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A Weekly Update From Your Friends at the Red River Farm Network

A Weekly Update From Your Friends at the Red River Farm Network

Monday, May 8, 2017

Weekly News Highlights

Reporting Ag’s Business From Fields to D.C. — The Red River Farm Network is keeping up with planting progress across our region this week. Today’s USDA planting progress is being closely watched by market analysts, especially with decent weather conditions in the last five days. Last week, RRFN was in Washington D.C. for the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Washington Watch. Our group met with new Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. RRFN also spent time meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Get the details in this e-publication and by listening to newscasts on your local RRFN radio affiliate. You can also find RRFN on Facebook and Twitter. The RRFN team: CarahMikeRandyJay and Don are also on Twitter.

Politics at Play in Omnibus Negotiations — The Senate has passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill and it was signed by President Trump. This bill funds the government until the end of September. The House passed the same bill on Wednesday. A week ago, there was hope the omnibus bill would include help for dairy and cotton farmers. That fell apart in the weekend negotiations. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway blames Senate Democrats for political gamesmanship. “It’s a classic example of what the Senate does, in particular (Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member) Debbie Stabenow and (Vermont Senator) Pat Leahy. They are reckless in the way they treated cotton and dairy producers. I think they intended it to fail, and it did.” This dust-up over dairy and cotton policy may linger into the debate over the next farm bill. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson joined Conaway in pointing the finger at the Senate. Peterson said Senate negotiators sought additional baseline funding for agriculture without budget offsets. As the process wore on, congressional leadership abandoned the entire concept. RRFN’s Washington Watch coverage is sponsored, in part, by NDFB.

Omnibus Budget Includes Ag Provisions — North Dakota Senator John Hoeven chairs the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and is a member of the agriculture committee. In the just completed budget package, Hoeven was able to include a pilot program to improve the ARC-County program. “This pilot program is a test run to see if we can give the state FSA directors more flexibility, so if there is a nonsensical result in contiguous farms or counties, FSA has the flexibility to do what makes sense. That happens lots of times when we don’t get enough NASS data. It should strengthen and improve ARC. We are going to try and show this is an improvement we can include in the Farm Bill.” This budget also includes nearly $6 million to establish a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service station at the Pembina (North Dakota) border crossing. With the tight farm economy, it has been a struggle for some farmers to get operating credit this spring. Hoeven said there was more money for Farm Service Agency guaranteed loans.

ARC-County Challenges — In the new Farm Bill, adjustments will likely be made in the farm safety net by tweaking the ARC-PLC programs. In particular, the issue where one county
could max out on ARC payments and a neighboring county received no payments. One possible solution discussed would have the data coming from the Risk Management Agency versus the National Agricultural Statistics Service. National Farmers Union senior vice president of public policy Rob Larew isn’t sure that would fix the problem. “Unfortunately, like lots of issues, this one can become more of a regional issue. If you’re in a part of the country where there isn’t sufficient data, we run into the same problem we do with NASS. I’m not sure what the answer is, but there are lots of folks who are looking to see the best data out there for the best results.” Larew, who previously was the minority staff director for the House Agriculture Committee and was on the staff of Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson, says a fix for the ARC-County situation will cost money. RRFN’s report from Capitol Hill is sponsored, in part, by the Minnesota Farmers Union.

Klobuchar Seeks Improvements in the Farm Bill — Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar says the Trump Administration’s budget cuts are a big concern for agriculture. Klobuchar is also monitoring Farm Bill discussions. “We’ve worked hard to get ideas. What’s come in clear, people like a lot of the components in the last Farm Bill, but there are things that can be improved. The way crop insurances works can improve and the dairy program, too.”

Field Hearing Comes to Michigan — The Senate Agriculture Committee held a farm bill field hearing Saturday in Michigan. Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow both indicated budgets are tight and there will be no new money for the next farm bill. The is the second field hearing for the Senate committee with the first one held in Kansas. Rather than field hearings, the House Agriculture Committee plans to hold a series of listening sessions. One of those sessions is expected to be held in southern Minnesota at Farmfest in early August.

