Soybeans are grown in nearly every Minnesota county, making them a vital cash crop. Winona County farmer Glen Groth is one of the state's farmer-leaders who helps oversee the investment of soybean checkoff dollars. Groth joins this Field Talk episode. 


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Farm News

March 8, 2023

Farmer leaders from across the Country are descending on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida for Commodity Classic. The event features national meetings for corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum growers as well as equipment manufacturers.  State caucus meetings were held as organizations work on resolutions to be brought forward for discussion at national delegate sessions later this week. The Linder Farm Network is reporting from Commodity Classic 
Redwood County farmer and American Soybean Association director George Goblish is co-chair of this year's Commodity Classic. He says it looks like 2023 is on pace for record attendance. Listen

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Tom Haag says issues over Mexico's proposed GMO corn ban, year-round E15 availability and the 2023 Farm Bill are among the primary topics being addressed by the nation's corn farmers. Haag, who farms near Eden Valley, was pleased to see the U.S. Trade Representative take the next step in holding Mexican officials accountable for the commitments they made under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. Canadian officials today asked for formal consultations with Mexico over its restrictions on genetically modified agricultural imports under the free-trade agreement, which Haag says was also a positive development. Listen

NCGA director Brian Thalmann from Plato says part of the concern with Mexico's proposed ban is that it could encourage other countries to follow suit. Listen

Haag says NCGA is going to continue pressing the Biden administration for year-round E15 availability, despite the EPA saying it would delay that action until 2024. 

Minnesota soybean farmers held their state caucus sessions in Orlando. Minnesota held their meeting with South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and New York farmers so they could address resolutions that will be brought forward to the American Soybean Association delegates for action on Saturday. Worth says many of the issues will surround the farm bill, including conservation and water issues. Worth says caucusing with farmers from other states gives the group a stronger voice. Listen

In December, EPA proposons ed their revised volume obligations for biobased diesel for 2023, 2024, and 2025 under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs for Clean Fuels Alliance America says the proposal from EPA includes an overall increase of 190 million gallons of biomass-based diesel over the next three years, while the Department of Energy expects U.S. production to increase by 600 million gallons this year and 800 million gallons next year. Kovarik addressed the Minnesota state soybean caucus to encourage growers to push EPA to increase biomass-based diesel because of what's at stake for soybean farmers. Listen

Hog farmers from across the country are also gathering in Orlando for the Pork Industry Forum, which features delegate sessions and caucuses for the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council. Myrna Welter of Stewartville is one of Minnesota's delegates to the Forum. Listen

The National Farmers Union Convention wrapped up Wednesday in San Francisco. A priority for the the NFU is their Farmers for Fairness Campaign. Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish says the effort addresses consolidation in the agriculture industry and how that affects farmers. Listen

Wertish says other key issues addressed at the convention included the 2023 Farm Bill and changes to federal dairy policy.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke at the National Farmers Union’s Annual Convention in San Francisco this week. He addressed the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office is request for technical consultations with Mexico regarding its proposed ban on GMO corn imports from the U.S. The request is under the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Chapter of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Vilsack says the U.S. remains hopeful that America’s concerns can be fully addressed. If not, the U.S. will continue to pursue all necessary steps to enforce our rights under the USMCA to make sure America’s producers and exporters have full and fair access to the Mexican market. Listen

Secretary Vilsack is scheduled to speak at both the Commodity Classic and Pork Industry Forum in Orlando this week. 

Numerous farm organizations are encouraging Congress to update reference prices that trigger PLC and ARC county payments to producers. According to the American Farm Bureau (AFB), that will require a bigger farm bill funding baseline. Reference prices at $3.70 for corn, $8.40 for soybeans, and $5.50 for wheat are simply too low to benefit farmers, especially when soaring input costs squeeze margins according to AFB President Zippy Duvall. Listen

2022 will go into the books as the third-costliest year for weather disasters in U.S. history. The estimated total economic losses reached $165 billion. New analysis by American Farm Bureau economists shows extreme weather caused more than $21 billion in crop losses. The impact on American farms and ranches demonstrates the importance of farm bill programs to help rural communities recover from weather-related disasters.

The AFBF Market Intel Report says more than $11 billion in losses were covered by existing Risk Management Agency programs as of February 2022. Over $10 billion in losses were not insured through RMA, existed outside of policy coverage levels, or didn’t qualify under an existing risk management program.

“It’s not hard to see why programs like crop insurance and disaster coverage are vital to the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers and the  overall stability of our country, as a whole,” says AFB President Zippy Duvall.

The National Ag Statistics Service recently released their state by state average con and soybean yields as well as the county average yields. Farm business advisor Kent Thiesse says the county averages for Minnesota and Iowa were a reflection of the growing conditions. Listen 

Legislators in St. Paul are debating a number of issues related to the state budget and a projected $17 billion surplus. State Senator Torrey Westrom, the lead Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee says tax relief needs to be discussed alongside bonding and infrastructure funding. Listen

According to Minnesota's state climatology office, frost depths are shallow across eastern and southern Minnesota, generally a foot or less. There are some locations such as at Lamberton where there is little or no frost in the ground. The frost depths are deeper in west central and northwest Minnesota, but less than this time last year. The deepest frost found is 34 inches at Grand Forks and 31 inches at Watson in Chippewa County. Soil temperatures are near the freezing mark over central and southern Minnesota at the four and six inch depths. Typically the maximum frost depth occurs near the end of February.

Upcoming Events
Mar. 8-10           Pork Industry Forum, Orlando
Mar. 9-11             Commodity Classic, Orlando
Mar. 15                 ARC/PLC Program signup deadline
Mar. 15                 UMN Strategic Farming Webinar: Alfalfa weevil
March 22             UMN Strategic Faming Webinar: Soybean dieseases

Farm Fun Fact

Commodity Classic is presented annually by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and National Sorghum Producers. Sorghum is produced in 21 states. Kansas leads the way with 3.2 million acres of sorghum, followed by Texas with 2 million acres. Oklahoma, Colorado and South Dakota round out the top five.