A Weekly Update From Your Friends at the Red River Farm Network
Waiting for the Roar of the Engines — The flag is ready to drop on the 2012 planting season. A few planters have already been put into action, but most growers are still in preparation-mode. The Red River Farm Network is your source for latest news about crop conditions, weather, markets and farm policy. On-air, online and in social media, RRFN is Reporting Agriculture's Business. This week's edition of FarmNetNews is reaching you earlier-than-normal, due to a the travel schedule.
USDA to Update Crop Numbers This Week — Traders are anxiously awaiting the world ending stocks figure in Friday's USDA Grain Stocks Report. “No one really has an idea what to expect with the stocks report, with the flip-flops we’ve had with the UDSA in past reports," said Dewey Strickler, Ag Watch Market Advisor, "The trade is expecting to see friendly numbers, but that’s already factored into the market; if we get the numbers that they expect on corn acres, we’re going to be looking at weather for the next several weeks and there won’t be any other news in the market.”
Bearish Start — The early start to corn planting could be bearish for prices, says AgResource Company President Dan Basse. “If we get corn in this early and we then get a couple follow up rains and get things germinated off to a good start, we could have USDA actually increasing their yield estimate from 164 to a record 166 or 167 (bushels) come the May WASDE," said Basse, "That kind of sets the market up into a bearish tone thinking longer term.”
Farm Survey Points to a 95 Million Acre Corn Crop — Farm Futures Magazine’s farmer survey shows farmer intend to plant just over 95 million acres of corn and 76 million acres of soybeans this spring. Farm Futures says while corn acreage will rise by just over 3 million acres from last year, the acres could shift. Acreage in Illinois is expected to be steady with last year and Iowa acres down slightly. The increased corn planting is expected to come in the fringe states of the Corn Belt. Soybean acres are expected to be a million higher than last year. Farm Futures expects to see both corn and soybean acreage increase in North Dakota while North Dakota’s spring wheat acreage is expected to be steady with last year.
Acreage Shifts Expected — Bower Trading President Jim Bower says acreage shifts are likely to occur this spring. Bower thinks farmers are anxious to plant corn. "I think we'll have at least 94 million acres of corn, that would be the minimum, in my opinion," said Bower, "I think it could actually come up to the 95.5 to 96 million acre area if spring planting conditions are anywhere close to the weather we've had in the last several weeks." Bower says the soybean market has been on a mission to buy acres. Even with 75 to 75.5 million acres, and a trend-line yield, Bower says soybeans look bullish.
More Spring Wheat in '12 — The North Dakota Wheat Commission expects farmers to plant more spring wheat this year compared to a year ago. "The most common estimate that I've seen is an increase in spring wheat acres of about a million to 1.5 million acres, compared to last year," said Erica Olson, NDWC marketing specialist, "Obviously, with the large amount of prevented plant we had, those numbers are feasible." Olson says an early spring also bodes well for additional spring wheat acres.
Excellent Field Conditions Seen in Western ND — Some wheat has been planted in western North Dakota, but most farmers are waiting. Bob Amstrup, a crop consultant with Top-Op in Bismarck, expects air seeders will be in high gear in the week ahead. “I think (soil) conditions are the best I have seen in quite a few years, the surface is going to allow for good soil-to-seed contact," said Amstrup, "Once field work commences, it will not take long to get this crop in; we have idea conditions and we’ll make rapid progress.” Amstrup says farmers are “panicky” after going more than 80 days without significant precipitation.
Patience Urged — Afternoon soil temperatures in the tri-state corner of the Dakotas and Minnesota have been ranging from 52 to 55 degrees. Legend Seeds sales agronomist Matt Hubsch says that’s warm enough to germinate corn, but he’s trying to slow growers down. “I’m all for getting small grain in the ground, move to the wheat, move to the oats and then please, for the most part, move to the second two weeks of April before planting corn." Hubsch says spring snow showers are not uncommon "and that would be pretty tough on the seed lying in the ground."