Forward-Looking and Innovative — South Dakota Senator John Thune is hopeful a new Farm Bill will provide as much flexibility as possible for farmers. “This is a time when we’re in a very difficult economic climate for agriculture so we need to be thinking differently for the 2018 Farm Bill. We need to be forward-looking and innovative, looking for ways to provide farmers protection.” Crop insurance has long been a target of budget hawks on Capitol Hill and Thune says the commodity title of the bill will get some attention. “Lots of these programs have been tight in terms of the way they can help farmers make decisions. We want farmers to be able to manage their lands in a way that maximizes their income, output and good soil health. We think the long run, it will make a more streamlined program.” Thune is introducing a series of farm bill proposals, including a new voluntary income protection program called the Soil Health and Income Protection Program. Thune also wants to increase the acreage cap for the CRP program.

We Need a Strong Safety Net — National Association of Wheat Growers Vice President Jimmie Musick says agriculture needs to maintain risk management in the next Farm Bill. “Always a priority for wheat is crop insurance. We need the safety net for farmers. There is lots of stress out in farm country right now. They are having some challenges out there.” Thanks to the North Dakota Wheat Commission for its sponsorship.

Bad Timing — It is unusual to have President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to agree on anything, but all three are pointing the finger at Canadian policies and its impact on U.S. dairy farmers. Canada’s new pricing strategy was blamed when Grassland Dairy cut off more than 75 dairy farms from Wisconsin and Minnesota. A home has been found for all of that milk, but the decision also highlights the tight processing capacity for the Midwest dairy industry. “Certainly, the Canadian decision to stop buying milk from the U.S. couldn’t have come at a worse time,” said Chris Galen, National Milk Producers Federation. “The beginning of April is the start of the spring flush. The last few years, we’ve had a lot of spring flush. It looks like this year, that’s also the case. It was bad timing all the way around.” Galen says the capacity issue is a longer term issue that will be addressed. The Washington Watch coverage is sponsored, in part, by Associated Milk Producers, Inc.

Making Adjustments — There is general consensus in Washington, D.C. that dairy policy needs to be adjusted in the next Farm Bill. Chuck Conner, President and CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, says risk management must be addressed for all commodities in the next Farm Bill. “Our biggest challenge is the safety net. Farmers need some risk management certainty to carry them through to tough times again.”

American Ag is ‘Vital to Economy’ — Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was in Nevada, Iowa Friday for his first major policy speech. Perdue told the audience President Donald Trump understands that American agriculture is vital to the U.S. economy. In a town hall event, Perdue also took questions from farmers about the Renewable Fuel Standard. “Renewable energy and ethanol is here to stay. We’re going to look for new technologies to be efficient. This is a mature industry that continues to grow and thrive.”

NPPC Seeks Funding for Vaccine Bank — Typically, the National Pork Producers Council doesn’t ask for any special Farm Bill funding. That’s not the case this year. NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom says there is a big ‘ask’ this year. “In the Farm Bill, we’re asking for $150 million each year to fully fund a Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank. Currently, we’re spending about $1.9 million each year. It’s totally inadequate. We could not vaccinate one county in southwest Minnesota with the amount of vaccine we have in that bank. We’re also asking for $30 million each year to support the National Animal Health Lab Network. That will be essential in helping identify positive herds.” Wagstrom says an FMD outbreak would have significant economic consequences.

Pruitt Addresses Renewable Fuels — Environmental Protection Agency  Administrator Scott Pruitt met with farm broadcasters and addressed the Renewable Fuels Standard this past week. “The RVO (Renewable Volume Obligation) targets that are set each year in November and the EPA has routinely missed those targets. That’s going to change. We are already on pace to meet that deadline. With respect to the reed vapor pressure issue, we’re looking into that internally. I hope we can get there. It’s just a matter if the statute permits it or not.” RRFN’s Washington Watch reports are sponsored, in part, by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

EPA Proposes WOTUS Repeal — The Environmental Protection Agency has launched a repeal of the Waters of the U.S. rule. A proposed revision of the rule has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt began this review after a presidential executive order was signed to review and rescind WOTUS. This controversial rule is also in the courts with the U.S. Supreme Court expected to rule on a jurisdictional issue sometime this year.

