After this year’s devastating drought, the North Dakota Agriculture Association and Commodity Council held their annual meeting to discuss topics such as new programs and next year’s outlook.
Popular crops grown by North Dakota farmers are expected to drop in value next year, according to Frayne Olson, a professor of agribusiness and applied economics at North Dakota State University.
He said prices for crops like corn, soybean and spring wheat are estimated to drop as much as nearly $2 per bushel.
“If you have wheat in the bin right now, I’m going to ask you, what in the world are you waiting for? You’ve got basis levels that are exceptionally high, you got near-record high futures market prices,” said Olson.
Ag professionals from around the state gathered in Bismarck to discuss next year’s outlook, as well as new programs being introduced by the Ag Commission.
The morning consisted of commodity groups such as the Ethanol, Soybean, and Beef Commission discussing their top priorities, and projects their respective groups plan to work on for next year.
After lunch was provided by the North Dakota Beef Commission, Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring spoke on some of these programs.
For one, the emergency feed transportation program started in North Dakota — but is now expanding.
“The feds actually took our program and made it a program that would be utilized nationally,” said Goehring.
He said there are some pitfalls in the program that should have been considered before expanding nationwide.
In light of these concerns, the Ag Commission is stepping up to the plate to help those struggling with transporting goods.
Goehring said, “We’re going to cover everything that’s under 25 miles for moving hay, feed, livestock. Things that are not actually covered under the federal program.”
Following Goehring’s session on ag programs, Olson gave a session on the next year’s outlook.
Although the harvest was impacted by the drought that plagued North Dakota this summer, it was still a record year for certain crops across the nation.
Olson said, “Yes, we had a drought up here, we had some very dry conditions in South Dakota, Minnesota, parts of Iowa, Montana, but guess what? The people in the eastern corn belt had a fantastic year.”
In fact, this year, nationwide, was the second-largest corn crop on record, not far behind the record set in 2016.
Going into next year, with prices for crops expected to drop, Olson emphasized the importance of soil testing, especially given the rise in fertilizer prices.
The United States is the world’s largest exporter of corn, with China as its best customer.