Chad Moyer
Welcome to the KTIC Agriculture Information blog!!! Check back here for the latest in ag news and information, from local events to international happenings and government reports that affect your operation. Please email with suggestions! -Chad Moyer, Farm Director, KTIC Radio
Friday August 29 Ag News

Pork Producers, Soybean Board Offer Free Educational Aids to Raise Student Understanding of Nebraska Agriculture again for 2014-15 School Year

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) and the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) are offering again this school year two entertainment-based educational packages free to elementary school teachers to help increase student awareness--in a fun way--of the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy.

The teaching aids, featuring a video and a Bingo card game, were introduced to elementary teachers statewide two years ago and have been well received by teachers who have used them in their classrooms. Limited quantities remain, so teachers are urged to place their orders for these free learning tools. Orders can be placed online for the video at, and the Bingo game at

Food for Thought is a 22-minute animated video that teaches students in an entertaining way how hog farming is practiced in Nebraska. Learning about the economy is an important fourth-grade curriculum objective. The video tells the story of a suburban fourth-grader who knows nothing about hog farming or the economics and entrepreneurship that goes into running a successful business. He comes to appreciate what is involved in a successful hog farming business after he tours a working farm and meets a real-life farmer--and his fourth-grade daughter.

Food for Thought is accompanied by a complete lesson plan and a short video filmed on a real-life Nebraska hog farm to show real day-to-day farm life. The package has been approved by the Nebraska Department of Education.

Bingo is a two-in-one card game featuring “Pork Bingo” on one side and “Soy Bingo” on the other. Aimed at second-through-fifth graders, Bingo is an entertaining way for students to learn important facts about pork production, soybean farming and how science helps us use virtually every part of the pig and the soybean without wasting anything.

The game comes with a set of 25 double-faced cards, game tokens, call-out cards, 25 worksheets and a classroom poster. The worksheets feature an 18-word crossword puzzle and a matching game that teaches students about the variety of helpful products made from pigs and soybeans grown in Nebraska.

Teachers report finding that the tools really held the interest of their students.  “As a primary teacher, I am always looking for new ways to actively involve my students in the academic lessons,” said Sandra Seckel, a teacher at West Park Elementary School in Columbus.  “The Pork and Soy Bean Bingo activity is a wonderful way to bring the connection of agriculture in Nebraska to my students. They were highly engaged while playing and the products that contain pork and soy bean products that my students use on a daily basis were reinforced through this activity.”

Teachers responding to a Food for Thought follow-up survey report that the video met their expectations, while an overwhelming percentage of teachers indicated that they made good use of the accompanying worksheet. Nearly all responding teachers said they already had used the Bingo game in their classrooms. All respondents indicated they would use the game again this year, as well. Fully 97% said the materials were grade-level appropriate. Some teachers even reported using the game during indoor recess periods.

Orders can be made online. Food For Thought video:; Bingo game:


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Hay is for winter and pasture is for summer – right?  Well, maybe  we should rethink this schedule to increase overall production.

Many of us welcomed some late August rain and pastures are growing well.  That means we can continue grazing and can hold our hay until later.  Or does it?

Let’s think about this for a moment.  Does pasture grow during winter?  Of course not, so if we want more forage we need to encourage it during the growing season.  What will happen, though, if we graze pastures short now during late summer and fall?  Of course – growth slows down so our pasture produces less total forage than if we let it grow without grazing.

In order to let it grow and accumulate without grazing, we probably need to feed hay instead.  But if we feed hay now, won’t we have less of it available for winter?  Probably – but we shouldn’t need as much hay for winter because all that extra pasture growth that accumulates now while we feed hay can be grazed this fall and winter when we normally feed hay.

In fact, if we allow pastures to grow as much as possible from now until it freezes, we may feed less total hay before next spring than if we follow our standard practice of grazing now and saving hay for winter.

Think about it.  If you expect to feed hay eventually before next spring, it might be smarter to feed some of that hay now rather than later so your pastures can produce extra forage while they still can.

Sometimes doing things backwards from our normal practices can maximize production.  Feeding hay now and grazing this winter might be one of them.

Settlements with Pair of Related Norfolk, Neb., Pesticide Companies to Improve Pesticide Safety and Reliability
Custom Feed Services Corporation and Earthworks Health LLC, two separate pesticide companies based in Norfolk, Neb., with common ownership, have agreed to pay civil penalties totaling $74,513 to settle allegations related to the production and distribution of unregistered and misbranded pesticides, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

On behalf of EPA, in November 2011 the Nebraska Department of Agriculture conducted a for-cause inspection of the two companies at their shared facility in Norfolk, based on a tip. Custom Feed Services produces and distributes pesticides and agricultural products, while Earthworks Health sells and distributes pesticides and other products.

The inspection and subsequent investigation documented that on multiple occasions Custom Feed Services sold or distributed copper sulfate and diatomaceous earth pesticide products that were not registered with EPA, and that were misbranded in that they lacked valid EPA registration numbers and production establishment numbers. The copper sulfate products also lacked applicable directions for use and personal protection language. In addition, Custom Feed Services produced the pesticide products in a facility that was not registered with EPA as a pesticide-producing facility in accordance with FIFRA.  Under FIFRA, repackaging constitutes production.

On multiple occasions, Earthworks Health sold or distributed unregistered and misbranded copper sulfate and diatomaceous earth pesticides, in addition to an unregistered antibacterial product, Foaming DisposALL Drain Cleaner.

The use of non-exempt, unregistered pesticides may result in harm to human health or the environment, as they have not undergone the rigorous risk and label reviews necessary to ensure safe and effective use.  Copper sulfate is an inorganic compound that can be used as a pesticide to kill bacteria, algae, roots, plants, snails, and fungi. Improper use of copper sulfate can be toxic to fish and aquatic animals, and failure to take proper precautions may result in eye or skin injury to humans. Diatomaceous earth may cause eye or respiratory irritation if improperly handled.

Custom Feed Services’ civil penalty is $55,752 and Earthworks Health LLC’s civil penalty is $18,761.  EPA calculates penalties by considering a variety of factors, including risk to the environment, size of the business, and ability to pay.

Under FIFRA, distributors of pesticides must ensure that the information on their products’ labels contains the same required cautionary information as found on the labels filed with EPA by the pesticides’ registrants, and that those pesticides are not distributed with claims that differ from the registration information filed with EPA.

Through their respective settlements with EPA, Custom Feed Services and Earthworks Health LLC have certified that they are now in compliance with FIFRA and its regulations.

Climate Change Report Release Kicks Off 2014 – 15 Heuermann Lectures Season

            The Heuermann Lecture series' 2014-2015 season will feature experts spanning a host of topics including climate change, animal biotechnology and agricultural communication.

            Heuermann Lectures are free and open to the public.  Lectures focus on providing and sustaining enough food, natural resources and renewable energy for the world's people, and on securing the sustainability of rural communities where the vital work of producing food and renewable energy occurs.

            The lecture series, in its fourth year, begins on Sept. 25 and will coincide with the release of a report on climate change compiled by Donald Wilhite, Robert Oglesby, Clinton Rowe and Deborah Bathke, all UNL faculty members in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.  Wilhite, the founding director of the International Drought Information Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center, will lead a panel discussion on the issues surrounding our changing climate.  Copies of the report will be available at the lecture and on-line following the lecture. One of the goals of this report is to identify the key challenges associated with climate change for the state and potential actions to adapt to our changing climate.

            "Globally and locally, we face significant economic, social and environmental risks associated with climate change," Wilhite said. "The body of scientific evidence confirms with a high degree of certainty that human activities in the form of increased concentration of greenhouse gases since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, changes in land use and other factors are the primary causes for the warming the planet has experienced, especially in recent decades."

            Current and projected changes extend beyond temperature increases and include changes in precipitation amounts, seasonal distribution and frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The increasing frequency of extreme events raises serious concerns for all nations due to economic, social and environmental costs associated with responding to, recovering from and preparing for these events.  

            "Nebraskans will face many challenges as a result of climate change," he added. "However, embedded in each of these challenges are opportunities to create greater resilience as we adapt to these observed and projected changes in climate."

The complete Heuermann Lecture series schedule is as follows:

            – Donald Wilhite, emeritus director and professor, National Drought Mitigation Center; with panelists Robert Oglesby, Deborah Bathke, and Clinton Rowe, University of Nebraska-Lincoln professors will engage in a discussion titled  "Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska" on Sept. 25 at 3:30 p.m. at Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Drive.  A 3 p.m. reception precedes the lecture.

            – Orion Samuelson, WGN – Chicago; with panelists Barb Glenn, National Association of State Directors of Agriculture;  Kevin Murphy, Food Chain Communications; Marcy Tessman, Charleston-Orwig; Ronnie D. Green, University of Nebraska will ask "What Does Agricultural Communication Mean in the 21st Century?" on Nov. 6 at 3:30 p.m. at Nebraska East Campus Union, 37th and Fair Street, UNL East Campus.  3 p.m. reception precedes the lecture.

            – Alison Van Eenennaam, University of California – Davis, 2014 Borlaug CAST Communication Awardee will give a presentation titled "Genetically Modified Animals: the Facts, the Fear Mongering, and the Future" on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Drive.

            – Anthony Leiserowitz, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies will give a presentation titled "Climate Change in the American Mind" on Mar. 10 at 3:30 p.m. at Hardin Hall, 33rd and Holdrege. A 3 p.m. reception preceding the lecture.

            Lectures are streamed live online at, and aired live on UNL campus and state cable channel 4.  Lectures are archived after the event and are broadcast on NET2 World at a later date.

            The Heuermann Lectures are made possible by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips, long-time university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska's production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.

ICGA Annual Meeting and Policy Conference Held

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) hosted its Annual Meeting and Policy Conference in Des Moines. Delegates reviewed expiring policies and debated new resolutions during the policy conference. ICGA members who attended the meeting also had a chance to hear from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

The annual policy conference is the year-end event in the ICGA's annual policy development process, which includes a member survey, regional roundtable discussions across the state and the policy conference. Iowa policies relating to national issues and adopted at this meeting are then brought forward to the National Corn Growers Association winter meetings at Commodity Classic.

"The ICGA annual meeting and policy conference is an important event where members can participate in discussions on resolutions that will be brought forth during the upcoming legislative session," said Jerry Mohr, Iowa Corn Growers Association President and a farmer from Eldridge. "This year, it was great to see so many new members getting involved in the issues that face the agriculture industry."

During this year's policy development process, delegates approved policy in opposition of the EPA's "Waters of the U.S." rule, and renewed policy to limit the agency's efforts to expand their authority under the Clean Water Act. The new policy handbook includes support for a national voluntary GMO labeling law, protection of farmer's control over their production data, and encouragement of FAA regulations that would allow farmers to utilize drones for commercial use. Infrastructure was a priority, as delegates voted to continue their support of a balanced approach to funding Iowa's roads and bridges, as well as a variety of new policies aimed at upgrading fueling stations to ensure compatibility with higher renewable fuel blends. Delegates also affirmed their support of the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, and the USDA Foreign Ag Service, as they work to increase exports of Iowa agricultural products.

The complete 2014-2015 policy resolution book is available upon request by emailing or calling 515-225-9242.

August 2014 Baseline Update for U.S. Agricultural Markets

(Food and Ag Policy Institute, University of Missouri)

In a major reversal of fortunes, prices for cattle, hogs and milk are at record highs in 2014, but prices for
grains, oilseeds and cotton have declined sharply from recent peaks. This report provides an update of the
2014 FAPRI-MU long-term baseline to reflect information available in mid-August 2014.

The baseline update uses 2014 acreage, yield and production estimates included in USDA’s August 2014
Crop Production report. These estimates reflect the first objective yield estimates of the year, and will be
subject to revision. Final market outcomes are certain to differ from these projections, perhaps in important
 ways, as weather and other factors will contribute to continued market volatility.

The baseline update assumes a continuation of current agricultural and biofuel policies. In some cases, there
remains considerable uncertainty about how legislation will be implemented. This baseline update is not a
forecast of what will happen, but is intended to provide a plausible reference point that can be used to evaluate
alternative scenarios.

Macroeconomic assumptions underlying these projections are based on July 2014 forecasts by IHS Global
Insight. The U.S. and world economies are forecast to grow at a faster pace, with U.S.  growth exceeding percent per year from 2015-2017. Inflation remains moderate, but interest rates increase
after 2015. Oil prices dip in 2015 and then increase slowly.

Given all of the assumptions of the analysis, here are a few highlights of the results:

The potential for record corn and soybean crops has weighed on prices for grains and oilseeds. Corn and
soybean prices for the crops harvested this fall could be the lowest since 2009.
Corn prices fall to $3.89 per bushel for the 2014 crop. Even with a projected decline in 2015 U.S. corn
production, prices remain around $4 per bushel in 2015 and beyond. 

  Large U.S. and global supplies cause soybean prices to decline to $10.30 per bushel for the 2014 crop
and below $10 per bushel for the crop harvested in 2015. 

Cotton prices have also declined sharply, partly in response to large Chinese and global cotton stocks.
Farm prices for cotton drop to 65 cents per pound this year, and remain near that level.

Ethanol production prospects depend, in part, on EPA decisions about how to implement the Renewable
Fuel Standard (RFS). With lower prices, ethanol exports continue to increase in 2015. 

Reduced cattle numbers, animal disease problems and strong international demand are among the factors
causing record cattle, hog and milk prices in 2014. Supply response to these high output prices and lower
feed costs contribute to lower meat and dairy prices in 2015.

Higher retail meat prices contribute to an uptick in consumer food price inflation in 2014, but the projected
rate drops below 2 percent again in 2015.

For more detail on the livestock, poultry and dairy sectors and on consumer food prices, see a companion
report by the MU Agricultural Markets and Policy team, at   See the complete update here....

First U.S. Chilled Pork Shipment Exported to Colombia

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's APHIS division reported Thursday that the first U.S. chilled pork shipment exports to Colombia have arrived.

On July 30, the first shipment of U.S. chilled pork entered Cartagena, Colombia.

The shipment, which consisted of 24,500 kilos of boneless sirloin, will be used in the production of sausages.

This successful outcome is a direct result of many years of negotiation under the enhanced relations of the United States -- Colombia Free Trade Agreement and is part of a larger effort by the U.S. pork industry to pursue worldwide market opportunities. U.S. industry projects increased exports to potentially grow to $50 million a year.

NCBA Pres on APHIS Proposed Rule to Allow Importation of Beef from Region in Argentina

The United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Inspection Service published a proposed rule in the Federal Register today to allow the importation of beef from a region in Argentina. National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Bob McCan, cattleman from Victoria, Texas, issued the following statement:

"The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is deeply concerned by today’s announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to add the Patagonia areas of Argentina to the list of regions considered free of Foot-and-Mouth disease and to subsequently allow the importation of live cattle and fresh or frozen beef into the United States from this region. Our extreme concern is only further magnified by the associated proposed rule to allow chilled or frozen beef to be imported from the region of Northern Argentina. Northern Argentina is a region that is not recognized as being free of Foot-and-Mouth Disease by APHIS. We strongly believe that these recent actions by APHIS present a significant risk to the health and well-being of the nation’s cattle herd through the possible introduction of FMD virus.

"FMD is an extremely contagious viral disease of cloven-hooved animals and many wildlife species. This disease is considered to be one of the most economically devastating livestock diseases in the world and an outbreak of FMD could ultimately threaten the entire U.S. economy as well jeopardize our national food security.

"APHIS conducted their risk analysis based on a series of site visits to Argentina to determine the FMD risk status of these regions. NCBA’s repeated requests for written reports for these APHIS site visits to Argentina have gone unanswered. Finally, we were informed by APHIS that written reports are not required for APHIS site reviews. This lack of documentation and an obvious lack of management controls for the site review process calls into question the integrity and quality assurance for the entire risk analysis. Valid science-based decisions are not possible in this flawed system.

"It is evident that APHIS has charged blindly forward in making this announcement, ignoring the findings of a third-party scientific review identifying major weaknesses in the methodology of the risk analysis that formed the foundation for  the APHIS decision-making process. The third-party scientific review uncovered deficiencies in the APHIS hazard analysis and the exposure assessment, as well as an overly subjective qualitative format for the risk analysis.

"NCBA remains committed to supporting open trade markets, level playing fields, and utilizing science-based standards to facilitate international trade. At the same time, no amount of trade is worth sacrificing the health and safety of the United States cattle herd. Strict transparency for the adherence to sound science must be the basis for all animal health decisions of this magnitude."

Fargo Selected as Site for National Agricultural Genotyping Center

The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board today announced that Fargo, N.D., will be the site of the National Agricultural Genotyping Center. The final decision follows careful deliberations by the site selection committee, who visited Illinois and North Dakota to assess the possibility of locating the center in either Decatur or Fargo, and NCGA’s Research and Business Development Action Team.

“This is a first-time-ever, huge step for a farmer-led association that gives growers more influence on research agendas,” said Dr. Richard Vierling, director of research at NCGA. “This can help growers increase production and lower costs. We’re really excited about Fargo and the commitment from the many forward-thinking people involved in this project. The commitment from North Dakota State University, North Dakota Corn Growers, Gov. Jack Dalrymple, the state’s congressional delegation and many others really helped sell the plan to our team.”

The site selection committee, which includes Vierling, Pete Snyder, Bob Bowman, Bob Timmons, Phil Gordon and Chad Willis, was chosen to conduct these visits by the Research and Business Development Action Team, and come from states which did not submit proposals. The report submitted following the visits was based upon the team assessment of selection criteria determined by the team for use in deliberations over the final recommendation. The Corn Board approved the final recommendation during a meeting held earlier today.

The site visits followed a July vote taken by the Research and Business Development Team narrowing the final list of site location proposals under consideration.

The National Agricultural Genotyping Center will translate scientific discoveries, such as the information from the maize genome project, into solutions for production agriculture, food safety, functional foods, bioenergy and national security.

The NAGC partnership brings together Los Alamos National Laboratory, the premier research institution in the world with a proven track record in developing high-throughput genotyping technology, and the National Corn Growers Association, an organization representing more than 42,000 farmer members.

Thursday August 28 Ag News

State Climatologist: Models Show Above Normal Precipitation for This Fall

            A big question this fall: will there be harvest delays due to wet weather?

            Tendencies for above-normal precipitation statewide with the highest probability south and west of a line from Scottsbluff to Grand Island are showing up for September according to the Climate Prediction Center, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln climatologist says.

            October through December forecasts also show above normal moisture is projected for the southeast half of the state with equal chance of above or below normal moisture for the remainder of the state, said Al Dutcher, state climatologist in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

            There are equal chances statewide of temperatures being above or below normal, Dutcher said.

            However, during El Nino winters, Nebraska typically sees above-normal temperatures with below-normal temperatures across the southern United States.

            "We are borderline now with the expectation of a weak El Nino event starting as early as this fall," Dutcher said. Dutcher said forecasts indicate that El Nino conditions will become established during the fall period. However, he expects it to be weak and short lived.

            As for precipitation this growing season, Dutcher said, certain areas of the state did well as there was heavy precipitation this spring after a dry winter. June precipitation brought 12-17 inches of precipitation to northeastern Nebraska during June, which dropped off to the 5-9 inches across east central and southeast Nebraska.

            During the July through mid-August period, dry conditions developed across a substantial portion of eastern Nebraska, with pockets of dryness reported across the Panhandle. There has been crop damage in spotty areas across dryland cropping areas of east central and southeast Nebraska, Dutcher said.

            However, the "million dollar question" is how much of an impact did early season freeze events and multiple rounds of severe weather have on crop production this growing season. He said there is so much variability from field to field as several places across the state saw freezing, flooding, hail and having to replant once, twice, even three times.

            "For the majority of people that did not get freeze, hail or flooding, crop development is fairly close to normal, especially with these last two weeks of warmer temperatures," he said.

            However, those farmers that had to replant are the "big open-ended question," he said.

            "Based on available climate data and fall freeze probabilities, as long as producers that replanted corn varieties that require at least 300 less Growing Degree Day to reach maturity, there is less than 50 percent likelihood at this point in the game that they will incur hard freeze damage, based on a normal freeze date."

            Dutcher said soybeans may also be a "big story" this season due to the drier weather in July and August during pod fill.

            "We've been under stress in east and east central Nebraska where rains have not been as generous," he said. "To what extent crops may have been damaged is still up in the air."

            If forecasts play out, Dutcher said the entire state could see generous moisture during the final 10 days of August.  Forecasts indicate heavy rainfall with over 2 inches of rain possible across the state, with isolated pockets receiving more than 5 inches.  This would provide excellent moisture to finish grain fill and begin building soil moisture for the 2015 growing season.

            Dutcher said with winter wheat planting beginning in September, beneficial big rains also will be good for building soil moisture in top three feet of the soil profile prior to planting.

            Overall the Platte River system is doing well. Irrigation demand came later in the season and reservoir declines didn't occur until late July.

            Dutcher said if there is above normal snow in the central Rockies this winter, having enough room to store the spring runoff could be a problem.

            "Right now we are sitting at 2.5 million acre-feet in the Platte reservoir system," Dutcher said. "We were just under 2 million acre-feet in storage entering into the spring run off season. Net storage declined 500,000 acre-feet this growing season, but typically we see a 600,000 to 800,000 acre-foot decline.

            "So if we get a normal snow season and the fall precipitation forecast by the Climate Prediction Center verifies, we would be looking at essentially filling up all upstream reservoirs from Lake McConaughy upward."

            The North Platte River Basin generally has a positive response during El Nino events. In addition, an El Nino also typically brings beneficial moisture to California.

            "However, because this El Nino is so weak, it may not bring the rains they need," he said.

            For more information about weather and crops, visit CropWatch, UNL Extension's crop production newsletter, at

Nebraska LEAD Announces 2014-2016 Fellows

Nebraska LEAD Group 34 participants were announced by Terry Hejny, director, Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Program.

The newest members of Nebraska's premier two-year agricultural leadership development program in its 34th year are made up exclusively of participants who are involved in production agriculture and/or agribusiness in Nebraska, Hejny said.

"We are proud to say that Class 34 appears to be filled with outstanding individuals from throughout the state and I am excited to get started with them," Hejny said.  The two-year program will begin in September.

LEAD Fellows will participate in 12 monthly three-day seminars across Nebraska, a 10-day national study/travel seminar and a 14-16 day international study/travel seminar. The goal of the program is to develop problem solvers, decision makers and spokespersons for agriculture and Nebraska.

Seminar themes include leadership assessment and potential, natural resources and energy, leadership through communication, agricultural policy and finance, our political process, global perspectives, nuclear energy, social and cultural issues, understanding and developing leadership skills, agribusiness and marketing, information technology, advances in health care, the resources and people of Nebraska’s Panhandle and other areas designed to develop leaders through exposure to a broad array of current topics and issues and how they interrelate.

The Nebraska LEAD Program is operated by the non-profit Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council in cooperation with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and 10 other institutions of higher education throughout Nebraska.

Nebraska LEAD 34 Fellows in alphabetical order are: Reed Allen, Wayne; Lance Atwater, Hastings; Ashley Babl, Norfolk;    Nicole Bohuslavsky, Omaha; Wayne Brozek, Gering; Adam Bruning, Edison; Jonathan Carlson, Callaway; Josh Cool, Gothenburg; Tabbatha Cornelius, Bassett; Jordan Feller, Wisner; Debra Gangwish, Shelton; Mat Habrock, Lincoln; Todd Heithoff, Elgin; Clayton Hensley, Fremont; Justin Jarecke, Kearney; Tyler Kugler, Elwood; Hilary Maricle, Albion; Brandon Mason, Blair; Mark Miles, Ainsworth; Bryan Palm, Mitchell; Esther Rickert, Wood River; Jacob Robison, Elk Creek; Cecil Schriner, Hildreth; Jeff Schroeder, West Point; Alex Schwarz, Bertrand; Rick Spencer, Culbertson; Misty Stauffer, Harrisburg; Sarah Werner, Davenport; Lance Williams, Nora; and Teri Zimmerman, Wymore.   

21 Graduate from Iowa Corn Leadership Class

Recently, 21 members of the Iowa Corn Leadership Enhancement and Development (I-LEAD) Class 6 graduated and completed their two year leadership journey. The class consisted of farmers, agribusiness and governmental emerging leaders from across the state.

"Over the past two years, I-LEAD members have learned communication skills, gained worldly knowledge, built lasting relationships, and have grown to be leaders for the future of Iowa agriculture," said Bob Hemesath, a farmer from northeast Iowa and an Iowa Corn director who oversaw the program. Integral parts of the I-LEAD program include; gaining an understanding of agriculture, making decisions as a group and developing leadership skills. Many of the two-day meetings are spent discovering more about members' leadership style and building a foundation for working with different personalities and points of view.

This past winter, I-LEAD Class 6 had the opportunity to explore agriculture in a different part of the world. During a ten-day mission to China, members of I-LEAD Class 6 met with government officials, corn customers and industry experts to learn about Chinese culture and the process of developing export markets for Iowa's agricultural commodities through connections with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Following the China mission, the class took a domestic mission to California to take a look at agriculture challenges closer to home. Members of the class enjoyed learning about different farming practices, the wide range of crops grown in California and the challenges they face. To conclude their journey, I -LEAD Class 6 spent four days in Washington D.C. learning about national issues and policy.

Graduates of I-LEAD Class IV include: Jarrod Bakker (Dike), Laurie Bedord (Ankeny), Carly Cummings (Ames), Ryan Gallagher (Washington), Paul Gieselman (Morning Sun), Adam Gregg (Johnston), Jeff Johnson (Riverton), Mark Kenney (Ankeny), Josh Lammert (Silver City), Kayla Lyon (Ames), Gretchen McClain (Stockport), Thomas Meierotto (West Des Moines), Devin Mogler (Des Moines), Jason Ribbens (Webster City), Brian Rouse (Emmetsburg), Dan Runner (Gilman), Brent Schipper (Conrad), Vince Sitzmann (Prairie City), Adam Stamp (Ankeny), Jody Van Regenmorter (Inwood) and Chris Wolters (Sanborn).

I-LEAD Class 7 will start their journey in November. For more information, visit


Preliminary prices received by farmers for winter wheat for August 2014 averaged $5.90 per bushel, a decrease of 46 cents from the July price according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The preliminary August corn price, at $3.70 per bushel, decreased 50 cents from the previous month.

The preliminary August sorghum price averaged $6.10 per cwt, a decrease of 65 cents from July.
The preliminary August soybean price, at $11.80 per bushel, was down $1.20 from last month.

The August alfalfa hay price, at $112.00 per ton, was down $1.00 from July. The other hay price, at $87.00 per ton, was down $10.00 from July.


The preliminary August 2014 average price received by farmers for corn in Iowa was $3.50 per bushel according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices report. This is down $0.56 from the July price, and $2.82 lower than August 2013.

The  preliminary August  2014  average  price  received  by  farmers  for  soybeans,  at  $12.10  per  bushel, was  down $0.90 from the July price, and $2.10 lower than the August 2013 price.

The preliminary August oat price was $3.40 per bushel, down $0.54 from July, and $0.31 below August 2013. 

All hay prices in Iowa averaged $145.00 per ton  in August, up $2.00 from  the July price, but $44.00 per  ton  less than August 2013.  Alfalfa hay prices fell $49.00 per ton from one year ago, to $156.00 and other hay prices were $28.00 per ton lower than last year, at $102.00.  

The preliminary August average price was $24.40 per cwt for milk, up $0.60 from July, and $4.40 per cwt above one year ago.  

August Farm Prices Received Index Unchanged

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in August, at 109 percent, based on 2011=100, was unchanged from July. The Crop Index is down 2 points (2.2 percent) and the Livestock Index decreased 1 point (0.8 percent). Producers received higher prices for cattle, milk, apples, and broccoli and lower prices for corn, broilers, soybeans, and wheat. In addition to prices, the overall index is also affected by the seasonal change based on a 3-year average mix of commodities producers sell. Increased monthly movement of cattle, grapes, hogs, and calves offset the decreased marketing of wheat, corn, soybeans, and hay.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is up 4 points (3.8 percent) from August 2013. The Food Commodities Index, at 120, was unchanged from last month but increased 14 points (13 percent) from August 2013.

All crops:

The August index, at 90, decreased 2.2 percent from July and is 13 percent below August 2013. The lower index for oilseeds & grains was the major contributor to the decline in the all crops index.

Food grains: The August index, at 82, is 3.5 percent below the previous month and 14 percent below a year ago. The August price for all wheat, at $5.85 per bushel, is down 31 cents from July and $1.03 below August 2013.

Feed grains: The August index, at 64, is down 5.9 percent from last month and 38 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $3.70 per bushel, is down 35 cents from last month and $2.51 below August 2013. Sorghum grain, at $6.79 per cwt, is 61 cents below July and down $2.03 from August last year.

Oilseeds: The August index, at 94, is down 8.7 percent from July and 15 percent lower than August 2013. The soybean price, at $12.20 per bushel, decreased 90 cents from July and is $1.90 below August 2013.

Other crops: The August index, at 98, is down 6.7 percent from last month and 3.9 percent below August 2013. The all hay price, at $185 per ton, is down $7.00 from July but $8.00 higher than last August. The price for upland cotton, at 66.9 cents per pound, is down 15.2 cents from July and 10.0 cents from last August.

Livestock and products:

The August index, at 132, is 0.8 percent below last month but 23 percent higher than August 2013.  Compared with a year ago, prices are higher for cattle, milk, hogs, broilers, calves, and turkeys. The price for market eggs is down from a year earlier.

Meat animals: The August index, at 140, is up 1.4 percent from last month and 30 percent higher than last year. The August hog price, at $88.30 per cwt, is down $5.00 from July but up $14.10 from a year ago. The August beef cattle price of $160 per cwt increased $4.00 from last month and is $39.00 higher than August 2013.

Dairy products: The August index, at 118, is up 1.7 percent from a month ago and 20 percent higher than August last year. The August all milk price of $23.70 per cwt is up 40 cents from last month and $4.10 higher than August 2013.

Poultry & eggs: The August index, at 124, is down 8.8 percent from July but 8.8 percent above a year ago. The August market egg price, at 86.2 cents per dozen, decreased 18.8 cents from July and is 0.8 cents lower than August 2013. The August broiler price, at 60.0 cents per pound, is down 6.0 cents from July but 6.0 cents above a year ago. The August turkey price, at 73.0 cents per pound, is down 1.0 cent from the previous month but up 5.6 cents from a year earlier.

Prices Paid Index down 1 Point

The August Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is at 111 (2011=100). The index is down 1 point (0.9 percent) from July but 5 points (4.7 percent) above August 2013. Lower prices in August for feeder pigs, complete feeds, concentrates, and mixed fertilizer more than offset higher prices for feeder cattle, herbicides, supplies, and insecticides.

NEBFARMPAC Endorses State Senator Brad Ashford for Congress in General Election

Nebraska Farmers Union’s Political Action Committee, NEBFARMPAC announced their enthusiastic endorsement of State Senator Brad Ashford for Congress in the Second Congressional District in the General Election.  They made their announcement at an afternoon event hosted by NEBFARMPAC for Ashford and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.  The event highlighted the economic development benefits of renewable energy and urban agriculture.

The NEPFARMPAC Board made the following statement:

“We know Brad Ashford.  “Our organization has enjoyed a positive working relationship with State Senator Brad Ashford as we have worked with him on a wide range of issues for the past sixteen years he has served in the Legislature. He is a known and proven public official.  He has an open door, and an open mind.  State Senator Ashford is an even handed problem solver.  He tackles the tough problems by gathering the facts, and then bringing people together to solve problems and represent the public’s best interests.   He is a proven public servant.”

“State Senator Brad Ashford represents the bi-partisan problem solving approaches that is needed in Congress to bring together different ideas and forge solutions,” said Gale Lush of Wilcox, NEBFARMPAC President.  “The extreme partisanship in recent years has created a toxic atmosphere in Congress that has produced the least productive Congress in recent history if not ever.  We need to send people to Washington, D.C. who knows how to get things accomplished and represent the folks back home.”

NEBFARMPAC Secretary and Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen said “There is a reason why the voter approval rating of Congress has rightly sunk to an embarrassing 18%.  That reason is that Congress has forgotten that its job is to govern and do the people’s business.  Instead of working together to solve problems for the good of society, they participate in hyper-partisanship winner take all politics.  It is time for a change.  NEBFARMPAC endorses and recommends Brad Ashford to voters because we believe he represents the very best attributes of a dedicated, hardworking, non-partisan Nebraska State Senator in our unique, non-partisan, one-house unicameral legislative system.  We think Brad Ashford’s 16 years of outstanding public service earns him our unanimous and enthusiastic endorsement for Congress in the Second Congressional District.” 

FREE BQA Certifications from Sept. 1-Oct. 31

For the third time, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) is supporting the checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program by sponsoring all online certifications this fall for producers who enroll from September 1-October 31.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. BIVI will pick up the $25-$50 certification fee for beef or dairy producers who are interested in becoming certified or recertified during this period. Visit to take advantage of the open certification period.

The BQA program is important to the cattle industry as it gives producers a set of best practices for producing a safe and high quality beef product. And for dairy producers, this offering is also beneficial as a large percentage of dairy calves and market cows make their way into the food chain.

The BQA certification modules are customized to fit the specific needs of each segment of the cattle industry – cow-calf, stocker, feedyard and dairy operations. The program covers best management practices such as proper handling and administration of vaccinations and other products, eliminating injection site blemishes, and better cattle-handling principles.

“One of the challenges that beef producers face is having all of their employees become BQA-certified,” says Dr. Jerry Woodruff, Professional Services Veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. “Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica’s partnership with BQA helps offset some of those expenses, and we encourage producers and their employees to use the web-based training programs.”

More than 11,000 producers have taken advantage of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc.’s BQA certification partnership. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc.’s partnership also includes financial support of the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University, which developed the certification module.

Gulf Offshore Aquaculture Rule Finally Released for Comment

(American Soybean Associaiton)

A long-awited notice of proposed rulemaking on the Gulf Fisheries Management Plan was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 28, 2014. The rule will set up a permitting process for offshore aquaculture operations in the Gulf of Mexico and has been widely anticipated by ASA and offshore aquaculture stakeholders. A link to the proposed rule is here. The 60-day comment period closes on Oct. 27, 2014.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council prepared the plan in 2009. The Federal Registerannouncement states that “If implemented, this rule would establish a comprehensive regulatory program for managing the development of an environmentally sound and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico…The purpose of this rule is to increase the yield of Federal fisheries in the Gulf by supplementing the harvest of wild caught species with cultured product.”

ASA met with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and OMB (Office of Management and Budget) officials in May to urge publication of the rule. In conjunction with the Soy Aquaculture Alliance, ASA will review the proposal and offer comments on areas where it can be improved. State associations are encouraged to comment as well.

U.S. Corn Exports to the Middle East and North Africa Surge this Marketing Year

(US Grains Council)

Exports of U.S. coarse grains and co-products to the Middle East and North Africa have rebounded dramatically this marketing year due to price, world market conditions and consistent trade servicing.

As of Aug. 21, the region had outstanding sales and accumulated imports of U.S. corn of nearly 4.4 million metric tons (173 million bushels) for this marketing year, which ends Aug. 31. This is in stark contrast to the fewer than 300,000  tons (11.8 million bushels) that went to the region in 2012/2013. “The U.S. Grains Council is staying in touch with the major buyers in the region, reminding them what’s going on with U.S. price wise,” said USGC Regional Director of the Middle East and Africa Cary Sifferath.

“We are also reminding them about U.S. corn and DDGS, corn gluten feed and other products to help them consider bringing in some combination shipments. The Council also does a fair number of technical programs working with the feed, broiled and dairy industries to keep them up to date.”

Vietnam Grants Licenses to Four Genetically-Modified Corn Varieties


The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) for the first time has granted licenses to four genetically-modified corn varieties to be used for both human consumption and animal feed.

This process started four years ago when Vietnam announced it would start field trials of these four varieties of genetically-modified corn. Since then, the varieties have gone through extensive testing and evaluation, as well as being approved by Vietnam’s Council of Food Safety for Genetically-Modified Food and Animal Feed.

This is partly a result of years of educational outreach by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) promoting science-based approaches to biotechnology among policy-makers, said Adel Yusupov, USGC regional director of south and southeast Asia.

The Council believes that the introduction of these genetically-modified varieties will foster sustainable agriculture in the country and increase the quality of its corn.

“It is certainly a welcomed development in Vietnamese agriculture that will improve the livelihood of Vietnamese grain farmers, reduce feed costs for the animal sectors and reduce Vietnam’s reliance on imported feed ingredients,” Yusupov said. “The decision also shows Vietnam’s modern and proactive approach to solving agrarian problems.”

Even though this regulation could reduce Vietnam’s reliance on imports, the country’s macro-economic conditions – including population growth, continual urbanization and dietary shifts towards increased animal protein consumption – offer prospects for increase in feed grain demand and imports of U.S. coarse grains and related co-products.

Enrollment for New Dairy Farm Risk Management Program to Begin Sept. 2

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that starting Sept. 2, 2014, farmers can enroll in the new dairy Margin Protection Program. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also launched a new Web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the Margin Protection Program that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, available at, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We've made tremendous progress in implementing new risk management programs since the Farm Bill was signed over six months ago," said Vilsack. "This new program is another example of this Administration's commitment to provide effective safety net programs that allow farmers and ranchers to manage economic risks beyond their control. And the supplemental Web tool will empower the nation's 46,000 dairy producers to make decisions that make sense for them."

Development of the online resource was led by the University of Illinois, in partnership with the USDA and the Program on Dairy Markets and Policy (DMaP). DMaP partners include the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Minnesota, Ohio State University and Michigan State University.

The Margin Protection Program, which replaces the Milk Income Loss Contract program, gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment begins Sept. 2 and ends on Nov. 28, 2014, for 2014 and 2015. Participating farmers must remain in the program through 2018 and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee each year. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year.

Dairy operations enrolling in the new program must comply with conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin dairy insurance program. Farmers already participating in the Livestock Gross Margin program may register for the Margin Protection Program, but the new margin program will only begin once their Livestock Gross Margin coverage has ended.

The Margin Protection Program final rule will be published in the Federal Register on Aug. 29, 2014. The Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers the program, also will open a 60-day public comment period on the dairy program. The agency wants to hear from dairy operators to determine whether the current regulation accurately addresses management changes, such as adding new family members to the dairy operation or inter-generational transfers. Written comments must be submitted by Oct. 28, 2014, at or

The 2014 Farm Bill also established the Dairy Product Donation Program. The program authorizes USDA to purchase and donate dairy products to nonprofit organizations that provide nutrition assistance to low-income families. Purchases only occur during periods of low dairy margins. Dairy operators do not need to enroll to benefit from the Dairy Product Donation Program.

NMPF Pleased with Newly Unveiled Margin Protection Program for Dairy Farmers

The new margin protection insurance program for dairy farmers, which was developed by the National Milk Producers Federation and enacted in the 2014 Farm Bill, was formally unveiled today by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. NMPF said it is pleased with the overall provisions of the new program, and urged farmers to begin familiarizing themselves with what will be a “valuable tool” to help manage farms’ financial risks in the future.

“Today’s release of the new dairy program’s details is the culmination of five years of work by NMPF, the nation’s dairy cooperatives and other farm groups to create an important new safety net for dairy farmers,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. “We applaud the U.S. Department of Agriculture on its hard work during the past six months putting the final touches on the dairy provisions of Congress’s Farm Bill. While some of the issues we raised could not be fully resolved in the short time available to complete the rulemaking, we’re pleased with the final package.”

Mulhern said NMPF will be working in the coming weeks to help dairy farmers understand the importance of the new safety net program. He said the organization is updating its website with relevant information for farmers, including a spreadsheet of historical margin trends, and an online calculator that will allow farmers to enter pricing and production data to help them select insurance coverage levels in the future.

Every farm producing milk commercially is eligible to sign up for the new program. USDA said producers can sign up at their local Farm Service Agency offices starting on Sept. 2, and the sign-up period will run through November 28. This 13-week period will allow farmers to register for coverage for the last four months of calendar year 2014, as well as for the entire year of 2015. There is a $100 sign-up fee for each calendar year, which qualifies a farmer to receive free, basic margin insurance coverage. Once farmers pay that fee, they are enrolled in the MPP for its duration, through 2017, and must annually pay at least the $100 fee.

The MPP allows farmers to protect the margin between milk prices and feed costs. Producers will insure their margins on a sliding scale, and must decide annually both how much of their milk production to cover (from 25% up to 90%), and the level of margin they wish to protect.

Basic coverage, at a margin of $4 per hundredweight, is offered at no cost. Above the $4 margin level, coverage is available in 50-cent increments, up to $8 per cwt. Premiums are fixed for five years, but will be discounted by 25% in 2014 and 2015, for annual farm production volumes up to 4 million pounds. Premium rates are higher at production levels above 4 million pounds.

Importantly, USDA agreed with NMPF that the lower premiums will apply to the first 4 million pounds of a farm’s enrolled annual milk production, regardless of the farm’s total production. For example, a farm with an annual production history of 8 million pounds that elects to cover 50% of its production history would pay the lower rate on all 4 million pounds enrolled in the program. Farmers will be able to change their coverage (the percentage of milk insured, as well as margin level) on an annual basis, with USDA establishing a 90-day enrollment window of July 1-Sept. 30 each year after 2014.

The MPP’s margin definition is the national all-milk price, minus national average feed costs, computed by a formula NMPF developed using the prices of corn, soybean meal, and alfalfa hay. Farms in the program will be assigned a production history consisting of their highest milk production in either 2011, 2012 or 2013. A farm’s production history will increase each year after the farm first signs up based on the average growth in national milk production. Any production expansion on an individual farm above the national average cannot be insured.

When the margins announced by USDA for the consecutive two-month periods of Jan.-Feb., Mar.-Apr., May-June, etc., fall below the margin protection level selected by the producer (from $8/cwt. down to $4), the program will pay farmers the difference on one-sixth (or two months’ worth) of their production history at the percentage of coverage they elected to insure. Premiums must be paid either in full at sign-up, or 25% by February 1, with the remaining 75% balance to be paid by June 1. NMPF had urged USDA to provide greater flexibility on producer premium payment, such as through milk check deductions. “While USDA advised us they did not have time to set up such a system for the initial launch of MPP, we will continue to work with the department in an effort to modify this feature for future years,” Mulhern said.

“The new Margin Protection Program is more flexible, comprehensive and equitable than any safety net program dairy farmers have had in the past,” Mulhern said. “It is risk management for the 21st century, and we strongly encourage farmers to invest in using it going forward.”

Also today USDA issued the rules for another element of the farm bill’s dairy title design to help farmers: a Dairy Product Donation program through which USDA will purchase consumer-packaged dairy products for food assistance programs during extreme low-margin periods. “This is a positive step as well,” said Mulhern, “since it will stimulate demand, help dairy farmers when they need it most, and provide additional food to those in need.”

New Vaccine from BIVI doubles up against Salmonella in pigs

Veterinarians and producers now can protect pigs against two of the most virulent types of Salmonella with a single, convenient oral dose administered by the drinking water or oral drench.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) introduces a new swine enteric vaccine. Enterisol® Salmonella T/C is the only swine single-dose oral vaccine labeled as an aid in preventing disease due to Salmonella Choleraesuis and Salmonella Typhimurium when administered by drinking water.

"Among traditional enteric diseases affecting pigs today, Salmonella is one of the most widespread, resilient organisms and for many producers, may be a common cause of lost production on farms," said Greg Cline, DVM, technical manager for enteric products at BIVI. "Preventing both common types of Salmonella is the most effective way to protect pigs from disease, improve pig performance and increase farm profits."

Either type of Salmonella infection can be harmful to pigs and costly to producers:
-    Salmonella Choleraesuis is more invasive and can result in septicemia, bronchopneumonia and death. Although there are no food safety concerns with S. Choleraesuis, it is more devastating in terms of mortality and lost production.
-    Salmonella Typhimurium infection is more localized. It causes diarrhea that can lead to dehydration and reduced performance. Because S. Typhimurium poses a food safety risk to humans, producers should be especially vigilant in preventing this disease.
“Extensive research has documented the vaccine’s effectiveness against both types of Salmonella”, Cline said.

"After the 14-day Salmonella Choleraesuis challenge period, clinical signs were significantly reduced in the vaccinated pigs" he said. "Specifically, there was no dehydration, mortality, abnormal body condition or fever. No clinical signs or adverse events from the vaccine were reported."

Results of the Salmonella Typhimurium study also are encouraging.

"Vaccinated pigs had a significant reduction in clinical disease," Cline said.

Enterisol® Salmonella T/C is available in lyophilized (freeze-dried) or frozen formulations. It can be administered via the drinking water or oral drench to pigs as young as two weeks of age.

In addition, oral delivery of the vaccine results in less stress for pigs and greater convenience for workers by eliminating the need for injections. Oral vaccination through the drinking water may also improve worker safety and pork quality.

"Immunization, along with the implementation of proper sanitation programs, biosecurity protocols and diagnostic tools, can reduce the impact of salmonellosis in your swine herd, improve the safety of the pork you provide and increase farm profitability," Cline adds. “This newest enteric vaccine fits easily into a producer’s preventive disease management strategy.”

Wednesday August 27 Ag News

Rain Delays Ruskamp Seed Field Day near Beemer
The Ruskamp Seeds plot tour scheduled for 10:00 AM on Thursday August 28th is postponed to a later date.  However, the appreciation dinner will go on as scheduled.


Bruce Anderson,  UNL Extension Forage Specialist

How much did the spring and summer's weather affect the feed value of your hay?  Let’s talk about why forage testing is so important this year.

Nutrient concentration varies considerably in hay.  Why does this happen?  Well, there are many causes.  For example, leafiness of the hay, or maturity of the plant when your hay was cut, or even how you handled the hay during raking and baling all can affect its feed value.

Weather conditions often make things more complicated.  This spring's cool, wet weather caused many folks to delay first cutting.  Leaf diseases, mature plants, and other factors made much alfalfa lower in quality.  But some fields had the second growth already growing when first cut was taken, keeping feed value relatively high.  We had some periods this summer of hot and very humid weather that often causes plants to burn off their easily digested nutrients at night, leaving us with hay that looks really good but is high in fiber and low in energy.  And who knows how hail affected quality.

Grass hay might be even more difficult to predict.  Some fields had fewer seedheads than normal.  This might give higher quality hay, but if harvest was delayed in hopes of increasing yield or if the heat affected grass quality like it affects alfalfa, grass hay quality might actually be lower.  And when growth is stimulated by extra rain, many nutrients are used for tonnage instead of quality.

So you see, this year, just like always, forage testing is important.  It is the only way that you can find out for sure ahead of time what the feed value is of your hay.

So gather samples now for testing, before feeding your animals and before it's too late.

Valmont Acquires Majority Stake in AgSense

Valmont Industries, Inc., Omaha, a leading global provider of engineered products and services for infrastructure and mechanized irrigation equipment for agriculture, announced today that it has acquired a majority interest in South Dakota-based AgSense ( The acquisition further extends Valmont's leading offerings in remote monitoring and control technology for agriculture.

AgSense's cutting edge global WagNet network provides growers with a more complete view of their entire farming operation by tying irrigation decision making to field, crop and weather conditions.

"We are pleased to have entered this long-term partnership," said Leonard Adams, group president of Valmont's Global Irrigation Division. "Growers increasingly seek to utilize data driven technology to increase yields and maximize water efficiency. The cutting edge approach AgSense takes to providing technologies that our customers desire, their passion for customer service and their outstanding reputation fit perfectly with Valmont's strategy. Combining AgSense with our industry-leading BaseStation products will deliver the most comprehensive line of integrated solutions available to the market."

AgSense President Terry Schiltz said the similarities in customer-focused values led to the creation of this strategic alignment. "We are very excited about this partnership with Valmont," Schiltz said. "Partnering with the recognized market leader not only enhances our strong position in North America, but will provide opportunities to accelerate our growth internationally."

Cedar Co. ECP Signup Begins for Restoring Damaged Permanent Fences

Cedar County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director (CED) Angela Teboe announced that farms suffering severe damage from the June 17, 2014, tornados may be eligible for assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to restore permanent fences for the purpose of enclosing or excluding livestock.

A producer qualifying for ECP assistance may receive cost-share levels not to exceed 75 percent of the eligible cost of restoration measures. No producer is eligible for more than $200,000 cost sharing per natural disaster occurrence.

Producers who have suffered a loss from the tornados may contact the Cedar County FSA Office and request assistance by Sept. 23. To be eligible for assistance, practices must not be started until all of the following are met:
-- an application for cost-share assistance has been filed
-- the local FSA County Committee (COC) or its representative has conducted an onsite inspection of the damaged area
-- a needs determination has been completed.

If the repair of the fencing has started already, please contact the FSA office to discuss if assistance would still be available. CED Teboe reminds producers that they may be eligible for the Livestock Indemnity Program and other disaster assistance programs for livestock deaths or other damage due to the tornados.

For more information and to apply for ECP or other disaster assistance programs, contact the Cedar County FSA office at 402-254-6855 extension 2, or by going to

United Western Coop and Heartland Coop Complete Merger

The Board of Directors and management of United Western Coop, Missouri Valley, IA announced it has completed a merger with Heartland Co-op, West Des Moines, IA, effective September 1, 2014.

The terms of the merger provides the member-owners of UWC an influx of capital for new infrastructure, rolling stock, and customer service support. The employees of UWC will become employees of Heartland Co-op.

Milo Ruffcorn will represent the new district, District K, on the Heartland Co-op Board of Directors.

Trent Sprecker has been named Regional Operations Manager.

Chris Russmann will serve as the Agronomy Sales Manager for this region.

Tom Hauschel, CEO for Heartland Co-op will continue as CEO for the new organization which will be headquartered in West Des Moines, IA.

Heartland Co-op has corporate offices located in West Des Moines, Iowa and consists of a total of 71 locations in Iowa.

The organization serves more than 5,500 members with operations in grain handling and marketing, fertilizer and application, agriculture chemicals and application, livestock feed and processing, agriculture energy products, and propane.

EPA Finally Hands Over Maps Detailing the Extent of their WOTUS Proposal

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology released maps today of waters and wetlands the Environmental Protection Agency has to-date refrained from making public. After multiple requests, the Agency finally handed over the maps to the committee, which appear to detail the extent of the “Waters of the United States” proposal.

“Given the astonishing picture they paint, I understand the EPA’s desire to minimize the importance of these maps,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Science Committee, in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “But EPA’s posturing cannot explain away the alarming content of these documents. While you claim that EPA has not yet used these maps to regulate Americans, you provided no explanation for why the Agency used taxpayer resources to have these materials created.”

Knowledge of the maps came as the Committee was doing research in preparation for a hearing regarding the proposed “Waters of the United States” rule. The maps were kept hidden while the Agencies marched forward with rulemaking that fundamentally re-defines private property rights, said Chairman Smith.

“It is deplorable that EPA, which claims to be providing transparency in rulemakings, would intentionally keep from the American public, a taxpayer-funded visual representation of the reach of their proposed rule,” said Ashley McDonald, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association environmental counsel. "Unfortunately, it is just another blatant contradiction to the claims of transparency this Administration insists they maintain.”

These maps are very similar to the maps produced by NCBA and other agricultural groups, which also showcase the EPA’s extensive attempt to control land across the country. These maps show individual states facing upwards of 100,000 additional stream miles that could be regulated under the proposed regulation.

“This is the smoking gun for agriculture,” said McDonald. “These maps show that EPA knew exactly what they were doing and knew exactly how expansive their proposal was before they published it.”

The maps are available on the House Committee website here....  

Webinar to Help Producers Expand Profitably

CattleFax will hold another of its popular CattleFax Trends+ webinars at 5:30 p.m. MT, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, and registration is now open. Previous Trends+ webinars have attracted nearly 1,500 cow-calf producers, stockers and backgrounders over the past year.

The upcoming webinar will provide producers and industry leaders with a discussion on market factors affecting the cow-calf, stocker and backgrounding segments of the cattle industry this fall and winter. Elanco Animal Health is sponsoring the webinar – making it free for all cattle and beef producers to attend.

The CattleFax team will share its analysis and perspective on how these factors will influence cattle producers in the upcoming year:
-    Outlining the market factors and price expectations for the fall and winter calf, feeder cattle and feedstuffs market
-    Developing a management plan for restocking pastures during an expansion-phase cattle market
-    Managing expansion efforts with a focus on long-term ranch profitability

The one-hour webinar will help attendees understand how to navigate through the next six to 12 months of market activity, and gain CattleFax’s insight on the market trends that will have the biggest influence on profitability over the next few years.

The Trends+ webinar is designed to inform cattle producers about current market realities and provide producers with decision-friendly information to assist in making intelligent marketing decisions. To participate in the seminar and access program details, producers and industry leaders simply need to register online at

Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/22/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 913,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 38.35 million gallons daily. That is down 24,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 921,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.12 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 17.3 million barrels. That is a 5.1% decrease from last week and a 14-week low. It also represented the largest week-to-week percent change in stocks since a 5.6% build during the week ending 1/17/2014. Stocks were under the 20-day supply mark for the first time since late May.

Imports of ethanol were zero b/d for the fourth straight week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 382.2 million gallons daily.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.03%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 13.843 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 101,279 metric tons of livestock feed, 90,224 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 5.37 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

Urge Congress, Secretary of Ag to Act in Corn Farmers' Best Interest

The COOL Reform Coalition, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a member, asks farmers to join them in respectfully urging Congress to authorize and directing the Secretary of Agriculture to immediately suspend the Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling regulations for meat upon a final WTO adjudication of non-compliance with international trade obligations.

Such a congressional action would neither pre-judge the pending WTO litigation on this matter nor allow an on-going period of knowing violation of international trade obligations.

Composed of a diverse group of associations and companies, the COOL Reform Coalition represents U.S. food, agriculture and manufacturing industries, advocating for U.S. compliance with WTO obligations. Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling rules require most retailers to provide country of origin labeling for fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, shellfish, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, ginseng, meat and poultry. The rules are required by the 2002 farm bill, as amended by the 2009 farm bill.

U.S. corn farmers have a vested interest, as corn products are included on the retaliatory list already outlined by Canada and will likely be included in any list produced by Mexico. Inclusion in the retaliatory lists has the potential to impact trade demand, thus harming the economic well-being of the U.S. corn industry.

Less than one year after the COOL rules took effect, both Canada and Mexico challenged the rules in the World Trade Organization, arguing that COOL has a trade-distorting impact by reducing the value and number of cattle and hogs shipped to the U.S. market.

On June 29, 2012, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body adopted its Appellate Body's holding that COOL rules violated the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement because they treat imported Canadian cattle and hogs and imported Mexican cattle less favorably than domestic livestock.

A WTO Arbitrator set a deadline of May 23, 2013, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to correct its regulations. On that date, USDA published its revised rule. Unfortunately, government officials of both Canada and Mexico stated that the revisions were inadequate.

On September 25, 2013, Canada and Mexico requested the establishment of a compliance panel to determine whether the revised rule is WTO compliant. Should the compliance panel find that the revised rule is noncompliant, both nations indicated they would seek authorization from WTO to retaliate against U.S. exported goods. The WTO is expected to make the decision public in September 2014.

Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® seeking next class of stewardship stars

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, is now accepting nominations for the 2015 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards. The awards recognize outstanding dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound practices. These practices, large and small, are steps that add up to promote the health and well-being of consumers, communities, cows, employees, the planet and business. In its fourth year, the awards program will feature two new categories: Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship and Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships.

“These two categories recognize the increasingly systemic and collaborative approaches we are seeing to food, energy and water security challenges in communities across the country,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “The winning stories will show how innovation and improvements sparked by one farm, one person or one organization can have a ripple effect that goes well beyond their farm gate or front door.”

Nominations are open through Nov. 7, 2014, to all segments of the U.S. dairy value chain — from farm to table — for the following categories:
-    (New) Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship: Recognizes dairy operations (both on and off the farm) that have measurable success in managing their resources with optimal efficiency and quality. Successful nominations have implemented efficiencies or innovations in areas such as energy, water and soil conservation, manure and waste management, and/or renewable energy generation.
-    (New) Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships: Recognizes collaborations (both on and off the farm) to improve lives and communities through their positive impacts on child health and wellness, hunger relief and/or environmental stewardship. Successful nominations will demonstrate instances where organizations collaborate with other stakeholders to develop practical and effective solutions to shared challenges and goals.
-    Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability: Recognizes three farms that serve as examples of socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound dairy production. Successful nominees take a holistic approach to sustainability and provide replicable results that can inspire greater industrywide change.
-    Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability: Recognizes dairy processors and manufacturers whose businesses exemplify the triple bottom line of sustainability. Successful nominees have demonstrated both measurable progress and corporate commitment.

“There are incredible efforts underway by farmers, processors and brands that are changing the way we think about producing, processing and delivering the nutritious dairy products consumers love,” said Paul Rovey of Rovey Dairy and chairman of Dairy Management Inc.™ “We encourage dairy farms and businesses to nominate themselves, their business partners or their neighbors so that we can tell the great story of dairy stewardship both within the industry and directly to consumers.”

Winner Benefits

The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards have honored 19 businesses in the past three years. Help us celebrate others who are changing the equation in dairy. The 2015 winners will receive:
-    A trip to Washington, D.C., in April 2015 for the awards ceremony provided by this year’s sponsors
-    National and local recognition of their stories and passion for sustainability
-    A featured case study on to share insights and lessons learned with industry peers
-    Opportunities to work with others in the industry, helping to advance sustainability

Program Details

The awards are part of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment, an industry-wide effort to understand and communicate about dairy sustainability, demonstrate progress, create long-term economic growth and build consumer trust.

An independent panel of judges will evaluate all nominations based on measurable results and the potential for other dairy farms and businesses to adopt the practices; demonstrated learning, innovation and improvement; and scalability.

This year’s gold-level sponsors include: the Center for Advanced Energy Studies; DeLaval; DVO Anaerobic Digesters; Elanco Animal Health; InSinkErator; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; World Wildlife Fund and Zoetis. Silver-level sponsors include ChemTreat; DSM Nutritional Products; HDR; Organic Solution Management; and Syngenta.

The deadline for applications is Nov. 7, 2014. There is no fee to enter. For more information, visit

World Dairy Expo Entries Due Now

Dairy cattle exhibitors are encouraged to submit their entries now for World Dairy Expo. The initial deadline, to avoid late fees, is Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014 by midnight (CDT). Paper entries must be postmarked by that date to avoid late fees.

Exhibitors are encouraged to submit entries on the user-friendly Expo online entry system. The Premium Book is available online at Animal entries, stalling requests, tent and/or booth space purchases and 2017 International Futurity entries can be submitted within the online entry system. World Dairy Expo’s Youth Fitting and Youth Showmanship Contest entries may also be submitted. Special thanks to AgriLabs for sponsoring the Premium Book and their support of the show.

When submitting animal entries, please include an AIN 15-digit number (visual or electronic) for all animals. Acceptable forms of animal identification are: USDA AIN 840 tag (RFID or visual), Canadian CIA RFID 124 tag, Manufacturer Coded RFID 900, 982, or 985 tag. This information will be used for health check-in upon arrival. Breed show check-in will continue to use an original breed association registration paper.

Entries may be made between Sept. 1 and Sept. 7 online or by paper at $50 per animal. After Sept. 7, all entries are $100 per animal. Online entries will be accepted until Sept. 14. After Sept. 14, all entries must be submitted via the paper entry form. You may utilize the online entry system and pay by credit card (online only) until 11:59 p.m. (CDT) on Sept. 14, 2014.

Staff is available to answer entry and show-related questions as Expo approaches. Please contact either Ann Marie Magnochi or Laurie Breuch for assistance at 608-224-6455.

BASF study highlights the need for increased innovations to help feed the world

A majority of U.S. consumers and farmers agree that farmers are responsible for feeding the world and new technology and innovations are critical to achieving this goal.

These findings were uncovered in the latest BASF Farm Perspectives Study, conducted in early 2014, comparing consumer and farmer viewpoints on agriculture-related issues. More than 9,000 people located in seven different countries participated in the study.

“Farmers and consumers understand the importance of new technology in agriculture and the role it plays in feeding a growing world population,” said AJ Woodyard, Technical Crop Production Specialist, BASF. “BASF recognizes the need for innovative solutions and continues to develop new tools and technologies to meet this important challenge.”

Farmer and Consumer Opinions

Nearly all farmers (95.6%) in the seven surveyed countries agree they have a shared responsibility to feed the growing population, and they’re held to high expectations when doing so. With the world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, production will need to increase by 70 percent, and must include production of high-quality crops.

Although farmers feel prepared for this tremendous responsibility, most feel the responsibility is not valued by consumers. Only 40 percent of U.S. farmers feel respected by the general U.S. population. Despite this feeling, farmers understand the importance of feeding the world and look forward to new innovations and technologies to help them achieve this goal.

Most U.S. farmers (78.6%) and consumers (67.9%) agree that innovations are necessary to help farmers with the challenge of feeding a growing population. Survey respondents noted that feeding the world will require sustainable food production, possible through innovations in precision agriculture, machinery, fertilizers and chemical developments.

“The agricultural industry has made significant strides in innovation to improve food production methods over the years,” Woodyard said. “At BASF, our goal is to continue to provide advanced tools and resources to help farmers get the most out of every acre.”

In addition to partnering with farmers to bring value to their operation, BASF helps farmers through the introduction of new product innovations. BASF recently introduced Priaxor® fungicide, an advanced soybean fungicide, and plans to bring two new products – Engenia™ herbicide and Limus® urease inhibitor – to the market in the near future. These products, among others, will help growers be more successful and ultimately provide more food for a growing world population.

About the Study

The U.S. results of the BASF Farm Perspectives Study were announced today at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, with insights from Brady Spangenberg, Market Intelligence & Research Manager, BASF and Woodyard. The most recent wave of the study was conducted in early 2014 and included more than 2,100 farmer and 7,233 consumer participants in seven countries: U.S., Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, India and China.

Tuesday August 26 Ag News


This Labor Day weekend, Animal Planet unveils its latest crowning achievement with the introduction of its first-ever LABOR LIVE multimedia event. Throughout the holiday weekend, live animal births from the Nebraska State Fair will be broadcast as they happen via the LABOR LIVE Cam on Animal Planet L!VE, the go-to digital destination for round-the-clock access to animals. Animal Planet television viewers will be made aware of every calf, lamb, piglet, and chick delivery occurring online with breaking on-air birth alerts. The cam is live now at

While awaiting the next birth alert, audiences will enjoy labor of a different kind with daily marathons of DIRTY JOBS from Friday, August 29, through Monday, September 1. The network also delivers a litter of premiere programming in primetime for the long weekend; including REDWOOD KINGS on Friday, beginning at 9PM ET and TOO CUTE: PINT SIZED on Saturday beginning at 8PM ET.  Sunday offers a stack of the world premiere series MUD LOVIN’ REDNECKS from 8-11PM ET and Monday features an ICE LAKE REBELS marathon punctuated by an all-new episode at 10PM ET.

Each year, the Nebraska State Fair welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors and Animal Planet L!VE is inviting the Internet to join in and celebrate the beauty of birth. The Birthing Pavilion provides State Fair guests the opportunity to witness live animal births under the supervision of trained professionals from the University of Nebraska School of Veterinary Medicine and members of the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association.

