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Reporting Agriculture’s Business — It’s the week of July 4, a time of reflection and celebration of our country. The markets will close at noon today and will reopen Wednesday. RRFN will be on the air on Independence Day for the 6:30-to-7:00 AM broadcast. We hope you enjoy your time with friends and family. Listen to our live broadcasts on your local RRFN affiliate. In this week’s FarmNetNews, we dig deeper in the drought conditions across the region and feature our final Crop Watch broadcast of the year. Watch the Crop Watch recap with Randy Koenen. We’re also launching a new RRFN podcast called engAGe: a series for women in agribusiness. Take a listen! The series will focus on sharing the experiences of those in the agribusiness sector in work/life balance, career successes and industry leadership.

More Corn and Less Beans Than Expected — That’s one headline from USDA’s Planted Acreage report. Corn acreage is now pegged at 90.9 million acres, almost a million more than the March planting intentions and a million acres above the average trade guess. USDA estimates soybean acreage at a record 89.5 million acres, slightly less than expected and only 18,000 acres above the March intentions. Spring wheat acres are below all pre-report trade estimates, and approximately 400,000 acres less than the March planting intentions. Durum acres are 20 percent below last year.

A Look at June Stocks — The USDA estimates of June corn and wheat stocks are above the average trade guess, while soybean stocks are below the average trade estimate. Corn stocks in all positions on June 1 were up 11 percent from a year ago. North Dakota has 67 percent more corn in the bin than last year at this time. Soybean stocks are also 11 percent above last year. Wheat stocks are up 21 percent from a year ago, and there’s 31 percent more durum in the bin than last year.

Other Crops — Sunflower acres are down 21 percent from last year and the lowest since 1976. Canola acreage is record-large and 26 percent above 2016. Dry bean acreage is two percent below the March intentions, but up 10 percent from a year ago and the highest acreage since 2010. Acres of chickpeas is up 42 percent. Acres of fall potatoes are down one percent from last year.

Acreage Battle Ahead — Looking ahead to next year, Gulke Group president Jerry Gulke says there will be an interesting acreage discussion. “You’re going to need four million more acres of spring wheat and four million acres of corn from somewhere and you have a growing demand for beans,” says Gulke. “Assuming South America doesn’t have a crop problem, where are you going to get these acres from? The market is really concerned about spring wheat. This thing isn’t over yet by a long shot.” If the U.S. doesn’t curb wheat demand through price, Gulke says there’s a good chance the wheat carryover could drop to 50 million bushels or less.

Surprises in StatsCan Report — Even though Canadian farmers planted a record 22.8 million acres of canola this year, ProFarmer Canada market analyst Mike Jubinville says canola production is still very much up in the air. “That’s the biggest crop in Canadian history, but the condition of the crop across western Canada is quite variable this year.” StatsCan reports canola acres will exceed wheat this year, which has never happened before. Wheat acres are estimated at 22.3 million acres. At 7.2 million acres, soybean plantings are up more than 33 percent from last year.

Drought Monitor Report Updated — According to the weekly Drought Monitor report, the most deterioration was seen in the Dakotas. In North Dakota and northwestern South Dakota, drought conditions are worsening with the expansion of severe and extreme drought conditions. In those areas, there is no regrowth happening in pastures and the hay crop is less than half of normal.

Dry, Dry, Dry — It’s still dry with North Dakota and portions of South Dakota in drought. The North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network’s interim director Daryl Ritchison doesn’’t expect that to change much in July. The warmest days of summer are ahead. “In western North Dakota, I wouldn’’t be surprised if there will be triple digits.”

Emergency FSA Loans Available in Primary Disaster Areas — Due to drought, USDA has designated 15 western North Dakota counties as primary disaster areas. Eleven contiguous counties also receive this designation. With this announcement, the farmers and ranchers in those areas are eligible for emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency. USDA has also expanded emergency grazing of CRP land to any county with a border that lies within 150 miles of an approved county. The expanded grazing authorization is for those operations in the severe and extreme drought areas of North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana.

Perdue Praised — With the USDA drought disaster declaration for portions of North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer is singing the praises of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “The speed at which Secretary Perdue is taking action for farmers and ranchers is very impressive. It’s a level of awareness like I’ve not seen in previous administrations.”

