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AgweekTV Full Show: Barge shipping, new pests, college meat processing programs, cheese and butter

This week on AgweekTV, we'll tell you about challenges slowing barge shipping on the Mississippi River this season. Some new pests, diseases and weeds are making their way into the region. We'll tell you what to look out for. We're at a small town butcher shop that is partnering with a college meat processing program. And we'll see why more Americans are saying yes to cheese and butter.

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This week on AgweekTV, we'll tell you about challenges slowing barge shipping on the Mississippi River this season. Some new pests, diseases and weeds are making their way into the region. We'll tell you what to look out for. We're at a small town butcher shop that is partnering with a college meat processing program. And we'll see why more Americans are saying yes to cheese and butter.

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WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M EMILY BEAL.

THE BARGE SEASON ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER IS TURNING OUT TO BE A CHALLENGING ONE. WE VISITED A PORT WHERE LOW WATER LEVELS AND HIGH COSTS ARE AMONG THE FACTORS SLOWING SHIPPING THIS FALL.

RED WING GRAIN BUYS CORN AND SOYBEANS FROM FARMERS IN A 75-MILE RADIUS OF ITS SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA PORT, ON THIS SCENIC SPOT ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

Jim Larsen: ABOUT FORTY PERCENT OF OUR GRAIN COMES WISCONSIN AND SIXTY PERCENT FROM MINNESOTA, AND THEN WE OFFLOAD IT ONTO BARGES, AND IT GOES TO THE GULF OF MEXICO FOR EXPORT.

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SHIPPING ON BARGES IS CHEAPER THAN BY TRUCK OR RAIL, BECAUSE BARGES CAN CARRY MUCH LARGER LOADS.

We can load 'em to nine feet so that means there's 3 feet left on the top.

BUT JIM LARSEN, THE MANAGER OF RED WING GRAIN, SAYS THE YEAR BROUGHT MANY CHALLENGES FOR SHIPPERS, AND GROWERS.

Jim Larsen: THIS WAS AN INTERESTING ONE FOR SURE. IT STARTED OUT VERY TIGHT, THERE WASN'T A LOT OF BARGES AVAILABLE. FREIGHT WAS, YOU KNOW, TWO TO THREE TO FOUR TIMES THE NORMAL COST, WHICH IN TURN AFFECTS THE FARMER.

IT CAN TAKE THREE WEEKS FOR A BARGE TO TRAVEL FROM MINNESOTA TO THE GULF OF MEXICO. FROM THERE, THE GRAIN HEADS ALL OVER THE WORLD. RED WING GRAIN SHIPS 25 TO 30 MILLION BUSHELS OF GRAIN EACH YEAR. BUT LARSEN SAYS, THIS YEAR, THEY'RE DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY.

Jim Larsen: SO TYPICALLY WE WILL LOAD ANYWHERE FROM 400 TO 600 BARGES A YEAR, DEPENDING ON, YOU KNOW, OUR YEAR END, OR WHERE WE END UP. BUT THIS FALL WE'RE PROBABLY DOWN TEN TO TWENTY PERCENT, BECAUSE WE'RE STILL WAITING TO SEE IF BARGE FREIGHT WILL GO DOWN, AND WE'RE ALSO SEEING IF THERE'S MORE BARGES AVAILABLE AT THE END OF THE SEASON.

IN ADDITION, WATER LEVELS ARE LOW ON THE MISSISSIPPI, AND GET LOWER THE FARTHER SOUTH YOU GO. THAT'S SLOWING, OR EVEN STOPPING, BARGE TRAFFIC.

Jim Larsen: THE RIVER GOES UP, AND THE RIVER GOES DOWN, BUT YOU KNOW FOR THE MOST PART IT IS CONCERNING. AND SO WE DEFINITELY NEED RAIN TO REPLENISH NOT ONLY THE SOIL FOR THE CROPS AND THE FARMERS, BUT FOR THE RIVER. AND IT WOULD BE GREAT TO GET SOME RAIN BEFORE, YOU KNOW, WE GET A HARD FROST OR WE GET A BIG SNOW FALL BEFORE NEXT SPRING, BECAUSE WE'RE DEFINITELY AT A DEFICIT RIGHT NOW. >

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LARSEN SAYS THEY'RE FORTUNATE TO HAVE ENOUGH STORAGE AT THE RED WING PORT TO CONTINUE ACCEPTING GRAIN FROM FARMERS, EVEN WHEN THEY CAN'T GET BARGES.

