For more than 4 decades, the Northern Crops Institute (NCI) has worked to enhance market opportunities for crops grown in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. NCI Director Mark Jirik joins us for this Field Talk podcast to talk about the organization's role and the impacts of its work.  


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Scientists at a Minnesota cancer research facility are looking into the possibility that compounds added to gasoline may cause cancer. The researchers are also evaluating if ethanol could be a safer alternative. Lynn Ketelsen has more. 

Farm News

April 27, 2022
Minnesota farmers have had very little opportunity to do any field work in the past week. That lack of activity is reflected in the USDA's latest weekly crop progress report. Last year at this time, 16% of the state's corn crop was planted compared to the five year average of 10%. So far this year, USDA is report zero corn planting. Soybeans a year ago were 2% planted, compared to the 1% five year average. No appreciable soybean acres have been planted. In 2021, 24% of Minnesota's sugarbeet crop was planted, ahead of the five year average of 17%. As with corn and soybeans, negligible amounts of sugarbeets have ben planted so far in 2022. 

While most Minnesota farmers have not gotten into the fields yet, that doesn't mean there still isn't potential for good corn yields. While earlier planting  often helps growers reach their maximum yield potential, cold wet conditions have kept farmers from getting seed in the ground. Darren Hefty with Hefty Seed and Ag PhD says it may be a good thing that seed hasn't been planted yet because the soil has been very cold. Hefty says some farmers may have to shift to shorter maturing varieties. Hefty says there are online calculators to help farmers decide which maturities will reach physiological maturity before the typical frost date. Listen

Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Thom Peterson says so far it has been a positive week in the battle against Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Peterson says there have been no new reports of outbreaks so far this week, however, the state has had 60 different sites affected, including nearly 3 million birds. Peterson says biosecurity plans are working, because most new outbreaks aren't being transmitted farm to farm, but rather by wild bird movement. Listen

Ag Commissioner Thom Peterson says the Minnesota House of Representatives has passed its supplemental ag bill and the Senate is expected to pick up their version this week, with a conference committee expected soon after. Peterson says there are funds in the bill for small meat processing as well as some soil health activities and emergency preparedness for the Department of Agriculture. 

Starbuck, Minnesota farmer and state Representative Paul Anderson says he's concerned the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency may be planning to use the rule making process to be able to regulate the use of treated seed. Listen
The Minnesota State FFA Convention wrapped up this week at the University of Minnesota. Minnesota FFA Foundation Executive Director Val Aarsvold says the event was a tremendous success, which included breaking attendace records with 4,992 registered participants. The three-day event included a keynote address from Univeristy of Minnesota football coach PJ Fleck. Aarsvold says his speech was very well received by the students. Listen

Four Minnesota FFA members were named the “Stars Over Minnesota” during the third general session of the 93rd Minnesota FFA Convention. The State Star Awards are annually presented to the top individuals from four different Supervised Agricultural Experience(SAE) project categories. This recognition program, sponsored by Compeer Financial, celebrates members for outstanding achievement and dedication to their SAEs.

2022 State Star Award Winners are:  
·     Star Farmer: Taylor Lacek, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton FFA;
·     Star in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource Sciences: Colton Converse, Staples-Motley FFA;
·     Star in Agribusiness:  William Bugbee, Paynesville Area FFA; and 
·     Star in Agricultural Production Placement: Kyle Hagen, Glencoe-Silver Lake FFA.

Scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) have announced that a vaccine candidate for African Swine Fever (ASF) passed an important safety test required for regulatory approval, moving the vaccine one step closer to commercial availability.

The test is an important milestone as part of a series of safety studies. These new results show that USDA’s vaccine candidate does not revert to its normal virulence, after being injected into swine. This “reversion to virulence” test is required to ensure that the vaccine’s weakened form of the ASF virus does not revert to its original state.

Leaders from several Minnesota farm organizations met for a roundtable discussion late last week with U.S. Senator Tina Smith. Work on the 2023 Farm Bill was a principle focus. Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Vice President Bob Worth says the current Farm Bill is a good bill and he hopes the majority of it remains in the new version. Listen

Lockdowns in China to prevent the spread of COVD-19 are having a dramatic effect on China's economy and beyond. International ag trade consultant John Baize says there is less of an issue getting product into China than there is getting goods out. Listen

Upcoming Events

April 29:        MARL Program application deadline
May 20:         Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year nomination deadline
June 8-10:    World Pork Expo, Des Moines, Iowa

Farm Fun Fact

With the Minnesota fishing opener just around the corner, here's a bit of piscatorial knowledge. Catfish, tilapia, trout and yellow perch are the most widely farm-raised fish in the United States. On average, U.S. consumers eat 16.5 pounds of fish and seafood annually.