I attended the North Dakota corn and soybean conventions the past week.
The North Dakota Soybean Growers Assocaition and North Dakota Corn Growers Association are very optimistic about the future for their members.
North Dakota is well positioned to ship more soybeans to China and southeast Asia. The state, I learned, can produce soybeans for less than anywhere else in the U.S. and has the lowest transportation costs to China and southeast Asia.
Things look good for corn growers for another reason. Great River Energy is breaking ground on a new ethanol plant this summer. The plant will be using waste heat from a coal fired powered plant and will be able to produce ethanol for less than most other bio-refineries in the nation. Also, it will be one of the northern-most ethanol plants in the U.S. and will enjoy a decided advantage in shipping distillers grains to feedlots in Canada.
Corn growers in South Dakota and North Dakota may soon have an advantage on the production side, too. Several companies are building plants to make fertilizer from the natural gas being generated by oil drilling in western North Dakota. Farmers will likely have the opportunity to be shareholders in some of these projects. It will also increase the supply of fertilizer in the area.
The upshot: Corn and soybean acres will lilely continue to rise in North Dakota.