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Winter 2020

Nobles Cooperative Electric producing, living green ‘

New GroShed will supply vegetables year round to area food shelves By Alyssa Sobotka The Globe WORTHINGTON — Nobles Cooperative Electric is going green and producing green with innovative technology that

will help stock local food pantry shelves with fresh produce year-round. The electric cooperative recently began utilizing its new hydroponic GroShed, an 8-by-12-

foot shed equipped to grow vegetables despite the frigid temperatures outside. “It’s so simple, it practically runs itself,” said NCE Member Services

Manager Tracey Haberman about the cooperative’s Living Green program. Regulated at a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit, several lettuce varieties, tomatoes, cucumbers and

peppers are being grown in the shed since it arrived at the cooperative’s U.S. 59 home north of Worthington on Dec. 23.

NOBLES: Page 10


2 • The Globe • Saturday, January 25, 2020


The Globe

• Saturday, January 25, 2020 • 3

Crops specialist: Glyphosate risk is in ignoring science By Leah Ward lward@dglobe.com WORTHINGTON — “Roundup and Cancer” ads are becoming ubiquitous in television, radio and print advertising, leading some to question the veracity of claims that use of the pesticide Roundup is linked to cancer diagnosis. Liz Stahl, University of Minnesota Extension crops educator, argues that “there’s no less toxic product on the market.” Any use of pesticide comes with some amount of risk, Stahl said, but lawsuits that seek compensation for cancer after use of glyphosate — the active ingredient in Roundup — are not rooted in science. “I challenge anyone to find a pesticide that is less risky to use than glyphosate,” she said.

Stahl, who has an academic background in weed ecology, cited the National Agriculture Health Study — what she calls “a gold standard study when looking at the longterm effects of using pesticides” — which found no connection between glyphosate and cancer. She pointed out that personal protective equipment for pesticide use does its job effectively, so glyphosate users should read the manual and follow instructions. As a comparison, Stahl noted the relative acute toxicity of glyphosate with other common substances. Acute toxicity is measured by the LD50, the amount of a given substance required to kill 50% of the population, expressed in milligrams per kilogram of body weight. A lower LD50 means a substance is more toxic. The LD50 of glyphosate is 4,900, making it less acutely toxic than

table salt, acetaminophen, paraquat (another pesticide) and nicotine. Although the concern around glyphosate centers on chronic, rather than acute, exposure, Stahl maintains that the relative risk is fairly low. In almost all of the studies done on glyphosate, researchers have reported 95% confidence that longterm glyphosate exposure has “no effect,” Stahl said. “There’s a real risk when we ignore the science,” she said. If these lawsuits prevail, glyphosate could be removed from the market,

eliminating a “key product” for crop farmers. Glyphosate is so effective for cover crops because it’s tightly bound to the soil — it doesn’t travel with the plants when they are harvested, Stahl noted. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. uses 280 million pounds of glyphosate on 298 million acres each year. Of that, 84% of U.S. glyphosate usage is on corn, soybeans and cotton. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that in Minnesota, glyphosate accounts for 67.98% of total pesticide use. Given its widespread use and effectiveness, glyphosate needs to remain available for farmers, Stahl said. She referred to an August statement issued by the Weed Science Society of America.

GLYPHOSATE: Page 6

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4 • The Globe • Saturday, January 25, 2020

2019: In Alphabet Soup format WORTHINGTON — When you are eating a bowl of alphabet soup, every spoon gives you a different scoop of letters. You can’t possibly guess which little letters of noodles MIKE will appear in each DIERKS spoonful scooped up. MN West Farming in 2019 was Farm Business no different. You never Management knew what to expect from hour to hour, day to day or week to week. It snowed when it should have rained and rained when it should have snowed. I decided we should review 2019 just like eating alphabet soup. We never knew what was coming next in agriculture. African swine fever: Asia (China) has lost an estimated 50% of its hog herd to this disease. Yet, due to tariffs, China has purchased their proteins in record amounts from other countries — not the USA. Baseball: Entertained most Twins

