National Headlines

Farmers Face Expanding Drought in Minn.

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) — It last rained in Waverly, Minnesota, on May 27, and farmer Dan Glessing is watching his crops nervously, hoping for a break. The latest drought monitor shows expansion of moderate and severe drought in areas of central and southern Minnesota. In southern Minnesota in particular, the number of counties in severe drought jumped from parts of five counties on June 8 to parts of nine counties one week later (https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/…). Glessing, who grows dairy and beef cattle, as well as corn, soybeans and alfalfa in south-central Minnesota, said that without rain in the coming days, his …

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Northern Drought Hits Forages, Herds

OMAHA (DTN) — The worsening Northern Plains drought is having a devastating effect on cow-calf producers as very little forage is now available because of the parched conditions. In response, producers in parts of Montana and North Dakota have already begun culling cows. Longer term, the drought could also have a negative effect on the supply of all feedstuffs for cattle producers in the region. If feedstuffs can be found, high prices could keep some from purchasing the needed feed. WORSENING NORTHERN PLAINS DROUGHT The severe drought gripping the Northern Plains has been significant across the region, said DTN Ag …

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Eyeing USDA’s Budget Request

WASHINGTON (DTN) — Questions about the meat industry dominated a Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing Tuesday at which Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appeared in person to discuss the Biden administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2022. In an opening statement, Vilsack said, “The president’s budget for 2022 for USDA programs within this subcommittee is $192 billion, of which approximately $168 billion is mandatory funding and $23.2 billion is net discretionary funding. Its gives USDA a new set of tools and builds on our existing capabilities to address the urgent challenges of our time — containing the pandemic, responding to the …

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More Ag Pandemic Relief Details

OMAHA (DTN) — Biofuel producers will split $700 million in aid funds for pandemic production losses, and livestock producers who have been left out of earlier aid also will see some assistance, as USDA announced more relief funds on Tuesday. Also included in the aid will be funds for livestock producers who were forced to euthanize animals during the height of the pandemic’s shutdown and slowdown of packing plant capacity in spring of 2020. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced additional aid to agricultural producers and businesses as part of the USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. The aid should …

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Seeing Stripes in Corn

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — Fashions come and go, but really, stripes have never suited corn plants well. Those unattractive yellow-white streaks on a corn leaf are seldom good news. At their worst, they signal herbicide injury or more commonly, a nutrient deficiency. At their best, they are a sign of a benign genetic response. Since Scott Wallis’s favorite color for his cornfields is “so dark green it’s darn near black,” the Princeton, Indiana, farmer has taken special care to avoid early summer stripes. For his fields, the source is almost always sulfur deficiency, and a careful fertilizing protocol has sidelined …

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Texas A&M: Ag Hit Hard by Tax Changes

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) — The number of farms and ranches paying more in taxes would be dramatically higher if proposed tax code changes affecting agriculture become reality, a new study from Texas A&M’s Agricultural and Food Policy Center found. Proposed changes to stepped-up basis and other tax provisions from the Biden administration and Democratic members of Congress have raised alarm bells on farms and ranches. Two bills including the “Sensible Taxation and Equity Promotion Act” would eliminate stepped-up basis upon death of the farm or ranch owner and the “For the 99.5 Percent Act” would decrease the estate tax exemption. …

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Premium Diesel Improves Power

Good fuel management begins in the fuel storage tank. Given tight tolerances for fuel in today’s diesel machinery, it’s important to consider the condition of fuel in your storage tanks. Keep the tanks clean and free of water. The tanks should be inspected two times, annually. Water contamination is a common problem. Condensation contaminates diesel fuel and allows microbial growth. Microbial growth feeds on the diesel fuel but lives in the water. High sulfur diesel fuel once killed this growth. Today’s low sulfur fuels don’t. Biocides will kill the microbes. But then, deceased microbes settle to the bottom of the …

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IRS Raids Boersen Farms in Michigan

