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
July 21 Crop Progress & Condition Reports - NE - IA - US


For  the  week  ending  July  20,  2014,  the  State  saw  unseasonably  cool temperatures and only isolated rainfall according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  With the dry conditions, wheat harvest was over one half complete. Also, producers in many areas started irrigating their row  crops  last week. The  number  of  days  suitable  for  fieldwork were  6.4. Topsoil moisture  supplies  rated  4 percent  very  short,  28  short,  66  adequate,  and  2  surplus.  Subsoil  moisture  supplies  rated  8 percent very short, 26 short, 65 adequate, and 1 surplus.
Field  Crops  Report:

Corn  conditions  rated  2  percent  very  poor,  5  poor,  17  fair,  52  good,  and  24  excellent.  Corn  silking  was  62 percent, ahead of 45 last year, but near 60 average. Corn dough was 8 percent, ahead of 0 last year but near  6 average

Soybean conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 54 good, and 19 excellent. Soybeans blooming was  73  percent,  ahead  of  61  last  year  and  62  average.  Soybean  setting  pods was  32  percent, well  ahead  of  11 last year and 14 average.

Winter  wheat  conditions  rated  6  percent  very  poor,  14  poor,  28  fair,  44  good,  and  8 excellent. Winter wheat mature was 84 percent, ahead of 80  last year but behind a  five year average of 87. Winter wheat harvested was 54 percent, ahead of 49 last year but behind 61 average.

Sorghum conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 35 fair, 42 good, and 20 excellent. Sorghum headed was 23 percent, well ahead of 4  last year and 7 average. Sorghum coloring was 4 percent, ahead of 0 for both  last year and average.

Oat  conditions  rated  3  percent  very  poor,  18  poor,  26  fair,  50  good,  and  3  excellent.  Oats  coloring  was  91 percent. Oats mature was 70 percent. Oats harvested was 31 percent, behind 60 last year and 56 average. 

Alfalfa hay conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 32 fair, 53 good, and 9 excellent. Alfalfa hay second cutting was  71 percent  complete, near 69  last  year  and 74  average. Alfalfa hay  third  cutting was 16 percent complete, ahead of 1 last year and 9 average.
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  5  percent  very  poor,  11  poor,  30 fair, 46 good, and 8 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 7 short, 91 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:

USDA Weekly Crop Progress - Corn, Soybean Ratings Basically Unchanged

More than half the nation's corn has silked and one-fifth of the soybeans have set pods, according to USDA's latest weekly Crop Progress report.  As of July 20, 56% of the corn was silking, compared to 34% last week and a 55% five-year average. Corn condition was equal to last week with 76% of the crop rated good to excellent.

Nineteen percent of the soybeans were setting pods and 60% were blooming, compared to 41% blooming last week. Pod setting was not included on the national report last week. Soybean condition worsened just slightly, with one percentage point moving from the good category last week into the poor category this week.

Winter wheat harvest is three-quarters of the way complete, compared to 69% last week and a 75% five-year average. Spring wheat is 84% headed, compared to 69% last week and an 85% five-year average. Spring wheat conditions worsened slightly with one percentage point moving from the fair category into the very poor category.

Corn Silking - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                 :            Week ending            :          
      State      : July 20,  : July 13,  : July 20,  : 2009-2013
                 :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                 :                    percent                   
Colorado ........:    26           8          25          27    
Illinois ........:    58          62          82          70    
Indiana .........:    56          42          69          61    
Iowa ............:    16          26          59          50    
Kansas ..........:    53          56          75          69    
Kentucky ........:    48          65          75          65    
Michigan ........:    38           9          32          41    
Minnesota .......:    16           5          23          43    
Missouri ........:    55          79          91          74    
Nebraska ........:    45          33          62          60    
North Carolina ..:    95          88          94          98    
North Dakota ....:    13           5          10          28    
Ohio ............:    57          14          51          54    
Pennsylvania ....:    50          12          37          52    
South Dakota ....:    28           9          30          25    
Tennessee .......:    84          78          90          91    
Texas ...........:    82          81          91          85    
Wisconsin .......:    16           5          22          31    
18 States .......:    39          34          56          55    

Corn Condition - Selected States: Week Ending July 20, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013
planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Colorado .......:     2           5          25          51          17    
Illinois .......:     1           3          15          52          29    
Indiana ........:     1           4          19          53          23    
Iowa ...........:     2           5          16          52          25    
Kansas .........:     2           5          29          49          15    
Kentucky .......:     2           5          18          54          21    
Michigan .......:     1           4          14          59          22    
Minnesota ......:     2           6          28          50          14    
Missouri .......:     -           1          13          53          33    
Nebraska .......:     2           5          17          52          24    
North Carolina .:     3          11          27          47          12    
North Dakota ...:     1           4          16          59          20    
Ohio ...........:     1           4          20          52          23    
Pennsylvania ...:     1           3          15          47          34    
South Dakota ...:     2           3          17          65          13    
Tennessee ......:     1           3          18          54          24    
Texas ..........:     -           5          33          47          15    
Wisconsin ......:     1           6          17          51          25    
18 States ......:     1           4          19          54          22    
Previous week ..:     1           4          19          54          22    
Previous year ..:     3           8          26          46          17    

Soybeans Blooming - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     :  July 20,   :  July 13,   :  July 20,   :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas .......:     50            57            67            63     
Illinois .......:     47            50            69            55     
Indiana ........:     52            55            70            54     
Iowa ...........:     33            45            67            64     
Kansas .........:     33            28            44            45     
Kentucky .......:     23            31            41            45     
Louisiana ......:     81            85            90            87     
Michigan .......:     54            32            59            51     
Minnesota ......:     36            27            47            55     
Mississippi ....:     75            65            72            89     
Missouri .......:     21            30            48            37     
Nebraska .......:     61            55            73            62     
North Carolina .:     14            33            46            27     
North Dakota ...:     49            25            55            58     
Ohio ...........:     55            22            51            55     
South Dakota ...:     53            56            70            59     
Tennessee ......:     25            30            47            53     
Wisconsin ......:     28            24            46            41     
18 States ......:     43            41            60            56     

Soybeans Setting Pods - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     :  July 20,   :  July 13,   :  July 20,   :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas .......:     19             31           43            36     
Illinois .......:     10           (NA)           24            16     
Indiana ........:     10             18           32            14     
Iowa ...........:      2              6           19            18     
Kansas .........:      4              3           10             5     
Kentucky .......:      4              6           18            13     
Louisiana ......:     63             57           70            70     
Michigan .......:     13           (NA)           15            11     
Minnesota ......:      2           (NA)            7            12     
Mississippi ....:     26             30           41            65     
Missouri .......:      2           (NA)            7             7     
Nebraska .......:     11           (NA)           32            14     
North Carolina .:      5             13           23             7     
North Dakota ...:      3           (NA)            7            17     
Ohio ...........:      6           (NA)            8            11     
South Dakota ...:      4              8           15            11     
Tennessee ......:      8           (NA)           16            25     
Wisconsin ......:      -              1           10             6     
18 States ......:      7           (NA)           19            17     

Soybean Condition - Selected States: Week Ending July 20, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013
planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Arkansas .......:     4          11          25          42          18    
Illinois .......:     1           3          19          56          21    
Indiana ........:     1           4          23          56          16    
Iowa ...........:     1           5          20          54          20    
Kansas .........:     -           2          31          57          10    
Kentucky .......:     1           4          18          60          17    
Louisiana ......:     2           4          15          51          28    
Michigan .......:     2           7          22          54          15    
Minnesota ......:     2           6          28          54          10    
Mississippi ....:     -           5          23          52          20    
Missouri .......:     -           3          19          60          18    
Nebraska .......:     2           5          20          54          19    
North Carolina .:     1           5          25          58          11    
North Dakota ...:     -           2          20          62          16    
Ohio ...........:     2           5          24          58          11    
South Dakota ...:     1           4          23          62          10    
Tennessee ......:     1           3          17          63          16    
Wisconsin ......:     1           4          20          51          24    
18 States ......:     1           4          22          57          16    
Previous week ..:     1           5          22          56          16    
Previous year ..:     2           6          28          51          13    

Winter Wheat Harvested - Selected States

[These 18 States harvested 86% of the 2013 winter wheat acreage]
                 :            Week ending            :          
      State      : July 20,  : July 13,  : July 20,  : 2009-2013
                 :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                 :                    percent                   
Arkansas ........:    100         99          100         100   
California ......:     96         85           87          95   
Colorado ........:     71         46           68          71   
Idaho ...........:      2          4            7           2   
Illinois ........:     96         90           95          97   
Indiana .........:     92         76           92          97   
Kansas ..........:    100         90           95         100   
Michigan ........:     55          3           19          61   
Missouri ........:    100         95          100         100   
Montana .........:      1          -            5           2   
Nebraska ........:     49         31           54          61   
North Carolina ..:     89         97          100          98   
Ohio ............:     84         61           89          95   
Oklahoma ........:    100         97           98          99   
Oregon ..........:     16          6           22          14   
South Dakota ....:      3          -            4          32   
Texas ...........:    100         99          100          99   
Washington ......:      8          3           15           5   
18 States .......:     74         69           75          75   

Monday July 21 Ag News

It Is Time to Begin Scouting for Soybean Aphid
Tom Hunt, Extension Entomology Specialist

Soybean aphid colonization has been slow to start this year, however, we are beginning to get reports of soybean aphids in southwest Minnesota and a few other states.  While we have had only one report of soybean aphids in Nebraska, and it was at a very low number, this is when we generally start finding them.

Start scouting now, as populations can start late and build fast. In 2011 we monitored a soybean field in Dixon County that was almost devoid of aphids on July 22, but by August 18 was over 2000 aphids per plant in areas of the field that were left untreated.

Soybean Aphid Description

The soybean aphid is soft-bodied, light green to pale yellow, less than 1/16th inch long, and has two black-tipped cornicles (cornicles look like tailpipes) on the rear of the abdomen.  It has piercing-sucking mouthparts and typically feeds on new tissue on the undersides of leaves near the top of recently colonized soybean plants.  Later in the season aphids can be found on all parts of the plant, feeding primarily on the undersides of leaves, but also on stems and pods.

Soybean Aphid Occurrence in Nebraska

Soybean aphids have been reported in most soybean producing regions of Nebraska, although the highest and most economically damaging populations typically occur in northeast Nebraska.  It's usually mid-July before we begin to regularly find aphids, while soybeans are entering or in R3 (beginning pod stage). Nebraska aphid populations can reach economically damaging populations in late July, but most reach economically damaging populations in August, while soybeans are in the mid-reproductive stages (R4-R5).  In some years there are many fields where the aphid populations peak in late R5 (beginning seed) to early R6 (full seed). Of course, there are exceptions to any rule, so you should be watching for soybean aphid colonization and population increases.

Cool Conditions May Lead to White Mold in Soybeans

Loren Giesler, UNL Extension Plant Pathologist

Most of Nebraska's soybean crop is flowering, ranging from the early to late stages of bloom. With this week's cool temperatures, conditions are right for white mold (Sclerotinia Stem Rot) to start the infection cycle. Those growers with fields with a history of this disease should be aware that it may be more severe this year with the current weather trend. General information on Sclerotinia Stem Rot of soybean can be found in a regional Extension publication or in the Plant Disease section of CropWatch at Schlerotinia Stem Rot.

We do not typically see Sclerotina Stem Rot in Nebraska as temperatures during flowering are usually warmer than this year. Therefore, we do not have any consistent fungicide trial data to evaluate products. I recommend you look at the University of Wisconsin Fungicide Test Summary to compare treatments.

Application during bloom is critical if you're targeting Sclerotinia Stem Rot. If you're not targeting a specific soybean disease, applications are typically at the R3 stage for the added yield boost and crop health response.

Management for Sclerotinia Stem Rot is difficult, but fungicide sprays at flowering are the most effective timing if fungicides are used.  If you're considering a fungicide application to manage this disease, now is the time. Once flowers are infected, the disease will spread slowly, so stopping the initial infection is critical.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Ergot has been found in a few Nebraska pastures this summer.  This fungus can be toxic to cattle, horses, and other livestock so check your pastures and hay fields to see if your animals may be at risk.

               Ergot is a fungus that grows on the seed head of grasses.  Cereals like rye and wheat have been affected most often historically, but forage grasses like brome and fescue and wheatgrasses also are susceptible.  Weather like we have experienced this year – a cool, wet spring followed by hot, humid summer conditions – is ideal for ergot to develop.

               Ergot has killed several cattle in Missouri this summer.  It produces alkaloids that cause vasoconstriction of small arteries, thus restricting blood flow to extremities like the tips of tails and ears as well as to feet and legs.  Lameness, swelling of the fetlock and hock joints, and even loss of hooves can occur.  Animals also are less able to dissipate heat so they spend more time than usual standing in shade or water.

               Ergot bodies look a lot like mouse droppings in grass seedheads.  They are blackish or dark brown or purple and shaped like a cylinder. Examine your pastures and hay fields for these ergot bodies.  An occasional one here and there shouldn’t be a problem but if they show up in most of your seedheads, remove any grazing animals.

               Ergot remains fairly stable in hay so if it is present, either destroy the hay or dilute it severely with other feed.  Fields can be shredded to remove seedstalks but don’t resume grazing until enough regrowth develops to restrict animals from eating the old, shredded clippings.

               Ergot toxicity is rare in our pastures but be on the lookout so it doesn’t become a problem for your animals.


               What can you do with corn damaged severely by hail or drought or even wind?  Fortunately, there are several forage alternatives.

               The most common salvage operation for corn damaged by hail, wind, drought, or other calamities is to chop it for silage.  Don't be in a hurry, though.  Standing corn currently could be over 80 percent moisture.  The easiest way, and maybe the best way, to lower moisture content is simply wait until some stalks start to turn brown.  Waiting also allows surviving corn to continue to add tonnage.

               If waiting isn't desirable, reduce moisture by windowing the crop and allow it to wilt one-half to one full day before chopping.  You also could mix grain or chopped hay to freshly chopped corn to lower the moisture content.  It takes quite a bit of material for mixing though – about 7 bushels of grain or 350 pounds of hay to lower each ton of silage down to 70 percent moisture from an original 80 percent moisture.  That's 7 bushels grain or 350 pounds of hay for each ton of silage.

               Or, you can allow that windrowed corn to dry completely and bale it as hay.  Be sure to test it for nitrates before feeding.

               Grazing might be the easiest way to use damaged corn, and this is a good way to extend your grazing season.  You might even plant some sorghum-sudangrass or oats and turnips between rows to grow more forage for grazing if you can wait until late fall before grazing.  Be sure to introduce livestock slowly to this new forage by feeding them before turning in to reduce the chances of digestive problems.  Also, strip graze the field to reduce trampling losses and get more grazing from the corn.

               We can’t change what Mother Nature has dished out.  All we can do is make the best of a bad situation.

New Channel Seedsman Comes to Pierce County

Putting Seedsmanship at Work® into practice, Channel has hired Larry Carstens as a Channel Seedsman in the Pierce County area.

Carstens’ role will be to work proactively with local farmers to deliver expert advice, customized service and elite seed products to help improve productivity and profitability. Channel Seedsmen focus on getting to know their customers and their farms inside and out, and using that knowledge to provide in-depth, hands-on service and support every step of the way.

“We are excited to have Carstens join the Channel team,” said Channel District Sales Manager Tony Kurtenbach. “His knowledge and expertise will be a great fit for farmers looking for the service and support a Channel Seedsman can provide.”

One of Carstens’ primary responsibilities will be implementing the Channel® Field Check Up Series with local farmers. This series allows Channel Seedsmen to work with the farmer throughout the season to observe and monitor crop development.

Walking farmers’ fields allows Channel Seedsmen to diagnose issues and design custom recommendations to increase the farm’s profitability. Year-round farm visits include personal consultations through the four major growth stages: seedling, reproductive, vegetative and maturity. For more information about Channel and the Channel Seedsmanship approach, visit

Valmont Announces Second Quarter 2014 Results

Valmont Industries, Inc. a leading global provider of engineered products and services for infrastructure and mechanized irrigation equipment for agriculture, reported second quarter sales of $842.6 million compared with $878.7 million for the same period of 2013. Second quarter 2014 operating income was $104.8 million versus $144.3 million in 2013. Second quarter net income was $64.0 million versus $89.6 million in 2013, or $2.38 in diluted earnings per share compared to $3.33 in 2013. Last year's second quarter included a $4.6 million, (or 16 cents per diluted share) pre-tax gain from the disposal of a galvanizing facility in Perth, Australia.

For the first six months of 2014, sales were $1,594.3 million versus $1,698.3 million in 2013. Valmont's first half net earnings were $120.0 million, or $4.46 per diluted share, compared with 2013 first half net earnings of $167.1 million, or $6.22 per diluted share.

"Positive sales comparisons in the Engineered Infrastructure Products Segment driven by acquisition growth were more than offset by lower sales in the remaining segments," said Mogens C. Bay, Valmont's chairman and chief executive officer. "In the Irrigation Segment, sales declined in North America due to lower crop commodity prices, partly offset by increased international sales. The Coatings and Utility Support Structures Segments each posted modest sales declines. In "Other," the deconsolidation of Delta EMD late in 2013 and lower sales at our grinding media and tubing businesses led to unfavorable sales comparisons.

Sales of $213.0 million were 7% lower than 2013, due to a decline in North America. International sales rose modestly. Total volumes were comparable to last year.

Center pivot and linear move mechanized irrigation equipment and parts for agriculture in global markets.

Irrigation Segment sales fell 19% to $219.9 million, reflecting a substantial sales decline in North American markets. While last year's market remained influenced by the 2012 drought and high commodity prices, this year's outlook for a decline in North American net farm income weighed on irrigation equipment demand.

Sales increased in most international regions. Despite generally lower global crop prices, a number of international markets remain strong. On a regional basis, sales improved in Brazil, the Pacific region and the Middle East.

Operating income declined 35% to $41.4 million, but remained strong at 18.9% of segment sales. The decline was due to the lower sales levels and deleverage of both fixed factory costs and SG&A.

Farmers encouraged to watch cattle closely for heat stress

High temperatures, high humidity, solar radiation, and low-speed winds create the perfect environment for heat stress in cattle. Based on the forecast outlook for this afternoon and Tuesday, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is encouraging the state’s cattle producers to be prepared to make some changes that can make cattle more comfortable, especially in the southwest corner today, and the whole state on Tuesday.

“It’s best that producers plan ahead so they can take quick action if those four factors put parts of Iowa in a high risk zone,” says Matt Deppe, the CEO for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. “Compared to other animals, cattle rely on respiration more than sweating to cool down. Wind and cool nights can help, but when temperatures and humidity are high, producers must also consider other ways to keep their livestock comfortable,” he said.

ICA is encouraging cattle producers to take advice from Iowa State University’s Extension Beef Veterinarian, Dr. Grant Dewell, DVM. Dr. Dewell recommends these protective measures:
·    Clean fresh water – consumption of water can double during extreme heat. Cattle need at least 2 gal./100 lbs/day during heat events. Additionally, make sure there is adequate room for cattle to drink, and that supply lines can provide cool water fast enough.
·    Shift to feeding a higher percentage of feed in the afternoon and consider lowering the energy content by 5%.
·    Provide shade if possible. UV radiation is many times the critical factor for livestock losses due to heat stress.
·    Ensure that there are no restrictions to air movement around cattle, such as hay storage.
·    If necessary, begin sprinkling cattle with water if signs of heat stress are evident.

Deppe says producers who start using fans or providing water sprinklers on their cattle should be prepared to use that process until more moderate temperatures return.

Cattle producers can monitor the forecasted heat stress index and find tips for cooling cattle at

Iowa Soybean Association sponsors new events, long-time favorites at state fair

The Iowa State Fair is right around the corner and the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) is doing its part to ensure that fairgoers have fun while learning about agriculture and the role soybean farmers play in helping feed and fuel Iowa, the nation and world.

The association, based in Ankeny and committed to improving the competitiveness of Iowa’s 37,000 soybean farmers, is partnering with the fair and other organizations to bring some old favorites and a few new events to the list of must-see stops:

·         Free rides on fair trams — It’s easy and safe for fairgoers to get from one end of the grounds to the other thanks to the ISA sponsorship of not only the tram tractors and carts, but also the biodiesel that fuels this popular transportation.

·         Ag magic at your fingertips — Through Rhonda Renee’s Thank A Farmer show featuring storytelling, juggling and music, spectators young and old will learn that nearly everything they touch, consume and wear has a direct connection to agriculture and a farmer.  Thirty-minute shows will be performed each day in the Christensen Farms Animal Learning Center at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m.

·         Experience fun for all ages — Inside the Ag Building, participants can learn what Iowa farmers are doing to protect Iowa’s water supply as they meander through Farmville and meet Iowa’s farmers. Fairgoers won’t want to miss ‘Farm With Us’, the new, green screen photo booth where they can become a celebrity in a flash and get a free, printed portrait.

·         Learn more about conservation — Iowa soybean farmers are excelling in environmental protection and practices and will be recognized on the morning of August 13 at the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award ceremony to be held at the Penningroth Center.

·         Relax and play — Fun for children of all ages, Little Hands on Farm located just north of the Animal Learning Center is a place for children to learn how food is grown by participating in a variety of hands-on activities. They can also package soybeans to help feed Iowa’s pork and poultry industries.

·         Eat and enjoy —The Soyfoods Council will present two chances to experience soyfoods at the fair on August 11. The Annual Soy Salad Dressing Professional Chef Contest will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the Ag building — stop by to test the chef’s creations! The second opportunity is a cooking demonstration and soyfoods contest judging at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. in the Elwell Building.

·         Iowa Food & Family Project exhibit – Again this year, the ISA is partnering with the Iowa Food & Family Project to feed people’s curiosity about how food is grown and the dedicated farmers who grow it. The must-see exhibit will feature activities for children and adults and is open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily in the south atrium of the Varied Industries Building. 


The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), announced today that it will host the first Global Conference on Sustainable Beef at the World Trade Events Center in São Paulo, Brazil, Nov. 2-5, 2014. As part of the conference, GRSB will release its long-anticipated definition of global sustainable beef and highlight exciting new developments in beef sustainability.

“GRSB is a global, multi-stakeholder organization focused on improving the sustainability of the beef value chain. We view sustainability as a journey of continuous improvement where economic, societal and environmental factors are balanced to achieve sustainable outcomes” said Cameron Bruett, president of GRSB and head of corporate affairs for JBS USA, the North American subsidiary of JBS S.A., the world’s largest meat processing company, which is headquartered in Brazil. “It is imperative that the broad spectrum of stakeholders involved in the production, processing, distribution, sale and consumption of beef, as well as civil society and allied industries, work together to develop a deeper understanding of sustainability and what it means to their sector, their operations, our society and our planet.”

The conference’s theme, “Sustainable Beef: Building a Vision for Our Future,” sets the framework for the roll-out of GRSB’s principles and criteria, which define sustainable beef and identifies the means to measure progress in the global sustainable beef chain at the national or regional levels. With speakers from around the globe, the conference will also provide a forum for regional sustainability initiatives to showcase their efforts and successes.

“There is some amazing work being done in many regions of the world, particularly in Brazil, in the areas of resource efficiency, genetic improvement, cattle sourcing and capturing efficiencies that will be shared with participants during the conference,” said Eduardo Bastos, President of the Brazilian Roundtable for Sustainable Livestock (GTPS) and Head, Government Affairs, Dow Brazil. “GTPS, as the world’s first regional roundtable on sustainable livestock, and a member of GRSB, looks forward to showcasing the tremendous progress being made in Brazil and how GTPS is making sustainable beef in Brazil a reality.”

Initiated in early 2012, GRSB is the strategic platform where leading stakeholders from the beef industry, environmental organizations and others with an interest in global beef sustainability have agreed to partner in an effort to advance continuous improvement in the global beef value chain through knowledge-sharing, leadership and the adoption of science-based approaches.

GRSB’s initial efforts have focused on collaboration with a wide group of expert stakeholders to identify the principles and criteria that should be included or addressed in an effort to ensure a more sustainable global beef value chain. This effort to define the parameters of sustainable beef has been coordinated by Ruaraidh (Rory) Petre, Executive Director, GRSB.

Petre explained that there are a broad range of ecosystems in which beef can be produced sustainably, which makes a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach an unrealistic goal.

“While a definition for sustainable beef at the global level will have directional validity, it is clear that context-specific elements, including indicators and metrics, will need to be developed at the regional or local level,” said Petre. “It is for this reason, that GRSB promotes the development of regional roundtables, similar to Brazilian Roundtable GTPS, to achieve sustainable on-the-ground improvements. GRSB seeks to influence and empower value chains to make local decisions that lead to positive change, not dictate or prescribe unachievable global standards or certifications.”

The conference will provide an in-depth discussion of those principles and criteria and how they might apply to various regions of the world.
For more information and online registration, please visit

Friday July 18 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extenison Forage Specialist

               Finally.  This week gave many of us the first good stretch of hay making weather all year. What about hay prospects the rest of the year?

               Who would have thought a few months ago that our first good long stretch of haying weather would come in July.  But that’s what happened for many of us.  Lots of hay got baled last week.  Some of that hay may have been laying in the windrow for a couple weeks waiting to get dry, and finally weather cooperated.

               Today, though, let’s look forward instead of behind.  How should we handle the rest of this haying season?

               My primary advice is to move forward with future harvests much like you planned originally.  However, if you still need some higher quality hay for young livestock or other animals with higher nutrient requirements, maybe take your next harvest a bit sooner than usual to get some better quality hay.  Also look ahead towards the projected date of your last cutting.  If it could occur during the winterizing period of mid-September to mid-October, it might be wise to adjust cutting dates to minimize the risk of winter injury.

               For those of you with hay that took weeks to dry, you probably have strips of nice looking regrowth separated by strips of nearly bare ground where windrows were smothering your alfalfa.  If that alfalfa doesn’t come back, you need to consider planting replacement fields later this summer or next spring.

               If it does regrow, be careful about when you take next cutting.  Those smothered plants are really weak.  If you harvest when the good looking plants are ready, many weakened plants might be killed.  If you want to save that field, wait until weakened plants start to bloom, even though the rest may be way too mature.

               Planning haying now could have a big impact for several years.


Milk production in Nebraska during the April-June 2014 quarter totaled 303 million pounds, up one percent from the April-June quarter last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 54,000 head.  

Iowa:  Milk production  in  Iowa during May 2014  totaled 410 million pounds, up 1 percent  from May 2013 and  the highest total  since May  1972. The average number of milk cows during May, at 208,000 head, was 2,000 more than last month. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,970 pounds, the highest average since records started in 1960.

April - June US Milk Production up 1.6 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the April - June quarter totaled 52.8 billion pounds, up 1.6 percent from the April - June quarter last year. The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.25 million head, 39,000 head more than the January - March quarter.

June US Milk Production up 2.0 Percent

Milk production in the 23 major States during June totaled 16.2 billion pounds, up 2.0 Percent from June 2013. May revised production at 16.9 billion pounds, was up 1.6 percent from May 2013. The May revision represented an increase of 25 million pounds or 0.1 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.  Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,888 pounds for June. This is the highest production per cow for the month of June since the 23 State series began in 2003.     The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.57 million head, 11,000 head more than May 2014.

Bus Trip Planned for Iowa Beginning and Young Beef Producers

A two-day bus trip to various locations in Nebraska in early September will offer beginning and young Iowa beef producers unique networking and educational opportunities. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef program specialist Chris Clark said the trip is an organized activity of the Beginning and Young Livestock Producer Network (BYLPN) and includes visits to several operations to provide a wide variety of information, experiences, and discussions.

“We’ll have stops at several different beef operations, a packing facility and the USDA Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska,” Clark said. “Our tour guide, Jacob Mayer of Settje Agri-Services & Engineering, Inc. has been very helpful in identifying and scheduling places with different approaches and strengths, and he’ll be able to help facilitate some good discussions on the trip.”

The trip is set for Thursday and Friday, Sept. 4 and 5, with the bus departing from the Cass County Extension Office in Atlantic at 7 a.m. on Sept. 4. Additional pick-up locations may be added as necessary. The group will overnight at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, 805 Allen Dr., Grand Island, Nebraska, and return the evening of Sept. 5. A block of rooms has been reserved for Sept. 4 at the Fairfield Inn.

“Participants are responsible for their own hotel room fee and can make reservations at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by calling 308-381-8980 and asking for the group rate for Young Producers Group Block no later than Aug. 8,” Clark said. “After that date, rooms will be on an availability basis only.”

The BYLPN is a strategic initiative of ISU Extension and Outreach, with primary goals of creating regional peer groups of young and beginning livestock producers; and offering education, mentorship, and networking opportunities to participants.

“This bus trip is a fitting activity for those already involved in a BYLPN group, but people don’t need to be members of an existing group to participate,” Clark said. “We would love to see some new faces and get more people involved.”

Preregistration by Aug. 20 is required in order to ensure adequate transportation. For more information or to preregister, contact Clark by phone at 712-769-2200 or by email at or email Leann Plowman-Tibken at

Farm Credit Celebrates 98 Years of Service to Agriculture

Nearly 100 years after the U.S. Congress established Farm Credit to serve as a reliable source of credit for the nation's farmers and ranchers, the network of borrower-owned lending institutions and specialized service organizations remains a sound and vital resource for rural America. Thursday marked the cooperative networks' 98th anniversary.

"For 98 years, the Farm Credit System has served agriculture and rural America as a dedicated, reliable, competitive, customer-owned source of credit," said Mary Fritz, owner and operator of Quarter Circle JF Ranch, Inc., a dry land grain and cow-calf operation in Chester, Montana, and chair of the Farm Credit Council board of directors. "America's agricultural producers and rural communities have benefited greatly from the vision and foresight that went into establishing the Farm Credit System."

Today, about 40 percent of the dollar volume of outstanding loans to U.S. farmers and ranchers comes from Farm Credit. The federally chartered network is comprised of 82 privately owned institutions, including four wholesale banks and 78 direct lending associations that operate in every county in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

These local Farm Credit System institutions specialize in providing credit and related services to farmers, ranchers, timber harvesters and aquatic producers. In addition, the Farm Credit System provides financing for the processing and marketing activities of these borrowers, as well as to rural homeowners, certain farm-related businesses, and agricultural and public utility cooperatives.

In support of their mission of service, Farm Credit System institutions also have programs specifically focused on meeting the needs of young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers. In 2013, more than 40 percent of new loans made by Farm Credit were to small producers, those with annual gross agricultural sales of $250,000 or less.

China Makes Its Largest Weekly Purchase of U.S. Sorghum

According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s July 17 report, China has made their largest weekly purchase since entering the market with 11.5 million bushels for the 2013/2014 marketing year and 3.5 million bushels for 2014/2015. China has now purchased a total of 161.9 million bushels of U.S. grain sorghum for the 2013/2014 marketing year, which ends Aug. 31, 2014, bringing total exports to 186.4 million bushels. In addition, China’s purchases of new crop U.S. Sorghum have reached 22.4 million bushels for 2014/2015. Total sorghum exports for the year have reached 186.4 million bushels. Germany also made a purchase of U.S. sorghum this week, their first since 2008 with 2.3 million bushels for 2013/2014 and 2.3 million bushels for 2014/2015.

RMA Seeking Input on Sweet, Biomass Sorghum Insurance Program

USDA’s Risk Management Agency sent a notice yesterday to the insurance industry stating its plans to issue a solicitation for a contract for the research and development of a crop insurance product for biomass sorghum and other sweet sorghum. This comes as a result of efforts from National Sorghum Producers to establish insurance programs for the sweet and biomass segments of the sorghum industry. In the notice, RMA says it is seeking any preparatory input from interested parties about the level of interest from the industry, availability of private insurance products covering biomass sorghum and sweet sorghum, or any other relevant issues that should be considered when carrying out the research and development for any potential program development for biomass sorghum and sweet sorghum crop residues.

USDA's Switch From Science-Based Nutrition Advice to Green Agenda Harms Americans

The naming of an "environmental nutritionist" to a top USDA nutrition post is drawing fire from the National Center for Public Policy Research's Risk Analysis Division.

In an op-ed published in Friday's Des Moines Register, "Iowan’s USDA Appointment Raises Concern," Risk Analysis Division Director Jeff Stier writes, "The appointment of Iowa's Angela Tagtow, a controversial 'environmental nutritionist' and local food activist, to head the United States Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion is causing more headaches for the agency, already facing criticism about politicization of federal nutrition advice and its consequences for public health."

Stier earlier criticized the federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) and its work to establish new recommendations for federal nutrition policy. Stier's concerns have been widely echoed over recent months, given the DGAC's mission creep towards environmental activism. The DGAC is meeting this week in Washington.

In that context, "the appointment of 'food crusader' Angela Tagtow to a USDA position responsible for assessing and implementing the Committee's recommendations is cause for serious concern," says Stier.

In the op-ed, Stier writes, "By using the government's official dietary guidelines as a tool to advance her well-established environmentalist agenda, Tagtow would undermine the USDA's mandate - to provide families with science-based, impartial nutrition advice. The USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services administer the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), which makes recommendations regarding the congressionally mandated Dietary Guidelines. The guidelines, currently being revised, are the basis for Federal food and nutrition programs and welfare benefits such as SNAP and educational campaigns, including MyPlate (formerly the Food Pyramid). The USDA touts them to be 'authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.'"

Stier writes, "According to Politico, recent DGAC meetings raised eyebrows because 'hot-button issues, such as diet and climate change' are being discussed in an unprecedented way. The committee has even dedicated one of five subcommittees to 'Food Sustainability and Safety' to discuss how the food we eat contributes to climate change, and how the government should recommend changes to our diets based on those concerns."

While Stier agrees that maintaining a food supply and environmental protection are important, he says, "these issues don't belong in discussions of healthy eating. But that hasn't stopped the DGAC from delving deeply into them over the past year. In the January meeting of the DGAC, committee member Miriam Nelson gushed about the importance of promoting foods that have the "littlest impact on the environment," and invited testimony from sustainability expert Kate Clancy, who argued it would be "perilous" not to take global climate change into account when dispensing dietary advice.

Stier's earlier criticism drew rebuke from the USDA, for being "premature." In April, a USDA spokesperson seemed to back away from the row by minimizing DGAC's role in policy-making, saying ,"the committee is still in the early stages of its work, so it is premature to guess what their recommendations might be, and even more premature to speculate about what will be included in the final dietary guidelines."

That seems to have changed, Stier notes. "But the appointment of Tagtow to the USDA office responsible for not only developing and promoting the Dietary Guidelines, but advancing prominent programs such as MyPlate, the re-vamped version of the well-known food pyramid, suggests that the agency is doubling down on raising the profile of our diet's alleged affect on the climate, and other issue that have more to do with political science, than nutritional science."

Stier slams Tagtow's firm's mission statement as code language for politically charged activism.

Her firm's goal was "to establish healthier food systems that are resilient, sustainable, ecologically sound, socially acceptable and economically viable..."

Stier points out that Tagtow has written that we should select meat and dairy products from animals that have only been fed grass diets.

In the op-ed, Stier challenges the USDA's new nutrition expert for repeating the "myth that meat is an environmentally-reckless form of protein, suggesting a plant-based diet instead. She says we should reduce our consumption of meat, lean or not, not because of any potential health benefits, but in order to 'conserve natural resources and energy.'"

Stier also debunks Tagtow's alleged economic justifications for her radical agenda. "Tagtow has suggested that Iowans could improve the state's economy by only eating food grown in the state, at least part of the year. She touted a Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture study claiming that 'if Iowans ate five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and Iowa farmers supplied that produce for three months of the year, these additional crops would add $300 million and more than 4,000 jobs to the Iowa economy.'"

"She fails to mention that in her utopian Iowa, residents wouldn't likely enjoy the benefits of staples like oranges or pineapples for those months. Nor does she consider the devastation to Iowa's agricultural community if her agro-protectionist ideals were implemented in other states. Well, now she's headed to the federal government to promote her narrow ideology."

Stier concludes, "The maxim that, in government, 'personnel is policy' is especially true here, given Tagtow's policy-making role. The priorities she's spent her career advancing are far from the consensus among mainstream nutritionists. Her appointment is a slap in the face to thousands of men and women in nutrition who daily work tirelessly and impartially to help Americans eat better. And it casts doubt over whether USDA is willing to dispense nutrition advice based on science rather than an activist agenda."

Thursday July 17 Ag News

Rural Mainstreet Index Weakens in July:  One-Third of Bankers Indicate Corn Prices Below Breakeven
After moving below growth neutral in February, the Rural Mainstreet economy has moved above the 50.0 threshold for five straight months, according to the July survey of bank CEOs in a 10-state area. However, the index has been trending lower since June 2013 when the reading stood at 60.5. 

Overall:  The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI), which ranges between 0 and 100, with 50.0 representing growth neutral, fell to 51.8 from June’s 53.6.

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for July fell to 51.8 from 53.7 in June. The state’s farmland-price index for July sank to 39.2 from 41.3 in June. Nebraska’s new-hiring index decreased to 52.3 from June’s 56.5.

Iowa: The July RMI for Iowa fell to 52.9 from June’s 56.8. The state’s farmland-price index for July slumped to 48.0 from June’s 57.8. Iowa’s new-hiring index for July declined to a healthy 62.3 from June’s 73.9.

“Agriculture commodity prices have plummeted for farmers in our region. The drop has slowed growth in the region according to our survey with prices below breakeven for a significant share of agriculture producers. I expect readings to move even lower as these lower prices spill over into the broader economy in the weeks and months ahead,” said Ernie Goss, Ph.D., the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University Heider College of Business.

Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for July slumped to 48.3 from June’s weak 49.1. “Much weaker crop prices are definitely taking some of the air out of agriculture land prices.  At this point in time, land prices appear to be moving gradually lower without significant volatility,” said Goss.

The July farm-equipment sales index slumped to 33.4 from June’s very weak 35.0. The index has been below growth neutral for 13 straight months. “Farmers have certainly become more cautious in their purchase of both additional land and equipment. This is having negative impacts on implement dealers across the region,” said Goss.

According to a large share of bankers, crop prices, including corn, are close to or below the breakeven price for farmers.   Approximately, one-third of bankers, or 31.6 percent, reported that current crop prices are below farmers’ breakeven price.   As a result, more than four in 10 bankers, or 40.3 percent, expect loan defaults to climb in the year ahead if crop prices remain at current levels.

However, previous strong farm economic conditions are expected to soften the impact of current low prices. According to Todd Douglas, CEO of the First National Bank in Pierre, S.D., “A majority of agriculture borrowers have strong enough balance sheets to cover lower commodity prices for a short-term period, however, not for a sustained period.”

Banking: The July loan-volume index rose to a very healthy 79.8 from June’s robust 74.6. The checking-deposit index increased to 53.5 from June’s 50.9, while the index for certificates of deposit and other savings instruments dipped to 37.8 from 39.4 last month.

“We have been tracking upturns in agriculture lending among bankers. This month bankers reported, on average, a 7.1 percent increase in agriculture lending over the past year.  Lending is likely to continue to expand as a result of low crop commodity prices,” said Goss. 

Hiring: Rural Mainstreet businesses continue to hire at a solid pace, though the July hiring index declined to a healthy 59.7 from June’s 63.2. “Despite weaker conditions in the crop farming sector, businesses in the Rural Mainstreet economy are adding jobs at a very healthy rate and well above the pace in urban areas of the region,” said Goss.

Confidence: The confidence index, which reflects expectations for the economy six months out, plummeted to 42.9 from last month’s 55.5. “Much weaker agriculture commodity negatively affected the outlook of bank CEOs and more than offset an improving outlook for livestock producers,” reported Goss.

Home and retail sales: The July home-sales index dipped to a still healthy 64.1 from 66.1 in June. The July retail-sales index increased to 55.4 from 51.8 in June.  “Strong growth in home and retail sales contrasts to weaker growth at the national level in both areas,” 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.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation - PAC Endorses Doug Peterson for Attorney General

Doug Peterson has received the official “Friend of Agriculture” endorsement by NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Peterson is the Republican Party candidate seeking to win the Nov. 4 General election for Attorney General. 

“Nebraskans are well served when we have an Attorney General who understands the role of agriculture in our state’s economy. Doug Peterson has demonstrated he has a firm grasp on the agriculture issues that can have tremendous impact on the well-being of Nebraska farm and ranch families and because of that we are pleased to support him for Attorney General,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

According to Nelson, Peterson is well qualified, bringing almost 30 years of legal experience to the office. Peterson also comes from a diverse background having worked in both private practice and public service as an Assistant Attorney General and Deputy County Attorney in North Platte.

“Doug’s extensive experience will serve him well in leading on the numerous issues he will face, whether it’s representing Nebraska’s interests against those challenging our state’s management of water resources or defending our state’s rights from federal agency overreach, such as EPA’s most recent efforts to pull ditches and other state waters under the jurisdiction of federal bureaucrats,” said Nelson.

Farm Bureau’s process for making endorsements is a grassroots process determined solely by input from County Farm Bureaus.

“We are pleased to offer our support to Doug Peterson with the backing of our County Farm Bureau’s as he seeks election as our next Attorney General. And we look forward to working with him in that role on behalf of Nebraska farm and ranch families,” Nelson said.

Diversified Cropping System and Cover Crop Tours Aug. 16

            University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Organic Farm Tours from 1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. Aug. 16 will help organic producers learn more about increasing soil health by incorporating cover crops into their cropping systems.

            Tours will start at 1:30 p.m. at the Larry Stanislav farm two miles north of Abie. Participants will join Stanislav to discuss his diverse cropping system of spring wheat, corn, soybean and cover crops.

            Participants will also learn how Stanislav has reduced tillage and managed weeds using a roller crimper and flamer, said UNL Extension soil scientist Charles Shapiro. Stanislav has participated in a Ceres Trust Grant to incorporate a roller crimper into his cropping system.

            Starting at 3:30 p.m. participants will tour Randy Fendrich's farm.

            Fendrich also participated in the grant. He will discuss his cultural practices and crop rotation using a roller crimper and a 12-row flamer/cultivator that he built himself for weed control.

            At 4:30 p.m., Randy Anderson, USDA-ARS research agronomist at the North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Brookings, S.D., will present an update on his research findings.

            Anderson, a weed ecologist, will discuss the goal of his research program to develop a continuous no-till cropping system for organic producers. He will present results on converting red clover fields to cropland without tillage and describe the impact of under seeding clovers in winter and spring wheat on downy brome growth.

            Producers will learn how to minimize the need for tillage to control weeds and how a system based on winterkilled cover crops can control weeds adequately to grow no-till.

            Though this is focused on organic producers, any producer wanting to decrease input costs will find this information useful.

            Producers using no-till rotations can learn more about how continuous no-till rotations can improve land productivity, farm economics, soil health and resource-use-efficiency in the Great Plains.

            After the tours, a free dinner provided by the Fendrich Family will be served at 5 p.m. Reservations are needed. Please call Wendy at 402-584-3837 to RSVP or for more information about the tour or directions.

ISA China trade mission focuses on strengthening relationships, demand

Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and agribusiness leaders will travel to China next week to bolster already strong bonds with soybean buyers and explore new growth opportunities.

The ISA China Mission is scheduled for July 23-Aug. 1. Participants will get the latest updates on soybean demand and policy, visit farms and soybean processors and learn how soybean products can help the country’s growing dairy industry through a first-ever trip by ISA representatives to the province of Inner Mongolia.

The ISA delegation includes President Brian Kemp, who farms near Sibley; President Elect Tom Oswald, who farms near Cleghorn; CEO Kirk Leeds, Market Development Director Grant Kimberley and Senior Writer Matthew Wilde.

“Missions like this help ISA continue to understand the needs of the most important export customer in the world — China. Over the years, ISA leaders have invested a fair amount of time and checkoff dollars to build and grow strong relationships with key and potential customers,” Leeds said.

More than one out of every four rows of U.S. soybeans are exported to China, the world’s largest soybean buyer. U.S. farmers exported a record 1.58 billion bushels in 2013, valued at nearly $28 billion, data shows. Soybean exports this year are on pace to set a new record.

Mission trip highlights include:

·         Meet Chinese government and agricultural business officials in Beijing to learn about soy demand, food policy, production, transportation and issues concerning genetically modified organisms (GMOs), among other things.
·         Visit farms in Hebei province, Iowa’s sister state.
·         Travel to Inner Mongolia to visit dairy farms and feed operations.
·         Tour several soybean processors, including Hopefull Grain & Oil Group Co. and COFCO (China Oilseed & Feed Corporation), the nation’s largest. Stops at ports, livestock farms and feed mills are also on the agenda.

Though ISA officials will meet with Chinese leaders in Beijing and visit major population centers, Leeds said it’s important to visit areas where “new growth” for soybeans and soybean meal is projected.

“That’s why we are so anxious to visit Inner Mongolia, which we believe is poised for solid growth in the next decade,” Leeds said.

The best way to understand customer needs is by showing up at their doorstep and boardrooms, ISA officials say. Iowa has a special connection with China, fostered in part by a longstanding relationship between Gov. Terry Branstad and President Xi Jinping and groups like ISA and the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

Kimberley said these relationships and visits build customer preference and brand recognition. Chinese agriculture and business officials recently toured Rick and Martha Kimberley’s farm near Maxwell following a soybean purchasing ceremony in Des Moines.

“These relationships are important to proactively address any potential trade issues by building mutual understanding, trust and admiration for Iowa and U.S. soybeans,” Kimberley said.

Northey to Visit 6 Iowa Counties July 18 and 19

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey Wednesday announced that he will be visiting Dickinson, Osceola, Sioux, Cherokee, O'Brien and Pocahontas Counties on Friday, July 18 and Saturday, July 19.

On Friday Northey will speak to the Community Bankers of Iowa in Okoboji, visit the Osceola County Fair in Sibley, speak at the Floyd River Water Quality Initiative Project kickoff near Maurice and visit the Cherokee County Fair in Cherokee. On Saturday he will visit the O'Brien County fair in Primghar and the Pocahontas County Fair in Pocahontas.

The details of the visits follow here:

July 18

-- Dickinson County -- 7:30 a.m., speak at the Community Bankers of Iowa management conference, Arrowwood Resort, Bayhill Room, 1405 Hwy 71, Okoboji
-- Osceola County -- 9 a.m., visit the Osceola County Fair, 209 W. 9th St., Sibley
-- Sioux County -- 12 p.m., speak at the West Branch of the Floyd River Water Quality Initiative project kickoff, Maassen and Sons Dairy, 4733 Hickory Ave., Maurice
-- Cherokee County -- 4 p.m., visit the Cherokee County Fair, 200 Linden St., Cherokee

June 19

-- O'Brien County -- 8:30 a.m., visit the O'Brien County Fair, 4536 Starling Ave., Primghar
-- Pocahontas County -- 11 a.m., visit the Pocahontas County Fair, 310 NE 1st St., Pocahontas

Northey, a corn and soybean farmer from Spirit Lake, is serving his second term as Secretary of Agriculture. His priorities as Secretary of Agriculture are promoting the use of science and new technologies to better care for our air, soil and water, and reaching out to tell the story of Iowa agriculture.

Roberts-Heitkamp Bill to Enhance Farmer Customer Protections

U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) Wednesday introduced a bill to enhance customer protections for farmers and ranchers by preventing regulations from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from being overly laborious and making it significantly more difficult for farmers and ranchers to make economical trades on commodities.

Following the collapses of MF Global and Peregrine Financial Group, the CFTC proposed and finalized customer protection rules to help regulators better recognize trouble in firms before they occur. While some changes to the regulations are beneficial, the rules enacted by the CFTC could overly burden those who rely on futures markets to hedge risks, such as local farmers and ranchers, grain merchants, and futures brokers.

The residual interest rule from the CFTC will eventually require futures customers to fully cover the margin of their futures contracts by the morning of the day following a trade. In order to comply with the new rule, brokers would be more likely to demand drastically increased initial payments from farmers, hurting the availability of funds that support the agriculture industry. The end result may drive some farmers out of futures markets due to increased costs or restrict capital that could otherwise be used to hire, make capital improvements, and make other critical investments.

The Senators' bill, S. 2601, the Risk Hedging Protection Act simply provides futures customers with an additional day to get their needed payments to brokers to meet the margin call, while still protecting customers and the financial markets.

"As the Senate Agriculture committee works to reauthorize the Commodity Exchange Act, one of my biggest priorities is protecting end users like farmers, ranchers and grain elevators from over-burdensome or unrealistic regulations," Roberts said. "This legislation ensures that the CFTC rules work in the countryside as well as on paper."

"The reckless behavior by firms like MF Global put the livelihoods of hardworking North Dakotans at risk, and the CFTC is right to make changes that help identify bad practices. However, the rules need to be workable, so farmers can continue to make investments in grain, corn, wheat, and other products in the futures markets, and get their high-quality products to customers. This bipartisan bill is a commonsense fix to strike that right balance," said Heitkamp.

The bill mirrors legislation, H.R. 4413, already approved by the House Agriculture Committee and the full House of Representatives.

Senator Roberts, a former Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, has been a vocal opponent to the residual interest requirements. He questioned former CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler on the proposed rules at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing in February of 2013, and wrote the President regarding the rule and its impacts on rural America.

Senator Heitkamp is a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and has pushed to address the concerns of end users related to the regulation of futures and swaps markets. Senator Heitkamp recently met with CFTC Chairman Tim Massad to stress the importance of end user access to important risk mitigation tools offered in the markets regulated by the CFTC.

Farm Bureau Decodes Water Rule Proposal, Asks EPA to Rescind

The American Farm Bureau Federation last night released to Congress a comprehensive document that responds, point by point, to numerous inaccurate and misleading comments made about the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest clean water rule. Nancy Stoner, EPA acting assistant administrator for water, made the statements in a recent agency blog post.

AFBF’s document explains – with specific citations to the proposed rule and other authorities – how the rule would give EPA broad Clean Water Act jurisdiction over dry land features and farming practices long declared off-limits by Congress and the nation’s highest court.

“AFBF and several state Farm Bureaus have met with the EPA repeatedly, and each time agency officials have declined to grapple with the serious, real world implications of the rule,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said. “EPA is now engaged in an intensive public relations campaign, and we believe its statements are directly contrary to the reality of the proposed rule.

“We have therefore decided to take our arguments to a wider audience, as well. Farm Bureau is dedicated to communicating to farmers, their elected representatives and the public how the proposed rule will impose costly and time-intensive federal permitting regimes on commonplace and essential practices that our nation’s farmers and ranchers depend on. Agency inspectors and courts will apply the rule, not EPA’s talking points. It’s time for the agency to ditch this rule and start over.”

AFBF hopes this document will contribute to the ongoing discussion in Congress regarding the rule and its implications not only for farming, but for the U.S. economy more broadly.

The document can be found here:

A shorter sampling of some of the most important points can be found here:

EPA Official Discusses WOTUS and RFS

The deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency addressed the concerns of attendees at the National Corn Growers Association's Corn Congress delegate session Thursday afternoon, regarding proposed rules for the Waters of the U.S. and the 2014 volume obligation of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

"We greatly appreciate the deputy administrator's willingness to participate in an open, well-considered conversation," said NCGA President Martin Barbre. "While we certainly have concerns over the proposed WOTUS and interpretive rules, we hope that by working with the EPA we will be able to shape a final rule that addresses them adequately."

Following his address to the delegation, EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe answered questions from the farmer delegates and members of the NCGA Corn Board. Stressing the interests shared by the EPA and farmers, whom he called America's original environmentalists, Perciasepe pointed to a common need for clear air and water. He expressed the EPA's desire to work directly with agriculture to improve both the rules clarifying the Clean Water Act and the proposed volumes under the RFS.

In his comments, Perciasepe said was confident that the EPA will be able to construct a final WOTUS rule  that addresses the concerns brought forward by farmers, saying at one point: "If you didn't need a permit then, you will not need one" after the rule becomes final.

During the question-and-answer period, growers brought forward a series of issues, including a lack of clarity under the proposed interpretive rules, the need for clearly written intent language, and the need for formalized assurances. Notably, one delegates invited the deputy administrator to visit his farm to see his practices and issues first-hand.

Additionally, Perciasepe fielded questions pertaining to critical concerns over both the reduction in volume, and the continued delays of final 2014 renewable volume obligations of the RFS.

EPA's Second-in-Command Resigns

(AP) --- The No. 2 environmental official under President Barack Obama is resigning to head a nonprofit group dedicated to energy and climate change.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Thursday announced the resignation of Bob Perciasepe (pur-cha-SEP'-ee). He was appointed deputy administrator in 2009 as the Obama administration tapped the EPA to tackle pollution blamed for global warming.

The 63-year-old Perciasepe briefly led the agency after EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson stepped down in 2013.

His resignation ends a 13-year career at EPA spanning both the Obama and Clinton administrations. He worked at the National Audubon Society prior to his latest stint at the agency.

He will become president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions think tank in Washington, D.C.

FSA takes action on CRP changes

On July 15, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a draft Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (SPEIS) for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) based on the changes made in the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is taking action on the new provisions included in the bill and the few additional administrative actions in the SPEIS. The actions addressed are: continuous enrollment of grasslands, enrollment in other conservation programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Agriculture Conservation Easement Program; managed harvesting frequency; routine grazing frequency; targeting enrollment of environmentally sensitive lands through reverse auctions; and expanding the flexibility of emergency haying and grazing in drought designated areas on additional conservation practices. Many of the changes in the farm bill increase the flexibility of CRP acres and the frequency of haying and grazing. FSA will be accepting comments until September 8 and will be holding five public meetings.  All five meetings will be from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
-    July 21 at Hilton Garden Inn, Spokane Airport, Spokane, Wash.
-    July 22 at Holiday Inn, Great Falls, Mont.
-    August 4 at Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, Lubbock, Texas
-    August 5 at Stillwater Library, Stillwater, Okla.
-    August 6 at Courtyard by Marriott and Moorhead Area, Moorhead, Minn.

Scientists complete chromosome-based draft of the wheat genome

Several Kansas State University researchers were essential in helping scientists assemble a draft of a genetic blueprint of bread wheat, also known as common wheat. The food plant is grown on more than 531 million acres around the world and produces nearly 700 million tons of food each year.

The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, which also includes faculty at Kansas State University, recently published a chromosome-based draft sequence of wheat's genetic code, which is called a genome. "A chromosome-based draft sequence of the hexaploid bread wheat genome" is one of four papers about the wheat genome that appear in the journal Science.

The genetic blueprint is an invaluable resource to plant science researchers and breeders, said Eduard Akhunov, associate professor of plant pathology and a collaborator with the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium.

"For the first time, they have at their disposal a set of tools enabling them to rapidly locate specific genes on individual wheat chromosomes throughout the genome," Akhunov said. "This resource is invaluable for identifying those genes that control complex traits, such as yield, grain quality, disease, pest resistance and abiotic stress tolerance. They will be able to produce a new generation of wheat varieties with higher yields and improved sustainability to meet the demands of a growing world population in a changing environment."

Although a draft, the sequence provides new insight into the plant's structure, organization, evolution and genetic complexity.

"This is a very significant advancement for wheat genetics and breeding community," Akhunov said. "The wheat genome sequence provides a foundation for studying genetic variation and understanding how changes in the genetic code can impact important agronomic traits. In our lab we use this sequence to create a catalog of single base changes in DNA sequence of a worldwide sample of wheat lines to get insights into the evolution and origin of wheat genetic diversity."

Akhunov, Shichen Wang, a programmer and bioinformatics scientist in plant pathology, and Jesse Poland, assistant professor of plant pathology, collaborated with the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium to order genes along the wheat chromosomes.

Other Kansas State University researchers in the department of plant pathology involved include Bikram Gill, university distinguished professor and director of the Wheat Genetics Resource Center, and Bernd Friebe, research professor, who developed genetic material that was essential for obtaining the chromosome-based sequence of the wheat genome.

A second paper in Science details the first reference sequence of chromosome 3B, the largest chromosome in common wheat.

"The wheat genome only has 21 chromosomes, but each chromosome is very big and therefore quite complicated," Akhunov said. "The largest chromosome, 3B, has nearly 800 million letters in its genetic code. This is nearly three times more information than is in the entire rice genome. So trying to sequence this chromosome — and this genome — end-to-end is an extremely complicated task."

In order to analyze the vast amount of genetic information, researchers used a technique called shotgun sequencing. This divided the wheat genome into chromosomes and then split each chromosome into smaller segments. Chromosomal segments were analyzed by short gene sequences and overlapping sequences were stitched together with computer software.

The chromosome-based daft sequence the critical step before the full wheat genome is sequenced, Akhunov said. The sequencing approach developed for the 3B chromosome can now be applied for sequencing the remaining chromosomes in wheat. The consortium estimates the full genome sequence will be available in three years.

The research is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

"Wheat is a staple source of food for the majority of the world. As the global population continues to rapidly increase, we will need all the tools available to continue producing enough food for all people in light of a changing climate, diminishing land and water resources and changing diets and health expectations," said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture and a former Kansas State University faculty member. "This work will give a boost to researchers looking to identify ways to increase wheat yields."

Respiratory protection videos on Agricultural Centers YouTube channel

The best agricultural safety videos – now just one click away – can be found on the U.S Agricultural Safety and Health Centers YouTube channel, at  The channel is a joint project of the 10 Agricultural Centers funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Over 40 videos are now available for Extension agents/educators, agricultural science teachers, producers/owner/operators, first responders and agricultural families.  Videos can be used during job orientation, safety/health education, 4-H meetings, high school or college classes. One benefit of YouTube is that videos can be accessed from mobile devices to conduct tailgate trainings in the field.

Summer is a good time to remind people involved in agricultural work to use respirators when they are in dusty conditions or working with chemicals.  Choosing, using and fitting the right respirator is the key to protecting your lungs.  Four videos on the U.S Agricultural Safety and Health Centers YouTube site discuss respiratory protection:
-  How to Get the Right Fit
-  How to Properly Care for Your Mask
-  Choosing the Right Mask for Your Agricultural Job
-  Understanding the Risks

These videos provide information about:
·         How long term exposures to agricultural dusts and gases can cause permanent damage to your lungs leading to chronic bronchitis, an asthma-like condition, lung scarring, or emphysema.
·         The fact that farmers have the highest rate of disabilities from respiratory conditions.
·         Symptoms of respiratory hazard exposure include: severe shortness of breath with exertion, chronic coughing, periodic flu-like symptoms, sinus problems and nasal drainage and chest tightness and wheezing after working in agricultural dusts.
·         How respirators prevent dusts, molds, and other hazards from entering your airway and lungs.
·         How serious diseases can result from one-time and repeated exposure to respiratory hazards.
·         How you must always use the proper respirator for the specific hazard. Your dust/mist respirator will not protect you from ammonia fumes, though the two may look very similar.
·         The importance of knowing that respirators must: have two straps, fit your face tightly, without gaps around the nose, cheeks, and chin, be appropriate for the task and be approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Check the site regularly for new content and fresh ideas about how to stay safe while working in agriculture, forestry and fishing.  Each video has been produced and reviewed by experts in agricultural, forestry and fishing occupational hazards.  Other topics include: livestock safety, tractor and machinery safety, child development, emergency response, grain safety, pesticide safety, heat illness prevention, ladder safety and hearing protection.  For more information visit:, or email us at:

Historic Farm Bill Funding Available to Organic Producers and Handlers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today 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.

"Consumer demand for organic products is surging across the country," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "To meet this demand, we need to make sure that small farmers who choose to grow organic products can afford to get certified. Organic food is now a multi-billion dollar industry, and helping this sector continue to grow creates jobs across the country."

The certification assistance is distributed through two programs within the Agricultural Marketing Service. Through the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, $11.5 million is available to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories. Through the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, an additional $1.5 million is available to organic operations in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

These programs provide cost-share assistance through participating states to USDA certified organic producers and handlers for certification-related expenses they incur from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014. Payments cover up to 75 percent of an individual producer's or handler's certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 per certification. To receive cost-share assistance, organic producers and handlers should contact their state agencies. Each state will have their own guidelines and requirements for reimbursement, and the National Organic Program (NOP) will assist states as much as possible to successfully implement the programs. State contact information can be found on the NOP Cost Share Website,

In 2012 alone, USDA issued close to 10,000 cost-share reimbursements totaling over $6.5 million, to support the organic industry and rural America. Additional information about resources available to small and mid-sized producers, including accessing capital, risk management, locating market opportunities and land management is available on USDA's Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources webpage.

USDA has a number of new and expanded efforts to connect organic farmers and businesses with resources that will ensure the continued growth of the organic industry domestically and abroad. During this Administration, USDA has signed four major trade agreements on organic products, and is also helping organic stakeholders access programs that support conservation, provide access to loans and grants, fund organic research and education, and mitigate pest emergencies. Through the NOP, USDA has helped organic farmers and businesses achieve $35 billion annually in U.S. retail sales. The organic community includes over 25,000 organic businesses in more than 120 different countries around the world.

Today's funding announcement for organic certification cost-share assistance was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

For additional information contact Dana Stahl, Organic Certification Cost Share Program Manager,, (540) 361-1126. Additional information is available on the NOP's website at

The NOP is responsible for ensuring the integrity of USDA organic agricultural products in the United States and throughout the world. Find out more about organic certification by visiting

DuPont Pioneer Launches Encirca Yield to Enhance Input Management

DuPont Pioneer is launching its new Encirca Yield services platform and enrolling growers today to help them improve timing, placement and management of critical inputs to enhance the overall productivity and profitability of every acre.

“Growers are working harder than ever to manage their margins during a difficult economic environment,” said Steve Reno, DuPont Pioneer vice president, regional business director for U.S. and Canada. “The Encirca Yield services platform provides a new way for our customers to assess their crop’s performance in real-time and make management decisions that will ultimately improve their operation’s bottom line.”

The Encirca Yield platform relies on several innovative enabling technologies that mimic crop production throughout the growing season. Strategic collaborations with eight U.S. land grant universities, the USDA and University of Missouri, and DTN/The Progressive Farmer are providing enhanced crop modeling, advanced soil mapping and hyper-local weather data to fuel the analytics featured in Encirca Yield.

A key part of this new premium offering is the Nitrogen Management Service. Nitrogen (N) is one of the most difficult inputs to use efficiently and misuse can be costly. Pioneer agronomists estimate growers can lose an estimated $50 to $60 per acre by applying too much or too little Nitrogen. The Encirca Yield Nitrogen Management Service gives growers information to help them limit these losses and secure more profit from each acre.

Pioneer helps growers with this analysis through insights provided by a local Encirca certified services agent utilizing the data pulled from the field.

“Local Encirca certified services agents are versed in the industry-leading technology and analytics we provide,” Reno said. “They can help customers with plans tailored to each field based on growing conditions and reassess throughout the season. This helps growers determine the right amounts to apply at the right time to enhance their yield and profit potential.”

Encirca Yield is the newest instrument in the Encirca services arsenal. It joins the Encirca View platform launched earlier this year. Encirca View is a free mobile-enabled information hub offering organized crop observations and notes, and an industry first – Community View – provides real-time aggregated insight into crop conditions and soil moisture ratings. Users can upgrade to fee-based Encirca View Premium for field-by-field weather powered by individual weather stations and commodity market news and insight.

The Encirca services platforms are agronomically driven and will help farmers make whole-farm, real-time choices on important elements to farm successfully, driving the future of decision-based agriculture forward and improving productivity for American agriculture.

Wednesday July 16 Ag News

UNL Beef Feedlot School to be Held in West Point Aug 14

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be offering a Beef Feedlot School at West Point, NE in August.  Feedlot employees in the area are encouraged to attend the event on August 14th at the Cuming County fairgrounds in West Point.  The goal of this program is to assist with the training of feedlot employees in the areas of animal health, management, nutrition, and Beef Quality Assurance (BQA training).  

Feedlot Audits– Mr. Rob Eirich

Third party audits are not new to cattlemen but this topic has regained interest because consumers want to know how and where their beef is raised. Rob Eirich identifies what information is being requested and how this will help to improve product integrity and consumer confidence. There are several key elements for 3rd Party Audits and tools available to assist feedyards.
Dealing With Foot Problems In Feedlots- Dr Richard Randle

The occurrence of foot rot is variable and often dependent on season.  During periods of extreme moisture, drought, frozen pen conditions or mud the incidence can increase.  Dr Randle will discuss the common causes, proper identification, and treatment options currently available.  Examples of feet from the packing plant will be used to discuss common challenges observed in feedlots.
Rumen Anatomy & Physiology- Feedlot Nutrition- Dr Matt Luebbe

Understanding the relationship between ruminal microorganisms and the host is a key component to feedlot nutrition and management.  Basic principles of nutrition and management will be discussed using the Husker Beef Lab and a ruminally fistulated steer.
Optional Beef Quality Assurance Training (BQA)

BQA training will be offered immediately following the School by Rob Eirich.  Additional cost for BQA training is $20/person.

The program will start with registration at 1:00 and adjourn at 4:45 with an optional Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training at 5:00.

Please pre-register by phone, fax, e-mail, or mail, by Friday, August 8th for the Feedlot School ($10/person or $20 at the door). To Register Contact: Matt Luebbe at the Panhandle Research & Extension Center,   4502 Avenue I, Scottsbluff, NE  69361. Or  Phone: 308-632-1260 - Fax: 308-632-1260 - E-mail:  Please do not send cash.

For more information or to pre-register please contact Matt Luebbe ( at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center ph. 308-632-1260.

Farmland prices stabilize in Iowa, increase in Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming

Prices and demand for farmland remained strong in the first six months of 2014 in the four-state territory of Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica). Farmland values appear to have stabilized in Iowa, where the market showed signs of softening in the last half of 2013. In Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, land values continue to increase.