With expert commentary from University of Nebraska veterinarians, the LABOR LIVE Cam will broadcast 24/7 from the Pavilion, which is the temporary home to expecting cows, sows, ewes and chickens.  Animal Planet L!VE will cover breaking births in addition to offering a schedule of programming including a morning review and lunchtime chats with experts.

“The miracle of birth is perhaps the most beautiful and wondrous moment in all of the nature, and Animal Planet will offer viewers the unique chance to witness it live,” said Rick Holzman, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Animal Planet. “This is just the beginning of a significant initiative where Animal Planet will offer our audience unprecedented live coverage of animal births and other astonishing moments of the natural world, both on air and online at Animal Planet L!VE.”

"Animal Planet's presence further exemplifies the Nebraska State Fair's mission to focus on interactive agriculture and educational experiences. The ability to take the Nebraska State Fair Birthing Pavilion and make it available to a worldwide audience is an opportunity that doesn't come along too often,” said Nebraska State Fair Sponsorship and Marketing Director, Shaun Schleif. "The opportunity to see live births and baby animals taking their first steps in their first few days of life is something that most folks don't have the opportunity to observe. Animal Planet is making that possible, and we're extremely grateful for that."

The LABOR LIVE Cam joins more than 20 addictive cams on the popular Animal Planet extension that has generated more than 22 million streams and three million hours watched since launching in April 2013. Animal Planet L!VE is available via desktop and mobile devices at APL.TV and on Xbox, Roku, Amazon Fire and select Samsung Smart TVs.

Saunders County Corn Growers Association Twilight Tour

Thursday, September 4

Stop 1 - Starts at 5:00 p.m. at the the Ray and Kevin Kucera Farm - 2379 County Road 17, Cedar Bluffs. Farm located ¼ mile South of County Road intersection 17 & U  
• At this stop the Kucera’s and Twin Diamond Industries (maker of Strip-Cat),  will share with us how they use strip till technology to maximize yields.  We’ll have a look at their strip till rig and corn crop growing nearby.

Stop 2 - Farmers Union Co-op Association  Fertilizer Plant – Cedar Bluffs - 1771 County Road X or Or ½ mile West of Cedar Bluffs on County Road X
• Formed in 1888, this Co-op has been the foundation for crop production services in Saunders County. Employees and Board Members will share with us the mission and focus of this modern day operation. We’ll also see and hear how they use dry and liquid products to meet the needs of their customers.

Stop 3 -  Chvatal Family Farm – (Glenn, Eileen, Eric & Bryon) 2615 County Road U, Prague - ¾ mile East of Hwy 79 and County Road U
• The Chvatal’s are growing corn in 15” rows. We will discuss the practice of narrow row corn production and view their planting and harvesting equipment. In addition, the Chvatal’s have been researching corn plant populations as part of the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network. We will discuss this and other on-farm research results. Finally, we will take a look at the Chvatal’s new farm shop and the many practical features they included in the construction.

Lunch and enjoyable refreshments to follow, compliments of the following sponsors:
• Farmers Union Coop
• Tejkl Ag Services
• Twin Diamond Industries (Distributer for Strip-Cat)
• Channel Seed (Chvatal Seed Sales)

For questions or more details, call Keith Glewen, UNL Extension Educator at  402-624-8030 or e-mail or Bryon Chvatal, President, Saunders Co. Corn Growers Association  at

Weed Workshop Was Informative

The Northeast Nebraska Weed Management Area (NNWMA) in cooperation with the Northeast Nebraska RC&D Council and the Nebraska Environmental Trust held a tour recently at Niobrara State Park.  “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Noxious Weed Control” offered the 32 participants an education on noxious weeds and control methods being used.

First stop was the Niobrara Public School to hear from the student leaders about their Purple loosestrife bucket garden.  Students rear the insects the feed on this weed and then later release them into infestations of the plant.  These biological control insects feed exclusively on that plant.   Students shared with the group the many life skills they’ve learned in doing this project.  The NNWMA and the South Dakota/Nebraska Purple loosestrife groups have assisted teacher Sharla Hanzlik and the students over a number of years with this project.

A visit to the Niobrara boat ramp offered a look at native Phragmites and Purple loosestrife in their natural environment.  Experts pointed out that both native and non-native Phragmites are growing in the area, and often in the same spot, so control methods are difficult to implement.

Salt cedar is another noxious weed that has shown up along the Missouri River in Nebraska and South Dakota.  The NNWMA and partners have been vigilant each spring and now in late summer as well, to get out on the river and the sandbars to keep up the fight.  They use boats to get to the areas of infestation and then walk with backpack sprayers and buckets.  They spray the larger ones and pull out (and carry out) the small plants in an effort to control its spread.

The group was shown Canada thistle and Phragmites in an infested area which NE Game & Parks Commission manages.  Previous efforts to control this particular situation haven’t worked so well so plans are to conduct a prescribed burn to clean up the field and then farm it for a couple of years.  If they get the weeds in check then they’ll reseed with native grasses and forbs. 

Governor proclaims September as Renewable Fuels Month in Nebraska

The month of September has been declared as Renewable Fuels Awareness month in Nebraska by Governor Dave Heineman. Renewable Fuels Month aims to celebrate Nebraska’s renewable fuels industry and its positive contributions to Nebraska and our citizens.

The proclamation was coordinated through the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board. The two organizations will celebrate the proclamation with a campaign geared at educating Nebraskans about renewable fuels through a four-part series of news releases to be published during September.

“Nebraska is the Golden Triangle.  We grow the corn and soybeans, raise the livestock and produce the renewable fuels,” said Gov. Heineman. “Renewable fuels provide many benefits to our state including developing rural communities, creating jobs, providing a locally produced homegrown fuel for consumers, and more.”

In Nebraska, ethanol is blended with nearly 90% of all fuel and this number continues to increase each year.  There are over 180,000 flex fuel vehicles in the state and one in ten Nebraska motorists drives a flex fuel vehicle.  

Last year, renewable fuels reduced the nation’s need for imported oil by over 462 million barrels of crude oil - and 1.1 billion gallons of imported petroleum diesel. Biodiesel was named America’s first Advanced Biofuel and has continuously exceeded the production benchmarks set forth by the EPA.

One of the co-products from ethanol production is distillers grains, which plays a key role in the Nebraska agricultural economy.  “We are fortunate in Nebraska that livestock producers can use distillers grains co-products from ethanol production as a high-value feed,” said Tim Scheer, a farmer from St. Paul and chair of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Only the starch portion of the kernel is used to make ethanol. The protein, fiber, and fat portions still remain for the livestock.”

Terry Horky, a farmer from Sargent, Nebraska and chair of the Domestic Marketing committee for the Nebraska Soybean Board said as Nebraska farmers head out to harvest this year’s crops, over half will be fueling their equipment with a soy biodiesel blend.

“Farmers use renewable fuels like soy biodiesel because of the many benefits it has for engines,” said Horky. “But also because soy biodiesel is a renewable fuel produced by farmers right here in America.”

The four-part series to be released by the Corn and Soybean Boards during September will focus on: renewable, homegrown energy that can be used in food, fuel and feed; providing a consumer choice that is better for your engines and the environment; the “Golden Triangle”; and blend choices and where consumers can fill up with renewable fuels.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Plastic.  That's our word for today.  Plastic.  Plastic is one of those things you forget how useful and valuable it can be.

Many of you are chopping or about to chop silage.  You will invest time and money to store good feed for your livestock.  However, when you start to feed your silage you may find that the top couple feet has an off color, smells bad, or has spoiled.

After silage has been chopped and piled and packed correctly, it still can be damaged seriously by air and moisture slowly penetrating the outer 3 to 4 feet.  Animals often eat less when fed moldy silage and can even experience health problems due to mycotoxins.  Good, well-eared silage can lose over 20 percent of its feed value from fermentation and spoilage under normal conditions.  Silage made from corn with little or no grain might have even greater losses.  This loss can be cut in half, or even less, if covered well by a sheet of plastic.

Cover freshly chopped silage with black plastic immediately after you finish filling the trench, bunker, or pile.  Then cover the plastic with something to help hold it down.  Old tires are readily available and do a good job of keeping the plastic from blowing away.  But tires only keep the plastic in contact with the silage directly under the tire.  In between the tires, air can circulate and cause some spoilage.  An even better choice would be a solid cover, something like freshly chopped forage or weeds.  Then, the entire surface of the silage will be fully protected.

You go to a lot of time and expense to make good silage.  Isn't it worth it to spend just a little bit more to protect that investment?  Cover silage with plastic – it's worth it.

Iowa Learning Farms to Host Four Cover Crop Field Days in September

Iowa Learning Farms is hosting four cover crop field days this September. Each event will have a different aspect of this conservation farming practice. ILF field days are open to the public and include speakers who are experts on the field day topic as well as local farmers who are using the conservation practice.

Iowa Learning Farm field days are an opportunity for farmers to talk with other farmers and experts to gain knowledge leading to the adoption of conservation practices.
Tuesday, Sept. 9, 5-7 p.m.; Seth Watkins farm, Taylor County

Seth Watkins is using cover crops and has planted perennial prairie strips within his cash crop fields. He will talk about using both of these practices for soil health and reducing erosion. Also speaking are Iowa State University assistant professor and pollinator expert Mary Harris, ISU agriculture specialist and prairie plant expert Tim Youngquist, and NRCS District Conservationist Doug Davenport. A complimentary meal is included, with Taylor County Cattlemen at the grill.
Wednesday, Sept. 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Bio-Renewables Field Day at the University of Iowa miscanthus test plot, Iowa City

Join landowner Dan Black and Emily Heaton, Iowa State University assistant professor of agronomy, at this field day as they discuss the University of Iowa’s Miscanthus Pilot Project. The project is exploring the use of this grass as a biofuel on the UI campus. Ben Anderson of the UI Power Plant will explain how miscanthus is being used in its solid fuel boilers.  Enjoy a meal prepared by the Johnson County Cattlemen.
Friday, Sept. 12, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Titan Machinery, Williams

Adding cover crops to a cash crop rotation is the emphasis at this field day, co-sponsored by Farm Bureau. Iowa State University associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and extension agricultural engineer Matt Helmers will talk about the benefits of adding cover crops and the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Also, hear from an area farmer who is incorporating cover crops.
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 12-2 p.m.; Dennis Lundy farm, Adair County

This field day will explore ways to add cover crops and also no-tilling alfalfa following wheat through extended crop rotations. Host farmer Dennis Lundy and his neighbor Wendell Zimmerman will share how they are using cover crops on their farms. Although they are using them in different ways, both farmers are reducing soil erosion and increasing soil health. Iowa Water Center Director and ISU Agronomy Professor Rick Cruse will discuss erosion in Iowa’s fields and how cover crops and other practices can reduce this problem. Enjoy a meal prepared by the Adair County Cattlemen.

Worksheet Helps Producers Identify Selections for 2014 Farm Bill

The Agricultural Act of 2014 is important legislation. It provides farmland owners and operators the opportunity to make a one-time election of a commodity program for 2014 through 2018. The legislation also allows the operator to enroll annually in a chosen program. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach provides several resources to assist in this decision-making process.

“While the Farm Bill of 2014 provides opportunities for farmers to update their farm selections, it is important that they consider several factors before making these decisions,” said Ann Johanns, extension program specialist. Johanns coordinates Ag Decision Maker, an agricultural economics and business website sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“We have developed several tools, including the Base Acreage Reallocation and Payment Yield Update, to assist owners and operators as they determine what is best for their business and family,” Johanns said.

Alejandro Plastina, an extension economist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, developed the Base Acreage Reallocation and Payment Yield Update.

“Opportunities to update base acres and payment yields for commodity programs are few and far between,” Plastina said. “So farmers should seriously consider this opportunity provided by the 2014 Farm Bill.”

“The worksheet is a simple tool to evaluate the convenience of having the payment formulas for some commodity programs updated to better reflect current production patterns on a farm-by-farm basis,” Plastina added. He noted that the decision tool includes multiple worksheets to allow information for up to five farms.

The Base Acreage Reallocation and Payment Yield Update worksheet was designed to help Iowa farmland owners with base acreage reallocation decisions for the Agricultural Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, and with payment yield update decisions for the PLC program. To access this and other online tools, go to

To further support producers, a series of workshops will be held across Iowa to provide information about the Farm Bill and the impact it has on producers. The meetings will be held once final regulations are set. A complete schedule will be posted on the AgDM Farm Bill Web page at

Net Farm Income Forecast To Fall in 2014


Net farm income is forecast to be $113.2 billion in 2014, down 13.8 percent from 2013’s forecast of $131.3 billion. If realized, the 2014 forecast would be the lowest since 2010, but would still remain more than $25 billion above the previous 10-year annual average. After adjusting for inflation, 2013’s net farm income is expected to be the highest since 1973; the 2014 net farm income forecast would be the fifth highest. Net cash income is forecast at $123 billion, down 6 percent from the 2013 forecast. Net cash income is projected to decline less than net farm income primarily because it includes the sale of more than $10 billion in carryover stocks from 2013. Net farm income reflects only earnings from current calendar-year production.


-   Total production expenses are forecast to be 4 percent higher in 2014, which would be the fifth consecutive increase since last falling in 2009.
-   Livestock receipts are expected to increase by more than 15 percent in 2014, due to a 21-percent increase in dairy, a 20-percent increase in hog, and a 15-percent increase in cattle receipts.
-   Crop receipts are expected to decrease 7 percent in 2014 ($15.2 billion), led by a $12.8-billion decline in corn receipts.
-   The elimination of direct payments under the Agricultural Act of 2014 is partially offset by higher payments for supplemental disaster assistance, resulting in a 15-percent decline in projected government payments.
-   Farm equity is projected to reach another record, despite an expected slowdown in asset growth and the expectation of higher debt levels.
-   Farm financial risk indicators such as the debt-to-asset ratio are expected to continue at historically low levels, indicating continued financial health for the sector.

Falling Crop Prices Expected in 2014

The annual value of U.S. crop production is expected to decline 10.6 percent in 2014 from 2013’s predicted all-time high. Expected declines in cash receipts are especially large for feed crops such as corn. Corn receipts are expected to experience the largest dollar decline in 2014 receipts among farm commodity categories. While U.S. corn production is forecast to reach a record level in 2014, the annual corn price is expected to fall significantly (by 32.4 percent), lowering both corn receipts and the value of production. Corn exports are also expected to decline in the 2014 corn marketing year. Receipts for wheat are also expected to decline, reflecting lower production and price and an expected drop in exports in marketing year 2014.

Declines in soybean receipts are anticipated as higher production and quantities sold are more than offset by large price declines (11.3 percent). Soybean exports are expected to increase in the 2014 soybean marketing year. A large increase in peanut production is expected to be more than offset by a large drop in the annual peanut price, resulting in lower peanut receipts.

Higher expected hay receipts reflect forecasts of higher production, drawing down of hay inventories, and higher average prices. The expected increase in rice receipts mostly reflects higher forecast rice production in 2014. Both domestic and foreign use is expected to increase in the 2014 rice marketing year. Higher cotton lint and cottonseed receipts reflect substantial increases in production, which more than offset anticipated declines in cotton lint and seed prices.   

Despite predictions of increased production, cash receipts for dry beans and potatoes are expected to decline in 2014 as price declines are forecast for both. A decline of $2.3 billion is forecast for receipts from fruits and nuts in 2014, reflecting expected declines in production of cranberries, grapes, peaches, pears, grapefruit, lemons, and oranges.

Record Prices Expected To Drive Livestock Receipts in 2014

Record-high annual prices are expected for livestock, dairy, and poultry products. Large gains are expected in receipts from sales of cattle and calves, hogs, milk, broilers, and eggs. While beef production is expected to decline in 2014, the annual cattle price is expected to increase dramatically (20.4 percent), to its highest level on record. Cattle and beef prices have benefited from foreign demand, especially Asia, and low cattle inventories.  Hog receipt forecasts also reflect declining production accompanied by record high prices. Forecasts for wholesale milk, broilers, and chicken egg receipts reflect expectations of higher production accompanied by record annual average prices. Sluggish growth in broiler production is placing upward pressure on prices. High turkey prices are expected in 2014.  Chicken egg receipts have benefited from strong demand and increased production. Strong demand, both foreign and domestic, is contributing to record high milk prices.

Production Expenses Continue To Increase in 2014

The projected $14.2-billion increase in 2014 production expenses extends a 5-year upward trend. Forecast production expenses in 2014 would be the highest on record both nominally and in inflation-adjusted dollars. However, expected increases in 2013 and 2014 are significantly smaller than increases experienced in 2011 and 2012. The principal reason for the projected 2014 increase is higher input prices, as reflected by the Production Items, Interest, Taxes, and Wage Rates (PITW) index, which is forecast to rise 4.2 percent during the year. If realized, total production expenses would constitute 77 percent of gross farm income in 2014, the highest since 2010, indicating a return to tighter margins.

Livestock and poultry purchases account for the largest portion of the increase in total expenses at $5.4 billion (a 22.6-percent increase over 2013 purchases). Other components that contribute to the increase, but rise by smaller amounts, are fuels and oils (up $1.0 billion); repairs and maintenance ($1.1 billion); total labor expenses ($1.4 billion); and miscellaneous expenses (which include items like animal health and breeding expenses, contract production fees, irrigation water, and general production and management expenses). Seed and fertilizer expenses will also rise nearly $1 billion. Feed expenses should fall $1.7 billion and net rent to nonoperators is expected to be down $0.9 billion.

The two major livestock-related expenses—feed and livestock/poultry purchases—are expected to move in opposite directions, but together are expected to rise by $3.7 billion (4.3 percent). The projected decrease in feed expenses and the increase in livestock and poultry purchases are both primarily the result of price changes. Despite a drop of 12.5 percent in feedgrain prices since the beginning of the year and the likelihood that they will drop further, the annual average feed prices-paid index is forecast to fall only 2.7 percent in 2014 because prices for other types of feed have not fallen off. In particular, the price of complete feeds, which carry the heaviest weight in the feed prices-paid index, has increased 5 percent since January. Livestock and poultry purchase expenses are being driven by a predicted 24-percent increase in the annual average price for feeder steers as a result of reduced inventory for cattle, especially feeder cattle, and increased demand for cattle as a result of lower feed prices and strong demand for beef.

The three major crop-related expenses—seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides—are expected to increase a combined $2.3 billion (3.5 percent) in 2014.  Prices for all three inputs are up. Fertilizer prices have risen 17 percent since the beginning of the year and, although they will fall off during the second half of the year, are expected to remain above last year’s level. The 2014 forecast of the number of planted acres is up 2.4 percent from 2013. The increase in planted acres coupled with a projected 3.6-percent increase in fuel prices is responsible for the projected rise in fuel expenses.

Payments to Stakeholders Expected To Rise Moderately in 2014

Net value added is distributed among stakeholders and equity owners. Stakeholders provide the hired labor, leased capital, and rental land used in agricultural production. Since stakeholders do not own what is produced, they do not share in the risks involved in producing highly variable agricultural output. As a result, the payments that stakeholders receive are more stable over time than net returns to the owners of agricultural production. Payments to stakeholders can move in a different direction than net value added, as occurred in 2009 and 2011 and is predicted to occur again this year. In 2014, payments to stakeholders are forecast to rise by $1.2 billion (2.0 percent) while net value added is forecast to fall $16.9 billion (8.8 percent). If these changes occur, payments to stakeholders will comprise 35 percent of net value added in 2014, up from 32 percent in 2013.

Employee compensation (hired labor) is expected to increase $1.4 billion (5.1 percent) in 2014 due to a predicted 1.8-percent increase in wage rates and a 2.3-percent rise in total output. Since declining in 2011, hired labor expenses will have risen 28 percent. Hired labor accounts for all of the increase in total labor expenses as an expected drop in production of vegetables and fruits/nuts (which are heavily reliant on contract labor) should result in a small reduction in contract labor expenses. Output on greenhouse/nursery and dairy farms—farms that typically employ a large share of the sector’s hired labor—will likely be up 3 percent. Labor use in the production of feed grains and oilseeds will be constrained by falling prices for these crops.

In line with the 10.6-percent drop in the value of crop production, net rent to nonoperator landlords is forecast to fall $0.9 billion (5.7 percent) in 2014. This fall follows a 29.8-percent increase over the previous 2 years, spurred by the expansion in the value of crop production. Cash rent is forecast to increase 4.2 percent, based on a relatively small increase in total real estate values and higher planted acreage. Share rent is forecast down 10 percent, following the decrease in the value of crop production. Government payments and crop insurance indemnities received by landlords are a consistent proportion of sectorwide payments and indemnities and are expected to be lower in 2014.

Total interest expenses are forecast to increase 4.3 percent in 2014 as nonreal estate interest expenses climb 1.5 percent and real estate interest expenses increase 5.9 percent. Debt and interest rates are discussed in the Assets, Debt, and Wealth section.

Government Payments Forecast To Decline in 2014

Government program payments going directly to producers are expected to total over $9 billion in 2014, representing a 15-percent decrease from 2013 (see table on government payments). The 2014 forecast includes payments made by the U.S. Government in 2014 for losses incurred in earlier years.  Market prices are still high enough for most crops that 2014 payments from price-dependent programs (such as countercyclical payments, marketing loan gains, loan deficiency payments, and milk income loss payments) are anticipated to be zero for all but a few commodities (peanuts, upland cotton). Farmers are currently expected to receive Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) payments in 2014 from their 2013 crop-year revenue losses, mostly from corn.

Under the provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014, direct payments are largely phased out. Cotton producers, however, are eligible to receive Cotton Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) payments for crop years 2014 and 2015 as they transition into coverage authorized by the new Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX). The Tobacco Transition Payment Program paid out 95 percent of its 2014 payments in February, and will make final payments in October.

Supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance payments are forecast to increase significantly in 2014. The continuing drought is expected to generate increased payouts, especially from the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), which is expected to account for over 78 percent of all other government payments in 2014. About 51 percent of LFP payments in 2014 result from the 2012 drought, 35 percent from the 2013 drought, and the remainder from the current 2014 drought.

2014 Farm Income Forecast: Improved Outlook since February’s Forecast

USDA’s August forecast for the 2014 farm sector economy is more optimistic than the one issued last February. Both forecast net farm income and net cash income for 2014 have been revised upward. Net cash income excludes noncash items included in net farm income, such as value of inventory adjustment, gross imputed rental income, nonmonetary compensation of hired labor, and capital consumption.

Our improved outlook is largely the result of improved prospects for the value of both crop and livestock production. The more favorable forecasts for crops and livestock reflect more optimistic price expectations over calendar-year 2014, relative to expectations in February. Many of the livestock categories are now anticipated to benefit from record annual average prices in 2014. Direct U.S. government payments have been revised upward since February’s forecast, mostly due to drought-induced payouts under the Livestock Forage Program. Production expenses are now forecast to be $20 billion higher than they were in February, with increases in the feed expense and livestock purchase forecasts accounting for most of the change.

Cenex Tank Program assists retailers offering E15

CHS, a leading energy, grains and foods company and the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative, has announced a new program to better enable some of the 1,400 Cenex® branded locations to meet consumer demand for an E15 ethanol blend. "We are excited to offer a new Cenex® Tank Program, which further demonstrates CHS leadership in renewable fuels and helps keep the Cenex brand at the forefront in meeting consumer demand for ethanol blends," says Doug Dorfman, CHS vice president – refined fuels.
Cenex Retailer

For Cenex retailers wanting to offer E15 in addition to their current gasoline products, the Cenex® Tank Program will cover a significant portion of the cost to purchase and install an additional storage tank for the purpose of offering E15.

The Cenex network was among the first in the country to offer mid-level ethanol blends under its brand and has achieved significant increases in ethanol sales over the last five years, according to Dorfman.

"We value our partnership with Cenex retailers and will continue to assist them in their efforts to meet consumer demand for ethanol blends," says Dorfman. "Supporting ethanol demand also adds value to CHS member owners and farmers."

USDA Raises Price Forecast for Beef, Pork

USDA has raised its price forecast for beef and pork consumed at home this year.  USDA now expects retail beef and veal prices to rise by 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent during 2014. Prices rose by 0.4 percent from June to July and have shot up 10.4 percent between July 2013 and last month.  Retail pork prices in 2014 are predicted to rise by 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent. Prices rose by 0.7 percent from June to July and have shot up 10.9 percent since July of last year.

Restaurants appear to not boost prices as much, according to Meatingplace.  Still, the cost of food consumed away from home is expected to rise 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent in 2014. For poultry, USDA predicted retail prices in 2014 would rise between 3 percent and 4 percent. Poultry prices rose 0.4 percent in June to July and have risen 2.7 percent since July 2013.For 2015.


Today, U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance is launching a new campaign entitled I AM FARMLAND geared to help support the expanded distribution of FARMLAND, a new feature length documentary about the lives of young farmers and ranchers. Funds raised by the I AM FARMLAND effort will be used to bring the film to high school classrooms, college campuses, in addition to communities all across the country.

USFRA invites others in agriculture to help spread the message that FARMLAND accurately depicts life as an American farmer and rancher. I AM FARMLAND is a group of friends of the film working to reach broader audiences and wider distribution.

“Farmers and ranchers owe it to ourselves to help ensure this film is seen by young people in an effort to curb the criticisms and lack of understanding consumers have for food production,” said USFRA board member and Minnesota farmer Gene Stoel. “Consumers are generations removed from agriculture today and they don’t know the people growing and raising our food. This is the first authentic representation of modern agriculture on this scale and the agriculture industry needs to step up and support it in a big way.”

USFRA will use the funds raised in this campaign to continue to heighten the energy of FARMLAND by offering screenings on college campuses, a curriculum-based program for high schools, and screening kits for farmers and ranchers who would like to conduct outreach in their local communities.

“If you have seen the film, you realize that it’s something everyone in America should see,” said USFRA CEO Randy Krotz. “Initial distribution of FARMLAND has been successful but limited. Now that we know the positive impact viewing the film has on non-ag audiences, we owe it to interested consumers to get the film in front of them. We need agriculture’s support to help more people around the country view this amazing film.”

Court Ruling in Hawaii Finds that Crop Protection is Matter of State Law

A United States District Court in Hawaii recently reinforced the role of state law in regulating the use of pesticides and biotechnology in an Aug. 25 ruling. CropLife America (CLA), the national trade association for the crop protection industry, is pleased that U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren decided in favor of plaintiffs in Syngenta Seeds, Inc., et al. v. Kauai County and ruled that Kauai Ordinance 960 is invalid and preempted by Hawaii state law.

Kauai County passed Ordinance 960 in a misguided attempt to regulate five specific growers’ use of pesticides and biotechnology through a county-level ordinance, despite state law established to regulate these modern agricultural tools. Ordinance 960’s requirements placed an undue financial burden on the targeted growers and required disclosure of confidential business information that is protected by Hawaii and federal law. Such public disclosure would have exposed these growers to potential acts of vandalism, trade secret theft and harassment. U.S. Magistrate Judge Kurren rightly recognized the role that the Hawaii Pesticide Law (HPL) plays in regulating pesticides, and that state pesticide law preempts the county-specific Ordinance 960. HPL sets out a uniform platform for regulating pesticide use, which includes establishing the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and the Department of Health (HDOH) as having regulatory authority over pesticide use and enforcement within the state.

“The regulatory system for crop protection products is purposefully robust and protective of human health and the environment,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “We thank Judge Kurren for recognizing that federal and state statutes are established to help ensure the responsible use of modern farming technologies, including crop protection products and biotechnology.”

Ordinance 960 also attempted to circumnavigate state law regarding the regulation of biotechnology crops. State law vests the HDOA with exclusive rulemaking authority over agricultural research and the regulation of biotechnology.

The agricultural seed industry is a vibrant contributor to the Hawaii economy. According to an economic analysis commissioned by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, the Hawaii seed industry contributes approximately $144 million of economic activity to the state’s economy. This generates $13.8 million in annual taxes to the state, $137 million in annual labor income and more than 2,500 jobs.

“The crop protection industry supports a sound science-based pesticide regulatory system. In addition to being preempted by Hawaii state law, the provisions in Ordinance 960 have no basis in sound science,” noted Rachel Lattimore, senior vice president and general counsel at CLA. “Any further attempts to advance Ordinance 960 would present little more than a waste of government resources.”

CWT Assists with 1 Million Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 3 requests for export assistance to sell 912,714 pounds (414 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, to customers in Asia. The product will be delivered October 2014 through January 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 83.456 million pounds of cheese, 48.051 million pounds of butter and 19.877 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.062 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

CWT-assisted exports of American-type cheeses, butter and whole milk powder make up a significant percentage of the exports of those products. In the long-term, assisting CWT member cooperatives through the Export Assistance program helps them gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them in the rapidly growing world dairy markets. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

NIAA Announces Keynote Speaker for Antibiotic Symposium

“Stewardship is an opportunity to change the conversation about antibiotics and forge new relationships between animal and human health,” Dr. Lonnie King, dean, College of Veterinarian Medicine at The Ohio State University (OSU), says. As the keynote speaker for the 2014 Antibiotics Symposium being hosted by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), King’s address, titled “Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance through Integration and Stewardship: A New Call to Action,” fully embraces the theme of the symposium, “Antibiotic Use and Resistance: Moving Forward Through Shared Stewardship.” The Antibiotics Symposium is set for Wednesday, Nov. 12-Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Atlanta, Ga., at the Crown Plaza Atlanta Midtown hotel.

In addition to his responsibilities as dean, Dr. King, DVM, MS, MPA, ACVPM, is also a professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, holds the Ruth Stanton Endowed Chair in Veterinary Medicine and serves as the executive dean for the seven health science colleges at OSU. Dr. King is also a former administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, in Washington, DC.

More information about the Antibiotics Symposium and NIAA can be found at NIAA’s purpose is to provide a resource for individuals, organizations and the entire animal agriculture industry to obtain information, education and solutions for challenges facing animal agriculture.

ADM Opens New Global Headquarters in Chicago

Archer Daniels Midland Company opened its global headquarters and customer center in downtown Chicago this week.

"As we continue to grow our company, this location allows us to more easily reach global markets, while keeping us in close contact with U.S. farmers, customers and operations," said Chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz.

About 70 employees are based in the two-floor space, which also includes a culinary facility for ADM to showcase its broad portfolio of food ingredients.

The global headquarters and customer center is located at 77 West Wacker Drive, Suite 4600.

CLAAS Introduces Large 4x4 Tractor for North American Farmers

CLAAS of America will introduce one of the world’s most innovative all-purpose tractors to North American farmers this week at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa. The company’s new XERION tractor line was designed with sophisticated American farms, and the implements they require, in mind.

XERION tractors provide best-in-class productivity for tillage, speed for efficient transport, a light footprint when seeding, and game-changing maneuverability that makes it suitable for nearly any task. The line has been upgraded from previous European versions to handle the demands of large-scale American farms.

“The XERION is not just "an off the shelf" product for us. We have worked hard to meet the specs of the North American market,” said Drew Fletcher, CLAAS of America Product Manager/Tractors. “Those changes include improved power transmission, duals rather than singles, a better ladder, enhanced hydraulics, and dozens more. It can help our farmers increase their acreage, better utilize their equipment investment, and complete more work in less time.”

There are three models of XERION to choose from. The XERION 5000 and 4500 both come equipped with powerful 12.8 liter Mercedes-Benz engines, while the 4000 is equipped with an efficient 10.6 liter Mercedes-Benz engine. All three models achieve maximum output (530 hp, 490 hp and 435 hp, respectively) at 1700 rpm, meaning that farmers can push hard and still get the fuel efficiency they need.

“They’re powerful machines,” Fletcher said, “but in today’s world, power isn’t enough. The new XERION line was designed to meet the performance, productivity and efficiency requirements of today’s North American farmer.”

CLAAS is known for its technology, and the XERION offers everything farmers have come to expect, including:
-  Efficient Agriculture Systems (EASY) for integrated equipment settings, steering systems, software solutions and more 
-  CEBIS control terminals, for comprehensive machine monitoring
-  CMOTION handle, for ergonomic performance that's unmatched in the industry
-  TELEMATICS connection, for remote monitoring, operating documentation and data capture

Maneuverability and ease of operation are keys factors on today’s complex American farms, and the XERION line doesn’t skimp in those areas. With six steering modes, the tractor can fit into the tightest spaces, remain stable on uneven ground, and be gentle on the soil when needed. Three driving programs give operators complete control over speed, power and fuel efficiency. And the optional TRAC VC rotating cab means that operators can see what they’re doing, in whatever direction they’re headed.

ADM Announces Sponsorship to Support National FFA Organization Programs

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) recently donated $50,000  in support of the National FFA American Degree and the American Star Awards recognition as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. This is a renewed gift on behalf of ADM’s Crop Risk Services business unit and 2014 marks the 55th year in ADM’s history of giving to FFA. The donation, in addition to its other contributions to the National FFA Foundation, places ADM at the organization’s silver sponsorship level for the year with support of more than $345,000.

The donation was given through ADM Cares, a social investment program that directs funds to initiatives and organizations that drive meaningful social, economic and environmental progress worldwide. The program comprises three distinct focus areas: supporting the responsible development of agriculture, improving the quality of life in ADM communities and fostering employee giving and volunteer activities.

“ADM is proud to partner with the National FFA and to do our part to help develop the next generation of leaders in the agricultural industry,” said Mark Schweitzer, ADM’s managing director of intermodal and container freight and a member of the National FFA Sponsors' Board.

 ADM has also donated in support of National FFA Organization’s leadership programs including National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO) and State Presidents’ Conference (SPC), which recently concluded in Washington, D.C. for 2014.

“SPC is the greatest experience I’ve ever had,” said Apolinar Blanco, Washington State President. “”It has opened my eyes that we can go out and change lives and change the world. I’m honored that ADM has sponsored this event. It shows that they believe in us and what we are trying to do in promoting agriculture.”

In addition to contributing to FFA programs, ADM Alliance Nutrition, another business unit of ADM, is also a National FFA Convention & Expo exhibitor.

“Generous, broad and continued support from ADM has such an impact on our members at the local, state and national levels,” said Molly Ball, President of the National FFA Foundation. “From leadership programs to student scholarships, ADM’s contributions contribute to students’ development for premier leadership, personal growth and career success.”

RemoteView Feature for FieldView® Allows Instant Viewing of Yield Maps, Anywhere

Precision Planting’s landmark app, FieldView, has brought instant, high-definition visualization of planter performance and yield maps to growers’ iPads across America.  Now, with the latest version of FieldView in the App store, farmers no longer need to be in the cab to have instant access to Yield Maps. 

“Most farm operations have multiple decision makers,” says Kyle Plattner, Lead User Interface Designer for FieldView.  “The RemoteView feature allows everyone in the farm operation with an iPad to have instant visibility into the combine cab — no matter where they are.” 

RemoteView uses the data connection of the iPads running FieldView to remotely connect any iPad to a YieldSense display.  Farm Managers can instantly keep tabs on each remote combine to monitor progress, watch real time yield maps, and diagnose problems. 

Precision Planting dealers and the Precision Planting product support team can also establish a remote connection to provide faster support — with permission granted by the operator. 

“RemoteView is another feature that makes YieldSense and FieldView the ultimate combination for harvest,  especially for large operations,” says Doug Sauder, Precision Planting’s Research & Development Lead.  “Wireless syncing of yield maps, wireless streaming of swath coverage, and simple operation wide reports make life easier for busy farm managers.” 

Mineral Requirements to Be Reevaluated at Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference

Is there a shift coming in pig mineral nutrition? According to one swine nutrition expert, change is inevitable – and overdue.

“Trace minerals are often supplemented into swine diets at levels above recommendations in the belief that this will enhance productive performance,” said Dr. Don Mahan, professor emeritus at Ohio State University. “This method can negatively affect not only the animals, but also the consumer and environment, as a greater level of trace mineral supplementation into diets can result in the additional excretion of minerals and more mineral waste flowing into the environment.”

The National Research Council (NRC) routinely publishes a review of the nutritional requirements for swine based on the available scientific literature; however, Mahan said that the relevance of most of the published literature is questionable, particularly in the mineral area.

Mahan will present some of his recent studies on addressing proper mineral nutrition at the Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana on Sept. 4. The paper, “A New Approach in Determining the Micro Mineral Needs of the Growing Pig,” highlights how the current NRC recommendations for micromineral supplementation are well above the pig’s requirement. One conclusion from his studies is that when mineral levels at or above 50 percent of the NRC (1998, 2012) requirements were fed, there was no effect on pig performance.

Mahan’s paper also indicates that organic trace mineral digestibility values averaged 20 percent greater than the digestibility of inorganic trace minerals. Mahan said that it is important to not only look at the mineral levels that are being fed to pigs, but also the source of the minerals. Organic trace minerals offer a form of supplementation that can be more naturally absorbed, stored and utilized by the animal.

Though there has been limited new research carried out in the area of trace mineral nutrition recommendations, Alltech has remained steadfast in the investigation of the nutritional benefits and appropriate levels of organic trace minerals for animals and their effects on the consumer and environment. To that end, Alltech has partnered with scientific experts, such as Mahan, in the investigation of trace mineral technology.

“As an industry, our focus, now more than ever, needs to be on efficiency. With proven methods for attaining improved productivity with less input, we need to further examine utilizing these technologies,” said Dr. Ryan Samuel, research project manager at Alltech. “In fact, current recommendations for mineral nutrition may be adding to the inefficiency and waste coming from our pigs’ diets.”

Alltech is proud to once again be a sponsor of the Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference held annually since 2000.

DuPont Announces Investment in Seed Treatment Solutions for Growers

Today, DuPont announced construction on two state-of-the-art centers dedicated to developing and testing seed treatment formulations, applications and seed handling techniques in an important step toward bringing new solutions to growers. These facilities – the first two centers of the new DuPont Integrated Seed Science Network – will be located in Wilmington, Del., and Johnston, Iowa, and will play an integral role in the expansion of the DuPont seed treatment portfolio.

“Seed treatments play a vital role in the success of a crop – from protecting seeds from pests and disease to complementing germplasm and traits to promoting plant vigor and stand establishment,” said Mick Messman, director of the DuPont Seed Treatment Enterprise. “DuPont Pioneer and DuPont Crop Protection have come together under the DuPont Seed Treatment Enterprise to develop a superior pipeline of integrated products to meet the demands of our customers around the world. These new facilities will support us in that mission.”

As part of this new venture, DuPont launched several new seed treatment products this year under the DuPont™ Lumigen™ brand, including the release of Dermacor® seed treatment products in the Brazilian soybean market and DuPont™ Lumiderm™ insecticide seed treatment for canola in Canada. DuPont is launching DuPont™ Lumivia™ insecticide seed treatment for 2015 U.S. spring planting. It will be available in the Pioneer Premium Seed Treatment (PPST) lineup as PPST 250 plus DuPont Lumivia for select Pioneer brand corn products.

The new seed science centers will build on a strong pipeline of seed treatment products and combinations by enabling DuPont to test new formulations under unique environmental conditions to create tailored treatments that meet specific grower needs, while also evaluating product dust-off. Facilities outside the United States will be added as needed to support the global market opportunity.

“The testing at our seed science centers will help us understand all of the dynamics of seed treatment application,” said Messman.  “Gathering this information is beneficial not only to us, but to our collaborators and customers as we will be able to better identify and develop improved seed treatment application combinations and techniques.”

Construction of the Wilmington location is scheduled to be completed in September of 2014 and the Johnston location in summer 2015.

August 25 Crop Progress Reports - NE - IA - US


For the week ending August 24, 2014, multiple rain events accumulated to an  inch  of  moisture  in  many  areas,  limiting  irrigation  needs  and  supporting  dryland  crops  and  pastures, according  to  the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Humid  conditions  slowed drydown of  cut hay.  The number of days considered suitable for fieldwork were 5.2  Topsoil moisture supplies rated 6 percent very short, 28 short, 64 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 31 short,  58 adequate, and 0 surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Corn  conditions  rated 3 percent very poor, 6 poor, 20  fair, 51  good,  and  20  excellent.  Corn  dough was  89  percent,  ahead  of  80  last  year,  but  near  88  for  the  five-year  average. Corn  dented was  44 percent, well ahead of 26 last year, but near 47 average.

Soybean conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 22 fair, 53 good, and 18 excellent.  Soybeans setting pods was 95 percent, near 93 last year and 94 average.

Sorghum conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 33 fair, 41 good, and 19 excellent. Sorghum headed was 97 percent, ahead of 87  last year and 90 average. Sorghum coloring was 49 percent, well ahead of 7  last year and 17 average.

Alfalfa hay conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 7 poor, 32 fair, 48 good, and 11 excellent.   Alfalfa hay  third cutting was  82  percent  complete,  ahead  of  76  last  year,  but  near  80  average. Alfalfa  hay  fourth  cutting was 2 percent complete, equal to last year, but behind 8 average.
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  6  percent  very  poor,  10  poor,  34 fair, 43 good, and 7 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 9 short, 88 adequate, and 1 surplus. 

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:

Access  the  High  Plains  Region  Climate  Center  for  Temperature  and  Precipitation  Maps  at:

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:


Much-needed precipitation limited fieldwork to 4.2 days suitable across Iowa during the week ending August 24, 2014, according to the USDA, National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service.    Above  normal  temperatures during  the  week  aided  crop  development.  Activities  for  the  week included spraying for insects, baling hay, and hauling grain.

Topsoil  moisture  levels  improved  and  rated  4 percent  very  short, 19 percent  short,  73 percent  adequate,  and  4 percent  surplus.    Subsoil moisture  levels rated 4 percent very short, 21 percent short, 73 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus.

Eighty-eight  percent  of  Iowa’s  corn  crop  was  in  the  dough  stage  or beyond,  17 days  ahead of  last  year  and 8 days  ahead of  the  five-year average.  Corn crop in the dent stage reached 33 percent, 25 percentage points  above  the  previous  year  but  9  points  below  normal.    Three-quarters of the corn acreage was reported in good to excellent condition. 

Ninety-four percent  of  the  soybean  crop was  setting  pods  or  beyond, 13 percentage points above last year and 1 point above average.  With a few  farmers  reporting soybean  leaves starting  to  turn color, 73 percent of the soybean acreage was in good to excellent condition. 

Oat harvest for grain was nearing completion, slightly behind the previous year and normal.  

With  the  second  cutting  of  alfalfa  hay  nearing  completion,  the  third cutting  of  alfalfa  hay  was  46 percent  complete,  11 percentage  points below  last  year  and  18  points  below  the  five-year  average.    Sixty-four percent of all hay was rated in good to excellent condition.  Pasture condition  rated  56 percent  good  to  excellent.    Stress  on  livestock increased this week due to heat and flies. 


Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist
Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Heat, humidity and rainfall all returned  in abundance  to Iowa  this past reporting week.   Temperatures were above normal throughout the week with  the exception of a brief cool-down over  the northeast one-half of the state on Wednesday (20th).     This was among  the warmer weeks of the year with readings averaging from 1 to 2 degrees above normal over the far southeast  to 6 degrees above normal over  the   northwest.     The statewide  average  temperature  was  4.0  degrees  above  normal.   Temperature  extremes  varied  from  a  Wednesday  morning  low  of 56 degrees at Stanley (Buchanan Co.)  to afternoon highs of 92 degrees at Sioux City on Thursday and Stanley on Friday.   The week began dry on Sunday  (17th).     However, heavy  rain  fell over much of Worth and Mitchell counties early Monday  (18th) morning with  lighter  rains over the  northeast  one-third  of  the  state.      On  Tuesday  (19th)  rain  was confined  to extreme  southeast  Iowa.     Wednesday brought  rain over a large  area  from west  central  to  southeast  Iowa.     Thursday  (21st)  saw rain  fall  over much  of  the  northeast  two-thirds  of  the  state.      Friday (22nd)  brought  scattered  thunderstorms  to  the  southern  two-thirds  of Iowa.      Finally,  Saturday  (23rd)  brought  rain  statewide  with  greatest amounts  over  south  central  Iowa.      Weekly  rain  totals  varied  from 0.33 inches at Persia (Harrison Co.) and 0.35 inches at Blockton (Taylor Co.)  to  7.00  inches  at  Greenfield  and  5.97  inches  at  Saint  Ansgar (Mitchell  Co.).      The  statewide  average  rainfall  was  1.85  inches  or double  the weekly  normal  of  0.93  inches.      This was  Iowa’s  wettest week in seven weeks.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Corn condition improved slightly in the week ended Aug. 24, and soybean condition worsened slightly, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress and Condition reports.

Corn is reported as 73% good-to-excellent condition, compared to 72% last week.   According to USDA, 83% of the corn is in the dough stage, compared to 67% last year and 78% for the five year average.  As for the corn in the dent stage, USDA reports 35% of the crop has made to to dent, 14 points ahead of last year, but 8 points behind the 5 year average. 

Soybeans are 7% poor to very poor, compared to 6% last week. Seventy percent of the crop is rated good to excellent, compared to 71% last week.  Ninety percent of the soybeans are setting pods, vs 82% last year and 89% for the 5 year average. 

Corn Dough - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 24,  : August 17,  : August 24,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Colorado .......:     65            53            69            63     
Illinois .......:     85            86            93            87     
Indiana ........:     74            72            82            81     
Iowa ...........:     43            75            88            73     
Kansas .........:     85            79            88            90     
Kentucky .......:     69            70            80            80     
Michigan .......:     64            49            64            69     
Minnesota ......:     42            63            78            63     
Missouri .......:     84            91            94            88     
Nebraska .......:     80            78            89            88     
North Carolina .:     99            91            94            98     
North Dakota ...:     53            32            57            61     
Ohio ...........:     78            68            82            80     
Pennsylvania ...:     72            31            45            64     
South Dakota ...:     77            59            83            73     
Tennessee ......:     94            92            96            97     
Texas ..........:     87            89            90            89     
Wisconsin ......:     38            38            53            60     
18 States ......:     67            70            83            78     

Corn Dented - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 24,  : August 17,  : August 24,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Colorado .......:     15             5            13            18     
Illinois .......:     27            34            48            53     
Indiana ........:     20            29            41            39     
Iowa ...........:      8            16            33            42     
Kansas .........:     34            30            51            59     
Kentucky .......:     45            49            64            62     
Michigan .......:     13             6            13            24     
Minnesota ......:      4             6            18            28     
Missouri .......:     47            52            67            66     
Nebraska .......:     26            20            44            47     
North Carolina .:     92            78            86            92     
North Dakota ...:      4             -             2            20     
Ohio ...........:     20            16            27            34     
Pennsylvania ...:     42             6            19            32     
South Dakota ...:     16             5            13            27     
Tennessee ......:     77            53            66            86     
Texas ..........:     70            77            78            75     
Wisconsin ......:      4             4            10            20     
18 States ......:     21            22            35            43     

Corn Condition - Selected States: Week Ending August 24, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013
planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Colorado .......:     1           5          23          51          20    
Illinois .......:     1           3          14          52          30    
Indiana ........:     1           5          21          51          22    
Iowa ...........:     2           5          18          51          24    
Kansas .........:     6          10          30          42          12    
Kentucky .......:     5          13          23          47          12    
Michigan .......:     2           7          19          55          17    
Minnesota ......:     1           5          23          58          13    
Missouri .......:     -           2          15          48          35    
Nebraska .......:     3           6          20          51          20    
North Carolina .:     4          11          24          44          17    
North Dakota ...:     1           4          17          56          22    
Ohio ...........:     1           4          20          53          22    
Pennsylvania ...:     1           3          16          47          33    
South Dakota ...:     2           5          21          59          13    
Tennessee ......:     -           4          19          53          24    
Texas ..........:     1           5          29          48          17    
Wisconsin ......:     3           8          21          47          21    
18 States ......:     2           5          20          52          21    
Previous week ..:     2           6          20          51          21    
Previous year ..:     4          10          27          44          15    

Soybeans Setting Pods - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 24,  : August 17,  : August 24,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas .......:     88            87            94            91     
Illinois .......:     82            89            94            88     
Indiana ........:     87            90            94            87     
Iowa ...........:     81            88            94            93     
Kansas .........:     70            63            78            75     
Kentucky .......:     64            63            72            79     
Louisiana ......:     97            94            97            98     
Michigan .......:     91            87            92            92     
Minnesota ......:     83            85            92            92     
Mississippi ....:     94            85            91            98     
Missouri .......:     63            70            82            73     
Nebraska .......:     93            89            95            94     
North Carolina .:     52            54            69            67     
North Dakota ...:     91            88            94            96     
Ohio ...........:     91            80            91            92     
South Dakota ...:     89            81            93            93     
Tennessee ......:     75            75            84            87     
Wisconsin ......:     73            79            88            87     
18 States ......:     82            83            90            89     

Soybean Condition - Selected States: Week Ending August 24, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Arkansas .......:     2          10          26          42          20    
Illinois .......:     1           3          18          55          23    
Indiana ........:     1           4          26          52          17    
Iowa ...........:     2           5          20          51          22    
Kansas .........:     3          10          39          40           8    
Kentucky .......:     4          11          27          47          11    
Louisiana ......:     1           2          13          59          25    
Michigan .......:     3           8          26          50          13    
Minnesota ......:     2           6          26          56          10    
Mississippi ....:     -           4          17          52          27    
Missouri .......:     -           4          20          55          21    
Nebraska .......:     2           5          22          53          18    
North Carolina .:     1           3          25          56          15    
North Dakota ...:     1           4          20          59          16    
Ohio ...........:     1           5          21          58          15    
South Dakota ...:     2           5          22          57          14    
Tennessee ......:     1           4          20          58          17    
Wisconsin ......:     1           6          24          49          20    
18 States ......:     2           5          23          52          18    
Previous week ..:     1           5          23          54          17    
Previous year ..:     3          10          29          46          12    

Monday August 25 Ag News

UNL Stored Grain Webinar Sept. 12

Harvest is just around the corner and grain storage preparations can help protect your stored crop.  A regional webinar, Stored Grain Integrated Pest Management, will be held Friday, Sept. 12, from 10 a.m. to noon to provide information on integrated pest management (IPM) strategies for stored grain.  The webinar will include:
-    Biology and identification of key stored grain pests; basics of IPM for stored grain; proper fumigation—issues and challenges with Tom Phillips, Professor of Entomology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
-    Prevention of grain infestation: residual insecticides available and their proper application; strategic use of aeration for grain cooling and pest suppression with Frank Arthur, research entomologist, USDA ARS, Manhattan, Kan.
-   IPM for corn and other products in the upper Midwest: issues and challenges with grain drying and cooling; pest management for animal feed, ethanol and value-processed food with Linda Mason, professor of entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

There will be a live question and answer period following the presentations. Instructional materials will be provided via internet links.  Pre-registration is required. Go to to register.  Participation will be limited to the first 200 computers. Hosting of viewing sites locally by Extension, government agencies, and private industry is encouraged. This webinar will be archived for later viewing if you cannot attend this date and time.

Water: Making every drop count

Nebraska’s diverse landscape progresses from lush, fertile crop ground in the east to the temperate Sandhills in the west. This change in scenery is attributed in large part to differences in the amount of rainfall and the water available to grow a variety of crops. Thanks to innovative agricultural practices, Nebraska corn and soybean farmers are making every drop of water count.

Since rainfall varies so much across the state, many farmers depend on irrigation during the summer months to help supplement moisture deficiencies. To help put the variation into perspective, the amount of rainfall changes more from Omaha to Scottsbluff than it does from Washington D.C. to Omaha.

Water for Food

Three quarters of the planet is covered by water; but less than one percent of the water on earth is available for human use. Water is critically important to farmers and ranchers. In fact, 70 percent of the water available to humans worldwide is used to produce food. Nebraska farmers irrigate nearly 8.5 million acres, more than any other state in the country. And new tools are allowing farmers to use water more efficiently, ensuring clean water for future generations.

“We know that many consumers have questions about the water it takes to grow crops like corn and soybeans,” said Drew Guiney, consumer relations specialist for the Nebraska Soybean Board. “We want people to know that farmers need water, but they’re also dedicated to continuing to improve their practices to ensure a clean, plentiful supply for generations to come.”

Smart Water

The purpose of irrigation is to supplement rainfall as needed. Many farmers are now adopting technologies that allow them to use less water. By pulling local weather data and installing water sensors in their fields, farmers can know not only when it’s time to irrigate, but also exactly how much water should be applied. Sustainable technologies like these are helping farmers produce more grain while using fewer resources and helping to keep the water supply clean and plentiful for you and your family.

Some of these technologies include the SoyWater and CornWater Irrigation Management Tools released by University of Nebraska-Lincoln. These programs are online, real-time decision support tools that help farmers determine when to irrigate fields in Nebraska. Both programs were developed with the help of the Nebraska Soybean Board and the Nebraska Corn Board. 

To make irrigation recommendations, these tools evaluate several situations in the real-time, such as available soil water at different soil depths and possible water stress based on up-to-date weather data. Other factors include user-input crop information (including date of planting, hybrid maturity, plant population), and basic soil properties (including soil texture, soil water status at planting time, soil rooting depth, and soil surface residue coverage rate).

“Just as farmers adopted the use of pivots and sub-surface drip versus flood irrigation to increase efficiencies, they are now taking the next steps in conservation tillage, water mark sensors, and online decision support tools to continue in their quest to maximize the amount of yield per drop”, stated Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director for the Nebraska Corn Board.  “Farmers see this adoption of technology as just a step in their sustainability of producing corn and soybeans for food, feed, fuel and fiber.”

Tomorrow's Crop Scouts Compete

UNL Extension is pleased to announce six teams from across Nebraska competed in the first annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth. It was held in at the ARDC near Mead August 6.  Teams of students (having completed 7th-12th grades) completed a written knowledge test and eight crop scouting exercises in field plots.

The purpose of the competition was to provide students an opportunity
-    to learn crop scouting and principles of integrated pest management (IPM) for corn and soybeans in Nebraska,
-    to obtain knowledge and skills that will be helpful in future careers and
-    to demonstrate newer crop scouting technologies.

2014 Results
-    First place: Colfax County 4-H (Alex Steffensmeier, Joey & Brad Kratochvil, and Korbin Kudera)
-    Second place: Ashland-Greenwood FFA (Samantha Teten, Claire Thomas, and Jared Stander)
-    Third place: Amherst FFA (Jacob Klingelhoefer, Brandt Florell, Kalen Klingelhoefer, Ty Hadwiger and Marissa Kegley)
-    Fourth place: Pawnee City FFA (Brooke Bowhay, Clayton Branek and Hayden Meyer)

Also participating were the Eustis-Farnam (Collin Thompson, Garhett Nielsen, Jordan Bischoff and Matthew Blender)  and Mead FFA (Lynn and Don Hanson, Margaret Johnson, and Kaitlynn Hunt) chapters.

Prizes awards to the top-scoring teams were: $500 for first, $300 for second, $250 for third and $100 for fourth place.  Teams were expected to know the basics of scouting corn and soybean fields. This included crop staging; looking for patterns of crop injury; disease, insect and weed seedling identification; etc.

This program was sponsored by DuPont Pioneer and UNL Extension.


USDA offices in Madison County will be consolidating into a new office located at 2601 Lakeridge Drive, Norfolk, Neb. The move will begin August 27, and the new office will be open for business Sept. 4, 2014.

Offices impacted include the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Battle Creek and Rural Development (RD) and the NRCS Water Quality Team in Norfolk. On Sept. 4, all of these employees will be located at the Lakeridge Drive location in Norfolk and may be reached at (402) 371-5350.

Limited office operations will be available Aug. 27 – Sept. 3 while employees move offices.  Regular business is anticipated to resume on Sept. 4.

Local USDA staff has been working to ensure the transition goes smoothly. For the past several months, USDA staff at both office locations have been notifying customers of the office move.

An Open House will be held in the future and the public will be invited to see the new office space. For more information about USDA visit

AG Sack Lunch Program Kicks Off Fifth Year Telling the State’s Fourth-Graders about Agriculture’s Importance to Nebraska

Nebraska’s fourth-graders once again can enjoy a free sack lunch and a fact-filled presentation about Nebraska agriculture, thanks to the Ag Sack Lunch Program. The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB), the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) and the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) are sponsoring the program for the fifth year.

Since its beginning in the 2010-11 school year, the program has shared its agriculture-centered message and a free lunch with a total of nearly 20,000 Nebraska fourth-graders. The program is designed to educate Nebraska fourth-graders—and by extension their parents— in a fun way about how important agriculture is to the state’s economy.

Reservations for the 2014-2015 school year are limited to 5,000 students on a first-come-first served basis. These spots fill up quickly, according to event coordinators, who urge teachers to sign up their classes as soon as possible, even if they don’t have firm schedules yet for their State Capitol visit. It is especially important that teachers wanting to bring their classes for the first time register quickly, they said, since many teachers have been bringing their classes back every year of the program’s existence.

Teachers can register their classes online at

More than 20,000 fourth-graders visit the State Capitol in Lincoln each year as part of their state-mandated curriculum. The Ag Sack Lunch Program uses these visits as an opportunity to reach participating classes with its informative agriculture-centered message.   

Letters of invitation will be sent in early September to fourth-grade teachers in about 660 elementary schools across 44 counties in the eastern third of Nebraska, the classes most likely to make the Lincoln trip. A primary objective is to help students from urban areas develop a better understanding of how agriculture impacts their daily lives.

In addition to the free sack lunches, each student receives a card game full of farm-related facts to take home and play with their families. Many teachers use the game in classroom settings, as well.

The presentations, which last about 20 minutes, teach students about the vital role agriculture plays in the state’s economy. Presentation leaders are “Ag Ambassadors,” University of Nebraska-Lincoln students trained specifically to conduct these sessions. All come from farming backgrounds, and are enthusiastic about agriculture.

Among the facts the Ag Ambassadors tell students is that one in three jobs in Nebraska have some connection to agriculture, including equipment manufacturing and sales, building construction, transportation and supermarket retailers. Students also learn that Nebraska ranks first in the country in cattle production, sixth in pork production, and that over one-third of Nebraska-produced grain is fed to livestock within the state.

"Over its first four years, the Ag Sack Lunch Program has been successful in helping our fourth-graders understand where their food comes from and how Nebraska’s farm production methods help protect the environment while ensuring food safety and promoting animal health,” says Victor Bohuyslavsky, NSB executive director. “Participating teachers continue to tell us how their students learn so much from the presentations.” he says.

The NPPA also sees the Ag Lunch Program as reaching students effectively in a relaxed environment. “Since the kids come to Lincoln to tour the State Capitol anyway, it’s a great time to reach them with our message,” says Kyla Wize, the organization’s youth leadership and events specialist.

Teachers whose classes participated in the 2013-14 school year, voiced strong support for the program and its effectiveness in communicating its message to their fourth-graders.

“This is a great program,” says Bonnie Andrews, teacher at St. Mary’s School in David City. “I’m a teacher, but also a farmer and the facts given to the students are great. Keep up the awesome work.”

Lori Elder, fourth-grade teacher at Omaha’s Wilson Focus School, agrees. “We’ve been to the Capitol in the past, but we hadn’t done the Ag Sack Lunch program before. It was awesome? I loved how the lunch went along with the information the Ag Ambassadors shared. Very educational and engaging.”

Students learned how important farming is to Nebraska, according to Shawne Nelson, Yutan Elementary School in Yutan. “Students were very pumped up with Nebraska pride about

Larry Sitzman, NPPA executive director, says the Ag Sack Lunch Program has been exceptionally successful in reaching students with the message that agriculture is important to all of us. “This program allows us to reach students with the truth about the dedication of Nebraska farmers to providing safe, healthy food for us and the world.”

Heineman Provides Ag Update, Promotes Ag Internationally & Discusses State Fair

Today, Gov. Dave Heineman and Greg Ibach, Director of the Department of Agriculture, highlighted several positive activities within the agriculture sector, including a new ag building being featured at Nebraska’s State Fair and recent international export efforts for Nebraska commodities.

“Today, our state’s agriculture industry is more vibrant and active than ever,” Gov. Heineman said. “The Nebraska State Fair is booming. Livestock development is expanding and exports continue to increase.”

Gov. Heineman added, “With more than a quarter of our economy rooted in agriculture, it’s appropriate that Nebraskans take note of recent activities that continue to strengthen our ag sector.”

Weekend crowds at the Nebraska State Fair were able to enjoy learning about agriculture at the new Raising Nebraska exhibit space at the Nebraska Building. The 25,000-foot space features interactive educational experiences to help answer consumer questions about how their food and fuel is raised. Governor Heineman visited the Raising Nebraska exhibit space while attending the fair on Friday.

“Historically, the Nebraska State Fair has been a celebration of agriculture, and this new feature really highlights that point,” Gov. Heineman said. “I am proud that Raising Nebraska represents the collective efforts of the University of Nebraska, the Department of Agriculture, our commodity groups and agribusinesses.”

Director Ibach said recent livestock development activity is a positive sign that farmers and agribusinesses recognize the ongoing opportunities in the state.

“Nebraska agriculture is on the move. Recent swine and dairy barn openings represent added value to our raw commodities and livestock volume to support our processors. We are looking forward to continuing this momentum,” Dir. Ibach said.

Governor Heineman also highlighted Nebraska’s ongoing agricultural efforts in international markets. The Department of Agriculture recently has hosted international visitors as part of its ongoing work to brand Nebraska agriculture goods in the foreign marketplace. Customers from both Germany and England spent time in the past month meeting with the Governor and state agriculture leaders, touring farms, ranches and processors to gain an understanding of the state’s beef production sector.

“They are taking back promotional materials, such as photos, videos and stories from their visits,” Dir. Ibach said. “They leave for home saying, ‘This is exactly the kind of information our customers want to see and hear.’”

One customer from England began visiting Nebraska five years ago, after receiving an initial shipment of Nebraska beef into his high-end steakhouse restaurant, Goodman, in London. He has brought members of his restaurant team back annually and increased his purchase of Nebraska beef steadily since then.

Nebraska’s beef exports to Europe have increased significantly over the past five years, from about $41 million in 2009 to $132.6 million last year.

Sorghum Field Days to Showcase Hybrid Performance

The 2014 Sorghum Field Days will be held at five sites in September: Trenton, Sterling, Hazard/Litchfield, Orleans, and Farwell.

Field performance of leading hybrids, new market opportunities, and production practices are among the topics to be included on the program. The field stops include a plot tour with management information from the field cooperator; sorghum seed representatives will be available to share hybrid information.  A meal/program will follow the field tour. The program, which will vary by location, will include ethanol plant representatives discussing new market opportunities and sorghum checkoff representatives providing an update on research and market development projects. Ag West Commodities is scheduled to provide a market outlook at the Trenton location.

Schedule and Directions

-    September 3, 5:30 p.m. at Trenton, Mike Baker Farm, 4 miles north of Trenton to Rd 719; go west 1 mile, then south ½ mile, and west, again, ½ mile
-    September 4, 5:30 p.m. at Sterling, Jim Erickson Farm, Located between Ada.m.s and Bennet on Hwy 43; turn West on Pella Road (Pella Church) and go 1 mile.
-    September 16, 11 a.m. at Hazard/Litchfield, Seth Kucera and Bob Reissland Farms, From Hazard, go 2¼ miles north on County Road WPA Sherman Avenue to plot sign at the field on the right
-    September 17, 11 a.m. at Orleans (dryland & irrigated), Duane Vorderstrasse and James Dunlay Farms, From Orleans, go 1¼ miles northwest on Hwy 136, turn right onto County Road at the plot sign
-    September 18, 11 a.m. at Farwell (dryland & irrigated), John Dvoracek Farm, Off of Hwy 92 at west edge of Farwell, go 2 miles north on Salem, 1 mile west on 15th Avenue, and ¾ mile north on Tilden; turn left into field at plot sign at bridge

Participating seed companies include Alta Seed, Arrow Seed, Channel Seed, Dekalb, Dyna-Gro, Fontanelle, Gayland Ward Seed, NuTech Seed, Pioneer, Richardson Seed, and Sorghum Partners.

