ST. LOUIS — The Ag Coast of America is expanding to lead the world in addressing global food security concerns. Strategically located in the center of the world’s agriculture production, the bi-state St. Louis region is recognized as a world leader in agriculture technology research and grain barge handling capacity.

    OPINION  Representatives of a national coalition representing almost 10,000 U.S. farmers and ranchers held a press conference earlier this fall in Washington, D.C., to announce the delivery of a letter to Congress urging support for the Green New Deal. They called on lawmakers to make agriculture policy reform a priority for addressing the climate crisis and the economic crisis facing independent family farms.

    The second set of 2019 Market Facilitation Program payments is now scheduled to be released. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the payments will begin the week before Thanksgiving. Producers of Market Facilitation Program-eligible commodities will now be eligible to receive 25 percent of the total payment expected, in addition to the 50 percent they have already received. Registration at USDA-Farm Service Agency offices will be open through Dec. 6.

    Welcome to February? Nope, it’s November. Five inches of snow fell Sunday night into Monday, and now we have subzero overnight temperatures with single-digit daytime temperatures. As I sit here typing, we are sitting with temperature of 1 above with a real feel of -9 degrees. The good thing is the snow didn’t stick to the corn and at these cold temperatures any snow that is on it should flow through the combine, so we should be back at it later today.

    Another round of harvest delays with snow on Monday. Not entirely sure how many inches of snow we had as it was blowing and drifting. We finished cutting beans Thursday last week, and only have about 80 acres of corn left. Hopefully, we can get some decent weather at the end of this week so we can finish up.

    Forecasters believe we may see up to a foot of lake effect snow if this next weather system holds together. Area farmers continue to push harvesting to daily limits as they babysit grain dryers and maintain the status of grain bins as they are trying to dry down corn that seems to be hanging onto the moisture levels near the upper 20s. Some were seen shelling corn until noon, then switching to soybeans and then back to corn again. Needless to say, no one has been sitting still.

    We all need to remember our past to help us move forward better in life. But that doesn’t mean we have to dwell on our past. We are nearing the end of harvest for a year that will never be forgotten for most, if not all, of ag industry. This has been one of the most troubling years for so many people. But I do feel blessed to have a crop to harvest, and we have almost completed it safely and without too much trouble so far.

    We are done! The combine came home empty last Monday evening at 6 p.m. Corn harvest for many in this area ended last week. Not so in Illinois. Mark and I traveled to St. Louis for a meeting on Wednesday and Thursday and there were thousands of acres of corn and beans still in the field. We saw several combines rolling, but we also saw lots of standing water in fields. They obviously had more rain than we had.

    Trade agreements, as critical as they are, do not in themselves create trade. Trade happens when people connect with people, a reality five Dairy Management Inc. board members – all dairy farmers – witnessed during an Oct. 20-25 governance mission to Mexico. It was organized by the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

    MADISON, Wis. – Brad Pfaff accepted a new position with the Wisconsin government a week after being fired by the Wisconsin Senate. He was formerly the Agriculture Secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

      WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — “I don’t think you can make grits in space,” contemplated Torbert Rocheford, the Patterson Endowed Chair in Translational Genomics for Crop Improvement in the Purdue University Department of Agronomy. “Well, maybe if you had a microwave.”

        WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Sending breeders into fields to manually measure the characteristics of plants is slow, laborious and expensive. Remote sensing technologies, coupled with advanced analytics, offer the promise of faster, more accurate data collection to improve the speed at which plant breeders can bring better cultivars to the market.

          Craig Hill has seen it happen. He has seen the breakdown in the middle of harvest, the delay as he tries to figure out what happened, the frustration as he twiddles his thumbs as the wheels do not move in the field.

          WABASHA, Minn. – Starting on a conventional Illinois farm followed by 20 years in the food industry led Mike Hunter of southeastern Minnesota to return to the farm in a very different way. He now has an organic grass-fed-beef operation that supplies quarters of Shorthorn beef to upscale Metro restaurants.

            Crop residue serves an important role in physically protecting soil from erosion during rain events or high winds, as well as enhancing soil biological activity by providing sources of organic carbon and nitrogen for its energy needs.

            Another week at the hands of Mother Nature. Snow, rain, sleet — we have had it all. The fields are wet under the stalks where we harvested prior to the precipitation, making ends greasy and soft for turning around and getting in and out of fields. Not much was moving late in the week or weekend, but Monday it was full bunny once again in the fields. Hoping to get a lot of acres covered before the next round of snow, rain, or whatever Mother Nature throws at us hits.

            We had a couple inches of snow last week that stopped harvest for a few days. We went back to picking corn Saturday and Monday morning and then switched back to beans Monday afternoon. Surprisingly, the beans were 13.5% moisture and were cutting well.

            If we turn the calendar back six months, like we did with our clocks this weekend, we’d find ourselves in the same predicament as we were back in the month of May. Very little fieldwork took place this past week, leaving Monday and Sunday as the most ideal window for harvest, if there was one. In my travels Monday as I headed to Wakarusa Nutritional Services with a tractor and a wagonload of corn, I noticed more soybean fields than corn that have yet to be harvested.

            We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!