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Chad Moyer | KTIC Radio

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
Wednesday August 15 Ag News

Platte Valley Cattlemen Outlook Meeting
Lucas Luckey, President

With all of the crazy weather we have experienced this summer we hope you all have been able to “weather” the storms as well as possible. That being said it is time to look to the future.  We are having our annual outlook meeting on Monday, August 20th at Jarad and Kathy Doernaman’s barn venue in Clarkson, social hour at 6:00 p.m. and our meal to begin at 7:00 p.m.

Our featured speaker for the night will be Kevin Gonnerman with FC Stone.  We would like to thank Cooperative Supply for sponsoring Mr. Stone.  We are also trying to have a nutritionist come to the meeting as well to discuss some of the challenges that come with chopping/feeding hail damaged corn.

We will also will have Doug Oertwich and Mike Mosser, who are running for legislature district 22 present for you to talk to about their campaigns and your thoughts and concerns.

We are going to representatives from Nebraska Cattlemen to discus the new office in Lincoln and how we want to be involved as a local affiliate.

We also want to thank Pinnacle Bank for sponsoring the social hour. We look forward to seeing everyone on the 20th.

Directions to the Barn:

Off of Highway 91, turn North and take the main entrance into Clarkson, the street sign should read Bryant Street or Road 8. Go North through town past the park until you get to Road X then go East a quarter mile and turn north on 570th Ave. The barn will be on the East Side of the road. 

2018 America's Pig Farmer of the Year Finalists Announced

The National Pork Board recently announced the four finalists who are vying to be named the 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM. The program honors a U.S. pig farmer each year who excels at raising pigs following the We CareSM ethical principles and who is committed to sharing their farming story with the American public.

“The four finalists demonstrate how pig farmers embrace the We Care ethical principles as their daily standard of care,” said National Pork Board President Steve Rommereim, a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “They represent these principles by being the best in pig farming.”
The 2018 finalists are:
    Bill Luckey –  Columbus, Nebraska
    Brad Lundell – Kiron, Iowa
    Kevin Rasmussen – Goldfield, Iowa
    Patrick Bane –  Arrowsmith, Illinois

The four finalists will meet with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago. The judges will view videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will interview each of them.

Through Aug. 29, the public can vote once a day per person per email address for their favorite finalist at The winner will be announced the week of Oct. 1 based on the judges’ scores and the online voting.

About the Finalists
Bill Luckey – Columbus, Nebraska 
Farming and raising pigs is a family tradition for Bill Luckey, who is a fourth-generation farmer. Luckey, along with his wife and three sons, market 10,000 pigs a year. They also raise cattle, corn and soybeans on their farm.

Brad Lundell, Kiron, Iowa 
Being a good caretaker of the pigs drives Brad Lundell’s passion. Learning from five generations of family farming, Lundell hopes consumers see why pig farming is family-oriented. With the help of his wife Sarah, and four children, they also raise turkeys, corn and soybeans.

Kevin Rasmussen, Goldfield, Iowa 
Employee care is important in providing a safe product at KLR Pork, where Rasmussen markets 26,000 pigs a year from his farrow-to-finish farm. As a fourth-generation Iowa farmer, he considers the employees who work for him as family, and that makes all the difference in the product they produce.

Patrick Bane – Arrowsmith, Illinois 
Raising pigs has been a life-long passion for Patrick Bane, whose family has been raising pigs for three generations. Bane raises 74,000 pigs on his farm in west-central Illinois, where he focuses on protecting public health, hiring the best people and maintaining herd health.

About the Expert Judging Panel: Members of the five-member panel include Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane; Sarah Hendren, RDN, Nutrition & Quality Assurance Manager at Culver’s; Kari Underly, a third-generation butcher, author and principal of Range®, Inc., a meat marketing and education firm; J. Scott Vernon, professor, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, Cal Poly; and Leon Sheets, 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year.

Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska endorse Bob Krist for Governor

For the first time in its 13-year existence, the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) have endorsed a candidate for office when the board voted to endorse Bob Krist for Governor of Nebraska.

Krist had announced that he would run as an Independent last summer, but the unreasonably high barriers needed to secure a place on the ballot forced Krist, a lifelong Republican, to reconsider his options and he moved to the Democratic Party.

Bob Krist is a retired Lt. Colonel in the US Air Force, flying over 100 combat missions during his 21-year Air Force career. Krist has remained in the aviation field since retirement from the Air Force, working with the Army Corp of Engineers as contract manager and chief pilot.  

ICON’s actions reflect the board’s deep dissatisfaction with Governor Ricketts and his refusal to address meaningful property tax reform. Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers pay the nation’s highest property taxes (in excess of $22,000) on a per capita basis, outpacing second-place California where the per capita average is $13,000. 

“Governor Ricketts has ignored the needs of his most loyal supporters in rural Nebraska by continuing to actively oppose any discussion of meaningful property tax reform,” ICON Treasurer Al Davis said. “The Governor’s 2018 tax bill would have generated only $25 in property tax relief for the state’s homeowners, but $13 million dollars in income tax relief for him and his family.”

“Nebraska’s agricultural producers are at the breaking point,” ICON board member Chris Abbott said. “If something isn’t done soon I think we’ll see many more individuals exiting the state for better agricultural opportunities elsewhere. I want my children to have the same opportunities I had to build a life in Nebraska. I don’t think that will be possible if we reelect Ricketts for another four years.”

Bob Krist is solidly pro-life and a supporter of the second amendment. He has been one of the strongest advocates for the disabled and those with special needs and knows the issues associated with family members of those individuals since his own daughter is a special needs child.

“Ricketts lack of leadership manifests itself in other areas too,” Davis said. “We’ve seen troubles in the state patrol, in health and human services, loss of life in the state’s corrections systems due to overcrowding, and the closing of a number of nursing homes due to lack of funding and poor oversight by the state. In addition, we’ve lost two great Nebraska companies during the past four years when Con-Agra moved to Chicago and Cabela’s was taken over. I ask you, where is the leadership?”  Davis said.

ACE elects board of directors at annual meeting

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) announced the re-election of several board members and the election of two new representatives to the organization’s board of directors during its annual meeting prior to ACE’s 31st annual conference in Minneapolis.

Six incumbents were re-elected to the board of directors for three-year terms:
 ·    Ron Alverson, representing Dakota Ethanol
 ·    John Christianson, representing Christianson PLLP
 ·    Kenton Johnson, representing Granite Falls Energy
 ·    Anthony Mock, representing the North Dakota Corn Growers Association
 ·    Doug Punke, representing RPMG
 ·    Brian Vasa, representing Nebraska Public Power District

Two new members were elected to serve on the board of directors for a three-year term:
 ·    Pam Miller, representing Siouxland Ethanol
 ·    Bill Dartt, representing Cardinal Ethanol

“The ACE board and staff have impressed me for a long time with their dedication to and expertise in the ethanol industry,” Miller said. “It's an honor for me to join the ACE board of directors and serve alongside other board members who provide the leadership necessary to move our industry forward.  I'm looking forward to exploring creative ideas that can drive usage of ethanol here in the Midwest where 90 percent of the ethanol is made but the amount of ethanol used is lower than the national average.  This is an opportunity to add value to our product in our own backyard.  ACE has long been the champion of grassroots efforts that make a difference and I'm anxious to help with these efforts.”

“I’ve followed ACE for five years and attended four annual meetings, so I’m anxious to participate in ACE’s efforts to strengthen the ethanol and agriculture industries by partnering with local stations throughout the country,” Dartt said.

“Pam and Bill are exceptional advocates for our industry, and we’re happy to have them join the other dedicated active volunteers who make up our board of directors and represent the grassroots diversity of our entire membership,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “ACE members can be rest assured they’re well-represented by the resolve, expertise and experience the board members bring to the table and ACE is grateful for their leadership.”

Seaboard Triumph Foods supports the Sioux City Community School District Career Academy Programs

Seaboard Triumph Foods (“STF”) donated $400,000 to support college and career readiness programs offered at the Sioux City Career Academy. With 30 career pathways to pursue, the Sioux City Career Academy allows students to make a connection between their education and their future with meaningful, real-world experiences.

“We created the Sioux City Career Academy for our students to be successful and gain adaptable skills which will serve them as they enter a highly competitive workforce. The Sioux City Community School District understands that students today need knowledge and hands-on experiences to meet the demands of the ever-changing economy,” Dr. Paul Gausman, Sioux City Community School District superintendent shares.

Each of the 30 pathways is a career-focused sequence of high school courses that integrates core academic knowledge with technical and occupational knowledge to provide students with a pathway to post-secondary education and careers.

“We are extremely thankful for the commitment that Seaboard Triumph Foods has made to support excellence in education,” says Kari Treinen, executive director, Sioux City Public Schools Foundation. “The investment made in our students shows leadership and vision for the future of our students and our community.”

Career Academy classes are open to students enrolled at any of 15 area high schools including: Sioux City East, West, and North High, Bishop Heelan, Siouxland Community Christian, Hinton, Sergeant Bluff, Lawton-Bronson, Kingsley-Pierson, Akron-Westfield, Dakota Valley, South Sioux City, LeMars, Woodbury Central, and Westwood.

The STF donation to the Sioux City Career Academy allows for program expansion creating access for students to pursue college and career readiness. For the 2018-2019 school year, Career Academy program enrollment will increase from roughly 800 students to more than 1,500 students with the goal of continued program expansion.

Field Day to Help Farmers Focus on Nitrogen

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host the next in its Focus on Nitrogen: Managing Nitrogen for Maximum Profit and Minimum Water Quality Impact workshop series on Aug. 21 at the Iowa State Northwest Research Farm near Sutherland. The workshop is part of a statewide series of events this summer and fall that focus on managing nitrogen.

The event is targeted to farmers and those who advise farmers and is hosted by a team of ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists, ag engineering specialists and water quality researchers. It will allow presenters to share research-based information on maximizing profitability with nitrogen management while also increasing the understanding of the practices that minimize and reduce nitrate-nitrogen loss.

Check-in for the event and coffee will begin at 9 a.m., with the workshop starting at 9:30 a.m.

Joel DeJong and Paul Kassel, field agronomists with ISU Extension and Outreach, will host the event and highlight nitrogen management strategies and water quality testing practices being conducted at the farm and the results the studies have shown. They will also discuss research on rate selection, split applications, time of application, nitrogen additives, manure nitrogen and using nitrogen in wet years.

To register for the event, contact DeJong at 712-540-1085 or There is a $10 registration fee for the event, and pre-registration is required in order to get an accurate count for the lunch that will be provided.

CCA credits will be available to those who attend the event.

Directions to the Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm: The Northwest Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm is located at 6320 500th Street near Sutherland, Iowa. That's a quarter mile east of Highway 59 on B-62, about two miles south of Calumet or about 12 miles north of Cherokee.

Seven Farmers Elected as Iowa Soybean Association Directors

Seven farmers have been elected to advance the competitiveness of the Iowa soybean industry as directors of the Iowa Soybean Association.

Brent Swart of Spencer was newly elected as District 1 director and will serve a three-year term. Farmers re-elected were: April Hemmes, Hampton (District 2); Suzanne Shirbroun, Farmersburg (District 3); Robb Ewoldt, Davenport (District 6); Jeff Jorgenson, Sidney (District 7); Pat Swanson, Ottumwa (District 9) and Tim Bardole, Rippey (At-Large).

They join directors: Chuck White, Spencer (District 1); Casey Schlichting, Clear Lake (District 2); Rick Juchems, Plainfield (District 3); LaVerne Arndt, Sac City and Jeff Frank, Auburn (District 4); Morey Hill, Madrid and Rolland Schnell, Newton (District 5); Dave Walton, Wilton (District 6); Bill Shipley, Nodaway (District 7); Warren Bachman, Osceola and Randy Miller, Lacona (District 8); Tom Adam, Harper (District 9); and Stephanie Essick, Dickens, Lindsay Greiner, Keota and Brent Renner, Klemme (At-Large).

Mark Vosika of Pocahontas served one term as District 1 Director.

 “I want to thank Mark for his commitment and service to ISA members and soybean farmers across Iowa,” said Greiner who also serves as ISA president-elect. “I look forward to working with this board of directors as we address key issues important to the industry including market demand, pest, disease and weed management, environmental performance, infrastructure improvements and enhanced consumer trust in modern agriculture.”

US Soybean Crush Rises Near Record in July

The National Oilseed Processors Association says US soybean processors crushed 167.7M bushels of soybeans in July, up from the same time a year earlier and more than analysts were anticipating. It was the second highest on record. Strong domestic demand for soybeans to crush into meal has been a bright spot for a market otherwise pressured by trade issues. China, the largest buyer of American soybeans, introduced tariffs in July and has shifted its business elsewhere. That has weighed down prices. 

Most Fertilizer Prices March Higher; Some Show Signs of Retreat

For the most part, retail fertilizer prices remain slightly higher the first week of August 2018, although some are showing downward movement compared to last month, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Just like last week, five of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to last month, but none increased by a significant amount. DAP had an average price of $487 per ton, MAP $507/ton, potash $356/ton, urea $363/ton and 10-34-0 $445/ton.

Three fertilizers were slightly lower from the previous month, but the move to the low side was subdued. Anhydrous had an average price of $482/ton, UAN28 $233/ton and UAN32 $271/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, UAN28 $0.42/lb.N and UAN32 $0.42/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher in recent months. 10-34-0 is 1% higher, potash is 5% more expensive, both UAN28 and UAN32 are 8% higher, MAP is 9% higher, DAP is 12% more expensive, urea is 18% higher and anhydrous is 19% more expensive compared to last year.

RCIS claims adjusters among scouts evaluating corn and soybean conditions during 2018 Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour

Zurich American Insurance Company (Zurich) today announced that its crop insurance business, Rural Community Insurance Services (RCIS), will serve as the exclusive crop insurance sponsor of the Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour for the 9th consecutive year. The 2018 Crop Tour runs from Aug. 20 - 23 in seven Midwestern states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota.

“The Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour showcases the great value the agriculture industry brings to the American economy,” said Mike Day, head of RCIS for Zurich North America. “We participate each year in the crop tour because, at RCIS, we think it is important to share our unique insights and help keep crop insurance affordable, available, and viable.”

Over the four-day tour RCIS will share its knowledge on crops and crop insurance.

Thirty RCIS crop adjusters will be among 100 plus tour scouts out in the fields along East and West legs, collecting field samples and analyzing corn and soybean crops as they make their way to Rochester, Minnesota on August 23. Their analyses will be an important component to Pro Farmer’s annual crop production estimates to be released Friday, August 24. Corn and soybeans from the tour’s seven states account for nearly 60 percent of the total corn and soybean production in the U.S., according to RCIS data.

“Our crop claims adjusters know crops; so it is fitting that they will be joining other scouts and sharing their knowledge in the fields along the tour routes,” said Day.

RCIS also will ask farmers to make their voices heard in Washington D.C. With the federal farm bill reauthorization nearing completion, the crop tour presents a timely opportunity to encourage the farming community to raise its collective voice on the importance of the federal crop insurance program - not just for farmers but for taxpayers and communities overall. Private sector delivery of federal crop insurance policies help support jobs across rural America and is valued by lenders and rural businesses for the financial stability it provides. RCIS insures more than 130 types of crops through federal crop programs.

“In this challenging farm economy, crop insurance is more important than ever,” Day added. “In the next farm bill, crop insurance should remain affordable and effective for farmers and ranchers of all sizes, crops, and regions, and viable for private sector providers to deliver.”

As one of the leaders providing crop insurance in all 50 states, RCIS insures 33.4 million acres of corn and soybeans and in 2017, recorded $1.7 billion in gross written premiums. It is the number two crop insurance provider in the United States with 3,600 agents.

 Ethanol Supply Up for Third Week

Domestic ethanol stocks extended higher for a third consecutive week in the period ended Aug. 10 as plant production, though down from a 2018 high, remained above the same week a year ago, Energy Information Administration data shows.

EIA reports ethanol inventories increased 94,000 barrels (bbl) last week to 23.017 million bbl, 1.2 million, or 5.5%, higher than supply held a year earlier.

Plant production fell 28,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.072 million bpd during the week ended Aug. 10 but was 1.2% higher than the same week in 2018. Four-week averaged production was 1.077 million bpd versus 1.021 million bpd during the corresponding four-week period in 2017.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, rose 7,000 bpd to 948,000 bpd during the week-ended Aug. 10, steady versus a year ago. For the four weeks ended Aug. 10, blending demand averaged 944,000 bpd, 2,000 bpd below the same period in 2017.

Large U.S. Soybean Shipment Arrives in China

A vessel carrying U.S. soybeans was unloading its cargo worth at least $23 million at the Chinese port of Dalian on Monday, becoming one of the first shipments to incur hefty new import duties as the trade row deepens between Beijing and Washington. The docking of the vessel after five weeks anchored off China's coast ended long-running speculation over the fate of the cargo, which had captured public attention.

Reuters reports that China's state grains stockpiler Sinograin confirmed it will pay the additional 25 percent import tariff on its 70,000 tonne cargo of the oilseed. That equates to about $6 million.

Comments on the country's Twitter-like Weibo showed early public support for the cargo had started to wane amid concerns that the public is footing the bill for the prolonged trade war.

Two posts about the ship's arrival in dock and the extra costs generated more than 800 comments, mostly negative.

Peak Pegasus started unloading its cargo on Saturday, a port official said on Monday, more than a month after it arrived off China's coast just hours after Beijing imposed 25 percent import duties on $34 billion worth of U.S. goods, including soybeans.

The penalties were in retaliation for moves by Washington as part of a tit-for-tat trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

Last week, Washington said it would start collecting tariffs on another $16 billion worth of Chinese imports from Aug. 23, as it tries to pressure China to negotiate trade concessions. Beijing has said it will retaliate in kind.

Soybeans, which are used to make cooking oil and animal feed, are the top U.S. agricultural export to China, with the trade worth $12.7 billion in 2017.

Texas Tech Board of Regents Moves Forward with School of Veterinary Medicine

The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents moved forward with Texas Tech University’s plans to establish a new School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo by approving the new school, its degree plan and funding for preliminary designs for the school.

The approval was given during the Board of Regents’ meeting last week. During its last legislative session in 2017, the state legislature approved $4.17 million for a feasibility study to establish the state’s second school of veterinary medicine on the campus of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo.

“We appreciate the Board’s continued commitment to the School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo and support of our vision to address a critical need in the region, state and nation,” said Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech President. “I will continue to work closely with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center President Tedd Mitchell and our Board as we move forward with this important initiative.”

Construction of two new veterinary school buildings is expected to cost $89.82 million with an additional five-year operating budget cost of $82.29 million, which includes classroom equipment, supplies and the cost of faculty pay. The Board of Regents approved the concept for the veterinary school and a proposed first-stage design budget of $1.37 million.

“The Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine is one of the initiatives we are pursuing for the Texas Tech University System as we continue to build momentum heading into the upcoming legislative session,” Texas Tech University System Chairman of the Board of Regents L. Frederick “Rick” Francis said. “This impactful initiative will further demonstrate the ability our institutions have to serve our state. We greatly value our partnership with Mayor Ginger Nelson and the Amarillo community along with the agricultural community and the dedicated support we have received from our generous donors.”

The plan approved by the Board of Regents would enroll 60 students per year for a desired enrollment of 240 students for the four-year program. The school also would serve 150-200 graduate students who are not seeking a doctorate in veterinary medicine, as well as an academic staff of 90.

Since Texas Tech began pursuing this initiative, the board of regents has approved six items in support of the School of Veterinary Medicine, which include:

·         Unanimously approved the Texas Tech University System’s strategic priorities in August 2017, which included pursuing the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine.

·         In October 2017, the board unanimously approved Schovanec to execute consulting contracts related to analyzing feasibility and overall planning for a School of Veterinary Medicine. Texas Tech followed by approving contracts with Alastair Cribb and John Thomson.

·         The board unanimously supported the preliminary stage I facilities feasibility study in December 2017. This was to establish a feasibility study for the veterinary school facility with a budget of $242,000 for programming, planning and probable cost budget.

·         Following the City of Amarillo’s commitment on May 8, the board unanimously authorized Schovanec to execute an agreement with the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation to fund up to $69 million for the School of Veterinary Medicine.

·         At this month’s meeting, the Board of Regents unanimously voted to authorize Schovanec to establish a stage I budget of $1.37 million to provide planning and design services for the facilities.

·         The Board of Regents also supported the authorization for Schovanec to establish the School of Veterinary Medicine and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program during the August meeting.

Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge Offers $145K in Startup Funds for Entrepreneurs

The American Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with Farm Credit, today opened online applications for its 2019 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. Entrepreneurs will compete for $145,000 in startup funds.

The competition provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations in agriculture. This is the fifth year of the Challenge, which is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs launching food and agriculture businesses.

Competitors are invited to submit for-profit business ideas related to food and agriculture online at by Sept. 24.

“Farm Bureau is proud to carry on our long tradition of strengthening the communities we live and farm in by encouraging new businesses across rural America,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Starting a business takes faith, courage and creativity, but rural entrepreneurs face added challenges including limited access to broadband, high transportation costs and a lack of access to business networks. Startup funds provided through the Challenge will help entrepreneurs working in food and agriculture take their businesses to the next level.”

Ten semifinalist teams will be announced on Nov. 9 and awarded $10,000. The final four teams (selected from the 10 semifinalist teams) will be announced on Dec. 5 and will receive an additional $5,000 and have all expenses paid to compete in a live pitch competition at AFBF’s 100th Annual Convention in New Orleans on Jan. 13. The final four teams will compete to win:
-    Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year award and $15,000 (chosen by judges), for a total of $30,000
-    People’s Choice award and $10,000 (chosen by public vote), for a total of $25,000

Rural entrepreneurs with businesses in the following categories are encouraged to apply:
-    Ag technologies;
-    Agritourism;
-    CSAs, farmers’ markets, food stands and food hubs;
-    Farms, ranches, greenhouses, managed forests, aquaponics, cut flowers, herbs, honey and landscape plants;
-    Farm-to-table businesses;
-    Support services including scouting, equipment repair and fertilizer sales;
-    Value-added processing including yogurts, cheese and processed meats; and
-    Wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries.

Entrepreneurs must be Farm Bureau members to compete. Applicants who are not Farm Bureau members have until Nov. 5 to join. Visit to learn about becoming a member. Detailed eligibility guidelines, the competition timeline and profiles of past Challenge winners are available at .

Startup funds for the 2019 Ag Innovation Challenge are provided by sponsors Farm Credit, John Deere and Farm Bureau Bank.

Tuesday August 14 Ag News

Don't Miss Nebraska Extension Soybean & Corn Clinics

Examine and work with corn and soybean plants from early vegetative to maturity growth stages at Nebraska Extension’s Aug. 22 Midwest Soybean Production Clinic and Aug. 23 Midwest Corn Production Clinic.

Agribusiness professionals and crop producers will get hands-on, in-field experience working with crop scientists to identify crop issues throughout the production cycle. They’ll be able to identify agronomic issues and key insect and disease pests at different plant growth stages and discuss management strategies based on university research.

Both clinics will be held at the University of Nebraska's Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead as part of the Nebraska Crop Management Diagnostic Clinic Series. Participants will meet at the August N. Christenson Research and Education Building.

August 22 Midwest Soybean Clinic

Participants can examine fields to see why early soybean planting is a crucial first step to improving yield potential and how four seeding rates and four seeding depths impacted soybean emergence, plant branch numbers, and pod numbers at the lowest stem nodes. They’ll also examine disease, insect, and weed effects at different stages.

The hands-on diagnostic work will include some of our newest soybean insect pests and best practices for taking sweep net insect samples. Small plots set up with different numbers of Japanese beetles will give participants experience in estimating defoliation. Information on the orange gall midge, an increasing pest in eastern Nebraska soybean this year, will be included.

Presentation and field demonstrations throughout the day will cover
    cultural practices;
    insect management;
    plant pathology;
    soil fertility;
    irrigation; and
    five keys to successful weed science.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., followed by the clinic from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

August 23 Midwest Corn Clinic

Participants will dig plants and stage corn while exploring the differences between corn growth and development. They’ll examine the most critical development stages and what affects yield at these stages as well as how different hybrids react to the same weather conditions. Plots will also show how decisions about plant population can expand or cap crop yield opportunities. Participants will examine disease, insect, and weed effects at different stages. They can practice scouting for European corn borer and fall armyworms at two states of development as well as infestations of aphids and mites.

Presentation and field demonstrations throughout the day will cover
    agronomy cultural practices;
    insect damage;
    plant pathology;
    soil fertility; and
    keys to successful weed management.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., followed by the clinic from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Registration and CCA Credits

Registration begins at 8 a.m. both days and the clinics run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants will meet at the August N. Christenson Research and Education Building at the university’s Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead.

A total of 8 Certified Crop Adviser credits (crop management – 2, nutrient management – 2, and pest management - 4) have been applied for and are pending approval for each clinic. Participants will earn 16 credits by attending both days.

Early registration is recommended to reserve a seat and resource materials. Cost for one clinic is $95 for those registering one week in advance and $120 after. Special pricing is available for those registering for both clinics - $150 by Aug. 17, $200 after.  We offer a money back guarantee of your registration fee if you’re not satisfied with the training.

For more information or to register, contact the Nebraska Extension CMDC Programs, 1071 County Road G, Ithaca, NE 68033, call (800) 529-8030, fax (402) 624-8010, e-mail or visit

Nebraska FSA Announces New Application Deadlines for Disaster Assistance Coverage for Some Crops

Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Nancy Johner today announced new policy application deadlines for several crops covered through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) that provides disaster assistance coverage for crops that are ineligible for federal crop insurance coverage, such as grasses, fruits and vegetables.

Johner said NAP application closing deadlines for alfalfa and mixed forages, grass, aronia berries and grapes have been changed for the 2019 growing season and beyond.

“In some cases, the new deadlines are as much as six months earlier than in the past,” Johner said. “We want to be sure producers who normally purchase NAP, or think they are interested in it for next season, are aware of the earlier sign-up deadlines.”

Impacted crops and the new policy application closing deadlines include:
-    Alfalfa and mixed forages - deadline to apply for 2019 coverage is Oct. 1, 2018;
-    Grass - deadline to apply for 2019 coverage is Nov. 15, 2018;
-    Aronia berries and grapes - deadline to apply for 2019 coverage is Nov. 20, 2018.

“Producers of these crops who wish to have NAP coverage in 2019 must visit their local FSA office prior to the policy application closing deadline,” Johner said.

Like crop insurance, NAP coverage is valuable when weather and disease disasters strike. Eligible causes of loss for NAP include drought, freeze, hail, excessive moisture or wind, flooding, excessive heat, among others. NAP basic coverage is available at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. The fee for basic coverage is $250 per crop, with a maximum of $750 per county and a multi-county maximum of $1,875. Beginning, underserved and limited resource farmers are eligible to have the service fee waived for the NAP basic level of coverage.

To learn more about NAP, visit To find out about the crops covered by NAP in your local area, visit your county FSA office. To find your local office, visit

Menke Heading USDA Rural Development in Iowa

The Trump Administration appointed Grant Menke as the new state director for USDA Rural Development in Iowa.

As State Director, Menke will use his leadership experience to oversee Rural Development programs in a customer-focused manner to restore prosperity in rural Iowa. Menke comes to USDA from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association where he served as the organization's policy director working on behalf of Iowa's ethanol and biodiesel producers. Prior to that position he worked in Washington, D.C. on the United States Senate Committee on Finance staff of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley.

Menke, a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, was raised on a corn and soybean farm near Calumet, Iowa, in rural O'Brien County and currently lives in Ankeny with his wife, Susie, and their three boys.

Under the direction of Secretary Sonny Perdue, the USDA will always be facts-based and data-driven, with a decision-making mindset that is customer-focused. Secretary Perdue leads the USDA with four guiding principles: to maximize the ability of American agriculture to create jobs, sell foods and fiber, and feed and clothe the world; to prioritize customer service for the taxpayers; to ensure that our food supply is safe and secure; and to maintain good stewardship of the natural resources that provide us with our miraculous bounty. And understanding that we live in a global economy where trade is of top importance, Secretary Perdue has pledged to be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting or by calling (515) 284-4663. USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.

Nationwide to Crown Agricultural Educators of the Year

Farming is the backbone of America, but recent trends show a growing need for more agricultural educators. An increase in popularity of agricultural education has created a demand for the recruitment of new teachers and the retention of knowledgeable industry mentors.

To help shed light on the importance of agricultural education and the tremendous contributions of teachers, Nationwide, the number one farm insurer in the United States1, has established the Golden Owl Award, honoring the agriculture educator of the year. During the inaugural year, Nationwide partnered with the Iowa FFA, Ohio FFA, and Ohio Farm Bureau® to introduce the accolade in Ohio and Iowa.

Seven teachers from Iowa and ten teachers from Ohio will be selected as honorees, receiving a $500 prize and entrance into the final selection stage. One honoree from each state will be chosen for the grand prize, winning the coveted Golden Owl Award and a $3,000 prize. All donations are designed to reward the educator for their dedication, and support their continued educational efforts.

"We created this award to bring attention to the growing need for agricultural teachers in this country," said Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness for Nationwide. "Providing teachers with these additional resources will help develop their programs and provide their students with an optimal learning experience. Our goal is to spread this award to more states in the coming years to highlight all the talented agriculture teachers across the country."

Teachers eligible for nominations include middle school and high school agricultural educators, as well as college level professors teaching agricultural courses. Students, faculty and community members can nominate their agricultural instructors now through Nov. 16th by going to

Honorees for each state will be announced in December 2018. The grand prize winners for each state will be announced in April 2019. For additional contest details, see Official Iowa Rules and Official Ohio Rules.

NMPF Welcomes USDA’s $50 Million Milk Purchase for Needy Americans

The National Milk Producers Federation welcomed the announcement today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it will purchase $50 million worth of fluid milk for distribution to domestic food assistance programs – the first time the agency has bought milk for use in this manner.

The USDA said Tuesday that it will authorize the expenditure of $50 million in Section 32 funds to purchase a range of consumer-friendly milk varieties, including whole, 2 percent, 1 percent and skim.  The agency will purchase the milk from approved vendors, and distribute the product – an estimated 12-15 million gallons, depending on the prices agreed to by USDA and its suppliers – to food assistance organizations such as Feeding America. The USDA will be offering informational webinars to dairy companies that wish to sell milk to the agency through this donation program.

“We are pleased that USDA is now including fluid milk in the assortment of foods it is buying and donating, as milk is in high demand at food banks because of its unparalleled nutritional benefits,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.  “This effort will help more Americans meet their U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended daily consumption of milk.  We appreciate this initial step and look forward to working with the department to continue building upon this effort.”

The Agriculture Department noted that this purchase is a separate action from the unfair trade practice mitigation program – announced July 24 by the agency – that will provide financial assistance to agricultural producers through a combination of product purchases, direct payments and trade promotion programs.  The USDA has yet to release any details about that effort, but the $12 billion budget for that assistance, coming from Section 5 of USDA’s spending authority, is distinct from the Section 32 funds being used for this new milk purchase program.

“NMPF has been sharing information with USDA about the best way to maximize the value of the farmer assistance program that will be implemented soon, and we are hopeful that the agency moves quickly to get resources in the hands of dairy farmers this fall,” Mulhern said.

Next Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability Moves Forward from NIAA

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) brings next steps identified in 2017 and 2018 to a new Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability, to be held in Kansas City, Missouri, September 24-26, 2018.

“We need to follow up on work that occurred last year and the subsequent work of the Cattle Traceability Working Group (CTWG) and begin to synthesize those efforts,” says Dr. Nevil Speer, NIAA Board Chair, speaking on the efforts from the group which grew out of the NIAA Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability in 2017.

A comprehensive and continued focus on cattle for this year’s Strategy Forum is understandable, according to Speer, who says the cattle industry is the most complex and the most fragmented. “There are 750,000 producers and most States operate on different systems,” says Speer. “NIAA brings everyone together to emphasize collaboration across segments and across states.”

Back in 2010, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture co-hosted with the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) a Joint Strategy Forum Animal Disease Traceability, and as the topic grew in scope and urgency, NIAA hosted another Joint Strategy Forum on Animal Disease Traceability in 2013. Federal rules took effect that year, requiring the use of official identification for certain classes of cattle moving across state lines.

Over the next few years, state programs evolved along with types of identification and documentation required for covered livestock crossing their borders. Technology advanced, and other benefits of traceability began to be discussed. Consumers became more interested in where their food comes from.

In 2017, NIAA co-hosted with USAHA their first Strategic Forum on Livestock Traceability. The Forum began the exploration of how technology, from RFID use to data management, influenced traceability across animal agriculture. The USDA Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) Program added to the interactive dialogue with updates and an assessment report of its implementation from 2013-2016, gathering important feedback from attending stakeholders.

Out of that vital 2017 meeting, the Cattle Traceability Working Group (CTWG) evolved to work collaboratively and independently across the various segments of the cattle industry to enhance the traceability of animals for the purposes of protecting animal health and market access. The overarching goal of the CTWG is to enhance cattle identification and traceability to a level that serves the needs of producers, marketers, exporters, and animal health officials. An update and report from the CTWG will be an important segment of this year’s Strategy Forum.

In early 2018, NIAA broadened the scope of the discussion by making Livestock Traceability: Opportunities for Animal Agriculture the theme for its 2018 Annual Conference, as well as with a follow-up workshop titled Traceability and the Real World. Bringing the topic to its entire constituency at its Annual Conference, NIAA highlighted the impact of traceability on livestock species across animal agriculture.

In addition to possible disease outbreaks, the conversation also turned to global trade concerns, biosecurity issues, brand marketing and place of origin labeling which concern and influence consumers, policy makers, producers and distribution industries.

Now, at the newest Strategy Forum this September, the CTWG, along with USDA, will be updating the industry on their work. Panelists will discuss traceability initiatives across the U.S. The opportunity for exchange will expand on global market dynamics, technology and innovation focusing on traceability.

There will also be a Technology Showcase featured at the Strategy Forum, with the most current technology, products and services focused on cattle traceability.

Join NIAA and the animal agriculture industry in Kansas City, Missouri at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center September 24 - 26, 2018 for the next step forward in the livestock traceability discussion. Registration is now open at

Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. Launches F2F Genetics Network

Farmer’s Business Network, Inc., the independent farmer-to-farmer network, today announced the F2F Genetics Network, a new seed line, model for the future of seed development and direct-to-farm distribution. The F2F Genetics Network will bring farmers conventional (non-GM) and post-patent seeds in corn, soybeans, and other crops direct to FBN members with greater transparency on genetic identity, yield performance and prices.

As seed companies consolidate and competition is reduced, high seed prices for farmers continue to hurt family farm incomes. Agrichemical companies have promoted increasingly expensive biotech traits to farmers, limiting the availability of non-GM seeds. Practices such as non-transparent pricing, regional Zone Pricing, relabeling, rebates, and hidden discounts have become seed industry standards at the expense of family farm profitability.

“FBN members are fed up with high seed costs and reduced competition from industry consolidation,” said Ron Wulfkuhle, Head of Seed at the FBN network, who will lead the F2F Genetics Network. “In the F2F Genetics Network, farmers go from seed consumers and price takers to seed creators and market drivers.”
A New Model For Seed: The F2F Genetics Network

The F2F Genetics Network combines a new independent breeder network, with the FBN farmer-to-farmer network and agronomic data science platform. The F2F Genetics Network puts farmers closer to the breeders than before, enabling farmers to actively co-develop genetics through data, creating a new era of high-performance seeds delivered at vastly lower costs for farmers.

The F2F Genetics Network was created to put Farmers FirstSM in seed, with these core principles:

    Interactive and Independent Network of Breeders and Farmers: Farmers take an active role in seed development through data to develop better performing varieties for their specific environments. By being totally independent, the F2F Genetic Network can find the best genetics from breeders, universities, and novel technology companies.

    Performance: F2F seeds will be uncompromising on performance with the flexibility to select and target the highest performing genetics from our independent breeder network. Farmers’ seed-soil placement, population, fertility and disease management, will be assisted through the FBN analytics network.

    Transparency: FBN members will get for the first-time greater transparency on genetic identity, trial and yield performance, and pricing. Fore genetic identity, seed parental lineages and relabeling matches will be shown up front. FBN members will get access to both pre-commercial breeder trial and actual in-field performance from other FBN members, instead of just the “promotional” test plots traditionally used to sell seed.  

    Fair Pricing: The F2F Genetic Network will use national, transparent pricing, and eliminate the practice of discriminatory regional zone pricing. By selling direct-to-farm through the FBN DirectSM e-commerce platform, we will be able to keep seed prices exceptionally low

    Freedom to Keep Seed: Seed keeping will be enabled with the Soy+1SM program, restrictive bundles are eliminated with flexible financing and discounts on other inputs in FBN DirectTM.  

“Farmers will not only have access to lower cost seed, but also the transparency farmers have come to expect from Farmers Business NetworkSM, and the opportunity to actively shape the future of seed.” said Wulfkuhle.

Farmers Business Network is steadfast in putting Farmers First and leveling the playing field.

“Farmers Business Network at its core believes transparency, competition and innovation are keys to farmer profitability,” said Amol Deshpande, CEO of Farmers Business Network. “Input prices, specifically seed, continue to grow fast than the commodity prices farmers receive. We are looking to reverse this unsustainable trend by fighting for farmer profitability with innovative solutions that give farmers leverage, even if they are unpopular with the industry, or downright contrarian.”
Farmer Freedom Through Keeping Seed: The Soy+1 Program

For decades, seed companies have barred U.S. soybean farmers from saving seeds after harvest to plant the following season at vastly lower cost – which has allowed seed companies to charge full price every year. The F2F Genetics Network’s Soy+1 program will allow farmers, for a fee, to keep, clean and replant F2F Genetic Network-branded soybean seeds.

F2F Genetics Network Seeds Now Available for 2019

Orders and commitments for F2F Genetics Network seed have already commenced, with a limited supply available for the 2019 season. Initial products will include five conventional corn hybrids (RM 102 – 112) and four glyphosate tolerant soybean varieties (RM 2.2 – 3.1). These seeds have multiple years of production history, and are bred to be suitable in the mid-latitudes from Nebraska to Ohio.

Additional hybrids and varieties, as well as other crops are rapidly being added to the network. 

Early order participants, who complete a credit application and qualify, will also receive 0% extended terms and the F2F UnbundleSM with discounts on an unrestricted selection of inputs offered through FBN Direct.
Creating an Independent Farm Economy to Put Farmers First

The idea for the FBN network originated from farmers who wanted to create an independent, farmer-driven information and commerce network.

With the launch of F2F Genetics Network, farmers are one step closer to having an totally independent full-farm profit system: from FBN Direct’s input ecommerce platform; to FBN Analytics comprehensive agronomic-network data analytics & decision support; to FBN Crop Marketing’s premium contracts, production contracts, advisory & risk management, and price intelligence powered by a global buyer network.

Yearly FBN membership costs only $700 with no punishing acreage fees, making it easily affordable for farms of all sizes. 

Syngenta receives approval for Vibrance Trio seed treatment for soybeans 

Syngenta announced today the registration of Vibrance® Trio seed treatment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The premix of three fungicide active ingredients – mefenoxam, fludioxonil and sedaxane – is recommended for soybean growers whose main early-season concerns are strong stands and disease protection.

“The higher rate of mefenoxam in Vibrance Trio offers the highest level of Phytophthora and Pythium protection available,” said Steve Gomme, Seedcare product lead at Syngenta. “This helps give growers confidence when they desire early planting in unpredictable conditions, establishing stronger soybean stands and reducing the risk of replants.”

Regardless of planting conditions, Vibrance Trio helps provide protection from these early-season soybean diseases:
·        Phytophthora
·        Rhizoctonia
·        Pythium
·        Fusarium
·        Seedborne Phomopsis
·        Seedborne Sclerotinia

In addition to its activity on Rhizoctonia, the sedaxane in Vibrance Trio offers RootingPower that creates healthier, more robust roots to help produce better yields.

“Much like tree branches, roots grow larger by developing root tips that fork and grow. The more forks that are present, the more root surface area that exists,” said Gomme. “It’s this root surface area that determines the amount of moisture and nutrients that can be taken up into developing soybean seedlings, as well as the size and density of beans ultimately produced by mature plants. In other words, robust root systems play a big role in driving yield potential.”

Stronger roots also enable soybeans to withstand environmental stress. In trials conducted over three years and across 31 different field environments, the early-season disease protection of Vibrance Trio resulted in a higher stand count 87 percent of the time, when compared to a check treatment. Additionally, in trials conducted over two years, Vibrance Trio increased yield by an average of 2.2 bushels per acre, compared to the industry standard in heavy disease environments.

August 13 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending August 12, 2018, there were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 22 short, 71 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 23 short, 70 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 12 fair, 57 good, and 26 excellent. Corn dough was 77 percent, ahead of 61 last year and 58 for the five-year average. Dented was 18 percent, ahead of 12 last year and 10 average.

Soybean condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 13 fair, 58 good, and 22 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 96 percent, near 97 last year, and equal to average. Setting pods was 79 percent, near 76 both last year and average.

Winter wheat harvested was 98 percent, near 100 last year and 99 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 10 fair, 65 good, and 24 excellent. Sorghum headed was 92 percent, ahead of 74 last year and 77 average. Coloring was 23 percent, ahead of 11 last year and 14 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 5 poor, 15 fair, 61 good, and 16 excellent.


Iowa farmers had 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending August 12, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting hay and oats for grain, spraying for aphids, and moving grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 12 percent very short, 23 percent short, 62 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 10 percent very short, 21 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels in south central and southeast Iowa remain critical with over 85 percent rated short to very short.

Seventy-three percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond, 9 days ahead of the 5-year average. Corn dented was at 22 percent, 9 days ahead of last year. Corn condition rated 75 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-six percent of the soybean crop was blooming with 89 percent setting pods, over a week ahead of both last year and the average. Soybean condition declined slightly to 72 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-three percent of the oat crop has been harvested for grain.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 47 percent complete, 4 days behind the previous year but 4 days ahead of the average. Dry conditions have kept alfalfa regrowth very short following the second cutting.

Hay condition fell to 56 percent good to excellent. Pasture conditions declined to 44 percent rated good to excellent. Pasture regrowth remains a concern, especially in the southern two-thirds of the State.

USDA Reduces Corn, Soybean Condition Ratings Slightly

Good-to-excellent condition ratings for both corn and soybeans declined just slightly last week, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

Nationwide, 70% of corn was rated good to excellent as of Sunday, Aug. 12, down 1 percentage point from 71% the previous week. Last year at this same time, 62% of the crop was rated good to excellent.

NASS estimated that 73% of corn was in the dough stage as of Sunday, 17 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 56%. Twenty-six percent of corn was dented, 13 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 13%.

Soybean condition also dropped slightly to 66% good to excellent last week, down 1 percentage point from 67% the previous week. NASS estimated that 96% of soybeans were blooming as of Sunday, 4 percentage points ahead of the average of 92%, and 84% of soybeans were setting pods, 12 percentage points ahead of the average of 72%.

Meanwhile, NASS estimated that 94% of winter wheat was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year's 97% and also behind the average pace of 96%.

Spring wheat harvest was 35% complete as of Sunday, behind last year's 38% but ahead of the five-year average of 27%.

Sorghum was 78% headed as of Sunday, ahead of the five-year average of 73%. Sorghum coloring was 37%, near the five-year average of 36%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 21%, equal to last year at the same time but behind the five-year average of 24%. Sorghum condition was rated 49%, unchanged from the previous week.

Barley was 41% harvested as of Sunday, behind 48% last year but ahead of the average of 38%. Barley condition was rated 81% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 79% the previous week. Oats were 67% harvested as of Sunday, ahead of 64% for last year and also ahead of the five-year average of 64%.

Monday August 13 Ag News

Ricketts Requests Federal Disaster Declaration

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts requested a Federal Disaster Declaration in the wake of severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes, baseball-size hail, and flooding from June 17th to July 1st.

A Presidential Declaration would make federal dollars available to assist in funding recovery operations in 10 Nebraska counties: Cedar, Colfax, Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Harlan, Logan, Thomas, Thurston, and Wayne.  The Governor is requesting Public Assistance funds as well as Hazard Mitigation for the entire state.

Governor Ricketts declared a state of emergency on June 28th for an incident period beginning June 1st and continuing.  Damages within the state include roads, bridges and culverts, electrical distribution infrastructure and facilities, and severe hail damage.  Preliminary damage assessments were completed in the affected counties and the state has exceeded its threshold to make the request.

Governor Ricketts’ request for a Federal Declaration has been submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region VII Administrator Paul Taylor who will present it to President Donald J. Trump for consideration.  Declarations take several weeks for consideration by the federal government.

Scouting for Soybean Stem Borer Damage

Robert Wright - NE Extension Entomologist
Justin McMechan - NE Crop Protection and Cropping Systems Specialist

We are starting to see dead leaves caused by feeding of soybean stem borer larvae in southeastern and south central Nebraska soybeans. They continue to expand their range as a pest of soybeans in Nebraska and now can be found in several counties north of I-80. No control measures are appropriate at this time, but monitor fields and be aware that high populations of soybean stem borers may predispose the field to lodging and make harvest difficult. Fields with higher levels of injury by soybean stem borers should be harvested first to minimize lodging losses.

Soybean Stem Borer Description and Injury

Soybean stem borers are the immature stages of a long-horned beetle, Dectes texanus. The adults lay eggs in the upper leaf canopy, typically in the leaf petiole. Larvae feed by tunneling within the soybean plant. At this time of year larvae move from the leaf petiole into the main stem of the soybean plant, and at that time the leaf dies. These leaves are easily detached from the stem, and a circular tunnel can be seen where the leaf petiole was attached to the main stem.

As larvae grow larger, they continue to tunnel within the main stem, and by the end of the growing season they have tunneled to the base of the plant where they overwinter. In preparation for overwintering, they hollow out a cell at the base of the plant, which weakens the stem and makes it more susceptible to breakage.

For more information see the NebGuide, Soybean Stem Borers in Nebraska (G2082).


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

Corn and beans harvested early can leave your ground bare for seven to nine months.  Instead, let’s plant some crops to grow and cover it until next season.

After silage harvest or combining corn or beans early, ground that lies bare has two things working against it.  One is exposure to wind and water erosion.  And two, it isn’t growing anything.  Cover crops might help you overcome both problems.

But what should you plant?  That depends on what you want to achieve with your cover crop.  For example, hairy vetch and winter peas are good cover crops if you want to improve your soil by planting a legume that will provide 30 to 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre for next year’s crop.  Or maybe use a deep-rooted radish to breakup some hardpans.

Are you still hoping for some feed this fall?  Then oats, spring barley, annual ryegrass, and turnips might be better choices.  These plants have the greatest forage yield potential in the fall.  Oats and barley will die over winter so they won’t interfere with next year’s crop.  But, dead residue from oats and barley is not very durable, so it provides less effective soil protection and for a shorter duration.

For better soil protection, winter rye is the best choice among the cereals.  And cereal rye can provide abundant grazable growth early next spring to get cows off of hay sooner.  Wheat and triticale also can be good cover crops.  Of course, wheat then can be harvested later for grain while triticale makes very good late spring forage.

What is becoming especially popular is planting a mixture of several types of plants to reap some of the benefits of each one.

Cover crops can preserve or even improve your soil, and can be useful forages as well.  Consider them following your early harvests.


Thin alfalfa stands can be rejuvenated by interseeding grasses and converting them to pasture or haying a grass-alfalfa mixture.

Most alfalfa fields start to lose stand and production ability after cutting hay for several years.  As your stands begin to get thin, consider interseeding grasses into this thinning alfalfa.  Not only might you extend the useful life of your alfalfa field by several years, you also will develop excellent hay or grazing for your livestock.

Orchardgrass is the grass most commonly interseeded into alfalfa, but other grasses like endophyte-free tall fescue, meadow brome, festulolium, and wheatgrasses also can be used.  In fact, if the field will be used as pasture, a mixture of several grasses may be best since it adds diversity to your animals' diet.

Interseeding after a mid-August to early September hay harvest can be excellent timing if you have moisture to start the new seedlings.  Alfalfa regrows more slowly this time of year so it won’t compete as aggressively with your new grasses.  Still, if your alfalfa is relatively thick, you probably will need to take another cutting in about four weeks, or as soon as the alfalfa starts to form a full canopy.  This allows sunlight to continue to reach new seedlings below the alfalfa.

Next spring you will need to judge how well established your new grasses have become.  If they seem a little weak, cut hay real early to again open the canopy for better light penetration.  After that you should be able to hay or rotationally graze as you choose.

Interseeding grass into existing alfalfa takes timely haying and planting, but both land and livestock will improve with your efforts.

Conservation Learning Group Launched at Iowa State

Conservation Learning Group, a think tank dedicated to addressing conservation and environmental challenges, was established as a part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in July 2018. The group is a collaboration of researchers, educators and advocates having the goal to better understand issues and come up with creative, sustainable solutions that are repeatable at scale.

Representatives from bioengineering, social science, agronomy, crop science, soil science, wildlife management, water resource management and conservation are on the CLG team. Specialists from other areas of study will be welcomed to contribute to the group’s goals.

“The open format of CLG will facilitate sharing of experiences, viewpoints, ideas, successes and failures to engender creative problem-solving and innovative thinking as we all contribute to solving immediate problems facing Iowa,” said Jacqueline Comito, program director of Iowa Learning Farms and leadership team member with CLG. “I am eager to see how this group grows and what we are able to accomplish.”

The CLG umbrella includes three highly successful programs, Iowa Learning Farms, Conservation Learning Labs, and Water Rocks!, and will incorporate inputs and knowledge from a broader range of research studies and programs spanning multiple topics. CLG will work with other projects and organizations to help create better awareness of what is being learned in each project and make results more accessible to general audiences.

The group has received funding from a Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (NRCS) partnership grant and a research grant through North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and is partnering with the University of Wisconsin in the development of conservation planning training.

Team members include Jacqueline Comito, anthropologist and program director, Iowa Learning Farms; Matthew Helmers, professor of agriculture and biosystems engineering; Mark Licht, assistant professor, Department of Agronomy and extension cropping systems specialist; Jamie Benning, extension water quality program manager; Adam Janke, assistant professor, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management; Emily Heaton, assistant professor, Department of Agronomy; Ann Staudt, assistant program manager, Iowa Learning Farms; and Elizabeth Juchems, conservation outreach specialist, Iowa Learning Farms.

Lots of Down-Side Risk Ahead

Stephen R. Koontz, Dept of Ag and Resource Economics - Colorado State University

Labor Day is upon us, at least from the perspective of retailers needing to secure beef volume for sales and featuring. The beef complex look ready to drift lower as, after this holiday, the seasonality in demand will wain and the seasonality in production will continue to escalate. Slaughter weights have continued their increases during the summer and will likely continue into the fall until the peak around October. The volume of cattle on feed over 90 and over 120 days continue to the high compared to last year and prior years. Fed cattle marketing were strong through June as revealed by the last month's Cattle on Feed report and appear to be strong through July - especially heifers - as revealed by July's weekly Livestock Slaughter reports. There does not appear to be an emerging problem with supplies but the steady seasonal increase in beef volume will continue. We have also seen strong volumes of beef cow slaughter through this summer in response to the drought in the southern plains. As a consequence, hamburger prices were very weak through the summer. Perhaps this slaughter will moderate during the fall calf run. But improvements in hamburger prices are unlikely with the prospective increases in beef trimming volumes.

Events in substitute meat markets and trade demand also appear unlikely to provide substantial relief for beef prices. Pork production will be up a solid 5% this coming fourth quarter with consumption up a likely 2.5%. Poultry production and consumption are forecasted to be up moderately but the main word to focus on is, "up" from the prior year. Beef exports have been solid through the summer and if they continue through the fall then this could result in about an additional 40 million pounds per month removed from the domestic markets this year compared to last. This is a little less than 2% of typical monthly production during fourth quarter months. Forecasts of beef production during the fourth quarter are to be up better than 3%.

In the end, there appears to be a lot of sources of downside risk and little potential for improved prices.

ACE pushes for E15 year-round while Acting EPA Administrator visits Iowa

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is featuring an Iowa retailer to elevate the need for year-round approval of E15 with a paid print advertisement in the Des Moines Register (DMR) this week as Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler pays a visit to the state. The ad serves as a reminder that “on a recent visit to Iowa, President Trump promised he’s “very close” to approving E15 year-round,” and the ad calls on EPA to “make good on the President’s promise and approve E15 fuel use year-round.”

As the owner of a gas station in Nevada, Iowa, and ASE-certified mechanic, Charlie Good exemplifies why EPA must act on the issue. Although Charlie was once tied to an oil company contract limiting the types of fuel he could sell, as soon as he broke free and began selling E15, it became one of his best sellers. Read excerpts from the ad below:

“‘My customers love E15,’ Charlie says. ‘There’s no way I’d ever go back to an oil company that ties my hands.’

“But now, EPA is restricting Charlie from selling what his customers want. During the busy summer driving season, Charlie and other retailers aren’t allowed to sell E15 because EPA refuses to update an obsolete emissions regulation.

“Charlie’s customers prefer E15 because it has fewer emissions and costs less than gasoline. It’s time to let Charlie sell what his customers want.”

“President Trump has promised to allow retailers like Charlie Good to sell E15 year-round,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “EPA needs to make good on his promises.”

ACE will be discussing this topic at its annual conference later this week in Minneapolis. The event will provide other retailers like Charlie with the opportunity to share successes and challenges in E15 and flex fuel retailing. 

Waters of the U.S. Regulation Must Be Permanently Repealed and Rewritten, NMPF Tells EPA

The 2015 version of the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule must be permanently rescinded, and the prior version of the regulation re-codified, to provide certainty for dairy farmers, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said today.

In comments submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) Monday, NMPF outlined its support for both agencies’ proposal to repeal the current definition of WOTUS and rewrite it to reflect common-sense approaches to protecting the environment. In addition, NMPF joined numerous farm and food organizations to submit an additional 22 pages of comments that provided an extensive legal and technical assessment of what the two agencies did wrong three years ago in an attempt to update the regulation.

“Dairy farmers undertake extensive efforts to manage the natural resources that are critical to their livelihoods,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “WOTUS must provide proper clarity on what falls under its jurisdiction so that farmers can better meet the industry’s shared commitment to clean water.”

In early 2017, the Trump Administration ordered a review of the WOTUS rule in response to concerns many farm groups had raised since the measure was finalized in 2015. Because the WOTUS regulation significantly expanded the EPA’s authority over waterways used by farmers for drainage and irrigation, the measure was challenged in a federal appeals court and ultimately put on hold.

“The 2015 Rule should be repealed and, for absolute clarity, done so permanently,” NMPF said. “We believe the 2015 rule failed to provide regulatory certainty and consistency and exceeded the Agencies’ legal authority under the [Clean Water Act].”  The Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972 gave the federal government jurisdiction over navigable waters but left the regulation of non-navigable waters to the states. However, over the years, the federal government has continually and wrongfully expanded its authority over these non-navigable waters, according to NMPF.

NMPF said the two agencies need to apply the definitions of the WOTUS rule in ways that are consistent with recent Supreme Court decisions and long-standing farming practices. Re-codifying the regulations that existed before the 2015 rule was developed will provide continuity and certainty for dairy farmers, other regulated entities, states governments, agency staff, and the public, the comments said.

The EPA and ACE should proceed with a notice-and-comment rulemaking process, in which two agencies re-evaluate the definition of WOTUS. NMPF said this must be done to correct the 2015 rule’s lack of clarity on key terms, such as “adjacent,” “floodplain,” and “significant nexus.” Dairy producers must be able to understand what constitutes federally-regulated waters of the United States, so they can better manage water quality on their farms.

With the repeal docket now closed, it is likely that the 2015 rule will be repealed permanently. NMPF will now focus on suggesting modifications to the pre-2015 rule and how it can be changed to provide the necessary clarity and certainty.

CDC Confirms H1N2 in Michigan Residents Exposed to Pigs

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reporting that Influenza A (H1N2)v has been identified as the strain that sickened two attendees of the Fowlerville Family Fair following exposure to swine. Respiratory samples from ill individuals were sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for additional testing, after initially testing positive for Influenza A at the MDHHS Laboratory last week. This H1N2v strain is similar to the viruses currently circulating in swine.

These are among the first influenza A (H1N2)v virus infections identified in the U.S. in 2018. Two additional cases have been identified in California. None of the patients were hospitalized, and all are recovering from their illness. No human-to-human transmission has been identified to date. Investigation of additional ill fair attendees is ongoing.

Since reporting of novel influenza A viruses began nationally in 2005, only 17 human infections of influenza A (H1N2)v -- including these two Michigan cases -- have been reported to CDC.

Swine influenza is a respiratory disease in pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that regularly circulate among swine. Swine influenza viruses do not usually infect humans, but human infections have been reported. People cannot get swine influenza from eating properly prepared pork or handling pork products -- only from contact with an ill pig.

The fair took place July 23-28, and several pigs from the fair tested positive for swine influenza on July 27.

Symptoms of swine influenza in people are similar to the seasonal flu and can include fever, cough, runny nose, and sometimes body aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. On rare occasions, swine influenza in humans can lead to severe diseases, such as pneumonia or death.

Those at higher risk of developing complications if they get swine influenza include children younger than five years of age, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women and people with certain chronic health issues, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems and neurological conditions.

CWT Assists with 2.4 Million Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted six offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 341,717 pounds (155 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese, and 2.097 million pounds (951 metric tons) of whole milk powder. The product has been contracted for delivery in Asia, Central and South America for the period from August through December 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 46 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 12.305 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 31.744 million pounds of whole milk powder to 29 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 933.560 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

This activity reflects CWT management beginning the process of implementing the strategic plan approved by the CWT Committee in March. The changes will enhance the effectiveness of the program and facilitate member export opportunities.

Farm Bureau and Farmers Union Call for Swift Farm Bill Passage

The two largest farming groups in the United States today called for swift passage of the farm bill by a congressional conference committee.

Faced with the lowest farm income in 12 years, the presidents of the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union are asking Senate and House conferees to move quickly. Everything from commodity price supports to nutrition, soil and water conservation, trade promotion and more depend on swift passage.

“America’s farmers and ranchers persevere even in the toughest times, but the farm economy has gone from bad to worse,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Tariffs and stagnant global demand for commodities have left the agriculture economy in the worst shape we have seen since the farm crisis of the 1980s. Lender surveys and our own experience tell us spring could bring a wave of farm closures unless there’s major improvement in the marketplace.

“Farmers and ranchers need the certainty that the farm bill provides to maintain the food security that all Americans want and need. It is more important than ever that Congress get the job done.”

“Family farmers and ranchers are in need of certainty right now,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Low farm prices due to international trade disruptions, commodity market oversupply, and domestic policy uncertainty is putting significant financial strain on farmers. If Congress is to provide real relief and certainty to those who feed, clothe and fuel our nation, as well as continue the important environmental sustainability work and diverse market promotion of past farm bills, they need to pass a strong farm bill before September 30.”

AFBF and NFU, together with more than 150 other organizations, also sent a letter to the Senate and House Agriculture committees asking the farm bill conference committee to pass an on time, five-year farm bill before the September 30 expiration of the 2014 farm bill.

Friday August 10 Ag News


Based on August 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2018 corn production is forecast at 1.83 billion bushels, up 9 percent from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Acreage harvested for grain is estimated at 9.35 million acres, up 1 percent from a year ago. Average yield is forecast at 196 bushels per acre, up 15 bushels from last year. Both yield and production are new record highs if realized.

Soybean production in Nebraska is forecast at 332 million bushels, up 2 percent from last year, and a new record high if realized. Area for harvest, at 5.45 million acres, is down 4 percent from 2017. Yield is forecast at 61 bushels per acre, up 4 bushels from last year, and a record high if realized.

Nebraska's 2018 winter wheat crop is forecast at 48.0 million bushels, up 2 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain, at 1.00 million acres, is down 2 percent from last year and a new record low if realized. Average yield is forecast at 48 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels per acre from 2017.

Sorghum production of 15.8 million bushels, is up 32 percent from a year ago. Area for grain harvest, at 155,000 acres, is up 15 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 102 bushels per acre, up 13 bushels from last year, and a record high if realized.

Oat production is forecast at 2.43 million bushels, up 42 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain, at 45,000 acres, is up 10,000 acres from last year. Yield is forecast at 54 bushels per acre, up 5 bushels from 2017.

Dry edible bean production is forecast at 2.96 million hundredweight, down 24 percent from last year. The average yield is forecast at 2,410 pounds per acre, down 110 pounds from last year. Acres planted by class are as follows: Pinto, 61,800; Great Northern, 41,800; Light Red Kidney, 8,800; Chickpeas, 12,000.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.51 million tons, up 5 percent from 2017. Area for harvest, at 45,500 acres is down 600 acres from last year. Yield is estimated at 33.9 tons per acre, up 2.1 tons from a year ago, and a new record high if realized.

Alfalfa hay production is forecast at 3.78 million tons, up 15 percent from last year. Expected yield, at 4.30 tons per acre, is up 0.35 ton from last year, and a new record high if realized. All other hay production is forecast at 3.33 million tons, up 16 percent from last year. Forecasted yield, at 1.80 tons per acre, is up 0.2 ton from last year. Both yield and production for all other hay are new record highs if realized.


Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.60 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 202 bushels per acre, equal to last year. If realized, this will be tied for the second highest yield, 1.0 bushel per acre below the record set in 2016. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 13.3 million acres. An estimated 12.9 million of the acres planted will be harvested for grain.

Soybean production is forecast at 581 million bushels. If realized, this will be the highest production on record with 14.2 million bushels more than the previous 2016 record of 566 million. The yield is forecast at 59.0 bushels per acre, 2.5 bushels higher than 2017. If realized, this will be the second highest yield on record behind only the 60.0 set in 2016. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 9.90 million acres with 9.84 million acres to be harvested.

Oat production for grain is forecast at 3.36 million bushels. The expected yield is 61.0 bushels per acre, down 10.0 bushels from the July forecast and down 16.0 bushels from 2017. An estimated 55,000 acres will be harvested for grain.

Iowa hay yield for alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures is expected to be 3.50 tons per acre with a total production of 2.91 million tons, up 15 percent from the previous year. The projected yield for other hay is 2.10 tons per acre, with production at 777,000 tons, down 6 percent from 2017.

The forecasts in this report are based on August 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next corn and soybean production forecasts, based on conditions as of September 1, will be released on September 12.

USDA: Corn Production Down Less Than 1 Percent from 2017
Soybean Production Up 4 Percent from 2017
Cotton Production Down 8 Percent from 2017
Winter Wheat Production Down Less Than 1 Percent from July Forecast

Corn production is forecast at 14.6 billion bushels, down less than 1 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 178.4 bushels per acre, up 1.8 bushels from 2017. If realized, this will be the highest yield on record for the United States. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 81.8 million acres, unchanged from the June forecast, but down 1 percent from 2017.

Soybean production is forecast at 4.59 billion bushels, up 4 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 51.6 bushels per acre, up 2.5 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at 88.9 million acres, unchanged from the June forecast, but down 1 percent from 2017.

All cotton production is forecast at 19.2 million 480-pound bales, down 8 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average 911 pounds per harvested acre, up 6 pounds from last year. Harvested area for all cotton is expected to total 10.1 million acres, down 9 percent from 2017. Upland cotton production is forecast at 18.5 million 480-pound bales, down 9 percent from 2017. Upland harvested area is expected to total 9.90 million acres, down 9 percent from last year. Pima cotton production, forecast at 779,000 bales, is up 11 percent from last year. Pima cotton harvested area, at 240,400 acres, is down 4 percent from 2017.

All wheat production, at 1.88 billion bushels, is down less than 1 percent from the July forecast but up 8 percent from 2017. Based on August 1 conditions, the United States yield is forecast at 47.4 bushels per acre, down 0.1 bushel from last month, but up 1.1 bushels from last year. The area expected to be harvested for grain or seed totals 39.6 million acres, down slightly from last month, but up 5 percent from last year.

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.19 billion bushels, down less than 1 percent from the July forecast and down 6 percent from 2017. As of August 1, the United States yield is forecast at 47.9 bushels per acre, down 0.1 bushel from last month and down 2.3 bushels from last year's average yield of 50.2 bushels per acre. The area expected to be harvested for grain totals 24.8 million acres, down slightly from last month and down 2 percent from last year.

Hard Red Winter production, at 661 million bushels, is up 1 percent from last month. Soft Red Winter, at 292 million bushels, is down 4 percent from the July forecast. White Winter, at 236 million bushels, is up 2 percent from last month. Of the White Winter production, 21.0 million bushels are Hard White and 215 million bushels are Soft White.

Durum wheat production is forecast at 73.4 million bushels, down 2 percent from the July forecast but up 34 percent from 2017. The United States yield is forecast at 39.9 bushels per acre, down 0.8 bushel from the July forecast but up 14.2 bushels from last year. Area expected to be harvested for grain or seed totals 1.84 million acres, unchanged from last month, but 14 percent below 2017.

Other spring wheat production is forecast at 614 million bushels, up slightly from the July forecast and up 48 percent from last year. If realized, this represents the third highest production on record. Area harvested for grain or seed is expected to total 12.9 million acres, unchanged from last month, but 27 percent above 2017. The United States yield is forecast at a record high 47.6 bushels per acre, unchanged from the July forecast, but up 6.6 bushels from last year. Of the total production, 583 million bushels are Hard Red Spring wheat, up 51 percent from last year.

Soil Health Demonstration Farm Field Day near Stanton

A Soil Health NRCS Demonstration Farm Field Day will be held Aug. 23 near Stanton on the Loren Pestel Farm. Cover crops, wheat production, a field tour, and cost-share programs are all on the agenda as experts from NRCS, Nebraska Extension, and private industry share their latest findings.

The program begins with registration and rolls at 8:30 a.m., with the program starting at 9 a.m. and ending at noon. Presentations will include:
    Welcome — Waylon Petsche, USDA NRCS, and Aaron Nygren, Extension Educator
    The Banker Won't like Wheat, but Your Soil Will – Hear Why! — Nathan Mueller, Extension Educator
    Grazing Cover Crops – Livestock Integration — Mary Drewnoski, Extension Beef Systems Specialist
    Cover Crop Mixtures and Field Tour — Dale Strickler, Green Cover Seed
    LENRD and USDA NRCS Cost Share Programs Available — Curt Becker, Lower Elkhorn NRD, and Robin Sutherland, USDA NRCS.

Event Details
The demonstration farm is at 57161 834 Road, Stanton.

The event is sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources district. Please RSVP to your local NRCS Office.


The Nebraska Soybean Board held an election in July for board members in Districts 1, 3, and 6. Nebraska soybean farmers in those districts voted with the following results:

District 1 (Counties of Antelope, Boyd, Cedar, Holt, Knox, Madison, and Pierce) Candidates:
    Anne Meis, Elgin, NE – Antelope County - Re-elected
    Ron Stech, Osmond, NE – Pierce County   
    Bret Wallin, Madison, NE – Madison County
The re-elected board member, Anne Meis, will begin her second term on the board.

District 3 (Counties of Butler, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy, Saunders, and Washington) Candidates:
    Richard Bartek, Ithaca, NE – Saunders County - Re-elected
    Rebecca Kreikemeier, Bellwood, NE – Butler County
The re-elected board member, Richard Bartek, will begin his third term on the board.

District 6 (Counties of Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, Seward, and Thayer) Candidates:
    Nathan Dorn, Firth, NE – Gage County - Elected
    Larry Tonniges, Utica, NE – Seward County
The elected board member, Nathan Dorn, will begin his first term on the board.

“A special thank you to all the candidates who took time out of their busy schedule to run in this year’s election. The two returning directors and one new director will continue to face the many challenges and seek opportunities that will benefit all soybean farmers in Nebraska,” said Victor Bohuslavsky, Nebraska Soybean Board executive director.

The elected board members will serve a three-year term beginning October 1, 2018 and ending September 30, 2021.

 Crop Disease Update 

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant Pathologist

Bacterial Leaf Streak
Grower reports and samples submitted to the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic indicate bacterial leaf streak is increasing in corn. This week it was confirmed in Box Butte, Scotts Bluff, and Kimball counties and has now been confirmed in 70 counties. A survey is underway to collect samples from western Nebraska counties where it hasn't been confirmed.

Southern Rust
Southern rust was confirmed in three more counties this week: Phelps, Howard, and Otoe, making a total of 12 counties in eastern Nebraska where it's been found. To follow movement of Southern rust in Nebraska and other states, view the map at

Given the economics of a fungicide application and low corn prices, an application is generally not recommended at this point in the season unless there is a major flare-up in a given field, or if the field was planted very late and is earlier in development and more vulnerable to disease.

Gray leaf spot is also being reported in corn.

Frogeye Leaf Spot
Reports of phytophthora and Frogeye leaf spot continue in soybean. If you apply a fungicide for control of Frogeye leaf spot and do not get the control you expect and suspect resistance to fungicides, please send samples to the university's Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic and indicate the sample is for Frogeye research. Please indicate the fungicide applied, application rate, and date applied. Fungicide resistance has been documented in the Bootheel of Missouri and in eastern Iowa.

For more information on individual diseases of corn and soybean, see Plant Disease Management for Agricultural Crops in CropWatch...

Ricketts Announces Seward County as Newest Nebraska Livestock Friendly County

Today, at the Seward County Fair, Governor Pete Ricketts named Seward County Nebraska’s newest Livestock Friendly County (LFC).  Seward County is the 48th county in Nebraska to receive the LFC designation.  The LFC program is administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA).

“Agriculture is the largest segment of Nebraska’s economy,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Congratulations to Seward County on becoming livestock friendly.  With more than half of all Nebraska counties designated as livestock friendly, we are setting ourselves up for long-term growth by creating more opportunities for the next generation of farm families.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Seward County had a total of $308 million in market value of agriculture products for the year 2012.  Livestock sales accounted for $124 million, or 40 percent of the total value, with cattle/calves, hogs, and dairy being the largest livestock segments in the county.  Crop production accounted for $184 million, or 60 percent of the total value.  Major crops raised in Seward County include corn and soybeans.

