A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, May 13, 2019
All Eyes Will be on Today’s Planting Progress Report- It may be mid-May, but only limited planting is complete. The delays are being seen beyond the Northern Cornbelt. The trade hasn’t paid much attention to the slow planting progress to this point, but the weather forecast should be top-of-mind this week. In addition to the latest news on planting, the Red River Farm Network is in Washington, D.C. this week. Time will be spent on Capitol Hill and at USDA.
Tariffs Ramp Up – On Friday morning, the United States bumped punitive tariffs on Chinese products from ten percent to 25 percent. China has promised to retaliate, but has not taken any action at this point. White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow told Fox News China has invited U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Beijing to resume negotiations. President Trump and Chinese President Xi are expected to meet during the G-20 summit next month in Japan.
Trump Tweets on Trade – President Donald Trump was active on Twitter this weekend, saying the negotiations with China are right where he wants them to be. In Trump’s words, the government will match or better the money that China won’t be spending with U.S. farmers and distribute food to starving people around the world. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he is working on a plan to boost domestic purchases of U.S. farm products and submit it to the president within “a few days to a couple of weeks.” A timeline for when commodities would be purchased was not announced.
Additional Trade Support Being Discussed for U.S. Farmers – Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Glyndon, Minnesota Thursday to discuss trade with farmers. He commented on the U.S. China trade agreements, saying he and President Trump are hopeful for an agreement. Pence said things have to change in the relationship with China. “The president said we’re hoping they’re coming to make a deal. That would have an immediate impact on the need for additional support for subsidies for American farmers,” says Pence. “Make no mistake about it, we’ve had preliminary discussions in the White House for additional support for farmers if this impasse with China continues.”
Peterson Responds to Pence’s Call for USMCA Vote – In response to Vice President Mike Pence’s call on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement to the floor for a vote soon, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson said straightforward hurdles remain before lawmakers can pass an agreement. The administration needs to first submit it to the House to be considered. Peterson also said passing the USMCA will do little to stem losses Minnesota farmers are suffering in the trade war with China, because the administration has yet to give assurances the trade war with Canada and Mexico would end, even if USMCA is passed. Read the full statement. Pence visited Peterson’s congressional district in Minnesota to talk to farmers about the USMCA last week.
Sharing the Story of Trade – The Minnesota Farm Bureau helped coordinate Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Glyndon, Minnesota. According to MFBF President Kevin Paap, the goal was to emphasize the importance of export markets to agriculture. “Once you lose a market, it is really hard to get it back. We need that 96 percent of the people in the world that don’t live in the United States; we want that access.” Farm Bureau board member Carolyn Olson says Pence heard from a diverse group. “We had farmers that raise specialty crops, like myself to farmers that grow corn, soybeans and livestock; organic and conventional, it was really a good snapshot of Farm Bureau membership.”
Glyndon Farm Hosts the Vice President – R & J Johnson Farms owner Ray Johnson had a chance to speak one-on-one with Vice President Pence. Johnson brought attention to the difficult farm economy. “If we don’t get this turned around and corrected soon, we’ll see more individuals giving up,” said Johnson. “When you can’t even put a budget together without inputs being higher than revenue, it is very discouraging.”
Dry Bean Scene – Vice President Mike Pence met with farmers in rural Glyndon, Minnesota. Dry beans were apart of the conversation, as Borup farmer Mark Harless had the opportunity to speak with Pence. Get the details in the Dry Bean Scene, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
Lifeboat Needed to Keep Farmers Afloat – With the trade war continuing between the U.S. and China, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said damage has been done to the export markets and a fundamental shift in the economic model for agriculture is needed. In the meantime, Johnson said farmers and ranchers are in “desperate need of a lifeboat to keep them afloat.” The statement says that could be in the form of additional Market Facilitation Program payments or some other type of economic disaster assistance.
Grain Exports Have Impact on General Economy – A new study commissioned by the U.S. Grains Council and National Corn Growers Association says the total economic impact of U.S. grain exports was $55 billion and supported 271,000 jobs in 2016. Informa Agribusiness Consulting did the research, focusing on exports of corn, sorghum, ethanol, dried distiller’s grain, corn gluten feed and meal.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – Advance Trading risk management advisor Tommy Grisafi says planting delays and the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China are negatives for the market. On the positive side of the ledger, there is “meat on the bone” for the deferred corn contracts. Find out more in this edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets.