Planning and coordination of the event is sponsored by the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board, Nebraska Grain Sorghum Producers Association, Abengoa Bioenergy, Servi-Tech, United Sorghum Checkoff Progra.m., and allied industry.

Nebraska Farmers Union PAC Says Mark Sullivan is the Strongest Voice for Agriculture and Nebraska in the Third Congressional District

NEBFARMPAC, the political action committee of the Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska’s second largest general farm organization with over 6,000 farm and ranch families announced its unanimous endorsement of Mark Sullivan for Congress in the Third District.

The NEBFARMPAC Board of Directors issued the following statement:

“Agriculture is the largest single industry in our state.  So goes agriculture, so goes Nebraska’s economy and fiscal condition.  The Third Congressional District is one of the top agricultural based Congressional District in the nation.  We think it is high time to send a “hands on” farmer, livestock producer, and cattle feeder to Congress, who understands agriculture, is passionate about agriculture, can communicate about the importance of agriculture, and has the ability to work with everyone to get things done for agriculture and Nebraska.”

“The last Farm Bill process should serve as a wake-up call for agriculture, rural communities, and the state as a whole.  For the first time in history, Congress not only allowed the Farm Bill to expire without Congressional reauthorization, it did so twice.”

“Our state is in a marginal rainfall area that is facing increasing weather volatility.  The Third District must have a Farm Bill that has a strong income safety net and crop insurance for grain producers, strong livestock disaster programs for livestock producers, strong conservation programs, and rural development programs that serves the needs of rural communities.  Growing crops and raising livestock in Nebraska is a mighty risky business that will likely get more risky in the years ahead.  The House of Representatives in particular needs new rural voices to more effectively communicate the needs of rural Nebraska and rural America. There is a good reason why the latest voter job approval rating for Congress is only 14%.”

“Mark Sullivan is an experienced and well respected farmer and cattle feeder.  He knows and understands the wide and diverse range of issues and challenges facing production agriculture and livestock production.  Mark is honest, hardworking, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and a pragmatic problem solver.  He knows how to get things done by working with people.  He is also not tied to any ideologically extreme groups dedicated to dismantling farm programs or renewable energy incentives.  Mark is a military veteran.  We think that is a very important qualification.”

NEBFARMPAC Secretary John Hansen said “Our NEBFARMPAC Board felt very strongly that agriculture and rural Nebraska would be well served to send one of our own respected farmers to Congress to represent and fight for our agricultural and rural interests. Mark Sullivan is the right person at this point in time to send to Washington, D.C. to represent our agricultural and rural interests.  Who better knows the needs and interests of agriculture than a hands-on farmer?  Who better knows the needs of veterans than a veteran?”

Iowa Ag Water Alliance to accelerate pace, scale of water quality improvement

Accelerating the pace and scale of quantifiable water quality improvements in Iowa is the mission of the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) launched today by agricultural and environmental stakeholders at a news conference in Des Moines.

Created and funded by Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Pork Producers Association, the alliance ( will increase farmer awareness of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and their adoption of science-based practices proven to have environmental benefits.

Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp participated in the announcement held at the Iowa State Capitol. They recognized the critical role farmers play in the strategy’s success and the role IAWA will serve in facilitating their engagement and participation.

“Farmers are problem solvers and they rise to any challenge,” Branstad said. “Iowa’s approach to positively impacting water quality as established in the nutrient reduction strategy is unprecedented nationally in both its scope and scale. The alliance will generate additional momentum to the benefit of all Iowans, rural and urban.”

The non-profit alliance is headquartered at the Iowa Soybean Association in Ankeny. It’s governed by a board of directors chaired by ISA CEO Kirk Leeds. Craig Floss, Iowa Corn CEO, serves as vice chair while Rich Degner, Iowa Pork Producers CEO, serves as secretary-treasurer. Additional board members will be added.

“A simplistic, regulatory scheme will not improve water quality nor will another marketing campaign touting the importance of farming,” Leeds said. “Serious matters demand a serious approach and farmers are committed to achieving results. The IAWA is one more example of their readiness to invest private resources to make a real and meaningful impact.”

Organization leaders say the alliance will leverage private partnerships and investments to ramp up public support. The nutrient reduction strategy, they say, is still in its early implementation and private support is critical to boost long-term investments and progress.

Sean McMahon will serve as IAWA executive director. He lives in Cumming, Iowa and presently directs The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) North America Agriculture Program. He also served as state director of the Iowa Chapter of TNC and prior to that, directed national land stewardship campaigns with the National Wildlife Federation.

McMahon said he relishes the opportunity to serve, adding that the effort will take time and many partners and collaborators to achieve the necessary reductions in nutrient loss at the scale that’s needed.

“I welcome the opportunity to lead such a unique and important effort because I care deeply about Iowa’s natural resources and improving our water quality for current and future generations of Iowans,” said McMahon, who will begin his role with IAWA Sept.15. “Iowa producers have a crucial role to play in helping meet the growing domestic and international demand for food, feed, fiber and fuel and they can do so in an increasingly sustainable manner.

“I look forward to drawing upon my experiences and relationships in both the agricultural and environmental communities to help make significant improvements in Iowa’s water quality.”

One of McMahon’s first responsibilities will be to hire additional IAWA staff including a program-project manager and communications manager. In addition to increasing awareness of the nutrient strategy and increasing the adoption rate of conservation practices, the team will:
·         Enhance understanding by the public and key decision makers about the needed flexibility in addressing nonpoint nutrient sources impacting water quality;
·         Support Iowa State University and other committed partners in developing environmental performance metrics and measurements supported by credible data; and
·         Securing significant funding from public and private sources to accomplish the IAWA’s mission and goals.

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy approved last year is a science-based initiative to reduce nitrate and phosphorous loads in Iowa waterways from point and nonpoint sources by 45 percent.

Peterson Announces New Agriculture Committee Staff

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson today announced that Matt MacKenzie, Evan Jurkovich and Mike Stranz have joined the House Agriculture Committee Minority staff.

“A knowledgeable, experienced staff is important to the work we do on the House Agriculture Committee,” Peterson said. “These new hires will allow us to keep a close eye on USDA’s implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill, address regulatory concerns impacting our farmers and ranchers and continue the Committee’s work to reauthorize the CFTC. I welcome Matt, Evan and Mike to the Committee.”

Matt MacKenzie, Counsel: Matt joins the Committee from the office of Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, where he worked as counsel, focusing on financial services, budget and tax issues. He also served as a legislative assistant to former Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn. Matt received his law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and earned a B.A. in political science from St. Olaf College. He is a native of Montana.

Evan Jurkovich, Professional Staff:
Evan comes to the Committee from the office of Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, where he most recently served as Senior Policy Advisor on issues including energy, environment, agriculture, transportation, infrastructure, science/technology, small business, FEMA, animal welfare and telecommunications. He holds a B.S. in Politics and a B.A. in journalism from Drake University and is pursuing a M.S. in energy policy and climate from Johns Hopkins University. Evan is a native of Minnesota

Mike Stranz, Professional Staff: Mike joins the Committee from National Farmers Union where he served as a Senior Government Relations Representative, developing strategies to implement the organization’s policies on a broad portfolio of agriculture issues. Mike served a similar role at Wisconsin Farmers Union. He holds a B.S. in International Agriculture and Natural Resources: Agricultural Journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Mike is a native of Wisconsin

Brazil's Soy Area To Grow Despite Price Slide

Brazilian farmers are fretting about the prospects of the upcoming soybean harvest with futures indicating the lowest prices in four years.  But the prospect of tight or non-existent margins won't be enough to stop the momentum of soybeans, the driver behind the impressive growth in Brazilian agriculture over the last decade.  Local analysts believe 2014-15 soybean area will actually grow, by around 4% to about 77 million acres.

That dynamic can be seen most clearly in Brazil's frontier regions. Buoyed by healthy soybean prices since 2011, farmers have converted large swathes of pasture to soybean production in eastern Mato Grosso, Piaui, Tocantins, Maranhao and most recently Para. Conversion takes two-to-three years and so area cleared in 2011 and 2012 will start coming on line this year.  That's a significant driver to the forecast three-million-acre-plus growth in area when planting starts next month.

For those renting land, soybean margins promise to be thin or even negative in Mato Grosso next year. But for those planting on their own land, there is at least some money to be made.  In Sorriso, the state's biggest grain district, planting soybeans offers a margin of R$465 per hectare ($83 per acre), ex-rental costs, according to local consultancy AgRural. That's half the rate registered in 2013-14 but still a profit of 24% over operating costs. And margins will be substantially larger in the south, where logistics are better.

Futures indicate the Brazilian real will fall by 6% between now and March, which would bolster prices for beans. And with the country in the middle of a presidential election, the real could drop even lower at certain moments.

Further good news for the 2014-15 crop comes in the form of the return of El Nino weather phenomenon after a two year absence.  Generally, the phenomenon causes irregular spring showers, which may delay planting, but promotes good summer rains in the south and is seen as a net positive for crops.  As a result, analysts believe summer soybean yields will rise next season, pushing output to around 10% higher than the 86 million metric tons produced last year.

Hormel Reports Record Third Quarter Results

Hormel Foods Corporation, Austin, Minn., reported its performance for the fiscal year 2014 third quarter. All comparisons are to the third quarter of fiscal 2013.

"Our team was able to achieve another quarter of record sales and earnings, with sales up 6% and earnings per share up 21% versus the same quarter a year ago," said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer.

"Strong demand for pork and turkey, and increased sales of value-added products in our Refrigerated Foods, Jennie-O Turkey Store and International & Other segments more than offset a challenging quarter for our Grocery Products and Specialty Foods segments," commented Ettinger. "Our balanced model continues to support consistent revenue and earnings growth."

Grocery Products operating profit decreased 36 percent and total segment sales decreased 3 percent, as our core canned meat and microwave meal franchises were impacted by unusually high input costs and related pricing actions taken earlier this year. SKIPPY peanut butter, HORMEL bacon toppings and the HERDEZ line of products within our MegaMex Foods joint venture delivered volume growth.

Refrigerated Foods segment profit increased 101 percent, and sales increased 12 percent. Results were driven by strong pork operating margins and growth of retail and foodservice value-added products. BLACK LABEL bacon, HORMEL REV snack wraps, LLOYD'S ribs and HORMEL FIRE BRAISED meats experienced sales growth.

Jennie-O Turkey Store segment profit increased 42 percent this quarter and sales were up 4 percent. Increased sales of value-added products along with strong commodity turkey prices and lower feed costs more than offset lower live production performance and higher fuel expenses as the last winter flocks moved through our system this quarter. JENNIE-O ground turkey and JENNIE-O deli products contributed to sales growth during the quarter.

The Specialty Foods segment posted operating profits 25 percent lower than last year with a 10 percent decrease in sales. As expected, lower segment results were largely due to the July 2013 expiration of the agreement allowing Diamond Crystal Brands to sell certain sugar substitutes into foodservice trade channels.

The International & Other segment reported profits up 12 percent and a sales increase of 18 percent. Results were driven by strong growth in our China pork foodservice sales along with the addition of SKIPPY peanut butter in China. SPAM luncheon meat exports were impacted by high input costs.

"Heading into the fourth quarter we will build on the momentum of SKIPPY peanut butter and HORMEL REV snack wraps with advertising campaigns during the back-to-school season," commented Ettinger. "We are excited to enhance our portfolio of leading brands with the addition of MUSCLE MILK premium protein products in the high-growth sports nutrition category."

"We anticipate a strong finish to the year from our Jennie-O Turkey Store segment, aided by beneficial grain markets and growing value-added sales, and from our International & Other and Specialty Foods segments," remarked Ettinger. "The impact of cost pressures in our Grocery Products segment is likely to continue in the fourth quarter, and pork operating margins are not expected to be as beneficial to Refrigerated Foods. Taking all of these factors into account, we expect to finish fiscal 2014 within our previously stated guidance range of $2.17 to $2.27 per share," stated Ettinger.

August 1 Cattle on Feed Report - NE - IA - US - Aug 22


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.16 million cattle on feed on August 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 4 percent from last year.  Placements during July totaled 375,000 head, up 1 percent from 2013.   Fed cattle marketings for the month of July totaled 465,000 head, up 3 percent from last year.   Other disappearance during July totaled 10,000 head, down 10,000 from a year ago.


Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in Iowa for all feedlots totaled 1,080,000 on August 1, 2014, according to the  USDA,  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service,  Iowa  Field  Office.    The  inventory  is  down  6  percent  from July 1, 2014, but unchanged from August 1, 2013.  Feedlots with a capacity greater than 1,000 head had 600,000 head on feed, down 3 percent from last month but up 7 percent from last year.  Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head had 480,000 head on feed, down 9 percent from last month and down 8 percent from last year.

Placements during July totaled 95,000 head, an increase of 1 percent from last month but down 9 percent from last year.  Feedlots with a capacity greater than 1,000 head placed 56,000 head, up 4 percent from last month and up 17 percent from last year.  Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head placed 39,000 head. This is down 2 percent from last month and down 30 percent from last year.

Marketings for July were 160,000 head, up 16 percent from last month and up 17 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity greater  than 1,000 head marketed 74,000 head, up 6 percent from  last month and up 16 percent from  last year.   Feedlots with a capacity  less  than 1,000 head marketed 86,000 head, up 26 percent  from  last month and up 18 percent from last year. Other disappearance totaled 5,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Down 2 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 9.8 million head on August 1, 2014. The inventory was 2 percent below August 1, 2013.

Placements in feedlots during July totaled 1.56 million, 7 percent below 2013. Net placements were 1.50 million head. During July, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 425,000, 600-699 pounds were 260,000, 700-799 pounds were 355,000, and 800 pounds and greater were 520,000. For the month of July placements are the lowest since the series began in 1996.

Marketings of fed cattle during July totaled 1.79 million, 9 percent below 2013. July marketings are the lowest since the series began in 1996. 

Other disappearance totaled 63,000 during July, 2 percent below 2013.

Number of Cattle on Feed on 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots by Month - States and US: 2013 and 2014

                  :                 :                 :               August 1, 2014              
                  :                 :                 :--------------------------------------------
       State      : August 1, 2013  :  July 1, 2014   :              :  Percent of  :  Percent of 
                  :                 :                 :    Number    :previous year :previous month
                  :     -------------- 1,000 head --------------           ----- percent ----     
Arizona ..........:        262               272             262           100             96     
California .......:        515               435             420            82             97     
Colorado .........:        870               870             810            93             93     
Idaho ............:        185               190             185           100             97     
Iowa .............:        560               620             600           107             97     
Kansas ...........:      2,000             1,900           1,900            95            100     
Minnesota ........:        109               122             116           106             95     
Nebraska .........:      2,080             2,260           2,160           104             96     
Oklahoma .........:        285               255             240            84             94     
South Dakota .....:        180               210             190           106             90     
Texas ............:      2,490             2,490           2,470            99             99     
Washington .......:        189               193             189           100             98     
Other States .....:        300               310             295            98             95     
United States ....:     10,025            10,127           9,837            98             97     

No. of Cattle Placed on Feed on 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots by Month - States and US: '13 and '14

                  :              :              :              During July 2014             
                  :    During    :    During    :--------------------------------------------
       State      :  July 2013   :  June 2014   :              :  Percent of  :  Percent of 
                  :              :              :    Number    :previous year :previous month
                  :    ------------ 1,000 head -----------           ----- percent ----     
Arizona ..........:       23             20             23           100            115     
California .......:       57             45             39            68             87     
Colorado .........:      120             95             90            75             95     
Idaho ............:       39             26             37            95            142     
Iowa .............:       48             54             56           117            104     
Kansas ...........:      425            315            400            94            127     
Minnesota ........:        9             15             10           111             67     
Nebraska .........:      370            375            375           101            100     
Oklahoma .........:       45             37             32            71             86     
South Dakota .....:       19             31             20           105             65     
Texas ............:      450            370            410            91            111     
Washington .......:       41             37             37            90            100     
Other States .....:       38             35             31            82             89     
United States ....:    1,684          1,455          1,560            93            107     

Number of Cattle Marketed on 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots by Month - States and US: '13 and '14

                  :              :              :              During July 2014             
                  :    During    :    During    :--------------------------------------------
       State      :  July 2013   :  June 2014   :              :  Percent of  :  Percent of 
                  :              :              :    Number    :previous year :previous month
                  :    ------------ 1,000 head -----------           ----- percent ----     
Arizona ..........:       27             22             26            96            118     
California .......:       55             40             47            85            118     
Colorado .........:      165            150            145            88             97     
Idaho ............:       48             39             41            85            105     
Iowa .............:       64             70             74           116            106     
Kansas ...........:      430            420            390            91             93     
Minnesota ........:       24             15             15            63            100     
Nebraska .........:      450            500            465           103             93     
Oklahoma .........:       64             46             46            72            100     
South Dakota .....:       37             45             39           105             87     
Texas ............:      510            420            415            81             99     
Washington .......:       54             44             40            74             91     
Other States .....:       42             36             44           105            122     
United States ....:    1,970          1,847          1,787            91             97     

USDA Cold Storage Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers were up slightly from the previous month but down 10 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 21 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 2 percent from the previous month and down 3 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 23 percent from last month but up 130 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on July 31, 2014 were up 7 percent from the previous month but down 14 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 8 percent from the previous month but down 13 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 7 percent from last month but down 16 percent from July 31, 2013.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on July 31, 2014 were up slightly from the previous month but down 8 percent from July 31, 2013.  Butter stocks were down 9 percent from last month and down 42 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were up 21 percent from last month but down 6 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 16 percent from last month and up 6 percent from a year ago.

Friday August 22 Ag News

Pro Farmer 2014 Corn, Soybean Crop Estimates
Pro Farmer pegs 2014 U.S. corn crop at 14.093 billion bu.; Average yield of 169.3 bu. per acre
+/- 1% = 14.233 billion bu. to 13.952 billion bu.; 171.0 bu. to 167.6 bu. per acre

Pro Farmer pegs 2014 U.S. soybean crop at 3.812 billion bu.; Average yield of 45.35 bu. per acre
Soybeans +/- 2% = 3.888 billion bu. to 3.736 billion bu.; 46.3 bu. to 44.4 bu. per acre

Note: These estimates are based on assumptions for normal weather through September, which would include a “slow cook” on the corn crop, allowing it to gain the weight needed to reach our estimates. Based on FSA certified acreage data and our observations on Crop Tour, we have decided to leave harvested soybean acres unchanged at 84.058 million and take 600,000 acres off of harvested corn acres — 500,000 acres off North Dakota and 100,000 off Minnesota — bringing it to 83.239 million acres.


Nebraska: 171.5 bu. per acre. A May frost hurt the irrigated corn in Nebraska, leading to too many plant skips. But dryland corn planted later in the year missed out on the event and helped pull up the bottom end of yields, similar to last year.

Iowa: 183 bu. per acre. Lush fields with strong yield prospects in the west contrast with too-dry fields in the east. Excessive rain early in the season created some holes and emergence issues in some areas. Nevertheless, the Iowa corn crop is expected to be solid.

South Dakota: 140 bu. per acre. The state has an average corn crop. The unknown is whether corn in the east-central and northeastern areas can pull the average yield up.

Ohio: 187 bu. per acre. The only thing bad we have to say about the crop is that it’s immature. But if the Ohio crop is nipped by an early frost, the whole Corn Belt is likely in trouble as the state is sheltered by the Great Lakes. The crop is consistently good.

Indiana: 193 bu. per acre. If Illinois’ crop wasn’t so outstanding, we could make a case Indiana has the best crop we’ve ever seen. It should have no trouble getting to the finish.

Illinois: 198 bu. per acre. We saw what can happen when conditions are ideal throughout the growing season in this state. The crop is massive and should have no trouble holding onto yield potential into harvest.

Minnesota: 160 bu. per acre. Nitrogen deficiency is a problem and there is evidence of heavy early-season rains in the state. Thirty days without rain also took the top end off the crop.


Nebraska: 51 bu. per acre. This state knows how to grow beans and maturity was not as big of a concern this year. Water hemp was a major problem in the state, however, which could draw down yields.

Iowa: 49.5 bu. per acre. There is variability in pod counts across the state, with the eastern half holding down the yield potential. Western Iowa beans look really good and could push the state back to 50 bu. per acre.

South Dakota: 40 bu. per acre. It would be nice to get to Oct. 10 without a frost to allow the healthy bean crop to realize its full potential. Right now, it’s an average crop.

Ohio: 50 bu. per acre. We measured the highest pod counts in the Corn Belt here, though maturity lagged slightly. The crop is healthy, especially now that some rainfall has been added to the mix.

Indiana: 52 bu. per acre. There were minor health issues with the crop, including isolated instances of SDS. But maturity is right on pace and pod counts are strong.

Illinois: 54 bu. per acre. The bean crop looked just as impressive as the corn crop. Beans were uniform and tall, though there was some variability when it came to pod counts. We expect a record-large yield for the state. There was some minor SDS in the crop, but this is certainly not a deal breaker.

Minnesota: 41.5 bu. per acre. It’s an average Minnesota bean crop. With rain during Crop Tour and more expected in late August, the risk is that Minnesota bean yields could improve by mid-September.

Next Grain Marketing/Risk Mgt. Breakfast is Sept. 3rd

The quarterly Big Red Grain Marketing and Risk Management Breakfast is scheduled for Wednesday, September 3rd at the ARDC/Extension Office. Breakfast is served from 7:45-8:15 a.m. compliments of the Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization and the Saunders County Corn Growers Association. 

The program will feature a presentation from Allan Vynalek, UNL Extension Educator. His topic is entitled:  Farmland Leases for ’15 – is the roller coaster heading a different direction?

Our second speaker is Jeff MacKenzie, Consultant, MacKenzie Marketing Research. Mr. MacKenzie provides grain market analyzes for numerous crop input companies. He will share his grain market and economic forecast.

For food preparation purposes, please call in a reservation at 402-624-8030 by noon on September 2.

Upper Big Blue NRD Board Approved Rules Changes Regarding Temporary Stay on Well Drilling

The Upper Big Blue NRD Board of Directors approved the motion to enact changes to the District’s Rule 5 in relation to the temporary 180-day stay in well drilling in sub-areas.  The stay was used as a “time-out” to assess water availability regarding the Villages of Dwight and Brainard.  The two villages expressed concern over the future viability of their water supply and the impact that surrounding irrigation wells have on their municipal wells’ ability to pump water for citizens.  Municipal concerns, along with drought conditions experienced during 2012 and 2013, prompted the temporary stay.  The stay will be lifted in October.

By statute, NRDs have the authority to put an immediate temporary stay on well drilling.  During the 180-day stay, the NRD board and staff members reviewed data in the sub-areas, further researched possible solutions and alternatives to alleviate concerns within these areas, and developed a common-sense regulatory approach to help mitigate current and future issues regarding water quantity and quality in the affected areas of the District.

New Rules for High Risk Groundwater Area 

The new rules adopted by the Board for the High Risk Groundwater Area include the following:  New high capacity wells (wells that pump more than 50 gpm) must be at least 1,250 feet from existing high capacity wells, including wells with the same ownership.  New high capacity wells must be at least 1,250 feet from existing domestic wells under different ownership.  New high capacity wells must be at least two miles from existing municipal wells.  No more than one high capacity well may exist on a tract of land consisting of eighty acres or less, with no more than two wells per one-hundred sixty acres.  Existing wells may be replaced. Municipal Users shall have adopted an administrative procedure that allows the Municipal User to require water conservation practices and restrict the water use of its customers.  New or replacement domestic water wells shall be constructed to such a depth that they are less likely to be affected by seasonal water level declines caused by other water wells in the same area.  Regulations for the remainder of the District were not changed.

In Other News

The Upper Big Blue NRD Board passed the motion to “Prioritize Ayars & Ayars, Inc., (Lincoln), as the first design-build firm to negotiate with for a contract for the design, schedule and cost of the new NRD headquarters facilities; and further to negotiate with JLC Inc., (York), and Schemmer Associates, Inc., (Omaha), if negotiations with Ayars & Ayars are unsuccessful.”  The Upper Big Blue NRD has purchased land north of the York County Fairgrounds for the site of building the new office and maintenance buildings.  As far as building design, cost, and construction schedules, these are all yet to be conceptualized and discussed further by the Board. 


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Corn stalks and other crop residues provide good winter feed.  Adding cover crops to them can sometimes make them even better.  Getting them established can be tricky, though.

               Corn stalks and bean stubble are some of the least expensive winter feeds we have.  But once cattle finish eating grain and husks from corn or licking up pods from beans, what remains isn’t very good.

               Some growers have improved both the amount and quality of corn and bean residue by flying cover crop seed onto standing corn or beans.  When successful, cover crops provide more grazing days and extra protein when residues become poor quality.

               Let me emphasize the words ‘when successful’.  It’s not all that easy to get a good stand of cover crops to become productive in a growing corn or bean field.

               Several factors limit success rates.  Herbicide carryover can cause problems.  Time of planting is critical to get sunlight to new seedlings.  Seed into beans just before leaves start to drop.  In corn, wait until plants dry up to the ear.  And the earlier these crops can be harvested, the better, for cover crop growth.

               Don’t be cheap with moisture.  Usually it takes about three irrigations or equivalent rainfall to be successful.

               Cover crop selection is very important.  Only use firm, dense seeds like spring barley, cereal rye, turnip, and radish that don’t require much depth of seeding.  Avoid large seeds like peas or complex, expensive cocktails.

               Lastly is wheel traffic at harvest.  Turnips and radishes are damaged more than grasses, but both lose stand if fields get muddy.

               I like improving corn stalks or bean stubble with cover crops.  But there are challenges, and try to find ways to overcome them.

Ag Bankers to Gather in Omaha to Ponder Future Economy

In recent years, the agricultural economy has seen the best of times, but what's around the corner? Is the great farm boom of the 21st century coming to an end? That's what the nation's leading experts in ag lending will gather to discuss in Omaha, Neb. this November. The American Bankers Association National Agricultural Bankers Conference -- now in its 62nd year -- will be held at the Hilton Omaha and Century Link Center Nov. 9-12.

This year's event, "Big Times Demand Big Data," will help bankers become more effective lenders in a changing and perhaps turbulent agricultural economy. Attendees will have unmatched access to industry experts, academics and peers willing to share strategies for success.

A highlight of the conference this year will be an interactive session with "alpha pup farmers" conducted by Dr. David Kohl, professor emeritus, agricultural and applied economics at Virginia Tech. Alpha pups are young, successful farmers and ranchers who will dominate U.S. agriculture over the next fifty years. ABA will chart the progress of these young farmers over the next several decades, and will invite them back to the conference in the future for updates. They will answer questions about their future in farming, how they use technology, how they market their production, what their goals are and how they access capital.

In addition, attendees will hear a keynote address from Dr. Lowell Catlett of New Mexico State University on big data issues facing the agriculture industry. Another conference highlight is a keynote address from president and founder of Stine Seed Company, Harry Stine, who has had success as an innovator, entrepreneur and -- most importantly -- a farmer.

Experts spanning the agricultural spectrum will lead more than 30 sessions including:

-- Turbulent Times Require Better Data: A free pre-conference seminar looking at key components in analyzing ag credits and current observations;
-- The Farmer Decision: ARC or PLC: Academics will provide a decision-making framework for the available crop support programs in the farm bill;
-- Land Values Outlook: Retired Iowa State Economist Mike Duffy will provide an outlook on land values; and
-- Are the Good Times Still Rolling?: Purdue University Economists Jason Henderson and Brent Gloy will connect dots between the past booms in the agricultural economy and the present one.

Registration for the conference is $875 for ABA members and $1,425 for non-members. Special discounts are available for early bird registration before Sept. 5 and attendees from the same organization who register together.

For additional schedule information or to register for the conference, call 1-800-BANKERS or visit

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation's $14 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $11 trillion in deposits and extend nearly $8 trillion in loans.

Iowa State-UNL Partnership Creates Plant Science App for Teachers, Students

            A new app will give high school agri-science teachers a tool for teaching biotechnology to their students.

            "The Journey of a Gene" is the product of a partnership between Iowa State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The project uses the example of soybean and the disease, sudden death syndrome, to illustrate the process of genetic engineering.

            The project began with a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant for more than $5 million titled "Transgenic Approaches to Sudden Death Syndrome in Soybean." ISU scientists Madan Bhattacharyya and Alison Robertson envisioned an extension component that would target agri-science teachers who also lead FFA chapters across the country.

            Bhattacharyya and Robertson thought an app that could be used on a smartphone or tablet would work best for teachers and their students. Robertson was familiar with UNL agronomy professor Don Lee's teaching in genetics and biotechnology, and they partnered with him and UNL's Plant and Soil Science eLibrary to develop and evaluate the app.

            Grace Troupe, one of Lee's graduate students, took the app development on as her master's project.

            She started with UNL and Lincoln programming experts and was led to Crowd Favorite, a small app development company. She used existing Plant and Soil Science eLibrary resources and worked with videographers to capture the work of scientists from UNL and ISU.

            The app, at, shows "the real science behind genetic engineering," Troupe said.

            The Journey of a Gene breaks down the genetic engineering process into four sections in showing how soybeans can be engineered to be resistant to sudden death syndrome. In the video, scientists explain techniques used in the process.

            "We hope the app will capture the attention of youth and educate them in plant biotechnology, which will likely play a key role in the successful second green revolution to feed the ever-growing population in the 21st century," Bhattacharyya said.

            Bhattacharyya added that he hopes exposing students to biotechnology through the app might even encourage some to enter plant science as a career.

            Troupe said the team will be getting feedback from teachers and further refining the app. It will be piloted with college students this fall to see how it changes their attitudes toward genetic engineering, and the app will be used next spring in the Nebraska FFA contest. Troupe also is presenting it in other regional meetings.

            The app gives science teachers a way to present very complicated but critical, science-based information to their students.

            "The reason they don't teach this very much is they feel it's a really difficult subject. They worry about misunderstanding the science," Troupe said. She cited the example of one teacher who used to spend 10 minutes on genetic engineering in class in the past; now, using the app, he wants to do eight full class periods on the topic.

            "These classrooms have our future producers and consumers. They need to understand this technology so they can make better decisions," Troupe said.

            UNL's Plant and Soil Sciences eLibrary produces educational material covering aspects of agriculture ranging from genetics to soil science to agronomic practices. Founded in 1999, the eLibrary is a collaborative project between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Strong Early Results for Beef's Digital Campaign

Millennials initiate more than 5 million online food-related searches each day. What a tremendous opportunity for the beef checkoff’s consumer digital advertising campaign. And just 12 weeks into the new campaign, the results are impressive indeed!

The “Beef. Its What’s For Dinner.” website reached more than 1 million consumers during the first 12 weeks of the campaign; the five “no-recipe recipe” YouTube videos on the site were viewed 1.5 million times; and associated social-media sites hosted a total of 434,000 engagements (likes, comments, shares, re-tweets, and click-thrus to checkoff resources such as recipes).

“Our checkoff’s digital advertising program is where the consumers are, across the entire U.S., ensuring beef’s visibility in the marketplace,” says Terri Carstensen, beef producer from Odebolt, Iowa and chairwoman of the checkoff’s Domestic Consumer Preference Committee. “The exciting part is that we are showing consumers they don’t have to sacrifice taste or nutrition for convenience. We continue to engage consumers during their moments of meal planning, inspiration and decision-making, and results show we’re having an impact and that every interaction matters. Digital/social media is such a great tool because it is available 24/7.”

State beef councils using digital platforms from the national media buys included:  Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. Participating states used digital media, such as Facebook and paid Google search advertising to share positive beef messages with millennials.

The new campaign helps the checkoff get to know beef’s targeted consumers better – like the fact that 80 percent of them eat beef at least once a week and they’re visiting the checkoff-funded “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” site for recipes and beef cooking techniques.

“At the end of the day, the checkoff aims to shift consumers’ perceptions of beef,” says Carstensen. “What the data shows is that 97 percent of consumers have positive opinions about beef after visiting the site. That’s a result to be proud of!”

EPA Sends Renewable Fuels Rule to White House

The National Biodiesel Board released the following statement from Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel today after the EPA sent the proposed final rule for the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to the White House Office of Management and Budget for final review:

“We’re pleased to see the process moving forward and hope the final rule will show that this Administration is standing behind our national goals for clean, domestic fuels that strengthen our economy and national security. We also continue to urge the Administration to finalize the rule as quickly as possible. The original EPA proposal and continued delays have severely disrupted the U.S. biodiesel industry this year. We can begin to reverse that damage with a meaningful increase in the biodiesel volume that is finalized as quickly as possible so that producers can ramp up production in a timely fashion.”

Biodiesel is made from a wide variety of feedstocks including recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats. It is the first and only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel - meaning the EPA has determined that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. Produced in nearly every state in the country, the industry has exceeded RFS requirements in every year of the program, reaching a record U.S. market of nearly 1.8 billion gallons and supporting more than 62,000 jobs nationwide.

In a draft RFS rule released in November, the EPA proposed holding biodiesel volumes at 1.28 billion gallons – a sharp drop from last year’s actual production of nearly 1.8 billion gallons. Biodiesel producers around the country have warned that such a proposal will cause severe contraction in the industry. A nationwide survey of producers conducted by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) in April found that more than half have already idled a plant this year and 78 percent have reduced production from last year. Nearly two-thirds – 66 percent – have already laid off employees or anticipate doing so.

Final 2014 RFS Rule Moves to OMB

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent the final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard Renewable Volume Obligation rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, commented on the development:

“While we have not seen the rule, we hold strong in our belief that EPA and OMB will fulfill President Obama’s commitment to biofuels as a means of greater energy independence, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and wider availability of cost-saving alternative fuels for American consumers. This decision is about more than targets and gallons, it is about a rationale that places highest importance on the long term strength of this country and not the bottom line of oil companies.”

ACE statement on OMB review of 2014 RFS rule

Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol, (ACE) issued the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent over the final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard Renewable Volume Obligation rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review today.

“ACE members are pleased the 2014 RVO is now at OMB for interagency review and we continue to encourage the administration to finalize a rule that allows the RFS to work by incentivizing oil companies to blend above the E10 limit.   Anything short of that turns the keys to the RFS over to the oil companies and puts cellulosic biofuel at risk.   While all stakeholders have waited a long time for the final rule, and it could take another 30 days or more for interagency review, getting the rule done right is far more important than getting it done quickly.”

AFBF Again Urges Court to Restore State Authority in Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

The American Farm Bureau Federation this week asked a federal appellate court in Pennsylvania to reverse a lower court ruling that upheld pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay watershed imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Although restricted to areas surrounding the Chesapeake Bay, the court’s decision could have sweeping effects on states and economic activity across the country. EPA has claimed that its Bay limits were developed in cooperation with the Bay states. But the AFBF brief points out that “if EPA can set federal limits and deadlines in a TMDL, then it can do so with or without state cooperation: that is why 21 State Attorneys General have supported us as amici.”

The appellate court will decide whether EPA has the power to set only the “total” allowable pollutant load for waters, as AFBF and its allies maintain, or also to set individual limits for farming, construction or other activities across the landscape, as EPA claims. AFBF maintains that Congress reserved such land use decision-making exclusively for the states.

According to AFBF, under EPA’s view of its power, “EPA could assign nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment limits for each farm, home site, or even each acre of undeveloped land across the countryside.” Such broad power “amounts to nothing short of federal land use zoning authority, which cannot be squared with Congress’s clear and consistent determination to reserve such authority for the states.”

AFBF also noted that because restoration of the Bay does not depend on the unlawful aspects of the TMDL before the court, cleanup would continue with a court ruling in AFBF’s favor. According to the AFBF brief, a ruling in its favor would not disturb the total pollutant limit set by EPA for each segment of the Bay. In addition, a ruling removing the challenged EPA source limits or “allocations” from the TMDL “would in no way impair the ability of any state to achieve those objectives. It would only allow them the freedom – as Congress intended – to set different allocations and deadlines, if they so choose.”

July Egg Production Up 4 Percent 

United States egg production totaled 8.29 billion during July 2014, up 4 percent from last year. Production included 7.19 billion table eggs, and 1.10 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.03 billion were broiler-type and 74 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during July 2014 averaged 352 million, up 2 percent from last year. July egg production per 100 layers was 2,354 eggs, up 2 percent from July 2013. 

All layers in the United States on August 1, 2014 totaled 353 million, up 2 percent from last year. The 353 million layers consisted of 296 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 53.8 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 2.95 million  layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of  lay per day on August 1, 2014, averaged 75.8 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from August 1, 2013.

IOWA:  Egg  production  in  Iowa  during  July  2014  was  1.28  billion eggs, up 3 percent from last month, and up 3 percent from last year,  according  to  the  latest Chickens  and Eggs  release  from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

The  total  number  of  layers  on  hand  during  July  was 53.9 million, down 1 percent from last month, but up 2 percent from  the  53.1 million  last  year.  Eggs  per  100  layers  for  the month of July were 2,375, up 3 percent from last month, and up 1 percent from 2,343 last year.

Deere to Lay Off 460 on Weak Demand

Deere Co. unveiled another round of layoffs Friday as the company continues to scale back agricultural-equipment production amid weaker demand.

Deere said Friday that it would lay off 460 employees indefinitely at its Waterloo, Iowa operations.

The announcement comes just a week after the company said it would lay off more than 600 factory employees at operations in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas. The company also had said it will also start seasonal and inventory-adjustment shutdowns and temporary layoffs at several of those affected factories.

As of Oct. 31, 2013, Deere had about 67,000 full-time employees.

Earlier this month, the world's largest seller of farm machinery said a slowdown in the farm economy led to lower equipment sales and a notable decline in earnings in the latest quarter.

Tyson Foods to Sponsor College Aggies Online for Second Straight Year

For the second year, the Animal Agriculture Alliance is pleased to welcome Tyson Foods, Inc. as a sponsor of its annual College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship program. CAO, an agriculture outreach and education scholarship competition, will launch September 8, 2014 for the sixth year.  

“The entire Tyson Foods team added so much vivacity, expertise and positivity to the College Aggies Program,” said Alliance Vice President Emily Meredith. “From donating a truckload of protein to the club--Montana State University Collegiate Stockgrowers--that collected the most food during the ‘Give Back’ challenge, to hosting the winners at their Arkansas headquarters, to interacting with the participants on Twitter—the Tyson team does it all and we’re grateful for the contributions they’ve made to this program.”

Tyson Foods has a long history of generously contributing to programs that focus on five main areas: hunger relief, health and human services, education, community development and the military. “We’re always looking for new ways to talk about what it’s going to take to feed the world—and that’s modern agriculture,” said Tyson Foods’ director of social media Jack Pate. “Working with the Animal Agriculture Alliance helps us to do that by engaging with young people about where food comes from while also addressing the seriousness of hunger in this country.”

The CAO program, which began in 2009, is designed to enable college students with an interest in agriculture to become confident, proactive and creative communicators using social media tools.

Thursday August 21 Ag News

Rural Mainstreet Index Sinks for August:  Farm Equipment Sales Decline to Record Low

The Rural Mainstreet Index moved to its lowest level in almost two years, according to the August survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.  The index has been trending lower since June 2013 when the reading stood at 60.5. 

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for August fell to 47.8 from 51.8 in July. The state’s farmland-price index for August sank to 30.4 from 39.2 in July. Nebraska’s new-hiring index decreased to 47.3 from July’s 52.3. Rural Mainstreet job growth over last 12 months: -0.5 percent (regional low). 

Iowa: The August RMI for Iowa fell to 50.6 from July’s 52.9. The state’s farmland-price index for August sank to 40.7 from July’s 48.0. Iowa’s new-hiring index for August declined to 55.5 from July’s 62.3. Rural Mainstreet job growth over last 12 months: 0.5 percent.


The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI), which ranges between 0 and 100, with 50.0 representing growth neutral, fell to 48.3 from July’s 51.8.

“Agriculture commodity prices have plummeted for crop farmers in our region and are expected to move even lower in the months ahead. This decline has spilled over into the broader rural economy according to our survey. With record crop supplies anticipated by analysts, I expect readings to move even lower in the months ahead,” said Ernie Goss, Ph.D., the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

Farming and ranching:

The farmland and ranchland-price index for August slumped to 41.4, from July’s 48.3. “Much weaker crop prices are taking the air out of agriculture land prices. This is the ninth straight month that the index has moved below growth neutral,” said Goss.

This month, bankers were asked to project farmland prices for the next 12 months. On average, bank CEOs expect farmland prices to fall by 4.8 percent. Just six months ago, bankers expected a decline of 3.2 percent over the next 12 months. “Clearly, bankers are becoming more pessimistic regarding the trend in farmland prices,” said Goss.

Despite the decline in farmland prices over the past nine months, cash rents on farmland expanded from $258 per acre in March of this year to $285 in August. “This will place a financial pinch on the farmer renting land and selling at today’s slumping crop prices,” said Goss.

The August farm-equipment sales index slumped to a record low 25.5 from July’s very weak 33.4. The index has been below growth neutral for 13 straight months. “This is lowest reading that we have recorded for the equipment index since we began the monthly survey in 2006. The rapid decline in agriculture commodity prices is causing farmers to become more cautious in their equipment purchase,” said Goss.

Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in nonurban, agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of a 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities and their projected economic outlooks six months down the road. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are included. The survey is supported by a grant from Security State Bank in Ansley, Neb.

This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural, agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey in 2005.

More Nebraska Kids Studying Agriculture

One of these schools is not like the others.  They’re all schools that have added agriculture programs. And the Omaha school did it before these rural schools.  In all, 157 schools are now bringing agriculture into the classroom.

State ag education director Matt Kreifels says, “Agriculture is the number one industry in state of Nebraska and anytime we can develop a pipeline to get students exposure and career preparation for the industry is huge, and also for the students because there’s a lot of good jobs out there for them.”

Many of the new programs this school year are in Class B and C schools like Adams Central. But it’s been a success even in Nebraska’s most urban school district.

Kreifels said, “We are happy two years ago we added a program at Omaha Bryan High School. We’re exposing students from very urban population to agriculture and they could not be more excited.”

Now officially known simply as FFA, Omaha kids say their friends don’t quite get what they’re part of.

Rosario Lamere said, “They honestly think it’s weird because we’re city kids and want to do agriculture is different for them.”

FFA has traditionally focused on the farm and ranch.

“We don’t have that in the city but we do have agriculture things,” Lindsey Parks, another Omaha student said.

There’s a big focus these days on science and natural resources. The Omaha kids say there’s a growing interest in urban agriculture and they’re excited to add a greenhouse to the school. Plus each student takes on a supervised ag experience.

Rosario said, “It’s a good experience, opens a lot of doors for us.”

“Looks good on a college application too,” Lindsey added.

New programs can be tough to start. It’s more than adding an FFA chapter. It’s integrated in the curriculum and requires a teacher.

So state leaders are thrilled to see it expand, whether in Omaha or Hastings.

Kreifels said they continue to recruit young people to become ag teachers, to meet the growing demand.

Cargill pledges $1 million to Raising Nebraska

With a major presence in Nebraska, Cargill has become the title sponsor of Raising Nebraska, pledging $1 million dollars over five years.

“As an agriculture and food company, we really identified with one of Raising Nebraska goals of showing how Nebraska agriculture touches everyone,” said Robert Racek, the Omaha-based Western Region general manager of Cargill’s grain business.   “The world’s food gets its start every day with agriculture and Nebraska is a major player in that global marketplace.”

The year-round Raising Nebraska exhibit is located in the Nebraska building on the state fairgrounds and will open Friday, August 22 (tomorrow morning) at the Nebraska State Fair.  

"We are thrilled that Cargill has agreed to partner with us on Raising Nebraska," said Dr. Charles Hibberd, dean of extension at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.  "Cargill's global leadership is a good match for the messages and experiences in Raising Nebraska as we showcase world-class agriculture, food production and farmers and ranchers in our state.   We look forward to drawing upon Cargill's expertise and insight as Raising Nebraska continues to evolve and grow in the future."

Jarrod Gillig, general manager at Cargill’s beef plant in Schuyler, said Nebraska is one of the largest states for Cargill with more than 20 locations and 4,000 employees.  “These businesses go from farm to fork including grain, animal feed, corn milling and meat processing.  All of Cargill’s businesses were part of the pledge, which also included a match from the corporate offices in Minneapolis.

Raising Nebraska is a 25,000 square foot education exhibit that will serve as a year-round, interactive experience focused on where Nebraska agriculture is today—and, where it will be in the future. The exhibit shows how Nebraska farmers and ranchers are positioning themselves to meet the global demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber—while protecting natural resources and being environmentally responsible.  
The exhibit is the result of a partnership between the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska State Fair. Key areas of focus for the exhibit includes food security, water management, technology and innovation, animal agriculture, the new bio-economy, crop production, environmental stewardship, the economic impact of agriculture in Nebraska and consumer-focused information about food production and food safety.

UNL Presents Food Microbiology Workshop for the Food Manufacturing Industry

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln food microbiology workshop will focus on the basics of food safety and the microbiological testing methods commonly used by the food industry.

The workshop, presented by UNL's Food Processing Center March 24-26, 2015, will provide basic food microbiology training to those individuals working in testing laboratories, with no formal training in microbiology.

"The workshop is delivered in both the classroom and laboratory environments and includes fundamental principles, demonstrations and hands-on sessions covering general microbiology and pathogen detection," said Jayne Stratton, research assistant professor and laboratory services manager. "Attendees will acquire an understanding of the methods used to isolate important spoilage and indicator microorganisms along with a variety of techniques utilized for food-borne pathogen detection. The program also provides curriculum on the ecology of microorganisms and pathogens in foods, and what measures are used to prevent their growth. The importance of using validated testing methods will also be discussed during the workshop."

Faculty and staff experts from UNL's Department of Food Science and Technology and the Food Processing Center will present lectures and interactive sessions to workshop participants. In addition, experts from leading rapid pathogen detection equipment manufacturers will be present to provide demonstrations and overviews of the latest technology.

UNL is one of only a few universities that offer a food microbiology workshop to the food industry and it is anticipated that food industry professionals from throughout the country will attend this workshop. The Food Processing Center is nationally recognized for its support of the food industry. The center, created in 1983, provides comprehensive services to food manufacturers throughout the country and in many foreign countries.

Workshop capacity is limited and pre-registration is required.  For more information or to register visit the website or contact Jill Gifford at 402-472-2819 or e-mail

EPC Adopts Federal Rules on Animal Feeding Operations

In a unanimous vote, the Environmental Protection Commission adopted rules governing totally roofed confinement feeding operations.

The rules require these facilities to have a federal permit to discharge to waters of the U.S. Called a national pollutant discharge elimination system or NPDES permit, operations that need the permits must meet federal design, construction and monitoring standards.

However, the NPDES permit allows discharges of effluent to a water of the U.S. under certain conditions such as heavy rainfall. Depending upon the location, an NPDES-permitted facility in Iowa would be allowed to discharge if more than 5.6 inches of rain fell within 24 hrs.

“Iowa has 167 open feedlots with NPDES permits,” said Bill Ehm, DNR administrator for environmental services. “These unroofed or partially roofed facilities have historically had some runoff through the feedlot when it rains. I don’t expect many NPDES permits to be issued to confinements.

“Most confinements will not need the protection of an NPDES permit, because they are unlikely to discharge,” Ehm added. “Most manure releases we’ve had in Iowa have been caused by a one-time event – like an accident or failure of a pipe – problems that the producer can demonstrate have been fixed with permanent measures that eliminate the cause of the discharge.

“However, the owner of a confinement or open lot that is likely to discharge would be wise to apply for an NPDES permit and the protection it provides in severe weather conditions.”

Any NPSDES permit holders must continue to meet existing requirements of Iowa law for construction permits and siting, manure management plans and land application.

The Iowa Legislature directed the commission to adopt the federal rules. Adoption was also a condition of a work plan agreement signed between the DNR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Sept.11, 2013.

More information is available at

Integrated Cropping Systems Team Addresses Management of Pesticide Resistance

There is much to consider when making management decisions in production agriculture – including the pesticide resistance of target pests (weed, insects, plant pathogens and nematodes). The complexity of crop production decision-making is escalated by frogeye leaf spot, the arrival of Palmer amaranth, and corn rootworm resistance – a few of the issues that have Iowa farmers concerned about pesticide resistance.

Members of the Iowa State University research and extension crops team will be at the Farm Progress Show talking to visitors about current and potential resistance issues and related management practices. The team includes agronomists, entomologists, plant pathologists and microbiologists, weed scientists and a climatologist.


Erin Hodgson, extension entomologist and associate professor of entomology, is a crops team leader and describes resistance as “the decreased susceptibility of a pest to a management strategy.” Often, resistance is associated with pesticides but it could include cultural control (e.g., crop rotation) and host plant resistance (e.g., Bt for insects).

“When it comes to insects, they are always trying to evolve to be more competitive,” said Hodgson. “Eventually, insects will overcome our standard management tactics. Some, like western corn rootworm, just do it faster than most.”


Weeds with resistance to herbicides were first found in the 1950s. Now that Palmer amaranth has arrived in five Iowa counties – along with its history of resistance in other states – herbicide resistant weeds are getting more attention. Bob Hartzler, agronomy professor and extension weed scientist with Iowa State University, says the solution to managing the situation is simple – farmers must stop doing what they are doing (referring to spraying glyphosate on fields planted with seeds genetically engineered to tolerate the chemical) and take different actions.

“Start deploying more diverse weed management strategies that incorporate some combination of crop rotation, cover crops, manual tillage, and a broader range of herbicides less dependent on glyphosate,” said Hartzler.

Diseases and Integrated Pest Management

Daren Mueller, extension soybean pathologist and coordinator of the Integrated Pest Management program at Iowa State, says pesticide resistance results from using the same pesticide repeatedly. When resistant weeds, insects and fungi are present, Mueller says a biotype of an organism has survived exposure to a pesticide that would normally kill an individual of that species. Resistance can be managed several ways so that pesticides remain a useful way of controlling pest organisms now and in the future.

“Only apply pesticides when needed – scout fields to determine pest populations and only use pesticides when thresholds are met. Then follow label directions,” Mueller said. “Rotate types of pesticides during the year and from year to year. And use alternative management options such as production practices, natural enemies, crop resistance and crop rotation.”

The Iowa State crops team and IPM program provide up-to-date resources and information through trainings, field days, demonstration sites, online newsletter and publications. The team publishes articles in the Integrated Crop Management newsletter at containing the latest information available. Scouting and pest identification guides created by team members are available from the Extension Online Store at

ISA Members Presented with Environmental Leader Award

Iowa soybean farmers were among those presented with the Environmental Leader Award at a ceremony during the Iowa State Fair.

Eighty-eight farmers and their families were recognized for their commitment to improving water quality and maintaining healthy soil. More than half of the farmers recognized are members of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA).

“These farmers are leaders in their ideas and their practices,” said Roger Wolf, ISA Environmental Programs and Services Director. “Taking care of the natural resources on their farms will have a big impact on the future of farming.”

Producers who receive this honor have implemented conservation practices on their farms allowing them to improve and protect Iowa’s natural resources and the environment. They are also community leaders and promote their practices to other farmers. The awards are sponsored by the Iowa Governor’s office, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Former ISA director Jim Andrews was on the award selection committee.

All award winners received a signed certificate from Gov. Terry Branstad, a metal sign donated by Monsanto commemorating the honor and a commemorative program from The Nature Conservancy. After the ceremony Hagie Manufacturing, based in Clarion, hosted a catered lunch in honor of the winners.

“Congratulations to all the winners and thank you for your dedication to improving our natural resources,” Wolf said.

ISA’s Environmental Programs and Services and On-Farm Network teams assist members  to improve their natural resource management and implement environmentally sound cropping systems.

ISA member winners are (listed alphabetically by county):

Adair: Randy, Janalee and Merritt Caviness; Senivac, Inc.
Black Hawk: Blake Hollis; Lanchaven Farms, Inc.
Black Hawk: Nick & Nancy Meier
Buena Vista/Cherokee: Tracy and Donna Bengston
Buena Vista/Pocahontas County: Richard & Deboney Langner
Butler: Dennis and Merlette Cassmann
Carroll: Larry and Theresa Greving; Greving Family Farm
Clarke/Madison: Chad & Ryan Pontier; Pontier Farms
Clay: Chuck & Kevin White
Clayton/Allamakee: Rob & Mary Sass
Dallas: Douglas & Rhonda Volz
Davis: Ward Family, Steve & Sonya, Ryan & Brianna, Richard & Phyllis; Ward Farms
Des Moines/Henry: Brad Dodds; Dodds Family Farm
Dickinson: Scott Mitchell
Fremont: Kilpatrick Family Farms
Greene: Donald Gibson
Grundy: Harvin & Esther Meyer; Meydan Farms
Guthrie: Dennis & Jacque Hoover; Cripple Creek Farm Corporation
Hancock/Cerro Gordo: Wayne & Val Koehler
Henry: Jeff and Gayle Olson
Humboldt/Webster: Doug & Kim Adams
Ida: James B. Irwin
Jackson: Knake Farms, Inc.
Jasper: Gordon Wassenaar
Jasper/Marion: Ward Van Dyke
Kossuth/Humboldt: Alan & Andrew Laubenthal
Lucas: Mike & Nicke Hunter; Hunter Brothers, Inc.
Madison/Clarke/Warren: Tim Palmer Family Farm
Marion: Vernon and Eleanor Boot; LC Farms
Marion/Mahaska: Cliff, Sheryl & Scott Mulder; Mulder Farms
Mitchell: Mike & Gayle Heimer; Foothill Farms, Inc.
Mitchell: Dean A. & Lucinda A. Sponheim
Montgomery: Bill & Margaret Thomas
O’Brien: Bruce & Carol Rohwer
Palo Alto: Jim Stillman; Generations Farm
Sac: Lynn & Joy Smith, Seth & Loretta Smith
Story: Hermanson Family; Woodland Farms Inc.
Washington: Dennis D. Berger & Son, Inc.
Washington: Jim Cuddeback; Cuddeback Farms, Inc.
Washington: Joel and Laura Huber; Huber Crops and Chops, Inc.
Webster: AJ & Kellie Blair
Woodbury/Cherokee: Roger & John Wilcox; Wilcox Farms, Inc.
Wright: Jerry and Jan Blackman, Luella Brotherton; Brotherton Family Trust
Wright: Duncan & Lillian Campbell; Campbell Family Farms
Wright/Humboldt: Gary & Shannon Fisher, Jim Fisher, Annette Watts; F&F Farms Ltd.
Wright/Humboldt: Mattew J. & Oksana Siefker

Red Meat Production Down 6 Percent From Last Year

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 3.91 billion pounds in July, down 6 percent from the 4.16 billion pounds produced in July 2013.

Beef production, at 2.09 billion pounds, was 9 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.60 million head, down 10 percent from July 2013. The average live weight was up 18 pounds from the previous year, at 1,320 pounds.

Veal production totaled 7.8 million pounds, 19 percent below July a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 48,500 head, down 31 percent from July 2013. The average live weight was up 41 pounds from last year, at 275 pounds.

Pork production totaled 1.80 billion pounds, down 2 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 8.46 million head, down 7 percent from July 2013. The average live weight was up 12 pounds from the previous year, at 283 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 13.9 million pounds, was down 2 percent from July 2013. Sheep slaughter totaled 210,200 head, 2 percent below last year. The average live weight was 132 pounds, down 1 pound from July a year ago.

January to July 2014 commercial red meat production was 27.4 billion pounds, down 3 percent from 2013. Accumulated beef production was down 6 percent from last year, veal was down 11 percent, pork was down slightly from last year, and lamb and mutton production was up 1 percent.

By State
  (million pounds, % change from 7/2013)
Nebraska ....:     609.3                 96      
Iowa ...........:     519.6                100      
Kansas ......:      450.0                  88      

United States and Canadian Cattle Inventory Down 3 Percent from 2012

All cattle and calves in the United States and Canada combined totaled 108.3 million head on July 1, 2014, down 3 percent from the 111.3 million on July 1, 2012. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 43.9 million head, were down 2 percent from 2012.
All cattle and calves in the United States as of July 1, 2014, totaled 95.0 million head, 3 percent below the 97.8 million on July 1, 2012. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 39.0 million head, were down 2 percent from 2012.

All cattle and calves in Canada as of July 1, 2014, totaled 13.3 million head, down 1 percent from the 13.5 million on July 1, 2013. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 4.87 million, were down 1 percent from a year ago.

United States and Canadian Hog Inventory Down 4 Percent

United States and Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs for June 2014 was 75.1 million head. This was down 4 percent from June 2013, and down 5 percent from June 2012. The breeding inventory, at 7.08 million head, was down slightly from a year ago and equal to 2012. Market hog inventory, at 68.0 million head, was down 4 percent from last year and down 6 percent from 2012. The semi-annual pig crop, at 68.1 million head, was down 4 percent from 2013 and down 5 percent from 2012. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 6.93 million head, up 1 percent from last year but down 2 percent from 2012.

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1, 2014 was 62.1 million head. This was down 5 percent from June 1, 2013 and down 1 percent from March 1, 2014. The breeding inventory, at 5.85 million head, was down slightly from last year but up slightly from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 56.3 million head, was down 5 percent from last year, and down 1 percent from last quarter. The pig crop, at 27.4 million head, was down 5 percent from 2013 and down 8 percent from 2012. Sows farrowed during this period totaled 2.80 million head, down slightly from 2013 and down 5 percent from 2012. 

Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs on July 1, 2014 was 12.9 million head. This was up 1 percent from July 1, 2013 and up 2 percent from July 1, 2012. The breeding inventory, at 1.22 million head, was up 1 percent from last year and up 1 percent from 2012. Market hog inventory, at 11.7 million head, was up 1 percent from last year and up 3 percent from 2012. The semi-annual pig crop, at 13.4 million head, was down 3 percent from 2013 and down 5 percent from 2012. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 1.26 million head, down 2 percent from last year and down 3 percent from 2012.

Do You Have a Farm Conservation Story to Tell?

Is conservation an important part of your farm operation?  Apply to the Conservation Legacy Awards program and you could be recognized nationally. But don’t delay, time is running out to apply.

There will be winners from three regions (Midwest, Northeast and South).
-    Winners receive an expense-paid trip for two to the Commodity Classic conference and trade show, February 26-28, 2015 in Phoenix, Ariz.
-    The farms and conservation practices of winners will be featured in videos and in a special insert in Corn & Soybean Digest magazine.
-    A National Conservation Legacy Award winner will be chosen from the three regional winners.

Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. on September 1, 2014.  

More information and the online application can be found on the web at

The Conservation Legacy Awards program is sponsored by the American Soybean Association, BASF, Monsanto, the United Soybean Board/soybean checkoff and Corn & Soybean Digest.

Raymond to be Keynote Speaker for 2014 BIO Livestock Biotech Summit

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is pleased to announce that Dr. Richard Raymond, former undersecretary of agriculture for food safety at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), will deliver a keynote address at the 2014 BIO Livestock Biotech Summit.

“As we all know, the world's population is increasing, but the amount of land available to raise crops and for animals to forage is not increasing, nor is the amount of water for animals to drink. Food security is vital for human health and political stability,” says Dr. Raymond.  “To achieve food security, we must utilize technologies that are safe for animals, humans and the environment, and we must communicate better about these technologies to dispel the many erroneous myths and perceptions that float around the internet and other media.”

This unique conference to be held September 16-18, 2014, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in Sioux Falls, SD, examines the scientific potential and political challenges of using animal biotechnology to improve human and animal health, food production and the environment.  Previous Summits in 2010 and 2012 have drawn attendees including researchers, regulators, investors, and industry executives from around the globe.

Before serving as the Undersecretary for Food Safety, Dr. Raymond was Chief Medical Officer for the Nebraska Health and Human Services System.  Additionally, he served as director of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Regulation & Licensure division where he oversaw regulatory programs involving health care and environmental issues. Currently, Dr. Raymond is a noted food safety and public health consultant and an editor for two food safety blogs on and Feedstuffs Foodlink.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Raymond speak at this year’s Livestock Biotech Summit,” said Cathy Enright, Executive Vice President, Food and Agriculture at BIO.

“As a leader in food safety, Dr. Raymond will share with Summit attendees what tools will be needed to enable U.S. agriculture to produce a safe, high-quality and affordable product, and how education of policymakers needs to go hand-in-hand with our scientific research.”

Biodiesel Benefits Animal Ag in Multiple Ways

Biodiesel production has significantly benefitted the soybean industry as a whole – but one of biodiesel’s most significant contributions is not often highlighted. Animal ag farmers benefits from biodiesel, too. That’s because soybean meal prices fall as more biodiesel is produced, requiring poultry and livestock farmers to pay less for their feed.

This often overlooked partnership takes place because soybeans consist of about 80 percent meal and slightly less than 20 percent oil. Producing biodiesel raises the demand for the oil component, which can only be obtained by simultaneously creating more soybean meal. Learn more about this relationship through an infographic.

Lower Cost of Feed Rations

“Demand for biodiesel creates demand for soybean oil, which, in turn, causes more crush and lowers the cost of soybean meal,” explains Lewis Bainbridge, USB secretary and Ethan, South Dakota soybean farmer. “That lowers the price of rations for our poultry and livestock customers.”

A checkoff-funded study in 2010 found that biodiesel production saved animal ag $4.8 billion in soybean meal costs from 2005 to 2009. Poultry and livestock farmers can add to that savings by using biodiesel themselves.

Higher Value of Animal Products

On the other end of livestock farming – biodiesel’s demand for animal tallows and lards elevates the value of those products as well. In fact, the values of livestock fats and tallows more than doubled from 2007 to 2012 alone.

“Next time you fill up with biodiesel, think not only of supporting the soybean industry, but reducing costs and raising the value of livestock farming,” adds Bainbridge. “Every gallon of biodiesel sold supports soybean farmers, processors and animal ag at once.”

What are the Laws in Regards to Drones on the Farm?

While the appeal of using unmanned aerial systems by farmers and growers to aid in farm operations is growing in popularity, before you launch a drone over your crops to gauge field conditions, be aware that doing so could result in a hefty fine from the Federal Aviation Administration.

So says Peggy Hall, assistant professor and Ohio State University Extension field specialist in agricultural and resource law. Hall said that while the technology is available for farmers and growers to utilize drones for their farm operations, the rules of who can use it and how aren’t as clear. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

"In this case, the technology is clearly ahead of the law," she said. "While there are unmanned aerial systems available for purchase by consumers, the regulatory system on their usage is still developing. While landowners, farmers and growers need to know if it is legal to use UASs on their own land to monitor crops or for other uses on their farm, at this point it's still a gray area in the law."

Hall will talk about UASs during a workshop at this year's Farm Science Review Sept. 16-18 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio. Her presentation, 'Drones on The Farm -- What Are the Laws?' will be held Sept. 17 at 1:20 p.m. during the Question the Authorities session at the Review.

