A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, March 14, 2022
Together Again- Commodity Classic was the last major farm event before the onset of COVID-19 in 2020. The agricultural industry was back together this past week in New Orleans with attendance approaching 8,000. Like everyone else at Classic, the Red River Farm Network team put on a lot of miles at this massive show. The results of that work can be found within this edition of FarmNetNews. This week, the RRFN team will be closer to home with coverage from the International Sugar Beet Institute in Grand Forks.
Vilsack Addresses the Commodity Classic – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is calling for “a circular economy” with more opportunities for agriculture at home. Vilsack told the Commodity Classic that begins with trade. “It’s fair to say the trade war with China impacted the market and we need to take a strategic approach moving forward,” said Vilsack. Before the pandemic, the U.S. represented 25 percent of all ag exports into China. That number is now 18 percent. “China diversified. We also have to diversify ourselves and create more opportunities outside of China.” The USDA will also have four trade missions this year, including the United Kingdom, Spain, the Philippines and Kenya. Sustainability and market consolidation were among the numerous other topics addressed.
Corn Growers Approve Resolution to Increase Reference Prices – Resolutions on ethanol, competitive markets and reference prices were considered during Corn Congress at the Commodity Classic. South Dakota Corn Growers Association Executive Director DaNita Murray says a resolution by the Minnesota Corn Gowers Association and SDCGA passed. This joint resolution calls for an update to loan rates and reference prices in the next farm bill. “Reference prices and loan rates form the basis as part of formulas for ARC. The national loan rate is used if and when farmers decide to put their crops under loan. We want an increase, but aren’t expecting prices in the statute to be increased to reflect the reality in the marketplace. We’re just looking for a partial update that can be accomplished in a fiscally responsible manner.” It may be July before the National Corn Growers Association finalize their farm bill priorities.
NAWG Will Iron Out Farm Bill Priorities Later This Spring – The farm bill priorities for the National Association of Wheat Growers are typically ironed out at the Commodity Classic. “Talking with colleagues in corn and soybeans, normally we come out of the Commodity Classic with our top ten priorities, but due to the lack of farm bill hearings in Washington D.C., I don’t think we’ll come out with priorities until May or June,” says Chandler Goule, CEO, National Association of Wheat Growers. “Just a little bit of a delay, but we’ll get them out.” That doesn’t mean wheat growers aren’t considering what could be changed. Farm programs like ARC and PLC are being discussed, along with reference prices and the lengths of Conservation Reserve Program contracts. Hear the story.
Election Year Politics Delay Farm Bill Debate – The president’s party almost always loses seats in the midterm elections, which could change the majority in the House in 2023. American Soybean Association Chairman Kevin Scott, who farms at Valley Springs, South Dakota, says that is slowing down the farm bill process. “They’re not really excited about getting the farm bill going yet since we don’t know who the chairs of the committees will be,” Scott told RRFN. “We as ASA have prepared for the farm bill, but it is hard when the representative you talk to about the farm bill is just not quite there yet.”
Putting Together a Laundry List of Farm Bill Wants – South Dakota Wheat Growers Association Executive Director Caren Assman is gathering a laundry list of farm bill issues from other states to review. “We’ll go through our seven districts and have meetings across the state through the summer. We’ll ask members how these issues affect them,” says Assman. “That’s what I want to do at this Commodity Classic and take back information to share with members. Then, we’ll share that feedback with the National Association of Wheat Growers.”
Bonnie: Climate Solutions Can Be Integrated Into 2023 Farm Bill – USDA Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie tells the Red River Farm Network there’s interest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “If we do it right, it will be an opportunity for agriculture and forestry and there will be new markets,” said Bonnie. Tools need to be available to help farmers deal with extreme weather, such as WHIP+, which could become more permanent in the next farm bill. “One of the things we’ve done with the program is to tier it off of existing programs to encourage farmers to use crop insurance and other safety net programs. There are suite of other issues that I think climate and other extreme issues present and we need to have a broader conversation of those in the context of the farm bill.”
American-Made Ethanol is a Solution – Iowa Senator Joni Ernst and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar have introduced legislation for year-round E15 use. American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings says the only hurdle standing in the way of bringing down gas prices is political in nature. “So far, the Biden Administration has looked under every stone and for every solution with the exception of the solution that is right in front of their face and that is to look domestically to boost the use of American-made ethanol.” Jennings says the ethanol industry needs legislative champions to “wake up the administration” about the benefits of renewable fuels.
