Olmsted county farmer takes Farm Bureau honors

Minnesota_Farm_Bureau_Logo_345x143Ben Storm’s involvement with the Minnesota Farm Bureau only goes back one year.

But it’s been a busy year for the Dover farmer, as Storm won the Minnesota Farm Bureau’s Achievement Award late last year at the state convention. The state award gave him the chance to travel to Florida to compete on a national stage at the American Farm Bureau national convention earlier this month.

A simple phone call from a friend got Storm interested in the Minnesota Farm Bureau.

“A friend of mine called me and told me about their leadership conference,” Storm said. “He thought it would be a good idea for me to go along. I went to the conference last year and that’s how I got involved.”

He added, “Now I’m on the Olmsted County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and I get involved as much as I can.”

Storm said Farm Bureau provides many opportunities to tell the story of Agriculture to people who don’t know where their food comes from.

“We do an event we call Fun with the Farmer,” Storm said, “and we go to elementary schools in the Rochester area and educate kids. Rochester is a larger town with not a lot of agriculture in those schools, so going there and educating the kids on what we do is a lot of fun.”

Storm adds, “Farm Bureau is the reason I get to do things like that. We also spent some time last year at the State Capitol talking with legislators about Ag. I’d never done something like that, and I thought it was a lot of fun.”

Storm said the reason for educating the public about agriculture is apparent when they go to area schools and see the disconnect between urban areas and the farm.

“The more I see it the less surprised I am by it,” Storm said. “You continually see that these kids have no idea what Ag is, because they’re 4 and 5 generations removed from the farm now.”

Storm said winning the Minnesota Farm Bureau Achievement award was quite an honor.

“The Achievement Award is for people whose primary income is from farming,” Storm explained. “There are 3 criteria: your farm operation and growth, the financials of your operation, and your leadership experience inside and outside of Farm Bureau.”

One winner is chosen from multiple nominees.

“You fill out an application,” Storm said, “and on the state level, they judge each of the applications and follow up with interviews. The interview questions are basically for clarification on things in the application they were curious about.”

After winning the state competition, it was on to Orlando, Florida, and the national Achievement Award competition at the American Farm Bureau Convention.

Olmsted county farmer gets national recognition

Olmsted county farmer Ben Storm, at left, winner of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Achievement Award, gets recognized by Derek Helms, American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farm And Rancher Committee member from Arkansas. (photo from Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation)

“There was a group of about 60 people from Minnesota that went down,” Storm said. “It was nice to have people there you knew, but it was a lot of fun to visit with new people.”

He enjoyed learning about different types of farm operations from across the country.

“We spoke with a gentleman from Florida who raises alligators, snakes, and rats,” Storm said. “It’s the kind of thing you wouldn’t think of. You understand alligators and snakes, but I never got to ask him why he raises rats.”

He said farmers who raise different commodities do have common concerns.

“One of the biggest ones right now is lower commodity prices,” Storm said, “and what they’re doing to everybody’s operations. Plus, people are trying to get rents adjusted, because that’s a big cost.”

He adds, “Even the price of inputs is a big concern, and how they need to adjust too.”

Ben runs the family operation in the Dover area.

“Dad (Jacob) is partially retired,” said Storm, “but he still helps out when needed. I farm a little over 1,000 acres, and it’s a 50/50 rotation of corn and soybeans”

He adds,” We have a few sows, and we farrow show pigs and sell them to 4H and FFA kids. That’s more of a project Dad handles.”

 

 

 

Annual MDA survey relies on farmers’ participation

Minnesota Department of Ag Logo The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is encouraging farmers to take part in its annual pesticide and fertilizer use survey. The 2016 survey is directed at corn producers and hay growers. The data helps the MDA track the use of agricultural chemicals on Minnesota farms and provides guidance to educational and research programs.

