A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, May 06, 2019
Reporting Agriculture’s Business- Tariffs, tweets and trade talks are in the news. A late spring is also top of mind. The Red River Farm Network team of journalists have those stories and more in this week’s edition of FarmNetNews. If you know someone who would benefit from this e-newsletter, have them send their contact info to email@example.com. Another update in RRFN’s TransFARMation podcast and radio series is also available. Thanks to Theresia Gillie for sharing her story.
Tweet Sends Markets Lower – Just ahead of another round of trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, President Donald Trump went to Twitter and threatened to increase the tariff rate on Chinese products. Trump said the tariffs on Chinese products is “partially responsible” for the strong U.S. economy. Trump also said the trade negotiations with China have gone too slow. There had been speculation that China would cancel its trip to the United States for the trade talks, but the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates a trade team will be in Washington, D.C. this week.
Peterson Questions Administration Trade Strategy – In an interview with Agri-Pulse, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson is questioning the Administration’s strategy for the trade talks with China. “For the life of my, I cannot figure out what is going on,” said Peterson. “Every time we hear it is getting close and it is looking good, it is another two weeks and than another two weeks and another two weeks. It’s hard to say what’s going on with this thing.”
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – Cash corn basis in the areas served by North Dakota ethanol plants are hot. What’s not hot? Old crop soybeans have dropped below $7 per bushel, influenced by a presidential tweet. Advance Trading risk management advisor Tommy Grisafi has more details in today’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets.
No Consensus on USCMA Ratification – During a meeting with Democratic leaders, President Donald Trump urged the lawmakers to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. After the White House meeting, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said the trade deal needs more protection for labor and the environment.
Dairy Farmers Consider the Benefits of DMC Program – There’s hope the new Dairy Margin Coverage Program will be helpful to dairy farmers, but some still don’t fully understand how the program will factor into their farm’s business plan. That’s according to Melrose, Minnesota dairy farmer Sadie Frericks. “The Farm Service Agency has done a good job in the past of providing education and consult for farmers,” she says. “Once the FSA has the tools in their hands to continue the outreach process, it will help some of those farmers who are still making decisions on sign-up level.” University of Missouri Extension economist Scott Brown says dairy farmers need to know the DMC isn’t the Margin Protection Program. Frericks and Brown testified during a House Agriculture Subcommittee Livestock and Foreign Agriculture hearing on the dairy economy Tuesday. The dairy farm economy, farmer health and well-being and trade were also discussed at the hearing.
MPP Repayment Options – Dairy farmers who had coverage under the old Margin Protection Program are eligible to get back some of those premiums. Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce says there are a couple options available to dairy farmers. “There’s an ability for them to get a cash repayment from those premiums that they paid in at a level of 50 percent or if they want to take the dollars that they paid in premiums under the old program and apply them to premiums in the new program, they’ll get 75 percent value of the dollars paid as a credit for the premium.” Eligible dairy farmers will receive a letter from FSA, outlining their options.
Hatton, ND Farmers Waiting to Start Fieldwork – The recent snow and rain has delayed spring fieldwork. At Hatton, North Dakota, Dean Nelson of Kelly Bean Company says the area received around an inch of rain in the latest system. “Prior to that, I hadn’t really seen anybody out doing fieldwork in the immediate area.” Nelson says farmers are anxiously waiting for a planting window. Once warmer weather arrives, corn will be the first crop to go into the ground. “I know farmers would really like to get it planted in the first couple weeks of May. We can plant dry beans and soybeans into June 10, so I don’t foresee much impacted there.”
Snow and Rain Halts Fieldwork at Brocket, ND – Brocket, North Dakota farmer Austin Sundeen woke up to a couple inches of fresh snow Monday morning. Sundeen had just started fieldwork before the latest round of precipitation. “There was about 900 acres of fertilizer that got applied. The ground was just starting to get fit.” Sundeen doesn’t foresee a major shift in his crop acreage this year. “I’ve got a lot of corn going in again this year,” says Sundeen. “I’m not going to change anything up right now. Just give us some sun and some wind.”
