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Weekly News Highlights

Monday, May 22, 2017

Reporting Agriculture’s Business — it is a busy time in agriculture. The decision was announced this past week to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. U.S.-Mexico negotiations are continuing on sugar. In St. Paul, today is the final day of the Minnesota legislative session. It was contentious at times, but progress was made over the weekend. Buffers were one area that was part of the compromise discussion. Field activity continues. Planting is nearing completion and attention now shifts to weed control. Each Tuesday during the spring and early summer, RRFN hosts the Crop Watch broadcast at 12:37 PM on the radio. Those updates are also available on the RRFN smartphone app. On a personal note, RRFN welcomes Emma Maddock as an intern for the summer. Emma will join the RRFN team as we report agriculture’s business. Remember, you will find farm news, markets and weather on your RRFN radio affiliate. You can also find RRFN on Facebook and Twitter. The RRFN team: Carah, Mike, Randy, Jay and Don are also on Twitter.

Summer Outlook — The National Weather Service summer forecast is calling for hotter-than-normal conditions for most of the country. The exception would be portions of the Midwest including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Above normal rainfall is expected for parts of the Central and Northern Plains. That includes most of South Dakota and portions of western North Dakota.

Becoming Dry — World Weather Incorporated Senior Ag Meteorologist Drew Lerner says it’s becoming dry across the portions of the northern plains.  “The rain was a very welcome event. The situation is probably not going to switch completely. We’re going to fall into drier bias across the region. It’s great for getting the crops planted, but it’s not everyone who will see the good weather as far as planting is concerned.” Lerner says the rain events could cause a setback for these areas. The next few days will have a bigger impact on setting back some of the planting progress in the northwestern Cornbelt-there’s not going to be much of a break between the weather events.

Hot or Not? — There’s been a few exceptions, but temps have been cool over the past month-and-a-half in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Some heat would be welcome for the newly planted crop. RRFN asked University of Illinois meteorologist Eric Snodgrass if that will happen. “The unfortunate news is in the short term, no. We have a decent size trough moving toward the Great Lakes. We’ll experience some cool weather for awhile.” Southern Illinois has been extremely wet this spring. Things dried down this past week and planting and replanting has been taking place. Snodgrass says it sounds crazy, but after seven dry days, the region had sustained winds of 45-to-50 miles per hour. “We actually had a dust storm in Illinois. Recent rains helped. Several scouts say with all of that rain, there’s caked mud on top of everything. We’re having a difficult time with emergence on the crop. That’s taken some of the yield off the crop for Illinois and Indiana this year.” Snodgrass will participate in a weather seminar in the Red River Farm Network building during this year’s Big Iron Farm Show.

Crop Ratings and Their Market Importance — Utterback Marketing President Bob Utterback says the crop condition ratings for corn will be the most important factor for traders as the focus moves beyond planting progress. “Crop condition development will be critical to set the tone as we come into the critical six week time period in the last week of May until the second week of July. That’s a time of volatility for the corn. The market will be looking for an excuse to rally to argue the corn yield will be south of 170. It would be outright bullish if it tops 162.” Utterback says farmers likely didn’t plant as many soybean acres as the trade is looking for which should offer some support to the soybeans.

A Good Start — Pioneer Seed salesman Cory O’Leary, who is based at Lake Park, Minnesota, says crops got off to a good start this year. It was wet last fall and it took time for crops to dry out. Last week’s rains were needed. “We haven’t seen much emergence issues. There was corn in early on and we got cold and even had snow, but for the most part, it looks like it handled it well and fighting through it.” Crop Watch is sponsored, in part, by DuPont Pioneer.

Wet Field Struggles Continue — A few farmers in northwestern North Dakota continue to struggle with wet fields this spring. Dakota Agronomy Partners sales agronomist Jenna Whalen, who is based in Mohall, says unfortunately some farmers along the Canada border continue to fight wet fields. “There was lots of standing water early this spring. It made everyone nervous. It’s slowly shaping up out there. Lots of farmers are battling water. It looks like we have the potential for some acres to not see a crop this year.”

Smoothing Out the Ruts — Calloway, Minnesota farmer Bill Zurn has the corn planted and is working on soybeans. The ground is in tough shape from all the ruts we had last fall with it being so wet. “Everybody has go over the across the field another time to try and get it leveled out. When you work a quarter, you end up probably working 200 acres instead of 40 acres because it takes extra time to get it level.” Some farmers in the region still have the 2016 corn crop standing because it was so wet last fall. “We ended up buying tracks for our carts and combine last fall and played in that mud.” RRFN’s Crop Watch coverage is sponsored, in part, by Minnesota soybean farmers and their checkoff.

