Coming up on AgweekTV, we will discuss grain prices hitting a multi-year high as planters finally get rolling in the western corn belt. We will take a look at the Transportation Secretary touting about the rural benefits of the administration's infrastructure package. Lastly, we see how one-time COVID relief funds many major ag projects in the region.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV...

GRAIN PRICES HIT MULTI-YEAR HIGHS AS PLANTERS FINALLY GET ROLLING IN THE WESTERN CORN BELT.

THE TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY TOUTS THE RURAL BENEFITS OF THE ADMINISTRATION'S INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE.

AND ONE-TIME COVID RELIEF FUNDS MANY MAJOR AG PROJECTS IN THE REGION.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M MICHELLE ROOK.

OLD CROP GRAIN PRICES HIT SEVEN TO EIGHT AND A HALF YEAR YEAR HIGHS THIS WEEK AS END USERS SCRAMBLED TO SECURE PRODUCT AMID TIGHT SUPPLIES.

BOTH ETHANOL PLANTS AND SOYBEAN PROCESSORS HAVE BEEN TRYING TO KEEP CORN AND SOYBEANS OUT OF THE EXPORT MARKET BY PUSHING CASH BASIS LEVELS AND BIDS TO HISTORICALLY HIGH LEVELS. THERE IS GROWING CONCERN ABOUT SPOT SHORTAGES FOR PLANTS AS WE MOVE INTO SUMMER.

Mark Korth: That's why they're bidding up for it now is to try to contract it as far ahead as they can and to be able to stay producing as long as they can.

Kirk Leeds: We're not rationing soybeans at this point we continue to crush, we continue to sell meal and oil. I think its possible we're gonna see some processors shut down for maybe a bit longer for their annual repair and maintenance.

THE STRONG GLOBAL DEMAND FOR VEGETABLE OIL HAS BOOSTED SOYBEAN PROCESSOR PROFITS. ADM REPORTED FIRST QUARTER NET EARNINGS WERE UP 76-PERCENT DUE TO RECORD MARGINS IN ITS SOYBEAN PROCESSING BUSINESS, PLUS ETHANOL OPERATIONS AND PROFITS HAVE ALSO TURNED AROUND.

COLD TEMPERATURES MOST OF APRIL KEPT FARMERS OUT OF THE FIELD IN THE REGION. IN NEBRASKA CORN PLANTING WAS AT JUST 6-PERCENT ON APRIL 25 COMPARED TO 15-PERCENT NORMALLY.

HOWEVER, PLANTERS FINALLY STARTED TO ROLL THIS WEEK IN THE NORTHEAST PART OF THE STATE. JIM MILLER SAYS THEY WAITED BECAUSE THE SOIL TEMPERATURES JUST DIDN'T WARM ABOVE 50-DEGREES AND LOWS EVEN DROPPED TO THE MID-20S LAST WEEK. THAT DASHED HOPES FOR AN EARLY PLANTING SEASON, BUT MILLER SAYS THEY'RE STILL IN A FAVORABLE PLANTING WINDOW.

Jim Miller: This is about the time that we normally start. So, we don't feel like we're behind the eight ball because we're getting a slow start. We're about on our normal pace I would say.

MIKE KORTH SAYS THE FIELD CONDITIONS ARE NEARLY IDEAL AND THERE'S GOOD TOPSOIL MOISTURE IN MOST OF NORTHEAST NEBRASKA TO GET THE CROP EMERGED. HOWEVER, THERE'S NO SUBSOIL RESERVE.

Mike Korth: It's a big concern, I mean if we don't get timely rains this area will suffer bad cuz we are dry. I mean we've had a few itty bitty rains here and there but they just haven't amounted to enough. We have, our subsoil is totally depleted.

KORTH'S FARM IS ABOUT 50-PERCENT IRRIGATED AND HE'S STILL OPTIMISTIC THAT WITH TIMELY RAINS THE DRYLAND FIELDS COULD ACHIEVE SOME GOOD YIELDS.

IN SOUTH DAKOTA FARMERS ONLY HAD 4-PERCENT OF THE CORN AND ONE-PERCENT OF THE SOYBEANS PLANTED AS OF LAST WEEKEND;

HOWEVER, BY WEDNESDAY PROGRESS WAS PICKING UP AT ZANE WILLIAM'S FARM IN SOUTHEAST SOUTH DAKOTA. HE SAYS THEY NORMALLY START PLANTING IN LATE APRIL, EARLY MAY. THEY ARE IN AN AREA THAT WAS TOO WET TO PLANT IN 2019, BUT THIS YEAR THE FIELDS ARE MUCH DRIER ALLOWING FOR QUICK PLANTING. HE SAYS THE CROP WILL EMERGE QUICKLY, BUT WON'T HAVE MUCH SUBSOIL MOISTURE TO GO ON AFTER THE FLASH DROUGHT LAST SUMMER AND WITH VERY LITTLE WINTER PRECIPITATION.