Canola Minute – The Canola Minute is made possible by the Northern Canola Growers Association.Board member Jon Wert, who farms at New England, had a chance to get some canola seeded. Hear more in this week’s update.
Pioneer Agronomy Update at Red River Marketing Co. – Despite planting delays, farmers in the Elbow Lake, Minnesota area are still focus of spring fieldwork. In this week’s Pioneer Agronomy Update, Red River Marketing Co. sales associate Leah Johnson says some seed is in the ground. “Farmers have been planting wheat, soybeans and corn in fields in any field that is fit.” Johnson explains that a seed treatment is crucial with cooler temperatures. “Not all soybean treatments are created equal, so it’s important to have protection against all early season pathogens.” Pioneer field agronomist Clyde Tiffany says field condition should be the main consideration. “If it’s too wet you’ll smear the sides of the furrows, which can cause difficulties in root development.” Watch the Facebook Live video here.
“Stay on Course” with Planting Delays – Farmers across the Northern Plains continue to deal with planting delays. BASF technical services representative Ken Deibert, who covers eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, says progress has been slow. Deibert’s biggest piece of advice for farmers is to stay on course. “Last year, there was a lot of planting going on in first week of May. Even with that so-called late planting, we still had near record level corn yields,” says Deibert. If the wet pattern continues, Deibert says farmers will also be growing weeds in their fields. Warmer soil and air temperatures also increase weed pressure. “In crops like wheat, there will probably be a fair amount of burndown applications.”
Focus on Establishing a Good Stand – University of Minnesota Extension corn agronomist Jeff Coulter says the most important yield factor to think about this spring is stand establishment. “Keep in mind the key principles behind stand establishment for corn, planting into good soil conditions and avoid planting in soils that are too wet.” Coulter tells farmers not to be too concerned about planting date. “It’s planting into fit soils,” he says. “The worst thing we can do is planting into soil that’s too wet.”
Rural Perspectives: Episode 13 – The Red River Farm Network has teamed up with AgCountry Farm Credit Services in the podcast series Rural Perspectives. Farmers in the Northern Plains are facing a late spring. In episode 13, AgCountry Farm Credit Services Market Education Specialist Katie Miller says planting delays are evident across the entire Corn Belt. Listen here.
Protecting the Nitrogen Investment – A nitrogen stabilizer may be an effective option to maximize the efficiency of the fertilizer application. Helena wholesale sales representative Tim Stanislawski says it is important to protect that nitrogen. “We do have wet conditions and to help protect the investment you put in the field is key.” With the late spring, the timing of the fertilizer application is also a consideration. “The best way to do it is to have the fertilizer down upfront, but if you have to wait a few days before you can fertilizer out there with a floater, having it spread on top is not a bad deal.”
WestBred Wheat Report – The WestBred Wheat Report is heard Fridays on the Red River Farm Network. This week, WestBred Technical Product Manager Grant Mehring highlights factors to take into consideration with wheat seed. Listen to the update.
Wheat Quality Tour Showcases Better Crop – The Wheat Quality Council Hard Wheat Tour wrapped up in Manhattan, Kansas on Thursday. Wheat Quality Council Executive Director Dave Green says the estimated production for the state is in-line with other estimates at 306.5 million bushels. “If you divide that by our average yield guess of 47.2 bushels/acre, that gives you about 6.5 million acres, which would be normal abandonment,” he says. “The averages guesses are in-line with what you would have looked at just by the data.” Green says the majority of the crop is late, but in very good condition.
A Late Kansas Winter Wheat Crop – North Dakota Grain Growers Association director Dennis Haugen took part in the Wheat Quality Council’s Winter Wheat Tour. Haugen says late planting of the crop was the biggest issue. “If the heat turns on, we all know there could be some issues there,” says Haugen. “Also, if it stays wet in the northeast part for a while, there could be disease issues when heading.” There was some abandonment in northwest Kansas due to poor stands. In addition, Haugen says some acres south of Wichita simply did not get planted. “They were in a similar scenario as North Dakota last fall with a late soybean harvest.”
