A Weekly Update From Your Friends at the Red River Farm Network
Heading to DC — For the third time in recent months, the Red River Farm Network is heading back to Washington, DC for our Farm Bill Focus series. This week, RRFN will provide a first-hand update on the farm bill process and the impact for farmers and ranchers. RRFN's Mike Hergert will interview lawmakers and other thought-leaders on Capitol Hill. This past week, RRFN was in Nashville for the Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show. We also covered meetings in Fargo, Hankinson, Grand Forks, Moorhead, Hope and Rugby. Agriculture is a business that continues to change on an almost-daily basis and RRFN goes the extra mile to tell that story.
Farm Bill Hearings Scheduled — Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow has scheduled four farm bill hearings, beginning Wednesday February 15th. The first hearing will evaluate policies dealing with the energy and economic growth title. The conservation title will be the topic of the hearing scheduled for February 29th, the food and nutrition title is the topic of the hearing scheduled for March 14th and risk management and commodities is the topic of the hearing scheduled for March 21st.
Efforts Will be Made to Complete the Farm Bill Before August Recess — Wolverton, Minnesota farmer Jay Nord serves on the National Association of Wheat Growers’ domestic policy committee. “The ground work laid during the super committee time may or may not be used, but they are talking about it as the potential starting point," said Nord, after time on Capitol Hill, "We anticipate pretty substantial cuts in the next farm bill so that’s where the discussion lays, what do we want cut and how much?” Nord says there’s real interest in getting the farm bill done before the August recess. “The option of extending the farm bill was not real popular on either side of the House or Senate; most of the ag groups think the work needs to be done now and get it out of the way before the election.” Nord says all farm groups agree on the need to maintain, or improve, the crop insurance program.
The Busiest Political Year in Our Lifetime — There’s only a 50-50 chance of passing a farm bill this year. Ross Korves, economic policy analyst for the ProExporter Network, told farmers at Hurley & Associates’ Ag Day, this is probably the busiest political year in their lifetime. “The whole budget process and what that means for all these programs, the farm bill itself, we’ve got the conservation issues, we’ve got EPA issues with ethanol, with pesticides and things like that; we’ve got just a whole host of things coming at us.” Regarding the farm bill, Korves takes issue with the various shallow-loss proposals. "My concern is that we’re probably at the top of the price cycle now and we have the idea that we’re going to guarantee current revenues, that’s probably going to be extremely costly long-term," Korves told RRFN, "We went through this with the 1981 Farm Bill where we wrote a farm bill right at the peak and it took us 16 years to undo the damage; I hope we wouldn’t repeat that in 2012 or 2013.” Korves thinks farm spending may be cut by at least $35 billion, and as much as $48 billion.
Regulatory Environment Remains a Concern for Cattlemen — The regulatory environment remains a frustration for cattlemen. Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association executive director Joe Martin uses the EPA as an example. "While they've said they've backed off on dust, it's still there," said Martin, "Despite saying they're not going to do anything, actually, the dust standard has to be reviewed every five years, so that's why it is important to get this legislation through to settle this issue; the government shouldn't regulate dust." Congress is beginning farm bill hearings. Martin says a case can be made for removing the livestock title from the 2012 bill. "An argument could be made that having a livestock title in a farm bill just invites folks to put things in that mess with the industry." RRFN's coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention is sponsored, in part, by Zinpro Performance Minerals.
Checkoff Priorities — Ten members of the Federation of State Beef Councils and ten members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board make up the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. This committee is responsible for all beef checkoff expenditures. For only the second time in the history of the checkoff, a North Dakotan has been nominated to serve on this committee—Jerry Effertz of Velva. What’s the priority for this group? "I think the challenge is how we deal with our declining dollars; we are dependent on that dollar checkoff and as our herds decline, we're going to have to be more efficient and prioritize more carefully on how we spend those dollars." A year ago, there was some head-butting between NCBA and the beef checkoff. Effertz credits NCBA President Bill Donald for the change in attitude that is evident this year. "This convention certainly is a reflection of that," said Effertz, "There is an extraordinary change in attitude; there is a much more positive attitude of let's discuss our issues and move on; we have a lot more challenges in dealing with environmental, promotional and other issues than what we have to with our internal debates." RRFN's coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention is sponsored, in part, by Croplan Genetics Alfalfa and Forage Products.