The number of auctions remained at 2013 levels in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota after dropping 25 percent from a historic high in 2012. Cropland in these three states showed the greatest gains through June 2014. In Wyoming, much of the increase in farm values was driven by strong livestock prices.

These findings are based on FCSAmerica’s  semi-annual appraisal of 64 farms identified as benchmarks for land value and real estate trends. The FCSAmerica appraisal team updates values for its benchmark farms based on real estate sales through January 1 and July 1 of each year, providing one of the most robust agricultural real estate valuation databases in the Midwest.

Lower commodity prices had led to reports in early 2014 of more cautious land buyers and declining farmland values. But several years of record high profitable production and low interest rates continued to positively impact the farmland market through June. As a whole, the 64 benchmark farms rose in value by 2.4 percent in the first six months of 2014.

The chart below shows the average change in benchmark farm values by state. The number of benchmark farms for each state is shown in parenthesis.

State                    Six Month     One Year      Five Year        Ten Year

Iowa  (21)               -0.9%            -3.7%        103.0%        245.5%
Nebraska  (18)        1.5%             2.2%        143.6%         314.7%
South Dakota  (23)  5.8%             13.6%       117.2%        332.7%
Wyoming  (2)          5.8%              9.5%           7.8%          68.6%


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialsit

               Can a Horse Whisperer help you handle cattle more easily?  Find out in August at the Nebraska Grazing Conference.

               Curt Pate, one of the consultants on the movie, “The Horse Whisperer”, will discuss and demonstrate low-stress animal handling techniques during the Nebraska Grazing Conference in Kearney.  Pate, who is sponsored in part by the Beef Checkoff, will talk about stockmanship and stewardship, then be followed by three Nebraska ranchers who have used low stress methods on grazinglands.

               The conference begins on Tuesday, August 12, at the Kearney Ramada.  Please note that this location is different from previous years.  While the location may be different, the topics will be as useful as ever.

               Among the featured topics will be ranchers and experts describing livestock watering options as well as research and on-ranch experience with mob grazing.  Grazing management that helps grasslands recover from drought will be discussed from both native range and managed pasture perspectives.  And along with this discussion will be a demonstration of a mobile app that will make monitoring changes in your grazinglands easier.

               Other topics will include the impact of grazing on soil health, dual purpose switchgrass for bioenergy or forage, and wildlife responses to grazing strategies.

               Full registration for the 2-day conference is $80 if postmarked by August 1 and $95 at the door.  The one-day registration rate is $45 by August 1 and $55 at the door.

               Make plans now to attend the Nebraska Grazing Conference at the Kearney Ramada on August 12 and 13.  For more information, contact your local extension office.

NCTA, Governor to dedicate pivot at “Celebrate Irrigation 2014”

College students learning irrigation technology skills will get a chance to show off a new teaching tool at their Curtis campus on September 12.

Agricultural partners and educators joined forces for the new Irrigation Technician concentration at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.  They will dedicate a new center pivot system with a ribbon cutting and program, “NCTA Celebrates Irrigation 2014.”

Governor Dave Heineman is the keynote speaker at an 11 a.m. program, along with NCTA students, University of Nebraska leaders, and Chris Roth, president of Reinke Manufacturing, Inc., of Deshler, Neb.

Reinke is partnering with NCTA to develop the new technical skill course, and donated not only supplies and advice but in late May donated and installed the latest in technology, a GPS-equipped center pivot at the NCTA field laboratory, said Ron Rosati, NCTA dean.

“We appreciate our great partnership with Reinke, which allows us to provide hands-on learning from the welding and electronics laboratories to the farm field,” Rosati said. “This is another example of partnership between the private sector and NCTA providing opportunities for students and strengthening the agricultural economy of Nebraska.”

Nebraska irrigates more than 8.5 million acres of crops through surface and groundwater supplies.

Upgrades in technology and water efficiency requirements have prompted farmers around the globe to convert to center pivots, creating demand for trained technicians to install and maintain the systems.

The NCTA program will be the only certificate training program (16 credit hours) offered by a Nebraska college. Students will be prepared to enter the workforce immediately, or take additional training for an associate degree.

Ken Goodall, Reinke’s western U.S. sales director, said Reinke is matching $1,000 pledges from dealers for college scholarships up to $2,000 per student, in return for a pledge to work three years as an irrigation technician.

Corn Congress Elects Five Growers to 2015 Corn Board

Delegates attending the National Corn Growers Association's Corn Congress in Washington this morning elected five farmers to serve on the organization's Corn Board.  Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA's 2015 fiscal year, is new board member Jim Zimmerman of Wisconsin.  Current board members Bob Bowman of Iowa, Lynn Chrisp of Nebraska, Kevin Skunes of North Dakota and Paul Taylor of Illinois were re-elected.

"Each year, we have a terrific slate of candidates for the Corn Board, growers who have already had an impressive career of volunteer service for American agriculture," NCGA Chairwoman Pam Johnson, who chairs the nominating committee, said. "It's inspiring to see such an interest on the part of these growers, especially at a time when our industry faces so many challenges. They are all going to be a great addition to the board, and do great things for all farmers."

Bowman, who currently serves on NCGA's Corn Board, functions as the board's liaison to the Research and Business Development Team. He also serves as president of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. He is a past president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and past member of the U.S. Meat Exporters Federation Executive Committee. He farms with his son, growing row crops, including some identity-preserved production, in addition to running a custom fertilizer and pesticide application business.

Also a current Corn Board member, Chrisp acts as liaison to the Ethanol Committee. Additionally, he serves on both the Finance and CEO Search Committees. Previously, he has served as the Corn Board's liaison to the Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team, chaired NCGA's National Corn Yield Contest and served on the Nebraska Corn Growers Association Executive Committee. He farms a highly productive irrigated operation in south central Nebraska consisting of 1,150 acres.  With his son Brandon and part-time seasonal help, Lynn raises mostly corn with some soybeans.

Skunes, who was also reelected to the Corn Board, serves as liaison to the Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. He previously chaired both the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council and the North Dakota Farm Bureau. Along with his wife, Betty, and their two sons, he farms 4,900 acres of corn and soybeans in Cass Country, N.D.

Current Corn Board member Paul Taylor serves on NCGA's Association Relations Committee and as the association's representative to 25x'25. In the past, he has served as vice chair of the NCGA Ethanol Committee and as president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and Wisconsin Soybean Association. Taylor continues a farming tradition on land which has been in his family for nearly 100 years in northern Illinois. There, he raises corn, seed corn, food-grade non-GMO soybeans and canning vegetables for Del Monte, including sweet corn, lima beans and green peas. While he no longer raises livestock personally, he continues to value that component of our agricultural system.

Current NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Zimmerman was the only new member elected to the Corn Board. He serves as a director for the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board and an advisor to the Integrated Pest and Crop Management Program. Formerly, he served as president of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association. Zimmerman farms corn, soybeans and wheat in east central Wisconsin. A strong advocate for innovation in agriculture, his operation utilizes precision farming techniques and no-till/strip-till practices. In addition to his farm, he runs a 550,000-bushel grain storage facility, holding a state grain dealer license and a federal warehouse license.

The NCGA Corn Board represents the organization on all matters while directing both policy and supervising day-to-day operations. Board members represent the federation of state organizations, supervise the affairs and activities of NCGA in partnership with the chief executive officer and implement NCGA policy established by the Corn Congress. Members also act as spokesmen for the NCGA and enhance the organization's public standing on all organizational and policy issues.

Farmland Leasing Meetings Provide Timely Information

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering farm leasing meetings throughout Iowa during July and August. The three-hour workshops focus on issues related to land values and rental rates,  Iowa’s Water Quality Initiative, and the Agricultural Act of 2014.

Farm management specialists with ISU Extension and Outreach are addressing current cash rental rate surveys, factors driving next year's rents such as market trends and input costs, and answering questions land owners, tenants or others attending have about farmland leasing. Each workshop attendee receives a 100-page booklet of useful materials about farm leasing arrangements.

Other topics include Iowa Cash Rental Rate Survey and Land Values Survey, comparison of different types of leases, impacts of yields and prices, and calculating a fair cash rent.

Meeting locations are listed online through the ISU Extension and Outreach Calendar at and are available by contacting a local county extension office. Meeting fees and registration requirements may vary by location.  Here's the schedule so far....

Monday, July 28, 2014
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Oskaloosa/Mahaska County
    1:30 PM - 4:00 PM  Farmland Leasing & Land Value   Spirit Lake/Dickinson County
    6:30 PM - 9:00 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Cherokee/Cherokee County

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Boone/Boone County
    6:30 PM - 9:00 PM  Farmland Leasing and Land Value Meeting   Le Mars/Plymouth County

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM  FArmland Leasing and Land Value Meeting   Emmetsburg/Palo Alto County
    1:30 PM - 4:00 PM  Farmland Leasing and Land Value Meeting   Estherville/Emmet County
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Nashua/Chickasaw County
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Nashua/Floyd County
    6:30 PM - 8:30 PM  Farmland Leasing    Spencer/Clay County
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting    Altoona/Polk County

Thursday, July 31, 2014
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Nevada/Story County
    9:00 AM - 11:00 AM  Farmland Leasing & Land Value Meeting   Pocahontas/Pocahontas County
    1:30 PM - 4:00 PM  Farmland Leasing & Land Value Workshop   Storm Lake/Buena Vista County
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Grinnell/Poweshiek County
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM  Grinnell Farmland Leasing Meeting - July 31   Grinnell/Poweshiek County

ISU Extension and Outreach and Ag Decision Maker have several helpful farm leasing information files and decision tools.  They can be found at under the heading Whole Farm.

IA DNR Stakeholder Advisors to Review Water Quality Standards Aug. 20

Water quality stakeholder technical advisors will meet Aug. 20 in Des Moines to help Iowa DNR prioritize issues and set water quality goals for Iowa's streams and rivers.

Every three years, Iowans have the opportunity to provide input to the Iowa DNR to help set goals and participate in ensuring water quality standards are current. The DNR began this process Feb. 17 by meeting with DNR staff and the 2011 technical team. The process continues with the stakeholder meeting Aug. 20 from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., in the fourth floor conference rooms at the Wallace Building, 502 E. Ninth St. Des Moines.

This meeting will include a discussion of current and new water quality standards and issues the DNR and stakeholders know about and the feasibility and concerns associated with these.

Following this meeting, the "triennial review" process will seek input during six public meetings to be held around the state in early September. Written comments are also encouraged.

The completed product of this process will include a Triennial Review Work Plan summarizing the state's water quality standards goals for the next three years.

The three-year review is mandated in the federal Clean Water Act, and Iowa's clean water program is covered under Chapter 61 of the Iowa Administrative Code. Questions about the review process should be directed to Rochelle Weiss, DNR water quality standards coordinator, 515-281-4736, or

Southerland Introduces Legislation to Sink EPA’s Land Grab

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corp of Engineers continue to be in hot water on Capitol Hill over the proposed rule expanding federal jurisdiction over “waters of the United States.” The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council applaud the efforts of Rep. Southerland (R-Fla.) today to invalidate this rule.

Under the proposal, nearly all waters in the country will be subject to regulation, regardless of size or continuity of flow. Southerland’s bill H.R. 5078 Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protect Act halts any action of the EPA and the Corps regarding the proposed definition of “waters of the United States.”

“The EPA continues to claim that their proposal does not expand the reach of the Clean Water Act,” said Bob McCan, NCBA President and Texas cattleman, “but the way the proposal is written, there is no other interpretation. The vague and subjective wording gives regulators the authority and access to nearly any water, and with it, all land use activities including ranching.”

For the first time, ditches are included in the definition of a “tributary” and many will now come under federal jurisdiction. Activities near a jurisdictional ditch will now require a federal permit. As a result, many cattle operations will be required to get Sec. 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, Sec. 404 Dredge and Fill permits or Sec. 311 Spill Prevention Control, and Countermeasure spill plans.

The bill also includes a provision previously offered as stand-alone legislation by Rep. Ribble (R-Wis.) that will invalidate the “interpretive” rule, which attempts to define and interpret the “normal farming, silviculture and ranching activities” exemptions under Sec. 404 of the Clean Water Act.

According to the EPA, the 56 exempted NRCS practices, including prescribed grazing, were chosen because they have the potential to discharge if they are done in a “water of the U.S.” Effectively, the agencies have made cattle grazing a discharge activity, forcing cattle producers to obtain a NRCS-approved grazing plan or else be subjected to the 404 permitting scheme and the penalties under the Clean Water Act. 

“This proposal takes the authority Congress granted EPA far beyond the scope of Congressional intent,” said Public Lands Council President Brice Lee, a Colorado rancher. “Not only is this illegal, but it clearly disregards the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Clean Water Act jurisdiction. We appreciate Mr. Southerland and Mr. Ribble’s efforts to prevent the agencies from finalizing this regulation, which we see as the largest federal land grab in history.”

NCBA and PLC strongly support this legislation and encourages the House to pass this bill, protecting the rights of private property owners across the country.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 7/11/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 943,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 39.61 million gallons daily. That is up 16,000 b/d from the week before. 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 17.9 million barrels. That is a 1.9% decrease from last week.

Imports of ethanol were 5,000 b/d, down from last week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 380.4 million gallons daily.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.41%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.298 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 105,242 metric tons of livestock feed, 93,824 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.91 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

CME to Review Livestock Trading Hours

CME Group Inc. plans to review trading hours for its benchmark livestock futures contracts, a spokesman said Wednesday.

CME has contacted some customers of its futures markets to discuss potential changes to the current trading session, after some have cited high volatility in the market and, at-times, sporadic trading activity.

"Livestock customers and industry participants have asked us to review existing livestock trading hours to ensure we are providing the most effective risk-management and price-discovery tools possible and that they continue to reflect the changing needs of our customers and the market," said Chris Grams, spokesman for CME, in an email. "We are beginning that process based on customer feedback."

CME, the world's largest futures exchange operator in terms of trading activity, maintains the main U.S. market for trading contracts reflecting anticipated prices for cattle and hogs.

The main trading session for those contracts, which includes trading in CME's Chicago-based pits, runs from 10:05 a.m. ET to 2 p.m. ET. Contracts can be traded electronically nearly around the clock, from the time markets open on Monday mornings to 4:55 p.m. ET Friday afternoons, with one-hour breaks each day in the late afternoon.

The rise of electronic trading has prompted CME and other exchanges to rethink trading sessions that used to revolve around various industries' business days. CME, which also runs the main U.S. market for trading grain and soybean contracts, last year trimmed the session for those contracts after customers objected to CME's move in 2012 to extend the trading day.

Activity in CME's livestock futures markets increased 7.6% in June, with about 2.2 million cattle and hog futures contracts traded, according to exchange data. Overall activity in the markets over the first six months of this year is running slightly behind the same period in 2013.

Any change to CME's existing livestock sessions would require approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Ag Leader Brings New Features To AgFiniti Cloud-Based Platform

On July 1, Ag Leader Technology announced a firmware update to the Ag Leader® Integra display, which adds increased functionality to the AgFiniti® cloud-based platform. A new feature included in this update is the ability to transfer Smart Report™ application details collected by application controllers and logged in the Ag Leader Integra display.

“In the past, Smart Reports were only transferable through use of a USB drive,” explains Dave Wilson, AgFiniti Product Specialist. “With the recent firmware upgrade, growers using the Ag Leader Integra display can now export these Smart Report files wirelessly to AgFiniti, and they can then be shared through email or other AgFiniti sharing options, which makes reporting a more fluid process.”

Additionally, AgFiniti now accommodates advanced search functions for desired files. Users can flter their searches according to date or time period, and by a particular grower or feld, adding a new dimension of fexibility and customization to the AgFiniti cloud-based platform.

Spray Analysis System Technology by WinField Earns Patent

The WinField™ novel low speed wind tunnel design, a key component of the Spray Analysis System, was recognized April 8 by the U.S. Patent Office for its unique role in agricultural spray particle analysis. For farmers, the patent translates to more than new products but also more knowledge, research and insights about adjuvants and spray applications.

WinField experts conduct research in this facility by testing active ingredients and realistic tank mixtures—not just water—while air moves through the wind tunnel. A Sympatec laser then measures the droplet size spectrum that helps determine drift potential and product that may miss its intended target. Within the tunnel, researchers are able to utilize different spray nozzles while measuring up to a 140-degree stream, the widest among the industry. Controlling these variables allows WinField to test thousands of scenarios and document performance, giving farmers confidence when selecting an adjuvant for their environment.

WinField Technical Marketing Manager, Eric Spandl, says, “Our Spray Analysis System allows us to capture data more rapidly than other systems, which spurs quicker and more precise product development.” Spandl’s colleague, Joe Gednalske, director of product development for WinField, adds, “The enclosed tunnel of the Spray Analysis System enables us to conduct research year round and then couple these tests with field studies, which means farmers are continually getting insights they can use when mapping out their management plan.”

The patent serves as testimony to WinField’s commitment to research and its data-to-insights approach. Lillian Magidow, WinField Research Manager, notes, “Our facility is among the top spray labs in the country thanks to a droplet sizing system of this quality and meticulous research on all parts of the system. Our dedication to providing farmers with the utmost knowledge and insights is what led to our technology being patented.”

The Spray Analysis System was developed in 2011 as part of WinField’s pronounced commitment to spray application research. Since its inception, the Spray Analysis System has tested more than 30,000 samples – two to three studies per week on average – which has led to the understanding of how nozzles, equipment settings and adjuvants can be optimized to improve deposition and reduce drift potential.

WinField offers a complete line of adjuvants to help farmers get the best performance from their spray applications by reducing spray drift and increasing crop coverage. For more information, visit Talk to your local agronomist to learn more about the value of adding adjuvants to your spray program and to determine which adjuvants are best for your region and situation.

Tuesday July 15 Ag News

Landlord/Tenant Lease Workshop To Be Held in West Point

The Landlord/Tenant Cash Lease workshop offered at the Nielsen Community Center in West Point, Nebraska on Tuesday, August 19 will help landlords and tenants put together a lease that is right for both parties, and help maintain positive farm leasing relations.  The registration for the workshop will be held at 8:45 a.m. and the meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. – Noon.  Topics for discussion include:
- Latest information about land values and cash rental rates for the area and state;
-  Expectations from the lease, including goal setting for the rental property;
-  Lease termination, including terminating handshake or verbal leases;
- Lease communication, determining appropriate information sharing for both the tenant and landlord;
- Alternative cash lease arrangements, flexible provision considerations for your situation; and
- Other topics, like irrigation systems, hay rent, pasture rental agreements, and grain bin rental will be covered as time allows.

The UNL Extension Educator team of, Allan Vyhnalek and Tim Lemmons, will present on these topics and provide common sense tips during the presentation. It is very helpful if both the tenant and landlord attend together.  It is also helpful if the spouse attends.   Everyone is welcome to the workshop.

This free workshop is sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board.  Refreshments and handouts are provided. Registration is requested by calling the host county of the workshop.  Register by Friday, August 15, to ensure that there are enough handouts and refreshments.  Register by calling the UNL Extension in Cuming County at 402/372-6006. 

This workshop has been held extensively across Nebraska for the past two years with over 2,200 attending.  The vast majority of both landlords and tenants find the workshop to be very helpful in improving communications, setting rental terms, and learning about the use of flex lease provisions.  As crop budgets are tighten, it is even more important to attend and listen to the latest discussion about leasing issues.

For more information or assistance, please contact Allan Vyhnalek, Extension Educator, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Extension in Platte County.  Phone: 402-563-4901 or e-mail

Handling Cattle Through High Heat Humidity Indexes

Larry Howard, UNL Extension Educator, Cuming County

As cattlemen enter the summer months, they need to understand and deal with heat and humidity. We need to consider some guidelines to help reduce additional stress on cattle during these events and incorporate some of the following practices into our management practices.

It is important to understand the relationship between temperature and humidity in respects to the Temperature Humidity Index (THI) or Heat Index. The chart can be found at and will help to determine the risk level in planning cattle handling during the summer months. Cattlemen need to be aware of the risk based on weather forecast of the heat stress.

Handling cattle early in the mornings before temperatures get too high is always recommended. Plan to handle cattle before 8:00 a.m. and never after 10:00 a.m. during summer months. Remember that the animal’s core temperature peaks approximately two hours after the environmental temperature peaks and takes four to six hours to lower back to normal temperature. With this in mind you shouldn’t believe that handling cattle in the evening will reduce the risk of heat stress.

When processing cattle during high heat seasons, work cattle in smaller groups, so cattle are not standing in the holding area much longer than 30 minutes. Cattlemen should consider facilities that are shaded with good air flow to help reduce the heat. A sprinkler system may assist in cooling the area, if the water droplet size is large. Never over-crowd working facilities, work cattle slowly, and use low-stress handling techniques. Remember that processing cattle in any temperature elevates the animal’s core temperature.

Cattle movements should be short distances during hot seasons. Strategic planning on pen movements can assist in reducing unnecessary movements and potential heat stress. Moving heavier cattle closer to loading facilities throughout the feeding period can benefit in managing heat effects.

When planning or improving cattle handling and feeding facilities, cattlemen need to take into consideration air flow, shade, and sprinkler systems for cooling livestock. These considerations can help the danger of heat stress on livestock and improve feeding efficiencies during hot temperature periods.

Another important thing to remember is that compromised animals are at higher risk for heat stress. Those animals that are sick or lame are usually running higher temperatures than normal (average temperature for a beef animal is 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit), combined with hot temperature and high humidity raises their risk of heat stress. Producers will need to take extra precautions with these animals to provide additional resources like shade and cooling.

Summer can be challenging for many cattle producers. By implementing some handling guidelines, cattlemen can reduce the risk level of heat stress and improve cattle performance.

The Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance website,, has additional resources and links available for more information on cattle handling, processing, and facility design.  For more information about Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance or to get BQA certification, contact Rob Eirich, UNL Extension Educator and Nebraska Director of BQA at 308.632.1230 or

Cuming County's Erica Lewis Crowned Fremont 4-H Fair Queen

Click here and listen to an interview with Erica shortly after she was crowned last Friday...

Eric Lewis was crowned queen of the 2014 Fremont 4-H Fair on Friday July 11, during the community awards luncheon. Erica was selected from a field of 11 candidates.  She submitted a written application that included a record of all of her 4-H accomplishments and interviewed with a selection committee from the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce. Erica is an 11 year member of the Go-Getters 4-H Club and the daughter of Jerry and JoAnn Lewis of West Point. She has been a competitive force in Cuming County as well at the Fremont Fair and State Fair in the areas of sheep, Swine, foods, clothing, home environment and safety projects.  She has also served on the Cuming County 4-H Council for three years.  Erica was a member of the 2012 4-H Meats Identification Team that won the State Meats Contest and represented Nebraska in the National Meats Identification Contest that fall.  A month later she was one of Nebraska’s delegates to National 4-H Club Congress. Erica will be a freshman at the University of Nebraska majoring in Food Science and Technology and participating in the UNL Honors program.

Darby Doerneman was introduced during the coronation ceremonies a Cuming County Queen candidate.  Darby is the daughter of Brian and Brenda Doerneman of Fremont and has been a competitive Cuming County 4-H member excelling in swine, rabbit, foods and home environment projects. Her Grandmother and Mother are members of the Fremont 4-H Fair Board.  Darby will be a sophomore at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln majoring in Agricultural Economics. Resumes of each of the candidates and their extensive 4-H activities were reviewed for the audience.

Lucas Cox of Butler County was crowned King.  He will be a Senior at Columbus Scotus and his strong project interests are in forestry and weed identification.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Asks USDA to Act on Key Crop Insurance Provision

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation (NFBF) is urging USDA to move swiftly in the implementation of a new crop insurance provision included in the 2014 Farm Bill. The provision would help Nebraska farmers who’ve lost crops to widespread hail and tornados this spring and summer, while also aiding Nebraska farmers in future drought situations.

“It’s been a difficult year for many farmers in Nebraska and across the country. Prompt action by USDA to implement this new provision could be of tremendous benefit to those who’ve suffered crop losses inflicted by Mother Nature,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

In a July 15 letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, NFBF asked USDA to move promptly in implementing 2014 Farm Bill provisions that allow farmers to exclude any year from their Actual Production History (APH) if their yield in that year was less than 50 percent of the 10-year county average.

APH reflects the 10-year rolling average of on-farm commodity yields and serves as the foundation for several crop insurance program provisions, including the determination of a farmer’s crop insurance premium and limitations on their level of crop coverage.

“This measure will help ease the pressure of climbing crop insurance premiums for farmers who’ve suffered catastrophic losses, and in some cases, experienced those losses in multiple years. It also gives them much needed flexibility in determining their level of crop insurance coverage for future years despite these catastrophic events,” said Nelson.

In the letter, NFBF acknowledged the challenge USDA faces in implementing the farm bill, but noted the need for farmers to be able to take advantage of this key farm bill provision.

“These measures will be very valuable to farmers hit hard by Mother Nature, many of which who have taken risk management steps to try and soften the blow of destructive weather conditions,” said Nelson.

NE Ethanol Board Meets July 21

The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet on Monday, July 21st at 8:30 a.m. The meeting will be held at the Hyatt Place in Lincoln, Nebraska.  The meeting will mainly focus on fiscal year projects and budget items. Some agenda highlights include:
-    Budget Status Report
-    Marketing Programs Update
-    Corn Hybrids Discussion
-    State and Federal Legislation Update
-    Ethanol Plant Reports

This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Most areas have been blessed with more rain this year.  While rotational grazing helps most when grass is short, it also helps when moisture is good.

               When you are short on grass, rotational grazing improves harvest efficiency of your pasture.  By concentrating animals onto smaller pastures, grazing uniformity improves.  This means your animals do less picking-and-choosing-and-trampling as they graze.  They eat more of what is available to them and they waste less feed.  This helps current pasture growth feed your animals longer.

               This year, however, most Nebraska pastures have plenty of grass. You don’t need to stretch your pasture supply so why think about rotational grazing now?

               Let’s think ahead.  By mid-July most years, we start to notice our grasslands suffering from a lack of water.  But pastures that had been rotationally grazed in previous years aren't hurt quite as bad.  Why do rotationally grazed pastures do better in summer?  Mostly it's because their root systems are healthier and deeper than continuously grazed pastures due to the periodic rest they receive.  As a result, they can gather more soil moisture from deeper soil depths.

               By starting rotational grazing when you have plenty of grass, plants will rest and begin to improve their root system immediately.  This makes them better able to gather moisture during the next dry spell.  That means that if you aren't already grazing rotationally, start now, regardless of whether you have abundant rain and grass or you are in a drought.

               So do some extra cross-fencing.  You will stretch your feed supply as well as improve plant roots and production for next year.

USDA Announces Results of Soy Checkoff Request for Referendum Vote

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the results of the request for referendum on the Soybean Research and Promotion Program (soy checkoff). USDA received 355 request-for-referendum forms, of which only 324 were valid, from Farm Service Agency offices. The 355 forms represent 0.06 percent of all eligible U.S. soybean farmers. That result falls short of the 10 percent needed to prompt a referendum.

“These results show that U.S. soybean farmers overwhelmingly see the value in our soy checkoff,” says Jim Call, soybean farmer from Madison, Minnesota, and United Soybean Board (USB) chairman. “It’s more important than ever that the volunteer farmer-leaders of USB continue to invest soy checkoff funds to maximize the profit potential for all U.S. soybean farmers.”

If 10 percent of the 569,998 U.S. soybean farmers had requested a referendum, with no more than one-fifth of the 10 percent coming from one state, USDA would have conducted the referendum on the soy checkoff within 12 months. USDA conducts the request-for-referendum vote every five years, as required by the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act. The most recent period took place from May 5 through May 30.

Farmers certifying that they or the entity they represent paid into the checkoff at any time between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2013, were eligible to participate in the petition for referendum. Eligible farmers who did not want a referendum did not need to take any action.

USDA requested and approved a notification by USB to inform U.S. soybean farmers about the request–for-referendum period. USB placed paid notifications on the request for referendum in national, regional and state agricultural publications and also distributed the notification to all Qualified State Soybean Boards and the news media. In addition, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and Farm Service Agency distributed the information about the request-for-referendum period.

“As industry leaders, USB will keep moving U.S. soybeans forward to be the top global oilseed,” adds Call. “It’s a great vote of confidence knowing U.S. soybean farmers support this work as well.”

Beef, Saturated Fats and Heart Health

A new research study, funded by the beef checkoff and the National Institutes of Health-supported Penn State General Clinical Research Center, published in the June 19, 2014 issue of Journal of Human Hypertension, shows that a heart-healthy diet that includes lean beef can reduce risk factors for heart disease.

Myth:  Saturated fat is bad for you.

Conventional Wisdom:  Many researchers have now begun to reevaluate the role of saturated fats in heart disease. A review of more than 70 clinical studies raised questions about current guidelines related to fat intake, which generally restrict the consumption of saturated fats and encourage consumption of polyunsaturated fats to prevent heart disease.

Furthermore, many people may be surprised to know that beef contributes 10 percent or less of saturated fat and total fat to the American diet. And, about half the fatty acids found in beef are monounsaturated fatty acids, the same kind found in olive oil and avocados. The recently published study in the Journal of Human Hypertension conducted at Penn State also shows that a dietary pattern rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy, that includes lean beef, even daily, can reduce risk factors for heart disease, including elevated cholesterol and blood pressure.

In a press release issued by Penn State, lead researcher Penny M. Kris-Etherton noted that “this research adds to the significant evidence, including work previously done in our lab, that supports lean beef's role in a heart-healthy diet. This study shows that nutrient-rich lean beef can be included as part of a heart-healthy diet that reduces blood pressure, which can help lower the risk for cardiovascular disease.”

The DASH eating plan -- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension -- is currently recommended by the American Heart Association to lower blood pressure and reduce risk of heart disease. People following the DASH diet are encouraged to eat fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and protein predominantly from plant sources.

Lean beef can be enjoyed as the predominant protein source in a DASH-like diet, along with fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy, to effectively help lower blood pressure in healthy individuals, the researchers report in the Journal of Human Hypertension. This DASH-like diet is also called the BOLD+ diet -- Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet plus additional protein.

“This evidence suggests that it is the total protein intake -- not the type of protein -- that is instrumental in reducing blood pressure, as part of a DASH-like dietary pattern,” the researchers stated.

Federal Spending Bill Includes Important Provisions for Producers

The House Interior appropriations bill passed through committee today 29 to 19. The Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association strongly support the bill, which allocates how federal dollars are spent for the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and related agencies during fiscal year 2015. The bill included language that would help provide relief from the regulatory burdens that continue to hamper the productivity and profitability of farmers and ranchers across the country.

From language that blocks the listing of the Sage Grouse, to requiring alternative allotments where ranchers are impacted by drought or wildfire without the need to complete extensive environmental analyses and many others, Dustin Van Liew, PLC and NCBA federal lands executive director, said the provisions are important to keeping livestock producers in business.

Included in the bill is a permanent extension of grazing rider, which will allow livestock grazing to continue while the renewal process is held up through the National Environmental Policy Act analysis backlog. Often requiring multiple environmental analyses and time for public comments to be submitted when no changes are being made on the ground, the NEPA process can disrupt ranching operations indefinitely with little, if any, environmental benefit. The bill also includes a provision to extend grazing permit terms to 20 years, as opposed to the current 10-year term. 

“These two provisions are vital to the agencies, allowing them the flexibility they need to continue managing the resource and processing permits,” Van Liew said. “Additionally, extending grazing permits from 10 to 20 years adds significantly to the certainty ranchers need to run successful businesses. We applaud the appropriations committee for supporting the primary language from the Grazing Improvement Act and urge the full House and Senate to pass this bill without delay.”

Van Liew added that due to a closed-door settlement between United States Fish and Wildlife Service and radical environmental groups, arbitrary deadlines have been set for making hundreds of decisions on species in all fifty states to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

“Rather than embracing the research-backed benefits of grazing and giving time for state Sage Grouse management plans to take effect, the FWS has begun to make arbitrary decisions to cut and reduce livestock grazing on public lands,” said Van Liew. “One of those species is the Sage Grouse, whose habitat covers 11 western states, an area where ranchers are currently providing open space and improving the bird’s habitat and reducing the number-one threat to the bird – wildfire.”

Ashley McDonald, NCBA environmental counsel, commended lawmakers for including language that would help reign in the EPA’s attempt to control even more land and water on private property.

“Cattle producers have grave concerns over EPA and Corps of Engineers’ proposed expansion of the Clean Water Act,” said McDonald. “We applaud the members of the committee for sending the Interior appropriations bill forward with language that would prevent the agencies from finalizing this regulation, which we see as the largest federal land grab in history.”

Additionally, she said, the bill will prevent the EPA from requiring livestock operations to report their greenhouse gas emissions, and also prevent the agency from requiring livestock operations to get GHG permits. Furthermore, it prevents the EPA from disclosing the private and confidential information of livestock producers to the public.

“This bill provides needed safeguards for the privacy and property rights of America’s cattle producers that the federal agencies refuse to recognize and respect,” McDonald summarized.

Fertilizer Prices Steady For Now

Average retail fertilizer prices were fairly steady the second week of July 2014, as has been the case in recent weeks, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN. However, retailers report this steadiness in the fertilizer market could be changing with commodity prices shifting lower.

Seven of the eight major fertilizers were lower compared to last month, though none were down significantly.  DAP had an average price of $591 per ton, MAP $621/ton, urea $531/ton, 10-34-0 $561/ton, anhydrous $686/ton, UAN28 $348/ton and UAN32 $399/ton.  UAN32 prices fell through the $400-per-ton level for the first time since the first week of April 2014. That week, the average price for UAN32 was $398 per ton.

The remaining fertilizer, potash, was higher compared to the previous month, but again the move higher was fairly muted. Potash's average price was $483/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.58/lb.N, anhydrous $0.42/lb.N, UAN28 $0.62/lb.N and UAN32 $0.62/lb.N.

Although fertilizers have been moving higher in recent months, half of the eight major fertilizers are now double digits lower in price compared to July 2013.  DAP is now down 1%, urea is 2% less expensive and MAP is 4% less expensive. 10-34-0 is down 6% while both UAN28 and UAN32 are now 10% lower. Anhydrous is now 14% less expensive while potash is down 16% compared to a year earlier.

Illinois Yorkshire Boar Sells for World-Record $270K

A Yorkshire boar raised by Western Illinois University School of Agriculture Associate Professor Mark Hoge and his family sold for a world-record price of $270,000 at a National Swine Registry conference and show in Louisville. The Class 1 Yorkshire boar, according to a YouTube video posted by the National Swine Registry, was sold to Genetic Edge & Reynolds Farms (Ohio).

According to the National Swine Registry's website, the next highest-selling boars in the Class 1, Yorkshire category, sold for $3,000 each.

"It was a humbling experience for our family," Hoge said. "The boar was a result of years of mating decisions and selection experience. We were very surprised he sold for that price, but I knew people really liked him. We are very fortunate and very thankful for the showpig industry. It is a great way to raise a family."

To view the YouTube video of Hoge showing the boar in early July, visit The National Swine Registry's show and sale results (from the Summer Type Conference in Louisville) are available at

July 14 Crop Progress Reports - NE - IA - US

Wheat Harvest Reaches One-Third Complete

For  the week  ending  July  13,  2014,  rain  of  an  inch  or more was  common across  much  of  the  state  with  hail  producing  storms  damaging  crops  in  portions  of  central  and  southern Nebraska,  according  to USDA’s National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service.   Temperatures  were  below  normal across the north and east.  Wheat harvest progressed northward and was near one-third complete.  Corn was in the  pollination  stage.  Hay  harvest  resumed  but  continued  to  be  difficult.   Pasture  conditions  in most  areas continued  to  improve.   The  number  of  days  considered  suitable  for  fieldwork  were  5.3. Topsoil  moisture supplies  rated  2  percent  very  short,  21  short,  73  adequate,  and  4  surplus.  Subsoil  moisture  supplies  rated  8 percent very short, 21 short, 69 adequate, and 2 surplus.
Field  Crops  Report:

Corn  conditions  rated  2  percent  very  poor,  5  poor,  19  fair,  52  good,  and  22  excellent.  Corn  silking  was  33 percent, ahead of 12 last year, but near 32 average.  

Soybeans conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 21 fair, 53 good, and 19 excellent. Soybeans blooming was at 55 percent, ahead of 36 last year and 40 average.

Winter  wheat  conditions  rated  6  percent  very  poor,  14  poor,  29  fair,  44  good,  and  7 excellent. Winter wheat coloring was 97 percent, near 98  last year, and  the  five-year average of 99. Winter wheat  mature  was  65  percent,  ahead  of  53  last  year,  but  near  64  average.  Winter  wheat  harvested  was  31 percent, ahead of 27 last year, but behind 40 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 2 poor, 36 fair, 43 good, and 19 excellent. Sorghum headed was 10 percent, ahead of 0 last year and 1 average. Sorghum coloring was at 1 percent, near 0 for both last year and average.

Oat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 17 poor, 28 fair, 50 good, and 2 excellent. Oats headed was 97 percent, near 99  last year and average. Oats coloring was at 70 percent. Oats mature was at 38 percent. Oats harvested was at 13 percent, behind 23 last year and 30 average. 

Alfalfa hay conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 32 fair, 52 good, and 8 excellent. Alfalfa hay second cutting was 53 percent complete, ahead of 44 last year, but behind 60 average.
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  5  percent  very  poor,  10  poor,  30 fair, 47 good, and 8 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 6 short, 91 adequate, and 2 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:


Iowa welcomed drier conditions which allowed  farmers  to get back  in the  fields  during  the  week  ending  July  13,  2014,  according  to  the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.   Statewide  there were 4.2  days  suitable  for  fieldwork,  the  first  time  since  mid-June  that farmers  have  had  over  3.0  days  suitable  across  the  whole  State.  Activities  for  the  week  include  herbicide  application,  replanting drowned out crops, and cutting hay.

Topsoil  moisture  levels  rated  0 percent  very  short,  2 percent  short, 73 percent  adequate,  and  25 percent  surplus.   Subsoil moisture  levels rated  0 percent  very  short,  6 percent  short,  77 percent  adequate,  and 17 percent surplus.   Central  Iowa was  the wettest, with well over one-third of the topsoil in surplus condition.

Twenty-six  percent  of  the  corn  acreage  was  silking,  25  percentage points ahead of  last year and 1 percentage point ahead of  the five-year average.   Seventy-six percent of  the corn crop was reported  in good  to excellent  condition,  unchanged  from  the  previous  week.   

Forty-five percent of the soybean acreage was blooming, 11 days ahead of the previous year and slightly ahead of normal.  Six percent of the soybean crop was setting pods, 11 days ahead of last year and one day ahead of normal. Seventy-three percent of the soybean crop was rated in good to excellent  condition,  unchanged  from  last week.  

Ninety-seven percent of the oat crop has headed, equal to the previous year but 1 percentage point behind the five-year average.  Sixty percent of the oat acreage has turned  color,  18 percentage  points  ahead  of  the  previous  year  but 10 points  behind  average.    Oat  harvest  was  8  percent  complete 5 percentage points ahead of  last year but 11 points behind  the normal pace.  Seventy-three percent of the oat acreage was reported in good to excellent condition.  

The  first  cutting  of  alfalfa  hay  was  97 percent  complete,  3  points behind  last  year  and  1  point  behind  average.    The  second  cutting  of alfalfa was 27 percent complete, one day ahead of last year but 11 days behind  normal.  Sixty-eight percent  of  all  hay  was  rated  in  good  to excellent  condition.   

Pasture  condition  rated  75 percent  good  to excellent. High insect counts caused stress to livestock across the State. 


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

Temperatures and precipitation averaged slightly below normal  for  the past reporting week.  The week began with above normal  temperatures and  scattered  thunderstorms  on  Sunday  (6th)  and  Monday  (7th).  Temperatures  reached as high as 96 degrees at Sidney on Sunday  (6th) with highs mostly  in  the  eighties on Monday.  Rainfall with  the early week storms were mostly on the light side with just a few areas near the Missouri border approaching an  inch of accumulation.  Dry and cooler weather, with daytime highs mostly near eighty degrees, prevailed from Tuesday  (8th)  into Friday  (11th).    The week’s  lowest  temperature was recorded  at  Spencer  on Wednesday morning  at  50 degrees.    Warmer and more humid weather returned for the weekend with the bulk of the weeks’ rain  falling between Friday night and Saturday night.  Greatest rain  totals  were  over  west  central,  east  central  and  extreme  southern Iowa where a  few areas  received more  than  two inches.    Weekly  rain totals varied from only sprinkles at Oakland and Logan to 4.64 inches at Denison  and  4.10 inches  at  North  Liberty.   The  statewide  average precipitation was 0.92 inches or just a little less than the weekly normal of  1.05 inches.   Temperatures  averaged  1.4 degrees  below  normal  for the week.

USDA:  Corn, Soy Development Slightly Ahead of Average Pace

Corn and soybean development was slightly ahead of the five-year averages for both crops, and the condition of the nation's corn crop improved slightly in the week ended July 13, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress Report. 

Corn was 34% silking as of Sunday, up from 15% a year ago and ahead of the five-year average of 33%. The crop was rated 76% in good-to-excellent condition, up from 75% the previous week. 

Soybeans were 41% blooming, up from 24% a year ago and also up from the five-year average of 37%. The crop was rated 72% in good-to-excellent condition, the same as the previous week.

The nation's winter wheat crop was 69% harvested as of Sunday, up from 66% a year ago and ahead of the five-year average of 68%. Harvests in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas were 99%, 97% and 90% complete, respectively.

Corn Silking - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                 :            Week ending            :          
      State      : July 13,  :  July 6,  : July 13,  : 2009-2013
                 :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                 :                    percent                   
Colorado ........:     7           3           8          10    
Illinois ........:    19          28          62          48    
Indiana .........:    19          14          42          38    
Iowa ............:     1           4          26          25    
Kansas ..........:    30          35          56          50    
Kentucky ........:    34          46          65          51    
Michigan ........:     8           2           9          18    
Minnesota .......:     1           1           5          20    
Missouri ........:    28          47          79          57    
Nebraska ........:    12           8          33          32    
North Carolina ..:    92          80          88          96    
North Dakota ....:     4           4           5          11    
Ohio ............:    17           4          14          29    
Pennsylvania ....:    20           3          12          28    
South Dakota ....:     5           5           9           9    
Tennessee .......:    73          56          78          84    
Texas ...........:    71          80          81          78    
Wisconsin .......:     2           -           5          12    
18 States .......:    15          15          34          33    

Corn Condition - Selected States: Week Ending July 13, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Colorado .......:     1           4          25          52          18    
Illinois .......:     1           3          15          53          28    
Indiana ........:     1           4          20          52          23    
Iowa ...........:     2           5          17          52          24    
Kansas .........:     2           6          30          49          13    
Kentucky .......:     1           4          18          55          22    
Michigan .......:     1           4          15          60          20    
Minnesota ......:     2           6          28          49          15    
Missouri .......:     -           2          14          52          32    
Nebraska .......:     2           5          19          52          22    
North Carolina .:     4          12          27          46          11    
North Dakota ...:     1           3          17          59          20    
Ohio ...........:     1           4          21          53          21    
Pennsylvania ...:     1           4          14          48          33    
South Dakota ...:     1           2          15          67          15    
Tennessee ......:     -           3          18          56          23    
Texas ..........:     -           4          30          47          19    
Wisconsin ......:     1           6          16          51          26    
18 States ......:     1           4          19          54          22    
Previous week ..:     1           4          20          54          21    
Previous year ..:     3           6          25          49          17    

Soybeans Blooming - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     :  July 13,   :   July 6,   :  July 13,   :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas .......:     35            47            57            50     
Illinois .......:     29            29            50            36     
Indiana ........:     27            30            55            35     
Iowa ...........:     12            21            45            44     
Kansas .........:     19            16            28            27     
Kentucky .......:     10            16            31            31     
Louisiana ......:     71            77            85            79     
Michigan .......:     41            12            32            32     
Minnesota ......:     19            13            27            35     
Mississippi ....:     65            53            65            83     
Missouri .......:      6            14            30            22     
Nebraska .......:     36            39            55            40     
North Carolina .:      6            18            33            15     
North Dakota ...:     22            12            25            34     
Ohio ...........:     24            10            22            32     
South Dakota ...:     32            39            56            39     
Tennessee ......:     14            18            30            38     
Wisconsin ......:     11             5            24            21     
18 States ......:     24            24            41            37     

Soybean Condition - Selected States: Week Ending July 13, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Arkansas .......:     5          11          29          37          18    
Illinois .......:     1           4          19          56          20    
Indiana ........:     1           4          24          55          16    
Iowa ...........:     1           6          20          53          20    
Kansas .........:     1           2          32          56           9    
Kentucky .......:     1           3          17          62          17    
Louisiana ......:     2           6          15          49          28    
Michigan .......:     2           5          21          59          13    
Minnesota ......:     2           7          29          53           9    
Mississippi ....:     -           6          24          51          19    
Missouri .......:     -           3          20          61          16    
Nebraska .......:     2           5          21          53          19    
North Carolina .:     1           5          25          59          10    
North Dakota ...:     1           3          18          62          16    
Ohio ...........:     2           5          24          59          10    
South Dakota ...:     1           4          21          65           9    
Tennessee ......:     -           2          19          64          15    
Wisconsin ......:     1           4          21          51          23    
18 States ......:     1           5          22          56          16    
Previous week ..:     1           4          23          57          15    
Previous year ..:     2           6          27          52          13    

Winter Wheat Harvested - Selected States

[These 18 States harvested 86% of the 2013 winter wheat acreage]
                 :            Week ending            :          
      State      : July 13,  :  July 6,  : July 13,  : 2009-2013
                 :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                 :                    percent                   
Arkansas ........:    100         96          99          100   
California ......:     94         81          85           91   
Colorado ........:     40         22          46           51   
Idaho ...........:      -          -           4            -   
Illinois ........:     85         82          90           91   
Indiana .........:     63         52          76           86   
Kansas ..........:     96         70          90           96   
Michigan ........:      8          1           3           34   
Missouri ........:     95         83          95           98   
Montana .........:      -          -           -            -   
Nebraska ........:     27         13          31           40   
North Carolina ..:     82         94          97           96   
Ohio ............:     25         20          61           75   
Oklahoma ........:     98         95          97           98   
Oregon ..........:      8          2           6            5   
South Dakota ....:      -          -           -           17   
Texas ...........:     96         85          99           97   
Washington ......:      1          -           3            1   
18 States .......:     66         57          69           68   

Monday July 14 Ag News

Zilmax Has No Apparent Detrimental Effect on Cattle Health

            The cattle feed additive Zilmax has no noticeable detrimental effect on cattle health or well-being, according to research by scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.

            The study was undertaken after Zilmax's maker, Merck Animal Health, temporarily suspended sales of the additive last year when concerns emerged in some quarters that it might cause lameness in cattle, said Ty Schmidt, a UNL animal scientist, who worked with colleagues including Jeff Carroll and Nicole Sanchez, both of USDA-ARS.

            During the 26-day study, scientists collected blood, via catheters; body temperature; and video images from 20 heifers, which were divided into two groups, with half receiving Zilmax at the recommended dose and half not receiving it. On the last day of the trial, four days after Zilmax supplementation was discontinued, heifers were exposed to a simulated stress event to mimic the stress response that would be anticipated in cattle being shipped from the feedlot to packing plant.  At the conclusion of the trial, heifers were harvested at UNL and their hearts, liver, lungs, kidneys and adrenal glands were studied.

            Results from the study demonstrated some differences in physiological and endocrine markers of stress and muscle accretion in heifers that were supplemented with Zilmax compared to heifers not fed Zilmax. Heifers fed Zilmax had an increase in parameters that indicate increased muscle mass. The increase in these parameters was expected, as the drug label for Zilmax includes statements pertaining to increases in creatinine and creatine phosphokinase, Schmidt said.

            Results from this study, he added, also demonstrated that heifers supplemented with Zilmax had a decreased production of the stress hormone cortisol, and decreased body temperature during the simulated stress event. Histopathology of the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and adrenal glands revealed some differences between the heifers supplemented with Zilmax and the heifers not receiving Zilmax. The livers and right adrenal gland of the Zilmax heifers were slightly smaller than heifers that were not fed Zilmax, but there was no difference in lungs, kidneys, or heart.

            "Overall, the results of this trial indicate that while there are variations in the body temperature, endocrine and metabolic parameters and histopathology of major organs of Zilmax supplemented heifers, these differences are minor and show no indication that supplementation of Zilmax is detrimental to the health or well-being cattle," Schmidt said.

            In addition to Schmidt, Carroll and Sanchez, others who participated in the study were: Steve Jones and David Steffen, UNL, and graduate students Joe Buntyn and Sara Serien, also of UNL.

NE's June Precipitation 200%-400% Above Normal

Al Dutcher, UNL State Climatologist

There is no doubt that June was exceptionally wet across the eastern three-fourths of the state.  National Weather Service cooperative observer reports indicate 9-15 inches of moisture fell across northeast Nebraska, with the central third of the state receiving 6-10 inches. East central, southeast, southwest, and west central Nebraska reported 3-7 inches of moisture.  The Panhandle region was the driest area with 2-5 inches of moisture reported.

Considering that June normally brings about 4 inches of moisture to eastern Nebraska and about 3 inches to western Nebraska, precipitation across the eastern three-fourths of the state averaged 200%- 400% of normal.  In fact, the greatest monthly June precipitation total was 16.76 inches, recorded by a NeRAIN observer in the Hubbard area.  To place this value in context, 60% of normal annual precipitation fell during  June at Hubbard.

All of the consternation about the lack of moisture during the winter and early spring has now become a distant memory. There has been a substantial shrinkage of the drought signature across Nebraska during the past 45 days. On the current U.S. Drought Monitor, drought across eastern and central Nebraska and all traces of extreme (D3) and exceptional (D4) drought across the state have been eliminated.

Unfortunately, most of the June moisture was accompanied by severe wind and hail that brought widespread crop and infrastructure damage.  Areas of the state that have escaped wind and hail damage are beginning to enter the critical corn reproductive phase.  As of July 6, 8% of the Nebraska corn crop had tasseled, which should easily reach 75% by July 17.

Short-term models indicate cooler than normal temperatures are likely through June 18, with highs consistently in the 70s and 80s.  High temperatures July 19-25 are projected to return to the upper 80s to mid 90s. Growing degree day units are running 60-180 units behind normal across the western half of Nebraska for the past 60 days, while GDD units are within plus or minus 60 units from normal in the eastern half.

It is too early to complete a risk analysis in regards to freeze susceptibility, but the current thought is that the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan currently have the highest hard freeze (< 28°F) risk. If temperatures average more than 2°F below normal for the next 45 days, extreme northern Iowa and Nebraska would likely see their hard freeze risk rise above 50%.  A detailed freeze risk analysis will be performed (if needed) during the second half of August and the results will be presented in the late August edition of CropWatch.

Extreme heat during pollination appears unlikely for at least three-fourths of the corn acreage in Nebraska.  However, if the 90s stick around through early August and precipitation during this period remains below normal, replanted corn acreage could be impacted by pollination issues.  The greatest yield threat for most corn producers during the next two weeks will be from thunderstorms.

Models are having difficulty resolving the timing of individual precipitation events and how much moisture they will provide.  Precipitation is expected this weekend, with drier conditions developing much of next week.  The summer monsoon season in the southwestern U.S. is projected to increase over the next two weeks and could translate into active weather for western Nebraska July 19-30.

Determining Nitrogen Status

Charles Shapiro, Extension Soil Scientist – Crop Nutrition, Haskell Ag Lab, Concord

Whether a specific field has significant nitrogen this year depends on many factors. Wide areas of the state have had so much rain that nitrate leaching is a good possibility. Where water stood or the ground has been saturated for a week or more, there also may be denitrification losses (nitrogen lost to the atmosphere).

You could take a soil sample to determine where the nitrogen is, but to get an accurate assessment you would need to go to 5 ft and this takes some time and effort.

Crop canopy sensors also could play an important role in making these determinations. Our recommendation for their use is to include strips of fully fertilized areas (maybe 50 lb more than usually needed) that are used for a comparison. While such strips may not be common, if they're available, comparing the normal and the fully fertilized areas will help determine if additional nitrogen is needed. The UNL NebGuide, Using a Chlorophyll Meter to Improve N Management (G1632), suggests that when the readings on a normal nitrogen strip drop to 95% or less than the fully fertilized strip, additional nitrogen is recommended.

If you don't have any sensors and you don't have a comparison area, you can observe the corn carefully in the field. Walking through the field and examining the lower leaves can help indicate nitrogen deficiency. The lower leaves will yellow from the tip to the stalk in a V-shaped pattern.  At this time of year the whole plant should be green.

Nitrogen can be applied at any time. Corn nitrogen is just over 60% of the total nitrogen is taken up by R1 (pollination). This is for corn that is growing normally. If it is nitrogen deficient, partial remediation is possible, but the longer you wait the less response you'll get.

After R1 the nitrogen in the leaves moves to the grain, so some yellowing of the bottom leaves is normal. Corn grown for grain whose lower leaves stay green until physiological maturity probably has been over fertilized.

2014 Cropland Lease Arrangements in Nebraska

Jim Jansen, Extension Educator in Cedar and Knox Counties

As part of the Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey, each year panel members are surveyed on new or emerging issues related to the agricultural land market in Nebraska. The special feature recently published as part of Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Highlights 2013-2014 report evaluated the types of contractual rental arrangements used in Nebraska to lease agricultural land along with the availability of grain storage as part of the agreement.

Panel members were asked to estimate the percent of each style of cropland lease arrangement in their area including:
-    Crop Share: landowner receives percentage of actual crop yield as payment for leasing the agricultural land to tenant. Landowner may share input and production costs of raising the crop.
-    Cash Lease: landowner receives an agreed upon cash payment amount for leasing the agricultural land to the tenant.
-    Cash Lease with Flexible Provisions: landowner and tenant set a base cash rental rate which can flex upon actual crop yields, prices, or a combination of the two. Final cash payment made to the landlord for leasing the agricultural land to the tenant may have premiums or discounts made to the base rate depending upon the agreements set up by the two parties.

Land lease arrangements for 2014 varied widely across Nebraska. On average use was divided among cash lease (48%), crop share (41%) and cash lease with flexible provisions (11%).

Average Percent Distribution                                                    

                    Crop             Cash        Cash Lease
                   Share           Lease        w/Flexible Provisions
       - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Percent - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Northwest       74                20                 6
North              39                52                9
Northeast        19               68               14
Central           33                56               11
East               43               46                12
Southwest      34                58                9
South            49                43                 8
Southeast      46                44                11
State             41               48                 11

Survey panel members indicated that use of the different types of leases across the state correlated to the primary types of crops historically raised in a district and their yield expectations.

First Participants in Conservation Stewardship Program Can Renew for Five More Years

The first participants of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) have until Sept. 12, 2014, to renew their contracts and make decisions on additional conservation activities that will benefit priority natural resource issues.

The Conservation Stewardship Program is offered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It is the Farm Bill program that helps farmers and ranchers take conservation investments to the next level. The program provides farmers and ranchers who are already established conservation stewards financial and technical assistance to further improve water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat.

About 20,000 CSP contracts nationwide are reaching the end of their initial five-year contract period. In Nebraska, there are 1,057 contracts that may be renewed for an additional five years where participants agree to install additional conservation measures.

“CSP farmers are conservation leaders and go the extra mile to conserve Nebraska’s natural resources,” NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson said. “The 2014 Farm Bill continued that strong commitment and heightened the program’s focus on generating conservation benefits.”

Since CSP began in 2009, more than 58 million acres have been enrolled in the program nationally – an area the size of Indiana and Wisconsin combined. In Nebraska, 4.8 million acres have been enrolled.

“This program allows landowners to reach the next level of conservation and opens the door to trying new conservation activities,” Derickson said.

To learn about technical and financial assistance available through CSP, visit, the Conservation Stewardship webpage or local USDA service center. For more on the 2014 Farm Bill, visit

IFBF Says Long-Awaited Supreme Court Ruling on EPC Board Member Case is a Disappointment for the Democratic Process

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the state’s largest grassroots farm organization, is appreciative of the care the Iowa Supreme Court took in its deliberations of Iowa Farm Bureau Federation v. the Environmental Protection Commission; however, we respectfully disagree with its conclusion that anyone, regardless of current residency, employment or affiliation, may lead the rulemaking process and decide what regulations apply to Iowans.  The Iowa Farm Bureau still believes in clean government and that good public policy requires that Iowa residents, not Montana residents, should decide Iowa law.

In October 2010, IFBF and several other organizations challenged the validity of a rule, at a time when one former EPC board member lived out of state, and another regulator lobbied for an environmental advocacy group. IFBF also argued that they must not be a paid advocate of a special interest group for the very rules they are charged with adopting as a government regulator.

“This is about an appointed board, who is charged with the duty of representing and considering the environmental and business interests of all Iowans.  A board that serves the public needs Iowans who bring various expertise and viewpoints to the table, and the court said that being paid by a lobbying organization is just another permissible bias,” said IFBF Government Relations Counsel, Christina Gruenhagen.  “Under this ruling, it is difficult to imagine a circumstance where the court will disqualify anyone from serving as an officer in the executive branch.  The court also determined today that actual residency isn’t a requirement of office, even when mandated in the controlling statute.”

IFBF says moving forward, the state’s focus should be on implementing Iowa’s science-based water quality initiative, which places emphasis on critical watersheds and improving water quality.

ISU Extension Webinar July 21 Offers Update on Farm Program

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) are conducting a live update webinar on the farm program called Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The webinar titled “ARC PLC Decisions: Update, Election and Enrollment” is scheduled for July 21 at 7 p.m.

Participants will get an update on the new farm program, including the opportunity to update base acres and farm yields, then to elect and enroll a farm in one of the new farm programs – Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC).

Farmers, along with their landowners on rented ground, can make a one-time, unanimous and irrevocable election by FSA farm number for the life of the five-year farm program. The party at risk will then enroll annually in the ARC county, ARC individual farm, or the PLC program. If the farm is not enrolled in ARC or PLC for 2014, then it automatically defaults and can only be enrolled in the PLC beginning in 2015.

Speakers include ISU Extension and Outreach Economist Chad Hart and USDA FSA Chief Program Specialist Kevin McClure. The webinar will last approximately one hour.

To attend, log onto  Contact the Polk County Extension office at (515) 957-5760 with any questions.

SD Vet Board Tackles Old Quarantine, New PED Rules

(AP) -- The South Dakota State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven will take steps Tuesday to repeal a nearly 40-year-old rule requiring quarantine for baby calves entering the state without their mothers.

Animal Industry Board members will hear the proposal at their board meeting.

"I think the need may not be as evident now, and, as a result, a lot of people don't know," Oedekoven said about the quarantine requirement.

The board will discuss updates on the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, or PED, virus and host a public hearing on the license for a Yankton livestock auction that recently changed hands.

The calf rule, which calls for 60 days of separation, was put in place at a time when young dairy calves were moved into the state from a lot of different sources, Oedekoven said. But the federal government recently passed a rule requiring a paper trail for animals moving across states. Modern practices can mitigate other risks controlled by the quarantine, he said.

South Dakota officials already closely monitor the movement of calves, said Roger Scheibe, executive director of the South Dakota Dairy Producers. The group supports the potential change.

"It's just one less thing they have to worry about," Scheibe said about farmers. "There has not been a problem."

The board has also been closely watching the progress of the PED virus and will discuss updates on that front. Federal dollars are now available for newly infected herds to manage the virus and research new vaccines. And a recent federal order will require the reporting of all infected herds. Farmers dealing with the virus will have to develop a management plan with a veterinarian.

Oedekoven said mandatory reporting already was in place within the state. Thirty-two herds in the state are infected with the virus.

The money available for vaccine research will be a good thing, said Glenn Muller, executive director of the South Dakota Pork Producers Council. And he hopes that producers continue to share and learn from each other even as reporting requirements increase.

At the meeting, board members will also hear testimony on licensing the Stockman's Livestock auction in Yankton, which recently changed owners. All of the nearly 35 livestock auctions in the state require annual license renewal. The hearing is only required because of the change in ownership.

NMPF Endorses Draft U.S.-Canadian Plan for Regionalization of Trade If Countries are Confronted with Outbreak of Serious Animal Disease

The National Milk Producers Federation today endorsed a draft plan for allowing the U.S. and Canada to cope with an outbreak of a serious foreign animal contagion, such as foot-and-mouth disease, suggesting the plan is a template for similar plans involving other important dairy export markets.

The plan, drafted by the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, calls for the United States and Canada to recognize each other’s efforts to control an outbreak, while regionalizing how the outbreak is handled, so as to allow continued trade with disease-free areas of the country.

In comments filed with APHIS Monday, NMPF, the voice of 32,000 dairy farmers in Washington, noted that Canada is the second-largest export market for U.S. dairy products, and that an outbreak of a highly contagious animal disease such as FMD in either country could be catastrophic for the U.S. dairy industry.

“We applaud the Agriculture Department for working with its Canadian counterparts to prepare for a foreign animal disease outbreak,” said Jamie Jonker, NMPF’s vice president for sustainability & scientific affairs. “We fully support the draft plan and see it as an effective tool for dealing with an outbreak.”

The plan, officially termed a framework, calls for the two countries to cooperate in establishing quarantine areas that would be the focus of disease eradication efforts in an outbreak. Trade could then resume or continue in areas considered free of disease.

"The framework will facilitate continued trade between disease-free areas, while safeguarding animal health in both countries,” said Jonker. “NMPF encourages USDA to use this approach as a template for other countries that are important U.S. dairy export markets.” These countries include Mexico, China, Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

This is in contrast to another USDA proposal earlier this year, which NMPF determined had significant flaws, because it will allow imports of fresh beef from certain parts of Brazil which have a history of foot and mouth disease.

“We are happy to have Brazil export its enthusiasm for soccer,” said Jonker, “but the last thing we need is for that country to send us its FMD problems.”

Over the last decade, U.S. dairy exports have increased more than 20 percent annually and the United States is now a global leader in exports for products including cheese, skim milk powder, whey products and lactose.


N. SIOUX CITY, SD – PureGrade Liquid Fertilizer, a division of Nutra-Flo Company, is engaging in a grass roots approach to provide agronomic research to growers this summer.

The manufacturer of North America’s best selling starter fertilizers and micronutrients is hosting seven farm tours designed to showcase proven strategies for nutrient management and plant stewardship. The events are located throughout the Midwest and will focus on providing up-to-date agronomy information to area farmers.

“Our goal is to offer a research-based presentation on the power of liquid starter and best management practices,” said Jason Glover, Nutra-Flo marketing director. “Growers will leave with information on the latest developments in fertilization research specific to their local growing conditions.”

The PureGrade performance tours are occurring throughout July, August and September on farms in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and Michigan. The events will include:
-    A root pit demonstration where growers can see how a solid fertilization program and proper management practices affect plant development below the soil
-    Information on nutrient stewardship and the benefits of implementing the 4R nutrient management practices: right rate, right source, right place, right time
-    Presentation by Monsanto BioAg on the LCO promoter technology behind PureGradeT, a starter fertilizer that enhances young seedling root development and nutritional capabilities
-    Presentation by Kelli Barnett, Nutra-Flo agronomist, on the benefits of implementing proven fertilization techniques
-    Information on new PureGrade products available to growers
-    Question and answer session with local agricultural specialists
-    Drawing for a John Deere electric grease gun

This year's tour includes stops in....

-  July 28th - Cambridge, IA
-  July 31 - Albert City. IA
-  August 4 - Luverne, MN
-  August 15 - Amboy, IN
-  August 22 - Adams, NE
-  September 4 - Dundee, MI
-  September 19 - Culbertson, NE

The PureGrade performance tours are no-cost events open to the public. For more information on the tour closest to you, visit or call 800-831-4815.

Friday July 11 Ag News + USDA WASDE and Crop Produciton Reports


Based  on  July  1  conditions, Nebraska's  2014 winter wheat crop  is  forecast  at  56.0 million  bushels,  up  42  percent  from  last  year’s  crop,  according  to  the USDA’s National Agricultural  Statistics  Service.   Average  yield  is  forecast  at  40  bushels  per acre, up 5 bushels from a year earlier.

Acreage  to be harvested  for grain  is estimated at 1.40 million acres, up 24 percent  from a year ago.  This would be 93 percent of the planted acres, well above last year’s 77 percent harvested.

Oat production is forecast at 3.15 million bushes, near double last year’s output and the largest since 2005.  Acreage for harvest, at 45,000 acres is up 20,000 acres from 2013.  Yield, at 70 bushels per acres, is forecast to be 5 bushels above a year ago.


Oat  production  in  Iowa  is  forecast  at  4.36  million bushels, up 10 percent  from  the 3.96 million bushels in 2013 according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics  Service Crop Production  report.    Iowa  oat growers  intend  to  harvest  65,000  acres  for  grain,  up   8  percent  from  last  year.    The  expected  yield  is   67 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel from 2013.  Seventy-four percent of  Iowa’s oat crop was  rated  in good  to excellent condition as of June 29th.  Eleven percent of the oat acreage was turning color.

USDA: Winter Wheat Production Down 1 Percent from June

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.37 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the June 1 forecast and down 11 percent from 2013. Based on July 1 conditions, the United States yield is forecast at 42.2 bushels per acre, down 0.2 bushel from last month and down 5.2 bushels from last year. The area expected to be harvested for grain or seed totals 32.4 million acres, unchanged from the Acreage report released on June 30, 2014 but up slightly from last year.