Good Emergence for Sugarbeets — Sugarbeet planting is all but wrapped up for American Crystal Sugar Company growers. General Agronomist Tyler Grove says there are a couple of problem areas where wet ground is still causing some delay. Grove says even emergence is pointing toward a good crop. “We have two-to-four leaf beets already. The beets have been progressing well. Reports from ag staff indicate some of the nicest seedbeds they’ve seen in many parts of the (Red River) Valley. That equates to really good stand counts. That’s the first indicator of a good crop.”

A Busy Time — Professional Agronomy Services agronomist Brad Guck works the Perham, Minnesota and says it’s been an extremely busy time for fieldwork. “Most everyone is done with planting. I’m liking what I’m seeing for emergence. We were delayed a bit with planting with cold, weather, but year-over-year, we are on pace with last year.” Crop Watch is sponsored, in part, by Syngenta Sugarbeet and Hilleshog.

Slow Canola Emergence — North Dakota State University Extension area specialist Lesley Lubenow says emergence has been very slow with the cool weather.  “It depends, but pretty much everything has slowed down. There is canola that’s been in the ground about two weeks for some farmers and I haven’t seen anything come out of the ground. I think it’s getting closer.” Lubenow says there could be some emergence issues with the canola.  “The top surface has been dry. The further west you go from Langdon, the more you start to notice that. Underneath, there’s lots of moisture there. The seedbeds for canola, I’m not sure how good it really is. It could be spotty.”

Canola Minute — Here’s the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. Get an update on planting progress.

Time to Evaluate Your Stands — Hitterdahl, Minnesota farmer Beau Jacobson has wrapped up planting season and is now working on pre-emergence herbicide application. Early corn is up and looking good. Jacobson also has customers with soybeans that went in early and can be rowed. Jacobson operates Premium Ag Solutions and is a premier dealer for Precision Planting. He says it is time to scout. “If you had any planter problems, do an evaluation of what is going on and how we can strive to do better next year. Make sure you have plant counts where you want and spacing and depth where we want it.”

A Few Replant Situations — For a broad perspective on the crop conditions, Wensman Seed marketing manager Dan Sartell says planting has gone well  across southern Minnesota and most of South Dakota. In the northern areas, rapid progress has been made. “There are a few replant situations mostly due to excess moisture.” The cold didn’t have much of an impact. “We’re hearing of stands that are coming through that were plantied on April 15 and they are popping out of the ground and we are pleased with the hardiness of the seed. ” RRFN’s Crop Watch coverage is sponsored, in part, by AgCountry Farm Credit Services.  Listen to our #CropWatch17 coverage.

Weed Pressure — Weed pressure is being seen, especially in soybean fields. WinField United agronomist Jason Hanson says foxtail barley and dandelions are getting attention this spring. “With foxtail barley, it is a bunch grass so tillage does a good job on it. If we’re reduced tillage or no-till or using a Salford, it is probably a reason we’re seeing more of that.” With limits on weed control during the planting season, Hanson sees the need to do more work in the fall season to deal with dandelions. “Everyone wants to plant tomorrow, but have the weed gone yesterday. 2,4-D is very good, but you have a seven day waiting period for every pint of four pound ester and people sometimes don’t think of that restriction. You can use products like Express that is labeled for a quarter-ounce the day before you plant, but, most people plant and then they ask what to do and that is limited.” Hanson covers eastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota for WinField United.

Weed of the Week: Palmer Amaranth — Have you heard of palmer amaranth? The weed is aggressive in growth and competes with other crops. Growth has been measured two to three inches per day under ideal conditions. Palmer amaranth originates from the desert southwest. The weed was an unintentional seed contaminant in cattle feed in Indiana and Michigan, and in seed mixtures seeded in CRP fields in Iowa and Minnesota. Awareness is critical for early detection. Why so much attention to palmer amaranth? It adapts quickly to its new home be it Arkansas, Indiana or Iowa. Its rapid growth and enormous size make post-emergence herbicides ineffective and causes 90% yield loss in corn and 80% loss in soybean from competition. Growers have resorted to hand-pulling for control in cotton fields in the south. Thanks to Tom Peters of North Dakota State University/University of Minnesota and Richard Zollinger of NDSU for assisting with this project.

Mark Those Fields — Corn emergence is good, but there is weed pressure. Ragweed is a particular concern. “There is a lot more preplants going down and I think there will be a lot of residuals on corn,” said J.J. Johnson, sales representative, Helena, “Get out there and mark your fields if you have Liberty fields or if you have Xtend fields or even Roundup fields. Mark them so we don’t have spray issues and drifting on sensitive crops. While it is fresh on your mind, I think that is important this year.”

