A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, October 23, 2023
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Today is Day #21 Without a House Speaker – The Republican caucus will meet tonight for a candidate forum, followed by a closed-door vote and a possible vote on the House floor Tuesday. Nine lawmakers are in the race, including Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer. Emmer is the majority whip, the third ranked Republican in Congress. Whoever gets the nod needs 217 votes to win the gavel, which has been impossible to pin down in the last three weeks.
An Aggie Re-enters the Speaker Race – House Agriculture Committee Vice Chair Austin Scott is back in the race for speaker. Scott initially sought the job two weeks ago when Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan was elected as the speaker-designee. Scott is serving his seventh term in Congress representing Georgia’s Eighth District and chairs the commodities, risk management and credit subcommittee.
Back to the Drawing Board – Ohio Representative Jim Jordan failed to capture the Speaker’s gavel during a third round of voting. James Callan Associates CEO James Callan said Jordan lost support throughout the week. “He was at 194 votes in his third attempt, but he was at 200 votes on his first attempt.” House Republicans voted to drop Jordan as their speaker nominee after a closed-door meeting Friday afternoon. Whoever is selected as the next speaker will have a full plate. “There’s the continuing resolution to be dealt with, funding for Israel and Ukraine and the next farm bill, which are all tall orders for the next House Speaker.”
Fielding Questions – In the Fielding Questions podcast, AgCountry Farm Credit Services Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Howard Olson unwrapped the drama happening on Capitol Hill. “It’s like putting the brakes on progress.” Olson was in Washington, D.C. this past week and outlines the policy ramifications. Fielding Questions is a collaboration between the AgCountry Farm Credit Services and the Red River Farm Network.
S-N-O-W? – A big change in the weather is coming for the Northern Plains with the first winter storm of the season beginning Wednesday night and continuing through Friday. Temps will also be dropping by the end of the week. The National Weather Service said there is still uncertainty regarding the exact location and strength of this system, but at least minor winter weather impacts can be expected.
NWS Calls for a Warmer, Drier Winter – The National Weather Service is out with its winter outlook. With El Nino, warmer-than-normal temperatures are expected for the northern tier of states in the December-January-February time period. Snowfall is forecast to be average-to-slightly below average for most of the Dakotas and Minnesota.
Eight Percent Set Aside Expected – American Crystal Sugar Company General Agronomist Joe Hastings is pleased with the sugarbeet harvest campaign. “We’ve had a good run and we were able to pile over a million ton of beets.” ACSC continues to monitor crop size to determine the need for set aside acres. “We’re looking at that eight percent level that could be set aside.”
A Beet Backlog – The growing season has been somewhat dry, but Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative Vice President of Agriculture and Research Mike Metzger says this past week’s rain was not welcome. “Rain is very much a four-letter word in the month of October for sugarbeet guys.” Metzger estimates six percent of the beets will be left in the field. A big crop has resulted in a backlog at piling stations. “It doesn’t take hardly any time to load a truck. They get unloaded, go to the field and boom, they’re right back into the piling site.”
All Acres Approved for SMBSC Campaign – The decision has been made and Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative growers will be able to harvest 100 percent of their planted acreage. Vice President of Agriculture Todd Geselius said growers are making good harvest progress. “We got about two-thirds of the way done before there was significant rain across the growing area.”
Hit-and-Miss Corn, Big Beet Crop – CHS Ag Services Sales Agronomist Mackinze Derry, who is based at Hillsboro, says corn yields are hit-and-miss. “it’s really a question of if you had moisture or not. A half inch here and there really kept the grain cart moving and I was pleasantly surprised.” Derry has been hearing reports of well above average sugarbeet yields. “The Fisher, Minnesota area is running 19-to-20 percent sugar and in the upper 20 tons. East Grand Forks has had rumors of 39 ton and 19 percent sugar.”
In the Home Stretch – Chris Adams, who farms in the Grand Forks/East Grand Forks area, is in the home stretch with his sugarbeet harvest. Sugar content is variable and tonnage is over 30 tons per acre. Before the sugarbeet harvest began, Adams finished his small grain and most of his edible bean harvest. “We had one quarter of pink beans that started to regrow again after we desiccated them.” Once harvest is complete, the focus will shift to fertilizer application.
