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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 December 2 Ag News

Newly Elected Nebraska Soybean Board Officers and Committee Member Appointments

The Nebraska Soybean Board held its first board meeting for Fiscal Year 2017 on November 21-22, 2016 in Lincoln. Restructuring of the board and the committees took place for the new fiscal year. The following officers were elected by the board to serve a one year term:
  - Tony Johanson of Oakland – Chairman;
  - Eugene Goering of Columbus – Vice Chairman;

  - Terry Horky of Sargent – Secretary; and
  - Daryl Obermeyer of Brownville – Treasurer

Johanson, Horky and Obermeyer were re-elected to serve as officers of the board for another one-year term. This is Horky’s fourth term, Johanson’s third term and Obermeyer’s second term, Goering will begin his first term as an officer of the board.

Committee chairmen and members were also appointed as follows:
Research Committee: Chairman: Larry Tonniges of Utica; and committee members: Eugene Goering; Anne Meis of Elgin; and Ron Pavelka of Glenvil.

Domestic Marketing Committee: Chairman: Richard Bartek of Ithaca; and committee members: Greg Anderson of Newman Grove; Eugene Goering; and Larry Tonniges.

International Marketing Committee:
Chairman: Greg Anderson; and committee members: Richard Bartek; Terry Horky; Tony Johanson; and Daryl Obermeyer.

Producer Education/Communications Committee:
Chairman: Anne Meis; and committee members: Terry Horky; Tony Johanson; Daryl Obermeyer; and Ron Pavelka.

“These officers and committee members will be working hard on behalf of Nebraska’s soybean farmers. In the coming year, they will continue to make decisions to effectively invest and leverage soybean checkoff resources to maximize profit opportunities in research, domestic, international markets and producer education,” said Victor Bohuslavsky, NSB executive director.

NE Corn Board to Meet

The Nebraska Corn Board will hold its next meeting on Monday, December 19, 2016 at the Cornhusker Hotel, located at 333 South 13th Street in Lincoln, Nebraska.  The Board will finalize the strategic plan and address regular board business.  The meeting is open to the public, providing the opportunity for public comment.  A copy of the agenda is available by calling either 402/471-2676 or 800-NECORN1 or by emailing


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Feeding more protein than cattle need can get expensive.  Alfalfa may be an inexpensive protein source, especially if you feed just enough alfalfa to provide the protein your animals need.

               Cattle often need extra protein when their winter diet is based on corn stalks, prairie hay, straw, or winter range.  The protein supplement you chose is important, both in its effectiveness and its cost.  Many cheap protein sources contain mostly urea and other forms of non-protein nitrogen.  These supplements may not be used very effectively when cattle are eating mostly low energy winter forages.

               Supplements containing mostly all-natural protein may be better. All-natural protein feeds the microbes in the rumen so they can digest more fiber from your forage.  And many times the cheapest natural source of protein is alfalfa, especially now when hay price is reasonable.

               Keep costs down by determining how much extra protein your cows actually need.  Both a forage test for protein and a close estimate of how much your cows are actually eating are needed to be accurate.  Then you can work with a local extension educator, a nutritionist, or use your own skills to calculate how much more protein is needed.

               Many winter forage diets need between one-half and one pound of extra protein per day.  Since the forage test of your alfalfa will tell you how much protein it contains, you can calculate how much alfalfa to feed each day, or every other day, to keep cows healthy and productive.  This could come from as little 2 pounds of hay when feeding high protein alfalfa to cows needing just a little extra protein to as much as 8 to 10 pounds when using low quality alfalfa for cows on a low protein diet.

               It may not sound like a big difference, but when you feed just two or three pounds each day per cow, the savings add up fast.

Nutrient Value of Annual Forages Left Standing Through the Winter

Karla Jenkins, UNL Cow/Calf - Range Management Specialist

Beef cattle producers are often interested in planting annual forages in the summer for later use in the winter. The question often surfaces about whether to bale the forage, or let the cattle graze the forage later in the year.

Producers interested in grazing the mature standing forage want to avoid the expense of baling and moving the forage, but producers may have concerns about the loss of forage quality if the forage isn’t baled right away.

To address these concerns, research was conducted at the High Plains Ag Lab near Sidney, NE in a two year study. Forages were planted after irrigated wheat was harvested, and some additional water was applied to the forage crop. Therefore, the total tonnage and the quality produced would likely vary if the forage was planted earlier in the summer and on dryland acres.

However, the interesting result about these forages was how minimal the quality changed over the winter (Table 1 While some nutrient loss did occur, all forages studied in both years maintained enough quality to support rumen function without additional protein. The available nutrients would also support about 1-1.5 lb/d gain on weaned calves if quantity was adequate.

The first year of the study was a severe drought and nitrate levels were above the recommended 1600 ppm for safe grazing when harvested just prior to frost. However, the nitrate levels had dissipated over the winter to safe levels by March.

Producers should always sample forages for nutrient content prior to grazing to know if it will be adequate for the targeted cattle performance. University of Nebraska Extension beef personnel can assist with ration balancing for optimal performance.

23 Students Named to the Iowa Corn Collegiate Advisory Team

Iowa Corn proudly announces today the 23 Iowa college students who will make up the seventh Iowa Corn Collegiate Advisory Team (CAT). Comprised of Iowa students pursuing degrees in agriculture, CAT will assist the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) in developing targeted programs to enhance the organizations’ relationships with individuals pursuing careers in agriculture production and allied industries. CAT achieves this by fostering the knowledge and skills of these future leaders and providing them the tools to advocate for Iowa Corn and other commodity organizations’ role in the success of Iowa agriculture.

“Iowa corn farmers’ future depends our ability to offer relevant programming, advocacy and services to new professionals entering Iowa’s agricultural sector, “said Iowa Corn Promotion Board Director Larry Buss, a farmer from Logan who chairs the committee overseeing the team. “We are excited to work with these 23 bright students on ways we can cultivate and promote our organization and the corn industry.”

The team includes one representative from each state college and university, and five students from Iowa State University. In addition, two additional positions on the team are for students in non-ag disciplines at any accredited Iowa college or university. The 2016/2017 participants:

Name                          Hometown                   College Attending                              

Michael Barr                Kellogg                         Iowa State University
Michaella Beckman     Mediapolis                    Southeastern Community College
Victoria Butt                 Iowa Falls                     Ellsworth Community College
John Dieter                  Sioux City                     Morningside College
Benjamin Dirks            Monticello                     Iowa State University
Erin Dolecheck            Kellerton                       Graceland University
Abby Galm                  Spencer                         Iowa Lake Community College
Madison Hoch             Algona                           Ellsworth Community College
Evann Farrens             Lenox                            Southwestern Community College
Anthony Furlin             Numa                            Indian Hills Community College
Austin Fariss               Batavia                          Muscatine Community College
Katey-Jayne Dennis    Mitchellville                   Des Moines Area Community College
Bryce Lidtka                Grinnell                         Dordt College
Tessa Meyer                Waterloo                      Hawkeye Community College
Luke Pelzer                  West Liberty                Muscatine Community College
Joe Roberts                 Belmond                       Iowa State University
Katie Schmith               Orange City                 Northwestern College
Sami Searle                  Joice                           North Iowa Area Community College
Kelsi Sieren                  Keota                           Iowa State University
Kayla Smith                  Marengo                      Iowa State University
Christopher Thurm       Readlyn                       Hawkeye Community College
Clayton Taylor              Lohrville                       Iowa Central Community College
Ellen Westhoff              Mount Vernon              Kirkwood Community College

Farmers: Dig into Soil Health on World Soil Day

The Soil Health Partnership commemorates World Soil Day on Dec. 5 by encouraging farmers to reflect on steps they can take to make their land healthier. World Soil Day celebrates the importance of soil as one of our most vital resources.

To mark the occasion, the SHP has released an educational and fun white board video, “Farmers to the Rescue: How Healthy Soil Can Save the Planet.”

“Soil health is the next frontier in agricultural sustainability,” said Nick Goeser, SHP director. “Restoring organic matter through practices like growing cover crops will help soil sequester more carbon while making it more resistant to drought, and more resilient to floods. These are important goals worldwide as the population grows.”

With more than 65 farm sites already enrolled in nine Midwestern states, the SHP is the leader in field-scale testing and measuring of management practices that improve soil health. These practices include:
-    Growing cover crops to prevent erosion and nutrient losses, 
-    Implementing conservation tillage like no-till or strip-till, and
-    Using advanced, science-based nutrient management techniques to reduce nutrient loss.

The program’s goal is to quantify the benefits of these practices from an economic standpoint, in addition to positive environmental benefits they provide, like protecting water resources.

“By changing some practices, farmers hold the power to rebuild organic matter in their soil,” the white board video says. “This helps the planet by improving crops and removing excess carbon from the atmosphere….More organic matter in the soil means better soils for farming, healthy crops, and protecting the environment.”

The World Soil Day campaign aims to connect people with soils and raise awareness on their critical importance in our lives. In 2002, the International Union of Soil Sciences made a resolution proposing the 5th of December as World Soil Day to celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to human wellbeing.

Export Exchange Results in $460 Million In Grain And Co-Product Sales

The Export Exchange conference hosted this fall by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is already paying dividends, according to new surveys of overseas grain buyers who attended – to the tune of nearly a half billion dollars’ worth of grain and ethanol co-product sales.

Buyers and end-users were asked after the conference if they made purchase agreements with sellers and how much volume was purchased. In total, attendees reported sales of approximately 2.6 million metric tons of grains and co-products worth $460 million traded either at the conference or immediately before or after.

The top grain traded during the two-day conference was corn, with 924,500 metric tons collectively exchanged, followed by distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), with 875,000 metric tons exchanged. This means buyers at the conference struck deals to purchase an amount of DDGS equivalent to roughly 8 percent of last year’s total U.S. DDGS exports.

Export Exchange 2016 offered attendees a unique opportunity to meet and build relationships with domestic suppliers of corn, DDGS, sorghum, barley and other commodities. More than 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products from more than 35 countries were in Detroit for the conference, held Oct. 24 to 26, and for related tours of U.S. farms, ethanol plans and export infrastructure as part of Council trade teams.

“Trade is absolutely critical to U.S. farmers right now, and these sales show that buyers attending Export Exchange 2016 took the buying opportunities very seriously,” said Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the Council. “Putting buyers and sellers together, building and sustaining relationships with our top global grain buyers have been hallmarks of Council activities worldwide. We are thrilled to see how much actual trade was done at the show and in association with it.”

“This conference and these tremendous sales figures show how much of an appetite there is globally for U.S.-produced feed grains and co-products. It’s no surprise that the top two commodities traded during the conference were corn and DDGS, a co-product of U.S. ethanol production. With a record corn supply anticipated for the 2016/2017 marketing year, exports will continue to be essential as we move forward in a global market,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen.

Other grains traded at Export Exchange included:
-    Corn Gluten—25,200 metric tons;
-    Sorghum—428,000 metric tons; and
-    Barley—5,000 metric tons.

The Export Exchange conference provides an ideal forum for continued relationship building among trading partners. The conference is held every two years and will next be held in 2018. More information about the recent event is online at


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule now is pending at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the last step in the rulemaking process before it becomes final. The National Pork Producers Council is urging USDA to withdraw the rule, or if it’s approved before Jan. 20, 2017, the Trump USDA to repeal it. In comments in opposition to the rule submitted in July, NPPC said the regulation’s new animal welfare standards for the National Organic Program, if enacted, would be the first time such criteria are codified in federal law and would present serious challenges to livestock producers.

According to NPPPC, there are a number of problems with the proposed welfare rules, NPPC pointed out in its comments, including:

·         Animal handling practices are not a defining characteristic of organic agriculture and are not germane to the National Organic Program as authorized by Congress.

·         The livestock practices will be costly (if even practicable) to implement for current organic producers and serve as a barrier to new producers entering organic production, without making the resulting products substantively more organic.

·         Consumer misconception about the intent of the National Organic Program and the meaning of its label is not a valid rationale for expanding the program to encompass animal welfare.

·         Animal welfare is complex and dynamic; decisions about animal care need to be science based and carefully considered by each producer.

·         The proposed livestock and poultry practices present significant challenges to the maintenance and promotion of public and animal health.

NPPC requested that USDA reconsider the proposed animal welfare standards, arguing that, because animal welfare is not germane under the Organic Foods Production Act, USDA does not have clear authority to promulgate such rules. It also pointed out that the regulation would have a negative effect on the cost and availability of organic livestock and poultry products, cannot be justified by claims that it will clarify public expectations about organic labels or address an unfair competitive disadvantage facing organic producers, are not science based and present real challenges to protecting animal and public health.


The Physical Working Group on Antimicrobial Resistance of the U.N.’s Codex Alimentarius Commission, the international food-safety standards-setting body, this week met in London to develop proposal documents laying out the purpose and scope for two projects of interest to the U.S. livestock industry. National Pork Producers Council's Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom attended as an expert, participating through the observer status of the International Meat Secretariat, a non-profit association that brings together meat and livestock organizations.

One project aims to update the Codex Code of Practice to Minimize and Contain Antimicrobial Resistance, while the second will develop Guidance on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance. In July, the proposals will be considered for advancement by the Codex Commission.

NPPC works closely with the U.S. government to provide technical support for Codex issues affecting the U.S. pork industry. The pork industry supports studies and research on the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance, as well as research on identifying alternative products or practices that will help minimize the need for antibiotics in pork production.

CLA Petitions EPA to Stop Using Studies That Are Not Backed

On Tuesday, November 29, CropLife America (CLA) petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halt regulatory decisions that are highly influenced and/or determined by the results of epidemiological studies that do not meet well-defined data quality standards and that are not integrated into the human health risk assessment of crop protection products in a transparent, well-defined manner. The petition requested that EPA cease regulatory decision-making with respect to any organophosphate (OP) pesticide where 1) that decision making is based primarily on results from epidemiological studies that do not meet well-defined data quality standards and 2) where the public has no means of knowing how EPA is determining the data quality of such studies or how they are being integrated into the risk assessment.

The petition follows what has been the ongoing process of registration review of various OPs, which has included multiple scientific advisory panels (SAPs) that have found that the epidemiological studies being used are of questionable value and lack the quality data needed to inform regulatory decisions. EPA’s human health pesticide risk assessment process has traditionally relied on validated toxicological studies using laboratory assessments and study data to estimate the potential exposure to the pesticide chemical based on the proposed use of the pesticide product. Epidemiological studies have not been uniformly or consistently incorporated into a quantitative risk assessment, due to the observational nature of epidemiological research. Often epidemiological studies cannot speak to causality due to questions related to study design, population studied, and lack of clear evidence of the magnitude and duration of exposure during critical phases of development.

“The process EPA is pursuing regarding OPs is concerning to the agriculture community,” stated Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “If EPA continues to rely on epidemiological studies that do not meet well-defined data quality standards, we could see catastrophic results, with farmers across the world unable to access important tools to fight crop threats.”

“CLA recognizes that epidemiological studies can provide important data for risk assessment, but this does not mean that such studies are equally relevant or reliable,” said Dr. Janet E. Collins, executive vice president for science and regulatory affairs at CLA. “EPA should cease further action on regulatory decision-making that finds epidemiological study results to be determinative until the Agency can establish data quality criteria against which such study results can be evaluated, and EPA can clearly articulate how it will determine the value of the study outcomes to the weight of evidence in a human health risk assessment in the context of the traditional empirical data.”

CLA requested a response to the petition within 45 days.

Thursday December 1 Ag News

Nebraska Students Head to Taiwan as Part of Ag Student Exchange Program

Three Nebraska high school seniors are heading to Taiwan next week to represent the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI) as part of a long-standing student exchange program. Selected by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), the students will learn about Taiwan’s agricultural industry and how Nebraska ag exports benefit both Nebraska and Taiwan.

“This agricultural student exchange program shows our continued commitment to this partnership,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach. “It’s important for the Nebraska students and the students from Taiwan to broaden their world view. The students involved in this exchange program get to experience different types of agriculture, technology and cultures, while gaining an understanding of how everything fits together in a global economy. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”

For the past 13 years, as part of this exchange program, three students from an agricultural high school in Taiwan have visited Nebraska to attend the annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute – a week-long summer program coordinated by NDA. In return, NDA chooses three NAYI delegates to travel to Taiwan.

The students will leave for Taiwan on Dec. 4 and will return to Nebraska on Dec. 10. While in Taiwan, the students will be staying at the Taichung Agricultural High School. Their visit will include tours of the campus, interaction with Taiwanese students, participation in presentations, visits to local farms and observations of several agricultural research institutes. They also will have the opportunity to do some sightseeing.

The three students going to Taiwan this year are:
-    Maisie Kennicutt from Elsie. Maisie is a senior at Wallace High School and is the daughter of Scott and Jill Kennicutt.
-    Trevor Ricenbaw from Beaver Crossing. Trevor is a senior at Friend High School and is the son of Lisa Ricenbaw.
-    Jared Stander from Ashland. Jared is a senior at Ashland-Greenwood High School and is the son of Dave and Jen Stander.

The trip is coordinated by NDA and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Denver and is sponsored by the Nebraska Farm Bureau and TECO. Students who attend NAYI are eligible to apply for this agriculture exchange program.

The three students going to Taiwan will share their experiences from their trip at the 2017 Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute this summer in Lincoln.

Columbus Couple Sees the Benefits of High Oleic Soybeans

As a director on the Nebraska Soybean Board, Eugene Goering knew about the development of high oleic soybeans to produce a cooking oil free of trans fats. When a high oleic variety became available in Nebraska this year, he planted all high oleic beans on his farm near Columbus, Neb. As a chef, Sheila Goering put the high oleic cooking oil to the test, and she’s pleased with its performance in the kitchen.

The Goering’s have a unique perspective on the benefits of high oleic soybeans to farmers and consumers. Eugene Goering shared his thoughts recently as he harvested his soybeans.

“I went in with both feet,” said Goering. “Agronomically they grow the same as conventional soybeans with yields that are supposed to be comparable to the elite varieties. This is our first harvest of high oleic soybeans and we’re seeing very good yields.”

Goering will receive a 50-cent-per-bushel premium when he sells his soybeans. He says in this low-price market the premium is a big help. But he believes the long-term benefit to farmers will be in recapturing a share of the cooking oil market lost due to health concerns over trans fats.

Sheila Goering is already sold on the benefits of the high oleic oil she uses to cook and bake at Traditions Inn in Columbus.

“You don’t taste the oil,” she said. “It’s very light and blends well in salad dressings. The oil performs very well in the high heat of deep fat fryers, making clean-up much easier. And it’s a very healthy oil with no trans fats.”

Research at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, funded by the Nebraska Soybean Board through the soybean checkoff, helped lead to the development of high oleic soybeans. The next step is to increase the supply of high oleic soybeans so oil production can grow to meet anticipated consumer demand. The United Soybean Board has set a goal of planting18 million acres nationwide by 2023.

“I think it’s going to be really good for the industry as we gain a greater share of the food oil market,” said Eugene Goering. “It’s great for farmers in Nebraska and across the country. I’d encourage other producers to consider it.”

Farmers interested in growing high oleic soybeans should talk with their seed dealers about availability.

Cattle producers invited to 2016 Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit

Cattle producers and friends of the industry are invited to attend the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit and Political Action Committee (PAC) fundraiser on December 9 and 10. The events will be held at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center in Ames. Interested attendees may register online at or call 515-296-2266.

Cattlemen’s Night Out PAC Fundraiser
The Cattlemen’s Night Out PAC fundraiser on Friday, December 9 at 5:30 will feature a New York Strip Steak dinner and update on federal agriculture policy from Jacqui Fatka, Iowa native and policy editor for Feedstuffs and Farm Futures. Fatka will provide valuable insight on environmental regulations including WOTUS, international trade agreements and immigration. Tickets for the dinner are $50 and proceeds will go towards candidates who support agriculture.

Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit
Saturday, December 10 from 8:30 to 5:00 will be the inaugural Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit. This free event is similar to past Iowa Cattle Industry Conventions. A complimentary lunch will be served, featuring the 2016 Iowa’s Best Burger from the Chuckwagon Restaurant in Adair.

Alan Feirer, Group Dynamic, will be the keynote speaker, focusing on communication and collaboration strategies. Breakout sessions will build upon that theme and include ways county cattlemen’s organizations can work more closely with the state organization. There will also be a breakout session devoted to social media and advocating for agriculture.

The day will also include the annual meeting of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, the beef checkoff.

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Policy Meetings
Throughout the day, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will hold their policy committee meetings and annual meeting. These meetings are open to any members of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and will determine the priorities for the association for 2017.

Anticipated policy topics include the Conservation Reserve Program, market volatility, foreign animal disease preparedness, protecting Iowa’s fence law, the green and gold tag preconditioning programs, and specific uses for the new state beef checkoff, if the referendum passes. Members who would like to provide their input should plan to attend.

“State of the Cattle Industry” Panel
A “State of the Industry” panel in the afternoon will dissect the current challenges Iowa’s cattle industry is facing and provide an outlook into the future. Dr. Phil Reemtsma, current ICA president and veterinarian from DeWitt, will join Cassie Fish, market analyst, and John Hinners from the US Meat Export Federation in the panel discussion.

Cattle Industry Awards
Cattlemen and women from across the state will be honored with a variety of awards throughout the day. Award winners include:
-Iowa Commercial Producer of the Year: Lyle and Linda Kenobbie, Greenville
-Hall of Fame: Kent Pruismann, Rock Valley
-Environmental Stewardship Award: AJ & Kellie Blair, Dayton
-Iowa Beef Quality Assurance Feedyard Award - Rock River Feeders, Kent Prusimann, Rock Valley
-Iowa Beef Quality Assurance Cow-Calf Award - Mosher Angus Farms, Liscomb
-Iowa Beef Quality Assurance Educator Award - Dr. Beth Doran, Orange City
-Retiring Iowa Cattlemen’s Directors
    -Richard Nelson, Emmetsburg
    -Tom Hiler, Rockwell City
    -David Rueber, Luxembourg
    -Brian Wilson, Monroe
    -Ed Lehman, Summit Livestock
    -Ed Greiman, Garner

President-elect Mike Cline, Elgin, will be sworn in as the new Iowa Cattlemen’s Association president. Allamakee, Black Hawk, Howard, Sioux & Union County Cattlemen’s Associations will be honored for their membership recruitment efforts.

For more information or to register, visit or call 515-296-2266.

Attend ISA Research Conference Feb. 7-8 in Des Moines

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) is challenging farmers to realize “There’s more to your field than yield” at the ISA Research Conference to be held Feb. 7-8 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

Farmers, landowners and agronomists will gain valuable information on agronomic and environmental practices to help make informed decisions. Registration is open now at 

“Each year, ISA organizes a research conference to help farmers find new ways to improve their operations,” said ISA President Rolland Schnell of Newton. “Many farmers have seen excellent yields during the past few years, but sustaining those yields won’t be possible without a conscious look at production research, environmental practices and data usage.

“I’ve always come home with good sound research-backed information to apply in my operation,” Schnell added. “Every farmer, whether they farm 100 or 10,000 acres, will take home tangible information to help make the most of every acre.”

The conference opens Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. with a mega issues discussion. Steve Bruere, Peoples Company; Matt Darr, Iowa State University; and Kraig McPeek, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will empower attendees to leverage the value of improved landowner-operator relationships, on-farm data and monarch and pollinator habitat developments. Tips for gaining the upper hand on weed management by reducing herbicide resistance and effectively using new chemistries also will be explored by Amy Asmus of Asmus Farm Supply.

More than 30 breakout sessions will take place on the second day of the conference highlighting topics including soil and water quality, on-farm research results, pest and weed management, crop health, cover crops, conservation drainage and technology. To better serve attendees, this year's conference will offer shorter sessions repeated more often.

“Farmers attending this premier research conference will learn about on-farm production and conservation research that will benefit their farming operations immediately and in the future,” said Ed Anderson, ISA senior director of supply and production systems. “At ISA, everything we do is intended to increase the competitiveness of Iowa’s soybean farmers through engagement and continuous improvement of productivity, profitability and sustainability.”

Registration prior to Jan. 10 is $150 for the conference; $175 after Jan. 10. Individual day prices also are available. Certified crop advisers will be eligible to receive credit for sessions attended.

For additional event information or to register, visit or call 800-383-1423.

Follow ISA on Twitter @IowaSoybeans or search #ISARC17.

The ISA Research Conference is made possible by the support of our sponsors. Supporters include ASGROW, BASF, Farm Credit Services of America, Bayer, Aeroptic, AgriDrain Corporation, Ecosystem Services Exchange, Hertz Farm Management, West Bank, Iowa Soybean Research Center, Midwest Labs and Timewell Drainage Products.

ASA Participates in Soy Transportation Coalition Meeting, Hayden Elected Chairman

The Soy Transportation Coalition (STC) held a meeting in Williamsburg, Va. this week to conduct organizational business and visit key transportation components in the region.  American Soybean Association (ASA) Directors Gerry Hayden (KY) and Ken Boswell (NE) attended the meeting, along with ASA Washington staff and numerous soybean farmers and state soybean staff.  At the meeting, Hayden of was elected to serve as the next chairman of the STC.

Boswell and ASA Washington staff provided an update to the STC on the outlook on federal transportation issues in 2017, including discussion on the potential for significant infrastructure initiatives that have been proposed by President-elect Donald Trump.  In addition the group heard from Sharon Clark, vice president of Perdue Agribusiness, on their operations and transportation issues, which are primarily focused in the mid-Atlantic and Eastern United States.

Other topics and activities included a discussion of alternative financing approaches for dredging on the lower Mississippi River, a visit to Norfolk Southern Railway and the Port of Virginia.

 Proposed Tax Regulation Threaten Multigenerational Cattle Operations

The Internal Revenue Service hosted a public hearing today on a Department of Treasury proposed rule that would eliminate or greatly reduce available valuation discounts for family-related entities. Kevin Kester, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association vice president, said the regulation would effectively discourage families from continuing to operate or grow their businesses and passing them on to future generations.

Many cattle operations are family-owned small businesses, facing the same concerns as other small-businesses - making payroll, complying with numerous federal and state regulations, and paying bills, loans, and taxes. However, cattle producers face a number of unique challenges specific to agriculture.

“Ranching is a debt-intensive business, making the U.S. livestock industry especially vulnerable to the estate tax,” said Kester. “Beef producers largely operate an asset-rich, cash-poor business model: a cattleman’s biggest asset is his land. In the event of the death of a principal family member, illiquid assets are often sold in order to meet the costs associated with the estate tax.  As a result, many families are unable to keep their estates intact.”

For more than two decades, livestock producers have utilized legitimate valuation discounts as a means of maintaining family ownership. These discounts, which accurately reflect the actual market value of minority ownerships in closely-held businesses, reduce the tax burden at death allowing agricultural operations to maintain family ownership from one generation of producers to the next.

“Should the discounts be eliminated, a significant number of farmers and ranchers will face an even greater tax burden during the difficult task of transferring minority interests to the next generation,” said Kester. “Having dealt with the death tax on multiple occasions, I can assure you that it’s not easy to settle the estate of a loved one while coping with the loss of that loved one. To add insult to injury, the proposed rule will upend succession plans, halt planned expansion and growth, and require a majority of livestock operations to liquidate assets in order to simply survive from one generation to the next.”

The proposed regulations under Section 2704 will have a profoundly negative impact on the business climate for farmers and ranchers, ultimately dis-incentivizing a new generation of cattle producers from carrying on the family business. For that reason, NCBA calls for the IRS to formally withdraw the proposed rule.

USDA Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.28 million tons (176 million bushels) in October 2016, compared to 4.15 million tons (138 million bushels) in September 2016 and 5.10 million tons (170 million bushels) in October 2015. Crude oil produced was 2.03 billion pounds up 25 percent from September 2016 and up 3 percent from October 2015. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.54 billion pounds during October 2016 increased 13 percent from September 2016 but decreased 2 percent from October 2015.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 215 thousand tons in October 2016, compared to 213 thousand tons in September 2016 and 99 thousand tons in October 2015. Canola crude oil produced was 179 million pounds down 2 percent from September 2016 but up 119 percent from October 2015. Canola once refined oil production at 169 million pounds during October 2016 was down 3 percent from September 2016 but up 104 percent from October 2015. Cottonseed once refined oil production at 49.9 million pounds during October 2016 was up 34 percent from September 2016 and up 3 percent from October 2015.

Edible tallow production was 67.3 million pounds during October 2016, down 2 percent from September 2016 and down 19 percent from October 2015. Inedible tallow production was 284 million pounds during October 2016, down 9 percent from September 2016 but up 3 percent from October 2015. Technical tallow production was 110 million pounds during October 2016, up 6 percent from September 2016 and up 33 percent from October 2015. Choice white grease production at 116 million pounds during October 2016 increased 4 percent from September 2016 and increased 2 percent from October 2015.

Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 507 million bushels in October 2016. Total corn consumption was up 5 percent from September 2016 and up 3 percent from October 2015. October 2016 usage included 91.6 percent for alcohol and 8.4 percent for other purposes. Corn for beverage alcohol totaled 3.18 million bushels, up 14 percent from September 2016 and up 23 percent from October 2015. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 455 million bushels, was up 5 percent from September 2016 and up 3 percent from October 2015. Corn consumed in October 2016 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 89.4 percent and 10.6 percent respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.93 million tons during October 2016, down 2 percent from September 2016 but up slightly from October 2015. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.28 million tons in October 2016, up 8 percent from September 2016 but down 5 percent from October 2015.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 343 thousand tons during October 2016, up 5 percent from September 2016 and up 5 percent from October 2015. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 301 thousand tons in October 2016, down 1 percent from September 2016 but up 1 percent from October 2015.

RFS is Working, Driving Innovation and Growth in Cellulosic Fuels

Today, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss two Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In response, Growth Energy CEO, Emily Skor, issued the following statement:

“The GAO reports discussed today do not shed any new light on the RFS. It is our country’s most successful energy and climate policy that strengthens our nation’s energy security, while also reducing harmful emissions.

“Corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 34 percent compared to conventional gasoline while saving consumers money at the pump, displacing toxic additives found in gasoline, creating American jobs and adding high-performance octane to the country’s fuel supply. Ethanol producers have shown time and time again that they are capable of meeting the goals for conventional biofuel production under the RFS.

“The goals laid out by the RFS are ambitious, especially in regards to next generation biofuels. It is difficult to predict the timing of new technology, and adding to that is the economic, administrative and congressional uncertainty that have contributed significantly to the projections made in these GAO reports. EPA’s recent decision to set the 2017 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for conventional biofuels to the statutory level of 15 billion gallons is a great first step in creating certainty for the industry.

“The ethanol industry is a shining example of American innovation and ingenuity. We now see our first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants bringing advanced biofuels to the market. These are technological advancements that would not have happened without the goals laid out under the RFS. Policymakers can help further spur this progress by continuing to let the RFS program work as intended.

“Lastly, EPA has the multiple, very explicit authorities to adjust the levels of advanced and cellulosic biofuels called for under the RFS, some of which have been used multiple times. To suggest that the policy needs to be changed to accomplish these reductions in advanced and cellulosic biofuels simply ignores that the policy already has these mechanisms in place.”

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for December 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) today announced interest rates for December 2016. The CCC borrowing rate-based charge for December is 0.750 percent, up from 0.625 percent in November.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during December is 1.750 percent, up from 1.625 percent in November.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for December are as follows, 1.125 percent with three-year loan terms, up from 1.000 percent in November; 1.375 percent with five-year loan terms, up from 1.250 percent in November; 1.750 percent with seven-year loan terms, up from 1.500 percent in November; 2.000 percent with 10-year loan terms, up from 1.750 percent in November and; 2.000 percent with 12-year loan terms, up from 1.750 percent in November.

Biodiesel Leaders Take Jobs, Energy Security Message to D.C.

Nearly three dozen biodiesel leaders from Kansas to Rhode Island took to the halls of Congress this week to champion America’s Advanced Biofuel.

“We have a great message to share with our elected officials. Biodiesel is working today to support jobs, diversify our fuel options and support American energy security,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO, Donnell Rehagen. “We want our messages and our success story to be top of mind now and when any tax extenders or reform is considered.”

Biodiesel is a true American success and innovation story. The U.S. market has grown by nearly 2 billion gallons in the last ten years, bringing with it support for nearly 48,000 jobs and $1.9 billion in wages across the country.

“We want to do all we can to ensure our elected leaders know the decisions they make in D.C. make a difference in our back yards and our communities across the nation. Effective federal policy has helped level the playing field for our relatively new product. This is about so much more than a standard or tax code. It’s about real people, making a real difference to bring jobs and economic growth all while supporting clean air and renewable fuel options,” Rehagen explained. 

The group was specifically championing a call to extend the biodiesel tax incentive and move it from a blender’s tax credit to a producer’s tax credit. The current blender’s credit is slated to expire December 31, 2016. Proposed legislation in the House and Senate (HR 5240, S 3188) has strong bi-partisan support and would adjust the credit to support domestic production over imports.

U.S. biodiesel producers have more than 1.5 billion gallons of unused production capacity that stands ready to be utilized under the right policy framework. Mobilizing that capacity would create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.

Under the current “blender’s” structure of the incentive, foreign biodiesel imported to the U.S. and blended with petroleum diesel in the U.S. is eligible for the tax incentive. Increasingly, foreign biodiesel producers are taking advantage of the U.S. incentive by shipping their product here. In 2015 alone, some 670 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel were imported to the U.S., making up nearly a third of the U.S. market.

 Soil Health Institute, Datu Research receive grant to evaluate economic impact of soil health practices

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research today announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify the economic risks and rewards of soil health management systems used in farming.  Management practices that improve soil health can increase resilience to drought, improve water quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance sustainability.  However, quantifying the economic impact of such practices is key for increasing farmer adoption, and such impacts are largely not yet quantified.

SHI will conduct a systematic review of scientific literature that evaluates economic risk and yield impacts of soil health-promoting practices, such as no-till, zone tillage, reduced tillage, cover crops, crop rotation, manure/biosolid application, and other management practices. SHI will curate this data and conduct a comprehensive analysis to determine how such factors as climatic zone, soil properties, cropping system and management practices influence soil health and economic risk relationships.  Datu Research LLC, Durham, NC, will conduct focus groups to learn what risks farmers perceive in adopting cover crops, then collect actual budget data from cover crop adopters to compare perceived versus actual risks.

"Economics is a primary driver influencing adoption of soil health-promoting practices and systems. Consequently, to realize the environmental and resilience benefits of soil health management systems, the economics of such practices must be assessed, demonstrated and communicated," explains Wayne Honeycutt, Ph.D., SHI president and CEO.  "This generous grant from the Walton Family Foundation will allow us to assess and communicate how soil health management systems influence farmers' investment risk. We believe it's important to summarize the nation's research, viewing the results objectively from a business perspective," said Honeycutt.

"We want to be sure that farmers have the evidence-based information they need in making their management decisions," added Marcy Lowe, Datu CEO. Following data curation and analysis, SHI and Datu will develop fact sheets to distribute project findings to farmers through numerous public and private partners.

"The Soil Health Institute consists of a broad collaboration of agricultural and environmental leaders that was created to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement," Honeycutt said. "Studies show that increasing soil organic carbon can significantly enhance resilience of our soils, cropping systems and grazing systems to both drought and heavy precipitation. Unfortunately, most of our cultivated soils have lost approximately 20-40% of their native organic carbon, thereby increasing crop vulnerability to extreme weather events like drought. The Walton Family Foundation grant will allow us to pull the scientific evidence together and discern which management systems work best for both our agricultural producers and our environment as a whole. The on-farm surveys conducted by our partner, Datu Research, will provide much needed ground-truthing of real world economics as experienced by farmers. Collectively, this will give us a fairly complete picture of how soil health practices impact farmers' economic risk."

For continuing information, please visit and

USDA Proposes Revisions to Nutritional Fact Panel for Meat and Poultry Products

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today proposed a critical step in ensuring that consumers have updated nutritional information for meat and poultry products, helping Americans make better informed decisions when purchasing meat and poultry products.

FSIS is proposing to amend the nutrition labeling regulations for meat and poultry products to parallel the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) final nutrition regulations, which were published on May 27, 2016. The proposed rule will improve the presentation of nutrition information to assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices.

"This new rule will provide more transparency on nutrition labels so that American consumers can make informed decisions about the foods they eat and feed their families," said Alfred Almanza, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA. "The new nutrition facts panel will complement the many other proactive, prevention-based food policies that we've put in place in recent years."

Specifically, FSIS is proposing to:
-    Update the list of nutrients that are required or permitted to be declared;
-    Provide updated Daily Reference Values (DRVs) and Reference Daily Intake (RDI) values that are based on current dietary recommendations from consensus reports;
-    Amend the labeling requirements for foods represented or purported to be specifically for children under the age of 4 years and pregnant women and lactating women and establish nutrient reference values specifically for these population subgroups;
-    Revise the format and appearance of the Nutrition Facts label;
-    Amend the definition of a single-serving container;
-    Require dual-column labeling for certain containers;
-    Update and modify several reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs or reference amounts); and
-    Consolidate the nutrition labeling regulations for meat and poultry products into a new Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part.

The proposal may be viewed on the FSIS website at FSIS is seeking public comment for 60 days from the publication date. Comments may be submitted: online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal; by mail to the Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700; or by hand at Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E Street SW., Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

Soy Growers Support Expanded Enlist Duo Registration

The American Soybean Association (ASA) filed comments with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supporting the addition of 19 states for Enlist Duo registration. The herbicide is already registered in 15 states.

“ASA has provided comments on this registration previously and our position is unchanged: there is a critical need for new technology to address the problem of glyphosate-resistant and hard to control weeds. This product helps to meet that need: Enlist Duo, when used with Enlist Duo herbicide, enables reduced tillage systems to be successful,” ASA President Richard Wilkins wrote. “We agree with the Agency’s conclusion that, the pairing of two well-established herbicides into a systems approach with a GE crop will allow growers and applicators the opportunity to control many weeds in a way which fulfills the important principle of using multiple mechanisms of action, which the weed science community has been touting for many years.”

With this approval, Enlist Duo will be approved in 34 states, where the vast majority of soybeans are grown: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

 Liquid Formulation Valor® EZ Herbicide Available for 2017

Valent U.S.A. Corporation announced today the release of Valor® EZ; a liquid formulation of the company's leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide1 for its easy-to-mix, in-tank suspension properties, Valor EZ is an ideal residual partner for the Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System.

With its easy mixing and loading and great suspensibility, Valor EZ helps provide growers a residual herbicide that is easy to use at all stages of the application process.

"The liquid formulation of Valor EZ makes the mixing process easier and more effective for growers and applicators by eliminating the pre-slurry step," said Dr. John Pawlak, senior product development manager at Valent. "Better mixing will ensure a more even application, and less unmixed material in the spray equipment."

Available for the 2017 growing season for use on soybeans and cotton, Valor EZ provides residual protection against a broad spectrum of weeds, including tough-to-control waterhemp and Palmer amaranth, for four to six weeks.

And for the first time ever, Valent will offer increased grower incentives on the Valor EZ formulation for the 2017 growing season when used in next generation seed systems such as the Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System and with PhytoGen® Enlist™ varieties. Valent is offering a $6 per acre incentive on qualified purchases.  Additionally, financing options will be available through John Deere Financial2.

"An application of an effective preemergence herbicide, like Valor EZ, lays a strong residual foundation in a next generation soybean or cotton system," said Eric Miller, marketing manager with Valent. "Valor EZ offers soybean and cotton growers a win-win solution by maximizing the effectiveness of their crop management systems, while still enabling them to effectively manage their finances through Valent's expanded grower programs."

To protect soybeans and cotton during the most crucial stages of development and to manage weed resistance, Valent recommends proactive herbicide stewardship, including using multiple effective modes of action, crop rotation and applications at full labeled rates.

Wednesday November 30 Ag News

CVA Announces New Board of Directors

Central Valley Ag Cooperative (CVA) recently hosted their Annual Meeting for member-owners to review the fiscal year, and to announce the new elected members of their Board of Directors. CVA relies on it’s Board of Directors to position CVA for future success and profitability for member-owners. The CVA Board of Directors is made up of local, agricultural producers who are recognized for their industry expertise, as well as economic and community development skills. CVA member-owners elected the following individuals to represent their voice on the board; Ryan Crumly – Region 1, Kurt Thoene – Region 2, Paul Jarecke – Region 3, Neal Bracht – Region 4, Jeff Berggren – Region 5 and Doug Moon – Region 6.

“I would like to congratulate our newly elected board of director members, we believe that the Cooperative business model requires a balanced approach and our board plays an integral role in CVA’s performance,” said Dave Beckman, Chairman of the Board of Directors for CVA. “In addition to congratulating our newly elected members, I would like to thank our departing board of director members Rod Heiss, Byron Neinhueser and Mike Bergen for their dedication to CVA over the years.”

At the meeting, CVA reported $15.04 Million in Local Net Profit, $27.3 Million in Total Profit and returned $8.0 Million in patronage to member-owners with 50% paid in cash and the balance in Non-Qualified Equity. Over the 2016 fiscal year $8.1 Million was paid out in cash patronage, equity redemptions, and estates. The amount paid out in cash to CVA member-owners now stands at $62.6 Million over the past five years. Not only is the cash received as a benefit for member-owners; $40.7 Million was reinvested in assets to improve speed, space, and efficiency in 2016. CVA has now spent $213.8 Million over the past five years in assets to better serve its member-owners.

“The Cooperative model continues to perform well and these results could not have been obtained without an outstanding group of employees and the support of our member-owners,” said Beckman.

CVA Fullerton Opens New Doors

This Harvest has been extra busy for Central Valley Ag employees in Fullerton, Nebraska. Not just because this harvest brought in 1.9 million bushels of corn, 630,000 bushels of beans and 27,000 bushels of milo to the location but right amidst soybean harvest the Fullerton employees were making a move to their new office and upgrading the facility’s scale.

CVA Fullerton New ScaleConstruction of the new office and installation of the new scale began on April 1, 2016, and finished up at the end of September. The new scale is ten-foot longer and two foot wider than the old one, which allows it to better service equipment. This upgrade has come as a welcome asset by both employees and customers. In addition to the new scale, employees also have a new office with approximately double the square footage of their old space. The expansion in Fullerton will allow more room for employees from the Clarks CVA location who will now office in Fullerton during the Fall and Winter months, after Clarks recently made the transition to a seasonal location.

“I feel this office will allow us to expand our offerings to customers, as far as CVA’s specialty areas – ProEdge and ACS, before this we didn’t have the room or the capabilities to offer these services,” said Brian Dubas, CVA Fullerton Location Manager. “Also having more space to house the Clarks employees here in Fullerton during harvest now that Clarks is only open during the growing season is a great benefit.” Overall Dubas seems excited about the recent change and is happy with the direction CVA is taking, “I believe the improvements that CVA has made throughout the company, including our location, is a testament to their willingness to improve facilities for their customers and employees needs.”

On November 23, 2016, an Open House was held so customers could tour the new office and learn about the benefits the new facility will bring. Over the past fiscal year, $40.7 Million was reinvested in assets across the CVA territory to improve speed, space, and efficiency. CVA has now spent $213.8 million over the past five years in assets to better serve its member-owners.

“This new office is something we’ve had in the works for a couple of years,” said Brent Reichmuth, CVA Region 3 Operations Manager. “Construction got started a little late with the weather that we encountered in the spring, which made for an extra stressful bean harvest for the Fullerton employees. The employees worked hard to continue assisting customers throughout the move, and once situated harvest went really well. I look forward to seeing the benefits this new office will bring to the area, the addition turned out great and proves that CVA will continue to provide services to the Fullerton area for a long, long time.”

Extending the Grazing Season for Cow Herds

Steve Tonn, NE Extension Educator – Beef Systems, Washington County Extension

Feed costs represent the major cost in most cow calf production systems.  An analysis of 225 Standardized Performance Analysis (SPA) Beef Cow Records on herds in Illinois and Iowa showed that feed cost was the overriding factor determining profitability, explaining over 57 percent of the herd-herd variation.  Typically the cost of supplying nutrients to cows is much greater using harvested feedstuffs as opposed to grazing pastures, cover crops, or crop residues.  Usually savings can be at least $1 per head per day for grazing compared to feeding harvested forages.  Providing grazable forage, in a cost-effective manner to the cow, for as many days of the year as possible should be the goal of cow calf producers.

Several strategies can be used to supply forage into the fall or early winter and effectively extend the grazing season by 60 to 90 days, thus reducing the need for stored feeds.  These strategies can be categorized into three major groups: 1) stockpiling (conserving forages in late summer for use in the fall and winter,  2) utilizing forage crops that continue to grow into the fall and early winter or 3) utilizing crop residues.


Stockpiled forage is forage that is allowed to grow and accumulate for use at a later time.  We are used to stockpiling silage but stockpiling forage for later grazing may be a new concept to many.

Tall fescue is well suited for stockpiling.  The one drawback to tall fescue is that it may contain the endophyte fungus which reduces cattle performance.  Cattle consuming endophyte infected tall fescue have reduced weight gains, lower milk production and and/or health problems.  However some research shows that stockpiling may help to reduce the toxicity of endophyte-infected tall fescue.  Tall fescue can be tested to determine the percent of endophyte infected plants.  Also there are endophyte free tall fescue varieties that can be planted.  If tall fescue is going to be stockpiled, then don’t graze it from August to early October.  To produce a high yielding, high quality stockpile, the pasture should be clipped fairly short and fertilized with 40-80 pounds of nitrogen in early to mid-August if there is sufficient moisture.  Smooth brome is also a candidate for stockpiling.  It should be managed in a similar manner as tall fescue.  Smooth brome is not as productive as tall fescue.   Fertilizing with 25-30 pounds of nitrogen per acre in early to mid-August is recommended if soil moisture is available.

Summer annuals such as sudan, sorghum sudan hybrids, pearl millet and others can work as stockpiled forages.  These summer annual grasses make acceptable winter pasture for beef cows. The quality of this feed will be higher if planting is delayed so that the crop does not reach maturity before frost. Tonnage of dry matter per acre will be lower, but protein content of the forage will be higher. Less lodging should occur if frost catches the crop prior to the flowering stage of maturity compared to later stages of maturity.  High nitrate levels can be an issue with sudan and sorghum sudan hybrids.   Swath the forages in early fall and if the windrows are to be grazed through the winter, make the windrows high and dense to reduce weathering loss.  Strip or swath grazing will allow for more efficient utilization.  See the NebGuide Windrow Grazing G1616 for more information.

Fall Growing Forages

Tall fescue and smooth brome are fall growing forages which provide the opportunity to extend the grazing season.  Both of these forages respond to fertilization in early August if soil moisture is adequate.  These grasses can especially be well suited for use with weaning calves.

Winter cover crops on corn and soybean acres are a natural fit for crop-and-beef producers.  The winter cover, which can be grasses (cereal rye, wheat, oats, triticale), legumes, brassicas (turnips, radish, rape, and collards) or a mix, offers extended grazing into the winter for cows and stocker calves.

Cover crops added to a cropping system can complicate management. The crops must be seeded early enough to get a good start on growth before winter.  Planting between August 10th and September 10th in Nebraska can result in 1 to 2 tons of dry matter of high quality forage.  Adequate rainfall or moisture in the fall for crop emergence and growth is a critical factor.  Cover crops work the best after corn silage harvest or wheat harvest.  However if conditions are right they can also be sown in corn and soybean fields.  This may mean aerial seeding into the soybeans or corn.  Another consideration would be to use earlier maturing corn and soybean varieties. Don’t make it too complicated.  Try a cover crop that gives you a good chance for success. Check out the Nebraska Extension beef web site ( or the cropwatch web site ( for information on UNL research with cover crops.

Crop Residues

Most if not all Eastern Nebraska cow calf producers graze their cows on corn stalks.  But are we utilizing them to their optimum benefit?  Data from the University of Missouri Systems Research Center shows that harvesting efficiency of corn stalks with whole field grazing is typically about 30 to 40 percent.  Only about a third of the feed available when the cows went into the field is utilized.  The rest is fouled or trampled.

Utilizing strip-grazing can extend grazing time and make the quality of the diet more uniform over the grazing period.  By limiting access to only a small portion of the field, the cattle are forced to consume residual corn and both the high-and-low quality forage components of the residue.

What is the potential for utilizing other corn stalk fields?  Do you have neighbors whose corn stalks are not being grazed?  Can you extend your grazing season by renting more corn stalks?  Nebraska Extension has a spreadsheet called the Corn Stalk Calculator that can be a very good tool for calculating stocking rate and rental rates.  The Corn Stalk Calculator can be found on the UNL Beef Web Site   click on learning modules and scroll down to Corn Stalk Calculator.

Dormant alfalfa also offers the opportunity to extend the fall grazing season.  Grazing the regrowth of alfalfa hay fields after cold weather has ensured dormancy is an excellent option.  Usually 2 to 3 days of successive evening temperatures in the 24-27 degree range should be experienced before grazing alfalfa.  Bloat should be less of a problem when grazing frosted alfalfa.  It is important to graze early enough to utilize the forage while still in a leafy palatable state.  An added benefit to fall grazing is that research and farmer experience indicates a reduction in alfalfa weevil populations the following spring.

Select the forages that fit into your farming system.  Extending the grazing season and reducing the amount of harvested forages fed to your cows will make your operation more cost efficient.  There are some excellent research based publications and articles on the internet on extending the grazing season.  Search the internet for extending the grazing season or cover crops for grazing.

So what do you need to extend the grazing season next fall?

1.     Forage in the field:  Begin planning now how you will grow forage for your cow herd to utilize later into the fall and winter.  Learn how to inventory standing feed.

2.     Control of livestock: Acquire and learn how to use high-quality fencing materials.  Allocating feed for short grazing periods permits one to increase harvesting efficiency and increase carrying capacity.

3.     Cows that know how to “work”: Don’t be swayed by “Sad Brown Eye Syndrome” or the vocal complaints of your cows.  Livestock are tough and can learn to graze for a living.

4.     Positive attitude:  A skeptical approach to fall and winter grazing on your part will virtually assure that it will “fail” for you.  Don’t make it too complicated.  Try something that gives you a good chance to succeed.


The 2016 Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo on Dec. 15 will assist soybean producers in planning for next year's growing season.

The expo, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., will be in the pavilion at the Saunders County Fairgrounds, 635 W. First St. in Wahoo.

Presenters include University of Nebraska researchers and specialists, Nebraska Soybean Checkoff representatives, soybean growers and private industry representatives.

> Jason Norsworthy, a weed scientist at the University of Arkansas, will discuss the current status of herbicide resistance in the United States with specific detail given to the extent of the problem in Nebraska cropping systems. Norsworthy will outline reasons for the development of herbicide resistance and provide strategies for growers to maximize weed control and protect against further resistance.

> Roger Hoy, director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory, will discuss large equipment, tires and compaction.

> Loren Geisler, Nebraska Extension plant pathologist, will provide the latest on management of soybean sudden death syndrome.

> Cory Walters, assistant professor and grain and oilseed economist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will discuss marketing for soybean and corn crops.

The expo also will include an update on the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff and association information.

Producers will be able to visit with representatives from seed, herbicide, fertilizer and equipment companies and view new farm equipment during a 30-minute break at 9:45 a.m.

A complimentary lunch will be served at noon. The Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization requests that each participant donate one or more cans of nonperishable food to the food pantry.

Registration is available the day of the expo at the door. There is no registration fee.

For more information about the program or exhibitor information, visit, call 800-529-8030 or e-mail 

The program is sponsored by Nebraska Extension, the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff, Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization and private industry.

Farm Sector Weakness To Continue Into 2016

Net cash farm income is forecast at $90.1 billion and net farm income at $66.9 billion for 2016, according to USDA's Economic Research Service in a report released today. Both measures are forecast to decline for the third consecutive year after reaching record highs in 2013 for net farm income and 2012 for net cash income. Net cash farm income is expected to fall by 14.6 percent in 2016, while net farm income is forecast to decline by 17.2 percent. These declines follow the 19.8- and 12.7-percent reductions in net cash income and net farm income, respectively, that occurred in 2015.


    Overall, cash receipts are forecast to fall $23.4 billion (6.2 percent) in 2016 due to a $23.4-billion (12.3 percent) drop in animal/animal product receipts; crop receipts are forecast essentially unchanged from 2015. Nearly all major animal specialties—including dairy, meat animals, and poultry/eggs— are forecast to have lower receipts, including a 14.8-percent drop ($11.6 billion) in cattle/calf receipts. The slight gain in crop cash receipts is driven largely by a $5.3-billion increase in oil crop receipts, namely soybeans, while feed crops and vegetables/melons are down $2.2 billion (3.8 percent) and $1.4 billion (6.9 percent), respectively.

    While overall cash receipts are expected to decline, receipts for several commodities—including turkeys, rye, cotton (cotton lint), miscellaneous oil crops, and tobacco—are forecast to rise by 10 percent or more.

    Direct government farm program payments are forecast to increase in 2016 by $2.1 billion, or 19.1 percent, to $12.9 billion. Increases were primarily in price- and revenue-contingent farm programs.

    A 2.6-percent drop in overall production expenses forecast for 2016, on top of an 8.1-percent decline in 2015, partly offsets the forecast decline in cash receipts. Notably, expenses for inputs that typically are produced by the farm sector itself—including feed and livestock/poultry purchases—are expected down (6.1 percent). Also, expenses for fuels and oils are forecast down by 12.2 percent in 2016. If realized, expenses across each of these three categories will have fallen for 3 straight years. Interest expenses are forecast to decline 3.8 percent relative to 2015 due to falling real estate interest expenses. In contrast, cash labor expenses are forecast to increase 5.4 percent due to an increase in hired labor costs.

    The value of total farm sector equity is forecast down by $79.9 billion (3.1 percent) in 2016, due to a rise in farm sector debt and a modest decline in sector assets relative to 2015. The value of real estate, the largest component by far of the asset portfolio, is forecast down by $12.0 billion (0.5 percent). The (inventory) value of crops, animals/animal products, and purchased inputs is forecast down by $17.4 billion (9.3 percent) and the value of machinery/vehicles is expected down $22.7 billion (9.5 percent) from 2015.

    The balance sheet forecast indicates a fourth consecutive year in which farm solvency measures have declined. Liquidity positions have likewise declined, but these indicators of financial health remain near historic lows for the sector as a whole.

    Following the decline in net farm income, the rate of return on farm assets and the rate of return on farm equity are both negative for 2016, and both have declined every year since their recent peaks in 2012.

Value of Agricultural Sector Production Expected To Fall in 2016

The annual value of U.S. agricultural sector production is expected to fall 5.9 percent to $403.7 billion in 2016, almost entirely due to declines in the value of animal/animal product production (see table on value of production). The value of agricultural sector production is composed primarily of crop and livestock cash receipts adjusted for any changes in inventories and home consumption, plus farm-related income, which includes commodity insurance indemnity payments. If realized, the forecast value of crop production ($185.2 billion in 2016) would represent a small increase from 2015, the first year-over-year increase since 2013. The value of U.S. livestock production is forecast to decline 13.3 percent (to $168.6 billion) in 2016 as lower animal and animal product prices are expected to lead to large declines in both livestock receipts and the value of inventory adjustment.

The value of agricultural sector production includes several types of farm-related income in addition to cash receipts, including imputed rental income from farm dwellings and income from machine hire and custom work, forest products sold, net cash rent received, and Federal crop and livestock insurance indemnities. Indemnities received can partially cover losses to insured farmers due to natural disasters and market declines. Wheat (base acres) is the largest recipient (25.2 percent) of 2016 crop-year-to-date Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) indemnities, followed by corn, cotton, and soybeans. Federal commodity insurance indemnities paid in 2016 are expected to decline for the third straight year, decreasing by almost $3 billion from 2015.

Total Crop Receipts Essentially Unchanged in 2016

Crop cash receipts—the cash income from crop sales during the 2016 calendar year—are forecast essentially unchanged in 2016 as prices continue to decline for most field crops. The crop cash receipts forecast of $186.5 billion represents a decline of over 24 percent in inflation-adjusted terms from the all-time high in 2012; for corn receipts, the 2012-16 decline is forecast at about 36 percent, reflecting lower U.S. corn prices. Expected further weakening of corn prices in 2016 more than offsets production gains, leading corn cash receipts to fall by almost $2 billion (4 percent) from 2015. Similarly, wheat receipts have declined since peaking in 2012. Wheat receipts are expected to decline almost $1 billion (10 percent) from 2015 as price declines accompany strong harvests. Increased soybean production is expected to be supplemented by higher prices in 2016, reflecting strong export commitments and indications of higher priced, forward sales. Thus, soybean cash receipts are expected to increase over $5 billion (16 percent) in 2016. Rice receipts are forecast to fall in 2016 while cotton receipts are expected to increase, though they are forecast to remain 30 percent below their 2012 high.

Vegetable and melon cash receipts are expected to fall almost 7 percent ($1.4 billion) in 2016. Dry bean receipts are expected to decline almost 8 percent, while potato receipts are expected to rise 4.8 percent. Cash receipts for fruits and nuts are expected to decline 7.2 percent in 2016. Sugarcane/sugarbeet receipts are expected to rise between 2 and 3 percent in 2016.

Animal/Animal Product Receipts Forecast Sharply Lower in 2016

Animal/animal product cash receipts are expected to fall $23.4 billion (12.3 percent) in 2016. Relative to 2015, prices are expected to fall for almost all major animal and animal product commodities, especially eggs.

Since reaching a record high of $49.4 billion in 2014, milk receipts are forecast to drop $15.4 billion (31.2 percent) over 2015-16 as declining prices continue to outweigh expected increases in milk production. Cash receipts from cattle and calves are also expected to decline in 2016, falling $11.6 billion (almost 15 percent) from 2015 as cattle/calf prices decline. Hog production is expected to continue rising in 2016 as the industry recovers from the porcine epidemic virus (PEDV) in 2014. Hog prices are expected to drop in 2016, leading to a forecast drop in hog cash receipts of nearly 7 percent. While animal and animal product receipts are forecast substantially down, turkeys (up $0.6 billion or 10.6 percent) and miscellaneous livestock (up $0.2 billion or 2.9 percent) are both expected to grow in 2016.

Poultry and egg cash receipts are expected to fall over 18 percent in 2016, due primarily to a decline in egg receipts. HPAI, or "bird flu," resulted in 50.4 million birds being destroyed in 2015, with turkeys and egg laying chickens suffering the largest loss in numbers and driving egg prices to new—if fleeting—highs. The egg-laying industry has returned to normalcy in post-flu 2016, and the greater production levels have resulted in large price declines, with an overall decline in 2016 chicken-egg receipts. Broiler prices are expected to decline in 2016 as production increases, leading to a decline in broiler cash receipts. In contrast, turkey production, prices, and receipts are expected to increase in 2016.

Falling Prices For Most Crops Underlie Forecast Drop in Farm Cash Receipts

Cash receipts across all commodities are expected to fall $23.4 billion (6.2 percent) in 2016. This net impact can be decomposed into a separate 'price effect' that lowers receipts by $41.3 billion and a 'quantity effect' that raises receipts by $17.5 billion (plus a $0.5-billion increase in receipts for minor commodities whose prices could not be differentiated from overall receipts).

We estimate the price effect by holding 2015 quantity sold constant while allowing commodity prices alone to change; thus, cash receipts would be $41.3 billion lower due solely to the 2016 change in price. The largest impact on cash receipts is from cattle and calves, with a nearly $15-billion decline in receipts caused by prices alone. The second largest price effect was also negative, as prices for chicken eggs lowered receipts by another $7 billion.

The quantity effect is calculated for the same commodities by holding prices constant at their 2015 levels and allowing 2015-16 production changes alone to determine cash receipts. Here, the biggest production impact on cash receipts is from soybeans, as record yields associated with the 2016 harvest raise cash receipts by a forecast $6.3 billion. Second was cattle and calves, where production gains would have led to a forecast increase in receipts of over $3 billion had prices not fallen.
Change in farm cash receipts, 2015-2016F, by component of change

Direct Government Farm Payments Forecast To Rise in 2016

Direct government farm program payments are forecast to rise by 19.1 percent in 2016 to $12.9 billion (see table on government payments). The Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) programs are expected to account for 64.4 percent of all program payments. PLC payments in 2015 went to farms with base acres in long-grain rice (51.5 percent), peanuts (41.4 percent), and canola (7.1 percent). In 2016, about 39.2 percent of PLC payments are expected to go to producers with peanut base acres, 35.6 percent to producers with wheat base acres, almost 15 percent to producers with grain sorghum base acres, and the remainder to canola, corn, and oat base acres.

Operators with corn base acres received almost 84 percent of Agriculture Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO) 2015 payments, reflecting both lower corn prices and the large number of corn base acres on which payments are made. Similarly, about 69 percent of 2016 ARC-CO payments are expected to go to producers with corn base acres, 18.5 percent to soybean base producers, and another 10.8 percent to producers with wheat base acres. The forecast increases in 2016 payments reflect expected declines in seasonal average crop prices. USDA payments are scheduled to begin sometime after October 1, 2016, contingent on adjusted gross income, payment limits, and other factors.

Commodity certificates, available beginning with the 2015 crop, allow producers to exchange collateral pledged to CCC for an outstanding, nonrecourse Marketing Assistance Loan (MAL).  The Cotton Ginning Cost-Share (CGCS) program provides one-time cost-share assistance payments to cotton producers with an ownership share in the 2015 cotton crop plantings.  They are capped at $40,000 per individual or entity and do not count against statutory payment limitations under the 2014 Farm Bill.  Finally, a category of Marketing Loan Benefits (MLBs)—composed of Marketing Loan Gains (MLGs), Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs), and the reintroduced Certificate Exchange Gains (CEG)—are forecast to collectively increase due to expected lower prices for upland cotton, wheat, and peanuts.

The Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) is forecast to return $11.3 million to the Federal Government, after netting fees and premiums paid by dairy producer participants from payments issued under the program.  Supplemental and Ad Hoc Disaster Assistance payments are forecast to decline substantially in 2016 due to large expected declines in Livestock Forage Program (LFP), Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), and APHIS Bird Flu payments. Conservation payments—reflecting Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) financial assistance programs—are expected to remain stable.
Government farm program payments to farm producers, 2006-2016F

Production Expenses Forecast Lower in 2016, Led by Reduced Livestock, Fertilizer, and Fuel Costs
After reaching record highs exceeding $390 billion in 2014, farm production expenses are forecast to dip for the second consecutive year in 2016. The expected $9.2-billion (2.6 percent) decline is the second largest year-over-year reduction in expenditures since 2009, behind the $31.7-billion (8.1 percent) decline from 2014 to 2015. Reduced input costs are expected to ease, but not eliminate, some of the pressure from lower cash receipts.

The forecast decline in production expenses is predominantly driven by less spending on livestock/poultry purchases, fertilizer, and fuel, which should more than offset the increased outlays for hired labor and property taxes/fees.

    Livestock and poultry purchases are expected to have the largest decline of any expense in 2016, both in absolute terms ($6.8 billion) and in percentage terms (22.5 percent), due primarily to lower feeder cattle prices.
    A double-digit decline (12.2 percent) in spending on fuels and oils is expected for the second consecutive year, with the U.S. Energy Information Agency expecting diesel and gasoline prices down over 15 percent in 2016.
    Labor costs are forecast to increase in 2016 by 5.4 percent (still slightly below 2014 highs), after dipping in 2015. Wage rate increases are putting upward pressure on hired labor costs.
    Interest expenses are expected to fall 3.8 percent in 2016, with expected declines in real estate interest offset by a modest increase in interest paid on nonreal estate debt.
    Net rent expense—the amount paid to rent land, adjusted for any payouts of the landlord’s share of government payments and/or insurance indemnities and for any expenses paid by the landlords—is forecast to decrease by 1.6 percent to $19.8 billion in 2016. As in recent years, the majority of net rent expense is forecast to be paid to nonoperator landlords (farmland owners who do not themselves farm) as opposed to landlords who are also operators.

Payments to Stakeholders Expected To Increase Slightly in 2016

In 2016, payments to stakeholders are forecast to increase by $1.0 billion (1.5 percent), while net value added is forecast to decline by 9.0 percent (see chart below for inflation-adjusted series trends). Net value added represents the sum of economic returns to all the providers of factors of production. Net value added is distributed among stakeholders who receive a fixed ­payment in return for their services and equity owners who share in the net farm income (profits) of the sector. Stakeholders provide the hired labor, leased capital, and rental land used in agricultural production, but in most cases do not directly share risk in the short term. An exception is landlords who sign operators to share-rent agreements. Consequently, the payments that stakeholders receive can be more stable over time than net farm income received by equity owners.

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Farm Income Forecast for 2016

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the following statement today on the Farm Income and Financial Forecasts for 2016, released by USDA's Economic Research Service.

"Today's forecast continues to show that the health of the overall farm economy is strong in the face of challenging markets. After reaching record highs in 2012-2014, net farm income declined in 2015 and is forecast to decline in 2016, but the bigger picture shows that farm income over the last five-year period reflects the highest average five-year period on record. The comprehensive farm safety net provided by the 2014 Farm Bill will continue to help America's farmers and ranchers respond to market conditions and provide financial stability for producers. Farm Bill program payments are forecast to increase over 19 percent to $12.9 billion in 2016, primarily through Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments.

"As we saw in the August forecast, the estimates again show that debt to asset and debt to equity ratios -- two key indicators of the farm economy's health -- continue to be near all-time lows, and more than 90% of farm businesses are not highly leveraged. Median household income for farming families remains near historic highs and is expected to remain stable relative to 2015. In 2016, higher off-farm earnings are expected to help stabilize losses due to low commodity prices.

"The trend in strong household income reflects work of the Obama Administration since 2009 to make significant and targeted investments to help rural America thrive, including farming and non-farming families alike. At the beginning of the Obama Administration, rural areas were reeling from the Great Recession. Rural counties were losing 200,000 jobs per year, rural unemployment reached nearly 10 percent, and poverty rates reached heights unseen in decades. Over the past eight years, USDA has invested in building a more robust system of production agriculture, expanding foreign markets for U.S. farm goods, bolstering local and regional food systems across the country, and creating a new biobased economy in rural communities that today supports more than 4.2 million American jobs. Rural counties added over 250,000 jobs in both 2014 and 2015, and the rural unemployment rate has dropped below 6 percent for the first time since 2007. Rural populations have stabilized and are beginning to grow. Median household income in rural areas increased by 3.4 percent in 2015, poverty rates have fallen, and child food insecurity is at an all-time low.

"The future of rural America looks much brighter today, but we must continue to focus on the targeted investments to help the rural economy retool itself for the 21st century."

FY 2017 Ag Exports Forecast Up $1.0 Billion at $134.0 Billion; Imports at $112.5 Billion

Fiscal year 2017 agricultural exports are projected at $134.0 billion, up $1.0 billion from the August forecast, largely due to expected increases in dairy and livestock byproduct exports... according to USDA's Economic Research Service in a report released today. While beef and pork forecasts remain unchanged, dairy is forecast $500 million higher at $5.3 billion. Grain and feed exports are forecast up $300 million to $29.6 billion, driven primarily by stronger wheat volumes and unit values as well as by corn volumes, helping to offset expected declines in rice exports. Cotton exports are forecast at $4.4 billion, a $200 million increase, due to a poor harvest in Brazil and production uncertainty in India. Soybean export volumes continue to set records, raising the soybean forecast $500 million, which is countered by expected declines in soybean meal, soybean oil and other oilseed products. Overall, the oilseed and product forecast remains unchanged at $31.0 billion.

Forecasts to China and Mexico received the largest upward adjustments, each increasing $300 million. China continues to be forecast as the top market for fiscal year 2017 at $21.8 billion, followed by Canada ($21.3 billion) and Mexico ($18.3 billion).

U.S. agricultural imports in fiscal year 2017 are forecast at $112.5 billion, down $1.0 billion from the August forecast. Reduced imports of horticultural, sugar, and tropical products are leading the forecast decline. As a result, the U.S. agricultural trade surplus is expected to increase to $21.5 billion in fiscal 2017.

Click here to read the complete report...

Statement by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Latest Quarterly Export Forecast for 2017

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the following statement on the forecast for U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2017.

"U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to rise to the challenge of supplying the world with high-quality, American-grown products. At a projected $134 billion in 2017, U.S. farm exports continue to rally and remain on the record-setting pace of the past eight years. Since 2009, the United States has exported more than $1 trillion in agricultural products, far more than any other period in our history, thanks to the productivity and ingenuity of American farmers and ranchers, aided in part by the work of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service to arrange and support trade missions and of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to break down trade barriers.

"The $134-billion forecast represents an increase of $4.3 billion from 2016 and would be the sixth-highest total on record. U.S. agriculture is once again expected to post a trade surplus, totaling $21.5 billion, up nearly 30 percent from the $16.6 billion surplus in 2016.

"The expected volume of 2017 exports is noteworthy, with bulk commodity exports expected to surpass last year's record levels - led by soybeans at a record 55.8 million metric tons, and corn, up 11 percent from last year, to 56.5 million metric tons. The volume of cotton exports is expected to begin recovering and most livestock and poultry products should see moderate increases in export volume as well.