Manage Those Weeds — In the Fargo area, spring wheat stands look good. Bayer CropScience technical service representative Kevin Thorsness is pleased with the crop, but says weed management should be a priority. “Starting to see some wild buckwheat, common lambsquarters and foxtail. The cooler weather will slow things down, but the weeds are definitely coming.” Early-season fungicides are also recommended to protect the crop from disease pressure.

Feeding the Crop — Timing for split nitrogen application for spring wheat is rapidly approaching if not already here for some fields. North Dakota State University Extension soil science specialist Dave Franzen says those farmers who need to apply nitrogen need to apply it before the six-leaf stage. “If it were me, I’d probably try to time it around the three-to-four leaf stage, so it’s not limited. Then, the drop-dead for most efficient yield is around early jointing.” Franzen says as fast as the wheat is growing you can apply the nitrogen most anytime. “These small grains are just fast growing. It grows like crazy. I don’t think early is a bad thing.”

ND Wheat Link — Hear the North Dakota Wheat Commission’s Wheat Link. Learn more about selecting quality wheat.

Get It Done Quickly — In this week’s North Dakota State University Extension Crop and Pest Report, Extension cereal grains pathologist Andrew Friskop says the time is rapidly approaching for a weed control application in the small grains.   “At the same time, there’s a chance to throw in a fungicide with the mix to manage early season diseases. It’s always best to work with local experts knowing which herbicides and fungicides can play nice.” Friskop reminds farmers the fungicide only protects the leaves that are available.   “It’s early in the season. When the fungicide is put down, you’re getting great protection on the leaves available. Next week, new leaves are coming up. Keep scouting.”

Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus Challenges Kansas Wheat — According to Kansas State University Research and Extension, six west-central Kansas counties are experiencing extreme distribution of wheat streak mosaic, triticum mosaic and high plains mosaic virus. The fields impacted could experience more than 70 percent yield loss, if not a complete loss. The rest of western Kansas is dealing with high distributions of these diseases while the central region is also seeing high and moderate infection levels. Producers can manage their risk of WSMV by controlling volunteer wheat and avoid early planting.

Wheat Cutting in Southern U.S. Underway — Plains Grains, Incorporated has released their pre-harvest winter wheat report. Executive Director Mark Hodges says wheat cutting has already begun in central Texas with some test cutting being done in southern Oklahoma.  “Not a lot of loads have been received yet. Really just test cutting more than anything. Wheat moisture has been high. We’ve had rain the last few days. We’re probably shut down for harvest for a few days.” Hodges is expecting a much smaller wheat harvest when compared to last year’s record crop.

Uncertainties on Oklahoma Crop — The winter wheat harvest has begun in southwestern Oklahoma. Mike Schulte, executive director, Oklahoma Wheat Commission, is not sure what kind of crop they’ll have. “So far, what we’ve been seeing come indicate it will be a favorable crop. We’ve had some storm systems move in this past week. There have been areas impacted by hail damage across the state. That will bring our numbers down. Producers are on edge and have concern about what’s going to happen in the next few days.” USDA forecasts an 89 million bushel wheat crop in Oklahoma, which would be 35 percent below last year’s production. “I think the USDA estimate is a little low as of today.”

Dry Bean Scene — The Dry Bean Scene is on the air, with information about the dry edible bean industry in the Northarvest region. This broadcast airs each Friday at 12:37 PM.

More Pulses — According to USDA’s Economic Research Service, acreage of pulses in the U.S. is projected at a record of more than four million acres this year. Chickpea acreage is forecast to rise to nearly 500,000 acres, an increase of more than 53 percent compared to last year. This increase is due to the sustained price strength and favorable returns for chickpeas relative to other crops. Planted acreage of lentils is expected to rise 13 percent this year, to over a million acres. In ten years’ time, lentil acreage has more than tripled, boosted by expanding sales to India and growing domestic consumption. The ERS says dry bean planted area, minus chickpeas, is projected to increase about two percent this year, to 1.37 million, slightly below the 10-year average. Dry peas are the only pulse crop projected to have fewer acres than last year.

Research Say No Big Advantage to Early Dry Bean Planting — North Dakota State University Extension cropping systems specialist Greg Endres says farmers who are planning to raise dry edible beans may have a chance to plant earlier than normal this year, but research doesn’t show a significant advantage for that action. “2012 was an early year. We’d heard of people planting dry beans early, in the first half of May. We considered exploring that. After all of the work, we didn’t see an advantage for yield or quality planting in that time.” Endres says the trials conducted at the Carrington Research Extension Center show no significant difference when dry beans are planted early, normal or late.