A Sense of Urgency – NDSU Extension Agronomist Clair Keene says the corn harvest is progressing well across the state. “In the southeast, harvest started earlier than normal and with how dry the corn already was, there’s an urgency to get things off.” Keene says it’s hard to say what yields will look like when combines finally stop rolling. “It’s very hit and miss. We just have areas that did really well despite how hot and dry we were this summer.”
A ‘Dandy’ Corn Crop – The combines have been busy in the Casselton, North Dakota area. For Harvey Morken, the soybean harvest is essentially wrapped up and a lot of the corn is done, too. “Our soybeans, as well as the crop seen by a couple neighbors I’ve talked to, are average at best. The soybeans are going to struggle to be average and the corn is well above average; it is just a dandy.”
A Dry Corn Crop at Grygla – The harvest has clipped along nicely for Todd Stanley at Grygla, Minnesota. Soybeans are done. “Yields were above average and certainly excellent for the little bit of rain we had this summer.” The combines have started moving through the corn. Test weights have been good, but yields are somewhat disappointing. “Moisture is 15 to 16 percent and it’s unusual for corn to get that dry for us.” Wheat, grass seed and canola were harvested ahead of schedule.
Harvesting Lodged Corn – An inch of rain at midweek stalled James Aarsvold’s harvest at Blanchard, North Dakota. Corn became a priority when lodging started to take place across multiple varieties. “It seemed like it was salt issues and root development.” Aarsvold said another issue this season was variable emergence in both pinto beans and soybeans which impacted the timeliness of maturity and harvest.
Corn Handled June Weather Extremes Better Than Beans – Arthur, North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes finished up his soybean harvest and is working on corn. “We were a little disappointed in the soybeans with some fairly decent and others pretty poor. I’d say it was an overall average crop.” Corn handled the heat in June a bit better than the soybeans. “I think the good soils handled the dry spell better than the sandier soils, it’ll probably be an average crop as well.”
Corn Crop is ‘Trickling In’ – At Arvilla, North Dakota, Columbia Grain grain buyer Tyler Stegman is pleased with the harvest progress. “We knocked off a heck of a lot of soybeans; I’d say we’re probably about 90 percent done.” The corn harvest is off to a good start. “It’s been trickling in with some of the stuff coming off in the 16 percent moisture range.”
Above Expectations – There’s been short delays, but the corn harvest is progressing for Todd Wentzel. Wentzel, who farms at Murdock, Minnesota, estimates the corn is at the halfway point and soybeans are essentially done. “Corn harvest should finish up in a week or so and it’s above expectations with moisture at really good levels in the 16 percent range. the 17-to-18 percent moisture corn is going in the dryer.”
Sunflower Growers Hope to Beat the Change in the Weather – According to National Sunflower Association Executive Director John Sandbakken, the initial sunflower harvest seems to be going well. “Guys are seeing way above average yields with good oil and good test weight.” Sandbakken predicts that a lot of flowers will go through the combine in the next week before the weather pattern changes.
Dry Bean Crop in the Bin – Forest River Bean Company Manager Brian Schanilec says dry bean harvest is virtually wrapped up. “We had really uneven emergence this spring and the continuation of drought brought us below average in tonnage.” The dry conditions during the growing season hit the crop in Schanilec’s area hard.
Peterson Farms Seed Update – A dry year like we’ve seen this past season can impact research. In this update on RRFN, Peterson Farms Seed Product Manager Dennis Schultze reviews the data coming from the company plots.
Moisture Situation is Better Than 2023 – If growers caught rain at the right time, GK Technology agronomist Sarah Lovas says farmers had a really good crop. “There are other places where the yields could have been better, but overall, I’m fairly pleased with what I’m hearing.” Lovas is monitoring the soil moisture profile. “Even pulling samples on wheat ground before getting late season rains, I was impressed with the amount of moisture under there.” It is still dry, but Lovas says there is more moisture now than there was a year ago.
Thirsty Soils Soak Up Recent Rains – At Wendell, Minnesota, Reid Bonrud had a very dry growing season. “A couple weeks ago, we got the whole summer’s worth of rain in one shot. We got a little over six inches; it was amazing, there was almost no standing water.” Corn rootworm has been an issue this year. “There was a little bit of goosenecked, downed corn, but it’s relatively limited.”