Child Labor Rule Re-proposed — The US Labor Department has re-proposed its child farm labor regulations. The original rules banned children under the age of 16 from working in agricultural environments. After criticism from agriculture groups, the Labor Department is re-implementing the parental exemption portion of the rule.
MF Global Update — A federal bankruptcy judge has rejected a bid by MF Global commodity customers for special priority status in the Chapter 11 case. The judge ruled that, under the bankruptcy code, the court does not have the power to grant the relief requested, and said commodity customers failed to allege any facts to support their motion. The Associated Press reports than unnamed investigators have located almost all of the $1.2 billion first reported missing when MF Global went under. The money has reportedly been tracked to other customer accounts and banks.
Upper Midwest Will Start the Spring Season Behind the Eight Ball — Drew Lerner, agricultural meteorologist with World Weather, Inc., expects the current dry bias to continue. “As we get into March and April, we will see a little bit more of an enhanced jet stream that will bring more storminess across portions of the country, but it looks to me like we will also have a colder-than-usual bias playing out in those weeks and we’ll probably end up keeping the jet stream just a little too far to the south to bring meaningful moisture across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest; we’ll probably continue to see a below average precipitation bias prevailing across the region.” Lerner thinks the planting season will likely enjoy good conditions, but shortly thereafter, a developing high pressure ridge may surpress moisture for the summer months.
A Dry Start to the Season — Meteorologist Leon Osborne, who leads Meridian Technologies, sees a dry start to the growing season for much of the Midwest. "We're also going to need to watch what's going on in the South, across Texas and parts of Oklahoma," said Osborne, "They've had an exceptional drought period and the expectation is that the drought will continue and expand northward across Kansas and into Nebraska; the question is how far north is it going to reach?" Osborne was featured at the Ihry Insurance Agency meetings this past week. Photos from the event in Hope, North Dakota can be found at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150580394078826.412022.186261443825&type=1.
SCN Deserves Attention — North Dakota State University Extension plant pathologist Sam Markell says soybean cyst nematode doesn’t get the attention it should. Speaking at the Best of the Best in Wheat and Soybean Research meetings, Markell said the best way to determine if a field has SCN is with a soil test. “You can go into a field with a shovel and a bucket of water; you can wash the roots off gently and if you’ve got it you might see it, but that’s laborious." The cysts are extremely small, making soil testing an easier option. Markell emphasized resistance and rotation as the best control methods for SCN.
Diversify Weed Control — Sugarbeet growers are being told to diversify their use of herbicides to protect the Roundup Ready system. Extension sugarbeet weed specialist Jeff Stachler says giant ragweed, common ragweed, and waterhemp are resistant to glyphosate. Waterhemp is described as the enemy. “For the sugarbeet grower, it may cost them; it may go from $12 dollars an acre for three applications of glyphosate and Roundup Ready sugarbeets to upwards of $145 or more per acre to manage this, based on our research." Stachler’s advice to growers is diversify, scout, react, and stop weed seed production. “Waterhemp is actually capable of producing five million seeds on a single plant, and I collected a plant in Moorhead last fall and it produced 644,000 seeds on one single plant.”
Ready for Corn — With an open winter, farmers are hoping for an early start to the growing season. “I think our growers are kind of planning for that right now with obviously more corn going in," said Carter Medalen, agronomist, Farmers Union Oil Company, "In an early seeding scenario, we’ll ensure that those acres going are in the ground and I think set those growers up for probably the best potential yield scenario.” Medalen, who is based in Rugby, North Dakota, says an early spring favors corn planting.
More Flowers — There appears to be good interest in planting sunflowers this year. Fred Parnow, key account manager for Seeds 2000, says the threat of a dry year is one factor. “The oilseed market is quite strong currently, but new crop bids are very, very encouraging and depending on the moisture, we could be looking at a dry spring coming in where flowers are going to excel compared to other crops.” Parnow, who works with a sales team that includes Canada, says there’s increased interest north of the border as well.
