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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
June 18 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US
2018-06-19T06:10

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION

For the week ending June 17, 2018, there were 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 6 percent very short, 30 short, 61 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short, 26 short, 65 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 13 fair, 75 good, and 11 excellent.

Soybean condition rated 0 percent very poor, 2 poor, 16 fair, 74 good, and 8 excellent. Soybeans emerged was 97 percent, near 95 last year, and ahead of 91 for the five-year average. Blooming was 2 percent, near 1 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 8 poor, 29 fair, 52 good, and 9 excellent. Winter wheat headed was 98 percent, near 100 last year and 96 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 0 poor, 15 fair, 79 good, and 6 excellent. Sorghum planted was 96 percent, near 97 last year and 95 average.

Oats condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 22 fair, 66 good, and 6 excellent. Oats headed was 76 percent, behind 91 last year, but ahead of 68 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 31 fair, 54 good, and 7 excellent.



IOWA CROP PROGRESS & CONDITION REPORT


Above normal temperatures were felt throughout Iowa with severe storms hampering fieldwork and causing some localized damage during the week ending June 17, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included harvesting hay, delivering grain, re-planting storm damaged fields and applying post-emergent herbicides.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 15 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 5 percent very short, 16 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. While rain fell over much of the State, in south central Iowa the percentage rated very short for both topsoil and subsoil moisture levels increased over the past week.

With virtually all of the corn crop emerged, 84 percent was rated in good to excellent condition.

Ninety-seven percent of the soybean crop has emerged, 2 weeks ahead of average. Eighty percent of the soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition.

Sixty-four percent of the oat crop has headed, 2 days ahead of average. Eighty-three percent of the oat crop was rated in good to excellent condition.

Hay condition improved to 73 percent good to excellent. Pasture conditions rated 64 percent good to excellent. Scorching temperatures and high humidity continued to stress livestock.



USDA Crop Progress - Corn Good-to-Excellent Rating Up Slightly to Two-Decade High


The percentage of the U.S. corn crop rated in good-to-excellent condition improved slightly last week and is currently the highest in at least 20 years, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

NASS estimated that 78% of corn was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, June 17, up 1 percentage point from 77% the previous week. That's the highest rating for corn for this time of year in at least two decades.

Meanwhile, soybean condition slipped slightly from 74% the previous week to 73% last week.   Soybean planting was nearly complete by the end of last week with 97% of the crop planted as of Sunday, ahead of the average pace of 91%. Ninety percent of soybeans were emerged, ahead of the five-year average of 81%.

NASS reported that 27% of winter wheat was harvested as of Sunday, ahead of the five-year average of 19%. 

Spring wheat was 97% emerged, near 98% last year but ahead of the average pace of 95%. Spring wheat headed was 9%, behind 14% last year and also behind the five-year average of 12%.  USDA's good-to-excellent rating for spring wheat jumped up, from 70% a week ago, to 78% as of June 17.

Cotton was 96% planted as of Sunday, compared to 90% last week, 94% last year and 94% on average. Cotton squaring was 22%, ahead of the average pace of 17%.

Sorghum was 89% planted as of Sunday, compared to 80% last week, 84% last year and a five-year average of 82%. Sorghum headed was 18%, near the average of 17%.

Barley was 96% emerged as of Sunday, near the average of 95%, and headed was 8%, behind the average of 15%. Oats headed was 52%, near the average of 54%.


Monday June 18 Ag News
2018-06-19T06:09

Scouting and Treatment of First Generation European Corn Borer
Robert Wright - NE Extension Entomologist

While European corn borer numbers have greatly decreased regionally since the introduction of the first Bt corns active against caterpillars, local populations may still cause damage on untraited corn. There are significant acres of untraited corn grown in Nebraska, e.g. popcorn, white corn and growers planting Bt corn hybrids without above-ground Bt traits in an attempt to minimize seed costs.  There still is a need to scout for European corn borers in these situations.

UNL light traps at Concord, Clay Center and North Platte have been catching European corn borer moths the last few weeks, and whorl feeding by newly hatched European corn borers may be present in some fields. 

Nebraska Extension offers several resources to aid in scouting and making treatment decisions for first generation European corn borer on corn.
-    UNL Light Trap Data is available for Concord, Clay Center and North Platte. This information can help you monitor moth activity in your area, but should not be used to make treatment decisions for an individual field.
-     First Generation European Corn Borer Scouting and Treatment Decisions (NebGuide G1782) which includes a management worksheet to help determine whether control is warranted.
-    First Generation European Corn Borer Spreadsheet (EC3018) This spreadsheet is designed to be used in the field on mobile devices. This spreadsheet is designed to assist with making a management decision for first generation European corn borer in non-Bt corn.
-    For treatment options, rates and restrictions see the 2016 Insecticides for Field Crops section in the Nebraska Extension 2016 Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska and the product label.



Weed Management and Cover Crop Field Day at SCAL 

Amit Jhala - NE Extension Weed Management Specialist


View demonstrations of new technologies and herbicides for weed control in corn, soybeans, and sorghum and effects of cover crops on soil health and pest management at the June 27 Weed Management and Cover Crops Field Day. It will be held at the South Central Ag Lab near Clay Center.

The day begins with registration and rolls at 8 a.m., followed by weed management tours from 8:30 a.m. – noon, and cover crop demonstrations from 1 to 3 p.m. A free lunch will be served.

In addition to the field demonstrations, Jim Specht, University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor emeritus, will presented on “Optimizing Soybean Planting Date, Seeding Rate, and Seeding Depth in Nebraska.”

Tour 1 (8:30 – 10 a.m.):  On-Site Demonstration of New Technology/ Herbicides for Weed Control in Soybean
    Comparison of Herbicide Programs for Weed Control in Soybean: Unbiased comparison of several herbicide pro­grams of different companies for weed control in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend and Liberty Link soybeans. New herbicides and multiple herbicide-resistant soybean cultivars will be discussed.
    What NOT to Do? Considering several herbicide-resistant soybean traits, it is important to know which cultivar you have planted and spray herbicide accordingly. Demonstration plots will be shown to determine if you applied the wrong herbicide.
    Soybean Yield and Critical Time for Weed Removal as Influenced by Soil-applied Herbicide: Soybean must be kept weed free early in the season to avoid yield loss due to weed competition. This research project is examining the effects of removing weeds at different soybean growth stages. Soybean yield will be measured for each.
    Weed Control and Crop Safety in MGI Soybean: Understand mul­tiple herbicide-resistant soybean and herbicide programs for weed control and crop safety.

Tour 2 (10:15 a.m. – noon):  On-Site Demonstration of Herbicides for Weed Control in Corn
    Comparison of Herbicide Programs for Weed Control in Corn: Unbiased comparison of several herbicide programs by different companies for weed control in glyphosate plus glufosinate-resistant corn. Several new herbicides in corn will be discussed.
    Response of White and Yellow Popcorn Hybrids to Glyphosate, Enlist DUO, or XtendiMax: Nebraska is the number one producer of popcorn in the USA. With commercialization of Xtend soybean and Enlist corn, off-target movement of dicamba, glyphosate, and 2,4-D may injure popcorn. Response of white and yellow popcorn to these herbicides will be demonstrated.
    Control of Roundup Ready/LibertyLink Volunteer Corn in Enlist Corn: Volunteer corn is an important weed in corn-soybean cropping systems and in continuous corn, it can be even more of a challenge. This project demonstrates control of volunteer corn in Enlist corn.
    Weed Control and Crop Response in INZEN Sorghum: INZEN sor­ghum is resistant to the ALS-inhibiting herbicide nicosulfuron (Zest). Herbicide programs will be discussed for weed control in INZEN sorghum.

Tour 3 (1-3 p.m.):  On-Site Demonstration of Cover Crops
    Travel to Location 1 (1 - 1:15 p.m.)
    An Overview of the Effects of Cover Crops on weed suppression, pests (particularly wheat stem maggot) and beneficial insects. (1:15 – 2:00 p.m.)
    Travel to Location 2 (2:00 - 2:15 p.m.)
    Cover Crop Effects on Soil Health, including changes in soil microbial communities and soil physical properties with a focus on cover crop root biomass. (2:15 - 3:00 p.m.) 

Registration and Information

Preregister for the field day at https://agronomy.unl.edu/fieldday. CCA credits will be available. For more information contact: Amit Jhala, Extension weeds specialist, at amit.jhala@unl.edu or 402-472-1534 or Roger Elmore at roger.elmore@unl.edu or 402-472-1451.

The South Central Ag Lab is 4.5 miles west of the intersection of Hwy 14 south (to Clay Center) and Hwy 6 or 12.4 miles east of Hastings on Hwy 6. GPS coordinates: 40.57539, -98.13776.



Business & Farm Leaders Seek Relief from Limits on Nebraska Biofuels


In letters to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, over 100 business and farm leaders across seven Midwest states called on regulators to lift restrictions on the sale of ethanol, a crop-based biofuel that drives Nebraska agricultural revenues and rural manufacturing. Signers from Nebraska included Alan Tiemann of Seward, Dinkle’s of Norfolk, Midwest Labs of Omaha and 20 others.

“New markets for American-made biofuels promise to rejuvenate growth, but long-standing policies designed to promote cleaner, more cost-effective options at the fuel pump have been under siege by special interests in Washington,” wrote 73 business groups and Midwest employers. “We ask that you stand firm against these attacks and use every tool available to prevent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt from adopting regulatory schemes that would further undercut demand for biofuels and their energy-rich farm feedstocks.”

The business leaders noted an urgent need to reverse a five-year dive in farm income that threatens to stall the rural economy “well beyond farm communities.” They also called on Perdue to act swiftly on the President’s pledge to lift outdated restrictions against the summer-time sales of E15, a motor fuel containing 15 percent ethanol. The message was mirrored by farm leaders in their own letter to Secretary Perdue.

“For far too long, the EPA has failed to update regulations on Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP), which hold E15 to tougher standards than traditional gasoline during the summer,” wrote 37 Midwest agricultural groups and farmers, who harvest the renewable energy for nearly every gallon of U.S. ethanol. “There’s no reason for the restriction, which prohibits many retailers from offering cleaner, more-affordable options to their customers. Lifting these needless restrictions would provide a vital outlet for America’s 3.9 billion bushels of surplus grain, boost rural growth, and promote American energy dominance.”

The letters were offered in a show of support for an ongoing campaign organized by Growth Energy, America’s leading trade association of biofuel producers and supporters. Under Growth Energy’s leadership, rural advocates from across the country have urged policymakers in Washington to unleash America’s vast renewable resources to lower fuel prices, strengthen U.S. energy security, protect the climate, and put an end to a farm crisis that threatens to send an entire generation of farmers out of business. A similar call to action was issued earlier this month by 55 public officials from Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

“Starting June 1, outdated federal regulations cut off millions of drivers from a lower-cost fuel that supports farmers and rural manufacturing,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “President Trump promised Midwest lawmakers that he would fast-track a fix, and Secretary Perdue is working with the EPA on a solution, but time is running out. Farmers cannot afford to be locked out of the market for another driving season, especially when we could be holding down quickly-rising gas prices .”

Intended to reduce evaporative emissions, the current RVP guidelines were drafted before E15 hit the market, resulting in outdated restrictions that hold E15 to higher standards than less eco-friendly options offered all year long. Those limits now threaten growth opportunities for farm crops amid the sharpest agricultural downturn since the 1980s.

“Ethanol is really about enhancing the value of corn, as I sell #2 corn as a commodity and then buy distillers grain as a feed for my cow herd, and then you add in the cleaner air that ethanol provides, it is such a win-win for Nebraskans”, stated LaVon Heidemann of Elk Creek another signer on the letter.



Register Now for the 12th annual Iowa Women in Agriculture Conference


Iowa Women in Agriculture invites has announced its 12th annual conference at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny Aug. 2. This year’s theme is Connections, Challenges and Celebrations.

The 2018 Conference will deliver a full menu of decision-making ingredients for today’s volatile economic climate: the current outlook for ag trade agreements, marketing strategies for low commodity prices, financial risk management tactics, income and estate-tax tips, and the latest on the new farm bill.

The keynote speakers will highlight the unique challenges of women’s roles, offer opportunities to laugh and learn, and to celebrate agriculture.

The one-day conference runs from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Mary Kay Thatcher, former American Farm Bureau senior director of Congressional relations and current senior lead of Federal Government Relations for Syngenta, will keynote the conference with the latest highlights on the 2018 farm bill. Thatcher also will share her experiences as an ag leader, and encourage women to pursue active roles in agricultural associations and agribusinesses.

Keri Jacobs, Iowa State University ag economist and cooperatives specialist, will offer her insights on producer cooperatives in an era of ag competition and consolidation.

Angie Treptow, regional vice-president, Farm Credit Services of America, will wrap up the morning sessions with a deep dive into lender expectations for 2019.

Luncheon keynoter Delaney Howell, the first woman to host Iowa Public TV’s Market to Market, will share her personal experiences as well as the observations she’s gleaned from meeting farmers and reporting on the markets during her first year on the job.

The afternoon’s choice of breakout sessions and presenters features:

    The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act: 10 Key Changes that May Impact You: Kristine Tidgren, director, Iowa Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at Iowa State University.
    
    Cultivating Your Culture: Sally Hollis, accounting and human resources manager and family member of Lanehaven Farms, Inc., Waterloo.
    
    Turn Off the Noise: Making Smart Market Decisions in Today’s Noisy World: Angie Setzer, Algona; Vice-President of Grain, Citizens LLC; and Market to Market commentator.

The conference will conclude with capstone speaker Rebecca Long Chaney, Nebraska author and ag advocate, who will inspire attendees with her message: Dare to Risk Life’s Change.

Participants also will have a unique pre-conference opportunity to attend a farm/ag business tour on Wednesday, Aug. 1, hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Agriculture Program. The motor coach tour begins and ends in Ankeny, with stops at Louis Dreyfus Ethanol Plant in Grand Junction and the ISU 450 Farm in Ames.

A welcome and networking reception will be held on Wednesday, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Geisler Farms, four miles east of Ankeny.

Malinda and Darrell Geisler will share the story of their third-generation grain farm and their journey of building an agrotourism business, Growing Family Fun, as well as tips for becoming a wedding and reception event destination.

Registration for the conference is $50 until July 23, and $70 after that date. Registration includes the pre-conference tour, evening welcome reception, continental breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Register online, or from 7:15-8 a.m. on the day of the conference. No registration refunds will be possible.

Early bird registration is required for those attending the pre-conference tour. For questions, contact Madeline Schultz at 515-294-0588.

The premier sponsor of the 2018 Iowa Women in Agriculture Conference is Farm Credit Services of America.

Additional key sponsors include: Syngenta, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Bankers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Corteva Agriscience, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Pork Producer Association, and NEW Coop.

For more conference information, contact IWIA president Cheryl Tevis at 515-353-4425 or visit www.iowawomeninag.org for a full conference agenda and registration details.



World Pork Expo Wraps Up 30 Years; Sets Sights On Future


In search of new ideas and solutions, not just for today but for tomorrow, too, more than 20,000 producers, employees and pork professionals attended the 2018 World Pork Expo, June 6-8. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council, Expo also welcomed nearly 1,000 international guests from 35 countries to Des Moines.

Marking its 30th year, the 2018 Expo presented a record number of trade-show exhibitors, hospitality tents, educational seminars and live hogs in the Junior National show. The Iowa State Fairgrounds provided the perfect backdrop for a festive summer evening during MusicFest, giving visitors the opportunity to share fun and fellowship. A long-time highlight, the Big Grill — staffed by Iowa’s Tama County Pork Producers Association — served up more than 10,000 free pork lunches over the event’s three days.

“It’s hard to believe Expo has been around for 30 years,” says Jim Heimerl, NPPC president and producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “Just as the U.S. pork industry has evolved over the years, so too has Expo. Today it is an excellent venue to visit with a number of pork professionals and share insights in a short period of time. I hope there are many more Expos to come.”

More exhibits, more innovations

Topping the list of priorities for Expo attendees was the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, and this year’s offering set a record. The addition of the Jacobson Exhibition Center and an expanded outdoor exhibit space pushed the trade show beyond 360,000 square feet. A mix of first-time and long-time exhibitors from more than 500 U.S. and international companies displayed the latest products, services and technologies for pork production.

A record 60 hospitality tents provided pork producers and their employees an opportunity to meet with allied industry representatives in a relaxed setting.