FOR MORE ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER SHIPPING SLOWDOWNS, AS WELL AS OTHER TIMELY WORLDWIDE AG ISSUES, HERE'S ROSE DUNN WITH A SPECIAL GUEST...

Rose Dunn: Joining me now is NDSU Extension Crop economist Frayne Olson to talk about this and some other factors around the world that are affecting markets. First of all, I'm interested to hear more about how the low water levels on the Mississippi are affecting barge traffic.

Frayne Olson: Yeah, so there's two big things that are, that are impacting the flow of green. First, obviously, the river levels are very low. And so some of the there's obstructions as well, some sandbars that are appearing. So for every one of the barge tows, when the, when they, when a tugboat is pushing the barges, they're shortening those to be able to have more maneuverability, to be able to get around some of these obstructions. And they're not able to load each of the barges as heavily to try and increase the drafts so they're not sitting as low in the water. And as a result, the combination of the shorter tows, as well as the fuel levels, they're at about a 50% normal capacity.

Rose Dunn: How is it affecting markets?

Frayne Olson: We're seeing an increase in movements through the PNW Pacific Northwest, which, of course, that has a pretty big impact on what we see here locally. So even though the cost of transportation is increasing, not only barge traffic but also rail freight, we're not really seeing big changes or shifts in the basis levels, which is, again, fortunate for the farmers up here.

Rose Dunn: A little bit of light there. Switching gears now, what seemed to be a promising international deal to help Ukraine move about 10 million metric tons of grain out seems to be falling apart now because Russia. What's happening there?

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Frayne Olson: Yes. So there was an attack on one of the Russian naval bases in Crimea, which is the peninsula that divides Russia from Ukraine. The Russians are claiming that the drones that attacked that naval base came through the corridor, that vessels are allowed to be able to ship grain. And so right now the Russia has suspended that agreement. They have not formally withdrawn, but they have suspended the agreement.

There's very intense negotiations going on right now to try and see if they can work out some resolution to this to allow additional grain shipments over time.

Rose Dunn: So how is that affecting markets?

Frayne Olson: So we've seen a quite an increase in wheat prices because wheat is the is a large export for both Ukraine and for Russia. It's a that is also spilling over into a little bit of the corn markets. So putting some strength in the corn market.

Rose Dunn: Do you think this suspension will affect spring wheat prices here?

Frayne Olson: Well, we've already seen some lifting of prices. Again, the entire global wheat complex is at a higher level right now because of limited supply. However, longer term, I'm not sure that it's going to have a big impact on U.S. Spring wheat exports. The countries that we export spring wheat to are primarily in South Asia, the Asian countries, and we also had a very large Canadian crop. So there's really been in North America some pretty good supplies of hard red spring wheat available.

Rose Dunn: All right. Thanks for your insight today. NDSU extension crops economist Frayne Olson.

SINCE THAT INTERVIEW, RUSSIA ANNOUNCED IT WOULD RESUME PARTICIPATION IN THE DEAL FREEING UP GRAIN EXPORTS.

TWO DISEASES, AN INSECT AND A WEED, ALL WITH THE POTENTIAL TO CAUSE SEVERE CROP LOSSES, ARE SHOWING UP – SOME FOR THE FIRST TIME – IN NORTHEAST NORTH DAKOTA.

THE HESSIAN FLY, WATERHEMP AND AND SUDDEN DEATH SYNDROME HAVE BEEN FOUND IN CAVALIER COUNTY. IN ADDITION, VERTICILLIUM WILT IS SUSPECTED IN FIELDS IN CAVALIER, PEMBINA AND ROLETTE COUNTIES. SUDDEN DEATH SYNDROME IS A SOIL-BORNE DISEASE THAT'S ALSO SPREAD TO SOYBEAN FIELDS IN CAVALIER COUNTY. EXTENSION CROPPING SPECIALIST ANITHA CHURMAMILLA SAYS ONCE IT'S FOUND IN THE SOIL, IT STAYS THERE, AND CAN DEVASTATE CROPS. SHE URGES GROWERS TO BE WATCHFUL, AS THERE'S NO TREATMENT FOR IT.

