A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, September 21, 2020
Another Big Iron in the Books – Another Big Iron Farm Show is in the books for the Red River Farm Network team. Of course, this event wouldn’t be possible without our generous sponsors – thank you! This edition of FarmNetNews features recaps of the daily seminars from the show. Also new this year was a live stream of the seminars, which can be found here. Along with the lively discussions that took place, RRFN produced a live broadcast from the show all three days. Check that out at this link. Our week ended with a bang when news about a second Coronavirus Food Assistance Program broke on Friday. The full details on that program are also found in this week’s newsletter.
A Battle Over CCC Funding in Stopgap Spending Bill Negotiations – House Democrats have filed a bill that would fund the government through December 11th. The proposal being released today removes the $30 billion in the original bill that would provide funds for the Commodity Cred Corporation. This is typically not an issue with Congress replenishing the CCC each year at $30 billion since 1987. Negotiations over the continuing resolution broke down over this funding on Friday. The CCC funds numerous farm programs, including the PLC and ARC programs, Dairy Margin Coverage, conservation programs and more. The CCC has also been used for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and Market Facilitation Program payments in recent years.
President Trump Announces Another Round of CFAP Payments – During a gathering in Wisconsin on Thursday night, President Trump said the administration would offer another round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for farmers and ranchers. “Starting next week (week of September 21), my administration is committing an additional, you’ve been asking for this a long time, $13 billion in relief to help farmers recover from the coronavirus.”
USDA Reveals CFAP 2.0 Details – USDA will give farmers another chance at COVID-19 relief in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2.0. This new round of assistance will offer up to an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers facing market disruptions and associated costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. There is a payment limit of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities. Sign-up continues through December 11.
Perdue Says New CFAP Addresses Eligibility Concerns – The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 is meant to be an improvement over the first program. More commodities will be included in CFAP 2, including sugarbeets, all classes of wheat and turkey production. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the program also addresses eligibility concerns from cattle producers. “There was some legitimacy regarding cattlemen’s concerns in the first program. We had to cut eligibility off on April 15,” says Perdue. “Cattlemen who sold prior to April 15 were treated more generously than those who held cattle after that time. This new program will smooth things out to a large degree and make people who held their cattle back much more pleased.” CFAP sign-up will continue to take priority at local FSA offices. If farmers want to calculate payments, an excel spreadsheet will be released here with more details on Monday. Hear the exclusive RRFN interview.
CFAP 2.0 Payment Rates Vary – Corn and soybeans have a CFAP 2.0 payment rate of 58 cents per bushel. The rate for all classes of wheat is 54 cents. Barley is also at 54 cents per bushel. Sunflowers have a rate of two cents per pound. Flat rate commodity payments are $15 per acre times a farmer’s 2020 acreage. These commodities include alfalfa, flax, sugarbeets and hemp. Farmers and ranchers will be paid $55 per head on all classes of beef cattle. The rate is $23 per head for hogs and $27 per head for sheep and lambs. The livestock payments are for a chosen date between April 16 and August 31, 2020. Dairy farmers will receive $1.20 per hundredweight. The sales commodities, which would include potatoes, are based on 2019 sales.
Rural Perspectives – There was certainly no shortage of agricultural news this past week. The grain markets saw nice rallies all week long, along with the announcement from USDA on a second Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. In this edition of the Rural Perspectives podcast, AgCountry Farm Credit Services market education specialist Katie Tangen has the full details.
Parts of the New CFAP are Simpler – Sign up begins today for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2.0. According to NDSU Extension farm management specialist Ron Haugen, parts of the new program are simpler than the first. Other parts are much different. “The crops portion resembles more like the Market Facilitation Program. It’s interesting how things are developed that way because it’s all based on acreage.” Crop farmers will get at least a $15 per acre payment in the program. Haugen doesn’t see why farmers wouldn’t qualify and encourages them to sign up as soon as they can. USDA is also hosting a producer webinar to answer questions on Thursday at 2 p.m. central time.
