A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, March 01, 2021
Thanks! National Farmers Union presented its Milt Hakel Agriculture Communications Award this morning to Red River Farm Network Farm Broadcaster Don Wick. Each year, NFU recognizes a journalist who provides fair and consistent coverage of the issues facing its members. Thanks to North Dakota Farmers Union for making the nomination and to NFU for acknowledging ag journalism. The NFU Convention is taking place today and tomorrow on a virtual basis. Commodity Classic will also be a virtual experience this week. In addition to ther ongoing coverage of market and policy news, count on RRFN for coverage from these important meetings.
Crop Insurance Values in Place – The crop insurance values should be approved by the Risk Management Agency early this week. Recapping the February averages, the corn insurance value is $4.58 per bushel. That’s up 18 percent year-over-year. Soybeans are at $11.87, up 29 percent and spring wheat averaged $6.53, up 17 percent. The crop insurance price for corn hasn’t been this high since 2014. For soybeans, it is the highest crop insurance average since 2013.
Rally Results in a Unique Marketing Strategy in Brazil – With the current market, some Brazilian farmers are defaulting on forward sales and selling the same beans in the spot market. By not delivering the beans, these farmers are penalized. However, soybean stocks are so low the farmers can make more money by paying the fine and selling the soybeans in the cash market. A group representing major trading houses is asking the courts for permission to seize the soybeans they’ve purchased from farmers. At this point, this firm has gone to court less than 20 times, but harvest is just beginning.
Brazil Harvest Delays Push Second Crop Corn Planting – Farmers in northern Brazil are struggling with wet weather and deteriorating crop conditions as harvest lags. Brazilian agriculture consultant Kory Melby says getting the second crop corn planted is a priority. “That is more worrisome than the soybeans, because the ideal planting window for second crop corn closes at the end of February. That’s not to say farmers won’t plant in March, but the yield prospects diminish greatly.” Brazilian farmers face a tough decision with record prices for corn and soybeans. “They don’t want to lose either. Many have contracted at a lower price and now, they’re losing 50 percent of their production. I’ve heard of farmers cancelling the second half of the corn seed order. Maybe that second crop corn acreage won’t be as big as we thought.”
Rural Perspectives – There are opportunities in this current market environment. AgCountry Farm Credit Services market education specialist Katie Tangen encourages farmers to not delay decisions to sell. “The market can go either up or down, and I think there is more volatility because there is quite a bit of risk than we normally see.” Hear more from Tangen in the latest Rural Perspectives podcast.
Major Acreage Battle Expected for Spring – Grain traders are preparing for a major acreage battle this spring. BOLT Marketing market analyst DuWayne Bosse says all of the commodities are looking for more acres. “That’s why the new crop prices are gaining on the old crop prices. After the February USDA Outlook Forum, the general thought was corn and soybeans definitely need acres. I think corn will buy more acres than anticipated.” Spring wheat will have to try to compete for acres. “In previous years, we’ve had this hot potato and no one wanted the acres and we passed the hot potato around. Now, everyone is fighting for the acres,” says Bosse. “I’m already looking forward to the March 31 Planting Intentions report from the USDA. Farmer surveys are already starting to circulate.”
Acreage Decisions Can Still Change Between Now and Spring – During the USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum, the agency estimated an increase in corn and soybean acres for 2021. Total Farm Marketing Senior Market Advisor Naomi Blohm says a lot can change between now and spring. “Wheat is also an unknown and for North Dakota, there may be a decline in spring wheat acres,” says Blohm. “Even with larger acres, we still need perfect weather this summer. Otherwise, smaller ending stocks are still a risk. If ending stocks are smaller, this will keep prices steady to higher.” Blohm says the drought is not over. “We have a long way to go to recharge the soils. The world is very much aware of the dire situation.” Blohm was part of a marketing panel during the first day of the virtual Northern Corn and Soybean Expo.