Be Alert to Crop Insurance Rules — The mild weather has farmers anxious to plant. Ihry Insurance’s Mike Kozojed is fielding questions from farmers. “I can understand why people are anxious to get out there and get in the field, but it is still March and not April and May." Kozojed says small grains may be an option, but corn and sugarbeets may merit more time before planting. Farmers can plant ahead of the initial planting dates for the crop insurance program, but must be aware of the consequences. “From a crop insurance standpoint, insurance will attach, but there will be no replanting payments should something happen and you are required to replant to the crop for the insurance to continue; that’s the gamble with the early planting.”
WW Inspections Needed for Crop Insurance — As soon as winter wheat breaks dormancy, Ducks Unlimited senior agronomist Blake Vander Vorst says farmers should contact their crop insurance agent. “I communicated with Doug Hagel, the (regional) director for RMA, and he indicated that once the winter wheat has broken dormancy, the producer can contact their insurance agent and report their winter wheat acreage, the insurance agent will notify the insurance provider, and at that point, they’ll send out an adjustor to inspect the field to make sure the stand is adequate and once they’ve assured that the stand is adequate, they’ll bind the coverage on it.” Given current soil temperatures in the 40’s, Vander Vorst doesn’t expect to see much freeze damage even if the region has a couple of 20 degree nights.
Seed Treatment Advised — With the early spring, Clyde Kringlen, sales manager, West Central Ag Service, says growers should definitely be considering the use of seed treatments. “We need to protect that plant; the soils are going to be a little cool, not real damp in a lot of areas, but yet some moisture still there and seed treatment is crucial in keeping that plant off to a healthy, quick start and also protect it from diseases that will happen in this early spring.”
Early Season Insect Pressure — The mild winter and early warm weather has people asking University of Minnesota Extension entomologist Ian MacRae about early insect pressure. MacRae is most concerned with soybean aphids. “With high populations at the end of last summer, not a lot of natural enemies in the field and we were seeing soybean aphid eggs on buckthorn in the fall, if they don’t get a lot of mortality in the springtime, we could have an early season." MacRae says it will be important to scout for soybean aphids earlier than normal.
Keep an Eye on Stored Grain — At the same time, North Dakota State University Extension Ag Engineer Ken Hellevang says it's not helpful to just run the fans during the day. “If we turn the fans on when the outside temperatures are warm, we’re going to warm the grain up and actually put it in a condition where it’s going to spoil much more quickly." Hellevang says the goal is to keep the grain cool.
Ryan Budget Plan Takes Bigger Cut From Ag Spending — House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget puts more pressure on the House Agriculture Committee to cut crop insurance subsidies in the new farm bill. Ryan would cut $30 billion out of farm programs by reducing fixed payments and reforming the open-ended nature of crop insurance. “Do I think you can get more reform out of crop insurance subsidies?" said Ryan, "Yes, I do; I also think the bulk of the savings need to come from direct payments, but that is up to the Agriculture Committee to decide exactly how they do that."
Conrad Offers a Warning — With the House scheduled to vote on Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal in the week ahead, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad is warning of its potential impact on vital programs. Conrad says the cuts to agriculture programs will especially hurt North Dakota, and would pull the rug out from under thousands of farm and ranch families. Conrad says the House Republican proposal calls for about $180 billion in cuts to farm bill programs, including $31 billion to commodity and crop insurance programs. By comparison, House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders recommended a $23 billion cut last fall.
Budget Proposal Puts Farm Bill in Danger — House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson says the Budget Committee's proposal backpedals from the 2011 Budget Control Act. "We agreed to these discretionary numbers," Peterson told RRFN, "The agreement that those numbers would hold for all of 2012, so there wouldn't be these fights and showdowns; it is also going to complicate any kind of way that we can work this farm bill out with the Senate; we had enough problems trying to keep this thing together and I think this whole scenario could blow the whole thing up." Peterson also said the Budget Committee should be abolished. "It's become a completely partisan deal; we don't need it, we have the authority to do what we need to do with the authorizing committee, appropriations committee and ways and means committee; the budget committee is not helping, they're hurting this budget process."
Farm Bill Must Work for All Regions, All Commodities — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas opened Friday's farm bill field hearing by saying Congress must develop a farm bill that works for all regions and all commodities. “We’ve repeatedly heard that a one-size-fits-all program will not work," said Lucas, "I can tell you from experience that what works here in Illinois won’t work as well for my constituents in Oklahoma, so the commodity title must give producers options so they can choose the program that works best for them." Lucas also said crop insurance must be the cornerstone of a farm safety net.