No Time to Wait — During Thursday’s Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp challenged a Farm Service Agency about drought-related assistance. Emergency grazing on CRP ground has been approved in the areas of severe and extreme drought. FSA director of conservation and environmental programs Misty Jones said the issue is being evaluated. “The secretary is committed to continuing to monitoring conditions and will consider expanding emergency authority if conditions worsen, such as authorizing emergency grazing in drought counties to all CRP practices, including for all grass covers and authorizing emergency haying in drought counties during the primary nesting season.” Heitkamp said the farmers and ranchers don’t have time to wait for the government to study this situation. The USDA official said resources are available to help get water hauled or provide access to water in drought-stricken areas.

Thune Urges USDA to Reverse CRP Requirement — Landowners dealing with mid-management practices for the Conservation Reserve Program are being notified that they need to destroy the hay. South Dakota Senator John Thune said this notice came out less than a week after USDA said it would release CRP acres for emergency grazing in the areas with severe or extreme drought. In Thune’s words, “it makes no sense” for USDA to simultaneously offer assistance to livestock producers through emergency grazing and require hay be destroyed under other CRP practices. Thune said there may be thousands of tons of hay destroyed that could be used for livestock feed in the drought areas.

Fire and Drought Emergency Proclaimed — North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has issued a statewide fire and drought emergency. Extremely dry conditions and high winds have created a fire emergency. The drought has also impacted livestock water supplies and hurt crop and pasture conditions. With the executive order, all state agencies must be ready to respond.

Heitkamp to Host Drought Meeting — North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp will hear the concerns of ranchers impacted by the drought later this week. Heitkamp is hosting a discussion at the Bowman Livestock Auction Market on Thursday. Farm Service Agency and Extension officials will also be available for the drought meeting.

Water Quality Suffers — Due to the drought, Stark County, North Dakota farmer Josh Messer says water quality is poor. “Our area is always known for poorer water quality. This year, we’re testing water and finding between 5,000 and 10,000 parts per million toxins. The cattle don’t go near it, but we need to get the cattle watered. Farmers are pumping water to cattle or running hoses across neighboring lands to get water out of rivers and streams that are good quality to get them to stock tanks.” Messer plans to wean cattle a little bit early this year, saying most ranchers are slowing down selling cow-calf pairs. Small grains are being grazed. The cereal crops have struggled. However, Messer says the row crops actually don’t look too bad.

NDFMGA Update — Dry conditions continue to make an impact on the crops. Listen to this update from the North Dakota Farmers Markets and Growers Association.

Don’t Expect an Increase in PP Acres — With the wet spring and the extended planting window this year, there has been talk about an increase in prevented plant acres. American Farm Bureau Federation director of market intelligence John Newton does not think that will be the case. “I don’t think it will be a big concern. Even though we had a wet spring and delayed planting in parts of the country, when you look at PP policy and spring crop prices, the returns aren’t there this year. The incentive is probably to go ahead and plant the crop.”

Crops OK Right Now — Stutsman County, North Dakota Extension Agent Alicia Harstad says the crops around Jamestown are doing OK for now. “We’ve been able to get rains the last few weeks, but we’re still on the drier side. There is uneven emergence in areas. We’re doing okay, not as bad as other areas, but probably not looking at as high of yields as last year.” RRFN’s CropWatch is sponsored, in part, by Minnesota soybean farmers and their checkoff.

Conditions Vary with Rainfall Pattern — University of Minnesota Extension Crops Educator Phil Glogoza says the area from Morris to Thief River Falls, Minnesota has had good rainfall this year. “The areas further north have struggled with a wet season last year. They have good subsoil moisture. It doesn’’t take long to saturate those upper levels.” Glogoza says the area will benefit from warmer temperatures.

Rain Helping the Crop — Windsor, North Dakota farmer Terry Wanzek says they pick up a much needed rain two weeks or so ago that helped the wheat crop. “The timing was just about perfect. We were on the edge and got a nice rain in the early boot stage. It’s looking not too bad. Kind of short.” Watch the interview. RRFN’s CropWatch coverage is sponsored, in part, by Syngenta sugarbeets and Hilleshog.

