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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
Friday August 23 Cattle on Feed, Pro Farmer, & More Ag News

Pro Farmer's National Corn and Soybean Crop Estimates

13.358 billion bu.; Average yield of 163.3 bu. per acre
Corn +/- 1% = 13.492 billion bu. to 13.224 billion bu.; 164.9 bu. to 161.7 bu. per acre

3.497 billion bu.; Average yield of 46.1 bu. per acre
Soybeans +/- 2% = 3.567 billion bu. to 3.427 billion bu.; 47.0 bu. to 45.2 bu. per acre

The national estimates above reflect Pro Farmer’s view on production and yields. They take into account data gathered during Crop Tour and other factors, such as crop maturity, acreage adjustments we’ve made, historical differences in Tour data versus USDA’s final yields, areas outside those sampled on Crop Tour, etc. That’s why the state yield numbers below differ from the Crop Tour figures. For corn, we lowered harvested acreage 217,000 acres from USDA’s August estimate.

Nebraska: 183 bu. per acre. Nebraska won’t make up for all the problems in Illinois. Dryland corn was good, but irrigated corn was not eye-catching. It’s average, and could be susceptible to disease if things stay wet. A normal frost date may cause limited losses.

Iowa: 181 bu. per acre. The crop is good but not great. “It looked better from the road,” was a common refrain during Tour. There were some garden areas in the west, but variability capped the crop’s upside in the rest of the state. Most of the crop should be fine if it avoids new disease threats.

South Dakota: 140 bu. per acre. The Prairie Pothole state is back. Corn needs an additional 50 frost-free days and sunshine to finish.

Minnesota: 167 bu. per acre. Tipback, greensnap and lagging maturity signal smaller yields. There were a lot of factors that nicked the Minnesota corn crop. Like many of the crops we saw, it needs time, heat and sun.

Illinois: 170 bu. per acre. It won’t be the corn-producing powerhouse it usually is. Some of its best acres lost yield potential because they were planted late in less than ideal conditions.

Indiana: 160 bu. per acre. There’s crop potential after rain fell during Tour. The crop still isn’t as good as it could have been, with skips and blank stalks still reflective of the yield drag from the wet spring.

Ohio: 150 bu. per acre. The yield potential measured on Tour is similar to what USDA found. But we’re skeptical the crop will reach maturity before the first freeze. The crop needs rain and several extra weeks at the end of the growing season. USDA is a bit too optimistic about the crop.

Nebraska: 57 bu. per acre. We were pleasantly surprised. The state’s beans were variable, but they worked out to a pretty average crop. Plants were solidly podded and starting to fill. Weather in the weeks ahead will determine bean size. The crop is unlikely to add pods going forward.

Iowa: 55 bu. per acre. The trend of low pod counts continued in Iowa, as the yield factory was again stunted by late planting dates and less-than-ideal soil conditions.

South Dakota: 39 bu. per acre. Pod counts are down sharply and the crop needs sun and time to plump up what beans are there. The crop was pretty clean when we passed through, but high moisture means conditions are ripe for disease.

Minnesota: 42 bu. per acre. Adverse spring planting weather cut the bean factory. Pod counts are unlikely to rise, with few fields showing new blooms. Plants were just starting to fill pods. Warm temps and sunshine are needed to reach full potential.

Illinois: 50 bu. per acre. Pod counts plunged versus the average and much of the Illinois crop will likely perform like double-crop beans. A normal freeze would be devastating.

Indiana: 46 bu. per acre. It’s certainly not a normal crop, but if you add some timely rains and a few weeks to the end of the growing season, the crop may add to the potential we measured.

Ohio: 39 bu. per acre. This year’s crop is essentially double crop beans, with pod counts nearly 40% under last year’s Tour result. Some of the crop was still flowering, so it could, in theory, build on the potential we measured. But it would need an extended season and more rain to do so.


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.19 million cattle on feed on August 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 6 percent from last year. Placements during July totaled 400,000 head, unchanged from 2018. Fed cattle marketings for the month of July totaled 490,000 head, up 7 percent from last year. Other disappearance during July totaled 20,000 head, up 10,000 head 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 630,000 head on August 1, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 3 percent from July 1, 2018, and down 10 percent from August 1, 2018. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 510,000 head on feed, down 10 percent from last month and down 6 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,140,000 head, down 6 percent from last month and down 8 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during July totaled 61,000 head, down 6 percent from June and down 8 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 42,000 head, down 35 percent from June and down 19 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 103,000 head, down 21 percent from June and down 13 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during July totaled 77,000 head, up 7 percent from June and up 4 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 93,000 head, up 3 percent from June and up 16 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 170,000 head, up 5 percent from June and up 10 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 8,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up Slightly

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.1 million head on August 1, 2019. The inventory was slightly above August 1, 2018. This is the highest August 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

On Feed, By State    (1,000 hd   -  % Aug 1 '18)

Colorado .......:                 970                   109      
Iowa .............:                  630                    90     
Kansas ..........:               2,340                   105   
Nebraska ......:               2,190                   94   
Texas ............:               2,760                  101     

Placements in feedlots during July totaled 1.71 million head, 2 percent below 2018. Net placements were 1.63 million head. During July, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 360,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 260,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 410,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 385,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 200,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 90,000 head.

Placements, By State    (1,000 hd   -  % July '18)

Colorado .......:                    130                   93    
Iowa .............:                      61                    92    
Kansas ..........:                     450                   97      
Nebraska ......:                     400                  100        
Texas ............:                     380                   99       

Marketings of fed cattle during July totaled 2.00 million head, 7 percent above 2018.  Other disappearance totaled 71,000 head during July, 13 percent above 2018.

Marketings, By State    (1,000 hd   -  % July '18)

Colorado .......:                  185                   109    
Iowa .............:                     77                   104   
Kansas ..........:                   455                    98      
Nebraska ......:                   490                   107    
Texas ............:                   445                   114    

Nebraska Corn Board provides incentive program to fuel retailers to increase ethanol offerings

The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) is now accepting applications to participate in its Blender Pump Grant Program. Through this program, fuel retailers have an opportunity to receive up to $50,000 to help with the installation of blender pumps capable of offering higher ethanol blends.

“With the allowance of year-round sales of E15, frequently known as Unleaded88, retailers have the unique opportunity to invest in infrastructure to offer consumers a more economical and environmentally-friendly option at the pump,” said Jeff Wilkerson, director of market development with the Nebraska Corn Board.

Blender pumps make it possible for retailers to offer multiple blends of American Ethanol. The grants can be used on the costs of the pumps themselves or other necessary equipment or hardware needed to offer higher blends of ethanol fuel. By offering increased ethanol blends, fueling stations have a competitive advantage in the marketplace and are able to better serve motorists driving flex fuel vehicles. This program does not require the retailer to upgrade all pumps in order to qualify. Awarded stations must offer two higher blends of ethanol and maintain these pumps for at least two years.

Common blends of higher ethanol include Unleaded88 (E15) which can be used year-round in all vehicles model year 2001 and newer, E30 (a 30% ethanol blend) or E85 (an 85% ethanol blend). Higher blends of ethanol above E15, such as E30 to E85, are approved for flex fuel vehicles only.

“A retailer’s cost to install a blender pump can vary dramatically, but with this grant program, we can help offset some of the costs, making the conversion process much more economical,” said Wilkerson.

More information on NCB’s Blender Pump Grant Program can be found online at Preference will be given to areas underserved by higher ethanol blends and potential traffic flow. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. CT on Friday, Oct. 11. Approved applicants will be notified by the end of November.

12th Annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Schedule Announced

The 12th Annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference will be held Tuesday, October 29 to Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska and will feature experts from across the country and the state.

“Nebraska wind and solar energy development is going through a remarkable period of growth and expansion,” Conference Chairman John Hansen said. “We have a lot of progress to report, as well as issues and opportunities to consider.”

Sessions on Tuesday will begin with an update from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy. Panels will highlight the State of Nebraska’s view of wind energy, how commercial and industry buyers are changing the renewables marketplace, and a policy and legislative update from Nebraska State Senators. Tuesday will also include a luncheon with Nebraska public power CEOs.

Wednesday’s programming will feature sessions regarding the state of the national solar industry, the changing economics of battery storage, and the usage of drones in renewable energy. In addition, there will be a breakout session on decommissioning & repowering, and a panel featuring UNL Renewable Energy researchers.

The conference schedule can be found at Nebraska WSC Conference Agenda. In addition to the scheduled programming, the conference will feature an exhibitors’ tradeshow including governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, vendors, developers, and more.

Conference attendees include private sector developers, public officials, landowners, environmental and wildlife organizations, and public utilities. The general public is also invited to register and attend the Wind & Solar Conference.

Conference Chair John Hansen urges attendees to take advantage of the October 1st Early Bird registration discount. Registration rates are as follows:
       Early Bird Registration (prior to October 1): $125.00
       Standard Registration (October 1-28): $175.00
       Day-of-Conference Registration (October 29-30): $200.00
       Student Registration (anytime): $65.00

The Wind & Solar Conference has a room block at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel. The deadline to reserve a room is October 1st, and the reservation includes a $114 per night room rate and free parking. Reservations can be made at Nebraska WSC Registration Information or by calling the Cornhusker Marriott at (402) 474-7474 and referencing the Wind & Solar Conference.

More information and past conference presentations are available on the conference website at Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference

Acklie Charitable Foundation contributes $5 million to Northeast Nexus ag and water capital campaign

The late Duane Acklie fondly remembered growing up as a young boy in Madison County. From selling produce his family grew at his favorite corner on U.S. Highway 81 at the age of 10 to establishing one of America’s largest privately-owned trucking companies with his wife, Phyllis, he understood the importance and the role of education as the couple established a foundation that bears their last name.

Now, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) is supporting a major initiative at Northeast Community College that will its ensure agriculture students have opportunities to succeed in their education as they train to become future employees in Nebraska’s number one industry.

“You here in this room know better than most about the pivotal role Nebraska agriculture plays in not only feeding the world, but in also propelling Nebraska’s economy,” said family member Halley Acklie Kruse in announcing a $5 million gift from the ACF during a kickoff celebration for a capital campaign to construct Northeast’s new Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence. “(Agriculture) does so through exports and providing jobs not only in the fields, but in warehousing, transportation, financing, and service industries. When Nebraska agriculture succeeds, Nebraska thrives. That is why ACF believed it was important to invest in the future of Nebraska’s next generation of farmers, ranchers, and community leaders.”

The Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence is a multi-phased project, and funds are currently being solicited through a capital campaign called “Nexus” for $23 million for initial construction of the new center. Northeast has set aside $10 million of its capital funds to help establish the project, while the remainder will be raised privately.

Initial construction planned for the Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence includes a new farm site with farm office and storage, large animal handling facility and other farm structures. In addition, the plan calls for a veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex at the intersection of E. Benjamin Ave. and Highway 35 in Norfolk. The vet tech building will be located west of the ag complex, while the farm site and animal handling facilities will be behind the tree line that is north of the current complex.

Duane W. and Phyllis Acklie grew up on farms near Madison and Meadow Grove, respectively, and later attended Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College. They went on to establish Crete Carrier Corp., which has grown into a transporter of virtually any product and operates more than 5,000 tractors and over 13,000 trailers throughout the continental United States.

The company’s corporate headquarters are based in Lincoln. The Acklie Charitable Foundation was founded by Duane and Phyllis Acklie and their daughters, Dodie, Laura and Holly. The family has been involved in many business and philanthropic ventures over the years.

Acklie Kruse, ACF vice president and general counsel, said her grandfather spoke of the importance of education and shared his wish that their foundation could be used to help Nebraskans attain quality education.

“I believe that Duane’s desire to support education was, in part, due to his understanding of the transformative role higher education played in his life,” she said. “And for Duane and Phyl, it all started at Norfolk Junior College.”

Acklie Kruse said Nebraska is fortunate to have an institution such as Northeast Community College as a partner in developing the center of excellence and what it will mean for the future of agriculture. She said it was a natural decision for her family to contribute to the campaign after seeing what the center’s role will be in developing a future workforce.

“Northeast has long had a reputation of quality in its agricultural programs, not only throughout Nebraska, but on a national level. Northeast has the dedicated faculty and expertise to teach our next generation farmers and ranchers and the goal of the Nexus campaign is to build the facilities, infrastructure, and technology to match the quality of instruction.”

But Acklie Kruse said it is more than Nebraska’s future; it is also about feeding the world.

“Northeast must prepare the next farmers and ranchers for the innovations and developments of the next eighty years, not only for the success of these individuals and their families, but for the success of our state, and the people of the world who eat from Nebraska’s fields.”

With the Acklie’s contribution to the campaign, Northeast will be naming its new College Farm after the family.

“The Acklie Family College Farm will provide a lasting legacy to the family for their commitment to agriculture in northeast Nebraska,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and the executive director of the college foundation. “We are so proud to name the College Farm in honor of the Acklies, and after the legacy of Duane, Phyllis and their family. What a testament to the strong value Northeast played in their own lives, as well as the college’s value to the community as a whole. This gift will make a strong impact for generations of Nebraskans to come.”

“So, this family history and connection to Madison County and Northeast Community College brings me to where we are today, the Nexus Kickoff,” Acklie Kruse said. “Certainly these family connections played a role in the Acklie Charitable Foundation’s decision to support the Nexus campaign. But, just as the Nexus campaign is about what is next – next for sustainable agriculture, next for Nebraska’s workforce, next for innovation – an important factor in ACF’s decision to support the Nexus campaign was also the consideration of Nebraska’s future.”

Pump and Pantry to Give Away Free E15 Fuel

In celebration of the 150th Nebraska State Fair, Pump and Pantry is giving away free fuel. Fair attendees will receive a coupon good for Super Unleaded 88 (E15) fuel at a discounted rate. The more you spend, the more free fuel you get!

"Many people make the special drive to Nebraska State Fair each year, and this is a way to say thank you for making memories with us," said Nebraska State Fair Executive Director Lori Cox.

The free fuel coupon is good for E15 fuel for $2.15 a gallon, up to 30 gallons. The savings add up:
- Buy 9 gallons of fuel and save $2.61 = 1 gallon free
- Buy 17 gallons of fuel and save $4.93 = 2 free gallons
- Buy 26 gallons of fuel and save $7.54 = 3 free gallons

"We are proud of Pump and Pantry's ongoing support of Nebraska State Fair and to provide Nebraskans with better fuel that costs less," said President of Bosselman Enterprises Charlie Bosselman.

Coupons will be distributed to fairgoers during the Fair while supplies last and will be valid through the end of the fair Sept. 2. Nebraskans can take advantage of the free fuel at 13 Pump & Pantry locations across the state, including three locations in Grand Island.

Super Unleaded 88 is approved to be used all year long for 2001 and newer vehicles. A total of 50 E15 locations are available across the entire state through various vendors. The free fuel coupon is only valid at Pump and Pantry locations.

USDA Determines Irrigation Losses From Tunnel Collapse Are Insurable

Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation tunnel collapse was caused by unusually high precipitation. The Risk Management Agency has determined that since the collapse happened due to a natural cause, it will be an insurable event for ag producers affected by the irrigation disruption.

“I appreciate the Risk Management Agency making the determination that the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation tunnel collapse is an insurable event. Because of this decision, Nebraska ag producers submitting claims for production and prevented planting losses will have more certainty about how this will be treated under their crop insurance policies. I want to thank Secretary Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for working with Nebraska and Wyoming to mitigate the effects of this irrigation disruption,” said U.S. Senator Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

“This is great news and it’s exactly what we’ve been fighting for since the tunnel collapsed on July 17. The USDA did the right thing by covering this loss and preventing a bunch of bankruptcies in the Panhandle. It’s the honest thing to do. Our farmers have been put through the ringer and still have a long way to go, but this is a huge relief for Nebraska agriculture,” said U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).

Yesterday, Fischer and Sasse, along with Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), wrote to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, asking for crop insurance protection for ag producers hurt by the collapse of irrigation canal tunnel. The tunnel transported water to 54,000 acres in Nebraska.


Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman thanked US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the Risk Management Agency for the determination of an insurable event for those affected by the collapse of an irrigation tunnel near Fort Laramie. The tunnel collapsed July 17 cutting off irrigation to more than 100,000 acres of farmland in Nebraska and Wyoming at a crucial time during the growing season.

“The canal collapse has been a devastating event for our farm families in the Panhandle,” said Gov. Ricketts. “Thank you to Secretary Perdue and USDA for working to make this an insurable events. This will help impacted farm families as they work to get back on their feet.”

“Farmers have already faced many hardships this past year,” said Director Wellman. “Hopefully this decision takes some stress off the farmers. Secretary Perdue knows that it’s not just the farmers who lose in situations like this, but the loss of crops ripples through local economies, too. Secretary Perdue’s announcement on this situation creates a positive impact on those affected and on our communities, as well.”

Crews are still working to clear debris and make repairs to restore water to the irrigation tunnel canal.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding USDA Coverage of Crop Losses from Irrigation Tunnel Collapse

“We are extremely pleased and greatly appreciate the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency’s (RMA) announcement that federal crop insurance will cover crop losses resulting from the July 17 tunnel collapse that stopped irrigation flows to farms on the Gering-Ft Laramie Irrigation District in Nebraska and Goshen Irrigation District in Wyoming. This is great news for many farmers who have faced an extremely challenging growing season due to the unfortunate circumstances well beyond their control.”

“Nebraska Farm Bureau was one of many voices that had encouraged USDA to ensure these losses were covered. I want to especially thank Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, RMA Administrator Barbre and his team, the Nebraska Congressional delegation, Governor Ricketts and his administration, including Nebraska Director of Agriculture Steve Wellman, and the numerous others who helped provide critical information and insights to aid RMA in arriving at this decision.”

“This announcement is critical in eliminating the uncertainty that has existed for many of the farmers impacted. We are grateful this piece of what continues to be an ongoing and challenging situation has been positively resolved.”

Smith Pleased by USDA Decision Allowing Crop Insurance Coverage for Tunnel Collapse

Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement regarding the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to allow crop insurance coverage for those impacted by the irrigation tunnel collapse in Goshen County, Wyoming.

“I am grateful USDA has reached the decision to allow crop insurance coverage for producers impacted by the tunnel collapse. Farmers who rely on this water to grow their crops were put in a bind by a natural disaster. This decision provides producers with a much needed tool to recoup their losses.”

Recently, Senators Sasse, Fischer, the Wyoming delegation, and Smith wrote a letter urging USDA to allow for crop insurance protection. The Risk Management Agency, an agency within USDA, announced Friday it had concluded the irrigation tunnel collapse was caused by an insurable cause of loss. Those affected by this disaster will be eligible for crop insurance.


All layers in Nebraska during July 2019 totaled 9.02 million, up from 7.88 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during July totaled 233 million eggs, up from 206 million in 2018. July egg production per 100 layers was 2,585 eggs, compared to 2,613 eggs in 2018.


Iowa egg production during July 2019 was 1.42 billion eggs, up 2 percent from both last month and 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 July 2019 was 57.0 million, down 1 percent from last month and down 2 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for July were 2,493, up 3 percent from last month and up 4 percent from last year.

July U.S. Egg Production Up 2 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.41 billion during July 2019, up 2 percent from last year. Production included 8.20 billion table eggs, and 1.21 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.12 billion were broiler-type and 84.8 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during July 2019 totaled 390 million, down slightly from last year. July egg production per 100 layers was 2,409 eggs, up 2 percent from July 2018.
All layers in the United States on August 1, 2019 totaled 390 million, up slightly from last year. The 390 million layers consisted of 328 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 58.9 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.25 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on August 1, 2019, averaged 77.7 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from August 1, 2018.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up Slightly

Egg-type chicks hatched during July 2019 totaled 50.9 million, up slightly from July 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 47.5 million on August 1, 2019, up 3 percent from a year ago.  Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 255 thousand during July 2019, up 60 percent from July 2018.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up Slightly

Broiler-type chicks hatched during July 2019 totaled 849 million, up slightly from July 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 698 million on August 1, 2019, up 2 percent from a year ago.  Leading breeders placed 8.73 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during July 2019, up 17 percent from July 2018.

New Director of Industry Relations at IBIC

The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) is excited to welcome Casey Allison of Nevada, Iowa as our new Director of Industry Relations. Allison will be working closely with beef farmers in and around Iowa as well as key industry leaders to share the value of the beef checkoff investment.

IBIC Chairman Janine Moore comments, “Leading the efforts in the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program in Iowa, alongside Iowa State University Extension Beef Center, will continue to be an important aspect. Additionally, establishing relationships with industry professionals, livestock markets and other key stakeholders will be critical. We welcome Casey and have observed her effectiveness serving cattle producers across the state and look forward to her efforts working on behalf of national and state checkoff programs.”

Allison grew up on a diversified grain and livestock operation. She pursued a degree in Animal Science from Iowa State University where she graduated in 2014. Initially, she worked for Tyson Fresh Meats in the hog procurement division. Most recently she served as the Eastern Iowa Membership Coordinator for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA). Still active on the family farm, she recently relocated back to Central Iowa. Allison and her boyfriend, Brandon, raise registered Simmental seedstock.

Allison, who joined the Iowa Beef Industry Council staff on Monday, August 19th, is enthusiastic about carrying on her work in the beef business and expressed, “I am elated to work alongside Iowa cattlemen as we move the needle forward across the supply chain to increase demand for beef. This is a unique opportunity to build upon the relationships and people I met with ICA and team up with IBIC staff to widen the breadth of influence with the state and national checkoff.”

“Casey brings not only an experienced skill set in agriculture but a true passion for the beef industry to serve our producers,” comments Chris Freland, Executive Director of IBIC. “Having Casey working as part of our team with her robust beef background and relationship management experience to advance programming throughout the state of Iowa will be valuable.”

Casey’s Does a 180 on Biodiesel

Casey’s is a household name in the Midwest, always prepared with gas, pizza and friendly people at each of its 2,000 locations in 16 states. In 2019, Casey’s is striving to offer even more. Casey’s General Stores announced it would begin offering biodiesel in 600 stores with an additional 300 to follow throughout the year. Beyond the Bean sat down with Casey’s fuel director, Nathaniel Doddridge, to talk all things biodiesel and the decision for Casey’s to offer a product that significantly supports the price of soybeans.

Why was Casey’s not offering biodiesel until now?

We dabbled in biodiesel a little bit prior to me joining the team two years ago. In the beginning of biodiesel, we had some extremely vocal customers who were just averse to biodiesel. Back in the early 2000s, there was a lot of uncertainty in the customer’s mind. People had a lot of bad memories. It was a handful of customers who had bad experiences with biodiesel that really kept us from expanding, despite how economical it is for us.

What was the decision-making process to start providing biodiesel to your customers?

We didn’t feel like we were getting the return we deserved with traditional diesel. You look at the competitors in the markets, everyone was offering the product. And we were trying to compete at the same price, but we didn’t have the same advantage they did. That’s when we decided biodiesel was something we wanted to bring to the market for our locations. And after some conversations about biodiesel with the National Biodiesel Board and the United Soybean Board, among other organizations, I think that if we align our messages with these organizations to educate customers about the benefits of biodiesel, we’ll be successful.

Do you think you’ll expand your locations offering biodiesel even more?

Right now, we’re starting to cycle over where we implemented it last year. So, we’re at the point now where we can actually look back at what we did last summer and see that it was good. The customers accepted it, and it’s profitable. We have not seen a large portion of our customers resist biodiesel, which is good.

What does biodiesel offer to your customers that tradition diesel does not?

We do feel like there’s a quality product in biodiesel. You’ll notice the biodiesel industry has really increased the quality of its product. They are trying to differentiate themselves from the base diesel products. Then there’s the sustainability of biodiesel over petroleum. We also like giving back to the farmers who are growing the beans and selling the oil. We feel they’re benefitting because they produced it, and they’re getting to put it in their vehicles as a finished product.

What did receiving the Biodiesel Impact Award mean to you and Casey’s as a company?

I think it’s huge for us. I think it finally makes us more relevant in the space for renewable fuels. We’re super appreciative of that award, and we’re happy we finally made the step to offer biodiesel. It seems like it’s getting a lot of buy-in from our customers, from our employees, from our leadership team saying, hey, this has really added value to us.

Casey’s has truly done a 180 on biodiesel — from zero to 900 stores over the next year. Next time you’re seeing those friendly people and picking up your pizza at Casey’s, look for biodiesel at the pump.

NPPC Prevails Against HSUS Attack on Animal Agriculture

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today ruled in favor of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in its appeal to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The court rejected HSUS's attempt to advance an anti-meat activist agenda through an unwarranted suit designed to hurt 60,000 U.S. pork producers and undermine a farm sector critical to rural communities and that employs hundreds of thousands of Americans.

The court rejected HSUS' attempted challenge to the National Pork Board's 2006 federally approved purchase from NPPC of trademarks associated with the organization's "Pork: The Other White Meat" campaign and payments associated with the agreement. While HSUS claimed it and others were injured because proceeds from the transaction were misappropriated by the National Pork Board, the pork "checkoff," the D.C. Circuit found that HSUS and its fellow plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they had suffered harm from the transaction, including the associated payments.

"The dismissal of this case is a win for American pork producers who depend on NPPC's issues advocacy work and the research, education and promotional work performed by the National Pork Board," said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, NC and NPPC's president. "The real misappropriation of funds is HSUS's continued efforts to fundraise under false pretenses while using its proceeds to attack farmers dedicated to feeding billions of people at home and abroad."

USDA Details Trade Damage Estimate Calculations

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of the Chief Economist has published a detailed accounting of how estimated damage from trade disruptions was calculated for its support package for farmers announced on July 25, 2019. USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist developed an estimate of gross trade damages for commodities with assessed retaliatory tariffs by China, India, the European Union, and Turkey to set commodity payment rates and purchase levels. USDA employed the same approach often used in adjudicating World Trade Organization trade dispute cases.

“Just as we did before, we want to be transparent about this process and how our economists arrived at the numbers they did. Our farmers and ranchers work hard to feed the United States and the world, and they need to know USDA was thorough, methodical, and as accurate as possible in making these estimates. We listened to feedback from farmers on last year’s programs and incorporated many of those suggestions into today’s programs. While no formula can be perfect in addressing concerns from all commodities, we did everything we could to accommodate everyone,” Secretary Perdue said. “For a long time, China and other nations have not provided free, fair, and reciprocal access to U.S. farmers and ranchers and President Trump is the first President to stand up to them and send a clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate unfair trade practices. Our support package ensures farmers will not stand alone in facing unjustified retaliatory tariffs while President Trump continues working to solidify better and stronger trade deals around the globe.”

The full description of the Trade Damage Estimation for the Market Facilitation Program and Food Purchase and Distribution Program is available on the website of USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist.

American Soybean Association Statement on Chinese Tariff Escalation

China has announced it will impose an extra 5% tariff on U.S. soybeans starting Sept. 1 and an additional 10% duties on other major U.S. crops also grown by many soybean farmers starting mid-December. These latest details come after China vowed earlier this week that it will retaliate if the U.S. goes through with its plan to broaden tariffs on Chinese goods Sept 1.

Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), spoke on behalf of the association, saying, “ASA has strongly requested an end to the tariffs on U.S. beans for more than a year. This escalation will affect us not because of the increasing tariff on our sales, which have been at a virtual standstill for months, but through time. The longevity of this situation means worsening circumstances for soy growers who still have unsold product from this past season and new crops in the ground this season – with prospects narrowing even more now for sales with China, a market soy growers have valued, nurtured, and respected for many years.”

ASA would like to see both parties - China and the United States- step up, stop tariffs, and find resolution that does not target soy growers trapped in the middle. Real people—Chinese citizens, the American public, and our soybean farmers—are the ones feeling the effects of this trade war.

Another China Tariff Announcement Signals More Trouble

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“China’s announcement of imposing additional tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. imports signals more trouble for American agriculture. Farm Bureau is currently assessing the details of this announcement, but we know continued retaliation only adds to the difficulties farm and ranch families are facing and takes the situation in the exact wrong direction.

“The U.S. exported $19.5 billion of agricultural products to China in 2017. Agricultural exports to China were reduced to $9.1 billion in 2018 because of retaliatory tariffs and exports were already down in the first half of this year by $1.3 billion.

“Continuing negotiations is the best way to restore certainty to export markets farmers and ranchers depend on. We need substantive trade agreements that ensure American agriculture can provide an abundant and safe food supply for the world’s growing population.”


U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi met in Washington, D.C. this week, continuing negotiations and laying the groundwork for a summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of a Group of Seven summit in France later this month. The negotiations this week were originally scheduled for just Wednesday and Thursday, but were extended for a third day to Friday to continue discussions.

On Thursday, Lighthizer said the two countries were "getting closer to reach a conclusion." U.S. pork producers are currently at a significant disadvantage in Japan because international competitors have recently entered into trade agreements with the country, including the EU and CPTPP nations.

New Bankruptcy Law Provides Debt Relief

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says, “Farm Bureau is appreciative that the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 is now law. This law relieves some of the uncertainty farmers are facing due to export market disruptions, weather events and declining farm income. It will help family farmers reorganize after falling on hard times by increasing the debt limit for relief eligibility under the Chapter 12 bankruptcy code.

“While this is a sobering reflection of the current state of the agricultural economy, we are grateful to Congress, the President and his administration for their prioritization of reforming our current bankruptcy laws.”

Hesston by Massey Ferguson Introduces 9300 Series RazorBar Rotary Disc Headers

Hesston by Massey Ferguson®, the industry-leading hay equipment brand from AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), will introduce the 9300 Series RazorBar™ rotary disc headers for Hesston by Massey Ferguson WR9900 Series self-propelled windrowers to North American producers during Farm Progress Show 2019. The new disc headers are built to optimize crop throughput and quality, helping operators cut and condition more acres in a day.

The 9300 Series includes four models in two cutting widths. The 13-foot headers are the single-conditioner MF9313S and the double-conditioner MF9313D, while the 16-foot headers are the MF9316S and MF9316D. All headers have durable, low-profile RazorBar disc cutterbars for a close, clean cut. The “D” models in both widths feature the industry-exclusive TwinMax™ double-conditioning option for more thorough, uniform conditioning that speeds crop drydown and reduces nutritional losses.

New, easy-to-service belt-drive augers at the ends of the 16-foot headers move the crop quickly to the conditioners, minimizing the chance of double cuts, crop wrapping and buildup. The result is uniform windrows that dry faster and more evenly, enhancing the baler operator’s ability to form a heavy, dense, evenly shaped bale while preserving the quality of hay or forage.

“The new design of the 9300 Series RazorBar disc header is all about moving the crop through the mower conditioner as fast as possible into a perfect windrow behind the machine,” says Matt LeCroy, hay and forage product marketing manager at AGCO. “Research shows that the wider and flatter the windrow, the faster the drydown. The result is higher quality hay and forage for your livestock and your customers.”

Improvements help move more crop faster

Several new design elements help operators of the new MF9316S and MF9316D rotary disc headers take full advantage of the headers’ increased throughput capacity:
-    New belt-drive stub augers at the ends of the header improve crop feeding into the conditioner rolls. Fully enclosed crop conveyers (cages) outside the augers prevent crop wrapping and buildup.
-    Moving the crop quickly from the outside discs to the conditioner means a cleaner cut, less chance for double cutting, better windrow formation and less opportunity for leaf damage.
-    Operators can get to the drive belts for the new auger headers through a new side panel for quick and easy servicing.
-    The innovative new drive-belt system uses self-adjusting spring tensioner so operators can more easily set and maintain optimum belt tension.

All 9300 Series headers build upon the features of the 9200 Series, including the RazorBar disc cutterbar – the strongest and most durable in the industry; large, tandem hydraulic drive pumps for increased throughput and functionality; in-cab adjustable hydraulic roll tension for more consistent crimp; auto knife speed, and steel-on-steel conditioners that crimp instead of crush for better leaf retention and optimum hay quality.

Hesston’s exclusive TwinMax™ advanced conditioning system on the MF9316D and MF9313D is the perfect option for hay producers who prefer the fastest drydown possible. Two steel-on-steel conditioner rolls crimp the stems every 1-2 inches, reducing drying time while allowing leaves to stay healthy and whole, retaining their vital nutrients.

“These new disc headers help producers optimize the quality of their hay at harvest. The higher the quality, the better the feed value and efficiency for livestock producers and the higher the price at market,” says LeCroy. “For more than 70 years, Hesston has been a leader in delivering hay and forage harvesting innovations, and we work hard to ensure hay growers have the tools needed to harvest forage at its highest quality.”

For more information about Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay equipment, including the new 9300 Series RazorBar disc headers for WR9900 self-propelled windrowers, or to find a dealer near you, visit

Hesston by Massey Ferguson Introduces MF1316S RazorEdge Pull-Type Disc Mower Conditioner

Hesston by Massey Ferguson®, the industry-leading hay equipment brand from AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), introduced the new Model MF1316S RazorEdge™ pull-type disc mower conditioner to North American producers during Farm Progress Show 2019. The new 16-foot, center-pivot mower conditioner is built to optimize crop throughput and quality as well as serviceability, helping operators cut and condition more acres in a day.

The MF1316S replaces the MF1395 as the largest of the heavy-duty, fully welded-frame 1300 Series of RazorEdge pull-type mower conditioners. New, easy-to-service belt-drive augers at the ends of the header move the crop quickly to the conditioners, minimizing the chance of double cuts, crop wrapping and buildup. The result is uniform windrows that dry faster and more evenly, enhancing the baler operator’s ability to form a heavy, dense, evenly shaped bale while preserving the quality of hay or forage.

The unique RazorEdge cutterbar ensures a smooth, clean cut; the industry-exclusive hydraulically tensioned conditioner system on the MF1316S reduces drying time to optimize crop quality; and the optional quick-change knife system, with the only one-handed quick-change tool in the industry, enhances operator convenience and safety.

“The new design of the MF1316S disc mower conditioner improves the machine’s performance for maximum crop throughput and a uniform, quick-drying windrow behind the machine,” says Matt LeCroy, hay and forage product marketing manager at AGCO. “Our goal is to help producers create a wide, flat windrow for fast drydown. The result is higher quality hay and forage for your livestock and your customers.”

Improvements help move more crop faster

Several new design elements help operators of the new MF1316S disc mower conditioner take full advantage of the increased throughput capacity:
-    New belt-drive stub augers at the ends of the header improve crop feeding into the conditioner rolls. Fully enclosed crop conveyers (cages) outside the augers prevent crop wrapping and buildup.
-    Moving the crop quickly from the outside discs to the conditioner means a cleaner cut, less chance for double cutting, better windrow formation and less opportunity for leaf damage.
-    Operators can get to the drive belts for the new auger headers through a new side panel for quick and easy servicing.
-    The innovative new drive-belt system uses a self-adjusting spring tensioner so operators can more easily set and maintain optimum belt tension.

The MF1316S and all the pull-type mower conditioners in the 1300 Series are equipped with the  RazorEdge cutterbar. Its spur gear design provides a thin profile and close cutting without tilting the header to minimize scalping, thereby limiting dirt and debris in the crop to optimize feed value. Operators can remove the gears easily without having to split the cutterbar. Counter-rotating discs provide improved cut quality while minimizing crop streaking.

Each RazorEdge mower conditioner comes factory-equipped with 18-degree “high lift” bottom-bevel Radura™ knives. These sharp, durable knives are created with a special cold-rolled process for a wear-resistant edge that maintains its sharpness longer than ground-edge knives.

“Everything about the MF1316S and the 1300 Series is designed to give operators reliable, trouble-free hay-cutting performance,” LeCroy says. “We strive to always improve on Hesston’s 70-year legacy of delivering hay and forage harvesting innovations, and we work hard to ensure hay growers have the tools needed to harvest forage at its highest quality.”

For more information about Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay equipment, including the new MF1316S RazorEdge pull-type disc mower conditioner, or to find a dealer near you, visit

Syngenta completes major expansion at its Nampa, Idaho, R&D and seed production facility

Syngenta today introduced a new $30 million Trait Conversion Accelerator – a highly-automated “controlled environment” corn breeding facility – at its Nampa R&D and seed production facility.

The Nampa facility will house the capabilities and capacity to bring choice in traits to corn growers. Customers of the NK® and Golden Harvest® corn seed brands, as well as independent seed companies that license Syngenta technologies through GreenLeaf Genetics®, will benefit from faster access to more hybrids with the latest Agrisure® trait technologies.

According to David Hollinrake, regional director for Syngenta in North America, the Trait Conversion Accelerator will help to shorten product development life cycles and more quickly provide farmers with the corn products they need to be more successful.

“The Nampa Trait Conversion Accelerator is the latest demonstration of how we are putting the farmer first,” Hollinrake said. “Two years ago, we embarked on a five-year, $400 million incremental investment in our North American seeds business, which has enabled us to significantly increase our breeding and product testing capacity and pursue infrastructure projects like the state-of-the-art facility we’re celebrating today.”

Corn growers are currently facing significant economic challenges. Devastating weather events and low commodity prices are making profitability more difficult. To maximize return on investment potential, farmers need elite corn hybrids with the latest trait packages, and Syngenta is delivering on that need.

“Our message for farmers is simple: We’re here for you,” Hollinrake said. “We know it’s tough out there. We’re mindful of that every day. Syngenta is investing in farmers’ success.”

Hollinrake added that Syngenta is balancing its long-term commitment to innovation with a continuing emphasis on products and programs to help farmers improve their return on investment potential every day.

“Syngenta is committed to accelerating innovation. This means developing products that go beyond current limits and providing farmers with unique and meaningful choice,” he said.

Optimizing Trait Conversion to Meet Farmers’ Evolving Needs

When developing corn hybrids that offer agronomic benefits such as insect control, herbicide tolerance and water optimization, scientists employ a breeding technique called trait conversion, which is used to incorporate a desired trait into existing elite germplasm – preserving the performance of the germplasm and adding the benefits of the introduced trait. The Trait Conversion Accelerator will provide the capabilities needed to optimize this crucial process.

According to Trevor Hohls, global head of seeds product development for Syngenta, the Trait Conversion Accelerator will accommodate the majority of Syngenta’s North American corn trait conversion work, which was previously done in open field or semi-controlled environments.

“For us, it's all about developing better products,” Hohls said. “Investments like we're making here in Nampa will enable us to help deliver the traits in our pipeline more quickly and ensure on-time product delivery, to help farmers improve productivity more rapidly.

“At Syngenta, we are working to get closer to the markets and the customers we serve. We are strengthening our collaboration with growers, to partner with them, share data and co-create with them, and build lasting partnerships centered on solving their specific challenges. This will help us to ensure that product development is laser-focused in helping to de-risk farming for our customers.”

The Agrisure traits portfolio is the broadest collection of trait technology in the industry. Syngenta’s continued dedication and investment in R&D — more than $1.3 billion each year — will continue to improve and grow the Agrisure traits portfolio.

Hohls added that the Nampa site was chosen for this investment in trait conversion because it offers an excellent combination of climatic factors (e.g., solar radiation and humidity), as well as access to a highly-skilled workforce.

The Nampa investment reinforces Syngenta’s commitment to an R&D presence in the region and the jobs located there. The site expansion will add more than 10 permanent and more than 10 contract employees by the end of 2019, with additional hires in both categories in 2020.

Thursday August 22 Ag News

Fifth Grade Students from Northeast Nebraska to Gather at Ag Festival

Nine classrooms with over 200 fifth graders will be attending the event that includes hands-on interactive learning about Nebraska’s number one industry, agriculture.

Fifth graders from across Northeast Nebraska will attend the Growing Potential Ag Festival held at the Beaumont Event & Concert Hall in Wayne, NE on Thursday August 29th from 10am to 2pm. Learning stations set up throughout the grounds will engage students on every aspect of agriculture, including careers, livestock, planting and harvest, ethanol, land stewardship, and how corn is used in everyday life. There will be live animals and real machinery for the kids to see up close.

The Growing Potential Ag Festival is presented by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation and the Nebraska Northeast Corn Growers Association. 

Northeast launches capital campaign for new agriculture facilities; $5 million lead gift announced

In an industry that is critical to not only Nebraska and the nation, but across the entire world, the agriculture department at Northeast Community College is at the forefront of developing future farmer-scientists. The institution has been recognized for its work in the area over the years and presently awards the eighth highest number of associate degrees in agriculture in the country.

On Thursday, college officials launched a major initiative that will ensure agriculture students are succeeding in their education to develop the skills to become productive members of the workforce and the communities they serve. A news conference kicked off a capital campaign to raise funds for the first phase of the Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence at Northeast, a project that has been designed to invest in future facilities and equipment to enhance programming opportunities.

“Agriculture is the single largest program of study at Northeast,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and the executive director of the college foundation. “Approximately 350 students register for 12 agriculture programs at Northeast each year. These students, who receive outstanding instruction from 14 full-time faculty members, are exposed to cutting edge technology, but many of their classrooms and labs are in a 100-year-old repurposed dairy barn. The Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence project will provide modern, efficient classroom and lab space for these future producers and agribusiness employees.”

The Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence is a multi-phased project, and funds are currently being solicited for $23 million for initial construction through a capital campaign called “Nexus.” The College has set aside $10 million of its capital funds to help establish this project, the remainder will be raised privately.

Kruse describes the word nexus as signifying center point or “the joining.”

“Agriculture is the center of the economy of Nebraska. Nebraska is in the center of the United States. The 20-county service area of Northeast Community College includes one of the highest concentrations of farming and ranching, agri business and meat processing in the nation.”

Initial construction planned for the Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence includes a new farm site with farm office and storage, large animal handling facility and other farm structures. In addition, the plan calls for a veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex at the intersection of E. Benjamin Ave. and Highway 35 in Norfolk. The vet tech building will be located west of the ag complex, while the farm site and animal handling facilities will be behind the tree line that is north of the current complex.

Replacing the current farm site with facilities designed for teaching and learning is a priority of the Nexus campaign. The largest building on the current site is a former dairy loafing barn that was built in the 1920s.

Corinne Morris, dean of agriculture, math and science at Northeast said the farm site has limited storage for equipment, so expensive machinery is stored outside or in buildings with dirt floors, no electricity and no front doors.

“There is no structure for feed storage and no modern livestock buildings, and the feedlot needs to be redesigned and relocated,” she said.

An efficiently designed farm site will allow for space for students to observe farm operations and livestock handling, and also provide hands on opportunities with facilities and equipment similar to what they will encounter on the job or on their own farm operations.

Morris said the current vet tech facility has state of the art equipment to train students, but it has poor lighting and drainage.

“Because of the long, narrow design of the former dairy loafing barn used for vet tech, the clinic is not arranged efficiently. The surgery suite and radiology are located on opposite ends of the building, and faculty offices as well as the lab used for blood tests are located on the main campus.”

Dr. Michael Cooper, director of the veterinary technology program, said it is critical for his students to learn in a facility that reflects the type of environment they will likely work in once they obtain employment.

“Our current facilities and their arrangement are outdated. Our students really need to be in a facility that allows for efficiency so that the laboratory and treatment are close together, so that radiology and surgery are close together in order to mimic a typical working clinic.”

Northeast features one of only two, two-year veterinary technology programs in the state. Morris said graduates are continually in demand and the growth of the pork and poultry industries in Nebraska has increased the need for employees with these skills.

Jeanne Reigle, of Madison, and Russ Vering, of Scribner, serve as volunteer co-chairs of the Nexus campaign.

Reigle, of Reigle Cattle Co., said, “Northeast Community College sees that bigger picture. They see a place for northeast Nebraska and Northeast Community College to be a premiere location to bring people from all over the country to see what it really takes to be in agriculture.”

Vering, of Central Plains Milling, Howells and Columbus – member of the National Pork Producers Council and past president of the Nebraska Pork Producers, said the campaign is an investment in the future of the region.

“This campaign makes sense to communities, local businesses, feedlots, swine operations, feed companies. I believe you will feel the direct investment locally in your community, he said. “Investing in this program really is investing in our small communities, in our rural areas in Nebraska. It’s one of the most important things we can focus on now as we grow agriculture in Nebraska.”

Al Juhnke, executive director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, said now is the time for Northeast to undertake the project.

“Northeast Community College is known not only regionally, but I would argue nationally, as a premiere two-year agricultural institution. So, that they have recognized the need to upgrade their facilities, I think the timing couldn’t be more perfect,” he said.

“Agriculture is the driver for our economy. Having a facility like this that’s upgraded and new and shiny not only will draw the students we need, but also help us as an ag industry with the workers we need.”

Phase I of the project calls for development of the site and construction of the initial new facilities, which could begin as early as Spring 2020 pending fundraising success. The Precision and Mechanized Agriculture facility has also been prioritized and planned for construction based on funds being raised, while additional facilities will be constructed as funds allow and fundraising success is achieved.

The campaign has already received a significant contribution. At Thursday’s kickoff event, Kruse announced a $5 million lead gift to the campaign by the Acklie Charitable Foundation.

“The Acklie Family College Farm will provide a lasting legacy to the family for their commitment to agriculture in northeast Nebraska,” she said.

The Acklie Charitable Foundation was founded by the late Duane W. Acklie, his wife Phyllis and daughters Dodie, Laura and Holly. Duane and Phyllis were alums of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College and have been involved in many business and philanthropic ventures over the years.

Halley Acklie Kruse, vice president and general counsel of the foundation, said family connections played a role in the Acklie Charitable Foundation’s decision to support the Nexus campaign.

“But, just as the campaign is about what is next – next for sustainable agriculture, next for Nebraska’s workforce, next for innovation – an important factor in ACF’s decision to support the Nexus campaign was the consideration of Nebraska’s future,” she said. “When Nebraska agriculture succeeds, Nebraska thrives. For these reasons ACF believed it was important to invest in the future of Nebraska’s next generation of farmers, ranchers, and community leaders.”

Tracy Kruse said the public is now invited to invest in the future of agriculture in northeast Nebraska by contributing to the Nexus campaign.

For those interested in contributing, online donations may be made through the website Checks may be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469. Five year pledges are accepted, as are gifts of commodities and IRA (individual retirement account) distributions.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation Receives Grant to Provide Professional Development for Teachers

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation was awarded a grant from the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO) to support the growth of agricultural literacy in pre-kindergarten-12th grade classrooms in Nebraska. Funding for the competitive grant program came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA).

Nebraska’s project titled, “Learn, Then Do: A Phenomenon-Based Field Experience,” develops a model for a writer’s workshop for teachers to create Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) lessons using agriculture as the context for learning.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom Program will provide Nebraska certified teachers from Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) a paid training opportunity to develop lessons that support Nebraska’s newly adopted science standards using real-life examples from Nebraska agriculture. A total of twenty teachers from LPS will be selected to pilot the program.

“This program will support LPS teachers in the shift of moving to the new Nebraska standards within agricultural topics,” said James Blake, science curriculum specialist at LPS. “I look forward to partnering with the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation on the project to achieve great science education for youth in LPS.”

The three-day workshop will start with training on phenomena-based learning and discussion about how Nebraska science standards and agriculture connect.

After spending a day learning how to write lessons that support the new standards, the teachers will spend a day touring farms and agribusinesses to find their own examples of science within agriculture.

The teachers will spend the final day working in small groups to write ten lessons based on the previous days’ ideas of science phenomena in agriculture. Teachers will present the finalized lessons to a wide audience of science teachers during workshops at the Nebraska Association of Teaching Science Conference.

“Through this project, teachers will explore how to make agriculture relevant and interesting to students while succeeding with the new science standards. The aim is to create lessons that are fun, meet the standards of rigor required at LPS, and clearly articulate the building blocks for success in the classroom,” said Courtney Schaardt, director of outreach education for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation and program coordinator for the project.

The project is slated to start in March 2020 with the selection of the teachers and conclude in September 2020 for the 2020-2021 school year.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Lincoln Public Schools, the second largest school district in Nebraska, in an effort to provide thousands of students with accurate and reliable agricultural information aligned with Nebraska’s newly adopted science standards,” said Schaardt.

Annual Nebraska FFA Foundation Auction to be Held on September 11 at Husker Harvest Days and Online

Titan Tire Corporation, a subsidiary of Titan International, Inc., will be hosting a tire auction for the Nebraska FFA Foundation at Husker Harvest Days on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. In its seventh year, the 2019 auction will include a variety of tires on-site and online only bidding for a John Deere Gator and LSW Extreme Floatation Tires.

“We are so grateful for the support of Titan Tire, Graham Tire and the several John Deere dealers in the state for supporting the Nebraska FFA Foundation in this way. They, along with the bidders understand the value that this contribution makes for Nebraska FFA members, says Stacey Agnew. “These funds mean sustainability for the growing number of FFA chapters, members and advisors across the state.”

To participate in the live auction on Wednesday, September 11 at 11:00 am sign in at the Nebraska FFA Foundation registration desk for a bid number to bid in person or you can bid online. To learn more about the online bidding, go to

To participate in the online only auction for the John Deere Gator and LSW Extreme Flotation tires go to to view more details. Bidding ends Wednesday, September 11. The LSW tires will fit an 8000 series John Deere tractor.

The list of tires, gator information and details about the live auction and online only auction are available at

Lawmakers Call on Department of Agriculture to Cover Massive Irrigation Losses

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), along with Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), wrote to the Secretary of Agriculture, seeking crop insurance protection for producers hurt by the collapse of the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation canal tunnel.

Senator Sasse says, “This should be pretty simple. This is a qualifying event to be covered by crop insurance, and Nebraskans are suffering right now. This is a big deal for farmers in Nebraska’s Panhandle — Secretary Perdue knows just how important Nebraska’s ag producers are to our nation. I urge the Department of Agriculture to move quickly to give farmers and ranchers relief. A lot of folks will go bankrupt unless the Risk Management Agency does what’s right.”

“On behalf of the producers in Wyoming and Nebraska,” wrote the lawmakers, “we request USDA Risk Management Agency evaluate available reports and make a prompt determination to qualify these extraordinary circumstances as an insurable event resulting from adverse weather conditions and failure of the irrigation water supply for purposes of crop insurance coverage.”

Before the collapse, the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation canal tunnel transported water to more than 100,000 acres of land in Western Nebraska and Wyoming. The canal was built in 1910.

The letter to Secretary Perdue is available here and found below.

Dear Secretary Perdue:

We write requesting the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency review the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the Nebraska and Wyoming irrigation tunnel collapse and determine this irrigation disruption to be an insurable event qualifying for crop insurance protection. It is our understanding the lack of irrigation supply is an insurable event within the rules and regulations of the Risk Management Agency. We request you make an expedited determination based on the ongoing lack of adequate water supply and its damaging effects on crop growth and maturity.

As you know, on July 17, 2019, a 2,200 foot long tunnel partially collapsed along the Fort Laramie Canal. This tunnel and canal system carries water served by the Goshen Irrigation District in Wyoming to the Gering-Fort Laramie Irrigation District in Nebraska. The water disruption has affected approximately 107,000 acres of corn, sugar beets, dry edible beans and alfalfa crops grown in the region.

This region relies on the availability of surface water irrigation. Since July 17, the canal has been inoperable and no water for irrigation of the agriculture acres has been available. Farmers in this region continue to care for their crops, but the lack of irrigation water and adequate supplemental rainfall has taken a serious toll on the planted areas, crop yields and crop quality. As farmers are moving toward harvest, it would be beneficial to know their crop insurance will cover crop losses that resulted from the lack of adequate water supply.

On behalf of the producers in Wyoming and Nebraska, we request USDA Risk Management Agency evaluate available reports and make a prompt determination to qualify these extraordinary circumstances as an insurable event resulting from adverse weather conditions and failure of the irrigation water supply for purposes of crop insurance coverage.

Thank you for your attention to this manner.

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE)
Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)
Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE)
Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY)

Sasse Statement on Charges Against University of Kansas Researcher Who Hid Work for China

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement regarding the administration's decision to bring federal charges against a researcher at the University of Kansas who hid the fact he was working full time for a Chinese university while also working on U.S. government-funded research. 

"China’s largest export is espionage. The Chinese Communist Party’s university-to-Beijing pipeline is a serious national security problem. This is a no brainer: you can’t work for the Chinese government and our government at the same time. The Justice Department is right to go after this double-dipping."

Record High Red Meat and Pork Production in July

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.59 billion pounds in July, up 8 percent from the 4.24 billion pounds produced in July 2018.

By State    (million pounds - % July '18)

Nebraska ......:              680.1            104      
Iowa .............:              694.3            122      
Kansas ..........:              528.5            106      

Beef production, at 2.36 billion pounds, was 6 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.94 million head, up 6 percent from July 2018. The average live weight was down 4 pounds from the previous year, at 1,326 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.3 million pounds, 2 percent above July a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 53,700 head, up 12 percent from July 2018. The average live weight was down 18 pounds from last year, at 205 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.21 billion pounds, up 11 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.6 million head, up 10 percent from July 2018. The average live weight was up 3 pounds from the previous year, at 280 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 11.9 million pounds, was down 1 percent from July 2018. Sheep slaughter totaled 188,300 head, 5 percent above last year. The average live weight was 127 pounds, down 7 pounds from July a year ago.

January to July 2019 commercial red meat production was 31.4 billion pounds, up 3 percent from 2018. Accumulated beef production was up 1 percent from last year, veal was down slightly, pork was up 5 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 1 percent.

USDA Cold Storage July 2019 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on July 31, 2019 were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 1 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 12 percent from the previous month but down 6 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 9 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 7 percent from last month but up 37 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on July 31, 2019 were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 4 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 3 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 3 percent from last month but down 6 percent from July 31, 2018.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on July 31, 2019 were down 1 percent from the previous month and down 3 percent from July 31, 2018.  Butter stocks were up 1 percent from last month and up 4 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were up 18 percent from last month but down 18 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 12 percent from last month but down 2 percent from a year ago.

Chinese Demand for Pork Rises with African Swine Fever, but U.S. Not a Major Supplier

African Swine Fever has decimated Chinese pork production and undoubtedly caused a significant increase in imports. But where the Chinese are getting their pork from may come as a surprise.

Since August 2018, China has lost at least 85 million head of hogs and almost 10 million sows, according to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China. Conversely, the country is importing far more pork than in recent years, with 1,805,220 metric tons committed to China through the first five months of 2019.

While the Chinese demand for pork may seem promising, the United States is actually only supplying about 8% of Chinese pork imports, according to the August edition of Ag Decision Maker, a monthly newsletter by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

In an article called “Who benefits most from China’s growing import demand due to African Swine Fever,” ISU Extension and Outreach economists conclude that the U.S. only accounts for about 8% of global pork exports to China so far this year.

The major beneficiaries, accounting for more than half of China’s pork imports since January 2018, are Germany, Spain, France and the United Kingdom.

The reduction in Chinese pork supply has also decreased the country’s demand for grain, according to the article. The feed grain demand by China from January through May 2019, is down by about 15% for soybeans and almost half for soy meal, compared to the same time last year.

The authors of the article, Wendong Zhang, assistant professor and extension economist at Iowa State, and Tao Xiong, associate professor of agricultural economics and management and a visiting CARD scholar at Iowa State, examine the impact of the current trade war with China, and also trade agreements from the past, as well as improvements in European transportation, which has led to increased purchases from those countries.

“A closer examination of the global meat trade reveals that Europe, not the U.S., benefits most from China’s growing demand due to ASF,” according to the authors, who acknowledge this is in part due to China’s better transportation system for reaching Europe via the new Belt and Road Initiative.

However, the authors conclude that trade, or lack of trade, is still the biggest factor for the U.S.

“U.S. pork, beef and poultry exports to China still have significant room for growth, and a trade deal with China would be a valuable first step.”

IFBF & Hawkeyes team up to provide "ANF Game Day On-Field Experience"

On October 12, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and University of Iowa Hawkeyes will team up to celebrate Iowa’s farmers during the 9th annual America Needs Farmers (ANF) Game Day. As the Hawks take on the Penn State Nittany Lions, one lucky fan will win the experience of a lifetime including four tickets to the ANF game, an on-field sideline visit and a football autographed by Coach Kirk Ferentz.

For a chance to win, go to and click the “Enter to Win” tab on the “ANF Game Day On-Field Experience” page to take a short, multiple-choice quiz to see how Iowa farmers are responsibly and sustainably raising livestock which provide our daily diets with high-quality proteins. The contest will run Aug. 21 through Oct. 2 with the winner announced shortly after.

“The rich history and tradition of the ANF program has proven to be a great way to reach new audiences. Legendary Hawkeye Coach Hayden Fry created ANF in 1985 during the Farm Crisis which affected thousands of Iowa family farms and why Hawkeye greats continue to support the ‘America Needs Farmers’ campaign today,” said IFBF President Craig Hill. “We know Iowans love meat, and football tailgaters grilling up burgers, brats and chops are a testament to that. This contest, along with our farmer volunteers interacting with football fans at the game’s ANF Legends Tent, helps bring light to the innovative ways farmers care for their animals, putting health and the environment at the forefront of everything they do.”

During ANF Game Day, fans can stop by the ANF Legends Tent at Krause Family Plaza to meet the farmers who grow and raise their food and play games to win great prizes; they can also get autographs from former Hawkeye and NFL Greats. ANF merchandise will also be for sale in ANF Plaza with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Iowa Food Bank Association. For more information, visit

Federal Court Sends Illegal Water Rule Back to EPA

A federal court says the 2015 Waters of the United States rule is unlawful under the Clean Water Act because of its “vast expansion of jurisdiction over waters and land traditionally within the states’ regulatory authority.” The court for the Southern District of Georgia found the agency overstepped not just the CWA, but also the Administrative Procedure Act, which lays out the most basic rules governing how agencies may propose and establish federal regulations. The Georgia court kept in place a preliminary injunction preventing the rule from becoming effective in the 11 states involved with the lawsuit while the Environmental Protection Agency finalizes its own repeal and replacement of the 2015 rule.

The ruling was a victory not just for the plaintiff states, but a broad coalition of more than a dozen private sector groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“The court ruling is clear affirmation of exactly what we have been saying for the past five years,” AFBF General Counsel Ellen Steen said. “The EPA badly misread Supreme Court precedent. It encroached on the traditional powers of the states and simply ignored basic principles of the Administrative Procedure Act when it issued this unlawful regulation. The court found fault with the EPA’s interpretation of some of the most basic principles of the CWA, most importantly which waters the federal government may regulate, and which waters must be left to states and municipalities.”

Jurists repeatedly criticized the EPA’s handling of the rulemaking, in particular its interpretation of the Supreme Court’s “Rapanos” decision, which laid out guidelines for determining where federal jurisdiction begins and ends.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with a coalition of groups, urges repeal and replacement of the 2015 rule to ensure clean water and clear rules.

Corn Farmers Press Trump to Take Steps to Significantly Increase Corn Demand

National Corn Growers Assoc.

The impact of the Trump Administration’s recent granting of 31 refinery waivers to big oil is quickly being felt across the countryside, compounding farmer’s concerns about crop conditions, markets and trade.

In the last 12 months, 15 ethanol plants have been shuttered or idled, including POET’s Cloverdale facility which specifically cited the most recent waivers as the cause. Given this reduced demand, it is likely more closings will follow.

Recent press reports indicate the President is, rightly, rethinking this action and NCGA is continuing to work with members of his administration and ethanol advocates in Congress. This includes sharing solutions that would significantly boost corn demand.

President Trump’s actions on ethanol have cost 2,700 rural jobs and lost demand for more than 300 million bushels of corn as a result of the ethanol plant closures and slowing production. Since 2018, the 85 RFS exemptions granted to big oil refineries have totaled 4.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel.

Redistributing and accounting for these waived gallons in the upcoming RVO rulemaking is just one step the Administration can take today, and farmers are encouraged to submit comments to the EPA on this issue. Farmers can also send a message directly to President Trump.

Farmers are facing a sixth consecutive year of depressed income and commodity prices and ongoing trade tariffs and negotiations show no sign of a resolution. Farmers are losing patience. They need a win and the President needs to remember his promises to America’s farmers.

Biodiesel on the Ropes after EPA Punches, But Support Leaves Soy Hopeful

It’s a federal program designed to increase markets for American farmers, decrease U.S. dependency on foreign oil, and curb the carbon footprint through reduced emissions. Yet, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is again taking hits this year from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the form of small refinery waivers and flat biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volumes for 2020/2021 that, in effect, send the industry staggering backwards.

“These decisions are a one-two punch for the biofuel industry, and bottom line, farmers. But, we are heartened by the support we are getting from USDA and members of Congress, including Senator Grassley and many others speaking up and fighting for the RFS. They understand the value not just for biodiesel producers and soybean farmers, but rural economies, the environment, and U.S. consumers,” said Rob Shaffer, American Soybean Association (ASA) director and chair of the organization’s Biodiesel and Infrastructure Committee.

Immediately following EPA’s decision to allow 31 additional small refinery exemptions, one of the largest biodiesel producers in the country announced the shutdown of three plants located in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Mississippi. Other large producers have announced closings and laid off workers, with more closings and layoffs likely if these policies remain unstable.

Shaffer continued, “We may be reeling, but we are not KO’d. Congress can enact an extension of the biodiesel tax credit, and the administration can still get the RFS back on stable footing. This program, with their help, can accomplish what was intended: Higher levels of domestic, renewable fuels that enhance energy diversity and security; promotion of jobs and value for farmers and rural economies; and environmental benefits from reduced emissions.”

ASA asks that President Trump uphold his commitments to support the RFS and American farmers by increasing the RFS, and urges Congress to get the biodiesel tax credit extension completed. Retroactive waivers of RFS volumes, the zero growth proposed for future RFS volumes, and inaction on the biodiesel tax credit are all compounding pressure on a soybean industry already facing a down farm economy, the lingering trade war with China, and seasonal weather-related issues.

Ethanol Demand Destruction Clear to See as Consumption Wanes, Prices Fall and Plants Close

In a letter sent Thursday morning to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the Renewable Fuels Association challenged the federal agency on its claim there has been “zero evidence” that small refiner exemptions from Renewable Fuel Standard compliance obligations have had a negative impact on ethanol producers.

“Such a crass statement is entirely at odds with the facts and demonstrates a woeful lack of understanding about the actual marketplace implications of EPA decisions on small refiner exemption petitions,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The U.S. ethanol industry has indeed been negatively impacted by the dramatic increase in small refiner exemptions that have been issued by your Agency. U.S. ethanol consumption in 2018 was far below the level forecast by the U.S. Energy Information Administration at the start of the year. Further, 2018 domestic ethanol consumption fell from 2017 levels—the first year-over-year decline in 20 years. Ethanol’s share of U.S. gasoline consumption (the “blend rate”) also fell in 2018 relative to 2017, likely the first-ever annual decline in the blend rate.”

The EPA’s controversial August 19 statement came the same day as an Oval Office meeting where President Trump reportedly sought to “assuage farmer unrest” and “allay farm-state uproar” over the refinery exemptions, and only worked to further fuel farmer and ethanol industry concerns.

“On the very same day your Agency suggested there is ‘zero evidence’ of demand destruction, two major ethanol producers announced they were idling production,” Cooper wrote. “In fact, in the week following EPA’s August 9 announcement that 31 more SREs had been approved, ethanol prices plunged 18 cents per gallon (12 percent), corn prices fell 47 cents per bushel (11 percent), and RIN credit values dropped from the already-low level of 20 cents to just 12 cents (43 percent). All told, the August 9 announcement alone could result in a staggering $10 billion transfer of wealth from the agriculture and biofuel sectors to the oil industry. There’s your evidence of demand destruction.”

With the letter, RFA also submitted to Wheeler a short background document providing further evidence of waiver-induced demand destruction.

“I respectfully encourage you to review this information, especially the statements of numerous ethanol company executives regarding the negative impacts of SREs,” Cooper wrote. “No one is more qualified to provide perspective on the economic impacts of SREs than those who participate in these markets every day. I hope you take their views to heart and ask your staff to revisit whatever analysis it conducted that ultimately led to the absurd conclusion of ‘zero evidence’ of negative market impacts from SREs.”

Wednesday August 21 Ag News

Pro Farmer West Leg: Rain Falls and Yields Impress in Southwest Iowa
Sonja Begemann, Pro Farmer

As scouts press forward through a deluge of rain in southwestern Iowa, they’re finding mud—and decent crops. While there’s still prevent plant acres to be found, the fields that did get planted are shaping up to be an average crop, and in a year like 2019 that’s something to be celebrated.

“You know, the corn is pretty good,” says Jeff Wilson, lead for the west leg of the Pro Farmer Crop Tour. “That 137 to 210 bu. per acre is our range.”

He anticipates the low end was caused by problems at planting. In addition, those corn crops just aren’t very mature and are variable—sometimes even within a single field. One field showed corn that was just pollinated, some that was three-weeks past and other areas with even greater variance.

On the soybean side, Wilson is seeing “pretty good” pod counts.

“There’s no blooms left and row spacing is all over the place,” he says. “So, I think the best fields we’re seeing are some of the narrower planted ones. It’s 870 to 1255 [pods per 3x3 square]. I feel like that might be okay to maybe a little on the low side.”

Scouts have seen more disease and weeds in fields throughout southwest Iowa—sudden death syndrome specifically.

It might sound like a broken record this week, but it remains true, the crops are immature. They’ll need more time, and sunlight to get to the finish line.

“Sun. That’s the bottom line,” Wilson says. “We also need warm temperatures at night to keep that factory working.”

Preliminary Route Report from Western Tour Leader Jeff Wilson

What counties have you sampled from?
Iowa: Mills (Crop District 7), Pottawattomie (7), Shelby (4) and Harrison (4)

Corn yield range/average:
126-210 bu. per acre; average of 158 bu. per acre

Soybean pod count range/average (in a 3’x3’ square):
870-1,670 pods; average of 1,158 pods

Route comments:

"It does appear in the corn crop that there were some planting issues. It’s been variable on the two rows. Plant counts have been erratic as well—anywhere from 72 to 114 in 60 foot of row. Corn plant health is pretty good. Starting to see a bit of disease slip in. Some of these rains could cause some late-season grain-fill problems."

"The most interesting story on maturity is that in our second field of the day we had a field where 50% was in dough, 25% had pollinated in last three weeks and 25% had just pollinated or had not yet. Overall, the crop is behind, but this is southwest Iowa—a normal freeze date should not be a big threat."

"Soybeans are probably a week behind, but they are still the furthest along of what we’ve seen on Tour. Beans are starting to plump up in the pods. Today’s rains should be a good omen those pods that are there will fill with full-size beans by harvest."

"The one caveat for both crops is they both need a lot more sunlight to reach maturity ahead of any hard freeze."

Pro Farmer will release complete results for the state of Iowa tomorrow (Thursday).

Safety Emphasized as Crop Tour Continues After USDA Employee Threat

Tensions are high in farm country. Extreme weather, trade uncertainty and low commodity prices are adding to farmers’ stress. This was more evident than ever during this week’s Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, Farm Journal’s annual assessment of expected crop yields. A USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service employee, slated to speak at one of the tour’s events, received a threat by phone. In response, USDA pulled their staff from the remaining days of the tour.

“A USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service employee received a threat while on the Pro Farmer Crop Tour from someone not involved with the tour. As a precaution, we immediately pulled all our staff out of the event,” said Hubert Hamer, National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) Administrator, in a statement. “Federal Protective Services were contacted and are investigating the incident. The safety of our employees is our top priority."

The threat, which was not directed at NASS Crops Branch Chief Lance Honig as some have speculated, came from a person in Iowa who was not affiliated with the event. The threat was unrelated to Crop Tour and was not associated with scouts or other meeting attendees.

“For 27 years the Pro Farmer Crop Tour has been a public service for the benefit of agriculture, in good times and bad.  And it’s clearly a stressful time right now,” said Andy Weber Farm Journal CEO, in a statement. “From minute one we took this threat very seriously and have taken all steps possible to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the tour.”

Joel Jaeger, Pro Farmer CEO, said more than 3,000 people are participating in the tour.  “The safety of the  scouts and meeting is our top priority,” said Jaeger.  As a result, Pro Farmer and its parent company, Farm Journal, has increased security at all events for the remainder of the week.

“Any threat must be taken seriously, so we have involved law enforcement to determine the threat’s viability. As a precaution, we are taking steps to secure the remaining location venues, adding security personnel at the live events as well as asking staff and crop tour scouts to remain aware and report any concerns immediately,” Jaeger said.

Smith to Hold Ag Update Tour Sessions in Alliance, York, and Auburn

As part of his 2019 Ag Update Tour, Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will host August listening sessions in Alliance, York, and Auburn.

The Ag Update Tour provides Third District constituents an opportunity to hear from Smith and his special guests on the future of agriculture policy.  In addition to Smith, officials such as Director Steve Wellman of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Director Jim Macy of the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, Angel Velitchkov, Counsel for International Trade with the State of Nebraska, and Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen will join the discussions on selected dates. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Ambassador Gregg Doud will no longer be in attendance.

“Sound agriculture policies are a crucial part of ensuring farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to succeed,” Smith said.  “I am grateful Director Macy, Director Wellman, Mr. Velitchkov, and Secretary Evnen are taking time out of their busy schedules to join us for these conversations with Nebraska producers, and I am looking forward to constructive meetings. Getting policy right will help our producers overcome the challenges they face and ensure the Third District remains the top-producing agriculture district in the country.”

Alliance Ag Update Tour Session
Tuesday, August 27
West Side Event Center
2472 Co Rd 62, Alliance, NE 69301
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (MDT)

York Ag Update Tour Session
Wednesday, August 28
Crossroads GPS
2711 Enterprise Ave, York, NE 68467
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (CDT)

Auburn Ag Update Tour Session
Thursday, August 29
Auburn City Hall
1101 J St, Auburn, NE 68305
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (CDT)

For questions about these events, please contact Smith’s Grand Island office at (308) 384-3900.

Commodity Carnival to Visit Nebraska State Fair

CME Group and the National 4-H Council are hosting their 7th annual Commodity Carnival at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island, Nebraska. The Commodity Carnival is an interactive, educational fair experience that teaches young fairgoers about managing the business risks and costs associated with producing and bringing livestock to market. Participants will play a game that involves growing and bringing a steer to market, which helps improve their literacy in agriculture science and basic economics, all while having fun.

The Commodity Carnival booth will be at the Nebraska State Fair from August 23rd- September 2nd. Fairgoers can even bring home the fun by downloading the mobile companion game, Risk Ranch, to their phone.

"Agriculture has been a vital part of CME Group's business for more than 170 years," said Tim Andriesen, CME Group Managing Director of Agricultural Products. "Working with National 4-H Council, we've reached over 400,000 youth across the country with the Commodity Carnival experience in the last six years. We look forward to supporting the program again this year to educate the next generation of farmers, ranchers and business leaders about the role of risk management in production agriculture."

"We are so pleased to continue our partnership with CME Group and help prepare today's youth with skills they need to be successful in the future," said National 4-H Council President and CEO Jennifer Sirangelo. "The focus and purpose of the Commodity Carnival is to bolster our collective efforts to increase agricultural literacy and highlight the important role of agriculture commodities. Students get to take part in an interactive, hands-on experience that allows them to learn-by-doing."

Commodity Carnival is an interactive learning activity that guides participants through the process of growing a steer and selling it at market. The game aims to build greater agricultural literacy and awareness of the risks farmers face in bringing food to market. Beyond the fairgrounds, students can also participate through the mobile companion app, Risk Ranch.

CME Group and 4-H first collaborated in 2013, driven by the same mission to prepare future generations of farmers and food producers with respect to risk management in agriculture. To find a list of other participating fairs that will be hosting Commodity Carnival, visit

Prices for All Fertilizers Move Lower for First Time in Almost Two Years

Large decreases in average retail fertilizer prices were seen the second week of August 2019, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. This marks the first time in a couple of years that prices have declined in unison.

Prices for all eight of the major fertilizer were lower from the prior month with half down by a considerable amount.

Leading the way lower were anhydrous and UAN32, which both were down 7% from last month. Anhydrous had an average price of $543 per ton while UAN32 had a price of $295 per ton.

Prices for both MAP and UAN28 were also significantly lower, down 6% from the previous month. The phosphorus fertilizer (MAP) had an average price of $503 per ton and UAN28 was at $258 per ton.

Prices for the remaining four fertilizers were down from last month, but not by a significant amount. DAP had an average price of $493/ton, potash $387/ton, urea $413/ton and 10-34-0 $475/ton

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.45/lb.N, anhydrous $0.33/lb.N, UAN28 $0.46/lb.N and UAN32 $0.46/lb.N.

With prices significantly lower this week, one fertilizer's price is now lower than it was a year ago. MAP is now 1% less expensive from last year at this time.

Seven of the eight major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. DAP is 1% higher, 10-34-0 is 7% more expensive, both potash and UAN32 are now 9% higher, UAN28 is 11% more expensive, anhydrous is 13% higher and urea is 14% more expensive compared to last year.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/16/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Aug. 16, ethanol production averaged 1.023 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 42.97 million gallons daily. Output narrowed by 22,000 b/d (-2.1%) from the previous week to an 18-week low. The four-week average ethanol production rate declined 0.4% to 1.035 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.87 billion gallons and 47,000 b/d (4.3%) below this year’s peak set seven weeks prior.

Ethanol stocks shrank 2.2% to 23.4 million barrels. Stocks declined across all PADDs except the Rocky Mountain (PADD 4) region.

There were no imports reported for the second consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of June 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied retreated 3.1% from the prior week’s record to 9.626 million b/d (404.3 million gallons per day, or 147.57 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol softened 0.6% from the record set the prior week to 961,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.73 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 10.63%.

Reynolds, Naig urge EPA to honor the President’s promise to America’s farmers

Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler outlining the damaging effects of the 31 new small refinery waivers (SRE’s) undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Reynolds and Naig also extended an invitation to Administrator Wheeler to come to Iowa and see the devastating impact of these exemptions firsthand.

“The loss of these markets has taken a devastating toll on rural families facing one of the toughest years on record,” said Gov. Reynolds and Secretary Naig in their letter. “Ethanol consumption fell for the first time in 20 years, commodity markets are depressed, and many biofuel plants, including several in Iowa, have already slowed or halted production.”

Gov. Reynolds and Secretary Naig have stood alongside U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst in defense of the RFS. Reynolds testified earlier this year on the harm these waivers would cause to Iowa’s hard working farmers.

Growth Energy Responds to Finkenauer Call for Investigation into EPA Abuse of SREs

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement in response to Rep. Abby Finkenauer’s call for a Government Accountability Office review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) granting of small refinery waivers:

“We applaud Congresswoman Finkenauer and other biofuel champions for standing up against the EPA’s abuse of the exemption process to enrich well-connected refiners at the expense of farm communities and rural workers. Already, dozens of biofuel plants have closed or cut production, and hundreds of millions of bushels of grain are falling in value, just as farmers face the worst economic conditions in a generation. The EPA needs to account for these lost gallons immediately and start repairing the damage before more rural communities lose hope for a comeback.”

NBB, ASA Ask President Trump for Meeting on RFS Waivers

National Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO Donnell Rehagen and American Soybean Association (ASA) President Davie Stephens today requested a meeting with President Donald Trump to discuss small refinery exemptions and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The letter details the damage the administration's waivers have dealt the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry, and the soybean farmers who provide much of its feedstock, and emphasizes the need to include biodiesel-specific measures in any proposed resolution.

"According to a University of Illinois economist, nearly all demand eroded by small refinery exemptions falls on biodiesel and renewable diesel producers by nature of how the RFS is constructed," the letter states. "That disproportionate impact on biodiesel and renewable diesel producers in turn hits U.S. soybean farmers already having a tough time from tariffs and insurmountable weather issues this planting season."

Rehagen added, "Biodiesel producers have suffered the greatest impact from the administration's small refinery exemptions but have been ignored so far in discussions about how to repair the damage. We're seeing biodiesel producers across the country -- from Pennsylvania to Iowa to Georgia and Texas -- shutting their doors and laying off workers as a result of demand destruction. The RFS was designed to support growth of advanced biofuels, but the small refinery exemptions have turned the program upside down."

"While many economists worry about an economic recession within the next year, America's farmers are already facing a severe economic downturn," the letter continues.

The two groups conclude the letter with a request to meet with the President: "We would appreciate an opportunity to discuss how the administration can repair the uncertainty created by zero growth in biomass-based diesel coupled with demand destruction caused by the waivers. We look forward to an opportunity to sit down with you and discuss solutions to the crisis our industries are facing as a result of recent policy decisions."

University of Illinois economist Scott Irwin has found virtually all of the demand destruction from small refinery waivers is falling on the biodiesel industry. As EPA continues to hand them out to every refiner that asks, the damage to the U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry could reach $7.7 billion or 2.54 billion gallons, according to Irwin.

A small refinery processing 75,000 barrels of oil per day can produce nearly 1 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel per year. The refinery's annual RFS obligation would create demand for nearly 20 million gallons of biodiesel or renewable diesel, which are the most widely available advanced biofuels. Dozens of biodiesel producers across the United States produce less than 20 million gallons each year.

ACE conference highlights ethanol market developments in Mexico and around the world with USGC leadership

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) welcomed Ryan LeGrand, CEO of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), as a keynote speaker during its 32nd annual conference last week in Omaha. USGC’s Stephan Wittig, newly appointed Mexico Director, and Jorge Lerdo de Tejada, ethanol consultant in Mexico, also shared a Mexico market specific update with conference attendees, moderated by ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty.

