Coming up on AgweekTV, we will see how the biofuel industry reacts to being left out of Biden's infrastructure package. We will discuss how South Dakota and the I-29 corridor continues to be the hot spot for dairy. We'll visit Minnesota doctors and their livestock business. We will take a look at an outdoor pig operation. Finally, we will discuss Minnesota pushing for vaccinations for their food processing workers.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV

THE BIOFUELS INDUSTRY REACTS TO BEING LEFT OUT OF THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION'S INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE.

SOUTH DAKOTA AND THE I-29 CORRIDOR CONTINUES TO BE THE NATION'S HOT SPOT FOR DAIRY.

MINNESOTA DOCTORS ADD A LIVESTOCK BUSINESS TO THEIR BUSY CAREERS.

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Mikkel Pates: IN A TIME WHEN CONFINEMENT IS KING, THESE FOLKS STILL RAISE PIGS OUTDOORS.

AND A YEAR AFTER COVID HITS, MINNESOTA PUSHES VACCINATIONS FOR FOOD PROCESSING WORKERS.

WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M MICHELLE ROOK.

THE BIOFUELS INDUSTRY iS EXPRESSING DISAPPOINTMENT AFTER BEING LEFT OUT OF THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION'S INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE.

THE ENERGY EMPHASIS IN THE BILL WAS ON ELECTRIC VEHICLES. KIRK LEEDS WITH THE IOWA SOYBEAN ASSOCIATION SAYS IT WAS A MISSED OPPORTUNITY BY THE WHITE HOUSE BECAUSE BIOFUELS, LIKE BIODIESEL, ARE A MORE READY SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE.

Kirk Leeds: There's a lot of conversations taking place with representatives in the House and certainly our Senators across the Midwest about how do we add to the proposed package more funding for biofuels, ethanol, biodiesel certainly.

LEEDS THINKS THERE WILL BE SOME IMPROVEMENT IN THE FINAL INFRASTRUCTURE BILL AS IT WORKS THROUGH THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS IN WASHINGTON AND WITH INPUT FROM AG SECRETARY VILSACK. HE SAYS THEY HOPE THAT LEADS TO MORE INVESTMENT IN BIOFUELS IN THE PACKAGE.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN PLANS TO NOMINATE ROBERT BONNIE AS UNDER SECRETARY FOR FARM PRODUCTION AND CONSERVATION.

HE'S CURRENTLY USDA DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF AND A SENIOR CLIMATE ADVISOR. BONNIE WAS UNDER SECRETARY FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT OVERSEEING CONSERVATION PROGRAMS IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

WASHINGTON INSIDERS SAY HE UNDERSTANDS THE NEED FOR A PRACTICAL CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTION FOR AGRICULTURE.

DESPITE THE CONTINUED COLD WEATHER IN THE WESTERN CORN BELT, FARMERS DID GET SOME CORN PLANTED LAST WEEK.

ALL THE STATES IN OUR REGION WERE IN SINGLE DIGITS FOR PROGRESS BUT CLOSE TO FIVE YEAR AVERAGES, EVEN A LITTLE AHEAD IN NORTH DAKOTA. PROGRESS IS ACTUALLY AHEAD OF LAST YEAR. NATIONALLY CORN PLANTING IS RUNNING AT NORMAL PACE AS WELL.

HOWEVER, SPRING WHEAT PLANTING IS AHEAD OF AVERAGE NATIONALLY AND WELL AHEAD IN STATES LIKE SOUTH DAKOTA, DESPITE SOME RAIN AND SNOW IN THE REGION DURING THE WEEK.

SUGARBEET GROWERS ARE GETTING ANXIOUS TO GET OUT IN THE FIELD, SINCE EARLIER PLANTING WILL MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN THE YIELDS THEY GET THIS FALL.

BUT PLANTING TOO EARLY IN THE WRONG CONDITIONS CAN LEAD TO SEEDS NOT GERMINATING OR GETTING MUDDED INTO THE GROUND, SO GROWERS SHOULD WAIT FOR SOILS TO GET A LITTLE WARMER AND DRIER. BUT THE LAST TIME AMERICAN CRYSTAL GROWERS GOT STARTED PLANTING IN APRIL WAS 2017, AND THAT WAS THE LAST TIME THEY SAW 30 TON YIELDS AS WELL.

