September 23, 2014

North Dakota Soybean Council Sponsors International Trade Teams

Soybean buyers and processors from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam will be in the Red River Valley this week, attending the Soybeans Procurement Management for Importers course at the Northern Crops Institute.  The course is sponsored by NCI, as well as the North Dakota Soybean Council, U.S. Soybean Export Council, the Northern Food Grade Soybean Association, and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council

The course is designed to give participants an overview of the quality characteristics of U.S. northern grown soybeans as well as the intricacies of buying, handling, and shipping food grade soybeans out of the region.

Participants will tour farms and other locations in the Red River Valley during the week and will be split into two groups, each with a separate focus. The tours will begin on Tuesday after both groups attend an all participant session Monday at NDSU’s Commodity Trade Room.

Food grade buyers will visit Brushvale Seed of Breckenridge, MN, Richland IFC of Dwight, ND, SB & B Foods of Casselton, ND, SK Foods Specialty Processing of Moorhead, MN and SunOpta of Moorhead.

As for the feed grade buyers, they will tour the Northern Crops Institute’s feed mill, Alton Grain Terminal and the Peter Lovas farm near Hillsboro, ND, and the Colfax Farmers Elevator and the Jay Myers Family farm near Colfax, ND.  Additionally, the feed group will tour NDSU’s Ag Experiment Station Research Greenhouse complex.  The ND Soybean Council staff will be on hand to answer any questions the international guests have and promote soybeans grown in North Dakota.

A supper for all will be hosted Tuesday evening at the Bill & Karolyn Zurn Family Farm at Callaway, MN.  Any questions can be directed to Stephanie Sinner of the ND Soybean Council


U.S. Military To Start Using Biofuels Under New Agreement

Three companies were awarded contract to construct biorefineries for “drop in” biofuels for the military and private sector on Friday. The Departments of Navy, Energy and Agriculture announced the contracts under a 2011 presidential directive. The contracts are part of the Obama Administration’s goal to boost and diversify the domestic fuel base, according to Friday’s announcement.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus stated “The contracts being announced today will help expand the operational capability of our Navy and Marine Corps around the world.” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack commented “”Any time our military can use more American grown fuels instead of relying on foreign sources it makes our armed forces more energy secure.” In total, these projects will produce more than 100 million gallons of military grade fuel beginning in 2016 and 2017 at a price competitive with their petroleum counterparts.

Under the contracts awarded Friday, Emerald Biofuels will build an 82 million gallon per year refinery on the Gulf Coast using waste fats to create military grade fuel. Fulcrum BioEnergy will build a 10 million gallon per year refinery in McCarran, Nevada using municipal solid waste as its feedstock. USDA announced a $105 million Biorefinery Assistance Program loan guarantee for that facility earlier this month. Also, Red Rock Biofuel will build a 12 million gallon per year refinery in Lakeview, Oregon using woody biomass, or the by-products of forest management, as its feedstock. The drop-in alternative fuels can be blended at a 50/50 ratio with traditional fossil fuels. T

his blend was successfully demonstrated during the Rim of the Pacific demonstration in 2012 for ships and planes, showing the fuel can be utilized in the Navy’s warfighting platforms with no degradation to performance or mission.


State Ag Commissioners Unanimously Call For EPA to Drop Waters of the US

At the Annual Meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), NASDA Members, composed of all 48 state Agricultural commissioners both democratic and republican, unanimously called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule. The action item, submitted by North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture Doug Goehring, also urges the EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers to collaborate with state departments of agriculture and other stakeholders on the appropriate scope of federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction. Goehring had this to say during a follow up press conference by the Republican Commissioners of Agriculture that took place Monday:

Goehring WOTUS

NASDA’s CEO Dr. Barbara Glenn concurred, issuing a statement after the NASDA meeting saying, “As it stands, this proposed rule dramatically expands EPA’s jurisdiction and creates too much uncertainty for our farmers and ranchers. This rule must be withdrawn.” She continued, stating “It is critical that the agencies engage state regulators and stakeholders to work together to find a path forward before the agencies move towards implementation or further rulemaking.”

NASDA previously submitted comments expressing concerns about the highly controversial Interpretive Rule for Agricultural Conservation Practices.

“Conservation and environmental protection are among our members’ chief responsibilities as state regulatory agencies. We feel the agencies’ proposals will dissuade the use of critical conservation practices needed to preserve American farmland,” said Glenn.