Stay Connected with RRFN — Are you on social media? Connect with RRFN and get updates on farm news, markets and weather on Facebook and Twitter. The RRFN team: Carah, Mike, Randy, Jay and Don are also on Twitter. Listen each day on your local RRFN affiliate. 

Warmer Weather Welcomed — In the Red River Valley, there is a lot of Iron Deficiency Chlorosis seen in soybeans. Dekalb Asgrow technical agronomist Derek Pruitt, who is based at Grand Forks, says the heat that is in the forecast should help. “It looks bad, but as long as they get heat, they’ll grow out of it. They’ll be just fine I think.” Pruitt says the warmer weather that is predicted will help the corn stretch out. “We need to get those roots established better so they’re pulling up nutrients and water. Once the roots get into the soil profile, they’ll be in really good shape.”

Cover Crops Help with IDC — There seem to be numerous soybean fields that are a yellow-green color, a situation that could be Iron Deficiency Chlorosis. While most beans grow out of it with drier, warm conditions, IDC does still impact yield. North Dakota State University Extension Soil Specialist Dave Franzen says cover crops can help combat IDC. “I think this is probably the worst year of IDC we’ve seen in soybeans in a long time. People can put in oats or barley when they seed soybeans. It takes up some nitrogen, which contributes to IDC. It also dries out the soil. Cover crops are one of about half a dozen strategies that can help combat that problem.” Franzen was part of this past week’s Soil Health Day in Morris, Minnesota.

Yield Reductions Expected — Valley City, North Dakota farmer Darin Anderson says the corn, soybean and spring wheat crops are hanging on, but he’s expecting some yield reduction due to dry conditions. “They look fine for right now. We had about one inch-and-a-half or two inches of rain about two weeks ago. The spring wheat recovered a bit. Spring wheat is probably taking it worse of all three crops when it comes to lack of moisture.” Anderson says the corn crop is looking the best. RRFN’s CropWatch coverage is sponsored, in part, by AgCountry Farm Credit Services.

ND Soybean Minute — Hear the latest North Dakota Soybean Minute from the North Dakota Soybean Council and the soybean checkoff.

Soybean Disease Update — According to South Dakota State University Extension, brown spot or Septoria leaf spot is starting to show up in the region. Brown spot developing this early in the year may lead to premature leaf drop, significantly reducing soybean yields. Soybean-on-soybean fields have the biggest issue with the disease. Soybean aphid populations remain low, a few hotspots are showing up.

Too Much Wind — Barnes County, North Dakota Extension agent Randy Grueneich says the wheat crop has suffered from the lack of moisture. Grueneich also says the winds have been an issue for farmers who are trying to spray. “Anyone that’s been trying to spray, it’s been frustrating. You get one-or-two rounds in during the morning and the wind kicks up and you have to wait for another suitable day.” RRFN’s Crop Watch coverage is sponsored, in part, by DuPont Pioneer.

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.

The Sugarbeet Report — Learn more on taking care of your crop during the growing season. Here’s a crop update. The Sugarbeet report is sponsored, in part, by SES VANDERHAVE and Dow Agrosciences.

Watching for Cercospora — American Crystal Sugar Company agronomy manager Jerry Christenson thinks the Red River Valley looks good this year, though the crop is not far along. He’s watching for diseases like cercospora. “We’re just getting into the cercospora season,” says Christenson. “We need humidity and moisture for the disease to take off. Nothing yet, but this is the time of year we start looking for it. Last year, we had the highest severity we’ve had in 20 years. We’re on the lookout this year. We expect it to be severe if conditions are right.”

Monitoring Broadleaf Control — North Dakota State University Extension and University of Minnesota Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist Tom Peters hosted a sugarbeet tour at Hickson, North Dakota last week. At this research plot, Peters is learning which broadleaf weeds are controlled with sugarbeet herbicides. “I want to see what we can check off, what we’re controlling and identify what the gaps are so we can put programs together to address them. Roundup works good yet. I know there are Roundup resistant weeds, but there is still lots of value from the Roundup Ready program.” Peters thinks there are fewer weed problems in the Red River Valley this year due to the dry soil conditions. With the recent rain, Peters says  there will be a flush of weeds. The sugarbeet plot tours continue through August. The next tour will be July 11 in Prosper, North Dakota focusing on sugarbeet safety.