Trade show exhibitors were pleased not just with the number, but the quality of Expo’s attendees. “They are very business oriented, very professional,” says Kevin Hermesch, strategic account manager, Provimi North America. “It used to be that one person did it all within a pork production system. Today, you have experts within a specific production area, and they have different needs and expectations.”

Expo provides an opportunity to meet multiple people within a production company, from managers to finance specialists, over a couple of days, Hermesch points out. A 30-year Expo exhibitor, Provimi provides nutritional services to pork producers.

He reports that, despite some market uncertainty lingering in the background, producer attitudes remained positive. “They tend to focus on what’s in their control and where they need to go in the future,” Hermesch adds. “That means looking for ways to get better, be more efficient and improve the bottom line.”

Rick Knauer, national technical sales manager with SKOV, echoes that sentiment. “The customers and atmosphere of Expo have been great,” he says. “Producers are looking for solutions, new technologies and what they need for the future.”

A Danish company, SKOV provides energy-efficient climate control solutions and weighing options for pork production systems; 2018 marked its second year exhibiting at Expo. With a presence in 87 countries, Knauer particularly likes Expo’s link to international visitors.

Another plus is the training and education opportunities that Expo provides. SKOV sponsored a business seminar on barn climate solutions. “We’re excited to come back next year,” Knauer says. His message for producers who don’t attend Expo: “You’re missing out. There are more than enough companies here to find what you need for your business.”

Barn-busting Junior National Show

The vibrant World Pork Expo Junior National continued its steady growth, with nearly 1,200 youth, representing 32 states. That compares to 1,050 exhibitors from 32 states in 2017. Also breaking records were the number of live hogs exhibited — 2,800 head — an increase of 300 hogs from 2017’s record. To accommodate the ever-expanding show, the events began on Monday, June 4, and ran through the end of the week. Hosted by the National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred, the Junior National combines educational activities such as a Skillathon and Youth PQA Plus® certification, with swine judging, live-hog competitions and showmanship.

On Friday, June 8, the open show featured more than 760 crossbred and purebred boars and gilts. Junior exhibitors were eligible to join other swine breeders for the competition and the opportunity to be selected for the breeding stock sale on Saturday morning, June 9. Results for the open shows and sales for National Swine Registry breeds can be found online.

Education, networking and entertainment

Pork producers are known for their continuous quest for information and ideas, which made the many educational and business seminars an Expo bonus. This year, pork producers and their employees could select from 20 free seminars. In addition to educational presentations, the sessions provided an opportunity for open dialogue and interaction with the presenters.

Presented by allied industry, the business seminar topics ranged from consumer trends to production-data analysis to maximizing vaccination and disease programs to environmental solutions inside and outside the hog barn and more. PORK Academy seminars, presented by Pork Checkoff, addressed such topics as sow longevity and productivity, antibiotic resistance and responsible use, and domestic and international pork marketing strategies. There also was an update on the industry’s Secure Pork Supply Plan, which is designed to address pork producers’ needs in the event that the United States faces a market-limiting foreign animal disease. Market outlook and weather presentations rounded out the educational events and provided information that producers can use for long-term strategic planning.

Each year, World Pork Expo offers pork producers and others a place to meet and visit with a wide range of people who share a common interest — to produce the world’s best pork products,” Heimerl says. “There is always something to learn and insights to share.”

World Pork Expo will move into its 31st year in 2019. So, mark your calendars and plan to attend the 2019 World Pork Expo, June 5-7, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.



U.S. SOY RESPONDS TO TARIFF ANNOUNCEMENT


In response to the announcement regarding U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports, the American Soybean Association (ASA), the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the United Soybean Board (USB) release the following statements.

“Nobody is a winner today,” says ASA Vice President Davie Stephens, a Kentucky soybean grower. “In the midst of a down farm economy and down farm prices, this uncertainty has led to a drop of market prices. Adding additional export market uncertainty through an expected 25 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. soybeans into China ensures that soy growers and the rural communities that depend on them will see the effects of this for years to come. As the largest importer of U.S. soybeans, China is a vital and robust market we cannot afford to lose.”

“We know our U.S. farmers are great at producing soybeans and so do our customers, globally consumers are demanding soy products in record volume,” says USSEC Chair Derek Haigwood, a soybean farmer from Newport, Arkansas. “USSEC is actively working to minimize the impact of this action on U.S. farmers and the U.S. soy industry by ensuring customers around the world understand the value that U.S. Soy provides.”

“The soy checkoff continues to focus on market diversification for U.S. soybeans to improve profit potential for all U.S. soybean farmers,” says USB Chair Lewis Bainbridge, a soybean farmer from Ethan, South Dakota. “In times like these we need to keep current and potential soy users informed about the benefits of U.S. soy.” 

The U.S. Soybean Export Council connects U.S. soybean farmers with opportunities to improve human nutrition, livestock production and aquaculture. This mission is accomplished with a science-based technical foundation and a global network of partnerships including soybean farmers, exporters, agribusiness and agricultural organizations, researchers and government agencies. USSEC operates internationally and works with aquaculture programs in different nations to help ensure sustainability and profitability for industry producers. USSEC programs are partially funded by the United Soybean Board.



CWT Assists with 1.5 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales


Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 1.345 million pounds (610 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese and 137,789 pounds (63 metric tons) to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from June through December 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 36.606 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 11.174 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 10.183 million pounds of whole milk powder to 25 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 663.624 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Totals have been adjusted for cancellations.

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

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



NGFA supports bill that would relieve ag truckers from electronic logging device mandate


The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) is urging Congress to enact a bill that would relieve trucks involved in hauling agricultural products from the U.S. Department of Transportation's costly electronic logging device (ELD) mandate.

Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., introduced the Agricultural Business Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018, which would completely exempt agricultural businesses from the ELD mandate. The mandate requires commercial drivers who prepare hours-of-service records to connect an electronic logging device to a vehicle's engine to record driving hours. The bill would provide truck drivers hauling agricultural products the option to use paper logs or electronic logging devices to comply with the hours-of-service regulations.

"This legislation would eliminate costly and impractical regulations for agricultural shippers reliant upon truck transportation," said NGFA Director of Economics and Government Relations Max Fisher. "The NGFA believes the ELD rule is unnecessary for this segment of the trucking industry, and will provide no new safety, economic, or productivity benefits. If farmers and agricultural shippers are not relieved from the ELD rule, its implementation will add to freight costs and make U.S. agricultural products less competitive in the highly competitive global market in which it operates."

The current exemption for drivers hauling agricultural commodities expires June 18. Livestock and insect haulers have an extended exemption - through Sept. 30, 2018 - that was included in the spending package signed into law earlier this year. However, drivers hauling non-livestock agricultural commodities are required to begin using an ELD by June 19.

NGFA urged U.S. DOT to delay implantation and ultimately revoke the ELD rule for agricultural truckers in a statement submitted to the agency on Dec. 1. In its statement, NGFA noted how vitally important truck transportation is to the movement of grain, feed and feed ingredients, transporting approximately 20 million truckloads from field-to-storage and often at least one more time before arriving at the destination.

U.S. DOT estimates the average ELD cost per truck at $785 per year. Unneeded regulatory costs such as this add up and increase transportation costs, NGFA noted, and place additional burdens on an industry already struggling with driver shortages and other regulatory challenges.



Unapproved GM Wheat Found in Canada


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed the discovery of unapproved genetically modified wheat plants containing a trait developed by Monsanto in southern Alberta.

The isolated patch of wheat plants were found growing on an access road to an oil platform last summer, the agency said in a briefing on Thursday. The plants were reported by a custom applicator after they survived an application of glyphosate, reports RealAgriculture.com.

Seven plants were taken for testing and the rest of the patch was destroyed. The Alberta government informed the CFIA about the suspicious plants in late January.

Testing conducted since then shows the wheat contains a GM trait or "event" that was field tested by Monsanto (MON71200), but the plants do not match any Canadian registered wheat variety. The nearest trials for the trait, which Monsanto says it tested from 1998 to 2000, were located hundreds of miles from where it was found, said the agency.

"The GM wheat has a genetic background that does not match any currently registered wheat in Canada. It has a fingerprint that is distinct from any registered wheat. CFIA is continuing our work to identify the specific class of this wheat, but this work is ongoing," said a CFIA scientist during the briefing.

The agency said it is confident it is an isolated case, and that none of the GM wheat entered the grain handling system or the seed system. The CFIA also emphasized that there is no food or animal health risk.

The CFIA has begun monitoring the location, and will continue to do so for the next three years, verifying that all GM wheat that may germinate is destroyed.


Friday June 16 Ag News
2018-06-16T07:22

Nebraska’s Shell Creek Watershed Makes History for Successful Water Clean-Up Efforts

A major Nebraska watershed is making history today for the cleanup and reduction of Atrazine which has greatly reduced negative impacts on aquatic life and overall health of the area. Shell Creek’s water, fish, frogs and other aquatic life are the healthiest they’ve been in decades. This appears to be the first example of a stream being removed from the ‘Impaired Waters’ list that resulted from implementation of a comprehensive watershed management plan. Shell Creek includes more than 304,000 acres, stretching from Newman Grove to Schuyler. Atrazine is a common herbicide used to kill weeds. It’s linked to cancer in humans and can give aquatic life deformities.

This historic accomplishment took more than 12 years to complete. The Shell Creek Watershed Improvement Group (SCWIG) is a group of landowners and farmers who led the grassroots efforts in conservation. They worked collaboratively with a variety of partners on the local, state and federal level including the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District (LPNNRD), the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other project partners. More than 240 landowners have participated in the program so far, putting more than 340 conservation practices on the land. Examples of these conservation management practices are no-till farming, filter and buffer strips, and cover crops. These efforts improve the quality of water draining into Shell Creek. As a result of these practices, the Atrazine level has significantly declined and is now supporting aquatic life in the creek.

“I grew up a quarter mile away from Shell Creek and my siblings and I spent a lot of time there,” said Matt Bailey, Co-chairman of the Shell Creek Watershed Improvement Group (SCWIG). “It's a great feeling to think that my kids will be able to see the shells I didn't see in the creek. The stewardship of this water is the responsibility of all of us as producers and landowners. Getting it delisted is a testimony to all our efforts within SCWIG and especially those who put management practices on their own farms. They're the reason this is becoming a reality.”

“This is the perfect example of how Nebraskans pull together to solve our common challenges,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “Working together, local community leaders collaborated with state and federal agencies, and together they are accomplishing their goals of cleaning up the watershed and being good stewards of our natural resources.”

Shell Creek was first added to the Clean Water Act List of Impaired Waters by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2006 due to impairment of aquatic life caused by Atrazine. Out of 48 water samples collected from Shell Creek between 2007 and 2016, only seven samples exceeded the water quality standard of 12 micrograms per liter of Atrazine, allowing the stream to be delisted for Atrazine impairment in 2018.

“It was the grassroots initiative of the Shell Creek Watershed Improvement Group to promote and grow interest in the restoration plan and the producers who stepped up to adopt conservation practices that led to this achievement.” said Jim Macy, Director of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. “NDEQ helped develop the restoration plan for Shell Creek and helped secure funding for its implementation. This was great teamwork by all people and partners involved.”

Educating Nebraska’s youth about the importance of water quality has also been a large part to this project. Newman Grove High School and Schuyler Central High School have developed summer volunteer programs to take samples of Shell Creek’s water, sediment and bugs to help monitor the creek’s water quality throughout the years. These samples provide valuable information on the creek’s health and the students get a rare hands-on opportunity to learn more about Nebraska’s natural resources.

“This is a major milestone,” said Eric Gottschalk, Lower Platte North Natural Resources District’s general manager. “We know SCWIG will continue to work hard in keeping Shell Creek healthy. We also know there are other creeks and rivers that could benefit from developing groups like SCWIG. We believe we have a program model that works well in Nebraska and we’re ready to share it with anyone interested.”



FSA County Committee Nomination Process Launches in Cuming County


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages America’s farmers and ranchers to consider running for their local county committee or nominate candidates for committee. According to Sarah Beck, USDA Farm Service Agency Cuming County Executive Director, FSA will accept nominations for the Cuming County Committee beginning Friday, June 15, 2018.

Producers across the country are already serving on committees where they play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA, making important decisions on programs dealing with disaster and conservation, emergencies, commodity loan price support, county office employment and other agricultural issues.

“County committees are unique to FSA and allow producers to have a voice on federal farm program implementation at the local level,” said Beck. “It is also important that committees are comprised of members who fairly represent the diverse demographics of production agriculture for their community. I encourage all producers, including women, minority and beginning farmers and ranchers, to participate in the nomination and election process.”

Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated farmers and ranchers serve on FSA county committees, which consist of three to 11 members and meet once a month, or as needed. Members serve three-year terms.

Producers can nominate themselves or others. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, may also nominate candidates to better serve their communities. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program and reside in the area where the election is being held.

This year, nominations and elections for Cuming County will be held in local administrative area 2, which includes the townships of Cuming, Garfield, Neligh, Sherman North, Sherman South, St Charles North, and St Charles South.

To be considered, a producer must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections, or from the Cuming County FSA office. All nomination forms for the 2018 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2018. Visit farmers.gov for more information.

Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters beginning Nov. 5, 2018.



Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Recognizes 2018 Retail Value Steer Challenge Winners


The annual Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation (NCF) Retail Value Steer Challenge (RVSC) winners were honored at the NC Foundation lunch on June 7 during the Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) Midyear Meeting in Grand Island.

The RVSC is the primary fundraiser for NC Foundation with money raised supporting youth & adult educational programs, scholarships, research & infrastructure projects, history preservation and judging teams at colleges in Nebraska.

Three winners of each of the three categories were awarded for their steer’s performance in the 19th annual Retail Value Steer Challenge. First place in the Average Daily Gain category was awarded to the steer owned by Jim Ramm of Atkinson, Don Schmaderer of Stuart and Paul Sedlacek of Pierce. Second place went to a steer owned by the University of Nebraska Animal Science Faculty and third place was awarded to Loseke Feedlot of Columbus and Folken Feedyard of Leigh. Graff Cattle of Ogallala owned the steer that won the Carcass Value category with John Schroeder of Cozad and Kelly Bruns of North Platte receiving second with their steer. A steer owned by Miles Cattle Company of McCool Junction and Trampe Cattle Company of Amherst received the third place honors. First place in the Total Value Category was a steer owned by the Northeast Nebraska Cattlemen Association. Second place went to the steer owned by Bergers’s Herdmasters of Stapleton and third place went to Wayne & Roxanne Eatinger of Thedford.

The NC Foundation would like to recognize the support of Darr Feedlot, Cozad, for administration and feeding of the steers that were entered into this year’s challenge. In addition, the Foundation appreciates the following sponsors for their support of the Retail Value Steer Challenge:Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Bill’s Volume Sales, Inc., Elanco Animal Health and Zinpro Performance Minerals.



Summer Recruitment Contest


This summer the Nebraska Corn Growers Association wants YOU to talk with your family, friends, & neighbors about joining the association!

Between July 1st and September 30th, the member who recruits the most people to join the Nebraska Corn Growers Association will receive a CUSTOM Bison Brand 50 Quart Cooler and a Nebraska Corn Prize Pack. The winner will be able to choose an image for the lid of the cooler OR NeCGA will come to the winner’s farm and take a photo, winners choice.

*Must have a minimum of 5 recruits to qualify. Prize package worth over $350.*

Recruiting points will be calculated using NCGA’s Recruiter Points System.
Current or Lapsed (less than 24 months) Members
1 point for each 1-year membership
3 points for each 3-year membership

New Members (Lapsed greater than 24 months)
3 points for each 1-year membership
9 points for each 3-year membership

Memberships must be turned into the office or completed online by 11:59 PM on September 30th.  Questions? Contact the NeCGA office at (402) 438-6459 OR email Morgan at mwrich@necga.org. 



ICGA Discuss Key Policy Issues at 2018 Roundtables


Policy development at the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is a grassroots process. Each year, ICGA hosts roundtable meetings in local communities across the state to gather insight and feedback on priorities from farmer members. The meetings, which will be held on June 25 & 26 and July 11 & 12 this year, allow ICGA members to come together, share a meal, and discuss key issues impacting corn farmers. Policies brought forward and approved at roundtable meetings go on to the Annual ICGA Grassroots Summit on August 24-25 for the ICGA delegates to debate for adoption into the ICGA Policy Book. This process enables the organization to take-action in lobbying for and supporting sound policy development and pro-farmer legislation. 