"Exports are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. farm income, also driving rural economic activity and supporting more than one million American jobs both on and off the farm. Earlier today, USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) released the Farm Income and Financial Forecasts for 2016, demonstrating the strength and resilience of the farm economy in the face of challenging markets, in large part due to the contribution of exports. Over the past eight years, USDA has worked to boost export opportunities for U.S. agricultural products by opening new markets, pursuing new trade agreements, enforcing existing agreements, and breaking down barriers to trade.

"USDA has made support for exports and production agriculture one of the Four Pillars of a 21st century rural economy, along with local and regional food systems, the biobased economy, and conservation and natural resources, and has made significant, targeted investments in these areas. Today's reports showing growing exports and stable farm incomes reflect the strategic, consistent work of the Obama Administration since 2009 to help rural America thrive. We must continue promoting a favorable trade environment for American exports and making targeted investments that drive the rural economy forward to ensure this progress continues."

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/25

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production averaged 1.012 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 42.50 million gallons daily. That is down just 2,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 1.011 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.50 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 18.4 million barrels. That is a 2.7% decrease from last week and the lowest level of stocks in more than a year. Ethanol stocks currently sit at just over 20 days of supply, the lowest implied stocks-to-use since October 2015.

Imports of ethanol were nonexistent for the 14th week in a row.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 381.4 million gallons (9.080 million barrels) daily. Refiner/blender input of ethanol averaged 906,000 b/d.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 11.15%.

RFA Analysis: Automakers Approve E15 in More than 80% of New 2017 Vehicles

More than 80 percent of new 2017 model year (MY) vehicles are explicitly approved by the manufacturer to use 15 percent ethanol blends (E15), according to an analysis of warranty statements and owner’s manuals conducted by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). That is up from last year, when approximately 70 percent of MY2016 vehicles were approved by automakers for the use of E15.

For the first time, Hyundai Motor Company has approved the use of E15 in MY 2017 Hyundai and Kia vehicles, joining the majority of its auto competitors. Together, Hyundai and Kia represent slightly more than 8 percent of the U.S. light-duty automobile market.

In 2012, EPA approved the use of E15 in vehicles built in MY 2001 or later. However, auto manufacturers did not retroactively endorse the use of E15 in legacy vehicles that were already on the road.

Other key points from RFA’s analysis include:
-    The Detroit Three (Chrysler, General Motors and Ford), which collectively represent 45 percent of U.S. market share, all clearly allow E15 in their vehicles. GM started approving the use of E15 with its MY 2012 vehicles, while Ford joined the following year and Chrysler began E15 approval with its MY 2016 vehicles.
-    Other automakers explicitly offering E15 approval for MY 2017 vehicles include Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen Group, and Tata Motors (maker of Land Rover and Jaguar). Altogether, auto manufacturers with approximately 81 percent of the U.S. market share now approve the use of E15 in their MY 2017 vehicles.
-    With 9 percent of the U.S. market share, Nissan Motor Corporation remains the largest vehicle manufacturer that does not explicitly approve E15 in its vehicles. Despite announcing earlier this year that it is developing a vehicle powered by an ethanol fuel cell, the automaker only approves the use of E10 in its vehicles. Curiously, Nissan approves the use of gasoline containing up to 15 percent MTBE, a toxic additive that is banned in more than two dozen states.
-    Mazda, Subaru and The Daimler Group (maker of Mercedes-Benz) also continue to exclude E15 from fuel approvals and warranty statements. Together, these three manufacturers own about 7.5 percent of the U.S. market share.
-    Of note, BMW Group’s Mini vehicles again allow the use of 25 percent ethanol blends. The manufacturer states, “Fuels with a maximum ethanol content of 25 percent, i.e., E10 or E25, may be used for refueling.”
-    While neither automaker approves the use of E15, both Mercedes-Benz and Nissan produce some flex fuel vehicle models that are capable of operating on up to 85 percent ethanol blends (E85).

RFA estimates that approximately 25–30 percent of the 230 million vehicles on the road today are clearly approved by the automaker to use E15. Meanwhile, roughly 90 percent of vehicles on the road were built in 2001 or later, meaning they are legally approved by EPA to use E15.

“This analysis demonstrates that automaker acceptance and approval of E15 continues to expand rapidly,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “More than four out of every five new vehicles carries the manufacturer’s explicit endorsement of E15, putting to rest the myth propagated by the American Petroleum Institute that automakers don’t allow or warranty the use of this lower-cost, higher-octane fuel blend. We applaud Hyundai for joining the ‘E15 Club’ with its model year 2017 vehicles, and we’re thrilled to see Mini going above and beyond to offer E25-compatible vehicles. At the same time, we encourage Nissan, Mazda, Subaru and Daimler to get with the times and offer their customers greater freedom and flexibility when it comes to making a fuel choice at the pump.”

Pig Farmers Encouraged to Pay It Forward with #HamsAcrossAmerica

This Giving Tuesday, the Pork Checkoff is encouraging pig farmers to pay it forward with a new holiday campaign called #HamsAcrossAmerica. This first-annual event encourages farmers and others involved in the pork industry to show their appreciation for friends, family and neighbors through the gift of ham – in the form of gifts or donations of ham or ham-based products.

“For pig farmers, volunteering at community events and participating in local fundraisers has always been a part of what makes us who we are,” said Brad Greenway, 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year who is from Mitchell, South Dakota. “Hams Across America allows farmers to not only live the We CareSM ethical principles, but also share their love of the product that they produce.”

Pig farmers are encouraged to extend Giving Tuesday through Dec. 23 with Hams Across America by simply purchasing a gift of ham and paying it forward. Participants are also encouraged to share their pay-it-forward stories on social media using #RealPigFarming and #HamsAcrossAmerica.

Retail Fertilizer Prices Remain Varied

As has been the case in the last few weeks, retail fertilizer prices continue be mixed the fourth week of November, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

Six of the eight major fertilizers slipped lower compared to a month earlier, and again none of these moves were significant. DAP averaged $436 per ton, MAP $445/ton, 10-34-0 $445/ton, anhydrous $465/ton, UAN28 $218/ton and UAN32 $256/ton.

The remaining two fertilizers were slightly higher in price looking back to a month earlier. Neither fertilizer was up any substantial amount. Potash averaged $316/ton and urea was at $328/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.36/lb.N, anhydrous $0.28/lb.N, UAN28 $0.39/lb.N and UAN32 $0.40/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are now double digits lower.

Urea is now down 17%, both DAP and MAP are 20% less expensive and UAN32 is 21% lower. 10-34-0 is 23% lower, UAN28 is 24% less expensive, potash is 25% lower and anhydrous is 26% less expensive compared to a year prior.

Corn Refiners Association Celebrates Commitment to Community in 2016 Annual Report

As we approach International Volunteers Day on December 5, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) celebrates the commitment of industry employees to their communities by releasing our 2016 Corn Annual: Strengthening the Fabric of Our Nation. The report illustrates the many ways corn refining companies contribute to the vitality, spirit and social fabric of the communities where they operate.

The feeling of connection and spirit of local pride is evident in the ways that the industry gives back to their communities. In the U.S., industry employees volunteered more than 45,000 hours and charitable donations were more than $9 million in 2014.

It’s also heard in the voices that explain the social good brought by the people of the corn refining industry.

“It’s that commitment that they’re making to our community that is, quite honestly, contagious,” says Randy Kuhlman, Chief Executive Officer, Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way. “It not only spreads throughout their employees, but it spreads throughout the community in a number of different ways.”

Beyond philanthropic contributions to their local communities, the corn refining industry helps strengthen the fabric of rural America as a strong, stable part of the economy. For every job directly supported by the corn refining industry, an additional 32.6 jobs are added across the U.S. contributing an additional $12.5 billion in incomes. For every $1 in industry sales, an additional $3.54 is added to the U.S. economy.

“Rural areas continue to experience population loss and higher poverty rates than urban areas. With the majority of our facilities located in the Corn Belt, we take our role in America’s rural communities and agricultural economy very seriously,” says CRA President and CEO John Bode. “You see it in the way our companies value their employees and value the relationships with their communities.”

USDA Partners with Farmers, Ranchers to Protect More Than 500,000 Acres of Working Grasslands

Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept more than 504,000 acres that were offered by producers during the recent ranking period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands enrollment. Through the voluntary CRP Grasslands program, grasslands threatened by development or conversion to row crops are maintained as livestock grazing areas, while providing important conservation benefits.

USDA will accept more than 2,100 offers totaling more than 504,000 acres across 34 states. Over 70 percent of the acres are from beginning farmers, veterans and underserved producers. About two-thirds of the acres are in counties with the highest threat for conversion. Additionally, nearly 60 percent of the acres are in wildlife priority areas and nearly three-fourths of the acres will have a wildlife-focused conservation plan as part of the operation.

“This 15-year commitment on more than half a million acres demonstrates that voluntary, incentive-based conservation methods benefit producers and help to preserve our natural resources,” said Taylor. “Combining conservation and wildlife benefits, while still supporting livestock production, is a clear example of how agriculture and conservation can go hand-in-hand.”

USDA is also reminding producers that it is still accepting additional offers for CRP Grasslands. The current ranking period that closes on Dec. 16, also includes a new CRP Grasslands practice specifically tailored for small-scale livestock grazing operations to encourage broader participation. Small livestock operations with 100 or fewer head of grazing dairy cows (or the equivalent) can submit applications to enroll up to 200 acres of grasslands per farm. USDA’s goal is to enroll up to an additional 200,000 acres. The new practice for small-scale livestock grazing operations encourages greater diversity geographically and in all types of livestock operation. Small livestock operations are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency office to learn more about this program before Dec. 16 to be considered as part of the current ranking period.

Participants in CRP Grasslands establish or maintain long-term, resource-conserving grasses and other plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. CRP Grasslands participants can use the land for livestock production (e.g. grazing or producing hay), while following their conservation and grazing plans in order to maintain the cover. A goal of CRP Grasslands is to minimize conversion of grasslands either to row crops or to non-agricultural uses. Participants can receive annual payments of up to 75 percent of the grazing value of the land and up to 50 percent to fund cover or practices like cross-fencing to support rotational grazing or improving pasture cover to benefit pollinators or other wildlife.

USDA will select offers for enrollment based on six ranking factors: (1) current and future use, (2) new farmer/rancher or underserved producer involvement, (3) maximum grassland preservation, (4) vegetative cover, (5) environmental factors and (6) pollinator habitat. Offers for the second ranking period also will be considered from producers who submitted offers for the first ranking period but were not accepted, as well as from new offers submitted through Dec. 16.

Small livestock operations or other farming and ranching operations interested in participating in CRP Grasslands should contact their local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit To learn more about FSA’s conservation programs, visit

Pilgrim's Pride to Acquire Gold n' Plump for $350 Million

Pilgrim's Pride Corp., a subsidiary of JBS S.A., has announced a definitive agreement to acquire GNP Co. for $350 million in an all-cash transaction.

With production facilities in Gold Spring and Luverne, Minn., and Arcadia, Wis., GNP provides premium branded and custom chicken products with distribution in nearly all 50 states under the Just Bare and Gold'n Plump brands. The company has approximately 400 family farm partners and more than 1,700 employees. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2017 and remains subject to regulatory review and approval and customary closing conditions.

"The Pilgrim's team is excited to combine the collective strengths of Pilgrim's Pride and GNP Co.," said Bill Lovette, chief executive officer of Pilgrim's Pride. "GNP Co. boasts outstanding state-of-the-art assets in geographic areas where Pilgrim's is not currently present, providing Pilgrim's the opportunity to expand our production and customer bases, while maintaining our high standards for quality service and great-tasting products."

Additionally, Pilgrim's Pride plans to leverage GNP's use of innovative technologies, such as gas stunning, aeroscalding and automated deboning, to enhance its production efficiencies. The addition of GNP's Just Bare product lines joins Pilgrim's existing no-antibiotics-ever and organic production capabilities, strengthening the company's footprint in fast-growing and higher-margin chicken segments.

The addition of GNP's Just Bare product lines joins Pilgrim's existing no-antibiotics-ever and organic production capabilities.

The $350 million purchase price reflects an expected EBITDA multiple of 5.2x, excluding potential synergy gains. Pilgrim's expects to achieve approximately $20 million in annualized synergies and to capture an estimated present value of approximately $28 million in tax savings and a post-synergies EBITDA multiple of 3.9x. The company anticipates the acquisition will be accretive to the diluted earnings per share in 2017.

"Today's announcement is a clear demonstration of Pilgrim's commitment to our growth strategy of disciplined acquisitions that enhance both our portfolio of value-added products and our ability to provide key customers with the high quality products demanded by consumers," Lovette said. "We look forward to welcoming GNP Co.'s team members and family farmer partners to the Pilgrim's team as we continue to position Pilgrim's as the preferred choice of consumers and retail and food service partners across the country."

Pilgrim's Pride produces fresh, frozen and fully cooked chicken products under the Pilgrim's and Country Pride brands. It produces fresh, frozen and fully cooked chicken products under the Pilgrim's and Country Pride brands with distribution primarily through retailers and food service distributors. The company operates chicken processing plants and prepared foods facilities in 12 states, Puerto Rico and Mexico, and employs approximately 38,200 people.

Five Myths of Internal Parasite Control

It’s estimated that the cattle industry loses about $3 billion each year in lost weight gains, poor feed conversion and increased disease because of internal parasites.1 With the financial impact and animal welfare concerns on cattle operations, it is important for producers to understand parasite control, as well as the misconceptions about parasite control.

Here are five parasite control myths that might be putting a producer’s management program at risk.

Myth No. 1: All active ingredients in parasite control products have the same efficacy.
There are different active ingredients and different classes of dewormers, which should be used strategically on an operation for effective parasite control, advises Mark Alley, DVM, managing veterinarian with Zoetis.

Products such as DECTOMAX® Pour-On or DECTOMAX® Injectable provide both extended therapy and good efficacy against both adult and inhibited Ostertagia, the brown stomach worm. However, in populations of cattle where Cooperia, Nematodirus or Haemonchus are an issue, white dewormers such as VALBAZEN® Suspension may be a better selection. It is important that a producer has a discussion with his or her veterinarian or animal health provider to determine which is most appropriate.

Myth No. 2: My animals look fine, so I don’t have a parasite resistance problem.
“Parasitologists agree that no dewormer provides 100% effectiveness against parasites,” said Dr. Alley. “We make the assumption that all parasite control products are 100% effective, but even with 50% kill of parasites, producers will see a clinical improvement in the animals.”

Dr. Alley says producers can’t tell visually if there is a resistant parasite problem in the herd. They need to work closely with their veterinarian to diagnose resistant parasites and establish a strategic deworming program.

Myth No. 3: Parasites cannot withstand winter’s cold temperatures.
“It is a mistake to think it gets cold enough to kill parasites over the winter,” Dr. Alley said.

Parasites can simply overwinter in cattle or pastures. While winter may take its toll on many things, studies demonstrate that infective larvae were able to survive on pastures during winter months.2,3

Myth No. 4: Antiparasitics can be administered to work at a producer’s convenience.
Timing is critical for administering antiparasitic products. Often, producers deworm when it’s most convenient for them, rather than when it’s most effective to control parasites. Dr. Alley recommends year-round parasite control, both in the fall and again in the spring before summer pasture turnout.

Myth No. 5: Dosing to the average weight of the group is adequate.
It’s important for producers to not only match the dewormer to the type of parasite challenge but also to administer each dose per the animal’s calculated weight. Incorrect dosing has been identified as a major contributor to the development of resistant parasites. A common practice is to dose products to the average weight of the herd, rather than to the individual weight of the animal. In this case, half the herd could be underdosed.

For more information about parasite control, please visit with your animal health adviser or Zoetis representative.

DECTOMAX Injectable has a 35-day pre-slaughter withdrawal period. DECTOMAX Pour-On has a 45-day pre-slaughter withdrawal period. Do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal. DECTOMAX has been developed specifically for cattle and swine. Use in dogs may result in fatalities.

Cattle must not be slaughtered within 27 days after the last treatment with VALBAZEN. Do not use in female dairy cattle of breeding age. Do not administer to female cattle during the first 45 days of pregnancy or for 45 days after removal of bulls.

Tuesday November 29 Ag News

Nebraska Corn Board Elects New Officers

The Nebraska Corn Board met and elected officers for the 2016-2017 fiscal year at their board meeting on Tuesday, November 22 at The Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. The board met to conduct regular board business and hold election of officers.

David Merrell, District 7 director for St. Edward, Nebraska, was reelected as chairman of the board. Merrell has been a director on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2006 and will serve his second year as chairman. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanized Agriculture (Biological Systems Management). He and his wife, Cyndee, have three children and have been farming for over 20 years around St. Edward located in Boone County, Nebraska.

Merrell said it’s an honor to continue to serve as the chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “We are fortunate to have farmer leaders and staff members who are extremely dedicated to an industry that is vitally important to our state. I look forward to working with the board, staff and industry leaders to continue the positive momentum of enhancing demand, adding value and ensuring sustainability of Nebraska’s corn industry.”

David Bruntz, District 1 director from Friend, Nebraska, was elected as vice-chairman. Bruntz previously served as the secretary/treasurer and currently serves on the board’s research and stewardship committee. He has been a director on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2013.

Dennis Gengenbach, District 6 director from Smithfield, Nebraska, was elected as secretary/treasurer. Gengenbach previously served as the vice-chair and currently serves on the board’s market development committee. He has been a director on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2006.

Tim Scheer, District 5 director from St. Paul, Nebraska, will continue to serve as the past-chairman of the board. Scheer has been a director on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2007.

“Our dedicated farmer-leaders have contributed great time and energy to our industry over the years,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Through their passion and leadership in the corn, livestock and ethanol industries, they continue to play a dynamic role in supporting the mission and vision for Nebraska’s 23,000 corn farmers that invest in the corn checkoff.”

Farm Service Agency Extends Voting Deadline for County Committee Elections

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Dan Steinkruger today announced the deadline to submit ballots for the 2016 County Committee Elections has been extended to ensure farmers and ranchers have sufficient time to vote. Eligible voters now have until Dec. 13, 2016, to return ballots to their local FSA offices. Producers who have not received their ballot should pick one up at their local FSA office.

“We’re extending the voting deadline to December 13 to give farmers and ranchers a few additional days to get their ballots in,” said Steinkruger. “I urge all eligible producers, especially minorities and women, to get involved and make a real difference in their communities by voting in this year’s elections. This is your opportunity to have a say in how federal programs are delivered in your county.”

FSA has modified the ballot, making it easily identifiable and less likely to be overlooked. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 13, 2016. Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2017.

Nearly 7,700 FSA County Committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of County Committee seats are up for election each year. County Committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support, conservation, indemnity, disaster and emergency programs.

Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the County Committee election. Approximately 1.5 million producers are currently eligible to vote. Farmers and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote.

Moo University Winter Workshop Series in January

The progressive series workshops called "Hot Topics for Cold Days" begins in Jamestown, North Dakota Jan. 16; Watertown, South Dakota Jan. 17; Pipestone, Minnesota Jan. 18; Orange City, Iowa Jan. 19 and wraps up in Norfolk, Nebraska Jan. 20.

"The workshop will focus on a variety of hot industry topics including technology utilization on the dairy, followed by a marketing and management emphasis; it will wrap-up with a session on succession planning. We really encourage dairy producers to attend because the information provided at the workshops will enable them as they work to enhance their dairy's performance and long range business planning," said Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist.

All workshops will contain the same information and run from 10a.m. to 3:45 p.m. with registration starting at 9a.m. The workshop cost is $50 per person, $20 for College/Technical School students before January 6. After that date it will increase to $65/person and $25/student. A $50 discount is available for South Dakota Dairy Producer's members, Nebraska State Dairy Association members, Western Iowa Dairy Alliance members. For location information, to register on-line or download the brochure, visit

Workshop topics include:
- Finances and returns for robotic dairies; Jim Salfer, University of Minnesota
- Technology in Activity Monitors; Leo Timms, Iowa State University
- Understanding Food Marketing: An Industry Perspective; Betty Berning, University of Minnesota and Kim Clark, University of Nebraska
- Effective Communication when Working with Employees on Dairies; Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist
- Succession Planning; Heather Gessner, SDSU Extension Livestock Business Management Field Specialist.

The workshop is sponsored by the I-29 Moo University collaborators consisting of South Dakota State University, North Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, and University of Nebraska Extension Services; Iowa State Dairy Association, South Dakota Dairy Producers Association, Nebraska State Dairy Association, North Dakota Milk Producers Association, MN Milk Producers Association and the Minnesota Dairy Initiative.

DEKALB® Disease Shield™ Breeding Innovation Showed

An advanced lineup of corn products being introduced for 2017 demonstrated a strong line of defense against the top yield-robbing corn diseases in Nebraska this season. DEKALB® Disease Shield™ corn products achieved an average 8.4 bushel per acre yield advantage in trial plot comparisons in the state.

    Developed through the DEKALB brand’s breeding program, DEKALB Disease Shield corn products offer exclusive genetics that combine high yield potential with enhanced disease protection against today’s most common corn diseases: anthracnose stalk rot, Goss’s wilt, northern corn leaf blight, gray leaf spot and in limited geographies, southern rust.

    “All of these diseases were present during the 2016 growing season in different regions of the country,” said Jared Webb, DEKALB product manager.  “We’re very excited about the results we saw this season with DEKALB Disease Shield products, not only in their yield advantage but also the risk reduction they provided for farmers, particularly in areas of heavy disease pressure.”

    Webb reported that DEKALB Disease Shield plants were healthier and had excellent staygreen characteristics compared to other corn products in the trial plots which had visible evidence of disease pressure.

    Six DEKALB Disease Shield products are being launched for the 2017 season in 109 to 120 day relative maturities, with plans for expansion in future years.

New ISU Extension Swine Program Specialist Feels Right at Home

In the few weeks since he started work at Iowa State University, Erik Potter has co-authored an informational handout on the Veterinary Feed Directive, attended his first professional development session and participated in Master Pork Producer visits with colleagues from Iowa State and Iowa Pork Producers Association. And that’s just the beginning for the newest swine program specialist whose office is located in 109 Kildee Hall, home of the Iowa Pork Industry Center.

“My roots are firmly planted in the state of Iowa and this position will allow me to further my passions in the pork industry while also strengthening agriculture in the place I call home,” Potter said. “I bring a unique perspective to IPIC’s team of six field specialists, based on my experience in the industry.”

Prior to coming to Iowa State, Potter worked for a large pork integrator with farms in various states across the U.S. with primary responsibilities of on-farm auditing of animal welfare, employee safety and environmental impact.

“In that job, I developed employee training materials, conducted trainings and established standard operating procedures,” he said. “One of my goals here with IPIC is to strengthen our relationships with various departments across campus and look for research opportunities between faculty and pork producers in the state. This will be an ongoing endeavor as I get more connected to the faculty and staff at ISU.”

Although Potter’s office is on campus, he will be the swine field specialist point of contact for producers and others in several southwest Iowa counties. Through phone, email and personal contact, he intends to maintain and improve existing connections and work to open new lines of communication and cooperation.

“IPIC has tremendous potential to strengthen the pork industry in Iowa through its network of industry professionals, world-leading academics and research at Iowa State University, and the extensive breadth of knowledge throughout ISU Extension and Outreach,” he said. “I’ve worked in a variety of barn systems including natural to power ventilation, group housed sows and varying nutrient management systems and will use that experience and knowledge in my new role.”

Potter said he also wants to strengthen the name of IPIC across Iowa.

“The center offers a tremendous amount of knowledge and educational programming that can be beneficial to producers of any size, including the release of a redesigned and much improved website just prior to me starting here,” he said. “Now we need to work to increase its use by promoting and publicizing it, so folks become better connected to what all we have to offer.”

As the newest member of the swine field staff, Potter said he’s ready for the challenge of moving himself and IPIC forward.

“One of my favorite quotes is ‘If you don’t like change, you’ll like being obsolete even less.’ Continuous improvement is the foundation for business success and IPIC is no exception,” he said. “The needs of pork producers have changed from when IPIC was created and as we look to the future for industry need-based programming, we need to continue to ask ourselves, ‘Will this add value to producers?’”

Potter is available by phone 515-294-8797 and by email

Commodity Classic Announces Registration & Housing Opening Date

Commodity Classic registration and housing reservations will open online at 10 a.m. CST on Wednesday morning, December 7, 2016. Rooms are expected to book quickly, so those interested should register and make reservations as soon as possible once registration is open.

The 2017 Commodity Classic will be held in San Antonio, Texas March 2-4, 2017, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.  The convention center will house all Commodity Classic events, including the Welcome Reception, General Session, Evening of Entertainment, Trade Show, Learning Center Sessions and What’s New Sessions.

All registration and housing reservations should be made online at  Experient is the official registration and housing provider for Commodity Classic.  In order to stay at an official Commodity Classic hotel, reservations must be made only through Experient to ensure favorable rates, reasonable terms and confirmed hotel rooms.

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show, produced by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers, and Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

USDA Awards $6.7 Million for Research to Support Healthy Agroecosystems

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 18 grants totaling more than $6.7 million for research to discover how components of the agroecosystem from soil, water and sun to plants, animals and people, interact with and affect food production. These awards are made through NIFA's Bioenergy and Natural Resources Program, Agroecosystem priority area of the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

"Population growth, along with environmental factors, including the growing threat of climate change, are putting increasing demand on the land, water and other resources that produce our food," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "These investments will help us understand how we can farm more effectively and sustainably to feed the growing global population."

NIFA's AFRI Foundational: Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment Program supports research on healthy agroecosystems and their underlying natural resources essential to the sustained long-term production of agricultural goods and services. Agroecosystems may include crop production systems, animal production systems, and pasture, range and forest lands that are actively managed to provide economic, societal and environmental benefits. Projects funded through this program area contribute to the knowledge needed for sustainable production of agroecosystems while retaining needed ecosystem services-such as drinking water, pollination and climate regulation.

Awards for 2016 include:
    Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., $439,080
    The Regents of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif., $439,676
    National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., $50,000
    Archbold Expeditions, Venus, Fla., $499,921
    University of Florida Board of Trustees, Gainesville, Fla., $438,705
    Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill., $ 440,000
    Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill., $439,892
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., $474,632
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., $49,500
    University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., $ 149,736
    The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $499,094
    The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $439,966
    Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla., $ 375,000
    The Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pa., $471,324
    New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N.M., $145,205
    The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., $375,000
    Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $499,884
    The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, Madison, Wisc., $498,995

Among this year's projects, the National Academy of Sciences will host a free, livestreamed workshop that will bring together policy makers, foundations and scientists to discuss how soil affects food security, water quality and ecosystem health and identify policy solutions and research decisions to preserve this critical resource. Archbold Expeditions, a nonprofit dedicated to long-term ecological research, will compare different grassland management systems to see which offer the most effective ecosystem benefits, such as greenhouse gas management and water use efficiency.

Previous agroecosystem projects include a research and education initiative by North Carolina State University that investigated how farming practices such as tillage, pesticide and fertilizer use can affect beneficial soil organisms like arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Scientists and extension educators from the University of Idaho, Washington State University, Oregon State University and USDA's Agricultural Research Service collaborated on a planning grant to develop sustainable agriculture in the rain-fed cereal production areas of the inland Pacific Northwest.

Since 2009, USDA has invested $19 billion in research both intramural and extramural. During that time, research conducted by USDA scientists has resulted in 883 patent applications filed, 405 patents issued and 1,151 new inventions disclosures covering a wide range of topics and discoveries.

The Next Generation of the Checkoff

Jared Hagert, Chair of the United Soybean Board, Farmer from Emerado, North Dakota

One generation ago, in 1991, U.S. soybean farmers came together to create an organization to improve our industry. The idea was if soybean farmers focused available resources, we could accomplish great things. This idea – thanks to an act of Congress – became the United Soybean Board (USB), which is recognizing its 25th anniversary this year.

This occasion has allowed us, the volunteer farmer-leaders of the soy checkoff, the opportunity to step back, recognize our successes and take a focused look forward at where the greatest possibilities lie for U.S. soybean farmers.

USB’s mission remains the same—improving profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. Over the past 25 years we’ve seen a lot of changes in our market, and USB has identified the core areas for immediate opportunities for U.S. soybeans within that market and our value chain. We are challenging ourselves with a constant focus of innovation to improve meal and oil along with our sustainability. This type of forward thinking is going to give us a global market edge.

We’re also doubling down on our vision – driving soybean innovation beyond the bushel. This means we are looking beyond just bushel gains and into new ways to capture value on behalf of our fellow farmers. Because we understand that if we are going to improve soybeans and practices to grow them, we have to make sure that the market values our soybeans and the solutions that we are providing our end users.

It’s going to take calculated risk and bold thinking to evolve our value chain. We need to partner with the industry to provide varieties that yield, not only in terms of bushels per acre but in pounds of protein and pounds of oil per acre. Our end users want soybeans that are sustainably produced and provide high quality protein and oil. We need processors to clearly value these varieties and to be transparent in how they value them so farmers are motivated to grow what the end user desires. Through all of this, we need to be demonstrating to these value chain partners how they can win as well.

We believe that USB is well positioned to be a catalyst to spark these changes and push our industry forward. We can bring forward investments to accelerate programs that benefit the entire soybean industry, but always with the U.S. soybean farmer’s benefit top of mind.

It’s hard to know for sure exactly what we will be celebrating as biggest and best accomplishments another 25 years from now, but we believe we are putting the U.S. soybean industry on a path for the next generation of greatness.

USDA Seeks Nominees for National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is asking fluid milk processors and other interested parties to nominate candidates to serve on the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will appoint six individuals to succeed members whose terms expire on June 30, 2017.

USDA will accept nominations for board representation in five geographic regions. It will also fill one at-large position.  Nominees for the regional positions must be active owners or employees of a fluid milk processor.  The nominee for the at-large position may be either a fluid milk processor or a member of the general public.  The geographic regions with vacancies are: Region 2 (New Jersey and New York); Region 5 (Florida); Region 11 (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma); Region 13 (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming); and Region 14 (Northern California). Newly appointed members will serve three-year terms from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2020.

USDA welcomes membership on industry boards that reflects the diversity of the individuals served by the program.  USDA encourages all eligible women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to seek nomination for a seat on the board.  The USDA factsheet “Be a Voice for Your Industry” describes the responsibilities and benefits of serving on a research and promotion board.

The Fluid Milk Promotion Act established the board to develop and administer a coordinated program of advertising and education to promote fluid milk products.  Of the board’s 20 members, 15 represent geographic regions and five are at-large members.  The at-large members must include at least three fluid milk processors and at least one member from the general public.  Currently four at-large processor members and one member from the general public serve on the board.

Fluid milk processors and interested parties may submit nominations for regions in which they are located or market fluid milk, and for at-large members.  To nominate an individual, please submit a copy of the nomination form and a signed background form for each nominee by Jan. 6, 2017, to: Emily DeBord, Promotion, Research, and Planning Division, Dairy Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Stop 0233, Room 2958-S, Washington, D.C. 20250-0233, or via email at  To obtain forms or additional information, call (202) 720-5567.

Monday November 28 Ag News


For the week ending November 27, 2016, temperatures averaged four to six degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Rain at mid-week and over the weekend brought an inch of precipitation to eastern border counties and parts of central Nebraska. Western Nebraska remained mostly dry. Fall harvest activities were near completion, with only scattered fields remaining. Fall tillage and anhydrous applications were active. There were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 30 short, 57 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 31 short, 57 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 11 poor, 34 fair, 48 good, and 5 excellent.

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 5 percent very poor, 10 poor, 32 fair, 49 good, and 4 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 13 short, 85 adequate, and 1 surplus.


Fieldwork across much of Iowa was winding down and wrapping up in many parts of the State during the week ending November 27, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities included harvesting, tiling, baling corn stalks, hauling and spreading manure, and anhydrous application when conditions were dry enough.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 9 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 8 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.

Corn harvested for grain was virtually complete in Iowa at 99 percent, equal to both the previous year and the 5- year average. Precipitation during the week hampered producers in southwest and south central Iowa as they tried to finish corn and soybean harvest.

Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 40 percent moderate to heavy, down 11 percentage points from the previous week. Off-farm grain storage availability was rated 63 percent adequate to surplus. On-farm grain storage availability was rated 60 percent adequate to surplus.

Wet conditions caused by early and late week rains left feedlots muddy, causing stress to livestock.

This is the final weekly Crop Progress and Condition report for 2016. Thanks to everyone who reported this year and made the reports possible.  Weekly Crop Progress and Condition reports will resume on April 3, 2017.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

U.S. winter wheat conditions held steady last week compared to the previous week, according to the last weekly USDA Crop Progress report of 2016 released Monday. USDA reported 92% of the winter wheat crop had emerged as of Sunday, even with a year ago and even with the five-year average of 92% emerged.

Corn harvest is complete in most states with USDA no longer reporting national harvest progress this week.

Cotton harvest, at 77% complete, continued to lag behind the average pace of 84%. Sorghum harvest was 96% complete, near 97% last year and equal to the five-year average.

Ag Land Management Workshops in Norfolk on December 5th

The Landlord/Tenant Cash Lease workshop will be offered Monday December 5th, starting at 9:30 a.m. It will be held at the Lifelong Learning Center at the NECC in Norfolk.  In the afternoon of the same day, there will be a Flexible Lease workshop.

It is designed to help landlords and tenants put together a lease that is right for both parties, and help maintain positive farm leasing relations.

Topics for discussion at the leasing workshop include:
-  Latest information about land values and cash rental rates for the area and state;
- Lease communication, determining appropriate information sharing for both the tenant and landlord;
-  Lease termination, including terminating handshake or verbal leases;
- Review of common lease provisions with emphasis on common questions about provisions;
- Legal issues related to land ownership – basic ownership structures and what they mean;
- Business structures/entities and how they affect ownership – quick look at how entity ownership affects legal and financial risk management;
- Ownership transition;
- State/federal resources for beginning farmers and ranchers; and
- Other topics, like irrigation systems, hay rent, pasture rental agreements, and grain bin rental will be covered as time allows.

The free workshop is sponsored by the Northcentral Risk Management Education Center.  Registration is requested.  To register for the workshop, contact the Madison County Extension Office by calling 402-370-4000.  Register by Friday, December 2nd, to ensure that there are enough handouts and other materials.

The Flexible Farmland Lease Workshop will be offered in the afternoon of December 5th starting at 1:30 p.m.  Flexible leases provisions are gaining popularity.  The goal is to give participants information and education about:  What a flex lease is, how to set up a flex lease, and review common flex lease provisions.

The workshops have been held extensively across Nebraska for the past few years with over 3,300 attending.  The vast majority of both landlords and tenants find the information to be very helpful in improving communications, setting rental terms, and learning about Ag land ownership types and alternatives.  As crop budgets tighten, it is even more important to attend and listen to the latest discussion about leasing issues.

For more information or assistance, please contact Allan Vyhnalek, Extension Educator in Platte County at 402-563-4901, or by e-mail at

Learn about the National Food Entrepreneur Program

The Center for Rural Affairs and the National Food Entrepreneur Program are partnering to host a free presentation on the National Food Entrepreneur Program and a tour of the University of Nebraska Food Processing Center that will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8, in Lincoln, Neb.

“This event will be especially helpful for food businesses and entrepreneurs, economic developers, chamber members, civic leaders, farmers and farmers market vendors,” Sandra Renner with the Center for Rural Affairs said. “Space is limited so we encourage everyone to RSVP as soon as you can.”

Participants can register here:

On Dec. 8, 2016, at 2 p.m., participants should meet at the main entry of the University of Nebraska Food Processing Center, Nebraska Innovation Campus, 1625 Arbor Dr., Lincoln, Neb.

According to Renner, participants will first learn about the National Food Entrepreneur Program and who it is intended for. Participants will learn how many entrepreneurs throughout the country have utilized the program to start their own small food businesses, and provide information on how you can participate.

Following that 30-minute presentation, attendees have the opportunity to tour the University of Nebraska Food Processing Center located on the new Nebraska Innovation Campus.

Both the presentation and tour are free of charge. Space is limited. Anyone may attend, but please register in advance to receive a free parking pass and ensure a place on the tour.

Participants can register here:

This presentation and tour are part of Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Food Business Growth project, and is funded by United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln parking passes will be provided for all registrants. Mileage reimbursement is available for residents of Burt, Cuming, Stanton, Thurston and Wayne counties.


Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) will be hosting their ELEVENTH Annual Meeting in Ainsworth, NE, on Friday, December 9, 2016, 12 noon CST, at the Elk’s Lodge.

The day starts at 11 a.m. with registration. A luncheon will be served at the Lodge at noon and followed by the afternoon activities.

The traditional Senator’s Panel will lead off at 1 p.m. with State Senators discussing what’s happening in the legislature. At 2:30 p.m., Mike Schultz, R-CALF USA, will talk about current issues facing cattlemen, which will be followed by a presentation from Kim Ulmer of Mobridge, SD who has been involved in livestock marketing since 1988, at 3:30 p.m. ICON Business Meeting will begin at 4:30 followed by a social hour at 5:30 p.m., Banquet at 6 p.m., silent auction for Jim Hanna Memorial Scholarship and a panel on Wind Energy will round out the evening.

Registration for the 2016 ICON Annual Meeting is $50 and includes the noon luncheon. Guests accompanying a paid registration can register for $20. The evening Banquet with prime rib is an extra $25 per attendee. ICON membership dues for 2016 are $100 and if members pay the day of the meeting, there will be a $10 discount.

ICON Annual Meeting registration can be sent to: ICON/Linda Wuebben, 55669 888th Road, Fordyce, NE 68736. For more information, call 402-357-3778 or visit ICON online at

Optimism abounds at AFAN annual meeting

Despite current low prices, there’s plenty of optimism about the future of the livestock industry in Nebraska.

That was evident at the recent annual meeting of the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) in Lincoln as leaders of Nebraska’s cattle, hog, dairy and poultry industries talked about the growth—and potential for growth—in their individual production sectors. 

Al Juhnke, executive director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, delivered a very positive report.  Juhnke said Nebraska’s pig numbers are up nine percent, with finishing hogs up ten percent.
 “We’ve turned the corner on pork production in Nebraska, “Juhnke said. “Nebraska is open for business in pork production.”

After several years of declines, Nebraska’s dairy cow numbers are also increasing, according to Nebraska State Dairy Association executive director Rod Johnson.

“We’ve started to turn it around.  We‘ve seen a 14 percent increase in dairy cows in recent years,” Johnson said.

One sector that holds great promise is broiler chickens.  In the coming months, Costco and Lincoln Premium Poultry will make a final decision on plans to build a chicken processing plant at Fremont. The proposed plant will process two million chickens a week and the chickens would be raised by over 100 contract growers in east-central Nebraska.  The birds would consume 365,000 bushels of corn and 3,000 tons of soybean meal each week, all of which will come from local farmers.

Bill Crider of Lincoln Premium Poultry addressed the gathering.  He said company officials have been “overwhelmed by the response of farmers—it’s fun to be around people so excited about agriculture.” Crider also thanked AFAN for its assistance throughout the process.

“We wouldn’t be here today without AFAN and AFAN’s partners.  Nebraska’s leadership has been amazing,” Crider said.

In her annual report, AFAN executive director Willow Holoubek urged supporters to get involved in livestock expansion efforts.

“We expect to have about 200 permitting hearings in the coming year,” Holoubek said. “The ‘not in my backyard’ mentality is a challenge in Nebraska and we need to help people understand how important the livestock industry is to their communities and to the state.”

The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, Extension Specialist in Animal Genomics and Biotechnology at the University of California-Davis.  She spoke on “Effective Communication about Agriculture: What Works and What Does Not”.

“I try to have a discussion with the audience about what it is that concerns them about animal agriculture and then give them kind of a scenario where it’s like, ‘Okay, you don’t like this particular production practice being used—this is why it’s used—and here are the alternatives to address that problem’. And then make them wrestle with the trade-offs associated with all technologies,” Van Eenennaam said.

“There’s very real ramifications to agricultural production systems when you preclude access to innovation,” she added. “Just saying ‘no’ actually comes with some very real consequences.”

The annual meeting of AFAN was sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board and Nebraska Corn Board.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today requested an additional $500,000 for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Animal Industry Bureau to aid in preparing for and potentially responding to a foreign animal disease outbreak.  Northey also reiterated his support for the proposal passed by the Iowa House of Representatives last session that would have provided nearly $500 million through 2029 for water quality efforts in the state.

Northey highlighted these proposals in his public budget meeting with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.

“I recognize we are in a very tight budget time in the state, due in large part to the challenging economic environment in Iowa’s ag industry.  However, it is important we continue to invest in priority areas that put the state in a good position for continued growth,” Northey said.

Northey requested $500,000 for the Department’s Animal Industry Bureau for foreign animal disease outbreak response preparation.  The funds would be used to provide livestock farmers with additional expertise to increase biosecurity efforts and allow the Department to better equip and prepare for future responses to foreign animal disease outbreaks that may occur.

“The value of Iowa’s animal industry is $13.45 billion, and growing.  Unfortunately, the High Path Avian Influenza outbreak last year showed how devastating a foreign animal disease can be in our state.  These funds would allow the Department to better prepare for a future animal disease emergency response,” Northey said.

Northey also reiterated his support for the water quality funding proposal the Department supported and helped draft that would have provided nearly $500 million through 2029 for water quality efforts without raising taxes.  This proposal prioritized existing infrastructure funds toward edge-of-field and in-field infrastructure, like wetlands, saturated buffers, and bioreactors to improve water quality. It also directed fees Iowans already pay on their water bills toward improving wastewater and drinking water facilities.

This proposal passed the Iowa House last session with bipartisan support but was never considered by the Iowa Senate.

The additional funding would allow the Department to significantly expand the water quality efforts underway.  To date through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative, more than 5,000 farmers have signed up to try water quality practices on their farms and there are currently 45 demonstration projects throughout the state to help implement and demonstrate these practices in both rural and urban settings. More than 100 organizations are participating in these projects.  In addition, countless more farmers are trying practices on their farm without any assistance.

“As we have worked to scale-up the Iowa Water Quality Initiative, identifying significant, sustainable, and ongoing funding to support the state’s water quality efforts has been a priority.  I appreciate the leadership from the Governor and Iowa House on this issue and believe this plan that has received strong bipartisan support and allows us to make a significant investment in water quality without raising taxes is the right path forward on this critically important issue,” Northey said.

Northey also requested $6.75 million for conservation cost share again in fiscal 2018.  For over four decades, Iowa’s soil conservation cost share program has encouraged the adoption of conservation structures and practices to protect and preserve our state’s natural resources.  Last year alone, the state’s $6.29 million investment generated $8.676 million in matching funds from Iowa farmers and land owners to support conservation practices.

In the meeting with Branstad, Northey also requested $1.875 million to close Agriculture Drainage Wells (ADWs).  Of the 300 registered ADWs in Iowa, 18 remain to be closed at an estimated cost of $7.5 million.  This level of funding over the next four years would allow all of the remaining ADWs to be closed.

The final request for additional funding that was presented was $150,000 from the Technology Reinvestment Fund to begin the process of updating the Iowa Commercial Pesticide License and Certification Database system.   The database carries records for over 20,000 certified private applicators, over 14,000 certified commercial applicators and handlers, as well as over 4,000 licensees.  The Department’s Pesticide Bureau has annually collected more than $5 million in fees in recent years that are used to support the Groundwater Protection Fund in the Iowa DNR and more than $1 million returned to the State’s General Fund.

Iowa Forage and Grassland Council Conference Set for Jan. 19-20, 2017

Building upon the success of last year’s move to Ames in January, the annual Iowa Forage and Grassland Council Conference will remain in Ames for its 2017 event. The conference is set for Jan. 19-20 at the Iowa State University Alumni Center, just south of Stephens Auditorium at the Iowa State Center.

Registration begins at noon with the first session at 12:15 p.m. on Jan. 19, and adjourns at 11:45 a.m. on Jan. 20. The Practical Farmers of Iowa conference immediately follows, starting at noon at the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center.

ISU Extension and Outreach beef program specialist and current IFGC President Joe Sellers said IFGC is partnering with PFI to offer a full slate of producer and industry expert speakers on a variety of topics at the conference. Topics include multispecies grazing, the impact of grazing on soil health, new technologies in grazing, a new genetic test to identify fescue tolerance of beef cattle, pasture renovation strategies and managing the nutritional needs of beef and sheep.

“One reason we’ve partnered with PFI is to share speakers their members have identified. This year Will Harris of Bluffton, Ga., will present at both the IFGC and PFI events,” Sellers said. “Other featured speakers include Jeff Goodwin and Rob Cook from the Samuel L. Noble Foundation in Oklahoma, Craig Roberts of the University of Missouri, Diane Spurlock of Ag Botanica and producer Seth Watkins of southwest Iowa.”

The conference also will feature two producer panels on extended grazing and grazing management experiences and break-out presentations on beef and sheep forage nutrition and mineral nutrition. The IFGC business meeting will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday.

“Thanks to support from the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education – or SARE - program, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Iowa Beef Center, the Iowa Farm Bureau and many forage partners of IFGC, the cost to attend is low,” Sellers said. “To attend both days of the IFGC conference or the PFI conference, IFGC or PFI members pay just $50 in advance or $60 at the door. Non-members pay $70 or $80 respectively, and single day rates also are available.”

The detailed agenda and registration form are available on the IBC website and at  For more information, contact Sellers by phone at 641-203-1270 or by email at

Pork Checkoff Addresses Growing Pork Supply

America’s pig farmers will produce a record-breaking number of market hogs this year, resulting in ample supplies of pork hitting grocery stores and restaurants. It is anticipated that this high level of production will continue well into 2017.

“The U.S. economy is growing, and that is good for meat demand,” said Len Steiner, a pork industry economist. “Some key indicators of growth include the stock market recently hitting all-time record highs, increasing consumer confidence and an unemployment rate now at 4.9 percent, demonstrating the U.S. economy is at or near full employment.”

Steiner added that total meat production continues to increase, moving from 90.9 billion pounds in 2014 with expectations for meat output to exceed 101 billion pounds this year. Not since the mid-1990s has meat production increased so quickly.

“We estimate that 2016 U.S. pork production will set an all-time record just shy of 25 billion pounds, with even more pork expected to be produced in 2017,” Steiner said. “The good news is that retailers and foodservice operators feel more secure about the growing meat supply, which can translate into falling meat prices and more promotional activity.”

National Pork Board President Jan Archer, who is a pig farmer from North Carolina, noted that the Pork Checkoff is taking a number of significant steps right now to help move the large supply of pork through the U.S. market place. Consumers can expect more pork at potentially lower prices at U.S. meat counters and in restaurants. This quarter, the Pork Checkoff has been:

+    Partnering with major grocery retailers. The Pork Checkoff is working with the top 10 U.S. grocery retailers – representing 65 percent of the U.S. retail market – to feature key pork cuts. Retail promotions are underway with Walmart, Costco and Kroger, among others.

+    Focusing on foodservice. The foodservice team works closely with most of the top 100 high-volume restaurant chains to share the opportunity pork presents through versatility, profitability, availability and customer appeal. A focused effort is also underway to launch pork promotions with food distributors who provide groceries to independently owned restaurants, contract foodservice providers and large, independently operated colleges and universities.

+    Implementing digital marketing and online promotion. For the holidays, the Pork Checkoff launched the Make it a Moment campaign on social media to help pork stand out.

+    Connecting with multicultural consumers. Latinos and African Americans are some of pork’s best customers. Building on the success of this year’s summer campaign, promotions for the fourth quarter’s Make it a Moment campaign will include a Spanish-language web site and new videos.

“The fourth quarter is consistently the strongest quarter for pork sales,” said Patrick Fleming, director of market intelligence for the National Pork Board. “In 2015, fourth-quarter pork sales totaled $3.6 billion, with the 1.125 billion pounds representing 28 percent of the sales for the entire year. The industry is prepared for a similar situation in 2016.”

Fleming added that in foodservice, pork is on trend as the fastest-growing protein.

“Pork is featured in the top three items on restaurant menus today,” Fleming said. “And it is not just main entrees like ham and pork loin, but now includes such items as candied bacon, pork belly and porchetta. Flavor, versatility and value set pork apart.”

While the high value of the U.S. dollar and competition from other countries in key export markets have curbed U.S. pork export demand, there are positive signs on the horizon.

“About 25 percent of U.S. pork production goes overseas, and we need to keep moving product to keep producers profitable,” said Becca Nepple, vice president of international trade for the National Pork Board. “Mexico, China, Japan, Korea and Canada are our big five buyers, and the Pork Checkoff, through the U.S. Meat Export Federation, continues to invest in pork promotions overseas.”

“As a pork producer, I’m very excited about the work going on behind the scenes to help producers market this much product,” Archer said. “Our goal always is to provide high-quality, delicious pork to consumers in the U.S. and around the globe.”

RFA Welcomes New Member Valero Renewable Fuels Company LLC

The Renewable Fuels Association is pleased to announce the addition of Valero Renewable Fuels Company LLC, a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corporation, to its membership.

Valero is one of the largest biofuels producers in the United States. Valero owns and operates 11 corn ethanol plants throughout Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Valero is the third largest ethanol producer in the United States with a total annual production capacity of 1.4 billion gallons per year. In addition, it is the largest renewable diesel producer in the U.S., and the world’s largest independent refiner.

“We are thrilled to welcome Valero Renewable Fuels to our membership,” said Renewable Fuels Association Board Chairman and Commonwealth Agri-Energy General Manager Mick Henderson. “Valero complements RFA as we advocate for continued growth and use of renewables. Through its vast ethanol plant footprint in the United States, Valero provides countless benefits to consumers by helping to clean the air, increase energy independence and boost local economies. We are proud to count Valero Renewables as an RFA member and look forward to the company being an active member as we work together to expand marketplace opportunities for ethanol.”

“Valero is proud of our high performing ethanol plants, their excellent safety record and commitment to the communities where we operate,” said Valero Vice President of Alternative Fuels Martin Parrish. “Joining RFA provides a strong conduit to support our operations, especially as we cooperatively work to promote renewables, grow our ethanol market and provide opportunities to further strengthen the nation’s liquid fuel sector.”

RFA Welcomes New Member KAAPA Ethanol Ravenna

The Renewable Fuels Association is pleased to announce the addition of KAAPA Ethanol Ravenna LLC to its membership.

On Sept. 30, KAAPA Ethanol Holdings closed on its acquisition of the former Abengoa Bioenergy ethanol plant in Ravenna, Nebraska. The facility uses 33 million bushels of corn to produce 90 million gallons of ethanol per year. KAAPA Ethanol Holdings owns and operates another facility in Minden, Nebraska, and its latest addition brings the company’s combined ethanol production capacity to 170 million gallons per year. This is the company’s second producer membership to RFA.

“We are pleased that KAAPA’s experience already being an RFA member made it an easier choice to add their second facility to our roster,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “The hardworking farmer-owners of KAAPA Ethanol Holdings are providing consumers with ethanol, the lowest cost, cleanest-burning and highest octane source in the world. We welcome KAAPA’s second ethanol plant to our membership and look forward to its participation and input.”

“RFA has a stellar reputation of providing outstanding member services, technical analyses and policy support, which benefits our entire ethanol industry and directly affects our two ethanol plants,” said KAAPA Ethanol Holdings CEO Chuck Woodside. “RFA continues to be at the forefront of promoting even further growth of our industry through higher ethanol blends, while simultaneously combatting misinformation propagated by our critics. We are thrilled to add another plant to our RFA membership and look forward to future growth opportunities under the RFA umbrella.”

Tonsager Is Designated Chairman and CEO of Farm Credit Administration

Dallas P. Tonsager has been designated by President Barack Obama as chairman and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration. The designation was effective Nov. 22.

Mr. Tonsager has served as a member of the FCA board and concurrently as chairman of the board of directors of the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation (FCSIC) since his appointment to the position by President Obama in March 2015. His term on the FCA board will expire on May 21, 2020. He succeeds Kenneth A. Spearman, who has served as chairman and CEO since March 13, 2015. Mr. Spearman will remain a member of the FCA and FCSIC boards until a successor is appointed and confirmed by the Senate.

Mr. Tonsager brings to his position on the FCA board extensive experience as an agriculture leader and producer, and a commitment to promoting and implementing innovative development strategies to benefit rural residents and their communities.

Mr. Tonsager served as under secretary for rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from 2009 to 2013. In this position, he expanded broadband communication in rural America and implemented other key elements of the Recovery Act for rural America. He dramatically expanded USDA’s water and wastewater programs, expanded funding for first- and second-generation biofuels, and funded hospitals and other public facilities in rural America.

In addition, Mr. Tonsager worked with the Farm Credit System and others to set up new venture capital investment funds. From 2010 to 2013, he was a member of the Commodity Credit Corporation board of directors.

From 2004 to 2009, Mr. Tonsager served as a member of the FCA board, as well as a member of the FCSIC board of directors.

FluSure XP® Vaccine With Strain Update Now Available From Zoetis

Zoetis Inc. today announced the availability of its FluSure XP® vaccine updated with clusters IV-A and IV-B of the H3N2 subtype. Because influenza A virus of swine (IAV-S) continues to evolve and challenge swine herds, Zoetis has responded by updating FluSure XP to include the most relevant strains found to be circulating in U.S. herds. The updated vaccine is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“We are committed to offering pork producers and swine veterinarians the most relevant solutions as the influenza virus continues to impact sows and pigs across the United States,” said Michael Kuhn, DVM, MBA, Director, U.S. Pork Technical Services, Zoetis. “We’re continuously surveying the ever-changing landscape of IAV-S and aggressively updating our vaccines as needed.”

These new strains were added based on ongoing surveillance with the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The license was granted based on studies demonstrating serologic response as per USDA Veterinary Services Memorandum 800.111 and results from a challenge study using a virulent H3N2 cluster IV-A strain. In this study, protection was demonstrated by reduction of lung lesions, rectal temperature, nasal shedding and viral titer in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid at necropsy.

FluSure XP has been updated to include the following strains offering the most demonstrated, relevant cross-protection for influenza in swine:
-    H1N1 Gamma
-    H1N2 Delta-1
-    H3N2 Cluster-IV-A
-    H3N2 Cluster-IV-B

FluSure XP is a killed vaccine that helps protect swine, including pregnant sows and gilts three weeks or older, against respiratory disease caused by swine influenza virus subtypes H1N1, H1N2 and H3N2. FluSure XP is offered in combination with other vaccines, including RespiSure® and RespiSure-ONE®, ER Bac® Plus and FarrowSure® GOLD.

“We’ve seen influenza evolve quite rapidly since 1998 when viruses from different species, including humans and birds, began infecting pigs,” said Dr. Kuhn. “The mixing of genes from different influenza viruses has led to significant changes in how influenza impacts pigs and how the pig’s immune system responds. This is seen even in previously vaccinated animals, particularly if that vaccine did not contain the appropriate subtypes.”

Influenza continues to be a costly virus in U.S. swine herds. An influenza outbreak can cost producers more than $10 per pig in medication costs and performance losses.3 A whole-herd vaccination program that helps protect against the most relevant influenza strains and can lead to more flu-negative pigs at weaning thus reducing risks associated with outbreaks.

Major Review Finds Neonic Poses Low Risk to Aquatic Invertebrates

A major new ecotoxicological review and risk assessment has been published in the peer-reviewed literature and concluded that registered crop and non-crop uses of imidacloprid in the United States are of minimal risk to sensitive aquatic invertebrate communities. This is also good news for other wildlife, such as birds and fish, since these insects are an important part of their diet.

The neonicotinoid imidacloprid is one of the most widely-used insecticides in the world because of its effectiveness and its relatively favorable human and environmental safety profile. Because aquatic invertebrates serve an important function in nature, many studies have been performed to characterize the potential impact across a variety of species. The publication details the body of research, the careful selection and use of the best available data, and the probabilistic risk assessment. The probabilistic approach better predicts the effects to sensitive species, the relevant exposures and the potential risks to aquatic invertebrate communities in terms of the actual label use directions and the natural environment for these crops and treated landscapes.

The researchers found that higher-tier studies provide the most robust data for regulatory decision making.  “Laboratory testing is necessary to establish toxicity endpoints for a wide range of organisms, however such studies have unrealistic exposure conditions which often lead to overestimated toxicity. Fortunately, we had data from many higher-tier mesocosm studies for imidacloprid, which is almost unprecedented,” said Dr. Dwayne Moore, Senior VP and Scientist at Intrinsik Environmental Sciences (US) Corp., one of the researchers involved in the review. “The higher tier studies enabled us to look at aquatic invertebrate communities containing a wide array of invertebrate species in realistic environmental settings, which is far more predictive of the biological realities of aquatic ecosystems than are tests on single species in artificial environments in the laboratory.”  

In the assessment, refined exposure models that better represent pest treatments and the environments where applications could be made were used. The researchers found that their aquatic exposure predictions were consistent with a decade of water sampling data available from public sources, including the U.S. Geological Survey.  “We conducted 30-year simulations based on realistic, but conservative, assumptions and found that aquatic communities are unlikely to be at risk from acute or chronic exposures to registered uses of imidacloprid,” noted Dr. Moore. “In fact, risks were de minimis, the lowest possible category, for all crop and non-crop uses.”

Weekend Ag News Summary - November 27

Lt. Governor Foley, NDA Assistant Director Travel to Israel to Promote Nebraska Ag

Lt. Governor Mike Foley and Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Assistant Director Mat Habrock will be in Israel Nov. 27-30 to promote the state's agriculture industry and attend a special dinner reception at the U.S. Ambassador's residence featuring beef from  Nebraska.

The dinner celebrates the arrival of the first shipment from the WR Reserve processing plant in Hastings, Nebraska, the only Israeli-approved kosher beef facility in the United States. Business leaders, politicians and members of the news media will be in attendance at the Ambassador's dinner to commemorate the arrival of U.S. beef to the newly-opened market.

"Along with showcasing Nebraska's quality beef, this trip gives us an opportunity to strengthen existing partnerships and build new relationships to further expand agriculture trade with Israel," said Foley. "Exporting our products to an international market like Israel helps grow Nebraska by creating opportunities for the state's ag producers, communities and the economy."   Earlier this month, WR Reserve announced that the export market spurred a plant expansion and would create 100 new jobs.

"Showcasing beef at special events like this is part of our ongoing effort to tell the story of Nebraska agriculture," said Habrock. "While we're in Israel we're going to work hard to develop and promote the Nebraska brand of excellence and further our state's export efforts for all Nebraska agricultural goods."

In December 2003, Israel banned beef imports from the United States due to a confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Washington state. Israel lifted the 13-year-old ban on U.S. beef imports in February 2016. 

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, $433 million of beef products were imported by Israel in 2015, with more than 90 percent of those imports coming from South America and the rest from Europe. Nebraska hopes to claim a significant share of this beef market.

Business Succession and Estate Planning Workshops

Free workshops on business succession and estate planning for farm and ranch owners, families and beginners will be held at several sites across the state this winter. Each workshop will also include a discussion of beginning farmer programs that can aid in succession planning.

To register or for more information on workshop times and specific locations, contact the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.

Topics will include:
-    stages of succession planning;
-    contribution, compensation, and balancing the interests of on-farm and off-farm heirs;
-    the importance of communication, goal-setting, assessing feasibility, and balancing intergenerational expectations and needs;
-    beginning farmer loan and tax credit programs;
-    the use of trusts, wills, life estate deeds and business entities (such as the limited liability company) in family estate and business succession planning; 
-    legal tools for balancing the interests of successors and off-farm heirs;
-    asset protection;
-    taxation (federal transfer taxes, Nebraska inheritance tax, basis adjustment), and
-    essential estate documents.

Speakers will include Joe Hawbaker, agricultural law attorney, with Hawbaker Law Office, in Omaha, and Dave Goeller, deputy director, Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, University of Nebraska Department of Agricultural Economics.

Locations - Additional dates may be announced later...
    Greeley – December 7
    O’Neill – December 8
    York – January 9
    Bridgeport – January 25
    Chadron – January 25 (evening)

This workshop is made possible by the Nebraska Network for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, the Farm and Ranch Project of Legal Aid of Nebraska, USDA Farm Service Agency, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s Next Generation Program, and Nebraska Extension. There will be a local meal sponsor at each location.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Corn stalk bales will provide much needed feed this winter for many producers.  If you’re one of them, be sure to feed them effectively.

               Baled corn stalks are going to provide a lot of feed this winter.  But before you feed those bales, find out what they have to offer nutritionally.  Sample and test your bales as soon as possible so when snow gets deep or other feeds run out you will already know how to best feed your corn stalk bales.

               Begin by testing the bales for protein and energy.  You may be surprised at how variable the protein and energy content can be in corn stalk bales.  I’ve seen protein as low as 3 percent and as high as 7 percent.  Dry pregnant cows need 7 to 8 percent protein in their diet so high protein bales will need only a little extra  protein to adequately care for the cows.  But those 3 percent bales will need quite a bit of supplement to keep cows in good condition.

               Use a protein supplement that is nearly all natural and has sufficient rumen degradable protein.  Maintenance-level forage diets need degradable protein for the rumen microbes, but remember that urea and other non-protein nitrogen sources aren’t used as well.

               Many bales have pretty good TDN levels, nearly 60 percent.  Cows fed these bales should do very well up until calving with just corn stalk bales and adequate protein supplement.  However, stalks rained on before baling can be below 50 percent TDN.  Cows fed these lower quality bales will need some extra energy, too.

               If your bales came from stressed stalks, like from drought or hail, also get a nitrate test to be sure they are safe.

               Good testing of corn stalk bales can help make them a nutritious and safe feed.

Hybrid Turkeys Will Build New Hatchery in Beatrice and Is Looking For New Growers

For the past few months, Hybrid Turkeys has undergone an extensive search for a potential site to build a new hatching facility. After a thorough and comprehensive review, Hybrid Turkeys has announced that they will build the hatchery in Beatrice, NE. On November 21, they announced the land purchase of $60,000.

“This investment in a new turkey hatchery is representative of our commitment to fulfilling the needs of our clients and continuing to support the US turkey industry,” said Peter Gruhl, General Manager, USA.

The hatchery will be located in the northwest corner of the Gage County Industrial Park. It is expected to be operational by July 2017. They plan to hatch around 6 million birds per year and are looking for new Nebraska producer to raise turkeys.

Walker Zulkoski, executive director of NGage, says Hybrid Turkeys is also looking for new growers and they aren’t afraid to truck birds.

 Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit to feature State of the Industry Session

In addition to continuing education for cattle producers and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association policy committee meetings, the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit will also feature a State of the Industry panel discussion.

Dr. Phil Reemtsma, current ICA president and veterinarian from DeWitt, will join a representative from the United States Meat Export Federation and a well-known cattle market analyst on stage to dissect the current challenges the cattle industry in Iowa is facing, including increased competition from larger producers out of state and the record drop in cattle prices seen recently.

The panel will also provide an outlook into the future of Iowa’s cattle industry and the role that the cattle markets and international trade will play in the coming months and years.

Cassie Fish, a former CME trader and IBP, Inc./Tyson Fresh Meats Senior Director of Risk Management, currently operates her own risk management consulting and brokerage business. Fish also writes a daily market analysis blog, “The Beef.” Fish will use her vast knowledge of the cattle and futures markets to provide a perspective on the factors that have influenced the industry in the recent past and those that will play a large part in the future.

The United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is a trade association in the meat and livestock industry, representing beef/veal producers and feeders, as well as other sectors of the red meat industry. USMEF works to put “U.S. meat on the world’s table” and will give Iowa cattle producers an idea of what to expect in the export markets in the coming months and years.

The ICA and Iowa Beef Industry Council’s annual meetings will also take place at the Leadership Summit, and Iowa cattle producers and friends of the industry are invited to attend both of those meetings, as well.

The Leadership Summit is a free event for cattlemen and women and will be held at the Hansen Ag Student Learning Center in Ames. A complimentary lunch will be served, featuring the 2016 Iowa’s Best Burger from the Chuckwagon Restaurant in Adair. Attendees should RSVP by November 29 online at or by calling 515-296-2266.

INTL FCSTone Host Livestock Price Risk Management Academy

The cattle business is inherently risky thanks to the tremendous price volatility that can squeeze both sides of the business – from the cost of feed to the prices that the end-products fetch on the market.  Unfortunately, nobody knows in advance where those prices are headed. However, with the right insights and tools, feedlots, ranchers and feed manufacturers can learn how to manage that uncertainty.

That's why the FCM Division of INTL FCStone Financial Inc. is offering two 'pure education' events designed to help those in livestock industry manage their price risks, including the feeder cattle, live cattle and feed components. These programs will cover various risk management concepts, markets, contracts and strategies - including cash, futures, options and OTCs. Additionally, the program will feature outlooks for various livestock and grain markets.

Start out the New Year on the right foot by gaining practical knowledge, taking a peek into the future and networking with others in the livestock industry.

Who Should Attend?

Anyone in the livestock industry who wants to gain a solid understanding of the cash, futures, options and OTC markets as part of a comprehensive price risk management program, including:
-    Feed lot operators
-    Large livestock ranchers or operators
-    Meat processors
-    Risk managers, traders, back-office staff and upper management

Seminar Dates:

January 24, 2017 - Kearney, Nebraska, Fairfield Inn & Suites
January 25, 2017 - Garden City, Kansas, Hampton Inn Garden City

To Register:

Click here....

About the Host:

FCM Division of INTL FCStone Financial Inc. is a pioneer in the development of and application of price risk management plans designed to protect margins and enhance profits. These products and strategies have been proven over time to minimize the impact of commodity price swings on your bottom line.

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on JCCT

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released the following statement regarding the conclusion of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) and the need for further progress on biotechnology issues:

"We are disappointed that further progress was not made on agricultural biotechnology issues during the 27th JCCT. The focus of this JCCT was on the implementation of prior commitments.

"Although China has made some progress, it has not fully implemented commitments on agricultural biotechnology that it made to the United States which date back as far as September 2015. Those commitments still stand and the United States expects their full implementation.

"During this JCCT, the United States requested that China commit to clarifying how its approval system for approving biotech traits will operate in a predictable, transparent, and scientific manner. The U.S. further requested that China commit to work constructively to help address the global problem of asynchronous approvals for biotech products.

"The U.S. will be watching the meeting of China’s National Biosafety Committee scheduled to take place next month, and expects that the remaining eight biotech traits will be reviewed based on science and risk, and accordingly approved.

"Lack of progress on biotech issues will continue to add years to the process of commercializing them, will slow innovation and set back global efforts to address food security and climate change. The United States expects that China will fully implement its prior commitments and will work collaboratively with us to address these global challenges in the future."

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/18

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production averaged 1.014 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 42.59 million gallons daily. That is down slightly by 3,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 1.014 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.54 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 19.0 million barrels. That is a 1.8% increase from last week.

Imports of ethanol remained unchanged at zero b/d for the 13th straight week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 379.0 million gallons (9.024 million barrels) daily. Refiner/blender input of ethanol averaged 917,000 b/d. That means gasoline supplied to the market contained an average of 10.2% ethanol—the fifth time in the last six weeks that the blend rate has exceeded 10.0%.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 11.24%.

CME delays corn futures contract listings, eyes St. Louis delivery point

The CME Group will delay listing of two corn futures contracts that had been scheduled to start trading on Dec. 14 as it continues a review of delivery points which could expand to St. Louis in Missouri, the exchange said in a statement on Tuesday.

The delay covers the July 2020 and December 2020 contracts. The exchange said it would also delay listing of all subsequent months.

There are 25 delivery points for corn futures in the existing contract specifications. Of these, 23 are located along the Illinois River in Illinois and two along Lake Michigan, according to the exchange’s website.

St. Louis already is a delivery point for soybean and wheat.

“The more delivery points that you can have, it just makes it easier to utilize the contract, potentially,” said Joe Lardy, an analyst at CHS Hedging. “Spreading these points around just gives a little more flexibility.”

CHS Hedging is a division of CHS Inc, which owns two of the corn delivery points, at Pekin and Morris in Illinois.

Lardy did not know whether CHS had been asked to give feedback to the CME on the potential changes.

Foundation for Agriculture to Announce New Book of the Year at Annual Convention

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture will announce its tenth Book of the Year on Sunday, Jan. 8, at the AFBF Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in Phoenix, Arizona. The winning book will be revealed at the annual Flapjacks with the Foundation breakfast, where attendees will receive a free copy of the book provided by Farm Bureau Bank.

The author of the new Book of the Year will be in attendance to accept the award at the 7:45 a.m. breakfast event. Following Flapjacks with the Foundation, the Book of the Year author will be signing books at the Farm Bureau Bank booth in the Trade Show from 11:00 a.m-12:30 p.m. Copies of the book, educator guides and a new Ag Mag also will be available.

The Book of the Year award springs from the Foundation’s effort to identify “accurate ag books,” a collection of more than 400 books for children, teenagers and adults that accurately cover agricultural topics. In addition to their accuracy, Book of the Year selections are educational, reflect farmers’ and ranchers’ love for the land and what they do, create positive public perceptions about agriculture, inspire readers to learn more and touch their readers’ lives as well as tell the farmer’s story.

Previous Book of the Year selections are “First Peas to the Table” by Susan Grigsby, “The Apple Orchard Riddle” by Margaret McNamara, “The Beeman” by Laurie Krebs, “The Guardian Team: On the Job with Rena and Roo” by Cat Urbigkit, “How Did that Get Into My Lunchbox? The Story of Food” by Chris Butterworth, “Seed Soil Sun: Earth’s Recipe for Food” by Cris Peterson, “Soybeans in the Story of Agriculture” by Susan Anderson and JoAnne Buggey, “The Man Who Fed the World” by Leon Hesser and “The Tree Farmer” by Chuck Leavell.

