Gas prices are on the rise again across Minnesota and elsewhere. Patrick De Haan with GasBuddy joins Linda Brekke to explain why prices are climbing. 


Nearly every aspect of our lives is touched by products made from plastic. Petroleum-based polymers are inexpensive, but disposal is problematic. Work at the University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Polymers is putting corn in the place of petroleum. 

Farm News

January 25, 2023

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz this week unveiled a budget proposal that would see expenditures totaling $65.2 billion while also containing $8 billion in tax cuts. The governor’s agriculture budget seeks an additional $45.5 million above its base appropriation for the 2024-25 biennium and $71.1 million for the following two budget years. Money would be used to expand Minnesota Department of Agriculture staff in a few key areas, offer new services, update technology and provide more money to several agriculture grant programs. 

Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen says the budget includes a reduction in farm burden for school building projects, increased funding for low interest farm loans through the Rural Finance Authority as well as money for soil health and meat processing. Petersen presented the agriculture requests to the House Ag Committee his week and will go before the Senate Ag Committee next week. After that, the budget will be up for legislative debate. Listen

A breakdown of the new ag requests is available here.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Aric Putnam of St. Cloud says the governor's ag budget contains some programs that support innovation and deliver some valuable tax credits, including changes to the beginning farmer tax credit. The ag budget will be presented to the Senate Ag Committee next week. Listen

Rep. Paul Anderson, Republican lead on the Minnesota House Agriculture Committee says a grain indemnity fund included in the governor's proposed budget has some support. Farmers would contribute to the fund when they sell grain and those funds would be used to reimburse farmers who lose money if grain elevators go out of business.  Listen

A bill that would speed up Minnesota's move to carbon-free electricity is moving through the Minnesota legislature. The measure would require utilities in the state to use only carbon-free sources to generate electricity by 2040. The bill passed out of the House climate and energy committee last week. The measure has support from many organizations that want to lessen the state's reliance on fossil fuels as well as organizations that say the move would create jobs in the clean energy sector.

Other organizations, including the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) argue the move poses a significant threat to electric reliability and affordability for communities across Minnesota. MREA Executive Director Darrick Moe says electric cooperatives have been working diligently and rapidly to move to clean energy, but they have serious concerns with the impacts such a law would have on customers. Listen

Congressman Brad Finstad has been reappointed to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. Crafting a new 2023 Farm Bill is a priority issue for the committee. Finstad, who was at the MN Ag Expo, says it is important that people involved in agriculture continue to tell their stories and advocate for agriculture because fewer lawmakers have a connection to agriculture. Listen

The 2023 Farm Bill was a frequent topic of discussion at MN Ag Expo. American Soybean Association Executive Director of Government Affairs Christy Seyfert says the organization wants an on-time farm bill that sufficiently funds ag programs. Seyfert says improvements to Title One, the farm safety net, are among the updates that are needed.  Listen

Seyfert says protecting crop insurance and funding market development programs like the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development are critical to diversifying soybean markets. 

Minnesota Corn delegates met last week at the Minnesota Ag Expo. Grower leaders discussed a number of issues, including how to respond to developers who are buying productive cropland for solar arrays. Minnesota Corn Growers Association President Richard Syverson says taking farmland out of production presents challenges by lowering tax revenue and limiting opportunities for young farmers. Listen

Corn industry leaders also met with Governor Walz to express their concerns. Syverson says the growers are optimistic there will be funds in the state budget to continue helping support additional infrastructure that makes higher blends of ethanol more readily available. 

Biofuels industry leaders and advocates are in Tampa this week for the Clean Fuels Conference. Jackson County farmer Chris Hill is on the board of the Clean Fuels Alliance America and is taking part in the Clean Fuels conference.

Hill was one of several biofuels proponents who testified before the EPA about their proposed renewable volume obligations for biodiesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Hill and other biodiesel advocates say the EPA's proposed volumes don't keep up with current production and could temper industry investment. Listen

In late 2022, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released their definition of the Waters of the U.S. under the Clean Water Act, which brought back regulations from 2015. Many people were surprised the revised definition came out because the Supreme Court is still considering arguments from a case hear in October, which could have a significant impact on the definition of a wetland. Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center Director Warren Formo says court challenges have been made to EPA's new definition, and there is still uncertainty about the new WOTUS definition until the Supreme Court renders their decision. Listen

Harvest is underway in parts of South America. Weather conditions have been much more favorable in Brazil than they have been in Argentina. International soybean trade consultant John Baize says that conditions have been difficult for farmers in Argentina due to hot, dry weather. Listen

DTN Meteorologist John Baranick says rain has fallen in parched areas of Argentina and more is expected in the coming days. However, he says it's hard to know if the rain will do much good for the crops due to extended dry weather. Listen

The soybean gall midge in becoming an increasing concern for soybean farmers in the region. The gall midge was first discovered in Minnesota in 2018, but it is slowly spreading out of Southwestern Minnesota, where it was first discovered. 

Researchers from four universities will be holding a webinar to help farmers and others learn more about the work that's being done to better understand the pest.

University of Minnesota Entomologist Dr. Robert Koch says the gall midge can cause serious yield loss, especially along the edges of soybean fields. Listen

The webinar is scheduled for February 27. Learn more about the research update and register here.

GreenSeam and its partners is seeking a glimpse of how businesses, organizations, and leaders view the opportunities and challenges facing agriculture in Minnesota in 2023 and beyond. GreenSeam has developed the State of Ag survey to study ways to better understand, serve, and support the workforce, businesses, organizations, and communities. In this study, you will be asked to complete an online State of Ag survey. The expected time to complete the survey is 10-15 minutes.
Businesses or organizations working directly or indirectly in or near the ag, food, or natural resource industry are invited to participate. Individuals with an interest in sharing their thoughts on agriculture, food and natural resources in the region are also encouraged. Surveys must be completed by February 17. 
The 2023 State of Ag survey provides deeper insight into the future of agriculture. The results of the survey, along with the findings from a series of focus groups, will be published in a comprehensive 2023 State of Ag report, which will be released on National Ag Day, Tuesday, March 21. 

Take the survey here

Upcoming Events

Feb. 7                 Nitrogen Conference, Mankato

Feb. 7                 Women in Ag Network Conference, Willmar

Feb. 21-22          Minnesota Pork Congress, Mankato

Feb. 27               Soybean Gall Midge Research Update webinar

Mar. 9-11            Commodity Classic, Orlando

Farm Fun Fact

Did you know that cheese is good for your teeth? Not only does cheese contain high levels of phosphate and calcium, which naturally strengthen teeth and bones, but it also helps balance the pH level in your mouth, meaning less harmful acid and more cleansing saliva. 


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