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) — The IRS executed a federal search warrant at Zeeland, Michigan-based Boersen Farms on June 9 in connection with an investigation of the troubled farm, Detroit-based IRS Special Agent Henry Pletscher confirmed to DTN on Monday. Charges have not been filed against Boersen Farms as of Monday morning. The IRS typically executes search warrants in connection to alleged financial crimes that can include tax evasion. Pletscher did not disclose the reason for the raid. Boersen attorney Ronald J. VanderVeen told DTN, “Nicholas Boersen and Stacy Boersen believe that they have complied with all legal requirements and have …

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When Herbicides Get Hot

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — Few farmers enjoy working outside when temperatures soar into the 90s or higher — and they aren’t alone. Herbicides, weeds and crops all perform differently in high heat — generally not in the applicator’s favor. With hot, dry conditions roasting parts of the country this week, particularly the northern Midwest and Plains, weed scientists are asking farmers and applicators to keep these five things in mind before they roll the sprayer into their fields. 1. WATCH THE MERCURY Droughty conditions expanded across the northern Midwest and Plains this past week, and as often happens, scorching hot …

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Judge Halts USDA Debt Relief

OMAHA (DTN) — A federal judge in Wisconsin has ordered USDA to at least temporarily halt as much as $4 billion in loan debt relief payments to minority farmers in response to a lawsuit filed by white farmers who were not eligible for the same debt relief. The case is just one of at least five federal lawsuits now filed against Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to block USDA from paying off loans for minority farmers without also paying off loan debt for white farmers. U.S. District Judge William Griesbach issued a temporary restraining order Thursday blocking USDA from paying any …

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Soybean Gall Midge Alert

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) — Soybean gall midge adults are spreading their wings. Several sites in east-central and northeast Nebraska recorded emergence of the pest on June 8 and June 9, 2021. Soybean growers with a history of issues with soybean gall midge are being encouraged to begin scouting now. Field edge applications of a pyrethroid may be helpful in soybean fields where emergence has been detected and the plant is at the V2 growth stage or greater, according to the June 10 alert issued by The Soybean Gall Midge Alert Network (https://soybeangallmidge.org/…). So far in 2021, no gall midge emergence …

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TC Energy Kills Keystone Pipeline

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) — TC Energy Corp.’s termination of the Keystone XL pipeline project ended what would have been an economic boost for many states, many of which filed a legal challenge to President Joe Biden’s executive order that revoked the project’s federal permit. The Biden administration canceled the permit in January 2021, saying Keystone did not match the administrations climate goals. In a statement Wednesday, Nebraska Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts said ending the project will hurt his state. “Without Keystone XL, the United States will not only be more dependent on overseas sources of oil, but our state will …

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Corn Growers Set Sustainability Goals

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) — As the Biden administration focuses on carbon reduction in all segments of the economy, the National Corn Growers Association this week announced a number of sustainability goals it wants to see corn farmers in the United States achieve by 2030. NCGA said in a sustainability report released on Monday that while farmers have become more sustainable in their operations since 1980, there is room to improve crop-production practices. NCGA set goals for improving sustainability in corn production by 2030. That includes increasing land-use efficiency by 12%, reducing soil erosion 13%, increasing water-use efficiency by 15%, increasing …

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EPA to Rewrite Trump Clean Water Rule

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) — The water regulatory pendulum swung the other direction Wednesday, as the Biden administration announced it was working on a proposed change to the navigable waters definitions in the Clean Water Act. The Biden administration completed its review of the Trump Navigable Waters Protection Rule, concluding it is leaving many waters unprotected. The Biden EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a news release Wednesday the Trump rule has led to a degradation in protection of waters. The agency filed a motion for remand of the Trump rule on Wednesday in the U.S. District …

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Small Meat Locker Business Expands

OMAHA (DTN) — Aunbrea Zeleny and her family have been extremely busy in recent years. The family owns and operates the Oakland Meat Processing Plant located in Oakland, Nebraska. Their business was already on the upswing before COVID-19 hit last year, and the worldwide pandemic has only increased the demand for local meats. So much so that they will break ground on a new facility along Nebraska Highway 32 on the west edge of the northeastern Nebraska town of about 1,200 people and leave the brick streets of downtown Oakland. “We are just trying to keep everyone fed,” Zeleny told …

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