Canola Minute — Here’s the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. Learn more about fungal disease challenges in the state.

A Long-Term Investment — University of Minnesota Extension Regional Educator Jodi DeJong-Hughes says cover crops can build soil health and structure. Minnesota and North Dakota growers are gradually adopting cover crops. “We try to work with farmers who want to look at this as a long-term investment, not a try it one year and if it didn’t work, forget it. It’s not an exact science. Managing for microbes in the soil is very difficult.” DeJong-Hughes says the next soil health event will be in September. “That’s September 6 in Fergus Falls. We’re looking at vertical till and strip till. It’s the third year we’ve been in the field. We’re seeing differences in the soil.”

When To Terminate Cover Crops — Knowing when to terminate the cover crop is important. North Dakota State University Extension Assistant Professor of Soil Health Abbey Wick used cereal rye as an example during Wednesday’s Soil Health Day. “We only recommend cereal rye before soybeans. Even then, you’ll figure out when to terminate that rye based on moisture conditions in the soil. If the soil is dry, you’ll terminate early. We don’t recommend rye before corn. You don’t want something living to compete with the corn.”

Alternative Cover Crops to Consider — Seeding winter annual oilseed cover crops could offer environmental and an additional monetary return for farmers. USDA ARS-Research Plant Physiologist Russ Gesch says growing cover crops like camelina and pennycress makes sense. “We can harvest these for the seed. We’re looking at the oil for these seeds as a commodity.” Locally, there’s no market for either right now. There are smaller markets for camelina in other areas of the U.S. Gesch is excited about the potential for food uses. Companies like General Mills are interested in camelina. University of Minnesota Extension Forage and Cropping Systems Agronomist Scotty Wells says this research will take some time, but will be worth it.

Watch for Temperature Inversions — Farmers are being advised to learn more about temperature inversions and conditions that cause inversion before spraying. University of Minnesota Extension Educator Dave Nicolai says there is always the potential for temperature inversions to occur. “There are certain times of the day, like those couple hours before sunset through the evening, are the times we really have to watch. Typically, it will be a situation with still air and the right weather conditions.” With an inversion, spray droplets can easily move off target and cause drift. Nicolai says it is important to follow label instructions for nozzle size, boom height and wind speeds.

Eyes Wide Open — In the Breckinridge, Minnesota area, the small grain crop is headed and looks good. Minn-Kota Ag Products chemical manager Hal Fisher says the corn crop looks decent and will benefit from the heat. With weed resistance issues and the introduction of dicamba-tolerant soybeans, Fisher says the landscape is changing in agriculture. “The dicamba tolerant label is certainly a learn-as-you-go situation. There are a lot of restrictions on the label. Wind is absolutely an issue for all products, but that one has our eyes wide open.”

Arkansas Acts on Dicamba Ban — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has submitted plans to ban the sale and use of dicamba herbicide to the state legislative council. That council is scheduled to meet again on July 21, but could meet before that date. More than 500 alleged dicamba complaints have been filed in 12 Arkansas counties, prompting the action. Hutchinson also approved more stringent penalties for dicamba use violations.

Addressing the Dicamba Drama — In a call with investors, Monsanto officials were asked about the dicamba drama that is happening in Arkansas. Monsanto President Brett Begemann downplayed the significance of the possible dicamba ban in Arkansas. “Thirty-three of 34 states have approved our XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology. Arkansas never approved that product. As we look at inquiries, it appears the plant board in Arkansas is getting a lot more inquiries than we are getting across the combined rest of the states.” Begemann says the introduction of the dicamba-tolerant product is the largest launch ever. “The number of inquiries we’re experiencing would be normal for any product. Even products that have been established in the marketplace. We feel really good about where we’re at. We’ll work with every farmer to make sure they have a positive experience.”

Introducing engAGe: a series for women in agribusiness — Today, the Red River Farm Network launches engAGe: a series for women in agribusiness. This bi-weekly podcast features influential women and men highlighting agribusiness successes, work/life balance and what it takes to be a leader in the industry. Listen to the podcast on iTunes, the RRFN App and on our website. Thanks to AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Dow AgroSciences, Thunder Seed, North Dakota Soybean Council, North Dakota Grain Growers Association and Black Gold Farms for thier support of engAGe.