Enough Seed for the Season Ahead — Independent Professional Seed Association executive director Greg Ruehle expects to see enough seed to go around for spring planting, but certain varieties may be in short supply. “There appears to be a good seed supply, but it can be limited by a particular hybrid combination or particular hybrid and trait package combination, and that’s what I think growers are going to face as they’re making their seed buying decisions." Ruehle doesn’t expect to see any seed quality issues.
Benefits to the Corn-Soybean Rotation — Recent research done by Pioneer Hi-Bred shows corn grown in rotation with soybeans requires less nitrogen fertilizer than continuous corn, while producing higher average yields per acre. John Shanahan, Pioneer agronomy research manager, says corn residue acts like a sponge immobilizing the fertilizer, making it temporarily unavailable to the corn plant.
Last Minute Input Purchases May be a Problem — Dakota Plains Cooperative general manager Ken Astrup is optimistic about the spring season, but advises growers to take possession of inputs as soon as possible. "One of the biggest problems we see this spring is if everybody waits until the last minute to buy anything, there is no way the system can physically handle all that demand at one time." In addition to fertilizer demand, Astrup says farmers should fill fuel tanks early. "It would be a good idea to fill up now before road restrictions go into place and with all the demand for fuel in the western part of the state, if everything breaks at one time, the system physically can't move as much product as needed."
Looking at Costs — Tanner Johnson, who is an ag lender with Bremer Bank in Rugby, says the capital demands in production agriculture continue to move higher. Costs of production, including rental rates, are rising. "Rents are creeping up; guys are trying to work out deals with their landlords with variable rents and such." The open winter has been beneficial for cattle producers. "It sure saves a lot of money on feeding with the ability to graze in open fields." Johnson participated in the North Central Dakota Ag Show in Rugby. Thanks to KZZJ Radio for hosting RRFN for a special broadcast from the event. Photos from the event can be found at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150585277143826.412571.186261443825&type=1.
Crop Problems — Crop analyst, Agroconsult, has lowered its estimates of Argentina’s corn and soybean crops due to drought. The corn crop is cut to 18.8 million tons, well below USDA’s current 26 million ton estimate. Agroconsult pegs the Argentine bean crop at 45 million tons, compared to USDA’s 50.5 million ton estimate.
Working Through Wetlands Disputes — While in Washington, DC, North Dakota Grain Growers Association President Brad Thykeson met with NRCS Chief Dave White to discuss challenges over wetlands determination disputes and tiling. "He's on board with us and I think it's just a case of there is some time where we have to wait for the process to work through the government channels; it was a very optimistic and positive meeting with the chief." Thykeson says White is researching the intent of the 1985 wetlands law. "That was kind of the gospel when it comes to ag policy; all of a sudden, we're making determinations on this ground in a wet cycle; I think we'll get there eventually, it's just a matter of time."
CRP Signup — The USDA announced the general signup for the Conservation Reserve Program. “We’re at about 30 million acres today, and again, that’s why we’re announcing this general signup to get as many acres re-enrolled in a CRP program as we possibly can," said Acting Undersecretary Michael Scuse. Scuse says the goal of the CRP program signup is to stay as close to the 32 million acre cap as possible.
Farm Program Sign-up — The 2012 DCP farm program enrollment period is underway. "We just started for the last year of the 2008 Farm Bill," said Dale Ihry, program specialist, North Dakota Farm Service Agency, "It ends June 1; what we're hoping for is that all of our farmers get into their local county office and get enrolled this spring, so we don't have to chase them down during the summer months." Farmers who are not already in the ACRE program have a chance to select ACRE for the final year of the program, but Ihry encourages producers to first evalute on-farm revenue projections.
