Comment Period Open On Weed Management Technologies

USDA is now accepting public comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Monsanto’s next generation dicamba-tolerant weed management technologies, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ Soybeans.

It is important that the USDA follow through on its commitment to U.S. farmers to conduct timely, science-based reviews of new technologies. Access to technology keeps U.S. agriculture productive, sustainable and globally competitive.

We encourage farmers, dealers and all stakeholders to make their voice heard and weigh in during the 45-day public comment period, now open until September 25.

To simplify the process of submitting comments, Monsanto has created a webpage with a tool to help individuals develop their letter. For convenience, individuals can either use the suggested draft as is, edit the suggested statements or develop a unique letter.

We encourage individuals to personalize this letter by describing their background and their need for new tools, such as Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ Soybeans, to control and manage weeds. Positive comments will help support the USDA’s determination to provide farmers the choice to plant these new technologies.

The Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System is designed to help maximize weed control through effective and sustainable weed management options. Pending regulatory approvals, the system will consist of dicamba- and glyphosate-tolerant soybean and cotton seed products, as well as enhanced, low-volatility dicamba and dicamba/glyphosate herbicide formulations. Visit the Roundup Ready PLUS website to learn more.

STB rail hearing

Surface Transportation Board to Hold Hearing in Fargo

Minnesota soybean farmers are keeping up their pressure to ensure adequate rail transportation for fall harvest.

Lance Peterson

Lance Peterson

MSGA and ASA Director Lance Peterson of Underwood will testify at the Surface Transportation Board hearing on rail issues in Fargo, N.D., next week. Peterson will address the need to move grain out ahead of and during harvest. His comments will be an update on the testimony he delivered earlier this spring in Washington to the STB.

 The backlog of rail cars to move grain out of the upper Midwest continues, leaving many elevators still full of 2013-crop grain ahead of a looming 2014 harvest. The backlog is negatively affecting basis levels and cash bids, and is likely to create a real grain storage crisis once new crop harvest begins, further impacting producers.

Minnesota Capitol

MSGA Working to Stay on Top

For the last year, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association has held the title of the largest soybean membership association in the country. MSGA has grown to over 4,000 members. The membership goal for Minnesota, set by the American Soybean Association (ASA), is 4,109 members by October 1. Because of membership expirations, MSGA is about 200 members short.

 Recruiters across the state are working to connect with their neighbors and local businesses to communicate the value of membership.

 “We are really working to make sure farmers and agri-businesses understand the value that MSGA brings,” says Veronica Bruckhoff, Minnesota Soybean Director of Industry Affairs and Membership. “It’s about having a voice in St. Paul and Washington on issues like B10 in Minnesota and the new farm bill in Washington. It’s important that we advocate for issues that are good for agriculture. But the value goes beyond policy, because we’re doing more in the area of producer education through statewide meetings and webinars.”

 Signing up to be a member or renewing a membership is easier than ever thanks to updates made to the Minnesota Soybean website. Learn more about the benefits of becoming an MSGA membership

biodiesel essay

Biodiesel Essay Contest Winners announced

The winners of the 2014 Clean Air Choice Biodiesel Essay contests have been selected. John Wheaton, a recent graduate of Minnetonka High School, was the first place winner with his essay, “Impacting a new generation: my journey toward educating the community on the benefits of biodiesel.”
Wheaton, a resident of Deephaven, Minn., has long had an interest in alternative fuels and vehicle technologies. He heard about the scholarship while attending a meeting at the American Lung Association in Minnesota headquarters. He will receive a $1,000 check for his winning essay.
The second place winner is Hannah Korri of Duluth. A recent graduate of Two Harbors High School, Hannah wrote of her concerns that vehicle emissions from traditional petroleum fuels threatened the “…crisp, clean air found only in our Northland.” She will receive a $500 check for her winning essay.
There were 76 entrees in the 2014 Clean Air Choice Biodiesel Essay contest, which is open to all high school seniors in Minnesota.

Trade Teams Tour Minnesota Farms

Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, in conjunction with AGP, hosted a group of soybean and soybean meal buyers from South East Asia who were interested in meeting farmers and looking at the 2014 soybean crop. The delegates made visits on Wednesday, Aug. 20, to tour Lance Peterson’s farm near Underwood, Minn., and Jeffrey & Karen Larson’s farm near Evansville, Minn.