“We have challenging days ahead to open up much-needed market access for U.S. ethanol, but we also have bright spots that make it an exciting time to be an advocate for trade of commodities like U.S. corn, DDGS and ethanol,” LeGrand said. “One of these bright spots is Mexico, and thanks to our newly appointed director, Stephan Wittig, and others on the team we assembled in Mexico, we’ve been able to educate the Mexican government and relevant stakeholders about the value of E10 and the resulting environmental and economic benefits it offers. This market did not exist just a few years ago, and the Council is learning to be nimble as markets like Mexico change and grow.”

“I am excited about the opportunities the industry is being presented after having shared technical knowledge and strategical information on how to achieve the benefits of an ethanol blending program for Mexico and attaining E10 blends in the regulation,” Wittig said. Wittig participated in the trade mission with IRFA, ACE and USGC in July bringing Mexican fuel distributors and retailers to the U.S. to see the ethanol supply chain. “It makes an impression to see that ethanol is a reality and how higher blends are making their way into the market,” Wittig added. “It was great to see all the interest in expanding ethanol use from the industry’s stakeholders at the ACE conference.”

“For many years, Mexico has tried to implement the use of ethanol, but it wasn’t until after the necessary changes were made to allow E10 to Mexico’s most recent fuel regulation that it started to become a reality,” Lerdo de Tejada said. “We are currently working on lifting the ban for ethanol in the three metropolitan areas of Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City which represent 30 percent of the potential ethanol market for the whole country.”

“For the past two years, we have partnered with ACE and Ron Lamberty, who has been instrumental to allow a smooth transition to help gasoline station owners understand ethanol economics and the splash blending option to start using E10 in Mexico,” Lerdo de Tejada added. “Ron’s experience has opened significant interest for several gasoline station owners who are making the necessary arrangements to start distributing E10.”

Next week, Lamberty will join Lerdo de Tejada and others on a panel at the Argus Mexico Fuel Markets Summit in Mexico City to discuss oxygenates and the future of fuel blending in the Mexican market and the role the U.S. can play.

Farm Bureau Welcomes Tomato Deal with Mexico

The latest tomato agreement with Mexico shows the United States can work out trade disputes without resorting to tariffs and underscores the need to ratify the USMCA, the American Farm Bureau Federation said today.

“We are pleased and relieved to see progress with one of our largest and most important trading partners,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Mexico is a vital trading partner for American farmers and ranchers. We need this agreement and are grateful negotiators capitalized on the close relationship that exists between our two nations. We look forward to more progress on the trade front and are counting the days until the USMCA becomes law.”

Among other things, the tomato deal lifts current preliminary duties of 17.5% against Mexican tomatoes and suspends an anti-dumping investigation against Mexican producers begun earlier this year. The agreement also reinstates reference prices for various kinds of tomatoes to assure fairer pricing by Mexican competitors. The agreement is expected to take effect September 19, 2019 following a 30-day comment period.

All parties, including growers, back today’s agreement.

EPA Seeks Public Comment on Pesticide Applications for Hemp

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the receipt of 10 pesticide applications to expand their use on hemp. The 10 requests are the result of the December 2018 Farm Bill provisions that removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, legalizing hemp for commercial use and production.

“EPA is taking the next step toward registering crop protection tools for hemp in time for use during the 2020 application and growing seasons,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The Agency is announcing a 30-day public comment period on ten existing pesticide product applications for industrial hemp. We hope this transparent and public process will bring hemp farmers and researchers increased regulatory clarity in time for next growing season — something they have asked for since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of commercial hemp.”

 “Given the strong economic forecasts for hemp production in the United States, it comes as no surprise that we are beginning to see pesticide registrants intensify their interests in gaining crop protection approvals for use on hemp,” said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention at the Hemp Production Field Day at the University of Kentucky. “EPA is committed to helping hemp growers obtain the tools needed to support and increase commercial production. This step recognizes that innovation in pesticide use is critical to the success of our strong and vibrant agricultural sector.”

“I am grateful to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn for selecting the University of Kentucky’s hemp field days to announce new pesticide applications for hemp,” said Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. “With about 1,000 Kentucky growers licensed to grow hemp this year, farmers need every tool in the toolbox to increase yields and protect their crops from harmful pests. This announcement proves the EPA is listening to the needs of hemp growers in Kentucky and around the nation.”

"Today's announcement is a welcome first step on the path to registration of safe and effective crop protection agents for a rapidly expanding hemp enterprise," said Dr. Bob Pearce, hemp researcher at the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.  "My colleagues and I have already identified a number of weeds, insects, and plant diseases that pose a potential threat to economically viable hemp production.  We will work closely with EPA to identify and evaluate best management practices for the use of crop protection agents to help control pests in hemp crops.

 “As one of the original proponents of legalizing hemp, I’ve continued to advocate for the success and growth of this budding industry. I’m glad to see EPA Administrator Wheeler taking comments on pesticide applications for hemp, and I’m excited this announcement is being made at the Hemp Production Field Day at UK. Kentucky has been and will continue to be a leader in the hemp industry, and it’s been my honor to advocate for this industry since I came to the Senate in 2011” said Senator Rand Paul.

 “I commend EPA for recognizing the significance hemp has in our nation’s agriculture economy, particularly in the state of Kentucky,” said Rep. James Comer (KY-01) “Getting these registrants approved prior to the next growing season is a tremendous help to our farmers. Thanks to Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn for helping provide the necessary tools our producers need to ensure they have the opportunity to produce the best crop.”

To ensure transparency and improve EPA’s process for considering pest management tools for the emerging American hemp industry, EPA is seeking public comment on these applications. The list of pesticides can be found in prepublication copy of the Federal Register notice. Comments are due 30 days after the notice publishes in the Federal Register.

Once public comments are received, EPA anticipates deciding about the possible use of the specified products on hemp before the end of 2019 to help growers make informed purchasing choices for the upcoming growing season. Moving forward, EPA will review, approve or deny applications for use on hemp as the agency would for any other use site.

The enacted 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis. Thus, the 2018 Farm Bill allows for expanding cultivation of hemp, but not marijuana.

Tuesday August 20 Ag News

Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour Releases Nebraska Results
Day Two—Jeff Wilson, Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst

There were few good or bad surprises from Nebraska. Most fields seemed to have adequate moisture with a few needing a drink soon to sustain yield potential. Most corn and soybeans are mature enough that frost risk is limited given normal frost dates. A welcome sight to see for the Nebraska producer has enjoyed reduced crop damage from hail and wind, which have become a normal annual occurrence.  Sure, there are fields with weather damage, but the crops are still headed for about average yields.

Hats off to our 2019 scouts. We took more than 300 samples of both corn and soybean fields in Nebraska the past two days and head for western third of Iowa for crop sampling on Wednesday. The Nebraska Corn yield came in at 172.55 bushels per acre (BPA), down 3.7% from last year’s Tour data. That compared with a 3.1% drop projected by USDA in August to 186 BPA against last year’s government final forecast. Corn yield potential measured the past two days is actually up 2.9% from the prior three-year tour average of 167.7 BPA.

We measured irrigated corn on 41% of the samples this year, close to average. But about 60% of the Nebraska corn crop is under irrigation which raises USDA forecast tally above what we measure each year. The story here is that the Irrigated corn is good but not great which does not pull the tour average higher. Corn on dryland fields is better and that puts a floor under the state yield. Yields measured this week in Nebraska ranged from a low of 62 BPA to 273 BPA. That’s a wide range and the lack of more 250-plus yields caps the upside potential from strong irrigated crops. Part of the reduced topside is the late plantings as farmers struggled to get crops planted in a timely fashion. But summer weather has been ideal for pollination and grain fill. Still the key to reaching full yield potential is more sunshine, warm temperatures and lower humidity and rain. This crop looks susceptible to late, yield robbing diseases that restrict movement of sugars and starch into kernels. 

Soybean yield potential still appears preliminary with weather the next several weeks the key to big beans or small bean.  It is unlikely pods counts move higher from this week’s measurements. Wednesday and Tuesday tour results measured 1,210 pods in a three-foot by three-foot area this week, that that is down 3.7% from what we measured a year ago and down 0.6% from the prior three-year average. USDA is forecasting yields will drop 1.7% from a year ago.  There are signs of disease pressure just starting to increase, offsetting the positive impact of showers in parts of the state the past several weeks. Our tour range for soybean pods is wide at 227 to 3,121 pods in a square area. Soybean need warm temperatures at nigh and during the day, low humidity and more sunshine to reach yield potential.

The late start of Nebraska corn and soybeans planting this year and how that impacts on final corn and soybean yields will not be know until the combines roll this fall. Soybeans have benefitted from “just in time rain.”

Wednesday will focus on collecting data in the western third of Iowa and we will provide updates in Spencer, Iowa


Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

If producers will be chopping corn silage this year, they need to do it right and time the harvest correctly. Corn development and maturity is highly variable this year due to all the problems with spring rains.   If you always chop silage on about the same date, how will that affect your 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 or when we chop late-planted corn with immature grain.   Live green stalks, leaves, and husks almost always are more than eighty percent moisture, so wait until these tissues start to dry before chopping.

In our region, normal corn is often chopped for silage too dry, below sixty percent moisture.   Dry silage is difficult to pack adequately to force out air.   This silage heats, energy and protein digestibility declines, and spoilage increases.   If your silage usually 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 milk line.   This guide isn’t perfect for all hybrids, though, so check your own fields independently.

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

Chop silage at the proper moisture level and the outcome will be better feed and better profits.


Following corn silage harvest, the ground can lay bare for seven to nine months.   Instead, consider planting some crops to grow and cover it until next season.

After silage harvest, bare ground 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.

What should you plant depends primarily 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 produce 30 to 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre for next year’s crop.   Or maybe use a deep-rooted radish to breakup some hardpans.

If you still hoping for some feed this fall, then oats, spring triticale and barley, annual ryegrass, and turnips might be better choices because these plants have the greatest forage yield potential yet this fall.   Spring oats, triticale, and barleys also will die over winter so they won’t interfere with next year’s crop.   But, dead residue from these spring cereals 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.

Following Tyson Holcomb Plant Fire, Fischer Calls for Commodity Market Oversight and Flexibility for Livestock Haulers

Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, wrote letters to Chairman Heath Tarbert of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Administrator Raymond P. Martinez of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration seeking to mitigate the effects of a fire at a Tyson beef processing plant in Holcomb, Kansas, on Nebraska agriculture. Specifically, Senator Fischer called for commodity market oversight and flexibility for livestock haulers:

“With already high margins and heavy supplies, the Tyson fire could not have come at a worse time for cattlemen and the beef industry. This is in addition to an already difficult year that has brought extreme weather events and looming trade uncertainty… Accordingly, I ask that the CFTC remain vigilant in their oversight of this market to ensure that market participants do not use uncertainty to price gouge, manipulate, or take advantage of the burdensome obstacles our producers are currently facing,” wrote Senator Fischer to Chairman Tarbert.

“Due to this situation, drivers will need to haul live cattle to different facilities hundreds of miles away and cross state lines to continue processing. It is imperative that cattle processing continues and other plants can absorb the lost processing capacity. Cattle are scheduled to be processed months in advance and the cattle currently scheduled to be processed in the Holcomb plant cannot wait in feedyards indefinitely – they must be transported to different facilities,” wrote Senator Fischer to Administrator Martinez.

The fire at the Kansas plant, which operated at approximately 6,000 head/day or 375 head/hour, occurred on Friday, August 9th. This incident has the potential to cause disruption and volatility in the beef market.

Improved transmission needed to reap benefits of renewable energy, according to white paper

Clean power commitments have increased at the county and city levels, with 11 counties and 104 cities nationwide pledging to 100 percent clean energy goals at the end of 2018. As more renewable energy is developed across the nation, regulators and policymakers must prepare for the changing electric power landscape, according to a white paper released today by the Center for Rural Affairs.

“Capacity for Change: The Role of Transmission Infrastructure in Energy Transition” takes a look at the growing renewable energy industry and an electric transmission system that is evolving to take advantage of wind and solar energy resources.

“While transmission improvements have allowed for additional development of renewable energy resources, much of the new grid capacity has already been occupied,” said Lu Nelsen, policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs and author of the report. “Subsequent upgrades are likely necessary for the electric grid to adapt to the changing landscape.”

For more than a decade, regional transmission planners have worked to address shortfalls in the electric transmission system, and to create a network that can connect additional generation to the grid. Estimates point to 70 to 220 gigawatts of new electric generation required as early as 2030, according to the report. The author examines efforts that improve reliability across the transmission network and reduce potential bottlenecks on the system.

“A robust transmission system will be essential to reap the benefits of renewable energy resources,” Nelsen said. “To address the challenges of a changing electric power sector, regulators and policymakers must plan for an improved electric transmission network that will ensure renewable generation can continue to provide benefits to rural communities while offering opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and meet demands for clean energy.”

For more information and to view “Capacity for Change: The Role of Transmission Infrastructure in Energy Transition,” visit

Cherokee Pasture Restoration and Monarch Habitat Field Day Sept. 10

Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will host a pasture restoration and monarch habitat field day Sept. 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Nathan Anderson’s farm near Cherokee. The event is free, open to the whole family and includes a complimentary meal.

The field day will begin on the Anderson Farm where host farmer, Anderson, will lead the group on a walking tour to the pasture being restored to native species of grasses and forbs to help improve the pasture performance and livestock health. Anderson will share information on how he began the restoration process and the resources he used, as well as the benefits and challenges he has faced during the process. Adam Janke, ISU Extension and Outreach wildlife specialist, will discuss opportunities for wildlife habitat around the farm including establishing monarch habitat and the impacts of pasture restoration on bird, mammal and other wildlife in the area. The field day will conclude with a complimentary meal back at the farm site.

The field day will be held at Nathan Anderson’s farm, 1950 520th St., Cherokee. From Cherokee, head east on IA 3/530th St. for three miles. Turn north on T Ave./M10 for 1 mile. Turn left on 520th St. for 1/2 mile and the farm will be located on the south side of the road. The event is free and open to the whole family, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Please RSVP to Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or

For mobility accommodations to the pasture, please contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or by Thursday, Sept. 5.

Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit

RFA Statement on EPA and Demand Destruction from Refinery Exemptions

Today, an EPA spokesperson said there was "zero evidence" of demand destruction for ethanol due to the numerous refinery exemptions allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The following is a statement from RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper.

“To suggest that there is ‘zero evidence’ of ethanol and corn demand destruction from small refinery waivers is as insulting as it is absurd. On the same day that EPA made this asinine assertion, two more ethanol plants announced they are idling production. At least 15 ethanol plants have now shut down or idled since EPA began its refiner bailout bonanza last year, and more than 2,500 jobs have already been affected. Ethanol production and demand continue to slide, prices continue to sink, and margins continue to bleed red. Meanwhile, the waivers are eroding corn demand, with USDA cutting its estimate of corn use for ethanol by 225 million bushels—equivalent to erasing demand for the entire Michigan corn crop. Farm bankruptcies and debt are on the rise, and farm income is plunging. Yet, EPA pretends nothing is wrong. Rome is burning, while EPA plays Nero’s fiddle.”

Growth Energy Responds to EPA Claim of Zero Demand Destruction

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) claim that the recent trend of issuing small refinery exemptions has had no impact on ethanol producers:

“The latest reports say President Trump ‘felt misled’ about the EPA’s most recent batch of small refinery exemptions. That’s hardly a surprise. The EPA spent months trying to paper over the devastating impact these refinery handouts have had on farm communities and rural workers in America’s biofuel sector. They can’t hide the simple fact that dozens of biofuel plants have cut production, and ethanol consumption fell for the first time in 20 years in the wake of these exemptions. Closures in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Nebraska are only the beginning.

“Just today, the world’s largest ethanol producer closed a major plant in Indiana and cut production across seven states. Hundreds of millions of gallons of production are offline, and hundreds of millions of bushels of grain are falling in value, just as farmers face the worst economic conditions in a generation.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard creates an incentive that opens the market to biofuel blends, including the E15 that President Trump personally embraced. These exemptions destroy that incentive, pure and simple. You cannot carve billions of gallons from America’s biofuel targets and still keep this administration’s promises to farm families. EPA needs to account for these lost gallons immediately and start repairing the damage before more rural communities lose hope for a comeback.”

Oil Bailouts Force POET to Lower Production

POET announced today it will idle production at its bioprocessing facility in Cloverdale, IN due to recent decisions by the Administration regarding SREs. The process to idle the plant will take several weeks, after which the plant will cease processing of over 30 million bushels of corn annually and hundreds of local jobs will be impacted.

POET has reduced production at half of its biorefineries, with the largest drops taking place in Iowa and Ohio. As a result, numerous jobs will be consolidated across POET’s 28 biorefineries and corn processing will drop by an additional 100 million bushels across Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard was designed to increase the use of clean, renewable biofuels and generate grain demand for farmers. Our industry invested billions of dollars based on the belief that oil could not restrict access to the market and EPA would stand behind the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Unfortunately, the oil industry is manipulating the EPA and is now using the RFS to destroy demand for biofuels, reducing the price of commodities and gutting rural economies in the process,” said POET Chairman and CEO, Jeff Broin.

The RFS authorizes small refinery exemptions for refiners that (1) process less than 75,000 barrels of petroleum a day and (2) demonstrate “disproportionate economic hardship.” Over the past two years, the EPA has issued waivers to refineries owned by ExxonMobil, Chevron, and other large oil companies—none of which are small and none of which have economic hardship.

EPA’s mismanagement of SREs has created an artificial cap on domestic demand for ethanol and driven RIN values to near-zero, which weakens the incentive for retailers to offer higher blends. Oil is making billions of dollars, yet still using EPA to stop biofuels growth by handing out hardship waivers to some of the wealthiest companies in the world, in contradiction with President Trump’s public comments. So far, the EPA has cut biofuels demand by 4 billion gallons and reduced demand for corn by 1.4 billion bushels, causing severe damage in rural America.

“POET made strategic decisions to support President Trump’s goal of boosting the farm economy. However, these goals are contradicted by bailouts to oil companies. The result is pain for Midwest farmers and the reduction of hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity across Indiana.” said POET President and COO, Jeff Lautt

The recent announcement of 31 new waivers comes in steep contrast to the President’s roll out of year-round E15 earlier this summer. The SREs are wiping out any near-term growth potential for year-round E15 and challenging the President’s promises made to family farmers and rural communities. The President now has the opportunity to show his leadership on this issue and turnaround the rural economy.

“My long term fear isn’t for the biofuels industry, it’s for rural America. POET can continue to produce ethanol with cheap grain, but we don’t want to lose our family farmers. The EPA has robbed rural America, and it’s time for farmers across the Heartland to fight for their future” said POET Chairman and CEO Jeff Broin.

Farm Service Agency Expands Payment Options

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is expanding its payment options to now accept debit cards and Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit. These paperless payment options enable FSA customers to pay farm loan payments, measurement service fees, farm program debt repayments and administrative service fees, as well as to purchase aerial maps.

“Our customers have spoken, and we’ve listened,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “Finding ways to improve customer service and efficiency is important for our farmers, ranchers, producers, and forest landowners who work hard for our nation every day. Now, our customers can make electronic payments instantly by stopping in our offices or calling over the phone.”

Previously, only cash, check, money orders and wires were accepted. By using debit cards and ACH debit, transactions are securely processed from the customer’s financial institution through, the U.S. Treasury’s online payment hub. 

While traditional collection methods like cash and paper checks will continue, offering the new alternatives will improve effectiveness and convenience to customers while being more cost effective. In 2017, the average cost to manually process checks, a process that included navigating multiple systems, cost USDA more than $4.6 million. The expanded payment options will cut the time employees take processing payments by 75 percent. 

“At USDA, we’re focused on modernization to improve customer service,” said Northey. “If half of our customers use these new payment options, we’ll see a $1 million savings in one year. These new payment methods are one part of a much larger effort to expand options for our customers, as well as to make our services more effective and efficient.”

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a multi-phased roll-out of new payment options for USDA customers. Ultimately, payment option flexibility will be extended to allow farmers and producers to use debit cards and ACH debit payments to make payments for all FSA programs, including farm storage facility loan repayments, farm loan facility fees, marketing assistance loan repayments, Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) administrative fees and premiums and Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) fees. 

NMPF Urges Farmers to Sign Up for Dairy Margin Coverage as Deadline Approaches

With one month left until the 2019 sign-up for the Dairy Margin Coverage program closes, the National Milk Producers Federation urged all dairy farmers to enroll in the program, which guarantees a payout for cash-strapped producers in 2019.

The DMC, a retooling of dairy programs included in the 2018 farm bill, is guaranteed to pay all producers enrolled at the maximum $9.50/cwt. coverage level for every month of production through June, with another payment predicted for July, according to USDA data and forecasts.  Enrollment numbers released yesterday indicate that 63% of dairy operations with an established DMC production history have enrolled so far for this year. This represents nearly 17,000 producers nationwide.

“Dairy farmers prefer to get their income from the market, but much-needed payments for the first half of this year provide welcome certainty for farmers,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO. “DMC offers better support for dairy farmers than its predecessor, the Margin Protection Program. It’s worthwhile for every farmer.”

The DMC, created in the 2018 Farm Bill, is a much more robust safety net for dairy producers of all sizes than the Margin Protection Program, which has been discontinued. DMC improvements include:
-    Affordable higher coverage levels that permit all dairy producers to insure margins up to $9.50/cwt. on their Tier 1 (first five million pounds) production history, a higher level than previous programs.
-    A new option for producers to receive a 25 percent discount on their premiums if they agree to lock in their coverage for the five-year period of this Farm Bill.  However, producers will be allowed to pay their premiums annually even if they elect the five-year discount.
-    The feed-cost formula has been improved to include dairy quality hay values, which better reflects the true cost of feeding dairy cows.
-    Affordable $5.00 coverage that lowers premium costs by roughly 88 percent. This creates more meaningful catastrophic-type coverage at a reasonable cost for larger producers without distorting the market signals needed to balance supply with demand.

Tyson and White Castle Weigh in on Alternative Proteins Sept. 13

Representatives of Tyson Foods, White Castle restaurants and MotivBase ethnography research firm will join The Center for Food Integrity (CFI), Fri. Sept. 13, from 1 to 2 p.m. CDT, for CFI Live “The Protein Play: Emerging Trends and Consumer Appetites for Protein Alternatives.”

The free webcam event will address the rapid evolution of protein alternatives, the profile of interested consumers, cultural forces at play and what’s next for both consumers and those in the protein complex.

Moderated by CFI CEO Charlie Arnot, the panel features David Ervin, vice president of alternative proteins, Tyson Foods; Shannon Tolliver, social responsibility and environmental sustainability manager, White Castle; Jamie Richardson, vice president of corporate relations, White Castle; and Ujwal Arkalgud, co-founder and CEO of MotivBase, cultural anthropologist and author.

To register, click on the CFI Live link at

First-Ever Report of Antimicrobial Use across U.S. Broiler Chickens and Turkeys

U.S. Poultry & Egg Association announces the release of the U.S. poultry industry’s first-ever report quantifying antimicrobial use on broiler chicken and turkey farms. The new report shows dramatic reductions of turkey and broiler chicken antimicrobial use over a five-year timeframe. As part of its commitment to the transparency and sustainability of a safe food supply, the poultry industry aims to strike a balance between keeping poultry flocks healthy and the responsible use of antimicrobials, especially those medically important to human health.

Under the research direction of Dr. Randall Singer, DVM, PhD, of Mindwalk Consulting Group, LLC, this report represents a five-year set of data collected from 2013 to 2017 regarding the use of antimicrobials in U.S. broiler chickens and turkeys throughout their lifetime, from hatchery to day of harvest. It was prepared through a systematic collection of on-farm antimicrobial use data to capture the disease indications and routes of administration through which antimicrobials were given to the poultry.

Given several key differences among broiler chickens and turkeys – namely differences in weight, life span, susceptibility to lifetime illness and the number of effective medical therapies available – the data from broiler chickens and turkeys should neither be combined nor compared.

Key changes among broiler chickens over the five-year period show:
• Broiler chickens receiving antimicrobials in the hatchery decreased from 93% to 17%
• Hatchery gentamicin use decreased approximately 74%
• Medically important in-feed antimicrobial use in broiler chickens decreased by as much as 95%. For example: tetracycline 95%, virginiamycin 60%
• Medically important water-soluble antimicrobial use in broiler chickens decreased by as much as 72%. For example: penicillin 21%, tetracycline 47%, sulfonamide 72%
• There was a documented shift to the use of antimicrobial drugs that are not considered medically important to humans (e.g., avilamycin and bacitracin BMD)

Key changes among turkeys over the five-year period show:
• Turkeys receiving antimicrobials in the hatchery decreased from 96% to 41%
• Hatchery gentamicin use decreased approximately 42%
• Medically important in-feed antimicrobial use in turkeys decreased: tetracycline 67%
• Medically important water-soluble antimicrobial use decreased substantially. For example: penicillin 42%, tetracycline 28%, lincomycin 46%, neomycin 49%, erythromycin 65%

Antimicrobial use among broiler chickens and turkeys decreased dramatically between 2013 and 2017, and there are a couple of key explanations for this:
• Changes in FDA regulations, which were fully implemented in January 2017, effectively eliminated the use of medically important antimicrobials for production purposes and placed all medically important antimicrobials administered in the feed or water of poultry under veterinary supervision
• A continued focus by poultry companies on disease prevention, thereby reducing the need for antimicrobials
• Improved record-keeping of all antimicrobial administrations, which is a key component of antimicrobial stewardship

Furthermore, the broiler chicken and turkey industries have increased the production of animals raised without antimicrobials.

Participation in this effort was entirely voluntary. The poultry industry recognized the importance of this work and responded. The 2017 data in this report represent more than 7.5 billion chickens (about 90% of annual U.S. chicken production by the major companies on the WATT PoultryUSA list) and 160 million turkeys (about 80% of annual U.S. turkey production by the major companies on the WATT PoultryUSA list).

USPOULTRY Vice President of Research, Dr. John Glisson, DVM, MAM, PhD, affirms, “This research is the first step in determining how antimicrobials are used in the entire poultry production system of the U.S., and to succeed, we need participation from the majority of companies. We couldn’t be more pleased with the response of the poultry industry.”

Glisson cautions, though, that there are still serious bird illnesses (e.g., necrotic enteritis, gangrenous dermatitis and colibacillosis) for which the poultry industry has few effective interventions. And when birds get sick from these diseases, they must receive therapy. He confirms that “driving good antimicrobial stewardship in poultry, as opposed to simple documentation of reduced use, is our end goal for the best outcomes for both the people and the poultry.”

Moving forward in 2019, Dr. Singer will continue the annual collection of data from the broiler chicken and turkey industries and will begin collecting data from the U.S. table egg industry. Glisson anticipates this new data will provide greater clarity about antimicrobial use in individual flocks, stating, “We expect even more detailed data on flock antimicrobial usage and record-keeping in the years ahead, which thoroughly supports USPOULTRY efforts to ensure proper stewardship of medications.”

Bayer and National 4-H Council “Science Matters” Partnership Encourages Interest in Agri-science Education in Classrooms

Education and skills gaps have long been a challenge for the agriculture industry, as the demand for qualified candidates in agricultural science careers has significantly outpaced the pool of applicants with adequate training and education. Bayer, in collaboration with National 4-H Council, today released the results of the second annual Science Matters survey, which explores the opinions of parents, teachers and - new this year - students on the importance of agri-science in high school curriculum.

The 2019 survey confirmed that low awareness of career options in agriculture is a primary factor leading to the limited pool of skilled applicants. In fact, the survey found that although nearly 80 percent of surveyed high school students believe that agricultural science education is important to future success, only 19 percent reported that they are likely to consider a career in agriculture.

One explanation for this disconnect could be a lack of awareness of the diverse opportunities available within the agriculture industry. Only 36 percent of surveyed students reported being familiar with agriculture career choices beyond working on a farm, despite alternative and thriving occupations such as veterinary science, biotechnology, raising and training animals and forestry.

“The 2019 Science Matters study shows a disconnect between students’ perceived value of agricultural science and their awareness of tangible, fulfilling and diverse career opportunities, which presents an enormous opportunity for the agricultural community,” said Lisa Safarian, President, North America Commercial, at the Crop Science Division of Bayer. “These survey results are a call to action for the industry to come together and invest in our youth, educating them and developing their skills in areas where it has been traditionally challenging to identify and recruit a qualified workforce, and highlight the success and impact they can have in a multitude of diverse careers.”

The agriculture industry isn’t alone in recognizing the value in driving awareness and enthusiasm in agricultural careers among students. In fact, the survey found that 92 percent of teachers feel it is important to expose students to agri-science education, up 14 percent from 2018, and teachers feel more prepared than ever to play a role in educating students. More than three-in-five high school science teachers say that they feel qualified to teach agri-science content, a 35 percent increase over 2018 when fewer than half of teachers reported feeling qualified.

Although, like students, parents (90 percent) agree agricultural science education is important, both groups are less likely to believe more of an emphasis should be placed on STEM education in the classroom. While 55 percent of teachers would like to focus more on STEM subjects, only 43 percent of parents and 30 percent of students agree.

“As a teacher with four years of experience educating students and striving to bring complex fields of study like agri-science to life in the classroom, I’ve learned that they absorb information and develop passions around subjects where they understand the real-life implications of the concepts they are learning on paper,” said Kamal Bell, former teacher for Durham Public Schools and current student at North Carolina State University seeking a Doctorate in Agricultural Extension Education. “It is more important than ever for students to have access to hands-on activities that broaden their perspectives about science and agriculture and make tangible their future opportunities for development and impact.”

It is with this enormous opportunity in mind that Bayer and National 4-H Council created Science Matters, an educational outreach program that leverages a variety of strategic and creative programming to pique students’ curiosity about agri-science and STEM education. Fortunately, more than half (52 percent) believe that agri-science is an exciting, creative and interesting subject according to the study, but there is still more to be done to translate this interest into action.

“4-H has totally shaped who I am,” said Addy Battel, winner of the 2019 4-H Youth in Action Pillar Award for Agriculture. “Through initiatives like Science Matters, more students like me will be exposed to STEM education, passion areas and career choices. Sometimes all it takes to inspire people to act is opportunity.”

By launching Science Matters in August 2017, Bayer and National 4-H Council have committed to equip at least 25,000 students from rural, urban and suburban communities with the tools and support they need to deepen their understanding of science. The program contributes to youth development through curricula provided by 4-H to its network of local club leaders; creative initiatives to heighten young people's awareness of the role science plays in their everyday lives; scholarships to attend the 4-H National Youth Summit on Agri-Science; and, engaging with 4-H clubs across the U.S. through community grants and local volunteerism to enhance the STEM education experience.

For more information on Science Matters, visit

Washing Raw Poultry: Our Science, Your Choice

A study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveals that individuals are putting themselves at risk of illness when they wash or rinse raw poultry.

“Cooking and mealtime is a special occasion for all of us as we come together with our families and friends,” said Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. “However, the public health implications of these findings should be of concern to everyone. Even when consumers think they are effectively cleaning after washing poultry, this study shows that bacteria can easily spread to other surfaces and foods. The best practice is not to wash poultry.”

The results of the observational study showed how easy bacteria can be spread when surfaces are not effectively cleaned and sanitized. The USDA is recommending three easy options to help prevent illness when preparing poultry, or meat, in your home.

1. Significantly decrease your risk by preparing foods that will not be cooked, such as vegetables and salads, BEFORE handling and preparing raw meat and poultry.
-    Of the participants who washed their raw poultry, 60 percent had bacteria in their sink after washing or rinsing the poultry. Even more concerning is that 14 percent still had bacteria in their sinks after they attempted to clean the sink.
-    26 percent of participants that washed raw poultry transferred bacteria from that raw poultry to their ready to eat salad lettuce.

2. Thoroughly clean and sanitize ANY surface that has potentially touched or been contaminated from raw meat and poultry, or their juices.
-    Of the participants that did not wash their raw poultry, 31 percent still managed to get bacteria from the raw poultry onto their salad lettuce.
-    This high rate of cross-contamination was likely due to a lack of effective handwashing and contamination of the sink and utensils.
-    Clean sinks and countertops with hot soapy water and then apply a sanitizer.
-    Wash hands immediately after handling raw meat and poultry. Wet your hands with water, lather with soap and then scrub your hands for 20 seconds.

3. Destroy any illness causing bacteria by cooking meat and poultry to a safe internal temperature as measured by a food thermometer.
-    Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts and chops) are safe to eat at 145°F.
-    Ground meats (burgers) are safe to eat at 160°F.
-    Poultry (whole or ground) are safe to eat at 165°F.
-    Washing, rinsing, or brining meat and poultry in salt water, vinegar or lemon juice does not destroy bacteria. If there is anything on your raw poultry that you want to remove, pat the area with a damp paper towel and immediately wash your hands.

“Everyone has a role to play in preventing illness from food,” said Administrator Carmen Rottenberg of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). “Please keep in mind that children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk. Washing or rinsing raw meat and poultry can increase your risk as bacteria spreads around your kitchen, but not washing your hands for 20 seconds immediately after handling those raw foods is just as dangerous.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that millions of Americans are sickened with foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

Monday August 19 Ag News


For the week ending August 18, 2019, there were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 11 short, 77 adequate, and 10 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 10 short, 79 adequate, and 10 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 6 poor, 19 fair, 59 good, and 15 excellent. Corn dough was 61 percent, well behind 86 last year, and behind 80 for the five-year average. Dented was 17 percent, behind 35 last year and 27 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 22 fair, 62 good, and 10 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 93 percent, behind 99 both last year and average. Setting pods was 78 percent, behind 90 last year and 87 average.

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

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 18 fair, 70 good, and 11 excellent. Sorghum headed was 85 percent, behind 95 last year and 92 average. Coloring was 13 percent, well behind 40 last year, and behind 31 average.

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

Dry edible bean condition rated 5 percent very poor, 18 poor, 20 fair, 50 good, and 7 excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 92 percent. Setting pods was 75 percent.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 13 fair, 65 good, and 18 excellent.

Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report

 Much needed rain fell across parts of Iowa during the week ending August 18, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities included scouting, spraying fungicides and insecticides and harvesting hay and oats.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 6 percent very short, 25 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Rain this past week helped improve topsoil moisture conditions except for the southeast district which remained at 64 percent short to very short. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 4 percent very short, 23 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.

Nearly all the corn crop has begun to silk at 96 percent statewide. Fifty-nine percent of the crop reached the dough stage, 12 days behind last year and 9 days behind the 5-year average. Seven percent of the crop reached the dented stage, 2 weeks behind last year and 10 days behind average. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-three percent of the soybean crop has started to bloom, 2 weeks behind last year and 10 days behind average. Seventy-one percent of the crop has started setting pods, 17 days behind last year and nearly 2 weeks behind average. Soybean condition declined slightly from the previous week to 61 percent good to excellent.

Oats harvested for grain has almost wrapped up at 97 percent complete statewide.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay was nearly complete at 96 percent. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 36 percent, 9 days behind average. Hay condition rated 55 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition declined for the seventh straight week and rated a season low 42 percent good to excellent. Comments mentioned pasture regrowth has been slow and supplemental hay feeding has been used due to drier than normal pasture conditions. Some livestock have struggled with continued temperature fluctuations.

Corn, Soybean Condition Down 1 Percentage Point

Good-to-excellent condition ratings for both U.S. corn and soybeans slipped slightly last week, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released Monday.

As of Sunday, Aug. 18, the U.S. corn crop was rated 56% in good-to-excellent condition, down 1 percentage from 57% the previous week. That compares to last year's 68% and is the lowest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year in seven years. The crop's poor-to-very-poor rating category gained 1 percentage point to reach 14%.

Corn development remained behind its average pace last week. Ninety-five percent of the crop was silking, 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%. Corn in the dough stage was estimated at 55%, up 16 percentage points from 39% the previous week but 21 percentage points behind the five-year average of 76%. That was little improvement from last Monday's report when corn in the dough stage was running 22 percentage points behind the average.  Corn dented was 15%, behind last year's 41% and 15 percentage points behind the five-year average of 30%.

Like corn, the condition of the soybean crop also fell 1 percentage point last week, from 54% good to excellent the previous week to 53% as of Sunday. That compares to the five-year average of 66%, and also remains the lowest rating since 2012.

The portion of the soybean crop that was blooming was 90%, 6 percentage points behind the five-year average of 96%. That was an improvement from last Monday's report when blooming was running 11 percentage points behind average. Soybeans setting pods reached 68% as of Sunday, 17 percentage points behind the average pace of 85%. That was also an improvement from last week's report, when soybeans setting pods were estimated at 22 percentage points behind the average pace.

Winter wheat harvest crept ahead another 4 percentage points last week to reach 93% complete as of Sunday, behind last year's 97% and 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 98%.

Spring wheat harvest progress was up 8 percentage points from the previous week to reach 16% as of Sunday, well behind last year's 56% and 33 percentage points behind the five-year average of 49%. That was further behind normal than in last Monday's report when harvest was 22 percentage points behind average.  Spring wheat condition -- for the portion of the crop still in the field -- was estimated at 70% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 69% the previous week. Last year's rating at the same time was 74% good to excellent.

Sorghum heading reached 75% as of Sunday, behind the five-year average of 83%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 31%, behind the average of 43%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 21%, behind the average of 26%. Sorghum condition was rated 65% good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from 66% the previous week. Oats were 60% harvested, behind the average of 78%.

Cotton setting bolls was 85%, equal to the five-year average. Cotton bolls opening was at 24%, ahead of the average of 13%. Cotton condition was rated 49% good to excellent, down 7 percentage points from 56% the previous week. Rice headed was pegged at 88%, behind the average of 93%. Rice harvested was 10%, slightly behind the average of 13%. Rice condition was rated 68% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from 70% the previous week.

Ethanol Board offers fuel retailer training to install E15 blends and higher

Since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifted regulations against the sale of E15 throughout the summer months, the market and industry feedback has proven positive. For the first time ever, consumers driving 2001 or newer vehicles can access the fuel with up to 15% ethanol year-round. Because customers see a decrease in price, an average of 3-7 cents cheaper per gallon than E10, fuel retailers making room for E15 experience an increase in patrons.

“In 2017, our sales of E15 increased over 300 percent; in 2018, they went up another 225 percent,” said Randy Gard, COO of Grand Island-based Bosselman Enterprises. “And with the help of President Trump opening the door for year-round E15, our newest projections for this year show an increase of another 400 percent.”

Bosselman Enterprises operates 45 Pump & Pantry convenience stores in the state, and they have been offering E15 since 2016. Gard said sales growth has been tremendous and it is a huge market opportunity. He encourages other retailers to join the E15 movement to offer a better fuel, at a better cost, that’s better for the environment.

The biggest hurdle that often stops fuel retailers from adding higher ethanol blends is cost, but Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB), said that might not actually be a hurdle at all. To help dispel these myths and to educate fuel retailers on the benefits and ease of offering E15, NEB will host a free workshop for fuel retailers Aug. 28 in Kearney, Nebraska. Attendees will hear best practices from fuel retailers who’ve seen success selling E15, a keynote from Ron Lamberty of American Coalition of Ethanol, and will learn about resources to make implementing and labeling infrastructure easy and affordable.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about the costs associated with adding E15 to the pump,” Berry said. “Many gas stations can begin to sell E15 with very little investment in their current infrastructure. If a pre-blended E15 is available at the rack where the fuel retailer sources their fuel, they can often times replace one of their current choices, such as an 89 octane mid-grade that they generally sell very little of, with very little to no investment. Of course they must have the Nebraska State Fire Marshall’s office out for an inspection prior to putting E15 in that tank and dispensing it through the dispenser. The retailer does not have to install the more expensive blender pumps in order to sell E15.”

Additionally, some of the burden can be relieved through a grant program from the Nebraska Corn Board, who will award qualifying retailers money for equipment and infrastructure to offer higher blends of ethanol fuel.

To sign up, fuel retailers should register by Aug. 23 at The workshop is free, and food and drink will be provided throughout the day.

The increase in E15 sales will provide an additional value-added market for Nebraska farmers and ethanol plants, who are experiencing many challenges this year. Weather, the strain of tariffs that have cut U.S. exports drastically, and the EPA’s indiscriminate approval of small refinery exemptions (SREs) are weighing heavily on the industry. Fuel retailers who offer E15 will not only be driving customers seeking lower costs and environmental change to their stores, they will have a real impact on Nebraska’s farmers and economy. 

Nebraska Farm Credit Mediation

J. David Aiken, NE Extension Water and Agricultural Law Specialist

Your lender informs you that your unpaid operating loan will not be renewed. What are your options? Loan foreclosure? Bankruptcy? One important option in Nebraska is farm credit mediation. This is when you and your creditor (or creditors) sit down with a trained mediator who tries to facilitate a compromise among the parties that avoids loan foreclosure and bankruptcy.

How does mediation work? Farm credit mediation in Nebraska operates under the Negotiations Program of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Mediation proceedings are confidential. To begin mediation you fill out an application form on which you list the creditors you wish to mediate with. You will have the option to request a financial counselor to assist you in preparing for mediation. This is a very important free benefit and you should use it. The financial counselor will take an in-depth look at your situation, help evaluate your overall financial picture, and look at debt restructuring and refinancing possibilities.

Within 40 days of applying for mediation you will have your first mediation session if your creditors agree to mediate–they are not legally required to. If you are a Farm Service Agency borrower, FSA will mediate, but you must meet the time deadlines included in the information you receive from FSA. Parties each pay $20 per hour for mediation session. You may bring an attorney or other advisor with you to mediation. Most mediation sessions are completed within 60 days of your application, and result in an agreement between the parties.

For more information, visit the Negotiations Program website or call 402-471-4876.

Types of Compromises

What type of compromises might be negotiated in mediation? This is where the benefits of the pre-mediation financial counseling come in. Hopefully you will have developed a strategy that can deal with your debts and allow you to continue operating. A farm credit mediation compromise might include one or more of the following:
·    Extending the loan term to lower loan payments
·    Lowering loan payments with a large balloon payment that requires the loan balance to be renegotiated or refinanced in the future
·    Giving creditors additional loan collateral (security)
·    Turning an annual operating loan into a separate fixed-term loan
·    Negotiating how to share the new crop revenue between existing and new creditors
·    Agreeing to turn property over to creditors in exchange for forgiveness of any unpaid loan balance

If you do negotiate a mediation compromise, it is essential to have the agreement reviewed by an attorney and also by your tax advisor. Mediation agreements include a two-week review period unless the review period has been waived by the parties. Turning property over to creditors may in some cases trigger capital gains income, debt-forgiveness income, or both. It is crucial to identify and understand the income tax consequences of your mediation agreement before it is too late to do anything about them.

What happens if one or more creditors are taking steps to foreclose on a loan? If this happens you need to contact an attorney immediately. One legal option is a bankruptcy court order to stop state foreclosure proceedings. This can provide time for the parties to negotiate a non-bankruptcy settlement. If you don’t have an attorney who has dealt with farm foreclosure issues, contact the Rural Response Hotline at 800-464-0258. Legal Aid Nebraska assists producers with agricultural credit issues, as do many Nebraska attorneys.

Farm credit issues can be difficult to deal with emotionally. Often producers wait too long to address these issues, at which point there are fewer good options available--often the result of declining land values. Helpful sources of information and assistance include:
·    Nebraska Rural Response Hotline at 800-464-0258 (financial, legal and family counseling services and referrals)
·    Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics at 800-464-0258 (Watch CropWatch for each month's schedule. These free monthly clinics are sponsored by Nebraska Department of Agriculture Negotiations Program and deal with debtor-creditor issues and farm credit mediation.)
·    Negotiations Program at  402-471-4876 (mediation services for agricultural borrowers, creditors, and USDA program participants)

Note: This information is provided for educational purposes—it is not intended as legal advice.

Dairy-Based Experiences at the 2019 Nebraska State Fair Include Cooking Demonstrations and Dairy Princesses

More than 315,000 attendees will experience dairy in new, exciting ways at the Nebraska State Fair this year. From engaging in conversations with local dairy farmers to meeting the Nebraska Dairy Princesses and tasting gelato, root beer floats and mac and cheese, fairgoers will get a closer look at how dairy not only delivers enjoyment but is nutrient-rich and produced locally and responsibly by farmers who are highly dedicated to their work.

“We are excited about the 2019 Nebraska State Fair and all the exciting dairy-based experiences like the 4-H cooking contest that features dairy as the main ingredient, Chef Nadar Farahbod’s cooking demonstrations in the Raising Nebraska building and the milking demonstrations that will be held daily in the Milking Parlor.” said Kris Bousquet Midwest Dairy’s Nebraska State Fair project manager. “Attending these events will be a great opportunity to interact with dairy farmers and enjoy everything that’s delicious about dairy.” Farahbod is owner and executive chef of Billy’s Restaurant, one of the most successful restaurants in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The 4-H Cooking Contest in the Raising Nebraska Building features dairy as the main ingredient and will be held Saturday, August 31. Chef Nadar’s cooking demonstrations featuring recipes that combine dairy and pork ingredients will be held in the Raising Nebraska building from 12-2 p.m. Saturday August 24 and August 31, and Sunday August 25 from 12-1 p.m. Fair attendees can visit the Milking Parlor daily to watch live milking demonstrations.

Faith Junck, daughter of Dwayne and Priscilla Junck of Carroll and Whitney Hochstein, daughter of Neal and Sharlee Hochstein, will be available throughout the fair to meet fairgoers, answer questions about dairy farming and participate in the Dairy Livestock Show Award Ceremony. They both were crowned the Nebraska’s 2019 Dairy Princesses in Columbus at the Nebraska Dairy Convention in February. Junck and Hochstein were selected based on an application, essay, interview skills and ability to advocate for dairy farmers. They will spend the year serving as the official ambassadors for the state’s dairy farmers advocating and educating on their behalf. They will be making public appearances that include media interviews, classroom appearances, dairy events and fairs.

Delicious dairy foods will be front and center throughout the state fair at the Mac and Cheese Stand near the Nebraska Lottery Booth in Food Pod 5 and at eight different ice-cream stands located throughout the state fairgrounds.

Each year, the Nebraska state fair celebrates the more than 250 dairy farmers in the state who are contributing 17,000 jobs and an economic impact of 828.4 million. To learn more about dairy farming in the Midwest, including Nebraska, visit

Nebraska, Wyoming Farm Bureaus Urge USDA to Cover Crop Losses Associated with Irrigation Tunnel Collapse

The Nebraska and Wyoming Farm Bureaus are urging the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure crop insurance will cover crop losses experienced by farmers impacted by the July 17 irrigation tunnel collapse that has prevented irrigators on the Goshen Irrigation District in Wyoming and the Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation District in Nebraska from receiving irrigation water during a critical time in the growing season.

In an Aug.16 letter to USDA Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey and USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator Martin Barbre, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson and Wyoming Farm Bureau President Todd Fornstrom urged the agency to “thoroughly examine the tunnel collapse” and “provide crop insurance coverage for those Nebraska and Wyoming farmers affected by the loss of irrigation.”

Questions have existed about whether federal crop insurance would cover associated losses due to the unknown surrounding the cause of the tunnel collapse. The USDA Risk Management Agency has yet to make an official decision.

“It seems this situation, which will cause considerable crop losses outside of the control of those who farm within the 100,000 plus acre area impacted, is precisely why federal crop insurance was created,” wrote Nelson and Fornstrom.

The disruption affects approximately 107,000 acres of crops, or about 35 percent of the total acres irrigated by surface water in the North Platte River Valley in both states. Approximately 55,000 acres are affected in Nebraska and 52,000 acres in Wyoming. With temporary repairs to the tunnel underway, it’s unclear as to when water will return to the system. The Universities of Nebraska and Wyoming recently issued a report noting the economic impact of the tunnel collapse could climb as high as $89 million if the loss of irrigation water results in a total crop failure.

Nelson and Fornstrom recently toured the affected area to visit with farmers and to see the tunnel collapse site.

“We can tell you the farmers we spoke to, who are already dealing with poor economic conditions, are relying on federal crop insurance to cover their losses. We hope the Risk Management Agency will use all its authority to protect the farmers who have been impacted by this disastrous event,” wrote the Farm Bureau leaders.

In Nebraska, a website has been established by Platte Valley Bank and the Oregon Trail Foundation as a relief fund for farmers impacted by the tunnel collapse. All funds will go towards the effort to restore water and support local affected agriculture families. Donations can be made at

In Wyoming, a donation account has been established at First State Bank to support the repair efforts in response to the irrigation canal collapse. One hundred percent of the donations will be allocated to the Goshen Irrigation District to support their work in repairing the tunnel and the canal damage. Donations can be sent to: First State Bank, P.O. Box 1098, Torrington, WY 82240. Checks should be made out to: Goshen Irrigation District Donation Account.

Due to the remote location of the tunnel collapse, the Goshen County Farm Bureau in Wyoming is also collecting donations to help cover food costs for tunnel repair workers. Daily food costs are in the rage of $500 to $600. To donate, checks can be made to the Goshen County Farm Bureau and mailed to Lori Schafer, 5858 Road 33, Veteran, WY 82243.

Nearly 17,000 Dairy Operations Enrolled in Dairy Margin Coverage Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that producers of nearly 17,000 dairy operations have signed up for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program since signup opened June 17. Producers interested in 2019 coverage must sign up before Sept. 20, 2019.

DMC offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

“We’re encouraged by the number of dairy producers who have signed up for this new program, but we are hopeful that we will get more folks in the door,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation.“At this point in the signup process, we are well ahead of the number of producers covered at this time last year under the previous safety net program, with more producers enrolling every day. As we move into the homestretch, we expect more producers across the country to get coverage through DMC and our team at FSA is really going above and beyond to make sure we get the word out there, the returns this year to-date should speak for themselves.”

In June, when the DMC signup was announced, Secretary Perdue said, “For many smaller dairies, the choice is probably a no-brainer as the retroactive coverage through January has already assured them that the 2019 payments will exceed the required premiums.”

To date, more than 60 percent of dairies with established production histories have enrolled in the program. Wisconsin has seen the most participants with more than 4,832 dairy operations, followed by Minnesota (1,865), New York (1,779), Pennsylvania (1,511) and Michigan (702).

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began issuing program payments to producers on July 11. DMC provides coverage retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019. The producers who have signed up to date will receive more than $219.7 million in payments for January through June, when the income over feed cost margin was $8.63 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the sixth payment for eligible dairy producers who purchased the $9 and $9.50 levels of coverage under DMC.

Dairy Industry Asks U.S. Government to Swiftly Secure Strong Trade Deal with Japan

In an effort organized by the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council, 70 dairy companies, farmer-owned cooperatives, and associations today sent a letter to the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture asking the U.S. government to capitalize on the conclusion of Japan’s national elections and quickly finalize a strong trade deal with Japan in order to secure critical market access for the dairy industry here at home.

“Given that Japan is an established market with a growing demand for dairy products, the successful negotiation of a robust trade agreement with Japan will bring a much-needed boost to the economic health of the U.S. dairy industry and set our industry up on a path to compete effectively there moving forward. Securing robust dairy export opportunities into this overseas market will be critical to restoring confidence for our dairy farmers and processors across the country,” they wrote.

The continued success of the U.S. dairy industry relies on stable export opportunities to markets abroad and Japan represents a major opportunity to expand growth. However, the Japan-EU agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans- Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have allowed the European Union, New Zealand and Australia to position themselves to seize sales from the U.S. dairy industry. Swift negotiation of a trade deal with Japan that builds upon the best components of the Japan-EU agreement and the CPTPP is urgently necessary for America’s dairy farmers and processors.

“Eroding dairy competitiveness in Japan is at a critical point. The time to re-level the tariff and access playing field is right now,” said Stan Ryan, President and CEO of Darigold. “Today Darigold supplies over 50% of the US American-style cheese exports to Japan. Those sales will soon be lost as competitor trade deals take effect.”

“Japan has been a very important market for Leprino Foods Company’s US-produced products for years,” said Sue Taylor, Vice President of Dairy Policy and Procurement for Leprino Foods Company. “We invested heavily in developing lactose and whey protein exports several decades ago and, more recently, mozzarella exports into this important market and believe that the market has significant further growth potential.  We risk losing these sales and growth opportunities to competitors who recently finalized preferential trade agreements unless the US negotiates a strong agreement.  We are very supportive of the administration’s efforts to secure an agreement that allows us to retain and grow this important market.”

“Japan is an important market for Glanbia Nutritionals, where we have the opportunity to grow our dairy exports,” said Wilf Costello, Chief Commercial Officer for Global Cheese with Glanbia Nutritionals. “We are at an important juncture where our competitors have secure preferential trading terms that are impacting US dairy ambitions. To ensure we can deliver on the opportunity in Japan, we need our trade negotiators to quickly finalize a trade agreement that secures access for American dairy products and ample room to grow.”

The U.S. exported $270 million in dairy products to Japan in 2018 with room for further growth. However, without a strong U.S.-Japan trade agreement, half of U.S. dairy sales to Japan will be wrested by competitors, mounting to a toll of $5.4 billion in lost export sales when Japan’s deals with the EU and CPTPP are fully phased in.

July Milk Production in the United States up slightly

Milk production in the United States during July totaled 18.3 billion pounds according to USDA, up slightly from July 2018.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,969 pounds for July, 17 pounds above July 2018.  The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.31 million head, 82,000 head less than July 2018, and 9,000 head less than June 2019.

Milk production in Iowa during July 2019 totaled 436 million pounds, down 1 percent from the previous July according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during July, at 217,000 head, was the same as last month but down 3,000 from last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,010 pounds, up 15 pounds from last July.

Macroeconomic Volatility and Industry Specific Shocks Pressure Down Cattle Prices

Elliott Dennis, Extension Economist, Dept of Ag Econ, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

The cattle markets have been through a wild ride this week. Both the Tyson packing plant fire and USDA crop report has dominated market activity, commentary, and analysis. The news has caused downward pressure, in some cases limit down, on both fed and feeder cattle prices. This news is important, time sensitive, and will have both short- and long-run implications throughout the beef supply chain. However, even given this news the market's reaction should be interpreted in the context of the macro economy the cattle market was already operating in.

Trade disruptions and greater uncertainty about economic stability were two ongoing macroeconomic issues spilling over into the cattle markets. First, Chinese trade issues continued to weigh on the agriculture markets. Effects were seen in corn and soybeans spilling over into the cattle markets. The markets avoided a sell off when President Trump delayed tariffs on Beijing till December. Cattle markets saw a response with Chinese purchases towards the end of this past week. In absence of China, several negotiated trade deals have yet to be ratified by Congress. Combined, this has weighed down the domestic market. Second, trade issues caused prices to increase putting a squeeze on manufacturing margins. Faltering Q2 manufacturing and consumer company profits have sent signals of a looming recession. Other market signals tell a similar story. For example, the spread between Treasury yields, commonly used as a measure of economic recession, turned negative this past week -the first time since 2007. With a faltering economy, eyes have now turned to the Federal Reserve to see how they will react either with increased "quantitative easing" or adjusting the interest rates.

So what does knowing about all the instability in the macro economy before the crop report and Tyson fire issues tell us? First, the beef market will need to find additional homes for the beef on the market. More beef on the domestic markets will further depress prices. While beef was doing a decent job at finding internationals home, this trend will need to continue and, in some cases, increase. Second, while domestic demand has been strong there is greater uncertainty whether consumers will continue to have increasing disposable income in the future due to inflation. If inflation spills into the consumer goods market, then this could further depress derived demand prices.

Was the crop acreage report and Tyson fire important news this past week? Yes, it was. However, greater macroeconomic environment and trends will continue to larger players as they directly affect consumer's disposable income. This has the potential to lower demand which will then be passed down the beef supply chain through downward pressure on fed and feeder cattle prices.

Deere Announces Third-Quarter Net Income of $899 Million

Deere & Company reported net income of $899 million for the third quarter ended July 28, 2019, or $2.81 per share, compared with net income of $910 million, or $2.78 per share, for the quarter ended July 29, 2018. For the first nine months of the year, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $2.532 billion, or $7.87 per share, compared with $1.584 billion, or $4.82 per share, for the same period last year.

Affecting 2019 and 2018 results were charges or benefits to the provision for income taxes due to U.S. tax reform legislation (tax reform).

Worldwide net sales and revenues decreased 3 percent, to $10.036 billion, for the third quarter of 2019 and increased 5 percent, to $29.362 billion, for nine months. Net sales of the equipment operations were $8.969 billion for the quarter and $26.182 billion for nine months, compared with $9.286 billion and $25.007 billion last year.

"John Deere's third-quarter results reflected the high degree of uncertainty that continues to overshadow the agricultural sector," said Samuel R. Allen, chairman and chief executive officer. "Concerns about export-market access, near-term demand for commodities such as soybeans, and overall crop conditions, have caused many farmers to postpone major equipment purchases. At the same time, general economic conditions remain positive and are contributing to strong results for Deere's construction and forestry business."

Company Outlook & Summary

Company equipment sales are projected to increase by about 4 percent for fiscal 2019 compared with 2018. Included in the forecast are Wirtgen results for the full fiscal year of 2019 compared with 10 months of the prior year. This adds about 1 percent to the company's net sales forecast for the current year. Also included is a negative foreign-currency translation effect of about 2 percent for the year. Net sales and revenues are projected to increase about 5 percent for fiscal 2019. Net income attributable to Deere & Company is forecast to be about $3.2 billion.

"In spite of present challenges, the long-term outlook for our businesses remains healthy and points to a promising future," Allen said. "We continue to expand our global customer base and are encouraged by response to our lineup of advanced products and services. Furthermore, we are fully committed to the successful execution of our strategic plan focused on achieving sustainable profitable growth. In support of the strategy, we are conducting a thorough assessment of our cost structure and initiating a series of actions to make the organization more structurally efficient and profitable."

Friday August 16 Ag News

USDA Reports 400,000 Acres of Prevented Plant Cropland in Nebraska
Jim Jansen - NE Agricultural Systems Economics Extension Educator

Crop producers across Nebraska reported more than 400,000 acres of prevented plant land in 2019, according to data published this week by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In total, the USDA reported more than 19.3 million acres of prevented plant cropland across the United States for the current growing season. Nationally, Nebraska ranked 16th among states with prevented plant acres.

South Dakota, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and Arkansas accounted for about half of the prevented plant land in the United States with approximately 9.5 million acres. South Dakota led the United States with about 3.8 million acres, more than twice that of any other state. Corn, soybeans, and wheat were the top three prevented plant crops accounting for 17.7 million acres. Traditional grain belt regions reported the largest share of prevented plant acres in the United States.

Prevented Plant Acres in Nebraska

As of August 1, the USDA Farm Service Agency reported 417,125 acres of prevented plant land in Nebraska, 407,522 of which would have been planted to the state’s major row crops. Eleven of Nebraska’s 93 counties reported more than 11,000 acres each of prevented plant.

Holt County accounted for 47,292 acres or over 10% of the state’s total. Areas of northeast Nebraska, including Holt County, had an unusually wet fall followed by a series of heavy spring rains that didn’t allow for fieldwork. From October 1 to August 15, O'Neill has had 33.35 inches of precipitation, according to the High Plains Regional Climate Center. This compares to a 30-year normal (1981-2010) of 21.40 inches. Atkinson has had 29.42 inches, compared to a normal of 20.82 inches.

The top five Nebraska counties with prevented plant acres are: Holt - 47,292 acres, Merrick - 27,011 acres, Pierce - 17,207 acres, Burt - 14,759 acres, and Richardson - 14,487 acres.   Other area county acreage toals include:
Dodge - 13,156
Washington - 11,790
Madison - 7,881
Platte - 7,798
Butler - 7,106
Saunders - 6,265
Colfax - 5,404
Douglas - 4,135    
Cuming - 3,845    
Cedar - 3,699
Stanton - 1,819
Wayne - 1,185
Dixon - 995
Thurston - 859
Dakota - 720

The number of prevented planted acres across the state varied, depending on a county’s location. A considerable amount of prevent planted acres occurred in counties that bordered or incorporated streams, rivers, or other bodies of water. These areas included counties along the northern and eastern tier of the state bordering the Niobrara and Missouri rivers between Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri. Roads, bridges, and municipalities also suffered excessive damages in these counties as well as across Nebraska.

Considerations for Producers

Producers facing prevented plant or failed cropland acreages need to maintain good communication on disaster-related issues with their crop insurance agent and local USDA FSA service center. Also, other federal, state or local authorities may need to be informed. Maintaining direct lines of communication with the appropriate government entity or insurance company ensures producers understand their rights and responsibilities on properties impacted by a natural disaster.

Ricketts to Meet with Nebraska’s Vietnamese Community Ahead of Trade Mission

On Monday, Governor Pete Ricketts will meet with members of Nebraska’s Vietnamese community ahead of his upcoming trade mission to Vietnam and Japan. 

With the economy in Vietnam growing at a rapid rate, agricultural export totals have increased dramatically in the past two years.  Between 2017 and 2018, Nebraska saw a growth of 127% in beef exports alone, proving there is tremendous opportunity for growth in Nebraska ag exports to Vietnam.  What’s more, Nebraska’s own Vietnamese community has continued to grow and flourish, which supports Nebraska’s economy through job growth, entrepreneurship, homeownership, and tax contributions.

Governor Ricketts, along with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, will be visiting Vietnam to continue promoting Nebraska’s agricultural exports to Vietnam.  

Terminating a Verbal Farm Land Lease

Allan Vyhnalek - Extension Educator, Farm/Ranch Succession and Transition

Some farm leases are not written, but are verbal or "handshake" agreements. Because nothing is in writing, the parties may have different recollections of their agreement, making lease disputes more difficult to resolve.

The most common legal issue associated with verbal farm leases is how a lease may legally be terminated. For both year-to-year leases and holdover leases, six months advance notice must be given to legally terminate the lease. However, the lease date (the date from which the six months is counted) is different. In contrast, the termination of a written lease is determined by the terms of the written lease.

Terminating Verbal Leases
For year-to-year verbal leases, the Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that the lease year begins March 1. Notice to a tenant to vacate under a verbal or handshake year-to-year lease (legally referred to as a "notice to quit") must be given six months in advance of the end of the lease, or no later than Sept 1. This rule applies regardless of the crop planted. Those with winter wheat should consider providing notice before it is time to prepare wheat ground for planting.

For example, for the lease year beginning March 1, 2019, and ending Feb. 28, 2020, notice from the landlord that the lease will be terminated would have to be given to (and received by) the tenant no later than Sept. 1, 2019. The lease would then expire Feb. 28, 2020, with the new tenant (or new buyer) able to take over the lease March 1, 2020. If, however, the notice to quit were given (or received) after Sept. 1, 2019, the existing tenant would have the lease until February 28, 2021.

It is recommended that the farmland lease be terminated by Registered Mail™. This means that the person receiving the letter signs for it, providing evidence that the termination notice was received.

Pasture Lease Terminations

Handshake or verbal leases are different for pastures. The typical pasture lease is for the five-month grazing season. The lease is only in effect for that time, so the lease is terminated at the end of the grazing season; however, different lease length arrangements can be made in a written lease, and that would be followed if in effect.

Regardless of the type of lease — written, verbal, or even multiple year — the landlord should have clear communication with the tenant. By sending a termination notice before Sept. 1, even for written leases, you can avoid any miscommunication or pitfalls.

Written Leases

In all instances, written leases would be preferred over oral or “handshake” leases. Sample leases are available in the Document Library at and can help both parties start thinking about the appropriate lease conditions for their situation. The site was developed by university extension specialists in the North Central Region.

Three Board Members Elected to Nebraska Soybean Board After July Vote

The Nebraska Soybean Board held an election in July for board members in District 4. Nebraska soybean farmers in those districts voted with the following results:

District 2 (Counties of Burt, Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Stanton, Thurston, Wayne)
Candidates:  Jason Penke, Craig, NE – Burt County Elected

District 4 (Counties of Boone, Hamilton, Merrick, Nance, Platte, Polk, York)
Candidates:  Eugene Goering, Columbus, NE – Platte County Re-elected
Mark Stock, St. Edward, NE – Platte County

District 8 (Counties of Arthur, Banner, Blaine, Box Butte, Brown, Chase, Cherry, Cheyenne, Custer, Dawson, Dawes, Deuel, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Garden, Garfield, Gosper, Grant, Greeley, Harlan, Hayes, Hitchcock, Hooker, Howard, Keith, Keya Paha, Kimball, Lincoln, Logan, Loup, McPherson, Morrill, Perkins, Phelps, Red Willow, Rock, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, Sherman, Sioux, Thomas, Valley, Wheeler)
Candidates:  Clay Govier, Broken Bow, NE – Custer County Elected

Elected board members Jason Penke and Clay Govier will begin their first term on the board while reelected board member Eugene Goering will begin his third.

“I am glad to see 12% of the soybean farmers in District 4 exercised their right to vote for their next representing board member,” said Victor Bohuslavsky, executive director of the Nebraska Soybean Board. “A good voter turnout translates to positive support for your soybean checkoff. It is also exciting to have soybean farmers interested in serving on the Nebraska Soybean Board.”

The elected board members will serve a three-year term beginning Oct. 1, 2019 and ending Sept. 30, 2022.

Ricketts appoints Adam Grabenstein to the Nebraska Corn Board

Gov. Pete Ricketts recently appointed Adam Grabenstein, from Farnam, to the District 5 region of the Nebraska Corn Board, which consists of Buffalo, Dawson, Hall, Howard and Sherman counties. Grabenstein replaced Tim Scheer, from St. Paul, who served on the board since 2007 and chose not to seek reappointment. Additionally, Debbie Borg, from Allen, was reappointed to serve as the District 4 director and David Bruntz, from Friend, was reappointed to serve as the District 1 director.

“It’s so encouraging to have a dynamic and passionate board that works hard to enhance our state’s corn industry,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “We will definitely miss Tim, as he has contributed a lot to our state’s corn checkoff. However, we look forward to the new perspective Adam will bring to the group.”

Grabenstein is the fifth generation operating his family farm, which is located in Frontier and Dawson counties. On his farm, he grows corn and cover crops, and manages a cow/calf operation and a cattle feedlot near Farnam. In 2005, the Grabenstein family was recognized with the ASKARBEN Foundation’s Pioneer Farm Award, which recognizes Nebraska farm families who have consecutively held ownership of land in the same family for 100 years.

He earned degrees in diversified agriculture and agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources in 2005. Grabenstein is also a graduate of the Nebraska Lead Program class 37. Adam and his wife, Kelsey, are the parents of three children: Fletcher, Rowdy and Stella.

“I chose to apply for the open director position because I wanted to be a better advocate for Nebraska’s ag industry,” said Grabenstein. “As a farmer and cattle producer, I know firsthand we need to do a better job of sharing our story of production agriculture. I look forward to serving Nebraska’s corn producers in a progressive way but in a manner that preserves the family farm legacy.”

Nebraska Corn Board directors serve three-year terms with opportunities to be reappointed. In addition to the new director appointments, the Nebraska Corn Board held officer elections at its August board meeting.

David Bruntz, District 1 director, was reelected as chairman of the board. Bruntz has been farming for more than 30 years near Friend, Nebraska. He grows irrigated and non-irrigated corn and soybeans, and he also feeds cattle. Bruntz received his education from UNL’s Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. He has been with the Board since 2013.

Brandon Hunnicutt, District 3 director, was reelected as vice chair of the Nebraska Corn Board. Hunnicutt farms near Giltner with his father and brother. Hunnicutt is a fourth-generation farmer and the operation has been in the family for over 100 years. On his farm, Hunnicutt grows corn, popcorn, seed corn and soybeans. He earned his bachelor’s degree from UNL and has served on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2014.

Jay Reiners, at large director, was elected secretary/treasurer of the board. Reiners farms near Juniata, where he grows field corn, seed corn and soybeans. He has been farming for over 30 years and is the fourth generation managing the family farm. He graduated with an associate’s degree in general agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The officer positions are effective immediately and will last one year. The Nebraska Corn Board is made up of nine farmer directors. Eight members represent specific Nebraska districts and are appointed by the Governor of Nebraska. The Board elects a ninth at large member.

This Week's Drought Summary

Aug 15, 2019 -

Rainfall this week was highly variable across the eastern two-thirds of the country, which is not unusual during summer. Heavy rain was common in the High Plains, and from the Texas Panhandle and central Oklahoma northward in the Great Plains. Generally 2 to locally 5 inches of rain soaked the Plains from northern and eastern Kansas northward into the central Dakotas, and similar totals were spottier in central Montana, in the middle Mississippi Valley, across northern Minnesota, from the central Ohio Valley through the central Appalachians, over northern New England, and from the Florida Peninsula into southeastern Georgia. Scattered to isolated amounts of 2 to 3 inches were observed from the western half of Tennessee southward to the central Gulf Coast. Farther east, despite isolated moderate rains, only a few tenths of an inch fell on most of the upper Southeast, southern Appalachians, Carolinas, and middle Atlantic region. Several patches from northern California through the Pacific Northwest and northern Idaho recorded 0.5 to locally 2 inches, but most sites received light rain at best. The central and southern Sections of the Rockies and Intermountain West also observed generally light precipitation while no measurable rainfall was almost universal from the Red River to the Rio Grande in Texas, and in central and southern sections of California. The total area enduring abnormal dryness and drought increased, most noticeably in the Ohio Valley, the Midwest, and Texas. Widespread improvement was limited to a broad swath of Alaska from interior northeastern sections to near the Aleutians.


Abnormal dryness continued the recent trend of expansion, and a few areas of moderate drought were introduced. Several patches were brought in to central and eastern Iowa, and adjacent Illinois, along with smaller, more-isolated regions in eastern Illinois and northern Indiana. Meanwhile, abnormal dryness stretched to cover most areas from central Iowa eastward to central Indiana and southwestern Michigan, plus portions of southwestern Ohio, southern Indiana and adjacent Kentucky, sections of northern and eastern Michigan, and northeastern Minnesota. The last 30 days brought only 0.5 to 2.0 inches of rain to the broad strip from central Iowa through western Indiana, in addition to east-central Michigan and the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula.

High Plains

Several inches of rain doused a broad area from eastern Kansas northwestward through South Dakota, western North Dakota, and the northern High Plains. Dryness and drought were confined to central and southern Kansas, east-central Nebraska, and northern North Dakota, where a small area of severe drought was introduced. In contrast to areas farther north, central and south-central Kansas recorded only 0.5 to locally 2.0 inches of rain since mid-July.

Looking Ahead

During the next 5 days (August 15 - 20, 2019) should bring heavy rains of at least 1.5 inches across the central Great Plains and much of the Midwest, with 3 to 5 inches forecast from northwestern Missouri and adjacent areas northward through central and eastern Iowa. Amounts exceeding 1.5 inches are also forecast for the Mississippi Delta and along the immediate Gulf and southern Atlantic Coasts. A few patches along the Atlantic Coast from southeastern Georgia through North Carolina should receive 3 to 4 inches. Moderate rains of 0.5 inch or more are anticipated in parts of upstate New York, northern New England, and inland areas near the central Gulf and southern Atlantic Coasts. Similar amounts are expected in most of the western Great Lakes, Midwest, Great Plains from Kansas into the central Dakotas, and upper Mississippi Valley. A few tenths of an inch should fall on the middle Atlantic region, the rest of the central and northern Great Plains and Mississippi Valley, and parts of central and northern Texas and adjacent Oklahoma. Little or no rain is expected in the rest of the 48 contiguous states, including the interior Southeast, the Ohio Valley, southern Texas, and most areas from the Rockies westward. Daytime high temperatures should average 3°F to 6°F below normal in the northern one-third of the Plains, and near 3°F below normal in north-central Florida. In contrast, daily highs are forecast to average around 3°F above normal in the middle Atlantic region, and 3°F to locally 9°F above normal from the southern half of the Great Plains westward through most of the Rockies, the Intermountain West, the Great Basin, and California away from the immediate coast.

The CPC 6-10 day outlook (August 21 -25, 2019) favors above-normal precipitation in the Alaskan Panhandle, parts of the Pacific Northwest, the northern Great Plains, the Mississippi Valley, southeast Texas, the Ohio Valley, the Southeast, and the middle Atlantic region. Meanwhile, enhanced chances for subnormal precipitation cover most of Alaska, although no tilt of the odds in either direction is indicated from the Kenai Peninsula westward through the Borough of Dillingham. Below normal precipitation chances are also elevated in upstate New York, most of New England, the central and southern Great Plains from central Texas through southwestern South Dakota, most of the High Plains, and the central Rockies. Neither precipitation extreme is favored elsewhere. Above-normal temperatures are favored across most of the country, with elevated chances for subnormal temperatures restricted to northwestern Montana, most of central and eastern Alaska, and the northern Alaska Peninsula. Neither positive nor negative temperature anomalies are favored in parts of the northern Rockies and in the lower Mississippi Valley.

Late August Heat Is Reminder to Keep Livestock Cool

Iowa State University Extension & Outreach

The summer heat will return to most of Iowa over the coming weekend and into next week, according to the National Weather Service.

Highs are expected to approach 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and even though that’s cooler than the stretch of hot days the state saw back in July, producers should still prepare.

Each species of livestock reacts to heat differently. However, the common principle is to maintain good ventilation, provide shade and access to clean, cool water, and limit moving animals during the hottest hours of the day.

Swine care

Pigs do not have sweat glands, making them especially susceptible to heat stress, according to Jason Ross, director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University. Swine producers commonly rely on cooling fans and evaporative cooling systems that help the animal to increase evaporative heat loss and stay cool, and keeping the system running at optimal levels is critical during periods of extreme heat.

Ross suggests producers make sure all controllers and fans are functioning properly, including any misters or cooling cells, and be sure that the backup generators are ready to operate, in the event of a power outage.

Beef cattle

Compared to swine, cattle can tolerate higher temperature at lower relative humidity, because cattle can dissipate their body heat more effectively by sweating. However, cattle are more prone to stress when the humidity rises, and need the same level of care as other livestock.

Common solutions for cattle include access to clean, cool water, shade and good ventilation. Avoid moving cattle during the daytime and afternoon, when temperatures are at the highest, because the energy cattle expend while moving will cause even more stress.

This may be a good time to install some additional fans or water misting systems, or to make sure the systems you have are fully functioning.

Evaluate your cattle in the morning and again in the afternoon to make sure they are coping with the heat. Pay close attention, as the rapid change in temperature may catch some at-risk cattle (cattle at end of feeding period or cattle with previous respiratory disease) dealing with excessive heat stress.

Dairy cattle

Access to cool, clean water is vital for dairy cows during periods of high heat. A dairy cow consumes up to 50% of her daily water intake within an hour after milking, so providing fresh, clean water at the parlor exit is an excellent way to encourage water consumption.

Fans and sprinkler systems are commonly used on dairy farms, but must be properly installed and functional to provide the necessary air and water movement.

The idea is to soak the cow to her skin and turn the water off for a long enough period to allow the moving air to dry her. While drying, heat is removed from the skin during the evaporation process, cooling the cow. When people climb out of a swimming pool and experience a chill until their skin dries, they are experiencing the same process.

More information is available through the ISU Extension and Outreach dairy team website, and the article called “Heat Stress Is a Profit Robber for Dairymen.”


Like swine, poultry do not have sweat glands and therefore cannot rid their body of heat by sweating. Birds are subject to heat stress when the humidity and air temperature rise uncontrollably. They often respond by panting, which may help, but also expends energy and requires the bird to consume more water, to account for moisture lost through panting.

High humidity decreases poultry heat loss from the lungs, which makes the birds more prone to heat stress. For older turkeys, temperatures at 85 F with humidity above 50% is considered the danger zone. At 90 F and 50% humidity, the risk increases to extreme.

Airflow and ventilation are key to managing poultry during hot weather. Producers also may want to feed at night, or after temperatures begin to fall.

Feed and water supplements may also be necessary. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, electrolytes can be added to a flock’s drinking water for up to three days. Potassium chloride electrolytes appear to increase water intake when provided in drinking water at 0.6% concentration. You should start providing electrolytes prior to the heat stress period.

Sodium bicarbonate in the feed, or use of carbonated water, is especially useful for hens in egg production. Panting and carbon dioxide release can change the acid-base balance in poultry, and also the bicarbonate available for egg shell formation. Providing sodium bicarbonate can help lessen these changes.

Statement from Under Secretary Greg Ibach Regarding Kansas Beef Facility Fire

USDA is closely monitoring the effects of a fire at a large beef packing facility in Holcomb, Kansas. USDA has been in contact with plant management and other stakeholders since the fire, and we understand production will shift to other plants to accommodate cattle that were committed to the Holcomb facility. USDA is prepared to provide additional staffing necessary to support grading and auditing services at the alternate locations.

USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division (PSD) will continue to monitor cattle prices and procurement activities and will remain vigilant for any livestock marketing entities seeking to unfairly take advantage of the situation. If USDA detects any unfair practices, we will quickly investigate and take appropriate enforcement action. Producers or sellers can contact the PSD Western Regional Office at (303) 375-4240 at any time regarding payment or contract concerns.

As the cattle industry adjusts, USDA stands ready to assist our customers however we can.

Pro Farmer Tours to Assess Impact of Severe Planting Delays

Pro Farmer scouts will blanket the countryside to measure this year's corn and soybean yield potential during the 27th annual Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, Aug. 19-22. The tour is conducted each year by Pro Farmer, a Farm Journal company, and is a closely watched late-summer ritual covering seven Midwestern states and the most thorough in-field inspection of yield potential during a critical time in the growing season. Planting delays throughout the Midwest have heightened attention on this year's tour nationally and beyond. After adjusting sharply to USDA's Aug. 12 reports, the attention of market watchers and the commodity trade will now focus on data coming out of Crop Tour.