River Infrastructure Needs a Fix — The deteriorating condition of the inland waterway system’s locks and dams was verified by a study funded by the soybean checkoff. United Soybean Board Chairperson Vanessa Kummer says the study was done by specific lock and dam to show what a failure would mean to each particular area. “They did focus on the condition of the locks on the upper Mississippi, the Illinois River and the Ohio River and it really showed the effect on ag commodity prices, which includes fertilizer and coal and other products, besides just hauling our commodities; the whole ag infrastructure depends on it." Kummer says the USB research study will be handed off to the American Soybean Association who will lobby congress.
Be Proactive — Futurist and economist Jay Lehr issued a call to action for those attending the RML Trading Marketing Day. "Agriculture has lost the support of the American public; only because, we've been under attack from environmental zeolots that have told them a whole bunch of lies," said Lehr, "I'd like to see all farmers become more proactive." Lehr described this as the golden age of farming. "The next decade or two is going to be fabulous; the only obstacles are going to be the roadblocks government puts in our way."
Little Hope for Doha Round — Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said many countries have lost faith in the WTO Doha Round. “Short-term, I think you’re going to see more and more countries turn to bilateral regional engagements because of the difficulty of finding consensus among 153 very diverse economies.” WTO Director General Pascal Lamy acknowledged that a successful conclusion to the Doha Round is still several years from happening.
Time to 'Cow Up' — The cow herd hasn’t been this small since 1952. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Immediate Past President Bill Donald says this supply may tighten even more. "Compare rebuilding the breeding herd to jumping off a diving board; if you're going to jump off a diving board, you're going to first have to go down before you can get any spring to come up," said Donald, "As we go down, we'll be putting more heifers into production and less heifers into feedlots and that will constrict the supply even more and the price of feeder cattle will be extremely strong for the next few years." In Donald’s words, it is time to ‘cow up.’ The Montana rancher admits that can be expensive. "You're right, it costs $1,500 to $2,000 for a bred heifer and you can sell heifer calves that are ready for breeding and probably get $1,100 for them, so those numbers are huge, but the returns are huge; we've got five-weight calves bringing $2 right off the cow; that's $1,000 and at those kind of prices, that $1,500 to $2,000 investment isn't that high." Donald is worried about the amount of capital necessary for cattle feeders. "The amount of borrowed money does make people vulnerable."
Ready to Rebuild the Herd — The beef cow herd is at a 60-year low. American Shorthorn Association executive secretary Bert Moore, who previously served in the animal science department at North Dakota State University, says the purebred numbers have been stable. "We want to think there is going to be a repopulation and we think the Shorthorn can play a real role in repopulating with red-hided cattle in areas decimated by drought and other things," said Moore, "Female sales have been strong and bull sales have been strong, as well; we're optimistic."
Researching the Future of North Dakota's Cattle Industry — The cattle industry is enjoying record prices, driven primarily, by low supplies. North Dakota Stockmen’s Association executive director Julie Ellingson says a state stakeholder’s group is working on ways to rebuild that herd. This group "will look at the trends for transition planning, what current producers are looking at for years to come and the imediments to growth," said Ellingson, "We think the results of this survey will give us a better idea of the challenges and policy direction to help us move forward and help the next generation enter our industry." This project is a joint effort of the NDSA, the North Dakota Beef Commission, North Dakota State University, NDSU Extension, North Dakota Corn Growers Association and the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association. Ellingson says a collaborative effort is needed to address the supply situation with cattle numbers at a 60-year low.
Monitoring Alfalfa — The open winter has been great for livestock, but it is causing some worry for alfalfa producers. Croplan Genetics regional agronomist Jason Hanson says alfalfa is wintering well, but crown sampling is recommended this spring. "It doesn't take a lot of snow, four inches, and you can insulate the crop very well; alfalfa is pretty durable, but it will depend on how much cold we have at the wrong time." Once the ground firms, crowns can be sampled. "The whiter it is, the better it is; black is worse because it will affect regrowth." RRFN's interview with Hanson can be heard at http://www.rrfn.com/indepth/020212%20Jason%20Hanson.MP3.
