Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
Backgrounding cattle has an established history of helping ranchers make money, especially when grain prices are low. Now, North Dakota State University Extension sees opportunity in the months ahead. "It looks like backgrounding is going to pencil out (be profitable) again, says John Dhuyvetter, NDSU Extension livestock specialist. He and fellow NDSU Extension livestock specialists Janna Kincheloe and Karl Hoppe will lead six meetings on Oct. 16-18 around the state.
Unharvested Upper Midwest dry bean fields will be hurt by widespread mid-October snow, but it's too early to predict the extent of the damage, a dry bean official said. "The good news is, it's still early enough that it's probably going to melt. But if it doesn't melt, this will be a long winter for some guys," Tim Courneya, executive vice president of the Northarvest Bean Growers Association, based in Frazee, Minn., said Oct. 11.
As everyone involved with Upper Midwest agriculture knows, the region's harvest has been shut down, or virtually so, by unusually cold, wet weather. A new government report reflects that. Only a handful of days were suitable for fieldwork in the week ending Oct. 7, most of them early in the seven-day period, according to the new weekly crop progress report released Tuesday, Oct. 9, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report normally is released on Monday, but was held back a day because of Columbus Day.
U.S. farmers and farm groups generally agree that value-added agriculture — in which a raw ag commodity is changed into something new and of greater economic value — is a good and desirable thing. Now, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition warns that funding for the popular Value Added Producer Grant program is at risk because of the lapsed federal farm bill. The farm bill, the centerpiece of U.S. food and ag policy, expired Sept. 30. Congress hasn't been able to agree on a new one because of policy differences between the House and Senate.
If you're driving through Minnesota and are interested in buying ethanol-blended fuels, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association wants to help. The group has launched the revamped www.mnfuels.com to connect more consumes to 88 Octane (also known as E15) and other flex fuels. More than 250 retailers across Minnesota now offer 88 Octane, according to the corn growers. More than 19 million gallons of 88 Octane were sold in Minnesota in 2017, double the amount sold in 2016, the corn growers say.
BEACH, N.D.— Once, a half-dozen grain elevators clustered along the railroads tracks that run through Beach. Once, 20 to 25 grain elevators operated across the sprawling southwest North Dakota and southeast Montana area served by Beach Cooperative Grain Co.
Terry Boehm raises spring wheat and other crops near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) from the nearest port. He says that complicates selling his high-quality wheat to foreign customers and increases the need for Canada's grain-grading system. The system is "the key to our international competitiveness," particularly for wheat, says Boehm, chairman of his country's National Farmers Union's Trade Committee. "What we have now works for Canadian farmers."
Cool, wet weather in parts of the Upper Midwest has slowed harvest. But area farmers overall remain ahead of their usual harvest pace. The new weekly crop progress, released Oct. 1 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and reflecting conditions Sept. 30, found that corn and soybean harvests remain ahead of their respective five-year averages. That reflects the unusually early harvest start this year.
Two prominent U.S. wheat groups and both North Dakota U.S. senators say they're pleased that a new trade agreement addresses what they say is unfair treatment of U.S. wheat by Canada. The new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which would replace the existing North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, has an important provision for U.S. wheat growers, say the National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates, which promotes U.S. wheat exports around the world.
U.S. agricultural groups are cautiously optimistic about the newly announced United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, but they want to to learn specifics before giving a definitive assessment. For example, the National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates say in a joint statement that “they welcome the (Trump) administration’s decision to move ahead with an updated trade deal with Canada and Mexico and look forward to learning more about the details.”