Watch for Potato Blight — North Dakota State University Extension Potato Agronomist Andy Robinson cautions potato growers to watch for late blight. “There is certainly potential for it being in seed or volunteer potatoes. We need to be vigilant about it this year. Watch your seed. Scout your fields regularly, early on.” Robinson says russet potatoes are getting in the ground alright. There are still a few growers waiting on fields to dry out to plant potatoes. The seed supply is also a little short this year. “There’s a reduction in seed. It’s an issue, but I don’t think it’s a huge issue.”

The Sugarbeet Report — Sugarbeet growers made some planting progress before the cooler, damp weather set in last week. Listen to a weed management update. The Sugarbeet report is sponsored, in part, by SES VANDERHAVE and Dow Agrosciences.

Applying Pre’s — Valley City, North Dakota farmer Monte Peterson finished planting this past week and would like some good moisture. Peterson says they’ve been trying to stay on top of pre-emerge herbicides down on soybean acres.  “We’re putting a mix on all of our soybean acres. It’s been windy so that holds us back a little, but we take every chance we can when the wind is calm before the crop emerges.”

Dicamba Questions — There have been numerous questions about planting various crops after a dicamba application. A few errors in the North Dakota Weed Guide may be part of the confusion. Those errors have been corrected on the web version of the guide. North Dakota State University Extension weed scientist Brian Jenks says it was an interpretation for the labels for Banvel and Clarity. “I think we had an error where we had it listed as the rotation as three days per ounce applied going back to soybeans, but that’s not the case. In our area, we probably shouldn’t be using dicamba prior to going to soybeans according to the label.”

Renegotiating NAFTA — The White House has officially notified the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees that the administration will update the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA negotiations can begin 90 days after this notice is filed with Congress. That means trade talks could start by mid-August. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue welcomed the move, saying “any trade deal can be improved.”

Agriculture Responds to NAFTA News — Agriculture groups have been fairly united in their support for the renegotiation of the trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said his organization will work to make sure the NAFTA talks strengthens the “critical relationship” with two of the largest trading partners for the U.S. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says the original trade agreement hurt Rural America and this is a chance to “reset” the trade agenda. Many commodity groups voiced support for a strong trade agenda, but emphasized the needs of agriculture should be remembered when NAFTA is updated.

As Good As It Can Get — National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Craig Uden was in Mexico this past week to discuss trade with officials from the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Uden says the beef industry doesn’t want to renegotiate their part of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a zero tariff is as good as it can get. “I had an opportunity to visit with their director of agriculture, the same as our Sonny Perdue in the U.S., he’s very optimistic agriculture can work through this. I’m hoping we can keep moving forward. I think it’s reassuring we’re down here to show how much we value this relationship. The relationship has worked well for North American beef.”

A Sense of Urgency — North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp is urging newly-confirmed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to defend North Dakota agricultural priorities as the administration renegotiates NAFTA. Heitkamp also wants Lighthizer to use NAFTA negotiations to address concerns that North Dakota producers have about Canadian grain standards, Mexican sugar dumping, and country of origin meat labeling for meat. Heitkamp told Lighthizer that trade agreements should level the playing field for farmers, ranchers, and workers, while also holding other countries accountable when they cheat on trade deals.

No Agreement Reached Yet — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is optimistic about the sugar trade talks between the U.S. and Mexico. However, American Sugar Alliance Communications Director Phillip Hayes says that doesn’t mean the negotiations are done. “Talks have been going on for a long time between the U.S. and Mexico. There has been no agreement reached. We continue to educate the Department of Commerce to reach out to lawmakers making sure people understand we are still being injured. Every day Mexico isn’t in compliance with U.S. trade law, we are injured more. We need to bring them into compliance. We are urging the Department of Commerce to stay strong.” Hayes says June 5 is a hard deadline to reach an agreement. Mexico was found guilty for dumping and subsidizing and the U.S. government says the penalty for those actions would be duties of 80 percent.  Hayes notes other commodities are closely watching these negotiations. “We’ve worked diligently to educate our colleagues from other crops that this isn’t about trade with Mexico. This isn’t about renegotiating NAFTA. It’s about enforcing laws that have been on our books for decades. We’ve encouraged our colleagues from other crops to view it as such.”

Reaching an Agreement Takes Time — Informa Economics Senior Vice President Jim Weisemeyer thinks within the next two weeks, there will be an agreement reached between the U.S. and Mexico on lingering U.S. sugar trade issues. “I think there’s elements on both sides. I fully think and expect within the next two weeks, we’ll have an agreement on some of these complex issues in the U.S.-Mexico sugar trade sector. That will signal that similar issues can be worked out via a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.” Weisemeyer says he’s surprised it’s taken this long to reach an agreement.

