Farm Forum The Green Sheet: Where we grow. Wed, 25 Apr 2018 21:46:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Best management practices to consider when planting soybeans this spring Wed, 25 Apr 2018 21:46:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21422835 South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council

SIOUX FALLS — Although research shows earlier planting dates typically improve soybean yields, Mother Nature had other plans this spring, with extended cold and wet weather conditions delaying planting for many South Dakota soybean growers.

To ensure the best start possible, the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council called upon agronomy experts from SDSU Extension and South Dakota State University to share spring 2018 best management practices based on checkoff-funded soybean research.


“It felt like winter was never going to end, and I’m sure many of us are itching to be out on the field. However, I strongly suggest farmers practice patience and check their soil temperature and moisture before they start to plant either corn or soybeans,” said Péter Kovács, assistant professor of precision agriculture cropping systems in the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department at SDSU.

Kovács referenced research which recommends a planting depth of 1 to 1.5 inches and soil temperatures of at least 54 degrees Fahrenheit as the ideal soil temperature for planting soybeans.

Soil temperatures can be determined by measuring the seeding zone in the morning (7 a.m.) and afternoon (3 p.m.) and then averaging the temperatures.

“Even though we may feel that we are getting a late start to planting, based on the previous 5 years, we are not behind — yet,” Kovács said. He reminds growers that historically, mid-May was when South Dakota growers typically planted soybeans. “The soil still needs to warm up and dry out to be able to plant, which will take time.”

Improve yields with these steps

While you are waiting, check your planter. Breakdowns can cost you money, and most importantly this season, time. “Prior to planting, inspect, clean and conduct needed maintenance on the planter,” said David Clay, professor soil science in the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department at SDSU.

This includes singulation mechanisms, gauge wheels and openers, coulters, row cleaners and tires.

Once soil conditions are right, there are a few additional steps soybean growers can take to improve harvest outcomes.

Reduce row spacing: Speed up row closure and reduce yield loss due to competition from weeds by reducing row spacing from the traditional 30 inches.

Treat seed: Planting into cool, wet soils increase the chance for disease issues. “This spring, seed treatments will be beneficial for most soybean growers,” said Connie Strunk, SDSU Extension plant pathology field specialist.

Pre-emergence weed protection: The same weather conditions delaying planting, may be delaying weed emergence. “With wet, cool soils, weed emergence may be delayed. Once the soils warm up, the weeds will quickly germinate and grow,” explained Sharon Clay, distinguished professor of weed science in the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department at SDSU. “Problems can be minimized by applying appropriate pre-emergence herbicides.”

More information on the recommendations made in this article can also be found in the online guide, iGrow Soybeans: Best Management Practices for Soybean Production. Funded by checkoff dollars through the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, this guide is available as a free download to soybean growers at click on the books option.

To learn more about how checkoff dollars are working for South Dakota’s soybean growers, visit

Water development worth the investment Wed, 25 Apr 2018 21:26:04 +0000 http://ffimp-21420964 NDSU Extension

Last year’s drought dried up many ponds and dugouts or compromised the quality of the water in them, forcing North Dakota livestock producers to haul water or install an alternative water source.

Producers in many counties reported going into the winter of 2017-18 short to very short on available surface water, according to surveys North Dakota State University Extension agents conducted.

“Providing adequate water to livestock is critical for animal health and production,” says Miranda Meehan, NDSU Extension livestock environmental stewardship specialist. “Good-quality water can have a major impact on your cattle’s intake and weight gain.”

Canadian studies have shown the quality of water accessible to livestock is directly tied to the amount of forage they consume. Studies report improved gains by as much as 0.24 pound per day in yearlings and 0.33 pound per day in calves receiving good-quality water.

“Providing good-quality water also can improve herd health,” Meehan says. “Livestock whose primary water sources are ponds and dugouts have a greater risk of contracting illnesses such as giardia, leptospirosis and cyanobacterial poisoning, compared with livestock drinking from a trough.”

Water quality in dams and dugouts can be compromised because drought conditions often result in increases in blue-green algae and elevated levels of sulfates, which have the potential to be toxic.

Installing a water development project can help ensure that livestock have access to good-quality water throughout the grazing season, Meehan says.

In addition to benefiting animal health and performance, installing water development projects can:

• Increase flexibility in producers’ management systems.

• Increase grazeable acreage and extend the grazing season.

• Allow producers to utilize crop residues and cover crops for forage.

• Improve grazing distribution.

“Through time, these improvements, combined with appropriate management, have the potential to increase the carrying capacity of your operation, allowing for an increase in herd size and/or increased drought resistance with stockpiled forages,” Meehan says.

Common water developments include troughs, pumps, wells and pipelines. Many cost-share opportunities are available through the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil Conservation District or conservation groups for producers installing water developments. To learn more about water development cost-share opportunities, contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office, Soil Conservation District or conservation groups.

Also, in response to the 2017 drought, the North Dakota State Water Commission opened the Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Program, which will cover up $3,500 of the eligible costs for water development projects.

“To date, the program has approved funding for 512 projects,” program administrator Michael Noone says. “There is $425,000 available to producers in qualifying counties.”

These funds will remain available until the State Water Commission determines drought conditions have eased. For more information on the program, visit

For more information on livestock water quality issues, check out these NDSU Extension publications:

• “Livestock Water Requirements” –

• “Livestock Water Quality” –

2018 Borlaug CAST Communication Award goes to Marty Matlock Wed, 25 Apr 2018 21:26:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21420733 Council for Agricultural Science and Technology

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) announces that the 2018 Borlaug CAST Communication Award goes to Marty Matlock, an internationally recognized expert in agricultural sustainability metrics and assessment. Matlock has become the world’s leader in the science of agricultural sustainability during the past 10 years through his global communication effort.

A former cowboy, Matlock received his Ph.D. in biosystems engineering from Oklahoma State University. Currently he serves as the executive director of the University of Arkansas Resiliency Center and professor of ecological engineering in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. He has made an impact through his development of specialized courses, his expert supervision of students, and his ability to conduct competitively funded research.

Matlock shares his expertise with farmers, industry professionals, students, and consumers by helping them develop, implement, and communicate issues of great importance to the agricultural industry and science communities. Throughout the past six years, he has participated in more than 116 keynote presentations, discussion sessions, and video interviews. Since 2011, he has published 19 peer-reviewed manuscripts, co-authored two books and six international policy reports, been awarded three U.S. patents, and received more than 15 professional leadership awards.

Colleagues praise Matlock for his abilities to synthesize complex issues into simple concepts that resonate with his target audience. His interdisciplinary work has been recognized by numerous leading organizations through 30 national and international awards. One nominator wrote, “Spend one minute with Dr. Marty Matlock and you’ll realize how effectively he communicates the science of food, agriculture, and the environment. Spend a few hours and you’ll start wishing—as I had—you could sit in his class and soak up this proficiency. Spend a day and you’ll know Marty is a premier communicator and tireless advocate for science-based, sustainable food and farming practices across the globe.”

One of Matlock’s supporters states it perfectly: “His commitment embodies many of the attributes and characteristics of Dr. Borlaug, most notably providing leadership to advance science and engineering in a way that not only benefits agriculture and food production, but also contributes to the betterment of society.” To Matlock, Borlaug’s influence was personal — Marty worked with him beginning in 1996 when he joined the Texas A&M faculty. Borlaug provided guest lectures in Matlock’s graduate classes, where they explored the Borlaug hypothesis that intensification of food production was the only path forward to preserve biodiversity on Earth. Dr. Borlaug advised Matlock through the first four years of his academic career, encouraging him to explore the complex interface of community poverty, food, and water—these are now focal issues for the University of Arkansas Resiliency Center.

With Matlock’s experience and his ability to communicate complicated sustainability issues across various audiences as well as his capability of empowering the minds of today’s youth and agricultural communities around the world, he is indeed a worthy recipient of the 2018 Borlaug CAST Communication Award. As Matlock has been known to say, “Everything is connected. Everything is changing. We are all in this together.”

An award presentation will occur at a breakfast side event at the World Food Prize Symposium on October 17, 2018, in Des Moines, Iowa. The Borlaug CAST Communication Award honors the legacies of Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug and Charles A. Black, the first president of CAST.

The Planted Row: Celebrating a commitment to education Wed, 25 Apr 2018 16:35:51 +0000 By Stan Wise
Farm Forum Editor

Back when I still lived in Mississippi, I noticed something a little odd in our rural community.

Some of the kids worked really hard in school and performed well. Oftentimes, family and other community members would pitch in to help give these good students unique educational opportunities. When these kids made it into college and performed well there, the entire community was proud.

Yet, if those same people eventually returned to the community — educated and experienced — and suggested new ways of doing things, they were often met with great skepticism. They were accused of being “book smart” but lacking “common sense.” Change happened slowly there — something the South is known for.

I never understood that reaction. What is the point of helping students get an education if they aren’t supposed to come home and put it to work?

Thankfully, I haven’t noticed this problem as much here on the Northern Plains. In fact, when I describe South Dakotans to my friends and family back home, I usually mention that they are well-educated and extremely competent. I think this arises from the fact that the culture here prizes education, hard work, and efficiency. 

Every technological and societal advance came about because someone asked, “Is there a better way to do this?” One of the main purposes of education is to help people answer that question.

By all accounts, people on the Northern Plains are doing just that. Farmers and manufacturers in the area have invented new implements and innovations designed to solve common problems on the farm. Young people are launching successful apps before they ever go to college. Farmers are adopting the latest technology and farming methods to make the most of every acre.

That commitment to improvement through hard work and education is being passed on to the next generation, and this week the Farm Forum is proud to celebrate that commitment by highlighting some of the best students in the area. For the second year in a row, our panel of judges have named the Gold and Silver teams of our Scholastic Stars, highlighting this year’s crop of outstanding senior high school students.