“There are nearly 1,000 farms in Seward County, so people there are familiar with livestock development and all the benefits that come with responsible livestock production,” said Steve Martin, Ag Promotion Coordinator with the NDA.  “By applying for and receiving Nebraska’s Livestock Friendly County designation, the people of Seward County are supporting the livestock industry and recognizing the tremendous impact the industry has on the local economy.”

The LFC program was created by the Nebraska Legislature in 2003 to recognize counties that support the livestock industry and new livestock developments.  A county wishing to apply for the LFC designation must hold a public hearing, and the county board must pass a resolution to apply for the designation.  Additional information about the LFC program is available on NDA’s website at or by calling 800-422-6692.

Public Hearings Scheduled at the Upper Big Blue NRD

The Upper Big Blue NRD Board of Directors have scheduled two Public Hearings. The first is the FY2019 Budget scheduled for Thursday, August 16, 2018, at 7:30 p.m., with the August NRD Board Meeting to follow. A second Public Hearing for the FY2019 Tax Request is scheduled for Tuesday, September 18, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. The September 18th date will also be the September NRD Board Meeting following the hearing. These Public Hearings will be conducted at the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District office building located at 319 East 25th Street, York, Nebraska. The proposed budget and tax request for FY2019 continues to include safety measures for protecting District citizens and enhancing the delivery of quality services. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend these Public Hearings.

The Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District (NRD) protects lives, property and the future of this area through a wide-range of stewardship, management and educational programs—from flood control to groundwater monitoring, from irrigation management to outdoor recreation and more. Activities and projects of the Upper Big Blue NRD are reviewed and approved by a locally elected Board of Directors. The Upper Big Blue NRD is one of 23 Natural

Resources Districts across the state. For more information, visit or call (402) 362-6601.

ISU Extension and Outreach Entomologists Identify New Soybean Pest

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach entomologists have identified and confirmed the presence of a new soybean pest, the soybean gall midge, in 12 Iowa counties: Lyon, O’Brien, Clay, Plymouth, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Woodbury, Harrison, Shelby, Pottawattamie, Cass and Page. In 2016 and 2017, there were isolated reports of soybean injury as a result of soybean gall midge in northwest Iowa. The pest’s presence was reported in 2011 in Nebraska and 2015 in South Dakota.

Midges are a fly in the Cecidomyiidae family, with 6,000 species worldwide; at least 1,100 species are in North America. Midges are small (2-3 mm in length), have long antennae and have unusually hairy wings. Most midges are fragile and weak fliers. Many midge species are considered economically important plant pests; however, some are predatory on aphids and mites. Midge maggots are not mobile and must be located on or near the host plant to survive. Midge larvae feed within the host plant tissue, creating abnormal growths called galls. This particular midge larvae are clear-colored and eventually turn bright orange as they mature.

Not much is known about the soybean gall midge, and entomologists have not been able to confirm the species as of yet. Plant injury as a result of the pest has been most severe at field edges, which is a possible indicator that adults fly to new soybean fields following the growing season. Injury is usually restricted to the base of the plant. Initially, infested stems look swollen, then eventually turn brown and break off, resulting in plant death. In some instances, plants were infected with a fungal disease, but this was not a consistent occurrence.

From observations thus far, cultural control practices, including variety selection, time of planting, row spacing, tillage or manure application, do not appear to have an impact on soybean gall midge. Insecticidal seed treatment does not appear to effectively suppress the midges. Entomologists think that the soybean gall midge can complete at least two generations in Iowa, but it is not known yet how long a generation takes to develop. It is assumed that it can overwinter in Iowa, and does so as a pupa in the soil or leaf litter similar to other midges.

If you see these midges infesting a soybean field in Iowa, please contact Erin Hodgson, associate professor and extension specialist in entomology at Iowa State, via email at or on Twitter @erinwhodgson. More information will be shared as it becomes available about this pest, as well as effective management solutions as they become available.

Field Day to Discuss Best Methods for Transitioning to Organic

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Organic Ag Program will discuss best methods for transitioning into organic corn and soybean production during a field day at the Neely-Kinyon Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm Field Day, Aug. 21. The event will be held from 4-7 p.m. at the research farm near Greenfield.

The field day will begin at 4 p.m. with a farm tour, followed by a light meal at 5:30 p.m. A question and answer session with ISU Extension and Outreach and industry experts will take place after the meal, discussing organic certification, markets and strategies for success.

The Organic Ag Program has studied best management practices for maintaining high yields while enhancing soil and water quality for transitioning and certified organic farmers. Through timely weed management, longer crop rotations and appropriate manure-based fertilization, the program has demonstrated comparable organic corn, soybean, oat, alfalfa, vegetable and fruit yields compared to conventional crops. Greater soil quality has been shown through the use of extended crop rotations, cover crops and compost applications, in addition to organic no-till farming.

Speakers will include Kathleen Delate, professor and extension organic specialist in horticulture and agronomy at Iowa State, who will discuss organic grain, forage and vegetable crops.

Cynthia Cambardella, soil scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, will present on enhancing soil and water quality through organic practices. Cambardella has documented a 50 percent reduction in nitrate loading from organic vs. conventional fields at her Ames research site.

Paul Scott, corn breeder with USDA-ARS, will discuss his efforts in breeding corn under organic conditions to develop high-performing hybrids.

In addition to the organic cropping systems research, Tim Daley, agronomist with Stonebridge Ltd., will discuss issues facing producers this summer, including insects, disease and herbicide drift. Daley will also discuss weather issues stemming from a wet spring and drought in July, which has affected both planting and now, potentially, yields from moisture stress in southern Iowa.

The organic agriculture industry continues to grow and was listed as a $50 billion industry in the United States in 2018, with a 7 percent increase in the number of organic businesses. Farmers across the Midwest are increasingly interested in transitioning to organic production to reap the premium prices and enjoy the environmental benefits organic has demonstrated, such as higher soil quality. Organic soybeans are currently priced at $19 per bushel and organic corn is $10 per bushel. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic farms across the U.S. are 35 percent more profitable than their conventional counterparts.

Directions to the Neely-Kinyon Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm (2557 Norfolk Avenue, Greenfield): Two miles south of Greenfield on Highway 25, one mile east, and a half mile north.

Contact Kathleen Delate at or 515-294-7069 for more information. The field day is supported by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture-Organic Ag Research and Extension Initiative. Additional information on organic research is available at

NSP Statement of Chlorpyrifos Ruling

On August 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit court issued a decision to vacate the Environmental Protection Agency order maintaining tolerances for the pesticide chlorpyrifos, and remanded to the EPA with directions to revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for chlorpyrifos within 60 days.

In response, NSP Chairman and sorghum farmer from Pawnee City, Nebraska, Don Bloss released the following statement:

"National Sorghum Producers is disappointed by the Ninth Circuit Court's decision, ordering the EPA to cancel all registrations of Chlorpyrifos by 60 days. Chlorpyrifos, in its various formulations, is a vital tool used in rotation to control damaging pests such as sorghum midge, various aphid species, and sorghum webworm and headworm. Additionally, its short residual activity makes it among the more environmentally safe products, especially in the semi-arid conditions in which sorghum is often grown.

"Sorghum farmers understand the need to balance risk and benefits. The benefits of Chlorpyrifos are clear, as it has been evaluated and approved in 79 countries around the world  and the extensive studies strongly point to a reduced risk product that should remain in the toolbox of American farmers. NSP hopes to see the EPA explore all avenues of an appeal after review of the order, and we will continue to advocate for this vital tool for our growers."

Independent Ranchers Seek Checkoff Injunction in More States

Checkoff programs in Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin would be barred from unconstitutionally collecting funds that subsidize corporate speech

National independent rancher group Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) today moved to expand their legal campaign to end the unconstitutional administration of the Beef Checkoff program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The current injunction against collection of checkoff funds, upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in April, only applies to collection of checkoff funds in Montana. R-CALF USA is now asking for a halt to checkoff funds in Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin as well.

"R-CALF members, including those in Montana, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin, object to being required to turn over their hard-earned money to fund private speech with which they disagree and cannot influence", reads the supplemental pleading in the case filed today.

The Beef Checkoff is a federal tax that compels producers to pay $1 per head every time cattle are sold, half of which is used to fund the advertisements of private state beef councils, like the Montana Beef Council. The Montana Beef Council is a private corporation whose members include representatives of the largest multinational beef packers, and the USDA has admitted as much over the course of this litigation. Public Justice is lead counsel in this constitutional challenge.

"The checkoff program has weakened the U.S. cattle industry by helping importers capture a greater share of our domestic market, and now the courts have found that USDA facilitated this by violating the constitutional rights of cattle producers. It is imperative that we proceed to protect the constitutional rights of cattle producers in these other states by stopping USDA from forcing them to fund private speech that undermines their financial and economic interests," said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

Montana's Beef Council, for example, promotes the message that there is no difference between domestic beef produced under U.S. food safety laws and beef produced in foreign countries. It has paid for advertisements for the fast-food chain Wendy's, for example, to promote hamburgers that use North American beef, meaning beef that can come from anywhere on the continent, but not necessarily Montana or even the United States.

"Our side in this fight has the momentum, and we are using it to help bring relief to ranchers in these thirteen states who are currently being compelled to subsidize the speech of multinational corporations regardless of their wishes. Today's supplemental pleading is the next step towards reform of the nation's entire Beef Checkoff system that has become a tool for corporate consolidation and control, harming independent farmers," said Food Project Attorney David Muraskin, lead attorney in the case.

In addition to Muraskin, R-CALF USA is also represented in its checkoff case by J. Dudley Butler, of the Farm and Ranch Law Group, and Bill Rossbach of Rossbach Law, P.C. in Missoula, Montana.

NCBA Reaffirms Unwavering Support for Beef Checkoff

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is fully committed to the Beef Checkoff Program and the state beef councils who carry out necessary demand-building programs on behalf of the industry. For more than 50 years, state beef councils have been the cornerstone of beef promotion, enjoying widespread support from the vast majority of the beef producers who invest in the Beef Checkoff.

This week’s attack by R-CALF and its activist partners on 13 additional state beef councils is nothing more than an attempt to broaden the damage they have caused in Montana. There they have already weakened the producer-directed programs that support beef demand and divided neighbors in a manner that undermines the best interests of the entire beef community.

Although NCBA is not a party to the litigation, the association’s support for the Beef Checkoff is unwavering. We will stand with the state beef councils and help defend them against the attacks being orchestrated by R-CALF and its activist allies, who are aligned with the Humane Society of the United States and other anti-agriculture organizations.

National Cattlemen's Foundation Accepting Applications for W.D. Farr Scholarships

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for the W.D. Farr Scholarships for the 2018-19 school year. Two annual $15,000 grants will be awarded to outstanding graduate students who demonstrate superior achievement in academics and leadership and are committed to beef industry advancement. The awards will allow the students to further their study in fields that benefit the industry.

The scholarship was established by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation to honor the successful career of the late W.D. Farr. Farr, a third-generation Coloradan, pioneer rancher, statesman and banker was known for his extraordinary vision. His dedication to improving agriculture, livestock and water development has resulted in significant changes in farming methods that have influenced the practices of ranchers and farmers throughout the nation.

To apply for the scholarship, graduate students planning to pursue a career in the beef industry should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, description of applicant’s goals and experience, and statement of belief in the industry, as well as a review of the applicant’s graduate research and three letters of recommendation. Applications close at midnight on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. For more information and to apply, visit All applications must be submitted online.

Thursday August 9 Ag News

Reflection on 120 Years of Diesel 

Twenty-years plus a full century ago, (August 9, 1898) one of what would be a series of patents was issued to a French engineer living in Berlin for an efficient, slow burning, compression ignition, internal combustion engine. Best known for the invention of an engine that today bears his name, Rudolf Diesel’s invention came while the steam engine was the predominant power source for large industries. Even at this most primitive stage, diesel technology demonstrated an efficiency of 26.2 percent vs. about 10 percent for steam. With more energy captured and directed towards mechanical work, and the potential the diesel engine was on its way

In the early 1900’s, further developments in air handling and fuel injection systems enabled diesel engines to move from being large low-speed to high speed to a position of displacing steam engines as the primary motive power source for industrial needs. High speed diesel engines were first introduced for commercial vehicle applications in the 1920’s and in the 1930’s for passenger vehicles.

Now 120 years in, where is the diesel today? Bounding ahead and being true to its roots.

Today, a dozen decades after its invention, diesels remain as the prime mover, the power plant of choice for 15 sectors of the global economy.  Mining, agriculture, construction, goods movement, public transportation and more. The inherent energy efficiency of the fuel and the increasing efficiency of the engine and its combustion process have ensured diesel has remained the technology of choice for these sectors.

This standing holds even after the substantial challenge and achievements that have now made diesel not only more efficient, but near zero in emissions performance. Today’s emissions control systems such as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems are advanced, efficient and durable, and are available in smaller footprints and at lower cost than their initial introduction (2010). Confident in the long term future for diesel, manufacturers are now exploring how much nearer to zero they can get with diesel in future heavy-duty commercial vehicle engines. If history serves any purpose, there is more to come!

For passenger vehicles, the future of diesel is increasingly focused on larger vehicles – ones that are particularly suited to the advantages that diesel provides. The fastest growing and most popular SUVs and pickup truck segments are also the ones with the most diesel product offerings today. These vehicles must deliver the full package of no compromises in vehicle utility, driving range, more fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions, and competitive consumer return on investment.

Today, competition in fuels and engine technologies is greater than at any point in the past. Alternative fuels like natural gas (compressed or liquefied) have made only small niche inroads into sectors predominated by diesel. As for the threat of electrification to displace diesel, battery performance, while improving is still far away from being commercially challenging to the full array of energy, range and performance advantages of the diesel engine. No doubt that some vehicles and niche applications will find electrification a good fit, but for the bulk of the diesel sectors of the economy, nothing comes close.

The future of diesel is about taking a good thing and making it better. Two places that is happening is in the fuels that it uses and enhancements to the technology. Combining hybrid systems with diesel engines in vehicles or machines where it makes sense yields good returns for customers and more productivity as well, as demonstrated in both on-highway medium-size vehicles and even off-road construction equipment. Hybridization allows for downsizing diesel engines, less fuel consumption and lower emissions overall.

Diesel’s original engine was fueled on vegetable oil, a biofuel. In true back-to-the-roots fashion, one of the most exciting and growing opportunities for diesel today and in the future is the increasing use of renewable biofuels. These low-carbon drop-in petroleum replacement fuels are providing a viable, cost-effective and near-term benefit for progressive public and private fleets alike. In California, renewable biodiesel fuels are the linchpin of the low carbon fuel standard today and delivering important CO2 reductions for tomorrow. 

Because we’re living in the future today, the diesel engine is important in achieving societal goals of cleaner air, lower greenhouse gas emissions and economic growth and productivity. The incremental advancements in diesel efficiency, new sensibilities about the role of advanced biofuels and overall continuous improvement of the technology ensure we’ll still be talking about diesel for decades to come.

Naig comments on proposed RFS levels

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) levels for conventional, advanced and cellulosic biofuels for 2019 and biodiesel for 2020. The comment period on the proposed levels runs through Aug. 17, 2018.

“A strong RFS that follows the law is critically important to ensuring market access for ethanol and biodiesel and to giving consumers additional fuel choices at the pump. I will reiterate to acting Administrator Wheeler when he visits Iowa next week the need to support the RFS, allow year-round sale of E15 and end the small-refinery waivers that have cut ethanol demand by 1.5 billion gallons over the past two years.”

Integrated Pest Management Program Hosts Eighth Annual Crop Scouting Competition

 The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Integrated Pest Management program hosted its eighth annual Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa Youth on July 30 at the Iowa State University Field Extension Education Laboratory near Boone, Iowa.

Thirty nine high school students (those completing grades 8-12) from across Iowa tested their integrated crop management skills through several tasks and challenges, both in the field and in the classroom. Youth had the opportunity to work with and learn from Iowa State faculty, staff and agronomists, as well as professionals in crop-related careers.

Receiving first place in this competition was Clayton County Team Number One with 231.1 total points. Following close behind with a score of 215.5 was Clayton County Team Number Two. Team Kuhlmann Seed placed third with a score of 214.75, and Team Geer Seed recorded 211.6 points to finish fourth. These top four winning teams received a cash prize for their accomplishments, while the top two teams from Clayton County will be advancing to the regional competition in Nebraska Aug. 27.

During the competition, a total of nine teams competed and rotated through eight different stations, each with a simulation of real field conditions, where they needed to make an integrated crop and pest management decision. Stations included weed identification, soybean staging, soybean diseases and management. There was also a written test given to evaluate students’ knowledge about common IPM practices to ensure individual team member mastery. The goal of this competition was to both test and increase students’ knowledge in the areas of weeds, insects and disease identification, as well as demonstrate the many careers available in agriculture.

A post-event survey showed that participants thought the challenge to be evenly competitive, with plant disorders and pesticides providing the biggest challenge. It also indicated that students enjoyed learning a variety of new things in a hands-on environment. The event also provided an opportunity for each student to learn and work as a team in order to solve problems together.

A majority of students who competed in the event will be entering into higher education with two-thirds entering into a field within the agriculture industry, with a total of 11 students planning to major in agronomy.

Grains In All Forms Exports On Track To Set New Record

U.S. exports of grain in all forms (GIAF) are on track to set a new record in 2017/2018, with two months of sales left to report, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and analysis by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).

During the first 10 months of the marketing year (September 2017 to June 2018), the United States exported 98.3 million metric tons (38.7 billion bushels) of grain in all forms, up 2 percent year-over-year from last year’s record-setting pace.

The feed grains in all forms calculation helps capture how much of U.S. coarse grain production is actually used in the world market by including the corn equivalent of co-products like ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) as well as beef, pork and poultry meat exports.

“GIAF exports is a fully-loaded accounting of the importance of exports to the livelihoods of U.S. coarse grain farmers and agribusinesses, particularly in a year of increased volatility and concern over retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products in multiple markets,” said Mike Dwyer, USGC chief economist. “U.S. GIAF exports could exceed 116 MMT (4.57 billion bushels) at the end of 2017/2018, up from last marketing year’s 114 MMT (4.49 billion bushels) and the second year in a row setting a new record high.”

That achievement would come despite a tumultuous trade environment, serving as a reminder of the resiliency of U.S. exports and of the quality and price competitiveness of U.S. coarse grains and co-products.

Trade with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries and neighbors, Mexico and Canada, has increased GIAF purchases by 3.7 percent and 12.6 percent year-over-year, respectively. In Mexico, corn sales are up 8.9 percent at nearly 12.4 MMT (488 million bushels), and DDGS sales are up 4.2 percent at 1.76 MMT. In Canada, corn imports have nearly doubled to 1.25 MMT (49.2 million bushels), and ethanol purchases are up slightly at nearly 270 million gallons year-to-date.

“GIAF exports to NAFTA partners could exceed 31 MMT (1.22 billion bushels) this marketing year - another record high that would account for 27 percent of worldwide GIAF sales,” Dwyer said. “Those sales signal the continued importance of the well-established supply chains and strong relationships the U.S. agricultural sector shares with both countries.”

Notably, GIAF exports to the European Union have also risen nearly 84 percent year-over-year to 3.78 MMT (149 million bushels) thus far in 2017/2018.

By sector, U.S. ethanol exports accounted for the lion’s share of the overall increase of GIAF exports in June, pushing exports up nearly 22 percent year-over-year to 1.36 billion gallons (12.2 MMT or 480 million bushels in grain equivalent), continuing a surprisingly strong pace of exports. As a result, the Council now believes ethanol exports could reach 1.6 billion gallons (14.4 MMT or 568 million bushels in grain equivalent), setting another new record.

Large customers including Brazil and India have continued to increase ethanol purchases, but other important trading partners including South Korea and Colombia have also realized large increases - up 41 percent and 194 percent year-over-year, respectively.

“The overall growth in ethanol exports showcases the increased focus of ethanol within the Council’s programming and the importance of exports of value-added products,” Dwyer said.

Overall corn, barley and sorghum exports remain down slightly year-over-year. But while corn exports are 1.4 percent lower than last marketing year at this time, USDA’s forecast of increased corn exports for the 2017/2018 marketing year signals the potential for a strong final two months of sales.

Key trading partners including Mexico and Colombia have also purchased larger volumes of U.S. corn compared to this time last marketing year, with both markets growing around 9 percent year-over-year. This export growth reaffirms that U.S. agriculture continues to benefit immensely from access to markets provided by free trade agreements.

“The release of the June numbers has provided some reassurance to producers roiled by tariffs and low prices throughout much of the marketing year,” Dwyer said. “The Council has continued to cultivate relationships with overseas buyers in decades-old markets and aggressively build new worldwide demand for corn, barley and sorghum farmers and the value-added industries they supply.”

Farm Credit Continues its Commitment to Young, Beginning and Small Farmers

In 2017, Farm Credit institutions across the country continued their strong commitment to supporting young, beginning and small (YBS) producers, according to data released by the Farm Credit Administration (FCA).

At its monthly board meeting, FCA board members complimented institutions on their collective and individual efforts to educate prospective and current YBS customers through webinars, classes and multi-year programs.

While Farm Credit’s overall loan volume grew by 3.1 percent, according to the data, loans outstanding to young farmers (age 35 and younger) grew by 4.8 percent, to beginning farmers (10 or fewer years farming) by 5.3 percent and to small farmers (gross sales less than $250,000) by 2 percent in 2017.

“Farm Credit’s young, beginning and small programs continue to deliver strong benefits for prospective and current customers. They focus on helping producers find a path to success through developing business plans, examining balance sheets and other critical steps,” said Farm Credit Council CEO Todd Van Hoose. “Despite the current economic difficulties for farmers and ranchers, Farm Credit remains committed to serving these customers.”

Farm Credit Services of America offers one example of those YBS programs. Its Side By Side and Launch conferences have seen continued interest from young and beginning farmers. As Carl Horne, Vice President for Customer Solutions and manager of YBS programs, said, “With all the barriers to entry in commodity farming, we continue to see increased participation in our educational training programs. We have tripled the size of our YBS conferences in order to help more beginning farmers deal with lower margins. Farm Credit is stepping up to help producers develop and maintain a successful operation."

In discussing the qualitative data, FCA noted that Farm Credit institutions have created new lending programs and enhanced the trainings offered for YBS producers.

Brazil Cuts 2017-2018 Corn Forecast, Raises Soybean Estimate Slightly

Brazilian agriculture agency Conab cut its forecast for the corn harvest in the 2017-2018 season due to less-than-normal rain in some areas and raised its estimate for the soybean harvest slightly.

Conab forecast a total corn crop of 82.2 million metric tons in the 2017-2018 season, down from the 82.9 million tons the agency forecast in July. Brazil's corn harvest in the 2016-2017 season was 97.8 million tons.

The lack of rain in some corn-producing areas corresponded with a period in which precipitation is vital to the plants' development, Conab said.

Brazilian farmers produced a record 119 million metric tons of soybeans in the season, Conab said, up from its estimate of 118.9 million tons in July.

Brazil produced 114.1 million tons of soybeans in the 2016-2017 season, the previous record.

USDA to Realign ERS with Chief Economist, Relocate ERS & NIFA Outside DC

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced further reorganization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), intended to improve customer service, strengthen offices and programs, and save taxpayer dollars.  The Economic Research Service (ERS), currently under USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics mission area, will realign once again with the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) under the Office of the Secretary.  Additionally, most employees of ERS and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will be relocated outside of the National Capital Region.  The movement of the employees outside of Washington, DC is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

“It’s been our goal to make USDA the most effective, efficient, and customer-focused department in the entire federal government,” Perdue said.  “In our Administration, we have looked critically at the way we do business, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the best service possible for our customers, and for the taxpayers of the United States.  In some cases, this has meant realigning some of our offices and functions, or even relocating them, in order to make more logical sense or provide more streamlined and efficient services.”

Realigning ERS with OCE

Moving ERS back together with OCE under the Office of the Secretary simply makes sense because the two have similar missions.  ERS studies and anticipates trends and emerging issues, while OCE advises the Secretary and Congress on the economic implications of policies and programs.  These two agencies were aligned once before, and bringing them back together will enhance the effectiveness of economic analysis at USDA.

Relocating ERS and NIFA outside National Capital Region

New locations have yet to be determined, and it is possible that ERS and NIFA may be co-located when their new homes are found.  USDA is undertaking the relocations for three main reasons:

-    To improve USDA’s ability to attract and retain highly qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom come from land-grant universities.  USDA has experienced significant turnover in these positions, and it has been difficult to recruit employees to the Washington, DC area, particularly given the high cost of living and long commutes.

-    To place these important USDA resources closer to many of stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from the Washington, DC area.

-    To benefit the American taxpayers.  There will be significant savings on employment costs and rent, which will allow more employees to be retained in the long run, even in the face of tightening budgets.

No ERS or NIFA employees will be involuntarily separated. Every employee who wants to continue working will have an opportunity to do so, although that will mean moving to a new location for most.  Employees will be offered relocation assistance and will receive the same base pay as before, and the locality pay for the new location.  For those who are interested, USDA is seeking approval from the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget for both Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments.

“None of this reflects on the jobs being done by our ERS or NIFA employees, and in fact, I frequently tell my Cabinet colleagues that USDA has the best workforce in the federal government,” Perdue said.  “These changes are more steps down the path to better service to our customers, and will help us fulfill our informal motto to ‘Do right and feed everyone.’”

NAFTA Renegotiation Should Address Cattle Issues

The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) Wednesday urged US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer to pursue country-of-origin labeling (COOL) issues in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). CPA believes that reinstatement of COOL labeling will help US consumers to find safer food alternatives and will also help to boost domestic agriculture.

"If the president wants to extend his 'Buy American, Hire American' agenda to the nation's agricultural sector, then we need to revise our food labeling policies," said CPA Chair Dan DiMicco. "Americans undoubtedly want to buy safe, domestically farmed beef and pork. They should have the option to choose where their food is raised."

America's cattle industry is the single largest segment of U.S. agriculture, and includes roughly 750,000 cattle farm and ranch operations. Currently, U.S. agriculture is prohibited from distinguishing between domestic and imported beef due to objections raised by Canada and Mexico at the World Trade Organization (WTO). CPA believes the US Trade Representative should negotiate with Canada and Mexico to reinstate COOL labeling for both beef and pork.

"Thanks to objections from Mexico and Canada, global food companies can import unlabeled beef and sell the resulting food products to uninformed consumers, often with a 'Product of USA' label," said Michael Stumo, CEO of the CPA. "As a result, US cattle producers receive a smaller share of the consumer dollar while America's consumers do not benefit from either price savings or important label information. The USTR has an opportunity to address this issue while also helping America's hard-working farmers and ranchers."

Stumo notes that Canada's recently enacted retaliatory tariffs have impacted U.S. beef producers. Addressing COOL labeling disparities can help to level the playing field for America's agricultural sector.

"Without such concessions, American cattle producers on one end of the supply chain and American consumers on the other will continue to be hurt," said Stumo. "Unless we address the food labeling issue, the effectiveness of renegotiating NAFTA to strengthen America's overall economy will be diminished."

R-CALF USA is a board member of CPA. R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard says the call to reinstate COOL for beef and pork by the CPA, which represents American manufacturers, labor and agriculture, demonstrates that reinstating COOL is important to all segments of America's economy.

New Magnum Series Tractor Updates from Case IH Boost Productivity and Performance

Building on a legacy of high-horsepower row crop tractor performance, Case IH is pleased to announce Model Year 2019 product updates to its Magnum™ line of tractors. For Model Year 2019, Case IH continues to focus on boosting productivity and performance of both the Magnum wheeled and Magnum Rowtrac™ tractors. Updates include a new warranty program, factory-fit telematics and advanced subscription to Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) Connect™ farm management system, a new 21-inch track option and factory-installed Goodyear® LSW® tire options.

With these updates, the new models are better able to help producers manage operational costs and increase uptime.
New warranty program

All Model Year 2019 Magnum tractors will include a three-year, 2,000-hour factory warranty. This pertains to all models and configurations from Magnum 180 to Magnum 380 tractors. The new program helps manage cost of ownership and provides peace of mind when considering repair costs.

Advanced telematics and AFS Connect subscription

All Model Year 2019 Magnum tractors will come with factory-fit telematics and a one-year advanced subscription to AFS Connect. Case IH AFS Connect is the control center for all tractor-to-cloud-based information transfer and management. Customer driven enhancements to AFS Connect include both agronomic and tractor-related data, allowing producers to work smarter and get more done each day by letting cellular communication be their messenger service. Real-time equipment tracking and capture and analysis of agronomic data enable farmers to optimize their operations.

Additional options for agronomic productivity
Since 2015, Magnum Rowtrac tractors have offered producers a way to address the challenges of traction-limited soils and adverse planting and tillage conditions, all while maintaining the best agronomics possible. In 2019, a new 21-inch track option was added to maximize flotation and minimize plant root zone interference especially in crops planted on beds with 38-inch and 36-inch row spacing. All Model Year 2019 Magnum tractors will be fit with track options that allow a maximum travel speed of 25 mph for all track widths: 16, 18, 21, 24 and 30 inches.

To improve serviceability, all Magnum Rowtrac tractors are now fit with polyurethane roller wheels that feature a lug bolt/wheel hub design to enable simple removal and replacement if ever required. They can be serviced by removing the lug bolts and roller from the hub, installing a new roller and reinstalling the lug bolts.

Factory-installed Goodyear tire options

Magnum wheeled tractors offer excellent performance in an almost limitless variety of applications. New tire technology continually evolves and provides new options for producers. Case IH is pleased to offer new factory-installed Goodyear LSW 1100/45 R46 rear and 1000/40 R32 front tires as an option on Magnum 250, 280, 310, 340 and 380 wheeled tractors.

Building on Proven Performance, Case IH Launches New Features for Steiger Series Tractors

Case IH is advancing its Steiger® Quadtrac® and Rowtrac™ tractor lineup with new features that reinforce the series’ already proven performance. Several drive system advancements, including a new high-speed Rowtrac design, join a factory-fit enhanced telematics offering that increases management capability and flexibility. In addition, all Model Year 2019 tractors used in agriculture applications now include an industry-exclusive warranty and a one-year advanced subscription to Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) Connect™. These innovations help ensure that Model Year 2019 Steiger tractors will deliver even more power, productivity and efficiency for producers.

“For more than 20 years, we have been relentless in refinement of our track technology, giving us a head start and allowing us to lead the pack,” said Mitch Kaiser, Case IH Steiger tractor marketing manager. “This series of tractors is already strong, smart and simple, and these advancements are helping producers get even more power, performance and productivity that leads to lower total cost of ownership.”

Industry-exclusive warranty and technology

The new three-year, 2,000-hour warranty is an industry-exclusive included on Model Year 2019 Steiger tractors used in agriculture applications. Along with the warranty, Steiger tractors now come with factory-fit telematics and a one-year subscription to AFS Connect. Case IH AFS Connect is the control center for monitoring and management of your fleet. Enhanced data sharing capabilities allow you to transfer A/B guidance lines, application and planting prescriptions, and as-applied maps, as well as monitor fault codes and key operating parameters. Producers are now able to both track and transfer data seamlessly to and from their Steiger tractors.

New high-speed track design

Steiger Rowtrac tractors now feature an improved track design for high-speed roading — capable of up to 25 mph — for tracks of all widths with no mechanical speed limitation. Plus, a new 21-inch configuration provides the only narrow-row track option available in the industry. These options provide producers with efficiencies even before their tracks touch the dirt, as they move between fields faster.

Daily maintenance checks are now easier with new clear wheel caps with a max fill line molded in and a recessed view window for better oil visibility. Wheels now also feature a bolt-on design. The new design uses a polyurethane roller surface bonded to a wheel that bolts to a hub fitted to a new axle assembly. This reduces the time required for service and improves uptime if roller repairs are needed.

With more track options than any other company, Case IH partners with three track suppliers helping fit different producer needs. One of the suppliers, Soucy, offers 18- and 24-inch belts with five-year prorated warranty on tracks plus a lifetime warranty on traction lug blowout.

Improved durability and performance

New, exclusive and patented Steiger Quadtrac and Rowtrac design features a fully cast undercarriage beam with roller wheel suspension, which provides increased strength, durability and a superior ride. This design, along with exclusive factory-installed single Goodyear® LSW® tires, makes Steiger Quadtrac and Rowtrac some of the best agronomic 4WD tractors in the market, providing the most power to the ground with the least amount of compaction to your fields for increased yields.

An additional 90-gallon steel fuel tank option for Rowtrac tractors offers increased fuel tank size, making it easier for producers to stay in the field all day to increase productivity. The steel fuel tank also adds durability to the frame and integrates with tri-point oscillation to evenly distribute the weight of the tractor across the frame for reduced compaction and maintain the agronomic quality of the soil.

New twin-flow Smart Torque hydraulic pump option provides up to 12 percent more horsepower, equating to increased drawbar horsepower when producers need it to pull heavy loads, such as air seeders or large planters.

“With all of these new features and their added benefits to producers, the Steiger Quadtrac and Rowtrac tractors have been propelled well beyond the competition,” Kaiser said. “This series represents the most powerful equipment, built and backed by the right expertise, to help producers achieve High-Efficiency Farming.”

The Andersons Reports Lower Sales, but Higher Net Income

The Andersons, Inc. announces financial results for the second quarter which ended June 30. The company reported second quarter 2018 net income of $21.5 million on revenues of $911 million. This result is a significant improvement over the net loss attributable to the company of $26.7 million.

Results for the quarter included pretax impairment charges of $4.7 million on idle railcars held for sale and $1.6 million on the Grain Group's Como, Tennessee, facility in anticipation of its recent sale. The decrease in revenues year over year was primarily the result of the Company's adoption of new revenue recognition rules at the beginning of 2018 that have changed the accounting treatment of a significant amount of Grain's sales transactions. This change has no impact on the amount of gross profit recognized on these transactions.

"As in the first quarter, our Grain and Ethanol businesses each posted significantly better year-over-year results, but our Plant Nutrient and Rail businesses posted lower results compared to last year," said CEO Pat Bowe.

"For the seventh consecutive quarter, our Grain Group recorded improved year-over-year results," Bowe continued. "The group's second quarter results improved by approximately $4.5 million when excluding the Tennessee asset impairment charge, and were highlighted by better results from merchandising and Lansing Trade Group. Ethanol Group results improved once again year over year due to higher volumes linked to plant optimization and improved DDG margins.

The Plant Nutrient Group's lawn and contract manufacturing business continued to grow, but that was not enough to offset the continued squeeze in margins for both primary and specialty nutrients, which suffered from continued competitive pricing pressure. The Rail Group's results were comparable year over year notwithstanding its decision to scrap about 600 idle cars. Utilization and total cars on lease improved sequentially and year over year, signaling a continued modest market upturn."

Wednesday August 8 Ag News


Nebraska Extension is focused on making sure those at the front line of the agriculture industry — farm and ranch families — have a plan in place for how operations will be managed for years to come.

According to Allan Vyhnalek, an extension educator focused on farm succession, roughly half of all Nebraska producers do not have a succession plan. As the average age of Nebraska’s farm and ranch operators trends older, it’s important for those operators to have a plan to pass on the family operation.

“The importance of having a farm or ranch succession plan in place cannot be overestimated,” Vyhnalek said. “These plans force operators to answer numerous questions regarding business, family, tax and legal issues, so it’s important to plan ahead.”

Nebraska Extension has developed a number of resources to support families through this decision-making process. In addition to extension educators available year-round to assist producers, workshops have been developed to help them understand the importance of developing a succession plan.

If the farm will be transitioned or succeeded to the next generation, the size of the operation needs to be considered. Most agriculture professionals estimate that an operation should be roughly 1,200 to 1,500 row crop acres to support a family. When considering a farm succession plan, not only will there need to be enough land to support the new family running the operation, but also support for the older generation in retirement. This means that crop farmers in Nebraska might need an operation of nearly 2,600 to 3,000 acres to support two families. If livestock is part of the operation, the number of farmland acres needed for the farm to succeed could be lowered.

“Unfortunately, we see some situations where two families are trying to live off an operation that’s only large enough to support one family, which can be very rough, especially with today’s commodity prices,” Vyhnalek said.

When it comes to estate planning, it’s common for older generations of Nebraskans to want to divide their land and assets equally. While it seems like a straightforward approach, this decision could have unintended consequences, Vyhnalek said. For instance, if there are four heirs of an operation, each receiving 25 percent of the assets, this division could be unequitable for the heir that has spent their whole life working on the farm or ranch.

“To treat the next generation fairly may not mean treating your children equally,” Vyhnalek said.

Nebraska Extension also offers assistance for those on the other side of a succession plan. So You’ve Inherited a Farm: Now What? is a popular workshop series for those who have recently inherited a farm or ranch but have no experience managing an operation. The workshop covers topics such as keeping or selling the farm or ranch; managing an operation; key lease provisions; legal considerations; and family communications. Vyhnalek and extension educator Jim Jansen lead the workshops, which are archived online.

“I receive phone calls from people in their 50s and 60s who have inherited land and have no idea how to manage it, because they’ve been off the farm for decades,” Vyhnalek said. “So You’ve Inherited a Farm: Now What? is designed to guide individuals through the process of managing the asset.”

Through one-on-one consultations, webinars and workshops, Nebraska Extension is committed to helping the state’s farm families plan for the future. To view a full list of upcoming events focused on land transitions and succession planning, visit

Inaugural Farm to Fair Dinner to be Featured at the 2018 Iowa State Fair

Iowa farmers are inviting 500 lucky guests to join them at the largest dinner table ever set at the Iowa State Fair, Sunday, August 12, 2018 from noon to 2 p.m. on Grand Avenue. The inaugural event focuses on agricultural education and attendees will have an opportunity to eat, learn, engage and discover facts about Iowa farming and food grown right here in Iowa. With only two percent of the population farming today, this is their chance to sit next to a farmer and enjoy a meal made from locally-sourced ingredients. From beef, pork, corn, dairy, eggs, soybeans and turkey, it’s coming straight from the farm to the Iowa State Fair.

“Iowa dairy farmers are proud to bring dairy to life and share their dairy farm stories as part of this new Iowa State Fair tradition,” Jenna Finch, Midwest Dairy farmer relations manager. “Celebrating dairy farmers’ devotion to dairy makes it easy to bring new experiences to the fair. This year we’re excited to partner with other Iowa agriculture groups to share our common voice.”

Dairy foods will be front and center at The Dairy Barn, which is one of the Iowa State Fair’s most popular concessions and owned by Iowa’s dairy farm families. The building, located north of the cattle barn, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Dairy Barn serves shakes, milk and hand-dipped ice cream. In 2017, more than 56,000 ice cream treats – including 21,700 shakes – were served throughout the fair. In addition, hand-dipped ice cream will be served at the second Dairy Barn location, which is in the Ag Building.

While vising the Ag Building, check out this year’s butter cow. Sarah Pratt, a teacher by trade, will be returning to the fair to sculpt 600 pounds of butter. This year, the world-famous Iowa State Fair Butter Cow will be featured beside the Waterloo Boy Tractor to celebrate John Deere’s 100th anniversary of entering the tractor business. Fair-goers can watch and learn about the process of milking a cow every day at the “I Milked a Cow” exhibit presented by the Iowa State University Dairy Science Club. The booth is located in the Boulevard of Dairy Breeds, John and Emily Putney Family Cattle Barn. For $3, the general public can try out their milking talent on a live cow.

Each year, the Iowa State Fair celebrates the more than 1,100 dairy farmers in the state who are contributing 15,370 jobs and delivering an overall economic impact of $3.88 billion produced and sold in Iowa. To learn more about dairy farming in the Midwest, including Iowa, visit

New Dairy Revenue Protection Insurance Plan Available Nationwide

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) today announced a new insurance plan for dairy producers that insures against unexpected declines in quarterly milk sales. Sign-up for the new product begins Tuesday, October 9, 2018, with the first available coverage starting the first quarter of 2019.

“Expanding the Federal crop insurance program to markets that need it is key to an effective farm safety net. Because of cooperation with partners like the American Farm Bureau Federation, we are able to offer this new product in a way that it can be flexible based on the needs of dairy producers,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary, Farm Production and Conservation.

The new plan, called Dairy Revenue Protection, provides insurance for the difference between the final revenue guarantee and actual milk revenue if prices fall. It also provides a greater choice of prices, from those that focus on cheese to fresh milk, protein or butterfat. Coverage levels are available from 70 to 95 percent of revenue. Dairy Revenue Protection is available in all counties in all 50 states.

Participating producers are not precluded from participation in the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Margin Protection Plan.

Those interested in purchasing Dairy Revenue Protection must do so through an agent selling on behalf of an approved insurance provider. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator, located at

Dairy Revenue Protection was developed and approved through the Federal Crop Insurance Act’s 508(h) process, which allows private parties to develop insurance products that are in the best interests of producers, follow sound insurance principles and are actuarially appropriate.
Dairy Revenue Protection is another risk management tool in the toolbox available to dairy producers. Federal crop insurance helps producers and owners manage risks and strengthens the rural economy. Additional information regarding Dairy Revenue Protection is available on the RMA website’s Livestock page, located at

 NMPF Fights for Science-Based Global Nutrition Guidance for Young Children

To help maintain the important role that dairy foods play in the diets of young children, the National Milk Producers Federation has been pushing back against misguided World Health Organization (WHO) policies that would discourage the consumption of dairy products by kids under age 3.

The WHO creates standards, rules and guidelines that influence the policies and views of countries all over the world. The WHO standards are utilized by the governments of many of U.S. dairy companies’ export customers, and also shape the development of U.S. policies and guidance impacting food and agriculture. NMPF is working with the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) to engage more deeply in these arenas and set the record straight against misleading claims about the proper role of dairy foods.

Last month, NMPF and USDEC sent a representative to the annual Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) meeting to guard against efforts to codify WHO guidance restricting the sharing of marketing information about dairy foods. Another key priority at that Codex meeting was ensuring that Codex’s independent role as the global scientific standard-setting body was upheld in the face of efforts by some to redirect its focus and approach.

In May, the World Health Assembly (WHA) – part of the WHO – considered a resolution that would have effectively discouraged the consumption of dairy products by children younger than age three. The United States government supported most of the resolution, which was primarily focused on the benefits of breast-feeding by infants, while fighting against text in the resolution intended to discourage the consumption of milk and other dairy products by young children ages one and two.

Unfortunately, those facts were missing from a news article in The New York Times that erroneously alleged U.S. government representatives pushed for a policy that was anti-breastfeeding. NMPF responded with a news release offering the truth: that there have been consistent, bipartisan efforts dating back to 2016 to direct WHO policies impacting dairy consumption by young children back toward ones supported by science.

To help set the record straight, NMPF also reached out to congressional offices and media outlets to refute the misinformation and supply facts about the U.S. dairy industry’s support for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations on breastfeeding until age one and providing dairy products to young children to support their healthy development.

NMPF will continue to defend the important role of dairy nutrition and push back against efforts to impose restrictions on dairy products that are unsupported by sound science.

 CWT-Assisted Contracts Sell 24 Million Pounds of Dairy Exports in July

Cooperatives Working Together last month helped member co-ops secure 43 contracts to sell 5.35 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 855,394 pounds of butter and 18.73 million pounds of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Oceania. The product will be shipped to customers in 12 countries in four regions of the world from July through December 2018.

These contracts bring the 2018 total of CWT-assisted product sales to 45.45 million pounds of cheese, 12.09 million pounds of butter and 27.11 million pounds of whole milk powder. These transactions will move overseas the equivalent of 889.25 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. The amounts of dairy products and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

Helping CWT member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share through the Export Assistance program in the long-term expands the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively impacts all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

Farmers for Free Trade Announces $800,000 Ag Radio, Print, and TV Ad Buy Highlighting Tariff Impact in the Heartland

Today, Farmers for Free Trade, the bipartisan campaign chaired by Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Max Baucus (D-MT) that is leading the fight against tariffs that are harming rural communities, announced a major new ad buy with ag publications in states across the country.  The ad buy is part of a new campaign called “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” that is investing in local ads, town hall events on tariff impact in states across the country, and raising awareness about financial and job losses tied to the ongoing trade war. The advertisements will be a mix of radio, television, and print advertising that will run initially in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Listen to the two radio ads that will run beginning today here and here. The advertising, which also includes TV spots on local and nationally syndicated ag TV and print ads, will run through September.

“These ads will speak to American farmers who are watching the value of their hard work decrease every day as tariffs force the price of their crops and livestock downward,” said Sara Lilygren, president of the Farmers for Free Trade board.  “They are messages from farmers to farmers about how decisions in Washington D.C. are hurting their farms, their neighbors and the economy of rural America. We are taking the message that tariffs hurt ag directly to farmers at their breakfast tables, on their combines, and in the farm news outlets they check every single day.”

“Free trade is essential to the ag economy,” Indiana soybean farmer Brent Bible says in one of the radio spots that will be played in all ten states. “This is not a war that I signed up for. It’s not a war I want to be drafted for. Our farm and many others like ours will be the first casualties of a trade war.”
Farmers for Free Trade is a bipartisan campaign to rebuild support for trade and is dedicated to supporting and expanding the economic benefits of free trade for farmers and ranchers. Farmers for Free Trade is supported by America’s leading agricultural organizations and businesses and farmers and ranchers across the country. Farmers for Free Trade is working to keep, enhance and advance trade agreements by lending a pragmatic voice to negotiations impacting the industry.  Farmers for Free Trade is co-chaired by former U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Richard Lugar (R-IN). For more information, please contact, follow us @FarmersForTrade or visit

Most Fertilizer Prices Still Higher

Average retail fertilizer prices continued mostly higher the last week of July 2018, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. However, for the first time in several weeks, multiple fertilizers did show slightly lower prices compared to a month ago.

Five of the eight major fertilizers were slightly higher than last month. DAP had an average price of $488 per ton, MAP $505/ton, potash $355/ton, urea $366/ton and 10-34-0 $443/ton.

Three fertilizers were slightly lower from the previous month. Anhydrous had an average price of $498 per ton, UAN28 $242/ton and UAN32 $279/ton.

One interesting thing to note is the price of anhydrous. The nitrogen fertilizer's price of $498 per ton was under $500 per ton for the first time since the first week of March 2018 when the price was $499 per ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.40/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher in recent months. 10-34-0 is 4% higher, potash is 5% more expensive, UAN32 is 6% higher, UAN28 is 7% more expensive, MAP is 9% higher, DAP is 12% more expensive, urea is 18% higher and anhydrous is 19% more expensive compared to last year.

Biofuel and Farm Leaders Mark 13th Anniversary of the RFS

Thirteen years ago this Wednesday, August 8, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was signed into law, sparking a new era of U.S. biofuel leadership that continues to support rural jobs, increase energy security, and deliver clean, affordable options at the fuel pump. The nation’s leading farm and biofuel advocates marked the occasion by calling on Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to quickly deliver on the president’s pledge to uphold the RFS and expand the market for ethanol blends, including E15.

“For 13 years, the RFS has been a driving force for economic opportunity across the heartland,” said Kevin Skunes, president of National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and a North Dakota farmer. “Today, biofuels are more important than ever. Farm income has fallen to a 12-year low, and the EPA’s refinery waivers have left more and more families facing an uncertain future. The EPA can address this uncertainty and take action now by approving year-round sales of ethanol blends greater than 10 percent, accounting for exemptions granted to refineries and reallocating exempted volumes to keep the RFS whole.”

In July, the EPA announced proposed biofuel targets for 2019, offering no protection against waivers and loopholes abused by the previous EPA administrator. The plan is available for public comment until August 17, and advocates have launched a web portal at FuelsAmerica.Org/Action-Center, where supporters are invited to make their voices heard. Rural leaders also are calling for action on the president’s pledge to lift outdated summer regulations against selling E15, a lower-cost ethanol blend that President Trump vowed is “very close” to being available year-round.

“The RFS promotes our homegrown renewable fuels produced by hardworking rural Americans, driving real competition at the pump and ensuring a healthier future for generations to come,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “By expanding the biofuels market, the administration can deliver on its promise to rural America and provide consumers with cleaner, more affordable fuel options all year long. The EPA must act now on the President’s pledge to farmers, biofuel workers, and consumers.”

“Under the RFS, the biofuel sector has expanded to support hundreds of thousands of jobs at more than 200 plants across the heartland,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Industrial & Environmental Section at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). “It has spurred investment and development of new technologies in advanced and cellulosic biofuels and is critical pillar in the foundation of the biobased economy. But EPA waivers have rolled back our progress, cutting biofuel targets to 2013 levels. The EPA must enforce the law, as Congress intended, and restore U.S. leadership in low-carbon biofuels.”

Since its enactment in 2005 and expansion in 2007, the RFS has driven unprecedented growth, while curbing emissions and increasing U.S. energy security. From 3.9 billion gallons in 2005, America’s biofuel sector produced more than 15.8 billion gallons of ethanol in 2017. Over the same period, America’s net oil imports fell from 12.6 to 3.7 thousand barrels per day. American producers have also increased efficiency, delivering an average carbon savings on track to surpass 50 percent by 2022.

“The RFS remains America’s single most successful energy policy,” said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council. “Every gallon of U.S. ethanol cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent, according to federal data, and advanced biofuels are doing even more to protect the climate – all while delivering new revenue streams to U.S. farmers. By lifting outdated regulations on higher-ethanol blends, the EPA can unlock investments in cellulosic energy and keep America at the forefront of innovation.”

“President Trump vowed to protect the engine of economic growth that has delivered for 13 years,” said Kyle Gilley, senior vice president of external affairs and communications at POET. “It is time to allow year-round E15 access for America’s drivers. E15 is an affordable, high-octane fuel that will grow our nation’s biofuel use and allow the RFS to continue to deliver for America.”

Cargo of U.S. Soybeans Heading Toward China, Despite Tariffs

A ship with U.S. soybeans set sail for China last week, according to data released Monday, showing that the Asian nation is still importing some quantities of the commodity grown in America despite tariffs imposed by the government in July.

According to Bloomberg, the bulk carrier Betis departed Gavilon Group LLC's export terminal in Kalama, Washington, for Shanghai on July 29, carrying the first cargo of American soybeans destined for China in three weeks, according to a report published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

China is widely expected to reduce imports of U.S. soybeans and buy more from Brazil.

The Betis is the fourth ship departing from U.S. shores with American soybeans since mid-June. But only one of the other three vessels has actually delivered a cargo, according to shipping data compiled by Bloomberg. Cemtex Pioneer arrived at Nantong port on Monday afternoon local time, making it the first U.S. soybean ship to arrive after China imposed an additional 25 percent import tariff on American beans in July, according to Bloomberg shipping data. Peak Pegasus arrived at Dalian on July 6 but is still waiting outside the port, the data show.

Tuesday August 7 Ag News


Mark Wilkins, professor of biological systems engineering and food science and technology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, has been named Nebraska Corn Checkoff presidential chair.

The Nebraska Corn Board made a $2 million commitment to the University of Nebraska Foundation in 2014 to establish the permanently endowed chair. The endowment provides annual support to the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources for research and development related to corn demand.

“We’re excited to have Mark Wilkins as the first Nebraska Corn Checkoff Presidential Chair,” said David Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Our mission has always been focused on promoting the value of corn by creating opportunities. Through this position, we look forward to exploring new uses of corn that will benefit our state’s farmers and economy.”

Wilkins has been with the university since 2016. As director of the Industrial Agricultural Products Center, he works to build new partnerships across campus and with industry to develop new and innovative products that add value to agricultural crops.

“Developing new markets is critical to the long-term sustainability of the corn industry,” Wilkins said. “I look forward to working with university and industry partners to identify opportunities to increase the demand for corn, which will be beneficial for producers in Nebraska and beyond.”

Before coming to Nebraska, Wilkins was a professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering at Oklahoma State University, where he taught courses in bioprocessing, food processing and renewable energy. Wilkins holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in agricultural engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

To learn more about the Industrial Agricultural Products Center, visit

Long-Time NE Ethanol Board Administrator to Retire

Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, will retire Sept. 14 after more than 40 years of service with the state of Nebraska.

Sneller started his career in 1976 as a staff assistant with the Agriculture Products Industrial Utilization Committee, now the Nebraska Ethanol Board. He left for a brief period from 1978 to spring 1979 to work as a business development consultant for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. In May 1979, the Nebraska Ethanol Board recruited him to serve as their administrator, a role he has held ever since.

“It has been my privilege to work with a host of forward-looking policymakers at the state and national level during my career,” Sneller said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with top business leaders during the process of developing a new economic sector in the state.”

Starting his administrator career when the U.S. faced the third serious oil supply shortage of the 1970s, Sneller engaged in advancing ethanol from a concept to a partial replacement of fossil fuels. The U.S. gasoline supply now contains more than 10 percent ethanol and Nebraska ranks No. 2 nationally in ethanol production. The state has 25 plants with an annual production capacity of 2.5 billion gallons of ethanol.

“Nebraska’s ethanol industry generates more than $5 billion annually,” Sneller said. “That economic impact in concert with the corn, livestock and bio-products sectors plays a significant role in the economy of Nebraska and in agriculture specifically. Perhaps most importantly, ethanol plants greatly contribute to the economic health of the Nebraska counties where they reside.”

The Nebraska Ethanol Board selected Sarah Thornton Caswell of Omaha as the next administrator. Caswell has extensive experience in the bio-industry sector and recently served as vice president of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Edeniq, a technology firm serving the biofuels industry. Caswell earned her juris doctor from American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., and is a member of the Illinois Bar. She will assume the role of board administrator Sept. 17.

“Todd’s contributions to ethanol development extend beyond Nebraska, but his dedicated efforts in the state have helped create a new economic sector,” said Jan tenBensel, Nebraska Ethanol Board chairman. “We are pleased to have Sarah Caswell take the reins as the Board continues to advance into bio-products created from the ethanol platform.”

Seaboard Triumph Foods receives “Pride of Sioux City: Business Beautification Award”

Seaboard Triumph Foods (STF) received the “Pride of Sioux City: Business Beautification Award” from the Sioux City Economic Development Department. Presented at City Hall on Aug. 6 at the Sioux City Council meeting, the award recognizes Sioux City employers who show pride in the appearance of their business property.

“We’re extremely honored to be nominated and chosen to receive this award, especially as a pork processing facility,” said Tori O’Connell, Seaboard Triumph Foods communications coordinator. “We credit our entire leadership team, maintenance team and local property management firm, The Claussen Group, for their pride in being good stewards in our community.”

The award was given for the pork processing plant’s July 2018 patriotic landscape design that featured patriotic flower planters, building flags, luscious front lawn, and more.

“The Design-Build-Manage process our firm uses to work with our clients builds a working environment which allows for long-term successful partnership,” said Chief Operating Officer of The Claussen Group, Chris Roan.

Mayor Bob Scott presented the award to company officials. Award winners are selected by a committee comprised of local business professionals and city staff from a list of nominations. Businesses are evaluated for several elements, including cleanliness, safety, creativity, signage, sense of community, accordance with city’s zoning code, and overall appearance.

The Seaboard Triumph Foods Sioux City plant is equally owned by strategic partners Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods who connect every step between farms and family tables around the world to produce wholesome pork products, while ensuring the well-being of its animals, the environment, employees and communities.

Dairy Farm Stress Webinar Series Now Archived

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach hosted a series of three webinars that discussed how to recognize the signs of stress, how to deal with dairy farm families experiencing stress, analyzing a dairy for profits, the profitability of various dairy systems and what FINBIN says about production costs.

The webinars have been archived and remain available to be viewed through the Four-State Dairy Nutrition & Management Conference website at

The topics discussed in the webinars include:
-    Recognizing and managing stress in dairy farmers.
-    Do you know your cost of production and where the dairy industry is headed?
-    Making production decisions during challenging times.

Farming is often listed as one of the most stressful occupations in the United States. This is particularly true for dairy farmers as they experience an extended period of low milk prices.

The webinars were presented and sponsored by extension specialists from ISU Extension and Outreach, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota.

For more information contact ISU Extension and Outreach dairy specialists Larry Tranel at or 563-583-6496, Jenn Bentley at or 563-382-2949 or Fred Hall at or 712-737-4230.

New State Authority Over Local Waters a Boon to Farmers and Ranchers

The Trump administration’s decision to return water-permitting authority to more states means faster, better and more affordable decision-making for all Americans. Under terms of an agreement signed by the U.S. Army, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department and the White House, states can assume authority to issue permits for earth moving in and around regulated waterways, wetlands and land that sometimes channels water.

“The Clean Water Act was supposed to give states a real say in how water was regulated,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said. “Regular farming and ranching activities shouldn’t get tangled in bureaucratic red tape. Even so, only two states today―Michigan and New Jersey―have authority to issue permits to allow landowners to move soil that could potentially affect federally regulated waters. At least 14 more states have expressed interest in having those same powers, so today’s announcement takes us closer to [EMA1] how the law was intended to work.

“This is a major moment for federalism. Because permitting has been so complex and expensive, most farmers and ranchers have given up on exercising their rights under the law. This agreement is a step toward fully restoring the rule of law to environmental regulation.”

Deadline Approaches for Continuous Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Richard Fordyce reminded producers today that the deadline to sign up for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.

“Any agricultural producer that has eligible land should review the benefits of this program,” said Fordyce.  “It removes from production marginal, erodible land and, in doing so, improves water quality, increases wildlife habitat and provides more opportunities for recreational activities, including fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing.”

For this year’s signup, limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment. They include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. View a full list of practices.

FSA will use updated soil rental rates to make annual rental payments, reflecting current values. It will not offer incentive payments as part of the new signup.

USDA will not open a general signup this year, however, a one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants with expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less.
CRP Grasslands

Additionally, FSA established new ranking criteria for CRP grasslands. To guarantee all CRP grasslands offers are treated equally, applicants who previously applied (prior to the current sign-up period) will be asked to reapply using the new ranking criteria.
About CRP

In return for enrolling land in CRP, USDA, through FSA on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), provides participants that remove sensitive lands from production and plant certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and increase wildlife habitat with annual rental payments and cost-share assistance. Landowners enter into contracts that last between 10 and 15 years.

Signed into law by President Reagan in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States. Thanks to voluntary participation by farmers, ranchers and private landowners, CRP has improved water quality, reduced soil erosion and increased habitat for endangered and threatened species.

The new changes to CRP do not impact the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, a related program offered by CCC and state partners.

Producers wanting to apply for the CRP continuous signup or CRP grasslands should contact their USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit More information on CRP can be found at

Farm Bureau Details Farm Bill Priorities

In light of the steep, ongoing downturn in the farm economy, growing farm debt and lost access in some of farmers’ and ranchers’ biggest international markets, on-time completion of the farm bill is a must, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“The risk management programs in the farm bill help farmers deal with the shifting winds of agricultural markets and help our farmers compete against heavily subsidized commodities produced in foreign markets,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall wrote in a letter to House and Senate agriculture leaders. Both chambers have appointed their farm bill conferees, so work on a final bill is expected to soon begin.

The farm bill also helps farmers and ranchers weather natural disasters and provides a degree of certainty that in the event of a price decline or crop loss the operating loans needed to grow another crop, milk cows or care for livestock will come through, Duvall noted.

In the letter, the organization detailed aspects of the House and Senate farm bills it supports, such as improvements to the Price Loss Coverage program and the Agriculture Risk Coverage program, as well as those it opposes, like a mandatory base acre update.

Duvall said farmers and ranchers want to maintain funding for conservation programs and prioritize working lands. They do not support permanent Conservation Reserve Program easements or data-sharing practices that jeopardize privacy.

The availability of crop yield and/or revenue insurance is important to all growers, Duvall emphasized.

Regarding rural programs, farmers and ranchers are encouraging lawmakers to include in the farm bill a grant and loan program to assist with the establishment of agricultural association health plans, among other things.

On the regulatory reform front, the organization is calling for the removal of the national pollutant discharge elimination system permit requirement for approved pesticides and greater flexibility for the transportation of agricultural commodities and livestock, which should also include live fish and crawfish.

The group also highlighted specific concerns with the Senate farm bill conservation title, as it takes a significant step back from progress made in the 2014 farm bill.

“It adds multiple layers of bureaucratic hurdles and consultation requirements, and earmarks redirect funding away from on-the-ground conservation practices,” Duvall said.

U.S. Dairy Exports Extend Growth Streak During June

U.S. dairy marketers kept the growth streak alive during June despite new headwinds from tariffs. On a volume-basis, exports of whole milk powder nearly tripled compared to a year earlier while shipments of all other product categories, except modified whey, were above the prior-year level. In terms of value and volume, June marked the eighth consecutive month of growth in exports.

Marketers shipped 180,984 tons of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey products, and lactose during the month, 16 percent greater than in June 2017. U.S. exports were worth $481 million, 4 percent more than a year ago. In the first half of 2018, dairy exports totaled $2.904 billion, up 5 percent from the same period in 2017.

Exports of NFDM/SMP increased by 24 percent vs. June 2017 and totaled 57,018 tons. Shipments to Southeast Asia (+49 percent) and Mexico (+11 percent) drove the gains.

Farmers for Free Trade Statement on Imposition of $16 Billion in Additional Tariffs

"The White House is escalating the trade war while telling farmers to be patient as their prices plummet and their markets are overtaken by foreign competitors," said Farmers for Free Trade Executive Director Brian Kuehl. “That’s why with each new tariff announcement polls show the patience of American farmers wearing thin. Tariffs are causing long-term damage, not just to farming, but also to American manufacturers and consumers. Members of Congress from both parties are hearing from Americans that are angry about tariffs while they are back in their states and districts. It’s time to end the trade war before tariffs cause any more economic pain for America's heartland.”

Farm Bureau Denounces Gag Rule Against NC Farmers, Neighbors

A judge’s order that forbids farmers and their neighbors from discussing abusive and predatory litigation must be overturned, lawyers for the American Farm Bureau Federation and North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation wrote in a brief filed in federal court yesterday.

Even though their law-abiding farms have been branded a "nuisance" by trial lawyers seeking multimillion-dollar verdicts from urban juries, the farmers and their neighbors are barred from publicly discussing the conditions and practices on the farms and the devastating effects of the lawsuits on their rural communities. Trial lawyers actively solicited hundreds of plaintiffs to assert nuisance allegations in dozens of lawsuits against Murphy-Brown LLC. While the suits name only Murphy-Brown as a defendant, most of the farms are independently owned family farms, which stand to lose their contracts and potentially their livelihoods as a result of the litigation.

“The best-informed people to speak about the farms and communities affected by these lawsuits are the member-farmers who are themselves in the cross-hairs, along with their spouses, children, extended family, friends, and neighbors,” the brief said. “These people know better than anyone the stakes at issue in nuisance lawsuits, the damage they inflict on rural communities, the toll they take on farm families, and the most effective (and ineffective) strategies for dealing with them in and out of the courtroom.”

The brief denounced the chilling effect the gag order has on AFBF’s and NCFB’s First Amendment rights. According to the brief, “Neither AFBF nor NCFBF will be able to effectively educate its members on these issues, or effectively advocate for legislative solutions to lawsuit abuse aimed at responsible livestock farms, if it cannot hear and disseminate the words of its own members who have personally experienced these suits.” For these reasons, the gag order “is stifling [AFBF’s and NCFB’s] associational and expressive activities in clear and troubling ways” and unless overturned “it will continue to do so for years to come.”

U.S. Poultry Gains New Market Access in Morocco

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that the government of Morocco has agreed to allow commercial imports of U.S. poultry meat and products into Morocco for the first time.

“The Trump Administration continues to prioritize the opening of new markets for U.S. agricultural products.  This new access to the Moroccan market is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports,” said Ambassador Lighthizer.  “I welcome Morocco’s agreement to allow imports of U.S. poultry meat and products and the economic opportunities that will be afforded to U.S. producers.”

“Opening new markets for American poultry and other agricultural products is a top priority. I am convinced that when the Moroccan people get a taste of U.S. poultry, they're going to want more of it,” said Secretary Perdue. “The products that will be imported into Morocco are safe, wholesome, and very delicious. This is also a good harbinger of the kind of relationship that can be developed. We hope there are other things we can cooperate on as USDA works to expand markets around the globe.”

The United States is the world’s second largest poultry exporter, with global sales of poultry meat and products of $4.3 billion last year.  In May 2018, U.S. exports of agricultural products exceeded $12 billion (latest data available). Initial estimates indicate that Morocco would be a $10 million market, with additional growth over time.  Morocco had prohibited imports of U.S. poultry.  Officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture worked with the Moroccan government to provide assurances on the safety of U.S. poultry. 

USDA Inspectors Pressured to Keep Line Speeds Up Under Privatized Inspection System

FWW press release

Today, advocacy group Food & Water Watch sent a letter to USDA’s Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety to draw attention to a disturbing situation taking place in many large poultry slaughter plants, where USDA inspectors with the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) are being pressured by their supervisors not to stop slaughter lines when problems occur.

The letter outlines what is occurring in many poultry slaughter plants that are participating in the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS), which allows company employees to perform food safety inspection tasks that were formerly the responsibility of USDA inspectors.

“When the USDA launched this new privatized inspection system, it did not require company employees to receive additional training before getting responsibility for sorting out potentially unsafe meat,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “But now we are hearing from USDA inspectors that company employees in some plants miss so many defective carcasses that the USDA inspectors at the end of the line have to stop to make sure they don’t reach consumers.”

"I have been an inspector for over 30 years and inspection has deteriorated because FSIS management has permitted it to do so,” said Stan Painter, Chairman of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Local Unions. “We are rapidly heading backwards to The Jungle of 1906."

The problems that company employees are supposed to catch include visible fecal contamination on the carcass, scabs, burns, bruises, tumors, exudate (pus), sores, and breast blisters. Inspectors in some NPIS plants have reported being admonished by USDA supervisors for stopping the line too frequently and having company management monitor the number of times they stop the line.

The plants where these problems have been occurring were part of the original pilot program for privatized inspection, the HACCP-based Inspection Models Project, and are allowed to operate at line speeds of 175 birds per minute. The USDA has announced that it intends to move forward with expanding the number of NPIS plants that can increase their line speeds to 175 birds per minute. These reports come after the recent suspension of an establishment in Mississippi that was also part of the original HIMP pilot. The group urged USDA to thoroughly analyze the problems happening in these plants before moving forward with any expansion of line speed waivers for NPIS plants.

“It is no surprise that these problems have surfaced in plants that were part of the original pilot program for privatized inspection, which lets the plants run at elevated line speeds,” said Hauter. “Rather than trying to blame inspectors for protecting consumers, USDA needs to figure out what is going wrong with company self-inspection in these plants.”

August 6 Crop Progress & Condition Report


For the week ending August 5, 2018, there were 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 18 short, 72 adequate, and 7 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 20 short, 73 adequate, and 4 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 11 fair, 56 good, and 29 excellent. Corn silking was 95 percent, near 96 both last year and for the five-year average. Dough was 57 percent, well ahead of 37 last year and 35 average. Dented was 6 percent, near 3 both last year and average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 12 fair, 61 good, and 23 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 93 percent, equal to last year, and near 92 average. Setting pods was 69 percent, ahead of 62 last year and 61 average.

Winter wheat harvested was 94 percent, behind 100 last year, and near 96 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 15 fair, 62 good, and 22 excellent. Sorghum headed was 79 percent, well ahead of 54 last year and 57 average. Coloring was 5 percent, near 4 last year and 6 average.

Oats harvested was 96 percent, ahead of 91 last year and 85 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 17 fair, 59 good, and 17 excellent.


Iowa farmers had 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending August 5, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting hay and oats for grain, spraying for aphids, and moving grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 12 percent very short, 24 percent short, 61 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 10 percent very short, 21 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels in south central and southeast Iowa continued to fall with 48 percent considered very short.

Almost all of the corn crop has silked. Fifty-five percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond, over a week ahead of average. Corn dented was at eight percent. Corn condition fell to 75 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-four percent of the soybean crop was blooming with 81 percent setting pods, over a week ahead of both last year and the average. Soybean condition declined slightly to 74 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-two percent of the oat crop has been harvested for grain.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay has neared completion. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 30 percent complete, 3 days behind the previous year but 4 days ahead of the average. Hay condition fell to 61 percent good to excellent.

Pasture conditions declined to 46 percent rated good to excellent. Regrowth of pastures and hay has been a concern, especially in the southern two-thirds of the State.

USDA: Corn, Soybean Progress' Foot Still on the Gas Pedal

Corn and soybean progress continued at a faster-than-normal pace last week, while good-to-excellent condition ratings for both crops declined slightly, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

Nationwide, 57% of corn was in the dough stage as of Sunday, Aug. 5, 20 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 37%. Twelve percent of corn was dented, 6 percentage points ahead of 6% for both last year and the five-year average.

NASS estimated that 71% of corn was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, down 1 percentage point from 72% the previous week but still the third-highest rating of the past five years. 

Soybean condition also slipped from the previous week. Nationwide, the crop was rated 67% good to excellent, down 3 percentage points from 70% the previous week. As with corn, the soybean rating was still the third highest in the past five years.

Soybeans were 92% blooming as of Sunday, 6 percentage points ahead of the average of 86%, and 75% of soybeans were setting pods, 17 percentage points ahead of the average of 58%.

NASS estimated that 90% of winter wheat was harvested with most wheat still standing from Montana to the Pacific Coast.

Spring wheat harvest was 13% complete as of Sunday, behind last year's 22% but near the five-year average of 14%.  Seventy-four percent of spring was rated good to excellent, down from 78% a week ago as dry weather has become a recent concern.

Sorghum was 69% headed as of Sunday, ahead of 60% last year and also ahead of the five-year average of 62%. Sorghum coloring was 31%, ahead of 26% last year but equal to the five-year average. Sorghum condition was rated 49% good to excellent, down 3 percentage points from 52% the previous week.

