Coming up on AgweekTV, we will see farm groups unite to get action on the broken cattle market. We will discuss a welcome expansion to insurance coverage for specialty crops, like buckwheat. We will visit the gridiron battle of the burgers at the Sioux Falls Storm Hall of Fame Game. Finally, we will take you to a row crop farm that's transitioned to a retail meat center and food truck business.



COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV

FARM GROUPS UNITE TO GET ACTION ON THE BROKEN CATTLE MARKET.

IT'S A WELCOME EXPANSION TO INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR SPECIALTY CROPS LIKE BUCKWHEAT.

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Michelle: It was the gridiron battle of the burgers here at the Sioux Falls Storm Hall of Fame Game.

AND WE TAKE YOU TO A ROW CROP FARM THAT'S TRANSITIONED TO A RETAIL MEAT CENTER AND FOOD TRUCK BUSINESS.

WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M MICHELLE ROOK.

MAJOR FARM GROUPS ARE CALLING FOR ACTION TO ADDRESS THE BROKEN CATTLE MARKET. THEY'RE COMING OFF A HISTORICAL MEETING IN PHOENIX WHERE THEY UNIFIED TO ASK CONGRESS, THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND USDA TO FIX THE INEQUITY OF PACKERS MAKE RECORD HIGH PROFITS ON THE BACK OF STRONG BOXED BEEF PRICES, WHILE FEEDERS LOSE MONEY.

THE GROUP IDENTIFIED ISSUES WITH PACKER CONCENTRATION, PRICE TRANSPARENCY AND DISCOVERY, PACKERS AND STOCKYARDS ACT ENFORCEMENT, THE LEVEL OF CAPTIVE SUPPLY AND PACKER CAPACITY.

THEY WANT RENEWAL OF MANDATORY LIVESTOCK PRICE REPORTING WITH FORMULA BASE PRICES ADDED, CREATION OF A CONTRACT LIBRARY, AN INVESTIGATION REPORT FROM DOJ AND EXPANSION OF SMALLER PACKERS.

THIS WEEK, FARM STATE LAWMAKERS ALSO DEMANDED DOJ FINALIZE THEIR 18 MONTH INVESTIGATION ON PACKER MARKET MANIPULATION, PLUS HOLD HEARINGS IN CONGRESS. THIS COMES ON THE HEELS OF REINTRODUCTION OF THE 50-14 BILL, WHICH MANDATES A MINIMUM OF 50-PERCENT OF WEEKLY SLAUGHTER COME FROM NEGOTIATED CASH CATTLE. \u0009

HOWEVER, PRODUCERS SAY THE ACTION MAY BE TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE.

A year after the COVID meltdown, the cattle industry struggles to find a solution to their broken market.

Brett Kenzy: The whole industry right now is embroiled in the unbalanced leverage that the people who buy finished cattle wield over the independent cattle feeders in this country.

Producers say it's a result of anti-competitive practices and manipulation by the meat packing industry.

Mark Korth: The packer concentration is terrible.The packer margin is way too high again. We thought it was bad a year ago in the middle of COVID and now it's even worse. The packing industry is literally robbing the consumers and the producers.

Zane Williams: I'm so frustrated with the packer making $900 to $1000 and we can't squeeze $50 out of these fat cattle. I feel it's almost a legal robbery.

Producers say they have no leverage in the cash market with inadequate processing capacity, the packers use of captive supplies and high corn prices.

Williams: As long as we keep taking them cattle every day, trailer load after trailer load, they don't have to bid up.

That's why many support mandating the amount of negotiated cash packers have to buy weekly.

Korth: I think that would help. You know price discovery and negotiated trade would help the situation and I don't know how you regulate packer margins. I really don't know how you would do that.

They say another DOJ investigation is a waste of time and the Packers and Stockyards Act is not being enforced.

Korth: It never has been and I don't know if there is any hope that would be enforced or put some teeth into it because right now it just seems like the packers are avoiding it.

And without intervention they fear more producers will exit the cattle business and it will become vertically integrated just like pork and poultry.

U.S. RED MEAT EXPORTS ENDED FIRST QUARTER ON A HIGH NOTE, WITH BEEF AND PORK SALES FOR MARCH BOTH SETTING VALUE RECORDS.

PORK EXPORTS ALONE HIT $795 MILLION, BUT ALSO SET A NEW VOLUME RECORD AT NEARLY 295,000 METRIC TONS. THAT'S DESPITE CHINA SALES BEING DOWN YEAR OVER YEAR. ITS TIED TO RECORD SALES TO THE PHILIPPINES AND SEVERAL SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRIES.