Speaking Out for Ethanol – With the Biden administration’s decision to ban Russian oil imports, the case is being made for homegrown energy. “As corn growers, we need to speak up and say how important it is to have that E15 blend for summer months,” said Tom Haag, vice president, National Corn Growers Association. “It can take pressure off oil (prices) so can have a little cheaper product out there for our consumers.” With rising commodity prices, there are reports the administration is considering a reduction in the Renewable Fuel Standard in response to rising food prices. Haag, a farmer from Eden Valley, Minnesota, said the food-versus fuel debate didn’t make sense in 2012 and it doesn’t make sense today.
Corn Congress Passes Resolution Supporting Ethanol Blends – Corn Congress wrapped up on Saturday at the Commodity Classic. Minnesota Corn Growers Association Executive Director Adam Birr says one resolution considered by corn growers this past week addressed higher ethanol blends. “We are reiterating the support we have for the Next Generation Fuels Act. In addition to E15, this is a roadmap to getting us to higher ethanol blends. That’s all part of the process.” In Minnesota’s state legislature, corn growers are pushing for year-round E15. “We continue to work on E15 related activities. We’re working with the state trying to get an RVP waiver for the summer. We don’t want to lose momentum. If there was ever a time to declare an RVP emergency waiver it’s now, when we’re seeing these prices at the pump.”
A Bullish Story for North Dakota Farmers – The push to biomass-based fuel is ramping up demand for oilseeds. “I think we have great opportunities with biodiesel and renewable diesel; it is a bullish story that is going to be told for the next few years,” said Ryan Pederson, vice president, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association. At least two soybean crush projects are being developed in North Dakota and it becomes a question if the state will have enough soybeans to meet that demand. “That’s a great challenge to have; it is a problem of trying to add too value to a commodity in the state and that’s a good problem.” Farmers capture some of this value, but Pederson says the entire state will benefit from the development of new crush facilities.
$145 Billion in Disaster Losses in ’21 – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports 2021 was the third-costliest disaster year in history. North Dakota suffered the biggest economic hit with over $2.4 billion in losses. The bulk of that was due to drought damage. Analysis from American Farm Bureau Market Intelligence lists Texas, South Dakota and California as the other states with the most significant losses. The AFBF report concluded disaster assistance, such as WHIP+, are essential for farm-level stability and a secure domestic food supply.
Northern Plains Farmers Seek Answers on WHIP+ Program – Northern Plains farmers at the Commodity Classic asked USDA officials about the status of disaster aid. The first round of disaster aid payments for livestock producers who went through drought in 2020 and 2021 are on track to be distributed later this month. Phase one of the WHIP+ money will come later, likely in late April. Farm Service Agency Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs Scott Marlow said it hasn’t been as easy to expedite the $10 billion in disaster aid. “When you build off of existing program participation for crops, there are a lot of complexities around some of the restrictions and requirements in the legislation. We’re trying to make sure we can be as responsive and supportive as we can to farmers.”
WHIP+ Timeline Discussed – USDA’s Risk Management Agency Administrator Marcia Bunger and Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux joined the National Association of Wheat Growers for a Q&A session at the Commodity Classic. Minnesota Wheat Growers President Mike Gunderson asked Ducheneaux about the timeline for WHIP+ program payments. “We’re trying for early spring,” said Ducheneaux. Farmers are looking for more details because it has been five months since Congress approved $10 billion in disaster relief.
Crop Insurance Could Be Tweaked – After speaking with wheat growers at the Commodity Classic, Risk Management Agency Administrator Marcia Bunger said crop insurance sign-up needs fine tuning. “There are areas where dates need to be changed to try and accommodate farmers who are doing double crop.” Bunger sees crop insurance prices as a win for farmers. “With crop insurance coverages as they are with the strong prices, farmers are being able to insure for a profit. With the higher coverage, farmers can take advantage and market their grain based on their risk tolerance.”