Weed Management Strategies: Episode Seven – In the seventh episode of Weed Management Strategies, NDSU Extension agronomist Greg Endres explains new tools available for farmers to manage resistant weeds. 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.
Dry Bean Scene – In the western states, dry bean acres are expected to be down this year. That’s according to Larry Lande of Northern Feed and Bean in Lucerne, Colorado. Get the details in the Dry Bean Scene, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
Fresh Potato Shipping Season Better Than Last Year – While some Red River Valley fresh potato shippers are done with the season, shipping continues for Associated Potato Growers Incorporated. CEO Bryan Miller says the season should wrap up June 15. “Last year, I think the Red River Valley had about one million bags left and this year, we have about 250,000,” says Miller. “It was such a big crop and this is more of a normal year and pace.” Miller says the warehouses at Grand Forks and Grafton still have fresh red potatoes. Yellow potatoes sold out early due to good demand. For the upcoming planting season, Miller says there will likely be a near 20 percent increase in yellow potato acres and decline of about eight percent fresh red potato acres.
Fresh Potato Shipping Season Wrapping Up – Fresh potato shipping season wrapped up Friday for Buxton, North Dakota based NoKota Packers. CEO Steve Tweten says overall, the shipping season was ok. “The pricing to the farms could have been better, should have been better.” Tweten says shipping season is shortened from last year. That’s partly because transportation improved. “We were able to move our crop through the normal channels as needed. The truck supply was very well improved.” Other shippers in the Red River Valley will continue moving potatoes through June.
The Sugarbeet Report – The Sugarbeet Report is made possible by SESVanderHave, Syngenta, Premium Ag Solutions, H&S Manufacturing and Corteva Agriscience. This week, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative Vice President of Agriculture Tom Knudson says some sugarbeets went in the ground before the rain started. Listen here.
A Strong Legislative Session for ND Ag – There were many bills passed during the North Dakota legislative session that have an impact on agriculture. According to NDFB Public Policy Liaison Emmery Mehlhoff, a bill relating to semi-trailer licensing was just one, among several. “There also updates to anhydrous ammonia transportation, freeze branding regulations and improvement to family farm loans with the Bank of North Dakota.” Director of Public Policy Pete Hanebutt says some victories for NDFB include changes to the corporate farming law and passage of a livestock zoning bill. “It basically spells out what townships and counties can and cannot regulate when it comes to large animal feeding operations.” Hanebutt goes on to say there was disappointment with a private property rights bill. The legislation would have considered all land posted. “We hope to bring that back next session and address the ability for landowners to have true private property rights.” Hear more of the conversation.
Tweaks to the ND Department of Ag Budget – The budget for the North Dakota Department of Agriculture has been decided by the North Dakota Legislature. In the new biennium budget, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says funding remains even. “We didn’t gain much, we didn’t lose much. What did happen was the transfer of the Agricultural Products Utilization Council from the Commerce to the Agriculture Department. That had a $5 million impact,” says Goehring. Starting August 1, the Department of Agriculture will oversee the state grain inspection program. Nationwide, 34 out of the 38 states that regulate grain inspection house this responsibility under their agriculture department. “That now makes 35 states with the addition of North Dakota.” There was also an expansion of the Federal Environmental Law Impact Review Committee, which now has responsibilities under mitigation. Hear more from Goehring.
Comprehensive Study Will Evaluate Grain Buyer Licenses – A study looking at the licensing of grain buyers was recently approved by the North Dakota legislature. North Dakota Grain Dealers Association Stu Letcher says the study is a good move. “We advocated for a comprehensive review for the next two years,” he says. “We hope to have good input of things to improve on in the law.” Roving grain buyers are the big concern. “A recent grain buyer case has brought many questions we need to answer. It’s good we’re going to take the next few years and go through the law with a fine tooth comb.”