ND Grain Growers Association to Leave National Association of Wheat Growers – The North Dakota Grain Growers Association has decided to leave the National Association of Wheat Growers, effective July 1. The group sent a letter to NAWG and notified members Tuesday morning. President Jeff Mertz told the Red River Farm Network earlier this year the association is slow to move if an individual state has a challenge. The groups have been negotiating in the past two months. “NAWG came up to North Dakota, the executive team, and we sat down with a facilitator and reviewed things we thought needed to be done. They also had issues they brought to our attention,” explains Mertz. “One of our biggest reasons is representation.” It’s not a decision they’ve made lightly, according to Mertz. The NDGGA believes their investment could be better served by expanding lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. and farmer education in the state.
NAWG Responds to NDGGA’s Resignation – The North Dakota Grain Growers Association wants the National Association of Wheat Growers to be more proactive on policy issues, like wetlands and crop insurance. In 2008, NDGGA had the ability to get a quality adjustment from RMA. All they needed was a letter from NAWG. They couldn’t get the association to give them a letter of support. National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule says this crop insurance issue wasn’t presented to him until after the 2019 Commodity Classic. “I looked at the situation, a quality adjustment on crop insurance, and realized we fixed that in the 2018 Farm Bill. I was confused as to why that was the policy issue they’ve hitched their wagon to.” Goule says NAWG has learned something from this situation and there’s always a standing invitation for the NDGGA to re-join the organization. Listen to the full story.
Dairy Payment Triggered for March – As expected, USDA reports a payment for March has been triggered under the new Dairy Margin Coverage program. The Farm Service Agency won’t begin signup until next month, but payments under certain coverage levels are already scheduled to be made for the months of January, February and March.
Lawmakers Upset with EPA Over Small Refinery Waivers – Thirty-five members of Congress have called on the EPA to end the practice of granting small refinery exemptions for large or unqualified refineries. Fifty-four exemption requests have been granted since President Trump took office without a single denial. The bipartisan letter said that is “a betrayal to rural communities” and threatens the farm sector. The letter was signed by Minnesota Representatives Collin Peterson, Angie Craig and Jim Hagedorn; North Dakota Congressman Kelly Armstrong and South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson.
HOS and ELD Bill Introduced – Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson has joined with Indiana Republican Greg Pence to introduce legislation to address the transportation of livestock and other perishable ag products. The bill directs the Transportation Department to examine the hours-of-service and electronic logging device rules and the impact on farmers and ag haulers.
Crop Watch – Farmers have been able to make planting progress over the last week. However, at Niagara, North Dakota, farmer Randy Schaley hadn’t turned a wheel yet as of Tuesday. “We need some sunshine and heat to help dry things out. Twenty-five to 30 degrees in the morning during May is pretty chilly.” In the Emerado and Northwood areas, Integrated Ag Services owner Jared Hagert has been moving some seed around. “It’s pretty damp here yet. Fields with drain tile will be the first to be put in,” says Hagert. “Just mainly fertilizer has been spread.” Crop Watch is brought to you by AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Crary Industries and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council. Listen to the segment.
Canola Minute – The Canola Minute is made possible by the Northern Canola Growers Association. It’s been a dry spring so far for board member Brian Aalund, who farms at Hazen, North Dakota, and canola is going in the ground. Hear more in this week’s update.
Pioneer Agronomy Update from the McCoy Farm – This edition of the Pioneer Agronomy Update comes from the McCoy Farm at Larimore, North Dakota. “In the sandier areas, farmers are moving,” says Pioneer Seed representative Dennis McCoy. “While most of the ground looks dry on top, it is very sticky and muddy below. Tuesday morning the soil temperature was still about 35 degrees, so we have a ways to go.” With a slow start to planting, Pioneer field agronomist Zach Fore says weed control will be key. “One key principal is to start with a clean seed bed. There is also more emphasis on using pre-emergence products.” Watch the Facebook video update here.
Have a Plan for Fertilizer Application – With fertilizer supply challenges this spring, NDSU Extension cereal agronomist Joel Ransom advises farmers plant corn first rather than waiting for nitrogen application. “Whether it’s anhydrous between the rows, or whether they’ll come back with urea or UAN, farmers need a plan for that.” Ransom says nitrogen can go on any time. However, if farmers need to apply phosphorus, the options for planting will be limited. “Phosphorus is a little more tricky. If a farmer has a significant need for phosphorus this year, then waiting for the fertilizer to go down may be a good strategy.”
