Posts By: Meghan Hinnenkamp

Farming and COVID-19: Put a plan in place

Republished with permission of South Dakota Corn.

Farmers had a lot on their minds heading into spring. Coming off of a flood-ravaged 2019 growing season, low grain prices and the prospect of fields being dry enough to plant were shaky.

Then they received another major kick in the teeth with the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has further battered the agricultural economy.

The pandemic raises numerous concerns as planting season nears. What steps can a farmer take to reduce the risk of COVID-19? And what happens if a farmer, family member or employee becomes ill with the virus? Do you have a contingency plan?

Farmers may feel the odds are in their favor to stay healthy because of the remote nature of their business, but being wrong can create some serious complications. Most of these issues can be avoided with a contingency plan for the farm.

Because there are so many things to think about, South Dakota Corn has worked with the National Corn Growers Association to compile a list of sound practices, safety procedures and planning recommendations that may help get through this challenging time. Here are some of those ideas.

On-farm planning

  • Schedule a brainstorming meeting with all family members and employees involved in the operation to discuss possible scenarios, solutions to potential disruptions during planting and subsequent fieldwork.
  • Develop a written continency plan. Are there neighbors who might be able to share resources and/or labor in an emergency? Who would manage for a few weeks if you or another key person is unable to leave your house or is hospitalized?
  • Make a list of immediate changes that can be implemented to lower risk on your farm.
  • Consider developing a Continuity of Business (COB) plan to keep operations running smoothly in case of any disruption. Many state departments of agriculture recommend that farms write COB plans.

Receiving deliveries

  • Identify and coordinate a drop-off location for deliveries of supplies to the farm. If possible, set this up away from on-farm high traffic areas and housing.
  • Create specific instructions for drop-off deliveries.
  • Create signs so drop-off points can be easily identified.
  • Practice distancing with delivery drivers. Maintain a distance of at least six feet and don’t shake hands.
  • Avoiding personal interaction is best.
  • Log all deliveries and on-farm entries. Utilize a visitors log for everyone entering the farm.

On-farm safety procedures

  • Minimize the exposure of outsiders. Use telephone calls, emails or texts for communications with employees or contractors who don’t live on the farm. Observe social distancing if someone visits the farm.
  • Increase sanitation of workspaces and make it part of your daily/weekly routine. Simple things like disinfecting work surfaces, countertops, computer keyboards, doorknobs, hand railings, tractor controls and monitors can make a difference.
  • Make cleaning supplies readily available, including cleaning solutions, buckets, mops and brushes to clean the shop and break areas. Place disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer on equipment, in truck cabs and in high-traffic areas.
  • Stay in the house if you’re sick. If family members are sick, they should isolate themselves as much as possible. If you have off-farm employees or seasonal help, alert them that all sick employees must stay home.
  • Inform employees where they can find sanitizing materials in the shop, in the truck and in the tractor.
  • Regularly sanitize door handles, floor mats, steering wheels and other commonly contacted surfaces.

Read the full article at https://www.sdcorn.org/2020/04/farming-and-covid-19-put-plan-in-place/

Western Minnesota Farmers Already Looking to 2020 Growing Season

Seed selection is a critical part of planning

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. (Jan. 29, 2020) — It’s hard to believe, but farmers in western Minnesota are thinking about next spring, even though last year’s harvest is not far in the past.

There are a lot of decisions to be made and planning to be done and equipment to be repaired before we ever see a tractor on the road in the spring, or before a seed ever hits the ground. What new equipment will I need to purchase, what nutrients does my soil need, what is my fertilizer strategy, what insects and weeds will I need to worry about, how will I market my crops, should I diversify — these are all going through farmers’ minds and notes between now and then.

But one of the most important decisions a farmer will make is what seed to plant. There are different companies, different brands, different maturity ratings (how long it takes from the time the seed is planted to when it’s ready to harvest), and a long list of features and benefits for each one.

Andy Clauson, a CHS Key Agronomy Specialist who is also an authority on Allegiant® seed products, offers a few tips for making seed selections.

“It’s crucial to consider data beyond your last harvest before making seed selections for next year,” Clauson said.

“During last year’s harvest, pretty much anything that could go wrong, went wrong,” he continued. “Planting was delayed. We had a wet spring. We got in as much corn as we could in a very short window before it could get wet again. It was a struggle from the beginning.”