NAWG Passes Resolution Inviting ND Grain Growers Back – The National Association of Wheat Growers board of directors passed a resolution inviting the North Dakota Grain Growers Association to rejoin the association ahead of the next farm bill. Newly-elected NAWG President Nicole Berg said the vote was unanimous. “We’ll be sending a letter in the next few days.” After the 2019 Commodity Classic, the North Dakota Grain Growers Association decided to leave NAWG. At the time, the NDGGA said NAWG was slow to respond to their concerns. In the last year, NAWG visited North Dakota to chat. “We had a facilitated session with North Dakota’s board and the executive committee. We had a list of things they wanted done and we checked them all off the list,” said Berg. “I’m proud we got these things done and I hope North Dakota comes back.” In response, the NDGGA told the Red River Farm Network they’ll be watching for NAWG’s letter and whatever decision is made require a board review before making a decision.
Canola Group Establishes Federal Priorities – The U.S Canola Association met virtually for its annual meeting. “We talked about things we support like appropriations,” said Barry Coleman, executive director, Northern Canola Growers Association. “We had some discussion about biotech trade and regulatory approvals.” The canola industry would also like to see a speedier response from the federal agencies. “We want to ensure there is a science-based means for determining pesticide levels.”
Regulatory Headaches – The regulations coming out of the Environmental Protection Agency are an ongoing frustration for many farmers, including Jamie Beyer of Wheaton, Minnesota. “For those of us in the western part of the state, WOTUS (Waters of the United States) is a big concern for us; we want to make sure we can make improvements on the farm and keep our tiling going.” EPA’s regulation of crop protection tools includes mitigation efforts where certain products are banned from use in counties with an endangered species designation. “We found there could be some faulty information to even use as justification for a county-wide ban and we want the most up-to-date science is utilized and not some murky government process.” Beyer is a past MSGA president and an American Soybean Association director.
G7 Ag Ministers Discuss Ukraine – Before Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s address at Commodity Classic on Friday, he joined the other G7 agriculture ministers virtually to discuss Ukraine. “We had a chance to hear from the Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Leshchenko. He was obviously in a bunker, surrounded by sand bags and I thought to myself what incredible courage it takes for him to ask us for support.” Vilsack says Ukraine’s farmers want to plant this spring and summer, but more fuel is needed. “Fuel is now being used in military applications would have been used in farming applications. Leshchenko requested, primarily from European countries, additional fuel supplies and he put us on notice.”
Crop Production in a War Zone – Ukraine’s state-run railroad is trying to fill the void from the closure of Black Sea ports. Ukrainian railways may deliver grain to border areas where it could go to ports. “I don’t know how excited I’d be to be a buyer of that product, but I’m sure there are countries that would risk it to make those purchases,” said Luke Swenson, market analyst, The Money Farm. Ukrainian crop production is another consideration. “They run basically the same crop schedule we do and we are about one month from planting wheat and then, corn production. It will take time for them to work out the logistics of handling a crop. I’m not sure if they can realistically make that happen.”
Fertilizer Markets Concerned About Russia-Ukraine War – Fertilizer prices continue to climb, partly in response to Russia and Ukraine’s war. StoneX Group Director of Fertilizer Josh Linville says the markets are nervous. “All eyes are on European natural gas prices that are going higher, along with crude oil futures. There’s fear that while European producers have been able to sustain higher input prices and if they lose the flow of natural gas, things get out of hand.” Linville believes governments will intervene to make sure fertilizer production continues for food security reasons.
Emergency Relief Introduced – A bill introduced in Congress on Friday would create emergency waivers for duties levied on fertilizers by the U.S. International Trade Commission. This proposal creates a pathway to establish a waiver for anti-dumping duties for a year if there is an emergency situation.
USDA to Invest in Fertilizer Production – To address rising costs, USDA announced it will support domestic fertilizer production. USDA will make available $250 million through a new grant program.
Argentina Tries to Hold Onto Soybean Supplies – Argentina’s drought is having a major impact on their soybean crop. Over the weekend, Argentina’s agricultural ministry suspended soybean oil and meal export registrations. Now, export taxes will be raised for the world’s largest exporter of soybean meal and oil.
Smaller South American Soybean Production Brings Demand to U.S. – South America’s soybean production outlook is shifting, due to dry conditions. U.S. Soybean Export Council CEO Jim Sutter says 10 and 20 percent of the crop soybean crop has been lost. “That situation is shifting demand back, counter-seasonally to the United States, this time of the year. Normally, our main shipments move between October and March. Then, South America kicks in for shipments the other half of the year,” says Sutter. “What we’re seeing is more buyers coming back to the U.S., given the expectation for lower production levels. Fortunately, we had a record crop last year in the U.S. It will be interesting to see what’s planted in 2022.” For the current 2021-22 marketing year, Sutter says the outlook for U.S. soybean exports remains strong. “We’re setting up to see strong exports in the next year as well.”