I don't think we're going to build our profile up of our soil this year, but if we can just get timely rains that's really all we need. So you're still optimistic about normal yields? Absolutely, absolutely.

WHILE THE DROUGHT MONITOR SHOWS MUCH OF SOUTH DAKOTA IS IN EXTREME DROUGHT, HE SAYS ITS TOO EARLY TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT A REPEAT OF THE DROUGHT OF 2012.

In 2012 on actually May 5 we started cutting alfalfa, and this year maybe June 5. So no I think we're going to have a better year than 2012.

HE SAYS IF THE HISTORICALLY HIGH GRAIN PRICES LAST IT WILL MAKE IT A PROFITABLE CROP YEAR FOR PRODUCERS. HOWEVER, HE'S ALSO FEEDING HIGH PRICED CORN TO HIS CATTLE.

PRESIDENT BIDEN ROLLED OUT HIS PLAN FOR THE ECONOMY THIS WEEK, BUT TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY PETE BUTTIGIEG IS TAKING A LEAD IN MAKING THE CASE FOR THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION'S INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE IN RURAL AMERICA.

IN AN AGRI-PULSE INTERVIEW, BUTTIGIEG EMPHASIZED THE AMERICAN JOBS PLAN INCLUDES $621 BILLION OF INVESTMENTS IN INFRASTRUCTURE TO HELP AMERICAN FARMERS GET THEIR PRODUCTS TO MARKET. WHICH IS UNPRECEDENTED. HE SAYS THAT INCLUDES $17 BILLION FOR INLAND WATERWAY CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR.

Pete Buttigieg: You know we have an enormous backlog, including in ports. We've got to do more to prepare these ports for the future and that $17 billion in support really represents an investment of a different kind than what we've seen up until now.

BIOFUELS GROUPS HAVE BEEN CRITICAL BECAUSE THE PLAN INCLUDES $174 BILLION FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE INFRASTRUCTURE, BUT FEW DOLLARS FOR RENEWABLE FUELS.

This provision definitely supports biofuels in terms of things like extending blenders tax credit, looking at how biofuels could be part of the solution that perhaps for aviation, making sure we're supporting R and D in a healthy mix of advanced renewables.

BUTTIGIEG SAYS WITH THE GLOBAL PUSH FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES, THE U.S. NEEDS TO POSITION ITSELF AS A LEADER IN ENERGY. AND MANUFACTURING THESE AUTOS IS PART OF THAT. HE SAYS IF THE U.S. DOESN'T LEAD IN ENERGY, COUNTRIES LIKE CHINA WILL.

PRESIDENT BIDEN UNVEILED HIS $1.8 TRILLION AMERICAN FAMILIES PLAN ON WEDNESDAY. IT INCLUDED NEW SPENDING MEASURES TO BE FUNDED IN PART BY HIGHER TAXES.

THE ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES RAISING THE TOP INCOME-TAX RATE TO 39.6-PERCENT FROM 37. PLUS DOUBLING LONG-TERM CAPITAL GAINS TAXES TO 43.4-PERCENT ON HOUSEHOLDS MAKING OVER $1 MILLION.

THE PLAN WOULD PUT A $1 MILLION CAP ON ASSETS THAT COULD RECEIVE STEPPED-UP BASIS, BUT FAMILY BUSINESSES LIKE FARMS WOULD BE EXEMPTED. THE PLAN ALSO LIMITS SECTION 1031 REAL ESTATE EXCHANGES TO $500,000.

THERE'S GOOD NEWS ON THE REGULATORY FRONT.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR MICHAEL REGAN HAS PLEDGED NOT TO RETURN TO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S WATERS OF THE U.S. RULE. AT A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING, REGAN SAID THE AGENCY PLANS TO HAVE A STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT PROCESS WITH AG AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS TO CRAFT THE WOTUS RULE IN A BALANCED WAY.

MORE THAN $13.5 BILLION HAS BEEN PAID OUT TO FARMERS THROUGH THE CFAP 2.0 PROGRAM.