Due to these harsh weather conditions, there has been a trend of farmers wanting to switch to early-maturity corn, in hopes of having drier corn and earlier harvesting to prevent past struggles.

“By switching to early-maturity hybrids and varieties, you potentially give up yield,” added Clauson. “Farmers need to stick with what has historically been working best in their territories. If you normally plant 95-day maturity-rating corn, plant 95-day corn.  You don’t need to go down to 87-day corn.”

Clauson explained how temperature plays a strong role in corn development, and the importance of looking at multiyear data to reduce risk.

“By looking at historical heat units within your area, we can find a hybrid that will make it to black layer [an indicator of physiological maturity], to help ensure the best yields to be able to market that product at the end of the season,” said Clauson.

Most farmers are ready to put the difficulties of this year’s growing season behind them, and they have a lot to think about when planning for next year. Local co-ops, ag retailers and agronomists like Andy Clauson are great resources to help do that.

© 2020 CHS Inc. Allegiant® is a registered trademark of CHS Inc.

10 Tips to Prevent Slips and Falls on Ice

  1. Evaluate the drainage of your roofs and parking lots to ensure water is being moved away from walkways.
  2. Implement an inspection process to identify areas where ice and snow accumulate. Inspections should be conducted routinely regardless of weather conditions.
  3. Ensure that adequate snow removal equipment and salt or ice-melt is kept on hand.
  4. Clear footwear of ice and snow as possible when entering buildings.
  5. Ensure that proper footwear is worn by all employees including office workers. Look into ice cleats for those individuals who spend a significant amount of time outside.
  6. Ensure floor mats are located at entrances of buildings to address water accumulation from ice and snow on footwear.
  7. Use railings when climbing or descending stairs.
  8. Maintain three points of control when mounting or dismounting vehicles and ladders.
  9. Avoid carrying tools or materials as this can affect your stability and view of what is in front of you.
  10. Ice and snow means take it slow!

2019 Annual Meeting Information

We’d like to invite all farmer-owners to our 2019 annual meeting! Join us to learn more about what happened at your cooperative during the past year.

Again this year, each district will have an update meeting highlighting company-wide information as well as local topics. Each meeting will last around two hours, including the annual meeting and financial information along with local news and an industry update. Lunch or supper provided, depending on the event start time.

Monday, February 24
9AM – Big Stone American Legion, Big Stone City SD
6PM – Shady Beach Grille, Corona SD
Wednesday, February 26
9:30AM – American Legion, Chokio MN
Thursday, February 27
9:30AM – Z103 Lounge in the Best Western, Fergus Falls MN
Friday, February 28
9:30AM – Herman Community Center, Herman MN

Cenex® Premium Diesel Winter Additives

The harsh, bitter cold winter is upon us and it is going to be a long one. To help keep equipment going strong, during these brutal temperatures, you need to be using Cenex® winterized premium diesel fuels. All Cenex winter premium diesel fuels come preblended with special additives to help engines operate at their peak during these cold temperatures. 

Let’s discuss the winter fuel additives found in Cenex® premium diesel fuels; wax crystal modifiers, de-icers and wax anti-settling agents. Each one has their own importance but when they are combined, they optimize power and engine performance to minimize costly downtime.

Wax crystal modifiers
Wax crystal modifiers change the size and shape of wax crystals, from flat to pin-like structures, preventing them from bonding together. Wax crystals stay small enough to flow through the fuel filter. They create a porous wax cake on the fuel filter, allowing continued fuel flow until the engine heats up.

De-icers
De-icers dramatically lower the point at which any water in the fuel system freezes. This helps reduce moisture related problems.

Wax anti-settling agents
Wax anti-settling agents reduce the settling of wax crystals in vehicle tanks and above-ground storage tanks, which clog filters and other fuel system components.

Cenex winterized premium diesel fuels are an investment that pay for itself with cold-weather protection, fuel efficient starts, a smoother running engine and proven power. The most important difference is the one you’ll see on the bottom line. Keep your equipment operating all year long, contact your Cenex Representative to learn more about the line-up of Cenex winterized premium diesel fuels.

Article courtesy of Cenex.