A Second Round of Much-Needed Assistance for Livestock Producers – Bison producers are just one, of the several, people in the livestock industry excited bout the second Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The industry was frustrated when USDA excluded bison from the first round of CFAP assistance. National Bison Association Executive Director Dave Carter says the negative economic impacts from COVID-19 are huge. “More than 85 percent of high-value (bison) cuts are sold in restaurants. Its a hard hit on marketers to make the decision to either put those cuts in the freezer or turn them into ground bison.” While cattle producers were included in the first round of CFAP payments, a large chunk of those producers missed out the funding because of the specified time frame. “There was an arbitrary cutoff date of April 15,” says U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Director of Policy and Outreach Lia Biondo. “That was in the height of the pandemic and when most producers were experiencing losses because the were holding on to cattle.” Cattlemen still have questions about program eligibility. “How are newborn calves classified? Are they eligible,” asks North Dakota Stockmen’s Association Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson. “Many producers castrate their bull calves and fall within that time frame.” The sheep, hog and turkey industries are also on the list to receive CFAP 2 payments. Full program details, including eligibility requirements, are available on the USDA website. Listen to the full story.
Improvements Made in CFAP 2.0 for Hogs – Minnesota Pork Producers Association CEO David Preisler says there are some improvements for hog producers in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2.0. “Each program has its own separate cap. I think that’s really helpful instead of it being one cap for the calendar year. Otherwise, the payment is very similar for hog producers, except in this program it excludes the inventory of breeding stock.” Preisler says the program does not address euthanized hogs. “That’s something we’ll continue to work with Congress and the administration on. Otherwise, we’re very appreciative this will cover a part of losses occurring during the summer months. It’s certainly welcome news for farmers and lenders.” Get information on the hog payments.
ND, MN Ag Commissioners Share Thoughts on Farm Policy – Day One in the Red River Farm Network Issues and Events Center at the Big Iron Farm Show kicked off with a conversation with North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. Coronavirus have certainly added to the already stressful environment for farmers and ranchers. “The depopulation of hundreds of thousands of animals was devastating for livestock producers,” said Petersen. “Plants are up and running now, catching up on that backlog of animals. We’re really focused on keeping those workers safe and healthy.” When talking about the ‘big picture’ for agriculture and what’s in store for the future, Goehring stressed the importance of cash flow. “Farmers don’t need another loan, they need some cash and equity,” Goehring said. Both Goehring and Petersen concluded by saying resources are available for those experiencing challenges in their life. A live stream of the conversation is available here.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – In this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets, Advance Trading Risk Management Advisor Tommy Grisafi discusses CFAP 2.0, the gains in the soybean market and a volatile news cycle.
Agriculture in a Post COVID-19 World – This past spring the world was turned upside down when the coronavirus pandemic hit. COVID-19 will have long-term impacts on the agriculture industry. “It pointed out vulnerabilities we had in the ag and the food chain,” said Marc Knisely, CEO, AgCountry Farm Credit Services. “It is changing how we do business and how then farmers react.” Lynn Paulson of Bell Bank chimed in by saying this is an event agriculture will remember for a long time. “The supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and we’ve found where the weak links were in areas.” While there’s been some recovery in the commodity markets, NDSU Extension crops economist Frayne Olson is concerned things are getting a little top heavy. “Part of it is driven by Chinese buying. There are concerns about how large the U.S. soybean crop will be, but a lot of the lift in the market we’ve seen is also from the investment community coming in and buying soybean futures.” The trio joined the Red River Farm Network at the Big Iron Farm Show. View the seminar here.
Some Yield Loss From the Early Frost – There are some setbacks expected in the soybeans due to the early September frost in the Northern Plains. Pioneer Field Agronomist Jesse Moch says there is some yield loss associated with the event. “We’re probably going to see in the five to 15 percent yield loss range, maybe some minor quality issues. In the corn, depending on your maturity, it’s probably not a lot of yield loss up to 20 percent, but I think there still could be a good crop out there.” Moch says we’ll know more in the next 7 to 10 days. “A lot of the corn will be ready at the same time as the soybeans so we’ll get a better idea then.” Hear the story.