The FAA is expected to propose rules by the end of the year for drones weighing less than 55 pounds, which would typically be what most farmers would use for their farm operations, she said, noting that regulations for larger UASs will come later.

But until such regulations are set, some farmers assume that they can fly UASs on their farms for personal use, Hall said.

ASA Urges Action on Pending Biotech Approvals in Letters to USTR, EU Commission

In letters sent this week to the European Commission and the U.S. Trade Representative, the American Soybean Association (ASA) urged that the European Union (EU) take action in September on nine biotech events that have received positive safety reviews and are awaiting final import authorization. ASA was joined on the letters by 18 other farm, commodity, grain processing, grain trade, and biotechnology associations throughout the U.S. agricultural value chain. There are currently nine products, including four soybean products, which have already received positive European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinions and completed the subsequent review process, but are still awaiting final authorization for import for food and feed use from the EU’s College of Commissioners.

In a letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman, the groups encouraged the Administration to contact EU Commission President Barroso to ensure action on the pending events in September and to ask the EU to respect its obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) to make timely regulatory decisions on new biotechnology applications.

In a letter to the EU Commission, the groups stated that “the time required for EU decisions on new biotech crops has only lengthened in recent years and no authorizations have been issued since November 2013. Some of the products have been before the European Commission since the end of 2013 and were submitted to EFSA more than five years ago.

“Several of these products are already being commercialized under stewardship programs in the U.S. and elsewhere, and failure to approve them at the meeting of the College of Commissioners in September will increase the risk of trade disruptions during the coming months.”

The letters emphasized that the delays could cause feed shortages and price increases, which would affect European producers, traders, livestock industry and consumers.

Comments About Unseen WTO Decision on COOL “Meaningless, Irresponsible”

In response to reports fanning an unsubstantiated and un-sourced rumor that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has made a firm decision on the Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) dispute brought by Canada and Mexico against the United States, Roger Johnson, president of National Farmers Union released the following statement:

“Let’s be crystal clear.  These are unsourced and unsubstantiated rumors and we can’t and won’t comment on a WTO report that we have not yet seen and is not yet public. Nor should anyone else. There is often a tendency for these things to leak out; and they are sometimes accurate and sometimes not accurate.  But what they almost always do is tell a small, biased, one-sided part of the story.  Speculation, at this point, is not only meaningless, but also irresponsible.

“As such, any talks of trade retaliation is fear mongering and grossly pre-mature.  We’ve been hearing these stories from some of our good friends in Canada for a long time, and the U.S. has always said it will comply with WTO rules.  In fact, the rules around which these rumors are now based were written precisely to conform with the most recent WTO rulings, so this will surely figure into the final decision.”

Despite Current Issues, China ‘Hit for the Cycle’ in 2014

(from USGC)

Despite all of the current challenges surrounding imports for feed ingredients, China has accomplished a feat never before seen in agricultural exports: according to Chinese customs and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, China has imported more than 3 million metric tons each of U.S. corn, sorghum and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) for this marketing year, which ends Aug. 31.

Based on the rapid pace of China’s corn purchases at the beginning of the marketing year, few people would have thought the most challenging component of this three-part purchasing record would have been corn imports. But following China’s Nov. 13 announcement of zero tolerance for Syngenta’s MIR 162 trait, China’s corn imports from the United States ground to a halt.

However, the slowdown in corn imports contributed to a surge in sorghum imports. This year, China is forecast to take more than 30 percent of U.S. sorghum production, making it by far the single biggest user for the grain. The U.S. Grains Council has actively been promoting sorghum in China, due to the fact that it is not subject to a tariff rate quota restriction, like corn.

Despite all of the complexities surrounding China’s feedstuff needs, one thing remains constant: end-users love the quality and value of imported feed products. Huge import margins remain for corn, sorghum and DDGS due to high domestic price support policies. Despite several years of production increases and a record crop last year, corn prices in China continue to rise. Additionally, the demand for high-quality corn continues to outpace available supply. According to the most recent USGC data, theoretical import margins into southern Chinese ports now stand at almost $180 per ton.

USGC staff members are working tirelessly and creatively to find a solution to recent trade disruptions regarding corn and DDGS. Despite the current issues, it is important to stay focused on aggregate demand and to acknowledge the important landmark of China taking than 3 million tons of these important products.

“Factoring in China importing 7.5 million tons of U.S. soybeans last month, if this were baseball, you could say China has ‘hit for the cycle,’ getting a single, a double, a triple and a home run in the same baseball game,” said Kevin Roepke, USGC director of trade development in China. “The demand is clearly there. This is quite a historic moment, especially when you consider all of the challenges.”

Vessels Loading Again at United Grain; U.S. Wheat Industry Remains Vigilant

Shawn Campbell, USW Assistant Director, West Coast Office

On Aug. 12, Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) grain inspectors reported to work for the first time in 37 days at the United Grain export terminal in Vancouver, WA. The elevator is once again loading vessels with official inspection services. USW will continue to push for the free flow of grain to our overseas customers.

Early last month, WSDA pulled its inspectors from the elevator, citing safety concerns after state police stopped escorting the inspectors across International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) picket lines under orders from Washington’s governor Jay Inslee. USDA’s Grain Inspection Packers & Stockyards Administration decided not to provide Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) inspectors to the facility as replacements, citing the same safety concerns. As a result, United Grain did not have official inspection services and was unable to load grain for export, except in a few specialized cases, sparking concerns across the U.S. grain sector and from traditional PNW customers. 

The struggle over official inspection services should prove to be the final issue in a 23-month conflict between the ILWU and the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association (PNGHA), whose members include United Grain, Columbia Grain and Louis Dreyfus. The union and PNGHA finally reached a tentative labor agreement near midnight Aug. 11. ILWU members must still ratify the contract, with voting results expected as soon as Aug. 25. With the tentative agreement in place, WSDA grain inspectors returned to the United Grain facility to provide official inspection services and resume normal grain export loading operations. 

U.S. federal law requires that FGIS or a delegated state agency inspect all grain for export. This has been a major benefit of the U.S. wheat export system. Having a neutral third party certify that contract specifications are met is a critical component of U.S. wheat quality and value. However, the unusual circumstances at the Port of Vancouver demonstrates a need to remain vigilant and ensure official mandated services are followed to provide for the free flow of grain.

Thankfully, the dispute likely did not last long enough to cause severe harm to farmers or the overseas customers who depend on them.

USW and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) worked closely throughout this situation with other stakeholders to advocate the importance of official inspection services and exports for farmers and their customers. Both organizations will continue doing all they can to avoid similar disruptions into the future.

Plant twice as fast while maintaining accurate spacing with new SpeedTube™.

A new retro-fit seed delivery system from Precision Planting allows growers to plant corn and soybeans twice as fast as is possible with traditional seed tubes.

Jason Stoller, Product Manager for the new SpeedTube™ says, “Farmers are always looking for the optimum planting window in order to maximize yield. We realize the window is narrow and speed is a limiting factor. Traditional seed tubes limit planter speeds due to poor spacing.”

Stoller explains that SpeedTube solves these problems by controlling the seed, regardless of seed shape and size, all the way from the meter disk to the furrow. Feeder wheels at the top grab the seed from the disk and deposit it into a flighted belt that carries it to the bottom of the trench.   The SpeedTube belt spins at a rate that increases and decreases with planter speed, ensuring that the seed doesn’t roll when it lands in the furrow.

“Planting with SpeedTube redefines planting accuracy in a revolutionary way.  It increases yield and productivity by allowing you to take control of seed spacing at today’s planting speeds and removes the barrier to high planting speeds when you need to,” says Stoller.

Precision Planting will be demonstrating SpeedTube at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, August 26-28. The product will be available for the Spring of 2015 on select John Deere and Kinze planters.

Precision Planting launches vSet™ Select, row-by-row multi-hybrid planting system.

Traditionally, growers have sought to maximize yield by planting the hybrid that will perform the best, on average, across a  whole field, despite zone differences within that field. With Precision Planting’s new vSet Select system, they’ll be able to plant two hybrids in the same row, switching back and forth as zones change, to plant the hybrid that will produce more in each environment.

According to Dale Koch, vSet Select Product Manager, “The vSet Select system means that you don’t have to compromise. You can plant the right hybrid for changing yield environments in your fields. That translates to optimal  yields.”

Koch explains that two opposing vSet™ meters are set on each row unit above a single seed tube. The vDrive™ electric drive system instantaneously switches from one hybrid to the other – and changes populations, when appropriate. The system uses prescription files that are loaded into the 20/20 SeedSense, or operators can manually switch from one hybrid to another.

The best part of this system is that the multi-hybrid planter of the future is in your shed today! vSet Select is a retrofit option that allows you to use your existing bulk fill system to carry two different hybrids to plant throughout the field.

“vSet Select has already maximized yields over many thousands of acres,” says Koch, “proving itself profitable and effective.

vSet Select can be seen in action at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, August 26-28. vSet Select will be available on select John Deere and Kinze planters for Spring 2015.

Wednesday August 20 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Are you one of the fortunate ones to have extra grass this year?  If so, how can you improve next year's grazing by managing this year's grass.

               Extra grass is not normal.  If you are lucky enough to have more grass than needed this year, don’t forget that next year could be hotter and drier than this year – producing less grass.

               But you can boost carrying capacity and gains on next year's pasture by strategically managing your extra grass this year.

               Start by identifying pasture improvements that could help future grazing.  Control weeds, accumulate enough growth on warm-season grass pastures to conduct an effective prescribed burn next spring, or select pastures where stressing the existing stand will help you establish legumes next spring.  All these practices temporarily reduce pasture growth, but they can provide long-term benefits.  Thus, it is better to do them when you have extra grass rather than when grass is short.

               Another way to help next year's growth is to avoid overgrazing this fall unless you are doing it intentionally to prepare for interseeding next spring.  Heavy fall grazing weakens plants as they go into winter and causes them to grow less vigorously after spring green-up.  If you do graze heavy this fall, do it on pastures that will be used last next spring.  This will give them extra time to recover.

               A particularly valuable way to manage extra grass is to begin to stockpile some growth now for either grazing this winter or to start grazing extra early next spring.  This could save on winter hay needs or give you an area to get animals away from mud next spring.  Plus, it's usually good for your grass, too.

               Take advantage of extra grass to begin long-term pasture improvements.  It happens so rarely that next year might be too late.


               Do you ever have problems establishing alfalfa?  The solution might be to apply lime if your soil pH is low.

               Every year, alfalfa growers ask me about slow growing seedlings.  Eventually, I’ll ask about their soil pH.  Way too often, either they didn’t get a soil test and don’t know or the test showed that the pH was so low that it is unlikely that alfalfa could grow well.  But when I suggest adding lime next time before planting they either add too little to do any good or they disregard the recommendation entirely.

               Alfalfa grows best in soils with a neutral pH of about 7.  When soils are acid, with a pH of 6.2 or lower, alfalfa plants do not grow as well.  At a low pH, alfalfa roots are less able to absorb nutrients from soil.  Also – the nodules on alfalfa roots that convert nitrogen from the air into nitrogen the plants can use – these nodules have difficulty forming and working effectively in acid soils.

               Most sandy, low organic matter soils as well as heavier ground that has been tilled and fertilized with nitrogen for many years have become acidic.  These soils need lime to solve this problem.  But some folks still resist liming even when their own soil pH is down as low as 5.5 or even below 5!

               It takes some time for lime to really neutralize much acidity.  So I recommend applying lime at least 4 months ahead of planting alfalfa.  That means that if you expect to seed a new field of alfalfa next spring, add lime if needed this fall to give it time to work.  Sure it costs money, but it's much less costly then having a stand failure or several years of low alfalfa yields.

               Maybe some folks just like to gamble, but me, I prefer to bet on a sure thing and invest in lime rather than a long shot.


               Many of us have had more moisture to support pasture growth this year than for several years.  Don’t take too much advantage of the extra growth, however.

               Extra rain this year compared to the past few years is making pastures greener and more productive.  After years of drought and low production, this extra growth is more than welcome.  But as we approach the end of the growing season, don’t get too greedy and try to completely graze off every green blade.

               Do you have pastures dominated by cool-season grasses?  Like bromegrass, bluegrass, or wheatgrasses or maybe needlegrasses?  Late summer rain and cooler temperatures could give these grasses some good growth in September.  It’s tempting to keep cattle on these nice green pastures as long as possible to use all this growth.  But if these same pastures suffered much drought stress the past couple of years, their recovery will be hindered if you fail to allow them ample opportunity to rejuvenate their root systems prior to winter.

               Grazing pastures short just before winter begins limits the plant’s ability to develop the roots and tiller buds needed to fulfill their growth potential next spring.  Those extra mouthfuls of grass harvested now could cost you many more mouthfuls next spring.

               To help pastures recover from past stress and set the stage for abundant growth next spring, be sure to keep several inches of green leaves on your grasses all the rest of this growing season.  These green leaves will convert fall sunlight into tiller buds, root growth, and root nutrient reserves.  Next spring, these plants will be ready to grow rapidly and yield much more than if grazed short this fall.

               Don’t be greedy.  Protecting some of your grass from grazing this fall could pay big dividends next spring.

Iowa Farmers Share Best Practices for Improving Water Quality

Farmers coming to the Iowa State University exhibit at the Farm Progress Show Aug. 26-28 will get a bird’s-eye view of select Iowa farms and a chance to visit with farmers who practice ways to improve water quality, including Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

Visitors to the Iowa State tent can create a scenario similar to their own farm and select from a menu of management practices courses of action they might consider. Then, they will learn of the resulting costs and benefits of those decisions. Farmers who have implemented water quality improvement practices will host the area and share their experiences with visitors.

Secretary Northey is scheduled to participate on Wednesday afternoon and talk with visitors about his role in creating the water quality initiative and about management practices he has in place on his farm. Last fall Northey used cover crops on his farm for the first time, aerially applying 120 acres, half into corn and half into soybeans. He has long focused on conservation on his farm, using ridge till and grid soil sampling.

Jamie Benning, water quality program manager for ISU Extension and Outreach, says farmers will be able to talk to each other about practices that are working or not working on their farms and ask questions specific to their land and their watershed while at the show.

“We are encouraging farmers to talk to other farmers, virtually visit demonstration sites to see practices in place, and bring questions for our farmers, researchers and educators – all to better understand how decisions affect not only yields but their drinking water, local economy and the future of agriculture in Iowa,” said Benning.

Big screen monitors in the Iowa State tent will take visitors on virtual tours of a variety of Iowa farmlands and management practices while they learn from the host farmers

Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/15/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 937,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 39.35 million gallons daily. That is up 6,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 931,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.27 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 18.3 million barrels. That is a 2.8% increase from last week.

Imports of ethanol were non-existent for the third week in a row.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 368.6 million gallons daily, a 10-week low. Refiner/blender input of ethanol fell to a 5-week low of 864,000 b/d.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.68%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.207 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 103,941 metric tons of livestock feed, 92,596 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 5.51 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

NCGA, DuPont Launch Second Year of New Leaders Program

The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the second year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program.  The program is designed for corn growers who are newly active in agriculture and have expressed interest in building upon their skills so they can better serve local, state and national stakeholders.

“It’s important that farmers become strong leaders and spokespersons for American agriculture,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, a corn grower from Illinois. “We’re grateful to DuPont for its support, and we’re proud of the men and women who joined this program for the first class, and we’ve already seen them doing some great things. Now, we’re actively looking for more couples and individuals to get involved in this dynamic new program.”

Ideal participants will be farming couples or individuals from NCGA’s affiliated states, or may be considering a board position. Those interested must be at least 21 years of age, active in corn farming, NCGA members and not currently serving in a state affiliate board officer position or as a Corn Congress delegate or alternate.

"We are proud to sponsor the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program," said Jim Hay, regional business director, North America, DuPont Crop Protection. "These participants symbolize the future of agriculture in the United States and this program will teach them skills to benefit their careers and help feed our growing population.”

One couple or up to two single persons per NCGA-affiliated state will be chosen to participate in this hands-on communications and leadership training. The program will be implemented in three phases, with two plenary sessions: Iowa, January 2015; Washington July 2015, respectively.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. Central Time, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Applications will be reviewed by the NCGA and forwarded to the appropriate state affiliate association for approval. Participants accepted for the program will be notified in November 2014. All program-related travel and lodging expenses will be paid for, per NCGA policy and procedures. For further information and/or to register, visit

NCGA Seeks a Few Good Growers for Leadership Opportunities

The National Corn Growers Association continues to accept applications from members interested in working on an NCGA action team or committee in the 2015 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. This service provides growers an opportunity to play an active role in shaping the future of their industry and to become a part of the national agricultural leadership community.

"As a grassroots organization, NCGA relies on its members to step forward and take an active role in developing the policies that will lead our industry forward," said NCGA First Vice President Chip Bowling. "This year, we have opportunities in all of the areas the organization touches, thus allowing members to take their involvement to the next level while exploring in great depth the areas which interest them the most."

Positions are available on all teams and committees: CornPAC, Ethanol Committee, Grower Services Action Team, Production and Stewardship Action Team, Public Policy Action Team, Research and Business Development Action Team and Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. Positions are also available on the Corn Board standing committees, which are the Bylaws Committee and Nominating Committee.

Qualified applicants must be a NCGA member or prospective member and/or contribute to their state checkoff program, if applicable. Ideal candidates have interest or expertise in a particular area relevant to the team focus.

Action teams and committees are composed of up to 14 voting members representing a cross-section of corn production. The teams may utilize staff, growers and industry members to serve as resources, as determined by the action team or committee chair.

Duties of the action teams and committees include:
·         Conducting an annual planning process regarding the work and results of the team.
·         Defining programs to be implemented by the action team and implementing them with evaluation measurement for   each program.
·         Seeking necessary information and expertise to advise the team.
·         Advising the Corn Board on policy positions or requesting action of the Corn Board.
·         Keeping the Corn Board informed of all obligations and contractual relationships entered into and seeking Corn Board approval for contracts or obligations that are out of the ordinary, such as those that are multi-year obligations.
·         Working through the Corn Board on public policy actions or positions.

Deadline for receipt of applications in the state corn association offices, where applicable, is August 29. State offices will then coordinate applications and submit directly to NCGA by September 2. Interested parties can contact Kathy Baker at the NCGA office with questions, at (636) 733-9004.

Brazil's Industry Raises Soybean Export View Amid High Premiums

High soybean export premiums have led to extremely strong shipments over the last couple of months, prompting the Brazilian industry to raise its 2014 export number once again.

This week, Abiove, Brazil's soy crusher association, raised its 2014 soybean forecast to a record 45 million metric tons (mmt), 1 mmt higher than last month's estimate and substantially higher than the 42.8 mmt registered in 2013.

Brazil shipped 37.8 mmt in the first seven months of 2014, up 19% on last year, and exports are expected to remain brisk through October when the U.S. crop becomes available.

Exporters have drawn out stocks amid declining international prices by offering substantial premiums on top of Chicago futures.

The premium for delivery at Paranagua port in September is currently $2.50 per bushel, much higher than the $1.05 per bushel offered at the same time last year.

As a result, Brazilian farmers have been partially shielded from the slide in soybean quotes.

To accommodate the higher soybean export projection, Abiove lowered its 2014 processing forecast. It estimated Brazilian crushing will total 36.8 mmt, down from last month's estimate of 37 mmt but higher than the 36.2 mmt crushed last year on a larger crop.

Brazil produced 86.5 mmt of soybean in 2013-14, up 6% on the year before, according to Abiove.

Brazil will see imports rise to 500,000 metric tons (mt) from 283 mt. The soybeans largely come from the growing number of farms just over the border in Paraguay.

Fostera PCV MH Licensed for Industry-leading 23-week Duration of Immunity Against PCV

Fostera PCV MH — the porcine circovirus (PCV) and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M. hyo) combination vaccine that was built from the ground up by Zoetis — now has the longest demonstrated duration of immunity (DOI) to help protect pigs from porcine circovirus-associated disease (PCVAD) caused by PCV Type 2 (PCV2). The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted the combination vaccine the extended label claim of at least 23 weeks of protection against PCV2, which is three weeks longer than any other PCV2 vaccine on the market.

“PCVAD continues to be one of the most economically harmful swine diseases. Affected pigs suffer from progressive weight loss, increased mortality and other clinical impacts, which takes a toll on producers’ productivity and profitability,” said Darrell Neuberger, DVM, Pork Technical Services, Zoetis. “Now, with a vaccine that offers at least 23 weeks of immunity, producers have another tool to help their pigs realize the full market potential with convenience and flexibility.”

Introduced in November 2013, Fostera PCV MH was developed to help protect pigs from PCVAD and enzootic pneumonia caused by M. hyo. In clinical research studies of the flexible one- and two-dose protocols, Fostera PCV MH has been demonstrated to aid in preventing viremia, lymphoid depletion and colonization of lymphoid tissue caused by PCV2; and as an aid in reducing PCV2 virus shedding and enzootic pneumonia caused by M. hyo.

Unlike other combination vaccines that require field mixing, the one-bottle formulation of Fostera PCV MH allows the convenience of a one-dose program or the flexibility of a two-dose program. Fostera PCV MH is licensed for administration of pigs 3 weeks of age or older by a single 2 mL intramuscular dose or two 1 mL intramuscular doses spaced two weeks apart.

“We strive to bring solutions to producers and veterinarians through innovative techniques and continued research,” Dr. Neuberger said. “We will continue to invest in our existing products as well as new technology and research to continue that commitment for our customers.”

Challenger Boosts Power and Efficiency on New MT500E Series Tractor

Challenger, a worldwide brand of AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), has announced the availability of five new row crop tractor models it believes can instantly increase on-farm efficiency and productivity.

The new Challenger MT500E Series row crop tractors with new AGCO POWER™ Tier 4 Final 6.6- and 7.4-liter six-cylinder diesel engines feature increased maneuverability, efficiency and power, three key components to ensuring a new tractor purchase translates to real results on the farm.

Maximum engine horsepower ranges from 185 to 255 across the lineup, which includes the MT555E, MT565E, MT575E, MT585E and MT595E. Torque ratings at 1,500 RPM range from 830 foot-pounds for the MT555E to 1,049 foot-pounds for the MT595E.

"The new engines provide a significant bump in power over previous models, and provide great throttle response and torque at all RPM, thanks to turbochargers with electronically controlled wastegates and a new Engine Performance Management (EPM) system that provides up to a 25-horsepower boost on demand," says Conor Bergin, AGCO product marketing manager for high-horsepower tractors. "A 29,000-psi common-rail fuel injection system provides ideal fuel atomization for better fuel efficiency, while a new throttle valve provides quicker engine warm-up and eliminates the need for a diesel particulate filter (DPF)."

The engines powering the MT500E Series are all equipped with dual alternators, third-generation selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emission technology, a maintenance-free diesel oxidation catalyst system under the hood, and a new engine control unit (ECU) for precise operation and fuel efficiency.

From row-crop farmers to those using the tractors for efficient material handling in difficult-to-maneuver areas, the MT500E Series is designed to provide a sure-footed, powerful tractor with the strength and stamina for hard work in the field or feedlot.

"The new power and redesigned cooling system ensure these machines will stand up to the most demanding agriculture environments on earth," Bergin adds. "The MT500E Series tractors are powerful enough to run a large square baler, have sufficient hydraulic capacity to operate a 12- to 16-row planter, and are adaptable enough to replace the extra chore tractor."

Engineered to handle more power

With a boost in power for the new lineup, engineers redesigned the hood and grill of the MT500E Series to provide excellent airflow in and out of the engine compartment. The new CYCLAIR™ cooling package creates more cooling efficiency without increasing system size and without impinging on operator visibility. For hot summers in the hay field, or just about any non-winter operation in the Southwest, engineers also provided a larger air conditioner condenser on the MT500E Series tractors to keep the cab more comfortable.

The MT500E Series offers transmission and hydraulic options to suit any operation. Farmers can choose the smooth no-shift operation of a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which provides an infinite number of operating speeds and tremendous efficiency, or the rugged, field-proven AutoPower VI transmission, which is cooled by a new heat exchanger in the tractor’s engine oil cooler. Farmers who opt for the CVT benefit from an upgraded 50 GPM hydraulic system, while AutoPower VI owners can outfit their tractor with 29- or 39-GPM systems. The upgraded hydraulic systems help farmers meet ever-increasing hydraulic demands and provide better control of larger implements in the field.

Up front, suspension travel has been more than doubled, providing for improved traction in even the roughest field conditions and terrain. Independent double-acting cylinders mount directly to the frame, allowing the operator to adjust the suspension to suit any work task. To accommodate the new suspension system, engineers also redesigned the engine sump and the transmission spacer to provide structure and clearance for the improvement.

With the extra power on hand, more weight may be needed to keep the tractor and implements in balance. The new MT500E Series sports a new front monobloc weight system with available 1,984- and 3,306-pound weights, for a total ballasted weight of more than 30,000 pounds, a 12 percent increase over previous models.

Improved SIS and Auto-Guide™ 3000

The new front dash display included a setup and information screen (SIS) that has 10 times the resolution of previous models and is now 50 percent larger for easier viewing and operation. Found on the TMC Display is a fully integrated Auto-Guide™ 3000 system to help keep the tractor in line and reduce fuel consumption as well as chemical and fertilizer application overlaps for improved farm efficiency and productivity. A "Go Mode" makes it easy to get started, and a simple user interface makes it easier to use the tractor management center (TMC) display.

Tuesday August 19th Ag News

Nebraska Cattlemen & Rural Radio Network to host Senate Debate

Candidates vying for Nebraska’s U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Mike Johanns will debate issues facing the nation and agriculture on Monday, August 25, at 7 p.m. during the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.

The Nebraska U.S. Senate debate will be broadcast live on affiliates of the Rural Radio Network including KRVN/Lexington 880 AM;  KTIC/West Point 840 AM; KNEB/Scottsbluff 960 AM; and KCSR/Chadron 610 AM.

The 90 minute debate is sponsored by Nebraska Cattlemen and the Rural Radio Network.

The invited candidates include: Dan Buhrdorf (I), Dave Domina (D), Jim Jenkins (I), Dennis Macek (I), Ben Sasse (R) and Todd Watson (I).

The debate is open to Nebraska State Fair attendees and will be held in the Heartland Events Center. The doors will open at 6 p.m.

Wisner's Ina Glaubius Honored with UNL VIP Service Award

2014 Contribution to Agriculture Award from the Northeast Research and Extension Center and Haskell Research Lab Committee was awarded to Ina Glaubius from Wisner and Cuming County. The award ceremony was part of the annual VIP Tour of the University of Nebraska Haskell Agriculture Research Laboratory located near Concord.  Each of the research specialists briefly explained their current research projects and the impact they are making in creating new information for Agriculture in Northeast Nebraska.  Special guests for the VIP Tour were 4-H leaders, 4-H Council members and Extension Board members in the 24 counties served by the Northeast Research and Extension Center.  Other special guests included:  UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Dr. Ron Yoder, Dean and Director of Ag Research Division, Dr. David Jackson, Ag Research Division Associate Dean / Associate Director and Senator Lydia Brasch to name a few in attendance. 

Ina Glaubuis was recognized as a lifelong contributor to the 4-H program statewide starting with her own 4-H career in Sioux County Nebraska. Ina met her husband Keith when they both attended the National 4-H Club Congress as state record book winners from Nebraska.  They raised their children Mark, Mike and Marijean in the Cuming County 4-H program where all excelled and were selected as delegates to National 4-H Club Congress. Now their grandchildren in the Zach, Alex, Sophie, Audrey and Victoria (Girl Scouts) are the benefactors of the 4-H program with Zach and Alex already graduates of the program, with Sophie, Audrey and Victoria (in Montana) current competitive members.    

Many in the audience at the VIP ceremony know Ida from seeing her at their county fair judging 4-H and open class 4-H photography exhibits. Ina has judged in:  Antelope, Boone, Burt, Butler, Cedar, Colfax, Dixon, Dodge, Knox, Madison, Pierce, Platte, Saunders, Seward, Stanton, Wayne and Washington counties.  Many 4-H members have developed photographic eyes that have blossomed into lifelong photography hobbies and careers from the hints Ina has shared with them.  Ina has judged in Antelope County every year since 1996 and it has been a pleasure for her to watch the 4-Hers grow and develop their photography skills through 4-H.  She appreciates being  asked to return, regrets when is not able to accept a request (too many fairs have the same judging day and a couple of times Ina has judged two fairs the same day because of their start times, but she wouldn’t recommend that.) It is rewarding for Ina to add a new county to her list of fairs judged at.  Ina shared, “Pre-fair activities are great, but she really, really likes “entry day at the fairs”. Even though she and a 4-Her may not know each other’s name, faces become familiar; each and every county has special memories for Ina.  Ina also has taught many photography clinics in many counties and then likes to see the results at fairs and State Fair. 

Ina shared that somewhere in the 1980’s she and Keith started as volunteer comment writers in 4-H photography at State Fair. Many enjoyed sharing wedding anniversary cake with them as they worked at State Fair.  She served as co –superintendent with Keith in 1997-98. After his death in 1998, Ina chose to continue as a helper until she was asked to be a 4-H State Fair4-H photography to become a judge while the fair was still in Lincoln.  She will be in the car on Wednesday, August to judge 4-H Photography at the 2014 State Fair.  From her judging experiences “out here on the county fair circuit” over the past few years she appreciates the opportunity to work with many 4-Hers of various ages and abilities and their families.  She is constantly looking for ways to gather enough courage to suggest options to simplify part of the exhibit process, without taking away from any of the learning/ lifetime skills.   

“4-H Showers Bring Career Flowers” was the theme of the Peppy Pepper’s 4-H Club’s 2014 Cuming County fair booth which says a lot about Ina’s philosophy related to 4-H and it being a lifelong career development opportunity for families. Ina is one of the co-founding leaders of the Peppy Peppers and continues as one of the assistant leaders completing her 52nd year as a leader in Cuming County.  Ina is a self-taught photographer, and has been through three different sets of 4-H manuals so far…., along with the transition from film and digital. Personally she has prepared all the exhibits that are in the fair book. This experience is helpful when she is judging as she also considers the “degree of difficulty” of the project she is viewing.   

When Interview judging she begins with:  “Tell me about your photos”.  4-Hers share what they have done; she shares what they might try next time.  Ina commented that, “It probably looks like I give a lot of purple ribbons, but I consider the interview as I award the ribbon placing.” Ina says her long time 4-H philosophy/mantra has been that “4-H’ers do the best they can with what they have to work with”. 

The 4-H members and entire Extension program in Northeast Nebraska are very fortunate to have Ina as one of our many very dedicated volunteers.   She also shared that her “judging philosophy” is she hopes that the 4-Her’s have fun in photography, using  the camera they have to work with, whether they are just taking pictures or challenging themselves.   Ina says, “4-H isn’t about ribbons and trophies—it is about the 4 “H”s and this summer an “H for Helping” is as so many 4-Her and their families reached out to help their friends and neighbors deal with the devastation caused by nature.  It is with great pleasure that we thank Ina Glaubius for all she does to help 4-Hers throughout Northeast Nebraska.  

Nebraska Farm Bureau Develops Resources to Help in Local Property Tax Discussions

Nebraska Farm Bureau is reminding Nebraskans there is still time to engage in discussions about local budgets and local spending, which directly impact Nebraskans property tax bills.  To help Nebraskans better understand the local process, the organization has developed a series of informational materials on how they can help “Hold the Line on Property Taxes,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

“It’s critical that Farm Bureau members and others who want property tax relief engage in the process locally and that means attending local hearings and weighing in with their local elected officials that represent the largest user of property taxes, including schools, counties, community colleges, Natural Resources Districts and other local political subdivisions,” said Nelson.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation developed resources include both a quick guide on how to engage in the process that includes key dates.

“Most public hearings on local budget development take place in August and September. There’s still time for members to engage and let their local elected officials know property taxes are a concern. Many political subdivisions have small turnout for these public hearings and that is the best time for people to voice concerns about the need to control local spending and growth in property taxes,” said Nelson.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau’s “Hold the Line on Property Taxes” resources are available on the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation website at

Wanted: Beef Quality Assurance Producers and Marketers

Quality beef begins with quality care. The Iowa Beef Industry Council wants to recognize beef producers and marketers who diligently care for and properly handle cattle in order to provide consumers with safe and wholesome beef. Applications for Iowa's 2014 Iowa Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards are now being accepted.

BQA is a national program for beef cattle production that assures the highest standards of animal care and treatment. It was developed with guidance from leading animal health and well-being experts and outlines essential elements for cattle care. More than 90 percent of all U.S. beef is raised under the BQA program.

The Iowa BQA program recognizes an outstanding beef producer, dairy producer and/or beef marketer who best demonstrate BQA practices, including sound animal husbandry practices. Nominees should be BQA-certified and work to continually improve BQA on their operations while operating sustainable cattle businesses. The desire to encourage fellow producers to implement BQA and communicate what the industry is doing to ensure quality cattle care is a plus. The award is open to all segments of the industry -- commercial cow-calf, seedstock, backgrounders, feedyards, dairy operations, auction markets operators and veterinarians.

"The BQA program's mission is to maximize consumer confidence in beef while exceeding their eating expectations," said Doug Bear, director of industry relations for the Iowa Beef Industry Council. "The BQA Award is a way to recognize the outstanding men and women who put great tasting beef on our consumer's plate every day".

Completed entries are due by Nov. 14. The Iowa BQA Award winners will be selected by a committee of fellow cattle producers, veterinarians, pharmaceutical representatives and others who have a vested interest in the future of the beef industry. Nominations can be submitted by any organization, group or individual on behalf of an Iowa beef producer or marketer. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves; however, the nominees are expected to be involved in the preparation of the application. For further information on these awards or to download the application, please visit >For Producers>Iowa Beef Quality Assurance.

Poet Set to Open Cellulosic Ethanol Plant in Iowa

POET-DSM's Project LIBERTY will open its doors to the public at its Grand Opening celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 3 in Emmetsburg, Iowa, showcasing first-of-its-kind technology that is poised to dramatically expand our world's resources for transportation fuel.

The Grand Opening will feature plant tours, a formal ceremony, a flyover by the ethanol-powered Vanguard Squadron, booths, music and more. The public is invited to attend, and lunch will be provided.

Project LIBERTY will process 770 tons of corn cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk daily to produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year, later ramping up to 25 million gallons per year.

Plant personnel are currently running biomass through the pretreatment process and preparing for the first gallons of ethanol. Project LIBERTY will be the flagship plant in POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels' plan to license this technology to companies across the U.S. and around the world.

July Milk Production in the United States up 3.9 Percent

Milk production in the United States during July totaled 17.5 billion pounds, up 3.9 percent from July 2013.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,882 pounds for July, 64 pounds above July 2013.  The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.27 million head, 37,000 head more than July 2013, and 5,000 head more than June 2014.

Iowa:  Milk production  in Iowa during July 2014  totaled 391 million pounds, up 2 percent  from July 2013 according  to  the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during July, at 207,000 head, was unchanged from last month, but 3,000 fewer than a year ago. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,890 pounds in July 2014, up 55 pounds from last July.

USDA Announces $25 Million for Agricultural Entrepreneurs to Turn Commodities into Value-Added Products

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted the importance of rural entrepreneurs to the U.S. economy and announced investments to help rural businesses grow, diversify and create jobs. USDA is investing $25 million to help 247 businesses nationwide expand their operations and create new products to market, Secretary Vilsack said today during a visit to Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, N.H., a recipient of one of the grants.

The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development's Value-Added Producer Grant program. The program helps agricultural producers grow their businesses by turning raw commodities into value-added products, expanding marketing opportunities and developing new uses for existing products.

"The funding we are announcing today will have far-reaching, positive impacts in rural communities across the country," Vilsack said. "The investments will help businesses create new products, expand their operations, and support local and regional food systems. The new Farm Bill expands this program to provide even more of these opportunities."

Since 2009, USDA has awarded 863 Value-Added Producer Grants totaling $108 million. Twenty percent of the grants and 16 percent of total funding has been awarded to beginning farmers and ranchers. The 2014 Farm Bill increases mandatory funding for the program from $15 million to $63 million over five years (while also reauthorizing an additional $40 million in discretionary funding).

The grants can be used for a wide range of purposes. They can support local and regional food systems, further the development of the growing bioeconomy, and finance the distribution of local and regional products.

USDA Announces $25 Million for Nation’s Farmers to Turn Commodities into Value-Added Products; Two Awards in Nebraska

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted the importance of rural entrepreneurs to the U.S. economy and said investments in them are helping businesses grow, diversify and create jobs. USDA is investing $25 million to help 247 businesses nationwide expand their operations and create new products to market, Secretary Vilsack said.

Two Nebraska companies receive awards totaling $181,518

Prairie Pride Poultry received a $5,500 Value Added Producer Grant from USDA Rural Development.  The funds will be used to support the marketing of locally produced farm-fresh eggs from over 600 farm raised Rhode Island Red hens.  Dan Hromas, the owner of Prairie Pride Poultry, is a former Marine and current member of the Nebraska National Guard and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  After nearly two decades protecting U.S. freedom and interests as a soldier, the former Marine and current member of the Nebraska Army National Guard has found a new purpose and resolve through his flock of chickens.

The York-area farm is the first in Nebraska and second in the US to be certified by the new national program “Homegrown by Heroes”, a marketing initiative that recognizes farmer veterans.  The hens produce 3,150 eggs a week.  Mr. Hromas is currently selling eggs to Grand Central Foods in York, Hy-Vee in Grand Island and Hy-Vee in Lincoln.  The funds will allow him to expand his market to the Farmers Market in Lincoln.

Mac Creek Winery received a $176,018 VAPG grant to expand Mac Creek Winery’s market area to eastern and western Nebraska through the execution of a marketing campaign that involves multiple media avenues.  The borrower will be providing their own matching funds for 51% of the project and will create two jobs and save two jobs as a result of the project, in a community of 10,230 in population.

The winery is family owned and operated by the McFarlands and is located one-half mile north of Lexington, Nebraska on U.S. Highway 21.  The vineyard is 12 acres and lies along the banks of Spring Creek. Ten different types of grapes, including red and white varieties are used to create 15 different wines.

 “The funding we are announcing today will have far-reaching, positive impacts in communities where these producers are located,” Vilsack said.  “The investments will help businesses create new products, expand their operations, and support local and regional food systems.”

USDA Continues to Seek Input for the 2017 Census of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to seek input for the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted only once every five years by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census provides detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture down to the county level.

NASS released the complete 2012 Census of Agriculture results on May 2, 2014. In June, the agency began asking for content suggestions for the 2017 Agriculture Census and is accepting suggestions from the public. Any individual or organization may ask to add or delete items on questionnaire, as well as send any other ideas about the Census.

“Many industries want data that we currently don’t collect,” said NASS Associate Administrator Renee Picanso. “There are also some data that people think are no longer relevant with changing trends in agriculture. This is the time to express those ideas and concerns.”

Comments can be submitted online at Written suggestions may be mailed to: Census Content Team, Room 6451, 1400 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20250. NASS will notify the public before the comment period ends.

To learn more and to access the complete 2012 Census of Agriculture results, including State and County Profiles and all the other Census data and tools, visit

UAN32 Again Leads Fertilizers Lower

Average retail fertilizer prices continued to decline the second week of August 2014, with one exception: Anhydrous was higher. This was the first time in five weeks that not all eight major fertilizers tracked by DTN were lower.  The one fertilizer, which was higher compared to a month earlier, was anhydrous. The nitrogen fertilizer was not up by any consequence and had an average price of $687 per ton.

Of the fertilizers that were lower in price, only one fertilizer had an average price that was down with any significance. UAN32 was down 5% compared to a month earlier. The nitrogen fertilizer's average price was $379 per ton.  Six fertilizers were lower, but none were down any significance. DAP had an average price of $589/ton, MAP $608/ton, potash $474/ton, urea $518/ton, 10-34-0 $555/ton, anhydrous $687/ton and UAN28 $337/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.56/lb.N, anhydrous $0.42/lb.N, UAN28 $0.60/lb.N and UAN32 $0.59/lb.N.

With fertilizers moving higher earlier in the year, just one of the eight major fertilizers is now double-digits lower in price compared to August 2013.  Urea is now 4% higher compared to last year while DAP increased 3%, and MAP is nearly unchanged. Anhydrous is down 2% and 10-34-0 is now 5% less expensive. UAN28 is 7% lower, UAN32 is 8% less expensive while potash is 15% less expensive compared to a year earlier.

CWT Assists with 2 Million Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 6 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) to sell 1.964 million pounds (891 metric tons) of Cheddar and Gouda cheese, to customers in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The product will be delivered August 2014 through January 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 82.543 million pounds of cheese, 48.051 million pounds of butter and 19.877 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.054 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

CWT-assisted exports of American-type cheeses, butter and whole milk powder make up a significant percentage of the exports of those products. In the long-term, assisting CWT member cooperatives through the Export Assistance program helps them gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them in the rapidly growing world dairy markets. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

Massey Ferguson Introduces 7700 Series Tractors

Massey Ferguson®, a worldwide brand of AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), introduces the powerful and efficient 7700 Series tractors. The 7700 Series features AGCO POWER™ 6.6- and 7.4-liter diesel engines, a redesigned front-axle suspension, increased hydraulic performance, and easy-to-use guidance technology.

"These multipurpose tractors match rugged iron with plenty of performance-boosting features," says Conor Bergin, product marketing manager for AGCO high-horsepower tractors. "Farmers looking for an adaptable tractor built for long workdays will find just what they need in the 7700 Series. They're nimble enough for easy loader work, powerful enough to handle a large square baler, and they have the hydraulic capacity to run a 16-row planter."

With five models ranging from 185 to 255 max engine HP, a choice of two available transmissions and upgraded hydraulic options, farmers can match the right configuration to their operation.

More muscle for getting work done

The Tier 4 Final, six-cylinder AGCO POWER 6.6- and 7.4-liter diesel engines powering the 7700 Series feature upgrades to increase productivity. Turbochargers with new electronic wastegates anticipate power needs, providing unbeatable engine response and high torque at all RPMs. The Engine Power Management (EPM) system delivers a power boost of up to 25 HP in demanding PTO, hydraulic and transport applications.

Additional enhancements include a new engine control unit (ECU) for precise operations, a new throttle valve for faster warm-ups, and a higher-pressure fuel injection system that delivers cleaner combustion, together eliminating the need for a diesel particulate filter. The new CYCLAIR™ cooling package enhances cooling efficiency without increasing system size.

"Farmers will appreciate the compact design of the CYCLAIR package because it pairs a high-capacity cooling system and air conditioner condenser with a sleek hood and grill for maximum engine airflow, uncompromised sight lines and a cool, comfortable ride," Bergin notes. "This is great for farmers working long days in the field."

Transmission options and hydraulic upgrades

The 7700 Series can be customized to meet the needs of all farm operation sizes, with a choice of two transmission packages with generous hydraulic capacity, the Dyna-6™ Partial Powershift or the Dyna-VT™ CVT transmission. Both systems boost efficiency and operation ease with convenient features such as Dynamic Tractor Management (DTM) and programmable cruise speeds.

The Dyna-6 Partial Powershift transmission is available with 29- or 39-GPM hydraulic pump, providing six powershift gears within four push-button main ranges. A wide range of speeds provides optimal performance and fuel economy, while speed-matching and AutoDrive allow clutchless control for swift gear and range changes.

The Dyna-VT CVT transmission is available for more demanding applications. With infinite operating speeds and an upgraded 50-GPM hydraulic system, it supplies the precision and capability needed for larger implements.

"Our goal is to provide farmers a machine that has extremely low operating costs," explains Bergin. "With DTM engaged, the system synchronizes engine speed and transmission ratio, allowing the engine to run at lower speeds, supply optimum power and reduce fuel consumption."

Solid traction

The 7700 Series has more than double the front-suspension travel of previous models, putting more power to the ground for reduced wheel slippage and power hop in the field. When towing heavy loads on the road, the front suspension provides greater steering control at higher speeds. Push-button control lets operators adjust suspension to match the task at hand.

The 7700 Series can be ballasted to over 30,000 pounds to help put power to the ground. The new front monobloc weight system offers farmers a choice of 1,984-pound or 3,306-pound weights.

Simple technology setup

The straightforward design with convenient controls and oversized screens makes operation easy from day one. All models feature fully integrated Auto-Guide™ 3000, with handy Go Mode activation. The new front dash display features a color setup and information screen (SIS) that is 50 percent larger with 10 times greater resolution and larger fonts.

August 18 Crop Progress & Condition Reports - NE - IA - US


For the week ending August 17, 2014, rain  in the central part of the State helped  reduce  the  need  for  irrigation,  according  to  the  USDA’s  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service.  Dryland crops in areas that did not receive rain were showing stress.  Cooler weather in the eastern part of the State  slowed  crop  development, while warmer  temperatures  in  the west  helped  dry  down  hay.  There were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 31 short, 61 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 32 short, 57 adequate, and 0 surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Corn  conditions  rated 3 percent very poor, 6 poor, 21  fair, 50  good,  and  20  excellent.  Corn dough was 78 percent, well ahead of 64 last year, but near 75 for the five-year average. Corn dented was 20 percent, ahead of 10 last year, but behind 29 average.

Soybean conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 22 fair, 53 good, and 17 excellent.  Soybeans setting pods was 89 percent, near 86 last year and 87 average.

Sorghum conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 33 fair, 41 good, and 19 excellent. Sorghum headed was 90 percent, ahead of 74  last year and 79 average. Sorghum coloring was 37 percent, well ahead of 2  last year and 7 average.

Alfalfa hay conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 7 poor, 31 fair, 50 good, and 10 excellent.   Alfalfa hay  third cutting was 68 percent complete, ahead of 55 last year, but equal to the average.
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  7  percent  very  poor,  11  poor,  34 fair, 41 good, and 7 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 9 short, 88 adequate, and 1 surplus. 

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:

Access  the  High  Plains  Region  Climate  Center  for  Temperature  and  Precipitation  Maps  at:

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:


Below average precipitation across much of Iowa caused a drop  in soil moisture, especially in the northeastern part of the State during the week ending August 17, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Statewide there were 5.6 days suitable for field work during  the week.   Activities  for  the week  included aerial spraying and hay baling.

Topsoil moisture  levels  rated  8 percent  very  short,  23 percent  short, 67 percent  adequate,  and  2 percent  surplus.    Subsoil moisture  levels rated  6 percent  very  short,  22 percent  short,  71 percent  adequate,  and 1 percent  surplus.   Northeast  Iowa was  the driest with over 60 percent of topsoil in very short to short condition.

Three-quarters of Iowa’s corn crop was  in  the dough stage or beyond, 16 days  ahead of  last year and 8 days  ahead of  the  five-year average.  Sixteen percent of the corn crop was in the dent stage, 10 days ahead of the previous year but 4 days behind normal.  Three-quarters of the corn acreage  was  reported  in  good  to  excellent  condition.   

Eighty-eight percent  of  the  soybean  crop  was  setting  pods  or  beyond, 20 percentage  points  above  last  year  and  2  points  above  average.  Soybean  condition was 73 percent good  to  excellent.  

Oat harvest  for grain was 97 percent  complete,  equal  to  the previous year but  slightly behind normal.  

The  second  cutting  of  alfalfa  hay  was  95 percent  complete, 2 percentage  points  below  last  year  and  1  point  below  the  five-year average.    The  third  cutting  of  alfalfa  hay  advanced  to  36 percent complete,  1  day  ahead  of  the  previous  year  but  just  over  one  week behind the normal pace.  Sixty-five percent of all hay was rated in good to  excellent  condition.   Pasture  condition  continued  to  deteriorate  and was  rated  54 percent  good  to  excellent.    Stress  on  livestock  was minimal with some areas reporting higher insect populations. 


Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist
Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

It was another unseasonably cool week across  Iowa with  temperatures below  normal  in  most  areas  throughout  the  week.   Temperature extremes varied from a Wednesday (13th) morning low of 47 degrees at Stanley  (Buchanan  Co.)  to  a  Saturday  (16th)  afternoon  high  of 86 degrees  at  Rock  Rapids.   Temperatures  for  the  week  as  a  whole averaged from two to three degrees below normal over the northwest to five to six degrees subnormal over the southeast.  The statewide average temperature  was  3.6 degrees  below  normal.   Little,  if  any,  rain  fell across  the  northeast  one-third  of  Iowa  this  past  week  where  some locations  have  not  had  a  substantial  rain  event  since  late  June.  Meanwhile, very  localized heavy  rains  fell over parts of  the southwest one-half of  Iowa on Sunday  (10th).  However,  the bulk of  this week’s rain  fell on Friday  (15th) over southwest and south central  Iowa where Murray  (Clarke  Co.)  reported  5.03 inches.   The  statewide  average precipitation was 0.69 inches while normal for the week is 0.98 inches.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

The nation's corn crop is hurtling toward maturity and even more so the soybeans, according to USDA's Crop Progress report for the week ended Aug. 17.

Seventy percent of the corn is in the dough stage, compared to a 63% five-year average and 22% is dented, compared to a 27% five-year average. Corn condition worsened slightly moving from 73% rated good to excellent last week to 72% this week.

Eighty-three percent of the soybeans are setting pods, compared to a 79% five-year average. Ninety-five percent of the crop is blooming, equal to the five-year average. Soybean condition improved slightly, moving from 70% rated good to excellent last week to 71% this week.

Corn Dough - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 17,  : August 10,  : August 17,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Colorado .......:     41            27            53            43     
Illinois .......:     67            77            86            76     
Indiana ........:     53            56            72            65     
Iowa ...........:     22            55            75            55     
Kansas .........:     72            66            79            81     
Kentucky .......:     52            56            70            66     
Michigan .......:     51            31            49            53     
Minnesota ......:     24            44            63            44     
Missouri .......:     73            81            91            81     
Nebraska .......:     64            62            78            75     
North Carolina .:     95            86            91            96     
North Dakota ...:     19            13            32            41     
Ohio ...........:     64            46            68            64     
Pennsylvania ...:     54             9            31            50     
South Dakota ...:     60            40            59            53     
Tennessee ......:     90            85            92            94     
Texas ..........:     78            88            89            83     
Wisconsin ......:     23            20            38            42     
18 States ......:     49            54            70            63     

Corn Dented - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 17,  : August 10,  : August 17,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Colorado .......:      5             3             5             7     
Illinois .......:     13            17            34            38     
Indiana ........:      5            17            29            23     
Iowa ...........:      2             7            16            25     
Kansas .........:     18            12            30            42     
Kentucky .......:     25            33            49            47     
Michigan .......:      5             -             6            12     
Minnesota ......:      1             -             6            13     
Missouri .......:     32            34            52            51     
Nebraska .......:     10             6            20            29     
North Carolina .:     84            68            78            83     
North Dakota ...:      -             -             -             8     
Ohio ...........:      5             6            16            19     
Pennsylvania ...:     15             1             6            16     
South Dakota ...:      4             1             5            12     
Tennessee ......:     63            22            53            75     
Texas ..........:     62            76            77            69     
Wisconsin ......:      1             -             4             8     
18 States ......:     10            11            22            27     

Corn Condition - Selected States: Week Ending August 17, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Colorado .......:     1           5          23          52          19    
Illinois .......:     1           4          15          51          29    
Indiana ........:     1           5          21          52          21    
Iowa ...........:     2           5          18          51          24    
Kansas .........:     6           9          30          42          13    
Kentucky .......:     5          13          24          46          12    
Michigan .......:     2           7          19          56          16    
Minnesota ......:     1           6          25          55          13    
Missouri .......:     -           2          15          49          34    
Nebraska .......:     3           6          21          50          20    
North Carolina .:     3          12          24          45          16    
North Dakota ...:     1           4          17          56          22    
Ohio ...........:     1           4          20          53          22    
Pennsylvania ...:     1           3          16          47          33    
South Dakota ...:     2           5          24          56          13    
Tennessee ......:     -           5          19          54          22    
Texas ..........:     1           5          29          49          16    
Wisconsin ......:     3           9          21          46          21    
18 States ......:     2           6          20          51          21    
Previous week ..:     2           5          20          52          21    
Previous year ..:     4           9          26          44          17    

Soybeans Blooming - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 17,  : August 10,  : August 17,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas .......:     92            91             95            96    
Illinois .......:     93            94             96            95    
Indiana ........:     95            96            100            95    
Iowa ...........:     94            96             98            98    
Kansas .........:     85            83             89            89    
Kentucky .......:     78            73             78            87    
Louisiana ......:     99            99            100            99    
Michigan .......:     97            91             97            96    
Minnesota ......:     95            94             96            97    
Mississippi ....:     99            92             95           100    
Missouri .......:     81            84             90            87    
Nebraska .......:     99            96             99            98    
North Carolina .:     66            71             80            80    
North Dakota ...:     95            95             99            98    
Ohio ...........:     95            91             94            97    
South Dakota ...:     95            94             98            98    
Tennessee ......:     78            83             91            92    
Wisconsin ......:     84            88             94            93    
18 States ......:     91            92             95            95    

Soybeans Setting Pods - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 17,  : August 10,  : August 17,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas .......:     77            79            87            84     
Illinois .......:     74            79            89            79     
Indiana ........:     77            80            90            77     
Iowa ...........:     68            79            88            86     
Kansas .........:     54            52            63            60     
Kentucky .......:     52            54            63            67     
Louisiana ......:     94            92            94            96     
Michigan .......:     78            75            87            80     
Minnesota ......:     70            74            85            82     
Mississippi ....:     86            79            85            95     
Missouri .......:     47            56            70            59     
Nebraska .......:     86            80            89            87     
North Carolina .:     39            46            54            52     
North Dakota ...:     77            75            88            89     
Ohio ...........:     81            66            80            79     
South Dakota ...:     72            64            81            83     
Tennessee ......:     59            62            75            76     
Wisconsin ......:     58            65            79            76     
18 States ......:     70            72            83            79     

Soybean Condition - Selected States: Week Ending August 17, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Arkansas .......:     2           9          26          42          21    
Illinois .......:     1           3          18          55          23    
Indiana ........:     1           5          27          51          16    
Iowa ...........:     2           5          20          51          22    
Kansas .........:     2           8          37          44           9    
Kentucky .......:     5          10          26          48          11    
Louisiana ......:     1           3          14          57          25    
Michigan .......:     2           7          27          51          13    
Minnesota ......:     2           6          28          54          10    
Mississippi ....:     -           4          17          53          26    
Missouri .......:     -           3          19          56          22    
Nebraska .......:     2           6          22          53          17    
North Carolina .:     1           5          25          53          16    
North Dakota ...:     1           4          23          56          16    
Ohio ...........:     1           5          22          58          14    
South Dakota ...:     2           6          22          57          13    
Tennessee ......:     1           5          20          58          16    
Wisconsin ......:     1           6          25          48          20    
18 States ......:     1           5          23          54          17    
Previous week ..:     2           5          23          53          17    
Previous year ..:     2           8          28          48          14    

Monday August 18 Ag News


The Nebraska Soybean Board held an election in July for the Director Seat in District 7.   Nebraska soybean farmers in that district voted with the following results:

District 7 - Counties consisting of Adams, Buffalo, Clay, Franklin, Hall, Kearney, Nuckolls  and Webster.
     Ron Pavelka – Glenvil, NE – Adams County – 161 - Elected
     Keith Keller – Harvard, NE – Clay County - 87
     Bill Miller – Upland, NE – Franklin County - 116
          The re-elected Director, Ron Pavelka, will begin his second term on the Board.

Daryl Obermeyer, a soybean farmer from Brownville, NE – Nemaha County – ran unopposed; therefore he becomes the District 5 director.  Obermeyer will represent soybean farmers in Cass, Johnson, Lancaster, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee and Richardson counties. This is his first term serving on the Nebraska Soybean Board.

Greg Anderson, a soybean farmer from Newman Grove, NE – was elected to the At-Large Position by the Nebraska Soybean Board members at the July meeting.  Anderson will begin his first term.

These board members will bring with them a wealth of experience from local leadership roles.  “We commend these farmer-leaders for the commitment of their time, energy and effort to help increase demand for Nebraska soybeans, said Victor Bohuslavsky, Nebraska Soybean Board, executive director.

The elected directors will serve a three-year term beginning October 1, 2014 and ending September 30, 2017.


The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) are rejecting the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) being proposed by several agricultural groups which, among other things, will in effect raise the Beef Checkoff from $1 to $2 or more.

The MOU was hammered out by the leadership of American Farm Bureau, United States Cattlemen's Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Farmer's Union, and other entities and was presented to the Cattlemen's Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Councils for their consideration at the recent NCBA convention in Denver.

At that meeting the Cattlemen's Beef Board made a decision to defer a vote on the MOU until members had a better chance to learn about what was actually involved in the Memorandum. CBB was first presented with the MOU only a few minutes before they were asked to vote on it and Nebraska CBB members Al Davis and David Wright both spoke out strongly against making a quick decision on the MOU.  The Federation of Beef Councils did vote to advance the MOU.

“One of my major concerns is the need to treat this as a binding contract and if that is so, members need to vote on this before it is signed,” said ICON president Dave Wright.

Wright also pointed out there was a Cattlemen’s Beef Board study done recently which showed the return on investment for the $1 Beef Checkoff is a little over $11. He wonders if the increase is necessary and wants proponents of the amended change to consider if this will be an unnecessary hardship for producers.

One of the guidelines of the MOU maintains regular reviews of the referendum are not necessary. After a period of five to ten years, cattle producers may visit their local Farm Service Agency office to make a request for a review but ten percent of producers are needed. Many FSA offices are closing and in the future, this may become difficult.

ICON’s boards of directors also have other concerns including where the extra assessment dollars will be used and who will have control over them. In the past, funds from Beef Checkoff dollars which were used to subsidize expenditures like salaries, travel and expenses within the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) were challenged. Changes are also included for nominations to the Operating Committee which could create conflicts of interest for future contract decisions.

“Why not return to 1995 before there was a merger forming the NCBA?” asked Wright. “Separate the Federations from the NCBA and then maybe consider raising the assessment.”

Affordable Care Act Has Implications for Farm Families

Considering the high cost of health insurance, farm families should become familiar with changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach human sciences specialists in family finance discuss the implications for farm families in the August issue of Ag Decision Maker.

“For the farm community and the public at large, a great deal of confusion has surrounded the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Uncertainties remain in terms of the costs and benefits associated with its implementation,” said Suzanne Bartholomae. “However, many of the new provisions of the ACA may address some of the issues faced by farm families when it comes to health coverage.”

The health insurance consumption patterns of Iowa farmers differ from the population at large, USDA research shows. Iowa farm operators tend to have greater rates of insurance coverage than the general population, partially because of the dangerous nature of farming. To get health insurance coverage, family members often take off-farm jobs.

“Farmers use health insurance to protect their farms from risk, and many farm operations support multiple farm families,” added Susan Taylor.

Bartholomae and Taylor examine the Health Insurance Marketplace, essential benefits, tax credits and cost-sharing options. See the complete story in the Ag Decision Maker newsletter.

National Pork Board to Meet Sept. 3-5 in Des Moines

Nominations to fill 2015 Board seats now open

The National Pork Board will begin to build its 2015 marketing, research and education plans during a meeting Sept. 3-5 in Des Moines, Iowa. National Pork Board President Dale Norton, a farmer from Bronson, Mich., will preside over the board meeting Sept. 3-4, followed immediately by the Plan of Work meeting Sept. 4-5. At the latter meeting, pork producers from across the country will work directly with the board to define 2015 Checkoff budget priorities.

"Our annual Plan of Work meeting is critical because we hear directly from the pork producers who pay the Pork Checkoff. Their input is important in defining priorities and ensuring that budget dollars are invested well," Norton said. "This has been an interesting year for the Checkoff. We are facing many issues, but have seen record revenues, giving us an opportunity to invest wisely in innovative programs that will have along-term positive impact on our industry."

About 40 pork producers participate in the annual Plan of Work meeting. The agenda for the board meeting will include 2015 budget planning and program development, as well as an update on the five-year strategic planning process announced earlier this year. Checkoff staff will offer comments on programs implemented in 2014, including research priorities, domestic and international marketing efforts and producer education and training programs.

Deadline for 2015 Board Member Nominations Is Nov. 1, 2014

The Pork Checkoff's Board of Directors is now accepting nominations to fill five, three-year terms that will begin July 2015. Nominees may be submitted by state pork producer associations, farm organizations or anyone who pays the Pork Checkoff, including pig farmers and pork importers. A minimum of eight candidates must be ranked by Pork Act Delegates before the nominees aresent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for approval.

"Serving on the National Pork Board is a great opportunity for producers to show their support of the industry while helping toplan for a successful future," Norton said. "The board plays a significant role, ensuring that the industry voice is heard on a national level." 

Any pork producer or importer who has paid all Checkoff assessments due or is a representative of a producer or company that produces hogs and/or pigs is eligible to serve on the National Pork Board. The 15 positions on the board are held by pork producers or importers who volunteer their time. Seats to be elected in 2015 are currently held by:
     - Dale Norton, Michigan - Second term - Not eligible for reelection
     - Lisa Colby, Massachusetts - Second term - Not eligible for reelection
     - Brad Greenway, South Dakota - Second term - Not eligible for reelection
     - Carl Link, Ohio - First term - Eligible for reelection to a 3-year term
     - Craig Mensink, Minnesota - First term - Eligible for reelection to a 3-year term

Candidates also are being sought for two open positions on the Pork Board Nominating Committee. Those appointed will serve a two-year term in2015 and 2016. The Pork Checkoff Nominating Committee will solicit, interview, evaluate and recommend candidates to the Pork Act Delegate Body at the annual meeting March 5-7, 2015, in San Antonio, Texas.

The application deadline is Nov. 1, 2014, with interviews for each candidate to be held in Des Moines Dec. 11-12, 2014. Please direct application requests and questions to the National Pork Board by mail to 1776 NW 114th St., Clive, Iowa 50325. Or contact Teresa Wadsworth at (515) 223-2612 or at

National Pork Board Examines International Marketing Opportunities

The National Pork Board announced today a study that will explore alternatives for promoting pork's quality and sustainability benefits with international consumers.  The study, to be conducted by SIAM Professionals, LLC, will evaluate existing marketing strategies and partners to identify methods for improving pork's position as the global meat of choice.

Funded through America's Pork Checkoff, this project will evaluate the effectiveness of current global marketing efforts and identify potential partnerships and marketing tools for promoting U.S. pork. SIAM specializes in evaluating and developing international market opportunities for the food and agribusiness industry.  

"Throughout the world, pork is the single most consumed meat. The popularity of U.S. pork is driven by its taste, versatility as a recipe and menu item, and affordable cost," said Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. "For many years, pork has been marketed globally with all other meats, and it's our intention to determine the ideal way to market U.S. pork on an international basis. It is part of our ongoing commitment to examine all of our Pork Checkoff programs to ensure continuous improvement."

According to Euromonitor International's latest estimates, global pork sales are expected to grow by 12 percent in the 2013-2018 forecast period, adding 10.6 million metric tons in sales volume by 2018. Most of this increase will be seen in emerging markets, such as Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America where populations and incomes continue to grow. In the first six months of 2014, exports increased 9 percent from the same time period a year ago, according to current data from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Most of the gains are due to growth in Mexico and continued demand in Asia.

The National Pork Board is committed to addressing the international trade barriers facing the pork industry. Currently, the United States exports approximately 28 percent of the pork raised here, delivering around $70 per animal raised back to America's pig farmers.