Our front page story highlights two of those students — Sadie Vander Wal and Dalton Howe

— who have a strong interest in agricultural careers. You can find profiles of the entire list of Scholastic Stars starting on pages 7-13D.

You can stories about student athletes every day in the sports section of your local paper, but seldom do students who excel in academics get the same kind of attention. That’s a shame because it’s those very students who will become our next generation of innovators and leaders.

So, I’m thrilled to take this opportunity to shine the spotlight on those students who are staying up late to study and finish their homework, who are putting extra effort into their classroom projects, who are seeking out unique learning opportunities, who are putting their classroom knowledge to practical use on their farms.

Some of our Scholastic Stars will attend the best universities in the world where they will, no doubt, represent the state of South Dakota with honor. After they have completed their educations, I hope many of them return to northeastern South Dakota and help us continue to improve our lives and our communities.

Your families, your schools, your afterschool programs, and your communities helped to shape these outstanding students, and you should read about their endeavors with pride. 

Farm and Food File: Might over right Wed, 25 Apr 2018 15:06:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21342621 By Alan Guebert
Farm and Food File

One of the clearest memories I have as a second grade student is looking north from my classroom windows nearly everyday to see fellow second graders, Ricky W. and his sister, Regina, running to school, late as usual, with their arms, feet, and homework flying.

I also remember the two were usually met at the classroom door by our teacher, Mrs. K., and her wooden paddle. Most days Mrs. K. would lay into them like an Old Testament judge before they even got their coats off. Other times she’d smack the back of their hands with her long, hickory pointer as punishment for being tardy.

One morning, Mrs. K. pummeled Regina, who we’d recognize today as a special needs child, so hard that the little girl, crying and shuddering in fear, went to her desk, sat down, and silently wet the floor.

The repeated punishments never made the two arrive on time. They were seven years old and no child that age is responsible for getting to school on time. Worse, they were doing their very best—they were running as fast as they could—knowing that a beating awaited them despite their effort.

Those dispiriting memories came to mind as I spoke with Capitol Hill staffers about the hell-or-high-water, 2018 Farm Bill offered by House Ag Committee Republicans. No one, on either side of the debate, could explain why Chairman Mike Conaway insisted on offering a purely partisan bill loaded with short-term policy choices that will speed America’s rural decline, hasten farm and ranch consolidation, and endanger the nation’s greatest assets: its air, soil, and water.

The bill’s most controversial elements—restrictive changes to the nation’s biggest nutrition assistance program, SNAP, and the virtual elimination of restrictions on who or how much federal program payments anyone may receive—are more than incendiary to Committee Democrats. They are pure poison.

So why did Conaway deliver such a lop-sided bill? It’s a mystery, said one well-placed Farm Bill watcher speaking on background. Republican and Democratic staff members worked very hard to find some middle ground, the person explained; then the boss just tossed it all aside to go with a bill that few on either side see as wise.

Ranking Member, Minnesotan Collin Peterson—who helped deliver a “middle ground” Farm Bill in 2014 after almost two years of similar SNAP attacks—took to the radio waves April 16 to declare that “you can’t fix a bad bill.”

By that, Peterson explained, he has no plans to offer even one amendment to Conaway’s draft that might soften its sweeping changes to food assistance programs, reinstate hard caps on program payments, and limit the bill’s “multiple entities” which allow everyone but the farm dog to belly up to the government subsidy trough.

“I’m not gonna trust one damn thing they”—House Ag Republicans—“say from now on…” Peterson, said. “I’m done.”

Conaway’s bill is, too, but with a few uncertainties. Although the Texan pushed his bill through the committee with only GOP votes, he now faces getting it through a deeply fractured House. It won’t be easy because several conservative lobbies, like the Heritage Foundation, have vowed to fight it.

Even if the Conaway bill gets out of the House, an increasingly tall order, it’s not likely to get into the Senate. On April 12, Senate Ag Committee leaders, Chairman Pat Roberts from Kansas and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow from Michigan, took the unusual step of releasing a joint statement condemning the partisan process that delivered the House bill.

“We continue to be committed to working on a Farm Bill for all farmers and families,” began the statement, and are “… working together as quickly as possible to produce a bipartisan bill…”

Despite that near-certain Senate wall, House Chairman Conaway said his bill would be “marked up,” or debated, in his Committee and, when passed, be “whipped”—sold to members—for a full House vote in May.

Conaway, like Mrs. K., has the might to whip anything anytime. Doing so, however, doesn’t mean he’s right. Some of us learned that in the second grade.

The Farm and Food File is published weekly throughout the U.S. and Canada. Source material, past columns and contact information are posted at

Is corn setting up for a rally? Wed, 25 Apr 2018 15:06:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21419773 by Todd Hubbs
Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois
farmdoc daily (8):72

Corn futures prices moved lower last week despite the slow pace of corn planting thus far this year. High levels of corn consumption continue to peck away at the corn stocks carried over from last year’s production. When combined with a robust consumption scenario for the remainder of the year, the possibility of significantly lower corn production in 2018 creates a bullish outlook for corn prices.

Corn consumption continues to see support from ethanol production. The current USDA projection of 5.575 billion bushels of corn used for ethanol production is well within reach as ethanol production has eclipsed a million barrels a day for 14 consecutive weeks. Corn consumption for ethanol production used 2.79 billion bushels through the first half of the marketing year. Based on ethanol production since February, corn used in ethanol production as of April 13 is approximately 3.6 billion bushels. Recent highs in implied gasoline demand and the prospect of expansion to year around E-15 blending support a positive outlook for corn use in ethanol this year. Ethanol exports continue at a robust pace and look to provide additional support for corn use in ethanol. Through the first half of the marketing year, ethanol exports came in 6.7 percent higher than last year, at 768 million gallons. February export levels received a boost with 33 million gallons of ethanol going to China, the highest monthly total since April 2016. The levying of an additional 15 percent tariff on U.S. ethanol exports in April by China will severely limit ethanol exports to that country for the rest of the year. Despite the tariff rate quota placed on U.S. exports by Brazil in September, ethanol exports to Brazil remain strong. However, ethanol exports during the first half of the marketing year in Brazil came in seven percent lower than last year. The current pace of ethanol exports indicates a fifth consecutive marketing year of expansion with over 1.5 billion gallons exported, but trade issues may dampen exports.

Corn exports continue to strengthen despite a weak performance in the first half of the marketing year. At 790 million bushels, exports through February were 290 million bushels smaller than the 2016-17 marketing year pace. The weekly rate of export inspections picked up noticeably in March. As of April 19, corn inspected for export during the marketing year came in at 1.17 billion bushels. Cumulative Census Bureau export estimates through February exceeded cumulative export inspections by 37 million bushels. If that margin has persisted, exports through April 19 totaled 1.208 billion bushels. An additional 1.04 billion bushels of exports, an average of 52 million bushels per week, is necessary to reach the current USDA projection of 2.25 billion bushels. For the six weeks ended April 19, weekly export inspections averaged 63 million bushels per week. Additional support for U.S. exports is developing in South America. Currently, the USDA projects corn production in Brazil and Argentina at 3.6 and 1.3 billion bushels respectively. The dry weather in Argentina hampered the corn crop this year, and production currently sits 300 million bushels below last year’s level. Developing dryness in southern Brazil over a substantial portion of the second-crop corn hints at the prospect of additional losses in Brazilian production. U.S. corn export strength should continue into the summer months and the 2018-19 marketing year with the continuation of modest corn prices.

Feed and residual use of corn during the first half of the marketing is 3.75 billion bushels, which is one percent lower than last year’s pace. The USDA lowered the feed and residual use projection by 50 million bushels to 5.5 billion bushels the April WASDE report providing the lone blemish on corn consumption this year. Currently, the USDA projects feed and residual use during the last half of the marketing year at 1.74 billion bushels, which would account for 32 percent of the marketing year total. Last year feed and residual use totaled 1.67 billion bushels, accounting for 30 percent of the marketing year total. Due to the potential for a large residual component, uncertainty will continue until the release of the September 1 Grain Stocks report. When examining the current demand factors as a whole, consumption responded to low corn prices associated with large ending stocks. The USDA currently projects the carryover of old crop corn at 2.18 billion bushels. The prospect of corn prices rallying depends on new crop acreage and yield potential in 2018, despite the strong consumption currently evolving in the corn market.

The USDA’s March 29 Prospective Plantings report indicated intentions to plant 88.0 million acres of corn this year, 2.1 million fewer acres than planted last year. An exceptionally cold and wet April across large areas of the Corn Belt foreshadows the potential for acreage shifting out of corn and reduced yield potential associated with late planting. Planting progress over the next few weeks begins the process of building expectations on the magnitude of the 2018 crop and merit monitoring.

The USDA’s first projection for the 2018-19 marketing year will be unveiled on May 10. Uncertainty about the size of the 2018 corn crop will continue for the next few months. While ending stocks this marketing year are large, a deteriorating South American corn crop and continued strong consumption levels provide a basis for price strength moving forward. Any issues with planting or the expectation of yield loss set up a scenario for a corn price rally as farmers prepare to move into the fields over large sections of the Corn Belt.

Agriculture research, technology career goals for 2 Scholastic Stars Wed, 25 Apr 2018 14:56:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21339623 #td_uid_1_5ae175cda9bbb .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_5ae175cda9bbb .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item2 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_5ae175cda9bbb .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item3 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_5ae175cda9bbb .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item4 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; }

By Elizabeth Varin

The future of agriculture may be graduating from area schools this year.

And for one student, her interest in a future career started with a science project.

“When I was in the eighth grade I started studying artificial insemination in beef cattle and looking at how the viability of bovine sperm cells can be affected by so many factors whether it’s the environment or the thawing water temperature,” said Sadie Vander Wal, a senior at Northwestern Area High School in Mellette. “Expanding that to my own beef cattle — I own about 20 head of my own cattle on our family farm — just integrating what I’ve learned in the classroom to the farm, that’s just developed what I want to do someday.”