Dry Bean Scene – Farmers are finalizing acreage decisions for the 2021 planting season. For farmers considering planting dry beans, NDSU Extension’s Greg Endres says the profit potential certainly is there. Get the full details in this week’s Dry Bean Scene, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
Action Sought on Container Shipping Crisis – Due to high demand for imported goods into the United States, international shippers are rejecting agricultural products and sending containers overseas empty. The problem began in October. According to Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance President Bob Sinner, freight rates have risen 50 percent since that time. “We’ve agreed every step of the way to pay more, yet the system hasn’t improved. In fact, it has gotten worse.” Over 70 agriculture groups have asked the Biden Administration to intervene. Sinner, who leads SB&B Foods at Casselton, North Dakota, says action is needed now. “They first said in October the issue would likely continue until the Chinese New Year and that has come and gone. Now, they’re saying it will last well into the second quarter and others are saying it will last into next fall.” Potentially irreversible damage is being done to U.S. shippers.
Red Meat Exports Hampered by West Coast Port Issues – Congestion at West Coast ports, especially the Port of Los Angeles, is delaying U.S. pork and beef shipments. U.S. Meat Export Federation Senior Director of Export Services Travis Arp says the pandemic has impacted the availability of workers. Containers are also in short supply with Asian companies paying large premiums to have empty containers shipped back rather than waiting for US. cargo. “The agriculture industry has been trying to create awareness on this issue with USDA, the Federal Maritime Commission and other agencies so they really understand how the potential backlog can hurt U.S. exports.”
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – There’s a firm grain market to start the week. In today’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets, Advance Trading Risk Management Advisor Tommy Grisafi highlights South American weather, COVID, the price of gold and gas prices.
Moving Grain to the PNW – North Dakota agriculture is dependent upon rail service to the Pacific Northwest. BNSF Railway Group Vice President for Agricultura Products Angela Caddell spoke at the Northern Corn and Soybean Expo. Caddell said BNSF has 43 shuttle locations in the state. “We were able to move a lot of old crop in September before the summer harvest began and with the robust export demand, we’ve been running more shuttles than ever before.”
Temperatures Will Favor Spring Fieldwork, But Moisture is Questionable – The dry weather pattern will be closely watched going into spring, especially since the dryness in the Rocky Mountains is trying to expand into the central Corn Belt. After a cold February, Creighton University Professor Emeritus Dr. Art Douglas says temperatures will warm up nicely. “Some cold will work its way down the Canadian border is April, but by May it will be warm again.” Temperatures will be favorable for spring fieldwork, planting and cattle feeders in the Plains. However, according to Douglas, precipitation will be light. The high pressure ridge, which is typical of La Nina conditions, will persist in the summer forecast. Douglas says there will be a companion ridge in the central part of the U.S. “Areas under that ridge will be very dry, from the Mexican border to California and northward. The only real moisture to speak of is in the Ohio Valley and along the Canadian border from northeastern North Dakota into Minnesota.” Douglas provided this weather outlook during a CattleFax session of the virtual Cattle Industry Convention “Winter Reboot” event. Hear the story.
Nervousness Over the Lack of Subsoil Moisture – As farmers are preparing for the season ahead, Heliae Agriculture Regional Sales Manager Cory Palm is hearing concern about the dry conditions. “I live in central North Dakota right along the Missouri River. You get west of me, it gets pretty dry without much subsoil moisture. Even in the (Red River) Valley, guys are concerned about subsoil moisture.” Heliae Agriculture produces an algae-based biologic product, optimizing microbial performance of the soil. That healthy soil can also enhance water holding capacity. “Not only does a good soil profile move water through it, but it also holds that water. With the PhycoTerra product, water holding capacity has been increased.”
Beet Stock Snapshot – Last week there were 51 American Crystal Sugar Company shares brokered at an average price of about $3,750 per share. These statistics are compiled on a weekly basis by Acres & Shares broker Jayson Menke.
A Big Change Seen in Crop Values – Soybean crop values increased significantly this past year. A new USDA report says the value of Minnesota soybean production was just shy of $4 billion, up 61 percent from 2019. North Dakota’s soybean crop values totaled $2 billion, up 51 percent. The value of South Dakota soybean production last year was close to $2.4 billion, up a whopping 97 percent from the previous year. The value of corn production was $6 billion in Minnesota, nearly $3 billion in South Dakota and more than $1 billion in North Dakota. Those values are up 48 percent in Minnesota, up 60 percent in South Dakota and down 16 percent in North Dakota.