Hard Red Winter production, at 703 million bushels, is down 2 percent from last month. Soft Red Winter, at 458 million bushels, is up 1 percent from the June forecast. White Winter, at 206 million bushels, is up slightly from last month. Of the White Winter production, 10.6 million bushels are Hard White and 196 million bushels are Soft White.

Durum wheat production is forecast at 59.6 million bushels, down 4 percent from 2013. The United States yield is forecast at 42.1 bushels per acre, down 1.5 bushels from last year. Expected area to be harvested for grain totals 1.42 million acres, unchanged from the Acreage report released on June 30, 2014 but down slightly from last year.

Other spring wheat production is forecast at 565 million bushels, up 6 percent from last year. Area harvested for grain is expected to total 12.4 million acres, unchanged from the Acreage report released on June 30, 2014 but up 9 percent from last year. The United States yield is forecast at 45.5 bushels per acre, down 1.6 bushels from 2013. Of the total production, 520 million bushels are Hard Red Spring wheat, up 6 percent from last year.

USDA World Ag Supply and Demand Estimate - July 11, 2014

COARSE GRAINS:  Projected 2014/15 U.S. feed grain supplies are raised with increases for corn and sorghum beginning stocks and higher expected sorghum production.  Corn production is projected 75 million bushels lower based on harvested acres from the June 30 Acreage report.  The national average corn yield remains projected at a record 165.3 bushels per acre.  Favorable early July crop conditions and weather support an outlook for record yields across most of the Corn Belt, however, for much of the crop, the critical pollination period will be during middle and late July.  At the projected 13,860 million bushels, this year’s crop remains just 65 million bushels below last year’s record.   

Corn use changes for 2014/15 are limited to a 50-million-bushel reduction in expected feed and residual use based on the lower production projection and higher projected sorghum feed and residual use.  Sorghum food, seed, and industrial use, exports, and ending stocks are also raised for 2014/15 with sorghum production projected up 50 million bushels on the higher area reported in the Acreage report.  Corn ending stocks are projected up 75 million bushels with a higher carryin and lower feed and residual use more than offsetting the small acreage-driven decline in production.  The projected range for the season-average corn price is lowered 20 cents on each end to $3.65 to $4.35 per bushel.  Lower farm prices are also projected for sorghum, barley, and oats.

A number of 2013/14 feed grain supply and use changes are made this month reflecting June 1 stocks estimates from the June 30 Grain Stocks and based on final marketing-year barley and oats trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  Projected corn feed and residual use is lowered 125 million bushels based on lower-than-expected March-May disappearance as indicated by the June 1 stocks.  Corn used to produce ethanol is projected 25 million bushels higher based on the pace of ethanol production to date and lower projected sorghum food, seed, and industrial use, most of which is for ethanol.  Sorghum exports are projected up 10 million bushels reflecting continued steady export sales and the large 2013/14 outstanding sales balance.  Projected 2013/14 farm prices for corn and sorghum are lowered this month as favorable weather for developing 2014 crops reduce summer price prospects.

Global coarse grain supplies for 2014/15 are projected 7.0 million tons higher with larger beginning stocks for the United States, Brazil, and China and larger production for China, the EU, Ukraine, Russia, and Serbia.  Lower corn production for the United States and lower corn, barley, and oats production for Canada partly offset this month’s increases in world coarse grain output.  World barley production is higher with larger crops expected in Ukraine and Russia.  Foreign corn production for 2014/15 is raised 1.7 million tons.  China corn production is up 2.0 million tons on higher expected area.  China 2013/14 corn production is also raised, up 0.8 million tons based on the latest government estimates that include higher area.  EU 2014/15 corn production is raised 0.4 million with larger crops expected in Germany and France.  Serbia corn production is also raised 0.3 million tons.  Partly offsetting is a 0.9-million-ton reduction in Canada corn reflecting the lower planted area recently reported by Statistics Canada.  Brazil corn production is unchanged for 2014/15, but raised 2.0 million tons for 2013/14 based on higher area indications for second crop corn.

Global 2014/15 corn trade is nearly unchanged with a reduction for Canada exports partly offset by an increase for Serbia.  For 2013/14, world corn trade is raised with higher imports for the EU and South Korea more than offsetting a reduction for China.  Corn exports for 2013/14 are raised for Canada, the EU, and Russia.  Global corn consumption is lowered slightly for both 2013/14 and 2014/15 mostly reflecting the lower U.S. feed and residual use projections. Global 2014/15 corn ending stocks are projected 5.4 million tons higher with increases for China, Brazil, and the United States more than offsetting the Canada reduction.

OILSEEDS:  U.S. oilseed production for 2014/15 is projected at 113.1 million tons, up 5.0 million tons with higher soybean production accounting for most of the change.  Soybean production is projected at a record 3,800 million bushels, up 165 million due to increased harvested area.  Harvested area, forecast at 84.1 million acres in the June 30 Acreage report, is 3.6 million above the June forecast.  The soybean yield is projected at 45.2 bushels per acre, unchanged from last month.  Soybean supplies are 180 million bushels above last month’s forecast due to higher beginning stocks and production.  Soybean crush is projected at 1,755 million bushels, up 40 million reflecting increased domestic soybean meal disappearance in line with adjustments for 2013/14 and higher U.S. soybean meal exports that offset lower projected exports for India.  Soybean exports for 2014/15 are raised 50 million bushels to 1,675 million reflecting record U.S. supplies and lower prices.  U.S. soybean ending stocks are projected at 415 million bushels, up 90 million.  If realized, projected stocks would be the highest since 2006/07.

Prices for soybeans and products for 2014/15 are all reduced.  The U.S. season-average soybean price is projected at $9.50 to $11.50 per bushel, down 25 cents on both ends of the range.  Soybean meal prices are projected at $350 to $390 per short ton, down 5 dollars on both ends.  The soybean oil price range is projected at 36 to 40 cents per pound, down 1 cent on both ends.

Global oilseed production for 2014/15 is projected at a record 521.9 million tons, up 5.8 million from last month with soybeans and rapeseed accounting for most of the change.  Global soybean production is projected at 304.8 million tons, up 4.8 million mostly due to higher production in the United States.  Higher soybean production is also projected for Russia and Ukraine, both reflecting higher harvested area.  Lower soybean production for India resulting from reduced harvested area partly offsets these gains.  Harvested area is reduced based on planting delays resulting from the slow development of the monsoon in the main soybean producing states.  Rapeseed production is raised for Canada based on higher planted area reported by Statistics Canada.  Rapeseed production is also raised for Australia on higher area and yield.  Global oilseed ending stocks for 2014/15 are projected at 99.7 million tons, up 3.6 million mostly reflecting a sharp increase in U.S. soybean stocks.

U.S. soybean crush for 2013/14 is raised 25 million bushels to 1,725 million on both increased soybean meal exports and domestic soybean meal use.  Soybean exports for 2013/14 are projected at 1,620 million bushels, up 20 million reflecting record shipments through early July.  Seed use is raised and residual is reduced based on indications from the June 30 Acreage and Grain Stocks reports, respectively.  Soybean ending stocks for 2013/14 are projected at 140 million bushels, up 15 million.

WHEAT:  Projected U.S. wheat supplies for 2014/15 are raised this month with a sharp increase in forecast Hard Red Spring (HRS) wheat more than offsetting a decrease for Hard Red Winter (HRW).  The HRW crop was damaged by drought and April freezes in the Southern and Central plains; however, the HRS crop in the Northern Plains has benefitted from abundant soil moisture and cooler than normal early summer temperatures.  Yields for Durum and other spring wheat are forecast to be above average.  Feed and residual use for all wheat in 2014/15 is lowered 15 million bushels to 145 million as tight supplies of HRW wheat and relatively more attractive prices for feed grains reduce expected feed and residual use.  All wheat exports for 2014/15 are lowered 25 million bushels reflecting expectations of large world supplies and strong competition in export markets.  Ending stocks are projected 86 million bushels higher.  The projected season-average farm price range is lowered 40 cents at the midpoint to $6.00 to $7.20 per bushel.  

Global wheat supplies for 2014/15 are raised 1.8 million tons with increased production more than offsetting lower beginning stocks.  World production is raised 3.6 million tons to 705.2 million.  This is down 9.0 million tons from last year but still the second largest production on record.  The biggest foreign increases are 1.6 million tons for the EU and 1.0 million tons for Ukraine both due to continued favorable weather.  Production is raised 0.5 million tons for Australia based on the latest government indications for area.  Production is also raised 0.3 million tons each for Brazil and Serbia.  Partly offsetting this month’s production increases is a reduction of 1.0 million tons for Kazakhstan due to June dryness and a decline of 0.5 million tons for Canada based on the latest area indications from Statistics Canada.

Global wheat consumption is raised 0.9 million tons with increased wheat feeding for the EU and higher food use for several countries.  EU wheat feeding is raised 1.0 million tons as wheat quality is expected to suffer in the lower Danube region because of excessive rainfall in recent weeks.  Feeding reductions for Kazakhstan, Egypt, and Thailand are partly offsetting.  Food use is raised for Indonesia, Sudan, Morocco, and Bangladesh but lowered for Egypt.  Global wheat trade for 2014/15 is lowered with exports reduced 1.0 million tons for Kazakhstan and 0.7 million for the United States.  Partly offsetting increases in exports are made for Australia, Ukraine, and Serbia with improved crop prospects.  EU imports are lowered 0.5 million tons due in part to larger expected supplies of feed quality wheat in Bulgaria and Romania.  Imports are also lowered for Egypt and Mexico, but raised for Sudan, Indonesia, and Nigeria.  With supplies rising faster than use, global ending stocks are raised 0.9 million tons and remain at a 3-year high.


The forecast for total meat production in 2014 is raised from last month.  Beef production is raised on higher steer and heifer and cow slaughter and slightly higher carcass weights.  Pork production is lowered as USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report indicated a slower-than-expected expansion in farrowings during the second quarter.  This implies lower than previously forecast hog slaughter later in the year, but strong hog prices and lower feed costs are expected to provide incentives to feed hogs to heavier weights.  No change was made to broiler production as the production expansion remains muted.  Turkey production is raised on higher second-quarter production. Egg production is raised on strong table egg prices and lower feed costs.  For 2015, beef and broiler production is forecast higher, but pork production is forecast lower.  Cattle slaughter is forecast higher in early 2015 based on 2014 placements.  Pork production is reduced as supplies of market hogs will remain relatively tight.  Broiler production is forecast higher as lower expected feed costs support a more rapid increase in production.

Forecasts for 2014 and 2015 beef imports are raised as demand for processing grade beef remains strong.  Exports for 2014 are raised on recent data.  Pork imports for 2014 are reduced slightly.  Despite high prices, pork exports remain robust and forecasts for both 2014 and 2015 are raised.  Broiler and turkey exports are raised for 2014 based on May data, but forecasts for 2015 are unchanged from last month. 

Cattle and hog price forecasts for 2014 are raised from last month on the strength of demand.  Broiler price forecasts for both 2014 and 2015 are unchanged from last month.  The turkey price forecast for 2014 is raised based on June price data, but the egg price is reduced.  The hog price forecast is raised for 2015 on expectations of tighter supplies and continued strong demand.  Prices for cattle, broilers, turkey, and eggs are unchanged at the midpoint for 2015.   

The milk production forecast for 2014 is lowered from last month as slower growth in output per cow more than offsets a more rapid expansion in cow numbers.  The forecast for 2015 is raised as higher milk prices and lower feed costs are expected to support more rapid growth in cow numbers and output per cow.  Export forecasts for 2014 are lowered on a fat basis but raised on a skim-solids basis.  High domestic butter prices are expected to limit export opportunities, but nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) exports are expected to remain strong.  For 2015, no change is forecast to fat-basis exports, but strength in NDM/SMP sales will help support higher skim-solids exports.  

Product prices are forecast higher for 2014 with strength in butter prices expected to carry into 2015.  Despite increased production, robust domestic demand and stronger NDM/SMP exports will support prices.  Class III and Class IV prices for 2014 are raised on stronger component product prices and the Class IV price forecast for 2015 is raised reflecting strength in butter prices.  The all milk price is forecast at $23.25 to $23.55 per cwt for 2014, and $19.75 to $20.75 per cwt for 2015.

2014 EQIP Storm Damage Cover Crop Initiative

from Nathan Mueller, UNL Extension Educator, Dodge County

Producers that have experienced crop and residue loss in the 2014 growing season due to weather and storms throughout Nebraska are encouraged to apply for EQIP assistance to establish cover crops on eligible fields.  The Storm Damage Cover Crop Initiative is available to producers who suffered vegetative cover losses due to drought, floods, tornado, hail, and high winds.

This initiative will assist producers to re-establish residue lost due to extreme weather conditions needed to protect the soil from water and wind erosion.  Practice 340, Cover Crop, is the only practice available for this initiative and with the following limitations:
·       Practice payment limited to Cover Crop (340) – Single Species scenario.
·       Practice payment limited to one year.
·       Cover Crop must be terminated and grazing will not be allowed prior to October 15, 2014.  If grazed after this date then restrictions will be applied as specified in the grazing management plan to protect and maintain an adequate level of residue.
·       Practice application has not been started prior to contract or early start waiver approval.
·       Producer must submit documentation of weather event causing the residue loss.
·       Practice must meet all NRCS standards and specifications.

Application cutoff date for the Storm Damage Cover Crop Initiative is August 15, 2014. 

If you have any questions, please contact Rich Torpin, EQIP Program Manager, at or by phone at 402-437-4061


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Would you like to try something a little different as a forage crop after wheat?  How about considering soybeans or sunflowers?

                Soybean hay can have nearly the same protein and energy content as alfalfa hay.  Livestock eat soybean hay quite well, but they often separate out and refuse to eat some of the coarser stems.  Grinding the hay should reduce this refusal.

               Harvest soybean hay after pods begin to fill but before leaves drop off from yellowing and definately before a freeze.  Soybean hay is slow to dry because bean stems are coarser than alfalfa stems, so be sure to crimp them as you cut.  Also, soybean leaves crumble easily when dry, so rake and bale carefully to reduce leaf loss.

               Both soybeans and sunflowers can make good silage.  Feeding value varies, but if you do a good job of silage making and get a good fermentation, soybeans have about 80 percent of the feeding value of alfalfa haylage and sunflowers have about 80 percent of the feeding value of corn silage.

               Always use a silage inoculant and add about 30 to 50 pounds of grain per ton of silage when filling the silo with these feeds.  This improves fermentation and feeding value of your sunflower or soybean silage.  Also make certain that you chop the silage a bit finer and pack it well.  Have moisture content between 60 and 70 percent.  Also, cover with plastic when you're done.

               Maybe better yet, if you can mix about one ton of these silages with two or more tons of corn silage when filling the silo, really good silage should occur.

               It may seem strange to use soybeans and sunflowers as hay or silage, but they can come through for you when needed.

Iowa Farmland Sales Exceed $20,000 Per Acre

Though farmland values have eased a bit this year, two eye-blinking auctions occurred in June when when 80 acres located two miles east of Boyden in Sioux County sold for $20,400 an acre. It had 78 tillable acres, reports the Landowner newsletter.

The soils on the farm were rated 76.2 on the Corn Suitability Ratio scale. That compares to the county average of 64.8.

Also last month, 389.5 acres of mostly tillable land located on the north side of Osage in Mitchell Co. passed under the gavel with prices on four tracts ranging from $19,100 to $19,700 an acre.

The newsletter says the sale prices are especially shocking because north-central Iowa was hard hit by rains a year ago, resulting in a substantial number of acres claiming prevent plant payments rather than planting a crop.

Iowa's June Rains Ranked 4th Wettest Month in 141 Years

June rainfalls brought precipitation during the first half of 2014 to above normal levels for the state. The June statewide average rainfall was almost ten inches, and for the most recent two weeks the rainfall of 4.3 inches was nearly double the normal of 2.2 inches.

Although most of Iowa received very wet weather during this period, there were exceptions: the far northwest portion of the state received a welcome reprieve from mid-June flooding, and in far southeast Iowa a few areas -- centered on Van Buren County -- consistently missed heavy rains.

Stream flows are either normal or much above normal for the majority of the state. In some locations stream flow levels are beginning to drop as excess water continues to move downstream.

Shallow groundwater is back to normal or near normal levels for July. Even wells located away from streams and rivers began to improve within a week of heavy rains received since June 11.

For a more thorough review of Iowa's water resource trends, go to

The report is prepared by the technical staff from the Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, IIHR--Hydroscience and Engineering and the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.

USDA to Host Listening Sessions on Wetland Compliance

The Natural Resources Conservation Service has announced that listening sessions have been scheduled seeking comments on proposed changes to the offsite methods used in making wetland determinations and new wetland mitigation banking alternatives related to implementation of the USDA wetland compliance provisions. The USDA wetland compliance provisions were originally enacted in the 1985 Farm Bill and through the 2014 Agricultural Act these provisions have been re-linked with the premium subsidy paid under the Federal crop insurance program.

The sessions will provide an opportunity for farmers and the public to provide comments on technical changes being proposed to the agency's use of offsite wetland determination procedures. NRCS is also soliciting input on implementation strategies for the wetland mitigation banking provision provided in the Agricultural Act of 2014.

Listening sessions have been scheduled for:
-- Ankeny, Iowa on July 28
-- Albert Lea, Minn., on July 29
-- Aberdeen, S.D., on July 30
-- Fargo, N.D., on July 31

The sessions target public participation in the North Central Plains states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. This area which is also known as the Prairie Pothole Region contains numerous small seasonal wetlands which provide important breeding and nesting habitat for more than 60 percent of the nation's migratory waterfowl.  For more information on these opportunities, visit a local NRCS field officeor the NRCS website.

CHS reports earnings through fiscal 2014 third quarter of $881.7 million

CHS Inc., the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, today reported earnings of $881.7 million through the third quarter of its 2014 fiscal year.

The earnings attributable to CHS of $881.7 million for the period (Sept. 1, 2013 – May 31, 2014) represent an increase of one percent from the $869.6 million reported for the first three quarters of fiscal 2013. Revenues for nine months were $32.7 billion, down 3 percent from $33.5 billion for the same period a year ago, primarily due to lower average grain prices.

Earnings for the third quarter (March 1 – May 31, 2014) were $379.5 million, up 51 percent from $250.8 million for the same period in fiscal 2013. Earnings for the quarter reflected a one-time gain attributed to the establishment of a new flour milling joint venture, as well as stronger performance by the company's retail agronomy, wholesale crop nutrients and grain marketing businesses. At almost $12 billion, revenues for the quarter were comparable to the same three-month period of fiscal 2013.

Year-to-date, Energy segment earnings declined due to lower margins in refining which were partially offset by strong performance for CHS propane, renewable fuels marketing lubricants and transportation operations. Earnings for the CHS Ag segment increased through the third quarter as a result of strong logistical performance within grain marketing, higher agronomy margins and service income generated by the company's Country Operations retail locations, and improved wholesale crop nutrients performance.

CHS reports results for its business services operations and its two food processing-related joint ventures under the Corporate and Other category which recorded improved profitability through the third quarter of fiscal 2014. Earnings increased significantly from the previous nine-month period due to a one-time gain of $108.8 million associated with the contribution of its Horizon Milling assets to the newly formed Ardent Mills joint venture and overall strong business performance.

Jay Leno to Address 96th AFBF Annual Convention

Acclaimed late night TV host Jay Leno will give the closing session keynote address at the 96th AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show in San Diego on Jan. 12, 2015.

About 7,000 Farm Bureau members from across the nation are expected to gather in San Diego Jan. 11-14 to hear from distinguished leaders and participate in a grassroots policy setting process that will guide the American Farm Bureau Federation through 2015.

Leno, an admired stand-up comedian, is also a best-selling children’s book author, TV and movie voice-over artist, pioneering car builder and mechanic, and philanthropist. He has been widely characterized as “the hardest-working man in show business.”

“We are excited to have Jay Leno as one of our keynote speakers,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “We will be considering some very important policy issues during our time in San Diego, so it will be nice to take a break from the business at hand and share a lighter moment with Jay Leno.”

Leno’s late night television ratings domination has included hosting more than two decades of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” during which the show was a quarterly ratings winner for 19 consecutive years. While he was host, the show was honored by the Television Academy with an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy, Variety or Music Series. “The Tonight Show” has also been honored as Favorite Late Night Show in the annual TV Guide Awards as determined by voting viewers.

Farm Bureau members can register for the 96th AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show through their state Farm Bureaus or online through AFBF at starting Sept. 1.

Houses Passes Bonus Depreciation Bill

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 258 to 160 to pass H.R. 4718, legislation that will make permanent the fifty percent bonus depreciation of new capital purchases that was created in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. This bill addresses a section of the tax code that expired at the end of 2013 and is one of the provisions that has traditionally been addressed in tax extenders packages. It was also considered as part of the tax reform proposals in the House and Senate.

“NCBA strongly supports the permanent extension of fifty percent bonus depreciation because it will help provide farmers and ranchers with predictable pro-growth tax code that allows us to make long-term investments in our businesses,” said Bob McCan, NCBA president and Victoria, Texas, cattleman.  “Bonus depreciation coupled with Section 179 expensing are effective tools allowing farmers and ranchers to make the necessary investments needed to remain competitive in the global market place and create jobs in America.”

Bonus depreciation allows businesses that purchase new equipment to depreciate 50 percent of the cost in the first year, plus the percentage of the remaining basis in the equipment that would ordinarily be depreciable under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved the measure in May as part of the piece-meal approach to approving individual parts of the tax extenders package that expired at the end of 2013.

Earlier this spring, the Senate Finance Committee passed a bill extending nearly all of the extenders for two years. Previous action on the Senate floor was suspended and it is likely that the Senate will not take up the tax extenders package until after the elections in November.

“NCBA will continue to be actively engaged in the tax extenders process to help provide greater certainty in the tax code for America’s ranching families,” said McCan.

TPP Negotiations Make Incremental Progress; US-China Talks Continue

Chief negotiators from the 12-member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) met this week in Ottawa, Ontario, to continue working through technical issues of the various chapters. While the prevailing view is that continuous progress is being made on resolving texts in a number of areas, decisions on several unresolved issues will have to be made at the ministerial levels of the member countries.

In addition, many of the unresolved issues in non-agricultural areas continue to be dependent on the outcome of the ongoing bilateral discussions between the United States and China on market access issues regarding agricultural products, particularly the sensitive products (rice, dairy, beef, pork, wheat, barley and sugar) and automobiles. Another round of bilateral meetings between the two countries will be held next week in Washington, D.C.

The widespread sentiment is that the TPP negotiations need to be completed by the end of the year in order to take advantage of the momentum from multi-year discussions. During discussions with various countries’ negotiators, U.S. private-sector stakeholders once again questioned when the United States will formally consider the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). The TPA would give Congress the ability to be more actively engaged in the negotiation process and would give the administration the formal right to negotiate.

In addition to the private stakeholder discussions, the U.S. Grains Council and other U.S. commodity sectors met with the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, a coalition of national and regional producers, processors and exporters who support a more open and fair international trading environment for agriculture and agri-food. Both groups pledged to cooperate and collaborate on achieving aggressive elimination of agricultural market access trade barriers, improve disciplines on addressing sanitary and phytosanitary non-tariff barriers, and improve transparency and cooperation on biotechnology regulations, including low-level presence policies.

USGC Receives Clean Audit Report

The U.S. Grains Council received a clean audit report from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service for the period of Jan. 1, 2013, through Jan. 31, 2014.

“Council staff, especially global accounting staff, paying strict attention to FAS regulations has allowed the Council to receive a clean audit,” said USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight. “The Council is committed to being a good steward of taxpayer dollars, and one way to do this is through receiving clean audits.”

These audits are done yearly and are a vitally important component of the Council’s global programs. A clean audit helps sustain and improve the Council’s professional relationship with FAS.

Sorghum Checkoff Concludes Five-Year Sorghum Genetics Project

The Sorghum Checkoff, in collaboration with NuSeed/MMR Genetics and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, recently completed a five-year, $600,000 investment in a project to help broaden the pool of available sorghum genetics.

Sorghum Checkoff Crop Improvement Director Justin Weinheimer, Ph.D., said the project, formally known as the “Re-instated Sorghum Conversion Program,” was designed to make new sorghum genetic material available to sorghum research and breeding programs to enhance diversity within grain sorghum genetics.

“Advancements in sorghum seed innovation, such as yield, standability and drought tolerance, remain a top priority of U.S. sorghum farmers,” Weinheimer said. “This project provides untapped sorghum genetic resources, which can be used to make more profitable sorghum hybrids.”

MMR Genetics Sorghum Breeder and Principal Investigator Fred Miller, Ph.D., said these new opportunities will result in significant and major crop improvements in sorghum hybrids that were not previously available through germplasm modification.

“There are vast germplasm reserves held worldwide, but breeders in the U.S. are constrained in using this material due to the fact that this tropical germplasm is unadapted to our day lengths and seasonal temperatures,” Miller said.

Over the course of five years, the program converted wild-type sorghum varieties not suitable for U.S. breeding programs into to genetic lines that are more easily incorporated into established breeding and research programs.

“While traditional breeding methods were used to develop this material,” said Bob Klein, USDA-ARS, Crop Germplasm Research Unit research geneticist, “we also used NexGen DNA sequencing technology to shorten the time between the start of the breeding process and when the germplasm gets in the hands of seed companies. We are also making the DNA sequencing data available to any end-user who has the desire to use this genetic marker information in their breeding or genetics program.”

Between 2011 and 2014, Weinheimer said a total of 144 new sources of sorghum genetics were released to breeding programs across the country. A total of 15 different breeding and research programs have acquired some or all of this material and are incorporating it into their programs.

“The results of this project are directly tied to making more productive hybrids, which in turn results in higher profitability for producers,” Weinheimer said. “We are already exploring ways to make additional genetic lines available.”

Small Tractor Sales Up Last Month, Combine Sales Still Off

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly "Flash Report," the sale of all tractors in the U.S. for June 2014, were up 5% compared to the same month last year. For the six months in 2014, a total of 106,997 tractors were sold which compares to 104,291 sold thru June 2014, representing a 3% increase year to date.

For the month, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 14% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up .9%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were down 19%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were down 22%.  Combine sales were down 24% for the month.

For the six months, 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 10%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are down 11%.  Sales of combines for the first six months totaled 4,004, a decrease of 13% over the same period in 2013.

Case IH Produces its 150,000th Magnum Tractor

The 150,000th Case IH Magnum tractor was recently produced at the Case IH Racine, Wisconsin, plant.  Each Magnum is unique and custom-built, allowing producers to select components to best meet the needs of their operation.  Today's Magnum lineup offers 180 to 380 rated horsepower, an improved operator environment and increased fuel efficiency from the only manufacturer with a Selective Catalytic Reduction-only solution to meet Tier 4 B emission standards.

USDA, Partners Help Fill the Summer Meal Gap

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack

In the battle for our children’s future, one of the most powerful things we can do to protect them is to ensure they get the nutrition they need to learn and grow.

Nationwide, 16 million children live in households that have trouble putting food on the table at least a portion of the year. During the school year, USDA’s school nutrition programs help make sure millions of American children get a healthy breakfast and lunch at school.

When school lets out, USDA’s summer meals help make sure that those kids get the nutrition they need, even when school is not in session. Last year, USDA and its partners served a record 168 million summer meals to kids across the country.

Unfortunately, many kids are still missing out. That is why USDA has set a goal of serving an additional 10 million meals to kids this summer.

Admittedly, this is an aggressive goal, and we can’t do it alone. We’ll need the dedicated help of our partners across the country. With strong support from individuals, communities, local governments and advocates, we can reach more kids with nutritious meals during their time out of school.

To better support partner organizations, we have developed state-targeted technical assistance and a new Summer Meals Toolkit to make sure state agencies, partners and sponsors have the resources available to run smoothly and effectively.

Together, we can tackle childhood hunger and get the word out to identify communities to ensure kids are receiving the nutritious meals they need through the summer, and throughout the year. Help spread awareness of summer meals in your community using the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-Hungry or 1-877-8-Hambre and learn more at

Thursday July 10 Ag News

NFB Foundation for Agriculture Creates Tornado Disaster Relief Fund to Help Farmers and Ranchers

Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has launched, a Tornado Disaster Relief Fund to provide emergency and residual help to farmers and ranchers in Northeast Nebraska and other areas across the state affected by recent tornadoes.

“When a tornado hits a farmstead or a livestock operation, the needs of farmers and ranchers are a bit different. They need to critically assess how to save their crops and to address the health of their livestock,” Deanna Karmazin, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.

Many of these emergency actions and needs are not directly supported by government and other non-profit disaster relief efforts, which tend to be more community based, Karmazin said.

“We just think there are unique and extraordinary costs for farmers and ranchers associated with emergency actions needed to continue their production operation and the extraordinary labor involved with the clean-up of fields and livestock facilities. The costs and unanticipated expenses of trying to get their farm business back in operation is a tremendous burden and most emergency disaster programs don’t include this type of assistance,” she said.

The funds collected for the Tornado Disaster Relief Fund will be targeted to farmers and ranchers to help them with immediate needs but cannot get assistance from other sources, including government programs, or have losses that are not covered by insurance.

“We want to provide emergency assistance for farmers and ranchers affected by the tornadoes for such things as food and clothing, prescriptions/medical supplies, feed/fence/relocation costs, vet costs, field clean-up costs, rental assistance/mortgage payment for home or business, utility and propane payments and other critical unmet needs,” she said.

This fund will be used to help farmers and ranchers who supply food and fuel for all Nebraskans, some of whom have lost not only their homes but their way to make a living.

If you would like to donate and help those who grow your food, send donations to:

NFB-Foundation for Agriculture
ATTN: Tornado Relief Fund
P.O. Box 80299
Lincoln, NE 68501.

Or go online to and click on the “Donate” button.

Distribution of the funds collected will be overseen by an “Unmet Needs Committee” created by the NFB Foundation for Agriculture, which will include members of its board, local county extension officials and local County Farm Bureau leaders.

Applications or nomination forms to apply for assistance from this fund can be obtained online at or by contacting the NFB Foundation for Agriculture at 402 421-4400.

Nebraska Grazing Conference in Kearney to Include Live Cattle Handling Demo

            Many will remember the 1998 movie, "The Horse Whisperer," starring Robert Redford. One of the consultants on that movie was Curt Pate from Texas. Pate will show why his expertise was sought by the movie producers when he demonstrates low-stress animal handling techniques at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds on the second day of the 14th annual Nebraska Grazing Conference. Pate's appearance on the program is sponsored in part by the Beef Checkoff.

            The two-day conference will begin at the Kearney Ramada, a change in location from past years' gatherings, on Tuesday, Aug. 12. Topics that day will include: water capture, transfer and storage; soil health and grazing; mob grazing; wildlife and grazing; managing during and after drought; and GrassSnap, a new mobile app for monitoring grasslands.

            Pate will start things off the second day, Aug. 13, with a talk on stockmanship and stewardship fundamentals, followed by three producers who use low-stress cattle handling techniques. Additional morning speakers will address management practices of the 2013 Leopold Conservation Award winner and research on switchgrass for forage and biomass. After lunch the conference will move to the fairgrounds for Pate's live cattle handling and roping demonstration.

            In addition to Pate, conference presenters include faculty in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, government agencies and farmers and ranchers who discuss their experiences with various grazing methods.

            Full registration is $80 if postmarked by Aug. 1 and $95 afterward. The fee includes the conference proceedings, lunch both days, evening banquet, pre-banquet social, break refreshments, and the demo at the fairgrounds. One-day registration rate is $45 before Aug. 1 and $55 after, and does not include the evening banquet. Morning walk-in registrations at the hotel are welcome and may be for either or both days. Those interested only in the Pate presentations must complete and pay for a Wednesday-only registration either in advance or on the morning of Aug. 13 at the conference registration desk in the Kearney Ramada.

            Reduced registration fees are offered for full-time high school or college students. Registration fees will be paid by the UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources for students who will still be in high school this fall and who pre-register by the Aug. 1 deadline.

            More information is available at, or from the UNL Center for Grassland Studies at (402) 472-4101, e-mail, or your local UNL extension office.

            The event is sponsored by several public and private organizations, including the conference underwriters: Farm Credit Services of America, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition, Merial, and the UNL Center for Grassland Studies.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Can hay from summer annual grasses be dry and high quality?  No way, you say?  It can't be done!  Well, if these are your thoughts, let’s see if I can change your mind.

It is difficult to put up good quality hay – hay that is dry and will not heat or mold – from summer annual grasses like sorghum-sudan hybrids, pearl millet, and forage sorghums.  Obviously, this type of hay, which is also called cane hay by some folks, is challenging to bale or stack for most growers.  So let's look at what it takes to make good cane hay.

Nearly all problems making good summer grass or cane hay are caused by the stems.  Stems are low in protein and energy, they are unbearably slow to dry, and the lower stems contain most of the potentially toxic nitrates.

To solve some problems, cut early, when plants are only waist high.  When cut early, stems are smaller, they’re eaten more readily, and the hay contains more protein and energy.  Also, there is less plant volume.  So with smaller stems and fewer of them the hay will dry quicker.

Regardless of when you harvest though, cut it high, leaving eight to ten  inches of stubble.  Tall stubble pays off three ways – it helps plants begin regrowth quicker, it holds hay off the ground so air can help dry underneath, and it keeps many nitrates out in the field stubble rather than harvesting them all in your hay.

And finally, always crimp cane hay.  Even when stems are small, the waxy coating on the stems cause slow drying.  But if you break open these stems by crimping, water will be able to escape and evaporate more quickly.

So cut it early, cut it high.  Crimp the stems and they will dry.

President of American Wind Energy Association to Open 7th Annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference

Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), will open the seventh annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference and Exhibition with the Current State of Wind Development on Wednesday, October 29 at 8:45 a.m. This year’s conference, “Turning Challenges into Nebraska Opportunities,” will be October 29-30, 2014 at the La Vista Conference Center.

“We are pleased to have Tom Kiernan open our conference this year,” said Adam Herink, Conference Co-chair. “Tom and AWEA have been at the forefront of wind energy advocacy for many years now.”

Tom Kiernan took the Chief Executive Officer reins of AWEA in May of 2013, and spent the previous 15 years as President of the National Parks Conservation Association. Kiernan graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Environmental Computer Modeling and pursued his Masters of Business Administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business. While at Stanford, he served as Assistant to the Director of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.

After college, Kiernan joined the Environmental Protection Agency as Special Assistant to the Assistant Administrator. A year later, he was promoted to Chief of Staff of the Office of Air and Radiation, and later appointed Deputy Assistant Administrator where he was instrumental in the implementation the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.

“Tom’s experience and education is the foundation for his support of the expansion of wind energy,” said Dan McGuire, conference Co-Chair. “He knows the increase of wind energy use will have a positive impact on the environment and in Nebraska rural communities.”

Registration for the conference is $100 before September 29, $125 between September 29 and October 28 and $150 for walk-in registrations the day of the conference. For participant registration, and to view the program, go to

ASA Applauds Confirmation of Vetter As Chief Agricultural Negotiator

Following the Senate confirmation of Darci Vetter today as Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the American Soybean Association offered its congratulations and best wishes. ASA President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser issued the following statement:

"As growers of the nation's largest farm export, soybean farmers have a critical stake in the progress and development of agricultural trade with our foreign partners. Ms. Vetter is a versatile and capable advocate for American agriculture and we send our most sincere congratulations on her confirmation by the Senate. As we move forward with new trade agreements with Europe and our partners in the Pacific Rim, and as we restore and strengthen relationships with existing trading partners, Ms. Vetter will provide a strong voice for American soybean farmers at the highest level."

Vilsack on the Senate Confirmation of Darci Vetter as Chief Agricultural Negotiator

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today made the following statement on the Senate Confirmation of Darci Vetter as U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator:

"I am pleased that America's farmers, ranchers and rural communities will continue to benefit from Darci's experience and background in her new role as U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator. As Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, she helped to facilitate record food and farm exports that supported nearly one million jobs here at home and expanded opportunity in rural communities. I have no doubt that Darci will continue to be a valuable advocate for rural America."

Pork - Taste the Revolution

Top restaurateurs know that pork is the perfect way to create menu excitement. From pulled pork and crave-worthy bacon, pork is a standout in new dishes that highlight its flavor and versatility.

“The pork buzz is strong in foodservice, and pork has become a menu must-have at restaurants around the country,” said Stephen Gerike, director of foodservice marketing for the Pork Checkoff.

National sandwich restaurants that have recently been making the most of pork include:

• Subway. The chain tested a Kung Pao Pulled Pork sandwiches in select Midwest markets. The sandwich featured pulled pork in a Kung Pao sauce, a savory blend of garlic and ginger for a sweet-and-spicy flavor.
• Wendy’s. Select restaurants in Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts tested a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. There were three BBQ sauce choices: spicy, smoky, or sweet. The sandwich was topped with slaw and comes on a brioche bun. Customers could also get the pulled pork on cheese fries, or a burger.
• Firehouse Subs. For a limited time, Firehouse Subs featured its new Sweet Thai Chili Pork Sub. The sandwich showcased premium 12-hour smoked pulled pork, Wisconsin pepper Jack cheese, sweet Thai chili sauce, and mayonnaise.
• Cousins Subs. This Wisconsin-based chain brought back its popular Cubano and Pulled Pork & Slaw subs for a limited time only. The Cubano featured ham, genoa salami, pulled pork, Swiss cheese, mayo, brown mustard, sliced dill pickles, onions, and tomatoes on Italian bread. The Pulled Pork & Slaw offered pulled pork, barbecue sauce, and coleslaw piled high on Italian bread.
• Quiznos. The chain rolled out a line of Toasty Pastas at participating locations. Options included Bacon Mac & Cheese, featuring cavatappi macaroni with Romano, Parmesan, provolone and fontina cheeses, topped with bacon and breadcrumbs. Customers could also enjoy Spicy Sausage Marinara Pasta, cavatappi topped with light basil-marinara sauce, mozzarella and spicy pork sausage. A third option included Meatballs Marinara Pasta, with cavatappi topped with mozzarella, marinara sauce and pork-and-beef meatballs filled with grated Romano and ricotta cheeses and a blend of Italian seasonings.
• Togo’s Eateries Inc. This California-based chain introduced the #16 Primo Italian, a flavor-packed Italian sandwich with four premium hand-sliced Italian meats – Fiorucci hot capicola, Margherita pepperoni, Fiorucci dry salami, and Hormel ham. The meat was topped with provolone cheese and Togo’s Italian vinaigrette and served on artisan bread with shredded lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickles and pepperoncinis.
• Taco John’s. Pork is hot at hundreds of Taco John’s restaurants thanks to the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Burrito. Packed with spicy chorizo, melted nacho cheese, sliced jalapeños and chile de arbol salsa, these burritos also included a generous layer of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
• Whataburger. Customers could try a new spin on an old favorite with the brand’s new Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuit, available for a limited time. The biscuit sandwich was served with sausage or bacon, egg and cheese.

Pulled Pork Maintains Momentum

Pork continues to make a flavorful statement on restaurant menus this summer. Through Sept. 30, Togo’s Eateries Inc. is featuring a Cuban sandwich with pulled pork, Black Forest ham, Swiss cheese and tangy pickles with a tangy Cuban mustard dressing on classic white bread.

BBQ is back at Quiznos’, which is featuring two new sandwiches. The Southern BBQ Pulled Pork showcases slow-roasted pulled pork, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, pickles, yellow mustard and Quiznos’ signature BBQ sauce served on a choice of artisan breads, including white, wheat, rosemary parmesan or jalapeno cheddar. The Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich includes slow-roasted pulled pork, smoky bacon, aged cheddar, cilantro-jalapeno slaw and BBQ sauce on jalapeno cheddar bread.

“Pork’s flavor and versatility make it a top performer in restaurants nationwide,” Gerike said. “We’re onto something big with pork’s potential throughout foodservice.”

USFRA Launches Search for the Country’s Best Agricultural Ambassadors

When it comes to today’s agriculture, the pictures and perceptions of farmers and ranchers often do not match reality. There are many examples of great farmers and ranchers all over the country doing wonderful things to bring food to the table for those around the world. But few of those farmers and ranchers are recognizable by consumers, mainstream media and influencers.

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA®), a unique organization that is a collaboration of nearly 80 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners, wants to change that.

This year, through its Faces of Farming & Ranching program search, USFRA is looking for standout farmers and ranchers who are proud of what they do, eager to share their stories of continuous improvement and are actively involved in sharing those stories in public and on social media to help put a real face on agriculture and shine a light on the heart, personalities and values that are behind today’s food.

“We’re very proud of the improvements our farmers and ranchers are bringing to America’s food supply and we think it’s imperative that they have a strong voice in addressing consumer questions,” said Randy Krotz, chief executive officer at USFRA. “The success we experienced with last year’s ambassadors shows us that people want to hear directly from those who are cultivating our food.”

Farmers and ranchers who grow and raise an assortment of foods through various methods, on differing scale and across all regions of the country are encouraged to apply, as it is important to show American agriculture and all of its diversity. 

To apply for the Faces of Farming & Ranching program, farmers and ranchers must fill out an application form, available at, and include a home video of less than three minutes describing themselves and their farm or ranch. Among other criteria, farmers and ranchers must have an existing social media presence, either through Facebook, Twitter and/or a blog. Information on the application process can be found at Entries will be accepted through August 10, 2014 at 11:59:59 PM CT. 

A combination of public votes and USFRA judges’ scores will determine the winners, who will be announced on November 12 at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention (NAFB) in Kansas City.

The public will get to know the USFRA Faces of Farming & Ranching winners through national media interviews, advertising and public appearances. For their time, they will receive a $15,000 stipend.

“Farmers and ranchers are passionate about their jobs and their communities. Showing that side of the food business by sharing their personal stories is an exciting way to connect Americans with the hardworking and dedicated backbone of agriculture,” Krotz said.

House Subcommittee Hearing Showcases Benefits of Ag Biotech

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture held a hearing to explore the societal benefits of biotechnology. The hearing, which featured four speakers, explored how consumers, farmers and the environment have benefited from traditional and modern applications of biotechnology. Some of the benefits of biotechnology explored include fighting diseases, increasing available food sources and conserving natural resources.

The panel also responded to questions from Committee Members concerning the challenges of relaying factual information about these technologies to the general public.

"It is clear from the hearing today that biotechnology plays a critical role in meeting a number of consumer and societal needs," said Chairman Austin Scott (R-GA) in a statement following the hearing. "In a world where it is important to help feed our expanding population while ensuring that everyone has access to safe, diverse, and quality food, the U.S. can, and should, be a leader in biotech development to address the coming challenges for future generations.  Whether it is treating vitamin deficiency, autoimmune disorders or addressing hunger, biotechnology has and will continue to play a large role in global agriculture."

"It was important to hold this hearing on the benefits of biotechnology because the stakes are high and biotech has a great story to tell," said Acting Chairman Rodney Davis (R-IL), who filled in for Scott at the hearing. "Our farmers have the vital job of feeding a growing world and biotechnology is part of the solution.  I'm excited for the future and believe the United States must continue to safely innovate through biotechnology to achieve higher crop yields, fewer hungry people and an improved environment."

Panelists included Cornell University Dr. David Just, who serves as co-director of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management; John F Kennedy School of Government Professor of Practice of International Development Professor Dr. Calestous Juma, who serves as director of the  Science, Technology, and Globalization Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Tuskegee University Assistant Professor Dr. Olga Bolden-Tiller and The Farm at Wheeler Mountain owner and dairy farmer Joanna Lidback.

"The U.S. produces the safest and healthiest food and fiber in the world, and biotechnology plays a critical role as we work to meet the needs of a growing population," said Ranking Member Kurt Schrader (D-OR) in a post-hearing statement. " As science and technology advances, it's important that we don't pit different agriculture production systems against one another - we should support all forms of agriculture. From the creation of seeds that can better withstand drought to the development of fortified rice to assist those suffering from a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals, biotech is playing a crucial role in our society by feeding the world, protecting our environment and improving global health. Today's hearing made it very clear that we still have a lot of work to do to communicate with the public about the benefits of biotech, and I believe this committee can play a vital role in doing just that."

Wednesday July 9 Ag News

Nebraska Cattlemen to Host State Wide Educational Road Trip

The Nebraska Cattlemen staff is hitting the road this summer for an educational road trip.  These educational meeting are exclusive to Nebraska Cattlemen paid members.  NC staff will be discussing various hot button industry issues at each of the seven stops across Nebraska July 21-24.

Join NC for a discussion about how you can be engaged in tax discussions and impact change at the local level, hear a review of changes made during the 2014 legislature, and understand what we see coming in 2015 and beyond.

EPA has proposed a new regulation that will require small and medium livestock operations to get burdensome permits and could end up regulating every day practices, like weed management and fertilizer application in pastures and fields.  Join NC to find out how this regulation will impact you and what you can do to tell EPA to "Ditch The Rule!"

With small changes in how brand inspection is handled in counties that border the inspection areas NC will be taking this opportunity to provide members with a refresher course on requirements both in and out of the inspection area.

The last few months have raised awareness of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) again. Upon a directive from the board of directors NC will be discussing FMD.

Road trip stops will include:

Monday, July 21
    1:00pm MDT:  Alliance - Westside Event Center
    7:30pm CDT: North Platte - Holiday Inn Express Conference Center

Tuesday, July 22
    1:00pm CDT: Cambridge - Cambridge Community Building                  
    7:30pm CDT: Fairbury - Jefferson Co. Fairgrounds, 4-H Building

Wednesday, July 23
    1:00pm CDT: Wahoo - Saunders Co. Fairgrounds, Commercial Building
    7:30pm CDT: Norfolk - Agriculture Allied Health Building, Northeast Community College Main Campus

Thursday, July 24
    1:00pm CDT: Bloomfield - Bloomfield Community Center

For more information about the meeting schedule please contact Bonita Lederer at 402.329.6273.

Soybean Farmers Honor Sen. Mike Johanns with Soy Champion Award

The farmers of the American Soybean Association (ASA) honored Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska with the association’s Soy Champion Award this morning in Washington. In a ceremony held during this week’s meeting of the ASA Board of Directors, former ASA President Steve Wellman presented Sen. Johanns with the award, which is given twice yearly to recognize exemplary representation of soybean farmers and soy-related issues by elected officials.

“Sen. Johanns has proven himself to be not only a champion of farmers, but an advocate well-versed in the realities of modern agriculture,” Wellman said. “Senator Johanns understands what we do on our farms every day, and he brings that here to Washington to help craft legislation that helps us succeed, compete and excel. We owe a large portion of our success in the recent farm bill to his experience and foresight, and we are grateful to him for the voice he has given our farmers on Capitol Hill.”

Sen. Johanns, who will not seek reelection at the end of his term, was recognized officially for his service in the Senate, however also noted were the impacts that the senator had during his tenure as Secretary of Agriculture under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, and as governor of Nebraska from 1999 to 2005.

“As senator, Agriculture Secretary, and as governor of a vital agricultural state, Sen. Johanns has brought a wealth of experience to his representation of American farmers, and we cannot thank him enough for his leadership,” added ASA President Ray Gaesser, who farms close to the Nebraska border in southeastern Iowa. “We will miss his leadership and diplomatic touch on agriculture issues, and we wish him all the best as he takes his next step.”


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Rain is growing more grass this year, but just how good is that grass?  To find out, study the cow pies.

Walking across your pastures can give you a good idea of the condition of the plants.  Besides examining your grasses, legumes, forbs, and weeds, though, also take a closer look at the cow pies.

Guess what?  You can learn a lot by looking closely at cow pies.  Especially about the diet quality of grazing cattle.

Examine the cow pies for consistency, color, and composition.  Loose and flowing cow pies, kind of like sheet cake batter, indicate that the animal has been grazing a high quality, protein rich diet.  Forage is digesting quickly and moving through the animal rapidly.  It's the kind of diet we want for dairy cows and for stockers.  A little firmer cow pie that still is soft and spreads easily suggests a bit more fiber in the diet but still enough quality to produce good stocker gains.  And as nutrient concentration in the diet gets less and less, the pies get firmer and firmer.  Green color also indicates high quality coming from young pasture plants when compared to cow pies that are olive or brown in color due to cows eating older growth.

Look closely at a fresh pie spread out by a boot and you often see undigested fiber particles.  This fiber becomes more numerous and longer as grazing periods lengthen on individual paddocks.  This happens because cattle get lower quality feed each day they are on a paddock, causing rumen microbes to constantly adjust digestion processes, thus reducing utilization.

Studying cow pies may not be for everyone.  But if you want to estimate diet quality of your animals, it's an easy technique.

Darci Vetter Confirmed to Speak at USGC Summer Annual Meeting

International trade policy, and current developments in agricultural trade with China, will be in the spotlight as Darci Vetter addresses the U.S. Grains Council’s 54th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, July 28-30, 2014.

Helping implement the North American Free Trade Agreement, resolving agricultural trade issues with Canada and Mexico, and participating in the World Trade Organization Doha Round negotiations are among the highlights of Vetter’s distinguished career at senior levels of U.S. trade policy. With trade policy service in both the Clinton and Obama administrations and in the U.S. Senate as a senior staffer for the Senate Finance Committee, she has been a consistent advocate for expanding U.S. agricultural exports. Currently USDA deputy under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, Vetter was nominated last December for chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Vetter’s nomination was approved by the Senate Finance Committee in May and is now awaiting approval from the full Senate.

In Omaha, Vetter’s insights will be followed by an expert discussion about the recent disruptions in U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) exports to China. She will underscore that these types of developments have happened before, and that continued engagement with China is necessary.

“Darci’s insights into this emerging powerhouse’s trade policy will leave attendees with an in-depth understanding of the issue at hand,” said USGC Chairman Julius Schaaf.

During the 2013 calendar year, China produced 217.7 million metric tons of corn (8.6 billion bushels), yet imported 3.3 million tons (130 million bushels) of corn, 4 million tons of DDGS and 1.1 million tons (43.3 million bushels) of sorghum valued at more than $2.5 billion in total, nearly all of which was from the United States.

“After 30 years of at or near double digit economic growth, China’s capacity to continue increasing domestic corn and feed grain production is believed to be below projected consumption growth,” Schaaf said. “This means that trade disruptions, while costly to U.S. producers and exporters, are more costly to end-users in China and, ultimately, most costly to consumers in China.”

Register today for the Council’s summer annual meeting to learn more about this fast-moving situation impacting trade.

Iowa Farm Bureau Food & Farm Index Shows GMO Benefits Win Over Iowa Grocery Shoppers

Nearly 9 out of 10 (87%) Iowa grocery shoppers say knowing that crops developed with genetically modified organisms (GMO) can produce foods which provide better nutritional value would influence their decision to purchase this type of food for their family; that’s according to the latest research recently completed for the Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index ™, conducted online by Harris Poll. 

The study also showed that Iowa grocery shoppers would be influenced to buy GMO foods once they learn that GMOs reduce pesticide use and provide food with better texture or flavor (84% and 82%, respectively).

The Iowa Farm Bureau Food & Farm Index ™ is a semi-annual survey of Iowa grocery shoppers to study the factors driving their food purchases. The spring survey focused on packaged food products. This survey included Iowa residents between 20 and 60 years old who have primary or shared responsibility for household grocery shopping; 506 such respondents were interviewed online in May for this spring wave of research.

“Iowa grocery shoppers are common sense food buyers, and they are also hungry for more information about GMO foods and learning why farmers choose that technology,” says Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation president and Milo grain and livestock farmer. “Iowa has long been recognized around the world for our ability to grow food and while farmers know why we choose certain kinds of seeds, consumers may need more information, and a different kind of information to answer the questions they have. This is an opportunity for all farmers to be transparent about what we grow and why we grow it to help consumers make more informed food choices,” said Hill.

“Hundreds of independent tests done nearly twenty years have proven that GMO crops are safe he added. “In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ‘foods from genetically engineered plants must meet the same requirements, including safety requirements, as foods from traditionally bred plants. FDA considers a consultation to be complete only when its team of scientists are satisfied with the developer’s safety assessment and have no further questions regarding safety or regulatory issues.’”  To learn more about how the FDA evaluates GMO foods for safety, visit

Consumers look to FDA

The Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index ™ also showed that when it comes to the most trusted sources of food safety information for packaged food products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (54%) rated the highest, followed by medical professionals (50%), dietitians/nutritionists (47%) and farmers (37%).

Factors driving packaged food purchases   

Taste (73%) and price (73%) were the most popular responses Iowa grocery shoppers cited as being among the top three factors influencing their packaged food purchases. This finding aligns with the results of the winter Iowa Farm Bureau Food & Farm Index ™, which showed shoppers look for taste (76%) and price (79%) when buying meat, poultry and dairy products.


Harris Poll conducted the spring survey online on behalf of the Iowa Farm Bureau, within the United States from May 8-14, 2014.  A total of 506 Iowa residents aged 20-60 were surveyed, who have primary or shared responsibility for grocery shopping for their household.

Iowa's Top Grillers Compete To Be Crowned Champion at 51st Annual Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest at the Iowa State Fair

Recent studies from the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association found that nearly 3 in 4 Americans own a grill, and consumers find outdoor cooking to be convenient, pleasurable, and one of the best ways to spend quality time with family and friends.  The smells of smoked meat and sweet barbecue sauce are sure to make fairgoers’ mouths water when the state’s best grillers gather to compete in the 51st annual Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest on August 12 during the 2014 Iowa State Fair.            

The championship pursuit begins for participants at local county Farm Bureau cookout contests where winners are selected in several outdoor cooking categories.  Finalists from the county Farm Bureau contests earn a spot in the main event during the Iowa State Fair.  Interested grillers and attendees should contact their county Farm Bureau office for more details and information on rules and local contests.           

Youth category participants will be vying for a gas grill, donated by Iowa Propane Gas Association (valued at $1,000).  The competitors will line up just south of the Grandstand on the Grand Concourse for the cookout competition, and the event always draws a crowd who come to sample various entries and pick up grilling tips from the competitors.             

“Iowans take their grilling very seriously and every year contestants from around the state look forward to showcasing their skills at our annual state cookout contest,” said Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Coordinator Denny Harding.  “The Cookout Contest is a great opportunity for grillers to demonstrate their creativity while preparing high-quality meats produced right here in Iowa.”          

Contestants will compete in six categories: beef, pork, lamb, poultry, turkey, and combo/specialty.  Brisket entries in the beef category are excluded due to time constraints.  Combo recipes combine two or more meats from the five other categories.  Specialty recipes may feature venison or any other Iowa domestically raised product.  All wild game is excluded.  Dishes will be judged on taste, appearance, and originality.  Special recognition will go to contestants in showmanship, youth and team cooking categories.  Youth grillers must be between the ages of 13 and 18 years, as of August 1, 2014.  Farm Bureau or affiliated company employees are not eligible to compete.                                   

For event details about county Farm Bureau qualifying contests, visit:

AVMA applauds U.S. House for passing a bill that allows veterinarians to provide complete care beyond their clinics

Veterinarians across the country can soon breathe a collective sigh of relief that they will be able to carry and use controlled substances to provide complete care to their animal patients beyond their clinics and across state lines due to the U.S. House’s passage today of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) thanks Congress for recognizing the important service that veterinarians provide to their animal patients wherever they may be by passing this commonsense piece of legislation.

“The AVMA was established more than 150 years ago by veterinarians who cared for the animals that provided food and transportation for Americans,” said Dr. Clark Fobian, president of the AVMA. “Although times have changed since 1865, veterinarians’ need to travel to their patients has not. Today, Congress made it clear that veterinarians are responsible public servants who must be able to use vital medications to treat their patients—no matter the location—so that they receive the best quality care. We applaud our elected officials for clarifying federal statute, which has left veterinarians confused and concerned over the past year. We look forward to seeing President Obama sign this important legislation into law in the near future.”

Sponsored by Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), both veterinarians, in the House, and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Angus King (I-Maine) in the Senate, this legislation makes it legal for veterinarians to transport and use controlled substances beyond their registered places of business. It also allows licensed veterinarians to register in multiple states, regardless of where their principal place of business is located. The Senate unanimously passed its version of the bill on Jan. 8.

“Today is a victory for veterinarians across this country, but more importantly, it's a victory for the health and well-being of the animals they are entrusted to care for,” said Rep. Schrader. “Ridiculous bureaucratic interference from the DEA would have seriously impeded veterinarians' ability to properly treat their patients. The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act will provide veterinarians with the certainty they need to continue to providing mobile or ambulatory services for their animal patients.”

“As a large animal veterinarian, my operating room wasn't always in an office. Most times, it was in the field,” said Rep. Yoho. “Expecting ranchers to transport their livestock to a veterinary clinic every time medication is needed is an example of overly burdensome policy created by bureaucrats rather than the folks who know the issue. This bill will correct that problem and allow veterinarians to practice their profession without fear of unnecessary government intrusion. I am thankful for my colleague and good friend Representative Schrader's hard work on this issue and look forward to this legislation being signed into law.”

Veterinarians have previously been told by the Drug Enforcement Administration that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) barred registrants from taking controlled substances beyond their registered locations, such as their clinics or homes. This narrow interpretation of the law has been problematic for veterinarians who provide care in a variety of settings. The DEA had also maintained that veterinarians must have a physical address within each state where they want to be registered; this interpretation has restricted veterinarians who live along state borders, but need to provide care in both states.

The AVMA has been actively engaged with the DEA and members of Congress and their staff for more than a year, explaining how this restrictive provision in the CSA affected its member veterinarians’ ability to provide complete veterinary care to their animal patients. The AVMA helped raise awareness on this issue by encouraging members and allied organizations to contact their legislators in support of this important bill, running several advertising campaigns in D.C. publications, and creating a number of multimedia communications products. These advocacy efforts led to more than 27,000 letters sent to members of Congress, bipartisan cosponsorship by 185 representatives in the U.S. House, and the endorsement of the bill by over 130 veterinary medical and other organizations.

We're Looking for New Faces of Farming and Ranching

Thursday, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance will begin accepting applications for new Faces of Farming & Ranching. To help put a real face on agriculture,  later this year, USFRA will select standout farmers and ranchers who are proud of what they do, eager to share their stories of continuous improvement, and who are actively involved in sharing those stories in public and on social media.

Farmers and ranchers who grow and raise an assortment of foods through various methods, on differing scale and across all regions of the country are encouraged to apply, as it is important to show American agriculture and all of its diversity. The National Corn Growers Association is a proud founding affiliate of USFRA.

"We are proud of the improvements our farmers and ranchers are bringing to America's food supply and we think it's imperative that they have a strong voice in addressing consumer questions," said Randy Krotz, chief executive officer at USFRA. "The success we experienced with last year's ambassadors shows us that people want to hear directly from those who are cultivating our food."

To apply, visit to complete an application entry form, and to submit a video no longer than three minutes that shows your operation and your role on the farm/ranch. Entries will be accepted until midnight CDT Sunday, August 10.

Finalists will be announced by USFRA in early September, and each finalist will be profiled on The general public will be able to vote for their favorite in late October through early November.  

A combination of public votes and USFRA judges' scores will determine the winners, who will be announced on November 12 at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention in Kansas City.  Winners will receive a $15,000 stipend to help cover costs at home while they are traveling. They'll also receive professional media/speaker training and full support from USFRA through their yearlong tenure.

Winners will serve in multiple high-visibility roles on behalf of USFRA, participating in a number of activities including national media interviews, advertising and public appearances.

Ethanol Stocks at 4-Week High

The Energy Information Administration released data Wednesday, July 9, showing U.S. ethanol inventories rose last week to a four-week high while production declined.

Total U.S. ethanol inventories increased 100,000 barrels (bbl), or 0.5%, to 18.3 million bbl during the week-ended July 4 while 2.6 million bbl, or 16.3%, higher than a year earlier.

Domestic ethanol production decreased 26,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 2.7%, to 927,000 bpd last week, although still 5.2% higher than a year ago. Four-week average output was up 8.3% at 948,000 bpd.

Blender inputs, a proxy for ethanol demand, held steady at 883,000 bpd for the week profiled, while down 1.45% from a year earlier. Four-week average input was up 1.6% from a year earlier.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.37%.

EIA reported ethanol imports at 9,000 bpd last week, with the overseas supply received along the West Coast.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.056 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 103,456 metric tons of livestock feed, 92,232 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.83 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

USDA Provides 12-Week Progress Update on Disaster Assistance

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack provided a 12-week progress report on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs today, announcing that USDA has processed 106,000 payments to farmers in 40 states across the country who suffered livestock and grazing losses between October 2011 and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

"Farmers and ranchers who waited two and a half years for a Farm Bill are now getting some relief," said Vilsack. "We met the very ambitious goal to get these programs up and running in just 60 days. Now, thanks to our dedicated staff in offices across the country, we've provided more than 106,000 payments to farmers and ranchers in 40 states who suffered drought, blizzard, and other weather related losses."

A quick implementation of the disaster assistance programs has been a top priority for USDA. In February, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that enrollment for four disaster assistance programs would begin April 15, 2014, 60 days from the date the programs were reestablished by the 2014 Farm Bill. After the 2008 Farm Bill, it took over one year for the programs to get up and running.

Since then, dedicated full-time FSA staff, as well as temporary employees hired to expedite the application process, have processed over $1.2 billion in payments to qualifying farmers and ranchers. The first payments were sent out to farmers and ranchers within two weeks of enrollment. USDA estimated that roughly $2.5 billion would be provided in disaster relief to cover losses from October 2011 through September 2014. If those estimates prove accurate, it would mean nearly half of all disaster payments have already been provided.

While disaster relief is a critical lifeline that can prevent farmers and ranchers who do not have access to crop insurance from being wiped out by weather-related losses beyond their control, most producers only receive support equal to 60 percent of their actual losses.

USDA disaster programs include:

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides payments for grazing losses due to drought and livestock deaths due to adverse weather.

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides assistance for livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish losses due to disease (including cattle tick fever), weather, wildfires and colony collapse disorder, or for losses not covered under other disaster assistance programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides financial assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines that were lost or damaged by natural disasters.

Specific program deadlines are as follows:

-    2011-2013 ELAP – Friday, Aug. 1, 2014
-    2011-2014 LFP – Friday, Jan. 30, 2015
-    2011-2014 LIP – Friday, Jan. 30, 2015
-    2011-2014 TAP – Monday, Feb. 2, 2015

Producers affected by adverse weather should contact their FSA county office to make an appointment and learn if they are eligible for disaster assistance. For more information, producers may review the 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet, and the LIP, LFP, ELAP and TAP fact sheets online, or visit any local FSA office.

Vilsack also highlighted that more than $270 million in disaster assistance has been paid to farmers and ranchers in USDA StrikeForce counties experiencing chronic poverty. "Farmers and ranchers in these counties have extraordinary challenges. Through USDA's StrikeForce initiative, we can get federal support to areas that need it the most," said Vilsack.

June Fourth Warmest in Record Book

June 2014 might have been the fourth warmest June in the 36-year satellite record, but recent changes in the tropical Pacific might indicate the globe isn’t going to set any temperature records in upcoming months, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. The global average temperature for June was 0.30 C (about 0.54 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms for the month, warm enough to tie June 2013 for fourth warmest. (The warmest June was in 1998, during the “El Niño of the century.” Global average temperatures in June 1998 were 0.51 C [about 0.92 degrees F] warmer than normal.)

Early indications that an El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event might be forming faded in June, although the atmosphere typically takes a couple of months to catch up to what is going on in the oceans. In June, the tropical Pacific Ocean did not continue to warm. This doesn’t mean a strong El Niño isn’t possible, so we shall wait and see.

In general, atmospheric temperatures do not immediately reflect that ocean cooling: The tropical atmosphere saw its second warmest June on record at 0.51 C (about 0.92 F) warmer than normal, as it was still feeling the extra ocean heat from two months ago. In the tropics, the only June warmer was in 1998, at 0.53 C warmer than normal.

Compared to seasonal norms, the coldest place in Earth's atmosphere in June was over the Ross Ice Shelf, where Antarctic winter temperatures were as much as 5.37 C (about 9.67 degrees Fahrenheit) colder than seasonal norms. Compared to seasonal norms, the warmest departure from average in June was southeast of the southern tip of South America, in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Temperatures there were as much as 2.85 C (about 5.13 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms.

Tuesday July 8 Ag News

Johanns Continues Efforts to Rein in EPA

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R- Neb.) today continued his efforts to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overreach by cosponsoring an amendment to legislation currently before the Senate.  The amendment, identical to a bill Johanns previously cosponsored, prevents EPA from finalizing a proposed rule that would ignore limits established by Congress regarding federal regulation of bodies of water in the United States.

“This Administration’s attempt to regulate every corner of America knows no bounds, and EPA is the chief offender,” Johanns said. “Farmers and ranchers are rightly concerned about the uncertainty this proposed rule would bring to farm ponds and field ditches. Our legislation would provide much-needed clarity that the agency must follow Congressional intent and back off from their latest power grab.”

If finalized, the rule would expand federal regulatory authority beyond current jurisdiction to include water that has even the remotest connection to traditionally navigable waters, such as farm ponds, ditches, streambeds, and even low lying areas that may be dry for much of the year.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Pastures that received enough rain this past spring look in pretty good shape.  It might be wise to find the best way to take advantage of this blessing.

               When you get abundant rain and warm, sunny weather, your pastures may produce more growth than needed for your current summer stocking rates.  Options to use the extra growth are needed.

               Sometimes we cut and bale extra growth as hay.  This is a good plan if you need the hay.  Other times we simply let cattle graze what they want and leave the excess in the field.  Rebuilding surface litter that was burned up by recent drought can be healthy for the pasture.

               How about another option?  Try stockpiling, or saving some extra pasture growth for grazing during the winter.