fans with an unexpectedly good season and a lot of home runs. Crop insurance payments: Are being calculated at record amounts for this area and will allow many the opportunity to continue farming in 2020. A cold, snowy winter increased feed costs for cattle farmers. Derecho storm: An unusual thunderstorm with a series of storms passing along a front that cause significant damage to crops and buildings with an extended time frame of extreme high winds. Exhausted: In February, I was told it happened from blowing snow every day just to feed animals. In June, it was planting around the clock to beat the next rain. In November, it was trying to finish harvest before Christmas. Sleep was missed by many in 2019. Fatigued: I was told a new definition of fatigued is hooking up a fourwheel-drive tractor to a four-wheeldrive tractor to discover you have to call a Cat to extract your planter from the mud. Grow: Locally, we had the lowest

amount of solar radiation ever recorded. Solar radiation is simply sunshine that helps plants grow with photosynthesis. Hog markets: Have fluctuated to extremes due to African Swine Fever in Asia. Investment funds also had record sales and purchases in cattle and corn markets. These wild swings in prices made it extremely difficult to market commodities in 2019, knowing crop yields were going to be

short in the field. Indecisive: It has been a hard year to make decisions because the rules were seldom defined for farmers. Producers made management decisions before final rules were written. Deadlines were in front of the rules. It appears our modern technology has not adapted to weather and its unknown possibilities.

ALPHABET SOUP: Page 8

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The Globe

• Saturday, January 25, 2020 • 5

Minnesota Bison Conference returns to 2020 ROCK NOBLES southwest Minnesota in early April By Julie Buntjer jbuntjer@dglobe.com WORTHINGTON — The Minnesota Bison Association’s annual educational conference is coming to southwest Minnesota this spring. “Hindsight is 20/20: Lessons from the Past, Present and Future” is the theme for the April 3-5 event, which takes place at Round Lake Vineyards and Winery. This will be the first time the conference, in its 27th year, will be in Jackson County, according to Jessica Spaeth, executive director of the Minnesota Bison Association. Spaeth, of Halstad in far northwest Minnesota, said she anticipates the conference will draw roughly 125 attendees, and not just from the North Star State. The membership is comprised of bison producers from 16 different states and two

Canadian provinces. “This (conference) is open to everyone,” she said. “We have people coming from Colorado, Indiana — last year, we had folks from Manitoba. “We do anticipate a lot of Minnesota and Iowa producers, as well as from South Dakota, because of the location,” she added. The rural Round Lake location was chosen by this year’s conference hosts — Round Lake native Rod Sather, who operates Mosquito Park Enterprises, a bison ranch near Vivian, S.D.; and Karrie Scholtes, event planner at Round Lake Vineyards and Winery. The Friday evening and all day Saturday conference format features a board of directors meeting in advance of an evening banquet April 3. The trade show will open for the evening, and a pair of speakers are planned to kick off

the conference. Saturday’s events include a membership meeting, an update from the National Bison Association, producer panels and speakers, a presentation and tour of Round Lake Vineyards and Winery by Scott Ellenbecker and an evening banquet. Board members will then wrap up the conference with a meeting Sunday morning. “Our motto is helping members successfully raise and promote bison,” Spaeth said, noting the conference brings bison producers together to learn from each other, as well as from the speakers. “We help all producers — from those who have been doing it a long time to those who are interested in raising them,” she said. “We try to be a resource for the entire aspect of the industry.”

BISON: Page 9

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6 • The Globe • Saturday, January 25, 2020

Farm Resource Guide available Examples of how they work and how they have worked in the past. ► Lease forms for cash rent and share rent arrangements: Which you can fill in the blanks. ► Farmland sales information for all counties in Minnesota: Lists current average ag sales. ► Information on charges for custom feeding, commodity storage, leasing buildings and various bin rental rates: Lists various costs like leasing a dairy barn and machine storage. ► Current information on pasture rental rates, tree timber values: Lists pasture rates and timber sales. ► Marketing information along with recent cost trends for Minnesota: Many charts are included.

► Commodity price probabilities for corn, soybeans, alfalfa hay, straw, grass hay, hogs and cattle: Puts odds to getting break-even prices and tables show historic patterns. ► Corn and soybean yields by county: USDA county yields used for calculating the farm bill payments. ► Feedlot rule highlights: Information on manure agreement and easements. ► Manure spreading lease examples and land application agreement: Forms included. This Resource Guide is available for a $25 fee, plus postage and sales tax, if you would like to have your own copy. I can provide you the information in your preferred format: e-mail ($25

plus sales tax); CD ($29); or hard copy ($31). If you would like your own copy of the Farm Resource Guide, please email me at bauxx003@umn.edu or give me a call at 372-3900, ext. 3906 and let me know what format you would like. I will send out the materials and an invoice as soon as possible. I hope you find the Resource Guide useful and would welcome your feedback on what you would like to see included in next year’s guide. For more farm business information, please see the University of Minnesota Extension website: https://extension.umn.edu/ managing-farm.

GLYPHOSATE

reads, in part. “IARC has applied the same classification to red meat, hot beverages and emissions from hightemperature frying, as well as to more than 70 other chemicals.” WSSA’s statement points out that international regulatory bodies, as

well as private research agencies, “have consistently concluded that glyphosate-based herbicides are not likely to be carcinogenic.” Stahl said one reason the lawsuits continue is because many people are removed from farming and do

not understand how decisions about pesticide use are made. “It’s unfamiliar with a lot of people being removed from agriculture,” Stahl said. “I encourage people to take the time and make sure it’s a reputable source of information.”

From Page 3

“In 2015, glyphosate was classified as a ‘probable carcinogen’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC),” the statement

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The Globe

• Saturday, January 25, 2020 • 7

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8 • The Globe • Saturday, January 25, 2020

Don’t forget your bulls this winter ORANGE CITY, Iowa — Winter is a time when cow-calf producers direct their attention to calving and developing replacement heifers. But, herd bulls are often a second thought until spring appears and the breeding season is just around the corner. Now is the time to carefully manage your herd bulls so they are

BETH

DORAN ISU Extension

ALPHABET SOUP From Page 4

Jokes and pictures abound: When times get tough, some survive on humor. Cell phones have permitted many to share their misery with pictures and Snaps. “Misery loves company” still stands as a truth today. Kink: That moment where something should be straight or as planned and it suddenly bends, curves or changes. Markets, weather, tariffs, tweets, planting and harvesting intentions all experienced a kink.

ready for the breeding season. Bulls should be body condition scored just like cows. Body condition score (BCS) ranges from 1 (an extremely thin animal) to 9 (a very fat animal). Ideally, a bull should have a BCS of 5.5 to 6 on this 9-point scale before breeding season. The difference between two scores is about 90 pounds. So, if the bull this fall is a BCS 5, he will have to gain 90 pounds to achieve a BCS 6. This weight gain should be gradual (1 to 1.5 pounds per day). At one pound per

day, it will take 90 days for the bull to improve one body condition score. Aim for optimal condition six weeks or more before the start of the breeding season. Bulls that are too thin during the breeding season are less active and will not breed as many cows and heifers. This will reduce breeding success. Age and BCS have a major impact on scrotal circumference. A larger circumference is positively related to fertility. However, excessive fat in the scrotum can negatively affect semen

quality. Semen quality is reduced for bulls in a BCS 7 or greater or those with a BCS less than 4. In addition to optimal nutritional management, bulls should be maintained in facilities with wind protection and plenty of bedding. The bull’s ability to withstand cold is dependent on a clean, dry hair coat. Bedding is absolutely necessary to prevent sore feet and frost-bitten scrotums — both of which will reduce the number of pregnancies in the upcoming breeding season.

Latest: Planting dates this area has seen in 50-plus years. Record prevent plant acres in our area. Market facilitation payments: This was known as Trump money by most, but basically saved our rural communities from an absolute financial disaster. Mud: Called mud, slush, slop, slime and quicksand. Negative attitudes: I personally was told I am negative in attitude by a good friend one day. I agreed he was right. Farming has been poor for six years now, and attitudes are declining. Opportunities: Are created in times of crisis. Some have started to grow

hemp and other products that can be manufactured for oils. Prevent plant acres: Defined as those acres producers cannot plant before the crop insurance deadline arrives. Record acres in our area will still impact our smaller communities in 2020. Quickly: When weather permitted you moved quickly. The only thing we did not have to do quickly was water the lawn or wash the car — Mother Nature took care of that on its own in 2019. Rain: Recorded over 5 feet of rain in 2019 in our area. Normally, we receive

around 2 feet of rain. Spring bomb cycle: An unusual storm in early spring that brings lots of rain and snow for extended periods of time in a continuous cycle. Snow: Eight months of the year. Growing crops in 120 days is neither easy nor productive. Tweet: Every time Mr. Trump or China tweeted, the markets moved in dramatic fashion, causing a lot of anxiety to anyone trying to market their produce.

ALPHABET SOUP: Page 11

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The Globe

• Saturday, January 25, 2020 • 9

BISON Bringing together producers who raise bison on grass, as well as producers who raise bison on corn, Spaeth said the program has something for everyone. “Each operation is so unique and each producer has different ways to make their operation successful,” she said. Aligning with its motto of educating people about bison, Spaeth said FFA chapters and 4-H clubs are encouraged to attend the conference, noting a student package offering. Last year, when the conference was in Sleepy Eye, FFA members came for the Saturday lunch and stayed to listen to one of the speakers. Any groups who would like to participate are asked to call Spaeth by March 15 at (507) 454-2828 to ensure space is available. One of the topics of bison production that continues to dominate discussion in the industry is the need for proper product labeling, Spaeth shared. The National Bison Association has done a lot of work on labeling so that

These conferences, you get a lot of information out of the speakers, but the networking after the speakers has a lot of impact. I think that’s a valuable part of the conference. JESSICA SPAETH, executive director of the Minnesota Bison Association consumers know when they see the word “buffalo” on a package of meat, they know they’re getting American bison and not water buffalo. “There’s been a lot of water buffalo meat that has come into the U.S.,” Spaeth said. Differentiating the difference for consumers is paramount. The American bison industry has a strong and successful market, but there is a learning curve for individuals who may be considering bison production. “It’s not the same as (raising) cattle or other animals,” Spaeth said. “(Bison) are very self-sufficient. They don’t require artificial shelter;

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“These conferences, you get a lot of information out of the speakers, but the networking after the speakers has a lot of impact,” Spaeth said. “I think that’s a valuable part of the conference.” For more information about the Minnesota Bison Association, visit mnbison.org.

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they do require stronger fencing. Bison are made for the cold weather.” Spaeth said the bison industry in Minnesota has remained steady, noting that as some producers retire, new producers are cropping up. Having an annual conference helps to deliver information to producers at all levels.

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10 • The Globe • Saturday, January 25, 2020 Alyssa Sobotka/The Globe

Several lettuce varieties grow hydroponically in the Nobles Cooperative Electric’s GroShed. Once mature, they’ll be donated to food shelves in Nobles and Murray counties.

Alyssa Sobotka/The Globe

Larger plant varieties like tomatoes and peppers grow in pots connected to waterflow in the GroShed.

NOBLES From Page 1

LED lights above the plants and tubes below or injected into the pots keep the plants adequately supplied with enough artificial sunlight and water to meet their growing requirements. More than 100 pods are available for lettuce varieties to grow, while seven planters are used for vegetables like tomatoes and peppers that require more growing room. The fastest-growing lettuce variety currently being produced in the GroShed requires just 43 days to mature. Haberman said the GroShed is an

innovative way the cooperative can meet its commitment to improving its members’ lives. As the vegetables reach maturity, NCE will donate produce to local food shelves in Nobles and Murray counties, where their customers reside. Recipients will include Manna Food Pantry in Worthington, Murray County Food Shelf in Slayton and Fulda Food Shelf in Fulda. Haberman said as NCE begins harvesting and donating produce to the local food pantries, it may adjust what it grows next based on need and desire. The cost of the GroShed was about $11,000. Nobles Cooperative Electric received a $5,000 grant from Great River Energy, as well as $3,500 from Community Wellness Partners