Sunflowers Deserve a Look – Corn and soybeans get most of the attention in the battle for acres. Other crops are also competing for that ground, including sunflowers. National Sunflower Association Executive Director John Sandbakken says there is a positive story to tell. “On old crop, we’ve added $3.50 a hundredweight at the crush plants since harvest and when you look at new crop prices, it is $2.50.” Sunflowers are a very drought tolerant crop. “I remember in 2017 we had the third largest crop on record and that was a drought year. Sunflowers adapt very well and uses the moisture that is available.”
COVID Bill Moves to the Senate – After a party-line vote in the House early Saturday morning, the $1.9 trillion coronavirus assistance bill moves to the Senate this week. Unlike previous bills, there’s no direct support for farmers and ranchers. The House Agriculture Committee approved over $16 billion in agricultural provisions. That includes $5 billion in assistance for minority farmers. It would pay off their direct and guaranteed USDA loans with payments of 120 percent of the debt. There’s also $3.6 billion for commodity purchases and other efforts to improve the ag supply chain.
Vilsack is Back to Work at USDA – Tom Vilsack is back at the USDA working on key priorities. Working remotely from Iowa, the agriculture secretary acknowledged there’s quite a bit to do and little time to do it. The top priority is the COVID pandemic. The USDA is reviewing how the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program is administered. “In the meantime, we’re making payments under CFAP 2. On CFAP AA, the next round, we are in the process of reviewing it and felt it was necessary to extend the sign-up period during the evaluation.” Vilsack said once determinations are made for the next round of CFAP, program sign-up will be extended another 30 days. When it comes to climate change, Vilsack said USDA is challenged to be as helpful as possible to providing resources, technical assistance and verify conservation practices to be embraced by the market.
USTR Nominee Katherine Tai Has Senate Confirmation Hearing – U.S. Trade Representative Nominee Katherine Tai told the Senate Finance Committee if she is confirmed, a top priority will be implementing and enforcing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, along with addressing China’s unfair trade practices. South Dakota Senator John Thune asked Tai about her stance on trade policies that work for agriculture. “For the enforcement side on the USMCA I talked about in my opening statement. It’s about caring and nurturing the agreements we have to make sure they deliver on the promises that have been made and that also goes for the other trade agreements we have under our belt. I want to make clear that’s a priority and the phase one deal with China.”
National Farmers Union Virtual Convention Focusing on Policy – The National Farmers Union virtual convention and annual meeting is taking place today and tomorrow. NFU President Rob Larew said the business of the organization is taking place at this meeting. “There will be many themes woven into the meeting including climate, the COVID pandemic, corporate consolidation and more,” said Larew. “The policy work itself will need to be efficient. The special orders of business may require a re-approval of 2020 policy.” Learn more about the meeting.
Corn Comments – The annual Commodity Classic convention is going virtual this year and kicks off March 2. Learn more in the latest Corn Comments, a production of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council.
ASA Delegates Approve New Resolutions – American Soybean Association priorities include the re-authorization of Trade Promotion Authority, the development of voluntary carbon markets and a strong crop insurance program that supports the expansion of double crop soybean coverage.
Senators Seek PPP Clarifications – A group of Senators have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Small Business Administration asking for clarification if farmers and ranchers are eligible for Paycheck Protection Program loans. According to Senator John Hoeven, operations organized as partnerships or limited liability companies have been unable to apply for PPP loans under the new calculation.
Being a Better Steward of the Land – During Thursday’s House Agriculture Committee on climate change, Bismarck, North Dakota farmer Gabe Brown discussed the efforts he’s taking to be a better steward of the land. “We realize the importance of grazing animals. Our richest, healthiest soils were formed in partnership with grazing ruminants. Proper use of grazing ruminants is one of the keys to carbon sequestration.” Brown said the committee can help lead the way forward in the climate change discussion.