Julie Tesch, the Foundation's executive director, said the tenth Book of the Year will continue the high standards of these previous selections.

Whether in their approach to storytelling or in their audience, all the Book of the Year all selections do a great job educating people about agriculture and how it touches everyone. The next Book of the Year, which has already been selected but won't be announced until the Flapjacks with the Foundation event, will continue that tradition of introducing to readers something they probably didn't know about agriculture, in the book's distinctive way.
—  Julie Tesch, executive director of the Foundation

Flapjacks with the Foundation is an incredibly popular Annual Convention events. Tickets, which can be purchased through the Annual Convention registration system , are $36 per individual or $340 for a table for 10.

Wednesday November 23 Ag News

Lower Elkhorn NRD appoints 2 new board members

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) has seen a lot of change this year on their board of directors.

At their November meeting, the LENRD Board of Directors appointed two new members.  David Kathol and Jill Barr, both of Norfolk, took the oath of office and joined the other members around the table.

In the November election, David Kathol of rural Norfolk, was elected in Subdistrict 4 to replace Tim Tighe of Humphrey, who did not seek re-election.  The appointment was possible due to Tighe’s early departure from the board last month, resigning just before the end of his term because he had recently relocated outside of the Subdistrict.  Kathol was appointed at the November board meeting to fill the remainder of Tighe’s term, and will begin to serve his elected term in January.

Kathol worked for NPPD for 40 years.  He is now retired and has some time to commit to being a board member.  When applying for the position, Kathol said, “We all need to know the facts about the water under our feet; how geologically it is stored, moves, replenished, and what happens to make wells go dry.”  He added, “We all need to be educated about water law.”

Jill Barr was appointed to Subdistrict 2 to replace Luke Winkelbauer of Norfolk.  Luke recently resigned from the board due to his previous commitments and the time requirements to serve on the board.  Barr has been appointed to fill the remainder of the two-year term.

Barr is a pharmacist at Hy-Vee West in Norfolk.  In her cover letter, she said, “As the granddaughter of one of the founding fathers of Nucor, I understand the importance of resources and how they play a role in the economics of Nebraska.  Industry, agriculture, and municipalities all rely on the water to survive.  All of us rely on it to drink, bathe, and live.  I look forward to being a part of the conversation on how to keep resources sustainable for current and future generations.”

In other action, a public hearing was held for a proposed Chemigation rule change.  The proposed amendment would allow the chemical injection line check valve to be removed during the off-season.  LENRD Water Resources Technician, Josh Schnitzler, said, “By allowing producers to remove the check valve when they are not chemigating, it should prolong the life of the check valve, as the plastic check valves tend to deteriorate quickly when left out year-round.  It should also give producers a chance to inspect the check valve for any defects or animal damage that may have occurred.”  The board subsequently approved the proposed amendment to the LENRD rules for Chemigation and will forward the approved rule and all other necessary documentation to the Director of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) for their consideration and approval.  The change would become effective soon after approval of the change from NDEQ.

In other business, the board approved 15 Community Forestry Incentive applications and one Forestry Incentive for Public Facilities application, for a total cost of $39,929.50.

The members also approved the staff recommendations for Conservation Cost-share and Lands for Conservation programs and authorized $500,000 for the 2017 construction season.

A request came from the Norfolk Area Visitors’ Bureau for assistance in providing bike racks on Norfolk trails.  A cost-share program was proposed, and the board voted to fund 50% of the cost of the bike racks to be placed around Norfolk, up to $5,000, with the other 50% to be funded by businesses or other entities.

Each year, the LENRD must determine the maximum number of new groundwater irrigated acres to be allowed for the following year.  The board voted to allow 0 acres of new groundwater irrigation development district-wide under the district’s standard variance process for 2017.  Under the district’s expedited variance process, they voted to allow no transfer of irrigated acres district-wide, but to allow approval of applications of 10 acres or less, if the addition of the requested acres will allow the applicant’s center pivot irrigation system to finish its circle.  They also voted to allow for the approval of qualified good cause variances and to approve a total of no more than 250 new irrigated acres in the hydrologically connected area and no more than 250 irrigated acres in the non-hydrologically connected area for expedited variance applications located outside of the district’s quantity subareas for 2017.  In addition, the board directed the staff to allow for the approval of supplemental wells, only in situations where the certified irrigated acres have been severed from the source of groundwater.  LENRD Water Resources Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “In summary, this policy is identical to the allowable development that had been in place in the LENRD for 2016.  District staff members are continuing to develop the framework for further expansion of irrigated acres in defined areas within the district by 2018.”

Bids were received and reviewed to select contractors to perform flow meter maintenance and installation inspections for the district.  The board approved 2 proposals, and authorized the general manager to enter into contracts with the firms.  They approved the proposal from Buchanan Well, Inc. of Osmond, for the northern area of the district to perform the maintenance on an estimated 443 flow meters at $46 per site for a total of $20,378.00.  The other proposal approved was with Derek Becker and Austin Becker of Norfolk, for the southern area of the district at $50 per unit for an estimated 434 flow meters for a total of $21,700.00.

The LENRD officially shared their new logo with the public this week.  It brings together their mission of conserving and protecting water, soil, and trees.  Check it out on their website and social media.

The next board meeting will be held on Thursday, December 15th at 7:30 p.m.

Upper Big Blue NRD is Hosting the 13th Annual CROP-TIP Field Day to Help Farmers Gain an Advantage—Increase Bottom Line

Cornerstone Bank and the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District will be sponsoring the “13th Annual CROP-TIP Field Day” on December 14, 2016, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Holthus Convention Center (York).  The public is invited to attend this free event.

The following speakers are featured and will cover these topics:
  - Keith Berns, Producer/Researcher (Bladen, NE): “Cover Crops:  What’s the Big Deal?”
  - Michelle Rook, Farm Director-WNAX Radio (Yankton, SD): “Commodity Prices:  Review 2016-Preview 2017.”
  - Dr. Al Dutcher, State of Nebraska Climatologist (Lincoln, NE): “Nebraska’s Weather Forecast:  What’s Ahead in 2017.”
  - Dan Leininger, Upper Big Blue NRD (York, NE):  “CROP-TIP Update.”

The “Cornerstone Resources Observation Plot—Test Irrigation Project” (CROP-TIP) was an idea formulated in January 2004 by Cornerstone Bank and the Upper Big Blue NRD.  Similar to an outdoor classroom, the farm is used as a demonstration plot for producers and youth throughout the area.  We will share the harvest data and future plans for CROP-TIP this year.

We are providing a free meal, so please RSVP by December 9th by calling Carleen at the Upper Big Blue NRD at (402) 362-6601.

Saunders Co Soybean Growers Bus Tour

Keith Glewen, NE Extension Educator

The following link  provides information on the Saunders County Soybean Growers Organizations Bus Tour scheduled for Tuesday, November 29th. We still have a few empty seats on the bus. Member or non-member, if you are interested in joining us give me a call on my cell, (number listed below) any time prior to departure. The Saunders County Extension Office is closed Thursday and Friday so calling me any time prior to Tuesday’s departure is o.k. But do not assume there will be room on the bus, so please call….… 402-624-8005 – Office........... 402-450-1463 – cell.   Thanks!

USDA October 2016 Livestock Slaughter

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.43 billion pounds in October, up 3 percent from the 4.31 billion pounds produced in October 2015.

Beef production, at 2.21 billion pounds, was 4 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.64 million head, up 5 percent from October 2015. The average live weight was down 9 pounds from the previous year, at 1,381 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.6 million pounds, 8 percent below October a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 48,300 head, up 20 percent from October 2015. The average live weight was down 67 pounds from last year, at 237 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.20 billion pounds, up 1 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.4 million head, up 2 percent from October 2015. The average live weight was down 1 pound from the previous year, at 282 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 11.7 million pounds, was down 2 percent from October 2015. Sheep slaughter totaled 181,600 head, 2 percent below last year. The average live weight was 128 pounds, unchanged from October a year ago.

By State  (million pounds, % of Oct '15)

Nebraska ...:         710.4            103      
Iowa ..........:         645.9            108      
Kansas .......:         473.8            105      

January to October 2016 commercial red meat production was 41.5 billion pounds, up 3 percent from 2015. Accumulated beef production was up 5 percent from last year, veal was down 8 percent, pork was up 1 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 1 percent.

American Soybean Association Welcomes Ruling in Federal Seed Protection Case

Following a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in the case of Anderson v. EPA this week, the American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed a significantly positive development in the ongoing fight to protect farmers’ rights to use proven-safe seed treatments. In the court, the ruling sided with EPA and an industry coalition of intervenors including ASA, CropLife America, American Seed Trade Association, Agricultural Retailers Association, National Cotton Council of America, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Corn Growers Association in confirming that additional regulation would unnecessarily duplicate EPA’s existing science-based regulatory review. ASA President Richard Wilkins, who farms in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in Greenwood, Del., issued the following statement on the news:

“Monday’s ruling is a big step forward in the push for a science-based system. The federal ruling underscores how activists use lawsuits to force duplicative additional regulations to tie up farmer productivity. Our farmers make their decisions based on science, and as such, need regulations based on that same sound science. We appreciate the ruling today, and hope that it will signal a respect for pragmatic regulation moving forward.”

EPA Finalizes Increase in Renewable Fuel Volumes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized increases in renewable fuel volume requirements across all categories of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. In a required annual rulemaking, today’s action finalizes the volume requirements and associated percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for 2017, and for biomass-based diesel for 2018.

“Renewable fuel volumes continue to increase across the board compared to 2016 levels,” said Janet McCabe, the agency’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “These final standards will boost production, providing for ambitious yet achievable growth of biofuels in the transportation sector. By implementing the program enacted by Congress, we are expanding the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing our reliance on imported oil.”

Cellulosic biofuel (million gallons) - 311
Biomass-based diesel (billion gallons) - 2.0
Advanced biofuel (billion gallons) - 4.28
Renewable fuel (billion gallons) - 19.28

Some key elements of today’s action:
-    Non-advanced or “conventional” renewable fuel increases in 2017, meeting the 15 billion-gallon congressional target for conventional fuels.
-    The standard for biomass-based biodiesel – which must achieve at least 50 percent lifecycle greenhouse gas emission reductions compared to petroleum-based diesel – grows by 100 million gallons. The required volume of biomass-based diesel for 2017 is twice that of the minimum congressional target.
-    Cellulosic biofuel – which must achieve at least 60 percent lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reductions – grows 35 percent over the 2016 standard.
-     The advanced biofuel standard – comprised of biomass-based diesel, cellulosic biofuel, and other biofuel that achieves at least 50 percent lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reductions – increases 19 percent over the 2016 standard.
-    Total renewable fuel volumes grow 1.2 billion gallons from 2016 to 2017, a 6 percent increase.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set annual RFS volume requirements for four categories of biofuels. By displacing fossil fuels, biofuels are part of the nation’s overall strategy to enhance energy security and address climate change. EPA is using the tools provided by Congress to adjust the standards below the statutory targets, but the steadily increasing volumes in the final rule continue to support Congress’s intent to grow the volumes. EPA implements the RFS program in consultation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding the EPA Boosting Renewable Fuel Requirements for 2017

"We are very pleased to see that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to follow the statutory requirements congress laid out in the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) law and allow for the blending of 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol. Given the current state of the agricultural economy, any reduction in RFS would have been a further blow to not only Nebraska's ethanol and corn industries, but to our livestock industry which had come to rely upon Dried Distillers Grains, an ethanol production byproduct, as a staple in the diets of cattle and hogs."

25x'25 Statement on Final 2017 RFS RVOs

Bart Ruth, Chairman, 25x'25 Alliance - Nebraska farmer from Rising City

The 25x'25 Alliance today commends EPA for its wise decision to increase its final renewable volume obligations (RVOs) above the levels proposed when the agency first recommended the 2017 biofuel blending levels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) back in May. Of particular importance is EPA's decision to raise the RVO for conventional biofuels, including corn ethanol, from the proposed 14.8 billion gallons proposed in May to the full 15 billion gallons authorized by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. The agency's decision to meet the statutory requirement reflects an acknowledgement of the economic and energy security benefits that Congress envisioned from biofuels when lawmakers created the RFS 11 years ago. Biofuels offer a cleaner alternative to petroleum-based fuels and the decision to increase the blending levels in 2017 sends a clear signal to investors that growth in the sector is back on course.

NCGA Statement on EPA’s Final 2017 Renewable Volume Obligation

The following is a statement from Texas farmer Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the final 2017 renewable volume obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“Today the EPA moved in the right direction by increasing the 2017 ethanol volume to statute. This is critical for farmers facing difficult economic times, as well as for consumers who care about clean air, affordable fuel choices, and lowering our dependence on foreign oil.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard has been one of America’s great policy success stories. It has improved our energy independence, our air quality, and our rural economies. Although we believe the EPA did not have authority to reduce the ethanol numbers in the first place, we are pleased to see the RVO finally back on track.

“Moving forward, we call on the EPA to continue following the law and keep the RFS on track. Doing so will bring much-needed stability to the marketplace, providing greater certainty for farmers and the industry while also spurring increased investment in renewable fuels.

“Together with both public and private sector partners, NCGA will continue working to grow our national fuel infrastructure so that consumers have greater access to renewable fuels. America’s corn farmers are proud to grow a cleaner-burning, renewable fuel source for America and the world. Thank you to everyone who took the time to contact the EPA in support of the RFS and renewable fuels.”

EPA Returns RFS Renewable Volume Obligations to Statutory Level in 2017

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released their final 2017 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The conventional biofuel amount of 15 billion gallons is an increase from 14.8 billion gallons in the proposed rule, and sets the levels in line with bipartisan Congressional intent. In response, Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, issued the following statement:

“We are pleased that the EPA’s rule finally achieves the statutory volume for conventional biofuel as called for by Congress. The Renewable Fuel Standard is our country’s most successful energy policy. It continues to inject much needed competition and consumer choice into the vehicle fuels marketplace. It enables greater consumer adoption of cleaner biofuels that displace toxic emissions and reduce harmful emissions, while creating American jobs, spurring innovation and lowering the price at the pump.

“Today’s announcement by the administration validates the critical importance of cleaner burning, less expensive biofuels, like ethanol. The American ethanol industry is a true success story, and with increased volumes, producers can unleash their full potential to ensure that higher blends, such as E15, are available to consumers and producers can continue to innovate by leveraging 21st century fuels for 21st century cars.

“This announcement is a win for our energy security, the environment, the American consumer and American innovation. We look forward to working with EPA, as well as the incoming Trump administration, to ensure the continued successful implementation of the RFS.”

Renewable Fuels Announcement Strengthens Energy Security

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) welcomed the release of new standards to support American jobs and energy security. The group applauds the administration for working to reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels by raising biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“The real winners with this announcement are American consumers who will now have access to even more cleaner burning, advanced biofuel,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. “These benefits extend far beyond the biodiesel industry, supporting high paying jobs and clean air across the nation. Though we are poised to top these numbers this year, growth in advanced biofuels still sends positive signals to the marketplace.”

Under the new RFS rule, Biomass-Based Diesel standards would move to 2.1 billion gallons in 2018 up from 2 billion gallons in 2017. The Biomass-Based Diesel category – a diesel subset of the overall Advanced Biofuel category – is made up of biodiesel and renewable diesel, another diesel alternative made from the same feedstocks using a different technology.

Additionally the new RFS rule, would move Advanced Biofuels to 4.28 billion gallons in 2017 up from 3.61 billion gallons in 2016 with Biomass-Based Diesel continuing to fill a large portion of the Advanced Program.

The new standards reflect modest growth in the standards but remain below the more than 2.6 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel expected in 2016.

EPA Releases 2017-18 RFS Volumes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for 2017-18 this morning. There are positive aspects to the volumes they have announced, with the overall RFS increasing and the total Advanced Biofuels portion being increased above the levels in the Proposed Rule. The increased Advanced Biofuels volume requirements provide a market opportunity for soy biodiesel, which is the most prevalent fuel to qualify as an Advanced Biofuel. The American Soybean Association (ASA) would have liked to see greater support and promotion specifically for domestically produced biodiesel through higher volumes for the biomass-based diesel category. EPA chose to maintain the biomass-based diesel volumes at 2.1 billion gallons for 2018, the same level in the initial Proposed Rule. While it represents a 100 million gallon increase in the RFS biomass-based diesel volumes from 2017, it is roughly the same amount of biomass-based diesel that was utilized in the U.S. in 2015.

"The levels announced today provide opportunities but also do not take full advantage of an opportunity to further promote a viable, domestically produced renewable fuel industry that is U.S. biodiesel," said ASA President Richard Wilkins, a soybean farmer from Greenwood, Del. "EPA will raise the overall volumes relative to the Proposed Rule and increase the total Advanced Biofuels volume requirements for 2017 from 4.0 billion gallons to 4.28, an increase of 19 percent. That's a plus for biodiesel as the primary source of Advanced Biofuels." Wilkins noted, however, that EPA chose not to raise the Biomass-based diesel volume requirements within that Advanced Biofuel pool for 2018.

"When EPA issued its proposed rule, ASA clearly stated that the 2.1 billion gallon mark did not adequately capture the capacity of the biodiesel industry," he said. "To see the volume remain at 2.1 billion gallons as they were in the Proposed Rule is frustrating. We know we can do more."

EPA Sets Right Tone for Advanced Biofuels with RFS Announcement, NFU Says

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the 2017 Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) volume obligations, setting conventional renewable fuels at the 15 billion volume level established by Congress. In response, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson released the following statement:

“We are appreciative that EPA has raised the RFS volume obligations from their initial proposal to meet the 15 billion volume obligations set by Congress. Today’s action shows a clear commitment to achieving the environmental benefits inherent in conventional ethanol and to protecting the future of advanced biofuels in the market.

“Farmers and ranchers face substantial challenges in a changing climate; today's announcement encourages family farmers to join in building climate resilience. A regulatory environment that promotes investment in renewable fuels and advancement in biofuels is critical to involving the agriculture community in mitigating the impact of climate change. By properly implementing the RFS, we can collectively do more to meet the Administration’s broader climate goals.

“We look forward to working with the new administration to continue to support proper implementation of the RFS.”

Farm Bureau Opposes Speed Limiters Proposal

The Department of Transportation’s proposal to require speed limiters for large commercial vehicles fails to take into account the fact that many commercial vehicles often cover hundreds of miles on open roads with few other vehicles, Farm Bureau pointed out in recently submitted comments.  In addition, the proposed rule would pass on significant costs to already struggling farmers and ranchers who only use heavier trucks seasonally.

The proposed rule, put forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and DOT, would require vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds to be equipped with a speed limiting device initially set to a speed no greater than a speed to be specified in a final rule and would require motor carriers operating such vehicles in interstate commerce to maintain functional speed limiting devices set to a speed no greater than a speed to be specified in the final rule for the service life of the vehicle.

Speed limits should not be arbitrarily established by federal rule, Farm Bureau said in its comments. Instead, it should be based on conditions in the area in which it’s posted.

"Our members operate in all types of environments from the most rural regions of this country to more urban areas in high population densities. That is one of the reasons we have different posted speed limits for different scenarios based on the distinct local conditions," according to Farm Bureau's comments.

“The proposal ignores the fact that many commercial vehicles often operate for hundreds of miles without much interaction with other traffic. There is no clear rationale in the rule for suggesting a truck traveling in a rural setting with minimal traffic should have the same top speed as a truck traveling in a large city,” Farm Bureau continued.

The organization also pointed out that the proposal would be too costly for farmers and ranchers who use large trucks only during certain times of the year.

“The rule, if adopted, would pass on significant costs to our members who do not operate as commercial motor vehicle enterprises but only utilize heavier trucks seasonally. These costs would impact an industry that is currently struggling to make ends meet with the recent downturn in the farm economy,” Farm Bureau said.

Fertilizer Prices Remain Mixed

Average retail fertilizer prices were mixed again the third week of November 2016 with most products slightly lower while some were higher, according to fertilizer retails surveyed by DTN.

Like last week, prices for six of the eight major fertilizers were lower compared to a month earlier, though none of these moves were substantial. DAP had an average price of $436 per ton, MAP $445/ton, 10-34-0 $445/ton, anhydrous $466/ton, UAN28 $219/ton and UAN32 $256/ton.

The remaining two fertilizers were slightly higher in price compared to a month prior. Neither fertilizer was up significantly. Potash had an average price of $315/ton and urea was at $327/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.35/lb.N, anhydrous $0.28/lb.N, UAN28 $0.39/lb.N and UAN32 $0.40/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are now double digits lower.

Urea is now down 19%, DAP is 20% less expensive and MAP is 21% lower. Both 10-34-0 and UAN32 are 23% lower, UAN28 is 24% less expensive and both potash and anhydrous are 26% lower compared to a year prior.

Will Corn and Soybean Surpluses Be Reduced?

Darrel Good, University of Illinois

The USDA's November WASDE report projected that U.S. stocks of corn will grow from 1.738 billion bushels at the beginning of the current marketing year to 2.403 billion bushels at the end of the marketing year. Soybean stocks are expected to grow from 197 million bushels to 480 million bushels.

Large increases in stocks are expected even though corn consumption during the current marketing year is expected to exceed that of last year by 948 million bushels (6.9 percent) and soybean consumption is expected to increase by 165 million bushels (4.2 percent). Increased corn consumption is projected in both the feed and residual and export categories. A majority of the expected increase in soybean consumption is in the export category. The expected increase in stocks reflects the extremely large crops produced this year.

The large crops and resulting low prices are creating increased financial stress for corn and soybean producers and a lot of interest in how long surpluses and low prices might persist. For now, much of the focus is on the potential size of the 2017 South American crops and the implications for demand for U.S. crops. Increasingly, the focus will shift to 2017 production prospects in the U.S. The over-riding question is whether surpluses and low prices will persist for another year. It is a bit early to speculate on supply and consumption prospects for the 2017-18 marketing year, but some scenarios can be considered.

For corn, there is a general expectation that U.S. producers will reduce acreage in the year ahead. A decrease of about 3.5 million acres, to 83.3 million acres harvested for grain, seems to be a common expectation right now. With such a reduction and a 2017 U.S. average corn yield near our calculated trend value of 168.8 bushels, the 2017 crop would total 14.06 billion bushels, 1.165 billion bushels less than the 2016 harvest. If corn consumption during the 2017-18 marketing year remained at the elevated level of 14.61 billion bushels projected for the current year, stocks at the end of the 2017-18 marketing year would be reduced to about 1.9 billion bushels.

With a trend yield of 168.8 bushels and a constant level of consumption, any reduction of more than 0.5 million acres would result in some draw down in year ending stocks of corn during the 2017-18 marketing year. Conversely, a 3.5 million acre reduction in acres along with a constant level of consumption means that an average yield of less than 174.8 bushels would result in some draw down in marketing year ending stocks. However, if combined corn production in Brazil and Argentina in 2017 increases by 945 million bushels, as now projected by the USDA, U.S. corn exports would be expected to decline during the 2017-18 marketing year. If U.S. exports decline by 250 million bushels and acreage is reduced by 3.5 million acres, the 2017 average yield would need to be less than 171.8 bushels in order to reduce year ending stocks.

For soybeans, there is a general expectation that U.S. producers will increase acreage in the year ahead. An increase of about five million acres, to 88 million harvested acres, seems to be a common expectation right now. The extremely high soybean yields of the past three years raise some questions about a potential increase in the trend yield. However, if the 2017 U.S. average soybean yield is near our calculated linear trend value of 47.5 bushels and acreage is increased as expected, the 2017 crop would total 4.18 billion bushels, 181 million bushels less than the 2016 harvest. If soybean consumption during the 2017-18 marketing year remained at the elevated level of 4.108 billion bushels projected for the current year, stocks at the end of the 2017-18 marketing year would grow to about 580 million bushels.

With a trend yield of 47.5 bushels and a constant level of consumption, any increase of more than 2.85 million acres would result in some further growth in year ending stocks of soybeans during the 2017-18 marketing year. On the other hand, a five million acre increase in soybean area along with a constant level of consumption means that an average yield of more than 46.3 bushels would result in some increase in marketing year ending stocks. However, if combined soybean production in Brazil and Argentina in 2017 increases by 210 million bushels, as now projected by the USDA, U.S. soybean exports would be expected to decline during the 2017-18 marketing year. If U.S. exports decline by 100 million bushels and acreage is increased by five million acres, a 2017 average yield of more than 45.2 bushels would result in some increase in year ending stocks.

There are obviously multiple potential acreage, yield, consumption, and ending stocks scenarios for the 2017-18 U.S. corn and soybean marketing year. The most likely scenarios tend to favor a modest reduction in marketing year ending stocks of corn and a modest to large increase in marketing year ending stocks of soybeans. The corn market currently appears to reflect expectations of reduced stocks, with the December 2017 futures price $0.37 higher than December 2016 price. The soybean market is apparently not convinced that stocks will continue to grow next year, with the January 2018 future price only $0.06 lower than the January 2017 price. The soybean market appears to be reflecting more production risk than reflected by the corn market. Perceived production risk may stem from current drought conditions in the southeast U.S. and/or uncertainty about potential impacts if a La Nina episode unfolds.

Farmers Receive Less Than Twenty Percent of Thanksgiving Retail Food Dollar, NFU Farmer’s Share Shows

Consumers’ holiday food costs have declined, but farmers still receive less than 20 percent of the food dollar, according to the annual Thanksgiving edition of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Farmer’s Share publication. The popular Thanksgiving Farmer’s Share compares the retail food price of traditional holiday dinner items to the amount the farmer receives for each item.

“It’s important to understand the difference between the price consumers pay for food at the grocery store or restaurant and the commodity prices farmers are paid for their products. Just recently food costs started to drop, but farm and ranch families have been plagued by low commodity prices for nearly three years,” said Roger Johnson, president of NFU. “Comparatively, the costs associated with the rest of the supply chain have a more pronounced effect on consumers’ food prices.”

On average, farmers receive 17.4 cents of every food dollar consumers spend, while more than 80 percent of food costs cover marketing, processing, wholesaling, distribution and retailing. For the 15 items NFU tracks for the Thanksgiving version, farmers received 19.4 cents of the retail food dollar.

Turkey growers, who raise the staple Thanksgiving dish, receive about 89 cents per pound retailing at $1.59. Wheat farmers averaged a meager 4 cents on 12 dinner rolls that retail for $3.29. And dairy producers received only $1.44 for the $4.49 gallon of fat free milk.

Thanksgiving presents an opportunity to raise awareness about food production, including misconceptions about food costs, Johnson explained. “Farmers and ranchers play the most valuable role in actually producing the food that is served at holiday dinners, yet they make just pennies on the dollar for their products.”

The Farmers’ Share is based on calculations derived from the monthly Agriculture Prices report produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compared to price points of common grocery food items at Safeway supermarket.

Deere Sees Better Results

Farm-equipment supplier Deere & Co. easily topped quarterly sales and profit expectations on Wednesday and said it expects declining sales of its agricultural machinery will start to ease next year.

Deere continued to forecast weakening demand in North America where it dominates the market for large farm tractors and harvesting combines. But the company sees an upturn in South America propelled by resurgent sales of farm equipment in Brazil and Argentina.

Its shares were 11% higher at $102.29 in midday trading on Wednesday, after earlier notching an all-time high.

Lower prices for farm commodities and a glut of used equipment have held down demand for new machinery for the past three years. Farmers have grown increasingly cautious about buying new equipment following years of elevated demand for equipment when farm incomes and commodity prices were high.

The Moline, Ill.-based company forecast that sales of its farm and construction equipment would fall by 1% during the fiscal year ending Oct. 31, 2017. Wall Street analysts were expecting sales to drop by about 3% after declining 9.3% to $23.4 billion in 2016. The company predicted profit next year will be down 1%, following a 21% decline in 2016 to $1.5 billion.

Sales of the company's farm and landscaping machinery fell 5% during the fourth quarter from the same period a year earlier to $4.44 billion, but profit from the business surged 37% to $371 million from a combination of higher prices on machinery and lower expenses. Deere reported that prices for new and used equipment firmed in the quarter, taking pressure off dealers to offer discounts that squeeze margins.

"This happened to be a quarter where we had a lot of little things that were positives," said Tony Huegel, director of investor relations, during a conference call.

Income from Deere's financing unit dropped 27% during the quarter to $164 million, reflecting losses on the sale of equipment that had previously been leased. Deere has stepped up its leasing activity in recent years to offset falling sales. Low prices on used equipment are making it difficult for Deere to recover all of the leftover costs on leased equipment when farmers return it to the financing unit. The company said it has raised lease rates to result in smaller residual values at the end of the leases that are more in line with used-market prices.

Deere expects retail sales of farm machinery in 2017 to fall 5% to 10% industrywide in North America, but anticipates about a 15% increase in industry sales of tractors and combines in South America, a key growth market for Deere and other farm-equipment companies.

Deere's construction-machinery business continued to struggle during the fourth quarter, losing $17 million as sales slipped 5% to $1.21 billion. The company attributed the loss to higher costs for production and sales incentives and an impairment charge for its equipment operations in Brazil and China. Deere said demand for its construction equipment in the U.S. is being weighed down by reduced spending by equipment-rental companies and building contractors. Deere expects sales of its construction and forest equipment to increase by 1% in 2017.

Deere sidestepped questions from analysts about the effects of potential tax cuts or trade policy changes anticipated under the new Trump administration. But Huegel said Deere executives are strategizing for a variety of possible scenarios. "At the end of the day, we want to be prepared for whatever becomes reality," he said.

In all for the fourth quarter, Deere reported net income of $285.3 million, or 90 cents a share, compared with $351.2 million, or $1.08 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts expected the company to earn 40 cents.

Overall equipment sales fell 5% from last year to $5.65 billion, better than the $5.38 billion expected by analysts.

Tuesday November 22 Ag News

Nebraska Cattlemen Announce 2017 Class of Young Cattlemen’s Conference

Nebraska Cattlemen announced the 2017 class of the Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC). YCC nominees were accepted from throughout the state and selected by committee to participate in the two-year leadership program. Each class is limited to ten individuals.

The Class of 2017 includes:
Kate Benjamin, Lakeside
Tabbatha Cornelius, Ainsworth
Troy Carruthers, Kimball
Steven Fish, Norfolk
Alex Heine, Lincoln
Jacob Hopwood, Holdrege
Erin Laborie, Beaver City
Andy Reigle, Humphrey
Sara Van Newkirk, Oshkosh
Heath Weichel, Lexington

“The next generation of Nebraska Cattlemen will ensure Nebraska remains the global epicenter of the beef industry,” said NC Executive Vice President Pete McClymont. “Our Young Cattlemen’s Conference delivers a strong foundation of industry knowledge and provides the tools these producers need to build a successful future.”

The goal of the Young Cattlemen’s Conference is to expose young and emerging leaders to a variety of areas of the beef industry and provide them with necessary leadership tools. During the two-year program, YCC members are provided training on professional communication, given the opportunity to tour multiple Nebraska-based agriculture production facilities and learn to navigate state agencies and legislative processes.

All of this could not happen without generous sponsorship from Farm Credit Services of America, DuPont Pioneer and Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation.

USDA Cold Storage October 2016 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on October 31, 2016 were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 1 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 5 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 7 percent from the previous month and down 1 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 17 percent from last month but up 16 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on October 31, 2016 were down 9 percent from the previous month and down 3 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 10 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 22 percent from last month but up 13 percent from October 31, 2015.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on October 31, 2016 were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 6 percent from October 31, 2015.  Butter stocks were down 15 percent from last month but up 27 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were up 16 percent from last month and up 16 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 5 percent from last month and up 2 percent from a year ago.

Smithfield Foods to buy Farmer John from Hormel

Smithfield Foods said it would buy parent of the Farmer John and Saag’s Specialty Meats brands, and farm operations in three U.S. states from Hormel Foods for $145 million in cash.

Smithfield will buy Clougherty Packing as well as hog farm operations under PFFJ, or Pigs for Farmer John, in California, Arizona and Wyoming, expanding its supply chain in the United States.

The businesses being acquired contributed about $500 million in sales and about 3 cents per share in earnings to Hormel in fiscal 2016.

Smithfield, bought by WH Group in 2013 for $4.7 billion, is the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. “While the businesses have performed well, they no longer align with our company’s growth strategies,” Hormel Chief Executive Jim Snee said in a statement.

Hormel said Farmer John harvests about 7,400 hogs per day.


All layers in Nebraska during October 2016 totaled 8.96 million, up from 5.94 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Nebraska egg production during October totaled 230 million eggs, up from 146 million in 2015. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,564 eggs, compared to 2,460 eggs in 2015.


Iowa egg production during October 2016 was 1.30 billion eggs, up 3 percent from last month, and up 71 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  The average number of all layers on hand during October 2016 was 53.7 million, up 1 percent from last month, and up 55 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for October were 2,421, up 2 percent from last month, and up 11 percent from last year.

U.S. October Egg Production Up 10 Percent

United States egg production totaled 8.63 billion during October 2016, up 10 percent from last year. Production included 7.51 billion table eggs, and 1.13 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.04 billion were broiler-type and 84.7 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during October 2016 averaged 362 million, up 7 percent from last year. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,388 eggs, up 3 percent from October 2015.
All layers in the United States on November 1, 2016 totaled 362 million, up 6 percent from last year. The 362 million layers consisted of 305 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 53.3 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.37 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on November 1, 2016, averaged 77.2 eggs per 100 layers, up 3 percent from November 1, 2015.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Down 12 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during October 2016 totaled 44.1 million, down 12 percent from October 2015. Eggs in incubators totaled 41.7 million on November 1, 2016, down 11 percent from a year ago. Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 324 thousand during October 2016, down 2 percent from October 2015.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 3 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during October 2016 totaled 778 million, up 3 percent from October 2015. Eggs in incubators totaled 630 million on November 1, 2016, up 4 percent from a year ago.  Leading breeders placed 6.91 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during October 2016, up 1 percent from October 2015.

Results Available for Iowa’s Official Variety Trials

Final results of Iowa’s Official Variety Trials are now available to the public at Iowa Crop Performance Tests manages more than 20,000 plots at 30 locations across the state of Iowa, with more than 35 companies participating in the tests.

Online users can view all entrants, the hybrids or varieties entered and the districts and tests in which the entries were placed. Users can also filter the information by district, GMO traits or maturity.  All data tables in the reports are also available to download as Microsoft Excel files on the website.

The Iowa Crop Performance Tests are the top-ranked provider of unbiased performance data among all Midwestern, self-supported public testing programs for both corn and soybeans. The testing program continues to provide growers information they need to make informed variety selection decisions. Quick access to harvest data is commonly cited as the most appreciated feature of the yield tests. Data reports also include two-year averages when applicable.

Published results can be requested from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach county offices, the Iowa Crop Improvement Association, 515-294-6921, and the Extension Store, 515-294-5247.

The Iowa Crop Improvement Association conducts the Iowa Crop Performance Tests in cooperation with the Iowa State University Department of Agronomy. The program offers unbiased, third party, on-farm information to Iowa growers.

Fed Cattle Prices Surge -- Finally

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension 

Fed cattle prices finally surged higher last week to $108-110 per cwt in many cash markets.  High beef live-to-cutout spreads over the last couple of months, seasonal trends, and seemingly overdone price declines all indicated prices should be higher.  The wholesale market, as measured by the Choice beef cutout is higher as well, starting this week up almost $3 per cwt to $185.68.  The primal rib cut led the way, climbing to $368.39, its highest value since June 14th.  Cattle slaughter to date in November is 9 percent above November a year ago, using the estimated daily slaughter.

Feeder cattle and calf prices climbed along with the fed cattle market.  While the calf market has had a very small to nonexistent price slide in recent months, this surge in prices has started to widen out the slide.  Those who held back their calves to hold them over the winter or bought stockers might pay very close attention to these calf market developments.  The widening slide might provide some new opportunities.  Its likely to remain important to plan now for marketing feeder cattle in the Spring.

USDA released the November Cattle on Feed Report on the 18th.  The combination of marketings increasing 4.6 percent over a year ago and placements declining 5 percent resulted in the number of cattle on feed being 1.3 percent lower than last November 1.  Feeding losses, calf prices signaling holding calves on winter pastures, and fewer feeder cattle from Mexico all contributed to fewer placements.  Certainly fewer cattle feed does imply some moderating slaughter in future months as those cattle reach maturity.

Given the holiday season is upon us, it's worth remembering, as beef lovers, a standing rib roast makes a great alternative to that turkey!  (Ok, maybe one turkey is fine as a bow to tradition!)  Happy Thanksgiving!  I know that I have many things on my list to be thankful for.

FDA Releases Video on New VFD Regulations

Starting January 1, 2017, medically important antimicrobials in medicated feed will become veterinary feed directive drugs, and the resulting VFD feed must be authorized by a licensed veterinarian and distributed and used in compliance with the VFD regulation.

The Food and Drug Administration also notes that animal producers will no longer be able to use these VFD feeds for growth promotion or feed efficiency.

The agency has released a video explaining these changes and provides an overview of the requirements in the VFD regulation.

The video can be accessed at:

Tyson Foods CEO to Step Down After Disappointing Profit Forecast

Tyson Foods Inc shares tumbled almost 16% on Monday after the nation's biggest meat processor forecast lower-than-expected 2017 profit and said Chief Executive Donnie Smith would step down at the end of the year. According to Reuters, the company also reported disappointing quarterly results due to increased investment spending and shortfalls in its chicken and prepared food businesses, and shares fell 15.4% to $56.97.

The seller of Jimmy Dean sausage and Ball Park hot dogs expects profit of $4.70 to $4.85 a share in the year ending September 2017, below analysts' average estimate of $4.98, as it boosts capital spending to $1 billion from $700 million in 2016 to improve worker safety, animal welfare, food safety and its supply chain.

Company president, Tom Hayes, will succeed Smith, 56, who has been at the helm since November 2009. Hayes, 51, was previously the chief supply chain officer for Hillshire Brands Co, which Tyson bought in 2014.

Tyson, which canceled its regular earnings call with journalists, has been looking to shore up profits by selling more "value-added" items such as pre-seasoned products and heat-and-serve meals, which command higher margins than basic meats.

Rabobank: Field Crop Margins Recovering in Europe but Difficult Times in the Americas

The latest Rabobank Field Crop Margin Outlook has Europe showing a recovery in margins, Australia’s margins at reasonable levels, but U.S. farmers facing another challenging year in 2017.

“U.S. farmers will face another challenging year in 2017,” says Harry Smit, Senior Analyst Farm Inputs at Rabobank. “Where wheat farmers in the Great Plains area saw a small improvement of margins in 2016, following an exceptionally good yield, the Midwest corn-soy producers saw a continuation of margins too low to cover all costs.”

Rabobank’s latest analysis looks at the specific costs associated with a mix of representative field crops to estimate the gross margins in the following regions: the US (the Great Plains and the Midwest), Brazil (Mato Grosso), France, Poland, the Netherlands and Australia (New South Wales). It provides an overview of the latest developments in field crop margins around the world and an outlook for the coming year.


In Brazil, a series of years with attractive margins also seems to be coming to an end. Brazilian farmers have been able to prevent margin pressure in 2017 by a lot of forward selling. Now that the two drivers of rising farmgate prices—the global agri commodity boom followed by the weakening of the real—are fading, margin pressure may mount after 2017. Moreover, the general economic situation with difficult access to credit is expected to continue in Brazil.

Europe, France and Poland are expected to show a recovery in margins in 2017 after a dip in 2016. However, farmers will only experience this improvement once the cash of the new crop comes in, which means not before late 2017 at the earliest. In the Netherlands, the relatively favourable potato prices are expected to result in above-average margins in both 2016 and 2017.

In Australia, in the absence of extreme weather events, margins—though declining—are expected at reasonable levels in both 2016 and 2017. Field crop farmers are experiencing a relatively long period of attractive yields , caused by an absence of droughts in recent years. This year’s price decline will be partially offset by an above-average yield.

Agri commodity prices and inputs

The outlook for agri commodity prices is relatively flat for 2017. The same goes for exchange rates. As fertiliser supply capacity continues set to outweigh global demand, we forecast fertilizer prices for 2017 to remain depressed and remain around today's level. Overall, fertilizer prices today are about one-third lower than they were on average last year. This means that yield will be the most important factor in projecting farmer margins in 2017.

Monday November 21 Ag News


For the week ending November 20, 2016, above normal temperatures continued in the eastern part of the State, averaging six to nine degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation totaled half an inch or less throughout Nebraska, with some of it coming in the form of snow. Producers welcomed the much needed moisture after experiencing very dry soils. In most counties, harvest was nearly complete and fall tillage activities continued. There were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 14 percent very short, 36 short, 49 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 12 percent very short, 32 short, 55 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 96 percent, near 94 last year, and equal to the five-year average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 10 poor, 34 fair, 49 good, and 5 excellent.

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 5 percent very poor, 12 poor, 32 fair, 47 good, and 4 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 14 short, 84 adequate, and 1 surplus.


Harvest activities were virtually completed during the week ending November 20, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork. Although parts of northwest Iowa received snow, activities for the State during the week included harvesting, baling corn stalks, tiling, terracing, hauling and spreading manure, and anhydrous application.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 14 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 9 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus.

Ninety-eight percent of the corn crop for grain has been harvested, 2 days ahead of the 5-year average. Moisture content of all corn for grain being harvested in Iowa was 16 percent. Southwest and south central Iowa were still lagging slightly behind with approximately 8 percent of the corn crop and 5 percent of the soybean crop remaining to be harvested.

Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 51 percent moderate to heavy, down 4 percentage points from the previous week. Off-farm grain storage availability was rated 63 percent adequate to surplus. On-farm grain storage availability was rated 58 percent adequate to surplus.

Livestock conditions were described as good and many fields have cows out in the corn stalks.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

The U.S. soybean harvest is finished for the year in most states, and the corn harvest is nearing completion slightly ahead of the average pace, according to the latest USDA Crop Progress report released Monday.

The nation's corn crop was 97% harvested as of Sunday, even with a year ago and up from the five-year average of 96%. 

Soybean harvest is complete in most states with USDA no longer reporting national harvest progress this week.

The winter wheat crop was 97% planted as of Sunday, up from 95% a year ago, and below the five-year average of 99%. Eight-nine percent of the crop had emerged, even with a year ago and up from the five-year average of 88%.  The condition of winter wheat was rated 58% good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from 59% the previous week.

Cotton harvested was reported at 67%, slightly behind 68% last year and also behind the average pace of 77%. Sorghum harvest was 94% complete, compared to 90% last week, 93% last year and 92% average.

Introducing New NE Extension Crops Specialist Justin McMechan

Justin McMechan started work August 16 as the new crop protection and cropping systems specialist for eastern Nebraska. As part of the UNL Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, his primary office is at the Agricultural Research and Development Center near Ithaca and his campus office is in 105B Entomology. As an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology, McMechan has a split appointment between research (50%) and extension (50%).

Education and Training

McMechan grew up on a mixed cattle and grain farm in southwestern Manitoba, Canada. A farmer at heart, his parents encouraged him to obtain some post-secondary education before returning to the family farm. This led McMechan to do a two-year agricultural business degree from Assiniboine Community College. It was through this experience that he gained an appreciation for the value of education in agricultural systems. With questions still lingering, McMechan went on to the University of Minnesota Crookston where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in agriculture sciences and crop production in 2009. During this time, McMechan worked as a summer intern in the Plant Pathology and Entomology Departments where he was exposed to the value and opportunities in research and extension. In 2009, McMechan joined the Department of Entomology at the University of Nebraska graduating with his M.S. degree in 2012. McMechan recently completed dual doctoral degrees in the Doctor of Plant Health Program and in Entomology, graduating in May and August of 2016.

As a graduate student, McMechan’s research has spanned various disciplines including plant pathology, entomology, weed science, and plant physiology. As a master’s student, his research focused on the transmission of Triticum mosaic virus, the impact of the virus on the wheat curl mite, and an evaluation of management combinations for the wheat-mite-virus complex. As a doctoral student, he evaluated the window of time for pre-harvest germination of volunteer wheat, the risk of alternative hosts for the wheat-mite-virus complex, and the impact of rainfall on mite populations under field conditions. His Doctor of Plant Health research focused on early season hail damage and disease interactions in corn and primary ear loss in corn.

McMechan has authored or co-authored nine peer-reviewed journal articles and several extension publications and scientific presentations. He was awarded the Entomological Society of America 2016 John Henry Comstock Award for outstanding graduate student. In addition, he received the outstanding poster award from the Agronomy Society of America in 2015 as well as nine President’s prize awards for posters and presentations during his graduate programs. McMechan has served as the president of the Entomology Department’s Lawrence Bruner Club and has been actively involved in several extension activities and programs.

Research and Extension Goals

McMechan’s research plans include evaluating the risk and beneficial potential of insects in cover crops on corn and soybeans. These fundamental questions will help mitigate risk and determine the added value of this growing area of interest. In addition, his research will focus on the evaluation and management of early and late season hail damage in corn and soybeans through the use of simulated hail machine. By replicating real world conditions, he hopes to provide recommendations and evaluation strategies that reflect and incorporate the complexity of the field environment.

McMechan has a strong passion for extension and encourages his clientele to contact him by phone, stop by his office, or talk with him at field days and field visits. He has a strong belief that collaboration and exchange of information with consultants and producers is critical to fostering a dialogue to determine, address, or develop solutions for key issues in the area.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Market gurus say to make profits you must buy low and sell high.  What market gives you that opportunity today?  The stock market - no - it's the hay market!

               High rainfall in many areas produced high yields of both grass and alfalfa hay this year.  Combine that with high carryover from last year plus lots of crop residues available and you get an abundance of forage for this winter. And when winter forage is abundant, hay prices go down.

               All this rain also led to some poor hay making weather which has resulted in a shortage of really high quality alfalfa.  As a result, some alfalfa growers in Nebraska are receiving over 150 dollars per ton for superior quality dairy hay and over 100 dollars for other good hay.

               But why should you care?  You don't have any extra alfalfa.  You plan to use all your hay for your own cattle.

               Well, just think about this.  Suppose someone offered you 100 dollars per ton for your better alfalfa.  Could you find other hay nearby that you could make work for your animals that would only cost you 60 or 70 dollars?  If you can, maybe you can sell high, buy low, and pocket the profits.

               So, how do you find these buyers?  You could post notices at truck stops, place ads in newspapers and magazines, or set up a sign by your driveway.  But, there are more effective ways to contact buyers.  One is to place your hay on a computer listing in the dairy states.  Maybe an even better way is to work with dealers or become a member of a marketing group, like the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association, to take advantage of all their market connections.

               You may need some luck and do some work to be able to buy low and sell high.  Smart operators look for these opportunities.


The Nebraska Power Farming Show – the 2nd largest indoor farm show in the country – will take place at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln December 6-8. Three times larger than the average Midwestern farm show, the Nebraska Power Farming Show features over 860 farm equipment and agribusiness companies and 2,282 booths spanning 9.2 acres. The show is presented by Farm Credit Services of America and AgDirect.

10.  GAIN A COMPETITIVE EDGE – Producers come to the Nebraska Power Farming Show to see, touch and learn about the latest products and services offered. Gaining a competitive edge by reducing cost or increasing productivity is the name of the game.

9.     EXCLUSIVE EXHIBITORS – More than half of the Nebraska Power Farming Show exhibitors do not participate in the nearest outdoor farm show. Nearly 70 percent do not participate in the nearest indoor farm show. This is your only chance to see them in Nebraska.

8.     NEW EXHIBITORS – Nearly 20 percent of companies exhibiting are NEW to the Nebraska Power Farming Show.

7.     EXTENSIVE PRODUCT OFFERING – The Nebraska Power Farming Show is the most complete farm show in the area. From the latest equipment and attachments, to inputs and precision ag technology, we have the product you need.

6.     NEW PRODUCTS – Smaller manufacturers (considered the real innovators of the industry) introduce new products at the Nebraska Power Farming Show.

5.     ONE STOP SHOP – Research and compare a variety of ag-related products and services, conveniently located in one complex.

4.     BUY – At the Nebraska Power Farming Show, both manufacturer representatives and dealers are ready to help you make purchases. Exhibitor “show stopper” specials make it even more enticing to shop at the show.

3.     PURE AG SHOW – You won’t find hot tubs and windows at the Nebraska Power Farming Show. Only companies promoting ag-related products are allowed to exhibit.

2.     CONVENIENCE – The Nebraska Power Farming Show is conveniently located on the eastern edge of Lincoln, Nebraska. You won’t struggle with downtown traffic or limited parking options at this show.

1.     IT’S FREE – Admission to the Nebraska Power Farming Show is FREE! That, combined with plenty of FREE parking makes the Nebraska Power Farming Show hands down, the best value around.

For more information, visit

Southeast Nebraska Successful Farmer Series Starts Dec. 16

Agriculture is a challenging and complex industry requiring farm owners and operators to understand and make decisions on a wide range of topics.

This winter the Successful Farmer Series will focus on several of these timely topics in workshops featuring experts from the University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Friday morning workshops offer a relaxed setting to hear from the speakers and discuss that week's topic with producers and landowners, as well as UNL and industry experts. Grab a cup of joe and a roll, and pick up some educational handouts when you join southeast Nebraska growers for one or all of these workshops.

Workshops will be held every other Friday (except December 30) from December 16 through March 3. Each workshop starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 11:30 a.m. and is held at the Lancaster Extension Education Center, 444 Cherry Creek Rd, Lincoln. The cost is $5 for each workshop or $15 for the entire series. Cash or check is accepted at the door.

Topics & UNL Speakers
    December 16 — Cover Crops and Wheat (Speakers: Roger Elmore, Paul Jasa, Teshome Regassa)
    January 6 — Ag Management Technology (Speakers: Joe Luck, Wayne Woldt, Tyler Williams)
    January 20 — Farm Financial Management (Speakers: Tina Barrett, Cory Walters)
    February 3 — Soils and Climate (Speakers: Humberto Blanco, Al Dutcher, Tyler Williams)
    February 17 — Soybeans (Speakers: Amit Jhala, Michael Rethwisch, Patricio Grassini)
    March 3 — Corn (Speakers: Tamra Jackson-Ziems, Haishun Yang, Robert Wright)

For more information, call 402-441-7180 or email To preregister go to

Water for Food Global Institute releases 2016 conference proceedings

The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (WFI) at the University of Nebraska has published the proceedings from its 2016 Water for Food Global Conference, held in association with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation April 24-26 at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.

The report summarizes three days of presentations and discussions surrounding the major aspects of the conference theme, "Catalytic Collaborations: Building Public-Private Partnerships for Water and Food Security."

More than 360 individuals from throughout the U.S. and 15 countries attended the institute’ s seventh signature event, including practitioners, scholars, farmers and thought leaders in the water and food sectors.

The 2016 Water for Food Global Conference sessions focused on leveraging public-private partnerships (PPPs) to address our world’s pressing water and food security challenges, highlighting successful models of PPPs around the world, as well as possible challenges and pitfalls.

Additionally, this year’s conference featured the premiere of the documentary film “Thirsty Land” and a workshop on the “Opportunities and Challenges of Expanding Smallholder Irrigation in sub-Saharan Africa,” co-convened by the Gates Foundation, KickStart International and WFI, in partnership with CGIAR Research Program in Water, Land and Ecosystems.

Conference topics covered in the report include, among others:
- Irrigation research and technology for smallholder farmers, including remote sensing and apps that help farmers target water usage to maximize yields
- Agricultural solutions in both crop development and management; and livestock
- Information technology to improve water and agricultural productivity
- Food processing advancements to reduce water use in the food and beverage sector
- Public health and its important role in water and food security
- The role of social entrepreneurship projects as PPPs
The 2016 conference proceedings are available online and videos of all the conference sessions are archived on WFI’s YouTube channel.

To request a hard copy of the report, contact Dana Ludvik at or (+1) 402.472.9510.  For more information on the conference, visit

Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics in December

Openings are available for one-on-one, confidential farm finance and ag law consultations being conducted across the state each month. An experienced ag law attorney and ag financial counselor will be available to address farm and ranch issues related to financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters. They offer an opportunity to seek an experienced outside opinion on issues affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Sites and Dates
    Fairbury — Thursday, December 1
    Grand Island — Friday, December 2
    North Platte — Thursday, December 8
    Ainsworth — Friday, December 9
    Lexington — Thursday, December 15
    Norfolk — Friday, December 16

To sign up for a clinic or to get more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor these clinics.

CWT Assists with 2.6 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 11 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and United Dairymen of Arizona. These member cooperatives have contracts to sell 1.517 million pounds (688 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese, and 1.091 million pounds (495 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from November 2016 through February 2017.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 47.316 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 12.718 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 21.316 million pounds of whole milk powder to twenty-three countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 878.496 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

NGFA urges STB to focus on providing grain shippers a workable procedure to challenge unreasonable rail rates

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) recently urged the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) to refocus its efforts on creating a workable procedure that grain and agricultural shippers can use to challenge freight rail rates they believe are unreasonable.

The Association on Nov. 14 submitted its statement in response to the STB's advance notice of proposed rulemaking requesting comments on establishing a new rate-challenge methodology that would be available to all commodities (including non-agricultural products), but only for a small subset of rate cases involving "very small disputes" - a phrase the agency did not define. The NGFA in particular objected to the STB's proposal to broaden its original proceeding that focused solely on creating an accessible and workable process for grain shippers to challenge unreasonable rail rates of all sizes, noting that no other group - agricultural or non-agricultural - had advocated such a change in direction.

"The (STB) has elected to take its eye off the ball and divert its focus from resolving the primary problem identified by grain and other agricultural shippers - the uselessness of the (agency's) existing rate rules and procedures to agricultural shippers, regardless of the size of a rate dispute, and hence their lack of access to a workable rate-challenge methodology," the NGFA said. "We respectfully urge the (STB) to refocus its efforts in this proceeding...and return to the original task of creating an appropriate, workable and reasonably accessible rate-challenge methodology that grain and other agricultural shippers can utilize to challenge railroad rates they believe are unreasonable, regardless of the size of their potential case."

Fourteen other prominent national agricultural producer, commodity and agribusiness associations, as well as the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, joined as signatories in supporting the NGFA's statement. Sixteen state and regional agribusiness associations affiliated with the NGFA also joined.

The NGFA and the other agricultural organizations pointed out several major reasons why rail grain movements were unique from non-agricultural commodities, such as coal and chemicals.

The NGFA's statement also cited a 2015 study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences' Transportation Research Board (TRB) that documented that rates for both small and large shipments of grain and oilseeds increased by more than 70 percent between 2002 and 2013, despite market factors that otherwise would have seemingly produced lower rates were it not for the market power exerted by rail carriers. The TRB study also found that while real rates for most commodities increased between 15 and 25 percent during that time span, grain rail rates increased by a whopping 40 percent.

The NGFA and other agricultural organizations also provided input on several specific aspects of the STB's proposed concepts for creating a new rate-challenge methodology. View an outline of NGFA's full comments online.

"We urge the STB to now move expeditiously to develop and propose rate-challenge methodology rules and procedures appropriate for grain and agricultural shippers," the NGFA and other agricultural groups concluded. 

Syngenta unveils new fungicide product line: Miravis™

This week, Syngenta announced Miravis™ fungicide as the brand name for the fungicide product line containing the new active ingredient, Adepidyn™ fungicide, which is currently under regulatory review.

As the first member of a new chemical group within the carboxamide class, Adepidyn fungicide marks the latest disease control innovation from Syngenta.  Aiming to tame some of the most destructive diseases growers encounter, Syngenta leveraged global resources and expertise to design a highly effective active ingredient with multiple benefits. Upon regulatory approval, the Miravis fungicide family of products is expected to directly benefit growers by:

·       Providing the most activity amongst all chemical classes against leaf spots and powdery mildew. Combined, these two groups of pathogens are among the most common growers face.

·       Offering high efficacy against difficult-to-control diseases where growers have limited options, including Botrytis, Sclerotinia and Corynespora, which cause significant yield loss in crops as diverse as grapes, peanuts and potatoes.

·       Delivering groundbreaking control of Fusarium, including Fusarium head blight (head scab) in cereals.

“Not only will Adepidyn fungicide provide exceptional control of common yield and quality limiting diseases, but it will also deliver crop enhancement benefits in row crops that growers have seen with our other products,” said Eric Tedford, technical product lead at Syngenta. “This chemistry and its performance in field trials has been impressive and I think growers will be excited when they see the Miravis family of products in action at our Grow More Experience sites in 2017.”

Upon registration, multiple brands containing the active ingredient Adepidyn fungicide will be marketed under the Miravis product line. Specific formulation brand extensions for corn, soybeans, wheat, peanuts, potatoes, grapes and other crops, will be announced in 2017.

Friday November 18 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.32 million cattle on feed on November 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 5 percent from last year.  Placements during October totaled 615,000 head, down 5 percent from 2015.  Fed cattle marketings for the month of October totaled 445,000 head, unchanged from last year. Other disappearance during October totaled 10,000 head, down 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 600,000 head on November 1, 2016, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 5 percent from October 1, 2016, but down 6 percent from November 1, 2015. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 505,000 head on feed, up 7 percent from last month but unchanged from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,105,000 head, up 6 percent from last month but down 3 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during October totaled 129,000 head, an increase of 63 percent from last month but down 17 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 91,000 head, up 30 percent from last month and up 11 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 220,000 head, up 48 percent from last month but down 8 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during October totaled 96,000 head, up 10 percent from last month but down 15 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 54,000 head, down 42 percent from last month and down 36 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 150,000 head, down 17 percent from last month and down 24 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 5,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Down 1 Percent
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.7 million head on November 1, 2016. The inventory was 1 percent below November 1, 2015.

Placements in feedlots during October totaled 2.17 million head, 5 percent below 2015. Net placements were 2.11 million head. During October, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 610,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 525,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 471,000 head, and 800 pounds and greater were 565,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during October totaled 1.71 million head, 5 percent above 2015. Other disappearance totaled 57,000 head during October, 24 percent below 2015.

October Milk Production up 2.7 Percent
Milk production in the 23 major States during October totaled 16.5 billion pounds, up 2.7 percent from October 2015. September revised production, at 16.0 billion pounds, was up 2.3 percent from September 2015.  The September revision represented a decrease of 6 million pounds or less than 0.1 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,903 pounds for October, 43 pounds above October 2015. This is the highest production per cow for the month of October since the 23 State series began in 2003.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.67 million head, 31,000 head more than October 2015, but 2,000 head less than September 2016.

October Milk Production in the United States up 2.5 Percent
Milk production in the United States during October totaled 17.6 billion pounds, up 2.5 percent from October 2015.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,880 pounds for October, 42 pounds above October 2015.  The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.34 million head, 15,000 head more than October 2015, but 2,000 head less than September 2016.

IOWA:  Milk production in Iowa during October 2016 totaled 416 million pounds, up 4 percent from the previous October according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during October, at 212,000 head, was the same as last month but 2,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,960 pounds, up 60 pounds from last October.

Nebraska Cattlemen Host 2016 Annual Convention & Trade Show

The 2016 Annual Nebraska Cattlemen Convention and Trade Show will be held in Kearney at the Younes Convention Center December 6th - 9th. This year's convention schedule is packed full of industry leaders, speakers and educational opportunities for all ages of cattlemen and women.

The week starts off with the 2016 Cattlemen's College, sponsored by Zoetis. This event has been such a hit over the years that it's been moved to Tuesday, December 6, to allow for a full afternoon and evening of great educational opportunities.  The program offers a wide range of speakers that will discuss genomics, weather, farm succession and a market outlook.  The education program is designed to address relevant issues and deliver information that will improve production and profitability.  The college will wrap up with a networking reception and a panel on product quality and the consumer.

Wednesday will kick off at the Younes Convention Center with a new event this year! The YCC Class of 2016 will be hosting a Young Cattlemen's Round Table from 1:00-3:00 p.m. The goal of the round table is to inspire members to get involved in the Nebraska Cattlemen and experience the benefits of the organization.  Attendees will be able to discuss what is happening in the beef industry and what it means to them. Council meetings will fill the rest of the day and Wednesday will conclude with the General Session. You'll hear from Kevin Kester, Vice President, National Cattlemen's Association; Allison Cook, Executive Director of Government Affairs, National Cattlemen's Association and Clint Krehbiel, Ph.D., Department Head, UNL Department of Animal Science. After the General Session the Welcome Reception will begin in the Trade Show.

After a full day of committee meetings, Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Lunch and trade show happenings the annual banquet will wrap up the evening on Thursday, December 8th beginning at 7:00 p.m. As always a few cattlemen will be recognized for their dedication to the industry, great items will be up for grabs during the live auction and phenomenal food to be enjoyed by all. Convention will come to an end on Friday after the Market Outlook Breakfast and the Annual Business Meeting. The entire schedule can be viewed at

Holzfaster Concludes 6-Year Term on National Corn Growers Association

Nebraska Corn Board member, F. Jon Holzfaster, farmer from Paxton, attended his final board of directors meeting for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), bringing a six-year term to a close.

“My time as a board director has broadened my perspective of the agricultural industry. I now take a more worldly view on the effect global events have on agriculture, the vulnerability of our industry and the importance of pushing forward on demand issues; such as new uses, old uses, livestock and ethanol,” said Holzfaster. “These factors play an important role in keeping supply and demand in check and ensuring the value of the products we grow.”

During Holzfaster’s tenure on NCGA’s board, he served as chairman of the NCGA Ethanol Committee and was also an instrumental leader in NCGA’s partnership with Growth Energy to establish E15 as the official racing fuel for NASCAR.

Holzfaster said that his six years spent as a NCGA board director were also six years that he was able to commit to working with the American Ethanol and NASCAR partnership. “It has been phenomenal for me to get to know some of the folks within that sport and understand how not only the entertainment component of NASCAR works, but the marketing component. NASCAR is a marketing monster; and, when you can use that for your industry’s benefit, that can be very, very beneficial.”

Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board, said that Holzfaster was an influential leader with NCGA’s E15 effort and NASCAR partnership. “Jon’s passion for the industry and commitment to NCGA’s ethanol efforts have played a major role in guiding American Ethanol to become a centerpiece for NASCAR. It has been gratifying to see a Nebraska corn farmer give so much of his time to serve and expand opportunities for our industry.”

The Nebraska Corn Board has supported NCGA with corn checkoff dollars for many years. The board strongly believes that collaboration and strategic partnerships with other like-minded organizations like NCGA make for an even greater impact. Through the continued support of NCGA, Nebraska corn checkoff dollars are leveraged with those of other corn-producing states to create programs and initiatives that are national in scope and impact. From biotech and stewardship education, to high profile consumer and influencer outreach programs; from the American Ethanol NASCAR sponsorship to white papers on critical issues such as trade and biofuels, NCGA provides leadership and partner-building influence to make a difference on a national scale.

“There is great power in our ability to leverage Nebraska corn checkoff dollars with those of other corn states—and it has been extremely rewarding to see this process first-hand on a national level,” said Holzfaster. “Despite the many challenges facing the corn industry today, the phenomenal board and staff at NCGA are able to accomplish amazing things on behalf of the industry.”

“All of us involved in Nebraska agriculture owe Jon Holzfaster a big thank you for his outstanding service and selfless leadership as a National Corn Board director over these past six years,” added Brunkhorst.

Holzfaster operates a third-generation family farm based in Perkins County. He produces corn, popcorn, alfalfa, wheat, soybeans, edible beans and operates a background feed yard. He has been involved with the Nebraska Corn Board since 2003. He is currently the district 8 director and past chairman for the Nebraska Corn Board and has been representing the board as a director on the National Corn Board since 2010. Prior to that, Holzfaster served for six years on the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission.

Healthy soil aids grass and animal vigor

Dung beetles, earthworms and pollinators are the good guys when it comes to the health of soil and grassland resources.

Allen Williams, resources consultant, made a five-hour stop at Curtis on Nov. 14 meeting with agriculture students, professors, and grazing lands and livestock managers at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

Williams shared his insights with an audience of 81 attendees during the evening program entitled, “Dirt Rich or Dirt Poor:  Principles of Soil Health, Adaptive Grazing and Cover Crop Livestock Integration.”

Aggie students enrolled in livestock management, production and range management courses at NCTA were assigned to attend and report on their findings to NCTA animal science professors Teri Jo Bek and Doug Smith, Ph.D.

Timely rains and soil moisture are critical to proper vegetative growth. Indicators of soil health below that vegetation can include presence of earthworms and dung beetles.  For example, while livestock graze on pastures and grasslands, the action of their feet help to incorporate nutrients into the soil below, and dung beetles aid in the decomposition of animal waste and burrowing the nutrients down into the soil profile.

“There are more than 70 types of dung beetles,” Williams noted. “Those holes you see in a cow patty are dung beetles at work, taking the dung into the soil.”

Williams encouraged producers to use soil testing methods to measure soil health and plan fertility programs for improving their soil conditions. Proper management of livestock and the grassland or crop resources improves soil tilth, thus enhancing plant vitality and reducing soil erosion by wind, lack of moisture, and overgrazing.

He cited examples of poor resource management, and how to improve conditions.  As a land manager, consultant and business owner, Williams has been able to increase agricultural profitability through adaptive or intensive grazing by putting more livestock into smaller paddocks and grazing for very short periods of time, or increasing pressure to reduce or eliminate specific invasive species or weeds such as cedar trees.

Williams cited numerous case studies of soil and resource improvement with better management for manure distribution, optimal grass varieties to match soil temperatures and climate, and incorporating cover crops into existing rotations and grasslands management.  Williams is a founding partner and president of GFI, LLC, and has consulted for more than 4,000 farmers and ranchers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. He holds animal science degrees from Clemson University and Louisiana State University.

The program was sponsored by Nebraska Extension with the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition and NCTA.


The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association today reminded eligible beef producers of the November 30th referendum on whether the refundable $.50 per head Iowa beef checkoff should be reinstated.

Any individual, firm, corporation, partnership or association that has owned or acquired cattle during year prior to the referendum (December 1, 2015 – November 30, 2016) is an “Eligible Beef Producer” for the purposes of this referendum.

A person shall not be considered a producer if: 1) the person’s only share in the proceeds of a sale of cattle or beef is a sales commission, handling fee, or other service fee; or 2) the person acquired ownership of cattle to facilitate the transfer of ownership of such cattle from the seller to a third party; resold such cattle no later than ten days from the date on which the person acquired ownership; and certified as required by rules adopted by the council.

Producers may also vote by absentee ballot prior to the referendum by contacting the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.  Producers may call 515-281-5321, email or visit and download the form located in “Hot Topics.”  They may also visit the Henry Wallace Building, 502 E 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50319 to solicit an Absentee Ballot Request Form.

The Absentee Ballot Request Form must be signed and returned to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.  The producer will then be mailed an Absentee Ballot. Absentee Ballot Request Forms should be received by the Department by November 23, 2016 and Absentee Ballots must be postmarked by November 30, 2016.

A petition to vote on the state beef checkoff was delivered to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship on September 2. The petition contained over 500 signatures of cattle producers in the state of Iowa who are interested in a referendum.

If the referendum passes, collection will begin March 1, 2017. The Iowa beef checkoff will be mandatory, but refunds will be available to interested producers. The federal beef checkoff of $1 per head remains in place and would not be affected by the Iowa vote.

For more information on how checkoff dollars are used contact the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association at (515) 296-2266 or find out more online at

Iowa E15 Retailers’ “Pink at the Pump” Campaign Raises $12,000 for Breast Cancer Awareness

Drivers filling-up their cars with cleaner-burning E15 during the month of October raised $12,000 for breast cancer awareness as part of the “Pink at the Pump” Campaign.  Nearly 30 E15 retailers in Iowa participated in the program, which donated three cents of every gallon of E15 sold from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  The Foundation provides help and inspires hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education and support services.

Participating E15 locations also featured pink E15 nozzle guards as part of the campaign, sponsored by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB). E15 is a fuel blend containing 15 percent ethanol, just five percentage points more ethanol than the most commonly used fuel in the U.S., E10.  E15 is often sold at a 5 to 10-cent per gallon discount to E10, and is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles. To learn more about E15, please click here.

According to a recent IRFA study, Iowa’s renewable fuels industry accounts for more than $4.6 billion of Iowa GDP, generates $2.3 billion in income for Iowa households and supports more than 43,000 jobs throughout all sectors of the Iowa economy. Read the full study by clicking here.

ISU Extension and Outreach Workshop on Farm Business Succession

A family farm business represents a lifetime of hard work and a commitment to a certain lifestyle that often spans generations. Good communications and planning make the transition from one generation to the next move smoothly and more successfully.

“Successfully transferring a farm business, or any business for that matter, begins with conversations about goals – the goals of all parties involved,” said Dave Baker, farm transition specialist with the Beginning Farmer Center at Iowa State University. “The current owner and spouse as well as future owner and spouse need to be included in the conversations. These talks are often hard to initiate, but they are vital to creating an understanding that can be the basis for a succession plan.”

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering a farm business succession workshop to help farm families begin those conversations and start putting transition plans on paper. Jerry Chizek, ISU Extension and Outreach regional director, says offering a farm business succession workshop is a result of needs expressed by area farm families.