Protect the Early Stand — Winfield Solutions seed and agronomy advisor Jeff Jackson says high quality alfalfa starts with good alfalfa seed. Jackson says it’s also important to keep the crop free of weeds during stand establishment. "The first 30 to 60 days is very important to life of the alfalfa stand; if right away, we have competition for space, nutrients and water, it is not going to have that same vitality and yield potential as we go down the road."
Stay Focused on Nutrition — The open winter season has been welcomed by the cattle producer. "A lot of folks have had a chance to graze some corn stalks and other crop residues and dormant pastures longer than they would have normally and it saved on the feed bill," said Greg Lardy, who leads the animal science department at North Dakota State University. Lardy says it is important cow-calf producers that stay focused on nutrition. "We've had an awful mild winter and in some cases, that gets folks a little complacent about the nutrition levels those cows are getting as we come up on calving; as we get into this third trimester with those spring calvers, we want to make sure they're getting plenty of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals in those diets." RRFN's coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention is sponsored, in part, by Croplan Genetics Alfalfa and Forage Products.
Benefits Found with Trace Minerals in the Cattle Diet — When feeding micronutrients to beef cows during late gestation, it benefits the cow and the viability of the calf. Zinpro Performance Minerals research nutritionist Dr. Connie Larson says this tool sets the cow up for quick rebreeding. "That's where we're going to capture the most efficiency and that's where she's going to be the most profitable," said Larson, "A calf born early in the season has more time for gain and we're going to look at about two pounds of gain per day on a calf prior to weaning, so if we can lengthen those dates by having earlier-born calves, that's money for the producer." Even in the fetal stage, adequate minerals can help the calf develop a stronger immune system.
Pasture Management Includes Nutrient Management — While field crops get most of the attention, SFP marketing director Melanie Acklin says pasture management can’t be ignored. "Fertilization is the key to any forage nutrient management program and by adding more nutrients into the ground, you're increasing not only the quality, but the quantity of those forages and with cattle prices, the way they are, if you can get more quality out of that forage, it's fewer supplements you have to buy and you don't have to buy grain to help supplement and it's a better deal all the way around." SFP markets Nutrisphere N to manage nitrogen. "It's going to help increase the nitrogen availability, especially, putting it on the soil surface in a pasture situation, volitilization is the number one loss mechanism of that nitrogen, so if we can protect that and keep it available for that crop, we'll just get a better forage off overall."
BOLD Diet Improves Heart Health — Lean beef in the diet can improve heart health. The beef checkoff evaluated the gold standard diet, known as DASH, with increased lean beef consumption. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association executive director of human nutrition research Shaelean McNeil says the BOLD study beefs up the DASH Diet with 'Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet.' "It shows that adding lean beef every day to a heart-healthy diet is just as effective as the DASH Diet for lowering your cholesterol and improving your heart health. Twenty-nine lean cuts provide a lot of variety. "I like to give the tip of looking for round or loin in the name, so your sirloins, tenderloins, round steaks, but also cuts, like T-Bone that people don't think about that people love and are lean." RRFN's coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show is sponsored, in part, by the North Dakota Beef Commission.
Cutting Back on Potash Production — Citing lower near-term demand, the Mosaic Company has announced plans to cut back the output from its Saskatchewan potash mines for the next four months. Mosaic says it will reduce its potash production by up to 20 percent from now through May. CEO Jim Prokopanko says cautious dealer sentiment continues to delay purchases and reduce near-term demand for potash. However, Prokopanko expects an above average application season in North America and record-setting global potash shipments in 2012.
ADM 2Q Earnings Plummet — Archer Daniels Midland earned $80 million in its second quarter, down 89 percent from the same period a year ago. “It was a tough quarter, particularly for comparisons," said Patricia Woertz, chair and CEO, "Last year, segment operating profit was a record and this quarter we took our outside impairment charges related to our bio-plastics business and the operating environment was challenging; ongoing weakness in global oilseed margins, lower results in corn, and poor international merchandising results hurt our second quarter profits.” Corn processing profits decreased $532 million from the same period the previous year, and through the first half, it’s down almost $700 million from last year. Agricultural Services profit was down $268 million, and oilseeds processing fell $72 million. ADM’s net sales were up 14 percent for the second quarter, and 22 percent for the first half.
