Coming up on AgweekTV, we will discuss the new EPA administrator and the U.S. trade rep confirmation. We will talk about the acreage battle in the region and find out what farmers intend to plant for 2021. We will take a look at a father and son having fun in the livestock business. Finally, we will see how Minnesota looks to catch up on meat processing capacity to producer need.



COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV

THE NEW EPA ADMINISTRATOR AND U.S. TRADE REP ARE CONFIRMED, WE'LL GET REACTION.

Michelle: The acreage battle heats up in the region, we'll find out what farmers intend to plant for 2021.

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Mikkel Pates: A FATHER AND SON ARE HAVING FUN IN THE LIVESTOCK BUSINESS IN SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA.

Noah: We'll take a look at how Minnesota looks to catch up meat processing capacity up to producer need.

WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV I'M MICHELLE ROOK.

MORE KEY POSITIONS HAVE BEEN APPROVED IN THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IMPORTANT TO AGRICULTURE.

MICHEAL REGAN WAS CONFIRMED AS EPA ADMINISTRATOR AND HAS INDICATED A WILLINGNESS TO WORK WITH THE AG COMMUNITY.

REGAN MET WITH FARM GROUPS PRIOR TO HIS CONFIRMATION HEARINGS AND TALKED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE TO THE ECONOMY.

HE ALSO DETAILED HIS WORK REGULATING THE PORK INDUSTRY IN NORTH CAROLINA.

Chandler Goule: I feel comfortable that he's got the knowledge and the base. He also talked about, you know, the importance of making sure that your regulation doesn't go so far that you're making operation and production impossible.

SPEAKING ON THE AGWEEK VIRTUAL FARM SHOW, GOULE SAYS AGRICULTURE WON'T AGREE WITH REGAN ON EVERY ISSUE, BUT FARM GROUPS WERE PROMISED THEY'D HAVE A SEAT AT EPA'S TABLE.

THE BIOFUELS INDUSTRY IS ALSO OPTIMISTIC ABOUT REGAN'S COMMITMENT TO UPHOLDING THE RENEWABLE FUELS STANDARD.

U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE KATHERINE TAI WAS ALSO CONFIRMED BY THE SENATE.

AS HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS STAFF LAWYER, TAI WORKED ON NUMEROUS TRADE NEGOTIATIONS INCLUDING THE USMCA AND TPP. HER EXPERIENCE IS GETTING HIGH PRAISE FROM WASHINGTON INSIDERS.



Mary Kay Thatcher: I don't know that I've ever seen someone nominated to be the USTR ambassador that I'm as excited about. I just think she brings in great background.

TAI WAS ALSO NAMED CHIEF COUNSEL FOR CHINA TRADE ENFORCEMENT IN 2014 AND HAS A HISTORY OF HOLDING CHINA ACCOUNTABLE.

FORMER HOUSE AG COMMITTEE CHAIR COLLIN PETERSON IS STEPPING INTO AN AG POLICY CONSULTING ROLE WORKING WITH LOBBYING FIRM COMBEST, SELL AND ASSOCIATES.

PETERSON SAYS HE'S HAD MANY CALLS FROM PEOPLE ASKING HIM TO STAY ENGAGED IN FARM POLICY, SO THE JOB IS A GOOD FIT. FARM GROUPS ARE EXCITED ABOUT THE MOVE, BUT ESPECIALLY THE AMERICAN SUGARBEET GROWERS ASSOCIATION, AS PETERSON WAS A CHAMPION FOR SUGAR POLICY.

Scott Herndon: And so we expect to continue our relationship with Mr. Peterson. and ramping that up into the next farm bill. So we, he's not going anywhere, and we love him in Congress but he's an advocate for agriculture in any form.

PETERSON WON'T LOBBY IN THE NEXT YEAR, BUT WILL ENGAGE WITH VARIOUS SECTORS OF THE AG INDUSTRY. HE WILL CONTINUE TO OPERATE FROM MINNESOTA.

EVERY YEAR THERE IS A NEED FOR ONE COMMODITY OR ANOTHER TO BUY ACRES GOING INTO SPRING PLANTING. WHAT MAKES THIS YEAR DIFFERENT IS THAT SO MANY CROPS ARE COMPETING FOR ACRES. WHILE CORN AND SOYBEAN PRICES ARE AT 7 TO 8 YEAR HIGHS, SPECIALITY CROPS LIKE CANOLA ARE ALSO GETTING IN ON THE ACTION WITH PRICES AT RECORD LEVELS. ADD IN RISING FERTILIZER PRICES AND THE BATTLE GETS EVEN MORE EXPLOSIVE.