Skunes says “NAFTA is Critical for Farmers” — Testifying at a hearing of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Tuesday, National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Kevin Skunes said NAFTA is critical for corn farmers and agriculture at large, and continuing its long-term success is a top priority to NCGA members. Skunes said North America has become the most important export market for the U.S. corn industry. Skunes farms near Arthur, North Dakota.

USCA President Testifies at NAFTA Hearing — U.S. Cattlemen’s Association President Kenny Graner testified at the International Trade Commission’s NAFTA hearing. The trade deal is over 20 years old and Graner said it needs to be modernized. Graner, who ranches in the Mandan, North Dakota area, said issues like country-of-origin labeling and differences in subsidy programs, need to be addressed.

Canadian Trade Policies Challenged — An international coalition of dairy industry groups from the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and the European Union is focused on Canada and its trade practices. In a joint letter, these groups are asking their respective governments to challenge the recently implemented dairy pricing rules in Canada. In February, Canada launched a pricing policy that lowers the ingredient prices for Canadian dairy processors and selling Canadian dairy proteins in world markets at below-market prices. These groups, which include the National Milk Producers Federation, U.S. Dairy Export Council and International Dairy Foods Association, indicate the World Trade Organization may need to resolve this dispute.

WOTUS Rule Withdrawn — The Environmental Protection Agency’s controversial Waters of the United States rule is being withdrawn.  “Once the WOTUS rule is withdrawn, EPA will revert back to 2008. The standard that was adopted in 2008 through guidance and have a proposed rule on a replacement.” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said this action will return power back to the states and provide regulatory certainty to farmers and landowners. Pruitt says WOTUS was confusing and needed to be changed. “What’s important is the lack of clarity the 2015 rule created. It created a situation where landowners and farmers/ranchers didn’’t know what was subject to EPA jurisdiction. It was something that created uncertainty and confusion.”

Lawmakers Praise EPA Decision — It is no surprise, the EPA decision to withdraw the Waters of the U.S. rule is being praised by lawmakers. House Agriculture Committee Chair Michael Conaway said this move restores “certainty and integrity” to the regulatory process. In the rewrite of the WOTUS rule, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts said he wants language that “respects the environmental strides taken by the American farmer and rancher.” North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp said WOTUS was “unworkable” and the Administration’s action is an important step to improve it.

E-Tour Success — The North Dakota Grain Growers Association wrapped up its annual E-Tour Friday. During the tour, NDGGA showcased agricultural practices to key EPA officials. “We’re spending more time with technology, showing them some of the tools farmers have access to now,” said Mark Formo, past president, NDGGA. “We’re shedding some light where that technology can help us out with chemical applications, scouting and going that direction.” That organization has hosted the E-Tour since 1993, giving regulatory officials a first-hand look at farms, ag businesses and precision agriculture.

Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report Released — Hog supplies are at new record levels. USDA estimated the total inventory as of June 1 at 71.7 million head. That’s up three percent from last year. The breeding hog supply tops 6 million head, up two percent. The market hog inventory is up four percent at nearly 67 million head. In Minnesota, the March-May quarterly pig crop was 3.3 million head, up eight percent from the previous quarter. The average number of pigs saved per litter was 11.4 head. That is a new record number. South Dakota swine operations also broke records for the number of pigs saved per litter at 11.35 head.

Filling Shackle Space — Expansion is taking place in the U.S. swine industry. At the same time, new processing capacity is happening. Joe Kerns of Kerns and Associates says this is year two of a three-year experiment. The U.S. needs to add 90,000-to-100,000 sows per year to accommodate those new processing plants. There seems to be some disparity in making that goal. “Iowa is up 30,000 sows. We have a new plant going in at Sioux City. That seems to make sense,” says Kerns. “The one that seemed odd to me is the one in the eastern Belt, where we have the new Coldwater, Michigan facility. A couple states in that region, primarily, Illinois and Indiana are showing a reduction in sows. That doesn’t make sense to me.”

‘Pink Slime’ Lawsuit Settled — ABC News has settled its defamation lawsuit with Beef Products Inc. Terms of the settlement are confidential, but BPI’s attorney said the company is “extraordinarily pleased” with the dollar amount. The meatpacker sued ABC News and correspondent Jim Avila over a series of stories that described lean, finely-textured beef as ‘pink slime.’ After the stories aired in 2012, sales crashed and BPI closed three of its four beef processing plants. This trial lasted 18 days before Wednesday’s surprise settlement announcement.