Barley was 16% harvested as of Sunday, behind 22% last year and also behind the average of 18%. Barley condition was down 1 percentage point to 79% good to excellent last week. Oats were 51% harvested as of Sunday, ahead of 48% for last year and also ahead of the five-year average of 49%. Oat's good-to-excellent condition rating held steady at 71%.

Rice was 82% headed as of Sunday, near 81% last year but ahead of the average of 70%. Six percent of rice was harvested, slightly ahead of the average pace of 5%. Cotton was 92% squaring, behind the average of 94%. Sixty percent of cotton was setting bolls, also behind the average pace of 62%. Nine percent of cotton had bolls opening, ahead of the average of 6%. Cotton's good-to-excellent condition rating was down 3 percentage points, while rice's good-to-excellent rating held steady.

Monday August 6 Ag News

August Prime Time for Soybean Aphids 
Thomas Hunt - NE Extension Entomologist
Wayne Ohnesorg - NE Extension Educator

Although soybean aphids have been hard to find in Nebraska soybean this year, now is the time to be vigilant. Spraying for soybean aphid is underway in central Minnesota and populations are building in southwest Minnesota, reported Bruce Potter, integrated pest management specialist at the University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center near Lamberton, Minn. We expect the summer migrants to arrive in Nebraska soon. We have monitored soybean fields in past years that were almost devoid of aphids in mid-July, but by mid-August were well over 2000 aphids per plant. If you have not yet begun to scout for aphids, start now.

Soybean Aphid Description

The soybean aphid is soft-bodied, light green to pale yellow, less than 1/16 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 the aphids can be found on all parts of the plant, feeding primarily on the undersides of leaves, but also on the stems and pods.
Soybean Aphid Life Cycle

The seasonal life cycle of the soybean aphid is complex with up to 18 generations a year. It requires two species of host plant to complete its life cycle: common buckthorn and soybean. Common buckthorn is a woody shrub or small tree and is the overwintering host plant of the aphid. Soybean aphids lay eggs on buckthorn in the fall. These eggs overwinter and hatch in the spring, giving rise to wingless females. These females reproduce without mating, producing more females.

After two or three generations on buckthorn, winged females are produced that migrate to soybean. Multiple generations of wingless female aphids are produced on soybeans until late summer and early fall, when winged females and males are produced that migrate back to buckthorn, where they mate. The females then lay eggs on buckthorn, which overwinter, thus completing the seasonal cycle. Nebraska lacks significant and widespread buckthorn populations, and so early season soybean colonization by aphids migrating from buckthorn appears to be limited. 

Soybean aphid populations can grow to extremely high levels under favorable environmental conditions. Reproduction and development is fastest when temperatures are 70°-85°F. Aphid numbers can change rapidly. Populations can double in two to three days under optimal conditions. The aphids do not do well when temperatures are in the 90s, and are reported to begin to die when temperatures reach 95°F. When temperatures drop below 48°F, development stops.

When populations reach high levels during the summer, winged females are produced that migrate to other soybean fields. Like a number of other insect species (e.g., potato leafhoppers), these migrants can be caught up in weather patterns, moved great distances, and end up infesting fields far from their origin. These summer migrants are likely the major source of initial infestations in Nebraska.

Soybean Aphid Natural Enemies

There are many insect predators of soybean aphid. The most visible soybean aphid predator is the multicolored Asian lady beetle; however, the tiny (1/10-inch long) insidious flower bug is the most common and important predator. It feeds on a variety of small insects and spider mites. Naturally occurring predators, primarily the insidious flower bug, can significantly slow soybean aphid population growth, particularly during our hot July weather. Resident populations of predators also help reduce the rate of successful colonization of soybeans by the soybean aphid. Other common predators include green lacewing, brown lacewing, damsel bugs or Nabids, and spined soldier bugs, among others.

Other groups of natural enemies include parasitoids and pathogens. The presence of aphid “mummies” (light brown, swollen aphids) indicates the presence of parasitoids. These mummies harbor immature parasitoids, which will become adults, emerge from the mummy, and parasitize more aphids. The presence of “fuzzy” aphid carcasses indicates fungal pathogens are present, which occasionally can lead to dramatic reductions of aphid populations.

Soybean Aphid Injury to Soybean

Soybean aphids injure soybeans by removing plant sap with their needle-like mouthparts. Symptoms of soybeans infested by soybean aphid may include yellowed, distorted leaves and stunted plants. A charcoal-colored residue also may be present on the plants. This is sooty mold that grows on the honeydew that aphids excrete. Honeydew by itself makes leaves appear shiny. Soybean plants appear to be most vulnerable to aphid injury during the early reproductive stages. Heavy aphid infestations during these stages can cause reduced pod and seed counts.

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.

 In much of the soybean aphid’s range, northeast and further east of Nebraska, significant aphid infestation has often begun during vegetative stages of soybean. These infestations then undergo rapid population growth (Figure 3) to reach high populations during the flowering stages (R1, R2). During most years in Nebraska, however, very few aphids have been found during the vegetative stages. This may be in part because in Nebraska we have less of the soybean aphid’s overwintering host, common buckthorn, than do states further east and north. We usually find a few in late June to early July, but it is usually mid-July, while soybeans are entering or in R3 (beginning pod stage), before we begin to regularly find aphids.

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). Most economically damaging populations occur in the northeast part of the state. Of course, there are always exceptions to any rule, so one should always be watchful for soybean aphid colonization and population increase.

Starting Newly Weaned Calves on Feed

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator

Proper management during the receiving phase is critical to overall health and long-term performance of cattle in the feedlot. Newly weaned calves are faced with the stress of separation from the cow, deprivation of feed and water during transportation, and adaptation to the feedlot environment. Whether calves are being introduced into a backgrounding or finishing program, implementing low-stress management practices to ensure this is a smooth transition for incoming calves becomes a major priority.


Considering water intake heavily influences feed intake, calves should have unlimited access to clean water. Some calves have only drunk water from ponds or tanks, so they will not recognize automatic or ball waterers. Allow water to overflow or use an open waterer to promote water intake.


Long stem, grass hay is a recognizable feedstuff to calves and should be placed in the bunks prior to arrival. Providing a mixed ration at approximately 0.75% of body weight on a dry matter basis for the first day’s feed delivery and progressively working up to 2.5% of body weight within 14 – 28 days is an effective strategy whether calves are fed a series of step-up diets or program fed the final diet. The amount of time it takes to reach the target intake will depend on the risk level and background of the calves. When transitioning from one step-up diet to the next, deliver the same pounds of dry matter as the previous day’s feed delivery to avoid depressing intake. Delivering a consistent ration at the same time each day can help mitigate digestive upsets and maintain target feed intakes as well.


Since intakes are relatively low during the receiving phase, the diet should be formulated with palatable, high-quality feedstuffs. Receiving diets should be low in starch and consist of highly digestible fiber sources. Avoid feeding cheap feeds or by-products that vary in composition. Inclusion of silage in receiving diets should be limited as it is not a familiar feedstuff to calves and may lead to clostridia problems. Calves do not tolerate nonprotein nitrogen sources such as urea. Plant protein sources such as soybean meal, canola meal, or cottonseed meal are preferred. Vitamins and trace minerals, such as vitamins A and E, zinc, and copper, play an important role in immune function and should be provided at appropriate levels for stressed calves.


With regards to transit time, allow calves to rest prior to processing. It is well known that vaccinating stressed calves results in a poor vaccine response. Practice low-stress cattle handling at all times and use working facilities that are appropriate for processing calves. Consider delaying administration of implants until calves are on a steady plane of nutrition.


Developing a receiving protocol can help feedlot operations better prepare for incoming calves. Work closely with your nutritionist to ensure receiving diets meet the requirements of newly weaned calves. Not only is proper bunk management a key component for efficiently starting calves on feed but also maintaining target intakes throughout the feeding period. Management during the receiving phase should not be overlooked as it sets the stage for long-term performance of cattle in the feedlot.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


               Will you chop corn silage this year?  Do it right and time your harvest correctly.

               Have you heard the forecasts that corn is maturing a week to ten days earlier than usual this year because of hot June and early July temperatures?  How will that affect when you chop corn silage?

               Harvest timing is critical for success.  Timing needs to be based on moisture content of the silage.  Silage chopped too early and wetter than seventy percent moisture can run or seep and it often produces a sour, less palatable fermentation.  We often get this wet silage when we rush to salvage wind or hail damaged corn.  Live green stalks, leaves, and husks almost always are more than eighty percent moisture, so wait until these tissues start to dry before chopping.

               Normal corn, though, is often chopped for silage too dry, below sixty percent moisture.  That could easily happen this year with early corn maturity.  Dry silage is difficult to pack adequately to force out air.  The silage heats, energy and protein digestibility declines, and spoilage increases.  If your silage is warm or steams during winter, it probably was too dry when chopped.

               Many corn hybrids are between 60 to 70 percent moisture after corn kernels dent and reach the one-half to three-quarters milkline.  This guide isn’t perfect for all hybrids, though, so check your own fields independently.

               Corn kernels in silage between black layer and half milkline are more digestible.  Drier, more mature corn grain tends to pass through the animal more often without digesting unless kernels are processed.  Also, older leaves and stalks are less digestible.

               So chop your silage at the proper moisture level this year.  The outcome will be better feed and better profits.

Flexibility for Livestock Haulers

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer

Nebraska ag producers are good stewards of our state’s natural resources and responsibly manage 45.2 million acres of farm and ranchland. Because of our state’s landscape, we are home to a livestock industry that contributes $12.1 billion to the economy. What’s more, producers from across the country send their animals to The Good Life for finishing and harvesting before these nutritional protein products are sent to families around the world.

Our livestock haulers play a unique role in our economy and the trucking industry. Unlike other haulers, they are responsible for transporting live, perishable products to their destination in a safe and timely manner. Haulers must follow commercial motor carrier regulations that require drivers to document their on-duty and driving time, known as their hours of service, on an electronic logging device (ELD). Yet, they also must ensure that the cattle and hogs they are transporting are not exposed to dangerous conditions.

These clashing requirements present a two-fold problem for our livestock haulers, who simply cannot stop to rest without it affecting their livestock. Mandatory off-loading and re-loading increases the animals’ risk of injury and exposure to disease. Also, hot and humid temperatures in the summer can be taxing for cattle and hogs, as well as the freezing, windy days of winter. I believe they should never have to choose between adhering to hours of service rules and the welfare of their animals.

This is hardly a new issue for our livestock haulers. In August of 2017, I was the first to bring the issue of inflexible hours of service to the attention of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao when she visited Nebraska.

Subsequently, I have worked with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) leadership on ways to provide hours of service flexibility. Last February, I hosted the then-Acting FMCSA Administrator, Cathy Gautreaux, in my office to meet with representatives of Nebraska’s agriculture industry. The representatives expressed their concerns with the hours of service regulations and offered ways the agency could improve these regulations to provide more flexibility to livestock and ag commodity haulers. I have continued this conversation with FMCSA leadership, including Administrator Raymond Martinez, through additional meetings and correspondence.

In the Senate, I pushed to ensure that legislation which extended the ELD waiver through September 30, 2018, was signed into law as FMCSA continued to develop its guidance on ag haulers’ hours of service. Working with FMCSA leadership and my Senate colleagues, we made good progress. In May, FMCSA issued their updated guidance on the hours of service exemptions for ag haulers that provided some flexibility, especially at the beginning of a haul. While FMCSA’s guidance was a welcomed improvement, we can do better for our ag haulers.

That’s why I’m proud to share that the Senate recently passed my amendment that extends the ELD waiver for livestock haulers for one additional year through September 30, 2019. I worked alongside my colleague John Thune, the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, to secure this amendment in a bill to fund government programs. We need this longer extension so we can continue to work towards finding common-sense solutions that ensure safety while providing flexibility for hours of service.

The ag industry is facing a tough economic environment, and we need to enact regulations that will provide more certainty for the Nebraskans who feed the world. I am committed to using this valuable one-year extension to work with my Senate colleagues and the administration to deliver hours of service relief to our livestock haulers so they can continue to drive our economy.

International Trade Grows Nebraska

Governor Pete Ricketts

Trade has been a great way to grow Nebraska for many years.  With over 95 percent of the world’s population living outside the United States, we have billions of potential customers for the food we grow and the things we make here in Nebraska.  Over the past few years, I have led international trade missions to Japan twice, China twice, the European Union, and Canada.  International trade representatives from state agencies have led additional missions in recent years including visits to Bulgaria, Germany, Israel, South Korea, and Vietnam among many others.  To expand opportunities internationally, my administration has worked to grow exports, attract foreign investment in Nebraska, and expand partnerships.

In 2016, Nebraska exported over $8 billion of goods worldwide out of a total gross domestic product of $117 billion.  When it comes to trade, Nebraska’s agricultural products are some of our top exports.  For example, we export about $2 billion worth of soybean products, $1.2 billion of beef, and almost $1.2 billion of corn.  When it comes to promoting these products, trade missions help market our products to customers.  A great example of this is our work in Japan.  With two trade missions in the past three years, Nebraska has seen a 26 percent increase in beef exports to Japan and a 46 percent increase in pork exports in the last year.

Trade missions also help attract investment in Nebraska that creates job opportunities.  Denmark-based Novozymes manufactures enzymes used in ethanol production in Blair.  During a 2015 trade mission to Denmark, our trade delegation visited their headquarters to urge them to expand their commitment to Nebraska, and they subsequently announced a new $50 million investment in their facility.  Similarly, Kawasaki located a new $12-million production line in Lincoln with 50 new jobs after a visit to their offices in Tokyo, and Agri-Plastics, a Canadian firm, built a new plant in Sidney with 20 new jobs after a meeting during a trade mission last year.

During trade missions, we have also been working to establish new partnerships and exchanges with universities overseas.  Last fall, the University of Nebraska-Kearney (UNK) signed a new agreement with Toyo University in Japan during our trade mission.  UNK already is home to over 100 students from Japan.  The agreement will help facilitate more student and faculty exchanges.  Two years ago, we signed an agreement with Yangling Hi-Tech Agricultural Demonstration Zone in Shaanxi Province in China.  This agreement created a model farm that now features center pivots from Nebraska, and is helping create greater awareness of the modern farm equipment available from Nebraska’s farm manufacturers.

We are taking all these efforts to the next level.  Last year, I formed the Governor’s Council for International Relations (Council).  It is focused on growing exports, attracting new international investment, and identifying new opportunities for partnerships.  From the Nebraska Farm Bureau to the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, the council includes 30 members from state agencies to major groups and associations working to raise Nebraska’s international profile.  The Council is helping Nebraska organizations that do work internationally better coordinate resources and leads.

This week, the Council is joining me at the State Capitol to unveil a new international strategy paper that will inform our work in this area for the next five years.  This month, I am headed to Mexico to promote Nebraska’s quality agricultural products and look for new opportunities for investment.  To grow Nebraska, my team will continue to make international trade a top priority.  If you have suggestions on how we can continue to raise Nebraska’s international profile, I hope you will contact me by emailing or calling 402-471-2244.

E85 Savings for Flex Fuel Drivers in Omaha

Nebraska flex fuel drivers can take advantage of huge savings on E85 at Anderson Convenience Market in Omaha (140th & Center). E85 will be discounted by 85 cents from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10. Consumers will be limited to 30 gallons and no containers are allowed.

Nebraska Ethanol and Corn Board staff, along with Bryan High School FFA students, will be on site greeting drivers, pumping fuel and providing giveaways.

Anderson Convenience Market was rebuilt in fall 2017, and has a range of fuel including cleaner-burner E85 for flex fuel vehicles. The location is a full-service convenience store offering hot food, grocery items and clean restrooms.

“We applaud Anderson Convenience Market for providing consumers more choice and offering cleaner-burning, homegrown fuel at a lower cost,” said Megan Grimes, Nebraska Ethanol Board program manager. “Drivers now have another great option for fuel and food in the Omaha metro.”

One in seven Nebraskans are driving a flex fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of American Ethanol up to E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). Drivers can check their owner’s manual to see if they’re driving a flex fuel vehicle. The vehicle might also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or have a yellow gas cap.

“Using higher blends of ethanol is a good decision for all Nebraskans,” Grimes said. “It helps the state’s economy, consumers’ wallets, vehicle engines and the environment. Ethanol’s impact across the country and the globe continues to grow, but it starts right here at home.”

Anderson Convenience Market was established as a family business in 1952. Today, the company operates facilities across the Omaha market specializing in quality brands and exceptional service.

Governor’s Charity Steer Show celebrates 36th year at Iowa State Fair

The 2018 Governor's Charity Steer Show will mark the 36th consecutive year the beef industry has raised funds to help families who utilize the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa.

This year, the show ring competition takes place Saturday, Aug. 11, at 4:00 p.m., in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair. Celebrities will lead 25 steers around the ring, vying for the championship designation, showmanship honors, and the People’s Choice award. Immediately following the competition, the steers will be sold at auction with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa. Both the show ring event and the auction are open to the general public.

Since the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association began the Governor’s Charity Steer Show in 1983, the effort has raised more than $3.2 million for the Des Moines, Iowa City and Sioux City Ronald McDonald House Charities. The houses provide a "home away from home" for families of seriously ill children being treated in area hospitals and have served nearly 45,000 families. 

Each of the 25 steers are owned by Iowa youth who have cared for the animals and participated in other shows with them. The youth prepare the animals for the show and assist a celebrity in the show ring. Sponsors reimburse the youth for the cost of the animal and choose the celebrity.

Youth participating in the 2018 Governor’s Charity Steer Show will also learn additional information about the beef industry on Thursday, and volunteer some time with the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Des Moines on Friday, Aug.10.

Participants in this 36th anniversary event include Governor Kim Reynolds, who will host the show. Chuck McCullough, Allerton, will serve as the official steer show judge for this year’s event and Jennifer Carrico of Redfield has been selected to serve as the event’s Showmanship Judge.

Iowa Soybean Association to Focus on the Farmer at 2018 Farm Progress Show

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) will be back at the largest outdoor farm event in the country, with improving the competitiveness and profitability of Iowa’s soybean farmers the focus.

The 2018 Farm Progress Show runs Aug. 28 -30 and will bring together producers, manufacturers, farm families and spectators from across the country to celebrate agriculture.  ISA tent (Lot No. 740) will showcase the association’s programs and services and how farmers can benefit from putting them to work on their farm. It will also highlight the value of soybeans, soymeal, and biodiesel to Iowa’s economies and quality of life.

“Soybeans are big in Iowa and the Farm Progress Show offers an ideal opportunity to bring our programs and activities directly to the farmer,” says ISA President Bill Shipley. “This show is also a prime opportunity to connect with our farmer-members and encourage other farmers to get involved in the association they fund and support.”

Visitors to the ISA exhibit will enjoy barbecued pork ribs, drawing attention to the strong relationship between soybean and pig farmers.  Show-goers can also discover the latest techniques for monitoring soybean plant and soil health and visit with ISA staff. American Soybean Association representatives will also be on hand to offer additional perspectives about policy issues impacting soybean farmers.  Attendees who join ISA as an Advocate member during the three-day show will receive a hand-painted, personalized farm sign made from authentic barn wood. Attendees can also enter to win one of eight $500 biodiesel gift cards sponsored by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and ISA.

“Biodiesel is valuable for Iowa’s farmers because it’s made from the soybeans they grow, lengthens engine life and improves performance,” says Cassidy Walter, IRFA biodiesel lead. “Farm Progress Show is the perfect venue to showcase these benefits. And the contest is an excellent opportunity for farmers who haven’t used biodiesel before to try it risk free.”

Tremendous First Half for U.S. Beef Exports; Pork Exports Still ahead of 2017 Pace

Strong June results capped a huge first half of 2018 for U.S. beef exports, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). June pork exports were lower than a year ago for the second consecutive month, but first-half volume and value remained ahead of last year’s pace.

Beef muscle cut exports set a new volume record in June of 90,745 metric tons (mt), up 15 percent from a year ago. When adding variety meat, total beef export volume was 115,718 mt, up 6 percent, valued at $718.4 million – up 19 percent year-over-year and only slightly below the record total ($722.1 million) reached in May. First-half exports set a record pace in both volume and value as international customers bought a larger share of U.S. beef production at higher prices, indicating strong demand. Export volume was up 9 percent from a year ago to 662,875 mt while export value was just over $4 billion, up 21 percent. In previous years, export value never topped the $4 billion mark before August.

"It's remarkable to think that as recently as 2010, beef exports for the entire year totaled $4 billion, and now that milestone has been reached in just six months," noted Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. "This should be a source of great pride for the beef industry, which has remained committed to expanding exports even when facing numerous obstacles. And with global demand hitting on all cylinders, there is plenty of room for further growth."

June exports accounted for 13.4 percent of total beef production, up from 12.8 percent a year ago. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.3 percent, up from just under 10 percent last year. First-half exports accounted for 13.5 percent of total beef production and 11 percent for muscle cuts - up from 12.8 percent and 10 percent, respectively, last year. Beef export value averaged $313.56 per head of fed slaughter in June, up 19 percent from a year ago. The first-half average was $316.94 per head, up 18 percent.

After setting a new record in April, pork export volume has trended lower the past two months, mainly due to lower exports to the China/Hong Kong region. June exports totaled 191,303 mt, down 4.5 percent from a year ago, despite a slight increase in muscle cut exports (to 153,083 mt). June export value was $510.4 million, down 3 percent. For the first half of 2018, pork export volume was still 2 percent ahead of last year's record pace at 1.27 million mt, while value increased 5 percent to $3.36 billion. For pork muscle cuts only, first-half exports were up 6 percent year-over-year in both volume (1.02 million mt) and value ($2.78 million).

"Pork exports - and especially variety meats - face a very challenging environment in China/Hong Kong due not only to retaliatory duties but also because of increasing domestic production in China," Halstrom explained. "On the positive side, exports are achieving solid growth in most other markets and reached new heights in destinations such as Korea and Latin America. So there is no time to dwell on factors the U.S. industry cannot control - we must continue to find new opportunities in both established and emerging markets."

On April 2, the import duty on U.S. pork and pork variety meats entering China increased from 12 percent to 37 percent. On July 6, the rate increased to 62 percent. Mexico imposed a 10 percent retaliatory duty on U.S. pork muscle cuts (variety meats are excluded) on June 5 and increased the rate to 20 percent on July 5. Pork sausages and prepared hams entering Mexico are subject to duties of 15 percent and 20 percent, respectively, which took effect June 5. First-half export results reflect the first round of duties imposed by China and Mexico, but not the higher rates that took effect in July.

June pork exports accounted for 26.4 percent of total production, down from 27.1 percent a year ago, but the percentage of muscle cuts exported increased from 22.2 percent to 22.8 percent. First-half exports equaled 27.3 percent of total pork production (down from 27.8 percent a year ago) and 23.6 percent for muscle cuts (up from 23.1 percent). Pork export value averaged $55.13 per head slaughtered in June, down slightly from a year ago, while the first-half per-head average increased 2 percent to $55.18.

Asian markets lead the way, but U.S. beef accelerating in nearly every region

Beef exports to leading market Japan continued to climb in June, totaling 31,147 mt (up 13 percent from a year ago) valued at $193.1 million (up 11 percent). First-half exports to Japan were up 6 percent from a year ago in volume at 159,354 mt while value increased 12 percent to $1.02 billion. This included a 4 percent increase in chilled beef to 73,968 mt, valued at $590.1 million (up 15 percent).

June exports to South Korea were up 46 percent from a year ago in volume (21,408 mt) and set another new value record at $154.8 million (up 68 percent). First-half exports to Korea climbed 36 percent to 113,283 mt, valued at $802.1 million – up 52 percent from last year’s record pace. Chilled beef exports to Korea totaled 25,400 mt (up 35 percent) valued at $244.8 million (up 47 percent).

For January through June, other highlights for U.S. beef exports include:

• Despite trending lower in June, first-half exports to Mexico were up 2 percent from a year ago in volume (117,524 mt) and up 10 percent in value ($506.7 million). Mexico is the leading destination for U.S. beef variety meat exports, which increased 8 percent from a year ago in value ($114.8 million) despite a 6 percent decline in volume (50,209 mt).

• Exports to China/Hong Kong increased 15 percent in volume (65,345 mt) and 43 percent in value ($510.8 million. First-half exports to China, which reopened to U.S. beef in June of last year, were 3,655 mt valued at $33 million. Although China's duty rate increase on U.S. beef (from 12 percent to 37 percent) didn't take effect until July 6, June exports slowed in part because of rising uncertainty as China's proposed retaliatory tariff list that included U.S. beef was published in April.

• Beef exports to Taiwan continue to soar, as first-half volume increased 32 percent from a year ago 26,865 mt) and value was up 39 percent $249.7 million). Chilled exports to Taiwan were up 34 percent in volume (10,974 mt) and 46 percent in value ($136.2 million), as the United States captured 74 percent of Taiwan's chilled beef market - the highest market share of any Asian destination.

• Strong growth in Colombia helped push first-half exports to South America higher than a year ago - up 2 percent in volume (14,030 mt) and climbing 20 percent in value ($63.9 million). Export value to Chile and Peru also increased, despite volumes dipping below last year. Although still a small market, exports to Ecuador (600 mt) were the largest since 2013.

• Beef exports to the ASEAN region slowed in June but still posted year-over-year gains in the first half - up 6 percent in volume (21,802 mt) and 24 percent in value ($122.8 million). This region - especially Indonesia and the Philippines - is an important destination for beef variety meat exports, which climbed 27 percent in value ($13.1 million) despite a slight decline in volume (6,212 mt).

• Fueled by sharply higher exports to Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama, first-half volume to Central America increased 27 percent from a year ago to 6,942 mt, valued at $38.8 million (up 26 percent).

Tariffs, uncertainty challenge U.S. pork in mainstay markets, while Korea, Latin America and ASEAN drive first-half export growth

As noted above, a 10 percent duty on most U.S. pork entering Mexico took effect June 5, contributing to a slowdown in June volume (59,967 mt, down 7 percent last June's record-large total). Export value fell 16 percent to $105.1 million. First half export volume to Mexico was still 4 percent ahead of last year’s record pace at 413,231 mt, but value slipped 1 percent below a year ago to $726.1 million.

"USMEF is working closely with Mexico's major processors and other key customers to reemphasize the advantages of fresh U.S. pork, as we work to assist U.S. suppliers in solidifying as much business as possible in this critical market," Halstrom said. "USMEF feels strongly that exports to Mexico could set another new volume record in 2018, though export value will likely be lower due to the retaliatory duties. We remain hopeful that duty-free access to Mexico will be restored soon, as competitors are now targeting a market that U.S. pork has dominated for many years, and the duties are contributing to lower prices for U.S. producers and adding costs for customers in Mexico."

Pork exports to the China/Hong Kong region were already projected to be lower in 2018 due to China's higher hog production, but the additional 25 percent tariff imposed on April 2 (imported pork still enters Hong Kong duty-free) intensified this trend. First-half exports to China/Hong Kong were 21 percent below last year's pace in volume (216,008 mt) and down 9 percent in value to $507.2 million. June exports were hit especially hard, declining 37 percent from a year ago in volume (28,569 mt) and 19 percent in value ($70.7 million).

January-June highlights for U.S. pork exports include:

• June exports to leading value market Japan were 5 percent higher than a year ago in volume (31,773) and increased 6 percent in value ($131.9 million). In the first half, export volume was down 1 percent to 199,067 mt but value still edged 1 percent higher to $821.4 million. This included a 2 percent decrease in chilled pork to 104,365 mt, valued at $504.2 million (up slightly year-over-year).

• Exports to South Korea posted an outstanding first half, climbing 42 percent in volume (134,190 mt) and 49 percent in value ($386.5 million). Korea’s per capita pork consumption continues to expand rapidly, and U.S. pork is capturing a larger share of Korea’s imports while Korea’s domestic production is modestly increasing.

• Fueled by strong growth in Colombia and Peru, first-half exports to South America jumped 29 percent from a year ago in volume (62,314 mt) and 26 percent in value ($153.5 million). Plant and product registration requirements for exporting pork to Argentina were finalized in late June, so the Argentine market could add further momentum for U.S. pork in the second half of the year.

• Following a record performance in 2017, pork exports to Central America surged 20 percent higher in both volume (40,210 mt) and value ($95.5 million). While Honduras and Guatemala are this region's mainstay markets, exports to all seven Central American nations achieved double-digit growth in the first half of 2018.

• Exports to the Dominican Republic, which were also record-large in 2017, increased 16 percent in both volume (22,267 mt) and value ($49.5 million) in the first half of the year. For the Caribbean region, exports were up 11 percent in both volume (29,960 mt) and value ($71 million).

• Led by the Philippines and Vietnam, first-half exports to the ASEAN region increased 16 percent in volume (26,952 mt) and 21 percent in value ($71.2 million). The Philippines is an especially important destination for pork variety meat exports when shipments to China are declining, and first-half variety meat volume to the Philippines climbed 64 percent from a year ago to 8,680 mt, while value jumped 70 percent to ($15.3 million).

• With the tariff situation in Mexico, Oceania is an increasingly important destination for U.S. hams and other cuts destined for further processing. First-half exports to Australia were 7 percent higher than a year ago in volume (39,031 mt) and increased 9 percent in value ($113.7 million). Exports to New Zealand increased 15 percent in volume (3,903 mt) and 17 percent in value ($12.5 million).

Lamb exports continue to climb

June exports of U.S. lamb were the largest of 2018 in both volume (1,016 mt, up 58 percent from a year ago) and value ($2.2 million, up 26 percent), pushing first-half exports 46 percent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (5,471 mt) and 17 percent higher in value ($11.3 million). Stronger variety meat demand in Mexico accounted for much of this growth, but muscle cut exports trended higher to the Caribbean, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Singapore, the Philippines and Taiwan. Exports should receive an additional boost in the second half of year from Japan, which reopened to U.S. lamb on July 11.

Cattlemen Wrap Up Another Successful Summer Business Meeting

More than 700 of the nation’s cattle industry leaders wrapped up another successful Summer Business Meeting in Denver today, with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s board of directors formally adopting policy positions on issues like international trade, the regulation of fake meat, and modernizing the Endangered Species Act.

“America’s top cattle producers came together this week and worked hard to ensure that our industry continues to provide the world with the best, safest, and most nutritious protein possible,” said NCBA President Kevin Kester.

Highlights of the week included an update and Q&A session with U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach and a discussion with Tyson’s CEO Tom Hayes.

In addition, six regional finalists for the 2018 Environmental Stewardship Awards were announced. This year’s finalists are Birdcall and Clark Ranch of Henrietta, Texas, Thunder View Farms of Grahamsville, NY, Haleakala Ranch of Makawao, Hawaii, The Hahn Ranch of Townsend, Montana, Moes Feedlot of Watertown, SD, and Landuyt Land and Livestock of Walnut Grove, Minnesota. The winners will be announced at the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show in New Orleans in January.

Joint Committees and Subcommittees met on Thursday and Friday to develop proposals for 2019 checkoff-funded research, education and promotion programs. Also on Friday, NCBA policy committees met to determine priorities and discuss strategies for the coming year.

“I want to thank all of the producers who took time away from their busy operations this week to work for the betterment of our industry,” Kester said. “We’ve made a lot of progress already this year, and we’re ready to continue working for the proper regulation of fake meat, legislation that finally modernizes the Endangered Species Acct, and a final Farm Bill that includes all of our priorities.”

Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Issued Statement on Antimicrobial Stewardship

The membership of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) has voted overwhelmingly to approve a global Statement on Antimicrobial Stewardship to recognize the urgency with which action against the development of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) needs to be taken.

GRSB President Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, of OSI Group, LLC said “Antimicrobial resistance is a major global threat to human and animal health. This statement reflects what GRSB members believe should be done by the beef value chain to manage antimicrobials responsibly. This guidance is especially important for places in the world that lack structures to support responsible antibiotic use. Just 89 countries report having a system in place to collect data on the use of antimicrobial agents in animals (OIE, 2015) and roughly 40 percent of countries report they have yet to develop national action plans; it is clear to our membership that action needs to be taken.”

The GRSB Antimicrobial statement is in alignment with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidance and equivalents adopted in other countries for antimicrobial use in cattle. It provides suggestions to aid cattle producers and the veterinary profession in maintaining herd health and welfare, as well as economic viability. The GRSB worked collaboratively with members and specialists over a period of months to produce the statement, and after two rounds of membership consultation, the members voted to approve its release.

“Developing this statement was not a quick nor easy process. It took some time to reach consensus on the manner in which we should address the issue of antimicrobial resistance. The work of coming to consensus can be challenging when dealing with the entire beef value chain, but it’s critically important, as we are all stakeholders.” Leon Mol, GRSB Vice President, Ahold Delhaize.

Ruaraidh Petre, GRSB Executive Director said “The membership of GRSB believes in taking straightforward actions that are within their power. This statement provides a clear path forward for cattle keepers everywhere and particularly in the many countries that still lack frameworks to ensure responsible antibiotic use; these approaches help to avoid situations in which people or animals end up without treatment because infections have become resistant to the drugs currently available.”

U.S. Beef producer, and GRSB member Erika Murphy adds “As a seedstock producer, it is important and helpful for me to have guidance on the subject of Antimicrobial Resistance. I am asked about this topic on a regular basis from consumers and I can now direct people to this AMR statement to help educate, reassure, and reach a better understanding on what the beef industry is doing; as well as explain how we apply it in our own herd management practices. “

Since forming in 2014, GRSB has placed emphasis on responsible use of antimicrobials, including references of responsible antimicrobial use in the Principles & Criteria for Defining Global Sustainable Beef, and the membership of GRSB is excited to take this next step in leading change around the global that will help to combat antimicrobial resistance.

The Public Lands Council Turns 50

Today the Public Lands Council (PLC), America’s only organization dedicated solely to representing the 22,000 western ranchers who hold federal grazing permits, celebrates its 50th anniversary. Since incorporation in 1968, the national organization has served as a vital voice for the West on Capitol Hill and around the country.

“Very few groups have the respect and attention of national leaders like the Public Lands Council,” said Dave Eliason, current President of the PLC and fourth-generation Utah public lands rancher. “Over the years we have maintained a critical presence for the industry on issues ranging from grazing rights and wildlife management, to the repeal of policies like BLM Planning 2.0 and reform of the National Environmental Policy Act.”

PLC's invaluable voice has set the tone and policy direction on important milestones for the West, and according to PLC Executive Director Ethan Lane, there are more to come.

"We have a tremendous opportunity right now to make progress on issues we've faced for decades. Capitalizing on the current political climate is only possible because of our long history and depth of knowledge on these issues - not to mention our strong connections throughout the federal government," Lane said.

According to Eliason, the success of these efforts cannot be achieved without the help of PLC’s volunteer leaders.

“Volunteering to serve in this capacity is honorable, and we are so thankful to have engagement from producers who come from diverse operations and who desire to continue the legacy of advocating for America’s public lands ranching industry," Eliason said.

This legacy is rumored to have begun at the iconic Old Ebbit Grill in Washington, DC, where public lands ranching leaders first discussed the need for a centralized advocate for western cattle and sheep producers. According to past-president and 50th Anniversary Committee Chairman Jim Magagna, much has changed since these early discussions, but the overall mission of the PLC has remained constant.

“The Public Lands Council has always educated Congress about the numerous benefits and services ranchers provide on the range and protected the ability for ranchers to operate on federal land. But in addition to our history of success in advocacy over the years, the 50th Anniversary is an opportunity to ensure the next generation has the ability to operate on public lands.”

This theme referenced by Magagna will be the focus of the 2018 PLC Annual Meeting and 50th Anniversary Celebration scheduled for September 27-29 in Park City, Utah. The commemorative meeting will shape future policy for the PLC, and will also feature educational sessions, issue discussions, historical retrospectives, and a 50th Anniversary Banquet.

“We are celebrating more than just the history of the Public Lands Council – we are celebrating the 22,000 public lands ranchers in the West who care for America’s natural resources and provide food and fiber to the world,” Magagna said. "I hope everyone will bring their families and join us in Park City this September."

CWT Assists with 3 Million Pounds of Butter, Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted seven offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 253,532 pounds (115 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese, 220,462 pounds (100 metric tons) of butter and 2.542 million pounds (1,153 metric tons) of whole milk powder going to customers in Asia. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from August through December 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 45.7 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 12.305 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 29.648 million pounds of whole milk powder to 29 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 915.101 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Totals have been adjusted due to cancellations.

This activity reflects CWT management beginning the process of implementing the strategic plan approved by the CWT Committee in March. The changes will enhance the effectiveness of the program and facilitate member export opportunities.

 Legal Expense Solutions Launches Service To Farmers In $1.5B Corn Class Action

Legal Expense Solutions ("LES") is now advocating for farmers across the country to reduce fees paid to attorneys in the corn seed settlement.  Law firms will be receiving hundreds of millions in fees on the Corn Seed Settlement that was reached with Syngenta.  Legal Expense Solutions argues some of the fees may be excessive, unnecessary and unethical.  

Tens of thousands of farmers have retained their own attorneys.  Hundreds of thousands more are represented by a consortium of law firms in the class action. The settlement requires that no claimant will receive more money per acre/bushel than any other for at least one year.  Individual attorneys have retained some farmers at fees of 40% or more of the farmer's recovery.  The attorneys presenting the class settlement to the court have posted their intent to request up to 33 &1/3 percent of the settlement, plus expenses (possibly totaling over $500 million).

A federal judge has granted preliminary approval to a $1.51 Billion settlement between the class and Syngenta. This settlement intends to resolve litigation that the seed company sold GMO corn seed to US farmers prior to China's approval of the seed.  Lack of approval by China allegedly cost farmers billions in the price of US grown corn.

Legal Expense Solutions will put the necessary time, energy and resources into each corn producer's situation to minimize the legal fees paid, and to maximize the farmer's ultimate recovery.  Corn prices have already hurt farmers, LES will make certain its clients don't overpay in getting the money they're due.  

To contact Legal Expense Solutions or to learn more information about the Corn Seed Settlement and its corresponding fees, contact Legal Expense Solutions at 800-538-3775 or Adam Brunet at 612-263-7166.  Also, visit for more details.

Friday August 3 Ag News

Orange Gall Midge in Soybeans
Justin McMechan - NE Extension Crop Protection and Cropping Systems Specialist
Thomas Hunt - NE Extension Entomologist
Aaron Nygren - NE Extension Educator, Colfax County

In late June we began receiving reports from a number of consultants, growers, and extension educators who were observing dying soybean plants in fields across eastern Nebraska. These soybean plants typically have dark discolorations near the soil surface that can extend up to the unifoliate node. The symptomatic plants easily snap off near the soil surface and orange to white maggots are often found feeding within the darkened area of the plant.

Orange gall midge is not a new insect to soybeans in Nebraska. Tom Hunt, Keith Jarvi and Bob Wright reported on the orange gall midge in a CropWatch article from August 2011 with some small isolated cases mostly associated with soybean plants that had some type of mechanical damage earlier in the season. Sporadic and isolated cases of orange gall midge have occurred over the last few years, but in all cases it appeared to be associated with a pathogen or damage and wasn’t considered a primary pest of soybeans.

This year we’re tracking a number of soybean fields where orange gall midge was reported in late June through early July. These infestations are much earlier than had been reported historically, raising concerns about yield losses in soybean fields. In late June infested soybean plants were already showing signs of necrosis and wilting with the greatest frequency of damaged plants occurring at the field edge. Randomly selected symptomatic plants from the field edge had an average of seven maggots per plant with the number of maggots and frequency of infested plants declining rapidly with distance from the field edge. Field samples found infested plants were still present over 100 feet into the field. Soybean fields exhibiting these symptoms have also been reported in northeast Nebraska, eastern South Dakota, and Iowa.

Little is known about the orange gall midge. Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa researchers are currently attempting to rear adults from the maggots for species identification. In Nebraska, we’ve repotted infested plants from the field and placed them in a greenhouse with cages to capture the adults. In addition, we’ve also placed cages on infested plants in the field. Some adult midges have recently emerged from the repotted soybean plants in the greenhouse and we’ve transferred them to healthy and mechanically damaged soybean plants to see if we can recreate the symptoms. It is still not known if these midges are associated with orange gall midge. If emergence and adult numbers continue to increase, we will submit these specimens for identification.


Many growers and consultants are asking us how to manage this pest. As of now, we don’t recommend applying any pesticides to fields due to the following factors. First, it’s unclear whether orange gall midge is responsible for the damage observed in soybean plants or if it’s a secondary pest. Mounting evidence is suggesting that orange gall midge may have a role in the damage. Second, pesticides are not likely to control the maggots that are feeding inside the stem. Lastly, it’s not known when adult orange gall midges emerge or the duration of emergence in soybean fields. Such factors are critical for determining if any economic returns will occur from a pesticide application.

If you suspect orange gall midge damage in your field, please report it to us via email to to help us catalogue the distribution of this potential pest.


Nebraska Extension, the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the university’s School of Natural Resources are partnering to deliver a workshop focused on climate and water issues for government officials and other key community leaders.

The Climate and Water Institute of Excellence will be held from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Lancaster Co. extension office, 444 Cherrycreek Rd. in Lincoln.

Water and a changing climate can greatly impact communities economically, through lost tax revenue; physically, when infrastructure is damaged; and socially, with decreased visitors and population. Organizers are encouraging anyone working with these complex issues in government, economic/community development, tourism, recreation, transportation, public works or other interested stakeholders to the day-long workshop.

During the event experts will highlight the science and impacts of Nebraska’s climate and water, and how these intersect with city and county planning and decision-making. Another session will cover policy so that changes in the state’s climate and water can be factored into business and government discussions. Additionally, a panel of presenters will discuss preparing for future climate conditions.

The cost of the workshop is $60. Registration is required by Aug. 31. To view the agenda and register, visit

For more information, contact Jessica Jones at 402-335-3669 or; or Carroll Welte at 402-374-2929 or

Congress Moves Closer to a One-Year ELD Delay

Senator Deb Fischer secured an amendment to the U.S. Senate Minibus Appropriation bill that would extend the electronic logging device (ELD) waiver for livestock haulers by one year.

"Nebraska's livestock industry greatly appreciates Senator Fischer's help to delay the ELD mandate while our industry works on a long-term solution to existing hours of service laws.  One-size-fits-all regulations do not work when hauling live animals.  Senator Fischer is a rancher and she understands that these regulations, as currently written, will cause serious animal welfare concerns," said Galen Frenzen, Nebraska Cattlemen President.

The one-year extension still needs to pass the U.S. House before it can become law.  Similar language is already included in the FY 2019 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development spending bill.  Nebraska Cattlemen encourages our federal delegation and those representing livestock constituents to pass this legislation and help alleviate the tremendous regulatory burden facing livestock haulers.

Smith Announces Tax Reform Roundtables

Today, Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) announced a series of roundtables to provide an opportunity for small business owners, including farmers and ranchers, to share their opinions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and how to further improve the tax code. The House Committee on Ways and Means, of which Smith is a member, is expected to begin consideration of a second round of tax reform, dubbed “Tax Reform 2.0,” in the near future. 

Tax reform roundtables will be held at the following times and locations:

Monday, August 13
2:00-3:00 PM MDT
Weborg 21 Centre, Hospitality Room
2625 10th Street, Gering

Wednesday, August 15
12:30-1:30 PM CDT
Central Community College, Room 131
1215 30th Avenue, Kearney

Thursday, August 30
12:00-1:00 PM CDT
Nebraska State Fair
Nebraska Building, Second Floor Board Room
501 E Fonner Park Road, Grand Island

Iowa Corn Farmer-Leader Duane Aistrope Elected to U.S. Grains Council

Delegates of the U.S. Grains Council elected Duane Aistrope, a farmer from Randolph, Iowa as an At-Large Director during its  Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in Denver on Wednesday. Aistrope currently serves as Iowa Corn Promotion Board President.

“Being able to meet face-to-face with our international customers and form a friendship or a connection with them has been a highlight of my career as an Iowa Corn Promotion Board farmer-leader,” said Duane in his election speech. “After that first mission, I knew that I wanted to be more involved. I am passionate about creating new markets for our grain and that I have a dedication and drive to be a successful member of USGC board.”

Aistrope said he hopes to keep the Council a leader in global trade in developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives by ensuring they have the resources available to allow our International offices to promote our corn in all forms in the most efficient way. Iowa Corn checkoff funds are invested to support market development programs for USGC. The ultimate goal is to build more markets and increase corn consumption throughout the world.

Checkoff Sector Director, Craig Floss (the Iowa Corn CEO) has retired from the board after serving four and a half years. Deb Keller, Chair of the U.S. Grains Council will now serve as Past-Chair for the 2018-2019 year. She is a farmer from Clarion. She said during her address, “We gather at this meeting to discuss the dynamic and developing environment for global grains trade as well as demand opportunities for feed grains and their co-products around the world. Our goal is always to better understand agriculture’s role in world trade and how to maintain good working relationships with our international trading partners while we explore new export frontiers.”

In a global trade environment challenged by tariffs and tensions, emerging markets for grains and ethanol exports provided a bright spot for U.S. farmers, agribusinesses and industry officials attending the meeting. Navigating the new global trade landscape while maintaining and strengthening relationships with key partners, including Mexico and China, was the theme that took center stage during the meeting. Delegates heard from several speakers who talked about potential market opportunities. All agreed the long-term outlook for U.S. grains demand remains positive. U.S. Grain Council’s Chief Economist Mike Dwyer updated the delegates on the Council’s ethanol market development efforts. Dwyer told delegates, “Ethanol is the cheapest octane by far. No other grain-in-all-forms category comes close as a driver of growing corn demand.”

Webinar Explores Decomposition of Tea as Low-Cost, Scientifically-Robust Soil Health Indicator

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar exploring the decomposition of tea as a low-cost, scientifically-robust soil health indicator on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 12 p.m.

The term soil health recently has become popular due, in large part, to the increased awareness of the importance of soil biology. However, current biological soil health tests are expensive, highly variable and difficult to interpret. Marshall McDaniel, assistant professor in soil-plant interactions at Iowa State University, studies the relationship between soils and plants, and how this relationship is affected by management and the environment. The McDaniel Research Group’s ultimate goal is to understand what enhances soil-plant synergy, soil health and agroecosystem sustainability. One thrust of the research is using decomposition of tea bags as an inexpensive, yet scientifically-robust, indicator of soil health.

“Increasing soil health is not only good for the environment, but also for the bottom line through increased yields and decreased money spent on farm inputs,” commented McDaniel. “Citizen Science is a great way to educate and engage farmers in measuring their own soil health, and also help to inform professional scientists’ understanding of soil health.”

The Iowa Learning Farms webinar series takes place on the third Wednesday of the month. To watch, go to and click the link to join the webinar shortly before 12 p.m. on Aug. 15 to download the Zoom software and log in option. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for watching at any time at

$60 Billion in Tariffs: Iowa Soybean Farmer and FFT Spokesman Scott Henry Reacts to More Tariffs that Threaten the American Heartland

Today, Farmers for Free Trade spokesman and Iowa soybean farmer, Scott Henry issued the following statement after China announced further retaliation that would target $60 billion in American exports. The products listed by China include additional American ag exports, including additional soybean products.  Farmers for Free Trade last week announced a new, multi-million dollar campaign called Tariffs Hurt the Heartland that will highlight how tariffs are impacting farmers like Scott, along with others in rural America. For more on that campaign visit

“The tariffs announced today will cause more pain for American farmers and rural communities. At the top of the list of the over 5,000 American exports being targeted for new taxes are even more ag products, including more soy products. This latest escalation from China could threaten my livelihood and the livelihoods of other American farmers like me. Our patience is wearing thin.”

“What’s particularly concerning right now is that China is adjusting to a new normal that locks U.S. soybean farmers like me out of their market. While this trade war escalates, they are encouraging domestic planting, looking to alternative feed sources, and ramping up imports from Brazil, Canada, and Russia. The Chinese are leaving American farmers, who for years have reliably supplied their market, on the outside looking in, not just in the short-term, but potentially for decades to come. 

“The eyes of rural America are trained on Washington right now. As farmers head into a harvest and borrowing season that could make or break family farms, they want to know two things: when will this trade war end and when are we going to get back in the business of opening markets to Made-in-America exports?”


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today encouraged visitors to the Iowa State Fair to shoot hoops and learn more about Iowa agriculture when visiting the “Ag Park” on the first floor of the Agriculture Building. Kids will also have the opportunity to experience “driving” through rural Iowa and see how all roads lead to agriculture with our simulated truck experience.

“The State Fair is a celebration of Iowa and a wonderful opportunity for fairgoers to have fun while seeing the many aspects of our state’s agriculture industry up-close. The Department is excited to again be able to interact with Iowans at our booths and work with ag organizations to help showcase how important agriculture is in our state,” Naig said. “I hope Iowans will stop by our booths to have some fun, but also take the opportunity to learn more about our state’s exciting and diverse agriculture industry.”

The Iowa Soybean Association, the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Egg Council, Midwest Dairy Association, Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa Pork Producers, and the Iowa Beef Industry Council will also be present in the “Ag Park” and have information available about Iowa agriculture.  The Iowa Egg Council will be offering eggs on a stick to fairgoers from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the fair.

In the Varied Industries building the Department will also have a display to educate Iowans about the activities of the Department and continue the tradition of weighing fairgoers on a scale certified by the Weights and Measures Bureau.  The Department will also be handing out tech cleaning cloths with on them, a website that was created for all Iowans learn about what they can do to help protect water quality. The cloths can be used to clean phone screens or glasses.

The Iowa Century Farm and Heritage Farm Awards will be presented on Thursday, Aug. 16 starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Livestock Pavilion.  Everyone is invited to attend and help recognize the families receiving the awards.  Century Farm awards recognize farms that have been in the same family for 100 years and Heritage Farms awards recognize farms that have been owned by the same family for 150 years.

There are 361 Century Farm winners and 148 Heritage Farm winners that will be recognized this year.  The awards are sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau.  The lists of the 2018 Century and Heritage Farm Award winners are available on  The site also includes a full, searchable list of Century Farm recipients from past years.

On Wednesday, Aug. 15 starting at 10:00 a.m. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Naig and Iowa DNR Acting Director Bruce Trautman will recognize 66 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award winners.  The awards will be presented at the Penningroth Center inside the Cattle Barn and recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality.

The awards recognize the exemplary actions of farmers that improve and protect the environment and natural resources of our state while also encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building success upon success.  Hagie Manufacturing sponsors a luncheon for award winners following the ceremony at the Farm Bureau shelter that Naig will also attend.  A full list of award recipients is available here.

At 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14 the Department will be recognizing the winners of the 2018-2019 From the Farm to You Calendar drawing contest in the Agriculture Building.  Kids from across the state submitted pictures for the calendar.  Copies of the calendar are available to fairgoers at the Department’s booths in the Ag Building and the Varied Industries Building.

Naig will also participate in the 2018 Governor's Charity Steer Show on Saturday, Aug. 11, at 4:00 p.m., in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair.  Naig will be showing a steer owned by Alec Staudt from Floyd County.  Immediately following the competition the steers will be sold at auction with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa.

The Iowa State Fair runs from Aug. 9 to 19 at the state fairgrounds in Des Moines.

USDA: Winter Wheat Production Down Less Than 1 Percent from June

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.19 billion bushels, down less than 1 percent from the June 1 forecast and down 6 percent from 2017. As of July 1, the United States yield is forecast at 48.0 bushels per acre, down 0.4 bushel from last month and down 2.2 bushels from last year's average yield of 50.2 bushels per acre. The area expected to be harvested for grain totals 24.8 million acres, unchanged from the Acreage report released on June 29, 2018, but down 2 percent from last year.

Hard Red Winter production, at 657 million bushels, is up 1 percent from last month. Soft Red Winter, at 303 million bushels, is down 4 percent from the June forecast. White Winter, at 232 million bushels, is up less than 1 percent from last month. Of the White Winter production, 21.1 million bushels are Hard White and 211 million bushels are Soft White.

Durum wheat production is forecast at 74.9 million bushels, up 36 percent from 2017. The United States yield is forecast at 40.7 bushels per acre, up 15.0 bushels from last year. Area expected to be harvested for grain or seed totals 1.84 million acres, unchanged from the Acreage report released on June 29, 2018, but 14 percent below 2017.

Other spring wheat production is forecast at 614 million bushels, up 48 percent from last year. Area harvested for grain or seed is expected to total 12.9 million acres, unchanged from the Acreage report released on June 29, 2018, but 27 percent above 2017. The United States yield is forecast at a record high 47.6 bushels per acre, up 6.6 bushels from last year. Of the total production, 584 million bushels are Hard Red Spring wheat, up 52 percent from last year.


The National Pork Producers Council was one of nearly two dozen agricultural organizations on a letter addressed to U.S. Senate leadership this week in support of the nominations of Dawn DeBerry Stump and Dan Berkovitz as commissioners for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The nominees, both approved by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, will now be considered by the full Senate.

NPPC, along with the other organizations, urged the Senate to confirm Stump and Berkovitz in a timely manner, noting that farmers rely on well-functioning agriculture and energy derivative markets to hedge risks. The CFTC oversees those markets.

Smithfield Ordered to Pay $473.5M

(AP) -- A federal jury decided Friday that the world's largest pork producer should pay $473.5 million to neighbors of three North Carolina industrial-scale hog farms for unreasonable nuisances they suffered from odors, flies and rumbling trucks.

The jury found that Smithfield Foods owes compensation to 16 neighbors who complained in their lawsuit that the company failed to stop "the obnoxious, recurrent odors and other causes of nuisance" resulting from closely packed hogs, which "generate many times more sewage than entire towns."

The jury awarded $23.5 million in compensatory damages and $450 million in punitive damages, which will be reduced under a state law that limits punitive damages.

The case comes after two previous, related lawsuits rocked agribusiness in the country's No. 2 pork-producing state. Juries in those two cases awarded damages of about $75 million intended to punish Smithfield, though those amounts also were required to be cut.

North Carolina legislators reacted by adopting new barriers against nuisance lawsuits that all but eliminate the right of neighbors to sue Smithfield Foods or any other agribusiness. Critics billed the legislation as an attack on private property rights in order to protect a well-heeled industry.

U.S. Sen Thom Tillis and U.S. Rep. David Rouzer suggested they might seek national legislation after hearing Friday from agribusiness executives and agriculture officials from North Carolina, Georgia, Delaware and Texas in Raleigh.

"Today's nuisance lawsuits that are destroying livelihoods and communities in North Carolina are the tip of the iceberg for what is to come absent a well-informed public and good public policy," Rouzer said in a prepared statement Thursday. "This is a very slippery slope that threatens the very existence of every form of agriculture nationwide."

The Pender County, North Carolina, farms held thousands of hogs owned by a Smithfield Foods subsidiary. Smithfield was sued because plaintiffs' lawyers said the company used strict contracts to dictate how farmers raised Smithfield's animals.

One neighbor who was not part of the lawsuit compared the waste stench to long-dead corpses he found during his career as a police officer and firefighter, news outlets reported. Wesley Sewell testified that he bought his house out of foreclosure without realizing the hog operations were nearby and sometimes fled to another home when the smells were too strong.

Lawyers for the neighbors said Smithfield hasn't taken measures that would minimize the nuisances, for example by sending trucks along a back road to pick up hogs for slaughter in the middle of the night instead of rumbling past sleeping homes. Nor has the company covered the waste pits or otherwise tried to capture the smell and bacteria resulting from pooling liquefied waste, lawyers for the neighbors said. The company has done that in Missouri and Colorado, attorneys said.

The predominant method of handling hog waste in North Carolina is collecting it in open-air pits that are emptied by spraying liquid excrement on farm fields. The method was banned at new livestock operations in 1997, when industrial-scale hog operations began to be planned near the Pinehurst golf resort two years before it would host the U.S. Open tournament.

Smithfield has continued using the low-cost method because it helps the company produce pork for less than in China, lawyers for the neighbors said. Smithfield is owned by Hong Kong-headquartered WH Group, which posted profits of about $1 billion last year.

The neighbors' attorney, Michael Kaeske, asked the president of Smithfield's hog production division last week why the company couldn't afford to finance technology improvements on the farms that grow the company's hogs under contracts.

Smithfield's Gregg Schmidt testified even if the company shelled out the money, there was a risk farm owners couldn't afford to maintain it for the prices Smithfield would pay.

"The farm would not be sustainable, and in a short period of time it would be out of business," Schmidt said.


Another verdict against a North Carolina hog farm came the same day outraged farmers and National Pork Producers Council Past President Dr. Howard Hill gathered for a discussion of the suits’ threat to the state’s pork industry. North Carolina congressional lawmakers Sen. Thom Tillis and Rep. David Rouzer joined U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service Under Secretary Bill Northey, North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and agriculture officials from several other states for the National Agriculture Leaders Roundtable in Raleigh today to hear from hog farmers about nuisance lawsuits brought against 26 pork operations over noise and odors. Three of the cases have been decided over the past three months.

In testimony to the officials, Hill noted that the judge in all three cases believes people who have moved to North Carolina’s rural communities can sue farmers for millions of dollars “for doing nothing more than simply farming. Enough is enough,” said Hill. “It’s time for our elected leaders to step up and stop this madness.” So far, the “madness” has resulted in three verdicts of nearly $100 million against family hog farmers who’ve operated in eastern North Carolina for decades.

The North Carolina Legislature in June approved the Farm Act of 2018 to address nuisance lawsuits against agricultural operations. The new law sets a deadline for bringing such suits of one year from an operation’s start and allows punitive damages only against a farm that had a criminal charge or code violation. (In late June state lawmakers overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the measure.) Tillis and Rouzer indicated they may introduced federal legislation to check such lawsuits.

National Roundtable on Lawsuit Abuse 

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall today joined a special national agriculture roundtable highlighting a recent wave of nuisance lawsuits targeting North Carolina hog farms. The event, which was held in Raleigh, North Carolina, brought together legislators and agriculture leaders to discuss the growing threat to farmers and exposed how out-of-state trial lawyers are using nuisance lawsuits to circumvent state right-to-farm laws.

The discussion centered on the economic impact of nuisance lawsuits on America’s farmers and rural communities.

“This is pitting neighbor against neighbor and community against community,” said Duvall. “The regulations need to be on the trial lawyers. We need to let our farmers and ranchers do what they do best, and that is feeding the world. They will not be a nuisance. They deserve a fair shot. They deserve to grow and succeed,” he said.

North Carolina Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten also addressed the panel. “What concerns me are the scars that could be left in rural North Carolina and in our rural communities due to these types of lawsuits,” he said.

Attendees also heard about the looming threat to all aspects of U.S. agriculture nationwide.

“This is something that not only affects our animal agriculture, it affects our crop agriculture. If we don’t do something about it now, there is not a farm in the country that won’t be affected,” said North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

ASA is Now Accepting Applications for the Conservation Legacy Awards

Share the story of how conservation is part of your farm operation and you could be recognized with a Conservation Legacy Award. The awards recognize farm management practices of U.S. soybean farmers that are both environmentally friendly and profitable.

Are you using a reduced tillage practice on your farm? Do you grow cover crops? Have you taken steps to improve energy efficiency or water quality? These are just a few conservation practices used on some farms today that can help produce sustainable U.S. soybeans. Different regions of the country have their own unique challenges and ways to approach conservation and sustainability. We want to hear your farm’s conservation story!

All U.S. soybean farmers are eligible to enter to win a Conservation Legacy Award. Entries are judged on soil management, water management, input management, conservation, environmental management and sustainability.

A new region has been added to this year’s program in order to recognize the conservation accomplishments of more U.S. soybean farmers. The four regions are now the Midwest, Upper Midwest, the Northeast and the South. One farmer from each of these regions will be recognized at the 2019 Commodity Classic in Orlando, Florida, and one of these farmers will be named the National Conservation Legacy Award recipient.

Award Winners Receive:
-    An expense paid trip for two to Commodity Classic, Feb. 28 – March 2, 2019, in Orlando, Florida.
-    Recognition at the ASA Awards Banquet at Commodity Classic.
-    A feature story in Corn & Soybean Digest and a video featuring the award winner’s farm and conservation practices.
-    Potential opportunity for the national winner to join other farmer-leaders on an international trip to visit U.S. soy customers overseas.

The Conservation Legacy Awards are sponsored by the American Soybean Association (ASA), BASF, Corn & Soybean Digest, Monsanto, the United Soybean Board/soybean checkoff and Valent U.S.A.

More information on past winners of the award and how to submit your application is available in the “Awards” section of the ASA website All applications must be submitted by Friday, Sept. 7, 2018.

Rabobank financial sustainability expert and ruminant nutritionist from Rothamsted Research to speak at Global Conference on Sustainable Beef in Ireland

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) is proud to announce two key global industry leaders who will join the important conversations surrounding global beef sustainability at the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef (GCSB) to be held in Kilkenny, Ireland at the Lyrath Estate, October 9-12, 2018.

The opening keynote will explore the Economic Impacts of Sustainability Today and Forecasts for Tomorrow with Rabobank. From its cooperative and agricultural roots, Rabobank has grown to become the world's leading financial services provider for the food and agribusiness sector.

Rabobank brings its extensive knowledge of food chain links, as generated, enhanced and distributed by the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness department. The Bank has over 80 food and agribusiness research analysts around the world collecting information and spotting opportunities using local knowledge and global reach across all food and agricultural sectors.

Justin Sherrad, Global Animal Protein Strategist at Rabobank stated, “Participating in the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef is in line with our mission of Growing a Better World Together. The partnership with leading international organizations like GRSB, helps us in our drive to make a serious contribution to addressing and creating sustainable approaches to food and agribusiness around the world.”

The Capstone for the conference will be Professor Michael Lee, of Rothamsted Research, the oldest agricultural research institute in the world. Professor Lee is Head of Sustainable Agriculture Sciences at North Wyke and professor of Sustainable Livestock Systems at the University of Bristol. As a ruminant nutritionist, Lee is leading key conversations around how to maximize livestock production efficiency through feeding systems and animal genetics at a global scale.

Lee stated, “Ruminants make an important contribution to global food security as they can convert feed that is unsuitable for human consumption to high value protein, demand for which is currently increasing at an unprecedented rate.”

The conference, co-hosted by the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability (ERBS) and Bord Bia, will highlight sustainability in action: impacts on the ground, and more than 200 beef sustainability stakeholders from over 20 countries are expected to attend.

Registration details and a full conference agenda can be found at

AGCO will Debut New TerraGator C Series from Challenger at MAGIE 2018

AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, will debut the new TerraGator® C Series high-flotation nutrient applicator and redesigned spray system at the Midwest Ag Industries Expo (MAGIE) in Bloomington, Ill., August 22 – 23. Show attendees will see the latest TerraGator 4-wheel and 3-wheel floaters from Challenger® at the AGCO Lot, #806. There also will be a sneak peek of the RoGator® AirMax Precision™ dry application system that will be introduced in 2019 for precision application in and out of the growing season.

Since their introduction, TerraGator high flotation applicators have led the industry in accurately applying more products in a single pass through the field. Today, TerraGator C Series applicators by Challenger® continue this legacy, providing nearly endless choices in single-pass fall or spring preemergence nutrient application, bringing even more accuracy and versatility to variable-rate crop input application to help optimize yields. 

“We continuously look for ways to further improve the precision, power and versatility of our application equipment,” says Mark Mohr, tactical marketing manager for AGCO’s application division. “The TerraGator C Series floaters deliver unmatched productivity because we understand timeliness drives our retail customers’ business and producers’ agronomic needs.  These applicators are built to get the job done quickly and efficiently no matter the crop or the conditions.”

For operator convenience, the TerraGator C Series features the same application-focused operator environment, intuitive command center and touchscreen AccuTerminal found in the RoGator C Series row crop applicators. Enhanced cab suspension provides a comfortable ride that helps operators be just as productive at the end of a long day as they are at the start. Improved visibility and transmission upgrades that put more power to the ground are other new features of the TerraGator C Series high flotation applicators.

When it comes specifically to liquid application, the TerraGator C Series delivers major on-target, efficiency and uptime benefits. The re-designed spray system has robust, full-featured booms and a new reload station that delivers greater control, exceptional accuracy and added convenience when applying liquid products.

“During MAGIE, operators will want to check out the new TerraGators, the new boom features, sprayer reload station, and other updates that help save time and increase productivity,” says Mohr.

Thursday August 2 Ag News

Nebraska partners to fight antimicrobial resistance

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln will help lead a new national institute addressing antimicrobial resistance, an increasingly urgent global public health concern, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges announced July 26.

The university is partnering with Iowa State University, the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Iowa. The proposal was selected from among nine submitted by major universities throughout the nation.

Each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people are sickened from bacteria resistant to antibiotics, and 23,000 people die from those infections. Many more die from other conditions complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infections from drug-resistant “superbugs” result in an estimated $20 billion a year in direct health care costs and up to $35 billion in lost productivity from hospitalizations and sick days.

“Antimicrobials are critically important tools for maintaining human, animal and crop health,” said Mike Boehm, University of Nebraska vice president and Harlan Vice Chancellor for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“This new institute will accelerate discoveries and engage producers in new and impactful ways that will enhance the stewardship and prolong the shelf life of these disease-prevention tools. The establishment of this institute is a big deal and we are excited about this next chapter of our partnership with our colleagues from Iowa, the industry and beyond.”

The institute will be jointly funded by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Iowa State at a combined $525,000 per year for three years ($1.575 million total). Rodney Moxley, Charles Bessey Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Nebraska, will play a leadership role.

The Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education stems from recommendations by a joint AAVMC/APLU task force, which authored a 2015 report outlining an array of research and education initiatives to address antimicrobial resistance. The report recommended that veterinarians, physicians and other scientific experts work closely together to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment. The institute will help coordinate and implement those recommendations at universities and veterinary medical colleges across the country.

The new institute will build upon an existing partnership. The universities involved began to address some of these same problems three years ago through the Antimicrobial Resistance Consortium, a research initiative that has involved Nebraska, UNMC, Iowa State, Iowa, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the Mayo Clinic and a team of more than 100 researchers, educators, clinicians and extension personnel.

“Antimicrobial resistance touches each of us in our daily lives. This new institute provides a great resource for the entire country as we work to build strong, collaborative research and educational programs to mitigate this risk,” said Paul Plummer, associate professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine at Iowa State. Plummer directed the AMR Consortium and will serve as executive director of the institute, which will be housed at Iowa State.

Nebraska Extension trains first responders for livestock emergencies

On any given day, thousands of livestock such as cattle, swine, poultry and equine are in transit throughout Nebraska. When accidents happen involving these livestock, it makes the scene much more complex to manage. Nebraska Extension’s livestock emergency response plan training is educating first responders on how to deal with such accidents.

“Knowing how to assess the situation of the animals and how to properly handle the animals – for everyone’s safety is a key factor,” said Nebraska Extension Educator Rob Eirich.

 In 2017, there were 2,558 accidents involving animals, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation. When livestock are involved in accidents it adds a layer of complexity. Animals may not be contained; they could be injured or trapped, or could even cause additional accidents or harm. The livestock emergency response plan training sets out to educate any first responders who may be involved with livestock accidents.

In June, extension and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture partnered to host the first livestock emergency response plan training in Grand Island for first responders, including the state patrol, fire departments, emergency medical technicians, sheriffs, county emergency planners, veterinarians and others. Over 30 people attended the training.

Livestock training is not common in traditional emergency response fields so those that respond to accidents often are unaware of how livestock will respond to stress. For example, most livestock are color blind, have no depth perception and see 330 degrees around them, all of which will affect how they react in certain situations. Bright floodlights and flashing lights could cause a response that could do more harm or damage.

According to Eirich, a key part of the training is helping first responders develop a plan before arriving at an accident where livestock are involved, so they are prepared and know how to approach the scene appropriately. The Grand Island training day was so well-received that Nebraska Extension is planning more for the future.

“The plan is to now use a core group from this first training to expand across the state with two more trainings currently in the process of planning,” said Eirich. “With the livestock industry strong and growing in Nebraska, the need for first responders to be trained in emergency planning with livestock will drive demand.”

Others included on the core livestock emergency response plan team include Kim Clark, Ashley Mueller and Megan Patent-Nygren with Nebraska Extension and Chelsea Kramer with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

For more information about livestock emergency response training, contact Nebraska Extension Educator Rob Eirich at 308-632-1230 or


Nebraska's farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, decreased from 2017, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Farm real estate value for 2018 averaged $2,850 per acre, down $50 per acre (2 percent) from last year.

Cropland value decreased slightly from last year to $4,540 per acre. Dryland cropland value averaged $3,550 per acre, unchanged from last year. Irrigated cropland value averaged $6,150 per acre, $30 below a year ago. Pastureland, at a record high $1,010 per acre, was $80 higher than the previous year.

Cash rents paid to landlords in 2018 for cropland were mixed from last year. Irrigated cropland rent averaged $238 per acre, unchanged from last year. Dryland cropland rent averaged $150 per acre, $1 higher than a year earlier. Pasture rented for cash averaged $22.50 per acre, $2 below the previous year.

Iowa Crop Values Report

The production of Iowa’s field and miscellaneous crops was valued at $14.0 billion in 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Values summary. This was a 4 percent decrease from 2016.

The value of corn for grain production totaled $8.47 billion, down 6 percent from the previous year, and production was down 5 percent. Iowa’s corn price averaged $3.25 per bushel, a decrease of $0.05 from the last marketing year.

Down 2 percent from 2016, the value of soybean production was $5.19 billion, and production was down 1 percent. Average prices decreased $0.09 from the previous year to $9.25 per bushel.

Value of production increased in 2017 from 2016 for oats, alfalfa hay, other hay, and all forage. Value of production decreased from the previous year for winter wheat.

Cash Rent

Cropland cash rent paid to Iowa landlords in 2018 averaged $231.00 per acre according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Non-irrigated cropland rent averaged $231.00 per acre, unchanged from last year. Pasture rented for cash averaged $54.00 per acre, unchanged from the previous year.