View all 2018 Scholastic Stars

Vander Wal is one of 41 area high school seniors being recognized this week in as the 2018 American News and Farm Forum Scholastic Stars. The Stars are picked by their schools, and a panel of judges then selects the best of the best for the Stars Gold Team — including Vander Wal.

She wants to ensure livestock quality continues to get better. She plans to attend South Dakota State University to major in animal science with a minor in journalism.

While farmers and ranchers already know a lot about livestock reproduction, she said research in that specialization is something that there isn’t a lot of right now.

Some information now is passed from rancher to rancher, she said. She wants to help farmers and ranchers know more about livestock reproduction.

“So many of them just rely on that word of mouth, so I think, especially the publication of those studies and everyone getting on the same page will help so we know how to advance agriculture to the best of our ability and to the maximum potential,” she said.

Another Spink County student also plans to make the move to Brookings. Dalton Howe, a senior at Redfield High School, will attend South Dakota State University with plans to major in agronomy with a minor in precision agriculture.

Howe joins Vander Wal on the 2018 Scholastic Stars Gold Team.

View all Scholastic Stars gold team members

Howe has spent years in 4-H and FFA, including in leadership roles and earning national awards. He’s also spent three years working for Mike and Betty Brink at their farm, caring for livestock and doing fieldwork.

Howe said he’s had an interest in agriculture from a young age and wants to work in agronomy.

“My first choice as of right now would be to work as a research agronomist to help find new varieties of seeds that will allow producers to produce higher yields per acre during droughts and assist in feeding the growing world’s population,” he wrote in his Scholastic Stars application.

He added that he wants to make a difference in the lives of others.

Vander Wal has a similar reason for pursuing a career in agriculture.

“Agriculture is literally everything,” she said. “Agriculture is our food production. It’s our sustainability and life. And in South Dakota, it’s our No. 1 industry.”

Follow @evarin_AAN on Twitter.

About this project

This week, we salute 41 of the region’s top high school seniors in the second American News/Farm Forum Scholastic Stars.

The students were selected by school representatives — superintendents, principals or counselors — on a formula of one senior standout per 100 students enrolled in the high school.

A panel of six judges selected the top 20 students for the Gold Team. The criteria included academics, extracurricular activities and clubs, awards and honors, community involvement and college and professional plans.

The remaining 21 students are recognized on the Silver Team.

Congratulations to the 2018 Scholastic Stars, sponsored by Northern State University.


• Kelly Duncan is dean of the Millicent Atkins School of Education at Northern State University in Aberdeen.

• Laura Edwards is the state climatologist for South Dakota State University Extension.

• Paula Jensen of Langford is vice president of advancement with Dakota Resources based in Renner.

• Katherine Grandstrand is the American News education reporter.

• Victoria Lusk is the business and enterprise editor at the American News.

• J.J. Perry is executive editor of the American News and Farm Forum.

Scholastic Stars involved in FFA

Dalton Howe, Redfield (Gold Team)

Sadie Vander Wal, Northwestern (Gold Team)

Baylee Enander, Hitchcock-Tulare (Silver Team)

Braden Keller, Hoven (Silver Team)

Madilyn Wright, Groton (Silver Team)

Scholastic Stars involved in 4-H

Dylan Frey, Langford (Gold Team)

Dalton Howe, Redfield (Gold Team)

Haley Ringkob, Britton-Hecla (Gold Team)

Hannah Sumption, Frederick (Gold Team)

Sadie Vander Wal, Northwestern (Gold Team)

Sophie Wieland, Aberdeen Central (Gold Team)

Grace Wolff, Leola (Gold Team)

Peyton Ellingson, Warner (Silver Team)

Baylee Enander, Hitchcock-Tulare (Silver Team)

Braden Keller, Hoven (Silver Team)

Madilyn Wright, Groton (Silver Team)


Photo Gallery: New Arrivals Tue, 24 Apr 2018 21:44:10 +0000 #td_uid_2_5ae175cdb4756 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5ae175cdb4756 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item2 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5ae175cdb4756 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item3 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5ae175cdb4756 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item4 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5ae175cdb4756 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item5 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5ae175cdb4756 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item6 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5ae175cdb4756 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item7 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5ae175cdb4756 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item8 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5ae175cdb4756 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item9 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5ae175cdb4756 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item10 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; }
Agtegra to study possible merger with ND-based co-op Tue, 24 Apr 2018 21:16:03 +0000 http://ffimp-21409962 by Victoria Lusk
American News Business and Enterprise Editor

Agtegra Cooperative has signed a letter of intent with North Dakota-based Farmland Co-op Inc. that allows the cooperative to “study the benefits, opportunities and risks of Farmland becoming part of Agetegra,” according to a letter sent to Agtegra’s member-owners April 18. 

Farmland approached Agtegra about the possibility earlier this year. 

“It’s nothing that we were out looking for,” said Greg Smith, Agtegra director of communications. “At this point, we’ve basically said ‘let’s have a conversation.’ That conversation has been started and it’s a possibility.” 

Farmland will work through details and its members and employees will decide whether or not to join Agtegra over the next several weeks. However, it may not be necessary for Agtegra’s members to vote on the transaction, according to the letter.

Farmland has seven employees and about 100 members. 

Northeast South Dakota fourth graders learn agriculture lessons: Photos and Video Tue, 24 Apr 2018 20:41:24 +0000

About 550 fourth grade students from northeast South Dakota learned about farm safety and animal care during an ag fair hosted by the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Ag Committee on Tuesday. FFA students from Groton Area High School and Aberdeen Central High School, as well as business experts, taught students at Prairie Hill Farms north of Aberdeen.

Farm bill creates latest push for ‘welfare reform’ Tue, 24 Apr 2018 19:46:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21408214 By Jessica Wehrman
The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

WASHINGTON — Republicans’ next big push for “welfare reform” comes courtesy of a bill designed to pay for the nation’s farm programs.

The federal farm bill, which expires on Oct. 1, is aimed at providing federal support to farmers who may need it during tough times. But roughly 80 percent of the bill goes to federal food assistance, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

That typically makes the bill’s passage a bipartisan affair, with urban and rural lawmakers joining forces to both help feed the poor and to keep farmers facing financial difficulty from being driven out of business entirely.

But this year’s bill has been different. Instead, to Democrats’ fury, House Republicans see the farm bill as an opportunity to take a crack at revamping SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.

A bill passed along party lines by the House Agriculture Committee last week would significantly beef up current SNAP work requirements. Republicans say the program should shrink — the economy has improved and the program was designed to be a hand up, not a handout. Democrats, meanwhile, say it’s cruel.

Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, compares it to the unemployed good friend who moves in with you.

“You’d be like, ‘Hey, man, I’m glad to help you out for a while, but are you going to go to any job interviews?'” he said. “We would do that! And somehow, when the government does it, it’s mean. And we have to be willing to do what we would do even for our friends or we’re not going to get this spending under control.”

Melissa Boteach, the senior vice president of the Poverty to Prosperity program at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, counters, “Taking away someone’s food isn’t going to help them find a job any faster.”

Current law requires able — bodied adults between 18 and 49 with no dependents to work at least 20 hours a week or receive an equivalent amount of job training to qualify for benefits.

Participants can be unemployed for three months during a three-year period, but beyond that, face the risk of losing their benefits. States have the flexibility to loosen that requirement or beef it up, depending on their preference. The disabled, seniors and those taking care of children are exempt from the work requirement.

The new GOP-pushed measure would change that age range to 18 to 59. It also would impose the work requirements on those with children over age six.

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, said the new requirements include “some of the most punitive provisions I’ve ever seen in doing 30 years of doing this work.”

“I’ve never seen anything as cruel as this piece of legislation,” she said.

But its defenders say the bill will help refocus the program into one that helps those who cannot help themselves.

“The economy’s in great shape,” said Robert Doar of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “There are opportunities out there. The labor force participation is still below what it was at the beginning of the Great Recession. There are still people who are eligible to work who are remaining on the sidelines.”

He said that more than 9 million Americans now receiving the benefits “could work.”

“I think most Americans believe the purpose of programs like the food stamp benefit is to help people move out of poverty through earnings, not to keep them more comfortable or less uncomfortable in poverty,” he said.

SNAP helps to feed some 40 million low-income Americans. In Ohio, Hamler-Fugitt said, some 1.4 million people participate. Of that group, more than 700,000 are children. Around 200,000 are seniors. And 360,000 are people with disabilities. That means the work requirements would apply to perhaps 10 percent getting SNAP benefits — hardly the system-wide reform advertised.

The bill also would allocate federal dollars to help states create job-training programs for those who must meet the work requirement.

Democrats, however, argue that money isn’t nearly enough.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Cleveland Democrat who serves on the House Agriculture Committee, said that states will have to develop training programs to comply with the bill. And there’s no requirement, she said, that training leads to work.

“We are, in fact, creating a bureaucracy at the state and local level,” she said, adding that the bill doesn’t include enough money to actually pay for that bureaucracy.

But Doar disputes the notion that the bill underfunds job-training programs, saying that states and localities also have job-training resources. “I think they could make substantial, significant progress to helping people move out of poverty with the resources being offered here,” said Doar, a former commissioner of social services for the state of New York.

Rep. Jim Jordan, an Urbana Republican who has long championed welfare reform, said the move is overdue.

He said reforming welfare would “help everyone — help the economy, help the budget, help employers and most importantly, help people stuck in the dependency welfare lifestyle.”

“Every single day when I’m out and about in the district, I’m talking to employers who are finding it difficult to find people to work,” he said. “There are employment needs out there.”

