April 26, 2015

2015 BioIndustry Summit Set At North Dakota State University

This year’s summit will be the first to include a government networking event where innovators, entrepreneurs and investors will be able to visit informally with program specialists from a number of state and federal agencies.

Agriculture, technology and industry interests will converge during the 2015 Bioindustry Summit on May 28 in the Memorial Union on the North Dakota State University campus.

The summit will explore changing market, technological and political conditions and their impacts on the region’s bioeconomy.

“With volatile energy and agricultural commodity prices, interest in value-added opportunities is growing,” says David Ripplinger, NDSU assistant professor and bioenergy specialist. “The summit is a premier venue for farmers, innovators, entrepreneurs, academics and government to meet.”

The summit is sponsored by NDSU, NDSU Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, the Bio Science Association of North Dakota, North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Corn Utilization Council, North Dakota Soybean Council and North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy.

A research and development showcase will highlight research from regional scientists. Interested individuals should submit their ideas using the summit’s electronic system.

This year’s summit will be the first to include a government networking event where innovators, entrepreneurs and investors will be able to visit informally with program specialists from a number of state and federal agencies. A roundtable will be held to discuss opportunities and challenges facing the region’s bioeconomy.

The summit will open with registration and a continental breakfast at 7:45 a.m. on May 28. U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp will be the keynote speaker.

Other speakers include:

  • John Hoeven, U.S. senator (invited)
  • Kevin Cramer, U.S. representative
  • Doug Goehring, North Dakota agriculture commissioner
  • Rina Singh, Biotechnology Industry Organization senior director of policy
  • Joel Stone, Green Biologics president
  • Mark Elless, U.S. Department of Energy technology manager
  • David Grewell, Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team chairperson, Iowa State University
  • Rick Vierling, National Corn Growers Association director of research and business development
  • Brendan Jordan, Great Plains Institute vice president
  • Patrice Lahlum, North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy coordinator

The registration fee is $100 for professionals before May 22 and $125 after that date. The fee for students is $50. Registration includes access to all events, breakfast, lunch and two breaks.

For more information, contact Ripplinger at (701) 231-5265 or david.ripplinger@ndsu.edu or Ken Hellevang at (701) 231-7243 or kenneth.hellevang@ndsu.edu.

Visit http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/bioepic/2015-bio-industry-summit to learn more about the summit, register, or submit a poster abstract.


Senate Finance Committee Passes TPA; Bill Moves To Floor

The product of months of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans – Trade Promotion Authority and other trade bills advanced through the Senate Finance Committee – after an objection by one Democrat kept the panel from meeting for hours. Chairman Orrin Hatch called it an historic bill:


Hatch says in a clear appeal to reluctant Democrats that lawmakers and the public will be able to review trade deals before they are signed. Top Finance Democrat Ron Wyden appealed to organized labor and other backers of his party:


Ag Senator Chuck Grassley argues American agriculture also needs a level playing field in trade:


Grassley also backed a bipartisan amendment to toughen TPA language targeted largely at China to stop countries from intentionally undervaluing currencies to make their export goods cheaper. The package of trade bills – facing time pressure from Trans Pacific trade talks – could hit the Senate floor soon.


Dry Conditions Speed Hard Red Spring Wheat Plantings

USDA released its weekly Crop Progress report yesterday and was largely in line with expectations. Weather in the early part of last week allowed for decent progress in corn planting before cool temperatures and extended periods of rain put an end to field work through areas of Illinois and Indiana.

For the week ending April 19th, USDA estimated approximately 9% of the U.S. corn crop was in the ground compared to 15% on average for this date.  That number is 7% ahead of last week and ahead of the 6% reported on this date last year. Most market analysts don’t believe the small delays will be substantial in the end and forecasts for the end of this week through next week show warmer temperatures and drier conditions.  Major producing states like Iowa and Minnesota were at or ahead of average while Illinois trailed average by 6% and Indiana trailed by 14%.   No soybean progress is reported at this time although most analysts speculate that it will be included in next week’s report.

Dry conditions were evident on the Northern Plains, however, as plantings of Hard Red Spring wheat and Barley moved well ahead of average.  The nation’s wheat crop is reported 36% planted with South Dakota a whopping 73% complete compared to 31% on average; North Dakota was reported at 22% planted versus 9% on average.  Winter wheat conditions were largely a non-issue: Conditions were steady at 42% good to excellent.  Traders largely believe that rains Saturday and Sunday improved conditions but those improvements won’t be seen until next week’s report.