MCGA Represented in Field Hearing — Minnesota Corn Growers Association President John Mages testified at the House Agriculture Committee’s field hearing in Illinois. Mages used the opportunity to sum up his goals for the next farm bill. “Pass a five year farm bill this year, give farmers a menu of policy actions to choose from, be sure that every one of those actions have protection against long periods of low prices, don’t change the payment limit or AGI rules again, and above all, don’t do anything to hurt crop insurance."
Commodity Title Remains the Challenge — Speaking at the National Grain and Feed Association’s annual meeting, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow said the commodity title remains the most contentious piece of the farm bill. That perceived lack of consensus is making it difficult for the Senate Agriculture Committee to reach an agreement by Memorial Day. Stabenow said the biggest challenge with the commodity title is because there are so many different regions and commodities; when moving from direct payments to a risk-based model, not every commodity has the same access to crop insurance, or the same coverage.
Supporting Family Farms, Not Just Milk Volume — The AMPI Annual Meeting is Monday and Tuesday in Bloomington, Minnesota. At the meeting, AMPI delegates will finalize dairy policy recommendations. Board Chairman Steve Schlangen says AMPI wants dairy policy that will "preserve family farms and not just support milk volume." AMPI has long supported dairy policy that includes growth management. When included in the new farm bill, Schlangen believes that policy will reduce market volatility. Schlangen, who is a dairy farmer from Albany, Minnesota, says the dairy industry also recognizes the budget pressures facing the federal government. "The whole dairy industry has been very aware of that and very much proactive in developing a program that will hopefully, save our government money and, at the same time, create a safety net that really means something to dairy farmers."
Klobuchar Staff Meets with Area Farmers — Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar’s staffers hosted nine statewide meetings this past week to gather input on the next farm bill. In a recorded video message to begin the meeting in East Grand Forks, Klobuchar said the farm safety net needs to be preserved and strengthened, and the main focus will be on crop insurance. Stephen farmer Neil Widner agrees. “Those of us who have the next generation coming into farm, like I do with a son getting involved, you have to have crop insurance and a good program to make sure that they can go to their lender and get the financing they need to put their crops in place.”
Duplication — The House Agriculture subcommittee on rural development, research, biotechnology and foreign agriculture has reviewed USDA rural development programs to identify duplication. It found at least 16 federal agencies which operate more than 88 rural development programs. The subcommittee wants those programs streamlined to enhance coordination between agencies.
Rail Shipping Rates Debated at STB Hearing — National Association of Wheat Growers past president Wayne Hurst told members of the Surface Transportation Board that wheat growers are concerned about increased rail rates because of the inflated price Berkshire Hathaway paid for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. Hurst spoke in favor of the Western Coal Traffic League that argued that shippers did not achieve any benefit from the BNSF sale and should not bear additional costs. Minnesota Senator Al Franken says farmers have limited options to move thier products and the railroad rate issue could put growers at a competitive disadvantage. BNSF argued that it should be allowed to capitalize the acquisition premium of $8.1 billion.
Excessive Speculation — Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar along with three other Senators have introduced legislation aimed at ending excessive speculation in the oil futures market. Franken says demand for oil is lower than is has been in five years, yet gas prices are at their highest. The legislation would direct Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler to take immediate action using all his powers to end excessive oil speculation.
E15 Moves Closer to Reality — The Renewable Fuels Association thinks progress is being made toward the commercial availability of E15. The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the misfueling mitigation plan submitted by the RFA. Refiners, gasoline marketers and ethanol producers will all have to abide by this plan. “With the approval of the misfueling mitigation plan, EPA’s role in the commercialization of E15 is largely complete," said Bob Dinneen, RFA president." Dinneen says the job of making E15 a commercial reality is now largely up to the ethanol industry. “Companies will have to sign up for, fund and create a fuel survey so that EPA knows where E15 is being marketed and where it’s not.”