"We go into this year's Crop Tour knowing the crop is significantly delayed in maturity in many areas," said Brian Grete, Pro Farmer editor. "Typically, the less mature the crop is when we pull samples, the more difficult it is to gauge final yield potential. In some cases this year, corn will have just pollinated as we work our way across the Corn Belt."

Jeff Wilson, Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst, added, "We pull enough samples to provide representative data for a large geographic area. With USDA not conducting objective yield sampling in August this year, Crop Tour will provide the first large-scale field-level yield data for the 2019 crop. That's important to all of agriculture."

More than 100 scouts, industry experts and media reporters will cover approximately 2,000 fields across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. A summary of Pro Farmer's Midwest Crop Tour findings will be presented at Rochester International Events Center Aug. 22 in Rochester, Minn. 

Pro Farmer's national crop production estimates will be released Aug. 23 on and published in the Aug. 24 issue of the Pro Farmer newsletter. A summary of the Crop Tour findings also will appear in the September issue of Top Producer magazine.

Pioneer has been Crop Tour's premier sponsor since 2008. Other sponsors include IBM, RCIS, Farm Credit Services of America, RAM, AeroVironment, Farmobile and Titan Tires.


On Wednesday, the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released its long-awaited proposal to increase flexibility for truckers by revising the rules around the amount of time they can drive their loads and when they are required to rest between drives. Among the changes sought by livestock groups, including the National Pork Producers Council,  is additional flexibility for livestock haulers who encounter unexpected, adverse driving conditions and the ability to divide the mandatory, 10 hours of rest into separate segments.

The FMCSA proposal does both: It addresses the challenge of adverse weather by expanding not just the driving time, but also the overall on-duty time for drivers to finish their delivery. The proposed rule also allows truckers to split up their 10-hour mandatory rest period into two periods (one being at least 7 hours long), and creates an option for drivers to take an extended break between 30 minutes and 3 hours, which pauses their on-duty clock. This will allow drivers the option of resting when tired while providing greater flexibility for completing deliveries and maintaining high animal welfare standards. It will also help drivers better manage their schedules when waiting, either to unload a delivery or at a truck wash station.

NPPC says the Trump administration's proposal is a smart, common-sense approach to maintain highway safety and provides much-needed options for drivers to comply with Hours of Service rules in a variety of situations that allow them to safely and humanely transport the animals in their care. NPPC thanks the Trump administration for their continued efforts to balance safety and the need for flexibility, and we look forward to continuing to work them to finalize these important changes.

Comments will be due within 45 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register, expected on Aug. 20.


Earlier this week, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton was in London, helping to lay the groundwork as the U.S. and U.K are working on trade negotiations. He met with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Trade Secretary Liz Truss, among other officials. During his visit, Bolton said the U.K. would be "first in line" for a trade deal with the U.S. once it has left the EU. Bolton said the purpose of the visit was to "convey President Trump's desire to see a successful exit from the European Union for the United Kingdom on October 31."

In October 2018, the White House announced plans to negotiate a trade agreement with the U.K. NPPC is supportive of negotiations, provided the agreement eliminates tariff and non-tariff trade barriers on pork and embraces Codex and other international production standards. Additionally, NPPC seeks full recognition by the U.K. of the equivalence of U.K. and U.S. production practices for pork and acceptance of pork from all USDA-approved facilities.

USSEC Receives Agricultural Trade Promotion Funds

The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) announced the allocation of $12,750,000 Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program funds. The newly released funds are in addition to the $21,882,165 million USSEC received in January 2019 and will be used by U.S. Soy to build new markets for U.S. soybean producers who have been impacted by tariffs and other trade barriers.

“U.S. soybean farmers have been disproportionately impacted by export uncertainty for the past year,” said Jim Sutter, CEO, USSEC. “This funding provides additional resources so we can continue to implement our short- and long-term strategies to help our farmers and industry members compete globally.”

This spring, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it would begin accepting proposals for additional ATP program funds, which would help U.S. Soy access new markets for their products and mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ tariff and non-tariff barriers. Following the announcement, USSEC submitted a request for additional ATP funds which included detailed plans to increase U.S. soy market share and build demand for U.S. soy.

“Receiving additional ATP funds is a positive step forward for the present and future of U.S. Soy,” said Derek Haigwood, USSEC chairman and a farmer from Newport, Ark. “U.S. soybean farmers and exporters should know that USSEC is working hard on their behalf to build global demand and expand market access for U.S. soy products.”

“As we move forward, USSEC can now enhance our focus on expanding in global markets where we can have an impact and investing in markets that represent future growth opportunities,” Sutter said.

Trump Gave Green Light for Hardship Waivers: Reuters

President Donald Trump directly authorized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) issuance of 31 small refinery exemptions (SREs) last Friday, per a Reuters report. The action will eliminate demand for biofuels by an estimated 1.43 billion gallons, bringing the total losses due to the misallocation of waivers to over 4 billion gallons.

EPA has offered SREs to relieve small refineries of “economic hardship” caused by compliance with Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) since 2013. However, the number of approved exemptions has nearly quadrupled in the past six years, and many of the recent recipients are owned by multi-billion-dollar oil corporations.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson voiced opposition to the EPA’s announcement last week, saying that the misappropriation of waivers is “destroying our domestic market for renewable fuels” and “creating enormous stress in the countryside.” In response to today’s news, he reiterated his frustration with the administration’s actions to undermine RFS and American-grown biofuels.

”The Renewable Fuel Standard has been under attack for some time, but this most recent news is particularly egregious. The farm economy has been floundering for many years. Farmers are making half of what they were in 2013, and farm debt is the highest it has been since the 1980s farm crisis. Policies like RFS that expand markets for American agricultural products are meant to help farmers during difficult times such as these. For the EPA to undermine this program just when farmers need it most is rubbing salt in the wound.

“For the duration of his campaign and presidency, Donald Trump has declared his support and appreciation for American farmers and ranchers, frequently calling them ‘great patriots.’ But it has become abundantly clear that he is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He may say he loves farmers, but his actions say otherwise – in the past two and half years, his administration has destroyed our reputation as a reliable trading partner, and his EPA has sabotaged the American biofuels industry in order to line the pockets of oil executives. Together, these efforts have destroyed our markets and threatened our very livelihoods.”

Bakery Technician Joins U.S. Wheat Associates Team in South Asia

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), which represents the interests of U.S. wheat farmers in export markets, is pleased to announce that Mr. Adrian “Ady” Redondo recently joined the organization as a Bakery Technician in its Manila, Philippines, office.

USW Regional Vice President Joe Sowers said there is a strong connection between increased imports of U.S. wheat and the organization’s investment in technical milling and food production support, which is the role Redondo will play in the Philippines and across growing Southeast Asian markets.

“Our long-term effort to help customers improve their products and processes through technical support has helped established strong and consistent export markets for U.S. wheat farmers,” Sowers said. “We are expanding our technical support team in South Asia to provide similar returns. Ady will spend a lot of time working closely with our experienced technicians in the region, but his professional experience in food technology and interpersonal skills will serve   him — and the wheat farmers we represent — very well in what we hope will be a long career with U.S. Wheat Associates.”

Born in the Philippines, Redondo earned a bachelor’s of science degree in food technology from the University of the Philippines in 2001. He went on to amass experience in quality assurance, research and development, production and sales in the thriving Philippines food and bakery industries. Most recently, Redondo was a key accounts manager with Ingredion Philippines, Inc., a global ingredient solutions company manufacturing starches, sweeteners, nutrition and biomaterial ingredients for food, pharmaceuticals and industrial applications.

Ram Truck Kicks Off Second 'Ram Ag Season' with New Video

As the truck that is "Built to Serve," Ram's dedication to help serve and support farm families across the nation continues to grow. Ram kicks off the second annual "Ram Ag Season" with a new spot "Done Right," which celebrates the selfless commitment to hard work that our nation's farmers make each and every single day.

Featuring three real-life family-owned-and-operated Michigan farms and ranches, the video takes viewers through the farmers' daily lives and, while there may not be a supervisor telling them what to do as the sun rises each day, there is work telling them what needs to be done. From the weather to the topsoil, to the markets and the machinery, no matter what it may be, Ram trucks are there to help support and get the job done right.

"To the farming community, what they do every day is more than just a job, it is a way of life that requires hard work, perseverance and determination," said Marissa Hunter, Head of Marketing, FCA -- North America. "The Ram Truck brand knows and respects this. We work hard to provide the right trucks and proper support to these very people who have dedicated their lives to agriculture, and we are proud to celebrate these shared values in our dedicated Ag Season marketing campaign."

"Done Right" will air via broadcast as a 30-second commercial with an extended 60-second version to come, which can be viewed on Ram's official YouTube channel.

Ram's commitment to farming communities grows even stronger with a host of Ram-sponsored events and opportunities aimed squarely at lending support to the efforts of the nation's farmers, including the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., Aug. 27-29; Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Neb., Sept. 10-12; the Farm Science Review in London, Ohio, Sept. 17-19; and the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga., Oct. 15-17. Ram will also have a strong presence at the annual Future Farmers of America (FFA) convention in Indianapolis, Ind., Oct. 30-Nov. 2. The brand has been an active supporter of FFA for more than 60 years.

Information on the many Ram agricultural activities and programs can be found at the Ram Life website at

Thursday August 15 Ag News

Northeast to launch multi-million-dollar Nexus capital campaign

Northeast Community College is ready to launch a major initiative that will impact its agriculture programming for years to come.

College administrators, campaign representatives and others will gather at Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on Thursday, August 22, to kick-off the Nexus capital campaign to raise funds to construct new agriculture facilities on the Northeast campus in Norfolk. A news conference will begin at 10 a.m.

Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the college foundation, said college supporters and the general public are encouraged to attend the event to learn more about the $23 million project.

“The end goal of this campaign is to give our agriculture students opportunities to learn in state-of-the-art facilities and replace the current buildings on the college farm that were erected in the early 20th century. Investing in the Agriculture and Water Center of Excellence will help ensure that Northeast Community College continues to be responsive to the ever-changing needs of agriculture, its communities, and businesses.”

Kruse said a seven figure lead gift to the campaign will be announced during the event.

In addition to Kruse, other speakers will be Mary Honke, co-interim college president, campaign co-chairs Jeanne Reigle, of Madison, and Russ Vering, of Scribner, and leading supporters of the Nexus project.

Also, a sixth generation farmer, nationally known advocate for agriculture, and radio show host will share his support for community colleges and the future of agriculture during the news conference. Trent Loos is the host of Rural Route, a one-hour radio show aimed at bridging rural and urban America.

The Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex is located at the intersection of E. Benjamin Avenue and Highway 35 – one mile east of the main Northeast campus - in Norfolk.

The event is open to the public.

Town hall to feature USDA Secretary of Ag

As part of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s 150th anniversary celebration, Chancellor Ronnie Green will host U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for a public town hall discussion during the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.

Open to fair attendees, the event is 11:30 a.m. Aug. 23 in the Raising Nebraska exhibit hall on the state fairgrounds. The building is the site of the Raising Nebraska exhibition, which highlights agriculture and agribusiness across the Cornhusker State. The exhibit is a joint effort of the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska State Fair.

Former two-term governor of Georgia, Perdue became the 31st agriculture secretary on April 25, 2017. Reared on a dairy and diversified row crop farm in rural Georgia, Perdue has been a farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian and state lawmaker.

During the town hall, the secretary will take questions from farmers, agricultural stakeholders and others in the audience. He will be available for questions from reporters following the event.

The university and state fair both began in 1869. Perdue’s appearance is among a number of special state fair events in honor of the joint celebration. Others include an Aug. 24 lecture on Nebraska football history by Mike Babcock, and a Sept. 1 pep rally featuring the Cornhusker Marching Band and spirit squad. A Nifty 150 ice cream developed by the UNL Dairy Store will be available throughout the fair.

Field Day on August 30 to Showcase Local Value of Soil Health

Positioning your farm to become more resilient to extreme weather includes focusing on long-term soil health. The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) and Nebraska Extension in Dodge County will be hosting a Soil Health Demo Farm Field Day on Friday, August 30 at 8:30 am, 3 miles south of Snyder at the Lennemann Farm.

Area landowners and farmers are encouraged to attend this field day to gain a better understanding of soil health and conservation practices than can help improve soil health over time.

Speakers will discuss the following topics during the field day from 9:00 to 11:30 am:
·    Welcome – Brach Johnson (NRCS Soil Conservationist) and Bill Lennemann (Demo Farm Producer)
·    NRCS Soil Health Demonstration Farms – Aaron Hird (NRCS Soil Health Specialist), Andrea Basche (UNL Assistant Professor), and Fernanda Souza Krupek (UNL Graduate Student)
·    Lower Elkhorn Natural Resource District and NRCS Cost Share Programs – Curt Becker (LENRD Projects Manager) and Brach Johnson (NRCS Soil Conservationist)
·    Winter Wheat Production in Eastern Nebraska – Nathan Mueller (Nebraska Extension Educator)
·    Demo Farm Walk and Talk
·    Forage Crop Options and Value in Crop Rotations – Daren Redfearn and Mary Drewnoski (Nebraska Extension Specialists)

The field day starts at 8:30 am with registration at the demo farm which is located 3 miles south of Snyder on Highway 79 and ¼ east on County Road G. Donuts, juice, and coffee will be served. The demo farm field day will run from 9:00 to 11:30 am on Friday, August 30.

The field day is free and pre-registration is highly encouraged to ensure all attendees have some breakfast and resources. To get more information and to pre-register, visit or call the Dodge County Extension Office at 402-727-2775.

$65,000 Awarded Through Local Chapter Grant Program

Thirteen Nebraska FFA chapters or FFA members were awarded funds through the Nebraska FFA Foundation local chapter grant program.

This program, in its third year, supports Nebraska agricultural education classrooms, FFA programs and individual student entrepreneurship Supervised Agricultural Experiences. Funds are provided by the Nebraska FFA Foundation and its general fund donors.

The grant recipients for 2019 are:
-    Bayard: $10,000 Greenhouse
-    Franklin: $8,000 Plasma Table
-    Bishop Neumann: $1,000 SawStop Table Saw
-    Sutton: $700 Greenhouse Repairs
-    Minatare: $2,000 Plasma Cutter and TIG Welder
-    Wood River: $8,000 Greenhouse
-    Axtell: $8,000 Greenhouse
-    Norris: $2,700 Welder Replacement
-    Chase County: $9,175 Welding Updates
-    McCool Junction: $1,250 Animal Learning Barn Supplies- Camera and Generator
-    Waverly FFA Member: Audrey Sorensen: $4,175 Pond Improvement SAE Project
-    Rock County: $5,000 Welding Updates
-    Sutherland: $5,000 Greenhouse

“Our board worked many years to develop sustainable funding to provide this program. The board knew that there were many programs in need of more financial support to develop career-ready students in agriculture, and awarding $65,000 will give students in these schools some of the resources necessary to reach their full potential,” said Stacey Agnew, Nebraska FFA Foundation Executive Director.

Many of these grant recipients will be showcased on the Nebraska FFA Foundation website and social media throughout the next couple years. Applications for the 2020 Local Chapter Grant Program will open in April.

Annual Nebraska FFA Foundation Auction to be Held on September 11 at Husker Harvest Days and Online

Titan Tire Corporation, a subsidiary of Titan International, Inc., will be hosting a tire auction for the Nebraska FFA Foundation at Husker Harvest Days on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. In its seventh year, the 2019 auction will include a variety of tires on-site and online only bidding for a John Deere Gator and LSW Extreme Floatation Tires.

“We are so grateful for the support of Titan Tire, Graham Tire and the several John Deere dealers in the state for supporting the Nebraska FFA Foundation in this way. They, along with the bidders understand the value that this contribution makes for Nebraska FFA members," says Stacey Agnew. “These funds mean sustainability for the growing number of FFA chapters, members and advisors across the state.”

To participate in the live auction on Wednesday, September 11 at 11:00 am sign in at the Nebraska FFA Foundation registration desk for a bid number to bid in person or you can bid online. To learn more about the online bidding, information coming soon.

To participate in the online only auction for the John Deere Gator and LSW Extreme Flotation- information coming soon.

The list of tires, gator information and details about the live auction and online only auction are available at

ACE’s annual ethanol conference kicks off in Omaha

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 32nd annual conference kicked off in Omaha, Nebraska, today with a welcome from Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and updates from ACE leadership.

“As the second largest ethanol producing state in the nation, President Trump’s approval of year-round E15 is a big win for Nebraska,” Governor Ricketts said.  “There is, however, still more work to do.  While the EPA granted fewer small refinery waivers to the RFS this year, the 1.4 billion of gallons waived undermines the purpose of the RFS.  To deliver on President Trump’s support for ethanol, the EPA should be more transparent about the waiver process and reallocate any waived gallons.  They owe it to our farmers.”

“The agriculture and ethanol industries have been weathering challenging market conditions, as we convene for the 32nd annual ACE conference, and there are headwinds to confront ahead,” Kristensen said. “With uncertainty surrounding the RFS and trade negotiations, we must engage in meaningful dialogue to find ways to increase demand for ethanol in our fuel supply domestically with E15 and higher ethanol blends, as well as in markets around the globe that are beginning to recognize ethanol’s high octane and environmental benefits in renewable fuels policies.”

With EPA finally allowing year-round E15 use, Jennings acknowledged this positive development, but pointed out the good news is being undermined by the bad and encouraged the ACE conference crowd that now is the time to stand up and speak out against the clear harm the administration’s actions have had on the industry. “EPA continues to mismanage the RFS with a refiner-win-at-all-costs approach to small refinery exemptions, and, when you throw in trade wars for good measure, it constrains our ability to expand the use of ethanol here at home and around the world,” Jennings said. “We’ve come to the conclusion we cannot merely play defense on the RFS and hope trade wars subside. We need to turn the page, to go on offense. We need a new vision for how to increase demand for ethanol and break free from the status-quo.”

“Combining ethanol’s high octane and low carbon strengths into a new growth strategy not only allows us to go on offense, it gives our champions in Congress something to be for as the discussion about climate change begins to ramp up in Washington,” Jennings added. “ACE members have what it takes to make things happen.”

Lamberty addressed the current market environment and where to see the silver lining with low ethanol prices. “Some of the biggest gains we’ve made in the history of the U.S. ethanol industry happened during times when we had the lowest prices,” Lamberty said. “This time around, however, with domestic markets barricaded by EPA policy and oil company contract language, low U.S. ethanol prices caught the attention of marketers in other parts of the world and more ethanol was exported from the U.S. than ever before.”

Ricketts Urges EPA to Strengthen Commitment to Renewable Fuels

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts addressed the 32nd annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) conference in Omaha.  During his remarks, he discussed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recent decision to exempt 31 small refineries from fulfilling their Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“As the second largest ethanol producing state in the nation, President Trump’s approval of year-round E15 is a big win for Nebraska,” said Governor Ricketts.  “There is, however, still more work to do.  While the EPA granted fewer small refinery waivers to the RFS this year, the 1.4 billion gallons waived undermines the purpose of the RFS.  To deliver on President Trump’s support for ethanol, the EPA should be more transparent about the waiver process and reallocate any waived gallons.  They owe it to our farmers.”

Each year, several small refineries petition the EPA for temporary exemptions to their RVOs.  The EPA exempted fewer than 10 small refineries annually under the RFS for 2013-2015.  However, in recent years the EPA has been much more willing to grant exemptions.  Under the 2018 RFS, 40 small refineries sought exemptions and 31 received them. 

Rural Mainstreet Index Drops to Lowest Level in Two Years: Trade War Having Negative Impacts

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) fell below growth neutral for the only the second time this year. According to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy, the RMI for August indicated negative growth for the region.     

The overall index slumped to 46.5 from 50.2 in July. This is the lowest reading for the index since October 2017. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral, and an RMI below the growth neutral threshold. 50.0, indicates negative growth for the month.

“The trade war with China and the lack of passage of the USMCA (NAFTA’s replacement) are driving growth lower for areas of the region with close ties to agriculture.  Despite a $16 billion federal government support package coming soon, a drop in farm income is negatively affecting the Rural Mainstreet Economy,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. 

Three of four bankers reported the trade war was having a negative impact on their local economy.

As stated by Jeffrey Gerhart, CEO of the Bank of Newman Grove in Newman Grove, Nebraska, “Trade wars have been and will continue to be a drain on our ag economy”

“Despite the negative impact of tariffs and the trade war, only 28.2% of bankers support cutting tariffs on imported goods from China,” said Goss.

Farming and ranching:
The farmland and ranchland-price index for August improved to a still weak 46.3 from July’s 45.6. This is the 69th straight month the index has remained below growth neutral 50.0. 

The August farm equipment-sales index dropped to 30.3 from July’s 37.9. This marks the 72nd straight month the reading has remained below growth neutral 50.0. “The dismal economic outlook for farm income continues to decimate agriculture equipment sales in the region,” reported Goss.

Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for August fell to 44.4 from July’s 47.9. The state’s farmland-price index slipped to 43.5 from last month’s 44.0. Nebraska’s new-hiring index slumped to 46.8 from July’s 56.3. Over the past 12 months rural areas in Nebraska have lost jobs at a rate of minus 1.1% compared to a stronger 1.3% for urban areas of the state. But there is some optimism among bankers. John Nelsen, branch president of FirsTier Bank in Holdrege, said, “If we happen to win the trade war, we will have a very positive impact on our local economy. We need to play it out.”

Iowa: The August RMI for Iowa sank to 46.2 from July’s 49.9. Iowa’s farmland-price index improved to 46.1 from July’s 45.4. Iowa’s new-hiring index for August fell to 51.8 from 61.6 in July. Over the past 12 months rural areas in Iowa have experienced job losses with a reduction of 0.4% compared to a much stronger 1.4% for urban areas of the state.

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.

USDA Using Flexibility to Assist Farmers, Ranchers in Flooded Areas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) today announced it will defer accrual of interest for all agricultural producers’ spring 2019 crop year insurance premiums to help the wide swath of farmers and ranchers affected by extreme weather in 2019. Specifically, USDA will defer the accrual of interest on spring 2019 crop year insurance premiums to the earlier of the applicable termination date or for two months, until November 30, for all policies with a premium billing date of August 15, 2019. For any premium that is not paid by one of those new deadlines, interest will accrue consistent with the terms of the policy.

“USDA recognizes that farmers and ranchers have been severely affected by the extreme weather challenges this year,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “I often brag about the resiliency of farmers but after a lifetime in the business, I have to say that this year is one for the record books. To help ease the burden on these folks, we are continuing to extend flexibility for producers with today’s announcement.”

RMA Administrator Martin Barbre added, “This administrative flexibility is not unprecedented but is a move RMA takes seriously and only under special circumstances like we’re experiencing today. Growers typically have some crop harvested and cash flow to make their billing date, but with so many late planted crops, this year will be an anomaly.”

America’s farmers and ranchers have been especially challenged throughout the 2019 crop year, struggling through severe flooding and excessive moisture conditions across the grain belt and in many other rural communities, with some areas also dealing with extreme heat and drought. Such weather conditions are expected to take a serious toll on acres planted, crop yields, and crop quality as harvest begins. One of the largest operating costs for producers is crop insurance premiums paid to their Approved Insurance Provider. Many spring crop insurance premiums are due to be paid before October 1.

Without the interest deferral, policies with an August 15 premium billing date would have interest attach starting October 1 if premiums were not paid by September 30. Now, under the change, policies that do not have the premium paid by November 30 will have interest attach on December 1, calculated from the date of the premium billing notice.

Earlier this summer, USDA announced a series of flexibilities to reduce stress on producers affected by weather, including: providing more time for cover crop haying and grazing by moving the start date from November 1 to September 1, 2019; allowing producers who filed prevented planting claims then planted a cover crop with a potential for harvest to receive a $15 per acre Market Facilitation Program payment; holding signups in select states for producers to receive assistance in planting cover crops; and extending the crop reporting deadline in select states. USDA also will provide producers with prevented planting acreage additional assistance, which will be announced in the coming weeks, through the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019.


With harvest beginning in some states and right around the corner in others, National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers that following pesticide labels is critical right through the end of the season.

In particular, it’s important to pay close attention to preharvest interval requirements. These requirements are designed to ensure that any potential traces of the product left behind are at levels that will not cause disruptions in trade.

Every pesticide has a maximum residue level (MRL) specific to each crop for which it is labeled. MRLs are a measurement of acceptable pesticide residues, set far below toxicological safety limits, for every product treated with pesticides.

They provide a standard to help ensure that food treated with pesticides is safe for consumption and ultimately verify that farmers have used crop protection products correctly. Especially in international markets, if shipments are tested and the MRL for one or more pesticides is exceeded that delivery may be rejected. While this is a rare situation, NCGA encourages farmers to continue to use responsible application practices to reduce any potential barriers to U.S. corn reaching destinations around the world.

ASA Biotech Working Group Talks Regulatory Updates, Issues

The American Soybean Association's Biotech Working Group (BWG) met in Louisville, Kentucky last week to discuss a wide range of issues impacting the biotech and farming industries.

Participants heard an overview of a USDA-APHIS proposed rule to update biotech regulations from American Seed Trade Association (ASTA); discussed emerging issues in the EU surrounding maximum residue limits; and heard reports from the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and United Soybean Board (USB).

A report from USSEC provided information on international market development efforts for U.S. soy and an update on biotech approval systems in soy importing countries. The United Soybean Board gave an update on several soybean checkoff-funded programs, including efforts to improve the compositional quality and nutrient density of U.S. soybeans.

BWG provides the forum where overarching biotechnology issues like educational needs and market access barriers, are discussed and addressed by technology providers and U.S. soybean growers. The group includes representatives from industry biotech trait providers, along with farmer-leaders and staff from ASA, USB and USSEC.

The Biotech Working Group will gather again for a meeting next winter.

Southeast Asia Conference Highlights U.S. Farmers’ Commitment To Growing the Region

U.S. farmers and their customers in Southeast Asia celebrated decades of working together and the potential for continued partnership and growth during the 2019 Southeast Asia U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference in Singapore last week.

The conference was co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA’s FAS).

It brought together 200 guests from 11 countries including major value chain players like importers and exporters of feed grains, oilseeds and co-products; representatives from bulk and container grain transportation; U.S. and local government; and industry representatives. Overall, 79 importer participants represented 61 companies from seven countries and 43 exporter participants represented 18 U.S. organizations. Seven U.S. corn and soybean grower leaders and attended in addition to 11 FAS members representing seven countries.

“We got to see firsthand what the Council does to build markets for us in Southeast Asia. We sat down with buyers and heard their needs and concerns, and we got a better understanding about how trade works,” said Dennis McNinch, chairman of the Kansas Corn Commission and leader of USGC Trade Policy Advisory Team (A-team), who spoke during the conference. “Not only did we learn about the opportunities for trade, but we also learned about our competitors in these key markets.”

Conference proceedings as well as significant time for side meetings and networking allowed those gathered to share information about the latest market movements and new and emerging uses for both U.S. soybeans and U.S. feed grains, including corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and sorghum.

“U.S. soybean farmers have been impacted by export uncertainty and trade tensions. And while aid in the short-term is helpful, our farmers need stability and long-term solutions,” said Jim Sutter, USSEC chief executive officer. “We are working to provide that stability by building demand and expanding global market access for U.S. soy products, aside from China. This means building on existing relationships abroad and investing in new ones in evolving and growing markets. Southeast Asia is a great example of where we see a future for U.S. soy, building on our shared legacy between USSEC and USGC and in an area where there is continued growth.”

U.S. corn and soybean growers traveled to Singapore for the conference to provide their on-the-ground perspectives on the 2019 crop. Grower leaders McNinch; Jacob Parker, North Carolina farmer and director for the United Soybean Board (USB); and Brian Kemp, Iowa farmer and a director for the American Soybean Association (ASA) shared their challenges this growing season due to a wet spring but highlighted their conservation practices and precision technology used to produce sustainably-grown products for international customers.

“Each growing season is different, and every year comes with its own challenges. Over the past year, we have faced fluctuating markets and a complicated planting season, but our commitment to producing sustainable and reliable soy has never wavered,” Parker said. “I know this firsthand as a farmer, and I hear it from my neighbors. American farmers are all working hard in our fields to make sure we can continue to deliver a high-quality product to our customers.”

In addition, industry speakers discussed global supply and demand outlook for corn, soybeans and co-products, the impact of climate change, foreign animal diseases and disruptive technologies. Representatives from USSEC and USGC also touched on growth opportunities for U.S. corn, barley, sorghum and soybean products in Southeast Asia.

“Southeast Asia is a 116 million ton feed market and growing, and the region’s coarse grains and co-product imports have grown to more than six million metric tons,” said Manuel Sanchez, USGC regional director for Southeast Asia. “This region buys one of every three metric tons of DDGS exported out of the United States - a statistic that alone tells the story about why we’re here doing this work.”

The conference also included several panel discussions and presentations specific to agricultural trade in Southeast Asia, including port developments, opportunities for bulk and container shipping and grain storage in sub-tropical and tropical regions.

“Southeast Asia is a growing portion of the world economy with an increasing population that is improving diets and energy usage. Several countries in this region hold strong potential for importing U.S. corn in all forms,” said Greg Krissek, Kansas Corn Commission chief executive officer, who also spoke during the conference. “Storing corn in tropical environments requires certain management practices, and a recent study commissioned by the Council and funded in part by Kansas Corn brought additional knowledge for competing in these markets. The findings of this research, conducted by the IGP Institute at Kansas State University in cooperation with a Malaysian grain handler, were also introduced during the conference to share this knowledge with end-users throughout the region.”

Meetings like the Southeast Asia U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference allow the Council and USSEC members to connect, learn from each other and facilitate trade. These events contribute to the shared belief that exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture’s profitability.

RFA to Australia: Choose Ethanol, Not Petroleum Reserve

In a letter sent today, the Renewable Fuels Association encouraged Australia’s energy minister to strongly consider U.S. ethanol imports as a cleaner, more affordable alternative to purchasing oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. According to RFA, opening the Australian market to ethanol imports would be good for the continent’s economy and air quality, and would help spur more rapid development of a domestic biofuels industry.

The letter, from RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper, cited news reports of Australia’s request for access to the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve “as a hedge against potential oil supply disruptions that appear increasingly likely given the volatile situation in the Strait of Hormuz.” Ethanol is a better option to protect Australian consumers from supply shocks, Cooper said.

Cooper wrote that part of the challenge Australia is facing with renewable fuels growth— biofuels represent less than 2 percent of the country’s liquid transportation fuel supply—is the result of the 5 percent tariff and customs tax of A$0.401 per liter for ethanol imports. “These severe measures have made fuel ethanol imports generally uncompetitive with gasoline and domestically produced ethanol,” Cooper wrote in his letter to Angus Taylor, Australia’s Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction.

“Removing or at least significantly reducing the tariff and custom tax barriers to imported ethanol does not necessitate a complex negotiation with the U.S. government over our Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” Cooper added. “Nor will it take much time. U.S. ethanol is available today for export to Australia. … U.S. ethanol can provide near-immediate relief to your transportation fuel supply shortage with the added benefit of providing Australia with a tangible demonstration of its commitment to carbon reduction.”

Increasing ethanol use makes  more sense than tapping into more petroleum imports, Cooper also wrote, especially since Australia is a seeking to reduce its carbon footprint as a party to the United Nation’s Paris Agreement. When it comes to carbon reduction, ethanol is the clear winner over fossil fuels.

Bayer PLUS Rewards Offers Expanded Product Portfolio With Greater Flexibility, More Transparency

For the 2020 crop season, Bayer announces the new Bayer PLUS Rewards program, offering expanded options of crop protection products to choose from, more flexibility and more cash incentives than ever before.

The new program brings together a broader portfolio of high-performance products, including seed, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, to help farmers make the most of every acre planted. In addition, Bayer PLUS Rewards provides farmers with incentives for purchasing the seed and crop inputs they rely on to grow their crops and maximize their profit potential. The program also increases transparency by offering participants a timely look at incentives earned, along with more control over how incentives are redeemed.

“We’re working with retailers to provide growers the opportunity to choose from a broad portfolio of products. Bayer PLUS Rewards is driven by smart agronomic decisions, and we’ll continue to work with our growers and retailers to put the right product on the right acre,” says Leticia Goncalves, U.S. Crop Science Country Division Head for Bayer. “Our broad portfolio, combined with rewards, will provide our loyal customers the flexibility to choose products that will provide them the greatest chance for success on their farms. These are tough times in agriculture and Bayer is proud to offer support to farmers through Bayer PLUS Rewards.”

Bayer PLUS Rewards replaces the Roundup Ready PLUSÒ program, as well as Bayer Innovation PlusÔ, for the 2020 season. Bayer PLUS Rewards offers farmers a full agronomic solution for every acre of their farm. Starting with any two qualifying products, farmers begin earning $3/A, building additional cash back on every subsequent qualifying product they purchase. Additionally, farmers have the opportunity to earn $2/A on any Roundup® brand agricultural herbicide when paired with another qualifying herbicide, plus an additional $2/A when XtendiMaxÒ herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology is paired with a Roundup herbicide and an additional qualifying herbicide. Once earning from either base incentive option, farmers have the opportunity to earn $.50/A on additional Bayer products, expanding the already vast product options that qualify for rewards.

“Bayer PLUS Rewards offers unprecedented flexibility with numerous ways for farmers to keep not only yield-robbing weeds in check but also other pests at bay from planting to harvest with Bayer’s complete seed and crop-protection portfolio,” says Julio Negreli, Bayer Crop Protection Marketing Lead. “Wherever and whatever they farm, U.S. farmers can find the best products for their operations within the Bayer PLUS Rewards portfolio, while choosing how to use their rewards.”

As part of Bayer PLUS Rewards, customers will have access to a portal which provides a snapshot of purchase history, along with up-to-date incentive totals and redemption options. Bayer PLUS Rewards participants can control how and when they redeem incentives by choosing a “cash-out” option early in the season, once a minimum incentives total is achieved. They can also work with their retailer to direct incentives toward future seed or chemistry purchases.

Enrolling is simple. Farmers can visit to activate their account, register for the program and read more about Bayer PLUS Rewards. Those who have a valid Tech ID associated with their operation will receive details by mail in the coming weeks. Once signed in, they’ll begin earning rewards on their purchase history from a robust portfolio of products.

2020 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics focuses on accelerating innovation in corn hybrid development

Syngenta and the Analytics Society of INFORMS today launched the 2020 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics, a competition that seeks analytical approaches to improve complex crop breeding processes. Data analytics, mathematics and statistics students, as well as professionals worldwide are invited to enter by Jan. 21, 2020. Using real-world crop data, entrants are tasked to develop models that can predict the performance of potential corn products.

Now in its fifth consecutive year, the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics is a collaborative effort between Syngenta and the Analytics Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The competition brings together experts in mathematics, computer science and analytics, emphasizing the importance of cross-industry collaboration necessary to feed a growing population with limited natural resources. The Syngenta Crop Challenge gathers the best minds across many disciplines to solve the world’s biggest agricultural challenges.

“The Syngenta Crop Challenge gives data analytics experts the opportunity to use their skills to address real challenges, such as the growing global food demand and changing environment,” said Gregory Doonan, head of novel algorithm advancement, Syngenta. “Scientists at research and development organizations like Syngenta are working to accelerate innovation in plant science by breeding plants with the most resilient, highest-yielding genetics. This competition provides a forum for students and experts in data analytics, mathematics and statistics to contribute to improving crop productivity and help feed the world.”

The deadline for entries is Jan. 21, 2020. Entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges based on the rigor and validity of the process and the quality of the proposed solution. Finalists will be announced in March and will be given the opportunity to present their submissions at the end of April during the 2020 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research in Denver, Colorado, where the winners will be announced. The winner will be awarded $5,000; the runner up will receive $2,500; and the third place team will receive $1,000.

Established in 2015, the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics is supported by Syngenta and hosted by the Analytics Society of INFORMS. It is funded by prize winnings donated by Syngenta, in connection with the company’s win of the Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences in 2015.

Wednesday August 14 Ag News


While rural Nebraskans have mixed opinions about the impact of immigration on rural Nebraska, those more likely to have lived alongside recent immigrants have more positive views, according to the 2019 Nebraska Rural Poll.

Overall, 38% of respondents to the Rural Poll — the largest annual poll of rural Nebraskans' perceptions on quality of life and policy issues — agree that immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska, while 30% disagree. One-third agree that on balance immigration has been good for rural Nebraska, while 27% disagree. At least one-third of rural Nebraskans neither agreed nor disagreed with both statements.

Experience with immigrants appears to be related to perceptions of immigration, a survey official said. Persons living in or near larger communities, who are more likely to be aware of recent immigrants in their community, are more likely than those living in or near smaller communities to agree that immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska. Similarly, the poll found that persons living in both the south-central and northeast regions, which are more likely to be aware of recent immigrants in their community, are more likely than those living in other regions to agree that immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska.

Younger persons are more likely than older persons to agree that immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska. Just over half of persons 19 to 29 agree with the statement, compared to 31% of those 65 and older. Looking at immigration trends, Nebraskans 29 and younger are likely to have grown up with more foreign-born immigrants.

“Overall, there is a consistent theme from the data,” said L.J. McElravy, associate professor of youth civic leadership at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “Respondents believe immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska when they are more likely to interact with immigrants, whether that exposure is a result of where they live or their age.”

The poll also found that rural Nebraskans have concerns about language issues and the effect illegal immigration may have on wages. Eighty-four percent of rural Nebraskans surveyed agree that immigrants should learn to speak English within a reasonable amount of time. In addition, half of respondents disagree that communities should communicate important information in other languages as well as English. And 44% agree that undocumented immigrants drive down wages in rural Nebraska, while just under one-quarter disagree.

When asked about immigration policies, most rural Nebraskans surveyed agree with policies that try to prevent illegal immigration. Almost three-quarters agree that government should tighten borders to prevent illegal immigration, and about the same proportion agrees that businesses employing undocumented workers should be penalized. Almost two-thirds agree that undocumented immigrants should be deported. A similar percentage disagree that the government is too aggressive in deporting those who are in the United States illegally.

However, many respondents also support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers. Sixty-two percent agree that an undocumented immigrant who has been working and paying taxes for five years or more should be allowed to apply for citizenship, and slightly less agree that there should be a way for undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements to stay in the country legally. Seventy percent agree that immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children should be allowed the chance to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements over a period of time.

Many opinions about immigration policies remain about the same as they were in 2006, the last time immigration questions were asked in the Rural Poll. However, fewer rural Nebraskans today support the government tightening borders to prevent illegal immigration than did in 2006. Then, 83% of respondents agreed that the government should tighten borders. In 2019, this fell to 74%. And, the proportion who agree that an undocumented immigrant who has been working and paying taxes for five years or more should be allowed to apply for citizenship increased slightly, from 58% in 2006 to 62% this year.

“The poll results mirror the tensions we see across the country in terms of immigrants and immigration — respondents tended to be evenly split across a variety of the questions,” said Jason Weigle, associate extension educator with Nebraska Extension. “On the balance, though, respondents wished to see a pathway for undocumented migrants who have been trying to be productive members of American society to become residents. Focusing on opportunities for integration across the state can help Nebraska move forward positively.”

This year’s Rural Poll was mailed to 6,260 randomly selected households in nonmetropolitan counties in March and April. One-thousand-seven-hundred-seventy-six households responded, a rate of 28%. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2%. Complete results are available at

The university's Department of Agricultural Economics conducts the poll with funding from Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.

EPA announces $3.15 million in water quality funding in Iowa

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced three EPA Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreements totaling more than $3.15 million to fund Iowa-based projects that improve water quality, habitat, and environmental education.

The three Iowa-based recipients for the 2019 Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreements are:
-    Practical Farmers of Iowa ($935,788) for Roots for Water Quality: A Farmer-to-Farmer Model for a Sustainable Mississippi Basin.
-    University of Iowa ($1,064,926) for Connecting Rural and Peri-urban Farmers to Demonstrate and Disseminate Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Practices.
-    Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship ($1,150,000) for Effective, Targeted Wetland Installations to Maximize Nutrient Removal, Wetland Habitat Function, and Ultimately Expand Delivery.

“These Farmer to Farmer grants will promote innovative, market-based solutions for monitoring and improving water quality throughout the Gulf of Mexico watershed,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These grants are an important part of our efforts to support America’s farmers in a manner that strengthens both American agriculture and the protection of our nation’s vital water resources.”

“Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreements directly support science and technology-based water quality initiatives needed to protect our watersheds while also maintaining a vital agricultural economy,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Here in Region 7, a combined $3.15 million in funding will support Iowa in the restoration and installation of wetlands as well as the use of cover crops to help provide measurable water quality improvement to waterways across Iowa and further downstream in the Gulf of Mexico.”

“Practical Farmers of Iowa is ready to increase the use of cover crops in Iowa to tackle our water quality issues,” said Practical Farmers of Iowa Strategic Initiatives Director Sarah Carlson. “Through farmer-to-farmer learning, PFI has proven that cover crops are an essential tool of the agronomic toolbox to manage weeds and reduce soil erosion while improving water quality in a corn and soybean rotation. This EPA funding will allow PFI to create new tools, like a ‘ride-sharing’ app for farmers. Instead of looking for a ride, farmers will be able to use the app to find qualified cover crop applicators during the busy harvest season.”

“The College of Engineering, Iowa Flood Center, and IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa are excited to partner with rural farmers and urban consumers in Johnson and Iowa counties to demonstrate innovative nutrient and sediment reduction practices in Iowa,” said University of Iowa Vice President for Research Marty Scholtz. “This grant recognizes the university’s national leadership in water research. The $1.07 million from EPA will leverage watershed restoration funds from the $97 million Iowa Watershed Approach project to create measurable water quality improvements in stream segments within the Lower Iowa River watershed.”

“Working with the EPA and local communities, we are taking on the challenge of improving Iowa’s water quality by implementing conservation practices in priority watersheds,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Whether you live in the city or the country, we all have a role to play. These types of public-private partnerships and rural-urban projects are perfect examples of what we can accomplish when we all work together to achieve our common goal — preserving Iowa’s natural resources for the next generation.”

A ceremony honoring the Iowa recipients took place today at the Iowa State Fair and was led by Jim Gulliford, regional administrator for EPA Region 7. EPA anticipates awarding seven Gulf of Mexico Division cooperative agreements totaling more than $7.5 million to fund projects that improve water quality, habitat, and environmental education in the Gulf of Mexico watershed.


Since 2018, approximately $9.5 million has been awarded to support novel or innovative agricultural techniques, methods or approaches through EPA’s Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreements. These projects support farmer led and/or farmer focused organizations with experience implementing programs and demonstration projects through collaboration with farmers. The projects will center around innovative monitoring systems that will measure and report field scale water and nutrient dynamics to farmers in support of informed crop management decisions. The program supports science and technology-based water quality initiatives needed to protect watersheds while also maintaining a vital agricultural economy.

Corn Grows Iowa at the Iowa State Fair

Iowa Corn is proud to sponsor Iowa Corn Day at the Iowa State Fair on Friday, August 16.  As fairgoers, you will have the opportunity to learn how corn helps feed and fuel Iowa and the world by participating in the scavenger hunt where you can locate five stations scattered throughout the fairgrounds, take a selfie and post all five photos to a form of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat Story). By completing all five stations and showing your posts at the Iowa Corn booth, you will receive an Iowa Corn t-shirt while supplies last! Scavenger hunt cards will be handed out at the main entrances or they will be available at the Iowa Corn booth on the Grand Concourse.

The highly interactive Iowa Corn Mobile Education trailer will be there as well. The 40-foot state-of-the-art mobile takes visitors on a multi-media journey showing how Iowa Corn farmers conserve their land while growing corn that’s used for food, feed, fuel and the 4,000 other products made from you guessed it, corn. This represents the 97 percent of Iowa farms that are family-owned.

America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Final Four Announced

The National Pork Board recently announced the four finalists vying to be named 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 finalists do what’s best on their farms every day for people, pigs and the planet,” said National Pork Board President David Newman, a pig farmer representing Arkansas. “The finalists also showcase how diverse family farming is today throughout the United States.”

The National Pork Board congratulates the finalists:
    Josh Linde – Manilla, Iowa
    Thomas Titus – Elkhart, Illinois
    Doug Dawson – Delaware, Ohio
    Chris Hoffman – McAlisterville, Pennsylvania 

To help select the winner, the four finalists will meet with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago later this month. The judges will view videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will interview each of them.

Through Aug. 27, the public can vote once a day 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 results.

About the Finalists

Josh Linde – Manilla, Iowa 
Food safety and raising animals in a stress-free environment allows Josh Linde to provide a safe product for his family and consumers. Linde owns and operates his own farm, which markets 9,600 pigs annually, and works full-time for The Maschhoffs.

Thomas Titus – Elkhart, Illinois 
On Thomas Titus’ farrow-to-finish farm, animal care is his No. 1 priority. Their multi-generation farm is run by immediate family and a few employees who are like family. They also raise kids, cattle, goats and hens, corn, soybeans and hay on their farm.

Doug Dawson – Delaware, Ohio 
With a passion that was sparked at the age of five, Doug Dawson has been a full-time pig farmer since 1980. Dawson Farms, Inc., established in 1939, focuses on corn, soybeans, wheat and hay beyond the pig farm. Dawson’s farrow-to-finish operation markets 44,000 pigs per year.

Chris Hoffman – McAlisterville, Pennsylvania
Growing up with a love of animals, Chris Hoffman has worked his way up to owning a pig farm now that sells 34,000 pig annually. Hoffman focuses on animal well-being on his farrow-to-finish farm. Additionally, he raises more than 235,000 broilers a year.

About the Expert Judging Panel: Members of the five-member panel include Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane; Jayson Lusk, department head and distinguished professor, Agricultural Economics, Purdue University; Kari Underly, a third-generation butcher, author and principal of Range®, Inc., a meat marketing and education firm; Jessie Kreke, senior marketing manager, Culver’s Franchising System; and Patrick Bane, the 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year.

Corteva Agriscience Announces Three Power to Do More Contest Winners

After receiving thousands of online votes, Scott Slepikas of Huron, South Dakota, is the grand-prize winner in the Power to Do More contest sponsored by the corn herbicides of Corteva Agriscience. Chris Staudt of Kanawha, Iowa, and Marsha Strom of Dahinda, Illinois, win second-place prizes.

Overall, Corteva is donating $27,000 to local nonprofit organizations, giving a total of $20,000 to the three winners’ local nonprofit organizations of choice plus $1,000 to each chosen nonprofit of the remaining seven finalists.

"The 10 finalists received more than 60,000 votes this year, which really shows the passion rural communities have for their local organizations,” said Lyndsie Kaehler, U.S. Corn Herbicides Product Manager, Corteva Agriscience. “It’s been great to see communities rally around their local farmer and nonprofit organization through contest support. We are so proud to help tell their stories.”

The Power to Do More contest invited farmers to submit a unique photo and story about the power on their farm. Ten finalists, selected from hundreds of entries, showed exceptional creativity and commitment to growing a stronger community in their photo and story.During online voting June 10 to July 8, the public rallied behind their favorite farmer and community.

Slepikas submitted a photo showing the finish of a “great crop harvest” on his family farm. He nominated the Center for Independence of Huron for the $10,000 donation. Slepikas said the nonprofit serves people with special needs, including his son, and relies on “many donations to provide these special people with many extras to make their lives easier and better.” Staudt submitted a photo of himself, his girlfriend and his dog. Staudt explained that the photo shows he is blessed to farm alongside his brother and father while being “able to enjoy the simple things in life.” Staudt nominated the Kanawha Fire Department for the $5,000 donation. He said this donation will enable the department to “upgrade equipment needed to help our dedicated volunteers keep the community safe.”

Strom submitted a photo showing barn-themed playground equipment being installed in her local town park. She said the photo represents “the power of what people can do when they collectively give their funds, time, talents and hearts to attain a common goal.” Strom nominated the Williamsfield FFA Alumni & Friends for the $5,000 donation. She explained the money will allow the organization to purchase tools, machines and educational materials for the local school’s agriculture department.

In appreciation of the remaining finalists’ efforts in the Power to Do More contest, Corteva Agriscience is donating $1,000 to each local nonprofit organization nominated by the remaining seven finalists:
     ─ Darrel Springer of Oak, Nebraska — Sandy Creek High School FFA
     ─ Rhonda Leonard of Logan, Iowa — Kellen Morrison Memorial Scholarship Fund
     ─ Misty DeDonder of Admire, Kansas — North Lyon County FFA – High School    Greenhouse Project
     ─ Kara Boughton of Marshall, Michigan — East Jackson Elementary School
     ─ Lynn Heins of Rockwood, Illinois — Annie’s Project – Education for Farm Women
     ─ Dave LaCrosse of Kewaunee, Wisconsin — Peninsula Pride Farms
     ─ Susan Zody of Kokomo, Indiana — Narrow Gate Horse Ranch

The Power to Do More contest is in its third year of helping farming communities across the country. Corteva is proud to support farmers with a lineup of corn herbicides dedicated to delivering the power to do more every season. With Resicore®, SureStart® II, DuPont™ Realm® Q, DuPont™ Cinch® ATZ and Keystone® NXT herbicides, farmers can effectively control and not worry about yield-robbing weeds.

Read more about the contest winners and sign up to be among the first to see a video about the grand-prize winner at

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 32nd annual conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

Six incumbents were re-elected to the board of directors for three-year terms:
    Duane Kristensen, representing Chief Ethanol Fuels
    Scott McPheeters, representing KAAPA Ethanol
    Dan Root, representing Minnesota Corn Growers Association
    Rick Schwarck, representing Absolute Energy
    Dave Sovereign, representing Golden Grain Energy
    Chris Studer, representing East River Electric Cooperative

Two new members were elected to serve on the board of directors for a three-year term:
    Troy Knecht, representing Redfield Energy
    Owen Jones, At-large Member

“As I got involved with ACE through the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, I realized the value ACE brings to its members and the value it brings to corn farmers in general,” Knecht said. “Now, by representing Redfield Energy, I can continue the good work ACE is doing and I look forward to helping with the challenges we have ahead of us like addressing small refinery waivers and exploring ways to get higher blends into the market.”

“I have always enjoyed working with this association, both the people on staff and the rest of the leaders on the ACE board,” Jones said. “I always have been interested in promoting ethanol and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do this by serving on the ACE board. We have made some great strides, but there is a lot of work to be done yet and if I can remain on the board to continue ACE’s good work, I’m grateful to do that.”

“Troy and Owen are exceptional advocates for our industry, and we’re happy they’re able to continue to serve with 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.”

Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/9/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Aug. 9, ethanol production averaged 1.045 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 43.89 million gallons daily. Output expanded by 5,000 b/d (0.5%) over the previous week. However, the four-week average ethanol production rate declined for the sixth consecutive week, down 0.5% to 1.039 million b/d and equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.93 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks increased 3.3% to 23.9 million barrels. Stocks built across all PADDs.

There were zero imports recorded after 36,000 b/d hit the books last week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of June 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied jumped 2.9% to a record 9.932 million b/d (417.1 million gallons per day, or 152.26 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol grew by 2.3% to a record 967,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.82 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 10.52%.


The Waterways Council, Inc. recently produced a series of videos, aimed at educating various audiences on inland waterways. The five videos focus on agriculture, labor, shippers, communities and the Army Corps of Engineers.

In the agriculture video, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue kicks it off by saying “I don’t think anything is more important to agriculture than logistics and transportation. That’s ultimately how we get that product to the ultimate end customer and our waterways have been absolutely critical in that effort.”

In September, NCGA staff will be participating in a Mississippi Riverboat trip with the Army Corps of Engineers from Hannibal to St. Louis, to learn more about river transportation, lock and dam infrastructure and various projects the Corps is working on.

Fast Facts on River Transportation:
-    Corn, soybeans and wheat account for nearly 83 percent of farm and food barge volume and ton-miles.
-    Barge transportation is used to haul more than 95 percent of the corn exported through the Center Gulf from originations upriver on the Mississippi River.
-    In 2017, 14 percent of all intercity freight was transported via the Nation’s waterways, valued at nearly $232 billion.
-    In 2015, farm products accounted for 14 percent of waterborne commerce volume and 24 percent waterborne commerce ton-miles. A ton-mile is the number of tons multiplied by distance. When barge traffic is measured in ton-miles, food and farm products jump from the third-largest commodity to first.

ARA Supports USDOT Hours of Service (HOS) Proposal for Improved Driver Safety and Flexibility

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) supports the proposed reform to hours of service (HOS) published today by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (USDOT FMCSA), which will improve safety and flexibility for commercial drivers.

"These reforms, including the short haul exemption expansion for CDL drivers to 150 air miles and the expansion of duty hours from 12 to 14 hours, will provide necessary flexibility for ARA members to meet the needs of their customers without adversely impacting transportation safety," ARA Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Counsel Richard Gupton said.

FMCSA's proposed rule offers five key revisions to existing HOS rules such as requiring a minimum of a 30-minute break for each eight hours of consecutive driving and allowing drivers to use the "on duty, not driving" status rather than the "off duty" status during breaks. It is estimated that this proposal will save American consumers and the U.S. economy an estimated $274 million and improve safety for all drivers on the Nation's roadways, according to a FMCSA news release.

The FMCSA is encouraging everyone to review and comment on this proposal within the 45-day public comment period.

Perdue Statement on Meeting with Guatemalan Ministers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today met with a host of Ministers from Guatemala to discuss implementation of the recently signed agreement between the United States and Guatemala to improve H-2A visa program operations. Following the meeting, Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:

“America’s farmers and ranchers need a legal and reliable agricultural work force, and we are eager to help our producers take advantage of this great opportunity to add a qualified pool of workers to the H-2A visa program. This critical partnership with Guatemala will benefit both our nations and will improve the H-2A visa program in the future.”

Officials from Guatemala that were present for the meeting included Guatemalan Minister of Governance Enrique Antonio Degenhart Asturias, Guatemalan Minister of Labor Gabriel Vladimir Aguilera Bolaños, Guatemalan Minister of Economy Acisclo Valladares Urruela, Guatemalan Minister of Agriculture Mario Méndez Cobar and Ambassador of Guatemala to the United States of America Manuel Alfredo Espina Pinto.

Trade Aid Appreciated as Farmers Seek Trade Truce

As China continues to raise barriers blocking the import of American farm products, the USDA recently announced registration for the second round of Market Facilitation Payments (MFP).

President Trump has authorized up to $14.5 billion in MFP payments, meant to help mitigate the negative effects of retaliatory tariffs stemming from ongoing trade disputes.

The program is open to a selection of non-specialty and specialty crops as well as dairy and hog producers. For non-specialty crops – such as cotton, wheat, soybeans, rice and corn – payments will depend on the calculated impact of trade retaliation in each county. 

As Farm Policy Facts has previously reported, a healthy farm economy depends on the export of high-quality American products abroad. For perspective, the agriculture sector produces around $400 billion worth of crops and livestock per year, and exports near $150 billion worth of agricultural goods.

As the “tip of the spear” in this trade war, and already reeling from a prolonged rural recession, America’s farmers and ranchers have been deeply injured, and are therefore thankful that the Administration has taken action to help our rural communities during a particularly hard time.

“Farmers and ranchers are going through our 6th straight year of severe recession and unjustified foreign retaliatory tariffs are making already tough times even tougher,” said Matt Huie, President of the Southwest Council of Agribusiness. “Thankfully, the MFP-II announced by Secretary Perdue throws us a vital life-line to help ensure that we can make it through this year and hopefully secure the credit we need to return to the fields for the next growing season.”

Joe Mencer, chair of the USA Rice Farmers and an Arkansas rice farmer, noted that MFP payments will help rice farmers as they deal with the fallout from not only trade wars, but low commodity prices and extreme weather. “While these payments won’t make us whole, they will provide some much needed relief financially for rice producers across the country,” he said.

America’s cotton farmers pointed to China’s tariffs as a key reason for the declining health of the cotton industry as cotton exports lag and U.S. cotton loses market share to competitors in China.  NCC Chairman Mike Tate, an Alabama cotton producer himself, expressed gratitude to the USDA for recognizing the trade pressures faced by farmers and taking action to provide assistance through MFP payments.

Brian Thalmann, President of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, said that Minnesota’s “corn farmers appreciate the quick rollout of the MFP program and USDA’s efforts to better reflect the impact of ongoing trade disputes,” but also emphasized that corn growers are focused on developing long-term solutions to support farmers.

This sentiment was echoed by the National Association of Wheat Growers.  “NAWG appreciates the Administration recognizing the impact the current trade war with China is having on farmers,” stated National Association of Wheat Growers President and Lavon, Texas, farmer Ben Scholz. “However, this is a band-aid when we really need a long-term fix. NAWG understands holding China accountable for its WTO violations and unfair trade practices but a trade war is not the solution especially when farmers are the casualties. We continue to urge the Administration to quickly resolve the ongoing trade dispute with China and to negotiate new trade agreements, and Congress to act quickly on USMCA.”

This reality that the greater hope lies not in the trade aid – though that is important – but in the prospect of achieving a freer and more accountable international marketplace for the future is captured well in the conclusion of SWCA President Huie’s statement:

“The MFP-II also buys some time for Congress to pass USMCA this year and for the U.S. and China to successfully conclude trade negotiations to end the current dispute so we can achieve a truly free and fair global market where foreign countries are expected to play by the same set of rules that we do.  On behalf of the SWCA, I commend the President and Secretary Perdue and his team at USDA for their hard work in developing an MFP-II package that provides real help to farmers and ranchers when we need it most.”

Pioneer Launches Corn Yield Estimator as Part of New Mobile App and Website

Estimating corn yield is now easier than ever thanks to the new Pioneer Corn Yield Estimator. Now available to farmers as part of the Pioneer mobile app, the Corn Yield Estimator takes yield estimation to the next level. This tool uses a machine learning model, which allows farmers to quickly and accurately count the kernels on an ear while in the field. The yield estimate is based on kernel count, stand count and kernels per bushel.

The yield estimator walks the user through the process of lining up the ear of corn to be sampled, taking the necessary number of images and entering the remaining information before providing a yield estimate. The tool requires that husks and silks be removed before taking the picture, but the ear does not need to be pulled from the stalk.

“The creation of this tool is part of Pioneer’s larger efforts to advance customers’ ability to improve management,” said Jeremy Groeteke, U.S. Digital Agriculture Lead, Corteva Agriscience. “The goal of this app is to standardize the process for estimating yield from a single ear of corn and is part of our predictive agriculture effort.”

The introduction of the Yield Estimator kicks off a more connected Pioneer digital ecosystem, including the Pioneer Seeds mobile app and the revamped The new login interface, along with a user-friendly online payment experience and mobile responsiveness, is designed to make a more cohesive online environment for all users.

The new website is designed to be a one-stop-shop, providing premium resources to farmers, such as a personalized seed guide, local yield data, updated and improved agronomy filtering, and seasonal tools and calculators that users have come to expect from Pioneer.

“Farmers today are more mobile than ever,” said Julie Podey, Digital Communications Manager, Corteva Agriscience. “Our focus on mobile responsiveness, ease-of-use and timely agronomic information is what sets and the new Pioneer app apart. We want farmers to have a connected experience, no matter how they are interacting with our brand, and we think these digital tools will provide that online experience.”

Bunge Moving Global Headquarters to St. Louis

Bunge Limited, a leader in agriculture, food and ingredients, announced it is relocating its global headquarters from White Plains, NY, to the St. Louis, MO metropolitan area. This move allows the Company to leverage shared capabilities and enhance collaboration.

"While St. Louis is already an important hub for Bunge and our current North American operations, the city is also home to a number of food, agriculture, animal health and plant science organizations and customers," said Gregory A. Heckman, Bunge's CEO.

"Moving the global headquarters to a location where Bunge has a major business presence is a big step forward in shifting the Company's operating model to align around a more efficient, streamlined global business structure. We are grateful to have called White Plains home for many years, and now look forward to the new growth and development opportunities which our expanded St. Louis presence will provide," said Heckman.

The company is in the early planning stages of the transition to the new global headquarters, which is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter 2020.

The Fight Against BRD Starts in the Cow Herd

Che Trejo, DVM, MS, Beef Technical Services, Zoetis

It’s estimated that nearly 9% of beef cattle operations have a calf persistently infected (PI) with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV). This might seem like a small percentage, but presence of BVDV can mean a risk for something more. Producers are 43% more likely to need to treat bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in feedlot calves exposed to a BVD-PI animal, a study found.

Reducing exposure to BVDV is an important place to start in the battle against BRD:

·        Step 1: Vaccinate the cow herd before breeding. Only 28% of operations report vaccinating cows for BVDV.1 Yet, a nonvaccinated cow herd is like an uninsured driver out on the road. No contact, and you likely won’t have any issues. But any contact, and you could have a costly disaster.

o   Modified-live virus (MLV) vaccination program: BVDV is most commonly spread by a PI animal acting as a carrier for the virus, so using MLV vaccines that offer protection against BVD-PI calves is the most effective way to protect the cow and unborn calf.3,4 Look for a specific statement on the vaccine label that the vaccine prevents calves from being persistently infected with BVD Types 1 and 2 viruses.

o   Alternative vaccination program: If you can’t implement or maintain a pregnant cow MLV vaccination program, research demonstrates there's an effective alternative. Heifers can be given two prebreeding doses of Bovi-Shield Gold FP® 5. This can be followed by either annual revaccination with the same MLV vaccine or CattleMaster Gold FP® 5, a combination inactivated BVD vaccine containing a temperature-sensitive infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) component. The study demonstrated effective protection against BVD or IBR exposure with both cow herd vaccination program options.5

·        Step 2: Test and remove PI calves. While producers are generally aware of BVDV, a study shared only 4.2% of operations reported testing calves for persistent infection with the virus.1 However, 70% to 90% of BVD infections are subclinical — so most PI calves appear normal — but these animals continually shed the virus and pose a constant risk of exposure to nonprotected cattle.3

o   Test all calves before bull turnout and any incoming cattle, including heifers, cows, bulls and calves born from purchased pregnant cows or heifers. Dams of any positive calves also need to be tested.

·        Step 3: Protect young calves from BVDV. Protecting the unborn calf with a cow herd vaccination program is step one. Another important step is implementing an effective young calf respiratory program that protects against bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), IBR, parainfluenza 3 (PI3), BVD Types 1 and 2 viruses and Mannheimia haemolytica. BRD has many causes and complexities, but BVDV Types 1 and 2 are two of the major viral causes of BRD. BVDV also suppresses the immune system, which can lead to secondary infections from BRD pathogens.

o   BRSV vaccination at birth with an intranasal vaccination followed by a booster vaccination at branding may have some disease-sparing effects during summer exposure to BRSV, according to a study in Montana.6

o   Vaccination on arrival at the feedlot alone with Inforce 3® and One Shot® BVD (no antibiotic on arrival) has been shown to significantly reduce (p = 0.01) second and third treatments for BRD when compared with another vaccination protocol.7

These steps to help control BVDV in the cow/calf operation can reduce the potential of a BVD-PI animal, improve overall cattle health in your herd and help reduce the risk for BRD in the calves you sell.

Tuesday August 13 Ag News

Platte Valley Cattlemen Outlook Meeting is Aug 19thBoyd Hellbusch, PVC President

First of all, I would like to thank all of you who golfed, sponsored and/or donated prizes for our golf outing in Humphrey and Leigh.  Without you this event would not be possible and we wouldn’t be where we are today without your support.  Also, we would like to thank all those that came to the Platte and Colfax County Fairs and grabbed a burger and helped support the 4-H kids.   

With that said we are having our annual outlook meeting on Monday, August 19th at Jarad and Kathy Doernaman’s barn venue in Clarkson with social hour at 6:00 p.m. and our meal to begin at 7:00 p.m.  The featured guest will be John Nelson.  John is employed at Producers Livestock and will be talking to us about what the future markets are looking like.  We will also have a representative from the Nebraska Cattleman’s here to discuss new updates. 

We would like to thank Pinnacle Bank for sponsoring our social hour.  We look forward to seeing you all in Clarkson at Doernaman’s Barn on August 19th.  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

Healthy Soils Task Force Sets Initial Meeting

Steve Wellman, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, has scheduled a meeting of the Healthy Soils Task Force for Aug. 14. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. at the Nebraska State Office Building, 4th Floor, 301 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln.

This is the initial meeting of the Healthy Soils Task Force created by LB243 which passed in the Nebraska Legislature this past session.

For more details, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2341.


A 65-year comparative analysis between U.S. yields of irrigated and rain-fed crops has sounded a message to farmers, land managers and policymakers: Mind the gap.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Suat Irmak and Meetpal Kukal analyzed the annual yields of nine crops — corn, soybean, spring wheat, winter wheat, sorghum, cotton, barley, oats and alfalfa — on a county-by-county basis from 1950 to 2015.

Irmak and Kukal found that the yield gaps — differences in food produced with irrigation vs. rainfall alone — generally widened over that span, a trend they suspect stems partly from climate change and technological advances in irrigation management.

But the rates at which those gaps widened, and how consistently they did so over time, differed substantially among the crops and the regions that grew them.

“You get more yield from irrigated than rain-fed (agriculture), but the magnitude of yield increase is a function of several variables,” said Irmak, Eberhard Distinguished Professor of Biological Systems Engineering. “It’s not surprising that as precipitation increases, the yield gap decreases. But that also has spatial and temporal attributes, so it’s not really constant in all regions or for all crops.”

Irrigation most benefited corn yields, according to the study, boosting them 270% nationally over the 65-year span. The unique growing season of winter wheat meant that its yields rose only 25% with irrigation, the smallest gain among the nine crops. Yet even crop-specific yield gaps varied noticeably by location. Two corn-growing areas separated by about 700 miles, for instance, saw a seven-fold difference in irrigation-related yield gains.

Having mapped such differences across roughly 80% of the United States’ cultivated land, the researchers said they hope the findings can help guide future crop production while calibrating water management and irrigation use nationwide.

Regions or states with historically wider gaps, especially those growing the most irrigation-thirsty crops, might consider irrigating more or investing in soil management practices that help conserve moisture, Irmak said. Those that have historically seen little difference — or, in a few areas, seen the gaps between irrigated and rain-fed yields narrow — might decide to allocate their resources in other ways.

The county-level precision of the study’s data might also help individual farmers better estimate the potential return on investing in irrigation.

“We have those answers for different crops in each county, so they can go back and do some analysis,” Irmak said. “If they want to buy a center-pivot for approximately $150,000 and convert their land to irrigation, they can quantify the (return on investment). Of course, these are ranges (of values), but they can say, for instance, ‘I can increase my yield by about four to six tonnes per hectare. Depending on grain prices, over the course of five to eight years, I can pay for my pivot.’”

Irmak and Kukal likewise quantified the number of years that given counties failed to generate any meaningful yields of a crop when relying only on rainfall, which some farmers might factor into long-term risk assessments, the researchers said.

“There’s a bigger risk with rain-fed (agriculture),” Irmak said. “There’s an overall, long-term average value for rain-fed yields, but that doesn’t mean you are going to get that yield every year. That’s why we consider irrigation an insurance policy that normalizes things and provides stable productivity under varying climatic conditions.”

The researchers, who in 2018 published studies that quantified the lengthening of growing seasons and the agricultural effects of climate trends across the United States, said they expect farmers and other ag professionals to welcome the depth and complexity of the new analysis.

“Farmers are very smart people,” Irmak said. “In extension, there is a general concept that you need to provide simple information and (focus on making it) understandable. And that’s great. But that was probably (truer) a long time ago. Things are changing as farmers and their operations are getting more complex and sophisticated, especially in changing climatic conditions.

“I interact with a lot of farmers, almost on a daily basis. They want more information. They really appreciate more and more scientifically based data.”

By contrast, Irmak conceded that he regularly encounters irrigation-related pushback from colleagues who study environmental issues, including irrigation’s role in ferrying nitrogen and other fertilizer components into groundwater. A desire to balance that perspective with the upsides of irrigation motivated Irmak and Kukal to publish the new study in Environmental Research Communications.

“Irrigation on 24% of the cultivated land produces 40% of the total global food supply,” Irmak said. “If we stopped irrigating today, more people would suffer or worse due to substantially reduced food, fiber and feed production, especially in areas that are already experiencing a significant shortage of supplies. In my program, we look at reducing the negative environmental impact of irrigation. And I do acknowledge that irrigation may have some negative environmental effects when management is not practiced properly; there’s no question about that.

“But overall, irrigation contributes substantially (to food production), and I want to get this message to platforms where the most environmental colleagues are. I thought this could contribute to getting environmentally and agriculturally focused people thinking about irrigation’s positive impacts rather than focusing on just their own ideas.”

ICA encourages beef processors to expand slaughter following Tyson fire

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has been in contact with Tyson leadership following the fire on Friday at the Holcomb, Kansas plant.

The plant had a capacity of about 6,000 head per day, or approximately 6% of the U.S. total fed cattle slaughter capacity. Tyson is working to absorb the displaced cattle by increasing slaughter at its other facilities to keep the markets current. ICA encourages Tyson and other beef processors to explore all options possible to keep cattle processing current.

Unfortunately, the Denison plant no longer contains the equipment needed for slaughter.

Cattle markets have already responded to the news of the fire, but the long-term impact on the cattle industry remains to be seen.

NIAA Hosts Newest Antibiotic Symposium with NIAMRRE

The 9th Annual NIAA Antibiotic Symposium will be in Ames, Iowa at Iowa State University, October 15–17, 2019. The theme of the Symposium will be Communicating the Science of Responsible Antibiotic Use in Animal Agriculture.

This year's Symposium will be hosted by NIAA in collaboration with the prestigious National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NIAMRRE), which was competitively selected lead the collective efforts related to Antibiotics in animal, human and environmental health of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.

As misreported or inaccurate statistics continue to be repeated in negative media coverage of animal agriculture, and the public makes purchasing and family nutrition decisions based on distorted information, the Symposium will study how the industry can better communicate to the public in an effective and positive manner.

"We are especially excited to provide the participants with an opportunity to start to explore the "science of science communication" related to antibiotic use, stewardship and resistance, a field that NIAMRRE focuses on as a priority initiative," says NIAMRRE's Executive Director Dr. Paul Plummer.

Presentations and a hands–on workshop developed in partnership with the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication will help attendees understand how to take science updates and new advances in research, technology and innovation and convey useful information to meet the needs of consumers, which may help shift the attitudes of the public and media in the future.

In addition to the communication segment, the Symposium will unpack science updates from across the industry and interact with industry representatives of new and evolving technologies to help meet the demands of responsible use of antibiotics.

The Symposium's attendees and presenters will include beef, dairy, pork and poultry producers, processors, and retailers, private practice and state agency veterinarians, researchers and scientists from the FDA, USDA and CDC as well as University animal agriculture and veterinary program academia.

For more information or to register for the 9th Annual NIAA Antibiotics Symposium go to

Wind powers opportunity: American Wind Week 2019 kicks off August 11

This August 11-17 marks the third annual American Wind Week, a national celebration of U.S. leadership in wind energy production that started in 2017 when wind became the country’s largest source of renewable electricity generating capacity. During Wind Week, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and supporters of wind energy highlight the many ways that wind powers opportunity at dozens of events across the country and online with #AmericanWindWeek.

“Wind Powers Opportunity” is the theme of this year’s American Wind Week, in recognition of the many economic and environmental benefits that come along with expanded U.S. wind energy production. Today, a record 114,000 Americans work in wind, including many careers at the more than 500 U.S. factories that supply wind farms. America’s veterans find wind jobs at a rate 67% higher than the average industry because they have the skills and dedication to keep wind farms running rain or shine.  Rural communities and family farms that host wind energy projects benefit from well-paying local careers and over $1 billion a year paid toward state and local taxes and annual landowner lease payments. 

“For this year’s American Wind Week, there’s a record amount of U.S. wind energy under construction and the 114,000 Americans in our industry are working hard to make the energy you use cheaper and cleaner,” said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan. “As an all-American energy source, wind is a leading contributor to domestic energy production, economic opportunity, and the fight to minimize climate change.”

Major businesses like Amazon, General Motors, Google, Home Depot, Walmart, and many others are buying rural America’s valuable wind energy cash-crop to power their operations because wind is low-cost, reliable and clean. It’s increasingly likely that a product you use or a store you visit, whether it’s your Starbucks coffee run, supplies at Target, or a cold Budweiser, is powered at least in part by wind. In addition to providing cheap electricity, wind power is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to cut carbon emissions as well as air pollution that triggers asthma attacks and creates smog, avoiding $9.4 billion in public health costs in 2018 alone.

Wind power’s contributions to clean air and stronger economy are on track to grow substantially with a record amount of wind power under construction and development in the U.S. At the same time, communities on the East Coast, West Coast, and around the Great Lakes are preparing to harness world-class U.S. offshore wind resources at scale. Building a U.S. offshore wind industry will reliably deliver large amounts of clean energy to America’s biggest population centers, grow tens of thousands of well-paying American jobs, revitalize ports and coastal infrastructure, and create a nearly $70 billion U.S. supply chain.

“Wind power is leading the transformation to a cleaner, stronger U.S. economy,” said Rob Caldwell, AWEA Board Chair and President of Duke Energy Renewables. “Businesses in the wind industry power opportunity for workers, rural communities, and factory towns across America. This American Wind Week, we encourage clean energy supporters in all 50 states to speak with one voice and tell your friends, family and neighbors why you’re proud of U.S. leadership in wind energy production.”

Anyone can participate in American Wind Week by posting on social media in support of wind energy from August 11 to 17 using #AmericanWindWeek. Each weekday from August 12th through the 16th, AWEA will blog and share highlights from events happening around the country themed after five unique ways that wind powers opportunity for Americans. To kick off American Wind Week, a full-sized wind turbine blade will take center stage at the Iowa State Fair where the 2020 presidential candidates and Iowa’s elected leaders will be stumping. Anyone can stop by to sign the blade and speak with wind industry workers.

USDA to Conduct Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Survey

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is contacting producers for the September Hogs and Pigs Survey. This survey is a comprehensive gathering of quarterly data on market hog and breeding stock inventories as well as pig crop and farrowing intentions in every state.

NASS will mail the questionnaires to all producers selected for the survey in mid-August. To ensure all survey participants have an opportunity to respond, NASS interviewers will contact producers who do not respond by mail or online to conduct telephone and personal interviews.

The data gathered in this survey allows NASS to accurately measure and report conditions and trends in the U.S. pork industry. The information is used by all sectors of the industry, including producers themselves, to help make sound and timely business decisions. NASS will publish the survey results in the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report.

Growth Energy and GasBuddy Partner to Launch Unleaded 88 on GasBuddy App

Today, Growth Energy and GasBuddy announced that drivers across the nation can now take advantage of Unleaded 88’s affordable prices through GasBuddy’s database and app. Unleaded 88 is a fuel with 15 percent renewable biofuel approved for cars 2001 and newer, and thanks to the recent lifting of outdated government regulations, is now available for sale at the pump all year-round. 

GasBuddy is a smartphone app and website used by millions of drivers every month to avoid paying full price for fuel. It is the world’s largest database of real-time, crowdsourced gas price data covering more than 150,000 North American gas stations. 

This new partnership allows GasBuddy’s app users access to a comprehensive database of Unleaded 88 fuel at more than 1,800 retail locations around the country. Additionally, Growth Energy and GasBuddy have launched an advertising campaign within the app to promote the benefits of the renewable fuel to consumers.

“With fuel prices constantly changing and varying between stations, GasBuddy’s goal is to be the most comprehensive platform for drivers to make fuel-purchasing decisions and save money on every fill-up,” said Patrick DeHaan, head petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. “By including the availability of Unleaded 88, we’re continuing our commitment to our users.”  

Emily Skor, CEO of the world’s largest ethanol trade association, Growth Energy, celebrated this new partnership and the opportunity for millions of drivers to find the more affordable choice at the pump with Unleaded 88 through GasBuddy’s popular price-tracking app:

“We are thrilled to partner with the nation’s leading and most respected fuel app to help more Americans access the engine smart and earth kind benefits of Unleaded 88,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Drivers all over the U.S. rely on GasBuddy to fuel their lives and we are looking forward to giving them another option at the pump that is cleaner-burning and provides a savings of up to 10 cents per gallon.”
Today, Kwik Trip, Sheetz, Casey’s General Store, Cumberland Farms, Thorntons, Kum & Go, RaceTrac, QuikTrip, Rutter’s, Minnoco, Protec Fuel, Murphy USA, Family Express, Royal Farms, Pump & Pantry, and Bosselmans offer Unleaded 88 at more than 1,800 locations across 31 states. For more information on Unleaded 88, head to 

Statement on Administration's Plans for Imposing New 10 Percent Tariffs

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the national campaign supported by over 150 of America’s largest trade organizations representing retail, tech, manufacturing and agriculture, today released the following statement after the administration announced additional information on how they will impose 10 percent tariffs on goods Americans buy.

“While we appreciate the delay of some of the tariffs, this clearly shows that the administration recognizes that tariffs are taxes paid by Americans. It appears the administration understands that taxes on everyday products such as toys, clothes and electronics would be politically unpopular and hurt those who can least afford it.