Weighing Seed Decisions – In the latest edition of the Minnesota CropCast, University of Minnesota Extension Agronomist Jeff Coulter said farmers are starting to plan for 2024. On average, the new hybrids coming out each year have the potential to increase yields by two percent. “We want to be staying ahead of the curve and choosing new varieties as they come out, but we also have to be careful to not choose all new varieties that we don’t have information on.” Coulter suggests limiting the use of new hybrids that only have preliminary data available to 25 percent of the planted acres. “Make sure that at least 50 percent of your acres are based on hybrids with two years of data available and 25 percent of your acres have at least a year of data to back them up.”
NCI to Host Future of Feeding Webinar – The Northern Crops Institute is hosting a Future of Feeding webinar Wednesday at 9 AM. This webinar will feature Richard Sibbel, owner and director, Executive Veterinary and Health Solutions, LLC. Sibbel will discuss ‘A New Frontier in Vaccines for Use in Veterinary Medicine.’ This webinar series focuses on using innovation in the processing of animal food, the equipment being used and the use of local grains for co-products.- For more details and to register, go online.
High Expectations for Winter Wheat – Oahe Grain Cooperation General Manager Time Luken says the winter wheat is seeded in the Onida, South Dakota area. “I do know a few guys who took off soybeans and planted winter wheat right behind it; the fall rains we caught put the crop in really good shape for next year.”
10-Year Notes At Levels Not Seen in 16 Years – The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury notes topped five percent for the first time since June of 2007. Advance Trading Risk Management Advisor Tommy Grisafi said this is significant news for the economy. “That’s a different world from what we typically talk about in grain markets, but the cost of borrowing money has gone up tremendously.” In the Advance Trading YouTube interview, Grisafi said the action with the 10-year note will ripple through the economy. “With an expensive market like this where corn and meal have come up and interest rates are expanding, livestock guys are going to take it in the chin.”
A Pause in Interest Rate Increases – Speaking at a New York event Thursday, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell indicated short-term interest rates would remain unchanged at their next meeting October 31 and November 1. With a tighter financial situation, Powell suggested an extended pause in interest rate hikes.
A Strong Cash Position – During the NDSU Extension Outlook Conference for Agricultural Lenders, expansion was part of the discussion. Crops Economist Frayne Olson said farmers are in a strong cash position and seem to be in growth mode. “There’s going to be really stiff competition in the lending market, access to capital is going to be relatively straight forward although interest rates are going up.” Land prices, cash rents, labor, and other considerations need to be made before making final decisions. “You have to look at the numbers very carefully and do the math on it, don’t just guess.” Hear the full conversation with Frayne Olson here.
Smaller Operating Loans Slow Lending Activity – Farm lending activity at commercial banks slowed down in the third quarter. According to a quarterly report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the number of non-real estate farm loans was flat, but the average size of the loans dropped nearly 20 percent. While interest rates and input costs are up, farmers are generally in a strong cash position. The volume of non-real estate farm loans dropped ten percent over the past year with the demand for operating loans declining. Loans for feeder cattle increased with the big gains in the cattle market.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – It’s been difficult for any market to sustain any gains in recent days. Within that environment, Martinson Ag Risk Management President Randy Martinson looks at positive trends in wheat. Corn and soybeans have been more lukewarm and livestock futures are bearish. Listen to this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s in the Markets.
Store or Sell? – Innovus Agra owner Bret Oekle says the monthly supply/demand reports delivered a pleasant surprise to the commodity markets. “Some guys have been taking beans to town and putting them in storage. It’ll be interesting to see if we get a rally to make it more interesting for folks.” Oelke advises farmers to be prepared. “You should have a strategy to take re-ownership in soybeans and use either options or futures to buy back soybeans in the event of a rally.”
Land Values May Level Out – NDSU Extension Ag Finance Specialist Bryon Parman said land may not be as attractive of an investment with what is happening with interest rates and cash rent. Other investments are getting more interest. “CDs and things like that haven’t really paid much in the past are now offering returns that folks are interested in. That’s going to put pressure upward on cash rents, too.”
More Soybean Acres, Less Corn in ’24 – Informa Economics IEG is looking for an increase in soybean acres and a downturn in corn acres in 2024. The new forecast calls for corn acreage at 92.5 million, down from 94.8 million acres this past year. Soybean acreage is predicted to total 86 million acres, which is up from 83.6 million acres this year. Total wheat acres are expected to total 48.7 million acres, down from 49.5 million acres this year.
Roberts to Participate in USDA Trade Mission – USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor will lead a trade mission Southeast Asia October 30th to November 3. The delegation will visit Malaysia and Singapore. South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources Hunter Roberts will also participate in this trade mission.