Some Frost and Freeze Damage to Soybeans – There is some frost and freeze damage being noted in the Dakotas. In the latest USDA Crop Progress Report, North Dakota soybean conditions declined 11 percentage points from the previous week. GL Crop Consulting President Greg LaPlante says the soybean crop in the southern Red River Valley was impcated. “In Richland and Logan counties we did experience some frost damage to the soybeans. More superficial than detrimental, but it depends on the crop,”: he says. “Most of the beans were in the late R6 or R7 stage.” Soybean harvest began the second week of September.
Above Normal Temps in the Fall Forecast – Below average rainfall and slightly above normal temperatures are forecast for this fall in the Northern Plains. North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network Director Daryl Ritchison is not anticipating additional freezing temperatures the rest of September. “Most areas shouldn’t see another freeze, and I don’t see a lot of moisture. Through the end of October, we’ll probably average about three inches of rain.” Ritchison joined the Red River Farm Network at the Big Iron Farm Show. Watch the full session.
The soybean markets were certainly a hot topic during a Market Outlook Seminar at the Big Iron Farm Show. “Nothing cures high prices like high prices,” said Innovus Agra’s Bret Oelke. “If we stay out of balance in the soybeans like we are now to corn, that will drive in a boat-load of soybean acres. That will fix to whatever price we get later on in this marketing cycle.” According to The Arthur Companies grain merchandiser Jenna Knutson, a recent rally in the soybean market is definitely positive. “The thing to remember is we’re coming up to harvest time for the entire Midwest. That, coupled with favorable weather, could create more volatility,” said Knutson. “Remember to reward the rally and make sales when the time is fit.” Mike Krueger with World Perspectives said even though record corn and soybean yields are projected, the edge has been taken off of a monster crop. “China looks like they are doing everything to try and fulfill obligations under the phase one trade agreement. The country has purchased a record amount of corn thus far by a wide margin.” Watch the live stream of the seminar here.
Several Factors Continue to Influence the Ag Markets – Three market analysts took the Red River Farm Network stage at the Big Iron Farm Show. “Our lives have changed because of the coronavirus pandemic. That is being reflected in the energy markets,” said Tommy Grisafi, risk management advisor, Advance Trading. “We also have to remember this is an election year. That adds to the already volatile market environment.” According to DuWayne Bosse of Bolt Marketing, the commodity markets are most definitely facing a lot of risk. “Moving forward, I’m particularly concerned about the cattle markets. The summer months were okay, but I think that’s because inventories were down and the cattle weren’t quite ready for market.” Van Ahn and Company Chief Financial Officer Kristi Van Ahn stressed that farmers should ask more market questions. “What should they do with this soybean rally or local basis levels? It’s a rare opportunity and farmers should be taking advantage.” View the live stream of the discussion here.
A Brighter Market Outlook – The commodity markets are in a demand state of mind. That was one of the points made by Northland Community and Technical College Farm Business Management instructor Betsy Jensen during the Big Iron Farm Show. “This is strange because it’s September and the markets are typically focused on supply. China is back as a buyer, but we just don’t know how long this will last or how big it will be.” Total Farm Marketing senior market advisor Bryan Doherty agreed that the market outlook is brighter for agriculture. “Strong demand and export bids are encouraging, along with the weaker U.S. dollar. The big takeaway is there is some actual revenue to start talking about protecting.” Weather is also having a slight impact on the markets, according to Martinson Risk Management President Randy Martinson. “The early frost in the Northern Plains may have done more damage to the soybeans that originally anticipated. The trade is also expecting to see another decrease in production in the October supply/demand report.” The full conversation can be viewed here.
