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Minnesota Minute: Soybean grower joins export council; drought management series set; crop BMPs survey mailed; New Uses Forum planned; funds to boost livestock product sales; summer beef tour in works.

March 6, 2024

6 Min Read
Holstein cows on a dairy farm
SAFETY NET: Enrollment is open for Dairy Margin Coverage to help offset milk and feed price differences as a safety net for dairy producers. Farm Progress

Dairy producers can enroll for 2024 Dairy Margin Coverage, an important safety net program offered through USDA that provides producers with price support to help offset milk and feed price differences.

This year’s DMC sign-up began Feb. 28 and ends April 29. For those who sign up for 2024 DMC coverage, payments may begin as soon as March 4, for any payments that triggered in January.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency has revised the regulations for DMC to allow eligible dairy operations to make a one-time adjustment to established production history. This adjustment will be accomplished by combining previously established supplemental production history with DMC production history for those dairy operations that participated in Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage during a prior coverage year. DMC has also been authorized through calendar year 2024. Congress passed a 2018 Farm Bill extension requiring these regulatory changes to the program.

USDA also offers other risk management tools for dairy producers, including the Dairy Revenue Protection plan, which protects against a decline in milk revenue (yield and price) and the Livestock Gross Margin plan, which provides protection against the loss of the market value of milk, minus the feed costs. Both DRP and LGM livestock insurance policies are offered through the Risk Management Agency. Producers should contact their local crop insurance agent for more information.

For more information on DMC, visit the DMC webpage or contact your local USDA service center

Lincoln County grower elected secretary of soy export council

Lincoln County farmer Joel Schreurs made another notch in his leadership belt when he earned a position on the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s executive committee.

“I have been a longtime advocate of the soybean industry and agriculture, and I’ve been working on ag policy for trade since I started,” says Schreurs, who first became involved with Minnesota Soybean when he participated in a See For Yourself trade mission to New Orleans. “Trade can be daunting, but also very rewarding.”

In his previous role on the American Soybean Association, Schreurs sat on USSEC and helped lead the organization’s long-standing mission of building markets for the U.S. across the globe. After completing his third term on ASA in December, Schreurs will continue to have a voice on USSEC: During the organization’s annual meeting at Commodity Classic in Houston, he was elected to represent Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council on USSEC and will serve as secretary.

Schreurs raises soybeans, corn and alfalfa with his daughter and son-in-law in Lincoln County. He is a longtime farmer leader and has sat on numerous agriculture boards, including the Lincoln County Corn & Soybean Growers Association and Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. In addition to nine years of advocacy with ASA, Schreurs is also a past vice chair of the Soy Transportation Coalition.

Drought Management Series

The MN Grazing Lands Conservation Association, in partnership with the Minnesota Soil Health Coalition and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, is hosting a Drought Management Series with various locations across Minnesota.

The first in the series is March 18 in Spring Valley, with subsequent ones March 19 in Canby; March 25 in Detroit Lakes; March 26 in Brainerd and a yet-to-be-determined April date in Barnum.

Each event will include discussion on drought planning and management; drought stress on animal health; alternative forages for grazing and drought plans, as well as a producer panel discussion.

Visit the MGLCA website for more information on the Drought Management Series, as well as other events taking place during the year.

Survey focuses on corn, soybean BMPs

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture encourages farmers to take part in its annual pesticide and fertilizer survey. This year, the survey will focus on best management practices for corn and soybean farmers. The data being collected helps MDA track the awareness, adoption and use of nitrogen and pesticide BMPs, and provides guidance to education and research programs.

The mailed survey is being sent to the 7,600 Minnesota farmers selected for this project. Farmers who have not returned their questionnaire by mail will be contacted by phone after March 15.

The survey is conducted for MDA by the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service out of their regional offices.

Minnesota farmers may be getting calls from multiple agencies and companies conducting a variety of surveys this time of year, but the information gathered from this survey is critical for research and educational purposes.

If you have questions about MDA’s annual survey, or if you wish to view results of previous surveys, visit the MDA website. Producers can also call the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 651-955-4066 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

New Uses Forum

Agricultural Utilization Research Institute and its partners, Compeer Financial and Avisen Legal, are convening a slate of speakers focused on the bioindustrial value chain for a New Uses Forum from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. April 9 at the Mayo Health System Event Center in Mankato, Minn.

The day will highlight market challenges and opportunities in bioindustrial innovation. Sessions will focus on activities from producers to entrepreneurial endeavors to end users and investor perspectives to highlight industry activity and trends. The day’s programming will be followed by a networking reception. Multiple 30-minute networking breaks and lunch will offer plenty of chances to connect with participants. In addition, AURI’s Ag Innovator of the Year will be revealed during the event.

Visit AURI’s website for more information and to register for the event.

Funds available to boost livestock product sales

Minnesota livestock product processors seeking to start up, modernize or expand their businesses are encouraged to apply for the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Meat, Poultry, Egg and Milk Processing grant.

Funded through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the intent of the MPEM grant is to increase sales of Minnesota-raised livestock products by investing in equipment and physical improvements that support processing, capacity, market diversification and market access.

The MDA anticipates awarding up to $750,000 in 2024 MPEM grants, using a competitive review process. The maximum award amount is $150,000, and the minimum award amount is $1,000. Grantees are responsible for 50% of the first $50,000 of project expenses, and 75% of the total remaining costs above $50,000.

Individuals (including farmers), businesses, agricultural cooperatives, nonprofits, educational institutions, local unit of governments, or tribal governments that intend to be or are engaged with livestock slaughter or processing are eligible for the MPEM grant. Projects focused on meat and poultry processing, especially slaughtering, will be prioritized in this round of funding.

Grant applications will be accepted until 4 p.m. April 9. For further information and to submit an online application, visit the AGRI Meat, Poultry, Egg, and Milk Processing Grant webpage.

This call for MPEM Grant applications follows a previous round of applications announced in fall 2023. Recipients of the 2023 MPEM grants will be announced at a forthcoming date.

Funding for the MPEM grant is made available through MDA’s AGRI Program, which administers grants to farmers, agribusinesses, schools and more throughout the state of Minnesota. The AGRI Program exists to advance Minnesota’s agricultural and renewable energy sectors.

Summer beef tour

The Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association Summer Tour will be hosted by the Northwestern Stockmen’s Association on June 25 in the Thief River Falls area.

Tour stops will include feedlot and cow-calf operations, a robotic dairy operation, and DigiKey Electronics, among others.

Registration is $25 per person before June 1, and $10 for students.

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