Nick Revier: EARLIER WE GET THEM PLANTED THE BETTER THE YIELD POTENTIAL. WHEN WE GET INTO FALL, IF WE GET THE RIGHT KIND OF CONDITIONS, ONE WEEK OF GROWTH CAN PUT ON A TON OF YIELD PER ACRE. SO EVERY DAY COUNTS WHEN WE'RE PRODUCING THESE THINGS.

REVIER SAYS IF PLANTING IS DELAYED TOO FAR INTO MAY THERE COULD BE ADDITIONAL DISEASE CHALLENGES.

THE OUTLOOK FOR WEED CONTROL THIS SPRING IS DEPENDANT ON HOW DRY IT IS IN YOUR AREA AND WHETHER YOU WERE ABLE TO DO ANY FALL CONTROL PROGRAM.

SDSU'S PAUL JOHNSON SAYS FOR FARMERS THAT RECEIVED MOISTURE IN THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS THAT WILL HELP ACTIVATE PRE EMERGENT HERBICIDES. HOWEVER, IF SOILS STAY DRY THOSE PRODUCTS MAY NOT BE AS EFFECTIVE.

Paul Johnson: If we get a spring where we put a pre-emergence on and we don't get moisture for a couple of weeks then we can get some weeds emerge and that pre-emergence isn't going to catch up to that.

JOHNSON SAYS HOWEVER THE DRY CONDITIONS DID ALLOW MANY FARMERS TO GET INTO PREVENTED PLANT ACRES LAST FALL TO CONTROL WEEDS, EITHER THROUGH TILLAGE OR WITH AN HERBICIDE APPLICATION. THIS WILL PROVIDE A GOOD START TO THEIR PROGRAM THIS SPRING.

WISCONSIN HAS LONG BEEN A LEADING DAIRY STATE, BUT SOUTH DAKOTA HAS ALSO PUT ITSELF ON THE MAP WITH ITS STRONG GROWTH. PRODUCERS HAVE NEARLY DOUBLED COW NUMBERS TO 141,000 AND MILK PRODUCTION TO OVER 3.1 BILLION POUNDS. THAT'S ATTRACTED PROCESSING GROWTH IN THE I-29 CORRIDOR, AND THERE'S TALK OF ANOTHER NEW FACILITY BEING ANNOUNCED SOON.

South Dakota has continually led the nation in milk production growth the last few years, making it the hot spot for dairying.

Jason Mischel: South Dakota has grown 35% in milk production the last three years, that gets noticed on a national stage.

That trend wasn't always true. Cow numbers dwindled in the late 1990s, threatening the processing sector.

Lynn Boadwine: And some of us recognized that if we don't have a processor we won't have a milk cow here.

So, they focused on increasing production and recruiting dairies to retain existing processors and actually attracted new plants like Bel Brands to Brookings.

Boadwine: So we worked hard to have , you know, an environment where we could get new processors.

However, growing the dairy industry is a continual chicken and egg scenario between producers and processors.

Mischel: Quite honestly I would say we need more processing next. We are at a point where the plants are pretty full in this region.

He says he wouldn't be surprised to see a new processor but says building new or even expanding must be carefully planned. New plants can cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mischel: The investments that happen in stainless steel at the processing level, they're so big you have to time the milk to come along with them.

However, past history shows South Dakota dairy producers have always stepped up.

Post: We're capable of expanding our operations and growing the number of cows to fill that demand.

Plus, he says they continue to attract new dairies to the state with the business friendly climate.

Post: With our ability to grow corn, grow alfalfa and all the raw ingredients needed to feed that dairy cow. It just makes a very efficient place to do that.

So he thinks South Dakota will continue to be a dairy hot spot for the foreseeable future.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, BRINGING VACCINES TO CRITICAL WORKERS, TO KEEP THE FOOD CHAIN GOING.

FOOD PROCESSING WAS HIT HARD BY THE PANDEMIC A YEAR AGO. SOME PLANTS HAD LARGE OUTBREAKS, AND THE SUPPLY CHAIN WAS DISRUPTED, CAUSING SOME FOOD SHORTAGES.

BUT THINGS ARE RETURNING TO NORMAL, THANKS IN PART TO VACCINES. NOAH FISH REPORTS ON A MASS VACCINE EFFORT AT ONE SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA CEREAL PLANT.

THIS VACCINE CLINIC AT THE POST PLANT IN NORTHFIELD WAS PART OF THE "ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES, MINNESOTA" CAMPAIGN. GOVERNOR TIM WALZ LAUNCHED IT THIS SPRING, TO GET VACCINES TO WORKERS IN CRITICAL INDUSTRIES.