Runoff Election Scheduled – Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa and libertarian economist Javier Milei will face off in a November 19 presidential runoff. The two men won the first round of voting over the weekend. While Argentina is a major force in agricultural markets, its general economy is in crisis mode. Inflation is at a staggering 138 percent and the Argentine currency is crashing.
Brazilian Planting Season Off to a Slow Start – Brazilian ag consultant Kory Melby says it’s been a slow start to Brazil’s planting season. “Mato Grosso is 35 percent and pushing 40 percent planted, Parana is better with it being 50 percent planted,” said Melby. “It’s probably 20 percent planted nationally, the northeast is quite dry yet.” El Nino will be a factor. “The northeast has a tendancy of seven years of feast and seven years of famine; we’re coming off of seven years of feast so the northeast may have some problems this year and we should keep an eye on it.”
Russian Company Inks Sale to China – A Russian firm has a deal to export 70 million tons of grain, pulses and oilseeds to China over the next 12 years. This $26 billion agreement is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Russian President Vladimir Putin spent time in China this past week meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss trade and other issues.
Fertilizer Market Impacts – Mississippi River levels are the biggest influence on fertilizer markets right now according to StoneX Vice President of Fertilizer Josh Linville. A lot of product is already in place, but there’s still a tremendous amount of price risk in the market. “That’s kept everybody a little more reserved on putting tons in place, ready to go for this fall.” News from the Middle East hasn’t had much influence on the fertilizer prices despite Israel being the fourth largest exporter of potash. “We didn’t hear any stories of production sites or logistical change being impacted so it looked like it was a non-event.” The full interview with Josh Linville is available here.
USDA Issues Nearly $2 Billion in CRP Payments – USDA is issued nearly $1.8 billion in Conservation Reserve Program payments this year. More than 667,000 landowners receive payments for conservation efforts on 23 million acres of private land. Iowa is the top state for CRP payments, followed by Illinois, Minnesota and South Dakota.
Farming for the Future – With climate smart agriculture initiatives moving forward at the state and federal levels, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is partnering with the Red River Farm Network and the Linder Farm Network to provide timely information about these complicated issues. Clean River Partners Conservation Program Manager Alan Kraus talks about the Soil Health Farm Tour on this week’s Farming for the Future.
Legislation Proposed to Update GHG Modeling – South Dakota Senator John Thune and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar have reintroduced legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to update its greenhouse gas modeling for all renewable fuels. Thune and Klobuchar said the EPA’s current model does not consider the impact ethanol, biodiesel and sustainable aviation fuel has on greenhouse gas emissions. The National Corn Growers Association, National Oilseed Processors Association and ethanol companies support this proposal.
Navigator Pipeline Canceled – Navigator CO2 Ventures has canceled its Heartland Greenway pipeline project aimed at capturing carbon dioxide from Midwest ethanol plants. The company released a statement, claiming state regulatory processes were too “unpredictable.” The company’s permit application was denied by South Dakota regulators in September, before Navigator paused its permit process with Iowa regulators in early October. Navigator’s pipeline would have pushed carbon across 1,300 miles through South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.
Different Views on Navigator Decision – American Carbon Alliance CEO Tom Buis called the Navigator’s decision to cancel its carbon pipeline project “incredibly disappointing.” In Buis’ view, the carbon capture pipeline project is “an opportunity of a lifetime.” South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke has a different view. In a statement, Sombke said the decision is “a victory for local control,” but more work needs to be done to prevent the misuse of eminent domain.
CO2 Pipeline Timeline Delayed – Summit Carbon Solutions is offering a new timeline for its CO2 pipeline. In a prepared statement, Summit is now looking to begin operations in early 2026. Previously, the pipeline project was scheduled to start next year. The five-state project will take carbon dioxide from ethanol plants for underground sequestration in North Dakota. Summit has faced hurdles for state regulators.
Flexible Fuel-vs-EVs – The National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union and Renewable Fuels Association filed comments with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the proposed fuel economy standards. The farm groups are asking NHTSA to support incentives for flexible-fuel vehicles that use “American-made ethanol,” rather than electric vehicles using critical minerals from foreign countries.
Corn Matters – Dana Allen-Tully, who is the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s newly-elected president, highlights her goals for the year ahead. Hear more in the latest Corn Matters, brought to you by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.