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

Trading Fundamentals — Traditionally, there was a three or four cent normal spread between block and barrel cheese. That’s not the case today with a large disparity between the value of blocks and barrels. Robin Schmahl, commodity broker and owner of AgDairy, LLC, says those two cheese categories are trading their own fundamentals. “Sometimes we’ve seen barrels above blocks for periods of time and now we’re seeing a wide spread between blocks and barrels. I don’t think the three-to-four cent rule, if you want to call it that, is an issue anymore. Barrels are in a long position. There is plenty available and sellers want to keep moving it out. We’ve seen a phenomenal amount of trades being done this year in the barrel market.” Corn and soybean prices have moved higher in a volatile weather market, but Schmahl doesn’’t believe feed costs will be a significant issue in the short-term. “I don’t think the milk-to-feed ratio or the income-over-feed costs will turn south fairly quickly.”

Job Wanted: Ag Employees — In Minnesota’s current agriculture economy, AgCentric Program Manager Judy Barka says the agribusiness sector still needs employees. “When you look at the age of the people who are employed by the agriculture industry today, many of them are in later baby boomer stage. We see massive retirements ahead in the next five years. We also recognize the knowledge base that will go with it. We’re trying to increase students in the pipeline to replace those retiring.”

Leasing Opportunities — With planting season done, the combines start coming into farm equipment dealerships for inspection. Titan Machinery area sales manager Daric Pfingsten says it is important to prepare for the busy season ahead. “That’s gotten to be an integral part of the business. We’re noticing when they are in the field, we aren’’t getting service calls. Any leak found is fixed prior. It’s a good thing, less service calls.” Pfingsten says leasing has become a big deal in the farm equipment business. “There’s a lot of two to five year interest free deals on used combines and extended warranty plans. Business, even with the commodity prices, has been better than expected.” Pfingsten oversees the Titan stores at Wahpeton, Fergus Falls and Elbow Lake.

NCTC Adds New Ag Programs for Fall ’17 — Northland Community and Technical College is adding four new agriculture programs to its curriculum at Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks. Those programs include general agriculture certificates and associate degrees in animal science and agricultural education. These programs will also allow students to transfer to the University of Minnesota-Crookston to finish out a four-year degree. NCTC Program Manager ADawn Nelson says there is demand for young people to fill jobs within agriculture. “Across the board, in all aspects of agriculture, they need employees. Especially employees that have a general knowledge in agriculture, there’s a need for the industry to have students engaged in agriculture, different aspects.”  These new ag programs will begin during the fall term.

Success for Founding Farmers — There are now five Founding Farmers restaurants located in and around the Washington, D.C. area. Another two more are on the way. The North Dakota Farmers Union is the driving force behind these restaurants. NDFU President Mark Watne said the restaurants are sourcing North Dakota products for their menu. “There’s a lot of money made on food. The farmer tends to be the low farmer on the totem pole,” says Watne. “We’re concerned we aren’’t getting paid a fair shake for what we sell. This is one way for us to garner profit.”

DowDuPont Merger Expected to Close in August — Dow Chemical Company and DuPont expect to finalize their merger in August. The merged company, DowDuPont, intends to spin off into three different companies within 18 months after the sale is closed. There will be an agricultural company, a materials company and a specialty chemical company. Meanwhile, a major investment fund called Glenview Capital Management has met with leaders of both companies and voiced concern about the plan to break up DowDuPont into three different parts.

Competition Concerns Addressed — The Canadian Competition Bureau has reached an agreement dealing with the merger of DuPont and Dow Chemical. With is agreement, DuPont has agreed to sell a large portion of its global herbicide business to FMC Corporation. Dow also will spin off a portion of its plastics business to SK Global Chemical. The U.S. Justice Department has already approved the deal with similar conditions.

Syngenta Priorities — Syngenta has shed some light on company priorities once the deal with ChemChina is complete. Syngenta, which will operate as a standalone company, plans to grow market share through organic growth. With the new ownership, Syngenta will consider other acquisitions. If those kind of deals happen, they would likely come from within the seed industry.