and Southwest Health and Human Services, which received dollars from the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP). Community Wellness Partners Coordinator Cecilia Amadou said SHIP jumped on the opportunity to partner with NCE because it saw value in increasing access to fresh local fruits and vegetables. “Having produce available at our local food shelves provides the opportunity for individuals to be healthy,” Amadou said. “GroShed is going to provide produce all yearround, so for the cold winter months when produce is scarce, we know that people are still going to get some produce, which will reduce the amount of canned goods people are going to consume.”

NCE’s purchase of the GroShed makes it the first energy cooperative in Minnesota to own a foodproducing shed, it learned at a Great River Energy meeting. As of early January, other cooperatives had scheduled visits with NCE to learn more about the shed. That was part of NCE’s goal: To inspire other entities with its Living Green initiative. Local individuals are also welcome to schedule a time to tour the shed. NCE General Manager Adam Tromblay sees the GroShed as a potential opportunity for locals folks to stay on the family farm. “It will produce some income on a relatively low investment,” Tromblay said.

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The Globe

• Saturday, January 25, 2020 • 11

Farmers asked to complete corn, soybean planting date survey WORTHINGTON — The extremely wet conditions in Minnesota in 2019 led to planting delays and unprecedented levels of prevent plant acres. Where planting delays continued late into the growing season, farmers needed to decide whether or not to plant a crop during or after the late

LIZABETH

STAHL U of M Extension

ALPHABET SOUP From Page 8

Unbelievable: Amounts of rain and snow ... records .... Vegan: Food trends have disrupted the meat market.a Weather: Will not be forgotten by the farmer, but many others will remember the flooding and exhausted sump pumps and flooded

planting date for crop insurance. Historical planting date information was helpful, but limited for planting dates in June (corn for grain) and July (corn for silage and soybean). University of Minnesota Extension is asking farmers to share their experiences from 2019 to help increase our knowledge base on the impacts of late planting and other weather-related factors on yield and grain moisture in corn and soybean. The information will be used to help fill knowledge gaps in the decision-

making progress if/when we are faced with a late-planting situation in the future. This information may also be used to help identify future research needs. Information requested includes corn or soybean maturity, planting and harvest dates, yield, moisture, test weight, conditions at planting and conditions following planting. Information is requested from as many fields as farmers wish to report on, and planting dates ranging from the

earliest to the latest planted crops. Results will be shared with researchers in Illinois and Ohio, who are conducting a similar survey. If you planted corn or soybeans in Minnesota in 2019, please see z.umn.edu/plantingdatesurvey for more details and to participate in the survey. Participation is completely voluntary, and information provided will remain anonymous. We will collect this data until March 6. Thanks in advance to all respondents for their participation.

basements as well. X: This is a G-rated article, so X marks the spot for new tile in the field. There was a lot of that in 2019. Yikes: The term I was told happens when you get 9 inches of rain in 24 hours. Zoo: I had a producer call me on June 8 to say, “Mike, it is an absolute zoo out here in the country. Everyone who can drive a tractor is doing so right now. The rain is coming, and the

mud is flying.” Almost the entire agricultural community wants to forget 2019. I have been told that materials and people have to be stressed to mature and grow. The 2019 alphabet soup memories listed above have caused most agriculture producers to bend and curve farther than they have in a long time. Their resilience has been outstanding and admirable.

The theory is the new trade deals in 2020 will increase our exports and improve our prices. Locally, we are hopeful for a more normal weather pattern — and average to bountiful yields for 2020. Our whole community would like that. If you ate today — alphabet soup or otherwise — thank your local farmers. Our American producers supply us with the safest, most abundant supply of food in the world.

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12 • The Globe • Saturday, January 25, 2020

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Profile for The Globe

Today's Farm Winter 2020  

Read all about farming in southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa - and how we're faring over the winter!

Today's Farm Winter 2020  

Read all about farming in southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa - and how we're faring over the winter!

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