U.S. farmers are expected to plant a record 90 million soybean acres, up nearly 7 million from 2020, due to historically tight ending stocks and high prices. Where acres come from depends on the state.

Kevin Rozenboom: It does look like some of those acres might switch back to soybeans instead of a corn on corn rotation just where the price point is and the potential yield.

Bob Worth: The people that might change are the people that are planting corn on corn on corn. There might be a possibility that they go take some of those acres and move them to soybeans because soybeans are profitable.

Tim Ostrem: For South Dakota specifically they're anticipating more acres of beans again this year and I think maybe some of that will come out of wheat acres.

The trade is also estimating two million more acres of corn, but with skyrocketing fertilizer prices that may be a tough lift for those that didn't make applications last fall.

Jordan Scott: Yeah we had a good fall so we were able to get all of our fertilizer on so we had our decision made for us.

Another wild card is what farmers seed into prevented plant acres. North Dakota alone had nearly 3 million PP acres that could come into production with the dry soils.

Rick Swenson: There's some guys in central North Dakota there's a lot more corn booked right now than there was a year ago. A lot of that has to do kind of with the PP we fought in 19 and 20.

So the market may still have some work to do to buy the acres each commodity needs especially corn versus beans.

Braedon Hinker: If we see a little bit more rally in the market and beans get to that 2.5 to 1 threshold or even a little bit higher I think we might see it move a little bit more towards soybeans but I think it's going to take that higher end to get there.

But Mother Nature may have the last say, especially with drought conditions in much of the western corn belt.

WE WILL GET OUR FIRST LOOK AT WHAT FARMERS INTENTIONS ARE ON MARCH 31 WITH USDA'S PROSPECTIVE PLANTINGS REPORT.

SUNFLOWERS WILL ALSO COMPETE IN THE OILSEED ACREAGE BATTLE WITH SOYBEANS DUE TO THE CURRENT RECORD DEMAND AND PRICES FOR GLOBAL VEGETABLE OILS.

80-PERCENT OF THE VALUE OF SUNFLOWERS IS BASED ON VEG OIL VALUES. AS A RESULT, OLD CROP SUNFLOWER PRICES ARE UP $5.50 PER HUNDRED WEIGHT SINCE THE MARKETING YEAR STARTED. AND NEW CROP PRICES HAVE FOLLOWED, MAKING IT A PROFITABLE CROP TO PLANT IN 2021.

John Sandbakken: Our new crop prices we've gone up $4.30 a hundred weight that's a 25-percent increase here just in the last month. Right now I think sunflowers are in a very good position to add acres on the oil side especially, because of this oil demand that we do have.

SANDBAKKEN SAYS U.S. FARMERS PRODUCED 1.5 MILLION ACRES OF OIL TYPE SUNFLOWERS IN 2020, UP FROM 2019. YIELDS HIT A NEW NATIONAL RECORD OF 1800 POUNDS.

CANOLA IS ALSO EXPECTED TO ATTRACT ADDITIONAL ACRES IN 2021 WITH NEAR TO RECORD HIGH PRICES IN THE U.S. AND CANADA. OLD CROP CANOLA HAS RALLIED MORE THAN 50-PERCENT OFF THE LOWS TO THE UPPER $20 TO OVER $30 PER HUNDRED WEIGHT RANGE.

NEW CROP PRICES ARE ALSO 30-PERCENT ABOVE A YEAR AGO AT AROUND $22 CASH, WHICH MAKES IT A PROFITABLE OPTION. U.S. FARMERS PLANTED 2 MILLION ACRES IN 2020, WITH NORTH DAKOTA ACCOUNTING FOR 1.55 MILLION. HOWEVER, ACRES IN THE STATE COULD RISE TO 1.8 TO 2 MILLION THIS SEASON.

PAT MURPHY, A CANOLA GROWER AND PRESIDENT OF THE NORTHERN CANOLA GROWERS ASSOCIATION, SAYS IT'S A VERY POSITIVE OUTLOOK.

Pat Murphy: I LOOK FOR ACRES TO KEEP COMING, I THINK ONE OF OUR REAL BRIGHT SPOTS IS U.S. DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION JUST KEEPS INCREASING. I HONESTLY DON'T KNOW IF WE CAN PRODUCE TOO MUCH.

STATS CANADA ALSO PREDICTS CANOLA ACRES IN CANADA WILL BE UP 3-PERCENT OVER 2020.