Survey Calls for More Soybean Acres in ’21 – A Farm Futures survey is forecasting an increase in soybean acreage in 2021. This planting intentions report calls for a soybean crop of 87.9 million acres, up more than 4 million acres from this year. The survey respondents indicated corn acreage will decline 0.3 percent. This survey also calls for a 4.8 percent drop in spring wheat acreage in 2021.
COFCO Works a Price Arbitrage Between Brazil and U.S. – State-owned COFCO is reportedly selling cargoes of Brazilian soybeans for October and November shipment while buying shipments for November and December from the U.S. Gulf. China is able to secure soybeans while taking advantage of the price difference between the U.S. and Brazil for a significant profit.
Near-Zero Interest Rates – The Federal Reserve will keep interest rates near zero through 2023. The Fed’s two-day policy meeting wrapped up Wednesday announcing this policy.
The New Normal: What’s Next for the Land Market? – What is the ‘new normal’ for the land market? That was just one, of the several, discussions held at the Big Iron Farm Show in West Fargo. The crew from Farmers National Company took the stage at the Red River Farm Network Issues & Events Center to talk about what’s next for land values. “So far, the land market hasn’t seen an major impacts because of COVID-19. There has actually been some fairly strong land sales this late summer/early fall,” said Kyle Nelson. Land values have remained stable for a number of years. Dale Weston chimed in by saying there are different aspects of the economy playing in to that stability. “This year we’ve seen a lot of ad hoc government payments. That helps fill the gap in production agriculture and the income from that.” According to Nick Watson, there has also been a shift to more online auctions, especially since COVID-19 hit. Two land values discussion where held at Big Iron, one on Tuesday and another on Wednesday.
Potato News – According to Northern Plains Potato Growers president Donavon Johnson, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2.0 is an improvement from the previous program. Hear more in this week’s episode of Potato News. Potato News is made possible by Corteva Agriscience, Bayer, Sipcam Agro and BASF’s Provysol fungicide, the new standard for early blight.
PLC Payments Coming This Fall – USDA’s projected 2019 Price Loss Coverage payment rates point towards 17 of 23 commodities can expect PLC support. Farmers with wheat base acres are expected to receive $1.8 billion with an average payment of $28 per base acre. With a $10 payment per base acre, corn farmers are forecast to share $730 million. Soybeans are not expected to be eligible for PLC benefits. The American Farm Bureau Federation has estimated PLC payments on a state-by-state basis. North Dakota farmers will get $315 million in PLC payments. Minnesota will receive $124 million and South Dakota farmers will collect $109 million from the FSA program. The PLC payments will be made in early October.
FSA Works to Speed Up WHIP+ Processing – The Farm Service Agency is trying to reduce the time required to process and review WHIP+ applications. Sign-up for the program opened in September 2019 and some farmers haven’t received a payment. It’s a busy time at local offices. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed progress and other programs have been taking priority. Last week, the FSA issued three policy changes to county and state offices to better streamline the process.
Another Round for USDA’s Food Box Program – A third round of contracts for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program has been awarded. There will be an additional $1 billion in funding for this program. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said this will benefit farmers and consumers.
EPA Officials Talk RFS, Water Regs and More at Big Iron – Last week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the agency would deny oil refiner’s requests for retroactive small refinery exemptions. According to the administrator’s ag advisor Carrie Meadows, the agency took their time in making the decision to ensure they were making the right move. “We also had to evaluate new requests,” said Meadows. “We have to be fair, but ultimately, the administrator denied the requests.” Meadows said the EPA is still evaluating all of the data on the remaining small refinery exemptions. Also, the EPA hasn’t released the updated renewable volume obligations. “The agency is working hard on it, but there’s lots of data being looked at, driving the process.” EPA officials stopped at the Red River Farm Network’s Issues and Events Center on Wednesday at Big Iron. Watch the session.
MN Corn Matters – The Minnesota Corn Growers Association is sponsoring a series of candidate debates this election season. Learn more from MCGA President Les Anderson the this edition MN Corn Matters.