Walz Adjusts Hours-of-Service Regs When Hauling Fertilizer – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has signed an executive order giving a temporary exemption from the hours-of-service rules for commercial drivers hauling anhydrous ammonia or other fertilizers to state farmers. Supply shortages and the delayed planting season are cited as the reasons for the decision.
Check for Winterkill, Injury in Alfalfa – Farmers are reporting varying levels of winterkill in alfalfa. University of Minnesota Extension crops educator Jared Goplen says the worst cases are in the central part of the state, east towards Wisconsin. A larger part of Minnesota is dealing with spotty alfalfa stands. “A lot of fields had water standing for a month or two, so alfalfa in those areas has died,” says Goplen. “The other issue is on hilltops where there was poor snow cover.” When scouting alfalfa fields, Goplen recommends looking at both good and bad areas. The crop could be just slower to develop in some cases. “Dig up plants and look at the roots. We’re aiming for 55 stems per square foot or more with stands to meet maximum production.” Additional resources for assessment can be found here.
USDA Releases Crop Production Estimates – In the May USDA’s Crop Production report, the 2019/20 U.S. wheat crop is projected at 1.89 million bushels, an increase of less than one percent from a year ago. The all-wheat yield is projected at 48.6 bushels per acre, an increase of one bushel from last year. The U.S. corn crop is projected at 15 billion bushels, an increase from last year and the second largest on record behind 2016/17. USDA is projecting a corn yield of 176 bushels/acre. The U.S. soybean crop is projected at 4.15 million bushels, down 394 million from last year’s record crop.
World Stocks Lower for Corn and Wheat, Higher for Beans – The 2018/19 world corn ending stocks are estimated at 326 million metric tons, down from 340 million one year ago. According to USDA, world soybean carryout is anticipated at 113 million tonnes, up from 99 million last year. World wheat carryout is projected at 275 million tonnes, down from 382 million tonnes last year. World 2019/20 corn ending stocks are expected to total 314.7 million tonnes. World new crop soybean ending stocks are estimated at 113.2 million tonnes, and new crop world wheat ending stocks are estimated at 293 million tonnes.
USDA Report Confirms Large Grain Supplies – The May USDA Supply and Demand Report confirmed large U.S. and global supplies of grain. Stewart-Peterson Senior Market Advisor John Heinberg says large supplies seem to be a trend in 2019. “Looking at the carryout number on corn going up more, close to 2.1 billion bushels. A big number that caught my eye was next year’s early estimates going back into 2.4 billion bushels of carryout.” Soybeans made adjustments on demand. “We’re short of the billion bushel for this year’s beans to 995 million bushels,” says Heinberg. “The heavy supplies continue to weigh on the market.”
A Corn and Soy Boost for South America – USDA bumped Argentina’s corn production in the May Supply and Demand report from April estimate of 48.2 to 49 million tonnes. Brazil’s corn production increased from 96.6 million tonnes to 100 million tonnes. Brazil’s soybean production is estimated at 117 million tonnes, unchanged from the April estimate. USDA raised the Argentine soybean production one million tonnes to 56 million tonnes from the April estimate.
All Eyes on Monday’s Crop Progress Report – With the USDA’s May Supply and Demand report out of the way, Martinson Ag Risk Management President Randy Martinson says weather will be a big focus for traders. “Monday will be an important number from the crop progress report,” says Martinson.”There isn’t much planting activity in South Dakota and parts of Minnesota. It’s basically going to give us about two weeks to get this crop in.”
The Sugarbeet Report – Some sugarbeet planting progress is being made. Accordng to SESVanderHave commercial sugarbeet salesman Nick Revier, says American Crystal acres are about 28 percent planted. The Sugarbeet Report is made possible by SESVanderHave, Syngenta, Premium Ag Solutions, H&S Manufacturing and Corteva Agriscience. Listen here.
WestBred Wheat Report – On-farm testing is a great way to make better decisions for the future of your own farm. In this week’s WestBred Wheat Report, Technical Product Manager Grant Mehring says seeding rate is just one factor. Listen to the update.
Weed Management Strategies: Episode Eight – In the eighth episode of Weed Management Strategies, University of Illinois Associate Professor Aaron Hager takes a closer look at waterhemp resistance to Group 15 herbicides. Presented by the North Dakota Soybean Council, Weed Management Strategies is a ten-part series exploring best management practices and the tools to help farmers take care of herbicide resistant weeds. Listen to the podcast here, on iTunes or download a podcast app on Google Play.