Anitha Chirumamilla: AND ONCE YOU KNOW THAT THERE IS A DISEASE WHICH IS GOING TO BE A LONG TERM ONE, MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW THE STEPS TO HELP REDUCE OR MANAGE THE DISEASE RATHER THAN IGNORE IT, BECAUSE IT'S NOT GOING TO GO AWAY.

SHE SAYS THE BEST CONTROL FOR ALL OF THESE DISEASES, INSECTS AND WEEDS IS GOOD CROP ROTATION.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, SOME COLLEGES AROUND THE REGION ARE ADDING PROGRAMS, TO MEET A BIG NEED FOR MEAT CUTTERS.

NORTH DAKOTA'S EFFORT TO PROMOTE ANIMAL AGRICULTURE IS NOW FOCUSING ON HELPING EXISTING ANIMAL OPERATIONS EXPAND.

THE STATE'S ANTI-CORPORATE FARMING LAW FORBIDS CORPORATIONS FROM OWNING AGRICULTURE IN THE STATE. BUT MODERN ANIMAL AGRICULTURE FACILITIES REQUIRE SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF CASH, LIMITING HOW MUCH THEY CAN GROW.

Craig Jarolimek: There's no doubt about it, it is a limit, its a barrier. However, there are ways to get around that and to work with an attorney of sorts and create some partnerships, things like that. However it is a barrier for bringing outside capital into the state to help develop some of the livestock operations.

SOUTH DAKOTA HAS SEEN SUBSTANTIAL GROWTH IN DAIRY AND HOGS, BUT NORTH DAKOTA LAGS BEHIND THEM IN ANIMAL PRODUCTION..

Amber Boeshans: We're getting our ducks in a row, we're doing what needs to be done. We just have to hurry up, we're behind the times a little bit on this stuff.

BOESHANS SAYS NORTH DAKOTA'S ANIMAL AGRICULTURE IS WHERE SOUTH DAKOTA'S WAS ABOUT FIFTEEN YEARS AGO.

SEVERAL COLLEGES ARE STARTING MEAT CUTTING PROGRAMS, TO HELP MEET A BIG DEMAND FOR WORKERS.

JEFF BEACH JOINS US NOW WITH MORE ON THREE NEW PROGRAMS IN OUR REGION.

THE MEAT CUTTING BUSINESS IS DESPERATE FOR MORE WORKERS, IN PART BECAUSE MORE PEOPLE WANT TO BUY MEAT THAT'S BEEN RAISED AND PROCESSED LOCALLY.

ALISSA METZGER ALREADY HAS A DEGREE IN CULINARY ARTS FROM THE NORTH DAKOTA STATE COLLEGE OF SCIENCE IN WAHPETON. BUT SHE DECIDED TO EXPAND HER OPTIONS, WHEN THE SCHOOL ADDED A MEAT CUTTING PROGRAM.

Alissa Metzger: I'M LOOKING MORE TO JUST KIND OF GET A BROAD VIEW OF EVERYTHING. I WANT TO DO BAKING, LIKE THAT'S MY PASSION, BUT NOW BUTCHERING HAS BECOME SOMETHING THAT I REALLY LIKE AND CAN SEE A FUTURE IN.

METZGER AND HER CLASSMATE GRACE LAMBERSON ARE INTERNING AT MANOCK'S MEAT LOCKER IN GREAT BEND, NORTH DAKOTA.

Grace Lamberson: I REALLY LIKE IT. I LIKE THAT IT'S WAY MORE HANDS ON, LIKE THEY HAVE SHOWN US ONCE OR TWICE HOW TO DO SOMETHING, AND IT'S LIKE COOL, YOU'RE DOING IT NOW.