Cattle Producers Focused on Trade Access, Climate Change and More – Day one of the virtual Cattle Industry Convention “Winter Reboot” event was filled with industry updates and policy decisions impacting ranchers. Trade access continues to be a top priority for the U.S. beef industry. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Director of Trade and International Access Kent Bacus said the industry is capitalizing on a growing market. “It’s not just about removing tariffs, like the 40 percent tariff in Korea or the 38 percent tariff in Japan. It’s also about addressing non-tariff barriers like the hormone ban in China.” With a change in the presidential administration, movement at USDA is temporarily paused. However, NCBA Executive Director Government Affairs Allison Rivera assured cattlemen that the work in that space has not stopped. “Animal disease traceability is extremely important, along with the Food and Mouth Disease vaccine bank, and those two items certainly go together.” One final point of discussion was climate change, which is a priority for the Biden Administration. “Cattle are not part of the problem, they are part of the solution,” said NCBA Chief Environmental Counsel Scott Yager. Listen to the story.
Legislation Introduced to Alleviate Feed Shortages – A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate that would help alleviate feed shortages in years with widespread excessive moisture or drought. Specifically, the legislation known as the FEEDD Act would allow haying, grazing, or chopping of cover crops on prevented plant acres before November 1. Read more.
Mexican Supreme Court Postpones Vote on Fresh Potato Access – The Mexican Supreme Court’s vote on the proposed ban of U.S. fresh potato imports is postponed. The court was scheduled to vote yesterday and the earliest the court will now vote is March 3. A Mexican Supreme Court justice released a draft ruling to overturn the import ban. If the majority of justices agree on the draft ruling, this will enter into law. The National Potato Council is hopeful this will end a legal blockade preventing U.S. potatoes from entering into Mexico.
North Dakota Legislative Report – It’s crossover time in the North Dakota Legislature. Featured in this week’s North Dakota Legislative Report is lobbyist Lance Gaebe with an update on the session. This update is made possible by the North Dakota Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, NDFB, North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Wheat Commission and North Dakota Grain Growers Association.
Gas Tax Increase Sought to Improve ND Roads – The North Dakota House has passed a three-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase. Senate Agriculture Committee Larry Luick authored a bill with a seven cent tax bump during the last session, which did not pass. Luick supports the current House bill. “I feel we are subsidizing Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Manitoba and Saskatchewan because they all have higher fuel taxes. When they travel in North Dakota, they don’t people an equal share to what we pay for driving on their roads.”
Lawmaker Encourages Agriculture to Speak Up for SBARE Funds – Once lawmakers return to Bismarck after crossover, the House will review funding for North Dakota State University Extension and research. Governor Burgum’s proposal called for significant cuts, but the dollars were reinstated in the Senate bill. Representative Mike Beltz, who is a former chairman for the State Board of Agricultural Research and Education, encourages people to be engaged in this process. “To make sure that stays strong, people need to reach out to their legislators. This bill doesn’t go through the ag committee, it goes straight to appropriations. If you have strong feelings on those budgets, let those people know it is important.”
ND Adult Farm Management Program Faces Budget Cuts – The State Senate unanimously approved the Career and Technical Education budget, which includes a reduction of $138,000 from the farm management program. Agricultural Education Supervisor Craig Kleven says this could limit access to the program. “The potential for program expansion is going to be very difficult to do.” State programs, including adult farm management, are dealing with a seven percent budget cut and funding for the program were not completely used in the last biennium. “The reason some of those dollars were not used up is we had a lot of retirements in the last five years. Those instructors have 35 to 40 years of working with farmers and ranchers so naturally salaries were higher.” Kleven says the possible budget shortfall will happen when AFM if tries to expand. The issue will go to the House after crossover.
MFBF Update – There is a Clean Cars proposal being considered in Minnesota. Find out more from Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap in the latest MFBF Update.
MN Legislature Considers a 15% Ethanol Standard – The bill was laid over by the House Agriculture Committee for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill. Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish testified for the bill, saying the current ten percent ethanol requirement is good for the state. “When Minnesota passed the (ten percent) bill in 1997, it was one of the best economic development tools that we’ve had.” Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap said the state has been a leader in the adoption of renewable fuels. “Let’s build on our history and be the first state to move to a year-round 15 percent standard and enable farmers do our part to grow and produce a cleaner burning, high-octane fuel that reduces greenhouse gases.” A similar bill is awaiting action in the Minnesota State Senate.
