January 19, 2018

MN Ag Expo set for Jan. 24-25 in Mankato

Each year, MN Ag Expo is filled to the brim with topical panels and speakers that delve into every aspect of agriculture.

2018 is no different. Only this year, it’s bigger and better.

MN Ag Expo, hosted by the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA), will be held Jan. 24-25 at the Verizon Center in Mankato, Minn.

“Year after year, MN Ag Expo is Minnesota’s premier indoor agricultural event, and 2018 is no exception,” says MSGA President Michael Petefish. “MN Ag Expo prides itself on presenting a well-rounded exhibit that reflects the diverse interests and concerns of Minnesota farmers. From in-depth discussions on the state of renewable fuels to a farm panel to the latest market forecasts, this year’s MN Ag Expo has all the corners covered for anyone involved in agriculture.”

A few highlights from this year’s lineup includes a governor’s panel, farm bill panel, morning markets with Al Kluis, lunch speaker Blois Olson, and a closing keynote address from Polly Ruhland, United Soybean Board chief executive officer and Chris Novak, National Corn Growers Association chief executive officer.

Along with an extensive list of speakers and topics, there are nearly 120 exhibitors registered for the two-day event.

“We look forward to the farming community again coming together for a great line-up of educational sessions and a trade show stocked with excellent exhibitors,” says Minnesota Corn Growers Association President Kirby Hettver. “From exciting new research to expanded ethanol infrastructure, we are also excited to update attendees on the many accomplishments made possible by our state’s growers over the last year.”

The trade show floor will be open from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Jan. 24, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. The trade show will re-open from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Jan. 25.

To view the exhibitor list and complete agenda and schedule, visit mnagexpo.com.

Commodity Classic Offers Wide Range of Unique Anaheim Area Tours

AnaheimAttendees at the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif., can make their experience even more memorable by signing up for one or more of the fascinating tours available during the event. These optional tours provide the opportunity to discover even more about the history, attractions and culture of Southern California—and this year’s tour schedule is among the most varied ever offered.

In addition, this year’s Commodity Classic is scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, (Feb.27-March 1) which allows attendees to add a weekend on either end of their visit to enjoy the sights and attractions of southern California including Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and more.  Disneyland is just a few blocks from the Anaheim Convention Center, where Commodity Classic activities will take place.

Optional tours are scheduled on Monday, Thursday, and Friday of that week. Tours available include:

  • Dolphin and whale watching tours
  • Exploring Laguna Beach and the well-known Mission San Juan Capistrano
  • A tour featuring urban agricultural trends with a stop at a chocolate-making facility
  • The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
  • A private charter deep sea fishing excursion
  • An inside look at the Queen Mary ocean liner and tales of its haunted past
  • A visit to the Lyon Air Museum and Marconi Automotive Museum
  • A tour of the USS Iowa battleship

Some of these tours are close to selling out, so it’s important to register as soon as possible.  For details on the tours available and to register for tours during Commodity Classic, visit www.CommodityClassic.com.  Tour fees vary and are not included with convention registration.

The deadline to preregister for tours is Monday, Feb. 5, 2018.  Tour registrations are refundable only if canceled by Feb. 5. On-site registration in Anaheim will be accommodated subject to space availability.

Tours may be reserved online, by mail, or via fax using the form available on the website.  Space is limited and tours are available on a first-come basis.

“These optional tours are a great way for families to make the most of their time in Anaheim and to have one-of-a-kind experiences they can’t have anywhere else,” said Gerry Hayden, a Kentucky farmer and co-chair of the 2017 Commodity Classic. “While Commodity Classic is focused on making all of us even better farmers, it’s also about having a little fun and taking some time with family. This year’s line-up of optional tours truly has something for everyone.”

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show, produced by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers, and Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

Minnesota Soybeans Already Meet China Foreign Material Requirements

The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) has glad tidings for its Chinese customers: Minnesota farmers are already producing soybeans that meet the new China requirement foreign material (FM) within shipments be one percent or less.

MSR&PC’s response comes on the heels of China announcing it will change its rules requiring less than 1 percent FM in shipments from the U.S. The new less than 1 percent FM requirement for all China-destined soybean shipments was jointly agreed to by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in late December.

China is the largest single market for exports of U.S. commodity soybeans (formally known as USDA grade No. 2 soybeans). America’s No. 2 soybean shipments were allowed to contain up to a total of 2 percent by weight of the weed seeds and broken plant materials that constitute FM for the past half-century. However, this new requirement will result in the many hundreds of annual China-bound U.S. soybean shipments conforming to the same less than 1 percent FM level required for soybean export shipments from the world’s other largest soybean exporters such as Brazil and Argentina.

“Minnesota is well positioned to provide high quality soybeans to China,” says Kim Nill, director of market development for MSR&PC. “We’ve long had an excellent working relationship with USDA and Agricultural Research Service researchers, and because of soybean checkoff investments at the University of Minnesota, we already have the infrastructure to facilitate workshops dedicated to grain handling.”

Bob Zelenka, executive director for the Minnesota Grain & Feed Association, which represents Minnesota grain elevators and other facilities that purchase soybeans, said Minnesota already meets China’s requirements.

“Our FM values are coming in at 0.5 percent or less,” Zelenka said. “It’s very clean grain. We have 50 unit train loading facilities in Minnesota, all of which are officially graded by USDA, which supports my contention that the FM originating from MN is far below the standard.”

In its announcement, USDA stated: “The USDA plans to advise U.S. soybean farmers how to adjust 2018 production (best practices) and harvesting techniques to reduce seed contamination.”

MSR&PC and the University of Minnesota Extension are already holding “Best Practices for Weed Control” for farmers across the state. These workshops have a session on how to minimize weed seeds. The locations are:

  • Alexandria, Minn., at the Holiday Inn, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, January 17
  • Willmar, Minn., at the Best Western Plus, 7:30 am-11:00 am, January 30
  • Fairmont, Minn., at the Knights of Columbus, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, February 8
  • New Ulm, Minn., at the Best Western Plus, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, February 12
  • McIntosh, Minn., at the Community Center, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, February 15
  • Slayton, Minn., at the Murray County Fairgrounds, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, February 22
  • Hutchinson, Minn., at the Hutchinson Event Center, 12:30-4:00 pm, February 26
  • Faribault, Minn., at the Rice County Fairgrounds, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, February 27
  • Appleton, Minn., at Shooters Bar & Grill, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, February 28
  • Austin, Minn., at the Holiday Inn Conference Center, time TBA, March 2


About the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council
The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) is the elected board of soybean producers from Minnesota who direct investments of the state’s checkoff dollars in programs designed to increase profitability to Minnesota soybean farmers.