Gray Wolf Depredation Remains an Issue for Minnesota – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a rule to remove the gray wolf from Endangered Species Act protection. Minnesota Farm Bureau Director of Public Policy Amber Glaeser says wolf depredation remains an issue for the state’s livestock producers. “It is am emotional issue, but what’s important to remember is the Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to return the wolf to state management,” says Glaeser. “We’re really focusing on one step at a time.” Currently there are more than 2,600 gray wolves in Minnesota, which exceeds the population goal set by the recovery plan by more than 1,000 wolves. Glaeser says the plans for removal is really a success story. “The ESA protection did it’s job. The gray wolf is thriving now in Minnesota.” A public comment period on the proposed rule is open until May 14. Listen to the story.
MFBF Update – It’s a busy time of year in St. Paul as the legislative session progresses. According to Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation Associate Director of Public Policy Josie Lonetti, lawmakers have just over two short weeks to finish the state budget. Listen to more in the MFBF Update, made possible by the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation.
Legislative Session Nearing an End – Budget negotiations between Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and legislative leaders will likely resume today. That’s after a 90 minute session last night. Lawmakers have another week to go before the end of the session and huge differences can be found in the proposed budgets from both sides of the aisle.
MN Farmer Explains Tough Times to House Ag Committee – The House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management heard testimony on the state of the farm economy last Thursday. Northfield, Minnesota farmer Mike Peterson testified before the committee. “With the continuing slump in commodity prices, financial stress continues to grow. Farm debt is at an all time high. Most farmers I know have burned through their equity they built up the good years,” explained Peterson. “We are now seeing an increase in Chapter 12 bankruptcies in Minnesota. Unless we get our markets back and prices rebound, I think many farmers will be forced out of business.” Peterson also said input costs have not turned lower as they have in other time of low commodity prices.
MFU Minute – Budget discussions are coming along in St. Paul during the legislative session. Minnesota Farmers Union Government Relations Director Stu Lourey is still hopeful a compromise can be reached. Hear more in the MFU Minute, made possible by the Minnesota Farmers Union.
Equity Drive Continues for Spiritwood, ND Soy Crush Plant – In a series of meetings across the state, the North Dakota Soybean Processors continue to ask for equity commitment from farmers for a crush facility in Spiritwood, North Dakota. President Bruce Hill tells the Red River Farm Network a commitment is still needed for $50 million. “I think it’s good for North Dakota, the farm economy and for the local investor,” says Hill. “I also think we had a message issue up front. We changed our CEO, because I think our message is wrong. If you were invested and pulled out, please come back.” At a meeting in Valley City, a group of 10 farmers also acknowledged the need for a crush plant in the state, but the tough times in agriculture could be holding back some investors. Everyone wants to protect cash. The timeline continues to shift for the construction of the plant. There is now talk about a ground breaking in August. That’s if there is a strong interest from investors. Hill says an equity drive is the biggest challenge in starting projects like this. Listen to the story.
McKenzie County Farmland Impacted by Flooding – In late March, ice jams in the Yellowstone River Valley caused flooding near the North Dakota/Montana border. Approximately 14,400 acres of land were taken over by the floodwaters. The North Dakota Department of Agriculture says 1,400 of those acres are unable to be planted with the intended crops. A number of grain bins with stored crops were also flooded. USDA’s Farm Service Agency has approved use of the Emergency Conservation Program, providing a 75 percent cost share for the restoration of farmland. The Bank of North Dakota is also working to implement loan programs to offset repair and rebuilding costs.
Farmers Advised to File Claims Following Karlstad Elevator Closure – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture received notice from the Karlstad Farmers Elevator that their doors are closing. Therefore, MDA is advising farmers who have not received payment or had grain stored at the elevator to file a bond claim. The elevator holds a $70,000 bond with the Department to help mitigate losses upon closure. Supportive documents such as scale tickets, purchase agreements, contracts and warehouse receipts should be included. All submitted claims will be reviewed, and the deadline is dependent on the date of non-payment. MDA Grains Section Manager Nick Milanowski covers more details in this RRFN interview.