Farm Production Expenditures

Iowa farm production expenditures totaled $26.4 billion in 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Farm Production Expenditures Annual Summary report. This was $55 million more than the 2016 total expenditures. Feed expense, which declined 16 percent to $4.40 billion, represented the largest single production expense in Iowa in 2017, accounting for 17 percent of the total. Livestock, Poultry, and Related purchases, which rose 14 percent to $4.31 billion, was the second largest expense, and accounted for 16 percent of total expenditures. Rent expense increased 2 percent to $3.64 billion, and accounted for 14 percent of the total. The largest percentage increases from last year were for Trucks and Autos (up 50 percent), Labor (up 18 percent), Livestock (up 14 percent), and Interest (up 12 percent).

2017 United States Total Farm Production Expenditure Highlights

Farm production expenditures in the United States are estimated at $359.8 billion for 2017, up from $346.9 billion in 2016. The 2017 total farm production expenditures are up 3.7 percent compared with 2016 total farm production expenditures. For the 17 line items, 13 showed an increase from previous year, while the rest showed a decrease.

The four largest expenditures at the United States level total $176.2 billion and account for 49.0 percent of total expenditures in 2017. These include feed, 15.3 percent, farm services, 12.2 percent, livestock, poultry, and related expenses, 11.7 percent, and labor, 9.8 percent.

In 2017, the United States total farm expenditure average per farm is $176,352, up 4.3 percent from $169,035 in 2016. On average, United States farm operations spent $27,056 on feed, $20,635 on livestock, poultry, and related expenses, $21,468 on farm services, and $17,204 on labor. For 2016, United States farms spent an average of $27,092 on feed, $20,319 on farm services, $19,491 on livestock, poultry, and related expenses, and $16,616 on labor.

Total fuel expense is $12.0 billion. Diesel, the largest sub component, is $7.6 billion, accounting for 63.3 percent. Diesel expenditures are up 2.7 percent from the previous year. Gasoline is $2.2 billion, up 4.8 percent. LP gas is $1.4 billion, up 22.4 percent. Other fuel is $780 million, up 21.9 percent.

The United States economic sales class contributing most to the 2017 United States total expenditures is the $1,000,000 - $4,999,999 class, with expenses of $114.9 billion, 31.9 percent of the United States total, up 1.7 percent from the 2016 level of $113.0 billion. The next highest is the $5,000,000 and over class with $84.2 billion, up from $80.6 billion in 2016.

In 2017, crop farms expenditures increased to $183.9 billion, up 3.9 percent, while livestock farms expenditures also increased to $175.9 billion, up 3.5 percent. The largest expenditures for crop farms are labor at $25.4 billon (13.8 percent), rent at $24.9 billion (13.5 percent of total), and farm services at $24.4 billion (13.3 percent). Combined crop inputs (chemicals, fertilizers, and seeds) are $51.8 billion, accounting for 28.2 percent of crop farms total expenses. The largest expenditures for livestock farms are feed at $53.4 billion (30.4 percent of total), livestock, poultry and related expenses at $40.1 billion (22.8 percent), and farm services at $19.4 billion (11.0 percent). Together, these line items account for 64.2 percent of livestock farms total expenses. The average total expenditure for a crop farm is $210,081 compared to $151,005 per livestock farm.

The Midwest region contributed the most to United States total expenditures with expenses of $109.1 billion (30.3 percent), up from $108.9 billion in 2016. Other regions, ranked by total expenditures, are the Plains at $93.7 billion (26.0 percent), West at $77.7 billion (21.6 percent), Atlantic at $43.1 billion (12.0 percent), and South at $36.2 billion (10.1 percent). The West increased $6.34 billion from 2016, which is the largest regional increase.

Combined total expenditures for the 15 estimate states is $238.3 billion in 2017 (66.22 percent of the United States total expenditures) and $228.0 billion in 2016 (65.7 percent). California contributed most to the 2017 United States total expenditures, with expenses of $37.4 billion, (10.4 percent). California expenditures are up 9.3 percent from the 2016 estimate of $34.2 billion. Iowa, the next leading state, has $26.4 billion in expenses, (7.3 percent). Other states with more than $20 billion in total expenditures are Texas with $25.9 billion and Nebraska with $22.6 billion.

Agricultural Land Values Highlights

The United States farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $3,140 per acre for 2018, up $60 per acre (1.9 percent) from 2017 values. Regional changes in the average value of farm real estate ranged from an 8.3 percent increase in the Southern Plains region to 1.4 percent decrease in the Northern Plains region. The highest farm real estate values were in the Corn Belt region at $6,430 per acre. The Mountain region had the lowest farm real estate value at $1,140 per acre.

The United States cropland value averaged $4,130 per acre, an increase of $40 per acre from the previous year. In the Southern Plains region, the average cropland value increased 4.7 percent from the previous year, while in the Lake region, cropland values decreased by 0.6 percent.

The United States pasture value increased by $40 per acre (3.0 percent) from 2017 values. The Southern Plains region had the highest increase from 2017 at 5.6 percent. The Pacific region remained unchanged at $1,650 per acre.

Cattle Krush App now free for Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Members

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) and Performance Livestock Analytics (PLA) have partnered to bring Iowa’s cattle producers the Cattle Krush service for free.

Cattle Krush, one of the software programs created by the award-winning PLA team, helps cattle producers predict and capture profit opportunities.

Beef producers’ profit is determined by the price of feeder calves, the cost of gain, and the price received for the fed cattle. But those three prices are changing minute by minute in today’s fast-paced world. PLA’s Cattle Krush integrates all of the data and puts it in the palm of your hand.

Producers can use Cattle Krush at the auction house when buying calves, and the app will calculate the profitability of the lot, based on the auction price, grain prices, and cattle futures markets. Then, once calves are purchased, cattle producers can use the “My Lots” feature. The app alerts users when profit opportunities appear, at which point the feeder can contact their broker to lock in the profit.

PLA’s CEO Dane Kuper explains, “Our Cattle Krush App puts the key data already custom analyzed to the farmer’s unique situation into an easy to understand format on a 4G high-speed smartphone or tablet. It’s in the farmer’s hand whether he or she’s in the pickup, at the sale barn, or in the field. A desktop computer sitting in the farm office just isn’t convenient or timely enough. To succeed today, it has to be my farm’s data and current prices in my local markets. Our pop-up alerts help farmers pull the trigger before the target disappears.”

Cattle Krush, a $75/month value, is now available to Iowa Cattlemen’s Association members for free. “Our mission is to grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education,” says ICA CEO Matt Deppe. “Our producers have told us, through surveys and listening sessions, that they want more information about cattle prices, marketing and profitability. Cattle Krush is going to fill that need and help our independent Iowa cattle producers improve their operations and profits.”

To take advantage of this offer, producers should visit and click on Cattle Krush, then enter the discount code “iacattle” at checkout. For questions about Cattle Krush, or PLA’s additional services, including Performance Beef, call (515) 337-2187.

This Week's Drought Summary

Early in the drought week, moderate precipitation fell along the East Coast with the heaviest rains falling in the eastern Carolinas and central Pennsylvania. Much-needed rains fell in a swath of area covering eastern Wyoming, much of Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, eastern Colorado and the majority of New Mexico. The northern Plains, Midwest and South saw lighter precipitation amounts. Central and south Texas saw little to no precipitation during the week while the dry pattern continued for much of the West. For the month of July, preliminary statewide temperature data suggest much of the U.S. was warmer than average. The West, Southwest, South, and Northeast were among the warmest third of historical records which date back 124 years. Total precipitation amounts for the month of July were below average for much of the Midwest and Northwest. Also during the month of July, above average precipitation fell in the Mid-Atlantic States to Northeast, Southwest and parts of the High Plains.


Generally, precipitation was below normal for much of the Midwest during the week. The only areas that received above-normal rains were eastern Missouri, central Illinois and western Indiana. There, a swath of light rains (one to three quarters of an inch) fell. However, the rains were only enough to contract drought in western Illinois. Elsewhere, D0 and D1 was expanded to cover the rapidly deteriorating conditions which were mostly concentrated in Missouri but also in southern Iowa and the southern tip of Illinois. Abnormal dryness remained in Wisconsin where 30-day precipitation was generally 25-50 percent of normal in some places. Average streamflows during the last 28 days in southeast Michigan were running at the 10-30 percentile level. Moderate drought was expanded in Michigan and parts of northern Ohio.

High Plains

A swath of light to moderate precipitation fell in an area roughly covering north and east Wyoming, east Colorado and much of Nebraska and Kansas. The heaviest precipitation fell in western Nebraska, Kansas and eastern Colorado where amounts of 2 inches were widespread. Despite the rains, long-term drought was hardly effected. There was a slight improvement in southeast Colorado, and D1 was removed in southwest Kansas where short term indicators have rebounded. Despite the monsoon season ramping up, dryness continued in west central Colorado where D3 was expanded. Moderate drought was expanded in southwest Wyoming where it remained dry during the period. There was also a slight expansion of D0 and D1 in North Dakota while D0 was contracted in southeast North Dakota into northeast South Dakota.

Looking Ahead

During the next five days, moderate to heavy precipitation is projected to fall along the East Coast with amounts generally totaling up to five inches. The heaviest rains are forecasted to fall in the Southern Appalachians and the Panhandle of Florida. Much of the South is forecasted to remain dry during the next five days but average temperatures are expected to remain near normal. Temperatures could be as much as 10-20 degrees F below normal for parts of the Midwest early in the period along with 1-2 inches of precipitation. Temperatures in this area are expected to rebound later in the period. The Southwest Monsoon is expected to continue, producing beneficial rains for New Mexico and parts of Arizona. The Climate Prediction Center expects the greatest odds of above normal temperatures in the Southern Rockies stretching into the High Plains and in the Northeast during the next 6-10 days. The greatest probability of below normal precipitation during this period is centered in the High Plains.

Soybean Farmers Return to DC to Drive Home Their Message:

We Need Long-Term Solutions to the Trade War

Returning to Washington just weeks after their July Board of Directors meeting, grower leaders from the American Soybean Association (ASA) met again with officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Members of Congress to consider options for offsetting the long-term damage from China’s retaliatory tariff on American soybeans.

John Heisdorffer, a soy grower from Keota, Iowa, and President of ASA said, “We know that President Trump is aware of how hard this is hitting agriculture and specifically soybeans. The recent announcement that the European Union has agreed to buy more U.S. soybeans is a welcome step. Given the scale of potential damage from the tariff, we need more market-opening measures if we are going to survive the long-term repercussions on soybean exports.”

“We are asking, first, that Congress pass a new long-term farm bill that increases funding for export promotion under MAP and FMD. The Trade Promotion Program announced by USDA last month will supplement these much-needed efforts, and we hope to see this funding extended over a multi-year period so that activities can be coordinated with the Congressionally-mandated programs.”

In addition to asking Congress to pass the Farm Bill, ASA grower leaders urged the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee to support negotiation of new free trade agreements. ASA is asking that NAFTA be in place by the end of 2018, and that bilateral FTAs be initiated with Japan and other countries that offer increased markets for soy and livestock products. ASA also asked lawmakers to support funding to upgrade inland waterways infrastructure in order to maintain the U.S. competitive advantage.

“We need these tools,” said Heisdorffer. “The certainty and stability of our industry depends on, number one, getting these tariffs removed as quickly as possible and, number two, taking steps now to offset the damage done by this trade war by negotiating trade agreements and funding programs essential to opening new markets for our farm products.”

China imported 31% of U.S. production in 2017, equal to 60% of total U.S exports and nearly 1 in every 3 rows of harvested beans, which makes expanding existing and finding new markets crucial for the U.S. soybean industry.

South Dakota Feedlot Honored for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship

Moes Feedlot, in Watertown, S.D., has been selected as one of six regional honorees of the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The award, announced during the 2018 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting Aug. 1, 2018, recognizes the operation’s outstanding stewardship and conservation efforts. This year’s regional winners will compete for the national award, which will be announced during the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, La., in February 2019.

Established in 1991 by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to recognize outstanding land stewards in the cattle industry, ESAP is generously sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, McDonald’s, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.

“Cattlemen and women everywhere understand that the land, air and water resources in their care are the cornerstone of their success and they are only stewards of those resources for a short time,” said NCBA President Kevin Kester. “Each of us understands the importance of improving those resources and leaving them better for future generations. This year’s nominees are outstanding examples of what is possible for the beef industry and they serve as an inspiration for producers everywhere to continue improving their stewardship practices.”

Moes Feedlot got started in 1987, with 20 bred heifers in 1988. The operation got to the point where they were feeding 400 head on outside lots without much in the way of their own facilities, but changed when John Moes’ son, Bryan, returned to the operation. The Moes family knew that they needed a way to support future generations, so they installed a new monoslope facility in order to increase the capacity of the feedyard.

“We didn’t really have the availability to buy any land,” said Bryan, “so we started investing in the feedlot. In 2011 we did another expansion to have 1,999 head.”

With the feedlot expansion came the need to control any runoff. All of the facilities were carefully designed so water and nutrients are captured before they can reach sensitive wetlands and watersheds.

“It was very important for us to make sure that all of our runoff was contained and handled in a safe matter to the environment,” said Bryan. “So, everything is collected from the manure for rain runoff where nothing goes to our slews. That was very important for us to coexist with the water holes we have around us.”

Manure scraped from the pens is a valued asset and applying it to the fields has improved soil quality and crop yields while decreasing the use of commercial fertilizer.

“We’ve raised our organic matter from a two to a 6 ½,” said John. “With that, every percent of organic matter that you increase you get an extra inch of holding capacity. We’re keeping the water on the ground, and it’s going up to the atmosphere and coming back down on our area instead of running down the river.”

The Moes family is always on the lookout for new technology that can help them become better stewards of the land. Their feeding systems includes identification tags to allow for increased efficiency in sorting. They also use their tablets and smartphones to keep track of the feed wagon and monitor the health of the cattle—even when they’re away from home.

For more than a decade, John has worked with South Dakota State University (SDSU) on beef cattle reproduction projects. The research has helped them tighten up their breeding and calving seasons. “This family’s really willing to try new things,” said Stephanie Perkins, a lab technician at SDSU. “Every year when we finish with the study John wants to know the results right away. He’s very keen on knowing what the next step is and what he can do to better his operation.”

The Moes family has also planted 25 acres of trees to serve as a windbreak and to provide habitat for wildlife. Their pastures are currently in a 10-year easement program, and they put a perpetual easement on 230 acres. Over the years they’ve cross-fenced pastures and installed pipelines and water tanks to help improve their rotational grazing system.

“When we do all this, we’re thinking of the next generation,” said Bryan. “We want to make this land as good—or better—than when we got it for them. So by making it as good or better for them they can keep growing and expanding, and keep this symbiotic relationship with the livestock and the wildlife.”

USDA Dairy Products June 2018 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.06 billion pounds, 1.8 percent above June 2017 but 1.9 percent below May 2018.  Italian type cheese production totaled 450 million pounds, 0.1 percent below June 2017 and 1.8 percent below May 2018. American type cheese production totaled 431 million pounds, 2.7 percent above June 2017 but 2.9 percent below May 2018.  Butter production was 143 million pounds, 3.1 percent above June 2017 but 14.7 percent below May 2018.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with June 2017)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 148 million pounds, down 9.0 percent.
Skim milk powder - 58.9 million pounds, up 49.2 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with June 2017)
Dry whey, total - 87.4 million pounds, down 0.7 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 91.3 million pounds, down 5.0 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 39.9 million pounds, down 1.1 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with June 2017)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 71.3 million gallons, down 4.7 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 45.5 million gallons, down 0.8 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 3.46 million gallons, down 9.5 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 5.43 million gallons, down 3.3 percent.

NCGA Welcomes Administration Support for High Octane Fuels

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) today recognized the benefits of high octane fuels, such as mid-level ethanol blend, in their proposed SAFE Vehicles rule. The agencies specifically requested comments on how EPA, “could support the production and use of higher octane gasoline” to support compliance with vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards.

As corn growers know, ethanol is a high octane fuel that provides a cost effective means for automakers to reduce GHG emissions and improve fuel economy when used with optimized engines. Analyzing fuels and vehicles as a system provides automakers with more flexibility and options to meet vehicle standards.

As an active member of the High Octane Low Carbon Alliance (HOLC), NCGA has advocated for the benefits of high octane fuels. The agencies’ proposed rule today acknowledges HOLC and information we provided on high octane fuels as this proposed rule was drafted.

Moving forward, NCGA will provide comments to EPA and DOT focused on the high octane portions of the proposed rule as part of the organization’s mission to create and increase opportunities for corn growers.

Growth Energy Welcomes ELEMENT as 100th Plant Member

Growth Energy, the nation’s top ethanol advocate, is proud to welcome ELEMENT, LLC as its newest member. The addition of the new Colwich, Kansas-based bio-refinery marks the 100th plant member for Growth Energy.

The Andersons, Inc. have partnered with ICM, a current Growth Energy member, to form ELEMENT, LLC, to build and operate a 70 million gallon per year facility that is expected to be the lowest environmental impact ethanol production facility in the United States. ELEMENT expects to commence production in the second quarter of 2019.

Growth Energy, The Andersons, and ICM issued the following statements:

“We are so proud to welcome ELEMENT as the hundredth member of the Growth Energy family,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “ELEMENT is the result of an invaluable partnership between ICM and The Andersons, and we look forward to collaborating with these industry leaders to provide Americans with cleaner burning renewable biofuels at the pump.”

“We’re thrilled to team up with Growth Energy as ELEMENT builds the most technologically advanced and greenest dry mill ethanol plant in the world,” said Mike Irmen, President of The Andersons Ethanol Group. “Growth Energy has supported our industry for 10 years. We’re looking forward to tapping their knowledge and supporting the ethanol promotion effort.”

“ICM is extremely excited about working on this project. We are about a year away from launching the plant, but we look forward to working with Growth Energy as a strategic partner,” said Dave Vander Griend, CEO of ICM. “They are an excellent advocate for the industry and we are proud to be a part of their association.”

Wednesday August 1 Ag News

Senate Passes One-Year ELD Extension

Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb) praised the Senate’s passage of her amendment that would extend the electronic logging device (ELD) waiver for livestock haulers by one year, while she continues working to make the hours-of-service requirements more flexible. Senator Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee, has continued to fight for hours-of-service relief and issued the following statement:

“Nebraskans who transport livestock face unique challenges. Today the Senate passed my amendment to delay electronic logging device requirements for livestock haulers for one year. With this extension, we will have more time to bring common-sense to these rules and provide additional flexibility.”

Senator Fischer worked closely with Senate Commerce Committee leadership, Chairman John Thune and Ranking Member Bill Nelson, to include her ELD amendment in the Minibus Appropriations bill that passed the Senate.

Senator Fischer first brought concerns about the inflexibility of hours-of-service requirements to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao in August of 2017. Senator Fischer held subsequent meetings with leadership at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to stress the need for flexible hours-of-service.

Following those meetings, the agency extended the temporary waiver from the ELD requirement for ag and livestock haulers while it continued reviewing its guidance. Additionally, Senator Fischer worked to ensure an extension of the ELD waiver for livestock haulers the through September 30, 2018, was signed into law in March. In May, FMCSA issued its guidance on hours-of-service requirements that provided some flexibility for truckers, including livestock haulers. Senator Fischer has continued working to expand on that hours-of-service flexibility, both with the administration and members of the Senate.

The livestock industry plays a critical role in the viability of Nebraska’s agriculture industry and the state’s economy. Nebraska ranks first in the country for cattle on feed, second in total number of cattle and calves, and sixth in hog production.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Adoption of Sen. Fischer Amendment on Livestock Hauler Exemption

“Today the Senate acted to provide livestock haulers with a one-year extension from having to comply with electronic logging device requirements under federal hours of service regulations. This is an important step in the ongoing process to make sure federal regulations governing livestock transport provide much needed flexibility to our state’s livestock haulers. We greatly appreciate Sen. Fischer’s leadership and efforts to successfully bring this amendment to the table and secure its passage as part of broader legislation to fund government programs. We look forward to continuing to work with Sen. Fischer to find a permanent solution that provides a common-sense approach to regulations that recognize the unique challenges that exist in hauling livestock animals.”


Nebraska Extension’s Aug. 22 Midwest Soybean Production Clinic and Aug. 23 Midwest Corn Production Clinic will provide an in-field opportunity for participants to work with crops in the early vegetative stages of growth through maturity.

“Agribusiness professionals and crop producers will take a close-up look at field conditions, research and techniques at the University of Nebraska’s Crop Management Diagnostic Clinics,” said Nebraska Extension Educator Keith Glewen. “The clinics provide opportunities for hands-on interaction.”

Soybean clinic topics include: cultural practices; genetics/agronomics; insect management; plant pathology; soil fertility; and weed management.

Corn clinic topics include: cultural practices; genetics/production; insect damage; plant pathology; soil fertility; and weed science.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. both days and the clinics run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants will meet at the August N. Christenson Research and Education Building at the university’s Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead.

A total of 8 Certified Crop Adviser credits (crop management – 2, nutrient management – 2, and pest management - 4) have been applied for and are pending approval for each clinic. Participants will earn 16 credits by attending both days.

Early registration is recommended to reserve a seat (limit 60) and resource materials. Cost for one clinic is $95 for those registering one week in advance and $120 after. Special pricing is available for those registering for both clinics - $150 by Aug. 17, $200 after.

For more information or to register, contact the Nebraska Extension CMDC Programs, 1071 County Road G, Ithaca, NE 68033, call (800) 529-8030, fax (402) 624-8010, e-mail or visit 

From County Bridges to Chinese Markets, Ag Transportation Summit Focuses on Connecting Supply to Demand

Issues from international trade relations to domestic infrastructure concerns were discussed at the Ag Transportation Summit July 25 and 26.

The summit, held every two years, is hosted by the National Grain and Feed Association and the Soy Transportation Coalition. The summit’s goal is to bring leaders from producer organizations, agribusiness and the government to focus on maintaining and improving waterway, rail, truck and vessel transportation of U.S. agriculture.

“It’s kind of ironic that these trade and tariff issues are going on right now,” Nebraska Soybean Board and Soy Transportation Coalition member Richard Bartek said, noting that over half of Nebraska’s soybeans are exported to foreign markets.

While Bartek said most of those soybeans travel by railroad to the Pacific Northwest, they may begin to travel in another direction if China buys fewer U.S. soybeans.

“In our meeting, we had people concerned about where our product’s going to go,” Bartek said. “We know in this day and age people aren’t going to stop eating, and livestock’s got to have food. The world’s not going to stop just because of this trade issue.”

Infrastructure at the local level was a primary topic during both the summit and the Soy Transportation Coalition’s meeting leading up to it.

“When it comes to bridges and highways and railroads, that’s what I’m concerned about in Nebraska,” Bartek said. “The bridges are getting older and needing work. A lot of them are being closed, and this puts a hardship on school districts as well agriculture transportation.”

Nebraska Soybean Board and Soy Transportation Coalition member Doug Saathoff said he learned about load testing and geosynthetic reinforced soil bridge systems during the meeting.

“A local farmer could build them, using the materials he could find at Menard’s,” Saathoff said. “They’re strong and safe and reduce costs for everybody.”

Saathoff said the highlight of the summit was hearing Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speak reassuringly about the future of trade.

“We’re good at what we do,” Saathoff said. “We’re raising a quality product, and we’re raising a lot of it. We just need to keep our markets open and the demand for our products high.”

Senators confront Acting EPA Administrator on ethanol during EPW hearing

Today, Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings commended a handful of bipartisan Senators for demanding answers to the biofuel industry’s priority issues with the following statement:

“ACE extends our highest gratitude to Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) for confronting Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler about the ethanol demand destruction created by an unprecedented number of small refinery exemptions (SREs) and how EPA intends to reallocate the waived gallons, as well as the need to make good on the President’s repeated promises to allow E15 use year-round.  This is another example of the strong bipartisan support in Congress for making sure EPA follows the law while implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“While we appreciate Acting Administrator Wheeler is looking into how EPA might reallocate the SREs and intends to publicize a “dashboard” to provide more transparency about the circumstances around why refineries receive exemptions from RFS compliance, farmers and biofuel producers are suffering the consequences of demand destruction and collapsed RIN and commodity markets. We need reallocation sooner rather than later.

“Finally, as I have said many times, actions speak louder than words.  The President has promised to allow E15 use year-round on multiple occasions, including the public statement in Iowa last week about being “very close” to making this happen.  I am disappointed Acting Administrator Wheeler said “some don’t think we have the authority” to allow E15 use year-round because even former administrator Scott Pruitt admitted EPA has the legal authority when speaking with ACE members in Kansas and South Dakota in June.  It is important for Acting Administrator Wheeler to make good on the president’s promises to maintain the RFS as the law of the land and allow E15 year-round.”

 Soybeans are BIG as ISA Celebrates August Soybean Month

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) continues its commitment to soybean farmers and their industry by ringing in August as Soybean Month.

The celebration touting Iowa’s 40,000-plus soybean farmers and their commitment to sustainably producing more than 550 million bushels of soybeans annually valued at nearly $5 billion include numerous events and activities.

They include a Soybeans Are Big In Iowa Month proclamation signing by Gov. Kim Reynolds Friday, Aug. 10.  ISA members and staff will also be present throughout the month at events across Iowa to meet with farmers and share the local, state and national benefits of soybean production.

“As we prepare for another harvest, August is always a great reminder to celebrate soybean production and promote how soybeans help feed and fuel a growing global population,” says ISA President Bill Shipley of Nodaway. “We celebrate soybeans year-round at the ISA, but August provides a timely opportunity to bring added attention to the industry’s contributions to Iowa, the nation and the world.”

The ISA will bring the story of soybean production to:

Iowa State Fair, Aug. 9 – 19

ISA will sponsor activities in venues throughout the fairgrounds including the Ag Building and Animal Learning Center.

Soybean farmers will converse with fairgoers in the Ag Building Aug. 9 and 16 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. They’ll share insights about the soybean industry, and answer questions about production, environmental stewardship and trade. Visitors can test their agricultural knowledge and win prizes.

The ISA is also proud to sponsor the Little Hands on the Farm Kids Zone on the fairground’s north side. Little Hands on the Farm teaches children the importance of agriculture and how it affects their daily lives in a fun and interactive way.

On Sunday, Aug. 12, nearly 100 farmers will welcome 400 guests as they gather around the largest dinner table ever set at the Iowa State Fair. The table will be set in the middle of the Grand Concourse.. The ISA is proud to help sponsor this unique event where farmers will share how food is grown and makes its way from the farm to the fair as they encourage additional farm and city fellowship.

Soybeans will also be on display at the Varied Industries building as part of the Iowa Food and Family Project exhibit. The ISA is a founding partner of the Iowa Food & Family project that encourages Iowans to become more confident and trusting in agriculture and food production through community activities, educational programs and information sharing.

Expedition Farm Tour, Aug. 24 - 25

              The ISA is helping sponsor the Iowa Food & Family project’s fourth annual Expedition Farm Country. Fifty consumers will be selected to participate in the two-day tour of farms, historic sites and local eateries. One of the stops includes ISA farmer director, Suzanne Shirbroun and her husband, Joe. To learn more or enter for the opportunity to participate, go to

Farm Progress Show, Aug.28 – 30

Guests are encouraged to visit tent No. 740 for farmer/industry dialogue and hands-on learning. Show-goers can learn the latest information regarding soybean research, markets, and get a chance to talk with ISA directors. American Soybean Association representatives will also be on hand to offer additional perspectives about policy issues impacting soybean farmers. Attendees who join the ISA as an Advocate member during the show will receive a personalized farm sign painted on authentic barn wood and be entered to win a $500 biodiesel gift card sponsored by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

Why are Soybeans Big in Iowa?

Iowa routinely ranks first or second nationally in soybean production.. It accounts for approximately 14 percent of all soybeans grown in the U.S.. The  state’s soybean farmers have invested more than $40 million in research to further promote conservation and sustainability efforts since the ISA was launched in 1964. Iowa-grown soybeans also contribute to the local and global economy in a variety of ways: 
·                 Biodiesel: Iowa is the leading biodiesel-producing state. Iowa biodiesel supported nearly 3,800 full-time equivalent jobs in the state in 2017 and adds $457 million of GDP annually, per the National Biodiesel board. Biodiesel alone contributes to 63 cents in market value while also lowering the price of soybean meal for livestock farmers.
·                 Livestock: One of every four rows of soybeans grown in Iowa is fed to the more than 38 million pigs raised annually in Iowa. Domestic animal agriculture uses over 26 million metric tons of U.S. soybean meal. That’s the meal from more than 1.2 billion bushels of U.S. soybeans.
·                 Research:  The ISA works to improve the profitability and sustainability of Iowa soybean farmers. Research done through the ISA On-Farm Network contributes to improve sustainability efforts such as bioreactors, which can reduce nitrogen runoff by up to 90%.
·                 Soyfoods: With protein being the most sought-out nutritional attribute, 52 percent of millennials are consuming soy, which is low in fat and cholesterol, at least once a week. Over the past four years, more than 170 new soy products have been brought to market.

Iowa DNR Claims Mission Accomplished - Environmental Groups Say They Fall Short

Food and Water Watch press release

Today, Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) submitted its fifth annual report of its progress implementing the precedent-setting Work Plan Agreement between the department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report states that DNR believes it has met all of the requirements of the Work Plan and brought its factory farm program into compliance with the Clean Water Act (CWA).

But, local and national farm and environment groups say the DNR continues to allow factory farms to pollute Iowa waters. Because more oversight is needed, the EPA should take further action in response to the pending “de-delegation” petition to strip DNR of its CWA authority for failure to adequately regulate concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), or factory farms.

The DNR/EPA Work Plan Agreement followed an EPA investigation, which was conducted in response to a de-delegation petition filed by Iowa CCI, the Environmental Integrity Project, and Iowa Sierra Club. EPA’s investigation found that DNR was failing to issue CWA permits to polluting factory farms and was taking inadequate enforcement actions that do not deter future pollution. The Work Plan required DNR to inspect thousands of facilities to identify polluters, issue permits to dischargers, and strengthen its enforcement actions.

After five years, DNR reports that it has completed the required inspections of the factory farms in its database. But the CAFO inventory the Work Plan required has also uncovered thousands of additional facilities that could be livestock confinements in need of CWA permits. Today’s report confirms that DNR has yet to identify or inspect thousands of these recently discovered facilities.

Of the “unknown” factory farms that DNR has identified so far, over 500 are medium livestock operations and several are large CAFOs, as defined by the EPA.

“Over 500 operations produce a lot of unaccounted for toxic liquid manure. We have a water crisis. It’s DNR’s job to make sure factory farm manure is accounted for and does not make its way into our waterways,” said Cherie Mortice, former hog farmer, retired teacher, and Board President of Iowa CCI.

The 2018 Report also shows that DNR is still failing to issue discharge permits to CAFOs, despite a dozen documented discharges to Iowa waters since last year’s report. In fact, the total number of CWA permits in effect for CAFOs has actually declined over the past year.

“Any factory farm that discharges pollution needs a Clean Water Act permit and needs to be held accountable, not just given a slap on the wrist,” said Barb Kalbach, 4th generation family farmer from Dexter.

Iowa’s more than 22 million hogs confined in thousands of factory farms produce nearly 22 billion gallons of toxic manure every year. There have been more than 800 documented manure spills since 1996 and Iowa currently has more than 750 polluted waterways. Iowa’s 2014 list of impaired waterways shows manure is a leading cause of impairments in Iowa lakes and rivers.

“Checking the boxes on the Work Plan has failed to address widespread manure pollution in state waterways, and additional EPA action is clearly needed,” said Tarah Heinzen, Staff Attorney with Food & Water Watch.

“DNR may think it has escaped any further requirements under the Work Plan, but we expect DNR to inspect animal feeding operations and issue permits and penalties as required by the Clean Water Act,” said Wally Taylor, Iowa Sierra Club Attorney.

“This Work Plan will only be successful if it leads to real oversight of factory farm pollution in Iowa. That means serious inspections, strong permits, and enforcement actions that ensure it doesn’t pay to pollute. DNR hasn’t shown that it takes permitting and enforcement seriously.  Iowa needs NPDES permits for all existing factory farms and a moratorium on new or expanding factory farms,” said Jess Mazour, Farm & Environment Organizer at Iowa CCI.

Statement on Senate’s 84-14 Rejection of Lee-Booker Effort to Block FDA Food Labeling Standards Enforcement

Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation

“We are very pleased with the Senate’s overwhelming rejection of Sen. Lee’s blatant attempt to interfere with the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to enforce standards of identity for dairy products and other foods.  We fought this amendment because it would have undermined the decades-long policy, established by Congress, that the FDA should regulate food names in order to promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers.

Standards of identity for milk and other products guarantee that consumers’ expectations are met both in terms of minimum levels of key ingredients and consistency of key sensory and quality attributes. As FDA Commissioner Gottlieb stated last week, consumers are being misled by the nutritional content of plant-based beverages that use the term “milk” on their labels.

Today’s vote should send a very strong message to food marketers who have long been ignoring FDA’s food labeling standards by inappropriately using dairy terms on products that do not contain any dairy. Those days are numbered.  FDA now knows it has strong, bipartisan support in Congress in its efforts to assure a fair marketplace. We thank Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jim Risch (R-ID) for their bipartisan work to defeat this amendment.

We also commend Sen. Baldwin for her successful work on a separate amendment that will create additional dairy innovation grants to help companies expand initiatives that will add more value to the milk farmers produce.”

Roberts, Stabenow Applaud Vote to Begin Farm Bill Conference, Appointment of Conferees

U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., today are pleased the Senate has voted to move forward with the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee. The Senators also applauded the announcement of the Senators who will serve on the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee.
-    Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
-    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
-    Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.
-    Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.
-    Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa
-    Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
-    Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
-    Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio
-    Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

“This strong group of Senate conferees knows how to work together on a bipartisan basis to get the Farm Bill across the finish line,” said Roberts and Stabenow. “We look forward to beginning the conference process so we can provide certainty to our farmers, families, and rural communities.”

On June 28, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed the 2018 Farm Bill on a strong bipartisan 86-11 vote – the most votes a Senate Farm Bill has ever received. The bipartisan 5-year legislation encompasses a broad array of agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy. The Senate bill has the support of more than 500 groups representing thousands of agriculture, food, nutrition, hunger, forestry, conservation, rural, business, faith-based, research, and academic interests. Click here to read the legislation, summaries, and amendments. 

The Conference Committee will be composed of members of the U.S. House and Senate. The House conferees were announced earlier this month. A public meeting of the Conference Committee will be announced at a later date.

NAWG Applauds Congress for Moving Forward with Farm Bill Conference Committee 

The House and Senate have officially announced their respective conferees for the 2018 Farm Bill. In total, 56 have been assigned to the Conference Committee, including members from both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees as well as from committees with jurisdiction in the bill. NAWG President and Sentinel, OK wheat farmer Jimmie Musick made the following statement:

“NAWG applauds that the House and Senate for moving forward with the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization process by assigning members to the Conference Committee. While there is still much work to be done, we are pleased that House and Senate leadership are keeping up the momentum by completing this crucial next step in finalizing a 2018 Farm Bill.

 “While reconciling differences between the two bills, NAWG urges Members to put politics aside and growers first by completing one bill that works for all of agriculture. In our discussions with the Conference Committee, we will continue to fight to prevent cuts to crop insurance and ensure growers have access to a strong safety net program.

 “NAWG remains committed to prioritizing working lands programs in the Farm Bill and ensuring that wheat growers have access to conservation stewardship and practices-based payments. Voluntary conservation programs should address the resource concerns of all production areas and especially semi-arid regions with dryland farming where there is significant wheat production.   

“Additionally, we will work to make sure the final bill has a fully funded Research Title, so growers can have access to the innovative technology allowing them to continue to produce a healthy crop at a lower cost for the consumer.

“NAWG will also work with the Committee to make sure the 2018 Farm Bill includes strong investment in the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development Program (FMD) which allow small agricultural businesses to build export markets overseas.

“We are looking forward to working with members and their staff throughout this process and hope to finalize a bill by the September 30th deadline.”

Retail Fertilizer Trends Remain High

Retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the fourth week of July 2018 once again show most fertilizers are slightly higher.  Seven of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to last month, but none were up a substantial amount. DAP had an average price of $486/ton, potash $356/ton, urea $366/ton, 10-34-0 $442/ton, anhydrous $501/ton, UAN28 $243/ton and UAN32 $279/ton.

One fertilizer was slightly lower than the previous month. MAP had an average price of $504/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.40/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher in recent months. 10-34-0 is 4% higher; both potash and UAN32 are 5% more expensive; UAN28 is 6% higher; MAP is 9% more expensive; DAP is 12% higher; and both anhydrous and urea are now 19% more expensive compared to last year.

USDA Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.09 million tons (170 million bushels) in June 2018, compared to 5.17 million tons (172 million bushels) in May 2018 and 4.45 million tons (148 million bushels) in June 2017. Crude oil produced was 1.94 billion pounds down 2 percent from May 2018 but up 12 percent from June 2017. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.44 billion pounds during June 2018 decreased 2 percent from May 2018 but increased 6 percent from June 2017.

USDA Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 517 million bushels in June 2018. Total corn consumption was down 1 percent from May 2018 but up 6 percent from June 2017. June 2018 usage included 91.2 percent for alcohol and 8.8 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.12 million bushels, up 7 percent from May 2018 and up 13 percent from June 2017. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 463 million bushels, was down 2 percent from May 2018 but up 6 percent from June 2017. Corn consumed in June 2018 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 91.1 percent and 8.9 percent respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 2.02 million tons during June 2018, up 3 percent from May 2018 and up 9 percent from June 2017. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.28 million tons in June 2018, down 8 percent from May 2018 but up slightly from June 2017.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 302 thousand tons during June 2018, up 4 percent from May 2018 but down 12 percent from June 2017. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 262 thousand tons in June 2018, down 7 percent from May 2018 and down 12 percent from June 2017.

USDA Flour Milling Products Report

All wheat ground for flour during the second quarter 2018 was 227 million bushels, down slightly from the first quarter 2018 grind of 227 million bushels but up 1 percent from the second quarter 2017 grind of 224 million bushels. Second quarter 2018 total flour production was 105 million hundredweight, down slightly from the first quarter 2018 but up 1 percent from the second quarter 2017. Whole wheat flour production at 5.39 million hundredweight during the second quarter 2018 accounted for 5 percent of the total flour production. Millfeed production from wheat in the second quarter 2018 was 1.59 million tons. The daily 24-hour milling capacity of wheat flour during the second quarter 2018 was 1.64 million hundredweight.

US Ethanol Production Capacity Up

Fuel ethanol production in the United States reached more than 16 billion gallons per year, or 1.06 million barrels per day (bpd), at the beginning of 2018, according to data highlighted by the Energy Information Administration in its latest Today in Energy series.

EIA's most recent U.S. Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity report shows total listed, or nameplate capacity, of operable ethanol plants increased 5% -- more than 700 million gallons per year -- between January 2017 and 2018.

Part of the increase in nameplate fuel ethanol production capacity in the most recent report is the result of EIA's outreach to survey respondents that were operating at levels higher than their listed production capacities, which had resulted in utilization rates above 100%.

In previous surveys, these respondents reported the facilities' original design capacity values and may not have accounted for expansions or modifications at the plants. This year, some respondents increased their nameplate production capacity to values consistent with EIA's definition.

The remaining increase in production capacity was a result of plant improvements and process modifications such as equipment upgrades, plant expansions, improved maintenance routines and installation of new equipment at some facilities.

EIA reports actual U.S. production of fuel ethanol reached a total of 15.8 billion gallons, or 1.03 million bpd in 2017. In its Short-term Outlook, EIA forecast ethanol production to reach 15.9 billion gallons this year, which would equate to 98% utilization of reported nameplate capacity as of Jan. 1.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for August 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation, today, announced interest rates for August 2018. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for August is 2.375 percent, up from 2.250 percent in July.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during August is 3.375 percent, up from 3.250 percent in July.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for August are as follows: 2.625 percent with three-year loan terms, the same as 2.625 percent in July; 2.750 percent with five-year loan terms, the same as 2.750 percent in July; 2.875 percent with seven-year loan terms, the same as 2.875 percent in July; 2.875 percent with 10-year loan terms, the same as 2.875 percent in July and; 2.875 percent with 12-year loan terms, down from 3.000 percent in July.

Critical Issues to be Addressed at 2018 Cattle Industry Summer Meeting

More than 600 cattle industry leaders will be attending the Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting in Denver this week to help create direction for critical industry programs. The meeting is taking place Aug. 1-4. 

The event includes meetings of cattlemen and women representing the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, American National CattleWomen and National Cattlemen’s Foundation. Among the purposes of the yearly conference is to create a framework for checkoff and policy efforts on behalf of U.S. cattle producers for the upcoming fiscal year, which for NCBA and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board begins Oct. 1.

Keynoter at the Thursday, Aug. 2, Opening General Session will be Tom Hayes, president and CEO of Tyson Foods, Inc., the country’s largest food company. Leading Tyson since 2016, Hayes has been focused on creating shared value and addressing societal needs and challenges in a way that benefits company stakeholders. He will engage with General Session attendees in a lively, informal discussion of topics of prime importance to the entire beef community. The session is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health.

 Also at the Summer Business Meeting, 2018 Environmental Stewardship Awards Program (ESAP) regional winners will be announced. Regional winners will compete for the national ESAP award, to be named during the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show next January in New Orleans, La.

“During these important meetings U.S. cattle producer leaders actively discuss and develop the direction of industrywide policy and demand-building programs,” said Kevin Kester, a California beef producer and NCBA president. “It’s a critical component of our grassroots process as we set stage for upcoming organizational efforts.”

Joint Committees and Subcommittees will meet on Thursday and Friday to develop proposals for 2019 checkoff-funded research, education and promotion programs. Also on Friday NCBA policy committees will meet to determine priorities and discuss strategies for 2019. The NCBA Board will hold its board meeting on Saturday, Aug. 4. The meeting of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board will take place on Friday, Aug. 3.

“The Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting is a demonstration of the dedication and broad vision of hundreds of cattlemen and women from across the country, “said Kester. “Despite their busy schedules at home, these U.S. cattle producers have taken the time to help assure the beef cattle industry has the best chance of future success.”

Emerging Markets For Grains, Ethanol Take Center Stage At U.S Grains Council Meeting In Denver

In a global trade environment challenged by tariffs and tensions, emerging markets for grains and ethanol provided a bright spot for U.S. farmers, agribusinesses and industry officials at the U.S. Grains Council’s 58th Annual Board of Delegates meeting in Denver.

The Council’s Middle East and Africa Director Ramy Taieb and Manager of Global Trade Alvaro Cordero spoke on a panel moderated by the Council’s Senior Director of Global Strategies Kurt Shultz, highlighting the Middle East and North Africa as a 10 million metric ton (394 million bushel) market for U.S. grains in all forms.

They focused on new demand in Saudi Arabia for U.S. sorghum and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), near-term opportunities developed following years of work by Council staff and members to set the stage with local customers.

“The Middle East and North African is a vast area with a lot of complexity,” Taieb said to the group. “However, from the perspective of the U.S. producer, it’s an important area of the world that encompasses 17 countries importing grains products valued at more than $1.8 billion.”

The Council has a regional office in Tunisia and consultants in Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, who also covers Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

“Regional imports have been growing over the past five years from 2.5 MMT (98 million bushels) in marketing year 2013/2014 to 8 MMT (315 million bushels) in marketing year 2016/2017. We are expecting to reach 10 MMT (394 million bushels) of grains in all forms to the region this year,” Taieb said. “The U.S. Grains Council has focused on being flexible and responsive to the shifting market opportunities as they arise in the region.”

In addition to other sales in the region, speakers shared that U.S. corn sales to Saudi Arabia totaled $383 million in the 2016/2017 marketing year, a 150 percent growth over the previous marketing year.

Tuesday’s general sessions also featured a presentation on the economic conditions facing the United States and the farm economy by Will Secor, an economist in the knowledge exchange division at CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving industries across rural America. Secor said that despite developing challenges on the global trade stage, the long-term outlook for U.S. grains demand is positive.

Council Chief Economist Mike Dwyer led off the afternoon’s round of speakers, updating the farmers and other delegates in attendance on the industry’s ethanol market development efforts. The U.S. is the world’s largest producer, consumer and exporter of fuel ethanol and is the most cost-competitive ethanol supplier due to large-scale production, industry innovation and access to competitively-priced feedstock.

“No other grain-in-all-forms category comes close as a driver of growing corn demand,” Dwyer told the delegates about ethanol exports. “U.S. exports of grains in all forms could rise to a record 138 MMT by 2022 if we meet our ambitious goals.”

Dwyer was followed by Dan Halstrom, president and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, and James Sumner, president of the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, who provided insights from their sectors, both of which are working to grow new overseas demand while defending established markets in a complicated trade environment.

According to a recent USGC and National Corn Growers Association study, grain-in-all-forms exports accounted for $55.5 billion in economic output in 2015, the most recent year with full data available, with more than 262,000 U.S. jobs connected to these sales.

Jim Stitzlein Elected U.S. Grains Council Chairman At Denver Meeting

Delegates of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) elected as chairman Jim Stitzlein, manager of market development for Consolidated Grain and Barge Co., at its 58th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting on Wednesday.

Stitzlein unveiled his chairman’s theme during the final general session: “When Trade Works, the World Wins.”

“The diversity of the U.S. Grains Council is key to the work it does,” Stitzlein said. “From farmers to traders and agribusinesses, each role is important in the Council’s mission of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives.

"Working with those diverse perspectives within the global trade market is one way to encourage effective and efficient trade in both supply and price for international customers, steady growth in world markets and political stability throughout the world.”

Stitzlein has more than 40 years of experience in the commodity grain handling and export business, including local origination programs; hedging and merchandising; transportation, logistics and facility management; and export trading and documentation.

Involved with the Council for more than 20 years, Stitzlein has traveled extensively for the organization, is active in the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), from which he received the NGFA Distinguished Service Award, and has broadly participated in other activities related to quality and biotechnology as they impact the grain trade.

Stitzlein grew up working on his family farm in Ohio where he was active in 4-H and FFA. He earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics from Ohio State University.

In addition to Stitzlein’s ascendency, the Council’s delegates elected Jim Raben from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board as secretary/treasurer, sector directors and three at-large directors.

The Board of Directors now includes:
    Jim Stitzlein, Chairman, Consolidated Grain and Barge Co.
    Darren Armstrong, Corn Growers Association of North Carolina, Inc., Vice Chairman
    Jim Raben, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Secretary/Treasurer
    Deb Keller, Past Chairman, Iowa Corn Promotion Board
    Thomas N. Sleight, President and CEO
    Duane Aistrope, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, At-Large Director
    Ray Defenbaugh, Big River Resources LLC, Agribusiness/Ethanol And Co-Products Sector Director
    Greg Hibner, J.D. Heiskell Hawkeye Gold Office, Agribusiness Sector Director
    Charles Ray Huddleston, United Sorghum Checkoff Program, Sorghum Sector Director
    Joshua Miller, Indiana Corn Marketing Council, At-Large Director
    Tom Mueller, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Corn Sector Director
    Tadd Nicholson, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, Checkoff Sector Director
    Mark Seastrand, North Dakota Barley Council, Barley Sector Director
    Ryan Wagner, South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, At-Large Director
    Chad Willis, Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, At-Large Director

The new Board of Directors seated Wednesday will serve until July 2019.

The Council’s summer meeting has been ongoing since Monday, featuring general sessions focused on the emerging trade policy landscape, meetings of the organization’s Advisory Teams and sessions of membership sectors.

Biodiesel Board Files Opening Brief to Challenge 2018 RFS

The National Biodiesel Board has filed an opening brief in its lawsuit objecting to EPA's methodology for establishing the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standards. The group is specifically disputing three issues with EPA's final RFS rule for 2018, arguing EPA must account for all small refinery exemptions in the annual percentage standard; the agency acted arbitrarily when it set the 2018 advanced biofuel volume below what it found to be "reasonably attainable;" and the agency set the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume based on impermissible considerations.

NBB's brief is the first the courts will consider in arguing that EPA must account for all small refinery "hardship" exemptions -- including retroactively granted exemptions -- when it sets the annual RFS volumes and Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs).

NBB's brief states, "EPA unlawfully has failed to account for all small-refinery exemptions it awards, violating its duty to promulgate percentage standards that 'ensure' all aggregate volumes are met. Unaccounted for small-refinery exemptions reduce aggregate volumes, and EPA's approach creates a new, de facto waiver authority contrary to Congress's design. Despite knowing those consequences, EPA declines to adjust percentage standards to account for that shortfall, either before it is likely to happen or after it actually does."

EPA has disclosed that it recently retroactively granted 48 small refinery hardship exemptions, reducing the 2016 and 2017 RVOs by a combined 2.25 billion RINs.

NBB forcefully argues that EPA violated its duty to ensure that the annual volumes it sets are met.

The agency asked for comment in the 2018 RFS rulemaking process on how to treat retroactive small refinery exemptions but decided not to account for them in the final standards.

American Soybean Association Joins Farmers for Free Trade

This week, the American Soybean Association (ASA), the voice for more than 30 soybean-producing states and 300,000 soybean farmers across America, announced that it will be joining Farmers for Free Trade.

Farmers for Free Trade is a bipartisan campaign co-chaired by former Senators Max Baucus and Richard Lugar that is amplifying the voices of American farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses that support free trade. The American Soybean Association joins the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Pork Producers Council, and multiple other agriculture, trade and commodity groups that are partnering with Farmers for Free Trade to strengthen support for trade in rural communities.

Ryan Findlay, CEO of ASA, commented, “We need strong, likeminded allies to galvanize farmers in a collective call for solutions from the Administration and Congressional leaders on advocating for new trade agreements and expanding international markets. We have watched for some time and with appreciation the efforts of Farmers for Free Trade and the spirit of collaboration it has fostered to help ag and those industries related to agriculture and are happy to join their efforts.”

“The American Soybean Association has been a leader in promoting free trade in the agriculture sector,” said Senator Baucus. “Their addition to this important bipartisan effort will be invaluable in expanding our reach to soybean farmers across the country. Right now, soybean farmers are bearing the brunt of the ongoing trade war. Working together with Farmers for Free Trade, we aim to amplify the voices of these farmers to ensure that decision makers in Washington D.C. know the pain that tariffs are causing at the local level.”

“We are thrilled to add the American Soybean Association to the momentum of this rapidly growing effort,” said Senator Lugar. “The American Soybean Association knows that promoting agriculture-friendly, bipartisan trade policies on Capitol Hill starts with organizing America’s farmers at the grassroots level. With their help, we’ll be able to mobilize even more farmers whose livelihoods depend on trade. Their organization will significantly increase the voice of farmers at both the state and federal level. During a period of uncertainty caused by the imposition of new tariffs and declining farm income, we are especially glad to welcome soybean farmers to this bipartisan cause.”

Farmers for Free Trade is currently working at the grassroots level to organize and educate farmers about the importance of trade, including through work at state commodity conventions, through state proclamations, by reaching farmers through social media, and by identifying local spokespeople, among other efforts.

NFU Emphasizes Severity of Trade Dispute, Urges Long-Term Solutions in Farm Bill

In a letter sent today to congressional leadership, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson emphasized the need to address agricultural economic hardships in the 2018 Farm Bill. The NFU Board of Directors unanimously approved the motion to send this letter during a meeting held Monday afternoon.

“Net farm income is less than half of what it was in 2014 when Congress passed the last farm bill,” wrote NFU President Roger Johnson. “Indicators of stress, including debt to asset ratios, net farm income, debt servicing capacity, and other factors, paint a grim picture of the financial health of farms nationwide.”

An escalating global trade war and uncertainty in export markets has pushed prices even lower in the last month, thus exacerbating farmers’ financial stress. “Soybean, corn, and wheat farmers alone have lost $13 billion in market value,” Johnson offered as examples. “Prices paid to dairy farmers are comparable to prices received in the 1980s, forcing an alarming number of dairy farms out of business.”

To add insult to injury, as Johnson notes, farmers and ranchers are also subject to the unintended consequences of steel and aluminum tariffs. “In addition to price declines, producers are now coping with cost increases, especially on farm equipment and machinery, which often rely on steel and aluminum.”

The severity of the situation has not gone unnoticed by the administration: last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it would allocate $12 billion in emergency assistance to producers most impacted by trade tensions. Though Johnson expressed appreciation for the gesture, he stressed that it was not enough. “Paying farmers small, one-time, fixed payments is woefully inadequate to keep farmers in business,” he said. “The administration’s actions will have long-term effects on our markets, necessitating a long-term safety net.”

Johnson continued the letter by urging Congress to provide “substantive and long-term relief to farmers.” In particular, he asked that they “provide the agriculture committees with substantially greater resources to be incorporated into the 2018 Farm Bill, including the ability to manage farm inventories to be more responsive to market conditions.”

“Congressional inaction will have very tangible and harmful impacts as farmers and ranchers get closer to fall harvest,” Johnson concluded. “We urge you to take strong action on behalf of American farmers and ranchers.”

Farmers and farm advocates interested in advocating a strong farm bill are encouraged to visit to learn more about the farm bill and information on how to contact members of Congress.

Early Registration For Export Exchange 2018 Closes Aug. 6

Early registration for Export Exchange 2018 is set to close Aug. 6, and potential attendees from the U.S. coarse grains and co-products value chains should register before that date to receive the lowest registration rate.

The event is scheduled from Oct. 22 to 24 in Minneapolis, sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

The biennial event is expected to bring together nearly 500 farmers, agribusiness representatives, international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products, including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

In addition to building relationships with domestic suppliers of corn, DDGS, sorghum, barley and other commodities, the conference will have general sessions that address issues facing U.S. agricultural exports and offer customers and sellers in attendance an increased awareness of the benefits of U.S. coarse grains and ethanol.

Registration is available online via USGC, Growth Energy and RFA members will be eligible for discounted registration pricing but should identify themselves as such when registering. Reporters wishing to cover Export Exchange are eligible for complimentary registration by sending an email to and asking for the registration code.

More information will be distributed in the coming months to members of the grains industries and will be made available online at or on social media using the hashtag #ExEx18. Those interested can sign up for a mailing list to automatically receive conference updates by emailing

Please visit for more information about the Council.
For more information about RFA, visit
For more information about Growth Energy, visit

Land O'Lakes, Inc. reports results for second quarter 2018

Land O’Lakes, Inc. today reported quarterly net sales of $4.2 billion and net earnings of $67.2 million in the second quarter ending June 30, 2018, compared with 2017 second quarter net sales of $3.7 billion and net earnings of $113.0 million. Year-to-date net sales totaled $8.1 billion with net earnings of $182.9 million compared to net sales of $7.3 billion and net earnings of $222.9 million for the same period in the prior year.

"The diversity of our business portfolio and our consistent ‘long view’ approach to growth equips Land O’Lakes to continue making steady progress, even as we face significant headwinds across the agricultural economy,” said Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Beth Ford. “It’s an important and exciting time to be at Land O’Lakes because our solid financial footing, clear plan for growth, and commitment to innovation by farmers and employees keep us nimble and confident during a time of uncertainty and change in our industry. We’ll continue building on what’s worked, with new value-added branding, expansion in high-potential markets and product categories, and innovative business models that leverage our ‘farm-to-fork’ scope.”

Despite growth in crop protection volumes, year-to-date earnings in Crop Inputs declined due to a shift in product mix resulting from growers trading down, late planting resulting in fewer applications and increased competitiveness. Earnings in Dairy Foods were higher with improved product mix in the branded butter portfolio and foodservice offsetting the impact of lower commodity markets in the ingredients business. Earnings in Animal Nutrition were flat with the prior year. The company’s Crop Nutrient business, which was added as part of the United Suppliers merger in October 2017, contributed an incremental $11 million to year-to-date earnings.

ADM Reports Second Quarter Earnings

Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) today reported financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2018.  “Our team executed exceptionally well to deliver outstanding results in the second quarter,” said ADM Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano.

“We continue to accelerate the execution of our strategic plan — optimizing our core, driving efficiencies, and expanding strategically — generating more than $150 million in run-rate savings, announcing three acquisitions in Nutrition, and closing on two new joint ventures overseas. Our actions, combined with robust global demand, position us to navigate today’s dynamic business environment and deliver strong results in the second half of 2018, and put us on a trajectory for continued future growth in earnings, returns and shareholder value.

“We are proud of the results we are delivering, committed to our continued improvement and growth, and confident about ADM’s future.”

Bunge Struggles With Trade Losses and Currency

Bunge Ltd. announced lower-than-expected earnings on Wednesday due largely to some hedging losses that Bunge expects will turn around in the second half of the year.

Bunge reported a $12 million loss on Wednesday, compared to $81 million in net income for the second quarter a year ago. Adjusted earnings came in at 10 cents a share. Bunge's quarterly numbers were a surprise to analysts as Reuters had reported analysts had expected Bunge's adjusted earnings to come in closer to $1.04 a share. Bunge's earnings struggled despite overall sales for the quarter growing 4.3% to $12.15 billion from last year.

Bunge's losses were driven heavily by hedging losses and currency exchanges. Bunge was hit with $125 million in losses on contracts for soy crushing, but Bunge is carrying forward approximately $185 million in market-to-market accounts that the company anticipates "will reverse as we execute on these contracts in the second half of the year."

Bunge noted oilseeds remain driven by strong soy crush margins and "within range of expectations when considering market-to-market impact."

In grains, Bunge lost $22 million in trades, mainly because of a $24 million foreign exchange loss on hedges in Brazil that Bunge expects to reverse in the second half of the year as contracts are executed. Outside of the hedge loss, Bunge noted results in Brazil were better than 2017 due to higher volumes and margins, but results in Argentina were negative due to the impact of smaller crops caused by drought.

Bunge's fertilizer business was also hit with a $13 million loss because of foreign exchange losses on imported inventory and the devaluation of the Argentine currency. Bunge expects a gain in the second half of the year when those fertilizer inventories are sold.

Despite the poor quarter and first half of the year, Bunge stated it still expects to hit a goal of $1.3 billion in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for 2018. In its SEC filing, Bunge expects its agribusiness units to generate $800 million to $1 billion in EBIT by the end of the year.

Tyson Blames Trade War as it Cuts Profit Forecast

Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S.-based meat producer, said profit this year will be less than it previously forecast because of the country's escalating trade dispute with major importers of agricultural products. According to Bloomberg, both China and Mexico have imposed import tariffs on American pork recently in retaliation against U.S. duties on metal shipments. The measures have sent hog prices plunging, eroding the profitability at Tyson's pork business. The Springdale, Arkansas-based company said Monday it's also grappling with higher commodity-market volatility and "sluggish" domestic demand for chicken.

"The combination of changing global trade policies here and abroad, and the uncertainty of any resolution, have created a challenging market environment of increased volatility, lower prices and oversupply of protein," Chief Executive Officer Tom Hayes said in a statement.

The American farm sector is one of the few areas of the economy that typically operates with a trade surplus, and agriculture groups have sounded off against the trade war's potential toll on exports. Net farm income is poised to reach a 12-year low in 2018, and challenges for meat demand may offset some of the benefits of cheaper feed-grain prices. The Trump administration last week announced a plan to provide $12 billion in assistance to U.S. farmers.

Tyson said its earnings in fiscal 2018 excluding one-time items will be about $5.70 to $6 a share, compared with a previous view of $6.55 to $6.70, Bloomberg reports.

The shares slumped as much as 8.2 percent, the biggest intraday drop since November 2016. They were down 5.5 percent at $60.04 at 10:49 a.m. in New York. Rival poultry producers Pilgrim's Pride Corp. and Sanderson Farms Inc., and Hormel Foods Corp., which processes pork, declined.

The trade challenges come amid a surge in U.S. meat production, making exports increasingly vital to offload surpluses. American output of red meat and poultry is expected to reach an all-time high and swell further in 2019. Wholesale chicken breast prices are the cheapest for this time of year since at least 2010 and pork is at a seasonal nine-year low, government data show.

National Agriculture Leaders Roundtable: Nuisance Lawsuits & their threat to all of Agriculture and Farm Families Nationwide

On Friday, August 3rd, 2018 at 9:00 a.m., U.S. Congressman David Rouzer (R-NC), U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), and North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler will convene a National Agriculture Leaders Roundtable to discuss the threat that nuisance lawsuits pose to the U.S. agriculture industry, rural America, and farm families nationwide.  The roundtable will be comprised of federal officials, state officials, economists, and national agriculture industry representatives, including the President of the American Farm Bureau, Zippy Duvall.  

“Today’s nuisance lawsuits that are destroying livelihoods and communities in North Carolina are the tip of the iceberg for what is to come absent a well-informed public and good public policy.  A ‘nuisance’ is very much in the eye of the beholder and every single farm family that is in compliance with all applicable regulations – no matter what they are growing – should have a safe harbor from legal action being brought against them.  This is a very slippery slope that threatens the very existence of every form of agriculture nationwide,” said Congressman David Rouzer.

"I want to thank Congressman Rouzer for hosting this roundtable to hear directly from North Carolina's farmers about how the nuisance lawsuits could affect their livelihoods. The influence from outside lawyers in this case has the potential to decimate our state’s vibrant agriculture industry and the countless rural communities supported by it. Agriculture is the number one industry in North Carolina, and it is important to hear from those affected by this threat. These lawsuits have the potential to affect the agriculture community and farmers nationwide, and I look forward to participating in this event to learn how North Carolinians could be affected and how we can help," said Senator Thom Tillis.

“Agriculture is a blessing that most of us count on at least three times a day.  Not a nuisance.  People need to understand that every food item starts on a farm, not a grocery store shelf.  When we take our farmers and food production for granted, we stand to literally lose the hand that feeds us. I am grateful that others are paying attention to this issue which could affect farmers everywhere,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

Those individuals and organizations that intend to participate include:
Chairman David Rouzer, U.S. House Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture
Chairman Michael Conaway, U.S. House Committee on Agriculture
Senator Thom Tillis
Commissioner Steve Troxler, North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
President Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation
Commissioner Hugh Weathers, South Carolina Department of Agriculture
North Carolina State Senator Brent Jackson
North Carolina State Representative Jimmy Dixon
North Carolina State Representative Ken Goodman
Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest
North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell
Dr. Kelly Zering, North Carolina State University
U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Bill Northey, Farm Production and Conservation
Barb Glenn, CEO of National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
Commissioner Gary Black, Georgia Department of Agriculture
Secretary Michael Scuse, Delaware Department of Agriculture
Commissioner Sid Miller, Texas Department of Agriculture
Dr. Howard Hill, Past President of National Pork Producers Council
Kerry Doughty, CEO of Butterball
Brad Cornelius, CEO of Cape Fear Farm Credit
Dave Corum, CEO of AgCarolina
Vance Dalton, Jr., CEO of Carolina Farm Credit
Gary Floyd, Executive Vice President of L. Harvey Inc.
American Soybean Association
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Cotton Council
National Corn Growers Association
United Egg Producers
NC Peanut Growers Association
North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission
National Chicken Council
American Feed Industry Association
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
National Turkey Federation
Agricultural Retailers Association
National Pork Producers Council

It will take place on Friday, August 3rd, at the North Carolina Fairgrounds, Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Tuesday July 31 Ag News

Interest and inflation rates, trade tensions could indicate coming economic downturn

Creighton University Professor Ernie Goss, PhD, said rising interest rates, trade tensions and rising inflation are warning signs of a possible economic downturn. While Goss emphasizes that the U.S. economy is strong, he expects the economy may be headed toward a downturn as early as the latter part of 2019 or in 2020. “As the last recession showed us, it’s very hard to predict the timing, but the U.S. economy is definitely headed toward higher risk,” Goss said.

Goss, director of Creighton University's Economic Forecasting Group and the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics in the Heider College of Business, said there are signs of trouble as the gap, or yield curve, between short-term and long-term interest rate decreases. The yield curve is currently at 0.30 percent, the lowest it’s been since the last U.S. recession, which was from 2007 to 2009.

“Since 1980, every U.S. recession has been preceded by a period in which short term rates climbed above long-term rates, or the gap between the two rates approached zero,” Goss said.

Another sign of a coming slowdown or recession concerns trade tensions between the U.S. and other global economies as well as current global trade restrictions. “The current trade tensions are a clear and present danger to the overall U.S. economy, particularly for those areas in the nation that spend heavily on exports and depend heavily on trade,” Goss said.  “The Chinese are raising tariffs on soy beans and pork. Those are two agriculture commodities where we’ve seen some significant declines in prices tied to trade tensions or tariffs.”

Goss also identified a rising inflation rate as a signifier of higher interest rates which lead to slower growth. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) set 2 percent as an inflation target. However, recent inflation rates have exceeded that target. If the inflation rate continues on this upward, Goss expects short-term interest rates will begin to rise more aggressively, leading to a negative yield, or short-term rates exceeding long-term rates. 

Debt also will play a major role in an upcoming recession or economic slowdown, Goss said, both at the consumer level and federal level.

On the consumer level, Goss said housing prices have continued to increase. “The housing price increases are different this time versus last time in 2006 and 2007. It’s supply-driven now rather than demand-driven,” Goss said. “The cost of materials is increasing. Individuals are seeing prices increase because of limited supply.”

Goss said he expects home price growth to come down, or “some of the air to come out of the bubble” as the U.S. economy slows down in the latter part of 2019 or 2020. 

Another sign of a downturn could be the federal deficit, which is approximately 16 percent higher currently than last year at this time, according to Goss, resulting in higher interest rates as the government continues to ratchet up borrowing to support rapidly expanding spending.

Goss said the economy often moves through periods of economic expansion and recession. He recommends taking action to prepare for the periods of recession by bracing for higher interest rates and inflation by investing in notes and bonds that are inflation-proof, such as Treasury and Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS).  Also, individuals should reduce their exposure to stock holdings of industrial stocks that are much more recession sensitive.

Communities Against Costco Are Calling on Local Officials To Stop Approving Poultry Barns Until Measures Are Taken To Protect The Public

Prior to the Lancaster Planning Department meeting tomorrow (August 1st) members of the public will be assembling at the east side of the Lancaster County/City of Lincoln Building (555 S. 10th Street, Lincoln, NE) calling on the Lancaster County Planning Department and Lancaster County Commissioners to deny the permit for 4 proposed poultry barns south of Lincoln near Denton until measures are taken to protect the public.  The Press Conference will start promptly at 12:30pm.  Members of the public, as well as speakers, will start to assemble shortly after noon in order to do interviews with the media prior to the press conference, and Planning Department Meeting which starts at 1:00pm.

Primary concerns include currently degrading area water quality, area water quantity issues to provide for over 18 million new birds in eastern Nebraska, air quality issues for surrounding residents, inadequate grower contracts that put Nebraska farmers at risk, the development of lower class systems in our rural communities with low wage jobs, the decrease of property valuations for land near the proposed location, and the blatant attempt by Costco to halt public input regarding concerns since the inception of the proposed project nearly two years ago.

Randy Ruppert of Nebraska Communities United, who will also be moderating the event said, “There has been little independent scientific evaluation on this project despite it being the largest proposed project in the U.S.  We are asking this project be halted until we have addressed public concerns, including updating our county and state regulations to deal with projects of this size and scale.”

Speakers will include:

Craig Watts - A former poultry contract-grower from North Carolina for agribusiness giant Perdue who stood up to the industry and the contractual shortcomings that put poultry growers at risk, and also Independent Consultant for the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project.

Mary Pipher – A community leader and nationally-renowned author from Lincoln that has published nine books including best seller “Reviving Ophelia”, as well as leader of the local group Guardians of the Aquifer.

Ken Tesar – A farmer from southern Lancaster County that farms directly across from the site of the proposed Lancaster County barns.

Jonathan Sebastian Leo – A Lincoln resident, a 38-year environmental and land use lawyer and consultant, who is also on the Board of Interfaith Power and Light.

“Strong communities are educated communities.  Due to the magnitude of this project it is important that our counties and state do their due diligence to thoroughly research all of the issues that have historically degraded communities in other parts of the country where industrial poultry development has occurred.  We simply ask our elected officials to raise their standards to meet the principles of Nebraska standards, instead of blindly following industry experts’ advice when they are more concerned about profit than the long-term viability of OUR Nebraska Communities,” stated Randy Ruppert.

NCGA Seeking a Few Good Leaders for Action Teams, Committees

The National Corn Growers Association is seeking applications from members interested in working on an NCGA action team in the 2019 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. This service provides growers an opportunity to play an active role in shaping the future of their industry and to become a part of the national agricultural leadership community.

“NCGA’s action teams and committees offer unique, specific opportunities to participate in all of the areas the organization touches. As a grassroots organization, we rely on members to take an active role in shaping the course of our activities, programs and policies to unify and lead our industry forward,” said NCGA First Vice President Lynn Chrisp. “I encourage all interested members to take their involvement to the next level while exploring in great depth the areas which interest them the most.”

The teams, which will be entering their third fiscal year in this format include: Corn Productivity and Quality; Consumer Engagement; Ethanol; Feed, Food and Industrial; Freedom to Operate; Market Access; Risk Management and Stewardship. Positions are also available on Organizational Teams and Standing Committees, which include CornPAC and the Engaging Members Committee.

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

Action Teams represent a cross-section of corn production. The teams may utilize staff, growers and industry members to serve as resources, as determined by the action team chair.
For the Action Team Application, click here...  Deadline for receipt of applications in the state corn association offices, where applicable, is August 10. State offices will then coordinate applications and submit directly to NCGA by August 17. Interested parties can contact Kathy Baker at the NCGA office with questions, at (636) 733-9004.


A statewide effort in Iowa to identify and map six types of conservation practices (terraces, ponds, grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins, contour strip cropping and contour buffer strips/prairie strips) has been completed and provides the most comprehensive inventory of conservation practices in the nation.

An analysis of the results shows the value of this public and private investment in conservation would be $6.2 billion in today’s dollars. Additional analysis work is underway to utilize the science of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy to quantify the water quality impact these practices are having in terms of reduced sediment and phosphorus loads to Iowa streams.