"In 2013, the U.S. sold pork in more than 100 countries. International markets represent a significant sales channel and, grown properly, will be critical to the success of pig farmers across the country," Novak said. "As an industry, we must remain keenly focused on developing global markets and effectively promoting pork worldwide."

The Pork Checkoff's International Trade activities are overseen by the Checkoff's Board of Directors and a 23-member International Trade Committee from throughout the United States. The committee's mission is focused on:
-    Research: Conducting technical and economic research and market analysis to prove or dispute non-scientific barriers to international trade.
-    Market Access: Seeking and pursuing all legitimate avenues to market U.S. pork worldwide.
-    Market Development: Defining key target markets and creating promotion and education outreach opportunities with importers and consumers. 

The National Pork Board has funded international market development activities through the U.S. Meat Export Federation for more than 25 years and is interested in further expanding how U.S. pork is marketed on a worldwide basis. SIAM will investigate the potential for a revised or complementary approach, developing systems with a focus on identifying new and emerging markets, incorporating new messages, and more effectively measuring results. 

"Our farmers, staff, contractors and others involved in U.S.pork production look forward to using insights gleaned from SIAM's analysis in shaping and sharing pork's story with our international consumers," Novak said. "We plan to engage our entire industry in this process of global market review."

Results of SIAM's evaluation will be presented to Pork Checkoff's full board of directors in spring 2015.  

Strong U.S. Corn Exports to Colombia Continue

The United States is on track to capture more than 95 percent of Colombia’s 3.6 million metric ton (141 million bushels) corn market this marketing year, which ends Aug. 31. This is a dramatic turn-around from 2013 exports of just 644,000 tons (25 million bushels) to that country.

Colombia has traditionally been the biggest importer of U.S. corn in South America. However, due to tariff advantages Colombian importers began switching to Argentina and Brazil to source their corn needs around 2009. It wasn’t until the U.S. – Colombia free trade agreement was implemented in 2012 that U.S. exporters began to become competitive once again in this vital corn market.

The FTA agreement allows 2.3 million tons (90 million bushels) of U.S. corn to be imported duty-free. The duty-free quota for this year was filled in June, after which market watchers expected Colombian importers to switch back to South American origin as the Argentine crop began to be exported.

However, this did not happen. The low international price of corn has caused Colombia to raise its duties on other origins to more than 30 percent, compared to 18 percent on corn from the United States. As a result, Colombian grain importers returned aggressively to buying U.S. corn.

“This year, Colombian importers were able to save millions of dollars in taxes by importing U.S. corn, said USGC Director of Global Strategies Kurt Shultz.

“We benefit as a result of years of negotiations over the free trade agreement,” Shultz said. “After all these years, it’s actually been really beneficial to the U.S. corn producer.”

In addition to corn, the Council is working with the livestock industry in Colombia to introduce DDGS, which face no import duties, into that market.

New Malaysia Import Regulations: U.S. DDGS and CGM Receive Permanent Exemption

Malaysian officials last week agreed to permanently exempt imports of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten meal (CGM) from that nation’s new, more stringent sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) and inspection regulations for agricultural commodities. The decision makes permanent a temporary exemption, granted in May, for the period from July 31 to Dec. 31, 2014.

“Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, is a growth market, so this is an important decision,” said Adel Yusupov, USGC regional director for Southeast Asia. “Malaysia has experienced problems with some countries of origin, but U.S. DDGS and CGM are high quality. It is encouraging to see Malaysia recognizing this in its regulations.”

Earlier in the year, Malaysia announced new SPS and inspection regulations on imports of a number of agricultural commodities. These potentially costly regulations applied to all countries of origin, including the United States. This one-size-fits-all approach threatened to disrupt trade and impose significant and needless costs on Malaysian buyers and consumers.

Working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Malaysia, Yusupov immediately launched a dialogue with Malaysian officials. The temporary exemption announced in May provided time for additional discussion. Malaysian officials have now officially recognized that U.S. DDGS and CGM pose no significant threat to Malaysian agriculture and end-users.

“Without this decision, U.S. DDGS and CGM would have faced requirements for fumigation at the port of origin and strict phytosanitary certification, effective Jan. 1, 2015,” Yusupov said. “The exemption is a big win for trade, and for Malaysian consumers.”

Deere Announces Factory Layoffs

Deere & Company announced it will reduce the size of its manufacturing workforce at some agricultural equipment factories in response to current market demand for its products. The action will place more than 600 employees at four locations on indefinite layoff.

In addition, Deere is implementing seasonal and inventory adjustment shutdowns and temporary layoffs at several of the affected factories. When Deere announced third quarter earnings on Wednesday, the company said it planned to reduce agricultural equipment production in the company's fourth quarter.

Employees have been informed at the affected facilities, which include John Deere Harvester Works, East Moline, IL; John Deere Seeding and Cylinder, Moline, IL; John Deere Des Moines Works, Ankeny, IA; and John Deere Coffeyville, Coffeyville, KS. No other locations are included in the layoff announcement.

In July, Deere informed employees at its Ankeny facility of an extended shutdown affecting most manufacturing employees at that location.

Friday August 15 Ag News

Nebraska Corn Board announces recently appointed board members and elected officers

Two new board members were appointed to the Nebraska Corn Board at the start of the 2014-15 fiscal year. Brandon Hunnicutt, farmer from Giltner, Nebraska was appointed to District 3, and John Greer, farmer from Edgar, Nebraska was appointed to District 2. Alan Tiemann, farmer from Seward, Nebraska, was reelected by the board to serve in the At-Large position.

Brandon Hunnicutt is a fourth generation farmer who farms with his dad and brother. They raise corn, soybeans, popcorn, and seed corn. Hunnicutt graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Agribusiness. He has been very involved with the Hamilton County Corn Growers and with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association as Past President. He served as Past President and Secretary of the Nebraska Agriculture Technologies Association, Board member of the Hamilton County Farm Bureau, and is a member of the Nebraska Soybean Association and the Agriculture Builders of Nebraska.  On a national level, he is Past Chairman of the Grower Services Action Team for the National Corn Growers Association and currently sit on the Trade Policy and Biotech Action Team. He and his wife, Lisa, have seven children and live on the farmstead that has been in the family for over 100 years.

John Greer is the fourth generation to farm his family’s farm in northern Nuckolls County. Greer raises irrigated corn and soybeans and has a 90 head cow/calf operation. He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1971 with a degree in Agricultural Education and a minor in Animal Science. He has formerly served on the Davenport Public School Board, South Central Cattlemen Board of Directors, Nebraska Cattlemen Board of Directors, and was also a 4-H leader.  His current leadership roles include serving as the president of the South Central Public Power Board of Directors, Edgar Rural Fire Board, Davenport United Methodist Church Board, and Trail Captain for the National Pony Express Association. He, and his wife, Lynn, are the parents of two married daughters who are also involved in production agriculture.

With the addition of two new board members, the Nebraska Corn Board met on August 14 and elected officers, during their meeting in Lincoln.
     - Tim Scheer, District 5 director from St. Paul, Nebraska, was reelected to remain chairman of the board.
     - David Merrell, District 7 director from St. Edward, Nebraska, was elected to serve as vice-chairman of the board. He formerly served as the secretary/treasurer.
     - Dennis Gengenbach, District 6 director from Smithfield, Nebraska, was elected to serve as secretary/treasurer of the board.
     - Alan Tiemann, at-large director from Seward, Nebraska, will continue to serve as the past-chairman of the board.

“In an unmatched time in agriculture, we welcome two new board members,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “They, along with our officer team, will play a dynamic role in helping the Nebraska economy through its market development, research, promotion, education, and in supporting the mission and vision for Nebraska’s 23,000 corn producers that invest in the corn checkoff.”

Greer and Hunnicutt’s appointments concluded the service of Mark Jagels of Davenport, Nebraska (District 2) and Curt Friesen of Henderson, Nebraska (District 3).

“We absolutely want to thank Mark and Curt for their years of dedicated service on the Nebraska Corn Board,” added Brunkhorst.  “Through their passion for leadership to the corn, livestock, export and ethanol industries, they have made unprecedented history in the impact that the corn checkoff has had in Nebraska and around the globe.”

Livestock Disaster Assistance Info Meeting Aug. 20

On Aug. 20, the Pierce County Farm Service Agency will be holding an informational meeting open to the public on livestock disaster programs as authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The meeting will start at 3 p.m. at the Town & Country Insurance building meeting room.

Sign-up for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) is underway at the Farm Service Agency. Pierce County livestock producers may be eligible for payments on pasture, small grain, and other grazed forages based upon the number of head of livestock and acres grazed in both 2012 and 2013.

Appointments are available now for producers who grazed livestock in 2012 and 2013. To speed up the signup process, producers are encouraged to provide the following PRIOR to their appointment:

1. Applicants will need to supply livestock numbers as of July 24, 2012 and May 1, 2013 for livestock intended for grazing in 2012 and 2013 respectively. For cattle, this shall be broken down by cows, bulls, and animals over 500 pounds.

FSA is not requesting livestock inventory documentation at the time of application. Producers shall maintain livestock inventory documentation (such as cash flows, tax records, vet records and etc.) for three years in case they are pulled for a spot-check of the livestock inventory.

2. Farm Numbers and/or legal descriptions of all grazed acres.

An accurate certification of grazed acres will need to be provided. Indicate grazed land owned. If grazed land is leased, form CCC-855 must be signed by all landowners. If provided to FSA, a copy of the written cash lease maybe used instead of the CCC-855. CCC-855 forms are available at any FSA office or by email request to

3. Are the livestock owned on shares? Ex. 50/50 father/daughter.

4. Does anyone else graze their livestock in the same pasture?

Payments are processed throughout the signup period. Many Pierce County LFP applicants have already been paid. Contact Pierce County FSA at (402) 329-4996 ext. 2 to set up an appointment.

Dairy Visibility Increases at Nebraska State Fair

Thanks to a joint effort by farmer-funded groups in Nebraska, dairy farming and food are among the topics for a new display called Raising Nebraska at the Nebraska State Fair. The display is a centerpiece component in the new Nebraska building at the fair, which begins Aug. 22 in Grand Island.

Midwest Dairy Association, funded by dairy farm families in 10 states, is a sponsor of the display, which tells dairy’s farm-to-fork story with graphics and video. Dean Engelman of Classic Dairy at Jansen, Nebraska, talks about his farm in the video segment, describing the animal care and resource management that results in wholesome milk.

The milking parlor, which serves both as an important tool for exhibitors who bring milking cows to the show and an educational opportunity for fair-goers, is sponsored by Midwest Dairy as well. Cows that stay in what’s called the “Avenue of Breeds” are used for milking demonstrations throughout the fair. The Esau family from Beatrice manages the cows for the Avenue of Breeds, which are furnished by various dairies in Nebraska.

For those who wish to get a taste of hand milking a cow, a model cow called Annabelle resides near the milking parlor in the Cattle Barn, and provides a fun opportunity for children and families to simulate the experience. Dairy shows and contests also provide enjoyment for spectators and cow lovers. Dairy judging will take place the first weekend of the fair, starting Friday morning with the open class dairy cattle show.  On Saturday and Sunday the youth dairy judging and cattle show will take place in the Five Points Bank Arena.

On the fair’s Kids’ Days, Midwest Dairy will provide milk as part of a healthy snack presentation given on the hour between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. in cooperation with the Nebraska Wheat Board, on the Raising Nebraska presentation stage.

The Nebraska State Fair runs through Sept. 1.

Rural Development Assists Nebraska Vo-Ag Center

USDA Rural Development announced a $1,255,000 loan to the Nebraska Vocational Agricultural Center in Aurora. The funds will help with needed improvements at the Center and to refinance debt.

"We are very excited to be working with the USDA on our upcoming project. The Leadership Center is an incredible facility and these updates will help us serve our community and guests even better. The Nebraska Vocational Agricultural Foundation Board of Directors and I would also like to thank all our partners working on this including the USDA, Pinnacle Bank and Cornerstone Bank," said Maile Ilac Boeder, Nebraska Vocational Agricultural Center.

Improvements to be made to the Center include replacement of the roof, remodeling of the kitchen and dining area, and the upgrading of the mechanical equipment and kitchen equipment. Also, the refinancing of current debt will occur. The USDA loan will be repaid over 40 years at a four percent interest rate.

"Communities need a place to gather that is pleasing to be in. This Center is in need of some updates to keep it functional for future generations and we are glad that USDA can assist," said Community Programs Specialist Janice Stopak, USDA Rural Development.

The Nebraska Vocational Agricultural Foundation was founded in 1968 after Irv Wedeking, Dr. Ted Ward Lodge and Norval McCaslin purchased the original property. The property was purchased for the Nebraska Future Farmers of America (FFA) leadership camps. The first camp was held in 1971 and students slept in tents.

Over the 46 year history, the property was developed and expanded in property, buildings and services. There is now more than 13,000 square feet of meeting space under one roof, a gymnasium, indoor pool, full service kitchen, fully stocked catch and release pond, sand volleyball pits and much more. There are 60 lodge rooms and three dorms that sleep up to 158 people.

Every year the Nebraska FFA hold their COLT Conference and NPOWER conferences as well as three Leadership Skills Contests and a number of FFA Chapter retreats at the Center. Also served are 4-H and University Extension throughout Nebraska. Other groups include Boys Town, Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Sight Impaired, Boys Hope Girls Hope, University of Nebraska Lincoln International Student Retreat, University of Nebraska Kearney-Multicultural Retreat, Hastings College Music Department, Nebraska Corn Growers, Nebraska Art Teachers Association, Aurora Cooperative and numerous other groups from around the state and country. The site is host to numerous church groups as well as families for reunions and many more. Nebraska Vocational Agriculture Center partners with Aurora Public Schools for special education swims and on Senior Success day.

In 2013, more than 45,000 people utilized The Leadership Center in a variety of ways.

The project was funded through the USDA Rural Development Community Facility Direct Loan program.

SW Iowa Renewable Energy Announces Third Quarter Results

Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC (SIRE) announced its unaudited financial results for the three and nine months ended June 30, 2014.

SIRE reported net income of $5.6 million or $421.05 per basic unit for the three months ended June 30, 2014, compared to a net income of $1.5 million or $114.24 per basic unit for the three months ended June 30, 2013. SIRE reported net income of $35.6 million or $2,701.99 per basic unit for the nine months ended June 30, 2014, compared to a net loss of $(9.6) million or $(731.11) per basic unit for the nine months ended June 30, 2013.

Modified EBITDA, which is defined as earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization, unrealized hedging gains and losses and loss from debt extinguishment was $63.1 million for the nine months ended June 30, 2014, compared to $10.0 million for the nine months ended June 30, 2013.

SIRE had $3.5 million in cash and cash equivalents and $26.0 million available under revolving loan agreements, for total cash and available borrowings of $29.5 million at June 30, 2014. The cash flow from operating activities was $52.4 million compared to $4.6 million for the nine months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013, respectively.

In July, SIRE announced the completion of a $66.0 million Senior Credit Agreement with Farm Credit Services of America and CoBank, with the proceeds used to refinance senior bank debt. The Credit Agreement provides SIRE with a term loan of $30 million and a revolving term loan of $36 million. Interest rate on the Credit Agreement was reduced from 6.0% to LIBOR plus 3.35%.

SIRE also completed a $26.2 million Subordinated Debt offering, with the interest rate reduced from LIBOR plus 7.5% to LIBOR plus 6.25%. The proceeds of the Subordinated Debt were used to refinance the remaining balance of Subordinated Debt previously outstanding. Prior to completing this offering, SIRE also paid a total of $26.8 million to its subordinated lenders.

As part of amending and restating the Subordinated Debt agreements, SIRE was required to evaluate the change under very specific debt modification accounting guidance for an instrument with an embedded conversion feature. As a result, SIRE determined an "extinguishment" occurred, which required determination of the fair value of the related debt. SIRE determined that the Subordinated Debt fair value exceeded the face value by approximately $10.1 million due to the substantial premium contained in the conversion feature, requiring the Company to report a "loss from debt extinguishment". An equal offset to this "loss" was reflected as an increase to members' equity with the debt remaining at face value. Therefore, this transaction had no impact on cash, working capital, or equity.

SIRE considers the $10.1 million loss from debt extinguishment to be a one-time event, and does not anticipate re-valuing the debt in the future.

Brian Cahill, SIRE's president and CEO stated, "This third quarter of Fiscal 2014 was monumental for SIRE! Our profit was excellent, and as we reported earlier, we completed our bank debt refinancing, paid down over half of our subdebt, and renewed the remainder, all at good terms."

"During this third quarter, we continued to see some of the best margins in the history of the company, continuing the trend of the past few quarters. We were able to continue operating at full capacity nearly every day, capitalizing not only on our ability to manage our railcar fleet during the winter storms that caused many delays and slowdowns, but also on our dual-powering, as we utilized our steam line the majority of the second and third quarters, avoiding the higher prices and curtailments for natural gas that others in the industry experienced. We did have a weather problem in June, when heavy rain caused damage to our steam line, taking it out of service through the summer. Fortunately, gas prices have returned to a reasonable level, and has not affected our profitability"

"Our book value per share has now surpassed $6,591 per unit," continued Cahill, "with $2,702 per unit profit through these first three quarters."

During the third quarter of Fiscal 2014, SIRE sold 28.6 million gallons of ethanol, and has sold 89.3 million gallons during these first three quarters of Fiscal 2014. Cahill commented: "Transportation and the rail situation continue to be a challenge, for us as well as the ethanol industry. We continue to focus on running the plant at full capacity when possible, with a balance of optimizing the yield and profit."

SIRE is located on 275 acres in Council Bluffs, Iowa, operating a 125 million gallon-per-year ethanol plant. SIRE began producing ethanol in February 2009 and sells its ethanol, distillers grains, corn syrup, and corn oil in the continental United States, Mexico and the Pacific Rim.

EPA Announces Label Restrictions for Lannate

This week the EPA announced label changes to methomyl, a restricted-use, broad-spectrum carbamate insecticide used in field crops, alfalfa, and commercial vegetable production.  Methomyl is sold as Lannate®, a product of DuPont™.

The changes will restrict the number of sprays allowed per season on field corn, popcorn and seed corn, cancel use on barley, oat, and rye, and restrict use in wheat to Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

For corn, language will be added to labels to change the timing of applications so that only two applications can occur prior to tassel push, at the 1-2 leaf stage, and applications will no longer be allowed on bare soil. Also, the number of applications for field corn, popcorn, and seed corn will be reduced 25% to 50%.

These changes are due to concerns about potential risks to drinking water from exposure to methomyl. The EPA expects to release the human health and ecological risk assessments for methomyl for public comment in early 2016, according to an Aug. 14 news release. "Additional mitigation measures may be identified as EPA continues its evaluation of this pesticide."

Labels are expected to reflect the new restrictions by the end of 2014.

Prevent Plant Acres Decline From 2013

Prevented planting acreage declined significantly from last year and is largely concentrated in North Dakota and Minnesota, according to Farm Services Agency's initial release of certified acreage data.

Farmers were prevented from planting 1.54 million acres of corn, down from 2013's total of 3.16 million acres.  On soybeans, 827,131 acres went unplanted, compared to 1.7 million acres last year.

The only state with more than 1 million prevented planting acres was North Dakota. North Dakota and Minnesota combined accounted for 53% of prevented corn and 62% of prevented soybeans.

FSA's initial data is estimated to be 3% incomplete. The agency will update acreage information monthly, but USDA will not incorporate the acreage figures until its October crop reports.

USMEF Hosts Congressional Delegation from Mexico

This week the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) hosted a congressional delegation from Mexico for a firsthand look at U.S. meat production. The three visiting legislators are members of the lower house of the Mexican Congress, where all three serve on the Livestock Committee – including the committee’s president, Salvador Barajas, who is from the state of Jalisco. Other Congressmen attending were Dario Badillo of Hidalgo and Raudel López of Aguascalientes.

A top official from Mexico’s Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA), Coordinator of Livestock Development Francisco Gurria, was also included in the delegation. USMEF staff members accompanying the group were Chad Russell, regional director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, Dr. Nelson Huerta, director of technical services for USMEF-Mexico, and Cheyenne Dixon, manager of technical services in Denver.

“USMEF was pleased to have the opportunity to host such an influential group,” said Russell. “At both a legislative and regulatory level, these are people directly involved in shaping livestock policy in Mexico.”

Their first stop was the Aristocrat Angus ranching operation near Platteville, Colorado, where they learned about the production of purebred breeding stock as well as the management of a commercial cattle herd. At Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, the group met with CSU President Tony Frank and Provost Rick Miranda. They also toured the Center for Meat Safety and Quality and received an overview of the research conducted at CSU and how it supports the agricultural economy of Colorado and the United States.

At USMEF headquarters in Denver, the delegation received a briefing on the role and mission of USMEF and some examples of its market development activities in Mexico and other key markets. They also met with officials from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Other key industry activities included a tour of the Cargill beef processing plant in Fort Morgan, Colorado, and the JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding operation near Kersey, Colorado.

“The delegation definitely received a thorough, farm-to-plate examination of U.S. meat production,” said Russell. “They were very complimentary of the information provided, and found it to be an extremely beneficial experience.”

A Tuesday evening reception was hosted by USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng, USMEF Chair-elect Leann Saunders and Birko CEO Mark Swanson, a member of the USMEF Executive Committee. Special guests included Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar, Elie Smilovitz, consul for economic and political affairs with the Consulate-General of Mexico in Denver, Colorado Farm Bureau President Don Shawcroft and Lauren Dever, executive director of the Colorado Pork Producers Council.

“As our No. 1 volume market for both U.S. beef and pork, maintaining a positive trading relationship with Mexico is particularly important to the U.S. meat industry,” Seng said. “This is why it is so important for USMEF to be actively engaged with leaders in both the executive and legislative branches of the Mexican government. Hosting this delegation is exactly the type of outreach that will benefit agricultural interests on both sides of the border for many years to come.”

CRP Early Out Sign Up Underway

Signup for Conservation Reserve Program contract holders to take advantage of the early out provision in the 2014 Farm Bill started Aug. 6 and will run through Jan. 30, 2015. The early out option is available to certain CRP contract holders during FY 2015 provided the contracts have been in effect for at least five years. Only CRP contracts with effective dates of October 1, 2009 or earlier are eligible for termination under the early out provisions. Of the 42 conservation practices on CRP acres, only five are eligible to be terminated under the early out option. These include CP1 Establishment of Permanent Introduced Grasses and Legumes, CP2 Establishment of Permanent Native Grasses, CP3 Tree Planting, CP10 Gras Already Established and CP11 Trees already established. To learn more, click here.... 

Demand Strong as Market Year End Approaches

China has proven to be a strong contender for U.S. sorghum through their purchasing patterns throughout the current marketing year, ending Aug. 31, 2014. The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Aug. 14 report indicated China has committed to a total of 177 million bushels of U.S. grain sorghum for the current marketing year, representing 90 percent of U.S. sorghum exports. In combination with food aid, total exports for the year have reached 214 million bushels. Demand is reaching into the new marketing year beginning Sept. 1 with total commitments of 38.1 million bushels of which China represents 28.8 million bushels.

Thursday August 14 Ag News

Credit Conditions Remain Solid Despite Lower Farm Income
Nathan Kauffman, Kansas City Reserve - Omaha Branch executive
Maria Akers, associate economist

Credit conditions at agricultural banks remained sound in the second quarter and were expected to hold steady during the growing season. Some survey contacts pointed out that several years of strong profitability in the crop sector have bolstered the financial position of many farmers and could provide a measure of protection against a forecasted drop in income for 2014. Indeed, bankers reported very few past due farm loans in the second quarter and anticipated that the majority of farm loans in their portfolios would have no significant repayment problems this year. Bankers felt that a small portion of farm loans, less than 10 percent, may have minor repayment issues, but that these issues could be remedied easily. As a result, very few farm loans were expected to require workout negotiations or forced liquidation of assets.

However, following the sharp drop in crop prices in late 2013, some bankers noted a dip in farm loan repayment rates. While repayment rates have fluctuated across the District, the largest declines have been in states heavily dependent on crop production, particularly Nebraska. In contrast, loan repayment rates in Oklahoma strengthened in the second quarter along with improved profitability in the cattle sector. In addition to softening repayment rates, bankers also reported a rise in the number of loan renewals and extensions over the past year. Still, loan repayment rates and loan renewals and extensions were expected to hold steady in the coming months.

Despite the deterioration in farm loan repayment rates in some areas, bankers reported little change in underwriting standards in the second quarter. Collateral requirements on farm loans generally held firm and loan-to-value ratios remained relatively conservative. On average, bankers reported about half of their agricultural loans, including operating, farm machinery and real estate, had a loan-to-value ratio between 65 and 80 percent. Furthermore, about one-third of their agricultural loans were made with a loan-to-value ratio less than 65 percent. In addition, loan terms remained favorable to borrowers with interest rates holding at low levels, averaging 5.7 percent on operating loans, 5.5 percent on farm machinery loans and 5.4 percent on farm real estate loans.

Farm Income and Loan Demand

Demand for farm operating loans rose alongside lower farm income in the second quarter. District winter wheat yields in Kansas and Oklahoma were well below average due to poor growing conditions from prolonged drought, followed by scattered storm damage close to harvest. In fact, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported winter wheat yields were down 26 percent from last year in Kansas and fell by 45 percent in Oklahoma. Although U.S. wheat production was down, strong global production estimates kept prices subdued, limiting farm income in the second quarter.

Heavy rains in June were typically too late to help the winter wheat crop but enhanced growing conditions for corn and soybeans. Strong summer storms produced record rainfall and eased severe drought conditions in many parts of the District, boosting production estimates for fall crops and improving pasture conditions for cattle grazing. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected 2014 corn yields at a record 167.4 bushels per acre, 11 percent higher than the most recent 10-year average. However, the potential for record yields weighed on prices, and futures markets for December delivery of corn were trading close to $4 per bushel at the end of June with further declines in July. Furthermore, USDA estimated the cost of production would be more than $4 in 2014 for a typical corn producer with an average yield of about 150 bushels per acre.

The timing of price movements is also important for revenue expectations. Some farmers have sold a portion of their crop at higher prices earlier in the crop year through forward contracting. In addition, support for 2014 farm income could come from crop insurance prices that were set earlier this year at higher levels. If prices remain low through harvest, some farmers may also decide to store grain at harvest and wait for prices to rise before selling. 

Most bankers surveyed acknowledged a connection between the strength of the farm economy and Main Street business activity in rural communities. While half of survey respondents felt a strong farm economy was supporting further economic growth in their areas, 40 percent saw signs of weakness in the farm economy that was also dampening Main Street business activity. Overall, bankers noted lower levels of household and capital spending in the second quarter compared with last year and expected further declines in coming months.

Farmland Values

Despite lower farm income, cropland values generally held steady in the second quarter. Although still above year-ago levels by about 6 percent, the change in nonirrigated and irrigated cropland values from the first to the second quarter of 2014 was less than 1 percent. Ranchland values, however, were still rising, supported by demand from the livestock sector for high-quality pastures. District ranchland values increased more than 2 percent from the first to the second quarter of 2014 and remained a little more than 9 percent above year-ago levels. Current trends in farmland values were expected to continue for the rest of the growing season with cropland values holding at high levels and ranchland values rising further.

Gains in farmland values, however, continued to vary by state. After posting some of the largest increases in farmland values during the past several years, annual value gains for Nebraska cropland in the second quarter were the lowest in the District. Farmland value gains have also moderated in Kansas and Missouri, although several years of drought in Kansas supported higher values for irrigated cropland. Bankers in Oklahoma and the Mountain States of Wyoming, Colorado and northern New Mexico reported the strongest year-over-year gains in farmland values in the second quarter due in part to land lease revenues from energy production and easing drought conditions.

Looking Forward

Agricultural bankers reported credit conditions held relatively steady in the second quarter, but also noted some emerging risks due to lower farm income. While past profits and crop insurance may help mitigate shrinking margins in 2014, financial stress for crop producers could mount in 2015 if net returns do not improve. In addition, should a large fall harvest keep prices low through the beginning of next year, crop insurance might not provide a comparable level of revenue protection in 2015. Looking forward, loan quality may become more of a concern beyond 2014 if repayment rates come under additional pressure from declining profit margins.

ACE elects 2014-2015 board of directors

During its 27th annual meeting, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) re-elected several board members and elected three new representatives to the group’s Board of Directors.

Eight current board members were re-elected to serve for the remainder of 2014 and through August of 2015:
·    Bob Sather, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin representing ACE Ethanol, LLC
·    Chuck DeGrote, Clara City, Minnesota representing Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company
·    Steve Vander Griend, Colwich, Kansas representing ICM, Inc.
·    Ron Wetherell, Cleghorn, Iowa representing Little Sioux Corn Processors

·    Gary Marshall, Jefferson City, Missouri representing Missouri Corn Growers Association
·    Todd Sneller, Lincoln, Nebraska representing Nebraska Ethanol Board
·    Nick Sinner, Fargo, North Dakota representing Red River Valley Sugar Beet Growers
·    Merle Anderson, Climax, Minnesota representing Minnkota Power Electric Cooperative

Three individuals were nominated and elected to serve as new board directors:
·    Chris Wilson, Marshall, Missouri representing Mid-Missouri Energy, LLC
·    David Kolsrud, Brandon, South Dakota representing Badger State Ethanol
·    Greg Krissek, Wichita, Kansas representing Kansas Corn Growers Association

“The ACE board of directors is a dedicated group of active volunteers who represent the grassroots diversity of our entire membership,” said Brian Jennings, ACE Executive Vice President.  “Our members are very capably represented by the passion, expertise, and experience the ACE board brings to the table and we are grateful for their support and leadership.”

Up-and-Coming Grower Leaders Get Taste of Leadership at Its Best

Growers are gathered today in Greensboro, N.C. for the first session of the NCGA Leadership Academy, co-sponsored by Syngenta. This year's class includes 16 aspiring leaders from 10 states and covers a broad swath of the nation with participants from as far east as New York and as far west as Colorado. Upon completion of the program in January, the participants will join more than 500 colleagues who have graduated from this program in the past 28 years.

At the meeting, participants got an up-close look at NCGA from President Martin Barbre, a Leadership Academy alumnus. Barbre also provided an insightful examination of the main issues facing the association, and the nation's corn farmers, today.

The farmers attending took part in media training and public speaking exercises as well as association management skill building. In addition, the class enjoyed a look at the future trends that will impact the industry and a comprehensive economic forecast given by futurist Bob Treadway. Finally, the class received a behind-the-scenes tour of Richard Childress Racing and heard how American Ethanol is benefitting NASCAR and driving consumer acceptance of higher blends of corn ethanol in the nation's fuel supply.

"As a Leadership Academy graduate, I have a deep appreciation for the confidence and skills attendees develop in such a short time, and of the ability of Syngenta and other presenters to hone in on what is most needed," Barbre said. "As NCGA president, I am excited to see new leaders who want to take on an active role in the association. When these volunteers come together, you can feel their commitment to the industry. It is heartening to know that such strong farmer leaders will carry on our mission well into the future."

This year's Leadership at Its Best Class includes: Matt Amick (MO); Russell Carpenter (N.Y.); Ann Cross (Colo.); Justin Durdan (Ill.); Kurtis Gregory (Mo.); Mark Heckman (Iowa); Bob Hemesath (Iowa); Noah Hultgren (Minn.); Paul Jeschke (Ill.); Andy Jobman (Neb.); Greg Krissek (Kan.); Jon Miller (Ohio); Ted Mottaz (Ill.); Danny Nerud (Neb.); Scott Saucer (Ala.); and Dennis Vennekotter (Ohio).

Open to all NCGA membership, Leadership at Its Best provides training to interested volunteers of all skill levels.  The second session, which will be held this Januaryin Washington, addresses public policy issues, working with the Hill and parliamentary procedure.  Through this program, participants build the skill set needed to become a more confident public speaker with a solid background in the procedures and processes used by NCGA and many state organizations.

Harmon Named Interim Director of Iowa Pork Industry Center

Jay Harmon has been named the interim director for Iowa State University’s Iowa Pork Industry Center.

Harmon, a professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and an extension livestock housing specialist, brings expertise in pork production systems to the position, which promotes efficient pork production technologies in Iowa.

His goal is to increase awareness of the center and support member organizations in promoting their services and knowledge.

“Iowa State has great people, doing great work,” Harmon said. “My role is to increase visibility of the Iowa Pork Industry Center and encourage the continued cooperative work of the partner departments and organizations.”

Harmon succeeds Rodney “Butch” Baker, who served two years as interim director. Baker is senior clinician at Iowa State’s Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine.

The Iowa Pork Industry Center, established in 1994, is a coordinated effort of the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State. Through the center, Iowa producers receive accurate and timely information to aid in making their operations more efficient and profitable.

Harmon works with producers, on-farm construction businesses, veterinarians, appraisers and other agribusiness groups in his role with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. His main research and extension programs involve ventilation training, for which he has developed a training trailer to be used with clients across the state, along with programs on energy conservation, building design to meet animal welfare concerns, and air quality. He teaches animal production systems in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE).

Harmon also serves as professor-in-charge of Midwest Plan Service, a university-based publishing cooperative dedicated to disseminating research-based, peer-reviewed, and un-biased publications that support the outreach missions of the Midwest land-grant universities and the USDA.

In 2011, he was named a Fellow by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. He received the Dean’s Citation for Extraordinary Contributions from ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2009. He has a Ph.D. in agricultural engineering from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Minnesota. He earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Purdue University. He is a registered professional engineer.

Iowa Corn Growers Announces Kaufman, Willett 'Friends'

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) has named two recipients for the 2014 Friend of Iowa Corn Award. The Friend of Iowa Corn Award is an annual award given to individuals that show exemplary effort on Iowa Corn Growers Association policy issues. Recipients include State Representative Bobby Kaufmann and National Corn Growers Association staff Sam Willett. Award winners were selected based on their support of ICGA's highest priorities, their accessibility and working relationships with ICGA, their effectiveness as a leader on important issues to the ICGA and overall support of ICGA policy. The awards will be presented at the ICGA Annual Meeting on Aug. 23 in Des Moines.

"We are proud to recognize these outstanding individuals for their efforts to help with the policy goals set by farmers in Iowa," said Roger Zylstra, a farmer from Lynnville and the current President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. "We realize that we need many 'friends' in the political arena, not only in Washington D.C., but also in Iowa. These individuals have gone above and beyond on behalf of the corn industry as a whole."

Bobby Kaufmann, a farmer and Iowa House of Representatives member, was selected due to his leadership in passage of ICGA's priority bill regarding the Iowa Corn Checkoff. Kaufmann has an understanding and affinity with many Iowa Corn policy positions, and has earned a reputation as a problem-solver, approaching issues in a pragmatic fashion. As an advocate of the Iowa Corn Checkoff Bill, he helped arrange local meetings in the area with farmers who had checkoff questions, worked to eliminate concerning provisions in the bill and as Floor Manager, moved the bill forward to its ultimate passage. Representative Kaufmann is the first legislator to ever receive the Friend of Iowa Corn Award.

Sam Willett, who is the Director of Public Policy for the National Corn Growers Association, was selected for his instrumental role in helping the ICGA implement its highest federal priority this year in the Farm Bill. Willet has led the charge on crop insurance and a market oriented risk management commodity program and has built outstanding relationships with legislators as a trusted resource on Capitol Hill.

The Friend of Iowa Corn Award is an annual award given to individuals that show exemplary effort on Iowa Corn Growers Association policy issues. Past award recipients include, Brenna Findley, Dean Lemke, and Joe Shultz. The Friend of Iowa Corn Awards are presented during the Iowa Corn Annual Meeting each August.

ISA Announces New and Returning Directors

The Iowa Soybean Association Board of Directors will seat four new members during its September meeting, including the Midwest Farm Mom of the Year.  Stephanie Essick, who farms near Dickens, was recently elected as an At-Large director by soybean growers across Iowa’s nine crop districts.

Other newly elected directors include Chuck White of Spencer, District 1; Randy Souder of Rockwell City, District 4 and Morey Hill of Madrid, District 5. Lindsay Greiner of Keota, who was appointed by the board to finish the unexpired At-Large term of Jim Andrew of Jefferson, was re-elected.

Also re-elected were Wayne Fredericks of Osage for a third term in District 2 and Mark Jackson of Rose Hill for a second term in District 9.

Curt Sindergard of Rolfe, Delbert Christensen of Audubon, Randy Van Kooten of Lynnville and Roy Arends of Alexander are retiring from the board after serving nine years. Christensen will remain as an Iowa representative on the United Soybean Board (USB).

“I want to thank all our retiring members for their dedication to ISA,” said Tom Oswald, ISA president-elect. “Though we will miss our retiring directors, I welcome the newly elected board members and the fresh perspectives they bring as we celebrate ISA’s 50th anniversary and embark into the next 50 years."

Other district directors include current ISA President Brian Kemp of Sibley, from District 1; Dean Coleman of Humboldt, District 2; Scott McGregor of Nashua and Dennis Lindsay of Masonville, District 3; Sheila Hebenstreit of Jefferson, from District 4; Rolland Schnell of Newton, District 5; Ed Ulch of Solon and Benjamin Schmidt of Iowa City, District 6; Jeff Jorgensen of Sidney and Bill Shipley of Nodaway, District 7; Cliff Mulder of Pella, District 8; John Heisdorffer of Keota, District 9; Tom Oswald of Cleghorn and Ron Heck of Perry are At-Large directors.

NPPC Calls On Japan To Nix ‘Gate Price’ On Pork

In a letter sent today to top Obama administration trade officials, the National Pork Producers Council detailed the reasons U.S. negotiators on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) should insist that Japan eliminate its so-called Gate Price on U.S. pork.

The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

NPPC told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman that the Gate Price has associated with it a long history of fraud and criminal activity, and it discriminates against Japanese consumers by putting upward pressure on food prices and has prompted Japanese meat processing companies to move their factories to other Asian nations, costing the country much-needed jobs.

The byzantine system also may violate Japan’s constitution, which requires that obligations contained in treaties be given legal precedence over domestic laws. Japan considers the World Trade Organization’s “Marrakesh Agreement,” which established existing WTO rules, as a treaty. Several plaintiffs, including a former Japanese government official, are arguing that the Gate Price violates provisions of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, which prohibit the use of variable import levies, and, therefore, is in violation of the country’s constitution.

Pork producers’ support for a final TPP Agreement is conditioned on the elimination of all tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork exports in each of the TPP nations, including the elimination of the Gate Price in Japan,” said NPPC President Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa.

In the TPP negotiations, Japan is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exempting pork and other “sensitive” products from tariff elimination and maintaining the Gate Price on pork.

“While Japan’s current TPP offer on pork, if implemented, might allow a modest increase in U.S. pork exports to that country,” Hill said, “it would rob the U.S. pork industry of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual pork exports to Japan and would stymie the creation of thousands of U.S. jobs that the industry would realize if the Gate Price and tariffs on pork were eliminated. Further, the disposition of this issue will impact our producers for the next 25 years, setting a precedent for future U.S. free trade agreements.”

Japan is the No. 1 export market for U.S. pork, which shipped nearly $2 billion of products to the island nation in 2013.

Real Value of Soybeans Lies in the Oil and Protein Content, Says CHS VP

U.S. soy’s biggest customers buy soybeans for the oil and protein content inside. Better soybean quality improves demand among these customers, which impacts the price farmers receive. The United Soybean Board’s Value Task Force finds multiple ways to add value to U.S. soybeans and make them more competitive in the global marketplace. The group also helps the U.S. soybean industry, including farmers, capture more of that added value.

Tom Malecha, vice president of CHS’s Processing and Food Ingredients divisions, serves on the Value Task Force as a representative of the soybean-processing industry. In this interview, Malecha discusses the task force’s work on behalf of U.S. soybean farmers.

Q: One of the items the task force has looked into is converting the soybean-pricing system to one that compensates farmers based on soybean quality, rather than just yield. Is that a realistic goal?

A: It certainly is. In fact, the market already values U.S. soybeans based on the component makeup of the bean. In the end, I think we’ll see more component pricing, rather than less, but I don’t believe it’s a change that will happen overnight.

Q: How would it compare to the system that exists now?

A: Just about every soybean is processed into protein and oil, but it’s hard to determine what part of the soybean price is a premium or discount for oil or protein content because the entire price of soybeans is based on the value of those. You have a pricing component on the Chicago Board of Trade called soybean meal and a pricing component called soybean oil, and then of course you have the soybean futures. So there’s already somewhat of a market-driven trading platform based on the two components.

Q: Is it feasible for elevators and processors to test every load of soybeans that comes in and compensate that farmer based on oil and protein content?

A: We use NIR (near infrared spectroscopy) machines to test every inbound load and pay based on oil and protein content, and we’ve had a premium program since 2003. NIR technology is becoming a much more widely approved method for testing soybean quality because of its accuracy. If farmers and the industry decide that component pricing is appropriate, then it will be imperative that farmers understand what NIR machines are and I think you’ll begin to see farmers begin to put them on their farm, which will allow them to segregate soybeans coming off the combine based on oil and protein content.

Q: How would you judge the Value Task Force’s progress?

A: I think it’s doing a very good job of getting to things that will benefit the entire industry for the long term and not being specific to one player in the industry. So it truly is working for the betterment of the entire soybean industry, and I think that’s valuable. As we continue, we’ll have interaction with other players in the industry, and the recommendations that this task force will make should have very good backing from the entire industry. The recommendations the task force comes up with won’t happen overnight, but they’ll make our industry more competitive, and I think just as importantly, will continue to add profitability to all levels the U.S. soy industry.

Biotech Approvals, Acceptance on the Docket at D.C. Biotechnology Roundtable

The American Soybean Association (ASA) and the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) teamed up in Washington this week to bring together more than 100 farmers, researchers, leaders of agricultural organizations and federal officials to discuss the worldwide benefits of agricultural biotechnology, focusing on acceleration of government approval of biotech seed for soybeans and other crops.

This D.C. Biotechnology Roundtable is the latest in a series of forums ISA has organized to help advance a more science-based biotech approval process and to reinforce the proven safety of agricultural biotechnology, which farmers use to enhance the yields and quality of soybeans and other crops.

“It is critical that agriculture let policymakers and regulators in Washington know how much farmers need biotechnology to sustainably produce food for the world’s population. Scientists and regulatory agencies have established that agricultural biotechnology is safe for humans, animals and the environment. It is crucial science that helps farmers use less resources to produce more food,” says Bill Raben, soybean farmer from Ridgway, Ill., and ISA chairman.

Darci Vetter, chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative delivered the keynote address. Other regulatory speakers included Dan Kenny, Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Firko, U. S. Department of Agriculture, and Jack Bobo, U.S. Department of State. Additional speakers include Michael Hawkins, Embassy of Canada, David Zilberman, University of California; Jim Sutter, U.S. Soybean Export Council, and ASA CEO Steve Censky. Firko talked about the progress USDA is making in clearing the backlog of approval of new biotechnology designed to help crops withstand pests, disease and harsh climate and to use crop nutrients more efficiently.

Zilberman said that approvals for new biotechnology traits for soybean seed can take 10-15 years, pushing costs as high as $160 million to commercialize new biotechnology.

A panel of farmers, Ron Moore, representing ISA and ASA; Jim Zimmerman, of Wisconsin, of the National Corn Growers Association, and Brett Blankenship, Washington State, representing the National Association of Wheat Growers, shared examples of the value of biotechnology and the need for collaboration across agriculture and government to make biotech crops available to farmers and food companies. The farmers emphasized that biotechnology should be viewed as a viable choice for those who see its benefits including consumers and farmers.

Robert Paarlberg, renowned author and advisor to numerous food and agricultural organizations worldwide, reiterated the proven safety of biotechnology. A professor of political science at Wellesley College and public policy at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Paarlberg observed that opposition to biotechnology comes from environmental and anti-globalization groups in more affluent countries, particularly the European Union. He said the current state of worldwide regulation deprives people of food by preventing use of biotechnology by farmers in poorer countries who are growing food crops such as wheat, rice and potatoes, and making the technology available only to farmers in affluent countries, such as the United States, who raise biotech crops, such as soybeans and corn for livestock feed.

Hosted by ISA and ASA, the meeting was sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto, the New York Corn & Soybean Association, U.S. Soybean Export Council, FLM+, Indiana Soybean Alliance, National Association of Wheat Growers, Indiana Corn Marketing Council, National Corn Growers Association, Dow AgroSciences and Ohio Soybean Council.

Veterinarians and Producers Gain New Tool to Assess Residue Risk

Swine veterinarians can help pork producers measure the farm risk level for violative residues in pork with the new Swine Residue Risk Assessment app. The free app is available in the Apple® App Store® for iPad® devices.

“This app is a simple way to review practices and evaluate risk levels before your product enters the pork supply,” said Michael Senn, DVM, senior manager, Pork Technical Services, Zoetis. “The results from this tool can provide meaningful guidance for a discussion between veterinarians and producers to reinforce your commitment to the responsible use of antibiotics.”

The assessment app — created with veterinary expert input — asks questions about on-farm animal care and management practices. A weighted scoring system assigns points based on the likelihood of the risk of a violative antibiotic residue in pork. The assessment rates a farm’s risk level as low, moderate or high, and it suggests next steps to maintain low risk or address higher-risk issues. Users can send the results to any email address, allowing veterinarians, producers or caregivers to easily view them.

“Veterinarians and producers are always on the go,” Dr. Senn said. “The mobility of a risk assessment app allows for easy evaluation of proper antibiotic usage. It also can be shown to caregivers, reinforcing the importance of using antibiotics responsibly.”

Download the app for free from the Apple App Store. After logging in with your Apple account information, search for the Swine Residue Risk Assessment.

Zoetis offers the Swine Residue Risk Assessment app to veterinarians and producers as part of a complete products and services portfolio. This new tool reinforces the commitment of Zoetis to encourage responsible antibiotic use and provide producers with solutions that make a difference. For more information on the assessment app or other support from Zoetis, please visit with your local Zoetis representative.

DOJ Wants More Details on Tyson, Hillshire Buyout

Tyson Foods Inc. and Hillshire Brands Co. said that they have received requests for additional information from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding Tyson's plan to buy Hillshire. The so-called second requests relate to just a "very small portion" of the companies' combined business, and the companies are working "expeditiously" to resolve this matter with the DOJ's antitrust division, Tyson and Hillshire said in a joint statement.

Companies involved in mergers often get second requests for information as the government looks into the proposed deals and sometimes sell off some of their assets in order to get the government's approval on mergers.

Hillshire also reported better-than-expected quarterly sales and profit on Wednesday. The maker of Jimmy Dean sausage did not provide any forecasts for future results, as it is waiting to be acquired.

Tyson and Hillshire said that they still expect the deal to close on or before Sept. 27, subject to customary closing conditions. Tyson said it has extended the offering period of its $63 per share tender offer for Hillshire shares by a week, until Aug. 19, due to the second requests.

Hillshire said that its long list of new products, which the company is introducing throughout 2014, also drove some of the growth. For example, the new Hillshire Farm American Craft sausages are exceeding the company’s distribution expectations, Hillshire said.

Nitrogen efficiency supports environmental stewardship  

As growers prepare for another harvest, it’s important to consider how nitrogen stabilization not only supports healthy plant growth but also fosters environmental stewardship.

“Nitrogen management is critical to grow healthy corn crops and to build a more sustainable world,” says Tiffany Galloway, U.S. product manager for nitrogen stabilizers, Dow AgroSciences. “Stabilizing nitrogen reduces the amount of nitrogen loss into the environment, which is a beneficial farming practice on multiple levels.”

The Dow AgroSciences nitrogen stabilizer portfolio, which includes N-Serve®, the original nitrogen stabilizer, and Instinct® II, supports conservation efforts by reducing leaching of nitrogen into groundwater and by limiting denitrification, the escape of nitrogen as a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. By managing nitrification, Instinct II and N-Serve protect a grower’s largest input investment and ensure nitrogen is available when the plant needs it the most. Instinct II and N-Serve also are the only nitrification inhibitors registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Since 1980, the amount of nitrogen used per acre has decreased by approximately 25 percent, yet growers continue to produce higher corn yields,” Galloway says. “By stabilizing nitrogen, growers have been able to use their applied nitrogen more efficiently, keeping it in the root zone longer for maximized yield.”

Nitrogen stabilizers slow the conversion of ammonium-N to the nitrate form, providing a better opportunity for corn to uptake the nutrient from the soil. As a result, research shows that fewer nitrates are lost into the groundwater or surface water through field drainage.

“By keeping the nitrogen in the ammonium form longer, the corn plant can get the nitrogen it needs to grow stronger and healthier,” Galloway says.

Most nitrogen loss occurs in May and June when corn is small and there is plentiful rainfall, Galloway says. This is when yield is most often lost because of leaching and denitrification. More than 10 percent of nitrogen can be lost in three days of saturated soils through denitrification, with an additional 10 percent lost every day it stays saturated.

When applied with anhydrous ammonia, N-Serve reduces leaching and denitrification. Instinct II ensures nitrogen is available in the root zone during key stages of corn growth when used with liquid nitrogen, manure or dry fertilizer blends.

Instinct II and N-Serve also support the 4R program as part of environmentally sustainable farming practices. The 4R program is a concept to use the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time, with the right placement. The 4R framework takes an innovative approach that provides educational tools, advocacy support and implementation recommendations for crop nutrient stewardship. The program advocates management practices to increase production, boost farmer profitability, enhance environmental protection and improve sustainability.

Wednesday August 13 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist
High pasture rents, risk of drought, and little profit from irrigated crops make irrigated pasture an attractive option.

When pasture rent approaches or even exceeds three hundred dollars per cow-calf pair for the season, it may be time to look at other options.  One attractive option might be to grow your own irrigated pasture, especially when corn prices are below four dollars a bushel.  Well-managed irrigated pasture can support about one and one-half cow-calf pairs per acre.  This could save you over four hundred dollars per acre at rental pasture rates.

Of course, you will gross a whole lot more per acre by continuing to grow irrigated corn.  But, cash costs to raise corn are way more for corn than for irrigated pasture so might actually be losing money with corn.           

And this doesn’t take into account other advantages of irrigated pasture.  Things like the convenience of having so many animals together close to home, better early spring grass, and improved bull power when breeding in such small areas.  Only you can determine what these are worth to you.

Irrigated pastures can be highly productive and profitable, but your best management effort is needed.  For details on seeding and managing irrigated pastures, several extension NebGuides are available on-line and at local extension offices.

Do you get the most out of your irrigated acres?  Is corn at four dollars per bushel making you money?  If not, irrigated pasture might be better.  Think about it.

Local Food Production to Tour Nebraska, Iowa SARE Projects

Local food production is alive and well in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa in and around Metro Omaha/Council Bluffs. Nebraska SARE is sponsoring a tour to five farms/sites where visitors wiill have an opportunity to see diverse farming operations. The tour will leave Lincoln from UNL East Campus at 35th and Fair St. (just east of the auto pool) at 7 a.m. on Aug. 18. The group will travel in a chartered Arrow air-conditioned coach bus.

From Lincoln the group will travel to SAPP Brothers at I-80 and Highway 50 near Omaha for a second pickup point at 8 a.m.

From there it travels to Big Muddy Urban Farm. This is a group of 6 young producers who got together in the winter of 2011 and started growing produce on 5 sites in Omaha. They market their produce through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), at farmers markets and to local restaurants. For more information about Big Muddy Urban Farm go to their blog at

The second stop will be across the Missouri River near Missouri Valley, Iowa. Rhizosphere Farm is owned and operated by Matt and Terra Hall. They previously rented land near Waterloo, Neb., since 2009, but found this permanent location about a year ago. They grow vegetables for a CSA, farmers markets and restaurants as well, but at this new location plan to expand to include chickens, bee hives, fruit trees and more. To learn more about their farm, go to

The third stop on the tour will be Honey Creek Creamery, located near Honey Creek, Iowa. Honey Creek Creamery is a goat dairy in the Loess Hills of southwest Iowa. Sharon Oamek, artisan cheese maker and her family operate the dairy. There will be a $5 charge for the tour of the dairy. For more information about Honey Creek Creamery, go to

The fourth stop of the day is at Blooms Organic, near Crescent, Iowa. Rebecca Bloom has been producing local organic vegetables and herbs for several years. She has a CSA and sells to some local restaurants. Rebecca lives in Omaha and is on our Nebraska SARE Advisory Committee. he group will eat lunch at the farm and then have a tour. See more about her farm on Facebook at:

The final stop of the day will be at King Science Magnet Middle School in Omaha. Greg Fripp is the founder and executive director of Whispering Roots. He is dedicated on teaching youth how to grow their own food and works with several schools teaching youth about aquaponics, growing vegetables and fish (Tilapia). He also teaches other people about aquaponics. To find out more about this project go to

From there the group will travel to SAPP Brothers and drop off people there around 5 p.m. and then travel back to Lincoln, hoping to arrive around 6 p.m.

The cost of the tour, which includes transportation and lunch is $25. This does not include the $5 for the Honey Creek Creamery Farm Tour. Please register by Aug. 14 for an accurate lunch count. Register by calling the Nebraska SARE office at (402) 274-4755 or emailing Gary Lesoing, Nebraska State SARE coordinator, at

Transitioning to Organic: ISU Online Course Begins Aug. 26

Transitioning to successful organic production requires rapid acquisition of production, marketing and financial management skills. On Aug. 26 Iowa State University is beginning a 16-week online course on organic agriculture for producers who are interested in learning about the latest techniques for transitioning into organic farming, or improving their existing organic operations.

“Organic Agriculture Theory and Practice” begins Aug. 26, 6-9 p.m. and continues on Tuesday evenings through Dec. 9. It’s available online via Adobe Connect.

Classes will include lessons on weed management, nutrient management, pest management and markets for organic grain, vegetable and fruit crops. Programs and policies from USDA, NRCS and other groups to assist in the transition will be presented.

Course instructors are Kathleen Delate, professor in agronomy and horticulture, and Craig Chase, ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialist. In addition, organic farmers and other ISU Extension and Outreach specialists will serve as guest lecturers, sharing their experiences related to developing a pest-protective farm and growing alternative crops.

A fee of $10 per session or $50 for the course will be charged to participants to cover costs of technology and managing the program. A specific url will be given to those who sign up and will be logging-on for the course. For more information or to sign up, please contact the Organic Agriculture Program at Iowa State at 515-294-7069 or contact Kathleen Delate at 

Attendance at all 16 sessions will not be required unless an individual wishes to take the course as a three-credit ISU campus course, for which he or she will need to register through ISU at

“Increasing the domestic supply of organic food and feed grains, such as corn and soybeans, is needed to meet escalating U.S. demand, which presents a viable economic opportunity to Iowa row crop farmers. In addition, the demand for locally sourced organic produce has increased in recent years,” Delate said.

Act Now! Urge EPA to Revise Proposed WOTUS Rule

The National Corn Growers Association reminds all farmers that they are urged to contact EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy advocating for a revision of the proposed Waters of the U.S. rulemaking. 

As proposed, this rule would significantly expand the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act and would only further muddy the waters for farmers seeking clarity as to what is and what is not subject to federal regulation.

NCGA has many serious concerns regarding the impact the proposed rule could have on U.S. farmers.  NCGA's concerns fall into four main areas:
-    Farmers will face tremendous uncertainty because of the way the rule defines what is a tributary and what is an adjacent water subject to the Clean Water Act.
-    The proposed rule represents a significant expansion of federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction relative to anything that has ever been covered in a previous rulemaking and contradicts two U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
-    The vast numbers of ditches that would be subject to federal jurisdiction.
-    Farmers will be required to obtain NPDES permits or face the threat of citizen action suits challenging the use of fertilizers and pesticides on or near drainage features that are made jurisdictional. 

Take action today and make sure the EPA hears the voice of America's farmers.  Click here for more information...

Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/08/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 931,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 39.10 million gallons daily. That is up 29,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 937,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.36 billion gallons. Since the beginning of June, the annualized run rate has averaged 14.45 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 17.8 million barrels. That is a sizable 2.7% decrease from last week. and the lowest in 11 weeks. Stocks dropped back to the implied 20-day supply level for the first time since the week ending 5/23/2014.

Imports of ethanol were non-existent for the second straight week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 374.7 million gallons daily.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.43%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.116 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 103,275 metric tons of livestock feed, 92,003 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 5.48 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

China Corn Reserves Swell

China's state-owned corn reserves have reached burdensome levels, especially when faced with the prospect of another good corn harvest this fall.  "Corn production in China is expected to be 230 million metric tons (9.1 billion bushels) this year, an increase of 4 mmt from last year," said Qiangmin Shang, the director of China National Grain and Oil Information Center.

The cash price in northeast China, the largest corn-producing region of the country, is $9.24 per bushel. Yet the price in Shandong province, the largest livestock-producing area located on China's east coast, is $11.47 per bushel.

The Chinese government would like to clear out its supplies from the 2011 and 2012 reserve programs as soon as possible, he said. It needs to make space for the new crop since a new government purchase program will begin after harvest.

"Rejecting imported U.S. corn supported the price," Wang said, adding that "some companies were expecting to import more from the U.S. later last year as the international price was cheaper." Those companies were forced to increase domestic purchases after the Chinese government started rejecting shipments of U.S. corn that contained traces of MIR 162, also known as Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera, a biotech trait not yet approved in China.  Since October, China's rejected more than 1.25 mmt of U.S. corn as well as shipments of DDG and soybeans that contained traces of the trait.

According to recent futures prices, imported U.S. corn would cost $6.68 per bushel at port in China, 42% less than the market price in Shandong.

AVMA Approves Sow Housing Piece

The American Veterinary Medical Association's House of Delegates passed an amendment to its policy on pregnant sow housing. Although it does not entirely oppose the use of gestation stalls, the approved resolution makes language changes to address the quantity of space provided and advises against conditions that could generate stress or fear in the animals.

A discussion on sow housing within the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee prompted the decision to revise the organization's policy based on comments and decision by pork processors, distributors and retailers, as well as actions taken by state and international governments and agencies.

During its fall 2013 meeting, the committee formed a "perspective-balanced topical subcommittee" - made up of representatives from the Animal Welfare Committee and led by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians -to review the current policy.

The revised language approved by the delegates included inserting the words "distress and fear" into the current statement on the reduce exposure hazard policy in the guidelines for sow housing and management systems.

New law is a historic triumph for veterinarians, animal care

In a major victory for the veterinary profession and the healthcare of our nation’s animals, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) would like to thank President Barack Obama for signing into law a crucial bill that makes it legal for veterinarians to provide complete medical care to their animal patients beyond their clinics and across state lines. The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act (H.R. 1528) amends a restrictive provision within the Controlled Substances Act, which previously barred veterinarians from carrying and using controlled substances—necessary for pain management, anesthesia and euthanasia— beyond their registered locations, often their clinics.

“By passing and signing this legislation, the president and our legislators recognize the critical role veterinarians play in treating sick animals and relieving their pain and suffering. The health and welfare of our nation’s wildlife, food animals, and even our companion animals depend on veterinarians being allowed to do their jobs wherever the need arises,” said Dr. Ted Cohn, president of the AVMA. “As veterinarians, we promise to use our medical expertise for the protection of animal health and welfare and the prevention and relief of animal suffering. On behalf of our members, I would like to thank the president and Congress for allowing us complete access to the medications we need to fulfill our oath to society."

For more than two years, the AVMA has been diligently working with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Congress in search of a statutory clarification to the Controlled Substances Act so that its member veterinarians would not be subject to repercussions should they transport, administer or dispense controlled substances while providing care outside of the locations where those substances are registered. Closing the loophole on this regulation has been particularly important for veterinarians who provide care in rural areas, respond to emergencies in the field, provide “house call” services for their clients, remove dangerous wild animals or rescue them from traps, conduct research and disease control efforts in the field, and provide routine medical care across state lines when they live on a state’s border. AVMA’s advocacy efforts led to more than 27,000 letters sent to members of Congress in support of this bill and the endorsement by over 130 veterinary medical and other organizations.

The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act (H.R. 1528) was sponsored by the only two veterinarians serving in Congress—Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.)—and passed in the U.S. House on July 8. The bill mirrored a version (S. 1171) that passed in the Senate earlier this year, sponsored by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Angus King (I-Maine). Due to congressional procedure, the Senate chose to pass the House version through unanimous consent on July 16 in order to send the bill to the president for signature.

Deere Takes Hit on Weaker Sales, Plans to Cut Production

(AP) -- Deere's profit slumped 15% in the third quarter and the farming equipment maker, seeing weak sales ahead, trimmed its outlook and will cut production.

Chairman and CEO Samuel Allen said Wednesday that the cuts will bring production "in line with demand for our agricultural products."

With commodity prices falling, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in February predicted that farm income in 2014 would sink to levels not seen in four years.

That is cutting into the spending power of farmers and hitting companies like Deere, the world's biggest farm equipment supplier.

Deere is now forecasting equipment sales will fall about 6% for fiscal 2014. Its prior guidance was for a 4% decline. For the fourth quarter, the company estimates equipment sales will drop approximately 8%.

In the U.S. and Canada, agriculture and turf sales are expected to fall approximately 10% in fiscal 2014. Sales of tractors and combines in South America are expected to fall about 15%, compared with a prior outlook for an approximately 10% decline.

Deere now anticipates sales of worldwide agriculture and turf equipment will drop about 10% in 2014, lower than a prior forecast for an approximately 7% decline. In the third quarter, agriculture and turf sales fell 11%.

For the three months ended July 31, Deere earned $850.7 million, or $2.33 per share. That topped expectations of $2.20 per share, according to a poll by FactSet. But that's still down significantly from last year, when the Moline company earned $996.5 million, or $2.56 per share.

Revenue from equipment sales fell to $8.72 billion from $9.32 billion, with equipment sales for the U.S. and Canada dropping 8%. Revenue declined to $9.5 billion from $10.01 billion.

"Deere's third-quarter performance reflected moderating conditions in the global farm sector, which have negatively affected demand for farm machinery and contributed to lower sales and profits for our agricultural-equipment business," Allen said. "At the same time, our construction and forestry and financial services divisions had higher profit, showing the benefit of a broad-based business lineup."

Construction and forestry sales rose 19% during the quarter.

Ryan Connors of Janney Capital Markets believes that strength in the company's construction and forestry division limited damage to margins.

Yet sluggish global conditions and geopolitical events may continue to pressure sales.

Susan Karlix, manager of the company's investor relations, pointed to declining economic growth near Russia.

"Notably, Western equipment manufacturers are being impacted by the uncertainty from geopolitical issues in the region," Karlix said.

Economic growth is expected to slow in China during the second half of the year, Karlix said.

There are signs, however, of a rebound in domestic markets, with housing sales improving and construction hiring on the rise.

Deere & Co. now anticipates a 2014 profit of $3.1 billion, down slightly from its prior forecast of $3.3 billion.

Mycogen Seeds Introduces New Corn Hybrids for 2015

Mycogen Seeds is adding 19 new corn hybrids to the lineup for the 2015 growing season.

“Many of these new hybrids feature our SmartStax® Refuge Advanced®  technology for maximum protection of the genetic potential and planting convenience,” says Hank King, U.S. corn marketing leader for Mycogen Seeds.

“We pressure-test our corn hybrids in more than 1 million research plots across 300 U.S. testing environments to better understand the challenges growers have on their local farm and give them the genetic and trait solutions they need,” says King. “With our extensive testing program and continued investments in research and development, we are delivering top-performing products such as these.”