               There are lots of advantages to winter grazing.  Less hay needs to be fed next winter.  Thus, you won’t need to make as much hay this summer.  And stockpiling in summer and fall followed by winter grazing is one of the best methods to improve the health of your grasslands, especially native range.

               If you have some run down, poor condition, low producing pastures, these often are the best candidates for winter grazing.  Grasses that need invigorating will be strengthened by not grazing them during the growing season.  Your winter grazing will clean off much of the frozen growth during winter.  Cattle even eat some plants like yucca and ragweed during winter that they won't hardly touch during summer.  Sure, you'll need some protein supplements, but cattle do a pretty good job of picking high quality plant parts to eat while winter grazing.

               Extra growth is an opportunity to both reduce winter feed costs and improve pasture condition.  Get it by stockpiling extra summer growth for winter grazing.

Nebraska Aims to Expand Livestock Industry after “Golden Triangle” Study

A recent study conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln showcases that Nebraska farmers and ranchers may not be operating to their full potential. Although agriculture is still the primary driver of the state’s economy, the study shows that there is room for growth.

The study, which was headed by Bruce Johnson, professor emeritus in UNL's Department of Agricultural Economics, and Eric Thompson, UNL economics professor, aimed to get a current baseline for the state’s agriculture economy as well as provide several scenarios for expansion. The study, titled “Nebraska Animal Agriculture: Economic Impacts of Cattle, Hog, Dairy, and Poultry Industry Changes,” was jointly funded by the Nebraska corn and soybean checkoffs.

Kelly Brunkhorst, transitioning executive director for the Nebraska Corn Board said the idea for this project stemmed from concerns about Nebraska’s livestock industry.  “As we spoke with our counterparts in surrounding states, we realized that outside of our beef industry, we were not witnessing the expansion of livestock they were developing.  We felt we need to detail the advantages that Nebraskans could be enjoying if they understood the economics.”

The study, nicknamed the “Golden Triangle Study,” highlights the fact that Nebraska is well positioned for growth due to the strong interactive nature of its crop, livestock and biofuels industries, which each make up points of the Golden Triangle.

The results of the report were highlighted with pungent potential, but clearly presented the reality that now is the time for Nebraska to act. However, expansion doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of those in the agriculture industry. Livestock expansion in the state will depend heavily on community stakeholders at the local levels. The scenarios depicted in the report have the potential to affect jobs, earnings, communities and households, as well as an enhanced quality of life for all Nebraskans with the value-added economic activity.

The authors of the study note that this report analyzes livestock expansion scenarios, providing a set of economic performance measures to sub-state regions and county-level economies. These measures will allow economic considerations to be incorporated into stakeholders' decision-making processes.

While nearby states have seen significant growth in livestock production in the last 10 years, Nebraska has not kept pace, particularly in the cases of hog and dairy production. One of the key insights of the study lies in the fact that Nebraska still exports a high percentage of its crops – more than one-third of its corn crop, more than 80 percent of its soybean crop, and more than one-half its distiller’s grains production. More value for these products would be captured if they flowed into in-state, value-added processing.

In light of these trends, Johnson's team analyzed several livestock-expansion scenarios that industry leaders consider quite possible, taking into account the economic multiplier effects that ripple through the state's economy from agriculture, especially in rural areas.

The report envisions the following expansion scenarios and estimates both direct and indirect economic impacts.
-    A 25 percent expansion of hog finishing volume in Nebraska; scattered across three regions of the state and 15 counties. About 270 on-farm units, each with a 2,400-head capacity and a twice-per-year turnover rate added.  Total economic impact: 2,676 new jobs; $6.1 million in local tax revenue.
-    More than a doubling of the state's current dairy herd numbers of 60,000, divided across three regions of the state and 18 counties. A total of 24 new dairy operations, each with a 2,500-head capacity and two new milk processing plants added.  Total economic impact: 3,128 new jobs; nearly $6.2 million in local tax revenue.
-    A 10 percent increase in fed cattle production in the state, with expansion distributed geographically in similar proportion to current patterns of production.  Economic impact: 11,661 new jobs; $16 million in local tax revenue. 
-    A tripling of poultry (egg-laying) production in the state.  Economic impact: 1,640 new jobs; $9.8 million in local tax revenue.

Nebraska Soybean Board to Hold Election for Director Seat in District 7

Election ballots for the Nebraska Soybean Board District 7 will be mailed on Friday, July 11, 2014, to soybean producers in that district. Producers eligible to vote in the election must produce soybeans, be a resident of the district and pay the soybean checkoff. Qualified producers who do not receive a ballot by July 18, 2014, can call 402-466-1969 to request a ballot. The voting producer must sign and print their full name and home town on the return ballot envelope for their vote to be valid. Ballots must be post marked by July 31, 2014.

The elected directors will serve a three-year term beginning October 1, 2014 and ending September 30, 2017. NSB Directors are reimbursed for expenses incurred while carrying out board business.

District 5: Counties of Cass, Johnson, Lancaster, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee and Richardson.
There will be no election held in District 5 as Candidate Daryl Obermeyer of Brownville, NE, Nemaha County; ran unopposed; therefore he becomes the District 5 Director.

Ballots will be mailed to the following counties in District 7: Adams, Buffalo, Clay, Franklin, Hall, Kearney, Nuckolls and Webster.
·  Keith Keller - Harvard, NE - Clay County
·  Bill Miller - Upland, NE - Franklin County
·  Ron Pavelka - Glenvil, NE - Adams County

Election results will be announced in August. 

Public Info Meetings on Livestock Disaster Programs

If you are a producer that rented or owned pasture in 2012 or 2013 and you had livestock that grazed or intended to graze the pasture, you should plan to attend FSA's Livestock Disaster Informational Meeting on July 15.

There will be two public informational meetings on July 15 with one meeting in Fullerton and the other in Central City. The meeting in Fullerton will be at 10 a.m. at First Bank on Broadway Avenue. The meeting in Central City will be at 1:30 p.m. at the Venture Center/Chamber of Commerce Building located downtown at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 30.

The Livestock Forage Program (LFP) provides livestock producers with benefits for 2012 and 2013 grazing losses caused by the drought. The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides livestock producers with benefits for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by an adverse weather event.

Sign-up for these livestock disaster programs is currently underway. Appointments are needed and can be scheduled by calling the Merrick County FSA office at 308-946-3035 or by calling the Nance County FSA office on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 308-536-2456.

Questions? Please contact Kim Benner, county executive director, at (308) 946-3035, or for farm loans, please contact Donna Seitz, farm loan manager, at (308) 395-8586, for Merrick County or James Bauermeister, farm loan manager, at (402) 564-0506, for Nance County.

Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program Announce Scholarship Winners

Recipients of Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Scholarships at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have been named for the 2014-15 academic year.

Scholarships are awarded in two categories – an undergraduate renewable award of up to $10,000 per year as well as one-time scholarships up to $4,000.

These scholarships recognize students with high capacity to bring entrepreneurial talent to the marketplace, specifically focused on business development in the wide domain of agriculture.

Undergraduate one-time award winners, class, hometown and major include: Katrina Santiago, freshman, Miami, Fla., animal science; Taylor Buckley, freshman, Franktown, Colo., animal science; Jon Janhke, sophomore, Bancroft, mechanized ag systems; Jared McKeever, junior, Wymore, animal science; Larissa Wach, senior, Wauneta, agribusiness; Emily Bledsoe, freshman, Blair, agribusiness; Matt Treadway, junior, Ashland, mechanized ag systems; Andrew Bader, freshman, Gresham, agribusiness; Madeline Cass, sophomore, Lincoln, applied science; Kelsey Foster, sophomore, Berwyn, horticulture; Reece Gronewold, freshman, Pickrell, applied science; Tyler Haun, sophomore, Spencer, agricultural education; Jamie Mashino, freshman, Spencer, agribusiness; Jessica Schmidt, freshman, Gothenburg, Pre-Vet; Zach Settje, freshman, Raymond, animal science; Mathew Grimes, freshman, Raymond, grazing livestock systems; Melinda Knuth, Junior, Hartford, S.D., horticulture.

Students receiving renewable scholarships include: Jeff Hornung, sophomore, Davey, agribusiness; Sam Morse, freshman, Columbus, agronomy; Curtis Wetovick, junior, Fullerton, animal science; Davis Behle, sophomore, Kearney, agribusiness; Haley Bledsoe, sophomore, Blair, animal science; Joe Duba, senior, Wilbur, agronomy; Steven Fish, junior, Imperial, agribusiness; Lukas Fricke, junior, Ulysses, animal science; Doug Grotrian, senior, Johnson, agronomy; Haley Harthoorn, senior, Ainsworth, agribusiness; Spencer Hartman, sophomore, Imperial, agribusiness; Jared Knobbe, junior, Imperial, agribusiness; Logan Peters, junior, Pender, animal science; Travis Schiefelbein, junior, Kimball, Minn., animal science; Rachel Stevens, senior, Fall City, horticulture; Dylan Tegtmeier, junior, Malcolm, wildlife biology; Erich Vogel, sophomore, Hastings, biochemistry.

Established in 2010 by a gift from the Paul and Virginia Engler Foundation, the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program has grown to involve more than 100 students at the university.

The program offers an academic minor focused on business concept development, significant opportunities to develop professional business skills outside the classroom, relationship building, leadership and service opportunities as well as the support for international experiences focused on entrepreneurship and enterprise creation.

More information can be found at or by contacting Tom Field, Director of the program at The deadline for scholarship applications for the 2015-16 academic year is Feb. 15, 2015 and the application can be accessed at

Robin Coulter Lapaseotes Memorial Scholarship Established

The Robin Coulter Lapaseotes Memorial Scholarship for Agricultural Entrepreneurship Students has been established in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

A gift of $120,000 was made by the family and friends of Robin Coulter Lapaseotes, a rancher, community leader and entrepreneur from Bridgeport. Coulter Lapaseotes was killed in an automobile accident in February 2014.

Two awards of $6,000 will be awarded annually to recipients who are enrolled in majors in CASNR at UNL, have a declared minor in the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, and are committed to pursuing an entrepreneurial career in agriculture following graduation.

A former advisory board member for the Engler Program, Coulter Lapaseotes was a force of enthusiasm and vision for young women desiring to build businesses in agriculture and rural communities.

The inaugural recipients of the award are Amber Burenheide of Howells and Kolin Scheele of Odel.

Burenheide is a junior who characterizes herself as "a small town girl trying to make a difference in a big way."  A former state FFA officer, Burenheide has grown her business, ABChicken, to the point of producing and processing more than 1,500 farm fresh birds. She also has developed markets for poultry by-products to improve business margins. She points to the bumps in the road as the lessons that help her learn and grow the enterprise, "we all have the choice to get up after we fall down and keep going – entrepreneurship comes from inside you!"

Scheele, a junior, recognizes the importance of leadership in business - "confidence and self-assurance come from getting others excited about the opportunity." He also is active in the Nebraska Beef Scholars program and as co-chairman of the Collegiate Cattlemen's Association. The 2011 state FFA beef proficiency award winner, Scheele seeks opportunities where risk and pressure are part of the equation as these factors "make me drive through difficulties and in the end accomplish what I never thought I could do."

Application for next year's award can be found at and the deadline for submission is Feb. 15, 2015.

Iowa State Crop Production Extension Moving to an Integrated Approach

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has created a new team and direction to advise farmers on corn and soybean production.

“We’re moving from the more traditional model of dedicated corn or soybean specialists to a new team of integrated cropping systems specialists who will focus on how corn and soybean production interacts with soil, weather, cover crops, crop rotation and management practices and support farmers’ use of data-driven technologies in precision agriculture,” said John Lawrence, director of agriculture and natural resources extension and associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“We also are more closely integrating research, extension and teaching in these positions,” Lawrence said.

Helping to move along this change was a recent initiative by Iowa State President Steven Leath to help colleges and other units hire “high impact” faculty positions. A new integrated cropping system position with an emphasis on precision agriculture was part of that initiative and will be part of the new extension team in the Department of Agronomy.Sotirios Archontoulis

Sotirios Archontoulis (pronounced: So-tee-ree-os Ark-on-tool-is), who joined Iowa State in 2012 as a postdoctoral research associate in agronomy, began July 1 as an assistant professor responsible for leading the team. Archontoulis, a native of Greece, earned master’s and doctorate degrees in 2006 and 2011 from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Thessaly in Greece in 2004. His research interests include cropping systems modeling, agronomy, crop physiology and bioenergy.

“Dr. Archontoulis is an excellent addition to our faculty and will be a tremendous resource for Iowa agriculture. His strong background in cropping systems and cropping systems modeling will lead to asking better research questions, decision support tools for agriculture and enhanced extension education programs,” said Kendall Lamkey, chair of the agronomy department.

Another member of extension’s integrated cropping systems team is Mark Licht, who has served as the extension field agronomist for central Iowa since 2011. Licht moved to campus as part of the new team. He is an Iowa State agronomy alumnus who joined agronomy extension in 2006.

Both of the new positions will integrate research and extension and will be involved in teaching the next generation of agronomists, Lawrence said.

To fill the field agronomist position held by Licht, Mark Johnson, the extension field agronomist for north central Iowa, moved to the central region. Angie Rieck-Hinz, former coordinator for the Manure Applicator Certification Program, was recently appointed field agronomist for north central Iowa.

Roger Elmore, professor of agronomy and extension’s campus specialist for corn production since 2005, left Iowa State last January to take a faculty position at the University of Nebraska. 

Corn Board Candidate Rohwer of Iowa Places Priority on Scientific Development, Political Involvement

Bruce Rohwer has served his fellow farmers extensively at the state and national level. Now, he hopes to continue to do so in a new capacity as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.

Bruce is running for election to the Corn Board in the hopes of bringing local perspective to the national level while working to find solutions that take the broader perspective into account. By focusing on the future, he believes the organization will best be able to work through evolving situations and effectively grow markets for corn at home and abroad.

"In addition to the technical work of helping develop new uses for corn or better traits for corn production, NCGA must continue the political path of involvement to defend and promote scientific advancement in corn farming," he said. "Whether that means influencing legislative or regulatory processes, we have to be involved beyond just everyday production."

As a member of the Corn Board, Bruce would bring with him a firm grasp of the policy development process and the ability to articulate agricultural issues to a wider audience. A strong advocate of constructive team dynamics, he would facilitate consensus-building discussions with a results-driven focus.

"I can see issues from a multitude of perspectives because of my experience," said Rohwer. "I have a diversified operation with livestock. So, I can see the livestock producer's point of view. I have also had the privilege of serving on the board of a company that manufactures food. This provided me with another different perspective on the point of view held by another important corn market. I have a grasp of our customers' perspective and knowledge of the political process in which we must be involved."

Rohwer operates a corn and soybean farm along with his son and daughter, in addition to owning a drainage tillage business. Along with a neighbor, he also runs a sow farrow-to-finish operation.

Currently, Rohwer serves as the custodian of records for the NCGA CornPAC and as a member of the NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team and the U.S. Grain Council's Middle East and Africa Action Team. At the state level, he is chair and past president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and chair of the ICGA CornPAC.

The NCGA Corn Board election takes place during Corn Congress on July 16 in Washington.

Groups Want ‘Notice, Comment Period’ On Water Rule

A group of agricultural organizations, led by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation, said an interpretive rule that accompanies a proposed Clean Water Act (CWA) regulation is a legislative rule that must go through notice and comment rulemaking.

In comments submitted yesterday to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 90 organizations said the interpretive rule “binds farmers and ranchers with new, specific legal obligations under the CWA. It modifies existing regulations interpreting the statutory term ‘normal farming, ranching and silviculture.’”

The interpretive rule would exempt 56 agricultural activities from a proposed rule that would expand the jurisdiction and authority of EPA and the Corps of Engineers over certain waters. Currently, based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, that includes “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. The proposed regulation would redefine “waters of the United States” to include, among other water bodies, intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation.

The groups said they are concerned that the interpretive rule, as written, will be construed by the agencies to require compliance with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation practice standards if a covered activity is within a water of the United States – which the agencies will determine – and that a practice that fails to comply with the standards will be viewed as resulting in a discharge to a water of the United States, which requires a CWA permit.

The practical effect of the interpretive rule, said the groups, is to require compliance with NRCS standards when undertaking any normal farming, silviculture or ranching activity that federal officials consider to be located in a water of the United States.

NPPC previously requested that EPA and the Corps of Engineers withdraw the interpretive rule.

Registration Open for 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference

Bob McCan, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president, said if cattlemen and women want a seat at the table and involvement in shaping the future of the beef industry, attendance at the Cattle Industry Summer Conference is a must. The conference features meetings of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Cattlemen's Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB), American National CattleWomen, Inc. and National Cattlemen's Foundation.

NCBA President Bob McCan said the event, hosted in Denver, Colo., July 30 - Aug. 2, gives cattlemen and women an opportunity to engage in NCBA’s grassroots policy process as well as network with producers from across the country. Cattle producers will discuss current issues as a group, work on programs and initiatives, and set the course the industry should take with various projects for the betterment of the beef cattle industry.

“The beef industry faces unique challenges year-round and most alarming is the burdensome, overreaching regulation we have seen from the Beltway,” said McCan. “In order to continue being successful, cattle producers must continue to be engaged in the policy process so that the beef industry remains viable and beef continues to be on kitchen tables around the country and the world.”

Registration for the 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference is now available online at Pre-registration closes July 13, and attendees are encouraged to register in advance for the conference to take advantage of savings over the on-site registration prices. Registration prices will be higher on-site and tickets for events will be sold on a space available basis.

Ethanol Production Hit Record

Domestic ethanol production in June averaged 949,000 bpd, the highest monthly level of the year, the Energy Information Administration reported Tuesday. Production for the period profiled also included the highest weekly level ever recorded at 972,000 bpd for the week-ended June 13.

The agency revised higher its ethanol production forecast for this year to 932,000 bpd from 920,000 bpd in June's STEO, while also increasing its forecast for 2015 to 940,000 bpd from 935,000 bpd a month ago.

Biodiesel production, which averaged 89,000 bpd in 2013, is forecast to average 80,000 bpd this year, 1,000 bpd below month prior estimates. In 2015, biodiesel production is expected to average 84,000 bpd, unchanged from June's forecast.

EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook Highlights

    Unrest in Iraq put upward pressure on world oil prices last month, helping North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices reach their highest daily level of the year at just over $115/barrel (bbl) on June 19. North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices increased from a monthly average of $110/bbl in May to $112/bbl in June. This was the 12th consecutive month in which the average Brent crude oil spot price ranged between $107/bbl and $112/bbl. EIA projects Brent crude oil prices to average $110/bbl in 2014 and $105/bbl in 2015, $2/bbl and $3/bbl higher than projected in last month's STEO, respectively. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price discount to Brent is expected to average $9/bbl and $10/bbl in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

    During this year's April-through-September summer driving season, regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $3.66/gallon (gal), 8 cents higher than last year. Regular gasoline retail prices are projected to fall from an average of $3.68/gal during the second quarter to $3.64/gal during the third quarter as lower refinery margins more than offset higher crude oil prices. EIA expects regular gasoline retail prices to average $3.54/gal in 2014 and $3.45/gal in 2015, compared with $3.51/gal in 2013.  EIA is predicting on-road diesel fuel prices to average $3.93/gal in 2014 and $3.88/gal in 2015, compared to the 2013 average of $3.92/gal.

    U.S. total crude oil production, which averaged 7.4 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2013, is expected to average 8.5 million bbl/d in 2014 and 9.3 million bbl/d in 2015. The 2015 forecast represents the highest annual average level of oil production since 1972. Natural gas plant liquids production increases from an average of 2.6 million bbl/d in 2013 to 3.0 million bbl/d in 2015. The growth in domestic production has contributed to a significant decline in petroleum imports. The share of total U.S. liquid fuels consumption met by net imports fell from 60% in 2005 to an average of 33% in 2013. EIA expects the net import share to decline to 22% in 2015, which would be the lowest level since 1970.

    Natural gas working inventories on June 27 totaled 1.93 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), 0.67 Tcf (26%) below the level at the same time a year ago and 0.79 Tcf (29%) below the previous five-year average (2009-13). Projected natural gas working inventories reach 3.43 Tcf at the end of October, 0.38 Tcf below the level at the same time last year. EIA expects that the Henry Hub natural gas spot price, which averaged $3.73 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2013, will average $4.77/MMBtu in 2014 and $4.50/MMBtu in 2015.

Exxon, BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Shell Earn “F” Grades in Consumer Choice Report Card

Meijer, Thorntons, Kum & Go, Kwik Trip and Other Retail Chains Earn High Marks for Offering Lower Cost, Higher Performance, Renewable Alternatives to Regular Gasoline

A new “Consumer Choice Report Card” released by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) grades some of the largest, most well-known retail gasoline chains based on whether they are providing consumers with alternatives to regular gasoline that cost less, reduce pollution and are higher octane for better engine performance. The “Big Five” oil companies all scored at the bottom of the list — with fewer than 1 percent of stations offering American made, renewable alternatives like E85 or E15 — while a number of major independent retail chains received “A+” grades, with more than 25 percent of their stations offering E85 or E15.

“E85 and E15 are made with American renewable fuel that is better for your engine and your wallet, not to mention our environment and our economy, but not enough consumers have access to these alternatives,” said RFA President Bob Dinneen. “Unfortunately, the Big Oil companies are rigging the market to take away consumer choice and prevent many retailers from offering these clean, homegrown fuels.”

The Consumer Choice Report Card is part of a new report from the RFA titled “Protecting the Monopoly: How Big Oil Covertly Blocks the Sale of Renewable Fuels.” The report exposes how the “Big Five” oil companies, along with a number of leading refiners, are engaging in strong arm tactics and covert practices to prevent and discourage the sale of renewable fuels, especially at stations carrying their brand name.

• Distribution contracts routinely include provisions that make it difficult, needlessly expensive, or simply impossible for a retailer to offer consumers choices like E15 or E85. For example, contracts cited in the report include anti-consumer provisions preventing the sale of E85 under the gas station canopy, onerous labeling requirements, minimum sales volume requirements, exclusivity provisions and other language that create practical or financial roadblocks to the sale of renewable fuels — despite the benefit to consumers.

• Of the nearly 48,000 retail gas stations carrying a “Big Five” oil company brand, fewer than 300 (0.6 percent) offer E85 or E15. Independent stations are 4–6 times more likely to offer consumers E85 and 40 times more likely to offer E15.

• Most oil-branded retail gas station chains receive a grade of “F,” meaning that fewer than 1 percent of their branded stations offer E15 or E85. Among oil company affiliated brands, only Speedway/SuperAmerica and Cenex received high marks (“A-“ and “B,” respectively.) Several independent/unbranded chains — including Meijer, Thorntons, Kum & Go, Break Time and Kwik Trip — received grades of “A+,” meaning more than 25 percent of their stations offer E15 or E85.

The report concludes by noting that the only way to ensure that consumers get access to these lower cost, higher performance renewable fuels is for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce compliance with the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard, which calls for increasing amounts of renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline and made available to consumers:

“Cynically, oil companies frequently cite a shortage of fueling infrastructure as a reason why the EPA should lower the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Yet, as demonstrated in this analysis, the oil industry itself has deliberately created this shortage by making it as difficult and burdensome as possible for retail gas stations to offer greater volumes of renewable fuels. Like a child who breaks all of his pencils and then tells his parents he can’t do his homework, the oil industry should not be permitted to claim it is not possible to expand renewable fuels consumption when it is taking calculated steps to stifle the broad introduction of E85, E15 and other fuels.”

No Movement in Retail Fertilizer Prices

During the week of the July 4th holiday, there were no fireworks involving retail fertilizer price movements. Retailers tracked by DTN reported extremely steady fertilizer prices for the first week of July 2014.  Just like last week, six fertilizers were slightly lower in price compared to last month but the move to the low side was fairly minor. DAP had an average price of $592/ton, MAP $623/ton, urea $535/ton, anhydrous $694/ton, UAN28 $352/ton and UAN32 $401/ton.  The remaining two fertilizers were slightly higher compared to a month prior, but again the move higher was relatively insignificant. Potash had an average price of $483/ton and 10-34-0 $564/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.58/lb.N, anhydrous $0.42/lb.N, UAN28 $0.63/lb.N and UAN32 $0.63/lb.N.

With fertilizers moving higher in recent months, only three of the eight major fertilizers are now double digits lower in price compared to June/July of 2013.  DAP is now down 1%, urea is 2% less expensive and MAP is 3% less expensive. 10-34-0 is down 6% while UAN32 is 9% less expensive and UAN28 is now 10% lower. Anhydrous is now 14% less expensive while potash is down 16% compared to a year earlier.

Gov. Jay Nixon Sides Against Family Farmers and Ranchers

According to Missouri Cattlemen's Association President (MCA) Jim McCann, Governor Jay Nixon today made the decision to stand against family farmers and ranchers by vetoing bipartisan legislation H.B. 1326 and S.B. 506, which are known as farm bills. McCann said the two bills were supported by 13 agricultural organizations that represent tens of thousands of family farmers and small businesses.

"Governor Jay Nixon once again turned his back on farmers and ranchers with another veto of agricultural legislation," said McCann. "Agriculture is the steam engine of Missouri's economy, generating more than 12 billion dollars and thousands of jobs. One would think the governor would do everything within his power to support legislation that empowers Missouri's farmers and ranchers. The veto did the opposite."

McCann said H.B. 1326 and S.B. 506 include issues extremely important to Missouri cattlemen. These bills include increasing hauling limits for livestock on Missouri highways; extending the equine liability waiver to all livestock; enabling Missouri cattle producers the opportunity to vote whether or not to increase their investment in the Missouri beef checkoff; and enacting the Missouri Dairy Revitalization Act.
McCann said the two bills would do a lot for every segment of Missouri agriculture.

"More than a dozen agricultural organizations across the state banded together to show support for these bills, and to spread awareness of the importance they held for the state of Missouri," said McCann. "These organizations were eager to have the support of the governor. Nixon has decided to disregard the value these bills hold for all of Missouri. We are utterly disappointed with the governor's veto. It's a shame the governor essentially ignored Missouri agriculture."

McCann said MCA will be working with the state legislature to explore next steps.

ASA Supports Missouri Farming Rights Amendment

The American Soybean Association has issued its support of the Missouri Farming Rights Amendment (Amendment 1), a measure that would amend the state’s constitution to recognize and protect modern agriculture and the benefits that it provides all Missourians.

“As a proud Missouri-based organization, the American Soybean Association firmly supports Amendment 1 supporting modern agriculture in the Show-Me State,” said ASA Director Tom Raffety, a farmer from Wyatt. “Our soybean farmers in Missouri and their counterparts in other crops and livestock commodities take strides every day to ensure that they conserve our state’s natural resources while continuing to farm productively and provide all Missourians with the food, feed, fiber and fuel they need.”

Amendment 1 will give farmers another tool with which to defend themselves from unwarranted laws and regulations, including ballot initiatives funded by deep-pocketed animal-rights groups. Amendment 1 will not throw out scientifically-based rules and regulations as every right is subject to reasonable regulation, and Missouri’s farm families remain committed to upholding all laws and regulations pertaining to agriculture. Moreover, by guarding against overly restrictive laws and regulations that limit the ability of Missouri farmers and ranchers to decide what production methods work best for them,  Amendment 1 will assure consumers that Missouri farmers and ranchers can provide the choices they want in food and fiber.   

“As is the case so often in agricultural issues, off-farm activists and out-of-state animal rights groups continue to try to tell farmers how to run their operations,” said Raffety. “What Amendment 1 does is reinforce that Missouri’s farmers are good stewards of our land and resources, and know what’s best for Missouri agriculture.”

ASA’s state affiliate, the Missouri Soybean Association, has been a lead voice in the effort to pass the Farming Rights Amendment as part of Missouri Farmers Care, a coalition formed to protect Missouri agriculture from outside special interests and to reconnect farmers and consumers through education and outreach efforts.

“Agriculture is the lifeblood of the Show-Me State, and it’s woven into the cultural and economic fabric of the entire Midwest,” added Raffety. “It’s a big part of the reason that ASA chose St. Louis as our home base. Farming is Missouri’s largest industry and because of its impact, many outside activist groups have targeted Missouri’s farms in their effort to reform agriculture as they see fit. Amendment 1 will protect Missouri’s farms from these attacks, and ASA is proud to support it.”

CWT Assists with 16.9 Million Pounds of Cheese, Butter and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 21 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Land O’Lakes, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 15.615 million pounds (7,083 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda, Monterey Jack cheese, 1.246 million pounds (565 metric tons) of butter (82% butterfat) and 837,757 pounds (380 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, South America and Oceania. The product will be delivered July 2014 through January 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 74.377 million pounds of cheese, 48.767 million pounds of butter and 15.406 million pounds of whole milk powder to 41 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.926 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.

Russia Grain Exports Up, Harvest Progress Down

Russia's grain exports for the marketing year July 1 2013 to June 30, totaled 25.372 million metric tons, 62% more than in the previous marketing year, the agriculture ministry reported Tuesday.

Exported grains included 18.297 million tons of wheat, 4.052 million tons of corn, 2.705 million tons of barley and 322,000 tons of other minor grains.

Russia's grain exports in the 2012-2013 marketing year fell to 15.69 million tons from 27.2 million tons in the previous marketing year. Russia harvested 89.3 million metric tons of grain in clean weight, 30% more than in 2012, when 68.7 million tons when crops were damaged by drought.

Russia 2014 grain harvest is down compared with last year, reflecting inclement weather conditions, the agriculture ministry said Tuesday.

The country's largest grain transportation operator Rusagrotrans said earlier Russia was likely to harvest this year 95 to 97 million metric tons of grain in bunker weight, up from 92.4 million tons in 2013, and grain export in the 2014-15 marketing year is likely to increase to 27 to 28 million tons from 25.3 million tons in 2013-14.

July 7 Crop Progress and Condition Reports - NE - IA - US


For the week ending July 6, 2014, clear skies during the week allowed wheat harvest to get underway in southern districts, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  After a cool beginning, temperatures gave way to hot, humid conditions with irrigation starting in a number of counties.  Corn was entering the pollination stage with the first tassels beginning to appear.  The dry weather conditions allowed hay harvest to continue and producers were able to apply herbicides to spring planted crops.  The number of days considered suitable for fieldwork were 6.0. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 20 short, 72 adequate, and 5 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short, 21 short, 68 adequate, and 3 surplus.
Field  Crops  Report:

Corn  conditions  rated  2  percent  very  poor,  5  poor,  21  fair,  52  good,  and  20  excellent.  Corn  silking  was  8 percent, ahead of 1 last year, but behind 14 average.  

Soybeans conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 22 fair, 57 good, and 16 excellent. Soybeans blooming was at 39 percent, ahead of 17 last year and 21 average.

Winter  wheat  conditions  rated  6  percent  very  poor,  14  poor,  31  fair,  45  good,  and  4 excellent. Winter wheat coloring was 85 percent, behind 90 last year, and the five-year average of 93. Winter wheat  mature  was  37  percent,  ahead  of  27  last  year,  but  behind  44  average. Winter  wheat  harvested  was  13 percent, ahead of 10 last year, but behind 26 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 2 poor, 37 fair, 44 good, and 17 excellent. Sorghum emerged was 100 percent, near 99  last year and equal  to  the average. Sorghum headed was 3 percent, near 0 both  last year and the average.

Oat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 17 poor, 28 fair, 50 good, and 2 excellent. Oats headed was 87 percent, behind 96 both last year and 97 average. Oats coloring was at 45 percent. Oats mature was at 11 percent. Oats harvested was at 2 percent, near 0 last year, but behind 18 average. 

Alfalfa hay conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 7 poor, 33 fair, 51 good, and 7 excellent. Alfalfa hay second cutting was 37 percent complete, ahead of 17 last year, but near 41 average.
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  7  percent  very  poor,  11  poor,  30 fair, 45 good, and 7 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 6 short, 90 adequate, and 2 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:


Above average precipitation in Iowa limited fieldwork yet again during the  week  ending  July  6,  2014,  according  to  the  USDA,  National Agricultural  Statistics  Service.    Statewide  there  were  just  2.6  days suitable  for  fieldwork,  the  third week  in a  row with  less  than 3.0 days suitable  for  fieldwork.   Weed  control  and  nitrogen  side-dressing were behind due to wet conditions and the inability to get equipment through fields.  Many producers reported yellowing corn and stress on soybeans due to excessive moisture.

Precipitation raised soil moisture  levels marginally  this week.   Topsoil moisture  levels  rated 0 percent very  short, 2 percent  short, 61 percent adequate,  and  37 percent  surplus.    Subsoil  moisture  levels  rated 1 percent  very  short,  7 percent  short,  67 percent  adequate,  and 25 percent surplus.  Over one-quarter of the State’s topsoil remained in surplus condition, with the exception of southeast Iowa.

There  were  scattered  reports  of  corn  silking  across  Iowa.   Seventy-six percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition, a decrease of 3 percentage points. 

Twenty-one percent of  the soybean acreage was blooming, 11 days  ahead of  the previous year but 2 days behind  normal.    A  few  farmers  reported  soybeans  setting  pods.  Decreasing 2 percentage points  from  the previous week, 73 percent of the  soybean  crop  was  rated  in  good  to  excellent  condition.   

Ninety-five percent of  the oat crop has headed, 2 percentage points above  last year but  equal  to  the  five-year  average.   Thirty-one percent of  the oat acreage  has  turned  color,  10 percentage  points  ahead  of  the  previous year  but  15  points  behind  average.      Seventy-three percent  of  the  oat acreage  was  reported  in  good  to  excellent  condition,  dropping 1 percentage point from last week.  

Farmers  struggled  to  get  their  first  cutting  of  alfalfa  hay  baled, advancing only five percentage points from last week.  The first cutting of alfalfa hay was 95 percent complete, falling slightly behind both last year  and  average.    The  second  cutting  of  alfalfa  was  12 percent complete,  two  days  ahead  of  last  year  but  almost  two  weeks  behind normal.  Sixty-seven percent  of  all  hay was  rated  in  good  to  excellent condition.  Pasture condition rated 74 percent good to excellent.  Stress on  livestock  increased  toward  the week’s  end with  the  high  humidity and heat.


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

Heavy  rains  fell  across  Iowa  for  the  third  consecutive week,  this  time focused  upon  the  central  one-third  of  the  state  and  particularly  across east central sections of Iowa.  Most of  the rain fell  in  two periods with the larger event coming from Sunday (29th) morning into Monday (30th) evening.    The second event began over northwest Iowa  late on Friday (4th)  and  continued  into  Saturday  (5th)  afternoon  over  the  southeast.  High winds and/or large hail were reported from 24 counties on the 29th and  from 41 counties on  the 30th with every county between  Interstate 80  and U.S Highway  20  reporting  severe  weather  on  one  or  both  of these dates.  The first event brought very heavy rain to east central Iowa with  7.63 inches  falling  near  Center  Junction  in  Jones  County.   The heaviest  rain  from  the  second  event  fell  across  west  central  and southwest Iowa with Red Oak reporting  the most rain with 3.90 inches while  extreme northeast  Iowa missed  this  storm  system.  Weekly  rain totals  varied  from  0.15 inches  at  Estherville  and  0.16 inches  at  Rock Rapids  to  7.72 inches  near  Center  Junction  and  6.96 inches  at Muscatine.  The statewide average rainfall was 2.49 inches or more than double  the  weekly  normal  of  1.09 inches.  Meanwhile,  temperatures were slightly above normal to start the reporting week on Sunday (29th) and  slightly  below  normal  on Monday  (30th).   The  remainder  of  the week was unseasonably cool with daytime highs only in the 60s in some areas  on  Tuesday, Wednesday  and  Saturday.   At  Lake  Rathbun  the Wednesday  afternoon  high  of  62  degrees  tied  for  the  lowest  July daytime high since records began at that location in 1970.   Temperature extremes varied from afternoon highs of 89 degrees at Bloomfield and Keokuk  on Monday  (30th)  and  also  at  Sibley  on  Saturday  (5th) while Battle  Creek  (Ida  Co.)  and  Stanley  (Buchanan  Co.)  reported  lows  of 45 degrees  on  Thursday  morning.   Temperatures  for  the  week  as  a whole averaged 5.8 degrees below normal.   

USDA Weekly Crop Progress - Corn, Soybean Conditions Hold Steady

Corn and soybean development continues to progress ahead of last year's pace and conditions remained about steady in the week ended July 6, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress Report.  Corn is 15% silked, compared to 5% last week and an 18% 5-year average. Corn condition ratings were steady with last week at 75% good to excellent.

Soybeans are 24% bloomed compared to 10% last week and a 21% 5-year average. Soybean condition ratings are steady with last week at 72% good to excellent.

Winter wheat is 57% harvested, compared to 43% last week and a 60% 5-year average. Winter wheat conditions improved slightly, moving to 31% good to excellent compared to 30% last week.

Corn Silking - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                 :            Week ending            :          
      State      :  July 6,  : June 29,  :  July 6,  : 2009-2013
                 :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                 :                    percent                   
Colorado ........:     3           2           3           4    
Illinois ........:     7           4          28          30    
Indiana .........:     -           2          14          19    
Iowa ............:     -           -           4          10    
Kansas ..........:    11          18          35          31    
Kentucky ........:    14          18          46          36    
Michigan ........:     2           -           2           4    
Minnesota .......:     -           -           1           7    
Missouri ........:    14          19          47          39    
Nebraska ........:     1           1           8          14    
North Carolina ..:    86          67          80          91    
North Dakota ....:     -           2           4           3    
Ohio ............:     4           1           4          12    
Pennsylvania ....:     4           -           3          11    
South Dakota ....:     -           2           5           4    
Tennessee .......:    56          25          56          71    
Texas ...........:    67          57          80          67    
Wisconsin .......:     -           -           -           3    
18 States .......:     6           5          15          18    

Corn Condition - Selected States: Week Ending July 6, 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          26          47          21    
Illinois .......:     1           3          16          53          27    
Indiana ........:     1           5          19          53          22    
Iowa ...........:     2           5          17          53          23    
Kansas .........:     2           6          34          47          11    
Kentucky .......:     1           3          14          59          23    
Michigan .......:     1           3          14          62          20    
Minnesota ......:     2           7          27          50          14    
Missouri .......:     -           2          17          52          29    
Nebraska .......:     2           5          21          52          20    
North Carolina .:     3          11          29          45          12    
North Dakota ...:     -           2          18          59          21    
Ohio ...........:     1           4          20          55          20    
Pennsylvania ...:     -           2          17          50          31    
South Dakota ...:     1           2          17          67          13    
Tennessee ......:     -           5          16          55          24    
Texas ..........:     -           4          30          47          19    
Wisconsin ......:     1           5          17          52          25    
18 States ......:     1           4          20          54          21    
Previous week ..:     1           4          20          55          20    
Previous year ..:     2           6          24          51          17    

Soybeans Blooming - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     :   July 6,   :  June 29,   :   July 6,   :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas .......:     24            36            47            39     
Illinois .......:      8             9            29            17     
Indiana ........:      8            14            30            18     
Iowa ...........:      3             6            21            26     
Kansas .........:      4             5            16            14     
Kentucky .......:      3             5            16            19     
Louisiana ......:     50            62            77            66     
Michigan .......:     18             1            12            16     
Minnesota ......:      4             2            13            18     
Mississippi ....:     53            39            53            72     
Missouri .......:      2             5            14            11     
Nebraska .......:     17            21            39            21     
North Carolina .:      2             5            18             7     
North Dakota ...:      -             6            12            16     
Ohio ...........:      6             1            10            16     
South Dakota ...:      7            15            39            19     
Tennessee ......:      4             9            18            24     
Wisconsin ......:      -             -             5             7     
18 States ......:      9            10            24            21     

Soybean Condition - Selected States: Week Ending July 6, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Arkansas .......:     4           9          30          39          18    
Illinois .......:     1           4          20          56          19    
Indiana ........:     1           4          24          55          16    
Iowa ...........:     2           6          19          55          18    
Kansas .........:     1           2          35          54           8    
Kentucky .......:     1           3          15          63          18    
Louisiana ......:     2           7          18          49          24    
Michigan .......:     1           5          22          58          14    
Minnesota ......:     2           6          31          53           8    
Mississippi ....:     -           6          24          49          21    
Missouri .......:     -           3          21          61          15    
Nebraska .......:     1           4          22          57          16    
North Carolina .:     1           4          30          55          10    
North Dakota ...:     -           2          18          63          17    
Ohio ...........:     2           5          23          60          10    
South Dakota ...:     1           3          20          67           9    
Tennessee ......:     -           3          17          64          16    
Wisconsin ......:     1           3          19          54          23    
18 States ......:     1           4          23          57          15    
Previous week ..:     1           4          23          57          15    
Previous year ..:     2           5          26          55          12    

Winter Wheat Harvested - Selected States

[These 18 States harvested 86% of the 2013 winter wheat acreage]
                 :            Week ending            :          
      State      :  July 6,  : June 29,  :  July 6,  : 2009-2013
                 :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                 :                    percent                   
Arkansas ........:    98          87          96          100   
California ......:    89          80          81           84   
Colorado ........:    15           5          22           35   
Idaho ...........:     -           -           -            -   
Illinois ........:    65          55          82           79   
Indiana .........:    31          28          52           64   
Kansas ..........:    83          40          70           88   
Michigan ........:     -           -           1           13   
Missouri ........:    81          49          83           91   
Montana .........:     -           -           -            -   
Nebraska ........:    10           -          13           26   
North Carolina ..:    73          85          94           94   
Ohio ............:     8           2          20           43   
Oklahoma ........:    93          89          95           96   
Oregon ..........:     -           -           2            1   
South Dakota ....:     -           -           -            7   
Texas ...........:    82          77          85           90   
Washington ......:     -           -           -            -   
18 States .......:    55          43          57           60   

Monday July 7 Ag News

2014 Nebraska Farmland Values and Rental Rates
The recently published Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Highlights 2013-2014 report indicates as of February 1, 2014 the weighted average farmland value for the state rose by about 9% over the prior 12-month period to $3,315 per acre. Also, 2014 cash rental rates on average declined across Nebraska for dryland and irrigated cropland; while pasture and cow-calf pair rental rates significantly increased. Survey panel members indicated lower grain prices as the most negative factor influencing cropland rental markets and cattle prices as the most positive factor leading into record setting cow-calf pair rental rates.

By Region....

Average Value $ Per Acre, % change from Last Year

NE - 6460, +4%
EC - 7285, +0.3%
SE - 6185, +8%

Dryland Rental Rates $ Per Acre, % change from Last Year

NE - 245, +5%
EC - 215, -2%
SE - 175, +1%

Center Pivot Irrigated Rental Rates - Value $ Per Acre, % change from Last Year

NE - 370, -2%
EC - 355, unchanged
SE - 335, -3%

Pasture Rental Rates - Value $ Per Acre, % change from Last Year

NE - 70, +32%
EC - 55, +12%
SE - 50, +19%

Since February 1, 2013 the largest percent increase in land value for Nebraska reported by survey participants occurred in hayland and grazing land (nontillable) classes at 26% and 24%, respectively. These two types of land are the primary classes that service the forage requirements of cow-calf producers in the state. Percent increase in value of these two land classes were generally greater than 30% for districts located in the western two-thirds of the state. Survey panel members indicated a very bullish outlook for future increases on the value of hayland and grazing land as many anticipate the prices of cattle to remain steady.

Read the rest of this July 3 UNL Cornhusker Economics article by Jim Jansen, extension educator in Cedar and Knox counties, and Roger Wilson, extension budget analyst and farm management specialist.  Click here for article....  

Impact of June 30 Acreage Report

Cory Walters, UNL Extension Crop Economist

The June 30 USDA Acreage Report delivered planted acreage for both corn and soybeans in Nebraska.  Grain market prices have responded to this information.  To understand the impact of these numbers for Nebraska I compared them to our Market and Financial Outlook for Production Ag in Nebraska (UNL Extension Circular 865).  The report highlights market, financial, and net farm income expectations for crop and livestock sectors in Nebraska for 2014.

The USDA Acreage report puts Nebraska 2014 corn acreage at 9.3 million planted acres and 8.75 million harvested acres. The planted acreage is 6.5% less than 2013 levels. For 2014 there is a 6% difference between planted and harvested acreage, a 50% increase over the 2013 difference of 4%. This difference is likely due to the adverse weather conditions Nebraska has experienced this spring. Futures market prices have declined since the report. Currently, December 2014 corn futures prices are trading in the $4.20 range.

Corn prices fell 7% and estimated Nebraska harvested corn acreage increased 2% since the release of UNL's Nebraska Market and Financial Outlook report. As a consequence, Nebraska 2014 corn cash receipt expectations fell from our spring estimate of $6,040 million to $5,687 million.

The USDA Acreage report puts 2014 Nebraska soybean acreage at 5.4 million planted acres and 5.35 million harvested acres. 2014 Nebraska planted acreage is both 12.5% larger than found in 2013 and a record number of planted acres. Futures market prices have declined since the report. Currently, November 2014 soybean futures prices are trading in the $11.30 range.

Soybean prices increased 4% and Nebraska harvested soybean acreage decreased 2% since our spring soybean cash receipt estimate. Our 2014 Nebraska soybean cash receipt expectations increased from our spring estimate of $2,966 million to $2,991 million.

The combined corn and soybean cash receipt estimates for Nebraska are now at $8,678 million, down $328 million (or 3.6%) from our spring estimate.  Realized yields will play a significant role in the final Nebraska cash receipt number.  Currently, U.S. corn crop condition ratings are very good with 75% in the good to excellent category.  U.S. soybean crop condition ratings are also very good with 72% in the good to excellent category.

Between now and harvest, grain market prices will be sensitive to yield information. Higher expected yields will likely put downward pressure on futures markets prices.  Higher volumes of grain to move at harvest coupled with increased transportation costs (especially for rail) will also likely put pressure on basis to widen or get worse.

Bacterial Blight in Soybeans

Loren Giesler, UNL Extension Plant Pathologist

Frequent stormy conditions and rains with cooler weather have resulted in bacterial blight of soybean being pretty common in Nebraska soybean fields.

Bacterial blight of soybean is caused by Pseudomonas syringae  pv. glycinea and is common in Nebraska when conditions are conducive. This disease is typically not a big yield robber, but may cause greater concern if current weather patterns persist.

Bacterial blight on soybean appears as angular lesions. It usually begins in the lower portion of the canopy where small yellow to brown spots appear on the leaves.  The centers of the spots will turn a dark reddish-brown to black and dry out. A yellowish-green "halo" will appear around the edge of water soaked tissue that surrounds the lesions.  Eventually the lesions will fall out of the leaf and the foliage will appear ragged.  In many cases, you can see the growth stages of when a hail or wind storm occurred and observe the lesions associated with those stages.  New growth often will be without lesions.

The optimum temperature for this disease is around 75°F. As our season heats up, this disease should go away as temperatures move out of the optimum range for growth of the bacterium.  If conditions remain cool, avoid any cultivations or other traffic in fields with this blight as equipment can track the disease through the field and worsen the condition.  Fields with reduced tillage will tend to have increased bacterial blight as the bacterium resides in the residue.

Unmanned Aircraft Offer Ag Potential; Illegal for Business, Commercial Use

Advances in unmanned aircraft systems combined with next generation sensors will contribute to the challenge of feeding our future world in a sustainable manner, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineer says. However, while unmanned aircraft systems will have quite an impact in agriculture's future, it currently is illegal to operate one of these aircraft for commercial or business use, said Wayne Woldt, engineer in Biological Systems Engineering.

Farmers and crop scouts may find using unmanned aircraft outfitted with advanced imaging sensors beneficial in locating problem areas in fields, such as weeds, water stress, insect stress and crop stress, and in fact, it is expected agriculture will account for an 80 percent share of the emerging unmanned aircraft market, Woldt said.

"The view you can get of a field or livestock operation is unparalleled, without cost of going up in an airplane, and the view is very helpful in understanding your production system," Woldt said.

But the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources engineer cautions it currently is illegal to operate an unmanned aircraft for commercial or business use, which would include agriculture.

The aircraft can be flown for hobby use, which is defined very narrowly.  And if an unmanned aircraft is flown for hobby, or private use, the individual needs to be very careful for low flying aircraft such as agricultural spray pilots, pipeline inspectors, photographers, and other aircraft that are flying low for a specific reason. A collision of an unmanned aircraft with an airplane could be very expensive, and perhaps even deadly.

The FAA is working on regulations for small, unmanned aircraft, which are 55 pounds or less. These regulations should be drafted this fall, and this will lay the groundwork for business and commercial use of unmanned aircraft, including use in agriculture.

"The FAA takes great pride in the safety of the air space over the U.S., with it being one of the safest in the word," Woldt said. "The FAA is looking to make it legal to fly these unmanned aircraft for farming purposes. So stay tuned, and commercial use of unmanned aircraft will soon be incorporated into the national air space."

Until then, it is important that these unmanned aircraft remain grounded, and not used for business or commercial purposes.

If they are used, one must have an FAA issued certificate of authorization, which is only available to aircraft owned by the state, for research, and other civil aviation purposes such as emergency response.

Woldt is just getting his NU-AIRE research and education program underway at IANR. See for additional information.

Western Corn Rootworm Beetles Emerging

Bob Wright, UNL Extension Entomologist

Western corn rootworm beetles are emerging in southeast Nebraska. Beetles typically emerge somewhat later in northeastern and western Nebraska.

Beetles emerging before silk emergence may feed on corn leaves. They feed by scraping the surface tissue, leaving a white parchment-like appearance. Once silks emerge, they become the favored food. The earliest silking fields in an area often are most heavily damaged because beetles will move to it in search of green silks.

There are no thresholds for silk-clipping damage based on beetle numbers because damage levels are not correlated well with beetle densities. Usually an average of 5-10 beetles per ear is required to seriously affect pollination. Severe silk feeding (silks clipped to less than ½ inch from the ear) at 25%-50% pollen shed may indicate a need to apply insecticide. Silk feeding after pollination is complete does not affect yield potential.

See the 2014 Guide to Weed Management in Nebraska with Insecticide and Fungicide Information (EC 130), for insecticides labeled for adult rootworm control.

Use UNL's SoyWater to Schedule Irrigation, Guide Decision-Making

James Specht, Professor, UNL Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

Get the most from your irrigations with SoyWater, an easy to use, irrigation management tool.  It provides timely crop water use information specific to your field and this year's growing conditions. It is available on the Web at, the UNL CropWatch Soybean page, or simply Google the words "UNL SoyWater."

This decision support tool was developed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with support from soybean checkoff funds provided by the Nebraska Soybean Board. Unlike many other management tools, SoyWater doesn't require you to install anything on your home computer or spend time learning a new software program. It guides you through four simple steps to input information so you can get field-specific irrigation recommendations.

SoyWater can help you determine how much water your field needs and when it needs it, eliminating unnecessary irrigation events. An acre-inch of water applied is equivalent to 27,154 gallons of water. Thus, saving one unnecessary one-inch irrigation event could save you 5,424,800 gallons of water on a 200-acre pivot. Moreover, you would also save pumping energy cost and time. Such savings would allow you to optimize your input use efficiency (bushels per acre per inch of water applied or energy used).

Even if you don't irrigate, SoyWater can help you fine-tune your management. Both rainfed and irrigated producers can use it to track and predict the dates when a field will reach a specific soybean stage. Pest control and disease management are much more effective if the pesticide or fungicide is applied precisely at the soybean stage that researchers recommend.

About 920 people  have registered to use SoyWater since its official launch on May 1, 2010. We invite you to join this group and learn how to more effectively schedule soybean irrigation events to apply just the right amount at just the right time.

June 16th Storms Leave Some One-Thousand Animals Dead

(AP) - Authorities estimate that about 1,000 large animals were killed by the June 16 storms that roared through northeast Nebraska, destroying more than half of Pilger.  Marty Marks of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Wayne County says the toll could be 1,000 in a six-county region, plus hundreds of chickens and other poultry.  Producers aren't required to report livestock losses to the government, and cattle feeding operations generally don't insure individual animals.

Saunders Co Bean Growers Plan Summer Meeting

You and your spouse/friend are cordially invited to attend the Annual Meeting and Dinner of the Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization on Sunday evening, July 20th - 6:00 p.m. for Social Time, 6:30 p.m. for the Dinner.  This event will be held at the Yutan Country Club in Yutan. 

Featured speaker for the evening will be Willow Holoubek, Executive Director with the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) who will present “The Future of your ‘Steak’ – A Look at Nebraska Livestock Development.”

They have secured a number of Agri-Businesses as sponsors for the meeting and dinner. They will be recognized that evening.

Please RSVP no later than Friday, July 11th. Please call the Extension Office at 800-529-8030. We have to place a meal count with the caterer and if you don’t call ahead, we have no idea that you’re coming. This results in significant dollars being spent for food not being served or we underestimate...... Please call!!!!

If you have questions, contact one of the Saunders County Soybean Growers Association Directors listed below:

Allen Mumm – President
Nathan Cernik – Vice-President
Chad Bartek – Treasurer
Ben Deerson
Ray Kucera, Jr
Alan Makovicka
Kurt Ohnoutka
John Trutna
Dennis Fujan – District 5 Director NSA
Doug Bartek – Saunders County Director NSA

If you know someone who is a prospective member, please extend an invitation to join us at this gala event and become a part of our organization.

Farmland Movie Event July 9th in Fremont

“Farmland,” a documentary film by award-winning director James Moll, introduces Americans to the lives of six farmers and ranchers in their ‘20s. Each is responsible for running their operations on a daily basis. People are given a first-hand look at the triumphs and trials farmers and ranchers face throughout the year. Through the interviews, the audience is able to see the passion these farmers have for their way of life.

The Fremont Chamber of Commerce has organized a special showing of the film on Wednesday, July 9th at Mainstreet 7 Theatres in the Fremont Mall.  There will be a BBQ meal served at 5:30pm for a cost of $5. The Movie will be shown at 7pm free of charge however seating is limited to first come first served.

According to CIFF38 Film Review, “’Farmland’ was different than many food/farming documentaries I've seen in the past. It didn't focus on the negative side of things. The film takes you behind-the-scenes of American farmers who love their jobs. It discusses GMO's, the treatment of animals, and organic vs conventional farming all in a non-bias way. It was nice to see a film that features farmers that apparently care about the food they are providing to America.”

Ethanol Reduces Oil’s Damage to Climate and U.S. Economy

(from NE Ethanol Board)

As forty-one million Americans hit the road to celebrate the country’s birthday, they are again reminded of the strain gasoline puts on the family’s budget.  With the constant volatility and chaos of global oil markets holding economies hostage, fuel consumers want and need choices at the pump.  Domestically produced ethanol fuel provides that choice.  As the most effective alternative to gasoline, ethanol accounts for more than ten percent by volume of U.S. motor fuel consumption.     

Ethanol is the lowest cost alternative to gasoline.   In the first week of July, ethanol prices averaged eighty-eight cents per gallon less than gasoline at Midwest fuel terminals.  For a vehicle traveling 12,000 miles per year, this translates to an annual fuel saving of $502.   

Ethanol also significantly reduces crude oil imports that still account for 35% of U.S. consumption.  Imported crude is one of the most significant elements of the U.S. annual trade deficit.  Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas impacts of gasoline and is the fuel of choice in areas of the world where low carbon fuel standards dictate fuel composition.  It displaces toxic chemicals used in the production of gasoline.  For example, ethanol replaces benzene, a toxic carcinogen, used by U.S. oil refiners to boost octane in gasoline.  The reduction or replacement of toxic gasoline chemicals in gasoline with ethanol reduces gasoline’s most harmful health and environmental effects. 

The economies of Nebraska and other Midwestern states are interwoven with the ethanol sector.  Recent University of Nebraska studies describe the economic bounce in the state’s economy when the ethanol sector is fully operational.  It is in the best interests of Nebraskans and Americans to insist that wise state and federal fuel standards that include ethanol be supported by policymakers. 

IndyCar Returns to Iowa with 50 More Laps

Iowa Speedway is proud to announce that Iowa Corn will return as the title sponsor of the IndyCar Series at Iowa Speedway for 2014 and 2015. In addition to bringing the race back to Newton, the race now includes an additional 50 laps based on overwhelming fan feedback.

"After last year's IndyCar Series race, many of our loyal fans immediately took to their social media channels, sent emails, or called us to let us know they wanted more," said Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small. "The fans asked for it, and alongside our best-in-class partners at Iowa Corn, we delivered fifty more intense laps under the lights at the Iowa Speedway."

Watch for Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, fan favorite Helio Castroneves and 2013 Series champion Scott Dixon to make strong statements during the Iowa Corn Indy 300 Presented by DEKALB, running their E85 powered racecars around the 7/8ths mile oval. Fans might remember that James Hinchcliffe won last year's Iowa Corn Indy 250 despite Castroneves setting a track record in qualifying with a blistering lap of 185.687 and providing Iowa Speedway the moniker The Fastest Short Track On The Planet.

"If race car drivers can power the elite IndyCar on E85, we want consumers to feel confident that they are doing the right thing at the gas pump by choosing ethanol," said Bob Bowman, a farmer from DeWitt and the current President of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. "On behalf of Iowa's corn farmers, we are excited to be back at the track and to hear the words, drivers start your engines for the 8th Annual Iowa corn farmer sponsored race."

Iowa Corn is in its eighth year of partnership with Iowa Speedway. (The 2014 race weekend will feature ethanol-powered races in addition to the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn Indy 300 Presented by DEKALB.) Iowa Corn is also a partner with Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association New Holland and other great partners on the American Ethanol program with NASCAR.

The 2014 Iowa Corn Indy 300 Presented by DEKALB is set to race on July 12 at 7:30 p.m. CDT.

Sorghum Checkoff Announces Leadership Sorghum Class II

The Sorghum Checkoff announced Monday members of the Leadership Sorghum Class II. The program, hosted by the Sorghum Checkoff, seeks to develop the next generation of leaders for the sorghum industry. Fifteen sorghum farmers from five states were selected to participate in the program’s second class.

Those selected include Carlton Bridgeforth from Alabama; Joel Spring from Iowa; Dan Atkisson, Kelsey Baker, Casey Crossland, Nathan Larson, Craig Poore, Lance Russell and Jessica Wyrill from Kansas; Chris Robinson from Kentucky; Kent Martin from Oklahoma; Josh Birdwell, Greg Glover, Joe Rohrbach and Lee Whitaker from Texas.

Participants will begin the 15-month program in the Texas Panhandle in September, focusing on the sorghum seed industry and research. For more information about Leadership Sorghum, visit

Farm Bill Tools Help Manage Risk, Guard Economy

Senator Mike Johanns

Nebraska is no stranger to the forces of Mother Nature. From violent thunderstorms and tornadoes to blizzards to drought, we’ve seen many heart wrenching examples of destructive weather. This is especially true for our state’s ag producers, whose livelihoods are invested in land, livestock and equipment—all commonly exposed to the elements.

The impact of damaged or destroyed ag operations reaches far beyond the farm or ranch. In our state, where a third of all jobs are related to agriculture and our ag exports generate billions in economic activity, the success of our economy depends on the abilities of our producers to operate, even in the face of events beyond their control. Our ag producers are a hardy, self-reliant bunch. They don’t look for handouts and are usually the first to offer a hand when disaster strikes.  That’s why risk management programs are so important.

This week, the Department of Agriculture announced it is moving forward with important updates to the crop insurance program, which I advocated for in this year’s farm bill. The goal is to provide greater flexibility and improved options for ag producers so they are prepared when disaster strikes, while minimizing taxpayer obligations by requiring producers to put skin in the game.

These programs are especially important for a new crop of farmers who are just starting out. For these beginning farmers one storm without a safety net could mean the end of their career. The new updates, authorized in the 2014 farm bill, will remove administrative hurdles for beginning farmers and ensure they can continue to build their operation even after damaging acts of nature.

Livestock disaster programs are critical for producers in the wake of devastating weather. Nebraska leads the nation in red meat production, so the health of our herds and the livelihood of our livestock producers are important planks to our ag economy. I was saddened to learn about livestock deaths following an early-season blizzard last year and tornadoes last month. The Livestock Indemnity Program has been reauthorized and producers are already getting needed assistance so they can continue fueling our economy. I will continue working with USDA to ensure our ag producers have access to this crucial backstop when they are in need, and that the programs are being administered correctly.

Ag producers across the state have told me they aren’t interested in government handouts, like the direct payment programs that ended with this year’s farm bill.  They just want the tools to manage their risk appropriately, and have the peace of mind that their life’s work will not be destroyed because of events beyond their control.  That’s exactly what these programs do.  They are important for our producers and they are important to grow our state’s economy. I will continue working with our farmers and ranchers to ensure they have the tools they need to be successful.

Momentum Remains Strong for U.S. Pork, Beef Exports

U.S. pork and beef exports maintained their strong momentum in May, with export volumes for both products exceeding last year’s totals and value increasing by double digits, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

May pork exports totaled 188,030 metric tons (mt), up 4 percent from a year ago. Export value remained in the $600 million range for the third consecutive month, increasing 19 percent to $599.6 million. For January through May, pork export volume (964,631 mt) was 9 percent ahead of last year’s pace, while export value was up 15 percent to $2.84 billion.

Beef exports in May were up 5 percent in volume (102,967 mt) and 15 percent in value ($589 million). For the first five months of 2014, export volume was up 9 percent to 479,344 mt and value increased 17 percent to $2.64 billion.

Pork results led by record-high value to Mexico

Mexico continued its outstanding performance for U.S. pork in May, posting the largest monthly volume (56,665 mt, +8 percent) since January and an all-time value record of $138.8 million (+45 percent). For January through May, exports were up 14 percent in volume (277,905 mt) and 39 percent in value ($614 million).

“USMEF has been focused for some time on increasing overall pork consumption in Mexico, and it is gratifying to see those efforts paying off in the form of very strong, sustained demand,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “With Mexico experiencing a domestic supply crunch and its hog prices up about 35 percent year-over-year, we have substantially increased shipments to Mexico even as U.S. pork prices moved higher.”

May results for other key markets included:

-    Exports to South Korea (11,885 mt, +37 percent) continued well ahead of last year’s pace, as high domestic pork prices helped fuel imports. May export value was up nearly 75 percent to $40.7 million. The five-month total for Korea was 32 percent higher in volume (69,154 mt) and increased 46 percent in value ($208 million).
-    Pork muscle cut exports to Japan (37,880 mt) were up 7 percent in May, pushing the January-May total to 140,523 mt (+1 percent), valued at $624 million. Japan’s hog prices have also surged (up 17 percent from a year ago), reflecting the impact of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) and higher-priced imports.
-    While still down from a year ago, export volume to Canada (18,031 mt, -6 percent) was the largest of 2014. Value increased 7 percent to $73.7 million.
-    Exports to Colombia remained very strong, increasing 28 percent in volume (3,748 mt) and 59 percent in value ($11.9 million). For the first five months of the year, shipments to Colombia have more than doubled in both volume (22,215 mt, +107 percent) and value ($59.3 million, +114 percent).
-    China’s slumping hog prices and ample domestic supplies led to a weak month for U.S. exports to the China/Hong Kong region, as volume dropped 28 percent to 24,999 mt and value slipped 30 percent to $52.6 million. But January-May volume (165,926 mt) was still within 2 percent of last year’s pace and value was up 2 percent to $369 million.

Pork export value per head slaughtered was a near-record $69.57 in May, nearly $15 higher than a year ago. The percentage of U.S. production exported was 24 percent for muscle cuts and 28 percent when including muscle cuts and variety meat – up from 23 percent and 26 percent, respectively, in May 2013.

Beef exports largest of the year to Hong Kong, Mexico

In mid-June, U.S. beef gained full access to Hong Kong, adding key products such as ground beef and processed meats. But even with some restrictions still in place, May exports to Hong Kong surged more than 80 percent from a year ago to 13,008 mt. On a value basis, exports more than doubled to $95.2 million.

“We’re pleased to finally have full access to Hong Kong, which is something the U.S. beef industry has been pursuing for some time,” Seng said. “But this market has already performed exceptionally well, especially since we gained access for bone-in cuts early last year. That step has helped us achieve outstanding growth in Hong Kong’s foodservice sector.”

Other May highlights for beef exports included:

-    Exports to Mexico increased 35 percent to 20,480 mt, the largest monthly total of the year, while value increased 52 percent to $93.5 million. This pushed the January-May total to 96,281 mt (+34 percent), valued at $452.5 million (+49 percent).
-    Strong momentum continued for exports to Korea, which increased 26 percent in volume (9,269 mt) and 48 percent in value ($58.5 million). Korea’s five-month value total was nearly one-third higher than a year ago ($314.7 million, +32 percent) as retail outlets and restaurants have shown renewed interest in featuring U.S. beef. Beef muscle cut value ($299.8 million, +41 percent) accelerated at an even more rapid pace.
-    Exports to Taiwan continued to bounce back from a slow first quarter, increasing 25 percent in volume (3,408 mt) and 16 percent in value ($25.7 million). Demand for chilled U.S. beef remains strong in Taiwan, even as frozen exports face increased competition from Australia (due to large, drought-induced supplies) and New Zealand (which has a new free trade agreement with Taiwan).
-    Japan’s results slowed from a year ago, but this was in comparison to very large totals from May 2013. For the first five months of the year, exports to Japan are fairly steady with last year’s strong pace in both volume (87,269 mt, -1 percent) and value ($547.9 million, +1 percent).

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter set another new record in May at $279.39, up $47.72 from a year ago. The ratio of U.S. production exported was 11 percent for muscle cuts and 14 percent for muscle cuts and variety meat combined – up from 10 percent and 13 percent, respectively, from a year ago.