Thom Petersen: : FOOD PROCESSING AND FOOD PRODUCTION WERE CRITICAL SECTORS RIGHT AWAY IN AGRICULTURE. TO BE ABLE TO BE A YEAR LATER AND BE VACCINATING IT'S REALLY AMAZING, AND IT'S GREAT TO SEE THE EFFORTS LIKE WE HAVE HERE TODAY TO KEEP OUR WORKERS SAFE.

ABOUT 450 PEOPLE, OF THE 700 POST EMPLOYEES IN NORTHFIELD GOT THEIR VACCINES DURING THE TWO-PART PROGRAM. THE COMPANY WAS ABLE TO HOST THE POP UPS UNDER DIRECTION FROM LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS. THE RICE COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR SAYS IT WAS CRUCIAL TO PRIORITIZE VACCINES FOR AG WORKERS.

Deb Purfeerst: WE KNOW THAT THE AG INDUSTRY IS VERY CRITICAL IN MINNESOTA AND WE ALSO KNEW THAT OUR FRONTLINE WORKERS HAVE BEEN WORKING ALL ALONG, COMING TO WORK ELBOW TO ELBOW WITH CO-WORKERS AND WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY WERE PROTECTED.

POST EMPLOYEE DUSTIN ALLEN IS GRATEFUL FOR HIS CHANCE TO GET THE SHOT, RIGHT AT WORK.

Dustin Allen: I'M REALLY EXCITED. I'M READY FOR THINGS TO GO BACK TO NORMAL, AND KIND OF FEEL LIKE I'M DOING MY PART TO GET THERE.

IN NORTHFIELD, MINNESOTA, THIS IS NOAH FISH FOR AGWEEK.

MINNESOTA RANKS IN THE TOP TEN STATES FOR VACCINE ROLLOUT, THANKS IN PART TO EFFORTS LIKE THIS.

MORE THAN A YEAR AFTER THE SMITHFIELD PORK PLANT CLOSED DUE TO COVID, THE FACILITY AND PROCESSING INDUSTRY ARE BEING CRITICIZED BY A SIOUX FALLS NEWSPAPER FOR NOT DOING ENOUGH TO PROTECT WORKERS OR FOOD SAFETY.

COVID-19 AMONG WORKERS IN VARIOUS MEAT PACKING FACILITIES IN THE NATION CREATED A SUPPLY CHAIN MELTDOWN THAT DEVASTATED PRODUCERS AND THE ECONOMY.

PORK OFFICIALS SAY THE MEAT PROCESSING INDUSTRY SPENT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT AND RETROFIT PLANTS WITH MECHANISMS TO KEEP WORKERS SAFE AND HEALTHY.

Glenn Muller: And its just a tremendous amount of new technology that's gone in and new safety protections for the employees, the masks, they're wearing face shields. They're doing everything they can to keep these employees safe.

THE TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF SEVERAL MEAT PROCESSORS IN THE REGION BACKED UP NOT JUST HOGS, BUT CATTLE AND POULTRY. THIS RESULTED IN THE EUTHANIZATION OF THOUSANDS OF ANIMALS WHICH HURT PRODUCERS AND ULTIMATELY CONSUMERS.

HOG PRODUCTION IS MOSTLY DONE IN MODERN CONFINEMENT THESE DAYS, BUT IN THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK COVER STORY, MIKKEL PATES FOUND ONE FAMILY THAT'S STILL DOING IT OUTDOORS.

Mikkel Pates: MICHELLE, THESE FOLKS IN WESTERN SOUTH DAKOTA ARE RAISING PIGS THE OLD FASHIONED WAY.

Dolan Worth: MOST OF THE PEOPLE STOP ALONG THE ROAD AND TAKE PICTURES, AND I'M WORRIED TO DEATH THAT SOMEBODY'S GOING TO GET HIT SOMEDAY DOING THAT.

WHAT PASSERS-BY FIND SO INTERESTING IS THE SIGHT OF SCORES OF FARROWING HUTS, SPREAD ACROSS SIXTY ACRES OF PASTURE. DOLAN WORTH AND HIS SON, BART, RAISE PIGS OUTDOORS, YEAR-ROUND. IT STARTS WITH FARROWING.