Celebrate Beef During May – During May, the focus is on beef and the farmers who produce it. Beef is known for its protein and also supplies ten essential nutrients required by our bodies each and every day. Minnesota Beef Council Executive Director Karin Schaefer says many consumers are interested in learning more about how to cook beef. “Sometimes they don’t know what to do with beef. So, it’s important to connect consumers with the information they need to prepare beef in the right way,” May is also the perfect time of year for Beef Month as consumers fire up their grills. “Make sure your cooking beef to 160 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Minnesota Beef Council Communications Director Becky Church offers some safe grilling tips. “Using a meat thermometer is also the safest route, rather than eyeballing or even cutting the meat open.” Hear more from Church in this interview.
Minnesota Beef Update – Minnesota is home to many great meat markets. Minnesota Beef Council Director of Industry Relations Royalee Rhoads highlights some of those markets. This update is a production of the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association. Listen now.
ACSC Adopts New System to Measure Sugar Quality – American Crystal Sugar Company has added a new digital system to analyze the recoverable sugar content in sugarbeets. KWS Innovations developed this methodology and has been using it for over ten years. KWS Business Development Manager Duane Bernhardson says the Beetrometer is a cost-effective automated system. “The beet sample goes into the system; the system chops the sample into pieces and prepares the sample. Using Near-infrared spectrometry, we’re able to measure the quality of the whole sample.” ACSC is the first sugarbeet processing company to adopt this technology. “It provides a strong level of accuracy, which is important to you as a grower because that’s what you’re getting paid on.” The Beetrometer system can also be expanded to additional traits, including multi-year crop information.
USB Implements New Process for Proposals – As part of its long-range strategic plan, the United Soybean Board sought concepts for research and programs that fit the overall priorities for the checkoff program. USB member Jared Hagert, who farms at Emerado, North Dakota, says this new process provides additional oversight over checkoff projects. “Much of it (concept proposals) were demand-focused.” The updated strategic plan was put in place when Hagert was chairman of USB in 2015. “It is really fun to see it come to fruition. I’m done in December and I really appreciated the opportunity to represent North Dakota soybean farmers.”
MN Corn Matters – Farming can be a stressful business, and there are resources available for those involved. Learn more about Mental Health Awareness month from Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center coordinator Diane Kampa. Corn Matters is a weekly update from Minnesota Corn Growers Association.
Corteva to Focus Exclusively on Agriculture – Corteva has completed all of the regulatory requirements to spin off of DowDuPont and become an independent agriculture company. The separation will take effect June 1. Corteva Agriscience is a combination of DuPont Pioneer, DuPont Crop Protection and Dow AgroSciences.
AgriBank Reports 1Q Financials – AgriBank reports first quarter net income of just over $137 million, down from $146 million in the same period last year. Loan volume totaled nearly $93 billion, which is comparable to the previous quarter. Credit quality is strong with 98 percent of AgriBank’s loans classified as acceptable. In a news release, AgriBank said the farm sector’s declining working capital is a concern. Trade policy is seen as one of the biggest uncertainties. AgriBank said the new dairy provisions in the farm bill may help, but the dairy market remains “very challenged.”
Tyson to Add New Processing Plant – Tyson Foods plans to build a new beef and pork processing plant at Salt Lake City. The $300 million facility won’t slaughter cattle or hogs, but will be used for further processing. The Tyson plant is expected to be open in 2021.
Last Week’s Trivia- In the social media world, the abbreviation BTW means By the Way. Rene Scheurer of Betaseed was the first correct response and is this week’s winner. Cody Dedow of Bader Rutter, Mark Mettler of PreferredOne and Bob Lebacken of RML Trading earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Paul Sproule of Sproule Farms, Erin Nash of National Association of Farm Broadcasting, Mandy Kvale of Farm Credit Services of Mandan, Hannah Barrett of Central Lakes College Ag and Energy Center, Hilary Paplow of Graff Feedlots, Hope farmer Al Juliuson, Mark Dahlen of Benson County Farm Service Agency, Edgeley agriculture teacher Anna Kemmer, retired Hanley Falls farmer Roger Dale, Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed, Dianne Bettin of LB Pork, James Altringer of CHS-Kindred, Sharlet Teigen of Demeter Communications, Bruce Miller of Minnesota Farmers Union, Kevin Praska of Stone’s Mobile Radio and Lawton farmer Dennis Miller.
This Week’s Trivia- 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW is one of the most famous addresses in the United States. What historic home can be found at that address? Send your answer to email@example.com.
*INSERT TRIVIA TOP 20*
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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.