Water management is an important consideration for many farms in Minnesota. Tile drainage is one mechanism landowners use to help control water. A multi-year, multi-organizational research and demonstration project is underway at FarmAmerica near Waseca to gather field-scale data on the economics and impacts of controlled drainage. Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center Director Warren Formo  joins the Field Talk podcast to explain the project. 


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Farm News

December 7, 2022
The latest budget forecast released Tuesday from the Minnesota office of Management and Budget puts the state's estimated budget surplus at over $17 billion. Lawmakers left St. Paul with a surplus at the end of the legislative session in May as they were unable to come to an agreement on what to do with the surplus. The state budget and projected surplus will be a major topic during the upcoming legislative session. 

Because the 2023 session is a budget setting session, many ag groups are pushing for a strong budget with investment in agriculture. Minnesota Farmers Union Government Relations Director Stu Lourey says the ag sector delivers a high return on a modest investment. Listen

President Biden on Friday signed a bill making a potential rail strike illegal. Congress intervened to avert a potential strike that threatened to cause major transportation and economic harm. Rail companies and unions had until Dec. 9 to reach an agreement before a strike was expected. The legislation prevents the strike, but it doesn't address sick leave, which was one of the union worker's main concerns. 

Minnesota Corn Growers Association President Richard Syverson says keeping trains rolling is important to the state's corn farmers. Listen

 A federal judge ordered a Wisconsin company that cleans hundreds of slaughterhouses nationwide to ensure it is complying with child labor laws after investigators identified at least 50 minors scrubbing and sanitizing dangerous equipment on overnight shifts at five different meatpacking plants in three states, including Minnesota.

As part of an agreement with the Labor Department, Packers Sanitation Services Inc. also promised to hire an outside consultant to review its hiring policies and provide additional training for its managers. Investigators with the Labor Department visited three plants owned by JBS and Turkey Valley Farms in Nebraska and Minnesota this fall and found 31 underage workers as young as 13. 

The National Pork Board voted in March to reduce the checkoff rate from 40 cents per hundred dollars of value to 35 cents. That change will take place January 1, 2023. While that nickel change will impact revenue for the National Pork Board, it won’t change its priorities according to Easton farmer and National Pork Board member Dale Stevermer. Listen

The price for used farm equipment remains incredibly strong, according to "Machinery Pete" Greg Peterson. says new equipment can be hard to get and even higher interest rates haven't slowed demand. Listen

An ongoing shortage of farm labor in many sectors of agriculture is pusing more operators to look at robotics and automation. University of Minnesota Extension Dairy Specialist Jim Salfer says because of increased labor costs, robotic milking equipment is becoming more feasible for even smaller farms. Listen
The Environmental Protection Agency has released proposed renewable fuel volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2023, 2024 and 2025, proposing annual growth in volumes. The RFS requires annual volumes of renewable fuels, such as ethanol, be used in the fuel supply to reduce emissions, expand and diversify the fuel supply, improve energy security and lower costs.

For 2023, EPA’s proposal includes an implied 15 billion gallons for conventional ethanol, which increases to 15.25 billion gallons for both 2024 and 2025

National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag, who farms near Eden Valley, says the volumes released by EPA for ethanol were a pleasant surprise. Listen

Biodiesel proponents are disappointed in EPA's proposed Renewable Volume Obligations for 2023, 2024, and 2025. Backers say the volumes for biomass-based diesel of 2.82 billion gallons in 2023,  2.89 billion gallons in 2024 and 2.95 billion gallons in 2025 are below current production capacity, threatening the integrity of the RFS by significantly dialing back annual increases in volume obligations. Minnesota Soybean Growers Association President Bob Worth from Lake Benton says biofuel producers could supply much more than what's being proposed. Listen

Minnesota-based Epitome Energy, LLC announce plans to build a $400 million soybean crushing plant near Grand Forks, North Dakota, with the goal of starting production in the fall of 2025. The Epitome Energy plant will be able to process up to 42 million bushels of soybeans per year into crude degummed soybean oil, meal and hulls. Epitome Energy founder and CEO Dennis Egan says the plant will provide economic stability and greater profitability for the region’s farmers.

“This project will put more money in the pockets of hardworking farmers in the Red River Valley region by helping them reach more markets to meet the growing demand for soybeans,” Egan said. 

Epitome Energy had been considering other locations, including working with local leaders and selecting a site in Crookston, Minnesota. But after a year-and-a-half wait for Minnesota to complete its review of Epitome’s permit applications, the company explored the Grand Forks area as an alternative and found city leaders highly receptive to a development agreement, Egan said.

Need a one of a kind holiday gift idea? How about an unforgettable summer vacation? The Linder Farm Network is once again partnering with Holiday Vacations to offer an exciting trip to the Pacific Northwest and the Canadian Rockies. Join Dan Lemke and his wife Jackie on this once in a lifetime excursion July 15-24. Click on the photo below for more information. 

Upcoming Events

Dec. 9-10            Minnesota Cattle Industry Convention, Willmar
Dec. 15-16           Soil Management Summit, St. Cloud
Jan. 18-19           MN Ag Expo, Mankato

Farm Fun Fact

Approximately 135 million pounds of eggnog are sold in the U.S. each year, almost exclusively around the holidays.