EPA Takes Step in Continued Use of Atrazine – The Environmental Protection Agency has released an interim decision regarding the re-registration of atrazine and other triazines. The tools were called safe for controlling problematic weeds. A draft biological evaluation of the triazoles is required under the Endangered Species Act, which should be done in October. The final EPA assessment is scheduled to be released in 2021.
MSGA Comments on MDA Chlorpyrifos Review – The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association has submitted comments to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, stressing the importance of chlorpyrifos. This tool is used to control soybean aphids and other pests. With the restrictions on neonicotinoids and the resistance documented in pyrethroids, chlorpyrifos is one of the only options left to deal with aphids.
USDA Releases 2019 Potato Summary – Potato production in 2019 was down substantially from the previous year. In North Dakota, potato production totaled 19.4 million hundredweight, down 18 percent from the previous year. Minnesota’s production declined five percent. According to Thursday’s USDA report, the value of potatoes sold from the 2019 crop totaled $213 million in North Dakota and $195 million in Minnesota.
Milk Production Continues to Rise – U.S. milk production totaled 17.8 billion pounds in August, up nearly two percent from the previous year. In Minnesota, the size of the dairy herd declined by 5,000 head, but milk output increased two percent. South Dakota added 13,000 dairy cows to production from one year to the next. Milk production increased nearly 11 percent.
CRP Bale Removal Deadline is Oct. 1 – North Dakota farmers and ranchers have just over one week, until October 1, to remove bales from Conservation Reserve Program acres. A deadline extension was granted for this year only to alleviate potential damage to CRP acreage caused by excess moisture. Producers are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency office with questions.
Fire Breaks Out at Kist Livestock – A fire broke out at Kist Livestock in a maintenance building early Sunday morning at Mandan, North Dakota. The main auction barn was not affected, and the fire was kept from spreading to hay stored nearby. Early damage estimates are estimated at over $100,000. Business at Kist will continue as normal.
New Digital Platform Launched at Big Iron – Ellingson Companies has introduced a new precision agriculture tool, providing farm data and water management tools for growers. The Ellingson App features public and proprietary information in one platform. The app was launched during the Big Iron Farm Show.
ADM Seeks Dismissal of Federal Lawsuit – Archer Daniels Midland has filed a motion in federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Green Plains, Incorporated. In July, Green Plains filed a class action lawsuit against ADM claiming there were attempts to illegally manipulate the ethanol cash market.
NFU Hosts Virtual Fly-In for Members – The National Farmers Union hosted a virtual fly-in last week. Attendees heard from key lawmakers and leaders in agriculture and met with their state’s Congressional delegations to discuss ag policy. North Dakota Farmers Union president Mark Watne says there are a lot of people trying to help agriculture get through the tough times. “The NFU is working on the issue of market concentration and reform. We’re also part of a few lawsuits trying to get the beef industry back online and we’re getting some attention during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Watne. “Our organization is also prioritizing rural infrastructure and renewable fuel discussions.”
MN Corn Growers Hosting Farm Tours Ahead of 2020 Election – The Minnesota Corn Growers Association is sponsoring candidate forums and giving farm tours to candidates in the 2020 election cycle. “A few years ago, we started Minnesota Corn Grows Minnesota. We try to get as many elected officials to the farm as we can and I feel we’ve had great success with the effort,” said Tim Waibel, president-elect, MCGA. “It’s an open invite for candidates and we try and move them around to different farms. We use a wide variety of areas, because not every farm is alike.” Listen to the full interview.
New Digital Platform for GrainBridge – GrainBridge has launched a new digital platform, which designed to streamline the grain marketing process. GrainBridge is an ag technology joint venture between ADM and Cargill.