Environment Bill Passes in MN House – The Minnesota House omnibus environment and natural resources bill passed with a 73-to-60 vote. The bill includes $637 million for the DNR, $208 million for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and $39 million for the Board of Water and Soil Resources. A ban on wolf hunting was adopted with a one-vote margin. “I can guarantee you the agricultural community is going to be up in arms over this,” warned Roseau Republican Dan Fabian. The livestock losses associated with wolf depredation was emphasized, but the hunting ban amendment survived. Representative Paul Marquart, who is from Dilworth, sponsored an amendment dealing with stormwater runoff ponds at sugarbeet storage sites. “They would not need an engineered liner in these ponds unless there was a risk assessment that had taken place and deemed that there was a threat to groundwater. This is an agreement between MPCA and Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op.” The House bill also prohibits the use of neonicotinoid insecticides in wildlife management areas.
MN House Passes Omnibus Ag Policy Bill – The Minnesota House passed the omnibus agriculture policy bill with a vote of 81-49 Wednesday afternoon. Included in the bill is language allowing larger cities to create their own pesticide regulation system. Lawmakers debated an amendment to remove the language, but the amendment failed. Representative Paul Anderson says it’s a slippery slope to let cities develop their own criteria to regulate pesticides. Also included in the bill is language allowing farmers to apply more than once for a low-interest loan for expansion. The bill also changes the definition of hemp to match the federal definition, as outlined in the new farm bill. Now, the agriculture policy bill will be reviewed in conference committee.
MN Lawmakers Consider Boost to Rural Mental Health Resources – Minnesota lawmakers are starting to consider budget bills in conference. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is asking for more money to boost trade, fight Palmer amaranth and animal diseases like African swine fever this session. Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen says there is also a need for more resources to address farmer health and well-being. “We have more money in the House and Senate for mental health counseling and the House has more money for our farm advocate program.” Petersen says the additional funds can go a long way. “The agriculture budget in Minnesota is less than one percent of the state budget. We do lots of good with what we have and with the funds we can hire another mental health counselor.”
Durgan Appoints New Extension Task Force – University of Minnesota Extension has created a new task force to deal with farm stress and mental health issues. Extension Dean Bev Durgan says work has already been underway, but “I felt it was time to have a more focused effort.” Extension’s Rapid Agricultural Response Fund is being used for this work. Durgan says internal training is also underway to help Extension staff regarding mental health issues. Extension Livestock Educator Emily Wilmes has been appointed to a half-time position as the task force director.
TransFARMation: A Survivor’s Journey – Theresia Gillie of Hallock, Minnesota is a survivor. Faced with financial challenges, her husband, Keith, took his own life just over two years ago. “It isn’t something you get over, it’s something you live with.” Life has changed for Theresia. “The life I knew no longer existed. I don’t get to have my own life back.” Theresia hopes to feel stronger in the years to come. From her own experience, she encourages others to be aware and be ready to help. “Watch out for your neighbors. Look for anything not normal. If they’re struggling, help them out.” Hear Theresia’s emotional story in the TransFARMation podcast.
National Survey Highlights Farmer Stress – Financial issues, farm/business problems and the fear of losing the farm are just a few factors impacting farmer mental health. That’s according to a national poll sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The survey says two in five rural adults think stress and mental health have become more of a problem in rural communities in the past five years. Nearly half of the rural adults surveyed are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than one year ago. There’s also a stigma attached to mental health and a need to overcome it. View the survey results.
Minnesota Beef Update – The Beef Update is a production of the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association. This week, MN Beef Council’s Becky Church addresses beef misconceptions in the national media. Listen now.
An Uptick in Cow Prices – A strong interest from buyers and sellers is keeping the cow market strong. Joe Varner says there’s an uptick in cows being sold at the five barns he oversees in Bagley, Motley, Pierz, Winger and Fergus Falls. Long Prairie Livestock Exchange owner Brad Thelen says there are auctions each week this spring. “The kill cow market is getting stronger so that’s helping the dairy cow market. The slaughter end of the dairy cows are up about ten cents on the hoof,” says Thelen. “If they were worth 45 cents three months ago, they’re now worth 55 to 60 cents by the pound. If they weigh 1,200 pounds, that’s about $700 a head.” Listen to the story.