“I hear individual family members express concerns about the future of the farm business, but many families have not taken the time to have those discussions between the generations involved,” said Chizek. “This is an opportunity to begin those discussions. If it is important for the farm to stay in the family, then it is critical to have these discussions to share the goals, dreams, fears and expectations associated with succession planning. That’s why we are bringing ISU Extension and Outreach transitioning experts to our region.”

The workshop is planned as a multi-generational event for exiting owners and spouses, and succeeding owners and spouses. The two-session workshop will be held on consecutive days to allow for the initiation of conversations and written plans. David Baker and John Baker, attorney-at-law and administrator with the Beginning Farmer Center, will present at the workshop in Fort Dodge on Feb. 17-18, 2017.

Over the workshop’s two days, participants will review the retirement plan concept and receive information on transfer plans, estate plans and a process for creating a family statement of intention. Family groups will be given time to write a statement of intent and vision of the future. Families will go home with a blueprint to the future – knowing what they need to do, who they need to talk to and understanding that the plan may need to be adjusted along the way.

The workshop will be held Friday, Feb. 17 from 1-8 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 18 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the ISU Extension and Outreach Webster County office located at 217 South 25th Street, Suite C12 in Fort Dodge.

The cost of the workshop is $200 per family of four and $25 per each additional person. Pre-registration is required by Feb. 10 and can be made by contacting ISU Extension and Outreach offices in the following counties:
-    Hamilton County, 515-832-9597,
-    Humboldt County, 515-332-2201,
-    Webster County, 515-576-2119,
-    Wright County, 515-532-3453,

EPA Ignores SAP Feedback, Continues on Path Toward Chlorpyrifos Revocation

Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released documents to the federal docket regarding food-use tolerance revocations of chlorpyrifos. This proposed action follows a long review of chlorpyrifos that has included three separate Scientific Advisory Panels (SAPs), the first two held in 2008 and 2012 and the most recent this past April (see transcript). All three SAPs came to the same conclusion, questioning EPA’s shift to the use of certain epidemiological study outcomes rather than toxicological data in human health risk assessments. In particular, the SAPs have cautioned EPA against using the study outcomes from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH).

EPA has not consistently provided opportunity for stakeholder input and, generally, has not responded to the thousands of comments that have been submitted on the chlorpyrifos docket. “EPA’s most recent move represents a major proposed action that sets a precedent of using study outcomes for regulatory decision making in lieu of laboratory data. This change in approach creates an unpredictable system for companies that have put hundreds of millions of dollars and decades of work into ensuring their products meet the highest human health and safety requirements,” stated Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America (CLA). “Upon examination of the 55 documents, the decision to continue on the path toward the revocation of a vital crop protection product seems to have been made with almost no new relevant information to back the result.”

“EPA stated that it planned to revise its previous approach to drinking water assessment. Yet upon initial review of the docket, nothing has changed to enhance the refinement of the models,” noted Dr. Janet Collins, senior vice president of science and regulatory affairs at CLA. “The overly conservative assumptions used in both the human health and the drinking water assessments create unrealistic limitations to the use of chlorpyrifos. We are disappointed that EPA continues to use the epidemiological study reports from the literature to assess exposure and health outcome when, as they state, EPA does not have access to the data that can be used in a meaningful and relevant risk assessment. Rather, EPA has added assumptions based on expected use of chlorpyrifos with no record of actual use.”

Due to the volume of data added to the docket, CLA will need the full 60 days allotted to review the documents adequately and prepare comments.

Report Shows Food vs. Fuel Show No Connection

Millions of Americans preparing for Thanksgiving next week are undoubtedly noticing that dinner will cost less than it did a year ago. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, overall grocery prices are roughly 2 percent lower than at this time last year, and prices specifically for poultry products are down 1.5 percent compared to last fall. Meanwhile, the amount of corn used for fuel ethanol is primed to set a new record in 2016, up roughly 3 percent from last year.

The Renewable Fuels Association, which released an independent analysis Nov. 16 on the impact of ethanol on food prices, says the current collision of falling food prices and record ethanol production should end the contrived 'food vs. fuel' debate once and for all. The new statistical analysis, conducted by Informa Economics IEG, retrospectively examined the effect of ethanol expansion on food prices, concluding that retail food prices were not impacted in any demonstrable way by expansion of U.S. grain ethanol production under the renewable fuel standard over the past decade.

The analysis shows that growth in food prices slowed considerably after passage of the RFS2, with prices for groceries advancing at roughly half the rate seen prior to the program's adoption.

Prior to the passage of RFS2, food away from home grew at an average of 3.4 percent, versus 3.2 percent for food at home. After RFS2, food away from home grew at 2.6 percent, versus 1.8 percent for food at home, the study found.

The increase in the food actually decelerated as the usage of corn in ethanol production increased dramatically.

USAID project led by Kansas State University to help develop new sorghum varieties for Haiti

In an effort to address challenges faced by sorghum farmers in Haiti, the U.S. Agency for International Development has awarded Kansas State University $1.08 million to establish a genomics-assisted sorghum breeding program in the small Caribbean country.

The award, led by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet, will consist of three subprojects aimed at building the foundation of a breeding program that taps into the latest in technological advances to tackle some of Haiti's greatest constraints in sorghum production.

"This project is novel and exciting as it begins to assess our abilities to more surgically adapt and develop new sorghum varieties for Haiti," said lab director Tim Dalton.

The USAID grant, awarded through its Feed the Future initiative, will support the existing program at the CHIBAS Foundation, a bio-energy and sustainable agriculture research center in Haiti. Complimentary research also will be conducted at Kansas State University and Cornell University.

Sorghum is grown widely in Haiti — most commonly as a subsistence crop — with an estimated 200,000 farmers dependent on it as a food and income source.

But as one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti faces numerous constraints in establishing a strong breeding program, including a lack of resources, stressful growing environments and limited ability to improve crops in the field or lab.

Dalton said those challenges underscore the importance of genomics-assisted breeding, a process by which scientists choose which plants to crossbreed based on their DNA sequence. Once established, the process can save significant time and resources in developing new varieties that are better adapted to the local stresses and preferences.

"Today, plant breeders are taking existing genetic differences that might have arisen in a farmer's field in Africa or Asia or in Kansas hundreds or thousands of years ago, identifying which ones might be useful for breeders in the future, and using standard breeding methods of crossing varieties to each other," said Geoffrey Morris, Kansas State University assistant professor of agronomy who was awarded $201,600 to lead one of the three projects.

Morris said genomics-assisted breeding links a plant's genes to its desired traits so that breeders can select for those genes from the beginning and develop a superior variety in much less time.

"We're using the genetics to follow the favorable genes during the breeding process," he said.

While the award is specific to developing a program in Haiti, the work is part of a broader effort to improve sorghum production in numerous countries around the world through the Feed the Future program. Dalton said those efforts are likely to produce benefits for U.S. agriculture.

"Working in Haiti will provide opportunities to work year-round on important pests like the sugarcane aphid or in droughty and hot climates," he said. "While the goals focus on strengthening Haiti's breeding system, the experience and insight will spill over into the U.S. for the benefit of local producers. The tools developed for this project will be useful as we tailor sorghum varieties for our own micro-ecologies ranging from the Carolinas to the Great Plains."

Feed the Future is the U.S. government's global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition.

Thursday November 17 Ag News

Nebraska Moves Forward with First Groundwater Protection Plan of its Kind in Nation

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and Nebraska's Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) are proud to announce the acceptance of the Bazile Groundwater Management Area (BGMA) Plan by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on October 13th, 2016. The BGMA Plan is the first groundwater-focused plan in the nation to address nonpoint source pollution. The plan is the result of a collaborative effort to address groundwater nitrate contamination between NDEQ and four of Nebraska’s NRDs: Lewis and Clark NRD, Lower Elkhorn NRD, Lower Niobrara NRD, and the Upper Elkhorn NRD.

“This plan is a big deal in the nonpoint source pollution world,” Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Water Quality Division Administrator, Marty Link, P.G. said.  “While Nebraska NRDs have been implementing plans like the Bazile plan since the late 1970s, this is the first groundwater plan recognized nationally – which also qualifies the area for funding previously reserved for river and lake improvement projects.”

The BGMA covers 756 square miles in northeast Nebraska and is home to 10 communities and over 7,000 residents. Groundwater in the BGMA is the only drinking water source for communities and rural residents. Extensive row crop and sandy soils make it easy for land-applied commercial fertilizer and manure to leach into the groundwater. The NRDs have collected data on groundwater nitrate concentrations since 1980. During that time, average nitrate concentrations have increased with some areas exceeding 30 mg/L, three times the levels safe for drinking water.   While all four NRDs have been implementing their own Groundwater Management Plans, there has always been some confusion over differing rules for people farming in more than one district.  Additionally, people in the area are now realizing that the nitrate problem has been building for 50 or more years and that both long and short term goals and actions are needed to address the problem.

The plan focuses on reducing nitrates to safe drinking levels below 10 mg/L in the groundwater by progressively adopting more protective BMPs throughout the BGMA with the communities’ wellhead protection areas as the highest priority. The NRDs will utilize a combination of agricultural BMPs required by their elevated Groundwater Management plan phases and voluntary BMPs outlined in the BGMA plan that go above and beyond those requirements. Through the development of the BGMA Plan, the NRDs have created a cohesive strategy to monitor nitrate reductions in groundwater as fertilizer practices and irrigation methods are improved in the area. This monitoring data will also further refine future versions of the BGMA Plan to ensure its goals are achieved.

"This focused effort is on a known water quality problem in the area and will provide the local constituents with a plan and financial resources to start reversing the trends in water quality and provide a sustainable resource for domestic, agriculture, recreation and industrial uses,” Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District General Manager, Mike Sousek said.  “This water resource is paramount to the area for a healthy quality of life which must be protected now and into the future."

EPA’s acceptance of this groundwater plan opens up funding from section 319 of the Clean Water Act available each year via NDEQ.  Previously, only areas with surface water quality problems have been eligible for this type of funding.  NDEQ hopes other NRDs and municipalities will use the BGMA Plan as a template to develop additional groundwater based management plans in the state and nation.

You can view the plan at or visit any of the four Natural Resources Districts’ websites (Upper Elkhorn NRD at ; Lower Elkhorn NRD at ; Lower Niobrara NRD at ; and Lewis and Clark NRD at

A special thanks to the BGMA stakeholders and the many individuals from various local, state, and federal organizations for their contributions to the development of this plan.  For more information, contact NDEQ at

Nebraska Agribusiness Club Recognizes Three Honorees

Three Nebraskans were honored for their service and dedication to agriculture at the Nebraska Agribusiness Club’s 50th annual awards banquet November 3rd at Hillcrest Country Club in Lincoln.

The 2016 honorees for Public Service to Agriculture are Dr. Jim Specht of Lincoln and Victor Bohuslavsky of Brainard. The club also recognized Jenny Rees of Clay Center as the New Horizon Award honoree.

Dr. Jim Specht, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln emeriti professor and Scottsbluff native is internationally recognized for his work in modern plant biology and genetics for soybean improvement. Research by his “walking soybean encyclopedia” includes soybean response to drought and irrigation, planting times, planting depth and tillage. His research has helped with specific growing conditions for the various regions of the state.

Victor Bohuslavsky is the current Executive Director of the Nebraska Soybean Board. He also farms 960 acres of corn and soybeans in Butler County and has a cattle operation. He currently sits on the Alliance for Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) and the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for Education boards. He also has served as the National Chairman of the Qualisoy Board and is responsible for implementation of research and promotional activities for the Nebraska soybean industry. Victor has been instrumental in a number of national programs with the U.S. Soybean Board educational outreach efforts. In 2000, Victor started Soybean Field Management Days with the University of Nebraska to showcase best practices for planting, growing and harvesting soybeans in select regions of the state.

Jenny Rees is the Nebraska Extension Educator for Crops and Water in York and Seward Counties where she focuses on irrigated crop production and plant pathology. She played a similar role in Clay and surrounding counties in the 12 years prior. In addition to traditional avenues of communication, Jenny is an expert in using social media to answer questions and communicate information quickly and effectively to crop producers. Jenny recently served as the UNL liaison to the Nebraska National Guard agribusiness development teams deployed to Afghanistan. She developed crop and livestock training sessions and served as a point of contact when questions arose, providing information to team members in the field within 24 hours. Their efforts provided research-based education that resulted in Afghan producers having access to new agricultural practices and increased income. She also developed the CropWatch military resource website. In addition to her crop production responsibilities, Jenny works with 4-H and horticulture. She also is a contributor to Women in Agriculture, a program designed to assist women in their agricultural businesses or who are in businesses tied to agriculture.

ICON Annual Meeting

Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) is hosting their 11th Annual Meeting on Friday, December 9, 2016, at the Elk’s Lodge in Ainsworth, NE. Registration is at 11 am followed by a luncheon at noon, with a Senators’ Panel, presentations by Mike Schultz of R-CALF USA and Kim Ulmer, co-owner of Huron Continental Marketing, Huron, SD, throughout the afternoon. A business meeting will conclude the afternoon session. An evening banquet will be served at 6 pm followed by an auction for the Jim Hanna Memorial Scholarship and a Panel on Wind Energy at 7 pm. To make a reservation or for more information, call 402-357-3778.

 USDA Announces Applications Available for Conservation Stewardship Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is currently accepting applications for enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest conservation program. Applications are available at local USDA service centers. 

“This year, the Conservation Stewardship Program provides even more opportunities for conservation and greater flexibility to prioritize resource concerns and conservation approaches,” says Craig Derickson, NRCS State Conservationist.

NRCS offices are now taking applications for the program, with sign-up running through February 3, 2017.  People interested in the additional opportunities the updated CSP will offer can find information on the new CSP portal, located at  This one-stop shop, which provides information to help producers determine whether CSP is right for them, will be continually updated as more information becomes available.  Changes that producers can expect to see include nearly double the enhancements and conservation practices offered and better reporting tools to tell producers the results of their conservation efforts on their land.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, buffer strips, and pollinator habitat – all while continuing active agriculture production on their land.  CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications and new soil amendments to improve water quality.

CSP is for producers who are already established conservation stewards, helping them to deliver multiple conservation benefits on working lands, including improved water and soil quality and enhanced wildlife habitat.  Information about CSP, including national and state ranking questions and enhancement descriptions, is available at  Producers interested in the program should visit their local USDA Service Center to submit an application.

Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit to feature State of the Industry Session

In addition to continuing education for cattle producers and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association policy committee meetings, the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit will also feature a State of the Industry panel discussion.

Dr. Phil Reemtsma, current ICA president and veterinarian from DeWitt, will join a representative from the United States Meat Export Federation and a well-known cattle market analyst on stage to dissect the current challenges the cattle industry in Iowa is facing, including increased competition from larger producers out of state and the record drop in cattle prices seen recently.

The panel will also provide an outlook into the future of Iowa’s cattle industry and the role that the cattle markets and international trade will play in the coming months and years.

Cassie Fish, a former CME trader and IBP, Inc./Tyson Fresh Meats Senior Director of Risk Management, currently operates her own risk management consulting and brokerage business. Fish also writes a daily market analysis blog, “The Beef.” Fish will use her vast knowledge of the cattle and futures markets to provide a perspective on the factors that have influenced the industry in the recent past and those that will play a large part in the future.

The United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is a trade association in the meat and livestock industry, representing beef/veal producers and feeders, as well as other sectors of the red meat industry. USMEF works to put “U.S. meat on the world’s table” and will give Iowa cattle producers an idea of what to expect in the export markets in the coming months and years.

The ICA and Iowa Beef Industry Council’s annual meetings will also take place at the Leadership Summit, and Iowa cattle producers and friends of the industry are invited to attend both of those meetings, as well.

The Leadership Summit is a free event for cattlemen and women and will be held at the Hansen Ag Student Learning Center in Ames. A complimentary lunch will be served, featuring the 2016 Iowa’s Best Burger from the Chuckwagon Restaurant in Adair. Attendees should RSVP by November 29 online at or by calling 515-296-2266.

Confinement Site Manure Applicator Workshops Scheduled for 2017

Confinement site manure applicators and anyone interested in learning about manure issues should plan to attend a two-hour workshop offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in January or February 2017. These workshops are offered in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.There is no fee to attend the workshops, but applicators will need to pay certification fees to complete certification requirements.

“Iowa law requires confinement site manure applicators to attend two hours of continuing education each year of their three-year certification period, or take and pass an exam once every three years,” said Dan Andersen, assistant professor of agriculture and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University and coordinator of the manure applicator certification program.

A total of 63 counties will participate in the confinement site manure applicator workshops. In addition, a series of six dry/solid manure applicator certification meetings will be held in February. ISU Extension and Outreach county offices have a complete list of workshop dates and locations, which can also be viewed at

The workshops serve as initial certification for those applicators who are not currently certified, recertification for those renewing licenses and continuing education for those applicators in their second or third year of their license.

Due to uniform certification deadlines, applicators are encouraged to attend workshops prior to March 1 to avoid being assessed a late fee of $12.50 for those who are re-certifying. Those unable to attend one of the workshops need to schedule time with their ISU Extension and Outreach county office to watch the training DVD. Due to scheduling conflicts, many offices will no longer accept walk-in appointments to watch these DVDs, but do offer scheduled dates and times to provide this training. Those who can’t attend training during one of the scheduled reshow dates at their county extension office will be charged a $10 fee to view the training at their convenience. If attending the workshops or watching the two-hour training DVD is not convenient, confinement site manure applicators may contact their local DNR field office to schedule an appointment to take the certification exam to meet certification requirements.

Applicators now have another option, online certification, and applicators can take their training online at DNR MAC eLearning site at The applicator will need to sign-in and get an A&A account.

Contact any ISU Extension and Outreach county office for more information about the Manure Applicator Certification Program or visit

Dry Manure Applicator Certification Workshops Begin in February 2017

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, will offer manure applicator certification workshops for dry/solid manure operators on six different dates and locations in February. These workshops meet manure applicator certification requirements for both confinement site manure applicators and commercial manure applicators who primarily apply dry or solid manure.

“The information in this workshop will benefit tractor and dry manure spreader in fieldnot only those needing certification, but anyone using dry or solid sources of manure as a nutrient resource,” says Dan Andersen, assistant professor in agriculture and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University and coordinator of the manure applicator certification program.

The workshops are free to attend and open to all. Applicators will be required to submit certification forms and fees to the Iowa DNR to meet manure applicator certification requirements.

Please register for one of the workshops by calling the number listed with the selected site. All workshops begin at 1 p.m.
-    Feb. 7, Washington County, ISU Extension and Outreach office, Washington. Call 319-653-4811 to register.
-    Feb. 8, Wright County, Heartland Museum, Clarion. Call 515-532-3453 to register.
-    Feb. 15, Hamilton County, Kamrar Lions Community Building, Kamrar. Call 515-832-9597 to register.
-    Feb. 16, Sioux County, ISU Extension and Outreach office, Orange City. Call 712-737-4230 to register.
-    Feb. 21, Adair County, Warren Cultural Center, Greenfield. Call 641-743-8412 to register.
-    Feb. 22, Buena Vista County, ISU Extension and Outreach office, Storm Lake. Call 712-732-5056 to register.

USDA: October Hired Workers Decrease 5 Percent, Wage Rates Increase 3 Percent From Previous Year

Workers hired directly by farm operators numbered 798,000 for the reference week of October 9-15, 2016, down 5 percent from the October 2015 reference week. There were 840,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on the Nation's farms and ranches during the week of July 10-16, 2016, down 4 percent from the July 2015 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $13.25 per hour during the October 2016 reference week, up 3 percent from a year earlier. Field workers received an average of $12.59 per hour, up 4 percent from a year earlier. Livestock workers earned $12.25, up 2 percent. The field and
livestock worker combined wage rate, at $12.50 per hour, was up 3 percent from October 2015. Hired laborers worked an average of 41.6 hours during the October 2016 reference week, compared to 41.7 hours a year earlier.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $13.02 per hour during the July 2016 reference week, up 4 percent from a year earlier. Field workers received an average of $12.32 per hour, up 5 percent. Livestock workers earned $12.15 per hour, up 3 percent. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $12.27 per hour, was up 4 percent from July 2015. Hired laborers worked an average of 41.2 hours during the July 2016 reference week, compared to 41.0 hours a year earlier.

The 2016 U.S. all hired worker annual average wage rate was $12.98 per hour, up 4 percent from the 2015 annual average wage. The 2016 U.S. field worker annual average wage rate was $12.25 per hour, up 5 percent from the 2015 annual average. The 2016 U.S. annual average combined wage for field and livestock workers was $12.20, up 4 percent from the 2015 annual average of $11.74 per hour.


In the Northern Plains Region (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) there were 34,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on farms and ranches during the week of July 10-16, 2016, down 8 percent from the July 2015 reference week, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Workers numbered 34,000 during the week of October 9-15, 2016, down 15 percent from the October 2015 reference week.

Farm operators in the Northern Plains Region paid their hired workers an average wage of $14.49 per hour during the July 2016 reference week, up 4 percent from the July 2015 reference week. Field workers received an average of $15.17 per hour, up $1.51. Livestock workers earned $12.83 per hour, down 48 cents. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate at $14.10, was up 60 cents from the 2015 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 44.0 hours during the July 2016 reference week, compared with 39.6 hours worked during the July 2015 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $14.56 per hour during the October 2016 reference week, down 1 percent from the October 2015 reference week. Field workers received an average of $15.33 per hour, up 74 cents. Livestock workers earned $12.50 per hour compared with $13.86 a year earlier. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at 14.15, was down 15 cents from the October 2015 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 44.8 hours during the October 2016 reference week, compared with 41.0 hours worked during the October 2015 reference week.


There were 27,000 workers hired directly by farms in the Cornbelt II Region (Iowa and Missouri) during the reference week of July 10-16, 2016, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Farm Labor Report. Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage rate of $13.72 per hour, up $0.83 from July 2015. The number of hours worked averaged 37.2 for hired workers during the reference week, compared with 39.6 hours in July 2015.

During the reference week of October 9-15, 2016, there were 35,000 workers hired directly by farms in the Cornbelt II Region (Iowa and Missouri). Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage rate of $13.64 per hour during the October 2016 reference week, up $0.61 from October 2015. The number of hours worked averaged 38.4 for hired workers during the reference week, down from 41.0 hours in October 2015.

New Study Shows High Return on Investment From Overseas Market Development Programs

Growing and maintaining export markets is essential for U.S. farmers and ranchers, especially at a time of low commodity prices and abundant supply. USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program play a critical role in this effort and offer both farmers and taxpayers an excellent return on investment, according to a new study that looked at program impact over the past four decades.

These agricultural export market development programs, funded through the 2014 Farm Bill, have contributed an average annual increase of $8.2 billion - for a total of more than $309 billion - to farm export revenue between 1977 and 2014, the study showed. This equates to an impressive return on investment of 28 to 1.

“These programs have accounted for 15 percent of all the revenue generated by exports for U.S. agriculture over that time. To me, such a positive result is just stunning,” said Dr. Gary Williams, professor of agricultural economics and co-director of the Agribusiness, Food and Consumer Economics Research Center at Texas A&M University, who led the team doing this research.

Other notable findings included:
• As a result of MAP and FMD funding, average annual farm cash income in 2014 was $2.1 billion higher and average annual farm asset value was $1.1 billion higher when compared to 2002.

• The programs increased total average annual U.S. economic output by $39.3 billion, gross domestic product (GDP) by $16.9 billion, and labor income by $9.8 billion over the same time.

• These programs directly created 239,000 new jobs, including 90,000 farm sector jobs.

With debate on a new farm bill beginning already, researchers also examined what would happen if federal MAP and FMD funding were eliminated. They found that under such a scenario, average annual agricultural export revenue would drop by a staggering $14.7 billion, with corresponding declines in farm cash income of $2.5 billion and significant drops in GDP and jobs.

MAP and FMD comprise the federal portion of a unique public-private partnership through which the U.S. Grains Council and approximately 60 other organizations leverage federal funds and work with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to support market development initiatives around the world.

MAP and FMD participating organizations U.S. Wheat Associates, USA Poultry & Egg Export Council and Pear Bureau Northwest sponsored the new study, which was funded by FAS. Informa Economics assembled data to support the study, recruiting a team of five agricultural economists from Texas A&M, Oregon State University and Cornell University.

Healthy Start for U.S. Ethanol in 2016/2017 Marketing Year

Exports of U.S. ethanol began with notable growth in the first month of the new marketing year, according to recent data published by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS).

The top three customers of U.S. ethanol in September 2016 were Canada, Brazil and China, respectfully. Exports of U.S. ethanol totaled 99.6 million gallons (903,000 metric tons of corn equivalent).

Canada imported more than 27.9 million gallons (253,000 metric tons of corn equivalent) of U.S. ethanol this September, an increase of 34 percent from the previous month and 7 percent from September 2015. U.S. ethanol exports to Canada had been down since December 2014.

U.S. ethanol exports to Brazil equated to 18.1 million gallons (164,000 metric tons of corn equivalent) in September 2016, an exponential increase from the same time last year. This export volume represents the fourth highest to Brazil in the past 12 months.

China imported a total of 17.8 million gallons (162,000 metric tons of corn equivalent) of U.S. ethanol in September. This marks a four-month high of U.S. ethanol exports to China and an exponential increase from August.

This surge in ethanol exports has been the highest since December 2011, when it totaled 178 million gallons (1.6 million in corn equivalent). The price of U.S. ethanol has been significantly lower than other competitors, causing sales to increase during September.

Appeals Court Rejects Lawsuit Against California Egg Law

(AP) -- Six states lacked the legal right to challenge a California law that prohibits the sale of eggs from chickens that are not raised in accordance with strict space requirements, a federal appeals court said Thursday.

The states -- Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Iowa -- failed to show how the law would affect them and not just individual egg farmers, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The court upheld a lower court decision that dismissed the lawsuit.

California voters approved a ballot initiative in 2008 that set the space requirements for egg-laying hens in the state. The standards say chickens must spend most of their day with enough space to lie down, stand up, turn around and fully extend their limbs.

The measure gave farmers until 2015 to comply.

California egg farmers raised concerns that the measure would put them at a competitive disadvantage with their counterparts in other states. In 2010, California legislators expanded the law to ban the sale of eggs from any hens that were not raised in compliance with California's animal care standards. The California law cites concerns about protecting people from salmonella and other illnesses.

The six states argued that the law would force their egg farmers to stop selling in California or spend hundreds of millions of dollars complying with the California standard. Ninth Circuit Judge Susan Graber said that argument did not give the states standing to file suit.

"Large egg producers certainly could file an action like this one on their own," she said.

The states also argued that the price of eggs for their consumers would change. Graber said that argument was speculative since the suit was filed before the law took effect. But even if prices went up, the states would still not have standing to challenge the law because nothing in the law directs farmers to raise prices and that eggs --- unlike products such as natural gas, are not of "central economic significance" to a state, Graber said.

A call to the Missouri Attorney General's Office, which argued the case for the states, was not immediately returned. The 9th Circuit ordered the case dismissed without prejudice, which gives the states the right to bring another lawsuit against the law in the future.

USDA, EPA Announce U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy today announced the inaugural class of the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, U.S. businesses and organizations pledging concrete steps to reduce food loss and waste in their operations 50 percent by 2030. Champions announced today include Ahold USA, Blue Apron, Bon Appétit Management Company, Campbell Soup Company, Conagra Brands, Delhaize America, General Mills, Kellogg Company, PepsiCo, Sodexo, Unilever, Walmart, Wegman's Food Markets, Weis Markets and YUM! Brands.

"The founding 2030 Champions have shown exceptional leadership in the fight to reduce, recover and recycle food loss and waste," said Vilsack. "The staggering amount of wasted food in the United States has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change. To help galvanize U.S. efforts to reduce food loss and waste, USDA and EPA announced the first U.S. food loss and waste reduction goal in September 2015. Today, the first 15 Champions are stepping up to do their part to help the nation reach this critical goal."

"Reducing food waste is good for business, it's good for the environment and it's good for our communities," said McCarthy. "We need leaders in every field and every sector to help us reach our food loss goal. That's why we're excited to work with the 2030 Champions and others across the food retail industry as we work together to ensure that we feed families instead of landfills."

In the United States, EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash, about 21 percent of the waste stream. Keeping wholesome and nutritious food in our communities and out of landfills helps communities and the 42 million Americans that live in food insecure households. Reducing food waste also impacts climate change as 20 percent of total U.S. methane emissions come from landfills.

Each 2030 Champion establishes a baseline marking where they are today and will measure and report on their progress toward the goal in a way that makes sense for their organization. There are many ways to look at food loss and waste and definitions vary. 2030 Champions are encouraged to consult the Food Loss and Waste Protocol for information on defining and transparently measuring food loss and waste.

For food waste in the U.S., EPA's Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures provides an estimate of the amount of food going to landfills from residences; commercial establishments like grocery stores and restaurants; institutional sources like school cafeterias; and industrial sources like factory lunchrooms. USDA's Economic Research Service estimates that the amount of food that went uneaten at the retail and consumer levels in the baseline year of 2010 represented 31 percent of the available food supply, about 133 billion pounds of food worth an estimated $161.6 billion.

Cutting food waste in half by 2030 will take a sustained commitment from everyone. Success requires action from the entire food system including the food industry, non-profits, governments and individuals.

USDA research estimates that about 90 billion pounds of food waste comes from consumers, worth about $370 per person every year. USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion produces a resource called Let's Talk Trash that focuses on consumer education, highlighting key data and action steps consumers can take to reduce food waste.

Details on becoming a U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion can be found at and Businesses not yet in a position to make the 50 percent reduction commitment can participate in the Food Recovery Challenge or the U.S. Food Waste Challenge.

Reduce the Impact of Nitrogen Losses on Water Quality

Farmers sitting on the largest aquifer in the United States have learned a thing or two about managing nitrogen (N) applications in a way that mitigates nutrient loss to the environment in general and to waterways specifically.

Sitting underground below large areas of Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa, the Ogallala Aquifer provides drinking water to numerous cities and municipalities in addition to quenching agricultural thirsts. Farmers in this region have become proactive – and adept – at minimizing nitrogen losses and maximizing nitrogen use efficiency.

“We’re becoming more aware of what the impact of nitrogen loss into our waterways can be, and we’re getting much better at measuring it,” said Mike Zwingman, agronomy research and development manager for Central Valley Ag. The company has more than 60 locations across Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa.

Zwingman said that more farmers in the region are doing several things to help the cause, including: splitting nitrogen applications, improving application accuracy and placement, and using certain products that significantly reduce nitrogen losses, such as NutriSphere-N® Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager from Verdesian Life Sciences.

“We can now quantify and qualify what our water is like,” the agronomist said, “The tools we have to manage nitrogen loss and address water quality issues are better than we’ve ever had before. Now, it’s about how we implement those tools in the toolbox.”

Breaking up nitrogen applications into two or more per season, use of variable rate technology for fertilizer applications and use of a nitrogen manager – combined – are making a big difference in stemming N losses, according to Zwingman.

The Nebraska agronomist stressed that every pound of nitrogen lost to the environment represents a monetary loss to the farmer that is currently around $4.00 per acre. This figure combines the N cost and the lost yield of one bushel per acre due to a pound of N loss. “The farmer is getting a much better return on his fertilizer investment while at the same time doing the right thing environmentally,” Zwingman said.

NutriSphere-N provides advanced protection of nitrogen and is available in formulations for use with dry urea, UAN solutions and anhydrous ammonia to reduce all three types of loss – volatilization, leaching and denitrification.

The formulation for anhydrous, NutriSphere-NH3™, is the newest technology introduction and is applied via special dual-injection equipment manufactured by SureFire Ag Systems. Working off a toolbar, the SureFire Tower 100 System is uniquely designed to give accurate and even row-to-row distribution of NutriSphere-N while applying anhydrous ammonia.

There is also a formulation for high-volume UAN spraying, NutriSphere-N HV™. This formulation is designed to work at UAN rates at or above 35 gallons per acre. An application rate of 18 Oz./A creates a fixed, cost-efficient investment per acre.

“The NutriSphere-N line of products really helps us bridge a lot of gaps for our growers throughout the season, including the crucial May-to-August period,” Zwingman said. “We are able to protect that ammonium molecule from environmental loss throughout July and August when the corn plant needs the nitrogen the most.”

 CROPLAN® Seed Doubles Down on Mission to Provide Latest-and-Greatest Technology

CROPLAN® seed by WinField United has announced its complete seed portfolio for the 2017 growing season. Backed by industry-leading technology and localized expertise, CROPLAN® seed gives farmers new and bold products for pushing yield potential.

Corn and soybean growers will have an abundance of choice as they prepare for next year. “But it’s more than just sheer volume,” said Mike Anderson, marketing manager for CROPLAN® corn and soybeans. “Our sellers rely on ‘decision ag’ tools like our R7® Tool to show how environmental and agronomic variables affect performance of a given hybrid. This helps farmers decide which seed is best for their field, not just a seed that performed best nationally,” Anderson said.

Placement strategy coupled with high-end yield potential embodies the 2017 CROPLAN® seed class, with a number of exciting product characteristics not previously available.


·         Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans offer newfound herbicide trait technology for versatile weed control (upon EPA chemistry approval). Farmers will have their pick of 33 Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybean offerings, as well as other high-yielding soybean genetics. Additionally, farmers will still have access to familiar cropping systems they have come to know and trust, including newer, higher-yielding varieties of Roundup Ready 2 Yield and LibertyLink® products.

·         WinPak® seed is comprised of a 50/50 blend of offensive and defensive beans in similar maturities combined into one bag. Varieties paired in each WinPak® seed offering work together to buffer the effects of weather, soil and disease variability by protecting yield potential on tough acres while maximizing yield in higher producing areas of a field.


·         Sixteen new hybrids will be available for 2017 planting, each backed by extensive management-specific Answer Plot® program data.

·         SilageFirstTM seed is the newest category of high quality, high tonnage corn hybrids for exclusive use as silage, designed to meet the specific nutritional needs of dairy herds.


· has undergone a complete makeover, with a more polished look, greater depth of information and easier navigation. The “Find Seed” function allows users to locate seed by region, seed type, relative maturity or days to maturity depending on crop. Farmers can also filter by response to population, response to nitrogen and response to fungicide; and response to continuous corn.

·         The R7® Tool is faster, more customizable and user-friendly than ever before. Users can assign multiple hybrids to a field and create a prescription map that places different hybrids within specific management zones. The Soil Variability Maps were also adjusted to help better visualize the soil profile making it easier to select seeds for heavy or light soils, ensuring the right seed is planted in the right spot. The R7® Tool operates on a single platform accessible from PC, laptop or tablet.

Wednesday November 16 Ag News

Farm Service Agency Reminds Producers of Grain Loan Requirements, Urges Timely Visit to Office for 2016 Assistance

Farmers who may be considering a Marketing Assistance Loan to assist with farm financing for 2016 should stop into their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office as soon as possible to begin the process.

Nebraska FSA State Executive Director Dan Steinkruger said Marketing Assistance Loans (MALs) provide producers with interim financing after harvest to help them meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvest-time lows.

“With Nebraska’s large corn and soybean harvests this year, we know a great deal of grain went into storage,” Steinkruger said. “Marketing Assistance Loans offer short-term financing at a reasonable interest rate. It can be a useful tool to meet immediate financing needs and income balancing goals.”

MALs are available for feed grains, soybeans and other oilseeds, wheat, pulse crops, wool, honey and other commodities. The national loan rates for key commodities in Nebraska are $1.95/bushel for corn, $5/bushel for soybeans and $1.95/bushel for grain sorghum, although county loan rates vary. The November MAL interest rate is 1.625 percent.

To be eligible for a MAL, producers must have a beneficial interest in the commodity. They also must comply with conservation and wetland protection requirements, submit an acreage report to account for all cropland on the farm and meet adjusted gross income limitations. There are additional requirements and actions that need to be taken before a loan can be processed, Steinkruger said. He encouraged producers to call ahead to their county office for details about what information they should bring to an appointment.

“For FSA to best serve those interested in marketing assistance loans for the current calendar year, producers should schedule a loan appointment with their local office prior to December 15, 2016,” he said. “That should allow us appropriate time to process the loan by December 31, 2016.”

National Biodiesel Board Members Elect Governing Board

National Biodiesel Board members selected their trade association leadership this week, electing six returning governing board members and one new member to serve in leadership roles.

“The biodiesel industry is fortunate to have a strong team of leaders from all sectors of the industry," said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. “The membership is united, optimistic, and will continue to grow into the future under the direction of the board.”

NBB members voted to fill seven board member spots:
    Greg Anderson, Nebraska Soybean Board
    Jennifer Case, New Leaf Biofuel, LLC
    Mike Cunningham, ASA
    Tim Keaveney, Hero BX
    Steven J. Levy, Sprague Operating Resources
    Mike Rath, Darling Ingredients, Inc.
    Ben Wooton, World Energy

Kent Engelbrecht, Ron Heck, Ed Hegland, Ron Marr, Steve Nogel, Amy Sigg Davis, Robert Stobaugh, and Chad Stone also continue to serve on the Governing Board.

The board also took the opportunity to elect officers with Kent Englebrecht serving as the new chairman, Mike Cunningham as Vice Chairman, Greg Anderson as Treasurer and Chad Stone as Secretary.

During the annual fall membership meeting NBB members discussed a number of important topics including the current state of federal policies impacting the industry, held meetings of standing committees, and began the annual program planning process.

With nearly 200 member companies, NBB is the leading U.S. trade association representing biodiesel and renewable diesel.

Cow-Calf Producers Invited to Learn about Improving Margins

Cow-calf producers who want to learn more about improving the return from their enterprise are invited to a strategy-focused workshop hosted by the Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Mapleton on Wednesday, Dec. 14. ISU Extension and Outreach beef program specialist Beth Doran said this meeting is the first in a statewide series set for this winter, and will include a variety of topics that relate to feeding and marketing.

“ISU cow-calf specialist Patrick Gunn will share information on the feed side of your operation, including grazing harvest residue, cover crops and alternative feeds,” Doran said. “He’ll also talk about controlling feed waste, formulating balanced rations and winter supplementation.”

Gunn and Doran will present research investigating factors affecting feeder calf price and how changes in marketing timing may affect revenue. They also will discuss other long-term strategies that improve revenue such as changes in the breeding program and how to shorten the calving season.

“Annual cow costs are projected to be in excess of $800, and up to 45 percent higher than in 2010 before drought conditions impacted the U.S.,” Gunn said. “Because winter feed costs represent one of, if not the largest costs, reducing feed cost while maintaining cow productivity is key to achieving good returns.”  

“The other side of the balance sheet involves careful marketing to improve revenue,” Doran said. “Currently, calf prices are roughly 50 to 60 percent of prices in 2014, so deciding when and how to market the calves will be critical.”

The program will be held at St. John’s United Methodist Church at 212 South 7th St., Mapleton, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Preregister by Dec. 9 and pay $20 per person at the door. Walk-in registration is $25 per person; there’s no noon meal guarantee.

To preregister, call ISU Extension and Outreach Monona County at 712-423-2175 or email or

Commercial Manure Applicator Training Scheduled for Jan. 5, 2017

Commercial manure applicators may attend annual training to meet commercial manure applicator certification requirements on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will conduct Commercial Manure Applicator training from 9 a.m. to noon at 75 locations in Iowa, one location in Wisconsin and one location in Minnesota. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.

There is no fee for the workshop, but applicators must register by Dec. 28 with the ISU Extension and Outreach county office where they plan to attend. See a complete list of workshop locations at

Commercial manure applicators needing to recertify and those wanting to certify for the first time should attend. All currently certified commercial manure applicator licenses will expire on March 1, 2017. Those wanting to renew must complete training requirements and submit forms and fees to the DNR prior to March 1 to avoid paying late fees. The law requires all commercial manure applicators to attend three hours of training annually to meet certification requirements. Businesses that primarily truck or haul manure of any type or from any source are also required to meet certification requirements.

Those unable to attend the program on Jan. 5 need to schedule time with their ISU Extension and Outreach county office to watch the training DVD. Due to scheduling conflicts, many extension offices will no longer accept walk-in appointments to watch these DVDs, but do offer scheduled dates and times to provide this training. For those unable to attend training during one of the scheduled reshow dates, a $10 fee will be charged to view the training at their convenience. If attending the workshops or watching the three-hour DVD is not convenient, commercial applicators may contact their local DNR field office to schedule an appointment to take the certification exam. Another option for commercial manure applicators is to take their training online at DNR MAC eLearning site at

In addition to the commercial manure applicator training offered on Jan. 5, ISU Extension and Outreach will also offer six dry/solid manure workshops for commercial manure applicators in February 2017. Information regarding these workshops and locations is also contained in the link to the brochure listed above. Program requirements are the same as the regular commercial training program, but this training program is geared more toward dry/solid manure issues. 

For more information about the commercial manure applicator certification program, contact an ISU Extension and Outreach county office or visit the Iowa Manure Management Action Group website at

Researchers Make Breakthrough in Controlling Soybean Cyst Nematode

A microscopic worm that has been a giant pain for U.S. soybean farmers may soon find farm fields unpleasant places to be.

Kansas State University researchers recently announced a significant breakthrough in controlling the spread of the soybean cyst nematode, a parasitic roundworm that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates has reduced yearly returns in soybeans by $500 million and yields by as much as 75 percent.

Plant geneticist Harold Trick said the university has received a patent for the technology that essentially "silences" specific genes in the nematode, causing it to die or, at the least, lose the ability to reproduce.

"We have created genetically engineered vectors [or DNA molecules], and put those into soybeans so that when the nematodes feed on the roots of the soybeans, they ingest these small molecules," said Trick, who has worked closely with plant pathologist Tim Todd on this project.

Previously, the scientists studied the nematode to learn which genes are crucial to the parasite's survival. The new vectors target those genes and shut them off, a process called gene silencing.

"The nematode will either lose fitness to live, or its ability to produce will be greatly reduced," Trick said.

So far, the scientists have found the technology has reduced the nematode population in greenhouse studies by as much as 85 percent.

"The next question for us is, with our technology, can we enhance the germplasm that is already available for soybean breeding," Trick said. "We also have several other genes we've looked at. Is it possible to combine all of these traits into one soybean variety and have an even greater reduction than 85 percent."

The soybean cyst nematode is known to be present in at least 29 states, as well as South America and Asia. Previous work indicates that once it is present in soil, it can never be fully eliminated. The parasite is so small that if 32 of the largest worms were laid end-to-end, they would measure only one inch.

Once they feed on a soybean plant, it takes just about 48 hours for them to penetrate the roots. After about a week, they can rupture through the plant tissue.

"We've been focusing on the soybean cyst nematode, but we also think that there are a lot of similarities in the genes we selected to other nematodes, such as the root knot nematode (which affects grasses, fruits, vegetables and weeds)," Trick said.

The technology will take many years to reach producers' fields, Trick said.

"This is a genetically engineered product," he said, noting that it will undergo intense regulatory scrutiny before it can be made commercially available.

"We hope to eventually take the traits we've discovered and move those over into Kansas-adapted cultivars so that we can deploy this in farm fields," he said.

The work is funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). Funding and support has also been provided by the Kansas Soybean Commission, U.S. Soybean Board and the North Central Soybean Research program.

Limited Movement in Fertilizer Prices

Retail fertilizer prices continued to be fairly steady the second week of November 2016, as they have been in recent weeks, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

Prices for six of the eight major fertilizers were lower compared to a month earlier, and none of these moves were significant. DAP had an average price of $429 per ton, MAP $449/ton, 10-34-0 $447/ton, anhydrous $468/ton, UAN28 $217/ton and UAN32 $256/ton.

Two fertilizers, however, were slightly higher in price looking back to a month prior. Potash had an average price of $314 per ton and urea was at $323/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.35/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, UAN28 $0.39/lb.N and UAN32 $0.40/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are now double-digits lower.

Both MAP and urea are now down 20%, DAP is 22% less expensive and both 10-34-0 and UAN32 are 23% lower. UAN28 is 25% less expensive while both anhydrous and potash are 26% lower compared to a year prior.

Certified Angus Beef Accepting Scholarship Applications

Each year the Certified Angus Beef Colvin Fund gives away thousands in scholarship dollars to students looking to make a difference in the beef community. The annual Colvin Scholarship awards recognize Louis M. "Mick" Colvin, co-founder and executive director of the CAB brand for 21 years. After he retired in 1999, CAB established the fund to carry on his legacy of making dreams a reality and inspiring others to be their best.

Undergraduates can win $6,000, $5,000, $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000, and $6,000 for a graduate student in 2017.

College juniors and seniors who have shown commitment to the beef industry, either through coursework or activities, are encouraged to apply by the Dec. 12 deadline. These will be evaluated on activities, academic achievements, communication skills and reference letters.

"We enjoy hearing from the students and getting to see the beef business from their perspective," says Christy Johnson, CAB director of advertising and chair of the selection committee. "It's evidence that we've got some very enthusiastic young professionals who will be joining our field."

The graduate level scholarship will be awarded to a full-time masters or doctoral student conducting research related to high-quality beef. Applications for that award are due Jan. 16, 2017.

The top undergraduate and graduate scholarship recipients will win an all-expense-paid trip to the 2017 CAB Annual Conference, Sept. 27-29 in Nashville, Tenn., to interact with leaders across the production, packing, retail and foodservice sectors.

 October CWT-Assisted Member Export Sales Contracts Total 7.8 Million Pounds of Dairy Products

Cooperatives Working Together assisted member cooperatives in October in winning 48 contracts to export 5.44 million pounds of American-type cheeses and 2.39 million pounds of butter. The products will go to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Oceania, and will be shipped from October 2016 through January 2017.

CWT assisted members in getting exports sales contracts totaling 44.19 million pounds of American-type cheese, 10.98 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 19.1 million pounds of whole milk powder going to customers in 24 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 794.32 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Totals are adjusted for cancellations received during the month.

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

The amounts of dairy products and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

Thanksgiving Dinner Ticks Down to Less Than $5 Per Person

The American Farm Bureau Federation's 31st annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year's feast for 10 is $49.87, a 24-cent decrease from last year's average of $50.11.

The big ticket item - a 16-pound turkey - came in at a total of $22.74 this year. That's roughly $1.42 per pound, a decrease of 2 cents per pound, or a total of 30 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2015.

"Consumers will pay less than $5 per person for a classic Thanksgiving dinner this year," AFBF Director of Market Intelligence Dr. John Newton said. "We have seen farm prices for many foods - including turkeys - fall from the higher levels of recent years. This translates into lower retail prices for a number of items as we prepare for Thanksgiving and confirms that U.S. consumers benefit from an abundant, high-quality and affordable food supply."

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

Foods showing the largest decreases this year in addition to turkey were pumpkin pie mix, milk and a veggie tray comprised of celery and carrots. A 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix was $3.13; a gallon of milk, $3.17; a one-pound veggie tray of celery and carrots, $0.73; and a group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $2.81.

"Due to a significant expansion in global milk production, prices fell to the lowest levels since 2009, leading to lower retail milk and dairy product prices. Additionally, this year's pumpkin prices are slightly lower following the production decline and higher prices seen in 2015," Newton said.

Items that increased modestly in price were a dozen brown-and-serve rolls, $2.46; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.59; one pound of green peas, $1.58; 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, $2.39; a half-pint of whipping cream, $2.00; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.67; and a three-pound bag of fresh sweet potatoes, $3.60.

The average price is down slightly from last year to $49.87. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner fell to $20.66 - the lowest level since 2010.

Although the classic Thanksgiving meal priced by Farm Bureau is considered modest by some, "we're fortunate to live here in America, where many people are able to enhance their holiday meals with another type of meat or additional side dishes or desserts," Newton said.

The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the government's Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home. The most recent CPI report for food at home showed just over a 2-percent decline over the past year (available online at

A total of 148 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 40 states for this year's survey. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.

Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.

The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau's survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

Now is the time to sample for soybean cyst nematode

Extension services and Syngenta agronomists are recommending that growers sample soil for soybean cyst nematode (SCN) this fall, after harvest but before a hard freeze or significant snowfall occurs. SCN presence has been expanding across the U.S. every year, yet many growers are still unaware of SCN presence on their farm. Per the South Dakota State University Extension, SCN management starts with testing soil for the nematode, and fall is the best time to do so.

SCN is the most damaging pest to U.S. soybeans. Studies have shown that SCN can contribute to yield losses of 30 percent to 40 percent with no visual symptoms above ground. But since the most common SCN yield reduction is less than 15 percent, few obvious above-ground symptomology is most common. “Because this pest is so stealthy, it steals yield across tens of millions of U.S. soybean acres every year, leaving behind few above ground visual traces of its existence," says Dale Ireland, Ph.D., Seedcare technical product lead at Syngenta.

Not only will sampling in the fall provide timely results in preparation for next season, but it will deliver a more comprehensive image of SCN populations. Because SCN has multiple generations throughout one season, testing mid-season will not provide a complete picture of the severity of a grower’s SCN problem.

Despite SCN presence expanding across the U.S. every year, awareness of the severe threat SCN poses is low. According to a Syngenta survey of more than 1,000 U.S. soybean growers from 17 states, 64 percent of the growers know little about SCN scouting and sampling. This low awareness poses a problem because SCN is most manageable when populations are still small. If SCN goes untreated, nematode numbers can grow rapidly. It is easier to keep low SCN population densities low than it is to manage high SCN numbers, according to the Iowa State University Extension.

While SCN-resistant soybean varieties have been a common tool for control, decreasing efficacy of the most common source of genetic resistance, PI88788, makes it critical to incorporate a broader management program. In addition to planting resistant varieties, growers are encouraged to practice crop rotation and plant varieties treated with a seed-applied nematicide. Once SCN is present, it cannot ever be entirely eliminated. To properly manage SCN, growers must use all the tools available.

“The time is now to fight back against SCN,” said Palle Pedersen, Ph.D., head of Seedcare product marketing for Syngenta. “We are standing at the edge of a cliff and can fall fast if we don’t start dealing with this challenge.”

To help explain the severe threat SCN poses, Syngenta teamed up with university experts across the Midwest to create a series of videos. Available on, these videos explore the challenges and provide in-depth management recommendations.

“When I talk to farmers, I don’t tell them to go sample to see if they have it. They should assume they already have it because it’s so widespread,” emphasizes Jason Bond, plant pathologist at Southern Illinois University and one of the featured experts in the videos. “Sampling is good to see what my population numbers are, and then what my management strategies are doing to try to reduce those populations.”

If soil samples test positive for SCN, it’s not too late. In addition to planting an SCN-resistant variety and practicing crop rotation, many universities now recommend incorporating a seed-applied nematicide like Clariva® Complete Beans seed treatment, a combination of separately registered products, to help manage SCN populations – including those becoming resistant to SCN-resistant genetics. Clariva Complete Beans delivers lethal, season-long protection against SCN and enhances the performance of SCN-resistant varieties.

Tuesday November 15 Ag News

Trade Delegation Helps Bolster Ag Exports from Nebraska to China

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that his trade mission to China, Hong Kong, and Macau led to the signing of nine agreements to bolster markets for Nebraska beef and pork.  The trade delegation included state officials from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), Nebraska Department of Economic Development, farmers and ranchers, and representatives from the University of Nebraska and Nebraska businesses.

“With China’s growing middle class, there are many opportunities here for Nebraska farmers and ranchers to grow markets for our high-quality commodities and food products,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Signing letters of intent with representatives from nine successful businesses and restaurants in China, Hong Kong, and Macau keeps Nebraska growing and helps the state’s farm and ranch families for many years to come.”

This trade mission followed a recent announcement by Chinese officials about their plans to reopen the beef trade between China and the United States.  China had previously banned importation of American beef in 2003.  Hong Kong has purchased and promoted Nebraska beef and continues to expand their markets.  In 2015, Hong Kong was Nebraska’s sixth largest export market, accounting for $234 million in goods purchased from our state with approximately 80 percent being exported food products.

“To prepare for China’s first purchases of U.S. beef in more than a decade, Nebraska officials are working closely with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach.  “We want to be ready and able to take advantage of the opportunity when it happens.”

Highlights of the delegations’ agriculture-related activities during the trip include:

Shanghai: The delegation met with the owner of Yue 6 Cuisine & Lounge, a progressive, fusion-style restaurant serving U.S./Nebraska pork to sign a letter of intent to purchase more U.S. and Nebraska pork.

Macau: The delegation attended the annual Nebraska BBQ at the Studio City Hotel in Macau where 350 food industry representatives were there to see firsthand the advantages of using beef and pork from Nebraska.  Angliss Macau Food Service Limited signed a letter of intent to purchase Nebraska beef and pork.

Hong Kong: In Hong Kong, several letters of intent were signed.  Companies included Kateford International Limited, Sutherland Company Limited, Viva Asia, Saison Food Service Limited, Wilson International Frozen Foods Ltd, and the International Culinary Institute of Vocational Training Council.

On the last day of the trade mission, delegates enjoyed lunch at the Nebraska Steakhouse in Hong Kong where officials signed a letter of intent to purchase and promote additional Nebraska beef.

 Smith Speaks at Briefing on Agriculture Research

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) presented at a briefing today featuring Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), to discuss the research being conducted by the agency and how it impacts the future of agriculture.  After the briefing, Smith released the following statement.   

“By 2050, the world’s population is projected to reach ten billion people,” Smith said.  “ARS’s research is crucial to finding ways to feed the world with finite resources.

“The Third District is home to ARS’ Meat Animal Research Center (MARC), a world-renowned research leader in animal science having a meaningful and practical impact on the industry.  For example, research conducted at MARC has improved food safety by strengthening our understanding of E. coli, enhanced animal health and welfare through research on respiratory diseases in cattle and sheep, and boosted production efficiency through efforts to increase the survival rate of newborn piglets.

“On more than one occasion, I have had the opportunity to tour MARC and always come away inspired by the dedication of the ARS scientists and employees.  In Congress, I will continue to promote the work conducted by MARC and ARS as vital to agriculture’s success.”

Smith is the founder and co-chairman of the Modern Agriculture Caucus.


Nebraska producers have opportunity to learn from recognized soil health expert Gabe Brown at Dec. 5 event.

North Dakota farmer Gabe Brown will be the featured speaker at the Dec. 5 cover crop and no-till conference in Ord, Neb. Brown will describe his use of no-till farming, cover crops and grazing on his 5,000-acre farm and ranch operation.

The conference will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and has a 500-seat limit. A $10 registration fee can be paid at the door. To ensure an accurate lunch count, organizers ask attendees to register by Nov. 21 by visiting, calling (308) 346-3393, or by sending an email to

Brown has been practicing no-till farming since 1993. He has improved his soil conditions to where he doesn’t apply any synthetic fertilizers, fungicides or insecticides on his operation, and herbicides have been reduced by over 75%. He has traveled across the U.S. sharing his success story encouraging other farmers and ranchers to apply soil health practices to improve their operations.

Conference topics are no-till management tips, proper cover crop management and utilization, how to establish and maintain soil health, and no-till practices for soil erosion and moisture conservation. The afternoon program also will feature a Nebraska producer panel that includes Matt Niewohner of Albion, Pat Peterson of Gordon, Del Ficke of Pleasant Dale, Dan Dickau of Elwood, Luke Kovarik of Ord, and Steve Grudzinski of Loup City.

Mark Sintek, conservation program manager at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Ord helped organize this event in hopes Nebraska farmers and ranchers can pick up valuable tools from Brown to use on their operations.

Sintek said, “We are very excited to have Gabe share his expertise with Nebraska farmers. He is a well-respected voice in teaching others about how to implement no-till and other soil health practices. It’s always a benefit for farmers and ranchers to hear from another farmer who has been successful in using no-till and cover crops to improve soil health.”

For more information, visit and click on “Events and Deadlines.”

Consolidated Sourcing Solutions Hires New President

Consolidated Sourcing Solutions, LLC (CSS) has hired Steve Namanny as the company’s President.  Mr. Namanny comes to CSS with vast working knowledge and experience in the fertilizer industry. He will assist CSS partners in sourcing the global fertilizer information and products used by thousands of cooperative member-growers in the Midwest and Upper Great Plains.

“Steve is a natural fit in this new role as President of CSS,” Steve Briggs, Chairman of the Board of Directors for CSS, says. “We are confident he will continue to elevate CSS performance and grow the relationships with our fertilizer suppliers. His leadership skills are critical as we navigate the changing times in the retail fertilizer landscape.”

Mr. Namanny will work out of the CSS corporate office in Sioux City, Iowa.

Consolidated Sourcing Solutions is an LLC, formed in 2010 between the cooperative partners of Landus, Ames, IA; Central Valley Ag Coop, York, NE; and South Dakota Wheat Growers, Aberdeen, SD.  Consolidated Sourcing Solutions assists these cooperatives in their global intelligence with regard to fertilizer supply and provides sourcing of product information.

CF to start up Port Neal urea, ammonia plants in late 2016

US-based fertilizer producer CF Industries is in the process of starting up its new Port Neal plant and expects the urea and ammonia units to start production in late 2016, the company said in a recent press release.

The producer said gas has been introduced into its new ammonia plant at Port Neal in Iowa, and production is expected to begin shortly.

The urea plant was commissioned in parallel with the ammonia plant and its granulation unit effectively tested in September 2016, said the company.

The Port Neal plant has the capacity to produce 900,000 tonnes/year of ammonia and 1.4m tonnes/year of urea.

The producer’s other major expansion has been at Donaldsonville, where urea production started up in November 2015 and urea ammonium nitrate solution (UAN) in March 2016. The ammonia plant went on stream in September 2016.

In Donaldsonville, the 1.4m-tonne/year plant is producing at 110-115% of nameplate capacity and the 1.8m-tonne/year UAN plant at 120% capacity. The 1.3m-tonne/year ammonia plant is operating at nameplate capacity with additional rate increases expected in coming weeks, the company said.

The total cost of the capacity expansion projects, at Donaldsonville and Port Neal, is estimated at around $5.2bn.

The Port Neal urea and ammonia plants are the final two plants of the company’s capacity expansion plans.

Iowa Commodity Challenge Helps Improve Crop Marketing Skills

The real world of crop markets is reflected in the website Iowa Commodity Challenge, developed by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Farm Bureau. Website users can explore how various tools work – without putting their actual money on the table.

The site, hosted on the Ag Decision Maker website, contains 14 instructional videos explaining various aspects of marketing. Three new videos – Successful Market Planning, Using Crop Contracts and Working with Your Grain Merchandiser – have been recently added.

Also included is an updated 65-page Marketing Tools Workbook and a variety of learning activities. The workbook provides the basics on marketing tools as well as setting personal marketing goals and resources participants can use on their own farm operation.

Online commodities simulation game

Participants can choose to join in an online grain market simulation game to help improve marketing skills. The game includes using futures and ag options as marketing tools, and participation can also help users improve strategies to sell cash corn and soybeans.

“It gives players a chance to look at commodity markets and how they work over the course of several months,” said Steve Johnson, farm management specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “This game reflects what is going on in the real world markets so participants are able to try out some marketing strategies in a setting where they can explore how these various marketing tools work.”

As a part of the online grain market simulation game, participants are given 75,000 bushels of corn and 25,000 bushels of soybeans stored commercially to market before spring using March 2017 corn and soybean futures. Storage costs will accrue on bushels as if they were in the bin (six cents per bushel per month).

USDA Awards Funds for Fiscal Year 2017 Market Development Programs

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is awarding $200 million to more than 70 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand export markets for U.S. farm and food products through the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program.

"USDA and the U.S. agricultural industry work together in a unique public-private partnership to open and grow markets around the world for high-quality, American-made farm and food products," Vilsack said. "The federal investment in these programs is multiplied by industry matching funds, not only boosting agricultural export revenue and volume, but also supporting farm income and enhancing the overall U.S. economy."

Under MAP, FAS will provide $173.5 million in fiscal year 2017 funding to 70 nonprofit organizations and cooperatives. The organizations use the funds to help U.S. agricultural producers promote their products to consumers around the globe through activities such as market research, technical assistance, and support for participation in trade fairs and exhibits. MAP participants contribute an average 137 percent match for generic marketing and promotion activities and a dollar-for-dollar match for promotion of branded products by small businesses and cooperatives.

Under FMD, FAS will allocate $26.6 million in fiscal year 2017 funds to 26 trade organizations that represent U.S. agricultural producers. FMD focuses on generic promotion of U.S. commodities, rather than consumer-oriented promotion of branded products, and preference is given to organizations that represent an entire industry or are nationwide in membership and scope. The organizations, which contribute an average 130 percent cost share, conduct activities that help maintain or increase demand for U.S. agricultural commodities overseas.

A new study conducted by noted land grant university economists shows that MAP and FMD contributed $309 billion to farm export revenue between 1977 and 2014, an average of $8.2 billion per year. From 2002 through 2014, the programs boosted average annual farm cash income by $2.1 billion, annual U.S. economic output by $39.3 billion, annual gross domestic product (GDP) by $16.9 billion, and annual labor income by $9.8 billion. In addition, the programs generated economic activity that directly created 239,000 new jobs, including 90,000 farm sector jobs. To learn more about the Economic Impact of USDA Export Market Development Program study, visit

Beef Industry’s Best, Brightest to Share Insights at Cattlemen’s College in Nashville Jan. 31 – Feb. 1

Leading authorities in the cattle industry will be sharing their experience and knowledge in Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 31 – Feb. 1, 2017, offering cattlemen and women practical information that can be turned into profit-building ideas at the 24th annual Cattlemen’s College. The event, which kicks off the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, is sponsored by Zoetis and coordinated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

                Cattlemen’s College has become the cattle industry’s number one resource for education and advice for improving operations and profits. Its stimulating and thought-provoking sessions help generate higher returns for cattle operations, as well as spark discussions that lead to innovation and advancement in a rapidly changing industry.

                 Keynote speaker at the Cattlemen’s College Opening General Session will be Cameron Bruett, head of corporate affairs at JBS USA. Bruett will address expectations of transparency in today’s beef industry among consumers and customers, and the related farm and ranch management practices that have resulted – and will need to take place – in today’s highly competitive protein marketplace.

                 College attendees may choose from five curriculum tracks during the college: Here’s the Beef, Managing Grazing for Soil Health & Animal Performance, Production Efficiency and Profit, Healthy Business Strategies and Breeding Cattle with Staying Power. Videos of all of the classes will be made available to all attendees a few weeks after the college.

                Session speakers at the college include some of the leading experts in the fields of soil health, calf management, heifer development, family ranching, genetics, beef taste, sustainability, alternative income sources, managing forages, cattle feeding, cow efficiency, and more. The college begins with concurrent sessions on genetics and a reception Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 31, with a full morning of programs and a lunch on Wednesday, Feb. 1.

“Cattlemen’s College gives every participant an opportunity to learn something new that can improve their farm or ranch,” according to Josh White, executive director of producer education for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “These sessions are a way for attendees to gain the edge they need to keep up in the beef industry’s ever-changing landscape.”

                Cattlemen’s College was attended by more than a thousand producers in San Diego last year, and early registration for this year’s sessions in Nashville is encouraged. Early registration ends Jan. 4, 2017. Tickets to the 2017 event are $250 per person, with discounted tickets available for college students. For more information on the event’s classes and sessions, go to

NCGA Congratulates Bowling on USFRA Leadership

National Corn Growers Association Chairman Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland, was elected to serve as vice chairman of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance during the group's board meeting in Kansas City last week. NCGA congratulates Bowling on this accomplishment and looks forward to seeing the impact of the experience and enthusiasm he brings to the role.

"I have always felt strongly about the importance of the work done by USFRA, and I am humbled my fellow ag leaders entrusted me with this position," said Bowling. "Farmers and ranchers work hard every day to become increasingly sustainable and continue improving. Through USFRA, we all can play an active part in sharing that story."

USFRA was founded in 2010 to unite agriculture and earn consumer trust in today's farming and ranching practices. In addition to Bowling, South Dakota crop and livestock farmer Brad Greenway, who represents the National Pork Board, will serve as the new chairman, American Farm Bureau Federation representative Scott VanderWal will serve as treasurer and Illinois Soybean Association
Roberta Simpson-Dolbeare will serve as secretary. Immediate Past Chairwoman Nancy Kavazanjian, will continue representing United Soybean Board on the Executive Committee.

USFRA consists of about 100 farmer- and rancher- led organizations and agricultural partners representing virtually all aspects of agriculture, working to engage in dialogue with consumers who have questions about how food is grown and raised. USFRA is committed to continuous improvement and supporting U.S. farmers and ranchers' efforts to increase confidence and trust in today's agriculture. To learn more, see

 NFU Backs ‘American Food for American Schools’ Legislation

Recognizing the need to improve sourcing of American-grown food products by U.S. schools, National Farmers Union (NFU) applauded the introduction of the “American Food for American Schools Act of 2016.” The legislation aims to enforce provisions of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act that require school nutrition providers to purchase domestically produced and processed foods, to the extent practicable.

“The school lunch laws were designed to ensure all school-age children have access to high quality, nutritious food products, like those grown and produced by U.S. farmers and ranchers. By improving transparency and enforcement of the Buy American provisions, through the American Food for American Schools Act, we can better support both American agriculture and child nutrition,” said NFU Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew.

The legislation, introduced by Representative John Garamendi (D-Calif.), would require school nutrition providers to request a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) should they decide to purchase a foreign food product, differing from the current law which does not require a waiver be requested.

“When school food providers are using U.S. taxpayer money to purchase food, they should be buying American grown foods where possible,” noted Larew.

The bill also directs that notification of the waiver be posted publically on the school’s website and menu as well as sent to parents of the children who will be served the product. Earlier this year. Rep. Garamendi notified USDA of his concern that the Buy American provisions were not being enforced in California schools.

“Providing USDA with greater authority to enforce farm-to-school lunch programs will help connect more students with fresh, local foods. These programs can also improve understanding of where our food comes from by strengthening local farmer relationships within the community. I urge Congress to support this legislation that will benefit agriculture, education and communities, alike,” Larew concluded.

Speaking up for Beef: Joint Effort Extends Knowledge of Beef through State Councils

Nutrition professionals who provide advice to consumers are always on the lookout for credible and useful information about food. Thanks to a national beef checkoff-funded program being implemented by state beef councils, they’re finding welcome information about beef.

The objective of the program is to place credentialed nutrition speakers on the programs at state health and nutrition organization events. The speakers, who sometimes are researchers who have worked closely with the beef industry, can present on a wide range of topics, which can be tailored to the needs of each state organization.

The benefits of the program are numerous. First, placing these experts in the local markets delivers important and timely beef and nutrition information to health professionals who need it. It also helps state beef councils develop and strengthen their relationships with both the groups and the individual professionals who attend their events. This helps secure the council’s reputation as the “go-to source” for all things beef within that state.

The program is also a collaborative education tool that allows state beef councils and the national Beef Checkoff Program to work together efficiently to improve the health community’s knowledge of beef.

Because the program is funded through the national Beef Checkoff Program, state beef councils have a huge motivation to use it. “It’s an opportunity to have expert speakers reach a critical audience for beef without having to dip into their own budgets,” according to Erin Weber, RDN, manager of health communications outreach for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which manages the program under contract to the Beef Checkoff Program.

For the beef checkoff’s 2016 fiscal year (ended Sept. 30), 35 state beef councils had taken advantage of the program, says Weber. So far in fiscal year 2017, about a dozen have committed to participating in the program, with more expected to confirm their involvement before the end of the calendar year.

Among audiences that have been reached through the program are dietitians, physicians, nurses, physical fitness professionals and others in the health field. “These authorities either grant permission to eat beef, or they take it away,” according to Traci Bracco, executive director of the Idaho Beef Council (IBC). “It’s a critical audience for our message.” Students in these fields have also been reached.

Bracco and other state beef council managers and executives think the program is among the most effective and efficient examples of the state/national beef checkoff partnership.

“It works beautifully,” according to Holly Swee, director of nutrition and consumer information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC). “We value having it as a resource and a tool for reaching our health audiences.”

Swee appreciates the fact that program speakers are approved and selected by the national beef team to make sure they are appropriate and accurate spokespeople for beef. Bracco agrees, and says it’s important that speakers have been selected for their experience, knowledge, speaking ability and appropriateness to the message. “These are vetted speakers, so we know we’re not taking a gamble on the message they will deliver,” she says.
Flexible and Strategic

Health organizations appreciate the fact that they have the chance to select nationally-recognized speakers, with topics that make the most sense for their events. These groups sometimes have limited resources and reach, and don’t always have access to the highest quality speakers.

“Many times these groups have a hard time coming up with dynamic, credible, national presenters,” Swee says. “They’re searching for well-rounded speakers, and appreciate this resource. It allows us to get information out about beef and build relationships with these groups at the same time.”

“We couldn’t find this many high caliber presenters within Idaho – especially when there are so many different topics,” says Bracco. “Our efforts go much further, and our message carries more weight, when we can provide these national speakers.”

According to Donette Spann, promotion coordinator for the Arkansas Beef Council (ABC), the program offers tremendous value for their state. “Arkansas is not a huge state in terms of budget,” she says. “Because the Nutrition Seminar Program is funded nationally, we can still have a well-coordinated and professional program.

Another state with a limited budget is South Carolina, which significantly stretches that budget with the national program, according to Roy Copelan, executive director of the South Carolina Beef Council (SCBC). “I would rate this checkoff-funded program an A+,” he says. “It’s a great avenue to tell the beef story, and has matched very well for us.”