Senators Hope to Block EPA’s Unofficial Push for EVs – Nearly 30 Senators are co-sponsoring legislation that would prevent the EPA from implementing a de facto mandate for electric vehicles. The EPA is proposing strict emissions standards for light-duty and medium-duty vehicles that would influence a move to EVs. North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer said EPA is promoting “a forced and dangerous agenda.”
Latin American Delegation Tours SD – The American Coalition for Ethanol and South Dakota Corn Utilization Council hosted industry stakeholders from Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama. The U.S. Grains Council event highlighted opportunities for sourcing, marketing and retailing ethanol-blended gasoline. Tour stops included a farm, two ethanol plants, fuel stations, a rail receiving and blending facility and a pipeline terminal.
No Plans to Change Crop Report Methodology – USDA is defending its methodology for crop production reports. During a biannual data users’ meeting, yield data was questioned. Corn yields have been below USDA’s trendline yields for five straight years. USDA officials said there are no plans to recalibrate yield estimates and suggested multiple years of bad weather can distort the perspective on trendline yields.
Input Sought on Proposed Seed Treatment Rule – The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public comment on a proposed rule dealing with treated seed. The rule will consider the storage, planting and disposal of treated seed. Comments will be accepted through December 11.
Lawmakers Return to Bismarck – North Dakota Governor Doug Bergum has called state legislators back to Bismark for a special session. At the end of September, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled the state appropriations bill violated the state Constitution’s single-subject rule. In addition to the budget bill, Burgum wants lawmakers to reconsider his income tax relief proposal. State Senator Terry Wanzek said one of the budget bills would have implications for agriculture. “Regarding fertilizer plants, that potentially could be in Spiritwood area, we’re going to want to renew what we had in the OMB budget.”
Canola Contracts Offered – The canola oil that comes from the NuSeed Omega-3 canola production system is developed specifically for fish nutrition. “The nice thing about this contract is we have a premium basis opportunity for growers so it’s not just like regular commodity canola,” said John Walker, field sales manager, Nuseed. “They’re going to get paid what this canola’s worth. It’s a full production Act of God contract so the risk is taken off that grower to jump in and try something new.” The Omega-3 canola system is limited to North Dakota and Montana. November 30th is an important deadline to lock in incentives and premiums. Listen to the full interview.
Make Plans Now for Potato Expo ’24 – Potato Expo will be held January 10-11 in Austin, Texas. “We’ll be down in Austin in force and we’re anticipating 2,000 people from the North American potato industry to be under one roof for Potato Expo 2024,” said Kam Quarles, CEO, National Potato Council.” We’re really excited about it.” In addition to the trade show, Quarles said the meeting will include a deep dive into the farm bill, trade and other potato policy issues. The Red River Farm Network will broadcast from the Potato Expo.
Dry Bean Scene – In this week’s Dry Bean Scene, RRFN visits with Northarvest Bean Growers Association Secretary Cordell Huebsch about his trip to the Anuga Food Show. The Dry Bean Scene is sponsored by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association, Johnstown Bean Company, Sharpen Herbicide from BASF, SRS Commodities, and Heads Up Plant Protectants.
A Win for PETA and Activist Groups – The U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a victory for animal rights groups and other activists by refusing to hear a case dealing with the so-called ‘ag-gag’ laws. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals challenged North Carolina’s law that prevented companies from suing employees who made undercover video and audio recordings. “That law actually was enacted back in 2015 in response to a long-standing dispute between ABC News and the Food Lion grocery chain dating back into the 1990s,” said Roger McEowen, agricultural law professor, Washburn University. “At that time, PETA and other animal welfare groups challenged the law saying it violated the First Amendment and it eventually went to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; they agreed with PETA that the law was unconstitutional when it was applied to their efforts to gather news.” North Dakota is one of many states that have similar ‘ag-gag’ laws. “They can expect to be challenged if they haven’t been challenged already. They’re basically back to the drawing board on these as to how to get around that First Amendment/free speech issue.”
PETA Emboldened by Supreme Court Decision – The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a statement celebrating the Supreme Court decision not to hear a lower court ruling on North Carolina’s ‘ag-gag’ law. The activist group said it “will continue to use every legal means at its disposal, including whistleblower reports and undercover investigations” as it targets large-scale farms and meat processors.