PLUS, DEAN MEYER WITH USMEF SAYS THEY'VE SEEN STRONG GROWTH IN JAPAN AND MEXICO, DESPITE COVID.

Dean Meyer: The key to that is their online, e-marketing was so far advanced coming into this that they were able to just transform to that and continue to move our red meat products into their markets.

BEEF EXPORTS TOPPED $800 MILLION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MARCH, FUELED BY SOLID GROWTH IN SOUTH KOREA AND A SURGE IN EXPORTS TO CHINA. BEEF DEMAND ALSO REBOUNDED SIGNIFICANTLY IN MANY LATIN AMERICAN MARKETS.

FOR THE FIRST QUARTER BEEF EXPORTS PULLED EVEN WITH LAST YEARS VOLUME AND VALUE AT $2.12 BILLION.

TRADE OFFICIALS MET THIS WEEK FOR THE FIRST U.S.-MEXICO CANADA AGREEMENT FREE TRADE COMMISSION AND DISCUSSED IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES WITH USMCA.

MEXICO IS REJECTING U.S. GLYPHOSATE IMPORTS, PLUS THEY'VE PUT A HOLD ON BIOTECH APPROVALS.

THE U.S. IS ALSO UPSET WITH CANADA'S DAIRY TARIFF-RATE QUOTA SYSTEM AND NEARLY 70 DAIRY COMPANIES AND ASSOCIATIONS ARE URGING THE U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE TO INITIATE A DISPUTE SETTLEMENT CASE.

THE NATION'S LARGEST ETHANOL PRODUCER, POET, IS IN TALKS TO PURCHASE ALL ETHANOL ASSETS FROM FLINT HILLS RESOURCES, THE NATION'S FIFTH LARGEST PRODUCER.

FLINT HILLS OWNS SIX ETHANOL PLANTS, WITH FIVE IN IOWA AND ONE IN NEBRASKA, TOTALING 800 MILLION GALLONS OF PRODUCTION CAPACITY. THE COMPANY ALSO OWNS OIL REFINERIES WITH NEARLY 700-THOUSAND BARRELS OF DAILY PRODUCTION.

POET OWNS 27 PLANTS IN SEVEN STATES INCLUDING IOWA, MINNESOTA AND SOUTH DAKOTA WITH A PRODUCTION CAPACITY OF 2 BILLION GALLONS.

THE KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN RAILWAY BOARD OF DIRECTORS HAS ENDED ITS MERGER AGREEMENT WITH CANADIAN PACIFIC. THEY HAVE INSTEAD ACCEPTED AN OFFER TO BUY CANADIAN NATIONAL. CP AND KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN MADE A DEAL IN MARCH FOR $29 BILLION. THAT WAS FOLLOWED BY AN OFFER OF NEARLY $34 BILLION FROM CANADIAN NATIONAL.

Katie Pinke: COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, I'LL TAKE YOU TO A ROW CROP FARM THAT HAS TRANSITIONED TO A RETAIL MEAT CENTER AND FOOD TRUCK BUSINESS.

GROWERS OF A SMALL BUT IMPORTANT SPECIALTY CROP GOT SOME GOOD NEWS RECENTLY.

BUCKWHEAT WILL NOW BE ELIGIBLE FOR CROP INSURANCE IN MORE COUNTIES IN THE REGION. MIKKEL PATES HAS MORE IN THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK COVER STORY.

Mikkel: MINN-DAK GROWERS LIMITED OF GRAND FORKS IS THE NATION'S TOP BUCKWHEAT MILLER, AND A MAJOR MUSTARD PROCESSOR. THE COMPANY CONTRACTS FARMER TO GROW BOTH CROPS. IT HANDLES 15 MILLION POUNDS OF BUCKWHEAT AND 10 MILLION POUNDS OF MUSTARD A YEAR.

Jeremy Peterson: SQUEEZABLE MUSTARD CONDIMENTS FOR THE TABLE AND MEAT PACKAGING AND OUR BUCKWHEAT IS USED INTO THE BAKERIES.

MINN-DAK CO-OWNER AND VICE PRESIDENT JEREMY PETERSON SAYS THAT THEY COULD USE DOUBLE THE BUCKWHEAT ACRES, BUT A LACK OF INSURANCE HAD BEEN HOLDING FARMERS BACK FROM PLANTING MORE.