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – In this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets, Martinson Ag Risk Management President Randy Martinson says soybean demand is the big story in the markets. Since the beginning of the year to March 3, the U.S. sold 7.6 million metric tons of soybeans and almost all of it being sold to China or unknown destinations. “That’s 20 percent above 2011’s record and a 50 percent increase from last year. U.S. soybeans are at a cheaper price compared to South America. It’s also helping support new crop prices. We can’t lose new crop soybean acres. With higher soybean prices, corn has to stay strong to compete for acres.” Wheat markets are not as hot as the week begins.
Few Surprises in Supply/Demand Report – USDA’s March World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate contained no corn or soybean surprises. 2021/22 U.S. corn ending stocks are estimated at 1.44 billion bushels, down from 1.54 billion in February and in-line with trade estimates. Soybean ending stocks are estimated at 285 million bushels, down from 325 million in February. In the middle of pre-report trade estimates. U.S. wheat ending stocks of 653 million bushels did surprise traders and are 5 million bushels more than February’s estimate of 648 million bushels.
Soybean Acreage May Shift – With the March supply and demand report behind us, the market will begin to focus on acres. Roy E. Abbott Futures market analyst Ron McDaniel thinks soybean acres will be lost. “I personally think the acreage for beans is going to be disappointing for what we need. We did start to hear in Canada that there’s some flow back toward wheat acres at the expense of oats, some oilseed, and legumes. The wheat price did get to the point where it’s starting to buy a few acres.”
Global Trade is Down – USDA acknowledged the Russia/Ukraine war by reducing Ukrainian exports by four million tons in Wednesday’s report. “It’s down from 24 to 20 million tons,” said Brian Basting, Advance Trading. “And they actually did reduce Russia’s exports for this crop year by three million tons from 35 to 32 million tons. “That was partly offset by an increase in exports in Australia where a record crop was harvested. Basting says world trade is down from last month. “Many countries are going to reduce their wheat consumption due to higher prices. I try to remind everyone that the biggest impact will be experienced with this 2022-2023 crop year. That’s going to be a direct reflection of the Black Sea export availability and that’s a complete unknown at this point.”
March CONAB Lowers Soybean Production – Brazil’s crop supply agency CONAB held corn production steady and lowered soybean production in their March production estimates. CONAB says Brazil’s farmers will produce 122.8 million metric tons of soybeans this year. That is down 2.7 million tonnes from the February estimate. USDA is currently estimating Brazil’s soybean production at 127 million tonnes. CONAB estimates corn production at 112.3 million tonnes, unchanged from February. USDA is currently at 114 million metric tons.
Fielding Questions – In the latest RRFN and AgCountry Farm Credit Services Fielding Questions episode, AgCountry Market Vice President Ron Haugen talks about inflation. “This year, we’re getting hit with chemical and fertilizer expenses higher than previous years. Those continue to increase, but all of our customers try to trim expenses where they can,” says Haugen. “Our customers, when you take the period we’ve gone through leading up to this, it was tough to turn a profit. In 2020 and 2021, they were able to make some profit, but in 2022, we’re seeing high prices. On the other side, we’re seeing high input costs as well. A farmer’s net return could be less than the previous two years.” Listen to this episode.
Drought Intensifies – More than 61 percent of the United States is in some classification of drought. That’s the largest percentage of the country in some form of drought since 2012. The drought monitor jumped from 55 percent to 61 percent in the past month.
Dry Bean Scene – In this week’s Dry Bean Scene, we preview BeanCon22 with Kevin Regan, Northarvest’s delegate to the United States Dry Bean Council. The Dry Bean Scene is sponsored by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
RRFN to Report from the International Sugar Beet Institute – The International Sugar Beet Institute brings together sugarbeet growers and the allied industry Wednesday and Thursday in Grand Forks. Speakers include Luther Markwart from the American Sugarbeet Growers Association and American Sugar Alliance economist Rob Johansson. The latest equipment and technology will also be on display. Listen for special ISBI coverage on the Red River Farm Network, brought to you by Amity Technology.
