re trying to put those last fields into sunflowers if we can. Those fields with all that cover on it takes a long time to dry out.” Here is the full interview.
Boots on the Ground – After traveling miles and miles across North Dakota and a small portion of northwest Minnesota, Advance Trading Risk Management Advisor Tommy Grisafi reflects on the current planting season. “The facts are short and sweet, if it was corn ground last year and wet when you took it out last year, it’s not going to be anything this year,” said Grisafi. There’s also ground that changed considerably in the past two weeks, which allowed farmers to plant. A year ago, farmers planted corn beyond the crop insurance planting deadline. Grisafi says that’s not the situation this year. “A year ago when we did the crop tour in the Midwest, corn was trading $4.40 a bushel and we’re currently trading $3.30 per bushel and than you have North Dakota basis. There is no motivation to slop in a crop to lose a bunch of money.”
Dry Bean Scene – This year’s planting conditions have been better for some farmers than others. Soils have remained wet in places, presenting their fair share of challenges. Hear more in the Dry Bean Scene, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association, Johnstown Bean Company and SRS Commodities.
The Backlog of Hogs Continues in MN – While pork packing plant capacity has increased in the last few weeks, Minnesota Pork Producers Association CEO David Preisler said it’s going to be difficult for the pork industry to move forward. Minnesota’s pork packing plants are running up to 80 percent capacity. “Unfortunately, if things stay at 80 percent for very long, we’ll still be backing pigs up and that’s problematic. We still have hogs that need to be euthanized, but we do think it will be less than we thought one month ago,” explained Preisler. “Animals are being held and then, some different channels of marketing happened.” More than 250,000 market weight hogs have been euthanized in Minnesota. Weaning hogs are also being euthanized, but this number is more difficult to track. Preisler said one thing that could help is to continue increasing packing plant capacity, but this won’t happen quickly. The backlog is expected continue for a few more months. “The great unknown producers have is if there will be any financial support to put pigs down. It’s really difficult for producers to make that decision, because that means you’ve made the decision to make zero revenue and to have the cost of euthanizing and properly disposing of a carcass. It adds insult to injury.” There are currently two hog disposal locations in the state and a third disposal location will open soon in Freeborn county. The state has funding available to create mobile trailers for euthanasia work. Preisler said the association is also asking state lawmakers to consider direct payments to farmers during the upcoming special session. On the federal level, the HEROES Act being considered could provide some assistance. “This would provide revenue to farms that would put pigs down, but it doesn’t pay full value for the pig. I don’t think anyone could expect that to happen,” said Preisler. “We are appreciative of the work being done, but this bill hasn’t been taken up in the Senate at this point.”
Addressing the MN Supply Chain Disruptions – Many meat packing plants in Minnesota are back up and running, but they are not at full capacity. Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen says there are still some disruptions in supply chain. “We continue to monitor disruptions, but the hogs are getting better. We are still depopulating turkeys and we are concerned about cattle backing up into the fall, because at some time they have to go back to the market,” says Petersen. “We are trying to build our capacity.” There is a goal to keep packing plants running as smooth as possible. To help with a backlog of livestock, the agriculture department is offering more grants for local processors and other options, too. “Some of the smaller plants are taking on more hogs and cattle. We still have that grant open and we just got more money for beef processing from the state legislature. We are trying to understand fill holes in the state,” says Petersen. “We are also considering grazing and haying options in the state. We’ll have to consider all options so we have enough forage to get through the year.”
MN Beef Update – There are a few things beef producers should keep in mind when signing up for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Learn more from the new Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association Executive Director Allison VanDerWal in the Minnesota Beef Update.
