A Crazy (fantastic) Week

What a week.

Farm bill program news, beef plant funding news, sugar news, railroad shipment news, weather news. I’m more than ready to take the next three days to relax.

But I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy the excitement.

And I can’t wait for all the Agweek readers to crack open they’re print edition on Sept. 1. It’s packed.

On Monday, USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse came to North Dakota to discuss farm bill programs with farmers and legislators. Of course, Agweek was there and heard Scuse agree with farmers that choosing between Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage will be difficult. To make it more complicated, those farmers are locked into their decisions for the five-year life of the farm bill.

It’s big news that he was here and, I’m sure, some assurance for farmers in our state that the big wigs on the national level are hearing their concerns.

And South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard is hiring an outside lawyer to review the funding distribution of money from EB-5, which had helped fund the now-defunct Northern Beef Packers plant in Aberdeen, S.D. This story is multi-faceted and includes calls for subpoenas of Daugaard, former Gov. Mike Rounds and others who might have played a role in how the funds were distributed.

Stay tuned for updates on this in the future. It’s interesting and the outcome will be important.

Then, on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Commerce made a preliminary ruling that supports sugar growers, saying Mexico has been subsidizing sugar it’s exporting here. The Department of Commerce is immediately imposing duties on Mexican sugar in response. Permanent countervailing duties could be imposed, depending on the final decision of the Commerce Department, as well as the final decision of the International Trade Commission on injury to the U.S. sugar interests as a result of Mexico’s subsidizing and dumping. ITC made a preliminary ruling already that Mexico’s actions have injured U.S. interests.

Don’t worry, I’m not done yet.

On Wednesday, North Dakota Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring inked a deal with the Port of Vancouver in Washington State to help move more grain by rail. When the Port of Vancouver sends shipments of fracking sand and other materials to Minot, N.D., those cars will be cleaned and then sent back full of North Dakota grain. That sounds helpful, but at least one shipper in North Dakota says that won’t help his business move grain. Another says it will help a few of his customers, but not all.

Then on Thursday, North Dakota’s legislators called out Canadian Pacific Railway for its subpar plan to reduce grain car backlogs. The thing is, the company isn’t reducing anything. It’s just asking elevators to cancel some of their rail car orders that are already months behind. So, the numbers go down, but not because the orders have been met.

Also Thursday, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that signup for the dairy Margin Protection Program, authorized in the 2014 farm bill, starts Sept. 2. It’s an important program for the dairy industry and it’s nice to see progress on its implementation.

USDA also released details this week on eligibility for the Supplemental Coverage Option, a crucial program for crops.

It’s finally Friday and today, the National Corn Growers Association announced that Fargo, N.D., has been selected to host the National Agricultural Genotyping Center. That’s exciting news and Fargo beat Decatur, Ill., in the final competition for the facility.

Ah, I love news.

And I love the lake. That’s where I’m headed. I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

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