On Thursday, the groups  continued touring Minnesota with a visit to a dairy facility, a turkey facility, an ethanol plant and to Minnesota Soybean Growers Association director Mike O’Leary’s family hog farm near Danvers, Minn. An important part of maintaining a relationship with trade teams is to host them on farm tours or take them straight to producers to experience U.S. agriculture first-hand, to make connections with farmers on a personal level and develop an understanding of modern agriculture.

Another Look in the Field: SCN in the field and research developments

Many of us say “SCN” like we were spitting and with good reason. Soybean Cyst Nematode remains a thief of yield potential in many soybean production fields across the state, and in spite of our efforts, seems to continue to expand in territory. While we can begin looking for live SCN females attached to soybean roots about five weeks after planting, this is the time of year where field counts are usually highest and thus easiest to identify as problems.

Read more

Farm Bill Webinar with Q&A

Missed the last Farm Bill webinar covering Updating Crop Base Acres and FSA Program Yields? That’s OK. We have you covered. You can catch up on any of the Farm Bill webinars here, or you can access the Farm Bill webinar education series on the Minnesota Soybean Promotion & Research Council Webinars page or the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Webinars page. You can also listen to a Farm Bill Q&A recap with Farm Market Analyst Al Kluis and Farm Management Analyst Kent Thiesse.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Aug. 14 Farm Bill webinar. We had a large turnout for the event, which means together we are delving into this new bill to learn the best options for our farmers.

Kluis/Thiesse Q&A Part One

Kluis/Thiesse Q&A Part Two

Workshops to Highlight Opportunities for Food-Grade Beans

Mankato, Minn.—Minnesota soybean farmers looking to diversify their operations or take advantage of market opportunities will want to participate in one of two upcoming informational meetings. The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) is hosting two sessions highlighting the growing opportunities for farmers to produce food-grade soybeans.

“Foreign demand for food-grade soybeans is increasing very rapidly every year, especially in China and Southeast Asia,” says Keith Schrader, a farmer from Nerstrand and chair of Minnesota Soybean’s Market Development team. “At this point, China raises all their own food-grade beans, but they’re outstripping their production capabilities. Within the next year or two, they’re likely to become a bigger player, along with all the other countries we’re already selling to. We are also seeing increased domestic demand for these soybeans.”

Food-grade soybeans have been produced in Minnesota for years, but growing demand is encouraging farmers to take another look at the potential.

“We really encourage people who have never considered growing food-grade varieties to give it a look,” adds Minnesota Soybean Director of Marketing Programs Sam Ziegler. “But we also want farmers who over the years may have looked into food-grade beans to re-examine the possibilities because things have changed.”

The sessions, held in conjunction with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) and the Midwest Shippers Association, will feature information on market opportunities, seed selection, production, crop insurance, contracts and more.

These free sessions will be held:

North Mankato

July 31, 2014
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
South Central College

Moorhead

August 19, 2014
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Courtyard by Marriott

“With the increased demand and the need for increased profitability on Minnesota soybean farms, we put together these informational meetings so people can learn more about this market,” Schrader adds.

For more information or to register, visit www.mnsoybean.org.

New Website Highlights the Importance of the MSGA

Technology plays a big part in the way we communicate and the way we do business. This is nothing new to our soybean farmers, who adapt and change and use technology to achieve better yields while preserving and maintaining the land everyone depends on.

Like our farmers, we need to adapt as well. This website is about change, and it is also about giving our Minnesota Soybean Grower Association members more control to be involved with the MSGA.  Read more

Another Look in the Field: Drowned out field strategy

Last week as I traveled from Mankato to Thief River Falls, it was impossible to miss the consequence of heavy rains that had covered most of the state. This week Minnesota is still in the news as the river systems swell while removing that rainfall through our State’s waterways. Field low spots are also draining at variable rates and this raises the question; what to do with that field area? I’m not going to focus on crop loss or insurance at this point, but on the field itself. For most of the field low spots I have observed, the drying process has been slow and we have rain forecast for the later part of the week at this writing. The option to replant any area is quickly diminishing if not already past. University of Minnesota Extension reports that when planting soybeans on July 1, yield potential is reduced by approximately 50% compared to soybeans planted early. The slow drainage compounded by more possible rainfall begins to suggest that by the time those field areas are dry enough to be planted, the loss of yield potential precludes that as a profitable option this year. In light of that, there are several other considerations to keep in mind for those field low spots.  Read more