May Ag Economy Barometer Shows Slight Boost in Sentiment – The May Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer shows a modest uptick in farmer sentiment from April. Farmers are more optimistic about current conditions. Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture Director Jim Mintert says the slight optimism is spillover from the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. “Those payment amounts are going to be substantial and they’re going to be enough to make a difference. There could have also been other factors,” says Mintert. “Planting progress was better for U.S. farmers, for the most part, compared to last year.” Two-thirds of survey respondents say that another economic assistance bill is necessary to help farmers. Mintert isn’t too surprised with most of the survey findings, but one response did catch his attention. Eight of ten farmers say they are somewhat or very concerned about the future viability of the U.S. ethanol industry. “We didn’t know what we’d get on that question and I was pretty surprised,” says Mintert. “There’s more than one thing that’s driven this, but the COVID-19 pandemic exasperated the problem. The markets have improved recently, but it’s still problematic.” Check out the latest barometer readings.
President Trump Signs PPP Flexibility Act – President Trump signed the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act on Friday. The bill makes changes to the small business loan program, providing greater flexibility for loan forgiveness.
USDA Releases Sign-Up Stats from First Week of CFAP – In the first week of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program sign-up, the USDA Farm Service Agency said they received more than 86,000 applications. The USDA approved more than $545 million in payments to U.S. producers. Most of those payments went to livestock producers. In the Northern Plains, South Dakota has received the most program payments so far at more than $30.7 million for non-specialty crop, livestock and dairy farms. The FSA paid more than $11.7 million to Minnesota non-specialty crop, livestock and dairy farmers so far. Finally, for North Dakota, the FSA has paid out more than $2.4 million to non-specialty crop and livestock farmers. North Dakota has the fewest applications submitted so far in the region. The USDA will make up to $16 billion in payments in this program. The stats will be updated each week. Read the week one stats.
Senate to Consider More COVID-19 Aid – In May, the House approved their version of a phase four economic stimulus package called the HEROES Act. Later this month, the U.S. Senate will be putting together their plan. Combest, Sell and Associates managing partner Tom Sell says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to take things slow when crafting the legislation. “Farmers are staring down the barrel of another ugly year again. I think that question will be answered in this new COVID-19 relief package.” This bill may also address long term policy challenges. “The fact that we’ve had to do the MFP and the WHIP+ program shows the fact that our current farm bill in terms of safety net resources aren’t getting the job done.”
Northern Plains Senators Introduce Bipartisan Haying and Grazing Bill – South Dakota Senator John Thune and Minnesota Senator Tina Smith introduced a bill to allow emergency haying and grazing on the Conservation Reserve Program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, CRP haying and grazing is limited to weather-related disaster events. Companion legislation has also been introduced in the House by Minnesota Representative Angie Craig and Kansas Representative Roger Marshall.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – In this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets, Advance Trading Risk Management Advisor Tommy Grisafi outlines the key issues in the marketplace. Topics include $40 crude oil, gains on Wall Street and COVID-19.
China’s Recent Purchases of U.S. Soybeans Have Mixed Feedback – Last week’s soybean sales to unknown destinations and to China are good news for the soybean market. However, Global Commodity Analytics and Consulting President Mike Zuzolo said it’s not all good news. “Most of it, almost 75 percent, is for the brand new marketing year. With week 39 now passed in the 2019-2020 marketing year and us running nine percent behind last year’s pace, I don’t think it’s all good news.” Zuzolo said there are two reasons China is buying U.S. soybeans. “I think they are stockpiling and China is playing the game they always do,” said Zuzolo. “They’re looking for the cheapest board price.”
Canola Minute – Canola prices have been strengthening recently, which is typical for this time of the year. Learn more in the Canola Minute from Northern Canola Growers Association Executive Director Barry Coleman.
Sugar Association Seeks Labeling Action from FDA – The Sugar Association is seeking action from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to change food packaging and enhance labeling transparency. Sugar Association CEO Courtney Gaine says the association filed a citizen petition with the FDA on Wednesday to stop misleading claims about added sugar’s content. “The first ask is the term sweetener appear in parenthesis after the name of all non-nutritive sweeteners in the ingredient list. For children’s food and beverages, indicate the type and quantity of non-nutritive sweeteners in milligrams per serving on the front of food packages,” explains Gaine. “For products that make a sugar content claim, it will require the disclosure sweetened with the specific sweetener. We are also asking for the requirement to disclose the potential gastrointestinal side effects from the consumption of sugar alcohols and some sugar substitutes. All sugar content claims need to be truthful and not misleading.” The changes are meant to help consumers make better decisions about their food and drinks.
A Better Year for Sugarbeet Growers – Sugarbeet growers and cooperatives are expected to have a strong year financially for the 2020-2021 crop, due to improved production and higher global sugar prices. “There are expectations we will have a rebound in production, assuming we do have a return to normal weather. We’re hopeful to see the rebound,” said Tanner Ehmke, division manager, CoBank Knowledge Exchange. “Prices are very profitable right now. Processors are marketing next year’s crop at today’s high prices.”
The Sugarbeet Report – Temperatures have warmed up enough over the past week to reach threshold levels for sugarbeet root maggot. Learn more in the latest Sugarbeet Report, made possible by Provysol from BASF, Premium Ag Solutions, Corteva Agriscience, SESVanderHave, Vive Crop Protection, H&S Manufacturing and Syngenta.
ND FFA Announces 2020-21 State FFA Officer Team – Seven new state FFA officers were named during the final session of the virtual North Dakota FFA Convention. The 2020-2021 State President is Breanna Hosman from the Hebron FFA Chapter and the Secretary is Caleb Hauck from the Oakes-Sargent Central-Ellendale FFA Chapter. The State Vice President is Hannah Remington of the South Prairie FFA. The new treasurer is Christina Greuel from the Kindred FFA Chapter and Calli Hauck from the Oakes-Sargent Central-Ellendale FFA Chapter is the reporter. Bismarck FFA member Jayden MacDonald is the sentinel and Mandan FFA member Miranda Clarys is parliamentarian.
Making a Positive Impact in the Lives of Others – The newly elected North Dakota FFA President Breanna Hosman is eager to work with FFA members across the state. “We’ll have to get creative in how we impact members,” said Hosman. “That’s my biggest goal; to impact at least one FFA member the way the previous FFA officers have impacted me. I was heavily influenced by former State Secretary Madison Bodine when I was a Greenhand competing in the FFA Creed competition. That state officer gave me encouragement, which allowed me to be brave. Then, I got second place in the contest.” Hosman also has a passion for agriculture. She plans to attend North Dakota State University in the fall and pursue a degree in agricultural education. “I’d like to be a high school teacher in North Dakota,” said Hosman. “I view this state FFA office position as a precursor to that to learn how to interact with members and make a positive difference in their life.” Hosman is a member of the Hebron, North Dakota FFA Chapter.
ND FFA Star Award Winners Named – During the second general session of the virtual North Dakota FFA Convention, two star award winners were named. The 2020 Star in Ag Placement is Tyler Lee from the Carrington FFA Chapter and the Star Farmer is Aaron Johnson from the Garrison FFA Chapter. Typically, four star awards are given at convention, but candidates in the other two star areas did not meet the qualifications for star recognition. The stars are top awards given in the organization, presented to those FFA members who go above and beyond in their supervised agricultural experience.
Meet the ND FFA Star in Ag Placement – Carrington FFA Chapter’s Tyler Lee is the 2020 North Dakota Star in Ag Placement. Lee is proud of the accomplishment. As part of his Supervised Agricultural Experience, Lee works as a farm hand for Zink Farms in Carrington. One of the biggest things he’s learned is how to navigate farm equipment in the mud; a skill acquired during the 2019 harvest. “When we first started harvesting soybeans, we had that big October snowstorm. Once that all melted, we tried again,” explained Lee. “It was still muddy. I was running a grain cart at the time. We were struggling with the mud at the time. When things froze, we were able to get the beans out of the field. Then, corn harvest was another disaster.” Lee will stay busy on the farm this summer. He plans to attend Lake Region State College in Devils Lake in the fall for the precision agriculture program. When he graduates college, Lee plans to return to Zink Farms.
Meet the 2020 ND FFA Star Farmer – Aaron Johnson from the Garrison FFA Chapter is the 2020 North Dakota FFA Star Farmer. For his Supervised Agricultural Experience project, Johnson farms with his family near Roseglen, North Dakota. Johnson is raising soybeans and wheat this year and helps his dad farm. “The wheat and soybeans are starting to pop up and I hope things go well for both crops.” Spring work hasn’t been too bad, but they had to harvest corn and flax this spring. “We probably could have got the flax last year, but it was late, cold and wet. We figured we’d wait until better conditions and didn’t lose much over winter. We harvested the flax in mid-April, after the field dried out.” In the fall, Johnson plans to attend Bismarck State College in the fall to study mechanical maintenance and then, return to the family farm.
DOJ Launches Antitrust Investigation – The Justice Department is investigating the major beef packers for possible antitrust violations. Civil subpoenas have been issued to JBS, Tyson Foods, Cargill and National Beef Packing. Earlier this year, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the Agriculture Department would extend its oversight into price disparities between live cattle and box beef.
Reflecting on the MN Legislative Session – The Minnesota Agri-Growth Council hosted a webinar with four state lawmakers to reflect on the 2020 Minnesota legislative session. “I think we came up with really good bills, both finance and policy; also, the other farmer-lender mediation bills,” said House Agriculture Food and Finance Policy Committee Chair Jeanne Poppe. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Weber said advanced planning will be needed to prepare for future food chain disruptions. “I never thought quite frankly that we would be at the level of production that we are at these plants right now. I commend them for continuing to ensure the safety of their workers and continuing their production.” Lawmakers are expected to address more COVID-19 relief in a special session.
Farmfest/Dakotafest Canceled for 2020 – The list of major events impacted by COVID-19 continues to grow with the cancelation of Farmfest and Dakotafest. IDEAg Group, which is owned by the American Farm Bureau Federation, said this was “the right decision to make in these uncertain times.” The Farmfest political forums will made available virtually this year.
TransFARMation: Anxiety is an Emotion of the Future – The weather, markets and coronavirus are a few issues that can crank up anxiety levels. Oak Ridge Teletherapy therapist Cynthie Christensen likes to think of anxiety as an emotion of the future. “Typically, when we feel anxious, it’s because of those ‘what if’ thoughts. During this time we usually don’t think about the good stuff like a bountiful harvest. That can really get you stirred up and create a lot of fear.” Christensen says the first step is to recognize you’re thinking about stuff that is so far forward that it can’t be predicted. “Bring those thoughts back. What can you do today? What do you have control over right now?” Cynthie offers more advice about handling stressful times in this TransFARMation episode.
An Update on the Enbridge 3 Replacement Project – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has delayed the repair and replacement of the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline. The agency will grant a contested case hearing on the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project. In response, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson is frustrated by the action and says the replacement project would provide an immediate boost to Minnesota’s rural economy. The Minnesota Ag Energy Alliance is also disappointed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be delaying the project’s 401 certification from August 15 to November 14 to accommodate the hearing.
Cargill No Longer Offering Quarterly Reports – Cargill will no longer issue quarterly financial reports or annual profits. The company’s board of directors decided the quarterly reporting reflects too much short-term market volatility. Cargill is privately held and it is not bound by the Federal Trade Commission regulations that require quarterly reports. The company will continue to issue annual revenues after its fiscal year ends.
Poultry Company Executives Accused of Price Fixing – The CEO of one of the country’s biggest chicken producers and three other industry executives have been indicted on price fixing charges on chicken sold to restaurants and grocery stores. In Wednesday’s indictment, Pilgrim’s Pride CEO Jayson Penn and former company Vice President Roger Austin were charged in the one-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Denver. Claxton Poultry Farms President Mikell Fries and Vice President Scott Brady were also charged.
A New Name for CHS Hedging Subsidiary – The Russell Consulting Group has been fully integrated into CHS Hedging and renamed AgSurion Risk Consulting. The new name is part of the scheduled transaction agreement between Russell Consulting Group founder Moe Russell and CHS Hedging. CHS Hedging’s predecessor Country Hedging acquired partial ownership of Russell Consulting in 2007 and CHS Hedging assumed full ownership two years ago.