EPA to Cancel WOTUS, But Promulgate New Rule — House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson met with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Wednesday. Peterson said Waters of the United States dominated that conversation. “They’re going to cancel the (WOTUS) regulation, but they believe they have to make another rule because of the Supreme Court case and so forth. They’re trying to do it in a way that doesn’t cause trouble. Given my history with this stuff, I’m worred that no matter what they do, if they come with a new situation, the Corps, NRCS, Fish and Wildlife will use that to interpret it however they want and cause trouble for people so I’m nervous.” Thanks to North Dakota Grain Growers Association for its sponsorship of this coverage.

Hopes for Meaningful Tax Reform — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association remains optimistic the Trump Administration and Congress will enact meaningful tax reform. NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Collin Woodall is hopeful we can see a repeal of the estate tax during this administration. “The opportunity to pursue comprehensive tax reform is a great one. It’s also an opportunity to repeal the death tax: a priority of ours for the last 30 years.” Woodall says there are other priorities for the nation’s cattle producers. “We want to take bonus depreciation program and make it permanent. This is a program where you can depreciate up to 50 percent of a capital purchase the first year. We’d like to make it a permanent program. Also, to make sure we don’t have crazy actions that would prevent things like business expense deductions and interest deductions from going away.”

Perdue: Consider the Consequences — The U.S. will hit Mexican sugar imports with anti-dumping and countervailing duties by June 5 if they can’t reach a new deal managing cross-border sugar trade. RRFN’s Don Wick asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue about the situation. Perdue’s response was firm. “There’s a certain benefit or virtue of long suffering in trade negotiations to some degree. I’m a sooner-rather-than-later kind of guy. I think this deadline that was extended will give both parties time to come together for an agreement.” Perdue also hopes an agreement will be reached. “We’re not asking sugar beet or sugar cane producers to do something that’s not in their long-term best interest, but we do want them to think long and hard about the consequences of us procuring raw sugar from the world market at lower prices than what we are paying today.”

An Perspective on Immigration — Approximately one-half of the workforce on U.S. dairy farms is immigrant labor. H2A visa programs are available in some seasonal jobs, but cows are milked year-round. As a result, the dairy workforce is not eligible for that guest worker program. Associated Milk Producers, Incorporated public affairs director Sarah Schmidt cites a North Dakota dairy farm that has a special understanding of the immigration issue. “We do have a member who milked cows in the Netherlands, Canada and the U.S. In each of those experiences, she was able to work with a guest worker program that worked for dairy. In the U.S., the program isn’t working very well. We want a program that’s effective and can be something that keeps the industry going. We don’t need any hiccups when it comes to working cows.” The National Milk Producers Federation, U.S. Dairy Export Council, International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture was on Capitol Hill this past week. During the congressional meetings, Schmidt said the immigration issue is connected to the number one U.S. dairy customer, which is Mexico. “The second through ninth customers combined don’t even equal what we do in business with Mexico. It’s an important market for dairy products. We need to preserve our trade relationship with Mexico.”

Act Like a Majority — The House has passed a healthcare package, but, the Senate is expected to work on a more deliberate pace. Complex issues, including tax reform and an infrastructure bill are also planned. To move this agenda forward, National Potato Council executive vice president and CEO John Keeling sees the need for a different mindset. “I think the big question is if the Republicans decide to be a majority and act like a majority. If you’re a majority, but, act like a minority, it will function as a minority.” If House Republican leadership can’t pull together its ranks, Democratic votes will be needed to pass major pieces of legislation. “Most of the things, like healthcare, that can pass in the House using your majority may not be passable in the Senate even with 50 votes and securing all of the Republican votes.” Keeling says the House leadership needs to figure out how to work with the dissension within its own caucus. Regarding the Farm Bill, Keeling says the specialty crop industry is focused on competitive research programs. Thanks to the National Potato Council for sponsoring our Washington Watch coverage.