The process should begin February 10 and be completed by February 28. Questions will focus on the 2015 growing season and how farmers use and apply pesticide applications on corn and hay grown in Minnesota. It also includes questions on best management practices when it comes to nitrogen and manure applied to corn. The annual survey is completely voluntary and no personal questions are asked of producers.

Minnesota farmers may be getting calls from multiple agencies and companies conducting a variety of surveys this time of year, but the information gathered from this one is critical for research purposes. It’s conducted for the MDA by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service out of their regional offices in Missouri. The MDA has conducted this annual survey for the past decade.

If you have questions about the MDA’s annual survey, or if you wish to view results of previous surveys, visit the MDA website at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/chemicals/pestfertsurvey.aspx.

Producers can also call the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 651-261-1993 between 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.

CoBank Report Predicts Easing Of U.S. Protein Glut

DENVER, Colo. (January 21, 2016) —The supply glut that plagued U.S. beef, pork and poultry protein markets last year and ratcheted down margins is expected to ease in 2016, according to a new research report from CoBank.

The bank, a major agribusiness lender, says leading indicators point to animal protein supplies moving toward a state of equilibrium, with protein stocks more in line with overall levels of demand.

Meat Protein supplies expected to ease this year.

Trevor Amen is a protein specialist at Cobank. He expects improving market conditions for US beef, pork, and poultry producers in 2016.

“It’s clear that in the coming year, the headwinds and adverse conditions created by excessive protein stocks are clearing,” said Trevor Amen, animal protein economist with CoBank. “Surprisingly strong U.S. consumer demand helped lay the groundwork for improving market conditions in the coming year, meaning the net trade balance is expected to shift toward growing exports and fewer imports.

“This is welcome news for U.S. beef, pork and poultry producers.”

On the Horizon
In the first half of 2016 protein exports are expected to remain somewhat of a challenge. “But conditions are predicted to improve over depressed 2015 levels due to a variety of economic factors,” added Amen.

Meanwhile, imports of lean beef should slow significantly and domestic consumer demand for beef, pork and poultry is anticipated to remain strong and supportive of prices. Supply imbalances have already begun the correction phase, with supply and demand expected to achieve equilibrium by about mid-year. The strength of consumer demand going forward will impact how much and how soon U.S. meat prices change.

For instance, meat demand in the restaurant sector continues to grow. The Restaurant Performance Index and the Expectation Index each indicate positive restaurant business conditions. Combined with lower gas prices, current consumer attitudes indicate a willingness to spend more at restaurants versus in-home meals during 2016.

Price outlooks are mixed:

  • Pork and chicken prices have an upside potential compared to last year’s low levels, based on adjustments made for future production.
  • Beef prices will likely remain under pressure for the next two years, however, as the industry is coming off cyclical highs of 2014.

Of course, optimism for 2016 should be tempered by the oversupply lessons of 2015.

“Total red meat and poultry production set an all-time high in 2015,” said Amen. “Combined with fewer exports and more imports, total domestic meat supplies surged by 4.4 percent, the highest year-over-year increase in 40 years.” That increase in supply translated to an additional 9 pounds of protein per person—historically, protein supplies rose an average of 0.8 pounds per person per year from 1960 to 2015.

As the market works through the recent protein oversupply hangover, the long-term outlook remains positive, especially with continued global middle class growth. “The increasing demand for a higher-quality diet likely provides domestic protein producers with significant opportunities in the next decade,” concludes Amen.

A synopsis of the 2016 Protein Demand Outlook Report is available at www.cobank.com. The full report is available to media upon request.
Meat Protein supplies expected to level off in 2016, thanks in part to surprising domestic demand and improving exports.

About CoBank
CoBank is a $110 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving more than 75,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country.

CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture and the nation’s rural economy. Headquartered outside Denver, Colorado, CoBank serves customers from regional banking centers across the U.S. and also maintains an international representative office in Singapore.

For more information about CoBank, visit the bank’s web site at www.cobank.com.

Minnesota Farmers Union President looks ahead

2015 was a mixed bag in agriculture, and that might be a bit of an understatement.