FERTILIZER PRICES ARE ALREADY SKYROCKETING, BUT A RULING BY THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION MAY ADD INSULT TO INJURY.

THE U.S. IS IMPOSING COUNTERVAILING DUTIES ON PHOSPHATE FERTILIZER IMPORTS FROM RUSSIA AND MOROCCO FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. MOSAIC ASKED FOR THE INVESTIGATION AND THE ITC RULED THESE IMPORTS HAVE NEGATIVELY IMPACTED THE U.S. MARKET.

NEXT WEEK WE'LL TALK TO FARM GROUPS ABOUT HOW THE DUTIES WILL FURTHER INCREASE FERTILIZER PRICES.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, THE MEAT PROCESSING INDUSTRY CONTINUES TO EXPAND TO MEET GROWING DEMAND SPURRED BY THE PANDEMIC.

THE REGION HAS LONG HAD A SHORTAGE OF MEAT PROCESSING FACILITIES, LEADING TO BACKUPS FOR PRODUCERS, AND CONSUMERS.

COVID REALLY BROUGHT THE ISSUE INTO THE SPOTLIGHT. SO IN MINNESOTA, THE STATE AG DEPARTMENT IS MAKING SOME CHANGES, TO INCREASE LOCAL MEAT PROCESSING. NOAH FISH HAS MORE IN THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK COVER STORY.

ADAM BOWMAN RAISES ANGUS SIMMENTAL CATTLE IN SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA. HE'S WANTED TO PUT A SLAUGHTER MEAT MARKET ON HIS FARM FOR A LONG TIME, BUT THE TOWNSHIP WOULDN'T ALLOW IT. SO RECENTLY BOWMAN BOUGHT A MEAT MARKET IN PINE ISLAND, WHERE HE CAN SLAUGHTER, PROCESS AND SELL HIS OWN MEAT.

Adam Bowman: WE DON'T HAVE TO STRUGGLE TO GET OUR COWS IN ANYMORE WHEN WE SELL BEEFS AND HALVES AND QUARTERS TO PEOPLE, SO FROM NOW ON, WE'LL BE A LOT BETTER OFF, BECAUSE WE HAVE OUR OWN MARKET TO SLAUGHTER OUR OWN COWS IN .

BOWMAN'S TIMING SEEMS TO BE RIGHT. WHEN COVID DISRUPTED PRODUCTION AT MEAT PROCESSING PLANTS AROUND THE COUNTRY, PEOPLE QUICKLY PIVOTED TO BUYING LOCALLY, OR AT LEAST THEY TRIED TO.

Thom Petersen: BEFORE COVID, WE ALREADY HAD A BACKUP, AND IT WAS A TOP PRIORITY FOR THE DEPARTMENT TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE.

MINNESOTA AG COMMISSIONER THOM PETERSON SAYS THE DEPARTMENT HAS WORKED TO CONNECT PRODUCERS WITH OPENINGS AT PROCESSING PLANTS, BUT IT HAS ALSO FAST TRACKED GETTING ABOUT TWENTY NEW PLANTS RUNNING. THEY'RE ALSO MAKING GRANTS AVAILABLE FOR SMALLER PLANTS AND PRODUCERS TO INCREASE DIRECT MARKETING. PETERSON THINKS IT'S A TREND THAT WILL CONTINUE BEYOND COVID.

Thom Petersen: WHAT'S GOING TO BE INTERESTING IS, DO THE CONSUMERS, YOU KNOW, CONTINUE TO KEEP BUY LOCALLY? WHICH I THINK THEY WILL IN BIG NUMBERS.

Noah: In a recent survey by the Minnesota Farmers Union, over half the respondents said that they would raise more livestock if there was more processing available. Sixty four percent of the farmers surveyed said that processing was inadequate, even before the pandemic.

IN PINE ISLAND, MINNESOTA, THIS IS NOAH FISH FOR AGWEEK.

THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF AG HAS AN INTERACTIVE MAP TO FIND A MEAT PROCESSOR NEAR YOU. YOU CAN READ MORE ON THIS STORY IN THE NEXT AGWEEK MAGAZINE, OR AT AGWEEK.COM.

THE SPRING AUCTION SEASON IS HEATING BACK UP AND SO IS THE INTEREST IN LAND AND FARM EQUIPMENT ACROSS THE REGION.