Dolan Worth: WE SET THE HOUSES OUT IN THE SPRING, AND WE MOVE THEM EVERY TIME BEFORE WE FARROW IN THEM. SO THEY DON'T HAVE SO MUCH CHANCE OF DISEASES. MOST OF THE TIME THEY'LL JUST GO AND FIND THEIR HOUSE, MAKE THEIR NEST IN THERE.

THE HOUSES GIVE THEM SHELTER FROM BAD WEATHER, AND THE FREEDOM TO ROAM AS THEY CHOOSE. THIS STYLE OF PRODUCTION WAS COMMON IN THIS AREA IN THE 1970s AND 1980s. BUT MOST OF IT ENDED IN THE 1990s, IN FAVOR OF LARGER, MORE CONCENTRATED CONFINEMENT OPERATIONS, AND THE LAND BECAME MORE VALUABLE FOR CROPPING. DOLAN WORTH REMEMBERS THE EARLY DAYS, WHEN MANY PRODUCERS FROM OUT HERE HAULED PIGS TO A SALE BARN IN SIOUX FALLS, THEY LIKED THOSE OUTSIDE PIGS.

Dolan Worth: THEY CAN TAKE THEM AND THEY CAN FEED THEM OUTSIDE OR ELSE THEY CAN TAKE THEM AND PUT THEM BACK IN THEIR BARNS WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS. THEY JUST FOUND IS WAS A LOT EASIER GOING IN THE BARN INSTEAD OF GOING OUT WITH THEM.

IN ADDITION TO THE FARROW-TO-FINISH OUTDOOR PIG OPERATION, WORTH IS PART OF A CROPPING AND CATTLE PARTNERSHIP WITH HIS BROTHERS DANNY AND DALE. THE WORTHS SAY THAT THIS STYLE OF RAISING HOGS IS LABOR INTENSIVE BUT LOWER IN CAPITAL COSTS, AND THEY BELIEVE IT RESULTS IN A HIGH-QUALITY PRODUCT THAT THEIR CUSTOMERS WILL CONTINUE TO APPRECIATE FOR SOME TIME.

Bart Worth: THEY LIKE OUTDOOR PIGS, AND THEY WANT THEM. SO IT WOULD BE HARD TO JUST QUIT ALTOGETHER.

Mikkel Pates: IF YOU LIKE YOUR PORK RAISED THE OLD FASHIONED WAY, THEY STILL DO IT HERE. FOR AGWEEK, THIS IS MIKKEL PATES AT GETTYSBURG, SOUTH DAKOTA.

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

AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, TWO MINNESOTA DOCTORS ADD RAISING SHEEP TO THEIR BUSY LIVES.

AND LATER, HOW A NORTH DAKOTA AG EQUIPMENT COMPANY THRIVES IN A SMALL, RURAL TOWN.

ANOTHER COLD WEEK IN THE REGION KEPT MANY ROW CROP FARMERS OUT OF THE FIELD, WHEN WILL GET A WARM UP?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

A YOUNG MINNESOTA FAMILY IS PUTTING THEIR OLD DAIRY BARN BACK TO WORK, BUT INSTEAD OF COWS, IT NOW HOUSES SHEEP. EMILY BEAL HAS MORE ON WHY DOCTORS PAUL AND JOSIE SYVERSON DECIDED TO GO BACK INTO LIVESTOCK, EVEN THOUGH THEY BOTH HAVE BUSY CAREERS.

THE SYVERSONS HAVE FARMED THIS WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA LAND SINCE 1894, AND PAUL IS THE FIFTH GENERATION ON IT. THE SYVERSON FAMILY ALSO RAISES 1200 ACRES OF CORN AND SOYBEANS. PAUL'S DAD SOLD OFF THE DAIRY COWS IN 2003, AND AFTER THAT, HE AND PAUL PARTNERED ON HOLSTEIN STEERS. THEN RECENTLY PAUL AND HIS WIFE JOSIE DECIDED TO ADD SHEEP, IN WHAT HAD BEEN THE DAIRY BARN.

Paul Syverson: WE WANTED SOMETHING THAT THE KIDS COULD SEE MOMS AND BABIES AND LEARN A LITTLE MORE ABOUT LIFE THAN WE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE JUST FEEDING STEERS, AND SO WE STARTED WITH SHEEP BECAUSE THEY WERE SMALL.

THEY HAVE ABOUT 150 SHEEP, BUT THAT'S NOT ALL. IN ADDITION TO THE FARM, ANIMALS, AND RAISING THREE YOUNG CHILDREN, SYVERSON'S FULL TIME JOB IS A VETERINARIAN, AND HIS WIFE JOSIE IS A FAMILY PRACTICE DOCTOR. SO ALTHOUGH THEY'RE BUSY, THEY ENJOY THE CHANGE OF SCENE AT HOME.

