COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV

USDA PROVIDES DETAILS OF THE LATEST ROUND OF COVID RELIEF PAYMENTS FOR FARMERS.

WE’LL LOOK AT THE ROLE OFF-FARM INCOME CONTINUES TO PLAY FOR FARM FAMILIES.

FIND OUT WHY SOME CATTLE PRODUCERS ARE SEEING MORE OPEN COWS AGAIN THIS WINTER.

AND THE INAUGURATION USHERS IN A NEW ADMINISTRATION AND AG AGENDA.

WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I’M MICHELLE ROOK.

WITH THIS WEEK’S INAUGURATION, THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS OFFICIALLY IN POWER. AG GROUPS HAVE ALREADY HAD SOME POSITIVE MEETINGS WITH BIDEN’S TRANSITION TEAM AND AG SECRETARY NOMINEE TOM VILSACK.

THE ADMINISTRATION IS LOOKING AT AN AGGRESSIVE AGENDA ON RURAL BROADBAND, IMPLEMENTATION OF COVID-19 RELIEF, BIOFUELS, A CLIMATE CHANGE BILL AND SWEEPING IMMIGRATION REFORM. THOSE ALIGN WITH THE PRIORITIES OF MANY FARM GROUPS.

Tyler Bettin:Of course labor continues to be a critical issue, both on our farms and plants, and remain hopeful that we can continue to emphasize that message with the new administration. And also continue the discussions on the positive story for the environment.

HE SAYS THEY ALSO WANT TO EXPAND TRADE.

BIDEN ALSO ANNOUNCED USDA SUB-CABINET POSITIONS, INCLUDING JEWELL BRONAUGH AS DEPUTY AG SECRETARY. SHE’S COMMISSIONER OF THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

JANET MCCABE HAS BEEN NOMINATED AS DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR OF EPA. SHE WORKED AT EPA DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

A FORMER NORTH DAKOTA STATE SENATOR, PROMINENT FARMER AND BUSINESSMAN WAS AMONG THOSE

TOM CAMPBELL FARMS NEAR GRAFTON, AND HAS A NUMBER OF OTHER BUSINESS INTERESTS AROUND THE REGION.CAMPBELL MADE A LAST-MINUTE DECISION TO ATTEND THE RALLY AND SAYS HE WAS SHOCKED IT TURNED VIOLENT.

HE SAYS HE DISAGREES WITH FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP ABOUT MANY THINGS, ESPECIALLY HIS TRADE WAR WITH CHINA, WHICH HURT AG EXPORTS.

HE SAYS LOSING DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE COLLIN PETERSON AS THE POWERFUL CHAIR OF THE HOUSE AG COMMITTEE IS BAD FOR FARMERS, BUT HE HAS SOME CONCERNS ABOUT THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION.

Tom Campbell: I THINK THE PRO AGENDA FOR BIDEN AND HIS PARTY IS PROBABLY TO DO, YOU KNOW, LESS GOVERNMENT HELP AND PROBABLY MORE REGULATION WITH ENVIRONMENT AND CHEMICAL CONTROLS AND SO FORTH. SO I AM CONCERNED ABOUT THE FUTURE.

CAMPBELL HAS RUN UNSUCCESSFULLY FOR BOTH THE U.S. HOUSE AND SENATE, BUT ISN’T RULING OUT ANOTHER RUN.

THE 147 REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS WHO OPPOSED CERTIFICATION OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION HAVE LOST THE SUPPORT OF MANY OF THEIR LARGEST CORPORATE BACKERS. SOME, LIKE AMERICAN CRYSTAL SUGAR, HAVE NOT COMMITTED TO SPECIFIC ACTION.

THE WASHINGTON POST POLLED THE 30 COMPANIES THAT ARE THE BIGGEST CONTRIBUTORS TO THOSE CAMPAIGNS THROUGH PAC’S OR POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES. THEY GAVE A TOTAL OF $37 MILLION FROM 2015 TO 2020.

20 SAID THEY WILL SUSPEND SOME OR ALL DONATIONS. MEANWHILE, 10 COMPANIES ARE STILL EVALUATING OR HAVE NOT COMMITTED TO A SPECIFIC ACTION, LIKE AMERICAN CRYSTAL SUGAR, WHO GAVE ABOUT $1.5 MILLION IN CONTRIBUTIONS TO THOSE LAWMAKERS THE LAST FIVE YEARS.