Lamb exports still struggling

U.S. lamb exports continued to trend lower in May despite a rebound in leading market Mexico (794 mt, +11 percent; $1.37 million, +15 percent). The gains in Mexico were more than offset by a continued slump in Canada, where May exports totaled just 33 mt. Through the first five months of the year, lamb exports were down 23 percent in volume (4,475 mt) and 14 percent in value ($11.26 million).

NRCS: The Water Police

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council filed comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' "interpretive" rule. The rule will make the Natural Resource Conservation Service a regulatory compliance agency, resulting in cattle producers putting less conservation on the ground.

The interpretive rule was published in the Federal Register the same day as the agencies’ proposed rule to redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The rule's intent is to interpret what Congress meant when it included a statutory exemption for “normal farming, silviculture and ranching activities” under the 404 Dredge and Fill Program.

“The EPA claims they have made right with the agricultural community by interpreting their exemption to only include the 'normal' 56 NRCS practice standards, excluding all other NRCS practice standards and all voluntary conservation activities,” said Ashley McDonald, NCBA environmental council.  “By defining these very specific 56 practices, the interpretive rule only narrows the scope of what is considered normal farming and ranching practices. These practices, such as building a fence, or grazing cattle, never needed a permit before, but now require oversight by NRCS and mandatory compliance with its standards.”

With farmers and ranchers facing up to $37,000 per day in fines, the interpretive rule increases liability for participation in conservation practices, voluntary or not. According to the EPA, the 56 exempted practices, including prescribed grazing, were chosen because they have the potential to discharge if they are done in a “water of the U.S.” This effectively makes grazing a discharge activity, and cattle producers will now be required to obtain a permit to graze unless they have a NRCS-approved grazing plan.

“The chilling effect on participation in conservation activities will be compounded when NRCS is seen as wielding the final say on whether a producer is in violation of the Clean Water Act or not,” said Victoria, Texas, cattleman and NCBA President, Bob McCan. “Historically, NRCS and its field personnel have been seen as a friend to agriculture; helping producers achieve goals in production and conservation through technical and financial assistance. Now, they will simply be an extended arm of the EPA, spending their time checking compliance of voluntary conservation activities.”

NCBA and PLC strongly encourage the agencies to withdraw the interpretive rule immediately and ask that a dialogue be undertaken with the agricultural community prior to any future “interpretive" rules being promulgated that may alter the exemptions Congress included in the Clean Water Act for agriculture.

NMPF Asks EPA to Withdraw Guidance that Could Hinder Water Conservation on Farms

The National Milk Producers Federation today asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw recent guidance concerning when farmers must seek Clean Water Act permits for a long list of normal farming activities near wetlands.

NMPF, the voice of more than 32,000 dairy farmers in Washington, said the EPA’s proposal could have the perverse effect of discouraging water conservation, by changing the long-standing relationship between farmers and the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The EPA guidance, officially called an Interpretive Rule, was issued in March. It says producers are only exempt from needing Clean Water Act permits for more than 50 routine farming practices if they comply with detailed NRCS technical conservation standards. Until now, these standards have been voluntary, and the farming practices exempt from the permit process.

In comments filed Monday, NMPF said the guidance changes NRCS’s role from that of a conservation partner to an enforcer of the Clean Water Act on EPA’s behalf.

“Until now, NRCS has been the place producers could go for conservation advice, while EPA was charged with ensuring compliance with the Clean Water Act,” said Jamie Jonker, NMPF’s Vice President for Sustainability & Scientific Affairs. “The cooperative relationship with NRCS made it more likely farmers would adopt water conservation practices.

“Unfortunately,” Jonker said, “the interpretive rule moves NRCS into an enforcement role and, in the process, could set back conservation efforts.”

In its comments, NMPF used harvesting hay as an example. Under the Interpretive Rule, farmers harvesting hay may be exempt from needing a CWA permit only if they follow NRCS Conservation Practice Standard No. 511:  four pages of criteria covering timing of the harvest, moisture content of the hay, length of the cut hay, stubble height and much more.

“Many dairy farmers harvest hay without any reference to NRCS standards,” said Jonker.  “Will these farmers now be forced to comply with Standard No. 511? If so, many will simply choose not to work with the NRCS. As a result, there will be less water conservation on farms, not more.”

Jonker noted that NMPF has drawn up a detailed environmental handbook based on NRCS standards but tailored specifically to dairy farmers. “Under the IR, producers who follow the handbook apparently will not qualify for a permit exemption,” Jonker said. “Having invested time and money in producing the handbook, NMPF is now forced to ask if it was worth it to try to do the right thing.”

Additional points in the NMPF comments:
-    While EPA argues that meeting the NRCS standards is still voluntary, in practice it is mandatory, since failure to comply may expose farmers to legal liability.
-    More than 100 farming practices covered by NRCS standards but not listed the IR are left under a “cloud of suspicion” and further expose farmer to legal liability.
-    As a major policy change, the IR should have been issued as a proposed regulation, with public comments in advance of approval, rather than as guidance that is immediately applicable.

“NMPF and its members are committed to protecting U.S. waterways through voluntary efforts and regulatory compliance with the Clean Water Act,” NMPF said. “(But) the IR will have the perverse impact of harming the longstanding trust and cooperative relationship between producers and NRCS.  Consequently, water quality improvements will be adversely impacted.”

Established initially the 1930s, the NRCS provides voluntary help to farmers who want to conserve the resources on their farms.

In May, NMPF urged the Environmental Protection Agency to allow more time to examine a controversial draft regulation expanding the waterways subject to regulation under the federal Clean Water Act. That request was granted on June 10th.

DDGS Exports to China Update

(from USGC)

The import situation in China continues to evolve for distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) as traders learn to navigate the changing regulatory environment. Existing import permits continue to be valid, contracts are still being written, and DDGS continue to arrive in China, where they are subject to inspection. Shipments that pass inspection continue to enter China.

Based on trade reports and recent discussions with government officials in China it seems that approximately 200,000 metric tons of U.S. DDGS have failed the new inspection regimen and are stranded in ports in China. The re-export of these shipments to other markets that accept the traits in question is a high priority. The Council is hard at work on the ground in China with traders and government officials to facilitate this process

Current reports also indicate that new import permits will be issued to companies that either have no report of unapproved biotechnology in their imports over the last year or that have dealt with (i.e. re-exported or destroyed) any previously rejected cargos within two months. These traders must also obtain certification that any new imports will not contain any unapproved traits.

Since the inadvertent presence of such events at trace levels is difficult to avoid, and since testing can often yield false positives, the exact nature of the testing protocols is important. Policy and practice continue to evolve in these areas, which has produced ongoing uncertainty and increased commercial risk. This is expensive both for traders and buyers, end-users, and consumers in China -- a situation that highlights once again the importance of achieving greater synchronicity in the biotech approval process and a workable protocol on low- level presence of unapproved events.

Thursday July 3 Ag News

Ibach, Loos to speak at Nebraska Manure Demo Day

Agriculture advocate and radio personality Trent Loos along with Greg Ibach, the director of Agriculture in Nebraska will be the keynote speakers at Manure Demonstration Day on July 29th during the luncheon.  Both men are strong advocates for agriculture and will each provide a unique perspective.  Organizers are taking registrations for the FREE meal. Register today at

Trent Loos, who farms with his family near Loup City, is a sixth generation farmer with a passion for agriculture.  Loos Tales, Trent’s radio show, launched in 2001 and in 2008, he was recognized as the “Voice of Rural America” by the West Quest organization for his ground-breaking work in advocating for agriculture and speaking on behalf of farmers and ranchers.  Trent also writes a blog named “Truth Be Told” at

“We are excited to have both Trent Loos and Greg Ibach as speakers for a luncheon at Manure Demo Day.  Both men will entertain, educate and inspire our guests.” Said  Leslie Johnson, UNL Extension. 

University of Nebraska Extension with support of many Agri-Business groups and Nebraska Commodity organizations are working together to present Nebraska Manure Demonstration Day.  Numerous educational presentations and demonstrations are planned throughout the day.  There will be two educational tracks: #1 “Managing What We Can’t See in Manure”, and #2 “Connecting Manure and Fields”. Guests will be able to choose presentations that best fit their needs.  

Livestock producers, custom applicators, consultants and others interested in learning more about the efficient utilization of manure are encouraged to attend this free event.  The 2014 Nebraska Manure Demonstration Day will be held at the Dawson County Fairgrounds on July 29th from 8:30am to 5pm.  

The event will focus on the needs of the manure industry in Nebraska.  Participants can view demonstrations of the latest manure handling equipment and will have the opportunity to learn from experts about new developments in manure management and handling. Educational topics include, PEDV, mortality composting, composted manures, using manure on crops, and soil health following manure application. 

Educational events will include opportunities for CCA Credits and NDEQ Land Application Training Recertification.

For more information about the 2014 Nebraska Manure Demonstration Day and to register for the free noon meal visit  

Damage to Corn Plants by Strong Winds

R.L. (Bob) Nielsen, Agronomy Dept., Purdue University

Storms packing strong winds have rolled through several areas of the corn belt several time already this growing season. Recent storms, in particular, caused quite a bit of damage to the corn crop in some fields. The damage includes minor leaning or bending of plants, outright uprooting of plants (root lodging), and the so-called "green snap" phenomenon where stalks literally break off or snap above a stalk node (often below the harvestable ear).

The crop is particularly vulnerable to such damage from strong winds when it is in the latter stages of the rapid growth phase prior to pollination, wherein overall plant and root dry matter increases rapidly but more importantly, stalk internode elongation occurs very rapidly. Rapid elongation of the stalk internodes (the tissue between the stalk nodes or "joints") often outpaces the lignification of the same tissue. The development of lignins provide the structural strength to the stalk.

Assessing the damage and predicting the eventual effect on grain yield from such damage can be challenging. The one certain advice that can be given is that such assessment should not be done the day after the storm. Rather, you should wait at least 4 to 5 days to allow the damaged plants to demonstrate whether or not they will recover.

-    Simple leaning or bending of plants caused by strong winds represents the least of the damage. Such plants should recover most, if not all, of their uprightness AND if this recovery occurs prior to pollination, there should be little effect on the success of pollination. However, if the damage occurred near the onset of pollen shed and silking, then there may be some "shading" of the exposed silks (relative to pollen capture) by the leaves and stalks of neighboring lodged plants and pollination may not occur successfully.

-    Plants that are root-lodged often recover by "goose necking" or gradually returning to uprightness, as demonstrated two years when similar strong storms caused wide areas of uprooted plants. Much like the assessment of plants that are simply leaning from wind, if the "goose necking" of root-lodged plants does not occur before the onset of pollen shed and silking, then there may be some "shading" of the exposed silks by the leaves and stalks of neighboring lodged plants and pollination may not occur successfully.

-    The likelihood that "green snapped" plants will recover is obviously low. Plants snapped off below the harvestable ear clearly represent direct loss of yield potential, but plants snapped off above the harvestable ear may yet produce grain, albeit less than desired. Because such reduction in harvestable plant population occurs so "late in the game", there is less opportunity for compensation by neighboring plants and so the estimated yield loss will be approximately equal to the percent of green-snapped plants.

Flood Waters Impacting Upper Mississippi Locks and Dams

(from ASA)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was expecting rising flood waters to make 11 locks and dams impassable on the mid- and upper-Mississippi River and force the closure of the river from Bellevue, Iowa, to Saverton, Mo.

At least 80 barge tows are expected to be affected by the closure, which would be the most extensive on that portion of the River since 2008. Rains caused extensive flooding last week in parts of Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas. The rising waters prompted lock closures in Minneapolis and St. Paul, which prevented barges from being loaded and slowed the transportation of grain and other commodities.

Informa Corn, Soybean Production Estimates Smaller Than USDA Forecasts

Private analytical firm Informa Economics said U.S. farmers have the potential to produce a 13.7 billion bushel corn crop and a 3.7 bb soybean crop this year.

The national average corn yield is forecast at 165 bushels per acre, 1.6 bpa above its previous estimate, and a soybean yield of 44.5 bpa, even with its last forecast. Both are slightly below USDA's estimates.

Informa adjusted USDA's acreage figures using data from its own survey of farmers. It thinks farmers planted corn on 91.39 million acres with harvested acres projected at 83.24 ma.  The corn harvested acreage estimate is 600,000 less than USDA's with the difference stemming from a 250,000 acre reduction in planting and 350,000 acres abandoned due to excessive moisture.

Farmers are likely to harvest 83.23 ma of soybeans, Informa said, 830,000 less than USDA's June estimate with the reductions coming from fewer planted and harvested acres in Ohio, Michigan, Louisiana, Illinois and South Dakota. Informa sees abandonment increasing in Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota.

The firm's global forecasts included a few changes. Informa increased Brazilian corn production to 76.5 million metric tons, which is 2.5 mmt above USDA's estimate and "suggests that USDA may increase its world corn production estimate in the July 11 WASDE report."

USDA's World Agricultural Outlook Board will release its initial projections of U.S. production in its next report on July 11 at 11am CDT. USDA will also update supply and demand tables in its upcoming report to include the recent Grain Stocks report, which indicated larger corn and soybean supplies on hand than previously thought.

USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden to travel to China

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden will travel to Beijing and Guangzhou, China, July 7-12.

While in China, the deputy secretary will lead the USDA delegation at the U.S.–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. The Dialogue will bring together high level officials and discuss the challenges and opportunities that both countries face on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global areas of immediate and long-term economic and strategic interest. The U.S. delegation will be led by Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew.

Along with participating in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Harden will have additional meetings with high level Chinese officials while in Beijing. In Guangzhou, she will meet with Chinese importers of American agricultural products and visit facilities that handle American products, including a soybean crushing facility and a denim factory.

USDA Dairy Products May 2014 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 965 million pounds, 2.2 percent above May 2013 and 1.3 percent above April 2014.  Italian type cheese production totaled 414 million pounds, 5.1 percent above May 2013 but 0.4 percent below April 2014.  American type cheese production totaled 391 million pounds, 1.0 percent above May 2013 and 3.9 percent above April 2014.  Butter production was 165 million pounds, 0.5 percent above May 2013 but 0.7 percent below April 2014.

Dry milk powders (comparisons with May 2013)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 164 million pounds, up 8.7 percent.
Skim milk powders - 58.2 million pounds, up 6.2 percent.

Whey products (comparisons with May 2013)
Dry whey, total - 81.3 million pounds, up 2.0 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 97.3 million pounds, up 11.6 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 48.2 million pounds, up 11.1 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons with May 2013)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 69.9 million gallons, down 8.9 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 39.2 million gallons, down 7.8 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 3.62 million gallons, down 21.6 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 6.52 million gallons, down 25.6 percent.

Dairy Cattle Entries Now Open for World Dairy Expo 

World Dairy Expo’s 2014 dairy cattle entries are now open. Exhibitors can choose to enter through the Expo online entry system or by mail. Initial entry deadline is Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014. Premium Books were mailed to recent year’s exhibitors July 1. The Premium Book is also available online or new exhibitors can request a copy from World Dairy Expo at 608-224-6455. Visit for complete event details.

Dairy cattle exhibitors are encouraged to utilize the user-friendly Expo online entry system that contains the 2014 Premium Book and all entry forms. Exhibitors utilizing the online system can submit all animal entries, stalling requests, tent and/or booth space purchases and Futurity entries. Additionally, youth showmanship and fitting contest entries and judge nominations can also be submitted.

Entries must be submitted and payment transaction completed by Aug. 31, 2014. The online entry system will be available and credit card payment accepted for late entries until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. Late fees will be assessed for entries submitted between Aug. 31 and Sept. 14.

Exhibitors should to be prepared to enter animal’s name, registration number, 15-digit Animal Identification Number (AIN) or Canadian Cattle Identification Agency Number (CCIA) and pedigree information. Exhibitors will be able to refer back to their entries after payment. Exhibitors are encouraged to review the 2014 Premium Book, especially Page 71, which includes changes for this year’s show.

World Dairy Expo is recognized as the meeting place for the global dairy industry. More than 70,000 dairy producers and industry experts from 90 countries travel to Madison, Wis. annually. The world-class event includes 2,500 head of North American dairy cattle competing on the famed colored shavings, more than 850 exhibiting companies in the renowned trade show, Expo Seminars, Virtual Farm Tours and exciting youth competitions. World Dairy Expo’s theme is “Designer Dairy” and will be held Sept. 30 through Oct. 4, 2014. Visit, follow us on Facebook or Twitter @WDExpo or #WDE14 for more information.

It’s Time to Visit Nebraska’s County Fairs

Governor Dave Heineman
Summer is a great time to visit fairs and festivals held across our state. Nebraska’s county fairs offer a wonderful opportunity to showcase the best of our state and highlight the agricultural heritage, achievements and talents of Nebraska producers, youth and hobbyists.

Nebraska is home to nearly 90 county fairs that offer a variety of experiences and traditions for families that feature livestock show competitions, demolition derbies and championship rodeo competitions. No matter what your age, there is something for everyone at the county fair, which includes the diverse culture that makes Nebraska unique.

I have visited many county fairs and the thing that stands out the most about the county fairs I have attended is the participation from our 4-H and FFA youth.  Each year, 4-H provides our young people the opportunity to gain important life skills that help them become productive, capable, responsible and compassionate individuals. In Nebraska, one in three age-eligible youth in all 93 counties participate in 4-H programs - that is over 140,000 young people. By participating in 4-H, our young people gain skills in science, explore career choices, learn about healthy behaviors and understand the importance of agriculture in our state.

Our FFA youth are no different. There are over 6,600 FFA members participating in 157 FFA chapters across the state, including 8 new chapters for the 2014-2015 school year.  Through their involvement in FFA, these young people are truly following the FFA motto of learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live and living to serve.

I continue to be impressed with the youth of our state. For those participating in county fair events, their determination, dedication and drive learned through fair projects is superb. Young people work on and share projects in a wide range of interests, from rocketry, technology, wildlife, photography, woodworking, and more. Thousands of others invest significant time and energy in learning to care for livestock.

County fairs offer our young people the opportunity to showcase their achievements of the past year, while also offering fairgoers an opportunity to experience family friendly entertainment – from tractor pulls, to pie-baking contests, concerts and musical performances.

If it’s your first visit to a fair, or whether you are a regular participant, I encourage you and your family to visit one of Nebraska’s county fairs and festivals this year. A listing is available online from the Nebraska Association of Fair Managers at

The more than one million people who attend Nebraska’s fairs and festivals each year can attest to the quality of life Nebraska has to offer. Our county fairs and festivals are an opportunity to experience the traditions and culture that make Nebraska a great place to live, work and raise a family.

USDA Support Keeps Old Glory Flying High

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

What began as a small sail-making shop in 19th century New York City has evolved into the modern realization of one family’s American Dream—a family-owned and –operated small business whose product has been a part of some of the most iconic images in our nation’s history.

Alexander Annin’s sail-making shop, established in the 1820s, has evolved into the oldest and largest flag company in the United States and is still in operation today. Commencing with Zachary Taylor’s 1849 presidential inauguration; to the flag-draped coffin of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865; onward to the iconic image of U.S. Marines hoisting the flag on Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi in 1945; to the flag planted by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969—all were Annin-made flags.

Today, Annin Flagmakers is still family-owned and fiercely committed to using only U.S. labor and materials to produce an average of 35,000 flags each week. From start to finish, Annin flag makers oversee every stitch in more than 15 million flags every year.

In recent years, USDA Rural Development has helped this small business continue to grow and thrive through support from our Business and Industry loan program. The company used the funds to purchase, renovate and expand its manufacturing facility in rural Coshocton, Ohio which today employs approximately 225 proud Ohioans.

Most recently, Annin Flagmakers donated labor and materials to help restore the National 9/11 Flag, destroyed in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. This flag, which has traveled the breadth of the United States and has been stitched upon by hundreds of American hands, also integrates thread from the original Star Spangled Banner that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

As we celebrate American independence this weekend with family, friends, feasting and fireworks, let us also remember the brave men and women across the centuries whose commitment to duty was so deep that they gave their own lives to protect others. The American flag stands as a proud symbol of their sacrifice, and reminds us of our many blessings. Because of them, each and every one of us is able to pursue the opportunity for life, liberty, and our own personal American Dream.

Wednesday July 2 Ag News

Delegation Urges FSA to Revise Reimbursement Method for Lost Livestock During Tornadoes

Nebraska’s Congressional delegation today wrote to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to correct the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) method for calculating livestock disaster payments in light of the devastating tornadoes in Pilger and surrounding areas last month. The 2014 farm bill reauthorized the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) to provide relief for producers who suffer livestock deaths as a result of natural disasters.

Producers who lost livestock during the June tornadoes discovered USDA is using outdated data when calculating reimbursement, resulting in reduced payments of up to $330 per head. The letter urges FSA to use current market values, which more accurately reflects the intent of the 2014 farm bill.

A copy of the letter can be found below:

July 2, 2014

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

We write to request that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) revise its methodology for calculating payment amounts for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).

During the week of June 16, 2014, tornadoes devastated the town of Pilger, Nebraska and severely damaged crop and livestock operations in the surrounding area.  Producers who had livestock killed by the tornadoes have sought relief from the LIP program that was recently extended by Congress with passage of the 2014 farm bill.  But after producers read the payment schedule produced by FSA, they realize they will receive much less from FSA than they are entitled to receive under the statute.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 states that “payments to an eligible producer on a farm… shall be made at a rate of 75 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before the date of death of the livestock, as determined by the Secretary.”  However, the rule implementing LIP states that “The LIP national payment rate for eligible livestock owners is based on 75 percent of the average fair market value of the applicable livestock as computed using nationwide prices for the previous calendar year unless some other price is approved by the Deputy Administrator.”

These are clearly not the same standard.  We appreciate that FSA may have some constraints on availability of appropriate data, but it is clearly unfair to producers who expect relief based on the plain language of the law to then find out that the relief received will be significantly less than 75 percent of the market value of their livestock.  For example, according to the LIP fact sheet published by FSA in April, the payment rate for feeder steers weighing 800 pounds or more is $1,149, but data from the Agriculture Marketing Service indicate that 75 percent of the average value of an 800-900 pound steer was approximately $1,278 the week before the tornadoes hit Pilger, a difference of $129 per head.  Moreover, producers also experienced losses for cattle that were at their finished weight of approximately 1400 pounds.  Using the data from the Agriculture Marketing Service, 75 percent of the average value for a finished steer was $1,479, for a difference of $330 per head.

Therefore, we request that you direct FSA to calculate relief for livestock producers based on market values that more accurately reflect the plain reading of the statute.

Nebraska Counties Receive Physical Loss Notice Due to Storms

Farm Service Agency State Executive Director, Dan Steinkruger, announced 29 counties have been designated as primary natural disaster areas due to physical damage and losses caused by excessive rain, high winds, tornadoes, hail, flash flooding, and lightning affecting Nebraska. Those counties are:

-- Antelope, Burt, Butler, Cherry, Cuming Dakota, Dixon, Dodge, Fillmore, Gage, Greeley, Hamilton, Holt, Howard, Knox, Madison, Merrick, Nance, Pawnee, Pierce, Platte, Saline, Saunders, Seward, Stanton, Thurston, Washington, Wayne, York

These counties received the physical loss notification on June 20, based on physical damage and losses caused by excessive rain, high winds, tornadoes, hail, flash flooding, and lightning that occurred on June 1 through June 4.

"The 29 counties that received the Administrator's Physical Loss Notification had severe physical losses to farm machinery, equipment, building, and dwellings" said Steinkruger.

This designation authorizes Emergency (EM) Loans for eligible producers. Steinkruger stated, "Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA Service Center for detailed information about available programs and updated Secretarial Disaster Designations."

In addition, 33 Nebraska counties are named as contiguous disaster counties where eligible family farmers may qualify for FSA emergency physical loss loan assistance. Those counties are:

-- Adams, Blaine, Boone, Boyd, Brown, Buffalo, Cass, Cedar, Clay, Colfax, Douglas, Garfield, Lancaster, Loup, Nemaha, Nuckolls, Otoe, Polk, Richardson, Rock, Sarpy, Sheridan, Sherman, Thayer, Thomas, Valley, Wheeler


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Wouldn’t it be nice to put all your hay under a roof?  Since most of us don’t have that luxury, outdoor storage techniques that minimize storage losses are needed.

               Over one-fourth of your hay’s nutrients can be lost due to weathering between now and feeding next winter.  To minimize these losses, begin by making dense, evenly formed bales or stacks.  They will shed water better and sag less than a soft core or less dense package.  Use net wrap or plastic twine spaced no more than four inches apart on round bales to maintain bale shape and provide a smooth surface that encourages water runoff.

               Store hay on an elevated, well-drained site so it won’t soak up moisture from wet soils or standing water.  Especially avoid terrace valleys.  Also avoid fences or tree lines that cause snow to drift onto hay or that prevent wind and sunshine from drying off wet bales.

               Often our biggest mistake is placing bales so water that runs off of one bale ends up soaking into an adjacent bale.  Never stack round bales during the rainy season unless they are covered or unless they will be fed very soon.  And avoid placing bales in a row with the twine or wrapped ends touching one another.

               Instead, it is best to place round bales or stacks so there is about one foot of air space on all sides for good ventilation.  Round bales also store well when the flat ends are butted end-to-end in a cigar-like shape.  Orient these rows north and south so prevailing winds will not cause snow drifts and so both sides of the row can receive sunlight for drying.

               Follow these guidelines and you will lower your storage losses, increase feed quality, and improve animal performance.

Monitoring Pasture Condition? UNL Extension Has An App for That

            Ranchers are accustomed to checking cattle, wells and mineral supplements to keep tabs on their operation. But what about the grass?

            Monitoring the condition of pastures is just as important, say University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension experts. And now there’s an app for that.

            UNL Extension has released a mobile application called “GrassSnap” that makes the monitoring process easier. The new app takes ranchers through the monitoring steps; stamps the photographs with the pasture name, GPS location, date and direction; records comments about each pasture; and stores the photographs and data in pasture folders. The information can quickly be downloaded to a computer.

            The new app is available for Apple and Android operating systems, both for smart phones and tablets. Download GrassSnap for Apple versions at the iTunes Store, and Google Play for Android devices. The app is free, thanks to support from the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition.

            There are many reasons to monitor rangeland and pastures, said Bethany Johnston, UNL Extension educator. She said all managers should monitor to evaluate changes and progress towards their management goals. Others need to document pasture health for carbon credits, wildlife habitat, or compliance with government programs such as the NRCS Conservation Security Program, which includes a grazing monitoring enhancement opportunity for participating landowners.

            “Photo-point and photo-plot monitoring is one of the easier, more repeatable ways to get qualitative info about how pasture looks right now.”

            A mantra of the method is “look out and look down.” First, “look out” and capture a photo-point landscape view. Next, establish a line transact in a given direction, then “look down” at the ground at regular intervals along this line to capture photo-plot views.

            Looking down at the ground is likely to reveal a whole host of rangeland health indicators, such as the amount of litter on the soil surface, types of vegetation and condition of the plants.

            “We want to get them to look out (at a pasture) and see what that view looks like – but also drive or walk out into it and look down and see what you see,” said Cindy Tusler, former extension educator who helped develop the GrassSnap app.

            Monitoring pasture conditions is not a one-size-fits-all process.

            “Collect information that works for you,” said Johnston. “Your monitoring system can be simple, like a moped, or a higher-end version, like a Cadillac. The ‘moped’ version could be as simple as a photo point and a photo plot. More complex monitoring will bring more detailed data. For example, we set up a ‘Cadillac’ version for a rancher complete with a transect line, spaced photo plots, a perspective pole, and a data sheet to record our information.” GrassSnap is flexible enough to capture data on simple or more complex monitoring systems.

            It is recommended that photographs be taken at least once a year, after the growing season when plants have matured. The goal of the new app is to make this process quick, repeatable, and easy.

            The app employs Geographical Positioning System to make it easier to return to the same spot every year. Once at the site located by a permanent field marker, the app user can use the “overlay” or a ghost image (from the first year) on the screen. This allows the user to hold up the phone or tablet, then move the device until the ghost image lines up with the live image making for more consistent and repeatable pictures.

            The app helps collect and upload data. Then, during late fall and winter, a rancher can review it, make decisions, and be prepared for next year, she said.

            “This is a decision support tool. It will give you easily repeatable information that helps you make decisions. It doesn’t make the decision,” Tusler commented.

            Johnston agreed that human judgment is important. “Each person’s management goals are different, so monitoring and assessment will flow out of those goals. The app makes it easier to remember and compare conditions from one year to the next at exactly the same site.”

            The app is complemented by a new NebGuide on pasture monitoring. “Getting to Know Your Pastures, Techniques to Enhance Monitoring,” written by Johnston, Tusler, and Jay Jenkins of Cherry County, and Jerry Volesky, UNL range specialist, can be viewed online at

            Questions about the GrassSnap app can be directed to Bethany Johnston at the Central Sandhills Area Extension Office in Thedford, 308-645-2267 or visit the GrassSnap webpage at

NARD Selects Long-Time Nebraska TV Anchor/Reporter as New Public Relations Director

The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts has named its new Public Relations Director, Erika Hill (also known as Erika Summers in the media), whose nearly ten years of experience in television includes breaking news, agriculture and weather-related stories, crime, politics and city and state-wide coverage of general news.

Hill was born in Lincoln, but grew up in Syracuse, Nebraska and Fort Collins, Colorado. She received her undergraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism at Colorado State University with a minor in Political Science. Hill worked as a television reporter at KLKN-TV Channel 8 Eyewitness News in Lincoln and also as a television reporter at KMTV Action 3 News in Omaha for several years before becoming the Morning and Midday Anchor back at Channel 8 Eyewitness News.  Since becoming an anchor in Lincoln, Hill has raised Channel 8 Eyewitness News’ ratings and earned the media award from the Nebraska Nutrition and Dietetics Association for her work to bring awareness to the organization.  She also has donated her time to several non-profit groups around the city, emceed fundraisers and spoken about the media to women entrepreneurs.

“I am thrilled to be starting this new chapter in my life,” Hill said. “I’m bursting with new ideas to spread awareness about NARD to even more people and organizations across the state, along with assisting all Natural Resource Districts in any way I can.”

Hill’s first day at NARD is August 1st, 2014. She and her husband live in Lincoln. They are expecting their first child in December of this year.

Land-Grant Universities Forge Partnership with Hypoxia Task Force

Scientists from land-grant universities in 12 central U.S. states have entered into a partnership with the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Hypoxia Task Force to support state and national efforts to reduce water pollution and help to maintain the productivity and vitality of American agriculture. The participating land-grant universities include: the University of Arkansas, University of Illinois, Iowa State University, University of Kentucky, Louisiana State University, University of Minnesota, Mississippi State University, University of Missouri, Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of Tennessee, and the University of Wisconsin.

"This collaboration between land-grant universities and the Task Force will continue to promote effective implementation of science-based approaches to nutrient management. Our efforts will help farmers reduce nutrient losses to the environment," said Wes Burger, Mississippi State University Agricultural Experiment Station associate director and professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management. "Nutrient management is imperative for sustainable agricultural activity and environmental quality."

Run-off from non-point sources is a primary contributor of excess nutrients that impair freshwater bodies and cause hypoxia, or low oxygen levels, in the northern Gulf of Mexico. While land-grant scientists and extension educators have been helping farmers, ranchers, state and federal agencies, and others with nutrient management practices and policies within their respective states for decades, a partnership with the Task Force will help scientists share their knowledge about emerging technologies and research developments across state lines.

"We need clean water. We need the food, fiber and fuel produced on our farms. Land-grant universities, with our extension and research resources, can help farmers, state and federal agencies, and others keep local water safe, reduce the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico, and keep our farms working. Our agreement with the Hypoxia Task Force promises to make land-grant research and outreach programs in this arena even more productive," said Rebecca Power, the director of the North Central Region Water Network and Water Outreach program manager of the University of Wisconsin.

Nearly 80% of all U.S. corn and soybeans as well as a large percentage of U.S. pork are produced in the Mississippi River basin states. However, nutrient pollution costs Americans billions of dollars each year. Land-grant universities are committed to working with the Task Force and other partners towards cleaner water and a healthy agricultural economy for future generations.

Economist Foresees Pork Prices to Rise More

Retail pork prices will keep rising to record highs this summer as the number of hogs going to market over the next several months will be lower than expected because of the PED virus, smaller spring farrowings and growing foreign purchases of U.S. pork, Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt says. But he also expects the price increases to level off in the fall and move somewhat lower into the winter as producers benefiting from higher profits increase production. Although producer profits were at a record high near $70 per head in the second quarter this year, he says the record will be surpassed this summer, with third-quarter profits expected to exceed $90 per head.

"These extremely high profits are clear signals for producers to increase pork production," said Hurt, who analyzed the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Hogs and Pigs report, released June 27. "The report did reveal that producers have received this signal, and they intend to increase farrows by 4 percent this fall."

If producers start the expansion and the porcine epidemic virus that has been killing piglets is better controlled, pork supplies can begin to grow by next spring to 4-6 percent in the last three quarters of 2015, Hurt said.

"More relief from record-high retail pork prices can be expected in the second half of 2015 as pork supplies build," he said.

While he believes that pig losses from PEDv will likely trend lower this summer, he says the USDA report suggests that the disease is far from controlled, with the virus apparently continuing to inflict greater numbers of deaths in the spring than had been expected.

"The general opinion had been that the PEDv death losses would be reduced as the weather warmed this spring, because PEDv does not spread as readily in warm weather," Hurt said. Death losses of about 8 percent in the winter were still about 5 percent in May.

There was expectation that the nation's breeding herd was already in expansion, Hurt said. The industry had returned to profitability in the fall of 2013 as corn prices dropped sharply, and pork producers had earlier indicated they would farrow 2 percent more sows over the spring. The USDA, however, found that the breeding herd was down fractionally and that the spring farrowings were also down modestly.

Record-high retail beef prices have some consumers looking around the meat case for alternatives such as pork. In May, USDA estimated the average grocery store price of beef cuts at $5.91 per pound; the average cut of pork, on the other hand, was $4.10 per pound.

"Even though this was also a record pork price, it was $1.81 a pound lower than beef," Hurt noted.

He also said foreign consumers have been strong competitors for limited world supplies of pork.

USMEF-Korea Takes Proactive Approach on Animal Welfare, Sustainability

Animal welfare and sustainability are not yet popular topics of conversation in Asian markets, such as South Korea, but it is only a matter of time before the trends that take root in Europe and the United States will find their way around the globe.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) office in Korea recently took a proactive approach to these sensitive subject matters by hosting a workshop for 230 Korean red meat importers, distributors, retail and food service operators to give them insights into the care that the U.S. beef and pork industries take both in raising livestock and in caring for the land that supports the production of American red meat.

The progress that American agriculture has achieved in the areas of efficient resource utilization was highlighted by Travis Arp, USMEF’s manager of technical services, who also addressed the industry’s ability to produce more high-quality red meat with the same or fewer animals in a humane environment. The educational program was provided with funding support from the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the Beef Checkoff Program and the Pork Checkoff.

“One of the primary issues in South Korea is tight regulation on the ability of processors to label product as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ or other marketing descriptors that cannot be uniformly defined,” said Arp. “Since labels can’t be used for this purpose in Korea, our goal is to help the importers and buyers in Korea better understand the care that goes into the production of U.S. pork and beef so they can make their purchasing decisions based on knowledge.”

Arp outlined the positive environmental impacts that both the U.S. pork and beef industries have made, resulting in significant reductions in water use, land use, greenhouse emissions and energy consumption.

At the same time, he noted how the overall efficiency of the U.S. pork industry increased dramatically from 1959 through 2009, realizing a 33 percent improvement in feed efficiency and a doubling of carcass weight production despite a 39 percent decline in the breed herd. Similarly, the U.S. beef industry boosted the yield per animal 28 percent between 1977 and 2007, requiring only four animals to produce the same amount of beef as five animals produced 30 years earlier.

While the U.S. livestock industry has improved its efficiency, it also has focused on the welfare of the animals, working to ensure that all animals raised for food or as working animals enjoy the Five Animal Freedoms: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury or disease; freedom to express normal behavior, and freedom from fear and distress.

“The American livestock industries have made concerted efforts to address both product quality and animal welfare, ranging from the pork industry’s PQA Plus program to Beef Quality Assurance and the lamb industry’s Sheep Safety & Quality Assurance,” said Arp. “The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) oversees the process from a regulatory standpoint, enforcing the Humane Slaughter Act and utilizing its own Compliance Guide for a Systematic Approach to the Humane Handling of Livestock.”

Unlike in South Korea, some meat producers in the United States utilize third-party humane handling certification – as well as product certifications for organic, natural, grass-fed and free-range – to provide product differentiation and additional information to consumers at the point of sale. Arp noted that these labeling claims must be approved by the FSIS.

“There are many misconceptions regarding product labeling and what it means for product quality,” Arp told the Korean audience. “Some consumers believe that meat with a ‘specialty label’ is safer than conventionally produced meat, or that meat without an animal welfare label has not been produced with the same care for the animal’s well-being. The reality is that all meat inspected by USDA-FSIS is held to the same health standards, and all producers and processors are held to the same USDA animal handling standards.”

The seminar, which included both an economic overview of the U.S. livestock industry as well as an analysis from the Korea Rural Economic Institute, was an important next step in the ongoing education of Korean importers and buyers, according to Jihae Yang, USMEF-Korea director.

“Some Korean livestock magazines have begun showing an interest in animal welfare and sustainability issues,” said Yang. “The messages delivered to these importers and buyers provided a meaningful introduction to these issues, and we expect they will be reported back to a broader audience through these publications.”

Through the first four months of 2014, South Korea is the No. 5 market for U.S. pork exports, purchasing 57,269 metric tons (126.3 million pounds) valued at $167.2 million, increases of 31 and 40 percent over last year at this time. Korea also is the No. 6 market for U.S. beef exports (No. 5 in value), purchasing 37,481 metric tons (82.6 million pounds) valued at $256.2 million, up 28 percent in value on 1 percent lower volume.

Celebrating Beef -- and Independence!

Beef producers and importers who invest in the Beef Checkoff Program have a lot to be thankful for as we approach the Fourth of July holiday – one of the strongest beef-buying weekends of the year – with a thriving market and robust prices that reflect strong consumer preference for beef!

Producer support for the beef checkoff is 78 percent – its highest in 21 years, according to the latest producer attitude survey. The checkoff program includes things like promotion and education to and for consumers, retailers and restaurant owners; extensive beef-safety, product-enhancement, human-nutrition and market research to identify and respond to consumers’ changing demands for beef and beef products; beef-industry training, from farm to fork, to help everyone in the production chain take responsibility for their roles in maintaining a desirable product; and foreign-marketing efforts in about 80 countries across the globe – all with a $1-per-head investment.

So what are some of the results that beef producers and importers have helped bring to fruition through their beef checkoff that are making this year’s Independence celebration a bountiful one? Let’s take a quick look at just a few key milestones and accomplishments:

-    Consumer demand for beef has remained strong throughout the latest recession and despite one of the tightest beef supplies in history. Consumer demand for beef advanced 2 percent in 2013, according to ag economist Glynn Tonsor of Kansas State University.
-    Consumers remain steadfast in their willingness to pay more for beef, even as beef prices set new highs. In June 2014, they said they would pay $7.52 per pound for steak, up 18.4 percent from May 2014, according to the Oklahoma State University’s monthly Food Demand Survey.
-    More than 39 percent of participants in a Google poll in June 2014 said they are likely to grill or eat beef over the July 4th holiday as opposed to chicken (23.6 percent), pork (12.2 percent), seafood or fish (7.3 percent), turkey (4 percent) or none of the above.
-    Beef finished first in foodservice from 2009 to 2013, making more money in restaurants than any other protein and racking up the largest pound increase – up 178 million pounds – of any protein, and representing 32 percent of the total protein market in foodservice with sales of 8 billion pounds in the last year alone!
-    With millions of checkoff dollars a year ($7.5 million in 2014) going to promotions of and education and training about U.S. beef across the globe, the value of U.S. beef exports in 2013 eclipsed the $6 billion mark for the first time, surpassing 2012 totals by nearly 13 percent in volume and 12 percent in value.
-    Thanks to those results in the global marketplace, the export value of fed slaughter is currently about $260 per head, up from $207 per head a year ago.

The bottom line is that beef is driving traffic to grocery stores and the meat case this grilling season. In a recent survey, Americans said that they are twice as likely to visit a grocery store that's promoting beef for grilling over a store that promotes any other protein.

Independent economic research has long declared that the beef checkoff makes a tremendous difference for the bottom lines of its investors – compared to what they would be without checkoff investments – and early indications from a new Return on Investment study coming out later this month promise continued evidence of the same.

So pass out the party hats and the sparklers, don your favorite patriotic attire, and fly your American Flag with pride this weekend. Then fire up those grills, and treat your family and friends to the sure winner – BEEF – knowing that you have everything to do with its success!

Suspected BSE Case in Romania

(AP) -- A case of suspected mad cow disease has been found in Romanian beef, officials said Wednesday.

Romania's animal health and safety authority said a preliminary test on May 1 indicated that a cow slaughtered at an authorized abattoir was infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.

It said the carcass has been sent to a British laboratory for further tests and it could be an "atypical form of BSE which appears naturally and spontaneously in cattle."

The officials only revealed the case after Russia decided to ban imports of Romanian beef, citing fears of BSE. It wasn't clear how the Russians learned about it.

They said Romania has not had a case of BSE since 1995 when testing began and there was no risk to public health from the current "isolated case."

BSE is fatal to cows and can cause a fatal brain disease in people who eat tainted beef. It first broke out in the late 1980s in Britain, where hundreds of people fell ill and many died after eating contaminated meat. Over the years, 4.5 million cattle were slaughtered to contain the spread.

Outbreaks followed in Japan in 2001 and Canada in May 2003.

Romania exports up to one million cattle a year, mainly to the Netherlands, Italy, and Croatia.

World Soy Foundation’s Acre Challenge Campaign Nearing $100,000 Goal Thanks to Top Supporting States

The World Soy Foundation (WSF), the philanthropic arm of the American Soybean Association, has never before surpassed the goal of $100,000 raised through their Acre Challenge campaign. But, this year, in just nine months, they have raised over 85 percent of their goal. The top supporting states of this spring have helped give the campaign an extra boost and the WSF is looking to carry that momentum right past the 100K mark in the final three months.

The Acre Challenge, a fundraising campaign started by farmers for farmers, is a way U.S. soybean farmers can help alleviate hunger and malnutrition around the world by donating the value of an acre of soybeans. The campaign begins Oct. 1 and runs for a full year. Just one acre of soybeans can make a life-changing difference. Did you know that one acre of soybeans, when converted into soybean oil and soy flour, provides enough high-quality fat and protein to meet the daily requirements for a balanced diet for 80 people for over a month?

Since March, over 160 donors accepted the Challenge and have donated the value of an acre to the WSF—this puts the total number of donors for the year at nearly 450 individuals from 30 states. The World Soy foundation has high hopes of surpassing this year’s goal to help further their mission and would like to thank each individual donor and recognize the top three supporting states for their extraordinary efforts in helping us get closer to that goal.

Still holding strong in first place is Iowa! Iowa soybean farmers have continued to show their support, with 60 donors giving nearly $16,000! Randy Van Kooten, a current WSF Board Member and former President of the Iowa Soybean Association, says this about the WSF: “I got involved with the WSF because I know the role soy can play in providing nourishment. Helping others makes you feel good about your profession and being a soybean farmer.”

Coming in second for top Acre Challenge supporters are the farmers of Illinois, raising nearly $13,450 from 49 individual donors, followed by Missouri with 12 donors giving just over $7,630 so far. These top three states understand the value of their soybean crop and continue to help the Foundation be part of the solution to reduce global malnutrition through the power of soy!

The Acre Challenge isn’t finished yet. With three months left in the fiscal year, the WSF is working hard to reach their goal of $100,000 by the end of September! To help them reach their goal, and help your state compete for the #1 spot, simply calculate the value of an acre of soybeans in your operation (yield multiplied by price) and give the gift of protein today!

Make your donation by visiting the WSF website or sending your check to: World Soy Foundation; 12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 100; St. Louis, MO 63141.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 6/27/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 953,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 40.03 million gallons daily. That is up 15,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 952,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.59 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 18.2 million barrels. That is a 0.1% increase from last week.

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

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 385.1 million gallons daily. Finished motor gasoline demand has averaged approximately 139 billion gallons (annualized) since the beginning of May.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.39%, down from last week.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.450 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 106,358 metric tons of livestock feed, 94,819 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.96 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

NMPF Asks FDA to Leave Dairy Farms Out of New Bioterrorism Regs

Arguing that milk leaving U.S. dairy farms is an unlikely target for a terrorist attack, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) asked the Food and Drug Administration to exempt dairy producers from “intentional adulteration” regulations being issued under the major rewrite of federal food safety laws enacted in 2011.

In comments filed with FDA on June 30, NMPF said it’s hard to predict where milk from any one dairy farm will go because of constantly changing processing needs around the country. As a result, NMPF said, milk leaving a dairy farm is unlikely to be a target for intentional adulteration and “activities on dairy farmers should not be addressed through this rule.”

NMPF also pointed out that dairy farms already employ a number of general security strategies that further reduce risks to plant-bound milk and that many anti-terrorist procedures are already being used on these farms.

In addition, NMPF submitted comments jointly with the International Dairy Foods Association questioning FDA’s proposed regulations focused on preventing intentional adulteration at dairy processing plants. Like dairy farms, the two organizations said, processing facilities have taken an active approach to applying food defense concepts.

In all, FDA has proposed seven major regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law in January 2011. Only this rule addresses terrorism, while the others have less direct impact on dairy farms. NMPF will be submitting comments at the end of this month on a major proposed FSMA regulation addressing sanitary transport.

NMPF Makes Implementation Recommendations to USDA on New Dairy Safety Net

NMPF has made a series of recommendations to the Agriculture Department on how to implement the new dairy safety net included in the 2014 farm bill. The recommendations cover issues that are either unclear in the legislation or were left up to USDA to decide. The issues include such things as the timing of enrollment, the timing and structure of premium payments, and the treatment of farms with changing ownership structures.

The new safety net, called the Margin Protection Program (MPP), is required to be established by September 1. It replaces price supports, MILC payments and other, less effective federal programs. It will help protect against the type of catastrophic equity loss that many dairy farmers experienced in 2009 and again in 2012.  NMPF is pleased with its discussions with the Agriculture Department on MPP to date.

In order to help dairy farmers understand the new Margin Protection Program, NMPF is providing a set of data examining how the MPP margin has varied over time, dating back to 2007, up until the current month for which data is available.

This set of tables listing feed and milk prices is available below to download in Excel as well as PDF.  It will be updated by NMPF every two months going forward, using the same calculations that the USDA is expected to use as the program is implemented later in 2014.

CWT-Assisted Dairy Export Sales Top 18.7 Million Pounds in June

Cooperatives Working Together helped member cooperatives sell 18.7 million pounds of dairy products overseas in June. The voluntary, farmer-funded program will provide assistance on 48 overseas sales from seven different cooperatives: Dairy Farmers of America, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Association, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), Tillamook County Creamery Association and Upstate-O-AT-KA. The products included 10.8 million pounds of American-type cheese, 4.1 million pounds of butter, and 3.8 million pounds of whole milk powder. All will be delivered before the end of the year.

June sales bring the year-to-date total to more than 120 million pounds of dairy product export sales assisted by CWT, the equivalent of 1.753 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Brazilian Soybean Exports Slip in June

Brazil soybeans exports continued on their downward curve in June as the immediate post-harvest clamor subsides in the world's No. 2 producing country.

Shipments totaled 6.9 million metric tons (mmt) last month, down from 8.3 mmt in April and 7.6 mmt in May, but still higher than the 6.5 mmt sent in June 2013.

The numbers underline perceptions that Brazilian port logistics have improved this year, due principally to an improvement in logistics management, dry weather at the key ports and less corn bunging up grain export terminals.

In June, Brazil shipped just 87,600 metric tons of corn (mt), down from 369,000 mt in the same month one year before.

Shipments of all soy complex products remain strong, which has allowed first-half revenues to jump 17% to $20.1 billion, thus substantially outperforming the second item of the Brazilian export list, iron ore with $14 billion.

Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q2: Chinese import volume remains historically high

According to the latest Rabobank report, Beef Quarterly Q2 2014, the global beef market will regain its positive momentum in Q3, once the current, temporarily high supply has worked through the system. This will likely support further strengthening of prices, as supply of competing animal proteins tighten. The main wildcards for the start of these positive developments are rainfall in Australia, and to a lesser extent, the continued drought in U.S. and Brazil, pushing more cattle through the system. Indonesian import development during the July Ramadan festivities and Chinese imports towards the high season at the end of 2014 will also have unknown impacts. In addition, the relatively high prices might result in consumers trading down to pork and poultry.

“The continuing positive market fundamentals will be encouraging for producers’ margins,” explained Rabobank Analyst, Albert Vernooij.  “However, longer term, the likely lower availability of feeder cattle and high production costs might limit the possible upside. For processors, the current stabilization gives them room to regain margins, but prospects are less positive due to the approaching tight supply in most producing regions.”

Regional Outlooks:
•        EU: EU beef prices are expected to stabilize around the current levels into the summer, with some potential upside later in the year due to the combination of stable supply, continuing strong export demand and relatively high-priced competing proteins.

•        U.S.: After exploding into all-time record price levels during Q1, the U.S. cattle and beef markets have subsided a bit during Q2. Going forward, seasonal price pressure is starting to weigh on the market along with expectations that more fed cattle will be making their way to market very soon. Feeder cattle and calf prices continue to push into new all-time record highs in the upper USD 200 to mid-USD 210 range.

•        Australia: Total Australian cattle slaughter during the first four months of 2014 increased 12% YOY on the back of dry conditions. Boxed beef exports have, as a result, reached record levels throughout the first five months of 2014. Both the short and medium term outlook for supplies and prices is heavily dependent on rainfall.

•        Brazil: In Q2 2014, the Brazilian beef market was tested by both the discovery of a new atypical case of BSE in Mato Grosso and the growth in production costs. While early reporting of BSE allowed Brazil to keep its ‘insignificant risk’ status, some international embargoes ensued. Strong exports remain however and Rabobank expects prices to recover in Q3 and Q4.

•        Canada: Record price levels in the US have been drawing a lot of Canadian cattle, and extreme winter weather has caused very expensive cattle maintenance and feeding conditions. As a result, year-to-date feeder cattle exports to the US are currently running 44% above year ago levels, a pace simply not possible to continue and a sharp decline in shipments are expected in 2014 2H.

•        Argentina: A poor performance of exports continues to be the combined result of an uncompetitive exchange rate, a 15% export tax and the cumbersome process of obtaining export rights. Rabobank expects production to increase seasonally, while demand will weaken as a result of the generally recessive economic environment.

•        China: China’s beef imports reached 101,000 tons in the first four months of 2014, an increase of 34% YOY, but lower compared to the astonishing growth of 380% in 2013. Even with this volume, beef imports to China are historically very high.

Tuesday July 1 Ag News

CVA and UFC Member-Owners Approve Merger

The  Board of Directors of Central Valley Ag Cooperative (CVA) and United Farmers Cooperative (UFC) met July 1 to ratify the votes cast by their respective member-owners approving the merger of the two companies effective September 1, 2014.  Each cooperative’s membership voted on the merger proposal, with Nebraska law requiring 2/3 of the votes cast to favor the proposal in order to be ratified.  Accounting firm Gardiner Thomsen certified that the owners of both cooperatives overwhelmingly approved the merger proposal.  The unified cooperative will retain the Central Valley Ag name and be headquartered in York, NE with Carl B. Dickinson serving as CEO.

“I am very pleased that the patrons of both cooperatives entrusted the vision and due diligence of their board members and leadership teams to approve their recommendation to merge two strong cooperatives focused on creating value for our customers” says Dickinson.  “The new CVA  will provide the opportunity for expanded services and facilities, increased savings, and accelerated equity redemptions for the benefit of our member-owners.  We also expect to be able to attract and retain the best employees to provide world-class service for every customer.”

Initial merger discussions between the companies began in early 2013, with the respective boards meeting in March 2014 to unanimously approve an Agreement and Plan of Merger.  Ballots were distributed to the owners of the cooperatives in May with the final tally of votes completed June 30th.

Doug Derscheid, current CEO of CVA, stated “It's very gratifying to receive such an overwhelming approval from our membership. They have truly set the stage and positioned their Cooperative to serve their needs and the needs of generations to come.  In my 44 years of cooperative employment and 38 in CEO positions, with many mergers and acquisitions during that time, this one is undoubtedly the very best in every measurement. Very exciting times are in our future.”

About Central Valley Ag Cooperative

Central Valley Ag Cooperative was formed in 2003 by the combination of Agland Coop of Oakland, Central Farmers Cooperative of O’Neill, and Tri Valley Cooperative of St. Edward. CVA merged with Northeast Cooperative in 2005, adding nine locations, and later that year purchased the assets of Precision Agronomy LLC and continued business through their seven locations. In 2011, CVA completed the purchase of an existing feed mill in Duncan, NE and later that year purchased Ortmeier’s Seed & Feed in West Point to enhance their ability to service livestock customer’s needs. CVA had sales of $687 Million in fiscal year 2013 with a Local Net Profit of $13.5 Million.

About United Farmers Cooperative

United Farmers Cooperative was created in 2001 from the merger of United Co-op Inc. of Hampton, Farmers Cooperative Association of York, and Farmers Co-op Business Association of Shelby. In 2005, UFC acquired the Greenleaf, Haddam, Linn, and Washington locations in Kansas; followed in 2006 by merging with additional Kansas locations in Agenda, Barnes, Clifton, Clyde and Narka. Cuba, Kansas was added as a basic agronomy location in 2007 and UFC purchased H&H Grain Company in Norway, KS in 2008. Midwest Ag Partners, LLC in Marquette, NE was acquired in 2012 and, most recently, Jensen Fertilizer in Aurora, NE was purchased in 2013. UFC had sales of $709 Million in fiscal year 2013 with a Local Net Profit of $9.8 Million.

The new Central Valley Ag Cooperative will consist of 66 locations across eastern Nebraska and northern Kansas with over 800 employees dedicated to “Growing Agriculture Together” with their patrons.  The cooperative offers a wide range of products, services, information, and innovation through its Agronomy, Energy, Feed and Grain divisions to meet the needs of agricultural producers across the region.  Central Valley Ag Cooperative has a proud history on which the foundation has been laid for building a promising future in agriculture. 

‘Common Sense Nebraska’ Challenges EPA Water Rule

Nebraska agriculture organizations have joined forces under the umbrella of ‘Common Sense Nebraska’, a new coalition formed to push back on EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” Rule. The EPA proposal would vastly expand the federal agency’s authorities over farms and ranches. The coalition is working to bring attention and awareness about the proposal through its “#DitchTheRule” campaign.

‘Common Sense Nebraska’ members 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.

“As farmers and ranchers we strive every day to protect our land and water for the future generations of beef producers. And this proposed rule will greatly hinder our ability to care for our diverse landscape here in Nebraska as well as manage our land and water resources in harmony with wildlife, habitat, and the needs of our cattle,” said Barb Cooksley, Nebraska Cattlemen vice president.

EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” Rule would seek to bring water features like ponds, ditches and other areas where water flows or pools during or after rainfall events, under federal Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction, even if such areas aren’t wet most of the time. EPA’s action to regulate these features would subject farmers and ranchers to EPA’s CWA programs, regulations and permitting requirements.

“This proposal has little to do with improving the quality of water and a lot to do with EPA having more control over land use. They’ve tried to spin this rule as simply clarifying confusion on the limits of their powers under the CWA. Their version of clarification is to regulate all water, everywhere. We’re working to help farmers and ranchers tell EPA it’s time to ditch the rule,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation president.

The power to regulate ponds, ditches and the other water features in question was specifically given to the states and local jurisdictions when Congress adopted the CWA, while EPA was charged with regulating “navigable waters” like rivers and other large bodies of water which constantly flows. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice ruled against EPA for similar efforts to expand the agency’s reach.

Under the proposed EPA Rule, basic farming and ranching activities like tilling the soil, fertilizing crops, changing land use and even building a fence would require permits when these features are present. Permitting requirements can be costly and time consuming, which is not helpful as many farming practices are time sensitive.

“So much of what we do in agriculture is dependent upon nature and the weather. When weeds and insects start destroying crops we need to act. If we have to wait on a Washington, D.C. agency’s approval to put on crop protection products, we’ll lose our crops. If they really understand this rule, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a farmer or rancher who wouldn’t be negatively impacted by this proposal,” said Joel Grams, Nebraska Corn Growers Association president.

Also of concern to farmers and ranchers is the fact the even if they are required to obtain a CWA permit, EPA is under no legal obligation to give it to them. Subjecting farmers to EPA permitting also opens the door for lawsuits against farm families by activist groups.

“Common Sense Nebraska will be working across the state to bring awareness to farmers and ranchers and the general public about how harmful this rule would be. We’re also going to work to build our coalition outside of agriculture as virtually anyone who puts a spade in the ground and turns the soil would be affected by this proposal,” said Larry Sitzman, Nebraska Pork Producers Association executive director.

Changing Landscape of Beef Industry

Bethany Johnston, UNL Extension Educator

Ranchers and beef producers listened to the report and changed how they were doing business. Back in 1991, the National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA), injection site lesions were a major concern for the beef industry.

The beef industry should “pat itself” on the back for what was NOT said in the 2011 NBQA.

When participants responded to “visual characteristics” on the audit, problems that showed up 20 years ago were not mentioned. Injection site lesions did not appear to be evident problems in the 2011 Beef Quality Audit.

Back in 1991, injection site lesions occurred in 22.3% of carcasses. In 2011, injection sites lesions in fed cattle are less than 0.00001%, which is pretty darn close to zero.

However, improvement and education is still needed, especially in the dairy industry, where 41% of dairy producers still give injections in the animal’s rump. Beef cull cows and bulls also have higher rates of injection site lesions.

Subcutaneous (Sub-Q) injections, giving less than 10 cc’s per injection, and giving injections in the “triangle” on the neck helps minimize injection sites in the carcass.

For more information, visit If you would like to become BQA certified, contact Rob Eirich at 308.632.1230.

Entry Deadline for County & State Fair, Ak-Sar-Ben and Norfolk Livestock Expo

Larry Howard, UNL Extension Educator, Cuming County

All members are reminded that the entry deadline for all livestock (this includes large animals as well as dogs, cats, small animals and rabbits) for Cuming County Fair as well as Ak-Sar-Ben livestock entries are due at 4 p.m., Friday, August 1 to the Cuming County Extension Office.

State Fair Livestock entries are required to be done on-line at the Nebraska State Fair site this year by Sunday, August 10 and is the responsibility of the 4-H member.  Cuming County 4-H members are encouraged to complete the process prior to the Cuming County Fair so they know it is completed. Printed instructions are available to assist you. Exhibitors will need a credit card to complete the process.

The Norfolk Meat Expo entries are due, Wednesday, August 13.

Cuming County Fair, Ak-Sar-Ben and Norfolk entries are due to the Cuming County Extension office.  Please make note as all entry deadlines will be enforced.

Georgia Alternative Fuel Road Rally Concludes With Ethanol Front and Center

The FlexFuel Awareness Campaign concluded two weeks of crisscrossing the state to promote alternative fuels as part of the Georgia Alternative Fuel Road Rally and reports that ethanol use in FFVs could increase significantly as a result of the program.

Todd Sneller, Administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board and a Board Member of the FlexFuel Awareness Campaign, spoke with government officials and fleet managers throughout the state and visited four cities last week.    “Over the course of two weeks our team met with nearly 300 fleet management personnel and local municipalities to provide them with information on the ethanol option,” said Sneller.  “ I am pleased to report that the Georgia state Government  is preparing to energize the E85 initiative at the state level. The state has nearly 5000 FFVs in service but they need to facilitate more efficient fuel supply logistics.  Several large county fleets are also moving toward E85 since we explained the potential cost savings”, he said.

The Clean Fuels Development Coalition and the Clean Fuels Foundation, Growth Energy, the Kansas and Nebraska Corn Growers, and a number of agriculture and ethanol supporters are among the sponsors of the tour which is designed to increase consumer and fleet operator awareness for alternative fuels.  The FlexFuel Awareness Campaign is focusing on the message that high level ethanol blends and FFVs are an option for private and government fleets and that they can be very competitive among the family of legally defined alternative fuels.

Sneller noted that fleet managers are looking to use cleaner fuels within the tight budgets they are facing.   Ethanol continues to offer attractive pricing but an inefficient fuel delivery system is subverting the potential price advantage to fleet managers and consumers. In addition, there is a great need for consumer awareness and to work with retail outlets that serve both fleets and individual consumers.

“As part of an ‘all of the above’ approach, this Road Show showcases all the alternative fuels, and they all have their strengths and advantages in a given situation.  We are pleased to be part of this successful effort and make sure biofuels like ethanol are in the mix”,  said Sneller.

Following the Georgia road show the program will move to other Southeast Regions including Florida.  Later  the program will focus on Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC Metropolitan area with numerous events planned throughout the mid Atlantic region.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Summer annual grasses planted this spring soon could be ready to graze.  Let’s review some grazing guidelines to help you avoid any potential hazards or problems.

               It’s been said that rules are meant to be broken.  One rule, though, that I suggest you never break is this one: never turn hungry animals into sudangrass or sorghum-sudan pastures.  Why?  Because they may eat so rapidly that they could get a quick overdose of prussic acid and die.

               All sudangrass and sorghum-sudan hybrids can produce a compound called prussic acid that is potentially poisonous.  Prussic acid, which also is called cyanide, is nothing to fear, though, as long as you use a few precautions to avoid problems.

               The highest concentration of prussic acid is in new shoots, so let your grass get a little growth on it before grazing to help dilute out the prussic acid.  Let sudangrass get at least 18 inches in height before grazing.  Since sorghum-sudan hybrids usually have a little more prussic acid risk, wait until they are 20 to 24 inches tall.

               Pearl millet does not contain prussic acid so if you planted millet these grazing precautions aren’t needed.  Let your animals graze pearl millet when it reaches 12 to 15 inches tall.

               Summer annual grasses respond best to a simple, rotational grazing system.  Divide fields into three or more smaller paddocks of a size that your animals can graze down to about eight or so inches of leafy stubble within 7 to 10 days.  Repeat this procedure with all paddocks.  If some grass gets too tall, either cut it for hay or rotate animals more quickly so grass doesn't head out.

               A well-planned start, a good rotation, and a little rain can give you good pasture from these grasses all the rest of the summer.

Taiwan Millers Team to Get Seed-to-Ship Look at U.S. Wheat Industry

Flour millers in Taiwan have relied for many years on U.S. farmers to supply most of the wheat they import. Competition exists, however, and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) knows that it is important to keep the Taiwan milling industry informed about the quality and value of U.S. wheat. That is why USW is bringing four milling executives to the United States July 6 to 15, 2014, with assistance from the North Dakota Wheat Commission, Nebraska Wheat Board, Oregon Wheat Commission and California Wheat Commission. The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service also provided funding for this trade team event.

“This visit will help us demonstrate the quality of the U.S. hard red spring (HRS), hard red winter (HRW) and soft white wheat these millers want to produce flour for healthy wheat foods,” said USW Country Director Ronald Lu, who will accompany the team. “The millers are also looking forward to learning more about U.S. hard white (HW) wheat. They currently can only import Australian white wheat that is specifically positioned for use in noodle flour and they hope to encourage farmers and grain handlers in the United States to produce more HW.”

This team will see a wide range of the U.S. wheat industry on this visit. In Fargo, ND, the focus is on HRS. Over three days in Nebraska, the team will see how farmers, breeders and seed producers are working to improve HRW and HW yield and quality. The millers will be able to see wheat move by rail and barge to export elevators in Portland, OR, where the Federal Grain Inspection Service independently inspects and certifies that the wheat being shipped meets purchase contract specifications. Finally in Woodland, CA, the California Wheat Commission will demonstrate the unique characteristics of the HRW and HW wheat grown in the state.

RFA Congratulates Quad County Corn Processors on Iowa’s First Gallon of Cellulosic Ethanol

Today, the Renewable Fuels Association praised Quad County Corn Processors on the production of the first gallon of ethanol from their new cellulosic “bolt-on” ethanol plant in Galva, Iowa. The Adding Cellulosic Ethanol (ACE) project is turning corn kernel fiber, a cellulosic feedstock, into high-octane, clean-burning ethanol. The facility is expected to produce 2 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol from a feedstock already onsite.

RFA’s President and CEO, Bob Dinneen, said, “Quad County is to be congratulated. This first gallon of cellulosic ethanol represents just the beginning of a long, promising future. Delayne Johnson and his team are to be congratulated for their vision, determination, and innovation.”

Dinneen continued, “It is worth noting that Quad County is the perfect demonstration of first and second generation ethanol being produced side-by-side to bring more choice to America in the form of low-cost, high-octane, renewable fuel.”

Delayne Johnson, Quad County Corn Processors CEO, explained, “First is always exciting and being the first cellulosic ethanol producer in Iowa is a very proud moment for us. We have always taken pride in the fact that we are producing a fuel that is making America economically stronger, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and giving American drivers a cost-saving, octane-boosting, environmentally-friendly fuel choice. Now, thanks to the ACE project, we are able to get six percent more ethanol out of the same kernel of corn that we already process for conventional fuel.”

Since 2000, Quad County has operated a 35-million gallon a year corn ethanol biorefinery with 35 full-time employees. The ACE project added five additional full-time jobs, which will bring Quad County’s total employment to 40 full-time employees.