STEVE MANOCK HAS BEEN IN THE MEAT PROCESSING BUSINESS MOST OF HIS LIFE, SO HE'S A GREAT TEACHER.

Steve Manock: I GUESS I ACTUALLY STARTED IN THE BUSINESS WHEN MY DAD BOUGHT IT WHEN I WAS SIX YEARS OLD, SO IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME.

SHOPS LIKE THIS ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN NOW, AS FEWER PEOPLE GO INTO THE BUSINESS. BUT MANOCK HOPES THESE PROGRAMS RENEW INTEREST.

Steve Manock: TO SEE THESE YOUNG KIDS COME IN THEY'RE JUST FULL BOAR TODAY. THEY WANT TO LEARN.

THE HEAD OF THE NORTH DAKOTA STATE COLLEGE OF SCIENCE'S AG DEPARTMENT SAYS THE PROGRAM PARTNERS WITH NDSU'S RESPECTED MEAT SCIENCES DEPARTMENT, WHICH HAS CUTTING EQUIPMENT THAT THEY'RE WILLING TO SHARE.

Craig Zimprich: NDSCS HAS SOME THINGS THAT WE DO EXTREMELY WELL, TRAIN FOR WORKFORCE TRAINING AND THINGS LIKE THAT. NDSU HAS THE EQUIPMENT AND THE EXPERTISE IN THAT PARTICULAR AREA, SO WE DECIDED WHY DUPLICATE RESOURCES, AND WORK TOGETHER FOR THAT.

Jeff Feierabend: WE GET ABOUT TWO CALLS A WEEK FOR OUR STUDENTS JOB PLACEMENT.

FEIERABEND IS AN INSTRUCTOR IN THE NEW PROGRAM AT CENTRAL LAKES COLLEGE IN STAPLES, MINNESOTA.

Jeff: THERE IS A HUGE DEMAND FOR IT RIGHT NOW.

HE SAYS SHUTDOWNS AT BIG PROCESSING PLANTS DURING COVID REALLY DREW ATTENTION TO THE NEED FOR SMALLER PROCESSORS.

Jeff Feierabend: THERE WASN'T REALLY A LOT OF SMALL TIME MEAT MARKETS OUT THERE, AND ESPECIALLY THERE WASN'T A LOT OF MEAT CUTTERS OUT THERE THAT KNEW EVERYTHING FROM START TO FINISH.

THIS YEAR RIDGEWATER COLLEGE IN WILLMAR, MINNESOTA LAUNCHED ITS MEAT CUTTING PROGRAM AS WELL. JEFF MILLER, DEAN OF INSTRUCTION SAYS THEIR BIG ADVANTAGE IS BEING MOSTLY ONLINE, SO STUDENTS CAN BE ANYWHERE.

Jeff Miller: OUR GOAL IS TO REALLY MEET STUDENTS WHERE THEY'RE AT WITH THIS.

NDSCS SAYS IT CAN TAILOR A PROGRAM TO MEET ANY STUDENT'S NEEDS. DICKINSON STATE UNIVERSITY IN WESTERN NORTH DAKOTA,

ALSO PLANS TO ADD A PROGRAM.

THANKS JEFF!

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

AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, THE WAIT CONTINUES FOR SOME FARMERS WHO ORDERED NEW EQUIPMENT...

AS THE REGION HEADS INTO NOVEMBER, HOW LONG CAN WE EXPECT THESE MILD TEMPS TO LAST?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

AS HARVEST WRAPS UP, SOME FARMERS ARE STILL WAITING ON NEW EQUIPMENT THEY ORDERED FOR THIS SEASON. AS KEVIN WALLEVAND REPORTS, THEY'RE MAKING DO WITH WHAT THEY HAVE, AS SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES PERSIST.

Outside Wyndemere today, one of the last corn fields in the area coming off. It's been perfect weather for harvest. And bouncing across dry, hard fields this fall, combines that farmers are likely hanging onto for another year.

Carson Klosterman: Yeah, so I'd say on the equipment side, combines being, that's a pretty aggressive machine on the farm.