Still, he’s not sure if he’ll back the bill when it comes to the floor of the House. He’s concerned about the money devoted to workforce development. “I’m nervous about another government program,” he said.

And he knows it will be a hard sell in the Senate, where the GOP majority is far more narrow. He said if Congress can’t reform welfare as part of its agriculture bill, it should consider a short-term extension until it can do so.

“I want to make sure it’s the right tough-love approach that is going to help people get a better position in life and recognizes the fact that the taxpayers are paying for this,” he said.

Ag Business Briefs Tue, 24 Apr 2018 19:06:03 +0000 http://ffimp-21339358 Man gets 5 years in prison for stealing grain from family

MOUNT VERNON, S.D. — A Mount Vernon man accused of stealing $400,000 worth of grain from a Davison County farm family has been sentenced to serve five years in prison and pay restitution.

Authorities alleged that 48-year-old Merle Northrup over a span of five years sold loads of corn and soybeans under his own name while working for the farm family, keeping the proceeds. He pleaded no contest in March to a grand theft charge.

The Daily Republic reports Northrup was sentenced on April 17. Judge Chris Giles said he was concerned that Northrup showed no remorse and took no responsibility.

Giles sentenced him to 15 years in prison but suspended 10 years on the condition he repay what he stole and also pay court fees and costs.

— Associated Press

Authorities say man fatally injured at

northwest Iowa farm

ROCK VALLEY, Iowa — Authorities say a man was fatally injured when he was run over by a piece of equipment at a farm in northwest Iowa.

The accident occurred on April 16 at the farm 4 miles west of Rock Valley. The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office says the man was run over while walking behind a payloader as it was backing up. He was taken to a local hospital and then flown to a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Sheriff’s Office identified him as 52-year-old Bradley Peetsch, who lived in Baxter, Minnesota. The payloader driver was identified as 17-year-old Joey Van Ginkel, of Rock Valley.

A payloader is a heavy vehicle with a large blade or broad scoop mounted on its front.

— Associated Press

Brookings fish food company expanding with $60M Volga plant

BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) — A Brookings company that makes an ingredient used in fish food is expanding with a $60 million production facility in nearby Volga.

Prairie AquaTech’s new plant will be built along U.S. Highway 14 on land near the South Dakota Soybean Processors plant. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled May 1, with completion expected in about a year.

The 30,000-square-foot facility will add about 35 employees to Prairie AquaTech’s current staff of 30. The company’s main office will remain in Brookings.

The company says the $60 million raised for the project includes $45 million for construction, $10 million for operating capital and $5 million to develop new products.

Prairie AquaTech’s products have come out of research at South Dakota State University. The products are for fish raised commercially for human consumption.

4-H News Tue, 24 Apr 2018 18:06:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21357214 Friendly Fellows and Daisies

The Friendly Fellows and Daisies 4-H club met on February 11. The meeting was called to order by President Nicole Marzahn.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Karsten Fliehs, and the 4-H Pledge was led by Blake Pauli.

Roll call topic was favorite movie. There were no communications. The treasurer’s and secretary’s reports were approved as given.

Treasurer’s report closed by Kamryn Fliehs and seconded by Braeden Fliehs. Secretary’s report was closed by Hanna Miller and seconded by Ashlynn Warrington

Old business was bowling party next year. Old business was closed by Colin Frey and seconded by Tucker Miller.

For new business, Leader Mike Frey read the Newshound and discussed the changes to livestock along with the fruit sales that start March 4.

New business was closed by Logan Warrington and seconded by Logan Ringgenberg.

There was no other business. The meeting was adjourned by Braden Boe and seconded by Hanna Miller.

There was no talks/demonstrations given.

Lunch was served by the Anderson Family.

— Submitted by Kamryn Fliehs, club reporter

Friendly Fellows and Daisies

The Friendly Fellows and Daisies 4-H club met on March 3. The meeting was called to order by President Nicole Marzahn.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Clay Crawford. The 4-H Pledge was led by Logan Ringgenberg.

Roll call topic was favorite color. There were no communications. The treasurer’s report was approved by Clay Crawford and seconded by Madilyn Wright.

The secretary’s report was read and no additions or improvements were made. The secretary’s report was approved by Kamryn Fliehs and seconded by Ashlynn Warrington.

Old business was project day. Old business was closed by Madilyn Wright and seconded by Ashlynn Warrington.

New business was the Newshound. New business was closed by Kamryn Fliehs and seconded by Austin Crawford.

Other business was the Dakota Prairie Museum tour.

The meeting was adjourned by Braden Boe and seconded by Braeden Fliehs.

There was one talk/demonstration by Andrew Marzahn about bow archery.

Lunch was served by the Marzahn Family.

— Submitted by Kamryn Fliehs, club reporter

Friendly Fellows and Daisies

The Friendly Fellows and Daisies 4-H club met on April 15. The meeting was called to order by Colin Frey.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Kella Tracy. The 4-H Pledge was led by Walker Zoellner. Roll call topic was favorite song.

There was one communication; it was a thank you letter from the Dakota Prairie Museum.

In the treasurer’s report were no bills. Secretary’s report was given with no additions or improvements approved by Hanna Miller and seconded by Ashlynn Warrington.

Old business was fundraisers. Closed old business by Kamryn Fliehs and seconded by Logan Warrington.

New business topics were Newshound and 4-H insurance. New business closed by Dylan Frey and seconded by Mallory Miller.

Other business was watching a video on dairy farms.

The meeting was adjourned by Braeden Boe and seconded by Kamryn Fliehs.

There was two talks/demonstrations: Banana roll demo by Natalia Warrington and finish/stain wood by Axel Warrington.

Lunch was served by the Fliehs Family.

— Submitted by Kamryn Fliehs, club reporter

Cover crops upgrade land quality on Spink County farm Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:36:11 +0000 http://ffimp-21407264 #td_uid_3_5ae175ce40425 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_3_5ae175ce40425 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item2 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_3_5ae175ce40425 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item3 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; }

By Janelle Atyeo
USDA NRCS South Dakota.

Huron, S.D. – A month after planting a cover crop mix, Brian Johnson’s field was thick with leafy radishes and bright green spears of sorghum Sudan grass. In another month, the cows would be turned out for a few weeks of grazing this leafy mix.

It’s all part of a plan to prepare the field, which grew oats this season, for a healthy corn crop next year. Come spring, the cover crop will have decomposed, leaving a soft soil bed for seeding corn. Nutrients from the cover crop and the cows will be left behind as well, helping the corn to a strong start.

The busyness of corn and soybean harvest was still ahead of him, but Johnson was already looking forward to pulling his planter through that field just north of his Frankfort, South Dakota home. Cover crops make the soil conditions just right for planting.

“It’s definitely mellow,” Brian said. “It’s my ideal seed bed. It’s like butter.”

Brian doesn’t till his fields. He aims his seed within the 2-inch row where the cover crops are growing now. That’s where they’ll land in the softest soil. When the corn or soybeans put down roots, they’ll follow the holes where radishes grew deep into the soil before turning to mush with winter’s freeze. Wheat straw residue next to the planting strip holds in moisture and shades the ground until the corn canopies.

Working the soil this way is known as bio stripping. The Johnsons have been seeing big benefits.

Brian farms with his wife Jamie and his parents Alan and Mickie Johnson. They’ve managed many of their fields without tilling for nearly 30 years, and they’ve been using cover crops in their rotation of corn, soybeans and wheat for nearly a decade.

Now Jamie, who comes from a livestock background, is encouraging them to add to that diversity using their herd of registered black Angus cattle. She’d like to see the cows out grazing residue after harvest.

Already, they’ve created more pasture land by putting their least productive ground back into grass. It’s the opposite of the trend in 2009 and 2010 when many grassland acres in the area were plowed to plant crops because prices were so high. The area where the Johnsons farm south of Frankfort is known for its high-producing corn ground. Many farmers there plowed the grassland for crops in those good years, but some of the land there turned out to have issues with poor drainage and salinity, and now it doesn’t pay well at all.

Brian said he’s happy to have his worst fields back in grass.

“It looks fabulous and I don’t have to fight those issues anymore,” he said.

That’s how it should be because it works best for the land, Jamie said. “It was made for livestock,” she added.

Using cattle in their crop management plan makes sense, as well. The cows will graze the cover crops for about three weeks or longer if they supplement their feed with the baled oats at the field’s edge. Feeding cattle this way means less work and less hay every day, she pointed out.

“It needs to be a cohesive operation that works together,” she said.

The cows get a big benefit, too. Cover crops extend their grazing season with nutritious forages, and they love the turnips and radishes in the mix.

“It’s is ice cream all over the place,” said Shane Jordan, district conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Redfield who has worked with the Johnson family for several years. He helped the family work through salinity issues by planting salt-tolerant cover crops like wheatgrass, using federal incentives through the Conservation Stewardship Program.

Planting cover crops has become a normal part of the Johnson’s management program. That’s what NRCS likes to see, Shane said. The program is meant to encourage farmers to continue these soil-building practices on their own.

“The challenge is getting a small grain in the rotation,” he said.

Producers like what it does for their soil, but they don’t see enough of a return on their investment to stick with it – especially when the wheat market is down like it is now. The best benefits come after eight to 10 years of diversified cropping, Shane said.

The Johnsons plant wheat on their more challenging fields rather than using their top-producing corn ground. Brian estimates they get a 15-bushel bump when corn follows their wheat crop, in addition to other benefits.

“You’re fixing weed problems and salinity problems,” he said.

Diversifying crops helps break up issues with weeds such as waterhemp and kochia.

The Johnsons worked over the years to fine tune their cover crop seeding rates and seed placement. Brian needed to add some special equipment to make it possible for his planter to handle the seeds in the cover crop mix. He got some questions when he special ordered planter plates for sugar beets, a crop grown in neighboring North Dakota and Minnesota but not at all common in South Dakota.

