Ag and Extension Briefs

Farm Bill crops meetings offered in Ivanhoe, Marshall

The 2018 Farm Bill is bringing about changes for crop producer’s risk management.

University of Minnesota Extension and the Farm Service Agency are holding free educational events to help crop producers understand decisions regarding the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization of ARC and PLC programs.

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, crop producers must make a selection by March 15, 2020, of either ARC-County, PLC or ARC-Individual for all covered commodity base acres on a farm. This election will apply to the farm for 2019 through 2020.

There will be 46 workshops led by Extension educators and FSA. The meetings are free and no registration is required. They are offered across the state in December 2019 and January 2020.

Farm Bill crops meeting — Ivanhoe is from 1-3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, at Lincoln Elementary School Auditorium.

Farm Bill crops meeting — Marshall is from 10 a.m.-noon Thursday, Jan. 23, at the Marshall Area YMCA.

U of MN SWROC’s Winter Crops & Soils Day Feb. 5 in Lamberton

The University of Minnesota Southwest Research & Outreach Center and Extension will hold Winter Crops & Soils Day programs on Wednesday, Feb. 5, in Lamberton and Thursday, Feb. 6, in Luverne. A webinar broadcast of the Feb. 5 program will also be available for those who cannot attend in person.

This public event highlights current University of Minnesota research that is specific to southwestern Minnesota. University researchers will present on current research and ways to improve agriculture as well as answer questions. Presentations and speakers include:

Pest management in a changing economic and biological landscape — Bruce Potter, IPM Specialist

Long-term influence of available soil water, precipitation, temperature and tillage on corn and soybean yield — Jeff Strock, Soil Scientist

How much nitrogen is rainfall and snowfall contributing to crop needs? — Paulo Pagliari, Nutrient Management Specialist

Matching cover crops to your goals –Axel Garcia y Garcia, Cropping Systems Specialist

Emerging farm financial and profitability trends for southwest Minnesota — Garen Paulson, Extension Educator in Ag Business Management

Bioreactors as a management practice for nutrient removal in the Upper Mississippi River Basin — Andry Ranaivoson, SWROC Researcher

Programs begin at 10:30 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. Registration for the programs will begin at 10 a.m. and the $40 registration fee includes refreshments, handouts, and lunch. Walk-ins are welcome but registration is encouraged. The Lamberton program on Wednesday, Feb. 5, will take place at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center, 23669 130th Street. The Luverne program on Thursday, Feb. 6 will be at Grand Prairie Events, 105 S. Estey St. Registration for the webinar costs $25 and must be completed online. To register online for an in-person program or the webinar, visit z.umn.edu/swroc-wcsd. Continuing education units for certified crop advisers have been applied for.

Winter Crops & Soils Day is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Southwest Research & Outreach Center, College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences, and Extension.

Women in Ag Network fifth annual conference is Feb. 4

“Celebrating Agriculture,” the fifth annual Women in Ag Network Conference, will be Feb. 4, in Willmar at the Willmar Conference Center (240 23rd St. SE, Willmar). This annual event will be a day of learning and networking for women involved in agriculture. Registration begins at 8:45 a.m. with the conference program from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Kim Bremmer, a nationally-recognized agriculture speaker and founder of Ag Inspirations, will be the keynote speaker. Bremmer grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and was previously a dairy nutritionist for 15 years. She speaks around the country working to inspire farmers and represent the successes of American agriculture. She will be speaking about tangible steps farmers can take to positively move their farms and careers forward, even during difficult times in agriculture.

Breakout sessions will feature three diverse tracks for attendees to choose from, including personal development, financial management and soil and water quality. The day will end with a panel discussion, “Celebrating Innovators,” featuring local women in agriculture who have taken unique approaches in their areas of agriculture.

Registration is required for the conference at z.umn.edu/2020WAGNConferenceReg. The early bird rate is $50 through Jan. 21. After that date, regular registration is $65 from Jan. 22-28. Late registration is $80 from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, if space allows. Students receive a special rate of $20. Refunds are available for cancellations through Jan. 28, and a $10 service fee will be charged. After Jan. 28, there will be no refunds.

The Women in Ag Network is a collaboration between University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota’s Farm Service Agency. For more information, visit z.umn.edu/WAGN. Contact Sarah Schieck Boelke (schi0466@umn.edu or 320-235-0726 ext. 2004) or Megan Roberts (meganr@umn.edu or 507-389-6722) with questions.

AgCountry declares $60 million in cash dividends

FARGO, N.D. — AgCountry Farm Credit Services announces that a record $60 million in cash dividends will be paid to eligible member-owners in March of 2020. Since 2014, AgCountry patrons have received over $195 million in cash patronage.

The board of directors is also announcing that going forward, it is the cooperative’s intention to target payment of a one percent cash dividend on all eligible business barring unforeseen events and assuming AgCountry continues to meet its financial goals.

AgCountry’s patronage program grants the board of directors the ability to distribute a portion of the association’s net income to its member-owners when financial conditions allow for it. This marks the seventh consecutive year AgCountry is paying a cash dividend.

“The board is truly pleased to make these announcements,” said Board Chair Ed Hegland. “In these trying times, it is great that we are in a position to deliver a record cash dividend to the people who have helped build this company.”

“This announcement further demonstrates our deep commitment to serving agriculture and rural America,” said AgCountry President and CEO Marc Knisely. “Our record cash dividend payment is the latest in a series of actions we have taken over the past few years to help better position our patrons, such as holding on interest rate hikes while rates were rising and then lowering rates once the Federal Reserve decided to make cuts.”

Trump to promote trade deals in Sunday speech to US farmers

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will highlight his policies on trade and domestic energy in a speech to U.S. farmers next week, the White House announced Monday.

Trump is scheduled to address the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention on Jan. 19 in Austin, Texas. It will be his third appearance at the annual gathering.

In last year’s address, Trump urged farmers to continue supporting him even as they grappled with the fallout from his trade war with China and a partial shutdown of the federal government.

But by the time Trump speaks Sunday, he is expected to have signed the first phase of a trade deal with China. Under the deal, which Trump is scheduled to sign Wednesday at the White House, China has agreed to boost its U.S. goods imports by $200 billion over two years, including larger purchases of soybeans and other farm goods expected to reach $40 billion a year, the U.S. has said.