January 31, 2015

Spring Weather Might Allow for Timely Planting

Its been an unusual winter in much of the Northern Plains.  It’s the end of January and many parts of the Dakotas lack snow cover, if only because it melted off in a wave of record heat over the past week.  University of North Dakota Professor of Meteorology Leon Osborne says we shouldn’t get too attached:

Osborne 1

And those dry conditions is what has many producers worried about the upcoming growing season.  But not so fast

Osborne 2

In fact conditions may be nearly ideal by the time planting rolls around:

Osborne 3

There was a lot of talk in weather circles last Summer and Fall about an El Nino weather pattern.  It looks like that may have been overblown:

Osborne 4

What does exist of the El Nino pattern should help provide moisture to the drought stricken areas of California, the Southwestern U.S., and the Southern Plains.  However, conditions are so dry that they are expected to remain in a drought state.


Growth Energy and NCGA Respond to World Resource Institute Study

The World Resources Institute recently released a report that criticizes biofuels. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says the report repackages old, previously debunked food and fuel and Indirect Land Use Change myths in attempts to discredit an American success story. Buis says the criticism is based on the limited assumption that the U.S. and the rest of the world must choose between a cleaner, healthier environment resulting from renewable transportation fuels and an adequate, affordable food supply. Without the biofuels industry and its impact on the farm economy – he says the U.S. might be producing less food in order to control the expansion of surplus stocks and assistance payments to farmers. Buis says the WRI fails to note the U.S. has produced record corn crops for the past two-years and corn prices have fallen dramatically. It also fails to credit U.S. ethanol production results in co-products that displace the need for other livestock feed crops – reducing the net acreage for ethanol production to about 17.5-percent of total corn acreage – according to Buis. National Corn Growers Association Corn Board member Keith Alverson of South Dakota says ethanol is a very efficient energy source – representing a 40-percent net energy gain. Alverson says there is more than enough corn to meet demands for food, fuel, feed and fiber.

Buis says WRI is relying on the same analyses and falsehoods utilized by Big Oil that have already been proven to be incorrect. He says diversity in energy resources and a dramatic reduction in fossil fuel use is the best way to ensure the U.S. has the necessary energy resources while reducing the use of carbon intensive fuels that are a finite resource and a leading cause of climate change. Alverson says it’s time to put these arguments to rest and focus on continuing to grow American energy independence. The U.S. must embrace an all of the above energy strategy – Buis says – and biofuels play a critical role in ensuring such a strategy succeeds.


Shipping Hub in the Magic City

The Minot Area Development Corporation is attending the KMOT AG Expo at the North Dakota State Fair Center in Minot, and they’ve got opportunities on hand for the right agricultural company.

The Corporation has two slots available at the Port of North Dakota, which is currently under Phase 1 of the Port’s expansion.  We visited with Mia Camarata, Marketing Director for the MADC…


Camarata says The Port offers advantages for businesses that want to put down roots in the Minot area…


It’s a pretty prime location, too, not far down the road from the State Fair Center…


Officials estimate the Port Hub serves roughly a 250-mile area around Minot in the Bakken Region —including eastern Montana, northern South Dakota, northwestern Minnesota, southern Manitoba, and southeastern Saskatchewan.