“This mapping effort shows the scale and investment made by farmers, landowners, state and federal agencies, conservation partners and many others over several decades to reduce erosion and protect our natural resources. While the practices identified are focused on reducing soil erosion and phosphorus loss, seeing the progress that has been made illustrates how we can make similar progress with a long-term focus and investment in proven conservation practices targeted at reducing nitrogen loss,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.

Iowa is the first state to analyze every watershed within its borders using LiDAR and aerial imagery to create a detailed assessment of conservation practice implementation. This data allows for a much more detailed and accurate analysis of soil conservation efforts focused on phosphorus reduction because it includes all practices implemented by farmers, including those done without government cost share.

Iowa DNR and researchers at Iowa State University lead the 3-year effort to use LiDAR derived elevation data and aerial imagery to identify and inventory the conservation practices present on the landscape. The analysis is based on LiDAR data and imagery that was taken from 2007 to 2010.

With this inventory completed, it provides a benchmark for measuring progress. Additional efforts are already underway to assess the status of these practices going back to the 1980’s and also to assess the recent status of practices from 2016-2018. Once completed, Iowa will have a robust timeline to show the progress that has been made over time.

Maps and additional information about the project can be found at Not all of the information is available online yet as the Iowa DNR is still finalizing the process of quality assurance/quality control. That process is scheduled to be completed by next spring.

“This demonstrates that the consistent and persistent effort, year after year, of all the Iowans needed to educate, inform, fund, design, build, and maintain these practices can, practice by practice, change the landscape for the better. I’m excited and encouraged to see what we can do as we continue to scale up our collective efforts in support of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy”, said DNR Director Bruce Trautman.

Potential benefits of the project and uses of the information include:
·         Targeting resources where they are needed most by comparing conservation potential with actual implementation
·         Accurately benchmarking efforts to quantify nutrient reductions and compare with past and future progress
·         Creating a consistent, scientifically sound dataset vetted by both Iowa State University and the Department of Natural Resources
·         Detailed picture of all conservation structures regardless of whether or not cost share was utilized

“The ability to provide an accurate accounting of the progress being made under the Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a key mission of the Iowa Nutrient Research & Education Council (INREC). Coupling thorough assessments like this mapping project with the known science of conservation practices allows us to clearly show the impact of farmer efforts on a statewide scale,” said Shawn Richmond, INREC Director of Environmental Technology.

Practices mapped as part of the project include grassed waterways, contour strip cropping, contour buffer strips/prairie strips, terraces, ponds, and water and sediment control basins in 1,711 watersheds.

The initial number of practices identified by the mapping project include:
·         114,400 pond dams
·         327,900 acres of grassed waterways
·         506,100 terraces stretching 88,874 miles
·         246,100 water and sediment control basins stretching 12,555 miles
·         557,700 acres of contour buffer strips
·         109,800 acres of strip cropping

The project has garnered significant interest outside of Iowa as well. ISU was recently awarded a grant from a national remote sensing consortium to develop a handbook of the processes used for the project so other states can conduct a similar inventory of conservation practices. “Other states continue to look to Iowa as we set the standard for implementation of conservation practices and science-based progress measurement,” Naig added.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa State University GIS Facility, Iowa Nutrient Research & Education Council, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Nutrient Research Center, and the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment provided the resources to complete the project.

Farm Sector Bankruptcy Rates Decline


Based on caseload statistics from the United States Courts database, Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings decreased in the first half of 2018 compared to the first half of 2017. From January to June 2018, family farmer and family fisherman Chapter 12 filings totaled 251 cases, down 26 cases or 9 percent from 277 filings during the first half of 2017.

The decline in farm bankruptcies comes despite expectations for acceleration in 2018. This aligns with USDA projections for farm sector equity and debt to remain flat in 2018 after adjusting for inflation.  Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings by state were the highest in Wisconsin, at 26, followed by Georgia, Kansas and Nebraska at 16 each.  Iowa had 9 bankruptcies in the first six months of 2018. 

Navigating Trade Challenges Focus As Grains Council Meeting Kicks Off In Denver

Navigating the new global trade landscape while maintaining and strengthening relationships with key partners, including Mexico and China, was front and center as the U.S. Grains Council’s 58th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting began Monday in Denver.

The meeting kicked off with keynote speaker Ambassador Carla Hills, a former U.S. Trade Representative, who shared her perspective on how agriculture fits in today’s global trade puzzle.

“Global trade is the most effective development tool we have,” Hills said. “It enlarges economic opportunities for poor countries. It is not just a humanitarian effort; it creates tomorrow’s trade partners. One might call it an act of enlightened self interest.

“But these are turbulent times. The U.S. government has always used diplomacy to advance the well-being of our own nation, but it worries me...that we are turning inward.”
Ambassador Carla Hills, a former U.S. Trade Representative, who shared her perspective on how agriculture fits in today’s global trade puzzle at the U.S. Grains Council’s 58th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting.

Hills, now chair and chief executive officer of Hills and Company International Consultants, served as USTR as a member of President George H.W. Bush’s Cabinet. In that role, she negotiated and concluded the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“Knowing what NAFTA accomplished is critical to making sound decisions about the agreement. Today, 14 million jobs depend on trade with Mexico and Canada. Today, one-third of our total global trade is with our northern and southern neighbors. Our agricultural exports to Canada are up 300 percent and Mexico is up 500 percent. Last year, we sold 14 million tons of corn to Mexico," Hills told the audience of farmers and agribusiness delegates.

"Hopefully, we can find a way to resolve this tariff battle before it grows into a full-fledged tariff war and complete the NAFTA renegotiation that means so much to our economy," she said. "Once those customers are lost, they will be difficult to recover. We have no time to waste.”

Before Hills spoke, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown, an active member of the Colorado Corn Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association, welcomed USGC members and delegates to Denver.

Zhenglin Wei, counsellor for Agricultural, Economic and Commercial Affairs for the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, spoke during the same session about the status and future of the U.S.-China agricultural and trade relationship. He said the current tensions are worrisome because trade between the two countries is beneficial for the well-being of the two countries and the prosperity and stability of the world economy.

Dan Pearson, principal at Pearson International Trade Services and former chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), addressed the current political environment regarding global trade, especially regarding NAFTA and China trade relations and the economics of better trade policies.

Erich Kuss, director of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Agricultural Trade Office in Mexico City, offered an update on the current agricultural trade environment and political situation in Mexico after the recent election of Mexican President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Attendees also heard a lunchtime update from Brian Kuehl, executive director of Farmers for Free Trade, who discussed the importance of rebuilding U.S. consensus among farmers and ranchers for trade and activities of that coalition.

More from the meeting is available on social media, using the hashtag #grains18.

Gulf Dead Zone Surprisingly Small

(AP) -- Scientists say this year's Gulf of Mexico "dead zone" is surprisingly small but the oxygen-depleted water rose higher toward the surface than usual.

Tuesday's report describes the fourth-smallest area ever measured where water at and above the sea floor off Louisiana holds too little oxygen to support marine life.

Nancy Rabalais (RAB-uh-lay), with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, began annual measurements in 1985. She says it's the world's second-largest human-caused dead zone, behind only the Baltic Sea.

Scientists had predicted an average-sized area this year.

Rabalais says winds over shallow areas probably mixed oxygen into water, while other winds squeezed oxygen-poor water into narrower confines. The dead zone covers about 2,720 square miles (7,040 square kilometers), rising in some areas about two-thirds of the way to the surface.

Cattle vs. Beef Cycles

Josh Maples, Extension Economist, Dept of Ag Econ, Mississippi State University

The latest USDA Cattle report provided the most recent pieces of information to the ever-evolving cattle inventory picture. The big news was the number of heifers held for replacement declined year-over-year and the 2018 calf crop is estimated to be about two percent larger than 2017. The calf crop number tells a story of continued larger beef production for 2019 while the lower heifer retention rate suggests herd growth is slowing. Combine the retention rate with cow and heifer slaughter data and they collectively points to a significantly slowing herd growth rate.

Taken at face value, these two pieces of information can seem a little contradictory. One suggests larger supplies while the other suggests lower supplies. Of course, timing is key. The calf crop number is a pretty definitive indicator of larger beef supplies in 2019 because those calves will be going through the beef production system next year. The heifer retention number is an indication that we are probably approaching the next cattle inventory peak over the next few years. Which is more important? The easy answer is both. But the dynamics of the two have changed over time as cycles move from lows (troughs) to peaks and back.

Cattle inventory cycles are getting flatter. By flatter, I mean the difference between the low point and high point has shrunk. The average trough to peak growth for the four cycles that occurred between 1938 and 1979 was about 20.3 million head. The same average for the three cycles that occurred between 1979 and 2014 was just 4.8 million head. For 2018, we are about 5.9 million head above the starting low point in 2014 for the current cycle.

The largest total cattle inventory on record was in 1975 at 132 million head of cattle - nearly 38 million more than the January 2018 report showed. The resulting beef production in 1976 was 25.7 billion pounds. In 2018 - with 38 million fewer total cattle than 1975 - beef production forecasts are around 27.3 billion pounds. Cattle inventory cycles are getting flatter because we are getting more beef from fewer cattle. It doesn't take a 20 million head increase to trigger enough beef supply pressure on prices to signal producers to retain fewer heifers.

Beef production and demand are drivers for cattle prices. The lower heifer retention rate is certainly welcome news for those looking for an end to the pressure of larger supplies on cattle prices. But a better measure will be the estimated beef production over the next few years.

Alliance releases report from 2018 Taking Action for Animals Conference

The Animal Agriculture Alliance released a report today detailing observations from the Taking Action for Animals Conference, held July 20 – 23 in Arlington, Va. The event was organized by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

“Farmers, ranchers and food companies are under constant pressure from animal rights activist groups who want to eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from everyone’s plate,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “HSUS may not seem as extreme as many activist groups, but they share the same vegan agenda. We hope this report along with our report from the 2018 National Animal Rights Conference will help farmers, ranchers, veterinarians and all those dedicated to providing a safe food supply prepare for activist tactics and threats. Likewise, we hope they shed light on groups that fundraise on pets to help consumers better understand their true agenda.”

Speakers at the conference focused on how to work with legislators on passing bills that make raising livestock and poultry more difficult for farmers and ranchers. “We are reaching in our toolbox and using everything we can,” said Kitty Block, HSUS acting president and CEO. “The single most important thing you can do is build a relationship with your legislator,” added Kristen Tullo, HSUS Pennsylvania state director. “We all want more laws for animals,” said Carol Misseldine, HSUS senior director of grassroots and engagement.

Local county and city officials should be prepared for increased efforts by activists as attendees at the conference were urged to take legislative action at the local level to build momentum for their state. “You can change the world with local ordinance," Misseldine said. Attendees were advised to stay focused on a single issue when meeting with their representative, yet were also encouraged to join forces with environmental activists.

Attendees were also urged to reach across party lines on animal-related issues with speakers saying, “The term Democrat or Republican doesn't really mean anything” (Joe Trippi, TNR Campaigns). “Over time, we will win, and the animals will win,” Trippi added. “You're not going to agree with someone one hundred percent of the time,” said Stephen Borg, a former congressional staffer now with The Keelan Group. “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” added Borg.

Another topic discussed at this year’s conference was enacting change through corporate engagement. “We can do far more by engaging institutions,” said Kristie Middleton, HSUS managing director for farm animal protection and formerly with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Middleton discussed how it's easier to persuade a food director to change a menu for what thousands of people eat than trying to persuade individuals on the street to go vegan. "Be relentless and try to get these institutions to a 'yes'," Middleton added.

The 2018 Taking Action for Animals Conference Report, which includes personal accounts of speaker presentations and general observations, is available to Alliance members in the Resource Library on the Alliance website. The Alliance also has reports from previous animal rights conferences accessible to members on its website.

OSHA Cites Grain Company After Workers Die in Storage Bin

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Gavilon Grain LLC -- operator of a grain bin based in Wichita, Kansas -- after two workers were fatally engulfed in a soybean storage bin.

The company faces proposed penalties of $507,374, and OSHA has placed Gavilon Grain LLC in the Agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA cited Gavilon Grain LLC for failing to provide employees with lifelines and fall protection; lockout equipment; provide rescue equipment; and allowing employees to enter a bin in which bridged and/or hung-up grain was present.

"Moving grain acts like quick sand, and can bury a worker in seconds," said OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille.

"This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had provided workers with proper safety equipment, and followed required safety procedures to protect workers from grain bin hazards."

The company has contested the citations and will appear before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

AGCO Reports Improved Second Quarter Results

AGCO reported net sales of approximately $2.5 billion for the second quarter of 2018, an increase of approximately 17.2% compared to the second quarter of 2017. Reported net income was $1.14 per share for the second quarter of 2018, and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses and costs associated with an early retirement of debt, was $1.32 per share. These results compare to a reported net income of $1.14 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses, of $1.15 per share for the second quarter of 2017. Excluding favorable currency translation impacts of approximately 3.3%, net sales in the second quarter of 2018 increased approximately 13.9% compared to the second quarter of 2017.

Net sales for the first six months of 2018 were approximately $4.5 billion, an increase of approximately 19.8% compared to the same period in 2017. Excluding favorable currency translation impacts of approximately 5.9%, net sales for the first six months of 2018 increased approximately 13.9% compared to the same period in 2017. For the first six months of 2018, reported net income was $1.44 per share, and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses and costs associated with an early retirement of debt, was $1.68 per share. These results compare to reported net income of $1.02 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses and a non-cash expense related to waived stock compensation, of $1.13 per share for the first six months of 2017.

Caterpillar Reports Strong Quarter Earnings

Caterpillar Inc. announced second-quarter 2018 sales and revenues of $14.0 billion, compared with $11.3 billion in the second quarter of 2017, a 24 percent increase. Second-quarter 2018 profit per share of $2.82 was a second-quarter record. Profit per share was $1.35 in the second quarter of 2017. Adjusted profit per share in the second quarter of 2018 was $2.97, compared with second-quarter 2017 adjusted profit per share of $1.49.

"Caterpillar delivered record second-quarter profit per share," said Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby. "Our team is doing a great job executing our strategy for profitable growth, focusing on operational excellence, expanded offerings and services."

During the second quarter of 2018, Machinery, Energy & Transportation (ME&T) operating cash flow was $2.1 billion, and the company repurchased $750 million of Caterpillar common stock.

In June, the board of directors approved an increase to the quarterly dividend of 10 percent to $0.86 per share. The second quarter of 2018 ended with an enterprise cash balance of $8.7 billion.

Arysta LifeScience Launches BATALIUM Herbicide for Wheat

A unique high-performance herbicide with three modes of action that provides all-in-one weed control is now available to wheat growers. Arysta LifeScience announces the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has granted registration for BATALIUM™ Herbicide for use in spring, durum and winter wheat.

BATALIUM is a cross-spectrum herbicide that provides rapid and long-lasting control of tough grasses in wheat while also eliminating a wide spectrum of broadleaf weeds, all in one application. Its three distinct modes of action, in Groups 2, 4 and 6, also make the herbicide a valuable resistance management tool.

“BATALIUM offers unmatched weed control and flexibility that meets the growing demands of wheat growers, today and in the future,” said Kathy Seitzinger, Marketing Manager – Herbicides, Arysta LifeScience. “By simplifying grass and broadleaf weed control with one application, BATALIUM is a better way to control weeds, helping wheat growers achieve more efficient weed control and simply get more done.”

Featuring best-in-class crop safety, BATALIUM can be used in a variety of crop rotation programs for control of a vast array of broadleaf weeds such as common lambsquarters, wild buckwheat, wild mustard, pigweed, Russian thistle and shepherd's-purse. BATALIUM also provides quick knockdown and residual control of tough grasses, such as green and yellow foxtail, wild oats and others. BATALIUM is also tank-mixable for even broader-spectrum control of weeds.

“For growers looking for a better way to control weeds, BATALIUM is a welcomed addition in their crop protection toolbox,” Seitzinger says. “Our extensive testing of the product has shown consistent performance in controlling competitive weeds in wheat while offering significant time-savings advantages of a one-pass application.”

Application should be made to the crop from 2-leaf stage up to 60 days prior to harvest. Winter wheat applications can be made in the fall or spring. As for weeds, make application to control grass weeds from 1-4 leaf stage. Application should be made to control broadleaf weeds up to 4 inches tall.

July 30 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending July 29, 2018, there were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 15 short, 79 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 18 short, 78 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 11 fair, 56 good, and 30 excellent. Corn silking was 91 percent, near 89 last year and 88 for the five-year average. Dough was 38 percent, well ahead of 16 last year and 17 average. Dented was 2 percent.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 11 fair, 58 good, and 27 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 87 percent, near 86 last year and 84 average. Setting pods was 50 percent, ahead of 44 last year and 41 average.

Winter wheat harvested was 89 percent, behind 98 last year, but near 88 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 15 fair, 61 good, and 23 excellent. Sorghum headed was 53 percent, well ahead of 24 last year, and ahead of 36 average. Coloring was 4 percent, near 2 last year and 3 average.

Oats harvested was 93 percent, ahead of 87 last year and 75 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 5 poor, 21 fair, 58 good, and 13 excellent.


Iowa farmers had 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 29, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting hay and oats for grain, applying chemicals and moving grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 5 percent very short, 20 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 6 percent very short, 17 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Floodwaters continued to recede in northwest and north central Iowa while subsoil moisture levels rated short to very short remain above 70 percent in south central and southeastern Iowa.

Ninety-six percent of the corn crop has silked, 10 days ahead of last year and 2 weeks ahead of the 5-year average. Thirty-one percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond, 5 days ahead of last year and 6 days ahead of average. Corn condition rated 78 percent good to excellent.

Ninety percent of the soybean crop was blooming with 63 percent setting pods, 6 days ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of the average. Soybean condition rated 77 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-seven percent of the oat crop was turning color or beyond, with 61 percent of the crop harvested for grain. Oat condition was rated 75 percent good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 93 percent complete, 11 days ahead of average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 13 percent complete, 1 day ahead of the average. Hay condition rated 68 percent good to excellent.

Pasture conditions declined to 54 percent rated good to excellent. Cooler temperatures improved livestock conditions; however, drought conditions in the southern one-third of the State caused some cattle producers to rotate pasture and haul water.

USDA:  Corn, Soybean Conditions Steady

Good-to-excellent condition ratings for the nation's corn and soybeans were both unchanged last week, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

NASS estimated that 72% of the nation's corn was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, July 29, the same as the previous week. Soybean condition was rated 70% good to excellent, also the same as the previous week.

Nationwide, both corn and soybeans continued to progress at a faster-than-normal pace. Corn silking was estimated at 91%, 9 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 82%. Thirty-eight percent of corn was in the dough stage, 18 percentage points ahead of the average of 20%.

Meanwhile, soybeans were 86% blooming as of Sunday, 9 percentage points ahead of the average of 77%, and 60% of soybeans were setting pods, 19 percentage points ahead of the average of 41%.

NASS estimated that 85% of winter wheat was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year's pace of 87%, but near the five-year average of 86%.

Spring wheat harvest also began last week, mostly in South Dakota, with USDA estimating that 4% of the crop was harvested nationwide as of Sunday, behind last year's 8% but equal to the five-year average.

Sorghum was 54% headed as of Sunday, ahead of 47% last year and also ahead of the five-year average of 50%. Sorghum coloring was 26%, ahead of 23% last year but near the five-year average of 27%. Sorghum condition was rated 52% good to excellent, up 3 percentage points from 49% the previous week.

Barley was 97% headed as of Sunday, slightly behind 99% last year and near the average pace of 98%. Two percent of barley was harvested as of Sunday, behind 5% last year and also behind the average of 6%. Barley condition was down 1 percentage point to 80% good to excellent last week. Oats were 38% harvested as of Sunday, ahead of 33% for last year and also ahead of the five-year average of 35%. Oat's good-to-excellent condition rating declined by 1 percentage point.

Rice was 64% headed as of Sunday, ahead of 62% last year and well ahead of the average of 54%. Cotton was 88% squaring, near the average of 89%. Forty-nine percent of cotton was setting bolls, near the average pace of 48%. Cotton's good-to-excellent condition rating was up 4 percentage points while rice's good-to-excellent rating was down 2 percentage points.

Monday July 30 Ag News

Youth Learn, Compete in Crop Scouting Contest 

Four teams honed their crop scouting skills while vying for top honors in the fifth annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska Youth Thursday at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead. Teams of students who had completed 5-12th grades completed a written knowledge test and seven crop scouting exercises in field plots.

The contest is to help students learn crop scouting and principles of integrated pest management (IPM) for corn and soybeans in Nebraska, to obtain knowledge and skills that will be helpful in future careers, and to demonstrate newer crop scouting technologies.

Winners were:
First place – Colfax County 4-H (Logan Nelson, Brad Kratochvil, Austin Steffensmeier and Korbin Kudera)

Second place – Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club of Cuming County (Payton and Levi Schiller, Matthew and James Rolf and Kaleb Hasenkamp)

Third place – Humphrey FFA Team No. 2 (Mikayla Martensen, Bryce Classen, Jacob Brandl, and Wyatt Wegener)

The top-scoring teams won prizes of $500 for first, $250 for second, $100 for third place. The top two teams will represent Nebraska at the regional competition held in Nebraska in late August.

Also participating was the Fillmore Central FFA with Carson and Brock Tatro, KayLynn Sieber, Kaylea Geiser and Gunner Gewecke.

Teams were expected to know the basics of scouting corn and soybean fields, including crop staging; patterns of crop injury; and disease, insect and weed seedling identification.

More information about the crop scouting competition is available online at under the link for "Crop Scouting Competition.”

This program was sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, the Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association, and Farm Credit Services of America in collaboration with Nebraska Extension. If you or a company you know would be interested in sponsoring the 2019 program, please contact

Ricketts Announces Rural Broadband Task Force Members

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced representatives to serve on the Rural Broadband Task Force.  The task force will review issues related to availability, adoption, and affordability of broadband services in rural areas of Nebraska and make recommendations to the Legislature. 

“While Nebraska has rightly earned a reputation as the Silicon Prairie, we have more work to do to ensure that every part of the state has access to broadband to grow businesses, support smart farming, and to improve access to health care and educational opportunities,” said Governor Ricketts.

Governor Ricketts has appointed the following members to the task force:
·     Andrew Buker, Omaha, Executive Director of Infrastructure Services, Information Technology Services, University of Nebraska (representing Nebraska postsecondary educational institutions)
·     Ron Cone, Kearney, Director of Network Information Services, ESU 10 (representing rural schools offering kindergarten through grade twelve)
·     Isaiah Graham, St. Paul, Vice President, Homestead Bank (representing the Nebraska business community)
·     Zachary Hunnicutt, Giltner, corn, popcorn, and soybean farmer, Hunnicutt Farms (representing agribusiness)
·     Timothy Lindahl, Sidney, CEO/General Manager, Wheat Belt Public Power District (representing the public power industry)
·     Tom Shoemaker, Cambridge, President, Pinpoint Communications, Inc. (representing the regulated wireline telecommunications industry)
·     Daniel Spray, Norfolk, Owner, Precision Technology, Inc. (representing the wireless telecommunications industry)
·     Anna Turman, Hay Springs, CEO, Chadron Community Hospital and Health Services (representing health care providers)

Other members of the 14-member task force include Ed Toner, Chief Information Officer for the State of Nebraska and Chair of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission, who will act as Chair of the Rural Broadband Task Force; Mary Ridder, Chair, Nebraska Public Service Commission; Dave Rippe, Director, Nebraska Department of Economic Development; Steve Wellman, Director, Nebraska Department of Agriculture; Senator Curt Friesen, District 34, Chair, Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, Nebraska Legislature; and Senator Bruce Bostelman, District 23, Nebraska Legislature.

“With broadband available to 89 percent of Nebraskans, but only 66 percent of rural Nebraskans, Nebraska is facing a rural-urban digital divide,” said Toner.  “I welcome the opportunity to work with key stakeholders on the Rural Broadband Task Force to improve broadband availability in Nebraska.”

The task force was created by LB 994, which was passed 48-0-1 by the Legislature and signed by Governor Ricketts on April 17.  The bill was introduced by Senator Curt Friesen, chair of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.  The task force will submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Legislature by Nov. 1, 2019.

Christensen Joins ISU Extension and Outreach as Farm Management Specialist

Tim Christensen has joined Iowa State University Extension and Outreach as a farm management specialist.

Christensen, who has worked at Iowa State as an agricultural specialist since 2015, will cover the counties of Ida, Sac, Calhoun, Monona, Crawford, Carroll, Greene, Harrison, Shelby, Audubon and Guthrie for ISU Extension and Outreach.

“I am very excited to be working with a talented team of farm management specialists,” Christensen said. “I am looking forward to getting out and meeting and working with people in the ag industry in west central Iowa.”

Christensen joins a team of eight farm management specialists located throughout Iowa who deliver the latest in research-based information on farm financial and risk management, instructions on government programs such as the farm bill and crop insurance, guidance on strategic and business planning and information on agricultural marketing tools and supply chains to farm owners and operators.

“Tim is perfectly suited for this job because he has a background that has touched on all the major agricultural markets within Iowa,” said Chad Hart, associate professor and extension economist at Iowa State. “He has worked within the co-op system, helping corn and soybean producers market their crops. He also has extensive experience in the livestock community, which is a major part of the ag industry in west central Iowa where he will be based. He has a great background of knowledge and skills to bring to the table and can help address a wide variety of producer needs.”

Prior to joining ISU Extension and Outreach Christensen was as an agriculture specialist for Iowa State University, working to monitor the health and wellbeing of Iowa State’s animals, maintaining detailed herd health records and training students and staff on animal welfare protocols.

Christensen also has experience as a location manager for Farmers Cooperative and as a group leader of vet services at Boehringer Ingelheim in Fort Dodge.

He holds a degree in animal science with a minor in commercial agriculture from Northwest Missouri State University.

Registration Open for Borlaug Dialogue Conference

Registration for the 2018 Borlaug Dialogue is open! Register now for the event in Des Moines, Iowa on October 17-19 as they convene a diverse array of scientific experts, policy leaders, business executives, development researchers and farmers to address the most critical issues in global food security.

This year's Borlaug Dialogue theme, "Rise to the Challenge," refers to the challenge of sustainably and nutritiously feeding the more than nine billion people who will be on our planet by 2050. The 2018 Laureates, Drs. Lawrence Haddad and David Nabarro, have risen to the challenge by championing maternal and child nutrition.

Registration for our 2018 events includes access to engaging Symposium plenary sessions, two Symposium luncheons and a breakfast, the Borlaug Field Award Presentation and Reception at the spectacular Hall of Laureates, informative exhibits, networking opportunities and more. The Symposium culminates with the 2018 World Food Prize Laureate Luncheon honoring Drs. Lawrence Haddad and David Nabarro as the 2018 Laureates.

U.S. Grains Council Hosts 58th Annual Board Of Delegates Meeting In Denver

Members, delegates and global staff from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) have gathered in Denver for the organization's 58th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting, starting Monday and running through Wednesday.

“We gather at this meeting to discuss the dynamic and developing environment for global grains trade as well as demand opportunities for feed grains and their co-products around the world,” said Deb Keller, USGC chairman and farmer from Iowa. “Our goal is always to better understand agriculture’s role in world trade and how to maintain good working relationships with our international trading partners while we explore new export frontiers.”

Ambassador Carla Hills, former U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and now head of a trade-focused consulting firm, will address the group during the first general session on Monday. She will be joined by Zhenglin Wei, counselor for Agricultural, Economic and Commercial Affairs at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China; Dan Pearson, former chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission; and Erich Kuss, director of USDA’s Agricultural Trade Office in Mexico City. Farmers for Free Trade Executive Director Brian Kuehl will also speak Monday on building the American consensus for trade.

USGC Advisory Teams will also meet on Monday, and commodity sectors will meet on Tuesday, to discuss issues of importance in their areas of focus. Tuesday's general sessions will highlight the organization’s work in Middle East markets and the growing world market for ethanol. The Council will hold its business meeting on Wednesday.

“Our theme – Friends and Frontiers – is timely, as we discuss how to strengthen relationships with key international trading partners while addressing challenges that have come before agriculture markets in recent months,” Keller said.

“This meeting highlights the critical trade efforts the Council is engaging in around the world as we better understand what must be done to continue building global demand for our products.”

More from the meeting will be available on social media, using the hashtag #grains18.

In Argentina, Perdue Welcomes U.S. Pork Back to Market

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today celebrated the reintroduction of American pork products to the Argentine market after more than 20 years by slicing a ten pound honey baked ham.

“The U.S. is the world’s third largest pork producer and a top exporter,” Secretary Perdue said. “This new market is a big victory for American farmers and ranchers. I am confident that once the people of Argentina get a taste of American pork products, they will only want more. This is a great day for our agriculture community and an example of how the Trump Administration is committed to supporting our producers by opening new markets for their products.”

The return of U.S. pork products to Argentina was sealed during Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Buenos Aires. Technical staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative have been working with Argentina’s Ministry  on the terms of the agreement that are practical, science-based and consistent with relevant international animal health standards.

As President Trump and President Macri agreed in a Joint Statement in April 2017 in Washington, both countries are committed to further expansion of agricultural trade between the United States and Argentina.

CWT Assists with 15.4 Million Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 908,305 pounds (412 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese and 14.495 million pounds (6,575 metric tons) of whole milk powder going to customers in Asia and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from August through December 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 45.446 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 12.085 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 27.106 million pounds of whole milk powder to 29 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 889.245 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Totals have been adjusted due to cancellations.

This activity reflects CWT management beginning the process of implementing the strategic plan approved by the CWT Committee in March. The changes will enhance the effectiveness of the program and facilitate member export opportunities.

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. This, in turn, positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

U.S. Grain Exports Up at St. Lawrence Seaway

United States grain exports via the St. Lawrence Seaway are up 32.1 percent this season compared to 2017.

Construction materials were also heavily influential in the latest results with a nearly 38 percent increase in asphalt from the same time last year, as well as increases in cement and stone.

"Summer is the season for construction projects and ships have been delivering materials for major building projects across the region," says Bruce Burrows, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. "U.S. grain exports are also up this season and illustrate the importance of marine transportation to so many of America's economic sectors.

"This was underlined by a new study released last week showing Great Lakes-St. Lawrence shipping supports 147,500 jobs and $25.6 billion in economic activity in United States."

Overall cargo shipments on the St. Lawrence Seaway between March 29 and June 30 totaled 12.1 million metric tons, down by 2 percent compared to the same period in 2017.

The slight decrease is due to the later and slower start of the season and a decline in salt shipments.

Year-to-date U.S. grain shipments via the Seaway (between March 29 and June 30) totaled 681,000 metric tons, up 32.1 percent compared to the same period in 2017.

Liquid bulk shipments, which include petroleum and asphalt products among others, totaled 1.8 million metric tons.

Friday July 27 Ag News

Hansen Named “Friend of Agriculture” by Nebraska Farm Bureau PAC

Ben Hansen of Blair has been designated a “Friend of Agriculture” by Nebraska Farm Bureau – PAC (NEFB-PAC), Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Hansen is seeking to represent District 16 in the Nebraska Legislature.

“Ben Hansen is a small business owner and a community leader. During his service on the Blair City Council he has worked to control city spending and hold the line on taxes. He’s made it clear that he will bring the same conservative, common sense approach to the Nebraska Legislature,” said Mark McHargue of Central City, chairman of NEFB-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

According to McHargue, Hansen not only understands the connection between agriculture and rural communities, but the importance of both to Nebraska’s broader economy.

“As a small business owner in a rural community, he knows how important agriculture is locally and to the state’s economy. As a member of the board of directors for the Blair Area Chamber of Commerce, the Blair Community School Foundation board of directors, and Blair Lions Club, he’s worked with a variety of interests. We need people who can bring that experience to the Legislature and we are proud to offer our support for Ben as he seeks the District 16 legislative seat,” said McHargue.

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s “Friend of Agriculture” designation is given to selected candidates for public office based on their commitment to and positions on agricultural issues, qualifications, previous experience, communication abilities, and their ability to represent their district. 

Now's an Opportune Time to Scout for SCN

John Wilson - NE Extension Educator, Burt County

July through August is a good time to check soybean fields for soybean cyst nematodes (SCN), the most devastating pest for soybean growers in Nebraska and across the United States.

Yield losses of 25-30% have been documented in fields with no visible injury on the soybean plants. That is why detection of SCN is so important. You need to know if it is present in your field so you can start managing it if it is there.

SCN cysts develop on soybean roots about a month after soybeans emerge and by now may have been on roots in infested fields for a month or more.

Later in the season you may become aware of more subtle signs of an SCN problem. A field with SCN may have dark green, healthy-looking plants, but there can be a slight variation in height. The areas with SCN may be slightly shorter than surrounding soybeans. If conditions become dry, these pockets may wilt while the rest of the field may not. Often wilting may not occur even if SCN is present.

Detecting SCN

There are two ways to detect SCN in fields: a close visual observation of the root system and a soil sample analyzed for the presence of SCN.

For a visual inspection, dig up plants and examine the root system for cysts. Cysts are the only stage in this nematode’s life cycle that can be seen without a microscope. Look for a small, lemon-shaped, white to cream colored "bump" on the outside of the root.

These may be confused with nodules that contain the nitrogen-fixing bacteria normally found on a soybean root. The cyst is much smaller, oblong, and lighter in color than nodules. When scouting fields, if you don't find cysts, you cannot be sure that your field is SCN-free. However, if you DO find cysts, you know you have the pest and need to take action to reduce its buildup in the soil and the resulting yield losses.

A visual examination can confirm its presence, but it does not give you a measure of the level of SCN in the soil. For a more definitive determination you’ll need to take a soil sample, much as you would sample for fertilizer recommendations. Take 15-25 cores from a field, mix them together, and then take a small sample from this mixture.

The cyst is the female nematode that lived inside the soybean root. As it develops eggs, it swells up and ruptures through the root wall. Each cyst can contain up to 400 eggs. Some eggs are released in the soil and the life cycle repeats every 25-28 days.

Because SCN has several generations each growing season and because it is a prolific egg producer, the population of SCN can build up dramatically in a field in one season. Even though the SCN population may not be high enough to cause yield damage this year, it can build up to levels where it will cause problems the next time soybeans are planted, even if there is a year or two of corn between the two soybean crops.

Yield as an Indicator of SCN

The University of Nebraska has had 29 research sites comparing SCN-resistant and SCN-susceptible soybean varieties in fields infested with SCN and 11 sites where the same varieties were planted in fields with no SCN. In infested fields, resistant varieties out-yielded susceptible varieties by an average of about six bushels per acre for about a 10% yield increase. In fields where SCN was not present, susceptible varieties out-yielded resistant varieties by an average of two bushels per acre.

Unlike with other pests, SCN damage to a plant often isn’t obvious. Frequently, lower yields are the first indication that something is wrong. Soybean yields in a given field may hit a plateau or even drop for no apparent reason such as weather or herbicide damage, while corn yields in the same field continue to improve.

Another sign is when low-yielding areas on a yield map can’t be attributed to soil type, weed or insect infestations, compaction, or other yield-limiting factors.

Neither of these indicators is a guarantee there is SCN in the field, but it would be one of the first things to check.

More Information and Free Analysis

For more information about scouting for SCN, what to do if you have it in your fields, or for bags to submit soil samples for a free SCN analysis (worth $20 per sample), contact your local Nebraska Extension Office. Also see the Soybean Cyst Nematode section in the Plant Disease Management section of CropWatch.

Crop Diseases Confirmed in Corn and Soybean July 16-26 

Kyle Broderick - Coordinator of the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic

Next week while I am attending the American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting and International Congress of Plant Pathology, the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic will be operating at partial capacity until Monday, Aug 6.  Samples may still be submitted, but turnaround time will be delayed.  All samples submitted to the clinic during this time will be stored under refrigerated conditions to maintain quality until the samples can be read.

The following diseases were reported in samples submitted to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Lab from July 16 – July 26.


East District – Anthracnose, brown stem rot, Phytophthora root and stem rot, stem canker, charcoal rot
Northeast District – Frogeye leaf spot, Phyllosticta leaf spot


East District – Common rust, southern rust, gray leaf spot, eyespot, gray leaf spot (GLS), Physoderma brown spot, holcus spot, northern corn leaf blight, northern corn leaf spot, southern corn leaf blight, Goss’s wilt
Northeast District – Gray leaf spot, southern rust


Find more information and photos about these diseases in the Crop Disease Management section of CropWatch for Soybean and Corn.

Visit the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic page in CropWatch for
-    information on how to submit crop and pest samples,
-    a sample submission form, and
-    a fee schedule for diagnostic services.

Recap of 2017-18 Eastern Nebraska Winter Wheat Crop 

Nathan Mueller - NE Extension Educator, Dodge County

The winter wheat yield across Nebraska is projected by USDA-NASS to be 48 bushels per acre, which is up 2 bushels from 2017, but down 6 bushels from 2016. However, 2018 wheat yields in eastern Nebraska were significantly lower compared to the past two years.  Let’s break down this past growing season by crop reporting districts.

Northeast and East Central Nebraska

Wheat grown in these two districts only makes up about 20% of the eastern Nebraska wheat acres. Overall, abnormally dry conditions were limited to the southern portion of the east central district during the growing season. Growers found wheat yields this July ranging from 40 to 80 bushels per acre for field averages with test weights of 56 to 62 pounds and protein from 12% to 14%. University of Nebraska Winter Wheat Variety Test results in Lancaster, Saunders, and Washington counties averaged 90 bushels per acre.

Looking back to the start of the season, above-average rainfall in early October delayed planting until the third and fourth week of October. An extremely dry November along with a colder than average first half of November combined with late planting led to reduced fall tillering. Soil moisture conditions were abnormally dry by December. Record cold temperatures in April significantly delayed development by two weeks, but a record hot May and hot June moved harvest back close to normal the second week of July. Daytime highs of over 100°F for several days at the end of May likely affected pollination and kernel abortion in the area.

Wheat was significantly shorter than in past growing seasons. Soil moisture was only a minor factor limiting growth in east central and northeast Nebraska. We know from past experience that late-planted wheat is likely going to be shorter. However, a combination of late planting, a very cold April followed by a hot May during vegetative growth/elongation likely led to the short-statured wheat crop. Unfortunately, heat stress, excessive rainfall, and too many cloudy days in June further reduced wheat yields. Though not common across the area, there was head shattering near Lincoln prior to harvest that impacted some varieties.

There was very little spring disease pressure and an absence of stripe rust unlike in the past several growing seasons. However, late season (after flowering) disease pressure from bacterial leaf streak, leaf rust, and Fusarium head blight was noticeable in June.

Young leaders learn about U.S. agriculture and corn policy during annual D.C. leadership mission

Nine young leaders visited Washington, D.C. July 15-19, 2018 to learn about corn policy development, explore American agriculture outside of the Midwest, and visit with congressional leaders and agribusinesses. The trip was sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Board and is designed to encourage young leaders to take an active role in the agricultural industry.

“Through the Nebraska Corn leadership program, I was able to compare farming in the eastern portion of the country to what we do back home in Nebraska,” said Cody Mallette, a junior agricultural business student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “I also have a better understanding of policy development related to corn production. It was great to see corn farmers come together from several different states to work on common goals and strategize for the future.”

The nine-member leadership team consisted of:
    Heidi Borg, Wakefield, Nebraska
    Evan Janzen, Aurora, Nebraska
    Bryce Lammers, Fordyce, Nebraska
    Cody Mallette, Oakland, Nebraska
    Matt Morton, Nehawka, Nebraska
    Courtney Nelson, Monroe, Nebraska
    Ted Retzlaff, Eagle, Nebraska
    Shelby Riggs, Mitchell, South Dakota
    Jacob Rix, Omaha, Nebraska

Early in the week, the group visited a variety of farms specializing in poultry, organic grain and produce, trees and shrubs. The leadership team then spent time in Washington, D.C. and toured U.S. national monuments and visited with USDA Undersecretary Greg Ibach. As the week progressed, the group participated in Corn Congress, a multi-day policy development event organized by the National Corn Growers Association. During Corn Congress, participants had time to meet with Nebraska’s congressional leaders and national agribusinesses, such as the U.S. Grains Council, the American Farm Bureau and Growth Energy.

“Nebraska agriculture has always been a part of my life, but I never fully understood how national issues and policy development can impact local farmers,” said Courtney Nelson, a sophomore agricultural engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “By attending Nebraska Corn’s leadership program, I have a greater knowledge of the magnitude of how policy impacts farming in the Midwest and across the country.”

Participants of Nebraska Corn’s leadership group were selected after completing an application process. This is the sixth year the Nebraska Corn Board has sponsored the leadership group.

NE Corn Board to Meet

The Nebraska Corn Board will hold its next meeting Wednesday, August 15 and Thursday, August 16, 2018 at Bayside located at 865 Lakeview West Rd, Brule, Nebraska.

The Board will conduct regular board business and hold election of officers during the morning of August 15th.  The remainder of the 15th and the morning of the 16th, the Board will hold a joint Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Nebraska Corn Board meeting.  The meeting is open to the public and will provide an opportunity for public discussion.  A copy of the agenda is available by writing to the Nebraska Corn Board, PO Box 95107, Lincoln, NE  68509, sending an email to or by calling 402/471-2676.

Iowa Soybean Association to Engage Fairgoers on Food, Farming

With more than one million fairgoers expected to attend the 2018 Iowa State Fair, the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) takes to the ground to engage Iowans about the many ways soybean production and agriculture positively impacts their lives, whether at work or play.

“Follow A Farmer!” with the Iowa Food & Family Project

The Iowa Food & Family Project ( exhibit in the South Atrium of the Varied Industries Building will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and offers fairgoers a unique perspective about agriculture, farm families, food and food retailers.

More than 250,000 fairgoers are expected to “follow a farmer” through a one-of-a-kind, home-in-barn where they will learn about the process of bringing food from the field to the table. Visitors can then complete a short quiz and enter to win a $500 meat & dairy bundle, $500 Hy-Vee Gift Card, $500 Earl May Dream Garden or Casey’s Pizza for a Year.

Visitors of all ages can also take their turn at the Food and Farm Trivia Wheel and meet celebrity artists such as Governor Kim Reynolds, mascots Cy and Herky, and former Hawkeye quarterback Chuck Long as they paint a larger-than-life mural celebrating Iowa and the families and food that grow here.  “The iconic Iowa State Fair is the perfect opportunity to unite Iowans and celebrate our state’s rural and urban communities,” says Kelly Visser, Iowa Soybean Association Communications Program Coordinator. “The lineup of fun, hands-on activities ISA is involved in gives fairgoers the opportunity to learn where their food comes from and connect with the farmers who grow it.”

Ag Building and Animal Learning Center

ISA will also sponsor activities at the Ag Building and Animal Learning Center – two popular State Fair destinations. Soybean farmers will be in the Ag Building Aug. 9 and 16 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to share insights about the soybean industry and answer questions about production, environmental stewardship and trade. Visitors can test their agricultural knowledge and win a special prize.

Activities at the Animal Learning Center will reinforce the important partnership between soybean farmers and the livestock they feed. A display with lift tabs will offer unique insights about the many foods and household products made with soy.

Little Hands on the Farm

The ISA is proud to sponsor the Little Hands on the Farm Kids Zone on the fairground’s north side. Little Hands on the Farm teaches children the importance of agriculture and how it affects their daily lives in a fun and interactive way.

Children ages two to ten become farmers at this free, hands-on exhibit. Children obtain a gathering basket and proceed along a path that includes a garden, grain bin, soybeans, apple orchard, chicken coop, tractor shed, sheep barn and dairy barn.

After gathering items along the way, children will get the chance to sell these items at the Little Hands on the Farm Farmers’ Market for a Little Hands dollar to spend at the Grocery Store for such items as a piece of fruit, a granola bar or an ice cream sandwich.

Biodiesel Powering the Fair

ISA and home-grown biodiesel will also power the State Fair trams, raising awareness on the importance of this biofuel. Biodiesel is America’s first Advanced Biofuel, it’s renewable, clean-burning and reduces America’s dependence on imported diesel.

Farm to Fair

On Sunday, Aug. 12 nearly 100 farmers will welcome 400 guests as they gather around the largest dinner table ever set at the Iowa State Fair. The table will be set in the middle of the Grand Concourse and encourage farm and city fellowship. The ISA is proud to help sponsor this unique event where farmers will share how food is grown and makes its way from the farm to the fair.

Cattlemen Urge Trump to Support Oversight of Lab-Grown Fake Meat

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and other leading organizations in the animal agriculture industry have sent a letter to President Trump urging him to ensure the USDA acts as the primary regulatory authority over lab-grown fake meat products. The Federal Meat Inspection Act designates USDA as the main oversight body for emerging lab-grown products. However, in recent weeks the Food and Drug Administration has moved aggressively to assert regulatory jurisdiction over lab-grown fake meat.

"The American people elected President Trump because they trusted him to promote a level playing field for American products around the world," said NCBA President Kevin Kester. "Now, the President has the chance to demonstrate his support for free and fair markets right here at home. By supporting USDA oversight of lab-grown fake meat, the President will protect American consumers and ensure that America's farmers and ranchers are not disadvantaged in the marketplace."

In the letter, the Barnyard groups highlight the critical role USDA plays in enforcing the same rigorous food safety and labeling standards for all meat and poultry products.

"Undoubtedly, USDA's exacting standards impose regulatory burdens on meat and poultry producers - as they should," the groups wrote. "However, if cell-cultured protein companies want the privilege of marketing their products as meat and poultry products to the American public, in order to ensure a fair and competitive marketplace, they should be happy to follow the same rules as everyone else. Consumers expect and deserve nothing less."


The National Pork Producers Council and other meat and livestock organizations sent a letter to President Trump this week urging him to take a stand on the regulatory dispute over lab-produced cultured protein. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are seeking regulatory authority.  In the letter to the president, NPPC and other livestock groups said, “Protecting the health and welfare of consumers is our top priority and this goal is achieved under a comprehensive regulatory system administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). That system ensures all meat and poultry products are held to the same rigorous food safety and labeling standards. Anything less is a grave disservice to consumers and producers.” More detail on NPPC’s position on alternative protein regulation can be found in this “Meat of the Matter” white paper....

In a related matter, the European Court of Justice this week ruled that gene-edited plants and animals will be regulated under the European Union’s Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) Directive, a move likely to disrupt U.S. exports of gene-edited products to the EU. The GMO Directive regulates all forms of genetic engineering in the EU.


The House Appropriations Committee this week adopted an amendment allowing farmers to use the H-2A visa program for year-round workers as opposed to strictly seasonal labor. The provision, which needs to be included in the final fiscal 2019 spending bill before it becomes law, increases the potential labor supply for U.S. pork and other livestock farmers currently facing a worker shortage. Earlier in the week, the House said it will not hold a vote any earlier than after the summer congressional recess on the “Ag and Legal Workforce Act.”

Similar to the “Agricultural Guestworker Act” bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee last fall, the new bill would establish a year-round visa program – H-2C – for foreign agricultural workers and require employers to use the federal E-Verify system to confirm the eligibility of employees to work in the United States. The H-2C visa program would significantly expanding the pool of potential farm workers and processing plant workers. NPPC continues to support visa reform efforts that will provide a strong, viable workforce for America’s pork producers.

House Approves Two-Year HIT Delay

The House on Wednesday passed a bill (H.R. 6311) that contains a Farm Bureau-supported two-year delay of the Health Insurance Tax. The HIT has increased health insurance costs by imposing a levy on the net premiums of health insurance companies, which is passed on to consumers.

The vote “to suspend the HIT for two years is a tremendous step forward for millions of small businesses and their employees who face undue costs from the tax,” the Stop the HIT Coalition, of which the American Farm Bureau Federation is a member, said in a recent statement after the House voted to pass the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act. “We now urge the Senate to take up this two-year delay as soon as possible and provide small business owners and their employees with immediate and necessary cost savings of as much as $570 on average in the small group market.”

During 2014, $8 billion in excise taxes were levied, and $11 billion was collected in 2015 and 2016 each. The tax is on hold through 2019 but since the cost of the HIT increases each year, Americans will face an even higher HIT impact in 2020.

In addition to delaying the HIT for two years, the measure would expand access to lower-cost health care options and encourage health care savings.

National Chicken Council Forges New Food Transparency

As per capita chicken consumption breaks a new record in 2018 and consumers express a growing interest in where their food comes from, the National Chicken Council (NCC)--the United States' oldest and largest national association representing the U.S. broiler chicken industry (chickens raised for meat)--has developed a series of 360° virtual reality videos showing the various stages of chicken's life during modern, commercial production. The new experience is part of NCC's Chicken Check In program, which serves as a resource for consumers to get the information they seek about how most meat chickens are raised.

The virtual reality experience is launched on the heels of a new national survey revealing that nearly 90 percent* of consumers are interested in deeper information about the chicken they buy and eat. Additionally, nearly 40 percent* of consumers indicate information about "how chickens are cared for" as one of the top topics they care about most.

"We know that people want more information about chicken production and that most have not visited a chicken farm, so we are bringing the farm to them," said Tom Super, spokesperson for the National Chicken Council. "Through our virtual reality tours, viewers are able to see the way most chickens are hatched, raised and processed in the U.S. - it's a fully immersive experience."

The virtual reality videos of the chickens' life stages, can be viewed on a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop, with or without a headset. Viewers are able to watch the video in a traditional manner from a two-dimensional perspective, but unlike passively watching, the video can now rotate to see up, down, front, back, and side- to-side from the original starting point.

In the virtual reality series, consumers can experience the three 360° video segments.
- The Hatchery: Chickens begin their life in hatcheries, where fertilized eggs (not table eggs) are incubated and hatched into chickens that are raised for meat.
- The Broiler Chicken Farm: Once the chicks are hatched, they are transported that day to local farms where chickens are raised by farmers with oversight from licensed veterinarians.
- The Processing Plant: When chickens reach the proper market weight, they leave the farm and are transported to the processing plant where they are humanely slaughtered and processed under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The chicken ultimately goes to grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias, etc.

"The virtual reality experience is a natural extension of the Chicken Check In program, which invites consumers to see how chickens are raised and produced in the U.S.," said Super. "We're proud to give a close look at our birds, their lives and how they get to our tables. We plan to bring the experience to consumers not only online, but to trade shows, schools, and various other events."

View the videos on a mobile phone, tablet or desktop, with or without a headset at

Retailers to share E15, flex fuel experience at ACE conference

A flex fuel retailer panel will be part of the general session lineup again this year at the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 31st annual conference, August 15-17 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty will moderate a discussion between returning panelist Bob O’Connor, owner of Wisconsin-based JETZ Convenience Centers, and first-time panelist Glenn Badenhop, owner of Ohio-based American Freedom Energy, both who have made the switch to higher ethanol blends.

With the prospect for year-round access to E15 as ripe as ever, the ACE conference provides these retailers with a timely platform — in the middle of the summertime ban on E15 — to share successes and challenges in E15 and flex fuel retailing, what they’ve seen so far, and how they view the future of biofuels.  The panel is entitled “E15 and Flex Fuel: How’s that working out for you?” and will take place at 8:30 a.m. Central on Friday, August 17.

“These discussions are an opportunity for ethanol producers and others to hear firsthand from retailers how we can help them sell more of the product we produce,” Lamberty said. “With BIP [Blender Infrastructure Program] in the rearview mirror, I’ll also ask these retailers what they think needs to be done to expand future ethanol sales.”

“Jetz changed their E15 to Unleaded-88 since last year, so we’ll get an update from Bob on how that affected sales,” Lamberty added. “Glenn’s retailing of higher ethanol blends has run the gamut of experiences we’ve seen among a variety of marketers, and he’ll be able to offer some fresh perspective from the fringe of the Midwest, where ethanol production doesn’t dominate the discussion.”

“I am looking forward to telling people what we’ve done with E15 and flex fuels since attending the ACE conference last year,” O’Connor said. “Jetz was the first Milwaukee retailer to offer E15 two years ago and we added a location in Muskego last year. Our stations are located in a low-RVP [Reid vapor pressure] market, so we can promote and sell E15 year-round, and the higher octane and lower price of E15 continues to bring in new business. There are challenges, but I look forward to discussing what I’ve learned about marketing higher blends over the past year.”

“As a third-generation farmer, I understand what ethanol does for rural economies and what it did for my bottom line when it first came out,” Badenhop said. “I believe the education process is huge when it comes to selling higher ethanol blends, and I look forward to sharing my experience with helping customers make good fuel choices at my station with the ACE conference audience.”

Visit to view the full agenda and register.

Secretary Perdue Statement on EJC Ruling on Genome Editing

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding this week’s European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on newer mutagenesis methods, otherwise known as genome editing.

“Government policies should encourage scientific innovation without creating unnecessary barriers or unjustifiably stigmatizing new technologies. Unfortunately, this week’s ECJ ruling is a setback in this regard in that it narrowly considers newer genome editing methods to be within the scope of the European Union’s regressive and outdated regulations governing genetically modified organisms.

"We encourage the European Union to seek input from the scientific and agricultural communities, as well as its trading partners, in determining the appropriate implementation of the ruling.

Innovations in precision biotechnology, such as genome editing, hold great promise. For consumers, potential benefits include healthier, higher-quality foods at affordable prices. For farmers, they include improvements in productivity, plant and animal health, and environmental sustainability.

"The global regulatory treatment of genome-edited agricultural products has strategic innovation and trade implications for U.S. agriculture. For this reason, USDA has clear science- and risk-based policies that enable needed innovation while continuing to ensure these products are safe. In light of the ECJ ruling, USDA will re-double its efforts to work with partners globally towards science- and risk-based regulatory approaches.”

NGFA submits statement on FSMA guidance document

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) submitted a statement to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding an agency guidance document pertaining to animal food rules issued mandated under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

FDA issued a notice of availability of a draft guidance entitled "Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals," published on Jan. 23 in the Federal Register. The draft guidance is intended to assist animal food facilities comply with the requirements for hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls under the agency's regulations for Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals (Animal Food Rule).

NGFA's statement, submitted July 23, addresses a variety of issues, including:
    The vast majority of hazards that are known or reasonably foreseeable for animal food facilities can be controlled adequately through prerequisite programs and do not require the use of preventive controls. The NGFA urged FDA to more clearly indicate this fact when issuing its final guidance.

    FDA's final guidance should draw greater distinctions between direct human contact animal food and livestock and poultry feed related to the need for control of pathogens. More specifically, the NGFA strongly recommended that FDA clearly state in its final guidance that pathogens typically are not of regulatory concern for facilities involved in manufacturing and distributing livestock and poultry feed.

    The draft guidance's Appendix E, which lists potential hazards associated with various animal food ingredients, should not, by default, become known or reasonably foreseeable hazards that FDA expects to be addressed by animal food facilities during their hazard analysis. The NGFA urged FDA to characterize such hazards within its final guidance as being potential hazards and clarify that each facility is responsible for determining those hazards that are known or reasonably foreseeable for its own operation.

In its statement, the NGFA commended FDA for "the open and collaborative" process used to solicit input from stakeholders during the rulemaking process. "We also appreciate the agency's on-going commitment to providing a variety of resources - including guidance documents - to assist the industry in understanding and meeting regulatory expectations," the NGFA stated. "We believe that, once finalized, FDA's Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals (PC) guidance will be extremely valuable to facilities when developing compliance strategies and assuring animal food safety."

CNH Industrial Reports Higher Quarterly Earnings

CNH Industrial N.V., which is the parent company of the Racine-based Case IH, announced consolidated revenues of $8.04 billion for the second quarter of 2018, up 15-percent compared to the same three month period a year earlier. Net sales of industrial activities were $7.5 billion in the second quarter, up 16-percent from 2017.

The company says net income of $408 million for the quarter included a pre-tax gain of $20 million as a result of the amortization over approximately 4.5 years of the $527 million positive impact from the modification of a healthcare plan following the favorable judgment issued by the United States Supreme Court.

Despite a tough farm economy, the company has surpassed consensus EPS estimates three times in the past 12 months.

Case IH Steps Up High-Efficiency Harvesting With New Axial-Flow 50 Series Combines, AFS Harvest Command Combine Automation System

Building on its legacy of high-capacity, high-efficiency combines, Case IH is expanding its combine lineup with new 50 series Axial-Flow® combines, which includes new Axial-Flow 250 series combines equipped with optional AFS Harvest Command™ combine automation system. Designed to optimize grain quality and grain savings, the 250 series combines feature 2-speed electric shift ground drive, adjustable rotor cage vanes and an improved feeder house design. Plus, AFS Harvest Command automation simplifies harvesting by sensing and optimizing machine settings — regardless of operator skill level.

“We’re excited to roll out the next generation of high-efficiency harvesting with the Axial-Flow 250 series combines,” said Ryan Blasiak, Case IH harvesting marketing manager. “The new series, coupled with the new innovative combine automation system, will help producers simply harvest more of what they grow.”

Automatically optimizes settings

Achieving optimal combine performance requires perfectly balancing ever-changing ground speeds with numerous settings and adjustments throughout a long day of harvesting. Until now, that meant carefully monitoring and tweaking those settings for varying crop conditions and terrain across the field throughout the day. New from Case IH Advanced Farming Systems (AFS), AFS Harvest Command combine automation system — available only on the new 250 series Axial-Flow combines — utilizes 16 sensors to automatically adjust seven combine settings. It reduces the need for operator monitoring and adjustment from 12 down to just three, depending on the level of automation selected.

“AFS Harvest Command automation offers producers the advantage of automatically adjusting itself based on feedback from sensors to target the maximum ground speed and engine load set by the combine operator,” Blasiak said. “This is the distinguishing factor between AFS Harvest Command automation and competitive units. No extra time or margin for operator error is required to establish a baseline, maximizing quality and throughput.”

Initially available for corn, soybeans, wheat and canola crops, AFS Harvest Command automation proactively adjusts the combine as crop conditions change, based on patent-pending technology. It’s simple. Operators just choose the mode of automation to match their harvesting goals. From there, AFS Harvest Command automation takes over.

Each automation mode prioritizes different harvesting outcomes selected by the operator — from grain quality to grain savings to throughput — and continually optimizes machine performance based on the limits set by the operator. The four modes of automation include:
    Performance — Maximize grain savings and grain quality while optimizing throughput.
    Grain Quality — Maximize grain quality while also saving grain and optimizing throughput.
    Fixed Throughput — Operator can fix the machine throughput and the machine will adjust to save grain and maintain a quality sample.
    Maximum Throughput — Operator can maximize the throughput while automation adjusts combine settings to save grain.

“Labor is important. Whether you’ve ran a combine for 50 years or 50 minutes, this machine is super user-friendly,” said Case IH customer Mark Bartlett, who operated an Axial-Flow 8250 combine with 3162 draper head. “The fact that you can grab someone off the street and get the same results as someone who has run one forever is extremely appealing to us.” Bartlett is from Colby, Kansas, and farms 5,000 acres of mixed crops, including corn, wheat and milo.

Simplified harvesting for more quality grain

Building off of the simplicity of the Axial-Flow family combines, the new 250 series features advancements for even more simple harvesting and operation, allowing producers to maximize throughput and grain quality. Three new Axial-Flow combines — models 7250, 8250 and 9250 — feature a streamlined design with easier settings and operation. Even new operators will achieve higher productivity without sacrificing grain quality.

A new 2-speed electric shift ground-drive transmission increases efficiency in all terrain and ground conditions. With increased tractive effort and a wider speed range, much like cruise control in a car or pickup truck, the transmission maintains precise ground speed up or down hills for more consistent harvesting. It also reduces the frequency to shift in the field or on the road by having one gear for harvesting and another gear for roading. Within each transmission gear there is a Hi/Lo propulsion system to toggle between Hi and Lo ranges during harvest. This provides additional operator control when extra traction or change in speed is required.

From the factory, this combine is available with three levels of technology to fit varying operation needs. Standard on every combine is the Automatic Crop Setting, which allows producers to customize and save preferred combine settings by crop on the AFS Pro 700 display. Or choose optional Feedrate Control to more accurately control ground speed based on crop load, engine power and ground speed limits set by the operator. Full automation is also available through the optional AFS Harvest Command combine automation system.

Additional features for simplified high-efficiency harvesting include:

-    Adjustable rotor cage vanes: 250 series combines come with optional in-cab adjustable rotor cage vanes. The rugged new design eliminates the need to manually remove bolts and pivot the cage vanes. This both saves time and allows the rotor to be fine-tuned to optimize threshing and separating in varying crop conditions and efficiently change from one crop to another. The standard feature includes a gang of cage vanes that are manually adjustable with an easy turnbuckle.
-    Redesigned feeder house: 250 series combines have a redesigned feeder house for improved durability and reliability in demanding crop conditions. An optional feeder fore/aft face plate control enables adjustments to be made from the cab. A redesigned feeder top shaft drive coupler features a crown spline design for greatly improved durability. A simple, two-piece feeder floor design increases durability and improves crop feeding. Plus, up to 13,500 pounds in lift capacity helps handle even the largest chopping corn head on the market.
-    Self-leveling cleaning system: Allows the 250 series combines to clean the grain and move it efficiently — even as the combine undulates across hills — to help save more grain and maintain harvesting ground speeds. The system now includes an in-cab adjustable pre-sieve that allows the operator to make adjustments on-the-go to maximize grain quality.

This new Axial-Flow series matches the efficient harvesting of the AFX rotor with efficient power with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology that meets Tier 4 Final engine emissions standards. The patented SCR technology allows for maximum horsepower (up to 625 peak horsepower for 9250 with 15.9 L), to power through demanding field conditions and high-yielding crops, resulting in better performance, increased fuel efficiency, lower operating temperatures, and greater reliability and durability.

In addition, the high-capacity grain tanks of the 7250, 8250 and 9250 combines feature one of the largest grain tank capacities (410 bushels) currently available on the market. The larger grain tanks together with unload rates of up to 4.5 bushels per second allow operators to open up fields easily and unload quickly.

New, limited-edition 50 series Axial-Flow combines

Designed to commemorate the rich, 40-plus-year legacy of Axial-Flow combines, the new 150 series combine joins the 50 series combine lineup. The 150 series combines feature heritage styling, color schemes and decals of the original Axial-Flow combines. The memorable white cab tops and tire rims give way to the latest harvest advancements, including the Cross-Flow™ cleaning system, 2-speed electric shift transmission and a host of productivity enhancements.

With the industry-leading single rotor design, Case IH continues to provide innovations suited to your individual farming operation. Each advancement is designed to deliver peak harvesting efficiency, grain quality and grain savings to help you simply harvest more of what you grow.

Thursday July 26 Ag News

United Soybean Board Approves Funding for Projects at July Meeting

The United Soybean Board approved $65 million in funding for more than 85 projects during its meeting in Omaha, Neb. July 17–19.

Gregg Fujan, United Soybean Board member and Nebraska Soybean Board ex officio, said the three target areas for project funding were oil, meal and sustainability.

“In my particular area, we focused on high oleic soybean promotion and education, whether it be in the food sector or industrial uses sector,” Fujan said.

Projects to promote and support biodiesel and improve the oil quality and fatty acid profile were also approved. In the soybean meal target area, projects targeting increased meal quality were prioritized to address the gradual decline of protein levels in soybeans, as well as genetic improvements and industrial uses.

Fujan said sustainability continued to be a focus for the United Soybean Board.

“Our customers are demanding a sustainable product because their customers are demanding a sustainable product,” Fujan said. “Those processors are looking to us to provide them with a sustainably grown product with the smallest environmental footprint.”

The amount of leveraged funding available helped subsidize the various projects. In the oil target area alone, Fujan said that for every checkoff dollar invested, there are partners investing 76 cents. The total leveraged funding for next year’s projects is $136 million.

“I think that’s a great part of what’s happening with the checkoff investment,” Fujan said. “When making project funding decisions, we always ask if it’s an effective and efficient use of farmer checkoff dollars. We’re trying to create the best return on investment.”

Giesler named head of Plant Pathology Department

Loren Giesler has been named head of the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, effective Sept. 1, 2018. Giesler is currently a professor and extension plant pathologist within the department.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Giesler to the leadership ranks at IANR,” said Ron Yoder, senior associate vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “His expertise and experience will be valuable in leading the Plant Pathology Department in their continued efforts to sustain plant health in Nebraska and around the globe.”

The Plant Pathology Department performs an essential role in improving and monitoring the health of plants grown for economic, environmental and amenity purposes. It does so by innovative leadership in outreach, education, research and fostering economic development and market competitiveness. Partnerships with educational, state, federal, public and private sectors enable plant pathologists to provide dynamic programs that are ecologically sound, economically and environmentally sustainable, socially responsible and scientifically appropriate.

“I am excited to join the leadership team of IANR and look forward to working together with them to build upon and create new successes for the Plant Pathology Department,” Giesler said. “Our current faculty, staff and students in the department have outstanding expertise and potential to solve global challenges associated with microbial interactions affecting plant productivity that is impacting the security of food supplies, bioenergy and the aesthetic qualities of our landscapes. I thank the current leadership team for the opportunity to lead this great department.”

Giesler has spent his career at Nebraska, beginning as a graduate research assistant, serving as a research technologist, and Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic coordinator before advancing in the faculty from assistant professor to professor. In his current role Giesler provides statewide leadership for Nebraska Extension’s plant pathology programs in soybeans and turfgrass.

Giesler earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Chadron State College in 1992. He holds master’s and doctorate degrees from Nebraska in plant pathology.

To learn more about the Plant Pathology Department, visit


Those who have in inherited or received farmland and want to learn more about the best strategies for managing the asset are encouraged to attend one of several Nebraska Extension programs being offered across the state in August and September.

“I am contacted monthly from citizens who have had their parents pass away, and now they are managing a farm for the first time in their lives,” said Allan Vyhnalek, Nebraska Extension educator and event speaker. “They may have even grown up there, but haven’t been around for 30 or 40 years and need to understand that farming practices and management concepts have changed.”

Questions to be addressed in the three hour workshop include:
-    Am I keeping the farm or selling it?
-    How do I manage a farm?
-    If leasing, what are key lease provisions?
-    What legal considerations do I have with this decision?
-    How do we manage family communications and expectations when other family is involved?

The program is being presented by Vyhnalek and Extension Educator Jim Jansen. The two presenters provide farm land management education for eastern Nebraska.

The workshop series begins Aug. 15 in McCook and will make stops in Central City, Beatrice, Valentine and West Point. For a complete listing of dates, locations and registration information, visit

Pre-registration is requested by two days prior to the event.  Advance registration is requested to ensure enough handouts for the program. This program is free because of funding from the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture under award number 2015-49200-24226.

For more information or assistance, contact Vyhnalek at 402-472-1771 or; or Jim Jansen, at 402-261-7572 or

NE Dairy Store churns out an ice cream feeding frenzy

A new ice cream flavor at the Nebraska Dairy Store is offering Huskers a chance to take a bite out of Shark Week.

Churned custom for Nebraska Shark Week, the piña colada-flavored ice cream includes a swarm of gummy sharks in every scoop. Every three-gallon bucket of the ice cream includes 2.5 pounds of the gummy sharks. The store started serving Shark Week July 22 and will continue until the final scoop is devoured. Learn more about the new ice cream.

The Dairy Store opened in 1917 serving all-you-can-drink milk for a nickel — but only for customers who brought their own glass. Now, more than 100 years later, the Dairy Store is a Nebraska tradition, serving a lineup of sweet ice cream treats, handmade cheeses and meats — all produced on Nebraska's East Campus. Click the 360 degree video below to see how ice cream is created in the Dairy Store plant.

New Extension Specialist Excited to Work with Pork Producers

The opportunity to serve Iowa’s pork industry by working with Iowa Pork Industry Center was one Kristin Olsen just couldn’t pass up. The new extension program specialist at the Iowa Pork Industry Center said she’s passionate about pork production in general, and her recent experiences as both an undergraduate and graduate student at Iowa State University provided great background for her new role that began earlier this month.

“I have been a student in the animal science department since fall 2013 and have worked in labs and offices for the past two years,” Olsen said. “I’ve gotten to know many of the professors and students in the department and am looking forward to seeing many familiar faces as I begin my new role at Iowa State.”

She recently finished her master’s degree in swine nutrition under John Patience at Iowa State and said that experience provided a wealth of learning about the U.S. swine industry.

“I was able to work with people from many different areas of the industry, including visiting several commercial farms and feed mills,” she said. “I also was able to conduct a research project off-campus with an industry collaborator and had a short internship with Hanor.”

The exposure to the swine industry during her academic career provided unique opportunities for better understanding practical implications of implementing new concepts and ideas in pork production practices. Olsen said those experiences also taught her the importance of being able to convey complex information in ways that are understandable to a wide array of audiences.

“I also have experience writing and speaking for both industry and academic audiences, which I really enjoy and look forward to using in my role with IPIC,” she said. “I think my experiences have given me a unique set of skills that will serve IPIC and the pork industry well.”

Part of her role will include coordinating the annual Iowa Swine Day event. She’ll also have the opportunity to work on a variety of informational materials and collaborate on specific research projects to help answer important questions facing pork producers.

“I look forward to making Iowa Swine Day even more impactful not only for Iowa’s producers, but for producers across the U.S.,” she said. “I am excited to work with faculty and staff in many different areas of production in addition to nutrition. I also love learning and want to continue developing my skills and my knowledge of the swine industry as I work in this role.”

Olsen can be contacted by email at or phone at 712-249-5731.

SHIC-Funded Feed Risk Studies Lead to Stakeholder Meeting

In May 2017, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) released information from a study it funded showing the potential for viruses to contaminate and survive in feed ingredients. These surprising findings led to on-going research on transmission potential and mitigation. A meeting of stakeholders, including representatives of USDA, FDA, universities, industry organizations, producers, the feed processing industry, and SHIC, was held in June 2018. The objective of the meeting, hosted by SHIC and the National Pork Board, was to review current government policies and regulations and to make recommendations about research to help reduce the risk for pathogen transmission via feed and feed ingredients. 