PIFER'S HELD THE FIRST AUCTION AT THEIR NEW FACILITY SOUTH OF SIOUX FALLS WITH A GREAT CROWD. MANAGER CHRIS BARE SAYS BOTH LAND AND MACHINERY MARKETS HAVE BEEN HOT. THE LOW INTEREST RATES ENVIRONMENT HELPS, AS WELL AS THE IMPROVING AG ECONOMY.

Chris Bare: We're seeing record breaking, historically high land prices and equipment prices both. With the increase in commodity prices the machinery seems to be following the commodity prices right now. New equipment is a little bit short which drives used, it drives the used machinery market.

BARE SAYS SAYS THEY'VE OFFERED A HYBRID OF IN PERSON AND ONLINE AUCTIONS DURING THE PANDEMIC. HOWEVER, AS RESTRICTIONS EASE THEY WILL BE DOING MORE LIVE AUCTIONS, WHILE STILL LEVERAGING THE ONLINE TECHNOLOGY.

FARMERS IN THE REGION CONTINUE TO STRIVE FOR HIGHER CROP YIELDS AND PROFITS. FOR SOYBEANS THE GOAL IS TO PUSH PAST THE 100 BUSHEL MARK.

SDSU AND INDUSTRY EXPERTS SHARED WEATHER AND AGRONOMIC INSIGHTS ON HOW TO ACHIEVE THAT AT THIS YEAR'S SOY 100 PUT ON BY THE SOUTH DAKOTA SOYBEAN RESEARCH AND PROMOTION COUNCIL.

FARMERS LEARNED THERE'S NO SILVER BULLET TO HIGH YIELDS, IT'S A COMBINATION OF FACTORS INCLUDING WEED AND PEST MANAGEMENT, FERTILITY, VARIETAL SELECTION AND IMPROVING SOIL HEALTH.

Jerry Schmitz: While we realize right now it's not always economically feasible we learn all along the way the different things we can do to try to reach that 100 bushel level in soybeans.

SPEAKERS ALSO SHARED THE GRAIN MARKET OUTLOOK AND STRATEGIES FOR THE UPCOMING CROP SEASON.

A NORTH DAKOTA FARMER HAS HIGH PRAISE FOR A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL WHOSE EFFORTS SAVED HIM HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN CROP INSURANCE LOSSES.

KELLY GROTTE'S CROP INSURANCE RATES HAD TRIPLED OVER SEVEN YEARS, FROM ABOUT 50 DOLLARS AN ACRE, TO $165.

GROTTE DISCOVERED THE HIKE WAS BASED IN PART ON ANOTHER GRAND FORKS COUNTY GROWER'S FRAUDULENT CLAIMS OF LOSS.

HE CONTACTED SHEILA SCHENK WITH USDA'S RISK MANAGEMENT AGENCY'S REGIONAL OFFICE IN BILLINGS, MONTANA, TO SEE IF THERE WAS A REMEDY.

Kelly Grotte: IT'S SUCH A SMALL POOL, THAT IF SOMEBODY HAS A LOSS, IT'S A HUGE DIFFERENCE FOR US. BUT SHE CAME OUT AND SAID SHE WOULD FIX IT, AND FIGURE OUT AN EQUITABLE WAY OF DOING IT.

SCHENK WAS TRUE TO HER WORD, BRINGING THEIR RATES BACK DOWN, FOR THE SAME COVERAGE.

Sheila Schenk: IT'S A NICE FEELING THAT A PROGRAM WORKS FOR PEOPLE, FOR PRODUCERS.

GROTTE SAYS HE HAD CONSIDERED GOING WITH "CATASTROPHIC" COVERAGE, WHICH IS LOW COST, BUT OFFERS ALMOST NO PROTECTION.

STILL AHEAD ON OUR SHOW...IT'S AN EXTRA BUSY TIME OF YEAR FOR ONE CLASS B COACH AND RANCHER.

THIS WEEK'S WEATHER BROUGHT SOME MUCH NEEDED MOISTURE TO PARTS OF THE REGION. WILL THERE BE ANY FOLLOW UP?

HERE'S ANDREW WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

THE AGWEEK LIVESTOCK TOUR IS SPONSORED BY TRANS OVA AND STOCKMENS LIVESTOCK EXCHANGE.

HOGS ARE BIG BUSINESS FOR A SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA FAMILY, AND THE NEXT GENERATION IS ADDING CATTLE TO THE MIX.

MIKKEL PATES VISITS THE EBELING FAMILY, AS OUR AGWEEK LIVESTOCK TOUR CONTINUES.

Layne Ebling: WE HAVE THREE DIFFERENT SITES, THIS ONE IS A WEAN TO FINISH SITE.