"Unfortunately, today’s announcement doesn’t address the vast majority of tariffs that are driving uncertainty, putting farmers out of business and causing small businesses to slow hiring. Instead of picking temporary winners and losers and holding the U.S. economy hostage, it is time to reach an agreement that finally puts an end to the trade war.”

Launch of Land O’Lakes Venture37 amplifies world-class expertise of Land O’Lakes International Development

Land O’Lakes International Development announced today a new brand and a new name – Land O’Lakes Venture37 – to further bolster its strong reputation for global leadership in helping businesses grow, linking farmers to markets and empowering communities to thrive. The new brand builds on the achievements of Land O’Lakes International Development in nearly 80 countries since 1981.

“You may ask why we chose Land O’Lakes Venture37? It’s simple. Farmers are working with approximately 37% of the earth’s land to grow the crops and raise the livestock that nourish our growing global population,” said John Ellenberger, executive director of Land O’Lakes Venture37 and senior vice president of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “Working together across continents, cultures and markets is critical to make abundant, nutritious food available so everyone can realize their full potential. It’s a challenge Land O’Lakes International Development has helped meet for nearly 40 years through more than 300 unique projects. The launch of Land O’Lakes Venture37 is an exciting new chapter that builds on our long history of results.”

A revamped website, was launched today in concert with the announcement.

Ellenberger noted the new name and branding maintain a clear link between the organization’s nonprofit international development mission and the unique value of technical expertise offered by its affiliation with Land O’Lakes, Inc., one of America’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives.

“One of the elements that truly sets Land O’Lakes Venture37 apart, and has set us apart for almost 40 years, is our close bond with a leading farmer-owned cooperative that brings nearly a century of experience unlocking the potential of dairy, livestock and crop farms in fulfillment of our purpose of Feeding Human Progress,” Ellenberger said. “Farmers help one another, no matter where they live, and the new Land O’Lakes Venture37 brand shines a spotlight on our shared work to bring agricultural solutions to countries across the globe.”

Current activities will continue uninterrupted across 16 projects spanning 10 countries. These include several projects in their early stages, with five capacity-building projects announced last fall spanning Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and three additional projects launched this year in Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania.

Monday August 12 Ag News


For the week ending August 11, 2019, there were 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 12 short, 78 adequate, and 8 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 11 short, 79 adequate, and 9 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 20 fair, 60 good, and 15 excellent. Corn silking was 95 percent, near 99 for both last year and the five-year average. Dough was 41 percent, well behind 74 last year and 62 average. Dented was 3 percent, behind 16 last year and 11 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 22 fair, 62 good, and 11 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 87 percent, behind 96 both last year and average. Setting pods was 66 percent, behind 78 last year and 76 average.

Winter wheat harvested was 90 percent, behind 97 last year and 99 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 16 fair, 70 good, and 13 excellent. Sorghum headed was 68 percent, well behind 90 last year, and behind 82 average. Coloring was 9 percent, behind 20 last year and 16 average.

Oats harvested was 89 percent, behind 98 last year, and near 92 average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 11 poor, 37 fair, 43 good, and 8 excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 87 percent. Setting pods was 46 percent.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 15 fair, 66 good, and 15 excellent.


Iowa farmers continued to experience abnormally dry field conditions across most of the State during the week ending August 11, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities included spraying fungicides and insecticides and harvesting hay and oats.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 7 percent very short, 29 percent short, 62 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. East central, south central and southeast Iowa districts reported topsoil moisture conditions as over 55 percent short to very short. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 4 percent very short, 23 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Ninety-two percent of the corn crop has begun to silk, 17 days behind last year and nearly two weeks behind the 5-year average. Forty-one percent of the crop reached the dough stage, 10 days behind last year and 8 days behind average. One percent of the crop statewide reached the dented stage. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-seven percent of the soybean crop has started to bloom, 15 days behind last year and 12 days behind average. Fifty-six percent of the crop has started setting pods, also 15 days behind last year and 12 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 63 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-nine percent of the oat crop has been harvested for grain, 2 days behind both last year and average.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 92 percent, 5 days behind average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 25 percent, 1 week behind average. Hay condition declined to 57 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition declined for the sixth straight week and rated a season low 46 percent good to excellent. There were no major livestock issues reported this past week.

Corn, Soybean Conditions Unchanged From Previous Week

Corn and soybean development continued to lag behind the average pace last week, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released Monday. Condition ratings for both crops held steady but remained the lowest since 2012.

As of Sunday, Aug. 11, 90% of corn was silking, up 12 percentage points from 78% the previous week but 7 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%. That was an improvement from last Monday's report when silking was running 15 percentage points behind average. Corn in the dough stage was pegged at 39%, up 27 percentage points from 23% the previous week but 22 percentage points behind the five-year average of 61%. That was further behind average than in last Monday's report when corn in the dough stage was 19 percentage points behind the average. Corn dented was 7%, behind last year's 24% and 9 percentage points behind the five-year average of 16%.

Corn's good-to-excellent condition rating was estimated at 57%, unchanged from the previous week but still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year in seven years.

Soybean development also continued to lag behind average last week. The portion of the crop that was blooming was 82%, up 10 percentage points from the previous week but 11 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%. That was a slight improvement from last Monday's report when blooming was running 15 percentage points behind average. Soybeans setting pods reached 54% as of Sunday, 22 percentage points behind the average pace of 76%. That was also an improvement from last week's report, when soybeans setting pods was 26 percentage points behind the average pace.

Like corn, the condition of the soybean crop also held steady last week with a good-to-excellent rating of 54%. That compares to last year's 66%, and also remains the lowest good-to-excellent rating for the crop since 2012.

Winter wheat harvest continued to slowly inch toward the finish line, reaching 89% complete as of Sunday, behind last year's 93% and 7 percentage points behind the five-year average of 96%.

Spring wheat harvest progress was also slow, up only 6 percentage points from the previous week to reach 8% as of Sunday, behind last year's 32% and 22 percentage points behind the five-year average of 30%.

Spring wheat condition -- for the portion of the crop still in the field -- was estimated at 69% good to excellent, down from 73% the previous week.

Sorghum heading reached 61% as of Sunday, behind the five-year average of 74%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 26%, behind the average of 35%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 19%, behind the average of 23%. Sorghum condition was rated 66% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from 68% the previous week. Oats were 48% harvested, behind the average of 64%.

Cotton setting bolls was 77%, slightly ahead of the average of 76%. Cotton bolls opening was at 20%, ahead of the average of 10%. Cotton condition was rated 56% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 54% the previous week. Rice headed was pegged at 76%, behind the average of 85%. Rice harvested was 7%, slightly behind the average of 9%. Rice condition was rated 70% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 68% the previous week.

Farmers Prevented from Planting Crops on More Than 19 Million Acres

Agricultural producers reported they were not able to plant crops on more than 19.4 million acres in 2019, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This marks the most prevented plant acres reported since USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began releasing the report in 2007 and 17.49 million acres more than reported at this time last year.

Of those prevented plant acres, more than 73 percent were in 12 Midwestern states, where heavy rainfall and flooding this year has prevented many producers from planting mostly corn, soybeans and wheat.

“Agricultural producers across the country are facing significant challenges and tough decisions on their farms and ranches,” USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said. “We know these are challenging times for farmers, and we have worked to improve flexibility of our programs to assist producers prevented from planting.”

Cover Crops

USDA supported planting of cover crops on fields where farmers were not able to plant because of their benefits in preventing soil erosion, protecting water quality and boosting soil health. The report showed where producers planted 2.71 million acres of cover crops so far in 2019, compared with 2.14 million acres at this time in 2018 and 1.88 million at this time in 2017.

To help make cover crops a more viable option, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) adjusted the haying and grazing date of cover crops, and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service held signups in select states that offered producers assistance in planting cover crops. Meanwhile, USDA added other flexibilities to help impacted producers, including adjusting the deadline to file acreage reports in select states.

About the Report

This data report aggregates information from crop acreage reports as of August 1, 2019, which producers file with FSA to maintain program eligibility and to calculate losses for various disaster assistance programs. The crop acreage data report outlines the number of acres planted, prevented from planting, and failed by crop, county and state. To find more information, view the Aug. 12 report.

Because some producers have not completed their filing and data are still being processed, FSA will make available subsequent data reports in September, October, November, December and January. You can find reports from 2007 to the present on FSA’s Crop Acreage Data webpage.

To receive FSA program benefits, producers are required to submit crop acreage reports annually regarding all cropland uses on their farm. This report includes data for producers who had already filed for all deadlines in 2019, including the mid-July deadlines, which are for spring-seeded crops in many locations.

Other Prevented Planting Indicators

In addition to acreage reports filed with FSA, producers with crop insurance coverage for prevented planting file claims with their insurance providers. These claims are provided to RMA and may differ from the prevented planted acres reported to FSA. More information on prevented plant coverage is available on the RMA website.


Based on August 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2019 corn production is a record forecast at 1.79 billion bushels, up slightly from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Acreage harvested for grain is estimated at 9.65 million acres, up 4 percent from a year ago. Average yield is forecast at 186 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from last year.

Soybean production in Nebraska is forecast at 287 million bushels, down 14 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 4.95 million acres, is down 12 percent from 2018. Yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from last year.

Nebraska's 2019 winter wheat crop is forecast at 56.3 million bushels, up 14 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain, at 970,000 acres, is down 4 percent from last year. Record yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, up 9 bushels per acre from 2018.

Sorghum production of 15.5 million bushels, is down 3 percent from a year ago. Area for grain harvest, at 165,000 acres, is down 5,000 acres from last year. Yield is forecast at 94 bushels per acre, unchanged from last year.

Oat production is forecast at 1.18 million bushels, down 22 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain, at 19,000 acres, is down 3,000 acres from last year. Yield is forecast at 62 bushels per acre, down 7 bushels from 2018.

Dry edible bean production is forecast at 2.43 thousand cwt. The average yield is forecast at 2,310 pounds per acre. Acres planted by class are as follows: Pinto, 49,400; Great Northern, 44,500; Black, 2,600; Light Red Kidney, 11,800 acres.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.37 million tons, down 3 percent from 2018. Area for harvest, at 43,200 acres is down 900 acres from last year. Yield is estimated at 31.6 tons per acre, down 0.3 ton from a year ago.

Alfalfa hay production is forecast at 3.42 million tons, down 6 percent from last year. Expected yield, at 3.80 tons per acre, is down 0.5 ton from last year. All other hay production is forecast at 2.56 million tons, down 23 percent from last year. Forecasted yield, at 1.60 tons per acre, is down 0.2 ton from last year.


Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.52 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 191.0 bushels per acre, down 5.0 bushels from last year. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 13.6 million acres. An estimated 13.2 million of the acres planted will be harvested for grain.

Soybean production is forecast at 502 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 55.0 bushels per acre, 2.0 bushels lower than 2018. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 9.20 million acres with 9.13 million acres to be harvested.

Oat production for grain is forecast at 5.20 million bushels. The expected yield is 65.0 bushels per acre, up 2.0 bushels from the July forecast and from 2018. An estimated 80,000 acres will be harvested for grain.

Iowa hay yield for alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures is expected to be 3.30 tons per acre with a total production of 2.31 million tons, up 1 percent from the previous year. The projected yield for other hay is 2.40 tons per acre, with production at 912,000 tons, up 30 percent from 2018.

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 4 Percent from 2018

Soybean Production Down 19 Percent from 2018
Winter Wheat Production Up 3 Percent from July Forecast

Corn production for grain is forecast at 13.9 billion bushels, down 4 percent from 2018. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 169.5 bushels per harvested acre, down 6.9 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 82.0 million acres, down 2 percent from the previous forecast, but up less than 1 percent from 2018. Area planted for all purposes totaled 90.0 million acres, down 2 percent from the previous estimate but up 1 percent from 2018.

Soybean production for beans is forecast at 3.68 billion bushels, down 19 percent from 2018. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 48.5 bushels per harvested acre, down 3.1 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for beans is forecast at 75.9 million acres, down 4 percent from the previous forecast, and down 14 percent from 2018. Area planted for all purposes totaled 76.7 million acres, down 4 percent from the previous estimate, and down 14 percent from 2018.

All cotton production is forecast at 22.5 million 480-pound bales, up 23 percent from 2018. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 855 pounds per harvested acre, down 9 pounds from 2018. Upland cotton production is forecast at 21.7 million 480-pound bales, up 24 percent from 2018. Pima cotton production is forecast at 790,000 bales, down 1 percent from 2018. All cotton area harvested is forecast at 12.6 million acres, up 24 percent from 2018. All cotton planted area totaled 13.9 million acres, up 1 percent from the previous estimate but down 1 percent from 2018.

All wheat production for grain is forecast at 1.98 billion bushels, up 3 percent from the previous forecast and up 5 percent from 2018. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 51.6 bushels per harvested acre, up 1.6 bushel from the previous forecast, and up 4.0 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 38.4 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but down 3 percent from 2018.

Winter wheat production for grain is forecast at 1.33 billion bushels, up 3 percent from the previous forecast and up 12 percent from 2018. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 53.2 bushels per harvested acre, up 1.4 bushels from last month, and up 5.3 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 24.9 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but up 1 percent from 2018.

Hard Red Winter production, at 840 million bushels, is up 4 percent from the previous forecast. Soft Red Winter, at 257 million bushels, is down 1 percent from the previous forecast. White Winter, at 229 million bushels, is up 1 percent from the previous forecast. Of the White Winter production, 24.6 million bushels are Hard White and 204 million bushels are Soft White.

Durum wheat production for grain, is forecast at 57.3 million bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 26 percent from 2018. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 42.3 bushels per harvested acre, down 0.6 bushel from the previous forecast, but up 3.0 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 1.36 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but down 31 percent from 2018.

Other spring wheat production for grain is forecast at 597 million bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 4 percent from 2018. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 49.2 bushels per harvested acre, up 2.0 bushels from the previous forecast, and up 0.9 bushel from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 12.1 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but down 6 percent from 2018. Of the total production, 566 million bushels are Hard Red Spring wheat, down 4 percent from 2018.


The third edition of Agricultural Land Management Quarterly will feature results from the 2019 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey, including land values and cash rental rates. Nebraska cover crop utilization and lease considerations will be part of the discussion. The Sept. 1 lease termination deadline and the importance of a written lease will also be covered. 

The webinar is Aug. 19 at 6:00 p.m. CT and can be viewed online at

Jim Jansen and Allan Vyhnalek of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics lead the webinar. Jansen’s work focuses on agricultural finance and land economics. He directs the annual Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey and Report. Vyhnalek is a farm succession and transition extension educator.

Participants are encouraged to sign up in advance and submit questions before the event at

The webinars are free and open to the public. Recorded webinars are available online.

Another agricultural land management webinar is scheduled for Nov. 18.

For more information, contact Jim Jansen at 402-261-7572 or


Registration is open for a one-day international trade conference hosted by the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, in collaboration with the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

“What’s on the Horizon for International Trade?” is Oct. 10 at the University of Nebraska College of Law, Hamann Auditorium, 1875 N. 42nd St. The conference is free and open to the public.

The conference will begin with a 30-minute primer on key legal and economic trade concepts to set the stage for subsequent discussions with leading experts and former trade policy officials. They will share insights on today’s fast-moving trade-policy dynamics, including the future of the World Trade Organization, how new trade agreements may reshape the competitive landscape, the impact of tariffs on supply chains, and the estimated economic implications of recent tariffs on Nebraska’s economy.

Edward Alden, Ross Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Western Washington and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, will deliver the opening keynote.

A lunchtime panel will feature a discussion between former U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator Darci Vetter and current university students. Vetter serves as global lead for public affairs and vice chair for agriculture and food at Edelman.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, will provide closing remarks. A reception will follow.

Advance registration is required. To view the full agenda and to register, visit Conference sessions will be live-streamed for those unable to attend in person.

The program is approved for 4.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education credit. In-person attendance is required to receive credit.

The vision of Husker alumnus and renowned trade expert Clayton Yeutter, the Yeutter Institute connects academic disciplines related to law, business and agriculture to prepare students for leadership roles in international trade and finance, support interdisciplinary research and increase public understanding of these issues.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Following corn silage harvest, your ground can lay bare for seven to nine months.  Instead, let’s plant some crops to grow and cover it until next season.

               After silage harvest, bare ground 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?  Well, that depends primarily 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 produce 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 triticale and barley, annual ryegrass, and turnips might be better choices because these plants have the greatest forage yield potential yet this fall.  Spring oats, triticale, and barleys also will die over winter so they won’t interfere with next year’s crop.  But, dead residue from these spring cereals 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.


               To make good silage, a little help from inoculants can improve fermentation.  When and how can you get the best use from them?

               Silage inoculants can be hard to figure out.  There is no clear cut, consistent way to predict when inoculants will be most useful or cost effective.  Silage fermentation is just too complex.

               Inoculants primarily reduce storage losses.  The most effective ones contain homolactic acid bacteria like Lactobacillus plantarum.  Fermentation starts and ends quicker with inoculated silage so more silage remains for feeding.  Typically, you save about 5 percent.  Some inoculants also improve aerobic stability by using the heterolactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus buchneri 40788.  They reduce spoilage losses when silage is re-exposed to air, thus extending bunk life.  These bacteria are especially useful at reducing spoilage on the face of bunker silos.

               Inoculants consistently improve wet silage, especially sorghum silage.  If you start chopping early enough to prevent silage from being too dry at the end, inoculants should help.

               In the past, inoculants rarely improved properly made corn silage – silage at the right moisture, chopped fine, packed well, and sealed tight.  Nor did they improve dry silage.  But recently developed inoculants, with more effective strains of fermentation bacteria, are producing slightly better quality silage even from these feeds.

               If you use an inoculant, make sure that it contains live bacteria.  Also check to see that the inoculant provides at least 100,000 colony forming units per gram of wet forage when applied at the recommended rate at the chopper.  You need plenty of live bacteria for the inoculant to do you any good.

               But used in the right conditions, inoculants can be worth it.

The Implications of this Year’s Rains on Next Year’s Calf Crop

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator

This year it is going to be very important to test the nutrient content of forages and hays and to feed or graze accordingly. 

A snowy/rainy spring gave way to above average rainfall for the summer in much of the mid-section of the country. While most of us know better than to complain about rain, the moisture has sure presented challenges for this year’s hay crop.

Abundant moisture resulted in rapid growth and maturity in forages. The continued rain delayed cutting the forage, adding to the maturity of the crop, and unfortunately, a lot of hay has been rained on between cutting and baling. This combination is most certainly going to result in poor quality hay, even if tonnage is adequate.

Even forages that are intended for late summer, fall, or winter grazing are likely to be lower in protein and energy than usual due to the rapid and abundant growth which resulted in a lot of stem and seed head production and not as much leaf material.

While it is always a good practice to test the nutrient content of forages and hays, this is going to be a very important year to test it and to feed or graze accordingly based on the nutrient content of the forage and the nutrient requirements of the cattle at various stages of production.

For example, research has shown that a greater percentage of cows will conceive when they are on an increasing plane of nutrition rather than on a decreasing plane of nutrition. Therefore, May calving cows and heifers may need supplemental protein and energy during the breeding season even though grass is abundant this summer.

Early spring calving cows typically graze deferred forages in the winter and receive hay and supplement from calving time until green grass is available, again. If the winter forage is lower in quality than most years, this could result in lower body condition of the cows coming into calving. Once calving ensues, the energy needs of the now lactating cow doubles, making this a difficult time for the cow to gain weight if necessary. Cows calving in a body condition score below 5 (1-9 scale) are less likely to rebreed and also have reduced immunoglobulins to pass onto the newborn in the colostrum. Therefore, maintaining a body condition score of no less than 5 on mature cows and no less than 6 on heifers during the winter is important and should be closely monitored this winter, due to forage maturity and quality.

Sending forage and hay samples to a commercial laboratory is an economical way to know what hay to feed at each production segment as well as how much supplement to feed to ensure requirements are met without overfeeding costly supplement.

University of Nebraska Extension personnel are available to assist in estimating nutrient requirements and ration formulation.

Fischer Statement on EPA Granting 31 Small Refinery Exemptions

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement on the announcement that the EPA will grant 31 exemptions to small refineries:

“I’m pleased to see President Trump and the administration head in a positive direction by waiving fewer gallons of ethanol this time around, but there’s more that must be done. For Nebraska farmers and ethanol producers, there needs to be order and transparency in what is now a messy exemption process. That’s why I’m focused on building support for my bipartisan bill – the RFS Integrity Act – that will fix this issue and provide rural America with much-needed certainty and predictability.”

Earlier this summer, Senator Fischer introduced the bipartisan RFS Integrity Act of 2019. The bill aims to add order and transparency to a messy and opaque Small Refinery Exemption process. It sets a deadline for refiners to apply for exemptions and requires the EPA to account for lost gallons when coming up with Renewable Volume Obligations. Additionally, the legislation mandates more transparency in how and when the EPA reports Small Refinery Exemptions. Currently, the RFS Integrity Act has nine cosponsors, five Republicans and four Democrats.

Nebraska Ethanol Board comments on refinery biofuel waivers

On Aug. 9, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they granted 31 small refinery biofuel waivers for 2018. This follows the 54 waivers the Trump Administration granted in 2016 and 2017, which caused 2.6 billion gallons of demand destruction. These new waivers add another loss of 1.4 billion gallons, for a total loss of 4 billion gallons.

“Over the past two years, the EPA has granted hardship waivers to refineries owned by companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron,” said Roger Berry, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “Their continued handouts to the oil industry comes during a time when heartland farmers are really struggling due to depressed commodity prices, flooding and trade wars. Securing access and demand for homegrown, cleaner-burning biofuels should be top priority from an economic and environmental standpoint, not destroying the marketplace program the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was created for.”

Berry urges everyone to show their continued support for the RFS. American Coalition for Ethanol highlights the many benefits of the RFS: it’s a program that saves American families hundreds of dollars a year in gasoline purchases; has deterred more than $40 billion in foreign oil purchases thus far; reduces lifecycle greenhouse gases emissions by 42 percent; and serves as a catalyst for technology innovation and private-sector investment in advanced biofuels.

The EPA released proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the RFS and is accepting comments on the proposal until Aug. 30, 2019. The public is invited to engage and make their voices heard regarding the proposed rule here.

“Exempting refiners from blending their obligated share of ethanol directly undermines demand for the quality fuel produced by our hard working farmers and the 1,400 Nebraskans directly employed in the ethanol industry,” Berry said. “I urge all who care about access to cleaner-burning fuel to contact your members of Congress to call for immediate action and submit your comments by Aug. 30. State the need to reallocate the 4 billion lost gallons in the 2020 RVOs.”


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has confirmed a case of Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) in a horse in Lincoln County.

VS is a viral disease which primarily affects horses and cattle, but can also affect sheep, goats and swine. The disease is characterized by fever and the formation of blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves and teats. When the blisters break, there is usually salivation and nasal discharge. As a result of these painful lesions, infected animals may refuse to eat and drink, which can lead to weight loss. There are no USDA-approved vaccines for VS.

NDA has quarantined the livestock on the affected farm. The farm will remain under quarantine for at least 14 days after the onset of lesions in the last affected animal on the premises.

“Protecting the health and safety of Nebraska’s animals is of the utmost importance in the state,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes. “Unfortunately, based on VS confirmations in other states and transmission patterns, it was not unexpected to see this disease show up in Nebraska.”

“We want horse and cattle owners to be aware and consider taking precautions, particularly with animals that may be comingling with other animals at events over the next several months especially now that we know the disease is in Nebraska,” Hughes said.

The VS virus is primarily transmitted through the bites of infected insects or midges, so consider treatments to reduce flies and other insects in quarters where animals are housed. VS also can be spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals.

Nebraska has not seen this disease in livestock since 2015. To assist in helping prevent the spread of the disease into the state, Nebraska has placed import restrictions for livestock coming into the state from states that has confirmed VS cases. If you are considering moving an animal into Nebraska from an affected state, please call 402-471-2351 to learn more about the importation order.

Individuals from Nebraska transporting animals to other states should contact the destination state to learn about their import requirements before transporting animals.

“The VS virus itself usually runs its course in five to seven days, and it can take up to an additional seven days for that infected animal to recover from the symptoms,” said Hughes.

Although humans can become infected when handling the affected animals, it rarely occurs. To avoid human exposure, people should use personal protective measures when handling affected animals.

“Freezing temperatures kill the insects that spread the virus, so, until cold weather moves in, VS will continue to be a threat,” Hughes said.

For more information on VS, visit:

$284,000 Raised for Ronald McDonald Houses

“One hundred and twenty-one days ago, I had a kidney transplant. I didn’t know if I was ever going to attend the Iowa State Fair again, and I sure didn’t dream I’d be doing this,” said Brian Thill before choosing the champion steer in this year’s event.

“Our family knows the hidden costs that families go through when you have an ill one. I remember my wife and I having a discussion about [the fact that] it costs $42 to park, and those types of things can add up when you’re in the hospital,” said Thill. “Thank God the Ronald McDonald House is there for those families.”

Thill, of Pleasantville, served as the official judge for the 37th annual Governor’s Charity Steer on August 10. The show and auction raised over $284,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa City and Sioux City. The houses are located near hospitals and provide a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children. The Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association sponsor the annual steer show and auction, which was hosted by Governor Kim Reynolds in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair.

Since its inception in 1983, the Governor’s Charity Steer Show has raised over $3.8 million for the Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa. This year’s event included 25 steers, the Iowa youth who raised them and celebrity show persons, including Governor Kim Reynolds.

Thill selected “Richard”, the steer raised by Makia Smith and shown by Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, as this year’s “Judge’s Choice.” Richard was sponsored by the Crawford County Cattlemen’s Association and purchased by a coalition of Sioux County Businesses for $9,000, with an additional $1,000 support from the lieutenant governor and others. The market value of the steer was also donated, bringing the total donation to $11,498.72.

The steer shown by Brian Moore, Former District 58 State Representative, was chosen by the crowd as People’s Choice. “Straight Profit” was raised by Riley Miller, sponsored by the Jackson County Cattlemen, and purchased by Johnson Family Farms.

Justine Stevenson, representing the Seeds of Hope Foundation, earned the Showmanship Award from judge Terry Chapman of Tipton. Stevenson’s steer, “Seeds of Hope”, was raised by Brianna Wolfer of Albia and sponsored and purchased by the Monroe County Cattlemen and supporters, including the family of Chasen Stevenson.

Tyson to Rebuild Kansas Plant

Tyson Foods said Monday its beef plant in Holcomb, Kansas, will be shut down indefinitely after a weekend fire, but the company will rebuild and employees will be paid until production resumes.

A spokeswoman for Tyson said about 3,800 people work at the plant.

The plant is located in Holcomb, Kansas, but is often referred to as the Garden City plant, which is nearby. About 1,200 workers had to be evacuated from the plant Friday night when the fire broke out about 8:30 p.m. CDT. No injuries were reported from the fire.

"This is a difficult time for our team members and their families, and we want to ensure they're taken care of," said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats. "Today, we will notify our full-time, active team members that they'll be paid weekly until production resumes."

The Wall Street Journal reported the Holcomb facility processes up to 6,000 cattle a day, which accounts for about 5% of U.S. cattle slaughter.

Stouffer said the team members may be called on to work during this time to help with clean-up and other projects, but regardless of the hours worked, all full-time active employees are guaranteed pay.

Tyson Foods operates six plants in Kansas, and Stouffer said the company is taking steps to move production to alternative sites. "Tyson Foods has built in some redundancy to handle situations like these and we will use other plants within our network to help keep our supply chain full," Stouffer said.

NCBA, PLC Welcome Finalization of Federal Rules Modernizing ESA Implementation

Today the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Public Lands Council (PLC) welcomed the finalization of federal rules to modernize implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  This package from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) consists of three rules which improve the manner in which those agencies administer the ESA.  The rules address Sections 4, 4(d), and 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which deal with listing and critical habitat, threatened species protection, and interagency consultation, respectively.

"The ESA affects cattle-producing families across the country,” said NCBA President Jennifer Houston.  “We are grateful to Secretary Bernhardt and the staff at FWS and NMFS for bringing this long-awaited regulatory relief to American cattle farmers and ranchers.”

“With these new rules, commonsense will once again be inserted into the ESA process,” added PLC President Bob Skinner.  “Among other things, prioritizing critical habitat designations on occupied territory, streamlining the consultation process, and rolling back the ‘Blanket 4(d) Rule’ demonstrates that the agencies are reaffirming their commitment to both conserve sensitive species and safeguard rural economies.”

Barring court action, the rules package will officially take effect following a 30-day objection period.

New Rules Mean Real-World Species Protection

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Today’s Endangered Species Act reforms serve the needs of imperiled species as well as the people most affected by implementation of the law’s provisions. This makes real-world species recovery more likely as a result.

“These new regulations restore the traditional distinction between threatened and endangered species. That’s important. In the real world, the things we must do to restore a threatened species are not always the same as the ones we’d use for endangered species. This approach will eliminate unnecessary time and expense and ease the burden on farmers and ranchers who want to help species recover.

“Today’s rulemakings will also simplify environmental review and interagency consultations while maintaining effective species protections.

“Keeping species on the endangered list when they no longer face the threat of extinction takes valuable resources away from species that still need ongoing protection under the ESA. These new regulations will provide much needed consistency in the listing and de-listing process to better allocate critical resources to species in need.

“Finally, we are pleased to see one other, common-sense matter: Lands to be designated as unoccupied critical habitat for threatened and endangered species will have to actually include at least one physical or biological feature needed to conserve the species. Farm Bureau welcomes all of these changes.”

More Waivers, More Woes for Struggling Soy Markets

Amidst what now seems an unending trade war in which soy growers are caught in the middle, farmers of the U.S.’ number one export crop received another blow late in the week. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Friday night its decision to grant even more waivers of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes, awarding a whopping 31 of 38 total Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) applications for the 2018 compliance year.

Davie Stephens, a soy grower from Clinton, Kentucky and president of the American Soybean Association (ASA) responded, “Of course ASA is unhappy. These exemptions undermine President Trump's pledge to support the RFS and undermine the Administration’s efforts to support farmers who are already bearing the brunt of trade disruptions. EPA’s decision is another blow to yet another market for soybean farmers.”

Last month, EPA announced biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volumes for 2021 will remain stagnant. And, EPA again failed to account for the significant gallons lost due to SRE, which makes the proposed volume, in effect, a reduction for biofuels.

Stephens explained the latest round of waivers in context; “Reduced demand for biodiesel resulting from retroactive exemptions is estimated already to be as high as 2.5 billion gallons since 2017, which basically undercuts the purpose of the RFS. Add in this latest round of refinery exemptions coupled with the lack of growth in the proposed annual RFS volumes, and those factors send biodiesel backwards when it should be moving forward.”

The waivers announced Friday evening combined with those issued for 2016 and 2017 RFS volumes brings the total number to more than 80 retroactive waivers, which significantly reduces biodiesel demand and, bottom line, results in billions of dollars in economic harm to the U.S. biodiesel industry, including soybean farmers.

Stephens concluded, “We would like for EPA to more carefully consider the capabilities of the biodiesel industry and to support its positive potential. We’re talking about producing higher levels of domestic, renewable fuels that enhance energy diversity and security; promoting jobs and value for farmers and rural economies; and helping the environment with reduced emissions. It seems like a win, win for EPA to support the RFS.”

Disruption in Fed Beef Slaughter

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

Tyson's Finney County, Kansas, facility suffered a fire late Friday, August 9. The good news is that there were no reports of injuries, a testament to the planning and operation of the facility and emergency responders. The bad news - for cattle markets - is that this plant will remain closed indefinitely. The fire is reported to have started in the box shop but major damage - as in a collapsed portion of the roof - was also reported. The Finney County facility is west of Holcomb and Garden City, Kansas, and is a major fed cattle slaughter and boxed beef fabrication plant. The plant slaughters approximately 6,000 head per day and between 27,000 and 30,000 head per week. The is 4.5-5% of the national fed cattle slaughter.

The impact of this event on fed cattle markets will be substantial. The market is in the middle of the third quarter: supplies are heaviest, slaughter weights are ramping up, and competing meat supplies will begin their fall increase. This is the quarter with the highest volume of beef supplies and forecasts are for sustained supplies into the fourth quarter. The week of August 12 will begin with 50,000-to-60,000 animals in the southern plains needing to go to a different plant than which they were originally scheduled. And that's just the cash market trades. The number of formula cattle is substantially larger. Disruption in the southern plains will spillover nationally. I anticipate that there will be more than a modest degree of panic as the largest annual supplies are moved around temporally and spatially. The rest of this month will be difficult and there is the potential for the disruption and accompanying volatility to continue into much of the fall. The inventory of cattle are rather clear but the impact of this disruption on planning and orderly marketing is not.

The countering pressures are that packer returns are excellent: farm-to-wholesale margins are very strong. This disruption will maintain incentives for a packer to run as many hours as possible. Market-ready inventories of cattle are strong but are being depleted through the summer and this will persist into the fall. Further, prices for fed cattle have been reasonable through the summer - after early summer collapses - and feeding costs have been declining. Also, margins for retailers have been very strong and some of the strongest in recent years. There are clear economic factors countering market disruptions. But cattle markets will likely see continued volatility through the fall and possibly the remainder of the year.

What do the technicals say? This disruption will create new technical signals. Live cattle and feeder cattle contracts have fallen sharply since breaking up-trends in late April. Markets found support in late May and early June. This support was tested and held in late June. Throughout the month of August, markets have again been moving lower and approaching support levels. By them self, this behavior would suggest a buy signal and it would have been reasonable for cattle producers to lift some price protection established in the spring. But after the recent news, it is not likely this firm support at around $108 for DEC live cattle and $132 for NOV Feeder Cattle will hold. It may take several days for support to be broken and sell signals clearly generated. But I believe this to be likely. After that, the live and feeder markets will be into new territory - new lows - and charts of the open contracts will be of little use. We will have to look at weekly charts for price levels where the market will likely stop. In short, aggressive downside price protection for cattle producers will be very much needed the rest of the year.

APHIS Announces Plan to Use Farm Bill Funding to Support Animal Disease Prevention and Management

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing initial plans to carry out new animal health activities using resources provided by the 2018 Farm Bill. Section 12101 of the 2018 Farm Bill established a three-part program to comprehensively support animal disease prevention and management. The bill included funding to create two new programs: the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (vaccine bank) and the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP). It also expands funding opportunities for the existing National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).

This fall, APHIS will issue a sources sought notice to gather updated information from vaccine manufacturers interested in supplying the vaccine bank. The information will be used to develop a forward-looking vaccine acquisition strategy leading to one or more requests for proposals for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine to address a potential outbreak. For 2019, APHIS will also make available up to $10 million in funding to be divided between NADPRP and NAHLN based on the quality of proposed projects. Once fully implemented, these three programs will work together to protect and improve the health of our nation’s livestock, helping farmers and ranchers provide high-quality agricultural products to consumers here and abroad.

For our highest consequence animal diseases, it is important to have an effective insurance policy in the extremely rare chance of an outbreak. The new U.S.-only vaccine bank—a concept APHIS officials have long discussed with stakeholders and industry—allows USDA to stockpile animal vaccine and related products to use in the event of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease or other high-impact foreign animal diseases.

Our most effective strategy to protect animal health is keeping disease out of the country in the first place. To that end, the new preparedness and response program, NADPRP, allows APHIS to enter into cooperative agreements with States, universities, livestock producer organizations, and other eligible entities for targeted projects aimed at preventing animal pests and diseases from entering the United States and reducing the spread and impact of potential disease incursions. In 2019, APHIS funding will build upon and enhance current disease prevention and emergency response efforts by supporting an initial round of training and exercise projects, as stakeholders have long supported this area of importance. APHIS will announce the application period and dates of webinars to assist potential applicants through the process in a future message to stakeholders. APHIS will continue to develop a more formalized annual NADPRP stakeholder consultation and annual priority-setting process to be used for implementation in 2020 and beyond.

Should foreign animal pests or disease strike, diagnosing and detecting the extent of the outbreak as rapidly as possible plays a key role in limiting the impact of the pest or disease on producers. APHIS Farm Bill funding for NAHLN in 2019 will support targeted projects to expand diagnostic capacity and our ability to rapidly respond to adverse animal health events. NAHLN is a nationally coordinated network and partnership of Federal, State, and university-associated animal health laboratories. NAHLN veterinary diagnostic laboratories provide animal health diagnostic testing to detect biological threats to the nation’s food animals, thus protecting animal health, public health, and the nation's food supply. Additional information about NAHLN is available on the APHIS NAHLN web site.

Information about these programs is available on the APHIS website at The site will be updated periodically with details about how to apply for these funds.

Peterson, Costa Comment on Implementation of Farm Bill Animal Health Programs

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa of California issued statements Monday afternoon following USDA’s announcement of implementation by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of animal health programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.

“I prioritized funding new tools to help the U.S. prevent and fight animal pests and diseases as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, and it’s good to see APHIS making some progress to implement these programs,” said Peterson. “I am glad to see that initial funds for the new National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program will be awarded before the end of 2019, and I and look forward to seeing a broader scope of needs addressed in future years. I am also pleased to see a continued recognition of the importance of the our National Animal Health Laboratory Network and a commitment to move forward on the newly-created National Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank. Together, these programs will strengthen our farmers and ranchers’ ability to guard against outbreaks of diseases like African Swine Fever, avian influenza, and other critical animal health threats across the country.”

“This issue has been front and center for us, including at our May hearing with Under Secretary Ibach where I pressed him to implement these programs as soon as possible. I’m pleased by this first step and hope to soon see these programs up and running at full speed,” said Costa. “As Chair of the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee, I’m committed to working with APHIS to avoid and reduce the impacts of situations like the current outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease that has had an adverse impact on California’s poultry operations.”

Friday August 9 Ag News

Mid-Season Update on Soybean Gall Midge
Justin McMechan - NE Extension Crop Protection and Cropping Systems Specialist

As of August 7, six new counties have been identified as infested with soybean gall midge in Nebraska. Several new counties have been identified in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota and an infestation has been identified in northwest Missouri. In total, 86 counties across five states have been documented with soybean gall midge infestations.

If you’re in a county in Nebraska that hasn’t been indicated as infested and you’ve seen injury and soybean gall midge larvae, please contact Justin McMechan, Tom Hunt, or Robert Wright Send a photo of the larvae along with a GPS location or land description.

Scouting for Soybean Gall Midge

Be sure to scout all of your soybean fields regardless of whether you see any damage from the road. We’ve observed a number of fields that appear healthy from the field edge but are infested with soybean gall midge. In many cases, the dead or dying soybean plants in these fields have been covered over by healthy plants. Be sure to examine plants that are still green for soybean gall midge larvae. See the Twitter video for how to scout your fields for soybean gall midge.

Adult Emergence and Management

In Nebraska, soybean gall midge emergence in soybean has trickled along at low levels from the past couple weeks until this past Sunday when large populations of soybean gall midge adults were observed at nearly all sites in the east-central part of the state. As of Friday, August 2 a cumulative total of approximately 650 adults had been collected across all sites in east-central Nebraska with no more than 37 adults collected on a single day. On Sunday, a total of 756 adults were collected from eight sites in east-central Nebraska with 261 adults emerging from a single site over a two-day period. No significant numbers of emerging adults have been observed in northeast Nebraska.

With such high numbers of adult emergence in the recent days, many might be wondering if any action is needed. We do not recommend taking any action against soybean gall midge at this point in the season. Emergence of adults has continued since the Sunday collection and we expect emergence to continue through mid- to late-August based on last year’s observations.

This Week's Drought Summary

August 8, 2019 -

Heavy rain fell on large parts of Alaska this past week, bringing significant short-term relief, including an end to large fire development and expansion, at least for the time being. In contrast, dryness and drought expanded across broad sections of the contiguous 48 states, with relief restricted to parts of the Southeast. Most notably, hot and dry weather brought significant D0 expansion in the southern half of the Great Plains and across the Midwest and lower Ohio Valley. In the Northeast Climate Region, a few abnormally dry areas were introduced; this is only the fourth week since mid-January that dryness existed in any part of the Region. Meanwhile, heavy rain in eastern Puerto Rico improved conditions over eastern parts of the Commonwealth.


Generally 0.5 to 2.0 inches of rain fell last week on central and southern Wisconsin, but most of the region recorded only a few tenths of an inch, if any. The last 30 days brought only 10 to 50 percent of normal rainfall to most areas from central Iowa through east-central Illinois and part of western Indiana, with the largest deficits affecting a swath from east-central Iowa southeastward through central Illinois. Abnormal dryness was expanded extensively to cover this region, plus sections of southwestern Ohio, northeastern Kentucky, and southern Indiana, where rainfall has been slightly more generous. Since early June, 40 to 75 percent of normal rain has been recorded in central and eastern Iowa and adjacent Illinois. Farther north and west, patches of D0 persisted in and near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northeastern Minnesota, and southeastern Michigan. No drought exists in the region at this time, though aforementioned sections of Iowa and Illinois are approaching D1.

High Plains

It was a dry week in and near existing areas of dryness and drought. Broad expansion of abnormal dryness occurred across central and southern Kansas, where conditions have deteriorated quickly as in Oklahoma and Texas. Much of central and south-central Kansas received 0.5 inch or less of rainfall over the last 30 days. In the rest of the region, D0 and D1 conditions generally persisted, with very limited expansion brought into parts of northern North Dakota, east-central Nebraska, and southeastern Colorado.

Looking Ahead

During the next 5 days (August 8 - 13, 2019) should bring heavy rains of 1 to locally 4 inches to portions of western New Mexico, a swath through the central Plains, and many locations across upstate New York and southern Maine. Most of the area from northern Idaho eastward through northern Montana are expecting 1 to 2 inches, as are most of the Dakotas and scattered patches across the Pacific Northwest. Other areas of dryness across the contiguous 48 states should get lesser amounts. Locally up to an inch is expected in the Southeast and southern New England, and little or none is anticipated in most of the new D0 area in the southern Plains from central Kansas through Oklahoma and Texas. Temperatures are forecast to be a few degrees above normal in the southern Plains and the Southeast while subnormal temperatures should extend from the northern half of the Plains to the Pacific Ocean.

The CPC 6-10 day outlook (August 14 -18, 2019) favors above-normal precipitation in east-central Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the central and northern Plains, the lower Mississippi Valley, and the Southeast. Meanwhile, subnormal precipitation is expected in southern and southeast Alaska, the eastern Great Basin, the Four Corners States, most of Texas, and the Northeast. Temperatures should average below normal from the Intermountain West eastward through the Midwest and Northeast, and across east-central Alaska. Farther south, southern and southeastern Alaska have enhanced chances of warmer than normal weather, along with the Pacific Coast and a large swath from the Great Basin through the Four Corners States, central and southern High Plains, lower Mississippi Valley, and Southeast. The highest likelihood for hotter than normal weather are across most of Texas and the lower Southeast.

Registration Extended for Flame Weeding Workshop

The registration deadline for the Nebraska Extension FlameWeeding Workshop has been extended to Thursday, Aug. 15.

The full-day workshop will be held Monday, Aug. 19 at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead. University teams led by Stevan Knezevic (Department of Agronomy and Horticulture) and George Gogos (Department of Mechanical Engineering) will present data from seven years of research that resulted in 20 scientific publications, 100 abstracts, and the development of new flaming equipment. The workshop will include presentations, demonstrations, and an opportunity to hear from farmers using this weed control practice.

Propane fueled Flame Weeding is an acceptable method of weed (pest) control in organic farming, which is also gaining interest among conventional producers due to increase in weed resistance and costs of GMO crop seeds.

Topics include:

Propane doses for weed control and crop tolerance data will be presented.
Research update on winter annual weed control with flaming will be also covered.
One Flame Weeding Manual will be provided.
Four-row commercial type flamers with hoods for broadcast and banded flaming will be demonstrated.
Inter-row cultivation and intra-row flaming combined in a single operation will also be displayed.
Several local organic farmers will share their experience with flame weeding on their farms.

Workshop is limited to 60 people,  $100 per binder (lunch provided). $10.00 for spouse/guest’s meal. Partial scholarships may be available to certified organic farmers from Nebraska.

To register see the Flame Weeding website:  For more information contact: Stevan Knezevic, Ph: 402-584-3808 or

Northeast ag department to begin offering natural resources program this fall

Northeast Community College is offering a new agriculture degree this fall, associate of science in natural resources.

Dean of Agriculture, Math and Science Corinne Morris said this brings the number of distinct agriculture programs at Northeast to 12, ranging from agronomy to animal science, and from precision ag to horticulture and golf course management. Natural resources is designed as a transfer program for students who desire to earn a bachelor’s degree, but it can also lead to a good job with no further education.

Ag faculty members Robert Noonan and Sarah Sellin will teach most of the classes in the new program, with the assistance of biology instructor Erin Kucera. Noonan said he has already spoken with some students interested in the new program.

“As soon as the incoming students see the jobs that are out there, that are ag related but with more of a conservation focus, I think we’ll get even more interest,” Noonan said. “I don’t think it will take very many years and we will have quite a few students in this program.”

Sellin said they started discussing the possibility of a natural resources program last fall with representatives of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). She said Northeast already had most of the classes required for the program, so it was an easy addition to the department. For the natural resource program, Noonan will teach classes in forage and grassland production, entomology, advanced fertilizers and crop chemicals. Sellin’s classes for the new program will include introduction to natural resources, water resources and agri-ecology.

Graduates of a natural resources program may work for such organizations as Pheasants Forever, Whitetails Unlimited or Ducks Unlimited, Sellin said. Conservation agencies such as NRCS and natural resource districts would also have employment opportunities for students with natural resources degrees, as would many private businesses. Sellin said she knows of one student who is considering dual degrees in criminal justice and natural resources to work as a game warden.

Noonan said there is a growing interest in conservation.

“Not only can we maintain our soil health,” he said, “we can improve it, we can bring it back to where it was through these soil conservation practices.”

Former student named Northeast farm manager

A 2019 graduate of Northeast Community College’s agriculture department has been named the first manager of the College farm. Rob Thomas will also coordinate activities in the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex.

Corinne Morris, dean of agriculture, math and science, said Thomas will work with Farm Operations Specialist Dan Radenz, and his assistant, Curt Wilken.

“We’ve tried harder and harder to tie the farm together with our class curriculum as well as doing some applied research projects,” Morris said. “The farm hasn’t gotten any bigger, but our use of the farm for educational purposes has grown substantially.”

Thomas’s responsibilities will include tasks that have been handled by several people in the past. Morris said many people have been doing a piece or two of the work, but now one person will be coordinating the farm and ag complex. Thomas’s first job is to write a long term farm plan, looking at what crops are planted in what fields, what’s new in production, and what needs to be done to improve each field.

Another responsibility of the new position is to make sure instructors have what they need from the farm for their curriculum and labs.

Thomas said, “I’m excited to work with Northeast educators to get the data that we find in the field back in the classroom, and get students more involved on the farm.”

Thomas will work closely with the ag department’s industry partners. He will also research redesigning of the feedlot, rotational grazing, and other ways to increase the size of the College beef herd using the same resources. Because he took many of the classes and is familiar with the instructors, Thomas said he has ideas for ways to make better use of the farm in the classroom.

Thomas earned his bachelor’s degree from California University in Pennsylvania. He taught technology education for five years, and developed an interest in agronomy and agricultural technology.

In researching two-year schools online, Thomas was impressed with Northeast Community College and its top ten Aspen Institute standing. He said the agronomy curriculum at Northeast was exactly what he was looking for, and at a good price. Thomas has earned degrees in agronomy and precision ag at Northeast.

Study Demonstrates Value of Pork and Red Meat Exports to U.S. Soy Growers

U.S. beef and pork exports added 85 cents per bushel to the price of U.S. soybeans and 39 cents per bushel to the price of U.S. corn in 2018, according to the latest report by World Perspectives, Inc. (WPI). Over the past three years, WPI has analyzed the impact of U.S. red meat exports on the value of domestic feed grains and oilseeds.

Among new information included in the latest report are statistics that point to the value of red meat exports to U.S. soybean producers. According to WPI, the market value of pork exports to the soybean industry in 2018 was $783 million. WPI’s updated study shows that without red meat exports, U.S. soybean farmers would have lost $3.9 billion last year and U.S. corn growers would have lost $5.7 billion.

The updated report includes a projection of domestic feed use impacts based on both the long-term 10-year baseline projections for meat exports, as well as a special analysis on the critical importance of the proposed U.S.-Japan trade agreement. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has also prepared state-specific statistics on the value of red meat exports to the top 15 soybean states and top 10 corn states.

“The World Perspectives study has been a very useful tool in quantifying the importance of red meat exports to our corn and soybean member organizations,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Results of the study and the subsequent updates demonstrate that maintaining global market access for U.S. beef and pork is critical to continued growth and to the continued value that meat exports bring to corn and soybeans.”

The updated study also looks forward, projecting that U.S. pork exports are expected to generate $8.68 billion in market value to soybeans from 2019 to 2028.  Red meat exports are expected to generate $19.1 billion in market value to corn and $3.1 billion in market value to distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) during that same period.

“When the original study came out a few years ago, it gave us a good look at the value of U.S. beef, pork and lamb exports to corn and soybean farmers,” said Dean Meyer, a corn, soybean and livestock producer from Rock Rapids, Iowa. Meyer, a member of the USMEF Executive Committee, noted that the WPI study continues to support the fact that exporting red meat drives demand for livestock, in turn driving demand for livestock feed.

“The updated study offers a fresh look at corn and goes a little deeper into soybean meal and what red meat exports mean for soybean growers. As grain farmers, we are aware that meat exports add value by increasing the volume of soybean meal and corn used to feed cattle and hogs, but the numbers in this study provide a clear picture of just how important those exports really are,” said Meyer.

Highlights from the updated WPI study include:
-    Since 2015, meat exports represent the fastest growing category of corn and soybean meal use.
-    In 2018, exports accounted for 14.6 percent of total U.S. beef production and 25.7 percent of U.S. total pork production, and accounted for 459.7 million bushels of corn utilization – with a market value of $1.62 billion at the year-average market price – and 2 million tons of soybean meal disappearance, which is the equivalent of 84.2 million bushels of soybeans with a market value of $783 million.
-    It is estimated that in 2018 beef and pork exports added $0.39 to the average 2018 corn price of $3.53/bushel. Similarly, it is estimated that pork exports added $0.85 per bushel to the average 2018 soybean price of $9.30/bushel.
-    Since 2015, one in every four bushels of added feed demand for corn was due to beef and pork exports and one in every 10 tons of added feed demand for soybean meal use was due to pork exports.
-    Over the next 10 years, meat exports are forecast to generate a projected $30.8 billion in cumulative annual market value to corn and soybeans based on USDA’s long-term forecast for crop prices.

USMEF and the National Corn Growers Association initially commissioned WPI to quantify the impact of U.S. beef and pork exports on corn use and value in 2016, using 2015 data. Record-setting growth in red meat exports since 2016 – along with an uncertain global trade climate that has developed since the original study – led USMEF to request updates. Using final 2018 data and new 2019 to 2028 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) baseline projections, WPI updated its analysis of red meat exports’ impact on corn in 2018 and expanded the analysis on the value of pork exports to soybeans.

Checkoff-funded soybean breeders improving several sources of SCN resistance

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) causes the most yield loss of any soybean pathogen in North America, with economic impact in excess of $1 billion per year. That’s why soybean breeders funded by the checkoff (United Soybean Board and North Central Soybean Research Program) are improving and adding to current genetic sources of SCN resistance and breeding them into high-yielding backgrounds.

Like herbicide resistant weeds, the SCN organism evolves and adapts to eventually overcome the same source of genetic resistance deployed in a field year after year. Consequently, constant use of a single source of resistance (such as the PI 88788 source) will eventually wear thin, if not improved upon or rotated with other unique sources.

Expanding the sources of SCN resistance hasn’t always been easy. Public soybean breeders have spent years working with SCN resistance breeding lines other than PI 88788, which is the source of resistance used in 95 percent of commercially available SCN-resistant varieties. Unfortunately, breeding resistance genes from those other sources – such as PI 548402 (Peking), PI 90763 and PI 437654 (Hartwig) – into elite varieties has been challenging.

“With these unique resistance sources, you start with low-yielding backgrounds,” says Brian Diers, plant breeder at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “It takes time to breed resistance from these new sources into elite genetic backgrounds.”

Diers says that’s partly why the PI 88788 source of resistance has been over-used. “It’s worked really well, and breeders have been successful at incorporating it into high-yielding varieties. It’s been more difficult and taken longer to get yield parity with other sources of resistance, but we’re solving that problem.”

Improving Peking

Another reason PI 88788 has been easy to work with: The resistance involves one major gene, Rhg1, whereas Peking resistance involves two genes, Rhg1 and Rhg4. Simply put, it’s harder for breeders to work with two genes.

“But as you continue cycles of breeding, you are able to incorporate these genes more readily into elite, high-yielding lines. Breeders have been working on this for a long time,” Diers says. “Improved breeding technology is another factor. We have better genetic markers to select the genes we need, so we can develop varieties more quickly.”

Soybean growers, particularly in the Midwest, should be able to find more soybean varieties than ever with the Peking source of resistance. According to Diers, “If you can, rotate the sources of resistance you use. We have a large amount of evidence showing that this reduces selection pressure on SCN populations to continually adapt.”

Reintroducing PI 437654

Breeders at several universities have been developing cultivars with the PI 437654 resistance source. The first variety released with this source of resistance was Hartwig, which was released in 1992. Breeders have continued to breed with resistance from this source and are now obtaining good yields.

“Our program has released two high-yielding lines with PI 437654 resistance, which were commercialized by companies through licenses from the university,” Diers says. “George Graef, a plant breeder at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has recently developed top-yielding lines with PI 437654 resistance.”

Genetic resistance stacks

In addition, Diers’ team recently released a variety with a three-gene stack that contains two new resistance genes from wild soybean (Glycine soja) that have proven very effective when bred into commercial soybean varieties. “We combined the two resistance genes from wild soybean with Rhg1 from PI 88788 and have shown that this combination gives greater resistance than Rhg1 alone,” he explains.

Diers has also developed a four-gene stack – the two new resistance genes from wild soybean, stacked with Rhg1 from PI 88788 plus another resistance gene from PI 567516C. “If you look in the literature, there are many SCN resistance genes that have been mapped,” he says. “We worked on the gene from PI 567516C because it can give a greater increase in resistance than most other genes mapped.”

Not all PI 88788 varieties are created equal

For growers who are battling aggressive nematode populations, if you only have access to varieties with PI 88788 resistance, at least rotate the variety you plant. “Not all PI 88788 varieties are created equal,” Diers continues. “Varieties derived from PI 88788 resistance do not all have the same level of resistance and this may be related to the number of copies of the Rhg1 gene. There are normally 10 copies of the Rhg1 gene in varieties with PI 88788 resistance, but some may have fewer copies. With PI 88788, the higher the copy number the higher the resistance.”

Ideally, soybean growers in all regions will soon have choices of genetic resistance to SCN besides PI 88788. That’s one of the goals in the National Soybean Nematode Strategic Plan, a joint effort of the United Soybean Board and North Central Soybean Research Program.

EPA Announces Biofuel and Small Refinery Exemption Priorities

EPA will announce its final decisions related to 31 small refinery exemptions and 6 application denials this afternoon on its web page, Public Data for the Renewable Fuel Standard - Small Refinery Exemptions ( Under EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, a small refinery may be granted a temporary exemption from its annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) if it can demonstrate that compliance with the RVOs would cause the refinery to suffer disproportionate economic hardship. EPA evaluates submissions to determine whether an exemption may be granted, based on information presented by the petitioning refinery and on the statutory and regulatory requirements for exemption.

EPA is proud to announce its intention to further explore opportunities to remove regulatory burdens that prevent marketplace entrance and growth to natural gas, flexible fuel vehicles, and E85 fuels. EPA welcomes the opportunity to engage with stakeholders to explore deregulatory options in the coming months to ensure that it plays its part in supporting American farmers and consumers.

Finally, EPA has also been in regular communication with the National Corn Growers Association and their state affiliates on the agency’s intent to expedite the reregistration of atrazine, a critical crop protection tool for corn. EPA is committed to an expeditious and transparent process to ensure that America’s corn growers have the tools they need to grow safe, healthy, and abundant food for all Americans and a growing global population.

NCGA Statement: EPA Waivers Undermine RFS

NCGA President Lynn Chrisp made the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved 31 refinery exemptions. Since early 2018, EPA has undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and granted 53 RFS waivers to big oil companies, totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel.

“Waivers reduce demand for ethanol, lower the value of our crop and undermine the President’s support for America’s farmers. Waivers benefit big oil at the expense of corn farmers who, between losing export markets abroad and ethanol markets at home, are losing patience. 

“Mr. President, you proudly stand with farmers, but your EPA isn’t following through. You can step up for farmers today by reining in RFS waivers. Farmers expect the RFS to be kept whole by accounting for waived gallons and bringing more transparency to EPA’s secret process.

“Farmers are facing a sixth consecutive year of depressed income and commodity prices, with farm income for 2019 projected to be half of what it was in 2013. It’s time for this Administration to act in the best interest of farmers.”

EPA Lets Down Sorghum Ethanol Plants and Farmers with Additional Small Refinery Exemptions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today an additional 31 small refinery exemptions. National Sorghum Producers Past Chairman Don Bloss, a sorghum farmer from Pawnee City, Nebraska, released the following statement in response:

"National Sorghum Producers is disappointed in the EPA's decision to administer extensions to profitable, undisclosed refiners at the detriment of U.S. ethanol and sorghum producers. The continued expansion of small refinery waivers places additional concerns on ethanol producers already facing significantly reduced margins.

With one-third of the U.S. sorghum crop used to produce fuel ethanol, today's announcement comes as a significant disappointment to sorghum farmers. With U.S. net farm income down almost 50 percent from the 2013 peak and sorghum farmers' largest market, China, currently on the sidelines, these demand-destroying waivers could not have come at a worse time. National Sorghum Producers will continue to advocate for realistic, fair policies that fulfill Congressional intent while benefiting sorghum farmers and rural Americans."

More Refiner Bailouts: A Broken Promise That Will Haunt Rural America

Calling it a significant broken promise on the part of President Trump that will hurt rural America at the worst possible time, the Renewable Fuels Association strongly criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement late Friday that granted 31 more exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard to oil refineries, representing more than 1 billion gallons of additional lost RFS demand. This comes after 54 exemptions were given for the prior two years, with not a single waiver request denied. In today’s announcement, only six requests were denied.

 “At a time when ethanol plants in the Heartland are being mothballed and jobs are being lost, it is unfathomable and utterly reprehensible that the Trump Administration would dole out more unwarranted waivers to prosperous petroleum refiners,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Today’s announcement comes as a total shock, as just two months ago President Trump himself heard directly from Iowa farmers and ethanol plant workers about the disastrous economic impacts of these small refinery handouts. In response, he told us he would ‘look into it’ and we believed that would lead to the White House and EPA finally putting an end to these devastating waivers. Instead, the Trump administration chose to double down on the exemptions, greatly exacerbating the economic pain being felt in rural America and further stressing an industry already on life support.

“There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that small refineries are suffering ‘disproportionate economic harm’ due to the RFS, meaning the entire EPA decision-making process is a sham. Making matters worse, the process remains cloaked in secrecy and bias, and there is mounting evidence that the administration is continuing to grant full exemptions against the recommendations of the Department of Energy—and even against the advice of some of EPA officials.”

RFA noted that 13 ethanol plants have recently shut down—three of them permanently—due in large part to the demand loss resulting from the administration’s abusive exploitation of the small refiner waivers.

“Ethanol demand has fallen and prices have plummeted to their lowest values in more than a decade,” Cooper said. “When operating, the 13 plants that recently shut down bought nearly 300 million bushels of corn and supported more than 2,400 jobs in rural communities from Iowa and Minnesota to Mississippi and Virginia. Who will tell those workers and their families that the demands of Big Oil are more important to this administration than the livelihood of rural America?

“Neil Armstrong spoke of his setting foot on the moon as one small step for man and a giant leap for mankind. EPA, by allowing year-round sales of E15 at the end of May, gave the ethanol industry one small step forward. But now, with EPA’s decision to grant these small refinery exemptions, we have one giant leap – backwards.”

Trump EPA Shatters Rural Hopes with 31 New Refinery Exemptions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a shocking 31 new refinery exemptions. The handouts give oil refiners a free pass under the Renewable Fuel Standard, threatening to destroy an additional billion gallons of critical biofuel demand – on top of the 2.6 billion gallons already destroyed over the last two years. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement:

“The EPA has proven beyond any doubt that it doesn’t care about following the law, American jobs, or even the president’s promises. Now farmers and biofuel producers are paying the price.

“These exemptions are destroying demand for homegrown energy at a time when family farms are struggling, farm income is plummeting and many ethanol plants have been forced to close their doors or idle production. The impact on rural communities cannot be overstated. President Trump must move quickly if there is any hope of repairing the damage. If he won’t hold the EPA accountable, then he’s failing to uphold the commitment he’s made to rural America.”

ACE CEO reaction to EPA’s RFS waiver decisions

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings issued the following statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated its small refinery exemption (SRE) dashboard today, granting 31 of the 38 waiver requests that were pending from the 2018 compliance year under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):

“EPA’s refiner-win-at-all-costs oversight of the RFS is doing real damage to America’s farmers and renewable fuel producers who are already suffering from trade wars and volatile markets. The RFS is supposed to ensure the use of ethanol and biodiesel increases from one year to the next, but 85 Small Refinery Exemptions later and over 3 billion waived gallons represents an enormous step backwards.

“The Agency’s actions on the 2018 waiver requests reinforces our decision to join with others to challenge EPA’s handling of certain Small Refinery Exemptions in Court and petition for EPA to account for lost volumes of renewable fuel resulting from the unprecedented number of retroactive waivers granted by the Agency that we recently asked the court to move forward on due to no response from EPA.”

NBB Condemns EPA's RFS Waiver Giveaway to the Oil Industry

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) today condemned the Environmental Protection Agency's granting of 31 retroactive small refinery exemptions for 2018 as a fundamental failure to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

"Less than two months after vowing to always protect and defend American farmers, President Trump is bowing to oil industry pressure and allowing his EPA to dismantle the Renewable Fuel Standard program, force U.S. biodiesel producers out of business, and undermine the farm economy," stated Kurt Kovarik, NBB's Vice President of Federal Affairs. "EPA and administration personnel are well aware that the ongoing spree of big oil exemptions destroy demand for biodiesel and render the RFS program meaningless."

According to University of Illinois economist Scott Irwin, virtually all of the demand destruction from small refinery waivers is falling on the biodiesel industry. As EPA continues to hand them out to every refiner that asks, the damage to the U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry could reach $7.7 billion or 2.54 billion gallons, according to Irwin.

A small refinery processing 75,000 barrels of oil per day can produce nearly 1 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel per year. The refinery's annual RFS obligation would create demand for nearly 20 million gallons of biodiesel or renewable diesel, which are the most widely available advanced biofuels. Dozens of biodiesel producers across the United States produce less than 20 million gallons each year.

Kovarik continued, "Biodiesel producers are already shutting down facilities and laying off workers, due to loss of demand. The ongoing demand destruction will undercut the industry's investments and choke off markets for surplus agricultural oils, adding to the economic hardship that farmers are facing. The Trump administration's action represents a fundamental betrayal of previous promises to farmers and the agricultural economy."

Peterson: EPA’s Waivers Undermine the RFS, Corn Market

Following an announcement Friday evening from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the granting of 31 small refinery exemption waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard, Congressman Collin C. Peterson issued a statement pointing to the capacity of the waivers to significantly undermine the RFS at a time when farmers need the certainty it creates.

“The Administration tried to bury bad news for rural America by quietly approving 31 more waivers this Friday afternoon that undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the market for corn. On Wednesday, I hosted a packed forum at Farmfest with Secretary Perdue where farmers raised this issue again and again. Farmers are on the front lines of the tariff war and this announcement by the EPA will only make things worse.”

As a co-Chair of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, Congressman Peterson has worked to stop the EPA from approving waivers to the RFS that have hurt ethanol producers and the farm economy. Congressman Peterson, Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and the co-chairs of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus introduced H.R. 3006, the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019, which would stop the EPA from recklessly granting waivers to oil refineries and undermining the market for ethanol. 


On Monday, the U.S. Deputy United States Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney and African Union Commission Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga signed a joint statement to discuss and implement an African continental free trade agreement. "The United States and the African Union share a mutual desire to pursue deeper trade and investment ties beyond the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which is scheduled to expire in 2025, eventually leading to a continental trade partnership between the United States and Africa that supports regional integration," according to the joint statement.

The U.S. pork industry faces a number of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade that prevent the industry from reaching its potential. The National Pork Producers Association is hopeful that this development brings us closer to resolving the numerous issues preventing our access.

Farm Credit Increased Quality, Quantity of Programs to Support Young, Beginning and Small Farmers in 2018

Farm Credit institutions increased the quality and quantity of programs and services in support of young, beginning and small (YBS) producers across the country in 2018, according to a Farm Credit Administration (FCA) report released this week. The Agency also reported favorably on Farm Credit’s work to tailor their outreach to diverse producers.

“Long-term, we are bullish on agriculture, and that’s borne out in Farm Credit’s support for young, beginning and small producers in 2018. While the numbers held strong, it’s important to remember the individual farmers and ranchers behind those numbers. Many are struggling with low commodity prices, terrible weather and a difficult trade situation. Farm Credit is working alongside them, helping them think through business plans and developing financing that produces the best possible outcome for their specific operation. That’s our mission and we’re committed to fulfilling it,” said Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose.

In its presentation on the report, FCA commended Farm Credit institutions’ coordination across the Farm Credit System that resulted in better outreach and education opportunities to YBS farmers. Those opportunities include working with ethnic organizations, offering scholarships and grants to continue learning or acquire new skills, and classes and webinars on business planning, personal finance, crop insurance and risk mitigation, among other topics.

Nearly 20 percent of the total number of Farm Credit loans are made to young farmers, nearly 30 percent to beginning farmers, and just over 50 percent to small farmers. In 2018, Farm Credit increased the amount of its lending to young farmers by 7.6 percent, to beginning farmers by 7.1 percent and to small farmers by 6.8 percent.

While the number of new YBS loans and the YBS share of total new loan volume decreased slightly, FCA Board Chair Glen Smith commented that this slight decline was expected, primarily because of technical counting issues associated with tracking YBS loan participations and the impact of several association mergers.

* Please note that the YBS numbers cannot be combined. A single loan to a 25-year-old rancher in her third year of ranching with annual sales of $100,000 could be counted in the young, beginning and small categories. We report this way for two reasons: the Farm Credit Administration requires us to report this way and it is the most accurate portrayal of who we serve. We anticipate a new reporting system might be in place for future years as a result of an ongoing effort by FCA to clarify reporting requirements.

The FCA is an independent federal regulatory agency charged with oversight of the Farm Credit System. It annually reviews Farm Credit’s performance on meeting the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers and reports its findings to Congress.

Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services, today and tomorrow. It has been fulfilling its mission of helping rural America grow and thrive for more than a century with the capital necessary to make businesses successful and by financing vital infrastructure and communication services. For more information visit

Subway to Test Alternative Meat Options at 685 Restaurants

Subway Restaurants will test Beyond Meat Inc meatballs in 685 restaurants across the United States and Canada starting next month, the latest chain to jump on the meat alternatives bandwagon.

The chain said it would use the plant-based meatballs in its trademark 'Meatball Marinara sub' at the restaurants for a limited period, reports Reuters.

Shares of Beyond Meat, which sells its plant-based burgers and sausages at restaurants and in supermarkets, rose 4% in premarket trading. They have soared 545% since their IPO in May.

Plant-based meat alternatives have seen booming interest from consumers and restaurants, supporting startups like Beyond Meat and its competitor Impossible Foods, and even sparking interest from veteran meat companies such as Tyson Foods Inc. and Perdue Foods.

Beyond Meat's products, including faux meat patties and beef crumbles, are used in Del Taco Restaurant Inc's tacos and Carl's Jr's burgers and most recently, in chains such as Dunkin' and Canada's Tim Hortons. Blue Apron last month said it would also add Beyond Meat's plant-based burgers to its meal-kits.

Thursday August 8 Ag News

Crop Prices Give Slight Boost to Weak Farm Economy
Cortney Cowley, Economist and Ty Kreitman, Assistant Economist, Kansas City Fed

The Tenth District farm economy remained weak in the second quarter of 2019, but farm income and credit conditions showed some signs of stabilizing. Despite extreme weather and flooding in parts of the Tenth District and continued trade uncertainty, higher corn prices and trade relief payments could have contributed to a slower pace of decline in expectations for farm income and credit conditions. Although farm income was still expected to decrease in the third quarter of 2019, the pace of decline was expected to be the slowest since 2014. In addition, District bankers reported that deposits grew at a faster pace in some states while farmland values remained steady.

Farm Income and Recent Weather Impacts

Farm Income in the Tenth District remained weak in the second quarter, but the pace of decline slowed. Slightly more than 40 percent of bankers reported that farm income was lower, compared with almost 75 percent and 60 percent at this time in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Following a nearly 20-year low in 2016, the pace of decrease in farm income has remained relatively stable since the end of 2017. Crop prices increased in the second quarter, and the United States Department of Agriculture announced a continuation of the Market Facilitation Program in 2019. These developments may have led to less pessimistic expectations about farm income in coming months.

Despite expectations for higher crop prices and farm income, severe weather and flooding could dampen the outlook for some farm borrowers in 2019. In the Tenth District, almost 50 percent of farm borrowers were impacted by extreme weather or flooding. Although only 20 percent of farm borrowers were impacted significantly by weather, those directly impacted by flooding or extremely wet conditions could be at risk of lower yields and revenues. Areas of the District most severely impacted by weather were central Nebraska, northern and eastern Kansas, western Missouri, and western Oklahoma. Farm borrowers in the Mountain States, however, were less likely to experience impacts from severe weather.

Bankers also reported that local economies were impacted by extreme weather and flooding. Local economies are comprised of local infrastructure, roads, bridges, railways, residential homes, and businesses. About 75 percent of bankers reported that their local economies were impacted, at some level, by adverse weather conditions in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. A larger percentage of communities in western Missouri was significantly or modestly impacted by weather, likely due to their proximity to the Missouri River, which was subject to record flooding in the first half of 2019.

Although some areas of the District were significantly affected by extreme weather and flooding, the outlook for crop production and revenues still could be better than other areas of the United States. For example, weather likely weighed more heavily on planting progress in the Corn Belt than in the Tenth District. In the Corn Belt, corn and soybean plantings were 50 percent and 70 percent, respectively, behind the five-year average in May. Although progress was made during planting season in both regions, the share of corn and soybean acres that were planted in the Corn Belt still lagged both the historical average and planted acres in the Tenth District. Relatively better planting conditions could support higher crop revenues in the Tenth District.

Credit Conditions

Demand for agricultural lending in the District remained high, but bankers anticipated slower growth in future months. In contrast with expectations in previous quarters, bankers anticipated a slower pace of increase in loan demand than in the current quarter. The extended period of low farm income and strong farm loan demand likely has placed downward pressure on liquidity at some banks. However, over 80 percent of respondents continued to indicate that availability of funds was unchanged from a year ago and looking ahead, nearly no change was expected across the region.

Alongside stable fund availability, deposits at agricultural banks throughout the District were higher than a year ago. Deposits at agricultural banks may have been supported by recent increases in crop prices and payments from the Market Facilitation Program in 2018. Similar to last year, about 35 percent of bankers reported higher deposit levels in the second quarter. However, only 26 percent reported lower deposits, down from over 35 percent in 2018.

Similar to trends in farm income, the pace of decline in credit conditions also showed signs of stabilizing in the second quarter. Slightly less than 30 percent of bankers reported that farm loan repayment rates were lower, compared with almost 50 percent and 40 percent, respectively, at this same time in 2016 and 2017. Moreover, bankers expected farm loan repayment rates to decline at the slowest pace since 2014 in the next quarter. The pace of increase loan renewals and extensions remained relatively stable but was expected to slow in the next three months.

The portion of farm loan portfolios with repayment problems remained steady from a year ago. Since 2017, nearly 30 percent of all loans volumes in the District have experienced issues with repayment. The recent boost to farm revenues from crop prices could improve short-term cash flow and repayment ability. However, another recent survey showed that several years of depleted working capital and carryover debt has increased the need for debt restructuring and weighed on debt-service capacity of some farm borrowers.

The share of new farm operating loans denied by bankers declined slightly after reaching a five-year high a year ago. About 75 percent of banks in the District denied at least 1 percent of all new farm operating loan applications, down from over 90 percent of banks in 2018. Nearly 18 percent of respondents continued to report denying more than a tenth of operating loan requests, however, which remained slightly higher than in previous years.

Interest Rates and Farmland Values

Interest rates on farm loans have increased modestly since 2015 but remain low from a historical perspective. Both fixed and variable rates on all types of farm loans remained slightly below the average from 2003 to 2018. Fixed rates on operating loans and machinery loans increased slightly more than fixed rates for farm real estate since 2015, but all remained well below the 30-year average.

Farm real estate values across the District were nearly unchanged from a year ago in the second quarter. The value of all types of farmland declined modestly in Nebraska and increased slightly in all other states except the Mountain States.  Ranchland values exhibited the largest changes, declining 7 percent in Nebraska and increasing 7 percent in western Missouri.

The annual change in farm real estate values was also similar to other recent quarters. The value of all types of farmland in the Tenth District has held relatively steady despite downward pressure from weak farm finances and recent increases in interest rates. Compared with the preceding period of sharp increases in the value of all types farmland, the decline since 2015 has been modest. For example, based on the sum of annual percent changes in each quarter since 2015, nonirrigated cropland values have dropped about 50 percent, a modest change in comparison with the cumulative increase of nearly 300 percent from 2010 to 2014.


Despite some signs of continued stress, the pace of deterioration in the farm economy in the Tenth District was expected to slow in the next three months. Higher corn prices and trade relief payments likely supported less pessimistic expectations for farm income and agricultural credit conditions. Severe weather and flooding slowed planting and may have hindered crop conditions in some areas of the District. However, planting delays were less severe in the Tenth District compared with other regions. Although repayment problems and loan denials remained slightly elevated from previous years, stable farmland values and relatively low interest rates could support stronger credit conditions moving forward, especially if farm borrowers in the District are able to take advantage of higher crop prices in 2019.

Nebraska Beef Council August meeting

The Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors will meet at the NBC office located at 1319 Central Ave. on Monday, August 19, 2019 beginning at 8:00 a.m. CDT. and Tuesday, August 20, 2019 at 7:30 a.m. CDT. The NBC Board of Directors will listen to presentations from outside contractors for the fiscal year 2019-2020 on Monday. Funding decisions and other business will be conducted on Tuesday.  For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at 

Nominations Sought for Ag Educator of the Year

Any student, parent, fellow teacher, or other supporters can nominate their favorite agricultural teacher for a chance to be recognized as one of the best in Iowa.

Nationwide recently recognized the contributions of 17 Iowa and Ohio agriculture teachers with the 2018-2019 inaugural Golden Owl Award. Nationwide established the award to honor teachers and support them with additional resources to assist their continued educational efforts in preparing the next generation for successful agricultural careers.

As a result of the positive response from the communities that Golden Owl Award nominees make a difference in, Nationwide expanded the campaign to include Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa and Ohio.

The 2018-2019 Iowa Ag Educator of the Year has already seen a 30-student increase in his agricultural shop class for next fall-at a high school with just over 300 students. Recipient Brad Taylor, a teacher at Roland-Story High School in Story City, Iowa, credits this growth to the recognition he received through the Golden Owl Award.

"I think it's important to be a role model for the students that we have in our classes so they understand what the opportunities are for their futures," said Taylor. "This award symbolizes the hard work that individuals have put into agriculture education to help students realize what their full potential is."

Twenty-six finalists across the four states will receive an individualized plaque and $500 to support their agriculture programs. One finalist from each state will be crowned as his/her state's Ag Educator of the Year and will receive the Golden Owl Award trophy and $3,000 to help fund future educational efforts.

ASA Supports Rule and Suggests Ways to Improve Clarity, Transparency, & Support of Plant Breeding Innovations

The American Soybean Association (ASA) is broadly supportive of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) direction for its proposed rule changes to regulations in 7 CFR part 340, “Introductions of Organisms and Products Altered or Produced Through Genetic Engineering Which are Plant Pests or Which There is Reason to Believe are Plant Pests.”

“We are pleased with USDA’s science and risk-based approach outlined in the rule and ask that USDA work to finalize the rule to bring certainty to the industry. We urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work with USDA so the agencies are aligned, and to coordinate internationally on biotechnology, particularly as it relates to gene editing,” said Caleb Ragland, Chair of ASA’s regulatory committee.

The bulk of ASA’s comments on the proposed rule involve clarity and transparency – offering suggestions to strengthen the rule by clarifying terms, outlining distinct timelines for approvals and steps within the approval process, and including a process for more transparency of available products in the marketplace, including certain gene-edited products.

“We appreciate that USDA took the time necessary to gather input from stakeholders in this rule. It has been more than 30 years since biotech regulations have been updated, and this process has been ongoing for many years and across administrations. Also, USDA is wisely focusing on the products themselves rather than the methods used to produce them,” said Ragland, concluding, “We look forward to a final rule that is based on sound science, spurs innovation, is transparent, and does not cause undue regulatory burdens for our food supply or the consumers that depend on it.”