EPA WAS BUSY THE LAST DAYS OF THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION. THEY GRANTED TWO 2019 SRE’S AND REVERSED A 2018 PETITION TOTALING 260 MILLION GALLONS OF LOST BIOFUELS DEMAND. u0009

EPA ALSO PROPOSED A GENERAL WAIVER FROM 2019 AND 2020 RFS OBLIGATIONS DUE TO COVID, AND EXTENDING COMPLIANCE DEADLINES.

THEY WILL ALSO REMOVE LABELING BARRIERS TO EXPAND E-15 SALES.

THIS AFTER THE SUPREME COURT SAID IT WOULD REVIEW A COURT DECISION AGAINST EPA FOR EXCEEDING ITS AUTHORITY GRANTING THREE WAIVERS.

USDA HAS ANNOUNCED ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE THROUGH THE CORONAVIRUS FOOD ASSISTANCE, OR CFAP, PROGRAM. IT INCLUDES EXPANDED ELIGIBILITY FOR SOME PRODUCERS AND COMMODITIES AND UPDATING PREVIOUS PAYMENTS.

FSA HAS EXPANDED ELIGIBILITY FOR SWINE PRODUCERS. THEY’LL RECEIVE A “TOP-UP” PAYMENT GOING BACK TO CFAP 1. IT’S BASED ON INVENTORY FROM APRIL 16TH TO MAY 14TH WITH RATES INCREASING FROM 25 TO 50-PERCENT OF THE ESTIMATED TOTAL ECONOMIC LOSS. NO ACTION IS REQUIRED FOR PRODUCERS TO RECEIVE THESE PAYMENTS.

Dave Preisler: It’s based off of the payment that farmers received under CFAP One, so that payment came last spring. And what this payment is is an additional $17 per head.

PORK OR POULTRY CONTRACT GROWERS WITH A DROP IN REVENUE IN 2020 VERSUS 2019 DUE TO THE PANDEMIC ARE ALSO NOW ELIGIBLE. THEY COULD RECEIVE UP TO 80-PERCENT OF LOSS.

AND CROP PRODUCERS THAT HAD CROP INSURANCE, BUT DID NOT HAVE AN AVAILABLE 2020 ACTUAL PRODUCTION HISTORY APPROVED YIELD, WILL ALSO RECEIVE A PAYMENT.

FSA IS USING 100-PERCENT OF THE 2019 ARC COUNTY OPTION BENCHMARK YIELD FOR CFAP 2 APPLICATIONS, RATHER THAN THE ORIGINAL 85-PERCENT.

THE PROGRAM RUNS THROUGH FEBRUARY 26. NOW THE INDEMNITY FOR PRODUCERS WHO HAD TO EUTHANIZE ANIMALS WILL COME UNDER THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION.

AGRICULTURE IS AN ESSENTIAL INDUSTRY AND HAS BARELY MISSED A BEAT PROVIDING FOOD AND FEED DURING THE PANDEMIC.

AS VACCINES ARE ROLLED OUT, POLLS SHOW VARIED RESULTS ON HOW MANY WORKING IN THE BUSINESS WILL GET VACCINATED. FARMERS AND AGRIBUSINESS REPRESENTATIVES RECENTLY ATTENDING FARM SHOWS REFLECT THAT TREND.

Gene Kenkel: I’m not sure yet. I am not sure yet.

Daniel Fixsen: I don’t think I’m going to. I think by the time they get out to our neck of the woods most of the population is going to be vaccinated anyway.

Gordon Andersen: I plan on doing it. I have underlying conditions and my wife has some serious conditions and I’m all for it.

FARMERS ARE AN “AT RISK” GROUP WITH THE AVERAGE AGE IN THE UPPER 50S.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WORKING OFF THE FARM REMAINS HIGH, WE’LL LOOK AT ONE BIG REASON.

WELCOME BACK.

A NEW USDA STUDY SHOWS ABOUT 60% OF FARMING FAMILIES HAVE A SOURCE OF OFF-FARM INCOME. A LARGE NUMBER OF THEM ARE WOMEN.

FOR THIS AGWEEK COVER STORY, EMILY BEAL TALKED TO A COUPLE OF WOMEN ABOUT WHY THEY TOOK JOBS OFF THE FARM. EMILY?