MDA Budget Bill Not Expected to be an Issue – With the state economic forecast out, lawmakers can now go to work on budget bills. House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Sundin says the Minnesota Department of Agriculture budget is not expected to be an issue. “The ag budget is probably the smallest program in the state of Minnesota with a lot of the money being a pass-through to things like the University of Minnesota or AURI.”
MFU Minute – Minnesota Farmers Union continues to work hard during the legislative session, making sure members voices are heard. Hear more from Government Relations Director Stu Lourey in the MFU Minute.
SD Senator Files Disapproval of Ag Department Merger – At least one South Dakota lawmaker opposes the proposed merger of the South Dakota Agriculture and Natural Resources Departments. Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert filed a Senate Resolution of Disapproval in response to Governor Noem’s executive order on the merger. At this time, the resolution hasn’t been scheduled for a committee hearing, but the bill is expected to be considered in the Senate Agriculture Committee. If this disapproval bill does not advance, the proposed merger would take effect.
Achieving Leadership and Career Goals Through the FFA – Former Sturgis, South Dakota FFA member and current South Dakota State Veterinarian Dusty Oedekoven set a goal early on to serve as a state FFA officer. With the encouragement of his local FFA advisor, Oedekoven was elected to a state officer position in 1995-1996. “I had good mentors and advisors who provided inspiration and demonstrated it could be done. The other influence I had was other state officer teams. I saw how much fun they had and the leadership qualities they developed while serving as state FFA officers.” Oedekoven says the organization helped him understand how to set and achieve career goals. “I gained the experiences I needed to reach those goals. I had a number of influences to help me become a veterinarian, but the pathway was streamlined through the FFA.” Hear the story.
Buschette: FFA is the Fabric of My Life – Mary Buschette has a lifelong relationship with the FFA. From the chapter and district level, Buschette became a state officer in 1984-1985. Buschette later took advantage of the FFA’s Work Experience Abroad program working a dairy farm in Germany for six months. That was followed by two years of backpacking around the world. “I started in New Zealand for one month and a half and Australia for two months. I got to connect with the Future Farmers of Thailand and went onto backpack for a month and a half throughout China. I took the Trans-Siberian Railway across Russia to Hungary and back through Europe.” Buschette used the experience and worked for an international exchange program called MAST for six years. Since that time, she has served as the CFANS director of alumni relations for the University of Minnesota. “FFA is really the fabric of my life.” Hear the interview.
On a Mission to Share the FFA Experience With Others – Pat Dingels was one of the first female FFA members to join the Redwood Falls, Minnesota FFA Chapter in the 1970s. “When my friend and I walked into class, we were actually two years behind in our learning, because we hadn’t been part of agriculture classes at that point. The boys didn’t know we were going to join and it took awhile for some of them to accept us, but it all worked out well,” said Dingels. “I was able to order my first FFA jacket and represent the chapter at a regional livestock judging event.” Now, Dingels is an active member of the Minnesota FFA Foundation. “It’s so important to make sure we introduce people to the world of agriculture and FFA programs to make sure they can experience all of the opportunities.” Hear the story.
Based at Jamestown, North Dakota, AgCountry Farm Credit Services Senior Insurance Specialist Jason Rohr didn’t pursue a career in agribusiness while attending college at North Dakota State University. “I decided I wanted to be an FFA advisor and teach agriculture as a career,” says Rohr. “I taught high school agriculture courses for 11 years in Jamestown and then made the transition from teaching to my current role at AgCountry.” The Dickinson, ND native is a current North Dakota FFA Foundation board member. Rohr chooses to stay involved with the organization because there was somebody there for him as a young kid who loved agriculture. “In my opinion, we have a very strong network of agriculture experts.” To celebrate youth in agriculture and those who support them, the Red River Farm Network highlights stories of former FFA members during National FFA Week. Listen to the full interview.