Featured new corn hybrids

2R042 is a 77-day hybrid with strong stalks, good late-season intactness, husk coverage and grain drydown. With above average emergence in cold, wet soils, this hybrid is a strong choice for no-till fields.

2D144 is an 83-day hybrid with very good husk coverage, grain quality and test weight. This hybrid has great stress tolerance and late-season intactness, making it a strong choice for higher yields on tougher soils and growing environments.

2P198 is an 85-day SmartStax Refuge Advanced hybrid with good husk coverage and tip fill. 2P198 features consistent ear fill and yield performance across a wide variety of environments.

2T277 is an 87-day SmartStax Refuge Advanced hybrid and a good candidate for reduced tillage systems. Featuring good stress-tolerance, this hybrid emerges early and maintains strong roots and delivers very sable yields.  

2V489 is a 99-day SmartStax Refuge Advanced hybrid with strong emergence and early vigor for all reduced tillage applications. The consistent and semi-determinate ears provide top-end yields across different soil types. The strong stalks and roots also are suited for poorly drained soils.

2T619 is a 106-day SmartStax Refuge Advanced hybrid with very good late-season intactness for delayed harvest situations. 2T619 features consistent ear development, semi-flexible ear style and good grain quality for top-end yields.

2A627 is a 107-day SmartStax® Refuge Advanced® hybrid for high yields and yield stability. This attractive, medium-tall plant features strong stalks and roots. 2A627 has a good disease package with tolerance to gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight and Goss’s wilt.

2J638 is a 107-day SmartStax Refuge Advanced hybrid with strong early season emergence, vigor and grain quality for the central Corn Belt. This hybrid responds well to management in high-yield environments.

2Y669 is a 108-day SmartStax Refuge Advanced hybrid with a very good disease package, including tolerance to gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight and Goss’s wilt. With consistent ear development, this hybrid has excellent eye appeal, good grain quality and very attractive top-end yield potential.

2Y744 is a 113-day hybrid with excellent emergence and early vigor. 2Y744 features solid stalks, excellent roots and large ear flex for top-end yield performance. This new hybrid responds best to high management practices.

For more information about these or other Mycogen® brand products, contact your local Mycogen Seeds dealer or sales representative or visit

Sunflower Unveils New 48-foot Vertical Tillage Tool and Two Larger Split-Wing Disc Harrows

Sunflower®, the leading tillage line from AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), is expanding its tillage offering to include the new 6650-48 vertical tillage tool as part of the 6600 Series, along with two larger split-wing disc harrows for the 1436 Series. The 6650-48 provides farmers with a class-leading, true working width of 47 feet, 11 inches. The new split-wing 1436SW models provide 600 pounds-per-foot of residue-cutting weight for tough residue management operations.

Sunflower 6650-48 Vertical Tillage Tool

The Sunflower 6650-48 is the new vertical tillage tool with a class-leading true working width of 47 feet, 11 inches, helping farmers cover more than 38 acres an hour.

"Sunflower is excited to offer the 6650-48 vertical tillage tool to today's conservation-minded farmers," says Larry Kuster, AGCO senior marketing specialist for tillage. "It provides a significant boost in productivity by harnessing the potential of high-horsepower tractors with the ability to cover more than 38 acres an hour."

Sunflower Saber Blades™, combined with proven staggered offset gang design in a large-width, five-section 6x6-inch frame, empower the 6650-48 to provide superior performance in the field, all while folding to transport dimensions of 18 feet, 2 inches wide and 13 feet, 11 inches high.

The blade design and 18-degree offset gang angle of Sunflower vertical tillage tools provide optimum performance in cutting and sizing crop residue. The residue left behind by these tools creates a surface that is resistant to wind and water erosion.

"Vertical tillage, while necessary in the fall, is also an excellent management practice in the spring," Kuster explains. "It helps open cold, wet soils to warming and drying sunlight to encourage optimum conditions for planting. Our vertical tillage tools offer consistent soil conditioning across entire working widths to provide farmers with consistent emergence and healthy crop stands."

The 6650-48 frame features thicker-wall 6x6-inch tubing (3/8-inch thick in high-stress areas) for a stronger, heavier frame, and is cross-braced and gusseted for added strength and maintenance-free service.

A hydraulic cylinder locks the hinge in the in-field working position. This permits the hinge to pivot only on the lower pivot point located close to the disc gang, which provides for a greater range of negative flex of the wing so the tool can closely follow changes in terrain.

The 6650-48 rides on a patented walking triple design, which uses two walking-beam pivot points to create a series of walking tandem wheels.

"The wheels work as a team, sharing the burden of obstacles as a pair," adds Kuster. "When encountering an obstacle, the lead tire couples with the second tire to complete the first walking tandem. As the tool progresses over the obstacle, the second tire becomes the lead tire for the second walking tandem. As the tire is elevated, a weight transfer removes the first tire from the sequence, and pivoting is then shared between the second and third tires."

As with the 6631 vertical tillage tool family, the 6650-48 is engineered for long life and minimal service with high-strength, 1 3/4-inch round stress-proof gang shafts; triple-sealed, greasable trunnion-style gang bearings; offset C-Flex® bearing standards; and a maintenance-free lift system with a 5 1/2-inch lift axle on all hydraulic lifts. The walking triples feature greasable tapered roller bearings, and heavy-duty gauge wheels pivot on service-free ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) material that provides lifetime lubrication.

A long, narrow tongue permits tight turns and good field maneuverability. Convertible Category 4 and 5 hitches enable the 6650-48 to match any high-horsepower tractor.

New Split-Wing 1436SW Disc Harrows

The Sunflower split-wing 1436SW disc harrows have true cutting widths up to 38 feet and provide up to 600 pounds per foot of cutting-and-slicing weight for tough residue management situations.

Sunflower adds two larger models to the 1436 Series of tandem disc harrows: the 1436-33SW and the 1436-38SW.

The tools have true working widths of 33 feet, 3 inches and 38 feet, respectively, and feature 20-degree gang angles with full-concavity blades to provide producers with ample residue-cutting ability to manage the toughest Bt corn residue and heavy stalks of modern hybrids.

"These new harrows leverage the power of high-horsepower tractors to work more acres," continues Kuster, "all while they mix residue and topsoil to provide an ideal environment for microbial decomposition of the stalks. With today's tough stalks, increased compaction in many fields, and herbicide-resistant weeds, a high-performing tillage tool is more important than ever. The Sunflower split-wing 1436SW Series disc has been designed specifically to tackle these challenges."

The 1436SW models' heavy frames are designed for structural integrity in the toughest field conditions, and bring up to 600 pounds per working-width foot to the task of opening and mixing the soil. Both front and rear gangs on the 1436SW machines are offset to allow the front gang to clear-cut the entire width of the soil profile. The 1436SW Series offset rear gang creates a feathering effect that prevents ridge/valley profiles in the wake of the machine. Both sets of gangs ride on C-Flex bearing standards to absorb shock encountered when striking obstacles such as rocks and stumps.

Each heavily braced wing frame is designed to match the cutting width of the tool. This allows engineers to place wheels and wing lift mechanisms near the outer limits of the cutting area, ensuring maximum control of the wing and maintenance of a level working orientation to the field.

The 1436-33SW boasts a transport width of 15 feet, 6 six inches and a folded height of 13 feet, while the 1436-38SW folds to 17 feet, 11 inches wide and 13 feet high.

The new machines also feature proven Sunflower engineering such as a maintenance-free lift system that rides on UHMW plastic bearings, UHMW wing hinge bearings, heavy-duty gauge wheels that pivot on UHMW bearings, single-point depth control mounted on the front for simple adjustments, and a hydraulic depth lock.

Farmers also have their choice of three types of finishing reels to run behind the new harrows to mix soil, mash clods and break up root wads, available in 11-inch- and 14-inch-diameter flat-bar design for aggressive clod crushing, or the 14-inch-diameter chevron type preferred for soil compression.

For more information on either the 6650-48 vertical tillage tool or the 1436SW Series tandem disc harrows, visit your Sunflower dealer or

Stay one step ahead of the weed competition next season

When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best.

As resistant and high-anxiety weeds such as marestail and waterhemp intrude on soybean fields across the Midwest, growers should consistently assess their weed management programs. The end of the growing season is an ideal time to get out in the field and scout for weed escapes to determine what adjustments to make for next season.

“Herbicide resistant weeds can quickly outcompete the crop if growers do not stay ahead of the problem and continue to evolve their herbicide programs,” says Lindsey Hecht, U.S. product manager for soybean herbicides and glyphosate, Dow AgroSciences.

Scout often and throughout the entire season, Hecht says. Determine which weeds are uncontrolled and compete with crops for nutrients during important growth stages. This information will help gauge herbicide effectiveness and indicate which weeds might become larger problems next season, Hecht says.

Waterhemp, for example, is a highly competitive weed, especially in soybeans. Waterhemp can cause up to 40 percent soybean yield loss, according to University of Illinois research.

In soybean fields where waterhemp is an issue, using more residual herbicides can prevent it from emerging again.

“Don’t make the same mistakes from one season to the next,” Hecht says. “Yield diminishes and will never gain full potential once weeds begin crowding crops. With the right management program, growers can control annual weeds, including waterhemp, lambsquarters, marestail and cocklebur.”

When reevaluating weed management programs, Sonic® herbicide and Surveil™ Co-pack herbicide provide­­ long-lasting, residual control for ideal timing of a postemergence glyphosate application such as Durango® DMA® herbicide. For more information on weed control in soybean fields, visit

Tuesday August 12 Ag News

Nebraska Corn Board welcomes Boone McAfee on staff
The Nebraska Corn Board is pleased to announce that Boone McAfee has joined its staff as Director of Market Development & Research.

In this role, McAfee will work on behalf of Nebraska corn farmers and industry to expand market opportunities for Nebraska corn and value-added products both domestically and internationally. He will co-manage the Board’s research programs and establish a working relationship with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and others conducting research on various aspects of corn and its value-added industries to further the use, efficiency, sustainability and development.  McAfee will also manage a database of Nebraska corn statistics.

"I look forward to Boone joining our team of staff that has a combined 73 years of agricultural experience," said Kelly Brunkhorst, Nebraska Corn Board’s new executive director. “With his diverse Nebraska agriculture background, his education and proven leadership, Boone will be a great addition to our staff.  With market development and research being two of the four key ‘pillars’ of the Nebraska corn checkoff, I look forward to Boone leading and expanding our efforts in these two areas.”

McAfee grew up on his family farm near Leigh, Nebraska. He earned a B.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he was involved as a student ambassador for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, a research assistant in the agricultural economics department and a teacher’s assistant in the agronomy department. He also held internships with Farm Credit Serves of America and Dow AgroSciences/Mycogen Seeds.

"I am very excited to be joining the Nebraska Corn Board staff,” said McAfee. “Having grown up on my family's farm in Nebraska, I consider it a huge opportunity to support the agriculture industry through research and promotion of one of the state's most valuable resources.  I look forward to working alongside and learning from the team on staff, the board members, and Nebraska's corn farmers.”

McAfee started his new position on August 11. 

Erdman to Lead Nebraska Farm Bureau Membership Department

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation (NFBF) is pleased to announce the hire of Philip Erdman as vice president of membership. Erdman comes to NFBF after serving as State Agriculture Director for U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns.

“Phil will bring a lot of energy, enthusiasm and fresh ideas to increase membership in our organization. With his leadership skills and self-motivation, he will be a great addition to our team in developing strategic relations, serving our current membership and recruiting new members,” said Rob Robertson, NFBF chief administrator.

Prior to his position with Sen. Johanns, Erdman was a Nebraska State Senator for the 47th Legislative District. He grew up on a farm operation near Bayard and spent time working at the Valley Bank and Trust Company in Gering. Erdman earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture Leadership, Education and Communication from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2000. He has been a NFBF member for more than a decade.

As Vice President of Membership, Erdman will be responsible for all aspects of NFBF membership functions including recruitment, retentions and engagement, as well as member benefits and business recruitment. He will have oversight for strategies to guide membership marketing, including development of internal and external promotion of membership value.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               This summer’s heat and humidity makes it abundantly clear how important adequate water is for your pastured livestock.  Let’s discuss ways to provide water throughout your pastures.

               Summer has been hot and muggy.  While it may be uncomfortable for you and me, it is particularly hard on livestock out on pasture.  To help them survive, much less thrive, under these conditions, they need plenty of good, clean water.

               Not only do they need plenty of good, clean water – they need it close by.  Once upon a time, it was common to make cattle walk a mile or more to water.  And they’d do it.  But just think how hard it is on animals in this heat and humidity.  Once they get to the water, the last thing they want to do is turn around and go way back where they came from to graze.  As a result, they do little grazing more than a half mile away from water.  In fact, research shows that when cattle need to travel more than 1000 feet to water, they spend less time grazing, they burn off pounds walking, and they graze distant areas incompletely.

               So – how can you improve your water distribution?  More ponds, wells, windmills, and dugouts will help, but they can get expensive.  Plus, they can only be placed in certain locations and can’t be moved.  So my preference often is to use a pipeline.  They can be put almost anywhere.  And if you want to add more water locations, pipelines can be tapped into anywhere along the line.  In many areas, you might qualify for cost-share dollars to help pay for the installation.  You also can leave your pipe on top of the ground, saving trenching costs, if you only need water during the growing season.

               Over time, water improvements pay for themselves with better grass and improved animal performance.

UNL Extension Provides Precision Ag and Soil and Water In-Field Training

            University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension is providing a precision ag clinic on Aug. 27 and a clinic focusing on the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil and water is on Aug. 28.

            Both sessions are at UNL's Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead. The training sessions are conveniently located a short driving distance from Omaha, Lincoln and Wahoo.

            The potential precision ag technologies hold for improved yields, more precise applications, and increased profits has caught the attention of growers and agribusiness professionals. However, some are hesitant to adopt the technologies due to unfamiliarity with the technology itself and the data that is collected.

            An Aug. 27 program is aimed at providing a clearer understanding of how technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), crop canopy sensors, soil mapping systems and spraying technology can be utilized and their value in crop production.

            Topics at this training session include: Evaluating Crop Stress with Aerial Sensing Platforms; Crop Canopy Sensors for In-Season Nitrogen Management; Soil Conductivity, pH, and Organic Matter Mapping; Overlap and Turn Compensation Control for Sprayers and Ammonia Application with Capstan's PinPoint® Technology; and Improving Farm Productivity with Agricultural Technologies.

            6.5 Certified Crop Adviser credits have been applied for and are pending approval for this clinic.

            Registration begins at 8 a.m. The training begins at 8:45 a.m.

            Improving and maintaining soil quality is essential to the productivity of land for current and future use. UNL Extension's physical, chemical and biological properties of soil and water clinic on Aug. 28 will provide hands-on training. The in-field training is ideal for agribusiness professionals and those who work with soil and water management.

            Aug. 28 topics include: Physical, Chemical and Biological Properties of Soil and Water….The Cornerstone of the Human Race; Cover Crops for Improving the Soil; Infiltration Test and Organic Matter; Soil Health's Impact on Soil Water; Using Laboratory Tests to Determine Soil Health; Soil Characteristics, Productivity and Landscape Position; and Management Considerations to Improve the Physical, Chemical and Biological Properties of Soil.

            7.5 Certified Crop Adviser credits have been applied for and are pending approval for this clinic.

            Registration begins at 8 a.m. The training begins at 8:45 a.m.

            Pre-registration required for these clinics. All registrants will be sent a confirmation letter, receipt and finalized schedule. Space is limited; your registration is not guaranteed unless payment is received. Cancellations received one week before the clinic will receive a full refund. In the event of program cancellation by the university, pre-registered participants will be contacted and will receive a full refund. The University of Nebraska is not responsible for any expenses incurred by registrants.

            Registration before Aug. 21 is $160; $210 after to attend a one-day clinic. Registration fee to attend both days is $280 by Aug. 21 and $320 after. Fees include training, lunch and reference materials.

            For more information or to register, contact the ARDC CMDC Programs, 1071 County Road G, Ithaca, NE 68033, call 800-529-8030, fax 402-624-8010, e-mail or visit the web at

Producer Reaction to ROI Study

Dawn Caldwell, producer from Edgar, Neb., and vice chair of the checkoff’s Evaluation Committee, reports about how the recent Return on Investment (ROI) of beef checkoff assessments study validates what she’s always known about the checkoff program.  She says, “I’m really excited about how the ROI turned out. You never know when you turn in something like that, you always hope you’re getting better and better at what you’re doing. We were able to verify that with the results of this study. Dr. Kaiser who did the work, is so thorough and I really appreciate the effort he puts into it. You know we’re all in the same boat with what we’re able to do with our dollars and so he lets us know how well we’re utilizing those dollars. And that 11.2 to 1 return…that’s big news. I like that.”

Caldwell says Dr. Kaiser explained how changes in program-area funding moving forward will impact the benefit-cost ratio for each program area.  “We’re able to know which programs have had the most effect with each dollar, but we also know that, and he explained this to us, the absence of any one of those programs may dilute the entire thing. So we’ve created a really great situation where everything fits together well.”

Caldwell says she shared the good news with fellow producers and talks about their reaction.  She says, “I just got done sharing this good news with some fellow producers from Nebraska and they were elated. And so you know there might be some folks out there who might be really skeptical about the checkoff and what it does for them on their operation and this gives us that tool to talk to them that says, you know, your dollar is doing some good and your dollar is helping market beef both in the U.S. and globally. ”

For more about your beef checkoff investment and to see the full results of this study, visit

ICA regional meetings scheduled for late August, early September

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will hold four regional meetings around the state, beginning later this month. This year, the regional meetings will have a strong state and federal legislative focus. Candidates for U.S. House and Senate races, as well as those for state legislative races, have been invited to the meetings.

Each evening meeting will begin at 5:30 with networking time and a meal that will be served atr 6:15. Following the meal, there will be a short ICA legislative update. After that, candidates attending the event can introduce themselves, and ICA members can questions candidates about their legislative priorities for the upcoming session.

Meeting dates and locations are:
·    Southeast Region - Monday, Aug. 25 - Mary Marr Lodge, 2943 Hwy. 92, Ainsworth.
·    Northwest Region - Tuesday, Sept. 2 - Hartley Community Center,  820 2nd St. NE, Hartley.
·    Southwest Region - Thursday, Sept. 4 - Audubon Golf & Country Club, 520 S. Division St., Audubon.
·    Northeast Region - Monday, Sept. 8 - Edgewood Locker Event Center,  303 No. Washington St.,  Edgewood.

ICA is requesting reservations in order to plan meal counts most efficiently. Please call 515-296-2266 until the day before the meeting you plan to attend with the number of people who will be attending with you.

ICA bull test starts 30th year; reservations due Sept. 5

The 2015 Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) bull tests and sales will mark the 30th anniversary of the ICA service which is well-known by both seedstock and commercial cattle producers.

The performance bull test in Iowa was originally under the direction of the Iowa Beef Improvement Association (IBIA). In July 1985, IBIA dissolved and the performance testing program was merged into the ICA committee structure. The program has performance tested more than 7,250 elite bulls in its 30 year history.

Open heifers were added to the program in 1999 and more than 775 head have been offered for sale in the past 16 years.

The ICA Bull Evaluation Program (BEP) has a long reputation of offering elite genetics to commercial breeders and other purebred producers. By participating in the program, seedstock producers - whether they have a small or large operation - can benchmark their genetics and compare their outcomes with those from other herds. Additionally, there is a private reservation option which may be especially beneficial for smaller producers interested in a cost-effective way of gathering ultrasound and performance data on their herd, while reserving the right to take their stock home after the evaluation.

Reservations for BEP are on a first come, first serve basis. Both consignment and private reservations for fall-born and spring-born bulls will be taken through Sept. 5, or until pens are full. Heifer reservations can be made through Nov. 3, or until pens are full.

The fall bulls will be fed and evaluated at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, while the spring bulls and open heifers will be delivered to the Van Meter Feedyard near Guthrie Center.

The superior genetics that come from this program are offered to commercial cattle producers at three sales in Iowa auction barns next spring: March 16 – Bloomfield Livestock, Bloomfield; March 27 – Dunlap Livestock, Dunlap; and May 1, Tama Livestock, Tama.

Throughout the test history, the Bull Evaluation Program committee has always strived to give bull and heifer buyers and seedstock producers more information to assist in their genetic selection process. The program has undergone continuous improvement from being part of selection clinics, to adding ultrasound data and pelvic measurements, to including PI-BVD testing for all enrolled cattle and adding new EPDs and indexes.

For a reservation packet or for more information, contact Kellie Carolan, ICA seedstock manager, 515-296- 2266 or or visit the ICA Web site at and click Programs.


Records were broken again for the third consecutive year as the 32nd annual Governor’s Charity Steer Show raised $225,850, the highest selling auction to date, for the Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa.   The money raised through the auction will benefit the Ronald McDonald Houses of Des Moines, Iowa City, and Sioux City.   All of the houses are located near hospitals and provide a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children.   The Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association sponsor the annual steer show and auction.   Governor Terry Branstad hosted the 2014 event held on August 9, 2014 in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair.

Since its inception in 1983, the Governor’s Charity Steer Show has raised over $2.5 million for the Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa.   The auction, which began when 25 steers paraded into the livestock pavilion, was led by Governor Branstad and other celebrity showpersons competing for the title of “Judge’s Choice.”

The official steer show judge for this year’s show was Charlie Peters of Bellevue, who manages and owns Peters Family Farms.  The judge selected the steer “Chasin Jason,” shown by Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds for overall grand champion honors.   The Crawford County Cattlemen and Tyson Fresh Meats sponsored the steer. Cookies BBQ purchased the steer at the auction for $12,500. Ben Von Glan of Vail owned the steer. Additional donations were made to the sale of the steer by Friends of Ben Von Glan for $300. 

The steer shown by Mike Pearson was selected by the crowd for the title of “People’s Choice.”   The steer, “Toby,” was sponsored by the Iowa Bankers Association and purchased by Riverside Casino for $29,000; the second highest ever selling steer to date.   Tanner Knupp of Washington raised the steer.

Scott and Cora Lahr along with their boy Emmet earned the Showmanship Award. The Lahr family was selected by Mark Dorenkamp, who served as the event’s Showmanship Judge.   The Lahr family’s steer, “Thanks A Million,” was sponsored by Volunteer Boards of Iowa Ronald McDonald Houses.   The steer was raised by Taylor Lekin of Toledo and purchased by Tama Livestock Auction for $7,500.

Emcees for the show were farm broadcaster Bob Quinn, WHO Radio, and Michelle Rook, WNAX Radio. A special guest appearance from Ronald McDonald kept the show lively.   The auctioneer for the auction was Phil Schooley from Bloomfield Livestock.   Catching bids alongside Schooley were Mike Sorensen and Austin Brandt of Livestock Plus, Tom Rooney of The Midwest Marketer, and Jason Lekin of Tama Livestock Auction.

U.S. gasoline prices seen lower by the end of 2014

U.S. drivers could find more savings at the pump as average monthly gasoline prices are expected to fall through the end of the year.

After reaching a peak of $3.69 per gallon in June, the monthly average gasoline price is expected to fall to $3.30 per gallon in December, according to the new short-term forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

U.S. gasoline demand is generally lower toward the end of the year compared with during the summer vacation driving season. That should be the case again this year.

However, EIA did raise its forecast for U.S. gasoline consumption during the fourth quarter of this year to just over 8.7 million barrels per day.  That’s about 20,000 barrels per day higher than previously expected.

U.S. July oil production highest for any month since 1987

U.S. crude oil production in July averaged 8.5 million barrels per day...the highest monthly output level since April 1987.

In its new monthly forecast, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said U.S. oil production is expected to increase by 1 million barrels per day this year and then climb another 800,000 barrels per day next year to an estimated 9.3 million barrels per day in 2015.  That would be the highest U.S. annual oil production since 1972.

The United States and Canada are expected to provide most of the increase in global non-OPEC oil production over the next two years, according to EIA.

Most of the additional U.S. production will come from drilling in shale formations in Texas and North Dakota.

U.S. Diesel Prices Continue to Decrease

The U.S. average retail price for on-highway diesel fuel fell to $3.84 a gallon on Monday.  That’s down a penny from a week ago, based on the weekly price survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  Diesel prices were highest in the West Coast region at 4.02 a gallon, remaining unchanged from a week ago.  Prices were lowest in the Gulf Coast region at 3.75 a gallon, down 4-tenths of a penny.  The Midwest region average diesel price came in at $3.787, down 1.1 cents on the week and down 7.5 cents from the same reference week last year. 

U.S. gasoline prices down as well

The U.S. average retail price for regular gasoline fell to $3.51 a gallon on Monday.  That’s down a penny from a week ago and down 13 cents from a month ago, based on the weekly price survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.    Pump prices were highest in the West Coast states at 3.87 a gallon, down 2.1 cents from a week ago.  Prices were lowest in the Gulf Coast region at 3.27 a gallon, down 3 ½ cents.  The Midwest regional average for regular gasoline was $3.451/gallon, up 3.5 cents from the prior week, but down -2.7 cents from a year ago. 

CWT Assists with 1.9 Million Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 5 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Michigan Milk Producers Association, and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 277,782 pounds (126 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese and 1.587 million pounds (720 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and South America. The product will be delivered August through December 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 80.579 million pounds of cheese, 48.051 million pounds of butter and 19.877 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.024 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

CWT-assisted exports of American-type cheeses, butter and whole milk powder make up a significant percentage of the exports of those products. In the long-term, assisting CWT member cooperatives through the Export Assistance program helps them gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them in the rapidly growing world dairy markets. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

Small Tractor Sales Up in July, While Combines Went Down

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly "Flash Report," the sale of all tractors in the U.S. for July 2014, were up 6% compared to the same month last year.  For the month, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 7% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up 8%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were up 2%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were down 14%.  Combine sales were down 26% for the month.

For the seven months so far in 2014, a total of 125,296 tractors were sold which compares to 121,763 sold thru July 2014, representing a 3% increase year to date.  Two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are up 7% over last year, while 40 & under 100 HP are up 4%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are down 9%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are down 11%.  Sales of combines through the end of July totaled 4,782, a decrease of 15% over the same period in 2013.

Make your veterinarian a part of your team

As a dairy producer, the power to prevent violative milk or meat residues is in your hands. It takes preparation, planning and teamwork to create an effective residue avoidance plan. It starts with a strong partnership with your veterinarian.

“Your veterinarian is the expert in the proper use of animal health products to prevent residues, as well as to prevent and treat disease,” explained Richard Wallace, DVM, senior veterinarian, Dairy Technical Services, Zoetis. “As your most trusted advisor on the topic, your veterinarian knows your operation, your herd and the individual animals, and can help you create treatment protocols that are tailored to your animals and operation.”

The partnership you develop with your veterinarian is called a veterinarian-client-patient relationship, or VCPR. This means your veterinarian examines animals in person and maintains a relationship with your operation through regular visits and communications. This relationship is what allows a veterinarian to diagnose and treat your animals.

Establishing and maintaining a VCPR requires commitment from the producer and the veterinarian. Producers are responsible for:
·         Allowing the veterinarian to take responsibility for making health judgments about your animals
·         Being open to consultation and advice from your veterinarian
·         Making sure your employees and you comply with the veterinarian’s instructions for treatment
·         Keeping written records of all treatments

For their part, veterinarians are responsible for:
·         Providing your animal with medical care
·         Making clinical animal health judgments
·         Developing a treatment recordkeeping system
·         Advising you about the benefits and risks of different treatment options
·         Providing oversight of treatment, compliance and outcome
·         Helping you find emergency care for your animal, if needed

Why is establishing and maintaining a valid VCPR so important? It allows your veterinarian to provide your animals with the best possible medical care. The American Veterinary Medical Association’s Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics requires a valid VCPR to be in place for a veterinarian to prescribe medications or treat an animal. It also is required by law in many states.

August 12 USDA Crop Production and WASDE Reports


Based on August 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2014 corn crop is forecast  at  1.51  billion  bushels,  down  7  percent  from  last  year,  according  to  the  USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Acreage harvested for grain is estimated at 8.75 million acres, down 8 percent  from  a  year  ago.   Average  yield  is  forecast  at  173 bushels per  acre, up  3 bushels from last year and the second highest of record.
Soybean production  in Nebraska  is forecast at 278 million bushels, 10 percent above  last year.  Area  for  harvest,  at  5.35  million  acres,  is  up  12  percent  from  2013.    Yield  is  forecast  at  52 bushels per acre, down 2 bushels from last year.

Nebraska’s 2014 winter wheat crop is forecast at 63.0 million bushels, up 59 percent from last year.  Harvested area for grain, at 1.40 million acres, is up 24 percent from a year ago.  Average yield is forecast at 45 bushels per acre, up 10 bushels per acre from 2013.

Sorghum production of 8.80 million bushels is down 6 percent from a year ago.  Area for grain harvest of 100,000 acres, is down 29 percent from last year.  Yield is forecast at 88 bushels per acre, up 21 bushels from last year.  

Oat production is forecast at 3.24 million bushels, up 3 percent from last month and the largest since 2005.  Harvested area for grain, at 45,000 acres is up 20,000 acres from last year.  Yield is forecast at 72 bushels per acre, up 7 bushels from 2013.

Dry edible bean production is forecast at 2.4 million cwt, down 13 percent from last year.  The average  yield  is  forecast  at  2,000  pounds  per  acre,  down  350  pounds  from  last  year.   Acres planted  by  class  are  as  follows:    Pinto,  58,000;  Great  Northern,  56,000;  Light  Red  Kidney, 11,000; Black, 3,000; All Other, 2,000.

Sugarbeet  production  is  forecast  at  1.24 million  tons,  down  5  percent  from  2013.   Area  for harvest, at 46,000 acres,  is up 4 percent  from  last year.   Yield  is estimated at 27  tons per acre, down 2.7 tons from  a year ago.

Alfalfa hay production  is forecast at 2.88 million  tons, up 19 percent from  last year.   Expected yield, at 4.00 tons per acre, is up 0.55 ton from last year.  All other hay production is forecast at 2.48 million  tons, down 2 percent  from  last  year.   Expected  yield,  at  1.50  tons per acre,  is up  0.1 ton from last year.  


Iowa  corn  production  is  forecast  at  a  record  2.44  billion  bushels  according  to  the USDA National Agricultural Statistics  Service  Crop  Production  report.  Based  on  conditions  as  of  August  1,  yields  are  expected  to  average 185 bushels per acre, an increase of 20 bushels per acre from last year.  If realized, the yield will be the highest on record, 3 bushels above  the previous high set  in 2009. Corn planted acreage  is estimated at 13.6 million acres. An estimated 13.2 million of the acres planted will be harvested for grain, a 1 percent increase from 2013. 

Soybean production is forecast at 502 million bushels, a 22 percent increase from the previous year. The August 1 forecast yield is 50 bushels per acre, up 5.5 bushels from 2013. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 10.1 million acres with 10.0 million acres to be harvested.

Oat production for grain is forecast at 4.29 million bushels.   The expected yield  is 66 bushels per acre, unchanged from 2013, and down 1 bushel from the July forecast.  An estimated 65,000 acres will be harvested for grain.  

Iowa  hay  yield  for  alfalfa  and  alfalfa mixtures  is  expected  to  be  3.70  tons  per  acre with  a  total  production  of 2.70 million  tons, a production increase of 12 percent from  the previous year. The projected yield for other hay  is 2.10 tons per acre, with production at 735,000 tons, decrease of 24 percent from 2013. 

All crop forecasts in this report are based on August 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The  next  corn  and  soybean  production  forecasts,  based  on  conditions  as  of  September  1,  will  be  released  on September 11.

USDA Forecasts Record-High Corn and Soybean Production in 2014 

U.S. soybean producers are expected to produce a record 3.82 billion bushels in 2014, up 16 percent from last year according to the Crop Production report issued today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Growing conditions were conducive for corn growers who are also expected to produce a record-high crop at 14.0 billion bushels of corn, up 1 percent from 2013 which was also a record at the time.  Today’s report also included the first production forecast for U.S. cotton. NASS forecasts all cotton production at 17.5 million 480-pound bales, up 36 percent from last year’s 12.9 million bales. Wheat production is forecast up 2 percent from the July forecast but down 5 percent from 2013.  Other key findings in today’s Crop Production report include:

-    Corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 91.6 million acres, unchanged from the June estimate but down 4 percent from 2013
-    Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.8 million acres, down 4 percent from last year
-    August 1 objective yield data indicate the greatest number of ears on record for the combined 10 objective yield states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin)

Despite a late winter season delay in planting, more favorable spring conditions arrived allowing quick planting and largely favorable growing conditions that encouraged the record high production forecast.

-    Area for harvest is forecast at a record 84.1 million acres, unchanged from June but up 11 percent from 2013.
-    Despite a slow planting start, by June 1 fifty percent of the soybean crop had emerged, 21 percentage points ahead of last year’s pace and 5 percentage points ahead of normal. Positive conditions in most soybean-producing areas of the country brought on strong percentages of the crop being rated good to excellent and the record forecast. The largest decline in condition rating was in Kentucky where dry conditions this year resulted in 61 percent of the crop rated as good to excellent, a drop of 26 percentage points.
-    If realized, the forecasted yield will be a record high in Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Winter Wheat
-    Production is forecast at 1.40 billion bushels, up 2 percent from the July 1 forecast, but down 9 percent from 2013.
-    Based on August 1 conditions, the U.S. yield is forecast at 43.1 bushels per acre, up 0.9 from last month but down 4.3 bushels from last year.
-    Area expected to be harvested for grain or seed is 32.4 million acres, up slightly from last year

-    Area planted to Upland cotton is estimated at 11.2 million acres, up 10 percent from last year.
-    Harvested Upland cotton area is expected to total 10.1 million acres, up 37 percent from 2013.
-    Expected harvested area of Pima cotton at 175,900 acres is down 12 percent from last year.
-    As of August 3, NASS rated 53 percent of all cotton acreage to be in good to excellent condition compared with 45 percent at this time last year.
-    Record yields are expected in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida and Oklahoma.

NASS surveyed nearly 25,000 producers across the country in preparation for this report. The agency also conducted field and lab measurements on corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton in the major producing states, which usually account for about 75 percent of the U.S. production.

NASS is gearing up to conduct its September Agricultural Survey, which will focus on wheat, barley, oats and rye growers. That survey will take place during the first two weeks of September.

World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates - August 12, 2014

Projected 2014/15 U.S. feed grain supplies are raised this month with higher production forecasts for corn, sorghum, barley, and oats.  Corn production for 2014/15 is forecast 172 million bushels higher at a record 14,032 million bushels.  The first survey-based corn yield forecast, at a record 167.4 bushels per acre, is up 2.1 bushels from last month’s trend-based projection.  Sorghum production is forecast 19 million bushels higher with the forecast yield 3.0 bushels per acre higher than last month’s projection.  Small yield increases also boost barley and oats production slightly.

Corn supplies for 2014/15 are projected at a record 15,243 million bushels with the increase in production partly offset by a 65-million-bushel reduction in beginning stocks.  Corn use for ethanol and exports are raised 45 million bushels and 20 million bushels, respectively, for 2013/14, based on reported data to date.  Projected corn use for 2014/15 is higher with use for ethanol and exports each raised 25 million bushels, and feed and residual disappearance 50 million bushels higher with the larger crop.  Projected ending stocks for 2014/15 are raised slightly to 1,808 million bushels.  The projected season-average farm price for corn is lowered 10 cents at both ends of the range to $3.55 to $4.25 per bushel. 

Sorghum supplies for 2014/15 are projected 4 million bushels higher as a 15-million-bushel increase in 2013/14 exports lowers 2014/15 beginning stocks, mostly offsetting the higher forecast production.  Projected sorghum exports for 2014/15 are raised 10 million bushels.  The season-average farm price for sorghum is also projected 10 cents lower at both ends of the range to $3.30 to $4.00 per bushel.

Global coarse grain supplies for 2014/15 are projected 4.9 million tons higher, mostly reflecting larger expected corn crops in the United States and EU and increased barley production for FSU-12.  The smaller projected carryin for the United States partly offsets this month’s 6.6-million-ton increase in global coarse grain output.  EU corn production is raised 1.4 million tons after abundant rainfall and favorable temperatures during July.  FSU-12 barley production is raised 3.1 million tons with a 2.0-million-ton increase for Russia and smaller increases for Belarus and Ukraine.  Barley production is also raised 0.3 million tons for EU.  Reduced prospects for corn, sorghum, and millet, with the delayed monsoon, lower India total coarse grain production 2.7 million tons, partly offsetting increases elsewhere.  Turkey corn production is also lowered 0.3 million tons.

Global coarse grain consumption for 2014/15 is raised this month with a 2.3-million-ton increase in world corn use.  Higher corn use in the United States accounts for most of the increase.  Corn consumption is lowered 2.0 million tons for EU as heavy summer rains have reduced wheat quality across the region, raising prospects for wheat feeding.  Corn food use is reduced 0.5 million tons for India with the smaller crop outlook.  Higher projected corn use for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Algeria, and Taiwan partly offset these reductions.  Corn imports are lowered for EU, but raised for Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Lebanon, and Algeria.  Global barley trade is raised with higher imports for Turkey and higher exports for Russia and Ukraine.  Global 2014/15 coarse grain ending stocks are projected 2.7 million tons higher reflecting larger barley ending stocks.  Global corn ending stocks are lowered slightly.

OILSEEDS:  U.S. oilseed production for 2014/15 is projected at 113.7 million tons, up 0.6 million from last month mainly due to a higher soybean production forecast.  Soybean production for 2014/15 is forecast at 3,816 million bushels, up 16 million due to a higher yield.  Harvested area is forecast at 84.1 million acres, unchanged from July.  The first survey-based soybean yield forecast is a record 45.4 bushels per acre, 0.2 bushels above last month and 2.1 bushels above last year.  Soybean supplies for 2014/15 are projected slightly above last month based on the higher production forecast.  With minimal supply gains, soybean exports and crush are unchanged, leaving ending stocks projected at 430 million bushels.

The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2014/15 is forecast at $9.35 to $11.35 per bushel, down 15 cents on both ends.  Soybean meal and oil prices are forecast at $340 to $380, down 10 dollars at the midpoint.  Soybean oil prices are forecast at 35 to 39 cents per pound, down 1 cent at the midpoint.

U.S. soybean balance sheet changes for 2013/14 include reduced imports and increased exports.  Imports are lowered 5 million bushels to 80 million based in part on revised import data for September – December 2013 from the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Exports are raised 20 million bushels to 1,640 million reflecting both revised export data for September through December 2013 from the Department of Commerce and inspections data for July 2014.  These changes are offset with lower residual use, leaving ending stocks unchanged at 140 million bushels.  With these changes, the 2013/14 soybean stocks-to-use ratio is projected at 4.2 percent, which if realized would be the lowest in more than 40 years.

Global oilseed production for 2014/15 is projected at 521.8 million tons, slightly below last month.  Gains for rapeseed and cottonseed are more than offset by reductions for soybeans, sunflowerseed, and peanuts.  Higher soybean production for the United States is offset by a reduction for India where the delayed monsoon results in lower planted area.  Rapeseed production is raised for China, EU, and Ukraine.  These gains are partly offset by a smaller crop projected for Canada with lower area resulting from flooding in parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  Other changes include lower sunflowerseed production for Russia, reduced peanut production for China, and increased cottonseed production for India.

  Projected U.S. wheat supplies for 2014/15 are raised this month mostly with an increase in forecast Hard Red Winter (HRW) wheat production as well as smaller increases for Soft Red Winter (SRW), Hard Red Spring (HRS), and Durum.  Northern parts of the HRW belt have substantially higher yields than the drought damaged southern and central plains.  The largest HRW increases are in Colorado and Nebraska.  After a delay in planting, HRS wheat has had very good growing conditions and yields are forecast well above average.  Feed and residual use for all wheat in 2014/15 is raised 10 million bushels to 155 million due to the larger supplies.  All wheat exports for 2014/15 are increased 25 million bushels because of the larger HRW crop.  The projected season-average farm price range is lowered 30 cents at the midpoint to $5.80 to $6.80 per bushel.  

World wheat production for 2014/15 is raised 10.9 million tons to a record 716.1 million.  The largest foreign increases are 6.0 million tons for Russia, 2.0 million tons for China, and 1.0 million tons for Ukraine.  The Russia and Ukraine increases are based on harvest reports that indicate very high winter wheat yields, especially for Russia.  The China increase reflects the latest government estimates for summer harvested grains.  Production is also raised 0.6 million tons for Belarus and 0.4 million tons for Moldova.  

Global wheat consumption is raised 6.9 million tons due mainly to increased prospects for wheat feeding.  The biggest feeding increase is for EU, which is raised 2.5 million tons.  Excessive harvest-time precipitation in several European production regions has increased the quantity of feed-quality wheat.  Russia wheat feeding is raised 1.0 million tons, and Ukraine and Belarus are each raised 0.5 million tons due to increased production in those countries.  Smaller feeding increases are made for Philippines, Moldova, and Israel.  

Global wheat trade for 2014/15 is nearly unchanged with increases in Russia and the United States offset by reductions in EU and several other countries.  The changes reflect larger crops in Russia and the United States as well as quality problems in EU.  India exports are lowered 0.5 million tons because of competition, especially from lower quality wheat in Ukraine and southeastern EU.  China and Russia imports are lowered 1.0 million tons and 0.5 million tons, respectively, because of increased production.  Egypt imports are lowered 0.5 million tons due to changes in its bread subsidy program that are expected to reduce waste.  Iran imports are raised 0.5 million tons reflecting government announced purchases.  With supplies rising faster than use, global ending stocks are raised 3.4 million tons and remain at a 3-year high.


The forecast for total meat production in 2014 is raised from last month.  Production is raised for beef, pork, and broilers as lower feed prices encourage producers to raise animals to heavier weights.  Turkey production is reduced slightly based on June production data.  Egg production is reduced based on lower expected hatching egg production.  For 2015, lower feed costs are expected to lead to higher cattle, hog, and broiler weights, but in the case of beef, reduced feedlot numbers are expected to lead to lower slaughter, more than offsetting any gains from carcass weights.  Broiler producers are also expected to increase bird numbers more rapidly than previously forecast during 2015 as returns are expected to be more favorable.  Egg production forecasts are unchanged. 

Forecasts for 2014 and 2015 beef imports are raised as demand for processing grade beef remains strong.  Exports for 2014 and 2015 are raised as demand in a number of countries remains strong, despite high beef prices.  Pork imports for 2014 and 2015 are raised slightly.  Despite the closure of Russia to U.S. exports into 2015, pork export forecasts for 2014 and 2015 are raised as demand in other major markets is expected to grow.  Broiler exports are reduced for 2014 and 2015 as Russia’s import ban will affect sales.  Turkey export forecasts are raised for 2014, but are unchanged for 2015.   

Cattle price forecasts for 2014 and 2015 are raised from last month on the strength of demand and continued tight supplies of fed cattle.  The annual price forecast for hogs is unchanged for 2014, but is lowered for 2015 from last month on slightly weaker expected demand.  The annual broiler price forecast for 2014 is lowered, but the price for 2015 is unchanged.  The turkey price forecast for 2014 is raised based on July price data.  The egg price forecasts for both 2014 and 2015 are raised as demand remains strong.  

The milk production forecasts for 2014 and 2015 are raised slightly as lower feed costs are expected to support higher output per cow.  Fat basis export forecasts for 2014 and 2015 are lowered as Russia’s ban on imports from a number of dairy exporting countries will likely increase competition in export markets.  Fat basis imports are raised as supplies in competing exporters are expected to be large.  The skim-solids export forecast is raised slightly for 2014, but is reduced in 2015 as competition increases.  Skim-solids imports are unchanged from last month. 

Butter prices and whey price forecasts are raised for 2014 with strength in butter prices expected to carry into 2015.  Cheese prices and nonfat dry milk prices are forecast higher in 2014, but their price forecasts for 2015 are unchanged from last month.  Class III and Class IV prices for 2014 are raised on stronger component product prices and the Class III price forecast for 2015 is raised reflecting strength in whey prices.  The all milk price is raised to $23.55 to $23.75 per cwt for 2014, but remains unchanged at $19.75 to $20.75 per cwt for 2015.

August 11 Crop Progress and Condition Reports - NE - IA - US


For  the week  ending August  10,  2014,  rain  beginning  at mid-week  and continuing into the weekend covered much of the state with 1 to 2 inches of precipitation, according to USDA’s National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service.   This  lowered  irrigation  demands  and  supported  dryland  crops  and pastures.   Hail  was  reported  in  a  number  of  central  areas  over  the  weekend.   Wheat  harvest  was  nearly complete, with only scattered  fields  remaining.  The wet conditions again made hay harvest a challenge.  The number of days considered suitable for fieldwork were 5.2. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short, 30  short,  59  adequate,  and  3  surplus.  Subsoil  moisture  supplies  rated  11  percent  very  short,  31  short,  58 adequate, and 0 surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Corn  conditions  rated  3  percent  very  poor,  6  poor,  20  fair,  51  good,  and  20  excellent.  Corn  silking  was  99  percent,  near  98  last  year  and  average.  Corn  dough  was  62  percent,  well  ahead  of  32  last  year  and  52 average. Corn dented was 6 percent, ahead of 1 last year, but behind 14 average.

Soybean conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 22 fair, 54 good, and 16 excellent. Soybeans blooming was  96  percent,  near  95  last  year  and  the  average.  Soybean  setting  pods  was  80  percent,  ahead  of  69 last year and 71 average.

Winter wheat harvested was 98 percent, near 97 last year and 99 for the five-year average.

Sorghum conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 32 fair, 41 good, and 20 excellent. Sorghum headed was 79 percent, well ahead of 55  last year and 64 average. Sorghum coloring was 26 percent, well ahead of 0  last year and 1 average.

Oats harvested was 95 percent, ahead of 91 last year and equal to the average. 

Alfalfa hay conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 7 poor, 30 fair, 52 good, and 9 excellent. Alfalfa hay second cutting was 97 percent complete, ahead of 91  last year, but equal  to  the average. Alfalfa hay  third cutting was  58 percent complete, well ahead of 30 last year and 51 average.
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  6  percent  very  poor,  11  poor,  32 fair, 44 good, and 7 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 9 short, 88 adequate, and 1 surplus. 

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:

Access  the  High  Plains  Region  Climate  Center  for  Temperature  and  Precipitation  Maps  at:

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:


Due  to varying  amounts of precipitation,  some  areas of  Iowa had  less than 3 days suitable  for  field work while others had more  than 6 days during  the  week  ending  August  10,  2014,  according  to  the  USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.   Statewide  there were 4.6 days suitable  for  field work  during  the week.    Insecticides were  applied  to help combat growing soybean aphid populations.

Topsoil moisture  levels  rated  3 percent  very  short,  23 percent  short, 71 percent  adequate,  and  3 percent  surplus.    Subsoil moisture  levels rated  3 percent  very  short,  19 percent  short,  76 percent  adequate,  and 2 percent surplus. 

Over  half  of  Iowa’s  corn  acreage was  in  the  dough  stage  or  beyond, more  than  2 weeks  ahead  of  2013  and  a week  ahead  of  the  five-year average.   Seven percent of  the corn crop reached  the dent stage, ahead of  last year but 4 percentage points behind normal. Seventy-six percent of  the  corn  crop  was  reported  in  good  to  excellent  condition. 

Over three-quarters  of  the  soybean  acreage  was  setting  pods  or  beyond, almost  30 percentage  points  above  last  year,  but  only  4  points  above average.    Seventy-five percent  of  the  soybean  crop  is  in  good  to excellent  condition.   

Oat  harvest  for  grain  was  87 percent  complete, 3 percentage  points  behind  the  previous  year  and  6  points  behind  the normal pace.  

The second cutting of alfalfa hay was 93 percent complete,  just above last year but equal to the five-year average.  The third cutting of alfalfa hay advanced to 22 percent complete, 3 days ahead of last year but just over one week behind normal.  Sixty-six percent of all hay was rated in good to excellent condition.  Pasture condition decreased for the fourth week in a row and now stands at 58 percent good to excellent.  Stress on livestock was minimal with the cooler than normal temperatures. 


Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist
Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Temperatures averaged slightly cooler than normal for most of the past week while very welcome rain fell over much of the state.  Most of the week’s rain fell from Tuesday evening  into Wednesday afternoon over the  southwest  one-half  of  Iowa.  Greatest  rains  from  these mid-week storms fell across west central Iowa where totals reached 5.65 inches at Denison, 5.40 inches at Coon Rapids and 4.71 inches at Guthrie Center.  Rain showers occurred somewhere  in  Iowa on all of  the other days of the  reporting week.  Rain  fell over much of  eastern  Iowa on Monday (4th)  with  a  maximum  total  of  2.48 inches  reported  at  Columbus Junction.  Light rain also fell over much of the southwest one-half of the state on Thursday with a few higher totals of about two inches in Shelby County.  Despite the frequent occurrence of rain this past week much of the  northeast  one-third  of  Iowa  is  still  waiting  for  a  substantial  rain.  Rain  totals for  the past week varied from only sprinkles at Forest City, St. Ansgar, Waterloo, Elkader  and Clinton  to  6.29 inches  at Denison.  The  statewide  average  precipitation was  1.13 inches while  normal  for the  week  is  0.96 inches.   Temperature  extremes  for  the  week  varied from afternoon highs of 89 degrees at Rock Rapids on Sunday (3rd) and Des  Moines  on  Monday  (4th)  to  a  Thursday  (7th)  morning  low  of 51 degrees at Cresco.  Temperatures for  the week as a whole averaged 1.7 degrees below normal.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

USDA's crop progress and condition numbers for the week ended Aug. 10 showed 54 percent of the nation's corn is in the dough stage, compared to 36% last week and a 46% five-year average. Eleven percent of the crop is dented, compared to a 16% five-year average.  Corn condition was rated at 73% good to excellent.

Soybeans are 92% blooming and 72% setting pods, compared to 85% and 57% last week and 91% and 65% on average. Soybean condition worsened slightly with the excellent category decreasing by one percentage point and the very poor category increasing by the same amount.

Winter wheat is 95% harvested compared to 90% last week and a 90% five-year average. Spring wheat is 6% harvested compared to a 21% average. Spring wheat conditions are unchanged from last week.

Corn Silking - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                 :            Week ending            :          
      State      :August 10, : August 3, :August 10, : 2009-2013
                 :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                 :                    percent                   
Colorado ........:     89          70          86          92   
Illinois ........:     98          96         100          98   
Indiana .........:     96          96          99          96   
Iowa ............:     83          93          97          94   
Kansas ..........:     96          94          97          98   
Kentucky ........:     91          91          94          94   
Michigan ........:     94          78          90          92   
Minnesota .......:     94          85          94          97   
Missouri ........:     94         100         100          97   
Nebraska ........:     98          94          99          98   
North Carolina ..:    100          96          98         100   
North Dakota ....:     90          65          85          88   
Ohio ............:     97          83          91          96   
Pennsylvania ....:     96          81          89          93   
South Dakota ....:     95          88          95          85   
Tennessee .......:     99          99          99         100   
Texas ...........:     95          99         100          97   
Wisconsin .......:     76          68          82          88   
18 States .......:     93          90          96          95   

Corn Dough - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 10,  :  August 3,  : August 10,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Colorado .......:     17             7            27            23     
Illinois .......:     47            55            77            62     
Indiana ........:     30            35            56            48     
Iowa ...........:      8            36            55            35     
Kansas .........:     56            51            66            66     
Kentucky .......:     38            42            56            51     
Michigan .......:     24             6            31            32     
Minnesota ......:      6            23            44            24     
Missouri .......:     57            64            81            70     
Nebraska .......:     32            42            62            52     
North Carolina .:     92            79            86            93     
North Dakota ...:      9             1            13            26     
Ohio ...........:     37            29            46            46     
Pennsylvania ...:     45             5             9            38     
South Dakota ...:     29            20            40            31     
Tennessee ......:     83            71            85            88     
Texas ..........:     74            87            88            77     
Wisconsin ......:     11             8            20            25     
18 States ......:     30            36            54            46     

Corn Dented - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 10,  :  August 3,  : August 10,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Colorado .......:      2           (NA)            3             2     
Illinois .......:      5              1           17            23     
Indiana ........:      -              1           17            12     
Iowa ...........:      -           (NA)            7            11     
Kansas .........:      8           (NA)           12            26     
Kentucky .......:     13             18           33            32     
Michigan .......:      -           (NA)            -             4     
Minnesota ......:      -           (NA)            -             4     
Missouri .......:     18             12           34            36     
Nebraska .......:      1           (NA)            6            14     
North Carolina .:     70             55           68            73     
North Dakota ...:      -           (NA)            -             3     
Ohio ...........:      -           (NA)            6             8     
Pennsylvania ...:      6           (NA)            1             7     
South Dakota ...:      1           (NA)            1             4     
Tennessee ......:     46           (NA)           22            59     
Texas ..........:     61             75           76            65     
Wisconsin ......:      -           (NA)            -             2     
18 States ......:      5           (NA)           11            16     

Corn Condition - Selected States: Week Ending August 10, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Colorado .......:     1           5          24          51          19    
Illinois .......:     1           3          14          52          30    
Indiana ........:     1           5          22          51          21    
Iowa ...........:     2           5          17          51          25    
Kansas .........:     5           9          31          42          13    
Kentucky .......:     6          13          24          46          11    
Michigan .......:     2           6          19          57          16    
Minnesota ......:     1           6          23          57          13    
Missouri .......:     -           2          15          50          33    
Nebraska .......:     3           6          20          51          20    
North Carolina .:     4          11          25          45          15    
North Dakota ...:     -           4          19          55          22    
Ohio ...........:     1           4          20          54          21    
Pennsylvania ...:     1           3          17          45          34    
South Dakota ...:     2           5          22          58          13    
Tennessee ......:     -           4          19          54          23    
Texas ..........:     1           6          28          49          16    
Wisconsin ......:     3           8          20          46          23    
18 States ......:     2           5          20          52          21    
Previous week ..:     2           5          20          51          22    
Previous year ..:     3           8          25          46          18    

Soybeans Blooming - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 10,  :  August 3,  : August 10,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas .......:     87            85            91            91     
Illinois .......:     89            91            94            91     
Indiana ........:     89            92            96            89     
Iowa ...........:     88            91            96            95     
Kansas .........:     80            73            83            83     
Kentucky .......:     67            65            73            79     
Louisiana ......:     97            97            99            98     
Michigan .......:     93            84            91            92     
Minnesota ......:     90            85            94            94     
Mississippi ....:     94            84            92            99     
Missouri .......:     71            76            84            80     
Nebraska .......:     95            90            96            95     
North Carolina .:     51            63            71            68     
North Dakota ...:     91            90            95            95     
Ohio ...........:     92            82            91            94     
South Dakota ...:     92            89            94            93     
Tennessee ......:     65            75            83            85     
Wisconsin ......:     74            79            88            86     
18 States ......:     87            85            92            91     

Soybeans Setting Pods - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 10,  :  August 3,  : August 10,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas .......:     64            70            79            74     
Illinois .......:     60            65            79            66     
Indiana ........:     64            68            80            61     
Iowa ...........:     50            65            79            75     
Kansas .........:     40            38            52            45     
Kentucky .......:     40            43            54            54     
Louisiana ......:     90            87            92            92     
Michigan .......:     63            61            75            63     
Minnesota ......:     54            55            74            67     
Mississippi ....:     69            63            79            90     
Missouri .......:     32            40            56            43     
Nebraska .......:     69            68            80            71     
North Carolina .:     27            36            46            35     
North Dakota ...:     65            57            75            76     
Ohio ...........:     68            48            66            65     
South Dakota ...:     52            51            64            65     
Tennessee ......:     43            47            62            64     
Wisconsin ......:     38            45            65            56     
18 States ......:     55            57            72            65     

Soybean Condition - Selected States: Week Ending August 10, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Arkansas .......:     3          10          27          42          18    
Illinois .......:     1           3          18          56          22    
Indiana ........:     1           5          27          51          16    
Iowa ...........:     1           5          19          53          22    
Kansas .........:     2           7          35          46          10    
Kentucky .......:     7          10          25          48          10    
Louisiana ......:     2           3          13          56          26    
Michigan .......:     3           7          27          51          12    
Minnesota ......:     2           6          27          56           9    
Mississippi ....:     -           4          17          53          26    
Missouri .......:     -           3          21          56          20    
Nebraska .......:     2           6          22          54          16    
North Carolina .:     1           4          25          54          16    
North Dakota ...:     1           3          23          58          15    
Ohio ...........:     2           5          23          58          12    
South Dakota ...:     2           6          21          61          10    
Tennessee ......:     1           4          21          58          16    
Wisconsin ......:     1           5          24          48          22    
18 States ......:     2           5          23          53          17    
Previous week ..:     1           5          23          55          16    
Previous year ..:     2           7          27          50          14    

Winter Wheat Harvested - Selected States

[These 18 States harvested 86% of the 2013 winter wheat acreage]
                 :            Week ending            :          
      State      :August 10, : August 3, :August 10, : 2009-2013
                 :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                 :                    percent                   
Arkansas ........:    100         100         100         100   
California ......:     99          95          96         100   
Colorado ........:    100          96         100          99   
Idaho ...........:     61          39          60          37   
Illinois ........:    100         100         100         100   
Indiana .........:    100         100         100         100   
Kansas ..........:    100         100         100         100   
Michigan ........:    100          89          97          97   
Missouri ........:    100         100         100         100   
Montana .........:     50          40          65          45   
Nebraska ........:     97          93          98          99   
North Carolina ..:    100         100         100         100   
Ohio ............:    100         100         100         100   
Oklahoma ........:    100         100         100         100   
Oregon ..........:     87          74          84          69   
South Dakota ....:     70          55          75          88   
Texas ...........:    100         100         100         100   
Washington ......:     60          56          83          50   
18 States .......:     91          90          95          90   

Monday August 11 Ag News

Settlement of Clean Water Act Violations Aims to Prevent Future Oil Spills by Cargill Inc.

Cargill Incorporated, a privately held multinational corporation headquartered in Minnetonka, Minn., has agreed to settle allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) at two different large oil storage facilities located in Blair, Neb., and Eddyville, Iowa.

Through the settlement with EPA Region 7, Cargill will pay a civil penalty of $187,500 to the United States.

The Clean Water Act requires facilities that store large quantities of oil to develop a Facility Response Plan (FRP) that outlines procedures for addressing “worst-case” discharges of oil. By being prepared and by conducting required response drills, facilities are better situated to prevent environmental harm from such releases. Each of Cargill’s two facilities produces and stores more than 1 million gallons of oil.  Combined, the two facilities have a total estimated storage capacity of more than 7 million gallons.

“The Clean Water Act requires large oil storage facilities to have adequate response plans to prevent a spill from turning into a large scale environmental disaster,” said Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 administrator.  “The lack of a Facility Response Plan for these facilities can have serious consequences for humans and the environment in the case of a spill.  This settlement helps protect the communities of Blair, Neb., and Eddyville, Iowa, if spills were to occur.”

EPA identified the lack of a response plan during 2013 site visits at Cargill’s facilities in Blair, Neb., and Eddyville, Iowa.  Each facility required a Facility Response Plan (FRP) because the storage capacity of its denatured ethanol tanks exceeded 1 million gallons.  As a result of the visits, in June 2014 Cargill submitted to EPA signed and effective FRPs. 

The settlement resolves the FRP violations of the CWA by Cargill.

Plan to 'Celebrate Agriculture' at Aug. 17 Lunch in Columbus

There is a Celebrate Agriculture Lunch that will be available from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Aug. 17 during Columbus Days. The Agri-business Committee of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event to celebrate local agriculture production.

Cost to have lunch is just $5 per person. Included will be a choice of meat (hamburger, hot dog or bratwurst), chips, corn on the cob, ice cream and a bottle of water. It will be served at the tent on the east side of Frankfurt Square in downtown Columbus.

The lunch also has the support and sponsorship from Daniels Produce, the Nebraska Dairy Council and our local dairy producers, the Platte Valley Cattlemen, Nebraska Farm Bureau, the Nebraska Soybean Board, Pillen Family Farms, Cargill Value-added Meats, CSS Farms and the Nebraska Pork Producers.

This is thesecond annual lunch. Last year the community served over 300, and it has the same goal again this year.

While enjoying lunch, people can also learn about the power of agriculture in Nebraska's economy from "A-FAN" and the commodity information available. In addition, a Nebraska Beef Ambassador will be present. Come celebrate local agriculture and our role in feeding the world with a great lunch at Columbus Days.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Will you chop corn silage this year?  Do it right and time your harvest correctly.

High-quality corn silage often is an economical substitute for some of the grain in finishing and in dairy rations.  And corn silage can be an important winter feed for cow-calf producers.  All too often, though, we fail to harvest silage to get its best feed value.

Harvest timing is critical for success.  Timing needs to be based on moisture content of the silage.  Silage chopped too early and wetter than seventy percent moisture can run or seep and it often produces a sour, less palatable fermentation.  We often get this wet silage when we rush to salvage hail or wind damaged corn.  Live and green stalks, leaves, and husks almost always are more than eighty percent moisture so be patient and wait until these tissues start to dry before chopping.

Normal corn, though, is often chopped for silage too dry, below sixty percent moisture.  Then it's difficult to pack the silage adequately to force out air.  The silage heats, energy and protein digestibility declines, and spoilage increases.  If your silage is warm or steams during winter, it probably was too dry when chopped.

Many corn hybrids are at the ideal sixty to seventy percent moisture as corn kernels reach the one-half milkline.  This guide isn’t perfect for all hybrids, though, so check your own fields independently.

Corn kernels in silage between half milkline and black layer are more digestible.  Drier, more mature corn grain tends to pass through the animal more often without digesting unless processed.  Also, older leaves and stalks are less digestible.

So chop your silage at the proper moisture level this year.  The outcome will be better feed and better profits.

Nebraska Ag Exports to Russia Drop Significantly

Agricultural exports from Nebraska to Russia have almost disappeared in the last couple of years, according to the Nebraska Department Agriculture's tables of U.S. Census and other data.

Russia was 23rd among foreign destinations for Nebraska exports of all types in 2013, at $50 million, down from $178 million in 2012, according to U.S. Census data. Of that $50 million last year, more than $33 million was in industrial machinery, and $8 million was in metal goods.

This year, from January through June, all Nebraska agricultural exports to Russia were worth $923,000, almost all of it legumes.

In 2012, Nebraska exported $126 million in agricultural goods and products to Russia, including $96 million in meat, $27 million in live animals and about $3 million in corn and legumes, according to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture's tables. That dropped to about $2.3 million of all ag exports to Russia last year, almost all of it corn and legumes.

Meat exports have dropped precipitously because of Russia's refusal since February of 2013 to accept meat imports from animals treated with ractopamine, a feed additive used to promote lean meat production.

Nebraska's total agricultural exports in 2012 were worth $7.3 billion, fifth among the states.

Claas to Market Large Tractors in North America

Claas' long talked about entry into the North American tractor market is upon us.  The company gave media and VIP's a sneak peak at its new Xerion tractor that's designed specifically for the North American market during its Lexion Adventures in the Field event several weeks ago in Omaha. 

Claas will officially introduce the tractor to the rest of the industry later this month during the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, and later at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Nebraska.

