October 18, 2017

Specialty Crop Sector in South Dakota Receives Grant Funding Support

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture has awarded around $290,000 to six specialty crop projects around the state. The funds come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Specialty crops can include everything from fruits and veggies to honey and hops. This year’s projects include reduction of pesticide drift, mobile classrooms, marketing, education and increased sales of specialty crops.

Some of the specialty crops grown in South Dakota include hydroponic tomatoes, lettuce, grapes, fruits for juices, jellies and wines, confectionary sunflowers, honey, as well as lentils and chickpeas.

Grant recipients include:

  • Vermillion Area Farmers Market from Vermillion
  • Native American Advocacy Program from Herrick
  • South Dakota Specialty Producers from Yankton
  • Edmunds Central School District from Roscoe
  • Hoven School District from Hoven
  • South Dakota Department of Agriculture, Division of Ag Services

“We have a wide variety of projects this year that are impacting the specialty crop industry. We have honey restoration, to mobile classrooms to educate our youth about the importance of specialty crops as well as projects promoting, preserving and marketing specialty crops in South Dakota. Very exciting year for the industry,” said SDDA Grant and Loan Specialist Kimberly Sturm.

Projects will have up to three years to complete their work, while being required to submit quarterly reports and reimbursement requests. New USDA rules for administering these grants will impact both the recipients and the awarding agencies.


Audio: Fall Nitrogen Fertilizer Application Requires Careful Planning – Timely Tips from Koch Agronomic Services

Farmers walk a fine line when it comes to deciding what inputs are important to increase yields while still remaining profitable.

Applying nitrogen fertilizer in the fall can be a smart practice – both financially and operationally – for corn and wheat growers who want to save money with fall fertilizer purchases and focus on planting next spring. But applying nitrogen at this time of year presents greater risk from potential nitrogen loss.

Greg Schwab, PhD, director of agronomy for Koch Agronomic Services, LLC says, “Following the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship (Right Fertilizer Source, Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place) is especially important in the fall when crops are months away from development and their maximum nitrogen uptake, leaving it vulnerable to loss from fluctuating weather conditions.”

Listen to our audio visit Here —>  Greg Schwab with Koch Agronomic Services Oct 16 2017

“Growers who want to apply fertilizer over the next few weeks should look for guidance from their land-grant universities or trusted retail advisor, who can offer advice appropriate for their regions,” Schwab says.

About Koch Agronomic Services, LLC

Koch Agronomic Services, LLC, and its affiliates produce and market a proven and expanding global portfolio of plant performance technologies for agriculture producers and turf and ornamental professionals. With a commitment to creating real, sustainable, long-term value for customers and society, Koch Agronomic Services focuses on developing customer-driven solutions to improve plant performance and minimize environmental impact. Koch Agronomic Services, LLC, is a subsidiary of Koch Ag & Energy Solutions, LLC. www.kochagronomicservices.com.  AGROTAIN® and SUPERU® are trademarks of Koch Agronomic Services, LLC.


BASF Officially Enters Seed Business With Purchase Of Bayer’s Seed Division

In its largest purchase to date, agrochemical giant BASF has announced it is purchasing Bayer Crop Science’s line of Liberty herbicides as well as the entire seed division in a deal worth $7 billion dollars.  This will be the first time that BASF, who previously had scoffed at the cost of development of GM traits, has entered the competitive seed business.  It may not be the last time either.  In a call with investors, BASF’s CEO Kurt Bock said that other deals may follow as BASF expands its expertise.  Reports are that BASF finished the deal after outbidding Syngenta and their new partner China National Chemical  Corp.

As for value, analysts have said that BASF’s purchase price of 15 times EBITDA is lower than that paid for other deals as of late.  BASF said the deal be included on its earnings per share as of the first quarter.  They expect the deal to be finalized sometime in the first quarter.

For its part, the deal with BASF allows Bayer some significant breathing room as they meet with regulators regarding their merger with seed giant Monsanto.  EU regulators had expressed some major concerns and recently put approval on hold pending a study on how that deal would affect competition and the pacts farmers.  There has been no word from regulators directly on what portion of Bayer and Monsanto might be causing hold ups, but industry discussion for some time has shown concern about the percentage of seed products the combined company would own, especially in Canola and Cotton.  The deal will also likely provide some cash to Bayer ahead of the Monsanto closing.

In mid morning trade, BASF stocks were down $0.29 while Bayer AG was up $1.30.