IOWA TOPS THE REGION AT $1.1 BILLION GOING TO MORE THAN 61,000 APPLICANTS, NEBRASKA FOLLOWED WITH PAYMENTS OF $849 MILLION. IN MINNESOTA, NEARLY 38,000 APPLICATIONS HAVE BEEN APPROVED TOTALING $822 MILLION, SOUTH DAKOTA FARMERS HAVE RECEIVED MORE THAN $533 MILLION AND NORTH DAKOTA OPERATIONS NEARLY $481 MILLION.

U.S. AG SECRETARY TOM VILSACK ANNOUNCED USDA IS OPENING ENROLLMENT IN THE CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM.

THE AGENCY PLANS TO TRY TO ATTRACT ANOTHER 4 MILLION ACRES THROUGH HIGHER PAYMENT RATES, NEW INCENTIVES AND A MORE TARGETED FOCUS ON THE PROGRAM'S ROLE IN CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION.

IN 2021 CRP IS CAPPED AT 25 MILLION, WITH 20.8 MILLION ACRES CURRENTLY ENROLLED. THERE IS SKEPTICISM ABOUT BEING ABLE TO ATTRACT ADDITIONAL SIGNUPS WITH THE HIGH COMMODITY PRICES.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, NORTH DAKOTA LAWMAKERS HOPE THEY'VE FINALLY SOLVED A LONGSTANDING DISPUTE BETWEEN HUNTERS AND LANDOWNERS... WITH THE HELP OF TECHNOLOGY.

STATES AND STATE LEGISLATURES IN THE REGION ARE FUNDING A VARIETY OF PROJECTS THAT WILL BENEFIT AGRICULTURE. ITS THANKS TO A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF ONE-TIME SPENDING COMING FROM FEDERAL COVID RELIEF MONEY AND PREVIOUS SAVINGS. IT'S OUR AGWEEK COVER STORY.

IN SOUTH DAKOTA, THE 2021 LEGISLATURE PASSED AN HISTORIC $5.1 BILLION BUDGET FOR NEXT FISCAL YEAR, INCLUDING $6 MILLION FOR INFRASTRUCTURE. OTHER PROJECTS INCLUDED THE $20 MILLION DAKOTA EVENTS COMPLEX AT THE SOUTH DAKOTA STATE FAIR, AND GRANT FUNDING FOR A $20 MILLION BIOPRODUCTS FACILITY AT RESEARCH PARK IN BROOKINGS

Richard Vasgaard: They will be looking at some of the by-products that come from our feeds, whether its corn, soybeans and try to find new uses for them, whether its plastics whether its adhesives.

PLUS, THERE'S FUNDING FOR A NEW $15 MILLION DAIRY RESEARCH AND EXTENSION FARM AT SDSU.

Marv Post: Now there's $7.5 million of general fund dollars that can be used for the building and construction of a new dairy and we'll come along side it with another $7.5 million of industry dollars and be able to build a state of the art dairy production facility.

LEGISLATORS ALSO APPROVED $100 MILLION TO EXPAND HIGH-SPEED BROADBAND.

THIS WAS ALSO A BIG WEEK FOR AG FUNDING IN THE NORTH DAKOTA LEGISLATURE. BOTH THE NORTH DAKOTA AG DEPARTMENT AND NDSU EXTENSION BUDGETS PASSED, WITH A NUMBER OF CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AND OTHER PROJECTS GETTING A BOOST.

THE FUNDING FOR EXTENSION INCLUDES IMPROVEMENTS AT FACILITIES IN STREETER, CARRINGTON AND LANGDON.

SENATOR TERRY WANZEK, WHO SERVES ON THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE, SAYS MORE PROJECTS MAY BE FUNDED IF MONEY ALLOWS. HE SAYS ALTHOUGH THEY CONSIDERED CUTS, IN THE END HE FEELS LAWMAKERS MADE THE AG BUDGETS WHOLE.

Sen.Terry Wanzek: EVERYBODY SEEMS TO BE VERY PLEASED. WE LOOK AT IT AS AN INVESTMENT INSTEAD OF AN EXPENDITURE. YOU KNOW, YOU'RE PROVIDING THE NECESSARY TOOLS FOR OUR STATE'S FARMERS AND RANCHERS SO THEY CAN MAXIMIZE PRODUCTION AND HELP MAKE THE MORE SUCCESSFUL AND PROFITABLE.

LAWMAKERS ALSO APPROVED FUNDING AND LOAN BUY-DOWN PROGRAMS FOR VALUE-ADDED AG PROJECTS IN THE STATE.