June 25
    Le Mars – Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor, 115 Central Ave. NW (5:30-8:30 p.m.)
    Ogden – The Lucky Pig, 113 W Walnut St. (5:30-8:30 p.m.)
    Sheffield –  Sukup Facility, 1555 255th St. (5:30-8:30 p.m.) 

June 26
    Grinnell – Key Co-op, 330 West St. S (11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)
    Red Oak –  Agrivision, 2405 N 4th St. (11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)
    Oxford Junction – Willimack Farms, 1418 108th Ave. (5:30-8:30 p.m.) 

July 11
    Mt. Pleasant – Airport Road Vineyard and Winery, 2555 Lexington Ave. (11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)
    Emmetsburg – The Shores at Five Island, 14 North Lawler St. (5:30-8:30 p.m.)
    Denison –Boulders, 2507 Boulder Dr. (5:30-8:30 p.m.) 

July 12
    Albia – Smith Fertilizer & Grain, 805 IA-5 (11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)
    Creston – Gavilon Grain, 300 Osage St. (5:30-8:30 p.m.)
    Fayette – Upper Iowa, 605 Washington St. (5:30-8:30 p.m.)

Roundtables are FREE for ICGA members, but we encourage advance registration. Meals (lunch or dinner) will be included at each session. If you can't attend a roundtable but wish to bring forth a policy resolution for consideration, please contact your local ICGA Board member. Go to iowacorn.org/roundtables for more information. 



Iowa Corn Attends Corn Utilization and Technology Conference with Iowa State Students


A delegation of Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) farmer-leaders, staff and seven Iowa State University students and staff attended the 2018 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference (CUTC) in St. Louis last week to network and see the latest in corn uses technology and research.

Joseph P. Polin, from Iowa State University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, took home the top prize in the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference 2018 Poster contest. Polin's poster titled "Overcoming the challenges of using corn stover as feedstock in autothermal pyrolysis" looks at controlling how corn stover burns itself to make bio-oil.

Joe is the third ISU student in a row to win the poster session; ISU students sponsored by the Iowa Corn Research and Business Development Committee won the 2014, 2016, and 2018 poster session. Polin’s research seeks to take abundant corn stover biomass and convert the lignocellulose fractions into valuable products more economically and efficiently by improving the scalability and process economics of corn stover pyrolysis systems.

“CUTC draws everyone from corn producers to value-added product producers, from students to seasoned scientists and engineers to see the latest industry developments,” stated Iowa Corn Industrial Innovations Manager Alex Buck. “This conference is a great way to showcase and see work done throughout the corn value chain.” Buck gave a presentation titled, “Monoethylene Glycol from Corn: A single-step, thermocatalytic, continuous process” at the conference. His talk focused on ICPB’s current research project developing a proprietary and patented production method using corn in the industrial manufacturing of a raw material, monoethylene glycol (MEG). MEG is an industrial chemical used in the manufacture of antifreeze, plastic bottles for pop or bottled water, and polyester clothes. Today, MEG makes up about 30 percent of bottles and polyester.

By improving the manufacturing processes for bio-based materials, this method will continue to expand the renewable products market. Meaning enhanced yield of corn-based MEG over competition makes this biobased process more competitive with less waste than current biobased MEG.

“As more manufacturers seek ways to produce their products from greener materials with greater efficiency while reducing their dependence on fossil fuels, ICPB’s corn-based MEG has the potential to meet a vast and growing market,” said Iowa Corn Research and Business Development Committee Chairman Pete Brecht. “By improving the manufacturing processes for bio-based materials, this method will continue to expand the renewable products market. Meaning enhanced yield of corn-based MEG over competition makes this bio-based process more competitive with less waste than current bio-based MEG. This one switch to a more renewable material will reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and improve the environmental footprint for hundreds of consumer products.”

Since 1987, CUTC has brought together leading innovators in the corn industry. The biennial conference provides a venue that allows scientific exchange and engaging discussions for researchers, farmers and other industry leaders.



NCBA "Looks Forward" to Public Meeting on Fake Meat


Today National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Director of Government Affairs Danielle Beck issued the following statement in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement that they will hold a public meeting on foods produced using animal cell culture technology:

“NCBA looks forward to participating fully in the public meeting, and will use the opportunity to advocate for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversight of lab-grown fake meat products. The Food and Drug Administration’s announcement disregards the authorities granted to USDA under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, as well as USDA's significant scientific expertise and long-standing success in ensuring the safety of all meat and poultry products. Under the current regulatory framework, FDA plays an important role in terms of ensuring the safety of food additives used in meat, poultry, and egg products. All additives are initially evaluated for safety by FDA, but ultimately FSIS maintains primary jurisdiction.”

According to the FDA, the public meeting is intended to provide interested parties and the public with an opportunity to comment on emerging lab-grown protein technology. The public meeting is not a formal decision and will not prevent USDA from asserting primary jurisdiction. 

USDA oversight of lab-grown protein products is consistent with existing federal laws. Lab-grown protein products fall within statutory definitions of a meat byproduct. USDA is responsible for ensuring the safety and proper labeling of all such products under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA).



Trump’s $50 Billion Tariff Announcement Harsh Reality for Soybean Growers


Weeks of speculation have ended with new anxiety for growers of America’s leading agricultural export: President Trump announced today he is indeed levying 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. This decision not only inflames trade tensions between the two countries, but also means U.S. soybean growers, who shipped roughly $14 billion in soybeans last year to China – their number one export market – stand to quickly feel the impact of retaliatory tariffs.

The American Soybean Association (ASA), on behalf of all U.S. soy growers, is disappointed in the Administration’s decision, which follows weeks of imploring the President and his team to find non-tariff solutions to address Chinese intellectual property theft and not place American farmers in harm’s way. ASA has twice requested a meeting with President Trump to discuss how increasing soy exports to China can be a part of the solution to the U.S. trade deficit without resorting to devastating tariffs.

Chinese government officials have announced that their response to Trump’s widespread trade tax on Chinese goods will be quick and certain, which is bad news for soybeans farmers. A study by Purdue University economists predicts that soybean exports to China could drop by as much as 65 percent if China imposes a retaliatory 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans.

Davie Stephens, Kentucky soybean grower and Vice President of ASA, is among growers distraught over the newly-announced tariffs, and China’s possible retaliation.

“Crop prices have dropped 40 percent in the last five years, and farm income is down 50 percent compared to 2013. As a soy grower, I depend on trade with China. China imports roughly 60 percent of total U.S. soybean exports, representing nearly 1 in 3 rows of harvested soybeans,” Stephens said. “This is a vital and robust market that soy growers have spent over 40 years building and, frankly, it’s not a market U.S. soybean farmers can afford to lose.”

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has released a revised list of Chinese goods subject to the additional 25 percent tariff stemming from concerns over intellectual property theft and technology transfers. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin collecting the additional duties on the bulk of that list beginning July 6.

“As the country’s leading agricultural export at $27 billion, trade is vital for soybean growers and, while China has not yet directly retaliated against imports of U.S. soybeans, it seems imminent,” Stephens said. “ASA continues to advocate for increased trade opportunities, not trade-reducing tariffs, to help boost agriculture industries and rural communities in the current down farm economy,” said Stephens.

ASA is among grower and industry groups whose members have been imploring Congress to urge the Administration to back away from tariffs and return to the negotiating table with China. Under the hashtag #TradeNotTariffs, members of these organizations have continued to amp up awareness on social media, sharing with the public how trade tariffs could devastate their livelihoods.



Iowa Soybean Association statement on White House announcement to move forward with China tariffs


 The White House announced today that it’s moving forward with 25 percent tariffs on up to $50 billion of Chinese products imported into the U.S. China responded in-kind, saying it will move swiftly to protect its interests. The speculation is Beijing will retaliate by imposing tariffs of its own on $50 billion in American exports, including agricultural products. Iowa Soybean Association President Bill Shipley of Nodaway released the following statement:

“The use of food as a weapon in trade disputes is of grave concern to Iowa and U.S. farmers. It threatens the security and stability of the people and economies of China and the United States, including millions of U.S. farm families.

“There are no winners in a trade war and one that includes soybeans will not start or end well. U.S. soybean prices have already plummeted by about $1 per bushel since the beginning of June. Prices will likely drop further should the tariffs be imposed. This will further pressure agricultural families and businesses already struggling with below break-even commodity prices. Duties on imported soybeans will also negatively impact China’s soy processors, animal and aquaculture producers and its people.

“An ongoing trade dispute with China risks stoking anti-Americanism sentiment that could jeopardize the strength of trade relations between the two countries that have taken U.S. soybean farmers nearly 35 years to develop.

“Iowa soybean farmers recognize the legitimate trade issues involving China and the U.S. We’re also keenly aware of the trade imbalance that exists between the two countries. China consumes nearly 62 percent of all soybeans traded globally. Approximately 33 percent of total U.S. soybean production is destined for China, fulfilling almost 40 percent of China’s total soybean imports. Ironically, U.S. soybean and agriculture can help improve the trade imbalance by increasing sales to China. This is a much better course of action than suspending sales.

“Farmers are resilient, resourceful and used to dealing with situations out of their control. The best way to counteract negative financial impacts of tariffs is to go on offense. The Iowa Soybean Association will continue to work with partners to build demand both here and abroad, find more efficient ways to export our product and ensure policies and regulations are fair and workable for farmers.”



Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding New Tariffs on Chinese Products


“Today’s action by the Trump administration to move forward with $50 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese products continues to raise substantial concerns throughout the entire agricultural community. We have major issues in our trading relationship with China, and we fear today’s action will only amplify those problems.” 

“Preliminary Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) analysis shows on a per unit basis, Nebraska’s export relationship with China in 2016 amounted to $2.29/bushel for soybeans, $26.36/head for beef (hides & skins), and $3.82 per head for pork. These figures are quite significant to the overall dollar amount farmers and ranchers receive for these commodities.”

“On a per Nebraska county basis, Cuming County, generates roughly $26 million because of agricultural trade with China. Furthermore, eight counties exceed $20 million in terms of value of exports to China and 41 counties exceed $10 million. The average export value to China across all counties is $9.4 million.” 

“On a per farm basis, Phelps County generates the most from trade with China at $47,332 per farm; 17 counties exceed $25,000 per farm in terms of export value to China. The average export value to China per farm across all counties is about $16,600. “

“While the entirety of the U.S./China trading relationship won’t disappear overnight, these actions will have significant consequences which have the potential to greatly damage farm and ranch families for years to come.”



Nebraska Corn disappointed by Chinese tariffs


This morning, President Trump announced his plans to move forward with Section 301 tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports. The first round, $34 billion in tariffs, would go into effect July 6, 2018. The remaining tariffs are expected to be implemented at a later date by the U.S. Trade Representative.

Following the announcement, China’s Ministry of Commerce said they would swiftly respond with tariffs of “equal scale, equal intensity.” The tariffs are expected to hit U.S. ag products, but China’s full list is not yet known.

The Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association are opposed to the tariffs because they disrupt trade policy and add fuel to an emerging trade war.

“Nebraska corn farmers are already struggling to break even due to low corn prices, but these tariffs aren’t hurting just farmers” said David Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from St. Edward. “More than 1 million American jobs are supported by U.S. ag exports alone. A trade war with China will deeply impact U.S. farmers, U.S. workers and U.S. consumers.”

China has already responded to steel and aluminum tariffs implemented by the U.S. government in March, which included U.S. ethanol (tariffed at 15 percent) and U.S. pork (at 25 percent). China’s counter to today’s U.S. announcement includes a list of 106 categories of imported items facing 25 percent tariffs. These are scheduled to take effect once the U.S. policy is implemented.

“Agriculture is a U.S. trade champion and the president’s tariffs have the potential to hurt our country’s farmers” said Dan Wesley, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Morse Bluff. “Rural America was a strong supporter of President Trump during his campaign due to his commitment to farmers. We want to work with President Trump to help him understand the damage the tariffs are causing to rural America and hopefully he will reconsider.”



U.S. Grains Council Statement On Imposition Of Tariffs On Chinese Goods

President and CEO Tom Sleight

“The farmers and exporters we represent have been here before regarding China and they are well aware of what it’s like to deal with tariffs, counter-tariffs and policy restrictions. Since 2010, we have been adversely impacted by trade policy actions by China against U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), sorghum, ethanol and corn. China is a very important market for U.S. coarse grains and their co-products, but so too is the rest of the world. We will stay closely engaged with the China market and its importance to U.S. agriculture, but we will also redouble our efforts in the rest of the world to expand demand.

“We are concerned any tariff opens this market to our competitors and locking out U.S. products doesn’t mean trade stops – it means other partners will take our place. Bottom line: tariff battles are never productive.

“We trust the leaders at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the White House know how critical open markets are to our industry and appreciate their support during this process and in this tense time.”



Farmers for Free Trade Statement on Administration Approval of $50 Billion in 301 Tariffs


Farmers for Free Trade Executive Director, Brian Kuehl released the following statement following reports that the Administration will move forward with $50 billion in tariffs on China which are expected to result in heavy retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports.

“For American farmers this isn’t theoretical anymore, it’s downright scary. It’s no longer a negotiating tactic, it’s a tax on their livelihoods. Within days, soybean, corn, wheat and other American farmers are likely to be hit with retaliatory tariff of up to 25% on exports that keep their operations afloat. When they do, they’re not going to remain silent.

“The imposition of these tariffs is not only a blow to our farmers, it’s a win for our competitors. When American soybeans and corn become more expensive, South America wins. When beef becomes more expensive, Australia wins. As this trade war drags on, farmers will rightly question why our competitors are winning while we’re losing.

“Farmers for Free Trade will continue to hold town hall meetings across the country this summer to ensure farmer’s voices are being heard. The message will be loud and clear: American farmers demand that elected officials support them by ending this trade war.”




Reality of China Trade Tensions Demands Strong Plan to Protect Family Farmers and Ranchers, NFU Says


President Donald Trump today announced that his administration will impose 25 percent tariffs on Chinese technology imports to the tune of $50 billion. The first round of tariffs, worth $34 billion, are set to take effect on July 6.

National Farmers Union, a family farm organization in support of strong trade enforcement, called on the administration to work with Congress to ensure family farmers do not bear the brunt of retaliation that is sure to follow the tariff actions. Secretary Perdue should work with congressional leadership and agriculture committees to craft a farm bill that protects against market volatility and severe price swings, according to NFU President Roger Johnson.

Johnson issued the following statement:
“Farmers Union fully supports strong trade enforcement to achieve fair and balanced trade markets. We also support the administration’s goal of reducing the enormous U.S. trade deficit. But our organization grows increasingly concerned that this administration does not have a plan to ensure family farmers and ranchers aren’t thrown under the bus for the sake of these goals.

“None of the trade market disruption occurring presently should be looked at in isolation. The administration must work with Congress to develop a comprehensive solution to ensure family farmers can continue to provide for the nation. Fortunately, the current farm bill drafts moving through Congress present an opportunity for the administration to do just that. And the current programs within the farm bill, if provided adequate resources, could provide a strong safety net.

“Farmers Union strongly urges the administration to move swiftly to put in place measures that ensure farmers and ranchers can survive the current slump in the farm economy and volatility in international trade markets that is sure to follow the imposition of new tariffs.”



China Hits U.S. Agriculture with Retaliation


China placed a 25 percent retaliatory tariff on multiple U.S. goods, including sorghum. The retaliatory tariff also applies to U.S. soybeans, cotton, wheat, vegetables, beef, pork and others and will go into effect on July 6. This action was in response to the U.S. issuing a 25 percent tariff earlier today on 1,102 Chinese goods.

Today's tariff announcement comes a month after China terminated anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations into U.S. sorghum, which ended the 178.6 percent duty. The newly enforced 25 percent tariff will bring higher prices for Chinese consumers who purchase over half of U.S. sorghum exports. National Sorghum Producers Chairman and Nebraska farmer Don Bloss issued the following statement:

"National Sorghum Producers, alongside our producers, stakeholders and partners, have already seen the market uncertainty and price fluctuations that occur when China retaliates on U.S. goods. We urge President Trump and the Administration to move forward with constructive trade negotiations that will end tariffs on U.S. agriculture, especially during times of existing economic stress.

"We understand the grave impact tariff decisions can inflict on producers. American farmers depend on trade with China, and these tariffs will have devastating effects on U.S. agriculture. We greatly value our business relationship with Chinese buyers and hope to see this win-win relationship move forward. We have witnessed the Administration's efforts in positive trade negations in the past that lifted sanctions on U.S. sorghum and hope to see similar efforts going forward.