LAYNE EBELING AND HIS COUSIN CORY ARE CONTRACT HOG GROWERS AND FARMERS. THEY MANAGE PIGS ON THREE SITES WITHIN A TWO-MILE CIRCLE. THE COUSINS CONTRACT-FEED ABOUT 8,000 PIGS AT ANY GIVEN TIME, ABOUT 24--THOUSAND A YEAR--IN HOG BUILDINGS THEY EITHER OWN OR MANAGE. LAYNE SAYS IT'S BEEN A GOOD BUSINESS.

IT HAS, AND IT HELPED US START FARMING, AND TO PURCHASE LAND AND TO BUY OUT OUR PARENTS. SO IT'S BEEN HUGE FOR ME AND CORY.

THE EBELINGS USE THE MANURE TO FEED ABOUT SEVEN HUNDRED ACRES OF THEIR 3,700 ACRES OF CORN AND SOYBEANS. BUT IT DOESN'T STOP WITH PORK. LAYNE'S SON JOSIAH ALWAYS WANTED TO JOIN THE OPERATION. TWO YEARS AGO HE MOVED ONTO HIS GRANDPARENTS' FARMSTEAD, AND PLACED ABOUT 500 STEERS IN A NEIGHBOR'S CUSTOM CATTLE LOT.

Josiah Ebling: GROWING UP I AWAYS KIND OF WANTED TO BE ON THE FARM WITH DAD AND HELP HIM OUT. AND I ALWAYS LIKED DEALING WITH CATTLE, AND I GOT INTO FEEDING CATTLE.

JOSIAH WOULD LIKE TO GROW TO 1,000 STEERS IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS, POSSIBLY CREATING HIS OWN FEEDLOT. HE TAKES ABOUT SIXTY STEERS A YEAR TO A LOCKER PLANT FOR LOCAL CUSTOMERS EVENTUALLY, HE'D WOULD LIKE TO GATHER A GROUP OF FARMERS TO GO INTO A PACKING ENTERPRISE.

Josiah Ebling: I THINK THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE PACKERS, MORE COMPETITION OUT THERE.

Mikkel Pates: SO MIXING SOME EXPERIENCE WITH SOME NEW ENERGY IN THE LIVESTOCK BUSINESS IN SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA. FOR AGWEEK, THIS IS MIKKEL PATES AT TRIMONT, MINNESOTA.

THIS IS A BUSY TIME OF YEAR FOR ANOTHER LIVESTOCK PRODUCER.

KEVIN STROBEL RAISES 400 COWS ON HIS KULM, NORTH DAKOTA FARM, BUT HAS ALSO BEEN THE HEAD BOYS BASKETBALL COACH FOR THE EDGELEY-KULM-MONTPELIER COOPERATIVE FOR 18 YEARS.

THIS WEEKEND IS THE STATE CLASS B BOYS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP. SO TO BALANCE IT ALL HE DEPENDS ON HELP FROM HIS DAD.

Kevin Strobel: IT'S NOT ONLY DURING THE SEASON, WE ALSO DO A LOT OF SUMMER STUFF. IT GETS QUITE BUSY BETWEEN DOING CHORES IN THE MORNING AND GOING TO PRACTICE IN THE AFTERNOON.

THE SCHOOLS HAVE CO-OPED FOR 14 YEARS, BUT IT'S BEEN DECADES SINCE ANY OF THE TEAMS MADE IT TO STATE.

STROBEL'S TEAM QUALIFIED FOR STATE LAST YEAR, TOO, BUT IT WAS CANCELLED BECAUSE OF COVID.

AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, WHAT DOES CRISTEN CLARK HAVE COOKING THIS MONTH?

CRISTEN CLARK, THE IOWA FARMER WHO WRITES THE "FOOD AND SWINE" BLOG,

IS ALSO A MONTHLY AGWEEK MAGAZINE COLUMNIST. THIS WEEK SHE SHARES A VIDEO RECIPE WITH READERS AND VIEWERS. ITS A TASTE OF SPRING AND SUMMER--HOMEMADE LEMONADE.

YOU CAN GO TO AGWEEK.COM AND WATCH CLARK MAKE FLAVORED LEMONADES.

AND A REMINDER TO JOIN US NEXT WEEK, MARCH 23 AND 24, FOR THE AGWEEK VIRTUAL FARM SHOW. WE HAVE A GREAT LINE UP OF SPEAKERS, PANEL DISCUSSIONS, VENDORS AND PRIZE GIVEAWAYS. YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE AT AGWEEK.COM.

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

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