New Dairy Margin Coverage Tool Available – Dairy farmers wanting to learn more about the Dairy Margin Coverage program and how it fits into their business plan can now evaluate different coverage levels using a web-based tool. The new Dairy Margin Coverage Decision Tool assists producers in calculating total premiums costs and administrative fees participating in the DMC. This is developed by the USDA and University of Wisconsin. Sign up for the Dairy Margin Coverage program opens June 17.
A Tight Timeline to Finalize E15 Rule – The Environmental Protection Agency has less than one month to finalize a rule allowing year-round E15 by the summer driving season. Growth Energy Vice-President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley says it’s a tight timeframe. “The EPA has committed to having this done by June 1. It would fulfill President Trump’s promise to have it done by the summer driving season.” Commenting on the proposed rule, Growth Energy said the Renewable Identification Number reforms were unnecessary and would hamper the ability for those who blend more biofuels to get product to the marketplace. “They can follow through with additional rule making on some of the retail points in E85 and E15. The important thing is this rule gets done soon.”
USDA Updates Farm Production Costs – Many farmers and ranchers were operating in the red this past year. According to a new USDA report on production costs, fertilizer was the biggest operating cost for Northern Great Plains corn farmers last year totaling nearly $94 per acre. For wheat farmers, fertilizer was also the biggest operating cost at $27 per acre. Seed was the most expensive line item for soybean farmers at nearly $57 per acre. For cow-calf operations, feed was the biggest cost; $514 per cow per year. The feed bill was also the biggest cost for dairy farmers in the Heartland region, at $9.46 per hundredweight.
A Boost in Demand for Specialty and Food Grade Soybeans – There is a growing demand for specialty and food grade soybeans. Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance Executive Director Eric Wenberg says premiums will be higher this year. “I think there’s more demand abroad that’s driving it. The premium is less dependent on the overall state of play in the international market. These are beans moving on a forward contract.” If farmers are interested in growing and selling the specialty soybeans, Wenberg says they’ll need to be able to get a container into a rail yard through a broker.
New Officer Team Takes Over – The Minnesota FFA Convention wrapped up with the election of the new state officer team. Lafe Aarsvold of Plainview-Elgin-Millville is the new state president. The vice president is Nicholas Potthoff of Martin County West and the Secretary is Elaine Dorn of Randolph. Madilyn Smith of Fillmore Central is treasurer. The reporter is Britton Fuglseth of Fertile Beltrami and the sentinel is Savannah Aanerud of Morris Area FFA.
This is the Beginning – Northern Crops Institute Director Mark Jirik served as a state FFA officer in 1995-1996. Jirik is now an officer with the Minnesota FFA Alumni Association and had a message for the state officers who would hang up their blue jackets after the FFA convention. “This isn’t the end, this is the beginning,” said Jirik. “They’re not ‘has-beens;’ they’re ‘will-be’s.’ They need to bring their talents back to their local communities.”
Stars Honored at MN State FFA Convention – The Stars came out at the Minnesota FFA Convention on Monday night. Katherine Moller of Princeton is the Minnesota FFA Star Farmer. Moller is a partner in the family cattle business. Emma Friaf of Hutchinson is the Star in Production Placement; recognized for her work on a local dairy farm. The Star in Agribusiness Award went home with Sebeka FFA’er Morgan Olson. Olson works in his family’s feed business, has his commercial driver’s license and is working toward his commercial applicator’s license. The Minnesota FFA named Daniel Williamson as the Star in Agriscience. Williamson is a member of the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City FFA Chapter and is involved in the family’s organic livestock farm.
National FFA Officer Advocating for Agriculture – National FFA Vice President Jordan Stowe describes her time as a national officer as a dream and then some. “When I was 15 years old and walked into my first national convention and saw six national officers dancing on the stage, there was no way I would ever be able to do that. Boy, did I prove myself wrong.” Stowe, who is speaking at this Minnesota State FFA Convention, is from Alabama and plans to attend Cal Poly University for agricultural communications. Stowe said it is important FFA members get information from a credible source “and not just something that came off a Facebook post that someone made up because they heard it from someone else.”