AFTER DECADES OF TRYING TO FIND COMMON GROUND BETWEEN LANDOWNERS AND HUNTERS, THE NORTH DAKOTA LEGISLATURE HAS UPDATED HUNTING ACCESS AND CRIMINAL TRESPASSING LAWS.

UNDER STATE LAW, ALL LAND HAS BEEN CONSIDERED OPEN TO ENTER FOR ANY PURPOSE, UNLESS POSTED. LANDOWNERS HAVE TRIED FOR YEARS TO MAKE ALL LAND CONSIDERED CLOSED WITHOUT PERMISSION. CONFLICTS WITH HUNTERS WHO DISREGARD SIGNS HAS BEEN A COMMON COMPLAINT.

THE NEW LAW REMOVES AMBIGUITY ABOUT WHO CAN ENTER LAND ENCLOSED WITH WELL-MAINTAINED FENCES, AND ALLOWS FOR ELECTRONIC OR PHYSICAL POSTING OF LAND FOR NO TRESPASSING.

IT MAKES NORTH DAKOTA THE FIRST STATE IN THE NATION TO ALLOW ELECTRONIC POSTING OF PRIVATE LAND.

Sen. Robert Erbele: FINALLY BRINGING SOME RESOLUTION TO THE LANDOWNER-SPORTSMAN CONFLICT THAT WE'VE BEEN WORKING ON FOR ALL TWENTY YEARS THAT I'VE BEEN HERE WE'VE BEEN WORKING ON IT. SO FINALLY I THINK WE'VE BRIDGED THE GAP AND ARE STARTING TO HEAL THE GAP BETWEEN THOSE TWO ORGANIZATIONS.

THE NEW LAW TAKES EFFECT AUGUST 1ST.

YOU CAN READ A MORE COMPLETE LEGISLATIVE WRAP UP IN THE NEXT AGWEEK MAGAZINE, OR AT AGWEEK.COM.

AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, DEMAND FOR DAIRY PRODUCTS REMAINS HIGH, AFTER GETTING A BOOST FROM THE PANDEMIC.

AND LATER, A NORTH DAKOTA COLLEGE IS SHOWING OFF ITS NEW AGRIBUSINESS TO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS.

SO THE WEATHER HAS TURNED MORE COOPERATIVE FOR PLANTING EFFORTS, BUT HAS BROUGHT LITTLE DROUGHT RELIEF. IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR A CHANGE IN TREND?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

DOMESTIC DEMAND FOR DAIRY PRODUCTS CONTINUES TO INCREASE, AFTER A SURGE IN SALES THIS LAST YEAR TIED TO COVID-19 AND CONTINUED GROWTH AS THE U.S. CONTINUES TO RECOVER FROM THE PANDEMIC.

THE DAIRY PRODUCT CONSUMPTION SURGE STARTED A YEAR AGO WITH RESTAURANTS SHUT DOWN SALES OF TAKE OUT FOODS LIKE PIZZA DRIVING UP CHEESE SALES. WITH MORE CONSUMERS EATING AT HOME AND LEARNING TO COOK AND BAKE, OTHER DAIRY PRODUCTS ALSO SAW AN UPTICK IN DEMAND AND THAT TREND HAS CONTINUED.

Molly Pelzer: We saw a bump in milk sales as well as butter sales because of the pandemic which were welcome. We know that consumers were eating more at home and so breakfast was a big boon for us as well as snacking and then we had our home baking going on which helped butter as well.

SHE SAYS THE MIDWEST DAIRY ASSOCIATION ALSO HAD SUCCESSFUL PROMOTIONS WITH RETAIL PARTNERS DURING THE PANDEMIC AND THEY'RE HOPING TO BUILD ON THAT POST-PANDEMIC. GLOBAL DEMAND FOR DAIRY HAS ALSO BEEN STRONG AND U.S. EXPORTS IN FEBRUARY SURGED WHILE DAIRY IMPORTS HAVE DROPPED TO MULTI-YEAR LOWS.

A FEDERAL JUDGE IS STILL CONSIDERING A MOTION TO DISMISS INDIGO AG'S LAWSUIT AGAINST A SOUTH DAKOTA GRAIN MARKETING COMPANY AND ITS OWNER.

INDIGO AG OF MEMPHIS AND BOSTON, DEALS IN CROP TECHNOLOGY, CARBON CREDITS AND GRAIN MARKETING. IT'S SUING GRAIN DEALER JEREMY FROST AND HIS FEARLESS GRAIN MARKETING COMPANY OF ONIDA, SOUTH DAKOTA .