 "National Sorghum Producers will continue to work with and encourage officials to achieve long-term trade solutions with China. Protecting our markets remains the No. 1 priority for U.S. sorghum farmers and the agriculture industry."



 Undeniably Dairy Campaign Kicks Off Second Year in June


For the second year in a row, dairy farmers, cooperatives, brands and other industry stakeholders in recognizing June Dairy Month by getting involved in the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s Undeniably Dairy initiative.

Throughout the summer, Undeniably Dairy is promoting a new chapter in its multi-year campaign to celebrate dairy’s innate goodness. This latest endeavor will celebrate all those who are “Undeniably Devoted to Dairy,” from farmers to chefs and everyone in between.

Undeniably Dairy – funded by dairy farmers through their checkoff – will reach consumers who have questions about dairy through nationally recognized podcasts, digital and media partnerships, and by farmers and other members of the dairy community who will share personal stories of devotion. Farmers work with experts every day that help ensure healthy cows and responsibly produced milk.

For cooperatives and producers who want to share stories of how they are “Undeniably Devoted” to their livelihoods, here are some ways to celebrate:
-    Take a picture of your employees, veterinarians, nutritionists, milk haulers, and others. Share it along with a story of their devotion on your social channels using #undeniablydairy.
-    Share content from the Dairy Hub about the undeniably devoted – you can find an Undeniably Dairy resource link on the home page. If you haven't joined the Dairy Hub yet, register here.
-    Talk about those devoted to dairy when conducting farm tours or talking with neighbors.
-    Encourage friends and family to do the same.




 NMPF Joins Dairy Groups to Launch Campaign on Dairy’s Economic Impact


To help promote the U.S. dairy industry as a job-creating and exports machine, National Milk Producers Federation has joined the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) to launch a year-long campaign titled “Got Jobs? Dairy Creates Jobs, Exports Create More.”

Most Americans know milk and other dairy products are an essential part of a healthy diet. But less well-known is dairy’s contribution to the health of the U.S. economy and the economies of every state across the country. This storytelling campaign aims to shine a brighter, data-driven spotlight on the positive effects of dairy’s economic engine.

Over the next year, the three dairy groups will share in-depth data and compelling narratives featuring hardworking dairy farmers, innovative dairy company employees, resourceful retailers and many others throughout the food supply chain at its website GotDairyJobs.org. The site will offer monthly features, videos and data-driven facts that demonstrate dairy’s continued impact on jobs, tax revenue and communities around the country. Using #GotDairyJobs, the dairy industry will amplify the campaign and create the dairy jobs conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“As milk continues its journey from farm to table, it becomes a job-creation machine, employing farm workers, truck drivers, construction workers, factory workers, retailers and even cargo ship captains navigating the ocean to ports in fast-growing countries demanding more dairy than their own countries can produce,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “The United States is uniquely positioned to meet this growing global need, which allows U.S. dairy to provide opportunities for job creation and growth in the United States.”



EPA MOVES TO REPLACE WOTUS


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today moved to replace the Clean Water Act regulation issued in 2015 under the Obama administration. Known as the Waters of the U.S. rule (WOTUS), the regulation expanded the EPA’s jurisdiction over U.S. waters to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams, such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. Last year, a federal court of appeals put a nationwide stay on WOTUS. Subsequently, the Supreme Court said authority over WOTUS belonged to a federal district court, slowing the process to block implementation of the rule. Currently, two different federal district courts, in cases covering 24 separate states, have issued injunctions against its enforcement. The Trump administration has consistently expressed its intent to repeal and replace WOTUS and today sent a new rule for review by the Office of Management and Budget.



INDIA, U.S. AGREE TO TRADE AND ECONOMIC TALKS


The United States and India this week announced plans enter into discussions on expanding their bilateral trade and economic relationships. The announcement comes after Indian Commerce and Industry Minister, Suresh Prabhu, met this week with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S.  Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The National Pork Producers Council has been working closely with the administration to gain market access to India.      



Brazil's Soybean Exports to Argentina Near 250,000 mt


Crushers in Argentina, which is experiencing its worst drought in decades, have imported 245,000 mt of Brazilian soybeans so far this year, more than the last seven years combined, and the total is expected to rise.

According to official data from Brazil, exports to Argentina reached 109,000 mt last month, taking the total to nearly a quarter of a million tonnes so far this year.

It imported 209,000 mt in the past seven years from its neighbour.

Argentina, the world's third largest producer and exporter of soybeans and the largest exporter of soymeal and soyoil, has suffered a dry summer that has baked its crop and slashed soybean production by almost 40% to about 35 million mt.

In order to keep crushers running and meet contractual commitments to sell soymeal and soyoil, Argentina's crushers have bought almost 500,000 mt from the US.

But while that is for delivery in the next crop year, starting in September, crushers had been seeking more immediate purchases from Brazil.

However, a trucker strike that crippled the country's transportation network put a halt to those discussions.

The USDA said last month that it expected Argentina's imports of soybeans to reach 4 million mt this crop year, double the previous year's volume.

Argentina typically imports soybeans from Paraguay to press in its vast crushing industry.



Syngenta hits the road to commemorate National Pollinator Week


As National Pollinator Week (June 18–24) approaches, a Syngenta team is preparing to embark on a road trip up the Monarch Highway (Interstate 35) to bring awareness to some of the people who contribute to pollinator health and stewardship. The I-35 corridor is recognized as the Monarch Highway, because it parallels the central flyway of the monarch migration across the United States.

Throughout the week of June 18, the team will travel through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota to meet with a diverse cross-section of researchers, conservationists and landowners who are helping protect pollinators and improve their health.

“Highlighting the many ways various individuals and organizations are helping pollinators thrive is the primary goal of this road trip,” said Caydee Savinelli, pollinator and IPM stewardship lead, Syngenta. “Pollinator health and stewardship is important to agriculture and Syngenta, and our Operation Pollinator program is making a positive impact. But caring for pollinators is much larger than any one company. Improving pollinator health and practicing good stewardship take the combined effort, support and expertise from multiple stakeholders.”

The approximately 1,700-mile road trip will include stops with experts at nearly a dozen locations. Their stories, photos, videos and quotes will be shared via social media, using #OperationPollinator.

“We’re looking forward to hearing from a variety of experts and sharing their insights via social media,” said Ann Bryan, senior manager, external communications, Syngenta. “There are many positive stories and examples of healthy pollinators and good stewardship practices, and we want to celebrate and shine a spotlight on these efforts.”

Follow the Syngenta road trip on social media, using #OperationPollinator. To learn more about Operation Pollinator and Syngenta’s commitment to pollinator health and stewardship, visit www.beehealth.org.



Thursday June 14 Ag News
2018-06-14T09:18

Nebraska Hosts Chinese Pork Producers

Nebraska soybean farmers fostered trade relationships over lunch with visiting Chinese pork producers last Friday.

The tour, coordinated by the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC), brought producers from various Chinese organizations to Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota to meet with pork industry experts and farmers.

Cale Buhr, market development coordinator for the Nebraska Soybean Board, presented to the group about Nebraska soybean quality and how it impacts the pork industry. In 2016, Nebraska exported $1.07 billion of soybeans and soybean products to China—51 percent of total soybean production. Buhr explained how U.S. soybeans contain higher amino acid content than competitors’ and how that affects the overall quality of the feed.

“It’s important to explain to these producers that U.S. soybeans continue to create the highest quality feed for them,” Buhr said. “Our goal is to use our time with them to listen to what they have to say and sustain a preference for U.S. soybeans.”

Nebraska Soybean Board member Richard Bartek of Ithaca, Neb., attended the lunch. No stranger to hosting trade mission trips from other countries, Bartek said he values the chance to meet foreign trade partners.

“In the U.S. we produce more than we can consume, and China is our biggest foreign buyer, so it’s always very nice to meet with people who are using our soybean commodities in another country,” Bartek said. “I think they came away understanding we work hard to see that they get a good product.”

This tour was one of many the Nebraska Soybean Board will host in partnership with USSEC in 2018. Bartek views the trips as an important opportunity for soybean farmers.

“It does the soybean industry a lot of good if we can have a personal relationship with our foreign buyers and our end users in this country as well,” Bartek said.



 Smith Announces New Staff Member Jacy Spencer


Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) announced the addition of Jacy Spencer to his Grand Island staff, who will serve as Community Liaison - Agriculture Specialist.

“I’m happy to announce Nebraska native Jacy Spencer will join my staff,” Smith said. “Jacy will serve as a community liaison focusing on agriculture and I have no doubt she will be a great asset to Nebraska’s Third District.”

Spencer has strong ties to the Nebraska Sandhills. Her family homesteaded land east of Brewster in 1886 and has been ranching there since. Spencer is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she studied agricultural economics and minored in animal science and entrepreneurship. She joins Smith’s staff after completing policy internships in Washington, D.C. with the National Corn Growers Association, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the Public Lands Council.

Third District residents in need of assistance are encouraged to contact Smith’s Grand Island office at 308-384-3900, his Scottsbluff office at 308-633-6333, or his Washington, D.C. office at 202-225-6435.



This Week's Drought Summary

droughtmonitor.unl.edu
Over the last week, dry conditions continued in the Desert Southwest and in parts of the Central Rockies, leading to drought persistence and degradation in these areas. Farther east across the Great Plains, scattered thunderstorms led to some areas improving or staying out of drought, while some areas that missed the rain were degraded. In the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains, precipitation patterns also dictated areas which experienced degrading and improving conditions. Near normal or wetter than normal conditions occurred over most of the eastern United States, where few changes to the USDM depiction were made.

Midwest

June warmth continued across the Midwest over the past week with temperatures of 6 or more degrees warmer than normal recorded in southwest Illinois, much of Missouri, and central and western Iowa. Although rain occurred over large sections of the region, pockets of continued dryness and high temperatures resulted in low streamflows, soil moisture deficits, and vegetation stress and led to the introduction of severe drought in northeast and central Missouri and southeast Iowa as well as a small expansion of moderate drought. Heavy rains in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, led to the removal of all or parts abnormally dry areas. Farther north, dry conditions in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, northern Wisconsin, and far east-central Minnesota led to the expansion of abnormally dry conditions where short term precipitation deficits continued to build.

High Plains

Significant rainfall fell in parts of the High Plains region, while most of the mountainous areas remained dry. Thunderstorms in northeast Colorado, Nebraska, and northwest and eastern Kansas delivered between 0.5 and 3 inches of rain, helping to prevent additional drying caused by the high temperatures. Similar rainfall totals in southwest Kansas were enough to lessen precipitation deficits and result in an improvement from extreme to severe drought. Aside from the Black Hills, much of the Dakotas saw rainfall amounts over a half inch, with some areas exceeding 2 inches. This rainfall led to the removal of abnormal dryness in some areas west of the Missouri River in South Dakota and far southern North Dakota. Recent rainfall also helped decrease moderate drought in northwest South Dakota, though if recent hot weather and a high atmospheric demand for moisture continues, a reversion back to moderate drought conditions may occur. Severe drought was reduced in coverage in north-central North Dakota, where precipitation deficits over multiple time scales had decreased sufficiently for an improvement. Meanwhile, over the central Rockies, continued warm, dry weather exacerbated longer term precipitation deficits leading to an expansion of drought and abnormal dryness in north-central Colorado and south-central Wyoming.

Looking Ahead

The National Weather Service medium range forecast calls for two significant areas of wet weather over the next 7 days (June 13 to June 20). Widespread and potentially heavy rainfall is expected to bring 2 to 5 inches of rain to coastal and central Texas and southern Louisiana. Rainfall may also extend into the Southern Plains and the remainder of the Gulf Coast region.

Farther north, showers and thunderstorms are likely from the Northern Rockies to the High Plains and Upper Great Lakes. Rainfall over the northern tier is likely to be locally heavy (3 to 5 inches) creating the potential for isolated flooding. In contrast, dry weather is expected to prevail over the Pacific Coast and the drought inflicted areas of southern California, southern Nevada, and western Utah.



Agriculture Associations Appeal to Congress: We Need #TradeNotTariffs


After weeks of engaging with the Trump Administration to gain insight into the future of trade tariffs, agriculture producers and related industries dependent on exports to China are turning to Congress for help.

The White House has declared that by June 15 it would announce its final list of $50 billion in Chinese products that would be subject to 25 percent tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. In response, China’s Commerce Department announced several months ago that it would impose retaliatory tariffs on 106 U.S. goods amounting to roughly $50 billion in imports.

In the announcement, China specifically stated that it will impose a 25 percent tariff on imports of U.S. soybeans, a tax that could be devastating to growers of the number one U.S. agricultural export, with sales to China last year totaling $14 billion.

Davie Stephens, a Kentucky soybean grower and Vice President of the American Soybean Association (ASA), is among growers distraught over the prospect of tariffs on trade.

“Crop prices have dropped 40 percent in just the last five years, and farm income is down 50 percent compared to 2013. A recent study by Purdue University economists predicts that soybean exports to China could drop by a whopping 65 percent if China imposes a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans. As a soy grower, I depend on trade with

China – China imports roughly 60 percent of total U.S. soybean exports, representing nearly 1 in 3 rows of harvested soybeans,” Stephens said.

Soybeans are one of a number of crops that could see steep and lasting effects if China retaliates against U.S. tariffs.

“America’s wheat farmers are experiencing continued drought, historically low commodity prices, and trade uncertainty. Adding a 25 percent tariff on exports to China for U.S. wheat is the last thing we need during some of the worst economic times in farm country,” stated National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President Jimmie Musick, a wheat farmer from Sentinel, Okla.

Echoing those concerns are members of National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). North Dakota farmer and NCGA President Kevin Skunes says, “Farmers are busy in the fields and need to be able to count on markets for their crops when it comes harvest time. They cannot afford the immediate pain of retaliation nor the longer term erosion of long-standing market access and economic partnerships with some of our closest friends and allies.”

Retaliatory tariffs imposed by China would not only directly affect America’s producers, but also tangential industries that support agriculture, a concern that is pressing among members of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

“On behalf of the 1.3 million equipment manufacturing workers our industry represents, we urge the Trump Administration to refrain from putting in place economically damaging tariffs. We strongly oppose a trade war with China because no one ever wins in these tit-for-tat disputes. As we have said repeatedly, tariffs are taxes on American consumers and will put good-paying U.S. manufacturing jobs at risk,” Dennis Slater, President, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) commented.

AEM, ASA, NCGA, NAWG are among the grower and industry groups whose members are asking Congress to convince the administration to halt tariffs and go back to the negotiating table. Under the hashtag #TradeNotTariffs, members of these organizations are also raising awareness on social media by sharing with the public what tariffs could mean for their livelihoods – and how severe that outlook could be.



Trump Approves Plan to Impose Tough China Tariffs


(AP) -- President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Trump has long vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices. But his calls for billions in tariffs could complicate his efforts to maintain China's support in his negotiations with North Korea.

Trump met Thursday with several Cabinet members and trade advisers and was expected to impose tariffs of at least $35 billion to $40 billion on Chinese imports, according to an industry official and an administration official familiar with the plans. The tariffs could reach $55 billion, said the industry official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the matter ahead of a formal announcement.

If the president presses forward as expected, it could set the stage for a series of trade actions against China and lead to retaliation from Beijing. Trump has already slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and European allies, and his proposed tariffs against China risk starting a trade war involving the world's two biggest economies.

The decision on the Chinese tariffs comes in the aftermath of Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The president has coordinated closely with China on efforts to get Pyongyang to eliminate its nuclear arsenal. But he signaled that whatever the implications, "I have to do what I have to do" to address the trade imbalance.

Trump, in his press conference in Singapore on Tuesday, said the U.S. has a "tremendous deficit in trade with China and we have to do something about it. We can't continue to let that happen." The U.S. trade deficit with China was $336 billion in 2017.

Administration officials have signaled support for imposing the tariffs in a dispute over allegations that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology, according to officials briefed on the plans. China has targeted $50 billion in U.S. products for potential retaliation.

Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness, fearful that they could strangle the economic growth achieved during Trump's watch and undermine the benefits of the tax cuts he signed into law last year.

"If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation, and you could end up with consumer debt. Those are all historic ingredients for an economic slowdown," Gary Cohn, Trump's former top economic adviser, said at an event sponsored by The Washington Post.

But Steve Bannon, Trump's former White House and campaign adviser, said the crackdown on China's trade practices was "the central part of Trump's economic nationalist message. His fundamental commitment to the 'deplorables' on the campaign trail was that he was going to bring manufacturing jobs back, particularly from Asia."