Correcting the Record — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson are trying to correct the record on the sugar trade dispute between the U.S. and Mexico. Conaway and Peterson issued a joint statement, saying the current negotiations have nothing to do with trade or market access. Instead, the lawmakers emphasized the goal is to make sure Mexican sugar does not enter the U.S. market at dump levels that hurt American sugar farmers. If an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico is not finalized by June 5, the U.S. Commerce Department will impose anti-subsidy and anti-dumping tariffs on Mexico.

Tax Reform Proposed — South Dakota Senator John Thune has released a tax proposal that has implications for farmers. It would allow investments in equipment and property to be written off immediately up to $2 million through Section 179 expensing. The Thune plan also reduces the depreciation period for farm machinery and equipment from seven years to five years.

Farm Bill Spending Priorities — With the 2018 Farm Bill, different ag groups are seeking funds for a variety of priorities. American Farm Bureau Federation chief economist Bob Young says the amount of money in the baseline is very small. “That means you’re almost set up for warfare. The corn farmers are trying to protect their own, the cotton farmers and dairy farmers need some dollars. Who will give up? No one will want to give up. That tends to be where the fights in agriculture happen.” During the last Farm Bill, there was an agreement amongst agriculture groups that there wouldn’t be attempts to cannibalize money from the different titles of the legislation. RRFN asked Young if that will that continue in the next Farm Bill debate. “I certainly suspect that’s where folks will want to start. I think there’s enough support and desire to protect crop insurance that there will be real resistance to take money out of crop insurance to put into Title One. I’m not convinced we will be willing to cross those lines moving forward.”

Crop Insurance Cuts Likely to be Proposed — The Trump administration is expected to release its new budget proposal on Tuesday. Another round of crop insurance cuts are anticipated. Agri-Pulse is reporting the proposal will be similar to a bill known as the AFFIRM Act introduced by Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake and Wisconsin Democratic Congressman Ron Kind. This plan would impose means testing, limiting involvement for farmers making too much money. “There are ways to tighten these programs and make them more acceptable to the taxpayer, yet, still helpful to the producers that need the help. It should be a springboard or trampoline and not just a hammock for them to lie in all the time.” The Standard Reinsurance Agreement between the Risk Management Agency and the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation has been cut back in recent farm bills. Kind also wants to take another whack out of that program.

Modifications Approved for Margin Protection Insurance — USDA’s Risk Management Agency is expanding its margin protection insurance programs. Beginning with the 2018 crop, margin protection for corn and soybeans is being expanded to nine more states, including North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota. RMA also increased the maximum coverage level to 95 percent.

Perdue Meets with House Agriculture Committee — Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue spent more than three hours before the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday. Perdue outlined his plan to reorganize USDA, including the addition of an undersecretary for trade. In Perdue’s words, the U.S. has to sell its way “out of this supply-and-demand situation. Perdue praised the crop insurance program, but said adjustments are needed. “There is some fine-tuning. Overall, the crop insurance program has been a great addition. We need to look at how to better cover the specialty crops.” Just as he does not want farmers to base decisions on how much they can get from the ARC or PLC programs, “we don’t want people farming for insurance payments either.” Perdue also said cotton farmers will likely have to wait until the next farm bill before changes are made to the cotton program. The STAX program has not worked as well as the cotton industry would have liked and southern-state lawmakers want cottonseed designated as an oilseed and made eligible for the PLC program. Perdue said budget issues limit USDA’s ability to make cotton a program crop.

A Similar Discussion This Week — After the House Agriculture Committee’s hearing on the farm economy Wednesday, the Senate Ag Committee will hold a similar hearing this upcoming Thursday. Chairman Pat Roberts says the hearing will begin the Committee’s Farm Bill hearings in Washington D.C.

MFU Legislative Minute — Check out this update from the Minnesota Farmers Union on legislative session progress.

Grace Period Included in Buffer Language — Over the weekend, adjustments were made in the buffer language within the Minnesota omnibus environment and natural resources bill. The original bill called for a two-year delay for the implementation of the buffer law. Governor Mark Dayton said that was a non-starter and promised to veto any bill with that language. As a compromise, an eight-month grace period was included in the bill. Rather than a November 1 implementation date, this gives landowners until July 1, 2018 to come into compliance with buffers or the alternative practices.

Corn Matters — Hear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s Corn Matters program. Learn more about the buffer legislation.

Ag Finance Bill Returns to the Governor’s Desk — The Minnesota Legislature must adjourn by midnight tonight. Progress was seen over the weekend, but a special session may still be needed to finish work on the budget. The agriculture finance bill has passed both chambers again and is on its way to Governor Mark Dayton. The revamped bill includes more money for the operation of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Additional dollars are available to deal with noxious weeds, particularly, the threat of Palmer amaranth. Pollinators and verification of need was a sticking point for many people in the agriculture sector. House Agriculture Policy Committee Chair Paul Anderson says changes were made in the issue of verification of need that is suitable to all parties.

A Variety of Points Made During Ag Budget Debate — The agriculture budget bill passed the Minnesota and Senate by an overwhelming margin. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some dissent. Representative David Bly, a DFL’er from Northfield, defended Governor Dayton against an anti-agriculture sentiment that has been raised in recent weeks. “I take umbrage to the fact that ag groups, perhaps, motivated by the chemical companies, I don’t know. It is disgraceful and shameful that they would do that because this governor has not been anti-ag.” House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rod Hamilton, who is a Republican from Cottonwood, sought unity during the final moments of the House debate. “We need to do a good job educating the consumer who we are, what we do and why. We have this battle internally with food-versus-fuel, urban-versus-rural, GMO-versus-organic, large-verses-small, conventional-versus-traditional. It is time we all come together.”

MN Farm Bureau Legislative Minute — Here’s the latest from the Minnesota Farm Bureau. In this report, we get an update on the Minnesota legislative session.

More Time to Move Anhydrous — North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has signed an emergency executive order, granting a hours-of-service waiver for the commercial transportation of anhydrous ammonia fertilizer. With a compressed spring planting season, there is demand on drivers to move more fertilizer in a shorter time period. The emergency order is in place until June 3.

EPA Comment Period Reopened — The Environmental Protection Agency has reopened its comment period on its risk assessment for pyrethroids. This class of insecticides is used in a wide variety of crops, including corn, soybeans and alfalfa. The new deadline for public comment is July 7.

Restrictions Expected with China Beef Sales — The news of China reopening its market to U.S. beef has generated excitement, but BOLT Marketing market analyst DuWayne Bosse remains cautious. “There is only three percent of our cattle that would even qualify to export to China right now. The news is good, but I don’t know how long it will take to work out. It may take a few years,” says Bosse. “Maybe we have to go more ‘natural’ if China wants to buy them. I don’t know if we’re willing to make that change right now.”

Brazilian Scandal — The head of the world’s largest meatpacker is part of a political scandal that is rocking Brazil. Joesley Batista, who is the chairman of JBS, reportedly offered bribe money to Brazilian President Michel Temer. In testimony that was part of a plea deal, Batista said millions of dollars was also given to the past two Brazilian presidents. The scandal within the Brazilian government had an immediate impact on currency and commodity markets late last week.

Livestock Truckers Gain Flexibity in HOS Rules — At the request of North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, the Department of Transportation is providing flexibility for truckers hauling livestock. With the change, the Hours of Service rules do not apply for those moving livestock within a 150-mile radius. North Dakota Stockmen’s Association executive director Julie Ellingson praised this change. Without the flexibility, Ellingson said it would drive up the cost of freight and have a negative impact on animal welfare.

MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association in their weekly MN Beef Update.

April Milk Production Increases — Milk production in the 23 major dairy producing states totaled 17.2 billion pounds in April. That’s up two percent from April 2016. In Minnesota, cow numbers declined slightly, but milk production increased two percent. In South Dakota milk output increased 3.8 percent. In Wisconsin, production rose 0.6 percent.

Perdue Visits SD and NE — Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made stops in South Dakota and Nebraska this weekend. The South Dakota stopover included a visit to the Ellsworth Airforce Base to highlight programs that connect veterans with jobs in agriculture. Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer hosted Perdue for an agriculture roundtable discussion at her ranch near Valentine.

Undeniably Dairy — The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has launched a new campaign to build consumer confidence in dairy products. The campaign is called ‘Undeniably Dairy’ and will educate consumers about dairy foods and dairy farming. National Dairy Board Chair Amber Horn-Leiterman is excited about this multi-year project. “Now we have the means to open that barn door and really share what is undeniably dairy and it gives us a way to reconnect with those consumers and reassure them that we can be trusted.”

AURI Update — In the weekly update from the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. Visit for updates.

Decision Made in Keepseagle v. Vilsack Lawsuit — There’s a new development in an ongoing legal battle between USDA and Native American farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. has upheld a lower court decision dealing the distribution of the settlement funds. A total of $380 million remains in the settlement fund. The court decision provides for an additional $21,000 payment for each claimant and the rest of the money will go to not-for-profit groups providing services to Native American farmers and ranchers. This decision ends a case that began in 1999 when Marilyn and George Keepseagle sued USDA for discrimination. This couple is part of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and are from Fort Yates, North Dakota.

Growing More Hemp in NoDak — Healthy Oilseeds President Roger Gussiaas hosted a grower meeting to talk about the benefits of growing hemp this past week. Gussiaas says farmers there will be more than 3,000 acres planted in North Dakota this year. “I think it’s multiplied four times in the last four years as far as the usage of the product. It’s a profitable crop and grows easily. We grew about 15 acres of it last year. That was the limit for what we could grow. It’s up within three to four days. It grows faster than corn.” Gussiaas says there is international demand for the crop.

Four Deer Test Positive for CWD in MN — The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has confirmed four new cases of Chronic Wasting Disease in the state’s farmed deer herd. The animals have been euthanized and the Meeker County farm has been quarantined.

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Income Rises for John Deere — Deere & Company is reporting second quarter net income of more than $802 million. That’s up from $494 million one year earlier. Worldwide, net equipment sales increased two percent. The sales performance in the United States and Canada was down five percent for the quarter.

To Gain Approval, Dow AgroSciences to Make Concessions in Brazil — To win approval for the Dow-DuPont merger, Brazilian regulators are asking Dow Chemical to divest a portion of its seed corn business in Brazil. The DowDuPont deal is expected to close on September 1.

Union Contract Approved — Union workers at American Crystal Sugar Company have voted to approve a five-year contract offer. In addition to pay raises, American Crystal offered employees a signing bonus if the contract was wrapped up by May 22.

Field Trials Begin for New Spring Wheat Variety — Under a service agreement with the University of Minnesota, Calyxt has launched field trials for its powdery mildew-resistant spring wheat variety in Crookston and St. Paul. The Minnesota-based company uses proprietary gene editing technology to develop this wheat. Since it has no foreign DNA, USDA ruled this is a non-regulated variety. Calyxt’s focus is on developing healthy specialty food ingredients to benefit consumers and farmers.

Additional Resources Likely Available with AgReliant Restructuring — Wensman Seed is part of a transition happening with its parent company, AgReliant Genetics. Starting in 2018, Wensman Seed, Producers Hybrids, Eureka Seeds, Golden Acre Genetics and Great Lakes Hybrids will be sold under the LG Seeds brand. Wensman Seeds general manager Jeff Wensman says this is part of the company’s growth strategy. “We’re doing this from a position of strength. All of the brands are very well managed and are having growth in sales.” Wensman said the current staff will remain in place, although, additional resources will likely be made available. That would include agronomists, technical support and technology. The Wensman facility in Wadena will continue to be in operation under the LG Seeds brand.

Henderson Joins Heitkamp Staff — Jared Henderson is now a legislative assistant for North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, focusing on agriculture, trade and transportation. Henderson was the government relations manager for CropLife America.MIZ.

Millard Joins House Agriculture Committee Staff — A South Dakota native is the new communications director for the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. Rachel Millard has been working for a Washington, D.C. public affairs firm. Before that, Millard was the communications director and senior advisor to South Dakota Senator John Thune.

Burgum Appoints Dailey to State Board of Higher Education — An agriculture education major at North Dakota State University has been appointed to the State Board of Higher Education. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum appointed Jacob Dailey for a one-year term. Daily is the president of the North Dakota Student Organization and is a founding member of the NDSU Agricultural Collective.

CHS Names New President/CEO — CHS Inc. has named a new president and CEO. Jay Debertin succeeds Carl Casale, who led the cooperative for the past seven years. Debertin is originally from East Grand Forks and has been with CHS since 1984. Previously, Debertin was the executive vice president and chief operating officer for the CHS energy operations and processing food business.

Hollinrake Moves From Bayer to Syngenta — Syngenta Seeds has named David Hollinrake as its new president. Hollinrake will also serve as Syngenta’s North American region director. Hollinrake has been the vice president of North American marketing for Bayer CropScience. Before that, Hollinrake worked for Monsanto. Syngenta has also picked David Treinen as the head of its GreenLef Genetics business. That’s the business unit that works with independent seed companies on genetics, traits and seed care products. Treinen has been the northern seed manager for Pinnacle Agriculture.

Rabo AgriFinance Adds VP — Sam Funk will focus on grains, oilseeds and farm economics as vice president for RaboResearch Food and Agriculture. Funk has been the cheif economist for the United Soybean Board and a senior economist with Doane Advisory Services.

Promotions Announced at Animal Agriculture Alliance — Allyson Jones-Brimmer is now the director of membership for the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Casey Whitaker is the organization’s new communications manager. Jones-Brimmer and Whitaker have both worked for the Alliance, but are moving to new roles.

Honoring Former USDA Secretary Schafer — A bill to rename the Red River Valley Agricultural Center as the Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center passed the House on a voice vote. North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer sponsored the bill to recognize the former agriculture secretary and governor. “It is a world-class facility in a world-class town. I think it should be named after a world-class guy.” A companion bill has been introduced in the Upper Chamber by Senator John Hoeven and co-sponsored by Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

Staying Grounded — A North Dakota man is the new head of research and development for Arysta LifeSciences. Rather than moving to company headquarters in North Carolina, Chad Effertz is staying in Velva, North Dakota. “The more you keep in touch with what’s going on in the ground and your end-user, it keeps you grounded. We can focus in on the solutions needed in the market. That’s where research and development plays a role in bringing those products in.” Effertz says new products are coming to market with significant investments in seed treatments and fungicides.

Managing Melanoma — May is Melanoma Awareness month. As a stage 4 melanoma survivor, DuPont Pioneer account manager Jay Zielske is doing his best to create awareness about melanoma prevention and detection. Since Zielske first went public about his cancer, he’s met more than eight people who work in agriculture who have also been diagnosed with melanoma. Zielske says the nature of the jobs in ag puts people at greater risk than the general population. “It’s hard to be involved in our business and not be exposed to sunlight, particularly UV rays. It’s estimated 89 percent of melanoma cases out there are attributed to UV exposure. We need to take some precautions.” Zielske has worked as an agronomist and account manager for 34 years and rarely gave sun safety much consideration. He does now. “One of the easiest things someone can do is wear protective clothing, a wide brim hat and sunscreen. Sunglasses can also help.”  Zielske says the ABC’s of melanoma detection include looking for moles that are typically asymmetrical in shape, with irregular borders.  More detailed information is available online.


Last Week’s Trivia — Salt is the only rock that is typically eaten. Tate Struve of Stewart Peterson is our weekly trivia winner. Great job, Tate! Justin Golden of Wes-Con Cooperative, Crookston farmer Ron Lanctot, Danny Pinske of Hoffman Cooperative Grain Association and Brian Lund of Nufarm Americas earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ recognition also goes to Dan Filipi of American Federal Bank, Dennis Duvall of Dakota Environmental, Mandy Kvale of Farm Credit Services of Mandan, Dianne Bettin of LB Pork, Jerome Lensing of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center, Lawton farmer Dennis Miller, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Jamie Reed of Reynolds United Co-op, Jim Altringer of Columbia Grain, Peter Carson of Carson Farms, Ron Claussen of Ag Media Research, Kathy Noll of Noll’s Dairy Farm, retired Kouts, Indiana farmer Mike Shutske, Mark Bernard of Agro-Economics and Trace Anderson of Triangle Consulting.

This Week’s Trivia — Since May is Beef Month, here’s a beefy trivia question. What breed of beef cattle is solid white and originated in France? Send your answer to Please include your name and business.

Calendar of Events

May 24 — Global Business Awards Luncheon–Fargo, ND
June 1 — NDSU Livestock Judging Camp–Fargo, ND
June 3 — MN Farmers Union Women’s Leadership Conference–Little Falls, MN
June 3 — ND Junior Angus Association Field Day–Jamestown, ND
June 5-9 — ND FFA Convention–Fargo, ND
June 7-9 — World Pork Expo–Des Moines, IA
June 11-13 — Gopher Dairy Camp–St. Paul, MN
June 12-13 — The Fertilizer Institute 4R Summit–Minneapolis, MN
June 12 — ND Stockmen’s Association Spring Roundup–Watford City, ND
June 13-14 — Midwest Farm Energy Conference –Morris, MN
June 13 — ND Stockmen’s Association Spring Roundup–Towner, ND
June 14 — ND Stockmen’s Association Spring Roundup–Golden Valley, ND
June 15 — SD Corn Growers Association Corn Cob Open–Harrisburg, SD
June 15 — ND Stockmen’s Association Spring Roundup–Napoleon, ND
June 16 — ND Stockmen’s Association Spring Roundup–McLeod, ND
June 17 — ND Stockmen’s Association Spring Roundup–Portland, ND
June 19 — Minnesota 4-H Foundation Golf Classic–Roseville, MN
June 19-20 — CommonGround Workshop–Minneapolis, MN
June 19-21 — International Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo–Minneapolis, MN
June 19-22 — ND 4-H Youth Conference–Fargo, ND
June 19-21 — Young Leaders in Agriculture Conference–Brandon, SD
June 20-23 — American Seed Trade Association Annual Meeting–Minneapolis, MN
June 20 — ND Stockmen’s Association Feedlot Tour–Center, Stanton, Hebron and Richardton, ND
June 23-24 — ND Junior Beef Expo–Minot, ND
June 27 — NCGA Canola Research Tour–Minot, ND
June 28 — UM-NDSU Extension Soil Health Field Day–Morris, MN


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Source: Red River Farm Network