The technology that helped make today’s announcement a reality is a direct result of Quad County Corn Processors Cooperative receiving a $4.25 million investment from USDA and the Department of Energy as part of the Biomass Research and Development Initiative. Iowa Power Fund also provided a $1.45 million grant. The R&D process spanned four years.

Reminder to all cattle farmers, ranchers and importers: 

All beef checkoff meetings are open to every person who pays the checkoff. During the upcoming 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, July 30-Aug. 2 in Denver, Colo., these meetings include meetings of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB); Federation of State Beef Councils (Federation) and joint committee meetings that include checkoff representation. Registration information can be found here.

Kaiser Presents ROI Report at Summer Meetings

Do you have an interest in your checkoff’s return on investment? If you answered ‘yes’, don’t miss Cornell University Researcher Harry Kaiser’s report about the economic analysis of demand-enhancing programs funded through the CBB budget. Dr. Kaiser will present a detailed report in the Joint Evaluation Advisory Committee meeting, which begins at 3 p.m. on July 30. Then, he will present a more general presentation of results at a larger session for Board members and other interested parties at 1:30 p.m. on July 31.

Hog, Beef Margins Increase Prior to July 4th Holiday

In the hog markets, farrow-to-finish margins increased last week to $101.44 from $91.24 the previous week, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. At this time last year, the farrow-to-finish margin was $21.26 per head. Lean hogs climbed more than $6 last week to $127.22, compared to $121.30. Lean hogs are up nearly $30 from this time last year when they were at $101.49.

Packer margins declined last week to negative 18 cents compared to $3.87 the previous week. Last month, pork packers were making $3.22 per head and $9.70 per head at this time last year. The pork cutout value increased to $129.72 last week, compared to $125.81 the previous week.

Cattle feeding margins exploded the week before the Fourth of July holiday. Feedlot margins hit $280.08 to finish the week ending June 28, compared to $194.24 the previous week, $164.85 last month and negative $162.65 at this time last year, according to the latest data from the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Beef packer margins were also up the week ending June 28, hitting $49.12 per head, compared to $23.60 the previous week.

July 4th Picnic Still Costs Less Than $6 per Person, Says FB

An all-American Fourth of July picnic of the nation’s favorite foods including hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, lemonade and chocolate milk will cost slightly more this year but still comes in at less than $6 per person, says the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Farm Bureau’s informal survey reveals the average cost for a summer picnic for 10 is $58.72, or $5.87 per person. That’s about a 5-percent increase compared to a year ago.

“Despite some modest price increases over the past year or so – meats, especially – most Americans should be able to find summer picnic foods at prices close to the averages found by our volunteer shoppers,” said John Anderson, deputy chief economist at AFBF.

“Retail meat prices are higher compared to a year ago because the nation’s cattle herd is now at a historically small level,” Anderson said. “The total number of hogs farmers across the nation are raising is also down, which has contributed to higher retail prices for pork products.”

Although consumers will pay a bit more for their Independence Day picnics, finding delectable meat cuts and ingredients for side dishes will not be a problem.

“As a nation, we continue to enjoy a consistent, high-quality supply of meats and poultry that can be grilled or prepared any number of different ways. The whole array of home-grown foods Americans typically enjoy in the summer also is in plentiful supply,” he said.

AFBF’s summer picnic menu for 10 consists of hot dogs and buns, cheeseburgers and buns, pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade, chocolate milk, watermelon for dessert, and ketchup and mustard.

July 4th Picnic for 10 Costs 3 More Clams

Items                                             2013 price     2014 price     % Change
American cheese slices 1lb.              2.73              3.12               +14.3
Ground round - 2lbs. pre-cooked     7.86               8.91               +13.4
Pork spare ribs, 4 pounds                 12.29            13.91               +13.2
Chocolate milk, 2 quarts                   2.62               2.82                +7.6
Mustard, 16-ounce bottle                 1.23               1.25                +1.6
Watermelon, 4 pounds                      5.61               5.68                +1.2
Package of hamburger buns             1.67                 1.68              +0.60
Ketchup, 20-ounce bottle                1.55               1.36               -12.3
Lemonade (pre-mixed), 2 quarts      2.07               2.00                -3.4
Package of hot dog                         2.29               2.23                -2.6
Baked beans, 28-ounce can            1.99              1.96                 -1.5
Package of hot dog buns                 1.64                1.63               -.60
Deli potato salad, 3 pounds              8.77              8.80                -.30
Corn chips, 15-ounce bag                3.37              3.37          No change
TOTAL                                          55.69            58.72                +5.4

A total of 84 Farm Bureau members (volunteer shoppers) in 25 states checked retail prices for summer picnic foods at their local grocery stores for this informal survey.

The July Fourth Picnic Survey is part of the Farm Bureau marketbasket series which also includes the popular annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey and two “everyday” marketbasket surveys on common food staples Americans use to prepare meals at home. A squad of Farm Bureau members across the nation checks retail prices at local grocery stores for the marketbasket surveys. AFBF published its first marketbasket survey in 1986.

AFBF is the nation’s largest general farm organization with member families in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Learn more at or follow @FarmBureau on Twitter.

Senate Resolution Honors American Cowboys

Senator John Hoeven cosponsored a resolution introduced by U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., to declare July 26 the Day of the American Cowboy. This is the ninth year the resolution has been introduced and serves to honor the accomplishments and contributions of cowboys from around the nation.

"The cowboy is a fixture in American history, culture and lore, and also a big part of North Dakota's heritage," Hoeven said. "Even President Teddy Roosevelt tried his hand at it more than 100 years ago and declared, 'I have always said I would not have been President had it not been for my experience in North Dakota,' and 'It was here that the romance of my life began.' The National Day of the American Cowboy is a way to acknowledge the contributions cowboys have made throughout our history and their importance to our nation to this day."

In addition to Hoeven, Senators Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., James Inhofe, R-Okla., Mike Johanns, R-Neb., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Jon Tester, D-Mont., and John Walsh, D-Mont. are also cosponsors of the resolution.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for July 2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) today announced interest rates for July 2014. The CCC borrowing rate-based charge for July is 0.125 percent, unchanged from 0.125 percent in June.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during July is 1.125 percent, unchanged from 1.125 percent in June.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for July are as follows, 2.125 percent with seven-year loan terms, down from 2.250 percent in June; 2.625 percent with 10-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.625 percent in June and; 2.750 percent with 12-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.750 percent in June. The interest rate for 15-year Sugar Storage Facility Loans for July is 2.875 percent, down from 3.000 percent in June.

Freedom from High Gas Prices

Sadly, drivers are expected to see skyrocketing gas prices this Independence Day as analysts at GasBuddy predict that Fourth of July prices will reach their highest level in six years. Tom Kloza, GasBuddy’s chief oil analyst, remarked, “Fear about what could happen if Iraqi exports fall prey to violence has altered the calculus for summer oil prices.”

“Ethanol is the lowest transportation fuel in the world. It saves Americans money at the pump and stretches the fuel supply. It is the perfect remedy for skyrocketing gas prices. Now is not the time for the Environmental Protection Agency to be scaling back our nation’s renewable energy policy. Now is the time to be expanding the use of biofuels and striking a blow for American energy independence,” noted Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was established to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. America’s petroleum import dependence reached a high of 60 percent in 2005. That number has fallen to 35 percent in 2013, compared to the 41 percent without the 13.3 billion gallons of ethanol in America’s fuel supply. In 2013, ethanol production displaced the amount of oil America imports from Iraq and Venezuela — 462 million barrels of crude oil.

Ethanol is currently blended in more than 96 percent of America’s fuel supply, saving consumers money because wholesale ethanol is cheaper than wholesale gasoline by an average of $1.00/gallon. On a consumer level, energy economist Philip Verleger found that ethanol saved American consumers on average $1.00/gallon in 2012 and 2013. This translates to an average family savings of $1,200/year in fuel costs.

“Many Americans are keeping a close eye on the news as political instability continues in Iraq and gas prices continue to tick up here at home. The need for American energy independence has never been so important and the solution has never been so clear — renewable fuels,” Dinneen explained.

NCGA Climbs to New Membership Heights

National Corn Growers Association membership set yet another membership record at the end of June, with 41,185 active members. This membership record replaces the former record of 40,797, set in April. Notably, the April record concluded a three-month run of consistent record membership.

"The membership records just keep coming in 2014, and we couldn't be more excited," said NCGA President Martin Barbre. "With major issues surrounding the RFS, farm bill implementation and pending regulations on the horizon, our members recognize the importance of NCGA's work. Our members, the true grassroots, give us the strength and motivate our mission, pushing us to greater heights year after year."

NCGA has members across the contiguous United States and works in cooperation with grower associations and state corn checkoff boards from 28 states, representing the interests of its members and the more than 300,000 growers who contribute corn checkoff funds in their states.

Fertilizer Prices Remain Mostly Unchanged

Retail fertilizer prices continue to fluctuate, with some slightly lower and other a bit higher, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the fourth week of June 2014. Price movement in either direction was not significant.

Six fertilizers were slightly lower in price compared to last month. DAP had an average price of $595/ton, MAP $629/ton, urea $535/ton, anhydrous $700/ton, UAN28 $355/ton and UAN32 $403/ton.

Potash was up slightly for the month, with an average of reported prices at $483/ton; 10-34-0 was at $562/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.58/lb.N, anhydrous $0.43/lb.N, UAN28 $0.63/lb.N and UAN32 $0.63/lb.N.

With fertilizers moving higher in recent months, only three of the eight major fertilizers are now double digits lower in price compared to June of 2013.  DAP is now down 1%, MAP is 2% less expensive and urea is 3% less expensive. 10-34-0 is down 7% while UAN32 is 9% less expensive and UAN28 is now 10% lower. Anhydrous is now 14% less expensive while potash is down 17% compared to a year earlier.

CWT Assists with 8.9 Million Pounds of Cheese, Butter and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 20 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 7.839 million pounds (3,556 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese, 110,231 pounds (50 metric tons) of butter (82% butterfat) and 972,239 pounds (441 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, South America and Oceania. The product will be delivered July through December 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 58.762 million pounds of cheese, 47.521 million pounds of butter and 14.568 million pounds of whole milk powder to 41 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.753 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Totals have been adjusted for cancellations.

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.

Registration for Export Exchange 2014 Set for July 1

Registration is now open for Export Exchange 2014™, the premier international trade conference focused on the export of U.S. coarse grains and ethanol co-products.

Approximately 300 U.S. suppliers and agribusiness representatives as well as more than 180 international buyers are expected to attend Export Exchange 2014. The conference is being held Oct. 20-22 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and is co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council and the Renewable Fuels Association.

“Export Exchange brings together a group of U.S. suppliers and international buyers in a unique event focused on the expansion of established export markets and the development of new markets for U.S. coarse grains, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and other ethanol co-products,” said USGC Chairman Julius Schaaf.

Export Exchange is held every two years. The 2012 event broke records in attendance and attracted buying teams from 33 countries, including all of the top U.S. international coarse grains and ethanol co-products markets. Attendance at this year’s event is expected to set a new record, creating more opportunities for U.S. merchandisers to connect with buyers and build business.

“Over the past decade, the U.S. ethanol industry has emerged as a major producer of high quality animal feeds like DDGS and corn gluten feed,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO. “Export Exchange is the premier forum for connecting the producers and marketers of those co-products with customers around the world.”

Early registration discounts end July 31. Please visit to register today and find more information. USGC and RFA members are eligible for discounted pricing and should identify themselves as such at the time of registration.

AgriBank Pays Quarterly Preferred Stock Dividend

Today St. Paul-based AgriBank paid a quarterly cash dividend of $1.7188 per share on its 6.875 percent non-cumulative perpetual class A preferred stock to holders of record as of June 1, 2014.

AgriBank issued $250 million of preferred stock on Oct. 29, 2013 to provide the Bank and the 15-state Farm Credit District it serves with long-term access to high-quality capital, helping ensure the District is well-positioned to meet the long-term growth and credit needs of farmer and rancher customers.

AgriBank is one of the largest banks within the national Farm Credit System, with more than $85 billion in total assets. Under the Farm Credit System's cooperative structure, AgriBank is owned by 17 affiliated Farm Credit Associations. The AgriBank District covers America's Midwest, a 15-state area stretching from Wyoming to Ohio and Minnesota to Arkansas. More than half of the nation's cropland is located within the AgriBank District, providing the Bank and its Association owners with exceptional expertise in production agriculture. For more information, visit

Time Nitrogen Delivery to Key Plant Growth Stages

Nitrogen (N) is essential to plant growth and grain fill, making it critical for growers to monitor soil N levels at key points during the growing season. Wet conditions in May and June have raised concerns that Rescue applications of N may be needed as this essential nutrient can easily be lost from the soil by leaching or denitrification with excess rainfall.

Growers should be evaluating how much N remains in the soil and if it will be enough to meet crop needs. A quick response to N-deficiency stress is often required to minimize yield loss.

Soil tests are one way to gauge nitrogen levels prior to an in-season application. Optical sensors can also be mounted on fertilizer application equipment, enabling on-the-go N sensing, rate calculation and application all at once. Aerial imagery and chlorophyll meters are also good tools to evaluate crop N needs. Several research studies show that rescue N applications are effective at recovering yield — as late as three weeks after pollination.

If N is found to be lacking in the plants and soil, growers have several decisions to make, including:
-    the type of N to apply
-    application method
-    timing
-    volume of N needed
-    need for a nitrification inhibitor

Pioneer agronomists estimate that farmers in the U.S. Corn Belt currently lose $50 to $60/acre as a result of nitrogen management inefficiencies — with much greater loses occurring in extreme climatic years. DuPont Pioneer will soon offer a Nitrogen Management Service in targeted corn production geographies. This advanced management solution will significantly narrow the nitrogen profit loss gap by giving farmers a new ability to plan, monitor and adapt nitrogen management practices to maximize profitability and improve environmental quality in the face of climatic uncertainty.

Verdesian Life Sciences Acquires SFP

Verdesian Life Sciences announced that it has acquired Specialty Fertilizer Products (SFP), a Leawood, Kansas-based company focused on fertilizer efficiency products. The transaction promises to benefit customers by building on Verdesian’s history of bringing new, intellectually protected and patented products to market.

By joining forces with SFP, Verdesian will gain more than 270 patent properties and be able to offer:
·         A broader portfolio for customers;
·         More solutions to meet growers’ needs;
·         A greater focus on key customers with the largest plant nutritional sales force in the United States; and
·         A robust pipeline in plant nutrition.

“SFP’s innovative fertilizer solutions are a natural fit with Verdesian’s expansive product offerings that increase grower yields and return on investment,” said J.J. Grow, chief executive officer for Verdesian Life Sciences. “Bringing SFP into the Verdesian family represents another step in our long-term strategy to build a leading portfolio of plant health and nutrition products.”

Verdesian will further enhance its position in the crop markets with the addition of AVAIL® Phosphorus Fertilizer Enhancer, NutriSphere-N® Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager and More Than Manure® Nutrient Manager. These products complement the current portfolio that includes Nutri-Phite® and Nutri-Phite® Plus, Sterics®, Take Off®, PolyAmines™, and the INTX® line of inoculants and seed treatments.

“We are confident that the addition of SFP’s outstanding team, impressive product lineup and excellent reputation for service will be a great combination with Verdesian Life Sciences,” Grow added. “This move strengthens our ability to bring a new level of plant health technology to customers as the demand and expectations for these valuable products continue to grow. We also remain committed to the research and development of products that are environmentally sustainable.”

"We are excited to join Verdesian, which will enable us to take our business to the next level,” said SFP founder J. Larry Sanders, who has served as president and chief executive officer. “As part of Verdesian, we will be able to offer our revolutionary and environmentally beneficial fertilizer efficiency technology to more growers in more markets, and to bring the exciting products we have in our pipeline to market.  Verdesian shares our commitment to helping growers optimize their resources, and we look forward to working with J.J. Grow and the team to continue providing our customers the latest solutions in fertilizer efficiency technology that they expect from us.”

According to Grow, there will be no immediate staffing changes except in the reporting structure at the senior management level. For example, Sanders has been named executive vice president of Polymer Technology and will report to Verdesian’s J.J. Grow. The sales forces of both organizations will continue to service their clients through 2014. In early 2015, SFP will become Verdesian and a combined sales force will be formed.

Financial terms of the deal will not be disclosed. The current U.S. and international pricing, product distribution, programs and policies for all products offered by Verdesian Life Sciences, including the acquired SFP products, will remain in place through 2014.

Verdesian Life Sciences is a plant health and nutrition company with patented biological, nutritional, seed treatment and inoculant technologies that help specialty and row crop growers and turf management professionals maximize their nitrogen and phosphorus investments. Founded in 2012 to acquire and grow plant health product companies, Verdesian is based in Cary, N.C., with production and manufacturing facilities in Visalia, Calif., Pasco, Wash., and Kentland, Ind.

United States and Korea Streamline Organic Trade

Organic processed products certified in the United States or Korea can now be labeled as organic in either country. This will allow American organic farmers, processors, and businesses greater access to Korea's growing market for organic products. The arrangement between the two nations will take effect on July 1, 2014.

"Korea is a growing, lucrative market for U.S. organic products, and this arrangement increases demand for American organic products," said Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture. "This is another chapter in the success story of organic agriculture, which provides more economic opportunities for American producers, more choices for consumers, and more jobs in rural communities across the country."

"America's organic farmers and businesses have a reason to celebrate," said Ambassador Michael Froman, U.S. Trade Representative. "We are committed to unlocking new opportunities for Americans and through this work we are delivering for the communities that depend on agricultural products. This deal serves as another foundation for future organic trade arrangements between the United States and other partners."

Without this equivalency arrangement in place, organic farmers and businesses wanting to sell organic processed products in either country would have to obtain separate certifications to meet each country's organic standards. This typically has meant two sets of fees, inspections, and paperwork, and delays for U.S. farmers and businesses trying to export. Similar to previous U.S. equivalency arrangements with Canada, the European Union, and Japan, this arrangement with Korea eliminates significant barriers, especially for small and medium-sized organic businesses. This is Korea's first organic equivalency arrangement with any trading partner and serves as an example of how closely the United States is working with Korea to address emerging issues and strengthen the trade relationship.

Leading up to today's announcement, U.S. and Korean technical experts conducted thorough on-site audits to ensure that their programs' regulations, quality control measures, certification requirements, and labeling practices were compatible.

The arrangement covers organic condiments, cereal, baby food, frozen meals, milk, and other processed products. According to U.S. industry estimates, exports of organic processed products from the United States are valued at approximately $35 million annually.

The United States and Korea are committed to ensuring that all traded organic processed products meet the terms of the arrangement, retaining their organic integrity from farm to market. Korea's National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service and the National Organic Program, part of the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service—which oversee organic products in their respective countries—will both take on key oversight roles.

The United States and Korea will continue to have regular discussions and will review each other's programs periodically to ensure that the terms of the arrangement are being met.

For additional details on this agreement, please visit:

June 30 Crop Progress & Condition Reports - NE - IA - US


For  the week  ending  June  29, 2014,  rain of  an  inch or more  coupled with lower average  temperatures provided excellent  conditions  for pastures and  spring planted crops,  according  to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Wheat was coloring  in most areas, but dry down was  slow due to high humidity and wet conditions.  Winter wheat harvest had not yet started. Producers worked between rain events to apply herbicides and additional nitrogen to corn. Irrigation needs were limited.  Repairs continued on storm damaged equipment.   Alfalfa second cutting advanced but was slow due  to  the wet conditions.  The number  of  days  considered  suitable  for  fieldwork were  4.0.   Topsoil moisture  supplies  rated  2  percent  very short,  14  short,  75  adequate,  and  9  surplus.  Subsoil moisture  supplies  rated  9  percent  very  short,  17  short,  70 adequate, and 4 surplus.
Field  Crops  Report:

Corn  conditions  rated  2  percent  very  poor,  5  poor,  23  fair,  52  good,  and  18  excellent.  Corn  silking  was  1 percent, near 0 last year and 4 average.  

Soybeans conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 4 poor, 23 fair, 57 good, and 14 excellent. Soybeans blooming was at 21 percent, ahead of 2 last year and 7 average.

Winter  wheat  conditions  rated  6  percent  very  poor,  14  poor,  31  fair,  45  good,  and  4 excellent. Winter wheat  coloring was 78 percent,  ahead of 70  last  year, but  equal  to  the  five-year average. Winter wheat mature was 19 percent, ahead of 4 last year, but behind 26 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 2 poor, 38 fair, 45 good, and 15 excellent. Sorghum emerged was 91 percent, behind 93  last year and 97 average. Sorghum headed was 1 percent, near 0 both  last year and  the average.

Oat  condition  rated  3  percent  very  poor,  18  poor,  29  fair,  48  good,  and  2  excellent.  Oats  jointing  was  95  percent.  Oats  headed  was  75  percent,  behind  91  both  last  year  and  the  average.  Oats  coloring  was  at  31 percent.  

Alfalfa hay  conditions  rated 2 percent very poor, 7 poor, 35  fair, 49  good,  and 7  excellent. Alfalfa hay  first cutting was 95 percent  complete, near 92  last year, and equal  to  the average. Alfalfa hay  second cutting was  25 percent complete, ahead of 5 last year, but near 26 average. 
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  7  percent  very  poor,  11  poor,  30 fair, 46 good, and 6 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 6 short, 90 adequate, and 2 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:


Recurring precipitation continued  to  limit fieldwork  in Iowa during  the week  ending  June  29,  2014,  according  to  the  USDA,  National Agricultural  Statistics  Service.    Statewide  there  were  just  2.2  days suitable for fieldwork.  A few producers were able to do a little spraying and herbicide application between storms. 

Precipitation  raised  soil  moisture  levels  again  this  week.    Topsoil moisture  levels  rated 0 percent very short, 3 percent  short, 61 percent adequate,  and  36  percent  surplus.    Subsoil  moisture  levels  rated 1 percent  very  short,  9  percent  short,  68  percent  adequate,  and 22 percent surplus.  With the exception of southeast Iowa, every district in the state had over one-quarter of its topsoil in surplus condition.

There  were  isolated  reports  of  corn  silking.   Corn  condition  rated 1 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 16 percent  fair,  56 percent good, and  23  percent  excellent.   

Six  percent  of  the  soybean  acreage  was blooming, 10 days ahead of the previous year but 2 days behind normal.  Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 57 percent good, and 18 percent  excellent.  

Eighty-six percent of the  oat  crop  has  headed,  4  percentage  points  above  last  year  but 2 percentage points behind five-year average.  Eleven percent of the oat acreage  has  turned  color,  5  percentage  points  ahead  of  last  year  but 13 percentage  points  behind  average.     Oat  condition  rated  0  percent very  poor,  2  percent  poor,  24  percent  fair,  61  percent  good,  and 13 percent excellent.  

The  first cutting of alfalfa hay was 90 percent complete, 3 percentage points  ahead  of  both  last  year  and  average.   Hay  condition was  rated 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 26 percent  fair, 52 percent good, and 16 percent excellent.  

Pasture condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 percent  poor,  22  percent  fair,  53  percent  good,  and  21  percent excellent.    Livestock  conditions  were  reported  as  good  except  for dealing  with  increased  insect  pressure  and  flooded  pastures  and feedlots.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress - June 30, 2014

Corn condition improved slightly and soybean condition held about steady in the week ended June 29, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report, while winter wheat harvest is nearing its halfway mark.

Corn is rated 75% good to excellent, compared to 74% last week, with 5% of the crop silking. That compares to a five-year average of 9%.

Soybeans were rated 72% good to excellent, equal to last week. Ninety-four percent of soybeans are emerged (94%=average) and 10% are blooming (equal to average).

Winter wheat is 43% harvested, compared to 33% last week and a five-year average of 48%. Winter wheat condition held steady at 30% good to excellent. 

Sorghum is 93% planted and 21% headed, compared to five-year averages of 96% and 23%. Sorghum condition improved in the last week.

Monday June 30 Ag News


Nebraska corn growers planted 9.3 million acres, down 7 percent from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Biotechnology varieties were used on 96 percent of the area planted, up 3 percentage points from a year ago. Growers expect to harvest 8.75 million acres for grain, down 8 percent from last year.
Soybean planted area is estimated at a record high 5.4 million acres, up 13 percent from last year’s total. Of the acres planted, 95 percent were planted with genetically modified, herbicide resistant seed.  Acres expected to be harvested are 5.35 million, up 12 percent from a year earlier.
Winter wheat seeded in the fall of 2013 totaled 1.5 million acres, up 2 percent from last year. Harvested acreage is forecasted at 1.4 million acres, up 24 percent from a year ago.

Alfalfa hay acreage to be cut for dry hay is 720,000 acres, up 3 percent from 2013. Other hay acreage to be cut for dry hay is 1.65 million acres, down 8 percent from last year.

Sorghum acreage planted and to be planted, at 150,000 acres, is down 47 percent from a year ago.  The area to be harvested for grain, at 100,000 acres, is down 29 percent from last year.

Oats planted acres declined to 120,000 acres, down 20 percent from the previous year. Area to be harvested for grain, at 45,000 acres, is up 20,000 acres from a year ago.

Dry edible bean planted acres increased to 175,000 acres, up 35 percent from  last year. Harvested acres are estimated at 161,000 acres, up 38 percent from previous year.

Proso millet plantings of 125,000 acres are down 22 percent from a year ago. 

Sugarbeet planted acres, at 48,000, are up 2,000 acres from last year.

Oil sunflower acres planted decreased to 25,000, down 3,000 acres from last year. Non-oil sunflower planted acreage is estimated at 10,000 acres, down from 15,000 acres a year ago.

Fall potato acres planted increased to 19,000 acres, up 500 acres from previous year.  Harvested acreage is forecasted at 18,700 acres, up 400 acres from the year earlier.


Corn planted for all purposes in Iowa is estimated at 13.6 million acres, unchanged from 2013, but down 400,000 acres from  the March intentions according  to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service – Acreage report. Corn  to be harvested for grain is forecasted at 13.2 million acres.  Producers also reported the percent of genetically modified (GM) seed varieties used to plant  the 2014 corn acres.   The percent of corn acreage planted to insect resistant (Bt) varieties is estimated at 4 percent, herbicide resistant only varieties were planted on 8 percent of the acres, and stacked gene varieties were planted on 83 percent of the acres.  Overall, 95 percent of the corn was planted to GM seed.

Soybean acreage planted  is estimated at 10.1 million, up 800,000 acres  from 2013 and 500,000 acres above  the March intentions.  This is the first time planted acreage has exceeded 10 million since 2006.  Soybean acreage to be harvested is forecasted at 10.0 million acres.  Producers also reported the percent of genetically modified (GM) seed varieties used to plant  the 2014 soybean acres. Ninety-seven percent of Iowa’s soybean acreage was planted with herbicide resistant GM seed.  

An estimated 1.08 million acres will be harvested for hay, the lowest harvested acreage since records began in 1909.  Of the total, 730,000 acres of alfalfa will be harvested and 350,000 acres of other hay will be harvested.  

Acreage  seeded  to  oats  is  estimated  at  140,000,  down  80,000  acres  from  2013  but  10,000  acres  above  the March intentions.  Oat acreage to be harvested for grain is forcasted at 65,000 acres.  

Acres seeded to winter wheat last Fall is estimated at 35,000 acres, up 5,000 acres from 2013.  Winter wheat acreage to be harvested for grain is forcasted at 25,000 acres.

USDA: Corn Planted Acreage Down 4 Percent from 2013

Soybean Acreage Up 11 Percent
All Wheat Acreage Up Less Than 1 Percent
All Cotton Acreage Up 9 Percent

Principal Crops Area Planted - States and United States: 2012-2014

[Crops included in area planted are corn, sorghum, oats, barley, rye, winter wheat, Durum wheat, other spring wheat, rice, soybeans, peanuts, sunflower, cotton, dry edible beans, potatoes, sugarbeets, canola, and proso millet.  Harvested acreage is used for all hay, tobacco, and sugarcane in computing total area planted. Includes double cropped acres and unharvested small grains planted as cover crops]
             State        :      2012        :      2013        :      2014     
                             :                   1,000 acres                   
Iowa .....................:     24,838            24,320           24,955    
Nebraska ..............:     19,551            19,553           19,242    
United States  .......:    326,251          324,800          330,508

Corn planted area for all purposes in 2014 is estimated at 91.6 million acres, down 4 percent from last year. This represents the lowest planted acreage in the United States since 2010; however, this is the fifth largest corn acreage in the United States since 1944.

Soybean planted area for 2014 is estimated at a record high 84.8 million acres, up 11 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 84.1 million acres, is up 11 percent from 2013 and will be a record high by more than 7.4 million acres, if realized. Record high planted acreage is estimated in Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

All wheat planted area for 2014 is estimated at 56.5 million acres, up less than 1 percent from 2013. The 2014 winter wheat planted area, at 42.3 million acres, is down 2 percent from last year but up less than 1 percent from the previous estimate. Of this total, about 30.4 million acres are Hard Red Winter, 8.50 million acres are Soft Red Winter, and 3.41 million acres are White Winter. Area planted to other spring wheat for 2014 is estimated at 12.7 million acres, up 10 percent from 2013. Of this total, about 12.0 million acres are Hard Red Spring wheat. The intended Durum planted area for 2014 is estimated at 1.47 million acres, down slightly from the previous year.

All cotton planted area for 2014 is estimated at 11.4 million acres, 9 percent above last year. Upland area is estimated at 11.2 million acres, up 10 percent from 2013. American Pima area is estimated at 178,000 acres, down 11 percent from 2013.


Nebraska corn stocks in all positions on June 1, 2014 totaled 444 million bushels, up 48 percent from 2013, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Of the total, 190 million bushels are stored on farms, up 46 percent from a year ago.  Off-farm stocks, at 254 million bushels, are up 49 percent from last year. 

Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 36.9 million bushels, up 27 percent from last year.  On-farm stocks of 3.9 million bushels are down 47 percent from a year ago, while off-farm stocks, at 33.0 million bushels, are up 53 percent from 2013. 

Wheat stored in all positions totaled 13.8 million bushels, down 34 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks of 270,000 bushels are down 78 percent from 2013 and off-farm stocks of  13.5 million bushels are down 31 percent from last year. 

Sorghum stored in all positions totaled 3.44 million bushels, up 97 percent from 2013.  On-farm stocks of 200,000 are up 100 percent and off-farm holdings of 3.24 million are up 97 percent from last year. 


Iowa  corn  stocks  in  all  positions  on  June  1,  2014  totaled 728 million  bushels  according  to  the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service  June 1 – Grain Stocks  report. This  is 29 percent more  than  last  year,  but  still  the  second  lowest  June  1  level  since 2004.  Of the total stocks, 49 percent were stored in on-farm storage facilities.    The  indicated  quarterly  disappearance  from  March through May  totaled  489 million  bushels,  1 percent more  than  the 485 million bushels used during the same quarter last year.

Iowa  soybeans  stored  in  all  positions  on  June  1,  2014  totaled 94.2 million  bushels,  down  9  percent  from  June  1,  2013.   Of  the total  stocks,  25 percent  were  held  in  on-farm  storage  facilities.  Indicated  disappearance  for  the  March  -  May  quarter  was 114 million  bushels,  9 percent  more  than  the  104 million  bushels used during the same quarter last year.

Iowa  oat  stocks  stored  in  all  positions  on  June  1,  2014  totaled 3.55 million bushels, down 18 percent from the 4.34 million bushels on  hand  June  1,  2013.    This  is  the  lowest  June  1  stocks  since estimates began in 1950.  Of the total stocks, 15 percent were stored in on-farm facilities.

USDA Grain Stocks Report - As of June 1, 2014

Corn Stocks Up 39 Percent
Soybean Stocks Down 7 Percent
All Wheat Stocks Down 18 Percent

Corn stocks in all positions on June 1, 2014 totaled 3.85 billion bushels, up 39 percent from June 1, 2013. Of the total stocks, 1.86 billion bushels are stored on farms, up 48 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 1.99 billion bushels, are up 32 percent from a year ago. The March - May 2014 indicated disappearance is 3.15 billion bushels, compared with 2.63 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions on June 1, 2014 totaled 405 million bushels, down 7 percent from June 1, 2013. On-farm stocks totaled 109 million bushels, down 36 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 296 million bushels, are up 12 percent from a year ago. Indicated disappearance for the March - May 2014 quarter totaled 589 million bushels, up 4 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Old crop all wheat stored in all positions on June 1, 2014 totaled 590 million bushels, down 18 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 97.0 million bushels, down 19 percent from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 493 million bushels, are down 18 percent from a year ago. The March - May 2014 indicated disappearance is 467 million bushels, down 10 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Old crop Durum wheat stocks in all positions on June 1, 2014 totaled 21.5 million bushels, down 7 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 12.8 million bushels, are down 6 percent from June 1, 2013. Off-farm stocks totaled 8.73 million bushels, down 8 percent from a year ago. The March - May 2014 indicated disappearance of 16.6 million bushels is down 15 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Old crop barley stocks in all positions on June 1, 2014 totaled 82.0 million bushels, up 2 percent from June 1, 2013. On-farm stocks are estimated at 19.1 million bushels, 21 percent above a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 62.9 million bushels, are 3 percent below June 1, 2013. The March - May 2014 indicated disappearance is 39.5 million bushels, 8 percent above the same period a year earlier.

Old crop oats stored in all positions on June 1, 2014 totaled 24.7 million bushels, 32 percent below the stocks on June 1, 2013. Of the total stocks on hand, 9.71 million bushels are stored on farms, 15 percent lower than a year ago. Off-farm stocks totaled 15.0 million bushels, 40 percent below the previous year. Indicated disappearance during March - May 2014 totaled 10.4 million bushels, compared with 16.3 million bushels during the same period a year ago.

Grain sorghum stored in all positions on June 1, 2014 totaled 92.3 million bushels, up 125 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 4.50 million bushels, are up 66 percent from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 87.8 million bushels, are up 129 percent from June 1, 2013. The March - May 2014 indicated disappearance from all positions is 83.4 million bushels, up 65 percent from the same period last year.

Seedling Soybean Diseases Continue in Replant

Loren Giesler, UNL Extension Plant Pathologist

It seems to be late in the year to be talking about seedling diseases, but this year is a little different. In the last week we have had several contacts on seedling disease problems in replant soybean.  In addition, some fields also may have stand issues related to disease that are being affected by stormy weather patterns that injure the plants. This results in stress that lowers the plant's defenses, triggering infection by our common seedling disease pathogens (Fusarium, Pythium, Phytophthora, and Rhizoctonia).

Over the last couple weeks many parts of the state have experienced stormy conditions and/or heavy rainfall which favors seedling diseases in soybean.  Earlier in the year when it was cooler, Pythium was the main cause identified in problem fields. As soil temperatures have warmed, I suspect that conditions are more favorable for Phytophthora to be the cause in really wet fields.

Phytophthora can kill plants at any stage of development, but Pythium typically does not kill plants much past the V5 growth stage. Fields that have had hail or wind damage could be affected by Rhizoctonia and /or Fusarium if they are not in heavy moisture areas. These two are usually a more common problem in well-drained soil types.

As replanting usually occurs with warmer soil temps, it is often not recommended to treat the seed as emergence occurs rapidly. The problem with some fields is that continuous rain has occurred since replanting and the extremely wet soil conditions favor the fungus more than emergence. If you are considering any replant at this point (even though it is really late), I would suggest a seed treatment if you have had a history of stand issues during wet conditions.  If you're planting in a field that has never had a stand problem, treatment is usually not needed.

In any situation where you have had a seedling disease/stand problem it is important to get it identified correctly. Field identification can be difficult and many symptoms are similar among seedling diseases. I encourage you to get a diagnosis of what the problem is in your fields so that proper management actions can be taken in the future.

Seed treatment and the use of resistant varieties (for Phytophthora) are the management actions which are modified based on the field history. In fields where a seed treatment fungicide was used and seedling disease is still developing, this can be due to the wrong treatment being used or excessive moisture leading to reduced product performance under extreme conditions. This can be the case with very wet conditions.

More information on Phytophthora management and product rates is in NebGuide G1785, Management of Phytophthora Root and Stem Rot of Soybeans.

Start Scouting for Potato Leafhoppers in Alfalfa

Tom Hunt, UNL Extension Entomologist, Haskell Ag Lab, Concord

Potato leafhoppers have the potential to cause economic injury to alfalfa every year in Nebraska, usually to second or third cutting. They do not overwinter in Nebraska, but are brought in on southerly winds. A good time to check fields is right after storm fronts move through an area.

Given the very active weather patterns we have been experiencing, I went on an alfalfa scouting tour in northeast Nebraska and observed fields with 0.25 to 2 potato leafhoppers per sweep. This level could merit treatment for some alfalfa fields. If you have not scouted your alfalfa lately, now is a good time to begin.

These small (1/8 inch long), bright green, wedge-shaped insects can cause severe damage to alfalfa by injecting a toxin into the plant as they feed. This feeding results in a distinctive yellow or purple triangle shape at the leaf tip. First year, spring-planted alfalfa fields are particularly attractive to and vulnerable to potato leafhoppers, as are fields planted last year. In older fields, these insects are usually a problem on second and third cuttings.

Newly developed, resistant alfalfa varieties provide fairly good protection from potato leafhoppers; however, seedling alfalfa may still be damaged. All fields should still be scouted, as large numbers of leafhoppers can cause a problem, even in resistant-variety fields.

Ethanol Sector Wages Outpace Other Nebraska Industries

Over the last decade, wages earned in Nebraska’s ethanol production sector outpaced all other manufacturing groups in state, according to the Nebraska Department of Labor’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages Program.  In 2013, the average annual wage in the ethanol sector was $59,541.  By comparison, the average for all other manufacturing sectors in the state was $39,966. 

“Nebraska’s ethanol industry now has twenty-four operating plants located across the state with the capacity to produce more than two billion gallons annually,” according to Todd Sneller, Administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board.  “The impact of ethanol production goes far beyond rural Nebraska.  Virtually every sector of the state’s economy benefits from ethanol’s growth.  Economic benefits accrue to technology and manufacturing sectors that provide software and sophisticated equipment to the agricultural sector that provides the raw materials processed in the plants,” he said.     

“A vibrant agricultural economy is a major component of Nebraska’s economic success and the growing importance of ethanol is particularly notable.  The ethanol industry generates 7,700 jobs, increases Nebraska’s annual economic base by $5.8 billion, and pays more than $38 million in local and state tax revenues each year.” Sneller said.   

Combustible Grain Dust Prevention Workshop July 31

Kansas State University will offer a combustible grain dust prevention workshop teaching advanced mitigation methods on July 31 in Kansas City, Missouri. The free workshop will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Westin Crown Center Hotel.

It will follow a safety conference being co-sponsored by the National Grain and Feed Association and Grain Journal.

The three-hour training will focus on housekeeping practices, proper grain unloading and grain handling, and controls, with a demonstration of sensors and other engineering controls. In this program, the emphasis will be on controlling dust in the grain receiving area, spouting design, bucket elevator safety, sensors for bucket elevators and other material handling equipment. In addition, the course will cover venting, explosion suppression and isolation.

"The past two years, we have focused on increasing awareness of basic grain dust explosion understanding and mitigation techniques. Now we will go beyond this to research-based mitigation methods," said Kingsly Ambrose, project leader and K-State assistant professor in grain science and industry.

As a result of the workshop, participants will be able to identify active steps to mitigate immediate threats, improve their knowledge on dust mitigation methods and have a better understanding of equipment used throughout a grain handling facility.

This initiative is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor – Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Online registration for the workshops is available at (scroll to Combustible Dust Workshop). More information is available by contacting Ambrose at or 785-532-4091.

USDA Releases Tool to Estimate Phosphorus Loss

A tool developed by USDA scientists can help farmers model phosphorus loss in runoff and determine ways to reduce these losses.  "Annual Phosphorus Loss Estimator" or APLE, was developed to reduce widely variable state-by-state phosphorus indices.  APLE is a spreadsheet program that predicts field-scale phosphorus loss in runoff for a whole year.  The program also can be used in many different states to quantify field-scale phosphorus loss and soil phosphorus changes over 10 years for a given set of runoff, erosion and management conditions.

USDA Continues Farm Bill Implementation with Provisions to Help Farmers Manage Risk

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced continued progress in implementing provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill that provide new risk management options for farmers and ranchers. These improvements to crop insurance programs will provide better protection from weather disaster, market volatility and other risk factors to ensure farmers aren't wiped out by events beyond their control.

Vilsack also announced new support for beginning farmers that will make crop insurance more affordable and provide greater support when new farmers experience substantial losses. These announcements build on other recent USDA efforts to support beginning farmers.

"Crop insurance is critical to the ongoing success of today's farmers and ranchers and our agriculture economy. These improvements provide additional flexibility to ensure families do not lose everything due to events beyond their control," said Vilsack. "We're also acting to provide more support to beginning farmers and ranchers so that they can manage their risk effectively. We need to not only encourage new farmers to get into agriculture, we must ensure they're not wiped out in their riskiest initial seasons so they can remain in agriculture for years to come."

The U. S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) filed an interim rule with the Federal Register today, allowing USDA to move forward with changes to crop insurance provisions. The provisions provide better options for beginning farmers, allow producers to have enterprise units for irrigated and non-irrigated crops, give farmers and ranchers the ability to purchase different levels of coverage for a variety of irrigation practices, provide guidance on conservation compliance, implement protections for native sod and provide adjustments to historical yields following significant disasters.

The Farm Bill authorizes specific coverage benefits for beginning farmers and ranchers starting with the 2015 crop year. The changes announced today exempt new farmers from paying the $300 administrative fee for catastrophic policies. New farmers' premium support rates will also increase ten percentage points during their first five years of farming. Beginning farmers will also receive a greater yield adjustment when yields are below 60 percent of the applicable transitional yield. These incentives will be available for most insurance plans in the 2015 crop year and all plans by 2016.

Starting in the fall of 2014, producers who till native sod and plant an annual crop on that land will see reductions in their crop insurance benefits during the first four years. Native sod is acreage that has never been tilled, or land which a producer cannot substantiate has ever been tilled for the production of a crop. The provision applies to acreage in all counties in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota that is greater than five acres per policy and is producing annual crops.

Additional flexibility for irrigated and non-irrigated enterprise units and coverage levels will be available in the spring of 2015. Additional information on implementation of these changes is available at the RMA website,

The interim rule is available to the public at the Federal Register at

More information is available on the RMA website at Written comments on the rule can be submitted to by Sept. 2, 2014. All comments will be considered when the rule is made final.

Today's announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

Since the signing of the Farm Bill, RMA has been working to implement the provisions as quickly as possible. The Federal Crop Insurance Board approved RMA's Whole-Farm Revenue Insurance policy in May. RMA will finalize the policy materials and expects to release the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection product to the public in late fall.

25x'25 Statement on CBO's Renewable Fuel Standard Report

How the Congressional Budget Office reached the conclusion in a report released Thursday that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) will raise gas and biodiesel prices is a mystery, given the deep price discount advantages biofuels offer in the transportation fuel market. A spot check this week shows E85 is selling at more than 200 locations in Iowa at an average of $1.64 per gallon, nearly half of the $3.23 being charged for a gallon of regular gasoline there.

And CBO's citation of "available evidence" in contending corn ethanol has "limited potential for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions" is even more curious, suggesting the congressional agency simply failed to pick up on the latest science, including the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory model that shows average corn ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 34 percent compared to gasoline.

Furthermore, research earlier this year by Dr. Steffen Mueller, principal economist with the University of Illinois at Chicago's Energy Resources Center, demonstrates that the RFS is a principal driver of the reduction in emissions that is taking place with the use of biofuels, noting that by 2022, corn based fuels (corn ethanol and stover cellulosic fuels) will offer a 60-percent reduction in carbon intensity or total annual emissions savings of 90 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent compared to petroleum-based fuels. Under current blending requirements (2013) corn based fuels save already 40 million metric tons or 2.2 percent of transportation related emissions (1,827 million metric tons) in the United States. 

The emissions savings trends are in part due to the continuously increasing efficiency of corn based fuel production as opposed to the decreasing efficiency of accessing tight oil supplies. While CBO admitted their estimates were "highly uncertain," it is important that policy makers know there is solid research from leading scientific resources to show the RFS should be sustained to ensure biofuel's economic and environmental benefits.

NMPF Asks FDA to Exempt Dairy Farms from Additional Regulation Under Food Safety Modernization Act

Efforts to impose added regulations on dairy farms under the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) are not warranted because milk leaving farms for further processing is not a significant public health risk from intentional adulteration, the National Milk Producers Federation wrote today in comments to the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA is reviewing comments about the FSMA law, which is the most significant change to food safety legislation in many years.  Part of the scope of FSMA is to enhance the safety protocols around foods that may be subject to intentional adulteration, by terrorists looking to threaten or injure people, or cause economic harm to certain companies or industries.

“We disagree with the premise that on-farm milk destined for pasteurization is a high-risk food,” said Beth Briczinski, NMPF’s Vice President of Dairy Foods and Nutrition.  Raw fluid milk for pasteurization moves among various regions of the country and is in constant flux to meet specific processing demands.  Because of the challenge of predicting the precise processing facility and type of product or ingredient to which an individual farm’s milk is ultimately destined, NMPF concluded that “activities on dairy farms should not be addressed through this rule.”  A full copy of NMPF’s comments can be found here.

“Dairy farmers currently implement a number of general security strategies to protect the investment of their property, equipment, animals and milk supply, which further reduce any risk that may be represented by on-farm milk destined for pasteurization,” NMPF wrote.

The organization added that if FDA were to require farms to comply with specific aspects of food defense regulations, such requirements should be developed in close collaboration with federal and state stakeholders, as well as the dairy industry, through the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS).

NMPF also noted that many elements of food defense are already being employed by dairy farms for reasons related to biosecurity.  Because biosecurity measures that help prevent the introduction of infectious and contagious diseases among cattle also help prevent the spread of harmful problems in the milk from those cows, new security measures would only be warranted “when a credible threat of intentional adulteration against the milk supply is identified.”

In addition to its perspective on food defense and dairy farms, NMPF also submitted comments today to the FDA with the International Dairy Foods Association, focused on preventing intentional adulteration at dairy processing plants.

Those comments also expressed concern with the direction of FDA’s proposal, and asked the agency to “fundamentally reconsider its proposed approach.”  Like dairy farms, dairy processing facilities have worked with FDA to take an active approach in applying food defense concepts to their manufacturing operations, according to the two organizations.

IDFA and NMPF proposed that FDA only require basic food defense plans consisting of cost-effective mitigation strategies, allowing facilities to then identify reserved focused mitigation strategies that can be quickly implemented in response to heightened concerns or credible threats, should they be deemed necessary.

The joint comments also emphasized that each processing facility and dairy farm is unique.  If FDA were to require food defense plans, the dairy industry must have the flexibility to address intentional adulteration in ways that are custom-tailored with respect to their individual attributes, rather than prescribing “one-size-fits-all” specific criteria. 

Friday June 27 Hogs & Pigs Report + Ag News


Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1, 2014, was 3.05 million head, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  This was unchanged from June 1, 2013, and unchanged from March 1, 2014.  

Breeding hog inventory, at 390,000 head, was down 2 percent from June 1, 2013, and down 2 percent from last quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 2.66 million head, was up slightly from last year, and from last quarter.  

The March - May 2014 Nebraska pig crop, at 1.73 million head, was up 1 percent from 2013.  Sows farrowed during the period totaled 165,000 head, up 3 percent from last year.  The average pigs saved per litter was 10.50 for the March-May period, compared to 10.75 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 170,000 sows during the June-August 2014 quarter, up 3 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.  Intended farrowings for September-November 2014 are 165,000 sows, unchanged from the actual farrowings during the same period the previous year.  


On June 1, 2014 there were 19.2 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, was the lowest hog inventory in Iowa since March 2011 according to the latest USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Hogs and Pigs report. The June 1 inventory was down 3 percent from March 2014 and down 4 percent from a year ago. 

The March-May quarterly pig crop was 4.98 million head. A total of 470,000 sows farrowed during this quarter, down 5 percent from  the previous quarter. The average pigs saved per  litter was 10.60  for  the March-May quarter,  rebounding  from 9.90  the previous quarter. 

As  of  June  1,  producers  planned  to  farrow  495,000  head  of  sows  and  gilts  in  the  June-August  2014  quarter.  Farrowing intentions for the September-November 2014 quarter are estimated at 485,000 as of June 1, 2014.

United States Hog Inventory Down 5 Percent

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.  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 March-May 2014 pig crop, at 27.4 million head, was down 5 percent from 2013. Sows farrowed during this period totaled 2.80 million head, down slightly from 2013. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 48 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 9.78 for the March-May period, compared to 10.31 last year. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.80 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 9.80 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

United States hog producers intend to have 2.89 million sows farrow during the June-August 2014 quarter, up slightly from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2013, but down 1 percent from 2012. Intended farrowings for September-November 2014, at 2.88 million sows, are up 4 percent from 2013, but down slightly from 2012.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 48 percent of the total United States hog inventory, up from 46 percent last year.

Breeding, Market, and Total Inventory - States and United States: June 1, 2013 and 2014

                    :         Breeding               :          Market              :           Total          
                    :           : 2014    :2014 as:         : 2014 :2014 as  :         : 2014 :2014 as
      State      :  2013  :            :percent : 2013 :         :percent   : 2013 :         :percent
                    :           :            :of 2013 :         :         :of 2013   :         :         :of 2013
                    :     1,000 head   percent -- 1,000 head --  percent  -- 1,000 head --   percent
Colorado ......:    145       160     110       565       530      94       710       690        97 
Illinois ..........:    500       490      98      4,150     3,860    93     4,650     4,350      94 
Indiana .........:    270       270     100     3,230     3,230    100    3,500     3,500     100 
Iowa .............:  1,030     1,000      97    18,970  18,200    96    20,000    19,200     96 
Kansas .........:    170       170     100     1,690    1,480     88     1,860     1,650      89 
Michigan .......:    110       110     100      890       900      101     1,000     1,010     101 
Minnesota .....:    580       570      98      7,220    7,180     99     7,800     7,750      99 
Missouri ........:    350       380     109     2,300    2,110     92     2,650     2,490      94 
Nebraska .......:    400       390      98     2,650    2,660     100     3,050     3,050     100 
North Carolina :    870       860      99      8,030    6,840     85     8,900     7,700      87 
Ohio ..............:    160       165     103     1,970    1,835     93     2,130     2,000      94 
Oklahoma ......:    410       430     105     1,830    1,480     81     2,240     1,910      85 
Pennsylvania ..:    100       100     100     1,020    1,020    100     1,120     1,120   100 
South Dakota .:    180       175      97      960       1,035    108     1,140     1,210   106 
Texas ............:    100       100     100      520       570      110      620       670     108 
Utah ..............:     75        75     100       655        645       98      730       720       99 
Other States ..:    434       410      94      2,654     2,698    102     3,088     3,108    101 
United States .:  5,884    5,855    100    59,304    56,273    95     65,188    62,128   95 

Sows Farrowing, Pigs per Litter, and Pig Crop - States and US: March-May 2013 and 2014

[May not add due to rounding]
                     :       Sows farrowing        : Pigs per litter    :         Pig crop
                     :         : 2014 : 2014 as    :         :              :         :  2014   : 2014 as
      State       :         :         :                 :         :              :         :         :        
                     : 2013 :         : percent     :         :              : 2013 :         : percent
                     :         :         : of 2013     : 2013 : 2014      :         :         : of 2013
                     :     1,000 head   percent    ---- number ---    -- 1,000 head --  percent
Colorado .......:     69         72      104        9.50       9.30      656       670     102  
Illinois ...........:    250       250      100      10.30      9.90     2,575     2,475    96  
Indiana ..........:    125       125      100       9.85      9.25     1,231     1,156     94  
Iowa ..............:    465       470      101      10.50    10.60     4,883    4,982    102  
Kansas ..........:     79        82      104       9.95      9.25       786       759       97  
Michigan ........:     50        52      104      10.20      8.90       510       463       91  
Minnesota ......:    290      285       98      10.70     10.60     3,103    3,021      97  
Missouri .........:    180      185      103      10.50      8.90     1,890    1,647      87  
Nebraska ........:    160      165      103      10.75     10.50     1,720   1,733     101  
North Carolina .:    460      440       96      10.05      8.70      4,623    3,828      83  
Ohio ...............:     80        80      100      10.30      9.50       824       760       92  
Oklahoma .......:    185      185      100      10.30      9.60     1,906    1,776      93  
Pennsylvania ...:     44        48      109      10.20     10.30       449      494      110  
South Dakota ..:     88        88      100      10.90     10.70       959      942       98  
Texas .............:     38        42      111       8.90      9.40       338        395      117  
Utah ...............:     41        41      100      10.30     10.50       422       431     102  
Other States  ..:    202       187      93      10.11      9.76       2,046    1,829     89  
United States ..:  2,806     2,797   100      10.31      9.78      28,921  27,361     95  

“Take a Second for Safety” at upcoming workshops for emergency grain rescue personnel

National statistics show that farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in America.  The Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association are asking all farmers to slow down — and take a second for safety.  They are encouraging emergency rescue personnel who might be called to a grain engulfment rescue to attend a free upcoming training session.

Over the past 50 years, more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported—and the fatality rate is 62 percent. With a 10-inch auger, it takes just 25 seconds for a 6-foot person to be completely buried in grain.

Nebraska farmer, Ron Woollen has a mission to educate farmers and those working with grain stored in bins after losing his son in a grain bin accident.

“Grain bin safety is so important because we are always going to store grain,” said Woollen. “Equipment has improved dramatically. More options are available to monitor grain condition which is the biggest factor in grain bin accidents. However, there will always be times when it is necessary to enter a bin.”

Woollen said that when farmers have to enter a bin, they need to know the proper procedure and follow it.

When working around grain bins, here are safety tips to keep in mind when you are taking a second for safety.
-    Use inspection holes or grain level markers to understand what's happening inside the bin.  Use a pole from outside the bin to break up grain bridges.
-    You should enter a grain bin only if absolutely necessary.   If you must get into the bin, use a body harness secured to the outside of the bin.  Have at least two people watching over you as you enter and work inside the bin.
-    Use hand signals to communicate—and make sure everyone you're working with knows what those signals are.

These safety strategies and more will be emphasized at two free Grain Engulfment Rescue Training workshops this July sponsored in part by GSI, Inc.  The first will be July 7th at the Dawson County Fairgrounds in Lexington hosted by the Dawson County Corn Growers.  The following day, July 8th, the Saunders County Soybean Growers and Saunders County Corn Growers will host a grain safety seminar at the American Legion in Ceresco. Both free seminars begin at 5:30 p.m.

The grain engulfment rescue training is intended for industry personnel that actively work in the grain and commodities industry as well as fire fighter emergency rescue personnel who might be called to an engulfment rescue.

“Last year, I attended a training seminar in Kearney for first responders and EMT’s,” said Woollen. “I was very pleased with the quality of the training and the equipment now being made available for grain extraction.”


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Rained on hay.  Sometimes it’s down so long that it’s virtually worthless.  Trouble is, what do you do with it?

               Rained on hay causes many problems.  Obviously, feed value of the hay is lowered.  And many times, in our rush to put this hay up, it gets baled or stacked too wet, which causes mold or heat damage to develop.

               Sometimes a bigger problem, though, is the long-term damage to the regrowing plants.  Driving over the field repeatedly — trying to turn hay to hasten its drying — will injure regrowth and can cause soil compaction, especially if the ground is wet and soft.

               But, not driving on the field may result in an even bigger problem with the windrows.  If they lay there too long, the plants underneath will be smothered.  This not only lowers yield, it creates a terrible weed problem as grasses and broadleaves infest the killed strips.  These weeds will contaminate all future cuttings.  In addition, if rained on hay windrows are left in the field until next cutting, they frequently will plug your mower, both slowing you down and maybe even expanding your vocabulary.  Not to mention the reduced quality of this new hay.

               So — remove that hay any way you can.  Bale it, chop it, even blow it back on the ground as mulch.  You may need to damage plants by driving on them to turn hay to speed drying and get sunlight to plants underneath.  But do it anyway to prevent old windrows from ruining the rest of your haying year.

               Then, watch for problems in the damaged strips.  Insects and weeds may invade, and then need treating to prevent further problems.

               There isn’t much of a positive payback managing rained on hay, but to ignore it is even more expensive.

Biotechnology is Important to Nebraska

Governor Dave Heineman

The recent Bio International Convention in San Diego drew stakeholders from around the world zeroing in on issues and cutting-edge research and technologies that will impact and shape our world for decades to come.

Representatives from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, University of Nebraska, Innovation Campus, UNeMed, University Nebraska Medical Center, as well as private industry members from Benchmark Biolabs and Nature Technologies attended on behalf of Nebraska.

Modern biotechnology is being translated into breakthrough products, technologies and services that are turning crucial corners in the fight against rare and debilitating diseases and health conditions. Biotechnology is helping us feed the hungry, clean up and safeguard our energy sources, and design more efficient, safe and environmentally friendly industrial manufacturing processes.

A sampling of forums at Bio International included Biofuels & Renewable Chemicals, Personalized Medicine & Diagnostics, R/Evolution of Agriculture Technologies, Regenerative Medicine, Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics. All of these topics are woven throughout Nebraska’s goals to grow healthy, happy, productive communities.

For example, a team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists recently received a four-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to begin the next research phase toward what may ultimately result in a breakthrough vaccine for people with HIV. The number affected by this disease is now estimated at more than 35 million with 2.5 million new infections recorded yearly.

An Omaha biotech start-up company is paving the way to create a new tool that may help combat antibiotic resistance worldwide. One of its very first applications may be for treating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureaus more commonly known as MRSA, which often leads to serious and often deadly infections. The company is working toward creation of a new drug application for animals with the ultimate goal of an application for humans.

An Omaha biomedical startup is developing technology to simplify orthopedic surgeries. The $3.2 million capital the company raised included $500,000 from Invest Nebraska Corporation, which partners with DED among other organizations.

Nebraska has enjoyed a favorable uptick of 1,000 or more jobs in the wide-ranging biotechnology field from 2007-2012 according to the Battelle/BIO State Bioscience Jobs, Investments and Innovation 2014 study.

I am proud of the fact that Nebraska was named 3rd in Biotechnology Strength Specialization Leaders, and in the Top 10 in Biotechnology Strength Emerging Biotech Hubs by Business Facilities in the past two years.

During my years as Governor, we have recognized and fully supported the ongoing need for and development of bioscience and medical technology companies by providing financial assistance in the form of the Nebraska Small Business Innovation Research Initiative, Nebraska Innovation Fund, and Nebraska Research and Development Program. Nebraska is home to approximately 106 biotechnology companies targeting Agricultural & Animal Health, Biofuels & Chemicals, Medical Devices & Equipment, Drugs & Pharmaceuticals, and Research, Testing & Medical Facilities or Laboratories.

Keynote Speakers for the 7th Annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Confirmed

Headlining the agenda for the seventh annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference and Exhibition are four keynote speakers who will help lay the foundation of the theme for this year’s conference “Turning Challenges into Nebraska Opportunities.” The conference is planned for October 29-30, 2014 in La Vista, Nebraska at the La Vista Conference Center.

Tom Keirnan, president of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), will open the conference Wednesday morning and address the Current State of Wind Development. Kiernan joined AWEA in May of 2013 and spent the previous 15 years as President of the National Parks Conservation Association. Prior to that, he worked for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and was instrumental in President George H.W. Bush’s administration’s efforts to implement the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.

Commissioner John R. Norris of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will speak later in the morning. Commissioner Norris, an attorney, has years of experience in energy policy and regulatory affairs. Prior to being nominated by President Barack Obama to FERC, he served as Chief of Staff for Tom Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and served as Chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board.

Wednesday’s luncheon speaker will be Dr. Jonathon Pershing of the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE). Dr. Pershing is the Principal Deputy, Office of Energy Policy & Systems Analysis, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate, Office of International Affairs.  In these roles, Dr. Pershing supports the USDOE’s domestic policy agenda, as well as leads on international climate policy for the Department.

The luncheon speaker on Thursday will be Bob Dixson, mayor of Greensburg, KS. On May 4, 2007, a tornado swept through Greensburg razing 95% of the town. Mayor Dixson and other community leaders led the town’s charge to become a model for other rural towns who wanted to be green. The town is powered by 100% renewable power, and large commercial buildings must meet LEED platinum standards.

“We are excited to welcome these speakers to our conference and know they will provide the knowledge to turn challenges into opportunities in Nebraska,” said John Hansen, Committee Co-Chairman.

Full bios of the speakers will be released in the coming weeks. Registration for the conference is $100 before September 29, $125 between September 29 and October 28 and $150 for walk-in registrations the day of the conference. For participant registration, and to view the program, go to  For hotel reservations, contact Embassy Suites Omaha-La Vista/Hotel & Conference Center, 12520 Westport Pkwy, La Vista, NE 68128 402-331-7400. To view last year’s presentations, go to

ISU Extension Brings Help as Flooding Gives Cattle Producers New Set of Challenges

Cattle producers in many parts of Iowa are shifting rapidly from drought conditions to extremely wet and flood conditions, and they have a new set of issues to manage. Water-logged facilities, flooded pastures, earthen basins that are full and financial issues are immediate concerns. The Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach are addressing producers concerns in multiple ways, including online resources.

Production Issues

“One of the first things to check is the structural strength of the livestock buildings, electrical equipment and safety of the water systems,” said Beth Doran, beef program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “The potential for flooded or spilled pesticides, fuel or oil spills and flooded grain bins should also be monitored.”     

Doran also reminds producers that flood conditions can affect the health of animals. Producers should watch for symptoms of lameness, fever, difficulty breathing, muscle contractions or swelling of the shoulders, chest, back, neck or throat.

“The potential exists for grazing cattle to swallow storm debris, such as nails or staples,” she said. “Consequently, cattle should be monitored for hardware disease.”

Pasture management is critical. Remove any debris and return cattle to the pasture when the ground is dry and solid. Returning cattle too soon results in trampled pastures and damaged plants. If areas of the pasture or hay ground are eroded or silt- or sand-covered, reseeding may be necessary.

Manure Management

For feedlots, the issue is manure containment structures that are full and possibly over-topping. Transfer manure from full storage structures to alternative structures, if available. If no alternative storage is available, contact regional staff at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to discuss emergency measures. For more assistance, contact your local extension beef specialist. A list of specialists is available at

Family needs

“There is no doubt that people who experienced flooding were affected financially,” said Doran. “Fortunately, the new Farm Bill contains several kinds of disaster assistance programs for livestock producers.” Livestock producers with livestock losses should contact their local United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency. Applicants will be asked to provide documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died.

Dealing with Flooding – 2014 is the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach website with resources for dealing with flooded gardens, drinking well, basements and many other home cleanup, health and safety issues that come with home flooding – including stress. Find a link to it at Extension and Outreach also operates the Iowa Concern Hotline that offers 24-hour confidential assistance related to stress, legal questions and financial concerns.  To reach a stress counselor call or  800-447-1985, or visit the website at to "live chat" with counselors.

Purdue, OSU Assisting in Iowa Ag Meeting for Corn Belt Farmers

Purdue and Ohio State Universities are part of an organization that is sponsoring a meeting this summer to help Corn Belt farmers make their agricultural systems more resilient and sustainable.

The Resilient Agriculture Conference Aug. 5-7 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, will bring farmers and agricultural scientists together for three days. The conference is being organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sustainable Corn Project. Purdue and Ohio State are among partners in the organization.

"The meeting is an opportunity for farmers to hear the latest scientific findings on practices that are being tested for their effectiveness in making corn-based farming systems more resilient and sustainable," said Eileen Kladivko, Purdue agronomy professor and co-principal investigator on the project. "Farmers also will participate in activities in the field to increase their understanding of the practices being researched and to learn how to use new decision support tools."

Farmers will hear from project scientists who will share their expertise. The project scientists will hear from farmers about their challenges and successes involving practices that make corn-based systems more resilient in times of drought, reduce soil and nutrient losses under saturated conditions, reduce farm field nitrogen losses, retain carbon in the soil and ensure crop productivity.

U.S. agriculture produces nearly $330 billion annually in agricultural commodities and is directly and indirectly affected by extreme weather and variable climate conditions that affect crop and livestock productivity, pest and pathogen pressures, and soil and water resources, said Lois Wright Morton, director of the Sustainable Corn Project.

"A major goal of our project is to share with farmers what we are learning about a set of practices that have potential to better manage the uncertainty associated with climate variability," she said.

The meeting agenda, location, registration and more details can be found at

Iowa Corn Giving Away $10,000, including VIP Packages, Ethanol

To celebrate the 8th running of the Iowa Corn Indy 300, Iowa Corn is giving away 300 VIP race day packages. The VIP packages include tickets to the race, access to the Iowa Corn VIP tent with free food and drinks, limited edition race day t-shirts and time to socialize with other race fans. Other prizes include $25 ethanol gift cards from Kum & Go.

The 2014 Iowa Corn Indy 300, presented by DEKALB will be on July 12 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton. This will be the 8th running of the Iowa Corn Indy sponsored event. IndyCars are powered by 85% ethanol with speeds over 200 mph!

"Iowa Corn sponsors the Iowa Corn Indy 300 to educate consumers about ethanol, specifically higher blends and E85," said Shannon Textor, director of market development. "Being able to inform consumers about the Iowa farmers ability to produce corn for key markets including; livestock, ethanol and exports is extremely important."