On the one hand, production levels were good in many commodities, including a record crop for soybeans and the third largest corn crop on record. On the other hand, the prices for those commodities were not good at all. Those conflicting numbers have brought some tension back into family farming that hasn’t been seen in several years.

Farmers Union President

Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President, said agriculture was a mixed bag in 2015, and challenges are ahead in the new year. (Photo from www.myklgr.com)

“Family farming, as a whole, had a pretty good year in 2015 as far as yield,” said Doug Peterson, the Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Prices went to hell in a hand basket, and that puts a lot of edginess back into farming.

“Prices were good for a number of years, but now when inputs haven’t gone down and prices have, that brings challenges in the balance sheets,” said Peterson. “As a result, there may some changes in loaning procedures by local banks because they’re scared.”

Peterson feels the future of agriculture is still good, and the Farmers Union spent some time traveling around the world for a firsthand look.

“We participated in the World Farmer Organization (WFO) General Assembly in Milan, Italy,” Peterson said. “We also took part in a Food, Faith, and Farming symposium as well. We talked about family farming, the environment, and how to sustain the family farm in policy decisions.”

The overseas tour also included a face-to-face with Pope Francis.

Farmers Union President

Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson meets with Pope Francis Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Peterson and other U.S. farm leaders discussed family farmers with the Catholic church leader. (Minnesota Farmers Union photo)

“We met with Pope Francis and his Secretary of State to talk about his encyclical and making sure that family farmers were part of the focus of the Pope’s message on stewardship in agriculture,” Peterson said. “We also had a chance to speak with leadership of the Vatican about family farms.

“We talked with the leadership about the importance of stewardship and family farms,” Peterson said. “We were told that Pope Francis himself feels all religions in the world should pay attention to the stewardship and the sustainability of family farms. Family farms, and not corporations, are the ones that have the ability to feed the world.”

Vatican leadership, as well as Pope Francis, appears to be very concerned about corporate farming.

“They are very concerned, as we are in Farmers Union, about the corporate takeover of family farms around the world,” said Peterson, “and I’ve done enough traveling to see the dirty hand of multi-national corporations coming in and usurping the family farmers for profit.”

He said Mexico is a good example of the dangers of corporate farming.

“Corporations are farming land in other countries (like Mexico),” Peterson said, “and then exporting it back to their home countries.

“That brings us back to Minnesota, where we have an anti-corporate farming law,” said Peterson, “and we don’t allow foreign countries to own farmland in the state either. There are a lot of other states around us that have lost that law, and the ability to control that in their legislative process.”

The Minnesota Farmers Union and it’s President, Doug Peterson, are very concerned about corporate farming squeezing smaller family farms off their land and out of business. (photo from truthdig.com)

The Minnesota Farmers Union and it’s President, Doug Peterson, are very concerned about corporate farming squeezing smaller family farms off their land and out of business. (photo from truthdig.com)

He said North Dakota is facing a battle over corporate ownership of dairy and pork farms.

“Concentration in farming is going to be one of the top issues in the next 10 to 15 years,” Peterson said. “We need to make sure farmland stays in the ownership of family farmers.”

Vigilance will be the key because anti-corporate farming laws are always under attack, and will be again in 2016.

“Back when I was in the legislature (1991-2002),” Peterson said, “there were moves to get rid of the corporate farming law, and to allow foreign ownership of land.

“In fact, about five years ago, we had an attempt by Goldman Sachs to come to the legislature and asked to have an exemption carved out for them,” said Peterson. “We defeated that. So we’re on top of it in Minnesota. But I don’t care who you are, there’s always going to be a threat.”

He added, “It’s always going to be about other people wanting to own land. It’s no different than outside investors, nature conservancies, or outside investors wanting to come in and own land. You get it from all sides.”

The challenges of transferring land ownership can exacerbate the problem.