This coming March, at the South Carolina Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Conference, the SCBC will participate in the Nutrition Seminar program for the third time. Copelan says his organization has seen increasing attendance and interest each of the years a program-sponsored speaker has presented. Furthermore, he has gotten positive reviews on the presentations from participants of subsequent health-oriented events at which SCBC exhibits, including the family physicians, hospital and health associations.

“We’re getting great mileage out of this program,” he says.

“Our board absolutely loves it,” says ABC’s Spann. “It makes good sense economically, as we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Plus, we’re able to bring in nationally known speakers who can give topics a fresh perspective.”

Swee, who says South Dakota has utilized the program for at least 10 years, believes beef producers are getting tremendous value through it for their beef checkoff dollar. “This is definitely a big bang for the buck,” she says. “We’re going directly to the source. And we’re being very transparent with this audience, able to get current and reliable research information directly into the hands of people who can use it.”

Many of the speakers have done research that involved beef, and have “walked the walk,” says Idaho’s Bracco. “These speakers believe in beef protein, so it’s a win/win for both the group and the industry,” she says. As representatives of the beef industry, “you never have to worry about the Nutrition Seminar program.”

While the information is important, the presentation is also critical, says Mitch Rippe, director of nutrition and education at the Nebraska Beef Council (NBC). “It’s pretty cool that we’re bringing in researchers, but what’s really great is that these individuals are also some very engaging speakers,” he says. “We’ve never had a bad one.”

In addition to programs in Nebraska, Rippe has worked with beef councils in surrounding states, including Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, to utilize the Nutrition Seminar program to gather and provide presentations to top influencers from their states. In this way, the councils can share some influencer costs regionally, utilizing the national program to tap into the expertise found within the speakers bureau.

Since the program is funded nationally, states like Arkansas can get involved in the health organization events as much as their budget and interest allows, says Spann. She says the program provides an important piece of the ABC’s involvement with the health community. The state council also pays for a lunch, a reception and a booth at the annual Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics conference, so the speakers “are just the icing on the cake,” she says.
The Topics

Weber says speakers are capable of presenting on a wide number of current topics. Protein is key, of course, and beef as a first food has also become popular with recent research of interest to the health community. This year, feeding the family will also be a prime topic, as the beef checkoff promotes its Families in Motion campaign.

ABC’s Spann says a popular presentation in their state recently focused on the changing needs of a woman’s diet throughout her lifetime and beef’s role in making a significant difference in overall health and energy. This was presented by Kim Schwabenbauer, MS, RD, LDN, who has more than 14 years of experience as a registered dietitian. Schwabenbauer is a triathlon coach, a professional triathlete, a certified specialist in sports nutrition and a nationally-recognized speaker to companies and conferences on sports nutrition related topics.

Spann says presentations can sometimes focus significantly on beef – but not always. She notes, however, that beef messages are always incorporated into the presentations. Occasionally, she says, ABC will work with other ag groups, such as dairy, to combine common messages, such as sustainability, the environment or family farming.
Thousands Reached

In South Dakota, Swee says the overall reach over the course of the program in the state has “easily been in the thousands,” with individual audiences in the 100-200 range. Those in the audiences are typically very receptive to the messages, and use them in their consumer outreach. “It’s a personal investment by these health influencers in acquiring information,” she says. “They ask good questions, and are sincere about wanting to learn more about the topics.”

Rippe estimates NBC has been able to reach about half of the key nutrition influencers in Nebraska through the program, and says the quality and credibility of the speakers has helped his organization expand its outreach to audiences they may not have been able to reach. “This program really gives states the ability to reach a variety of key influencers at the state level,” he says.

IBC’s Bracco says the program allows her board to budget for not only expected health organization events, but for two “opportunistic” events every year. “This allows us to do our jobs better,” she says. “It’s really a great program.”

“We’re reaching major influencers – the decision-makers in their organizations,” says Spann in Arkansas. “Our beef checkoff focuses on reaching the right audiences at the right time with the right message, and no checkoff-funded program better succeeds at that than this one.”

Rabobank Analysts Discuss Impact of Trump Election on Food & Ag Sector

The election of Republican candidate Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States has the food and agriculture sector awaiting clarification on his policies and positions. The Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) group has authored a report on the possible implications of the election.

“Republican-controlled Executive and Legislative branches could mean swift action when the new administration takes office,” notes Pablo Sherwell, Rabobank head of Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory, North America.  “Our analysts and others around the world are keeping a close eye on trade, labor, the upcoming Farm Bill and regulations impacting production agriculture, as these areas are where potential policy changes could have longer-term implications on the industry as a whole.”

While President-elect Trump’s policies are yet to be clearly defined, his statements during the campaign suggest drastic changes from current policy could be on the horizon. Acknowledging that any change, and the subsequent impact, is uncertain, Rabobank analysts dissect key areas to watch, both short and long-term:

•            In the short term, agricultural markets may be affected by foreign exchange volatility, as well as changing business appetite and consumer confidence.

•            Looking towards the next year, it will be critical to watch potential revisions to trade agreements, labor policies and business regulations, as well as the effects these elements will have on economic growth.

Short-Term Implications

The lack of market information creates uncertainty, and uncertainty generates market volatility. We saw this first-hand last week, when an initial uncertainty over President-elect Trump’s policy direction resulted in a short-term sell-off reaction by markets.

“Currently, the export share of U.S. agricultural production represents more than 20 percent in volume and value terms, making U.S. price formation highly dependent on foreign trade and therefore foreign currency,” said Sherwell.

Longer-Term Implications

Trade agreements, agricultural policy and labor will act as key areas where potential policy changes could have longer-term implications on the industry as a whole.

Trade Agreements: As the number-one global agricultural exporter, the U.S. F&A sector is one of the main drivers of global agriculture and trade, reaching nearly $125 billion in 2016. Currently, the U.S. exports commodities that complement the rest of the world’s food supply—any change to U.S. agricultural trade agreements will not only affect global prices and trade dynamics but also U.S. farmer margins.

Farm Bill 2018: The current Farm Bill is scheduled to be renewed by 2018. Because the Republican Party holds the majority, the development, approval and implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill is likely to be a smoother process than that of the previous bill. Regulatory reductions have been a policy direction advocated by President-elect Trump during his candidacy, and it is likely that the direction will shift even more toward an environment of reduced regulation.

Labor: The U.S. food and agriculture industry is highly dependent on migrant labor, particularly in sectors such as produce, animal protein and food service operation. If immigration laws are enforced more strictly, business owners may face labor shortages, which would pressure their margins.

Monday November 14 Ag News


For the week ending November 13, 2016, unseasonably warm temperatures were again experienced and averaged six to nine degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Rain early in the week was confined mostly to south central and central counties, with totals generally less than an inch. Harvest activities made good progress, with many producers now done combining. With limited rainfall over the last month, dry soils were noted in a number of counties. There were 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 14 percent very short, 38 short, 47 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 32 short, 56 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 93 percent, near 91 both last year and the five-year average.

Sorghum harvested was 97 percent, ahead of 90 last year, and near 93 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 10 poor, 35 fair, 48 good, and 5 excellent.

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 5 percent very poor, 13 poor, 31 fair, 47 good, and 4 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 14 short, 83 adequate, and 1 surplus.


 Minimal precipitation and warm temperatures allowed farmers to make progress towards harvest completion during the week ending November 13, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included harvesting, baling corn stalks, tiling, terracing, hauling and spreading manure, and anhydrous application.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 10 percent short, 83 percent adequate, and 5 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 6 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

Ninety-four percent of the corn crop for grain has been harvested, equal to the 5-year average. This was the first time during the 2016 corn for grain harvest that progress was not behind average. Moisture content of all corn for grain being harvested in Iowa was unchanged from last week at 16 percent. While harvest is winding down in much of the State, southwest and south central Iowa still have over 10 percent of the corn crop and almost 10 percent of the soybean crop remaining to be harvested.

Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 55 percent moderate to heavy, down 7 percentage points from the previous week. Off-farm grain storage availability was rated 65 percent adequate to surplus. On-farm grain storage availability was rated 59 percent adequate to surplus.

Livestock conditions were described as ideal with the week’s above normal temperatures and drier conditions.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

The U.S. corn and soybean harvest continued slightly ahead of the average pace last week as the 2016 harvest enters the homestretch, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

The nation's corn crop was 93% harvested as of Sunday, down from 95% last year but slightly ahead of the five-year average of 92%. 

Meanwhile, 97% of soybeans were harvested as of Sunday, even with a year ago but up from the five-year average of 95%.

The winter wheat crop was 94% planted, up from 93% a year ago, and below the five-year average of 95%. Eighty-four percent of the crop had emerged, down from 85% a year ago and even with the five-year average of 84%. The condition of winter wheat was rated 59% good-to-excellent, up 1 percentage point from the previous week.

Nebraska Extension Offers Training on Unmanned Aircraft Systems 

Those interested in incorporating unmanned aircraft systems into their business operations and agricultural enterprises are encouraged to attend one of five introductory training sessions offered across the state by Nebraska Extension.

The sessions will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following locations:

Scottsbluff: Nov. 21, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 4502 Ave. I. Register by Wednesday, Nov. 16.

North Platte: Nov. 22, West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 W. State Farm Road. Register by Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Norfolk: Nov. 29, Lifelong Learning Center, Northeast Community College, 801 E. Benjamin Ave. Register by Monday, Nov. 21.

Mead: Dec. 14, Agricultural Research and Development Center, 1071 County Road G. Register by Monday, Dec. 5.

Grand Island: Dec. 16, Hall County Extension Office, 3180 W. Highway 34. Register by Thursday, Dec. 8.

"Emerging technology such as unmanned aircraft systems have the potential to benefit all types of businesses, and especially applications of the agricultural industry," said Wayne Woldt, associate professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Department of Biological Systems Engineering and one of the training organizers. Woldt is a rated pilot who developed the Nebraska Unmanned Aircraft Innovation, Research and Education (NU-AIRE) laboratory and flight program, with a focus on research and education in unmanned aircraft systems.

The training will highlight information needed by an unmanned aircraft operator and pilot, including:
-    hobby flight, educational interpretation and best practices for privacy concerns;
-    Federal Part 107 rules for commercial flight and piloting; and
-    an overview of applications.

At the conclusion of the program, training attendees will have flight time with a small unmanned aircraft system.

In addition to Woldt, others conducting the training are Bill Kreuser and Jacob Smith. Kreuser is an assistant professor in the university's Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. He is a rated pilot who works with unmanned aircraft systems as part of his research and extension program to advance the use of this new technology for managing complex agronomic systems. Smith works with Woldt in the NU-AIRE laboratory. He is a commercial pilot, certified flight instructor, and unmanned aircraft systems expert.


Space is limited to 45 attendees at each session. For more information and to register see the program brochure or contact Delhay at 402-472-9390 or The brochure also includes maps to each training site.

The registration fee of $50 may be submitted online at or by mailing a check to Bonita Delhay, Biological Systems Engineering, 234 Chase Hall, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0726. Checks should be payable to the University of Nebraska.

Continuing education credits (CEUs) have been applied for.

 Accepting Applications for the 2017 NePPA Pork Mentorship Program

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association wants students to be a part of the 2017 Pork Mentorship Program. If students are connected to agriculture and believe in the future of the pork industry, they are encouraged to apply! $500 scholarships are available for college-age students who have an interest in the pork industry – they don’t have to be a pork producer! Applications are due December 5th. Students may apply for this opportunity by visiting the youth tab on

The Pork Mentorship Program is directed under Kyla Habrock, NPPA Youth Education Director. Habrock stated, “The NPPA Pork Mentorship Program is more than just a scholarship. It’s a way for students to build their capacity as a leader and professional in the swine and agriculture industries in Nebraska. The program provides students with an opportunity to identify future career goals and to evolve into strong agricultural advocates.”

The Pork Mentorship Program was established in 1999. To date, over 125 students have completed the program and over $68,000 in scholarships have been awarded. Each year the students participate in activities that encourage personal growth, leadership development, community engagement, and expand their knowledge of the pork industry. A $500 scholarship is awarded upon the completion of the year-long program.

Understanding the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ Soybean Weed Management System

Amit Jhala - NE Extension Weed Management Specialist

The evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds is a concern for successful corn and soybean production. In Nebraska six weed species have been confirmed resistant to glyphosate: common ragweed, giant ragweed, common waterhemp, kochia, marestail, and Palmer amaranth. Crops with multiple-herbicide tolerances, including dicamba- plus glyphosate-resistant Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ soybean, have been developed, tested, and approved. This new dicamba-tolerant soybean cultivar, expected to be planted on over 15 million acres in 2017, offers an additional means of managing herbicide-resistant weeds.

Special low-volatile dicamba herbicide formulations have been developed for use with this cultivar. They are Roundup Xtend™ (a premix of glyphosate and dicamba; pending EPA approval) and XtendiMax™ (dicamba).  They will be labeled for use before, at, and after planting Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybean. Moreover flexibility in applying XtendiMax™ may allow growers to make pre- or post-emergence applications on dicamba-tolerant crops to manage glyphosate-resistant weeds and maximize crop yield potential. In addition, product stewardship programs are expected to help ensure the successful application of XtendiMax™ to minimize off-target movement; however, no research data is currently available of landscape level effect of volatility from this new formulation of dicamba.

This registration is for a formulation of dicamba that contains an additive that reduces volatility and is different from products that were alleged to have been used illegally in the 2016 growing season in several states.

The dicamba formulation for use on dicamba-tolerant soybean has been registered for sale and use in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Related Nebraska Research

Research conducted at UNL’s South Central Agricultural Lab near Clay Center the last four years showed excellent weed control and crop safety with a pre-emergence herbicide applied at planting followed by post-emergence application of XtendiMax™ in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ soybean.

The label requires very specific drift mitigation measures, including:
-    no aerial application,
-    no application when wind speed is over 15 miles per hour;
-    application only with approved nozzles at specified pressures; and
-    buffer zones to protect sensitive areas when the wind is blowing toward them.

Weeds can evolve resistance to any herbicide if the same herbicide is applied repeatedly in the same field. For example, dicamba-resistant kochia has been confirmed in western Nebraska. Therefore, growers should not rely only on XtendiMax for weed control in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ soybean. Pre-emergence herbicide is a foundation for weed control in any type of soybean. Therefore, select a weed management program that includes herbicides with multiple effective modes of action.

 USDA Providing Funds to Protect and Restore Agricultural Working Lands, Grasslands and Wetlands across Nebraska

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). This program, created under the 2014 Farm Bill, provides funding for the purchase of conservation easements to help productive farm and ranch lands remain in agriculture and to restore and protect critical wetlands and grasslands.

Nebraska state conservationist Craig Derickson said, “Conservation easements are a good tool to ensure natural resources are conserved and protected for all Nebraskans. We encourage Indian tribes, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations and private landowners to contact their local NRCS office to find out how to apply.”

The main goal of ACEP is to prevent productive agriculture land from being converted to non-agricultural uses and restore and protect wetlands and wildlife habitat. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible.

Applications can be submitted at any time, but to be considered for 2017 funding opportunities, applications in Nebraska must be received by December 31. Applications are currently being accepted for both agricultural land and wetland reserve easements.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private and tribal landowners to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of conservation easements. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts.

A key option under the agricultural land easement component is the "grasslands of special environmental significance" that will protect high-quality grasslands under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development and other non-grazing uses.

All applications will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife. Eligible applicants will be compensated with a payment rate comparable to the local land use value.

Applicants will need to provide accurate records of ownership and ensure they have established current year ownership eligibility with USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Application information is available at your local USDA Service Center and at

“NRCS staff will work with all interested applicants to help them through the application process and provide one-on-one assistance to create the conservation easement option that works best for their farming or ranching operation,” Derickson said.

For more information about the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the programs and services it provides, visit your local USDA Service Center or


Mat Habrock, assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, has scheduled a meeting of the Climate Assessment Response Committee (CARC) for Tuesday, November 22, 2016.  The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. in room 901, Hardin Hall on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus.

Officials will brief CARC members on existing, as well as predicted, weather conditions and provide a water availability outlook.

For more details, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2341.

Cattlemen can weigh in on 2017 policies at inaugural Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit

While the election may be over, Iowa cattle producers and friends of the industry still have a chance to exert influence on the issues that matter to them.

As part of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association’s mission to grow Iowa’s beef business through leadership, advocacy and education, ICA will host the inaugural Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit.

The summit, which will be held on December 10 in Ames, will have sessions devoted to leadership development for cattle producers and ICA county cattlemen’s associations. The day will also feature policy committee meetings and the ICA annual meeting.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has three policy committees: Beef Products, Business Issues and Cattle Production. The committee meetings are open to any ICA members, and will generate policy related to important topics in the cattle industry. These policies drive the efforts of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and are used by staff and leaders in discussions with local and national elected officials and regulatory agencies.

Policy discussions this year are expected to revolve around live cattle futures trading, market volatility, price discovery, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), foreign animal disease preparedness, protecting Iowa’s fence law, the green and gold tag preconditioning programs, and specific uses for the new state beef checkoff, if the referendum passes.

At the end of the day, ICA members will have a chance to ratify the policy developed in the committee meetings at the ICA annual meeting.

The day will also include the Iowa Beef Industry Council annual meeting and a complimentary lunch featuring the 2016 Iowa’s Best Burger from the Chuckwagon Restaurant in Adair.

There is no cost to attend the Leadership Summit, but RSVPs are requested by November 29. Visit or call 515-296-2266 for more info.

Monitor Corn and Soybean Growth with New Reference Materials

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Cropping Systems Agronomist Mark Licht is asked every year for information on the developmental stages of corn and soybeans.

In response, Licht has created corn and soybean quick reference materials that cover various aspects of staging, growth and development and are available through the Extension Store. Each publication contains two different documents, one covering staging and the other highlighting key growth stages. The publications are supplements to the larger Corn Growth and Development and the Soybean Growth and Development publications.

“Farmers and agronomists I talk with want to take an abridged version of the longer publications and my presentations with them,” Licht said. “These new publications allow them to take that information with them in a user friendly way. This is an effort to help farmers and agronomists determine key growth stages more accurately to facilitate better decision making.”

Both publications provide images from seed to maturity. This allows farmers to track their crop’s growth and development in an easy-to-use fashion.

Information on each stage of growth is included, with benchmarks the growing crop should be reaching clearly marked. 


This Thanksgiving, the state of Iowa will be represented in the spotlight of the nation’s historic holiday tradition as President Obama pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey. This year, the National Thanksgiving Turkey hails from the state of Iowa.

Through nearly seven decades, the President has received a turkey from the National Turkey Federation during Thanksgiving week. As part of the White House event, recent custom has the president “pardoning” the turkey, after noting the significance of a time of thanks for the nation’s many blessings, and the opening of the holiday season. 

Iowa Turkey Federation hosts a “send-off” from the family farm the morning of Friday, November 18.  “We highlight the family aspect of turkey farming, and celebrate with this fun, turkey-centered tradition,” Gretta Irwin, Executive Director of Iowa Turkey Federation said.

Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation presents the National Thanksgiving Turkey to the President for Thanksgiving.  This year’s turkey hails from Iowa at the choice of National Turkey Federation Chairman, John Reicks.

The Iowa Turkey Federation is proud to take part in this tradition, the sixth occasion for Iowa to supply the National Thanksgiving Turkey.  Prior presentations from Iowan’s have been to Presidents Johnson, Ford, Reagan, and Bush, and now to Obama.  The tradition began with the first presentation by the National Turkey Federation to President Truman.

U.S. Pig Farmers Celebrate Progress on Antibiotic Stewardship

American pig farmers have a long history of doing what's best for their animals, their customers and their communities. This commitment matches nicely with the goals of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) annual celebration, Get Smart About Antibiotics Week (Nov. 14-20), and demonstrates why it's so critical to use antibiotics wisely to safeguard the health and well-being of people, animals and the environment.

"The Get Smart About Antibiotics Week is a good time to reflect on our long history of accomplishments in the antibiotics area, such as using these medications responsibly and embracing the updated Pork Quality AssuranceSM Plus certification program," said National Pork Board President Jan Archer, a pig farmer from North Carolina. "As pig farmers, we are aware of the challenge of antibiotic resistance and are dedicated to working hard to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, both on the farm and in human medicine."

According to the CDC, the 2016 Get Smart About Antibiotics Week marks an important year because Congress has allocated $160 million in new funding for the agency to implement its activities listed in the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB). The CDC is using this funding to accelerate outbreak detection and prevention, to support innovative research and to inform providers and the general public about antibiotic resistance and appropriate antibiotic use.

"The single most important action to slow the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant infections is for every one of us to improve the way antibiotics are prescribed and used," said Dr. Lauri Hicks, director for the CDC's Office of Antibiotic Stewardship. "If we don't take better care of the antibiotics we have today – if we aren't better stewards of them – we may lose these antibiotics and the next ones that come along."

The National Pork Board's three-point antibiotic stewardship plan, announced in mid-2015, focuses on promoting research, increasing pig farmer education and communicating with consumers in 2016 and beyond. The Antibiotic Resource Center, found at, is an example of efforts to assist farmers and others who want to learn more about responsible on-farm antibiotic use.

In another demonstration of its commitment to the complex issue of antibiotic resistance, the National Pork Board hosted a national dialogue earlier this year called Resistance: The Antibiotic Challenge. The Washington, D.C., event brought together key opinion leaders from human health, animal health, government, pharmaceutical, retail and consumer segments to discuss the challenge of responsible antibiotic use in the 21st century. Another joint dialog occurred earlier this month in Denver when the National Pork Board and the American Public Health Association discussed the shared responsibility of reducing the need for antibiotics.

"We are always seeking ways to do what's right for our animals, our consumers and the environment," Archer said. "We are looking for new ways to reduce the overall need for antibiotics, but we need to retain them as essential tools for veterinarians who work hand-in-hand with farmers to raise healthy livestock and produce safe food."

Financially, the farmer-led board has invested more than $6 million in Pork Checkoff funds in antibiotic-related research since 2000, with $750,000 spent this year alone in five research priority areas specifically aimed at reducing antibiotic resistance and finding antibiotic alternatives.

"Real change is underway on pig farms across America, with farmers and their veterinarians shaping the discussion around responsible antibiotic use," Archer said. "As the FDA prepares to implement the new, more stringent rules, such as the upcoming ban on using medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in food animals, we'll be ready."

2016 National Beef Quality Audit Producer Survey Closes FRIDAY!!!

Beef producers all across the country, from every segment of the industry, are being encouraged to participate in a survey that will help establish a benchmark and course for the beef industry for 2017 and beyond. The Producer Survey of the checkoff-funded 2016 National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) will collect producer information and opinions, which will be added to the audit's traditional production research to form an in-depth look at where the industry stands and what its successes and shortcomings are.

The survey will be completely anonymous and include both information about the industry's cattle operations and the opinions of the people who run them about the strengths and weaknesses of the industry. Input from every segment of the industry - cow-calf, stocker, feeder, dairy and others - will be valued and become part of the detailed picture of the U.S. cattle industry. The survey can be accessed at the Beef Quality Assurance website at The deadline to complete the survey is November 18.

Upon completing the survey, participants can choose to leave their contact information to be entered for a chance at winning a YETI® Tundra 75 Marine Cooler. For more information, contact Jesse Fulton at, or 303-850-3461. Final results of the 2016 NBQA will be released in July 2017.

Trade, RFS Among Issues NFU Ready to Tackle with Trump Administration

National Farmers Union (NFU) extended a congratulatory letter to President-elect Donald J. Trump, outlining opportunities to work together with the new administration on several common ground farm policy issues.

“We appreciate the attention that Mr. Trump paid to issues that affect family farmers and rural communities throughout his campaign, and we look forward to working with the new administration and finding issues of mutual agreement for the betterment of farmers, ranchers, rural communities and the broader American public,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

Rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, reducing the U.S. trade deficit, supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard, putting an end to relentless corporate mergers, and passing strong farm policies in the next Farm Bill were among the list – all issues that the Mr. Trump voiced support for during his campaign.

The Farm Bill will be a major undertaking for the next administration and the new Congress, Johnson explained. “Given the difficult farm economy we hope to work closely with the administration to quickly provide relief for struggling farmers and ranchers.”

Johnson also emphasized the importance of compromise, respect and open communication when the diverse sectors of the agricultural industry don’t agree.

“NFU believes that good opportunities in agriculture are the foundation of strong farm and ranch families, and strong farm and ranch families are the basis for thriving rural communities. We may not agree on every issue, but we can agree on the need for meaningful solutions for farm families and rural America,” Johnson concluded.

CWT Assists with 1.9 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 11 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold). These member cooperatives have contracts to sell 1.609 million pounds (730 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese, and 308,647 pounds (140 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from November 2016 through February 2017.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 45.799 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 11.748 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 21.316 million pounds of whole milk powder to twenty-three countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 842.673 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

The amounts of dairy products and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

World Food Prices Edge up in October

World food prices edged up in October to continue an upward trend since January, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday, adding that prospects for global cereal output had improved. Barring a slight dip in July, the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) food price index has steadily increased from a seven-year low hit in the first month of this year, reports Reuters.

The index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 172.6 points in October, 0.7 percent above the month before and 9.1 percent above October last year.

Sustained demand for cheese and butter in the European Union pushed up dairy prices 3.9 percent on the month, while sugar rose on reports of production shortfalls in Brazil and India.

Conversely, sluggish import demand globally for palm oil pushed oil and fats prices down, and weaker appetite for European pork from importers in China weighed on meat prices.

FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian said high production prospects for basic foods such as cereals meant any future price rises would probably be muted.

Cereal prices rose 1.0 percent month-on-month in October as high-quality wheat supplies tightened, but the FAO forecast global wheat output this year would be 1.5 percent higher than in 2015.

Weekend Ag News Wrap - Nov 13

Time Extended to RSVP for A-FAN Annual Meeting

There's still time for you to RSVP for the AFAN Annual Meeting on Nov. 21, 2016. In addition to hearing about our accomplishments over the past year, Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam will join us as the featured speaker.

Dr. Van Eenennaam is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the field of Animal Genomics and Biotechnology in the Department of Animal Science at University of California, Davis.
Dr. Van Eenennaam was the recipient of the 2014 Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) Borlaug Communication Award, and the 2016 Beef Improvement Association (BIF) Continuing Service Award. She will be joining us at the AFAN meeting for a presentation:  "Effective Communication about Agriculture, what works and what does not."

Don't miss out on this event!  RSVP to Lori Anderson by Nov. 17.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Forage tests can tell you the nutrient concentration in your hay.  But only if the sample you collect accurately resembles your hay.

              Nutrient concentration varies considerably in all forages.  That is why I recommend hay testing be a regular part of your livestock operation.

               There is one catch, however.  For hay tests to be effective, your sample must accurately represent your hay.  Reaching into a bale and pulling out a hunk of hay will not give you a good sample.  Nor will gathering a single flake of hay.

               The only effective method to sample long hay is by using a core sampler.  If you don’t have one, you can buy one from many ag supply catalogues and forage testing labs.  Also, some local extension offices have hay probes available for loan.

               Once you have a hay probe, the first thing you need to do is organize your hay bales into groups that all came from the same field and cutting.  Then use the hay probe to collect one core each from 15 to 20 of the bales.  Collect your sample from the center of the twine end of the bales.  Then combine all the core samples from this group into one larger sample to send to the lab.

               If there is decayed or moldy material that you will discard or your animals will not eat, do not include it in your sample.  That way you will have a sample that is similar to the actual diet of your livestock.  However, if you plan to sell the hay, then you need to include this less desirable material in your sample to accurately represent all the hay to be sold.

               Follow these sampling techniques and you will get accurate nutrient analyses of your hay and be able to use it more effectively.

Ricketts Announces Contract to Sell Preferred Popcorn in China

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), helped Preferred Popcorn LLC of Chapman announce a contract with their long-time Chinese partner, Zhong Liang Tian Run (ZLTR) Trading Inc.  This contract keeps ZLTR on track to purchase millions of pounds of bulk popcorn from Nebraska-based Preferred Popcorn and for China to remain one of the largest markets among the 70 countries where Preferred has customers.  The contract was signed by Preferred CEO Norm Krug and ZLTR CEO Mr. Xiaodong Pan during a signing ceremony.

“Preferred Popcorn is a great example of a Nebraska agribusiness successfully supplying and marketing one of our state’s high-quality commodities in China,” said Governor Ricketts.  “To grow Nebraska, we must continue to look for new opportunities to expand existing markets and find new ones.  Congratulations to Norm Krug and his team on their continued success.”

Following the signing ceremony, Preferred Popcorn CEO Norm Krug said he thinks the trade mission is an opportunity to demonstrate to a critical overseas market that Nebraska is open for business, especially when it comes to supplying the huge market with high quality grain.  He is also thankful for Governor Ricketts’ strong leadership in encouraging global trade that enables Nebraska farmers and agribusiness leaders to sell their products to the world.

“Governor Ricketts is doing his part to help Nebraska agriculture by hosting this strategic trade mission to China,” said Preferred CEO Krug.  “China is a huge market for Nebraska dent corn, soybeans, popcorn, wheat, distiller’s grains and agricultural products.  The whole world wants their business, but this trade mission lets China know that Nebraska is ready and open for business.  We want to be the first in line to supply this huge market with high quality grain.  We must be an aggressive marketer of ag products and Governor Ricketts is once again providing strong leadership to give Nebraska farmers and agribusiness an opportunity to sell the product of their toil.”

Preferred Popcorn has imported bulk popcorn into Chinese theaters and ready-to-eat popcorn producers for over five years.  Over the last two years Preferred has seen exports to China double as a result of the strong partnership with ZLTR.  In the last two years, Preferred has sold millions of pounds of popcorn to China, which is one of 10 countries in Asia where Preferred has customers.  In fact, over 50 percent of Preferred’s total sales are exports and the company has seen consistent growth over the years.  Preferred has grown from only four employees in 1998 to over 80 employees today.  In 2016, Nebraska was the 2nd largest producer of popcorn in the United States.

ZLTR re-sells Preferred’s bulk popcorn in 50 pound bags to theater and ready to eat popcorn markets across China.  This partnership has given Preferred a strong market position in the imported bulk popcorn market as well as added value to the farm operations of Nebraska growers and resulted in an increase of trade-related jobs in Nebraska.

This summer ZLTR introduced their own ready to eat (RTE) popcorn product to the market through online and retail outlets in the Shanghai and Nanjing metro areas.  Earlier in the day, Krug and Mr. Pan led a tour of the ZLTR ready to eat popcorn processing plant outside of Shanghai.  Preferred is the exclusive bulk popcorn supplier for ZLTR’s three popcorn flavors: sweet, semi-sweet, and salty. All three products use a simple ingredient mix to appeal to health conscious consumers.

NASCAR to Surpass 10 Million Miles on Sunoco Green E15

NASCAR announced today that it will surpass 10 million competition miles on Sunoco Green E15, a biofuel blended with 15 percent American-made ethanol, by the end of the 2016 season. The achievement will be celebrated during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ race at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. The 10 million miles will have been accumulated across practice, qualifying and racing laps since the biofuel was adopted by the sport.

Six years ago, NASCAR entered into a groundbreaking partnership with Sunoco and American Ethanol, launching its long-term biofuels program to reduce emissions across its three national series. After an exhaustive analysis, Sunoco formulated Sunoco Green E15 to allow for a seamless transition, and the biofuel made its debut at Daytona International Speedway in 2011. All the ethanol for Green E15 is produced from American-grown corn at Sunoco’s ethanol manufacturing facility in Fulton, N.Y.

“As we approach 10 million miles on Sunoco Green E15 across our three national series, it’s evident that the renewable, higher ethanol blended fuel performs flawlessly against our rigorous racing conditions,” said Brent Dewar, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer. “This remarkable milestone is the result of an industry-wide commitment to demonstrate high performance racing with reduced emissions, while educating our fans about the benefits of sustainable and renewable American ethanol.”

Since transitioning to the biofuel, NASCAR has helped validate the fuel’s qualities in front of an audience of millions of NASCAR fans and is helping shift attitudes and behaviors around the use of ethanol. According to new research conducted in July, when compared to non-fans, NASCAR fans are more likely to support the use of ethanol blended gasoline to fuel NASCAR race cars, their own car, and cars on the road today to increase U.S. energy independence. Source: Custom Environment-Related Tracker commissioned by NASCAR and conducted by Toluna (July 2016).

“We are thrilled to reach this important milestone with NASCAR and to be a part of the effort to reduce the sport’s impact on the environment with Sunoco Green E15, while increasing horsepower and standing up to the most demanding conditions on the track,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “Like their favorite NASCAR drivers, consumers are now utilizing a fuel with a blend of 15 percent ethanol. Americans have already driven over 500 million miles on E15. Today, nearly 400 stations across 28 states sell E15 and those numbers continue to climb. Consumer demand is on the rise because Americans are finding out that E15 is the right choice for their engines, their wallets and the environment.”

The move to Sunoco Green E15 coincided with the incorporation of more technology into NASCAR race cars. In 2012, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series transitioned from carbureted engines to electronic fuel injection using an electronic control unit (ECU) – the first computer technology used in a NASCAR race car. In addition, the series moved from analog gauges to a digital dashboard this season.

“As a lifelong fan and a proud team owner, I am certain that the switch to an ethanol blend has been a great move by NASCAR,” said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR. “We’re proud of our connection to the ethanol industry and all of the good that it’s doing for our country, and could not be more pleased to celebrate passing 10 million miles with the industry.”

During the pace car laps at the start of the race on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, NASCAR fans at the start/finish line will be asked to participate in a coordinated American Ethanol green flag wave to help commemorate the 10 million-mile achievement.


The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) this week released a report in response to the 2014-2015 labor slowdown and port disruptions at West Coast shipping facilities. The report noted that infrastructural and operational changes such as terminals with cranes capable of handling larger ships have been undertaken by all West Coast ports but advised addressing volume-processing issues. Because of backed up shipping during the labor slowdown, 13 of 21 industry groups saw revenues decline or costs increase. Those groups continue to see some member companies making alternative shipping plans to avoid port congestion.

The report also noted that the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is increasing its inclusivity of ports and multi-modal activities, however, the GAO is concerned with the informational gaps important to aspects of supply chains. With the DOT’s development of a freight strategy in its infancy, the GAO report recommends it identify the supply chain information and sources it seeks, how it plans to utilize the data and recognize gaps. The West Coast ports play a crucial role in transporting meat commodities, so streamlining the infrastructure and operational process is vital to the continued success of the U.S. pork industry and commodities in general.

NOAA: La Nina Has Definitely Arrived

After a recent incredibly strong El Nino episode, it looks like the tides--or at least the Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures--have shifted. Conditions have aligned (in some cases barely, but enough) to the point that "La Nina has officially arrived," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) ENSO blog.

And though these aren't strong La Nina conditions, they will affect the winter weather forecast for the United States. Basically, they increase the chances that winter will be drier and warmer in the southern US, but the north of the country is likely to be colder, wetter, and therefore, snowier than normal.

These predictions are at least fairly similar to those of rough-looking winter forecast that Accuweather sent to Business Insider, predicting mild temperatures in the South and particularly cold temperatures in the upper Midwest, along with wet and stormy conditions in the Northeast (though the La Nina predictions are still uncertain for the Northeast).

La Nina is basically the opposite of El Nino, meaning that instead of warm conditions in a particular part of the equatorial Pacific, the water is cooler than average. Since surface temperatures are more than half a degree cooler than average, there's strong atmospheric circulation in the tropics of the Pacific, and forecasters think it will stay cooler for several overlapping three month periods (July to September and August to October both count), we've officially hit the La Nina point.


Oklahoma voters Tuesday rejected Ballot Question 777 that would have established constitutional farming and ranching rights. Placed on the ballot by the Oklahoma Legislature, the measure would have allowed courts to rule on any state and local laws regulating agricultural activities passed after Dec. 31, 2014. The question would have allowed farmers to defend themselves against unjust laws, making the state more attractive to farmers and allowing the free market to decide best farming practices.

Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Tom Buchanen stated, “Although we are disappointed in today’s vote, we will not waiver in our commitment to ensuring our family farmers and ranchers can continue to operate without fear from outside interest groups and provide consumers with choice when they go to the grocery store.”

The rule was blocked by opponents claiming it lacked public health and environmental protections.

EPA Eyes Chlorpyrifos Ban

The EPA on Thursday took a major step toward banning pesticides with chlorpyrifos, announcing its plan to revoke all food tolerances for the main ingredient in Dow AgroScience's Lorsban.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be setting a 60-day public comment period on a proposal to revise its scientific assessment of the insecticide ingredient. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide used to combat pests such as soybean aphids, spider mites and corn rootworm.

EPA said in a news release Thursday it believes chlorpyrifos residues on food crops and in water are at unsafe levels.

"The revised analyses indicate that expected residues of chlorpyrifos on food crops exceed the safety standard under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act," the agency said.

"In addition, the majority of estimated drinking water exposures from currently registered uses, including water exposures from non-food uses, continue to exceed safe levels even taking into account more refined drinking water exposures."

In a final order issued Aug. 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled against a request by EPA for an extension of time before the agency takes action on its proposed ban on chlorpyrifos. EPA has been ordered to take action by March 31, 2017.

NPPC Taking Applications for 2017 Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship Program Details

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is pleased to announce the 2017 Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship, which is sponsored by CME Group and the National Pork Industry Foundation and is managed and administered by the National Pork Producers Council.

Ten $2,500 scholarships are awarded to students annually who intend to pursue a career in the pork industry with hopes that they may emerge as pork industry leaders themselves someday. The scholarships are focused at undergraduate students in a two-year swine program or a four-year college of agriculture.

The scholarship program was introduced in 1990 by CME Group and NPPC to celebrate the 25th anniversary of CME Hog futures. The scholarship was renamed in 2006 to honor the passing of NPPC Board of Director Lois Britt. Britt, a lifetime supporter of agriculture, spent 34 years with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, finishing out her career for 15 years with Murphy-Brown LLC doing Public and Government Relations. She was inducted into the NPPC Pork Industry Hall of Fame, the N.C. Pork Council Hall of Fame, and awarded the N.C. 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award as some of her many achievements.

If you would like more information, please contact Cally Fix at 515-645-9659 or All entries must be postmarked by JANUARY 6, 2017 to be accepted.

Trimble Ready Option for LEXION Combines Announced

CLAAS and Trimble announced the introduction of a Trimble Ready machine factory option for CLAAS LEXION combines. CLAAS assembles LEXION combines in their Omaha, Neb., factory for distribution throughout North America. In 2017, LEXION combines will have the option to be wired and ready for Trimble's Android-based TMX-2050 display as they roll off the assembly line. The Trimble Ready option includes the cabling, brackets and mounts for a fit and finish specific to the LEXION cab.

The announcement was made at Agri Trade Equipment Expo.

"We have been working closely with Trimble since 2011, providing the capability to deliver aftermarket solutions on the LEXION combine," said Brandon Olstad, platform manager for Efficient Agriculture Systems by CLAAS. "Offering the Trimble Ready solution from the factory is a logical progression toward streamlining the integration of Trimble products on CLAAS equipment. We are pleased to offer this convenience factor to our customers."

The Trimble Ready configuration on the LEXION combines interfaces with the CLAAS CAN Bus architecture to enable GNSS steering through the CLAAS guidance infrastructure. Yield mapping via the CLAAS Quantimeter system is also supported. Farmers can purchase the Autopilot automated steering system and TMX-2050 display from Trimble resellers for a quick and easy "plug-n-play" installation of Trimble technology on LEXION combines.

"Since CLAAS LEXION combines are now Trimble Ready, farmers can easily add the Autopilot system and TMX-2050 display to their combines to begin enjoying the many benefits of precision guidance technology," said Tim East, worldwide OEM sales manager for Trimble's Agriculture Division. "Through our close working relationship with CLAAS, we are able to ensure a seamless and lower cost installation for the farmer."

Growers who plan to incorporate Trimble technology into their 2017 LEXION combines can contact their LEXION Dealer to add the Trimble Ready option.

Thursday November 10 Ag News

Financial Stress in Farm Sector Shows Slow but Steady Increase
Nathan Kauffman, Assistant Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive
Matt Clark, Assistant Economist

Third Quarter 2016A slow but steady rise in financial stress in the farm sector continued in the third quarter of 2016 as income in the sector remained low. Persistent weakness in both the crop and livestock sectors has caused producers to expend more working capital to meet short-term financial obligations. An ongoing decline in farmland values and cash rental rates has accelerated slightly under prolonged pressure from falling farm income. Alongside increased risk in the Tenth District’s agricultural economy, bankers reported an increase in collateral requirements for agricultural loans and declines in available funds and farm loan repayment rates.

Farm Income

Low commodity prices continued to weigh on farm sector profits in the third quarter. As of the end of September, cattle and hog prices were 21 percent and 14 percent less, respectively, than a year ago, and profit margins remained poor. Corn and wheat prices also were less than a year ago alongside expectations for 2016 of strong production throughout the District. Soybean prices advanced due to strong export demand during the late summer months, and some producers may profit from extremely strong yields this fall. However, profit margins in the quarter generally remained weak  throughout the agricultural sector.

Amid tightening profit margins, respondents to the Tenth District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions reported additional declines in farm income. In fact, more than 87 percent of bankers reported a decline in farm income in the third quarter from the same quarter a year ago. Respondents also noted that capital and household spending continued to decrease alongside falling farm income.

The decline in farm income in the District has taken a bigger bite out of farm borrowers’ working capital. More than 90 percent of bankers reported some deterioration in the level of working capital among borrowers in the crop sector, versus just 1 percent of bankers that reported an improvement from a year ago. Moreover, nearly 30 percent of bankers reported a significant deterioration in working capital from a year ago, about twice the number at the same time in 2015. Because working capital is an important buffer against potential financial difficulties, additional deterioration could result in some borrowers becoming more highly leveraged as they continue to try to support operations through short-term financing.

Farmland Values and Cash Rents

Ongoing weakness in the District’s farm economy in the quarter caused a more significant decline in farmland values. The value of each type of farmland—nonirrigated cropland, irrigated cropland and ranchland—fell more than 6 percent from a year ago. The decrease in the third quarter was the sharpest year-over-year reduction in the value of each type of farmland throughout the District since the mid-1980s. However, the declines have remained relatively modest. For example, the survey indicated irrigated cropland that might have been valued at $7,000 per acre in 2014, on average, would have been about $6,450 in the third quarter of 2016.

Evidence of steepening declines in farmland values was seen throughout the District. Except for western Missouri, the value of nonirrigated cropland decreased in all District states. Similarly, the value of irrigated cropland fell in all but the Mountain States, and cropland values declined at a significantly sharper pace in Kansas. In addition, ranchland values decreased in all states in the District for only the second time since 2002.

Similar to farmland values, cash rental rates for both cropland and ranchland decreased in the third quarter, following a recent trend of sharper declines. In the third quarter, cash rent for both irrigated and nonirrigated cropland was down nearly 10 percent from a year ago. The reduction in cash rents, the result of persistently weak profit margins for farm operations throughout the District, may represent a significant reduction in costs in the coming months at a time when revenue has remained relatively weak.

Credit Conditions

Reduced farm income has continued to weaken credit conditions in the agricultural sector in the District. Demand for farm loans, as well as renewals and extensions, increased in the third quarter alongside additional declines in repayment rates for farm loans. The third quarter started a fourth year of increasing demand for farm loans and renewals and extensions, following a period of relatively subdued demand for farm loans and strong repayment rates. Loans used to pay operating expenses have remained a primary driver of increased demand for financing. In 2016, operating loans have comprised nearly 60 percent  of the volume of all non-real estate loans at commercial banks nationally, and have supported a steady increase in total outstanding farm debt.

Decreasing repayment rates for farm loans pointed to rising financial stress for farm borrowers. More than half of bankers surveyed in the third quarter reported loan repayments had decreased, while less than 2 percent reported an improvement. As evidence of relatively widespread deterioration in agricultural credit conditions, no state in the District had more than 4 percent of bankers report stronger repayment rates, and none of the respondents from Kansas or Missouri reported an improvement. Moreover, bankers in each District state indicated they expect repayment rates to decline again in the fourth quarter.

The widespread decline in the rate at which farm loans are being repaid likely has been due to intensifying weakness across all segments of the Tenth District farm economy. For instance, when asked about near-term repayment rates by industry, bankers indicated they expect additional declines in loan repayment rates for each major industry in the Tenth District agricultural economy.  Some segments of the livestock sector that had been relatively strong as recently as 2014 have weakened significantly over the past year.

Weakening credit conditions have caused bankers to add more farm borrowers to their watch and classified lists. In the third quarter, bankers reporting an increase from the previous year in the number of farm borrowers on their watch list grew to 58 percent from 30 percent in 2015. Likewise, 44 percent recorded some increase of farm borrowers on the classified list, up from 21 percent in 2015. Bankers also indicated they expect additional increases to the watch and classified lists. In fact, nearly 60 percent of bankers indicated they anticipate the volume of loans on their watch list will increase in the next three months.

Agricultural Lending

As the risks in the farm sector have grown, some banks have made adjustments to lending terms for their agricultural portfolio. For example, bankers reported a notable increase in the amount of collateral required to obtain farm loans. While collateral requirements have increased steadily over the past few years, the rate of increase has been steeper in recent quarters. In fact, the share of bankers that indicated collateral requirements had increased in the third quarter was the highest in 25 years, according to the survey. In many cases, agricultural lenders increasingly have relied on farm borrowers’ real estate as a source of collateral for other agricultural loans.

In addition to increased collateral requirements, bankers also reported fewer funds available for financing than a year ago. The decline in available funds, which has persisted for nearly two years, was preceded by nearly nine consecutive years in which bankers reported consistent increases in financing availability, a time when the District’s agricultural economy was extremely strong. The recent period of reduced farm income and increased demand for farm loans, however, likely has cut into funds available for financing.

Bankers also raised interest rates on farm loans, particularly for variable rate loans. Although variable interest rates for operating, machinery and farm real estate loans generally remained low, each of these rates increased in the third quarter. Variable interest rates on farm operating loans, which typically comprise the largest share of farm lending at agricultural banks in the District, increased to an average of 5.4 percent. Fixed interest rates for machinery loans also increased in the third quarter, whereas fixed interest rates for operating loans remained steady; interest rates for farm real estate loans continued to edge lower.


The pressure that has been building in the Tenth District’s farm economy continued at a modest pace in third quarter. Agricultural credit conditions and farmland values deteriorated more rapidly under prolonged pressure from low commodity prices and tight profits margins. Although defaults on farm loans remain low, bankers indicated they expect farm income, farmland values and repayment rates to dip further in the coming months. If these expectations hold, the slow but steady increase in farm financial stress appears likely to continue.

Annual report highlights the Water for Food Global Institute’s steps to ‘move the needle’ toward water and food security

Now in its sixth year, the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (WFI) continues to make progress in leveraging the University of Nebraska’s expertise to address one of the biggest challenges of our time: ensuring a water and food secure world for future generations.

In fiscal year 2016, the institute and its many partners helped fuel dynamic advancements in water and food security within selected areas of the world — from Nebraska to the Middle East. WFI, along with university faculty, worked alongside farmers, scientists and communities, and forged partnerships with key national and international organizations.

The institute’s most recent annual report is now available, highlighting WFI’s outcomes through collaborative initiatives and partnerships.

The report outlines the institute’s impact in the following areas:
-    Closing water and agricultural productivity gaps
-    Improving groundwater management for agricultural production
-    Enhancing high productivity irrigated agriculture
-    Freshwater and agricultural ecosystems and public health
-    Education and engagement
-    Communications

Together with partners, researchers and scientists, including 84 Faculty Fellows from across the University of Nebraska’s four campuses, the WFI achieved success in three notable areas. These projects are launched, funded and showing much promise:

    Partnership with the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum and the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India. Ten doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows are working in Nebraska on some of the world’s most severe water and food challenges, using exciting new technologies.

    WFI’s work in the Middle East and North Africa region is advancing rapidly, addressing drought through the use of geospatial mapping and monitoring to improve irrigation management and crop productivity. This work is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and is carried out in collaboration with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the Dubai-based International Center for Biosaline Agriculture.

    WFI’s signature event, the Water for Food Global Conference, has come of age. The seventh conference, held for the first time at Nebraska Innovation Campus in April, drew more than 350 participants. Sixty speakers from around the globe shared their expertise on leveraging public-private partnerships for improved water and food security in the 21st century.

CFRA Report examines benefits renewable energy projects provide for rural Midwest and Great Plains

Today the Center for Rural Affairs released a report titled Link to Rural Development and a Renewable Future, that examines the benefits that renewable energy projects provide for the Midwest and Great Plains.

“The United States continues to develop new clean and renewable energy resources to replace aging, carbon-emitting generating facilities. Much of the new renewable energy generation can be found in lightly populated rural areas. These locations often host significant resources for renewable energy generation and provide ample space for new development, especially from wind energy,” says Lu Nelsen, Center for Rural Affairs Energy and Climate Program Associate and author of the report.

“Wind energy projects contributed a significant portion of new generation completed in 2015, making up 41 percent of a total 14,468 megawatts built last year,” Nelsen continued. “Many of these new additions were located in the Midwest and Great Plains, regions of the country that boast some of the richest wind energy resources in the nation. Rural communities in these regions stand to benefit from new renewable development, as projects provide new economic activity and revenue for these areas.”

Projects provide new tax revenue to rural communities and supply added income for landowners. Also, the building and operation of these facilities bring new jobs to the area. The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that wind turbine technicians are the fastest growing profession in the country. The Department of Energy estimates the wind energy industry could support up to 380,000 jobs by 2030, a significant increase over the current 88,000 jobs. However, while rural areas have significant potential to generate renewable wind energy, development has traditionally been hindered by a lack of means to transmit that power.

To view or download a full copy of the report go to:

According to Nelsen, without sufficient transmission, there is a limit to renewable energy development in rural places. Transmission infrastructure has been a persistent barrier to renewable energy in the Great Plains and Midwest, especially for rural areas. Electric transmission was traditionally built to service areas with sizeable populations or provide service directly to large individual generating units, leaving rural production areas without necessary transmission capacity.

“Without improved electric transmission infrastructure to transport new renewable energy to market, developers are less likely to continue building renewable generation on pace with previous years. For the renewable energy industry to continue to grow, the transmission system must be updated to connect areas where projects are developed to the larger grid and to deliver renewable power to consumers,” concluded Nelsen.

 Export Numbers Show Dramatic Increase In Corn, Other Grain Product Exports Last Month

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) export data for the month of September, the first in the 2016/2017 marketing year, showed a dramatic increase in exports of feed grains in all forms, a bright spot in the overall challenging farm economy.

Total feed grains in all forms - which includes corn, sorghum, barley, meats, ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) - in September were up nearly 34 percent from September 2015.

With 10.7 million metric tons (421 million bushels) of feed grains in one form or another exported, the month was also one of the strongest for exports in recent memory and a hopeful way to begin the new year for farmers and agribusinesses looking at record grain crops.

U.S. corn exports in September increased 89 percent to 6.3 million metric tons (248 million bushels) from year ago levels; shipments to Japan, South Korea, Peru and Taiwan more than doubled. The top three customers for U.S. corn in September 2016 were Japan, Mexico and South Korea, respectfully.

Exports of U.S. ethanol also rose sharply as monthly exports hit almost 100 million gallons for the first time since December 2011, up 59 percent from the previous September and representing 903,000 metric tons (35 million bushels) of corn equivalent.

This boom included a return of China to the market after three months of no denatured shipments at all. Overall, Canada, Brazil and China ranked as the top three destinations for U.S. ethanol, and all three saw significant gains from a year ago. Ethanol exports to Singapore and the Philippines increased two fold.

U.S. exports of all three meats included in feed grains in all forms calculations -  beef, pork and poultry -  also experienced gains in September, with product weight shipments exceeding 600,000 metric tons, up 14 percent from the previous year. These shipments equated to more than 1.8 million tons (71 million bushels) of feed grains.

Exports of U.S. corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal (CGFM) rose almost 10 percent from September 2015. More than 153,000 metric tons of CGFM were exported in September 2016 as opposed to more than 139,000 metric tons in September 2015.

Not every product category experienced an increase in September. Exports of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) decreased 14 percent from the same time last year, from more than 1.15 million metric tons to 990,000 metric tons. This was due largely to reduced sales to China, last year’s top market. 

U.S. sorghum exports in September dropped 63 percent from last year, totaling 410,000 metric tons (16 million bushels), also due to reduced sales to China.

U.S. exports of barley dropped 89 percent in September from year-ago levels to 1,700 metric tons (78,000 bushels).

UAN28 Jumps to August Level

Average retail prices for most fertilizers continued to languish in the first week of November, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN. Five of the eight major fertilizers slipped 1% or less compared to a month earlier.

On a national average basis UAN28 was a notable exception, settling at August levels at $244 per ton, or a 9% spike from the previous month.

Anhydrous settled at $471 per ton, 10-34-0 at $452 per ton, UAN32 at $262 per ton, MAP $451 per ton, DAP at $436/ton, potash at $314/ton, and urea at $319/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average UAN28 price was $0.44/lb.N, urea $0.35/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers remain lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are double-digits lower.

DAP is down 20%, MAP 19%, 10-34-0 has dropped by 22%, while UAN32 is down 21%. Urea is 21% less expensive, UAN28 is 16% less expensive, anhydrous is 26% lower and potash is 27% less expensive compared to the previous year.

Growth Energy Supports EPA Proposal to Maintain Current Point of Obligation

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed denying a petition by a group of merchant oil refiners to change the point of obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Under the current RFS structure, oil refiners are the parties obligated to blend more renewable fuel into the nation’s transportation fuel supply. The refiners’ petition seeks to change the obligated party from the refinery to those entities that own gasoline before it is blended for retail sale. The EPA announced there will be a 60-day comment period for interested parties to offer their comments.

In response, Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy issued the following statement:

“The EPA has made the correct decision in proposing to deny this petition. The RFS is working and refiners have had over 11 years to comply with it. The current structure appropriately incentivizes marketers to blend additional biofuels, and encourages the availability of higher-level ethanol blends to retailers who wish to sell them. The bottom line is that the current point of obligation encourages consumer choice and cost savings at the pump, and any change would undermine the intent of the RFS and reward those parties who have refused to comply with the intent of the law.

“Growth Energy looks forward to providing substantive comments as to why the point of obligation should remain as is.”

Kansas State University researchers aim to heighten feed mill biosecurity

They've come a long way already, but Kansas State University researchers studying the safety of animal food produced in feed mills say they've got plenty more to learn as they work to maintain safe food for animals and humans.

The researchers are trying to protect food from dozens of risks to raw agricultural products entering and leaving the nearly 6,000 feed mills in the United States.

"For many decades, we were manufacturing feed but we really never thought of feed as one of those things that could be bringing some of these diseases into our animals," said Cassie Jones, assistant professor of animal sciences and industry. "Just like food can make humans sick, some contaminated animal food can — rarely, but can — make animals sick."

According to the American Feed Industry Association, nearly 300 million tons of agricultural commodities are processed annually in American feed mills, providing feed for 9.6 billion food-producing animals as well as 70 million dogs and 74 million cats.

Jones and several of her colleagues have focused their research on swine feed, and have been conducting trials in the Cargill Feed Safety Research Center, part of the university's O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center.

Kansas State University's mill is considered the only biosafety level-2 facility in the world that can conduct this type of research, using feed processing equipment that is similar to that used in commercial mills.

"A lot of these concepts started with the work we've done previously on porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDv," said Jason Woodworth, research associate professor of animal sciences and industry.

In 2015, Woodworth and a team of Kansas State University researchers discovered that feed could be a vector for PEDv, a destructive disease that caused an estimated 8 million pig deaths in 2014.

"That whole concept that a virus can be carried in the animal food and infect pigs was something that people thought was a possibility but maybe didn't believe until our research helped prove it," he said.

While their findings on PEDv were a major breakthrough, Kansas State University researchers are also on the lookout for safeguards against other diseases, such as salmonella. One research team hopes to provide solutions against feed contamination from classical swine fever and African swine fever, two diseases present in other countries but not currently in the United States.

Some of the biosecurity measures being implemented in feed mills are familiar to the industry: knowing where trucks have traveled from, washing hands, showering between barns, cleaning boots and controlling foot traffic in and out of the facility, among others.

Newer research includes finding the best ways to clean concrete floors, rubber boots and stainless steel equipment; reducing grain dust, which may carry viruses or toxins; and adding nutrients to feed such as medium chain fatty acids or coconut oil that can provide added protection against target pathogens.

The university's work includes animal scientists, nutritionists, veterinarians, feed scientists and an army of graduate and undergraduate students. Iowa State University and other industry partners have provided help in areas that couldn't be addressed at Kansas State University.

"We're collecting information and doing the research that is going to help the industry define ways that we can do a better job of providing food for the pigs," said Woodworth, who noted that the group's findings should also be transferrable to cattle, chickens, domestic pets and other animal species.

Ultimately, the research will lead to safer food for American consumers.

"The U.S. food supply is the safest food supply in the world," Jones said. "There is not an inherent problem with the food supply currently or with pork or the feed we're manufacturing for swine. By doing this research, we are raising the bar to make us even safer.

"We are trying to understand the lingering issues that could impact animal food safety, as well as understanding some of the things we can do from the feed mill perspective to ensure that the feed and the products that the animals are consuming are not only manufactured in a way that meets all of their nutritional requirements, but are safe at all times."

Jones noted that implementing biosecurity measures on farms many years ago led to animals that were healthier and grew faster with less incidence of disease. She foresees similar benefits by improving feed mill biosecurity.

"Considering the lessons we've learned along the way, we're just at the infancy of applying those across the industry," she said.

The National Pork Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have provided most of the funding for the university's work.

Massachusetts Votes to Ban Battery Cages, Crates

Massachusetts voters passed a farm animal welfare ballot measure this week that will improve conditions for livestock while potentially raising prices for consumers.

According to the Boston Herald, beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, the state will prohibit any confinement that prevents pigs, veal calves and laying hens from lying down, standing up, turning around or fully extending their limbs. It also will prohibit the sale in Massachusetts of products from animals confined that way.

"This is a very modest measure to end some of the most egregious conditions animals are kept in," said Rob Halpin, spokesman for the MSPCA-Angell, before the vote.

A coalition calling itself 'Citizens Against Food Tax Injustice' ran TV ads claiming that food prices would skyrocket if Question 3 passed.

"This is non-farmers dictating to farmers how to raise and care for their animals," said Dave Warner, a spokesman for one of the coalition's citizens, the National Pork Producers Council. "This is going to end up costing Massachusetts consumers."

But as far back as 2007, Iowa State University researchers found that group housing for sows may produce piglets at a lower cost than individual gestation stalls, which have been banned in some states and the European Union because they are so small that they do not allow a pig to even turn around.

Ag Scientists Elevate Soil Health Potential at International Meeting

The biggest agronomic, crop science and soil science group in the country this week demonstrated their growing emphasis on the importance of soil health. The Soil Health Partnership, an initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, was invited to give five presentations during the event.

Known as the “tri-societies,” the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America hosted more than 4,000 scientists, professionals, educators, and students at the 2016 International Annual Meeting, Nov. 6-9 in Phoenix.

“Our level of participation with this critical group of scientists was unprecedented this year, and demonstrates the scientific community is paying close attention to the agricultural and environmental strides we can make through better soil health,” said Nicholas Goeser, SHP director and NCGA director of soil health and sustainability. “It’s important to our mission to engage with this group of scientists.”

The SHP brings environmental, academic, agricultural and governmental partners together in a united mission to identify, test and measure farm management practices that improve soil health and benefit farmers. Those practices include conservation tillage, advanced nutrient management and growing cover crops.

Also this week, SHP takes part in the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research event for soil research. SHP staff will help guide the FFAR scientific program in the “Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area.” It’s aimed at increasing soil health by building knowledge, fueling innovation, and enabling adoption of existing or new innovative soil health-promoting practices.

The FFAR sessions take place Nov. 9-10 in Phoenix, following the tri-societies event.

“Having a seat at the table at both of these events is an opportunity to create awareness on smart soil practices and research needs,” Goeser said. “Science and data are powerful drivers of change.”

Controlling Lice in Cattle: Now is the Time

If producers notice their cattle rubbing, biting or scratching with irritation at their neck, shoulders and rump — including the loss of hair in those areas — they could be experiencing a lice problem. Lice are a common annoyance to cattle, especially in the winter months. The energy sucking lice rob from the animal can result in anemia, slowed recovery from diseases and decreased gain during infestation.

“Cattle producers and their herds experience more lice problems during the wintertime, by far,” said Jon Seeger, DVM, managing veterinarian with Zoetis. “Now is the time to treat cattle for lice.”

Two different types of lice commonly affect cattle throughout the winter:
·         Sucking lice: With relatively small, narrow heads designed to pierce the skin and suck blood, sucking lice can cause anemia, with production loss in heavy infestations. Sucking lice can do serious damage in large numbers and even kill young calves.
·         Biting or chewing lice: With larger, rounder heads, biting lice feed on skin debris, scabs and blood. Chewing lice do not cause a direct production loss. This biting insect causes severe irritation and discomfort to cattle. Cattle may experience such irritation that they could damage working facilities, fences, trees and feed bunks, using them as rubbing posts for some relief. Their coats may appear rough, with patches of hair loss.

The eggs of both lice types cling to the hair and hatch within 14 days. Adults live up to 28 days, with females laying an average of one egg per day.2

Tips for controlling lice in cattle:
·         Treat cattle for lice during the fall months, beginning in October, as populations are growing.
·         Administer DECTOMAX® Pour On to aid in controlling both biting and sucking lice.
·         Consider a follow-up treatment two to three weeks later to allow time for any eggs to hatch but not mature into adults.
·         Assume lice are present upon receiving a load of cattle. Treat and quarantine the group.
·         Move cattle to a different pasture to avoid any commingling over the fence with untreated cattle, as lice are easily spread.

For more information about lice control and DECTOMAX Pour On, please visit with your veterinarian or Zoetis representative.

Strong 2016 Yields Showcase DuPont Pioneer Hybrids and Varieties

DuPont Pioneer announced 2016 North American harvest results today, and the data show many growers across the Corn Belt have weighed in excellent bushels-per-acre with Pioneer® brand products and services.
“Yield results from nearly 50,000 on-farm comparisons validate the value of Pioneer® brand products – hybrids and varieties that our growers ask for by name,” said Steve Reno, DuPont Pioneer vice president, business director — U.S. and Canada. 

“DuPont Pioneer’s commitment to research, breeding and rigorous testing down to the local level benefit growers by providing more consistent product performance across a variety of environments and management practices,” Reno said. “Our focused R&D efforts, combined with a team of local experts and advanced services such as Encirca℠ services, Pioneer® GrowingPoint® agronomy and Pioneer Premium Seed Treatment offerings aim to help growers confidently make the most of every input and maximize productivity every season.”
Leading corn products out-perform competitors in on-farm trials

Two Pioneer brand families of products, the world-record-setting P1197 and P0157, illustrate the strong performance of Pioneer brand corn products across North America. Because these families of products are widely adapted across the U.S. Corn Belt, growers planted P1197 and P0157 on several million acres in 2016. They also harvested outstanding yields from these proven performers:
-    The Pioneer brand P1197 family of products provided more than 8 bu/acre yield advantage over the competition in more than 4,800 comparisons from more than 1,250 locations.
-    The Pioneer brand P0157 family of products provided a nearly 9 bu/ac advantage in over 2,000 comparisons from more than 750 locations.

“Our strong performance extends beyond leader products, as DuPont Pioneer has invested in developing a variety of Pioneer brand corn platforms to meet growers’ needs,” Reno said. "Our diverse product portfolio also provides unique offerings from high-performing products such as brown mid-rib (BMR) silage, ultra-early maturities, drought tolerant Pioneer® brand Optimum® AQUAmax® products and Pioneer brand food-grade white and yellow corn hybrids."

Pioneer® brand soybeans leading the industry

“Pioneer brand soybeans strengthened their leadership position among competitors in 2016, demonstrating how Pioneer technology innovations such as AYT 4.0 can bring high-yielding products to market in less time,” Reno said.

For the third consecutive year, the overall yield advantage of Pioneer brand varieties increased across all trials, with top products surpassing competition by nearly 2 bu/acre. This collection of varieties, called the Pioneer leader package, features products with outstanding yields and strong agronomic traits that address a range of disease and insect pressures.

“Bin-busting performance of Pioneer brand soybeans is back and better than ever, and local Pioneer Yield Leaders are the buzz in communities where they are grown,” Reno added.

Even in areas where disease pressure was high, yield performance held strong. The top three Pioneer brand soybean varieties by volume, collectively planted across millions of acres in 2016, all out-yielded the competition:
-    Pioneer variety P28T08R provided nearly 3 bu/acre advantage over the competition, in more than 370 comparisons from more than 140 locations.
-    Pioneer variety P31T11R, the first product developed using AYT 4.0, provided a more than 2 bu/acre advantage in more than 225 comparisons from more than 100 locations.
-    Pioneer variety P22T69R provided nearly 2 bu/acre advantage, in more than 250 comparisons from more than 140 locations.

Additionally, Pioneer® brand Plenish® high oleic soybeans continued to expand to new markets with their introduction into Nebraska and Kansas. The acreage footprint of Plenish high oleic soybeans more than doubled again in 2016 as they added approximately $11 million to the bottom lines of U.S. soybean growers through processor-paid premiums.

“Pioneer is dedicated to expanding the Plenish high oleic soybean market opportunity and increasing the value soybean growers earn from their acres, in collaboration with the United Soybean Board,” said Reno. “As the leader in soybean output traits, Plenish high oleic soybean varieties are helping raise the bar for the soybean industry across the value chain.”

CNH Industrial Brands Win 2017 Tractor of the Year Titles

The global agricultural brands of CNH Industrial N.V., Case IH and New Holland Agriculture, have both succeeded in winning Tractor of the Year 2017 titles, which were announced today at the EIMA 2016 exhibition held in Bologna, Italy. EIMA is a biennial event that hosts some 1,900 companies from 40 countries exhibiting more than 50,000 models of machinery and equipment for all types of agricultural operations.

The TOTY 2017 awards are determined by a jury of professional trade journalists from Europe's top agricultural publications. The jury deliberated over the latest tractor models, with the 2017 edition seeing 15 finalists vie for the four main category titles: Tractor of the Year, Best Utility, Best of Specialized and Best Design. Case IH and New Holland Agriculture were nominated finalists in three of the four categories, winning in the Tractor of the Year and Best Utility categories respectively.

Taking top honors in the awards was Case IH, whose Optum 300 CVX tractor won for a series of determining factors, including its focus on reducing soil compaction and improving fuel efficiency. The model is built at CNH Industrial's plant in St Valentin, Austria. It features a new, strong yet lighter weight design with a robust front axle and structural engine design that meet customer requirements for a 250-300 horsepower tractor with a high power-to-weight ratio and a compact, maneuverable package.

New Holland Agriculture won the Best Utility title for its T5.120 tractor, which is built at CNH Industrial's plant in Jesi, Italy. The new T5 Tier 4B tractor range has been re-engineered to meet the evolving needs of livestock farmers and those who require a nimble, mid-powered tractor for dairy and mixed farming. The T5.120 stands out for its ability to carry out multiple tasks and best-in-class comfort.

Wednesday November 9 Ag News + USDA Reports


Based on November 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2016 corn production is forecast at a record high 1.75 billion bushels, up 3 percent from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Acreage harvested for grain is estimated at 9.50 million acres, up 4 percent from a year ago. Average yield is forecast at 184 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from last year.

Soybean production in Nebraska is forecast at a record high 319 million bushels, 4 percent above last year. Area for harvest, at 5.15 million acres, is down 2 percent from 2015. Record yield is forecast at 62 bushels per acre, up 4 bushels from a year ago.

Sorghum production of 15.5 million bushels is down 33 percent from a year ago. Area for grain harvest of 170,000 acres is down 29 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 91 bushels per acre, down 5 bushels from last year.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.48 million tons, up 11 percent from 2015. Area for harvest, at 47,000 acres, is up slightly from last year. Record yield is estimated at 31.5 tons per acre, up 3.1 tons per acre from a year ago.

Potato acres of 16,000 were planted in 2016, up 3 percent with harvested set at 15,900 acres, up 4 percent. Production is forecast at 7.08 million hundredweight, up 3 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 445 hundredweight per acre, down 5 hundredweight from 2015.


 Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.69 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. If realized, production would be a record high, surpassing last year’s record of 2.51 billion bushels. Based on conditions as of November 1, yield is expected to average 199.0 bushels per acre, up 1.0 bushel from the October forecast, and 7.0 bushels per acre higher than last year. If realized, yield would set a new record high for a second consecutive year. Acres harvested for grain remain unchanged from October at 13.5 million acres.

Corn forecasted production is up in all 9 Iowa districts from 2015. The Central and East Central districts are expected to have the highest yields in the State, with average yields of 206.0 and 205.0 bushels per acre, respectively. The lowest yields are expected in the South Central and Southwest districts, where yields are expected to average 182.0 and 188.0 bushels per acre, respectively. Compared with 2015, the largest yield increases are expected in the Southeast, South Central, and East Central districts where yields are up 19.0, 18.8, and 15.9 bushels per acre, respectively. The largest production is expected in Central Iowa, where production is forecast at 407.7 million bushels.

Soybean production is forecast at 561 million bushels. If realized, this will be the largest crop on record, 6.80 million bushels above last year’s record high. The November 1 yield forecast is a record high 59.0 bushels per acre, 2.5 bushels more than the previous record set last year. Area harvested remained unchanged at 9.50 million acres.