Record Soybean Prices in Brazil — The combination of strong commodity prices and a weaker Brazilian currency is very good news for Brazilian soybean farmers. Soybean and Corn Advisor President Michael Cordonnier says Brazilian farmers are able to sell this year’s soybean crop at near record prices. The real is weakening due to the Brazilian government’s concern that a strong currency is hurting Brazilian manufacturers and agricultural exports. At the Port of Paranagua, soybeans are being sold at over $14 a bushel. As a result, farmers have already sold between 50 and 60 percent of this year’s soybean production.
Rationing Necessary, Says Oil World — Oil World says global soybean production could be down nine percent from last year, due mainly to a 12 percent decline in South America. Oil World has cut its South American soybean crop forecast at least five times since December. The German-based newsletter says the smaller world crop will necessitate a certain amount of rationing.
Rule Change — Japan is changing its rules for importing wheat. Due to a delay in US wheat shipments, Japan is implementing a fixed arrival date rule. Shippers say the new rule structure is difficult to implement and can result in penalties, leading to higher overhead costs and higher prices. The common trade pattern for wheat is to finalize shipment dates for cargoes of wheat from the port of origin.
COOL Appeal — The United States has appealed the World Trade Organization ruling on its Country of Origin Labeling law. The WTO said COOL treats beef and pork from Canada and Mexico unfairly. The US Trade Representative’s Office says it will defend the US' right to adopt labeling requirements.
Jackson Defends EPA Actions — During a hearing on the EPA’s 2013 budget request, Administrator Lisa Jackson came under fire for so-called regulatory overreach. In particular, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe complained EPA’s new guidance on water quality goes too far. Jackson disagreed, saying the guidance brings clarity to these water issues. "We have heard from a number of stakeholders around the country about the confusion that is resulting in the lack of protection on certain lands and certain areas." Jackson also defended her performance at EPA, saying she has signed fewer rules than her predecessor.
High Court Rules on Wetlands Issue — In a unanimous decision, the US Supreme Court ruled farmers and landowners have a right to due process when the government makes wetlands determinations. A lower court said an Idaho couple had no chance to contest an Environmental Protection Agency ruling. A Wall Steet Journal editorial said the court decided the EPA “can’t terrorize Americans via regulation without allowing them a day in court.”
ND Wetlands Determinations Questioned — North Dakota Senator John Hoeven is asking USDA for consistent, sensible rules for conservation compliance. During a meeting with NRCS Chief Dave White, Hoeven said wetlands determinations have been inconsistent and unclear in the state. White indicated he will make a trip to North Dakota soon to review the wetlands determination policies.
Hot Water — Tempers flared at a US Army Corps of Engineers public meeting meeting in Wahpeton. This meeting was designed to address concerns about the proposed Red River diversion. Richland and Wilkin county leaders and 100 rural residents questioned the Corps’ analysis on the upstream impacts. Although current plans forecast the diversion’s most severe impacts will be in a proposed temporary water storage area in southern Cass and Clay counties, the project is also poised to add as much a a foot of extra water on some properties in northern Richland and Wilkin counties. County officials think the impacts could be far worse than the Corps predicts.
Lawmakers Hope to Intervene Over DOL Rule — South Dakota Senator John Thune and Kansas Senator Jerry Moran are doing an end-around, introducing legislation to prevent the Labor Department from implementing restrictions on young people working in production agriculture. The 85-page Labor Department Rule would not allow those under 18 years of age to handle common practices, such as vaccinating pigs or trimming cattle hooves. The proposal is very specific, preventing teenagers from operating farm machinery over 20 PTO horsepower. It would also ban youth from operating a battery-operated screwdriver or a pressurized garden hose. Thune describes the proposal as an unreasonable overreach.
What Happens if Regs Go Unchecked? Look to EU — At an ag trends conference in Mahnomen, farm advocate Trent Loos said there is a disconnect between food producers and consumers. To feed 9 billion people by 2050, Loos said farmers must be able to use all of the available tools. “We can theorize about what would happen if regulations continue unchecked, if we don’t allow kids to work on farms, if we over regulate dust, but that has already happened in the European Union," said Loos, "Fourteen years ago, they relied on 20 percent of their food coming from foreign nations; in 2011, 54 percent of the food was consumed in the European Union was imported; they increased their cost per capita by 33 percent."