Some cover crop mix needs to be planted with a drill because the seed sizes aren’t uniform enough for the planter to handle. Brian used a John Deere 750 drill to plant his grazing mix. The mix of millet, radish, turnip and sorghum Sudan grass was planted in 20-inch rows. Before it went in, the local cooperative applied phosphorus and potassium. Brian will add nitrogen when he plants corn in the spring and when the plant is at about its V5 growth stage.

This year, proved ideal conditions for getting a cover crop started. The Johnsons harvested oats at the beginning of August and planted the cover crop mix as soon as the bales were moved, then the rain came.

“It’s got the start that it needed,” Brian said.

The Johnsons also got a head start on harvest.

Rather than rushing to roll combines through all their fields in October and November and put the lid on the bin before winter hits, the Johnsons can knock out a few hundred acres by harvesting their wheat in August.

“That’s stressful when you’re up against a blizzard,” Jamie said, recalling the harvest season three years ago when they worked past midnight to finish the work ahead of a November snowstorm.

Spreading out that harvest-time workload is another benefit of growing small grains and cover crops she likes best.

FFA youth team up for safety and win Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:36:07 +0000 http://ffimp-21407045 #td_uid_4_5ae175ce4caa0 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_4_5ae175ce4caa0 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item2 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_4_5ae175ce4caa0 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item3 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_4_5ae175ce4caa0 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item4 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; }

South Dakota Farmers Union

HURON, S.D. — Farm safety is not a topic to take lightly, explains high school junior, Peter Rausch.

“I know from firsthand experience how dangerous working on a farm can be. I lost a friend to a farm accident,” says Rausch, who holds his OSHA certification thanks to a course he took as part of his high school’s agriculture education class. “It is always good to be aware of your surroundings and be as safe as you can for yourself and others.”

Rausch, a member of the Hoven FFA Chapter, was among more than 80 FFA members who participated in the South Dakota Farmers Union Team Up for Safety Quiz Bowl during the 2018 South Dakota State FFA Convention held in Brookings, April 14-16.

Hoven FFA Chapter quiz bowl team is one of four that qualified to compete in the championship quiz bowl which will be held at the 2018 South Dakota State Fair during Farmers Union Day.

The other teams who qualified include the following FFA chapters: Parker FFA, Tri-Valley FFA and Wessington Springs.

Keep safety top of mind

Each year, hundreds are hurt or killed on farms and ranches. As a grassroots farming and ranching organization, S.D. Farmers Union (SDFU) hosts the quiz bowl each year to help remind youth of farm safety risks and how to keep themselves and those they care about safe.

“Farm safety is a unique challenge because family members – no matter the age – share in the work. And the workplace is also where they live,” says Doug Sombke, SDFU president and a fourth-generation Conde farmer. “For most of us in South Dakota, we like to think we’re pretty in tune with what’s going on around us. But life moves pretty fast and it’s easy to take little things for granted. It could be something as simple as just taking the time to read labels on chemicals or applications.”

During the quiz bowl, high school students are challenged to put their farm safety knowledge to the test by competing in a game show format answering questions like: What kind of fire extinguisher should you keep in a combine? What does hydrogen sulfide smell like? Or, what is the leading cause of weather related deaths?

“I competed last year and wanted to compete again this year because we had a lot of fun and it’s a good reminder,” says Jackson Fiegan, a member of the Parker FFA Chapter.

Like many teens growing up in rural communities, even though Fiegan doesn’t live on a farm, he spends a lot of time working on farms. As does Cooper Hainy, a member of the Wessington Springs FFA Chapter.

“I wanted to learn a bit more about safety on the farm because I do work on my grandpa’s farm – and this was a fun way to do that,” Hainy says.

Looking ahead to the quiz bowl championships, Tri-Valley FFA member, Dylan Huwe says he and his teammates will give farm safety an even greater focus.

“We plan to do some practicing before state fair,” Huwe says.

State beef checkoff under fire – which others are next? Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:36:06 +0000 http://ffimp-21406773 By Sara Wyant
Special to the Farm Forum

The recent decision by a U.S. Appeals Court dealt another blow to the Montana beef checkoff and signaled a significant victory for the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF), an organization that’s made no secret about its desire to challenge other state beef checkoff programs and more broadly, other checkoff programs.

The Ninth Circuit’s decision “means that yet another set of federal judges has ruled that the government cannot compel independent ranchers to fund the speech of multinational corporations. This ruling may only apply to Montana, but the momentum towards reform of the entire beef checkoff system is clear,” said David Muraskin, a Food Project Attorney at Public Justice who is serving as lead counsel on the case for R-CALF.

In rejecting USDA’s effort to overturn, the latest ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit basically upheld a lower court ruling, noting that the district court did not abuse its discretion by finding that the checkoff assessed on Montana beef producers likely violated R-CALF USA’s First Amendment rights. It did not rule on the merits of the case.

The lower court ruled that the USDA’s beef checkoff program is being administered in a way that interferes with ranchers’ First Amendment rights, and that the government should be prohibited from collecting funds for the state program without rancher consent under a preliminary injunction.

“For the first time in over three decades, independent Montana cattle producers have a choice as to whether to continue funding a private message that essentially says that beef is beef regardless of where the cattle from which the beef was derived was born or raised. That generic message is contrary to the interests of Montana ranchers who want to capitalize on the superior beef products that are produced from their high quality, USA-produced cattle,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard in a statement.

As the MBC points out (see graphic below), the state’s cattle ranchers will still have to pay into the $1/head national checkoff program, but the Montana Beef Council will only receive its fifty percent share of that money when a rancher opts in. Already, that’s resulted in significantly lower state receipts: $150,000 by the board’s January meeting versus a typical $860,000 in a fiscal year that starts in October.

So how much impact will this latest decision have? Ultimately, it’s up to the courts, including a yet unscheduled hearing on the merits of the case before the District Court Judge in Montana.

“I don’t want people to panic over this. This is the same situation we had when our case went all the way up to the Supreme Court. We lost in a couple of circuit courts before we got to the Supreme Court,” explained Wayne Watkinson, a partner with Watkinson Miller, who represents dozens of checkoffs and was on the winning side in 2005 when the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory checkoff programs are constitutional if they are overseen directly by the federal government.

“You have to get judges dealing with the right issues. Here, they clearly were not,” he added.

Before the appellate court in early March, Public Justice’s David Muraskin argued that the government needs to take more steps to control the Montana Beef Council board if it wanted to compel ranchers to fund its work and messaging.

“It’s not about who you appoint to the board, it’s do you have control over the message?” Watkinson points out. “Under the MOU, the Secretary has complete control over the Montana message.

That’s a point clearly expressed in the Appeals Court dissent, written by Circuit Judge Andrew Hurwitz, who said that the district court erred in granting the preliminary injunction.

“As the Supreme Court has made plain, the critical question in determining whether speech is public or private in the precise context of this case is whether the speech is ‘effectively controlled’ by the government,” Hurwitz wrote. “The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Secretary and the Montana Beef Council plainly grants the Secretary complete pre-approval authority over ‘any and all promotion, advertising, research, and consumer information plans and projects’ of the MBC. The district court failed to even discuss the Memorandum in granting the preliminary injunction, let alone suggest why it was not a facially enforceable agreement.”

“The dissent got it right and the majority really used a technical, procedural argument to prevent a clear determination that the district judge had abused their discretion,” Watkinson pointed out. “This is R-CALF’s attempt to go after some of the beef councils, believing if they weaken that structure, the national checkoff will go away. This is beef people fighting beef people.”

Yet, Watkinson says that, “clearly, the national checkoff program is in good shape. Even the district court judge said there is no concern about the national beef checkoff.”

But Muraskin does not agree, he wrote in an email to Agri-Pulse. He said that even if Watkinson “was entirely right it shows that the checkoff program needs to change nationally (and not just the beef checkoff program).”

For more news, go to:

NDSU equine-assisted activities/therapies session registration open Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:36:05 +0000 http://ffimp-21406758 NDSU Extension

People with physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral or mental health challenges will have an opportunity to improve their motor skills, self-confidence, strength and independence through horseback riding during Bison Strides’ summer session.

Bison Strides is North Dakota State University’s equine-assisted activities and therapies program offered through the Department of Animal Sciences.

Registration is open for the six-week session, which will run from May 21 through June 28. Each adapted therapeutic riding lesson runs for one hour per week.

The cost for the six-week session is $240. The registration deadline is May 1. Lessons will be held at the NDSU Equine Center, 5140 19th Ave. N., Fargo, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m.

Individuals must have a physician’s release and be evaluated by the Bison Strides director prior to participating in the program. Riders are matched with horses, depending on their needs and the amount of volunteer support required.

A training for volunteers who would like to be involved in this program will be held Monday, May 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the NDSU Equine Center.

For more information about Bison Strides, registration or volunteer opportunities, send an email to or call 701-231-9611.

AHA to release Maternal Advantage program benefitting commercial cattlemen Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:36:04 +0000 http://ffimp-21406718 American Hereford Association

Kansas City, Mo. — The American Hereford Association (AHA) is proud to introduce the Maternal Advantage program — a genetically verified program that will be used to identify premium replacement females.

This new female-focused program is designed to take advantage of hybrid vigor by capitalizing on Hereford genetics. It has been documented that Hereford genetics maximize the value of a herd by leveraging its fertility, feed efficiency, profitability and docility to the producer’s advantage.

“The Maternal Advantage program is a great tool for progressive producers to utilize for adding value to replacement females and aiding in promoting the industry’s most sought-after females,” says Trey Befort, director of commercial programs at the AHA. “We are excited to provide yet another tool to continue leveraging Hereford’s influence in commercial programs.”

The program generates females with added longevity, more docility, increased fertility and more profit per year. This program can be utilized by producers using Hereford bulls on British-based or Brahman-based females in their breeding program.