Jeremy Peterson: WE'D LIKE TO HAVE ANOTHER TEN THOUSAND ACRES FOR THIS YEAR'S GROWING, BECAUSE THE MARKET IS EXCELLENT FOR BUCKWHEAT RIGHT NOW.

BUCKWHEAT IS GLUTEN-FREE, SO IT'S BEEN GROWING IN POPULARITY OVER THE PAST DECADE. IT CAN BE GROUND INTO FLOUR AND USED IN BAKED GOODS OR CEREAL PRODUCTS, ALTHOUGH IT'S NOT REALLY A WHEAT.

Jeremy Peterson: BUCKWHEAT IS ACTUALLY A FRUIT. IT IS A PART OF THE RHUBARB FAMILY.

NOW, PETERSON HAS SOME GOOD NEWS THAT SHOULD ATTRACT MORE BUCKWHEAT GROWERS. USDA'S RISK MANAGEMENT AGENCY HAS ADDED THE CROP INTO MORE COUNTIES IN THE REGION, MAKING IT EASIER TO GET INSURANCE.

Jeremy Peterson: WE'D LIKE TO HAVE MORE COUNTIES IN MINNESOTA ALSO. WE'RE SEEING BIG INTEREST DOWN BY THE THE ALEXANDRIA AREA, SOUTHERN MINNESOTA, EVEN INTO IOWA WE'RE SEEING INTEREST.

Marvin Hatzenbuhler: BUCKWHEAT'S TREATED US PRETTY WELL OUT HERE.

MARVIN HATZENBUHLER HAS GROWN BUCKWHEAT AT HIS MANDAN, NORTH DAKOTA FARM, AND THE AREA 4 RESEARCH FARM, FOR 25 YEARS. HE'S HAD GOOD LUCK WITH IT OVERALL, BUT NOW HIS COUNTY HAS BEEN ADDED FOR INSURANCE, SO HE HOPE THAT THAT ATTRACTS MORE GROWERS.

Marvin Hatzenbuhler: THAT LOOKS PROMISING FOR THE PRODUCERS, YOU'D LIKE TO BE INSURED A LITTLE BIT FOR YOUR CROPS. I MEAN, I THINK IT'S A PRETTY GOOD CASH CROP.

PETERSON SAYS BUCKWHEAT IS DROUGHT RESISTANT, SO IT MIGHT BE A GOOD CROP FOR THIS YEAR. THE CROP INSURANCE DEADLINE IS JUNE 15 . IN GRAND FORKS, THIS IS MIKKEL PATES FOR AGWEEK.

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

DRY CONDITIONS AROUND THE REGION ARE PROMPTING SOME GROWERS TO TRY NEW CONSERVATION METHODS.

THE GUDAJTES FAMILY FARM IN NORTHEAST NORTH DAKOTA RAISES SUGARBEETS AND OTHER CROPS AND HAS BEEN SHORT ON MOISTURE THE LAST TWO YEARS. JAY GUDAJTES SAYS ONE OF THE THINGS THEY'VE BEEN DOING TO CONSERVE MOISTURE IS REDUCED TILLAGE.

SO LAST SPRING THEY INVESTED IN A VERTICAL, STRIP TILLAGE MACHINE.

HE SAYS THEY'RE EXTREMELY HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS AS FAR AS RETAINING MOISTURE, CREATING A SEED BED, AND FERTILIZATION.

Jay Gudajtes: SO WE'RE PRETTY EXCITED ABOUT IT, IT'S LOOKING GOOD. AND WE THINK THAT WE'RE ONTO SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO CATCH ON REALLY QUICKLY.

THE MACHINE THEY CHOSE IS CALLED THE "SOIL WARRIOR", MADE IN FAIRIBAULT, MINNESOTA. ALTHOUGH IT COST MORE THAN 400-THOUSAND DOLLARS, GUDAJTES SAYS IT'S ALREADY PAYING OFF.

A WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA FARM IS TAKING A NEW DIRECTION, IN AN EFFORT TO "BEEF UP" THEIR OPERATION. KATIE PINKE HAS MORE.

Katie Pinke: DITTERICH FAMILY FARMS STARTED IN THE LATE 1930S. IN 2006 DUANE AND JENNIFER DITTERICH RETURNED, LEAVING HIS USDA JOB TO START FARMING IN 2007.

Duwayne Ditterich: NONE OF MY AUNTS AND UNCLES FARM, AND AS A MATTER OF FACT, I'M THE ONLY COUSIN WHO FARMS, PROBABLY OUT OF 100 PEOPLE.

Katie Pinke: IN 2013, WITH ROW CROP PRICES DECLINING, DITTERICH FAMILY FARM TRANSITIONED TO BEEF, WITH ONLY FOUR HEAD.