MICHELLE, IT MAY COME AS NO SURPRISE THAT A BIG REASON FOR TAKING A JOB OFF THE FARM, IS THE HEALTH INSURANCE THAT COMES WITH IT.

Christie Jaeger: I JUST NEED TO KNOW HOW TO DO A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING, BUT NOT GET REAL GOOD AT IT, BECAUSE I DON’T DO IT A LOT.

CHRISTIE JAEGER’S ROLE ON HER FAMILY FARM HAS EVOLVED OVER THE YEARS, FROM RAISING KIDS TO DRIVING FARM EQUIPMENT. BUT IT SEEMED IN RECENT YEARS, AS COMMODITY PRICES DROPPED, THE COST OF HEALTH INSURANCE ROSE. SO WHILE THE SECOND INCOME IS A WELCOME BOOST FOR THEM, LIKE MANY, THE MAIN REASON IS FOR THE HEALTHCARE INSURANCE.

Christie Jaeger: I feel like the days are a little bit gone where the farm can be a business and support the family life, and because of the prices and the cost of things now it’s almost like the farm has to be separate.

CHRISTIE FEELS FORTUNATE THAT HER JOB AS A CROP INSURANCE ADJUSTER ALLOWS HER TO WORK FROM HOME, AND HAVE SOME FLEXIBILITY TO CONTINUE HELPING ON THE FARM.

TRACY MILLER AND HER HUSBAND RAISE CATTLE. BUT RIGHT NOW, THEY BOTH HAVE JOBS OFF THE FARM, WITH THE HOPE THAT EVENTUALLY THE OPERATION CAN SUPPORT THEM.

Tracey Miller: SO HAVING AN OFF-FARM INCOME, AND ACTUALLY HAVING TWO OFF-FARM INCOMES HAS BEEN EXTREMELY BENEFICIAL TO US TO MITIGATE SOME OF THAT RISK, TO OFFSET SOME OF THE IMPACTS WE’VE SEEN ON A GLOBAL SCALE. BUT THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE, AND WE’VE SEEN IT, GENERATIONS BEFORE US HAVE SEEN IT, IS BEING ABLE TO HAVE AFFORDABLE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE.

Emily: SO WITH THE COST OF LIVING GOING UP, AND THE PRICE OF HEALTH INSURANCE ALONG WITH IT, AN OFF-FARM JOB MAY GIVE SOMETHING MONEY CAN’T BUY–PEACE OF MIND.

YOU CAN READ MORE ON THIS COVER STORY IN THE NEXT AGWEEK MAGAZINE, AND AT AGWEEK.COM.

CATTLE PRODUCERS ARE COMING OFF ANOTHER TOUGH YEAR IN 2020 MARKED BY THE COVID MARKET MELTDOWN. IN PARTS OF THE REGION, INCLUDING SOUTH DAKOTA THOUGH, PRODUCERS ARE ALSO FACING ANOTHER CHALLENGE, AS THEY’RE GOING ON THE THIRD YEAR OF LOWER CONCEPTION RATES IN THEIR COW HERDS. I TRAVELED TO CATTLE COUNTRY TO FIND OUT WHY.

The rate of open cows just in south-central South Dakota is running from 20% to 50%, depending on the operation, which is much higher than normal. Cody Moore says it’s been reflected in their sales at Winner Livestock.

Cody Moore: And maybe a lot of people didn’t sell their older cows that year but it seems like we’ve sure had a lot of weigh ups in the last couple months.

Co-owner Frank Volmer blames the poor conception rates on the cows being under more stress due to weather.

Frank Volmer: I still think it goes back to two winters ago. We had a terrible tough winter and them cows just didn’t make it through in very good and then last summer we got pretty dry at the wrong time and so cattle were not in very good condition.

He also thinks it’s tied to poor body condition with cows grazing corn stalks longer to save feed costs.

Volmer: If the cows go down hill of course they don’t breed as well, and they don’t raise their calf as well. Now days the combines we have are so good that they don’t leave much corn behind. So, I feel a person has to manage their corn stalks a lot more now than they used to have to.

Moore contends during the tough winters the feed quality wasn’t high enough for cows either.

Moore: Hay probably wasn’t enough for them cows. I mean the body condition went down and those cows probably need a little more protein, maybe a little more feed than just hay.

The end result will be a smaller calf inventory in the future.