To take advantage of the program, producers must verify that eligible females are sired by registered Hereford bulls. Participating bull batteries must rank in the top 50% of the breed for Baldy Maternal Index (BMI$) if used on British-based females or the top 50% of the breed for Brahman Influence Index (BII$) if used on Brahman-based females. Both of these maternally-focused indexes are geared to identify Hereford bulls that will be profitable when used in a rotational cross with mature commercial

Angus-influenced or Brahman-influenced females. Both BMI$ and BII$ have significant weight on the AHA’s Sustained Cow Fertility (SCF) expected progeny difference (EPD), which predicts fertility and longevity of females. They also have an emphasis on growth, efficiency and end product merit for non-retained females.

Cattlemen who take advantage of the program will reap the many benefits offered by the AHA. Not only will they have added hybrid vigor in their operation, they will also have access to a sire EPD summary, added market exposure, replacement selection tools, genetic improvement tools and access to AHA resources, marketing and staff.

For more information about the Maternal Advantage program, contact Trey Befort, at or visit

Get cooking at the 50th NJAS Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:36:03 +0000 http://ffimp-21406669 American Angus Association

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the All-American Certified Angus Beef Cook-Off, one of the most popular contests each year at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS). The competition challenges juniors to prepare a beef-inspired dish and creatively present their meal to a panel of judges.

While there are plenty of laughs and fun during the daylong event, participants learn the importance of communicating about beef nutrition and the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand.

“We are looking forward to the 35th annual CAB Cook-Off at the National Junior Angus Show,” says Anne Lampe, American Angus Auxiliary Cook-Off co-chair. “Every year we change up the beef cuts to challenge participants. We are continually impressed by the talent and enthusiasm our juniors bring to the table.”

May 15 is the deadline to enter this year’s event hosted July 11 in conjunction with the 2018 NJAS at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) members compete in state groups to develop a recipe and prepare it in one of three meat categories: steaks, roasts and other beef items. Each group may consist of two to six individuals, and the age divisions are 8-13; 14-17; and 18-21.

The second portion of the Cook-Off involves a creative skit showcasing CAB.

“When developing your skit and recipe, the main goal is to promote Certified Angus Beef to the consumer,” Lampe said. “Be creative and have fun, but remember to incorporate the quality characteristics of our branded beef program.”

Participating teams should do their homework and come equipped to answer a variety of questions. The CAB website hosts several different information sources and ideas to prepare for the Cook-Off, including the carcass specifications, various cuts and cooking methods and degrees of doneness.

The Cook-Off involves a few rules junior members should consider when making their plans:

• All teams will use the same CAB product in their respective categories, no exceptions. Each category will receive the following beef cuts: sirloin flap, top sirloin, and one pound of pre-cooked meatballs for the other category.

• No team may receive the CAB product until 9 a.m. on contest day. Please do not choose a recipe that requires overnight marinating or cooking time of more than four hours.

• Grills are strongly encouraged for preparation of beef.

Sound like fun? Adults attending the NJAS can also participate in their own type of cooking competition. The Chef’s Challenge is an event open to both senior (18-21) NJAA members and adults, and participants showcase their skills using CAB and secret ingredients provided by the contest. Chef’s Challenge pre-entry is also required by May 15.

For more information on the All-American Certified Angus Beef Cook-Off, visit For more information, please contact Anne Patton Schubert at 502-477-2663 or Anne Lampe at or 620-874-4273. To find out information about the NJAA and NJAS, visit

MN Dept. of Ag releases proposed groundwater protection rule Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:36:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21406625 Minnesota Department of Agriculture

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) today released the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule (GPR) to the public and announced the rule will be published in the State Register on April 30. An 80-day public comment period on the rule will follow.

The goal of the Groundwater Protection Rule is to work with local farmers to reduce elevated nitrate levels in groundwater and ensure Minnesota residents have clean, safe, and reliable drinking water supplies. Nitrate is one of the most common contaminants in Minnesota’s groundwater; elevated nitrate levels in drinking water can pose serious health concerns for humans. The proposed rule, which is based on the input of the farmers and landowners who the rule would apply to, would regulate the use of nitrogen fertilizer in areas of the state where soils are prone to leaching and where drinking water supplies are threatened.

“When I traveled the state last summer to hear farmers’ concerns, I promised the Groundwater Protection Rule would have a healthy dose of common sense. I think we have achieved that,” said Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “I encourage anyone with interest in the rule to provide their feedback through the rulemaking process. In an effort to ensure all stakeholders have the opportunity to have their voices heard, we have extended the traditional 30-day public comment period by 50 days and will hold an 80-day public comment period.”

The MDA informally published a draft of the Groundwater Protection Rule in the summer of 2017, and provided an opportunity for public comment to help shape the proposed rule. The MDA received more than 820 written comments regarding the rule, and over 1,000 farmers, landowners and other Minnesotans attended a total of 17 public meetings in Chatfield, Fairmont, Farmington, Hawley, Marshall, McIntosh, Roseau, St. Cloud, St. Paul, Wadena, and Warren. Additional public comments were received in Bemidji, Crookston, Mankato, Marshall, Rochester, and St. Cloud as part of the Governor’s Water Town Hall Meetings.

Starting April 30, public comments on the Groundwater Protection Rule can be made on the Office of Administrative Hearings website at

Timeline for Groundwater Protection Rulemaking

The publication of the proposed rule triggers a formal comment period during which anyone can submit comments on the proposed rule to the Office of Administrative Hearings.

• April 30 – The State Register publishes the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule and Statement of Need and Reasonableness.

• April 30 – July 26 – Time period for submitting comments on the rule to the Office of Administrative Hearings.

• May/June 2018 – The Department of Agriculture holds information sessions on the draft Groundwater Protection Rule and how to participate in the rulemaking process. (Attendance at an information session does not count as providing input on the proposed rule; all input must be submitted to the Office of Administrative Hearings.)

• Fall 2018 – The Office of Administrative Hearings reviews the comments and drafts a report approving, approving in part, or disapproving the proposed rule.

• December 2018 – The Department of Agriculture submits the final Groundwater Protection Rule to the Governor for signature.

The Groundwater Protection Rule is part of the state’s overall Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan (NFMP) which was developed with broad stakeholder input over a five year period and implemented in 2015. More information on the rule and the NFMP is available at

Sprayer system cleaner developed to deactivate dicamba Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:16:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21406562 Monsanto Company

ST. LOUIS — On April 24, Monsanto Company announced that it has collaborated with Adjuvants Unlimited, LLC to develop an agricultural sprayer system cleaner designed to deactivate dicamba. Adjuvants Unlimited, a well-known developer and manufacturer of technologies for the crop protection industry, will bring this technology to market in 2018 through their industry partners.

The new sprayer cleaner technology is unique from other currently commercially-available sprayer equipment cleaners as it is based on a chemical process that deactivates certain pesticide active ingredients, including dicamba. This valuable technology is designed to be used within the rinse and cleanout processes specified on current dicamba product labels and best management practices.

“Monsanto developed this product based on grower interest in new tools to help manage the use of multiple herbicide systems, including the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System,” said Ryan Rubischko, Monsanto dicamba portfolio lead. “This is a new mode of action for sprayer system cleaners and will provide growers an even better experience when utilized as part of the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System with XtendiMax herbicide with VaporGrip Technology, a restricted use pesticide.”

Monsanto has been working with Adjuvants Unlimited and academics over the past few years to test this technology prior to bringing it to market.

“We have been testing this new technology in university trials and it has proven to be very effective at cleaning sprayer systems that have contained dicamba tank mixed with additional herbicide products,” said Dan Reynolds, professor of weed science and Hartwig Endowed Chair at Mississippi State University. “We have seen a significant reduction in the presence of dicamba when utilizing this technology as part of the labeled sprayer cleanout process.”

Monsanto and Adjuvants Unlimited anticipate that the initial product offering will be announced in the coming weeks and available for the 2018 season, and additional branded products and distributors will be available in the future.

For more information on XtendiMax Herbicide with VaporGrip Technology or the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System, please visit

Fertilization can help with cool soils and late planting dates Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:06:03 +0000 http://ffimp-21406516 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

With delayed spring weather and low or uncertain grain prices, farmers and crop consultants are asking questions about starter fertilizer for corn this spring. The placement of small amounts of plant nutrients in bands offset to the side and below the seed row or in the seed furrow increases the concentration of nutrients near seedling roots. Common starter fertilizers have nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) and sometimes sulfur (S) or micronutrients. Research in Iowa and the north central region has shown that early plant growth increases from starter fertilizer are common and can be large in corn but are uncommon and small in soybean.

Phosphorus and nitrogen are the key nutrients for starter application

The early growth responses to starter fertilizer usually are more frequent in low-testing soils or when conditions are colder than usual. With cold soil, root growth is slowed, the capacity to absorb nutrients is reduced, and the diffusion of nutrients through soil towards the root surface is slowed. These effects are more likely to happen with reduced tillage and high residue cover because the residue keeps soils cooler and wetter for a longer time compared with soils with little cover. However, starter may also help with late planting even if soils are warm. Wisconsin research showed that starter P application was likely to increase yield and reduce grain moisture with very late planting and full-season hybrids. Iowa results were not as consistent, probably because the research did not include many years with late planting dates, and many of the Wisconsin research sites were farther north.

Phosphorus is less mobile in soil than K, and much less than mineral N forms (especially nitrate), thus the P concentration in the soil solution near roots at a particular time can be low. Also, P is very critical for plants during very early growth, and an early P deficiency seldom can be fully corrected after crop emergence. Therefore, it is not surprising that early-season corn growth responses to starter mixtures often is explained by P, sometimes even in soils with optimum soil-test P levels. Starter K seldom increases corn early growth, except with less than optimum soil-test K. In corn, early growth responses to starter N occur less often than for P, and occur mainly when the primary N rate is not applied pre-plant in spring, with no-tillage and in continuous corn. Recent research with starter N applied to the sides and below corn seeds after a cereal rye cover crop showed inconsistent results.