Hormel Foods Enjoys 20 Percent Improvement in FY2011 — At the Hormel annual meeting, company executives reported fiscal 2011 net earnings of $474 million, up from nearly $396 million in the previous year. Annual revenues increased nine percent, reaching $7.9 billion. Hormel Foods is based in Austin, Minnesota.
Income Falls at Tyson Foods — Tyson Foods ended the first quarter with net income of $156 million, down from $298 million one year earlier. Beef is the largest business unit for Tyson, representing more than 40 percent of sales in the latest quarter. The beef business has been hurt by high costs. Still, Tyson projects beef margins to return to a normal range in the second half of this year.
Bel Brands to Build Cheese Processing Plant in South Dakota — A major dairy processing company is planning to build a new manufacturing plant in Brookings, South Dakota. Bel Brands will use the facility to produce the Laughing Cow cheese wedges, Mini Babybels and a variety of cheese spreads. The company will invest $100 million with construction beginning this summer. The plant should be fully operational by 2014.
An Investment in Energy Beets — A project to make ethanol from energy beets is taking another step forward, thanks to a two-year grant from the North Dakota Renewable Energy Council. The $1 million, phase II, project includes $500,000 from the Renewable Energy Council, with approval from the North Dakota Industrial Commission, plus cash-match funds from industry partners Betaseed and Syngenta, and other in-kind contributions. The public-private partnership includes the Green Vision Group and Heartland Renewable Energy, with plans to develop at least a dozen ethanol facilities across North Dakota. NDSU’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, and the Carrington Research Extension Center will continue to provide research for the project.
John Deere Marks its 175th Anniversary This Year — Samuel Allen, Deere & Company chairman and CEO, says John Deere revolutionized agriculture with his self-scouring plow in 1837, and made farming in the tough Midwest soil a productive and profitable venture. From the one-man shop in Grand Detour, Illinois at its inception, Deere currently has more than 60,000 employees worldwide. Recognition of the 175th anniversary began recently when the John Deere Foundation made a $175,000 grant to help fund Feeding America’s BackPack Program.
New Collaboration — DuPont and OligoCo have entered into a collaboration to develop new technology that could enable the use of synthetic biology. DuPont business, Pioneer Hi-Bred, will collaborate with OligoCo to develop long, high quality DNA segments essential to reliably transcribe genetic information into full-length genes, and accelerate the pace of discovery and development of improved crop products.
Huskie Complete OK'ed — The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the sale of Huskie Complete herbicide for post-emergence use on spring wheat, winter wheat and durum. Bayer CropScience says Huskie Complete has an active ingredient new to cereals, controls key grass weeds, as well as more than 50 broadleaf weeds.
Export Joint Venture in PNW — CHS, Inc. and Cargill have announced the expansion of their TEMCO LLC grain export terminal joint venture in the Pacific Northwest. TEMCO is a 50-50 joint venture between Cargill and CHS. The expansion will include the Tacoma facility along with an export terminal in Kalama, Washington, and the Cargill Irving Elevator at Portland. The expanded company will export feed grains, oilseeds, and wheat to Asia-Pacific markets.
CHS Supports Ag Ed Initiative — CHS, Inc. has made the largest financial contribution ever made to a special campaign focused on raising awareness of the need for more agricultural teachers in US high schools. CHS has allocated $104,300 for the National Teach Ag Campaign.
Top Producer — Black Gold Farms President and CEO Gregg Halverson has been named Top Producer magazine’s Top Producer of the Year. Halverson oversees the farming operation which totals 17,000 acres in 11 states. Black Gold is the largest fresh crop producer of chip potatoes in the United States. The farm as quadrupled in size in just over ten years, and currently employs 120 people.
New NCBA Officer Team — The new National Cattlemen's Beef Association officer team is President J.D. Alexander of Nebraska; President-elect Scott George of Wyoming and Vice President Bob McCan of Texas.