Monsanto’s 3Q Income Rises — For the third quarter, Monsanto reports net income of $843 million. That compares to $717 million one year ago. The soybean traits business was a significant factor with sales up nearly 30 percent from a year ago. Bayer is paying $57 billion for Monsanto and that sale is expected to finalized before the end of the year.

AgCountry-United FCS Merger is Finalized — With the turn of the calendar to July, the merger between AgCountry Farm Credit Services and United FCS is now complete. The new organization is operating in 65 counties in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. “It is great from a geographic standpoint and a commodity standpoint, there is tremendous diversification for the organization,” said CEO Bob Bahl. Bahl says the farmer/owners will see very few differences. “In the United territory, about the only difference to the customer is the top of the loan documents will say AgCountry. We’re both very similar.” Over the weekend, there has been a technology conversion, bringing the two entities into one business. AgCountry Farm Credit Services is headquartered in Fargo.

Valley Queen Expansion Project Announced — The dairy processing company, Valley Queen, has announced a $50 million expansion project. This plant update will take place at the Valley Queen facilities in Milbank, South Dakota. Processing capacity will increase by 25 percent. The expansion is designed to handle the increased demand for its products and the growing milk supply within the I-29 corridor.

Lang-MN Variety Released — The University of Minnesota has released a new hard red spring wheat variety called Lang-MN. This variety is named after Ben Lang, who is the past president of the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association. Lang-MN is described as a well-balanced, high yielding variety.

New Learning Program Offered for Agronomists — CHS and the American Society of Agronomy will work together to create a new online learning program for agronomists. The program will include webinars, live meetings and a virtual farm tour. The focus will be on sustainability and continuous improvement in production agriculture. Open enrollment for this program will be announced later this year.

Corn Matters — Hear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s Corn Matters program. Hear from a Minnesota farmer that is running for a spot on the National Corn Board.

NCGA Expands Staff — The National Corn Growers Association has hired Peter Magner to manage its work within refined fuels. Most recently, Magner was a forest technician for Duke University.

World Food Prize Winner Named — A Nigerian banker will receive the 2017 World Food Prize. This award is sometimes called the Nobel Prize for Agriculture and was founded by former Nobel Peace Prize honoree Norman Bourlaug. Akinwumi Adesina is the president of the African Development Bank. The award will be presented a special ceremony in October.

Weber Announces Retirement Plans — The director of the Northern Crops Institute has announced his plans to retire at the end of the year. Sixty-year-old Mark Weber has been the NCI director since September 2014. His previous experience includes 12 years as Executive Director of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association, and nearly six years as Executive Director of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association and the North Dakota Soybean Council.

A Lasting Impact on MN Turkey Industry — The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association presented its Allied Lifetime Achievement Award to the late Dr. Marshall Kim Brinton. Brinton developed and patented several vaccines to improve flock health before passing away this past December.

McKeehan Joins Pheasants Forever Staff — Pheasants Forever has named Renee McKeehan as its regional representative in North Dakota. Most recently, McKeehan was a manager for Scheels in Bismarck. McKeehen is a Minnesota native.

NWSA Aggies Recognized — Alumni from the Northwest School of Agriculture at Crookston has recognized its Top Aggies for 2017. The honorees are Marilyn Dehning of West Linn, Oregon; Donald Diedrich of Warren and Daniel Wilkins of Fertile. NWSA was a residential high school that was on the University of Minnesota-Crookston campus from 1906-to-1968.


Last Week’s Trivia — Microsoft is the company co-founded by Bill Gates. The company eventually became the world’s largest PC software company. Brian Brandt of Rabo AgriFinance was the first to byte and is our weekly trivia winner. Scott Roemhildt of Minnesota DNR, Nick Sinner of MN-SD Equipment Dealers Association, Fred Parnow of Nuseed and David Stewart of United Valley Bank earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ recognition goes to Rene Scheurer of Betaseed, retired Hanley Falls farmer Roger Dale, Strasburg farmer Kenny Nieuwsma, McIntosh farmer Joan Lee, Norm Groot of Monterey County Farm Bureau, Kevin Schulz of National Hog Farmer, Mark Dahlen of Benson County FSA, Brian Rund of Nufarm Americas, Al Wimpfheimer of Simplot Grower Solutions, retired AI instructor Lloyd Friske, Mark Haugland of Bayer CropScience, John Shutske of UW-Madison, Holly Heintzman of R.D. Offutt Company and Lee Hutchinson of Farm Credit Services of Mandan.

