February 2, 2022
LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS
The 2022 Minnesota legislature convened this week. An expected budget surplus of over $7 billion is likely to influence many conversations in St. Paul.
Key issues for many of the state’s agriculture groups include biofuels, infrastructure, supply chain issues, sustainability, workforce development, drought relief, meat processing and a strong ag budget.
Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association Executive Director Allison VanDerWal joined the Linder Farm Network to highlight the Cattlemen’s priorities for the session.
Minnesota Pork CEO Dave Preisler says issues for the pork industry include upgrading the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at the University of Minnesota, funding emergency planning and response at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Taxes are also a concern.
SUPPLY CHAIN STILL KINKED
Transportation and supply chain issues remain a drag on many sectors of the economy, including agriculture. Cost increases and availability of shipping containers are a major concern. Eric Wenberg, executive director of the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance says the situation had shown some improvement, but bottlenecks remain, especially for shippers in the Upper Midwest.
PARTNERSHIP AIMS TO REDUCE PORT BOTTLENECKS
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack this week announced a partnership between the USDA, the Department of Transportation, the port envoy, and the Port of Oakland. The partnership hope to facilitate a quicker pick up of empty shipping containers, provide access so those containers can be filled with agricultural products, and avoid the congestion that often occurs in the ports. Vilsack addressed the partnership at a roundtable discussion held by Agri-Pulse and the National Press Club.
SIX MORE WEEKS OF WINTER?
Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow may foretell six more weeks of winter, but data from the Minnesota State Climatology Office shows January 2022 was colder than a year ago. Climatologist Pete Boulay says much of the state was drier and colder than a year ago. As a result of varying snow cover and cold conditions, frost depths in most areas are deeper than they were at this point in 2021.
SOYBEANS RIDE SOUTH AMERICAN CONCERNS
Weather and harvest issues in South America continue to give support to soybean markets. Even though only a small percentage of the crop has been harvested, drought conditions in part of Brazil and too much rain in other regions has many analysts, including international ag trade consultant John Baize expecting the Brazilian soybean crop to be smaller than anticipated.
Farmers, ranchers and landowners can now sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), The General CRP signup will run until March 11, and the Grassland CRP signup will occur in April and May.
Producers and landowners enrolled 4.6 million acres into CRP signups in 2021, including 2.5 million acres in the largest Grassland CRP signup in history. There are currently 22.1 million acres enrolled, and FSA is aiming to reach the 25.5-million-acre cap statutorily set for fiscal year 2022.
USDA GRANT AWARDED
Minnesota State University, Mankato and three non-profit partners were awarded a $224,744 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to increase food, gardening and nutrition education for youth in underserved communities.
** Upcoming Events
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
February 1-3 Iowa Ag Expo, Des Moines
February 14-16 MN Pork Congress, Mankato
March 8-12 Commodity Classic, New Orleans
March 23-24 AURI New Uses Forum, Minneapolis
** Farm Fun Fact
The largest potato every grown, at least according to the Guinness Book of World Records, weighed in at 10 pounds, 14 ounces, a was grown in England in 2011. Fries, anyone?