“Farmers have to figure out what they’re going to do to transfer their land to others,” Peterson said, “and it’s a very slow and costly process to keep family farmers on the land.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MDA weed of the month: Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard is the MDA weed of the month

Garlic Mustard is a highly invasive, noxious weed that is prevalent in southern Minnesota and rapidly making it’s way north. (Photo from MN Department of Ag)

January’s Weed of the Month is garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata).

Garlic mustard is an edible, biennial herb that emits a strong garlic odor. It was brought to the United States from Europe as a culinary herb. It has naturalized in many eastern and midwestern states.

In Minnesota, it is widespread in the south and is spreading north.  The bad news is garlic mustard is highly invasive. It grows in woodlands, and along trails and waterways. It outcompetes native plants, becoming detrimental to wildlife habitat and biological diversity.

Garlic mustard forms rosettes after seed germination in early spring. In its second year, it forms upright stems that produce flowers in May and June. Seeds begin to develop in slender pods shortly after flowering and are the plants’ primary means of spread.

The plant has distinctive characteristics to distinguish it from other woodland MDA-logoplants. In the rosette stage, the leaves are heart-shaped with toothed margins. When it matures, the leaves along the stem are triangular and the small, white, four-petaled flowers are produced in clusters at the tops of the stems. The plant produces slender seed capsules. Seeds can be spread by water and soil movement on boots and equipment.

Garlic mustard is a restricted noxious weed and cannot be transported, sold, or intentionally propagated in Minnesota. It is recommended that this species be prevented from spreading to new areas and that smaller populations be eradicated.

Managing garlic mustard takes persistence and a focus on preventing flowering, making timing a key component to management.

  • Regular site monitoring for several years will be required to ensure that new seedlings are destroyed and the seedbank is depleted.
  • Hand pulling may be practical for small infestations. Pull plants prior to flowering to prevent seed production. Flowering plants can continue to set seed following removal of soil.
  • Mowing of bolted plants prior to flowering can prevent seed production. All equipment should be inspected and cleaned prior to moving into new areas.
  • Foliar herbicide applications may be effective. If using herbicide treatments, check with your local University of Minnesota Extension agent, co-op, or certified landscape care expert for assistance and recommendations.

Military veteran transitions to farming with Prairie Pride Poultry

A simple thing like a childhood visit to the grandparent’s farm can lead to a future in agriculture as an adult.

That’s the case for Grand Island, Nebraska’s Dan Hromas, who now owns a farm he calls Prairie Pride Poultry. However, the farm didn’t happen right away as he spent several years in the military, serving his country before returning home to farm.

Military veteran opens Prairie Pride Poultry

Military veteran Dan Hromas is embarking on a new mission in civilian life by taking on agriculture as owner of Prairie Pride Poultry in Grand Island, Nebraska. (photo from iptv.org)

“I enlisted in the Marine Corps when I was 17,” said Hromas. “I served four years on active duty. Then, I joined the Army, and the Army sent me to college on an ROTC scholarship. I graduated from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor’s in Microbiology. I got my commission as a Second Lieutenant and was assessed in the Nebraska Army National Guard.”

He added, “I retired from the service last year in July.”

Why make the switch from one branch of the service to another?

“I was a heavy machine gunner in the Marines,” Hromas said. “There aren’t a lot of civilian jobs you can move into from that, so I decided to go a different route.”

Military veteran on the farm

Dan Hromas is pictured here as a heavy machine gunner during his time in the Marines. He switched to the Army before coming home to start Prairie Pride Poultry in Nebraska. (photo from midwestproducer.com)

Hromas did a lot of tours overseas.

“I’m like Johnny Cash, I’ve been everywhere, man,” Hromas said. “For example, when I was in the Marines, my first overseas stop was at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the Cuban refugee crisis in 1995.

“I also did a deployment to Okinawa, Japan in 1996” he said. “I was part of a Marine Expeditionary Force in ’98, so we took part in operations in the Mediterranean area. We had missions sitting off the coast of Croatia, and in Albania.”