Herd Retention Delayed – Oklahoma State University Livestock Marketing Specialist Derrell Peel says the drought is still a big factor in holding back heifer retention. “I have no indication that we have started herd rebuilding.” The start of 2024 will signal the lowest point of this cattle cycle. “There’s a whole list as to why this herd rebuilding is so slow to start. Part of it is producers are recovering their forage base and financially after being stressed from the drought.”
Overcoming Challenges: Livestock Expansion in North Dakota – There are 150,000 hogs on feed in North Dakota. If that was 2 million hogs, they would consume only 12 percent of the soybean meal produced by the new soybean crush facilities at Casselton and Spiritwood. NDSU Extension Livestock Development Specialist Jon Biermacher said there would be no shortage of feed, but there are other hurdles. “One is economic feasibility, it’s pretty expensive to build one of these barns.” Construction costs are also higher in North Dakota than states like Iowa. “We’d have to bring materials up, we don’t have a lot of that here and we’d probably have to import the labor to build them and operate them.” Biermacher was part of the NDSU Outlook Conference for Ag Lenders. Listen to the full interview with Jon Biermacher here.
Delivering a High Quality Product – Heartland Limousin Association Executive Secretary Dean Summerbell sees two main factors impacting commercial cattle prices. “Cattle population is down and quality is up.” Quality improvements have come from the development of estimated progeny differentials or EPDs over the years with the help of university research. One major improvement has been docility. “That’s led to a better carcass; they’re not running into the middle of the feedlot when somebody drives up.” Summerbell also cited feed efficiency and feed quality as major areas of improvement for the cattle industry.
Don’t Overgraze – Monitoring grazing in fall can help prevent a negative impact to 2024 forage production. NDSU Extension Livestock Environmental Stewardship Specialist Miranda Meehan advises ranchers to maintain grazing at levels between 40-to-60 percent. Overgrazing could cause severe long-term impacts. “We’ve seen over a 50 percent reduction in forage if more than 80 percent of that grass is removed so that really limits useability of those pastures in the spring.”
Proactive Weaning Immunity – At the Minnesota Beef Expo, Waseca Veterinary Clinic’s Dr. Carey Prigge covered calf care and weaning considerations. During the seminar, Prigge said building immunity before stressful periods is important in keeping calves healthy. “We want to vaccinate and run those calves through prior to weaning and get some virus and bacterial pneumonia protection there.” Prigge suggests doing a seven-way clostridium vaccine and dewormer at that time as well. Giving an anti-inflammatory medication like Banamine may also be necessary. “You want to decrease the inflammation in the lungs and allow the antibiotics to take care of the bacterial pneumonia.”
Youth Learn About Different Beef Production Practices – Youth participating at the Minnesota Beef Expo took part in educational seminars with topics ranging from showmanship to hoof trimming. University of Minnesota Extension Meat Specialist Ryan Cox covered the differences in beef from different methods of production. “Grass-fed beef is a different altogether than grain-fed beef.” Raising grass fed beef can take more time and resources than grain fed production. “There are certainly some challenges in Minnesota with our climate, trying to put weight on them in that critical gaining stage.” Grassfed cattle are finished on a much lower energy diet and often need to be fed through two winters meaning more cost.
A Surprising Cattle on Feed Report – The number of cattle placed in feedlots in September was six percent higher than 2022. That’s well above the range of trade estimates going into Friday’s USDA report. The number of cattle and calves on feed totaled 11.6 million head, up one percent from last year. That’s the second highest October 1 inventory since this report began in 1996. Marketings were 11 percent below last year.
USDA Releases Milk Production Totals – U.S. milk production in September totaled 17.5 billion pounds, a small increase from September of last year. In South Dakota, milk production rose nearly six percent with an additional 9,000 cows being added to the state’s dairy herd. Minnesota milk output declined 0.6 percent. Over the past year, milk cow numbers declined 3,000 head in the Gopher State.
Vigilance Needed During Wild Bird Migration – Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza cases are starting to increase with fall migration. Minnesota Turkey Growers Association Executive Director Ashley Kohls remains confident turkey producers have the safety measure in place to prevent a widespread outbreak. “We’ve enjoyed the respite from HPAI, but turkey growers are extra vigilant during migration in the spring and fall.” There shouldn’t be a shortage of turkeys this year. “We are significantly less impacted by HPAI this year than in years past, you should have no problem finding a turkey for Thanksgiving.”