Consumer Prices Skyrocket – U.S. inflation climbed to 7.9 percent compared to a year earlier in February, which is the highest in 40 years. The Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index is at its highest rate since 1982 when the annual inflation rate was at 8.4 percent. Skyrocketing gasoline prices, commodity prices and increasing food prices are pushing inflation higher which economists say could prompt the Federal Reserve to be even more aggressive is raising interest rates.
SD Corn Comments – Spring is getting closer. It’s a time to be watching for pollinators, an important part of production agriculture. Hear more in the latest South Dakota Corn Comments.
ARC/PLC Deadline Approaches – The ARC-PLC enrollment and crop insurance deadline is Tuesday. “We’re just trying to get our producers in and explain how you go through the quote for 2022 and discuss how to best protect their assets for the growing season,” said Reed Ihry, crop insurance agent, Ihry Insurance Agency. The market is a big mystery right now with so much volatility caused by outside conflict. “What we do know is that our average prices are up substantially from normal. Wheat is at $9.19, corn is at $5.90, beans are at $14.43. It’s a little bit of a sticker-shock to an extent.” There are supplemental coverage options to add to cover market volatility.
Another Stopgap Spending Bill – On a 68-to-31 vote the U.S. Senate passed the House version of a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package to keep the government funded through September. The bill provides $13.6 billion in supplemental appropriations to address the crisis in Ukraine.
High Priced Feed Makes High Priced Cattle – Last summer’s drought brought lower supplies of feed across the Upper Midwest. This resulted in an earlier-than-normal feeder cattle run. “There’s been huge numbers of feeder cattle moving from January to now.,” said Kevin Larson, owner, Aberdeen Livestock. “It’s going to be interesting to see when we get into April. I think we’re going to be short numbers around the country.” The feeder cattle market was strong until the recent corn rally. “That knocked the cattle back. We had mid $140 fats and now we’re in the upper $130 for no reason when the market is short of fat cattle.” Larson is still seeing cattle going to grass that are brining over $2 per pound.
Bull Market is an Improvement Over One Year Ago – Livestock auctioneer Seth Weishaar is happy with how the bull sales have gone well this season. “There’s been a jump from a year ago. I think there’s a lot of optimism in the market.” Many ranches have downsized the size of their herds, but says demand is still good. “Maybe as you get further west there may be a few less numbers being sold, but a lot of people didn’t have the carryover bulls that they had a year ago either.” Weishaar’s auction business is based at Sentinel Butte, North Dakota.
Evaluating Condition Before Turnout – For a successful breeding season, ranchers should make sure their bulls are in the right condition before turnout. NDSU Extension Livestock Systems Specialist Janna Block says bulls should have a body condition score between a five and a six. “The amount of weight that a bull is going to lose over a breeding season is dependent on the length of the season and the ration. A little bit of extra condition is okay.” Block warns about transitioning bulls over to a new diet after purchase. “A lot of times, bulls just get thrown some hay so they might not be transitioned correctly off a highly concentrated diet. Bulls can crash if they’re not transitioned correctly.”
Pork Checkoff Rate to be Lowered – Effective January 1, 2023, the mandatory national pork checkoff rate will be lowered from 40 cents per $100 of value to 35 cents per $100. Delegates to the Pork Industry Forum approved the 12.5 percent rate reduction.
Action in Both Chambers for MN Drought Relief – The Minnesota House has overwhelmingly passed a drought assistance bill that includes support for agriculture and DNR projects. An agriculture-only version moved through the Minnesota Senate Agriculture Committee. It provides $6.5 million for livestock and specialty crop grants and $1.5 million in Rural Finance Authority drought assistance loans. State lawmakers and Governor Tim Walz began the drought relief discussion late last summer with hopes of passage during a special session, but that never materialized.
MN Bill Banning Use of Plastic-Coated Pesticides Introduced – A bill banning the sale and use of pesticides and fertilizers coated in plastic was introduced in the Minnesota House by South St. Paul Representative Rick Hansen. Hansen says the plastic coating remains are harmful to the environment. “Healthy soils are not healthy when they’re littered with plastic. There are plastic-coated particles that are fertilizers or pesticides that are applied for slow release, but after the active ingredient is gone, that plastic stays in the soil.” Representative Paul Anderson opposes the ban and would be in favor of more research studying the issue. “Here we go again with a major restriction being imposed on production agriculture. Maybe a study would be more appropriate.”