With 435-530 horsepower from MTU Mercedes-Benz engines, it would compete with U.S. favorites on tracks and tires but with a rigid 4WD drive chassis, multi-mode 4-wheel steering and stepless CVT drive.

Claas also recently opened a new company owned and operated dealership in Regina, Saskatchewan, near its newly opened Parts & Logistics Center and regional training academy.

Feedlot Profitability ...

Glynn T. Tonsor, Assoc. Prof., Dept of Ag Econ, Kansas State University

Substantial discussion within the industry and corresponding media coverage has focused on "sticker shock" some consumers may have at the beef retail counter as well as profitability of cow-calf producers and corresponding prospects for herd expansion.  What has received comparatively less attention "in the middle" of the industry supply chain, is recent and upcoming profitability prospects of the feedlot sector.

The feedlot sector has long been noted to be in an unfavorable position of having excess capacity in the face of tight and dwindling feeder cattle supplies reflective of the multi-year decline in the U.S. breeding herd.  Given this backdrop, many analysts (including yours-truly) were not anticipating 2014 to be anything feedlot producers would be excited about.  Counter to these expectations, feedlot returns so far in 2014 have been very positive.

The most recent estimates of closeouts offered in K-State's Kansas Feedlot Net Return series indicate steers sold in June at a profit of $197.44/hd.  This marks the sixth consecutive month of closeouts with profits exceeding $125/steer which is something that has never previously occurred going back to 1993 when the current K-State analysis starts.  Moreover, current projections for closeouts during the July-September period are all over $200/steer.  These positive returns essentially reflect the substantial increase in fed cattle prices relative to expectations when feeder cattle were purchased, at levels much lower than today's prices.

While this positive start to 2014 is certainly welcomed by feedlot operators, a word of caution follows current projections for animals scheduled to be sold later in the year.  As shown in table 1, net returns are expected to turn much lower and actually negative in the fourth quarter.  This sharp reversal reflects the notable increase in feeder cattle prices and the corresponding lack of further increases in expected fed cattle prices.

It is important to recognize the Kansas Feedlot Net Return series assumes a "hand-to-mouth" cash based process of procuring feeder cattle and corn as well as selling fed cattle.  That is, the calculations purposely assume no risk management, forward pricing, or other strategies are in-place for feedyards.  While this approach is used to provide a benchmark over time for profitability trends, it fails to capture notable variability in feedlot specific situations and managerial approaches.  This firm-specific variation is noteworthy as many operations likely have not realized the full magnitude of positive returns so far this year (e.g. they may have hedged fed cattle sales) or may have implemented some protection on upcoming closeouts (e.g. they may have hedged upcoming feeder cattle placements).

“Antibiotics & Stewardship” Focus of NIAA Symposium Nov. 12-14 in Atlanta, Ga.

Stewardship is the theme for the 2014 Antibiotics Symposium being hosted by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) Wednesday, Nov. 12-Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Atlanta, Ga., at the Crown Plaza Atlanta Midtown hotel. More specifically, the symposium will focus on antibiotic use and resistance, and moving forward through shared stewardship.

The Symposium is open to individuals who want to learn from each other, engage in productive discussion and create successful strategies to preserve antibiotic efficacy. Historically, the NIAA Antibiotics Symposium has brought together academia, government researchers, the scientific community and stakeholders within animal agriculture, human medicine and the environment to share and learn from each other in order to seek resolution about the often misunderstood issues of antimicrobial use and resistance.

This year will be no different, as the symposium focuses on minimizing resistance and maintaining antimicrobials important for animal and human health. Keynote speakers representing both the animal and human health communities will start by identifying and prioritizing key resistance issues at the human and animal interface, including important antibiotics that are used in both animal and human health, potential routes of transmission of human antibiotic resistance, and ways genetic components of resistance are moved around.

Next, existing animal and human health antibiotic stewardship programs will be presented, highlighting best practices for farm, small animal, human hospital and private clinic settings; focusing more attention on small animal practitioners and independent physicians; identifying gaps and weaknesses; and looking for alternative use practices in the future.

As with all goals, a means of measurement is necessary, and the symposium will address what are/should be the metrics of success of implementing antibiotic use regulations/policies. Existing metrics of success will be illustrated, followed by the identification of proposed metrics of success and recognizing a desired outcome (quantifying use vs. minimizing resistance).

An integral part of the annual NIAA Antibiotics Symposium is discussion via small breakout groups and a large group session, with the goal of identifying real-world solution strategies to move forward with minimizing resistance at the human-animal interface, and generating improved communication between stakeholders.

More information about the Antibiotics Symposium and NIAA can be found at NIAA’s purpose is to provide a source for individuals, organizations and the entire animal agriculture industry to obtain information, education and solutions for challenges facing animal agriculture.

Cargill reports fourth-quarter and full-year fiscal 2014 earnings

Cargill has reported net earnings of $424 million in the fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended May 31, down 12 percent from $483 million in the year-ago period. Fourth-quarter revenues rose 2 percent to $36.2 billion.

For the full fiscal year Cargill earned $1.87 billion, a 19 percent decrease from $2.31 billion in the prior year. Revenues declined 1 percent to $134.9 billion. Cash flow from operations totaled $3.77 billion, down 12 percent from $4.27 billion in fiscal 2013.

“Cargill plays an important role in helping to feed a growing world, and that inspires us to continuously improve performance,” said David MacLennan, Cargill’s president and chief executive officer. “Though we look back on a year in which overall earnings fell short of expectations, we realized stronger operating results in several businesses including a turnaround in our global beef operations. We also made good progress on moves designed to sharpen efficiency and support profitable growth in fiscal 2015 and beyond.”
Fourth-quarter and full-year financial summary

Among Cargill’s four segments, earnings rose significantly in Animal Nutrition & Protein in the fourth quarter and full year. Results in animal nutrition were up for the full year, reflecting the positive impact of recent years’ acquisitions and a product and service mix that met the diverse needs of customers. Fourth-quarter earnings were below the year-ago level due to a loss resulting from adjustments to the balance sheet to account for Venezuela’s effective currency exchange rates. Performance in animal protein was led by the beef business, which was boosted by increased operating efficiency, good cattle feeding results in North America and brisk exports of Australian beef. U.S. pork operations rose on improved live production and processing efficiency, and steady demand. Poultry operations in Central America, Europe and Thailand posted higher earnings in both periods on a combined basis.

Food Ingredients & Applications earnings decreased in the fourth quarter and fiscal 2014 after four consecutive years of record performance. Sweeteners and starches in North America and Europe, and cocoa and chocolate in Europe led segment performance. Results overall reflected weaker economic conditions in some countries and the negative impact of the change in Venezuela’s effective currency exchange rates.

Origination & Processing results were slightly below last year’s fourth quarter. Full-year earnings decreased moderately from fiscal 2013, reflecting in part the impact of China’s rejection of certain U.S. corn shipments, as reported in the third quarter. Fourth-quarter performance was led by supply chains in South America; full-year results were led by supply chains in Brazil, Europe and North America. U.S. farm services continued to experience limited handling and storage opportunities stemming from the last year’s drought and higher costs related to railcar shortages.

In Industrial & Financial Services, earnings rose in global ocean transportation and the U.S.-based steelmaking joint venture, but segment results declined overall in both periods due to poor performance in energy.

Smithfield Foods Profit Surges

Smithfield Foods Inc. said its second-quarter earnings more than quadrupled as demand in its hog production segment remained strong.

Smithfield was purchased last year by China's biggest pork producer WH Group, then known as Shuanghui International Holdings, for about $4.7 billion, a deal that marked the biggest Chinese takeover of an American company.

The meat producer said its most recent results benefited from its restructured and streamlined fresh pork and packaged meat operations. Beginning with the most recently ended quarter, the company's former pork unit now consists of two reportable segments: fresh pork and packaged meats.

Smithfield, the world's largest hog farmer and pork processor, reported earnings of $142.9 million, compared with $32.4 million a year earlier. Sales rose 14% to $3.8 billion.

The company said changes to the company's reportable segments had been applied retrospectively for previous periods. The new packaged meats segment, the largest contributor to Smithfield's revenue, increased to $1.73 billion from $1.45 billion a year earlier. Fresh pork sales increased to $1.61 billion from $1.32 billion in the year-prior period.

Hog production revenue remained virtually flat at $857 million, but operating profits in the segment soared as margins improved and prices surged 30%.

Friday August 8 Ag News

Farmers Look to Connect with Riders at Local Bike Ride Event

CommonGround Nebraska, a group of local volunteer farm women, is partnering with event organizers for the third annual Seven Cities Century Bike Ride. CommonGround will sponsor lunch for riders and attendees on August 9 in order to start a conversation about food topics, such as today's farming practices, food safety, and family farming versus corporate farming.

David Loberg, a farmer from Carroll, Nebraska who starred in Academy Award winning director James Moll's new documentary, "Farmland," will also be at the lunch to share his story. Moll's film provides a glimpse into the lives of six young farmers and ranchers and their families from across the country. The luncheon will be held at Rooster's Steakhouse in Carroll from 11 a.m. To 2 p.m.

Loberg, a fifth-generation farmer, runs the family corn and soybean farm with his mother near Carroll. The farm also custom feeds 500 head of cows for a local dairy operation.

CommonGround volunteers Diane Becker, who farms near Madison, and Joan Ruskamp,  who farms near Dodge, will also be on hand to discuss Nebraska agriculture and the importance of family farms to the state’s economy.

CommonGround will post road-side signs like the old “Burma-Shave” signs along the Saturday morning bike route with messages to get bikers thinking about such farming topics as GMOs and modern food production that they may want to discuss with the volunteers and Loberg over lunch.

The bike ride is a great opportunity for people to see farm country up close, says CommonGround’s Becker, who also serves on the “7 Cities Century Bike Ride” steering committee. “As riders, we get a whiff of the hog barns and feedlots as we pedal by. Riders see that these farms are homes for those who work there, not factories. My hope is that the ride instills pride for the American farmer for those who pedal the 100 miles through the heart of Northeast Nebraska.”

Becker says CommonGround’s Saturday luncheon “gives riders a noon break to absorb what they've seen the first 25 miles of riding and ask questions of the farmer volunteers, and guest farmer Loberg. What better place to have a conversation about farming and food than in the middle of farm country?”

Watch For Late Season Insects on Late Planted Corn and Soybeans

Bob Wright, UNL Extension Entomologist

There are many areas of the state where corn or soybeans were planted late due to hail or other storm injury. Be aware that these late planted fields will be at risk for late season insect infestations.

Corn will attract many insects during silking. It may have higher than normal populations of corn earworms, European corn borer, and corn rootworm beetles, as well as other insects. Late planted corn functions as a trap crop for rootworms, and beetles from surrounding fields planted earlier will move into later planted fields and concentrate there to feed and lay their eggs.

Corn planted back to these fields in 2015 will be at greater risk for rootworm injury, depending on how many rootworms moved into the field.

Soybeans also will attract insects such as stink bugs during flowering. Also, leaves will be green while nearby soybeans may be less attractive to insects. Late season caterpillars, bean leaf beetles, rootworm beetles, and soybean aphids may cause economic damage in these fields.

Don't ignore these late planted fields. Continue to scout them during their vulnerable growth stages, regardless of the calendar date.

Heineman Seeks Applicants for Natural Resources Commission to Represent Ground Water Irrigators

Gov. Dave Heineman is seeking qualified candidates for one position on the Natural Resources Commission to represent ground water irrigators.  The open position is due to a vacancy.

The Natural Resources Commission is charged with helping to conserve, protect, and utilize the water and related land resources of the state through the oversight of seven state aid programs established for these purposes. The Commission consists of twenty-seven members who represent diverse water and land conservation and related natural resources management interests.

Individuals interested in applying for the Natural Resources Commission should send a resume, along with a completed application form to Kathleen Dolezal in the Governor’s Office, at P.O. Box 94848, Lincoln, NE 68509 or The application form can be completed on the Governor’s website or requested by calling the Governor’s Office. Applications will be accepted through close of business on August 29.

Nebraskans with questions about the position may call the Governor’s Office at (402) 471-2244 and ask for Ms. Dolezal.

Early Propane Purchase May Help Limit Risk

John Hay, UNL Extension Educator

The propane price spike of 2014 was shocking to some who had to purchase propane in early 2014 to make it through the winter. While it is unknown whether such a spike will occur again, long-term propane price data shows relatively stable prices across the year.  This suggests there is less risk of a price decline with early purchases. 

A study by the Missouri Attorney General suggests the combination of a cold winter, record propane exports, and high use for grain drying during harvest contributed to the reduced supplies and high prices in 2013-14. To manage risk of a price hike, the Missouri report recommends:
-    Consider a pre-purchase fixed price or maximum price plan offered by propane dealers during warmer months.
-    Consider the supplier's track record and reputation, and shop around. Some suppliers have a greater ability to access inventory during times of peak demand.
-    Research whether it makes sense to own or lease a tank. Consumers who own their own propane tank often have greater flexibility in choosing a supplier, while those who lease often must buy propane only  from the tank owner.

Propane is produced from both petroleum and natural gas. The price of propane tends to trend with the price of petroleum. The production of propane is not seasonal yet consumption is very seasonal with heavy use for heating and crop drying during the fall and winter seasons. A cold winter combined with other factors such as weather and competing markets can cause price spikes.

The spike in 2014 was extreme compared to any year in the last decade or more. Although it is unknown if a spike like 2014 will occur this coming winter, a full tank of propane and a plan or contract for more may help mitigate a potential cost spike.

ISA China trade mission strengthens friendships, explores new opportunities

Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) leaders spent the latter half of July in China, strengthening relationships with buyers and exploring new markets to help sell a potential record crop.

A common theme during ISA’s China Trade Mission, July 23-Aug. 1, was that demand from the world’s largest soybean buyer will continue to increase.

ISA participants included President Brian Kemp, who farms near Sibley; President Elect Tom Oswald, who farms near Cleghorn; CEO Kirk Leeds, Market Development Director Grant Kimberley and several soybean industry officials.

“Every time we go to China, or other countries, we’re meeting with new buyers and solidifying relationships with existing ones,” Kemp said. “It’s important for us to understand their culture and industries. By understanding Chinese buyers better, we can fulfill their needs.”

The ISA delegation received the latest information about soy demand and food policy from Chinese government and agriculture officials. They visited farms, processors and ports. The group traveled to the province of Inner Mongolia for the first time where they learned about the country’s burgeoning dairy industry and future needs for soybeans and soybean products, like bypass soybean meal.

“As far as soybeans, there’s lot of potential,” said Peter Mishek, president of Mishek Inc. & Associates, part of the trade mission staff.

Gov. Terry Branstad recently proclaimed August as Iowa Soybean Month. The designation recognizes soybean farmers for their contributions to the state’s economy and environmental stewardship.

Persistent work by ISA in the area of market development has increased profitability of soybean production in the state — the reason why the organization was formed 50 years ago. Agriculture and related businesses account for about one-quarter of Iowa’s $152.4 billion gross domestic product.

Oswald said trade missions definitely pay off.

“We spend a lot of time making people feel comfortable doing business with us and utilizing soybeans and soybean products sourced from Iowa,” he said. “Buyers know where to go for good quality.”

In mid-July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected national soybean production at a record 3.8 billion bushels, up 165 million from last year. U.S. soybean exports during the 2014/15 marketing year are projected at 1.675 billion bushels, a slight increase from the current year. About half will likely go to China.

Chinese soybean imports are expected to reach a record 68 million metric tons by the end of the current marketing year. Prominent Chinese government and agribusiness officials predict imports could reach 75 million metric tons next year and 80 to 85 million in five years.

“The reason for growth is our large population (1.3 billion) and we use more (soybean) oil than any other country. As the living standard has increased, we eat more meat. (Soybean) meal is used for livestock,” Lui Ren, director general of the foreign affair department for China’s State Association of Grain, said.

Kimberley said the blistering pace of Chinese soybean imports is slowing somewhat compared to recent years, but the nation’s economy remains strong and is growing.

“There will still be significant growth in soybean, feed and meat demand in China for at least another decade, if not more,” Kimberley said.

U.S. Pork, Beef Exports on Record Pace through June

U.S. pork and beef exports remained strong in June, pushing export value for both products to a record first-half pace according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

June pork exports totaled 181,531 metric tons (mt), up 7 percent from a year ago, while export value increased 25 percent to $585.1 million. In the first half of 2014, pork export volume (1.15 million mt, +9 percent) and value ($3.4 billion, +17 percent) achieved record highs.

Beef exports were up 5 percent in volume (106,609 mt) in June and set a new monthly value record of $631.7 million (+12 percent). First-half export value also set a new record of $3.27 billion (+16 percent). Export volume was 585,953 mt in the first half, up 8 percent from a year ago but trailing the 2011 record.

Despite intense competition, U.S. pork performing well in Asia

Pork export value per head slaughtered was a record-high $72.24 in June, up $15 from a year ago. The percentage of U.S. production exported was 25 percent for muscle cuts and 29 percent when including both muscle cuts and variety meat – up from 24 percent and 28 percent, respectively, in June 2013.

With European pork absent from the Russian market for the past six months due to an impasse over African swine fever, competition has intensified in key Asian markets. But U.S. pork still achieved first-half increases in South Korea and Japan.

“USMEF has focused for many years on establishing loyal customers in these markets and impressing upon them the quality and consistency of U.S. pork,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “That loyalty is being tested in this increasingly competitive environment, but our results have held up very well.”

First-half highlights for U.S. pork included:

-    Exports to Korea continued well ahead of last year’s pace, as high domestic pork prices helped fuel imports. First-half volume was up 31 percent to 77,209 mt, while value increased 48 percent to $236.3 million.
-    Pork muscle cut exports to Japan were up 3 percent in volume (213,653 mt), and 5 percent in value ($969.3 million).
-    Exports to Mexico posted a very strong first half, increasing 15 percent in volume (333,072 mt) and 42 percent in value ($751.6 million).
-    Colombia has emerged as the pacesetter for U.S. pork in the Central/South America region, with exports increasing 83 percent in volume (25,779 mt) and nearly doubling in value ($69.7 million, +95 percent). Exports to the entire region increased 12 percent in volume (59,619 mt) and 21 percent in value ($160.8 million).
-    After a down year in 2013, exports to Australia rebounded nicely – increasing 17 percent in volume (33,149 mt) and 25 percent in value ($114.3 million).

U.S. pork regained limited access to the Russian market in March after a 13-month absence, with two slaughter plants resuming shipments to Russia. Exports were large in June (9,371 mt valued at $34.3 million), but have now been suspended (effective Aug. 7) due to retaliatory sanctions announced this week by the Russian government.

June beef export value nearly $300 per head

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter set another new record in June at $299.14, up $38.93 from a year ago. The ratio of U.S. production exported was 12 percent for muscle cuts and 15 percent for muscle cuts and variety meat combined – up from 11 percent and 14 percent, respectively, a year ago.

“Seeing beef export value per head approach $300 is really remarkable,” Seng explained. “Just four years ago, export value was about $150 per head and we broke $200 per head for the first time in 2011. This shows just how important the international markets are for delivering strong returns to the producer.”

First-half highlights for beef exports included:

-    Exports to Hong Kong increased 55 percent in volume (71,829 mt) and 76 percent in value ($492.5 million). U.S. beef regained full access to Hong Kong in mid-June, adding key products such as ground beef and processed meats, which should help exports maintain a strong pace in the second half of the year.
-    Momentum continued in Korea, as exports increased 11 percent in volume (56,478 mt) and 40 percent in value ($379.5 million). Strong demand from retail outlets and restaurants helped fuel a 50 percent increase in beef muscle cut value ($362.6 million) to Korea.
-    Export volume to Japan slowed slightly from a year ago (111,044 mt, -3 percent), but export value was steady at $693.6 million. Japanese import data show that U.S. beef continues to gain market share, as imports were lower from all other main suppliers.
-    Exports to Mexico increased 30 percent to 116,337 mt, while value increased 44 percent to $545.9 million. However, USMEF is analyzing possible issues with the 2013 export data for Mexico, which may partially explain the large year-over-year increase.
-    Taiwan bounced back from a slow first quarter to post first-half increases in both volume (16,127 mt, +3 percent) and value ($132.8, +7 percent).
-    Growth continued in the Central/South America region, with exports increasing 5 percent in volume (20,293 mt) and 20 percent in value ($84.8 million). Peru is still the largest volume market in the region at 6,965 mt, while Chile leads in value at $33.6 million.

Lamb export value higher in June, but down in first half

U.S. lamb export value achieved a modest increase in June ($2.6 million, +2 percent), despite a decline in volume (986 mt, -30 percent). For the first half of the year, lamb exports were lower in both volume (5,461 mt, -25 percent) and value ($13.8 million, -12 percent). The decline was mostly attributable to lower exports to Canada, which were down sharply. Panama was a bright spot in the first half, with exports totaling 38 mt (+245 percent) valued at $273,000 (+133 percent).

Margin Protection Program: New Dairy Safety Net on Track for September Launch

After years of work by NMPF and its member cooperatives, a better federal dairy program is expected to finally emerge between now and Labor Day. Barring any last-minute glitches, producers will soon be perusing the details of this new, and very different, safety net based on margins rather than just milk prices.

The Dairy Margin Protection Program will offer farmers basic insurance against 2009-type catastrophic margins for only $100 per year, and higher levels of coverage for an additional premium.

The regulation implementing the program has moved from the Agriculture Department to the Office of Management and Budget – a key bureaucratic step – and USDA expects to have it out in time to launch the sign-up process following the Labor Day weekend.

In the meantime, local Farm Service Agency offices are getting up to speed on the program and preparing to assist farmers once the sign-up period begins. The USDA plans an August letter to farmers explaining the new program.

Many program details won’t be final until the implementing regulation is published, but NMPF has been urging USDA to make the program farmer-friendly. There will be a USDA handbook on the program, and a consortium of land-grant universities will also be helping producers calculate farm-specific margin coverage options.

NMPF will schedule webinars and will have a simple, downloadable web-based tool to help producers navigate the decision-making process. The online tool will allow farmers to plug in their own numbers and quickly and easily see the program’s potential impact.

A detailed summary of what was in the legislation that created the program can be found at

CWT Helps Dairy Exports Hit Record for June

The United States exported 17.3 percent of its milk production in June, the highest percentage ever achieved for the month of June and one of the highest monthly percentages ever.

The increase from the previous June record – 16.5 percent in June 2013 – resulted partly from increased butter and cheese exports since last year. An important factor boosting butter and cheese exports was export assistance provided by NMPF’s Cooperatives Working Together, the voluntary, farmer-funded program that helps member cooperatives expand markets for U.S. dairy products overseas.

Between January and May, CWT helped with approximately a quarter of U.S. butter exports and more than half of U.S. American cheese exports. In the first six months of the year, butter exports were up 42 percent compared with 2013 and American and cheddar cheese exports were up 65 percent. CWT sales have helped keep U.S. butter and cheese prices above world levels during a significant downturn in world prices.

In July alone, CWT committed to assist with 26 million pounds of dairy product export sales arranged by five CWT-member cooperatives. That includes 21 million pounds of cheese, 1.2 million pounds of butter and nearly 4 million pounds of whole milk powder. Destinations include all six continents. The five cooperatives were Dairy Farmers of America, Land O’Lakes, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association.

AgriBank Reports Second Quarter 2014 and Six Month Financial Results

Today St. Paul-based AgriBank announced financial results for the second quarter of 2014.

“AgriBank continued to have strong performance through the second quarter of 2014, with continued strong credit quality and a slight decline in net income primarily attributable to non-recurring factors,” said Bill York, AgriBank CEO. “Favorable growing conditions are expected to result in strong yields throughout our District. Lower crop prices, as compared to the prior year, will result from these strong yields but should have a positive impact on producers who use these crops as inputs.”


Net income decreased to $266.6 million for the six months ended June 30, 2014 from $281.3 million during the same period in 2013. Excluding the impact of non-recurring items in 2013 and an increase in provision for loan losses of $4.0 million, net income remained essentially flat.

Net interest income remained relatively flat at $258.3 million for the six months ended June 30, 2014 compared to $258.4 million for the same period in 2013.

Non-interest income decreased to $63.4 million for the six months ended June 30, 2014 from $75.6 million during the same period in 2013. The decrease was primarily due to fewer loan conversions and prepayments in the first half of 2014 and one large non-recurring loan prepayment fee of $10.0 million in 2013. These decreases were partially offset by an increase in mineral income of $9.9 million in the first half of 2014 driven by relatively high gas prices resulting in continued demand for exploration rights and production activities.

Non-interest expense decreased to $52.6 million during the six months ended June 30, 2014 from $54.2 million during the same period in 2013. The decrease was primarily due to the non-recurring loss on debt extinguishment of $4.0 million during the six months ended June 30, 2013. There has been no debt extinguishment in 2014.


Second quarter 2014 net income was strong at $135.5 million, but down from $141.3 million for second quarter 2013. The decrease was primarily due to an increase in provision for loan losses of $4.0 million.


Total loans declined slightly to $73.0 billion as of June 30, 2014 from $73.7 billion as of December 31, 2013. The decrease was primarily due to seasonal paydowns occurring during the first quarter of the year, substantially offset by increases in operating lines funded by wholesale loans to Associations during the second quarter. The strong liquidity and equity positions of many borrowers are reflected in the continued favorable credit quality of AgriBank’s loan portfolio. The portfolio remained at 99.8 percent non-adverse loans as of June 30, 2014; unchanged from December 31, 2013. Nonaccrual loans as of June 30, 2014 declined slightly to $38.4 million from $39.7 million as of December 31, 2013. The allowance for loan losses increased to $12.0 million as of June 30, 2014 from $10.1 million as of December 31, 2013.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s initial projection of 2014 net farm income indicates a decrease, compared to 2013, of 26.6 percent to $95.8 billion. The 2014 projection is the lowest level since 2010, but $8 billion above the previous 10-year average and still one of the highest levels of net farm income on record. The forecasted decrease is largely driven by expected lower crop revenues due to lower crop prices.

The 2014 District crop production growing season started with colder temperature and excess precipitation in the northern region, resulting in a higher than normal abandonment rate. The central, southern and eastern regions, however, experienced near ideal planting conditions followed by very favorable growing conditions. This has resulted in expectations for record yield levels for corn and soybeans, and above average yields for many of the other crops grown in these areas of the District. The resulting reduction in crop prices and feed cost should continue to have a positive impact on livestock, poultry, dairy and ethanol producers, but could potentially have an adverse effect on crop producers.


Total capital decreased $140.7 million during the period to $4.8 billion, driven primarily by reduced capital stock and participation certificates of $232.4 million and patronage to Associations of $158.2 million, substantially offset by net income of $266.6 million. The decrease in capital stock and participation certificates was primarily due to the first quarter amendment to our capital plan which reduced the base required stock investment for all affiliated Associations and other financial institutions from 2.50 percent to 2.25 percent effective March 31, 2014. The capital plan amendment was made possible by the issuance of $250.0 million in non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Cash and investments totaled $14.8 billion as of June 30, 2014, compared to $13.5 billion as of December 31, 2013.

CNH to Invest $24 Million to Expand Iowa Facility

CNH Industrial N.V. is investing $24 million to expand production in Burlington, Iowa, with the addition of the company's crawler dozer production line. The capital goods company is increasing its existing presence in the city by adding the new production line to its manufacturing plant.

The production facilities will include a new dedicated paint line, welding and computer numerical control machining equipment and a dedicated assembly line. The Burlington plant, home to more than 600 employees, has manufactured equipment for CNH Industrial's brands, since 1937.

In addition to producing Case Construction Equipment, the plant's employees produce agricultural equipment for the company's Case IH and New Holland brands. This expansion will create approximately 50 full-time jobs. Preparations will begin later this year and production on the new line is expected to begin in the second half of 2015.

"With the growing demand for quality construction equipment, we are pleased to announce that production in Burlington, Iowa will be expanded," said Bret Lieberman, CNH Industrial Vice President of Manufacturing, North America. "We look forward to creating a state-of-the-art production line that will continue CNH Industrial's tradition of providing high-performing equipment to the construction industry."

According to the firm, establishing this production line to Iowa is consistent with CNH Industrial's long-term strategy to optimize its manufacturing footprint and achieve a lean, flexible industrial operation. The project is contingent upon completion, and approval, of all State and local incentives and grants.

Thursday August 7 Ag News

Rural, Urban Interests Unite Against EPA Water Rule
‘Common Sense Nebraska’ Expands Partners

A proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to vastly expand the federal agency’s powers under the Clean Water Act (CWA) has prompted a number of Nebraska organizations and entities to join forces under the coalition of ‘Common Sense Nebraska.’ Nebraska agriculture organizations initially formed the coalition in June to push back against the EPA measure. Numerous non-farm interests have now joined the cause.

“This rule would be extremely harmful to Nebraska’s farm and ranch families forcing many to obtain CWA permits for the most basic farming and ranching practices. It also has ramifications for virtually anyone who puts a spade in the ground to turn the soil. We knew others would be affected and we’re pleased to have so many other groups who represent Nebraskans be a part of this effort,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation president.

The announcement of new ‘Common Sense Nebraska’ partners was made Thur. Aug. 7 at an event where U.S. Senator Mike Johanns, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, Congressman Lee Terry and Congressman Adrian Smith joined coalition members in expressing concerns with EPA’s efforts to regulate water features beyond the scope given them by Congress under the CWA.

New organizations and entities announcing their partnership with ‘Common Sense Nebraska’ include:

AKSARBEN Club Managers Association
Association of General Contractors - NE Chapter
Golf Course Builders Association
Nebraska Association of County Officials
Nebraska Association of Resource Districts
Nebraska Bankers Association
Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Nebraska Corn Board
Nebraska Golf Course Superintendents Association
Nebraska Grain Sorghum Producers Association
Nebraska Rural Electric Association
Nebraska State Home Builders Association
Nebraska Water Resources Association

Founding members of the coalition include Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska Poultry Industries, Nebraska Soybean Association and the Nebraska State Dairy Association.

The proposed rule would have broad reaching impacts on numerous Nebraska interests.

“As a small business owner this rule creates unpredictability and that’s never good for businesses looking to comply with regulations. Construction projects rely on efficient timely and consistent permitting and review processes under Clean Water Act programs. If the rule is finalized the ability to sell, build, expand or retrofit structures or properties will suffer notable setbacks, including added costs and delays. Those costs and delay don’t just get felt by builders, but also by end consumers” said Allen Barber, immediate past president of the Nebraska State Home Builders Association.

“Nebraska already has laws and local regulations in place to protect water quality and quantity.  We commend the Nebraska citizens’ efforts to work with local Natural Resources Districts and various state agencies to protect water in Nebraska. The federal proposal is far reaching and adds costly burdens on those that rely on water for personal and economic survival and are contrary to the local management efforts,” said Dean Edson, executive director of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts.

“It’s our understanding the rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers would erase the distinction between bodies of water — such as streams and lakes — and ditches on the side of a road. We believe this would mean counties would be required to obtain federal permits to do routine maintenance work on a roadside ditch or storm-water drain. This would increase budgets, project timelines and impact public safety while placing more pressure on Nebraska’s reliance on property taxes,” said Larry Dix, executive director of the Nebraska Association of County Officials. “We need a common sense approach of working together to ensure clean and safe water for future generations.”

EPA is currently accepting public comments on the proposed rule through Oct. 20.

Common Sense Nebraska is a Nebraska-based coalition consisting of organizations and entities that have come together in response to EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” Rule; a regulatory proposal that would harm both rural and urban Nebraskans through expansion of EPA’s powers and authorities under the federal Clean Water Act. The coalition’s purpose is to build awareness and understanding of the EPA proposal and the impacts it would have to Nebraskans.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Noxioius Weed Tour to be Aug 20th

The Northeast Nebraska Weed Management Area in cooperation with the Northeast Nebraska RC&D Council and the Nebraska Environmental Trust are hosting a free educational tour on Wednesday, August 20th at Niobrara State Park.  “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Noxious Weed Control” is the title for this event.  Participants will see first-hand a number of methods being used to control the spread of Nebraska-listed noxious weeds.

Officials with Nebraska Game & Parks have implemented the use of chemicals, insects, mowing and haying in their fight against noxious weeds on the Bazile Creek Wildlife Management Area located near the park.  Some have worked well while others have not.

The Northeast Nebraska Weed Management Area (NNWMA) has used both chemical and biological controls on Purple loosestrife, Leafy spurge, and Knapweed through their programs.  Flooding caused problems with the insects, the sheer volume of noxious weeds that must be controlled is overwhelming in some locations, and working around environmental concerns also plays a big part in when and how some controls are implemented.

NNWMA has assisted the Niobrara Public School in continuing their Purple loosestrife bucket garden where they rear the insects the feed on that particular plant.   The South Dakota Purple loosestrife group has also helped the school project by providing funds for supplies and labor.

This no-fee event begins with registration at 9:30 a.m. at the Niobrara State Park Lodge.  Transportation will be provided for participants taking part in the tour.  The event will conclude with lunch.    

BLU-JET Side Dump Trailer Released

With over 15 years of Side Dump Trailer Manufacturing experience on its resume, Thurston Manufacturing Company is proud to announce the release of the new BLU-JET side dump trailer. From hauling manure out of a feedlot to hauling dirt, silage, scrap, or grain, our trailers are built to withstand the rigors of on-farm operation.  The trailer features are intended to reduce total cost of ownership by decreasing maintenance and increasing durability while also maximizing efficiency and capacity.

The BLU-JET Side Dump trailer is available in three, four, and five axle configurations with a 37’ FLX-500 Rounded Vee dump body.  A Rounded Vee dump body design provides a low center of gravity for maximum stability and capacity, while assuring complete clean out when dumping, even with sticky materials.  The bottom of the dump body sits inside and below the top of the chassis frame rails. This allows for increased stability when hauling as the weight of the load has a lower center of gravity. The bottom of the dump body sitting down inside the chassis frame rails also increases capacity while maintaining a low loading height.

Blu-Jet Side Dump Trailers come with dual acting 6” cylinders on each end and six pivot points instead of four.  Each cylinder offers 62,000 lbs of lift.  No other side dump trailer on the market offers this kind of lift capacity as standard equipment.  The six pivot points better support the load while still allowing the dump body to twist and flex.

Flexibility is critical to a side dump cycle, particularly in agricultural applications, as loads are often dumped on uneven surfaces or not distributed evenly within the dump body.  Through a process of meticulous design analysis, our in-house team of design engineers determined six pivot points are the ideal balance between durability and weight as they add strength and lengthen the operating life of the trailer.  The pivot bushings are greaseless, to save the operator time on daily maintenance.

QuickLoad AirWeigh® Scales are standard equipment on BLU-JET Side Dump Trailers.  The scale converts air pressure in the air springs into accurate on-the-ground weight.  Operators can therefore quickly determine the loaded weight and whether that weight is legal for on-road use.  Tarp options available for the BLU-JET Side Dump Trailer include Shur-Co®, RollRite® and Aero® tarps, along with a high capacity kit option. The high capacity kit increases the capacity potential from 26.1 cubic yards to an incredible 42.6 cubic yards and is extremely advantageous for silage and manure hauling.

State Fair's 'Raising Nebraska' Highlights Food and Families Who Grow It

            A new exhibit at the Nebraska State Fair will connect consumers with the farmers who raise and grow their food.

            "Raising Nebraska: Your food and the families who grow it" is a permanent, year-round agriculture exhibit located in the new Nebraska Building on the Nebraska State Fairgrounds.

            Its debut at the Nebraska State Fair Aug. 22-Sept. 1 at Fonner Park in Grand Island, is part of an effort to educate consumers about what Nebraska is doing toward food production and feeding the world and what production agriculture looks like for Nebraska, said Beth Janning, UNL Extension educator, who will be on-site year-round to manage the exhibit and work with visiting groups.

            "We are hoping this exhibit allows consumers to realize that farmers are doing the best they can, using technology to produce the best food in the state for our consumers," she said. "We hope consumers will realize the 'farm to fork' process and that our producers care about the food they raise and the animals they care for."

            Raising Nebraska will not only tell the story of the state's No. 1 industry, but also explore agricultural research, production and innovation. The learning experience will include a wide range of interactive displays. It features a full-sized pivot-irrigation system, a video theater enclosed in a grain bin, a 50-foot-long floor map of Nebraska, a virtual combine ride, an interactive dinner table and other educational experiences.

            "All the exhibits will be interactive," Janning said. "They will also show the science involved with agriculture and showcase what Nebraska agriculture is really about and what we do best. We raise high quality crops and livestock to provide the food, feed and fiber for the world."

            While it will make its debut at the 2014 Nebraska State Fair, Janning said the exhibit will also be available throughout the year for school groups, trade teams and other visitors by appointment. It will also be open on Tuesdays from 9-11 a.m. and Thursdays from 2-4 p.m. for anyone wanting to tour the building following the fair this fall. Programs focused on science and Nebraska agriculture are available by appointment.

            In addition, the exhibit is looking for volunteers with a passion about Nebraska agriculture to spend some occasional time in the building during the rest of the year, Janning said. Anyone interested, can contact the office.

            For more information, visit

            Raising Nebraska is a collaborative effort of the Nebraska State Fair, which is providing the building; the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for coordinating the efforts of the state's commodity boards; and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which is developing and managing the 25,000 square-foot educational experience area.

UNL's Food Processing Center Display at FFA – 4-H Building

            Visitors to the Nebraska State Fair also will have the opportunity to sample many of the food products produced in Nebraska at the UNL Food Processing Center display in the FFA – 4-H Building.

            More than 15 food companies will be available to provide samples and information regarding their products from salsa to pickles.

            "This exhibit provides visitors with the ability to learn about the many food products produced in Nebraska," said Jill Gifford, manager of the Food Processing Center's National Food Entrepreneur Program.

            This is the 19th year for the popular free exhibit. Companies scheduled to participate include: Preferred Popcorn, Chapman; HR Poppin' Snacks, Gibbon; Hiland Dairy Co., Grand Island; Kiehl and Stroh Co., Hastings; Balabans, Henderson; Herbal Gatherings Mustard, Hill's Sunflower Seed Co., Pur Java Coffee, Smoking Gun Jerky & Marinade, Lincoln; Holen One Farms, Loomis; Popcorn County USA, North Loup; Sweet Heat Peppers, Omaha; Country Rhoads, Superior; Mellor Seasoning, Valentine and Wauneta Roller Mills, Wauneta.

            The Food Processing Center is nationally recognized for its support of the food industry since 1983. The center has provided technical and business assistance to hundreds of manufacturers throughout the country and in many foreign countries.

IFBF Showcases How Conservation Counts at Iowa State Fair

This year, visitors to Farm Bureau Park at the Iowa State Fair will learn how Conservation Counts in Iowa, while interacting with Iowa farmers who raise and grow our food and energy and playing games for a chance to win great prizes, including $1,000 in free groceries.

"We know that Iowans want to know more about how their food is grown and raised and why farmers farm the way we do," said Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) President Craig Hill. "That's why we feature activities in Farm Bureau Park where consumers can visit one-on-one with Iowa farmers while having fun and winning a few prizes."

One of the featured exhibits at Farm Bureau Park this year is the Conservation Station, where fair goers can see the effects of rainfall on soil covers and surfaces and compete in the 'Poo Toss' challenge.

Also during the Iowa State Fair, a record 344 family farms will be recognized as Century Farms and 86 will be recognized as Heritage Farms, through a long-time effort between IFBF and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS). "With 98 percent of Iowa farms being family owned, it's great to see so many staying in the family for multiple generations and reaching the status of a Century or Heritage Farm," said Hill. "In order to keep farms in the family for multiple generations, these families are innovating and being good stewards to pass the farm on to the next generation."

IFBF members will also enjoy a number of exclusive perks at the fair. Members who bring in a coupon from the Spokesman or Family Living will receive a free member thank you gift and have the opportunity to register for a chance to win a Cub Cadet zero turn riding mower.

Each new member who joins at the fair will receive $10 in free ethanol and be entered in a drawing for $2,000 in free ethanol. And, all Farm Bureau park visitors can take the Farm Bureau Member Benefits Challenge for a chance to win $1,000 in free groceries.

IFBF is again promoting the importance of healthy lifestyles by featuring a number of free blood pressure, cancer, hearing, balance, and other health screenings on select fair days. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, major cardiovascular disease is responsible for more than one third of the deaths of Iowans. Farm Bureau member benefit partner, Stroke Detection Plus, will be conducting a limited number of free EKG screenings on Tuesday, August 12, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. A simple EKG screening can detect atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common type of irregular heartbeat, before it causes a stroke. AFib increases the risk of stroke five times, but a quick screening at Farm Bureau Park can help detect this condition before it causes a disability.

Young fairgoers will also find free entertainment at Farm Bureau Park as the Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Advisory Committee members offer a variety of free kids' activities and prizes from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Aug. 9.

Farm Bureau Park visitors are encouraged to learn more about Farm Bureau benefit partners and special member discounts on services and products including Morton Buildings, Case IH tractors, hay equipment and utility vehicles, Ford and Lincoln vehicles, Ready Mobile, and Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance available through Farm Bureau agents. The newest partner, Polaris, will be on site to answer questions about how members can save $200-$300 on Polaris off-road vehicles. Ford vehicles and Case IH tractors and utility vehicles that qualify for up to $500 in member exclusive savings will be in the park for members to check out.

Farm Bureau Park is located next to the Varied Industries Building, right off the Grand Concourse. For a complete listing of Farm Bureau activities at the fair, visit

Northey: $6.75 Million in Cost Share Available for Conservation

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced that more than $6.75 million is available to help farmers and landowners install conservation practices through the state cost share program. Farmers can contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) offices to apply for assistance of up to 50 percent of the cost of the project.

"The cost share program is a partnership between the state and local landowners to help get conservation practices on the land that prevent erosion and better protect water quality. Now is the time for farmers to plan ahead and work with the local soil and water conservation district office so they are ready to move ahead with construction of the practices as soon as the crops are out of the field this fall," Northey said.

Iowa has 100 SWCD offices across the state, one in each county and two in Pottawattamie, that set priorities and use the funds to work with farmers that are doing conservation on their land. Contact information for each of the SWCD offices can be found at under "Hot Topics."

Conservation practices eligible for assistance through this program include terraces, waterways, ponds, buffers, cover crops, and several other conservation practices.

Field office staff with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service assure the technical quality of the practices that are built and help farmers develop conservation plans for their farms.

"These funds are a great investment by the state and historically farmers contribute $1.50 for each dollar invested by the state. There continues to be strong interest in the cost share program, but there are funds available and we encourage farmers to contact their local soil and water conservation district office to discuss options for their farm," Northey said.

In addition to the statewide cost share, at least five percent of the funds will be used to protect several publicly owned lakes and cost share in these projects is available for up to 75 percent of the cost of the project.

A map of the targeted lake projects is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's website at

61st Iowa Dairy Princess Crowned

Mikayla Lien, a 19-year-old from Calmar, was crowned the 61st Iowa Dairy Princess during an evening ceremony at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines Wednesday night.  Lien, daughter of Gary and Patty Lien, will spend the year serving as a goodwill ambassador for Iowa’s dairy farmers.  Throughout her year-long reign she will make public appearances to connect with consumers and help them understand the dedication of dairy farm families to their cows, their land and the milk they produce.

Lien represents Winneshiek County and is a student at the University of Northern Iowa, where she is a communications major. She receives a $550 scholarship from Midwest Dairy Association, which sponsors the dairy princess program.

Rylie Pflughaupt, 21 of Vinton, was named Alternate Iowa Dairy Princess.  Pflughaupt, the daughter of Jordan and Traci Pflughaupt, will share duties with the princess.  She represents the Iowa Jersey Cattle Club and attends Iowa State University majoring in speech communications with minors in advertising and agricultural communications. Pfughaupt receives a $450 scholarship from Midwest Dairy.

Kathryn Appler was named Miss Congeniality. She is the daughter of Kent and Laura Appler and represented the Iowa Brown Swiss Association.

Lien and Pflughaupt were also recognized for their presentations, along with Rachel Demmer, 19, daughter of Rick and Kathy Demmer of Peosta, representing the Iowa Holstein Association; and Kayla Lueder (pronounced Leader), 19, daughter of Kevin and Sue Lueder of West Union, representing the Iowa Guernsey Association. Demmer and Lueder were also named to the top five, as was Dayle Lantzky, 18, daughter of Brian and Heidi Lantzky of Hawkeye, representing Fayette County.

The outgoing Iowa Dairy Princess is Mariah Schmitt, daughter of Carl and Terry Schmitt from Fort Atkinson, and the Alternate Princess is Celina Young, daughter of Jill Grabau and Greg Young from Waverly. Their reigns will be completed at the end of the Iowa State Fair, and the new Princess and Alternate will begin their duties on September 1.

Massachusetts Legislature Preserves Farmers’ Right

The National Pork Producers Council and America’s hog farmers today thanked the Massachusetts Legislature for refusing to pass a misguided bill to restrict the rights of local farmers. Legislation backed by animal-rights groups would have prohibited hog farmers in the state from housing sows in gestation stalls.

Hog farmers – the vast majority family-owned – use gestation stalls for pregnant sows because they allow for individualized care and eliminate aggression from other sows. The Massachusetts bill would have banned the practice, as well as limited other practices farmers use to care for their animals.

The legislation was approved by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, but then was held in the Senate Ways and Means Committee and was not brought up in the full House before the legislature ended its formal session.

For years, well-funded animal-rights groups have poured significant amounts of money into northeast states in an unsuccessful attempt to strong-arm lawmakers into passing laws that restrict the rights of farmers. The states, which have little pork production, are being used by animal-rights groups as pawns to advance a national agenda aimed at controlling how farmers raise and care for their animals.

“Massachusetts family farmers are relieved the legislature had the good sense not to waste time debating a law prohibiting farmers’ choices in taking care of their animals,” said Lisa Colby, a hog farmer from Newburyport, Mass.

Under intense and continuous pressure from animal-rights groups, Massachusetts hog farmers stood strong and refused to be bullied.

“It is unfortunate these organizations insist on wasting lawmakers’ time – and their donors’ contributions – on so many failed attempts to deny farmers’ right to farm,” Colby said. “No two farms are alike, and we thank the legislature for realizing that farmers should have the freedom to operate in the best way for their farm and for their animals.”

U.S. Soybean Meal Exports Continue to Soar

U.S. soybean meal exports are headed toward a record year.  The latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) weekly report shows that outstanding sales plus accumulated shipments have reached 10 million metric tons (MMT) for the current marketing year, which ends in September.

Shipments to Europe continued to be strong this year.  U.S. soybean meal was very competitive into Europe during the fall and winter seasons.

Exports to Southeast Asia gained significantly.  U.S. soybean meal reentered Thailand with more than 300 MMT and another 200 MMT was added to the Philippines program.  The competitive window lasted about 7 months.  Shipments have continued to the Philippines where customer preference and commercial support have been outstanding.

Declines in northern Africa (Egypt -100, and Morocco -100) were likely the result of stronger demand from Europe.  There was simply not enough U.S. meal to cover all interested markets during times of strong demand.

U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange Offers Farmer-Leaders Chance to Network with Export Customers

$2.8 billion. That was the value of U.S. soy that international representatives committed to buy during last year’s U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Davenport, Iowa. The soy checkoff, along with the rest of the U.S. soy industry, hope to see similar results from the second installment of that event this fall.

Co-hosted by the checkoff-funded U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the Midwest Shippers Association, the Exchange will be held September 15-18 in Milwaukee, and gives U.S. soybean farmers a chance to meet face-to-face with some of their biggest customers.

“The Global Trade Exchange provides an opportunity for U.S. soybean farmers to meet our international customers,” said Dwain Ford, United Soybean Board (USB) International Opportunities Target Area coordinator and a soybean farmer from Kinmundy, Illinois. “We can sit down with them and listen to what their needs are, so that we can do a better job providing them with soybeans and soy products.”

Ford says networking helps maintain these relationships, which are essential in keeping export numbers high. Fifty-six percent of U.S. soy was exported in the last marketing year.

“It’s very important that we maintain and continue to develop our relationships with our international customers,” Ford said. “We need to build on those relationships and continue to provide our customers with a high-quality and sustainable product.”

To register or to find more information, visit

Vilsack Resists APH Update

A provision in the farm bill is supposed to make it possible for farmers to update their actual production history, or APH, to exclude years in which their yields are more than 50% below the 10-year average for their county.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that USDA would not be able to implement that provision this year. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., has been calling on USDA to enact the provision. Lucas has suggested that USDA could at least allow farmers in some drought-plagued counties to update their histories.

But Vilsack said the work on the APH has to be done by the same USDA officials in the Farm Service Agency and the general counsel's office who are focused on broader farm bill implementation issues. Vilsack said it was more important to roll out the Stacked Income Protection Program (STAX) for cotton and the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) insurance programs, as well as the two new commodity programs -- Price Loss Coverage and Agricultural Risk Coverage.

"We had a choice to make in terms of allocating assets," he said. "We are trying to get work done that was mandated by Congress."

In addition, updating APH is "complex" because it involves computations for each farmer based on each commodity and county statistics, he said.

"It is very IT intense and labor and staff intense," Vilsack said.

Free Webinar to help Farmers Understand Upcoming Farm Bill Choices

Helping farmers and landowners choose the right farm bill risk coverage package in the months ahead will be the topic of a free DTN webinar Aug. 21, co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association.

"It's very important for farmers to understand the ramifications of one-time program decisions that will affect their farms for years to come," said Jim Reed, an Illinois corn grower and chair of NCGA's Public Policy Action Team. "We're proud of NCGA's work on federal legislation with a program like Ag Risk Coverage to provide a smart and cost-efficient, market-based approach to managing risk."

Later this winter, farmers will make a one-time choice of which farm program safety net they favor when prices and/or yields hit adversity. Production Loss Coverage is a price-only program very similar to past counter-cyclical programs, only with higher reference prices than in the past. ARC benchmarks revenue and pays when there is a shortfall. It has features that resemble GRIP insurance policies, based on county yields or individual yields.

If farmers don't sign up for a program for their 2014-2018 crops, PLC becomes the default, and that could mean corn growers sacrificing $77/acre to $45/acre on 2014 ARC payments in some Midwest counties. At the moment, 2014 wheat, corn and soybeans aren't likely low enough to trigger payments under PLC.

"When congressional authors passed the farm bill last winter, they didn't contemplate as dramatic a drop in commodity prices as we've experienced," Jerry Lehnertz, vice president of lending for AgriBank says, referring to the 30% crash in average cash corn in the last 90 days. "But that's the exact situation where new programs like Agriculture Risk Coverage come into play."

DTN's webinar, hosted by Executive Editor Marcia Taylor, will include presentations from economists Carl Zulauf of Ohio State University and Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois, who will help growers analyze options and prepare landowners for critical one-time decisions. It takes place from 9 to 10 a.m. CDT, Thursday, Aug. 21.

Grain Inspection Still Stalled at Port of Vancouver

Despite ongoing attempts from the National Association of Wheat Growers, U.S. Wheat Associates and many other concerned groups, officials at the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have yet to take any action to deal with the stoppage of grain exports from the Port of Vancouver, Wash. On July 1, 2014, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) decided it would no longer fulfill its obligation to provide official grain inspection and weighing services at the Pacific Northwest port. Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration officials have cited alleged safety concerns for their workers at the port, which is being picketed by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union as part of an ongoing labor dispute. NAWG and other industry groups affected by the stoppage have shared with USDA that the damage this issue has already caused in lost confidence with foreign buyers, will only be intensified when the summer wheat harvest in the region reaches its zenith in the oncoming days. “The ongoing lack of response by USDA, in addition to their refusal to act upon their congressionally mandated responsibility and obligation to provide official inspection services is both unprecedented and unacceptable,” said NAWG President Paul Penner, a wheat farmer from Hillsboro, Kan, “If this problem is not solved immediately, countless farmers that export grain through the Port of Vancouver could be dumping their wheat on the ground.” NAWG and USW believe that under the U.S. Grain Standards Act, Congress vested in the Secretary of Agriculture the obligation to provide official inspection services at export locations to facilitate efficient and cost-effective marketing of U.S. grains and oilseeds — even if an authorized state agency fails to do so.

Syngenta hosts National Association of Plant Breeders annual meeting

Innovations in plant breeding will be showcased at the eighth annual meeting of the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) which convenes this week in Minneapolis.

Syngenta will host nearly 200 public and private plant breeders, scientists and graduate students at this year’s gathering, which is themed “Breeding for Water Stress.” Syngenta speakers slated to present include Dr. Ron Ferriss, lead, Global Germplasm Contractual Compliance and Dr. Chad Geater, Breeding Academy senior project lead. The meeting includes a combination of research presentations and posters about the latest advances in plant breeding, as well as networking opportunities. Participants will also have the opportunity to tour Syngenta’s research and development facility in Stanton, Minnesota.

Over the next 15 years, nearly 40 percent of the global population will experience severe water use challenges. For a growing number of farmers, water efficiency is now of prime concern – and will be the focal point of this scientific gathering.

Heather Merk, Breeding Academy program lead at Syngenta, and a member of the NAPB conference planning committee, said advances in plant breeding have enabled researchers to identify and select for forms of genes that help plants use water more effectively and provide season-long protection against drought. Long-term solutions require that we rethink water and how we use it, she adds.

“Converting available water into grain is a global challenge,” Merk said. “At Syngenta, we are striving to increase the average productivity of the world’s major crops by 20 percent without using more land, water or inputs. This is one of six commitments we outlined last year as part of The Good Growth Plan.”

Plant breeding is currently undergoing rapid developments in genomics, analytics and other technologies. As a result, in addition to plant breeders, breeding programs need molecular biologists, physiologists, computation scientists and numerous other specialists working together to bring advanced genetics and integrated crop solutions to market.

“Breeding has become a team sport,” Merk added. “The better the training and the smoother the teamwork, the more likely the team will be successful. Events like this facilitate the sharing of knowledge that will be essential to helping crops manage water use more effectively.”

ADM Reports Adjusted Second Quarter 2014 Earnings of $0.77 per Share

Archer Daniels Midland Company today reported financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2014.

The company reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.77, up from $0.46 in the same period last year .

Adjusted segment operating profit was $819 million, up 32 percent from $621 million in the year-ago period.

Net earnings for the quarter were $533 million, or $0.81 per share, and segment operating profit was $888 million.

“In the second quarter, the ADM team continued to execute very well and delivered strong results. We capitalized on robust ethanol demand, a recovery of U.S. grain export volumes and continuing strong demand for oilseeds products,” said ADM Chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz.

“The team also continues to drive improved returns, with this quarter’s ROIC showing a 200-basis-point improvement over last year.

“Today, the crops in North America and Europe are developing nicely, so we are preparing for what could be very large harvests.”

Second Quarter 2014 Highlights

•  Adjusted EPS of $0.77 excludes approximately $73 million in pretax LIFO income, or $0.07 per share, and $31 million in pretax costs related to restructuring, or about $0.03 per share.
•  Oilseeds Processing increased $18 million, as continued good North American crushing results were partially offset by weaker origination results in South America and lower results from Wilmar .
•  Corn Processing increased $69 million on strong ethanol demand and steady sweetener volumes.
•  Agricultural Services increased $122 million, driven by strong U.S. exports and significantly improved results from international merchandising.
•  Trailing four-quarter-average adjusted ROIC increased 200 basis points year over year .
•  The net debt position of the company declined to $3.6 billion, compared to $5.5 billion in the same period last year, which also resulted in a lower net interest expense.
•  ADM repurchased 7.2 million shares during the quarter, bringing year-to-date buybacks to 11.5 million shares for about $500 million.

ADM Directors Declare Cash Dividend

Archer Daniels Midland Company’s Board of Directors today declared a cash dividend of 24.0 cents per share on the company’s common stock payable Sept. 11, 2014, to Stockholders of record Aug. 21, 2014.  This is ADM’s 331st consecutive quarterly payment, a record of 82 years of uninterrupted dividends. As of June 30, 2014, there were 648,321,671 shares of ADM common stock outstanding.

BASF announces Maximum Residue Limits established for Sharpen herbicide

BASF announced today the official publication of Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) established by the European Commission for Sharpen® herbicide in the EU. Growers of field peas, dry beans and soybeans have an expanded tool for harvest aid and desiccation thanks to these newly established MRLs.

“The timing of this announcement means that growers have the opportunity to incorporate Sharpen herbicide as a harvest aid or desiccant in the 2014 season,” said Mark Oostlander, Technical Market Manager, BASF. “Sharpen herbicide provides excellent leaf, pod and stem desiccation for improved time management and harvest efficiency.”

Sharpen herbicide, when applied at pre-harvest, drives crop and weed dry-down three-to-five times faster than glyphosate. Faster dry-down can improve harvestability and help maintain crop quality.

BASF continues to work toward establishing import tolerances for key markets around the world for its herbicides. Always consult with your processing and exporting companies before finalizing harvest aid and desiccant decisions to ensure marketability of the crop.

Wednesday August 6 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               To make good silage, sometimes we need a little help from inoculants to improve fermentation.  What do these inoculants do and how can you get the best use from them?

               Of all the topics I provide advice about, silage inoculants is one of the most difficult.  There is no clear cut, consistent way to predict when inoculants will be most useful or cost effective.  Silage fermentation is just too complex.

               Inoculants primarily reduce storage losses.  Fermentation starts and ends quicker with inoculated silage so more silage remains for feeding.  Typically, you save about 5 percent.  Sometimes inoculants improve feeding value, although such results are a bit inconsistent.

               Inoculants consistently improve wet silage, especially sorghum silage.  If you start chopping early enough to prevent silage from being too dry at the end, inoculants should help.  When you begin chopping, grab a handful and squeeze it tightly in your fist.  If any free juice squeezes from the forage, it is wet enough to benefit from use of an inoculant.

               In the past, inoculants rarely improved properly made corn silage – silage at the right moisture, chopped fine, packed well, and sealed tight.  Nor did they improve dry silage.  But recently developed inoculants, with more effective strains of fermentation bacteria, are producing slightly better quality silage even from these feeds.

               If you use an inoculant, make sure that it contains live bacteria.  Also check to see that the inoculant provides at least 100,000 colony forming units per gram of wet forage when applied at the recommended rate at the chopper.  You need plenty of live bacteria for the inoculant to do you any good.

               But used in the right conditions, inoculants can be worth it.

Mercer Resigns as Natural Resources Commissioner

Gov. Dave Heineman announced today that long-time Natural Resources Commissioner Dick Mercer is resigning from the Commission.

“Dick Mercer has a long history of involvement with water and agriculture issues in Nebraska,” said Gov. Heineman.  “Dick has been an outstanding and respected leader on water issues. He has built an exceptional legacy as someone who cares and advocates for soil and water conservation.”

Gov. Heineman appointed Mercer to the Natural Resources Commission to represent the statewide interests of groundwater users in 2008.  He had been elected to the Commission in 1992 to represent the Middle Platte Basin.

Mercer, now retired, has been a Buffalo County farmer and cattle feeder since 1949.  He has served on a long list of boards including the Central Platte Natural Resources District for 40 years, the Nebraska Environmental Trust for 10 years, and the Groundwater Foundation for 10 years.  He has also served on the state Water Policy Task Force and Water Funding Task Force.

“No one is more trusted and more respected on water issues than Dick Mercer,” said Gov. Heineman.  “I appreciate our friendship and his many years of service.”

Mercer’s resignation is effective August 15, 2014.

Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers Marks 10th Anniversary

To celebrate the accomplishments of the last decade, the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF) is hosting a 10th anniversary reception Aug. 14 at the Iowa State Fair from 10 a.m. to noon in the Farm Bureau Shelter House.

The organization would like to invite you to join them for cake and ice cream in celebration of a decade of success.

The reception includes a short program on the impact CSIF has made on Iowa's livestock family farms and an economic snapshot on the importance of livestock to the state. The program starts at 10:30 am and features special guests Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill, Iowa Pork Producers Association CEO and CSIF Board President Rich Degner.

Over the past ten years the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers has helped more than 2,700 farm families interpret rules and regulations, site livestock barns, enhance neighbor relations and plant over 44,126 trees.

Froman to Highlight Iowa’s Ag Exports and President’s Trade Agenda in Des Moines

Top U.S. trade official will visit Des Moines to discuss Iowa’s major role in international trade and the opportunities that trade deals the United States is negotiating now will provide to Iowa families and farmers

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will travel to Des Moines, Iowa to showcase the major contributions that Iowa makes to the United States economy through exporting. Ambassador Froman will meet with farmers, ranchers, small business owners, and elected officials to discuss how Iowa stands to gain from the current U.S. trade agenda, especially through unprecedented trade deals that are being negotiated with countries in the Asia-Pacific and the European Union.  Iowa is the second-largest agricultural exporter in the United States.  President Obama’s trade agenda will break down barriers to Iowa’s top 4 export markets: Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Germany.

Kimberley Family Farm Tour

In the morning, Ambassador Froman will visit the Kimberley Family Farm, where the Kimberleys raise corn and soybeans on roughly 4,000 acres of land. Once harvested, the Kimberleys’ crops are marketed through a cooperative and eventually used in biofuels, livestock feed, or exported. On average, more than one out of every four rows of U.S. soybeans are exported to China, which support numerous jobs in the United States.  The Kimberley family will take Ambassador Froman on a tour of their facilities with an emphasis on the technologies that enable their productivity, including the latest in agricultural equipment and touch-screen crop monitors that digitally map soybean and corn fields.

Kemin Industries, Inc. Tour

Later in the morning, Ambassador Froman will go to Kemin Industries, a Des Moines company that manufactures more than 500 specialty ingredients for specialty ingredients for global feed and food industries around the world. Showing the high-tech aspects of Iowan agricultural exports, Ambassador Froman will tour the company’s new Molecular Advancement Center and view several demonstrations.

Iowa State Fair with Senator Chuck Grassley

In the afternoon, Ambassador Froman will meet U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley at the Iowa State Fair for a tour of the Agriculture Building and lunch at the pork tent.

Governor’s Charity Steer Show

Later that afternoon, Ambassador Froman will join Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds for the Governor’s Charity Steer Show, hosted by the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen's Association.  All proceeds from the Governors Steer Show go to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Meeting Between US and Japanese Trade Negotiators Regarding TPP and Agriculture

Acting Deputy USTR Wendy Cutler and Chief Agricultural Negotiator Darci Vetter held two days of meetings with Ambassador Hiroshi Oe and MAFF Director General Makoto Osawa, of Japan, regarding TPP agriculture market access issues.  They continued to make some progress in narrowing the gaps on treatment of a range of agricultural products.  Dates for the next meetings will be set in the near future, and technical experts continue to meet this week.

Russian President Orders Restrictions on Food, Ag Imports From US, EU

(AP) -- President Vladimir Putin has ordered government agencies to restrict imports of food and agricultural products from the countries that have imposed sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

The text of Putin's decree released by the Kremlin on Wednesday says that such imports will be "banned or limited" for one year. The decree doesn't name any specific countries or products, but contains an order to government agencies to spell them out.

The move follows the latest round of sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union last week, which for the first time targeted entire sectors of the Russian economy.

The U.S. and the EU have accused Russia, which annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March, of fomenting tensions in eastern Ukraine by supplying arms and expertise to a pro-Moscow insurgency, and have imposed asset freezes and loan bans on a score of individuals and companies.