NFO Elects Officer Team — The National Farmers Organization has re-elected Paul Olson of Wisconsin as its president. This is Olson’s fourth term. Paul Riniker of Iowa is the group’s new vice president.
Palmer Plans to Leave MN Soybean Post — After 31 years in the soybean industry, Minnesota Soybean Executive Director Jim Palmer plans to step down. Palmer has served twice as Executive Director of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Research and Promotion Council. Council Chairman Gene Stoel says Palmer’s news came as a big surprise. “You know, Jim has been part of Minnesota Soybean for over 20 years here and it came as a pretty big surprise; Jim has done a lot of good for Minnesota Soybean; he’s been very instrumental in getting the biodiesel mandate passed; he’s been very supportive of work with the University in the research areas; he’s done a lot of good for Minnesota Soybean and we hate to see him go.” Palmer is quoted in a news release as saying he’d like to explore new opportunities for leadership in agriculture. Palmer served as executive director of MSGA/MSRPC when the 1990 Farm Bill established the national soybean checkoff, and then joined the United Soybean Board to help launch it. Palmer returned to Minnesota as executive director in 1997. The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Soybean Research and Promotion Council will form a joint committee to handle the search for a new executive director.
Corn Board Candidates Named — Six corn growers have been nominated for election to the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board. Those nominated include Keith Alverson of Chester, South Dakota and Kevin Skunes of Arthur, North Dakota. New board members will be elected at Corn Congress in July.
SDARL Elects New Leadership Team — South Dakota Agricultural and Rural Leadership has a new chairman. Lucas Lentsch of Pierre is a graduate of the leadership development program and serves as the director of agricultural development at the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. SDARL’s vice chairman is Monte Lucas of Rapid City. Travis Bies of Fairburn is the secretary/treasurer.
CHS Hires New VP of Government Affairs — John Engelen has been named vice president of government affairs for CHS, Inc. Most recently, Engelen was the vice president of governmental and community affairs at Emory University in Atlanta. Before that, Engelen worked for the University of Minnesota and on Senator Dave Durenburger's staff.
Becker Joins Rabo AgriFinance — Jon Becker has been appointed as the Rabo AgriFinance relationship manager for northwest Minnesota and North Dakota. In his new role, Becker will work with producers and processors providing real estate loans, operating lines of credit, equipment loans, crop insurance and more. Becker has more than 14 years of ag lending experience, most recently with Wells Fargo.
MFU Insurance Agency Picks New Leader — The Minnesota Farmers Union Agency has named Rodney Allebach its new president. Allebach has been a district manager since 2000 and an insurance agent since 1981. Allebach will assume his new position in April when current President Jim Frederickson retires.
Spreeman Promoted — Aberdeen-based Wheat Growers has announced the promotion of Bill Spreeman to Vice President of Safety, Environmental and Regulatory Affairs. Spreeman is responsible for Wheat Growers’ safety and environmental initiatives and compliance with applicable federal, state and local regulatory requirements.
Campbell Runs — Grafton, North Dakota potato grower and businessman Tom Campbell is running for the State Senate. Campbell will seek the Republican nomination in the June 12th primary election. Northwood Republican Gerald Uglem currently holds that seat.
Wanted: FFA Alumni — During National FFA Week, the Minnesota FFA Alumni Conference will be held in Vadnais Heights. House Agriculture Committee Chair Rod Hamilton will provide the keynote address. Student members are also invited to attend and participate in the 'Just for Students' session track, led by state FFA officers. Visit http://www.mnffaalumni.org/ for more details.
Last Week's Trivia — Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas chairs the House Agriculture Committee. Lyle Orwig of Charleston Orwig is our weekly trivia winner. Congrats, Lyle. Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Roger Chamberlain of AgriBank, Farm Credit Services of Mandan President/CEO Michael O'Keefe, and Jay Johnson of Citizen's Community Credit Union earn runner-up honors. The 'first 20' rounds out with Benson County FSA executive director Mark Dahlen, Amy Durand of AgStar Farm Credit Services, Jeff Hamre of North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, Larry Mueller of Mycogen Seeds, Ron Claussen of Ag Media Research, Fred Parnow of Seeds 2000, Lawton farmer Dennis Miller, Hutchinson High School teacher Pam Vilchis, Tom Royer of The Land, Bill Crawford of the Minnesota Pork Board, Douglas Brown of AGP Grain Marketing, Tim Dufault of Prairie Grains, Appleton farmer Ed Hegland and UM-Crookston Collegiate FFA President Thomas Chute.