Soybean production is forecast to be up in 6 Iowa districts and yields are forecasted to be higher in all 9 districts compared to last year. The Northwestern district is expected to have the highest yield in the State, with a 61.5 bushel average yield. The North Central and Northeastern districts are also expected to average 60.0 bushels per acre or more. The lowest yields are expected in the South Central district despite having the largest yield increase from a year ago. The Northwestern district is expected to have the largest production, at 93.5 million bushels.

All crop forecasts in this report are based on November 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next production estimates will be published in the Crop Production – 2016 Summary report which will be released on January 12, 2017.

USDA:  Corn Production Up 1 Percent from October Forecast

Soybean Production Up 2 Percent

Corn production is forecast at 15.2 billion bushels, up 1 percent from the October forecast and up 12 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 175.3 bushels per acre, up 1.9 bushels from the October forecast and up 6.9 bushels from 2015. If realized, this will be the highest yield and production on record for the United States. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 86.8 million acres, unchanged from the October forecast but up 8 percent from 2015.

Soybean production is forecast at a record 4.36 billion bushels, up 2 percent from October and up 11 percent from last year. Based on November 1 conditions, yields are expected to average a record 52.5 bushels per acre, up 1.1 bushels from last month and up 4.5 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at a record 83.0 million acres, unchanged from last month.

Corn Prices Rise Slightly Despite Record Yield, Production

U.S. corn farmers may set a new record national average yield should today's forecast in the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture be recognized. With a forecast yield of 175.3 bushels per acre and forecast record production, average corn prices rose five cents given raised demand forecasts.

"The farm economy continues to struggle making it imperative that we work to encourage and grow corn markets wherever possible," said Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Stratford, Texas. "For much of agriculture, trade presents an important, even critical, opportunity. This is why NCGA will continue efforts to encourage our elected officials to open export markets and improve access through support of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

"From growing export markets to increasing domestic demand through policies supporting the ethanol industry, NCGA works hard on the behalf of America's farmers to build a sustainable, thriving future for both their farms and their families."

Estimated use by the ethanol industry was raised by 25 million bushels from last month, with non-ethanol food, seed and industrial use raised by an additional 60 million bushels over that period. Export use held steady at 2.225 billion bushels. If realized, this would be the first time U.S. corn exports have exceeded two billion bushels since the 2007/2008 crop year, and it would mark the fifth-highest level of corn exports since 1980.

Production estimates were raised 168 million bushels from last month to 15.226 billion. Corn supplies for 2016/17 are raised from last month to a record 17.013 billion bushels. The average price was raised by five cents to a median of $3.30 per bushel.

Carryout estimates were raised again as production increases more than offset increases to use forecasts. Total ending stocks are now forecast at 2.403 billion bushels, the highest level seen since the 1980s.

U.S. soybean crop and exports super-sized

The 2016 soybean crop is a monster and it just keeps getting bigger, according to government crop production estimates released today.

But Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) leaders and industry experts say a bin-buster harvest is accompanied by an insatiable appetite for soybeans and soybean products here and abroad. Robust demand, they say, will devour supplies and support prices.

“The domestic and global interest in our soybeans gives me confidence in the future,” said Bill Shipley, farmer from Nodaway and Iowa Soybean Association president elect. “China is buying an incredible amount of our soybeans and interest is strong in Southeast Asia and around the globe. Income and diets are improving, and protein-packed soybeans are in demand.”

All but 5 percent of Iowa’s record 560.5-million-bushel soybean crop is in the bin or off to market, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop production and progress reports. The average yield statewide is estimated at 59 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel from last month, which led to the 9.5-million-bushel increase from the prior near-record forecast.

 National soybean production is pegged at an all-time-high 4.36 billion bushels, up 92 million bushels from last month. The average soybean yield is forecasted at a record 52.5 bushels per acre, up 1.1 bushels from October.

“The raised production estimates don’t surprise me because almost everyone had very good yields,” Shipley said. “The high carryout is somewhat concerning, but demand is strong.”

U.S. soybean ending stocks are projected at 480 million bushels, up 85 million bushels from the previous forecast, according to today’s USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Report. A 20-million-bushel decrease in domestic crush was more than offset by a 25-million-bushel increase in soybean exports, now estimated at more than 2 billion bushels.

“Export sales are just huge. China seems to be buying soybeans with both hands,” said Al Kluis, owner of Kluis Commodities of Wayzata, Minnesota.

Industry officials say it’s likely U.S. soybean stocks will be half or less than half of current projections given demand and the USDA’s tendency to overestimate final numbers.

“They’ve done it the last three years and eight out of the last 10,” Kluis said.

The U.S. season-average soybean price range is projected at $8.45 to $9.95 per bushel, up 15 cents on both ends despite a larger anticipated soybean crop and carryout, according to the WASDE Report.

ISA Chief Operating Officer Karey Claghorn will accompany Gov. Terry Branstad and other Iowa commodity, livestock and economic officials on a seven-day trade mission to China and Japan this month. The goal is to increase meat exports, which in turn creates demand for soybeans.

"It’s critical to build demand for meat since livestock is the No. 1 consumer of soybeans,” said Claghorn, former Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. “We’ll meet with customers to discuss this year’s crop and reassure them U.S. farmers produce the highest quality and safest food products in the world.”

USDA - World Ag Supply and Demand Estimate - Nov 9, 2016

COARSE GRAINS:  This month’s 2016/17 U.S. corn outlook is for larger production, increased food, seed and industrial (FSI) use and slightly higher prices.  Corn production is forecast at 15.226 billion bushels, up 168 million from last month on a 1.9-bushel per acre increase in yield to 175.3 bushels per acre.  Non-ethanol FSI from 2013/14 to 2015/16 is raised this month based on updated usage estimates.  With stocks known, concomitant reductions are made in feed and residual use for those years.  For 2016/17, corn used for ethanol is projected 25 million bushels higher from last month, while non-ethanol FSI is raised 60 million bushels.  A detailed breakout of the corn FSI estimates is available at the Economic Research Service Feed Grains Database:  With supply rising faster than use, corn ending stocks are raised 83 million bushels.  The projected range for the season-average corn price received by producers is raised 5 cents on both ends to $3.00 to $3.60 per bushel, based on higher-than-expected observed early-season prices.

Global coarse grain production for 2016/17 is forecast 4.9 million tons higher to 1,319.7 million.  This month’s 2016/17 foreign coarse grain outlook is for greater production and consumption, increased trade, and lower stocks relative to last month.  Historical revisions are made to several countries this month, including Egypt, Tunisia, and Vietnam.  Corn production is raised for Ukraine, based on near-record yields reported by the government through early November.  Russia corn production is higher this month with a projected record yield, based on harvest results to date.  Partly offsetting are corn production reductions for Vietnam and Bolivia. 

Corn exports are projected higher for Ukraine and Russia.  Notable month-to-month increases in corn imports are forecast for Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Partly offsetting are reductions in imports for Indonesia and South Korea.  Policy restrictions are expected to limit corn imports by Indonesia, while South Korea’s corn purchase pace has moderated.  Foreign corn ending stocks for 2016/17 are lowered 0.7 million tons, with the largest stock declines projected for Vietnam and Indonesia, partly offset by increases expected for Ukraine and Russia.

OILSEEDS:  U.S. oilseed production for 2016/17 is projected at 128.7 million metric tons, up 2.5 million from last month on increased soybean and cottonseed production.  Soybean production is forecast at 4,361 million bushels, up 92 million on higher yields.  The soybean yield is projected at a record 52.5 bushels per acre, up 1.1 bushels mainly on production gains for Minnesota, North Dakota, and Kansas.  Despite increased supplies, soybean crush is reduced 20 million bushels to 1,930 million mostly due to reduced soybean meal export prospects.  Sales are lagging year-earlier levels to several markets including Mexico, Canada, Thailand, and the EU.  Domestic soybean meal consumption is reduced slightly, in line with changes in the 2015/16 balance sheet.  Soybean exports are projected at 2,050 million bushels, up 25 million with increased supplies.  Soybean ending stocks are projected at 480 million bushels, up 85 million from the previous forecast.

Soybean and product price forecasts for 2016/17 are raised this month.  The U.S. season-average soybean price range is projected at $8.45 to $9.95 per bushel, up 15 cents on both ends of the range reflecting reported early-season producer prices.  Soybean meal prices are projected at $305 to $345 per short ton, up $5.00 on both ends.  Soybean oil prices are projected at 32.5 to 35.5 cents per pound, up 2 cents on both ends.

Global oilseed production for 2016/17 is projected at 551.2 million tons, up 3.1 million from last month led by higher soybean production.  Global soybean production is projected at 336.1 million tons, up 2.9 million with larger crops in the United States, Russia, and Mexico.  Smaller global production increases in cottonseed, peanuts, and rapeseed are partly offset by a reduction in sunflowerseed.  Global cottonseed production is raised 0.3 million tons to 39.1 million with increased production in India partly offset by a reduction for Argentina.  Global rapeseed and peanut production are raised to 67.8 and 41.8 million tons, respectively, on increased production projected for China.  Global sunflowerseed production is reduced 0.3 million tons to 43.7 million on lower forecasts for Bolivia and the EU. 

Global oilseed trade for 2016/17 is projected at 159.7 million tons, up 0.5 million from last month.  Increased soybean exports from the United States, Russia, and Ukraine and increased rapeseed exports from the EU account for most of the increase.  Global oilseed ending stocks are projected at 92.9 million tons, up 4.7 million from last month.  Soybean stocks account for most of the change with increases for the United States, China, and Argentina.

  The 2016 forecast of total red meat and poultry production is increased from last month as higher fourth quarter beef and pork production forecasts more than offset reductions in broiler and turkey production.  Beef production is increased on the pace of slaughter and heavier carcass weights.  Pork production for 2016 is raised based on the current rate of slaughter.  Broiler production is lowered based on September slaughter data.  Turkey production is reduced based on the pace of slaughter.  For 2017, higher forecast beef production more than offsets lower pork and broiler production.  Turkey production is unchanged.  The increase in beef production reflects slaughter of cattle placed in late-2016 and early-2017 as well as slightly higher carcass weights.  Pork production is lowered on slower expected gains in carcass weights.  Broiler production for 2017 is lowered from last month on slower second-half growth.  Table egg production is slightly reduced for both 2016 and 2017.

The beef import forecast in 2016 is lowered due to expected tightness in supplies from Oceania.  Beef exports are expected to decline modestly in 2016 based on recent trade data. Beef imports and exports are unchanged for 2017. U.S. pork imports for 2016 and 2017 were lowered as increases in domestic pork production and lower prices are expected to limit demand for imports.  Pork exports in 2016 are lowered from last month on recent trade data.  Exports are raised in 2017 on lower hog prices which are expected to make U.S. product more competitive.  Broiler exports are raised for 2016 and 2017 on strong demand in a number of countries. 

Cattle prices are forecast lower for the remainder of 2016 and for 2017.  Large supplies of fed cattle are currently weighing on prices and are expected to carry into next year.  Hog prices are lowered for 2016 and early 2017 on supply pressure.  However late-2017 prices are expected to reflect demand from new slaughter facilities.  Broiler prices are lowered for 2016 and 2017 as supplies of broilers and competing meats pressure the markets.

Milk production forecasts for 2016 and 2017 are lowered from last month as recent data indicated that the U.S. cow inventory increased less rapidly than previously expected.  However, output per cow is raised from last month.  The skim-solids basis import forecast for 2016 is lowered, reflecting recent trade data, but the 2017 fat and skim-solid basis forecasts are unchanged.  Fat basis exports are lowered for 2016 and 2017 on slower sales of cheese and whole milk powder.  On a skim-solids basis, exports for 2016 are forecast lower on weaker sales of milk protein concentrates and whey, but are unchanged for 2017.

Cheese and whey price forecasts for 2016 are raised on current price strength.  The forecasts for butter and nonfat dry milk (NDM) are lowered as supplies remain large.  For 2017, large supplies of butter are expected to continue to pressure prices, but prices of cheese, whey and NDM are expected to strengthen.  The Class III price forecast is raised for both 2016 and 2017 on higher cheese and whey prices.  However, lower butter prices are expected to more than offset higher NDM prices and Class IV prices for both years are lowered from last month.  All milk prices are forecast higher at $16.00 to $16.10 per cwt for 2016 and $16.30 to $17.20 per cwt for 2017.


    Those interested in incorporating unmanned aircraft systems into their business operations and agricultural enterprises are encouraged to attend one of five introductory training sessions offered across the state by Nebraska Extension.

The sessions will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the following locations:
    > Scottsbluff: Nov. 21, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 4502 Ave. I
    > North Platte: Nov. 22, West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 W. State Farm Road
    > Norfolk: Nov. 29, Lifelong Learning Center, Northeast Community College, 801 E. Benjamin Ave.
    > Mead: Dec. 14, Agricultural Research and Development Center, 1071 County Road G
    > Grand Island: Dec. 16, Hall County Extension Office, 3180 W. Highway 34

    "Emerging technology such as unmanned aircraft systems have the potential to benefit all types of businesses, and especially applications of the agricultural industry," said Wayne Woldt, associate professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Department of Biological Systems Engineering and one of the training organizers. Woldt is a rated pilot who developed the Nebraska Unmanned Aircraft Innovation, Research and Education (NU-AIRE) laboratory and flight program, with a focus on research and education in unmanned aircraft systems.

    The training will highlight the information an unmanned aircraft operator and pilot would need including: hobby flight, educational interpretation and best practices for privacy concerns; Federal Part 107 rules for commercial flight and piloting; and an overview of applications. At the conclusion of the program, training attendees will have flight time with a small unmanned aircraft system.

    In addition to Woldt, others conducting the training are Bill Kreuser and Jacob Smith. Kreuser is an assistant professor in the university's Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. He is a rated pilot who works with unmanned aircraft systems as part of his research and extension program to advance the use of this new technology for managing complex agronomic systems. Smith works with Woldt in the NU-AIRE laboratory. He is a commercial pilot, certified flight instructor and unmanned aircraft systems expert.

    Space is limited to 45 attendees at each session. The registration fee of $50 may be submitted online at or by mailing a check to Bonita Delhay, Biological Systems Engineering, 234 Chase Hall, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0726. Checks should be payable to the University of Nebraska. The deadline to register is Nov. 15.

    For more information, visit or contact Delhay at 402-472-9390 or

Platte Co Cattlemen Nov Meeting

Marcus Urban, PVC President

We will be meeting Monday, November 21st, at Wunderlich’s Catering in Columbus, with Social Hour beginning at 6:00 P.M. and the meal at 7:00 P.M. We want to be sure to thank Rosendahl Farms Feed & Seed for sponsoring our social hour and Cooperative Supply of Dodge, Howells, Leigh, and Richland for sponsoring our meal.

The Platte Valley Cattlemen will be hosting ADM’s Keith Nickleson of ADM Alliance Nutrition. Keith will be talking to us about the upcoming VFD regulations.  See you then!

Ricketts Announces Agreement to Create Model Farm in China for Nebraska Ag Tech

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) had signed an agreement with Chinese officials to create a working demonstration farm, known as the Nebraska (Yangling) Agricultural Sci-tech Park.   Under the agreement, the farm will be capitalized and managed by Chinese partners, and will showcase the equipment of Nebraska-based farm equipment manufacturers.  The project is a partnership among the State of Nebraska, the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, and the Yangling Agriculture Hi-tech Demonstration Zone located in China’s Shaanxi Province.

“China’s increasing demand for Nebraska’s 21st-century ag technology is helping our state’s manufacturers grow and expand internationally,” said Governor Ricketts.  “The promise of this demonstration farm is a big win for our state’s top two industries, agriculture and manufacturing.  The farm gives Nebraska’s ag tech manufacturers increased access to Chinese ag producers who are looking for ways to make their operations more productive.”

The 80-hectare demonstration farm is located in the Shaanxi Province of China.  The farm will assist Nebraska agricultural manufacturers in entering and expanding Chinese markets by demonstrating Nebraska products and technology in a way that will also help improve Chinese agricultural methods.  Training and education will be provided through a unique collaboration involving a private sector and public sector partnership among DED, University of Nebraska, Nebraska agricultural manufacturers, Chinese producers, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, Yangling Agricultural Hi-tech Industries Demonstration Zone, and the Chinese government.

The farm will be managed by a subsidiary of Roffar Holdings.  Nebraska manufacturers will provide equipment and technical expertise while the University will provide technical and agronomic advice and assist with farm planning.  This will give Nebraska companies a platform to advertise and demonstrate to potential customers and partners. 

DED, partner manufacturers and the University are now working in coordination with the farm management company, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University and the Yangling Demonstration Zone to finalize an operational plan for the farm and develop a management strategy for the next five years.



Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Grass remaining for winter grazing can really help cut feed costs for stock cows.  Your grazing strategy can greatly influence how effectively you use this pasture.

               Grazing winter range or pastures has many benefits.  It can save as much as a dollar a day per cow compared to feeding hay.  It removes old growth so pasture next spring and summer is fresher.  And some weeds may be eaten that cattle won’t touch during summer.  Plus, there is little risk of damage to your dormant pasture.

               But the way you manage your cattle during winter grazing can have a big effect on its success.  For instance, maybe you have a goal of feeding as little protein supplement as possible while winter grazing.  Then you must make sure your stocking level is light enough so cattle can select just the higher quality plant parts to eat.  Another strategy might be to stretch winter pasture as far as possible.  Then it might be best to restrict animal access to small areas at a time, like with strip grazing, and feed supplements as needed.  Or, if you use forage from winter range just as a filler to keep cattle from bellowing when you limit feed corn, corn by-products, or other nutrient dense feeds, then high stocking levels and unrestricted access might be best.

               Whatever your strategy, though, consider carefully what kind of nutrition animals are getting from the pasture so you neither underfeed nor overfeed expensive supplements.  Be sure to provide salt, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A free choice at all times.

               Winter grazing is a great opportunity to reduce winter feed costs.  With the right grazing strategy, it can help you meet many of your feeding goals.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that he will be wrapping up his 10th annual 99 county tour with stops in Calhoun, Sioux, Plymouth and Cherokee Counties on Friday, November 11.  Northey has visited each of Iowa’s 99 counties every year since taking office in 2007.

Northey will visit the Calhoun County Freedom Rock in Rockwell City, speak to the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) Leadership Iowa class in Sioux Center, visit with veterans and other guests at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor in Le Mars and visit Tim Bierman’s pork farm near Larrabee.

The details of the visits follow here:Friday, Nov. 11, 2016

Calhoun County – 8:45 a.m., visit the Calhoun County Freedom Rock, 515 Court St., Rockwell City (NW side of the Calhoun County Courthouse square)
Sioux County – 11:15 a.m., speak to the Association of Business and Industry (ABI) Leadership Iowa class, Dordt College Science Building, 498 4th Ave. NE, Sioux Center
Plymouth County – 1:30 a.m., visit with guests at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor (veterans receive free ice cream cones for Veterans Day), 115 Central Ave. NW, Le Mars
Cherokee County – 3:00 p.m., visit Tim Bierman’s pork farm, 4206 R Ave, Larrabee

“Visiting each county every year has been enjoyable and invaluable for me to better understand the diversity and scale of Iowa agriculture and also the passion and commitment of our state’s farmers.  Getting out to our rural communities; visiting farms, businesses, schools and community meetings; and listening to a wide variety of Iowans is important for all elected officials as we seek to serve the people of our great state,” Northey said.

USDA Data Shows Number of Midsize Farms Declining

New data from the Department of Agriculture shows the number of midsized farms is declining. The USDA Economic Research Service found midsized farms declined by five percent between 1992 and 2012, to about 125,000.

Midsize operations are defined as those with gross cash farm income between $350,000 and $1 million. USDA attributed the decline partly due to exits from the business, but also volatile income and a tendency to downsize or grow at higher rates than small and large farms.

USDA says the trend also may indicate new technology and the increasing profitability of large farms limit the role of midsize farms in modern agriculture. During the same period, the number of large farms more than doubled.

The data also shows that small farms, those with less than $350,000 gross cash farm income, represent 90 percent of all farms, but only grow about 22 percent of America’s agricultural goods.

NCGA Statement on 2016 Election

The National Corn Growers Association today congratulated Donald Trump on his election as the 45th President, and pledged to work with the new Administration and Congress on important issues of the day.

“The American people have spoken. Now, it is time for us all to set aside our differences, roll up our sleeves, and get to work,” said Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Stratford, Texas, and president of the National Corn Growers Association.

“As a supporter of the No Labels movement, the National Corn Growers Association believes in bipartisan problem-solving and building a more responsive and accountable government. We stand ready to work together with President-Elect Trump and the new Congress to make government work better for us all,” said Spurlock.

“We look forward to working with the Trump transition team and assisting in any way possible to make his Administration a successful one,” said Executive Vice President Jon Doggett. “The National Corn Growers Association is committed to working with the White House and Congress to solve important policy and regulatory issues and move our country forward.”

Spurlock urged the current Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement during its lame-duck session in December.

“Congress still has important work to do yet this year. We urge Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership when they return to Washington next month. TPP is the one thing Congress can do right now to increase farm income, generate economic activity, and promote job growth. Campaign rhetoric has set America’s trade agenda back years. Let’s take a big step back in the right direction and pass TPP,” said Spurlock.

ASA Congratulates President-Elect Trump, Incoming 115th Congress

American Soybean Association (ASA) Vice President and Roseville, Ill., soybean farmer Ron Moore congratulated President-Elect Donald Trump on his victory early this morning. In a statement, Moore pointed to the work ahead for the Trump Administration and the 115th Congress on critical agriculture issues and signaled ASA's willingness to collaborate on securing policy that benefits American soybean farmers:

"The American Soybean Association congratulates Donald Trump on his victory in the presidential election. We look forward to working with the new administration and the 115th Congress to communicate and advance soybean farmer priorities. President-Elect Trump said repeatedly on the campaign trail that he would ensure farmers are at the table when important decisions affecting agriculture are made, and we will work with President Trump to make sure we indeed are at the table.

"We applaud his pro-farmer stance on the renewable fuel standard, on reducing the burden of regulations like the EPA's Waters of the U.S. rule, on investing in our nation's supply chain infrastructure, and on protecting farm and food programs in the farm bill. We look forward to taking an active and cooperative role as the Trump Administration works on these critical issues.

"We look forward as well to a constructive discussion on President-Elect Trump's stance on trade. It is impossible to overstate the importance of trade--and specifically of the Chinese market--to American soybean farmers. Similarly, our export markets in North America and Southeast Asia are extraordinarily important trading partners. We export half of all soy grown in the U.S. One in four rows of beans goes to China, and Mexico is our second-largest market. We are eager to work together to illustrate how critical an aggressive trade agenda is for soybean farmers.

"Congratulations to President-Elect Trump and to the incoming members of the 115th Congress. ASA stands ready to work with these men and women on behalf of the nation's soybean farmers."

ASA Urges Congress to Make TPP a Priority During Lame Duck Session

With the election over and Congress reconvening to set their lame duck agenda, the American Soybean Association (ASA) urges Members of Congress to prioritize and pass the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, thus allowing the U.S., and soybean industry, to better participate in the global economy.

“TPP passage is vital to farmers across the country, as well as the processors and exporters that take U.S. soybeans to markets around the world,” said ASA President and Greenwood, Del. farmer Richard Wilkins.

With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, passage of TPP will open new global markets and is projected to boost farm exports by $4.4 billion each year.

“Farmers support the improved access to foreign markets through TPP, and welcome the potential for expanded soybean exports in the forms of oil and feed,” Wilkins said. “Overall, TPP has the power to create jobs at home, boost the farm economy and explore foreign markets.”

 Growth Energy Congratulates President-Elect Trump & New Congress

Following the results of the 2016 general election, Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy released the following statement:

“Growth Energy sends its congratulations to President-elect Trump for his successful election bid. Additionally, Growth Energy congratulates returning and newly elected members of the 115th Congress. President-Elect Trump has publicly supported the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) throughout his campaign, and consistently opposed any efforts to roll back this policy. In fact, the RFS was one issue where both candidates found common ground, and we applaud their recognition of the importance that biofuels, like ethanol, play in fueling our country.

“Growth Energy looks forward to working with the new administration to ensure the RFS, our nation’s most successful energy policy, continues to progress. Furthermore, we will work to continue expanding market access for biofuels, like E15, which are better for our energy security, environment, consumers’ wallets and rural America’s economic prosperity.

“Finally, we welcome back our returning champions who have tirelessly fought for a strong biofuels industry and look forward to building relationships and working to educate new members of Congress on the many ways Americans benefit from biofuels every day.”

NCBA Statement Regarding the 2016 National Election

Statement by National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Tracy Brunner following the 2016 national election:

“Although it is still too early to determine what exactly this election will mean for our priorities, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association remains committed to expanding access to foreign markets, fighting burdensome federal regulations and ensuring the continued health of our herd and industry. I am proud to see that across the nation, the majority of candidates and incumbents we, and our state affiliates supported through the NCBA Political Action Committee, were elected or re-elected.

“In the coming weeks, we will continue to work with Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership, defund EPA’s flawed “waters of the United States” rule, and pass the National Defense Authorization Act which includes language to mitigate the sage grouse stubble height requirements and other restrictions on grazing based on flawed science. In the year ahead, we look forward to working with a new Congress and Administration to ensure the priorities of cattlemen and women nationwide are met.”

Statement by Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding the 2016 Election Results

“The American Farm Bureau Federation congratulates President-elect Trump on his election, as well as those candidates elected to serve during the 115th Congress. The important issues facing American agriculture are not red or blue, but they are critical to the prosperity of rural America and our ability to protect our nation’s food supply. We urge our elected representatives to reach across the aisle and come together to resolve the challenges we face.

“Farmers and ranchers understand that their businesses and their families have too much at stake to take a back seat on Election Day, and rural America clearly made a difference in this election. Now it’s time for our newly elected leaders to turn up for rural America and keep their campaign promises by addressing the issues that matter to the people who sent them to Washington. Farm Bureau looks forward to working with the new administration and Congress on issues such as the farm bill, tax reform and a trade agenda focused on reducing barriers and expanding exports.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are working overtime to ensure our food supply is safe and sustainable. It’s time our elected leaders put that same diligence to work protecting U.S. agriculture by promoting innovation and ensuring we have an adequate workforce. We need regulatory reform that boosts farm businesses rather than shutting them down. Farmers are concerned for the environment and are hopeful that the new administration will recognize agriculture’s strides in sustainability and protect our ability to produce.

“Elected officials come to Washington with different perspectives and ideas, but they share a common goal of wanting to make our nation better for all Americans. At Farm Bureau, we will continue to do our part to help identify opportunities for cooperation to improve the lives of rural communities, and all American farmers and ranchers.”

Record Amount of Nutrients Removed from U.S. Soils This Summer

Growers around the country should remember they’re removing more than just record yields from their fields this harvest season.

"The predicted highest average corn and soybean yields on record offer many reasons for our industry to celebrate the advancements that have helped us reach this level of production," says Dr. Kyle Freeman, director of New Product Development at The Mosaic Company. "But it‘s also important for growers to remember that with record yield comes record nutrient removal, and necessary measures will need to be taken to replenish those nutrients."

The October crop forecast from the USDA predicts a 15.2-billion-bushel corn crop and a 175.3-bushel-per-acre average. That equates to an estimated 61 pounds of phosphate (P2O5) removed from every acre.

The same forecast predicts a soybean harvest of 4.36 billion bushels, averaging 52.5 bushels/acre, which will remove 63 pounds/acre of potassium oxide (K2O) from U.S. soils.

Mosaic agronomists are advising their retail customers to urge growers to examine nutrient removal rates closely this fall.

"Unfortunately, regardless of how much a crop is worth per bushel, it’s still pulling just as many nutrients from the ground," Dr. Freeman says. "For some, this will be the third straight year of very difficult decisions related to input costs. Those who have cut back on fertilitizer costs may find themselves in a situation that‘s very hard to rebound from if they don‘t adjust their plans to address the effects of this record yield."

To address these nutrient concerns, growers and retailers may consider granular products with years of proven research from The Mosaic Company. Each offers efficient, balanced delivery of key nutrients, so growers can be confident they‘re getting the most out of their fertilizer spend.

Studies show MicroEssentials® SZ™ and S10™ can increase corn yield by 5.4–8.8 bu/ac over MAP and DAP. MicroEssentials SZ is a proprietary fertilizer (12-40-0-10S-1Zn) specially formulated for use on most crops, including corn and wheat. Through Mosaic‘s patented Fusion® technology process, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), sulfur (S) and zinc (Zn) are fused into each nutritionally balanced granule, delivering uniform nutrient distribution across the field. Learn more at

Aspire® with Boron is particularly suited for soybeans, alfalfa, corn and cotton because micronutrients such as boron are essential for plant growth. Aspire is the first-of-its-kind micronutrient-enhanced potash fertilizer. Formed using innovative Nutriform® technology, Aspire premium potash (0-0-58-0.5B) combines potassium (K) and boron (B) in each granule to help achieve balanced crop nutrition. Learn more at

Syngenta offers latest insight on sudden death syndrome management

Rather than dealing with yellowing and defoliating soybean plants mid-season, Syngenta encourages Midwestern growers to get ahead of sudden death syndrome (SDS) before planting in 2017.

Some fields in the Midwest experienced SDS this past summer. While a cool and wet spring followed by saturated soils later in the season favored SDS development, weather wasn’t only to blame.

“Fields with soybean cyst nematode pressure have been shown to be more susceptible to the pathogen that causes SDS,” says Jason Bond, plant pathologist at Southern Illinois University.

Although often overlooked, there is a relationship between SDS and soybean cyst nematode (SCN), and fields showing SDS symptoms most often also test positive for SCN. The extensive root damage caused by SCN makes the plants more vulnerable to SDS infection, according to The Ohio State University Extension.

Shawn Conley, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, further discusses the correlation of SDS and SCN in this video.

With no in-season treatment options available, effective SDS management in 2017 will require a comprehensive preventive strategy that includes planting resistant varieties and treating them for protection against SCN, too. Start now by sampling soils for SCN.

“We have to think about managing those pathogens together, because they are, in fact, attacking the plants at the same time. A seed treatment provides the added benefits of targeting the fungus and the nematode simultaneously, soon after planting, and complementing resistant varieties,” explains Bond.

Best management practices
Because SDS and SCN are both highly damaging, widespread and correlated, Syngenta advises growers to plant soybean varieties with genetic resistance to both of these pests. In addition to providing SCN resistance, SDS-resistant NK® Soybean varieties offer the industry’s best SDS ratings when compared to major competitors’ varieties, with an average 1.3-point advantage for relative maturities.

“In addition to yield, SDS and SCN resistance are key breeding targets for Syngenta,” says Scott Erickson, product marketing manager, soybean seed, at Syngenta. “It’s how we’ve been able to deliver a premier selection of products with leading SDS tolerance like NK Soybean varieties S22-S1, S27-J7, S30-V6, S35-C3 and S39-C4 brands.”

To enhance those varieties and protect soybeans during the critical seedling growth stage, agronomists encourage growers to plant seed treated with Clariva® Complete Beans seed treatment, a combination of separately registered products. Through effective, season-long SCN protection, Clariva Complete Beans helps to reduce the impact of SCN and SCN-related diseases, such as SDS.

"There’s a big issue with SDS and SCN pairing together and causing an even greater yield loss than either one alone in a single field. A seed treatment that reduces the number of SCN eggs can provide a yield benefit,” says Conley.

Tuesday November 8 Ag News

Field to Market Workshop: Field Assessment to Improve Efficiency

Nebraska Extension is hosting a workshop for farmers interested in field sustainability and continuous improvement.  Using the Field to Market Fieldprint calculator farmers will enter management and production information which will be used to compare fields with national states, and local averages for the metrics of yield, erosion, irrigation efficiency, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions.  Data and production information is all kept confidential. 

Mon, Dec. 5th 9 a.m. to Noon – Dodge Co. Extension Office, Fremont, NE, Preregister: 402-727-2775
Tues, Dec. 6th 9 a.m. to Noon – Farm Credit Services of Am., Columbus, NE, Preregister: 402-563-4901
Tues Dec. 6th 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. – York County Extension Office, York, Preregister: 402-362-5508
Wed Dec. 7th 9 a.m. to Noon – Holt County Courthouse Annex, O’Neill, NE, Preregister: 402-336-2760
Thur Dec 8th 9 a.m. to Noon – Pender Fire Hall, Pender, NE, Preregister: 402-374-2929
Thur Dec. 8th 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Central Valley Ag, Oakland, NE, Preregister: 402-374-2929

Please re-register for this workshop by Wednesday December 1st. 

USDA Announces Enrollment Period for Safety-Net Coverage in 2017

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini has announced that producers on farms with base acres under the safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, can begin visiting FSA county offices now to sign contracts and enroll for the 2017 crop year. The enrollment period opened on Nov. 1 and will continue until Aug. 1, 2017.

“FSA issued more than $7 billion in payments in October 2016 under the ARC-County and PLC programs for the 2015 crop to assist enrolled producers who suffered a loss of price or revenue or both,” said Dolcini. “Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers on the farm must enroll by signing a contract each program year. I encourage you to contact your local FSA office today to schedule an appointment to enroll.”

If a farm is not enrolled during the 2017 enrollment period, the producers on that farm will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2017 crop should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the program. Producers who made their elections in 2015 must still enroll during the 2017 enrollment period.

The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offer a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in prices or revenues for covered commodities. Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. For more details regarding these programs, go to

Dangerous Gases a Concern During Removal of Slurry and Bedded-pack Manure

Amy Millmier Schmidt, NE Extension Livestock Bioenvironmental Engineer

Gases produced during manure decomposition can build up in confined spaces and be released in deadly concentrations during agitation and pumping of slurry pits and removal of bedded-pack manure. Recent deaths of cattle in the Midwest have been attributed to lethal concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas released during slurry manure agitation. Even more devastating are the losses of human lives resulting from manure gases.

As crops come out of fields, farmers and custom manure haulers are focused on getting manure applied before snow or frozen soils preclude application. Removing manure from storages, particularly slurry storages and pits located beneath a facility housing animals, requires careful attention and practices to avoid hazards to both workers and animals. Likewise, entering a manure pit to access equipment or other items is simply not acceptable without personal protection equipment. The following manure handling guidelines apply when working around manure storages.

NEVER ENTER A MANURE STORAGE STRUCTURE without proper personal protection equipment (PPE): a self-contained air supply, a safety/rescue harness, and a second person who remains outside the structure and can rescue the worker from the pit, if necessary, using the safety harness. Entering a structure to retrieve an unconscious person can easily result in multiple casualties. Being able to retrieve an unconscious person via safety harness may save their life by minimizing their length of exposure to manure gases.

NEVER ENTER LIVESTOCK HOUSING WHILE MANURE IS BEING AGITATED. Even when ventilation is operating, workers should avoid entering a building where a pit beneath the production area is being agitated. Entrances to buildings should be marked with caution tape or other bold signage to prevent entry by workers.

ALWAYS OPERATE VENTILATION SYSTEMS AT THEIR MAXIMUM CAPACITY when agitating manure in a pit below where animals are housed. Hydrogen sulfide gas is heavier than air. In a recent report of cattle deaths during manure agitation, those animals lying down were lost to asphyxiation while those that were standing survived.

If possible, REMOVE ANIMALS FROM BUILDINGS BEFORE MANURE AGITATION BEGINS. If animals must remain in the buildings, monitor animals from outside the building and discontinue agitation and pumping if signs of animal stress are observed.

BE AWARE THAT HYDROGEN SULFIDE CAN “SETTLE” NEAR THE GROUND during agitation of outdoor slurry storages, particularly when the ambient air is still and temperature is cooling. Evening and early morning conditions can produce some of the most hazardous conditions. Avoid agitation of storages under these conditions or utilize fans/blowers to mix the air and dilute gases.

To minimize release of gases during manure agitation:
•Agitate below the manure surface to minimize turbulence, which can cause greater gas releases.
•Maintain a steady agitator intensity and depth below surface, which minimizes turbulence.
•Direct agitator nozzles towards the center of the pit to avoid “churning” of manure near walls and pillars.
•Maintain at least 18” of clearance between stored manure and slatted floors to minimize hydrogen sulfide dispersion into the breather zone of animals.

BEDDED-PACK BARNS can also be a source of hydrogen sulfide release during clean-out due to the minimal oxygen present in the bedded pack. The use of gypsum for cow bedding in these systems may contribute to greater hydrogen sulfide generation. When cleaning out these types of barns: use large fans or blowers to mix air; open all available doors, windows, and other air inlets/outlets; and consider testing gas concentrations during manure removal to ensure that workers are not exposed to hazardous gas levels.

DISTILLER’S GRAINS contain greater concentrations of sulfur than corn resulting in greater excretion of sulfur in manure. Therefore, feeding distiller’s grains to cattle in a slatted floor or bedded pack confinement system may contribute to greater risk of hydrogen sulfide release during manure removal.

HANDHELD AND WEARABLE HYDROGEN SULFIDE MONITORS are available from a number of online sources (enter search term: hydrogen sulfide monitor) for around a hundred dollars. Less expensive “test kits” that require monitoring a color change on a piece of reagent paper are not recommended as they require a liquid sample and cannot be used to monitor the changing gas concentration during manure removal activities. While the initial investment for a handheld monitor may seem high, being able to determine if lethal concentrations of hydrogen sulfide are present in and around livestock housing and manure storage facilities is priceless when it comes to protecting the lives of people and animals.

Online Review Course Prepares Certified Crop Advisers for Exam

A Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) online review course is being offered through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to help individuals prepare for the next CCA examination on Feb. 3, 2017. The review course is offered exclusively online and includes presentations on crop management, pest management, nutrient management and soil and water management.

“There is so much material covered on the exam that it was impossible for instructors to cover the review material in a one or two-day meeting,” said Bob Hartzler, professor in agronomy and extension weed specialist at Iowa State University and course chairperson.  “The online platform allows people to access the material when they have the time.”

Each presentation includes a practice quiz to help test knowledge and comprehension. The review course includes supplemental materials and an overall practice exam, which may be attempted three times.

“The online review course is designed to specifically focus on information related to the CCA exam, and each question on the review course is linked directly to CCA performance objectives,” said Kristine Schaefer, program manager for the Pesticide Safety Education Program with ISU Extension and Outreach. “Once registered, the course is available anytime there is internet access.”

Technology requirements

Technology requirements include a valid email address, a web browser and connection to the internet, connected speakers, a printer if you wish to print out PDF versions of the presentations, and the Flash Player browser plug-in to view the presentations. If you don’t have a Flash Player, you may download it for free. Adobe Reader is needed to open PDF documents, however, if you don’t have Adobe Reader, you may download a free copy. All review course materials such as quizzes, PDF files and supplemental materials are available on iOS devices, such as iPads, with the exception of the flash-based presentations.

How to register

For more course details and to register, visit For assistance with registration, contact ANR Program Services at 515-294-6429 or For questions regarding the CCA program and course content please contact Bob Hartzler at 515-294-1164 or or Kristine Schaefer at 515-294-4286 or

Cattle Prices, More Room for Recovery?

Chris Hurt, Purdue University

Some are saying this is the most volatile cattle market ever. An evaluation of that statement would take considerable number crunching, but everyone can agree that few expected cattle prices to go above $170 per hundredweight in late-2014, and then to fall below $100 in mid-October 2016. That was an incredible decline of $75 in about two years.

Of course there is the old adage that "what goes up, must come down." If finished cattle prices dropped by nearly $75 in the two years after the 2014 high price, how much did they rise in the two years before the high? The lowest weekly price of finished steers in 2012 was $113. Prices rose by $59 before falling by $75.

Of course the supply and demand for beef are the primary drivers of finished cattle prices. Small supplies of cattle in 2014 were the result of the devastating Southern Plains drought and of high feed prices in the 2010 to 2014 time period. Small cattle supplies meant high finished cattle prices. In 2015 and 2016, lower feed prices and more cattle coming out of feedlots resulted in lower prices. However, another little- reported potential driver of this price volatility lies in the fact that adjustments at different levels in the beef chain occur at different rates. Stated most simply, cattle prices and wholesale beef prices tend to adjust quickly to changes in cattle supply while retail prices adjust more slowly. As cattle prices rise, retailers are slow to increase retail beef prices. This keeps the quantity of beef demanded strong and more of the retail price is bid back into the cattle price. This may "overstimulate" cattle prices.

We are now on the other side of that relationship as retail beef prices have been slower to come down, keeping retail beef prices higher and weakening the quantity of beef demanded and thus lowering the share returned to the cattle price. This may cause cattle prices to drop more sharply and overshoot on the downside. This overshooting on the downside may have occurred most recently. Packer and retail margins were narrow in 2014 and the farmer's share of the retail dollars spent on beef was 55 percent, the highest annual level since 1993. This year the opposite is true, with packer and retail margins at record highs resulting in the farmer's share of only 45 percent.

Into 2017, retail beef prices will likely continue to decrease and marketing margins will likely decrease with a greater share of the retail beef dollar getting back to the cattle price. While it is difficult to accurately predict how large this impact will be, it seems within reason to expect about an $8 to $12 improvement in finished cattle prices just based on narrowing marketing margins in 2017.

Trade is going to help as well in 2017. As U.S. beef prices come down in 2017 there will be less beef imports and more beef exports. USDA's current projections are for 11 percent less beef imports and a six percent rise in beef exports. Even though U.S. beef production could be up three to four percent in 2017, the positive impacts of trade mean that per capita beef supplies in the U.S. may only rise less than one percent. If demand stays similar, 2017 finished cattle prices would be expected to be modestly lower than this year's $118 to $120.

There continues to be a wide variation of opinions about the cattle market in 2017. Cash cattle prices have recovered about $7 in the past three weeks. Futures prices also recovered. However, futures traders remain far more pessimistic than the current fundamentals seem to suggest. Using futures prices on November 7 as a proxy for cash prices suggest 2017 finished cattle would average in the higher $90's. USDA analysts who use fundamental price models are forecasting the average finished cattle price to be $112 to $121. The mid-point of their forecast range is $116.50 per hundredweight, which is more consistent with current supply and demand expectations.

Clearly, wide swings in the cattle market over the past four years has made it difficult to establish benchmarks of what a high price, or a low price, for cattle should be. Cattle prices have lost their price reference points. Nevertheless, it should be remembered that it is the role of markets to "discover" the correct price over time.

The cattle industry has been through numerous shocks, including high feed prices and drought, in recent years. In trying to discover the right price, markets often have to overshoot and then undershoot as they continue to adjust in the search for the correct price. Finding the right price is not easy, yet markets are generally considered the most efficient way to find that elusive level. At the same time, we need to remember that the volatility implied in finding that right price has major financial consequences on participants in the entire beef chain, from cow-calf operations, to feedlot owners, to packers, to retailers.

Only 3 Days Left to Nominate Soy Grower Leaders for 2017 Lifetime Achievement Awards

The American Soybean Association (ASA) needs your help identifying outstanding grower leaders for the 2017 ASA award and recognition program. There are only three days left to submit a nomination! If you know someone who goes above and beyond for the soybean industry and amplifies truly outstanding leadership, we want to hear about it and recognize them for their hard work! Three major awards are presented:
    Lifetime Achievement Award – Association Focus
    Lifetime Achievement Award – Membership Focus
    Special Meritorious Service

Please consider submitting a nominee for one or all three categories. For more details, visit ASA’s website...  All nominations must be received no later than Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. If you have any questions, email Farris Haley at or call 1-800-688-7692 Ext. 1284. The awards will be presented at the ASA Awards Banquet on Friday, March 3, 2017 during Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas.

NCGA Seeks a Few Good Leaders for 2018 Corn Board

The National Corn Growers Association Nominating Committee reminds members it is currently accepting applications for the 2018 Corn Board.  Through the Corn Board, members can become an integral part of the organization's leadership.  Click here for the application, which provides complete information on requirements, responsibilities and deadlines.

"I have had the privilege of working with so many talented, dedicated volunteers who step forward to lead this organization during my years on the Corn Board," said NCGA Chairman and Nominating Committee Chair Chip Bowling. "Their willingness to step forward as volunteer leaders plays a crucial role in building NCGA's future successes. As a true grassroots organization, we rely upon farmers to volunteer to lead, helping to shape policy and drive efforts. Serving on the Corn Board empowers farmers to play a proactive role in determining the collective future of our industry."

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

Applications are due Friday, January 6. Nominated candidates will be introduced at the March 2017 Corn Congress meeting, held in conjunction with the Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas. Corn Board members will be elected at the July 2017 Corn Congress in Washington, D.C., and the new terms begin Oct. 1.

For more information, growers may contact Kathy Baker at NCGA's St. Louis office at (636) 733-9004. To find out more about the NCGA Nominating Committee, which reviews applications and shapes the election process, welcomes questions, conversations and inquiries from association members, click on the web site. 

The Andersons, Inc. Reports Third Quarter Results

The Andersons, Inc. (NASDAQ: ANDE) announces financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2016.
-    Company reports third quarter net income of $1.7 million, or $0.06 per diluted share
-    Grain Group turns in $1.9 million of pre-tax income after shedding underperforming assets and positioning itself to take advantage of improved crop conditions at harvest
-    Ethanol Group reports pre-tax earnings of $9.5 million, up from $5.9 million in the third quarter of 2015 on record production and a good margin environment
-    Plant Nutrient Group reduces pre-tax loss to $7.2 million as the Group navigates a difficult environment in the industry
-    Rail Group earns $6.8 million of pre-tax income as utilization rates soften

The Company reported net income attributable to The Andersons of $1.7 million for the third quarter of 2016, or $0.06 per diluted share, on revenues of $860 million. This represents a $2.9 million improvement compared to the net loss of $1.2 million in the same period in 2015, or ($0.04) per diluted share, on revenues of $909 million.

Year to date, the Company has produced net income attributable to The Andersons of $1.4 million or $0.05 per diluted share compared to the prior year when it generated $34.0 million, or $1.19 per diluted share.

"Conditions are improving for our Grain Group and margins are strong for the Ethanol Group, but challenges persist with our Plant Nutrient Group facing weak margins and our Rail Group continuing to experience softening in utilization," said CEO Pat Bowe.  "In this mixed environment, the team is making good progress on our $10 million cost reduction initiative and continuing to take action on the items within our control to combat uncertainty in some of our markets."

Monday November 7 Ag News


For the week ending November 6, 2016, above normal temperatures combined with dry conditions promoted fall harvest activities, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Temperatures averaged nine to twelve degrees above normal. Rain was limited to a few south central counties, with less than one-half inch received. Most of the harvest activities were focused on corn acres. There were 6.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 14 percent very short, 35 short, 50 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 12 percent very short, 29 short, 58 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 84 percent, equal to last year, and near the five-year average of 83.

Sorghum harvested was 91 percent, ahead of 80 last year and 84 average.

Soybeans harvested was 96 percent, near 98 last year and 99 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 10 poor, 33 fair, 49 good, and 6 excellent.

Alfalfa fourth cutting was 96 percent.

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 7 percent very poor, 12 poor, 29 fair, 48 good, and 4 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 14 short, 83 adequate, and 1 surplus.


 Despite 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending November 6, 2016, corn for grain and soybean harvest progress remains behind both the previous year and the five-year average, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. A wide variety of activities were performed during the week, including chopping and baling corn stalks, tillage, tiling, and manure and fertilizer applications. Corn for grain continued to be piled outside as storage becomes tighter.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 85 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus.

Eighty-six percent of the corn crop for grain has been harvested, 4 days behind last year and 1 day behind the five-year average. Moisture content of all corn for grain being harvested in Iowa dropped to 16 percent. Ninety-five percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, 1 week behind last year, and 5 days behind normal. Corn and soybean harvest in southwest and south central Iowa continues to lag behind the rest of the State.

Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 62 percent moderate to heavy. Off-farm grain storage availability was rated 69 percent adequate to surplus. On-farm grain storage availability was rated 62 percent adequate to surplus.

Livestock conditions were described as excellent with drier than normal feedlots for this time of year when compared to the previous 2 years.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Corn and soybean harvest are now both slightly ahead of the average pace, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report released Monday.  The nation's corn crop was 86% harvested as of Sunday, compared to 75% last week, 91% last year and an 85% average.  Meanwhile, 93% of the soybeans were harvested as of Sunday, compared to 87% last week, 94% last year and a 91% average. 

The winter wheat crop was 91% planted, even with a year ago and slightly below the five-year average of 92%. Seventy-nine percent of the crop had emerged, up from 78% a year ago and also above the five-year average of 78%.  Winter wheat condition held steady from the previous week at 58% good to excellent.

Cotton harvested was reported at 56% compared to 46% last week, 56% last year and a 60% average. Sorghum harvest was 84% complete, compared to 76% last week, 83% last year and a 78% average.

Soil Moisture Spurs Brazil Planting

Better conditions for early growth have Brazil soybean planting ahead of both last year and the five-year average.

Soybean planting in Brazil is off to a strong start. Brazilian agricultural consultancy Safras and Mercado reports that, as of Nov. 4, Brazilian farmers had finished 52.5% of their planting. This rate is more than 10% percentage points ahead of 2015's 42.3%, and is also ahead of the five-year average of 48.7%.

In Mato Grosso state, Brazil's most important soybean producer, planting was 82% finished, while in Parana state farmers had finished 73% of their planting work, planting work, according to Safras.

Forecast rain for Brazil calls for 1.5 to 3 inches in Mato Grosso and Goias during this week, and one-tenth to one-half inch in Rio Grande do Sul, Parana, and Mato Grosso do Sul. The lighter rains in southern Brazil will favor additional planting, while the heavier rains farther north will continue to support soil moisture recharge.


    The 2016 Market Journal Roadshow will focus on ag outlook and management decisions for Nebraska farmers and ranchers at four locations across the state from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2. The roadshow is in collaboration with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Department of Agricultural Economics' Cornhusker Outlook Series. There is no cost to attend.

    The roadshow will provide an opportunity to gather information on the current agricultural outlook and apply it to management decisions for 2017 and beyond, according to Brad Lubben, Nebraska Extension policy specialist and series organizer.

    "With lower commodity price prospects and profit potential right now, producers are looking closely at production, marketing and financial decisions to manage successfully in this challenging environment," Lubben said. "Our annual outlook series, combined with the focus and attention of the Market Journal television show, provides the right information at the right time to help producers analyze and make management decisions today to prepare and position operations for the year ahead."

Meeting locations are:
    > Kearney, Nov. 28, 1 to 4 p.m., Holiday Inn, 110 Second Ave.
    > Sidney, Nov. 29, 9 a.m. to noon MST, Country Inn and Suites, 664 Chase Blvd.
    > Norfolk, Dec. 1, 1 to 4 p.m., Lifelong Learning Center, 701 E. Benjamin Ave.
    > Lincoln, Dec. 2, 9 a.m. to noon, Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Drive.

    The roadshow is structured for a concise, fast-paced discussion of crop, livestock, policy, financial, weather and climate outlook with attention to production, management and marketing decisions for 2017.    

Presenters include:
    > Jay Parsons, Nebraska Extension economist, will draw on his expertise in risk management to incorporate the marketing, production, policy and financial discussion into risk-management decisions.
    > Tina Barrett, director of Nebraska Farm Business, Inc., will be the keynote speaker and discuss farm financial outlook and financial management decisions ahead for producers.
    > The Nebraska Department of Agriculture will present results and implications from a recent survey on farm finance conducted in partnership with the university's Department of Agricultural Economics.
    > Jeff Wilkerson, host of Market Journal, will convene an ag outlook panel featuring Cory Walters, Nebraska Extension crop economist; Lubben; and a livestock economist to be named. The panel will discuss the current price environment and market outlook for Nebraska crop and livestock producers as well as the policy outlook, with implications for production, marketing and risk management decisions in the year ahead.
    > Al Dutcher, Market Journal weatherman and Nebraska Extension agricultural climatologist, will discuss the weather and climate outlook.

    Pre-registration for the roadshow is requested. For more information and to register, visit


Today, Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach announced the selection of the members of the 2016-2017 Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC). The Council is comprised of Nebraska college students who have a passion for agriculture and who are committed to promoting the ag industry around the state. NDA sponsors NAYC and its activities throughout the year.

 “Agriculture is the number one industry in Nebraska offering a diverse and interesting range of career choices,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach. “These Council members will have many opportunities to talk with Nebraska’s youth about agriculture and all the careers available in the industry.”

 The NAYC is entering its 46th year with the installation of this group of Council members. Throughout the year, the Council coordinates several agricultural learning experiences for Nebraska youth including: visiting elementary classrooms to discuss where food comes from; taking urban youth to experience farms and what a day in the life of a farmer is like; and visiting with high school students from across the state. The primary focus of NAYC is to coordinate the annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute, a five-day summer conference for current high school juniors and seniors.

“NAYC members are the future leaders of our agricultural industry,” said Ibach. “I’m excited to see what these students can accomplish during their time on the Council.”

This year’s Council is comprised of 21 young men and women. The 2016-2017 NAYC leadership includes:
·         Head Counselors: Rebecca Cornelius, Madrid, and Maggie Louthan, Smithfield;
·         President: Rachel Ibach, Sumner;
·         Secretary: Amanda Kowalewski, Gothenburg;
·         Vice President of Promotions: Grant Suddarth, York;
·         Vice President of NAYI Development: Sarah Wollenburg, Beatrice;
·         Vice President of Communications and Social Media: Logan Kalkowski, Omaha;
·         Vice President of Sponsorship and Alumni Relations: Ryan Schroeder, Wisner;
·         Vice President of Youth Outreach: Hannah Borg, Wakefield; and
·         Vice President of NAYI Improvement: Hunter Schroeder, Howells.

Additional NAYC members include: Eric Leisy, Wisner; Kate Likens, Swanton; Brent Miller, Lyons; Matthew Morton, Nehawka; Brandon Nichols, Bridgeport; Jacob Schlick, Fairfield; Hannah Settje, Raymond; Kevin Sousek, Malmo; Landon Swedberg, North Platte; Collin Thompson, Eustis; and Grant Uehling, Uehling.

To learn more, visit the NAYI website at or search for Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute on Facebook.

Farmers & Ranchers College Returns Dec. 14 

David Kohl, agricultural economics professor emeritus at Virginia Tech University, will present the first of four programs in the 2016-17 Farmers and Ranchers College.

Kohl, who received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural economics from Cornell University, for 25 years was professor of agricultural finance and small business management and entrepreneurship in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech.

As facilitator of the United States Farm Financial Standards Task Force and member of the Canadian Agricultural Financial Standards Task Force, Kohl was a leader in establishing guidelines for the standardized reporting and analysis of agricultural producers' financial information on a national and international basis. Kohl's personal involvement with agriculture and interaction with key industry players have provided him with a unique perspective into the future trends of the agricultural industry and economy, insights he plans to share during his Dec. 14 presentation, Ag at the Crossroads.

2016-17 Farmers & Ranchers College Program Schedule

December 14 — Agriculture at the Crossroads with David Kohl, professor emeritus, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech University, at the Opera House in Bruning from 1-4 p.m.
January 31 — Partners In Progress Beef Seminar Cow/Calf College at the US Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center from 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Registration at 9:30 a.m.
February 22 — Managing for Difficult Times (Cutting Costs Without Cutting Yields) at Fillmore County Fairgrounds, Geneva from 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Registration at 9 a.m.
February 27 — Tips and Tricks for the Women of Agriculture at Lazy Horse Winery near Ohiowa. Registration at 5:45 p.m., followed by the program at 6 p.m.

The Farmers and Ranchers College was formed in January 2000 to provide high quality, dynamic, up-to-date educational workshops for agricultural producers in south central Nebraska through a collaborative effort among business, industry and higher education leaders. The programs provide tools to help agricultural producers respond positively to these changes using a profitable decision-making process.

Please note: Programs are free; however, preregistration for the January and February events is appreciated to provide for a meal count. Please call the Fillmore County Extension Office at (402) 759-3712 one week prior to the program to reserve your spot.

The Farmers and Ranchers College Committee consists of Fred Bruning of Bruning, Bryan Dohrman of Grafton, Sarah Miller of Carleton, Jennifer Engle of Fairmont, Ryne Norton of York, Jim Donovan of Geneva, Bryce Kassik of Geneva, Eric Kamler of Geneva, and Brandy VanDeWalle of Ohiowa.

USMEF Conference Concludes with Election of New Officers

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Strategic Planning Conference wrapped up Friday, Nov. 4 with the election of new officers. USMEF chairman for 2016-2017 is Bruce Schmoll, a soybean and corn producer from Claremont, Minnesota, where he lives with his wife, Tarrie. Schmoll is a past president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and for several years has represented the oilseed producing sector on the USMEF Executive Committee.

Schmoll has also served on his county planning and zoning board and on a township board of supervisors. He drew on that experience when addressing USMEF members, reminding them of the opposition and obstacles livestock producers often face when attempting to locate or expand hog production or cattle feeding facilities.

“I know what a devastating effect these proceedings can have on someone, so when we get a chance, we really need to support our livestock producers,” Schmoll said. “They’re trying to grow food for our country and for our international customers, so I just want to share these thoughts and hopefully build more appreciation for the people producing the red meat products that we export.”

Schmoll succeeds Roel Andriessen, Tyson Foods senior vice president for international sales, as USMEF chair. A longtime industry leader is promoting red meat exports, Andriessen has been active with USMEF since the mid-1980s.

Dennis Stiffler, Ph.D., is the new USMEF chair-elect. Stiffler recently retired as chief executive officer of Mountain States Rosen and has 30 years of livestock, meat industry and international marketing experience. He also spent 10 years at major universities involved in teaching, research and extension services.

Serving as USMEF vice chair is Iowa pork producer Conley Nelson, general manager of Smithfield Foods’ hog production division in the company’s five-state Midwest region. Nelson is a past president of the National Pork Board and operates a farm that has been in his family for more than 120 years.

The newest USMEF officer is Idaho cattle feeder Cevin Jones, serving as secretary-treasurer. Along with his brother and other family members, Jones operates Intermountain Beef, a custom feedlot. He is vice chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils, has served on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association board of directors and is a past winner of the Idaho Cattle Feeder of the Year Award.

“Exporting red meat is very important for us if we want to expand as livestock producers,” Jones said. “USMEF plays a major role in identifying, opening and developing markets for U.S. red meat, so I look forward to being involved as an officer. When you see the commitment by the stakeholders, the members of USMEF, along with the staff who does such a great job of promoting our products overseas, whether it’s beef or pork or lamb, you understand what makes this a successful organization.”

At its closing business session, the USMEF board of directors approved an update to the organization’s resolution on livestock traceability, which was originally adopted in 2011.

“The updated resolution doesn’t alter USMEF’s fundamental position or approach on traceability, but it better reflects the current trade environment,” Schmoll explained to members. “This resolution more accurately outlines our trading partners’ expectations in the event of an animal disease outbreak. It also eliminates references to the European Union and Japan, since traceability can potentially be an issue in any number of our international markets.”

September Results Show Strong Third Quarter for Red Meat Exports

September was another solid month for U.S. red meat exports, with pork, beef and lamb totals well above year-ago levels, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

September beef export volume was 101,224 metric tons (mt) – down slightly from August, but 27 percent above last September. Third-quarter volume was 307,383 mt, the largest since the fourth quarter of 2014. For January through September, export volume was 8 percent above last year’s pace at 848,930 mt. September export value was up 17 percent from a year ago to $533.3 million. For the first three quarters of 2016, export value was $4.54 billion, down 5 percent from a year ago.

Beef exports accounted for 13.5 percent of total beef production in September and 10 percent for muscle cuts only. January-September ratios were also 13.5 percent and 10 percent, up slightly from a year ago. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $256.98 in September, the first year-over-year increase (up 10 percent) of 2016. Through September, export value averaged $253 per head, down 10 percent from last year.

September pork export volume was 183,936 mt – also down slightly from August but up 7 percent from a year ago. For January through September, export volume was 5 percent above last year’s pace at 1.66 million mt. September export value was up 8 percent from a year ago to $491 million, while January-September export value was $4.27 billion, up 1 percent from the same period last year.

Exports accounted for 24 percent of total pork production in September and 20 percent for muscle cuts only. January-September ratios were 25 percent and 21 percent, up slightly from last year, mainly reflecting growth in variety meat exports to China/Hong Kong. Export value per head slaughtered averaged $48.29 in September, up 3 percent year-over-year. January-September export value was down slightly, averaging $49.24.

“Red meat exports continued to build positive momentum in September, and it couldn’t come at a better time,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “We have large supplies of pork and beef hitting the market and moving these higher volumes is certainly a challenge. But this is also presenting expanded opportunities in the international markets, as we are able to introduce new cuts and value-added products, and recapture market share from our key competitors.”

Seng noted that while the upward trend in export volume is encouraging, it is also critical that exports contribute to carcass value and deliver returns for the entire supply chain. For example, per-unit values for pork exports have trended higher since June, and chilled beef exports to Asia are performing exceptionally well this year.

September beef exports reach new milestones in Japan, Korea

September beef exports were led by tremendous year-over-year growth in Japan (22,882 mt, up 49 percent year-over-year) and South Korea (14,840 mt, up 75 percent). Export value in these markets also surged, up 32 percent in Japan ($132.1 million) and 83 percent in Korea ($86.6 million). Japan’s imports of U.S. chilled beef surpassed chilled imports from Australia for the first time ever in September, and based on preliminary October data Korea’s total beef imports from the U.S. also topped Australian beef. For January through September, U.S. beef exports to Japan were up 20 percent in volume to 193,457 mt and increased 11 percent in value to $1.12 billion. Exports to Korea were up 33 percent in volume (122,695 mt) and reached $715.5 million in value – up 17 percent from a year ago and on pace to exceed the 2014 full-year record of $847.4 million.

Other January-September highlights for U.S. beef exports include:

-    Strong September results pushed exports to Taiwan 12 percent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (30,064 mt) and up 2 percent in value ($245.6 million). The U.S. holds two-thirds of the chilled beef market in Taiwan, the highest share of any Asian market.
-    Despite a persistently weak peso, beef exports to Mexico were up 8 percent from a year ago to 174,667 mt, including a 10 percent increase in muscle cuts (90,724 mt). Export value to Mexico has trended lower this year, down 9 percent for total exports ($732.5 million) and 10 percent for muscle cuts ($538 million).
-    While January-September exports to Hong Kong were lower in both volume (74,945 mt, down 5 percent) and value ($452.5 million, down 20 percent), September was the second consecutive month of solid year-over-year growth. September exports totaled 9,715 mt (up 19 percent) valued at ($59.5 million, up 17 percent).
-    Fueled by strong growth in Indonesia and Vietnam, exports to the ASEAN region increased 18 percent to 17,797 mt, though value fell 5 percent to $97.4 million. Exports to Indonesia are well-positioned for a strong finish in 2016 following the recent easing of import restrictions in an effort to address the tight beef supply situation.

Strong momentum continues for pork exports to Mexico

After a somewhat slow first half of the year, pork exports to Mexico moved higher in August and continued to climb in September – posting the second-largest monthly volume on record (66,567 mt, up 14 percent from a year ago). September value to Mexico was $131.4 million, up 25 percent from a year ago and the highest since December 2014. For January through September, exports to Mexico pulled within 4 percent of last year’s record pace in volume (510,737 mt) and moved 1 percent higher in value ($939.7 million). USMEF’s efforts to bolster pork demand in Mexico continue to pay dividends, as per capita pork consumption has increased nearly 20 percent since 2011 and now exceeds 40 pounds per year.

Another positive factor for pork exports to Mexico has been the slowdown in shipments to China/Hong Kong, where the product mix tends to be similar. While still well above last year, September exports to China/Hong Kong (36,184 mt, up 26 percent) were down significantly from the May peak of 58,000 mt, reflecting a rebound in China’s domestic pork production. For January through September, exports to China/Hong Kong were up 70 percent from a year ago in volume (406,422 mt) and 57 percent higher in value ($787.3 million).

Other January-September highlights for U.S. pork exports include:

-    While pork exports to Japan were below last year’s pace in both volume (289,594 mt, down 8 percent) and value ($1.16 billion, down 5 percent), higher-value chilled exports remain on a record pace – climbing 10 percent from a year ago to 164,087 mt. During periods of large U.S. production, chilled exports to Japan provide an especially important outlet for loins and butts.
-    A rebound in Korea’s pork production led to a slow start for U.S. exports in 2016, but exports to Korea are poised for a strong finish as September results moved higher year-over-year for the second consecutive month. Compared to last year’s large totals, January-September exports to Korea were down 27 percent in volume (94,774 mt) and 33 percent in value ($252.1 million).
-    Exports to Colombia have slowed in 2016 (24,851 mt, down 22 percent, valued at $56 million, down 30 percent) due to a spike in domestic pork production and other headwinds, including the weak Colombian peso. But exports to Colombia rebounded in September, climbing 35 percent in volume (3,456 mt) and 29 percent in value ($8.2 million).
-    Pork exports to Central America cooled in September but remain well above last year’s pace in 2016, totaling 46,426 mt (up 16 percent) valued at $110 million (up 11 percent). Exports were higher year-over-year in mainstay markets Honduras and Guatemala and more than doubled to Nicaragua, as every Central American market except Belize is currently a top 20 volume destination for U.S. pork.

Lamb exports improve in September

September exports of U.S. lamb totaled 740 mt, up 19 percent from last year’s low volume, while export value was $1.68 million – up 26 percent from a year ago and matching the highest monthly value of 2016. Exports to leading market Mexico edged higher in September and it was also a strong month for exports to the Bahamas, Canada and the Philippines. For January through September, lamb exports were 3 percent below last year’s pace in volume (6,520 mt) and down 7 percent in value ($13.4 million).

BASF and FMC Corp Announce Agreement to Bring Next Generation of Crop Care to the Corn Furrow

BASF and FMC Corporation (NYSE:FMC) announced an agreement that brings novel in-furrow crop protection products to the U.S. corn market. The companies will integrate their market-leading insect and disease protection technologies into new products formulated with the convenient LFR® patented technology from FMC.

BASF and FMC will deliver unprecedented in-furrow insect and disease protection. These new products include market-leading active ingredients, the same technology found in Headline® fungicide and in FMC proprietary LFR formulations in Capture® LFR® Insecticide. The unique LFR technology is unmatched in its ability to mix readily with liquid fertilizers, provide consistent active ingredient distribution, and stay in suspension for uniform application from the first acre to the last.

“The LFR technology brings greater convenience, simplicity and dependability to our customers,” said Scott Stout, Corn Fungicide Products Manager, BASF. “FMC is a recognized liquid in-furrow leader, and our customers will benefit from our leading disease control and plant health fungicide with the best below-ground insect control and in-furrow insecticide formulation technology available.”

“The collaboration combines the core competencies of two market leaders. FMC is an in-furrow formulations technology leader and BASF is a fungicide active ingredient leader,” said Rick Ekins, fungicide and insecticide portfolio manager for FMC. “This alliance allows both companies to help our customers take yields and profits to the next level. In-furrow protection has never been so convenient or powerful.”

Companies to launch new products

Each company will offer new products as a result of the agreement. For 2017, BASF will launch Manticor™ LFR® In-Furrow Fungicide/Insecticide. FMC will launch Temitry™ LFR® Insecticide/Fungicide. EPA registration has been granted for both products.

According to Stout and Ekins, BASF and FMC are developing new solutions that will sustainably feed a growing world population.

“As an industry, we need new tools to push yield potential higher without using more of our natural resources,” said Stout. “These kinds of collaborations help us reach that goal.”

CoBank Reports Lower Incoming During Third Quarter

CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, announced financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of 2016. Net income for the third quarter decreased 2 percent to $231.7 million, compared to $235.8 million in the third quarter of 2015. For the first nine months of 2016, net income increased 3 percent, to $718.3 million.

The primary reason for the quarter-over-quarter decrease in net income was a $20 million provision for loan losses, compared to no provision taken in the same period last year. The third-quarter 2016 provision reflects a higher level of lending activity and deterioration in credit quality in the bank's Agribusiness operating segment. Net interest income for the third quarter was $334.0 million, a 6 percent increase compared to $315.2 million in the same period last year. For the first nine months of 2016, net interest income increased 8 percent to $1.017 billion, compared to $939.8 million in the prior-year period.

The increase in net interest income was primarily driven by higher average loan volume and increased earnings on balance sheet positioning, somewhat offset by lower overall spreads in the bank's loan and investment portfolios. Average loan volume rose 9 percent during the quarter to $90.9 billion, from $83.2 billion in the third quarter of 2015.

"CoBank continues to perform very well despite market conditions that remain challenging, including stresses in key sectors of the U.S. rural economy," said Bob Engel, CoBank's chief executive officer. "We are pleased with our results for the quarter, but our primary focus continues to be supporting our customers and ensuring they have access to the dependable credit and financial services they need to be successful."

At quarter-end, 0.75 percent of the bank's loans were classified as adverse assets, compared to 0.70 percent at December 31, 2015.

The bank's allowance for credit losses totaled $647.9 million at quarter-end, or 1.45 percent of non-guaranteed loans when loans to Farm Credit associations are excluded.

Friday November 04 Ag News

LENRD Hosts Flow Meter Installation Certification Training Dates

These training sessions are intended for individuals who would like to install their own flow meters.  Each training session listed below will certify an individual for that specific brand of flow meter only.
You need only attend the training session(s) that corresponds to the type of meter(s) that you plan to     install. An individual would need to attend each of the five training sessions to be certified to install     all five meters on the Lower Elkhorn NRD approved list.

Training Dates and Locations:
Date:  November 16th, 2016
Location:  Cuming County Courthouse Lower Level Meeting Room, West Point, NE 
RSVP:  No RSVP necessary for this site.

Date:  November 22nd, 2016
Location:  Village of Pilger Clerk’s Office, Pilger, NE
RSVP:  Space is limited at this site. Please RSVP to the LENRD at 402-371-7313

Date:  November 29th, 2016
Location:  Legion Lounge & Backroom Steakhouse, Pierce, NE
RSVP:  No RSVP necessary for this site.

Each Days Training Schedule:
Session 1:  9:00 am – 9:45 am     Senninger Flo-Wise Ag Rotor Sensor System
Session 2:  10:00 am - 11:00 am     McCrometer Propeller Flowmeters (All Models)
Session 3:  11:15 am – Noon      McCrometer McMag 3000 Magmeter
  - Lunch is on your own from Noon to 1:00pm
Session 4:  1:00 pm – 1:45 pm     Seametrics AG 2000 Series Magmeter
Session 5:  2:00 pm – 2:45 pm     Growsmart by Lindsay IM3000 Magnetic Flow Meter

Vilsack to keynote Iowa Farm Bureau's 98th Annual Meeting, showcasing Iowans who 'Believe, Lead, Achieve'

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will keynote the 98th gathering of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Dec. 6 and 7 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines.   The 2016 annual meeting theme, “Believe, Lead, Achieve,” acknowledges the accomplishments of farmers and rural Iowans and the many ways they embrace innovation to benefit all.

To mark the occasion, Governor Terry Branstad has declared Dec. 4-Dec. 10 as ‘Iowa Farm Bureau Week,’ honoring the unity and strength of the state’s 159,000-member farm organization.

“Believe, Lead, Achieve is our theme this year and it is a testament to IFBF’s impact in so many sectors of our state.  We are recognized around the world as Iowa’s largest grassroots farm organization, but our member-centric programs also are known for improving the lives of all Iowans.  We Lead and Achieve measurable success in areas that benefit all Iowans.  For example, this is the 10th anniversary of our Renew Rural Iowa program, which has mentored more than 3,000 Iowans and helped them start or grow their businesses, bringing more than $125 million in economic impact for rural Iowa,” says IFBF President Craig Hill.

“Today’s responsible farmers are always looking for ways to grow more, do more, try new things while reducing their impact on the land.  We are excited to showcase some of Iowa’s best and brightest farm families who are doing just that.  Our education seminars this year will focus on digital data use and access tools that help farmers manage Iowa’s variable weather.  We will also hear from conservation trail-blazers in a special educational seminar, and get encouragement to protect the state’s endangered species.  As a general farm organization, we uniquely focus on all these areas and so much more, and we know that ‘leading by example’ is a common value shared by our keynote speaker, Secretary Vilsack,” says Hill.

This year’s entertainment includes an evening Ice Cream Social for all members and special music by the Painchaud Family of Canada.

Members can register for the 2016 IFBF annual meeting at their county Farm Bureau offices.

In addition to showcasing important issues in nine educational seminars, the 98th annual IFBF meeting will also bring the state’s next generation of farm leaders to the stage December 6, to compete for the IFBF Young Farmer Discussion Meet title.  In addition to vying for the state title, the winner will also receive a John Deere X320 riding lawn mower, and the chance to advance to the national competition during the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Annual Convention, January 8-11, in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Pit Gases Pose a Danger in Beef Barns

Hydrogen sulfide gas is a serious issue both in and around barns with liquid manure storage. The decomposition of organic matter in manure results in the release of several gases: ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen sulfide among them. Most of the time these gases are emitted at low levels, but any time manure is being agitated or pumped, or the surface is disturbed, hydrogen sulfide can be rapidly released.

Although all are potentially dangerous, hydrogen sulfide tends to be the most concerning in these cases. Hydrogen sulfide has an intense rotten egg smell, so it is relatively easy to detect its presence, even in very low concentrations, but people quickly suffer olfactory fatigue and lose the ability to smell it. This makes it necessary to use analytical instruments to detect dangerous levels.
Consider monitoring equipment for safety

Hydrogen sulfide monitors can be purchased to help keep those working around manure safe. A monitor, which is small enough to wear, ranges in cost from $99 to $800 and will alert you if the situation is dangerous. There are numerous options available for monitoring hydrogen sulfide levels when working with manure. Below are links to five meters to consider. These meters typically have audible alarms that will sound an alert as dangerous concentrations develop.
-    Honeywell GasAlertMax XT II
-    BW Honeywell GasAlert Clip Extreme GA24XT-H
-    BW Honeywell GasAlert Micro Clip XL 4-Gas Monitor
-    Draeger Pac 3500 H2S Monitor
-    RAE Systems ToxiRAE II

Neither endorsement of companies, individuals or their services mentioned is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar companies, individuals or their services not mentioned.

Best tips for agitation

Hydrogen sulfide can spike quickly and without warning during pit pumping. This can result in hazardous concentrations for both the animals and the farm employees around the facility. Aggressive agitation can contribute to the risk of gas spikes when agitation first begins and when the pit becomes nearly empty. The manure agitation technique used can make a big difference in how much, and how quickly, hydrogen sulfide is off-gassed from the manure.

People should NEVER enter a building being pumped. Use yellow caution tape to mark barn entrances to block door or consider lockout tags during pumping. If possible, remove animals before pumping. For barns with multiple pits, move cattle out of the room with the pit being agitated.

Following are a few best practices regarding manure application.....

Agitation strategy

-    Don’t agitate until the manure level is 1.5 to 2 feet below the slats. Hydrogen sulfide is denser than air and as a result will tend to pool on the manure surface; sufficient separation is required to minimize hydrogen sulfide in the animal breathing zone.
-    Avoid aggressive agitation when animals are in the building (no rooster tailing). Surface agitation causes more turbulence and greatly increases the release of hydrogen sulfide.
-    Do not direct agitator nozzles toward pillars, walls or toward a corner. Pillars and walls stop flow quickly and cause the manure to churn, increasing the rate hydrogen sulfide is off gassed from the manure. Corners are often dead air zones; releases of hydrogen sulfide in this area are more likely to result in animal loss
-    Stop agitating when bottom nozzle is less than 6 inches below the manure surface. Keep the agitation below the surface at all times.
-    Avoid sudden changes in agitator depth and intensity. Quick changes can result in large amounts of solids that haven’t previously been agitated and result in rapid gas release. Slower changes in power, flow direction and depth allow for a slower, more continuous release that is safer for animals and workers.


-    Ventilation should be maximized during agitation.
-    Back-wall curtains should be completely opened to allow maximum air flow.
-    A cross wind (through the barn) of at least 7.5 mph is recommended. Wind velocity must maintain this speed and be directed through the barn. If the wind direction is at an angle to the barn, 10 mph wind speeds or greater are recommended.
-    Watch for changing weather conditions, as many times night air is more still than daytime air.
-    Warming air can help disperse hydrogen sulfide; cooling air causes it to settle and pool. As hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air, this can create dangerous conditions.
-    Consider using PTO driven fans to provide extra ventilation. If conditions are calm, use large, PTO driven fans to increase ventilation and air exchange.
-    If present, turn on stir fans in the barn. This moves air around and will decrease the chance of air “dead zones” where inadequate ventilation exists.

Consider adding pump out curtains (tarps) around the manure agitator to limit air exchange of hydrogen sulfide gas near the applicator. This curtain blocks some of the pit air from swirling back towards the pump operator.

Researchers at Kansas State University have identified a new swine circovirus

Its discovery is auspicious, as a related swine circovirus, porcine circovirus type 2, also known as PCV2, has had a devastating history in swine production. Associated diseases caused millions of dollars in losses globally in the 1900s and early 2000s.

The new circovirus discovered by Benjamin Hause and Rachel Palinski, who is with the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, along with collaborators at Kansas State University, Iowa State University and Smithfield Hog Production, is different from other known circoviruses.

"The Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory was sent samples from sows with signs of clinical disease typically caused by PCV2 infection; however, the samples were negative for PCV2," said Hause, an adjunct professor at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "Through further investigation, we identified an extremely novel, divergent new species of circovirus. We also performed polymerase chain reaction testing, or PCR, on random samples submitted to the lab to see how widespread this virus is in the U.S. swine herd. Twelve percent were positive for this new virus. We are hoping this is not the beginning of what could be a whole new epidemic of circovirus infections."

Palinski is a doctoral student in pathobiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The results of the discovery were published in the article "A novel porcine circovirus distantly related to known circoviruses is associated with porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome and reproductive failure," which appears in the November issue of the Journal of Virology, produced by the American Society for Microbiology.

Porcine circovirus type 2 was first identified in Canada in the mid-1990s during sporadic outbreaks of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome, or PWMS, where young pigs fail to thrive and progressively lose body condition.

“PCV2 caused sporadic disease at first, but then there were massive epidemics of PMWS in Asia and Europe, and in North America in the early 2000s," Hause said. "When I started working in the industry in 2005, this was about the height of this disease, and it literally killed millions and millions of pigs."

Hause said that vaccination for porcine circovirus type 2 has successfully controlled the disease, but that it remains to be one of the most significant viruses of swine.

"Now we have a novel porcine circovirus that is distantly related to known circoviruses and that has been identified in sows with porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome, or PDNS, and reproductive failure," Hause said. "Porcine circovirus 2, which has previously been associated with these clinical presentations, was not identified here. This virus is clearly not a variant of PCV2, but a novel virus in its own right."

Hause said after they discovered the new virus, they were able to check for its presence in archived samples.

"We detected porcine circovirus type 3 in aborted fetuses and in archival diagnostic cases of PDNS lesions that previously tested negative for PCV2," Hause said. "Given the high economic impact of PCV2, this novel circovirus warrants further studies to elucidate its significance and role in porcine circovirus associated disease."


A new regulation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) related to the pork carcass cutout took effect Oct. 31. The pork cutout is an estimated value for a hog carcass based on current wholesale prices paid for sub-primal pork cuts. AMS added muscle cuts (insides, outsides and knuckles) to the ham primal as a way to more accurately reflect today’s marketing environment and to capture more product to be included in the weighted average calculation. According to analysis from AMS, the “enhanced” cutout is expected to lower the overall carcass cutout value by an average of $1.41. Producers who utilize the cutout calculations for pricing should keep that in mind when negotiating contracts with packers.

USDA Expands Working-Lands Conservation Opportunities through CRP

Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer a new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands practice specifically tailored for small-scale livestock grazing operations. Small livestock operations with 100 or fewer head of grazing dairy cows (or the equivalent) can submit applications to enroll up to 200 acres of grasslands per farm. USDA’s goal is to enroll up to 200,000 acres.

“For 30 years, lands in the Conservation Reserve Program have contributed to soil and water protection and wildlife and pollinator habitat, while playing a significant role in mitigating climate change,” said Taylor. “CRP Grasslands recognizes the conservation value of well-managed, working grazing lands and pasturelands. This new opportunity for small livestock operations, like the dairy farms or small beef farms common in Pennsylvania, will help ensure that livestock operations of varying scales and across the country have an opportunity to achieve environmental and economic benefits.  Small livestock operations are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency office to learn more about this program.”

Taylor also announced that the current CRP Grassland ranking period will end on Nov. 10, 2016. To date, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has received nearly 5,000 offers covering over 1 million acres for this CRP working-lands conservation program. These offers are predominantly larger acreage ranchland in Western states.

The new practice for small-scale livestock grazers aims, in part, to encourage greater diversity geographically and in types of livestock operation. This opportunity will close on Dec. 16, 2016. Offers selected this fiscal year will be enrolled into CRP Grasslands beginning Oct. 1, 2017.

Participants in CRP Grasslands establish or maintain long-term, resource-conserving grasses and other plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. CRP Grasslands participants can use the land for livestock production (e.g. grazing or producing hay), while following their conservation and grazing plans in order to maintain the cover. A goal of CRP Grasslands is to minimize conversion of grasslands either to row crops or to non-agricultural uses. Participants can receive annual payments of up to 75 percent of the grazing value of the land and up to 50 percent to fund cover or practices like cross-fencing to support rotational grazing or improving pasture cover to benefit pollinators or other wildlife.

USDA will select offers for enrollment based on six ranking factors: (1) current and future use, (2) new farmer/rancher or underserved producer involvement, (3) maximum grassland preservation, (4) vegetative cover, (5) environmental factors and (6) pollinator habitat. Offers for the second ranking period also will be considered from producers who submitted offers for the first ranking period but were not accepted, as well as from new offers submitted through Dec. 16.

“Adding a working-lands conservation program to the toolbox is an exciting opportunity for the future of CRP,” said Taylor. “There also are ways that CRP Grasslands could be combined with other traditional CRP conservation practices, such as riparian buffers on the same farm, to create a package that can help keep small livestock operations in production. An example of such a package would be to dedicate the most sensitive land to conservation, while still maintaining the bulk of the area as working grasslands for livestock. USDA would provide cost-share assistance to help farmers install fencing and provide alternative water sources to livestock, as well as annual CRP payments to help the farm's bottom-line.”

In May, FSA accepted 101,000 acres in the grasslands program, with more than 70 percent of the acres having diverse native grasslands under threat of conversion, and more than 97 percent of the acres having a new, veteran or underserved farmer or rancher as a primary producer.

Small livestock operations or other farming and ranching operations interested in participating in CRP Grasslands should contact their local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit To learn more about FSA’s conservation programs, visit


National Pork Producers Council Vice President of Global Government Affairs Nick Giordano and NPPC Deputy Director of International Trade Maria Zieba this week traveled to Argentina to promote market access for U.S. pork, meeting with U.S. and Argentine government officials, importers and Argentine pork producers, among others. The United States and Argentina are working toward closer commercial ties, a move that would bode well for the U.S. pork industry.

NPPC continues to look for opportunities to expand exports in Latin America, and, among the non-FTA partner nations there, Argentina presents the best opportunity for expanding U.S. pork exports.

NPPC already has been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in negotiating an export certificate with Argentina that would open that country’s market to more U.S. pork. Compared with other nations in the Southern Hemisphere, Argentina has a high per capita income and a large population, and it has experienced a very significant increase in pork consumption over the past 10 years, with future increases expected.

NPPC this week submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture comments on the agency’s proposed plan for responding to emerging animal diseases. Being developed by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Veterinary Services (VS), the plan is supposed to outline efforts by VS, states and the livestock industry to respond to new and emerging diseases in ways to minimizing their economic impact.

In its comments, NPPC suggested that the proposed plan’s top-down decision making be modified to be more inclusive of the states and the livestock industry. The organization also expressed concern about a lack of incentive for producers to report suspicions of a disease given that doing so could result in an order to stop movement of animals or to depopulate a herd without compensation.

NPPC suggested that USDA seek new authority to pay indemnity to producers in such situations. It also recommended that the agency seek new resources to implement the disease response plan so that funds won’t be taken from existing USDA programs. Recognizing that industry-specific plans may be developed, NPPC urged USDA to consider adopting the emerging diseases response plan already developed by the pork industry.

US Ethanol Exports Up 59% From Year Ago; Biodiesel - DDGs Down

The U.S. Census Bureau said Friday that exports of goods and services in September totaled $189.2 billion, up $1.0 billion from the previous month. Imports totaled $225.6 billion, down $3.0 billion from the previous month. Later, USDA provided more details for exports of ethanol, biodiesel and distillers grains.

USDA said that U.S. exports of ethanol totaled 99.6 million gallons in September, up 59% from a year ago. Canada was the top customer in September, accounting for 28% of all exports and followed by Brazil and China. Year-to-date ethanol exports in 2016 are up 13% from a year ago.

U.S. exports of biodiesel totaled 21,145 metric tons in September, down 25% from a year ago. Canada was again the top customer for biodiesel exports in September, taking 75% of all exports. In the first nine months of 2016, U.S. biodiesel exports are up 3% from a year ago.

U.S. exports of distillers grains totaled 990,971 metric tons in September, down 14% from a year ago. China's purchases of distillers grains from the U.S. are down 62% in the first nine months of 2016, but China was again the top customer in September, accounting for 17% of total exports. So far in 2016, U.S. exports of distillers grains are down 12% from a year ago. Friday's report again confirmed this year's weaker export demand and was slightly bearish for distillers grains, Hultman said.

Nominations Open for Trade Advisory Committees

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Office of the United States Trade Representative, is accepting nominations for new members to serve on its agricultural trade advisory committees. Nominations received by Nov. 18 will be considered for the next round of appointments.

"USDA and USTR rely on the agricultural trade advisory committees to provide significant insight into trade issues for the United States. Hearing the diverse views of our agricultural experts helps us formulate trade strategy and keep American exports growing," Vilsack said. "Committee members serve an invaluable role to help enact trade agreements and trade policies that benefit America's farmers, ranchers and rural America."

Members of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) advise USDA and USTR on operating existing U.S. trade agreements, on negotiating new agreements and on other trade policy matters. Members of the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees (ATACs) represent specific commodity sectors and provide technical advice and guidance on trade issues that affect both domestic and foreign production.

Committee members represent a cross-section of U.S. food and agricultural stakeholders and must have knowledge of agriculture and trade matters. Committee members, who serve four-year terms, must be U.S. citizens, qualify for a security clearance, and serve without compensation for time, travel or expenses. The committees generally meet in Washington, D.C., at least twice a year.

Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 18. Nominations received after that date will be considered for future appointments as appropriate to maintain staggered terms. All nomination materials should be mailed in a single, complete package to: Thomas Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-1001, Attn: APAC/ATACs. Courtesy electronic copies of the nomination materials should be sent to

China's Soybean Imports Expected to Hit Record in 2016-17

China's soybean imports are expected to hit a record of 86 million metric tons in year ended September 30 as a result of a recovery in Chinese swine production, growth in the overall poultry sector, and expected higher domestic demand for industry feed and protein meal, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a note. "However, the growth rate of soybean imports slowed due to a forecast recovery in domestic soybean production and China's sale of oilseed and oilseed product reserves." It does note that forecast lower imports of distiller grains, as a result of China's implementation of anti-dumping duties, "may increase demand for soybean meal and could thus support continued growth in soybean imports."

Thursday November 3 Ag News

Foley,  Ibach Load First Boxes of Nebraska Beef Headed to Israel

Today, Lt. Governor Mike Foley and Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director (NDA) Greg Ibach were in Hastings, Nebraska to help load a shipment of beef headed to Israel. It was announced in February that WR Reserve, a beef processing company in Hastings, had been approved by the Israeli government as a source for kosher beef for import.

“Currently, WR Reserve is the only Israeli-approved kosher beef facility in the U.S.,” said Lt. Governor Foley. “As a result, the company is planning a $4.5 million expansion that will add approximately 100 jobs to the Hastings area.”

This will be the first shipment of beef from the United States to Israel since the announcement that a 13-year old ban on U.S. beef imports was being lifted. The ban was put in place after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was confirmed in Washington State in 2003.

“Nebraska is continuing to be looked at as a primary source of high-quality beef products by countries around the world,” said Director Ibach. “WR Reserve should be commended for meeting all the necessary requirements to get their Hastings facility approved. Having these additional exports shipped to an international market like Israel helps to support farmers and ranchers in the region.”

According to United States Department of Agriculture data, $433 million of beef products were imported by Israel in 2015, with more than 90 percent of those imports coming from South America and the rest from Europe.

Fischer Celebrates First Shipment of NE Beef to Israel

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) today released the following statement celebrating the first shipment of U.S. beef to Israel in 13 years. The shipment came from WR Reserve, a beef processing plant located in Hastings, Nebraska.

“Nebraska’s world-class beef is officially on its way to Israel for the first time in 13 years. I was proud to work closely with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, USDA, and our ambassador in Israel to broker this historic agreement. It’s a big win for the Beef State and the people of Israel. Nebraskans feed the world and re-opening this market increases opportunities for our state’s ag producers, communities, and economy.”

In December 2003, Israel banned beef imports from the United States due to a confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Washington state. Senator Fischer played an instrumental role in lifting this ban.

During a visit by Senator Fischer to Israel last fall, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro asked her to work with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to bring Nebraska beef to Israel. Senator Fischer worked collaboratively with USDA and officials from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture to lift the ban on U.S. beef imports.

 CHS posts fiscal 2016 earnings of $424.2 million

CHS Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSCP), the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, today announced earnings for fiscal 2016 of $424.2 million.

CHS net income for fiscal 2016 (Sept. 1, 2015 – Aug. 31, 2016) of $424.2 million was down 46 percent from $781.0 million for fiscal 2015, reflecting lower pre-tax earnings within the company's Energy and Ag segments, as well as its Corporate and Other category. Lower pre-tax earnings within these two segments were partly offset by increased pretax earnings in its Foods segment, and seven months of earnings from its Nitrogen Production segment which was created by the February 2016 strategic investment CHS made in CF Industries Nitrogen, LLC (CF Nitrogen). These results reflect the continued economic down cycle in the company's core energy and agriculture businesses, as well as the impact of one-time events.

"Like others in our core businesses of agriculture and energy, the ongoing global downturn continued to affect both our earnings and revenues in fiscal 2016," said Carl Casale, CHS president and chief executive officer. "Meeting the long-term needs of our owners and customers remains our priority as we continue to take prudent actions to ensure the company remains financially sound and positioned for future opportunities."

Revenues for the fiscal year were $30.3 billion, down 12 percent from $34.6 billion for fiscal 2015, primarily due to lower prices for the commodity energy, grains and fertilizer products that comprise much of the company's business.

"As fiscal 2017 unfolds, CHS will sustain its focus on its financial and operational priorities. This includes always putting safety first and taking mindful steps to maintain balance sheet strength and profitability," Casale added. "We'll continue to manage expenses and staffing prudently, while making investments in necessary maintenance and essential operational upgrades and ensuring assets deliver appropriate levels of return."

Year-over-year pre-tax earnings for the CHS Energy segment declined 49 percent to $275.4 million for the year ended Aug. 31, 2016, primarily due to significantly lower refining margins for the company's two refineries. Earnings for the company's transportation business also declined. Record performance by CHS propane business for fiscal 2016 was significantly ahead of fiscal 2015 which included reduced crop drying and winter heating demand. The CHS lubricants business also reported record earnings for a second consecutive year.

CHS reports results for its agricultural inputs, grain marketing, local retail and processing businesses under the Ag segment. The company recorded fiscal 2016 Ag earnings before taxes of $30.9 million, down 79 percent from fiscal 2015, a year in which results included a $116.5 million one-time impairment charge resulting from its decision to cease planned development of a nitrogen fertilizer plant at Spiritwood, N.D.

Within the Ag segment, earnings for the company's Country Operations local retail businesses declined primarily due to lower grain margins. This was partially offset by higher grain volumes in fiscal 2016 compared with fiscal 2015. Lower margins also contributed to a decline in earnings for the CHS wholesale crop nutrients business. CHS grain marketing earnings also decreased in fiscal 2016, primarily due to lower margins which were partially offset by higher volumes. CHS Processing and Food Ingredients saw lower year-over-year earnings for fiscal 2016, primarily due to costs associated with the sale and impairment of assets, along with a specific customer receivable and, to a lesser extent, lower soybean crushing margins. The company's renewable fuels marketing and production operations also declined from fiscal 2016 as a result of lower ethanol market prices, also partially offset by increased volumes.

CHS recorded fiscal 2016 income before taxes of $34.1 million, net of allocated expenses, from its February 2016 investment in CF Nitrogen reported in the company's Nitrogen Production segment. In addition, CHS recorded fiscal 2016 pre-tax earnings of $64.8 million, net of allocated expenses, for its ownership in Ventura Foods, LLC, under its Foods segment; these results had previously been reported under the Corporate and Other heading. Within the Corporate and Other category, CHS reported slightly higher earnings for fiscal 2016 for its business services operations, including the company's insurance, risk management and financing businesses, while year-over-year income from its ownership in the Ardent Mills, LLC, wheat milling joint venture declined.

In fiscal 2016, based on fiscal 2015 earnings, CHS returned $515.7 million to its owners as cash patronage, equity redemptions, preferred stock and dividends on preferred stock to its owners. Based on fiscal 2016 results, the company expects to return about $337 million to owners during fiscal 2017.

 Smith Signs Letter to Secretary Lew Opposing New Death Tax Regulations

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) joined 23 fellow House Ways and Means Committee members in sending a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew today to urge the Treasury Department to withdraw newly proposed regulations which would increase the Death Tax burden on family-owned businesses.

“The Death Tax poses a significant threat to Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and small business owners.  They take pride in their hard work, and many want their children and grandchildren to continue it.  Unfortunately, new regulations proposed by the Obama administration would make it even more difficult for these family-owned businesses to survive through the generations.  If we want to grow opportunity in America, the endless roll of red tape must be stopped.”

Smith is also a cosponsor of H.R. 1105, the Death Tax Repeal Act.  The House passed H.R. 1105 last year.

NFU Defends Family Farmers Against Proposed Rule Change to Estate Tax

National Farmers Union (NFU) submitted comments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) urging that a proposed rule change for the taxable value of assets be amended to consider family farmers and ranchers.

The law currently provides meaningful relief for family farmers to transfer their farm operations to the next generation through provisions that account for several variations in asset valuation. However, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced in August a regulatory proposal that would remove this provision for all taxpayers without consideration for the unique challenges that farm families face.

“As most businessmen and women consider retirement, farm operators 65 and older make up the fastest growing segment of the farming population. Succession planning is an important aspect of any farm business. It’s essential that our tax laws provide the necessary provisions to ensure farm families can pass on their operations to the next generation without being forced to sell valuable farm land,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

NFU has long advocated for an effective estate tax with reasonable limitations, Johnson explained. The concern is that “the new proposed regulation will go as far as to deny family farmers essential discounts currently afforded through lawful provisions in the tax code.”

“A majority of a farm’s value comes from real estate, which for farmers, is not viewed as a saleable asset. We are concerned that the changes within the proposed regulation would deny essential discounts to family farms and significantly increase taxes on the transfer of family farms, threatening the ability to keep the operation intact,” he added.

According to the Department of Treasury, the regulations will not take effect until public comments are carefully considered and then 30 days after the regulations are finalized. NFU is requesting the final regulations differentiate family farmers and ranchers from other economic categories considered under this rule.

“Treating family farmers, looking to responsibly transfer their operations, as wealthy individuals using aggressive tax strategies to artificially lower their asset value to avoid paying higher taxes is an unfair representation of family agriculture. I hope the Department of Treasury will take responsible action and consider family farmers and ranchers in their final rule,” Johnson concluded.

USDA Awards $4.3 Million to Ensure Access to Needed Veterinary Services in Rural Communities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today awarded more than $4.3 million to 48 American veterinarians to help repay a portion of their veterinary school loans in return for serving in areas lacking sufficient veterinary resources critical to America's food safety, food security, and to the health and well-being of animals and humans. The awards, made through NIFA's Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), will fill shortage needs in 27 states.

"Veterinarians play a critical role in keeping our nation's food supply safe and animals healthy," said NIFA director Sonny Ramaswamy. "The need for veterinarians in designated shortage areas is urgent. This loan repayment assistance program provides incentives for students to take up rural veterinary practices and help take care of American livestock."

Studies indicate there are significant shortages of food animal veterinarians in certain areas of the nation and in high-priority specialty sectors that require advanced training, such as food safety, epidemiology, diagnostic medicine and public health. A leading cause for this shortage is the high cost of professional veterinary medical training that leaves current graduates of veterinary colleges with, on average, student loan debt of more than $135,000.

New award recipients commit to practice at least three years in a designated veterinary shortage area. Loan repayment benefits are limited to payments of the principal and interest on government and commercial educational loans received for attendance at an American Veterinary Medical Association-accredited college of veterinary medicine resulting in a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree or the equivalent.

This is the fourth year NIFA has made renewal awards through VMLRP. Previous awardees that still owe at least $15,000 in educational loans are eligible to apply again, though renewal is not automatic and applications are subject to the same competitive review process as new applications.

In 2016, NIFA received 187 applications and made 48 awards totaling $4,391,144 in benefits. These include 38 new awards totaling $3,563,989 and 10 renewal awards totaling $827,155. New veterinarians who received degrees within the last three years account for 47.4 percent of new loan recipients.

Participants are required to serve in one of three types of shortage situations. Type 1 shortage areas are private practices dedicated to food animal medicine at least 80 percent of the award recipient's time. Type 2 shortages are private practices in rural areas dedicated to food animal veterinary services at least 30 percent of the time. Type 3 shortage areas are dedicated to public practice and awardees must commit at least 49 percent of their time. The new VMLRP awards include 11 Type 1 awards, 32 Type 2 awards and five Type 3 awards.

FSA County Committee Elections to Begin; Producers to Receive Ballots Week of Nov. 7

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the 2016 FSA County Committee elections on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. Producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 5, 2016, to ensure their vote is counted.

“Producers elected to FSA county committees play a vital role in local agricultural decisions,” said Dolcini. “Their contributions are essential to the daily operation of nearly 2,200 offices across the country. It is a valued partnership that helps us better understand the needs of the farmers and ranchers we serve.”

Nearly 7,700 FSA County Committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. County committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, and emergency programs and eligibility.

Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. Approximately 1.5 million producers currently are eligible to vote. Farmers and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote.

Farmers and ranchers will begin receiving their ballots the week of Nov. 7. Ballots include the names of candidates running for the local committee election. FSA has modified the ballot, making it easily identifiable and less likely to be overlooked. Voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week can pick one up at their local FSA offices. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 5, 2016. Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2017.

For more information, visit the FSA website at You also may contact your local USDA Service Center or FSA office. Visit to find an FSA office near you.

Participation Needed in Farm Bill Survey

As the 2018 Farm Bill quickly approaches, the American Soybean Association (ASA) is conducting a survey of producers in states represented by ASA state soybean affiliates on key issues that are likely to be considered by Congress during the process of farm bill negotiations.

The survey results will be collected and summarized in time for discussion at ASA’s Board of Directors meeting in St. Louis on Dec. 7. Additionally, results will provide guidance to the ASA Governing Committee and our Farm Bill Working Group as we begin to discuss farm bill issues with the new Administration, members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and returning and new members of Congress in January.

The survey will close on Nov. 25, 2016. Please click here to access the survey...

U.S. Sorghum Export Sales Reach Historic Levels

Demand from the export market reached historic levels this week with 16 million bushels of sorghum sold since last Wednesday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service's Nov. 3 report. This is one of the highest recorded export sales of sorghum in one week.

Two months into the 2016/2017 marketing year, sorghum export commitments have reached 58 million bushels, representing 20 percent of USDA’s 2017 export projections. China is leading sorghum purchases with 40 million bushels—70 percent of total U.S. grain sorghum exports. Meanwhile Mexico has committed to 4 million bushels for the current marketing year followed by Japan. Additional export customers include Canada, Indonesia, South Korea and Nigeria.

"These sales continue to reflect China’s need for high quality feed ingredients," said Florentino Lopez, Sorghum Checkoff executive director. "Maintaining and continuing to enhance and develop marketplaces is critical to helping farmers maximize their profit potential, and the Sorghum Checkoff and U.S. Grains Council remain engaged in current and future markets like China."

Doubts About The Times Article on GMOs

The October 29 New York Times article "Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops" uses loaded language to paint an inaccurate, bleak picture of agricultural biotechnology. Yet, the article itself attempts to make this case in a non-transparent manner that, given the lack of background data provided and analytic reasoning, does not support its own claims.

The National Corn Growers Association recognizes that U.S. farmers make the best possible choices for their businesses and the environment using all available data. The fact that our nation's more than 300,000 farmers have adopted GMO technology on more than 90 percent of their corn acres demonstrates the effectiveness they see in their fields every day. In putting forth that there is no "discernible advantage in yields" provided by GMOs, the author ignores the important role biotech crops played in preserving yield in the face of environmental challenges, such as those seen in the United States in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Farmers, on the other hand, recognize the incredible importance of yield preservation given the innate sensitivity of their livelihood to weather-related events well beyond their control.

In the instance of yield analysis, the author chooses for reasons not provided to use rapeseed data. Yet, when moving on to pesticide claims, he switches without explanation to corn data. Without providing rationale, he blurs the picture and raises doubt about his intentions and the data.

In the section addressing pesticide use, the metrics put forth in the comparison of pesticide usage rates in the United States and France do not give an accurate depiction of how these chemicals are used in each country. The author only includes data for the total usage for two countries with a vastly different amount of land under cultivation, which only demonstrates that U.S. farms use more inputs on a much greater overall area. A better comparison is usage rates per acre or hectare.

Despite citing the National Academies Genetically Engineered Crop Report in his conclusions on yield gains, the author fails to heed the report's admonition not to simply publish data in terms of total pesticide use or use per hectare. Publishing this type of data without also including insights into the human or environmental risks of the pesticide used misleads readers. Surely we can agree that the toxicity of chemicals is more important than the total amount used, but the NYT omits this information.

Farmers care deeply about the soil, water and air. They not only share these precious resources with their urban and suburban neighbors, they rely upon them year after year. This connection to the land makes us keenly aware of the environmental benefits of adopting biotechnology. From decreasing soil erosion by 67 percent between 1980 and 2011 to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent in that period, biotechnology has played an important role in facilitating environmental improvements throughout the agricultural industry.

America's family farmers strive to continuously improve the viability and sustainability of their farms, and GMO crops are one of many important tools that help them to do so. In choosing to manipulate data on a safe, proven technology, the author puts sensationalism before journalistic duty.

Farm Bureau Scores Big with Keynote Speakers

Peyton and Archie Manning will keynote the 2017 AFBF Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show closing general session on Monday, Jan. 9 in Phoenix.

A future Hall of Fame quarterback, Peyton embodies what it means to be a professional athlete in this day and age, making a lasting impact both on and off the field. He has championed numerous charitable organizations and foundations to further his positive impact on the community, including the PeyBack Foundation, which he founded in an effort to help underprivileged youth in Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana and Tennessee. The two-time Super Bowl champ quarterbacked for the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos after completing his college career at the University of Tennessee.

"In some of his recent television commercials, the NFL retiree seems to be embracing his football retirement, so we're glad to be able to give him something additional to look forward to," said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. "Peyton Manning is a model of success, with a strong work ethic and proven track record of helping others. We look forward to hearing from him about the importance of teamwork and a good game plan. We think the sports star will feel right at home with the superstars of American agriculture."

A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Archie enjoyed an impressive college football career at the University of Mississippi that included leading his team to the national championship game, finishing top-four in Heisman Trophy voting twice and twice being named to the All-SEC team. Drafted with the second overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft, Archie continued his illustrious football career with the New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings. Archie has continued to excel post-football, serving as a broadcaster, restaurateur, endorser, founder of the Manning Passing Academy and philanthropist. In everything he does, Archie remains grounded and true to his "hard work means everything" mentality.

"Our annual convention is like a reunion for agriculture and the Farm Bureau Family," added Duvall, "so we're excited that father and son Archie and Peyton will join us and share some of their family's stories with us."

Join us in Phoenix to hear Peyton and Archie Manning! Register today at

USDA Dairy Products September 2016 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 981 million pounds, 1.6 percent above September 2015 but 1.8 percent below August 2016.  Italian type cheese production totaled 421 million pounds, 4.4 percent above September 2015 but 0.9 percent below August 2016.  American type cheese production totaled 378 million pounds, 0.3 percent below September 2015 and 2.9 percent below August 2016.  Butter production was 133 million pounds, 0.4 percent below September 2015 but 2.3 percent above August 2016.

Dry milk powders (comparisons with September 2015)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 126 million pounds, up 4.7 percent.
Skim milk powders - 38.4 million pounds, up 43.3 percent.

Whey products (comparisons with September 2015)
Dry whey, total - 74.5 million pounds, down 6.0 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 91.5 million pounds, up 7.5 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 34.2 million pounds, down 8.7 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons with September 2015)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 62.2 million gallons, down 4.9 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 34.1 million gallons, down 3.8 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 3.23 million gallons, down 5.2 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 5.12 million gallons, down 9.7 percent.

Zoetis Reports Boost in Quarterly Income

Zoetis Inc. reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2016 and updated its guidance for full year 2016 and 2017. The company reported revenue of $1.2 billion for the third quarter of 2016, an increase of 2% compared with the third quarter of 2015. Net income for the third quarter of 2016 was $239 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, an increase of 26% to both on a reported basis.

Adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2016 was $258 million, or $0.52 per diluted share, an increase of 2% and 4%, respectively. Adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2016 excludes the net impact of $19 million for purchase accounting adjustments, acquisition-related costs and certain significant items.

On an operational basis, revenue for the third quarter of 2016 increased 4%, excluding the impact of foreign currency. Adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2016 increased 6% operationally, excluding the impact of foreign currency.

Zidua PRO herbicide offers soybean growers another option for 2017

Soybean growers now have an additional tool to control weeds in 2017. BASF’s Zidua® PRO (Premium Residual Option) herbicide is a new broad-spectrum product with powerful burndown and residual control that helps growers address the issue of weed resistance. After receiving U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration earlier this year, Zidua PRO herbicide is now in market and available for purchase.

“Zidua PRO herbicide combines three sites of action for consistent control of tough weeds with built-in resistance management,” said Daniel Waldstein, Technical Marketing Manager, BASF. “As a contact burndown and residual pre-emergent, Zidua PRO herbicide helps growers keep fields clean from contact to canopy.”

Zidua PRO herbicide helps provide residual control up to 14 days longer than competitive group 15 herbicides when applied at full rate. Longer residual control means more time to make post-emergent applications, helping growers spray when weeds are less than four inches tall.

Zidua PRO herbicide enters the market during a critical time for soybean growers. With site of action resistance on the rise, a comprehensive approach to weed management offers the best solution to the agriculture community. Zidua PRO herbicide pairs with post-emergent herbicides, containing additional sites of action to effectively control otherwise detrimental weeds and protect against resistance. Currently pending U.S. EPA registration, BASF’s Engenia™ herbicide is a complementary innovation — and the most flexible and advanced formulation of dicamba from BASF for use in dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton.

“The pre-emergent residual component of Zidua PRO herbicide provides an effective starting point for season-long control of weeds like Palmer amaranth, waterhemp and marestail,” said Waldstein. “Following up post-emergence with the optimum program, which includes Engenia herbicide after registration, will bring total sites of action up to five. This will help sustain these new chemistries for future generations.”

Zidua PRO herbicide is offered in a single, premix formulation, making handling easier and reducing inventory needs for retailers and growers. It also offers greater planting flexibility with a zero-day planting interval on most soil types. The product label contains details on each soil type.

Wednesday November 02 Ag News

Federation of State Beef Councils Earmarks $940,000 for New International, National Beef Demand-Building Efforts

Facing low cattle prices and increasing supplies of beef, and with strong encouragement from its state beef council partners, the Federation of State Beef Councils at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association will invest nearly $1 million of reserve funds in international and national beef promotions to increase demand for beef.

The Federation Executive Committee voted for this additional spending at an NCBA Executive Committee meeting Nov. 1. The $940,000 investment, from Federation reserves, will be spent in the following areas:

·         $260,000 to the U.S. Meat Export Federation for a promotion with national retail chains in Japan. The promotion is expected to move an additional 6.9 million pounds of beef;
·         $140,000 to the U.S. Meat Export Federation for regional retail promotion campaigns in Japan. The promotion could move another 2.75 million pounds of beef;
·         $200,000 to the U.S. Meat Export Federation for a Korean beef promotion with national retail and second tier discount chains. The effort is expected to incrementally move about 5.8 million pounds of beef;
·         $40,000 to the U.S. Meat Export Federation for an Asian island promotion targeting a quickly-growing tourist destination which has growth opportunities for beef; and
·         $300,000 to NCBA, for an Ibotta promotion that targets millennials in larger cities and encourages greater beef purchases in retail stores. Ibotta is a smartphone app that shares beef information with consumers, then allows them to obtain cash rebates based on their retail beef purchases.

According to Steve Hanson, a beef producer from Elsie, Neb., and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils, the Federation Executive Committee moved quickly to approve these additional investments. He said the Federation intends to add a spark to beef demand at a time when producers are feeling a squeeze in their own bottom lines.

“Our state beef council partners communicated to national leadership the importance of using every opportunity to use checkoff resources to build demand in the face of cattle market challenges,” Hanson said. “In both the international and national beef markets, our producer leaders identified these new investments as a chance to quickly and directly make a difference in beef demand.”

Lt. Governor, Director of Agriculture to Help Load First Shipment of Beef to Israel

On Thursday, Lt. Governor Mike Foley will visit WR Reserve in Hastings to congratulate the company on sending the first shipment of US beef to Israel in 13 years and discuss the company’s expansion plans.

The Lt. Governor will be joined by Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach, Fischel Ziegelheim with WR Reserve and Dave Rippe the Executive Director of the Hastings Economic Development Corporation.

The Lt. Governor and others will deliver brief remarks before loading the first boxes of beef bound for Israel.  This event will be held between 11:00am and 11:30am on Thursday, November 3rd, at WR Reserve in Hastings, NE. 

Nebraska Beef in Europe

Governor Pete Ricketts

You’ve probably heard the slogan: “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner… in Nebraska.”  From world-class packing plants in Omaha to ranches which span as far as the eye can see throughout the Sandhills, beef is our state’s largest industry.  There are few things better than eating a (very!) rare steak at the Peppermill in Valentine or Plainsman Steakhouse in Juniata.

Increasingly, our beef isn’t just being served for dinner in Nebraska, but also around the world.  In 2006, Nebraska beef accounted for less than four percent of all beef exported from the United States.  In the first six months of 2016, Nebraska beef has risen to over 18 percent of U.S. beef exports.

These successes didn’t happen by accident.  They’ve happened because Nebraskans have worked together to grow opportunities for our quality beef products over the past decade.  Since 2005, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has worked in partnership with the Nebraska Beef Council on a focused effort to grow beef exports internationally.  For decades, Nebraska Governors have been leading overseas trade missions to establish new relationships and expand existing ones as well as hosting overseas diplomats and investors here in our state.

In the first two years of my administration, we have built upon this tradition.  Last year, I led overseas trade missions to the European Union (EU) and Asia.  Next week, I will be leading a trade mission to China, Hong Kong, and Macau with 80 individuals, one of the largest trade delegations the state has ever had.  Trade mission attendees include representatives from Nebraska businesses, the University of Nebraska, and farmers and ranchers.  As Nebraska’s fourth largest trading partner, China presents many opportunities because of its growing middle class.  For example, a growing middle class will demand more high quality food products.  During the trade mission, we will be promoting Nebraska’s commodities, meeting with potential investors, and working to establish new partnerships.

In addition to the trade missions I personally lead, my agencies also spearhead additional missions throughout the year.  Just a couple of weeks ago, Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach returned from a trip to the European Union where he followed up on our trade mission from last year, and promoted Nebraska beef.  He was joined by representatives from the Nebraska Beef Council, Greater Omaha Packing Company, and the University of Nebraska.  During visits to England, Germany, France, and Spain, the delegation promoted Nebraska commodities as well as signed agreements with businesses and organizations to feature and promote beef from Nebraska.

Continued commitment to developing trade opportunities has resulted in a huge increase in market share for Nebraska beef in the European Union.  In 2005, the U.S. exported $36.3 million worth of beef to the EU, and Nebraska’s share of the market was only five percent valued at $1.8 million.  In 2015, the U.S. exported $315.4 million worth of beef to the EU, and Nebraska’s market share grew to 45.2 percent valued at $142.7 million.

Continued success will require continued commitment.  As I travel to China next week, I look forward to sharing with you some of the success stories about the trade mission, and to highlight some of the individuals and companies that will be joining us to promote Nebraska.  If you have thoughts you would like to share about Nebraska’s trade relationships or partnerships, I hope you’ll write me at or call my office at 402-471-2244.  Working together, we can continue to grow Nebraska!

2016 Silver Eagle Award Honors Doug Gibson

Nebraska Farm Bureau has selected former Chief Administrator Doug Gibson of Lincoln, as the 2016 recipient of its highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. The award will be presented to Gibson on Dec. 6 at the 2016 Nebraska Farm Bureau Convention in Kearney.

Doug Gibson had a 39-year career at Farm Bureau, with 11 years working in public relations at the Wyoming Farm Bureau and the next 28-years in Nebraska as the Chief Administrator of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

“Doug has been a strong advocate for Nebraska farmers and ranchers and has always been very humble, working behind the scenes at Nebraska Farm Bureau, and never taking credit for many of his accomplishments,” Steve Nelson, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau said Nov. 1.

One of the most important successes Doug undertook was how to find ag friendly candidates for elected positions. “Doug created and promoted the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation Political Action Committee (NFBF-PAC), something that still exists today. It is extremely important to find people to run for office who understand the importance of agriculture and have an appreciation for the role farmers and ranchers play in not just providing food, but also in supporting our local, state and national economies,” Nelson said.

During his tenure as chief administrator, membership in the organization more than doubled. He elevated policy work in the areas of water, taxes and western issues and promoted the organization as being on the leading edge of technology, Nelson said.

Gibson was instrumental in establishing Farm Bureau leaders as spokesmen for agriculture. He worked hard to offer agriculture news to statewide reporters, making Nebraska Farm Bureau the go-to place for important agricultural issues. Agriculture and certainly Nebraska Farm Bureau is stronger because of Gibson’s vision. He is an eternal optimist and would always say “to win on issues, we must be as passionate as our opponents. We cannot expect different results from only doing the same things,” Nelson quoted.

“Doug is extremely worthy of receiving Nebraska Farm Bureau’s highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. We thank him for his service to Nebraska Farm Bureau and elevating Nebraska agriculture and the farmers and ranchers who make up our Nebraska Farm Bureau family,” Nelson said.

Doug has been known for his volunteer work in agriculture outside of Farm Bureau. That included past service on the Nebraska 4-H Foundation, Nebraska Vocational Agriculture Foundation and the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council boards of directors. He also served on the NEBRASKAland Foundation board as secretary and was originally appointed to bring someone with an agricultural perspective to that organization. Since retirement he has served as the secretary of Agriculture Builders of Nebraska.

He is a Pine Bluffs, Wyoming native who earned a journalism degree from the University of Wyoming. He served in the U.S. Army for three years, including one in Vietnam. Doug and his wife, Margaret -- a farm girl from Wyoming's Big Horn Basin -- have three sons, Joel, Colin, and Ian, as well as five grandchildren. 


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, in association with Virginia Cooperative Extension, Southern Extension Risk Management Education, and USDA, is pleased to announce its risk assessment workshop from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Dec. 8 and 9, 2016, at Mussehl Hall, University of Nebraska-Lincoln–East Campus, in Lincoln, Neb.

Special guest speaker is Virginia Tech. Dairy Management Extension Specialist Dr. Gonzalo Ferreira.

This workshop is designed for dairy owners, managers, and financial personnel, to get hands-on analysis and real-time decision-making exercises as it pertains to making better business decisions. The format of the workshop will include a host of introductory presentations on various subjects, peer farmers group discussions, and presentations of resulting decisions.

“The Risk Assessment Workshop is a great opportunity for new producers and the young leaders on the dairy farm to learn about budgeting, cash flow analysis, calculating cost per hundred weight, and determining the cost to run their dairy,” Kim Clark, UNL Dairy Extension Educator, said.

“The workshop will provide hands-on training, and participants will leave with spreadsheets and information to use on their farm immediately as they make financial decisions.”

Topics to discuss include:
1.     Developing Dairy Business Strategic Plans
2.     The Importance and Analysis of Balance Sheets
3.     Cash-flow and Budgeting in the Dairy Enterprise
4.     Break-even Cost and Sensitivity
5.     Transition Planning
6.     Importance of Key Financial Indicators in the Dairy Business
7.     Analysis of Investments
8.     Analysis of Different Production Systems:
     a.      Confinement vs. Grazing
     b.     Conventional vs. Organic
9.     Analysis of Investment for Purchasing Milk Commission Base
10.  Analysis of the Expansion Process

You are encouraged to bring your laptop, but one can be provided, if indicated at time of registration.

You may register online at

Space is limited to 30 participants. Registration deadline is Dec. 4. A $50 registration fee per person includes refreshments, meals, and materials. Please note that evening meals and hotel arrangements are on your own.

For more information, contact Kim Clark at 402-472-6065 or email We look forward to seeing you at the Risk Assessment Workshop in December.

Nebraska Farmers Union 103rd Annual Convention Agenda Highlights Announced
Ramada Inn, Columbus, December 9-10th

“Stewards of the Future” is the theme for the 103rd annual Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) state convention.  John Hansen, NeFU President said, “We are back in Columbus for the first time since 1989.  We hope this location will encourage more of our northeast and eastern Nebraska members to attend.  In addition to our delegates and members electing our officers, selecting our delegates to the NFU Convention, and setting our policy, this year’s state convention is focused on how prepare for the future of family farm and ranch agriculture.  Like most good stewards, we want to leave our organization and family farm agriculture better than we found it.”

Hansen said this year’s convention “Brings some of the top state, regional, and national USDA officials to Columbus as we look for opportunities to support our efforts increase the resiliency of our soils, ways to deal with a changing climate, enhance our rural communities, and support our farmers and ranchers with available farm programs, especially during this time of great financial stress in agriculture.  We will have experts in cover crops, UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), renewable energy, and state policy issues including property tax relief.

Friday morning highlights include:

·         Dwight Lane, Manager of KTIC Radio West Point;
·         Maxine Moul, State Director of USDA Rural Development
·         Noon luncheon Keynote speaker will be Dr. Jerry Hatfield, USDA National Laboratory Director for Agriculture and the Environment and Director of the USDA Midwest Climate Hub:  “Soil is the Foundation of Climate Resilient Agriculture”.   Also speaking at noon will be Jeff Downing, General Manager of the Midwest Agency, LLP;
Friday afternoon speakers include:

·         Larry Mitchell, USDA GIPSA Administration on Market Reform Issues
·         Dan Steinkruger, Executive Director, USDA Nebraska Farm Service Agency
·         Nebraska State FSA Committee Panel Discussion
·         Richard Ferguson, UNL Department of Agronomy on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle’s ag potential.

The Friday evening banquet keynote speaker will be NFU Historian Tom Giessel who will remind us of the value and need for farm organizations, especially in times of financial crisis.

Saturday morning highlights will include:

·         A “Big Red Worms, LLC Project Report” from Jeremiah Picard and John Hansen.
·         Del Ficke, Green Acres Cover Crops Dryland Research Manager will speak on “Uncovering the Upside Potential and Uses for Cover Crops.”
·         A panel of State Senators will discuss issues likely to be in play in the 2017 Legislature.

The Saturday noon Luncheon will feature Zack Clark, NFU Government Affairs Representative who will provide a National Farmers Union issues report and President Hansen’s State of the Union presentation.

Registration costs are $35 and begin at 8:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday mornings.  Convention begins at 9:00 a.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. Saturday.  As always, all members and the public is always welcome.  More information is available at: or call (402) 476-8815.  

Iowa Corn Hosts Korean Ethanol Importers

A U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team from South Korea including ten oil and ethanol industry representatives visited the offices of Iowa Corn today after touring the POET ethanol plant in Emmetsburg this morning. The team, arranged in conjunction with the U.S. embassy in Seoul, is in the United States to learn more about ethanol production and its use as they work to develop a plan to begin blending ethanol in their county’s fuel nationwide.

U.S. ethanol exports to Korea increased from 55 million gallons over two years to a record 60 million gallons in 2015. Korea now accounts for 7 percent of all U.S. ethanol exports per the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA’s FAS) figures, which is remarkable considering it was barely on the radar as export destination for the U.S. in 2013.

According to the FAS, more than 90 percent of these shipments in 2015 were intended for fuel use, a significant change from previous years when more non-fuel ethanol for industrial uses was shipped mostly from Brazil. South Korea has not yet set an ethanol blending program, but there is interest to do so given its high dependency on crude oil imports and interest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The country consumes about 3 billion gallons of gasoline per year. A roadmap has been set by the Ministry of Environment to begin distributing E3 and E10 in selected cities this year, and E10 nationwide by 2035.

“While Korea’s current fuel requirements don’t specifically call for the use of ethanol, we believe that through market development programs such as trade teams and in country engagement, we can develop Korean interest for U.S. ethanol and create demand for it as a fuel source,” said USGC Director in Korea Haksoo Kim.

Another key factor in the development of the South Korean market is their building of infrastructure to begin distilling imported fuel-grade ethanol into their own higher non-fuel ethanol. This type of ethanol, used to make industrial solvents, is typically higher priced and requires additional processing. This move would put Korean ethanol distillers in the driver’s seat allowing them to refine only the amount of high-quality ethanol they need while selling the rest to other countries in the regional, maximizing their profits. As the lowest priced source of ethanol in the world, the U.S. stands poised to gain this additional market share. 

Korea is just one market in which the U.S. ethanol industry partners are engaged. Programs are also ongoing in Mexico, China, India, Japan, Peru and the Philippines, with more to come in 2017.

U.S. Meat Export Federation Celebrates 40th Anniversary

U.S. Meat Export Federation members are gathered in Carlsbad, California, this week to mark the organization's 40th anniversary and conduct its annual strategic planning conference.

USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng notes that while these are very difficult times for producers, USMEF members remain focused on how red meat exports can help ensure a brighter future for U.S. agriculture.

Seng adds that transportation issues are also a key focus of this week’s conference, which includes an address by James McKenna, president and CEO of the Pacific Maritime Association.

McKenna will discuss the measures being taken to keep U.S. West Coast ports efficient and competitive, as well as current shipping issues of concern to exporters, such as the recent bankruptcy filing by Hanjin Shipping.

Innovative, Creative County Farm Bureau Programs Honored

Thirty-four county Farm Bureaus nationwide were recognized by the American Farm Bureau Federation for innovative program ideas in this year’s County Activities of Excellence Awards program. The winners will be highlighted during AFBF’s 98th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show, Jan. 6-11, 2017, in Phoenix.

The CAE program acknowledges and shares successful county Farm Bureau programs and activities. The awards are based on county Farm Bureau membership. Counties compete for recognition in five different groups. Those groups are county Farm Bureaus with membership of less than 1,000 members, 1,001-3,000 members, 3,001-5,000 members, more than 5,001 members, and for collaborative multi-county activities regardless of membership size.

This year’s CAE award winners come from 11 states: California, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. 

Among the winners recognized in the 5,001+ Members category was the Antique Tractor & Car Show, Lancaster County, Nebraska. 

“It’s a pleasure to recognize the outstanding efforts of grassroots Farm Bureau members who join at the county level,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Members are the heart and soul of Farm Bureau. It’s encouraging to see the creative ways they reach out in their communities to share information about today’s food and farming.”

Fertilizer Prices Continue to Slump

Average retail prices for most fertilizers continued to fall in the final week of October, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN. Seven of the eight of the major fertilizers slipped 3% or less compared to a month earlier, but all remain significantly lower than a year ago.

On a national average basis, anhydrous settled at $472 per ton, 10-34-0 at $452 per ton, UAN32 at $262 per ton, MAP $451 per ton, DAP at $436/ton, potash at $313/ton, urea at $317/ton and UAN28 at $224/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.34/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, UAN28 $0.40/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers remain lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are double digits lower.

Both DAP and MAP are now down 20%, 10-34-0 has dropped by 23%, while UAN32 is down 21%. Urea is 22% less expensive, UAN28 is 23% less expensive, anhydrous is 26% lower and potash is 27% less expensive compared to the previous year.

Substantial Seasonal Beef Price Weakness Through Fall

Stephen R Koontz, Ag & Resource Econ., Colorado State University

We are a little better than halfway through getting this fall's calf crop marketed and the seasonal weakness in prices has been an eye-opener.  I have spoken to producers that sold calves in October who received close to zero basis for 4-5 weight animals.  This was $15-25/cwt weaker than expected.  A review of USDA AMS price reported for feeder cattle revealed these sales were small loads, in smaller regional Colorado markets, and were not all that common - but neither were these transactions unique occurrences.  There were more than a few very cheap calves changing hands this fall and not just in Colorado.  (And after listening to a fair bit of how bad all those buyers were I was able to determine these specific animals had minimal to no value-added services.  Vaccinations pay.)

There appear to be a number of producers that have delayed marketing.  Inexpensive, and lower quality, hay is relatively plentiful.  And the mild fall weather has further encouraged this activity.  The light feedlot placements seen in this month's USDA Cattle on Feed report was not all that surprising to me after the fact.  There are some clear economic incentives to do something else with feeder cattle - and calves especially - this fall other than take them to market.  While some the traditional marketing activities may have been delayed this fall, I am anticipating this will result in higher than normal placements for the remainder of this year and into next.

While calves, feeder cattle, and fed cattle have all seen very weak prices this fall the lower prices in the downstream beef product prices are translating into very effective product movement.  Strong packer and retailer margins are encouraging that.  Packers may make money in almost every month this year offsetting a terrible 2015.  And while I have read newspaper stories that downstream firms are not liking cheaper food product costs, I cannot believe that's the situation when the retailer looks at the beef in the meat case.  Saturday slaughter volumes have been substantial most of this year and well into fall compared to last and the prior five years.  And while cold storage volume of beef did increase sharply in September, that volume is similar to prior year and reasonable with the volume of beef being processed.  The market moves into lower prices I believe have over done it - similar to the extent the market over reacted during the expansion years of 2013-14 - and these lower prices are what it takes to move the volume of beef we have along with the higher volumes of other proteins.  The third quarter retail beef demand index - found on K-State's website - shows a better than 5% decline relative to the prior year but a modest softening relative to the prior quarter.  This decline in demand does help explain the much lower beef product prices.  In the context of doing cattle market outlook, I have spoken most of this year that worst was over and there would not be more of the same from 2014-15 seen in 2016.  The fall has not played out in any reassuring way.

So what to the technicals say?  Down trends remain in place for the nearby and next deferred live cattle and feeder cattle contracts.  The technicals remain long-term bearish.  All markets have rallied sharply through the last two weeks of October.  But that was following the larger sharp moves down through the end of September and first half of October.  Retracements are to be expected.  The sharp down moves broke support planes and are bearish signals in addition to the down trend.  I am looking forward to - in some future ITCM release - being able to talk about support being established in live and feeder cattle markets either in charts for specific contract or in the longer term weekly charts.

Groups Urge Court To Nix Waters of the U.S. Rule

The National Pork Producers Council yesterday joined dozens of other agricultural organizations, businesses and municipalities in asking a federal court to throw out a Clean Water Act rule that would give the government broad jurisdiction over land and water.

The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which took effect Aug. 28, 2015, was proposed in April 2014 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clarify the agencies’ authority over various waters. That jurisdiction – based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions – had included “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. But the regulation broadened that to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati last October issued a stay on implementation of the regulation until disposition of numerous lawsuits against it. Those suits were consolidated in the 6th Circuit, where NPPC and the other groups now are arguing that: the agencies promulgated the WOTUS rule without following federal rulemaking procedures; the regulation is arbitrary and capricious or contrary to law; and the agencies exceeded their authority under the Clean Water Act and the U.S. Constitution.

“The WOTUS rule is vague, overbroad and fails to let regulated parties know when their conduct violates the law,” said NPPC President John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Iowa. “We all want clean water, but this regulation is just a big land grab that promotes growth in the size of government and allows activists to extort and micromanage all kinds of farming and business activities.”

While it could be more than several months before the court renders a decision in the case, in issuing the stay last October, it found there was a substantial likelihood that in writing the WOTUS rule EPA and the Corps of Engineers failed to comply with the Supreme Court’s instructions in previous Clean Water Act cases and that the agencies’ actions in the rulemaking process were “facially suspect.”

On the latter point, the groups in their brief to the court said EPA and the Corps of Engineers failed to reopen the public comment period after making fundamental changes to the proposed rule and withheld until after the comment period closed the scientific report on which the rule rested. The agencies also refused to conduct required economic and environmental analyses, engaged in a propaganda campaign to promote the rule and rebuke its critics and illegally lobbied against congressional efforts to stop implementation of the rule.

Government and Industry Groups Ask Court to Overturn EPA Water Rule

The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with dozens of agricultural, business and municipal entities, today asked a federal court to vacate the EPA's and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' "Waters of the United States" rule. The brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit lays out in detail the substance of the groups' allegations. It follows a year of litigation over which court had jurisdiction to hear challenges to the expansive and unlawful rule.

The coalition's brief explains how EPA flouted important procedural safeguards designed to ensure a fair and thoughtful rulemaking process. EPA tactics included withholding key documents until after the public comment period had closed, ignoring and ridiculing critical public comments and issuing illegal "covert propaganda" in an effort to generate superficial public support for the rule.

"EPA set out to achieve a predetermined outcome and then manipulated the public notice-and-comment process to achieve that outcome," AFBF General Counsel Ellen Steen said. "It treated the rulemaking process like a game to be won instead of a deliberative process for developing lawful and reasonable regulations."

The brief also explains how the rule violates the limits of the Clean Water Act and the Constitution. Petitioners show how the rule relies on vague definitions that allow agency enforcers to regulate land features that look nothing like "navigable waters" and provides no fair notice to the public of what features are covered. In determining whether a low area where rainwater flows across a field is a "tributary," the brief explains: "Regulators can reach any outcome they please, and regulated entities cannot know the outcome until they are already exposed to criminal liability, including crushing fines." The brief asks that the rule be struck in its entirety.

USDA Begins National Project to Quantify Effects of Ag Conservation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is contacting 16,300 farmers and ranchers now through March to take part in a national survey that will more accurately measure the environmental benefits associated with implementation and installation of conservation practices on agricultural land. The results of the National Resources Inventory Conservation Effects Assessment Project (NRI-CEAP) survey will help further develop the science-based solutions for managing the agricultural landscape to improve environmental quality.

“The survey gives farmers and ranchers the power to provide a more complete and accurate picture of the conservation practices on their operations,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “If contacted, I encourage farmers and ranchers to participate. Their collective responses can directly benefit themselves and all producers by helping leaders focus on what producers need to install conservation practices that are best for their operations environmentally and financially.”

The results of the survey will demonstrate the work of America’s farmers to conserve natural resources while producing the food, fuel and fiber the world requires, participating farmers and ranchers support our cause for continued science-based conservation programs that protect natural resources while supporting farm-related jobs. Survey results will guide USDA conservation policy and program development and help conservationists, farmers and ranchers more efficiently and effectively conserve natural resources.

In addition to helping determine the effectiveness of existing conservation practices, NRI-CEAP analysis provides estimates of resources farmers may need to further protect the soil, water and related resources. Additional information about CEAP is available at the Conservation Effects Assessment Project survey web page.

NASS conducts the NRI-CEAP survey under a cooperative agreement with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRI-CEAP results help determine not only the effectiveness of existing conservation practices but also what resources farmers may need to further protect the soil, water and related resources in selected watersheds and to document on-farm conservation accomplishments.

For example, a recent CEAP report for the Western Lake Erie Basin shows voluntary conservation is making significant headway in reducing nutrient and sediment loss from farms and that there is opportunity to improve conservation management across the basin with no single conservation solution meeting the needs of every field and farm. That report informed the development of the new Western Lake Erie Basin Initiative, which helps support farmers’ efforts to improve water quality in the region.

NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified, as required by Federal law. Participants’ responses cannot be used for the purposes of taxation, investigation or regulation (Title 7, U.S. Code, and CIPSEA, Public Law 107-347).

 Land O’Lakes, Inc. Announces 2016 Third Quarter Results Farmer-owned cooperative reports year-to-date net earnings up 31 percent over 2015

Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced third quarter financial results, reporting quarterly net earnings of $8 million on sales of $2.8 billion for the period ending September 30, 2016. Year-to-date net sales totaled just under $10 billion with net earnings of $246 million, 31 percent above year-to-date results for the same period in 2015.

“Despite a continued challenging environment, our core businesses exceeded expectations by delivering strong year-over-year growth and performance,” stated Chris Policinski, Land O’Lakes, Inc. president and CEO. “Our farmer-owned business has a unique perspective on the entire food chain, from farm to fork. This view, coupled with a strong balance sheet, enabled our current business units to thrive despite a tough landscape, and prompted the creation of our new sustainability business unit. Now, more than ever, we can deliver meaningful products and sustainability solutions for the farmer, customers, consumers and partners.”

During the third quarter, Land O’Lakes, Inc. announced the formation of a new business unit Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN. SUSTAIN will focus on helping to ensure sustainable crop production by delivering insights, products and services, enhancing sustainability within the Dairy Foods and Feed businesses and partnering with other entities (including government) to improve efficiency and collaboration on conservation and sustainability programs.

The Animal Feed portfolio continued its strong performance during 2016, particularly within Nutra Blend, Milk Replacer and the Lifestyle segment, driven by strong margins and growth in most business segments.

Third quarter results for Dairy Foods, including the LAND O LAKES brand, benefitted from continued strong volumes in Foodservice. Overall performance was up year-over-year due in part to less volatile milk powder markets.

Results in Crop Inputs continue to reflect the addition of United Suppliers, Inc.’s seed and crop protection business. In the third quarter, the business saw strong performance in the midst of a compressed and competitive environment driven by seed volumes in corn, alfalfa and in vended products.

Tuesday November 1 Ag News

NeSA and NeCGA Annual Meetings December 1st

The Annual meetings of the Nebraska Soybean Association and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association will be held on Thursday, December 1st 2016 at the Innovation Campus in Lincoln.  The campus  is located on the  former State Fair grounds

Registration and coffee will open at 8:00 am followed by the individual annual resolutions meetings for each organization starting at 8:30 am. 

Following the individual organizations meetings, a joint lunch will be served.         
Keynote luncheon speaker Jenny Hopkinson, Ag reporter for POLITICO of Washington DC. will  present the “Outlook for Agriculture Policy and the Post Election Impact”.   

The program will conclude with a presentation on the Innovation Campus offerings and a tour of the campus and greenhouse research facility

NE Soy Assoc To Elect 3 To Board

Plan now to participate and be engaged in the grassroots activities of developing policy resolutions for the upcoming year at the NE Soybean Assoc. annual meeting on December 1, 2016 at the Innovation Campus (old state fair park)  in Lincoln, NE.    
During the  annual meeting District Director elections  will be held.  Elections will be held for the following Districts.   District 1 representing the counties of Dixon, Dakota, Thurston, Wayne, Stanton, Cuming, Burt , Dodge and Washington. Brent Svoboda is eligible for re-election in District 1.   District 4 Butler, Boone, Colfax, Hamilton, Merrick, Nance, Platte, Polk, Seward and York  counties. Current District 4 director Geoff Ruth will term out. One At-Large director, Scott Richert will also term out and one At-Large director Craig Frenzen of Fullerton is eligible for re-election.    

Individuals  interested in serving as a NSA director must be an actual producer of soybeans, and live or farm in one of the counties represented in the District and be a current member of the NE Soybean Association. You must be willing to be involved in the legislative and policy  development process and  be engaged with membership recruitment.  

If you would like more information on  the director responsibilities or to submit your name for consideration, contact Lori Luebbe in the NSA office at 402-441-3239 or email to 

Policy resolution ideas can be submitted to your district director for consideration or contact the NSA office.

Adding Value to Market Cows (Cull Cows)

Steve Tonn, NE Extension Educator, Washington County

The sale of market cows (culls cows) on average will represent 15 to 30 percent of the yearly gross revenues of cow-calf operations in the U.S.  Informed marketing rather than simply selling, can add income to your operation.  Ron Gill, Texas A&M Extension Livestock Specialist, says “A good management goal is to pay your costs with your calf crop and derive your profits from cow sales.”  If you start thinking about your cow sales that way, the conditions that add value to those market cows become much more important.

Market cow prices generally follow a consistent seasonal pattern.  Prices are normally the lowest in November, December and January, and highest in March, April and May.  Prices during the summer months are typically near the average for the year.  Cows sold in the spring typically bring 10-20 % more than cows sold in the fall.  Any strategy that can be implemented to market cull cows outside of this seasonal price trend in the fall can help to improve revenue.

Several strategies can be used to market cull cows at more beneficial times.  Spring calving cows that lose their calves early should be marketed (assuming they are destined for market) as soon as possible to take advantage of high spring prices.  Cows that have been early weaned should also be marketed in August and September before the fall drop in prices.  Cows that can be fed for a period of time can increase final weight, improve dressing percent and quality grade and be sold for higher prices.  Finally, re-breeding open cows to sell as replacements for a fall calving cowherd.

National beef audits have generally shown that cull cows, bulls and cull dairy cows make up to 20% of the beef available for consumption in the U.S.  About half of this – or 10% of the beef supply – come from cull beef cows.  Beef from market cows is widely used in the retail and food service sectors in a variety of product forms, not all of which is ground beef.

There are four classes of market cows.  The classes are divided primarily on fatness.  The classes from fattest to thinnest are – Breakers (BCS 7 or greater); Boners or Boning Utility (BCS 5-7); Leans (BCS 1-4); and Lights (BCS 1-4 & < 500 lb. carcasses).  Keeping aware of the price differentials in these classes is vital marketing information.  The USDA market news service provides price reports on the four classes of market cows.  Market cows that can be fed enough to gain body condition to improve from the Lean or Light class to Boner can gain weight and gain in value per pound at the same time.

