This week on AgweekTV, a homegrown Minnesota ag company turns 50. As drought continues in a large part of the region, we look at the use of cover crops. Construction is underway on a state of the art methane digester at Boadwine Dairy near Baltic, S.D. And a North Dakota ranch fills the increased demand for direct-to-consumer beef.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV



A HOME-GROWN MINNESOTA AG EQUIPMENT COMPANY TURNS FIFTY YEARS OLD.

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AS DROUGHT CONTINUES IN A LARGE PART OF THE REGION, WE LOOK AT THE USE OF COVER CROPS.



Michelle: Construction is underway on a state of the art methane digester here at Boadwine Dairy near Baltic, South Dakota.



AND A NORTH DAKOTA RANCH FILLS THE INCREASED DEMAND FOR DIRECT TO CONSUMER BEEF.



WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV I'M MICHELLE ROOK.

USDA REOPENED SIGNUP FOR THE CFAP 2 PROGRAM ON MONDAY FOR 60 DAYS

TO HELP PRODUCERS ABSORB INCREASED MARKETING COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.

IT INCLUDES SPECIALTY CROPS, LIVESTOCK, DAIRY, ROW CROPS, AQUACULTURE, FLORICULTURE AND NURSERY CROPS. USDA REVAMPED THE PROGRAM TO MORE EQUITABLY DISTRIBUTE PAYMENTS VERSUS THE LAST TWO PROGRAMS.



Tom Vilsack: And making sure that at the end of all this that we've done the very best job at USDA of trying to provide as much help to as many people who are in need as possible.



USDA ALSO ANNOUNCED TWO MILLION DOLLARS FOR OUTREACH AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED PRODUCERS.



THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION'S $2.25 TRILLION INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE HAS RECEIVED MIXED REVIEWS FROM FARM GROUPS.



621 BILLION DOLLARS GOES TO REPAIR AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE NATION'S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM. 115 BILLION FOR ROADS AND BRIDGES, INCLUDING THE WORST 10,000 SMALL BRIDGES. 80-BILLION DOLLARS FOR RAIL, AND 17 BILLION FOR INLAND WATERWAYS. THESE INVESTMENTS HELP KEEP U.S. FARMERS COMPETITIVE AND PROFITABLE.



Jeff Thompson: Infrastructure is huge, you know, it just getting the stuff in you know, like the fertilizer coming up to our farms and getting the soybeans and the corn and the crops out.



BIOFUELS GROUPS ARE DISAPPOINTED 174 BILLION DOLLARS WAS EARMARKED FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES BUT NONE FOR BIOFUELS. OTHER FARM GROUPS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE HIKE IN CORPORATE TAXES TO PAY FOR THE PLAN.



\u0009THE IOWA LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS PAST THE SECOND FUNNEL DATE WITH SEVERAL AG BILLS STILL ALIVE, INCLUDING GOVERNOR KIM REYNOLDS BIOFUELS STANDARD.

\u0009BEGINNING IN 2022, IT WOULD PHASE-IN INCREASED BLENDS OF HOME-GROWN ENERGY LIKE CORN-BASED ETHANOL AND SOY-BASED BIODIESEL. THE FIRST THREE YEARS, B-11 BIODIESEL WOULD BE USED THE 6 WARM MONTHS OF THE YEAR, THEN DROP TO B-5 IN THE COLD MONTHS. AFTER THAT, THE MANDATE DURING WARM MONTHS MOVES TO 20-PERCENT. SO FAR, IT'S HAD STRONG LEGISLATIVE AND FARM GROUP SUPPORT.



Michael Dolch: We're talking upwards of 40 to 50 million bushels increase in soybean demand year over year through, you know, the life of the bill.



\u0009HE SAYS THEY'RE FOLLOWING PROPOSALS TO LOWER INCOME AND PROPERTY TAXES IN IOWA.

\u0009THE STATE IS ALSO REVISITING THE AG GAG LAW WHICH WAS DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL, BUT WOULD PROTECT FARMS FROM DAMAGING UNDERCOVER VIDEOS AND PICTURES.



FARMERS HAVE BEEN LOWERING THEIR CARBON FOOTPRINT FOR DECADE THROUGH IMPROVED MANAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY. NOW THEY'RE LOOKING AT HOW TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION TO THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION'S CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY AND MAKE AN ADDITIONAL PROFIT. I VISITED A SOUTH DAKOTA DAIRY TAKING LEADERSHIP IN THAT EFFORT.



