2022 Starts with Record-Setting Land Sales

Farmland values have reached record levels in some parts of the region. “The land market price acceleration that started last fall continued its upward trend through the spring,” said Jayson Menke, Acres and Shares. In the Well Grounded newsletter, Menke said farmers in good cash positions are the predominant buyers of farm ground. In Menke’s view, it is “a seller’s market.”

USDA Unveils Plan to “Transform the U.S. Food System”

A $2.6 billion framework USDA release outlines a focus on four elements of the food system. “The food system transformation that needs to take place has to be comprehensive, touching on all elements. I believe there are four basic elements: production, processing, distribution and aggregation, and market development,” said Tom Vilsack, secretary, USDA. “The transformed food system needs to be one that through all four elements sustainably grows and raises commodities and livestock with net zero greenhouse gas emissions, while also raising farm and rural incomes.” USDA will invest in a beginner organic mentoring program. According to Vilsack, additional organic production will hasten the day when the food transformed system gets to its net-zero emissions future. USDA is also going to expand cold storage for non-meat and poultry sectors and invest in workforce development for the meat and poultry industry. Congress will be required to integrate a few of these incentives and programs in the next farm bill.

Bins Lost to Memorial Day Storm

The Elbow Lake, Minnesota area is one of many picking up the pieces from the Memorial Day storm. Scott Swenson sustained damage on his farm. “I have a bin site about a mile and a half south of where I live and that got hit with either a tornado or strong winds. I’ve lost ten out of 12 bins and the grain leg went down.” Swenson is questioning how he’ll be able to handle the corn harvest because “I know I’m not going to be able to get this place rebuilt by then.”

 

Polish Ports at Capacity

Due to the war, Ukraine is blocked from its Black Sea ports and rerouting grain exports through Poland. However, the company that operates the dry bulk terminals in Poland says its ports are already at full capacity. OT Logistics is considering an expansion of its ports but faces financial and legal problems.

WTO Members Asked to Address Food Security

The World Trade Organization will meet for a ministerial conference in mid-June. Ahead of the event, the WTO’s director general said agriculture needs to address the potential food crisis, but gaps remain between key trading partners.

Vilsack to Hoeven: Happy to Provide Assistance Where It Makes Sense

The cool, wet conditions delayed planting season in the Northern Plains at a time of global food shortages. North Dakota Senator John Hoeven followed up with Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack on a request for support for Northern Plains farmers during Thursday’s Senate Agriculture Committee hearing. “Our proposal to you is through the Commodity Credit Corporation or one of our programs to actually offer to cover some of that discount so farmers actually go and try to get crops in the ground, even though they’re moving past the crop insurance end date,” said Hoeven. “It would actually save USDA money from the standpoint of not paying out more prevent plant. At the same time, you’d get more crops in the ground to help with food inflation. You’d have to move on this quickly if you’re going to do something to help.” Vilsack has not had a chance to review the letter. “I’m happy to talk with our team about it. Part of the challenge we face in this particular area is making sure we don’t compromise the relationship between the insurers and producers in terms of the overall crop insurance program, creating a circumstance where the risk is difficult for the crop insurance folks to be able to calculate, but I’m happy to take a look at what you all have written,” said Vilsack. “We’re happy to provide assistance where it makes sense.”

Late Planting vs Prevent Plant

NDSU Extension Farm Management Specialist Ron Haugen says farmers have three options when it comes to late planting or resorting to prevent plant. “If it gets to be really late, one of the main decisions is should I even plant a crop at all and try to collect insurance, should I plant late, or should I switch to a different crop?” Haugen says the conflict in Ukraine adds a sense of urgency to get a crop in the ground. “We really want to get a crop in the Upper Midwest with all that’s happening in the world right now. Prices are really good even with high expenses.”

ND Crop Farmers Expected to Get Greatest Amount of Disaster Aid

USDA plans to use $6 billion for the first phase of the Emergency Relief Program, a significant chunk of the money Congress approved for crop disaster relief last September. North Dakota farmers are expected to get $915 million total. That’s the most of any state in the country. USDA expects Minnesota and South Dakota’s total payments at $418 million and $455 million, respectively.

A Partial Payment Expected for Phase One Disaster Aid

According to Farm Service Agency Associate Administrator Steve Peterson, the crop farmers who qualify for the phase one disaster relief program will only receive 75 percent of their expected payment, to ensure there’s enough money to cover additional losses or gaps in the second phase. If enough money remains after phase two later this summer, the rest of the phase one payments will be processed at a later date.

Northern Crops Institute to Host Sustainability Webinar

The Northern Crops Institute is holding a special edition webinar on June 1 regarding the use of “Digital Transformation to Tell a Better Sustainability Story.” Bushel Director of Sustainability Allison Nepveux, who leads the company’s focus on sustainability and traceability, will be featured. Registration for this event is free of charge and is open to the public. Register online.