The Importance of Premium Quality Tractor Hydraulic Fluids

Today’s agricultural equipment is expected to work harder than ever before—covering more acreage and running for longer hours to get the job done. With the amount of stress equipment must handle, a high-quality lubricant is crucial for protecting metal components from extreme field conditions. 

Using a premium quality tractor hydraulic fluid (THF), provides users with the peace of mind that their equipment is protected from the beginning of harvest to the end. But what does the term “premium” really mean?

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CHS to build new elevator facility in Herman, Minnesota

Pictured: Members of the local CHS board and staff members pose during a ceremonial groundbreaking event at the site of the new facility

CHS recently announced the decision to build a new, state-of-the-art elevator facility at its Herman location. The build will supplement the current elevator in town and will sit at a site north of the CHS agronomy center. Construction is projected to start in August 2019 with the project finalized and ready to receive grain for harvest in September 2020. 

“CHS has been part of our community since 1909, when the Herman Market Company was founded,” says General Manager Jerry Kramer. “In building this new grain facility in our town, we look forward to supporting our community and area farmers for hopefully another 110 years.”

The new facility will add 1.4 million bushels of upright concrete storage with three dump pits and an RFID card system for quick and efficient grain delivery for farmers. Grain-receiving capacity at the site will be up to 75,000 bushels per hour. Kramer says that while the new site will have the size and scale to handle the majority of the cooperative’s bushel receipts, CHS will continue to operate the downtown grain elevator to create the quickest delivery experience for growers during the heat of harvest and other key delivery times. Combined storage with the two sites will reach 3.4 million bushels, with five dump pits with receiving capacity over 100,000 bushels per hour.

The Herman-based retail business delivers agronomy, energy and grain products and services to Minnesota and South Dakota ag producers and other customers from locations in 12 communities. It is part of CHS Inc., a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, agronomy, grains and foods, CHS is committed to helping its customers, farmer-owners and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations. CHS supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, animal feed, food and food ingredients along with financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.

This document and other CHS Inc. publicly available documents contain, and CHS officers and representatives may from time to time make, “forward–looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Report Act of 1995. Forward–looking statements can be identified by words such as “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “goal,” “seek,” “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “will” and similar references to future periods. Forward–looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based only on CHS current beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding the future of its businesses, future plans and strategies, projections, anticipated events and trends, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward–looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of CHS control. CHS actual results and financial condition may differ materially from those indicated in the forward–looking statements. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward–looking statements. Important factors that could cause CHS actual results and financial condition to differ materially from those indicated in the forward–looking statements are discussed or identified in CHS public filings made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the “Risk Factors” discussion in Item 1A of CHS Annual Report on Form 10–K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2018. Any forward–looking statements made by CHS in this document are based only on information currently available to CHS and speak only as of the date on which the statement is made. CHS undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward–looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

Use Three Points of Contact When Climbing Ladders

Safety for our staff and member-owners is of the utmost importance to the team at CHS Prairie Lakes. Read below to learn more about how to safely climb ladders and up equipment.

Three Points of Contact

The safest way to mount and dismount vehicles, equipment, and ladders is to maintain three points of constant contact. That means one hand and two feet, or two hands and one foot – at all times. Anything less and you’re risking a fall. 

Proper form for climbing up equipment.

Tips for Using the THREE POINT System:
– Always face towards the equipment.
– Get a firm grip on the rails or handles.
– Look for obstacles on the ground before exiting.
– Mount and dismount when the equipment is stopped.
– Break the three-point contact only when you reach the ground, cab, or platform.
– Slow down and take extra care in wet, snowy, or icy weather.
– Avoid wearing loose or torn clothing that can catch on the equipment.
– Wear shoes with good support.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:
– Never jump – you may land off balance or on an uneven surface and fall.
– Don’t climb down with something in your free hand – put it on the vehicle floor and reach up for it when you get to the ground.
– Don’t use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface.
– Don’t use the door frame or door edge as a handhold.

See this and other seasonally-relevant safety tips on our website!

Meet Our 2019 Interns

Get to know members of our 2019 summer intern team below. The group started mid-May and will be with us until August, where all are returning to college to pursue a degree in their selected fields. We wish them all the best this summer and hope they learn a lot to utilize in their future careers!

© 2020 CHS Inc.

COVID-19 UpdatesLearn More