SD FFA Convention Relocates to Rapid City for 2021 – The 2021 South Dakota FFA Convention will be held in Rapid City, South Dakota on April 11 – 13. The COVID-19 pandemic is the reason why this year’s event will move and this is the first year the event hasn’t been held in-person in Brookings. The South Dakota FFA Convention events will happen at the Central States Fairgrounds, Kjerstad Events Center and Western Dakota Technical College. Attendees will wear masks and be limited to proficiency awards and scholarship winners. Events will also be ticketed and live-streamed. Learn more about the 2021 convention.
FFA Leadership Interviews – During National FFA Week, RRFN interviewed the state presidents from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Ben Olander from Minnesota was featured last week. You’ll find the videos with North Dakota’s Breanna Hosman and South Dakota’s Samantha Olson on RRFN’s YouTube channel.
Cattle Slaughter Back on Pace, But Record Tonnage is Testing Markets – Over the past couple years, the cattle industry has navigated two Black Swan events, with the most recent being supply chain challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic. CattleFax CEO Randy Blach told cattle producers that nearly 1 million head of fat cattle were backed up as a result. “The slaughter is pretty well back on pace, but record tonnage is being put through the system. That is testing these markets that are still under-performing relative to the potential out front.” The markets have somewhat recovered from lows in the summer of 2020. At that point, cattle were selling for $95 per hundredweight. Cash cattle prices are now around $114 per cwt. Blach realizes that cattle producers are frustrated with the current market situation but does believe a more optimistic outlook lies ahead. “There have been weather impacts the last couple weeks that will shave some tonnage off these markets, and we’re now in a situation where global demand for ag products will increase. This should be a nice run for the ag industry over the next three-to-four years.” This industry update was provided during the virtual Cattle Industry Convention “Winter Reboot” event. Listen to the full story.
Minnesota Beef Update – Katie Brenny represents cattle producers in the southeastern part of the state on the Minnesota Beef Council. Find out why Katie decided to take on this role in the Minnesota Beef Update.
CWD Confirmed in MN – The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has confirmed nine additional cases of chronic wasting disease on a whitetail deer farm in extreme southeastern Minnesota. Forty-six animals were depopulated in late January and the farm is not allowed to have any deer or elk for five years.
City Approves Ag Innovation Campus Land Purchase – The Crookston City Council has formally approved the purchase of land for the Ag Innovation Campus. The ten-acre site is on the southern edge of Crookston along Highway 75. This campus will host a specialty crushing facility and is planning on taking soybeans in late 2021.
APUC Funds for Six New Projects – The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission has funded six new projects. That includes $212,000 for AIC Energy Corporation to help develop a biorefinery for aviation fuel. CoJack Snack and Pack will receive $100,000 to implement a marketing plan and an app to promote its products. NDSU also receives nearly $54,000 to research the use of UAVs to plant cover crops.
Funds Keep Rolling in to Support Bison Research – The Center of Excellence for Bison Studies in Rapid City was formally launched this past fall as a partnership between South Dakota State University and the National Bison Association. Now, people wanting to support the Center have an opportunity to double the value of their contribution. During the Association’s Winter Conference, two donors offered to match up to $50,000 each in new donations to support of the Center. More information is available on the National Buffalo Foundation website.
Berthold, ND Business is Newest State Processing Plant – Mema’s Meats in Berthold, North Dakota is the newest company operating under the State Meat and Poultry Inspection Program. Owners Phil and Karen Newman converted an existing truck shop into a butcher facility. The Newmans decided to become a state-inspected facility to offer locally raised beef and pork through a storefront. Fifteen-to-18 cattle will be processed per week, along with several hogs. According to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, 16 new companies are now in operation with 74 custom exempt facilities in the state.
Bayer Recaps the Past Year – In Bayer’s annual financial report, the company reported its agricultural business increased sales by 1.3 percent. Latin America and the Asia/Pacific regions are credited for the increase, while declines were seen in the North American market. Sales growth worldwide was especially strong for fungicides. Regarding the glyphosate lawsuits in the U.S., Bayer officials said it reached an agreement on a class action plan to manage and resolve future Roundup cases. That deal was made earlier this month and must be approved by the courts.