Deputy Secretary Censky to Return to ASA – USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky is returning to his previous role as CEO of the American Soybean Association. Censky, who is a Minnesota native, served at the helm of ASA for 21 years before joining USDA in 2017. According to ASA President Bill Gordon, Censky will serve in a transitional role and help identify his successor. “It could be a year or it could be a little longer,” said Gordon. Censky’s experience at USDA will help ASA focus on its priorities. “On a trade front, Steve is stellar. With infrastructure, USDA has been leading the broadband initiative and Steve has been part of that.” The ASA job opened up in June when former CEO Ryan Findlay’s contract was terminated. Censky’s start date with ASA is November 9. Listen to RRFN’s interview with Gordon.
American Coalition for Ethanol Elects New Board Members – The American Coalition for Ethanol elected six new board members during its annual business meeting on Tuesday. South Dakota Corn Growers Association member Robert Walsh was one of the six new members elected to the board.
Rob-See-Co Announces New CFO – Ryan Halls is the new chief financial officer for Rob-See-Co. Halls has had 13 years of experience in agricultural finance, including positions with Syngenta and Cargill.
Rosen’s Inc. President/CEO Recognized – The Mid America CropLife Association Industry Vision Award has gone to Ivan Wells of Rosen’s, Incorporated. Wells is president and general manager of Rosen’s, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rosen’s Diversified of Fairmont, Minnesota.
Peterson Farms Seed Names Schultze Product Manager – Peterson Farms Seed has promoted Dennis Schultze to product manager. Schultze joined Peterson Farms Seed in 2018 as the research director. Schultze is a Woodbury, Minnesota native and has been in the seed industry for over 35 years.
Daniels Promoted to Policy Analyst – Malikha Daniels is now a policy analyst for Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson on the House Agriculture Committee. Daniels, who previously served as a legislative assistant, will focus on biotechnology, food safety, livestock, dairy, trade, specialty crops and organic agriculture issues.
New Leadership for Midwestern BioAg – Midwestern BioAg has named Michael Birger as its president and CEO. Most recently, Birger was the vice president of strategy and corporate development for Compass.
Legendary Farm Broadcaster Passes – Veteran farm broadcaster Evan Slack, 86, passed away over the weekend. Slack’s radio career lasted 68 years with most of that tenure in Denver. Slack was president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting in 1987 and was inducted into the NAFB Hall of Fame in 2009.
Last Week’s Trivia- The blue light special was a Kmart promotion. Paul Sproule of Sproule Farms wins our weekly trivia contest. Congrats, Paul. Bob Brunker of J.L. Farmakis, Dean Nelson of Kelley Bean Company, California Department of Pesticide Regulation Director Val Dolcini and retired banker John Stone earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Bob Volk of Simplot-Herried, Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad, Jim Altringer of CHS Dakota Plains Ag, Ray Albrecht of Cargill, Sara O’Toole of O’Toole Seed, Phyllis Nystrom of CHS Hedging, retired seedsman Bob Hobbs, Kevin Praska of Stone’s Mobile Radio, Lawton farmer Dennis Miller, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Curtis Novak of Park River, Dianne Bettin of LB Pork, Ron Dvergsten of Northland FBM, Burleigh County farmer Jim McCullough and Nick Sinner of Northern Crops Institute.
This Week’s Trivia- What is the term for cattle that are a crossbred between a Hereford and an Angus? Send your answer to email@example.com. Be sure to include your job title and/or your home town so we can recognize you in next week’s newsletter.
|RRFN Upcoming Events|
|September 21, 2020 - September 22, 2020||North Dakota Angus Tour - Minot, ND Area|
|September 22, 2020||UM Pre-Harvest Agronomy Webinar - Online Webinar|
|September 24, 2020||Pasture to Plate Webinar: Beef Labeling - Online Webinar|
|September 29, 2020||MN DNR Wolf Management Virtual Open House - Online Webinar|
|October 2, 2020 - October 3, 2020||NDSA All Breed Cattle Tour - Minot, ND Area|
|October 7, 2020||Feeding Fullfat Soybean Meal to Aquaculture - Online Webinar|
|October 8, 2020 - October 10, 2020||ND Stockmen’s Association Convention and Trade Show - Bismarck, ND|
|Contact RRFN||Don Wick
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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.