MN Farm Bureau Legislative Minute — Here’s the latest from the Minnesota Farm Bureau. In this report, we get an update on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

#Plant17 Just Getting Started — Emerado, North Dakota farmer Jared Hagert is off to a decent start with his planting. “The ground is working up pretty nice. There are some wetter spots, but we haven’t had to break out the tow ropes yet.” Hagert says the tiled ground is a “night-and-day difference from the other fields. RRFN’s Crop Watch is sponsored, in part, by Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and the Soybean Checkoff.

Please Be Patient — It was a beehive of activity at Lovas Farms Tuesday when RRFN made a stop for its Crop Watch broadcast at Hillsboro, North Dakota. The ground was somewhat tacky and Sarah Lovas said it was important to be selective on the fields planted. “There is small grain emerging. It is slower with cool temperatures, but, it is starting to pop through.”  Syngenta Sugarbeets and Hilleshog sponsors RRFN’s weekly Crop Watch broadcast.

Drier Than Expected — Wimbledon, North Dakota farmer Joe Erickson says one-third of his corn crop is in the ground so far. It’s also drier conditions than expected. “We held off a little bit. There’ still farmers north of us who just started rolling. Their ground is a little too damp yet. The calendar tells us now is the time to plant, so we started rolling. We won’t start beans until corn is done.”

Prepping to Plant Corn — Portland, North Dakota farmer Ross Thykeson is planting corn.  “Things look good. We’re just trying to get some fertilizer incorporated. It’s tacky in spots, but mostly good conditions, good moisture this past week.” Thanks to DuPont Pioneer for sponsoring RRFN’s Crop Watch.

A Good Run North — Dan Younggren says farmers near Hallock, Minnesota are having a good run this spring. Last fall, flooded fields north of Grand Forks made it difficult for farmers to harvest their crop. “In our part of the world, we can see how only having 25 inches of rain, which is too much in the first place, is still better than 35 inches of rain. We’ve had a good spring. However, my colleagues to the south, west and east of me are really struggling, trying to find dry ground to plant. They are dodging potholes and wet spots.” Younggren has wrapped up planting sugar beets and wheat. He plans to start planting soybeans this week.

Soil Warming Up Nicely — Farmers in the Northwood, North Dakota area are starting in the fields. Rick Ostlie says the soil temperatures are warming up quickly. “We started planting corn. We have lots of seed production this year. Hopefully, we’ll start on seed production this week for soybeans.” The weekly Crop Watch broadcast on the Red River Farm Network is sponsored, in part, by AgCountry Farm Credit Services.

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

Watching Field Conditions — South Dakota Wheat Commission Executive Director Reid Christopherson never thought he’d see the use of a yardstick for measuring snow depth in the wheat rows as opposed to catching yield projections during last week’s Kansas Wheat Tour. Regarding South Dakota’s wheat situation, Christopherson said there are areas with too much moisture or not enough. “The spring wheat planting is progressing well. We took advantage of good conditions at the end of March and early April. Got it in and we are ahead of last year and well ahead of the five year average.”

ND Wheat Link — Hear the North Dakota Wheat Commission’s Wheat Link. Learn more about growing good quality crops.

Wrapping Up the Wheat Tour — More than 281.7 million bushels of hard red winter wheat is expected to be harvested in Kansas this year. That’s the official number from the 2017 Wheat Quality Council’s Hard Red Winter Wheat Tour, which wrapped up Thursday afternoon. If realized, this would 185 million bushels less than last year’s crop. Kansas Association of Wheat Growers program assistant Jordan Hildebrand says with the crazy weather, no one really knew what they would find on the tour. “Mother Nature threw us a curve ball with the snow and freeze. Everyone is wondering what’s going to happen with that. We’re going to need to wait another week or so to know the full extent of the damage. As a whole, we were surprised-there was a little bit of striped leaf rust, but not as much as expected. There was a little more barley yellow dwarf than expected and wheat streak mosaic virus was exploding in western Kansas.” Lakin, Kansas farmer Gary Millershakski was also on the tour. Before the snow storm, he thought there would be 60 bushel per acre wheat in his area. Now, he’s expecting around 30 bushel per acre if he’s lucky.