Managing Weed Escapes in Small Grains – Some farmers in the Dakotas are noting kochia escapes as they manage weeds in small grains. “The weeds are getting bigger and as they get larger, they are going to be more difficult to control,” said Nathan Popiel, agronomy service representative, Syngenta. Targeting smaller weeds early is important. Farmers also need to make sure they’re getting good coverage on plants and sometimes that comes down to water volume. “I like to see at least 10 gallons of water so we get good coverage on the plant,” said Popiel. “Whether farmers are using contact herbicides or systemic herbicides, contact on the plant is important. If we use larger droplets and lower water volumes, sometimes we don’t hit every weed out there. Then, we may miss things later. We need multiple, effective modes of action to manage weeds.” Syngenta offers a few modes of action to help farmers manage weeds. “Talinor is a good post emergence herbicide for small grains. When we tank mix Axial Star with Talinor, we’ve just added a third mode of action for controlling kochia. Those two products do a great job of providing effective management tools for small grains.” Hear the story.
NCI Releases New Soy Meal Handbook – Northern Crops Institute is publishing its first handbook and webinar series. This publication focuses on how farmers and feed millers can feed full fat soybeans. This project is a collaboration of NCI, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and the North Dakota Soybean Council.
National FFA Organization Removes National Officer – The National FFA Organization announced via social media Western Region Vice President Lyle Logemann has been removed from his National FFA Officer post. Logemann violated the code of conduct for national FFA officers by posting inappropriate diversity statements on social media prior to accepting his officer position. The FFA will continue to operate for the remainder of the officer year with five national officers. In a statement, the National FFA Organization said going forward, they will improve the vetting process for national FFA officer candidates, better train national officers and provide additional guidance to state associations to help present more qualified candidates for the offices they seek.
Winders Named Executive Director of ND FFA Foundation – The North Dakota FFA Foundation appointed Tommy Winders as its executive director. He’s been the foundation’s sponsor and program coordinator since August. “I’m excited to put my own twist on things. We’re lucky to be in an organization that is growing and has great community support across the state,” said Winders. “It’s a healthy time to be part of this organization. I hope to do the foundation the justice it deserves and do its supporters proud.”
Shields Joins POET – Joshua Shields will be joining POET as the senior vice president of government affairs and communication. Before joining the Sioux Falls-based biofuels company, Shields was the chief of staff for South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and led government affairs for Black Hills Energy. Previously, Shields worked in Washington, D.C. for then-Congresswoman Noem and South Dakota Senator John Thune.
New Potato Pathologist – Dr. Munevver Dogramaci is the new potato pathologist at the USDA-ARS Sugarbeet and Potato Research Unit in Fargo. Dogramaci earned her Ph.D. through an international collaborative program between the USDA-ARS Cereal Crops Research Unit in Fargo and Cukurova University in Turkey. Since 2017, Dogramaci has been a clinical staff scientist at Sanford-Imagenetics.
Last Week’s Trivia- As directed by the Constitution, a presidential candidate must be 35 years of age or older to run for office. Bob Lebacken of RML Trading wins our weekly trivia contest. Ron Dvergsten of Northland Farm Business Management, Mark Mettler of PreferredOne and Norm Groot of Monterey County Farm Bureau earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ list rounds out with Brian Rydlund of CHS Hedging, Sara O’Toole of O’Toole Seed, Nick Sinner of Northern Crops Institute, Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad, Karlstad farmer Kurt Aakre, long-time Minnesota Ag in the Classroom coordinator Al Withers, Royalton farmer Darrell Larsen, Kevin Praska of Stone’s Mobile Radio, Todd Good of AgCountry Farm Credit Services, retired controller Evonne Wold, Westbrook farmer David Van Loh and Curtis Novak of Park RIver.
This Week’s Trivia- The Edsel automobile was sold in 1958-to-1960. What automobile company designed, manufactured and sold the Edsel? 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.