Dairy producer Lynn Boadwine heard the call for lower carbon production well before the push by the new administration.



Lynn Boadwine: People are concerned about the environmental footprint of where their food comes from.



That's why he partnered with Brightmark, to install methane digesters at his dairies. This one is under construction at Boadwine Farms, the home dairy where they milk 2,400 head.



Taking our manure, heating it, capturing the methane and turning that methane into usable fuel, putting it back into the natural gas pipelines so consumers can use it.



Boadwine is approaching methane capture as an opportunity for his operation and thinks agriculture can win under climate change.



We really need to be on the ground floor of being open and creating these opportunities.



As far as a revenue stream, initial projections for methane capturing are around $50 per cow. But, its too early to know when they'll see a return from the high priced technology.



You know in agriculture we're always starved for capital you know, and these are highly capital intense projects. That's why we're partnering with somebody.



However, he says profit or not, it's the right thing to do.



The largest necessity in life is food and it has an environmental footprint. Where the farmer is making the food, little changes, make big changes to the global environmental footprint.



BRIGHTMARK SAYS RENEWABLE NATURAL GAS FROM DAIRY MANURE CAN REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS 400 PERCENT WHEN USED TO REPLACE TRADITIONAL VEHICLE FUELS.



A NEW ERA OF DAIRY MARGIN INSURANCE IS PROVIDING BETTER RISK MANAGEMENT FOR DAIRY PRODUCERS ESPECIALLY IN THE CURRENT MARKET ENVIRONMENT.



CHIP WHALEN WITH CHS HEDGING SAYS THEY'RE RECOMMENDING DAIRY REVENUE PROTECTION OVER DAIRY MARGIN COVERAGE BECAUSE ITS BASED ON MILK REVENUE RISK. THAT MAKES IT A BETTER FIT FOR MOST OPERATIONS. HE SAYS WITH CURRENT MILK PRICES DAIRIES CAN LOCK IN A PRICE ABOVE BREAK EVEN, EVEN WITH HIGHER FEED COSTS.



Chip Whalen: When we look out in time over the next year that profitability that is being projected with current prices for representative dairies in this region are actually worth protecting and the insurance allows them a way to do so.



HE SAYS BOTH PROGRAMS ARE GOOD TOOLS TO MINIMIZE THE VOLATILITY THAT WAS SO EVIDENT IN THE MILK MARKET THIS LAST YEAR.

THESE PRODUCTS ARE IMPROVED OVER THE MARGIN PROTECTION PROGRAM AND ARE SEEING HIGHER ADOPTION RATES.



OUR FIRST CROP STOP OF 2021 TAKES US TO CENTRAL SOUTH DAKOTA...

WHERE MIKKEL PATES FOUND JUSTON JOACHIM STARTING TO SEED SPRING WHEAT INTO VERY DRY SOIL.

\u0009 JUSTIN FARMS ABOUT 15-THOUSAND ACRES WITH HIS BROTHER JARED AND THEIR FATHER DOUG. ABOUT 42 HUNDRED ACRES IS SPRING WHEAT.

\u0009ALTHOUGH SOIL TEMPS WERE WARM ENOUGH, STRONG WINDS DELAYED THE START OF THEIR PLANTING FOR A FEW DAYS. AND IT FURTHER DRIED THE SOILS, SO THE NEW CROP WILL DESPERATELY NEED RAIN.



Justin Joachim: WE'RE PRETTY DRY. WE'D LIKE TO SEE SOME MOISTURE OF ANY KIND NOW. NORMALLY WE'RE STRUGGLING AS FAR AS POTHOLES, BUT THIS YEAR WE'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO PLANT MOSTLY EVERYTHING THE WAY IT LOOKS.



THE FAMILY ALSO GROWS WINTER WHEAT, CORN, SUNFLOWERS AND SOYBEANS.



COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV



A HOMEGROWN AG MANUFACTURING BUSINESS TURNS FIFTY YEARS OLD.



\u0009H&S MANUFACTURING IS A VIBRANT AG EQUIPMENT COMPANY IN NORTHWEST MINNESOTA.