Permitting Bill Advances — The Minnesota House has passed a bill to speed up the permitting process. The bill also provides flexibility for livestock farmers to work with a professional engineer and consultants when going through the permitting process. A companion bill is moving in the Senate. Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association executive director Joe Martin says the livestock industry supports this effort, but also urges action on a separate permitting issue. These groups are seeking a framework language for a state NPDES permit. "It should be reasonable, it should not be overly burdensome and it shouldn't just be a reproduction of the old federal permit," said Martin.
Water Quality Certification Program Highlighted — During a stop in East Grand Forks, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson promoted the state's new water quality certification program. “Governor Dayton’s very focused on wanting that to move forward in partnership with USDA and in partnership with NRCS," said Frederickson, "I really like the concept, I’m up here for a variety of reasons, but one is to appeal to producers that this is a good program and please work with us on it; it’s a voluntary program and instead of being led around, we get to lead on this one.” Frederickson says a 15-member committee should be formed by early May, eight of whom will be farmers.
Lawsuit Over Measure Two — South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick has set an April 3rd hearing on a lawsuit that accuses North Dakota Tax Commission Cory Fong and other officials of illegally using public funds to fight Measure two, which would abolish property taxes. Measure two will be on the June 12th primary ballot in North Dakota.
Incognito Dry Bean Report — This week's Incognito Dry Bean Report can be found at http://www.rrfn.com/indepth/031912%20MANA%2076%20Week%207.MP3.
City of Hallock Offers Incentives for Newcomers — With the Northstar Agri-Industries canola plant and its 47 new jobs coming to town, city leaders in Hallock, Minnesota are offering free lots to workers who decide to build new homes. City Clerk Hank Noel says city leaders felt they should be proactive, waiving the $7,500 fee to spur additional home construction. Hallock has seen its population drop by an average of three to five percent each decade and now has under 1,000 residents.
Ag Faces Real Challenges in the Oil Patch — The North Dakota Grain Growers Association took part in a two day fact-finding mission to western North Dakota. NDGGA president Brad Thykeson says the challenges farmers face in the oil patch are very real. Traffic, labor and infrastructure are key issues. As an example, Thykeson cited the condition of the roads. "We were on a highway that was fresh overlay last year; we did a tour on a school bus and the bus couldn’t go over 30 miles an hour," said Thykeson, "If it went any faster, nobody could stay in the seats; this is one year on a brand new pavement and it is already beat up so bad that 30 miles an hour is top speed; those are things that are going to affect ag.”
Milk Production Continues to Grow — February milk production was up more than eight percent from the previous year. Adjusting for the additional day, due to leap year, put production up 4.6 percent on a per-day basis. Production per cow was 117 pounds more than last year, and the nation’s cow herd was 102,000 head larger. Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah and Indiana all had double-digit increases in milk production last month. Minnesota milk production was up 5.6 percent from a year ago.
Controversy Over Lean Finely Textured Beef Continues — USDA is giving schools a choice over its use and more supermarket chains are saying they will no longer sell the product. So far, CattleFax analyst Kevin Good says there has been little, if any, impact on cattle prices. Good says the tight beef supplies offset the reduced demand for beef trimmings.
A Ranching Reminder — Parasites have a dramatic impact on the cattle herd, making spring deworming a must. "Look at your return on investment for deworming cows and calves going to pasture and most studies will give you $8 to $10 return for $1 put into a good broad spectrum dewormer," said Dr. Joe Dedrickson, director of veterinary services, Merial. Dedrickson says the mild winter can increases parasite pressure in your herd.
Tribal Wildlife Grants Announced — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has announced more than $4.2 million in Tribal Wildlife Grants to 23 Native American Tribes in 17 states to fund a wide range of conservation projects. The Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota will receive $200,000 for management plans, wildlife data and regulations.
Samuelson Sez — In an interview with the Red River Farm Network, This Week In Agribusinessn host Orion Samuelson said agriculture has a very large impact on everyone, even in downtown Chicago. “In our case, city people like to go to the country," said Samuelson, "Even though there are more generations removed from the farm, there’s still an interest and I think that there’s more of an interest about where the food comes from and how it’s produced." RRFN's Coffee Shop Tour broadcast is sponsored, in part, by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. Tuesday's broadcast was in Wadena, Minnesota. Photos from the broadcast can be found at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150689388338826.426977.186261443825&type=1.