Biotechnology is an essential tool in allowing our farmers to feed our communities while putting less strain our environment. With the right regulatory system, we can develop innovative ways to improve how we grow our food while reducing our impact on the planet. A clear, science-based regulatory system in the U.S. helps set an example and standard for regulatory systems of biotechnology internationally.

EPA Takes Action to Provide Accurate Risk Information to Consumers, Stop False Labeling on Products

EPA is issuing guidance to registrants of glyphosate to ensure clarity on labeling of the chemical on their products. EPA will no longer approve product labels claiming glyphosate is known to cause cancer – a false claim that does not meet the labeling requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The State of California’s much criticized Proposition 65 has led to misleading labeling requirements for products, like glyphosate, because it misinforms the public about the risks they are facing. This action will ensure consumers have correct information, and is based on EPA’s comprehensive evaluation of glyphosate.

"It is irresponsible to require labels on products that are inaccurate when EPA knows the product does not pose a cancer risk. We will not allow California’s flawed program to dictate federal policy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “It is critical that federal regulatory agencies like EPA relay to consumers accurate, scientific based information about risks that pesticides may pose to them. EPA’s notification to glyphosate registrants is an important step to ensuring the information shared with the public on a federal pesticide label is correct and not misleading.”

In April, EPA took the next step in the review process for glyphosate. EPA found – as it has before – that glyphosate is not a carcinogen, and there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label. These scientific findings are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies.

On Feb. 26, 2018, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a preliminary injunction stopping California from enforcing the state warning requirements involving glyphosate’s carcinogenicity, in part on the basis that the required warning statement is false or misleading. The preliminary injunction has not been appealed and remains in place. 

California’s listing of glyphosate as a substance under Proposition 65 is based on the International Agency on the Research for Cancer (IARC) classifying it as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” EPA’s independent evaluation of available scientific data included a more extensive and relevant dataset than IARC considered during its evaluation of glyphosate, from which the agency concluded that glyphosate is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” EPA’s cancer classification is consistent with many other international expert panels and regulatory authorities.

E15 Sales Up Following Removal of Summertime Barrier, But RFS Refiner Exemptions Suppress Expansion

Data released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Commerce prove that the marketplace is already responding to President Trump’s elimination of a decades-old regulatory barrier severely limiting the sale of E15 in the summertime. In June 2019—the first month following elimination of the summertime E15 restriction—sales of the blend virtually doubled when compared to June 2018. At the same time, the Minnesota data show that the wave of Renewable Fuel Standard compliance exemptions granted to oil refiners is suppressing more rapid expansion of E15 and other higher-level ethanol blends.

For the first time ever, E15 sales volumes did not plummet in June, as the Environmental Protection Agency issued a rule on May 31 finally allowing retailers to continue offering E15 throughout the summer months. Sales of E15 jumped from 3.66 million gallons in June 2018 to 6.30 million gallons in June 2019, according to the data. The number of Minnesota stations selling E15 also increased by 18 percent during that period.

“The data from Minnesota confirm that the market is already reacting positively to the elimination of the unnecessary and ridiculous summertime restriction on E15,” said Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “In the past, when the calendar flipped to June, E15 sales volumes would begin a summer-long nosedive because of EPA’s antiquated gasoline volatility regulations. But because President Trump kept his promise to remove the summertime barrier to E15, those days are over and retailers now have the ability to sell E15 all year long. Customers looking for a cleaner, lower-cost, higher-octane fuel option can finally fill up with E15 during the busy summer driving season.”

While the June boost in E15 sales is good news, Cooper said the data also underscore the demand destruction resulting from EPA’s unrestrained abuse of small refiner exemptions. In recent months, E15 sales volumes per station have been slightly below year-ago levels due to weakened RFS requirements and lower prices for the RFS compliance credits known as RINs. From December 2018 through May 2019, E15 sales per station per day were 13% lower, on average, than the average during the same period the year before. Not coincidentally, RIN prices were three times lower in the period of lower E15 sales.

“These data provide further evidence that EPA’s rampant issuance of RFS small refiner exemptions is suppressing growth in E15 and other higher-level blends,” Cooper said. “The bailouts given to refiners in recent years led to a collapse in the price of RFS compliance credits, which provide the marketplace with a powerful incentive to expand E15 availability. That incentive is greatly diminished when credit values are very low—as is currently the case. This is more proof that EPA’s reckless use of small refinery waivers is resulting in lost demand for ethanol producers. With another 40 small refiner exemption requests pending, we urge the Trump Administration to exercise far more constraint and judiciousness in deciding these petitions. And we implore EPA to ensure that any exempted volumes are redistributed to non-exempt parties.”

Joint NCGA-ASA Op-Ed Urges President to Support Renewable Fuel Standard

Lynn Chrisp, President, National Corn Growers Association
Davie Stephens, President, American Soybean Association

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Chrisp and American Soybean Association (ASA) President Davie Stephens have written the below opinion piece urging President Trump to uphold his commitment to America’s farmers and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

President Trump, Uphold Your Commitment to the RFS

American farmers have a strong history of innovation. Whether that be the seeds that we plant or the tractors that we drive, we are always looking for ways to do better and increase market opportunities for our products.

Home-grown renewable fuels, like ethanol and biodiesel, are far and away our biggest success story. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has reduced our dependence on foreign oil, lowered fuel prices at the pump, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and added value by increasing demand for the corn and soybeans our farmers produce.

Recently, President Trump took a significant step forward for renewable fuels, instructing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to eliminate the outdated barrier that required retailers in many areas of the country to stop selling 15 percent ethanol blends, or E15, during the summer months.

The benefits of E15, unfortunately, don’t extend to biodiesel. And while this development was welcome news for corn farmers who have been long-time advocates of higher ethanol blends, recent actions by the EPA threaten to curtail benefits to the farmer.

Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 RFS waivers to big oil companies, undermining the RFS and reducing corn and soybean demand. EPA has an additional 38 waiver petitions pending.

These retroactive waivers, which apply to 2016 and 2017 RFS obligations, have totaled 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. The waivers have resulted in an estimated $2 billion in economic harm each year to the U.S. biodiesel industry alone, and if EPA continues to hand out the waivers, the damage for biodiesel could reach $7.7 billion.

These exemptions reduce demand for renewable fuels and lower the value and demand for our soybean and corn crops. For biodiesel, the waivers, combined with the zero-growth proposed for the annual RFS volumes, take the industry backward. For ethanol, these waivers limit growth of higher ethanol blends and undo the positives provided by year-round E15. USDA’s most recent World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) projects a 155 million bushel decline in corn going to ethanol production in the 2018/2019 marketing year, and domestic ethanol consumption in 2018 reversed 20 years of growth with a first-ever decline.

This EPA practice clearly runs counter to President Trump’s much-touted support for America’s farmers and renewable fuels from the farm. Appearing at a Council Bluffs, Iowa, ethanol plant in June, the President harkened back to his campaign promise to support agriculture. “As a candidate for president, I pledged to support our ethanol industry and to fight for the American farmer like no president has ever fought before,” Trump told the crowd.

But, as Iowa corn and soybean farmer Kevin Ross told the President, “The EPA’s oil refinery waivers threaten to undo your good works.”

Disruptions in the renewable fuels market could not come at a worse time for agriculture. This spring’s wet weather meant planting was significantly behind schedule, if we could even get into the field at all, and uncertainty surrounding trade disputes and tariffs has threatened long-standing relationships and new market opportunities for our products.

President Trump has the opportunity to follow through on his promise to farmers by instructing the EPA to ensure it does not undermine the RFS and the many benefits of renewable fuels. This is especially important now, as EPA evaluates pending waivers and begins a rulemaking process to reset RFS requirements.

America’s farmers are the most innovative in the world and, if given the opportunity, can be a major contributor to our nation’s energy independence. Mr. President, you support us, and we want to support you; please uphold your commitment to America’s farmers and the RFS.

Shifting Policies Lead To Market Opportunities In Saudi Arabia

Customizing programs to meet the specific needs of an individual company, such as ARASCO, ensures the Council's programs address the specific interests and concerns companies may have regarding U.S. feed grains and co-products.

Imports represent a growing proportion of animal feed rations in Saudi Arabia due to shifting government policies to conserve water and increased overall demand. The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is working with leading feed grain importers and end-users to capture that demand and expand export opportunities for U.S. feed grains and co-products to the Kingdom.

“The Council foresees the Kingdom to be a key export market for U.S. feed grains and co-products, as well as a growing export market for ethanol for years to come – especially as Saudi continues to turn to imports to conserve water and meet growing feed grain demand,” said Ramy Taieb, USGC regional director for the Middle East and Africa.

A critical component of the Council’s work with Saudi industry is ensuring key decision makers have a comprehensive understanding of U.S. grain production, marketing and handling systems. As a part of this effort, the Council organized a team from ARASCO, Saudi Arabia’s largest feed milling company, to travel to the United States in July to meet with U.S. producers, suppliers and exporters.

“Customizing programs to meet the specific needs of an individual company, such as ARASCO, ensures the Council's programs address the specific interests and concerns companies may have regarding U.S. feed grains and co-products,” Taieb said. “With a 40 percent market share in the feed industry and plans to expand its operations, ARASCO is, and will continue to be, a key partner to the Council in the region.”

The team visited Illinois, Kansas and Louisiana to gain a better understanding of the U.S. feed grains and co-products value chain - from production to logistics channels for export - as well as the nutritional and economic advantages of these commodities.

“Teams like this one allow the Council to provide consistent, reliable market information to the Saudi feed industry,” Taieb said. “The direct interaction between Saudi buyers and U.S. farmers and exporters is an integral part of assessing and evaluating what tools the Saudi industry needs to use higher volumes of U.S. feed grains and co-products.”

The Council has worked in Saudi Arabia for more than three decades, focusing on relationship building, market promotion and knowledge exchange. The amendment to the Saudi’s animal feed subsidies in 2011 - which the Council encouraged - granted import subsidies for U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten feed for the first time.

“This allowance created new export market opportunities for U.S. corn and co-products to the Kingdom,” Taieb said. “One of the world's driest areas, Saudi Arabia also began undertaking substantial measures in 2016 to conserve water, creating additional demand for imported feed versus heavily-irrigated domestic barley and wheat production.”

As a result of these policy revisions and growing feed grain demand, the Kingdom has grown into a key export market for U.S. corn, sorghum and co-products. Saudi Arabia purchased nearly 1.5 million metric tons (59 million bushels) of U.S. corn, ranking as the ninth largest market, in addition to U.S. DDGS and corn gluten feed in the 2017/2018 marketing year.

Saudi customers, including ARASCO, were also among the first to purchase U.S. sorghum vessels on the water when China announced tariffs in April 2018. Since that announcement, the Saudi Arabian market overall has purchased 280,000 tons (11 million bushels) of U.S. sorghum.

The Council will continue working with Saudi buyers and end-users to meet their feed demand as additional water-conservation policies are put in place - including one introduced in early 2019 to reduce overall water consumption by 24 percent over the next year.

“The Council has the opportunity to further increase its effectiveness in the Saudi market by providing marketing information to major players in the Saudi feed industry,” Taieb said. “Doing so will continue to improve import prospects for U.S. corn, sorghum and co-products to the Kingdom.”

Wednesday August 7 Ag News

Governors Call on EPA to Remove Regulatory Burden

Recently, Governor Pete Ricketts requested that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) remove unnecessary rules that regulate CO2 emissions from the processing and use of agricultural feedstocks.  Gov. Ricketts joined with the Governors of Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, and North Dakota to co-author a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, asking for an end to the burdensome regulations.

“We respectfully request that you prioritize regulatory reform clarifying that biogenic CO2 emissions from processing and use of agricultural feedstocks...are not pollutants subject to regulation under the federal Clean Air Act,” wrote the Governors.  “Removal of this regulatory barrier is key to unlocking investment in the 21st century bioeconomy in rural areas across America.”

In the wake of a 2009 Endangerment Finding on the environmental impact of greenhouse gases, the EPA claimed jurisdiction to regulate CO2 emissions from agricultural crops.  Subsequent EPA rules imposed a burden on ag producers to go through a permitting process.  The regulations also placed them at risk of being sued for processing or using feedstocks.  The net result has been to delay some bio-economic development projects, and to prevent others from ever happening at all.

The EPA persisted in the regulations despite being cautioned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that biogenic CO2 is carbon neutral and therefore not liable to governmental oversight.

Husker Harvest Days 2019

Husker Harvest Days is a place to find useful tips, strategies and tools to take home to your operation — things that you can control, and hopefully improve in a profitable way. 

This year, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is emphasizing strategies for staying strong in the wake of extremes — including extreme weather and stress — at the Husker Red Building on Lot 827 on Eighth Street in the southeast quadrant of the exhibit field.

Nebraska Extension faculty will discuss weather readiness, stress management, ag economics, ag leadership, beef and crop production, irrigation efficiency, horticulture, and careers in agriculture. So, if you've got a question on any of these topics, bring it with you — there's likely an expert who can provide some insight.

Field Demonstrations

Field demonstrations are an integral part of Husker Harvest Days. NEW THIS YEAR! The time for corn harvest has changed to 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day, giving visitors a great opportunity to see the machines in action. Each company will comment on their combine, grain cart or other piece of machinery before they demonstrate in the field. Tillage tools and other special machines will operate each day at 11:30 a.m. Haying demonstration will begin at 2:00 p.m. with mowing, raking and baling. Also new this year, Haying Demonstrations will be located north of the exhibit field in Field 2.

New this year - Beef Production Seminars

Our expanded cattle production area includes the introduction of seminars from high-profile industry members.
10 a.m.- Cattle Handling Demo. (All show days)
11 a.m.- Fake Meat: The Real Story and What Beef Producers Need to Know, speaker Amanda Radke, author and long-time freelance contributor to BEEF Magazine. Amanda will have her new ranch-inspired book for kids, Can-Do Cowkids. (Tues. and Wed.)
Noon- The Beef Business in an Era of Uncertainty, speaker Burt Rutherford, senior editor, BEEF Magazine. (All show days)
1 p.m.- Great Grazing is for Profit, speaker Alan Newport, editor, Beef Producer. (All show days)
2 p.m.- Cattle Handling Demo. (All show days)

Plus, there are live-action equine and stock dog training demos, and many cattle handling and production equipment suppliers exhibiting at the show … feed, fencing, feeding equipment, waterers, animal health supplies, security/monitoring equipment, haying equipment, buildings, wagons, trailers, welders, breed associations, purebred cattle breeders, and more!

Cattle Handling, Horse Training Demos and more for the Livestock Producer

Husker Harvest Days offers working cattle demonstrations, horse training demos, herding dog demonstrations and livestock equipment displays for livestock producers. Cattle handling demonstrations are located at the Livestock Industries Building between Second and Third Streets and are sponsored by Enogen Feed. Demos run twice daily at 10 am and 2 pm. Ron Knodel will be demonstrating his horse training techniques using wild horses at the BLM display #50E. He will have programs daily at 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. Herding dog demonstrations will take place on the north side of Chief Flag Road and run throughout the day.

Husker Harvest Days App

The Husker Harvest Days App is now available for free download to your Android or iPhone. Put the 2019 Husker Harvest Days in the palm of your hand with our new app. You will have instant access to key show information including an exhibitor search and show map. For access to the Husker Harvest Days app go to your phone's app store and search for "Husker Harvest Days 2019". The app is free, your usual phone charges apply. The Husker Harvest Days app is sponsored by and Reinke Irrigation.

Hope to see you there! 

It's been a rough year for agriculture — there's no way around it. If you're feeling the crunch this season, whether because of economics, weather extremes or stress, we hope there's something at HHD you can bring home to help improve your ranch or farming operation.


Nebraska's farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, increased from 2018, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Farm real estate value for 2019 averaged $2,850 per acre, up $100 per acre (4 percent) from last year.

Cropland value increased slightly from last year to $4,390 per acre. Dryland cropland value averaged $3,490 per acre, $60 higher than last year. Irrigated cropland value averaged $5,850 per acre, $80 below a year ago. Pastureland, at $1,050 per acre, was $75 higher than the previous year.

Cash rents paid to landlords in 2019 for cropland decreased from last year. Irrigated cropland rent averaged $237 per acre, $1 below last year. Dryland cropland rent averaged $144 per acre, $6 lower than a year earlier. Pasture rented for cash averaged $24.50 per acre, $2 above the previous year.


Iowa’s farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $7,190 per acre in 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Land Values 2019 Summary. This is down $80 per acre or 1 percent from last year’s level.
Cropland, at $7,260 per acre, was down $30 from last year. Pasture, at $2,720 per acre, was down $70 from last year.

Cropland cash rent paid to Iowa landlords in 2019 averaged $230.00 per acre according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Non-irrigated cropland rent averaged $230.00 per acre, down $1.00 from last year. Irrigated cropland rent averaged $235.00 per acre. Pasture rented for cash averaged $59.00 per acre, up $5.00 from the previous year.

U.S. Agricultural Land Values Highlights

The United States farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $3,160 per acre for 2019, up $60 per acre (1.9 percent) from 2018. The United States cropland value averaged $4,100 per acre, an increase of $50 per acre (1.2 percent) from the previous year. The United States pasture value averaged $1,400 per acre, up $30 (2.2 percent) from 2018.

County level averages of 2019 cash rents paid to landlords will be released on September 10, 2019 and will be available through NASS Quick Stats, located at

Iowa Department of Agriculture Revamps the Choose Iowa Brand at the 2019 Iowa State Fair

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will re-launch the Choose Iowa initiative at the 2019 Iowa State Fair. The Choose Iowa program creates support for farmers, drives demand for the products they produce, and generates excitement about agricultural innovation happening around the state.

“Iowa farmers work hard to produce healthy, affordable food using sustainable practices. Thanks to their efforts, Iowa produces more corn, pork, eggs and renewable fuels than any other state,” said Secretary Naig. “Whether you live in the city or the country, you can support our farmers by choosing Iowa-grown meat, eggs, dairy and produce at grocery stores, farmers markets and restaurants around the state.”

The Choose Iowa brand first launched in 2007 as a labeling program for locally-grown products. Now the program has evolved into a platform to share stories about Iowa agriculture, including farm families, innovations, agribusinesses and the products they produce.

Agriculture is an important part of our state’s history and agricultural innovations will lead our state into the future. Iowa has created an environment for ag entrepreneurs and start-up companies to be successful. All Iowans can be proud of the established industry leaders, promising new start-ups and technology-savvy farmers that call Iowa home. These agricultural leaders create new opportunities for Iowa’s communities, economy and workforce.

Iowa State Fair attendees can visit the Choose Iowa booth in the Ag Building to learn more about Iowa’s agricultural products and some of the decisions producers make every day on the farm. Additional information is available at

Corteva Agriscience and 4-H Showcase the Future of Farming at Iowa State Fair

This year, the Iowa State Fair will welcome more than one million guests to one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the United States. Corteva Agriscience, an official partner of this year's Fair, is proud to showcase its partnership with 4-H during the opening weekend to highlight its commitment to encouraging youth to become engaged in the development of ideas and solutions that grow progress and the future of agriculture.

On Friday, Aug. 9, 2019 – 4-H Alumni Day at the Iowa State Fair – Corteva and 4-H will co-host the Farmfluencer Award Show at 1:30 p.m. CT in the 4-H Exhibits Building. All are encouraged to attend as the event is open to media and the public.

The inaugural "Farmfluencer," program was a global initiative launched earlier this year, aimed at inspiring the next generation, helping them understand the role of innovation and the technologies designed to improve the world through agriculture. More than 130 entries were received over the course of the submission period, demonstrating wide array of topics from precision agriculture to the mental health of farmers.

"4-H has a long history of developing experiential learning programs that a positively affect agriculture for future generations," said Artis Stevens, National 4-H Council Chief Marketing Officer. "Farmfluencer has been an incredibly successful program, as we received many smart, well-thought out and impactful entries; therefore, we will celebrate not only the winners, but all of the submissions at this celebration."

Winners of this year's Farmfluencer contest will join Stevens and Corteva's Dana Bolden, vice president of external affairs, on-stage to discuss the agriculture industry and their winning submissions impact the future of farming. In addition to honoring the winners with an award, they will share the thinking behind their submissions and their perspective on what is important to the future of farming.

"Now, more than ever before, it's imperative that younger generations team up with farmers, industry leaders and companies like Corteva to advance and sustain agricultural practices across the globe," said Bolden. "The Farmfluencer was filled with inspiring ideas that we're thrilled to celebrate this week at the Iowa State Fair."

Corteva will be on-site at the Fair throughout the 11-day event, which begins on Thursday, Aug. 8 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. 

Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/2/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Aug. 2, ethanol production averaged 1.040 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 43.68 million gallons daily. Output expanded by 10,000 b/d (0.9%) over the previous week yet was 59,000 b/d (-5.5%) below the year-ago volume. The four-week average ethanol production rate declined for the fifth consecutive week, down 0.2% to 1.044 million b/d and equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.00 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks dropped 5.5% from the prior week’s record high to 23.1 million barrels. Stocks declined sharply in the Gulf Coast (PADD 3), the primary region from which ethanol is exported, but built in the East Coast (PADD 1) and Rocky Mountain (PADD 4) regions.

Imports of ethanol arriving into the West Coast were 36,000 b/d, or 10.58 million gallons for the week. This is the third time in five weeks that imports were logged. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of June 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied to the market increased 1.0% to 9.651 million b/d (405.3 million gallons per day, or 147.95 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol lessened by 1.5% to 945,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.49 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production ticked down to 10.78%.

Livestock Groups Launch Month-long Campaign Highlighting the Benefits of Grazing

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council today launched a digital campaign focused on the value of grazing. The digital campaign was created to explore key elements of grazing that benefit the environment, rural communities, and local economies across the United States.

The four-week campaign launched with a video and blog post featuring Rich Atmore, a California rancher that lived through the destructive 2017 Thomas Fire. With the use of livestock grazing, Atmore mitigated the intensity and damage of  wildfires around his home and surrounding urban landscapes.

“Wildfire mitigation is just one of the many benefits of livestock grazing," said NCBA President Jennifer Houston. “Cattle positively contribute to the environment and our food production system, and it’s a story many need to hear. We need to arm the public with facts; it’s livestock who provide natural nutrients to the soil, ensure our native grasslands remain intact, and ensure rural America remains economically supported.”

Research finds that managed livestock grazing prevents catastrophic wildfire, cycles nutrients through the soil, fosters healthy habitats for wildlife, and supports rural economic development.  In fact, ranchers maintained and preserved seven million acres of habitat for the Greater Sage-grouse, a bird that does not need federal protections thanks largely to the benefits of livestock grazing.

“Whether someone enjoys fishing, biking, or camping on public lands, its livestock grazing that preserves this open space for others to enjoy,” said PLC President Bob Skinner. “Without ranching partners, the federal government would face difficulty maintaining such large landscapes. My hope is our campaign highlights the value added by grazing and expands the positive perceptions surrounding ranching.”

The campaign will continue to share impactful stories about the importance of livestock grazing this August through social media content, online blog posts, and videos. To learn more about the value of livestock grazing in the United States, visit or

Alliance releases report from 2019 Animal Rights National Conference

The Animal Agriculture Alliance released a report today detailing observations from the Animal Rights National Conference, held July 25 through July 28 in Alexandria, Virginia. The event was organized by the Farm Animal Rights Movement and sponsored by Mercy for Animals, The Save Movement, Compassion Over Killing and The Humane League, along with other animal rights extremist groups.

“Animal rights extremists are becoming increasingly aggressive in their efforts to end animal agriculture,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “Releasing reports from major activist conferences enables everyone in animal agriculture to prepare for strategies and tactics targeting their livelihood.”

Similar to last year’s conference, speakers made it clear their vision is animal liberation, not promoting animal welfare. “There is no such thing as humane slaughter and anyone who tells you differently is simply lying,” said Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation Now. “We need to say that all animal agriculture is cruel and wrong,” said Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns. Demetria Atkinson of Redefine Your Mind argued “Animals are people too.”

A key theme of the conference was the desire to create a vegan world by 2026 to save the environment, but many activists had doubts. “Activism is so sad right now; when I look at our movement, I am incredibly disappointed,” said Lauren Ornelas of The Food Empowerment Project. “We vegans carry a heavy burden. No matter how hard we work, we will likely never see the end of it,” said Melanie Joy of Beyond Carnism. “We are not even close to being on the cusp of global veganism,” said Bruce Friedrich of The Good Food Institute.

Attendees at the conference were encouraged to pressure restaurants and retailers and make it seem like a lot of people are asking for vegan meals by blitzing companies on social media, by mail and in-person. “Make sure you tag [brands] in the photo so that all they see is consumer demand for vegan [products],” said Laura Cascada of Compassion Over Killing. Cascada also urged conference attendees to write post cards so they could have “several hundred post cards to dump on the front step of [one restaurant chain] at some point.” In a workshop at the conference, The Humane League asked attendees to write birthday cards to the CEO of a major restaurant chain saying, “This will be the meanest card you’ll ever write.” While talking about corporate campaigns, Kelly Myer of The Humane League said, “We surround buildings so that employees have to see and feel guilt anytime they leave” and “An incremental approach is used to gradually switch companies over to veganism.”

Speakers also focused on the use of “undercover” videos and the media to damage the reputation of animal agriculture and reach their goals. “Investigations are the single most powerful tool to expose the inherent cruelties in large-scale animal agriculture,” said William Rivas-Rivas of Animal Equality. “Make sure you start with something dramatic...That’s much more likely to go viral,” said Jane Velez-Mitchell of Jane UnChained News Network.

Also speaking at the conference were: Erica Meier and Mike Wolf, Compassion Over Killing; Sean Thomas, Animal Equality; Jennifer Barkley, The Humane League; and Chris Berry and Daniel Waltz, Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The 2019 Animal Rights National 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.

California Approves B20 Biodiesel in Underground Storage Tanks

California has cleared the way for storing biodiesel blends of up to 20 percent (B20) in underground storage tanks, removing the last major barrier to satisfying the state’s thirst for biodiesel.

Through an effort lasting more than 10 years, the National Biodiesel Board, several member companies, and the California Advanced Biofuels Alliance provided the State Water Board with data necessary to demonstrate B20 compatibility in underground storage tanks. NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen said the amended regulation fulfills a high priority industry objective to allow double-walled UST owners and operators that wish to store B20 to comply with regulations.

“This is a major victory towards biodiesel’s mainstream integration into the California fuel supply,” Rehagen said. “We recognize the huge potential for biodiesel to supply California with a better and cleaner fuel and applaud state regulators for working closely with us to clear this final hurdle that will allow for more low-carbon biodiesel to make its way to the consumers and fleets all across the state.”

Biodiesel, a renewable fuel for diesel engines, significantly reduces greenhouse gases compared to fossil fuels. This makes biodiesel use an important strategy in meeting the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The California Air Resources Board affirms biodiesel reduces greenhouse gases by at least 50 percent, and often by as much as 81 percent compared to petroleum. This gives biodiesel some of the best carbon scores among all liquid fuels.

The vast majority of diesel fuel is stored in underground storage tanks, particularly at retail fueling locations. Although biodiesel biodegrades in water as fast as sugar, regulators had concerns that any degradation of UST materials could allow diesel fuel to compromise the water supply.

The California State Water Resources Control Board amended California Underground Storage Tank (UST) Regulations on August 6. The regulations now say that diesel containing up to B20, meeting the ASTM standard for B20 (D7467), “shall be recognized as equivalent to diesel for the purpose of complying with existing approval requirements for double-walled USTs, unless any material or component of the UST system has been determined to not be compatible with B20.”

The language reverses the previous wording of the regulation, which in effect required tank owners to prove that every component of the tank was compatible.

“This change in regulations represents a huge milestone for consumers in California, who will now have increased access to B20 in a state where protecting the environment is greatly valued,” said Tyson Keever of biodiesel producer SeQuential and Crimson Renewable Energy who chairs the California Advanced Biofuels Alliance. “Our company is driven to make a positive impact on reducing carbon emissions, to stimulate local economies, and to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and this new regulation will amplify our ability to do all three.”

California was the last state to accept storages of B20 in underground fuel systems. The regulation will go into effect October 1.

The Andersons Reports Net Income for 2Q

The Andersons, Inc. announced its financial results for the second quarter ended June 30. The company reports net income of $29.9 million, or $0.91 per diluted share, and adjusted net income of $32.3 million, or $0.98 per diluted share.

Ethanol Group records pretax income of $2.6 million in a challenging margin environment.

"Extremely wet weather in many of our core grain origination markets benefited our Trade Group but hurt both our Ethanol and Plant Nutrient Groups during the quarter. The resulting market conditions illustrated perfectly the value of the more diversified, newly integrated portfolio we now operate in our Trade Group," said President and CEO Pat Bowe. "We were able to capitalize on merchandising opportunities caused by grain and feed ingredient price volatility. However, we're concerned about the implications of a smaller corn crop on the utilization of our eastern grain assets for the remainder of this year and into 2020."

As it did in the first quarter, the company has recast second quarter 2018 pretax income for the former Grain Group and the Ethanol Group to conform to segment reporting changes made in conjunction with the acquisition of Lansing Trade Group.

AgroLiquid Introduces Micro 1000

Growers asked for a comprehensive micronutrient package. AgroLiquid delivers with 10 nutrients in one manufactured product.

AgroLiquid is excited to introduce the newest product in its microLink line-up. Micro 1000™ is a combination of eight essential micronutrients: zinc, nickel, molybdenum, manganese, iron, copper, cobalt, and boron; and two secondary nutrients: calcium and magnesium.

Soil tests do not analyze the availability of all micronutrients we know plants utilize during the growing season (albeit in very small amounts). Regardless of the quantity of a nutrient needed, if a plant does not have access to those micronutrients, it can lead to susceptibility to disease, stunting, reduced root structure and ultimately, reduced yields.

At the recent Ag PhD Field Day, TV show host, Darren Hefty, commented, “I talk with many farmers who say ‘well, we haven’t really focused on micros on our farm, which ones are most important?’ Obviously all of them.” Micro 1000 was developed to provide secondary and micronutrients to the crop during key growth stages. Zn, Mn, Fe, and Cu are components of chlorophyll production and are critical for photosynthesis. Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, Ca, and Mg help improve nitrogen utilization by the crop. All of them are needed during the early development of the crop, with boron being needed most during pollination. The Flavonol Polymer Technology contained in Micro 1000 allows for improved uptake and assimilation by the crop.

The availability of secondary and micronutrients to the crop can be affected by a number of soil and environmental factors. While a thorough soil test analysis is critical to making an informed crop nutrition recommendation, a soil test may not measure, or fails to provide, sufficient information about certain factors. Some of these factors include soil nutrient interactions, temperature, water content and light. Find out if Micro 1000 is right for your operation at

Tuesday August 6 Ag News

Adding Alfalfa to Corn-Soybean Rotation can Increase Profit, Reduce Nitrate Leaching
Charles Wortmann - NE Extension Soil and Nutrient Management Specialist

Wellhead protection areas of many Nebraska towns have been threatened with high aquifer nitrate levels. Alfalfa in rotation with annual crops has long been recognized as a means to reduce nitrate leaching.

Research has shown that in a 9- or 10-year rotation cycle with five years of corn and soybean rotation and four or five years of alfalfa, mean profit was 9% more with alfalfa in the rotation than with a continuous corn-soybean rotation for owned land. Applied fertilizer-N may be reduced by 66% with alfalfa in the rotation. In addition, alfalfa roots can be expected to deplete soil nitrate to a 10-foot depth (Kranz, et al., 2005).

Alfalfa will use the nitrate applied in irrigation water, reducing nitrate in the aquifer. If an average of 16 inches per year of irrigation water with 15 ppm nitrate-N is applied during a five-year stage of the alfalfa in a 10-year rotation cycle, about 270 lbs/ac of nitrate-N would be removed from the aquifer. If the alfalfa crop reduces soil nitrate-N to a 10-foot depth by an average of 5 ppm, about 240 lbs/ac of nitrate-N would be removed from the soil. Addition of alfalfa to the rotation may be a cost-effective means of reducing aquifer nitrate concentrations.

A spreadsheet calculator was developed to compare the profitability of rotations that include alfalfa with the corn-soybean or corn-soybean-wheat rotations. The rotations compared were:
-  Continuous corn-soybean (C:S) rotation;
-  Alfalfa (A) summer-sown following oats (O) (10-year rotation of C:S:C:S:O:A:A:A:A:A:C:S:C:S:O:A….);
-  Alfalfa (A) spring-sown following corn (9-year rotation of C:S:C:S:C:A:A:A:A:C:S:C:S:C:A….); and,
-  Alfalfa (A) spring-sown following corn (10-year rotation of C:S:C:S:C:A:A:A:A:A:C:S:C:S:C:A….).

The calculations were done for irrigated production in Knox County. Assumed yields were:
-    220 bu/ac for corn following soybean;
-    231 bu/ac for corn following alfalfa;
-    60 bu/ac for soybean;
-    3.5 t/ac with late summer sowing and 2.5 t/ac with spring sowing for first year of alfalfa; and
-    6 t/ac for other years of alfalfa.

Grain prices used were: $3.50/bu for corn; $8/bu for soybean; and $125/t for alfalfa hay. Calculations were for rental and for owned land, and for no-till and tilled. Costing was at custom rates for all oat and alfalfa operations and with grower owned equipment for corn and soybean operations.

Rotations with alfalfa had an average of 7% more profit than the corn-soybean rotation. With no consideration of federal farm program disaster payments or crop insurance indemnities.2 The mean net profit was $-24.39/ac for the corn-soybean rotation and $-12.80/ac for rotations with alfalfa for rented land at $250/ac, and $160.61/ac for C:S and $172.20/ac for rotations with alfalfa for owned land. The most profitable rotation was No. 4 (alfalfa (A) spring-sown following corn in a 10-year rotation of C:S:C:S:C:A:A:A:A:A:C:S:C:S:C:A).

In conclusion, there is an opportunity to reduce the loss of nitrate to aquifers and increase the extraction of nitrate from aquifers by including alfalfa in crop rotations while improving profitability.


 State and civic leaders joined Scoular executives today in Seward, Nebraska to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new state-of-the-art freeze-dried manufacturing facility. The facility establishes a new freeze-dried pet food ingredients business owned and operated by an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Scoular. Over $50 million will be invested to build this facility, which is expected to create nearly 100 new jobs once operational.

The 105,000 square foot manufacturing facility will bring research and development, meat processing, freeze drying, and packaging together under one roof, creating nutritious and quality protein ingredients for pet food suppliers. The simplified ingredient supply chain provided by this new facility will efficiently meet the fast-growing demand for freeze-dried protein ingredients.

Construction of the facility at the Seward/Lincoln Regional Rail Campus is estimated to take approximately 14 months, with the goal of being operational by Fall 2020.

“We are continually identifying new ways to meet our customers’ needs and help solve their business requirements. This new facility reflects this commitment, as one of the first in the country to bring multiple phases of the freeze-drying manufacturing process under one roof for the pet food industry,” said Scoular CEO Paul Maass. “The positive response of the Seward community continually reaffirms the decision to build and operate the facility here.”

“Scoular is a homegrown Nebraska company that has been creating jobs in our state since the 1800s,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “The groundbreaking of the freeze-drying facility is an exciting day for Seward. It’s another example of the manufacturing strength and economic growth that has helped Nebraska lead the nation in new investments each of the last three years.”

"It’s a great day for Seward as we welcome a new community partner,” said City of Seward Mayor Josh Eickmeier. “We appreciate the investment in the facility as the flagship business in our rail campus, and we look forward to growing with this business for years to come.”

The groundbreaking ceremony was followed by a celebratory luncheon in Seward.

As part of preparing for the facility’s operations, a temporary R&D lab has been established in Seward. It will serve as the headquarters for the operations in Seward until the new manufacturing facility is complete, as well as work with pet food customers to create solutions to identified challenges.

Hiring for the manufacturing facility will be a phased approach and is expected to begin in early 2020. Information will be provided to the community about employment opportunities in advance.

To learn more about the project and see progress updates, please visit

Youth Crop Scouting Event Tests Valuable Skills

Seven teams from across Nebraska participated in the sixth annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska Youth July 23. It was held at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead. Teams of students (those completing 5-12th grades) participated by completing a written knowledge test and seven crop scouting exercises in field plots. Teams were expected to know the basics of scouting corn and soybean, including crop staging; looking for patterns of crop injury; and disease, insect and weed seedling identification.

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

Winners of the 2019 competition were:
    First place ($500 prize) – Colfax County 4-H (R. J. Bayer, Jestin Bayer, Austin Steffensmeier, Logan Nelson, and Brad Kratochvil)
    Second place ($250 prize) – Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club #1 (Payton and Levi Schiller, Matthew Rolf, and Kaleb Hasenkamp)
    Third place ($100 prize) – Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club #2 (Landon Hasenkamp, Ethan Kreikmeier, James Rolf, and Ian Schiller)

The top two teams will represent Nebraska at the regional competition to be held in Iowa on August 26.

Also participating were:
    Humphrey FFA with Bryce Classen, Jacob Brandl, and Mikayla Martensen
    Twin River FFA with Keaton Zarek, Kyle Kemper, Jacob Czarnick, and Landon Cuba
    Auburn FFA with Kellen Moody, Austin Youngquit, Braden Gerdes, and Riley Stukenholtz
    Wayne FFA with Justus Greves, Noah Lutt, Tyler Reinhardt, Elle Barnes, and Alyssa Carlson

More information about the crop scouting competition is available online at Click on the link that says, “Crop Scouting Competition.”  This program was sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, the Nebraska Independent Crop Consultants Association, and Farm Credit Services of America in collaboration with Nebraska Extension.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

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

               Corn development and maturity is highly variable this year due to all the problems with spring rains.  If you always chop silage on about the same date, how will that affect your 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 or when we chop late-planted corn with immature grain.  Live green stalks, leaves, and husks almost always are more than eighty percent moisture, so wait until these tissues start to dry before chopping.

               In our region, normal corn is often chopped for silage too dry, below sixty percent moisture.  Dry silage is difficult to pack adequately to force out air.  This silage heats, energy and protein digestibility declines, and spoilage increases.  If your silage usually 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 well  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.


               Cane hay and other summer annual grasses can grow rapidly even when planted late like with prevented plantings.  Make sure you watch it closely to get it cut in time.

               I often encourage you to cut cane hay or hay from other summer annual grasses when they get about waist high.  Reasons for this relatively early cut include better protein and energy content, faster drying, and better palatability.

               This last week I saw a few fields and heard about many more that were way beyond that point.  Some were even headed out and maturing rapidly.  If this describes any of your fields, get them harvested as soon as possible.

               What’s the rush, you ask.  Of course, part of my concern is the lower forage quality and greater difficulty with getting the hay dry enough to bale that occurs when these plants get large and mature.  But, another concern with these fields is all the seed they can produce.  If you allow that seed to mature before cutting, it can pose problems for years to come.

               For starters, you won’t get much of that seed to remain in your hay when you cut it.  Most of that seed will shatter from the heads and fall to the ground either before you cut or when you strike the plants at harvest.

               Then the potential problems begin.  Over the next few years, that seed will germinate and cause potential weed problems for future crops.  Because cane and many other summer annual grasses are members of the sorghum family, cross-pollination could result in some of the seeds producing shattercane plants.  And we all know how much more difficult shattercane can be to control than many other weeds.

               So use timely harvest.  You will get better hay and fewer weeds.

Green Plains Reports Second Quarter 2019 Financial Results

Omaha-based Green Plains Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRE) this week announced financial results for the second quarter of 2019. Net loss attributable to the company was $45.3 million, or $(1.13) per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2019 compared with net loss of $1.0 million, or $(0.02) per diluted share, for the same period in 2018. Revenues were $895.9 million for the second quarter of 2019 compared with $986.8 million for the same period last year.

“We continued to face a challenging ethanol margin environment compounded by a reduced run rate early in the quarter as we emerged from a first quarter production slowdown that impacted our financial performance,” commented Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer. “We believe that maintaining a strong balance sheet while continuing to reduce operating expenses through our Project 24 initiative, should give us the financial stability to withstand any elongated margin weakness the industry may face.”

Revenues attributable to the company were $1.5 billion for the six-month period ended June 30, 2019, compared with $2.0 billion for the same period in 2018. Net loss for the six-month period ended June 30, 2019, was $88.1 million, or $(2.19) per diluted share, compared with net loss of $25.1 million, or $(0.63) per diluted share, for the same period in 2018.

“Consistent with our message to shareholders earlier this year to move our cattle business off-balance sheet, we are pleased to announce that we have signed a letter of intent to sell a minimum of 50% ownership of our cattle subsidiary to a group of financial investors including pensions,” stated Becker. “Green Plains will receive approximately $75 million in exchange for 50% of its equity investment in the business, deconsolidating approximately $335 million of working capital debt and lowering our interest expense by approximately $17 million annually when the transaction closes, which we expect to be within the next 30 to 45 days.”

“Project 24 remains on course in lowering our operating expenses to an estimated 24 cents per gallon across our ethanol platform after the four main commodities that make up our gross margin,” said Becker. “Since the end of the second quarter, our plant operating expense per gallon is tracking to approximately 28 cents a gallon compared to 32 cents a gallon in 2018 and 36 cents during the first quarter driven partially by 2019’s slower run rates. Our stated goal of running at over 90% of our platform’s capability going forward is beneficial for our ownership in Green Plains Partners and is critical in hitting our lower operating expense goals. We anticipate having Project 24 completed by the end of the second quarter 2020.”

“Our financial strength is a result of the strategic steps we began back in May of 2018 with our Portfolio Optimization Plan,” added Becker. “In addition, we continue to work with interested parties on proving value and monetizing certain production assets. While our company and industry have been hit hard by government policy, geopolitics and oversupply, we are not waiting for the recovery to happen. We will continue to transition this platform to high protein animal feed production as a growing driver of more predictable and stable earnings, beginning with the completion of our high protein project in Shenandoah, Iowa in late 2019.”

“We believe our equity value is not representative of the long-term value of our assets as proven in our assets sales and continues to be validated in our optimization plan,” concluded Becker. “With that said, we continue to further develop our capital allocation plan to address this ongoing disparity.”

Second Quarter Highlights and Recent Developments

    On June 21, 2019, the company announced the completion of its offering of $105 million aggregate principal amount of 4.00% convertible senior notes due 2024. The notes were offered and sold in a private placement to qualified institutional buyers as defined in Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, by the initial purchasers of the notes. The company's net proceeds from the offering were approximately $101 million after deducting  commissions and offering expenses. The company used approximately $40 million of the net proceeds to repurchase approximately 3.2 million shares of common stock concurrently with the offering in privately negotiated transactions. The company also used approximately $57.8 million of the net proceeds to repurchase the outstanding $56.8 million outstanding principal amount of its 3.25% convertible senior notes due October 1, 2019, including accrued and unpaid interest, in privately negotiated transactions concurrently with this offering.
    On June 28, 2019, Green Plains Grain Company LLC entered into an amendment of its Credit Agreement with a group of lenders led by BNP Paribas. This Ninth Amendment to the Credit Agreement was completed to renew and extend the existing maturity date from July 26, 2019 to June 28, 2022. In addition to the extension of the maturity date, the amended Credit Agreement lowered the senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility from $125.0 million to $100.0 million.
    On July 19, 2019, the company closed on the issuance of the additional $10.0 million aggregate principal amount of the 4.00% notes (the “Option Notes”) to the initial purchasers. The Option Notes resulted in net proceeds to the company, after deducting commissions and offering expenses, of approximately $9.5 million. The company intends to use the additional proceeds for general corporate purposes. After the issuance of the Option Notes, total aggregate principal of the 4.00% notes was $115.0 million.

Results of Operations

Green Plains produced 224.0 million gallons of ethanol during the second quarter of 2019, compared with 296.3 million gallons for the same period in 2018. The consolidated ethanol crush margin was $(19.9) million, or $(0.09) per gallon, for the second quarter of 2019, compared with $25.6 million, or $0.09 per gallon, for the same period in 2018. The consolidated ethanol crush margin is the ethanol production segment’s operating income (loss) before depreciation and amortization, which includes corn oil, plus intercompany storage, transportation and other fees, net of related expenses.

Consolidated revenues of $895.9 million decreased $91.0 million for the three months ended June 30, 2019, compared with the same period in 2018, due primarily to the disposition of three ethanol plants and the sale of Fleischmann’s Vinegar during the fourth quarter of 2018, offset by increased cattle volumes sold due to the acquisition of two feed lots in the third quarter of 2018.

Operating loss for the three months ended June 30, 2019 was $39.4 million, compared with operating income of $11.8 million for the same period last year, primarily due to decreased margins on ethanol production as well as the disposition of Fleischmann’s Vinegar during the fourth quarter of 2018. Interest expense decreased $6.1 million to $16.0 million for the three months ended June 30, 2019 compared with the same period in 2018, primarily due to the repayment of the $500 million senior secured term loan during the fourth quarter of 2018. Income tax benefit was $14.7 million for the three months ended June 30, 2019 compared with $10.8 million for the same period in 2018.

Earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the second quarter of 2019 was $(19.8) million compared with $41.8 million for the same period last year.

T-Bone the Corn-fed Steer Will Strut His Stuff at the Iowa State Fair

The Iowa Corn Promotion Board® (ICPB) is proud to sponsor T-Bone the corn-fed steer at this year’s 37th Iowa State Fair Governor’s Charity Steer Show on Saturday. Accompanying the steer will be Iowa Corn Growers Association® President Curt Mether, a farmer from Logan. All proceeds of the show go directly to the Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa and the families in need at the facility.

Also accompanying T-Bone is Brynn Nickle of Clearfield, Iowa. Brynn is involved in her local 4-H and FFA organizations and will be a junior at Mount Ayr Community Schools. Brynn says T-Bone’s favorite feed of choice is… corn! T-Bone is not alone; corn-fed beef is the most widely produced type of beef in the U.S. In fact, 8 percent or 1.1 billion bushels of U.S. corn went to feed beef cattle in 2017. This assures a consistent year-round supply of high-quality beef with the tenderness and flavor most consumers prefer. Cattle usually spend four to six months in a feedlot, during which they are fed a scientifically formulated ration of corn and/or silage, hay and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

Find out more about the importance of the livestock industry to Iowa’s corn farmers, go to

Students Sharpen Ag Policy Knowledge on the Hill

A select group of 10 college students from across the country completed the Ag Voices of the Future program, July 22-25, 2019, in Washington, D.C. The program is sponsored by Valent U.S.A. and the American Soybean Association (ASA) and gives students an inside look at how agricultural policies are made in Washington. The class was held in conjunction with ASA’s summer board meeting and Soy Issues Forum.

An application process for the Ag Voices of the Future program was initiated this past winter in partnership with the collegiate organization Agriculture Future of America (AFA). Students had the opportunity to apply for the AFA Leaders Conference and Ag Voices of the Future program through the same application. The following students were selected for this year’s Ag Voices of the Future class:
• Brooke Beinhart, Iowa
• Leah Mosher, Iowa
• Alexandria Lock, Missouri
• Lora Wright, Missouri
• Sarah Dintelmann, Illinois
• Maria Brockamp, Illinois
• Claire Eggerman, Illinois
• Kolesen McCoy, Ohio
• Tyler Zimpfer, Ohio
• Abbie Wooten, Oklahoma

“We are proud to collaborate with ASA and support the soybean industry to provide students with a hands-on educational experience focused on ag policy,” said Matt Plitt, Valent U.S.A.’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Valent is committed to advancing sustainable agriculture, and this program provides our next-generation of leaders with the opportunity, access, and education that will enable them to grow their skills and knowledge to shape the future of agriculture.”

The students received an education on effective advocacy and the significant legislative, trade and regulatory issues that impact farmers. The program also gave students the chance to visit with others who work in Washington to learn more about careers related to agriculture policy.

“ASA appreciates Valent’s support of this valuable program helping to develop future agriculture industry leaders,” said ASA President Davie Stephens, from Clinton, Ky. “As the majority of Americans are at least three generations removed from the farm, it’s important to invest in these young people who have a strong ag background and interest in shaping our industry and agriculture policies. Cultivating these interests and their passion is not only an investment in their futures—but the future of the agriculture industry.”

The students visited with staff from USDA and EPA; participated in Hill visits with their state soybean associations; and met with a senior staff member for the Senate Ag Committee and leaders from other national organizations, including CropLife America. They also completed a writing workshop with a top speech writing firm, and enjoyed an evening tour of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

ASA will issue an announcement next winter on how to apply for the summer 2020 Ag Voices of the Future program.

SHIC Convenes Feed Ingredient Workshops to Address ASF Threat

African swine fever (ASF) is creating major changes in global livestock feed ingredient and food trade. US pork producers feed imported swine feed ingredients, including vitamins and soybean products, from China where the ASF pandemic continues to grow. Responding to the potential threat posed to US swine herd health by these imported ingredients, which may be vectors for ASF transmission, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) brought vitamin manufacturers and the soybean industry together for workshops in April and July. At each event, the purpose was to discuss and better understand how imported vitamin and soybean products relate to disease transmission. By conducting these events at the University of Minnesota, SHIC is facilitating engagement intended to prevent ASF introduction into the US via imported feed ingredients.

All documents from the workshops can be found on the SHIC website. Facilitating collaboration through organizing these workshops reflects SHIC’s mission to monitor and be prepared for emerging diseases, protecting US swine herd health, and producers’ livelihoods.

Participants at both workshops talked about ASF mitigation strengths and weaknesses in manufacturing as well as transportation of these feed ingredients. Representatives from the vitamin supply chain pointed out there is little risk from reputable companies able to discuss and answer the Questions to Ask Your Feed Supplier posted on the SHIC website. The vitamin supply chain report  includes a detailed listing of vitamin manufacturers in China and their web sites as well details on biosecurity procedures and third-party audits of many of these facilities. Stakeholders were very interested in soybean meal mitigation processes (both extracting and expelling) to inactivate the virus, with evaluation of efficacy of all mitigants and related processes required.

Workshop attendees are concerned about the high consequences of ASF or other FADs being discovered in the US, though both groups agreed the risk for ASF infection cannot yet be quantified. Participants in the workshops encourage the development of diagnostic testing capability for feed and feed ingredients as well as a response plan to support monitoring of these products. Should ASF or another foreign animal disease (FAD) be diagnosed in the US, a plan to assess and mitigate contamination within the feed supply chain is essential. Attendees also know more information is needed on the amount of feed ingredients being imported from each country as well as their FAD status. The logistics of soy imports and exports need scrutiny as well, with contamination during transportation being a consideration.

A review of Canada’s approach to ASF control in the feed ingredient supply chain was presented during the soybean workshop. The Canadian government has developed and implemented a program with importation requirements as a result of their assessment of the risk of ASF virus transmission in grains, oil seeds, and associated meals.

The soybean group discussed the potential risk factors in the US soy supply chain being soybean hulls and transportation cross-contamination So, for soy products, a better understanding of logistics is needed. Importers of specialty soy products like organic soybean meal also need to be better informed about ASF risk and appropriate actions to prevent disease transmission. This includes biosecurity and pre-screening protocols for importers.

Funded by America’s pork producers to protect and enhance the health of the US swine herd, the Swine Health Information Center focuses its efforts on prevention, preparedness, and response. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research for the benefit of swine health. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. For more information, visit or contact Dr. Paul Sundberg at

Advanced BioEnergy to Sell 2 South Dakota Ethanol Plants

Advanced BioEnergy LLC announced that, together with its subsidiary ABE South Dakota LLC, it has entered into agreement to sell its Aberdeen and Huron, South Dakota, ethanol plants to Glacial Lakes Energy LLC for $47.5 million plus the value of ABE inventory at the time of closing.

The company will continue to operate its two ethanol plants at Huron and Aberdeen, with a combined production capacity of 86 million gallons per year, until the transaction closes, which is expected in the third quarter.

In connection with the sale, the company will be adopting, subject to ABE unitholder approval, a plan of liquidation under which the company will be liquidated and the proceeds of the sale will be distributed to unitholders, after payment of the company's outstanding debt, transaction-related expenses and other expenses related to the plan of liquidation.

On Feb. 26, the company announced that it had begun exploring strategic alternatives for its business operations, including the possibility of a sale of one or both of its ethanol plants, and retained Ascendant Partners Inc. to advise it in this process and help evaluate the opportunities and options available to the company.

Five Fertilizer Prices Move Lower Compared to Previous Month

Five retail fertilizer prices were lower in the first week of August, according to prices tracked by DTN, with four of the prices dropping by $4 per ton since the first week of July.  None of the eight fertilizer prices moved a significant amount, which DTN considers 5% or more.

MAP had an average price of $530/ton, down $2; anhydrous $580/ton, down $4; DAP had an average price of $494/ton, down $4; urea $428/ton, down $4; UAN28 $272/ton, down $4.

Three fertilizers were higher compared to the previous month. That includes 10-34-0 $486/ton, up $4; UAN32 $320/ton, up $3 and potash $393/ton, up $1.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.47/lb.N, anhydrous $0.35/lb.N, UAN28 $0.49/lb.N and UAN32 $0.50/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are higher compared to last year. DAP is 1% higher, MAP is 5% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 10% higher, potash is 11% more expensive, UAN28 is 13% higher, UAN32 is 15% more expensive, while anhydrous and urea are both 17% higher compared to last year.

CCFN, U.S. Dairy Industry and Consorzio Tutela Mozzarella di Bufala Campana Sign Historic Agreement on Geographical Indications and Common Names, Providing Transparency for Consumers

The Consorzio Tutela Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) have signed an historic agreement that is expected to pave the way for a new dialogue on the protection of products of origin in the United States and in global markets - including those bearing geographical indications (GIs), while respecting the rights of companies to produce and market products bearing generic names. The new agreement provides greater support for robust protection in the United States and around the world for the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), while unequivocally establishing the free use of the generic term "mozzarella" to indicate a type of cheese. Consorzio President Domenico Raimondo, and CCFN Executive Director and USDEC Senior Vice President Jaime Castaneda, signed the agreement yesterday in Caserta, Italy.

The agreement recognizes the distinctive character of the name Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO and its territory of production. It also recognizes the rights of all to freely use the term "mozzarella" to describe a cheese produced according to the definition provided by the Codex Alimentarius or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Standards of Identity.

"This agreement will bring clarity to American and global consumers while protecting their ability to choose from a wide selection of high-quality cheese products," Castaneda said. "This is an important step toward furthering conversations to protect the rights of common name producers as well as good faith GI holders. We look forward to continuing to work with our Italian colleagues to build upon this foundation of mutual respect for our respective food and wine industries."

The United States is the largest non-EU export market for Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, making this agreement a significant step towards protecting both valid GIs and the use of common food names. In addition, Raimondo and Castaneda sent a joint letter to the European Commission and to the U.S. and Italian governments asking that they honor the agreement and support efforts to protect both the name Mozzarella di Bufala Campana and the free use of the term mozzarella in markets across the globe.

"We have embarked on the path of discussion with the main organizations in the sector in the USA, with the aim of listening to each other's needs and addressing them in an operational, pragmatic way, and without prejudicial attitudes," said Raimondo, who is also president of the Association of Italian Cheeses DOP (AFIDOP). "Our staff have been determined and worked diligently and this agreement is the first fruit of a collaboration that we hope will be extended to other cheeses and bring, if anything, the resolution of long-standing problems. We have sent a message to politics: we must start from this dialogue; it is the starting point for relaxing relations. Only in this way can we avoid closures and protectionist policies."

The summit between the Consorzio, CCFN and USDEC was also attended by the chairmen of Assolatte and CCFN.

NGFA, other agribusiness groups say USDA’s new proposed rules  for regulating biotech products ‘fundamentally flawed’

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new proposed rule for regulating plant-based agricultural biotechnology products, as drafted, is “fundamentally flawed” and could contribute to future trade disruptions, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and several other grain- and oilseed-based agribusiness associations said in a joint statement submitted on Aug. 6.

“Our industry, and our farmer-customers emphatically need to avoid the costly trade disruptions that have been associated periodically with transgenic biotechnology,” wrote the NGFA, Corn Refiners Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, North American Export Grain Association and North American Millers Association. “If the U.S. government’s regulatory oversight approach to genome editing and other plant breeding innovation is out of step with the domestic food industry or America’s significant export markets, it will have perilous repercussions for the grain and oilseed value chain, including U.S. farmers.”

The groups stressed that they strongly support the use of biotechnology and plant-breeding innovation, including genome editing, for its role in providing an abundant, affordable and environmentally sustainable food, feed and energy supply for U.S. and global consumers. But the groups also stressed that a “cornerstone of U.S. agriculture’s competitiveness” is its ability to efficiently and cost-effectively market America’s agricultural abundance. “It is through this dual lens – support for technological innovation while ensuring the continued efficient marketability of crops in which it is used” – that the five organizations said the proposed rule needs to be viewed. 

Under the proposed rule published on June 6, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) – which has authority to determine whether agricultural biotech traits pose a plant pest or noxious weed risk to the environment – would exempt most crops developed with gene-editing techniques from regulatory oversight. APHIS’s proposed rule states that such plants can be developed through traditional breeding techniques, making them unlikely to pose a greater plant pest risk than conventionally bred crops. The APHIS proposal also would empower crop developers to make a “self-determination” that their plant is exempt from APHIS regulatory oversight, without providing any notification to the agency. Under the proposed rule, technology providers would have the “option” to request written confirmation from APHIS that their self-determinations are valid.

The agribusiness organizations said such a broad self-determination approach “risks undermining consumer acceptance and international regulatory recognition of APHIS’s regulatory oversight.”

The organizations urged APHIS to amend its proposed rule to require all technology providers to notify the agency in advance before introducing gene-edited or other plant breeding innovation traits for commercialization – even those within APHIS’s expressly exempted categories – to provide needed transparency to the market and to consumers. Doing so would enable the agency to issue an official attestation that the trait does not pose a plant pest risk, “thereby providing an important tool to efficiently market U.S. agricultural products.”

The statement also reiterated NGFA’s long-held belief that obtaining international recognition or acceptance in significant U.S. export markets should be a precondition to avoid potential trade disruption before APHIS proceeds with a final rule.

Further, the groups said it would be ill-advised for APHIS to proceed with regulatory changes until its fellow federal agencies that operate under the U.S. “Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology” – the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency – issue rules or guidance on how they plan to address their respective oversight of genome editing and other plant breeding innovation technologies.

“Our members support the use of agricultural biotechnology and plant breeding innovation,” the organizations concluded. “However, for the member companies of our organizations, and the farmers and downstream customers they serve, the importance of efficiently and cost-effectively marketing U.S. farmers’ agricultural abundance without encountering recurring trade disruptions is paramount. We can ‘build it,’ but if U.S. and global consumers ‘don’t come’ (i.e., ‘don’t buy it’) the acceptance of this valuable technology could be imperiled and undermined irrevocably.”

Pioneer Expands Pioneer® Brand Enlist E3™ Soybeans Availability for 2020 Planting

Today, Pioneer announced expanded availability of Pioneer® brand Enlist E3™ soybeans for 2020. Varieties will be available across the U.S. in a range of maturities.

Pioneer brand Enlist E3 soybeans contain the most advanced weed control trait technology for soybeans. The soybeans provide tolerance to glyphosate, glufosinate and the new 2,4-D choline in Enlist Duo® and Enlist One® herbicides to help control glyphosate-resistant and other weeds and broadleaf grasses.

“Pioneer brand Enlist E3 soybeans bring another weed control option to farmers, enhancing the already-strong Pioneer brand soybean lineup,” said John Schartman, Pioneer Marketing Leader, Soybeans. “Local Pioneer sales representatives work closely with farmers to select the best varieties for their operation, whether they are looking for high yield potential in Pioneer® brand A-Series soybeans or a specific herbicide-tolerant trait as part of their weed-control management program.”

Farmers who plant Pioneer brand Enlist E3 soybeans can apply Enlist herbicides in burndown through postemergence.

“Enlist herbicides not only offer excellent broadleaf weed control but ease of use for farmers and applicators,” Schartman said. “With tank-mix flexibility, near-zero volatility and a reduced potential for physical drift, Enlist herbicides help achieve excellent weed control, which gives Pioneer brand soybeans the opportunity to help maximize yield potential.”

Help prevent next-lactation mastitis on dry off day

Juan Pedraza, DVM, Dairy Technical Services, Zoetis

What happens in the dry period … doesn’t stay in the dry period. The productive revenue potential of an average U.S. Holstein is nearly $4,500.* That value can be compromised when cows calve with mastitis, leading to lowered milk production and increased milk waste and culling rates. Your cows’ next lactation begins on the day of dry off; your mastitis prevention should too.

A seven-year study of environmental streptococci intramammary infections found that 51% of these infections occurred in dry cows.1 If these infections are not addressed, you face increased production loss and increased expenses as soon as affected animals join the milking herd. Dry cow therapy can resolve existing infection and prevent next-lactation mastitis, saving you money in treatment costs and associated labor.

Preventing mastitis in dry cows can also have a positive effect on the major drivers of dairy profitability: somatic cell counts, energy-corrected milk production per cow, death losses, net herd turnover costs, pregnancy rates and heifer survival. Healthy cows typically produce more milk, get pregnant faster, have lower somatic cell counts and stay in your herd longer. Dry cow therapy can be a low-cost way to prevent cows from more costly mastitis infections during lactation. It can also help protect the investment you’ve made in your herd’s next lactation while benefitting your dairy’s profit margins.

Follow these three steps to help prevent next-lactation mastitis:
1.     Clear up lingering mastitis infections with an intramammary dry cow tube. Treating residual mastitis infections at dry off can help prevent the need for antibiotic use during lactation. Intramammary dry cow tubes also ensure that mastitis infections are not sealed inside the udder, where they can fester until diagnosed at the cow’s next lactation.

2.     Prevent bacterial invasion with ORBESEAL ®. During the dry period, keratin plugs form in the teat and act as a physical barrier to bacterial entry. However, not all cows are able to form this plug on their own. A proven, well-researched internal teat sealant is an easy way to ensure that all of your cows have the protection they need.

3.     Vaccinate against E. coli mastitis. Coliform intramammary infection rates are about four times greater during the dry period than during lactation.2 Vaccination can reduce the severity of these cases, which can eliminate the need for treatments and mean less production loss for your dairy.  

Talk to your veterinarian to establish a dry cow management plan that ensures what happens in the dry period doesn’t affect your cow’s next lactation or your bottom line.

A Third of Food Labeled 'Gluten Free' is Really Not

Where Food Comes From, Inc., third-party verification of food production practices in North America, announced the launch of the Gluten Free by WFCF standard. The new branding replaces the Gluten-Free standard formerly administered by the company's ICS business unit.

"Based on anticipated higher demand for gluten-free verifications following the alarming results of a recent study showing a high percentage of gluten-free labeled restaurant food actually contained gluten, we decided to bring the standard under the Where Food Comes From umbrella, where it should enjoy a higher profile among consumers and potential customers in the food supply chain," said John Saunders, Chairman and CEO of Where Food Comes From, Inc.

"Our updated standard includes more stringent requirements that are necessary to reassure CPG makers as well as restaurants and their customers that ingredients in grain-based products and menu items have been thoroughly vetted. Going forward, audits related to the newly launched Gluten Free by WFCF standard will be conducted by our IMI Global and ICS business units," said Saunders.

The gluten-free study, published recently in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, showed 32% of gluten-free labeled food in restaurants contained gluten. According to the study, the worst offenders were pizza and pasta, with gluten discovered in 53% of pizza samples and 51% of the pasta tested. The detection rates were higher on dinner menus (34%) compared to breakfast menus (27%).

A gluten-free diet is the cornerstone of therapy for celiac disease, which is an inherited autoimmune disorder triggered by consumption of gluten, a protein found in various grains. Symptoms of the disease, which affects the small intestine, include bloating, constipation, chronic fatigue and abdominal pain. Approximately 1% of the U.S. population suffers from celiac disease, but 83% of those sufferers are not diagnosed.

August 5 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending August 4, 2019, there were 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 21 short, 69 adequate, and 5 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 14 short, 75 adequate, and 7 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 23 fair, 58 good, and 13 excellent. Corn silking was 85 percent, behind 94 last year and 95 for the five-year average. Dough was 27 percent, well behind 54 last year, and behind 40 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 25 fair, 57 good, and 13 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 78 percent, behind 92 last year and 91 average. Setting pods was 51 percent, behind 66 last year and 62 average.

Winter wheat harvested was 75 percent, behind 93 last year, and well behind 96 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 16 fair, 73 good, and 10 excellent. Sorghum headed was 43 percent, well behind 75 last year, and behind 61 average. Coloring was 4 percent, near 5 last year and 6 average.

Oats harvested was 75 percent, well behind 96 last year, and behind 86 average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 2 percent very poor, 9 poor, 32 fair, 49 good, and 8 excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 60 percent. Setting pods was 23 percent.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 15 fair, 67 good, and 15 excellent.


Another dry week across most of the State allowed Iowa farmers 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending August 4, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included moving grain, spraying fungicides and insecticides, and harvesting hay and oats.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 5 percent very short, 26 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Areas in 41 counties throughout Iowa were rated as abnormally dry according to the August 1, 2019 U.S. Drought Monitor. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 3 percent very short, 19 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Eighty-four percent of the corn crop has begun to silk, 15 days behind last year and 10 days behind the 5-year average. Twenty percent of the crop reached the dough stage, 10 days behind last year and 1 week behind average. Corn condition rated 66 percent good to excellent.

Seventy-eight percent of the soybean crop has started to bloom, 15 days behind last year and 11 days behind average. Thirty-three percent of the crop has started setting pods, 16 days behind last year and 13 days behind average. Soybean condition improved slightly to 65 percent good to excellent from the previous week. Nearly all of the oat crop has started coloring at 97 percent statewide. Sixty-four percent of the oat crop has been harvested for grain, nearly 1 week behind average.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 86 percent, 6 days behind average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 11 percent complete statewide, 8 days behind average. Hay condition rated 61 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition continued to decline for the fifth straight week with 53 percent good to excellent. There were no major livestock issues reported this past week.

Good-to-Excellent Ratings for Corn at 57%, Soybeans at 54%

Corn and soybean development remained well behind the average pace at the end of last week and good-to-excellent condition ratings remain the lowest since 2012, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released Monday.

As of Sunday, Aug. 4, 78% of corn was silking, up 20 percentage points from 58% the previous week but 15 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%. That was an improvement from last Monday's report when silking was running 25 percentage points behind average. Corn in the dough stage was pegged at 23%, up 10 percentage points from 13% the previous week but 19 percentage points behind the five-year average of 42%.  Corn's good-to-excellent condition rating was pegged at 57%, down 1 percentage point from 58% the previous week and still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year in seven years.

Soybean development was also running well behind normal last week. The portion of the crop that was blooming was up 15 percentage points last week to reach 72% as of Sunday. That was 15 percentage points behind the five-year average of 87%, an improvement from last Monday's report when blooming was running 22 percentage points behind the five-year average. Soybeans setting pods reached 37% as of Sunday, 26 percentage points behind the average pace of 63%. The condition of the soybean crop held steady at 54% good to excellent. That was below last year's good-to-excellent rating of 67% and remains the lowest good-to-excellent rating since 2012.

Winter wheat harvest continued to inch along last week, reaching 82% complete as of Sunday, behind last year's 89% and 10 percentage points behind the five-year average of 92%.

In its first spring wheat harvest report of the season Monday, NASS estimated only 2% of the crop was harvested nationwide, behind last year's 12% and 12 percentage points behind the five-year average of 14%.  Spring wheat condition -- for the portion of the crop still in the field -- remained at 73% good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week and near last year's good-to-excellent rating at the same time of year of 74%.

Sorghum heading reached 45% as of Sunday, still well behind both last year's 67% and the five-year average of 62%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 23%, behind the average of 30%. Sorghum condition was rated 68% good to excellent, down 7 percentage points from 75% the previous week. Oats were 32% harvested, behind the average of 49%.

Cotton squaring reached 95% as of Sunday, slightly ahead of the average pace of 93%. Cotton setting bolls was 59%, slightly behind the average of 61%. Cotton condition was rated 54% good to excellent, down 7 percentage points from 61% the previous week. Rice headed was pegged at 60%, behind the average of 73%. Rice condition was rated 68% good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week.

Monday August 5 Ag News


Nebraska State Fair is honored to announce this year's Celebration Parade Grand Marshals. The Grand Marshal Program honors individuals who have made significant contributions within their county fair communities. As a salute to those who serve our country, an active member of the military has been chosen to help salute our veterans on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2.

"Each year, we select individuals who represent what it means to be dedicated to agriculture and their community," said Chelsey Jungck, State Fair Chief of Events and Entertainment. "These individuals continually go above and beyond and are worthy of our appreciation and distinction."

Grand Marshals are selected through a nomination process and are honored one day at the Fair.

Following is a list of the grand marshals:

Aug. 24: Jerry Fitzgerald, Gering, Neb.
Jerry served on the State Fair Board for many years and was a key player in moving the State Fair from Lincoln to Grand Island. As the Chairman of the State Fair in 2009, Jerry was instrumental in the construction of five buildings for Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island. In 2013, Jerry was recognized as the Friend of 4-H for his years of volunteering at the 4-H Livestock Sale and his crucial contributions in the design and building of the Scotts Bluff County Fairgrounds livestock pavilion.

Aug. 25: Jimmy Marak, Osceola, Neb.
Jimmy served on the Polk County Agricultural Society for more than 45 years. He was instrumental in building Ag Hall, Pinnacle Show Arena as well as the replacement of the grandstand bleachers at Nebraska State Fair. He has been a 4-H leader and the leader of the local Saddle Club. The Saddle Club was active in organizing and competing in local horse shows and rodeos, as well as providing entertainment for area parades.

Aug. 26: Brian and Ann Marie Bosshamer, Amherst, Neb.

Brian was an extension educator for Buffalo County and the leader of the 4-H program in Amherst, Neb. for more than 20 years. He was instrumental in implementing Lamb Camp, Life on the Farm and the Lottery Pig Show. Ann Marie volunteered countless hours coordinating and announcing at the Market and Class Shows for the Buffalo County Fair. The Bosshamers are involved with the 4-H sale committee at Nebraska State Fair as well as the Cattlemen’s Classic and Gateway Farm Expo.

Aug. 27: Jon and DeAnn Epley, Fullerton, Neb.

DeAnn was the office manager for the Nance County Extension for more than 35 years. Jon was instrumental in the development of the Shooting Sports Program for the Nance County community. Over the years, Jon and DeAnn have volunteered numerous hours helping with 4-H and the food stand at the Nance County Fair. In addition to their work with 4-H, the Epleys were founding members of the Nance County Veterans Memorial and Museum.

Aug. 28: Jess and Marilyn Johnson, Lincoln, Neb.
For the past 39 years, Jess and Marilyn Johnson have coordinated all supply requirements for the many competitive and livestock disciplines at Nebraska State Fair. Also, Marilyn has volunteered to help at the Lancaster County Fair for at least one day each year and continues to volunteer wherever help is needed to promote educational and agricultural programs in Lancaster County.

Aug 29: Oliver and Marjorie Johnson, Clarkson, Neb.

Oliver has served on the Colfax County Ag Society for more than 20 years. He is a former 4-H leader and fair superintendent. Marjorie assists in the Open Class areas of the Colfax County Fair. The Johnsons are past Pioneer Farm Family Award recipients. They were members of the Clarkson Czech Dancers for almost 50 years, performing at the annual Clarkson Czech Day and other Czech celebrations. 

Aug. 30: Richard and Marlene Hermelbracht, Bancroft, Neb. and Art and Arlene Rolf, West Point, Neb.

Richard Hermelbracht has been involved with the county fair throughout his life. He has served on the Cuming County Ag Society for the past 41 years. For the past 41 years, Richard has been the person to open the gates of the Cuming County Fair at 6 a.m. He and Marlene hire and oversee the gate personnel for the fair. Richard is a veteran and Marlene is active in the American Legion Auxiliary.

Arlene Rolf served as the secretary of the Cuming County Ag Society for 40 years. Arlene was instrumental in the development of the Cuming County Fair Sponsorship Program which has grown from five sponsors to over 100. Arlene is a member of the Cuming County Fair Foundation Board, which helps promote and raise monies for capital improvements.

Art Rolf is an integral part of the daily operations of the Cuming County Fair and helps coordinate the setup and cleanup of the fair. During the fair, Art can be found from open to close at the front gate taking admission and greeting everyone with a smile.

Aug. 31: Steve and Jana Kruger, Arlington, Neb.

Steve and Jana have served as horticulture superintendents at the Washington County Fair and Nebraska State Fair for 28 years. Steve has served on the State Fair board for 22 years, 14 of which were as president, and served more than 22 years on the State Fair Board. Jana served nine years on the State Fair Board, four of them as president. They originated the concept of the Grand Marshal Program at Nebraska State Fair.

Sept. 1: Jim and Sharon Specht, Hartington, Neb.

Jim has served on the Cedar County Fair Board for more than 24 years and is currently the vice president of the Cedar County Ag Society. For the past 6 years, Sharon has been chairman of the Cedar County Open Class Division and the county fair pie contest. Both Jim and Sharon spend countless hours before the opening of the fair cleaning the barns, setting up rodeo equipment and printing premium books for the open class exhibits. In 2017 Jim was selected for the NAFM’s Fair Person of the Year award. This past year, Sharon was selected as Cedar County Ag Society’s Outstanding Volunteer.

Sept. 2: Major General Daryl Bohac, Lincoln, Neb.
Major General Daryl L. Bohac serves as the Adjutant General, Nebraska National Guard in Lincoln, Neb. He is the senior uniformed National Guard officer responsible for formulating, developing and coordinating policies, programs, and plans impacting nearly 5,000 Army and Air National Guard personnel. He serves on the Governor's staff and is the Director of the Nebraska Military Department and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, respectively and serves as the state's official channel of communication with the National Guard Bureau to the Departments of the Army and Air Force.

"The grand marshal program is a long tradition for Nebraska State Fair, and we are proud of the outstanding individuals and families to honor each year," Jungck said.

There is Still Time to Donate to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund

While there is still time to donate to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund, we will be closing the fund on Aug. 15. Nearly $3.3 million has been raised, and 90 percent of the funds have been distributed to Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and rural communities suffering from the natural disasters that impacted the state in March, Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president said Aug. 5.

“As conditions slowly return to a new normal for Nebraska agriculture, it is our hope that the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief fund has helped get farmers, ranchers, and rural communities back on their feet sooner. Nebraska Farm Bureau is equipped and ready to help if other disasters strike affecting farmers and ranchers,” Nelson said.

The Disaster Relief fund was established at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit, so donations meet the criteria for qualified charitable contributions for tax purposes.

“With 90 percent of the funds distributed, the remaining amount will be dispensed by the Foundation’s 2019 fiscal year end, Sept. 30. It will be distributed on a rolling basis until 100 percent of donated funds have been expended,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

Nebraska Farm Bureau continues to work to ensure that government programs are accessible and working for those who need them the most.

“We continue to work with state and national leaders to do everything possible in dealing with disasters across the state. The floods and blizzards in March complicated life in Nebraska, and while the effects will likely be felt for months and in some case years, Nebraskans are resilient and will move positively forward,” Nelson said.

While donations to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund will end Aug. 15, there are other ways to support continued disaster relief efforts. Donors interested in helping those affected by recent flooding in Central Nebraska or farmers in Western Nebraska who are without water for their crops because of a canal breach in Wyoming can learn more and make donations to the Kearney Area Community Foundation at or the Oregon Trail Community Foundation at

SHOULD YOU BE CONSIDERING SILAGE BAGS? Bagged Silage vs. Silage Bunkers & Piles

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator

Making silage is an effective way for many producers to best use the resources available to their operation. However, for some, spoilage and shrink can result in significant loss that can greatly increase the cost of silage fed and impact animal performance. Bagging of silage offers flexibility for operations of all sizes to produce silage while potentially reducing spoilage and shrink loss. The intent of this article is to create familiarity with the concept of bagging silage, describe the process, and outline some of the key advantages and disadvantages to this method of silage production.

How Does Silage Bagging Work?

In the bagging system, silage is packed into oxygen and light impermeable plastic sleeves for the ensiling process and long-term storage. The target moisture content for forage going into a bag is 30-40% DM, which is the same range for making silage in a bunker or pile. Silage bags come in many diameters and lengths to suit the needs of different operations; 8 ft in diameter and 150 ft long is a common small bag size. While density of silage impacts the capacity of a bag, this size will hold between 100-150 tons (as-fed).   Bags that are 10 ft diameter and 300 ft long are also commonly used and will hold between 350 to 450 tons (as-fed). The Silage Bag Capacity Guide from the University of Wisconsin can help you determine potential capacity of various sizes (bag diameter and length) and packing densities. 

Packing silage into the bags may be accomplished via pull-type or self-propelled baggers. For operations that plan to bag silage themselves, the pull-type is more affordable. Used models can be found for $20,000 to $40,000. Self-propelled silage baggers are typically owned by custom silage bagging operations or operations that make a lot of silage, since they are often 10 times the cost of pull-type baggers.