Grand Forks Residents Seek City-Wide Vote for Corn Wet Mill – Grand Forks, North Dakota residents are petitioning for a city-wide vote on the FuFeng Group’s proposed corn wet mill. A Facebook group called the GF Community Awareness of FuFeng Project shows has more than 700 community members. In the group, there are mentions of increased property tax concerns, chemicals and profits from the plant not staying in Grand Forks. The petitioners have until Monday, March 21 to get petition signatures. The Grand Forks City Council has a joint development agreement in place with the FuFeng Group.
Support Remains for Value-Added Ag Opportunities – The North Dakota Corn Growers Association is supportive of value-added agriculture opportunities in the state, including the proposed corn wet mill in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Gilby farmer and NDCGA board member Greg Amundson says the proposed corn wet mill remains a local issue. “There’s a fair amount of push back. My name is getting thrown around out there as trying to rally the troops,” says Amundson. “We support value-added agriculture, but as far as community pushback, it may be a small minority, but they’re making a big stink about it.” Amundson says there are still unknowns about the proposed project. “It’s not a make it or break it program. If it makes it, that’s great news, but if it doesn’t it will be ok.”
Well Grounded – Episode 10 – Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss says it’s important for farmers to be mindful of land values. “We do a monthly survey of bankers in 10 states and they’re telling us loud and clear farmland prices are growing at the fastest pace we’ve recorded since we began the survey in 2006. We’re seeing some of the best numbers ever.” Well Grounded is a monthly podcast hosted by Jayson Menke of Acres & Shares and Randy Koenen of the Red River Farm Network. Hear the latest episode.
Acreage Mix Seems to Change Week-by-Week – USDA’s Prospective Plantings Report at the end of the month will provide insight into the acreage mix for the season ahead. NK Seed Soybean Product Manager Eric Miller says it has been a moving target. “I feel like it changes every week and it has been a volatile market to say the least,” says Miller. “In general, it feels like a few more soybean acres were on the way, but fertilizer and global markets have changed so I’m not sure how that will land.” The performance of early-maturity soybeans has improved dramatically in the past ten years and that has resulted in the expansion of acreage in northern Minnesota and the Dakotas. “NK is the fastest growing seed brand in the U.S. and we are building a production plan to capture the growth we’re seeing in Minnesota and the Dakotas in 2022 and 2023.”
Gustafson Predicts Little Change in Acreage Mix – Full Circle Ag-Britton agronomy location manager Joe Gustafson says many farmers prepaid for their fertilizer. “Everybody did everything they could. A lot of our growers took advantage of the pricing that was available last fall. I think guys are going to be in a little better shape than they think.” Gustafson says even with the market volatility, he anticipates farmers will continue with their typical rotation. “It seems like every year when there’s something out there that will cause a change there’s a lot of talk but at the end of the day, there seems to be little change in the rotation.” The one curveball would be prevent plant. “I wouldn’t anticipate a lot of mud on the planters this year. I don’t think guys are going to be pushing into marginal ground; they’re going to be really efficient with their inputs this year.”
Technology Usage Continues to Ramp Up – Poppel Family Farms and Technology owner Kevin Poppel spoke at the Full Circle Ag Summit at Britton, South Dakota. “Most farmers are using technology now and it’s really driven our business, but I do think there’s a social aspect that’s going to change the speed and scope of the technology that we use.” Technology will only accelerate. “Today’s farming is going to look completely different when my children take over the operation.”
Management Options Assist in Corn Resistance – Another Successful Farming webinar took place Wednesday. University of Minnesota Extension Entomologist Ken Ostlie kicked it off by discussing different management options and their varying solutions. “If we’re talking about soils and insecticides, they aren’t going to give us a good kill so they’re not good at managing resistance. They are good at reducing lodging and maintain harvestability. In contrast with BT corn, you’re getting very good protection of the root system and in a susceptible situation it could kill a population. But with varying degrees of resistance out there on the landscape, it’s hard to predict what kind of kill you’re going to get.” Ostlie says crop rotation is just one tool to help improve soil health. “Other aspects of corn production include hybrids themselves in terms of their root architecture and ability to tolerate feeding when they’re planted.”