Duwayne Ditterich: WE RAISE ABOUT 100 HEAD A YEAR OF FEEDER CATTLE, FINISH THEM OUT TO FATS, AND THEN WE HAVE ABOUT 40 COWS, AND WE'VE MOSTLY BECOME A HAY AND CATTLE FARM, WE'VE KIND OF GONE WAY FROM ROW CROPS.

THE DITTERICH’S SAY WHILE THE BEEF CATTLE STARTED OUT AS KIND OF A HOBBY, IT HAS TAKEN THEIR OPERATION IN A NEW DIRECTION. THEY STARTED EXPANDING THEIR HERD, AND IN 2017, THEY OPENED A SMALL STORE ON THE FARM, SELLING THEIR OWN BEEF DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS. ALTHOUGH JENNIFER WAS HESITANT AT FIRST, SHE'S ALL IN NOW.

Jennifer Ditterich: HE MAKES GOOD DECISIONS. AND YOU HAVEN'T HAD A CLINKER YET, SO I TOLD HIM TO GO FOR IT. AND YEAH, IT REALLY TOOK OFF AND TURNED INTO SOMETHING BIGGER THAN WE EXPECTED.

IN THE SUMMER, THE DITTERICH’S RUN A FOOD TRUCK SELLING THEIR BEEF PRODUCTS, AND SOON THEY WILL BE SUPPLYING THE NEARBY BLACKBOARD RESTAURANT.

Duwayne Ditterich: I ALWAYS THINK THE MORE TIMES THAT YOU CAN UTILIZE WHAT YOU HAVE OF YOUR OWN, THE MORE TIMES YOU USE IT THE BETTER OPPORTUNITY YOU HAVE TO TELL YOUR STORY, AND THEN YOU KNOW, TO HELP KEEP THE FARM SUCCESSFUL.

DUWAYNE AND JENNIFER DITTERICH HAVE SOME ADVICE FOR FARMERS CONSIDERING DIVERSIFICATION ON THEIR FARM.

Jennifer Ditterich: FIND A WAY TO SELL DIRECTLY TO YOU CONSUMER, SO THAT YOU HAVE MORE CONTROL OVER THE PRICES THAT YOU RECEIVE FOR YOUR PRODUCTS. AND IT HELPS YOU TO DEVELOP A RELATIONSHIP TOO, AND IT'S MUCH MORE SATISFYING.

NEAR VERGAS, MINNESOTA, THIS IS KATIE PINKE FOR AGWEEK.

JOIN US NEXT WEEK WHEN WE TAKE YOU TO THE BLACKBOARD RESTAURANT.

AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, WE'LL SEE WHY THINGS ARE BUZZING IN THIS MINNESOTA TOWN.

AND LATER, WE'LL SEE WHO WINS THE GRIDIRON BURGER BATTLE.

THE NORTHERN PART OF THE REGION GOT SOME MUCH NEEDED MOISTURE THIS WEEK, WILL THERE BE ANY FOLLOW UP?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

A SMALL MINNESOTA TOWN WAS BUZZING ONE A RECENT SATURDAY. MANN LAKE LIMITED'S ANNUAL "BEE DAY" ATTRACTED A STEADY STREAM OF CUSTOMERS, LIKE BEES TO HONEY. EMILY BEAL WAS THERE AND HAS MORE.

Ed Waggoner: WE'VE GOT HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE COMING IN TODAY TO PICK UP THOUSANDS OF PACKAGES OF BEES THAT THEY WILL TAKE HOME LATER TODAY AND INSTALL IN THEIR HIVES.

BEE DAY IS A BIG DAY AT MANN LAKE LIMITED IN HACKENSACK, MINNESOTA. THE BUSINESS IS A ONE-STOP SHOP FOR ANYTHING BEEKEEPERS NEED. AND ONCE A YEAR, THEY COME TO BUY BEES BY THE POUND. THE BEES ARE GROWN IN CALIFORNIA, BAGGED AND THEN RUSHED TO MINNESOTA.

ED Waggoner: SO A PACKAGE IS THREE POUNDS OF WORKER BEES, AND THEN ONE MATED QUEEN. SO FIGURE SOMEWHERE IN THAT WHAT, THAT TEN, ELEVEN, TWELVE THOUSAND BEES MAKES UP ABOUT THREE POUNDS.