For more information about the giveaway or to enter to win visit,

Surface Transportation Board Issues New Order to BNSF & CP Railways

(from ASA)

The Surface Transportation Board (STB), the federal entity with regulatory oversight over the rail industry, issued a new directive this week requiring BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway to provide detailed reports on their plans to eliminate backlogs of grain shipments, and to submit weekly reports until the problem is resolved. Previously, the STB required BNSF and CP to submit reports on their spring deliveries of chemical fertilizers to farmers, mostly in the upper Midwest and Great Plains but as far south as Texas. These directives follow a STB hearing earlier this year at which the American Soybean Association testified.

Rail service along the northern tier has experienced significant backlogs and service problems resulting from explosive growth in oil and gas shipments, bumper crops of corn and soybeans and severe winter weather conditions that stressed the rail delivery network.

Going forward, one concern for farmers and grain shippers is that the industry is now facing the start of wheat harvests, which can draw off some grain hoppers this summer, and that corn and bean shippers could be scrambling for enough cars and locomotives right up to the next fall harvests. This concern is reflected in the STB notice, which states, “Although the data submitted by both railroads indicates some initial progress toward reducing their grain car order backlogs and grain car delays, the Board remains very concerned about the limited time period until the next harvest, the large quantities of grain yet to be moved, and the railroads’ paths toward meeting their respective commitments. For these reasons, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 721(b), the Board will direct CP to provide its plan, and BNSF to provide an updated plan, by June 27, 2014, to reduce their respective backlog of unfilled grain car orders and resolve grain car delays (for CP, on its United States network) including their timeline for doing so.”

52 Lawmakers Ask White House to Boost Biodiesel

Expressing urgent concerns about a proposed cut, 52 U.S. representatives from across the country called on President Obama this week to continue growing biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“During your time in office you have supported the development and growth of the biodiesel industry.  Now, biodiesel producers around the nation have the ability to generate nearly two billion gallons a year of the only EPA-approved advanced biofuel, which is commercially available across the United States,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to President Obama. “Therefore, we believe now is not the time for a critical shift in biodiesel policy. We urgently ask that you raise biodiesel’s RVO for 2014 above 1.28 billion gallons.”

The lawmakers signing the letter represent 22 states.

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.

“Biodiesel is the most successful EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel being produced today,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “This is an RFS success story that is delivering tremendous benefits to the nation in terms of cleaner air, jobs, and diversity in the fuels markets that is helping consumers. We need consistent federal policy to continue the progress we’ve made, and we are urging the Administration to finalize a strong RFS volume as quickly as possible.”


Preliminary prices received by farmers for winter wheat for June 2014 averaged $6.70 per bushel, a decrease of 59 cents from the May price according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The preliminary June corn price, at $4.30 per bushel, decreased 36 cents from the previous month.

The preliminary June sorghum price averaged $7.50 per cwt, a decrease of 65 cents from May.

The preliminary June soybean price, at $14.10 per bushel, was down 40 cents from last month.

The June alfalfa hay price, at $133.00 per ton, was up $8.00 from May. The other hay price, at $105.00 per ton, was up $11.00 from May.


The preliminary June 2014 average price received by farmers for corn in Iowa is $4.40 per bushel according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices report. This is down $0.31 from the May price, and $2.69 lower than June 2013.

The preliminary  June 2014 average price  received by  farmers  for  soybeans, at $14.10 per bushel,  is down $0.60 from the May price, and $1.10 lower than the June 2013 price.

The preliminary June oat price is $4.60 per bushel, down $0.35 from May, but $0.10 above June 2013. 

All hay prices in Iowa averaged $165.00 per ton in June, up $4.00 from the May price, but $105.00 per ton less than June 2013.  Alfalfa hay prices fell $100.00 per ton from one year ago, to $180.00 and other hay prices were $62.00 per ton lower than last year, at $118.00.  

The preliminary June average price was $23.50 per cwt for milk, down $1.40 from May, but $3.40 per cwt above one year ago.

June Farm Prices Received Index Down 3 Points

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in June, at 111 percent, based on 2011=100, decreased 3 points (2.6 percent) from May. The Crop Index is down 1 point (1.0 percent) and the Livestock Index decreased 3 points (2.3 percent). Producers received lower prices for corn, milk, broilers, and eggs and higher prices for oranges, cantaloupes, tomatoes, and lettuce. 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 wheat, hay, grapes, and peaches offset the decreased marketing of oranges, cattle, milk, and broilers.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is up 1 point (0.9 percent) from June 2013. The Food Commodities Index, at 121, decreased 3 points (2.4 percent) from last month but increased 12 points (11 percent) from June 2013.

All crops:

The June index, at 97, decreased 1.0 percent from May and is 12 percent below June 2013. Index decreases for oilseeds & grains more than offset the index increases for vegetable & melon production and fruit & tree nut production.

Food grains: The June index, at 92, is down 9.8 percent from the previous month and 8.9 percent below a year ago. The June price for all wheat, at $6.61 per bushel, is down 47 cents from May and 76 cents below June 2013.

Feed grains: The June index, at 73, is down 7.6 percent from last month and 37 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $4.37 per bushel, is down 34 cents from last month and $2.60 below June 2013. Sorghum grain, at $7.37 per cwt, is 84 cents below May and down $3.73 from June last year.

Oilseeds: The June index, at 110, is down 2.7 percent from May and 7.6 percent below June 2013. The soybean price, at $14.10 per bushel, decreased 30 cents from May and is $1.00 below June 2013.

Livestock and products:

The June index, at 127, decreased 2.3 percent from last month but is up 15 percent from June 2013. Compared with a year ago, prices are higher for cattle, milk, hogs, broilers, calves, market eggs, and turkeys.

Meat animals: The June index, at 127, is down 0.8 percent from last month but 18 percent higher than last year. The June hog price, at $82.10 per cwt, is down 70 cents from May but $7.70 higher than a year ago. The June beef cattle price of $145 per cwt is down $1.00 from last month but $23.00 higher than June 2013.

Dairy products: The June index, at 116, is down 3.3 percent from a month ago but 20 percent higher than June last year. The June all milk price of $23.30 per cwt is down 90 cents from last month but $3.80 higher than June 2013.

Poultry & eggs: The June index, at 140, is down 4.1 percent from May but 8.5 percent above a year ago. The June market egg price, at 87.4 cents per dozen, decreased 9.6 cents from May but is 17.9 cents above June 2013. The June broiler price, at 71.0 cents per pound, is down 3.0 cents from May but 4.0 cents above a year ago. The June turkey price, at 72.8 cents per pound, is up 0.2 cents from the previous month and 7.1 cents from a year earlier.

Prices Paid Index Unchanged

The June Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is 112 percent of the 2011 base. The index is unchanged from May but 6 points (5.7 percent) above June 2013. Lower prices in June for feed grains, feeder pigs, hay & forages, and supplements offset higher prices for feeder cattle, nitrogen, complete feeds, and other services.

Council’s Beijing Conference Assesses China’s Feed Grains Outlook

More than 300 participants crowded the U.S. Grain and Oilseed Market and Trade Forum, held last week in Beijing, to assess the evolving role of trade in meeting China’s strategic food security objectives. Iowa producers Kevin Ross and James Grief presented on the U.S. producers’ perspective and current crop conditions at the Forum.

“The Forum was focused on food security, sustainability and safety,” said Kevin Roepke, U.S. Grains Council director of trade development in China. “It’s the only conference of its kind in China to join government, traders, end-users and other interest groups to debate how to meet our non-negotiable mandate – to feed the world’s growing and increasingly affluent population.”

Sponsored by the Council and other cooperators, the Forum attracted an audience of traders, government officials, buyers and policy researchers interested in the long term dynamics of the feed grains and meat production in China.

U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) exports to China have been disrupted by complications arising from the detection of as-yet unapproved biotech traits in some export cargoes. Click here for an update on the current situation. The current disruption, however, does not change the underlying dynamic of rapidly growing demand as China continues to advance economically.

Forum topics included current market developments, market risks, incentives for greater industry cooperation and the need for companies in China to access global markets to upgrade management skills.

Steady growth in food demand fueled by China’s rapidly expanding middle class will create incentives for the expansion of trade and further cooperation between the United States and China. Access to global markets and an improved system for the approval of biotech events are clearly among the most cost-effective and economically productive ways to meet China’s strategic food security goals.

ConAgra Announces Quarterly Losses

ConAgra Foods unveiled red ink in the company’s fourth quarter, swinging to a loss amid significant write-downs and lower revenue.

The maker of packaged foods had already cut its outlook for the latest period. Weak results in the private-labels segment and a drop in consumer foods volume weighed on ConAgra's bottom line.

ConAgra said Thursday it posted a loss of $324.2 million, or 77 cents a share, compared to a profit of $192.2 million, or 46 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Excluding $681 million in charges and other one-time items, adjusted earnings slipped to 55 cents a share from 60 cents, meeting ConAgra's forecast.

Revenue was down 2.8% at $4.44 billion. Wall Street analysts expected $4.4 billion. Gross margin fell to 20.4% from 21.1%, while input costs decreased 2% to $3.53 billion.

ConAgra, which makes Hunt’s ketchup, Chef Boyardee pasta and other products, became the nation’s top private-label food maker when it acquired Ralcorp for $4.95 billion last year. But the business has been slow to meet ConAgra's expectations for profit growth.

GROWMARK Names Spradlin New CEO

Jim Spradlin, Morton, Ill., has been named chief executive officer of GROWMARK, Inc. effective Sept. 16. He replaces Jeff Solberg who will retire in September.

In announcing Spradlin as CEO, GROWMARK Chairman of the Board and President John Reifsteck said, "Selecting a CEO to lead GROWMARK's management team is among the most important and impactful decisions the Board can make. Jim has the skills, knowledge, experience, and support to successfully lead GROWMARK into the future. The Board has great confidence in him and his ability to lead the multitude of talented employees throughout the GROWMARK System."

Spradlin is a 1982 business administration and economics graduate of Illinois College, Jacksonville, Ill. He has held various positions within the GROWMARK System of cooperatives, including controller of Schuyler-Brown FS, regional administrative director, general manager of Piatt Service Company, general manager of Ag-Land FS, and region manager (Central Ill.), energy division manager, agronomy division manager, and vice president of agronomy for GROWMARK. Jim is one of five members of the Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture's Industry Advisory Council. He serves on the board of directors for The Fertilizer Institute, and is a former local director of Rotary International.

"GROWMARK and its FS member companies have a long-standing reputation as a progressive and reliable supplier of quality products and services, for being easy to do business with, and for its highly-trained employees who operate with integrity. It is truly an honor to have the have support of the GROWMARK Board of Directors as we work together to guide the GROWMARK System," Spradlin said.

Thursday June 26 Ag News

Nebraska Counties Designated as Presidential Disaster Due to May Severe Storms

Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, Dan Steinkruger, announced six (6) Nebraska counties have been designated as primary natural disaster areas due to severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding. Those counties are Clay, Fillmore, Saline, Saunders, Seward, and York.

These counties were declared a Presidential Major Disaster on June 17, 2014, based on storms occurring on May 11 and 12, 2014. This designation authorizes Emergency (EM) Loans for eligible producers. Steinkruger stated, “Producers in these six counties are encouraged to contact their local FSA Service Center for detailed information about available programs and updated disaster designations.”

In addition to the Emergency (EM) Loan Program, FSA has other loan programs and disaster assistance programs which can be considered in assisting farmers to recover from their losses.

Contact your local FSA Service Center or access additional information about FSA Disaster Assistance and Farm Loan programs at

While this release pertains to the availability of FSA programs, other federal agencies such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and SBA (Small Business Administration) may also have assistance to the public. Information is available from these two agencies at the following websites: and

Nebraska Farm Bureau Backs Sasse in General Election

Ben Sasse has again received the “Friend of Agriculture” endorsement of NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. NFBF-PAC previously endorsed Sasse in the U.S. Senate Republican primary. He will continue to be a “Friend of Agriculture” candidate as he seeks election to the U.S. Senate in the Nov. general election.

“NFBF-PAC evaluates candidates following the primary elections and we are pleased to announce our continued support for Ben Sasse in his bid to become our next U.S. Senator,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

Sasse won May’s Republican primary in convincing fashion and continues to run a strong grassroots campaign across Nebraska.

“Ben Sasse has only strengthened his connections and grassroots network of support among Nebraska farm and ranch families.  More importantly, he continues to demonstrate a firm grasp of key issues affecting farmers and ranchers,” said Nelson.

Sasse’s belief that management and marketing decisions are best driven by the free market and his support for farm programs that protect farmers and ranchers from the inherent volatility associated with weather and global markets are among his strong points.

“Sasse has the passion and ability to help get America’s fiscal house in order and lead on key issues such as reforms to health insurance markets.  He’ll also bring a strong voice for agriculture in Washington,” said Nelson.

New Flex Fuel Pumps Open in Three Nebraska Towns

New flex fuel pumps are now open in three Nebraska towns: Lewis and Clark Mini Mart in Crofton, Tom’s Service in Pierce, and Country Partners Coop in Spalding.

These locations add to the more than 85 locations in Nebraska with E85/flex fuel pumps that offer ethanol-blended fuels such as E85 for flex fuel vehicles.  Lewis and Clark Mini Mart and Tom’s Service both offer E85 and E30 for flex fuel vehicles, as well as E10 for all vehicles.  Country Partners Coop in Spalding has E85, E30, and E20 for flex fuel vehicles in addition to E10.

When flex fuel drivers fill up on E85 and other ethanol blends, they’re strengthening Nebraska’s economy, creating jobs, making our country more energy independent and helping the environment.

“We have been working hard to get flex fuel pumps located across Nebraska,” said Kim Clark, director of biofuels development for the Nebraska Corn Board.  “It has been a struggle to get more infrastructure installed, because of the commitment a fuel retailer has to make, so it’s exciting to see flex fuel pumps go into these three new locations.”

Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board said, “Ethanol saves motorist money at the pump.  For a short period of time, ethanol prices were very close to gasoline, but now we are seeing a larger spread, and it is very economical to use ethanol-blended fuels, especially for flex fuel vehicles.”

Clark notes that one in 10 Nebraska motorists currently own a flex fuel vehicle which can run on any blend of ethanol and gasoline, up to E85, and they don’t even know it.

“If you have a yellow gas cap or a yellow ring around your gas port or see a flex fuel badge on your vehicle, you are driving a flex fuel vehicle,” stated Clark.  You can also confirm if a vehicle is flex fuel, by checking the owner’s manual for your vehicle or by visiting the website

Grand opening details for each location will be available at a later date.

These pumps were paid for in part by a grant provided by the Nebraska Corn Board.  These locations are supporting the local economy and creating jobs by offering a homegrown, locally produced fuel, ethanol.

To find a list of retailers that offer E85 and other mid-level ethanol blends visit the Nebraska Ethanol Board website at or check the Nebraska Corn Board website at


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               When should you cut prairie hay?  Let’s look at some things to consider.

               When is the best time to cut prairie hay?  While it’s still leafy?  When it heads out?  After it’s done growing for the year?

               First let’s make sure we all know what I mean by prairie hay.  In today’s message, I’m talking mostly about warm-season grasses like the bluestems and gramas, indiangrass, switchgrass, lovegrass, or prairie sandreed.  There might be some wheatgrass or junegrass or other cool-season species present, but if this field is fully green and growing by mid-April in Nebraska, it’s not what I’m calling prairie hay.

               One factor to consider when timing harvest of prairie hay is stand persistence.  Producer experience and university research both show that prairie hay stands decline rapidly if they are often harvested twice a year.  Another factor is hay quality.  Prairie hay cut in late June or early July might have over 10 percent protein and 65 percent TDN.  But as grass gets older and develops seedheads and stems, its forage quality will decline.  If you wait until August to cut, protein might drop down as low as 5 percent and TDN as low as 45 percent.

               O ther practical considerations might be your difficulty harvesting all your prairie hay at once and your potential need for both high quality hay for young stock and average quality hay for dry cows.

               What I think this means is that most operations should have at least two different prairie hay areas.  Harvest one area in late June or early July for high quality and again in October if sufficient regrowth occurs.  Harvest the other area just once in early August for high yield.  Then switch areas the next year.

               Prairie hay is a valuable resource.  Extra care can assure long term production of highly useable hay.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Announces 2014 Finalists

The Monsanto Fund has announced the finalists for this year’s America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grants. From January through March, farmers across the country nominated their local public school districts for the grants. Once nominated, these districts were eligible to submit completed grant applications in April.

Over the past month, a panel of educators from ineligible counties reviewed all of the grant applications. The strongest submissions were selected as finalists and will be sent to the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council for final review. Composed of farmer-leaders from across the U.S. with a vested interest in both agriculture and education, the Advisory Council will select the winning school districts.

This local school district is in the running for a grant of up to $25,000:
·         Bancroft-Rosalie Community School

The winning grant recipients will be announced in early August.

Last year, Grow Rural Education invested $130,000 in public school districts across Nebraska to improve math and science curriculum. Since 2012, Nebraska school districts have received $250,000 through the program.

Grow Rural Education grants have allowed rural schools to invest in the enhancement of student learning in math and science. Past grant recipients used funding for projects such as technology and scientific lab equipment upgrades, greenhouses and outdoor classroom learning environments, teacher and curriculum development and other math and science related initiatives.

For a complete list of the 2014 America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education finalists and past winners, please visit

Get Ready to Market Cattle

Changes in packer requirements will affect the information cattle feeders must provide to market cattle. To help feedlot producers learn about and adapt to these changes, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association are co-hosting a series of meetings, “Beef Quality Assurance Certification and Assuring Cattle Care” in northwest Iowa.

“Our consumer has always expected beef produced to be safe and wholesome for their family. The beef industry recognized this many decades ago and developed a voluntary certification program called ‘Beef Quality Assurance’ for producers to help them produce a safe, high quality product,” said Doug Bear, director of industry relations, Iowa Beef Industry Council.

Beth Doran, beef program specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, adds, “But, now consumers want to know more information and packers have listened closely to consumers’ requests. They want to know how the animals are cared for – how they are fed and managed.”

A series of meetings will help producers understand these new changes in marketing cattle:
-    July 7, 1-3 p.m.,  Iowa Lakes Community College Auditorium, Emmetsburg. Park in the northeast parking lot and use entrances 1, 2 or 3.
-    July 7, 7-9 p.m., Northwest Iowa Community College Auditorium, Sheldon. Park in parking lot #1 and enter Building C.
-    July 14, 1-3 p.m., Community Center, Moville. Located at 815 Main Street next to the library.
-    July 14, 7-9 p.m., Sac County Fairgrounds, Sac City. Located on east Main Street. Just east of the Raccoon River bridge. Meeting will be in the 4-H Building (old skating rink).

Participants may attend any session. There is no fee to attend, but preregistration is encouraged.  To preregister, contact Bear by phone at 515-296-2305 or by email or Doran by phone at 712-737-4230 or email 

Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

A recent trade mission to Brazil and Colombia offered Pork Checkoff leaders new insights to increase trade opportunities for U.S. pork.

“Raising U.S. pork requires a global perspective and outlook,” said Karen Richter, former National Pork Board president and a producer from Montgomery, Minn. “Seeing firsthand how pork is produced in South America helped us gain a better understanding of the challenging logistics involved in raising, processing and marketing pork in Brazil and Colombia.”

Richter added, “We all face challenges, such as creating consumer demand for our product and fighting disease in our herds. But in the end, our operations are similar, and we can learn so much from each other.”

In Bogota, Colombia, Pork Checkoff leaders met with representatives of Colombia’s association of pork producers and toured a processing plant that uses U.S. pork as raw material. Board members also looked at the marketing and retail distribution side of pork production through meetings with importers and retail leaders.

Colombian pork industry leaders shared how their pork industry is working to increase consumer pork demand at a time when local producers are challenged with growing pork imports. “It’s important to increase the comfort level among Colombians about preparing and eating pork,” said Becca Hendricks, assistant vice president of international marketing for the Checkoff. “Since the country is a major U.S. customer, we hope to work with the Colombian industry to increase overall consumption.”

As a result of a 2012 free trade agreement with the United States, Colombia was the Central/South America region’s largest market for U.S. pork in both volume (34,099 metric tons, up 73 percent from 2012) and value ($88.1 million, up 63 percent) in 2013. U.S. pork exports to Colombia were up 164 percent for the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same time period in 2013.

Grill It Like A Steak® Campaign Fires Up

The Pork Checkoff is again promoting how easy it is to grill tender, juicy pork chops through the Grill It Like A Steak® integrated marketing campaign.

“We saw tremendous success with the Grill It Like A Steak message last summer,” said Karen Richter, former president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. “Building on the successful campaign is important as we continue to educate consumers about the new pork chop cut names and how to cook them to be juicy and tender.”

The marketing campaign promotes a range of doneness for pork, telling consumers that if they love their pork medium rare, they should cook it to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. If they like their chops a little more done, they can cook them to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

“We want to remind consumers that if you grill pork like a steak, you end up with a tender, juicy product that offers great taste and flavor,” Richter said.

ASA Joins the PrecisionAg Institute

The use of precision agriculture tools and methods continues to play a growing role in the sustainability and productivity of U.S. farm operations. Recognizing this fact, the American Soybean Association (ASA) joins the PrecisionAg Institute, an organization focused on advancing precision agriculture technology and its efficiency, stewardship and profitability for farmers.

ASA represents the first farmer-led organization to join the PrecisionAg Institute and will hold a seat on the Institute’s advisory council, which sets the policy for the organization’s activities and facilitates communication among industry partners and individuals.

As a new partner in the Institute, ASA will also play an integral role in a big data workshop this summer at Iowa State University, as well as future precision agriculture educational efforts, advocacy, research activities and award programs that recognize farmers and other industry leaders for their effective use of this technology.

“Many customers of U.S. soy now want to know that we are using sustainable production practices to grow our soybeans, and precision agriculture technology plays a key part in making this possible,” said ASA President Ray Gaesser. “We’re excited to join the PrecisionAg Institute and work with its partners on a variety of efforts to help improve this technology and farmers’ understanding of how to use these important tools that can benefit our operations and improve our sustainability.”

“We welcome ASA’s support of the PrecisionAg Institute. As the first farmer organization to join the Institute, we look forward to the insights they will provide on our policies and activities in the future,” said PrecisionAg Institute Business Director Daniel Ulrich. “With the support of our partners, the PrecisionAg Institute is delivering a message about smart farming and sustainability that is changing the face of agriculture around the globe.”

Ray Gaesser will also represent ASA in a special workshop organized by the PrecisionAg Institute this summer titled, Big Data: Managing Your Farm’s Most Elusive Asset. This event will be held on Aug. 25, 2014, the day before Farm Progress Show, at the Iowa State University Scheman Center.To register for this event, click on the PrecisionAg Data Workshop banner at

“I encourage farmers to attend the Big Data workshop in August,” said Gaesser. “It’s important that we learn more about the data collected on our farms and the potential this information holds in terms of improving our productivity, and also how we can protect this valuable data.”

Additional benefits related to the workshop are available to ASA members. For more information, please contact Michelle Hummel or Kathie Mullen in the ASA office at (314) 576-1770 or

The PrecisionAg Institute’s corporate partners include AGCO, AgWorks, John Deere, Midwest Laboratories, Raven, Simplot SmartFarm, SST, The Climate Corporation, Topcon and WinField. ASA looks forward to strengthening a collaborative relationship with all of these innovative companies in the precision agriculture industry. For more information, visit

Kansas Wheat Harvest Report - Day 5

June 25:  Because of storms starting on Sunday evening and popping up statewide over the last few days, harvest has progressed slowly. Some areas of Kansas have received around six inches of rain while other areas had small hail. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, as of Monday about 24% of the state’s wheat has been harvested. At this point last year, only seven percent of the crop had been harvested.

Previous to the storms, Rangeland Coop in Philipsburg had yields ranging from 12-30 bushels an acre with a range of 59-62 pounds per bushel. Bruce Williams, a representative from the cooperative, said that he is expecting this year’s crop to be as bad as last year’s, which was about 40% of their normal totals. Farmers in the area are struggling with short wheat and have been affected both by drought and freeze.

In southeast Kansas, Wildcat District Extension agronomy specialist Josh Coltrain said, “It’s really tough comparing this year to the last few years because they have been so good. They were probably some of the best years that southeast Kansas will ever see. But overall the yields are substantially lower this year.” He is reporting a range of 30-60 bushels an acre, with an  average in the mid to upper 40s. Coltrain also said that overall the earlier planted wheat has better yields than the wheat planted later. Test weights are consistently good, averaging at over 60 pounds per bushel.

Karen Hill, a representative of Elkhart Coop Equity Exchange in Morton County, is expecting this year’s crop to be better than the area’s last harvest. Hill said, “Last year was our worst on record, but this year’s crop is shaping up to be a better one.” Hill added that there was more wheat planted this year, but there are a variety of yields in the area. She has received reports anywhere from 8-39 bushels per acre. The test weight is averaging about 61 pounds.

Richard Randall, a farmer from Scott City,has reported that he has received 6.60 inches of rain in June, with most of it coming from the last two days. Randall’s wheat harvest is stalled due to the influx of precipitation, which includes hail in the area. He said that many farmers will be spending time with crop adjusters soon, and that some farmers may have lost their remaining wheat crop. Up until the storms arrived, Randall said that most yields have ranged from 15-25 bushels an acre.

Day 6 - June 26
Jeanne Falk-Jones, Multi-County Agronomy Specialist for K-State in Sherman, Wallace and Cheyenne counties, reports that they are at a standstill at the moment. She says a few farmers started cutting in Wallace County on Sunday, but since then it has rained every day. The area has seen a fair amount of hail, ranging from light hail events to more major damage. At this point, they are waiting, but not getting too antsy.There are some fields that are ready once it dries out.

Falk-Jones says, “It has been an interesting year in that wheat just keeps hanging on.” Even in tough conditions, there’s something to learn, which was evidenced by good attendance at plot tours this year. “Our wheat crop isn’t going to have fantastic yields out here, but the trade off is the moisture for other crops,” she said.

Ken Wood, a farmer from Dickinson County, reports that his yields have been better than he had anticipated, with yields of 40 to 60 bushels per acre. He has cut about half of his wheat, but says, “It has been really frustrating. We haven’t been able to get momentum going.” Every time he’s able to get started, a small shower comes through and keeps him out of the field. He says it hasn’t been enough rain to do any good, but just enough to make the fields wet. They haven’t had much sunshine or wind to dry things out. He cut a little wheat Wednesday afternoon and is hoping to get going again Thursday afternoon.

Randy Mettling, a farmer from Ford County, wrapped up harvest on Sunday before the rains. He has had 2.75 inches of rain since Sunday. Mettling reports his average yield is 47. His test weight range is 60.5-62.5 and moisture is 10.5-12. Mettling says it’s the “most consistent crop I’ve ever cut.” Last year he had an average yield in the low 20s. Snow cover over winter helped it out a lot, but he essentially had no rain before June.

The 2014 Harvest Reports are a project of the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and Kansas Grain and Feed Association.

Broad Industry Coalition Asks Congress to Prevent WTO Non-Compliance on COOL

In an effort to prevent billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs against the U.S., a broad coalition of industries is urging Congress to take action on the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) dispute with Canada and Mexico.  The newly formed coalition has sent a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees asking Congress to take action directing the Secretary of Agriculture to suspend indefinitely the revised COOL rule if it is found to be in violation of U.S. international trade obligations. 

Canada and Mexico challenged the revised COOL rule for muscle cuts of meat in the World Trade Organization (WTO) shortly after the USDA issued the revised rule, arguing that COOL has a trade-distorting impact by reducing the value and number of cattle and hogs shipped to the U.S. market, thus violating the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.

“Together Canada, Mexico and the United States make up one of the most competitive and successful regional economic platforms in the world,” said Jodi Bond, vice president for the Americas at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  “The disruption of that partnership by WTO noncompliance would have a devastating economic impact on industries including food production, agriculture, and manufacturing.”

A WTO dispute settlement panel is expected to issue in late July its final report to the parties on whether the COOL rule is WTO compliant.  Canada and Mexico have indicated they will seek to retaliate against the U.S. if it is found noncompliant.  

"If Congress fails to ensure that U.S. COOL requirements comply with our international obligations, U.S. jobs and manufacturing will be put at risk," said Linda Dempsey, Vice President of International Economic Affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers. "The United States helped create the WTO to ensure that all countries play by the rules; U.S. leadership in complying with our own obligations is critical to the United States' ability to address effectively unfair and WTO-violative trade barriers by our trading partners around the world."

The WTO in November 2011 ruled against a previous version of the COOL rule, finding that it treated imported livestock less favorably than U.S. livestock (particularly in the labeling of beef and pork muscle cuts), and did not meet its objective to provide complete information to consumers on the origin of meat products.  The international trade body gave the U.S. until May 23, 2013, to bring the rule into WTO compliance. It is that revised rule on which the WTO will rule and that the coalition is seeking to suspend.

Canada released a list of products they would seek retaliatory tariffs against, tariffs that would harm all members of the coalition and create severe economic hardship to the U.S. economy. 

Recent Study Addressing Pesticides and Autism Joins Library of Junk Science

CropLife America (CLA) is dismayed by the alleged connection that researchers with the University of California, Davis have made between pesticide applications and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism among children. “Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides: The CHARGE Study” was published in Environmental Health Perspectives on June 23, 2014. The study draws inaccurate and scientifically questionable connections between proximity to pesticides and neurodevelopmental disorders. The authors have created unnecessary fears among parents and contributed nothing to an understanding of the etiology of autism and other developmental disorders in children.

CLA points out that a number of elements needed for scientifically robust research results are lacking in the study. The modeling used in this study to measure proximity must be grounded in real measures of exposure such as biomarkers in blood or urine (Chang et al. 20141). The study did not do this. Also, using addresses as a proxy for the location of pregnant women when the pesticide applications occurred assumes the women were at that address and outdoors precisely when the pesticides were being applied. The study did not investigate the possibility that these women may have been away from their residences, indoors or otherwise guarded from potential exposure.

Importantly, “exposure” does not equate to “harm.” Harm can only occur if the exposure, or dose, is sufficiently high to have an effect. Pesticides are rigorously regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure that real-life exposure across a variety of situations is not sufficient to cause harm. This includes ensuring pesticides cannot drift beyond the target organism in the field and onto other people at levels that cause harm. This study, by equating proximity to exposure, incorrectly assumes the pesticides drifted impossibly far distances and at impossibly high concentrations.

Study authors neglected to consult experts from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to better understand real-life pesticide applications, instead choosing to misconstrue publicly available data on pesticide use and create statistical significance out of thin air. The study also fails to reference the vast amount of publicly available regulatory data the EPA requires before it will register a pesticide for use, including data on toxicity and drift. Mothers who have children with autism spectrum disorders need meaningful and helpful advice for dealing with these difficult and distressing conditions. Failing to include the multiple, more significant factors that may contribute to the occurrence of neurodevelopmental disorders such as nutrition and inherited genetic predisposition does them a disservice and leaves them with skewed and biased advice.

“Assumptions made by the study investigators are incorrect and irresponsible. Proximity to pesticide applications does not equate to exposure. Furthermore, a single exposure is insufficient to cause harm,” said Dr. Clare Thorp, senior director of human health policy for CLA. “All pesticides are regulated by EPA using an extensive battery of acute, chronic and sub-chronic toxicity and exposure testing, including neurological effects. These tests examine the dose and route of exposure and are conducted across a range of species, including their offspring. Recommended rates of use in the field are set far below a level at which there would be any harmful effect.”

“Protecting the well-being of expectant mothers, infants and elderly individuals is a top priority for EPA, as well as farmers and members of the crop protection industry who have families of their own,” added Jay Vroom, CLA’s president and CEO. “The registration process for pesticides is conducted with families fully in mind. Once in the field, crop protection products are applied responsibly, according to label instructions.”

“It cannot be stated loudly or plainly enough: EPA takes every possible measure to ensure that pesticides are thoroughly tested and that they are made available to applicators only when the Agency concludes they can be used without risk to human health,” Thorp said.

CLA condemns the repeated use of junk science that draws questionable associations from cherry-picked data. CLA encourages the public to review all scientific literature with a critical eye and consider criteria such as whether the raw data is publicly available or if the study underwent a sufficiently rigorous and comprehensive peer-review process.

More information on EPA’s pesticide registration process and efforts to protect public health is available at

Five Influential Sources that Question the Gluten-Free Fad

In the United States and a few other countries, “celebrities, athletes, talk show hosts and nearly 30 percent of people say they are turning to gluten-free diets to solve health issues from ‘foggy mind’ to bloating and obesity,” according to a recent article titled “The Truth About Gluten” by the Wheat Foods Council (WFC). Yet, as the article points out, it is “important to consider that nutrition experts do not advocate a gluten-free diet for most people.” In fact more and more influential, popular resources are pushing back at the shockingly extensible gluten-free trend.

WFC’s article respectfully refutes several anti-gluten positions raised by the diet’s proponents. And just this week, the “Wall Street Journal,” “Time” magazine, NBC News’ “Today Show Health” and “U.S. News and World Report” ran articles echoing the same strong point made by Dr. Stephano Guandalini, founder and director of the Center for Celiac Disease at the University of Chicago: “There is a popular belief that gluten is bad for everyone. This is not the case,” he said. “There is no evidence to show that anyone who does not suffer from celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity benefits from following a gluten-free diet.”

Here are some excerpts from the articles...

The Truth About Gluten – Wheat Foods Council, May 20, 2014

"Eliminating wheat products (bread, rolls, cereals, pasta, tortillas, cakes, cookies, crackers) will result in fewer calories, but important nutrients like B-vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid), and iron and fiber will also be lost,” said Pam Cureton with Boston’s Center for Celiac Research and chair of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ sub-practice group, Dietitians in Gluten Intolerance Diseases (DIGID). “Grains provide 43 percent of the fiber in the U.S. diet and wheat is approximately three-quarters of the grains eaten in the U.S. Nutritionally, many gluten-free products are not equal replacements for their wheat-containing counterparts.”

“Wheat, like all other food plants we eat, has undergone farmer selection and traditional breeding over the years,” states Brett Carver, PhD, wheat genetics chair in Agriculture at Oklahoma State University. “The hybridization that led to bread wheat occurred 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. All cultivated wheat varieties, both modern and heirloom varieties, have these hybridization events in common, so the kinds of protein (and gluten) present in today’s varieties reflect the proteins present throughout the domestication process of wheat.”

The Gluten-Free Craze: Is it Healthy? – “Wall Street Journal,” June 23, 2014

Americans have become preoccupied with what they eat on a whole new level, focusing on scouting out healthy foods while packing eating into ever more hectic schedules. The desire to eat better, combined with food companies pursuing new chances for growth, has created a cycle of influence that is increasingly hypercharged by the Internet. The result is a cacophony of competing claims and convictions about how we eat that can bewilder consumers as much as it liberates them.

For now, interest [in the United States] in gluten-free remains strong — though there are signs that may have peaked. The share of survey respondents saying they are trying to avoid gluten was 29.4 percent in May, according to market research firm NPD Group Inc. That is down from a peak of more than 30 percent late last year, but higher than the 25.5 percent measured four years ago.

Eat More Gluten: The Diet Fad Must Die – “Time” Magazine, June 23, 2014

Gluten is to this decade what carbohydrates were to the last one and fat was to the ’80s and ’90s: the bête noir, the bad boy, the cause of all that ails you—and the elimination of which can heal you. As has been clear for a long time … a whole lot of that is flat-out hooey, a result of trendiness, smart marketing, Internet gossip and too many people who know too little about nutrition saying too many silly things.

So, crunch the numbers and what do we get? Perhaps 1 percent of Americans definitely need to be gluten-free and another 5.7 percent ought to be careful. As for the other 93.3 percent of us … break out the Parker House rolls.

5 Things You Didn’t Know about Gluten-free Diets – “Today Health,” NBC News, June 24, 2014

In 2010, Americans spent more than $2.6 billion on gluten-free items. By the end of next year, that number will reach $5 billion, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. These sales aren’t due to an inordinate number of people with Celiac disease … but rather because of people hoping that by kicking the gluten habit, they’ll see smaller waistlines … the science is still out about whether the gluten-free fad translates into real health benefits for the rest of us.

Products that boast they are free of something, whether fat-free, sugar-free or gluten-free, often have extras added to make them more palatable. “I don’t know if that is specific to gluten-free companies. There are a lot of foods on the market that are loaded with sugar and salt,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, manager of wellness nutrition services at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute.

Separating the Wheat (Gluten) From the Chaff – “U.S. News and World Report Health & Wellness,” June 24, 2014
As we observe the rise of celiac disease in our population — both as the result of increased prevalence as well as through better diagnosis — many find it tempting to demonize gluten as “toxic” and to scapegoat wheat as the cause of all that ills our society — from obesity and lethargy to depression and diabetes. But gluten is not an inherent “toxin,” nor does it cause celiac disease — at least, no more so than, say, peanuts cause food allergy or could be considered “toxic” just because a minority of people have a life-threatening food allergy to them.

Rabobank Report:  After recent slide, global dairy price recovery is likely 6 months away

Rabobank has published a new report on the global dairy industry. As anticipated, global dairy prices softened considerably through Q2. According to Rabobank’s Dairy Quarterly Q2: Beyond the tipping point, prices fell as a result of improved milk production in export regions and the easing of forward purchasing by China. These mechanisms freed more product for other buyers and lowered the need to ration demand with international dairy commodity prices falling 10% to 20% in the three months to mid-June.

“The pull back in Chinese purchasing has been particularly significant, with evidence that the Chinese industry has accumulated excess inventories after a period of vigorous buying, improved local milk production and weaker local sales. Current prices in the international market have dropped below what we see as sustainable in the medium term,” explained Rabobank analyst Tim Hunt.

Milk production growth will slow considerably in the second half of 2014 as lower prices are passed to producers, weather normalizes and comparables become tougher to exceed. Consumption in export regions will also slowly improve on the back of higher incomes, employment growth and falling retail prices.

“Together these forces should gradually tighten up the market as we progress through 2014,” continued Hunt. “However, we expect little improvement in prices until late in 2014 or early 2015, as China works through its accumulated stocks and the world continues to consume the stronger than expected wave of milk produced in the first half of year.”

The report notes that one upside risk to keep an eye on is a developing El Nino event. This has the potential to generate unusually dry conditions in South East Australia and excessive rainfall in Argentina – and hence reduced milk production in both of these export regions.

Regional outlooks

·    EU: 2014 has seen an extraordinary increase in EU milk production. Margins were high enough for many to simply choose to produce over quota limits, with production in the EU up 5.6% on Q2 last year. Growth is expected to continue outpacing domestic market consumption during 2H, although exportable surpluses are anticipated to slow considerably.
·    US: US wholesale prices have slipped considerably less than those in the external market. They are in many cases at a significant premium to the world market in mid June and are expected to fall faster than elsewhere through 2H as exports fall back and domestic milk production picks up.
·    New Zealand: New Zealand production was up 17.5% versus the same period in drought-impacted 2013. Export volumes are expected to trend well above the previous year through Q2 and Q3 2014 due to higher milk flows providing additional volume to be shipped during the seasonal trough versus 2013.
·    Australia: The outlook for 2014/15 remains broadly positive for most dairying regions. While early price signals confirm southern export producers will face lower farmgate pricing in 2014/15 due to lower commodity prices, the market should remain supportive of investment.
·    Brazil: Brazilian milk production declined seasonally from its December peak, as usual, but much more slowly than last year. There is likely to be little in the way of imports into the Brazilian market in 2H, while exporters will be trying to find a home for Brazilian production in the region and beyond.
·    Argentina: Argentine milk production is expected to continue to fall below prior year levels in the second half of 2014. While margins over feed remain positive, other costs are subject to rapid inflation. In addition, a looming El Niño event is likely to bring above average rainfall from spring onwards, creating further problems on farm.

Wednesday June 25 Ag News

Property Valuation Protest Deadline June 30

The Nebraska Department of Revenue, Property Assessment Division, reminds property owners that valuation protests must be filed on or before June 30, 2014.

If there was an increase or decrease to the assessed valuation of a real property parcel from 2013 to the 2014 assessed value, the county assessor was required to send a notice of valuation change to the property owner on or before June 1, 2014. If a change of valuation notice was not received, and there was a change in value from 2013 to 2014, contact the local county assessor for more information.

If a property owner disagrees with the assessed value, whether or not a notice of valuation change has been received, a protest may be filed with the county board of equalization. The valuation protest may be filed in person or by mail with the county clerk in the county where the property is located. Requirements for filing a protest are on the Notice of Valuation Change.

For more information regarding filing a protest, please contact the county clerk where the property is located. County contact information is available at, under “Featured Information.”

For further information, see the Real Property Valuation Protest Information Guide and Property Valuation Protest Forms 422 or 422A.

NeFBF Develops Checklist To Help With Valuation Protests

With valuation increases on the minds of farmers, ranchers and homeowners, Nebraska Farm Bureau wants to remind everyone that it has developed an easy-to-follow checklist of 10 things to do and to consider if you decide to protest your valuation at the county assessor’s office. The deadline for filing a protest is June 30, 2014.

Protest Check List

1. If you think the assessed value for your house, farmstead or real estate is too high, you can file a protest with the county clerk’s office. This can be done in person or by mail and must be submitted in triplicate, signed and dated and postmarked by June 30, 2014. There is no fee to file a protest.  You should know that by filing a protest, the assessed value for your property could also be increased if the county board believes it was undervalued.

2. When filling out the protest form, make sure that you state in the box asking for the “reasons for requested valuation change” that “you believe the actual value of your property is in excess of the market value and that it is not equalized with comparable property in your area.” Such language is needed in order to protest both the assessed valuation and the fact your property may not be equalized with other similar properties. If you are protesting multiple parcels of property, a separate protest must be filed for each parcel.

3. Include any pertinent information with your protest that will assist in proving the assessed value of your property was not set at market value, or is not equalized with similar properties in the area. The burden is on the property owner to prove their property has not been correctly assessed.

4. In preparing for your protest, make sure the county assessor’s records of your property are accurate. For example, make sure the assessor has properly documented the square footage of your dwelling, the number of bathrooms, the garage size, the number of out buildings, whether or not the basement is finished and the type of farm ground and whether it is pasture, cropland, irrigated, the correct number of acres, etc.

5. Next, look at how your property valuation compares to other properties in the neighborhood, township or general area. Some counties have property valuations available online while others have this information on file at the courthouse. You can find which counties are online through the website of the Department of Property Assessment and Taxation. If your valuation appears out of line compared to your neighbors, these differences could be used as your first evidence on why your property is overvalued.

6. Find recent sales of similar properties. Determine the sales price and assessed values for these properties. County assessors may be able to provide sales information. Assessed values are public record and are available on the web in some counties. Carefully compare your property with these properties to find characteristics that would distinguish your property from the market. You are looking for characteristics like cost per square foot, price per acre, number of bathrooms, soil types, road conditions, location, noise or other factors that may lessen your value.

7. If you have a recent (within the last few years) appraisal of the property, you can use it as evidence of value. You may also want to determine the replacement costs of your house improvements. Replacement costs usually establish the upper end of the value of a property. If the market value the assessor established for your property is at or above your replacement costs, this difference figure could also be used as evidence in your protest.

8. Contact your county clerk and ask what process will be used to handle protests.  While the ultimate decision on the protest lies with the county board, some counties use independent referees to hear protests.  It is important to know how the protest will be processed and the schedule.

9. After filing your protest, you will be notified by mail when a hearing by a referee will be scheduled, or when the county board will meet to consider your protest.  The hearing or board consideration will occur sometime before July 25, 2014. In Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy counties the deadline could be extended to Aug. 10, 2014.

10. The county board will make a decision, and the county clerk must mail the board’s decision to you on or before Aug. 2, 2014. For Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy counties, the decision deadline may be extended to Aug. 18, 2014. Also, for counties that use referees, you can appeal the referee’s recommendations to the county board if you have new information. Again, be sure to contact your county clerk to determine the process in your county.  If you are still are not satisfied, you can appeal to the state Tax Equalization and Review Commission by Aug. 24, 2014 or Sept. 10, 2014 in counties with a population of greater than 100,000.

PUBLIC HEARING Scheduled Regarding Temporary Stay on Well-Drilling in Upper Big Blue NRD

The Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District will hold a public hearing to receive public testimony concerning changes to the District’s Groundwater Management Area Rules and Regulations.  The hearing will be held on July 30, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., at the District office located at 105 N. Lincoln Avenue, York, Nebraska.

On April 17, 2014, the District’s Board of Directors declared a 180-day temporary stay on well drilling in approximately forty percent of the District.  The purpose of the stay is to give the District Board the opportunity to address the concerns over groundwater conflicts among irrigation, domestic, and municipal users.

The major proposed changes in the regulations include the designation of approximately 430 square miles of the District as a “High Risk Groundwater Area”.   The following regulations are proposed in the High Risk Groundwater Area:

1.   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.
2.   New high capacity wells must be at least 1,250 feet from existing domestic wells under different ownership.
3.   New high capacity wells must be at least two miles from existing municipal wells.
4.   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.
5.   A Municipal User shall have adopted an administrative procedure that allows the Municipal User to require water conservation practices and restrict the water use of its customers.
6.   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.

The Draft Rule Changes can be viewed at by clicking on the “District Rules and Regulations” button on the right sidebar of the Homepage.  This will take you to the Rules & Regulations Page.  Next, click the “SPECIAL Drafts & Proposed Changes of Rules for PUBLIC HEARING” button.  A map of the affected areas is included.

Growing Number of Nebraska Groups Call for Common-Sense Immigration Laws

Today a diverse group of over 50 Nebraska organizations again called upon Congress to enact common-sense immigration laws.  These groups, representing thousands of Nebraskans, sent a letter to the Nebraska Congressional delegation reminding them of the strong support for immigration reform in our state.  The need and desire for common-sense reform is growing across Nebraska as evidenced by the bipartisan, rural-and-urban-supported resolution passed by the Nebraska State Legislature this past April which called for the same.

A year has passed since the United States Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill and now it is time for the United States House of Representatives to do the same.  Continued inaction is not an option.  The current immigration system is woefully out of date and hurts Nebraska’s communities, families, economy and future.  Every day, Nebraskans pay the price for Congress’s failure to fix this outdated immigration system and these groups urge Congress to act now and pass meaningful, effective reform: 
    ACLU - Nebraska
    Anti-Defamation League - Plains States Region
    Black Men United
    Brown Immigration Law, LLP
    Campbell's Nurseries and Garden Center
    Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Omaha
    Center for People in Need
    Center for Rural Affairs
    Central Nebraska Human Trafficking & Immigration Outreach
    Centro Hispano Comunitario (Columbus)
    College of Saint Mary
    Creighton Center for Service and Justice
    DREAMers Project Coalition
    El Centro de las Americas (Lincoln)
    Fair Housing Center of Nebraska and Iowa
    Great Plains United Methodist Peace with Justice Ministries
    Great Plains Conference United Methodist Women
    Heartland Workers Center
    Inclusive Communities
    Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska
    Iowa/Nebraska Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association
    Justice For Our Neighbors - Nebraska
    Latino American Commission of Nebraska
    Latino Center of the Midlands
    League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha
    League of Women Voters of Lincoln and Lancaster County
    Malcolm X Memorial Foundation
    Mulhall’s Nursery, Omaha
    NAACP - Lincoln
    National Association of Social Workers - Nebraska Chapter
    National Council of Jewish Women - Omaha Section
    Nebraska State AFL-CIO
    Nebraska Appleseed
    Nebraska Catholic Conference
    Nebraska Cattlemen
    Nebraska Restaurant Association
    Nebraska Retail Federation
    Nebraska State Dairy Association
    Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition
    Nebraskans for Peace
    Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance
    Omaha Together One Community
    One World Community Health Centers
    Peck Law Firm
    Sisters of Mercy, West Midwest Community
    Southern Sudan Community Association (SSCA Omaha)
    St. Mary’s Immigration Program (Grand Island)
    Unity in Action (South Sioux City)
    Voices for Children in Nebraska
    YWCA Adams County
    YWCA Grand Island
    YWCA Lincoln

U.S. Exporters Appreciate Chinese Red Meat Trade Team Visit

Senior-level buyers from some of the top red meat importers in China and Hong Kong toured the heartland of America with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) last month, getting a top-to-bottom education on U.S. agriculture and the red meat industry.

The 13-person visiting team included the presidents of four of that region’s largest red meat importers in addition to several senior officers (purchasing managers and general managers) and the supply chain director of Pizza Hut Hong Kong Management Ltd., one of Pizza Hut’s largest international franchisees with operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Developed with funding support from the Beef Checkoff Program and the Pork Checkoff, the team of buyers toured pork and beef processing plants in Nebraska, cattle ranches in Kansas and Nebraska and numerous retail outlets. The group also participated in a Meat 101 class conducted by Dr. Terry Houser, associate professor at Kansas State University, who reviewed the quality and sensory aspects of U.S. pork and beef.

Before returning to China, the visiting team received briefings from U.S. beef and pork exporters and participated in the product showcase at the May USMEF board of directors meeting that brought 120 international buyers together with 21 U.S. exporters at a session designed specifically to enhance U.S. red meat exports.

“The meeting with the Chinese team was the highlight of the entire week for me,” said Mark Boyd of Porky Products. “I think the quality of the customers who came from China and Hong Kong was exceptionally high. Meeting these buyers and having them sample our products enabled us to generate immediate sales to new customers that we otherwise would not have encountered.”

The positive sentiments were echoed by Eric Brandt, president of One World Beef, which represents Harris Ranch and Brandt Beef.

“These meetings are a springboard to new business with qualified and respected buyers,” said Brandt. “These are the types of meetings we strive to attain and are grateful to be part of. We can only hope that the governments (of China and the U.S.) do the right thing and open up new (beef) trade between our countries so that commerce can begin. It will be a great day for American beef producers to finally have free access to a country where there is a lot of demand for U.S. beef.”

The visit by the team also earned high marks for the convenience it provides to U.S. exporters – bringing qualified buyers together as a group.

“This allowed me to meet with 10 to 12 customers at one time, and to save the $10,000 or more it would cost for a business trip to that region,” said Boyd.

The team of buyers gave its own high marks on the visit, according to Ming Liang, USMEF-Shanghai marketing director. “They indicated that they learned quite a lot from the trip,” he said. “They became familiar with more U.S. plants and companies that could potentially be future partners.”

The China/Hong Kong region is a significant one for U.S. red meat exports. Through the first four months of 2014, it is the No. 3 market in both volume and value for U.S. pork, purchasing 140,927 metric tons (310.7 million pounds) valued at $316.5 million, increases of 4 percent in volume and 10 percent in value.

And while the People’s Republic of China still bans U.S. beef, Hong Kong is the United States’ No. 3 export market in terms of value, $307.5 million (up 94 percent versus 2013), and No. 4 in volume (46,478 metric tons or 102.5 million pounds), a 66 percent increase over last year.

Cargill develops non-GMO soybean oil

Cargill is introducing a soybean oil made from identity-preserved (IdP), conventionally-bred (non-GM) soybeans for customers interested in exploring a non-GMO claim on their product label. The oil is refined in Cargill’s Des Moines, Iowa, plant in a process certified by SGS, a global inspection, verification, testing and certification company.

“Despite the many merits of biotechnology, consumer interest in food and beverage products made from non-GM ingredients is growing, creating opportunities and challenges for food manufacturers and food service operators,” said Ethan Theis, food ingredients commercial manager, Cargill.

Supplies of Cargill’s new oil are limited, and one food manufacturer already has purchased a significant portion of the available supply. According to Theis, producing an IdP soybean oil from non-GM soybeans is an intricate process, from procuring a dedicated supply of non-GM soybeans to developing processes to avoid co-mingling with bioengineered crops during harvesting, transportation, storage, handling, processing and refining.

“Developing industrial scale IdP products is difficult but something Cargill is well-suited for because of our knowledge of consumer trends, formulation experience, supply-chain management expertise, manufacturing infrastructure and strong relationships with farmers,” Theis said.

Cargill has extensive global experience helping food manufacturers’ source non-GM crops and ingredients made from non-GM crops. The combination of Cargill’s portfolio of non-GM sweeteners, starches, texturizers, oils, cocoa and chocolate, fibers, and stabilizer systems, coupled with R&D and global supply chain capabilities, allows Cargill to help customers manage both the product development and supply chain challenges associated with reformulating to non-GMO. 

ASA’s Wilkins Testifies on Importance of Biotech Trade Policy for Soybean Farmers

Greenwood, Del., farmer and American Soybean Association (ASA) Treasurer Richard Wilkins appeared on Capitol Hill today before the Senate Committee on Finance to testify about the importance of biotechnology to soybean farmers as the U.S. pursues trade agreements abroad.

The hearing, “Trade Enforcement: Using Trade Rules to Level the Playing Field for U.S. Companies and Workers,” addresses the impact and implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade agreements, U.S. trade with China, and other aspects of America’s trade relationships abroad. Soybeans are the nation’s leading agricultural export, and ASA has long taken a leading role in representing the needs of farmers in discussions of international trade.

In his testimony, Wilkins addressed the need for a more consistent regulatory framework in our various partner nations, citing specifically the inconsistent and unreliable frameworks in China and the European Union.

“Other countries have adopted systems for approving biotech traits, but these decisions are subject to differing regulations or are overtly political, which can result in lengthy delays between approvals in importing and exporting countries,” he testified. “This is a concern because, until an importer approves a new trait, even a trace amount of that trait detected in a cargo can result in its rejection and major losses for the shipper.”

Wilkins pointed to ASA’s advocacy for a global Low Level Presence (LLP) policy to tackle this challenge. “An LLP would allow a shipment containing a small amount of an exporting country’s approved trait without resulting in rejection by an importer,” he said.

Pointing specifically to the EU, Wilkins spoke to the difficulties presented by Europe’s labeling policy for foods containing biotechnology-derived ingredients, and noted that such policies may be in violation of the EU’s commitments under the World Trade Organization.

“The EU could have provided information to consumers without distorting trade by establishing voluntary labeling standards for non-biotech foods,” he said. “As a WTO member, the EU is obliged to choose a less restrictive measure if one that accomplishes its objective is available.”

Weekly Ethanol Production for 6/20/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 938,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 38.40 million gallons daily. That is down 34,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 948,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.53 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 18.2 million barrels. That is a 1.9% increase from last week.

Imports of ethanol were zero b/d, unchanged from last week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 370.1 million gallons daily, down nearly 5% from last week. Ethanol inputs by blenders/refiners remained at 891,000 b/d, an annualized rate of 13.66 billion gallons.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.64%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.222 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 104,684 metric tons of livestock feed, 93,326 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.89 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

Ethanol Boat Races Ride Into Garnett

The popular Garnett Ethanol Hydroplane Shootout is returning to Garnett, Kan., July 12–13. This National Boat Racing Association (NBRA) competition pits drivers of hydroplanes and roundabouts against each other in a fast-paced race to the finish. The upcoming race is sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), East Kansas Agri-Energy, and the Kansas Corn Commission. Admission is free and earplugs or noise reducing devices are suggested.

The NBRA, host of the event, has a long history of using E10. They broke speed records on the high-octane ethanol blend. According to Vernon Barfield, tech chairman and vice president of the NBRA, he has had no issues using E10 in their more than 20 years of racing. He has also won more than 35 national championships. The NBRA represents more than 250 drivers in 30 states.

“The Garnett Ethanol Hydroplane Shootout is a popular, family-friendly event where people of all ages can enjoy high-stakes action while learning about the environmental benefits and high-octane power boost of ethanol-blended fuel,” said Robert White, RFA’s director of market development. “There is a lot of misinformation out there about ethanol’s impact on boats, but E10 is safe and approved for use in all marine engines. The Lake Garnett event gives us an opportunity to educate boat owners and non-boat owners, and set the record straight.”

Jeff Oestmann, president and CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy, touted the race as a unique opportunity to highlight the benefits of ethanol. He stated, “It is exciting to see a national organization select Garnett for this event. It allows us to further promote the benefits of ethanol, not only in marine engines, but in all engines. We are proud to be a sponsor, and look forward to the races.”

“The Garnett Ethanol Hydroplane Shootout is a great opportunity to spotlight Kansas agriculture and ethanol,” said Greg Krissek, head of the Kansas Corn Commission. “We are excited to sponsor this year’s race and hope everyone will join us to cheer on the competitors.”

E10 (10 percent ethanol, 90 percent gasoline) is approved for use in marine engines, including two-stroke powered engines, motorboats, outboard motors, and inboard motors. However, E15 (15 percent ethanol) is not approved for use in marine engines. Boat owners should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, check the owner’s manual before filling their engine with fuel, and read labeling at the pump.

Popular names in boating have embraced the use of ethanol. The NBRA uses E10 in all two-stroke motor races. Additionally, respected names in marine motor manufacturing allow ethanol blended fuel in their engines, including Honda, Kawasaki, Mercury Marine, OMC (Johnson/Evinrude), Pleasurecraft, Tigershark (Artco), Tracker and Yamaha.

RFA staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide education on ethanol use in marine engines. Additionally, RFA’s “Fueled with Pride” logo will be displayed on uniforms, course buoys and flags, t-shirts sold at the races by NBRA, trophies, near refueling areas of all boats, and on signs placed throughout the viewing area.

Little Change Seen in Fertilizer Prices

Retail fertilizer prices continue to hold fairly steady with none of the eight major products logging significant price changes the third week of June 2014, according to retailers tracked by DTN.

Seven fertilizers were slightly higher in price compared to last month, but the move to the high side was fairly minor. DAP had an average price of $607 per ton, MAP $631/ton, potash $490/ton, 10-34-0 $581/ton, anhydrous $711, UAN28 $363/ton and UAN32 $415/ton.  DAP did manage to break through the $600-per-ton level after several weeks of getting close. The phosphorus fertilizer last had an average price this high the fourth week of June 2013. The average price that week was $601 per ton.

The remaining fertilizer, urea, was slightly lower from the previous month, but again the move lower was fairly small. The nitrogen fertilizer's average price was $540 per ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.59/lb.N, anhydrous $0.43/lb.N, UAN28 $0.65/lb.N and UAN32 $0.65/lb.N.

With fertilizer prices moving higher in recent months, only two of the eight major fertilizers are now double-digits lower in price compared to June of 2013.  DAP is now down 1% while both MAP and urea are 2% less expensive. 10-34-0 is down 4% while both UAN28 and UAN32 are 7% less expensive. Anhydrous is now 13% less expensive while potash is down 16% compared to a year earlier.

U.S. Hog Farms Are Getting Bigger, But Less of Them

Ron Plain, University of Missouri Livestock Marketing Economist

Every five years the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts a census of all U.S. farms. The latest map of where hogs are located shows continued clustering of hog production, with the two greatest concentrations of hogs found in northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota, and in eastern North Carolina. The Corn Belt from Ohio to Nebraska also has a substantial hog population.

Iowa’s hog inventory was more than a million head larger in 2012 than in 2007. During those same five years, North Carolina’s hog inventory declined more than a million head.

The top three hog states, Iowa, North Carolina and Minnesota had 30.2 percent, 13.1 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively, of the nation’s hogs in 2012. These three states account for more than half of the U.S. swine herd.

In 2012 only 63,246 farms raised hogs. This was a decline of 16 percent from the number reported by the 2007 Census of Agriculture.

The 1935 Ag Census said 3.9 million U.S farms raised hogs. Each subsequent census has found fewer farms with hogs. The 1964 census was the last to find a million hog farms. In 1950, more than half of U.S. farms raised hogs. Today only 3 percent of America’s 2,046,057 farms raise hogs.

Most hog farms have only a few hogs. In 2012 there were 41,688 farms that had from one to 24 head of hogs. Many of these small hog farms are 4-H and FFA projects. That same year there were only 21,558 farms that had more than 24 head of hogs in inventory.

The 2012 census found fewer hog farms in each size category, except for one: The 5,000 head and larger group included 2,850 hog farms in 2007 and 3,007 hog farms in 2012.

Cargill introduces new neonatal pig nutrition program

Cargill’s animal nutrition business today introduces a global nutrition program to help improve piglet livability. The program is designed to help pork producers increase the life expectancy of their pigs through an advanced feeding program that targets neonatal nutrition. Initial research has indicated that Cargill’s neonatal pig nutrition program can increase piglet livability as much as six percent.

“With average global piglet livability of about 82 percent, the mortality of young pigs is a critical challenge for producers around the world, even in the most advanced operations,” said Brooke Humphrey, Cargill Animal Nutrition’s global swine technology director. “At Cargill, we have discovered ways to leverage piglet nutrition and feed processing to help increase livability through our advanced formulation system.”

The program focuses on improving neonatal nutrition – helping piglets increase weight during the first 28 days of life. Mortality during the neonatal phase— from birth until weaning—often runs as high as 18 percent. With the right smell, taste and mouth feel, the new program helps maximize feed intake, which studies show directly impacts weight gain and overall livability.

Available in liquid or dry feeds, the neonatal program has demonstrated the capability to help increase livability (counting stillbirth and pre-weaning deaths) and overall health. In some cases the average birth weight has gone up from 1.3kg to 1.7kg – and the average weaning weight has gone from 6.5kg to 8 kg. Feed preference and intake is strong – and the stool quality is high. The program includes research from CAN’s MAX® formulation system – a unique software modeling program that can formulate customized feeds to help optimize animal health, growth and customer profitability.

The new neonatal nutrition feeds will roll out regionally over the next 12 months.

Monsanto 3Q Earnings Down 5%

(AP) -- Monsanto said its earnings fell more than 5 percent in the third fiscal quarter on lower biotech seed sales, but its performance topped Wall Street estimates and the company raised the lower end of its 2014 outlook. It also announced plans to repurchase $10 billion in shares.

The combination sent shares up more than 5 percent in morning trading Wednesday.

Monsanto Co. said the $10 billion share buyback will take place over two years. The company has about $1.1 billion remaining under its previous share buyback plan.

The St. Louis company said it earned $858 million, or $1.62 per share in the three months ended May 31. That was down from $909 million, or $1.68 per share, a year ago. Revenue was virtually flat at $4.25 billion

The company's earnings beat the average analyst projection, as measured by FactSet, for earnings of $1.54 per share on revenue of $4.39 billion for the quarter.

The company raised the low end of its 2014 forecast to between $5.10 and $5.20 per share. Previously the company's estimate was for earnings of $5 to $5.20 per share.

Monsanto has dominated the bioengineered-seed business for years and recently began developing products specifically for emerging markets like Argentina, Brazil and parts of Asia. The company is also making investments in computerized tools for the agricultural sector.

Monsanto executives predict this expanded portfolio of products will allow the company to double its earnings per share over the next five years.

"The new target reflects management's confidence in the growth opportunity for the core business and transformational potential in new platforms," the company said in a statement.

Monsanto said its seed business will remain the main driver of growth through 2019, contributing an estimated $4 billion in profit over that period.

Sales of the company's best-selling product, genetically-enhanced corn seeds, declined 16 percent in the most recent three-month period as more farmers switched from planting corn to soybeans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects farmers to plant 6 percent more acres of soybeans this year than in 2013, amid predictions of tight supply and higher global demand.


This Fourth of July, Americans will pay more for their backyard barbecues than ever before. The inaugural 2014 Rabobank BBQ Index examines the composition of a ten-person barbecue and how rising commodity prices have impacted the cost over the years, showing an overall price increase from $ 51.90 in 2004 to $55.62during the financial crisis in 2007, to a total of $66.82 in 2014.

Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Rabobank BBQ Index tracks the price of typical barbecue ingredients, from main dishes of grilled chicken or a cheeseburger on a bun topped with lettuce, tomato and pickles, to chips and ice cream on the side and soda and beer to wash it down.

"While commodity price fluctuations are not always passed on to retail prices, American consumers will feel some significant market changes this Fourth of July," said Bill Cordingley, Head of Food and Agribusiness Research at Rabobank. "The beef market has exploded this year and retail ground beef prices, the heart and soul of the American barbecue, are up an astonishing 71% over the last five years. We think there will be more pluck than chuck this year as some consumers lean to chicken sandwiches over burgers."

BBQ Index Breakdown
Meat: Combined, beef and chicken make up one-quarter of the Index and they each tell a different story. While beef has seen the large increase of 71 percent in five years, including 14 percent over last year, chicken prices have remained fairly flat, up just three percent over five years and one percent since last year. According to Rabobank analysts, cattle herds in the United States are the smallest in 63 years and exports have grown substantially, using a larger share of U.S. production, which has driven up the cost. Meanwhile, chicken exports have also expanded, mainly for dark meat. While export prices have increased, domestic white meat demand has remained steady, maintaining stable prices in the U.S.

Dairy: Retail cheese and ice cream prices have both jumped 15 percent in the past five years. Most of the gains in cheese have occurred in the last year, with prices up 11 percent. While U.S. demand for dairy has slowed in recent years, growing demand in China and other developing markets has kept prices rising. U.S. milk typically used for cheese and ice cream is now increasingly shipped overseas as powder. In Q1 2014 U.S. dairy exports rose 26 percent*, and 13 percent of milk produced in the U.S. is now shipped internationally. And with a recent study** saying dairy fats are not bad for you, U.S. prices could go even higher if demand grows both at home and abroad, putting pressure on supplies.

Beverages: Ask your friends to bring the beer, as it comprises 28% of the total barbecue cost. The price of 20 beers has increased by 10 percent over the past five years, as the popularity of more expensive "craft" beers has pushed domestic and premium prices upward. "The two weeks leading up to holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are some of the biggest in beer sales, regardless of price," said a Rabobank beverages analyst. "However, companies will still heavily promote their products and consumers typically load up on beer at home during these key weekends."Soda prices have increased a small four percent over the last five years and are down one percent year-over-year, as slower consumer demand has increased the amount of discounting.