\u0009AS MIKKEL PATES REPORTS IN THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK COVER STORY, IT SPRANG FROM AN INNOVATIVE POTATO AND SUGAR BEET FARM, AND IS NOW CELEBRATING FIFTY YEARS OF MAKING FARMING MORE EFFICIENT.



Mikkel Pates: THE HALFMANN FAMILY HAS BEEN FILLING AG NICHE NEEDS SINCE THE 1960S.



Craig Halfmann: IT WAS A NICE BALANCE BECAUSE THE YEARS THAT FARMING WASN'T SO PROFITABLE, THE MANUFACTURING SIDE WOULD PICK UP.



TODAY CRAIG HALFMANN'S FAMILY STILL FARMS NEAR STEPHEN, MINNESOTA. THEY RAISE BEETS AND SOYBEANS, AND OTHER CROPS. BUT FIFTY YEARS AGO, HIS FATHER PAUL AND A KEY EMPLOYEE STARTED MAKING EQUIPMENT TO MAKE THEIR OPERATION MORE EFFICIENT. THEY STARTED WITH AN ELECTRIC SKID STEER LOADER FOR MOVING SPUDS IN A WAREHOUSE. SOON THEY WERE BUILDING FOR OTHER FARMERS TOO.



Craig Halfmann: WE HAD A NEED FOR IT ON OUR OWN FARM, AND AREA FARMERS HAD A NEED FOR EQUIPMENT AND WE SAW OPPORTUNITIES WHERE EQUIPMENT WAS NEEDED



ESPECIALLY FOR THE GROWING SUGAR BEET BUSINESS. THEY STARTED MAKING BAND SPRAYERS IN THE EARLY 1970'S. H AND S ADDED TILLAGE, SPRAYING EQUIPMENT AS WELL AS BEET HARVEST CARTS. AND NOW THE SIXTH GENERATION IS KEEPING THE FAMILY BUSINESS GOING. HALFMANN'S SONS RUN THE FARM, WHILE HIS SON-IN-LAW, WHO IS AN ENGINEER, FOCUSES ON H AND S. UNLIKE LARGE MANUFACTURERS, BEING SMALL, THEY CAN BE FLEXIBLE TO FILL SMALL NICHE MARKETS.



Darin Adolphson: THAT'S SOMEWHERE THAT I THINK WE STAND OUT, IS BEING A SMALLER, MORE NIMBLE COMPANY WITH ABILITY TO CHANGE QUICKLY AS NEEDED.



Mikkel Pates: SO WITH THEIR FIRST FIFTY YEARS UNDER THEIR BELT, H AND S MANUFACTURING IS LOOKING FOR THEIR NEXT FIFTY. FOR AGWEEK, THIS IS MIKKEL PATES AT STEPHEN, MINNESOTA.



\u0009 YOU CAN READ MORE IN THE NEXT AGWEEK MAGAZINE, OR AT AGWEEK.COM.



CONSUMERS AROUND THE WORLD WANT MORE PROTEIN IN THEIR DIET, AND THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA IS HELPING PROVIDE IT.

\u0009MINNESOTA'S PLANT PROTEIN INNOVATION CENTER IS THE FIRST OF ITS KIND. IT WAS FOUNDED IN 2018, IN RESPONSE TO THE GROWING NEED FOR SUSTAINABLE PROTEIN, ESPECIALLY FROM PLANTS.

\u000924 RESEARCHERS FROM A VARIETY OF DISCIPLINES ARE WORKING IN LABS AND GREENHOUSES TO DEVELOP NEW PROTEIN CROPS. THE CENTER'S FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR SAYS THEY HAVE MANY GOALS.



Pam Ismail: BENEFIT THE CONSUMER, BENEFIT THE INDUSTRY, BENEFIT THE FARMER, BENEFIT THE ENVIRONMENT AND WE LEARN AS ACADEMICIANS IN THE PROCESS.



THE RESEARCH INCLUDES PLANT BREEDING AND GENETICS, AGRONOMICS, PROCESSING AND MARKETING.



\u0009MORE AND MORE PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM, SO ANOTHER FAMILY HAS DECIDED TO OPEN THEIR RANCH TO THE PUBLIC, ALLOWING THEM TO BUY BEEF DIRECTLY FROM THE PRODUCER.

EMILY BEAL HAS MORE FROM SPIRITWOOD, NORTH DAKOTA.



Emily Beal: MICHELLE, IT MAY COME AS NO SURPRISE THAT MANY CONSUMERS ARE LOOKING TO BUY THEIR FOOD STRAIGHT FROM THE FARM.



Michele Elston: WE ARE HORMONE AND ANTIBIOTIC FREE, WE GUARANTEE THAT. AND SO WHEN WE SELL OUR PRODUCT, WE ARE SELLING SOMETHING THAT WE ARE WILLING TO FEED TO OUR OWN FAMILY AND TO OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.



MICHELE ELSTON AND HER HUSBAND WESLEY RAISE CATTLE IN EAST CENTRAL NORTH DAKOTA. THEY HAD BEEN SELLING QUARTERS, HALVES AND WHOLES OF THEIR HOMEGROWN ANGUS BEEF. BUT THEY SAW A DEMAND FOR SINGLE MEATS, FOR CONSUMERS WHO DIDN'T WANT TO BUY IN BULK, AND DECIDED TO CAPITALIZE ON IT. NOW, THEY SELL STEAKS, ROASTS, HAMBURGERS, AND MORE. WESLEY SAYS THE WAY THEY RAISE THE CATTLE IS WHAT MAKES IT A HIGH QUALITY PRODUCT.



Wesley Elston: WE TAKE A LITTLE EXTRA TIME, AND FEED THEM ON A MAINTENANCE GROWING RATION, AND THESE ANIMALS ARE 10-20 MONTHS OLD WHEN THEY GO FOR SLAUGHTER. AND THAT ALLOWS THOSE ANIMALS TO MAXIMIZE THEIR MARBLING AND THEIR MUSCLE. AND THE TENDERNESS IN THOSE ANIMALS, WE'VE HAD GREAT REVIEWS ON.



THE ELSTONS SAY THEY EXPECTED DEMAND TO BE HIGHER, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE PANDEMIC CAUSED SOME MEAT SHORTAGES, BUT THEY ARE CONFIDENT THEIR PRODUCT FILLS A NEED.



Wesley Elston: WE'RE OFFERING HIGH QUALITY BEEF.



WITH MORE AND MORE CONSUMERS WANTING TO KNOW WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM, THE ELSTONS ARE COMMITTED TO RAISING HOME GROWN BEEF. WITH AGWEEK, I'M EMILY BEAL IN SPIRITWOOD, NORTH DAKOTA.



RIGHT NOW THE ELSTONS ARE ONLY LICENSED TO SELL IN NORTH DAKOTA. FOR MORE INFORMATION YOU CAN GO TO ELSTON BEEF.COM.



AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, WE'LL HAVE SOME ADVICE ON USING COVER CROPS IN THESE DRY CONDITIONS.



AND WE'LL TELL YOU ABOUT A NEW TEST FOR DETECTING PALMER AMARANTH.



THE REGION SAW SOME RAIN THIS WEEK, IN ALL BUT THE FAR NORTHERN PLAINS. HOW LONG WILL THIS AREA CONTINUE TO MISS OUT?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.



THE AGWEEK SOIL HEALTH MINUTE IS SPONSORED BY THE NORTH DAKOTA CORN COUNCIL



\u0009IN THIS MONTH'S EPISODE OF THE SOIL HEALTH MINUTE, ABBEY WICK GETS ANSWERS TO SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT MANAGING PREVENT PLANT WEEDS, AND USING COVER CROPS, IN EXTREMELY DRY CONDITIONS, WHICH MUCH OF OUR AREA IS SEEING NOW.



Abbey Wick: With so many prevent plant acres last year, I've been getting a lot of questions on both weed management and weed pressures for this spring. So I went to NDSU weed specialist Joe Ikley to get the answers.



Joe Ikley: DEPENDING ON THE OUTCOME OF HOW WE MANAGE THOSE ACRES, WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT SCENARIOS FOR WEED CONTROL IN 2021. AND SO ONE OF THOSE WILL BE IF YOU MANAGE IT ONLY USING GLYPHOSATE. YOU CAN ANTICIPATE HAVING A LOT OF WATER HEMP OR MARES TAIL, WHATEVER SURVIVED AND WENT TO SEED OUT THERE AS YOUR PRIMARY CHALLENGE IN 2021. IF YOU DID NOT MANAGE THE PREVENT PLANT AT ALL FOR WEED CONTROL, JUST LET IT GO, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO GO TO SEED WENT TO SEED. THOSE ARE THE TYPE OF FIELDS YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT WEEDS. SOME YOU MAY NOT HAVE EVEN SEEN BEFORE POPPING UP THIS YEAR. THAT DOESN'T NECESSARILY MEAN THEY'RE DIFFICULT TO CONTROL, BUT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SPEND SOME MONEY ON A BROAD SPECTRUM PRODUCT.