Supporting MN FFA and 4-H – The Minnesota House omnibus transportation bill includes language authorizing a specialized license plate that supports the FFA and 4-H. Minnesota FFA Foundation Executive Director Val Aarsvold is hopeful this proposal will make it through the entire process. “The specialized agricultural license plate would impact the FFA and 4-H members of today and beyond.” Aarsvold says this initiative recognizes something that is really positive.
New Crop Scouting Event Offered for 4-H and FFAers – University of Minnesota Extension is offering an all-new crop scouting event for 4-H and FFA youth. The event aims to equip the next generation of agriculturists with crop scouting and pest management skills. U of M Extension youth development educator Brian McNeill hopes youth will get excited about agronomy. “We want to give them real life examples that could possibly lead to a college education and career choice,” says McNeill. During the competition, teams will troubleshoot agronomic issues and identify weeds and insects at hands-on field stations. “Once they register, they’ll work with a volunteer and expert in agronomy to learn about stages of growth, plant diseases, sprayer technology and more.” The state competition will be held July 29 in Benson, with the top two teams advancing to the regional competition in Iowa. More information can be found here.
Glyphosate Still Safe, But Potential Ecological Risks – In its latest review of glyphosate, the Environmental Protection Agency says the herbicide poses no health risk to humans when application follows the label. However, there could be conservation risks to using the herbicide. As a result, the EPA is proposing a few management measures to help farmers better target pesticide sprays. A comment period is now open on the EPA’s decisions and will be due 60 days following the published rule in the Federal Register. Read more.
LRSC to Build New Precision Ag Building – New scenery is coming to the Lake Region State College campus in Devils Lake, North Dakota. The Dakota Precision Ag Center, which houses the college’s precision agriculture program, received the go ahead for construction of a new building. “We currently rent a facility off campus,” says LRSC Precision Ag Program Director Preston Sundeen. “With this, we did receive partial funding from a bill signed from the governor and will also be doing some fundraising.” A number of advancements will come with the new building. Sundeen says it will provide students with a better learning environment. “It will have a better shop and classroom layout, and we will be able to host more events.” Listen to more of the conversation.
AGCO Reports Slow Recovery in Farm Equipment Demand – AGCO reports net income of $65 million in the first quarter. That compares to just over $24 million in the same quarter last year. According to AGCO officials, the North American tractor sales are expected to increase modestly this year with the improved sales coming from the row-crop segment.
True North Equipment Acquires Evergreen Implement – Grand Forks-based True North Equipment has acquired Evergreen Implement Company. With the acquisition, True North Equipment will add four new stores in Minnesota including Warren, Thief River Falls, Mahnomen and Baudette. Co-owner and vice-president John Onken says between now and the acquisition closing date of June 3 will be a time of introducing the change to customers and employees. “We’re going to be working closely with the sellers of Evergreen collectively on what they have going on in the business and what we need to do to ramp up as we pull the organizations together.” President Dan Gorder says this also provides an opportunity to expand mid-size farm equipment offerings, like hay equipment. All eyes are on the horizon. “I would never say we’re done with acquisitions,” says Gorder. “We’re always looking for opportunities.” Watch the video.
Record Earnings for Bank of North Dakota – The state-owned Bank of North Dakota reports 2018 net earnings of $159 million. That’s the 15th straight year of record profits. The agricultural loan portfolio totaled $666 million, down $3 million from 2017. There was increased usage of beginning farmer programs and the Ag PACE program that buys down interest for farmers and ranchers involved in non-traditional agriculture.
Bremer Bank Unveils New Brand – At a ceremony this morning in St. Paul, Bremer Bank launched a rebranding effort. With a new logo and updated website, Bremer Bank President Jeanne Crain said the agriculture portfolio is important. “We’ve worked with our ag customers for generations and we intend to work with them for generations to come.”
Zoetis Reports 1Q Financials – The animal health company, Zoetis, has reported first quarter net income of $312 million. That’s down more than ten percent from last year. The sale of livestock products declined seven percent in the quarter with cattle and swine product sales offset by gains in the company’s poultry business. African Swine Fever hurt sales worldwide.