Farmers Upbeat — Going into the spring season, Minnesota Valley Irrigation manager Bobby Kempenich says farmers are upbeat. “Everybody’s mood has been really upbeat," said Kempenich, "The commodity prices have held strong, weather is decent and there is a lot of optimism in the agricultural community.” Kempenich continues to see farmer interest in irrigation. “They’re looking at it more as an insurance policy; we still have adequate rainfall in this part of the world, however, it just doesn’t come at the right times all the time." RRFN's Coffee Shop Tour braodcast in Wadena was sponsored, in part, by AgCountry Farm Credit Services
Busy Time for ND FFA — North Dakota FFA is hosting its Winter Career Development Events Monday in Minot. This is the state contest for agricultural sales, livestock and crop judging. State President Jodi Boe says these CDE’s are a learning experience. "The experience I had identifying weeds and different plants has helped me in my classes and will help me in my future career as an agronomist," said Boe. North Dakota FFA is also partnering with the NDSU Collegiate Farm Bureau organization for Food Awareness Week during the first week of April. One highlight will be an appearance by 2011 Miss America Teresa Scanlan. While NDSU is an ag campus, Boe sees an opportunity to educate non-ag students. "We hope to educate those who don't understand about agriculture."
More Paint — Sales of farm tractors in February were seven percent above a year ago, led by a 12 percent boost in sales of four-wheel-drive tractors. On the other hand, sales of self-propelled combines declined 54 percent from last February. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers reports overall unit sales were above last year’s levels, but under the five-year average.
Glencore Purchases Viterra — In a cash deal worth $6.2 billion, Swiss-based Glencore International is buying Canadian-based grain handler Viterra. To help pay for the deal, Glencore will sell Viterra’s Canadian assets to Canadian-based companies, Richardson International and Agrium, for around $2.6 billion. About 17 percent of Viterra’s shareholders have already pledged their support for the sale with the rest scheduled to vote on the sale at a special meeting in May. Canada’s industry ministry says it will review the takeover.
ConAgra Reports 3Q Numbers — ConAgra Foods reports a 25 percent increase in third quarter earnings, compared to the previous year, helped by lower taxes and cost savings. Sales in the consumer foods segment increased 20 percent from the same period last year, however operating profit fell six percent, the result of high inflation and soft volumes.
Seed Treatment Deal — BASF has reached an exclusive supply agreement with Monsanto Company for fungicide seed treatments for cotton and soybeans in North America. Monsanto’s Acceleron Seed Treatment Products will contain F500, the same active ingredient found in Headline fungicide and Xemium fungicide, which is expected to be registered by the EPA this year. Under the agreement, Monsanto will have exclusive rights to commercialize the new seed treatments.
Grinnell Honors Agencies and Mutuals — Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company has announced its President’s Club members for 2012. Recognized as the company’s top 50 agencies and 15 farm mutuals, these companies have achieved outstanding production and profitability over a five-year period. President’s Club members include: Bremer Insurance in Minot; Dakota Pioneer Insurance Group in Park River, North Dakota; Insure Forward in Hannaford, North Dakota; and Rohde Insurance Services in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Among the mutuals in the club are Cass County Mutual Insurance Company, Casselton, North Dakota, and Dundee Mutual Insurance Company in Park River.
NDSU Alumni Awards — The North Dakota State University Alumni Association has announced its 2012 alumni award recipients. Barry Batcheller of Fargo is one of those receiving the Alumni Achievement Award. Batcheller founded Phoenix International, which is now owned by Deere and Company. Dale Anderson of Fargo will receive the Heritage Award for Alumni Service. The ag school graduate is an active volunteer for the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and worked for the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce. The awards celebration will be April 26th.
Dairy Honorees Announced — The University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine will honor John Vrieze and Jim Lewis during the Minnesota Dairy Health Conference in May. Vrieze has been involved in the dairy industry for 35 years and helped create the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. Vrieze previously partnered with CVM on a transition management facility on his farm. Lewis is now with Vita Plus, but previously managed the CVM Transition Management Facility in Baldwin, Wisconsin.