Russia depends heavily on imported foodstuffs -- most of it from the West -- particularly in the largest and most prosperous cities such as Moscow. Agricultural imports from the United States alone have amounted to about $1 billion annually in recent years and in 2013 the EU's agricultural exports to Russia totaled 11.8 billion euros.

The order says the limits are being imposed "with the goal of guaranteeing the security of the Russian Federation" and calls for undertaking measures to guard against quick price hikes. Both those clauses appeared to indicate that the scope of the measures wouldn't be wide.

Putin's order appears to show that Russia, although increasingly suffering the effects of Western sanctions, is disinclined to back down on Ukraine. Russia denies allegations that it is supporting the Ukrainian rebels or supplying them with equipment and has rejected claims that its artillery has been firing from across the border.

As tensions over Ukraine rise, a respected newspaper this week cited unnamed sources as saying Russia is considering closing its airspace to European carriers flying to Asia. The report sent the stocks of some airlines sharply lower.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday said he wouldn't comment on "rumors" of airspace being closed, but said "our Western partners should think about their companies and their citizens," the Interfax news agency reported.

Russia last week banned the import of apples and some other fruits from Poland, saying this was because of sanitary concerns, but raising speculation that the move was in retaliation for Poland's support of the Ukrainian authorities.

ASA Responds to Russian Ban on U.S. Food Imports

In response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement Wednesday of an impending retaliatory ban on a significant number of agricultural imports to Russia, American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser highlighted soybean farmers’ concerns with the ban, that would halt the import of a yet-to-be-determined list of farm and food commodities from countries that have placed sanctions on Russia as a result of its building aggression in neighboring Ukraine.

“Russia is a key trading partner for U.S. agriculture, and the Russian people are our customers like so many others in the world’s emerging markets. However, we would add that Russia, while very important, is only one of hundreds of our customers worldwide. By limiting his people’s access to American soybeans and other products, he does a great disservice to his Russian countrymen and women.

“ASA pushed hard for the establishment of permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia last year because of the significant growth and opportunity presented in the Russian marketplace. Soybeans are the biggest crop export from the U.S. to Russia, due in large part to that country’s burgeoning economy and growing demand for meat. Sanctions and bans like the one proposed by President Putin serve only to hurt the Russian people by limiting their access to the food and products they need and want.

“It remains to be seen which commodities and products appear under the Russian ban, and while we certainly want to see a key market protected, it is equally important for American farmers to demand a higher standard from our trading partners. In this case, that standard is not being met, and we urge President Putin to rescind this ban.”

Vilsack Provides Six-Month Update on Farm Bill Implementation Progress

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced continued progress on implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), which President Obama signed into law nearly six months ago on Feb. 7, 2014. The 2014 Farm Bill reforms agricultural policy, reduces the deficit, and helps grow America’s economy.

"I am pleased to report that we have made tremendous progress in the first six months since the Farm Bill was signed,” Vilsack said. “Thousands of farmers and ranchers have received critical disaster assistance, innovative new conservation programs are up and running, new risk management programs for producers are available with more tools to come, the new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research has been incorporated, and much more. Thanks to the hard work of thousands of USDA employees across the country, we are continuing to get new initiatives off the ground and make important reforms to existing programs that are helping to boost the country’s economy.”

Since the Farm Bill was signed into law, USDA has made progress throughout all 12 titles of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Among the first major Farm Bill initiatives to be implemented were disaster relief programs for livestock producers, many of whom have been waiting years for assistance. After the 2008 Farm Bill passed, it took over one year to set up disaster assistance programs. In 2014, it took under 10 weeks. As of July 31, 2014, approximately 165,000 claims have been processed totaling $1.85 billion disbursed through the Livestock Indemnity Program, Livestock Forage Disaster Program, and Tree Assistance Program.

The 2014 Farm Bill established new risk management programs for producers, some of which USDA is in the process of developing and others that are in operation already. In May, USDA awarded $3 million to the University of Illinois, the University of Missouri and Texas A&M to develop online tools and outreach training that will help farmers and ranchers determine which new risk management options can best protect their businesses. USDA also awarded $3 million to state Cooperative Extension services to provide in-person education to help producers make the most educated decisions regarding new Farm Bill programs.

Innovative new conservation programs have also been established, including the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), an entirely new approach to conservation. RCPP brings together businesses, universities, tribes, municipalities and other non-government partners to identify and invest in creative solutions to the conservation issues in their local areas. The program has drawn an overwhelming response from partners across the nation, with more than 600 initial proposals being submitted requesting more than six times the $394 million that is available in funding for the first year. In the coming months, USDA will begin awarding funding for RCPP projects designed by local partners specifically for their region. With participating partners investing along with the Department, USDA’s $1.2 billion in funding over the life of the five-year program can leverage an additional $1.2 billion from partners, for a total of $2.4 billion for conservation.

Additionally, USDA recently incorporated the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and announced the appointment of a 15-member board of directors. The new foundation will leverage public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to boosting America's agricultural economy.

USDA's Farm Bill implementation team is composed of key sub-cabinet officials and experts from every mission area of the Department. Through outreach and listening sessions we are sharing information and hearing from stakeholders. To stay up-to-date on USDA's Farm Bill implementation progress, visit

The following is a detailed list of USDA’s implementation progress to date:

TITLE I – Commodity Programs

    Agricultural Risk Coverage Program and Price Loss Coverage Program: On April 29, USDA began a competitive process to award funding for Farm Bill decision aids and outreach tools for the new Agricultural Risk Coverage Program and Price Loss Coverage Program. Awards totaling $6 million were announced in May 2014. On August 1, farmers and ranchers began receiving acreage history and yield updates to prepare them for later enrollment in these safety-net programs.
    Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance: On April 14, USDA published a final rule to implement the disaster assistance provisions. Sign up for these programs began on April 15, 2014.
    As of July 31, 2014, approximately 238,000 applications have been received and $1.85 billion in payments have been disbursed through the Livestock Indemnity Program, Livestock Forage Disaster Program, and Tree Assistance Program.
    On July 31, USDA extended the deadline for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program to August 15, 2014.
    On July 22, USDA announced Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) assistance for losses to bush or tree fruit crops due to frost or freeze during the 2012 crop year.
    Beginning Farmers and Ranchers: On June 23, USDA announced new support for beginning farmers and ranchers, including waiving fees for certain disaster assistance programs, eliminating payment reductions under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and increasing payment rates by 50 percent under Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP).
    Dairy Forward Pricing Program: On March 21, USDA re-established the Dairy Forward Pricing Program and on March 28, extended Milk Income Loss Contracts until September 1.
    Loan Rates: On June 24, USDA announced loan rates for 2014 Crop Peanuts. County and regional loan rates were announced in a press release on March 28, 2014.
    Extension of Programs: On March 28, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) published in the Federal Register notices for the extension of the following programs: (1) Marketing Assistance Loans; (2) Milk Income Loss Contract; (3) Dairy Indemnity Payment Program; (4) Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program; (5) Loan Deficiency Payments; and (6) Sugar.

TITLE II – Conservation

    Regional Conservation Partnership Program: In May, the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) was announced. RCPP streamlines conservation efforts by combining four programs (the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program, the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative, and the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion) into one. USDA will provide $1.2 billion in funding over the life of the five-year program and can leverage an additional $1.2 billion from partners for a total of $2.4 billion for conservation. $400 million in USDA funding is available in the first year. On August 4, USDA announced that nearly 5,000 organizations partnered together to submit nearly 600 pre-proposals by the July deadline.
    Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program: On May 1, USDA announced the availability of $20 million through this program.
    Conservation Programs: Applications are currently being accepted for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
    On June 4, USDA announced the continuation of programs to conserve sensitive land and help new, minority and veteran farmers get their start in agriculture. Farmers, ranchers and landowners committed to protecting and conserving environmentally sensitive land may sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) during specified continuous sign-up periods. Secretary Vilsack also announced that retiring farmers enrolled in CRP could receive incentives to transfer a portion of their land to beginning, disadvantaged or veteran farmers through the Transition Incentives Program (TIP).  TIP funding was increased by more than 30 percent in the 2014 Farm Bill, providing up to $33 million through 2018.
    On June 19, USDA pledged $5 million to state and local partnerships in six states for accelerating tree planting along the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
    On June 20, USDA announced that it will provide up to $25.5 million of conservation investments over the next five to ten years as part of its contribution to accelerate and focus conservation efforts that will benefit ranchers and also the distinct population of greater sage-grouse population that lives along the border of Nevada and California. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also announced a $6.5 million commitment over the next ten years to implement a wide range of priority conservation activities on the public lands it manages to improve sage-grouse habitat.
    On June 23, USDA announced that producers with expiring CSP contracts have from July 11 until September 12, 2014 to renew and add conservation activities that will support their natural resource improvement activities and fine-tune their conservation plans.
    On July 2, USDA announced targeted conservation funding of up to $50 million over the next five years in the Red River of the North Basin to minimize flooding, boost soil health, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat in the watershed.
    On July 18, USDA announced a $262 million investment to rehabilitate dams that provide critical infrastructure and protect public health and safety in 26 states.
    Conservation Compliance: On July 22, USDA updated procedures that implemented Farm Bill requirements on highly erodible land and wetland conservation for crop insurance purposes. 


    U.S. Atlantic Spiny Dogfish Study: On May 22, USDA submitted a report to Congress on the existing market in the U.S. for the U.S. Atlantic Spiny Dogfish.
    Emerging Markets Program (EMP): On April 17, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) published a Notice of Funding Availability for EMP, with $10 million available in 2015. EMP applications are reviewed on a rolling basis during the fiscal year. Applications received after May 19, 2014, will be considered for funding if funding remains available.
    Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC): On April 17, FAS published a Notice of Funding Availability for TASC, with $9 million available. On May 6, 2014, FAS published a final rule to broaden the range of projects funded by the program. Applications received after May 28, 2014, will be considered if funding remains available.
    Market Access Program (MAP): On April 16, FAS announced the 2014 funding for the Market Access Program. Sixty-two non-profit organizations received $171.8 million in funding.
    Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program (FMD): On April 16, FAS announced the 2014 funding for FMD, with 22 trade organizations receiving $24.6 million.

TITLE IV – Nutrition Programs

    Multiagency Taskforce on Commodity Programs: On April 24, the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services (FNCS) signed a memorandum appointing members to the multi-agency taskforce to provide coordination and direction for commodity programs, and the first meeting of the taskforce was held on May 29.
    Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Pilot: On April 7, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced an RFP for this pilot program, which will take place during the 2014-2015 school year.
    Unprocessed Fruit and Vegetable Pilot: On July 21, USDA announced a request for applications from states interested in participating in the Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables.
    SNAP-related Provisions: On March 21, FNS released an Implementation Memorandum to States communicating major SNAP-related provisions of the Act.
    Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): On July 9, FNS published a final rule phasing out the eligibility of women, infants and children from CSFP.
    Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Payments: On March 5, FNS released an Implementation Memorandum to States on the elimination of standard utility allowances in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for LIHEAP payments less than $20.
    Community Food Projects: On February 27, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) released a Notice of Funding Availability for the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program, with $5 million available.

TITLE V – Credit

    Microloans: On March 26, FSA implemented non-discretionary microloan provisions.
    Modifications to Farm Loan Programs: On March 24, FSA implemented changes to various farm loans, such as expanding eligibility for beginning, disadvantaged and veteran farmers and urban youth, increasing maximum amounts, eliminating some term limits, and lowering some interest rates.

TITLE VI – Rural Development

    Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) and Intermediary Relending Program (IRP):  On May 20, USDA announced that assistance is being provided through two USDA Rural Development (RD) programs: IRP and RMAP. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized both programs through 2018. For Fiscal Year 2014, $18.9 million in IRP loans are available, and $25.4 million in RMAP loans and grants are available. On July 31, USDA announced the selection of 10 rural microenterprises to receive grants totaling $300,000 through RMAP.
    Business and Industry Loan Guarantee: On May 8, USDA announced that $48 million in loan guarantees for local food projects is now available through RD's Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program.
    Definition of Rural Housing: On March 13, RD issued guidance to State Directors, field staff and stakeholders on implementing new eligibility requirements regarding the definition of rural housing. On May 5, RD published maps identifying which rural areas are eligible for housing programs.
    Rural Cooperative Development Grants: On April 29, USDA announced the availability of $5.8 million through this program.
    Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program: On April 22, USDA announced 116 project awards through this program. The total award of nearly $387 million included $150 million in grants supported by the Farm Bill.
    Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG): On March 25, RD published a notice in the Federal Register extending the application period for Fiscal Year 2013 and 2014 funding for VAPG, with up to $25.5 million available for these grants.

TITLE VII – Research and Related Matters

    Pollinator Research: On August 6, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced a $6.9 million grant to Michigan State University to develop sustainable pollination strategies for specialty crops in the United States so specialty crop growers are better able to manage pollinators for improved crop yields.
    Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR): On July 23, Secretary Vilsack announced the creation of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and the appointment of a 15-member board of directors.
    Agricultural and Food Policy Research Centers: On April 15, awards for four research centers, totaling about $4 million, were announced.
    Non-Land Grant Colleges and Universities: On July 2, USDA announced the availability of $4 million in grants to support research, education and outreach activities at non-land-grant colleges and universities.
    Tribal Land-Grant Colleges: On July 2, USDA announced the availability of $1.7 million in funding to improve the capacity of tribal land-grant colleges to undertake food and agriculture research.
    Central State University: On June 23, USDA announced the availability of funds to support food and agriculture science facility improvement at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. CSU was designated as an 1890 land-grant university in the 2014 Farm Bill.
    Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative: On March 17, NIFA released a Notice of Funding Availability for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, with $20 million available in FY 2014.
    Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)/Citrus Disease Research: On March 17, NIFA released a Notice of Funding Availability for SCRI, with $76.8 million available in FY 2014. On June 12, USDA announced the availability of $25 million in SCRI funding for research and Cooperative Extension Service projects to combat huanglongbing (HLB), commonly known as citrus greening disease. The 2014 Farm Bill provides $25 million per year for a total of $125 million of the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative funding toward citrus health research over the next five years.
    Citrus Disease Subcommittee: A subcommittee has been formally established within the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board, under the Specialty Crop Committee. On May 13, USDA announced new appointments to the Citrus Disease Subcommittee.
    Budget Submission and Funding: On March 10, REE submitted its first Budget Submission and Funding report to Congress. The second report was submitted on May 6.
    Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP): On April 11, USDA announced the availability of more than $19 million in grants to help train, educate, and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of agricultural producers through the BFRDP, including funding for a cooperative agreement to maintain an online clearinghouse to make information available.
    Sun Grant Program: On June 13, NIFA announced the availability of $2.5 million in grants to enhance national energy security through the development of bio-based transportation fuels, biopower, and new bio-based products.

TITLE VIII – Forestry

    Insect and Disease Infestation: On March 19, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell sent a letter to all state governors notifying them of the opportunity to submit requests for designating their priority insect and disease areas for treatment. On May 20, Secretary Vilsack announced action to combat insects and diseases that weaken forests and increase fire risk. FS has published a final rule implementing section 8006.

TITLE IX – Energy

    BioPreferred: USDA published a final rule that would allow traditional biobased products, including forest products, to be eligible for the BioPreferred program if these products apply an innovative approach during its lifecycle.  On August 1, USDA’s BioPreferred program held a public meeting to discuss incorporating mature market (wood) products into the BioPreferred program.
    Biodiesel Fuel Education Program: On May 6, NIFA announced availability of $960,000 for grants to educate consumers about the benefits of biodiesel fuel use.
    Rural Energy for America Program: On May 5, USDA published a notice of funding availability announcing the availability of approximately $70 million in funding for loan guarantees and grants.
    Biomass Crop Assistance Program: On June 9, USDA announced support for agriculture producers and energy facilities working to turn renewable biomass materials into clean energy. Of the total $25 million per year authorized for BCAP, the 2014 Farm Bill provides up to 50 percent ($12.5 million) each year for matching payments for the harvest and transportation of biomass residues. BCAP matching payments will resume this summer, while crop incentives will begin in 2015. On July 23, USDA announced 36 energy facilities that were selected to accept biomass deliveries.
    Repowering Assistance Program: RD announced it is accepting applications from companies seeking to offset the costs associated with converting fossil fuel systems to renewable biomass fuel systems. USDA plans to make up to $12 million in payments for eligible biorefineries through RD's Repowering Assistance Program.

TITLE X – Horticulture

    Farmers Market Promotion Program: On May 8, USDA announced the availability of $15 million through this program.
    Local Foods Promotion Program: On May 8, USDA announced the availability of $15 million through this program.
    Specialty Crop Block Grants: On April 17, USDA announced the availability of approximately $66 million through this program.
    Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention: On April 3, USDA announced $48.1 million in funding for 383 projects to help prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases.
    National Clean Plant Network: On March 24, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced a Request for Applications (RFA) for the National Clean Plant Network, with $5 million available. On June 30, 2014 USDA announced $5 million in Farm Bill support had been provided for 19 projects under the National Clean Plant Network.
    Christmas Tree Research and Promotion Order: On April 7, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a notice lifting stay on the Christmas Tree Research and Promotion.
    Bulk Shipments of Apples to Canada: On April 4, 2014, AMS published an interim rule in the Federal Register amending regulations under the Export Apple Act to allow bulk containers to be shipped to Canada without U.S. inspection.

TITLE XI – Crop Insurance

    Permanent Enterprise Unit Subsidy: On May 1, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) completed the update to its systems to reflect the permanent enterprise unit subsidy as mandated by the Farm Bill. This will impact crops beginning with the May 20, 2014 actuarial filing and continue through the November 30, 2014 actuarial filing.
    Prohibition of CAT on Crops Used for Grazing: On April 15, RMA issued a guidance document to amend the Special Provisions of Insurance for the annual forage policy. This amendment sets forth the prohibition of CAT coverage on crops and grasses used for grazing.
    Premium Amounts for Catastrophic Risk Protection (CAT): On April 3, RMA issued a public release of actuarial documents to revise the premium rates charged for CAT coverage to be based on the average historical "loss ratio" plus a reasonable reserve.
    Publication of Information on Violations of Premium Adjustments: On March 27, RMA established a section entitled "Rebating Violations and Sanctions" in the Frequently Asked Questions section of its public website. RMA will add information to this section when it determines that rebating violations have occurred.
    Changes to Crop Insurance Provisions to Benefit New Farmers: On June 30, USDA announced new beginning farmer benefits and other changes to crop insurance that provide flexibility to farmers.
    Supplemental Coverage Option: On July 29, USDA announced continued progress in implementing provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill that will strengthen and expand insurance coverage options for farmers and ranchers. The new Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), available through the federal crop insurance program and set to begin with the 2015 crop year, is designed to help protect producers from yield and market volatility.
    Organic Certification Cost-Share Assistance: On July 17, USDA announced that approximately $13 million in Farm Bill funding is now available for organic certification cost-share assistance, making certification more accessible than ever for small certified producers and handlers.
    Whole-Farm Revenue Protection: On May 21, USDA announced Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, which will provide flexible coverage options for specialty crop, organic and diversified crop producers.

TITLE XII – Miscellaneous

    Outreach to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers:  On July 29, USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach announced the availability $9.1 million in funding for financial assistance through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program.
    Sheep Production and Marketing Grant: On July 28, AMS announced new programs to assist the sheep industry with the production and marketing of their products in the United States.   Through the new Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program, approximately $1.5 million in grant funds are now available to assist the sheep industry.
    Pima Cotton: On May 2, USDA announced that FAS will accept claims under the Pima Agriculture Cotton Trust Fund for calendar year 2014.
    Catfish Inspection: On April 30, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration signed an MOU to improve food safety, fraud prevention, and inspection of catfish and catfish products. FSIS continues to submit monthly reports to Congress on implementation of this provision from the Farm Bill.

NFU Calls Ability to Deliver Grain Shipments by Rail at Harvest

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson warned the Surface Transportation Board (STB) that BNSF Railway (BNSF) and Canadian Pacific (CP)’s ability to deliver grain and ethanol at harvest are “substantially inadequate” and are resulting in farmers piling grain on the ground because of lack of transportation options.

“We are especially concerned regarding wheat, since harvest has already started and grain remains in the bin from last year’s harvest,” noted Johnson in a letter today to the STB chairman and vice chairman.  “While BNSF claims that the total number of late shipments of wheat has declined nationwide, 95.42 percent of all past due cars are concentrated in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. BNSF has promised to improve their performance, but we are still subject to delays and Average Train Speed at year-long lows,” the letter notes.

“Grain shipments in North Dakota are critical,” said Johnson.   BNSF reported in its latest weekly update that there have been 2,399 delayed rail cars with an average delay of 23.6 days. CP reported 22,457 open requests with an average of 11.71 weeks.   The letter cites anecdotal evidence from four different grain elevators indicating that their oldest orders are from early March and shuttle orders are up to 2,000 cars behind. “These numbers are staggering and simply unacceptable,” he said.

Johnson notes that in South Dakota, NFU members are hearing about significant delays directly from local grain elevators across the state. At one particular elevator that handles 15 million bushels of grain per year, 3 million of those bushels will not move before this year’s harvest.  “Due to the backlog, farmers are now dumping wheat on the ground because the elevators will not take on the increased liability,” he said.

Johnson also voiced his concern about the ethanol industry, which relies heavily on rail for transportation.  “While the June 20 decision rightfully addressed grain shipments, we encourage STB to consider shipments of ethanol as a priority as well,” he said.  “Failure to bring ethanol to market will hurt consumers because of higher gasoline prices, and will work against our efforts to offset imports of foreign oil.”

Optimism in Air at Beef Checkoff Meetings

Strong cattle and beef prices, tremendous results from a return-on-investment study, an industry forecast ripe with opportunity, and an engaged community of beef producers and importers combined to create an air of optimism and opportunity at the 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference July 31-Aug. 2 in Denver -- all despite the realities of an ever-shrinking beef checkoff budget.

"I have been involved in the Beef Checkoff Program for many years, and I can honestly say that these were some of the most encouraging checkoff meetings I've experienced," said Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) Chairman Kim Brackett. "Our strong marketplace, combined with a remarkable level of cooperation between all participants and a clear willingness of everyone present to share their thoughts and ideas created a feeling of hope and promise for the future of our industry."

Among the highlights of the conference was the release of a new study about the Return on Investment (ROI) of checkoff programs funded with the CBB budget. That study, by Dr. Harry Kaiser - Gellert Family professor of applied economics and management at Cornell University - concludes that each dollar invested in the Beef Checkoff Program between 2006 and 2013 returned an impressive $11.20 to the beef industry.

Add to that what could be called a trifecta for the cattle industry in July - the highest monthly cattle prices on record, the highest year-on-year increase in cattle prices, and the largest year-on-year decrease in corn prices in history - and you've got the makings for a celebration of sorts.

"Folks arrived enjoying a strong cattle market that seems too long in coming, and then learned from Dr. Kaiser's ROI study that the checkoff programs we come together to plan at these meetings are making a difference - a big difference - in the strength of our market," Brackett said. "It was impossible not to be invigorated as we laid the groundwork for fiscal 2015 checkoff programs."

The beef producers and importers who make up checkoff program committees reviewed 2015 program proposals from eight different industry organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture; American National CattleWomen; Cattlemen's Beef Board; Meat Import Council of America, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Livestock Producers Association; North American Meat Association; and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. (Proposals and other committee materials are available for review at Checkoff Committees.)

Within the proposals, committees and subcommittees reviewed a total of about 100 different tactics for building beef demand in the coming fiscal year, in line with the goals of the Beef Industry Long Range Plan. They scored each tactic and are forwarding the results of their reviews to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, which will review the committee recommendations at its meeting in Denver, Sept. 16-17, when it will make decisions about which tactics to fund in FY15, which begins Oct. 1, 2014.

Beef Board CEO Polly Ruhland said the checkoff's new committee structure and processes are impressive to see in action.

"In the many years I have worked in beef-industry efforts and organizations associated with the Beef Checkoff Program, I have never seen the kind of complete cooperation and engagement in the process by the producers and importers who pay into it," Ruhland said. "I am proud to work for an industry with the level of passion, dedication and efficiency required to provide an 11-to-1 return on investment. What I witnessed at this summer conference was what I have always known we could accomplish when we work together and stay focused on the tasks at hand."

During its meeting at the summer conference, the Beef Board unanimously approved a $40.2 million budget for FY15, down 2.6 percent from $41.3 million in FY14, which itself was down 4.2 percent from 2013. Of that $40.2 million, about $37.5 million will be available for funding of the contractor proposals that make the Operating Committee's final cut in September. The remainder of the budget covers other checkoff expenses, including evaluation, program development, USDA oversight, and program administration.

"Given our extremely tight supplies, in addition increased efficiencies in cattle production, we continue to have budgeting challenges in our path," Brackett said. "And we've heard from CattleFax economists that we're seeing signs of herd expansion more quickly than originally expected. While that boosts supply, remember, too, that retaining more cattle also means fewer dollars for the checkoff program, so our budget challenges aren't going away - but neither are our successes, as we saw in the results of our ROI study.

"It comes down to this," she said. "Are we making a difference? Definitely yes. But can we kick back and rest on the fruits of our efforts? Definitely not. We must continue to devote ourselves to meeting consumer demand for our end product, and that means constant change and constant improvement. But based on what I saw at this year's summer conference, I know we have an industry that is determined to fight hard to maintain a strong beef industry that we will be proud to hand down to our children and grandchildren."

EPA Shenanigans Panned in #DitchTheRule Animated Video

A new animated video produced by the American Farm Bureau Federation is part of the organization’s popular Ditch the Rule campaign. The two-and-a-half minute animation explores how the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule is regulatory overreach and unnecessary.

Download the Video here...

“This video offers a fresh take on a serious subject of concern to farmers, ranchers and other landowners,” said Mace Thornton, AFBF’s executive director of communications. “It is time to get animated, share the video and join the movement to Ditch The Rule,” he urged.

If adopted, the new rule would enable the agencies to micro-manage farming and impose unworkable regulations on farmers and other landowners. It would grant federal agencies – EPA and the Corps – rather than state and local governing bodies, primary oversight of land use, exposing farmers to penalties for common farming practices of up to $37,000 per day.

Farm Bureau, together with dozens of other agricultural and land-use groups and hundreds of members of Congress, is fighting EPA’s attempt to redefine the Clean Water Act through the overreaching waters rule.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/01/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 902,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 37.88 million gallons daily. That is down 52,000 b/d from the week before and a 13-week low. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 940,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.41 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 18.3 million barrels. That is a 1.8% decrease from last week.

Imports of ethanol were zero b/d, down from 7 b/d last week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 393.1 million gallons daily, the highest weekly rate in more than three years (since the week ending 6/10/2011). This equates to an annualized rate of 143.5 billion gallons.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 9.64%. This is the lowest percentage of the year, owing to the reduced ethanol output rate and extremely high gasoline demand.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 13.677 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 100,058 metric tons of livestock feed, 89,137 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 5.31 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

Land O’Lakes Posts Higher 2Q, First Half Sales and Earnings

Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced second quarter and first-half 2014 results, reflecting record sales and earnings and improved financial performance across all businesses.

For the three months ending June 30, Land O'Lakes, Inc. reported net earnings of $96.4 million, a 27 percent year-over-year increase, on sales of $4.04 billion, a 6.6 percent increase compared to the same period last year. For the first half of 2014, Land O'Lakes, Inc. realized net earnings of $221.1 million, a 50 percent increase over the first six months of 2013, on sales of $8.33 billion which were 6.4 percent higher than 2013.

“We are pleased with our overall performance for the first half of 2014, which has been driven by improving commodity markets and the success of strategic investments we have made in our core businesses over the recent past,” said Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “Our performance continues to improve as we sharpen our focus on addressing consumer interest for more convenient and more nutritious products in our food businesses and on helping farmers produce more food in an increasingly sustainable manner in our agricultural businesses.”

Segment Performance:

Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods reported earnings higher than the same time last year with growth attributed to rising butter and cheese markets, internal manufacturing efficiencies and targeted, effective marketing.

Crop Inputs, operated under the Winfield Solutions business, reported a strong second quarter and first-half performance with a focus on delivering solutions to farmers which improve on-farm productivity, profitability and sustainability. Continuing to build its presence in the precision agriculture segment, WinField’s gains are partly due to higher product sales for alfalfa and soybeans as members expanded their acreage for these crops.

Animal Nutrition, operated under the Purina Animal Nutrition business, reported strong second quarter and first-half performance with high volumes and margins throughout its lifestyle and livestock portfolios. Animal Milk Replacer reported strong sales volume increases and margin expansion. Results from the company’s premix business, NutraBlend, were also favorable.

The Layers segment, which is operated through MoArk, reported improved earnings from 2013, an increase due to strong egg pricing and improved business performance. The company has divested the Midwestern assets and substantially all of the Western assets of this business and is considering options with respect to the Eastern assets.

Land O'Lakes' total debt as of June 30, 2014, was $1.54 billion, down $114 million from the same date one year ago. The decrease was primarily due to the Moark asset sales, partly offset by increased working capital.

Vilsack Announces New Global Open Data Partners and Measures to Enhance U.S.–Africa Trade at Africa Leaders Summit

This week, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack joined President Obama, members of Congress and other U.S. government officials to welcome African heads of state and government leaders for the first-ever Africa Leaders Summit. At the Summit, Vilsack announced four new partners in the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative and up to $1 billion in export credit guarantees that will enhance trade between the U.S. and Africa. The export credit is a part of President Obama's Doing Business in Africa Campaign. The Ghana Open Data Initiative, Sierra Leone, IBM and Kellogg Company will join over 100 GODAN partners who work to make agricultural and nutritional data available, accessible and useable for unrestricted use worldwide.

"At its core, this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States and Africa," Vilsack said. "USDA looks forward to further partnering with African nations through the GODAN initiative, and with the new trade opportunities that new financing guarantees will make possible."

Launched in October 2013, GODAN supports efforts to make agriculturally and nutritionally relevant data available for public global use. Open data on agriculture, nutrition and food systems can be a powerful tool for long-term sustainable development by improving the economic opportunities for farmers and the health of all consumers. The initiative encourages collaboration and cooperation among existing agriculture and open data activities, and brings together all stakeholders to solve long-standing global problems. GODAN is the first global open data initiative spanning public and private entities including donors, international organizations and businesses.

Through the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, the U.S. government is strengthening its commercial relationship with the continent of Africa, a diverse region that offers substantial trade and investment opportunities across national and regional markets. The campaign encourages U.S. commercial engagement in Africa by harnessing the resources of the U.S. government to assist businesses in identifying and seizing opportunities and to engage with members of the African Diaspora in the United States. USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation will make available up to $1 billion in financing guarantees to export U.S. agricultural commodities to Africa over the next two years. The Department, which currently works with nine eligible banks in 49 African countries, will also conduct outreach seminars to Africa in 2015 to promote the use of its credit guarantee program for the export of U.S. agricultural products.

The U.S.–Africa Leaders Summit is a historic opportunity to strengthen ties with our African partners and highlight America's longstanding commitment to investing in Africa's development and its people. USDA collaborates with its partners in Africa to help strengthen connections between the U.S. and African agriculture sectors and to work towards common goals. USDA implements programs and activities across the continent in a wide range of areas, including food security, trade capacity, investment, climate-smart agriculture, school attendance and literacy, and open data systems.

Missouri Voters Pass Farming Initiative

Missouri voters appeared to narrowly approve a measure enshrining an unusual right in the state's constitution: the right to farm.

Amendment 1, which was among the most hotly contested issues in Missouri's primary election on Tuesday, passed by roughly 2,500 votes -- a margin that is slim enough to qualify for a recount if opponents request it, state officials said.

The initiative, backed by a coalition of agricultural-industry groups seeking to protect growers from laws like those passed recently in other states that require changes to farming practices, would guarantee Missourians the right to "engage in agricultural production and ranching practices." Supporters, including the Missouri Farm Bureau, said they were concerned about a 2010 California law mandating roomier cages for egg-laying hens, as well as a recent ban on genetically modified crops in two counties in Oregon.

If upheld, Missouri's measure would be the second of its kind. North Dakota voters passed a right-to-farm amendment in 2012, and similar proposals have been considered in state legislatures in Indiana and Oklahoma.

The broad wording of Missouri's ballot initiative means its practical effect on state and local laws is unclear, according to David Saxowsky, associate professor of agricultural law at North Dakota State University. "It's ambiguous," he said, and ultimately the courts will have to interpret it.

Supporters said they hoped the amendment would provide a bulwark against legislation that could interfere with the livelihoods of farmers who grow crops and raise livestock.

"We've been worried that things we're doing now on the farm could be outlawed in the next few years," said Chris Chinn, a fifth-generation hog farmer in northeastern Missouri, who supported the measure. "This gives me a more optimistic outlook for a future."

The issue for the past year has divided farmers, as well as business and environmental groups in Missouri, one of the largest agricultural states.

Opponents of the amendment, including the Missouri Farmers Union, Sierra Club and the Humane Society of the United States, argued it paves the way for large industrial farms to dodge laws that seek to regulate harmful practices.

"This is a struggle over what kind of agriculture we want in this country," said Joe Maxwell, a fourth-generation hog farmer and former lieutenant governor who spearheaded a campaign against the amendment. "Do we want big corporations to own everything, with farmers contracted to plant their seeds and do their bidding, or do we want family farmers who can sustain the land and use good, solid animal-husbandry practices?"

The amendment expands on right-to-farm statutes that exist in all 50 states to protect farmers from nuisance lawsuits, said Rusty Rumley, a senior staff attorney for the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas. It comes years after the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that writes model state legislation, drafted a template for lawmakers seeking to enact right-to-farm policies.

Missouri officials said Amendment 1 had 498,751 votes for it and 496,223 against it with all precincts reporting. Once the state certifies the election results, parties will have seven days to request a recount.

Tuesday August 5 Ag News

August Field Days Focus on Switchgrass as Bioenergy Feedstock

            It's not uncommon for farms to have troublesome areas where corn and soybean yields don't quite measure up due to various physical features because of their vulnerability to soil erosion. These underutilized areas and marginal lands might be better suited for establishing perennial bioenergy grasses, especially switchgrass.

            Switchgrass is a hardy, warm season perennial grass that was previously known for its use as a forage crop. However, plant breeders and agronomists have now developed a switchgrass cultivar named "Liberty" that has proven to be a high yielding biomass crop. This renewable, nonfood energy feedstock holds great potential for conversion into a "drop-in fuel" and subsequently lessening dependence on fossil-derived fuels. While switchgrass isn't a new crop, the logistical challenges of harvesting, storing, transporting, and marketing it as a bioenergy feedstock are still being researched.

            Field days on Aug. 19 at Beaver Crossing and Aug. 20 at Dawson will provide information on the agronomics, economics and sustainability of biomass production of switchgrass and other perennial bioenergy grasses.

            The field days are sponsored by CenUSA Bioenergy, a multi-state USDA-sponsored research project, focusing on the use of perennial bioenergy crops in the Midwest.

            CenUSA partners include: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Iowa State University, Purdue University, United States Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service, University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, University of Vermont and the University of Wisconsin.

            Topics at the field days are: pest and disease management; genetics establishment/ management/economics; harvest/marketing – commercialization/biomass – biofuel conversion process; alternative uses – livestock; and environmental benefits – soil/water/wildlife. The field days will include drill and harvest demonstrations and discussion, as well as the opportunity to see various grass varieties.

            Liberty switchgrass will be featured at the field days. According to UNL Extension Educators, Keith Glewen and John Hay, nearly two decades of research and breeding by the USDA-ARS grass breeding program at UNL has gone into developing this variety. Liberty was developed for the Midwest as a bioenergy crop with a high rate of winter survival combined with high yields.

            There is no fee to attend the field days, but preregistration is encouraged for meal planning purposes. Registration includes complimentary noon lunch, refreshments, and field day materials. Preregister by calling UNL Extension at 402-624-8030 or online at:

            Registration day of program is from 8:45-9:15 a.m. The field days are from 9:15 a.m.-3 p.m.

            Directions to the sites:

            Beaver Crossing – At the 1-80/Goehner exit (exit 373), go 6.5 miles south on County Road 364. Take a left on Yankee Hill Road and go east a one-half mile. Field site is on the north side of road.

            Dawson – Go 2 miles north of Dawson on Highway 75. Turn west on county road 713, go approximately one-half mile. Field site is on the south side of road.

            CenUSA is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no.  2011-68005-30411 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Will Changing Forage Resources Shift Nebraska Beef Production Systems?

Gary Stauffer, UNL Extension Educator, Holt/Boyd Counties

By now most in production agriculture are aware of the recent conversion of U.S. grasslands into crop production. In a 2013 publication, Wright and Wimberly estimated that 1.3 million acres of rangeland in the western cornbelt region of ND, SD, NE, MN, and IA have been converted to corn and soybeans during the time period from 2006 to 2011. In Nebraska, the amount of land USDA designates as Principal Crops Area Planted increased from 18,689,000 acres in 2006 to 19,533,000 acres in 2013, an increase of 864,000 acres, or 4.6%. Others can debate if this change should be classified as “good” or “bad”. I can’t tell you if it is good or bad, only that it is different. Therefore, my purpose is to simply point out that land use has changed and the area of traditional grasslands will likely not increase in the foreseeable future.

The cow/calf and stocker cattle segments of the beef industry have been the primary users of Nebraska grasslands for generations. Through time, experience and research, the men and women responsible for managing this dynamic resource have become adept at understanding the interrelationships between cattle, grass, soil, and wildlife associated with grasslands. Now, the combination of reduced acres of grasslands and increased beef prices has strengthened the value of grasslands in Nebraska. The UNL Agricultural Economics Department tracks lease rates for cow/calf producers. Over the past five years the average five-month lease rate in Nebraska has increased from $150/pair to $220/pair, an increase of 47%. Cow numbers have dropped significantly over that same time period, largely due to drought. Now the general sentiment is that cow numbers should increase. But how much expansion can we expect on a shrinking land base? Is the remaining grass too expensive for traditional cow/calf production, and better utilized for stocker cattle? Are there other opportunities that exist in this new environment?

One issue that we believe is a key to expanding the number of cows in Nebraska is optimal use of corn residues. As corn acres and corn yields increase, corn residue is one of the few forage resources that are increasing rather than declining. This realization has caused us to rethink traditional beef production systems. For example, it is common throughout much of the Northern Great Plains for beef cows to graze in the summer and to be confined for part of the winter. If residues are available in the winter, is it possible to confine the cows during the summer and graze during the winter? Are there consequences for birth date, age at weaning, animal health and reproduction if this system were adopted? Researchers at UNL have been investigating confined cow production systems for the past three years, and the economics for summer confinement and winter grazing of residues appears favorable. We hypothesize that it is possible to develop a cow/calf production system based on the use of corn residue, rather than grassland, but we have much left to learn.

We also must keep in mind the relationship between crop production and beef production. While cows once grazed throughout most of Nebraska, producers have become more specialized over time, focusing on either beef production or crop production. Now, a majority of cows resides in the western half of Nebraska while much of the opportunity for expanded residue use exists in the eastern half of the state. Is it possible to assimilate cows back into eastern Nebraska agricultural production systems, and where will the expertise come from for managing these cows? As an instructor at UNL, I am continually amazed at the number of young people looking for opportunities in production agriculture – students who have no “home place” to which they can return, many of whom may have grown up in urban areas. There appears to be opportunity for young people who want to manage cattle grazing residue in eastern Nebraska to enter the industry. It is possible they many not even need to own the cattle. I’m waiting for a young entrepreneurial spirit to piece together a business plan to take advantage of the opportunity.

The other issue that is currently being emphasized by UNL is the impacts of removing residue from fields. We have good evidence that grazing residue has no long-term negative impacts. We have much less information, and therefore less agreement, on the impact of mechanical removal of residues. We are also beginning to investigate incorporating cover crops in to these integrated production systems and are interested in determining if cover crops retain their benefits when grazed. UNL has just completed the hiring process for three new faculty members who will be working on these issues. Dr. Mary Drewnoski (beef systems specialist), Dr. Daren Redfearn (forage agronomist) and Dr. Jay Parsons (systems economist) will be joining the team of UNL faculty that is already working on these issues. We are looking forward to working with these scientists to expand on the Nebraska advantage of grasslands, crops, and livestock.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Many years when we get into August we start to realize that we might not have enough pasture to get us through the season.  How can you stretch your supply?

               Most areas received abundant rain this spring, producing more pasture growth than cattle could keep up with.  Even with that abundance, though, some pastures are getting pretty short, especially with the recent dry weather.

               Suppose your pastures receive very little rain for the rest of the year.  How long could your pastures continue to provide adequate feed for your animals?  Like most folks, you probably would run out several weeks before corn stalks or winter pastures are ready for grazing.  Either your animals would be forced to rough it until new grazing becomes available or you would have to feed them hay.

               So what can you do now to stretch your current pastures and lower that risk of running out later this year?  Of course, one option might be to cut and bale some of your pasture for feeding later on to reduce the amount of waste that naturally occurs when grazing.  But another option that might work even better could be windrow grazing.

               To try windrow grazing, cut and windrow the amount of pasture your animals might need for about a week.  Then set up an electric cross fence that gives them just a day or two’s worth.  When they finish cleaning up that piece to your satisfaction, move the fence to give them some more windrows.  As they near the end of the windrows you already cut, lay down another patch and repeat this strip grazing of windrows as long as you wish.

               Other graziers have found that windrow grazing sometimes doubles the number of grazing days compared to regular rotational grazing.  If you need more pasture, maybe it can work for you, too.

Food Processing Center Offers Seminar for Food Business Entrepreneurs

Food manufacturing businesses continue to develop throughout the country. The Food Processing Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln provides the National Food Entrepreneur Assistance Program, which is specifically designed to assist individuals who want to start a food business. The program established in 1989 is celebrating 25 years of assisting small food companies throughout the country.

One of those companies is Avondale Natural from Atlantic, Iowa.  The family-owned company produces Avondale's Best Vegetable Soup based on a family recipe. Company president Bill Menefee said, "The National Food Entrepreneur Assistance Program was our road map. They placed us on the right path, pointed us in the right direction, and whenever we hit a bump in the road or ran out of gas, they were only a phone call away with the answers and support we needed."

"The program consists of two phases. The first phase is the Recipe to Reality seminar, which helps attendees understand how the food industry works, the challenges they will encounter and the decisions they should make before starting a business. Following the seminar attendees may choose to enter the second phase, Product to Profit. During this phase attendees receive individualized assistance through all the steps of starting their food business," said program manager Jill Gifford.

Recipe to Reality seminars are offered throughout the year. The final seminar for this year will be offered on Nov. 15. Pre-registration is required. To register for an upcoming seminar or to receive an information packet, contact Gifford at: Food Processing Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 143 Filley Hall, Lincoln, Neb., 68583-0928; phone 402-472-2819; email,, or check out details on the Web at

Cooperative Efforts Bring Solution to Iowa Stray Voltage Issues

Low-level electrical current, commonly known to farmers as 'stray voltage', can impact Iowa's dairy cows and other livestock, reducing milk production and affecting animal behavior. A joint effort to provide an educational resource to manage and mitigate stray voltage issues, is now available to Iowa farmers, electricians and utilities. The 'Iowa Stray Voltage Guide' ( aims to improve communication and solve problems.

Sponsored by the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, Alliant Energy, the Iowa State Dairy Association and Iowa Farm Bureau, the information in the 28-page Stray Voltage Guide was developed over that past several months. The collective group worked together to develop a consensus about the most effective way to provide education and to manage and mitigate stray voltage concerns, keeping in mind the best interests of farmers, livestock and electric utilities. The guide is a contemporary tool to help farmers who are concerned about whether their animals are experiencing stray voltage issues and provides standard procedures for testing for stray voltage and identifies common causes of stray voltage.

"We see stray voltage when electrical current is carried on neutral wires,?and it often shows up at grounding points, such as livestock watering tanks, fencers or other metallic devices," says Regi Goodale, director of regulatory affairs, Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives.

"We're pleased with the collaborative development of this guide, which will help to address an existing issue for farmers, while also aiding utility workers and electricians, so that stray voltage can be mitigated in the future." "Animals that come into contact with stray voltage may experience tingling sensations or involuntary muscle contractions. For dairy farmers, it can be subtle to observe, and you may only realize what the problem is when you see high somatic cell counts and poor reproduction," says Iowa Farm Animal Care Coalition (IFAC) executive director, Denny Harding.

"Stray voltage can cause dairy cows stress and discomfort. Effects can include the loss of 20 percent or more of an animal's milk production and longer intervals between calving," says Harding.

"We're pleased that Iowa dairy industry partners have worked together in this proactive, cooperative way to help minimize stray voltage," says Larry Shover, a dairy farmer from Delhi and Iowa State Dairy Association president. "Keeping our cows healthy and comfortable is vital in our efforts to provide nutritious, healthful and good-tasting dairy products."

Fixing the situation first involves diagnosing the problem, then coming up with a workable solution. To assist with this process, the Iowa Stray Voltage Guide includes a farm wiring checklist.

"Providing an environment where stray voltage does not impact our farmers' ability to maintain healthy and productive livestock is key, says Tony Harvey, senior agriculture representative, Alliant Energy. "The guide provides farmers with practical information that can be used to find stray voltage sources and provides ways to fix potential issues before they become a problem. We are proud to be a part of this effort that benefits our farmers and their livestock."

Farmers can work with their utility provider to identify sources of stray voltage and take steps to mitigate the causes of the problems and access resources to remedy the situation.

"Farmers are interested in making sure all the animals on their farm are healthy and in a good environment; consumers expect nothing less. Having this tool accessible to bring a standard process for identifying unacceptable levels of stray voltage is a win-win for everyone, especially for livestock," says Harding.

Governor’s Charity Steer Show celebrates 32nd year at Iowa State Fair

The 2014 Governor's Charity Steer Show will to mark the 32nd consecutive year the beef industry has raised funds to help families who utilize the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa while their children are being treated for serious conditions.

This year, the show ring competition takes place Saturday, Aug. 9, at 4:00 p.m., in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair when celebrities will lead 25 steers around the ring, vying for the championship designation, as well as appealing to the crowd for a showmanship award. Immediately following the competition the steers will be sold at auction with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa. Both the show ring event and the auction are open to the general public.

Since the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association began the Governor’s Charity Steer Show in 1983, the effort has raised more than $2.2 million for the Des Moines, Iowa City and Sioux City Ronald McDonald House Charities. The houses provide a "home away from home" for families of seriously‑ ill children being treated in area hospitals.

Many participants are involved in this 32nd anniversary event. Governor Terry Branstad will again host the show. Charlie Peters of Bellevue will serve as the official steer show judge for this year’s event and Mark Dorenkamp has been selected to serve as the event’s Showmanship Judge. Emcees for the event include Bob Quinn of WHO Radio and Michelle Rook of WNAX Radio. The auctioneer is Phil Schooley from Bloomfield Livestock Market and helping him catch bids in the ring are Tom Rooney of The Midwest Marketer, Mike Sorensen of Livestock Plus and Jason Lekin from Tama Livestock Auction.

In addition, the Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will welcome a special guest, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman at the Governor’s Charity Steer Show.

To date, here are the steer owners and the celebrity showing their steer....

Steer Owners  -  Shown by      
Tori Freeman, Corydon  -  Governor Terry Branstad      
Ben Von Glan, Vail  -  Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds      
Kaylee Snyder, Bloomfield  -  Rick Heller, University of Iowa Baseball Coach      
Caleb Burke, Altoona  -  Jerry Parkin, Iowa State Fair Board of Directors      
Leah Breon, Oskaloosa  -  Jackie Schmillen, KCWI Great Day      
Leah Vierkandt, Alden  -  Bruce Nelson, 2014 ANF Wall of Honor Recipient      
Garrett Longnecker, Ames  -  Dr. Rob Denson, President, DMACC      
Kole Kimberley, Maxwell  -  Sandy Hatfield-Clubb, Director of Athletics, Drake University      
Tanner Knupp, Washington  -  Mike Pearson, Host of Market to Market      
Taylor Lekin, Toldeo  -  Scott and Cora Lahr family      
Libby Janssen, Wellsburg  -  Dr. Bill Ruud, President, University of Northern Iowa      
Bailey Christensen, Adel  -  Dr. Steven Leath, President, Iowa State University      
Landra McClellan, Armstrong  -  Suzy Fife, Miss Rodeo Iowa 2014      
Kelli Wicks, Rockford  -  Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture      
Max Teno, Albia  -  Jessica VerSteeg, 2014 Miss Iowa United States      
Jacob Donohoe, Parnell  -  Bob Sinclair, CEO, Sinclair Tractor      
Kendrick Suntken, Belmond  -  Alan Brown, President, Iowa State Fair Board      
Kaitlyn & Kasidy Mohwinkle, Aplington  -  Joni Ernst, U.S. Senate Candidate      
Carlee Ewoldt, Dysart  -  Chris Soules, As Seen on the Bachelorette      
Katie Morris, Centerville  -  Pete Miller, VP of Co-Product Sales, Grain Processing Corp.      
Nicole Lange, Harlan  -  Bob Bowman, President, Iowa Corn Promotion Board      
Taylor Noonan, Solon  -  John Burchert, Owner, Iowa Chop House      
Dylan Madden, Alden  -  Erik Wheater, WHO-TV Channel 13 News      
Korey Vogel, Granger  -  Dr. Tim Collision, Collison Embryo      
Austin Waller, Bernard  -  Carlee Kelly, Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa 2014   

Where Will Beef Cows Expand?

It is getting to be a well-repeated story. Beef cow numbers are at their lowest level since 1962.

Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt says, "Cattle and feeder cattle prices are at record highs, and feed prices have dropped. Beef consumers continue to eat beef and are rewarding the beef industry with very profitable returns. So when are beef producers going to expand the breeding herd, and in what regions of the country will that occur?"

To answer those questions, experts must first look at the areas of the country that had the biggest reductions in beef cow numbers due to drought, high feed prices, and financial losses, he said.

Since 2007, beef cow numbers have dropped by 12 percent, totaling 3.8 million head. The biggest declines were in the region with the most cows--the Southern Plains--which accounted for 1.6 million of the decline, he noted.

"Texas, the big beef cow state, had a reduction of 1.4 million head, an astonishing 36 percent of the nation's total decline. That region's expansion opportunities are very mixed due to lingering drought. About one-third of Texas remains in the three highest drought categories, D2-D4. It's important to note that parts of cow-dense eastern Texas are now out of drought, and the National Weather Service is forecasting some continued drought abatement by this fall for the region. In conclusion, lingering drought in the Southern Plains will tend to mean a slow expansion there," Hurt said.

The second most important region for beef cows is the Southeast, which has had an 822,000-head beef cow reduction since 2007, or 21 percent of the nation's total. The biggest reductions were in Tennessee and Kentucky and accounted for 59 percent of the region's decline. The Southeast is generally in good shape for pastures as the impacts of the 2012 drought have passed, he noted.

The third most significant beef cow area is the Northern Plains, where beef cow numbers did not drop over the past seven years. "This probably means that producers in that region will be expanding numbers with large amounts of grazing land. Lower returns to grain production are expected to bring some conversion of land back to grazing in coming years as well," he said.

The Central Plains are the fourth most important area, and drought continues to linger in Kansas and parts of Nebraska, slowing their expansion, he noted.

The fifth most important beef cow region is the western Corn Belt from Minnesota to Missouri. That region had a reduction of 566,000 cows, or 15 percent of the national reduction.

"Over the last seven years, this region has been most dramatically affected by the ethanol boom. Traditionally a low-grain-price region, many farmers once talked of 'walking' their corn to town in the form of value-added livestock. Now hauling corn to the local ethanol plant is often the preferred marketing plan. The ethanol impact is much less important in Missouri where more marginal land is suited to beef cows, so that state is expected to lead the coming expansion for that region," the expert said.

According to Hurt, the rest of the country has a mixed situation. Severe drought in California and other parts of the West and Pacific Northwest are going to prevent expansion in some of those areas. On the other hand, the eastern Corn Belt and the Northeast will see some expansion, but these have become relatively minor beef cow regions.

The latest June Cattle inventory update from USDA does not answer the question of whether expansion is under way because USDA was not funded to collect mid-year cattle inventory data one year ago. Numbers from January seemed to suggest that heifer retention was up 2 percent, signaling expansion. But the June inventory was 2 percent lower than two years ago, providing inconsistent signals, he said.

"Low slaughter numbers seem to be signaling that heifers are being pulled away from slaughter and toward breeding herd retention. The number of cattle processed this year is down 7 percent, a number greater than would have been expected in the absence of expansion. Cow and heifer slaughter have been low as well," Hurt noted.

Finished cattle prices have reached record highs over $160 in recent weeks. In 2013, finished cattle prices averaged about $126. At the start of 2014, forecasts were for prices to average in the mid-$130s. Now, it appears that the 2014 yearly average price will be close to $150. The mid-$150s are expected for the remained of the year with prices dropping to the low-$150s for the first-half of next year, he said.

"When will expansion begin and where will it occur? Clearly the profit incentive has returned more powerfully than was expected. Pastures and ranges have returned in some regions and feed is more available, but drought is limiting forages in other significant areas. This means the national beef cow expansion will be slowed and that tight beef supplies will be with the country for several more years," Hurt said.

Federation of State Beef Councils Awards Grants for State Beef Promotions

The Federation of State Beef Councils has awarded seven grants totaling $77,850 to six state beef councils for programs aimed at enhancing beef demand in their states. The awards, part of the Federation Initiative Fund program, were announced at the 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver Aug. 2.

The Federation Initiative Fund is managed by the Federation Executive Committee, and was established in 2006 to help move beef checkoff funds from states with heavy cattle numbers to states with heavier consumer populations.  

The six states receiving awards for the remainder of FY 2014 are:
                Arizona Beef Council, $6,100 for its Gate to Plate tour series.
                Florida Beef Council, two grants, $32,000 for its Farm to Fork Tours, and $7,500 as the second part of a ProStart Education Initiative to launch a high school culinary education initiative.
                Hawaii Beef Industry Council, $5,000 for a ranch tour for millennial bloggers, food writers and chef/culinary students.
                Minnesota Beef Council, $7,250 for its Team BEEF program.
                New York Beef Industry Council, $15,000 for social media marketing outreach and digital marketing.
                Pennsylvania Beef Council, $5,000 for a Millennial to Millennial (M2M) Recruitment Program.

State beef councils voluntarily invest in the Federation to help strengthen national efforts to build demand for beef. Since it was created, the Federation Initiative Fund has awarded more than $2.2 million to 22 states conducting 180 programs.

Informa Pegs Corn Yield at 168 BPA; Soybeans at 44.5 BPA

Private analytical firm Informa Economics forecast record corn and soybean yields, at 168 bushels per acre and 44.5 bpa respectively, in a report released this morning.

Resulting corn production comes in just shy of 14 billion bushels (13.988 bb), while soybean production clocks in at 3.7 bb.

All wheat production was forecast at 1.986 bb, down 6 mb from Informa's July estimates.

USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service will release its Crop Production report on Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 11 a.m. CDT. The report includes corn and soybean objective yield surveys for the first time this season.

USDA's World Agricultural Outlook Board has been publishing forecasts of crop yield and production estimates in its monthly supply and demand reports since May, but it's the first time on-the-ground survey data will be included in USDA's analysis.

CWT Assists with 2 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 13 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 1.989 million pounds (902 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese, and 55,116 pounds (25 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, South America and the South Pacific. The product will be delivered August 2014 through January 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 80.301 million pounds of cheese, 48.050 million pounds of butter and 18.290 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.021 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program, in the long-term, helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them in the rapidly growing world dairy markets. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

USW Bringing Filipino Flour Millers to See U.S. Wheat Crop and Supply Chain

The growing demand for wheat foods in the Republic of the Philippines is good news for U.S. wheat farmers, who have more than 90 percent market share of imports there. With that growth, however, comes a need to expand the knowledge of new flour milling managers about the quality, value and reliability of U.S. wheat and its supply chain.

That is why U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is bringing five milling industry customers from the Philippines to soft white (SW), hard red spring (HRS) and hard red winter (HRW) production regions Aug. 6 to 16, 2014. These managers have a diverse range of responsibilities and experience, said Manila-based Joe Sowers, USW assistant regional director for South Asia, who is travelling with the team.

“U.S. wheat has been a big part of the Filipino milling and baking industry for more than 50 years,” Sowers said. “Coming to the United States helps these new customers understand the work farmers, grain handlers and USDA put in to produce and deliver high-quality wheat and services that can help them grow their businesses.”

With support from participating state wheat commissions, educational partners and the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS), the team will get a field-to-vessel look at the U.S. wheat supply system. In visits to Portland, OR, eastern Washington, North Dakota and Kansas, the team will learn about wheat breeding, production, transportation, inspection and certification services and innovative uses.

The Philippines is fifth largest market for U.S. wheat, based on the five-year average. That success is based on strong relationships with industry leaders maintained since 1961. Imports that year were 200,000 metric tons (7.35 million bushels) and have steadily grown to nearly 2.2 million metric tons (80.8 million bushels) in marketing year 2013/14 (June to May), including the largest amounts for both SW and HRS for the marketing year. That is the most U.S. wheat sales since 1999/00 and the second highest on record. U.S. wheat market share exceeded 93 percent of total Philippine milling wheat imports in 2013/14, the fourth consecutive year exceeding 90 percent.

August 4 Crop Progress and Condition Reports - NE - IA - US


For the week ending August 3, 2014, cooler temperatures limited moisture demands of non-irrigated crops. However, another week of only scattered rainfall stressed dryland crops and pastures, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Irrigation continued non-stop in many areas.  Wheat harvest was near completion with only northern Panhandle fields remaining.  The dry conditions also supported hay harvest.  The number of days considered suitable for fieldwork were 6.7. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 10 percent very short, 39 short, 51 adequate, and 0 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 12 percent very short, 31 short, 57 adequate, and 0 surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Corn  conditions  rated  2  percent  very  poor,  6  poor,  20  fair,  52  good,  and  20  excellent.  Corn  silking  was  94 percent, near 91  last year and equal  to  the average. Corn dough was 42 percent, well ahead of 13  last year and 32 average.

Soybean conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 22 fair, 54 good, and 16 excellent. Soybeans blooming was  90  percent,  equal  to  last  year  and  the  average.  Soybean  setting  pods  was  68  percent,  well  ahead  of  46 last year and 50 average.

Sorghum conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 32 fair, 41 good, and 20 excellent. Sorghum headed was 56 percent, well ahead of 33  last year and 39 average. Sorghum coloring was 16 percent, well ahead of 0  last year and average.

Oat  conditions  rated  3  percent  very  poor,  18  poor,  27  fair,  49  good,  and  3  excellent.  Oats  mature  was  97 percent. Oats harvested was 82 percent, near 84 last year but behind 87 average. 

Winter wheat  harvested was  93  percent,  near  of  90  last  year  and  95  for  the  five-year average.

Alfalfa hay conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 7 poor, 31 fair, 51 good, and 9 excellent. Alfalfa hay second cutting was  94  percent  complete,  near  91  last  year  and  equal  to  the  average. Alfalfa  hay  third  cutting was  47 percent complete, well ahead of 15 last year and 33 average.
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  6  percent  very  poor,  12  poor,  31 fair, 45 good, and 6 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 10 short, 87 adequate, and 1 surplus. 

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:

Access  the  High  Plains  Region  Climate  Center  for  Temperature  and  Precipitation  Maps  at:

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:


Statewide  there  were  6.5  days  suitable  for  fieldwork  for  the  week ending August 3, 2014;  the most  this growing season according  to  the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was just above the 6.3  days  suitable  two  weeks  ago.    Activities  for  the  week  included fungicide  and  insecticide  application,  cutting  all  types  of  hay,  and harvesting oats.

Lack of precipitation caused a drop  in soil moisture. Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 23 percent short, 70 percent adequate, and  4 percent  surplus.    Subsoil moisture  levels  rated  2 percent  very short, 16 percent short, 78 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. 

Ninety-three percent of  the  corn  acreage was  at or beyond  the  silking stage, just over 2 weeks ahead of the previous year and 5 days ahead of the  five-year  average.    Corn  in  or  past  the  dough  stage  reached 36 percent,  double  the  normal  amount.   With  a  few  farmers  reporting corn starting  to dent, 77 percent of  the corn crop was reported  in good to excellent condition.

Ninety-one percent of  the  soybean acreage was blooming or beyond, 14 percentage points ahead of last year and barely ahead  of  average.    Sixty-five percent  of  the  soybean  crop was  setting pods,  well  ahead  of  last  year’s  32 percent.    Soybean  condition  was unchanged from the previous week with 74 percent of the crop in good to excellent condition.

With almost the entire oat acreage having turned color,  oat  harvest  for  grain  was  69 percent  complete,  falling  to 4 percentage  points  behind  last  year  and  12  points  behind  normal.  Seventy-four percent of the remaining oat acreage was reported in good to excellent condition.  

The second cutting of alfalfa hay was 85 percent complete, equal to the previous year but 3 percentage points behind the five-year average.  The third  cutting  of  alfalfa  hay  advanced  to  9 percent  complete,  3  days ahead of  last year but almost 2 weeks behind  the normal pace.   Sixty-six percent of all hay was rated in good to excellent condition.  Pasture condition deteriorated again to 61 percent good to excellent.  Livestock conditions were reported as optimal. 


Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist
Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Unseasonably  cool  and mostly dry weather prevailed  across  Iowa  this past week. Temperatures were below normal  throughout  the week with the  coolest  readings on Monday  (28th)  and Tuesday  (29th) when highs were mostly  in  the  seventies  statewide. Temperature  extremes  for  the week varied  from morning  lows of 46 degrees  at Sheldon on Tuesday and  Wednesday  with  the  highest  temperatures  on  Saturday  (2nd) afternoon  of  87 degrees  at  Cresco,  Des  Moines,  Osceola  and  Rock Rapids. Temperatures  for  the  week  as  a  whole  averaged  5.3 degrees below  normal. The  largest  rain  event  of  the week  came  late  Saturday (2nd)  night  into  Sunday  (3rd) morning  across  the  southwest  quarter  of Iowa. Rain amounts of more than an inch were common from Missouri Valley  south-southeastward  to  Hamburg  and  Shenandoah. Otherwise there were isolated showers and thunderstorms each day except Sunday (27th) and Wednesday (30th) but areal coverage of these rains were very limited. Randolph  in  Fremont  County  reported  the  most  rain  for  the week with 1.98  inches while  large portions of  the northeast  two-thirds of  the  state  received  no  rain  of  consequence. The  statewide  average precipitation was 0.12 inches while normal for the week is 0.94 inches.

US Weekly Crop Progress - Corn Condition Slips Slightly

The condition of the nation's corn crop slipped slightly to 73% good to excellent this past week from 75% the previous week, according to the latest USDA Crop Progress report. However, the development of the crop remains ahead of the average pace.

As of Aug. 3, 90% of the nation's corn had silked, compared to 78% last week and a five-year average of 88%. Thirty-six percent had reached the dough stage, compared to 17% last year and a 29% five-year average.

Eighty-five percent of U.S. soybeans had bloomed and 57% were setting pods, compared to 77% and 36% last year and 83% and 48% five-year averages.  And 71% of the crop was rated in good to excellent condition. 

Ninety percent of the nation's winter wheat is harvested, compared to 86% last year and a five-year average of 85%.