1Q Income Improvement for CF Industries – CF Industries reports first quarter earnings of $90 million. That’s up from $63 million in the same period last year. With the wet, cold spring, the amount of fertilizer sold is down, but higher prices helped the bottomline. CF Industries reports sales of $1 billion in the first quarter, up five percent from one year ago.
A Tough Quarter for Pilgrim’s Pride – Pilgrim’s Pride reports first quarter profits of $84 million, down from $119 million last year. After a very challenging year in 2018, company officials said the demand for chicken is improving.
New Basis Tool Available for Grain Buyers and Sellers – Barchart issued a whitepaper outlining a new basis index tool to help grain sellers and buyers. The head of commodities at Barchart, Michael Brown, says the basis index is based on local elevator bids. “You can compare county to county to find good marketing opportunities, look at seasonality around basis and see if the current basis is stronger than historical trends,” he says. “You can look at the forward curve for basis, if it’s strengthening or weakening as we go into planting. We can even predict what the movements will be in basis for a three-month period.” Barchart collects cash bid data from more than 4,000 elevators. “Not just spot and new crop prices, but a full 12 month forward curve,” explains Brown. “If an elevator is bidding for delivery for June, July, August and September, we’ll have prices for every one of those delivery periods.”
New Acting Administrator for Economic Research Service – The previous Economic Research Service assistant administrator Ephraim Leibtag is now the acting administrator for the agency. Former acting administrator Chris Hartley stepped down due to tenure limits on acting positions. He will stay with the ERS to steer a relocation process.
Hardin Moves to Dairy Management Incorporated – Former USDA Deputy Secretary Krista Hardin is the new Executive Vice President for Global Environmental Strategy at Dairy Management Incorporated. Hardin will be tasked with leading the dairy checkoff’s environmental sustainability strategy. Hardin previously served as Vice President of External affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer for Corteva Agriscience.
Paulsen Promotes USMCA Ratification – Former Minnesota Congressman Erik Paulsen has joined a coalition that is lobbying for ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The Pass USMCA Coalition represents different sectors of the economy, including agriculture. When he was in Congress, Paulsen was a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees trade.
Jerome Joins Michael Torrey Associates – Former communications director for National Farmers Union Andrew Jerome will be joining Michael Torrey Associates in Washington D.C. Jerome served NFU members in this role for five years. Jerome starts work at the agricultural lobbying firm on May 6.
Farm Foundation President to Depart – Constance Cullman will join the American Feed Industry Association in July as its president and chief executive officer. Since 2016, Cullman has been president of Farm Foundation. Farm Foundation provides non-partisan research and forums relating to agribusiness.
Angus Association Seeking New CEO – As of May 15, American Angus Association CEO Allen Moczygemba will step down. Moczygemba has been in that role for three-and-a-half years. During the search process, Chief Operating Officer Chris Stallo will serve as interium CEO for the breed group.
HOF Honors for Vance – A retired Agriculture Research Service scientist has been inducted into the ARS Science Hall of Fame. University of Minnesota professor emeritus Carroll Vance was honored for pioneering research in agriculture and for lifelong achievements in agricultural science and technology.
USGC Names New CEO/President – The U.S. Grains Council has named Ryan LeGrand as its next president and chief executive officer. LeGrand is now the Council’s director in Mexico and has been with the organization since 2015. LeGrand will take over the new leadership role in mid-June, succeeding Tom Sleight, who is retiring.
MAWG/MWRPC Hires New Executive Director – As of June 1, the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers and the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council will have a new executive director. Charlie Vogel is currently the sales and marketing manager for Legacy Cooperative at Bisbee, North Dakota. After more than 30 years on the job, Dave Torgerson retired from the wheat groups in March.
Minn-Dak Veteran to Retire – The longtime vice president of agriculture at Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative will retire in early June. Tom Knudsen has been with the Wahpeton-based sugarbeet processing company for 42 years. That includes 33 years as the vice president of agriculture. Mike Metzger, who is a research agronomist at Minn-Dak, will succeed Knudsen.