IT’S BEEN A MILD WINTER SO FAR, WITH ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND BELOW NORMAL SNOWFALL AND PRECIPITATION, ESPECIALLY COMPARED TO THE LAST TWO SEASONS.

THAT HAS BEEN A FAVORABLE SCENARIO FOR LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS, WITH GOOD GAINS IN THE FEEDLOT AND LESS STRESS ON COWS. HOWEVER, A PATTERN CHANGE IS LIKELY DUE TO LA NINA DURING THE PEAK OF THE CALVING SEASON, LATE WINTER INTO EARLY SPRING.

Laura Edwards: We do see increased likelihood of wetter conditions that could be snow, rain, but we do also see an increase in colder, or more likely colder temperatures also.

EDWARDS SAYS THIS IS A GOOD TIME FOR CATTLE PRODUCERS TO MAKE SURE THEIR FEED SOURCES AND CALVING FACILITIES ARE READY FOR INCLEMENT CONDITIONS.

AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, ONE NORTH DAKOTA BRAND INSPECTOR HOLDS A RECORD THAT WILL BE HARD TO BEAT.

AND LATER, A LAWMAKER WANTS THE STREAMLINE THE PROCESS OF DRAINAGE PERMITS.

THE WEEK STARTED OFF FEELING LIKE SPRING, BUT WE GOT A LITTLE BLAST OF WINTER TO CLOSE OUT THE WEEK.

HERE’S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

A WAHPETON, NORTH DAKOTA LAWMAKER IS SPONSORING A BILL SHE THINKS WILL SAVE COUNTIES TIME AND MONEY IN PROCESSING DRAINAGE PERMITS.

REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA SCHREIBER-BECK WANTS TO STREAMLINE THE PROCESS.

CURRENTLY, COUNTIES MUST CHECK ALL THE DEEDS FOR LANDS AT LEAST ONE MILE DOWNSTREAM, IF THE OUTLET HAS TO GO THAT DISTANCE OR FARTHER, TO A MAIN LEGAL ASSESSMENT DRAIN.

IN ITS CURRENT FORM, HER BILL WOULD JUST GO BY WHO IS LISTED ON THE TAX ROLLS. OTHER THAN THAT, SHE SAYS THE PROCESS WILL LARGELY REMAIN THE SAME. THE APPLICANT MUST STILL HAVE DESIGNS AND FLOW MAPS AND INFORMATION ESSENTIAL FOR THE COUNTY TO APPROVE THEM.

Cynthia Schreiber-Beck: ANYTIME WE WORK WITH WATER THERE SEEMS TO BE SOME VERY BIG CONCERNS, BUT THIS TIME IT HAS BEEN VETTED THROUGH THE WATER BOARDS AND THE WATER BOARD ASSOCIATION. SO WE’RE HOPING THAT WE ALL ARE ON THE SAME PAGE AND THAT IT WILL BE BENEFICIAL TO THOSE THAT WANT TO DO TILE PROJECTS.

THE BILL ALSO REQUIRES PERMITS FOR ANY SIZE DRAINAGE PROJECT. CURRENTLY NO PERMIT IS NEEDED FOR PROJECTS OF 79 ACRES OR LESS.

BEET PILES IN THE RED RIVER VALLEY ARE STORING WELL DESPITE THE MILD WINTER WE’VE HAD SO FAR IN THE REGION.

BEETS ARE STORED AT OUTDOOR PILING SITES UNTIL THEY CAN BE PROCESSED. GENERALLY, WARM OR WET WEATHER CAN SPEED UP THE DISINTEGRATION OF THOSE BEETS IN THOSE PILES.

AMERICAN CRYSTAL SUGAR’S DIRECTOR OF AGRICULTURE SAYS THEY HAD GREAT HARVEST WEATHER, AND DESPITE SOME WARMER-THAN-AVERAGE TEMPERATURES, THE BEETS ARE STORING WELL.

Dan Gowan: THE BEETS ARE STORING FINE. WE DID NOT LIKE THE WARM SPELL, WE PREFER TO HAVE AVERAGE. BUT REALLY, IN THE LONG TERM WE’RE LOOKING REALLY GOOD.

GOWAN SAYS THANKS TO IDEAL HARVEST WEATHER, THE BEETS WENT INTO THE PILES AT THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE, AND THAT HAS HELPED KEEP THEM COOL.