Carson Klosterman farms beets, corn and soybeans. He and other farmers know the situation of supply chain problems and computer chip issues still plaguing farm equipment orders. Combines from many equipment manufacturers that farmers ordered a year ago still didn't make the delivery deadline.

Carson Klosterman: They're still short, so they're still playing catch up. I've talked to some folks here that should of had new equipment for the harvest of 2022, and they still don't have it.

Kevin Wallevand: And it's not just the availability of farm machinery, it is the cost now. If a farmer wants a combine for 2023, look out.

You know, you put 20%, 25% on a half-million-dollar machine, those are some big numbers, and depending on what a guy is looking for, you know, some of the larger-class nine or 10 combines, and then them taking a special header for them as well, it's going to be an easy million dollars.

We talked with the association of equipment manufacturers. They told us the delays on delivery are just one piece of the supply chain dilemma right now.

Austin Gellings: I think farmers know all too well about the rising input costs for everything on the farm, same thing goes for the manufacturer as well. Every aspect of the operation, from the manufacturing standpoint of the equipment, we are seeing prices rising there also. >

THE BIG QUESTION NOW IS WHETHER SUPPLY CHAIN WRINKLES WILL BE IRONED OUT BY 2023.

AFTER A COUPLE OF DIFFICULT YEARS, THE DAIRY INDUSTRY IS LOOKING UP.

WHILE PEOPLE ARE DRINKING LESS MILK, THE AVERAGE AMERICAN IS EATING MORE DAIRY PRODUCTS, LIKE BUTTER AND CHEESE. FOR YEARS, MANY PEOPLE STAYED AWAY FROM DAIRY FAT PRODUCTS BECAUSE THEY WERE TOLD IT WAS UNHEALTHY. THEY TRADED THEIR BUTTER FOR MARGARINE, BUT SOME EXPERTS SAY THAT TREND IS CHANGING.

Marin Bozic: That tide has changed recently and while the debate is still in progress, I think the US consumers are much more open to eating nutritious dairy products. Particularly butter and some cheese than even they weren't until a few years ago.

STILL AHEAD, A NEW AG INNOVATION CENTER IS GETTING READY TO HELP BRING NEW AG TECHNOLOGY TO THE MARKET..

THE AG INNOVATION CAMPUS NEAR CROOKSTON, MINNESOTA IS TAKING SHAPE.

THE BUILDING THAT'LL HOUSE OILSEED CRUSHING EQUIPMENT IS DONE, AND THE GRAIN HANDLING EQUIPMENT IS BEING INSTALLED. THE PLANT WILL CRUSH ABOUT THREE MILLION BUSHELS OF SOYBEANS A YEAR. BESIDES THE CRUSH PLANT, THE 20 MILLION DOLLAR PROJECT WILL HELP INTRODUCE NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND CROPS TO THE MARKET, HELPING THEM FROM UNIVERSITY RESEARCH TO COMMERCIALIZATION.

Tom Slunecka: THIS WILL BE A SHINING EXAMPLE OF WHAT AGRICULTURE CAN BE IN THE FUTURE, AND IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE INVEST IN TOMORROW TODAY, AND THAT'S WHAT THIS PROJECT IS ALL ABOUT.

THE FACILITY IS BEING PAID FOR WITH LOANS, PRIVATE INDUSTRY AND SOYBEAN CHECKOFF DOLLARS. IT'S EXPECTED TO START TEST RUNS IN MARCH, AND BEGIN ACCEPTING SOYBEANS BY NEXT SUMMER.

THE PLANT'S PRODUCTION WILL BE SOLD TO A VARIETY OF NEW LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY OPERATIONS IN THE AREA.

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

MINNESOTA REGULATORS WILL HAVE TO DETERMINE THE SCOPE OF ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW FOR CARBON PIPELINES.

AND AT THE INTERNATIONAL DURUM FORUM, GROWERS LEARNED THE OUTLOOK FOR PASTA SALES IS REMAINING STRONG.

WE APPRECIATE YOU WATCHING AGWEEK TV.

REMEMBER TO CHECK US OUT DAILY ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND TIK TOK TO KEEP UP ON ALL YOUR AG NEWS. HAVE A GREAT WEEK.

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