Meat Processing Unit for WCA Students Coming in ’24 – High school students at West Central Area Schools will have a unique opportunity to learn how to process meat in a new mobile processing unit beginning in 2024. FFA Advisor and ag teacher Eric Sawatzke says students will learn how to process meat from cutting and grinding to storage. “We could have a self-sustaining program right there teaching all aspects from farm-to-table.” The Minnesota school has received numerous grants from the community and nationally. Sawatzke credits that community support for the mobile meat unit and a recently completed greenhouse. The unit will be shared with Ashby schools as well. Hear the full interview with Sawatzke here.
Co-ops Build Economic Power – National Co-op Month is celebrated during the month of October. This is a time to recognize cooperative businesses as an effective way to build an economy that benefits everyone. Cooperatives are a proven and trusted way to do business. This October Co-op Month message is sponsored by the North Dakota Farmers Union, Associated Milk Producers Incorporated and its Dinner Bell Creamery.
Co-op 100 Released for ’23 – CHS remains the largest cooperative in the United States with revenues of $47.8 billion in 2022. Dairy Farmers of America is a distant second with annual revenue of $24.5 billion. The National Cooperative Bank lists the top 100 cooperative businesses in its annual Co-op 100 listing. Land O’Lakes, GROWMARK and CoBank are the other farm cooperatives in the top ten. From this region, Aberdeen-based Agtegra is ranked 18th with nearly $3.4 billion in revenue. Basin Electric Cooperative at Bismark is 21st, Associated Milk Producers, Incorporated is 30th and American Crystal Sugar Cooperative is ranked 39th. This listing comes out every October, which is celebrated as Co-op Month.
Syngenta Ordered to Sell Arkansas Farmland – The State of Arkansas has ordered Syngenta to divest 160 acres of farmland due to its ownership by a Chinese company. Syngenta has owned the land in northeast Arkansas for 35 years and it is used primarily for seed research. “The company that owns Syngenta, ChemChina, is on the Department of Defense’s list of Chinese military companies posing a clear threat to our state,” announced Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “Seeds are technology (and) Chinese state-owned corporations filter that technology back to their homeland, stealing American research and telling our enemies how to target American farms. That is a clear threat to our national security and our farmers.” Arkansas also fined Syngenta $280,000 for failing to disclose its foreign ownership on a timely basis. A Syngenta spokesperson voiced disappointment in the decision. Many states passed legislation banning foreign ownership of farmland after the Fufeng Group purchased 340 acres north of Grand Forks. The proposed corn wet-milling project was canceled in April when the Grand Forks City Council terminated its development agreement due to national security concerns.
Renovo Seed Launched – A new seed brand has made its debut. Renovo Seed is backed by a vertically integrated seed supply company known as Millborn. Renovo Seed has more than 80 prebuilt seed mixes to simplify forage, cover crop and conservation seed decisions. Renovo Seed and Millborn are based in Brookings.
Crookston Fertilizer Project Awarded Federal Grant – USDA has awarded nearly $53 million in awards under its Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. Seventeen projects will be funded including Northstar Lime of Crookston. The $4.4 million grant will allow Northstar Lime to expand its business to include the manufacturing and processing of fertilizer and nutrient alternatives.
Farmers Union Insurance Announces WRC Agency Acquisition – Insural Insurance Solutions, which is part of North Dakota-based Farmers Union Insurance, is expanding. An agreement is in place to purchase WRC Agency, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wisconsin Reinsurance Corporation. The acquisition is expected to be completed by November 1. Services will be expanded to include an additional 200 agencies in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.
Soybean Checkoff Supports New POET Bioproducts Center – The South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council is investing $2.5 million over the next five years in support of the POET Bioproducts Center at South Dakota State University. SDSRPC Chairman David Struck said the investment goes beyond advancing research; it also helps shape the future of agriculture and biotechnology. In addition to the soybean checkoff support, the POET Bioproducts Center was made possible through $20 million in legislative funding, $5 million from POET and $2 million from South Dakota Corn.
Mulhern Honored for Service to Agriculture and the Dairy Industry – During the World Dairy Summit in Chicago, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack presented an award to National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern. Mulhern will retire at the end of the year after a 40-year career in agriculture policy. Vilsack praised Mulhern for the development of the Dairy Margin Coverage Program.
SDSU Welcomes Pesticide Education Specialist – South Dakota State University has hired Stephen Robertson as a new pesticide education field specialist. Previously, Robertson was a biodiversity coordinator and researcher at the University of Arkansas.