IN ADDITION, THERE’S VERY LITTLE DIRT TARE ON THE BEETS, SO SLICING THEM IS EASIER, WHICH HELPS MOVE THEM OFF THE PILES FASTER.

A CATTLE BRAND INSPECTOR IN SOUTH CENTRAL NORTH DAKOTA HAS BEEN ON THE JOB FOR 55 YEARS, AND HE DOESN’T PLAN TO QUIT ANYTIME SOON.

DELBERT ESZLINGER RANCHES NEAR ASHLEY. IN ADDITION, HE’S BEEN THE REGION’S STATE BRAND INSPECTOR SINCE HE WAS 19 YEARS OLD. ESZLINGER SAYS, UNLIKE ALMOST EVERYTHING ELSE, BRANDING HASN’T CHANGED AT ALL OVER THE YEARS.

HE INSPECTS THE MOVEMENT OF AROUND 2,000 HEAD OF CATTLE AND ESTIMATES THAT ABOUT HALF THE CATTLE ARE BRANDED. VERIFYING THAT UNBRANDED CATTLE ARE OWNED, OFTEN INVOLVES VISITING WITH NEIGHBORS, TO MAKE SURE NONE OF THEIRS ARE MISSING.

HIS JOB IS YEAR ROUND, BUT HE SPENDS ABOUT 35 DAYS DOING THE WORK. HE’S BUSIEST FROM OCTOBER THROUGH DECEMBER, AS RANCHERS BRING CATTLE HOME, TO A FEEDLOT, OR TO MARKET. BUT HE NEVER KNOWS WHEN HE’S GOING TO GET A CALL.

Delbert Eszlinger: THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO GIVE A GUY TWO DAYS NOTICE IN ADVANCE, BUT IT USUALLY DOESN’T HAPPEN THAT WAY. SOME OF THEM GIVE YOU A TWO, THREE HOUR NOTICE. I’M NOT AS FAST AS I USED TO BE, BUT I CAN STILL DO IT. HA! HA!

HE SAYS HIS GOAL IS TO MAKE IT TO SIXTY YEARS AS A STATE BRAND INSPECTOR.

STILL AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, HOW ONE MINNESOTA COMMUNITY IS PRESERVING AG HISTORY.

AN HISTORIC FARM IN SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA IS BEING RESTORED AND PRESERVED.

THE HISTORY CENTER OF OLMSTED COUNTY WANTS TO REMIND ROCHESTER OF ITS ROOTS, BY RESTORING THE STOPPEL FARMSTEAD.

IT’S LISTED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES, TO COMMEMORATE THE PIONEERS AND AGRICULTURAL HISTORY OF THE AREA.

ROCHESTER WAS FAR FROM A WORLD CLASS MEDICAL CENTER WHEN THE STOPPEL BROTHERS FROM GERMANY HOMESTEADED THERE IN THE 19TH CENTURY, SO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE HISTORY CENTER SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT TO PRESERVE THAT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

Wayne Gannaway: SO MANY RESIDENTS TODAY HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT THE AGRICULTURAL ROOTS OF OLMSTED COUNTY, AND WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR THE FUTURE IF PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A FARM LOOKS LIKE OR HOW A FARM WORKS, OR WHAT RURAL LIFE IS EVEN LIKE?

THE BUILDINGS WERE CONSTRUCTED BETWEEN THE 1860S AND 1880S. THE HISTORY CENTER WILL BE RENOVATING THE BARN, STONE HOUSE, SMOKEHOUSE, SILO AND CAVE. THE FAMILY DUG THE CAVE TO LIVE IN THE FIRST WINTER, THEN USED THEIR SKILLS AS STONE MASONS TO BUILD THE STURDY HOMES AND BUILDINGS.

Kevin Whaley: THE BUILDINGS THEMSELVES ARE FAIRLY WELL CONSTRUCTED, THAT TIES INTO THE FAMILY’S HISTORY OF BEING MASONS. WHICH MAKES THEM KIND OF UNIQUE IN HOW WELL CRAFTED THEY ARE.

THE FARM STAYED IN THE FAMILY UNTIL 1956, AND THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY BOUGHT IT IN 1976.

THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF AG WEEK TV.

REMEMBER, FOR ALL YOUR AG NEWS, GO TO AG WEEK.COM, AND YOU CAN FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER AS WELL. HAVE YOURSELF A GREAT AND SAFE WEEK.

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