The Weather Influence — The production numbers released from the Kansas Wheat Quality Tour didn’t really make a dent in the grain markets. INTL FC Stone Chief Commodities Economist Arlan Suderman says the problem is the old crop supply of wheat. “Even though we will be drawing down supplies from a seven-month surplus to a four-month surplus, that still leaves us with a lot. It gets interesting if we see USDA have to reduce their spring wheat acreage on June 30. A significant adjustment in spring wheat acres, combined with reduced hard red winter wheat production, would start to make things more interesting.” If the Kansas snow storm’s impact isn’t enough to move the market, which weather scares could be a market mover? Suderman says frost scares are possible in the next few weeks in the U.S. and the Black Sea region.

Differences Remain Between Dayton and Legislative Leaders — The end of the Minnesota legislative session is just two weeks away and the budget bills are still being negotiated. Differences remain between Governor Mark Dayton and legislative leaders on the agriculture finance bill. The conference committee bill includes more than $100 million for the state agriculture department and Board of Animal Health over the next two years. There is also funding to deal with Palmer amaranth, pollinator habitat and research and the creation of farmer-led water management councils. Dayton opposes the policy directives in the agriculture bill and is threatening to veto the bill.

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

Reflecting on the Session — With the North Dakota legislative session wrapped up, groups like the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, are reflecting on the session. NDSA executive vice president Julie Ellingson says it was an interesting session, defined by the budget discussion. “Looking back at the session, the largest disappointment for the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, and probably many of our ag partners, was the defeat of the no-positing bill.” This bill would have required individuals to receive permission from the landowner before hunting or trapping on private land. Now the NDSA will shift its focus to laying the groundwork in the legislative interim.

A Bottom for the Farm Economy — The bottom may have been seen in the farm economy. American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist Bob Young expects a small adjustment upward this year. “I think it’s certainly possible farm income could be up in 2017. I’m not saying big numbers, but I think the bottom may have occurred in 2016. We could see some cost savings as well. Hopefully, we aren’t moving down further than we did in 2016.”

Quite a Run — CattleFax Senior Market Analyst Kevin Good says cattle have been in a higher-trending market since last October. It’s been quite a run. “From a seasonal standpoint, we have to expect bigger supplies as we move into the summer, which will likely affect prices.” Good says lighter weight cattle is helping offset the increase in production. Good also tells cow-calf producers fall contracts look encouraging. “We’re already starting to see some fall contracts strongly written. With the market performing better year-to-date, profitability in feeding and background-stocker segments this year, it speaks well for prospects for the calf market to be better this fall than last fall and if that’s the case, continued profitability for that segment of the business.”

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

Long-Term Cattle Market Outlook — North Dakota State University Extension Livestock Marketing Economist Tim Petry says the long-term outlook for the cattle markets falls into more of a seasonal pattern. “We’ve probably peaked on the increase, but we can be thankful it went up. For all classes of cattle, we’re a little bit above where we were last year at this time. Seasonally, price expectations are meant to decline as cattle slaughter is meant to pick up. It doesn’t mean the bottom is going to fall out. I think prices will decline.” Petry is watching corn planting and the impact it could have on feeder cattle. “Corn prices haven’t gone up yet, but that’s something we need to watch. That could cause a bigger decline in feeder cattle than you might expect, if corn could start rallying. On the fed cattle side, there’s an indication exports could continue strong, but we’re negotiating a bunch of trade agreements and so on. Anything sputtering there that could cause a problem with some of our major customers could not be good.”

ND Soybean Minute — Hear the latest North Dakota Soybean Minute from the North Dakota Soybean Council and the soybean checkoff. Learn about pre-emergence herbicides and good weed control.

Weed of the Week: Redroot Pigweed — Redroot pigweed is a summer annual broadleaf weed and a member of the amaranth family. The weed can grow two to three feet tall, but can reach six feet in certain situations. Redroot pigweed cotyledons are long and narrow and followed by egg-shaped true leaves with a notched tip. Redroot pigweed emerges this time of the year. The name; ‘redroot’ refers to the pinkish-red color at the base of the stem (sometimes the whole stem) and the taproot. Thanks to Tom Peters of North Dakota State University/University of Minnesota and Richard Zollinger of NDSU for assisting with the Weed of the Week.