WITH THE DRY CONDITIONS IN OUR REGION, WHAT DO WE NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR WITH OVERWINTERING COVER CROPS?



Joe Ikley: IF WE DON'T GET MUCH IN THE WAY OF MOISTURE RELIEF, THAT'S WHEN WE MIGHT START THINKING ABOUT EARLY TERMINATION OF THOSE COVER CROPS. I KNOW WE WANT THE SOIL BENEFITS, BUT AT SOME POINT, WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT MOISTURE CONSERVATION, IT ALMOST BECOMES LIKE A WEED. THINK ABOUT EARLY TERMINATION, TRIGGER THAT TERMINATION OF THAT COVER CROP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, TO TRY AND PRESERVE MOISTURE FOR YOUR CASH CROPS.



Abbey: As much as I love cover crops, it's especially important to manage them in these dry conditions.



UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA RESEARCHERS HAVE HELPED DEVELOP A TEST TO DETECT PALMER AMARANTH THAT'S 99.9 PERCENT ACCURATE.



IT WILL BE COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE THIS YEAR AND MAKES IT EASIER TO DISTINGUISH PALMER FROM OTHER PIGWEED SPECIES IN SEED, DECREASING THE RELIANCE ON GENETIC TESTS. PALMER COSTS FARMERS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND CUTS YIELDS BY 91 PERCENT IN CORN AND 68 PERCENT IN BEANS.



\u0009WITH CANOLA PRICES SOARING TO LEVELS NOT SEEN SINCE 2012, U.S. FARMERS ARE PLANTING NEARLY 300 THOUSAND MORE ACRES IN 2021.

\u0009USDA'S PROSPECTIVE PLANTINGS REPORT PUT TOTAL CANOLA ACREAGE AT 2.1 MILLION ACRES. MOST OF THE INCREASE CAME FROM NORTH DAKOTA, BUT MINNESOTA WAS ALSO UP 16 PERCENT.

\u0009ROB RYNNING, PAST PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. CANOLA ASSOCIATION, SAYS IT'S A RESULT OF STRONG VEG OIL DEMAND.



Rob Rynning: THERE'S SO MANY THINGS THAT CAN ENTER INTO IT AND CHANGE THAT DEMAND THAT YOU'D HATE TO PREDICT ANYTHING. BUT I THINK WE SHOULD BE IN A SITUATION WHERE DEMAND STAYS STRONG.



\u0009HE SAYS YIELDS WERE LOWER LAST YEAR BECAUSE OF WET CONDITIONS. BUT WITH COOPERATIVE WEATHER, IT SHOULD BE A VERY PROFITABLE CROP.



STILL AHEAD, SOME MINNESOTA GROCERY STORES ARE RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR COMMITMENT TO LOCALLY-GROWN FOOD.



A SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA GROCERY STORE IS ONE OF THE STATE'S TOP FOOD RETAILERS.

\u0009FIESTA FOODS IN LAKE CITY IS ONE OF JUST SIX STORES IN THE STATE GIVEN THE "RETAILER OF THE YEAR" AWARD BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

\u0009STORE CO-OWNER PHIL NYBERG SAYS THEY BUY AS MUCH LOCALLY PRODUCED FOOD AS THEY CAN, AS ITS FRESHER AND OF HIGHER QUALITY THAN FOOD COMING FROM FARTHER AWAY.

\u0009AND HE SAYS SUPPORTING LOCALLY GROWN PRODUCTS IN THE STORE BENEFITS BOTH CUSTOMERS AND PRODUCERS.



Phil Nyberg: WE HAVE AGRICULTURE ALL AROUND US, FOR ONE THING, AND THAT'S A LOT OF OUR CUSTOMER BASE ALSO, AND SO IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE SUPPORT THEM, BECAUSE IN RETURN, THEY SUPPORT US.



NYBERG SAYS THEIR CUSTOMERS HAVE BECOME EVEN MORE INTERESTED IN LOCAL FOODS SINCE THE PANDEMIC.



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

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