THE PANDEMIC FUELED AN INCREASE IN BACKYARD GARDENING, WHICH ALSO SPURRED AN INTEREST IN HOME HIVES. BUT BEEKEEPING ISN'T NEW TO BRUCE DAHL. HIS DAD WAS A COMMERCIAL BEEKEEPER, SO BRUCE HAS WORKED WITH BEES FOR MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS. HE'S HAPPY TO SEE THE RENEWED INTEREST IN BEES.

Bruce Dahl: PEOPLE ARE VERY INTERESTED IN BEES, AND IT'S FUN FOR US TO SHARE THAT WITH OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

STEVE OLSON ALSO STARTED HELPING BRUCE'S DAD AS A TEENAGER, AND IS STILL AT IT WITH HIS FRIEND, ALTHOUGH STRICTLY AS A HOBBY NOW.

Steven Olson: WE'VE GOT AT PRESENT ABOUT FIVE HIVES. AND WE HAVE A BARREL SET UP WHERE WE HEAT THE HONEY, AND WE JAR IT, WE FILTER IT, ALL WITHIN A DAY OR TWO.

BY THE TIME BEE DAY WINDS DOWN, TWO THOUSAND PACKAGES OF BEES WILL BE ON THE WAY TO THEIR NEW HIVES. IN HACKENSACK, MINNESOTA, THIS IS EMILY BEAL FOR AGWEEK.

MANN LAKE ALSO SELLS EVERYTHING NEEDED FOR POULTRY.

A FATHER-DAUGHTER TEAM FROM SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA HAS STARTED GROWING AND SELLING MICROGREENS AND BAKED GOODS, IN PART BECAUSE OF THE DAUGHTER'S CELIAC DISEASE.

PATRICK SPINLER AND HIS DAUGHTER NATASHA RUN SPINLER GOODS AND GREENS, WHICH THEY SELL AT THE ROCHESTER FARMERS MARKET.

THEY SELL FOUR VARIETIES OF MICROGREENS GROWN IN THEIR BASEMENT. PLUS, NATASHA SELLS GLUTEN-FREE BAKED GOODS WHICH SHE STARTED TO SATISFY HER OWN SWEET TOOTH.

Natasha Spinler: CARROTS AREN'T COOKIES, THEY'RE GOOD, BUT THEY'RE NOT COOKIES. SO YOU KNOW, I'VE BEEN BAKING GLUTEN FREE FOR SEVEN YEARS, SO I WAS LIKE, YEAH AND WE STARTED A BUSINESS OUT OF IT.

THE SPINLERS SAY THEY STARTED GROWING AND SELLING GREENS IN PART BECAUSE FARMERS MARKET VENDORS MUST ALSO BE GROWERS.

AS PART OF MAY BEEF MONTH,THE SOUTH DAKOTA BEEF INDUSTRY COUNCIL HELD THEIR GRIDIRON BURGER BATTLE AT LAST WEEKEND'S SIOUX FALLS STORM HALL OF FAME GAME.

It featured local celebrities including coaches from area universities that are using the Build Your Base with Beef program battling it out on the grill.

Clete McLeod: I want a juicy burger, I want to be able to produce something that let's the beef speak for itself.

The judges had a tough job but say no matter what ingredients are used a good burger needs to be cooked properly.

Willie Bertsch: Well personally I want a medium hamburger, not medium rare you need to cook your beef to 160. Too dry of a hamburger is not good.

The winners made their version of a poor man's Hawaiian burger featuring their secret ingredient.

Chelsie Bakken: A soy Asian dumpling sauce. And it worked really well with the ingredients we received to use.

Bacoulis, "It starts with a great product and South Dakota beef first and foremost and then looking at accentuating that beef not overdoing it too much and then finding a nice internal temp to let that meat rest.

STILL AHEAD, CRISTEN CLARK HAS SOME SWEET IDEAS FOR STARTING OFF YOUR SUMMER MORNINGS,

"FOOD AND SWINE" BLOGGER CRISTEN CLARK HAS A GREAT IDEA FOR A SWEET SUMMER BREAKFAST.

IN HER LATEST COLUMN FOR AGWEEK MAGAZINE, THE IOWA FARMER SHARES SOME OF HER FAVORITE PANCAKE RECIPES, LIKE CITRUS CREAM CHEESE PANCAKES.

SHE SAYS THEY'RE INSPIRED BY A TRIP TO SARABETH'S BAKERY IN NEW YORK, AND HER FAMOUS LEMON RICOTTA PANCAKES.

CRISTEN HAS ALSO POSTED A VIDEO ON 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 FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM. HAVE YOURSELF A GREAT AND SAFE WEEK.