Start When They’re Small — Good weed control in sugarbeets will help get the crop off to a good start. Dow AgroSciences market development specialist Bridgette Readel says it is best to take out the weeds when they are small. “We always like to make sure nothing is out-of-hand.”

A Multi-Pronged Strategy — Controlling weeds requires a multi-pronged strategy, starting with a good pre-emergent program. Dow Enlist Field Specialist Steve Snyder says proper timing of the pre-emergence herbicide is important to achieve good weed control and avoiding crop injury. “Most of the ground is worked. After you get your planting done, get your pre-emerge herbicides down, particularly with the weeds coming up now.” Snyder says corn has a little wider window for application timing. “You have seven-to-ten days, maybe two weeks prior to emergence, to allow those pre-herbicides on corn.”

Good Results — Monsanto Crop Protection Technology Development Manager Ryan Rector is hearing good results from burndown and early pre-applications. “A lot of people are using those residuals up-front. That’s a recommendation we like to see. Controlling those weeds before they are up and going.” Rector says the new dicamba products have a wide window of application uses. “That can be used anywhere from a pre-application to a post-application. So far, things are going well. It’s helping control those weeds early and getting off to a good start.”

Weed Management 101 — The special Red River Farm Network series, Weed Management 101, is on the air. Read your product labels. More in this week’s Weed Management 101. Thanks to the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Peterson Farms Seed and BASF for their support of this education effort.

Corn Matters — Hear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s Corn Matters program. Learn more about an innovation grant project.

RRFN On-air, Online and On Your Smartphone — The Red River Farm Network serves its audience on-air, online and on your smartphone. If you want farm news headlines, agronomic information, weather, market analysis and RRFN’s daily broadcasts, there are several ways to get it throughout the day. Listen to any of our 19 radio partners. “Like” the RRFN Facebook page. Check out the news headlines, our daily programs, the calendar of events and more at Or download the free RRFN smartphone app. The app is available for both iPhone and Android. Your way. When you want it. The Red River Farm Network is Reporting Agriculture’s Business.

ChemChina-Syngenta Deal to Close in Mid-May — ChemChina has received overwhelming support from Syngenta shareholders and the deal is expected to be finalized on May 18. Over 80 percent of Syngenta shares have been tendered, which is above the minimum threshold of 67 percent.

Deere-Precision Planting Deal Falls Apart — Monsanto has abandoned plans to sell its Precision Planting business to John Deere. Completion of the November 2015 sales agreement had been delayed due to a Justice Department lawsuit that alleged the sale would virtually eliminate competition in the precision ag business. Two agreements related to Deere’s purchase of Precision Planting will also be terminated, including the digital collaboration agreement between Deere and The Climate Corporation, a division of Monsanto.

Land O’Lakes Begins Year with an Earnings Uptick — Land O’Lakes is reporting first quarter net earnings of $110 million, up from $104 million in the same period last year. The dairy foods business performed well, due to improved margins for butter and cheese. Sales were also described as strong for the Land O’Lakes animal feed and crop inputs business.

Agrium Financials:Better Than Expected — Agrium reports a smaller-than-expected loss, helped by higher selling prices for potash. Agrium’s first quarter retail sales fell 2.2 per cent to $2.2 billion. Wholesale sales of nitrogen, potash and phosphate were up four per cent. The company’s net loss attributable to shareholders was $11 million, or eight cents per share, compared with a profit of $2 million, or two cents per share, a year earlier.

CoBank’s Q1 Income — CoBank’s net income for the first quarter increased eight percent to $262.8 million, driven by higher net interest income and noninterest income. Net interest income for the quarter increased six percent to $356.1 million, from $336.9 million in the same period last year, due to higher average loan volume. CoBank’s Chief Financial Officer, David Burlage, says ‘further modest deterioration in credit quality is anticipated as long as there is low commodity prices and CoBank remains well-positioned to meet the borrowing needs of customers.’