Expectations of yield response to starter application

The effects of starter fertilizer on corn grain yield aren’t as consistent as effects on early growth. Yield responses to starter are more likely in northern Iowa. When the recommended pre-plant P rate is broadcast, yield responses to starter are more likely with cool, wet soils and reduced tillage since high residue cover keeps soils cooler and wetter in spring. However, a yield response to starter P is seldom observed when the two-year P rate for the corn-soybean rotation is broadcast before corn. A response to starter N is unlikely in corn after soybean when the primary N rate is applied pre-plant in spring and when N solutions are used as herbicide carriers. Starter is a good way for applying micronutrients, but extensive research has shown no corn or soybean response to micronutrients except for occasional corn responses to zinc and inconsistent soybean response to iron in highly calcareous soils (with pH greater than about 7.2 or 7.3). ISU Extension and Outreach publication PM 1688 (A General Guide for Crop Nutrient and Limestone Recommendations in Iowa) suggests starter applications for corn under conditions of poor soil drainage, cool soil, crop residues on the soil surface, or late planting dates with full season hybrids .

Be careful with high starter rates with in-furrow application

The rates of starter N and K applied in the seed furrow can’t be too high because salt can damage seedlings. The traditional rule of thumb for in-furrow starter application is to apply less than 10 or 12 pounds of N plus K2O/acre, mainly with fertilizers containing ammonium, potash, potassium chloride (KCl), or potassium nitrate. Application to the furrow of urea, ammonium sulfate, and either ammonium or potassium thiosulfate is not recommended. South Dakota State University developed a tool that helps make decisions for in-furrow starter application (Seed-placed Fertilizer Decision Aid). In spite of studies over the years and this tool, no research can fully answer the question of how “safe” higher in-furrow starter rates can be because of several unpredictable factors. Definitely, higher in-furrow rates are not recommended when the soil is dry and lower than normal rainfall is forecast.

In summary, when is a corn yield response to starter fertilizer likely?

• With lower than recommended P and K broadcast application rates.

• Without primary N application before planting.

• Cooler than normal soil temperatures.

• No-till with high residue cover with low pre-plant application rates.

• Continuous corn, especially in no-till with low or no pre-plant application rates.

• Late planting dates.

Hitchcock-Tulare FFA seniors received State FFA Degrees Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:06:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21398053 Hitchcock-Tulare FFA Chapter

The Hitchcock-Tulare FFA Chapter had 12 seniors who received their State FFA Degree: Baylee Enander, Anthony Anderson, Caileb Wanner, Kole Kohnen, Austin Shult, Camryn Binger, Wyatt Johnson, Bailey Cole, Zach Binger, Ally Binger, Tyler Schone, and Payton Binger.

The State FFA Degree is the highest degree of membership conferred by the South Dakota FFA Association. The requirements for this degree include:

• Having earned and productively invested at least $1,000, or worked at least 300 hours in excess of scheduled class time, or a combination thereof, in Supervised Agricultural Experience program.

• Demonstrated leadership ability by performing ten procedures of Parliamentary Law, giving a six-minute speech on an agriculture of FFA-related topic and serving as an officer, committee chairperson or participating member of a chapter committee.

• Have completed at least 25 hours of community service.

Milbank FFA student takes first place in agriscience fairs Tue, 24 Apr 2018 16:56:03 +0000 http://ffimp-21407348 Milbank FFA Chapter

Korbin Leddy recently participated in the Richland 44 Regional FFA Agriscience Fair on April 18 at Colfax, N.D. where he received a first place plaque and a cash prize. He also placed first in the Social Science Division 1 at the South Dakota State FFA Agriscience Fair at Mitchell on April 20.

His project will now be sent on for national consideration with the top finalists being announced in August. Korbin is in the eighth grade at Milbank Middle School, and his advisor is Mr. Jerry Janisch.

Milbank FFA teams complete at State FFA Competition Tue, 24 Apr 2018 16:46:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21407101 #td_uid_5_5ae175ce719f9 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_5_5ae175ce719f9 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item2 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; }

Milbank FFA Chapter

At the 90th South Dakota FFA Convention, April 15-17, the Milbank FFA Chapter had 39 FFA members compete in Proficiency Award areas, Career Development Events, and state officer selection.

Kadon Leddy placed Gold in AgriScience in Research-Integrated System. Kadon also placed 1st in Veterinary Science Entrepreneurship/Placement Proficiency Award. Kadon’s Agriscience and Veterinary Science application advances to Regional FFA Consideration.

Milbank FFA members receiving the State FFA Degree, the highest FFA Degree given out by the South Dakota FFA were: Sarah Jarman, Magally Aburto, and Chase Pinkert. To earn the State FFA Degree, FFA members have been involved in FFA program for at least 3 years, earn at least $1000 through their Supervised Agriculture Experience Project, and participate in at least five or more FFA activities above the local chapter level.

Magally Aburto tried for a State FFA Officer position. Magally had to submit a written application along with recommendations by several individuals. Magally then went through several day interview process that concluded on Tuesday morning. The State FFA officers were announced at the Tuesday morning session.

Milbank FFA team placings and members participating were:

• Food Science: 2nd Place team – Sophia Seffrood, 3th Individual; Tori Quade, 6th Individual; Sara Capp; and Sadie Holland.

• Natural Resource: 3rd Place team – Chase Pinkert, 4th Individual; Austin Schuelke; Tanner Kettwig; and Kylee Mogan.

• Nursery Landscaping: 4th Place team – Noah Mursu, 9th Individual; Heidi Meyer; Eric Van Sambeek; and Heidi Capp.

• Milk Quality Products: 6th Place team – Kellie Christians, Nathan Loutsch, Katie VanderWal, and Devon Bailing.

• Ag Mechanics: 7th Place team – Josh Hoeke, Tommy Holtquist, Brian Wiese, Darby Waniorek.

• Floriculture: 9th Place team – Cassidy Voeltz, Noemi Lus Gomez, Camryn Phinney, Taylor Dragt, and alternate Hanna Ryazanova.

• Dairy Cattle: 10th Place team – Kendra Schweer, 7th Individual; Tanner Schwagel; Jordan Reimche; and Colten Giesen. Suzanne Souza assisted with training of the team.

• Vet Science: 24th Place team – Landon Brown, Kayla Bury, Cassidy Christians, Makenna Osowski.

• Livestock: 34th Place team – Jaylin Jonason, Jackson McFaden, Lindsey Mertens, and Callie Bolin.

Tanner Kettwig and Austin Schuelke were the Milbank FFA Chapter official delegates at the State FFA Convention business session. Claire Mischel and Nathan Loutsch were the District I FFA representatives.

Jerry Janisch is the Milbank FFA advisor.

Crop Progress and Pasture Conditions Tue, 24 Apr 2018 15:56:03 +0000 http://ffimp-21406596 U.S. Department of Agriculture

South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS – For the week ending April 22, 2018, there were 0.5 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 11 short, 79 adequate, and 8 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 23 short, 68 adequate, and 4 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 17 poor, 61 fair, 20 good, and 0 excellent.

Spring wheat planted was 2 percent, well behind 72 last year and 50 for the five-year average.

Oats planted was 2 percent, well behind 65 last year and 54 average.

North Dakota

FARGO, N.D. – For the week ending April 22, 2018, there were 0.9 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Reports indicated that, on average, producers intended to begin fieldwork on May 2. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 9 percent very short, 29 short, 59 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 14 percent very short, 34 short, 50 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 11 poor, 56 fair, 27 good, and 3 excellent. Winter wheat jointed was 1 percent, near 4 last year.

Livestock Report: Cattle and calf conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 28 fair, 58 good, and 8 excellent. Cattle and calf death loss rated 7 percent heavy, 73 average, and 20 light. Calving progress was 66 percent complete, near 69 last year and 70 for the five-year average.

Sheep and lamb conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 2 poor, 22 fair, 68 good, and 8 excellent. Sheep and lamb death loss rated 5 percent heavy, 67 average, and 28 light. Lambing progress was 82 percent complete, near 81 last year and 79 average.

Hay and roughage supplies rated 13 percent very short, 34 short, 52 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Stock water supplies rated 5 percent very short, 21 short, 71 adequate, and 3 surplus.


Snow cover, additional precipitation and cooler temperatures resulted in another week with 0.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 22, 2018, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Snow covered areas were common across much of the state while those areas clear of snow were too cold and wet for fieldwork to be completed. Standing water was reported in some fields with many reports stating that frost is still in the ground. Producers kept busy preparing equipment for spring tillage and planting.

Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 56 percent adequate, and 43 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 0 percent very short, 3 percent short, 74 percent adequate, and 23 percent surplus.

Snow cover, wet and frozen ground, and cooler temperatures continued to delay planting of spring crops. Spring wheat planted was reported as 0 percent complete, 13 percentage points behind last year, and 25 points behind the 5-year average. Oats planted were reported as 0 percent complete, 27 percentage points behind last year, and 31 points behind the 5-year average. Potatoes planted were reported as 0 percent complete, 21 percentage points behind last year, and 15 points behind the 5-year average. Sugarbeets planted were reported as 0 percent complete, 30 percentage points behind last year, and 34 points behind the 5-year average.

Spring calving continues despite the cold, wet weather. Some producers spent time cleaning yards and hauling manure where possible.


The week began with below normal temperatures and counties in the northern half of Iowa received snow at mid-week before temperatures warmed to near normal by the week’s end. Statewide there were 1.5 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending April 22, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. When conditions allowed farmers applied anhydrous and dry fertilizer to their fields and seeded oats with a few scattered reports of corn being planted.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 7 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 13 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus. Northern Iowa has received an abundance of snow, while southern Iowa is in need of precipitation with south central Iowa the driest.