This Week's Trivia — The Giants was the first team on the scoreboard in last night's Super Bowl game. It was an unusual way to pick up some points. What happened? Send your answer to email@example.com. Don't forget to include your hometown and job title. We'll recognize the earliest responses in next week's newsletter.
— Best of the Best in Wheat and Barley Research–Dickinson, ND
— Conservation Tillage Conference and Trade Show–Rochester, MN
— ND Pork Producers Convention–Jamestown, ND
— Best of the Best in Wheat and Barley Research–Minot, ND
— Canola Day–Langdon, ND
— Northwest Farm Managers Association Annual Meeting–Fargo, ND
— I-29 Dairy Conference–Sioux Falls, SD
— American Sugarbeet Growers Association Annual Meeting–Lake Buena Vista, FL
— Advanced Crop Advisers Workshop–Fargo, ND
— NDSU Farmland Leasing Workshop–Carrington, ND
— Northern Plains Potato Growers Association Annual Meeting–Grand Forks, ND
— UM Cow-Calf Days–Staples and Bagley, MN
— International Crop Expo–Grand Forks, ND
— UM Cow-Calf Days–Lancaster, MN
— NDSU Farmland Leasing Workshop–Lisbon, ND
— Midwest Dairy Association District Meeting–Ottertail, MN
— ND Agricultural Products Utilization Commission Meeting–Jamestown, ND
— UM Cow-Calf Days–Grand Rapids, MN
— Midwest Dairy Association District Meeting–Alexandria, MN
— SD Farmers Union State Convention–Huron, SD
— NDSU Farmland Leasing Workshop–Cooperstown, ND
— National FFA Week–
— MN FFA Alumni Annual Conference–Vadnais Heights, MN
— Midwest Dairy Association District Meeting–McIntosh, MN
— KKCQ Legislative Farm Forum–Fosston, MN
— American Crystal Sugar Grower Seminar–Grand Forks, ND
— Midwest Dairy Association District Meeting–Wadena, MN
— Northern Soybean Expo–Fargo, ND
— Research Results and Technology Conference–Mandan, ND
— Agricultural Drainage Design Workshop III–Wahpeton, ND
— ND CornVention–Fargo, ND
— Aberdeen Ag Expo–Aberdeen, SD
— NDSU Farmland Leasing Workshop–Watford City, ND
— Agricultural Drainage Design Workshop IV–Wahpeton, ND
— CoBank Minnesota Customer Meeting–Minneapolis, MN
— NDSU Farmland Leasing Workshop–Stanley, ND
— NDSU Farmland Leasing Workshop–Minot, ND
— Rural Leadership:Vision for the Future Conference–Jamestown, ND
— Wild Oats Grainworld Conference–Winnipeg, MB
— ND Water Quality Water Monitoring Conference–Bismarck, ND
— NDSU Farmland Leasing Workshop–Bismarck, ND
February 29-March 4
— US Custom Harvesters, Inc. Annual Convention–Grand Island, NE
— NDSU Farmland Leasing Workshop–Jamestown, ND
— Commodity Classic–Nashville, TN
— National Farmers Union Convention–Omaha, NE
For more information, visit our website.
|Mike Hergertfirstname.lastname@example.org||(701) 795-1315|
|Don Wickemail@example.com||(701) 795-1315|
|Randy Koenenfirstname.lastname@example.org||(701) 795-1315|
|Jay Rehderemail@example.com||(701) 799-9434|
Red River Farm Network programs are archived on www.rrfn.com. Tune into these RRFN affiliates for the latest in farm news and markets.
"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.
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Red River Farm Network | 1407 24th Avenue S | Suite 235 | Grand Forks | ND | 58201