February 26, 2022 at 12:30 a.m.
Special election scheduled to complete Hagedorn’s term
Drought relief moves through House ag committee
The Minnesota House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee has approved a drought assistance package. This bill is sponsored by Chairman Mike Sundin and includes $5 million for grants and direct assistance and another $5 million for the Rural Finance Authority’s revolving loan program. The next stop for the drought relief bill is the House Ways and Means Committee.
Ag committee reviews plant-based grant proposal
A bill creating a $2 million pilot grant program to develop a plant-based agriculture industry has been laid over by the Minnesota House Agriculture Committee.
“Public research funded by this state will help ensure that this industry stays at home rather than moving overseas,” said Lauren Stone, acting policy director, Good Food Institute. “As the plant-based industry grows, research will help Minnesota businesses source high quality crops from local farmers.”
State Rep. John Burkel, who farms at Badger, said the plant-based food industry has moved beyond the need for this investment.
“How do you see this $2 million moving the needle when Beyond Meat is the shortest stock in the stock market right now?” Burkel said.
The House bill is sponsored by St. Cloud DFL Rep. Dan Wolgamott. A companion bill sponsored by Breezy Point Republican Carrie Ruud is awaiting action in the Senate Agriculture Committee.
USDA extends Dairy Margin Coverage signup
The United States Department of Agriculture extended the deadline for farmers to enroll in the 2022 Dairy Margin Coverage and Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage program. The deadline is extended to March 25. Farmers can apply through their local Farm Service Agency office.
Lawmakers want USDA action for organic dairies
A bipartisan group of lawmakers from the northeastern United States is urging Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to respond to the recommendations of a task force that was organized after Danone announced its plans to end contracts with 90 organic dairy farms. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy and nine other lawmakers said urgent action is needed to respond to the structural threat to organic dairies in the Northeast.
Hebrink to retire in 2023
Compeer Financial President and CEO Rod Hebrink has announced his intention to retire in January 2023. Hebrink has been with Compeer and its legacy brand, AgStar Financial Services, since 1985. Hebrink has been president and CEO since 2014. The Compeer Financial board will begin the search process soon.
Perdue selected for university position
The University System of Georgia Board of Regents has named former Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue as its chancellor. Perdue served two terms as Georgia’s governor and was the only finalist for the job.
Vold appointed to dairy checkoff board
USDA has announced the appointment of 12 individuals to the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board. Glenwood, Minnesota, dairy farmer Suzanne Vold is one of seven new appointees and will serve a three-year term on the dairy checkoff board.
MLBA Hall of Fame honorees to be recognized
The Minnesota Livestock Breeders Association has named its 2022 Hall of Fame inductees: Dave Thompson, Doug and Mary Thompson and Steve Pomerenke. Dave Thompson has a registered Holstein dairy herd in Pope County, served 10 years as president of the Minnesota American Dairy Association board and also had a leadership role with Select Sires. Doug and Mary Thompson raise purebred French Alpine and Toggenburg dairy goats and have won numerous national awards for their animals. Doug Thompson has also judged goats nationally and internationally. Steve Pomerenke raises Simmental, Angus and SimAngus cattle at Fairmont and served in a leadership role with the State Fair 4-H Beef Show. The MLBA annual meeting is March 10.
MN FFA Hall of Fame Class of 2022 announced
The inductees include Pat Dingels of Redwood Falls, who is part of the FFA Foundation Board of Trustees; dairy farmer Charles Krause of Buffalo and Academy for Sciences and Agriculture Executive Director Becky Meyer of Vadnais Heights. The list of honorees also includes Staples-Motley FFA advisor Kerry Lindgren; former Pioneer sales director Ron Sommers of Northfield; Hawley ag instructor Dave Swanson; University of Minnesota-Crookston associate professor Erman Ueland of Fertile and adult farm management instructor Stan Vander Kooi of Buffalo. The inductees will be introduced at the Minnesota FFA Alumni & Supporters annual meeting March 5 in Mankato.
New license plate supports 4-H, FFA
A new Minnesota license plate celebrating agriculture will benefit 4-H and FFA. The image features hands holding seedlings, symbolizing the 4-H pledge of “my hands to larger service” and the rising sun “as a token of a new era in agriculture” that is recognized during FFA ceremonies. Nearly 100 designs were submitted.
Global collaboration for Zoetis, CowManager, Select Sires
Zoetis, CowManager and Select Sires are launching a strategic collaboration to integrate genomic tools with predictive sensor systems. DNA traits and indexes developed by Zoetis will be put together with CowManager’s ear sensor technology to provide farmers with information on the health, fertility, nutritional insights and location of their cattle. Select Sires said the on-farm analytics and increased reliability in genetic selection will benefit its dairy and beef customers.
Approximately 20 million pounds of cheese are consumed by Americans during the Super Bowl. That answers our last trivia question. For this week’s trivia, how many pounds of milk are needed to produce 1 pound of cheese curds? We will have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.
Don Wick is owner/broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Wick has been recognized as the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year and served as president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and five grandchildren, Aiden, Piper, Adrienne, Aurora and Sterling.