In addition to the prioritization of next steps, the stakeholder representatives heard updates from companies and federal agencies engaged in parallel work. FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and USDA’s Animal Health and Plant Inspection Service both have regulatory authority related to feed safety.  And USDA’s Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health will help with a review of the scientific literature and will bring experts together to discuss risk. SHIC is funding university and production company-related research to help define feed risk. And feed processing companies are also contributing to the body of work to help identify feed transmission risk and investigate mitigation. Programs were described and outcomes discussed during the meeting. 

At the conclusion of the stakeholder meeting, a prioritized set of next steps for research or investigation was developed:

1.    Mitigation via verifiable controls
The action with the highest priority, mitigation, could include programs for verification of feed component safety prior to shipment from a foreign country. Possible methods discussed and recommended were block chain testing and traceability as well as preventative controls for animal food.

2.    Active foreign animal disease monitoring at ports or importing countries
Active monitoring of imported feed components was ranked second by the stakeholders group. Monitoring for foreign animal disease and other transboundary pathogens at ports of entry, or before shipment from source countries, was discussed. Participants agreed this monitoring should be done at a foreign facility prior to shipment to the US.

 3.    Minimum and median infective dose of classical swine fever (CSF), pseudorabies virus (PRV), Senecavirus A(SVA)/foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) during normal feeding behaviors

Determining the minimum and median infective dose of key swine diseases CSF, PRV, and FMD during normal feeding behaviors was named an essential need. Using a National Pork Board grant, this is being done for African swine fever (ASF) at Kansas State University where similar tests for CSF and PRV can take place. Work with FMD must occur at Plum Island Animal Disease Center where SHIC, NPB and USDA-APHIS are co-funding the project. In addition to infective dose, mitigant effectiveness and survivability tests would be completed.

 4.    Active domestic monitoring
This monitoring would involve surveys of feed processing mills to measure the incidence of different domestic production pathogens found in these facilities. 

 5.    Validation of environmental swab tools
Validation for dust sampling sensitivity using different materials, from commercially-available sheets to sponges, swabs, paint rollers, to other tools, would be conducted.

 6.    Detectability of other viruses via environmental monitoring
Research is needed to demonstrate the ability to detect viruses using environmental samples at various points in feed processing mills. Previously environmental sampling has been shown to be useful for detection of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus and SVA and that work would be expanded.

 7.    Tote contamination proof-of-concept
Testing for valid ways to sample totes as they carry feed into the country could be to sample the dust of a tote before, during loading, after loading, and after emptying to compare sensitivity of dust sampling to taking feed samples at the same times.

 8.    Rotavirus vs. Enterobacteriaceae as an indicator of possible contamination
Enterobacteriaceae are used as an indicator organism for fecal contamination of feed components. This experiment would compare rotavirus, or some other enteric virus, to these bacteria to investigate if it would be a better indicator of viral contamination.

Stakeholders agreed the goal should always be to prevent introduction of a FAD or transboundary pathogen from entering the US. Participating representatives of the groups agreed about the urgency to investigate, define and mitigate the risk because of its potential as a pathway and the threat it poses to the US swine herd.

Case IH Launches Limited-edition 50 Series Axial-Flow Combine

To commemorate the rich legacy of Axial-Flow® combines, Case IH is excited to launch the 50 series Axial-Flow combine lineup with a special-edition 150 series combine. The 150 series combine features International Harvester heritage styling, color schemes and decals reminiscent of the first Axial-Flow combine in 1977. The memorable white cab top and tire rims give way to the latest harvest advancements to help producers put more grain in the tank.

The productivity enhancements of the legendary single rotor technology, Cross-Flow™ cleaning system and 2-speed electric shift transmission enable the 150 series combine to handle varying harvest conditions and crop types.

“We’re excited to bring back the retro stylings of the 1977 International Harvester Axial-Flow combines, now paired with productivity enhancements desired to help today’s producers harvest more of what they grow,” said Kelly Kravig, Case IH harvesting marketing manager. “For older generation farmers, this combine is a throwback to their earlier farming days. For younger generations, this is the combine they grew up in.”

Soy Growers Thank Administration for Highlighting Soybeans in Talks with EU

The American Soybean Association (ASA) today thanked President Trump for highlighting U.S. soybeans in his talks with European Union President Juncker this week. Focusing on the opportunities for increased trade with European partners, Iowa soybean farmer and ASA President John Heisdorffer issued the following statement:

“ASA thanks President Trump for this effort to increase U.S. soybean exports to the EU, as it will help soybean farmers market what is expected to be a bumper crop this fall. We look forward to learning the details of the agreement and working with USTR, and welcome the opportunity to deepen our relationship with our trading partners in Europe.”

Growth Energy Statement on President's Reaffirmation of Support for E15 Year-Round

Today in Iowa, President Trump announced he was "very close" on delivering E15 year-round. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement in response to the President's comments:

"We are pleased to hear President Trump say he is 'very close' to making E15 available year round, fulfilling his promise to America’s farmers. Increased access to US markets will provide America’s farmers with some financial confidence, and we hope that President Trump will direct the EPA to act quickly to provide year-round RVP relief."

Growth Energy, the nation's top ethanol advocate, is running a television ad asking President Trump to uphold his promise to farmers by allowing the sale of E15 year-round.

ACE addressing ethanol questions from service station owners in fourth Mexican city this year

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty traveled to Chihuahua this week for the fourth of six technical ethanol workshops the U.S. Grains Council is holding for Mexican petroleum equipment installers and retailers.  The workshops address questions and concerns of local station owners about sourcing, marketing, and profiting from ethanol-blended gasoline, as Mexico’s transportation fuel sector continues to evolve.

 “Chihuahua is one of a few larger Mexican cities that may be close enough to buy E10 blended at a U.S terminal and ship it back to Mexico economically,” Lamberty said. “Chihuahua is about 250 miles from El Paso, Texas, which is closer than the Mexican refineries and prices favor U.S. ethanol.”

“My presentations to these groups are primarily math and history,” Lamberty added. “We “do the math” of splash-blending less expensive ethanol with gasoline, and I explain the history of getting ethanol from the middle of the U.S. to the rest of the country, via rail and splash blenders. We expect a few of the people at these events will get the idea they could be one of the wholesalers who takes ethanol all over Mexico.”

Last month, Lamberty was in León speaking at the first workshop held since a Mexican tribunal overturned an injunction which applied to state-owned oil company Pemex blocking ethanol blending from climbing to 10 percent from 5.8 percent. Earlier this spring, Lamberty spoke at two other workshops in Monterrey and Tijuana, and last year, he traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico, to meet with members of Association Mexicana De Empresarios Gasolineros (AMEGAS), Mexico’s largest group of gasoline station owners.

Lamberty will participate in two more USGC technical workshops in Mexico yet this year, with a trip to Xalapa planned to take place next month and a meeting in Mexico City in September. Interest and attendance increase at each event, and ACE will continue to work with the USGC to provide information to retailers and others who want to sell more ethanol.

NMPF Statement on FDA Announcement to Prioritize Review of Standards of Identity for Dairy Products

President and CEO Jim Mulhern

“We are pleased to see that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally recognized the need to increase its scrutiny of plant-based products imitating standardized dairy foods.

“The statement released earlier today by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb echoes our long-standing public health concerns regarding nutritional deficiencies in plant-based foods bearing the term ‘milk.’

“We are further encouraged by FDA’s recognition that standards of identity also verify that a food must possess a ‘basic nature’ and measure of expectation to earn the use of the standardized name.

“We applaud Commissioner Gottlieb’s assertion that FDA will take regulatory action against products bearing misleading labels. Our hope is that such regulatory actions will begin promptly and not be further delayed by the announced dairy standards review process.”

NMPF Tells FDA: Review of Food Standards Should Start with Enforcement

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must enforce standards of identity for dairy products because these federal definitions are critical to safeguarding consumers from making purchases of products whose labels are false and misleading, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said today.

At an FDA hearing Thursday focused on modernizing food standards of identity, NMPF argued that the agency should first start enforcing the existing standards for dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt. Consumers use these standards to make informed purchasing decisions and expect a certain level of product performance in return, said Tom Balmer, NMPF’s executive vice president.

“It seems inconsistent to talk about modernizing standards to improve nutrition and assure accurate information to consumers when FDA has been allowing nutritionally inferior products to use standardized terms like ‘milk’ for so long,” Balmer testified. “Instead of continuing to look the other way, let’s start by enforcing current standards of identity and then talk about potential improvements.”

Food standards help guarantee that consumer expectations are met both in terms of levels of key ingredients and consistency sensory attributes like taste and mouthfeel, said Balmer. While standards weren’t initially developed for nutritional reasons, there is a direct link between the ingredients found in a standardized food and the nutrient package that results from their consumption.

Such is the case with dairy imitation foods like “almond milk,” “soy cheese” and “rice yogurt.” For too long, these products have used dairy terms to associate themselves with the positive traits of milk-based foods, including the significant levels of nine essentials nutrients found in real milk. Because of this marketing tactic, consumers don’t realize they’re being tricked into thinking these products are suitable replacements for the real thing.

“This is a marketing gimmick, and a clever one,” Balmer said. “Such products not only lack ingredients specified by the standards, they frequently fall short in expected characteristics like mouthfeel, taste and texture, and are nearly always less nutritious.”

FDA acknowledged the public health consequences when it released a statement before the hearing announcing it would prioritize taking a closer look at the standards of identity for dairy products (NMPF published its response to this earlier today).

Over the last 20 years, NMPF and its members have made repeated requests for FDA to take enforcement action on misbranded imitation dairy products, with FDA continually claiming the issue is not an agency priority. The public, however, feels differently. A recent independent poll found that American consumers, by a 2-to-1 margin, oppose the use of “milk” as a designation for non-dairy beverages.

Balmer insisted that FDA start enforcing the labeling laws already on the books and rein in the “marketplace chaos,” adding that that the process “doesn’t need to take a year or more.” NMPF also plans to file written comments as part of the FDA’s review of this issue.

Cattlemen Urge President Trump to Support USDA Oversight of Lab-Grown Fake Meat

Today the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and other leading organizations in the animal agriculture industry (“the Barnyard”) sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump urging him to ensure the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) acts as the primary regulatory authority over lab-grown fake meat products. The Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) designates USDA as the main oversight body for emerging lab-grown products. However, in recent weeks the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has moved aggressively to assert regulatory jurisdiction over lab-grown fake meat.

“The American people elected President Trump because they trusted him to promote a level playing field for American products around the world,” said Kevin Kester, President of NCBA. “Now, the President has the chance to demonstrate his support for free and fair markets right here at home. By supporting USDA oversight of lab-grown fake meat, the President will protect American consumers and ensure that America’s farmers and ranchers are not disadvantaged in the marketplace.”

In the letter, the Barnyard groups highlight the critical role USDA plays in enforcing the same rigorous food safety and labeling standards for all meat and poultry products.

“Undoubtedly, USDA’s exacting standards impose regulatory burdens on meat and poultry producers – as they should,” the groups wrote. “However, if cell-cultured protein companies want the privilege of marketing their products as meat and poultry products to the American public, in order to ensure a fair and competitive marketplace, they should be happy to follow the same rules as everyone else. Consumers expect and deserve nothing less.”

The groups also questioned the FDA’s “regulatory power grab” and noted that the agency’s actions are inconsistent with a recently-released White House government reorganization plan.

USGC Meeting To Tackle Trade Outlook During Denver Meeting

Delegates gathering for the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) 58th Annual Board of Delegates meeting, scheduled to begin Monday in Denver, will attempt to unravel the opportunities and challenges for U.S. coarse grains and co-products in today’s complex and dynamic global trade environment.

The meetings will kick off with a general session at which members and state staff will hear from leading trade and market-specific experts on the status and future of U.S. agricultural trade relationships with countries including China and Mexico. Attendees will also discuss the outlook for exports of grains in all forms, including increased demand from the Middle East and potential growth areas for ethanol and meat and poultry exports.

“This meeting will be an excellent opportunity for our members to engage directly with fellow delegates and Council staff on opportunities and challenges facing U.S. agriculture,” Keller said. “True to this year’s theme, Friends and Frontiers, we will dive into discussions on our global efforts to strengthen relationships with key partners and build new demand for coarse grains and co-products, including ethanol.”

The Council’s Advisory Teams (A-Teams) will meet to receive updates on specific commodities and markets and provide direction for USGC staff in the coming critical months. USGC delegates also will adopt next year’s budget and elect new officers and board members.

“The sun never sets on our efforts to develop critical markets, dismantle trade barriers and serve our customers overseas,” Keller said. “We rely on your engagement as we peruse the important trade policy and market development work happening around the world.”

Find out more about the meeting and follow along on social media using the hashtag #grains18.

Perdue to Travel to Argentina

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will travel to Buenos Aires from July 27th to July 29th to participate in the G20 Meetings of Agriculture Ministers. While at the G20, Secretary Perdue will discuss important issues facing agriculture around the world and engage in policy dialogues with his counterparts. The Secretary will also participate in events at La Rural, Argentina’s premier agriculture exposition.

“We greatly value our close relationships with our international agricultural partners,” Secretary Perdue said. “The opportunity to discuss today’s most pressing challenges facing agriculture is invaluable, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done, and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish.”

Secretary Perdue will begin his trip in Buenos Aires on July 27th by taking part in the G-20 Summit, which will focus on a variety of issues including the future of the agricultural workforce, infrastructure and ensuring a sustainable food future.  Following the summit, Secretary Perdue will travel to Dona Sofia Polo Ranch in San Antonio de Areco on July 29th where he will meet with the owner, as well as veterinarian and breeding staff to discuss new breeding and genetics technologies for horses and cattle.

Land O'Lakes, Inc. Names Beth Ford President and CEO

The Land O'Lakes, Inc. Board of Directors announced today its selection of Beth Ford as President and CEO of one of the nation's largest food and agricultural cooperatives and #216 on the Fortune 500. Ford assumes leadership of the company following the retirement of Chris Policinski. Ford will assume the role of President and CEO effective Aug. 1.

Ford comes to the CEO role after a series of successful executive postings within the company. In December 2017, Ford was named Chief Operating Officer of Land O'Lakes Businesses, in which role she oversaw Land O'Lakes' WinField United, Purina Animal Nutrition and Dairy Foods business units. Prior to that, Ford was head of Land O'Lakes' Dairy Foods and Purina Animal Nutrition businesses, where she led record performance and growth, leveraging innovation through R&D to strengthen both brands. She also was instrumental in the acquisition of Vermont Creamery in early 2017.

Prior to joining Land O'Lakes in 2011, Ford had excelled in executive operations management and supply chain roles at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic. Ford has more than 20 years' experience specifically in the areas of technology and R&D, as well, across these four companies.

Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Beth earned an MBA at Columbia University Business School and a BBA at Iowa State University. She remains involved in both universities, sitting on the Deming Center Board of Advisors for Columbia Business School and the Dean's Advisory Committee for the College of Business at Iowa State.

Ford also sits on the Board of Directors for the National Milk Producers Federation and non-profit boards, including Greater Twin Cities United Way in Minneapolis. She sits on the Boards of Directors of two publicly traded companies, including PACCAR, Inc.

Announcing her appointment, Board Chairman Pete Kappelman said, "At a time of unprecedented change in the agriculture and food industries, no person is better suited to lead us into the future than Beth Ford. Since joining our company in 2011, Beth has proven she's not afraid of hard work, and she sees every challenge as an opportunity to deliver more value for our cooperative. She's built a track record of success in a wide array of leadership roles across a decades-long career, and in her seven years at Land O'Lakes, she has earned the trust and respect of our members, employees and customers. We are thrilled to have someone of such strong qualifications and character to build on the legacy of growth that Land O'Lakes has established."

Commenting on her appointment, Ford said, "I'm humbled and honored to have the chance to serve this great organization. I am grateful to the Board of Directors for their trust in me and for the management team that built the strong foundation we currently enjoy. I look forward to continuing to work with the talented and dedicated leadership team, as well as our outstanding employees to deliver for our member-owners, customers and communities. There has never been a more exciting time to be in the agriculture and food industry. Together, our team will work to continue our growth trajectory, as we lead the way forward into the company's next 100 years."

Ford becomes the ninth CEO of Land O'Lakes, one of the nation's largest agricultural cooperatives, which was founded in 1921. Ford and her spouse, Jill Schurtz, have three teenage children and live in Minneapolis. 


In an effort to drive demand for dairy and support industry growth, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national cooperative owned by dairy farm families, is helping bring innovative products to the dairy case. This week, the Cooperative announced an investment in MOPRO Nutrition (MOPRO), an all-natural, high protein, low sugar, whole milk Greek yogurt infused with whey protein combined with probiotics. MOPRO positions itself as a smarter replacement for protein bars, protein shakes and regular Greek yogurt.

MOPRO recently completed the 2018 Sprint Accelerator program, which is also sponsored by DFA. The Accelerator is a 90-day, immersive program that helps accelerate and grow startup businesses.

“As a farmer-owned Cooperative, DFA is continuously looking for innovative ways to bring dairy to consumers, and this investment in MOPRO reflects that commitment,” says Monica Massey, senior vice president and chief of staff at DFA. “We think there’s a lot of growth potential with more natural, high-protein products and look forward to working with MOPRO to help make them a household brand.”

Through this relationship, DFA and MOPRO will work together to increase product distribution and build brand awareness.

“I am excited to work with DFA on a permanent basis. We developed a nice relationship during the Accelerator program, and they share my vision for evolving the yogurt category and bringing the highest-quality and innovative, fresh nutrition products to the marketplace,” says Michael Moran, founder, MOPRO.

Wednesday July 25 Ag News

Ricketts Announces Polk County as Newest Nebraska Livestock Friendly County

Today at the Polk County Fair, Governor Pete Ricketts named Polk County as the newest county in Nebraska to be designated as a Livestock Friendly County (LFC).  Polk County is the 47th county in Nebraska to be designated as such.  The LFC program is administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA).

“I’m especially pleased to welcome Polk County as Nebraska’s newest Livestock Friendly County as they mark a major milestone for this important program,” said Governor Ricketts.  “With the addition of Polk County, half of Nebraska’s counties are now livestock friendly.  Agriculture is Nebraska’s number one industry, so expanding opportunities around value-added agriculture and livestock production are key to growing our state.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Polk County had a total of $326 million in market value of agriculture products for the year 2012.  Livestock sales accounted for $159 million, or 49 percent of the total value, with cattle/calves, hogs, and layers being the largest livestock segments in the county.  Crop production accounted for $167 million, or 51 percent of the total value.  Major crops raised in Polk County include corn and soybeans.

“Polk County is home to 466 farms, so naturally, agriculture and livestock are a major part of the landscape,” said NDA Ag Promotion Coordinator Jordan Schlake.  “Anytime you have support for livestock development in a county like Polk, you’re going to support the many businesses that are tied to agriculture, like grain elevators, feedlots, banking and insurance, and the main street businesses, as well.”

The Livestock Friendly County program was created by the Nebraska Legislature in 2003 to recognize counties that support the livestock industry and new livestock developments.  A county wishing to apply for the LFC designation must hold a public hearing, and the county board must pass a resolution to apply for the designation.  Additional information about the Livestock Friendly County program is available on NDA’s website at or by calling 800-422-6692.


Growers, crop consultants, agricultural professionals and members of the public interested in speaking with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are invited to attend an open stakeholder meeting 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Aug. 1 on East Campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Greg Kruger, weed science and application technology specialist at the university’s West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte, is hosting the EPA meeting. According to Kruger, the purpose of the meeting is to allow interested stakeholders to share views with the EPA on herbicide registrations.

“The session is really meant for the EPA to listen to the concerns and comments from the industry as it relates to herbicides,” Kruger said. “In particular, we would like to cover dicamba and atrazine.”

The meeting will be held at the Nebraska East Union Prairie Suite. Space is limited. To RSVP, visit

With questions, contact Kruger at 308-696-6715 or


Nebraska Extension’s upcoming workshop series, “Land Management for 2020 and Beyond,” will provide the latest information to operators, tenants and land owners to effectively manage land. The series will be held at five locations across Nebraska in August and September.

Nebraska Extension Educators Austin Duerfeldt, Jim Jansen and Allan Vyhnalek are teaming up to present on a variety of topics including ag finance and the real estate market; current trends in agricultural finance across Nebraska; negotiation skills needed to effectively manage land leases; current considerations on lease provisions; and strategic farmland succession and communications.

“Austin, Jim and I have put together an excellent set of topics and have completely re-written our land management curriculum for this set of workshops.” said Vyhnalek. “We encourage both landowners and farmers to attend to hear the same message about land management in the next decade.”

The workshop series begins Aug. 13 in Hastings and will make stops in Albion (Aug 17), Hartington (Aug 17), the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead (Sept 6) and in Lincoln (TBD). For a complete listing of dates, locations and registration information, visit 

Registration to attend the three-hour workshop is $15 per person or $25 per couple which will cover the program, refreshments and handouts.  Registration is requested two days before the start of the scheduled meeting to ensure enough handouts for the program.

For more information or assistance, contact Vyhnalek at 402-472-1771 or; or Jim Jansen, at 402-261-7572 or


The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord will host a climate and crops open house on Aug. 14.

All ages are welcome to attend the field day which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Attendees can come and go throughout the event.

The morning session will feature sessions on a variety of topics including heat stress in livestock, climate change on insects in northeast Nebraska, climate trends and projections, Nebraska farm real estate and the Farm Bill.

Following a free lunch sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board, research tours of Haskell Ag Lab will be available. Attendees will also hear from Mike Boehm, Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Al Dutcher, associate Nebraska state climatologist. Panelists from Backyard Farmer, Nebraska’s must-see television program for gardening information, will hold a live question and answer session from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Activities and booths available all day include Nebraska Extension’s Mobile Beef Lab, science literacy trailer, shooting sports trailer, water lab, maker space trailer, robotics and a drilling rig, There will also be  instant pot demonstrations, various child learning activities and Northeast Power will be doing safety demonstrations. Walking tours of the Northeast Arboretum will be available in the morning and afternoon.

Haskell Ag Lab is located at 57905 866th Rd, approximately one and a half miles east of Concord.

There is no cost to attend the field day. For more information call 402-584-2261 or visit

New Iowa State Cow-Calf Specialist Brings Experience, Enthusiasm to Job

Katy Lippolis may not be an Iowa native, but the new Iowa State University extension beef cow-calf specialist said her roots in agriculture began here and she truly believes she was always meant to end up in Iowa.

“My grandmother was raised in Varina and my dad used to spend summers on his aunt and uncle’s farm in Iowa,” she said. “I heard stories about crops and animal agriculture and was instilled with a deep respect for farmers from an early age. And even though my family was not in a place to have land, my dad wanted me to experience livestock in some way.”

That experience started for Lippolis in high school in Colorado with a business of training difficult horses. She learned the importance of teaching the owners to maintain that training, which created her passion for teaching and education.

At Colorado State University, she earned a double major in equine science and animal science and built leadership skills through a variety of work and club opportunities. She also honed her enthusiasm for animal health and nutrition and realized she had a natural affinity for working cattle, even though she had never raised cattle. This led to a masters program in beef systems management at CSU where she became more deeply involved in information and research on beef cattle, including serving as the coordinator of the Colorado Beef Quality Assurance program.

“My research focused on low-stress weaning with nose flaps, and their effects on performance, vaccine efficacy and carcass quality,” she said. “This research and the educational aspects of the BQA program strongly influenced my desire to remain involved with producer education, and help develop management strategies to improve production, total industry efficiency and profitability for beef producers.”

This desire led her next to Oregon State University for a doctoral program which solidified her interest in improving calf and feeder cattle performance through management and nutrition, specifically during weaning.

“My research highlighted the importance of the cow-calf sector in cattle performance and health in the feedlot, which guided my goals for developing realistic strategies for producers and educating producers in these strategies,” Lippolis said. “The extension cow-calf position at Iowa State is the perfect role for me to do this.”

She’s been on board for less than a month, but already she’s collaborating on several research opportunities, working with stakeholders and assisting with Iowa Beef Center workshops. The teaching portion of her position includes instructing the animal science department’s cow-calf management course, and her extension responsibilities involve facilitating relationships with producers, developing online tools and resources, and generally serving Iowa’s cow-calf industry.

“My goal in this position is to add to the available information and education for cow-calf producers across the state. In the future, I hope to increase the availability and concentration of our workshops and programs through avenues such as live videos, webinars, research reports, fact sheets and articles,” she said. “It is truly an honor to be serving Iowa cattle producers, and I am extremely excited to help continue growing Iowa’s leading edge in beef production.”

Iowa Farm Bureau celebrates being A Century Strong at 2018 Iowa State Fair

The 2018 Iowa State Fair is around the corner and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the state’s largest grassroots farm organization, has numerous activities with partners planned at Farm Bureau Park with prizes totaling over $100,000 to help celebrate its centennial.

 “Iowa Farm Bureau is constantly working to meet the needs of our diverse membership through education, advocacy, supporting our youth, supporting rural Iowa entrepreneurs through business mentoring, providing supplemental health benefits and more,” says IFBF President Craig Hill. “All of the activities and partners at Farm Bureau Park will showcase all of those efforts in honor of 100 years of service to members, Iowa, and our communities.”

New this year is an interactive Farm Strong® mural, inspired by the #WhatLiftsYou Wing campaign craze that has swept the nation. The mural was created by Amy Putney, Iowa artist and Art Director at Sticks Object Art and Furniture. Visitors to Farm Bureau Park can show how they’re Farm Strong by posing in front of the brightly colored mural, sharing their photo through social media and tagging it #ACenturyStrong.

 Visitors to Farm Bureau Park will also be able to meet the farmers who grow and raise their food through interactive games and win free prizes, including $500 in free groceries. Fair-goers who join Farm Bureau during the fair will receive a $10 fuel card and are also eligible to win $2,000 in ethanol fuel.

“This year, we are so pleased to have John Deere celebrate their centennial alongside ours by donating a John Deere Gator XUV835R crossover utility vehicle valued at over $23,000 through a drawing that one lucky Farm Bureau member who visits the park will receive,” says Hill.

Farm Bureau Day at the State Fair is Aug. 14 and includes the 55th annual Farm Bureau Cookout Contest featuring the state’s best barbeque wizards of Iowa-grown meat. Also on Farm Bureau Day at the Fair, country music star Brett Eldredge will perform a private concert for Iowa Farm Bureau members at the Grandstand at 2 p.m. following the Cookout Contest to commemorate Iowa Farm Bureau’s centennial.

The fun and prizes are endless at Farm Bureau Park with each day featuring new partners and activities. Other highlights include 500 free bike helmets being given away by ‘On with Life’ on Thursday, Aug. 16 and free business consultations with IFBF’s Renew Rural Iowa experts. For a complete listing of activities and partners, visit

Soybean farmers want trade, not aid

Iowa Soybean Association President Bill Shipley, Nodaway, IA

The $12 billion aid package announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide short-term assistance to rural communities struggling under the economic stress of continued trade disruptions.

Long-term, the best remedy to low prices is resuming trade with established export markets.

The Iowa Soybean Association is reviewing the provisions of the just-announced aid package closely. They include: direct payments to farmers to mitigate lower prices resulting from the tariffs; direct commodity purchases by USDA; and a program similar in purpose to the current Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) programs.

While the Administration’s effort to mitigate the short-term impact of tariffs on exports and prices through payments to farmers and commodity purchases provides some relief, it is not the solution. We strongly encourage the White House to immediately develop and embark on a long-term plan that replaces reduced exports and improves the competitiveness of U.S. soybeans.

Net farm income is down almost 50 percent since 2013. Now is not the time for continued uncertainty for U.S. agriculture and the millions of jobs it directly impacts. A swift resolution grows more critical each day as farmers prepare for harvest and meetings with lenders, suppliers and land owners to make plans for next year.

We join with the American Soybean Association in backing the swift resolution of NAFTA and negotiating new bilateral trade agreements to expand and diversify our export markets, long-term market development efforts, including increased funding of FMD and MAP and waterway infrastructure improvements that can expedite the movement of soybeans to international markets.

Trade Benefits Agriculture, Has Led to a $21 Billion Surplus

Farmers for Free Trade

As part of the rollout of $12 billion in farm subsidies, the Trump administration has been spreading misinformation about the agricultural economy and the role of trade in its growth. We’ve seen billions of dollars of exports and surplus—not losses. Some key facts to keep in mind: 
-    According to the Congressional Research Service, U.S. agricultural exports have mostly been on the rise and a “major contributor to farm income,” particularly since 2005.
-    In 2014, U.S. agricultural exports achieved a record of $152.3 billion, and global demand for U.S. agricultural exports is expected to repeat 2017’s relatively strong value of $140 billion in 2018. 
-    For the past several years, U.S. corn and soybean crops have experienced remarkable growth in both productivity and output.
-    Farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses are expected to send nearly $143 billion worth of products overseas this year, resulting in a trade surplus of about $21 billion.
-    Agricultural trade has more than tripled over the last 30 years with economic and population growth globally.

Conaway: Trump, Perdue Have Farmers’ and Ranchers’ Backs

After meeting with the president today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11) issued the following statement concerning President Trump’s support for on-time passage of a strong, new farm bill and the administration’s announcement of emergency aid to help American farm and ranch families weather unjustified retaliation by foreign countries against U.S. agricultural exports:

“For years, our committee has highlighted that the U.S. is living up to its trade commitments even as foreign countries double-down on predatory trade practices that hurt America’s farmers, ranchers, businesses and workers. And for years, these concerns have largely been swept under the rug for fear that negative publicity might undermine support for free trade. Calling out our trading partners for failing to live up to the commitments they have made is not protectionism – it’s common sense. This task is made even harder by foreign countries that are now sanctioning unjustified tariffs against U.S. agricultural exports to pressure the administration to back off and simply accept the status quo.

“I thank the president and Sec. Perdue for having our farmers’ and ranchers’ backs, including today’s announcement on expanded market access in Europe. This follows on yesterday’s commitment to provide short-term assistance to our farmers and ranchers as they weather unjustified retaliatory tariffs. I also thank the president for once again reiterating in our meeting today that he expects Congress to send him a strong, new farm bill on time.”

Farm Bureau Issues Support for Several Senate Spending Bill Amendments

As the Senate considers amendments to a 2019 spending package (H.R. 6147) that includes funding for USDA and the departments of the Interior, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, the American Farm Bureau Federation is asking lawmakers to prioritize the issues important to U.S. farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

In a July 25 letter to senators, AFBF President Zippy Duvall indicated the organization’s support for a number of amendments to the bill, including two USDA-specific amendments; One would direct the secretary of Agriculture to research opportunities for expanding aquaculture and ocean farming, while the other would provide funding for programs that promote investment in the dairy sector.

Two transportation-related amendments—one that would provide an additional 150 air-miles in radius exemption for hours of service for those transporting agricultural commodities and another that would create a working group to focus on improving the livestock, insect and agricultural commodities transport industries—have Farm Bureau’s backing.

The organization also supports an amendment that would repeal the definition of the “Waters of the United States,” as well as one that would direct the secretary of the Interior to reissue a final rule related to the listing of the gray wolf in the Western Great Lake and prevent the final rule from being subject to judicial review.

NMPF Statement on Passage of Newhouse Amendment to Improve H-2A Program for Dairy Producers

Nat'l Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern

“We greatly appreciate Rep. Dan Newhouse’s (R-WA) work on behalf of America’s dairy producers to expand the H-2A farm worker visa program to include year-round employees on farms.

“Rep. Newhouse’s amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill would allow farm employers to use the H-2A visa program to hire foreign workers, regardless of whether those employees are engaged in temporary or seasonal work. NMPF and members of its Immigration Task Force have worked with Rep. Newhouse on this proposal so that dairy farmers can more readily use the H-2A visa program to fill their need for year-round workers. We’re also grateful for Rep. David Valadao’s (R-CA) support in keeping this issue at the forefront.

“Dairy farmers have largely have not been able to utilize the H-2A visa program because the current version restricts the visas only to the temporary and seasonal labor needs of agricultural employers. The H-2A program simply isn’t an option for a commodity that harvests its product multiple times a day, every day.

“We believe that creating an additional legal pathway for workers to connect with farm employers deserves bipartisan support. It is critical that the government creates a system that provides secure, legal employment. We thank Rep. Newhouse for this efforts toward achieving this goal.”

USDA Rejects World Health Org's Livestock Antibiotic Guidelines

The Trump administration is resisting the World Health Organization's effort to sharply limit antibiotic use in farm animals, a move intended to help preserve the drugs' effectiveness. Instead, the U.S. is helping draft an alternative approach that appears more favorable to agribusiness.

The WHO guidelines -- released in November after two years of work by experts in infectious disease, veterinary medicine and microbiology -- called for an end to giving medically important antibiotics routinely to healthy animals to promote growth or prevent disease. The United Nations agency said the drugs should be administered only to sick animals or healthy ones being raised near them, in the same flock, herd or fish population. Even then, drugs "critically important for human medicine" should not be used.

Bloomberg reports that the USDA termed the effort shoddy science and one that the U.S. and other countries should have had a voice in developing. U.S. policy bans antibiotics to promote growth in farm animals but still allows the drugs to be given to healthy animals to prevent disease with a veterinarian's approval.

"The WHO guidelines are not in alignment with U.S. policy and are not supported by sound science," Chavonda Jacobs-Young, the department's acting chief scientist, said shortly after the guidelines were released.

A few months earlier, at an international food-standards meeting, Mary Frances Lowe, a USDA trade official, argued that other international agencies had more expertise to provide farm advice than the WHO did.

The U.S. has long opposed or watered down the United Nations agency's efforts to reduce the harm caused by products like tobacco or junk food. The Trump administration, which has made little secret of its disdain for international institutions and regulations, seems to be pursuing its agenda with particular vigor. Since dismissing the antibiotic proposal, the administration has blocked a WHO endorsement of a sugary-drink tax to fight obesity and attempted to squelch a resolution to limit the marketing of breast milk substitutes.

In 2017, the U.S. banned the use of medically important antibiotics to promote growth. Under the new policy, such drugs require a veterinary prescription and can be used to treat, control or prevent disease. It's hard to gauge the impact. In 2016, the latest year for which data is available, sales of medically important antimicrobials decreased by 14 percent for farm use in the U.S.

EIA: Ethanol Plant Output Up About 1%

Domestic ethanol stocks were down for a second straight week during the week-ended July 20 as a draw at the Gulf Coast negated builds in the other regions, Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday, July 25, showed. Data showed plant production reached a high for 2018 while ethanol demand rose 3.2% for the week profiled.

EIA reports ethanol inventories declined 115,000 barrels (bbl) last week to 21.653 million bbl, 0.9% higher than supply held a year earlier.

Plant production rose 10,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.074 million bpd during the week ended July 20, the highest level for this year and also the highest output since mid-December 2017. Output for the week profiled was 6.1% higher than the same time in 2017. Four-week average production at 1.059 million bpd as of July 20 was 44,000 bpd higher than the corresponding four weeks in 2017.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, jumped 29,000 bpd to 942,000 bpd during the week-ended July 20, 3,000 bpd lower than a year ago. For the four weeks ended July 20, blending demand averaged 934,000 bpd, 1,000 bpd below the same period in 2017.

Most Fertilizer Prices Inch Higher

Fertilizer prices continue to push slightly higher, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the third week of July 2018.

Seven of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to last month, but none were up a significant amount. DAP had an average price of $486/ton, MAP $505/ton, urea $366/ton, 10-34-0 $442/ton, anhydrous $503/ton, UAN28 $243/ton and UAN32 $279/ton.

Potash was unchanged from the previous month with an average price of $354/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.40/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are higher compared to last year. 10-34-0 is 4% higher, both potash and UAN32 are 5% more expensive, UAN28 is 6% higher, MAP is 9% more expensive, DAP is 12% higher, anhydrous is 18% higher and urea is 19% more expensive compared to last year.

AMPI Recalls Limited Amount of Dry Whey Powder Because of Possible Health Risk

Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) of New Ulm, Minn., is recalling dry whey powder packaged in 50-pound and 25-kg bags that were produced at the cooperative’s Blair, Wis., dry whey plant from May 1-5, 2018; May 24-29, 2018; June 2-5, 2018; and June 7-14, 2018 due to the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. This is a precautionary recall. All products shipped to the marketplace tested negative for salmonella.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

AMPI dry whey powder is not sold directly to consumers, but is used as an ingredient in a number of foods. It is sold directly to manufacturers and also distributed by brokers. A limited amount was sold for animal feed. All products shipped into the marketplace tested negative for salmonella as part of AMPI’s routine testing program. However, because additional product tested positive for salmonella under AMPI’s routine test and hold procedures, the company is recalling product as a precautionary measure. AMPI has ceased production at its Blair, Wis., dry whey plant, is currently investigating the cause for the positive samples, and will take all necessary remedial actions.

All customers that have received the dry whey powder lots have been notified by AMPI and instructed to return the recalled powder, or to document the destruction of the powder, after contacting AMPI for specific instructions.

At AMPI, we are dedicated to producing dairy products that meet the highest quality and safety standards required by our customers as well as complying with all government food safety requirements. We are recalling this product as a precautionary measure and in keeping with our commitment to the best interests of our customers and consumers, and in line with the Food Safety Modernization Act and FDA requirements. We will continue to work cooperatively with the FDA to provide products that meet our customers’ requirements, meet government food safety standards, and provide the nutritious benefits of dairy products to customers throughout the United States.

Consumers with questions may contact the AMPI Response Center at 734-773-4220.

Last Chance! Enter the NCGA Yield Contest Today

With only days remaining, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to register for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest by the end of July.

To enter today using the online form, click here...

Entry will remain open at the full rate of $110 through July 31. All harvest forms will be due by November 16. Contest winners will be announced on December 17.

Two new rules will be implemented in 2018. First, a recheck of 1.2500 acres or more using the same harvest pattern in the rows next to the complete harvest is required if the first check yields 300.000 bushels per acre or higher. Secondly, all yields of 325.0000 bushels per acre or higher require the supervisor to contact NCGA to report the first yield as well as the recheck yield.

Two clarifications of note will be implemented in 2018. There will be two testing options for obtaining moisture percentage. Contestants may do so through a state-certified moisture tester at a grain handling facility. In this case supervisor(s) must be present when the grain handler runs the representative sample of corn through the moisture tester. Moisture percentage must be printed or written on the weigh ticket that contains the supervisor(s) signature approval. One moisture reading listed on the certified scale printout is acceptable.

The second testing option is to use a non-certified moisture tester (including portable moisture meter). Portable testers MUST be calibrated. Supervisor(s) must be present when the representative sample of corn is tested. The same sample of corn must be run three times. The average of the three moisture readings will stand as the final moisture percentage. All three readings must be written on the weigh ticket that contains the supervisor(s) signature approval.

Additionally, the rules have been amended to more clearly define the differences between entries in the non-irrigated and irrigated categories.

For access to contest information and a detailed list of the entry and harvest rules, click here.

For half of a century, NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest has provided corn growers the opportunity to compete with their colleagues to grow the most corn per acre, helping feed and fuel the world. This has given participants not only the recognition they deserved, but the opportunity to learn from their peers.

Winners receive national recognition in publications such as the NCYC Corn Yield Guide, as well as cash trips or other awards from participating sponsoring seed, chemical and crop protection companies. The winners will be honored during Commodity Classic 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

Contact the direct call line at 636-733-5512 or email with any questions.

European Court rules new genetically engineered seeds and foods should be classified and regulated as GMOs

The European Court of Justice made a precedent setting decision today that all new types of genetic engineering techniques and applications to seeds and food need to be regulated as GMOs.

This decision, which was in response to a case filed by Friends of the Earth France, affirms that new genetic engineering techniques like gene editing should be classified under the EU legal definition of GMOs. It also affirms that new genetic engineering techniques must be subject to the same EU safety laws that cover most existing GMOs, to check for their impacts on human health and the environment which include safety assessments, traceability and GMO labeling.

Syngenta receives EPA registration for Vibrance® Cinco fungicide seed treatment for corn

Vibrance® Cinco fungicide seed treatment from Syngenta has received registration approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on corn to guard against the most damaging seed- and soil-borne diseases, including Pythium, Rhizoctonia and Fusarium.

“Vibrance Cinco contains five powerful fungicidal active ingredients and five modes of action in a single jug, providing the most consistent and comprehensive seed-applied disease protection on the market today,” said Dale Ireland, Ph.D., Seedcare technical product lead, Syngenta. “This leads to increased consistency of performance and ultimately a higher potential yield.”

Independent trials show Vibrance Cinco consistently out yields commercial standards by 2 bushels per acre, which increases to 6.7 bushels per acre under heavy disease pressure.

“This bolt-on yield enhancement is a result of the product’s powerful disease protection, which leads to maximum root development, emergence, stand establishment and above-ground plant development,” Ireland said. “If you’re interested in maximizing your hybrid’s potential with Vibrance Cinco, let your seed dealer know, since seed companies are ultimately the ones that decide which seed treatments to apply to their corn seed.”

Vibrance Cinco is the latest addition to the robust portfolio of seed treatments from Syngenta.

“This product further proves our commitment to delivering the best, long-term, sustainable solutions, and we’re not stopping here,” Ireland said. “You’ll see other products coming down our innovation pipeline in the near future.”

Tuesday July 24 Ag News

NeFB YF&Rs Stay Positive in The Face of Trade and Commodity Price Uncertainty

Young farmers and ranchers tend to feel the weight of agriculture’s challenging times sooner than those who have been in the business for a while. Trying to manage the daily talk of international trade disputes, farm bill debates, the back-and-forth battles over ethanol mandates, low crop prices, high overhead costs, and tight or nonexistent profit margins. But despite all these challenges, members of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, who attended a national affairs trip to Washington, D.C. July 16-18, are optimistic about their future in agriculture.

“Right now, you are seeing good corn and soybean crops, so it’s not uncommon to see lower commodity prices at this time. At the same time, the current trade situation is also likely having an impact. Despite all of this, we remain cautiously optimistic President Trump will be able to score a few victories as he works through our nation’s trading relationship with the rest of the world,” John Temme, youth at-large member of the NEFB board of directors said July 20. Temme farms and operates a dairy farmer near Wayne.

Nebraska Farm Bureau works to equip young farmers and ranchers in Nebraska to lead effectively and advocate for positive change in agriculture, by sharing personal stories of how decisions made in Washington, D.C. effects their farms and ranches.

“We had a good and diverse group that visited with our Nebraska delegation bringing a lot of perspective to the issues facing agriculture today,” Steve Nelson, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau said. “There is support for President Trump’s efforts in doing the right thing on trade, but the longer the current situation remains unsolved, the greater the concern grows among young farmers and ranchers,” Nelson said.

While the group’s main message was one of hope to make countries like China play fair in trade, they also stressed that there needs to be a quick resolution to these trade disputes.

“Those in agriculture who stand to lose the most from a trade war are young farmers and ranchers who have not built up a lot of equity in their farms and ranches, since they are just getting started. The administration needs to show it can conclude trade negotiations and pass a Farm Bill. If the U.S. can finalize an agreement with both Canada and Mexico and get a farm bill passed by the end of September, it would go a long way toward calming the unease in the countryside,” Temme said.

Another issue front and center during the trip was showing their support of updating and improving the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A number of bills were introduced in the House that are critical to the success of meeting the law’s intent — to protect and recover imperiled species and the eco-systems upon which they depend.

“We have someone in the White House that wants to help farmers and ranchers instead of constantly creating red tape and regulating what we do on our operations. We hope we can build some momentum over the next several months in order to finally make some needed changes to the ESA,” Temme said.

Another issue gaining a lot of attention in Washington is the future of lab grown meats. Agencies in the government are divided on who should have ultimate responsibility for regulation of this product. Both Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulators assert that they have jurisdiction over the products and publicly argue over that responsibility.

“We have concerns with how this product is labeled and who in the federal government should regulate it. As things move forward in Washington, we hope our USDA rather than FDA has the final say as USDA has a better history of being friendlier to agriculture,” Temme said.

Those attending the National Affairs visit were:

Steve Nelson, president Nebraska Farm Bureau – Kearney/Franklin County
John and Molly Temme, Youth At-Large NEFB Board of Directors – Wayne County
Shane and Nicole Greving, At-Large representative on the YF&R Committee – Merrick County
Alec Ibach, Central Region representative YF&R Committee – Buffalo County
Brady and Katie Revels, Southeast Region representative on the YF&R Committee – Douglas County

While the list of challenges young farmers and ranchers face is long, the need for young people in agriculture to answer the call of growing food for our nation and world remains as strong as ever. “Continuing to communicate our message to key decision makers is vital to the future success of our nation as well as for farm and ranch families,” Nelson said.


Bruce Anderson, NE 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 their 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.


The extra rain received in central and western Nebraska this year has been mostly welcome.  But it has raised havoc with making hay, especially on wet meadows.

Wet meadows are a great resource.  Their natural subirrigation enables them to reliably grow many of the plants cut for winter hay for many ranches.

This year, however, many of these meadows have had too much of a good thing – rain.  Not only have frequent rain showers made it difficult to put up the hay, many meadows are so wet it’s been impossible to even get in to cut the hay.

So what do you do?  I suppose you can continue to wait until the ground dries and firms up enough to drive haying equipment over it.  But the quality of this late cut hay isn’t going to be very good and the cost of putting it up will be high.  And for many of you, much of your summer hay crew will soon go back to school.

Maybe a better idea would be to winter graze the meadows, either as standing grass or by windrow grazing.  You might need to build some temporary fence to efficiently strip graze as well as figure out how cattle will be watered, but there are several advantages to this approach.  First, it saves you the time and expense of making and feeding hay.  Also, it reduces the risk of damaging the meadow with heavy equipment running over it when it’s too soft.  Cattle won’t cause damage if you graze only when the ground is firm or frozen.  And finally, research on both meadows and uplands has shown that dry cows do well when winter grazing, often needing just a little protein supplement to assure good fiber digestion and healthy calves.

With all these advantages, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you ranchers who try it decide to do at least some of it on a regular basis.

National FFA Organization Names 2018 American Star Award Finalists

Today, the National FFA Organization selected 16 students from throughout the United States as finalists for its 2018 top achievement awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience.

The American Star Awards represents the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. The award recognizes FFA members who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through the completion of a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows members to learn by doing. Members can own and operate an agricultural business, intern at an agricultural business or conduct an agriculture-based scientific experiment and report the results.

Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.

 The finalists include:

 American Star Farmer
Adam Eichacker of the McCook Central FFA Chapter in South Dakota
Dylan Finken of the Max FFA Chapter in North Dakota
Austin Stanton of the Centralia FFA Chapter in Missouri
Laura Stobb of the Milaca FFA Chapter in Minnesota

American Star in Agribusiness
Benjamin Curtin of the Taylorville FFA Chapter in Illinois
Aaron Deunk of the Norris FFA Chapter in Nebraska
Conner Watts of the Slaton FFA Chapter in Texas
Brady Womack of the Morris FFA Chapter in Oklahoma

American Star in Agricultural Placement
Gracie Danner of the West Liberty FFA Chapter in Iowa
Landon Herring of the Lowndes County FFA Chapter in Georgia
Jarret Moser of the Jefferson County FFA Chapter in Tennessee
Colin Wegner of the United South Central FFA in Minnesota

American Star in Agriscience
Adrienne Blakey of the Stillwater FFA Chapter in Oklahoma
Katherine Marie Fazzino of the Rudder FFA Chapter in Texas
Eric Koehlmoos of the South O’Brien FFA Chapter in Iowa
Katheryn Vacula of the Big Foot FFA Chapter in Wisconsin

A panel of judges will interview finalists and select one winner for each award at the 91st National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 24-27 in Indianapolis. The four winners will be announced during an onstage ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 25.

Visit for more information about the American Star Awards.

 Case IH, Elanco and Syngenta sponsor the American FFA Degree recognition program.

Keeping Grazing Herds Healthy is Focus of New Publication

Grazing animals are exposed to parasites throughout the grazing season. Both external and internal parasites can infest animals and impact the health and performance of grazing livestock.

A new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication titled “Internal Parasites in Grazing Ruminants” (IBCR 203) focuses on understanding and controlling these challenges in grazing cattle. It is written by Claire Andresen, graduate assistant in animal science, and Troy Brick, DVM, assistant professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine at Iowa State.

The publication focuses on different ways to keep herds healthy, including good pasture management and deworming.

“Deworming is an important production practice for cow-calf producers,” Brick said. “Research has shown that not utilizing dewormers could negatively impact break-even prices by as much as 30 percent per head each year. This includes impacts on weaning rate, pregnancy rate and survival rate of the calf.”

This treatment is especially important for animals that are most susceptible to parasites, including all bulls, yearling animals, stocker and replacement heifers and two-year old cows.

“While suckling calves aren’t as high risk as weaned calves, it can still be beneficial to treat pre-weaned calves between 200 and 400 pounds,” Brick said. “In a cow-calf setting, treating only cows typically provides adequate protection for calves.”

The publication also contains information on pharmaceutical options available to producers for parasite protection. A table included in the publication provides a comprehensive list of drugs available, the proper dosage, mode of administration and withdrawal time. The specific species of parasites each product targets is also included.

“Working with your local veterinarian to identify predominant worm species in your herd, selecting the proper dewormer to treat them and implementing good pasture management practices will result in a well-rounded parasite control program for your herd,” Brick said.

Iowa Farmers add their voice to timely issues impacting soybean production 

Fourteen Iowa soybean farmers have volunteered to serve on the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) Communications Squad.

Participants are empowered to share timely information about their industry and agriculture. Activities include visiting with reporters, speaking to civic and community groups, and offering their agricultural perspectives through a variety of communications channels including social media.

“The goal of the Communications Squad is to help participants take control of the narrative surrounding issues in the agriculture industry to ensure their voices are heard and their stories are told accurately,” says ISA Communications Director Aaron Putze..

ISA Communications Squad participants are:
·         Tom Adam, Harper
·         Tim Bardole, Rippey
·         Kellie Blair, Dayton
·         Steph Essick, Dickens
·         Jim Fitkin, Cedar Falls
·         Lindsay Greiner, Keota
·         April Hemmes, Hampton
·         Randy Miller, Lacona
·         Val Plagge, Latimer
·         Bill Shipley, Nodaway
·         Randy Souder, Rockwell City
·         Rob Stout, Washington
·         Dave Struthers, Collins
·         Dave Walton, Wilton

Farmers take part in four training sessions that provide tips for conducting successful interviews, writing impactful letters to the editor, speaking confidently in public, engaging in thoughtful conversations with consumers and being active on social media.

The group launchedin June with its first training session. It offered attendees insights on being interviewed from a former reporter and tips to improve active listening skills. It also included a tour of WHO-TV (Des Moines) where participants viewed a real-time newscast and interacted with reporters and station management.

Additional sessions this summer and fall  will offer communications squad participants tips for photography and engaging others on social media. They’ll  engage with fairgoers at the Iowa Food & Family Project exhibit in August and conclude training in September.

“We appreciate the time and effort these farmers are investing to improve their communication skills and apply those skills to be more vocal advocates for soybean farmers,” Putze says. “People respect the opinions of farmers and welcome their first-hand knowledge on issues that have an impact locally and globally.”

The Communications Squad is powered by Corteva, Hertz Farm Management, Inc., Iowa Select Farms and Landus Cooperative.

To learn more about ISA, go to

USDA Cold Storage June 2018 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on June 30, 2018 were down 7 percent from the previous month but up 5 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 8 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 10 percent from the previous month but up slightly from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 16 percent from last month but up 130 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on June 30, 2018 were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 6 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 2 percent from the previous month and up 10 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 5 percent from last month but down 1 percent from June 30, 2017.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on June 30, 2018 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 6 percent from June 30, 2017. Butter stocks were down 1 percent from last month but up 8 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were up 13 percent from last month but down 11 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 1 percent from last month but down 6 percent from a year ago.

Acting Administrator Wheeler Codifies Latest Animal Waste Report Exemptions Under CERCLA

Yesterday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a final rule that made changes in regulations to conform to the FARM Act. The final rule also removes the regulatory text of EPA’s 2008 rule that provided an exemption to farms from reporting.

“EPA is taking action to reflect Congress’s direction in the FARM Act that removed an undue reporting burden on American agriculture,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA is committed to providing regulatory clarity and certainty to farmers and ranchers — hardworking Americans invested in conserving the land and environment.”

“Over the years, we’ve seen too many harmful federal regulations make it harder for Nebraska agriculture producers to feed the world,” said Senator Deb Fischer. “That’s why I worked to pass legislation exempting farmers and ranchers from reporting requirements meant for toxic superfund sites. I thank Acting Administrator Wheeler for signing this final rule to implement the law that will provide our nation’s producers with the relief they deserve.”


The rule responds to the vacatur of the CERCLA/EPCRA reporting exemption from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. On December 18, 2008, EPA published a final rule that exempted many farms from reporting air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste. On April 11, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated this final rule.

Farms, however, remained exempt because of legislative changes in the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, which was signed into law on March 23, 2018. The final rule makes regulatory revisions to reflect changes to CERCLA enacted in the FARM Act. The Agency also removed the 2008 definitions of "farm" and "animal waste" from its regulations and added revised definitions of these terms to CERCLA regulations that correspond with the FARM Act.

For more information, please see our webpage at

Large Loans for Livestock Drive Uptick in Farm Lending

Cortney Cowley , Economist and Ty Kreitman , Assistant Economist
Federal Reserve Bank, Kansas City

Lending activity in the agricultural sector increased slightly in the second quarter of 2018, supported by larger loans for livestock. In the short term, higher livestock prices in the first half of the quarter likely were responsible for the increased size of livestock loans. Longer term, the size of livestock loans also has been trending higher, suggesting that consolidation has contributed to fewer, larger farms with larger lending needs. Increased lending on farm operations comes amid increasing risk in the agricultural sector, as expectations of large supplies and trade disputes have contributed to sharp declines in June of prices for most major agricultural commodities.

Section A: Second Quarter National Farm Loan Data

Farm lending activity increased slightly in the second quarter, according to the National Survey of Terms of Lending to Farmers. The total volume of non-real estate farm loans was about 2 percent higher than the same period last year. After falling to five-year lows in 2017, the volume of farm loans grew leading into 2018 and has continued to increase in the second quarter. Adjusted for inflation, livestock loans reached a historical high for the second quarter while the volume of farm machinery and equipment loans has narrowed to the lowest second-quarter level since 2015.

Total loan volumes increased relative to last year, driven primarily by moderate increases in livestock loans. Loans for both feeder and other livestock increased 10 percent from a year ago. In contrast, farm machinery and equipment lending contracted nearly 30 percent, following three consecutive years of increases. Loans to finance farm machinery and equipment make up the smallest category of agricultural loans at commercial banks. Therefore, although the decline in machinery and equipment loans was large, the overall impact on total loan volumes was relatively small. In addition, loans to finance current operating expenses, the largest category of farm loans at commercial banks, declined slightly. However, despite declines in other types of loans, the increase in livestock loans was large enough to boost total loan volumes in the second quarter.

Despite fewer loans being originated in the second quarter, larger loan sizes, particularly for livestock, supported higher total loan volumes. The number of livestock loans originated in the second quarter declined 35 percent, on average, compared to the previous year. However, the average size of loans for feeder livestock and other livestock increased 75 percent and 70 percent, respectively. Larger loans in the livestock sector could be the result of higher prices for feeder and breeding animals in the second quarter and longer-term implications of increasing consolidation.

Alongside significant gains in the first quarter, the average size of livestock loans historically has trended higher. Corresponding to steep declines in market prices for livestock in 2016, the average size of livestock loans declined in 2016 and the first half of 2017 but has rebounded since. In fact, the size of loans to purchase feeder livestock increased back to trend levels in the second quarter of this year. The average size of loans to purchase other livestock has been below trend since the fourth quarter of 2016 but since then has increased for four quarters. Although the actual sizes of livestock loans tend to follow prices for feeder and breeding animals, trend loan sizes could continue to increase in the future due to consolidation.

Consolidation in the livestock sector has led to larger inventories on fewer farms with greater financing needs. For example, in the hog industry, inventories in the last 20 years have grown significantly. Over the same period, the number of hog operations has declined almost 50 percent.  Larger inventories on fewer farms indicate that remaining farms have grown and/or consolidated. There also has been consolidation in cattle and other industries, but at a slower pace.1 As the industry transitions to fewer, larger farms, lending needs per farm will be likely to increase.

Increased lending and larger loan sizes in the livestock sector have coincided with higher interest rates on livestock loans. Interest rates on feeder livestock loans have increased 15 percent from last year, and interest rates on loans to finance other livestock have increased 18 percent since the first quarter of 2016. Higher interest rates on larger loans have increased debt obligations for farmers. Although the increase in interest expense has remained relatively small compared with other expenses on farm balance sheets, higher expenses during a period of relatively tighter profit margins (compared to previous years), increased market volatility and trade uncertainty could put additional pressure on some livestock operations.

Section B: First Quarter Call Report Data

Farm debt outstanding continued to increase in the first quarter. Similar to previous quarters, the increase primarily was driven by additional increases in real estate debt. Although the pace of growth in real-estate debt has slowed somewhat from previous years, outstanding loans for farm real estate still were up 5 percent from the previous year. Non-real estate debt also continued to grow but at a slower pace of about 1 percent.

Farm debt at commercial banks also increased from the fourth quarter to the first quarter for the first time since quarterly information was collected in 1987. Loan volumes typically decrease in the first quarter as farmers pay down annual operating lines following seasonal harvest in the fall. More crops in storage seem to have contributed to a shift from typical seasonal trends as farm debt in the first quarter increased 0.2 percent from the previous quarter. Since 2014, stocks of soybeans have doubled, and corn inventories also have increased significantly. Although record levels of crop production have contributed to growing inventories, it also appears that producers are storing larger quantities of grain and oilseeds through the end of the year in hopes that prices will improve.

Growing farm debt also has continued to weigh on liquidity at agricultural banks. Loan-to-deposit ratios at agricultural banks have increased 10 percent since the first quarter of 2013, indicating a modest reduction in available funds. Despite a slight increase in the fourth quarter of 2017, liquidity decreased slightly in the first quarter of 2018 and the loan-to-deposit ratio remained near 80 percent. If farm debt continues to increase while agricultural commodity prices and incomes remain subdued, liquidity may remain tight in the coming months.

Section C: First Quarter Regional Agricultural Data

Similar to national trends, indicators of farm loan demand remained strong in most Federal Reserve Districts, but measures of fund availability have indicated tightening liquidity in some regions. Demand remained relatively steady in the Chicago and St. Louis Districts and was slightly lower in the Kansas City and Minneapolis Districts compared with a year ago. The majority of bankers in the Dallas District continued to report slightly lower demand for farm loans, likely a result of strong cotton markets in recent years. The Dallas and Minneapolis Districts reported slightly higher fund availability, while the prolonged trend of strong farm loan demand may be weighing on liquidity in some areas as measures of funds availability were slightly lower in the Chicago, Kansas City and St. Louis Districts.

Other measures of farm lending across Federal Reserve Districts also remained similar to recent quarters. Similar to a year ago, all Districts reported further increases in loan renewals and extensions, but the pace of growth declined slightly, with the exception of the Dallas District. The rate of loan repayments continued to decrease in all Districts. The pace of decline in repayment rates was relatively steady in the Chicago and Dallas Districts, but slowed across all others, which could be an indication of stabilizing credit conditions relative to prior quarters.

Financial conditions for farmers also showed some signs of steadying in the first quarter. Since reaching historical lows in 2016, farm income has stabilized over the last four quarters in the Minneapolis, Kansas City and St. Louis Districts. Recent declines in the prices of key agricultural commodities could lead to further reductions in farm income, however, and expenses generally have remained elevated. Interest expenses associated with farm loans also increased slightly in the first quarter as interest rates continued to edge higher.

Amid deteriorating credit conditions and increasing interest rates, farm real estate values declined throughout most of the central plains region. While most regions reported only small changes in non-irrigated farmland values compared to the prior year, some others reported modest increases or decreases. The largest annual change was reported in Texas, where the value of non-irrigated cropland increased 9 percent. In contrast, values in both Nebraska and Oklahoma decreased 6 percent. Overall, farmland values have continued to hold relatively steady in comparison to historically weak agricultural credit conditions, and the variations among regions are likely influenced by differences in conditions across individual commodities.


Farm lending activity picked up slightly in the first quarter of 2018 as the size of livestock loans was up sharply from a year ago. Seasonal trends in farm debt outstanding also deviated from historic norms as grain inventories continued to grow through the first quarter. The high demand for farm loans has led to lower liquidity at agricultural banks and at the same time, agricultural lenders have continued to report lower rates of repayment, and interest rates have continued on an upward trend.

Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler Approves Sorghum Oil Pathways Under RFS

Today, as a part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final notice approving a variety of pathways for renewable fuel derived from sorghum, including biodiesel. EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the final pathway alongside Sens. Jerry Moran and Deb Fisher, Rep. Roger Marshall, the National Sorghum Producers, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“Today’s approval sets the stage for more homegrown fuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard and adds diversity to our mix of biofuels in the U.S.,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This is a win for American sorghum farmers and biofuel producers alike.”

“USDA welcomes this decision by EPA that biofuel made from sorghum oil qualifies for advanced biofuel and biomass-based diesel designation under the RFS,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “This decision recognizes the environmental benefits of home-grown renewable energy and will create new markets for agricultural commodities.”

“Kansas farmers are hurting – low commodity prices and falling farm revenue have made it increasingly difficult for producers to make ends meet,” said Senator Jerry Moran (KS). “Approving the pathway is long past due, and I applaud Administrator Wheeler for acting quickly to finalize the pathway after assuming leadership of the agency. It is critical for EPA to recognize the challenges faced by farmers and ranchers and to make certain it pursues biofuel policies that will benefit rural America.”

“More and more farmers are growing sorghum in Nebraska, and it’s an important commodity in our state. EPA’s approval of a sorghum oil fuel pathway under the RFS is good news for Nebraska ag producers and rural America. I look forward to continuing to work with the administration to provide opportunities for Nebraska farmers,” said Senator Deb Fischer (NE).

“This announcement is big for our producers back home. This pathway has been a top issue for our office since I came to Washington.  Kansas is the top sorghum producing state in the country; I am elated the EPA has finalized the long-awaited biofuels pathway for Grain Sorghum Oil. This pathway is crucial to not only our sorghum producers, but also our biofuels plants, and our rural economy. Farmers can use all the relief they can get in the midst of growing uncertainty in global markets,” said Representative Roger Marshal (KS-1)l.

“With this decision, EPA is creating an opportunity for sorghum producers to support a new fuel source stream for biofuel production,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “This is a good news story in helping meet America’s renewable fuels needs while protecting public health and the environment.”

“This is a great day for U.S. sorghum farmers and our partners in the ethanol and biodiesel industries,” said National Sorghum Producers Chairman Don Bloss, a sorghum farmer from Pawnee City, Nebraska. “NSP has worked tirelessly for over two years to make this happen. A pathway for sorghum oil opens new markets for ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum and ultimately adds value to the grain farmers produce. We thank Acting Administrator Wheeler for taking the step to finalize this pathway and everyone involved in the process that lead to this achievement.”

“Farm Bureau applauds EPA’s approval of an RFS pathway for sorghum biofuel production. At a time when sorghum farmers — like many in U.S. agriculture — are facing tough economic times and uncertainty in key markets, new opportunities like this can go a long way in supporting their bottom line. This new pathway will create an important opportunity for rural America and our farm economy, while strengthening and diversifying U.S. homegrown energy sources,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.

“Kansas produces more sorghum than any other state in the nation,” said Kansas Farm Bureau President Rich Felts. “The oppor tunity to add value to those bushels is critical to our farmers and could not be more timely as we seek any and all methods to balance the books in a tough agricultural climate.”

“Nebraska Farm Bureau supports efforts to expanded market opportunities for Nebraska agricultural commodities, including grain sorghum. EPA’s announcement that sorghum-based biofuel meets emission requirements allowing it to be recognized as an advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is a win for Nebraska grain sorghum producers,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.

“We are very pleased the EPA has finalized the RFS pathway for grain sorghum oil biofuel production. This pathway provides a great opportunity for farmers to market their crops and achieve better returns by producing ethanol from grain sorghum. Texas Farm Bureau sincerely thanks Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler and Congressional leaders who made this possible. We look forward to seeing the positive effect this pathway will have on hardworking farm families in Texas and the U.S.,” said Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening.

The newly approved pathways include biodiesel, heating oil, jet fuel, heating oil, and liquified petroleum gas produced from sorghum oil, a by-product of ethanol produced from using grain sorghum as a primary feedstock. These pathways meet the greenhouse gas emissions reductions requirements to qualify to generate credits or Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels under the RFS program. 

This new feedstock is estimated to produce around 21 million gallons providing flexibility in meeting volume standards of the RFS program. It also adds diversity to the biofuel mix in the country.

The RFS program was created by Congress as a national policy to increase volumes of renewable fuel to replace or reduce the consumption of petroleum-based transportation fuel, heating oil, or jet fuel. EPA implements the program in consultation with U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy.

EPA Approves Sorghum Oil Pathway

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler approved sorghum oil as an eligible feedstock under the Renewable Fuel Standard during a signing event today at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., with National Sorghum Producers leadership and Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Congressman Roger Marshall (R-KS).

The EPA’s announcement marks a significant step toward leveling the playing field for ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum. NSP worked closely with the EPA for over two years to establish a biofuels pathway for sorghum oil in the RFS, and this announcement provides new market access for the crop.

“This is a great day for U.S. sorghum farmers and our partners in the ethanol and biodiesel industries,” said NSP Chairman Don Bloss, a sorghum farmer from Pawnee City, Nebraska. “NSP has worked tirelessly for over two years to make this happen. A pathway for sorghum oil opens new markets for ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum and ultimately adds value to the grain farmers produce.”

In December 2017, the EPA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) concerning renewable fuels produced from sorghum oil under the RFS program followed by a 30-day comment period. EPA’s analysis showed biodiesel produced from sorghum oil has greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings of 82 percent. This will give ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum access to sell into the biodiesel market.

“This pathway for sorghum oil reaches far beyond the farmer,” said Tom Willis, NSP board director and CEO of Conestoga Energy. “This is an avenue for creating jobs in rural America we so desperately need, and it helps provide energy security from a renewable water-conserving source.”

In addition to the nine ethanol producers already extracting oil from sorghum, several other facilities will now be able to purchase and use sorghum. The pathway also makes possible additional investments in fuel infrastructure in the Sorghum Belt.

“We owe a significant amount of gratitude to several individuals and entities for making this possible,” NSP CEO Tim Lust said. “This includes EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler and his staff, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Senators Jerry Moran, Deb Fischer, Pat Roberts, Roy Blunt, Clair McCaskill, and Ben Sasse and Congressmen Roger Marshall, Jodey Arrington, Kevin Yoder, Mac Thornberry, Adrian Smith, Lynn Jenkins, Frank Lucas, Tom Cole and Blake Farenthold who all signed support letters and made phone calls on our behalf. We also extend our thanks to ethanol trade groups and numerous ethanol plants, fuel marketers and technology providers. This wide swath of support was key to this effort, and we sincerely appreciate the leadership of each one.”

Fischer Joins Acting EPA Administrator to Announce Approved Fuel Pathway for Sorghum Oil

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement today after participating in an event at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to announce an approved fuel pathway for grain sorghum under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):

“More and more farmers are growing sorghum in Nebraska, and it’s an increasingly important commodity in our state. EPA’s approval of a sorghum oil fuel pathway under the RFS is good news for Nebraska ag producers and rural America. I look forward to continuing to work with the administration to provide opportunities for Nebraska farmers.”

Nebraska is the largest ethanol producing state west of the Missouri River, with 25 active ethanol plants that have an annual production capacity of over 2 billion gallons. These plants represent more than $5 billion in capital investment and provide direct employment for approximately 1,300 Nebraskans. The RFS, coupled with the pathway approval for grain sorghum oil, provides growers a way forward to promote the benefits of biofuels. In March 2017, Fischer joined her Senate colleagues in a letter requesting the EPA to expedite this pathway approval.

Growth Energy Applauds EPA Approval of Sorghum Oil for Biofuel Feedstock

Growth Energy, the nation’s top ethanol advocate, applauded the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) announcement that it approved a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) pathway for sorghum oil to be used as a feedstock for biodiesel and other renewable fuel. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement:

"This is long over-due and very welcome news for the renewable fuels industry. Growth Energy, our member plants, and the National Sorghum Producers have been working side by side and pushing hard for this change for more than five years. We are thrilled to see our efforts become a reality for numerous ethanol producers using grain sorghum to produce ethanol, and for the opportunity to open up additional markets in a struggling agricultural economy."

Livestock Groups Highlight Misuse of Environmental Laws

Cattle and sheep producers today warned Congress that environmental laws are increasingly being misused by fringe activist groups and pose a growing threat to grazing on federal lands. Their testimony came at a hearing held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, and Environment today held a hearing titled Preserving Opportunities for Grazing on Federal Land. This hearing comes in response to mounting challenges faced by ranchers who graze livestock on federal land and the opportunities for productive range management practices.

The testimonies of Dave Eliason, a fourth-generation Utah cattle producer testifying on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Public Lands Council, and John Helle, a third-generation sheep and wool producer from Montana testifying on behalf of the American Sheep Industry Association, pointed out that litigation through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) has become an unavoidable obstacle for ranchers seeking to put conservation benefits on the ground.

For the sheep industry, a major example has been the loss of grazing over conflicts with agenda-driven activists. Helle has personally been impacted as pathogen transmission concerns without scientific basis have been used to enforce separation between domestic and bighorn sheep on the Gravely Mountain range of Southwest Montana.

“Our reward for working cooperatively with our state fish and game agency to introduce bighorn sheep was to be subject to what is now going on three years of costly federal litigation,” Helle said. “And, if we are to ultimately lose the litigation, we are subject to losing our ability to graze the lands we have grazed for multiple generations. I cannot imagine this scenario is what Congress envisioned when it passed the National Environmental Policy Act.”