Twenty-three percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, almost 2 weeks behind last year and the 5-year average. Below normal temperatures have delayed oat emergence, with just 1 percent of the crop being reported as emerged, the lowest level at this time since 2001.

Extended winter conditions have delayed pasture development. Calving losses have been reported as higher than normal in areas of northern Iowa.


LINCOLN, Neb. – For the week ending April 22, 2018, there were 3.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 18 short, 76 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 25 short, 70 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Corn planted was 2 percent, behind 15 last year and 9 for the five year average.

Soybeans planted was 1 percent, near 3 last year, and equal to average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 6 poor, 37 fair, 46 good, and 10 excellent.

Oats planted was 46 percent, well behind 79 last year and 78 average. Emerged was 15 percent, well behind 37 both last year and average.

Photo Gallery: Planting Season Mon, 23 Apr 2018 21:56:14 +0000 #td_uid_6_5ae175ce7e825 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_6_5ae175ce7e825 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item2 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_6_5ae175ce7e825 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item3 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_6_5ae175ce7e825 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item4 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_6_5ae175ce7e825 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item5 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_6_5ae175ce7e825 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item6 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_6_5ae175ce7e825 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item7 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_6_5ae175ce7e825 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item8 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_6_5ae175ce7e825 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item9 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_6_5ae175ce7e825 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item10 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_6_5ae175ce7e825 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item11 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_6_5ae175ce7e825 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item12 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; }
Other Voices: The wind is blowing, let’s try not to get swept away Mon, 23 Apr 2018 19:56:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21397413 Capital Journal Editorial Board

Wind power is a growing enterprise around the world and by many accounts, this “gold rush” might be coming soon to a county near you.

Actually, we know there’s at least one company working to establish a large wind farm on the east end of Hughes County. The promises are great. There will be hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxable property added to the county tax base. Farmers and ranchers will get many thousands of dollars’ worth of stable lease payments all for the low, low cost of signing an easement for the use of an acre or two of land for up to 30 years. Tax dollars and cash payments, we’re told, will flow like milk and honey.

That’s a bit of hyperbole but, generally, the folks behind wind power projects do tend to promise quite a lot. They are, after all, hoping to cash in on what is essentially an unlimited resource. There’s a lot, we’re talking billions of dollars on the line here. As more states move to require that more and more of the electricity their citizens use come from “renewable sources,” there will be even more money on the line. That, of course, assumes there isn’t some other energy revolution sometime in the next few decades or that nuclear power doesn’t undergo a renaissance.

In the short term, the giant multinational corporations who are the only folks with the means to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on building the hundreds of turbines it takes to approximate the electrical-generating capacity of a single coal or gas power plant, are trying desperately to get as many projects going as possible before a tax credit expires in 2019. The credit gives wind-power producers a break on the profits they make from selling the electricity they generate. Many more millions of dollars are on the line in the case of this Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit.

The rush to get wind-power projects into construction means South Dakota, which has heretofore found itself lagging behind other wind-rich states, has become the focus of so many new wind projects. There are 25 proposed and two pending wind farms in the state. Each one of those projects covers hundreds, if not thousands of acres. Their size and expense should cause all of us a bit of concern.

For one thing, South Dakota doesn’t have very good rules on who is responsible for tearing down turbines that are no longer used. A developer is required to submit a plan to the state Public Utilities Commission but there is no decommissioning bond requirement. Instead, the commission can choose to require a bond on a case-by-case basis.

A single turbine, some estimates suggest, can cost more than $25,000 to decommission, when you subtract the salvage value of its pieces and parts from the total cost. Using this estimate on the project proposed in eastern Hughes County, the cost to decommission the project would range between $3.7 million and $5 million. That’s a lot of money.

What, if any, is the state’s or a landowner’s legal recourse if, in 10, 20 or 30 years, a wind-power company is forced to shut down and can’t sell its turbines or afford to take them down? Has anyone asked? We live in an unpredictable world, so this is not an unfathomable circumstance. We’ve seen taxpayers on the hook for cleaning up old mining operations whose former owners went bankrupt and couldn’t fix the damage they’d done.

On the topic of natural resources, states to the east such as Minnesota and Iowa who dived whole hog into wind farms didn’t have much in the way of native prairie left when the wind turbines came. Pretty much every inch of arable land there had already fallen to the plow. There wasn’t much to be concerned about when it came to disturbing grassland habitats.

In South Dakota, we run the risk of impacting many already struggling species, mostly birds, who require large, mostly undisturbed grasslands to survive. Greater prairie chickens are just one species who might be impacted and they are already declining in most of their current range. There are many song birds, too, that could be affected by the 500-foot turbine towers.

While the impact on birds is bad, what could and likely would be worse is what happens if and when wind farms help drive a species toward the federal endangered-species list. When that happens, everyone, whether they agreed to host a wind turbine or not, will face the consequences. This scenario is not as unlikely as it first may seem.

Oklahoma, Texas and western Kansas, thanks in no small part to the rapid expansion of wind farms, now are facing the prospect of the lesser prairie chicken being placed on the endangered-species list. An Invasive tree species as well as oil-and-gas development played a role in the lesser prairie chicken’s plight but unless something changes, ranchers, wind developers and oilmen all will find themselves hamstrung by the endangered-species act within a few years.

We also can look to the debacle surrounding sage grouse, which require massive tracts of undisturbed sagebrush habitats. Energy development, including wind power, has played a large role in that species’ decline. It took the threat of the endangered-species act for states and industry leaders to get on board with conservation efforts.

In both the case of the lesser prairie chickens and of sage grouse, no one stopped to think about when and where to develop until the endangered-species act was invoked. It is almost always advisable to avoid trouble rather than to rush headlong into it. Right now, it feels like we’re rushing headlong into it.

The problem of harming a grassland bird or having to decommission a wind farm may feel far off, but if we want to avoid potentially serious problems down the line, we’ve got to answer these questions now. We need to take a measured approach on wind development and as a state, we should look for ways to hold developers accountable for their actions when the time comes.

Horse Events Calendar Mon, 23 Apr 2018 19:06:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21396645 April 27-29, Huron: Team Roping Clinic, at Beef Complex on SD State Fairgrounds, Julian Burgess 605-461-6727 or

April 27-29, St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Horse Expo, at Minnesota State Fairgrounds,

June 2, Ft. Pierre: Casey Tibbs Match of Champions bronc ride, 7 p.m., at Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center, or 605-494-1094.

June 3, Aberdeen: Aberdeen Area Horsemen’s Association Open Horse Show, at Akkerman Arena, Pearl Holt 605-216-2111.

June 15, Estelline: Estelline Rodeo Queen, Jr. Queen and Princess contest,

June 15-16, Estelline: Estelline Rodeo Days.

June 23-24, Brookings: Dakota Royal Charity Draft Horse Show, at Swiftel Center,

June 24, Aberdeen: Aberdeen Area Horsemen’s Association Open Horse Show, at Akkerman Arena, Pearl Holt 605-216-2111.

July 15, Aberdeen: Aberdeen Area Horsemen’s Association Open Horse Show, at Akkerman Arena, Pearl Holt 605-216-2111.

Aug. 5, Aberdeen: Aberdeen Area Horsemen’s Association Open Horse Show, at Akkerman Arena, Pearl Holt 605-216-2111.

Aug. 12, Aberdeen: Miss Rodeo Aberdeen Queen Pageant, Kathy Zambo 605-200-9060.

Aug. 18, Aberdeen: Brown County Fair Open Driving and Hitch Show, at Akkerman Arena, Pearl Holt 605-216-2111.

If you have events for the calendar, call 605-622-2304 or 1-800-925-4100, ext. 304, or email

National Forest Foundation launches ambitious effort to plant 50 million trees Mon, 23 Apr 2018 16:36:02 +0000 http://ffimp-21394471 PRNewswire

MISSOULA, Mont. — On Earth Day, April 22, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) launched an ambitious campaign to plant 50 million trees on America’s National Forests. The NFF initiated this effort to address the increasing reforestation needs on our National Forests.

Many Americans are unaware that an estimated one million acres of National Forests need reforestation. Every year, wildfire, insects and disease take their toll on these treasured public lands. The campaign calls attention to this issue and invites Americans to make a difference.

“We will address this need head on by planting trees where they are needed most,” said Mary Mitsos, NFF president. “Planting 50 million trees is an enormous challenge, but in that challenge we see opportunity – opportunity to engage Americans in their National Forests. Since every dollar donated plants a tree, each of us can plant several trees for the cost of a morning latte. It really is that easy.”

Working in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, corporate partners, small businesses and individual supporters, the NFF will direct its support to National Forests that need it most. The Forest Service only plants native trees, chosen specifically for each site. For every dollar contributed, the agency invests two additional dollars in these reforestation projects.

“We see a growing reforestation need across our National Forests,” said Vicki Christiansen, interim chief of the Forest Service. “It is fitting the Forest Service joins in launching this campaign as we celebrate Earth Day and work to sustain the natural resources that support our communities, livelihoods and life itself. Through this reforestation effort, the Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation will work together to tackle this challenge. This is a public-private partnership at its best.”

The NFF has already planted more than 11 million trees on National Forests across the country since 2008. Reforestation projects like these:

• Improve wildlife habitat for the thousands of wildlife species that call our forests home.

• Restore watershed health, which benefits the millions of Americans who depend on our National Forests for water.

• Improve forest health to ensure our forests are resilient in the face of climate change.

• Enhance the beauty of our forests and people’s ability to enjoy them.

The NFF launched its campaign on Earth Day, April 22, and invites Americans and American businesses to join this effort. Through June 1st, a generous donor has offered to double every gift from individuals, so the NFF will plant two trees for every $1 donated. To learn more, please visit