Paul Syverson: I FEEL LIKE I'VE GOT TO BE PRODUCTIVE. AND SO IT'S NICE TO HAVE SOMETHING TO DO AND GET OUTSIDE. NONE OF US SIT AROUND VERY GOOD, SO IT'S NICE TO HAVE A TASK.

JOSIE DIDN'T GROW UP ON A FARM, BUT SHE ENJOYS HELPING OUT, AND SHARING HER OWN IDEAS.

Josie Syverson: I JUST LOVE THE OUTLET OF GETTING OUTSIDE TO DO CHORES AND BAIL HAY AND BUILD FENCE. THINGS THAT I HAD NEVER DONE PRIOR TO BEING MARRIED TO PAUL.

IN ADDITION TO BEING A GREAT LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR THEIR OWN KIDS, THEY WELCOME VISITORS AS WELL.

Paul Syverson: A LOT OF PEOPLE FROM TOWN WANT TO SEE BABY LAMBS. THEY CAN COME SEE WHAT A REAL WORKING FARM LOOKS LIKE. FOR SOME OF THESE KIDS IT'S REAL EYE-OPENING.

SO DESPITE THE BUSY SCHEDULE, THE SYVERSONS SAY THEY WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY.

IN CLONTARF, MINNESOTA,THIS IS EMILY BEAL FOR AGWEEK.

THE SYVERSONS SELL THEIR LAMBS FOR MEAT, THROUGH DAKOTA WOOL AND LAMB CO-OP.

LOCAL BUSINESSES ARE THE LIFEBLOOD OF ANY COMMUNITY. BUT THERE ARE SOME CHALLENGES TO BEING SUCCESSFUL IN A SMALL TOWN, INCLUDING FINDING ENOUGH EMPLOYEES.

SHEYENNE TOOLING AND MANUFACTURING OF COOPERSTOWN, NORTH DAKOTA, MAKES AN ARRAY OF AG PRODUCTS, INCLUDING DITCHERS, AUGERS, AND ATTACHMENTS.

IT EMPLOYS JUST OVER 60 PEOPLE, MAKING IT THE SECOND-LARGEST EMPLOYER IN COOPERSTOWN.

OWNER TIM EGGERT SAYS THEIR WORKERS ENJOY BEING PART OF THE COMMUNITY.

Tim Eggert: FROM A BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE, THESE SMALL COMMUNITIES SEEM TO HAVE SUCH A SPECIAL NICHE AROUND WORK ETHIC AND PEOPLE THAT HAVE PRIDE AND CARE COMING TO WORK. WE REALLY ENJOY IT HERE.

EGGERT SAYS BUSINESS SLOWED DOWN FOR A FEW MONTHS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC, BUT IT HAS MORE THAN COME BACK TO PREVIOUS LEVELS.

STILL AHEAD, SOME MINNESOTA FFA STUDENTS EARN HIGH HONORS.

THE 92ND MINNESOTA STATE FFA CONVENTION WAS HELD THIS WEEK AND WAS A MIX OF VIRTUAL SESSIONS, LIVE RECOGNITION, AND INTERACTIVE STATE COMPETITION FINALS.

THE LIVE RECOGNITION INCLUDED THE STATE FFA OFFICERS SURPRISING MAJOR AWARD WINNERS, LIKE STATE STAR IN AGRISCIENCE BRADEN GREIBROK OF THE AUSTIN FFA CHAPTER. HE GREW UP ON A FAMILY FARM AND HIS SUPERVISED AGRICULTURE EXPERIENCE PROJECT INVOLVES USING FARM DATA SCIENCE PROGRAMS TO BE PROFITABLE ON THE FARM.

Braden Greibrok: I PLAN ON FARMING IN MY FUTURE, SO WHEN I CAN START NOW AND GAIN MY INFORMATION I'LL BE ABLE TO BE MORE PROFITABLE IN THE FUTURE.

HE WAS CHOSEN FROM THE 264 HIGH SCHOOL AG EDUCATION STUDENTS THAT RECEIVED THE STATE FFA DEGREE THIS YEAR.

THE CONVENTION ALSO INCLUDED IN PERSON CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES FOR CHAPTERS ACROSS THE STATE.

THANKS FOR JOINING US FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF AG WEEK TV.

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