Ag Briefs

Commodity trends and marketing plans to be featured at conference

Commodity trends, marketing plans, crop production budgets and farm profitability in southwest Minnesota will be featured at the 2017 Farm Management Profitability Conference on Wednesday, March 22, at the University of Minnesota Southwest Research & Outreach Center near Lamberton. Agricultural producers and farm management and agribusiness professionals throughout southwest Minnesota are encouraged to attend.

The program will feature presentations on how to maintain and improve farm profitability. Matthew Diersen, an economics specialist with SDSU Extension, will provide insights on emerging trends that will affect the major commodities of the region including livestock, feed and crop price impacts. Ed Usset, grain marketing specialist at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Farm Financial Management, will share a concise and practical marketing plan and discuss best practices for developing a pre-harvest marketing plan. IPM Specialist Bruce Potter will discuss where it is safe to cut crop production inputs without reducing yields and other cost-effective production strategies.

The conference will also feature an analysis of the 2016 profitability trends of the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association’s (SWMFBMA) member farms and an overview of current University of Minnesota research at the Southwest Research & Outreach Center.

Registration for the conference begins at 8:30 a.m., with the program beginning at 9 a.m. and concluding at 3 p.m. The registration form and fee, which includes handouts, refreshments and lunch, are due by March 17. To download a registration form, visit For more information, call the 507-752-5094 or

The 2017 Farm Management Probability Conference is sponsored by the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association, University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center, and University of Minnesota Extension.

Beginning Farmer Risk Management Education

AgCentric Northern Center of Agriculture Excellence announces a series of workshops focusing on increasing understand of risk management concepts. The “Increasing beginning farmer sustainability using partnerships in risk management education” project is designed to provide risk management education to support beginning and early career farmers in times of significant risk and stress. Beginning farmers lack the comprehensive historical trend and cost of production data necessary to develop a risk management plan.

FBM instructors, crop & livestock insurance providers, and a mental health specialist will deliver instruction targeting beginning farmers producing underserved commodities and specialty crops. Interested farmers will receive follow-up specialized risk management education through individualized instruction. FBM benchmarking data will strengthen the risk management curriculum.

Complimentary workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and be held at the following locations: March 1 — Marshall Middle School, 401 S Saratoga, Door 12.

RSVP to Brad Verly at 507-828-8506 or

AgCentric, part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU), will lead the collaboration in cooperation with Farm Business Management program (FBM) and the Risk Management Association regional office.

Floods that saturated Louisiana also damaged its seed rice

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The floods that inundated Louisiana in August also damaged rice harvested as seed for this year’s planting.

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says he’s temporarily relaxed certification requirements to ensure farmers can buy enough seed for a chance at a good crop.

Planting season begins in March.

Farmers will have to buy more of some lots to make up for the problem, but sellers will discount the price to make up for it, department seed programs director Lester Cannon said Tuesday.

“The growers should not have increased cost in seed,” he said.

Wet conditions during harvest and subsequent processing caused the problem, Cannon said, though his lab is still testing for details. The seed laboratory tests rice to see what percentage of seeds sprout in the lab, and certifies lots with at least an 80 percent rate.

This year, more grains than usual just aren’t sprouting and some of those are attacked by mold or fungus, he said.

“Normally we see rice germinating in the upper 80s to lower 90s,” he said. “Now a significant number is between the 60 and 80 percent range.”

It’s happening across several varieties, he said.

“Had we not discovered this, it could have resulted in a significant shortage of rice for the 2017 planting season and a more than $100 million loss for our rice farmers,” Strain said in a news release. “It could have also put some of our rice farmers out of business.”

Lots with germination rates below 80 percent will be labeled “substandard germination,” Cannon said, and certified lots will be sold before the substandard lots.

He said non-certified rice averages 60 percent germination.

Louisiana is the No. 3 rice-growing state in the U.S., behind Arkansas, which grows about half the nation’s crop, and California. Rice also is grown in Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

Louisiana’s 2014 rice crop brought in $492 million for 1,042 producers, with processors getting another $164 million, according to the LSU AgCenter.