INDIGO SAYS FROST OVERSTEPPED HIS BOUNDS AS AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR FOR FARMERS. HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE RECRUITING TO SELL GRAIN TO INDIGO, BUT INDIGO SAID HE COUNSELED FARMERS TO BREAK CONTRACTS AFTER HE'D LINKED THEM UP WITH INDIGO.

IN ADDITION TO THE LAWSUIT, THE SOUTH DAKOTA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION HAS ISSUED A CEASE AND DESIST AGAINST FROST ON TRADING GRAIN, AND HAS AUTHORIZED ITS LAWYERS TO MONITOR FROST TO MAKE SURE HE DOESN'T TRADE GRAIN WITHOUT A LICENSE, AND -- IF THEY THINK NECESSARY -- TO FILE FOR AN INJUNCTION AGAINST HIM.

Chris Nelson: IN THE AREA OF GRAIN BUYERS WE HAVE VERY SPECIFIC JURISDICTION RELATING TO LICENSING, BONDING, INSPECTION OF FINANCIAL RECORDS, BUT IT CERTAINLY DOES NOT EXTEND INTO RESOLVING CONTRACTUAL ISSUES BETWEEN GRAIN BUYERS AND GRAIN SELLERS.

IT'S STILL NOT CLEAR HOW MANY FARMERS ARE INCLUDED IN THE DISPUTE, OR HOW MUCH MONEY IS INVOLVED. IT'S THOUGHT TO BE AT LEAST IN THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.

STILL AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, WE'LL MEET NDSU'S VERY FIRST PRECISION AG GRADUATE.

AN NDSU STUDENT WILL SOON BE THE SCHOOL'S FIRST TO GRADUATE WITH A PRECISION AG DEGREE.

JUSTIN LEHMANN STUDIED PRECISION AG AT NORTH DAKOTA STATE COLLEGE OF SCIENCE FOR TWO YEARS BEFORE COMING TO NDSU, TO TAKE PART IN THE BRAND NEW PROGRAM.

HIS FAMILY FARMS AND RANCHES IN SOUTHEAST NORTH DAKOTA, AND HE SAYS HE'S ALWAYS LOVED WORKING WITH AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY, SO HE WAS HAPPY TO BE THE PROGRAM'S GUINEA PIG.

Justin Lehmann: MY PASSION FOR PRECISION AG KIND OF GREW AS I WENT INTO COLLEGE AND REALLY SAW ALL THESE TECHNOLOGIES AVAILABLE AND THEN THAT PASSION GREW AS I WENT FORTH INTO THE PRECISION AG PROGRAM AND GOT MY INTERNSHIPS AND SAW ALL THIS TECHNOLOGY AND ALL THESE AWESOME THINGS HAPPENING IN THE REAL WORLD.

AFTER GRADUATING, LEHMANN WILL BE PUTTING HIS DEGREE TO WORK, AS INFINITY AG'S AGRONOMY MANAGER.

MAYVILLE STATE LAUNCHED A NEW AGRIBUSINESS DEGREE THIS YEAR...

SO THE SCHOOL HAS BEEN HOSTING AGRIBUSINESS ACTIVITY DAYS, TO SHOW HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ALL THE OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO THEM IN THE INDUSTRY.\u0009

THE NEW PROGRAM WILL HIGHLIGHT THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY AND TRENDS IN AN EVER-EVOLVING INDUSTRY, INCLUDING DRONES.

Ted Stoa: SO WE'RE NOT ONLY PREPARING THESE STUDENTS TO CONTINUE THE FARM AND THE RANCH PRODUCTION, BUT WE'RE ALSO TRAINING THEM AND GIVING THEM THE EDUCATION THAT SUPPORTS OTHER AREAS OF BUSINESSES THAT ARE CLOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH AGRICULTURE.

Isaak McHugo: IT'S DEFINITELY OPENED MY EYES UP TO ALL THE OPTIONS IN AGRIBUSINESS AND A LOT OF THE DIFFERENT SIDES OF IT. MORE THAN JUST FARMING AND MORE THAN JUST BUSINESS, IT'S COLLABORATION OF BOTH OF THEM TOGETHER.

THIS WAS MAYVILLE STATE'S THIRD AGRIBUSINESS ACTIVITY DAY SO FAR THIS YEAR.

THANKS FOR WATCHING 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.