Another issue impacting farmers and ranchers across the entire United States is the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a law Eliason said has been used as a weapon by extreme environmental groups.

“This litigation-driven focus on listings has derailed true species conservation efforts and rendered the current ESA largely dysfunctional,” Eliason, President of the PLC, said. “While well-intended when first passed over forty years ago, the ESA has evolved into the favorite weapon of these habitual litigants.”

These litigants include the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and WildEarth Guardians, which are responsible for 46 percent of active petitions under the ESA. Eliason cites the gray wolf as an a species these groups have used to target the livestock community.

“Despite following the process, doing their homework, and going through the full delisting process, FWS was immediately litigated on their final rule. That litigation ultimately resulted in the rule being overturned,” Eliason said. “As a result, the gray wolf remains listed to this day despite exploding populations and increasing predation issues. That’s not science, it’s a hijacking.”

The American Sheep Industry, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and Public Lands Council recognize the unique roles the livestock industry plays in federal land management and continues to advocate for greater flexibility to manage for conditions on the ground.

USDA Assists Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take several actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally.  Specifically, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets.

“This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire U.S. economy,” Secretary Perdue said.  “The President promised to have the back of every American farmer and rancher, and he knows the importance of keeping our rural economy strong. Unfortunately, America’s hard-working agricultural producers have been treated unfairly by China’s illegal trading practices and have taken a disproportionate hit when it comes illegal retaliatory tariffs.  USDA will not stand by while our hard-working agricultural producers bear the brunt of unfriendly tariffs enacted by foreign nations. The programs we are announcing today help ensure our nation’s agriculture continues to feed the world and innovate to meet the demand.”

Background: Of the total unjustified retaliatory tariffs imposed on the United States, a disproportionate amount was targeted directly at American farmers. Trade damage from such retaliation has impacted a host of U.S. commodities, including field crops like soybeans and sorghum, livestock products like milk and pork, and many fruits, nuts, and other specialty crops. High tariffs disrupt normal marketing patterns, affecting prices and raising costs by forcing commodities to find new markets. Additionally, there is evidence that American goods shipped overseas are being slowed from reaching market by unusually strict or cumbersome entry procedures, which can affect the quality and marketability of perishable crops.  This can boost marketing costs and discount our prices, and adversely affect our producers.  USDA will use the following programs to assist farmers:

    The Market Facilitation Program, authorized under The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by Farm Service Agency (FSA), will provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs. This support will help farmers manage disrupted markets, deal with surplus commodities, and expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.

    Additionally, USDA will use CCC Charter Act and other authorities to implement a Food Purchase and Distribution Program through the Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase unexpected surplus of affected commodities such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs.

    Finally, the CCC will use its Charter Act authority for a Trade Promotion Program administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) in conjunction with the private sector to assist in developing new export markets for our farm products.

Fischer on Administration’s Plan for Aid to Farmers

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today on reports that the Trump administration will soon announce a plan to provide $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers:

“I appreciate that the president is recognizing the economic hardship our farmers and ranchers are facing, but I believe we need a solution that provides certainty by protecting and expanding market access for our ag producers.”

Sasse Statement on Trade War Bailouts

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken advocate for trade and American agriculture, issued the following statement regarding the White House's plan to spend $12 billion on trade-war bailouts.

“This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and White House’s ‘plan’ is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches. America’s farmers don’t want to be paid to lose – they want to win by feeding the world. This administration’s tariffs and bailouts aren’t going to make America great again, they’re just going to make it 1929 again.”

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding USDA Assistance to Farmers, Ranchers from Retaliatory Tariffs

“While we appreciate the President’s recognition that trade tariffs are impacting markets for farmers and ranchers, our preference has and continues to be that the administration focus on market access for agriculture commodities, not government assistance to help mitigate market losses. Negotiation, not tariffs, provide the best path toward solving trade issues, particularly as it relates to our allies in Canada and Mexico. Furthermore, we are more than 18 months removed from U.S. withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). At that time the President indicated he would work to secure bi-lateral trade agreements with these partners. That has not happened. It is critical the administration work to secure agreements with Japan and other TPP member nations that reflect critical markets for Nebraska farm and ranch families.”


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement on President Trump's announcement of federal aid to agricultural producers. The Trump administration on Tuesday announced up to $12 billion in emergency relief for farmers.

“These programs recognize the market challenges our farmers are facing today, and will provide some temporary assistance. What we need is certainty when it comes to our trade relationships. We continue to urge the administration for the swift resolution of our trade negotiations with China and our NAFTA trading partners, as well as pursuing new trade agreements. As I travel the state I continue to hear Iowa farmers want more trade, not aid.”


The Trump administration announced today it will provide $12 billion dollars in aid to farmers hurt by the ongoing tariffs and trade uncertainty.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture will use their authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation to authorize a market facilitation program, a food distribution program and a trade promotion program to stabilize the agricultural economy during times of turmoil. We appreciate President Trump and his administration hearing farmers’ concerns and understanding the dire situation that many of us now face.

Our state has enjoyed a long-standing and prosperous trading relationship with many countries around the world. Iowa corn farmers have worked for decades to support fair and open trade practices because we understand the value of trade.

When politics or market forces beyond farmers’ control put their business at risk, the government can and should consider initiatives to keep family farmers on the farm. As farmers, we want access to markets, which will allow us the ability to compete on a level playing field but support these payments if this stands as our only recourse. We will continue to monitor the details of this proposal as it comes together.

Ultimately, resolving trade differences and repairing relationships with our trading partners must be our top priority because much of the demand for our corn lies outside our state and our country’s borders so fair and open trade remains the key.

We look forward to working with the Trump Administration on reaching a final agreement on the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade negotiations, so farmers have long-term certainty in the marketplace, and so we can build upon the trade successes we have already achieved under many other free trade agreements.

President Announces Short-Term Plan to Help Farmers, ASA Hopeful It’s Step One in Long-Term Tariff Solution

President Trump announced on Tuesday that the Department of Agriculture would be rolling out a relief plan this fall for farmers hit hard by trade tariffs imposed in recent months. Since discussion of a tit-for-tat exchange of tariffs between the U.S. and China became serious in late May, U.S. soy prices have dropped more than $2.00 per bushel.

The President has vowed for weeks that he would “take care” of farmers, but the American Soybean Association (ASA) and other agriculture groups did not know until today what that help would look like. The plan outlined by the Administration includes three components: Direct payments to farmers to mitigate lower prices resulting from China’s tariffs, direct commodity purchases by USDA, and funding for a temporary program similar in purpose to the current Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) programs. The cost of the package is expected to total around $12 billion spread across multiple commodities, including soybeans.

While soybean growers appreciate the Administration’s recognition that tariffs have caused reduced exports and lower prices, the announced plan provides only short-term assistance. ASA continues to call for a longer-term strategy to alleviate mounting soybean surpluses and continued low prices, including a plan to remove the harmful tariffs.

John Heisdorffer, ASA President and soybean grower from Keota, Iowa, stated, “Our best course of action is to expand other markets and develop new ones to buy the soybeans we’re not selling to China. This means finishing the NAFTA negotiations as soon as possible so we can begin talks on new bilateral agreements with other key soybean markets including Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.”

Soybean farmers are facing an urgent situation this fall, with a near-record harvest expected and exports predicted to be down by 11 percent next year. That situation will worsen without long-term answers to the pinch of tariffs—or seeing the tariffs rescinded.

“The American Soybean Association has consistently advised the Administration that the best way to reduce our Nation’s trade deficit is by increasing exports, including of agricultural products,” Heisdorffer stated. “Since the Administration has decided to use tariffs to address trade concerns with China, and China has retaliated, farmers don’t have time to wait to see how this trade war turns out.”

In 2017, China imported 31% of U.S. production, equal to 60% of total U.S exports and nearly 1 in every 3 rows of harvested beans, making solutions to the tariff war critical for the soybean industry.

Heisdorffer concluded that, “U.S. soybean producers want to see President Trump succeed in meeting his trade campaign goals of achieving better trade deals and greater market access. And, we appreciate that he has recognized our loss in exports and lower prices and provided some immediate relief. However, producers cannot weather sustained trade disruptions.”

NCGA Statement on USDA Trade Aid

North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the below statement following this afternoon’s USDA announcement of an aid package for farmers negatively impacted by trade tariffs and ongoing trade uncertainty.

“NCGA appreciates the Administration’s recognition of the harm to producers caused by tariffs and trade uncertainty. The fine print will be important. We know the package won’t make farmers whole but look forward to working with USDA on the details and implementation of this plan.

“NCGA’s grower members are confronting their fifth consecutive year of declining farm incomes while facing high levels of uncertainty due to ongoing trade disputes and disruptions in the ethanol markets. Corn farmers prefer to rely on markets, not an aid package, for their livelihoods.

“NCGA will continue to advocate for Administrative actions including: rescinding the section 232 and 301 tariffs; securing NAFTA’s future; entering new trade agreements; allowing for year-round sales of higher ethanol blends such as E15; and implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard as intended. We believe these additional actions, which would come with no cost, would result in stronger market demand for farmers.”

Wheat Organizations Continue to Support an End to Trade War as Administration Offers Help for Farmers

The Trump Administration announced today that it would provide $12 billion to help farmers cope with the results of the current trade dispute ignited by new U.S. tariffs.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are glad that the Administration recognizes farming as a risky business and acknowledges that farmers need help to manage the additional risk from its trade policies. However, our concerns still lie in a lengthy trade war that will cause long-term, irreparable harm to U.S. agriculture. We urge the Administration to recognize this self-inflicted damage and to end the trade war immediately as well as to work within the rules-based trading system in partnership with like-minded countries to address serious problems in the global economy.

While tariffs aren’t the answer, the wheat industry greatly appreciates the Administration’s efforts to push back on China’s unfair trade practices through dispute settlement cases at the World Trade Organization. The policies being challenged hurt U.S. farmers and have undermined trust in the rules-based trading system. President Trump understands that the farm economy is struggling and is working to improve the livelihoods of growers across the country through these efforts. 

Agriculture needs strong trading partners, so we also encourage the Administration to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership and finalize NAFTA negotiations so that the U.S. Trade Representative can focus on new trading partners that will be as important as ever. These actions will have lasting benefits to wheat growers across the country.

To repeat, this damage is self-afflicted, so the Administration is right to take steps to address it, but the next step should be ending the trade war. We will also be closely engaged with Administration officials as the details of the announcement made today are developed.  

USDA Offers Trade Relief Funds to Farmers

National Sorghum Producers Legislative Committee Chairman and board director Dan Atkisson, a sorghum farmer from Stockton, Kansas, made the following statement in response to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s announcement today regarding trade relief payments for farmers through the Market Facilitation Program.

“National Sorghum Producers appreciates the hard work USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. officials have done to advocate on behalf of farmers through ongoing trade disputes. We respect the Administration for following through with their promise to stand by U.S. farmers, and we look forward to working with Secretary Perdue in providing much needed funds to sorghum farmers and other producers impacted by tariffs. NSP fully supports fairer and open trade and will continue to work with officials to achieve long-term trade solutions. U.S. sorghum farmers have faced tremendous uncertainty since February 2018, and this program will lessen some of that uncertainty and provide relief in rural America where it is needed most.”

Trade Assistance Package a Welcome Measure of Short-Term Relief, Farm Bureau Says

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced USDA will authorize up to $12 billion for programs to help farmers and ranchers caught in the crossfire of a tariff war. The funding is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods, according to USDA.

The agricultural assistance package will provide a welcome measure of temporary relief to farmers and ranchers who are experiencing the financial squeeze of a trade tit-for-tat, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement.

“This should help many of our farmers and ranchers weather the rough road ahead and assist in their dealings with their financial institutions. We are grateful for the administration’s recognition that farmers and ranchers needed positive news now and this will buy us some time,” Duvall said.

He continued, “This announcement is substantial, but we cannot overstate the dire consequences that farmers and ranchers are facing in relation to lost export markets. Our emphasis continues to be on trade and restoring markets, and we will continue to push for a swift and sure end to the trade war and the tariffs impacting American agriculture.”

USDA intends to use the Market Facilitation Program to provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs. In addition, the department will implement a food purchase and distribution program through the Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase unexpected surplus of affected commodities such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs. Finally, the Foreign Agriculture Service, in conjunction with the private sector, will assist in developing new export markets for U.S. farm products.

Reducing Trade Barriers, Regulatory Burdens Will Ease Tariff Pain

Today Kent Bacus, Director of International Trade for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement of trade aid for U.S. farmers and ranchers:

“NCBA looks forward to reviewing the details of the Trump Administration's trade retaliation relief package. Trade agreements and trade enforcement are the most effective long-term solutions to the challenges faced by U.S. beef producers. For many years, U.S. beef has been a target of high tariffs and restrictive trade policies from notorious actors like China and the European Union. We support a vigorous approach to tearing down trade barriers, including non-tariff barriers that are not based on science.

"Removing China’s highly-restrictive barriers on U.S. beef exports could unlock the full potential of that market and result in $4 billion in annual sales. Here at home, beef producers need relief from onerous federal regulations that undermine their businesses. Let’s start by fixing the restrictive hours-of-service rules for livestock haulers, modernizing the Endangered Species Act, and ending the 2015 Waters of the United States rule once and for all.”

NMPF Welcomes Assistance to Dairy Farmers Suffering Economic Losses from Retaliatory Tariffs

The new tariff mitigation program announced Tuesday by the Trump Administration should provide badly needed economic assistance to dairy farmers facing significant financial losses, the National Milk Producers Federation said today.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that it is preparing a $12 billion economic assistance program designed to help dairy farmers and other agricultural producers suffering from the effects of retaliatory tariffs imposed by Mexico, China and other key trading partners. NMPF’s economic estimates indicate that these tariffs will cost U.S. dairy farmers $1.8 billion just through the remainder of this year, based on the decline in milk futures prices since the retaliatory tariffs were implemented.

“We appreciate the president following through on his pledge that America’s farmers won’t bear the brunt of the economic losses generated by the current trade conflicts,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Today’s announcement reflects requests that our organization has made of USDA to relieve some of the financial pain dairy farmers are feeling due to lost export opportunities.”

NMPF has been engaged in ongoing discussions with USDA about how to reduce the economic harm caused by the trade disagreements between the United States and other nations. The plan announced today will use USDA’s authority to help farmers through a combination of direct payments to farmers, milk product purchases for distribution to feeding programs, and additional export development assistance. Further details about the exact nature of the relief measures will be unveiled later in the summer, USDA officials said.

“We thank the administration for incorporating our recommendations. We will continue working with USDA on program details to achieve provisions that are efficient, cost-effective and equitable to farmers of all sizes in all regions,” Mulhern said.

NMPF is also encouraging the administration to conclude the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations and pursue new trade opportunities, “which is the long-term solution to the current situation. We need this assistance for now, but we also need new trade deals that allow our farmers to reach customers in other nations,” Mulhern said.

Trade Aid for Farmers — Farmers Union Urges Long-Term Fix

The Trump administration today announced a $12 billion plan to provide emergency aid to farmers amidst an escalating trade war with China and other trading partners. The plan will include direct assistance, a food purchase and distribution program, and a trade promotion program.

National Farmers Union (NFU), the nation’s second largest general farm organization, urged the administration to do more to provide a long-term fix to the long-term damage of the trade war. The group supports the president’s efforts to improve fair trade relationships with trading partners, yet has grown weary of the administration’s go-it-alone, bull-in-a-china-shop approach.

NFU President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the announcement:

“President Trump’s escalating trade war with China and much of the rest of the world requires that we go to significant lengths to protect the men and women who grow our food, fuel and fiber. Their livelihoods are on the line with every tweet, threat or tariff action that comes from the White House. Market prices for farm products are plunging from already very low levels, and it’s been estimated that farmers lost more than $13 billion last month alone due to trade disruptions.

“While we appreciate the move to provide stopgap assistance, this plan is a short-term fix to a long-term problem. The administration must develop a support mechanism that will mitigate the significant damage that is being inflicted upon our most vital international markets for years to come. They should do this by working with Congress to ensure farm bill programs provide enough assistance to farmers when markets collapse.”

Statement of NCFC President Chuck Conner on Announcement of Emergency Trade Assistance for Agriculture

“I would like to commend Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for spearheading the Administration’s efforts to deliver assistance to farmers, ranchers and growers facing losses due to retaliatory tariffs imposed by some of our trading partners. The $12 billion in aid using existing Commodity Credit Corporation authority will help producers impacted by these tariffs to weather the storm in the short term. We look forward to working with the Secretary and USDA over the next month as the details of the three programs unveiled today developed.”

Short-Term Relief Package a "Missed Opportunity"

Growth Energy, the nation’s top ethanol advocate, issued the following statement from CEO Emily Skor after the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) announced it's short-term relief strategy for farmers:

“Once again, this administration has missed an opportunity to provide long-term relief to farmers by increasing domestic demand through RVP relief. Allowing year-round sales of higher blend fuels such as E15 is one way to address sales lost because of new tariffs and provide increased certainty for farmers and producers. We will continue encouraging the President and his administration to uphold his promise of supporting farmers and rural Americans by following through on allowing the year-round sale of higher blend fuels."

Growth Energy is running a television ad asking President Trump to uphold his promise to farmers by allowing the sale of E15 year-round.

July 23 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending July 22, 2018, there were 4.9 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 17 short, 75 adequate, and 6 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 21 short, 72 adequate, and 4 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 10 fair, 60 good, and 27 excellent. Corn silking was 82 percent, ahead of 72 last year and 68 for the five-year average. Dough was 22 percent, ahead of 8 last year and 7 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 12 fair, 62 good, and 23 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 78 percent, near 77 last year, and ahead of 71 average. Setting pods was 40 percent, ahead of 24 last year and 23 average.

Winter wheat harvested was 82 percent, behind 92 last year, but ahead of 73 average.
Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 15 fair, 66 good, and 18 excellent. Sorghum headed was 36 percent, well ahead of 9 last year, and ahead of 19 average. Coloring was 2 percent, near 1 average.

Oats condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 36 fair, 53 good, and 6 excellent. Oats harvested was 74 percent, near 72 last year, and ahead of 56 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 19 fair, 53 good, and 20 excellent.


Iowa farmers had 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 22, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Some farmers had to spend time surveying damage from the tornadoes, high winds and hail that struck parts of the State on Thursday. Regular activities included harvesting hay and applying chemicals.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 12 percent short, 77 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 5 percent very short, 13 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. Flood-related nutrient loss and crop damage remain a concern in the northern two-thirds of the State while subsoil moisture levels in south central and southeast Iowa considered short to very short are nearing 75 percent.

Eighty-eight percent of the corn crop has silked, 1 week ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the 5-year average. Seven percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage, 3 days ahead of last year and 2 days ahead of average. Corn condition rated 79 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-one percent of the soybean crop was blooming, with 40 percent of the soybean crop setting pods, 5 days ahead of last year and 6 days ahead of the average. Soybean condition rated 76 percent good to excellent.

Ninety percent of the oat crop was turning color or beyond, with 35 percent of the crop harvested for grain. Oat condition was rated 77 percent good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 86 percent complete, 10 days ahead of average. Drier conditions were favorable for harvesting hay. Hay condition rated 69 percent good to excellent.

Pasture conditions declined slightly to 58 percent good to excellent. Cooler temperatures have provided livestock with some relief from high temperatures experienced in previous weeks.

USDA:  Corn Condition Unchanged; Soybean Condition Improves

The good-to-excellent condition rating for the nation's corn crop was unchanged last week while soybeans' good-to-excellent rating was up slightly, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

NASS estimated that 72% of the nation's corn was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, July 22, unchanged from the previous week. However, the crop's condition was down from 76% good to excellent at the same time of year in 2016.

Corn development continued to speed along with NASS estimating that 81% of the crop was silking as of Sunday, 19 percentage points ahead of the five-year average pace of 62%. Corn in the dough stage was estimated at 18%, 10 percentage points ahead of 8% for both last year and the five-year average.

Meanwhile, soybean condition saw a slight increase from 69% good to excellent the previous week to 70% last week. Soybean development also continued to run well ahead of normal, with NASS estimating 78% of the crop blooming as of Sunday, 15 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 63%. Forty-four percent of soybeans were estimated to be setting pods, 21 percentage points ahead of the five-year average pace of 23%.

NASS estimated that 80% of winter wheat was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year's pace of 83%, but slightly ahead of the five-year average of 79%.

Spring wheat was 96% headed as of Sunday, near last year's 95% and slightly ahead of the five-year average of 93%. The condition of the crop slipped 1 percentage point from 80% good to excellent the previous week to 79% last week. That's still the highest good-to-excellent rating for the crop for this time of year since 2010, Hultman said.

Sorghum was 42% headed as of Sunday, ahead of 37% last year and also ahead of the five-year average of 40%. Sorghum coloring was 22%, near 21% last year but behind the five-year average of 24%. Sorghum condition was rated 49% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 47% the previous week.

Barley was 94% headed as of Sunday, behind 96% last year and slightly behind the average pace of 95%. Barley condition fell 4 percentage from 85% good to excellent the previous week to 81% last week. Oats were 24% harvested as of Sunday, near 23% for both last year and the five-year average. Oat condition improved by 1 percentage point.

Rice was 46% headed as of Sunday, slightly behind 47% last year but ahead of the average of 41%. Cotton was 78% squaring, behind of the average of 81%. Forty-one percent of cotton was setting bolls, ahead of the average pace of 37%. Cotton condition was down 2 percentage points while rice's good-to-excellent rating was up 2 percentage points.

Monday July 23 Ag News

Cuming County Producers Have Until Aug. 1 to Submit FSA County Committee Nominations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director for Cuming County, Sarah Beck, today reminded farmers and ranchers they have until Aug. 1, 2018, to nominate themselves or others as candidates to serve on the local FSA county committee.

County committees are made up of farmers and ranchers elected by other producers in their communities to guide the delivery of farm programs at the local level. Committee members play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA.

“The August 1 deadline is quickly approaching,” said Beck. “If you know of a great candidate or want to nominate yourself to serve on your local county committee, visit your FSA office before the deadline to submit the nomination form. I especially encourage the nomination of beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as women and minorities. This is your opportunity to have a say in how federal programs are delivered in your county.”

The Cuming County FSA Committee consists of three members and meets once a month or as needed to make important decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide there are over 7,700 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees.

To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in an agency administered program and reside in the local administrative area where the election is being held. For 2018, an election will be held in Cuming County in LAA 2, which includes the townships of Cuming, Garfield, Neligh, Sherman, and St. Charles.

A complete list of eligibility requirements, more information and nomination forms are available at
All nominees must sign the nomination form FSA-669A. All nomination forms for the 2018 election must be postmarked or received in the Cuming County FSA office by Aug. 1, 2018. Ballots will be mailed to eligible voters by Nov. 5 and are due back to the local USDA Service Centers on Dec. 3. The newly elected county committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2019.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey producers in 32 states, including Nebraska, for its County Agricultural Production Survey.

“County-level yields have a direct impact on farmers around the State. USDA’s Farm Service Agency uses the data in administering producer programs such as the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) included in the 2014 Farm Bill, and in determining disaster assistance program calculations,” said Dean Groskurth, director of the NASS Northern Plains Field Office. “NASS cannot publish a county yield unless it receives enough reports from producers in that county to make a statistically defensible estimate. So, it is very important that producers respond to this survey. In 2017, NASS was unable to publish several large producing counties due to a lack of sufficient number of responses.”

“As required by Federal law, all responses are completely confidential,” Groskurth continued. “We safeguard the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. Individual responses are also exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.”

Many producers respond by mail or on-line via NASS’s secure reporting website. If not enough responses are received from a county, NASS will begin contacting producers by phone or in person. County-level data for winter wheat and oats will be available Thursday, December 13th.

Open House Public Hearing Thursday, July 26th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.:  LENRD promotes groundwater quality with potential Groundwater Management Area expansion in Pierce and Madison Counties

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District’s (LENRD) concern for groundwater quality and the growing health concerns for the public, as well as the desire to further implement best management practices to prevent groundwater contamination, are the primary reasons the district is considering expanding the geographic area of the Phase 2 & 3 Groundwater Management Area in Pierce and Madison Counties.

The Phase 2 Area was first established in 1997 and included a 110 square mile area of Pierce County.  In 2005, the Phase 2 Area was expanded to include all of Pierce County with the exception of Eastern Township in the extreme northeast corner of the county.  The attached map shows the proposed Phase 2 & 3 Areas in Pierce County and Madison County.

Concerns about high nitrates in the district have risen as long-term monitoring has shown increasing levels of nitrate concentration in much of the groundwater in Pierce County, and most recently in small portions of northern Madison County.  Results indicate that of the approximately 40% of the registered wells sampled in Pierce County, the average nitrate-nitrogen level is 11.7 parts per million (ppm).  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a maximum contaminant level of 10 ppm for nitrate-nitrogen in public water supplies.

Several health concerns are related to the consumption of high nitrate water.  Nitrates can be particularly harmful to infants under six months of age.  Excessively high nitrates can lead to methemoglobinemia, a condition that is commonly known as “blue baby syndrome” in which there is a reduction in the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood, potentially leading to death.  Pregnant women and other adults with certain health conditions may also be at increased risk.  Preliminary results from another study also indicate a potential positive link between groundwater nitrates and the incidence of birth defects and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Because of these potential health risks, the MCL has been set by EPA to 10 ppm.

Actions taken in the Phase 2 Area by agricultural producers and the LENRD will help to protect and improve groundwater quality. The following are requirements for the Phase 2 Area.  The proposed changes are in italics:
·         Fall and winter application of commercial nitrogen fertilizer is prohibited between October 15 and March 15
·         Operators who apply commercial nitrogen must be certified by the LENRD
·         Submittal of annual field reports to the LENRD by March 15th of each calendar year
·         Require deep soil sampling (24 inches) in fields planted to continuous corn
·         Any single application of commercial nitrogen fertilizer in excess of 80 pounds per acre is prohibited
·         Require use of LENRD approved nitrogen inhibitor or stabilizer if applying more than 50 pounds of commercial nitrogen in any single application (after March 15) and provide documentation to verify use along with proper application rate

Actions taken in the Phase 3 Area by agricultural producers and the LENRD will help to protect and improve groundwater quality. The following are requirements for the Phase 3 Area.  The proposed changes to the existing rules and regulations of a Phase 3 Area are in italics:
-    Continue all Phase 2 Area controls
-    Require use of LENRD approved nitrogen inhibitor if applying more than 50 pounds of commercial nitrogen in any single application (after March 15)
-    Any single application of commercial nitrogen fertilizer in excess of 80 pounds per acre is prohibited
-    Require deep soil sampling (24 inches) in all fields planted to corn (regardless of crop rotation)
-    Require the development and adherence to a LENRD approved Nutrient Management Plan
-    Require annual irrigation water sampling

“The changes proposed are the product of several months’ worth of effort between the District staff and our Board of Directors, and while these changes will require some adjustments for area producers, the feedback thus-far has mostly been positive,” said Brian Bruckner, LENRD Assistant General Manager. “The District takes the responsibility for groundwater management seriously, and is equally as committed to working cooperatively with landowners and producers as their actions are key to a long-term solution.”

“The District encourages any citizens with further questions or comments about their Groundwater Management Area to contact the LENRD office or visit our website for more information,” added Bruckner.  “We are seeking reasonable solutions to natural resources issues through increased communication and education.”

The LENRD will hold an Open House Public Hearing on Thursday, July 26th at the LENRD office in Norfolk from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. to receive testimony on the proposed changes.  Any oral or written comments, suggestions and opinions will be entered into the hearing record.

Written testimony should be mailed to the LENRD, 1508 Square Turn Boulevard, Norfolk, NE  68701, or hand delivered to the LENRD, or emailed to:

The LENRD Board of Directors will make a final decision regarding the Phase 2 & 3 Area proposed expansion at their August 23rd Board Meeting.

Southern Rust of Corn Confirmed in Nebraska 

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, Extension Plant Pathologist

Southern corn rust was confirmed in corn leaf samples from Fillmore, Saunders, and Thayer counties  in eastern Nebraska earlier this week. The disease had been confirmed in western Missouri and southern Kansas in the prior week after very little confirmed southern rust activity in southern states. The disease currently appears to be at very low incidence in the fields from where samples were submitted. Cooler temperatures may help to slow disease spread, so monitoring the weather forecast will help to anticipate disease behavior. Fields should be scouted soon and frequently in the coming weeks for this and other diseases in case treatment is necessary.  

Southern rust is caused by an aggressive fungus that can cause disease to rapidly develop in susceptible corn hybrids under favorable weather conditions. The disease can cause significant yield loss in susceptible hybrids if it becomes severe, so producers and crop advisors should monitor closely for this disease. Sometimes southern rust does not become widespread or severe and does not always require treatment, making scouting and disease monitoring critical. It may take two or more weeks under favorable weather conditions for the disease to become more severe. Severe disease can also impact stalk strength and standability.

Favorable Weather

The pathogen does not overwinter and so its spores (urediniospores) must be blown into the area by wind from the south. The fungus needs moisture to germinate and infect, so high relative humidity, rainfall, irrigation, etc. will hasten disease development. Warm temperatures also favor southern rust development, especially temperatures in the upper 70s to lower 80s F, which are optimal for the fungus, even if they occur during the overnight hours. Cooler and drier conditions will help to slow disease spread, such as what was observed in 2017 when the disease was confirmed in southeast Nebraska early in the growing season and failed to become widespread in most counties.


A new southern rust tracking website has been created to help document the distribution of the disease nationally.

Please help us keep the map updated by sharing samples with southern rust. Samples submitted to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic that are microscopically confirmed will be highlighted in red on the map, while other samples that look probable for southern rust in photos will be highlighted in yellow to indicate that the disease is “suspected” until a positive sample is submitted from that county.


Most hybrids are susceptible to the southern rust fungus. Familiarize yourself with your hybrids’ anticipated reactions (seed company catalogs) to southern rust to know which ones may need treatment. Foliar fungicides can effectively manage the disease. Most systemic fungicides can provide protection of leaves from future infections for up to 21-28 days. 

The wide range of planting dates across Nebraska this year has resulted in a wide range of corn growth and reproductive stages in fields, some of which are still in the vegetative growth stages. Later planted fields that are earlier in their maturity are at the greatest risk for yield loss if the disease develops there soon. Southern rust can sometimes take days to several weeks to develop once it’s identified in an area, so immediate treatment may not be necessary for most fields.

Spraying early may mean a second application is necessary later in the season to protect plants during later grain fill stages as the disease increases in severity once the fungicide has worn off.

Sample Submission

Submit samples to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic for help identifying this and other diseases. The clinic site has information on how to submit a sample and the sample submission form.

Frogeye Leaf Spot Showing Up in Soybean 

Loren Giesler - NE Extension Plant Pathologist

Over the past few days we've received several reports of frogeye leaf spot in soybean. Frogeye leaf spot, a fungal disease caused by Cercospora sojina, is becoming more common across the eastern third of Nebraska.

With most of the soybean crop entering early pod stages over the next week, now is the time to decide whether you need a fungicide. Yield loss estimates due to frogeye leaf spot have been reported as high as 30% nationally with extensive leaf blighting; but for Nebraska I would estimate less than 20% yield loss in highly susceptible varieties.

The disease is most severe when soybean is grown continuously in the same field, particularly in fields where tillage is reduced, since this is a residue-borne disease. The primary source for this disease is infested residue, infected seed, and airborne spores. In areas where this disease has been observed in past years it will typically show up again if weather conditions are favorable. Overcast conditions or high humidity are favorable and irrigation or recent rains in some portions of the state will increase the potential for this disease.

What to Look For

Infection can occur at any stage of soybean development, but most often occurs after flowering and is typically in the upper canopy. Initial symptoms are small, dark spots on the leaves. Spots eventually enlarge to a diameter of about ¼ inch. The centers of the lesions will become gray to brown and have a reddish purple margin. Individual leaf spots can coalesce to create irregular patterns of blighting on the leaf.

Management of Frogeye Leaf Spot

Resistance. Soybean varieties vary in their resistance to frogeye leaf spot. Several genes are commonly used to provide resistance. You will want to know the susceptibility of your variety if you’re trying to decide whether a fungicide is warranted.

Cultural Practices. Frogeye leaf spot is more severe in continuously cropped soybean fields. Reduced tillage systems will tend to have more as the pathogen overwinters in residue.

Fungicide Application. A fungicide application to manage frogeye leaf spot is typically not warranted in most Nebraska fields. Fields with a history of frogeye should be watched carefully and if disease develops, application of a strobilurin fungicide at the R3 (pod set) to early R4 growth stage is considered most effective. Most current fungicide products are combinations with different modes of action that have activity against this fungus and are a good resistance management strategy.

Farmer-Leaders Elected to Board of Directors for Iowa Corn

Iowa Corn announced today the results of the Board of Directors elections for the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB).

Those elected as ICGA Directors will continue to bring grassroots policy issues forward and be the collective voice for the nearly 8,000 corn farmer-members, lobbying on agricultural issues at the state and federal level. They include:
District 2- Stuart Swanson, Wright County
District 5- Dennis Friest, Hardin County*
District 6- Lance Lillibridge, Benton County
District 7- Carl Jardon, Fremont County*
District 8- Steve Kuiper, Marion County
*For those re-elected

Since 1978, Iowa corn farmers have elected their peers to serve on the ICPB to oversee the investment of funds generated by the Iowa corn checkoff. ICPB Directors will continue to promote a thriving Iowa corn industry through research into new and value-added corn uses, domestic and foreign market development and providing education about corn and corn products. These individuals include:
District 4- Larry Buss, Harrison County *
District 5-Michael Fritch, Jasper County
District 8- Gary Petersohn, Ringgold County *
District 9- Stan Nelson, Des Moines County​ *    
*For those re-elected

Both organizations are charged with creating opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. Elected Directors will begin to serve on September 1st, 2018.

USDA Announces Grain Inspection Advisory Committee Appointments

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of 12 members to serve on the Federal Grain Inspection Service’s (FGIS) Grain Inspection Advisory Committee beginning July 1, 2018.

Members appointed for three years are:
    John W. Lindgren, Vancouver, Wash.
    Rick L. Robinette, South Sioux City, Neb.

    Mark A. Watne, Jamestown, N.D.
    Randall W. Burns, Malverne, Ark.
    Dr. Errol B. Turnipseed, Brooking, S.D.

Members appointed for two years are:
    Bruce A. Sutherland, Okemos, Mich.
    John J. Morgan, Crowley, La.
    Linsey Mofit-Tobin, Long Grove, Iowa

    Sarah Sexton-Bowsher, Mayetta, Kan.
    Chad R. Becnel, Gonzales, La.

Members selected as alternates to serve one-year terms are:
    Aaron T. Anseeuw, Virginia Beach, Va.
    Patricia Dumoulin, Hampshire, Ill.

“The United States is recognized as the world leader in grain production with harvests that offer high-quality, consistency and variety,” said Perdue. “Members of the Grain Inspection Advisory Committee are valued USDA partners who deliver precious advice on grain inspection and weighing. Their recommendations ensure that FGIS services meet the needs of all our stakeholders. Ultimately that supports the American economy.”

Established in 1981, the Advisory Committee represents the interests of all segments of the U.S. grain industry from producer to exporter. The 15-member committee typically includes grain processors, merchandisers, handlers, exporters, consumers, grain inspection agencies and scientists.

Field Day to Help Farmers Focus on Nitrogen

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host the next in its Focus on Nitrogen: Managing Nitrogen for Maximum Profit and Minimum Water Quality Impact workshop series on Aug. 21 at the Iowa State Northwest Research Farm near Sutherland. The workshop is part of a statewide series of events this summer and fall that focus on managing nitrogen.

The event is targeted to farmers and those who advise farmers and is hosted by a team of ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists, ag engineering specialists and water quality researchers. It will allow presenters to share research-based information on maximizing profitability with nitrogen management while also increasing the understanding of the practices that minimize and reduce nitrate-nitrogen loss.

Check-in for the event and coffee will begin at 9 a.m., with the workshop starting at 9:30 a.m.

Joel DeJong and Paul Kassel, field agronomists with ISU Extension and Outreach, will host the event and highlight nitrogen management strategies and water quality testing practices being conducted at the farm and the results the studies have shown. They will also discuss research on rate selection, split applications, time of application, nitrogen additives, manure nitrogen and using nitrogen in wet years.

To register for the event, contact DeJong at 712-540-1085 or There is a $10 registration fee for the event, and pre-registration is required in order to get an accurate count for the lunch that will be provided.

CCA credits will be available to those who attend the event.

Directions to the Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm: The Northwest Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm is located at 6320 500th Street near Sutherland, Iowa. That’s a quarter mile east of Highway 59 on B-62, about two miles south of Calumet or about 12 miles north of Cherokee.

AMPI Celebrates Expansion of Iowa Cheese Plant

When people think of Iowa they usually think of corn, maybe soybeans. But did you know it's ranked 8th among the states for cheese production?

In Sanborn, Iowa, Associated Milk Producers Incorporated (AMPI) celebrated the expansion of its cheese production facility with a ribbon cutting.

The 14,000 square foot plant has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation, which managers call just the first phase of a larger expansion project.

"We recently and are in the process of completing a 14,000 square foot addition and in that addition, we're going to house eight state of the art cheese vats which will, in essence, double our capacity," said Division Manager Harold Peters.

Peters says AMPI currently produces 1.4 million pounds of milk per day. And with this new technology, that number will double to 3 million.

"Certainly we've been waiting for this a long time. We have the milk, the milk's been available, the new equipment, the new technology, we'll be able to utilize our staff a little bit better. And hopefully, be able to grow and change some of our cheese styles too," Peters said.

AMPI is a farmer-owned dairy cooperative headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and ranks in the top 30 of dairy organizations in the United States and in the top 10 U.S. dairy cooperatives.

Twelve Candidates Pursue Title of 65th Iowa Dairy Princess

Twelve young women involved with the Iowa dairy community will compete to win the title of 65th Iowa State Dairy Princess Wednesday, Aug. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at the Multi-Media Center of the Cattle Barn at the state fairgrounds in Des Moines. The princess and her alternate are charged with helping consumers learn more about dairy products and the farm families who tend the farms and cows that provide them.

The contestants are:
    Amanda Engelken, 19, daughter of Tom and Cherrie Engelken of Earlville, representing Delaware County;
    Cynthia Hamlett, 19, daughter of Mark and Jennifer Hamlett of Aurora, representing Iowa Holstein Association;
    Abby Hoefler, 19, daughter of Brian and Eileen Hoefler of New Vienna, representing Dubuque County;
    Grace Howe, 17, daughter of Shelly and the late Matt Howe of Waukon, representing the Iowa Jersey Cattle Club;
    Faith Johnston, 18, daughter of Darin and Melissa Johnston, representing Bremer County
    Jordan Kalenske, 19, daughter of Tommy and Tracy Kalenske of Fairbank, representing Iowa Brown Swiss Association;
    Brianna Lucey, 18, daughter of Marcia Harbaugh of Guttenberg, representing Clayton County;
    Lakaya Lyon, 19, daughter of Kathy Lyon and the late Greg Lyon of Atalissa, representing Iowa Jersey Cattle Club;
    Aubreigh Machande, 18, daughter of John and Carmen Loots of Charlotte, representing Jackson and Clinton counties;
    Cayla Nolting, 17, daughter of Chad and Cheryl Nolting of Waukon, representing Allamakee County;
    Jessica Schmitt, 18, daughter of Carl and Terry Schmitt of Fort Atkinson, representing Winneshiek County; 
    Kassi Steinlage, 18, daughter of Loran and Brenda Steinlage of West Union, representing Fayette County;

The winners are chosen on the basis of their knowledge and enthusiasm about dairy, personality and communication ability during judging which begins Tuesday, Aug. 7. Both the princess and alternate will receive scholarships from Midwest Dairy, which sponsors the contest and princess program on behalf of Iowa’s dairy farmers.

The outgoing 2017-18 Iowa Dairy Princess is Rachel Grober, daughter of Todd and Sherry Grober of Ionia, and the Alternate Princess is Josie Buddenberg, daughter of Bruce and Julie Buddenberg of Decorah. Their reigns will be completed at the end of the Iowa State Fair, and the new Princess and Alternate will begin their duties Sept. 1.

The coronation ceremony on August 8 will also feature a celebration of 65 years of the Iowa Dairy Princess program.  Former Iowa dairy princesses and alternates will be recognized and signage at the Iowa State Fair will highlight contributions of the princess program on behalf of the state’s dairy farm families.

June Egg Production Up 2 Percent

United States egg production totaled 8.83 billion during June 2018, up 2 percent from last year. Production included 7.67 billion table eggs, and 1.16 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.08 billion were broiler-type and 79.4 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during June 2018 totaled 386 million, up 4 percent from last year. June egg production per 100 layers was 2,289 eggs, down 1 percent from June 2017.
All layers in the United States on July 1, 2018 totaled 385 million, up 4 percent from last year. The 385 million layers consisted of 324 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 58.4 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.30 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on July 1, 2018, averaged 76.1 eggs per 100 layers, down 2 percent from July 1, 2017.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 8 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during June 2018 totaled 53.9 million, up 8 percent from June 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 47.9 million on July 1, 2018, up 16 percent from a year ago.

Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 155 thousand during June 2018, down 54 percent from June 2017.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 2 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during June 2018 totaled 821 million, up 2 percent from June 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 689 million on July 1, 2018, up 2 percent from a year ago.

Leading breeders placed 9.33 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during June 2018, up 13 percent from June 2017.


Iowa egg production during June 2018 was 1.33 billion eggs, down 4 percent from last month but up 1 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average number of all layers on hand during June 2018 was 57.2 million, down 1 percent from last month but up 4 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for June were 2,318, down 4 percent from last month and down 3 percent from last year.


The U.S. House this week passed by voice vote legislation reauthorizing the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA) and the Animal Generic Drug User Fee Act (AGDUFA). The legislation authorizes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to collect from animal health companies fees for reviewing animal drug applications, thereby supplementing the agency’s budget for the rigorous appraisal of animal drugs. The measure, passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in May, includes a new provision that expands FDA authority for conditional approval of new animal drugs, addressing serious and life-threatening unmet medical needs for major animal species. Conditional approval allows an animal drug to be available for use before all necessary data for approval is collected but after the drug is deemed effective and safe for use. The provision expands FDA’s authority to conditionally approve new animal drugs from minor use and minor species to major use and major species. With the laws set to expire Sept. 30, renewal of ADUFA and AGDUFA will avoid disruption in the availability of new animal drugs to the livestock production industry.

No Huge Surprises in Cattle on Feed Report, But...

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist,Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

USDA's Cattle on Feed report, released July 20th did not include many big surprises, but there were some interesting points. But, first the basics. The number of cattle on feed were reported up 4.1 percent over a year ago, on placements up 1.3 percent and marketings up about 1 percent. The 11.282 million head on feed are the most for a July 1 in the history of this report going back to the mid-1990s.

While placements were up, they represented a mixed bag, regionally. Placements were down in Texas and Nebraska, 20,000 and 10,000 head, respectively. Placements were up in Kansas, Iowa, and most of the West. But, they were down in the other Corn Belt feeding states of Minnesota and South Dakota. It's worth remembering that this 1.3 percent increase in placements amounts to about 23,000 head.

More lighter cattle were placed in June. Placements were higher in the under 600 pound and 600-699 pound classes. Fewer cattle were placed weighing 700-900 pounds. But a few more were placed in the 900 pound plus categories.

Perhaps the most interesting number in the report was the number of heifers on feed. The breakout of heifers and steers on feed is reported quarterly. The number of heifers on feed on July 1 totaled 4.454 million head, up almost 8 percent over July 1, 2017. That was the second largest number of heifers on feed behind only July 2001, when 4.446 million heifers were reported on feed. The 7.128 million steers on feed was the most for a July 1 in the data. The steer-heifer data goes back to 1996.

Overall, the report indicates that the marketings rate is holding up well given the large supplies of cattle. That we are moving these large supplies of cattle is a tribute to good demand from retail and export markets and demand for fed cattle from packers. Continued good movement will be critical to cattle prices over the next 6 weeks approaching Labor Day.

USDA also released the mid-year Cattle inventory report. The most important takeaways in this report were the number of heifers held for replacement and the calf crop. Heifers held for beef cow replacement declined 2.1 percent from a year ago. When combined with beef cow and heifer slaughter the data continues to indicate a drastically slowing rate of herd growth. The calf crop was reported up 1.9 percent. There will be plenty of calves for sale this Fall and available to boost beef supplies through 2019.

ACE conference breakout sessions explore key industry issues

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 31st annual conference coming up August 15-17 in Minneapolis offers a variety of breakout sessions covering the latest in technology updates, strategic planning advice, and ways to make ethanol plants more profitable. The breakout sessions will be held concurrently in three rounds on the afternoon of Thursday, August 16, following the morning general session panels.

“Our conference theme is Grit Wins, which defines the tenacity of the people who make up the ethanol industry and their continued dedication to the important work they do, despite recent hurdles,” said Shannon Gustafson, ACE Senior Director of Operations and Programming. “Time and time again, our industry (and our product) rises above the many obstacles in our path.   We look forward to reinforcing that resolve with timely updates on the issues and innovations that matter most to their business.”

This year’s event is again hosting breakout sessions tailored to ethanol plant boards of directors. Christianson PLLP and K·Coe Isom will tag team a session providing board members with strategic thinking techniques and guidance on how to use those methods to steer their company’s future. Another discussion, led by Christianson, will provide workforce management insight to achieve a plant’s productivity and profitability goals, as well as a look at current standard practices regarding compensation and benefits with data collected from ethanol plants across the country. A second session led by K·Coe Isom will take a deep dive into some of the key provisions that will impact the ethanol industry in the comprehensive tax reform package.

A bulk of the panels are centered around ways ethanol plants can increase profitability and efficiency with new technology, coproducts and market opportunities. Two new ACE members Whitefox and Solenis will introduce producers to their unique technologies and TotalGEN Services will cover the revenue boosting factors of a CHP system installation at an ethanol plant. Diversification is another way plants can obtain additional profits, and this topic will be explored in Saola Energy LLC’s session on how to enhance corn oil to create renewable diesel and Fluid Quip Process Technologies’ presentation focusing on the global market demand for protein. A leading expert in low carbon fuel markets from EcoEngineers will also share his insights into developing a successful low carbon strategy to maximize the opportunity created by these markets.

A new breakout session added to this year’s lineup will provide attendees with a list of innovative ideas to try at their plant, workplace or community to build support for ethanol. A long-standing industry news editor and writer will lead this brainstorming session on how to strengthen ethanol’s image, which is critical for the fuel’s future.

Prospective attendees should register online by August 1 to guarantee their spot. To learn more about the conference agenda and how to get involved at the event, click here...

CWT Assists with 765,004 Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 489,426 pounds (222 metric tons) of Cheddar, Colby and Monterey Jack cheese and 275,578 pounds (125 metric tons) of butter going to customers in Asia and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from August through December 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 44.538 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 12.085 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 20.106 million pounds of whole milk powder to 28 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 829.763 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

This activity reflects CWT management beginning the process of implementing the strategic plan reviewed by the CWT Committee in March. The changes will enhance the effectiveness of the program and facilitate member export opportunities.

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. This, in turn, positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

Speaker Ryan: Unprecedented Number of Ag Groups Request Your Immediate Action

An unprecedented number of agriculture groups have endorsed the bipartisan AG and Legal Workforce Act. More than 200 agriculture groups support the bill including dairy, horse, cattle, sheep, chicken, pork, turkey, wine, aquaculture, corn, seafood and processing interests. They all believe the AG and Legal Workforce Act is the only solution for the foreseeable future to ensure a viable workforce. While a few out-liar agriculture groups do not support the bill, the time is now to provide agriculture with a reliable workforce.

Speaker Ryan's home state of Wisconsin is the nation’s second-largest milk-producing state, with annual sales of nearly $5 billion (NASS, 2017 State Agriculture Overview). In order to sustain our existing operations, we must have the means to a legal visa program.

"It’s easy for some in agriculture who are currently allowed to use the H-2A visa program to attack and oppose the only foreseeable solution for the rest of us. Without a bill passing, we have nothing except fear and trepidation that we will continue to see stepped-up enforcement and distressed businesses," according to Laurie Fischer, American Dairy Coalition .

In late June, House Leadership made a commitment to several members of Congress for a separate July vote on an immigration guest-worker bill that will allow all of agriculture, including dairy, poultry, cattle, pork, seafood, etc., to be part of a new visa program called the H-2C. The H-2C doesn’t just help one sector of the agriculture industry, but all of us and will allow immigrant workers to come out of shadows by providing them a legal visa -- but only after they are vetted by Homeland Security.

The fact that the dairy industry has been suffering from a lack of federal immigration policy for over 30 years demands that the Speaker of the House must allow a vote this week.

The American Dairy Coalition’s 30,000 producers represented throughout the United States are strongly urging Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to bring the AG and Legal Workforce Act to the floor before the members of the House of Representatives leave Washington, D.C. this Friday.

As interior enforcement efforts continue, those who are left without any means to secure a legal workforce are facing disaster. It is now up to Speaker Ryan to decide if the U.S. will end up importing food and putting thousands of domestic jobs at risk or securing a legal workforce we desperately need. 

The American Farm Bureau, the National Milk Producer Federation and many other National and State Associations are in support this bill.

Workshop to examine challenges for economic analysis of antibiotic use in food animals

Challenges to changing antibiotic use in food animal production and the associated economics, data and policy issues will be the focus of a workshop Sept. 6-7, 2018, at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) is organizing this workshop in collaboration with Farm Foundation.

In the last two years, private companies and producers have been considering when and how antibiotics are used to satisfy consumer demand for products from food animals that have been raised with few or no antibiotics, as well as to comply with the new rules the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented regarding antibiotic use in food animal production.

This rapidly-changing landscape has also sparked discussion about how to incentive the development of new animal pharmaceutical products to which antibiotic resistance is less apt to develop. Often lacking in these discussions is information about the economic costs and benefits of such initiatives.

"In order to be able to make good policy and management decisions, public and private decision makers may benefit from information on the volume of antibiotics used, the costs of reducing antibiotic use and the demand for products produced with fewer antibiotics," says Stacy Sneeringer, ERS Research Economist. "But there are challenges surrounding confidentiality, costs and benefits of reducing antibiotic use, as well as in defining appropriate metrics."

The workshop is targeted to academics, federal analysts, policy makers, non-profit representatives and industry stakeholders. A tentative agenda is available.

The Sept. 6-7 workshop will include presentation of new research on the economic aspects of changing antibiotic use on U.S. farms, as well as information on collection of data on the sale and use of antibiotics in U.S. food animal production. Other topics to be addressed include:
-    Changes in costs, practices and structures in the U.S. livestock sector and associated industries due to the recent FDA policy changes on antibiotic use in food animal production.
-    Consumer demand for products raised without antibiotics and the associated price premiums.
-    The challenges of supplying U.S. beef raised with fewer antibiotics.
-    The potential applicability to animal pharma of incentive mechanisms used in human pharma.
-    Analysis of ongoing efforts to collect data on antibiotic use in U.S. food animal production.

There is no charge to participate in this workshop, however,  registration is required by close of business on Aug. 30, 2018.

Friday July 20 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.40 million cattle on feed on July 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 8 percent from last year.

Placements during June totaled 415,000 head, down 2 percent from 2017.

Fed cattle marketings for the month of June totaled 530,000 head, unchanged from last year. Other disappearance during June totaled 15,000 head, unchanged from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 710,000 head on July 1, 2018, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 1 percent from June 1, 2018, but up 6 percent from July 1, 2017. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 500,000 head on feed, down 6 percent from last month and down 2 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,210,000 head, down 3 percent from last month but up 3 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during June totaled 77,000 head, down 4 percent from last month but up 7 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 46,000 head, up 70 percent from last month and up 28 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 123,000 head, up 15 percent from last month and up 14 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during June totaled 85,000 head, down 2 percent from last month but up 6 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 74,000 head, up 48 percent from last month but unchanged from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 159,000 head, up 16 percent from last month and up 3 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 4,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 4 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.3 million head on July 1, 2018. The inventory was 4 percent above July 1, 2017. This is the highest July 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. The inventory included 7.13 million steers and steer calves, up 2 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 63 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.15 million head, up 8 percent from 2017.

Cattle on Feed  (1,000 hd  -  % July 1 '17)

Colorado ......:                 930            100              
Iowa .............:                710            106               
Kansas ..........:               2,240          102          
Nebraska ......:               2,400          108         
Texas ............:               2,740          103         

Placements in feedlots during June totaled 1.79 million head, 1 percent above 2017. Net placements were 1.74 million head. During June, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 400,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 345,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 385,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 378,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 185,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 100,000 head.

Placements by State  (1,000 hd  -  % June '17)

Colorado ......:                 145                116      
Iowa .............:                 77                 107    
Kansas ..........:                 405                103       
Nebraska ......:                 415                 98        
Texas ............:                 430                 96        
Marketings of fed cattle during June totaled 2.01 million head, 1 percent above 2017. Other disappearance totaled 58,000 head during June, 4 percent above 2017.

Marketings by State  (1,000 hd  -  % June '17)

Colorado ......:                160                100      
Iowa .............:                 85                106      
Kansas ..........:                475                102       
Nebraska ......:                530                100     
Texas ............:                410                 98       

The on-feed, placement, and marketings totals were all exactally in line with pre-report estimates.

United States All Cattle on Feed Up 4 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 13.3 million head on July 1, 2018. The inventory was up 4 percent from the July 1, 2017 total of 12.8 million head. Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for 84.8 percent of the total cattle on feed on July 1, 2018, up slightly from the previous year.

July 1 Cattle Inventory Up 1 Percent

All cattle and calves in the United States on July 1, 2018 totaled 103 million head, 1 percent above the 102 million head on July 1, 2017, and equal to the pre-report estimate of +1%.

All cows and heifers that have calved, at 41.9 million head, were 1 percent above the 41.6 million head on July 1, 2017. Beef cows, at 32.5 million head, were up 1 percent from a year ago. Milk cows, at 9.40 million head, were unchanged from previous year.

All heifers 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2018 totaled 16.3 million head, 1 percent above the 16.2 million head on July 1, 2017. Beef replacement heifers, at 4.60 million head, were down 2 percent from a year ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 4.20 million head, were unchanged from previous year. Other heifers, at 7.50 million head, were 3 percent above a year earlier.

Steers 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2018 totaled 14.5 million head, unchanged from July 1, 2017.

Bulls 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2018 totaled 2.10 million head, up 5 percent from July 1, 2017.

Calves under 500 pounds on July 1, 2018 totaled 28.4 million head, up 2 percent from July 1, 2017.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 13.3 million head on July 1, 2018. The inventory is up 4 percent from the July 1, 2017 total of 12.8 million head. Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for 84.8 percent of the total cattle on feed on July 1, 2018, up slightly from previous year. The combined total of calves under 500 pounds and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds (outside of feedlots) is 37.1 million head. This is 1 percent above the 36.9 million head on July 1, 2017. 

Calf Crop Up 2 Percent

The 2018 calf crop in the United States is expected to be 36.5 million head, up 2 percent from last year's calf crop, and slightly above the pre-report estimate of +1%. Calves born during the first half of 2018 are estimated at 26.6 million head, up 2 percent from the first half of 2017. An additional 9.90 million calves are expected to be born during the second half of 2018.


Milk production in Nebraska during the April-June 2018 quarter totaled 367 million pounds, up 1 percent from the April-June quarter last year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 60,000 head, unchanged from the same period last year.

U.S. April-June Milk Production up 0.8 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the April - June quarter totaled 55.8 billion pounds, up 0.8 percent from the April - June quarter last year. The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.40 million head, 3,000 head less than the January - March quarter, but 4,000 head more than the same period last year.


Milk production in Iowa during June 2018 totaled 430 million pounds, up slightly from the previous June according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during June, at 220,000 head, was unchanged from last month but 3,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,955 pounds, down 20 pounds from last June.

U.S. June Milk Production up 1.3 Percent

Milk production in the 23 major States during June totaled 17.2 billion pounds, up 1.3 percent from June 2017. May revised production at 18.0 billion pounds, was up 1.1 percent from May 2017. The May revision represented an increase of 40 million pounds or 0.2 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,964 pounds for June, 23 pounds above June 2017.    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 8.75 million head, 12,000 head more than June 2017, but unchanged from May 2018.

Nebraska Teachers Focus on Agriculture at National Conference

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation sent two Nebraska K-12 teachers to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference, June 26-29 in Portland, Maine. Three additional teachers from Nebraska also attended the four-day conference.

The annual conference uses workshops, awards ceremonies, and tours of agricultural operations to show K-12 education teachers how agriculture can be used effectively in formal classroom instruction.

Stephanie Wolf, a special education teacher at Brady Public Schools in Brady, and Jennifer Johnson, a third-grade teacher at Sutton Public Schools in Sutton, were awarded the all-expense paid trip to the conference by winning the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s 2018 Teachers of the Year designation for incorporating agriculture into their classrooms through innovative ideas and lessons.

“Being able to attend this conference means new opportunities for my students,” Wolf said. “I was able to learn about many new resources that I can not only implement in my classroom but also offer to the other teachers in my school.”

With the conference held in Portland, Maine, teachers from across the nation had the opportunity to participate in traveling workshops of nearby agribusinesses and research facilities to learn about aquaculture, artisan cheese, and the beef and dairy industries, among other stops.

“Having the opportunity to learn about aquaponics and hydroponics got me excited to start a school garden at our school,” Wolf said.

The conference also provided the teachers with ideas and resources on how to use agriculture to teach core subjects in their classrooms.

“The National Agriculture in the Classroom website is amazing, and I look forward to using it for new lessons as well as to supplement my existing lessons,” Johnson said.

Three other Nebraska teachers who attended the conference were past Teachers of the Year Bev Grueber from North Bend and Patty Romshek and Kathy Bohac from East Butler in Brainard.

Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, says supporting teachers is a smart investment. “We are thrilled to partner with teachers who recognize the benefits of incorporating agriculture into their classrooms. The impact of attending this conference will multiply as they share the knowledge and resources gained with their students and fellow teachers,” she said.

20th Annual Nebraska Soybean Management Field Days Aug. 7-10 at 4 Sites

For 20 years, Soybean Management Field Days have helped growers stay competitive in the global marketplace and increase profits while meeting the world's growing food and energy needs right here in Nebraska. The field days scheduled for Aug. 7-10 will offer producers research-based information to improve their soybean profitability.

The field days are sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff in partnership with Nebraska Extension in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and are funded through soybean checkoff dollars. The efforts of the checkoff are directed by the United Soybean Board promoting progress powered by U.S. farmers.

“Our goal remains the same as the first field day – to help soybean growers maximize productivity and profitability through smart decisions and efficient use of resources. Meeting the world's growing food and energy needs starts right here in Nebraska – at the 2018 Soybean Management Field Days,” says Victor Bohuslavsky, Nebraska Soybean Board Executive Director. “The Nebraska Soybean Board has been a proud sponsor since day one!”

According to Nebraska Extension Educator Keith Glewen, Soybean Management Field Days provides an opportunity to learn about research-based information.  “Producers will see their checkoff dollars at work as they learn about leading technology and ideas.”

The event consists of four stops across the state, each with replicated research, demonstration plots, lunch, and time for questions. Producers can obtain ideas and insight about the challenges they face in producing a quality crop at a profitable price in today's global economy.

Presenters include university specialists, educators and industry consultants. Topics include:
-    Marketing, Risk Management and Farm Policy
-    Weed Management: Cover Crops and Weed Control, Conventional vs. Traited, Soybean Variety Production
-    Cover Crops: Managing Soybean Insects and Pathogens
-    Cover Crops and Soybean Production Irrigation Management, Soil Fertility, and Cover Crop Research

Agronomists, plant disease and insect specialists will be available to address production-related questions. Participants can bring unknown crop problems for complimentary identification.

The field days begin with 9 a.m. registration and conclude at 2:30 p.m. Free registration is available the day of the event.

Tuesday, Aug. 7, Dean Jacobitz Farm, Kenesaw
From Hastings, from Hwy. 281/Hwy. 34, go west 13 miles on Hwy. 34.  Turn south and go 0.7 mile onto S. Holstein Ave.  From Minden, go 17 miles northeast on Hwy. 34. Turn south and go 0.7 mile onto S. Holstein Ave. The field site is on the west side of the road. GPS:  40.556985°, -98.648740°

Wednesday, Aug. 8, John and Mike Frey Farm, Albion
From Albion, from the four-way stop sign at the intersection of Hwy. 14 and Hwy. 91 in Albion, go west on Hwy. 91 for 6 miles. Turn south and go 0.2 mile onto 190th Ave. The field day is on the west side of the road. GPS: 41.679754°, -98.1193197°

Thursday, Aug. 9, Ed Lammers Farm, Hartington
From Hartington, from Hwy. 81/Hwy. 84:  Go 1 mile north on Hwy. 81.  Turn east and go 0.7 mile on 883 Rd. The field site is on the south side of the road. GPS: 42.627032°, -97.411983 °

Friday, Aug. 10, Ray Jr. and Kevin Kucera, Cedar Bluffs
From Cedar Bluffs, go 3 miles south on Hwy. 109.  Go 1 mile west on County Rd. U.  Go 0.3 mile south on County Rd. 17.  From Wahoo, on north end of town, from Hwy. 77/Hwy. 109 intersection, go 8 miles north on Hwy. 109. Go 1 mile west on County Rd. U.  Go 0.3 mile south on Co. Rd. 17. The field day is on the west side of the road. GPS: 41.346498°, -96.621973°

Details and Site Maps

For more information about the field days and maps to sites, visit or contact the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff at (800)852-BEAN or Nebraska Extension at 1-800-529-8030.

Nebraska corn farmers shape ag policy during Corn Congress in Washington, D.C.

Corn leaders from across the country met in Washington, D.C. this week for the biannual Corn Congress hosted by the National Corn Growers Association. During Corn Congress, more than 100 farmer-delegates gathered in the nation’s capital to discuss policy for U.S. corn production. Due to the downturn in the ag economy, much of the discussions focused on international trade, ethanol expansion and the need to pass a new Farm Bill.

“Corn Congress is a time for all U.S. corn farmers to come together to address the heavy hitting issues related to corn production,” said Dave Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from St. Edward. “By coming together, we’re able to focus and refine our policies, which strengthens our individual voices as farmers. What we’ve discussed over the last couple of days may have implications on corn farming for years to come, so we took the time to get it right.”

This year’s Corn Congress began Wednesday, July 18 and concluded on Thursday, July 19. Throughout the two days, delegates participated in policy discussions and also visited with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill. Prior to the beginning of Corn Congress, farmers engaged in action team meetings on Monday, July 16 through Tuesday, July 17 to discuss a variety of issues impacting the U.S. corn industry.

“By taking the time to address key issues, such as consumer engagement, freedom to operate, or corn productivity, we’re able to be more effective in enhancing our country’s corn sector,” said Dan Wesely, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Morse Bluff. “As part of Corn Congress, we have the unique opportunity to share our ideas and our concerns with Nebraska’s congressional leaders. We’re also able to meet with congressional leaders who aren’t representing corn states. We’re hopefully bettering Nebraska and the U.S. corn industry in the long-term by providing these national representatives with accurate information to help them make decisions and shape policy.”

While in Washington, D.C., Nebraska participants (which consisted of 16 corn farmers, nine young leaders and five Nebraska Corn staff members) visited with national agribusinesses, such as Farmers for Free Trade, Growth Energy, Corn Refiners Association, U.S. Grains Council, Farm Bureau and Fuels America. Nebraska’s participants attended on behalf of the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics in August 

Openings are available for one-on-one, confidential farm finance and ag law consultations being conducted across the state each month. An experienced ag law attorney and ag financial counselor will be available to address farm and ranch issues related to financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters. The clinics offer an opportunity to seek an experienced outside opinion on issues affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Sites and Dates
    Grand Island — Thursday, August 2
    Fairbury - Thursday, August 2
    North Platte — Thursday, August 9
    Lexington — Thursday, August 16
    Norfolk — Wednesday, August 22
    Valentine — Thursday, August 23

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor these clinics.

Nebraska corn farmers shape ag policy during Corn Congress in Washington, D.C.

Corn leaders from across the country met in Washington, D.C. this week for the biannual Corn Congress hosted by the National Corn Growers Association. During Corn Congress, more than 100 farmer-delegates gathered in the nation’s capital to discuss policy for U.S. corn production. Due to the downturn in the ag economy, much of the discussions focused on international trade, ethanol expansion and the need to pass a new Farm Bill.

“Corn Congress is a time for all U.S. corn farmers to come together to address the heavy hitting issues related to corn production,” said Dave Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from St. Edward. “By coming together, we’re able to focus and refine our policies, which strengthens our individual voices as farmers. What we’ve discussed over the last couple of days may have implications on corn farming for years to come, so we took the time to get it right.”

This year’s Corn Congress began Wednesday, July 18 and concluded on Thursday, July 19. Throughout the two days, delegates participated in policy discussions and also visited with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill. Prior to the beginning of Corn Congress, farmers engaged in action team meetings on Monday, July 16 through Tuesday, July 17 to discuss a variety of issues impacting the U.S. corn industry.

“By taking the time to address key issues, such as consumer engagement, freedom to operate, or corn productivity, we’re able to be more effective in enhancing our country’s corn sector,” said Dan Wesely, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Morse Bluff. “As part of Corn Congress, we have the unique opportunity to share our ideas and our concerns with Nebraska’s congressional leaders. We’re also able to meet with congressional leaders who aren’t representing corn states. We’re hopefully bettering Nebraska and the U.S. corn industry in the long-term by providing these national representatives with accurate information to help them make decisions and shape policy.”

While in Washington, D.C., Nebraska participants (which consisted of 16 corn farmers, nine young leaders and five Nebraska Corn staff members) visited with national agribusinesses, such as Farmers for Free Trade, Growth Energy, Corn Refiners Association, U.S. Grains Council, Farm Bureau and Fuels America. Nebraska’s participants attended on behalf of the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

Iowa Farmer-Leaders Elected to National Corn Growers Association Board

Delegates attending the 2018 National Corn Congress re-elected Bruce Rohwer from O’Brien County to the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Board for a three-year term. Rohwer will join NCGA Directors Chris Edgington of Mitchell County and Kevin Ross of Pottawatomie County on the Corn Board. Ross will serve as first vice president-elect for Fiscal Year 2019.

"NCGA is unique in that it brings together corn farmers from across the country to create a cohesive, unified voice in dealing with their shared issues," said Rohwer. "I look forward to the opportunity to serve on the Corn Board to offer my views but, more importantly, to assist the board in its efforts to guide NCGA as a positive force for our nation's corn farmers."

Rohwer, of Paullina, Iowa is past chair and president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and is Corn Board liaison to the Risk Management Action Team. 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 owns a sow farrow farrow-to-finish operation.

Bruce places a high priority on maintaining NCGA's role as the leading advocate for the corn industry and bringing stakeholders together to find a strong voice advocating for issues such as trade, ethanol, and livestock exports as well as addressing consumer concerns. Rohwer said that corn farmers have several opportunities to be farmer-advocates:
·         before government regulators with a new crop insurance program to help protect farmers;
·         for the Farm Bill before Congressional Committees;
·         as ambassadors for our crop with international buyers;
·         as partners with our fellow farmers in other associations such as the US Grains Council and U.S. Meat Export Federation

“These “opportunities” to affect things from policy to economics, come to us as members of NCGA and it is incumbent upon each of us to do that advocacy for agriculture,” stated Rohwer.

 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.

Pork Tent Adds New Product for Iowa State Fair 

Iowa's pork producers are bringing a new option to the table - or more accurately to your taste buds - when the Iowa State Fair opens its gates on August 9th. At the building fondly known as the Iowa Pork Tent, Iowa pork producers will be serving a sweet and savory treat made from a quarter-pound of honey-cured pork belly that has been rubbed in brown sugar and cooked to perfection. Its name, quite simply, is Brown Sugar Pork Belly on a Stick.

The Brown Sugar Pork Belly on a Stick was submitted to the Iowa State Fair for its Best New Fair Foods for 2018, and after being compared to more than 50 other new food products, qualified for the semi-final round of the competition. With a final push from consumers voting on the state fair app, this new product was added to the finalist list of 2018 Best New Foods at the fair. In fact, two of the three finalists are pork products.

Pork producers and supporters who serve on the Iowa Pork Producers Association Pork Tent Committee were inspired to introduce a new product at the 2018 Iowa State Fair because they want to continue to introduce fair goers to new pork products. "The Brow Sugar Pork Belly is a great product for us to do that," said committee member Dave Moody of Nevada.

Kelsey Sutter, IPPA Marketing and Programs Director said, "Consumers have proven that bacon is king, and they're now willing to branch outside the bacon craze and give pork belly its time in the lime light. Last year pork belly was one of the top three trending foods in the U.S. food industry."

Find Brown Sugar Pork Belly on a Stick at the Pork Belly Express line on the north side of the Pork Tent building, or through the main Pork Tent food line on Grand Avenue. It will not be available at the the stands that exclusively sell pork chops on a stick. The pork belly on a stick will sell for $7 each.

Voting for the top new fair food will take place during the first six days of the fair, August 9-14. Fair goers can vote on the Iowa State Fair app, and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, August 15.

Weekly Barge Grain Shipments Decrease

Due to the high water conditions and lock and dam repairs, grain barge shipments experienced a notable drop in tonnages for the week ending July 14.

Grain barge shipments from the Mississippi River system were 741,950 tons, a 36 percent drop compared to the previous week.

The total grain shipments though Mississippi River Locks 27 (near Granite City, IL) and Ohio River Locks 52 (near Brookport, IL), were 612,000 and 94,950 tons, a 33 percent and 53 percent drop, respectively, from the previous week.