In the bagging process, silage is unloaded from a standard silage trailer onto a belt conveyor that carries it into the rotor of the bagger. From there, it is mechanically packed into the bag. Cables along each side of the bag run from the bagger to a backstop to allow for control of packing density. The bagger is moved forward by the operator as the bag fills and the desired density is achieved. Many video examples are available on the internet. When ready for use, silage is fed out of the bag in the same way it is fed from a traditional bunker silo.

What are the Advantages?

The primary advantage of bagging silage is that it reduces exposure to oxygen. This effectively eliminates the uncovered period between packing and covering the pile/bunker with plastic that occurs in a traditional system. In general, this period can result in about 5 to 7% loss (of the total amount of silage produced). For those who don’t have the labor to cover a bunker or pile, this can be an even bigger saving, with losses from surface spoilage ranging from 10 to 20% of the total silage. Those that use piles will see the biggest losses because they have more surface area exposed, and thus a greater advantage in switching to bagging. Beyond the shrink loss (disappearance of silage DM), the spoiled silage layer that remains when silage is not covered is about 22% lower in digestibility than unspoiled silage and appears to negatively affect the rumen environment. The Kansas State University study Effect of Level of Surface Spoiled Silage on the Nutritive Value of Corn Silage-Based Rations (2000) and UNL Beef Systems Specialist Dr. Mary Drewnoski’s Silage Guidelines Market Journal interview (2017) explain that feeding spoiled silage impacts rumen environment and digestibility of other feeds. Proper use of silage bags can help prevent feeding spoiled silage and the resulting disruption of rumen function. 

The other major advantage of bags is the small feed-out face, which minimizes feed-out spoilage. For many cow-calf operations and smaller backgrounding operations, the reduction in feed-out losses can be quite large upon converting their systems from silage bunker/piles to silage bags. When well-managed, feed-out losses in bunkers can be 3% or less. To achieve this, however, at least 5 inches need to be removed from the entire face each day in the winter and 8 inches in the summer. If removal rates are less, even with proper removal technique (keeping the face tight), a loss of 10% of the silage or more, depending on outside temperature, can occur.   These estimates don’t account for the loss of feeding value for the silage that remains.

What are the Disadvantages?

One of the chief concerns of silage bags is that, while they are impervious to oxygen and light, bags can be damaged. Holes and punctures must be sealed quickly and properly to avoid spoilage. Many bags come with repair kits, and specially designed vinyl repair tapes are widely available-- duct tape is unfortunately not acceptable for repairs since it is oxygen permeable. It takes skill and practice to successfully pack a smooth, dense bag, which places significant responsibility on the silage bagger operator to carefully monitor rate of filling. Some companies have created bags with lines that appear when stretched which allow for a quick visual estimate of fill to make this task easier.

Another less obvious complication is the disposal of used silage bags. You can check with your local waste disposal service, landfill, or Natural Resources District to inquire about recycling opportunities like this one in the Lower Republican District. Additionally, in Nebraska, Delta Plastics offers free pickup of used bags provided they are rolled tightly and surpass 40,000 lb. (20 tons) of plastic. It is preferred that the bags are loaded in a box van. Delta Plastics designated pickup locations in the state include Scottsbluff, Bridgeport, Minden, Gibbon, Chapman, and York. Contact Delta Plastics at (800) 277-9172 or for more information.

·    Bagging silage can reduce spoilage/shrink loss, especially for those that do not cover their silage bunkers or piles with plastic.
·    Switching to bags can reduce feed-out losses and improve the feed value of silage. This is especially true for those that do not remove 5 to 8 inches of silage off the face of the bunker or pile each day when feeding.


The combined benefit of all Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) programs is 11.91 times more valuable than their costs. That is one major finding from a recent third-party, return-on-investment (ROI) study commissioned by the national Beef Checkoff program and conducted by Dr. Harry M. Kaiser of Cornell University.

Completed in June 2019, the study is based upon an econometric model which quantifies the relationship between the CBB’s various marketing activities and domestic and international demand for U.S. beef. It also compared the costs and benefits of those activities relative to producer and importer investments in the national portion of the Beef Checkoff program.* Under existing agricultural legislation, the CBB is required to have an independent analysis of the program’s economic effectiveness conducted at least once every five years. 

“We’re extremely pleased with the results of this latest ROI study,” said Chuck Coffey, a cow/calf producer from Springer, OK who currently serves as CBB chairman. “Our primary goal is to increase beef demand worldwide. The statistics uncovered by this study tell us that we’re achieving that goal and providing producers with an excellent return on their national checkoff investments.”  

The study’s other key findings include:
-    CBB activities have a substantial impact on beef demand in the U.S. and in foreign markets.
-    CBB activities increased beef demand by 2.6 billion pounds per year between 2014-2018.
-    Without a national checkoff, U.S. beef demand would have been 14.3% lower than it actually was by the end of 2018
-    CBB’s investment in export marketing programs increased U.S. beef exports by 5.5%
-    CBB-funded activities generated $11.91 in additional net revenue for beef producers and importers.
-    All nine demand-enhancing CBB activities – beef advertising, public relations, beef safety research, channels marketing, nutritional research, industry information, new-product development, product-enhancement research and foreign-market development – had a positive and statistically significant impact on increasing beef demand.

The study estimated three econometric questions: (1) retail domestic beef demand, (2) retail domestic beef supply and (3) U.S. beef import demand. The study’s domestic model also factored in consumer income, while the foreign-demand model factored in exchange rates and gross domestic product (GDP). It also evaluated the CBB’s expenditures in each of its demand-enhancing activities.

The previous ROI study, which Dr. Kaiser conducted in 2014, found that CBB programs were 11.20 times more valuable than their costs. The 2019 study’s ROI calculation of 11.91 shows that CBB programs have continued to provide significant value over the past five years by steadily building beef demand.

“While we are happy that CBB programs are successfully promoting beef, we know that there’s always room for improvement,” Coffey said. “Our board members are dedicated to making the best possible decisions on behalf of American beef producers and importers. As we head into our next fiscal year, we hope to take what we’ve learned in 2019 and continue moving the needle forward.”

To view the complete ROI study, a summary of the study or get more information about the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, as well as the Beef Checkoff and its programs – promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and producer communications – visit

Strong Finish to First Half for U.S. Pork, Beef Exports

U.S. pork and beef exports were above year-ago levels in both volume and value in June, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Led by a rebound in Mexico and China, pork export value was the highest in 14 months, while strong results in South Korea and Taiwan pushed beef export value to the fourth-highest total on record.

June pork exports posted double-digit gains in both volume and value, reaching 212,887 metric tons (mt), up 11% year-over-year, valued at $569.2 million (up 12%). For the first half of 2019, pork exports remained 2% below last year in volume (1.25 million mt) and were down 6% in value to $3.14 billion.

Pork export value averaged $56.99 per head slaughtered in June, up 7% from a year ago and the highest monthly average since April 2018. First-half export value averaged $50.05 per head, down 9% from the same period last year. June exports accounted for 27.8% of total U.S. pork production and 24% for muscle cuts only, up from 25.8% and 22.4%, respectively, a year ago. For January through June, exports accounted for 25.8% of total pork production (down from 27.3%) and 22.4% for muscle cuts (down from 23.6%).

Beef exports were up 3% year-over-year in June to 118,677 mt. Export value ($724.8 million) increased just 1% from a year ago but trailed only August 2018, May 2019, and October 2018 for the highest monthly value total on record. First-half beef exports were down 2% from a year ago in volume (648,765 mt) but held steady with last year's record value pace at $4.03 billion.

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $325.10 in June, up 4% from a year ago, while first-half export value averaged $312.06 per head, down 2%. June exports accounted for 15.4% of total U.S. beef production, up nearly a full percentage point from last year. For muscle cuts only, exports accounted for 12.7% of production — up from 12.3% last year and the highest ratio since July 2018. For the first half of the year, exports accounted for 14.2% of total production and 11.6% for muscle cuts — down from 14.6% and 11.9%, respectively, a year ago.

Duty-free access bolsters pork exports to Mexico; China's volume highest in three years

On May 20, the 20% retaliatory duty on most U.S. pork exports to Mexico was removed as the U.S., Mexico and Canada reached an agreement on steel and aluminum tariffs. Entering Mexico duty-free for the first time in nearly a year, June exports to Mexico were the largest since January at 59,837 mt (steady year-over-year), while value climbed 13% to $119 million — the highest since April 2018.

"It's a tremendous relief to have Mexico's retaliatory duties on U.S. pork behind us, as the June bump in export value clearly illustrates," noted USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "Now the goal is to get back to the record-setting trend the U.S. industry established in Mexico from 2012 through 2017, prior to the metal tariff dispute. USMEF's marketing programs have ramped up in Mexico so that we can recapture lost market share and regain momentum in this critical market for U.S. pork."

Despite retaliatory duties remaining in place, June also brought an encouraging rise in pork exports to China, which were the largest in more than three years at 41,704 mt (up 123% year-over-year), valued at $88.5 million (up 77%). This pushed first-half exports to China 23% ahead of last year in volume (177,060 mt) and 3% higher in value ($353.1 million). For the China/Hong Kong region, first-half exports were up 4% to 224,009 mt but value declined 16% to $427.8 million. The European Union remains the primary pork supplier to China/Hong Kong. Through May, EU exports to the region were 859,030 mt, up 27% year-over-year, valued at $1.57 billion (up 34%). China/Hong Kong has accounted for 52% of EU export volume in 2019, compared to 18% of U.S. exports.

All of U.S. pork and beef's major competitors gained tariff relief in Japan this year through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the economic partnership agreement between Japan and the European Union, making red meat trade a major focus of the U.S.-Japan trade agreement negotiations that continued last week. Japan is the leading value destination for U.S. pork, and June exports were steady with last year in both volume (31,742 mt) and value ($131.5 million). For the first half of the year, exports to Japan were 4% below last year's pace in volume (191,281 mt) and down 6% in value ($773.5 million). Japan's imports of chilled U.S. pork were down just 1% in volume (100,869 mt) and 2.5% in value ($481 million), but imports of U.S. ground seasoned pork (GSP) fell 24% to 41,769 mt, with value down 33% at $109.5 million. U.S. share of Japan's GSP imports was 58%, down from 67% last year and nearly 75% in 2017.

Other first-half highlights for U.S. pork include:

-    Despite a June slowdown, first-half exports to Colombia were still up 20% from a year ago in volume (55,148 mt) and 13% in value ($118.8 million). Combined with excellent growth in Chile and Peru, exports to South America climbed 35% above last year's record pace in volume (84,032 mt) and 34% higher in value ($205.4 million).
-    Australia is one of U.S. pork's top-performing markets in 2019, with first-half volume up 44% to 56,338 mt and value increasing 32% to $150.1 million. With exports to New Zealand also increasing significantly this year, exports to Oceania climbed 43% from a year ago in volume (61,597 mt) and 32% in value ($166.4 million).
-    In Central America, where pork exports also set new records in 2018, first-half volume was up 11% to 44,614 mt while value increased 12% to $106.8 million. Exports to leading market Honduras were up slightly from a year ago, while strong growth was achieved in Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Korea, Taiwan lead beef export growth; variety meat exports rebound

Last year South Korea surpassed Mexico as the second-largest destination for U.S. beef exports, and in 2019 it continues to close the gap on leading market Japan. Exports to Korea remained on a record pace in June, increasing 2% from a year ago to 25,118 mt (a post-BSE high), while value climbed 15% to a record $178.3 million. These results pushed first-half exports to Korea 12% above last year in volume (126,879 mt) and 15% higher in value ($921.8 million). U.S. beef now accounts for 61% of Korea's chilled beef imports, up from 57% in the first half of last year, with chilled volume increasing 7% to 26,537 mt.

Beef exports to Taiwan finished a very strong second quarter with June shipments reaching a new monthly high of 6,654 mt, up 40% from a year ago, valued at $58 million (up 46% and the second-highest on record). First-half exports to Taiwan were 16% above last year's record pace in volume (31,132 mt) and 11% higher in value ($276.2 million).

As noted above, U.S. beef faces a significant tariff rate disadvantage in leading market Japan, where June exports totaled 29,794 mt, down 4% year-over-year, while value was down 7% to $179 million. For the first half of the year, exports to Japan were 1% below last year's pace in both volume (157,839 mt) and value (just over $1 billion). Japan's imports of Australian beef have also slowed this year, but first-half imports from Canada, New Zealand and Mexico were up 83%, 37% and 28%, respectively, offering a glimpse of the upside opportunities in the market when tariff rates are lowered.

"It is very gratifying to see U.S. beef posting such remarkable gains in Korea and Taiwan, and the $2 billion milestone could even be in play this year for Korea," Halstrom said. "Exports to Japan can definitely achieve a similar trajectory if the U.S. can get back on a level playing field with our competitors, so we are encouraged by the progress in the U.S.-Japan trade negotiations."

Other first-half highlights for U.S. beef include:

-    June exports of beef variety meat were the largest in two years at 28,195 mt, up 13% from a year ago, while value also climbed 13% to $79.7 million. This pushed first-half export volume even with last year at 158,466 mt while value increased 8% to $472.9 million. The large June increase was primarily driven by growth in Japan and Indonesia, while exports to Egypt rebounded from last year's low levels.
-    Though first-half export volume to Mexico was down 3% year-over-year to 114,541 mt, export value increased 6% to $539.1 million. Beef muscle cut exports to Mexico slowed in June but still finished the first half up 4% from a year ago in volume (70,333 mt) and 8% in value ($422 million).
-    U.S. beef muscle cuts also have a rapidly growing presence in Colombia, where first-half muscle cut exports increased 29% from a year ago in volume (1,919 mt) and 36% in value ($11.2 million). Combined beef and beef variety meat exports to Colombia were up 1% from a year ago to 2,991 mt while value climbed 27% to $12.4 million. First-half exports to Chile, the top South American market for U.S. beef, increased 5% to 6,144 mt, with value up 7% to $34.3 million.
-    The Dominican Republic has emerged as a strong growth market for U.S. beef, with first-half exports soaring 57% above last year's record pace in volume (4,524 mt) and gaining 47% in value to $36.2 million.
-    Fueled by strong growth in the Philippines and Indonesia, first-half exports to the ASEAN region increased 23% from a year ago in volume (26,711 mt) and 8% in value ($132.4 million).

U.S. lamb exports remain well ahead of 2018 pace

June exports of U.S. lamb totaled 1,073 mt, up 6% from a year ago, but value fell 21% to $1.73 million. For the first half of 2019, lamb exports were up 42% year-over-year in volume (7,783 mt) and 17% in value ($13.2 million). Mexico has been the primary growth driver for U.S. lamb, with first-half exports to Mexico climbing 52% from a year ago in volume (6,762 mt) and 33% in value ($6.7 million). Exports also showed promising growth in the Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Panama and Guatemala.


The National Corn Growers Association today submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the Proposed Rule regarding Movement of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms. The submission voiced support for the proposed rule while also offering several suggestions that would strengthen the final rule. The proposed rule marks the first comprehensive revision of USDA’s regulations since they were established in 1987.

Corn farmers have a strong interest in the availability of new technologies to enhance the sustainability, productivity and competitiveness of U.S. agriculture. Agriculture biotechnology and next generation breeding techniques allow growers to increase yields while decreasing inputs. Meeting demand, improving processes and minimizing environmental impacts are what make modern corn production a dynamic industry. The proposed rule, in large part, demonstrates an underlying agreement with the basis of NCGA’s stance and strives to create a more efficient regulatory process allowing growers greater access to new products.

NCGA praised USDA’s intention to focus on the plant pest risk of each product, instead of the method used to create it.  NCGA also thanked USDA for its proposal to only review plant-trait-mechanisms of action (MOA) requiring oversight once, instead of each time that MOA is used in combination with other traits, as is the requirement now. The proposed rule indicates a path moving forward appropriate for the advancements in plant breeding innovation while ensuring a responsible degree of oversight. To further build upon this foundation in the rule, NCGA requested explicit and formal language be added to ensure this system functions in a timely and reliable manner that adds no additional barriers for previously approved plant-trait mechanisms.

The comments submitted urged the USDA to coordinate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration broadly on the regulation of ag biotechnology to continue streamlining the process and avoiding unnecessary duplications that delayed the tools farmers need to meet today’s needs. NCGA referenced the June 11, 2019 Executive Order, Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products, which asks the three regulatory agencies to identify ways to streamline regulatory processes, when making this request.

ACE conference holding timely discussions on strategies for ethanol producers to overcome the margin squeeze

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual conference, August 14-16, will host a timely general session discussion on ways for ethanol producers to diversify their revenue stream through coproducts, considering the margin squeeze many ethanol plants are facing today. Join ACE at the Omaha Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District next week to hear from leading technology providers and producers on strategies available for ethanol plants to become more efficient and remain profitable.

Several articles published recently about poor profit margins at ethanol plants, one citing a CoBank report, noted how low margins drive plants to diversify revenue through coproducts, “The ethanol plant of today could turn into the corn biorefinery of tomorrow.” This important topic will be covered during several conference breakout sessions, as well as the general session panel “Steps to a Biorefinery,” with speakers from Fluid Quip Technologies (FQT), ICM Inc., and ACE member plant Golden Grain Energy (GGE), moderated by consulting firm Ascendant Partners Inc.

“In the current environment, producers must make critical decisions related to maximizing short- and long-term profitability,” said Steve Hartig, ICM Inc. Vice President of Technology Development. “Producers should view ethanol plants as true biorefineries and implement processes to capture the most value possible from the ethanol, animal feed and corn oil streams. Reducing costs and maximizing plant efficiency, while important, will not be enough long-term. Other options must be considered, including the addition of value-added product offerings by the plant.”

“Diversification of revenue is paramount for the industry today and to be truly sustainable now and well into the future,” said Neal Jakel, Vice President of Strategy and Technology Development at FQT. “Our partners operating our MSC™ protein systems are averaging 10 to 17 cents per gallon EBITDA which is critical when ethanol margins are tight. MSC is a robust technology, producing an established consistent product that plants can look to for proven revenue and risk diversification today,” Jakel added.

“The world has seen an increased demand for plant-based protein in recent years,” said Chad Kuhlers, GGE COO. “By 2050, global demand is expected to increase 80 percent over current levels due to population growth in African countries and increased wealth in Asia. It is important for ethanol producers to recognize this trend and help to supply the world’s protein demands by further refining and processing their coproducts to not only meet world demand, but also add value to their coproducts,” Kuhlers added. “These facilities need to be viewed as a biorefinery and every aspect of the facility needs to be optimized to capture as much value as possible.”

Visit to view the full agenda and register.

Forward Contracting Activity

Matthew Diersen, Risk & Business Management Sp., South Dakota State University

Seasonally, mid-summer is a relatively quiet time at most feeder cattle auctions. An exception are video and satellite sales, which often include feeder cattle for later delivery. In recent years sales volumes during July and August have been similar across fixed and video auction sites. For perspective, annual volume in 2018 was 10.7 million head at regular auctions and 2.0 million head at video auctions. An examination of recent prices of forward sales may give an indication of eventual cash prices and basis levels. Note that forward sales would be excluded from the CME Feeder Cattle Index.

Consider the recent sale at Northern Livestock Video Auction from July 22-24, 2019, which included a large volume of cattle from Northcentral states. There was just over 1,000 head of steers for current delivery. The rest of the volume was for delivery from August through January. Sales with November delivery dates are predominantly of calves and thus the expected weights are lower than the standard feeder cattle contract weight span, which is 700-899 pounds. There were 2,244 head averaging 531 pounds that sold for $171.75 per cwt and 1,327 head averaging 571 pounds that sold for $160.88 per cwt.

Rounding the difference suggests 500-599 pound calves may sell for $166 per cwt in November. Because November feeder futures traded around $142 per cwt during the auction period, the implied basis or price difference is $24 per cwt. A year earlier, the same auction had sales of 500-599 pound steers with an average price of $186 per cwt and an implied basis versus November of $32 per cwt. The basis calculation disguises the fact that the implied spread between calf and feeder values is currently wider per head compared to 2018, likely reflecting higher expected corn prices and stable hay prices. August auctions could be monitored to see if the patterns of lower prices and narrower basis levels hold.

Forward contract volumes for fed cattle are less seasonal, but the total volume fluctuates through time. July is seasonally a low period for forward contract cattle being delivered. The longer trend for total volume contracted has been relatively low for much of the past year, but has started to shift higher. Currently there are 1,523,309 head of fed cattle contracted through November of 2020. The volume is higher than a year ago at this time with most of the increase in the front six months. However, there was very little volume in front months last week. In other words, feedlots and packers have priced more cattle for delivery by year-end than they had at this point last year. Basis levels vary by month. Basis for December delivery averaged -$4.32 last week, while a year ago it averaged -$5.35. Without knowing the source locations, the basis should be used a rough indicator of price trends. The basis distribution bears this out, the contracts for January 2020 delivery signed last week ranged from -$20.00 to $3.50, with most of the volume trading at -$0.50 basis the February contract.

Elanco Acquires Canadian Vaccine Maker

Elanco Animal Health Inc. has acquired a Canadian biotech startup that specializes in vaccines for food animals. Elanco announced last week it acquired Montreal-based Prevtech Microbia Inc. in an all-cash deal of nearly $60 million.

The two companies already had a relationship as Elanco has exclusive rights to distribute a product line of swine vaccines called Coliprotec in Canada and Europe.

Coliprotec vaccine products are designed to protect pigs against post-weaning diarrhea (PWD) and associated clinical signs caused by E. coli. E. coli is a highly prevalent pathogen causing disease in swine production without effective non-antibiotic control options. It affects up to 50 percent of all weaned pigs, leading to diarrhea, suppressed appetite, weight loss and mortality. The disease has a considerable effect on animal well-being and is a major cause of economic loss for swine operations. In Europe, mortality due to PWD has an estimated cost of 15,000 € per year for a 500-sow herd.1

"Elanco's partnership with Prevtec has been very successful and has resulted in delivery of an important non-antibiotic solution for swine producers," said Ramiro Cabral, executive vice president of International for Elanco. "This acquisition is another example of our approach to partner with companies to introduce novel innovation and further demonstrates our commitment to introduce antibiotic alternatives through internal or external innovation pathways."

"We are very pleased to come up with this agreement which sums up our combined efforts and early commitment to bring biological products to our industry," said Michel Fortin, president and CEO of Prevtec Microbia. "Our distribution agreement thus culminates in this exciting opportunity to provide actual and future vaccines to the animal health industry."

Elanco was the exclusive distributor for Coliprotec in Canada and Europe. These vaccine products are particularly important in Europe given the EU's direction to phase out the use of the antibiotic colistin and zinc oxide, both among the ways producers' protect against E.coli today. The transaction also brings Prevtec's research and development programs to Elanco's pipeline.

By acquiring Prevtec and bringing the Coliprotec line into Elanco's swine portfolio, Elanco will look to expand registration to other key geographies. Offering a full range of alternative solutions is particularly important given alternatives do not typically have the same broad spectrum of activity antibiotics deliver. With more than 1 billion pigs marketed globally each year, pork is the most widely consumed protein and a significant market opportunity.

Under the terms of the agreement, Elanco acquired the company, including inventory and pipeline assets in an all-cash deal for CAD $78.5 million (approx. $59.9 million USD). The agreement also includes a contingent payment of up to CAD $21.5 million (approx. $16.4 million USD) to the former Prevtec shareholders in Q1 2022, if certain sales milestones are achieved in 2021.

The New York Times: All the News That's Fit to Print...and Left on the Cutting Room Floor

On Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, New York Times readers were treated to a wildly inaccurate and one-sided news story, commonly called a hit piece, about a 2015 salmonella outbreak in Washington State from tainted pork. The reporter misrepresented our industry, twisting comments to paint an essentially pre-determined narrative without regard for the truth.

The U.S. pork industry prides itself on having strict on-farm biosecurity protocols, demonstrated progress in responsible antibiotics use and a strong food safety record. Excellent animal care is imperative to produce healthy food for consumers. It's a shame the reporter presented none of this in the story.

The U.S. pork industry takes animal care and food safety very seriously and has demonstrated its commitment to responsible antibiotic use. Salmonella and other food safety cases are extremely rare.

Here are key facts omitted from the story:

Responsible Use of Antibiotics
-    U.S. pork producers supports and complies with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations on the use of medically important antibiotics only to treat sick animals or those at risk of becoming sick and with veterinary oversight. This FDA report reflects declining use of antibiotics in pork production.
-    When antibiotics are used, farmers follow withdrawal periods set by FDA before marketing their animals.
-    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tests for residues to confirm that meat is free of any harmful level of antibiotics. In March 2019, USDA's Agricultural Research Service reported that a survey of more than a thousand pork kidney samples found almost no veterinary drug residues and none at levels that even approached U.S. regulatory limits.
-    U.S. pork producers support veterinary oversight of antibiotic uses and objectives, scientifically rigorous studies and risk assessments to help farmers make informed decisions about the use of antibiotics in food animals.
-    The article also incorrectly mentions there is no information on antibiotic use on farms. In fact, the FDA is releasing such a report on Monday. The information will be based on a large sample population and highlights that the U.S. pork industry has farmers who produce a large proportion of pigs marketed in the U.S. that are voluntarily providing information to a government agency.
-    The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is working with the USDA and the FDA to develop plans to continue to collect more detailed data on how antibiotics are used in food-animal production and to better understand the epidemiology of antibiotic resistance.

On-Farm Testing
-    NPPC and other agriculture groups have created a working group with USDA and state animal health inspectors and salmonella experts to determine investigation goals and effective protocols for visiting farms during a salmonella or other antibiotic resistant pathogen outbreak investigation. USDA has a memorandum of understanding with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to work on these issues. There is ongoing communication between CDC and agricultural groups discussing antibiotic resistance issues.
-    In September 2018, NPPC made commitments to the "AMR Challenge," an initiative led by CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to bring together pharmaceutical and health insurance companies, food animal producers and purchasers, medical professionals, government health officials and leaders from around the world to collaborate on efforts to address antibiotic resistance. This global initiative will create international standards and codes of practices to prevent unsafe residues of veterinary drugs in food, develop integrated surveillance that can help mitigate risks associated with antibiotic use and minimize the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance in humans and animals.

Industry Input Ignored
-    The New York Times reporter spoke with NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom approximately a year go for this story. He cites her as saying that visiting hog farms wouldn't yield valuable information in cases like the salmonella case profiled. He failed to include key comments made by Dr. Wagstrom. Specifically, she noted that the salmonella case profiled in the story began in April of 2015 and CDC wanted to start the investigation in August of that year—four months later. After that amount of time, it would be impossible to gather data to draw any reliable conclusions in the case.
-    When contacting NPPC on Friday, the New York Times reporter acknowledged he had lost notes reflecting pork industry input for this story from interviews he conducted approximately a year ago. Perhaps that explains the one-sided nature of this story.

The U.S. pork industry provides the highest quality, safest pork in the world. It's a shame The New York Times didn't provide the full picture to its readers.

Friday August 2 Ag News

Nebraska Soybean Management Field Days at four locations Aug. 13 - 16

Soybean Management Field Days help 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. 13-16 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 is 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 2019 Soybean Management Field Days,” says Victor Bohuslavsky, Nebraska Soybean Board Executive Director.

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:
-    Making Sense of Production Costs and Policy Changes
-    Insects, Cover Crops, and Hail: Making Good Management Decisions
-    Soybean Weed Control and Cover Crops - What's Doing All the Work? Rethinking Your Weed Management Program and Cover Crops and Soil Microbial Communities - Possible Effects on Soybean Nutrition and Nutrient Cycling
-    Soybean Production and Cover Crops - Seed, Planting, and Irrigation Management Decisions

Agronomists and plant disease and insect specialists will be available to address production-related questions. Participants can bring unknown crop problems for free identification.

The field days will begin with free registration at 9 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m.

Dates and Locations

The field days begin with 9 a.m. registration and conclude at 2:30 p.m.
-    Aug. 13 ― Sargent, Don Fellows Farm From Sargent: Go 2 miles north on Hwy. 183 then turn west on Road 817 and go 1/4 mile. The field day is on the south side of the road. GPS coordinates: 41.669138, -99.370768
-    Aug. 14 ― Pilger, Tim and Angie Labenz Farm From Pilger:  Go 2 miles south onto Hwy. 15, then 1 mile west on 837 Ave., and 1/4 mile north on 573 Rd. The field day is on the east side of the road. GPS coordinates: 41.967281, -97.078066
-    Aug. 15 ― Plymouth, Ross and Judd Boekner Farm From Plymouth: Go 2 miles west on Hwy. 4 and 1/4 mile north on 576th Ave. The field day is on the west side of the road. GPS coordinates: 40.308921,-97.029196
-    Aug. 16 ― Waverly, Lynn Neujahr Farm From Waverly: From the intersection of Hwy. 6 and 148th St. go south 2.5 miles on 148th St., then 3/4 mile west on Alvo Rd. The field day is on south side of the road. GPS Coordinates: 40.885317, -96.535462

For more information about the field days and maps to sites, visit, or contact the Nebraska Soybean Board at 800-852-BEAN or Nebraska Extension at 800-529-8030.


Nebraska Extension is offering in-field training opportunities at three Crop Management Diagnostic Clinics in late August. They include the Soil Health Clinic Aug. 22, the Midwest Soybean Production Clinic Aug. 27, and the Midwest Corn Production Clinic Aug. 28.

The clinics feature:
-    hands-on, in-field training with CCA credits;
-    the unbiased expertise of university specialists;
-    up-to-date research-based information; and
-    one-on-one attention, on-site plot demonstrations, and beneficial interaction with other participants. The small manageable groups promote interaction between presenters and participants.

The training sessions consistently receive excellent reviews. Last year, participants estimated the value of the knowledge gained and/or anticipated practice changes would increase income by $9.16 per acre.

The clinics are held at a site specifically developed for the training at the University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC) near Mead. The corn and soybean clinics will feature plots with crop growth and development at a range of vegetative/reproductive growth stages, allowing participants to see a whole growing season in one place.

Early registration is recommended to reserve a seat and resource materials. If registering for one clinic, the cost is $115 if registering one week in advance and $140 after.  A two-day discount is provided for those registering for both corn and soybean clinics; cost is $170 one week in advance and $220 after.

The clinics are backed by a money-back guarantee if a participant is not completely satisfied with the training.

Participants will meet at the August N. Christenson Research and Education Building at the University’s Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead.

Aug. 22 - Midwest Soil Health Clinic

A hands-on experience to learn more about the components of soil health

This outdoor training experience will be of value to home and acreage owners, farm operators, and industry consultants, said Nebraska Extension Educator Keith Glewen.  “One of our objectives of this training is to demonstrate the dynamics of the soil which includes physical, chemical and biological properties. Hopefully, this information will aid urban and rural stewards of the soil to implement practices to improve soil health.”

Trainers include University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty and resource personnel from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. In addition to the hands-on experience, attendees will receive a resource notebook.

Time: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. with registration at 8 a.m.

Topics:  Management considerations to improve soil health; measuring bulk density,  porosity, and infiltration and the impact on soil health; physical soil properties – the foundation for soil health; cover crops for improving soil health; what is soil biology – active carbon test; soil characteristics, productivity and landscape position; and chemical soil properties.

CCA Credits: 6.5 credits in soil and water management have been applied for and are pending
Aug. 27 – Midwest Soybean Production Clinic

Time: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. with registration at 8 a.m.

Topics: Cultural practices; genetics/agronomics; insect management in soybeans; plant pathology; soil fertility;  IPM for successful weed management in soybean; and irrigation

CCA Credits:  Eight credits have been approved (2.5 – crop management; 1 – nutrition management; 1 - soil and water management; and 3.5 in pest management)

Aug. 28 – Midwest Corn Production Clinic

Time: 8:00 a.m. - 5 p.m. with registration at 7:30 a.m.

Topics: Cultural practices; genetics/production: How much of the yield potential can be fulfilled?; insect damage on corn; plant pathology; soil fertility; and IPM for successful weed management in corn

CCA Credits:  Eight credits have been approved. (1 – crop management; 2 – nutrition management; 4 – pest management, and 1 – soil and water management)

Visit the program website for more information or to register or contact Nebraska Extension CMDC Programs, 1071 County Road G, Ithaca, NE 68033, 800-529-8030, email, or fax 402-624-8010.

Iowa’s Best Burger at Iowa State Fair

The 2019 Iowa’s Best Burger will be featured during the upcoming Iowa State Fair at the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters on Friday, August 9. This year, Iowa’s Best Burger comes from Wood Iron Grille in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Wood Iron Grille will feature their signature burger, the Wood Iron Original Burger. This award-winning burger includes a hand-pattied beef burger consisting of a mixture of ground chuck and beef short ribs and features applewood smoked bacon, a sweet and tangy onion jalapeno jam and smoked cheddar cheese.

The Wood Iron Original Burger will be sold for $9 at the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters and will be available to fair-goers for one-day-only starting at 10 a.m. on August 9 while supplies last.

“The Wood Iron Grille burger is very delicious and I think our customers will enjoy it,” states John Mortimer, Manager of the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters. “This will give fair-goers the chance to try the award-winning burger if they are unable to travel to the restaurant in Oskaloosa.”

The Iowa’s Best Burger Contest is hosted annually by the Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. Nearly 6,000 nominations for 500 restaurants were received between February 11 and March 11 this year. The winner was announced on May 1.

The Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters is open daily during the Iowa State Fair, August 8-18, 2019. Breakfast is served from 6:30 a.m. – 10 a.m., lunch and dinner is served from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. More information can be found daily at and on their Facebook page.

Iowa Corn Farmer-Leader Wayne Humphreys Elected to U.S. Grains Council Board

Delegates of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) elected Wayne Humphreys, a farmer from Columbus Junction, as a Corn Sector Director during their 59th Annual Board of Delegates meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio on Wednesday. Humphreys currently serves as the president of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board® (ICPB).

“As I take my place on the USGC Board, I am eager to learn and provide insights that will help build our global trade markets,” said Humphreys. “It is vital corn farmers have secure markets for corn in every form, especially during these trying times, and my goal is to help secure international markets. The fastest-growing segment for corn demand is the export of ethanol to international markets, and USGC has boots on the ground working towards making that happen.”

ICPB Director Duane Aistrope also sits on the USGC Board as an At-Large Director. Deb Keller has finished her position as Past-Chair for 2018-2019, and she will now retire from the board after serving for many years. “As a corn farmer, I always knew how important markets were, but until I became active with USGC I wasn’t aware of all the intricacies involved in enabling trade,” said Keller. “I’ve come to appreciate how much the Council does for me as a farmer, not only developing markets but also enabling trade for us as farmers. It truly has been an honor to represent other corn farmers by serving on the USGC Board,” she said. Keller is a past director of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and has served on Iowa Corn’s Exports & Grain Trade Committee.

During these difficult agricultural trade environments, USGC put new insight into emerging markets in India and Africa and focused on new opportunities for ethanol sales during the meeting. The Council’s delegate body heard from multiple speakers including the CEO of Edgewise Trade Advisers and a former USDA Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) official Scott Sindelar. “There is a significant role the USGC can play in India. India’s leaders are intent to have the country be a leader on the global stage, and changes within the Indian government could help USGC programs build demand and enable change from within,” stated Sindelar at the meeting on Tuesday.

United States and European Union Sign Breakthrough Agreement on U.S. Beef Access to EU

The United States will be able to nearly triple its annual duty-free exports of beef to the European Union (EU) over the next seven years under a new agreement signed today at the White House.

American ranchers will be guaranteed a bigger share of Europe’s beef market, with annual duty-free exports expected to grow from $150 million to $420 million when the agreement is fully implemented.

“American ranchers produce the best beef in the world. Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, this new agreement ensures that American ranchers can sell more of that beef to Europe,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who signed the agreement with the Honorable Jani Raappana of Finland, representing the Presidency of the EU, and Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis of the Delegation of the EU.

The new agreement negotiated by the Trump Administration establishes a duty-free tariff rate quota (TRQ) exclusively for the United States. Under the agreement, American ranchers will have an initial TRQ of 18,500 metric tons annually, valued at approximately $220 million.  Over seven years, the TRQ will grow to 35,000 metric tons annually, valued at approximately $420 million.

Under the current agreement, U.S. duty-free beef exports to the EU are only approximately 13,000 metric tons annually, valued at approximately $150 million, and risked declines going forward.


In 2016, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, U.S. Meat Export Federation, and the North American Meat Institute requested the U.S. Trade Representative to take tariff action under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to enforce the World Trade Organization dispute finding in favor of the United States against the EU’s ban on the use of hormones in cattle production. USTR held a public hearing on February 15, 2017. 

Negotiations resulted in a new agreement, which was approved by the European Council on July 15, 2019. It will go into effect following the European Parliament’s approval, which is expected this fall. With the EU providing a country specific duty-free quota for U.S. beef, the United States has agreed as a part of the agreement signed today to conclude the proceedings under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 initiated in December 2016.

NCBA Hails Increased Access to European Markets for U.S. Beef

Jennifer Houston, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), today joined President Trump and other NCBA officers at a White House signing ceremony for an agreement that will establish a duty-free quota for high-quality American beef in the European Union (EU).

Houston released the following statement after the event:
 “Today is a good day for America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen. President Trump and his trade team deserve a lot of credit for standing up for America’s cattle industry and securing this important market access to Europe. For many years it has been difficult for us to sell our high-quality U.S. beef to European consumers because of the restrictive tariff and non-tariff barriers, but the establishment of this 35,000 metric ton duty-free quota sends the signal to America’s cattle industry that Europe is ready for U.S. beef. All across America, our beef producers go to great lengths to raise safe and delicious beef products that are enjoyed by consumers around the world. It is exciting to know that European families will enjoy more of the delicious U.S. beef that we feed our families. And this would not have happened if it were not for the effort of President Trump and his trade team.”

The Office of the United States Trade Representative announced the signing of an agreement with the European Union to establish a duty-free quota for high-quality U.S. beef from non-hormone treated cattle. Once implemented, the annual quota will increase from 18,500 metric tons in year one to 35,000 metric tons in year seven. The country-specific quota will benefit U.S. beef producers who participate in USDA’s non-hormone treated cattle program that was established in 1999. USTR estimates that this quota will increase annual U.S. beef sales in Europe from $150 million to $420 million in year seven.

Fischer Statement on U.S.-EU Beef Trade Agreement

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a cattle-rancher and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement after President Donald Trump announced a beef trade deal between the U.S. and the European Union (EU):

“The Beef State welcomes the news of this new trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU. Nebraskans produce some of the most high-quality and delicious beef there is and this deal marks another opportunity for our families, communities, and businesses. I look forward to continuing to work with this administration on opening more markets for our state’s hardworking ag producers.”

The trade deal announced today will allow the U.S. to export 35,000 tons of hormone-free beef to the EU per year.

Ricketts Praises President Trump’s EU Agreement to Increase Beef Exports

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that President Donald J. Trump signed a new deal with the European Union (EU), which will increase beef exports from the United States to the EU.

“For years, we have been working to increase the amount of beef Nebraska exports to the European Union,” said Governor Ricketts.  “This agreement from President Trump presents a major growth opportunity for our state, and will help Nebraska build on our successes from the last 15 years.  As we seize this great opportunity, I look forward to taking our message about Nebraska beef on the road during my trade mission to Germany this November.”

In 2005, only five percent of the U.S. beef entering the EU came from Nebraska.  By, 2018, Nebraska’s share rose to 53%, and was valued at $124.3 million.  

President Trump’s new deal will allow the U.S. to almost triple the amount of beef it is currently exporting.  As the nation’s leader in commercial red meat production and a top three exporter of US beef, Nebraska agriculture stands to benefit greatly from the expansion of this marketplace.

In 2015, Governor Ricketts led a trade mission to the EU to promote Nebraska products.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding European Union Deal on U.S. Beef

“President Trump’s announcement that the European Union will grant increased access to the European markets for U.S. beef is great news for Nebraska beef producers. Quality beef is in high demand in the European Union, particularly in countries like Germany and Italy. Today’s action will only boost opportunities for Nebraska beef producers to fill these markets moving forward.”

“Under the deal, U.S. farmers will ultimately be entitled to nearly 80 percent of the European Union’s quota on hormone-free beef over the next seven years. The quota is the result of a long-standing dispute between the two countries that led to several dispute settlement proceedings with the World Trade Organization that stem back to the European Union’s decades old decision to ban hormone-treated meat, despite overwhelming scientific evidence the product is safe for consumers.”

“Hopefully, today’s deal is a positive step in building relations to secure a bilateral trade deal with the European Union to open even greater access for U.S. agriculture products. Nebraska shipments of beef and beef products to the European Union ranged from $120-$143 million over the last five years. That’s between 40-50 percent of total U.S. shipments. With the agriculture economy struggling and the recent difficulties in trade negotiations with China, it’s critical we continue to grow agriculture market opportunities where we can.”

Secretary Perdue Statement on U.S. and E.U. Beef Agreement

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after an agreement was signed between the United States and the European Union regarding beef trade between the two nations:

“Getting more US beef into the EU market is yet another example of President Trump expanding markets around the globe for our agriculture producers. EU consumers desire high quality products, and I have no doubt that when given the opportunity to purchase U.S. products we will see more Europeans choose to buy American. America’s farmers and ranchers are the most productive on earth and I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for their continued work to promote the bounty of the American harvest across the world.”

USMEF Statement on Signing of U.S.-EU Agreement on Access for U.S. Beef

Today at the White House, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer signed an agreement granting the United States a country-specific share of the European Union's duty-free high-quality beef quota. U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom, who participated in the White House ceremony, issued the following statement:

This agreement provides more reliable and consistent access to the EU market and will be a tremendous boost for the U.S. beef industry. The agreement sends a very positive signal to customers in Europe who see a bright future for U.S. beef and to producers who are interested in expanding their non-hormone treated cattle (NHTC) business but have grown frustrated as they struggled to recover the additional production costs. USMEF greatly appreciates the tireless efforts of USTR and USDA to secure better access to this very high-value beef market.


Farm and ranch production expenditures for Nebraska totaled $24.2 billion in 2018, up 7 percent from a year earlier, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Livestock expenses, the largest expenditure category, at $8.09 billion, increased 28 percent from 2017. Feed, the next largest expense category at $3.10 billion, increased 3 percent from 2017. Rent, the third largest total expense category, at $2.44 billion, increased 2 percent from 2017.

Livestock expenses accounted for 33 percent of Nebraska's total production expenditures. Feed accounted for 13, rent 10, and farm services 8 percent.

The total expenditures per farm or ranch in Nebraska averaged $528,105 in 2018, up 8 percent from 2017. The Livestock expense category was the leading expenditure, at $176,253 per operation, 7.69 times the national average. Rent expenditures, at $53,159 per operation, were 3.73 times the national average. The average feed expenditure, at $67,538, was 2.54 times the national average. Farm services expenditures per operation, at $43,791, were 2.01 times the national average.

These results are based on data from Nebraska farmers and ranchers who participated in the Agricultural Resource Management Study conducted by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Producers were contacted in January through April to collect 2018 farm and ranch expenses.

2018 United States Total Farm Production Expenditure Highlights

Farm production expenditures in the United States are estimated at $354.0 billion for 2018, down from $357.8 billion in 2017. The 2018 total farm production expenditures are down 1.1 percent compared with 2017 total farm production expenditures. For the 17 line items, 7 showed an increase from previous year, while the rest showed a decrease.

The four largest expenditures at the United States level total $178.1 billion and account for 50.3 percent of total expenditures in 2018. These include feed, 15.2 percent, farm services, 12.5 percent, livestock, poultry and related expenses, 13.1 percent, and labor, 9.6 percent.

In 2018, the United States total farm expenditure average per farm is $175,169, down 0.4 percent from $175,935 in 2017. On average, United States farm operations spent $26,622 on feed, $22,911 on livestock, poultry and related expenses, $21,822 on farm services, and $16,775 on labor. For 2017, United States farms spent an average of $26,798 on feed, $21,193 on farm services, $20,455 on livestock, poultry, and related expenses, and $17,702 on labor.

Total fuel expense is $12.3 billion. Diesel, the largest sub component, is $8.1 billion, accounting for 65.9 percent. Diesel expenditures are up 8.0 percent from the previous year. Gasoline is $2.13 billion, down 3.2 percent. LP gas is $1.41 billion, up 0.7 percent. Other fuel is $660 million, down 17.5 percent.

The United States economic sales class contributing most to the 2018 United States total expenditures is the $1,000,000 - $4,999,999 class, with expenses of $113.3 billion, 32.0 percent of the United States total, down 2.2 percent from the 2017 level of $115.9 billion. The next highest is the $5,000,000 and Over class with $92.5 billion, up from $91.2 billion in 2017.

In 2018, crop farms expenditures decreased to $181.9 billion, down 1.5 percent, while livestock farms expenditures decreased to $172.1 billion, down 0.6 percent. The largest expenditures for crop farms are rent at $24.1 billion (13.2 percent of total), labor at $24.5 billon (13.5 percent), and farm services at $24.8 billion (13.6 percent). Combined crop inputs (chemicals, fertilizers, and seeds) are $53.2 billion, accounting for 29.2 percent of crop farms total expenses. The largest expenditures for livestock farms are feed at $52.3 billion (30.4 percent of total), livestock, poultry and related expenses at $44.2 billion (25.7 percent), and farm services at $19.3 billion (11.2 percent). Together, these line items account for 67.3 percent of livestock farms total expenses. The average total expenditure for a crop farm is $208,026 compared to $150,108 per livestock farm.

The Midwest region contributed the most to United States total expenditures with expenses of $104.7 billion (29.6 percent), down from $107.8 billion in 2017. Other regions, ranked by total expenditures, are the Plains at $91.7 billion (25.9 percent), West at $76.2 billion (21.5 percent), Atlantic at $45.0 billion (12.7 percent), and South at $36.3 billion (10.3 percent). The Midwest decreased $3.1 billion from 2017, which is the largest regional decrease.

Combined total expenditures for the 15 estimate states is $232.8 billion in 2018 (65.8 percent of the United States total expenditures) and $236.0 billion in 2017 (65.9 percent). California contributed most to the 2018 United States total expenditures, with expenses of $36.8 billion, (10.4 percent). California expenditures are down 2.7 percent from the 2017 estimate of $37.8 billion. Iowa, the next leading state, has $25.3 billion in expenses, (7.2 percent). Other states with more than $20 billion in total expenditures are Texas with $25.1 billion and Nebraska with $24.2 billion.

Ernst Calls for Rollback of Obama-era WOTUS Rule to Be Codified Into Law

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced legislation to codify into law the Trump Administration’s rollback of the Obama-era “Waters of the United States,” or “WOTUS,” rule.

“The Obama-era WOTUS rule threatened Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses by giving the federal government authority to regulate water on 97 percent of land in our state,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “President Trump and his administration have taken tremendous steps to roll back this overreaching regulation and provide for more certainty with a new, clearer definition of WOTUS. But it’s the job of Congress to make a new, reasonable definition permanent, and that’s what this bill does—it ensures more predictability and workability for Iowans for years to come.”

In late 2018, the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule to replace the Obama Administration’s 2015 WOTUS rule. The Define WOTUS Act would codify a definition of “Waters of the United States” and reassert Congressional responsibility to define this important term. The definition in the Define WOTUS Act also makes substantial improvements over various administrative attempts to define the term by clearly outlining what is, and is not, a federally regulated waterway.

Senator Ernst introduced the bill with Senator Mike Braun (R-IN).


Like EPA’s rule, the Define WOTUS Act provides much greater certainty to American farmers, workers, businesses and landowners. It gives landowners clear guidelines by which they can go out on their land and clearly determine what is regulated by the EPA and what is not. Because Congress is not restricted by various rulemaking statutes, the Define WOTUS Act provides a clearer definition with more obvious safeguards to protect against a runaway bureaucracy.

NCBA Applauds Introduction of the Define WOTUS Act

National Cattlemen's Beef Association Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Colin Woodall today released the following statement in response to the introduction of the Define WOTUS Act by U.S. Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana and Joni Ernst of Iowa:

"America’s cattle producers welcome the introduction of the Define WOTUS Act. The Trump Administration is working hard to repeal and replace the illegally broad 2015 WOTUS Rule, but finalization of a practical WOTUS definition is only the beginning. EPA will spend years proving what the Senate made clear today: Congress intends the management of America’s waters to be accomplished through cooperative federalism. NCBA appreciates the leadership or Senators Ernst and Braun, and additionally appreciates the Define WOTUS Act’s inclusion of NCBA’s science-based proposal of 185 flow days per year for determining federal jurisdiction."

ASA 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.

The selection process for these awards is divided into four regions – the Midwest, Upper Midwest, the Northeast and the South. One farmer from each of these regions will be recognized at the 2020 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas, 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. 27-29, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas.
-    A feature story and 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, Bayer, 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 “About” section under “Awards” on the ASA website All applications must be submitted by Friday, Sept. 13, 2019.

U.S. Ethanol Exports Surge in June while Imports Return; Distillers Grains Exports Remain Robust
Ann Lewis, Renewable Fuels Assoc. Research Analyst
U.S. ethanol exports increased to 128.4 million gallons (mg) in June, according to data issued by the government and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). This was a 29% jump from May.

Canada was the top destination for the second consecutive month, with a 28% increase in sales at 29.5 mg of ethanol. Shipments to Brazil nearly tripled in June to 28.0 mg, up 164% after sales plummeted 74% in May. India was the third-largest destination at 21.9 mg, a 52% gain over the prior month. Other top importers of American ethanol included South Korea (6.8 mg, down 24%), Colombia (6.8 mg, down 25%), Oman (6.3 mg), and Peru (6.1 mg). Total exports for the first half of the year stand at 759.9 mg—19% lower than the first six months of 2018. This implies an annualized export volume of 1.52 billion gallons which, if realized, would be the second-largest volume on record.

June shipments of U.S. undenatured fuel ethanol were 64.0 mg, a gain of 31% following a drop in May. Sales to our two largest customers, Brazil (25.6 mg, up 15 mg) and India (18.9 mg, up 4.5 mg), improved by an average of 78% in June and accounted for 70% of our global market for undenatured fuel. Other key destinations were Spain (5.8 mg) and Mexico (3.5 mg).

U.S. exports of denatured fuel ethanol experienced a 16% upturn in June at 53.5 mg. This includes a 30% bump in sales to Canada at 28.1 mg, which accounted for half of American product exported. Oman (6.3 mg), Peru (6.1 mg), and Colombia (6.0 mg) were other major markets.

U.S. sales of ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes rallied in June as 10.9 mg entered the global marketplace, over 6 mg above May volumes. U.S. shippers exported 7.1 mg of undenatured product, with the bulk distributed to Brazil (2.4 mg), Saudi Arabia (2.1 mg), South Korea, Colombia, and Canada. India (3.0 mg) sourced most exported denatured product for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes.

The U.S. imported 24.0 mg of undenatured fuel ethanol from Brazil in June. This was the largest monthly volume of foreign ethanol to enter the U.S. since Aug. 2018. Total imports for the first half of the year stand at 47.9 mg, compared to 1.6 mg the first six months of 2018. This implies an annualized import volume of 95.7 mg for 2019 which, if realized, would represent the largest volume in six years.

U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS), the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants, pared back 6% to 962,592 metric tons (mt) in June after experiencing a jump the prior month. Mexico was again the top customer despite a 29% decline in sales, purchasing 162,887 mt. DDGS exports to Vietnam shot 37% higher to a seven-month high of 125,523 mt. Other key customers were South Korea (114,564 mt, up 4%), Indonesia (82,334 mt, up 10%), Canada (71,384 mt, up 20%), and Turkey (71,326 mt, down 39%). Shipments to these six top markets represented two-thirds of all global sales, with remaining volumes distributed among another 30 countries. U.S. distillers grains exports for the first half of 2019 stand at 5.35 million mt—5% lower than the first six months of 2018. This implies an annualized export volume of 10.70 million mt.

VanderGriend Elected to Growth Energy Board of Directors

Growth Energy today announced that Nathan VanderGriend has been elected to the organization’s board of directors. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement, welcoming VanderGriend to the board:

“We welcome Nathan as the newest member of our board of directors,” Skor said. “Nathan brings a unique perspective to the table, with years of industry experience and dedication that will prove to be invaluable as we continue to build a brighter future for American biofuels. I look forward to working with Nathan as he joins this esteemed group of leaders for Growth Energy.”

“In the eight years I’ve been a member of Growth Energy, I have seen first-hand the level of commitment, desire, and unwavering determination Growth Energy embodies as it leads this industry into the future,” said VanderGriend. “From pushing our industry’s legislative priorities and protecting the RFS in Congress, to securing market growth through year-round E15 and Prime the Pump, Growth Energy has led the charge. I am proud to be joining the Growth Energy Board and look forward to championing the strategies that create better markets and more opportunities for my customers.”

Nathan VanderGriend is the President and CEO of ERI Solutions Inc., which provides environmental, health and safety (EH&S), non-destructive testing (NDT), sustainability, and risk control solutions for a range of industries, including the biofuels industry.  In addition to this role, VanderGriend oversees Paragon NDT, LLC, a full-service non-destructive testing and inspection company, manages and serves on the board of ERM SPC, Ltd., a captive reinsurance company, and serves on the board of Mission Haiti, a non-profit service organization focused on improving the lives of the people of Haiti. Prior to assuming his current position, VanderGriend served as ERI Solutions Inc.’s Vice President of Client Relations.

Growth Energy’s board of directors represents the most diverse set of leaders in the biofuels industry and includes producers large and small, advocacy experts, agricultural leaders, and a NASCAR team owner.

Bankruptcy Bill Will Help More Family Farmers Access Relief

The U.S. Senate yesterday passed the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019, a bill that will expand family farmers' access to relief under Chapter 12 farm bankruptcy rules by increasing the debt limit from $4.2 million to $10 million. The bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives last week, now awaits President Donald Trump’s signature.

National Farmers Union (NFU) endorsed the legislation when it was first introduced in April, as it would help more family farmers avoid liquidation or foreclosure. NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response to its passage:

“Chronic overproduction, an ongoing international trade war, and a series of extreme weather events have created a perfect storm for the farm economy. Farm debt is at a record high, and too many operations have been pushed to the brink financially. The Family Farmer Relief Act will help more family farmers access Chapter 12 relief, giving them a fighting chance to stay in business. We applaud Congress for passing this important legislation, and we urge President Trump to swiftly enact it into law.”

Thursday August 1 Ag News

UNL Student from Bassett Receives Keith R. Olsen Ag Policy Internship Award

Katie Nolles of Bassett, Neb., recently wrapped up a summer in Washington D.C. as the most recent recipient of the Keith R. Olsen Agricultural Policy Internship Award.

Nolles is a member of the Rock County Farm Bureau and is a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Agricultural Education. The Olsen Internship Award enabled her to intern in Congressman Adrian Smith’s office in Washington, D.C., this summer. The monetary award helped cover Nolles’ living and housing expenses.

“I was truly able to observe and be involved with all aspects of working on Capitol Hill. I loved learning about all of the moving pieces that go into making policy happen, applying what I learned in all of my coursework, and connecting with fellow constituents,” Nolles said Aug. 5.

Noells described her experience in Washington D.C. as a dream internship since her early teenage years. Admittedly, life in D.C. and working on Capitol Hill was an adjustment since she comes from a town of 600 people. But everyone was so helpful.

“Visiting with interns from offices across the country, I quickly found out how fortunate I was to have interned in an office where I got to visit with Congressman Smith regularly, where the staff trusted me with projects, and where my values aligned,” Nolles said.

Nolles said her internship has given her valuable insight and understanding of the federal legislative process that she will utilize in her future teaching career. She is minoring in Leadership-Entrepreneurship through the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars.

“A question that I have been asked frequently since accepting the internship is, ‘Wait, if you want to be a teacher, why are you working in politics?’  I am fortunate that global awareness and understanding of government and democracy was instilled in me from a young age, but many youth don’t understand these concepts.  As a future teacher, I am excited to share my experiences with students while teaching them to analyze issues and how policy affects agriculture,” she said.

She is thankful for the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s support and recommends that any student members who are interested in agriculture policy to apply for the Keith R. Olsen Agricultural Policy Internship Award and experience Capitol Hill first-hand.

“Last fall, when I took AECN 345, an agriculture policy course, with Dr. Brad Lubben.  I enthusiastically absorbed any information that was shared in his class, and met all of the guest speakers who shared their careers relating to ag policy. When Jordan Dux spoke to our class, I knew that I wanted to receive the Olsen Award. Finding a paid internship in D.C. is a challenge in itself. While I did receive payment for my internship, it was incredibly helpful to receive this award to help fund housing and living expenses. Especially as I student teach this semester and cannot work, I am so grateful to have Nebraska Farm Bureau supporting my growth and alleviating some financial burden, so that I can focus on doing my best work.” Nolles said.

The Keith R. Olsen Agricultural Policy Internship Award was established in 2011 by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation to honor Olsen, who served as Farm Bureau president from 2002-2011 and on the board of directors for nearly 20 years. Olsen had emphasized creating opportunities in agriculture for young people during his years with the organization.

The award provides up to $3,000 to a UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources junior or senior to work as an intern in a Nebraska Congressional office, a Congressional Committee or approved agricultural organization.


Data collection for July 2019 quarterly honey bee colonies has been suspended. Before deciding to suspend data collection, NASS reviewed its estimating programs against mission- and user-based criteria as well as the amount of time remaining in the fiscal year to meet its budget and program requirements while maintaining the strongest data in service to U.S. agriculture. Information about all NASS surveys and reports is available online at

Honey bee colonies for operations with five or more colonies in Nebraska as of January 1, 2019 totaled 13,500 according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. During 2018, honey bee colonies on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 were 6,500, 10,500, 52,000, and 45,000, respectively.

Honey bee colonies lost for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2019, was 2,500 colonies or 15 percent lost. The quarter of July-September 2018, at 6,500 or 12 percent, showed the highest number of lost honey bee colonies of any quarter in 2018. The quarter of January-March 2018 had a loss of 430 colonies or 3 percent, the lowest number of honey bee colonies lost in 2018.

Honey bee colonies added for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2019, was 0 colonies. The quarter of July-September 2018, added 8,500 colonies, the highest number of honey bee colonies added for any quarter in 2018. The quarter of January- March 2018, at 0 added, showed the lowest number of honey bee colonies added during 2018.

Honey bee colonies renovated for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2019, was 0 colonies. During July-September 2018, 5,000 colonies were renovated, the highest number of colonies renovated during 2018. The lowest number of honey bee colonies renovated for any quarter of 2018, at 0, occurred during January-March 2018. Renovated colonies are those that were requeened or received new honey bees through a nuc or package.

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during three of the four quarters of 2018. The quarter of July-September 2018 showed the highest percentage of varroa mites during 2018, at 24.1 percent. The percent of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites during January-March 2019 was 32.3 percent.


Honey bee colonies for operations with 5 or more colonies in Iowa as of January 1, 2019, totaled 7,500 colonies. This is 82 percent below the 41,000 colonies on January 1 last year, and 64 percent below the 21,000 colonies during the October-December 2018 quarter. Producers boosted their January 1 inventory by moving colonies into Iowa and adding colonies to a maximum of 11,500 during the January-March 2019 quarter. Since January 2018 the July-September 2018 quarter had the largest maximum number of colonies, with 57,000, while January-March 2019 quarter had the smallest maximum number of colonies with 11,500.

Honey bee colonies lost for operations with 5 or more colonies for the January-March 2019 quarter was 1,600 or 14 percent. This was 9 percentage points above the same period last year but 6 percentage points below losses reported during the October-December 2018 quarter. Since January 2018 the largest percentage of the colonies lost, at 20 percent, or 4,200 colonies, occurred in the October-December 2018 quarter. The January-March 2019 quarter had the fewest number of colonies lost, at 1,600 colonies.

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with 5 or more colonies since January 2018.  The January-March 2019 quarter showed varroa mites affected 34.8 percent of Iowa’s honey bee colonies, which is the second highest level since January 2018. Other Pests and Parasites, Diseases, Pesticides, and Other Causes categories all saw sharp declines in percent stressed in the January-March 2019 quarter from the October-December 2018 quarter.

January 1 Honey Bee Colonies Up 1 Percent

Honey bee colonies for operations with five or more colonies in the United States on January 1, 2019 totaled 2.67 million colonies, up 1 percent from January 1, 2018. During 2018, honey bee colonies on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 were 2.64 million, 2.67 million, 2.96 million, and 2.87 million colonies, respectively.

Honey bee colonies lost for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2019, was 408 thousand colonies, or 15 percent. During the quarter of October through December 2018, colonies lost totaled 445 thousand colonies, or 16 percent, the highest number lost of any quarter in 2018. The quarter in 2018 with the lowest number of colonies lost was April through June, with 355 thousand colonies lost, or 13 percent.

Honey bee colonies added for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2019 was 248 thousand colonies. During the quarter of April through June 2018, 676 thousand colonies were added, the highest number of honey bee colonies added for any quarter of 2018. The quarter of October through December 2018 added 220 thousand colonies, the least number of honey bee colonies added for any quarter of 2018.

Honey bee colonies renovated for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2019 was 180 thousand colonies, or 7 percent. The quarter in 2018 with the highest number of colonies renovated was April through June with 740 thousand colonies renovated, or 28 percent. The quarter in 2018 with the lowest number of colonies renovated was October through December 2018, with 155 thousand, or 5 percent. Renovated colonies are those that were requeened or received new honey bees through a nuc or package.

Varroa Mites Top Colony Stressor

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during all quarters of 2018. The quarter of April through June 2018 had the highest percentage of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites at 56.4 percent. The percent of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites during January through March 2019 were 45.6 percent.

Colonies Lost with Colony Collapse Disorder Symptoms Down 26 Percent

Honey bee colonies lost with Colony Collapse Disorder symptoms on operations with five or more colonies was 59.9 thousand colonies from January through March 2019. This is a 26 percent decrease from the same quarter of 2018.

Soil Health Partnership Celebrates 5 Years of Growth and Collaboration

The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) has been fostering transformation in agriculture through improved soil health since 2014. This year, SHP celebrates its fifth anniversary and the foundational collaborations that developed the program.

SHP was founded by a diverse group of organizations with a shared vision of developing a farmer-led research network to measure the impacts of implementing soil health practices on working farms. The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Bayer, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), alongside the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), came together to see this vision through. This program was based upon work supported by the National Resources Conservation Service, U.S Department of Agriculture. 

“We are proud of the collaboration led to SHP’s establishment. That collaboration has continued to grow and evolve with many partners, bringing dynamic perspectives to the table. We would not be where we are today without our founding partners sharing the vision, then seeing it through,” said SHP Executive Director Dr. Shefali Mehta.

“Engaging with pragmatic, goal-focused groups like the Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy, and bringing in agronomic expertise from Bayer, SHP was founded amongst a well-rounded, diverse group of organizations. We have accomplished a lot in five years thanks in large part to the support from our founding members and partner farmers,” said NCGA Vice President, Production and Sustainability, Nathan Fields. “The program is only just beginning. SHP is a priority to the NCGA board, and we can’t wait to see where we are in another five years and beyond.”

The SHP network now spans across 16 states and includes over 100 partner organizations at the federal, state and county levels. SHP has grown from 17 active farms in 2014 to 220 active farms in 2019 and represents over 7,000 acres.

SHP currently has a team of eight field managers that work alongside farmers in their region to design and implement experiments in fields across North America.

“It is encouraging to see the vast number of farmers interested in investing in their land that they are proactively inviting SHP into their operations. We continue seeking new ways to diversify our offerings to enable farmers from a broad range of geographies and operations can be part of our program,” stated SHP Lead Scientist, Maria Bowman. “We credit our growth in large part to the energy and investment by the farmers in the SHP network. Our farmers believe and trust the work that we do, owning the data and the outcomes that are collected.”

Mehta concludes, “We look forward to the future of continued collaboration, opportunities to learn and grow with other organizations, and working alongside a broad group of farmers as they ensure the sustainability of their farm operations. The foundation has been laid, and we are eager to see where the future takes SHP and soil health management for American farmers.”

Successful 2019 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting Wraps Up in Colorado

The 2019 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting wrapped up today with a meeting of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Board of Directors. The meeting kicked off on Monday at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center just outside Denver.

“I want to thank the hundreds of producers, state affiliates, and partners who took valuable time out of their busy schedules to help chart a better future for our entire industry,” said NCBA President Jennifer Houston. “The decisions made this week will affect our industry’s marketing and policy priorities for years to come.”

NCBA’s policy committees met throughout the week to refine positions on public policy issues like international trade, access to public lands, dietary guidelines, and the marketing of fake meat. Producers also received updates on how their checkoff dollars are being invested to fund vital research and marketing efforts.

Attendees also heard from Randy Blach of Cattlefax in a standing-room-only General Session keynote address about what lies ahead for cattle markets. Seven cattle operations were also named regional finalists for the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). This year’s regional winners will compete for the national award, which will be announced during the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio, Texas, in February 2020.

This year’s meeting also saw the rollout of a new NCBA podcast, Cattlemen’s Call, which focuses on the people who make up the beef industry. The podcast is hosted by ag broadcaster Lane Nordlund and can be accessed at

Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 509 million bushels in June 2019. Total corn consumption was down 1 percent from May 2019 and down 2 percent from June 2018. June 2019 usage included 91.5 percent for alcohol and 8.5 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.44 million bushels, up 3 percent from May 2019 and up 10 percent from June 2018. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 457 million bushels, was down 1 percent from May 2019 and down 1 percent from June 2018. Corn consumed in June 2019 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 1.96 million tons during June 2019, up 1 percent from May 2019 but down 3 percent from June 2018. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.29 million tons in June 2019, down 4 percent from May 2019 and down 1 percent from June 2018.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 286,101 tons during June 2019, down 4 percent from May 2019 and down 5 percent from June 2018. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 250,826 tons in June 2019, down 7 percent from May 2019 and down 4 percent from June 2018.

Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 4.73 million tons (158 million bushels) in June 2019, compared with 4.96 million tons (165 million bushels) in May 2019 and 5.09 million tons (170 million bushels) in June 2018. Crude oil produced was 1.81 billion pounds down 5 percent from May 2019 and down 6 percent from June 2018. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.41 billion pounds during June 2019 decreased 6 percent from May 2019 and decreased 2 percent from June 2018.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 125,124 tons in June 2019, compared with 133,790 tons in May 2019 and 147,432 tons in June 2018. Canola crude oil produced was 108 million pounds, down 4 percent from May 2019 and down 16 percent from June 2018. Canola once refined oil production, at 110 million pounds during June 2019, was down 5 percent from May 2019 and down 12 percent from June 2018.

Cottonseed once refined oil production, at 40.3 million pounds during June 2019, was up 5 percent from May 2019 but down 15 percent from June 2018.

Edible tallow production was 87.7 million pounds during June 2019, up 2 percent from May 2019 and up 7 percent from June 2018. Inedible tallow production was 340 million pounds during June 2019, up 2 percent from May 2019 and up 9 percent from June 2018. Technical tallow production was 82.0 million pounds during June 2019, down 28 percent from May 2019 and down 22 percent from June 2018. Choice white grease production, at 110 million pounds during June 2019, decreased 4 percent from May 2019 but increased 11 percent from June 2018.

Flour Milling Products

All wheat ground for flour during the second quarter 2019 was 225 million bushels, up 1 percent from the first quarter 2019 grind of 223 million bushels but down 1 percent from the second quarter 2018 grind of 227 million bushels. Second quarter 2019 total flour production was 104 million hundredweight, up slightly from the first quarter 2019 but down 1 percent from the second quarter 2018. Whole wheat flour production at 5.27 million hundredweight during the second quarter 2019 accounted for 5 percent of the total flour production. Millfeed production from wheat in the second quarter 2019 was 1.62 million tons. The daily 24-hour milling capacity of wheat flour during the second quarter 2019 was 1.65 million hundredweight.

Durum wheat ground for flour and semolina production during the second quarter of 2019 totaled 16.0 million bushels, down 3 percent from the first quarter 2019 but up 2 percent from the second quarter 2018. Second quarter 2019 durum flour and semolina production was 7.62 million hundredweight, down 4 percent from the first quarter 2019 but up slightly from the second quarter 2018. Whole wheat durum flour and semolina production was 134 thousand hundredweight, down 11 percent from 150 thousand hundredweight in the first quarter 2019 but up 3 percent from 130 thousand hundredweight from the second quarter 2018. Second quarter durum wheat millfeed production was 111 thousand tons and the daily 24-hour milling capacity for durum and semolina production was 131 thousand hundredweight.

Rye ground for flour during the second quarter of 2019 was 414 thousand bushels, down 3 percent from the first quarter 2019 and down 12 percent from the second quarter 2018. Rye flour production during the second quarter of 2019 was 204 thousand hundredweight, compared to 210 thousand hundredweight in the previous quarter and 225 thousand hundredweight in the same quarter for the previous year. The daily 24-hour milling capacity for rye milling was 9.79 thousand hundredweight for the second quarter 2019.

Perdue Statement on Labor Agreement with Guatemala

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded the Department of Labor and Guatemala on the signing of an agreement to improve H-2A visa program operations. Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:

“Our farmers and ranchers are the most productive in the world, and they want to obey immigration law. This move by the United States and Guatemala will allow for greater cooperation and will safeguard against disturbances in the H-2A visa program by protecting workers from illegal recruitment activity, providing our farmers with a stable, legal workforce. President Trump is dedicated to securing our borders while continuing to support America’s farmers and ranchers. The signing of this agreement with Guatemala further solidifies our partnership and engagement with our neighbors and commitment to solving the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.”

Trump Adds Tariffs on China

The U.S. will impose an additional 10% tariff on $300 billion in Chinese goods because China has not moved to buy large amounts of agricultural goods, President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday.

The president increased the stakes of his trade war with China with a tweet at 11:26 a.m. CDT that his trade representatives "have just returned from China where they had constructive talks having to do with a future trade deal."

The president then added, "More recently, China agreed to ... buy agricultural product from the U.S. in large quantities, but did not do so." The president added China President Xi Jinping also had said he would stop the sale of the opioid drug Fentanyl to the U.S., but Trump stated that has not happened "and many Americans continue to die!"

Returning to the topic of trade, the president's third tweet stated the U.S. would put a 10% tariff on $300 billion more in goods and products from China. The tariff follows a 25% tariff now on $250 billion in other Chinese exports to the U.S.

The president then added, "We look forward to continuing our positive dialogue with China on a comprehensive Trade Deal, and feel that the future between our two countries will be a very bright one!"

The president increased the tariffs just a day after the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates for the first time in 11 years. Among the reasons the Fed stated for the increase were uncertainty surrounding global growth and trade tensions.

Statement on New Tariffs on $300 Billion in Goods

Today, following the Trump administration's announcement to impose a 10% tariff on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland spokesman Jonathan Gold released the following statement. Tariffs Hurt the Heartland is a nationwide campaign against tariffs supported by over 150 of America’s largest trade organizations representing retail, tech, manufacturing and agriculture.

“The administration is doubling down on a failing strategy. Nobody wins in a trade war, and raising tariffs further on American businesses and consumers will only result in slower economic growth, more farm bankruptcies, fewer jobs and higher prices. These new tariffs will target the products American families buy every day, ranging from shoes and apparel to toys and electronics.
"We all agree China is a bad actor, but an unprecedented tax hike on hardworking Americans is not the answer. It's time for the administration to come up with a real strategy, put a stop to harmful tariffs and finally deliver the trade deal Americans were promised."

USDA Dairy Products June 2019 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.07 billion pounds, 0.6 percent above June 2018 but 3.3 percent below May 2019. Italian type cheese production totaled 469 million pounds, 4.0 percent above June 2018 but 1.3 percent below May 2019. American type cheese production totaled 427 million pounds, 0.6 percent below June 2018 and 3.9 percent below May 2019.  Butter production was 146 million pounds, 3.1 percent above June 2018 but 9.0 percent below May 2019.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with June 2018)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 156 million pounds, up 2.2 percent.
Skim milk powder - 44.4 million pounds, down 25.3 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with June 2018)
Dry whey, total - 81.1 million pounds, down 6.3 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 108 million pounds, up 13.1 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 41.1 million pounds, up 0.3 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with June 2018)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 65.5 million gallons, down 6.8 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 47.2 million gallons, up 3.8 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 3.39 million gallons, down 4.7 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 4.73 million gallons, down 7.1 percent.

CLAAS Introduces Next-Generation LEXION Combine

CLAAS of America today announces the launch of the all-new LEXION 8000-7000 series combine harvester, designed for farm business operators who want more from their combine, with no compromises. The new LEXION combine is more powerful and features the highest capacity in the industry, designed with a host of features to outperform in and between fields, streamlining harvest and saving the operator time and money.

"For the past 20-plus years, LEXION combines have built a reputation for delivering increased harvest efficiency and productivity, saving fuel and grain, driving down the cost of harvest," says Blake McOllough, Product Manager – Combines, CLAAS of America. "The redesign brings together significant engineering advancements from CLAAS that deliver on the superior productivity that today's ag business demands, offering the best return on investment and allowing the operator to get more done in less time."

Enhanced efficiency for greater productivity

The new LEXION combine has exceptional capacity to harvest all types of crops in all types of conditions, covering more acres per hour and achieving even better grain quality while protecting against overloading.

The APS SYNFLOW HYBRID system, an upgrade of the well-known APS HYBRID SYSTEM, is the industry's highest-capacity combine processor, meaning the new LEXION combine delivers 10 percent more capacity than the previous series. Grain handling is also improved, with unloading speeds as fast as 5.1 bushels per second and the industry's largest grain tank that features a whopping 510-bushel capacity.

"Operators can cover significantly more ground with a 25-mph transport speed, which all models — wheeled and TERRA TRAC — are now capable of,” McOllough says. "The operator also saves time with crop changeover capabilities that can be done from the cab, with just the touch of a button."

Maintenance time is also more streamlined with a central lubrication system and DYNAMIC COOLING, cutting maintenance time by more than half. The DYNAMIC COOLING feature also serves as a barrier from dust and debris while enhancing cooling for larger engines with larger horsepower demands.

Precise machine adjustments for optimal results

The new generation of LEXION combine allows for more precise adjustments. Its unique ability to independently adjust threshing and separation enables the operator to precisely adjust the machine to meet changing crop conditions and increase grain retention. Operators can engage the intensive threshing segment and adjust rotor cover plates with new push-button controls, increasing their control.

Additionally, CLAAS continues to be a leading innovator in autonomous machine adjustment. With its release in 2013, CEMOS AUTOMATIC technology has revolutionized the combine industry, improving operator performance by making automated machine adjustments. By using existing machine components and sensors, CEMOS AUTOMATIC is able to gain the operator 10 percent more capacity, 32 percent less foreign matter in the grain sample, and an increase of 58 percent in grain retention by continuously and autonomously adjusting and optimizing machine performance.

The new LEXION is the most precise combine built by CLAAS to date. With new adjustment options and CEMOS AUTOMATIC to precisely automate combine adjustments, operators are able to improve grain retention, maximize throughput, and get more return on investment.

"At CLAAS, we know that time is money, and achieving the highest possible productivity is paramount," McOllough says. "The newest LEXION combine was designed with those requirements in mind, delivering highly advanced engineering that streamlines the harvest and makes more money for our customers' farm businesses."

CLAAS of America Launches New AXION 900-800 Series Tractors

CLAAS of America announces the full commercial launch of the AXION 900 and 800 series high-efficiency tractors into the United States and Canadian markets. The new tractor lines provide a range of power options — from 200 to 440 horsepower — and other available technology options to match a wide range of applications.

The AXION series provides the comfort and flexibility needed to work faster and more efficiently. With the most fuel-efficient PTO horsepower in its class, excellent cab comfort and superior cab visibility, this tractor is ideal for the livestock and livestock input producer, and also has applications in other markets.

In the CLAAS product lineup, the AXION joins the XERION tractor, a larger and higher-horsepower rigid frame tractor that can also be used in multiple applications. The XERION features multiple steering modes for tighter turns, better flotation and rock-solid handling — even under the heaviest loads.

"We're extremely excited to introduce the AXION tractors into the North American market," said Drew Fletcher, Product Manager – Tractors, CLAAS of America. “This series is uniquely designed to help producers cover more ground faster and more efficiently.”

The AXION 800 series is being commercially launched after months of testing on real farms across the United States and Canada. CLAAS partnered with a select group of dealers in diverse areas to ensure all parts, service and training support mechanisms were in place to facilitate the best customer and operator experience.

Now available in the North America market, the AXION 900 series has been trusted by growers around the world and has proven to be a strong performer in multiple on-farm applications.

“Whether it's big square baling, round baling, manure handling, loading, tilling or any other function, AXION tractors are flexible enough to meet the needs of the operator and adapt to the situation,” Fletcher says.

Productivity, efficiency and comfort

The AXION 900 and 800 series tractors are enhanced by industry-leading fuel efficiency per PTO horsepower. While providing the same PTO horsepower as competitors, the AXION tractor can provide up to 20 more useable PTO horsepower while using up to one gallon per hour less fuel.

With a standard four-point suspended cab, PROACTIV front axle, shock-absorbing front and rear three-point hitches, a semi-active seat and a list of other cab conveniences, the AXION delivers premium comfort for long days and nights in all conditions. Not to be forgotten is the superior visibility, enhanced by rear curved glass and forward B-pillar posts.

The AXION 800 series features a powerful 6.7L Tier 4F engine with deep torque reserves to power through tough spots in the field and steep grades. Horsepower ranges from 200 to 280. The AXION 900 features an 8.7L Tier 4F engine with horsepower ratings of 320 to 440, depending on the model.

The 800 series is offered in a HEXASHIFT or CMATIC (CVT) transmission to fit the specific needs of the operator. The 900 series is available exclusively with the CMATIC transmission.

“The AXION is simply more efficient, which adds up to fewer gallons per acre, fewer hours per job and a lower cost per hour,” Fletcher says. “It was also designed with the comfort of the operator in mind, featuring a better ride quality and ease of use for less operator fatigue at the end of the day.”

CLAAS of America Announces Additions to Their Line of Balers and Hay Tools

CLAAS of America today announced additions to its range of balers and hay tools. New offerings include the DISCO 4000 TRC mower/conditioner, ROLLANT 520 round baler and VOLTO 55 TH tedder.

“We’re extremely pleased to introduce these new innovations to our full line of grain, hay and forage harvesting products,” said Matt Jaynes, Product Manager for Balers and Hay Tools, CLAAS of America. “The DISCO 4000 TRC, ROLLANT 520 and VOLTO 55 TH provide farmers with reliable and integrated systems featuring better feed quality, strength, durability and speed for when the going gets tough.”


Engineering advancements featured in the new DISCO 4000 TRC help deliver higher-quality feed, leading to improved milk production in dairy cattle. The MAX CUT cutterbar and ACTIVE FLOAT suspension result in a more evenly cut crop with less ash content. Also, new adjustable swath plates allow the operator to make any perfectly sized windrow.

Additional features of the DISCO 4000 TRC include:
– 12' 6" (3.8 m) working width
– Chevron rubber roller conditioner with double belt drive for less maintenance and more durability
– Spring-loaded pivoting cutterbar to keep the knives out of the soil for less ash and more protection of the stubble
– New windrow spreader plates make for a uniform density windrow


CLAAS is also extending its range of round balers with the ROLLANT 520. The new ROLLANT 520 4 x 4 fixed-chamber round baler features an updated design and upgrades for better fermentation in properly formed bales. The result for the operator is reduced spoilage, improved milk production and reduced labor and materials loss. More efficiently packed bales mean fewer bales to handle and more feed per bale.

The ROLLANT 520 includes eight newly designed heavy-duty rollers that have 4 mm wall thickness and shafts bolted to 15 mm-thick flanges for improved strength and durability when baling tough crops.

Additional features of the ROLLANT 520 include:
– Updated drive concept for longer heavy-duty use
– Reinforced frame that's 20 percent thicker than the 300 Series
– 14-knife ROTO CUT chopping system for maximum throughput
– Hydraulic drop floor for blockage clearing
– 15 mm-thick flanges for improved durability


The new VOLTO 55 TH helps operators spread the crop more evenly and faster for uniform dry down and preserved nutritional value of the crop. The tedder offers a faster ground speed and a more even spread pattern with the MAX SPREAD tine system. The very strong tube tine arms and PERMALINK drive system allow for high workloads for heavy windrow conditions. The innovative folding and tilt make it fast to move from field to field.

Additional features of the VOLTO 55 TH include:
– Reinforced tine arms and supports for longer life
– Equal length tines for less contact to reduce ash in the crop
– Hydraulic folding and tilt
– Adjustable tine angle for slower PTO speed to save leaves in alfalfa or clover

"For daily hay-based operations, growers need more than just robust machinery. They need harvesting systems that piece together seamlessly," Jaynes says. "Our coordinated machines support day-to-day operations and help customers achieve optimal results in forage harvesting."

ADM Reports Second Quarter Earnings of $0.42 per Share, $0.60 per Share on an Adjusted Basis

Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) today reported financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2019.

•  Net earnings of $235 million
•  Executed aggressive interventions amid challenging industry conditions; unfavorable weather impacts of approximately $65 million to segment OP
•  Strategic actions and long-term market opportunities point to stronger back half, and earnings and returns growth in 2020 and beyond

“We took aggressive action in the face of challenging external conditions, and we are confident that our work over the first half of the year will help deliver a stronger back half,” said Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano. “Just as important, our transformative changes are positioning ADM to capitalize on significant market opportunities, and grow earnings and returns in 2020 and beyond.

“Although the timing is uncertain, we remain confident in the resumption of significant food and agricultural trade flows between the U.S. and China, which will help bolster margins in the U.S. grain export and ethanol industries,” Luciano continued. “We are also seeing early signs of how African Swine Fever might impact global animal protein markets, and eventually support incremental soybean meal demand in key meat-producing regions outside of China. And, of course, fast-growing consumer trends such as plant-based proteins are creating long-term growth opportunities for our comprehensive portfolio of food and beverage solutions.

“We are focused on executing our strategic plan to ensure that ADM is poised to capitalize on these market opportunities and create value for our shareholders. We’re seeing the results of our efforts to turn around underperforming businesses. We continue to enhance our efficiency, customer service and competitiveness through Readiness. And we’re harvesting the benefits of Neovia and other growth investments. We are excited about our future. We are creating a company that is uniquely positioned to seize the opportunities ahead of us and deliver strong results for customers and shareholders alike.”

During the quarter, ADM advanced its strategic initiatives to enhance agility, accelerate growth and strengthen customer service, and took aggressive actions on a variety of fronts. These actions, which will also help offset the significant weather impacts of the last six months, include:
-    Combining the company’s Origination and Oilseeds business units into a single business, Ag Services & Oilseeds, which will report as a new segment beginning in the third quarter;
-    Completing significant organizational changes announced last quarter, including early retirement offers for colleagues in the U.S. and Canada;
-    Centralizing and standardizing business activities, including appointing a senior vice president, Global Operations, to lead a new operations structure; and
-    Aggressively harvesting the benefits of recent acquisitions, including planned synergies.

Wednesday July 31 Ag News


Wearable technology will soon move from wrist to stalk, swapping measures of blood flow and respiration for sap flow and transpiration.

Their design won’t have anyone confusing growing season with fashion season, but the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s James Schnable and Iowa State University colleagues are developing a Fitbit-like sensor to be worn by corn and other thick-stemmed crops.

Funded by a Breakthrough Technologies award from the National Science Foundation, the researchers are pursuing an elusive goal: measuring rates of sap flow in real time, actual fields and changing weather conditions.

Because sap flow indicates how much water a plant is using vs. conserving, measuring it with hourly or minute-by-minute precision would help researchers better understand how crops are responding to drought conditions. That, in turn, would allow researchers to compare the drought resistance of different genetic lines with greater speed and accuracy, Schnable said, leading to more water-efficient hybrids that can tolerate ever-harsher climates from Nebraska to Nigeria.

“There are different strategies plants can take and different strategies plant breeders can pursue depending on their goal, the environment they’re breeding for and the crop they’re working on,” said Schnable, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture. “All of these, though, do require (that) you actually be able to look at how much water the plant is using, not over just an entire growing season but really on a day-by-day or hour-by-hour basis.”

Understanding water use is especially important, Schnable said, given that a plant’s ability to resist drought competes with its ability to produce food. When a plant opens the tiny pores in its leaves to welcome the carbon dioxide essential for photosynthesis — and eventually, food — some of its water escapes through those same pores, making it more susceptible to drought. Crops bred for higher yields invite in even more carbon dioxide, giving water more opportunities to depart.

Managing that physiological tug-of-war — or even finding ways to lengthen the rope at both ends — will become more critical by 2050, when the world will likely need to feed an additional 2 billion people while accounting for more-sporadic rainfall.

As of now, crop breeders usually assess new genetic lines by planting a series of trials under drought conditions, measuring the yields and comparing those yields to what’s produced in a water-rich environment, Schnable said. The smaller the difference in yield, the better.

“So they’re (currently) taking a lot of different things that could all feed into drought tolerance — they’re all lumped together — and they get this one output value, which is: What’s the final yield,” Schnable said.

The research team — which also includes Schnable’s father, Patrick, at Iowa State — instead wants to pinpoint the conditions under which different crop varieties begin or stop conserving water, potentially helping customize varieties to different climates. Pairing those observations with genetic analyses of the varieties could also offer more detailed information about the practical influence of various genes in the field, guiding modification efforts in the lab.

“The more we can actually measure some of those (individual factors) in the field and look at the differences between varieties, the more we can make precise judgments about how two different lines with the same level of drought tolerance got there,” Schnable said. “You could separate those (different factors) out and then breed for those individual factors separately.

“Think of it like this: You can compare two cars by how fast they go or, once you can start to pull apart (and) look at different parts of the engine, figure out how each part of the engine works well or poorly, then maybe start to combine the best of different engines together. But you can only do that if you can measure the performance of different parts separately instead of looking at just the final speed.”


The team’s project qualified for the Breakthrough Technologies program — which the National Science Foundation developed for “high-risk, high-reward” pursuits — in part because no one has managed to develop a sensor that can monitor sap flow over a full growing season in the field.

But Iowa State’s Liang Dong has crafted a design, which consists of sophisticated technology packed into a small but flexible package, that the team hopes will prove equal to some of the most stubborn challenges.

To gauge the rate of sap flow, the bracelet-like device will administer small amounts of heat to the stem it fits around. Tiny sensors above and below the micro-heater will then record the amount of heat that passes by, effectively measuring how quickly the sap is carrying the heat away — and, by association, how fast the sap is flowing. A combination of nanoscopic structures and fibers within the device should help insulate the sensors, preventing a loss of heat that could otherwise invalidate their readings.

Its flexibility comes by way of an elastic band that can stretch to accommodate the growth of corn stalks or other crop stems, including those of soybean and sorghum, that can widen substantially within weeks. The elasticity also serves another purpose: allowing the device to monitor a stem’s diameter, which factors into the equations that describe how fast the heat is traveling and sap is flowing.

“The power of the sensors is (that) we can measure something that has not been practical to measure before, which is how much water the plant is using on a very fine resolution,” Schnable said. “The challenge is (that) if you design a tool to measure something that hasn't been measured before, how do you know if you're getting it right or not?”

The answer? Compare the sensor data against a known quantity — in this case, finely calibrated technology at Nebraska’s Greenhouse Innovation Center. There, a series of conveyor belts, hyperspectral cameras and scales can detect faint changes in the water weight of individual plants that either do or don’t sport the new sensors. Then, it’s essentially just a matter of weighing one set of measurements against the other, Schnable said.

“That way we can tell if we’re producing useful data or gibberish,” he said.

It also captures what most excites him, on a personal level, about the project.

“My favorite collaborations are those where I'm working with people who have completely different skill sets than mine,” Schnable said. “Dr. Dong came out of the biomedical field, which is why he knows how to build wearable sensors to address all sorts of different questions and problems. We're coming at the same problem from completely different backgrounds and completely different motivations.

"Just getting to have those conversations and learn about topics I never would have been exposed to in any sort of a normal plant science job is really fun.”

National FFA Organization Names 2019 Star Finalists

Today, the National FFA Organization selected 16 students from throughout the United States as finalists for its 2019 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
Todd Peterson of Sabina, Ohio
Garret Talcott of Bennet, Neb.

Nicholas Torrance of Macomb, Ill.
Willis Wolf of Merced, Calif.

American Star in Agribusiness
Blake Kennedy of Tecumseh, Okla.
Hadden Powell of Montrose, Ga.
Blake Quiggins of Horse Cave, Ky.
Luke Scott of Bucyrus, Ohio

American Star in Agricultural Placement
Nicole Harder of Hooper, Wash.
Cole Riggin of Pittsburg, Kan.
Andrew Streff of Salem, S.D.
William Wynn of Moultrie, Ga.

American Star in Agriscience
Courtney Cameron of Valdosta, Ga.
Kacie Haag of Emington, Ill.
Amelia Hayden of Sharon, Wisc.
Olivia Pflaumer of Chillicothe, Ohio

Visit for more information about the American Star Awards.

A panel of judges will interview finalists and select one winner for each award at the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 30 – Nov. 2 in Indianapolis. The four winners will be announced during an onstage ceremony on Friday, Nov. 1.

Case IH, Elanco Animal Health and Syngenta sponsor the American FFA Degree recognition program.

53 Families to Receive Farm Environmental Leader Awards at the Iowa State Fair

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon will recognize 53 Iowa farm families for their environmental stewardship during a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair. The award acknowledges farmers who take voluntary actions to improve or protect the environment and our state’s natural resources.

These farm families use scientifically-proven practices, like cover crops, wetlands, bioreactors and saturated buffers, which support the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The recipients recognize the benefits of conservation practices extend beyond their fields to the residents downstream.

Date: Wednesday, August 14
Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
Location: Iowa State Fair Cattle Barn, Penningroth Media Center

2019 Award Recipients include: (Listed alphabetically by last name)
    Larry and Jean Baudler, Steve and Carol Baudler, Bill and Chelsea Baudler, Jordan and Brittany Groves and Chad Winkelmann; Adair County
    Bunker Hill Inc.: Steve and Judy Bunkers; Plymouth County
    Dennis Crall; Adair County
    Laverne Greving Family Farm; Carroll County
    Dennis and Barb Oliver; Harrison County
    Williams Family Children’s Trust: Kendell and Stephani Vorthmann; Pottawattamie County
    Lee and Arthur Wisecup; Harrison County

The winners were chosen by a committee representing both conservation and agricultural groups.

Since the creation of the Farm Environmental Leader Award in 2012, more than 500 Iowa farm families have been recognized by the Governor, Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Department of Natural Resources. A list of previous recipients can be found here.

IFBF Welcomes NextGen Farm Leaders to Advisory Committee

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Young Farmer Advisory Committee has elected new leaders for 2019. These officers and new district representatives are committed to uniting young farmers throughout the state and keeping the next generation of farm leaders engaged through various programs and events, including their biggest event: the IFBF Annual Young Farmer meeting, which draws a diverse array of young farmers and agribusiness leaders together. IFBF Young Farmer members elected to leader positions in 2019 include:
- Ben Hollingshead, Boone County, chair
- Clark Dolch, Adair County, vice-chair
- Mary Ebert, Guthrie County, secretary
- Megan Francois, Delaware County, historian
- Kristin Plate, Mahaska County, PR chair

Ben Hollingshead and his wife, Jeanne, live in Ogden with their three children. Ben is a sales agronomist and location manager for Key Cooperative in Kelley, and Jeanne is a registered nurse at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames. Along with Ben's family, the young Boone County couple raise cow-calf pairs and hogs and grow corn and soybeans. They are active in their community, with Ben co-chairing the planning committee for Ogden's annual town celebration and Jeanne volunteering at Boone County's Free Clinic every month. "It's an honor to serve fellow young farmers through the Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Program," said Hollingshead. "Most of us carry jobs off the farm while also trying to balance family life and be part of our local communities. That's why it's great that programs like these can connect us all, so we can lean on and learn from one another."

2019 Young Farmer Vice-Chair Clark Dolch and his wife, Molly, live in Stuart and work off the farm fulltime to "support their farming habit." Clark is a branch manager and ag loan officer, and Molly works as an ag education instructor and FFA advisor at West Central Valley High School. In partnership with Clark's family, they raise cow-calf pairs and three miniature donkeys.

Both Dolch and Hollingshead agree that encouraging young Iowans in agriculture has never been more important, especially when the latest Ag Census shows while the number of farmers age 25 to 34 increased slightly from 5,647 in 2012 to 5,735 in 2017, the percentage of young farmers under 35 makes up only 8 percent of the primary operators in Iowa. At a time when 57 percent of Iowa's young farm families rely on off-farm jobs to sustain their farm business, the IFBF Young Farmer Program embraces their evolving interests and schedules to keep them engaged in leadership roles in the organization. In fact, today the average age of a county board leader is 43 years old.

The program advisory committee plans various events around the state each year, including an annual statewide conference each January that brings hundreds of young farmers together. The 2020 Young Farmer Conference will take place Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona.

Darren Armstrong, North Carolina Farmer, Elected USGC Chairman At Cincinnati Meeting

The delegates of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) elected Darren Armstrong, a farmer from North Carolina representing the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina, as chairman of its Board of Directors at its 59th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting on Wednesday.

“To be successful with global trade, you have to find a way to make it happen,” said Armstrong during his incoming comments, announcing his chairman year’s theme “Make Something Happen.”

“That’s why I identify with the Council’s mission,” he said. “Council staff plant seeds where there is opportunity, where the promise of demand can only be matched by the willingness to do the work. The Council does this work every day.”

Armstrong grew up working on his family’s farm alongside his father and two brothers. He has been farming for 26 years in Hyde County, North Carolina, currently producing corn, soybeans and wheat. He studied at the Agricultural Institute of North Carolina State University and has completed industry leadership trainings. He has also won the North Carolina Farm Bureau Discussion Meet as well as the North Carolina Farm Bureau Achievement Award.

Armstrong has been a Council delegate for five years and previously served as the Council’s Trade Policy Advisory Team (A-Team) leader in 2015 and 2016.

Also at their meeting Wednesday, the Board of Delegates elected as secretary-treasurer Chad Willis of the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council. Additionally, two at-large directors were selected, Brent Boydston, representing Bayer Crop Science, and Josh Miller, representing the Indiana Corn Marketing Council.

The full U.S. Grains Council Board of Directors is now as follows:
• Darren Armstrong - Chairman
• Jim Raben - Vice Chairman
• Chad Willis - Secretary-Treasurer
• Jim Stitzlein - Past Chairman
• Duane Aistrope - At-Large Director
• Brent Boydston - At-Large Director
• Josh Miller - At-Large Director
• Ryan Wagner - At-Large Director
• Ray Defenbaugh - Agribusiness-Ethanol and Co-Products Sector Director
• Greg Hibner - Agribusiness Sector Director
• Mark Seastrand - Barley Sector Director
• Wayne Humphreys - Corn Sector Director
• Charles Ray Huddleston - Sorghum Sector Director
• Tadd Nicholson - Checkoff Sector Director
• Ryan LeGrand - President and CEO

Stitzlein, the outgoing chairman, said the Council is fortunate to have many qualified individuals passionate about the agricultural industry in leadership positions at the Council.

“Our new chairman, the Board of Directors, Board of Delegates, Sector Directors, A-Team leaders and staff provide excellent insight into the challenges and opportunities in the international trade arena,” Stitzlein said.

The elections Wednesday concluded a week of the Council’s meetings in Cincinnati, focused on current market challenges and new opportunities for demand through work in emerging market and with new funding from the USDA’s market development programs.

Study Shows Premium in Cattle from BQA Certified Producers

While producers have traditionally participated in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) because it’s the right thing to do, there is sound research that indicates BQA certified producers can benefit financially as well. According to a recent study by the Beef Checkoff-funded BQA program and conducted by Colorado State University (CSU), results show a significant premium for calves and feeder cattle sold through video auction markets.

The research study “Effect of Mentioning BQA in Lot Descriptions of Beef Calves and Feeder Cattle Sold Through Video-based Auctions on Sale Price,” led jointly by CSU’s Departments of Animal Sciences and Agricultural and Resource Economics, was conducted to determine if the sale price of beef calves and feeder cattle marketed through video auction companies was influenced by the mention of BQA in the lot description. Partnering with Western Video Market, CSU reviewed data from 8,815 video lot records of steers (steers, steer calves or weaned steers) and heifers (heifers, heifer calves or weaned heifers) sold in nine western states from 2010 – 2017.

The result was a premium of $16.80/head for cattle that had BQA listed in the lot description. This value was determined by applying the $2.71/cwt premium found in CSU’s statistical analysis to the average weight of cattle in the study data. When the BQA premium was constant on a per head basis, it implied higher weight-based premiums for lighter cattle (for example $3.73/cwt at 450 lbs/head) and lower premiums for heavier cattle ($2.24/cwt at 750 lbs/head).

“This study was a first of its kind opportunity to utilize advanced data analysis methods to discover if there was a true monetary value to participate in BQA,” said Chase DeCoite, director of Beef Quality Assurance. “Study results clearly show that participation in BQA and BQA certification can provide real value to beef producers. It means that the initiatives within the industry are rewarding cattlemen and women who take action to improve their operations and our industry.”

Additional study findings show that over the past 10 years, consistent frequency of BQA mentions have been included in the lot descriptions of cattle selling via video auctions. In some states, like Montana, the frequency of mentions has been fairly sizable and upwards of 10 percent or more of all lots of calves/yearlings offered for sale. Even without documentation of a premium in the past, the results imply that over time many producers have proactively chosen to highlight and emphasize their participation in BQA when marketing their cattle.

“The value of a seller being BQA Certified can really only be captured when information is shared between seller and buyer, which is consistently done via the sale of cattle by video auction companies,” said Jason Ahola, Ph.D. and professor of animal sciences at CSU. “By sharing the BQA status of the owner or manager of a set of cattle, the buyer can access information that is generally otherwise difficult to find in traditional marketing channels. This was a big reason for us to conduct the study, as it became clear that data on sellers’ BQA status were available on a large number of cattle sold through video auctions as well as other traits associated with the cattle. This information affected the ultimate selling price of the cattle.”

The results of the BQA value study emphasize the importance of transferring information from sellers to buyers as well as the importance of collecting BQA certification information during the auction process. Daniel Mooney, Ph.D. and assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics at CSU said a lot of information is transmitted from buyers to sellers in video auctions which made it ideal for the analysis.

“In addition to the BQA mention, our study controlled for other factors – such as lot characteristics, cattle attributes, and value-added practices like age/source verification and natural certification – that also influenced beef calf and feeder cattle sale prices. Importantly, the BQA premium existed even after accounting for these influential variables,” Mooney said.

“Our cow-calf and stocker consignors represent family operations from throughout the western United States who make their living in the cattle business. Profit margins in these sectors can be very marginal. Finding ways to enhance the marketability of cattle by adhering to best practices is a low-cost means of improving the quality and consistency of the cattle they market,” said Holly Foster, video operations manager of Western Video Market. “By sharing our historical data with researchers at CSU, we felt it would help our sales representatives and consignors as they try to understand the different attributes that cattle buyers are looking for to meet end user requirements.”

Weekly Ethanol Production for 7/26/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending July 26, ethanol production averaged 1.031 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 43.30 million gallons daily. Output was down 8,000 b/d (-0.8%) from the previous week for a 13-week low and 33,000 b/d (-3.1%) under year-ago volumes. The four-week average ethanol production rate decreased for the fourth straight week, down 1.1% to 1.046 million b/d and equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.04 billion gallons.

In contrast, ethanol stocks jumped 3.3% to a new record high of 24.5 million barrels. Virtually all of the stocks built in the Gulf Coast (PADD 3).

There were no imports reported for the second consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of May 2019.)

The volume of gasoline eased 1.2% to 9.559 million b/d (401.5 million gallons per day, or 146.54 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol rose 1.8% to 959,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.70 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 10.79%.

Congressional Letter Urges USDA to Prioritize Producers Under Packers and Stockyards Act

The Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) praises Senators Tester and Grassley and Congresswoman Kaptur, along with 14 of their colleagues, for sending U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Ibach a letter outlining farmers’ rights that should be addressed when drafting new farmer protection rules under the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 (P&S Act). As a result of a recent OCM lawsuit, USDA released a notice of proposed rulemaking this Spring and it is expected this rule will be released in the next month.

The letter urged USDA “to ensure that any draft rule prioritizes the rights of America’s small independent cattlemen, hog producers, and contract poultry growers.” The letter advises USDA to address the following:
-    Protect the rights of farmers to join together in producer associations to advocate for themselves, free from retribution.
-    Clarify the long-standing USDA position, that the Packers and Stockyards Act does not require a demonstration of harm to competition across the entire sector.
-    Ensure packers are not providing such preferential marketing arrangements to only a select group of large livestock feeders, while excluding opportunities for smaller, independent feeders to remain profitable.
-    Grower payment systems (tournament) should be objective, transparent, and reward growers for their management skills, not penalize them for factors outside of their control.

The letter follows a Congressional Briefing hosted by Senator Tester and Congresswoman Kaptur on July 16, 2019, where OCM, RAFI-USA, and the Government Accountability Project presented the abusive practices farmers and ranchers are facing at the hands of large meatpacking and processing corporations.

The groups revealed that when farmers speak out against abusive practices of large meatpackers or processors, the corporations retaliate against them by terminating their contract or refusing to buy their livestock. Because there is usually only one buyer or processor in any one region of the country, this action, by the corporation, spells certain bankruptcy for the farmer. As a result, the corporation holds all of the cards against the farmer.

The P&S Act was enacted to address the abusive power meatpackers and processors have in the market. Unlike the other U.S. antitrust laws, Clayton and Sherman Acts, P&S Act is both a producer-protection statute and an antitrust statute. Over time the courts have diluted the protections guaranteed to producers requiring them to not only show they have been harmed or damaged by the actions of the meatpackers, but that the harm or damage they suffered not only harmed them but the market as a whole.

“Requiring a farmer or rancher to have to show in court the harm they suffered at the hands of these global giants harmed the entire market is equivalent to me having to show every farmer in America was harmed if I had my truck stolen. If I couldn’t prove that, then I can’t get my truck back,” stated Vaughn Meyer, Vice President of OCM. “Secretary Perdue has a choice to make: he can side with the likes of Brazil’s JBS or he can fix this issue on behalf of America’s family farmers.”

It is through market competition that efficacy in production and innovation is enhanced. Antitrust laws that provide safeguards for independent family farmers, as well as independent feeders, packers, and retailers will rebuild the agricultural foundation of the United States of America.

EPA Must Account for RFS Waivers

The National Corn Growers Association today reiterated its call on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole by accounting for waived ethanol gallons as the agency considers proposed biofuel targets for 2020. 

In testimony at an EPA hearing in Ypsilanti, Mich., NCGA Board Member and Ohio farmer John Linder pressed the agency to move forward with a stronger RFS rule that supports America’s farmers, their rural communities, and consumers.

“The proposed rule we are discussing today allows retroactive refinery exemptions to continue to destroy demand for renewable fuels. In addition, the proposal ignores the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision that EPA improperly waived 500 million gallons in 2016,” Linder said.

For 2020, EPA proposes to increase total renewable fuel blending by 120 million gallons and maintain an implied conventional ethanol requirement of 15 billion gallons. The proposal does not take into account EPA’s ongoing practice of providing RFS waivers to big oil companies. These waivers have reduced RFS requirements by 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons, with 38 more exemptions pending.

“These volumes are meaningless amid EPA’s massive expansion of retroactive refinery waivers. Farmers have no confidence EPA will ensure these volumes are met – which the law requires – because EPA fails to account for projected waivers in this proposal,” Linder said.

NCGA has repeatedly called on EPA and the Trump Administration to address the harm waivers are having on the ethanol industry. At a visit to an Iowa ethanol plant, NCGA First Vice President Kevin Ross told President Trump the waivers threaten to undo support for E15 and NCGA Corn Congress delegates recently approved a “Sense of the Corn Congress” urging President Trump to uphold his commitment to America’s farmers and the RFS.

Corn farmers across the country now have the opportunity to share their comments on the EPA’s waivers and 2020 rulemaking and “Tell EPA: Waivers are Gutting the RFS.”

RFA Urges EPA To Address RFS Small Refiner Waivers and Court Remand

In oral testimony presented at a public hearing today in Ypsilanti, Mich., the Renewable Fuels Association urged the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that its 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard final rule prospectively accounts for expected small refinery exemptions and properly addresses a 2017 court order to restore 500 million gallons of blending requirements that were illegally waived by EPA in 2016.

The agency’s proposed rule, published in Monday’s Federal Register, failed to adequately address small refiner exemptions or the court order, stoking fears across the renewable fuels industry that EPA-induced demand destruction could continue in 2020.

“Unfortunately, the market has no faith that the proposed 2020 renewable volume obligations will result in biofuel blending volumes consistent with the RFS standards set by law, including the 15-billion-gallon conventional renewable fuel requirement,” RFA Chief Economist Scott Richman said. “It is a misnomer to call the numbers in the proposal ‘obligations’ as long as small refinery exemptions (SREs) continue to transform the RFS into a voluntary program for roughly one-third of the nation’s refineries.”

Saying that EPA’s proposed rule betrays President Trump’s commitment to uphold the RFS, Richman noted that EPA approved 54 SREs retroactively for compliance years 2016 and 2017, which caused ethanol consumption and the ethanol blend rate to fall in 2018 for the first time in 20 years. Not a single exemption request has been denied by EPA since 2015, he said, and 38 petitions for compliance year 2018 are still pending.

Making matters worse, Richman said, EPA’s proposal incomprehensibly ignores the D.C. Circuit Court’s 2017 order requiring the Agency to restore 500 million gallons it illegally waived from the 2016 RVO. “EPA’s claim that ‘there are very limited opportunities to use biofuels beyond the volumes we are proposing for 2020’ echoes the Agency’s reasoning in its 2016 rule that was specifically rejected by the court.”

“Congress gave EPA the direction and tools necessary to enforce the statutory RFS volumes,” Richman concluded. “That includes prospectively redistributing volumes from SREs to non-exempt parties. It also includes complying with a court order to restore illegally waived volumes from 2016. We urge EPA to do both in the final rule.”

Growth Energy Defends Rural America at EPA Hearing

Today, Growth Energy Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley testified before U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials at the hearing on the agency’s proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Bliley spoke on behalf of the 100 ethanol plants and 91 innovative businesses Growth Energy represents, condemning the agency for providing no avenue to offset refinery exemptions that consistently undercut federal blending goals, disrespecting the court’s decision on the 2016 RVO, and failing to approve pathways for millions of gallons of current cellulosic biofuel production from kernel fiber technology.

In his testimony, Bliley reiterated the industry’s frustrations with the agency’s failure to correct its course on refinery exemptions through annual blending targets: “Once again, the proposal assumes that despite exempting at least 190 million gallons of biofuel every year since 2013, that there will be ZERO gallons exempted in 2020. If EPA is going to waive billions of gallons, it must properly account for those gallons in the RVO calculation, so that demand-loss is not borne by biofuel producers and America’s farmers.”

Bliley also blasted the EPA’s choice to flout the 2017 court ruling requiring the agency to revisit 500 million gallons of biofuel that were inappropriately waived. “Ethanol plants have closed, employees have been laid off, trade has been cut, all on top of farmers’ crops being devastated – and EPA claims it is too difficult for refiners to blend 500 million gallons of biofuel as the law requires,” said Bliley. “What kind of signal does that send to farmers? What message does that send to companies seeking to invest in American biofuels? It speaks volumes.”

EPA released its proposed 2020 RVOs on July 5, 2019. Under the proposal, conventional ethanol would hold steady at 15 billion gallons, while advanced biofuels would see a slight uptick to 5.04 billion gallons, including 540 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. Biodiesel targets, which are set two years in advance, were proposed at 2.43 billion gallons for 2021.

 ACE leadership testifies on proposed 2020 RVOs

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Communications Director Katie Fletcher testified today during the public hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Fletcher’s testimony highlighted some points which will be detailed in ACE’s written comments to the proposed rule, including (1) the difference between EPA’s proposed 2020 RVO and the real-world effect small refinery exemptions (SREs) have on RFS blending obligations; (2) the need for EPA to reallocate gallons waived for SREs and restore the 500 million gallons unlawfully waived from 2016; and (3) the economic hardship facing farmers and U.S. ethanol facilities.

“The proposed 2020 RVO marks the second compliance year EPA is professing to follow statutory volumes on paper but, in reality, is allowing refiners to escape their lawful responsibility to blend renewable fuel with the petroleum products they make.

“The severity of demand destruction from EPA’s use of SREs is a topic of debate, but it is without question year-over-year domestic ethanol use declined in 2018 for the first time since 1998, falling from 14.49 billion gallons in 2017 to 14.38 billion gallons in 2018. The national ethanol blend rate retreated from 10.13 percent in 2017 to 10.07 percent in 2018. ACE members are convinced EPA refinery waivers contributed to these historic setbacks.

“We are grateful EPA finalized the rule extending the 1-psi Reid vapor pressure waiver for E15, but the net effect of this final rule without reallocating waived gallons means we are still “in the hole” from an RFS demand perspective.

“For EPA’s proposal to blatantly ignore the court order based on the ‘retroactive nature of an increase in the volume requirement’ and the ‘additional burden that such an increase would place on obligated parties’ undermines the integrity of the RFS and flies in the face of Congressional intent.

“EPA’s mismanagement of the RFS has placed an artificial lid on domestic ethanol demand causing dozens of ethanol plants to consider slowing production or shutting down.”

EPA’s refusal to address the SRE issue in this proposed rulemaking, or in the 13 months prior to ACE’s and other parties’ June 2018 petition to EPA to account for lost volumes of renewable fuel resulting from the unprecedented number of retroactive SREs, is why late yesterday we asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to lift a stay it placed on our joint 2018 petition and restart the proceedings.

NBB Asks EPA to Raise 2020 RFS and 2021 Biodiesel Volumes

National Biodiesel Board (NBB) executives criticized the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposal for the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standards and the 2021 Biomass-based Diesel Volumes. The executives testified at a field hearing hosted by EPA in Michigan, emphasizing that EPA is sending a negative signal to the biodiesel industry by proposing flat volumes and then rolling them back through retroactive small refinery exemptions.

"EPA has selected volumes for the biomass-based diesel market that are simply too low. Year after year, the U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry continues to demonstrate sustainable growth. We can achieve still higher volumes over the coming years," stated NBB Chairman Kent Engelbrecht, who is also the biodiesel trade manager at Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM). "When EPA sends the wrong signals for this program, biodiesel producers see significant investments put at risk. Flatlined volumes block achievable growth and undermine the goals of the RFS."

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's Vice President of Federal Affairs, emphasized, "Without properly accounting for small refinery exemptions, EPA is failing its duty to ensure that the annual required volume obligations are met. What that means for the current rule is that the agency must find a way to reconcile small refinery exemptions. And there are multiple options."

EPA's calculation of the 2020 annual percentage standards uses 0 as the number of gallons of diesel and gasoline produced by exempt small refineries. For 2015, 2016 and 2017, EPA exempted nearly 28 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel produced by small refineries, without accounting for them in the RFS program. Those exemptions reduced demand for biodiesel and renewable diesel by hundreds of millions of gallons. According to University of Illinois Professor Scott Irwin, the demand destruction for biodiesel and renewable diesel could reach 2.45 billion gallons over the next few years causing a $7.7 billion economic loss for the biodiesel industry.

Doug Whitehead, Chief Operating Officer of NBB, added, "As it finalizes the current rule, EPA has several options to ensure that the volumes it sets are reliable and will be met. First and foremost, the agency must only grant exemptions to small refineries that actually qualify. Second, EPA must account for the exemptions in the annual RVO formula. The agency does have authority to include volumes that it has exempted or plans to exempt."

NBB Director of Federal Affairs David Cobb also commented on EPA's proposed handling of the Americans for Clean Energy V. EPA case, remanded by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in July 2017. "Two full years after receiving the remand from the Court, EPA is now proposing to ignore it. Worse, the agency's reason for ignoring the Court's directive -- that there is a lack of demand for renewable fuel by the oil industry -- is exactly the same reasoning the Court struck down. The proposed rule openly contradicts the DC Circuit Court's explicit direction to EPA," Cobb stated.

RFS Obligations Must Account for Hardship Waivers

Following the release of its disappointing 2020 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today hosted a public hearing to gather feedback from farmers and other stakeholders on the proposed rule.

The proposal would maintain the current volume of corn ethanol currently required to be supplied to the transportation sector, and would only increase overall biofuel use by 120 million gallons. By contrast, the ongoing misappropriation of RFS small refinery exemptions (SREs) to multinational corporations has eliminated demand for biofuels by 2.6 billion gallons.

National Farmers Union (NFU) has consistently protested the rampant abuse of SREs by sending letters, submitting testimony, joining a lawsuit, and most recently filing a petition.  The organization was dissatisfied that, when drafting next year’s RVOs, the EPA ignored numerous requests to account for the damage inflicted on farmers and rural communities by the exemptions.

In a statement released today, NFU President Roger Johnson reiterated the organization’s previous concerns and urged the administration to rectify the oversight in the finalized rule:

“Family farmers and ranchers are hurting right now. Between severely depressed commodity prices, chronic oversupply, environmental disasters, and trade wars, some operations are hemorrhaging money just to keep their doors open. But while farm country struggles, the oil industry continues to thrive, with many companies posting multi-billion-dollar profits year after year. Given these circumstances, it is unconscionable that the administration would funnel money away from family farms and into the pockets of large oil corporations.

“Biofuels offer real solutions to the problems rural America is facing – they establish new uses for our corn surplus, lift up prices, create well-paying jobs, stimulate economic growth in rural communities, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, we have never had the chance to realize their full potential because EPA and this administration has repeatedly undercut the efficacy of the Renewable Fuel Standard with the flagrant mismanagement of these purported ‘hardship waivers.’ We’ve asked many times, in many different ways, that this destructive practice be immediately stopped, and that the losses already incurred be offset by next year’s renewable volume obligations. So far, our request has fallen on deaf ears – we will continue to advocate for stronger biofuels policies until they prioritize the social and economic welfare of family farmers and rural communities.”

Coalition Seeks Court Action Forcing EPA to Account for Lost Biofuel Volumes

An agriculture and biofuels coalition has petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to lift a stay it placed on a joint 2018 petition asking the court to protect the renewable fuels industry from undue harm caused by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The petition, filed late Tuesday afternoon, asks EPA to revise its Renewable Fuel Standard regulations for setting annual percentage standards of renewable fuel to account for small refinery exemptions the Agency issues retroactively.  EPA’s current regulations factor in only future small refinery exemptions granted prior to the compliance year, despite the fact that most of the exemptions granted in recent years have been for compliance periods that had already ended.

The coalition had asked for the stay to give EPA time to review its request to reconsider its current regulations. EPA’s response never arrived, but EPA’s statements and actions over the past 13 months indicate that EPA has effectively denied the request.  Not content to wait further, the coalition asked the court to step in and restart proceedings.

The parties on the petition are the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Growth Energy (Growth), National Biodiesel Board (NBB), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), and National Farmers Union (NFU). The group had petitioned EPA for redress on this issue in June 2018 but has received no response from the agency. “Thirteen months have passed since the filing of the petition, without even a proposed substantive response from EPA,” the motion states. “Meanwhile, the Agency has shown through various actions that it is not genuinely considering the Coalition’s administrative petition and has in effect denied it.”

In recent years, EPA has granted an unprecedented number of retroactive small refinery exemptions from Renewable Fuel Standard obligations, destroying demand for renewable fuels, including both ethanol and biodiesel, and putting renewable fuel plants and American farmers at risk. EPA has steadfastly refused to redistribute lost gallons from prior years in subsequent annual obligations, including those for 2020 that were announced on July 5.

When EPA exempts certain small refineries from their obligations retroactively after the Agency sets the annual percentage standard, EPA does not account for those exemptions in setting the annual percentage standards. In those circumstances, it becomes impossible for EPA to ensure that the total annual volume obligation is met under EPA’s current implementation of the program. This is what has occurred for compliance year 2016 and later years.

In the absence of any direct action from EPA, the coalition asked the court to require the Agency to reconsider how its RFS regulations account for retroactive small refinery exemptions. The coalition maintains that exemptions granted after a final RVO rule should be accounted for in the following year’s volume obligations and that volumes lost to small refineries then be redistributed among other non-exempt obligated parties. In other words, small refinery exemptions—whether they are granted before, during, or after the compliance year, should be accounted for similarly.

EPA’s failure to act on the petition hurts American agriculture and renewable fuel producers and pits the EPA’s support for refineries against another industry critical to rural America. “EPA’s actions are particularly inexcusable given the time-sensitive nature of the annual RVO and percentage standard setting process,” the coalition notes. “By failing to act on the Coalition’s request, EPA violated a statutory ‘right to timely decisionmaking’ implicit in the agency’s regulatory scheme that will result in the Coalition being ‘irreparably harmed through [the] delay.’”

NGFA recommends further improvements to grain inspection system in Senate Ag Committee testimony

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) recommended several policy improvements that would “create a more reliable, competitive and cost-effective official grain inspection and weighing system” during a July 31 Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on the reauthorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act (USGSA).

“The grain storage, handling and export industry specializes in the logistics of purchasing the commodities a farmer grows and finding a market for it here at home or in global markets,” said Bruce Sutherland, president of Michigan Agriculture Commodities in Lansing Mich., who testified on NGFA’s behalf. “…[O]ur legislative recommendations to amend the USGSA will strengthen the Official inspection and weighing system, foster the competitive position of U.S. grains and oilseeds in world markets, and maintain the integrity of Official inspection results.”

Sutherland is a member of the NGFA Board of Directors and serves as a recently appointed member of the Federal Grain Inspection Service’s (FGIS) Grain Inspection Advisory Committee. NGFA’s recommendations were developed in collaboration with the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA), with which it is co-located and has a strategic alliance.

FGIS and its delegated and designated state and private agencies are relied upon to provide “competent, state-of-the-art and reliable” inspection services, which are paid for by the industry, to facilitate marketing of U.S. grains and oilseeds. Official grain inspection and weighing generally is mandatory for most U.S. export shipments, while the use of such services is voluntary in the domestic market.

Reforms enacted by Congress in 2015 “served as a springboard” for a series of improvements to FGIS and the Official inspection system, Sutherland said. He also credited Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s decision as part of his 2017 reorganization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to return FGIS to the Agricultural Marketing Service, where it had resided prior to 1994, as well as the installation of fresh, capable new leadership at the agency for bringing about positive changes.

As lawmakers consider reauthorizing the USGSA, the NGFA offered several recommendations for improvement:

•    FGIS should expressly prohibit the inappropriate and misleading practice of using grain standard quality factors as an indicator of plant health risk on phytosanitary certificates issued by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). “APHIS inappropriately and unwisely in our view acquiesced in late December 2017 to Chinese officials’ requests that foreign material (FM) content – a grain quality factor – be used as a proxy for weed seed content in U.S. soybean export shipments,” Sutherland noted. The resulting market uncertainty led to a sharp reduction in U.S. soybean exports to China months before the advent of tariffs.

•    Delegated states should be required to notify users of Official inspection or weighing services at least 72 hours in advance of any intent to discontinue service. Such agencies already are required to provide such notification to USDA. “We strongly believe affected facilities need and deserve the same courtesy and consideration as currently provided to USDA so they can make appropriate logistical and other alternative arrangements to continue to serve customers whenever possible – including farmers and upstream and downstream customers,” he said.

•    FGIS should conduct a detailed review of the current geographic boundaries for each officially designated agency operating in the domestic market. FGIS designates a single agency to provide official inspection services in each geographic territory. The agency has not conducted a comprehensive review of these boundaries since it was established in 1976.

•    FGIS user fees paid by those obtaining inspection and weighing services should be directed solely for that purpose, not for developing the U.S. grain standards or for compliance and enforcement activities, which have broad societal benefits to producers and consumers.  “Users of these Official services already pay for the direct costs incurred by FGIS in providing them, plus administrative overhead for those services, which typically comprises 70 percent of FGIS’s total annual budget,” Sutherland said.

•    Extending the reauthorization period for the USGSA to somewhere between five and 10 years, versus the current five-year schedule – at Congress’s discretion, “given the extremely positive changes brought about by Congress in revising the USGSA in 2015, combined with the highly successful reorganization and realignment of FGIS into AMS.”

•    FGIS should be required to report to Congress and the public the number of and specific type(s) of waivers from official inspection and weighing service being requested and granted, the number of non-use of service exceptions requested and granted, and the number of specific testing services requested, while preserving confidential business information.

•    The FGIS Grain Inspection Advisory Committee should be reauthorized. The advisory committee provides counsel to the FGIS administrator on the implementation of the USGSA and is comprised of members who represent the interests of grain producers, exporters and handlers.

NGFA concluded that “reauthorizing the Grain Standards Act on time – or even a bit early – would provide continued certainty to grain handlers, farmers and our global customers.”

Currency Realignment Would Boost Economic Outlook for Family Farmers and Ranchers, NFU Says

With little relief in sight for persistently low commodity prices, U.S. family farmers and ranchers are facing a bleak economic future. But a bipartisan bill introduced today by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) would help restore prosperity to rural America by correcting an imbalance in U.S. monetary policy.

The Competitive Dollar for Jobs and Prosperity Act (CDJPA) would work to realign the value of the dollar, making U.S. agricultural exports more competitive abroad. By applying a market access charge on foreign investments, the legislation would strategically slow the flood of foreign capital that is currently driving up the dollar’s value to noncompetitive levels. As the value of the dollar declines, U.S. agricultural exports will be more competitive, spurring demand for those goods in markets abroad. As the demand for those products increases, so in turn will the prices paid to U.S. farmers and ranchers. A one percent decline in the value of the dollar could lead to as much as a 2.5 percent increase in the prices of certain crops.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response to the bill’s introduction:

“The overvalued U.S. dollar puts American family farmers and ranchers on an uneven playing field with the rest of the world. Despite near record levels of agricultural exports, median farm income has been negative for six straight years, and low commodity prices are a big part of the problem. Farmers can’t continue to thrive if they are spending more to produce a crop than they’re earning when it’s sold.

“If the U.S. dollar were realigned, our agricultural exports would be more competitive on the world market. Increased demand for these goods would drive up the price—a necessary change that would have far-reaching effects for agricultural communities. Further, a realigned dollar would also help reduce the U.S. trade deficit, potentially bringing back jobs to rural America.

“American family farmers and ranchers know that the over-valued dollar has reduced the prices they are paid for their goods and has harmed the long-term prosperity of their communities. The Competitive Dollar for Jobs and Prosperity Act introduced by Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Josh Hawley is needed to restore fairness to international trade markets and to provide opportunity for economic prosperity for family farmers and all of rural America.”

Fertilizer Prices Quiet as Farmers Wait to Make Purchases for Next Year

Retail fertilizer prices made very minor moves in the fourth week of July, according to prices tracked by DTN, with none of the prices changing by more than $3 per ton.

Three fertilizers were lower compared to the previous month with none down a significant amount, which DTN considers 5% or more. MAP had an average price of $531/ton, down less than $1; 10-34-0 $485/ton, down $2; and anhydrous $582/ton, also down $2.

Five fertilizers were slightly higher compared to last month, but again, the move higher was fairly small. DAP had an average price of $495/ton, up less than $1; potash $394/ton, up $2; urea $430/ton, up $1; UAN28 $272/ton, up $3; and UAN32 $320/ton, up $2.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.47/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.49/lb.N and UAN32 $0.50/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher. DAP is 2% higher, MAP is 5% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 10% higher, potash is 11% more expensive, UAN28 is 12% higher, UAN32 is 15% more expensive, anhydrous is 16% higher and urea is 18% more expensive compared to last year.

Taco Bell Unveils Antibiotic Reduction Plans

Taco Bell has announced plans to revise its policy on antibiotics in the beef it uses. Specifically, the fast food chain's goal is to reduce antibiotics in its global beef supply 25% by 2025, a change it says will affect 9.8 million daily orders.

In a statement issued Monday, Taco Bell says it "recognizes consumers' growing food supply concerns, including animal welfare and antibiotic resistance." The company said reducing antibiotics in the beef it sources builds on its commitment to making beef more sustainable, and that the new policy around beef "will better protect human, animal and environmental health."

"This is the brand's latest step in ensuring that flexitarian and meat-loving fans can enjoy menu favorites, like the Beefy 5-Layer Burrito, without having to choose between craveability and responsible food choices," the company said in a statement.

Taco Bell will give "preference to suppliers that are making measured reduction in their use of antibiotics important to human health, as defined by the World Health Organization, as well as suppliers that increase veterinary oversight when it is required to medically treat sick animals."

Preference will also be given to suppliers that utilize and participate in Beef Quality Assurance.

Taco Bell says it will reinforce its commitment to beef quality by partnering with key experts and collaborating in industry-wide efforts, including participation in the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and the Center for Disease Control's Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Challenge.

Tuesday July 30 Ag News


Many rural Nebraskans are active in their communities but are less involved in politics, according to the 2019 Nebraska Rural Poll.

During the past 12 months, 35% of rural Nebraskans surveyed have worked with someone or some group to solve a problem in the community where they live. This is an increase from 29% in 2015.

“The flooding that occurred this year may have contributed to this increase, as Nebraskans rallied to volunteer or help their neighbors and communities,” said Becky Vogt, manager of the Rural Poll — the largest annual poll of rural Nebraskans' perceptions on quality of life and policy issues.

Most rural Nebraskans surveyed have either worked together with someone or some group to solve a problem in the community, served in a community organization in an unpaid role or signed a written petition about a political or social issue. Almost half have contacted or visited a public official to express their opinion, and the same proportion have bought or boycotted a certain product or service because of the social or political values of the company that provides it.

Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed responded that they have given money to a candidate, political party or organization that supports candidates, with 21% volunteering for a political organization or candidate running for office. Nineteen percent have contacted a newspaper or magazine to express their opinion on an issue. Just 10% have taken part in a protest, march or demonstration, with even less working as canvassers — going door to door for a political or social group or candidate.

Most poll respondents are positive about community leadership. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed agree or strongly agree that their community’s leaders are effective and do a good job. And although opinions are somewhat mixed on whether they have a leadership crisis in their community today, more disagree with that statement than agree with it.

Most poll respondents agree on the importance of strong, effective community leadership. Over three-quarters of those surveyed agree that strong leadership will prevent their community’s decline, and two-thirds agree that the problems their community faces today can be solved through effective leadership.

However, the proportions agreeing that ordinary citizens have a great deal of power to help make their community’s leadership more effective, and that feel a great deal of personal responsibility to actively participate in making their community’s leadership more effective, both declined from 2015 to 2019.

“People who feel less empowered, or like their efforts won’t make a difference, might also feel less responsible for their community’s leadership,” said L.J. McElravy, associate professor of youth civic leadership at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “It’s not clear if there’s anything specific driving these trends, but flooding, national or state politics, and trade disputes might all be impacting respondents’ daily lives, and rural Nebraskans have had little direct control over these aspects of life in Nebraska over the past several months.”

The response rate for this year’s Rural Poll was 28%. The margin of error is plus or minus 2%. Complete results are available at

The university's Department of Agricultural Economics conducts the poll with funding from Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.

Iowa Farm Bureau Park to Feature Farmers, Educational Games and Prizes

The 2019 Iowa State Fair brings crowds from far and wide who seek entertainment, education and food, and they’ll be able to find all three again this year at Farm Bureau Park on the Grand Concourse.  Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the state’s largest grassroots farm organization, has plenty of activities going on throughout the State Fair, Aug 8-18, designed to help fairgoers learn more about the many ways their food is grown today.  

“Iowa Farm Bureau believes in the innovation of agriculture, and we’re proud to showcase the hard-working men and women who grow our food, renewable fuel and fiber,” says IFBF President Craig Hill.  “Our ability to overcome obstacles is all part of what puts Iowa agriculture on the map.  Our livestock farmers are the envy of the world, and we certainly know Iowans like what our farmers produce.  According to our Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index®, more than 9 in 10 (95 percent) Iowa grocery shoppers say their households eat meat at least weekly. More than 8 in 10 eat beef (88 percent), chicken (84 percent), and eggs (83 percent) at least weekly, 6 in 10 (60 percent) eat pork at least weekly, and more than half of Iowa households consume milk daily.  This demand shaped our theme this year in Farm Bureau Park: ‘Real Farmers, Real Food, Real Meat.’  We plan to celebrate our many hard-working farmers who put food on our family table, and we know fairgoers will enjoy what we have on the menu.” 

Free, family-friendly games with prizes will help visitors to Farm Bureau Park learn more about farming.  Dozens of Iowa farmers will also be on hand to meet guests and help them learn more about how their food is grown and raised.   This year, IFBF members should stop by Farm Bureau Park to claim their free membership gift.  Members can also enter a drawing to win a Traeger Timberline Wood Pellet Grill and a Fareway meat package—a value of more than $1,500.    Iowans who sign up to become a new Farm Bureau member can register to win a Yeti Haul cooler and a Fareway meat package. All visitors  can also register to win $500 in free groceries by taking the Member Benefit Challenge.

Farm Bureau Day at the State Fair is Aug. 13 and the day includes many activities, including the kickoff of the 56th annual Farm Bureau Cookout Contest on the Grand Concourse.  The contest, which runs between 9 a.m.-noon, features the county Farm Bureau Cookout Contest contestants who come to the State Fair to vie for cash prizes and the title of Cookout Champion.  Celebrity judges for this year’s contest include ‘Mr. State Fair’ WHO-TV13 Chief Meteorologist Ed Wilson, KCCI-TV8 morning anchor and host of the popular “This Is Iowa” segments Eric Hanson and Fareway grocery store’s CEO Reynolds Cramer.

Several invited partners have important health screening and educational opportunities for fairgoers.  Highlights include the giveaway of 1,000 free bike helmets on August 12, sponsored by ‘On with Life.’  New this year, Unity Point Trauma Outreach experts will have a free training that can save a life during trauma.  Their important campaign, called ‘Stop the Bleed,’ will be featured on six days of the fair: August 9, 10, 13, 15, 16 and 17.  For a complete listing of events and activities going on this year at Farm Bureau Park, visit

NMPF Agrees With Secretary Vilsack’s Senate Finance Testimony: Pass USMCA

As the Senate Finance Committee convened a hearing today on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern offered the following statement:

“As Secretary Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, testified at today’s hearing, USMCA delivers key wins for America’s dairy farmers and the exports that drive stronger sales. With USMCA, dairy farmers will see more export opportunities and greater trade certainty. Without USMCA, we lose out on $314 million in additional dairy exports. We also lose the benefit of the new rules this deal puts in place, such as key reforms to Canada’s dairy system and stronger safeguards for our cheese exports to Mexico.

“We commend the Senate for spotlighting USMCA’s importance and strongly support the testimony offered by USDEC on how the agreement benefits dairy. To usher in USMCA’s improvements for dairy farmers and build momentum for additional trade agreements with key markets like Japan, we urge swift action to resolve any outstanding issues and secure approval of USMCA.”

NCBA Takes the Fight to Fake Meat at Summer Business Meeting

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) leaders today redoubled their efforts to push back against deceptive and erroneous marketing and nutritional claims by plant-based and lab-created alternatives to real beef.

In the opening General Session of the cattle industry’s annual Summer Business Meeting, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Colin Woodall, and Alisa Harrison, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing and Research, highlighted how NCBA is continuing to educate consumers and policymakers about the benefits of real beef and the often oversold claims of fake meat products.

“While meat substitutes have certainly attracted a lot of media hype over the past couple of years, data shows that real beef maintains 99.5% of the retail market vs. only 0.5% for meat substitutes,” Harrison pointed out. “Meanwhile, real beef consumption continues to grow, and even consumers who sometimes choose to buy plant-based alternatives continue to eat real beef as often as they always have.”

Woodall focused on the need for the federal government to ensure that beef nomenclature is protected in the marketing and labeling of fake meat. He also said the organization will continue to educate consumers about what exactly is in the plant-based fake meat that is available in supermarkets and restaurants.

“When consumers buy a steak or a pound of ground beef, they’re buying one ingredient: beef,” Woodall said. “But when they buy one particular fake-meat product, they’re buying pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, cellulose from bamboo, methyl cellulose, potato starch, maltodextrin, yeast extract, vegetable glycerin, dried yeast, gum arabic, citrus extract, ascorbic acid, beet juice extract, acetic acid, succinic acid, modified food starch, and annatto. Anyone who thinks that these fake meat products are more nutritious or more natural than real beef is very mistaken, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure people know that.”

The 2019 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting kicked off on Monday and will run through Thursday. Over the next few days, various NCBA policy committees will meet to discuss and set policy positions for the next year.

Trade, Consumer Demand, Impending Corn Crop Among Critical Issues for U.S. Cattle Industry

Herd expansion, export markets, corn crop expectations and swine fever ramifications are among the factors that will have an impact on the upcoming U.S. cattle market, Randy Blach, CEO of CattleFax, told more than 700 attendees of the 2019 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting near Denver July 30, 2019. Blach was keynote speaker at the Opening General Session of the meeting, a gathering for leaders of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National CattleWomen and National Cattlemen’s Foundation.

Blach told the group that U.S. cattle herd expansion had slowed to a crawl, with the lion’s share of growth behind the industry. That slowing had been expected, he said. Record beef, pork and poultry supplies are having an impact on the market. For that reason and with record meat consumption expected next year, it’s critical for export markets to be opened and trade policy questions to be answered, he said.

However, consumers have responded well to the increased quality of beef production in this country, Blach said. There has been a 50 percent increase in prime and choice production over the past 15 years, and 80 percent of U.S. beef is now Prime and Choice. Beef has captured an additional 7 percent of market share of meat spending from poultry and pork. “It’s a great, great success story,” Blach said. “We have to continue to be the highest quality protein provider, delivering products we can stand behind that consumers love.”

Blach pointed out that the average consumer works only 12 minutes to be able to pay for one pound of high quality Choice beef. “That’s a bargain,” he said.

Corn crop uncertainty centered around the number of acres planted and yield potential is also of concern, as the impact of wet weather in grain producing segments of the country will be unknown until the middle of August, Blach said. Furthermore, ramifications of swine fever in China will add some unknowns to the equation. “We’re looking at a lot of volatility as a result of what’s happening in that part of the world,” he said.

“We have to remember that only 4 percent of the world’s consumers live in this country,” Blach added. “Currently 14 percent of beef and beef by products are exported. More than 20 percent of the value of every fed steer is generated by exports. We need to have more outlets for not only our beef, but our poultry and pork.”

Blach said that while an economic recession could have some serious repercussions on the beef cattle industry, the bottom line for producers is profitability, which in general the industry has seen in recent history. “If we’re not profitable, we’re not sustainable,” he said. “I do believe we’re going to stay profitable as we go through this cycle.”

Blach’s comments reflected information shared with CattleFax members in a Long Term Outlook produced last week. The Outlook provides an up-to-date look at the factors influencing the U.S. cattle market and its producers.

The Summer Business Meeting gives industry leaders a chance to meet and discuss the direction of programs for 2020. Beef Checkoff committees made up of members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and directors on the NCBA Federation Division meet to assess authorization requests submitted by checkoff contractors, submitting their suggestions to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, which meets in September. The BPOC will develop a plan and budget and submit its recommendation to the full Beef Board for authorization. The 2020 program must be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture before it can begin Oct. 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, NCBA policy committees meet to develop a game plan for the organization’s efforts to support and protect the U.S. cattle industry in Washington, D.C. and across the country beginning in January of 2020. These include livestock marketing; federal lands; agriculture and food policy; cattle health and well-being; property rights and environmental management and international trade.

Emerging Markets In India, Africa, Ethanol Focus Of U.S. Grains Council Annual Meeting

The name of the game in today’s challenging agricultural trade environment is emerging markets, and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) set its sights on India, Africa and new opportunities for ethanol sales on Tuesday during its 59th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in Cincinnati.

India has shown solid economic growth and is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Its population is very young – 45 percent is under age 25 – but a combination of outdated agricultural policy and regulation is a roadblock for U.S. products in India, said Scott Sindelar, CEO of Edgewise Trade Advisers and a former USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) official, who spoke to the Council’s delegate body.

“There is significant potential for U.S. agricultural and food products in India, but expectations must be balanced by the reality of India,” Sindelar said. “There is a substantive role the USGC can play in India. India’s leaders are intent to have the country be a leader on the global stage, and changes within the Indian government could help USGC programs build demand and enable change from within.”

Kurt Shultz, the Council’s senior director of global strategies, spoke on how the organization’s work is expanding into East and West Africa, building on longtime programs in North Africa, using resources from new funding sources including the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, administered by FAS. He told delegates more than half the global population growth will occur in Africa by 2050, which will drive feed demand that can be captured with additional focus on capacity building and marketing.

“The Council works where the market does not,” Shultz said. “Africa and the Middle East show an opportunity for expansion of commercial feed production. We’ve worked in Morocco, Tunisia, and East Africa, but with the availability of ATP funding, we’re planning on new programs in both East and West Africa.

“We need to challenge the system there to bring in updated equipment, leverage past investments and train a new generation in Sub-Saharan Africa. We want to reinforce our programming in Tanzania while we expand programming in Kenya and Ethiopia to identify key market players and engage them in marketing programs. We can’t solve every problem, but we can plant the seeds.”

The attendees also heard an ATP update from Chief Economist Mike Dwyer and USGC Manager of Ethanol Export Market Development Brian Healy specifically on ethanol programs, which received the largest single portion of the Council’s ATP award of more than $20 million total. This funding has allowed the Council to dramatically expand the scope and depth of its ethanol programs including technical assistance, policy development and in-country engagement.

“Growth in the middle class is driving changes in markets around the world,” Healy said. “ATP funding will allow us to scale up global engagement in emerging markets while continuing our engagement with mature markets that show near-term demand.”

The afternoon featured breakout sessions going in-depth on lost demand due to sanitary/phytosanitary incidences and the nuances and critical nature of various types of trade agreements.

Also on Tuesday, the Council’s five sectors – agribusiness, barley, corn, sorghum and general farm organizations – assembled for breakfasts and to elect new leaders, and the organization recognized individual members who have reached the significant milestones in their participation.

The Council’s meeting in Cincinnati will conclude Wednesday with Board of Delegates and Board of Directors meetings.


The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) rolled out a new publication at BIO World Congress in Des Moines, Iowa earlier this month called Corn as an Industrial Feedstock. The publication distills corn’s story by explaining why corn is a great industrial feedstock. The book is divided into three sections: Corn is a Responsibly Produced Industrial Feedstock, Corn is an Abundant Industrial Feedstock and Corn is an Affordable Industrial Feedstock.

“As NCGA continues to work to find new uses of corn, this publication will help us have conversations with potential future partners about why corn is an ideal industrial feedstock,” said NCGA Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “We have a very positive story to tell. U.S. corn farmers continue to produce a more on less land and corn’s cost as a feedstock has benefited greatly by improvements in technology, production and logistics efficiency.”

NCGA is working to establish at least three new uses of corn by 2020, for a minimum of 75 million incremental bushels.

Learn more by going to

USDA Releases SNAP Payment Error Rate for 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today released an analysis showing an increase in the benefit payment error rate in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) between Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018. SNAP’s national payment error rate – a measure of both overpayments and underpayments made by all states to program participants – was 6.8% in fiscal year 2018, up from 6.3% in last year’s reporting.

“USDA is committed to ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent as intended and Federal programs should be transparent about their performance,” said Brandon Lipps, USDA’s Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services.

“Our reforms to the measurement system have allowed us to report reliable rates for a second year. But I am concerned about the increase in errors over last year’s performance, since any error rate in a $60 billion program impacts the bottom line significantly. We are redoubling our efforts to partner with states to reduce errors. As part of this, I am looking to national, regional and state leadership to commit with me to solve these problems.”

To ensure leadership at all levels are engaged in improving accuracy of SNAP payments, today U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue sent letters to the Governors of the 15 states with the most significant error rate problems.

Department officials emphasize that the SNAP payment error rates announced today are not a measure of fraud, but a representation of how accurately states are determining participants eligible for the program and issuing the correct amount of benefits. Under federal law, each state agency is responsible for monitoring its administration of SNAP, including payment accuracy.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service then independently reviews a sampling of each state’s data to ensure accuracy and target corrective action and sanctions for poor performance, as provided under the law. This year, FNS will issue over $26 million in sanctions to high-error states to ensure they are working diligently to improve accuracy.  States must either pay the full amount immediately to the U.S. Treasury, or promptly reinvest half of these funds in FNS-approved actions to reduce errors, and pay the remainder if accuracy does not improve.

“Many different factors contribute to payment errors, and I am committed to working with sanctioned states to invest these resources in solutions that will drive better performance in our program,” Lipps said.

FNS will be building on its robust SNAP payment accuracy strategy with other improvements in the coming months, including:
-    Proposed rulemaking to propose additional changes to further strengthen the SNAP quality control process, including reforms enacted by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill
-    Enhanced review of preliminary quality control data to target technical assistance proactively
-    Early communication between USDA and senior state government leadership to address problems as they emerge

“Good stewardship is a responsibility we share with states, and Congress and the American people expect USDA to ensure these programs operate with great integrity,” Lipps said. “We will meet that responsibility with action.”

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.

July 29 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending July 28, 2019, there were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 21 short, 73 adequate, and 5 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 15 short, 79 adequate, and 6 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 20 fair, 60 good, and 15 excellent. Corn silking was 70 percent, well behind 90 last year, and behind 88 for the five-year average. Dough was 12 percent, well behind 36 last year, and behind 22 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 22 fair, 63 good, and 11 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 66 percent, well behind 86 last year, and behind 83 average. Setting pods was 34 percent, behind 49 last year and 43 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 5 poor, 18 fair, 50 good, and 24 excellent. Winter wheat harvested was 55 percent, well behind 88 last year and 89 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 2 poor, 14 fair, 73 good, and 11 excellent. Sorghum headed was 26 percent, well behind 51 last year, and behind 38 average. Coloring was 1 percent, near 4 last year and 3 average.

Oats condition rated 2 percent very poor, 4 poor, 25 fair, 58 good, and 11 excellent. Oats harvested was 49 percent, well behind 90 last year and 75 average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 29 fair, 55 good, and 10 excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 41 percent. Setting pods was 10 percent.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 16 fair, 68 good, and 13 excellent.


This past week brought below average temperatures and little to no rain across much of the State as Iowa farmers had 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 28, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included scouting, spraying fungicides and insecticides, and harvesting hay and oats.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 4 percent very short, 21 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Districts in the southern third of Iowa and the east central district reported topsoil moisture conditions as over 40 percent short to very short. Some counties within those districts were also rated as abnormally dry for the first time this season according to the July 25, 2019, U.S. Drought Monitor. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 2 percent very short, 14 percent short, 79 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus.

Sixty-nine percent of the corn crop has begun to silk, 13 days behind last year and 8 days behind the 5-year average. Seven percent of the crop reached the dough stage, nearly one week behind both last year and average. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent.

Sixty-five percent of the soybean crop has started to bloom, 13 days behind last year and 10 days behind average. Thirteen percent of the crop has started setting pods, nearly two weeks behind average. Soybean condition rated 62 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-four percent of oats started coloring, 2 days behind last year and average. Thirty-nine percent of the oat crop has been harvested for grain, 6 days behind average. Oat condition rated 63 percent good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 76 percent, 6 days behind average. A third cutting of alfalfa hay has started with 2 percent complete statewide. Hay condition rated 62 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition declined for the fourth straight week with 56 percent good to excellent. Cooler temperatures this past week helped improve livestock conditions.

Corn, Soybean Good-to-Excellent Ratings Lowest in 7 Years

The condition of the U.S. corn crop improved slightly last week and the condition of soybeans held steady, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released Monday. However, good-to-excellent ratings for both crops remain the worst they've been in seven years.

NASS pegged corn condition at 58% good to excellent as of Sunday, July 28, up 1 percentage point from 57% the previous week, but still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year in seven years.

Meanwhile, NASS estimated the condition of soybeans at 54% good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week and also the lowest good-to-excellent rating since 2012.

Development of both corn and soybeans jumped significantly last week, but continued to lag well behind the average pace.

Fifty-eight percent of corn was silking as of Sunday, NASS estimated, up 23 percentage points from 35% the previous week but still 25 percentage points behind the five-year average of 83%. Corn in the dough stage was pegged at 13%, up 8 percentage points from 5% the previous week but 10 percentage points behind the average of 23%.

The portion of the U.S. soybean crop that was blooming jumped 17 percentage points last week to reach 57% as of Sunday. That was 22 percentage points behind the five-year average of 79%. Soybeans setting pods jumped 14 percentage points to reach 21% as of Sunday, 24 percentage points behind the average pace of 45%

Winter wheat harvest moved ahead another 6 percentage points last week to reach 75% complete as of Sunday, behind last year's 84% and 11 percentage points behind the five-year average of 86%. However, harvest appeared to be suffering no obvious consequences despite being later than usual.

Spring wheat heading was nearly complete, at 97% as of Sunday, and was near the five-year average of 98%.  NASS estimated that 73% of spring wheat was in good-to-excellent condition, down from 76% last week and below 78% a year ago as conditions have been drier.

Sorghum heading reached 33% as of Sunday, behind both last year's 52% and the five-year average of 50%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 21%, behind the average of 25%. Sorghum condition was rated 71% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from the previous week. Oats were 97% headed, behind the average of 100%, and 21% of the crop was harvested, also behind the average of 35%.

Cotton squaring reached 86% as of Sunday, near the average pace of 87%. Cotton setting bolls was 45%, slightly behind the average of 48%. Cotton condition was rated 61% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from the previous week. Rice headed was pegged at 42%, behind the average of 57%. Rice condition was rated 68% good to excellent, up 3 percentage points from the previous week.

Monday July 29 Ag News

LENRD Board discusses groundwater management strategies

Groundwater quality and quantity are top priorities of the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD).  The LENRD board & staff meet each month to develop and implement management plans for the future of our natural resources.

     At their July meeting, the board adopted the proposed changes to the LENRD’s Groundwater Management Area Rules and Regulations, and those changes will become effective on August 24, 2019.

LENRD Assistant Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “The changes will further outline the rules and regulations by adding some definitions for terms that relate to current groundwater management strategies to complement the recent adoption of the Lower Platte River Basin Plan and the LENRD’s Integrated Management Plan.”  A complete summary of the proposed changes is available at the LENRD office in Norfolk and on the district’s website.

     The board also approved a Streambank Stabilization Project Policy.  Area flooding has caused several streambanks to erode in places where they haven’t in the past.  Due to the extensive river system across the district, the board made the decision to focus resources on public infrastructure.  The policy states that the district will need to partner with one or more public entities on streambank stabilization projects in the future.

     The LENRD Board is also waiting to hear if funding has been secured through a grant with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for flood protection for the city of Battle Creek.

The 2 reservoirs that have been proposed for the area, south of Battle Creek, are a 160-acre pool for approximately $17 million and a 1,200-acre pool for $36 million.  Battle Creek’s City Council met in May and voted to explore options for a 1,200-acre flood-control reservoir on the south side of Battle Creek.

LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “There are multiple benefits to think about when considering a project of this size.  First and foremost is flood reduction.  Along with that are the recharge benefits as well as recreation.”

     The next LENRD board meeting will be Thursday, August 22nd at 7:30 p.m. at the LENRD office at 1508 Square Turn Boulevard in Norfolk.  Stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their monthly emails at

Farm Credit Services of America Reports Further Softening of Farmland Values in First Half of 2019

Farmland values slipped some in the first half of 2019 in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. But on the whole, the real estate market for cropland remained stable as values continue to slowly adjust to the current margin environment.

The value of 64 benchmark farms tracked by Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) declined an average of 0.59% in the first six months of 2019. Since the market’s peak in 2013, cropland values are down 20.1% in Iowa, 21.2% in Nebraska and 12.8% in South Dakota in FCSAmerica’s semiannual benchmark farmland study.

“Despite continued tight commodity price margins in 2018, real estate values remained stable and were supported by a favorable interest rate environment, market facilitation payments and equilibrium in the supply and demand levels for real estate,” said Tim Koch, FCSAmerica’s chief credit officer.

Iowa farmland experienced the biggest decline in FCSAmerica’s latest benchmark farmland study. However, values in the state still are up 2.7% compared to a year ago.

Modest declines in Nebraska and South Dakota in the later half 2018 extended into 2019 for a drop of 1.4% and 1.3% since last July.

Of Iowa’s 21 benchmark farms, 10 decreased in value, three increased and eight saw no change. Ten benchmark farms in Nebraska lost value, five increased and three were unchanged. In South Dakota, values dropped on five farms. The remaining 18 farms held even. Wyoming continues to see values for cropland and pastureland increase. However, the limited number of farmland sales in the state makes it difficult to accurately track trends.

Farmland sales across FCSAmerica’s territory were down in the first two quarters of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. South Dakota saw the biggest decline so far this year, with 26.7% fewer sales. In Iowa, sales were down 11%, while Nebraska’s combined sales for irrigated and dry cropland dropped 18.4%.

The average quality of land has not changed in the past year, and buyer demand for high quality ground remains strong.

USDA Opens Signup for Market Facilitation Program

Signup opens today for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program to assist farmers who continue to suffer from damages because of unjustified trade retaliation from foreign nations. Through MFP, USDA will provide up to $14.5 billion in direct payments to impacted producers, part of a broader trade relief package announced in late July. The sign-up period runs through Dec. 6.

“Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

MFP payments will be made to producers of certain non-specialty and specialty crops, as well as dairy and hog producers.

Non-Specialty Crops

MFP payments will be made to producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton and wheat.

MFP assistance for 2019 crops is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to the MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019. A producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings. View payment rates by county.

Dairy and Hogs

Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history, and hog producers will receive a payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019.

Specialty Crops

MFP payments also will be made to producers of almonds, cranberries, cultivated ginseng, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. Each specialty crop will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit or nut bearing plants, or in the case of ginseng, based on harvested acres in 2019.

More Information

Payments will be made in up to three tranches, with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. If conditions warrant, the second and third tranches will be made in November and early January.

MFP payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity. MFP payments also are limited to a combined $250,000 for dairy and hog producers and a combined $250,000 for specialty crop producers. However, no applicant can receive more than $500,000. Eligible applicants also must have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2015, 2016, and 2017 of less than $900,000, or 75 percent of the person’s or legal entity’s average AGI for those tax years must have been derived from farming and ranching. Applicants also must comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.

More information can be found on, including payment information and a program application.

Regional Soil Fertility Workshops Planned across Iowa

The cost of managing soil fertility in Iowa continues to change, with increased fertilizer input costs and a rising demand for nutrients from higher-yielding crops.

To help producers understand the changes, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is hosting four workshops in August called “Soil Testing Interpretations and Recommendations: Maximizing Return on Investment.”

The workshops will lead farmers through the basics of soil testing, analytical tests, calculating crop nutrient removal, understanding return on investment from fertilizer applications, how crop response correlates to soil test levels and what is known about crop response to micronutrients.

“These workshops provide producers the skills to best allocate fertilizer input dollars on their farms,” said Terry Basol, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

Angie Rieck-Hinz, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach, said producers are already thinking about next year’s fertility decisions, ahead of fall harvest.

She said the workshops are designed to help farmers understand their current soil nutrient situation, the amount their crops are using in a growing season and what needs to be added.
Soil Fertility Workshop details and locations

All workshops run from 9 a.m. to noon.
-    Aug. 15. ISU Extension and Outreach Marion County office. Registration is $30 per person and pre-registration is required by Aug. 7. Enrollment is limited to 30. Call 641-842-2014.
-    Aug. 21. ISU Extension and Outreach Mitchell County office. Registration is $40 per person and pre-registration is required by Aug. 19. Enrollment is limited to 30. Call 641-732-5574.
-    Aug. 22. Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm near Calumet. Registration is $40 per person and pre-registration is required by August 20. Enrollment is limited to 30. Register by emailing Joel DeJong, at, or call the ISU Extension and Outreach Plymouth County office at 712-546-7835.
-    Aug. 27. ISU Extension and Outreach Hardin County office. Registration is $40 per person and pre-registration is required by Aug. 23. Enrollment is limited to 30. Call 641-648-4850.

Registration is limited and is required. Registrants should contact the county office or site location they wish to attend. Fees can be paid the day of the workshop. Registration for each event includes publications, copies of presentations and lunch. Additional workshops will be scheduled across Iowa after harvest is complete, and through winter.

First Elevators Certify U.S. Soy Under SSAP-RED Program

By 2020, EU Member States are required to fulfill at least 20 percent of their total energy needs with renewable sources, with at least 10 percent attributed directly to transport fuels. This presents a new biofuels market opportunity for U.S. farmers, who are ready to deliver certified, sustainably-grown soybeans that will positively impact EU air quality.

The SSAP-RED (Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol-Renewable Energy Directive) is a voluntary program developed by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), with support from the United Soybean Board (USB). This program meets the specific requirements of the European Union's Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and sources SSAP-RED-verified soybeans as feedstock for the production of biodiesel.

"This program, which helps the EU reach its targets for renewable fuel, recognizes U.S. soy's commitment in responding to customers in the U.S. and abroad," said Jim Sutter, CEO of USSEC. "The U.S. soy advantage of sustainability, quality and reliability sets American farmers apart, and SSAP-RED brings conservation of land and resources to the forefront."

With the intent to support local farmers and elevators, Bunge is the first to implement this initiative. Additional exporters are expected to participate in the program, which provides the U.S. soybean value chain with new market opportunities in the European Union. As the second largest market for U.S. soybean exports, the U.S. shipped 260 million bushels of soybeans to the EU so far this year -- an increase of 125 million bushels compared to last year. Expanding markets for U.S. soy remains a priority for USB investment and support.

"Bunge is always looking for new markets for our growers' products and is proud to be first to export U.S. soy that meets the requirements of SSAP-RED," said Andres Martín, Bunge senior vice president of agribusiness and oilseed value chain, North America. "We're committed to enhancing the sustainability of the entire production chain, and biofuel produced from U.S. soybeans provides a clean-burning diesel replacement that improves the environment."

Farmers in Illinois, among several other states across the U.S., can participate in the SSAP-RED voluntary program. Farmers who are interested must deliver their soybeans to a certified elevator and sign a "Self-Declaration" that attests to their compliance with the requirements of the RED as well as the application of Good Agricultural Practices. Sustainability requirements of the RED restrict cultivation of biofuels feedstock from land that has been converted, since 2008, from any of three protected land categories: grasslands, forest and wetlands, including peatlands. It also has requirements on auditing and compliance, including independent third-party review.

"As the first farmer to complete an on-farm assessment for SSAP-RED, I see tremendous potential in U.S. farmers participating in this program to provide renewable biofuels to the EU," said Bubba Simmons, USB director and farmer from Leland, Miss. "Sustainability is the foundation for all soybean farmers, and biodiesel is a prime example of our commitment to cleaner alternatives for the environment globally."

The U.S. traditionally exports whole soybeans to Europe. When the soybeans are processed, nearly 80 percent of the bean is made into soybean meal, which is used for livestock feed. The remaining amount is soybean oil, which is used in food service, food manufacturing, or industrial uses such as biofuels/energy. Soybean oil from SSAP-RED verified soybeans, used as feedstock for the production of biodiesel, will help the EU reach their targets for renewable fuel under the Renewable Energy Directive.

USGC Summer Meeting Highlights Global Market Trends Facing Farmers

Set amid a backdrop of record-breaking weather-related delays, narrow margins and continued geopolitical uncertainty, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) opened its summer annual meeting Monday in Cincinnati by examining major short-term and long-term market trends for U.S. feed grains and the future of the organization’s market development work.

The 59th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting began on an expectant note with USGC Chairman Jim Stitzlein formally introducing USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand to the organization’s membership. LeGrand - who came to his new role in June from leading the Council’s Mexico office - expressed his measured enthusiasm about the Council’s role in finding new and more robust markets for U.S. grains with a $20 million allocation from the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program.

“We clearly have challenging days ahead of us, but we also have a number of bright spots that make it an equally exciting time to be an advocate for trade of U.S. corn, sorghum, barley, DDGS and ethanol,” LeGrand said.

“We’ve had to learn to be nimble as markets change and grow, and we will need to meet this challenge continually as markets we work with will change even faster in the future. And that’s what I envision the Council doing with the help of our staff around the world, our valued members, our friends and allies at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office.”

Ron Dulin, a consultant from Euromonitor International, and Ken Smithmier, director of market research for agricultural markets at ClipperData, gave keynotes overviewing trends in the marketplace of today and population growth that will drive future markets.

Dulin spoke on Euromonitor’s research into “megacities,” which will dominate economic growth and grain demands over the next 10 years. He explained that the vast majority of megacities are in the developing world, including in China and India, and that future food and energy demand will be driven in these areas of high population seeing rapidly increasing food consumption and need for better air quality.

Smithmier shared his firm’s research about global grain flows and how weather and intervening market forces will cause short-term and long-term effects with respect to agricultural products, namely grains and ethanol. Smithmier reviewed the seasonal and cyclical fluctuations of the global grain market as well as factors that could impact U.S. competitiveness including ongoing trade policy negotiations, changing fuel standards for ocean-going ships and infrastructure development in South America.

In the afternoon, attendees spent time in one or more of seven Advisory Team (A-Team) meetings. Each A-Team has a specific focus - including Asia, Ethanol, Innovation and Sustainability, Middle East/Africa, Trade Policy, Value-Added and Western Hemisphere – allowing members the chance to offer input and set priorities to determine the Council’s course of action over the coming year.

On Tuesday, Council programming is scheduled to focus on emerging markets for U.S. grains and ethanol, with the Cincinnati meetings culminating on Wednesday with the Council’s Board of Delegates meeting, appointment of A-Team leaders and election of a new board of directors.

RFA Extends Ethanol Invite as EPA Head Visits Oil Refinery

The Renewable Fuels Association has invited U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler to visit an ethanol plant as a follow-up to his tour of a Pennsylvania oil refinery. Wheeler was scheduled to visit Monroe Energy’s plant in Trainer, Penn., today at the invitation of Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who just last week filed legislation in Congress to gut the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“Administrator Wheeler will certainly get an earful of myths and misinformation about the RFS, RINs, and small refinery exemptions during his visit to the Monroe Energy crude oil refinery,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Therefore, we felt it was necessary to give the Administrator an opportunity to hear the other side of the story, and we hope he balances his visit to Monroe with a tour of an RFA member ethanol plant and discussion with plant workers and local farmers.”

The Monroe facility, owned by Delta Air Lines, refines 185,000 barrels of crude oil per day. At this size, the facility does not meet the statutory definition of a “small refinery” and thus may not petition EPA for a “disproportionate economic hardship” exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard. In 2015, Monroe notched record operating income when RIN prices were three times higher than current levels. And earlier this month, parent company Delta announced record revenue of $12.5 billion in its second quarter.

“During your visit, you likely will hear the refiners’ perspective on the Renewable Fuel Standard, and they will no doubt encourage you to continue EPA’s unprecedented use of small refinery exemptions,” Cooper wrote in his invitation letter. “Even though Monroe Energy is not a ‘small refinery,’ Delta officials will certainly argue that the company has benefited from the waivers because they resulted in a significant collapse in RIN prices. Of course, your agency’s own analysis has concluded that the financial health of refineries is not affected by RIN prices, stating that, ‘…obligated parties, including small entities, are generally recovering the cost of acquiring the credits necessary for compliance with the RFS standards through higher sales prices of the petroleum products they sell.’”

Cooper is hopeful that Wheeler will come and learn more about the challenges the ethanol industry is facing. While Wheeler was briefly at Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE) in June as President Trump made an appearance there to celebrate completion of the year-round E15 rule, he was not able to tour the facility with President Trump, Cooper, and SIRE CEO Mike Jerke.

“I know you are a fair-minded individual who is looking for the right answers to the policy questions surrounding ethanol and the RFS,” he wrote. “I also believe you would benefit greatly from hearing from ethanol plant workers and farmers about the impacts of your agency’s decisions on the RFS.”

Zoetis Establishes Research Lab at Colorado State University to Explore Immunotherapies for Livestock

Zoetis, the world's leading animal health company, has signed an agreement with Colorado State University (CSU) to establish a research lab at CSU that will explore the livestock immune system and target new immunotherapies – paving the way for new alternatives to antibiotics in food-producing animals. The new 3,000-square-foot Zoetis Incubator Research Lab will operate at the Research Innovation Center on CSU's Foothills Campus starting in early 2020.

In this landmark R&D collaboration, Zoetis scientists will be co-located with CSU’s highly skilled scientists, core laboratories, research programs and services to seed innovations for livestock animal health. While the Zoetis Incubator Research Lab will reside within CSU’s Research Innovation Center, it will be part of the company’s global R&D organization. As a result, Zoetis may access a greater understanding of the livestock immune system, generating new candidates for further research and development. The initial focus of the Incubator Research Lab will be biotherapeutics for cattle, which could yield broader implications for pigs and poultry.

"Our agreement with Zoetis represents the beginning of an era of collaboration, cooperation and innovation between public and private research leaders, all in the interest of improving animal health," said Ray Goodrich, executive director of the Infectious Disease Research Center and a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology at CSU.

With few alternatives today for treating life-threatening bacterial infections in animals, Zoetis supports the responsible use of antibiotic medicines in animals and in people, while ensuring that veterinarians and livestock producers have new and enhanced solutions to better predict, prevent, detect and treat disease in the animals under their care. These include new classes of antibiotics for veterinary use only and novel, non-antibiotic anti-infective treatments like those being pursued through the Zoetis Incubator Research Lab.

Going where the science is

As part of the new lab, Zoetis expects to hire up to 20 livestock research scientists, immunologists and cell biologists in Fort Collins beginning this fall.

"Zoetis is committed to continuous innovation and going where the science is. CSU is at the forefront of infectious disease innovation and animal health research in a vibrant biotech community, making it the ideal environment for our Incubator Research Lab," said Chad Ray, senior director of Global Therapeutics Research for Zoetis.

For CSU, Goodrich added that the strategic new lab will provide multiple benefits for the campus community and the city of Fort Collins. It also bolsters CSU's land-grant mission, which includes setting the standard for public research universities in teaching, research, service and extension for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, the United States and the world.

"The success of our efforts will have the potential to translate into products and services that may greatly improve the health and well-being of farm animals and our agricultural communities," he said.

About the CSU Research Innovation Center

The Research Innovation Center at CSU is a life-science company accelerator and is home to several startup companies with roots at the university, including SiVEC Biotechnologies LLC, which is developing antiviral applications for the rapid treatment and prevention of avian influenza. The center was originally designed to foster collaborations between private industry and CSU’s academic community. Learn more about the Research Innovation Center at

European Commission grants grain import approval for Syngenta Agrisure Duracade corn trait

Syngenta today announced it has received import approval for the Agrisure Duracade® trait (event 5307) from the European Commission.

The trait features a unique mode of action that controls corn rootworm (CRW) differently than other traits on the market.

“This trait approval is an important milestone demonstrating our commitment to bring new, innovative technologies to help growers protect and maximize their yield,” said David Hollinrake, president of Syngenta Seeds. “The Agrisure Duracade trait gives a new trait rotational option for CRW management for a healthier corn crop and higher yield potential. The 2020 Agrisure Duracade launch class carried a 4.1 bushel per acre advantage over our non-Agrisure Duracade containing products.”

The approval covers corn grain and its derived products for food and feed use within the countries of the European Union (EU).

Agrisure Duracade hybrids are sold as stacked traits (Agrisure Duracade 5222 E-Z Refuge® and Agrisure Duracade 5122 E-Z Refuge®) and all of the individual components of these stacks are now approved.  For more information about Agrisure Duracade trait stacks, growers should ask their local seed provider or visit

Agrisure Duracade was approved by USDA to plant in the U.S. in 2013. Hybrids containing the Agrisure Duracade trait have been sold and planted in the U.S. since 2014, subject to grain marketing requirements.

Friday July 26 Ag News

Randy Pryor, Extension Educator, Saline County Extension

The 21st annual Soybean Management Field Days (SMFDs), scheduled for August 13-16, 2019, will focus on helping farmers stay competitive in a global marketplace. The field days will offer farmers research-based information to improve their soybean profitability.

The SMFDs will 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 2019 Soybean Management Field Days!  Join us at a site near you. A complimentary admission and lunch included. CEUs are also available for Certified Crop Advisors.

The field days are sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff in partnership with University of Nebraska Extension 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. soybean farmers.

Locations are Sargent on Tuesday, August 13; Pilger on Wednesday, August 14; Plymouth on Thursday August 15; and Waverly on Friday, August 16. You can go to for more information and directions.

Learn how to profitably apply the products of technology and research at the farm level. This educational event is for you - the soybean grower and agronomic representatives supporting the soybean industry. Experts will share their knowledge and experiences as they relate to soybean production, marketing and management.

Topics that will be included at the 2019 SMFDs include:
•        Making Sense of Production Costs and Policy Changes
•        Soybean Insects & Cover Crops
•        Hail Damage Impact on Growth and Development of Soybeans
•        Management of Cover Crops and Soybean Insects and Pathogens
•        Soybean Weed Control and Cover Crops
•        Cover Crop - Pros and Cons Associated with Soybean Production
•        Soybean Production and Agronomic Topics Associated with Cover Crops – Planting Rates, Row Spacing, Planting Dates, Maturity Groups, Irrigation Management

By attending a SMFD, you will see your checkoff dollars at work bringing you leading technology and ideas. The event consists of four stops across the state, each with replicated research, demonstration plots, lunch and time for questions. You can get ideas and insight about the challenges you face in producing a quality crop at a profitable price in today's global economy.

Crop production, disease, and insect specialists will be available to address your questions. Participants can bring unknown crop problems for complimentary identification. The field days begin with registration at 9:00 a.m. and concludes at 2:30 p.m. Free registration is available the day of the event. The program will be held rain or shine.

For more information about the field days and maps to sites, visit, or contact the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff at 800.852.BEAN (2326) or your local Nebraska Extension office.

Southern Rust of Corn Confirmed in Southeast Nebraska

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant Pathologist

Southern corn rust  was confirmed on corn leaf samples from Fillmore and Nuckolls counties in southern Nebraska earlier this week. The disease had been confirmed in several states south and east of Nebraska during the prior weeks and has been active in deep southern states for several weeks.

The disease is currently at very low incidence in the fields from where samples were submitted. Warm, humid conditions may favor disease development, so fields in this area and elsewhere (especially in southern Nebraska) should be monitored frequently in the coming weeks for southern rust development.

Southern rust is caused by an aggressive fungus that can rapidly cause disease 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. Disease development is strongly impacted by weather conditions and sometimes does not become widespread or severe.

Southern rust 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 and widespread. Severe disease that impacts a large percent of leaf area can impact yield and stalk strength (standability) at the end of the season.


Southern rust pustules are often numerous and tightly clustered in patches. They may appear tan to orange in color. Most spores are produced in raised rust pustules on the upper leaf surface. In contrast, common rust produces brick-red to brown spores on both the top and bottom of the leaves. Common rust has been found on corn samples from many areas across the state this year and sometimes has been more severe than in recent history due to favorable weather conditions during recent weeks. Some common rust pustules have obvious yellow haloes around them that are more common with southern rust. Symptoms also may appear similar to Physoderma brown spot. This is leading to some confusion in identifying rust in the field. Microscopic examination in the diagnostic laboratory can quickly determine whether rust spores are those of common rust or southern rust.

Favorable Weather

The rust pathogens do not overwinter here. Spores (urediniospores) must be blown into the area on winds from areas south of Nebraska. These fungi need moisture to germinate and infect, so high relative humidity, rainfall, and irrigation will hasten disease development. Warm temperatures also favor southern rust development, especially temperatures in the upper 70s to 80s F, which are optimal for the fungus, even if they occur during the overnight hours. Cooler and drying conditions will help slow disease spread. This was observed in 2018 when the disease was confirmed in Nebraska early in the growing season and failed to become widespread in most counties.


Most hybrids are susceptible to the southern rust fungus. Familiarize yourself with your hybrids’ anticipated reaction to the disease by reviewing hybrid ratings provided by the seed company.

Monitor disease in susceptible hybrids to determine which fields may need treatment. Foliar fungicides can effectively manage the disease. Most fungicides can provide protection of leaves from future infections for 21-28 days, so application timing is critical. Treating before disease develops may lead to loss of full product efficacy before the disease reaches a critical level. Treating too early can result in the need for reapplication later if the disease spreads and worsens after the time when the earlier fungicide application has worn off.  

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. Sometimes southern rust can take from several days to several weeks to develop, if at all, once it’s identified in an area. Treatment may not be necessary in vulnerable fields, so scouting is critical. Spraying early may mean a second application is necessary later in the season to protect plants during later grain-fill stages if the disease increases in severity once the fungicide has worn off. Scouting corn often is recommended to monitor for this and other diseases and their spread.

Nebraska Corn’s statement on MFP announcement

The Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association issued statements today following the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) release of county payment rates for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).

“With wet spring planting and growing conditions, ongoing trade disputes and the EPA’s destruction of the ethanol demand market, farmers have been in a state of uncertainty for many months,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “We’re hopeful USDA’s MFP 2.0 will greatly support our state’s corn farmers and provide relief during a time of uncertainty for ag markets.”

The $16 billion package was announced earlier this year, when President Trump called upon U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to develop a relief strategy for U.S. farmers impacted by trade disruptions and retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. While Nebraska Corn is hopeful the MFP will provide some relief for Nebraska’s corn farmers, the ultimate goal is fair and free trade.

“We continue to be in contact with the president’s administration as well as Nebraska’s congressional delegation to communicate the importance of the passage of the USMCA,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Not only is this agreement important, as Mexico and Canada are extremely important markets, but we must also continue to explore and pursue agreements with other nations so we aren’t being left behind in global ag trade.”

Sign up for the MFP program begins Monday, July 29 and ends Friday, December 6. More information can be found by visiting

Nebraska Scientist Recognized with Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Gary Rohrer, acting research leader at the US Meat Animal Research Center (US MARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska, was recognized with the Charles Stanislaw Memorial Distinguished Service Award at the annual meeting of the National Swine Improvement Federation (NSIF). The meeting was held November 29-30 in Nashville.

Purpose of this award is “to recognize individuals for their record of distinguished service to the pork industry through involvement in creating, implementing, supervising and/or participating in genetic improvement programs”.

Dr. Rohrer grew up in Illinois and received his BSc in animal science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his MS and PhD in animal breeding and genetics from Texas A & M.

Since 1991, he has been research scientist at US MARC, where he has become a leader in the field of swine genetics and genomics. His lab is prominent in generating population and genetic resources, phenotypic and genomic data for understanding the role of genetics in explaining phenotypic variation in swine.

Dr. Rohrer’s recent contributions have crucial to the success of the novel field of swine genomics. Specifically, his major contributions include the development of the very first comprehensive genetic and physical maps of the pig, both essential in the process of sequencing the porcine genome. He was actively involved in the complex process of sequencing the swine genome, and he participated in the winding process of obtaining funds, development of strategies, scientific and data support, and interpretation and dissemination of the results.

Dr. Rohrer also participated in the development of the first high-density genotyping application designed for pigs (Porcine SNP60 BeadArray), a platform capable of simultaneously genotyping over 60,000 DNA markers per pig, with tremendous impact worldwide. In addition, his work has included discovery of DNA markers used routinely by industry to improve a wide variety of traits from growth and fertility to behavior and meat quality.

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Rohrer acknowledged his colleagues and mentors from US MARC, especially Dr. Dan Laster, former director of US MARC who provided support and guidance during his formative years.

Scientists and producers from Nebraska recognized with this prestigious award in the past have included Dr. Irvin Omtvedt (1982, University of Nebraska Lincoln), Dr. Gordon Dickerson (1988, US MARC & University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Dr. Rodger Johnson (1998, University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Dr. Jim Schneider (2008, US MARC) and Max Waldo (2009, Waldo Genetics).

Ricketts Detassels with Young Nebraskans, Meets with Seed Corn Companies

On Thursday, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman joined crews to detassel a field of seed corn during their July Ag Adventure near Seward. 

“Detasseling was great fun and very educational,” said Governor Ricketts.  “It is an awesome opportunity that helps provide over 7,000 jobs for Nebraskans every year and connects our next generation to opportunities in agriculture.”

Each summer, thousands of Nebraskans work as detasselers, performing indispensable seasonal labor for the seed companies operating in the state.  For generations, Nebraska’s teachers, college students, high school students, middle school students, and school bus drivers have welcomed the opportunity to work the fields.

Detasseling provides a welcome source of summer income that helps them save for college and pay family bills.  Given the desirability of these jobs, seed corn detasseling contractors in Nebraska have waiting lists of hundreds, if not thousands, of Nebraskans willing to step up and do this work.

After detasseling, Gov. Ricketts and Director Wellman addressed Bayer’s teams from Beaver Crossing and Waco, visited Corteva’s facility in York, and met up with another detasseling crew near York.

NE Nebraska Corn Board to meet

The Nebraska Corn Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Aug. 13 through Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 at Younes Conference Center located at 416 W Talmadge Road, Kearney, Nebraska.

The Board will conduct regular board business and hold election of officers during the afternoon of Aug. 13.  During the mornings of Aug. 14 and Aug. 15, the board will hold a joint Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Nebraska Corn Board meeting.  The meetings are 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, P.O. Box 95107, Lincoln, NE  68509, sending an email to or by calling 402-471-2676.

Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics this August

Free legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers at six sessions across the state in August. The clinics are one-on-one meetings with an agricultural law attorney and an agricultural financial counselor. These are not group sessions, and they are confidential.

The attorney and financial advisor specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial and business planning, transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, debt structure and cash flow, agricultural disaster programs, and other relevant matters. Here is an opportunity to obtain an independent, outside perspective on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Sites and Dates

    Grand Island — Thursday, August 1
    North Platte — Thursday, August 8
    Lexington — Thursday, August 15
    Fairbury — Thursday, August 22
    Norfolk — Tuesday, August 27
    Valentine — Wednesday, August 28

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.

Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Legal Aid of Nebraska, North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

     It’s almost August and fall is just around the corner.  Could you use some extra pasture or hay in late September and October?  Oats might be your answer.

     Oats may be one of our most under-used fall forages.  That's right.  Plain old dull oats.  It grows fast, thrives under cool fall conditions, has excellent feed value, and can produce over 2 tons of hay or pasture yet this year.  Plus, it dies out over winter, so it protects soil without causing planting problems next spring.

     To plant oats, drill about 3 bushels per acre in early August for maximum yield potential.  Planting after Labor Day may not succeed well due to a short growing season.  A fully prepared seedbed usually is best, but you can plant oats directly into wheat stubble or other crop residues if weeds are killed ahead of planting.  Even flying oats onto corn or bean fields severely damaged by weather or to be chopped early for silage can work, although rye tends to work better for flown on seed.  Avoid fields with herbicide carryover, and topdress 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre unless the previous crop was heavily fertilized.

     With good moisture, oats will be ready to graze about 6 to 8 weeks after emergence.   Calves and yearlings can gain over two pounds per day.  Be careful to avoid grass tetany on lush oat pasture; ask your veterinarian if you should supplement with magnesium.  Also, don't suddenly turn livestock out on oat pasture if they have been grazing short or dry pastures.  Sudden respiratory problems can occur.

     For hay, cut oats soon after plants begin to dry out following a killing freeze, or cut earlier if plants reach a desirable growth stage.  Oats can accumulate nitrates, so test hay before feeding.

     If you have good soil moisture, give fall oats a try.  Some of your best forage growth may still be ahead of you.


     What comes to mind if I say forage rye?  What about ryegrass?  These words can mean half a dozen very different types of forage.

     The words rye and ryegrass cause much confusion.  Rye typically refers to the cereal or small grain plant.  As a forage, it can produce high tonnage but is relatively coarse and less palatable than some other forages.  Like wheat, rye varieties can be either winter ryes or spring ryes.  The more common winter varieties stay short and leafy during fall, but survive winter.  Then in spring they grow rapidly and can be grazed, cut for hay, chopped as silage, or produce grain. If spring types are planted in the fall, they grow tall, similar to oats, and then die over winter.

     In contrast, ryegrass is a very palatable, high quality grass.  There are several types of ryegrass with variety differences within each type.  For example, perennial ryegrass produces very high quality pasture but only lasts for a few years under most Nebraska conditions.

     The biggest confusion comes from annual ryegrass and Italian ryegrass.  Technically, they refer to the same plants but in the forage world they have acquired different meanings.  Annual ryegrass refers to varieties that are used for turf or as winter and spring forage in the Gulf-state region.  Fall plantings in Nebraska grow rapidly, produce good late fall grazing, and usually but not always die over winter.      Italian ryegrass, however, is more like a biennial and produces mostly leaves while growing throughout summer and fall if moisture is available.  Many Italian ryegrass varieties survive winter and then produce seedheads the following spring.

     Still confused?  Then be sure to carefully describe to your seedsman when you want to plant and how you want to use your grass.  Then they can help you get the right kind of rye or ryegrass.

2019 Governor’s Charity Steer Show set for August 10

The 2019 Governor’s Charity Steer Show will mark the 37th 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. 10, 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 $3.5 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 47,000 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 2019 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. 9.

A new website has been created to raise the awareness and impact of the Governor’s Charity Steer Show. Iowans interested in helping with the cause can donate online at and support the efforts of the beef industry.

Motorcade for Trade to Travel to Key Congressional Districts and State Agriculture Fairs throughout August to Support Passage of USMCA

Farmers for Free Trade, the nationwide, bipartisan coalition of ag commodity groups today announced that their Motorcade for Trade tour will roll through major agricultural state fairs during the August recess in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The Motorcade for Trade tour includes a 12-foot RV that members of Congress from both parties have climbed aboard at stops across the country. The August recess tour will focus on summer state agricultural fairs in an effort to continue to build support among farmers, who have benefited greatly from NAFTA and will benefit further from USMCA.

“The only way to get USMCA over the finish line is with the vocal support of American farmers,” said Angela Hofmann, Co-Executive Director of Farmers for Free Trade. “Our August recess tour is more than just public education on the agreement. At every stop we encourage farmers to write, tweet, meet with or otherwise engage with their member of Congress. When a farmer in a member of Congress’s home district asks to put the future of their farm over partisanship or politics that really resonates.”

Since April, the Motorcade for Trade has made over 50 stops in over 20 states. The tour has included visits with over 30 members of Congress and their staff. Following the August recess tour, the Motorcade for Trade will travel to Washington D.C. for a rally in support of USMCA on September 12th.

Current August recess Motorcade for Trade stops are listed below. 

August 6-8, 2019
Event: Minnesota Farm Fest
Location: Morgan, MN 56266
Time: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Daily)

August 8-11, 2019
Event: Iowa State Fair 
Location: Des Moines, IA 50317
Time: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Daily)

August 13, 2019
Event: Illinois Ag Day (Illinois State Fair)
Location: Springfield, Illinois 62794-9427
Time: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Daily)

August 14, 2019
Event: Illinois State Fair -Democrat Day
Location: Crown Plaza Hotel- (Springfield, Illinois)

August 28-29, 2019
Event: Farm Progress Show
Location: Decatur, Illinois
Time: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

September 12, 2019
Event: Ag Rally for USMCA
Location: Washington D.C.
Time: 12:00-1:00

Additional dates and stops will be added. For more information on the tour or to participate in an event contact or      To learn more about Farmers for Free Trade visit:

Second Annual Dairy Experience Forum Pushes Industry to Think with the Mindset of the Next Generation to Drive Disruptive Innovation

Last week’s Dairy Experience Forum in St. Paul, Minn., brought together dairy farmers, industry experts and partners with the goal of sparking disruptive innovation to drive the industry forward. The second annual forum, hosted by Midwest Dairy and Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, built upon last year’s forum to continue important conversations around dairy innovation, sustainability and the consumer mindset of Generation Z.

“Last year’s forum challenged us to dive deep into how we can put the consumer above everything else and provide an excellent dairy experience,” said Lucas Lentsch, CEO of Midwest Dairy. “This year’s forum was designed to take that discussion to the next level and equip us with insights and tools to pave the way for disruptive dairy innovation. Our hope is that attendees take what they learned and bring it to their local/industry groups, boards, co-ops, and other partners to challenge the status quo thinking.”

Nearly 400 dairy farmers, processors and partners attended the three-day event held at the Saint Paul RiverCentre July 16-18, 2019. Speakers and panelists included industry leaders from Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s, General Mills and Taco Bell, as well as U.S. Dairy Export Council president and CEO, Tom Vilsack.

Among the highlights of the event was a live Generation Z consumer focus group of eight young adults ages 18-21 that discussed how their generation’s personal values and perceptions of food impact how they make purchasing decisions. During the discussion it became apparent that while Generation Z (born between 1996-2010) has some similarities to the millennials who proceed them, they are also very different. Overall, the group identified themselves as skeptics, career-focused, more protective of their social media exposure, concerned about equality and driven to make the world a better place. Given their on-the-go-lifestyles, convenience is a top priority, which provides numerous untapped opportunities for dairy to innovate and create products that will fit consumers’ ever-changing needs.

“It is essential that we think about the values of Gen Z now in order to establish trust and brand loyalty among a generation that will have huge buying power in the years to come,” said Lentsch. “As an industry, we need to pay attention to what they care about and be proactive in creating innovative products that meet their needs, instead of being reactive and missing opportunities. Gen Z is setting the trends today that other generations will follow tomorrow, so it is essential that dairy is part of that conversation.”

Building off the discussion of proactive and disruptive innovation, Lentsch hosted an Innovation Panel, which reinforced that in order to truly innovate, the dairy industry needs to tap into the consumer mindset and establish a type of brand love for dairy. During this panel, marketing and product development leaders from Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), General Mills and Sartori Cheese discussed the need for consistent and spontaneous innovation in order to spark brand love. As an industry, dairy has always been very consistent – providing a fresh, nutritious product produced by farmers. However, there is opportunity for dairy to be more spontaneous by creating products that disrupt the category and meet consumers’ needs in new and unexpected ways.

When discussing an example of disruptive innovation, General Mills Director, Dairy Platform Supply Chain Leader Erika Thiem shared the story of a recent journey her team took after seeing a loss of market share in the traditional yogurt segment. They knew they needed something different – even if it meant possibly cannibalizing some of their own sales.

“We needed to find out why consumers were firing traditional yogurt products in the category,” said Thiem. “Falling in love with what the problem was, led us to create a new French-style yogurt which fulfills the need of a consumer who’s looking for a calm moment to relax. Taking the time to understand the job the product needed to do for the consumer really helped us follow the innovation path.”

Another hot topic of the forum was a discussion about e-commerce and how it is both changing the way consumers shop for their food and also how they discover new products. With online food sales expected to grow 20 percent by 2023, there is opportunity for dairy as consumers will continue to seek out foods that are fresh, local, convenient and align with their values. While the process for discovering these foods might look different in the future, e-commerce is very exciting as it allows niche products to reach an even larger audience much faster and to build brand loyalty much more quickly than traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Research shows once a consumer buys your product online, they are likely to purchase it time and time again.

“The e-commerce panel reminded us that while shopping for your food online will only increase over the years, it doesn’t mean that traditional grocery stores will go away – we will just need to think differently about how we bring our products to market in each of these avenues,” said Allen Merrill, Midwest Dairy chairman of Midwest Dairy’s board of directors. “For example, future consumers may buy all their groceries online, but they will still visit their local grocery store to explore and discover new products and brands. This offers a tremendous opportunity for new dairy innovation, and that is very exciting.”

Former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council also shared insights about today’s global consumer and the opportunity for dairy to meet the needs of consumers around the world, which is essential as the world’s population continues to grow at a rate of 1.07% a year, equaling roughly 82 million people.

“Roughly 95-97 percent of the world’s population lives outside the U.S. and that is a population that continues to grow,” said Vilsack. “It’s a younger population in developing and developed countries where incomes are rising, the middle class is expanding, and cities are growing. There is a tremendous demand for dairy protein. So, in addition to having so many consumers for our products, the world needs and wants dairy.”

Lastly, sustainability continues to be an important driver for consumers, and the Generation Z focus group participants, as well as several speakers, discussed how farmers are the solution for sustainability issues – not the problem. On the front lines and with a deep investment in animal and land stewardship, dairy farmers can address root sustainability issues like water usage, greenhouse gas emissions, caring for the earth and animal welfare. While this is an everyday mission for farmers, speakers challenged farmers to proactively share the stories about how they are caring for the world in tangible ways in order to better connect consumers with the truths about dairy farming and sustainability.

Next year’s forum will continue to build on these important conversations. For more information on this year’s forum, visit

FCC Prepares to Launch Precision Agriculture Connectivity Task Force

The Federal Communications Commission is forming a new task force to advise the commission on how to ensure farmers and ranchers have the connectivity they need to use and benefit from precision agriculture.

The task force will work with USDA to develop policy recommendations to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of broadband internet service on unserved agricultural land, with a goal of achieving reliable capabilities on 95 percent of agricultural land in the U.S. by 2025.

Many of the latest yield-maximizing and environmentally friendly farming and ranching techniques require broadband connections for data collection and analysis performed both on the farm and in remote data centers, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall wrote in a letter last year urging lawmakers to support the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018, which was ultimately incorporated into the 2018 farm bill to become law.

“Today’s farmers and ranchers are using precision agricultural techniques to make decisions that impact the amount of fertilizer they need to purchase and apply to the field, the amount of water needed to sustain the crop, and the amount and type of herbicides or pesticides they may need to apply,” Duvall wrote.

While FCC data shows that 39 percent of rural Americans lack access to minimum broadband speed service (25 Mbps/3 Mbps), compared to only 4 percent of urban Americans, there is no information about connectivity on cropland and rangeland.

The Task Force for Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States will:
-    Identify and measure current gaps in the availability of broadband internet service on agricultural land;
-    Develop policy recommendations to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of broadband internet service on unserved agricultural land, with a goal of achieving reliable capabilities on 95 percent of agricultural land in the U.S. by 2025;
-    Promote effective policy and regulatory solutions that encourage the adoption of broadband internet service on farms and ranches and promote precision agriculture;
-    Recommend specific new rules or amendments to existing FCC rules to achieve the goals and purposes of the policy recommendations described in the second bullet;
-    Recommend specific steps the FCC should take to obtain reliable and standardized data measurements of the availability of broadband internet service to target FCC funding for the deployment of broadband internet service to unserved agricultural land; and
-    Recommend specific steps the commission should consider to ensure the expertise of the USDA secretary and available farm data are reflected in future FCC programs dedicated to the infrastructure deployment of broadband internet service and to direct available funding to unserved agricultural land.

The 15-member task force, which has yet to be announced, will include farmers and ranchers from a variety of geographic regions and farm sizes, as well as farmers representing tribal agriculture. Also represented on the task force will be internet service providers, the electric cooperative and satellite industries, precision agriculture equipment manufacturers, state and local governments, and people with relevant expertise in broadband network data collection, geospatial analysis and coverage mapping.


There is a severe shortage of labor in the pork industry both on farm and in packing plants, and that's why NPPC is actively advocating for reform of the H-2A visa program, National Pork Producers Couincil Vice President and Counsel, Global Government Affairs Nick Giordano wrote in a "Meat of the Matter" published this week. Despite growing opportunities for employment and rapid wage growth, the pork sector struggles to find workers. Our production is a year-round endeavor and due to its seasonality component, pig farmers are unable to secure their workforce needs through the H-2A visa program. Agricultural visa reform is clearly needed. Agricultural visa programs should be designed with the flexibility to meet the needs of all agricultural producers—from fruit and vegetable farmers to dairy and pig farmers. Year-round labor needs should be a primary focus of any H-2A reform or the foundation of any new program. NPPC has been working closely with other agricultural stakeholders to stress the importance of agricultural visa reform to both the Trump administration and Congress.


The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would ensure the safe and secure trade of agricultural goods across our nation's borders by authorizing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire additional agricultural inspectors to fully staff America's airports, seaports and land ports of entry. The legislation, Protecting America's Food & Agriculture Act of 2019, was introduced earlier this month by Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).


The White House announced on Wednesday that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin will travel to Shanghai, China, next week to continue trade talks. The trade talks will begin July 30 and will cover a range of issues, including agriculture and non-tariff barriers. "There'll be a few more meetings before we get a deal done," Mnuchin told reporters, CNBC reported. "I wouldn't expect that we'll resolve all the issues. But the fact that we're back at the table at the direction of the two presidents is important." Bloomberg recently reported that the Chinese government has suggested waiving tariffs on certain U.S. agricultural exports including pork. If actually implemented for pork, this would be a very significant development.

Déjà Vu All Over Again: Feinstein, Toomey Seek to Prop Up Big Oil

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) have once again introduced legislation to gut the Renewable Fuel Standard, this year called the Restore Environmental Sustainability to Our Renewable Energy (RESTORE) Act. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is also an original co-sponsor of the ill-conceived legislation. Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, released the following statement:

“Perhaps Senators Feinstein and Toomey are confused about the RFS. There is no ‘corn ethanol mandate’ under the program and there never has been. Yet, the senators are again seeking to bolster the fossil fuels industry by trying to kill one of the most successful environmental and climate policies ever enacted by Congress. We are confident that, as with past attempts, this legislation will go nowhere.

“It is particularly ironic today that the senators would dare suggest this legislation would ‘restore environmental sustainability’ when in fact it would force more petroleum into our nation’s fuel supply. Whether it’s oil spills in the Gulf, increased carbon emissions, or earthquakes in fracking country, what is environmentally sustainable about today’s oil industry?

“On the contrary, renewable fuels like ethanol reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40-50% compared to gasoline, while also slashing harmful tailpipe pollutants like particulate matter and carbon monoxide. Economically, ethanol supports jobs in rural America and brings down the cost of gas for consumers around the country. Renewable fuels are a win-win for the environment and consumers, and we invite the senators to visit an ethanol plant in their state to learn more.”

Cooper also pointed out that corn ethanol has played a significant role in achieving the goals of the Low Carbon Fuels Standard in Sen. Feinstein's home state of California. According to the California Air Resources Board, ethanol use is responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the California transportation sector by 18.8 million metric tons from 2011-2018. That’s equivalent to removing 4 million cars from the road for an entire year or eliminating the annual GHG emissions from five coal-fired power plants.

Thursday July 25 Ag News

USDA Plans Full-Function FAD Exercise in September

In an ongoing effort to prepare the pork industry for a potential foreign animal disease (FAD), the USDA is working on a full-function exercise on foreign animal disease (FAD) that will be conducted the week of September 23. The exercise will focus on a fictional outbreak of African swine fever and the subsequent response by federal and state authorities along with the rest of the pork industry.

The overall purpose of this exercise is to better prepare the U.S. pork industry and its stakeholders in the event of an actual FAD outbreak. Per the USDA’s Veterinary Services overview, this functional exercise will focus on exercising plans, policies, procedures, and staff members involved in management, direction, command, and control functions.

During the exercise, participants will validate and evaluate capabilities, multiple functions/sub-functions, or interdependent groups of functions; they will also respond to an exercise scenario with event updates in a realistic, real-time environment. In addition, participants will assess the adequacy of response plans and resources. The exercise simulates deployment of resources and personnel, involves rapid problem solving, creates a highly stressful environment and involves multiple functions.

“Everything in this type of exercise is done for a reason,” says Dave Pyburn, DVM, senior vice president of the National Pork Board’s science and technology department. “We’re trying to create a realistic scenario of a confirmed foreign animal disease in this country to see how each stakeholder reacts and to find the gaps that need more work. It’s about finding ways to improve to help protection our nation’s swine herd.”

Iowa to Hold Multiple FAD Workshops

Over the next few weeks, the Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa State University extension swine specialists will offer five workshops to help producers understand state and federal responses to a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak and learn how to use Secure Pork Supply (SPS) resources to prepare for an FAD outbreak.

The single-day workshops (in-person or online) will start with FAD Prep 101. Topics will include national movement standstill, quarantine and control areas, mass depopulations and disposal options. It will also answer the big question of how SPS can help your business continue during an FAD outbreak. Part two of the workshop is FAD Prep 201. It will cover the resources in the SPS plan and how to apply it to your individual farm.

Workshops are scheduled for:
July 29, Le Mars, IA
July 30, Independence, IA
August 6, Garner, IA
August 7, Washington, IA
August 13, Marshalltown, IA

All workshops include FAD Prep 101 from 10:00 a.m. to noon and FAD Prep 201 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Complete this online form to sign up for any of the following workshops.   There is no charge to attend.

Major Grain Expansion at NEW COOP - Glidden Location

The Board of Directors and Management of NEW Cooperative are pleased to announce the expansion of the Glidden Location. The major expansion will include a new 500,000-bushel grain storage to be completed before fall of 2019.

This addition will certainly be a dramatic improvement for producers delivering into the Glidden location. The desired outcome is to simply get our farmers in and out of the facility and back to the field faster. This expansion will allow Glidden to handle a larger inflow of product expected in the coming years.


The Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board (CBB) has launched a newly redesigned and updated website at that will make it easier for cattle producers to quickly find information about the national Beef Checkoff program.

“One of our primary goals is to better communicate with producers so that they know exactly how their checkoff dollars are being spent,” said Greg Hanes, CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. “By updating our website, we’re  continuing our mission of clear communication that will help producers become more aware of how the checkoff is positively influencing beef demand.”

The website now features revised navigation and a blog-like structure that makes it easier for visitors to quickly find content and information that’s relevant to their unique needs and interests. Key information – including frequently asked questions (FAQs), the Beef Industry Long Range Plan and an explanation of how checkoff money is invested – is readily available on the website’s home page.

In 2018, the CBB launched The Drive, a complimentary producer newsletter that contains the latest industry facts, statistics and stories highlighting the many ways checkoff dollars are driving demand for beef worldwide. Articles, infographics and other content from current issues of The Drive’s print and email editions are featured prominently on the updated website, keeping it fresh and encouraging repeat visits. Website visitors may also sign up for a complimentary subscription to The Drive.

“We’ve received extremely positive feedback about The Drive since introducing it last year,” Hanes said. “Now, by making The Drive’s content available on the new website, we’re providing producers with the opportunity to get checkoff information online as well as in print or via email.”

For more information about the Beef Checkoff and its programs, including promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and safety, contact the Cattlemen’s Beef Board at 303-220-9890 or visit the new website at

RFA, Hauk Designs to Showcase Ethanol Benefits with E85 Flex-Fuel Off-Road Project

The Renewable Fuels Association and the legendary Kenny Hauk of Hauk Designs are collaborating on a project that highlights the many benefits of using ethanol fuel blends in high-performance off-road vehicles. Fans can watch the Hauk team design and build an RFA flex-fuel Jeep Wrangler JL in a special “Hauk Machines” Amazon Prime video series airing soon. But first, the series kicks off exclusively on RFA’s Facebook page the week of August 12.

A special preview video debuts on RFA’s Facebook page and Instagram account this week as part of a larger social media campaign around this project that will continue for 14 weeks. This and other video content (mini-episodes) from this social media program will be used afterward on Amazon Prime as part of the much more comprehensive “Hauk Machines” second season.

During this season of “Hauk Machines,” Kenny Hauk and his crew are building two one-of-a-kind vehicles for the popular annual SEMA Show that will take place in November in Las Vegas, including the special Wrangler for RFA.

"Our goal was to build the most powerful JL Wrangler ever built that not only functions on road and off, but looks good while doing it,” Hauk said. “We have found E85 to be an outstanding fuel option that gives us the power and performance we have been looking for in an economical package.”

The project is part of RFA’s ongoing work to stimulate positive discussions about ethanol and engage with groups who have historically expressed reservations about the use of higher ethanol blends. The SEMA Show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world; last year’s show drew more than 70,000 domestic and international buyers.

Another element in this work, for example, is RFA’s ongoing support for the Crappie Masters Tournament Trail professional fishing series, to spotlight the safety and efficiency of ethanol in boating.

“These projects are all about educating different consumer groups in a fun and innovative way,” said RFA Vice President for Industry Relations Robert White. “At RFA, we want to push the boundaries to show the potential of ethanol as a fuel for a wide variety of vehicles and demographics, especially when special interests tell us it can’t be done. Ethanol is a high-powered fuel that is perfectly suited for off-roading. It also helps keep our air and water clean, something important to off-road enthusiasts and conservationists. Kenny Hauk is the perfect person to help us tell this story and educate off-roaders globally.”

In a similar project last year, RFA worked with motorcycle designer Paul Teutul Jr., one of the stars of the reality television series “American Chopper” on the Discovery Channel. A 2018 collaboration between RFA and Teutul led to an E85 motorcycle that was featured on “American Chopper” in a project to show that ethanol works well in motorcycles—even up to 85% ethanol when appropriate adjustments are made. That bike has been used to promote ethanol at numerous events and will be once again in the spotlight this summer at the world-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where RFA has had a presence for more than a decade.

Record High Red Meat and Pork Production in June

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.37 billion pounds in June, up 1 percent from the 4.33 billion pounds produced in June 2018.

By State                (mil. lbs.  -  % June '18)

Nebraska ........:       671.4            100      
Iowa ...............:       668.3            116      
Kansas ............:       489.9             95      

Beef production, at 2.22 billion pounds, was 3 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.80 million head, down 3 percent from June 2018. The average live weight was down 8 pounds from the previous year, at 1,313 pounds.

Veal production totaled 5.7 million pounds, 2 percent below June a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 44,400 head, down 2 percent from June 2018. The average live weight was unchanged from last year, at 223 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.13 billion pounds, up 6 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.99 million head, up 4 percent from June 2018. The average live weight was up 5 pounds from the previous year, at 285 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 11.4 million pounds, was down 8 percent from June 2018. Sheep slaughter totaled 175,300 head, 3 percent below last year. The average live weight was 130 pounds, down 7 pounds from June a year ago.

January to June 2019 commercial red meat production was 26.8 billion pounds, up 2 percent from 2018. Accumulated beef production was up slightly from last year, veal was down 1 percent, pork was up 4 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 1 percent.

Hard Red Spring Wheat Average Yield Pegged at 43.1 BPA

The 2019 Wheat Quality Council's Hard Red Spring Wheat and Durum Tour ended Thursday with an overall average spring wheat yield of 43.1 bushels per acre (bpa), up from 41.1 bpa last year, but still below the five-year average of 44.6 bpa.

This year, the tour's 62 crop scouts stopped at 356 spring wheat fields around North Dakota, compared to 325 fields last year. The tour also scouted 15 durum wheat fields, and found an average yield of 32 bpa, down from 17 fields averaging 39.3 bpa last year and a five-year average of 40 bpa.

Scouts reported that harvest is about three weeks out, with most fields in the late flowering stage. However, some scouts noted that fields north of Highway 66 in the Crystal, North Dakota, region may be ready for harvest in just two weeks. Farmers in that area planted in late April, and scouts reported that yield potential there ranged from a high of 52.8 to a low of 32.7 bushels per acre.

This tour brought together people from across the wheat industry, including millers, bakers, grain marketers, traders and wheat industry groups from throughout the United States and internationally.

USDA Announces Details of Support Package for Farmers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced further details of the $16 billion package aimed at supporting American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals.

In May, President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a relief strategy in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. The Market Facilitation Program (MFP), Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP), and Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.

“China and other nations have not played by the rules for a long time, and President Trump is the first President to stand up to them and send a clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate unfair trade practices,” Secretary Perdue said. “The details we announced today ensure farmers will not stand alone in facing unjustified retaliatory tariffs while President Trump continues working to solidify better and stronger trade deals around the globe.

“Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them,” Secretary Perdue added.

American farmers have dealt with unjustified retaliatory tariffs and decades of non-tariff trade disruptions, which have curtailed U.S. exports to China and other nations. Trade damages from such retaliation and market distortions have impacted a host of U.S. commodities. High tariffs disrupt normal marketing patterns, raising costs by forcing commodities to find new markets. Additionally, American goods shipped to China have been slowed from reaching market by unusually strict or cumbersome entry procedures, which affect the quality and marketability of perishable crops. These boost marketing costs and unfairly affect our producers. USDA is using a variety of programs to support American farmers, ranchers, and producers.
Details of USDA’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP)

MFP signup at local FSA offices will run from Monday, July 29 through Friday, December 6, 2019.

Payments will be made by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) under the authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act to producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat. MFP assistance for those non-specialty crops is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings of MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per-acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019. A producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings. County payment rates range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on the impact of unjustified trade retaliation in that county.

Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history, and hog producers will receive a payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019.
MFP payments will also be made to producers of almonds, cranberries, cultivated ginseng, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. Each specialty crop will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit or nut bearing plants, or in the case of ginseng, based on harvested acres in 2019.

Acreage of non-specialty crops and cover crops must be planted by August 1, 2019 to be considered eligible for MFP payments.

The MFP rule and a related Notice of Funding Availability will be published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2019, when signup begins at local FSA offices. Per-acre non-specialty crop county payment rates, specialty crop payment rates, and livestock payment rates are all currently available on

MFP payments will be made in up-to three tranches, with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. If conditions warrant, the second and third tranches will be made in November and early January, respectively. The first tranche will be comprised of the higher of either 50 percent of a producer’s calculated payment or $15 per acre, which may reduce potential payments to be made in tranches two or three. USDA will begin making first tranche payments in mid-to-late August.

MFP payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity. MFP payments are also limited to a combined $250,000 for dairy and hog producers and a combined $250,000 for specialty crop producers. However, no applicant can receive more than $500,000. Eligible applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000 or, 75 percent of the person’s or legal entity’s average AGI for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 must have been derived from farming and ranching. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.

Many producers were affected by natural disasters this spring, such as flooding, that kept them out of the field for extended periods of time. Producers who filed a prevented planting claim and planted an FSA-certified cover crop, with the potential to be harvested qualify for a $15 per acre payment. Acres that were never planted in 2019 are not eligible for an MFP payment.

In June, H.R. 2157, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 was signed into law by President Trump, requiring a change to the first round of MFP assistance provided in 2018. Producers previously deemed ineligible for MFP in 2018 because they had an average AGI level higher than $900,000 may now be eligible for 2018 MFP benefits. Those producers must be able to verify 75 percent or more of their average AGI was derived from farming and ranching to qualify. This supplemental MFP signup period will run parallel to the 2019 MFP signup, from July 29 through December 6, 2019.

For more information on the MFP, visit or contact your local FSA office, which can be found at

Details of USDA’s Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP)

Additionally, CCC Charter Act authority will be used to implement an up to $1.4 billion FPDP through the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation such as fruits, vegetables, some processed foods, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and milk for distribution by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to food banks, schools, and other outlets serving low-income individuals.


AMS will buy affected products in four phases, starting after October 1, 2019 with deliveries beginning in January 2020. The products purchased can be adjusted between phases to accommodate changes due to: growing conditions; product availability; market conditions; trade negotiation status; and program capacity. AMS will purchase known commodities first. By purchasing in phases, procurements for commodities that have been sourced in the past can be purchased more quickly and included in the first phase.
Vendor Outreach:

To expand the AMS vendor pool and the ability to purchase new and existing products, AMS will ramp up its vendor outreach and registration efforts. AMS has also developed flyers on how the process works and how to become a vendor for distribution to industry groups and interested parties. Additionally, AMS will continue to host a series of free webinars describing the steps required to become a vendor. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to submit questions to be answered during the webinar. Recorded webinars are available to review by potential vendors, and staff will host periodic Question and Answer teleconferences to better explain the process.
Product Specifications:

AMS maintains purchase specifications for a variety of commodities, which ensure recipients receive the high-quality product they expect. AMS in collaboration with FNS regularly develops and revises specifications for new and enhanced products based on program requirements and requests. AMS will be prioritizing the development of those products impacted by unjustified retaliation. AMS will also work with industry groups to identify varieties and grades sold to China and other markets imposing retaliatory tariffs, such as premium apples, oranges, pears, and other products. AMS will develop or revise specifications to facilitate the purchase of these premium varieties in forms that meet the needs of FNS nutrition assistance programs.

The products discussed in this plan will be distributed to States for use in the network of food banks and food pantries that participate in The Emergency Feeding Assistance Program (TEFAP), elderly feeding programs such as the Commodity Supplemental Foods Program (CSFP), and tribes that operate the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).

These outlets are in addition to child nutrition programs such as the National School Lunch Program, which may also benefit from these purchases.

Additionally, the rule provides flexibility for FNS to explore new channels of non-profit distribution of product, should the availability of distribution through traditional channels prove to be insufficient. FNS will offer products through traditional channels prior to consideration of new outlets.

AMS has coordinated with FNS, industry representatives, and other agency partners to determine necessary logistics for the purchase and distribution of each commodity, including trucking, inspection and audit requirements, and agency staffing.
Details of USDA’s Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP)

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) will administer the ATP under authorities of the CCC. The ATP will provide cost-share assistance to eligible U.S. organizations for activities such as consumer advertising, public relations, point-of-sale demonstrations, participation in trade fairs and exhibits, market research, and technical assistance. Last week, USDA awarded $100 million to 48 organizations through the ATP to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets.

The 48 recipients are among the cooperator organizations that applied for $200 million in ATP funds in 2018 that were awarded earlier this year. As part of a new round of support for farmers impacted by unjustified retaliation and trade disruption, those groups had the opportunity to be considered for additional support for their work to boost exports for U.S. agriculture, food, fish, and forestry products.

Already, since the $200 million in assistance was announced in January, U.S. exporters have had significant success, including a trade mission to Pakistan that generated $10 million in projected 2019 sales of pulse crops, a new marketing program for Alaska seafood that led to more than $4 million in sales of salmon to Vietnam and Thailand, and a comprehensive marketing effort by the U.S. soybean industry that has increased exposure in more than 50 international markets. These funds will continue to generate sales and business for U.S. producers and exporters many times over as promotional activity continues for the next couple of years.

NCGA Welcomes Progress on MFP, Looks Forward to Improved Program

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Chrisp today made the following statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) release of county payment rates for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).

“It’s no secret that farmers are facing difficult decisions amid wet spring weather, trade disputes and tariffs, and demand destruction in the ethanol market. While NCGA’s focus remains markets, we welcome USDA’s quick rollout of MFP 2.0 and the Department’s creative efforts to reorient MFP to better reflect market impacts and support American farmers. We look forward to learning more about how MFP will work for corn farmers.” 

Following President Trump’s announcement that the Administration would be pursuing a second round of trade aid, NCGA put forward recommendations that would provide both short-term assistance and support market access for farmers. NCGA continues to encourage the Administration to take additional actions to open markets and provide more certainty to corn farmers, including stopping RFS waivers to big oil refiners and restoring waived ethanol gallons and resolving trade disputes and tariffs.

Soy Growers Appreciate Efforts to Offset Ongoing Tariff Damages Administration Shares MFP Payment Details

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released details this morning of the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments announced by the Administration in May. MPF will provide up to $14.5 billion to producers, including soybean farmers, in up to three tranches starting with a first round of payments this August.

Payment rates vary by county from $15 to $150 per acre based on USDA’s calculated damages from tariffs in each individual county affected – most in the $50 to $75 range per acre, according to USDA. That single-county rate will be multiplied by a farm’s total planted acreage for all MFP-eligible crops in aggregate for 2019, not to exceed total 2018 plantings.

Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA) and soybean grower from Clinton, Kentucky, said, “The county rate for farmers in areas with a higher percentage of crops suffering from negative trade impacts will receive a higher offset for the damages we have seen because of the tariffs. We appreciate the Administration’s effort to determine how the payments will work and hope our soybean growers—no matter where their farms are and what is planted there—feel some relief from this assistance.”

ASA is glad that the Administration continues to recognize the ongoing struggle of soybean farmers caught in the middle of the trade war with China. Soybean growers were also pleased with the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) funding announced by USDA last Friday, as those funds granted to the soybean industry will support new market development. Yet, ASA continues to ask for a quick and positive resolution to the current tariff on U.S. beans going to China that has disrupted the market.

Sign-up for farmers with eligible crops begins Monday, July 29, with those who are first to sign up expected to receive an initial payment equal to 50% of what they are eligible for in mid to late August. Second and third payments, each equal to 25% of the total qualifying payment, are slated for November 2019 and January 2020 contingent upon market conditions and trade opportunities. Producers can continue to sign up through December 6, 2019.

Farmers who earn 75% or more of their income from agriculture will be eligible for up to the $250,000 MFP payment limit and retroactively eligible for up to the $125,000 payment limit for the 2018 program. MFP payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity and a combined $250,000 for hog or dairy farmers per person or legal entity; No applicant can receive more than $500,000 total.

NAWG Responds to USDA's Announcement on Another Round of MFP Payments for Farmers

On July 25, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced details of its latest $16 billion in aid to offset trade damages, including another round of market facilitation program (MFP) payments of $14.5 billion for farmers who are being impacted by the current trade war with China. Payment rates are set at a county level rather than commodity rate.

“NAWG appreciates the Administration recognizing the impact the current trade war with China is having on farmers,” stated NAWG President and Lavon, TX farmer Ben Scholz. “The MFP payments will provide necessary assistance to growers impacted by low prices resulting in part from tariffs.  However, this is a band-aid when we really need a long-term fix. NAWG understands holding China accountable for its WTO violations and unfair trade practices but a trade war is not the solution especially when farmers are the casualties.”

Prior to the release of details of MFP, NAWG sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue outlining concerns to be addressed in a final program. Additionally, NAWG met with the Office of Management of Budget (OMB) and USDA officials to discuss its concerns including those raised around ensuring fall 2018-seeded winter wheat would be eligible, fallow rotations, and new and beginning farmers. Specifically, NAWG asked that growers not be penalized by the limit of 2018 harvested acres since the MFP proposal uses a farmer’s 2019 planted acres capped at their 2018 harvested acres.  

“We continue to urge the Administration to quickly resolve the ongoing trade dispute with China and to negotiate new trade agreements, and Congress to act quickly on USMCA.”

NPPC Statement on Trade Aid II

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced details of its second program providing trade retaliation relief to American farmers. Eligible U.S. pork producers will receive $11 per head based on inventory between April 1-May 15, 2019. The USDA also announced it will make pork purchases of $208 million to support its programs for the food insecure. National Pork Producers Council President David Herring, a producer from Lillington, N.C., issued the following statement:

"U.S. pork producers are highly dependent on export markets, shipping more than 25 percent of production to foreign markets. We are grateful to the Trump administration for providing partial relief as hog farmers have incurred significant losses due to trade disputes that have lingered for more than a year.

"U.S. pork is the most affordable, highest quality and safest in the world and our top objective remains the same: We seek the chance to compete on a level playing field in markets around the globe. Our top priorities are an end to the trade dispute with China, where retaliatory tariffs are preventing U.S. pork from fully capitalizing on a historic sales opportunity created by the outbreak of African swine fever in the world's largest pork-consuming nation, and a trade agreement with Japan, where U.S. pork is losing market share due to trade agreements Japan has recently formed with the EU and other international competitors."

USDA's second trade retaliation relief package is valued at $16 billion, with $14.5 billion dedicated to producer payments, $1.4 billion for commodity purchases and $100 million through its Agricultural Trade Promotion Program to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets. Sign up for the program begins Monday, July 29 and ends Dec. 6, 2019. For more information, visit:

NMPF Statement on USDA Trade-Mitigation Aid Announcement

In response to the USDA’s outline of its planned trade-mitigation assistance to farmers, NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern offered the following statement:

“We appreciate the efforts of USDA and the White House to assist farmers who have suffered significant losses due to retaliatory tariffs. Dairy producers have so far lost more than $2.3 billion in revenues since tariff escalation began in earnest one year ago. USDA’s new approach raises the level of aid to dairy farmers from last year’s program, a step in the right direction. We also urge the Department to revise the outdated production history information used to calculate payments, which lessens the effectiveness of the program.

“Today’s announcement underscores that dairy farmers need to rely on trade, not aid, to prosper in a global marketplace. We will continue to work with USDA to help dairy farmers expand exports and increase consumption of dairy products through nutrition programs. Resolving the current trade impasse with China and aggressively expanding ties with other trading partners also is essential to make these aid packages unnecessary. We are also working with the administration and Congress to pass USMCA, which would immediately create new opportunities for U.S. dairy.”


Farm Bureau Welcomes Trade Assistance, Urges Return to Open Markets

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“We greatly appreciate President Trump’s concern for America’s farmers and ranchers in these difficult economic times, and we are grateful for this continued trade assistance to help our farmers and ranchers stay in business and continue feeding our nation. We look forward to reviewing the details of this new $16 billion aid package and its specific impact on each sector of agriculture. 

“These are difficult times for agriculture, and the longer these trade wars continue, the deeper the impact on farm country. Farmers are being hit with tariffs on top of already-challenging economic conditions from severe weather events, low commodity prices, lack of available labor and a host of other impacts. It’s the perfect storm for agriculture, and these continuing trade wars are adding to the increasing financial burden on our farmers and ranchers.

“While we are grateful for the continuing support for American agriculture from President Trump and Secretary Perdue, America’s farmers ultimately want trade more than aid. It is critically important to restore agricultural markets and mutually beneficial relationships with our trading partners around the world.

“We are hopeful that trade negotiations with China will quickly lead to a resolution of trade disputes and that the administration will make important progress in negotiations with Japan and the European Union. At the moment, all eyes are on winning congressional approval for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.”

USDA Releases Details for Market Facilitation Program

Two months after announcing its intentions to provide a new package to assist family farmers and ranchers coping with trade damages, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today released finalized details about the timing and calculation of direct payments to producers through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). The agency has earmarked up to $14.5 billion for the program to be distributed in three separate tranches. Eligible producers can submit applications for the first tranche beginning next Monday, July 29, through December 6, 2019, and payments will be sent out starting in mid- to late August.

Most commodity grain producers will be compensated based on a single county rate ranging from $15 to $150 per planted acre. For the first round of payments, they will receive a minimum of $15 per acre and up to 50% of the county rate. In contrast, dairy producers will receive 20 cents per hundredweight based on historical production. Additional relief for hog and specialty crop producers will be available as well.

Given the significant difficulties that ongoing trade uncertainty has caused, National Farmers Union (NFU) is relieved that farmers will be receiving much-needed assistance. NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response to USDA’s announcement:

“Long before this trade war even started, family farmers and ranchers were struggling to make ends meet. Chronic oversupply and slumping commodity prices have beleaguered the agricultural economy for six consecutive years, putting most operations in the red. But the unstable markets and rapidly fluctuating prices caused by this administration’s trade policies has made matters even worse. Many farmers didn’t even know what to plant this last spring because they couldn’t begin to anticipate what might be profitable come harvest.

“National Farmers Union appreciates the USDA’s ongoing efforts to support family farmers during this difficult time. However, we harbor some concerns about disparities in payments from county to county, which could put some farmers at a financial disadvantage. Additionally, we are disappointed that the plan does not include incentives to reduce production, which could help alleviate the chronic challenges of excess supply and depressed prices.

“This assistance is desperately needed, but the ad-hoc rollout and convoluted structure of these programs has caused significant confusion among producers. Until more predictable, longer-term solutions are made available, that sense of confusion and insecurity will likely persist. In the future, we urge the administration to work more closely with Congress to build on the existing safety net and provide certainty and stability in farm country.”

ACE calls on EPA to rely on the GREET model as it considers future RFS volumes

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings highlighted the important role corn ethanol could have in further reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions if properly valued under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler today, informing the agency of a recently published meta-analysis showing that corn stover retention results in significant soil carbon sequestration, and if taken into account by lifecycle modeling, reduces the GHG footprint of corn ethanol far below EPA’s current estimate.

This data, published in a recent study titled “A global meta-analysis of soil organic carbon response to corn stover removal,” goes on to say changes in soil carbon stocks can alter lifecycle GHG emissions for corn-based ethanol.

“EPA relies upon lifecycle accounting to quantify GHG emissions under the RFS, however, your model is nearly a decade old and fails to include the continuing advancements in this science documented by the Argonne National Laboratory and the data represented in the meta-analysis,” Jennings writes. “EPA’s antiquated analysis is an impediment to more low carbon biofuel use hurting both rural communities and the environment.”

“As you work on the proposed rule to “reset” RFS volumes for 2021 and 2022, ACE urges you to take this timely meta-analysis into consideration to foster more ethanol blending,” the letter continues. “Specifically, we encourage EPA to use the “reset” as an opportunity to increase undifferentiated renewable fuel volume beyond 15 billion gallons for 2021 and 2022 by reallocating the 2.61 billion gallons waived so far through so-called “hardship” exemptions for small refineries and restoring 500 million gallons to the 2016 RFS compliance year as ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals.”

Additionally, the letter calls on EPA to adopt the latest Greenhouse gas and Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) model, developed by DoE’s Argonne National Lab nearly three decades ago, as is also recommended in ACE’s white paper “The Case for Properly Valuing the Low Carbon Benefits of Corn Ethanol.” “Unlike Argonne’s GREET model, EPA’s lifecycle model has not been updated since your original (2010) corn ethanol assessment,” the letter states. “Today the GREET model shows corn ethanol has nearly 50 percent lower GHG emissions than gasoline.”

Irish Swine To Dine On U.S. DDGS Thanks To USGC Engagement

An increase in inclusion rates of U.S. DDGS from zero to 15 percent by an Irish feed mill will add 75,000 metric tons in additional demand annually, valued at $17.2 million.

A leading feed mill in Ireland has upped its inclusion rate of U.S. dried distiller’s grains with solubles (DDGS) thanks to the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) work to promote the benefits of the feed ingredient in swine diets, adding 75,000 metric tons in additional demand annually, valued at $17.2 million.

Ireland is a consistent buyer of U.S. DDGS, purchasing just under 400,000 tons in 2018, valued at $91 million. Experienced buyers and end-users use U.S. DDGS to feed Ireland’s ruminants, including the large dairy and sheep industries. More recently, the Council has worked with Irish traders and end-users, educating them on the benefits of including more DDGS in swine diets.

To further these efforts, the Council engaged the Irish feed industry in March 2019 to assess the DDGS market and potential effects of Brexit. The Council discovered that while DDGS inclusion rates in ruminant animals were on par with U.S. standards, inclusion rates in monogastric (i.e. swine and poultry) diets lagged behind.

This assessment led to direct work with the swine industry to answer questions related to nutrition and encourage inclusion in rations. As a result, the large feed mill, which produces 500,000 tons of pig feed annually, decided to change its feed formula, increasing the DDGS inclusion rate from zero to 15 percent.

“As an industry leader, this feed mill’s influence is considerable, which could lead to increased inclusion rates by other mills - a domino effect quite common around the world,” said Reece Cannady, USGC manager of global trade. “As other feedmills switch, potential DDGS exports for commercial swine feed alone in Ireland could reach 200,000 tons, valued at $46 million, roughly a 50 percent increase over existing DDGS exports to the island.”

The Council will continue to work with the Irish swine feed industry to expand DDGS use, including conducting a feeding trial from August to September 2019 on a 1,000-head swine farm.

“The farm is owned by a group that sells raw materials to other producers,” Cannady said. “If they can convince home mixers to switch to DDGS, the Council could help facilitate another 100,000 tons of DDGS exports to Ireland.”

Pioneer Petitions APHIS to Deregulate GE Corn

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comment on a petition from Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., seeking deregulation of a corn variety genetically engineered (GE) for enhanced yield potential and resistance to glufosinate-ammonium herbicide. The petition is available for public review and comment for 60 days.

APHIS is interested in receiving comments regarding potential environmental and interrelated economic impacts to assist in our assessment of the petition as it relates to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The public comments received, along with the best available scientific documents, will assist APHIS in determining the appropriate environmental documents to prepare in accordance with our petition process to make a fully informed decision on the regulatory status of this GE corn variety.

Members of the public can submit comments through Sept. 23.

For more information and to submit a public comment, please visit APHIS' Biotechnology Regulatory Services News and Information web page at .

Wednesday July 24 Ag News

Farm Service Agency Reminds Producers to Report Livestock Losses Due to the Heat

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director Sarah Beck today is reminding producers in Cuming County who suffered livestock losses due to the recent extreme heat that financial assistance may be available through the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).

“The Livestock Indemnity Program provides producers with a vital safety net to help them overcome the financial impact of extreme or abnormal weather,” said Beck. “The extreme heat in the past week has had a significant impact on some livestock producers, even with good management practices in place. We encourage folks to reach out to our county FSA office.”

To apply for LIP benefits, a livestock producer must file a notice of loss with FSA within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is first apparent.

LIP compensates livestock owners and contract growers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to an adverse weather event, including hurricanes, floods, blizzards, disease, wildfires, extreme heat and extreme cold. The payment rate is based on 75 percent of the average fair market value of the livestock. Livestock producers must provide evidence that the death of livestock was due to an eligible adverse weather event or loss condition. In addition, livestock producers should bring supporting evidence, including documentation of the number and kind of livestock that died, photographs or video records to document the loss, purchase records, veterinarian records, production records and other similar documents.

To contact the Cuming County FSA office, call (402) 372-2451. To learn more about LIP, visit

NE Extension Hosts BQA+T meetings

Beef Quality Assurance certification concerns itself with practices throughout the production process, mainly dealing with animal health, food safety and product quality.  No matter what the segment, from the cow-calf producer to the dinner plate, each step affects quality as well as the eating satisfaction of consumer.  BQA works with veterinarians and extension educators to conduct trainings for feedlots, livestock auction markets, anybody who handles cattle frequently.  We train people and keep them updated on latest animal health issues, products, and practices.

UNL Extension Educator Rob Eirich is the director of beef quality assurance (BQA) for the state of Nebraska.  The position is a partnership between University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska Cattlemen, and the Nebraska Beef Council.

Upcoming BQA Trainings/Certification (All Times Are Local Time Zone)
    August 6 - Fordyce - Parish Hall-St John The Baptist - BQA 4:00-6:00 p.m., Meal 6:00, BQA Transportation 6:30-8:30 p.m.
    August 7 - Albion - Events Center-Fairgrounds - BQA 4:00-6:00 p.m., BQA Transportation 6:30-8:30 p.m.
    August 26 - Broken Bow - 4-H Building, Fairgrounds - BQA 4:00-6:00 p.m., BQA Transportation 6:30-8:30 p.m.
    August 29 - Bridgeport - TBA - BQA 4:00-6:00 p.m.

More BQA Trainings are being scheduled and posted ASAP to  Call Rob Eirich for more information at 308-632-1230, Nebraska Extension Office, or Local Veterinarians. 

AFAN Announces Hiring of New Livestock Programming Coordinator

AFAN has announced the hiring of Rylee Stoltz of Bassett, Neb., as its new Livestock Programming Coordinator. Her appointment was effective July 8.

AFAN (The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska) is a non-profit organization formed by leading agricultural membership groups in Nebraska to encourage the development of environmentally responsible and economically viable livestock production in the state.
Stoltz’s responsibilities at AFAN include creating and managing programming events for producers and communities and assisting with communications activities to enhance understanding about the importance of the agriculture industry in Nebraska.

She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness focusing on business and finance. She also holds the Associate of Science degree from Northeast Community College, Norfolk. Until joining AFAN, she was a loan administrative assistant at Sandhills State Bank in Bassett. While in Bassett, her community activities included founder of the Rock County Growth, Inc., Youth Engagement Committee and chair of the Rock County Growth, Inc. Housing Board.

“Rylee is a most welcome addition to our team,” said AFAN Executive Director Steve Martin.   “Her skills and experience will be used to expand AFAN’s outreach efforts by helping create and carry out programming services on behalf of livestock producers and by getting the word out about how critical agriculture and livestock is to Nebraska’s economy.”


The venue for the Aug. 12-14 Nebraska Grazing Conference has changed due to recent flooding in Kearney. The Conference will now be held at the Exhibition Building at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds, 3807 Avenue N, in Kearney, near the Buffalo County Extension Offices.

For a list of hotels with contracted conference rates, refer to the Nebraska Grazing Conference website at Hotel reservations must be made by Aug. 1.

The 2019 Nebraska Grazing Conference includes a pre-conference plant identification tour on Aug. 12. Presenters on Aug. 13-14 will address grazinglands management, winter grazing and rangeland health.

Conference registrations should be made by July 31 at For assistance with online conference registration, call 402-472-8747.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

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 may already be 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.


Summer heat hit us hard this past week.  How do these high temperatures affect different types of forage plants?

When it suddenly turns ‘hooey boy’ hot – you know, 90 plus degrees and humidity so thick you can almost see it – cool-season plants suffer along with you and me.  Alfalfa and clovers, bromegrass, orchardgrass, fescues, needlegrasses, and wheatgrasses all struggle during hot weather.

If you’re old enough, do you remember – before air conditioning – how drained you used to feel after spending a night when the temperature never dropped below 80?  The same thing happens to cool-season forages, resulting in very slow growth, lower forage quality as plants burn up the good nutrients, and limited recovery of root reserves after defoliation.  And if it also is dry these conditions can even become deadly.

Warm-season grasses are just the opposite.  Millet, sudangrass, sorghums, and our native bluestems, gramas, switchgrass, and other warm-season grasses thrive when the temperature is around 90 degrees.  Their metabolism runs at peak efficiency when it is hot so they grow rapidly while maintaining reasonable forage quality and good root growth.

Of course, this assumes these plants have adequate moisture.  Once they dry up, these grasses will overheat too, just like cool-season grasses do at lower temperatures.

As you graze or hay, be aware of the stress weather is putting on your forage.  When it’s too hot, allow plants to recover for a longer time before next use.  And don’t expect high feed values or good animal gains when the nutritional goodies are burned right out of the plants.

Proper expectations and management adjustments can limit the stress from stressful weather.

USDA to Pay at Least $15/Acre to Farmers Hurt by Trade War

The U.S. government will pay a minimum of $15 per acre to farmers hurt by President Trump's trade war with China under an aid package to be unveiled before the end of the week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Tuesday.

"We'll have information for you before the week ends," Perdue told reporters when asked about the aid, which is planned to total about $16 billion.

Reuters report that farmers, a key Trump constituency, have been among the hardest hit in the trade war between the world's two largest economies. Soybeans are the most valuable U.S. farm export, and shipments to China dropped to a 16-year low in 2018.

A new aid program would be the second round of assistance for farmers, after the Department of Agriculture's $12 billion plan last year to compensate for lower prices for farm goods and lost sales stemming from trade disputes with China and other nations.

The USDA has redesigned last year's aid program based on feedback. The new package will have a single payment rate per county, calculated by the damages in that area, instead of a rate for every commodity across the nation.

Perdue said the minimal payment would be $15 an acre. "We're anticipating right now three tranches; probably 50 percent ... or minimum there of $15 an acre initially," he said, adding the second and third tranches would be dependant on market conditions, Reuters reports.

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed at last month's G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, to restart trade talks that stalled in May. The president said at the time he would not impose new tariffs and U.S. officials said China agreed to make agricultural purchases. But Trump said on July 11 that China was not living up to promises to buy U.S. farm goods.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 7/19/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending July 19, ethanol production averaged 1.039 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 43.64 million gallons daily. Output was down 27,000 b/d (-2.5%) from the previous week for an 11-week low, and 35,000 b/d lower (-3.3%) than a year ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate decreased 0.8% to 1.058 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.22 billion gallons (bg) and the smallest level since May.

There were zero ethanol imports recorded after logging volumes for two consecutive weeks. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of May 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied to the market jumped 5.0% to 9.673 million b/d (406.3 million gallons per day, or 148.29 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol increased 3.5% to 942,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.44 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production declined to 10.74%.

DOE Response to Sen. Grassley Shows EPA Ignored Recommendations on Small Refiner Exemptions

A recent letter from Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) confirms that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ignored DOE recommendations regarding whether small refiners should receive exemptions from their Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blending obligations.

“The admissions of the DOE letter flatly contradict previous statements from EPA officials who claimed their hands were tied by DOE recommendations on small refiner exemptions,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “EPA has claimed it must follow DOE’s guidance on whether to grant or deny exemptions, but this letter clearly shows EPA ignored the recommendations and analysis provided by DOE. The demand destruction that has resulted from these exemptions has been real and significant. Ethanol producers and the corn farmers who supply our industry are facing some of the worst market conditions in a generation, and these small refinery bailouts are largely to blame for that. We urge President Trump and Administrator Wheeler to restore some integrity and judiciousness to the small refiner exemption program, and ensure that any exempted renewable fuel blending requirements are redistributed to non-exempt refiners.”

The DOE letter, which responds to an April inquiry from Sen. Grassley, states that EPA granted an exemption to a refinery when DOE analysis found no exemption was warranted. Further, DOE states that EPA has never granted partial exemptions--opting instead to grant full exemptions--despite the fact that in many instances DOE analysis indicated only a partial exemption may be considered.

According to the letter, “DOE is aware of one instance in which DOE’s analysis indicates that EPA consider no exemption, but the result was an EPA decision to grant an exemption to the petitioner.” EPA further acknowledges that “EPA has never granted a 50 percent exemption. EPA has…granted…(full) exemptions in the past for which the results of DOE’s analysis indicate that a 50 percent exemption may be appropriate.”

Cooper said the letter also corroborates information recently uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by RFA, in which a former EPA official warned former Administrator Scott Pruitt that granting certain exemptions “would be a clear violation of Mr. Pruitt’s oath of office.” Other information uncovered in the FOIA request shows the White House knew exemptions were being granted without any demonstration of “true economic hardship.”

Since the beginning of the Trump Administration, small refinery exemptions have increased nearly four-fold and not a single request for an exemption has been denied. EPA gave out 54 exemptions from 2016 and 2017 compliance, reducing RFS blending requirements by 2.6 billion gallons. The 2016 and 2017 exemptions led to a reduction in both the volume of ethanol consumed and the ethanol blend rate in 2018—the first annual decline in either measure of ethanol demand in at least 20 years. Another 38 exemption requests remain pending at EPA.

REG to Close Texas Biorefinery

Renewable Energy Group, Inc. announced on Wednesday the closing of its biorefinery in New Boston, Texas, due to challenging business conditions and continued federal policy uncertainty, most notably the long-lapsed federal biodiesel tax credit.

The company acquired the 15 million gallon per-year biodiesel plant near Texarkana, Texas, in October 2012 and began producing biodiesel there several months later. The facility is capable of running both high and low free fatty acid feedstocks and has truck and rail access.

"We truly appreciate all the efforts of our team and those that support our New Boston plant," said Brad Albin, vice president of manufacturing. "They significantly improved safety, demonstrated capacity, yield, quality and costs. However, these improvements could not overcome the unfavorable economics of the plant relative to our other options for ongoing focus and forward investment."

The company is currently working with plant employees on relocation opportunities within the production network.

"This closure comes today as a result of the poor economics over the last 18 months resulting in large part from the uncertainty surrounding the Biodiesel Tax Credit," said Cynthia J. Warner, REG president and CEO. "Despite significant bipartisan support, Congress' inaction on this value-added incentive has led to unsustainable market conditions."

Fertilizer Prices Continue to Hold Steady

Retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the third week of July 2019 show prices continue to be mixed, but more fertilizers had slightly lower prices than higher prices compared to last month.

Five fertilizers were lower compared to the previous month with none down a significant amount, which DTN considers 5% or more. MAP had an average price of $532/ton, down less than $1; urea $430/ton, down $5; 10-34-0 $584/ton, down $2; anhydrous $585/ton, down $4; and UAN32 $317/ton, down $1.

Three fertilizers were slightly higher compared to last month, but again the move higher was fairly slight. DAP had an average price of $497/ton, up $1; potash $392/ton, up less than $1; and UAN28 $275/ton, up $5.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.47/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.49/lb.N and UAN32 $0.50/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. DAP is 2% higher, MAP is 5% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 10% higher, potash is 11% more expensive, both UAN28 and UAN32 are now 14% higher, anhydrous is 16% more expensive and urea is 18% higher compared to last year.