Hromas added, “My last overseas trip was during the troop surge in Iraq during 2006 and ’07.”

He credits the people he served with as the most positive memory of his time in the military.

Hromas said his transition from military life to agriculture wasn’t necessarily a case of returning to the farm.

“I was never on one to begin with,” he said. “I started Prairie Pride Poultry from scratch. May of 2013 was when I first incorporated it. Later that year I got my first buildings, my first livestock, so really, the journey for me began in 2012.

“I went to Nebraska Farm Beginnings class,” Hromas said, “which was really a series of seminars. With the help of Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation, I was able to put my ideas to paper and draft a solid business plan, which I then took to the Farm Service Agency to get a microloan. I also used the plan to get some grants from different organizations.”

The farm began in York, Nebraska, until he moved to Grand Island to expand his business to 15 acres of land.

The visits to his grandparent’s farm started his interest in agriculture.

“I’m originally from North Dakota,” Hromas said. “My family has a farm there, and every other summer my folks would take my younger siblings and I to visit. We’d make the trip from Lincoln, Nebraska, where I grew up.”

He added, “I always enjoyed being around the livestock.”

Hromas, a disabled military veteran, started Prairie Pride Poultry in 2013 with a simple mission.

“To provide healthy, farm-fresh eggs to consumers,” Hromas said. “Since that time, I’ve expanded the farm to include pasture-raised broilers, and pigs.”

He takes a holistic approach to raising livestock.

“It boils down to humane treatment of animals,” Hromas said, “and good stewardship of the land. I’m a member of the Nebraska Sustainable Ag Society, which encourages consumers to ‘buy fresh, and buy local.’”

The message appears to be getting out about buying locally.

“Business has been very good,” Hromas said, “almost too good, because I often sell out. There are days I don’t have enough product, and I don’t have the infrastructure yet to expand further like I want to do.”

Demand for his eggs has reached into Lincoln.

“I market my eggs through one of the Hy-Vee Stores in Lincoln,” said Hromas. “I have people that headhunt for my eggs, and if they aren’t there, they leave their phone numbers with the dairy manager to let them know when more come in.”

He goes out of his way to keep customers informed on what he does.

“People come in and ask questions,” said Hromas, “and I answer all of them, so they buy with confidence.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Cabin Fever” workshops for farmers offered in St. Cloud

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is looking to educate farmers who might be suffering from cabin fever this winter.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is looking to educate farmers who might be suffering from cabin fever this winter.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will offer four “Cabin Fever” workshops for all farmers on January 7 in St. Cloud. The variety of sessions is designed for people interested in exploring new ideas during the short days of winter.

Registration is open: www.mda.state.mn.us/cabinfever. Participants can choose from four workshops. All will be held at the River’s Edge Convention Center.

 

  • Passive Solar Deep Winter Greenhouses – is all about serious season extension. You’ll learn how to design, construct, finance, and manage greenhouses to produce fresh market crops; even in the dead of winter. Experienced growers and university resource people will lead this workshop. (Full-day)

 

  • Practical Homeopathy – this livestock health care practice interests more and more swine, beef, and dairy producers who want to reduce reliance on antibiotics and medications. This interactive session will be suitable for both beginners and people with some homeopathy experience. You’ll work through a number of actual cases. Pennsylvania Veterinarian Susan Beal will teach the course. (Full-day)

 

  • Transitioning to Organic for Field Crop Producers – organic food sales continue to increase at double digit rates. This session hits the fundamentals of successful organic production. It will emphasize strategies for producers to weather the 36-month transition period organic typically requires. (Full-day)

 

  • Introduction to Perennial Fruits – Minnesotans are often surprised at the wide variety of fruits able to thrive in our climate; from the common to the unusual. Whether you’re interested in growing fruit for market or for home use, you’ll learn about species and varieties, site selection, pollination requirements, sources for planting stock, and tips to get plantings and orchards off to a vigorous start. (Half-day)

Session details and a registration link are posted at www.mda.state.mn.us/cabinfever. Full day courses run 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and cost $50. There is a $15 discount for additional people who register together and attend the same workshop. The half-day fruit workshop runs from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. and costs $25.

Farmer workshops in St. Cloud

Farmers who might be looking for something to do are invited to some educational classes in January. (Photo from ksoo.com)

We strongly encourage you to register online at www.mda.state.mn.us/cabinfever or by phone (call Stephen at 651-201-6012) because space for all workshops is limited. All reservations are payable at the door with cash, check, Visa, or Mastercard.

Minnesota Farm Bureau Announces YF&R Contest Winners

Minnesota_Farm_Bureau_Logo_345x143Young farmers in Olmsted and Washington-Ramsey County captured top honors in the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) competitions.

Ben Storm of Dover in Olmsted County won the Achievement Award contest. Katie Miron of Hugo in Washington-Ramsey County took home first in the Discussion Meet contest. Mike Miron of Hugo in Washington-Ramsey County won the Excellence in Agriculture contest. The competitions were held during the MFBF 97th Annual Meeting at the DoubleTree in Bloomington.

These county Farm Bureau YF&R members will advance next to national competition. They will represent Minnesota at the national competition at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Annual Meeting in Orlando, January 8-13.

Minnesota Farm Bureau YF&R

The Minnesota Farm Bureau Annual Meeting recently concluded after announcing several contest winners, one of which came from the local Olmsted County Farm Bureau. (Photo from fbmn.org)

The winners received a recognition plaque from MFBF, $500 prize, a trip to the MFBF YF&R Conference in Bloomington, January 22–23, 2016.  They also will participate in a leadership development trip to Washington D.C.

Achievement Award

The Achievement Award contestants are selected on their exceptional efforts in agriculture through farm management and leadership achievements, as well as effective use of capital in their farming operation.

Ben Storm is the third generation on their family farm where he works in partnership with his dad and brother raising market hogs. He also farms on his own, growing corn and soybeans and raising and selling show pigs. Ben has a bachelor’s degree in industries and marketing with an emphasis on crops and soils.

The Achievement Award runner-up was Matt Feldmeier from Rushford in Houston County. The runner-up picked up a $250 cash prize.

 Discussion Meet

The Discussion Meet finalists competed in two semi-final rounds on Saturday morning followed by the final four competition. Contestants were judged on their basic knowledge of critical farm issues and their ability to exchange ideas and information in a setting aimed at cooperative problem solving.

Katie Miron is an agricultural educator at the Academy for Sciences and Agriculture in Vadnais Heights. She lives on her family’s fifth generation dairy farm in Hugo.

Other top finalists in the Discussion Meet were Joe Sullivan of Renville County, Katie Winslow of Fillmore County and Amanda Durow of Washington-Ramsey County.

 Excellence in Agriculture

The Excellence in Agriculture contest is designed as an opportunity for young farmers and ranchers who may not derive 100 percent of their income from farming to earn recognition while actively contributing to the agriculture industry.  They also spend time building their leadership skills through their involvement in Farm Bureau and their community. Participants were judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations. 

Winning this year’s Excellence in Agriculture competition was Mike Miron. Mike is the fifth generation to live and work on the family’s dairy and crop farm near Hugo. He is a high school teacher and FFA advisor at Forest Lake.

Excellence in Agriculture runner-ups were Scott and Samantha Runge from St. James in Watonwan County. The runner-up will receive a $250 cash prize sponsored by Gislason & Hunter.

The MFBF 97th Annual Meeting concluded November 21.

The 2016 AFBF YF&R contests will each have four award winners. The winner will receive their choice of either a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2016 GMC Sierra. Three finalists will each receive $2,500 cash and $500 in STIHL merchandise and a Case IH Farmall tractor. Special thanks to our sponsors, General Motors, Case IH and STIHL, for their continued support of the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet.