The barge industry expects further delays in operations with the on-going repair work at Ohio River Locks 52 and the scheduled closure of the main chamber at Melvin Price Locks and Dam (Upper Mississippi River, near E. Alton, IL) for the last half of July.

Farm Bureau Response to Navarro’s ‘Rounding Error’ Statement

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“White House trade advisor Peter Navarro’s recent comments that the damage this trade war is doing to certain sectors of the U.S. economy, of which we all know includes agriculture, is little more than a ‘rounding error’ are out of touch with the pain our farmers and ranchers are experiencing. Making farmers and ranchers pawns in this chess game is extremely risky for our nation’s agriculture economy and food security.

“Prices for all of our export-sensitive farm goods have tanked since May, when this tariff game started. Farm income was already off by half compared to four years ago, with debt levels rising—hardly a strong position for agriculture going into this trade war. This situation will only worsen as combines roll between now and the fall election season. The nation’s farmers and ranchers support the broader goal of strengthening our overall economy and trade balance, but not at the risk of long-term, irreparable harm to our ag exports and the jobs they create.

“Farmers and ranchers are looking for reasons to be optimistic about the current trade situation. We need a win. We must wrap up this trade war quickly, complete the negotiations with Mexico and Canada, and open more markets by negotiating deals with Japan, the UK and other trade partners around the world.”

Global Conference on Sustainable Beef Coming to Ireland

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) is proud to announce the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef (GCSB) will be held in Kilkenny, Ireland at the Lyrath Estate, October 9-12, 2018.

The conference, co-hosted by the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability (ERBS) and Bord Bia, will highlight sustainability in action: impacts on the ground, and more than 200 beef sustainability stakeholders from over 20 countries are expected to attend. Speakers and panelists will include leaders from Rabobank, McDonald’s, JBS, Cargill, Kepak, Ahold Delhaize, and multi-stakeholder organizations and academic institutions leading beef sustainability strategies.

GRSB President Nicole Johnson-Hoffman said “Ireland is a great location for the GCSB, as Europe has been a leader in the sustainability dialogue for years. We’re looking forward to helping to celebrate the formal launch of the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability and providing space for real impacts on the ground to be celebrated.”

The four-day conference will include Irish Beef Sustainability tours, with three unique options, including flagship and organic cattle farms and beef processing facilities, two days of global sustainability conference events featuring notable impacts from ten regions around the globe, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Europe, Paraguay, New Zealand, Southern Africa, and the United States, and a final day featuring a special event hosted in partnership with Textile Exchange and the newly formed Responsible Leather Round Table (RLRT), a Joint Working Group on Forests Workshop, and a collaborative Sustainability Communicators Workshop.

“Since the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef was hosted in Banff two years ago, the number of regional beef sustainability focused initiatives has expanded dramatically. The energy to come together to learn and work collaboratively and innovate around sustainable beef solutions has never been higher,” said Ruaraidh Petre, GRSB Executive Director.

Conversations at the GCSB will highlight topics linked to the GRSB’s principles and criteria of sustainable beef, including natural resource management, animal health and welfare, and efficiency and innovation. Learnings and insights will be offered through the eyes of financiers, beef producers, young agriculturalists, scientists, packers, retailers and other sustainability thought-leaders who will challenge participants to measure their actions and authentically communicate commitments to continuous improvement.

Registration details and a full conference agenda can be found at

Stine Seed Being Sued by Black Farmers

A group of black soybean farmers from the South says a company intentionally sold them defective seeds in an elaborate scheme to place them at a disadvantage because of their race. According to the Washington Post, a lawsuit filed by African American farmers from Tennessee and Mississippi accuses Stine Seed Co. of selling them seeds they were told were of good quality and would bring successful harvests. But despite fertile soil, ample rain, good equipment and adequate farming capabilities, the farmers say, their yields were significantly lower than expected. Farmers from a 2,200-acre farm in Rome, Miss., say they lost more than $1 million after an extremely poor harvest.

The lawsuit says that after the farmers complained about the poor harvest, a company employee told them that the farms were having yield problems.

"They've been farming all their lives. They're capable farmers. They had new equipment. It's not that they had antique tractors... But for the bad seeds, these farmers would've been yielding optimal yields," said Thomas Burrell, president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, a Memphis nonprofit group that advocates for black farmers in the South.

Stine Seed has denied allegations that the company targeted black farmers and sold them subpar products. The Iowa-based company is seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, filed in April in federal court in Tennessee. Calling the accusations "inflammatory," the company said the farmers were unable to present evidence proving that they were treated unfairly because of their race.

Myron Stine, president of the company, said the lawsuit "is without merit and factually unsupportable." He said Stine Seed has conducted an internal investigation and found no evidence of racial discrimination. A spokeswoman said that the company provides thousands of seeds to customers every planting season and that those products cover millions of acres across the country.

The lawsuit says the farmers bought about $100,000 worth of soybean seeds from Stine Seed in the spring of 2017 after attending an annual farm show in Memphis. At the show they met a district sales manager who told them the company had soybean varieties suitable for growing conditions in Mississippi. At some point after the purchase, the farmers allege, the company switched the certified seeds the farmers thought they were buying with inferior ones. That meant the farmers ultimately paid far more than what the inferior seeds were worth, the lawsuit alleges.

U.S. Organic Food Market Size Worth $70.4 Billion by 2025

The U.S. organic food market size is expected to reach $70.4 billion by 2025 as a result of increasing demand from consumers. Consumers in U.S. seek convenient purchasing options and organic food, which is now easily available, is gaining popularity. These food products are available in more than 20,000 natural food stores and conventional grocery stores across the country.

Over the past decade, organic food has witnessed significant growth. Sold initially only around farms, today it is available at local grocery stores, supermarkets, and hypermarkets. For instance, Walmart sells organic produce from local farms in their grocery section. Thus, increasing preference for local produce among consumers is also expected to drive the organic food industry over the forecast period.

Furthermore, people are now increasingly aware of the use of chemicals and pesticides in the food industry. Various widely-used pesticides can cause chronic diseases such as cancer and birth defects. For instance, scientists found that glyphosate, a widely-used herbicide in agriculture, can lead to various diseases such as reproductive problems, cancer, and damaged DNA. Today glyphosate is increasingly being used in about 94% soya crops and more than 89% corn cultivated in U.S. As organic products are free of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and toxic chemicals, they are perceived safe for consumption. Thus, rising health concerns owing to use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides is expected to drive the organic food market over the forecast period.

Increasing environmental concerns among consumers are expected to drive demand for natural food produce in U.S. Organic farming benefits the environment; these practices help maintain soil pH levels and prevent growth of super-pest strains. Organic farming helps maintain biodiversity as it supports pollinators and is free of herbicides and pesticides. People are increasingly concerned about what they eat, the origin of that produce, and the possible effect of consuming them. Hence, rising number of consumers seeking clean label products is expected to drive the U.S. organic food market over the forecast period.

The government has also developed special logos for customers to easily differentiate between organic and conventional foods. These certifications are expected to increase the sale of organic foods. Moreover, sustainability practices such as zero waste and water preservation are gaining popularity among major producers. For instance, in April 2016, Natures Path earned two zero waste certifications for two of its manufacturing facilities. Zero waste helps reduce plastic pollution, landfill, and burying waste, thus, reducing environmental impact. Manufacturers are focusing on reducing their carbon footprint by adopting renewable energy sources. All these factors are anticipated to attract consumers and drive the U.S. organic food market over the forecast period.

Key players analyzed in the report include Nature's Path Foods; Amy's Kitchen, Inc.; The Whitewave Foods Company; Hain Celestial; and General Mills, Inc.

Thursday July 19 Ag News

Rural Mainstreet Economy Declines for July: More Than 3 of 5 Bankers Report Negatives from Trade Skirmishes

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index climbed above growth neutral in July for a sixth straight month, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy. This is the first time since the July 2014 survey that the overall index has risen above growth neutral for six straight months.  

Overall: The overall index slid to 53.8 from 56.1 in June. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral.

“Surveys over the past several months indicate the Rural Mainstreet economy is solid but with less positive economic growth. However, the negative impacts of recent trade skirmishes have begun to surface with the weakening of already anemic grain prices,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. 

Pete Haddeland, CEO of the First National Bank in Mahnomen, Minnesota, said, “Grain prices are at, in some cases, 10-year lows. Not good.”

According to Fritz Kuhlmeier, CEO of Citizens State Bank in Lena, Illinois, “The trade issues/tariffs have been devastating on our local dairy industry when tacked on top of already below cost or breakeven milk prices.”

Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for June rose to a weak 44.7 from June’s 42.7. This is the 56th straight month the index has fallen below growth neutral 50.0.

The July farm equipment-sales index increased to 38.8 from June’s 36.3. This marks the 59th consecutive month the reading has moved below growth neutral 50.0.

Many bankers reported good, or above average rainfall, with crop production off to a good start.  Furthermore, in portions of the region, the recreation industry was boosting the economy.

This month bankers were asked, “How many times should the Federal Reserve raise interest rates for the rest of 2018?”

“Almost one-third, or 30 percent of bank CEOs recommended keeping rates at their current level, 45 percent suggested one additional interest rate increase, 20 percent supported two additional rate hikes and 5 percent recommended three more rate increases for 2018,” said Goss.

Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for July climbed to 56.3 from June’s 55.9. The state’s farmland-price index increased to 43.7 from last month’s 42.6. Nebraska’s new-hiring index rose to 56.5 from 55.0 in June. Nebraska's Rural Mainstreet job growth over the last 12 months was 1.1 percent.

Iowa: The July RMI for Iowa climbed to 56.0 from 55.9 in June. Iowa’s farmland-price index for July declined to 42.1 from June’s 42.6. Iowa’s new-hiring index for July fell to 50.1 from June’s 54.8. Iowa’s Rural Mainstreet job growth over the last 12 months was minus-1.0 percent.

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. 

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.

2018 NC Road Trip

The annual Nebraska Cattlemen Road Trip brings highlights and topics of interest to you, our members. Come see your dues dollars at work at this informational gathering hosted by NC staff members. Listen as Laura Field discusses the Road Trip.
Topics to Fuel Your Mind:

Environmental Issues Update
State Environmental issues and NC participation in NDEQ permitting process review
ELD and the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely (TLAAS) Act.

Legislative Update
NC and their efforts for tax relief and reform. Nebraska Cattlemen stands ready to work with the Governor’s office for a solution in 2019.

Animal Disease Traceability – Is it time?
Several states have implemented mandatory ID systems for their states. USDA doesn’t have the funds to indemnify producers in big outbreaks. States and producers need to take a bigger role. Trace-outs and testing is expensive for states and producers.

Secure Beef Supply Plan
Continuity of business during a Food and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak. The Secure Beef Supply Plan as well as the Secure Milk Supply Plan, and the Secure Pork Supply plans were developed by the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State with grant from USDA.

Membership & NC Programs
Help us grow your membership. Your member services team is here to help you with membership recruitment and retention.

Monday, July 23
McCook - Meal at 12:30 pm - Meeting 1:00 pm    
Coppermill Steakhouse, 1 Coppermill St.
Sponsored by Cappel Sales, Inc. & Stroup Feedyard 
North Platte - Meal at 7:00 pm - Meeting at 7:30 pm  
Holiday Inn Express Conference Center, 300 Holiday Frontage Rd
Sponsored by Gifford & Cox, Lincoln County Feedyard, Stockman's Veterinary Clinic & Rocky Mountain Financial Group

Tuesday, July 24
St. Paul - Meal at 12:30 pm - Meeting 1:00 pm    
Twin Loups Quality Meats, 805 Howard Ave.
Sponsored by Homestead Bank of St. Paul, New Balance Commodities, Pathway Bank, & Cattlemen’s Nutrition Services
Raymond - Meal at 7:00 pm - Meeting at 7:30 pm
Settje Agri Services & Engineering, 15460 NW 48th
Sponsored by Settje Agri Services & Engineering & Lancaster/Seward Co. Cattlemen

Wednesday, July 25
Tecumseh - Meal at 6:30 pm - Meeting at 7:00 pm  
Hartmann Cattle Company, 61878 732 Rd
Sponsored by Farmers Cooperative, Dorchester

RSVP’s are not required for the Road Trip meetings. If you would like to help us with the meal count, you can RSVP.  Contact: Bonita 402-450-0223 voice/text.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Announces Additional Agriculture Issue Listening Sessions

The Nebraska Farm Bureau will hold listening sessions across the state in August. The sessions are open to the public and will provide farmers and ranchers with the opportunity to share their thoughts on issues impacting their operations.

“Nebraska Farm Bureau was founded by farmers and ranchers who understood the importance of working together to solve problems that were impacting their livelihoods and their communities. These listening sessions will give farmers and ranchers the chance to talk about issues of concern directly with Nebraska Farm Bureau leadership and staff so we can continue to work together to address issues,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

 Listening sessions are scheduled for:
Mon., August 6 – Syracuse
First Bank of Nebraska
320 5th Street
Syracuse, NE 68446

Tues., August 7 – Columbus
Rosendahl Farms Seed and Feed
35884 175th Ave. – Monastery Road
Columbus, NE 68601

Wed., August 8 – North Platte
West Central Research & Extension Center
402 West State Farm Road
North Platte, NE 69101

All listening sessions will begin with a social at 6 p.m. local time, to be followed by a meal and program. Those interested can RSVP by texting NEFB to 52886 or online at RSVPs are appreciated, but walk-ins are welcome.

Williams, Stinner, and Friesen, Designated “Friends of Agriculture” by Nebraska Farm Bureau-PAC

State senators Matt Williams, John Stinner, and Curt Friesen, have received the Nebraska Farm Bureau-PAC’s (NEFB-PAC), “Friend of Agriculture” designation. All four candidates are seeking re-election to represent their respective districts in the Nebraska Legislature.
    Matt Williams of Gothenburg is seeking re-election to represent District 36
    John Stinner of Scottsbluff is seeking re-election to District 48
    Curt Friesen of Henderson is seeking re-election to District 34

“We appreciate what these individuals bring to the table in helping lead our state. All have made positive contributions to the Legislature,” said Mark McHargue of Central City, chairman of NEFB-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

“We are pleased to count Sen. Williams, Sen. Stinner, and Sen. Friesen, among those receiving our “Friend of Agriculture” designation for the 2018 general election,” said McHargue.

Kolterman Designated “Friend of Agriculture” by Nebraska Farm Bureau-PAC

Mark Kolterman of Seward has been designated a “Friend of Agriculture” by Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee (NEFB-PAC). Kolterman is seeking re-election to represent District 24 in the Nebraska Legislature.

“During Mark’s tenure at the Legislature he has worked on numerous issues to help better the lives of Nebraska farmers and ranchers and represent the interests of his district,” said Mark McHargue of Central City, chairman of NEFB-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

“Mark continues to show a strong desire to address the issue of property taxes and how we fund schools; a priority shared by the Nebraska Farm Bureau and its members,” said McHargue. “We are pleased to offer our support for Sen. Kolterman as he seeks re-election to the District 24 seat and look forward to continuing to work with him in the Legislature,” said McHargue.

Nebraska Farm Bureau-PAC’s “Friend of Agriculture” designation is given to selected candidates for public office based on their commitment to and positions on agricultural issues, qualifications, previous experience, communication abilities, and their ability to represent their district. 


Beginning and experienced graziers, land managers, policymakers and those concerned with the utilization and conservation of grazing lands are encouraged to register for the 18th annual Nebraska Grazing Conference Aug. 6-8 at the Kearney Ramada Inn, 301 Second Ave. The conference will highlight information on grazing livestock systems and their impact on lands.

This year's conference features more opportunities for producers to share their insights and experience on a range of topics, including keeping farms in the family, mixed-species grazing, and grazing lands and wildlife.

Daren Redfearn, chair of the conference planning committee, said some of the changes to this year's conference are significant but are based on comments and suggestions from previous conference attendees.

"We hope that these changes provide additional learning and engagement opportunities for conference participants," Redfearn said.

New to this year's conference is a complimentary half-day field tour focused on monitoring. Chartered buses will depart the Ramada Inn for the tour site, where attendees will hear Christine Su, CEO of PastureMap, speak on field applications of pasture and ecological monitoring. Producers utilizing monitoring will also share their experiences.

Ron Hanson, agribusiness professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, will moderate a producer panel on the generational transfer of farms and ranches. Homer Buell of Shovel Dot Ranch will reflect on conference insights and their relevance to producers. The schedule also will allow time for networking and visiting exhibit booths featuring new services and products.

To register, visit For assistance with registration, call 402-472-8747.

The Nebraska Grazing Conference is hosted by the university's Center for Grassland Studies.

Property values near wind energy projects subject of Center for Rural Affairs fact sheet

Wind energy projects do not negatively impact surrounding property values, according to a fact sheet released this week by the Center for Rural Affairs.

“Wind energy and property values” reviews findings of studies conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – as well as the Universities of Rhode Island and Connecticut – which analyze factors that influence property values. Author Lu Nelsen provides recommendations for wind project developers, rural communities, and landowners to facilitate a more efficient development process.

“These studies, along with many others, have found no measurable effect on property values from nearby wind farms,” said Nelsen, policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs. “While it is important for developers to work with communities and landowners to avoid potential issues with new projects, local stakeholders and officials now have a better answer to a concern that is often voiced early in the development process.”

The conclusions were reached by monitoring the sale of more than 50,000 homes spanning 27 counties in nine different states.

The homes were located within 10 miles of wind projects; 1,198 homes were within one mile and 331 were within a half mile.

“The Center for Rural Affairs aims to assist landowners and other stakeholders in developing clean energy projects in an equitable, sustainable way that works best for rural citizens and their communities,” Nelsen said. “This fact sheet will be a good resource for county officials and landowners looking for answers about effects on property values, as well as potential best practices that wind energy developers could adopt when pursuing a project.”

The fact sheet is available at

Your new favorite Harvest Ale Festival is coming on October 13th

The Nebraska Craft Brewers Guild, Nebraska Extension Hop Program and Midwest Hop Producers are thrilled to announce a new and exciting event that promotes community and the hop growing and craft brewing industries.  The Harvest Ale Festival will take place on Saturday, October 13th at Midwest Hop Producers in Plattsmouth, Nebraska and will celebrate local hops and local beer with food, beer tastings, fall activities and music.

While we might be drenched in sweat under the summer sun busily preparing for harvest this fall, we can look forward to fall days with a nip in the air, crisp beers with fresh hop aromas, and gatherings with friends as the sun goes down. This unique outdoor festival will feature tastings of fresh hopped and harvest styled brews highlighting local hop and craft brew production in Nebraska, local food trucks, scenic views of the largest hop yard in Nebraska, and an afternoon you won’t forget among friends.

This event will bring people from all over the Midwest  together and a portion of the proceeds from the event will be going to support the efforts of the Nebraska Craft Brewers Guild and the Nebraska Hop Program’s research and extension hop yard.  Both of these organizations are working hard to better the craft brewing industry in the state!

For more information visit: //

Participating breweries: 5168 Brewing Co., Backswing Brewing Co., Blue Blood Brewing Co., Brickway Brewing Co., Code Beer Co., Empyrean Brewing Co., Farnam House Brewing Co., First Street Brewing Co., Infusion Brewing Co., Keg Creek Brewing Co. (IA), Kinkaider Brewing Co., Kros Strain Brewing Co., Lazy Horse Brewing Co., Lost Way Brewing Co., Lucky Bucket Brewing Co., Nebraska Brewing Co., Pals Brewing Co., Prairie Pride Brewing Co., Scriptown Brewing Co., Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewing, Thunderhead Brewing Co., Upstream Brewing Co., and Zipline Brewing Co.

Gangwish Elected to National Corn Board

At the National Corn Growers Association’s biannual Corn Congress event, Deb Gangwish was elected to serve on NCGA’s corn board. Deb is a farmer from Shelton, Nebraska, and is a director for the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

“I am humbled and honored to have been selected to serve in this role,” said Gangwish. “I’m excited to hit the ground running in October and serve corn farmers by working to improve issues such as the RFS, trade and the farm bill. So many of the groups driving and creating policy are unfamiliar with modern agriculture. I look forward to bridging this gap to ensure agriculture is a viable industry for the generations to come.”

On their farm, Deb and her husband grow seed corn, field corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, oats, alfalfa, hay and corn silage. They also background cattle and own a trucking company. Off the farm, Deb is actively involved in agriculture at the state, national and international levels through various organizations and international trade missions.

“Deb brings a wealth of experience and a unique perspective to NCGA’s corn board,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “She is a driven individual who is passionate about the betterment of agriculture. I look forward to seeing the positive influence she has for our nation’s corn industry.”

Deb will begin her role on NCGA’s corn board on October 1, 2018. The election took place Wednesday, July 18 during the first day of the 2018 Corn Congress in Washington, D.C. The multi-day event is focused on shaping policy for NCGA. Corn farmer delegates from across the country participated in the discussions.

ICGA Members Take Ag Priorities to Washington, D.C. during Corn Congress

Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) farmer-leaders convened in Washington, D.C. this week with other corn farmers from across the country to advocate for key agricultural issues as part of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Congress meeting. The Iowa delegation, including ICGA directors and grassroots members, visited 125 Congressional offices, many of which represented areas outside the Corn Belt because it is important that all members of Congress understand the importance of American agriculture and the challenges farmers currently face. These Capitol Hill meetings focused on:
-    The necessity for a conclusion to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations and an end to the imposed trade tariffs on corn and corn products
-    Support of a fully funded 2018 Farm Bill that will meet farmers priorities with crop insurance and increased funding for the for critical trade promotion and export programs (MAP and FMD)
-    Expanding consumer access to higher blends of ethanol by allowing for year-round E15 use and reallocate the gallons lost due to small refinery exemptions

“Trade was a key topic of Corn Congress and it was a key message we took to Capitol Hill,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) President Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington. “We need to find a path forward on trade before we see long-term impacts to farmers and rural America. We are counting on the administration and Congress to reach a resolution on responsible trade policies including seeing NAFTA negotiations through and solidify our relationships with Mexico and Canada.”

Recker also joined other ICGA farmer-leaders in meetings with the Iowa Delegation including Senator Ernst and Senator Grassley where they discussed the need of working with EPA Administrator Wheeler to maintain a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “We need year-round E15, so we can expand our use of higher blends of ethanol and we urge the EPA to reallocate the gallons of ethanol already lost due to the small refinery exemptions. We appreciate the support of the entire delegation on this issue, but most notably Senators Ernst and Grassley who championed for Iowa farmers during the recent threats to the RFS.”

 “We advocated for a fully funded Farm Bill that will help meet farmers priorities with crop insurance and funding for export programs,” said Recker. “The Federal Crop Insurance programs were written in a way to provide a basic level of risk protection to help offset bad economic times and severe weather. We’re seeing its importance again this year as areas in the Midwest struggle with the weather.”

Iowa Corn farmer-leaders on Monday and Tuesday participated in NCGA Action teams to help set the direction of many key programs and activities. In addition to meetings on the Hill, ICGA delegates debated their priorities and approved national policy resolutions.

Iowa Farmer-Leaders Elected to National Corn Growers Association Board

Delegates attending the 2018 National Corn Congress re-elected Bruce Rohwer from O’Brien County to the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Board for a three-year term. Rohwer will join NCGA Directors Chris Edgington of Mitchell County and Kevin Ross of Pottawatomie County on the Corn Board. Ross will serve as first vice president-elect for Fiscal Year 2019.

"NCGA is unique in that it brings together corn farmers from across the country to create a cohesive, unified voice in dealing with their shared issues," said Rohwer. "I look forward to the opportunity to serve on the Corn Board to offer my views but, more importantly, to assist the board in its efforts to guide NCGA as a positive force for our nation's corn farmers."

Rohwer, of Paullina, Iowa is past chair and president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and is the Corn Board liaison to the Risk Management Action Team. 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 owns a sow farrow farrow-to-finish operation.

Bruce places a high priority on maintaining NCGA's role as the leading advocate for the corn industry and bringing stakeholders together to find a strong voice advocating for issues such as trade, ethanol, and livestock exports as well as addressing consumer concerns. Rohwer said that corn farmers have several opportunities to be farmer-advocates:
-    before government regulators with a new crop insurance program to help protect farmers;
-    for the Farm Bill before Congressional Committees;
-    as ambassadors for our crop with international buyers;
-    as partners with our fellow farmers in other associations such as the US Grains Council and U.S. Meat Export Federation

“These “opportunities” to affect things from policy to economics, come to us as members of NCGA and it is incumbent upon each of us to do that advocacy for agriculture,” stated Rohwer.

 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.

Farmers Grow their Soybean Knowledge as ISA Experience Participants

Thirteen farmers from throughout Iowa are broadening their knowledge of the soybean industry and the Iowa Soybean Association as participants in the 2018 Iowa Soybean Association Experience.

The program, launched in 2015, immerses farmers in all facets of the ISA including its services, structure and governance. It also offers them unique perspectives about issues impacting the productivity and profitability of soybean farmers including international trade, market development, production and environmental research and communications.

Participants include:
    Schyler Bardole, Churdan
    Aimee & Klint Bissell, Bedford
    Reed Burres, Humboldt
    Katie Hall, Clive
    David Hiler, Rockwell City
    Julie Kenney, Ankeny
    Kevin Krumwiede, Ledyard
    Blake Rabe, Ankeny
    Jason Russell, Prairieburg
    Sam Showalter, Hampton
    Brent Swart, Spencer
    Jared Wellik, Woden

“The ISA Experience provides a great opportunity for farmer members to learn more about their association and pique their interest for future leadership and involvement,” said ISA President Bill Shipley. “They also serve as an important sounding board for the organization, providing ideas and direction that strengthens our service to members and the industry.”

The farmer from Nodaway said Experience participants are often the first to voice concerns, surface ideas, pose questions and offer valuable insights that benefit ISA staff.

“We’ve had several Experience class members go on to serve as leaders on our board and advisory councils,” Shipley said. “The Experience helps them find their fit with ISA and to understand first-hand how the soybean checkoff is benefitting them and fellow soybean farmers.”

Experience participants met for the first time in March and focused on foreign trade and policy and regulatory concerns. Future meetings will include a biodiesel plant tour, a visit to the Farm Progress Show and participation in next January’s ISA District Advisory Council meeting to be held in Des Moines.

The Experience Class is powered in part by Beck’s Hybrids and REG.

ASA Leaders Share Policy Updates and Discuss the Future of U.S. Soy at USB Meeting

American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer and ASA CEO Ryan Findlay provided remarks at the United Soybean Board (USB) meeting this week in Omaha, Neb.

Heisdorffer gave a presentation to the full board and Findlay participated in a panel discussion with USB Chief Executive Officer Polly Ruhland and U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) CEO Jim Sutter, moderated by Timothy Venverloh, USB sustainability strategic director.

Heisdorffer provided an update on ASA’s efforts to educate Congressional leaders and the Administration on the significant impact of the Section 301 tariffs and China’s retaliatory tariffs during an already down farm economy.

He also shared a summary on ASA’s efforts to encourage passage of a farm bill this year; support for maintaining and establishing appropriate annual volume requirements for biodiesel under the RFS; and the importance of biotechnology and the need to work collaboratively with like-minded groups to implement the National Biotech Food Labeling Standard that will exempt products with ingredients derived through plant breeding techniques and that do not contain rDNA protein.

Findlay’s participation in a vibrant panel discussion with Ruhland and Sutter covered a wide range of topics that impact the profit potential of U.S. soybean farmers and the future global market potential for U.S. soy.

The group discussed trade challenges, consumer perceptions of soy, sustainability and many other priority issues and how the three organizations can collaborate to address these opportunities.

Livestock Groups Applaud Proposed Updates to ESA Implementation

Ethan Lane, Executive Director of the Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Federal Lands, today released the following statement in response to the Fish and Wildlife Service's proposed updates to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) implementation regulations:

“We are pleased to see the administration taking such a serious and measured approach to modernizing the regulatory side of the Endangered Species Act.  While we are still reviewing the details of these proposed rules, they are focused on some of the most impactful areas of current ESA implementation and could consequently provide tremendous relief to ranchers once finalized.  We look forward to working with Secretary Zinke and his team on this effort.”

Farm Bureau Welcomes ESA Regulatory Revisions

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased to see the White House is prioritizing regulatory improvements to the Endangered Species Act. We look forward to reviewing the proposals in greater detail with our members and providing constructive comments to the docket. On their face, the revisions are in line with farmers’ and ranchers’ calls for rules that are clear, encourage voluntary conservation work, increase local involvement and chart a path for real recovery and delisting of species. We applaud the Trump Administration’s regulatory reform efforts and this long-overdue change to the ESA.”

Record Low Veal and Lamb and Mutton Production for June

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.33 billion pounds in June, down 1 percent from the 4.35 billion pounds produced in June 2017.

Beef production, at 2.30 billion pounds, was 1 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.88 million head, up 1 percent from June 2017. The average live weight was unchanged from the previous year, at 1,321 pounds.

Veal production totaled 5.8 million pounds, 8 percent below June a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 45,200 head, up 12 percent from June 2017. The average live weight was down 46 pounds from last year, at 223 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.01 billion pounds, down 2 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.61 million head, down 3 percent from June 2017. The average live weight was up 1 pound from the previous year, at 280 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 12.3 million pounds, was down 1 percent from June 2017. Sheep slaughter totaled 178,500 head, 5 percent below last year. The average live weight was 138 pounds, up 6 pounds from June a year ago.

By State       (million lbs.  --  % June '17)

Nebraska ....:         669.5             97      
Iowa ...........:         574.7             99      
Kansas ........:         515.8            103      

January to June 2018 commercial red meat production was 26.3 billion pounds, up 4 percent from 2017. Accumulated beef production was up 4 percent from last year, veal was down slightly, pork was up 3 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was up 5 percent.

Farmers Press Trump Administration on Biofuels in New Ad from Growth Energy

A new television ad launched today by Growth Energy, the nation’s top ethanol advocate, casts a spotlight on the repeated calls from rural America for pro-biofuel policies from President Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This new ad follows a field hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan held by the EPA on the topic this week.

“Rural America is hurting, and these communities are counting on President Trump and his administration to uphold his promise to support biofuels,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “The EPA could immediately restore hundreds of millions of bushels of demand to the agricultural market by unleashing more homegrown biofuels. American farmers are ready to compete, and the biofuels produced from their crops will revitalize rural growth, increase American energy security, and provide much-needed relief from rising gasoline prices.”

Slated to air on Fox News, the ad gives voice to many Midwest farmers who have been hardest hit by the ongoing agricultural crisis and attacks on crop-based biofuels. They ask President Trump to ensure that new EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler reverse the demand destruction caused by federal waivers, restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and lift outdated restrictions on the sale of ethanol blends, namely E15 – regulations that President Trump called “unnecessary and ridiculous.”

The new ad is the latest salvo in Growth Energy’s ongoing campaign to expand domestic markets for clean, low-cost biofuels. As part of the effort, elected leaders have joined farm and business champions from across the Midwest to demand that EPA lift regulations that limit the sales of E15 during the summer. Additionally, Growth Energy recently launched an action center to ensure rural America’s voice is heard during the EPA’s open comment period for the proposed biofuel targets for 2019. They also have rallied against anti-ethanol waivers granted to major oil refiners by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who departed shortly after proposing these controversial biofuel targets for 2019. Those targets are now under review by Mr. Wheeler.

“Farmers cannot afford to be locked out of the energy market for another driving season,” added Skor.

USGC Explores Potential Ethanol Demand In Chile And Argentina

Increased global bioethanol use is only a well-constructed policy decision away in markets like Argentina and Chile. The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) traveled to both countries in June to investigate their existing ethanol markets and discover how new or improved ethanol policies could boost demand while opening the door to imports.

“New market development opportunities for ethanol continue to arise in the Western Hemisphere,” said Mike Dwyer, USGC chief economist and lead on ethanol promotion globally. “The Council is discussing with governments and industries how to meet increasing demand for fuel and achieve economic, environmental and human health benefits through the use of blending ethanol into their gasoline supplies.”

After participating in the Ethanol Summit of the Americas in Houston in October 2017 (an event sponsored by the Council and its domestic partners), another South American country, Bolivia, decided to dramatically boost its commitment to bioethanol by starting at E10 in January 2019 and rising to E25 by 2025. The Council decided to visit Argentina and Chile with the hope officials there would see the value of enacting similiar policies but with substantially more gallons involved.

In Chile, inexperience using ethanol is hindering U.S. ethanol export opportunities. Government regulations do allow blending of ethanol into fuel between two and five percent. However, importers and domestic refiners have selected MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) - a substance displaced by ethanol in the United States due to potential health effects in drinking water - as the preferred oxygenate based on a lack of knowledge of how to use ethanol and insufficient domestic feedstock production. As a result, Chile is the third largest user of MTBE in the region.

The Council delegation gauged interest in using ethanol as a biofuel in addition to investigating the major regulatory and technical obstacles to adopting a national ethanol program in Chile.

“Our meetings in Chile opened the door for future technical dialogues between the U.S. ethanol industry and Chilean refineries,” Dwyer said. “The use of ethanol could help the Chilean government fulfill fuel quality requirements and comply with Chilean environmental standards – all at a price economically advantageous to Chilean fuel blenders.”

Argentina, in contrast, has both an existing ethanol policy and domestic ethanol industry to supply octane for the 2.4 billion gallons of gasoline consumed annually. The biofuels program, established in 2006, has encouraged the development of a domestic industry that uses both corn and sugarcane as feedstock.

The current E12 blend results in 278 million gallons of ethanol consumption annually, pulled equally from both corn and sugarcane via a government quota.

The sugarcane industry has been unable to fill its portion of the ethanol quota in months preceding the harvesting season when supplies of sugarcane are at their lowest (May-June). Despite goals to increase plant capacity by up to 20 percent, the domestic ethanol industry in Argentina also has geographical constraints that limit sugarcane production in the northern region of the country. These dynamics led to temporary ethanol imports of 1.3 million gallons (5 million liters) in the second quarter of 2018 to compensate for the deficit in local sugarcane-based ethanol production.

In contrast, the country’s corn-based ethanol industry - with five refineries - could increase production but is awaiting the government to signal support before increasing infrastructure investment.

Policy changes could come by 2021, including price liberalization for ethanol. Ethanol producers are in discussions with the government regarding whether to move to the Brazilian model of flex-fuel vehicles that can use pure E100 hydrous or to stay with anhydrous ethanol blended with gasoline at a rate not to exceed a 27 percent blend.

The Council delegation explored how these projected changes could affect the future of the ethanol industry in Argentina. The group also planted the concept of adjusting these policies to allow for trade when domestic supplies of feedstock are short, allowing for consistency in fuel blending and stability that would support the domestic industry’s growth.

“The Council will continue strengthening relationships with the ethanol industry in Argentina and Chile,” Dwyer said. “We saw in these markets the importance of engagement on how to build a robust ethanol program with a role for trade when domestic ethanol supplies are insufficient. We would like them to see the United States as a reliable partner – both in terms of import supply to supplement domestic production and as a source of technical and policy advice as they seek to decarbonize their fuel markets in the years ahead.”

MS Technologies, Bayer Commercialize LibertyLink GT27 Soybeans

MS Technologies, West Point, Iowa, and Bayer on Wednesday announced the U.S. commercial launch of LibertyLink GT27 (Event FG72 x LL55) soybeans. The new LibertyLink GT27 trait stack will benefit soybean growers by being the first to market combining tolerance to Liberty (glufosinate-ammonium), glyphosate and a new HPPD mode of action herbicide for soybeans, pending EPA approval. The trait will be available in elite soybean genetics for maximum yield potential. LibertyLink GT27 soybeans have received all of the required import approvals to advance to commercialization in 2019.

"Today we are excited to announce the full commercialization of LibertyLink GT27 soybeans," says Joseph Merschman, president of MS Technologies. "We are excited because this new trait will provide a powerful solution for soybean growers, combining our best elite soybean genetics with multiple sites of action for outstanding weed control. This system combines maximum yield potential with effective, flexible and neighbor-friendly weed control -- truly the best of both worlds."

MS Technologies and Bayer have collaborated for more than a decade to bring soybean growers new herbicide-tolerant technologies, starting with the LibertyLink system in 2009. LibertyLink GT27 represents the next evolution of this collaboration for the two companies, and the fact that it is the first-ever soybean trait to market to enable over the top use of both Liberty (glufosinate-ammonium) and glyphosate means it will be an extremely strong alternative to current weed management options.

"The commercialization of LibertyLink GT27 soybeans is a great milestone for us in our continuous efforts to offer soybean growers more effective weed management solutions," said Rick Turner, head of seeds for Bayer. "This approval to commercialize keeps us on track for our scheduled 2019 product launch, which is great news for farmers in the U.S."

LibertyLink GT27 will be broadly licensed throughout North America. Currently over 100 seed companies have signed on to offer LibertyLink GT27 soybeans in their brands in 2019. Stakeholder communication will be ongoing supporting this commercialization.

Upon registration from the EPA, the new HPPDi (Group 27) herbicide under development will be the first of its kind available for use in soybeans. At this time, there are no HPPDi herbicides approved for use on soybeans. Upon registration, Bayer will make more information about this new herbicide available.

Two University Studies Show Crop Benefits When Using Instinct® with Liquid Swine Manure

New research from Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota supports previous research documenting improved crop health, environmental advantages and increase in yield when using Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer with liquid swine manure.

“These studies have been instrumental in showing correlations between late-fall liquid manure applications, using Instinct and an increase in crop yield,” said Eric Scherder, Ph.D., customer technical specialist, Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont. “Data shows that delaying fall application to November and adding Instinct can show a statistically significant increase in corn yield.”

Researchers noted that most liquid manure is applied right after soybean harvest is removed in mid- to late-September and early October and at higher than field removal rates. This is significantly earlier than farmers typically apply their commercial ammonia. Because of this timing and rate, early applied liquid swine manure is especially susceptible to leaching and denitrification, processes in which nitrogen becomes an unusable form to the corn crop.

Both studies specifically looked at moving manure application from early October to early November. In the Iowa State University study, researchers saw an average increase of 27 bushels/acre in 2016 and an average increase of 64 bushels/acre in 2017 just by pushing back timing alone. When looking at adding Instinct nitrogen stabilizer (rate of 150 units/acre equivalent), there was a yield increase of 24 bushels/acre in 2016 and a 12-bushels/acre increase in 2017.

Data from the University of Minnesota also indicated a yield increase when applying Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer with later timing. Delaying manure application from early October to early November increased corn yield 7 bushels/acre (four-year average), and adding Instinct to fall-applied manure increased yield 7-10 bushels/acre (four-year average).

“The research supports previous trials that prove Instinct added to fall-applied swine manure increases corn grain yield 10-12 bushels/acre versus not using Instinct,” said Scherder.

Although these studies focus on application with manure, Instinct, and the counterpart N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer, works with different fertilizer types to offer the same level of nitrogen protection. Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer with manure, urea and UAN and N-Serve with anhydrous ammonia work below ground to reduce the amount of nitrogen lost through leaching and denitrification. This allows farmers to get the most out of their nitrogen investment. Instinct and N-Serve keep nitrogen in the ammonium form longer, making it more readily available to the crop. They also extend nitrogen availability up to eight weeks so crops get the nitrogen they need during critical growth stages.

As Farmers Grow Drone Use, Privacy Issues Top List of Concerns

The popularity of drones is flourishing on the farm. Three in four U.S. farmers (74%) are currently using or considering adopting the technology to assess, monitor and manage their farm, according to a Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. (MRA) survey of 269 U.S. farmers. Seventy-six percent (76%) of all respondents have concerns related to drone usage: privacy issues (23%) topped the list, followed by cyber security concerns over data captured and transferred (20%), and potential damage or injury from the drone (17%).

"As Federal Aviation Administration regulations open up the skies to the use of commercial drones, we are seeing a growing investment in the technology by farmers focused on precision agriculture or smart farming," said Jason Dunn, strategic products expert, MRA. "Whether a farm has less than 100 or more than 5,000 acres, drones can be the eyes and ears for farmers that want to efficiently and cost effectively monitor and manage crops, livestock and soil conditions. However, farmers may be exposing their business to new risks related to drone usage, and their insurance coverage may not have kept pace with the rapid development and use of this technology."

Of those who currently use the technology, it is nearly split between farmers who contract with an outside company to operate their drones (49%) and farmers who handle drone usage on their own (51%). Eighty-three percent (83%) of respondents use drones on their farms either daily or once a week or more. Drones are used for or considered being used for crop monitoring (73%), soil and field analysis (46%), and health assessment of [crops and livestock] (43%).

"Fortunately, a majority of farmers are talking to their insurance company about their drone usage," said Dunn. Sixty-five percent (65%) of survey respondents using drones have informed their insurance company; 16% plan to do so.

"Traditional commercial insurance policies don't cover or offer very limited liability protection for drones. Farmers should speak with their agents or brokers to insure that their policy protects against privacy claims as well as bodily injury and property damage incurred as a result of drone usage."

Some companies such as MRA offer a Drone Liability Endorsement that can be attached to an existing commercial general liability insurance policy purchased through a participating insurance carrier. The endorsement, which provides bodily injury and property damage liability and/or personal injury liability coverage for drones that are under 55 pounds, is designed for small to medium size businesses and farm and agricultural operations in the U.S.

Are there ‘weak links’ in your fresh cow treatment program?

Gary Neubauer, DVM, senior manager, Dairy Technical Services, Zoetis

As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Is it possible there are “weak links” in your fresh cow treatment protocols that could set your dairy up for vulnerabilities, either for antibiotic residues or lack of efficacy?

You can decrease your risk of residues and cost of treatment by improving your fresh cow program in three key areas: identifying and treating sick cows, implementing treatment protocols, and drug use, storage and handling.

Here are some questions to help identify and strengthen potential weak links in your fresh cow treatment program.

Identifying and treating sick cows
·         Who on the dairy is responsible for symptom identification?
·         How are employees trained to identify symptoms?
·         When was the last time these employees received training?

Implementing treatment protocols
·         How often are protocols reviewed and revised with your veterinarian? When was the last time you reviewed treatment protocols with your fresh pen team?
·         How are employees trained on treatment protocols? When was the last time employees received training?
·         How do you make sure antibiotic doses are administered according to the label for the animal’s actual weight?

Drug use, storage and handling
·         When was the last time you reviewed on-farm health records with your veterinarian to determine the success level of each treatment?
·         If you asked your employees right now, would they know the label withdrawals for milk and meat?
·         How often do you review your drug inventory and compare it with the known disease challenges on your dairy?

A single residue violation can erode consumer confidence. Work with your veterinarian to evaluate the antibiotics and treatment protocols used on your dairy.

Evaluate antibiotics based on:
-    Food and Drug Administration approval for on-label treatment of fresh cow diseases, like metritis
-    Low residue profile
-    Demonstrated efficacy

You also can talk to your Zoetis representative about additional antibiotic stewardship resources.

Wednesday July 18 Ag News

Ricketts Announces Furnas County as Newest Nebraska Livestock Friendly County

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced Furnas County as the newest county in Nebraska to be designated a Livestock Friendly County (LFC).  The Livestock Friendly County program is administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA).  With the addition of Furnas County, located in south-central Nebraska, 46 of the state’s 93 counties are now designated as livestock friendly.

“County fairs are a great place to promote agriculture, so I’m especially pleased to be here today to announce Furnas County’s livestock-friendly status,” said Governor Ricketts.  “By becoming a Livestock Friendly County, Furnas County is showing that they are open for business and eager to grow opportunities for the next generation of farm and ranch families.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Furnas County had a total of $181 million in market value of agriculture products for the year 2012.  Livestock sales accounted for $83 million, or 46 percent of the total value, with cattle/calves and hogs being the largest livestock segments in the county.  Crop production accounted for $98 million, or 54 percent of the total value.  Major crops raised in Furnas County include corn, soybeans, and wheat.

“Furnas County is home to nearly 390 farms and many businesses that are tied to agriculture, including ethanol, elevators, feedlots, banking, insurance, equipment, and supplies,” said Steve Martin, Ag Promotion Coordinator with the NDA.  “Those businesses show how growth and development in the livestock industry can create more economic activity and job opportunities in the county.”

The Livestock Friendly County program was created by the Nebraska Legislature in 2003 to recognize counties that support the livestock industry and new livestock developments.  A county wishing to apply for the LFC designation must hold a public hearing, and the county board must pass a resolution to apply for the designation.  Additional information about the Livestock Friendly County program is available on NDA’s website at or by calling 800-422-6692.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today reminded Iowa farmers that funds are available to help install practices focused on protecting water quality.  Practices eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fertilizer.

The cost share rate for first-time users of cover crops is $25 per acre, no-till or strip till are eligible for $10 per acre and farmers using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer can receive $3 per acre. Farmers are eligible for cost share on up to 160 acres.

First-time users that apply by July 27 will be the first applications funded.  First-time users that apply after July 27 will still receive priority consideration, but funds will also be made available to farmers that have used cover crops in the past for cost share assistance at $15 per acre.

“We already have $1.3 million in applications from more than 600 new farmers interested in trying a practice for the first time to better protect water quality. We encourage farmers that are interested to contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District office as soon as possible to learn more about the assistance that is available,” Naig said.

The 100 Soil and Water Conservation District offices located in each county across the state have information about this program and other opportunities for cost share funding.

Background on Iowa Water Quality Initiative

The Iowa Water Quality Initiative was established in 2013 to help implement the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which is a science and technology based approach to achieving a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to our waters.  The strategy brings together both point sources, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, including farm fields and urban stormwater runoff, to address these issues.

The Initiative seeks to harness the collective ability of both private and public resources and organizations to deliver a clear and consistent message to stakeholders to reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality.

The initiative is seeing some exciting results. Last fall, 2,600 farmers invested an estimated $8.7 million in funding to match $4.8 million in state cost share funds to adopt cover crops, no-till or strip till, or use a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Participants include 1,000 farmers using a practice for the first time and more than 1,600 past users who are trying cover crops again and are receiving a reduced rate of cost share.

A total of 65 demonstration projects are currently located across the state to help implement and demonstrate water quality practices. This includes 14 targeted watershed projects, 7 projects focused on expanding the use and innovative delivery of water quality practices and 44 urban water quality demonstration projects.   More than 250 organizations are participating in these projects. These partners will provide $37.7 million to go with the $23.4 million in state funding going to these projects.

More than $420 million in funding has been documented for efforts in support of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy last year. This represents a $32 million increase of funding in support of Iowa water quality programs and conservation efforts over the previous year.

More information about the initiative can be found at

NCGA Elects Five Growers to Serve on the Corn Board in FY19

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 2019 fiscal year, are new board members Deb Gangwish of Nebraska, Dennis Maple of Indiana and Harold Wolle, Jr. of Minnesota. Current board members Bruce Rohwer of Iowa and Jeff Sandborn of Michigan were re-elected. Gangwish, Maple, Rohwer and Wolle were elected to three-year terms. Sandborn will serve the unexpired one-year term left open by Kevin Ross, NCGA’s first vice president elect for Fiscal Year 2019.

“NCGA had a remarkable slate of candidates for the Corn Board, with many growers who already have an impressive history of service to American agriculture,” NCGA Chairman Wesley Spurlock, who chairs the nominating committee, said. “It encourages me to see such an interest on the part of these growers, particularly at this time when our industry faces so many challenges. I am certain they will be a valuable addition to the board and look forward to see what they do for corn farmers in the years to come.”
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.

NCGA Calls on EPA to Account for Refinery Waivers

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today called for EPA to maintain a strong, equitable Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that follows Congressional intent and levels the playing field for America’s farmers by using the annual volume rule to repair the damage from extensive refinery exemptions.

Michigan farmer Russell Braun provided testimony on behalf of NCGA during an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing on the agency’s proposed biofuel targets for 2019.

“With corn prices low, EPA’s decisions have a greater impact on my livelihood and other farmers’ as well.  We believe EPA should use the Renewable Fuel Standard volume rule to remedy the harm caused by the extensive retroactive exemptions given to refineries over the past year and ensure future exemptions are accounted for. These refinery exemptions decrease ethanol blending and reduce demand and profits for my corn crop. Every gallon of renewable fuel blending waived by EPA reduces the consumer benefits of the RFS.”

EPA’s proposal supports some growth in the RFS volumes and continues to propose an implied 15-billion-gallon volume for conventional ethanol. However, the proposed rule allows for retroactive refinery exemptions, without reallocating those waived gallons, undercutting the volume targets and rendering the proposed blending levels meaningless. In the past year, EPA has retroactively waived 2.25 billion ethanol equivalent-gallons from the 2016 and 2017 volumes through 48 refinery exemptions, many of which went to refineries owned by large, profitable companies.

“The EPA should end the practice of granting unjustified RFS waivers behind closed doors and uphold the strong biofuel targets promised by President Trump. America's corn growers are ready and able to do our part to increase American energy use and production, and hold down prices at the fuel pump,” said NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes. “EPA needs to listen to farmers comments, account for the waivers and make the RFS whole.”

Because many corn farmers are in Washington this week for NCGA’s Corn Congress and meetings with Members of Congress and unable to attend the Michigan public hearing, farmer delegates at Corn Congress took the opportunity to submit their comments to EPA online this morning.  Farmers across the country can join this effort by visiting to “Tell EPA to Restore the RFS.”

ACE leadership testifies on proposed 2019 RVOs

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) senior vice president Ron Lamberty testified today during the public hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Lamberty’s testimony highlights points which will be detailed in ACE’s written comments to the proposed rule. The issues include: (1) EPA’s overall approach to enforcing the RFS; (2) conventional biofuel levels; and (3) the effective working of the RIN marketplace. ACE’s full comments will also address our concerns about cellulosic and advanced biofuel targets.

“With the departure of the previous EPA Administrator, I hope EPA will take this opportunity to return to implementing the RFS as intended by Congress,” Lamberty said. “Pruitt’s seemingly sole focus on helping merchant refiners ignore or skirt their longstanding obligations under the RFS has further shaken the rural farm economy while undermining Congress’ goal of increasing renewable fuel use in the United States.”

“EPA’s misapplication of the small refiner waiver authority has destroyed an estimated 2.25 billion gallons of biofuel demand in 2016 and 2017 alone,” Lamberty added. “The 2019 proposal does nothing to reallocate the gallons of ethanol lost due to RFS waivers, nor does it restore the 500 million gallons of biofuel demand lost because of EPA’s actions in misapplying the economic harm waiver in the 2016 RVO as determined by the courts that ordered EPA to return those gallons as well.  This RVO rulemaking is the perfect place for EPA to restore these biofuel volumes under the RFS, allow for E15 and higher blends to be sold year-round, and discard of its refiner win-at-all-costs mentality.”

As a veteran of nearly 40 years of owning and operating convenience stores, Lamberty has spent nearly two decades at ACE, providing logistical and marketing expertise to petroleum marketers who are interested in selling ethanol-blended fuel, as well as those who already sell flex fuel. This expertise makes Lamberty uniquely qualified to help EPA understand that strong blending targets are needed to help restore confidence to the rural economy and reassure retailers it makes sense to offer E15 and flex fuels to their customers. As such, Lamberty can also offer valuable insight on how marketers and wholesalers have been able to handle Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) and RINless gallons to encourage the sale of higher ethanol blends.

EPA’s comment period on the proposed RVOs closes on August 17.

NBB, Biodiesel Producers Ask EPA to Raise RFS Volumes and Ensure They Are Met

Today, executives from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and its member companies are testifying at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Public Hearing for Proposed Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) for 2019 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2020. NBB and its members ask EPA to set the 2020 Biomass-based Diesel volume at 2.8 billion gallons, based on the agency’s own analysis in the proposed rule showing that volume is achievable next year. The agency must also reduce the uncertainty it has caused by issuing retroactive small refiner hardship exemptions, the industry told EPA staff.

Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), testified, “To provide the certainty that the biodiesel industry needs, EPA should raise the 2020 volume for biomass-based diesel to at least 2.8 billion gallons. That number better aligns with the goals that Congress set for the RFS program. And it will better fulfill the promise of the RFS program.”

Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs with NBB added, “I appreciate the agency’s recognition that the biodiesel industry has proven year after year that it can deliver increasing volumes. At the same time, I would like to emphasize that the volumes EPA finalizes will be meaningless, if the agency continues to retroactively reduce them through refinery exemptions.”

Kent Engelbrecht, Biodiesel Trade Manager at Archer Daniels Midland and NBB Board Chairman, stated, “There are many positive elements in this proposal for which we applaud EPA. But these are rendered meaningless unless EPA accounts for waived gallons to make sure the RVO’s are real numbers.”

EPA has estimated that the small refinery hardship exemptions it retroactively granted to refiners reduced the 2016 and 2017 RVOs by a combined 2.25 billion RINs. NBB estimates the 2016 and 2017 exemptions reduced demand for biodiesel by more than 300 million gallons. And since every 100 million gallons of increased biodiesel production supports some 3,200 jobs, NBB estimates the small refinery hardship exemptions puts 9,600 jobs in jeopardy.

Tom Brooks, General Manager of Western Dubuque Biodiesel and chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, noted that the 300 million gallon loss of biodiesel demand happens to equal Iowa’s 2017 total production almost exactly. “The impact of these exemptions is like wiping out a year’s worth of production in the nation’s top biodiesel-producing state,” he said.

EPA’s 2019 RFS Proposal Missing an Opportunity to Set Things Right with America’s Farmers, Ethanol Producers

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) implored the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today to use the 2019 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking process to fix the extensive damage done to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by former Administrator Scott Pruitt. In testimony delivered at a public hearing today in Ypsilanti, Mich., RFA Vice President of Government Affairs Samantha Slater said EPA’s 2019 RVO rule is an opportunity to correct the extensive damage done to demand for ethanol and America’s farmers by Scott Pruitt’s EPA.

The EPA field hearing is part of the public comment process surrounding recently released 2019 RVOs, which called for 19.88 billion gallons (BG). Of that 19.88 BG, 4.88 BG is advanced biofuel, including 381 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. That leaves, on paper, a 15 BG requirement for conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol.

“On the surface, the proposed rule raises the total 2019 RVO by 3 percent over the 2018 requirement, and maintains a 15-billion-gallon requirement for conventional biofuels like corn ethanol. But due to EPA’s failure to stem the tide of small refinery waivers, its refusal to reallocate lost blending volumes, and its brazen repudiation of binding court decisions, the proposed rule is superficial and toothless, and undermines President Trump’s commitment on the RFS,” Slater testified.

EPA recently approved 2.25 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons illegal waivers to oil refiners, and the agency has provided no commitment that it will change its approach to granting these exemptions, Slater explained. “Thus, the proposal means nothing until EPA reallocates those lost gallons and sets forth a more transparent and rational process that assures small refinery waivers are not abused or granted unnecessarily,” she testified.

As RFA outlined last week, interagency review documents show EPA had initially proposed to reallocate exempted renewable fuel volumes. However, after a lobbying push by the oil and gas industry, the EPA, then under the leadership of Scott Pruitt, reversed course just days before the 2019 RFS proposal was publicly issued.

“Administrative cuts to the RFS have resulted in significantly lower RIN prices, reduced corn and ethanol demand, avoided legal obligations for highly profitable businesses, and provided windfall profits for certain oil refiners,” Slater said. “The final rule should do less to cater to the whims of the oil industry in implementing the nation’s renewable fuel program, and more to create demand for ethanol, lowering prices at the pump for consumers and creating economic opportunities for farmers across the country,” she added.

In her testimony, Slater urged to EPA to:
• Adjust the 2019 RVO percentages to effectively reallocate projected small refiner exemptions;
• Address the court-ordered remand and include a plan for restoring the 500 million gallons missing from the 2016 RVO;
• Establish RVP parity for E15 and higher blends immediately; and,
• Lay out a plan for reallocating the renewable fuel blending volumes lost to small refiner exemptions in the 2016, 2017, and 2018 compliance years.

Most Fertilizer Prices Continue to Inch Higher Second Week of July

Average retail prices for most fertilizers continued to inch higher the second week of July 2018, continuing a trend that has been in place for the last several weeks, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Six of the eight major fertilizers were slightly higher compared to last month. DAP had an average price of $485 per ton, urea $366/ton, 10-34-0 $443/ton, anhydrous $505/ton, UAN28 $242/ton and UAN32 $279/ton.

Two fertilizers were slightly lower from the previous month. MAP had an average price of $504/ton and potash $354/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.40/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher in recent months. Both 10-34-0 and UAN28 are 3% higher, both potash and UAN32 are 4% more expensive, MAP is 8% higher, DAP is 11% more expensive, anhydrous is 12% higher and urea is 14% more expensive compared to last year.

RFA Announces Leadership Succession Plan

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) made an announcement today that marks the beginning of a new era for the ethanol industry’s leading trade association.  Executive Vice President Geoff Cooper will assume the position of president and CEO in October 2018, while current President and CEO Bob Dinneen will transition into the role of RFA’s Senior Strategic Advisor.

Dinneen has been with RFA for more than 30 years, including serving as the organization’s president and CEO since 2001. During his tenure, Dinneen led the industry and achieved a number of landmark legislative and regulatory victories for ethanol, including passage of the original Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in 2005 and significant expansion and extension of the RFS program in 2007.  Dinneen also played a crucial role in the creation of the reformulated gasoline and oxygenated fuels requirements; securing the RVP waiver for E10; working with states to adopt bans on MTBE; and multiple extensions of the ethanol blender’s tax credit and secondary tariff on imported ethanol, among other important victories.

“For more than three decades, I have had the privilege of working for an industry whose mission inspires me, a Board of Directors that supports me, and an organization that exemplifies the highest degree of professionalism, creativity, and competence,” Dinneen stated.  “I have borne witness to phenomenal growth, seen rural economies transformed and gotten to know and work side-by-side with the people who made this industry the success it is today.  Every day I am thankful for our accomplishments and still enthusiastic to tackle the challenges ahead.  Without a doubt, I have been truly blessed.”

“But 30 years is a long time and I believe now is the right time for new leadership, new ideas, and new energy at the helm of the Renewable Fuels Association.  I am going to keep working at RFA in a different capacity but with the same goal; to assure RFA and the industry I care about so deeply continue to grow and realize their full potential,” Dinneen continued.  “At the very least, I have great confidence that under Geoff’s leadership, the RFA will develop into an even more effective and authoritative voice for the U.S. ethanol industry, and that may be my greatest blessing.”

RFA Chairman Mick Henderson said, “Bob has spent most of his professional life dedicated to this industry, and for that we will always be grateful.  He has worked tirelessly on our behalf for 30 years and in that time, there was never any doubt that we could count on Bob to fight for us every day.  The industry simply would not be what it is today without Bob’s direction and leadership over the past three decades.”

Cooper joined RFA in 2008 as the organization’s Director of Research and Analysis and had ascended to executive vice president by 2016. He previously worked on ethanol issues for the National Corn Growers Association and served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, specializing in bulk petroleum product logistics. In recent years, Cooper has led RFA’s regulatory activities, while also overseeing the association’s research and technical initiatives, supporting public and media relations efforts, and managing the Renewable Fuels Foundation.

“I am deeply honored that the RFA board of directors has entrusted me with leading this vibrant and dynamic organization into the future,” Cooper said. “For the past decade, I have been incredibly fortunate to serve an industry and an organization whose values align so well with my own. It has been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to work alongside Bob, the RFA staff, and our diverse membership to advance RFA’s strategic goals and vision. Ethanol is a remarkable product that has an incredibly bright future filled with opportunity, and I am excited to help write the next chapter in our industry’s amazing story. I am truly grateful for the chance to build upon RFA’s legacy as the authoritative voice of the ethanol industry.”

In commenting on Cooper’s promotion, Henderson said, “The board and I have truly enjoyed working with Geoff, and we are confident he is the right new leader at the right time. We know he will bring new ideas and new energy to the RFA, build on Bob’s outstanding record of success, and position RFA favorably for the next 30 years of growth.”

House Moves to Send Farm Bill to Conference Committee, Appoints Conferees

Today, the House of Representatives moved to send the 2018 Farm Bill to conference committee. Following the vote, Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-01) named the House conferees, or members who will seek to resolve the differences between the two chambers’ bills. House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) issued the following statement on the House’s action:

“Today, we move one step closer to delivering a strong, new farm bill to the president’s desk on time as he has called on Congress to do. America's farmers and ranchers and rural America are struggling right now and they deserve the certainty of a strong farm bill to see them through to better times. The House has pulled together a solid team of conferees from across the country who are committed to working with our Senate colleagues to reach a final product that helps millions of low-income Americans climb the economic ladder while standing by the hard-working farm and ranch families who put food on our tables and clothes on our backs.”


House Agriculture Committee Conferees:
1. Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11)
2. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-05)
3. Bob Goodlatte (VA-06)
4. Frank Lucas (OK-03)
5. Mike Rogers (AL-03)
6. Austin Scott (GA-08)
7. Rick Crawford (AR-01)
8. Vicky Hartzler (MO-04)
9. Rodney Davis (IL-13)
10. Ted Yoho (FL-03)
11. David Rouzer (NC-07)
12. Roger Marshall (KS-01)
13. Jodey Arrington (TX-19)

House Education and the Workforce Committee Conferees:
1. Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (NC)
2. Rick Allen (GA-12)

House Energy and Commerce Committee Conferees:
1. John Shimkus (IL-15)
2. Kevin Cramer (ND-AL)

House Financial Services Committee Conferees:
1. Chairman Jeb Hensarling (TX-05)
2. Sean Duffy (WI-07)

House Foreign Affairs Committee Conferees:
1. Chairman Ed Royce (CA-39)
2. Steve Chabot (OH-01)

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Conferees:
1. Mark Walker (NC-06)
2. James Comer (KY-01)

House Natural Resources Committee Conferees:
1. Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01)
2. Bruce Westerman (AR-04)

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Conferees:
1. Ralph Abraham (LA-05)
2. Neal Dunn (FL-02)

House Transportation and Infrastructure Conferees:
1. Jeff Denham (CA-10)
2. Bob Gibbs (OH-07)

Pelosi Names Democrats to Farm Bill Conference Committee

In conjunction with this afternoon’s motion to proceed to conference on H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi named the following 10 Democrats from the Agriculture Committee and representatives from other pertinent committees who will join their Republican colleagues and comprise the House conferees for the farm bill:

Collin Peterson (D-Minn.)
David Scott (D-Ga.)
Jim Costa (D-Calif.)
Tim Walz (D-Minn.)
Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio)
Jim McGovern (D-Mass.)
Filemon Vela (D-Texas)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.)
Ann Kuster (D-N.H.)
Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.)

Education and Workforce
Alma Adams (D-N.C.)

Energy and Commerce
Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.)

Financial Services
Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)

Foreign Affairs
Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.)

Natural Resources
Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

Oversight and Government Reform
Stacey Plaskett (D-V.I.)

Science, Space and Technology
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas)

Transportation and Infrastructure
Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.)

NCBA Applauds U.S. House Motion to Begin Farm Bill Conference Committee

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester today issued the following statement regarding the U.S. House of Representatives' approval of a motion to proceed to a conference committee for the 2018 Farm Bill:

"This is yet another step in the right direction toward a Farm Bill that delivers on the important priorities of America's farmers and ranchers. We're especially pleased to see significant bipartisan support for the motion to instruct conferees. This motion instructs the conferees to support permanent mandatory funding for the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Vaccine Bank and the other important programs included in the Animal Disease Preparedness Response requests in the bill.

"We look forward to continuing our work with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), and the rest of the conferees as the 2018 Farm Bill is finalized."

House Votes to Send Farm Bill to Conference

The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to send the farm bill to conference, the process by which the House and U.S. Senate remedy differences between their respective versions of the farm bill. A conference committee of members from the House and Senate could begin meeting as early as next week.

National Farmers Union (NFU), the nation’s second largest general farm organization, called for a smooth conference committee process and swift passage of a farm bill that improves the farm safety net, farm sustainability, and diverse markets for family farmers.

NFU Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew issued the following statement in advance of the conference committee process:

“The September 30 expiration date for the current farm bill looms large, as family farmers and ranchers require the certainty of a strong farm bill now as much as any other time over the past several decades. Farmers have been coping with depressed commodity prices for several years, forcing many into significant financial strain. On top of that, trade volatility and political uncertainty are casting an ominous shadow over the foreseeable future of the farm economy.

“We’re hopeful that the conferees will respond to this immediacy by producing a bill, on time, that meets the needs of farmers, consumers, and our nation’s food system. We urge the committee to ensure the final bill improves the farm safety net to deal with the current economic hardship facing farmers, promotes the environmental sustainability of family farm operations, and improves access to diverse markets for family farmers and ranchers.”

Trade War Endangers Farmers, Farm Bureau Tells Congress

American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Scott VanderWal and Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening today warned Congress that many farms will lose money and even go out of business entirely if the growing trade war continues. Each called for a resumption of talks and removal of tariffs that are undoing decades of progress in trade.

Kevin Paap, president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau, testified separately for his state’s organization. “Agriculture has been and continues to be the tip of the spear,” the corn and soybean farmer told the committee. “Once you lose a market, it is really tough to get it back. We cannot afford to lose our place as a leader in the agricultural global marketplace.”

VanderWal, who also serves as president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau, raises corn and soybeans and owns a cattle feeding operation.

“Our farmers are facing a perfect storm,” VanderWal told the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. “Since 2014, the American farmer’s income has fallen 52 percent. Now, farmers are dealing with big shifts in the commodity markets because of trade and tariff threats. Throughout history, some farmers have survived by expanding their operations. Today, that option is nearly impossible for many because of the lack of qualified labor. We also have the potential of going into harvest without a new farm bill. The ingredients of this perfect storm—trade threats, lower income, the lack of labor and no farm bill—will be more than our farmers can handle.”

The South Dakota farmer called for more clarity. “We must ask, what is the exact goal? What is the exit strategy? If we knew this would all be over within a few months, we could hang in there and manage around it. Obviously, none of us know the time frame and that uncertainty is very detrimental.

“We must get back to the table and get these issues worked out. If we cannot do that, the consequences are dire,” VanderWal said.

During his testimony, Boening, a farmer who serves as chairman of the AFBF Trade Advisory Committee, acknowledged that foreign barriers to trade are sometimes steep. The Boening family raises watermelons, feed grains, wheat, cotton and beef cattle and operates a dairy.

“In 2015, China’s ‘minimum support price’ for corn, rice and wheat was estimated to be nearly $100 billion in excess of the levels China committed to when they joined the World Trade Organization,” Boening said.

“Let me make this clear: for just three crops - in just one year - China illegally exceeded its World Trade Organization limits by 100 billion dollars. Some may think that’s no big deal, but let me put this in context. We just finished a hard-fought farm bill debate, where some questioned the need for support provided to our farmers, but China’s illegal subsidies - for just three crops - in one year - exceeded what we will spend on the entire farm safety net for every crop on every acre in this nation over the entire life of the farm.”

Nonetheless, Boening expressed the frustration many farmers and ranchers feel over the current tit-for-tat tariffs between the U.S. and long-standing trading partners.

“We will begin cotton harvest on our farm in about six weeks, against the backdrop of significant volatility in the market,” Boening said. “Forty-six percent of cotton exported to China comes from Texas. Any potential loss of this important market would be very difficult for our cotton farmers.

“Also, on our dairy, we have already seen prices of milk and other products fall by more than 10 percent over the last month alone. These are just a few personal examples and there are many other farmers and ranchers who are facing the same challenges with all the uncertainty over trade policy.”

CWT Assists with 8.8 Million Pounds of Cheese, Butter and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 3.949 million pounds (1,791 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, 578,714 pounds (263 metric tons) of butter and 4.233 million pounds (1,920 metric tons) of whole milk powder going to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from July through December 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 44.048 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 11.809 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 20.106 million pounds of whole milk powder to 28 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 819.045 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

This activity reflects CWT management beginning the process of implementing the strategic plan reviewed by the CWT Committee in March. The changes will enhance the effectiveness of the program and facilitate member export opportunities.

 National Association of Egg Farmers Urges Support for King Amendment in Farm Bill in Congress

The Farm Bill is before Congress every five years and is important to the nation's farmers.  This year it is very important to National Association of Egg Farmers members, as the House version includes an amendment from Rep. Steve King from Iowa that seeks to uphold the U.S. Constitution commerce clause.

In effect that clause says Congress is to regulate commerce among the states, but certain states are implementing laws regulating how eggs are produced outside the state and then imported into that state. Specifically, they are pressing for removing cages for egg-laying hens.  They claim they are doing it for the welfare of the chicken and the quality of the egg.  They need to ask the farmers.  Farmers today moved to cages for welfare considerations and for egg quality improvements.

Let's begin with the welfare of the chicken. The term "pecking order" is the term applied to chickens establishing dominance.  Research has shown higher mortality among cage-free chickens.  So more chickens together means more pecking.  In cages, that is reduced to a much smaller number.  Cage-free systems have resulted in more broken breast bones. Forcing chickens into production systems that increase bone breakage is inhumane.

There are more external parasites in cage-free farms, specifically red mites. 83% of European cage-free egg farms are already infested with poultry red mites. All 27 member nations in the EU are about 40% cage-free compared to 16% in the U.S. Subjecting poultry to parasites is inhumane.

Currently, California is struggling with a major poultry disease (Virulent Newcastle Disease) with more than 40 outbreaks in backyard poultry that are cage-free.  Once discovered, these chickens have to be destroyed.  Forcing chickens into production systems where they contract poultry diseases is inhumane.

From the perspective of FOOD SAFETY-The US Animal Health Association October 17, 2017 Report stated: "Ascarids (round worms) are increasingly being found in cage-free operations with the concern being the possibility of a consumer finding an egg with a roundworm contained inside. Most all cage-free egg producers have had such an occurrence."

Chickens pick up roundworms when they come into contact with infected feces on the ground. How will consumers react to finding round worms in their eggs?

Farmers know how to produce safe, quality eggs while caring for their chickens.  Don't take that knowledge away by removing consumers' choices and forcing only cage-free eggs.

It is for these reasons National Egg Farmers is urging support for the King amendment in the Farm Bill.