R&D Investment Pays Off – Nearly four years ago, Syngenta Seeds committed to investing $400 million in research and development by 2022. Syngenta Seeds Strategic Marketing Manager Drew Showalter says the results from that investment are now evident. “The breeders that were brought into Brookings (South Dakota) are now in year three or four of their program. The fruits of the investment are really coming to fruition in the north.” Syngenta’s Enogen corn enzyme technology began 11 years ago with a focus on the ethanol business. That has expanded to cattle rations. “The alpha amylase simply breaks down starches so it is easier to access that starch in an ethanol plant. It’s the same story for the belly of a cow or a steer.” Showalter previously served as the sales manager for Golden Harvest in North Dakota, northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.
Canola Minute – Canola producers and crop advisors have an opportunity to learn about production issues during the 2021 “Getting it Right” virtual conference on Tuesday, March 16. Hear more from Northern Canola Growers Association Executive Director Barry Coleman in the Canola Minute.
Sales of FeXapan Herbicide Discontinued – Corteva AgriScience is shifting its resources to the Enlist weed control system and discontinuing sales of FeXapan. FeXapan was one of the four formulations for dicamba-tolerant soybeans. In a statement, Corteva said this decision will allow the company to focus on training, sales and distribution for Enlist.
Goodyear to Acquire Cooper Tire – The two biggest tire manufacturers in the United States are becoming one. Goodyear will pay $2.8 billion in cash and stock to Cooper Tire. With the acquisition, total costs can be cut by $165 million per year. The sale is expected to take effect later this year.
Land O’Lakes Reports 29 Percent Year-Over-Year Increase in Earnings – Land O’Lakes reports net income of $266 million for the fiscal year, an increase from $207 million in 2019. The Dairy foods business enjoyed strong retail sales, offsetting the losses in the foodservice area. For WinField United, the margins for crop protection products were squeezed as basic manufacturers lowered prices. Earnings for the fertilizer business and the Purina animal nutrition segment were up. Read more.
Pilgrim’s Pride Pleads Guilty to Price-Fixing – Pilgrim’s Pride has pleaded guilty and will pay a fine of nearly $108 million. The company faced allegations of price-fixing and bid-rigging in the broiler chicken market. Other poultry companies face similar allegations, but Pilgrim’s Pride is the first one to plead guilty.
Two MN-Based Dairy Co-ops Are Working Together – Associated Milk Producers Incorporated and First District Association have formed a jointly-owned Common Marketing Agency. AMPI Chairman Steve Schlangen said it makes sense to work together to get a better return for their members and better utilize their manufacturing capacity. “This CMA is somewhat new in the dairy sector, but it is used more often in other sectors like sugar and cattle genetics,” said Schlangen. “Many times it happens because co-ops are on the weak side and need to do something, but this one is unique because both co-ops are strong financially.” This new entity is known as the American Dairy Cooperative. First District Chairman Josh Barka will chair the ADC board. Schlangen will be vice chair and the leadership of the two co-ops will rotate the chairmanship every other year.
Made in America – Crystal Farms will be able to use AMPI’s ‘Co-op Crafted’ logo. This logo guarantees the cheese was produced and sourced from American dairy farmers. The announcement was made during the AMPI virtual annual meeting.
McPlant Burger Coming to a Drive-up Window Near You – Beyond Meat, which produces plant-based meat substitutes, has announced major supply agreements. One of the deals names Beyond Meat as the preferred supplier for a new plant-based burger at McDonald’s. Plant-based menu items are also being developed for KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
Corn Matters – There are scholarship opportunities available through the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. Learn more from Northwest District Field Manager Marlene Dufault in the latest Corn Matters update.
New Three-Point Mounted Strip-Till System Comes to Market – Environmental Tillage Systems is releasing a new three-point mounted strip-till system called SoilWarrior Edge. Operators can make adjustments easily from the tractor cab, such as switching from 12 to 16 rows or changing the row unit down pressure.
New Bayer Crop Science Leadership – Dr. Jacqueline Applegate has been promoted to President of Bayer Crop Science North America. In this role, Applegate will be responsible for the commercial performance of the Crop Science Division, including the consumer Roundup business. Additionally, Dr. Jeremy Williams is the new Head of the Climate Corporation and Digital Farming at Bayer and will lead the company’s digital farming strategy an data science capabilities.
