Red River Farm Network News

Farm Bill Delays Continue — There’s still a delay in the farm bill process-at least House discussions. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson confirmed this Tuesday afternoon. Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) Director at the University of Missouri, Pat Westhoff, says it will be important to get the disagreement resolved fairly quickly to get a bill done this year. The Senate could move forward on their own, but it would be more challenging. “I never say things can’t happen. If there’s enough will and the stars are in line, things can happen quickly sometimes. It is going to be more of a challenge given the calendar and the elections coming up.” Westhoff says one might think it’s easier to write a farm bill this time around, because for the most part, committees aren’t looking at big changes. On the other hand, small changes to the status quo makes it easier to see who wins and who will lose. While the nutrition portion of the farm bill could be the single, largest hurdle to get passed, Westhoff says there are still issues unresolved. “We still have dairy issues which haven’t been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. There are people who want to see some small changes or more significant changes in ARC and PLC. There are people who want to see a larger Conservation Reserve Program and other conservation programs. There’s also the issue, even if you get a bill out of the committee, how will it do on the floor of the House or Senate?”

Enforcing Trade Laws, Negotiating Trade Agreements — U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testified before the House Ways and Means Committee Wednesday, outlining the president’s trade agenda. This includes the North American Free Trade Agreement. “Members of this committee well know the president directed us to seek significant changes to NAFTA. We’ve already had seven rounds with our partners in Canada and Mexico. I believe we’ve had a great deal of progress.” He also says the administration is enforcing trade laws. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady asked Lighthizer to clarify on the exemption for the steel and aluminum tariffs. Lighthizer says subject to certain conditions and a successful NAFTA negotiation, NAFTA countries will be exempt. There will be a similar circumstance with Korea and potentially Australia, Argentina and the EU.

Pence Addresses Farmers on National Ag Day — During National Ag Day celebrations, Vice-President Mike Pence visited with an audience at USDA on farming and ranching. “As the president has said in his words, in every decision we make, we’re honoring and supporting America’s proud farming legacy. I promise you we always will.” Pence took the time to address many issues impacting agriculture including the repeal of WOTUS and the new tax law. Pence says the administration is working with Ted McKinney to open more markets for American goods. “President Trump is also working with the USDA and members of our administration to renegotiate existing trade agreements and reach better deals for the American people, American business and American farmers. Deals that will bring a bounty at our farms and ranches at every corner of the world.”

Plains in Need of Moisture — World Weather Incorporated Senior Ag Meteorologist Drew Lerner says much of the driest areas of the southern plains winter wheat area still need moisture. “There’s been a few counties in northwest to central Kansas that did get moisture. But other areas aren’t doing well at all. It will be really hot. Central Kansas could get some rain. That’s on the fringe of the drought area.” Lerner says April weather for the Midwest will see frequent rains, but not enough to eliminate drought conditions. “The pattern for April is one that will send storm systems through the central plains fairly frequently, so there will be other opportunities for rain in the drought areas. I’m not totally convinced we’re just going to get a good soaking that will fix them. The bottom line will be ok for wheat, but I’m not convinced we’ll be doing a good job fixing subsoil moisture for the summer crops.”

Lessons LearnedWe're back with season two of Lessons Learned. RRFN's weekly podcast provides educational tools to help growers throughout 2018. This week, we visit with North Dakota State University Extension Agronomist Tom Peters about the new dicamba label. Lessons Learned is brought to you by BASF, the North Dakota Soybean Council and Peterson Farms Seed.

Acres Up for Grabs — National Sunflower Association Executive Director John Sandbakken says there’s probably 20 to 25 percent of acres still up for grabs in North Dakota. There could be some promise for sunflowers in 2018. “Sunflowers do well managing moisture available. We’ll go into 2018 pretty dry. Last year, even in the drought situation, we still had the third highest yield on record. That really talks about the resiliency of sunflowers.” Sandbakken says it’s still pretty dry in western North Dakota. “When you compare last year to this year, we’re about $2 per hundredweight higher than last year at the same point. At the base contract, adding in the oil premium, that pushes the contract higher. It brings us more into the conversation.”

Soybean Symposium Coming Up — The annual Soybean Symposium will be held March 29 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum near Chaska. University of Minnesota Extension Soybean Agronomist Seth Naeve says this year’s focus will be on quality and trade. “We have lots of interest in questions around impact on trade war with China and our North American partners. We also have a session we’re dealing with food-type soybeans. We’re also talking about low protein in the U.S. and the impact of amino acids on quality profiles.” Naeve says there still are a few seats available for the symposium.    

Stay ConnectedLooking for ways to stay connected with the Red River Farm Network? Listen to our broadcasts by tuning in to your local RRFN affiliate. Our daily news segments - Country Morning, Agriculture Today and Market Analysis - are available on the RRFN website and by subscribing to podcasts on your iPhone and Android devices.

ADM Restructuring — Archer Daniels Midland Co says it will restructure business units. ADM will shift business segments into four new units-carbohydrate solutions, nutrition, oilseeds and origination. The new business segments expected to be reflected in financial results beginning first quarter of 2018.

More Hay Lottery Recipients Announced — More North Dakota farmers have won the hay lottery. The second round of winners include: Ethan Forbes, Bill Meyer, Bradley Rosenquist and Rodney Wolff. The North Dakota Department of Agriculture says if additional hay donations continue to come in, more drawings will occur. The applications of producers who applied, but weren't selected will be kept on file if more hay becomes available.

MFBF Update — Here's the latest from the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation. This week, MFBF Director of Public Policy Amber Glaeser shares more about the farm bill, which is starting to take shape.

Corn Matters — In this week's Minnesota Corn Growers Association Corn Matters, U.S. Grains Council Director of Trade Policy Floyd Gaibler discussions the  recent North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association in the Minnesota Beef Update. Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association Executive Director Ashley Kohls has details on the group's recent trip to St. Paul. 

Dry Bean Scene — Listen to the Dry Bean Scene every Friday at 12:37 PM on the Red River Farm Network. This week, we visit with Northarvest Bean Growers Association President Tom Kennelly about Agriculture Secretary Perdue's visit to North Dakota.

MFU Minute — Here's the latest update from Minnesota Farmers Union. This week, National Farmers Union President Gary Wertish shares an update on the Minnesota Legislative Session.

Canola Minute — Here's the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. This week, NCGA Associate Director Sherri Coleman shares more about the Natural Products Expo West in California.