BASF and Bosch Introduce the Smart Sprayer Concept – Two German companies, BASF and Bosch, have a joint venture that combines artificial intelligence and autonomous agriculture. The two firms have been working together since 2016 and formed a joint venture last year. The first result of that effort is a smart sprayer that uses real-time automated weed identification and management. In a matter of a millisecond, the smart sprayer will detect weeds and spot apply the herbicide. “The smart sprayer piece is about precision,” said Greg Kruger, senior agronomist, xarvio digital farming. “Instead of talking about making an application across an entire acre, it is now thinking about where we need to get that product and how do we need to place it so we get the right product, right place, right time and right rate.” One smart sprayer was tested this past year in the U.S. and now “we’ll have a couple machines that are going to be spread out across the Midwest this year.” No specifics were given, but BASF experts said there would be a return on investment with the smart sprayer within two-to-four years.
Preventing Tar Spot Spread – Tar Spot is a rising corn disease threat across the Midwest. BASF Technical Service Representative Vince Davis says tar spot is hard to identify and effects aren’t seen until flowering. “It comes in the crop as a very inconspicuous black dot. Early on in the scouting process it can mimic fly poop so if you see it you want to try to wipe it. If it wipes off easily, it’s probably not tar spot.” Fungicides can help. “Our product at BASF shows a lot longer residual against not only tar spot but with other common fungicide diseases like grey leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight. etcetera.”
ND Agricultural Products Utilization Council Approves Projects – The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Council (APUC) says $598.000 in awards funding was approved for nine projects at its February meeting. Included in the funding was $100,000 to Agassiz Sustainable LLC to assist in building a vertically integrated wheat straw pulping a molding operation converting wheat straw into compostable containers and $110,000 awarded to Tharaldson Ethanol for engineering services to produce purified corn oil to be used in renewable diesel.
Finstad Files for Congressional Race – Minnesota’s former USDA Rural Development Director Brad Finstad is running for Congress. Finstad hopes to succeed First District Representative Jim Hagedorn, who passed away last month. Finstad served six years in the state legislature and was CEO of the Center for Rural Policy and Development for nine years. In October, Finstad was named the executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. The primary election will be held in May and a special election will be in August.
Moore Announces Retirement from AFBF – American Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President Dale Moore announced his intent to retire in 2022 after four decades serving as an agricultural leader in Washington, D.C. Before joining the Farm Bureau staff in 2011, Moore spent time as the chief of staff at USDA, executive director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and as a legislative director for the House Agriculture Committee. AFBF President Zippy Duvall congratulated Moore on his work on behalf of farmers and ranchers throughout his career.
USSEC Seats Board of Directors – The U.S. Soybean Export Council has announced its 15 board representatives for 2022-2023. From the region, participants include Joel Schreurs of Minnesota, Monte Peterson of North Dakota, Darren Kadlec of North Dakota, Mike McCrainie of South Dakota and Dawn Scheier of South Dakota.
AURI Update – AURI is hosting their fourth annual New Uses Forum on March 23 and 24, 2022. The event will focus on investment and support, finance and investing and sustainable protein. Hear more in the latest AURI Update.
Forseth Named Director of Animal Health – The National Pork Producers Council has hired Anna Forseth for the newly created position of director of animal health. The position will focus on foreign animal disease prevention and preparedness. Originally from Montana, Forseth grew up on her family’s farrow-to-finish hog operation. Prior to joining NPPC, she was a program veterinarian for the Montana Department of Livestock.
Ostlie Appointed NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center Director – Mike Ostlie has been appointed director of the North Dakota State University Carrington Research Extension Center. Ostlie has been a research agronomist at CREC since 2012. The Carrington Research Center is one of seven REC’s that are part of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station.
Casey Named Ag Experiment Station Associate Director – Frank Casey has been named associate director of the North Dakota Agricultural Experimental Station on NDSU’s main campus. Casey was previously appointed to serve a three-year, partial appointment as associate director for NDAES in 2019 while he continued his role as director of the NDSU School of Natural Resource Science. Casey will assume the associate director role, full-time, while an interim director for his previous role gets filled.