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

NemaStrike Technology Approved — Monsanto Company has announced the Environmental Protection Agency has issued registration for tioxazafen, which is branded as NemaStrike Technology. According to Monsanto, this means farmers will have access to increased nematode control in 2018, pending state approvals. NemaStrike Technology is a nematicide that will be offered as part of the Acceleron Seed Applied Solutions.

EPA Approves Sivanto Prime for Soybeans — The Environmental Protection Agency has approved foliar application of a new systemic insecticide for soybeans. Sivanto Prime is manufactured by Bayer. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says this product has no long-term impact to bee colonies when used at labeled rates. Sivanto Prime is a seed treatment and considered as an option to control soybean aphids.

MN Milk Conference and Expo is Moving — The 2017 Minnesota Milk Conference and Expo is moving to a new location in 2017. The Minnesota Milk Producers Association event will be in Red Wing November 28-30. In the past, St. Cloud has been the home of the dairy conference and trade show.

Honoring Schafer — The House Agriculture Committee has approved a bill honoring the distinguished career of former Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer. The legislation renames the Red River Valley Ag Research Center in Fargo as the Edward T. Schafer Ag Research Center and  will now be heard in the full House of Representatives. “It has lots of ties for me personally and it’s a thrill,” says Schafer. Schafer remains involved in agriculture policy teaches a leadership class in the NDSU ag rconomics department. “Today, with the way agriculture is going, it’s becoming a much-needed resource in the world. That’s with a growing world population. We’ll have to ramp up food production. We have expertise in that for North Dakota. For example, technology, data management, cropping and equipment.

New Additions to Combest Sell & Associates — Former Risk Management Agency administrator Brandon Willis has joined Combest Sell & Associates to work on crop insurance issues. Willis is also teaching at Utah State University. Brad Weddelman has also joined Combest Sell & Associates. Weddelman was a research and teaching assistant at Texas A&M.

Traffic Accident in Czech Republic Claims Life of UM Swine Professor — A longtime professor in the swine group at the University of Minnesota died in a traffic accident in the Czech Republic. Bob Morrison was participating in a swine management conference in Prague. Deb Spronk and Pam Wetzel, were also killed in this accident. Spronk is the wife of swine veterinarian Gordon Spronk and Wetzel is the wife of Tom Wetzel, a veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. Gordon Spronk and Tom Wetzel were treated and released from a local hospital. Jeanie Morrison, who is Bob’s wife, is in critical condition.

Former CHS Exec Inducted into Hall of Fame — Retired CHS Inc. President/CEO John Johnson has been inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame. The Cooperative Development Foundation ceremonies were held this past week in Washington, DC.

Rozum Elected to NAMA Leadership — John Rozum has been elected to the National Agri-Marketing Association executive committee. Rozum is the director of ag events for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and is based in Madison, Wisconsin.

Stern Scholar — Brady Hauswedell is the recipient of this year’s Curtis Stern Memorial Scholarship, administered by the National Sunflower Association. Hauswedell is currently pursuing his master’s degree at South Dakota State University, focused on entomology and pathology components in sunflower. Hauswedell earned his undergraduate from SDSU in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy and a minor in Precision Agriculture.


Last Week’s Trivia — In the NFL draft, the Chicago Bears picked Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina in the first round. Trubisky is a quarterback. Fred Parnow of Nuseed was the first to respond with the correct answer and is our weekly trivia winner. Strasburg farmer Kenny Nieuwsma, Alvarado farmer Jared Sands, Kevin Schulz of National Hog Farmer and Jamestown farmer Richard Carlson earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ recognition also goes to Jim Altringer of Columbia Grain, Brian Brandt of Rabo AgriFinance, Troy Presser of Presser Red Angus, Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Brian Rund of Nufarm Americas, Charlie McIntyre of USDA Market News (retired), Mary Buschette of the University of Minnesota, Al Juliuson of Juliuson Farms, Mark Haugland of Bayer, Dennis Duvall fo Dakota Environmental, Mark Maris of Cargill, Preston farmer Craig Mensink, Gary Weber of Winnstar Corp., Tricia Sheehan of Dairy Management Inc., and Ron Dvergsten of Northland Farm Business Management earn runner-up honors.


Source: Red River Farm Network