NDSGA Re-elects Officer Team — Jason Mewes, who farms at Colgate, has been reelected as president of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association. Brent Kohls of Mayville is vice president. Luke Kuster of Grand Forks is secretary and Harvey Morken of Casselton is treasurer.
USPB Elects Leadership — The United States Potato Board has elected Sid Staunton of California as its chairman. Carl Hoverson of Larimore, North Dakota was named to the domestic marketing committee. Eric Halverson of Grand Forks, North Dakota is a member of the international marketing committee.
New Potato Agronomist Hired — The University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University have filled the Extension potato agronomist position. Idaho native Andrew “Andy” Robinson takes the job vacated by Nick David in January 2011. Robinson has a Masters Degree in agronomy and crop production from Purdue University and recently completed his PhD in weed science, also at Purdue. Robinson’s first day on the job will be April 30th.
This Week in Agriculture — For an audio version of RRFN's weekly recap of the top news, market and weather stories, go to http://www.rrfn.com/podcast/rrfn04.mp3.
Last Week's Trivia — Denver QB Peyton Manning's collegiate football career was at Tennessee. Charleston Orwig CEO Lyle Orwig was the first to respond and gets the nod as our weekly trivia winner. Roger Chamberlain of AgriBank, Dan Filipi of American Federal Bank, Jon Davis of Davisco Foods, and Jay Johnson of Citizen's Community Credit Union earn runner-up honors. The 'first 20' rounds out with Brian Rydlund of Country Hedging, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association President Jason Mewes, Burleigh County farmer Lance Hagen, Erick Grafstrom of Stine Seed, Gary Sloan of BMO Harris Bank, Jim Birkemeyer of RJ Broadcasting, Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad, Cavalier farmer Kent Scluchter, retired ag banker John Stone, Mark Bernard of Agro-Economics, Edgeley farmer Richard Schlosser, Ken Pazdernik of Minnesota Farmers Union, Shane Larck of Ihry Insurance, Chris Kappes of Agassiz Seed and Supply, Larry Cure of Kittson County FSA.
This Week's Trivia — Spiro Agnew was Richard Nixon's running mate. Al Gore was on the ticket with Bill Clinton. Who was the running mate for presidential candidate Jimmy Carter in 1976? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your hometown and/or business. We'll recognize the earliest responses in next week's newsletter.
— AMPI Annual Meeting–Bloomington, MN
— MnFRAC Annual Meeting–St. Paul, MN
— Precision Ag Conference–Sioux Falls, SD
— Central Plains Dairy Expo–Sioux Falls, SD
— Cover Crops Workshop–Bismarck, ND
— Invasive Species in Ag and Rural Landscapes Workshop–Windom, MN
— Flax Institute–Fargo, ND
— Invasive Species in Ag and Rural Landscapes Workshop–Waseca, MN
— MN Beef Showcase Sale and Agribition–Fergus Falls, MN
— Golden Growers Cooperative Annual Meeting–Moorhead, MN
March 29-April 1
— American Agri-Women Midyear Meeting–Nebraska City, NE
— Governor's Business Forum–Minot, ND
— CoBank North Dakota Customer Meeting–Fargo, ND
— Invasive Species in Ag and Rural Landscapes Workshop–Willmar, MN
— American Crystal District Meeting–Grafton, Hillsboro, ND and Moorhead, MN
— ND Trade Office Global Business Connections Conference–Fargo, ND
— Women's Agricultural Leadership Conference–Chaska, MN
— American Crystal District Meeting–Crookston, MN and Grand Forks, ND
— MFU Spring Meeting–Crookston and Detroit Lakes, MN
— SD FFA State Convention–Brookings, SD
— National Agri-Marketing Conference–Kansas City, MO
— Holstein Canada National Convention–Brandon, MB
— Farm Food Safety Workshop–Medina, ND
— MN Buffalo Association Annual Conference–Granite Falls, MN
— MN State FFA Convention–St. Paul, MN
— NAFB Washington Watch–Washington, DC
— NDSU Alumni Association Awards Celebration–Fargo, ND
— Farm Food Safety Workshop–Wahpeton, ND
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