SD Corn Comments – In this week’s edition of South Dakota Corn Comments, East River Electric Power Cooperative Chief Operations Officer Chris Studer talks about powerline safety during this harvest season.
Rowe to Succeed Fyrwald at Syngenta Group – Effective January 1, Jeff Rowe will take over as CEO of Syngenta Group. Rowe is succeeding Erik Fyrwald, who is retiring after seven-and-a-half years with the company. Rowe is currently president of Syngenta Crop Protection and previously had the same role with Syngenta Seeds.
Willits Moves to Anew Climate – Tracy Willits joins Anew as its chief communications officer. Most recently, Willits had a similar role at Pivot Bio. She previously worked for Pioneer. Anew Climate was formed in 2022 and focuses on carbon reduction strategies.
Retirement Plans for Titan Machinery Co-Founder – Titan Machinery Chairman/CEO David Meyer will transition to executive chairman February 1, 2024. The current Chief Operating Officer Bryan Knutson will succeed Meyer as the company’s president and CEO at that time. In his role as executive chairman, Meyer will continue to lead the company’s board of directors and serve in an advisory role to Titan Machinery’s leadership team.
Hall of Fame Honors for Keller Brothers – The inventors of the Bobcat skid steer loader will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame this week. Louis and Cyril Keller built the first self-propelled loader in the 1950s at Rothsay, Minnesota. Melroe Manufacturing won exclusive rights to manufacturing in 1958 and hired the Keller brothers. Louis Keller died in 2010 and Cyril Keller passed away three years ago. Over a million Bobcats have been sold worldwide.
Wogsland to Receive Harvest Bowl Agribusiness Award – The longtime executive director of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association will receive the NDSU Harvest Bowl Agribusiness Award. Dan Wogsland will be honored during the Harvest Bowl dinner and awards program November 11. This award recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of agriculture and business in North Dakota and beyond.
Last Week’s Trivia-X is the Roman numeral for ten. Paul Coppin of Valley United Co-op wins our weekly trivia challenge. Congrats, Paul. Runner-up honors belong to Kristal Rick of MAGNO Seed, Nick Sinner of Northern Crops Institute, Jacob Downing of Cargill and Karmen Hardy of Proseed. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with retired Grand Forks Extension Agent Morris Davidson, Jim Altringer of Dakota Plains Ag, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Gary Sloan of BMO Commercial Bank, Norm Groot of Monterey County Farm Bureau, Mark Bernard of AgroEconomics, Kevin Praska of Stone’s Mobile Radio, Regan farmer Jim McCullough, Nick Revier of SES VanderHave, Ramsey County farmer Paul Becker, Kevin Schulz of The Farmer, Pisek farmer Ernie Barta, Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad, Kyle Rollness of CHS Agronomy and Sara O’Toole of O’Toole Seed.
This Week’s Trivia-Which Peanuts character believes in the ‘Great Pumpkin’ in the 1966 animated television special ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?’ Send your answer to email@example.com.
|RRFN Upcoming Events|
|October 23||Antitrust Law Symposium|
|October 27||Agri-Women’s Conference - Grand Forks, ND|
|November 1 - November 2||Crop Outlook & International Durum Forum - Minot, ND|
|November 1 - November 4||National FFA Convention & Expo - Indianapolis, IN|
|November 2 - November 3||Transform Food 2023 - Minneapolis, MN|
|November 5 - November 8||National Agricultural Bankers Conference|
|November 7||FCS of Mandan Agriculture, Finance and Technology Forum - Mandan, ND|
|November 9||ND SBARE public input forum|
|November 9||AgriGrowth Minnesota Ag & Food Summit - Minneapolis, MN|
|November 10||ND Angus Ass’n Annual Meeting - Bismarck, ND|
|November 10||NDSU Harvest Bowl Banquet - Fargo ND|
|November 11||NDSU Harvest Bowl - Fargo ND|
|November 16 - November 18||MN Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting - Bloomington, MN|
|November 17 - November 18||NDFB Annual Meeting - Fargo, ND|
|November 17 - November 18||SD Farm Bureau Annual Convention - Sioux Falls, SD|
|November 17 - November 18||Independent Beef Ass’n of North Dakota Annual Meeting - Bismarck, ND|
|November 17 - November 19||MN Farmers Union Annual Convention - Minneapolis, MN|
|November 18||ND FFA Foundation Blue & Gold Gala - Fargo 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.