Johnson Awarded Distinguished Leadership Award – North Dakota Soybean Growers Association Executive Director Nancy Johnson was awarded the American Soybean Association’s Distinguished Leadership Award during the Commodity Classic. This award recognizes a grower or association staff member dedicated to achieving successes to benefit soybean growers. Johnson’s been focused on good communication, enhancing engagement and vision for the North Dakota soybean industry for the past eight years. “It was really amazing to be nominated by a very busy board. This is humbling,” said Johnson.
American Soybean Association Recognizes Worth – Lake Benton, Minnesota farmer Bob Worth received the American Soybean Association’s Outstanding State Volunteer Award at the Commodity Classic. This award recognizes dedication and contributions of volunteers with at least three years of service to the soybean industry. Worth is active on the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and previously served as an ASA director and vice president.
The Pinnacle Award Goes to John Gordley – Agricultural lobbyist John Gordley received the American Soybean Association’s Pinnacle award last week at the Commodity Classic. Gordley has a lobbying firm called Gordley and Associates and has supported the ASA with trade policy, the farm bill and biotechnology.
Dierks Inducted into National Pork Hall of Fame – Neil Dierks was inducted into the National Pork Industry Hall for Fame for his 40 years of services to U.S. pork producers. Dierks served 20 years as CEO of the National Pork Producers Council before retiring in December of last year.
Frankfurt, SD Couple Recognized for Conservation Efforts – A farming couple from Frankfort, South Dakota are the regional winners of the American Soybean Association’s Conservation Legacy Award. Brian and Jamie Johnson have raised crops and cattle for 15 years. They rotate corn, soybeans, small grains and plant cover crops to increase water infiltration, provide soil nutrients and cattle feed. The Johnsons were recognized during the Commodity Classic.
Tande Honored at All-Breeds Dairy Convention – The Minnesota Purebred Dairy Cattle Association presented Larry Tande with its All-Breeds Distinguished Service Award. Tande is a past president of the Holstein Association USA and is an internationally known dairy cattle judge.
Last Week’s Trivia- Mike Krzyewski has coached Duke Blue Devils for the past 41 years. Marla Thissen of Litchfield Chamber wins our weekly trivia challenge. Justin Golden of Western Consolidated Cooperative, Erin Nash of National Association of Farm Broadcasting, Kevin Praska of Stone’s Mobile Radio and Jacob Downing of Cargill earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ list rounds out with Lyle Orwig of Certified Ag Dealer, Troy Paplow of Graff Feedlots, Ron Dvergsten of Northland FBM, Mike Trosen of Meadowland Farmers Cooperative, Jared Oachs of AgCountry Farm Credit Services, retired Drayton farmer Mike Tungseth, Val Dolcini of Syngenta, Kevin Schulz of Dakota Farmer/Nebraska Farmer, Pisek farmer Ernie Barta, Shell Valley farmer Steve Grenier, Nick Sinner of Northern Crops Institute, Mark Bernard of Agro-Economics, Jim Altringer of CHS Dakota Plains Ag, retired Bayer territory lead Mark Haugland and Bob Lebacken of RML Trading.
This Week’s Trivia- What breakfast cereal includes colored marshmallows in the shape of hearts, stars, horseshoes and clovers? Hint: They’re magically delicious. Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|RRFN Upcoming Events|
|March 15||Noxious Weeds Task Force Meeting - Bismarck, ND|
|March 16 - March 17||International Sugarbeet Institute - Grand Forks, ND|
|March 16||Regional Crop Trade School - Alexandria, MN|
|March 16||NDSU Mental Health First Aid Seminar - Devils Lake, ND|
|March 16||Minnesota Ag Talent & Workforce Roundtable - Bloomington, MN|
|March 17||NDSU Mental Health First Aid Seminar - Bottineau, ND|
|March 17||NDSU Soybean Symposium - Fargo ND|
|March 18 - March 20||Minnesota Bison Association Spring Education Conference - Baldwin|
|March 22||NDSU Dry Bean Getting-It-Right Meeting - Virtual|
|March 22 - March 23||RRWMB/FDRWG Joint Water Conference - Moorhead, MN|
|March 22||Ag Day Gala - Eden Prairie, MN|
|March 29||Premium Ag Solutions Ag Day - Hiterdahl, MN|
|March 29 - March 31||Central Plains Dairy Expo - Sioux Falls, SD|
|March 30||Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Training Session - Valley City, ND|
|March 31||Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Training Session - Devils Lake, 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.