In the trade fight, Bannon said, Trump has converted three major tools that "the American elites considered off the table" --- namely, the use of tariffs, the technology investigation of China and penalties on Chinese telecom giant ZTE.

"That's what has gotten us to the situation today where the Chinese are actually at the table," Bannon said. "It's really not just tariffs, it's tariffs on a scale never before considered."

The Chinese have threatened to counterpunch if the president goes ahead with the plan. Chinese officials have said they would drop agreements reached last month to buy more U.S. soybeans, natural gas and other products.

"We made clear that if the U.S. rolls out trade sanctions, including the imposition of tariffs, all outcomes reached by the two sides in terms of trade and economy will not come into effect," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Thursday.

Beijing has also drawn up a list of $50 billion in U.S. products that would face retaliatory tariffs, including beef and soybeans -- a shot at Trump's supporters in rural America.

Scott Kennedy, a specialist on the Chinese economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Chinese threat was real and helped along by recent strains exhibited among the U.S. and allies. "I don't think they would cower or immediately run to the negotiating table to throw themselves at the mercy of Donald Trump," Kennedy said. "They see the U.S. is isolated and the president as easily distracted."

Ron Moore, who farms 1,800 acres of corn and soybeans in Roseville, Illinois, said soybean prices have already started dropping ahead of what looks like a trade war between the two economic powerhouses. "We have to plan for the worst-case scenario and hope for the best," said Moore, who is chairman of the American Soybean Association. "If you look back at President Trump's history, he's been wildly successful negotiating as a businessman. But it's different when you're dealing with other governments."

The U.S. and China have been holding ongoing negotiations over the trade dispute. The United States has criticized China for the aggressive tactics it uses to develop advanced technologies, including robots and electric cars, under its "Made in China 2025" program. The U.S. tariffs are designed specifically to punish China for forcing American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

The administration is also working on proposed Chinese investment restrictions by June 30. So far, Trump has yet to signal any interest in backing away.

"I think the tariffs are coming," said Stephen Moore, a former Trump campaign adviser and visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation. "It really does depend on whether China makes a move to ameliorate Trump's concerns, and so far they haven't."



NAFTA Talks Will Extend Into Summer, Canadian Official Says


Discussions on the North American Free Trade Agreement will continue into the summer, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said following a face-to-face meeting in Washington with the Trump administration's chief trade envoy on Thursday.

The pledge to carry on with NAFTA renegotiations comes on the heels of a tumultuous Group of Seven summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, which ended with President Donald Trump rejecting a final communique by the leaders over comments by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a U.S.-Canada trade row. The U.S. had previously agreed to sign on.

Trade analysts and officials say relations between the U.S. and Canada have hit a low point after the U.S. extended steel and aluminum tariffs to include Canada, the European Union and Mexico, which is likely to complicate talks on NAFTA. Canada has announced retaliatory tariffs that are set to come into effect July 1. Trump warned retaliatory tariffs would be a mistake.

"All three countries are clear that meaningful progress has been made to date and we need to keep working hard to get to a deal on a modernized NAFTA," Freeland told reporters in Washington, after a one-hour meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Although Mexican elections are approaching on July 1, the three "will be working hard over the summer," she said.

A representative for Lighthizer wasn't immediately available for comment on the meeting. Freeland said she also discussed NAFTA's fate with Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo over the weekend.

NAFTA talks have stalled over content rules for the auto industry, as well as U.S. demands to eliminate dispute settlement mechanisms from the pact and introduce a so-called sunset clause under which NAFTA would expire in five years unless explicitly renewed by its members.

Trudeau has been adamant Canada wouldn't accept a sunset clause, and the issue foiled an attempt by the Canadian leader to patch together an agreement in late May.

NAFTA talks will face an additional hurdle this summer as the U.S. heads into midterm elections. Further complicating matters are possible U.S. tariffs on imported vehicles -- something the president alluded to in a tweet attacking Canada and Trudeau in the aftermath of the G-7 summit.

Freeland also participated in a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, one day before her meeting with Lighthizer. During the meeting, she expressed gratitude toward Americans but also pain over the tension in the relationship with the U.S., according to one lawmaker in the room.

Asked for her opinion of reaching a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Canada -- a notion Trump has brought up frequently -- Freeland said that as a practical matter such an arrangement would be difficult to implement, the lawmaker said. Any agreement would have to be ratified by Congress, raising a collection of thorny issues that could be hard to sort out.

A spokesman for Freeland declined comment on the U.S. lawmaker's remarks because the meeting was held behind closed doors. On Wednesday, Freeland told reporters that she had discussed tariffs and U.S.-Canada relations during the meeting, among other topics.



U.S. Drives for More Inclusive, Science-Based Approach by WHO on Dairy Nutrition Recommendations


A controversial topic that the National Milk Producers Federation first tackled in 2016 – international guidelines discouraging the consumption of milks by toddlers – was again on the agenda during a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting last month. The World Health Assembly (WHA) also considered a recommendation to advance a WHO-proposed “toolkit” that would limit the ability of the private sector to help shape nutrition policies, including those affecting dairy consumption.

The WHA is the annual convening of World Health Organization countries to issue resolutions and set the path for future WHO programming. Given the importance of international organizations in shaping policies and guidelines, NMPF has been increasingly focused on threats to global dairy consumption and trade posed by some misguided approaches through the WHO.

Together with U.S. partners like the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), NMPF educated the Trump Administration on the importance of the issue to ensure that the United States was prepared to take a firm stance in support of child nutrition and open-door policy-making. To cultivate allies, NMPF partnered with the Pan-American Dairy Federation (FEPALE) to share information on the proposal’s impacts on dairy sectors in the Americas, and support efforts to raise concerns with governments across Latin America. Those efforts ultimately resulted in a WHA resolution that the United States was able to support and that addressed our strongest concerns.

The discussion on dairy consumption by young children now shifts to the Codex realm, where the organization’s leadership will consider whether to preserve Codex’s independent and irreplaceable role as the world’s leading science-based, consensus-driven, standard-setting organization.



Wednesday June 13 Ag News
2018-06-13T10:26

STOCKPILE EXTRA SUMMER GROWTH FOR WINTER PASTURE
Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Abundant rain produces abundant grass.  If this describes your grasslands, let’s find the best way to take advantage of this blessing.

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

               Sometimes we cut and bale extra growth as hay.  This is a good plan if you need the hay.  Other times we simply let cattle graze what they want and leave the excess in the field, rebuilding surface litter.

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

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

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

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

CONTROLLING BLUEGRASS IN IRRIGATED ALFALFA

               Bluegrass is a common weed in irrigated alfalfa.  Fortunately, there are several ways to control this pesky plant.

               Irrigation can really boast alfalfa yields.  But weeds like bluegrass often invade, which lowers quality and shortens stand life.  Bluegrass competes so well because it likes moisture and it has many basal leaves that help it grow rapidly after alfalfa is cut.

               Effective control requires thick alfalfa stands, good water management, and sometimes, herbicides.  It is essential to start with thick stands, both to compete with the bluegrass and to have good yield potential after control is achieved.

               The key to slowing down bluegrass invasion is irrigation water management.  Irrigation must be timed so the top several inches of soil are dry at harvest — and they need to remain dry until alfalfa regrowth is several inches tall.  Bluegrass grows slowly in dry soil, but alfalfa roots will use subsoil moisture for regrowth if your previous irrigation stored a supply down below.  Once your alfalfa gets a little bit of growth, it will compete well with the bluegrass.

               If thick stands and water management are adequate, then herbicides like Select Max or Roundup might be cost effective to weaken or kill bluegrass.  Apply any one of these immediately after harvest.  Be especially careful using Roundup, though, if your alfalfa isn’t RoundupReady.  It should be used only if no new growth has developed from your alfalfa.  Otherwise, plants could be killed.  Of these herbicides, Select Max may work the best and is safe for your alfalfa.

               Bluegrass is a problem in many irrigated alfalfa fields, but it does not need to be.  You can control it.



Agricultural Education Students Receive Scholarships


The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation awarded nine scholarships to students enrolled in the Agricultural Education Teaching Program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

“Each of these nine students have demonstrated a passion for agriculture and excitement to continue to grow the agricultural education and FFA programs in Nebraska,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “We are happy to support scholarships that align with our vison of developing strong agricultural leaders to ensure a bright future for agriculture in Nebraska,” she continued.

Each recipient will receive a $1,500 scholarship during his or her student teaching semester at the University. Applicants shared why they wanted to be an agricultural education teacher, professional goals for the future, and what the scholarship would mean to them.

“UNL more than doubled the amount of new agricultural education teachers this year compared to the average graduating classes of the past decade!” said Matt Kriefels, Nebraska Department of Education agricultural education staff. “We are thankful that the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation supports these future teachers and ensures a strong foundation for the future of agriculture.”

The nine recipients of the scholarships are:
  - Rachelle Allen, York County
  - Eleanor Aufdenkamp, Lincoln County
  - Alex Cumming, Platte County
  - Lynn Hanson, Saunders County
  - KateLynn Ness, Dodge County

  - Haley Rogers, Dawson County
  - Trevor Spath, Cass County
  - Emilye Vales, Saline County
  - Haley Zabel, Lancaster County

Scholarships recipients were honored at the Nebraska Career Education (NCE) Conference in Kearney, June 6. Four of the nine honorees were in attendance and recognized at the Nebraska Agricultural Educators Association banquet. In attendance were Alex Cumming, Lynn Hanson, Trevor Spath, and Haley Zabel.

At the conference, the Foundation announced a call for applications for the Nebraska Agricultural Education Teacher Retention Program. Current teachers who have existing student loans and are in their first through fifth year of teaching are invited to apply. Applications can be found at www.nefbfoundation.org and are due August 15.



Bipartisan Farm Bill Clears Senate Agriculture Committee With Senator Fischer’s Support


Today, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry passed the 2018 Farm Bill. U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the committee and the chairman of the Livestock Subcommittee, voted in favor of advancing the bill. The bipartisan bill now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.

“Today I represented Nebraska on the Senate Agriculture Committee as we crafted important legislation for our state, the Senate farm bill.

“This bill continues a strong farm safety net that includes crop insurance, my number one priority going into this process. Additionally, the bill recognizes the importance of our trade promotion programs, and builds upon efforts to enhance agricultural productivity by expanding broadband access in rural America.

“I was also pleased to sponsor several amendments, which were adopted unanimously in the manager’s package, to reward ag producers using efficient water irrigation conservation technology, support precision agriculture, and provide relief for agriculture haulers.

“Overall, I am confident this is a strong, bipartisan bill that would give Nebraska farmers and ranchers the tools and certainty needed to provide food, fuel and fiber to the world.”

The following amendments sponsored by Senator Fischer were included in the Senate Farm Bill committee print:

Rewarding Producers Using Efficient Water Irrigation Conservation Technology

Senator Fischer’s amendment would direct the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to recognize as a best management practice, the use of remote telemetry data systems for irrigation scheduling. Such systems combine the use cloud-based field, weather, crop and soil data, which ensures that the precise amount of water, and no more, is applied to crops, saving water and energy and increasing yields.

Expanding the Definition of Livestock for Hours of Service Requirements

Senator Fischer’s amendment would expand the definition of livestock to include llamas, alpacas, live fish, and crawfish. With the expanded definition, these products would receive the exemption for agriculture haulers from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours of service requirements.

The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act

The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act amendment, cosponsored by Senator Fischer, would create a task force at the FCC charged with identifying breaks in high-speed internet connectivity across America’s farm and ranch land. Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the task force would promote the rapid expansion of high-speed broadband, with the goal of achieving service to 95 percent of agricultural lands by 2025. 



Senate Committee Vote a "Positive Step" for 2018 Farm Bill


National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera today issued the following statement in response to the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee’s vote to advance the 2018 Farm Bill:

“The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is pleased to see the positive step of moving the Senate bill out of committee successfully. This brings us closer to providing producers with the certainty they need to focus on their operations and feed the world. While areas of improvement remain, the Senate bill does include some important provisions that address the priorities of America’s cattlemen and women. We look forward to working with Congress during the next stages of the legislative process, and ultimately passing a new Farm Bill before the September 30, 2018 deadline.”

Today the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee held a mark-up of the Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill. The Committee voted to advance the bill on a 20-1 vote.



Senate Agriculture Committee Approves Farm Bill That Enhances Dairy Safety Net


The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today commended the leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee for crafting a bipartisan Farm Bill that contains beneficial provisions for America’s dairy farmers. Following today’s passage by a margin of 20-1, the bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

The Senate Farm Bill contains enhancements to the dairy Margin Protection Program sought by NMPF, including improved coverage levels and greater program flexibility. The measure raises the maximum covered margin to $9/cwt. and adjusts the minimum percentage of milk that can be insured. It also includes an important agreement reached between NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association on price risk management.

NMPF applauded Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for their leadership in finalizing the measure before the current Farm Bill expires on Sept. 30. Sen. Stabenow helped secure $100 million in additional funding for the dairy title budget baseline.

“The leadership of Senators Roberts and Stabenow has led to the creation of a bipartisan Farm Bill that has important provisions for dairy farmers during this prolonged period of low milk prices,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “With the House also set to move on its version of the Farm Bill later this month, we are hoping a final measure will pass Congress by this fall.”

The Senate bill also contains conservation provisions that will help producers access technical and financial assistance to carry out conservation practices on operations. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) added a helpful amendment to the bill to give dairy farmers greater flexibility in meeting their goals under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Under the trade title, the Farm Bill re-authorizes the trade promotion programs that are critical to dairy farmers and their cooperatives. Mulhern said NMPF also appreciates the successful efforts of Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) to include provisions in the bill that promote the consumption of fluid milk.



Center for Rural Affairs: farm bill passed by Senate Agriculture Committee is a mixed bag


Today, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed its version of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the farm bill. In response, Center for Rural Affairs Senior Policy Associate Anna Johnson applauds the Senate for its bipartisan work, but says there still are issues to address.

“There are several encouraging proposals in this bill that we will work to support toward final passage,” Johnson said. “For example, the bill strengthens the coordination between conservation and crop insurance, improves sodsaver provisions, and would create greater incentives for cover crops.”

“The bill also takes a historic step by creating a pathway to permanency for several programs essential for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers,” she continued. “Additionally, the restoration of the position of Undersecretary for Rural Development would bring rural development back on equal footing with the rest of the agencies at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).”

Johnson said the bill falls short on bringing greater fairness to government agriculture programs.

“We were extremely disappointed that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was not allowed to bring forward a proposal to address abuse of farm programs,” she said. “We will work with Sen. Grassley as the bill moves to the floor. We call on the Senate to close loopholes that allow excessively high payments of taxpayer dollars to go to a small number of large and wealthy operations.”

In addition, Johnson said she is troubled by the committee’s vote to increase the size of loans available from the USDA.

“Raising loan limits without providing additional funding for loans will deplete available funds more quickly,” she said. “If USDA has another funding shortfall for loans, many farmers and ranchers may struggle to access credit as a result of today’s decision.”

“Additional structural reform proposals to cap crop insurance premium subsidies were unfortunately also absent in the bill,” Johnson continued.

Furthermore, Johnson expressed concern that the bill cuts funding from working lands conservation programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program. These programs allow farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices on their land while maintaining production.

Finally, the bill fails to renew funding for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, "undercutting the work of rural entrepreneurs." The program allows rural entrepreneurs to access loan capital to start businesses, strengthen their communities, and realize their dreams. Johnson said restoring funding for this program is critical.

The bill passed by the committee today will next be debated on the Senate floor. The current farm bill expires Sept 30.

“We look forward to supporting the several improvements in this bill while vigorously pushing on its harmful measures as the bill moves to the floor,” Johnson said.



NAWG Comments on Senate Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Markup


Today, the Senate Committee on Agriculture marked-up its version of the 2018 Farm Bill. In response, NAWG President Jimmie Musick made the following statement:

“NAWG commends the Senate Agriculture Committee for working together to move the Farm Bill forward and out of Committee. It’s vital for the bill to be reauthorized before the September 30th deadline, so that farmers can have access to these beneficial programs.

“NAWG is pleased that the Committee accepted language to allow trade promotion dollars from Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) to be used in Cuba. Cuba is a growing market for U.S. wheat growers and these programs help strengthen this partnership. 

“NAWG also supports the Senate Ag passing language to strengthen the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA)’s loan programs. FSA loan programs help growers access financing at a time when they are experiencing extreme low prices and high input costs. The Committee also accepted several amendments addressing wetlands compliance which provide more flexibility for growers.

“As the Bill moves to the Senate floor, NAWG will continue to make maintaining a strong crop insurance program a top priority. Wheat growers want a well-rounded Farm Bill with a strong safety net program that allows for producer choice between revenue-based (Agriculture Risk Coverage) and price-based (Price Loss Coverage) coverage.

“Additionally, NAWG supports provisions that provide financial incentives for farmers to adopt conservation practices into their operations. We also appreciate the Committee’s commitment to a strong research title and support the bill’s reauthorization of the Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative and other important research programs which will help wheat growers continue to produce the highest quality crop.”



NFU Statement on Senate Ag Committee Farm Bill Passage


The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee today advanced its version of the 2018 Farm Bill by a vote of 20-1. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled he intends to bring the bill up for a vote on the floor prior to the Senate’s July 4 recess.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the committee’s work:

“Today’s farm bill markup in the Senate Agriculture committee embodied the bipartisan, cooperative spirit that federal agriculture policymaking has traditionally enjoyed. We commend Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow for their hard work and leadership to advance a farm bill this year.

“We’re encouraged by a number of amendments that were approved today that will strengthen the bill. Refunding dairy Margin Protection Program premium payments made between 2015-2017, restoring funding for bio-based programs, and removing separate payment limits for organic producers in EQIP, will all help struggling producers.

“Family farmers and ranchers need the certainty and support of a strong Farm Bill this year, especially given the dramatic drop in net farm income in the years since the 2014 Farm Bill was passed and signed into law, and given the ongoing trade disruptions. Farmers Union encourages the Senate to continue the bipartisan work witnessed today and pass a farm bill that shores up the safety nets for farmers and consumers, promotes farm and ranch sustainability, and ensures fair and diverse markets for family farmers. We look forward to additional improvements as the bill progresses through the Senate.”



Soy Growers Following Progress of Senate Farm Bill


The American Soybean Association (ASA) today congratulated the Senate Agriculture Committee on passage of the proposed Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and is calling for its swift passage by the full Senate.

“Soy growers and farmers across the country are in need of certainty during this time of low crop prices and volatile conditions affecting export markets,” said ASA Vice President and Kentucky soybean farmer Davie Stephens. “The Senate Committee’s action today takes us one step closer to completing the farm bill this year, providing much needed stability across the countryside.”

With the Senate farm bill now through Committee on a 20-1 vote, ASA looks forward to working with the full Senate on this bipartisan effort to bring certainty and stability to growers before the current farm bill expires at the end of September.



Farm Bureau: Farmers Buoyed by Senate Farm Bill Vote

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall


“Farmers and ranchers welcome today’s markup and passage of the farm bill by the Senate Agriculture Committee. Low commodity prices, rising interest rates and an uncertain future for exports hang heavy over America’s farm and ranch land. But today’s vote means light on the horizon. We know that Congress is determined to see us continue to provide food security, fuel and fiber for all Americans.

“We applaud the spirit of cooperation shown in today’s 20-1 vote, and are eager to see that carry through on the floor of the Senate in the coming days. The American Farm Bureau Federation thanks Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow for bringing this important legislation forward. Farmers and ranchers are counting on our lawmakers to come together and pass the farm bill soon, followed quickly by the President’s signature.”



Put Northwest Iowa Corn Silage Clinic on the Calendar for Aug. 28


Northwest Iowa beef and dairy producers depend on quality corn silage to build profitable rations. To help them accomplish this, the Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Team are hosting the Northwest Iowa Corn Silage Clinic on Aug. 28 at the Northwest Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm near Sutherland. ISU Extension and Outreach dairy specialist Fred Hall and beef specialist Beth Doran, both from northwest Iowa, are organizing the program.

“The Northwest Iowa Corn Silage Clinic will feature top experts from the upper Midwest," Hall said. "They'll present the most current information on topics that affect corn silage, earlage quality and economics."

The program will begin promptly at 9 a.m. with presentations, break at noon for lunch and adjourn by 3:30 p.m. All experts will be available to answer questions.

Topics and speakers are:
-        Agronomic practices impacting corn silage digestion - Fred Owens, DuPont Pioneer feedlot nutrition specialist.
-        Silage and kernel processing equipment - Aaron Ostrander, John Deere silage specialist.
-        Silage additives and inoculants - Scott Dennis, DuPont Pioneer ruminant microbiologist.
-        Evaluating corn silage and earlage: What’s typical - Dan Loy, ISU Iowa Beef Center director.
-        Quality corn silage going in and coming out - Hugo Ramirez, ISU state dairy specialist.
-        Pricing corn silage - William Edwards, ISU ag economist emeritus.

In addition, there will be two concurrent sessions - one by Owens featuring feeding corn products to the beef animal and the other with Ramirez focused on feeding corn products to the dairy cow.

Producers will be able to walk through corn silage variety plots and talk with seed company technicians.

“There also is a trade show, which will allow producers to compare equipment and products used in putting up quality silage,” Doran said.

Registration is $25 per person and payment can be made at time of preregistration or at the door. Preregistration is required by Aug. 22 for an accurate meal count. Call the Sioux County Extension office at 712-737-4230 to preregister. For more information, contact either Doran or Hall at the Sioux County office at 712-737-4230.



Extension Offers Resources for Times When Extreme Weather Strikes


The forecast for this weekend is for temperatures to approach 100 degrees, and with added humidity it will feel like 100+ degrees. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef veterinarian Grant Dewell has these reminders for cattle producers:
-    For feedlot cattle, hot temperature for two or three days plus warm nights mean increased risk for heat stress. With a chance for rain on Thursday, humidity will increase, making it difficult for heavy cattle to maintain thermo-neutral body temperature.
-    Avoid working cattle this weekend, expect feed intake to drop and consider bumping the forage up.
-    Mitigation strategies such as shade and sprinklers should be available.

There is more information available in the publication Heat Stress in Beef Cattle, available for free download from the Extension Store. The Iowa Beef Center posts relevant publications and notices on the website www.iowabeefcenter.org/.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach provides resources on the Disaster Recovery website www.extension.iastate.edu/disasterrecovery/ for heat and other severe weather events, as well as flooding and drought. ISU Extension and Outreach offers educational resources to reduce the personal impact of natural disasters, working in partnership with the local, state and federal agencies addressing the disaster.



Farm Animal Care Coalition Urges Safe Transport of Livestock


Des Moines metro commuters recently found themselves in a traffic jam as authorities attempted to direct traffic and safely corral pigs after a semi transporting the animals tipped over in the southbound lane of I-35 near the east Mixmaster. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident.

This past March, another semi hauling pigs tipped over as it attempted to exit onto Northeast 14th St. from I-80. Due to cases like these, the experts at Iowa Farm Animal Care (IFAC), a network of professionals, veterinarians, animal behavior scientists and farmers committed to farm animal care, are working with transportation authorities to encourage semi-truck and livestock haulers to use caution to prevent such situations from reoccurring on Iowa roads this summer, which is a peak time for transporting market-ready livestock from Iowa farms.

"With the number of livestock being transported on highways every day, accidents are inevitable, especially given the high profile of a livestock trailer which leaves little room for correction if necessary. When a truck approaches a curve, animals can shift enough to create momentum for the truck to roll," said IFAC Executive Director Mike Telford. "Truck rollovers result in public safety issues and loss of livestock and equipment. It's a problem that can affect everyone on the road, so it's important to use extra caution when traveling through highway mix masters and on and off ramps."

Driver fatigue, recent weather patterns in Iowa, which have included high winds and rain-slicked roads, as well as impairments in the roads, can add to the risk of trailer rollovers. Telford recommends those who transport livestock be well-rested, watch their speed, observe road elevation changes and plan ahead for possible livestock 'shifting' long before they approach major interchanges.

"At IFAC, we know Iowa has a lot of pride in our state's agriculture, and making sure farm animals are treated well is part of that," said Telford. "That's why from the moment livestock arrive to a farm to the time they are taken away to market, we're doing all we can to ensure that animal's safety and well-being."

Those who have questions on farm animal care are encouraged to visit www.iowafarmanimalcare.org. A toll-free hotline is also available to report concerns: 1(800) 252-0577.


Federal Judge Rules Against California’s Attorney General in Prop 65 Case


In another win for U.S. agriculture and the national agriculture coalition fighting California’s false and misleading Prop 65 labeling requirement for glyphosate, U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb, for the Eastern District of California, upheld the preliminary injunction prohibiting California from enforcing the requirement until a final ruling on the matter is issued by the court.

California Attorney General Xavier Beccera had filed a motion to lift a preliminary injunction issued by the court in February prohibiting the state from enforcing its labeling requirement. That motion was denied by Judge Shubb, who upheld the preliminary injunction prohibiting the state from enforcing its Prop 65 labeling requirement for glyphosate until all of the facts are considered by the court.

“California is attempting to implement a policy that would cause damage to American farmers,” said Chandler Goule, Chief Executive Officer for the National Association of Wheat Growers.  “The facts and science are on our side which show that glyphosate is safe for use. Farmers and growers are defending U.S. agriculture against California’s false and misleading Prop 65 labeling requirement, and maintaining this preliminary injunction is another win for them.”

In the order, Judge Shubb ruled the state’s additional arguments “[do] not change the fact that the overwhelming majority of agencies that that have examined glyphosate have determined it is not a cancer risk.” (p. 5).  He also reiterated that “the heavy weight of evidence in the record is that glyphosate is not known to cause cancer.” (p. 9)

Glyphosate is approved for application in over 250 agricultural crops throughout the United States.  Despite scientific findings from hundreds of studies and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and regulatory agencies around the world that glyphosate is safe for use, California ignored facts, data, and science when it added glyphosate to the state’s Prop 65 list.

For more information on the national agriculture coalition and glyphosate go to FixProp65.com.

The National Association of Wheat Growers are the lead plaintiff in the case against California filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The plaintiffs include the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, the Agricultural Retailers Association, Associated Industries of Missouri, Iowa Soybean Association, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CropLife America, Missouri Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, South Dakota Agri-Business Association and United States Durum Growers Association.



NCBA Statement on the Introduction of the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act in the U.S. House of Representatives


National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester today issued the following statement in response to the introduction of the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“The House version of the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act is another important step toward fixing the current Hours of Service rules for livestock haulers. The status quo presents major challenges for the beef industry and can often jeopardize the health and well-being of livestock. We are grateful that Representative Yoho and 45 bipartisan cosponsors stepped up to support the legislation.”

Background

The House version of the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act is the companion legislation to the Senate version of the bill, which was introduced in the Senate by Senator Bill Sasse (R-NE).



Fertilizer Prices Mixed First Week of June


For the second straight week, average retail fertilizer prices were mixed the first week of June 2018, according to sellers contacted by DTN. Following a historical seasonal trend, the softening prices appear to be due to lower demand as the fertilizer application season is generally wrapping up in many parts of the Corn Belt.

Half of the eight major fertilizer were slightly lower in price compared to last month. MAP had an average price of $505 per ton, urea $364/ton, anhydrous $503/ton and UAN28 $241/ton.

Prices for three fertilizers were slightly higher than they were the previous month. DAP had an average price of $484/ton, potash $354/ton and 10-34-0 $440/ton.

In addition, one fertilizer's price was unchanged from a month earlier. UAN32 had an average price of $276/ton.

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

Six of the eight major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. Both 10-34-0 and anhydrous are now up 1%, potash is 4% higher, MAP and urea are 8% more expensive and DAP is 11% more expensive compared to last year.

The remaining two fertilizers are lower in price compared to a year prior. UAN32 is 1% lower, while UAN28 is 2% less expensive.



EIA: Ethanol Stocks Extend Higher


Energy Information Administration data shows domestic ethanol plant production increased during the week ended June 8 with inventories again higher while demand reversed the prior week's drop.

EIA reports ethanol inventories increased 277,000 bbl to 22.174 million bbl during the week profiled, although down 1.3% year-over-year.

Plant production rose 12,000 bpd to 1.053 million bpd during the week ended June 8, up 51,000 bpd versus than the same time in 2017.

Four-week average production at 1.041 million bpd as of June 8 was 33,000 bpd higher than the corresponding four weeks in 2017.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, reversed the week prior drop and a little more, rising 46,000 bpd to 947,000 bpd during the week ended June 8, 16,000 bpd higher than versus a year ago. For the four weeks ended June 8, blending demand averaged 933,000 bpd, down 2,000 bpd versus same period in 2017.



NCBA's Young Cattlemen's Conference Graduates Prepared to Advocate for the Beef Community


Following a ten-day tour showcasing every facet of the beef industry, 61 emerging beef leaders successfully completed NCBA’s 2018 Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC), sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Elanco, Farm Credit, Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, John Deere, Tyson and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Now in its 39th year, YCC is designed to develop and train the next generation of ranchers, beef producers, and advocates. The group began its journey in Denver, Colo., with classroom sessions designed to provide background knowledge about NCBA and the work it conducts on behalf of its members and the beef community.

In Denver, participants took part in leadership development sessions, media training, and hands-on demonstrations of NCBA’s consumer marketing programs. The group made a visit to Greeley, Colo., to tour Five Rivers Cattle Feeding’s Kuner Feedyard, the JBS processing plant and an opportunity to meet with the executive team at JBS Headquarters. Prior to leaving Denver, participants also stopped at one of Safeway’s flagship stores to learn more about beef marketing at the retail level, giving the group an in-depth understanding of every aspect of the beef supply chain.

“We really strive to give participants the full view of the industry,” said NCBA President-Elect Jennifer Houston, who also participated in the tour. “We know and expect that these individuals are going to go back to their state associations and become leaders within those organizations that are so important to the success of the beef community.”

Visits in Chicago included stops at Hillshire Farms and the new McDonald's global headquarters office. Participants also gained a behind the scenes look at the manufacturing facilities of OSI, Inc., one of the nation’s premier beef patty manufacturers.

The 2018 YCC class wrapped up in Washington, D.C., where participants learned about the impacts of public policy on their operations. After an in-depth briefing from NCBA’s lobbyists and policy experts, participants took to Capitol Hill, visiting more than 200 congressional offices to advocate for industry policy priorities.

“Those farmers and ranchers out here from states spanning the nation, from Hawaii to Pennsylvania, have told their stories over the course of the past week,” said 2018 YCC Chair Will Mayfield. “Getting into the offices of our elected officials on Capitol Hill to explain how these policies impact our operations is incredible.”



U.S. Tractor, Combine Sales Rose in May


According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly "Flash Report," the sale of all tractors in the U.S. in May 2018, were up 17% compared to the same month last year.

Two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 20% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up 7%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were up 20%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were down 6%.

Combine sales were up 52% for the month.

For the five months in 2018, a total of 96,736 tractors were sold which compares to 92,154 sold thru May 2017 representing a 5% increase for the year.

For the year, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are up 6% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP are up 3%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are down 1%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are up 2%.

Sales of combines for the year total 1,550 compared to 1,225 in 2017, a 27% increase.



Mexican Sorghum Buyers to Visit Kansas, Texas


A team of Mexican grain importers and feed-millers from the National Association of Food Manufacturers for Animal Consumption (ANFACA) will visit the U.S. June 18-22, 2018, to tour major sorghum growing areas, develop new relationships as well as continue to strengthen existing relationships with U.S. suppliers.

The group of buyers selected by the U.S. Grains Council represents companies from central and northern Mexico, including the state of Jalisco, the number one livestock producing state in the country, Michoacán and Sonora. Mexico is the fourth largest producer of livestock feed worldwide accounting for 33.87 million metric tons. Of this total, Jalisco, Sonora and Michoacán contribute to a combined 31 percent of overall production.

“For years, Mexico has been a valued trading partner with the United States, and the ties between U.S. sorghum farmers and Mexican importers has only grown, due in large part to the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement,” said Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. “This team visit is another example of why maintaining an open line of communication is important. Mexican buyers have the opportunity to see the full U.S. sorghum value chain – from crops in the field to elevators and port facilities – and trips like these encourage continued direct sales between the two countries.”

The tour will include visits to sorghum suppliers and producers, feed mills, elevators, a rail facility, an ethanol plant and the Port of Houston. The team's visit will focus on U.S. sorghum production, marketing and export logistics in Texas and Kansas.

"This trade mission is a great reflection of how organizations like USGC, the Sorghum Checkoff and other state organizations, such as Texas Grain Sorghum Producers and Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission, work together to build and maintain market opportunities for U.S. producers," said Florentino Lopez, Sorghum Checkoff executive director. "These buyers will leave with a better understanding of U.S. sorghum quality and production, helping build future sales to Mexico and increasing buyer trust."

The country of Mexico accounted for $103 million in exports of U.S. sorghum,equating to 568,254 metric tons (22.4 million bushels), during the 2016-2017 marketing year. Mexico remains one of the chief importers of U.S. sorghum, only second to China in purchases.



Syngenta sponsoring Iowa 250 presented by Enogen on Sunday, June 17


For the sixth consecutive year, Syngenta is sponsoring NASCAR® racing at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.

This year’s featured event is the Iowa 250 presented by Enogen, a 250-lap NASCAR Xfinity Series race, on Sunday, June 17. Enogen® corn helps to enhance ethanol production and provides corn growers the opportunity to be enzyme suppliers for their local ethanol plant. This year, Enogen premiums-to-date paid to Enogen corn growers are expected to surpass $100 million.

“We are proud to be working with Iowa Speedway and NASCAR to host this exciting event,” said Chris Tingle, head of commercial operations for Enogen at Syngenta. “This is a milestone year for Enogen corn – as measured by premiums paid-to-date – and we are pleased to be able to take this opportunity to say thank you to the ethanol plants and corn growers who are making this game-changing technology a success. To do so in collaboration with NASCAR makes it even more special.”

NASCAR has been a visible supporter of earth-friendly American ethanol since 2011, when it launched a long-term biofuels program to reduce emissions of the fuel used in all its racing series. As part of this partnership, NASCAR’s three national touring series began using Sunoco Green E15, a 15 percent ethanol blend biofuel made from American-grown corn. By utilizing Sunoco Green E15 race fuel, NASCAR has demonstrated that ethanol-blended fuel performs when held to the highest standards.

By the end of 2018, Syngenta anticipates more than 280 million bushels of Enogen corn will have been grown on nearly 1.5 million acres and contributed to approximately 7 billion gallons of ethanol produced.



Tuesday June 12 Ag News
2018-06-12T11:12

Grazing Summer Annual Forages
Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County


Grazing summer annual grasses is a great way to add flexibility to an operation, but in order to make it worth your time and money some management decisions are required. Your goals and your location will determine what type of summer annual you should plant.

The most common summer annuals for grazing are sorghum-sudangrass, sudangrass, pearl millet, foxtail millet, and teff. The sorghums and sudangrasses can be grazed slightly earlier and should only be planted when the soil temperature is above 60 degrees F.  For millets and teff, the soil temperature needs to be 65-70 degrees F before planting. Planting into soil that maintains a lower temperature can cause stunted growth and reduce forage yield. Planting mid- to late June and into July should give good results with enough water. The millets and teff are fairly drought tolerant, and more tolerant to drought than the sudangrasses and sorghums.

Another consideration for planting is forage availability. A good rule to follow is that forage will be ready to graze 6-8 weeks after planting. To reduce the chance of forage getting ahead of the cattle, stagger plantings of a forage type by two weeks. By staggering planting, rotational grazing can be implemented and the forage will be grazed more efficiently. For example, sorghum-sudangrass is planted on a portion of the field. Two weeks later on the next portion of the field, sorghum-sudangrass or a different annual such as pearl millet is planted as long as temperature requirements are met.

Maximizing the harvest efficiency while grazing annual forages is a significant factor when planning the annual type and planting date. However, issues can occur when cattle moves are not managed properly. Use a short, rotational system for grazing. Fields should have a minimum of three paddocks to allow for regrowth after the first rotation. A goal should be to graze the paddocks for about 7-10 days and allowing regrowth for at least 14-20 days.

Sudangrass, foxtail and pearl millet, can be grazed once they reach 15-20 inches in height. Another guideline is to graze all these summer annuals leaving about 6-8 inches of stubble during that 7-10 day rotation. If choosing between leaving cattle on a paddock for a longer or shorter time, just remember that retaining some leaf area will cause more photosynthesis and ultimately a faster regrowth.

A significant concern for grazing some summer annuals is prussic acid poisoning, also known as cyanide poisoning. The regrowth and young leaves of the sorghums, sudangrasses, and sorghum-sudangrasses produce prussic acid and can be deadly if cattle consume a high concentration. Graze when the plants have reached an appropriate height (18-24 inches) and time the grazing periods appropriately. Turning cattle out full and with plenty of water will reduce the chance of prussic acid poisoning. Nitrates in grazing situations are generally not a concern if the forage isn’t grazed too low because the lower one-third of the plant will contain the highest nitrate concentration. Nitrates are something to watch when grazing any summer annual grass.



NEBRASKA CROP PRODUCTION REPORT


Based on June 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2018 winter wheat crop is forecast at 44.6 million bushels, down 5 percent from last year's crop, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average yield is forecast at 45 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from last year.

Acreage to be harvested for grain is estimated at 990 thousand acres, down 30 thousand acres from last year. This would be 93 percent of the planted acres, compared with last year's 91 percent harvested.

U.S. Winter Wheat Production Up 1 Percent from May Forecast

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.20 billion bushels, up 1 percent from the May 1 forecast but down 6 percent from 2017. As of June 1, the United States yield is forecast at 48.4 bushels per acre, up 0.3 bushel from last month but down 1.8 bushels from last year's average yield of 50.2 bushels per acre.

Hard Red Winter production, at 650 million bushels, is up 1 percent from last month. Soft Red Winter, at 316 million bushels, is up slightly from the May forecast. White Winter, at 232 million bushels, is up 2 percent from last month. Of the White Winter production, 21.8 million bushels are Hard White and 210 million bushels are Soft White.



USDA Trims Ending Stocks for Corn and Soybeans


USDA trimmed both 2017-18 (old-crop) and 2018-19 (new-crop) corn and soybean ending stocks in its release of June Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) this month.

New-crop soybean ending stocks, in particular, came in below pre-report analyst expectations, at 385 million bushels, down 30 million bushels from the May report. Old-crop corn ending stocks also came in lower than expected, at 2.1 billion bushels, down 80 million bushels from May.

USDA actually increased the U.S. winter wheat production estimate above the average pre-report analyst projection. The agency expects growers to produce 1.198 billion bushels of winter wheat in 2018-19, up 1% from the May report, with an average yield of 48.4 bushels per acre, up from 48.1 bpa in May.

The agency left production and yield estimates for 2018-19 corn and soybean crop untouched from the May report.

CORN

Corn production for 2018-19 remained at 14.040 billion bushels, with an average yield of 174 bpa.

New-crop (2018-19) corn ending stocks were 1.577 billion bushels, down 105 million bushels from May, based mostly on increased use for food, seed and ethanol.

USDA pegged the average farmgate price for corn at $3.40 per bushel.

In South America, Brazil's corn production was trimmed 2 million metric tons (mmt) from the May report to 85 mmt (3.3 billion bushels). Argentina's corn production stayed the same at 33 mmt (1.3 billion bushels).

Global new-crop ending stocks for corn were trimmed to 154.7 mmt, and old-crop ending stocks also dropped to 192.7 mmt.

SOYBEANS

Soybean production and yield remained the same, at 4.280 billion bushels and 48.5 bpa.

Domestic old-crop soybean ending stocks were 505 million bushels, down 25 million bushels from the May report.

The average soybean farmgate price was pegged at $8.75 per bushel.

In South America, Brazil's soybean production was bumped up 2 mmt, to 119 mmt (4.4 billion bushels). Argentina's soybean production was trimmed 2 mmt, to 37 mmt (1.4 billion bushels).

Globally, soybean new-crop ending stocks were increased slightly to 87 mmt, and old-crop ending stocks also increased marginally to 92.5 mmt.

WHEAT

USDA expects U.S. farmers to grow 1.827 billion bushels of wheat in 2018-19. Of that, 1.2 billion bushels are expected to be winter wheat, down 6% from last year. The agency pegged average yield at 48.4 bpa, down from 50.2 bpa last year.

Hard red winter production was estimated to reach 650 million bushels, also above the pre-report average estimate, but down 100 million bushels from 2017. Soft red winter production was pegged at 316 million bushels, up slightly from May.

White winter wheat is expected to reach 232 million bushels, up 2% from May. Of those bushels, 21.8 million are hard white and 210 million bushels are soft white.

The average farmgate price for wheat was pegged at $4.60 per bushel.



Brazil Raises Soybean Harvest Estimate, Cuts Corn Crop Forecast


Brazilian agriculture agency Conab raised its estimate for the country's soybean harvest, helped by a record crop in the major producing state of Mato Grosso, and cut its forecast for the corn harvest.

Brazilian farmers produced 118 million metric tons of soybeans in the season, Conab said Tuesday, also a record, and up from its forecast of 117 million tons in May. Brazil produced 114.1 million tons of soybeans in the 2016-2017 season, the previous record.

The soybean harvest for this year in Brazil is finished except for a few small areas in some states, Conab said.

Conab forecast a total corn crop of 85 million metric tons in the 2017-2018 season, down from the 89.2 million metric tons the agency forecast in May.

Brazil's mild winters allow the country's farmers to plant two crops each year, and farmers often plant a soy crop in the summer and a corn crop in the winter. If planting of the soy crop begins late, as it did in the 2017-2018 season, that shortens the window for planting corn for the second crop and can reduce the size of the second crop, Conab said.



Top Five Answers Scott Pruitt Owes Farmers & Biofuel Workers


Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor offered up tough questions to greet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt during his expected travel through farm communities in Kansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

Pruitt is not expected to appear before the media, but local agricultural stakeholders may be able to question the regulator about the EPA’s efforts to undercut U.S. biofuel consumption, a key source of demand for grain amid the five-year plunge in farm income. As recently as last week, the administrator sought to advance regulatory changes targeting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – changes the president rejected. In the spirit of opening a candid dialogue about the concerns of rural communities, Skor suggested the following questions:

1)    Administrator Pruitt, President Trump committed to lifting EPA rules against year-round sales of E15, and you told him that you had the authority to make it happen. This change would reduce Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices, promote rural growth, and lower fuel costs for drivers. Why didn’t the EPA provide relief this summer, leaving consumers without affordable fuel options with gas prices on the rise?

2)    Administrator Pruitt, an estimated 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol demand have been destroyed by your EPA’s ‘small’ refinery waivers – including some to the world’s largest oil companies. As required by law, how do you ensure 15 billion gallons of blending despite the incredible increase in waivers granted by your EPA?

3)    How will you commit to protecting total biofuel targets from now on, including 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol, against any future waivers that undercut statutory goals that President Trump promised to uphold?

4)    Farm income has plunged 52 percent, while refinery profits are surging. How much more income must farmers lose before the EPA acts on the president’s E15 pledge and sets aside other efforts to destroy biofuel demand?

5)    U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, along with Midwest lawmakers, farm groups, and rural champions across the heartland said your export scheme would destroy demand for billions of gallons of ethanol -- dispelling misinformation from refiners. Why did you ignore Secretary Perdue and force the president to kill the proposal?

On Tuesday, June 12, Skor also will deliver the keynote address at the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo (FEW), the “largest, longest running ethanol conference in the world” in Omaha, Nebraska. Thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors will be on hand to hear Skor outline the biofuel industry’s efforts to increase U.S. ethanol consumption, create rural jobs, and protect farmers from hostile regulation.

“Administrator Pruitt has been working behind-the-scenes to dismantle the RFS by handing out secret waivers, allowing oil giants to replace U.S. ethanol with petroleum products and destroying more than a billion gallons of domestic demand – taking us back to 2013 blending levels,” says Skor, according to prepared remarks she will deliver at FEW. “Even USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has agreed with us that this is nothing more than demand destruction, and it must stop.”

“Americans deserve year-round access to high-octane biofuels – now,” adds Skor. 



Pork Checkoff Seeks 2018 #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces


The National Pork Board is searching for the next student social forces team, with applications open now through June 28 at Pork.org/socialforces. The social forces team will be expected to advocate for pig farming using their social media accounts and #RealPigFarming. Selected students who meet defined milestones will be eligible for a $500 scholarship.

The Checkoff’s #RealPigFarming gives pig farmers, academics, youth, veterinarians and allied industry members an opportunity to discuss today’s pork production across social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 “Last year the team generated over 670 positive posts for pig farming in a five-month period,” said Claire Masker, public relations director for the National Pork Board. “This year we anticipate more discussion about pig farming while the students expand their professional network.”

Interested students are encouraged to apply. They should be 18 to 23 years old, involved in the pork industry, understand the importance of pork production and have strong communication skills. The team is expected to be active from July through December 2018.

The social forces team will gather at National Pork Board in Des Moines, Iowa in September for a #RealPigFarming student social forces meeting. Topics will include an update from the Pork Checkoff, team expectations and a networking dinner all while building relationships with fellow team members.

 “The student social forces team serves as another resource for consumers to ask questions about food safety, sustainability and more,” Masker said. “These students play a key role in helping pork producers share their farms to answer consumer questions.”



Bill Sets Up Group To Study Trucking Regulations


The National Pork Producers Council hailed today’s introduction by Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., of legislation to revise existing trucking regulations to make them more flexible for drivers hauling livestock.

The “Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act” would establish a working group at the Department of Transportation (DOT) to examine the federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules and the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations. The HOS rules limit commercial truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period. Once drivers reach that limit, they must pull over and wait 10 hours before driving again. ELDs record driving time, engine hours, vehicle movement and speed, miles driven and location information, electronically reporting the data to federal and state inspectors to help enforce the HOS rules.

“NPPC strongly supports the Hoeven-Bennet bill as a reasonable solution for developing Hours of Service regulations that protect highway safety while allowing livestock haulers to transport animals in a safe and humane way,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio, whose operation also includes a trucking company.

The legislation would require the Secretary of Transportation to establish the working group within 120 days of enactment of the bill. The group would be charged with identifying obstacles to the “safe, humane, and market-efficient transport of livestock, insects, and other perishable agricultural commodities” and developing guidelines and recommending regulatory or legislative action to improve the transportation of those commodities. One year after it is established, the group must submit its findings to the DOT secretary, who must propose regulatory changes to the HOS and ELD regulations within 120 days.

“Pulling together all stakeholders with an interest in livestock hauling will ensure that DOT has the tools necessary to ensure Hours of Service regulations address the realities of transporting animals in a practical, common sense manner,” Heimerl said. “As we’ve pointed out, a trucker hauling livestock can’t just pull over and go ‘off-duty,’ leaving animals unattended. The incompatibility between the Hours of Service regulations and livestock hauling must be addressed.”

The bill also would suspend the ELD regulation for commercial motor vehicles hauling livestock, insects or perishable agricultural commodities until the date on which the DOT secretary proposes the regulatory changes.



NCBA Statement on the Introduction of the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act


National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester today issued the following statement in response to the introduction of the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act in the U.S. Senate:

“The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the producers we represent are glad to see another bipartisan effort designed to provide much-needed relief for livestock haulers. The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act requires the Secretary of the Department of Transportation to establish a working group to address the implementation of electronic logging devices and the overly-restrictive hours of service rules that livestock haulers face today. We look forward to continuing our work with members of Congress, industry groups, and the Department of Transportation as we work to find solutions to our current transportation concerns.”

Background

The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) The bill would establish a working group at the Department of Transportation to identify obstacles facing livestock haulers and develop guidelines for regulatory or legislative action to improve livestock transporation. Enforcement of the electronic logging device rule would be delayed until the working group outcomes are formally proposed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.



USDA Extends Application Deadline for Dairy Margin Protection Program to June 22


U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the re-enrollment deadline for the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for Dairy will be extended until June 22, 2018. The new and improved program protects participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below levels of protection selected by the applicant. USDA has already issued more than $89 million for margins triggered in February, March, and April, and USDA offices are continuing to process remaining payments daily.

“Last week we re-opened enrollment to offer producers preoccupied with field work an additional opportunity to come into their local office to sign-up. We did get more than 500 new operations enrolled but want to continue to provide an opportunity for folks to participate before the next margin is announced,” said Secretary Perdue. “More than 21,000 American dairies have gone into our 2,200 FSA offices to sign-up for 2018 MPP coverage but I am certain we can do better with this extra week and a half.”

The re-enrollment deadline was previously extended through June 8, 2018. The deadline is being extended a second time to ensure that dairy producers are given every opportunity to make a calculated decision and enroll in the program if they choose. This will be the last opportunity for producers to take advantage of key adjustments Congress made to provisions of the MPP program under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to strengthen its support of dairy producers. USDA encourages producers contemplating enrollment to use the online web resource at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation.