This Week’s Trivia — One of the individuals that signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 is known for his large, flamboyant signature. Who is this American patriot? Send your answer to Please include your name and business.

Calendar of Events

July 6 — MN Canola Council Production Centre Field Day– – Roseau, MN
July 6 — SDSU Extension Livestock & Agronomy Meeting– – Herreid and Gettysburg, SD
July 10-11 — MN State Cattlemen’s Association Summer Beef Tour & Trade Show– – Starbuck, MN
July 10 — NDSU Grasslands Field Day– – Streeter, ND
July 12-13 — Governor’s Agricultural Summit– – Aberdeen, SD
July 12 — Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule Listening Session– – McIntosh, MN
July 13 — SDSU Northeast Research Farm Field Day– – South Shore, SD
July 14-15 — National FFA Alumni Region III Development Conference– – Mandan, ND
July 17-18 — American Sheep Industry Assoc. Young Entrepreneur Tour– – Sioux Falls, SD
July 17 — NDSU Agronomy Seed Farm Field Tour– – Casselton, ND
July 18 — NDSU CREC Field Day– – Carrington, ND
July 18 — Northern Pulse Growers Association Pulse Tour– – Carrington, ND
July 18 — Agriculture Water Issues Forum– – Badger, MN
July 19 — Northern Pulse Growers Association Pulse Tour– – Minot, ND
July 19 — NWROC Crops and Soils Day– – Crookston, MN
July 19 — Agriculture Water Issues Forum– – Ada, MN
July 19 — North Central REC Field Day– – Minot, ND
July 20 — Agriculture Water Issues Forum –- Dumont, MN
July 20 — Langdon REC Field Day –- Langdon, ND
July 20 — Northern Canola Growers Assoc. Field Tour and Golf Tournament– – Langdon, ND
July 20 — MN Association of Wheat Growers Wheat Open– – Perham, MN
July 21-29 — ND State Fair– – Minot, ND
July 24-27 — Wheat Quality Council Hard Red Spring Wheat and Durum Tour– – ND
July 27 — MN FFA with the Saints– – St. Paul, MN
July 27 — ND Soybean Council Market Outlook for Soybeans– – Fargo, ND
July 27-28 — UM Field School for Ag Professionals– – St. Paul, MN


For more information, visit our website.


Mike Hergert (701) 795-1315
Randy Koenen (701) 795-1315
Carah Hart (701) 317-8446
Don Wick (701) 795-1315
Jay Rehder (701) 799-9434

Red River Farm Network programs are archived on Tune into these RRFN affiliates for the latest in farm news and markets.

  • Ada, MN – KRJB 106.5 FM
  • Aberdeen, SD – KMOM 105.5 FM
  • Bismarck/Mandan, ND – KLXX 1270 AM
  • Bagley, MN – KKCQ 96.7 FM
  • Benson, MN – KMBO 1290 AM
  • Casselton, ND – KZTK 103.9 FM
  • Crookston, MN – KROX 1260 AM
  • Devil’s Lake, ND – KZZY 103.5 FM
  • Fargo, ND – WDAY 970 AM
  • Fergus Falls, MN – KBRF 1250 AM
  • Fosston, MN – KKCQ 1480 AM
  • Grafton, ND – KXPO 1340 AM
  • Jamestown, ND – KSJB 600 AM
  • Langdon, ND – KNDK 1080 AM
  • Mayville, ND – KMAV 105.5 FM
  • Mahnomen, MN – KRJM 101.5 FM
  • Roseau, MN – KCAJ 102.1 FM
  • Rugby, ND – KZZJ 1450 AM
  • Thief River Falls, MN – KKAQ 1460 AM
  • Wadena, MN – KKWS 105.9 FM

“FarmNetNews” is a production of the Red River Farm Network. RRFN is based in Grand Forks, North Dakota and serves northwest Minnesota, eastern North Dakota and eastern South Dakota.



Source: Red River Farm Network