For more information on Minnesota Farm Bureau go to fbmn.org. For pictures of the Annual Meeting log onto www.flicker.com/photos/minnesotafarmbureau.

Farm Bureau Voting Delegates Re-Elect Paap President

County voting delegates at the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation’s (MFBF) 97thMinnesota_Farm_Bureau_Logo_345x143 Annual Meeting re-elected Kevin Paap to his sixth two-year term as President of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation.

He first elected in November of 2005.The election took place during the delegate session on November 20.

Kevin and Julie Paap own and operate a fourth-generation family farm in Blue Earth County.

Minnesota Farm Bureau

Kevin Paap, pictured here with wife Julie, was reelected as Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President at the Farm Bureau’s annual meeting. Paap was elected to his sixth two-year term as President. (Photo from northcountryfoodbank.org)

“I am humbled and honored to continue to do something that I truly love to do and am passionate about doing,” said Paap. “While agriculture faces many challenges, with every challenge there are opportunities. Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation will continue to be at the table in the public policy arena, build agriculture’s positive image and develop leaders at all levels.”

Keith Allen of Kenyon in Goodhue County representing District I, and Miles Kuschel of Sebeka in Cass County representing District VI were both elected to three-year terms on the Board of Directors.

Pete Henslin of Dodge Center in Dodge County is the Young Farmers and Ranchers committee chair and will serve a one-year term on the board of directors. Mark Maiers of Stewart in Sibley County will serve a one-year term as the Promotion and Education committee chair.

The MFBF 97th Annual Meeting concludes Saturday, November 21 with the announcement of the Young Farmers & Ranchers awards.

Minnesota Farm Bureau is the largest general farm organization in the state with nearly 30,000 family members. The main areas of focus are Farmers • Families • Food. Members determine policy through a grassroots process involving the Farm Bureau members in 78 county and regional units in a democratic process. As a result, members make their views heard to political leaders, state government officials, special interest groups and the general public.

Programs for Young Farmers & Ranchers help develop leadership abilities and improve farm management. Promotion & Education committee members work with programs such as Ag in the Classroom, and safety education for farm children.

Jon Guentzel from Mankato, MN, tells us why he is a Farm Bureau member.

For more information, contact your county Farm Bureau office.

For more information on the Minnesota Farm Bureau log onto www.fbmn.org.

Pork industry educates Subway on antibiotics

The Subway restaurant chain recently brought antibiotics in animal agriculture back into the national food discussion with an announcement about changes in how they source proteins.

In late October, Subway announced policy changes on it’s website, saying that the chain will only serve proteins that have never been treated with antibiotics. The transition is set to begin in it’s over 27,000 restaurants as early as 2016.

The animal agriculture industry recently met with Subway to ask questions about the new policy, as well as to educate the company about the necessary use of antibiotics to keep animals healthy.

Pork production

The pork industry, along with representatives from poultry and beef, are educating Subway as well as the public on the necessity of using antibiotics in animal agriculture to ensure the animals are healthy and safe. (photo from pork network.com)

The Kearny, Nebraska, newspaper (KearneyHub.com) recently wrote an article describing Subway’s policy change as “running into a brick wall in Nebraska.” Livestock producers rely on antibiotics to keep their animals healthy, and Subway changed its policy, stating that they would “accept meat from animals that had been treated with antibiotics to control illness, but not given antibiotics to aid in animal growth.”

National associations that represent the pork industry had a lot to say on the topic. The website meatpoultry.com restated the National Pork Producer’s Council’s position that antibiotics must be available to producers to maintain animal health. The US Food and Drug Administration regulations on antibiotics in animal agriculture are increasingly strict, and they provide safeguards against resistance.

All pork organizations agree they need to educate the public on the necessity of pork production, as you’ll hear in this audio wrap:

 

 

For help in answering questions from the public, the National Pork Producers put together a video to help you educate people who have questions about why farmers use antibiotics: