Coming up on AgweekTV we will discuss President Biden rolling out a plan to increase livestock market competition and expand meat processing. We will see the ethanol margins do a 180 since the 2020 COVID meltdown and find out why. Finally, we will meet a Minnesota farm family that's been selling their high quality pork direct to consumers for more than than 20 years.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV

PRESIDENT BIDEN ROLLS OUT A PLAN TO INCREASE LIVESTOCK MARKET COMPETITION AND EXPAND MEAT PROCESSING.

ETHANOL MARGINS HAVE DONE A 180 SINCE THE 2020 COVID MELTDOWN, WE'LL FIND OUT WHY.

AND WE'LL MEET A MINNESOTA FARM FAMILY THAT'S BEEN SELLING THEIR HIGH QUALITY PORK DIRECT TO CONSUMERS FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS.

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WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M MICHELLE ROOK.

THE NEW YEAR BRINGS THE FIRST FARM SHOW OF THE SEASON. THE DAKOTA FARM SHOW KICKED OFF AT THE DAKOTADOME IN VERMILLION ON TUESDAY.

THE SHOW WAS BACK AT FULL CAPACITY, WITH ALL 475 BOOTH SPACES FILLED. MORE THAN 280 EXHIBITORS REPRESENTED HUNDREDS OF PRODUCT LINES AND SERVICES. THE DAKOTA FARM SHOW IS TRADITIONALLY WHERE MANY COMPANIES UNVEIL NEW TECHNOLOGY AND PRODUCTS. BUT THAT WAS A CHALLENGE THIS YEAR WITH SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES.

John Riles: You know I think one of the challenges this year is having product. We've got a lot of discussions here about is product available. Some exhibitors have had a harder time kind of bringing the stuff that they wanted to have here at the show

WITH THE STRONG COMMODITY PRICES, RILES SAYS THE MOOD HAS BEEN POSITIVE AMONG FARMERS AND VENDORS AT THE DAKOTA FARM SHOW, AS WELL AS THEIR DECEMBER EVENTS.

THERE WAS ALSO A FULL SLATE OF EDUCATIONAL SEMINARS FOR PRODUCERS TO ATTEND.

WE'LL HAVE MORE FROM THE SHOW LATER IN OUR PROGRAM.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AND AG SECRETARY TOM VILSACK MET WITH FARMERS AND RANCHERS AT THE WHITE HOUSE THIS WEEK TO ANNOUNCE A MEAT AND POULTRY SUPPLY CHAIN ACTION PLAN.

THE PLAN INCLUDES FOUR STRATEGIES TO HELP CREATE A MORE COMPETITIVE, RESILIENT MARKET. THE ADMINISTRATION WILL USE 1-BILLION DOLLARS OF AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN FUNDS TO EXPAND INDEPENDENT MEAT PROCESSING. HOW FAR THOSE DOLLARS WILL GO AND DETAILS ON ELIGIBILITY, THOUGH, ARE STILL A QUESTION MARK.

Craig Andersen: We don't know whether that means going down to the local meat locker or what size that actually entails but like I say. Anytime that we can increase capacity its going to be a favorable thing for producers.

THE ORGANIZERS OF A NEW 1500 HEAD A DAY BEEF PROCESSING PLANT IN IOWA SAY THE PLAN WILL HELP THEIR PROJECT.

Chad Tentinger: I think we will obviously qualify for some of this funding they're talking about that the barrier to entry to a plant like this is capital and anytime that the government is behind you and the people are behind you to help with that capital is a very good thing.

THE PLAN ALSO IMPROVES MARKET COMPETITION AND TRANSPARENCY IN THE MEAT AND POULTRY SECTOR, THROUGH STRICTER ENFORCEMENT OF EXISTING COMPETITION LAWS, AND BY ISSUING STRONGER RULES UNDER THE PACKERS AND STOCKYARDS ACT, PLUS NEW PRODUCT OF USA LABELING RULES.

SOUTH DAKOTA IS ALREADY EXPANDING MEAT PROCESSING CAPACITY, THROUGH THE STATE'S CORONAVIRUS RELIEF MEAT PROCESSING GRANT PROGRAM, ROLLED OUT IN MID-2021.

THE STATE USED FIVE MILLION DOLLARS OF CARES ACT FUNDING TO PROVIDE GRANTS TO HELP EXPAND EXISTING MEAT PROCESSING PLANTS AND BUILD NEW FACILITIES. AG SECRETARY HUNTER ROBERTS SAYS HIS DEPARTMENT IS MANAGING THE PROGRAM, WHICH HAS SEEN OVERWHELMING DEMAND.

Hunter Roberts: We had 35-million dollars of ask. We provided grants for 107 facilities I think. We're getting right to the end of it. We proposed using 5 million dollars of that. We're going to use every penny of that is what the plan is.

HE SAYS MOST OF THE EXISTING FACILITIES USED THEIR ENTIRE 43-THOUSAND DOLLAR QUOTA. AND THERE WERE ALSO 16 NEW FACILITIES THAT APPLIED.

Not all of those moved forward and were able to capitalize on this grant. So we reallocated some of that funding back to those other new facilities that have moved forward.

HE SAYS THE FACILITIES RANGE IN SIZE FROM SMALLER 50-THOUSAND DOLLAR BUTCHER SHOPS UP TO A FIVE MILLION DOLLAR MEDIUM SCALE PROCESSING PLANT.

COVID-19 NUDGED MANY LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS INTO SELLING THEIR PRODUCT DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS.

BUT ONE SOUTHERN MINNESOTA PORK PRODUCING FAMILY HAS BEEN DOING IT FOR ABOUT TWO DECADES. MIKKEL PATES HAS MORE IN THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK COVER STORY.

Mikkel Pates: MICHELLE, THE COMPARTS OF NICOLLET, MINNESOTA SELL THEIR PREMIUM PORK PRODUCTS IN RESTAURANTS, RETAIL AND ONLINE.

Dean Compart: DUROC IS KNOWN FOR RAPID GROWTH RATE, A GOOD APPETITE. GOOD QUALITY PORK.

FIVE FAMILIES IN TWO GENERATIONS OF THE COMPART FAMILY RAISE AND SELL HIGH QUALITY DUROC PORK. THEIR ONLINE AND RETAIL MEAT NOW ACCOUNTS FOR HALF OF THEIR FARM'S INCOME. THEY'VE GROWN FROM SELLING 75 PIGS A WEEK AS MEAT IN 2003, TO NOW MARKETING 2400 HOGS EVERY WEEK.

Jim Compart: When we measured our hogs against other hogs, we realized that we had something better. When looking at meat quality, Duroc are in this three to four range, which is the most desirable.

ABOUT TWENTY YEARS AGO, THE COMPART FAMILY CAME TO REALIZE THEIR PORK WAS SUPERIOR QUALITY TO MOST ON THE MARKET, AND THEY WANTED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT. SO THEY BRANDED IT "THE BLACK ANGUS OF PORK", AND STARTED MARKETING IT AROUND MINNESOTA, AND THE COUNTRY.

Jim Compart: We had a product that was so high quality, that we realized that it needed to be a branded program. So we spent a lot of time focusing on trademarks and what it takes to brand a product.

THE COMPARTS SAY THINKING UP COUNTERMOVES TO CHALLENGES HAS MADE THEM STRONGER OVER THE YEARS. THE FAMILY WAS DEALT A MAJOR SETBACK IN THE LATE EIGHTIES, WHEN PSEUDORABIES DISEASE NEARLY WIPED THEM OUT IN THE PUREBRED BUSINESS.

Dean Compart: WE WERE ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATED, CRIPPLED, BECAUSE YOU KNOW, WHAT HAD BEEN A VERY SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS, WAS VERY MUCH, WE HAD ALL OUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET.

These are genetic trend lines for our two farms that produce purebred Durocs. Eventually you start to see this very progressive, upward slope.

IN RECOVERING FROM THE OUTBREAK, THE COMPARTS IMPLEMENTED SIGNIFICANT, AND STRICT SAFETY MEASURES, AND INNOVATIVE FEEDING AND BREEDING PROGRAMS ALLOWED THEM TO MARKET A THRIVING, BRANDED MEAT ENTERPRISE THAT THEY ENJOY TODAY.

Yesterday was two of these, two U-Hauls basically full of them.

SO THE COMPART FAMILY BELIEVES THE KEY TO THEIR FUTURE IN THE PORK BUSINESS IS INCREASED RESEARCH ON THE PRODUCTION SIDE, SO THEY CAN PROVIDE A BETTER MEAT PRODUCT. FOR AGWEEK, THIS IS MIKKEL PATES AT NICOLLET MINNESOTA.

YOU CAN READ MORE IN THE NEXT AGWEEK MAGAZINE, OR AT AGWEEK.COM.

THE AMERICAN SEED TRADE ASSOCIATION IS DISPUTING CLAIMS THAT NEONICOTINOID SEED TREATMENTS ARE DESTROYING THE POLLINATOR POPULATION AND HARMING THE ENVIRONMENT.

THE CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY RECENTLY FILED A FEDERAL LAWSUIT AGAINST EPA FOR FAILURE TO REGULATE SEED TREATMENTS, INCLUDING NEONICS.

BUT ASTA OFFICIALS SAY RESEARCH STUDIES BACK THEIR POSITION THAT THE PRODUCTS ARE SAFE, SO THEY'RE URGING EPA AND THE COURTS TO USE THE SCIENCE WHEN DETERMINING THEIR FUTURE.

Andy Lavigne: The science says neonics, when used properly at label rates, are safe for the environment and safe for the consumers and safe for the farmer and very good effective tool for the farmer to use.

LAVIGNE SAYS SEED TREATMENTS ARE IMPORTANT TO GRAIN PRODUCERS AND PROMOTE STRONG EMERGENCE AND HEALTHY PLANT STANDS.

If a disease or pest gets to that seed when it's under the ground, it's not going to germinate and that farmer's lost the investment he's made.

MEANWHILE, EPA SAYS THEY DON'T HAVE AUTHORITY TO REGULATE THESE SEED TREATMENTS BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT COVERED UNDER THE FEDERAL INSECTICIDE, FUNGICIDE AND RODENTICIDE ACT.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, WE'LL LOOK AT THE ETHANOL MARKET, MAKING A STRONG REBOUND AFTER COVID.

WELCOME BACK. WE'RE HERE AT THE DAKOTA FARM SHOW IN VERMILLION, SOUTH DAKOTA.

ONE OF THE POPULAR TOPICS OF DISCUSSION HERE AT THE SHOW

IS THE IMPACT OF SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES ON CROP PRODUCTION. FARMERS WERE TALKING WITH VENDORS ABOUT HOW THE DISRUPTIONS ARE DRIVING UP INPUT AND EQUIPMENT PRICES.

Dave Poppen: Suppliers aren't even sure of what their costs will be yet on some of the products so it's kind of a guessing game on some of it, but its going to be substantially higher than it was a year ago.

PLUS IT'S PUTTING THE AVAILABILITY OF SOME PRODUCTS, SUCH AS POPULAR HERBICIDES, IN QUESTION FOR THE 2022 GROWING SEASON.

Kevin Rozenboom: Roundup and Liberty being the most common, that we understand, has been put on somewhat of an allocation. Some have been cut back. Some are there its just going to be when we get those deliveries, will they get there in time for this upcoming spraying and post application seasons.

A LOT OF EQUIPMENT IS BACKORDERED AND ANYTHING WITH ELECTRONIC PARTS OR COMPUTER CHIPS WON'T BE DELIVERED FOR WEEKS OR MONTHS.

Rozenboom: The precision ag equipment side of it has been short supply on different components.

FARMERS ARE BEING TOLD THE SUPPLY PROBLEMS COULD CONTINUE INTO 2023.

ETHANOL PROFITABILITY HAS DONE A COMPLETE 180 SINCE THE HEIGHT OF THE COVID MELTDOWN IN 2020. AT THAT TIME GASOLINE AND ETHANOL CONSUMPTION DROPPED BY 50-PERCENT AND FORCED THE SAME AMOUNT OF ETHANOL PLANTS OFFLINE. HOWEVER, THE ETHANOL INDUSTRY HAD SOME NEAR RECORD MARGINS LATE IN 2021 AND THEY CONTINUE STRONG TO START 2022.

Ethanol prices and margins are off their record highs set in November, but are still very profitable.

Doug Berven: Margins are really good. We haven't had margins like this for a number of years so it's really nice.

DTN Market analyst Tregg Cronin says they peaked at well over $1.00 per gallon in the fall, but are still positive.

Tregg Cronin: We've been grinding corn at an incredible pace, really supporting that ethanol demand for corn and again that's come off a little bit probably slows a little bit more as we get into the winter but a real bright spot after, you know, the kind of year we saw in 2020.

That's kept corn basis and cash prices abnormally firm since harvest and meant some nice dividend checks for farmer investors.

Tom Haag: They are doing very well. You know the two operations that I belong to the ethanol plants are saying we never would have guessed this but it's another perfect storm.

Demand outstripped production after the ethanol pipeline was depleted during COVID. And plants have produced more than a million barrels per day for multiple weeks catching up.

Berven: Part of it is the tight supply. We're at about 100-percent pre-COVID demand right now. People are back and traveling.

Plus higher energy prices support more ethanol use.

Haag: Gasoline is more expensive so they're using more ethanol for that to put into the gas.

Cronin says how long this trend will continue is difficult to predict.

Cronin: We've just got to keep watching ethanol swaps and ethanol prices and as long as they can kind of maintain where they're at with corn prices we're gonna keep grinding corn.

Berven hopes it lasts long enough, though, for ethanol plants to heal from the financial meltdown during COVID and rebuild.

Berven: We hope that that continues because it's important for us to have a margin because we're investing in the future.

LAKE REGION LIVESTOCK OF DEVILS LAKE, NORTH DAKOTA, HAS BEEN SOLD.

CHRIS PLUMMER OF LANGDON IS TAKING OVER THE OPERATION FROM JIM AND MARY ZIEGLER, WHO HAD THE BUSINESS FOR 33 YEARS.

THE ZIEGLERS DEALT WITH A SETBACK IN 2020, WHEN BRIAN GADER WAS ACCUSED OF BOUNCING A CHECK TO THE SALE BARN FOR 227-THOUSAND DOLLARS.

PLUMMER HAS WORKED AT THE SALE BARN FOR SEVERAL YEARS.

THE CHANGE TOOK PLACE ON JANUARY FIRST, BUT THE ZIEGLERS SAY THEY'LL BE AROUND TO ASSIST IN A SMOOTH TRANSITION.

STILL AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV

I...I said I'll never move to town unless somebody forces me.

WE'LL MEET A NORTH DAKOTA WOMAN WHO'S STILL DOING DAIRY THE OLD FASHIONED WAY.

WITH A NEW YEAR, FARMERS ARE ALREADY LOOKING AHEAD AT THE SET UP HEADING INTO PLANTING. WHAT CAN THEY EXPECT FOR JANUARY?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

SMALL DAIRY FARMS HAVE BEEN DISAPPEARING AROUND THE REGION, BUT ONE FAMILY NEAR NOME, NORTH DAKOTA IS ONE OF THE FEW STILL HANGING ON. AND AS KEVIN WALLEVAND REPORTS, THEY HAVE NO PLANS TO CHANGE.

As the cold December sun started to come up at the Johnson dairy farm,

Stand still

Rosie Johnson got ready to take on the day. Like she does every day, twice a day. Rosie tied the tails on her jerseys and holsteins.

Rosie Johnson: Everyone says they are such sweet gentle little cows, no they are not, they have attitudes.

Right now milking just 9 cows. Soon, 17.

Rosie: Yeah, we milk three at a time, at night we milk four, which goes really fast.

Rosie and her husband Roger

701 is washed, and she's done.

both in their seventies, have been milking for decades.

Rosie still bucket milks, putting Surge milkers on the cows that she knows by name.

Wonton and Belle and Sparkles are the three jerseys in a row over there.

There are days she milks cows by hand, if a cow is injured or the power goes out.

The Johnsons primitive milking is practiced by so few in the state it is now hard to get parts for their milkers. but Rosie says they'll get by, always have. Milking twice a day, 365 days a year. Holidays, weekends.

I guess we've always done it, I mean I have. I don't know anything else, you know when my kids were both home, they would milk one weekend and we would go to Medora for our anniversary.

It is hard for dairy farmers to call it quits. It's emotional, and it's such a way of life. even though it is hard. Her body has taken a toll.

Both knees replaced and one shoulder so far.

Where else can you come to work surrounded by cats, dogs, and a horse. Rosie says this would to tough to leave.

Rosie: I said I'll never move to town unless someone forces me to.

STILL AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, LAMB PRODUCERS AREN'T SHEEPISH ABOUT PROMOTING THEIR MEAT.

THE COVID PANDEMIC HAS GIVEN LAMB PRODUCERS SOME OPPORTUNITIES TO MARKET THEIR MEAT DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS.

BUT THERE AREN'T ENOUGH PROCESSORS AND WORKERS TO MEET DEMAND. SPEAKERS ADDRESSED THAT, AND OTHER TOPICS IMPORTANT TO PRODUCERS, AT THE ANNUAL LAMB AND WOOL PRODUCERS JOINT CONVENTION IN FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA.

EXTENSION SHEEP SPECIALIST TRAVIS HOFFMAN SAYS LAMB MEAT IS GETTING MORE POPULAR, BUT PRODUCERS ARE HAVING TROUBLE FINDING PROCESSORS.

Travis Hoffman: PEOPLE WANT TO CONTINUE TO KNOW THE FARMER AND RANCHER, AND PEOPLE WANT TO CONSUME LAMB. AND SO IF WE CAN CONTINUE TO MAKE THAT PART OF OUR SUPPLY CHAIN, THEN WE'LL WORK WITH THOSE PROCESSORS SO THAT WE CAN FACILITATE THE NEEDS.

IN NORTH DAKOTA IT IS LEGAL TO SELL ANIMALS DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS FOR MEAT UNDER A "PERSONAL USE" EXEMPTION, IF THE CONSUMER SLAUGHTERS THE ANIMAL ON THE FARM WITHOUT PHYSICAL HELP FROM THE SELLER. THAT HAPPENED MORE OFTEN DURING THE PANDEMIC, AS IT WAS HARDER FOR PRODUCERS TO GET THEIR MEAT TO PROCESSING PLANTS. BUT THAT IS ILLEGAL IN MINNESOTA.

STORIES YOU'LL ONLY SEE ON AGWEEK.COM AND AGWEEK MAGAZINE THIS WEEK.

SOUTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY PLANS A LAMB BONANZA TO CELEBRATE AND PROMOTE THE STATE'S SHEEP INDUSTRY.

AND NORTH DAKOTA 4-H SPECIALIST DEAN AAKRE PLANS TO RETIRE JAN. 14 AFTER NEARLY FOUR DECADES OF SERVICE TO YOUTH.

THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF AG WEEK TV.

REMEMBER, FOR ALL YOUR AG NEWS, GO TO AG WEEK.COM, YOU CAN ALSO FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM. HAVE YOURSELF A GREAT AND SAFE WEEK.