Agriculture is in a constant state of change as economic, political and social influences evolve. The U.S. Farmer and Ranchers in Action or USFRA, is a collaborative organization that contends farmers can be positive agents of change for shaping the future of agriculture and much more. USFRA board member and Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council director Rochelle Krusemark joins for this Field Talk podcast.    


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Farm News

April 13, 2022
President Joe Biden this week announced this week that he would suspend the summertime ban on sales of E15 in order to combat high fuel prices. E15 or Unleaded 88 fuel is frequently 10 to 20 cents or more cheaper per gallon than gasoline. Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) President and Lake Wilson farmer Bryan Biegler says the announcement is very welcome, but this is a temporary situation and the MCGA and other ethanol advocates are pushing for permanent E15 access year round. Listen

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) reversed 31 small refinery exemptions (SREs) granted in August 2019, but biofuel advocates were disappointed with EPA’s decision to allow refineries with previously-granted SREs to not have to take additional actions to meet their obligations under the RFS by blending more biofuel or purchasing additional Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).Biofuel and farm advocates had challenged the exemptions in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, forcing the agency to reevaluate its approval for select oil refiners to avoid their obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings says the EPA decision was a hollow victory. Listen

A COVID-19 induced lockdown of China's largest city, Shanghai has made getting food and medical supplies challenging for local residents. International ag trade consultant John Baize says the lockdown, which began March 28, is affecting China's economy. Listen

A farmer-led organization called Rural Investment to Protect our Environment is advancing a national climate policy that invests in voluntary agricultural practices that provide a reasonable return for farmers, ranchers and the public. Called RIPE100, the program would reward farmers $100 per acre for the contributions they make when they implement conservation practices that provide water, soil, carbon and other environmental benefits. Some of the practices include planting cover crops, certain grazing practices and nutrient management.  RIPE has applied for funds through the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities to establish a pilot project in four states, including Minnesota. 

Former USDA Risk Management Agency director Martin Barbre vice president of engagement and government relations for RIPE. He says the RIPE 100 program is unique and ambitious. Listen

Interested farmers can learn more at riperoadmap.org.
Dr. Beth Thompson, State Veterinarian and Board of Animal Health executive director, announced she is resigning from her position effective May 8. She accepted the state veterinarian position in her home state of South Dakota. Current Assistant Director Dr. Linda Glaser will begin serving as interim State Veterinarian on May 9.

Cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Inflenza continue to be detected across Minnesota. To date, more than 30 cases have been identified across the state in both commercial and backyard flocks, affecting over 1.5 million birds. 

Planting progress across Minnesota remains stuck in neutral. Cool, wet weather has prevented field work from happening in earnest across Minnesota. University of Minnesota Extension Corn Agronomist Jeff Coulter says there is still time for farmers to get their corn planted and still achieve maximum yield potential. Coulter says corn planted in late April and early May still has the maximum yield potential. Listen

Minnesota Pork members visited lawmakers in Washington D.C. to press for action on several important issues. Minnesota Pork CEO Dave Preisler says conversations included prevention of foreign animal diseases, including African Swine Fever. Preisler says pork producers advocated for more prevention funding, including having the staff and resources necessary to conduct border inspections.

Labor is also a concern for Minnesota pork producers. Preisler says unemployment rates are lower than they were pre-pandemic in many areas of rural Minnesota, so the pork industry is concerned with getting enough workers,

Pork producers are disappointed that the Biden administration has not yet selected an ag trade ambassador. Preisler says an ag ambassador is vital because the pork industry is trying to expand its marketing portfolio, which means farmers need an advocate who can help form trade agreements and help break down trade barriers. 

An early spring storm pounded the Upper Midwest this week with severe weather and blizzard conditions. Parts of North Dakota had received more than 24 inches of snow by Wednesday night. While the moisture is needed, ranchers in the region are in the midst of calving. Meanwhile, hail pounded many areas of Minnesota, while a tornado caused serious damage to the Mower County town of Taopi. 

Upcoming Events

April 24-26   Minnesota State FFA Convention
April 29:        MARL Program application deadline
May 20:         Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year nomination deadline

Farm Fun Fact

Corn planting in Minnesota typically begins in April. To honor that tradition, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest ear of corn was grown by a man in the United Kingdom in 1994. The ear was over 36 inches long!