Minnesota farmers are coming off their best week for fieldwork in nearly a month. Drier conditions gave farmers 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork last week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress and condition report for Minnesota says the weather allowed many farmers to catch up on herbicide and fertilizer spraying, and to make progress on the first cutting of alfalfa hay. Some farmers were able to replant soybeans and corn in drowned out areas.
The University of Minnesota is getting about $103,000 in federal money to help educate farmers and ranchers about the new farm bill.
Dozens marched at the Capitol Saturday afternoon as part of a nationwide protest of the company Monsanto. Monsanto is an agriculture company that works with farmers around the world. They provide seed for things like corn, cotton, fruits and vegetables.
Wildlife and environmental groups are claiming victory for conservation practices in the new farm bill, where two of their top priorities made it into law. Farmers will be required to use good conservation practices on highly erodible lands and protect wetlands to qualify for crop insurance subsidies. And the law requires “sodsaver” protections to discourage farmers from plowing up native grasslands in several Plains and Midwest states.
Most Minnesota farm families could get an extra $260 in property tax relief per year under legislation that’s meant to ease the squeeze they’re feeling between rising property taxes and falling crop prices.
A year ago, the spring snow went into May, and it prevented some farmers from getting their crops in.
Mower County authorities say 22 dairy cows have been found dead in a barn of apparent starvation, and a farmer has been cited. Mower County Attorney Kristen Nelsen says the animals were found in February, but the citation wasn’t issued this week because of “extenuating circumstances” involving the owners. Sheriff Terese Amazi says the 52-year-old man and his 75-year-old father were in a serious car crash recently.
If beef is what’s for dinner at your house, it’s going to cost you more. Beef prices are the highest they’ve been in 27 years. Fewer cattle, drought and cold weather are all contributing to push prices to an average of $5.04 per pound in January Penny Jernberg, general manager of the 5-8 Club in Minneapolis, says the demand for her restaurant’s trademark juicy Lucy burger is steady, while prices for the main ingredient are climbing.
Farmers in the Whiskey Creek area of western Minnesota are being invited to learn more about how they can help clean up the region’s lakes and streams.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). But Minnesota farmers say the free trade accord has not exactly been fair. Fresh from a NAFTA 20 year anniversary get together in Mexico City, Doug Peterson brought back a failing report card for the accord.
An illness that only affects pigs is making its way across the Midwest, including here in Minnesota. The Porcine Epidemic Virus (P.E.D.) killed more than 7,000 pigs at a facility near Good Thunder last December. Pork producers say newborn piglets are most susceptible, and it’s always fatal. The virus’ devastation cost the facility about $500,000.
A local egg company has been named one of four finalists competing to have their ad played at this year’s Super Bowl in February. Locally Laid Egg Company has already beat out thousands of others to get this far and now they need your help to get more votes.
Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, and a northern Minnesota farmer will be in the holiday spotlight. John Burkel of Badger will be presenting his turkeys to President Obama at the White House. Burkel raises 70,000 turkeys a year. He says he’s picked out a handful of his best, and is getting them ready in a heated garden shed for their national debut. Only two of the turkeys will make the trip to the White House, and they’ll be pardoned, not served.
According to the owners of Locally Laid Eggs, their chickens are known as athletes. Oh, and they’re all named ‘Lola.’ The egg company is one of the finalists in a competition to win free ad time during the Super Bowl. The family farmers were in the Twin Cities Monday in an effort to get out the vote for the contest, which is sponsored by the software company Intuit. Owners Lucy and Jason Amundsen, along with their kids and the Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, were celebrating the announcement at the Seward Co-Op in south Minneapolis.
One of the most powerful storms ever ravaged several of the Philippine islands, and the death toll is rapidly growing. As of Saturday night, as many as 10,000 are feared dead. The storm had winds of 190 miles per hour – making it the strongest tropical typhoon on record to make landfall. The wind snapped trees and pushed waves up to four-stories high. Cleanup and rescue operations are extremely difficult since there is no power and no phones in most places.
This week’s snow has added to an already wet crop, and that means a lot of farmers will rely on grain dryers to dry out their corn. “You can’t dry it, you can’t combine it, and you can’t get it done,” said Peter Leuer of Leuer Farms.
Low sugar prices are cutting into payments to farmers at American Crystal Sugar Co. The Moorhead-based cooperative is telling its growers to expect a “massive reduction” in payments for this year’s beet crop. In a company blog, American Crystal CEO David Berg says growers will be paid just $38 per ton. Last year, Crystal’s farmers were paid more than $68 per ton. KFGO-AM reports Berg says most of Crystal’s growers will lose money, and in many cases, “they will lose a lot of money.”
Minnesota farmers are making rapid progress on the fall harvest after a slow start to the growing season.
It’s a beast of a weed, creeping north into the Midwest from cotton country. Palmer amaranth can shoot up as high as 7 feet, and just one plant can produce up to a million seeds. Herbicide is increasingly futile against it, and the weed’s thick stems and deep roots make it hard work to clear by hand.
A dozen farmers and business owners from Africa are visiting farm equipment factories in the Midwest to study technology that might help them produce more soybeans and corn back home.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering emergency haying for livestock producers because of a hay shortage. State wildlife managers have identified 922 acres on 43 wildlife management areas where emergency haying would benefit wildlife.
Cooler weather has given Minnesota farmers a break from the heat. In its weekly crops and weather report for Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday that statewide, temperatures for the week averaged 6.7 degrees below average. Despite the cooler weather, 5.9 days were suitable for field work last week.
Janet and John Bremer are dairy farmers in Hastings, and have seen a lot of changes over the years. “When my in-laws first began this farm, there was only three cows — we now milk 128 every morning and every night,” Bremer said. The couple said they understand the decline.
Some Upper Midwest farmers are worried they won’t qualify for crop insurance on land they couldn’t plant because it was too wet. At issue is a rule affecting whether farmers qualify for “prevented planting” payments for cropland that’s too wet or dry to plant.
With a cold spring and recent storms, a lot of Minnesota farmers are expecting to lose out on this year’s corn crop. Corn in Minnesota is only about 10 inches high on average. It’s usually more than double that by now.