Blome Leaves Calyxt – The plant-based technology company, Calyxt, has appointed Yves Ribeill as the executive board chair. Ribeill will serve in this role while Calyxt goes through its search for a new CEO. Jim Blome has been in that role for the past two-and-a-half years and is leaving to pursue other opportunities. Blome previously served as president and CEO of Bayer CropScience and executive vice president and chief operating officer for Valent USA. Based in Roseville, Minnesota, Calyxt is considered a global leader in plant gene editing technology.
Roberts Named a Partner at Capitol Counsel – Former Senate Agriculture Committee Pat Roberts has joined the Capitol Counsel lobbying firm as a partner. Under the law, Roberts cannot lobby the Senate for two years. The former Kansas lawmaker will provide advice to clients on legislative strategy.
Harden Named U.S. Dairy Export Council CEO – U.S. Dairy Export Council Chief Operating Officer Krysta Harden has been promoted and is now serving as its president and CEO. Harden succeeds Tom Vilsack who led the USDEC after serving as agriculture secretary in the Obama administration and has returned to USDA. Harden previously served as Vilsack’s deputy agriculture secretary.
UM Regent Candidates Have Ag Experience – Three of the eight finalists for the University of Minnesota Board of Regents have an agricultural connection. In the Seventh Congressional District, the finalists are Doug Huebsch of Perham and Mike Yost of Murdock. Huebsch is a farmer and past president of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. Yost also farms and is a past president of the American Soybean Association and served as the administrator of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. In the First District, Minnesota FFA Foundation Executive Director Val Aarsvold is a finalist. The Legislature will vote on the four open seats on the Board of Regents.
Last Week’s Trivia – Hawaii was the last state to join the United States. Norm Groot of the Monterey County Farm Bureau wins our trivia challenge. Retired controller Evonne Wold, Nick Sinner of Northern Crops Institute, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading and Lyle Orwig of AgPack earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Shell Valley farmer Steve Grenier, Hilary Paplow of Graff Feedlots, Randy Knudsvig of First State Bank, Jim Altringer of CHS Dakota Plains Ag, Michael Rose of Grand Forks, Drayton retired farmer Mark Tungseth, Anna Kemmer of Southeast Region Career and Technical Center, Phyllis Nystrom of CHS Hedging, Montgomery farmer Bill Rynda, Twyla Wulf of Clear Springs Cattle Company, Ron Dvergsten of Northland Farm Business Management, Crookston farmer Ron Lanctot, Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed and Sara O’Toole of O’Toole Seed.
This Week’s Trivia – In nature, cirrus, stratus and cumulus are forms of what? Send your answer to email@example.com.
|RRFN Upcoming Events|
|March 1, 2021 - March 2, 2021||NFU Annual Convention – Delegate Sessions - Online Webinar|
|March 2, 2021 - March 5, 2021||Crop Hour: Sunflower Webinars - Virtual|
|March 2, 2021 - March 4, 2021||BeanCon21 - Virtual|
|March 2, 2021||MN Soybean Spill the Beans Webinar Series - Online|
|March 2, 2021||Tater Talks Tuesdays at Ten - Online Webinar|
|March 2, 2021 - March 5, 2021||Commodity Classic - Online Webinar|
|March 4, 2021||Farm Safety Webinar: Livestock - Virtual|
|March 9, 2021||MN Soybean Spill the Beans Webinar - Online Webinar|
|March 9, 2021||Tater Talks Tuesday at Ten - Online Webinar|
|March 10, 2021||AgCountry FCS Winter Forum - Virtual|
|March 11, 2021||Drought Planning Series: Herd Management and Reduction Strategies - Online Webinar|
|March 16, 2021||MN Soybean Spill the Beans Webinar Series - Online Webinar|
|March 16, 2021||Tater Talks on Tuesdays at Ten - Online Webinar|
|March 18, 2021||Farm Safety Webinar: Mental Health - Virtual|
|March 18, 2021||Drought Planning Series: Managing Stress During Drought - Online Webinar|
|March 23, 2021||Tater Talks on Tuesdays at Ten - Online Webinar|
|March 24, 2021||AgCountry FCS Winter Forum - Virtual|
|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.