ASA Promotes Brannen and Podkul – The American Soybean Association has announced the promotion of two staff members. Wendy Brannen, who has been the director of policy communications, is now the senior director of marketing and communications. Abby Podkul, had been the ASA director for the Commodity Classic and now will lead the new meetings and conventions department. The changes are part of an organizational realignment at ASA.
Staff Changes at Cooperative Network – Cooperative Network, which represents co-ops in Minnesota and Wisconsin, has announced two new staff additions. Jennifer Badeau Wickman is the new government affairs coordinator and Mykel Wedig is cooperative liaison to its corporate staff. Badeau Wickman most recently worked for the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association. Wedig had been a legislative assistant for North Carolina Senator Richard Burr. In addition, Cooperative Network promoted Kristin Olson to director of communications. Olson previously served as the organization’s member support and education coordinator.
Sundeen Receives Teacher of Excellence Award – Precision Agriculture Program Director Preston Sundeen was awarded Lake Region State College’s annual Teacher of Excellence award. The Lakota, North Dakota native has served as director of the program since 2016 and is still active on the family farm.
Honorary Doctorate for Tidemann – Former South Dakota lawmaker Larry Tidemann was presented an honorary doctorate of public service during the South Dakota State University’s commencement services Saturday. Tidemann spent 32 years at SDSU, including time as the director of Extension and associate dean for the agriculture college.
Olson Honored with George Washington Award – NDSU Extension crops economist Frayne Olson was honored with the NDSU College of Agriculture George Washington Award. The award designates a faculty member who puts agriculture first and foremost on campus. The Open Door Award went to plant pathologist Luis Del Rio Mendoza, agribusiness and economics professor Cheryl Wachenheim received the Owl Award and the herd award went to director of college advancement Patti Sebesta.
NDSU College of Ag Names Top Seniors – The North Dakota State University College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources has named its top ten seniors. Among the honorees are Elizabeth Blessum of Rubgy, Shane Giedd of Washburn, Shelby Grabanksi of Kindred, Kacey Koester of Steele, Adreanna Trzpuch of Kathryn, Chase Brindberg and Hannah Ohm of Fargo, Shelby Hartwig of Albany, MN, Hannah Rehdar of Barnsville, MN and Prajakta Warang of India.
UM CFANS Alumni Society Honors Supporters – The University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Alumni Society award winners have been named. Former swine specialist Jerry Hawton was presented the lifetime achievement award. State Senator Gary Dahms is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. The alumni service award belongs to Dr. Beth Nelson, who is a regional director for sustainable agriculture and food systems at USDA. Minnesota Farm Bureau Public Relations Director Kristin Harner and Tim Claus, who retired from John Deere, are named the outstanding friend for the system.
Last Week’s Trivia – The FFA emblem includes a rising sun, a plow, an ear of corn and an owl. Chelsea Vilschis, who was a Minnesota State FFA officer in 2011-2012, was the first to respond with the correct answer and is our weekly trivia winner. Former North Dakota Farmers Union economist Dale Enerson, Central Lakes College FBM instructor Bob Rick, John Zietz of Cargill and Hilary Paplow of Graff Feedlots earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ includes Todd Good of AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Brian Brandt of Farmer’s Business Network, Ramsey County farmer Paul Becker, Kristal Rick of SES VanderHave, Pennock dairy farmer David Hallberg, Adam Kuznia of AGSERV, Dianne Bettin of LB Pokr, Jamie Reed of Valley United Co-op, Colgate farmer Jason Mewes, Anna Kemmer of Edgley FFA, Crookston farmer Tim Dufault, Sharlet Teigen of Demeter Communications, Ron Dvergsten of Northland FBM, Twyla Wulf of Clear Springs Cattle Company and Lawton farmer Dennis Miller.
This Week’s Trivia – With social media and texting, we know LOL means Laugh Out Loud and IDK means I Don’t Know. What does the term BTW mean? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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FarmNetNews is a production of the Red River Farm Network. RRFN is based in Grand Forks, North Dakota and provides news to farmers and ranchers across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.