Selecting the “right kind” of cows to feed is crucial to the success of the program.  First and foremost, market cows should be sound and healthy and in thin to moderate condition.  Cows that are unsound or injured should be marketed directly to a packer.  Cows need to be able to walk on their own to be taken to a packing plant.  Non – ambulatory cows or “downers” are not eligible for slaughter for human consumption.

Market cows must be fed an energy dense diet.  Research data from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and South Dakota State University indicates that cows can gain from 2.5 to 3.3 pounds per day, depending on the length of feeding period and the ration fed.  Normally the shorter the feeding period, the higher the average daily gain will be.  For most cows to improve one USDA quality grade they would need to be fed from 60 to 100 days.  If fed over 100 to 110 days, feed efficiency and rate of gain declines.  Implanting, using ionophores and feeding MGA at recommended levels will help to maximize gains.  Rations do not need to be complex.  Grazing corn residues can also be a viable option for adding weight to market cows.  While there is added profit potential for feeding market cows, the margin is tight and even small increases in feed costs or decreases in market price will reduce the profit potential.  Completing an enterprise budget is the best tool to analyze the profit potential.  The University of Minnesota and Oklahoma State Beef Extension have developed cull cow calculators (spreadsheets) to help you analyze your feeding options.

Another option to consider depending on cost and availability of feed resources is to re-breed open cows and sell them as bred cows for fall calving cow herds.  When deciding if re-breeding open cows is the right option for your operation, there are a few things to consider.  Are bulls available for a second breeding season?  Using bulls for a second breeding season is often accomplished when producers have both a spring and fall calving cow herd.  How much will it cost to retain these cows through a second breeding season? What is the potential income from the bred cow? Are these cows ones you would want someone else to have in their herd?  This option may be more practical for young open cows.

Market cows represent a substantial portion of the annual income on a cow-calf operation and should not be overlooked when it comes to marketing to add value.  Success and increased profitability with marketing cows requires careful study of what the market wants, what the buyers are willing to pay for, what you can produce with the resources available and a realistic estimate of the cost to produce that product.

Weed Management Area Awarded a Grant

The Northeast Nebraska Weed Management Area (NNWMA) is a project of the Northeast Nebraska Resource Conservation & Development Council and just recently they were awarded a $10,000 grant from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.   The project will be dealing with the early detection and control of noxious and invasive weeds, especially Yellow Flag Iris, along the Elkhorn River drainage in Holt and Antelope Counties.

The Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District is a major partner in this project and is providing $5,000 in matching funds.  Their wanted to assist in this way because noxious and invasive weeds can clog waterways, utilize nutrients and water that other plants need, they can reduce property values if not managed properly, and are detrimental to the natural resources.  This project will also help to educate residents within the basin about plant identification and provide assistance in mapping and controlling or eradicating these undesirable species.

Grant funding is coming from monies provided through LB1038, the 2016 Riparian Vegetation Management Grant program.  The goals of this program are to provide funds to weed management programs in Nebraska, promote collaborative efforts to survey and manage noxious and invasive weeds, support innovative integrated approaches to weed management, and to build public awareness of the adverse impacts of noxious weeds and invasive plants and the need for proactive control.

The RC&D Council looks forward to continuing their service to citizens through projects that will make life better for people in Antelope, Cedar, Dixon, Knox, Pierce, and Wayne counties. 

CVA Akron IA Project Update

Harvest is in full swing, and in Region 8 Central Valley Ag customers and employees have a new addition to enjoy. Over the course of the summer, two 600,000-bushel storage bins were constructed by Landmarc Construction at CVA’s location in Akron Iowa. This new addition has been getting plenty of use this fall and has helped increase speed and space in the area. A new receiving pit can dump both hoppers of a semi and holds 1,200-bushels, for even more convenience there is now a conveyor belt that feeds the existing concrete bunker from the new system. The new leg and large pit have the capacity to dump at a rate of 15,000 bushels per hour.

“The investment was made in Akron to show our commitment to the Akron area, as we realized we have not been providing acceptable service there with the older facilities,” said Bryan Reichmuth, CVA SVP of Operations. “The vision of speed and space has not changed, and Central Valley Ag will continue to commit to that vision.”

This addition has improved traffic through the town during harvest time, providing a safer more efficient cooperative for the community. CVA believes there is growth potential in grain receipts with the increased customer service.

KSU Beef Cattle Institute adds resources for Veterinary Feed Directive changes

With a Jan. 1, 2017, deadline looming, veterinarians and producers now have more resources available to help them comply with the Veterinary Feed Directive being issued by the Food and Drug Administration.

In response to increasing demand, the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University developed additional free educational modules to complement its original set of modules released earlier this year. The new modules are pertinent to separate sectors of the beef industry.

In collaboration with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension, the institute has developed a new website,, which houses modules specific to producers, feed mill operators, veterinarians and distributors. Experts from each sector address concerns and questions to ease the transition under new regulations.

Experts include Mike Apley, professor of production medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University; Brian Lubbers, director of clinical microbiology at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, also in the College of Veterinary Medicine; A.J. Tarpoff, beef extension veterinarian at Kansas State University; and Ken Bowers, dairy and feed safety, Kansas Department of Agriculture.

The website also hosts a sample Veterinary Feed Directive form as well as additional resources to guide users through any additional questions.

"These changes will be significant for the livestock and feed industry, and we are eager to provide guidance as much as possible," Bowers said. "Collaboration between these organizations has been valuable as we work to reach all producers, veterinarians and feed mills. The website is a great resource."

The Beef Cattle Institute utilizes collaborative multidisciplinary expertise to promote successful beef production through the discovery and delivery of actionable information and innovative decision support tools.

NCBA and PLC File Opening Brief in WOTUS Legal Battle

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council, along with other industry and municipal stakeholders, filed the opening brief today in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals calling for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps’ “waters of the United States” rule to be invalidated. Tracy Brunner, NCBA president and Kansas cattle producer said subjectivity and egregious overreach by the agencies is of grave concern for landowners nationwide.

“Cattlemen and women have long asked for clarity in the Clean Water Act, yet this rule adds subjectivity,” said Brunner. “By violating fundamental tenets of administrative law and expanding jurisdiction well beyond the text and structure of the Clean Water Act, it is very clear the WOTUS rulemaking was flawed from start.”

The opening brief details how the agencies disregarded the statutory and constitutional limits of federal authority, lobbied on their own rule making, and failed to craft a rule that meets the rigors of the law.

PLC President Dave Eliason said WOTUS is just one example of the onslaught of regulations that rural America is facing.

“Regulatory overreach is becoming the norm for farmers, ranchers and small businesses across the country, hampering economic growth and threatening the stability of many rural communities,” said Eliason. “Unfortunately, because Congress has repeatedly failed to act on this issue, we are fighting the legal battle to keep this rule from being implemented.”

USDA:  Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 4.15 million tons (138 million bushels) in September 2016, compared to 4.22 million tons (141 million bushels) in August 2016 and 4.04 million tons (135 million bushels) in September 2015. Crude oil produced was 1.62 billion pounds down 2 percent from August 2016 but up 6 percent from September 2015. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.37 billion pounds during September 2016 decreased 4 percent from August 2016 and decreased 2 percent from September 2015.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 213 thousand tons in September 2016, compared to 174 thousand tons in August 2016 and 187 thousand tons in September 2015. Canola crude oil produced was 183 million pounds up 25 percent from August 2016 and up 16 percent from September 2015. Canola once refined oil production at 176 million pounds during September 2016 was up 54 percent from August 2016 and up 31 percent from September 2015. Cottonseed once refined oil production at 37.4 million pounds during September 2016 was down 3 percent from August 2016 and down 21 percent from September 2015.

Edible tallow production was 68.8 million pounds during September 2016, down 14 percent from August 2016 and down 20 percent from September 2015. Inedible tallow production was 311 million pounds during September 2016, up 2 percent from August 2016 and up 15 percent from September 2015. Technical tallow production was 104 million pounds during September 2016, down 12 percent from August 2016 but up 23 percent from September 2015. Choice white grease production at 112 million pounds during September 2016 decreased 2 percent from August 2016 and decreased 5 percent from September 2015.

USDA:  Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 485 million bushels in September 2016. Total corn consumption was down 5 percent from August 2016 but up 2 percent from September 2015. September 2016 usage included 91.5 percent for alcohol and 8.5 percent for other purposes. Corn for beverage alcohol totaled 2.79 million bushels, down 11 percent from August 2016 and down 20 percent from September 2015. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 435 million bushels, was down 5 percent from August 2016 but up 2 percent from September 2015. Corn consumed in September 2016 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 89.3 percent and 10.7 percent respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.96 million tons during September 2016, down 5 percent from August 2016 but up 5 percent from September 2015. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.19 million tons in September 2016, down 3 percent from August 2016 and down 7 percent from September 2015.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 326 thousand tons during September 2016, down 3 percent from August 2016 but up 4 percent from September 2015. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 304 thousand tons in September 2016, down 2 percent from August 2016 but up 6 percent from September 2015.

USDA:  Flour Milling Products

All wheat ground for flour during the third quarter 2016 was 233 million bushels, up 4 percent from the second quarter 2016 grind of 224 million bushels but down 1 percent from the third quarter 2015 grind of 235 million bushels. Third quarter 2016 total flour production was 108 million hundredweight, up 4 percent from the second quarter 2016 but down slightly from the third quarter 2015. Whole wheat flour production at 6.05 million hundredweight during the third quarter 2016 accounted for 6 percent of the total flour production. Millfeed production from wheat in the third quarter 2016 was 1.69 million tons. The daily 24-hour milling capacity of wheat flour during the third quarter 2016 was 1.62 thousand hundredweight.

Durum wheat ground for flour and semolina production during the third quarter of 2016 totaled 16.2 million bushels, up 5 percent from the second quarter 2016 and up slightly from the third quarter 2015. Third quarter 2016 durum flour and semolina production was 7.67 million hundredweight, up 4 percent from the second quarter 2016 and up 3 percent from the third quarter 2015. Whole wheat durum flour and semolina production was 181 thousand hundredweight, up 12 percent from 162 thousand hundredweight in the second quarter 2016 but down 47 percent from 339 thousand hundredweight from the third quarter 2015. Third quarter durum wheat millfeed production was 113 thousand tons and the daily 24-hour milling capacity for durum and semolina production was 127 thousand hundredweight.

Rye ground for flour during the third quarter of 2016 was 472 thousand bushels, down 25 percent from the second quarter 2016 and down 9 percent from the third quarter 2015. Rye flour production during the third quarter of 2016 was 233 thousand hundredweight, compared to 303 thousand hundredweight and 241 thousand hundredweight in the previous quarter and the same quarter previous year. The daily 24-hour milling capacity for rye milling was 9.39 thousand hundredweight for the third quarter 2016.

NMPF President Commemorates Organization’s Centennial with Insights on how Past Achievements Set Path for Future

As the National Milk Producers Federation begins its second century, the organization is redoubling its efforts to advocate forcefully on behalf of its members in areas including economic opportunities for farmers and the role of dairy products in the diet, said President and CEO Jim Mulhern.

Speaking in front of more than 800 dairy industry stakeholders at the organization’s annual meeting in Nashville, Mulhern commemorated the centennial of one of Washington’s leading agriculture policy groups by ensuring that its commitments have not altered, and that NMPF plans to continue its aggressive dedication to issues like animal care, economics, trade and nutrition.

“We will speak out, we will push back, when those who don’t necessarily have your interests at heart push their agenda at our expense,” he said.

The dairy farming landscape – and the world outside of it – have changed considerably, Mulhern began. The numbers of farms have shrunk, the world marketplace has become more competitive, and consumers are becoming increasingly interested in how their food is produced.

“But these differences – these hurdles – will not be a deterrent for us,” he said. “We remain focused on our strategic priorities.”

Mulhern said the Margin Protection Program, created in the 2014 Farm Bill, is still the right program for the dairy industry’s future, even though it has yet to “live up to its intended potential” amid a struggling dairy economy. He said NMPF is committed to determining the necessary adjustments – such as restoring the margin feed cost adjuster to the level NMPF originally intended – and having Congress pass them at the earliest opportunity.

In addition to calling for immigration reform – a polarizing issue in this year’s election season – Mulhern also discussed National Milk’s pledge to seek opportunities for dairy all over the world. This includes pushing for passage of free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, strengthening export assistance programs like Cooperatives Working Together, and holding other countries accountable for their protectionist behavior. Most recently, Canada is in the process of implementing a pricing policy that would block American milk product exports.

Mulhern spoke in depth about National Milk’s decision two weeks ago to join other prominent farm groups in challenging Dannon USA’s pledge to only source its milk from non-GMO cows, what he called a “fear-based marketing tactic.”

The issue of sustainable agriculture production is broader than dairy, Mulhern added. The farming community must continue to project a unified voice as it dispels false marketing claims about biotechnology and other claims like “hormone-free” and “antibiotic-free.”

In the latter half of his presentation, Mulhern discussed the growing momentum that is changing consumer perceptions on the role of fat in a healthy diet. He said there is increasing evidence that current dietary advice unfairly discriminates against dairy fat.

Another area Mulhern said will be an organizational focus is the National Dairy FARM Program, the dairy industry’s animal care verification program. In the last year, FARM has since expanded to also focus on antibiotic resistance and environmental stewardship. Today, more than 98 percent of the nation’s milk supply is now covered under the program.

“It is precisely through efforts like this that we will keep customers from trying to dictate farm practices – by demonstrating our high standards and our commitment to continuous improvement,” said Mulhern.

When facing these customers, Mulhern said the dairy industry must remain continuously united, which means continuing strong relationships with promotional organizations Dairy Management Inc. and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, as well as the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

National Milk and the dairy industry as a whole are much different today, Mulhern concluded. Fortunately, NMPF has changed to fit increasingly challenging political, environmental and consumer environments.

“National Milk has, and always will be focused on establishing policies that protect and promote your interests,” he said. “We’re always looking around those dark corners, holding others to their commitments as we’re held to ours, and fighting to protect your social license to operate while working to build trust.

The Mosaic Company Reports Third Quarter 2016 Results

The Mosaic Company (NYSE: MOS) today reported third quarter 2016 net earnings of $39 million, down from net earnings of $160 million in the third quarter of 2015. Earnings per diluted share were $0.11, which included a negative $0.30 impact from notable items and a benefit of $0.08 per share from lowering the expected full year effective tax rate accrual. Mosaic's net sales in the third quarter of 2016 were $2.0 billion, down from $2.1 billion last year. Operating earnings during the quarter were $70 million, down from $246 million a year ago, primarily driven by lower potash prices and lower phosphate margins partially offset by higher sales volumes and positive impacts of cost savings initiatives.

"We expected improving market conditions in the second half of 2016 and this quarter's results reflect improvement," said Joc O'Rourke, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Both potash and phosphate prices strengthened in the quarter as pent-up demand materialized.  While the fourth quarter is expected to reflect a normal seasonal slowdown, we see a more stable operating environment in 2017, starting the year with lower pipeline inventories and demand growth in both nutrients. At the same time, we are taking action to protect the balance sheet and reduce operating expenses."

Cash flow provided by operating activities in the third quarter of 2016 was $96 million compared to $184 million in the prior year. Operating cash flow was negatively impacted by the record prepayments received in the second quarter of 2016. Capital expenditures plus investments totaled $380 million in the quarter, including a $120 million contribution for Mosaic's investment in the Ma'aden Wa'ad Al Shamal Phosphate Company. Mosaic's total cash and cash equivalents were $654 million and long-term debt was $3.8 billion as of September 30, 2016.

"We are pleased with this quarter's results and are continuing to focus on optimizing cash flow and protecting our balance sheet," said Rich Mack, Mosaic's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  "We've made meaningful changes to our five year capital program and significantly reduced operating costs.  Going forward, we will continue to assess our cash generation and use in light of our strong commitment to maintain an investment grade credit rating."

ADM Reports Third Quarter Earnings of $0.58 per Share, $0.59 per Share on an Adjusted Basis

Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) today reported financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2016.

“After working through the challenging environment in the first half of the year, we capitalized on mproving operating conditions in the third quarter and are positioned well for a solid finish to the ear,” said ADM Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano. “Ag Services results were driven by U.S. exports that surged through the quarter, creating improved merchandising opportunities as the global market relied heavily on U.S. exports of corn and soybeans. Results for Corn included strong performance in North American sweeteners and starches, growth from our international corn operations and steady results for bioproducts. Oilseeds results were impacted by significantly lower global soy crushing margins, weaker origination results in Brazil and the unusual equity loss from our Wilmar investment.

WFSI results included strong growth from WILD Flavors with mixed results from our specialty ingredients businesses.

“We continued to execute our strategic plan in the quarter. We acquired Caterina Foods, a manufacturer of specialty gluten-free and high-protein pastas. In addition, we further invested in Asia’s growing and evolving food demand by increasing our strategic ownership stake in Wilmar to 23 percent. Our ethanol dry mill review has progressed and we are targeting receipt of final proposals from a short list of interested parties by the end of the calendar year. And, we have implemented nearly $250 million of new run-rate savings actions through the third quarter and expect to exceed our $275 million target by the end of the calendar year. In line with our balanced capital allocation framework, we have returned $1.3 billion to shareholders in dividends and share buybacks through the first nine months of the year.

“With improving market conditions and a large U.S. harvest, combined with the team’s solid execution capabilities, we feel good about the remainder of the year and a stronger 2017.”

Third Quarter 2016 Highlights:
• EPS as reported of $0.58 includes a $0.09 per share credit related to LIFO, $0.08 per share of charges related to asset impairments, restructuring and settlements, and other charges of $0.02 per share. Excluding these items, adjusted EPS is $0.591.
• Trailing four-quarter-average adjusted ROIC was 5.8 percent1, 80 basis points below our annual WACC of 6.6 percent.
• The effective tax rate for the quarter was 28 percent compared to 31 percent in the year-ago quarter due to changes in the mix of earnings.
• During the first nine months of 2016, the company returned $1.3 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

Results of Operations:
In Ag Services, merchandising and handling results were up due to increased volumes and improved margins as crop shortages in South America accelerated this year’s seasonal shift in global demand to North America. The global trade desk results were lower in the quarter as some commodity prices declined, causing global buyers to draw down their inventories, which limited merchandising opportunities.

Transportation results improved due to strong exports and improved freight rates.

Milling and Other continued to perform well with another solid quarter, consistent with the year-ago period, on strong product margins related to seasonal demand.

In Corn Processing, sweeteners and starches results improved as the North American business continued to perform well with solid demand, production efficiencies and improved raw material costs.

The company’s results from its international corn operations improved in the quarter. Bioproducts results, excluding last year’s Brazilian sugar impairment charge, were essentially flat with improved operational performance and margins from Animal Nutrition, offset by slightly lower ethanol results compared to last year.

In Oilseeds Processing, crushing and origination results declined significantly versus a very strong year-ago quarter due to lower soy crush margins. In addition, origination volumes were lower due to reduced Brazilian soybean and corn crops.

Refining, packaging, biodiesel and other results were up from the year-ago quarter due to solid results in biodiesel, specialty fats and oils and better Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts margins.

Oilseeds results in Asia for the quarter declined from the year-ago period, primarily due to Wilmar’s unusual equity loss in the second quarter . ADM records its share of Wilmar’s results on a one-quarter lag basis and recorded a $48 million equity loss in the third quarter, compared to income of $36 million in the third quarter one year ago.

WFSI results were up slightly versus the year-ago quarter with strong operating profit growth in flavors and ingredient systems, and the integration of Eatem Foods, offset by mixed results from the specialty ingredients businesses and some start-up items.

Other financial operating profit was essentially flat on steady ADM Investor Services volumes and results from captive insurance operations.

Monday October 31 Ag News + Crop Progress


For the week ending October 30, 2016, unseasonably warm conditions persisted throughout the week, with temperatures averaging nine degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation was limited to a few counties in the northeast. Many producers finished soybean harvest and were focusing on corn. There were 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 10 percent very short, 32 short, 56 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short, 29 short, 61 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 69 percent, near 70 both last year and the five-year average.

Sorghum harvested was 81 percent, ahead of 66 last year and 70 average.

Soybeans harvested was 91 percent, near 95 last year, and behind 96 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 7 poor, 31 fair, 54 good, and 7 excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 95 percent, near 96 last year and 92 average.

Alfalfa fourth cutting was 92 percent.

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 5 percent very poor, 11 poor, 28 fair, 50 good, and 6 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 11 short, 87 adequate, and 1 surplus.


Corn for grain and soybean harvest progress remains behind both last year and the five-year average, although there were 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending October 30, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Besides harvest, other activities included chopping and baling corn stalks, tillage, and applying manure and fertilizer. There were reports of outside piling of corn for grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 85 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 4 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus.

Seventy-one percent of the corn crop for grain has been harvested, 2 days behind the five-year average. Moisture content of all corn being harvested remained at 17 percent, unchanged from the previous week. Central and southeast Iowa were the only 2 districts with over 80 percent of the corn for grain crop harvested.

Eighty-nine percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, one week behind last year, and 5 days behind normal. Farmers in southwest and south central Iowa still have one-third or more of their soybean crop to harvest.

Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 68 percent moderate to heavy. Off-farm grain storage availability was rated 75 percent adequate to surplus. On-farm grain storage availability was rated 67 percent adequate to surplus.

Pasture condition rated 60 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were described as favorable, with reports of cattle in fields feeding on stover.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Corn harvest pace had caught up to normal, while soybean harvest pulled ahead of average as of Oct. 30, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

The nation's corn crop is 75% harvested, compared to 61% last week, 82% last year and a 75% average.

Eighty-seven percent of the soybeans are harvested, compared to 76% last week, 91% last year and an 85% average. 

Winter wheat planting is 86% complete, compared to 79% last week, 87% last year and an 88% average. Winter wheat is 70% emerged, compared to 60% last week, 69% last year and a 69% average.  Winter wheat condition decreased slightly to 58% good to excellent, compared to 59% last week.

Sorghum harvest was 76% complete, compared to 67% last week, 77% last year and a 68% average.

Winkelbauer resigns from Lower Elkhorn NRD board

At their October board meeting, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Luke Winkelbauer.  Winkelbauer farms in the Norfolk area and represented Subdistrict 2 on the board.

Winkelbauer is the fourth board member to step down this year.  Former board members Cory Beller, Chris Carlson, and Tim Tighe resigned after moving out of their respective subdistricts.  Winkelbauer did so because of the time commitment.

In his resignation letter, Winkelbauer said, “At this time, I am unable to fulfill the time commitment needed to fully engage and participate with the discussions and decisions required, as well as being able to attend the meetings and events."  Winkelbauer said that he hopes to someday return to the board when he has the time available.

LENRD general manager, Mike Sousek, said, “Luke is an extremely hard worker and his time commitment is currently involved with his family operation.”  Sousek thanked him for his time on the board.

In other items of business, the board voted 7-6 to reject signing a contract with JEO Consulting Group in the amount of $23,000 to conduct an economic study on the Willow Creek State Recreation Area, near Pierce.

The reservoir has had problems with algae blooms in 7 out of the last 10 years.  It could take as much as $500,000 to do the necessary work to address the issue.

While the economic study could have helped determine if that work would be worthwhile, some of the board members felt the $23,000 price tag of the study was too high.

"A few months ago, we were looking into some possible projects at Willow Creek," Sousek said. "Those projects came with a very large price tag, so the discussion at that time was that maybe we need to look and see what the economic value of the lake actually is.  We'll keep plugging away and we'll try to find more creative ways to find a solution or address the issues that we're currently having at the Willow Creek reservoir."

 Hoskins Producer Selected To Participate in the 2017 Young Leader Program

       Blake Hokamp of Hoskins, NE has been selected as the Nebraska Soybean Association’s (NeSA) 2017 DuPont Pioneer Young Leader. The Young Leader Program is sponsored by the American Soybean Association and DuPont Pioneer Hi-Bred.  It is designed to recognize and strengthen leadership in the agricultural community as well as cultivate producer leaders who are shaping the U.S. soybean industry.

        Blake farms a corn and soybean rotation in Wayne county near Hoskins, NE.  He assists with his families farm and custom farming operation and serves as a Yield Specialist and Agronomist for AgVenture.  He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska– Lincoln with a bachelors degree in Agronomy and Crop Production.  

        Blake considers  the  top issues facing the soybean industry  are being able to  have more end users right here in the U.S. as well as building all kinds of specialty markets in our area  for things like high oleic or non-gmo . This gives farmers options to consider.  He feels diversification of technologies will be needed to break our yield ceilings.  Using the best management practices is a start to gaining higher yields with less inputs. 

        Blake will be a part of the 2017 class of DuPont Pioneer Young Leaders, which is made up of selected leaders from each soybean producing state, to participate in an educational leadership experience in late November at Pioneer headquarters in Johnston, IA.  He will complete the second part of training February 28 –March 3, 2017  in San Antonio, TX  in conjunction with the annual Commodity Classic.

Fall is Optimal for Marestail Management 

Rodrigo Werle - NE Extension Cropping Systems Specialist

With corn and soybean harvest nearing completion in Nebraska this is a great time to begin scouting fields for winter annual weeds. The primary species to look for is marestail, as many populations in Nebraska have evolved resistance to glyphosate and ALS-inhibiting herbicides. Timing is critical to successful control of marestail, especially in no-till soybeans as herbicide options are limited.

During the 2016 growing season, UNL extension educators and specialists received numerous reports from producers and consultants about unsatisfactory marestail control, particularly in soybeans. Poor control in soybean was often due to late application of herbicides where marestail had already bolted and was too big for successful control.

During the 2016 Soybean Management Field Days, and the 2016 Water and Crops Field Day at North Platte, 290 farmers and consultants were surveyed and over half reported problems with glyphosate-resistant marestail in soybeans. Of those who reported problems with marestail, only 25% apply herbicides in the fall. However, UNL research suggests fall management of marestail and other winter annual weeds is often more effective than spring applied management programs.

Benefits of Fall Herbicide Application for Marestail Control

Marestail is classified as a surface-germinating, facultative winter annual weed. This means that no-till (where surface disruption is minimal) favors marestail establishment and that seedlings can emerge in the fall and spring depending on climatic conditions. According to research conducted in eastern Nebraska, more than 90% of marestail emerged in the fall. Studies have indicated that fall-emerging marestail tend to have higher winter mortality; however, plants that do survive produce more seed and are more competitive compared to spring-emerged marestail.

Marestail plants can produce up to 200,000 seeds and spread mainly by wind. Even if you have not had previous problems, it may be worth taking time to walk your field edges this fall to determine if a preventative application is justified and to avoid surprises in the spring. Marestail starts off as a small rosette, typically 1-4 inches across, and may require special attention when scouting fields as plants can be easily covered by crop residue.

Fall Herbicide Recommendations

For successful marestail management in the fall, apply herbicides following harvest while weather conditions remain favorable (air temperature above 50°F and low winds). Preliminary data for eastern Nebraska suggests that a fall burndown applied with a residual herbicide may eliminate the need for an early spring burndown for marestail control; however, this would not replace an at-planting residual application for management of additional troublesome weed species such as waterhemp and Palmer amaranth.

If marestail management is postponed until early spring, as soon as weather conditions become appropriate (temperature above 50°F), apply a burndown along with residual herbicides to control established plants prior to bolting and to suppress the ones that may not have emerged.

For specific herbicide options to control marestail and other winter annual weeds please check the Guide for Weed Management in Nebraska or contact your local UNL extension educator, and always read herbicide labels before application.

Keep in mind that using effective herbicides from different modes of action will help you battle the evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds. (Rotation, rotation, and rotation!)


               I just got the nitrate test results back from the lab and the level was 3,000.  Am I in trouble?

               Every year I get questions similar to this one.  Unfortunately, with just this information I can’t give a useful answer.  So – I ask the question “Was this reported as nitrates or as nitrate nitrogen?”

               So – why is it important to know the difference between nitrate nitrogen and nitrates?  Well, using the previous example, if the score was 3,000 parts per million of nitrate nitrogen, then the forage has a nitrate concentration that is almost 50 percent higher than what we often consider to be the potentially toxic level.  It would be risky for cattle to eat this forage without taking some precautions.

               However, 3,000 parts per million of nitrate should cause no worries since this is less than one-third the danger level for nitrates.  Thus, the same level can range from quite dangerous to perfectly safe.

               These big differences are due to how individual labs test for and report results for nitrates.  Labs that report nitrate concentration are referring specifically to the nitrate ion,  designated chemically as NO3-.  Most labs and advisors consider 9,000 to 10,000 parts per million of the nitrate ion to be the level where toxicity concerns begin.

               Some labs, though, report the amount of nitrogen in the nitrate ion as nitrate nitrogen and report it chemically as NO3-N.  Thus, a much smaller amount of nitrate nitrogen is needed to produce the same effect as the entire nitrate ion.  As a result, the danger level for nitrate nitrogen begins somewhere between 2,000 and 2,300.

               Next time you test your hay or corn stalks or cover crop for nitrates, look closely to see how your lab reports your results.  Then, when you talk with someone about the safety or feeding alternatives for your forage you can be sure both of you are talking the same language.

Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics Set for November 

Openings are available for one-on-one, confidential farm finance and ag law consultations being conducted across the state each month. An experienced ag law attorney and ag financial counselor will be available to address farm and ranch issues related to financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters. They offer an opportunity to seek an experienced outside opinion on issues affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Sites and Dates

    Grand Island — Thursday, Nov. 3
    Fairbury — Thursday, Nov. 3
    Valentine — Tuesday, Nov. 8
    North Platte — Thursday, Nov. 10
    Norfolk — Tuesday, Nov. 15
    Lexington — Thursday, Nov. 17
    Norfolk — Wednesday, Nov. 30

To sign up for a clinic or to get more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor these clinics.

Green Plains Reports Third Quarter 2016 Financial Results

Omaha-based Green Plains Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRE) today announced financial results for the third quarter of 2016. Net income attributable to the company was $7.9 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2016 compared with net income of $6.2 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, for the same period in 2015. Revenues were $841.9 million for the third quarter of 2016 compared with $742.8 million for the same period last year.

"We generated $42 million of segment operating income for the third quarter of 2016, which is our best performance since the end of 2014. Based on current markets, we expect a stronger fourth quarter," said Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer. "We have grown significantly over the last year as we have increased our ethanol production capacity organically and through acquisitions by nearly 50 percent to approximately 1.5 billion gallons per year, and acquired Fleischmann's Vinegar Company. We continue to focus on our core competencies as we efficiently integrate these acquisitions and aggressively grow our platform to create long-term shareholder value."

During the third quarter, Green Plains produced 292.2 million gallons of ethanol compared with 215.6 million gallons for the same period in 2015. The consolidated ethanol crush margin was $52.6 million, or $0.18 per gallon, for the third quarter of 2016 compared with $34.9 million, or $0.16 per gallon, for the same period in 2015. The consolidated ethanol crush margin is the ethanol production segment's operating income before depreciation and amortization, which includes corn oil production, plus intercompany storage, transportation and other fees, net of related expenses.

Revenues were $2.5 billion for the nine-month period ended Sept. 30, 2016, compared with $2.2 billion for the same period in 2015. Net loss for the nine-month period ended Sept. 30, 2016, was $(8.0) million, or $(0.21) per diluted share, compared with net income of $10.7 million, or $0.27 per diluted share, for the same period in 2015.

"We experienced a stable ethanol margin environment in the third quarter as we continued to see strong ethanol demand worldwide driven by increasing consumption of gasoline and broader appetites for an efficient source of octane," added Becker. "As we continue to expand and diversify our operations, we expect to immediately benefit from the recently acquired businesses."

Recent Highlights

-    On Aug. 15, 2016, Green Plains completed a private offering of $170 million aggregate principal amount of 4.125% convertible senior notes that will mature on Sept. 1, 2022. The net proceeds from the offering were used to finance the recent acquisitions.
-    On Sept. 23, 2016, Green Plains acquired three ethanol plants located in Madison, Ill., Mount Vernon, Ind. and York. Neb. for approximately $237 million in cash plus certain working capital adjustments from Abengoa BioEnergy. Concurrently, the ethanol storage assets were sold to Green Plains Partners LP for $90 million. All three plants are currently operational and will add 236 million gallons per year of ethanol production capacity.
-    On Oct. 3, 2016, Green Plains acquired SCI Ingredients Holdings, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Fleischmann's Vinegar Company, Inc., for approximately $250 million, financing the transaction with $135 million of debt and the balance with cash on hand. Fleischmann's Vinegar Company will operate as a standalone business.

Results of Operations

Consolidated revenues increased $99.1 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2016, compared with the same period in 2015. Revenues from ethanol, corn oil and cattle sales increased $82.7 million, $20.9 million and $13.1 million, respectively, while revenues from grain decreased $17.1 million. Ethanol and cattle revenues were affected by increased volumes sold, partially offset by lower average realized prices. Corn oil revenues were impacted by increased volumes sold. Grain revenues were impacted by both lower volumes sold and lower average realized prices.

Operating income increased $11.0 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2016, compared with the same period last year primarily due to increased margins on ethanol production and cattle. Interest expense increased $1.6 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2016, compared with the same period last year primarily due to higher average debt outstanding. Income tax expense was $5.1 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2016, compared with income tax benefit of $0.6 million for the same period in 2015.

Earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the third quarter of 2016 was $49.1 million compared with $36.3 million for the same period last year.

USDA Invests $1.7 Billion to Protect Sensitive Agricultural Lands through Conservation Reserve Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will issue nearly $1.7 billion in payments to more than half of a million Americans who have contracts with the government to protect sensitive agricultural lands. The investment, part of the voluntary USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), will allow producers to protect almost 24 million acres of wetlands, grasslands and wildlife habitat in 2016.

CRP provides financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who remove environmentally sensitive land from production to be planted with certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and increase wildlife habitat. In return for enrolling in CRP, USDA, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Landowners enter into contracts that last between 10 and 15 years.

Of the nearly $1.7 billion in payments, an estimated $62 million will be issued for CRP acres in Nebraska. That covers about 780,000 acres enrolled in the program through 22,710 contracts.

“We have seen record demand to participate in this important program,” said USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “Despite the current enrollment limit of 24 million acres, USDA is committed to continuing our important partnerships with farmers, ranchers, state and local governments and sportsmen to maintain the environmental benefits provided by the Conservation Reserve Program.”

More than 1.3 million acres were newly enrolled in CRP in fiscal year 2016 using the continuous enrollment authority, double the pace of the previous year. In fiscal year 2016, FSA also accepted 411,000 acres through its general enrollment authority, plus 101,000 acres in the new CRP-Grasslands program, which balances conservation with working lands. More than 70 percent of the acres enrolled in CRP-Grasslands are diverse native grasslands under threat of conversion, with more than 97 percent of the acres having a new, veteran or underserved farmer or rancher as a primary producer.

During its 30-year history, CRP has reduced nitrogen and phosphorous runoff by 95 and 85 percent, respectively, and restored 2.7 million acres of wetlands. It also has protected more than 170,000 stream miles with riparian buffers, enough to go around the world seven times. The program provides 15 million acres that are beneficial to pollinators, and hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat that has resurrected waterfowl and gamebird populations, like pheasants, quail and prairie chicken.

CRP has sequestered an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking nine million cars off the road, and prevented nine billion tons of soil from erosion, enough to fill 600 million dump trucks.

ISU Economists to Present on Impact of Downturn in Iowa Agriculture

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host Ag Outlook and Management seminars across the state during the months of November and December.

The program is designed to provide participants with a concise evaluation of current market conditions, expected trends in crop and livestock income potential, and management implications.

Speakers will vary by location but will include Iowa State University state specialists Chad Hart, associate professor in economics and extension grain markets specialist; Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist; Lee Schulz, extension livestock economist; and Wendong Zhang, assistant professor and extension economist. This program takes a deep look into the outlook for agriculture in 2017 and provides an opportunity to discuss the current situation with university experts on the Iowa economy.

“This program will discuss the current downturn in the agricultural sector and its impacts on farmers and the ag industry, and present strategies to deal with them,” Zhang said. “Speakers will provide an overview of crop, livestock and land markets, and discuss ag policy.”

The seminars will be held in eleven locations across the state
    Spencer – Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 8:30 a.m. Spencer School Administration Building
    LeMars – Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 1:30 p.m. Plymouth County Extension Office
    Altoona – Monday, Nov. 14 at 9 a.m. Polk County Extension Office
    Waterloo – Thursday, Nov. 17 at 9:30 a.m. Hawkeye Community College, Tama Hall Room 102
    Fort Dodge – Thursday, Nov. 17 at 4 p.m. Webster County Extension Office
    Mason City – Friday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. NIACC, Muse-Norris Center
    Eddyville – Friday, Dec. 2 at 9 a.m. IHCC Bioprocess Training Center
    Greenfield – Monday, Dec. 5 at 9 a.m. Warren Cultural Center Auditorium
    Iowa City – Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 12:30 p.m. Johnson County Extension Office
    Mt. Pleasant – Thursday, Dec. 8. Henry County Extension Office
    Clarinda – Thursday, Dec. 15. Wibholm Hall

There is a registration fee for the program at most sites that includes a catered meal, refreshments and all training materials. Additional registration information can be found at

15 new blender pumps and 3 underground storage tanks to be installed through the “Fueling our Future 100” Initiative

 Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sec. of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that $368,200 has been awarded through the 4th round of the “Fueling Our Future 100” initiative to support the installation of 15 new blender pumps and 3 underground storage tanks that can be used to distribute higher blends of renewable fuels.  The funds are being awarded to 6 fuel retailers to assist in installing renewable fuels infrastructure at 7 sites across the state.

In total, 217 blender pumps and 18 underground storage tanks will be installed at 70 sites by 17 companies to provide consumers with access to higher blends of ethanol through the program.

The funding for the projects is from a $5 million competitive grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program Iowa received to support the initiative.  All funds must be matched by non-federal funds, including up to $2.5 million from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure program.  The fueling sites applying for assistance will also be required to provide a minimum of $2.5 million.

Pumps and tanks funded through this round of funding for the program are required to be operational by the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30, 2017.  Pumps and tanks funded through this program are required to be in operations for the intended purpose of dispensing higher blends of ethanol for at least 5-years from the date they enter service.

This new program is a partnership across state government, including collaboration between the Governor’s office, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Transportation, and Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Iowa Near the Top of U.S. Rural Income Growth

 The United States Census Bureau released its report on income and poverty in urban and rural America in September. While the report focused on nationwide trends, Iowa State University associate professor and extension rural sociologist David Peters was more interested in how rural Iowans had been affected over the last decade.

“The results were a bit surprising,” Peters said. “Despite recent concerns of a decline in rural Iowa’s income, this proved not to be the case. Over the last decade rural households are doing well and, in fact, are doing better than urban Iowans and better than other rural areas in this country. The statistics certainly fly counter to the narrative that you can’t make a living in rural Iowa.”Iowa farmland landscape

The 2015 median household income in rural Iowa was $60,223, almost 11 percent higher than urban incomes ($51,705). Rural Iowans also have become wealthier than rural residents in other states. After being on par with national rural averages prior to 2012, incomes of rural Iowans were about 10 percent higher than those living outside the state.

“I would have suspected rural incomes to go up and down mirroring market trends,” Peters said. “When commodity prices were high we didn’t see a huge jump in income and didn’t see a corresponding decline as prices have gone down.”

Peters attributes that steadiness to a decoupling of farm and rural economies. Many rural residents are able to easily commute to larger cities for jobs, meaning that for many residents income is consistent even when farm commodity prices decline.

“Unlike states like Nebraska or the Dakotas, Iowa has a number of fairly good sized cities spread out throughout the state,” Peters said. “Most rural Iowans can reach one of these cities after driving for only 25-30 minutes. People who choose to live in small towns can still easily be engaged in a meaningful career in larger cities.”

Incomes in rural Iowa have also grown faster than those in urban parts of the state. Since 2005, the median income of rural Iowans has grown by 9.6 percent while urban Iowans have seen their income grow by just 3.7 percent.

Iowa ranks 21st nationally in rural median income, with its rural income growth of nearly 10 percent over the last decade the sixth-highest growth rate in the country. Conversely, Iowa has the 30th highest urban income average and its 3.7 percent growth is 26th-best.

“Iowa needs to focus on professional service jobs,” Peters said. “High-end technology and service jobs are wonderful to target and Iowa should continue to pursue those type of jobs. However the state has to pay attention to middle skill jobs because they provide good incomes and are more stable through periods of recession. There must be a focus on good high school and technical degree granting jobs; you can make a good living in rural Iowa and those industries are thriving.”

Detailed information on income trends in both rural and urban Iowa can be found in Peters’ publication "Household Income Trends in Iowa and the U.S, 2005-2015: Rural versus Urban Differences" (SOC 3077).

Reminder: Free BQA Certification Period Ends in Two Weeks!

The countdown continues for beef and dairy producers to become Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)-certified for free online through Nov. 13. As an added bonus, anyone who becomes certified during this period is eligible to win a prize package, courtesy of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. and the BQA program, funded in part by the beef checkoff.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. will pick up the $25-$50 online training fee for every person completing BQA training through Nov. 13. That includes anyone who works with cattle – whether they be beef- or dairy-focused. Visit to take advantage of the open certification period.

ASA to NYT: GMO Article Paints Incomplete Picture

The American Soybean Association (ASA) responded to an article from The New York Times  Saturday calling into question the pesticide use and yield data over the 20-year history of GMO cultivation in the United States and Canada as compared to Western Europe. ASA President and Greenwood, Del., soybean farmer Richard Wilkins noted in a statement that dialogue on the issue is critical, in light of inaccuracies and omissions in the article:

“We appreciate a continued dialogue on the issue of GMOs and biotechnology. We continue in our work to be more open and transparent on our operations and we welcome the questions that this article raises. In the interest of a fair and honest discussion of this issue, we have to confront the inaccuracies and false conclusions of the article.

“In his interpretation of the data, the author fails to standardize the data from France when comparing it to similar data from the U.S., where we have more than 9 times the amount of arable land. Additionally, while he has no problem drawing sensational and plainly false links to sarin and Agent Orange, the author fails to distinguish between even the most basic types of chemicals used. For example, over the past two decades, farmers have excelled at replacing more toxic herbicides with less toxic ones, even when applied at a higher poundage.

“The article also lacks any mention of reduced or eliminated tillage as a result of increased use of GMOs on American soybean operations. Our farmers live on their land, drink from the wells, and rely on productive soil that will yield for their children and grandchildren as well. GMO technology provides for weed control without tilling the soil multiple times. This has dramatically increased the use of conservation tillage, reduced soil erosion, improved water quality, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

“While it is fair for the Times to point out that GMO technology is not a ‘silver bullet,’ it is important to remember that farmers are practical businesspeople. They look at what will give them the best total return, factoring in yield, seed price, input price and the price of practices like tillage. Farmers are not loyal to GMO technology based on principle, but rather on sound business logic, and overwhelmingly, these men and women have made the determination that GMO technologies make economic sense. The business judgements of millions of individual farmers – made each year for the past 20 years – provide a more complete picture about the benefits of GMOs than the New York Times’ cherry-picked data.”

'World's Largest Livestock Event' Returns to Kentucky

The North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE), the largest all-breed, purebred livestock expo in the world, returns to the Kentucky Exposition Center Nov. 1-17. The event draws nearly 30,000 entries across 10 livestock divisions, all under one roof.

Representing the 48 contiguous states, NAILE exhibitors show cattle, mules and donkeys, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas, sheep and horses, as they compete for nearly $750,000 in premiums and awards. The expo also attracts livestock breeders and agriculture professionals from around the world, contributing an estimated $8 million to the area's economy.

NAILE strives to prepare the next generation for tomorrow's breeding challenges, hosting the National Collegiate and 4-H/FFA Livestock Judging Contests. The exposition's premier event, the Sale of Champions, benefits young exhibitors who often go on to pursue careers in agriculture. In 2015, the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion auction of steers, hogs and lambs brought in a record-breaking $110,000. Through the years, more than $1.75 million has been raised to promote youth involvement in agribusiness and fund charitable endeavors.

The expo kicks off with the North American Quarter Horse Show in Broadbent Arena Nov. 1-9. Consistently ranked as a top five show by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), this competition features events such as halter, reining, cutting and team penning.

The North American Championship Rodeo is also held in conjunction with NAILE, Nov. 10-12 in Freedom Hall. Top cowboys and cowgirls compete for $80,000 in prize money and the title of Regional Champion in events ranging from bull riding to steer wrestling and women's barrel racing to team roping. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. each night and tickets range from $25-$32 for adults and $5-$10 for children, depending on the evening.

The Giant Country Store draws shoppers interested in browsing the latest in western wear, livestock gear, musical instruments, handcrafted furniture, art, jewelry and more. The Farm City Luncheon is also a NAILE tradition. Produced by Louisville's Agribusiness Industry Network, the program includes the presentation of the "Agribusiness of the Year" award and "Wing Tip Rodeo." Ticket order forms are available at

Ethanol Workshop In Mexico City Offers Information, Expertise To Local Industry

Mexican authorities considering how ethanol fits into their country's energy mix heard from U.S. researchers about air quality, lung health and other quality of life benefits and from Colombian and Paraguayan regulators about their successful implementation of biofuels programs at a recent workshop hosted by Mexico's Secretariat of Energy (SENER) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Mexico City.

For two days, national and foreign experts shared their experiences and technological advances in production, distribution and commercialization of ethanol for mixture with fuels. Environmental issues were a specific focus of the event, with topics covered including ozone formation, air quality in high altitude metropolitan areas like Mexico City and ethanol’s effects in vehicles and on health. The economic, social and environmental advantages and disadvantages of ethanol in comparison to other oxygenates such as MTBE and aromatics, such as benzene, toluene, and xylene, were also discussed in depth.

Among the experts were representatives from the National Federation of Biofuels of Colombia, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Paraguay, and the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy For All. From the United States, there were experts from Oakridge Labs, the American Lung Association, Urban Air Initiative, Growth Energy, the U.S. Grains Council, University of Illinois-Chicago, and Lifecycle Associates as well as a number of independent consultants who are considered experts in their respective fields.

They talked about their experience in the blending of ethanol into their gasolines by showing the background, regulatory framework, research and the benefits obtained in their countries in air quality, jobs, rural development, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and others.

In each of the cases covered in this workshop, convincing scientific data was shown on the effects of ethanol use and the benefits reached on the areas mentioned above, leading to technological improvements and widespread benefits.

The workshop was one part of a larger effort by U.S. industry to share information with Mexican regulators as they consider increased use of ethanol produced locally from sorghum or imported from the United States.

"Workshops like these are extremely important for sharing knowledge and experiences around the benefits that biofuels like ethanol provide countrywide. In the U.S., we have seen ethanol reduce harmful emissions, create jobs and provide consumer choice and savings at the pump," said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, about the effort. "Growth Energy will continue our dialogue with colleagues in Mexico regarding how embracing ethanol will help contribute to a cleaner environment, improve water quality, and create a stronger rural sector and happy consumers."

At the conclusion of the workshop, USDA and SENER agreed that it would be helpful to establish a bilateral ethanol working group to continue the dialogue established at the Mexico City workshop and to plan a “study group” of Mexican government and industry representatives to come to the United States to see firsthand the U.S. ethanol supply chain and experts to learn further about the benefits of ethanol blending.

“There is still much work to be done, not only in Mexico but around the world, to educate governments and its citizens on the powerful role that ethanol blending can play in mitigating carbon emissions in the transportation fuel sector and improving air quality without risking groundwater contamination," said Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council, which works globally to promote the export of U.S. ethanol and feed grains. "It is encouraging to hear that SENER wants to continue the dialogue established in Mexico City with the formation of a standing bilateral working group of representatives from Mexico and the United States and that Mexico supports a visit to the United States to better understand our ethanol supply chain and to visit further with fuel and environmental experts to better understand the issues."

The workshop was intended to contribute to dialogue in Mexico about the many benefits of ethanol and to support alliances that will allow for the formation of associations and further research to help Mexicans to realize the benefits that the United States and other Latin American countries have achieved with the introduction of ethanol in their fuels.

"As the world leader in biofuel production, innovation and use, the U.S. has a wealth of information, analyses and industry experience that can be shared with Mexico and its policymakers as they work to allow the introduction of cleaner, less carbon intensive, biofuel into their fuel market," said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). "Biofuels have been critical in the fight to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in our most congested cities. We look forward to working together with Mexico as it evaluates the benefits that biofuels can offer."

Donnell Rehagen Named as National Biodiesel Board Chief Executive

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) today named Donnell Rehagen as the trade group’s chief executive. Rehagen was named interim CEO in June after serving 12 years as NBB’s chief operating officer.

“We couldn’t be more excited to elevate Donnell to the permanent position of CEO,” said NBB Chairman Ron Marr. “His detailed knowledge of our organization and deep understanding of our industry certainly leads to a smooth transition. But the main reason we have asked him to take on this position is his proven ability to think strategically about our issues and apply creative solutions that lead to success.”

As COO, Rehagen managed the implementation and execution of NBB’s budget and the day-to-day responsibility of managing the organization’s program managers, staff and contractors. Additionally, Rehagen has led the annual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, NBB’s signature event that attracts thousands of enthusiasts to learn more about biodiesel and for industry professionals to network with their peers.

Prior to joining NBB in 2004, Rehagen was the fleet administrator for the Missouri Department of Transportation where he was responsible for all aspects of the department’s $400 million fleet including implementation of their biodiesel (B20) use program.

“Donnell will be just the fourth chief executive to lead NBB in our nearly 25 years as the country’s largest trade association representing the biodiesel industry,” Marr said. “It’s that kind of stability in our leadership and our commitment to providing our membership the tools to be successful that has helped make biodiesel a 2 billion-gallon-per-year industry.”

Rehagen said he is excited for the opportunity take on new responsibilities to help the industry meet current challenges and prepare for more growth ahead.

“I have a passion for this industry,” Rehagen said. “I’m proud to be a part of the team that has helped lead biodiesel’s growth to become the first advanced biofuel to reach full commercialization, but I also recognize the challenges we face. It is incumbent upon us as an organization to define and manage a path that ensures we continue the industry’s ascent.”

The 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard’s volume requirements are expected to be announced by the end of the month and Rehagen said he’s hopeful the EPA will recognize the national benefits that will be realized by increasing biodiesel’s requirement to 2.5 billion gallons.

Additionally, Rehagen said he will immediately continue the task he began as interim CEO of helping to coordinate members’ visits to Capitol Hill at the end of November. NBB is pressing Congress to provide a long-term extension of the biodiesel tax incentive and convert it from a blender’s credit to a producer’s credit to keep the focus on domestic production.

Chairman Marr also thanked the Governing Board’s search committee who led the search effort that attracted nearly 300 applicants.

“We had no shortage of qualified candidates. This was no easy task. But when our decision was made, it was exciting to look around the room and have everyone agree that we could not have found a more outstanding leader for our organization,” Marr said.

Jon Leafstedt and Gary Weihs, managing partners with Kincannon & Reed, a leading executive search firm focused on the food, agribusiness, and renewables sectors, conducted a rigorous national CEO search for the NBB and assisted in evaluating a strong slate of well-qualified CEO candidates.

Donnell has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems from Southwest Missouri State University.

He was born and raised in Jefferson City, where he and his wife Shelly have raised four children of their own. They are also the proud grandparents of two young grandsons.

CWT Assists with 2.4 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 11 requests for export assistance from Foremost Farms, Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), and United Dairymen of Arizona. These member cooperatives have contracts to sell 1.784 million pounds (809 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and 652,568 pounds (296 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from October 2016 through January 2017.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 44.192 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 10.979 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 19.096 million pounds of whole milk powder to twenty-three countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 794.321 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

The amounts of dairy products and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

Friday October 28 Ag News

NC Hosts Price Discovery & Market Volatility Forum

Your input is valuable in providing Nebraska Cattlemen leadership and staff direction prior to the upcoming annual convention. Join them to learn of NC efforts and actions regarding market conditions.  This is exclusive to current paid members.  Forum locations and dates include...

Monday, November 7, 2016
1:00 pm CST LOUP Room
River's Edge Convention Center
265 33rd Ave, Columbus, NE

Monday, November 7, 2016
7:00 pm CST
Nielsen Community Center
200 Anna Stalp Avenue, West Point, NE

Dirt Rich or Dirt Poor: Principles of Soil Health, Adaptive Grazing and Cover Crop Livestock Integration

The Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition and Nebraska Extension Present: Dirt Rich or Dirt Poor: Principles of Soil Health, Adaptive Grazing and Cover Crop Livestock Integration. Featuring Allen Williams.  Stops include....

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
5 PM - 9 PM (Central time) Gage Co. Extension Office Meeting Room, Beatrice, NE
Contact Paul Hay, Nebraska Extension in Gage County - 402 223 1384 or 402 239 1341

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
10 AM - 2 PM (Central time) Northeast Community College Lifelong Learning Center, Norfolk, NE
Contact Wayne Ohnesorg, Nebraska Extension in Madison County - 402 370 4040

Cost $15 which covers the cost of the meal. NGLC will pick up the cost of all student registrations. Must preregister by November 7 to reserve a meal by calling the UNL Extension office indicated.

Registrations will be taken until full. For more information, contact Ron Bolze, Coordinator, Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition, 402 321 0067 (cell) or

NE Corn Board to Meet

The Nebraska Corn Board will hold its next meeting, Monday, November 21, 2016 and Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at Cornhusker Marriott in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Board will be in a Strategic Planning Session on November 21st and the part of the morning on November 22nd. The board will address regular board business the afternoon of November 22nd. The meeting is open to the public. A copy of the agenda is available by calling either 402/471-2676 or 800-NECORN1 or by emailing

Wait for Soil Temps to Remain Below 50 Degrees to Apply Anhydrous Ammonia

Farmers are reminded to wait until soil temperatures remain below 50 degrees Fahrenheit before applying anhydrous ammonia (NH3) fertilizer this fall. Soil temperatures have been slow to cool due to the unusually warm late October temperatures, and officials with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach said that waiting can help reduce nitrogen loss and better protects the environment.

“It is important that farmers wait for cooler soil temps to apply anhydrous so that there is a better chance the fertilizer stays put and will be available to the crop next spring,” said Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “Soil temperatures, like air temperatures, can change quickly so it is important that we wait with applications until soils are likely to remain below 50 degrees.”

ISU Extension and Outreach maintains a statewide real-time soil temperature data map on its website that agriculture retailers and farmers use to determine when fall N applications are appropriate. The website can be found at

“The reason for waiting to apply anhydrous ammonia until soils are cold is that nitrification, the process of biological conversion of ammonium to nitrate, occurs at a more rapid rate with warm soils. Since ammonium-N does not leach and is not subject to denitrification, as is nitrate, it is more stable in the soil,” said John Sawyer, professor and extension specialist in soil fertility and nutrient management at Iowa State University.

In addition to waiting for soils to cool below 50 degrees, use of a nitrification inhibitor should be considered to help further slow conversion to nitrate.

Temperature is only one soil condition that farmers should consider when applying anhydrous ammonia. Making sure that the soil is not too dry, too hard or too wet, will reduce injection issues that allow ammonia to move to the soil surface and be lost to the air. If conditions are not suitable, then waiting for better conditions is suggested.

Farmers with questions about timing of fertilizer applications can talk to their local ISU Extension and Outreach field specialist or their ag retailer for more information.

Educational Program for Sheep Producers to be Held in Ames

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host an educational program for sheep producers on Nov. 19 in Ames, Iowa. The event will be held at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center and will feature speakers Dan Morrical and Curtis Youngs.

Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the cost is $5 per person.

“The focus of the presentations in this session are part of the industry roadmap goals to increase lamb crop and improve consumer satisfaction with American lamb,” said Morrical, professor in animal science and extension sheep specialist at Iowa State.

Morrical will present at 10 a.m. on the new veterinary feed directive and its impact on sheep producers. He will also provide information on producing better market lambs at 11:30 a.m.

Youngs, professor in animal science at Iowa State University, will inform attendees on critical management factors to achieve a high lamb crop during a presentation at 10:30 a.m.

There are two options for the day’s afternoon sessions. Morrical will speak on evaluating lamb carcasses and using Sheep Brands computer ration software to balance rations, beginning at 1:15 p.m. in Kildee Hall on the Iowa State campus.

The second option is hands-on skills development held at the ISU Sheep Teaching Farm and presented by Youngs and Joe Sellers, beef specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

An educational program designed specifically for youth and led by Amy Powell, extension program specialist in animal science at Iowa State, will also be held at 10 a.m. Youth who attend will learn about lambing management and newborn lamb care. In the afternoon session youth can select either option. 

The event is sponsored by ISU Extension and Outreach and Premier Sheep Supply. Contact Morrical at 515-294-2904 or with any questions.

Farm Lending Declines, But Remains Elevated

Farm lending at commercial banks declined in the third quarter of 2016, but remained elevated as lenders continued to assess the downturn in the U.S. agricultural economy, according to the Federal Reserve's Agricultural Finance Databook.

The need for short-term financing in the farm sector remained high as profit margins remained weak. The volume of farm loans originated in the third quarter decreased about 19 percent from a year ago but remained elevated by historical standards.

Consistent with recent trends, loans for operating expenses continued to drive the demand for new loans. So far in 2016, loans used to finance operating expenses have comprised about 70 percent of all non-real estate farm loans and nearly 60 percent of total loan volume.

Alongside growing risk in the sector and slight declines in loan performance, agricultural bankers made modest adjustments to loan terms. Bankers also continued to rely more heavily on farm real estate as collateral.

Most prominently, the share of collateral on loans of more than $250,000 that was comprised of farm real estate increased from 10 percent to 32 percent. The sharp increase reversed a five-year decline in the use of farm real estate as a share of total collateral on non-real estate loans.

Farmland values continued to decline at a modest pace, which may put further pressure on agricultural credit conditions for some borrowers.

USDA Invests $1.7 Billion to Protect Sensitive Agricultural Lands through CRP

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will issue nearly $1.7 billion in payments to more than half of a million Americans who have contracts with the government to protect sensitive agricultural lands. The investment, part of the voluntary USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), will allow producers to protect almost 24 million acres of wetlands, grasslands and wildlife habitat in 2016.

CRP provides financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who remove environmentally sensitive land from production to be planted with certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and increase wildlife habitat. In return for enrolling in CRP, USDA, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Landowners enter into contracts that last between 10 and 15 years.

"We have seen record demand to participate in this important program," said Vilsack. "Despite the current enrollment limit of 24 million acres, USDA is committed to continuing our important partnerships with farmers, ranchers, state and local governments and sportsmen to maintain the environmental benefits provided by the Conservation Reserve Program."

More than 1.3 million acres were newly enrolled in CRP in fiscal year 2016 using the continuous enrollment authority, triple the pace of the previous year. In fiscal year 2016, FSA also accepted 411,000 acres through its general enrollment authority, plus 101,000 acres in the new CRP-Grasslands program, which balances conservation with working lands. More than 70 percent of the acres enrolled in CRP-Grasslands are diverse native grasslands under threat of conversion, with more than 97 percent of the acres having a new, veteran or underserved farmer or rancher as a primary producer.

During its 30-year history, CRP has reduced nitrogen and phosphorous runoff by 95 and 85 percent, respectively, and restored 2.7 million acres of wetlands. It has also protected more than 170,000 stream miles with riparian buffers, enough to go around the world seven times. The program provides 15 million acres that are beneficial to pollinators, and hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat that has resurrected waterfowl and gamebird populations, like pheasants, quail and prairie chicken.

CRP has sequestered an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking nine million cars off the road, and prevented nine billion tons of soil from erosion, enough to fill 600 million dump trucks.

Vilsack on How Ag Export Surge Boosted GDP Growth

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the following statement:

"Today's report on gross domestic product growth in the third quarter of 2016 brings welcome news for our overall economy, and brings further affirmation that America's agriculture sector remains a shining star in our nation's ability to seize export opportunities. Economic growth has increased 2.9 percent in the third quarter of 2016, a direct result of the gains made in export sales. Exports reached 10 percent growth in the quarter, the highest since 2013, with agricultural exports contributing disproportionately to the gains. Although a strong U.S. dollar and lower commodity prices have created headwinds for America's farmers and ranchers, this report demonstrates their ability to remain resilient and to seize opportunities to sell U.S. food, fiber and fuel to markets around the world.

"In this Administration alone, agricultural exports have topped $1 trillion since 2009, far and away the best stretch in our nation's history. Our farmers and ranchers have also helped to maintain a consistent agricultural trade surplus year after year since the 1960s-a remarkable feat in our global marketplace. Since 2009, USDA has worked to remove hundreds of unfair barriers to trade; open or expand key markets for products such as beef, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and more; and led 17 trade and investment missions and attended 23 trade shows, generating billions-of-dollars in sales for U.S. businesses.

"In order to continue this momentum, we can and should do more to expand global markets. U.S. farmers are facing unprecedented competition amid a slowing global economy and appreciating dollar. That's why it is important for Congress to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Exports are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. farm income, also driving rural economic activity and supporting more than one million American jobs on and off the farm. The American Farm Bureau Federation has found that ratifying the TPP agreement will boost annual net farm income in the United States by $4.4 billion-an increase which would directly boost out economic prosperity. As the agriculture sector expands, U.S. real income will increase by $57.3 billion and sixty-six percent of GDP growth from TPP would go to American workers through increased wages and job opportunities.

"Today's announcement shows the capability of America's agricultural sector to increase overall growth and prosperity across the country. American agriculture needs the good deal laid out in the TPP agreement to bolster its position in the world economy."

Broad Beef Producer Input Sought for 2016 National Beef Quality Audit

Beef producers all across the country, from every segment of the industry, are being encouraged to participate in a survey that will help establish a benchmark and course for the beef industry for 2017 and beyond. The Producer Survey of the checkoff-funded 2016 National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) will collect producer information and opinions, which will be added to the audit's traditional production research to form an in-depth look at where the industry stands and what its successes and shortcomings are.

"It's very important that every interested producer weigh in with their information and opinions," according to Jesse Fulton, NBQA audit manager. "By having substantial participation in the survey across all industry segments, we create the best opportunity for determining where the industry is and where we need to take it."

The survey will be completely anonymous and include both information about the industry's cattle operations and the opinions of the people who run them about the strengths and weaknesses of the industry. Input from every segment of the industry - cow-calf, stocker, feeder, dairy and others - is valued and will become part of the detailed picture of the U.S. cattle industry.

The survey can be accessed at the Beef Quality Assurance website at

USDA Announces Enrollment Period for Safety Net Coverage in 2017

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that producers on farms with base acres under the safety net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, can begin visiting FSA county offices starting Nov. 1, 2016, to sign contracts and enroll for the 2017 crop year. The enrollment period will continue until Aug. 1, 2017.

“FSA issued more than $7 billion in payments in October 2016 under the ARC-County and PLC programs for the 2015 crop to assist enrolled producers who suffered a loss of price or revenue or both,” said Dolcini. “Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers on the farm must enroll by signing a contract each program year. I encourage you to contact your local FSA office today to schedule an appointment to enroll.”

If a farm is not enrolled during the 2017 enrollment period, the producers on that farm will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2017 crop should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the program. Producers who made their elections in 2015 must still enroll during the 2017 enrollment period.

The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offer a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in prices or revenues for covered commodities. Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity. For more details regarding these programs, go to

Cattle Weights Reached Record High in 2015

Commercial cattle slaughter has trended down since the early 2000's after a steady increase during the 1990's, according to USDA's recent livestock slaughter summary report. Cattle slaughter was 28.8 million head in 2015, down 5 percent from 2014 and the smallest annual cattle slaughter since 1963. The largest number of cattle slaughtered in the last 25 years was 36.6 million head in 1996. This coincides with the peak of the 1990 to 2004 cattle cycle.

Commercial cattle average live weights have seen a steady increase over the past 25 years and reached a record high in 2015 at 1360 pounds. This was 30 pounds higher than the year before. Since 1990, average live weight has increased 224 pounds, or 20 percent. Since USDA slaughter records began in 1935, commercial cattle average live weights have increased by 56 percent.

Federally inspected average dressed weights for all cattle, steers and heifers have also steadily increased. Cattle average dressed weights reached a record high of 829 pounds in 2015, up 21 pounds from 2014. Since 1990, cattle average dressed weights have increased 143 pounds, or 21 percent. USDA records began in 1921 when federally inspected average dressed weight for cattle was 541 pounds and reached a low of 450 pounds in 1934. Steer and heifer average dressed weights also reached record highs last year. Steers averaged 892 pounds in 2015, 20 pounds higher than a year earlier. Heifers averaged 818 pounds, 18 pounds higher than 2014.

Due to changes in size group categories since 1990, a comparison of what size plants are slaughtering cattle was limited to 2000 and 2015. In 2000, plants that slaughtered over 1,000,000 head per year slaughtered 21.1 million head or 59 percent of the federally inspected cattle slaughter. In 2015, plants
that slaughtered over 1,000,000 head per year slaughtered 16.2 million head or 57 percent of the federally inspected cattle slaughter. The biggest changes have come in the second and third largest size groups. In 2000, 15 percent of federally inspected slaughter was conducted in plants where
500,000 to 999,999 head are slaughtered yearly versus 8.5 percent in 2015. However, only 10 percent of slaughter was conducted at plants slaughtering 300,000 to 499,999 head during the year in 2000 versus nearly 19 percent in 2015.

Commercial Hog Slaughter and Weights Continue Upward Trend

Commercial hog slaughter has trended upward since 1990, according to USDA's recent livestock slaughter summary report. A record high commercial hog slaughter of 116.5 million head was recorded in 2008. Since 2008, commercial hog slaughter hasn't been below 110 million except in 2014 when the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) hit the industry. In 2015, commercial hog slaughter was the second largest it has ever been, at 115.4 million head. Since 1990, commercial hog slaughter has increased over 35 percent.

Commercial hog average live weights have seen a steady increase over the past 25 years and reached a record high in 2014, at 285 pounds. This was 9 pounds higher than the year before. Since 1990, average live weight has increased 34 pounds, or approximately 14 percent. In 2015, average live weights decreased 2 pounds to 283 pounds. Since USDA slaughter records began in 1935, commercial hog average live weights have increased by 27 percent.

Federally inspected average dressed weights for all hogs and barrows and gilts have also steadily increased. Hog average dressed weights reached a record high of 214 pounds in 2014, up 7 pounds from 2013. Since 1990, hog average dressed weights have increased 33 pounds, or 18 percent. Hog average dressed weights decreased by 1 pound in 2015 to 213 pounds. USDA records for slaughter began in 1921 when federally inspected average dressed weight for hogs was 173 pounds and reached a low of 137 pounds in 1958 and 1959. Barrow and gilt average dressed weights reached a record high in 2014, at 212 pounds. Weights were 210 pounds in 2015. Sow average dressed weights have been relatively steady over the past 25 years. In 2015, sow average dressed weight was 309 pounds, up 4 pounds from 2014. In 2002, sow average dressed weights reached a record high of 317 pounds.

Due to changes in size group categories since 1990, a comparison of what size plants are slaughtering hogs was limited to 2000 and 2015. In 2000, plants that slaughtered over 4,000,000 head per year slaughtered 24.7 million head or 34 percent of the federally inspected hog slaughter. In 2015, plants that slaughtered over 4,000,000 head per year slaughtered 68.7 million head or 60 percent of the federally inspected hog slaughter. There were large decreases in the second and fourth largest size groups. In 2000, 35 percent of federally inspected slaughter was conducted in plants where 3,000,000 to 3,999,999 head are slaughtered per year versus 3 percent in 2015. In plants that slaughtered between 1,000,000 and 1,999,999 head per year, 24 percent of federally inspected slaughter was conducted at these plants in 2000 versus only 4 percent in 2015.

OIG Finds BLM Wild Horse and Burro Programs Out of Compliance

In a report from the Office of Inspector General for the Department of the Interior, the OIG found the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro program does not maximize efficiencies and is not compliant with federal regulation. Public Lands Council President and Utah rancher, Dave Eliason, said this report confirms what public lands ranchers have long known to be true.

“The fact is that wild horse and burro populations are growing at unsustainable rates on our nation’s public lands,” said Eliason. “The unchecked growth of these populations threatens the productivity of public grasslands and the health and welfare of the wild horse and burro populations. The BLM’s solution has been to move more of these wild horses and burros off the range and into short-term holding facilities, some horses being held in those facilities for an average of five years, rather than transporting horses to the under-utilized long-term holding facilities. The OIG report points out that this solution is not financially sustainable or efficient.”

The BLM was charged under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act of 1971 with managing and protecting the nation’s wild horses and burros. Under BLM’s management, horse and burro populations have exponentially exceeded the appropriate management levels and continue to grow at a rate of 20 percent per year. Additionally, 45,000 horses and burros remain in long-term holding facilities at a cost to taxpayers of $50,000 per animal.

“It is clear that we must manage our wild horse and burro population to ensure we meet sustainable appropriate management levels,” said Eliason. “Earlier this year the BLM’s own Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board recommended selling horses to private owners and euthanizing animals that cannot be sold. Wild horses and burros are a part of our nation’s heritage, but no one wins when these populations outgrow the resources available.”

OIG recommends BLM develop and implement policy to use appropriate rate determinations and adjustments for wild horse and burro populations and a plan for sustainable on and off-range population management. The report finds that implementing these strategies and maximizing the transition to long-term facilities would save taxpayers $3.7 million. PLC urges the BLM to allow for the sale of wild horses and restore a thriving ecological balance.