Bread/Snacks: Price-wise it makes sense to keep burgers in the bun: prices are flat compared to 2013 and down one percent over 5 years. In general, wheat prices are dropping with the whole grain complex due to increased global production, particularly this year. Chip prices are also down because people are moving towards lower-fat snack foods, decreasing three percent year-over-year.

Veggies: The drought in Mexico increased prices for tomatoes by 12 percent compared to last year  but vegetables are, as always, the lowest percentage of the Index and the healthier items.   

Tuesday June 24 Ag News

NeFBF President, First VP to attend Town Hall Meetings with Ricketts, Heidemann

The Nebraska Farm Bureau is hosting a number of Ag and Tax Town Hall meetings across the state this week.  These meetings will feature NeFBF President Steve Nelson, NeFBF First Vice-President Mark McHargue, Candidate for Governor Pete Ricketts and his running mate Lavon Heidemann.  The Town Hall Meetings will take place at these locations across Nebraska, including on June 25th:

Norfolk: Prenger’s Restaurant
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
116 East Norfolk Ave. Norfolk, NE 68701

West Point: Neilsen Community Center
5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
200 Anna Stalp Ave. West Point, NE 68788

Pete Ricketts has received the official “Friend of Agriculture” endorsement by NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Ricketts is the Republican Party candidate seeking to win the Nov. 4 General election for Governor. 

"THE BEEF STATE" License Plate is Back!

Nebraska Cattlemen and Nebraska Cattlemen Research & Education Foundation are pleased to announce that they have received the 500 required applications for the “THE BEEF STATE” organizational license plate. The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles has begun printing the plates.

Those who have sent in an application for a plate will be receiving letters from the DMV referencing when they will be receiving the license plates.

For more information or to order a “The Beef State” license plate visit

Crop Diagnostic Clinics Training Opportunities Offered near Mead

            Agribusiness professionals and crop producers will take a close-up look at field conditions, research and techniques at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's midsummer Crop Management Diagnostic Clinic on July 17.

            The UNL Extension clinic begins with 7:30 a.m. registration at the Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead and starts at 8 a.m. Participants will meet at the August N. Christenson Research and Education Building.

            Keith Glewen, UNL extension educator said,  “Benefits of the crop management and diagnostic clinics include one-on-one attention, on-site plot demonstrations, interaction with other participants, discussions about cutting edge research and an opportunity to earn continuing education credits through Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) program."

            Topics on July 17 include:  Selecting Cover Crops and Comparing Seeding Methods; Use of Herbicides for Resistant Weed Management in Soybeans: Now and in the Future; The Herbicide Mode of Action Challenge; Crop Scene Investigation (CSI); Learn skills in how to diagnose field problems; Agronomics and Economics Behind Corn, Cover Crops and Cattle; and Corn Hybrid Placement.

            Six Certified Crop Adviser credits (soil and water management – 1.0, crop management – 2.5 and pest management – 2.5) have been applied for and are pending approval for this clinic.

            Early registration is recommended to reserve a seat and resource materials. Cost for one clinic is $160 for those registering one week in advance and $210 after.

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, email or visit the web at

            A precision ag clinic is scheduled for Aug. 27 and a clinic focusing on the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil and water will be held on Aug. 28.

            Aug. 27 precision ag topics 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 (nutrient management – 3.0, crop management – 2.0 and pest management – 1.5) have been applied for and are pending approval for this clinic.

            Aug. 28 soil and water 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 Temp., Electrical Conductivity, pH, N and P tests; 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 and the Physical, Chemical and Biological Properties of Soil.

            7.5 Certified Crop Adviser credits (nutrient management – 2.0 and soil and water management – 5.5) have been applied for and are pending approval for this clinic.

Cost for one clinic is $160 for those registering one week in advance and $210 after. Cost for both August clinics is $280 one week in advance and $320 after.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Have you noticed an abundance of yellow sweet clover this summer?  This can be good or bad, depending on how it may affect your pastures, your hay, and your cattle.

               In many situations, I like sweet clover.  Sweet clover is a legume and is able to produce its own nitrogen.  In fact, sweet clover can provide more nitrogen for adjacent grasses than most other legumes.  So your pastures might get a production boost following a heavy sweet clover year.

               It also provides good quality grazing similar to alfalfa before plants bloom heavily.  After blooming, though, like now, plants get stemmy and woody, reducing both feed value and palatability.  Even young plants are quite bitter, so if other plants are available to graze, cattle eat only limited amounts of sweet clover.  This greatly reduces bloat hazards, which is a risk when sweet clover is abundant.

               Your biggest risk from sweet clover is in hay.  Specifically, in moldy hay.  Spoiled sweet clover produces a chemical called dicoumarin that interferes with metabolism and synthesis of vitamin K.  Without vitamin K, blood will not clot properly after an injury and blood can even seep out of otherwise healthy blood vessels.  That’s why sweet clover poisoning also is called sweet clover bleeding disease.

               Make sure hay containing sweet clover is extra dry before baling or storing to prevent mold.  And remember – mold can develop on perfectly dry bales if they get wet, so outdoor storage is risky.  If you must feed moldy sweet clover, alternate by feeding moldy hay for a week followed by alfalfa or other non-moldy forage for a week.  This intermittent feeding is safer than mixing good and moldy hay together.

               Sound management will enable you to handle the bad with the good when sweet clover is abundant.


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture today announced the selection of 202 Nebraska high school juniors and seniors to attend the 43rd annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI) this year from July 7-11 on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus.

“This is the largest amount of NAYI delegates in the 43 year history of the Institute,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach.  “NAYI is designed to educate youth about agriculture, how to get involved in the agricultural industry, as well as about the numerous career opportunities available to them in the future.  The week also will provide the delegates an opportunity to network with industry leaders, top-notch speakers, and agricultural representatives.”

During the five-day Institute, the delegates will participate in agriculture policy discussions, agricultural career explorations, and group discussions.  Motivational speakers, a farm management program, and a media experience will help the delegates develop leadership potential, strengthen their pride in Nebraska’s agricultural industry and enable them to help tell the story of agriculture.

Mr. Jake Wilkins    Ainsworth          
Ms. Hannah Borg    Allen          
Mr. Chase Dye    Alliance          
Mr. Calvin Webster    Alma          
Ms. Caroline Howsden    Alma          
Ms. Meagan Carr    Amelia          
Ms. Sydney Taubenheim    Amherst          
Mr. Dusty Chandler    Anselmo          
Ms. Bradie Schmidt    Arlington          
Ms. Abby Rhea    Arlington          
Ms. Brooke Dahlkoetter    Ashland          
Ms. Jerrica Tietz    Bancroft          
Ms. Sarah Wollenburg    Beatrice          
Ms. Sarah Herzinger    Beemer          
Ms. JaCee Johnson    Belgrade          
Mr. Austin Martinez    Bellevue          
Ms. Victoria Talcott    Bennet          
Ms. Sydney Siekman    Bertrand          
Ms. Savannah High    Bertrand          
Ms. Emily Bledsoe    Blair          
Ms. Bailey Schlueter    Blair          
Mr. Shane Hoer    Blair          
Ms. Amelia Petska    Blue Hill          
Mr. Parker Goertzen    Bradshaw          
Ms. Jacy Spencer    Brewster          
Ms. Gabrielle M. Joe    Bruning          
Mr. Layton Dockweiler    Callaway          
Mr. Clayton G'Schwind    Callaway          
Ms. Danea Buschkoetter    Campbell          
Mr. Joel Schardt    Carleton          
Ms. Mollie Maresh    Central City          
Mr. Jordan Nelson    Ceresco          
Mr. Devin Mitchell    Chadron          
Ms. Jenna Podany    Clarkson          
Ms. Melissa VanDerslice    Columbus          
Mr. Michael Purcell    Cook          
Ms. Lindsay Weber    Cook          
Mr. Kaleb Fritz    Creighton          
Ms. Amber Wissenburg    Crete          
Ms. Marlys Brenning    Culbertson          
Mr. Rodger Bruce Farr    Curtis          
Ms. Spencer Bierfreund    Curtis          
Ms. Leah Werner    Davenport          
Ms. Lauren Schmidt    Deshler          
Ms. Rio Mohrmann    Deshler          
Mr. Max Latshaw    DeWitt          
Ms. Shelby Cammack    DeWitt          
Ms. Sara Hubbard    Dickens          
Ms. Paige Aylward    Dickens          
Mr. Emmet Caldwell    Edgar          
Mr. Ben Dush    Elba          
Ms. Ellie Dupree    Elm Creek          
Mr. Clayton Dana    Elm Creek          
Ms. Kaila Smith    Elwood          
Ms. Brittany Dickau    Elwood          
Mr. Matt Rahjes    Elwood          
Mr. Caleb J. Wilson    Elwood          
Ms. Breanna Jakubowski    Emmet          
Ms. Kodi Gehl    Ericson          
Mr. Collin Thompson    Eustis          
Mr. Matt Tomjack    Ewing          
Ms. Erika Schwartz    Fairmont          
Ms. Amanda Dvoracek    Farwell          
Ms. Haley Zabel    Firth          
Mr. Tyler Morton    Fremont          
Ms. Cassandra Wirka    Fremont          
Mr. Cody Zumpfe    Friend          
Ms. Sam Due    Friend          
Ms. Krystal Bialas    Fullerton          
Ms. Kelsey Kuhlman    Gothenburg          
Ms. Jessica Schmidt    Gothenburg          
Ms. Amanda Kowalewski    Gothenburg          
Ms. Holly McPheeters    Gothenburg          
Ms. Caylee Lorenz    Gretna          
Ms. Christina Grubbs    Harrisburg          
Mr. Nathan Larson    Hazard          
Mr. Jonah S. Vonderfecht    Hebron          
Mr. Gage Hoegermeyer    Herman          
Ms. Lydia Wiseman    Hershey          
Ms. Brenna Doeschot    Hickman          
Mr. Jared Roberts    Hooper          
Ms. Kara Jackson    Indianola          
Ms. Samantha Teten    Johnson          
Ms. Shauna Casteel    Kearney          
Ms. Clarissa Hunt    Kearney          
Mr. Brandt Florell    Kearney          
Ms. Maire Walsh    Kearney          
Ms. Maranda Kegley    Kearney          
Mr. Rowdy Keller    Kimball          
Ms. Haley Rogers    Lexington          
Mr. Kade Kalkowski    Lincoln          
Ms. Sydney Kucera    Litchfield          
Mr. Alex Carlson    Loomis          
Mr. Colt Johannsen    Louisville          
Ms. Mirissa Scholting    Louisville          
Ms. Julia Bray    Lyons          
Ms. Heidi Miller    Lyons          
Ms. Rebecca Cornelius    Madrid          
Ms. Renae Sieck    Martell          
Mr. Brandon Sieck    Martell          
Ms. Justine Stone    Maywood          
Ms. Bre Kahler    Maywood          
Mr. Kasey Taylor    Mc Cook          
Ms. McKenzie Crowe    Mc Cook          
Mr. Brendon Hauxwell    Mc Cook          
Mr. Caleb Bauer    Mc Cool Jct          
Mr. Auston Calvert    Mc Cool Jct          
Ms. Deidre Freitas    Mc Cool Jct          
Ms. Alecia Mertz    Mc Cool Jct          
Mr. Justin Ramsdell    Milford          
Ms. Samantha Vaverka    Milford          
Ms. Bailey Petersen    Miller          
Ms. Rena Garretson    Monroe          
Ms. Ellen Rice    Murray          
Ms. Sarah Morton    Nehawka          
Ms. Megan Murdoch    Nehawka          
Ms. Bailey Carpenter    Neligh          
Ms. Cassidy Chapman    North Bend          
Ms. Haley Dolezal    North Bend          
Ms. Morgan Hansen    North Platte          
Mr. Landon Swedberg    North Platte          
Ms. Eleanor Aufdenkamp    North Platte          
Ms. Michelle Henry    North Platte          
Ms. Kacie Gribble    O Neill          
Mr. Jacob Goldfuss    O Neill          
Mr. Grant Uehling    Oakland          
Mr. Jonathan Horvatich    Oakland          
Mr. Logan Kalkowski    Omaha          
Ms. Cadrien Livingston    Orchard          
Ms. Kenzie Drudik    Ord          
Ms. Andi Shellhase    Ord          
Ms. Elizabeth Todsen    Ord          
Ms. Rachel Wieseman    Osceola          
Mr. Tom Percival    Oxford          
Mr. Wes Anderjaska    Palisade          
Ms. Elizabeth Forbes    Palmer          
Mr. Shawn McDonald    Phillips          
Ms. Breann Zimmer    Pleasanton          
Ms. Lani Martin    Pleasanton          
Mr. Brayden Schultis    Plymouth          
Mr. Michael Bauer    Ravenna          
Ms. Michaela Urwiller    Ravenna          
Ms. Morgan Cuttlers    Raymond          
Mr. Zach Settje    Raymond          
Mr. Devin Dibbern    Riverdale          
Mr. Logan Dibbern    Riverdale          
Mr. Kris Rasmussen    Riverdale          
Mr. Colin Dibbern    Riverdale          
Mr. Bryan Wietjes    Riverdale          
Ms. Elizabeth Thiltges    Rulo          
Mr. Dane Hansen    Sargent          
Mr. Austin Novak    Schuyler          
Mr. Jaythan Lewis Scheideler    Scotia          
Mr. Ryan Langemeier    Scribner          
Ms. Alicia Dierberger    Seward          
Ms. Kasey Heath    Seward          
Ms. Brooke Tempel    Seward          
Ms. Vanessa Whitmore    Shelby          
Mr. Blake Stengel    Shickley          
Mr. Nathan Hendrickson    Shickley          
Mr. Grant Hebda    Silver Creek          
Ms. Maggie Louthan    Smithfield          
Mr. Dan Bauer    Spalding          
Ms. Tara Hestermann    Sterling          
Mr. Trevor Birky    Strang          
Ms. Miranda Pierce    Sumner          
Ms. Rachel Ibach    Sumner          
Ms. Sydney Glatter    Sumner          
Ms. Makayla Utecht    Superior          
Ms. Claire Dressman    Superior          
Mr. Ty Steager    Surprise          
Ms. Megan Homolka    Swanton          
Ms. Kate Likens    Swanton          
Ms. Kylie Peter    Trenton          
Ms. Olivia Fiala    Ulysses          
Ms. Abby Nelson    Valparaiso          
Mr. Tim Hoffbauer    Valparaiso          
Ms. Bekah Turnbull    Waco          
Mr. Jonathan Swanson    Wahoo          
Mr. Vince Konecky    Wahoo          
Ms. Mickayla Sheets    Wallace          
Ms. Emma Franklin    Wallace          
Ms. Alexandria Lundvall    Wallace          
Ms. Anna Wilkins    Waverly          
Ms. Caitlin Davis    Waverly          
Ms. Michaela Horn    Weeping Water          
Ms. Lindsey Mills    Weeping Water          
Mr. Hunter Schroeder    West Point          
Mr. Ronald Kramer    West Point          
Ms. Chelsea Nollette    Whitman          
Ms. Katie Odvody    Wilber          
Ms. Cortney Krauter    Wilber          
Mr. Wyatt Kowalski    Wilber          
Mr. Kory Wagner    Winnetoon          
Mr. Ryan Schroeder    Wisner          
Mr. Michael Liermann    Wisner          
Mr. Brody Garner    York          
Mr. Grant Suddarth    York          
Ms. McKinley Wells Wilson    Yutan          
Emily Wang (Taiwan)    Taiwan exchange student           
Arthur Huang (Taiwan)    Taiwan exchange student           
Roy Lee (Taiwan)    Taiwan exchange student        

Since its inception in 1971, NAYI has reached over 5,000 youths from across Nebraska.  The Institute is the longest-running agricultural youth institute of its kind in the nation.  Delegates are able to attend the Institute free of charge because of the generous donations of numerous agricultural businesses, commodity groups and agricultural organizations.

NAYI is coordinated by the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC), which is comprised of 21 college-age men and women selected by NDA.

For up-to-date information about NAYI, please join them on Facebook at

Corn Board Candidate Chrisp Does the Homework Necessary for Success

This article is part of a series profiling candidates for the 2015 NCGA Corn Board

In addition to extensive experience, Lynn Chrisp brings an unwavering dedication to learning every aspect of multifaceted issues and a drive to delve into fellow farmers' perspectives to his work in association leadership. As he completes a three year turn, he seeks to continue building a better future for America's farmers and continue his service as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.

Over his years of service, Lynn developed a strong leadership philosophy.  As he believes his operation demonstrates, he is a strong advocate for collective wisdom, teamwork and dedication.  As a Corn Board member, he seeks to convey a professional image for the organization, maintain an approachable manner, communicate effectively and engage fellow members and others with differing views.

"I have always engaged with the understanding that there is more to farming than being on the farm," he said. "If a person is interested in the health and opportunities of farming, there is much more to their job than operating a tractor or combine. I have the motivation and opportunity to serve. This has pushed me to take opportunities to play an active role in improving the industry."

Over his three years on the Corn Board, Lynn has seen NCGA grow in amazing ways with outstanding efforts in its image and activism campaigns.  As a member of the board, he strives to act as part of a team that elevates NCGA's activities and influence for the sake of all of its membership by maximizing opportunities while limiting potentially detrimental conflict.  He also actively advocates for high levels of accountability and a conservative approach toward funding usage.

"I enjoy delving into the finances of the organization and making sure that we are on strong, sound footing," said Chrisp. "I believe that it is important to do your homework and deeply understand each issue facing farmers. It is crucial to effective leadership that one constantly prepares and is then able to thoughtfully participate in important conversations."

Chrisp farms a highly productive irrigated operation in south central Nebraska consisting of 1,150 acres.  With his son Brandon and part-time seasonal help, Lynn raises mostly corn with some soybeans.  During harvest, Lynn works together with his neighbor to jointly harvest 2,900 acres annually.

Currently, Chrisp serves on the NCGA Corn Board and acts as its liaison to the Ethanol Committee. Additionally, he serves on both the Finance and CEO Search Committees. Previously, he has served as the Corn Board's liaison to the Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team, chaired NCGA's National Corn Yield Contest and served on the Nebraska Corn Growers Association Executive Committee.

The NCGA Corn Board election takes place during Corn Congress on July 16 in Washington.

Seasonal Tipping Point

Matthew A. Diersen, Department of Economics, South Dakota State University

A couple of weeks ago the average price for 5-600# steers (stockers) in South Dakota topped $260 per cwt. That is by far the highest price in our records, and it caps about a 12-month run of price increases. How long will the run last? That seems to be on the minds of both buyers and sellers. Seasonally, June is the peak month for stocker prices in South Dakota. The average price tends to be 5% higher during June than in the surrounding months. January and November tend to have seasonal lows. From a historical perspective, one would expect stocker prices to fall at any time.

Seasonally the price for feeder cattle peaks in September. Futures price currently reflect that pattern, suggesting the trade expects the seasonal break also. The latest fundamentals from the Economic Research Service have projected prices for the fourth quarter of 2014 below third quarter levels. Thus, for buyers there is perhaps some relief in sight for prices. However, what could be done if the pattern does not hold? That is a tough call for buyers, as locking in calf or feeder prices today while not also locking in feed costs leaves buyers open to feeding margins changing. If they wanted to protect against a counter-seasonal move, then buying call options would be a way to approach it.

For sellers methods are more straightforward. One may be tempted to sell or price calves now before the seasonal decline happens. The potential cost of doing so is capping any further gains. Protection strategies are right at the sweet-spot where seasonally prices are high and volatility remains low. Remember, if you will be buying protection and volatility increases with corn price uncertainty, then options become more expensive. In mid-June the implied volatility in the November feeder cattle futures was at 11.5 percent. That is a little higher than in June of 2013, but well below the 17 and 18 percent seen in other recent years. Buying put options provides downside coverage while leaving the upside open to further gains.

Sellers of stockers and calves have another alternative this time of year - Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance. While it functions like buying put options, the price adjustment factor for calves is an attractive feature. With the high prices seen the past year the volume covered by LRP has reached a record high. Nationally, the volume with a week to go in fiscal year 2014 is over 296,000 head. In South Dakota producers have covered a record 80,000 head. In addition, more than 30,000 head have been covered by producers in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. The same low volatility that makes put options attractive also applies to LRP. Currently, LRP coverage can be purchased with end dates, when calves will likely be sold, from September through January. The highest coverage prices available, after premiums, are about $220 per cwt for 5-600# steers. While $220 is not $260, it would still be well above any fall price for stockers in our records.

The Farm Bill: How it Works

The American Farm Bureau Federation has produced a new series of videos and launched a website ( to help farmers, landowners and other stakeholders better understand the provisions of the 2014 farm bill. Featured content includes videos on key commodity program and crop insurance provisions of the farm bill.

“We have distilled down a massive and complex piece of legislation – the 2014 farm bill – into several ‘bite-size’ pieces, with the goal of helping farmers and managers understand how it will affect their farms,” said John Anderson, deputy chief economist with AFBF.

“Now that safety net and risk management tools important in crop planning are in place, along with the new program for dairies, the next step is for farmers to be able to move forward with confidence in determining the best options for their individual farms,” Anderson said. “We created the farm bill video series with that goal in mind.”

The videos include a farm bill overview describing the basic provisions of the commodity title, including a description of the decisions related to program participation that will need to be made by farmers and landowners. Four other videos go in-depth on the Price Loss Coverage and Supplemental Coverage Option, the Agricultural Risk Coverage Program, the Stacked Income Protection Program for Cotton and the Dairy Margin Protection Program.

Links to useful farm bill information from USDA, land-grant universities, and other organizations also is available on the website at

Anticipating Soybean Stocks and Acreage Estimates

On June 30, the USDA will release an estimate of U.S. stocks of soybeans as of June 1 and forecasts of planted and harvested acreage. Both reports will provide important information to the soybean market, but the acreage forecasts should have more important price implications than the stocks estimate because soybean consumption is mostly already known. Although the acreage estimate may be more important, there is more to say about the stocks estimate.

"Because the magnitude of both the domestic crush and exports during the previous quarter are mostly known, the stocks estimate is expected to reveal the smallest June 1 inventory in 37 years," said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good. "However, there is always room for some surprise in the June 1 stocks estimate as the magnitude of seed and residual use in the previous quarter is revealed. In addition, the unknown magnitude of imports during May will be reflected in the stocks estimate. Based on estimates from the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA), members crushed 9.3 percent more soybeans from March through May this year than during the same three months last year. Crush estimates for the entire industry are not available, but the crush by NOPA members accounted for 95.7 percent of the industry total in the 10 months prior to the discontinuation of the Census Bureau crush estimates after June 2011. The USDA no longer makes quarterly crush estimates, but the NOPA estimates have represented 95.4 percent of the USDA marketing-year estimates in the past two marketing years. Assuming that ratio for the most recent quarter, the NOPA crush of 415.3 million bushels points to an industry total of 435.3 million bushels," Good said.

Census Bureau export estimates are available through April whereas USDA estimates are available for the entire quarter. Through April, cumulative marketing-year Census export estimates exceeded USDA export inspection estimates by 23.5 million bushels. "Assuming that margin persisted through May, exports for the March-May quarter are estimated at 186.7 million bushels," Good said.

Census Bureau estimates of soybean imports are also available only through April. Imports in March and April totaled 10.7 million bushels, and cumulative imports for the year totaled 31 million bushels. "If imports are to reach the 90 million bushels projected by the USDA, imports during the last four months of the marketing year need to average 14.8 million bushels per month," Good said. "If May imports were at that level, March-May imports would have totaled 25.5 million bushels."

Seed and residual use of soybeans during the March-May quarter ranged from 11.7 million to 62.7 million bushels in the previous 10 years. The average use was 41.2 million bushels, very close to the average of 47.6 million bushels in the past two years. "If use this year was at 47.6 million bushels, total consumption of U.S. soybeans during the March-May quarter would have been near 669.6 million bushels," Good said. "With March 1 stocks of 992.3 million bushels and quarterly imports of 25.5 million bushels, June 1 stocks would have totaled 348.2 million bushels.

"Unless June 1 stocks are 25 to 30 million bushels larger than expected, the domestic soybean crush during the final three months of the marketing year will have to be much smaller than during the same three months last year, and/or imports will have to exceed the projected level, in order to maintain year-ending stocks at a pipeline level," Good added. "Stocks below the expected level would obviously require a larger drop in the domestic crush or increase in imports."

The USDA's March Prospective Plantings report revealed producer intentions to plant a record 81.493 million acres of soybeans this year, 4.96 million acres more than planted last year. The surveys for the June 30 Acreage report were conducted mostly in the first two weeks of June. According to Good, forecasts of planted and harvested acreage will reflect some level of intentions. The USDA's weekly Crop Progress report indicated that 8 percent of the soybean acreage was yet to be planted as of June 15, mostly double-cropped acres following wheat harvest.

"Much of the uncertainty about the June acreage forecasts relative to March intentions centers on northern producing states where wet conditions delayed corn planting and may have resulted in some switching to soybeans," Good said. "Extreme wet conditions, however, may also result in some acreage not planted at all. Those prevented plantings may not all be revealed in the June surveys.

"For the most part, expectations are that the upcoming forecast of planted acreage will not be smaller than March intentions," Good concluded. "If large acreage is confirmed, prospects for a record-large soybean crop and a build in stocks during the year ahead will be maintained. The potential U.S average yield and size of the crop will be indicated by the weekly crop condition ratings. In the first two reporting weeks, the percentage of the crop rated in either good or excellent condition was record large. That percentage is expected to decline as the season progresses, as it almost always does, but it will likely be above average for at least the next few weeks," he said.

CWT Assists with 4 Million Pounds of Cheese, Butter 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 Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) to sell 158,733 pounds (72 metric tons) of Cheddar and Gouda cheese, 2.315 million pounds (1,050 metric tons) of butter (82% butterfat) and 1.574 million pounds (714 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia and the Middle East. The product will be delivered June through November 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 57.232 million pounds of cheese, 50.229 million pounds of butter and 13.596 million pounds of whole milk powder to 41 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.746 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.

USDA Invites Suggestions for the 2017 Census of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now inviting suggestions 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.

“The recent release of the 2012 Census of Agriculture is the end of an ongoing 5 year-cycle that has started anew with the first stage of the 2017 Census – asking what changes to make in the next questionnaire,” said NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly. “This is the perfect time to ask for suggestions since the 2012 data are fresh on our minds.”

NASS released the complete 2012 Census of Agriculture results on May 2, 2014. The agency is now planning the content for the 2017 Agriculture Census and is accepting input. Any individual or organization may submit suggestions on questionnaire items to add or delete, as well as any other ideas concerning the Census. There will be another opportunity to provide official comment through the Federal Register process in the coming weeks.

“There are many industries looking for data that we don’t already collect,” said NASS Census and Survey Division Director Renee Picanso. “There are also some items that people may think are no longer relevant with changing trends in agriculture. Now is the time to express those ideas and concerns.”

Content suggestions for the 2017 Census will be accepted until Aug. 4, 2014. Comments can be submitted online at Written suggestions may be mailed to: Census Content Team, Room 6451, 1400 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20250.

“We thank you for helping make the Census of Agriculture program a continued success,” added Reilly.

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

Ethanol Highlighted Among the Alternative Fuels In Georgia Road Rally

The FlexFuel Awareness Campaign kicked off week two of the Georgia Alternative Fuel Road Rally this week following successful awareness events in Atlanta, Augusta, Warner Robbins, and Savannah on the first leg of the tour.  The Clean Fuels Foundation, Growth Energy, and a number of agriculture and ethanol supporters are among the sponsors of the tour which is designed to increase consumer and fleet operator awareness for alternative fuels.

The FlexFuel Awareness Campaign is focusing on the message that high level ethanol blends and FFVs are an option for private and government fleets and that they can be very competitive among the family of legally defined alternative fuels.

Clean Fuels Executive Director Doug Durante gave a series of presentations and media  interviews and took the opportunity to remind people that this is about clean air, consumer choice, energy independence.  “With prices jumping once again as a result of instability in the middle east, we can fight back with domestic  alternatives.  In the case of flex fuels this is an easy, immediate choice we can make to take advantage of the 20 million FFVs in use by fleets and consumers.”

Durante said that many of the city and fleet managers they met with were very interested in getting a better understanding of the options that FlexFuel Vehicles provide, including being able to use any combination of gasoline ethanol blends. 

The Alternative Fuel Road Show, now in its 4th year, is America’s largest clean fuel vehicle educational tour and is designed to reach fleet managers, civic leaders, and state legislators to help them make informed decisions about transitioning to clean, alternative transportation fuels.  The 2014 Georgia Alternative Fuel Road Show kicked off at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta with a media event and a workshop for fleet managers.  The Show will roar through 8 cities in total in Georgia, all with media and workshop events.

Durante praised the efforts of the military to lead by example as the tour visited the massive Warner Robins Air Force base in Georgia which is aggressively using E85 on base.  The FlexFuel vehicles are required to fill up on E85 and the staff has implemented several creative approaches to ensure they do so.  He also commended Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols who created the tour and attends every session.   “Mr. Echols is equally supportive of natural gas and propane, electric vehicles, and E85 and is working to get more flex fuel pumps in the state.  He drives a personal FFV on E85 and is on a mission to reduce petroleum use in every way possible.  We truly appreciate what he is doing for the state and the alternative fuels movement”,  said Durante.

In addition to the FlexFuel Awareness Campaign, other sponsors and contributing organizations include the Atlanta Clean Cities Program, the Georgia Public Service Commission, Nissan Motors, and many others.

“As part of an ‘all of the above’ approach, this Road Show showcases all the alternative fuels, and they all have their strengths and advantages in a given situation.  We are pleased to be part of this successful effort and make sure biofuels like ethanol are in the mix”,  said Durante.

Following the Georgia road show the program will move to the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC Metropolitan area with numerous events planned throughout the region. 

June 23 Crop Progress Reports NE - IA - US

Despite Storms - Over Two-Thirds of Corn and Soybeans still in Good to Excellent Shape

For  the week  ending  June  22,  2014, warm, wet  conditions  prevailed  over much  of  the  eastern  two  thirds  of  the  state,  according  to USDA’s National Agricultural  Statistics  Service.  Rainfall  totaling  2  to  3  inches was  common  in  central  counties with  up  to  6  inches  reported  in  the  extreme northeast  causing  lowland  flooding.   Storm  damage  was  reported  with  losses  of  crops,  livestock,  irrigation equipment  and  farm grain  storage. Alfalfa  second  cutting  advanced but was  slowed due  to  rainfall.  Pastures continue  to  show  improvement.  The  number  of  days  considered  suitable  for  fieldwork  were  4.3. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 17 short, 73 adequate, and 7 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 10 percent very short, 22 short, 65 adequate, and 3 surplus.
Field  Crops  Report:

Corn conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 25 fair, 54 good, and 14 excellent. 

Soybeans conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 24 fair, 59 good, and 10 excellent. Soybeans blooming was at 11 percent, ahead of 0 last year and 2 average.

Winter  wheat  conditions  rated  6  percent  very  poor,  16  poor,  32  fair,  42  good,  and  4 excellent. Winter wheat headed was 99 percent, near 97 last year and 98 average. Winter wheat coloring was 62 percent, well ahead of 35 last year, and 52 average. Winter wheat mature was 4 percent, ahead of 1 last year, but behind 13 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 2 poor, 41 fair, 50 good, and 7 excellent. Sorghum emerged was 83 percent, behind 88 last year and 90 average. Sorghum headed was 1 percent, near 0 last year and 0 average.

Oat  condition  rated  3  percent  very  poor,  18  poor,  34  fair,  44  good,  and  1  excellent.  Oats  jointing  was  90 percent. Oats headed was 66 percent, behind 73 last year and 80 average. Oats coloring was at 13 percent.  

Alfalfa hay  conditions  rated 2 percent very poor, 7 poor, 37  fair, 47  good,  and 7  excellent. Alfalfa hay  first cutting was 87 percent complete, ahead of 81  last year, but near the average of 86. Alfalfa hay second cutting was 12 percent complete, ahead of 2 last year, but near 14 average. 
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  8  percent  very  poor,  12  poor, 35 fair, 40 good, and 5 excellent.

Stock water supplies rated 4 percent very short, 6 short, 87 adequate, and 3 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:


Frequent precipitation halted fieldwork in Iowa during the week ending June 22, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.   Temperatures were above normal  for  the week, while  severe storms brought high winds and hail  to  the State.   Statewide  there were only 2.0 days suitable for fieldwork.  

Recent  precipitation  raised  soil  moisture  levels.    Topsoil  moisture levels  rated 0 percent very short, 4 percent  short, 68 percent adequate, and 28 percent  surplus.   Subsoil moisture  levels  rated 1 percent very short,  12  percent  short,  71  percent  adequate,  and  16  percent  surplus.  Northwest  Iowa was  the wettest with over 40 percent of  the  topsoil  in surplus condition.

Corn  condition  rated  1 percent very  poor,  4 percent  poor,  16  percent fair,  58  percent  good,  and  21  percent  excellent.  

With  almost  all  of Iowa’s  soybean  acreage  emerged,  soybean  condition  rated  1  percent very  poor,  5  percent  poor,  18  percent  fair,  58  percent  good,  and 18 percent excellent.  There were isolated reports of soybeans blooming across  Iowa.   

Seventy-one  percent  of  the  oat  crop  has  headed, 8 percentage points above  last year but 4 percentage points behind  the five-year average.   A  few  farmers  reported seeing oats starting  to  turn color.      Oat  condition  rated  0  percent  very  poor,  2  percent  poor, 25 percent fair, 61 percent good, and 12 percent excellent.  

The first cutting of alfalfa hay was 84 percent complete, well ahead of last  year’s  66  percent  and  8  percentage  points  above  average.    Hay condition was rated 0 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 25 percent fair, 54  percent  good,  and  17  percent  excellent.    Pasture  condition  rated 1 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 24 percent  fair, 52 percent good, and  19  percent  excellent.    Stress  on  livestock  increased  this  week because of the heat and flooding.


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

It was a warm and very wet week across Iowa.     The most widespread rain came on Monday  (16th)  into Tuesday  (17th) morning when nearly all of the northern one-half of the state received more than two inches of rain.   Greatest rain totals with this first event were reported at Peterson (Clay  County)  with  5.14  inches  and  Lester  (Lyon  County)  with 4.87 inches.     Another  event brought  rain  to  the northern  one-third  of Iowa on Wednesday (18th) morning with a few locations receiving over two  inches.      Yet  another  complex  of  thunderstorms  moved  across extreme  northeast  Iowa  on Wednesday  night  bringing  4.52  inches  of rain  to Dubuque.     Rain fell statewide on Thursday (19th) with greatest amounts, locally exceeding three inches, falling across the east one-half of  the state.     The rain focus shifted  to western Iowa over  the weekend with  heavy  rain  Friday  (20th)  night  across  the  southwest  where 4.27 inches of rain fell just south of Council Bluffs.   Finally, a few far western areas  received an  inch or  two of  rain on Saturday  (21st) night.   Only a few small areas across south central and southeast Iowa recorded below  normal  rainfall  for  the week.     Weekly  rain  totals  varied  from 0.17  inches  at Centerville  to 8.08  inches  at Hampton.     The  statewide average precipitation was 3.66 inches or three times the weekly normal of 1.17 inches.   This was the greatest weekly average since early June 2008.     Meanwhile  temperatures  were  above  normal  throughout  the week.   Temperature extremes varied from Monday (16th) morning lows of 51 degrees at Swea City and Tripoli to a Friday (20th) afternoon high of  94  degrees  at  Sidney.      Temperatures  for  the  week  as  a  whole averaged 3.3 degrees above normal.

Corn Condition - Selected States: Week Ending June 22, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Colorado .......:     -           2          26          47          25    
Illinois .......:     1           3          18          53          25    
Indiana ........:     1           4          21          53          21    
Iowa ...........:     1           4          16          58          21    
Kansas .........:     3           7          39          44           7    
Kentucky .......:     1           3          17          57          22    
Michigan .......:     1           2          17          63          17    
Minnesota ......:     1           6          23          57          13    
Missouri .......:     -           4          21          55          20    
Nebraska .......:     2           5          25          54          14    
North Carolina .:     1           5          28          52          14    
North Dakota ...:     -           1          14          70          15    
Ohio ...........:     1           3          18          59          19    
Pennsylvania ...:     -           2          14          55          29    
South Dakota ...:     1           1          17          71          10    
Tennessee ......:     2           4          17          55          22    
Texas ..........:     -           4          34          45          17    
Wisconsin ......:     -           3          18          59          20    
18 States ......:     1           4          21          56          18    
Previous week ..:     1           3          20          59          17    
Previous year ..:     2           6          27          51          14    

Soybeans Planted - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                 :            Week ending            :          
      State      : June 22,  : June 15,  : June 22,  : 2009-2013
                 :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                 :                    percent                   
Arkansas ........:     87          76          86          92   
Illinois ........:     95          94          96          93   
Indiana .........:     96          91          96          94   
Iowa ............:     88          99         100          97   
Kansas ..........:     87          86          90          92   
Kentucky ........:     75          70          80          84   
Louisiana .......:     97          97          98          98   
Michigan ........:    100          97          99          98   
Minnesota .......:     93          93          95          98   
Mississippi .....:     98          90          94          99   
Missouri ........:     82          86          93          86   
Nebraska ........:    100         100         100         100   
North Carolina ..:     66          71          81          80   
North Dakota ....:     91          96         100          97   
Ohio ............:    100          91          95          97   
South Dakota ....:     97          98          99          97   
Tennessee .......:     71          70          78          85   
Wisconsin .......:     83          93          96          96   
18 States .......:     91          92          95          94   

Soybeans Emerged - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                 :            Week ending            :          
      State      : June 22,  : June 15,  : June 22,  : 2009-2013
                 :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                 :                    percent                   
Arkansas ........:    76          73          78          84    
Illinois ........:    84          89          93          86    
Indiana .........:    89          85          91          87    
Iowa ............:    72          95          98          91    
Kansas ..........:    75          77          84          83    
Kentucky ........:    58          58          72          75    
Louisiana .......:    93          91          93          96    
Michigan ........:    94          82          96          92    
Minnesota .......:    79          82          90          94    
Mississippi .....:    93          85          87          97    
Missouri ........:    64          79          86          75    
Nebraska ........:    94          97          99          97    
North Carolina ..:    56          63          72          68    
North Dakota ....:    73          79          90          86    
Ohio ............:    95          78          88          90    
South Dakota ....:    82          88          92          86    
Tennessee .......:    52          52          62          69    
Wisconsin .......:    66          76          90          88    
18 States .......:    79          83          90          87    

Soybean Condition - Selected States: Week Ending June 22, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Arkansas .......:     1           8          31          43          17    
Illinois .......:     1           3          23          55          18    
Indiana ........:     1           4          25          56          14    
Iowa ...........:     1           5          18          58          18    
Kansas .........:     1           2          39          52           6    
Kentucky .......:     1           3          18          62          16    
Louisiana ......:     2           9          22          46          21    
Michigan .......:     1           3          18          65          13    
Minnesota ......:     1           6          29          56           8    
Mississippi ....:     1           8          28          47          16    
Missouri .......:     -           4          26          59          11    
Nebraska .......:     2           5          24          59          10    
North Carolina .:     -           3          25          60          12    
North Dakota ...:     -           1          14          69          16    
Ohio ...........:     1           4          19          65          11    
South Dakota ...:     1           3          20          67           9    
Tennessee ......:     1           4          19          62          14    
Wisconsin ......:     -           2          19          57          22    
18 States ......:     1           4          23          58          14    
Previous week ..:     1           3          23          60          13    
Previous year ..:     2           5          28          54          11    

Winter Wheat Harvested - Selected States

[These 18 States harvested 86% of the 2013 winter wheat acreage]
                 :            Week ending            :          
      State      : June 22,  : June 15,  : June 22,  : 2009-2013
                 :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                 :                    percent                   
Arkansas ........:    68          16          62          88    
California ......:    77          50          73          57    
Colorado ........:     2           -           -           9    
Idaho ...........:     -           -           -           -    
Illinois ........:    10           -          20          31    
Indiana .........:     6           -          13          22    
Kansas ..........:     7           2          24          34    
Michigan ........:     -           -           -           -    
Missouri ........:    21           -          29          47    
Montana .........:     -           -           -           -    
Nebraska ........:     -           -           -           5    
North Carolina ..:    44          33          68          74    
Ohio ............:     1           -           -           4    
Oklahoma ........:    51          47          74          74    
Oregon ..........:     -           -           -           -    
South Dakota ....:     -           -           -           -    
Texas ...........:    54          40          69          64    
Washington ......:     -           -           -           -    
18 States .......:    19          16          33          31    

Monday June 23 Ag News

Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation - PAC Endorses Pete Ricketts for Governor

Pete Ricketts has received the official “Friend of Agriculture” endorsement by NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Ricketts is the Republican Party candidate seeking to win the Nov. 4 General election for Governor. 

“Nebraska needs leaders who understand the importance of agriculture to our state’s economy and the importance of keeping farmers and ranchers on the land. Pete Ricketts shares that vision and because of that we are pleased to support him for Governor,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

According to Nelson, Ricketts’ policy platforms match well with Nebraska Farm Bureau’s key policy issues, particularly tax policy.

“The property tax burden on Nebraska farm and ranch families is not sustainable. We need meaningful tax reform that provides a balanced approach to funding local schools and local government. Pete Ricketts understands the inequities in our property tax system and we believe he’ll lead on this issue,” said Nelson.

Ricketts has also championed other agriculture policies supported by Farm Bureau members.

“Pete has been successful in business because he understands when opportunities exist.  There is a world of opportunity to grow Nebraska’s agriculture economy in a way that will keep younger generations coming back to the farm. That means creating a climate that encourages growth in our livestock farming sector and growth in biofuel businesses; and working to build markets for agriculture commodities. Pete Ricketts understands those opportunities and he’ll move our state in the right direction in those areas,” said Nelson.

“He also knows that water resources are critical to agriculture and he’s committed to working for policies that will keep water available to meet the needs of all Nebraskans, including farmers and ranchers” said Nelson.

Farm Bureau’s process for making endorsements is a grassroots process determined solely from input from County Farm Bureaus.

“Pete was the clear-cut choice of our County Farm Bureaus. To his credit, he’s worked very hard to get to know the challenges that face farm and ranch families and to build relationships with Farm Bureau members across our state. That was evident in the selection process.  We are proud to lend our support to Pete Ricketts in his bid for Governor and we look forward to working with him in that capacity,” Nelson said.

ACE Denies Causing Missouri Floods

(AP) --- The federal government says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shouldn't be blamed for causing major flooding along the Missouri River.

The government filed its initial response last week to a lawsuit that more than 200 landowners filed in March.

The federal lawsuit claimed landowners should be compensated for the extensive damage they experienced --- particularly during the extended 2011 flooding that devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of mostly farmland in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

Landowners say the government is putting less emphasis on flood control while deciding how to manage Missouri River reservoirs because of efforts to restore habitat for endangered species.

Government lawyers filed a 56-page response Thursday denying the allegations.

The lawsuit is likely to take several years to resolve.

Flame Weeding Workshop, August 14, 2014, Haskell Ag Lab, University of Nebraska, Concord, NE 

Propane fueled Flame Weeding is an acceptable method of weed (pest) control in organic farming, which is also gaining interest among conventional producers due to increase in weed resistance and costs of GMO crop seeds. 

We will present results from the 7-years of research conducted by the Teams of Dr. Stevan Knezevic (Weed Science) and Dr. George Gogos (Mechanical Engineering). This work is also documented in about 20 scientific publications, 100 abstracts presented at many Regional, National and International meetings, and a patent for flaming equipment.

Propane doses for weed control and crop tolerance data will be presented. Research update on winter annual weed control with flaming will be also covered.  Flame Weeding Manual will be provided.  Four and 8-row commercial type flamers with patented hoods for broadcast and banded flaming will be demonstrated. Inter-row cultivation and intra-row flaming combined in a single operation will also be demonstrated. Several local organic farmers will share their experience with flame weeding on their farms. 

We will teach you how to do proper flaming to control over 10 major Midwestern weeds in 7 agronomic crops (field corn, sweet corn, popcorn, soybean, sorghum, sunflower and wheat). Workshop is limited to 30 people, at the cost of $100 (lunch provided). 
AGENDA (tentative):

09:30 – 10:00 - Registration
10:00 – 10:15 – Introductions and overview of the program (Dr. Stevan Knezevic)  
10:15 – 10:30 – Basics of Flame Weeding and Equipment (Dr. Stevan Knezevic)
10:30 – 10:45 - Propane dose response for control of various weed species (Dr.Stevan Knezevic)  
10:45 – 12:00 - Field Demonstration of Flame Weeding Equipment and Procedures (Chris Bruening)
12:00 – 1:00 - Lunch (provided)
1:00 – 2:00 – Development of flaming hoods and torches (Dr. George Gogos )   
2:00 – 2:30 – Crop tolerance to single and multiple flaming (Dr. Stevan Knezevic)
2:30 – 2:45 – Break
2:45 – 3:15 – Flame weeding and cultivation in corn and soybean (Dr. Stevan Knezevic)
3:15 – 3:45 – Experience from local producers (Randy Fendrich, Larry Stanislav, Mike Ostry)
3:45 – 5:00 – Field Tour of flame weeding research and pertinent discussions 
5:00 - Adjourn

Partial scholarships available to certified organic farmers from Nebraska. For more information and registration contact Wendy Winstead, Ph: 402-584-3837,

2014 Nebraska Manure Demonstration Day

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Central
Noon speaker and free meal (with registration)
Dawson County Fairgrounds
Lexington, NE

What is the Manure Demonstration Day?
It combines 3 attractions into 1 event.
-    See the latest manure handling equipment
-    Watch live demonstrations
-    Learn up-to-date information on manure management*

The 2014 Manure Demonstration Day, a smaller version of the North American Manure Expo, will focus on the needs of the manure industry in Nebraska. Participants can view vendors, demonstrations and will have opportunities to learn more about manure management and handling.

What you should know:

-    Nebraska hosted the North American Manure Expo in Norfolk, NE in July of 2011 and this event was very well received, attracting an estimated audience of about 1200 people.
-    Custom Manure Applicators in the state of Nebraska have requested another Manure Expo in Nebraska leading the Animal Manure Management Team to begin planning for this Nebraska Manure Demonstration Day based on the North American Manure Expo, but focusing on Nebraska.
-    The 2014 North American Manure Expo ( will be held on July 9, 2014 in Springfield, Missouri and in Pennsylvania in 2015.

Location and Facility:
-    The Dawson County Fairgrounds is located just North (3 miles) off Interstate 80 in Lexington, NE so it is easy to find.
-    Large indoor, arena building with restrooms nearby and outdoor space for larger exhibits.
-    20 acres of land application demonstration area immediately adjacent to the fairgrounds.

-    Livestock and poultry producers and professionals
-    Professional manure handlers, applicators and brokers
-    Handlers of both liquid and solid manures
-    Crop consultants and nutrient management specialists
-    Compost managers
-    Custom operators
-    Agricultural support industry
-    Extension and agency personnel

Planned Education Topics:
-   PEDV, composted manures, using manure on crops, mortality composting, soil health following manure application

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Exhibitor and Sponsor Registration:
Sandi Karstens
402-472-1772 or 800-328-2851

All other information requests:
Leslie Johnson

Landowner’s Nebraska Supreme Court Brief Filed in Lawsuit v. Governor

Landowners filed their written arguments (available here) with the Nebraska Supreme Court late Friday, June 20. Randy Thompson, Suz Straka and Susan Dunavan filed the case in May 2012 to challenge the validity of LB 1161. The law was passed by the Unicameral during the 2012 Presidential election when the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline was gaining early notice as a political issue. The landowners claim the law was passed as a partisan act and special favor to the foreign pipeline company to allow it to condemn land and take it from private owners.

The Landowners’ Brief argues that LB 1161 violates the Nebraska Constitution because the law; a) improperly lets the Governor approve a route for the pipeline when this duty is conferred strictly on the Public Service Commission;  b) improperly allows the Governor to confer the power of eminent domain on a private company; c) requires the State to pledge its credit and money to finance a route investigation for a private party; and d) denies citizens proper legal procedures because LB 1161 contains no legal standard for decisions and no provision for judicial review. 

In February, the District Court in Lincoln ruled for the landowners and declared LB 1161 invalid.  Gov. Heineman and the Attorney General appealed.  Summarizing the appeal, and responsive arguments, the Landowners’ argue:

Heineman’s argument for reversal and for a decision upholding LB 1161 as a lawful delegation of authority to the Governor turns on what is a “common carrier”.  He contends  LB 1161 does not regulate common carriers. [He is wrong.]  LB 1161 contains telltale admissions that it does apply to common carriers. First, in §1 (E3, p3) it refers to “transporting or conveying” products “through or across” Nebraska. Second, §1 confers the power to extend eminent domain authority to approved pipeline carriers though this term does not appear until later. Third, the term used in LB 1161 is “Commission”  [and this means  the PSC.]  Fourth, [LB 1161] uses the term “pipeline carrier”. Fifth, the power of eminent domain is only exercisable when a taking is for a “public purpose”. Unless TransCanada is a common carrier that carries goods for others, it is just a private company doing nothing for the public, and there is no public purpose.

Dave Domina, the Landowners’ lawyer commented:
“Our clients defense of the Constitution continues. Protecting individual liberties and property rights while guarding against expedient political shortcuts for big oil favors continues to be the focus of this case. The Attorney General’s office has the opportunity to file a final reply brief and to answer our cross appeal raising more issues about this law. We will then get the final word. I suspect the case will be heard by the Supreme Court in September or perhaps October.”

On April 18, 2014, the U.S. Department of State extended the timetable for its decision on the proposed KXL pipeline project citing the Nebraska constitutional challenge lawsuit correctly noting the outcome of the case will affect the Nebraska route. After this announcement Domina stated “I am not surprised. The President has insisted that he have all the facts about the pipeline and the route before making his Executive Decision.  Nebraska’s Supreme Court must decide a state law question. The decision bears directly on where, when, and if the pipeline company will be permitted to operate across Nebraska. The President knows the current route may change. And it should… it still crosses the Ogallala aquifer.”

“My landowner clients are standing up for the Nebraska Constitution in the face of an attempt by big oil and politicians to run over it,” added Domina.

If the district court’s decision in favor of the landowners is upheld by the Nebraska Supreme Court, any pipeline route review would go to the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC review process could take approximately 7 months.

Landowner Supreme Court Brief:

Third Annual Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit Focused on New Market Drivers   

As intense summer storms continue to trek across the state, Iowa farmers know that weather is one factor they can’t control, but emerging technology is helping today’s farmers scout fields, spot and fix rain-washed areas of their field and can even help them make more efficient use of fertilizer or pesticides.  The upcoming 2014 Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit, ‘Finding the Next Set of Market Drivers for Agriculture,’ brings the nation’s leading drones, big data and agriculture technology and marketing experts to the Scheman Center, July 21-22, in Ames to help Iowa crop and livestock farmers make the most of emerging technology.           

“We are on the cusp of change in a lot of technologies and we don’t know all of its potential yet.  In fact, in a lot of cases, we don’t even know yet what questions to ask about technology, so it makes sense to bring in some of the experts at the IFBF summit to provide insights into the potential opportunities and pitfalls of the drone and big data technology,” says IFBF Director of Research and Commodity Services Dave Miller.   

The 2014 IFBF Economic Summit brings in national experts to help Iowa farmers explore a number of areas which have potential to greatly influence profitability of Iowa-grown commodities.   The two-day IFBF Economic Summit features several national experts, including: David Oppedahl, economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; Mary Kay Thatcher, farm policy expert for the American Farm Bureau Federation; Kevin Price, a national expert on the use of drones in agriculture; and Will Zhang, an Iowa-based expert on China.  Summit registration, which includes access to all presentations and lunch on both days, is $50 for Farm Bureau members.  For non-members, registration completed before July 11 is $150.  Registration costs increase after July 11 to $75 for Farm Bureau members and $175 for non-members. 


Egg  production  in  Iowa  during May  2014 was  1.31  billion eggs, up 5 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  May  was 54.5 million, up 1 percent  from  last month  and up 3 percent from  the  53.1 million  last  year.  Eggs  per  100  layers  for  the month of May were 2,395; up 4 percent from last month, and up fractionally from 2,384 last year.

US Egg Production Up 3 Percent

United States egg production totaled 8.24 billion during May 2014, up 3 percent from last year. Production included 7.15 billion table eggs, and 1.09 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.01 billion were broiler-type and 78 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during May 2014 averaged 352 million, up 2 percent from last year. May egg production per 100 layers was 2,337 eggs, up slightly from May 2013. 

All layers in the United States on June 1, 2014 totaled 352 million, up 2 percent from last year. The 352 million layers  consisted  of  296  million  layers  producing  table  or  market  type  eggs,  53.6  million  layers  producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.08 million  layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of  lay per day on June 1, 2014, averaged 74.9 eggs per 100 layers, down slightly from June 1, 2013.

USDA Cold Storage Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on May 31, 2014 were down 3 percent from the previous month and down 16 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 6 percent from the previous month and down 21 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 1 percent from the previous month and down 13 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 3 percent from last month and up 57 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies were up 8 percent from the previous month but down 15 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 5 percent from the previous month but down 12 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 13 percent from last month but down 19 percent from May 31, 2013.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on May 31, 2014 were up 3 percent from the previous month but down 7 percent from May 31, 2013.  Butter stocks were up 11 percent from last month but down 40 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were down 7 percent from last month and down 5 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 8 percent from last month and down 4 percent from a year ago.

New York Hog Farmers Thank Legislature For Supporting Humane Farming Rights

The New York Pork Producers, the National Pork Producers Council and America’s hog farmers today hailed the New York Legislature for not taking up ill-advised legislation banning the use of individual maternity pens for pregnant sows. The pens are approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

If passed, the legislation would have had a devastating effect on local sustainable farming in New York by forcing farmers to abandon the humane animal housing practice. New York family farmers use individual maternity pens because they allow for personalized animal care and eliminate pregnancy aggression from other sows. Banning the practice could have resulted in financial damage and, potentially, destroyed a sustainable and affordable food source for New Yorkers.

“New York hog farmers are pleased the legislature realized there are far more critical issues to consider than attacking small family farms in rural New York,” said Ed Keller, president of the New York Pork Producers.

The legislation was pushed by well-funded animal-rights lobbying groups, which have dramatically increased their legislative efforts in the last few years, organizing in as many as six states at a time. While extreme animal-rights proponents have expended and wasted significant resources in many states, 41 states have refused to pass similar legislation into law. The victory in New York marks two years since a state legislature has been misled into passing similar misguided legislation against family farmers.

“Sure, the animal-rights groups had some early successes, but now that legislators are hearing both sides of the issue, they are choosing to allow the farmers to care for their animals the best way they can,” Keller said.

CHS Inc. files $2 billion shelf registration statement

CHS Inc. announced Friday it has filed a shelf registration statement on Form S-3 with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). Under the shelf registration, upon being declared effective by the SEC, CHS may offer and sell, from time to time, up to $2 billion of its Class B cumulative redeemable preferred stock over the next three years.

The shelf registration statement is intended to give CHS additional flexibility to finance future business opportunities by accessing the capital markets on a timely and cost-effective basis. At the present time, the Company has no specific plans to issue preferred stock under the registration statement. The specifics of any future offering, along with the prices and terms of any such preferred stock and the use of proceeds of a particular offering, will be determined at the time of any such offering and will be described in a prospectus supplement filed in connection with such offering.

CHS President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Casale said the filing was a strategic move intended to provide flexibility. "The shelf registration statement provides us financial flexibility for general corporate purposes. In addition, it streamlines the process in the event we identify strategic opportunities that may require additional capital."

The shelf registration statement relating to the preferred stock has been filed with the SEC but has not yet become effective. The preferred stock may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the shelf registration statement becomes effective. Any offering of the preferred stock will be made solely by means of a prospectus and an accompanying prospectus supplement relating to that offering. A copy of the prospectus included in the registration statement may be obtained on the SEC's website at

First Participants in Conservation Stewardship Program Can Renew for Five More Years

Producers with expiring U.S. Department of Agriculture Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts have from July 11 until Sept. 12, 2014 to renew and add conservation activities that will support their natural resource improvement activities and fine-tune their conservation plans.

“CSP farmers are conservation leaders and go the extra mile to conserve our nation’s resources,” said Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Jason Weller. “The 2014 Farm Bill continued that strong commitment and heightened the program’s focus on generating conservation benefits.  This program allows landowners to reach the next level of conservation and opens the door to trying new conservation activities.”

About 20,000 CSP contracts are reaching the end of their initial five-year contract period and may be renewed for an additional five years when participants agree to take additional conservation actions.

The program provides opportunities for farmers and ranchers who are already established conservation stewards, helping them improve water quality and quantity, soil health and wildlife habitat.  Renewal applications will be accepted beginning on July 11, 2014. There will also be another signup in fiscal year 2015.

More than 58 million acres were enrolled in the program – an area the size of Indiana and Wisconsin combined, following the launch of the program in 2009.  CSP participants boost their operations’ conservation benefits by installing new conservation activities that make positive changes in soil, water, air quality and wildlife habitat.

For example, the program helped Kentucky cattle farmers, Jake and Jondra Shadowen, improve the health of their cattle as well as the surrounding environment.

Through CSP, the Shadowens send manure samples to a laboratory for analysis six times a year to gauge cattle health and see how their cows are responding to forage. They also built wildlife-friendly fences, escape routes in water troughs, and added pollinator habitat to the farm.

The farm is now a model for the community and has been used for soil health demonstrations to help others see the benefit of rotational grazing and added conservation practices.

To learn about technical and financial assistance available through CSP, visit, the Conservation Stewardship webpage or local USDA service center. For more on the 2014 Farm Bill, visit

USDA Announces New Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced the implementation of new Farm Bill measures and other policy changes to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers. Harden also unveiled, a new website that will provide a centralized, one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed.

"New and beginning farmers are the future of American agriculture," said Deputy Secretary Harden. "The average age of an American farmer is 58 and rising, so we must help new farmers get started if America is going to continue feeding the world and maintain a strong agriculture economy. The new policies announced today will help give beginning farmers the financial security they need to succeed. Our new online tool will provide one-stop shopping for beginning farmers to learn more about accessing USDA services that can help their operations thrive."

USDA's New Farmers website has in depth information for new farmers and ranchers, including: how to increase access to land and capital; build new market opportunities; participate in conservation opportunities; select and use the right risk management tools; and access USDA education, and technical support programs. These issues have been identified as top priorities by new farmers. The website will also feature instructive case studies about beginning farmers who have successfully utilized USDA resources to start or expand their business operations.

Today's policy announcements in support of beginning farmers and ranchers include:
-    Waiving service fees for new and beginning farmers or ranchers to enroll in the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for the 2014 crop year. NAP provides risk management tools to farmers who grow crops for which there is no crop insurance product. Under this waiver, announced via an official notice (PDF, 171KB) to Farm Service Agency offices, farmers and ranchers whom already enrolled in NAP for the 2014 crop year are eligible for a service fee refund.
-    Eliminating payment reductions under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for new and beginning farmers which will allow routine, prescribed, and emergency grazing outside the primary nesting season on enrolled land consistent with approved conservation plans. Previously, farmers and ranchers grazing on CRP land were subject to a reduction in CRP payments of up to 25 percent. Waiving these reductions for new and beginning farmers will provide extra financial support during times of emergency like drought and other natural disasters.
-    Increasing payment rates to beginning farmers and ranchers under Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) (PDF, 288KB). Under this provision, beginning and farmers can claim up 90 percent of losses for lost livestock, such as bees, under ELAP. This is a fifty percent increase over previously available payment amounts to new and beginning farmers.

In the near future, USDA will also announce additional crop insurance program changes for beginning farmers and ranchers – including discounted premiums, waiver of administrative fees, and other benefits.

These policy announcements are made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

The Deputy Secretary made these announcements at the inaugural meeting of the reconvened Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee held at the University of California Davis, California. This Advisory Committee, composed of 20 members, including Extension agents, lenders, farmers, ranchers and academics will meet through 2015 to learn, discuss, and formulate recommendations to USDA on how to support new and beginning farmers.

A fact sheet outlining significant USDA efforts to support beginning farmers and ranchers, and other Department-wide accomplishments, are available on

Monsanto Mulled Bid for Swiss Rival Syngenta

Seed giant Monsanto Co. considered a takeover of Syngenta AG, a Swiss rival, in part driven by the possibility of relocating Monsanto's tax location to Switzerland, Bloomberg News reported Monday on its website, citing people familiar with the matter.

The two companies in the past few months held preliminary talks with advisers about a deal. However, Syngenta management nixed negotiations and a combination now is defunct, the people said.

Lee Quarles, a spokesman for Monsanto, told Bloomberg that the company is "not in discussions on this particular matter," and a spokesman for Syngenta declined comment.

UC Davis MIND Institute study finds association between maternal exposure to agricultural pesticides, autism in offspring

Pregnant women who lived in close proximity to fields and farms where chemical pesticides were applied experienced a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delay, a study by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute has found. The associations were stronger when the exposures occurred during the second and third trimesters of the women’s pregnancies.

The large, multisite California-based study examined associations between specific classes of pesticides, including organophosphates, pyrethroids and carbamates, applied during the study participants’ pregnancies and later diagnoses of autism and developmental delay in their offspring. It is published online today in Environmental Health Perspectives.

“This study validates the results of earlier research that has reported associations between having a child with autism and prenatal exposure to agricultural chemicals in California,” said lead study author Janie F. Shelton, a UC Davis graduate student who now consults with the United Nations. “While we still must investigate whether certain sub-groups are more vulnerable to exposures to these compounds than others, the message is very clear: Women who are pregnant should take special care to avoid contact with agricultural chemicals whenever possible.”

California is the top agricultural producing state in the nation, grossing $38 billion in revenue from farm crops in 2010. Statewide, approximately 200 million pounds of active pesticides are applied each year, most of it in the Central Valley, north to the Sacramento Valley and south to the Imperial Valley on the California-Mexico border. While pesticides are critical for the modern agriculture industry, certain commonly used pesticides are neurotoxic and may pose threats to brain development during gestation, potentially resulting in developmental delay or autism.

The study was conducted by examining commercial pesticide application using the California Pesticide Use Report and linking the data to the residential addresses of approximately 1,000 participants in the Northern California-based Childhood Risk of Autism from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study. The study includes families with children between 2 and 5 diagnosed with autism or developmental delay or with typical development. It is led by principal investigator Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a MIND Institute researcher and professor and vice chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at UC Davis. The majority of study participants live in the Sacramento Valley, Central Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Twenty-one chemical compounds were identified in the organophosphate class, including chlorpyrifos, acephate and diazinon. The second most commonly applied class of pesticides was pyrethroids, one quarter of which was esfenvalerate, followed by lambda-cyhalothrin permethrin, cypermethrin and tau-fluvalinate. Eighty percent of the carbamates were methomyl and carbaryl.

For the study, researchers used questionnaires to obtain study participants' residential addresses during the pre-conception and pregnancy periods. The addresses then were overlaid on maps with the locations of agricultural chemical application sites based on the pesticide-use reports to determine residential proximity. The study also examined which participants were exposed to which agricultural chemicals.

“We mapped where our study participants’ lived during pregnancy and around the time of birth. In California, pesticide applicators must report what they’re applying, where they’re applying it, dates when the applications were made and how much was applied,” Hertz-Picciotto said. “What we saw were several classes of pesticides more commonly applied near residences of mothers whose children developed autism or had delayed cognitive or other skills.”

The researchers found that during the study period approximately one-third of CHARGE Study participants lived in close proximity – within 1.25 to 1.75 kilometers – of commercial pesticide application sites. Some associations were greater among mothers living closer to application sites and lower as residential proximity to the application sites decreased, the researchers found.

Organophosphates applied over the course of pregnancy were associated with an elevated risk of autism spectrum disorder, particularly for chlorpyrifos applications in the second trimester. Pyrethroids were moderately associated with autism spectrum disorder immediately prior to conception and in the third trimester. Carbamates applied during pregnancy were associated with developmental delay.

Exposures to insecticides for those living near agricultural areas may be problematic, especially during gestation, because the developing fetal brain may be more vulnerable than it is in adults. Because these pesticides are neurotoxic, in utero exposures during early development may distort the complex processes of structural development and neuronal signaling, producing alterations to the excitation and inhibition mechanisms that govern mood, learning, social interactions and behavior.

“In that early developmental gestational period, the brain is developing synapses, the spaces between neurons, where electrical impulses are turned into neurotransmitting chemicals that leap from one neuron to another to pass messages along. The formation of these junctions is really important and may well be where these pesticides are operating and affecting neurotransmission,” Hertz-Picciotto said.

Research from the CHARGE Study has emphasized the importance of maternal nutrition during pregnancy, particularly the use of prenatal vitamins to reduce the risk of having a child with autism. While it’s impossible to entirely eliminate risks due to environmental exposures, Hertz-Picciotto said that finding ways to reduce exposures to chemical pesticides, particularly for the very young, is important.

“We need to open up a dialogue about how this can be done, at both a societal and individual level,” she said. “If it were my family, I wouldn't want to live close to where heavy pesticides are being applied.”

Other study authors include Estella M Geraghty, Daniel J. Tancredi, Lora D. Delwiche, Rebecca J. Schmidt, Beate Ritz and Robin L. Hansen, all of UC Davis.

The work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences R01-ES015359, P01-ES011269 and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants R833292 and 829338. The study is available free of charge at: