U.S. farmers produce more corn and soybeans than can be consumed domestically, which means exports are an important outlet for those commodities. In this Field Talk podcast, we catch up with leaders of the U.S. Soybean Export Council and the U.S. Grains Council to address the challenges and opportunities for global grain exports.


U.S. corn farmers remain concerned with Mexico's prosed ban on the imports of GMO corn. Mexico is one of the nation's best corn customers and industry leaders fear the ban, which is considered a violation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreements could have profound effects. 

Farm News

March 15, 2023

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) has joined with several other groups in a lawsuit again the state of Minnesota for its adoption of California's vehicle emissions mandate. MSGA has joined with the Minnesota Service Station & Convenience Store Association and National Association of Convenience Stores, Clean Fuels Development Coalition, and ICM Inc., in filing the suit. 

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court, challenges the legality of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency rules requiring that new cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty vehicles in the state meet emission limits set by California and match California’s requirements for the sale of a certain percentage of so-called “zero-emission vehicles,” as defined by California regulators.

The lawsuit contends that the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), which creates a uniform national standard for vehicle fuel efficiency, prohibits states from adopting policies “related to” federal fuel-economy standards. EPCA says that a “State or a political subdivision of a State” cannot “adopt or enforce a law or regulation related to fuel economy standards or average fuel economy standards.”

MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek says the organization had tried to engage the administration and legislature to address concerns with the mandate, but without much response, Smentek says they were left with few options but to join in the lawsuit. Listen

MSGA President Bob Worth expects the legal process to be time consuming, but the organization felt it necessary to protect biofuels and the ag industry. Listen

Randy Thompson is legal counsel for the Minnesota Association of Convenience Stores and Service Stations. He says the group is not opposed to electric vehicles, but a mandate will be damaging to the industry, rather than allowing for market-based solutions. Listen

The Minnesota Senate Agriculture Committee has passed a bill creating an indemnity fund to protect farmers in case of a grain elevator failure. The Minnesota House is considering the issue as well. Senate Ag Committee Chair Aric Putnam says passing the measure was a win. Listen

A new Memorandum of Understanding between the American Farm Bureau Federation, Case IH, and New Holland provides farmers and ranchers the right to repair their own farm equipment. Sam Kieffer, vice president of public policy with the American Farm Bureau, say the agreement, which is similar to one in place with John Deere, will benefit U.S. farmers and ranchers. Listen

GreenSeam will present its 2023 State of Agriculture Report on National Ag Day. The report will be released next Tuesday, March 21, at Minnesota State University, Mankato Strategic Partnerships Center in Mankato. 

The State of Ag Report is a result of a comprehensive survey and a series of focus groups of Minnesota’s agribusinesses and related industries. It reveals the perceptions, directions and opinions on the economy and other major issues impacting businesses in the agriculture industry and places emphasis on education, as well as talent attraction and retention. GreenSeam has conducted the State of Ag report for the third year in a row to better understand how businesses, organizations, and leaders view opportunities and challenges facing agriculture in Minnesota. 

Governor Tim Walz and Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen have been invited to attend.  

There is no cost to attend, but interested parties can RSVP here. The event will be streamed on GreenSeam's Facebook page. 

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President and Eden Valley farmer Tom Haag says discussions at Corn Congress, held during the Commodity Classic broached a range of topics, including the ongoing trade issue with Mexico, farm bill issues, including funding, and promotion of year-round E15 availability. Haag says foreign land ownership was also discussed, with the NCGA determining that issue was best left up to individual states. Listen

Members of the U.S. House and Senate, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Con. Angie Craig, have reintroduced legislation to provide permanent, nationwide availability of E15. 

Originally introduced late in the last Congressional session, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act would harmonize fuel volatility regulations for ethanol-blended fuels across the country, allowing for the year-round sale of E15 in conventional gasoline markets. It also would supersede an effort by Midwest state governors to make regulatory changes that would assure the availability of E15 sales year-round in their states, an effort that was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency but delayed until summer 2024.

The Renewable Fuels Association says that as a result of emergency waivers issued by the Biden administration in April 2022, the availability of E15 saved American drivers nearly $60 million at the pump last summer. Consumers choosing E15 saved an average of $0.23 per gallon last summer, equating to a savings of three to five dollars with every fill-up.

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) today issued its decision approving the acquisition of Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCS) by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP), with conditions.  The decision includes an unprecedented seven-year oversight period and contains many conditions designed to mitigate environmental impacts, preserve competition, protect railroad workers, and promote efficient passenger rail.  The Board also anticipates the merger will result in improvements in safety and the reduction of carbon emissions.

Some farm groups, including U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers had spoken out against the merger. “NAWG is disappointed by today’s STB announcement and maintains our concerns that the merger of CP and KCS will impede competition in the rail market and increase rail rates,” said NAWG CEO, Chandler Goule. “With 50 percent of wheat being exported, wheat is heavily reliant on rail transportation to move across the United States."

University of Minnesota students conducted crucial genome sequencing for the newly discovered soybean gall midge — a pest that is threatening the soybean crop, one of the most widely cultivated and consumed throughout the world. This small fly has been found in major soybean-producing states in the Midwest, including Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Missouri.

Pest management has been difficult because scientists have a limited understanding of its biology. Genome sequencing can give stakeholders a deeper understanding of the insect’s biology, as well as provide a suite of tools for detection and identification.

Lafe Aarsvold of Southwest Minnesota State University finished in the top four of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Committee Collegiate Discussion Meet competition held during the AFBF FUSION Conference in Jacksonville. 

Thirty-three competitors participated in this year’s Collegiate Discussion Meet. The Collegiate Discussion Meet is designed to replicate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each collegiate participant. Participants are judged on their ability to exchange ideas and information on an agricultural topic and find answers or solutions related to it. Aarsvold advanced to the national competition to represent Minnesota after winning the state competition in January. Listen

Upcoming Events
Mar. 15                 ARC/PLC Program signup deadline
Mar. 15                 UMN Strategic Farming Webinar: Alfalfa weevil
Mar. 21                 National Ag Day
Mar. 21                 GreenSeam State of Ag Report released, Mankato
March 22             UMN Strategic Faming Webinar: Soybean diseases

Farm Fun Fact

March Madness is upon us as high school basketball and NCAA basketball tournaments are underway. Agriculture played a supporting role in the creation of the sport of basketball. James Naismith invented the sport using peach baskets instead of the metal hoops used today. Players would have to climb a ladder to retrieve the ball after every made basket. 


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