The next margin under MPP, for May 2018, will be published on June 28, 2018. Therefore, all coverage elections on form CCC-782 and the $100 administrative fee, unless exempt, must be submitted to the County FSA Office no later than June 22, 2018. No registers will be utilized, so producers are encouraged to have their enrollment for 2018 completed by COB June 22, 2018.

All dairy operations must make new coverage elections for 2018 during the re-enrollment period, even if the operation was enrolled during the previous 2018 signup. Coverage elections made for 2018 will be retroactive to January 1, 2018. MPP payments will be sequestered at a rate of 6.6 percent.



U.S., Canadian Farm Groups Support Strong Trading Partnership


The leaders of the U.S. National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) in a joint statement today urged Canadian and U.S. officials to preserve the strong, longstanding trade relationship between the two countries.

CFA President Ron Bonnett and NFU President Roger Johnson issued the following statement:

“American and Canadian farmers and ranchers have long enjoyed a positive and rewarding trading relationship based on mutual respect and economic cooperation. Our nations trade more than $40 billion USD in agricultural products each year, and that number continues to climb as new opportunities arise between our markets.

“Given the global food and on-farm challenges we are facing and will face in the future, American and Canadian farmers need the certainty that the Canada-U.S. trading relationship has provided for our farm products. To disrupt this relationship would be detrimental for farmers on both sides of the border, as our agricultural sectors are heavily integrated and, to a large extent, rely upon one another for each other’s success.

“No heated rhetoric nor inflammatory remark could possibly represent the positive sentiment that American and Canadian farmers share for each other’s nation. We urge our respective officials to engage in positive discourse that protects the strong trade ties that benefit American and Canadian farmers alike.”



NFU Highlights Positives of Senate Ag Farm Bill, Makes Recommendations on Amendments at Committee Level


In advance of Wednesday’s Senate Agriculture Committee markup of the 2018 Farm Bill, National Farmers Union (NFU) highlighted positives in the current draft of the bill and sent vote recommendations on amendments to members of the committee.

“Farmers Union appreciates the hard work that Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow, members of the committee and their staff put into creating this farm bill,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “This bill has many encouraging provisions that promote good stewardship, farm sustainability, and diverse markets in agriculture. As the bill progresses, we’ll work to ensure family farmers have the support they need to weather these turbulent times in agriculture.”

Johnson highlighted aspects of the legislation that promote the long-term sustainability of family farms and ranches. The current version of the bill preserves total funding for the conservation title and the Rural Energy for America Program, which are critical to many farm operations.

“Sustainability is critical for family farm productivity and the health of rural communities now and for generations to come,” said Johnson. “While we’re disappointed in funding cuts to EQIP and CSP, we’re encouraged by reforms that will make it easier for farmers to access these critical programs while also maximizing their environmental benefits.”

Johnson applauded the committee’s work to support diverse markets for family farmers. The bill provides mandatory funding for local and value-added programs, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmer programs, organic programs, and trade promotion programs that had previously been subject to farm bill expiration.

“The increased investments in these programs and the certainty that comes with them will help farmers and ranchers access new markets that help them diversify their operations, improve their profitability and meet consumer demands,” he said.

Johnson said NFU also appreciates several other provisions that help support farmers through the current economic and socioeconomic difficulties, including authorization of the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, support for community-based responses to the opioid epidemic, and an additional $100 million investment in the dairy safety net.

NFU’s recommendations to members of the Senate Agriculture Committee focused on amendments that will be considered during Wednesday’s committee markup of the bill. The family farm organization would also like to see significant investment in the farm safety net consistent with the significant decline in farm prices and the farm economy since the last farm bill was passed.

“We urge the committee to explore the possibility of securing additional resources to cope with negative impacts of these ongoing trade disputes,” wrote Johnson.

Farmers and farm advocates interested in advocating a strong farm bill are encouraged to visit 2018FarmBill.org to learn more about the farm bill and information on how to contact members of Congress.



Fed Heifer Marketings Surge over Last 6 Weeks

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


Cattle slaughter surged over the last 6 weeks with weekly slaughter over 650,000 head every week since the first of May, except the Memorial Day shortened week. Total cattle slaughter is up about 9 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Much of the year-over-year increase in slaughter is from heifers.

Fed heifer slaughter is up about 17 percent over the last six weeks, using the daily slaughter data and estimating the first two weeks of June. Going back to the first of April fed heifer slaughter is up about 16 percent compared to a year ago. Weekly slaughter levels were the largest since May 2013.

Steer, heifer, beef cow, and dairy cow slaughter tend to have their own different seasonal pattern. These depend, in large part, on seasonal production patterns. Beef cow culling tends to climb in late Spring-early Summer then peaks in Fall. Dairy cow culling bottoms out in summer. Looking at the last few years, heifer slaughter tended to be at it's seasonal low from about May-July at the same time steer slaughter hit it's seasonal high.

Summer seasonal lows in heifer slaughter over the last few years reflects cow herd expansion. Fewer heifer calves were sent to feedlots as they were kept to enter the herd. The seasonality of heifer slaughter is likely changing as the herd size has recovered from the drought and expansion is slowing. More heifer calves and feeders are available to go to feedlots because more were born and fewer are needed for herd replacement.

The Cattle on Feed report each quarter includes a breakout estimate of the number of steers and heifers on feed. The April Cattle on Feed report indicated that there were 14 percent more heifers on feed than the year before. That estimate is not far off the growth in heifer slaughter, year-over-year in the April-early June period. While the number of heifers on feed has been very large compared to the last few years, it is about the same as the number on feed, on average, over the 2007-2012 period before the drought and during the herd adjustments to ethanol fueled feed costs. The July Cattle on Feed report will provide the next estimate of the number of heifers in feedlots.

In the face of surging heifer and all cattle slaughter, fed cattle prices rebounded last week, up from about $110 to about $114 per cwt. Exports continue to boom while some market refueling from the Memorial Day holiday weekend is moving beef in the domestic market.



Enogen® corn from Syngenta has agreements with 30+ plants with combined capacity of 3 billion gallons


Syngenta today announced that, it has agreements in place with more than 30 ethanol plants with a combined production capacity of approximately 3 billion gallons. As new plants come on board, Syngenta expects ethanol produced with Enogen® corn enzyme technology to be approximately 2.5 billion gallons during 2018 alone.

Enogen corn is an in-seed innovation available exclusively from Syngenta and features the first biotech corn output trait designed specifically to enhance ethanol production. Enogen corn is rapidly gaining widespread acceptance because of the value it delivers to ethanol producers and the opportunity it provides corn growers to be enzyme suppliers for their local ethanol plants.

“Enogen corn is adding value for ethanol plants, corn growers and rural communities,” said Jeff Oestmann, head, Bio-fuels Operations – Enogen at Syngenta. “Across a growing number of ethanol plants, Enogen corn is helping to fuel enzyme innovation.”

The robust alpha amylase enzyme in Enogen grain significantly reduces the viscosity of corn mash and eliminates the need to add a liquid form of the enzyme. This breakthrough reduction can lead to unprecedented levels of solids loading, which directly contributes to increased throughput and yield potential, as well as critical cost savings from reduced natural gas, electricity and water usage. Enogen corn also enables ethanol plants to gain corn market knowledge from mid-year corn estimates.

Farmers who grow Enogen corn are eligible to earn an additional premium per Enogen bushel. During 2018, Enogen corn is expected to generate approximately $28.5 million of additional revenue for local growers contracting with plants using Enogen grain through per-bushel premiums. Numerous trials have shown that Enogen hybrids perform equal to or better than other high-performing corn hybrids.

“Syngenta is committed to the success of the U.S. ethanol industry and to helping ethanol plants adopt the best enzyme strategy,” Oestmann added. “We are proud to have made a significant investment to bring this game-changing technology to market. Enogen corn is helping to make ethanol more sustainable and is helping ethanol producers to differentiate their offerings while supporting their local communities by keeping enzyme dollars local.”



June 11 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US
2018-06-11T06:41

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION

For the week ending June 10, 2018, there were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 21 short, 74 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 21 short, 74 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 13 fair, 74 good, and 12 excellent. Corn emerged was 97 percent, equal to last year, and near 95 for the five-year average.

Soybean condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 12 fair, 78 good, and 9 excellent. Soybeans emerged was 93 percent, ahead of 83 last year and 79 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 7 poor, 23 fair, 52 good, and 16 excellent. Winter wheat headed was 88 percent, behind 99 last year, but near 85 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 0 poor, 13 fair, 82 good, and 5 excellent. Sorghum planted was 91 percent, near 87 last year, and ahead of 86 average.

Oats condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 30 fair, 62 good, and 4 excellent. Oats headed was 55 percent, behind 74 last year, but ahead of 46 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 28 fair, 57 good, and 7 excellent.



IOWA CROP PROGRESS & CONDITION REPORT


While hot and dry conditions allowed many farmers to get caught up on fieldwork, others could do nothing but watch it rain during the week ending June 10, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included hay harvest, wrapping up planting for the year and post-emergent weed and fertilizer applications.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 15 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 5 percent very short, 17 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus. Drought concerns continue in south central and southeast Iowa as subsoil moisture ratings of very short to short reached 70 percent or more.

Ninety-seven percent of the corn crop has emerged with 81 percent rated in good to excellent condition.

Soybean growers have 98 percent of the expected crop planted, 2 weeks ahead of the 5-year average. Eighty-nine percent of soybeans have emerged, 5 days ahead of last year. Seventy-eight percent of the soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition.

Nearly all of the oat crop has emerged, with 38 percent headed. Eighty-one percent of the oat crop was rated in good to excellent condition.

Hay condition was rated 69 percent good to excellent.

Pasture conditions rated 60 percent good to excellent. High temperatures have strained pastures in areas lacking rainfall. Cattle continued to experience heat stress.



USDA Crop Progress - US Corn Good-to-Excellent Rating Highest in 11 Years


The percentage of the U.S. corn crop rated in good-to-excellent condition dropped slightly last week but was still the highest in over a decade, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

NASS estimated that 77% of corn was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, June 10, down 1 percentage point from 78% the previous week. That's the highest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year since 2007, noted DTN Analyst Todd Hultman.

Nationwide, corn planting was all but finished with NASS no longer reporting progress in that category on Monday. Meanwhile, corn emergence, estimated at 94% as of Sunday, was slightly ahead of last year's 93% and also ahead of the average pace of 92%.

Soybean planting was also running ahead of normal with 93% of the crop planted as of Sunday, compared to the five-year average of 85%. Eighty-three percent of soybeans were emerged, well ahead of the average of 69%.  Like corn, soybeans' good-to-excellent rating was also down 1 percentage point from 75% the previous week to 74% last week, which tied the same rating in 2016.

Winter wheat was 91% headed, equal to last year and near the five-year average of 90%. Winter wheat condition last week was 38% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from the previous week's 37%.

Spring wheat was 94% emerged, the same as last year but ahead of the average pace of 89%.  Spring wheat's good-to-excellent rating of 70% is unchanged from a week ago.

Cotton was 90% planted as of Sunday, compared to 76% last week, 90% last year and 88% on average.

Sorghum was 80% planted as of Sunday, compared to 61% last week, 69% last year and a 68% five-year average. Sorghum headed was 16%, ahead of the average of 12%.

Barley was 92% emerged as of Sunday, ahead of the average of 90%. Oats were 95% emerged, compared to 90% last week, 99% last year and a 97% average. Oats headed was 39%, near the average of 42%.



Monday June 11 Ag News
2018-06-11T06:40

Conditions Right for Development of Corn Diseases 
Tamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant Pathologist


Crop consultants have reported development of bacterial leaf streak disease in corn from Hamilton to Phelps to Dawson counties. This is approximately the date/crop stages when the disease was confirmed last year and it’s likely that the disease is developing elsewhere as well. Greenhouse and field experiments have demonstrated that the disease can develop in any corn growth stage.

Symptoms of of bacterial leaf streak include narrow interveinal, irregularly shaped tan to yellow lesions. Lesions are often yellowish in color when backlit. No treatment has been beneficial in field tests to date, so no treatment is recommended at this time to manage it. Foliar fungicides are not expected to control bacterial pathogens. The symptoms can be confused with those caused by other diseases, so please see additional resources below or submit a sample(s) to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic for help identifying this or other diseases.

Damaged Corn Leaves Conducive to Other Diseases

Severe weather and wet conditions across much of Nebraska in recent days may favor more disease development in corn. In addition to bacterial leaf streak, Goss’s bacterial wilt and blight (Goss’s wilt) is especially favored by wounds created by hail, wind, sandblasting, etc. that can serve as infection points. Although Goss’s wilt has been less common in recent years in Nebraska fields, the pathogen can overwinter in infested crop debris and any fields with a history of the disease may see it develop again.

Goss’s wilt commonly causes larger watersoaked lesions that may have dark “freckles” on or near the edges. Less commonly, Goss’s wilt can also cause systemic wilt and premature death of plants, especially when they are wounded and infected by V6.

Diagnosis and Management

Diagnosing these diseases in the field may be difficult because symptoms may appear similar to those of some other diseases and because the bacteria are not visible to the naked eye. For a diagnosis, we recommend submitting samples to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic.

Because these diseases are caused by bacterial pathogens, we do not expect foliar fungicides to directly control them. Some bactericides, such as those containing copper, are labeled for use in corn, but their effects have not been helpful controlling these diseases in the limited studies conducted. Activity of bactericides is often different than with foliar fungicides. For example, most bactericides are contact products and not systemic, so they won’t be absorbed by plants, in contrast to many common foliar fungicides. Thus, bactericides may be washed off with rain or overhead irrigation and might require repeated applications for control, making them uneconomical or impractical for use in some corn crops. Other common pest management strategies, such as crop rotation and/or tillage, may be helpful reducing disease severity, but such practices may not fit into all production systems  and current research on their effectiveness has not been completed.

Sample Submission

If you are unsure of what you're finding, submit samples to the UNL Plant & Pest Diagnostic Clinic for help identifying this and other diseases.



NEBRASKA EXTENSION TO HOST WEED MANAGEMENT, COVER CROPS FIELD DAY


Growers, crop consultants and educators are encouraged to attend Nebraska Extension's Weed Management and Cover Crops Field Day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 27 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center.

The field day will include demonstrations of herbicides for weed control in corn, popcorn, sorghum and soybean as well as a view of ongoing cover crop research. An early morning demonstration will focus on weed control in soybeans. It will be followed by a demonstration of projects for weed control in corn, popcorn and sorghum. A demonstration of cover crop research will highlight the afternoon session.

"A number of projects will be demonstrated during the field day, including weed control in Xtend soybean, Enlist corn and MGI soybean," said Amit Jhala, extension weed management specialist. "New this year for participants to learn about are research projects aimed at incorporating cover crops into corn and soybean cropping systems." 

Certified Crop Adviser Continuing Education Units are available.

There is no cost to attend the field day, but participants are asked to register at http://agronomy.unl.edu/fieldday.

The South Central Agricultural Laboratory is 4.5 miles west of the intersection of Highways 14 and 6, or 12.4 miles east of Hastings on Highway 6. GPS coordinates of the field day site are 40.57539, -98.13776.



Insect Light Trap Data Available for 3 Sites

Robert Wright - NE Extension Entomologist


UNL Extension Entomology is monitoring crop insect pests (primarily moths) using black light traps at the Haskell Ag Laboratory near Concord, the South Central Ag Laboratory near Clay Center, and the West Central Research and Extension Center near North Platte.

Current data is available at http://entomology.unl.edu/fldcrops/lightrap.

This information can be used to monitor the seasonal occurrence of pest species. Peak moth flight precedes the occurrence of the damaging larval stages and provides an alert to check for the larval stages in your area.

Seasonal occurrence varies from year to year, based on degree-day accumulations. Levels of insects found in light traps cannot be used to predict economic damage in individual fields; often moths have preferences for specific crop growth stages, or other characteristics, which will influence damage to individual fields.



Think Your Sprayer's Clean? Think Again

Clyde Ogg - Pesticide Safety Extension Educator, UNL


Good housekeeping is a definite must when it comes to agricultural sprayers. Even traces of pesticide residue in a cleaned sprayer could invite crop reduction or loss, especially when using the same sprayer for various types of herbicides.

Both self-propelled and pull-type spraying systems have complicated plumbing. To prevent contamination from spray residue, clean every nook and cranny, including tanks, valves, baffles, and hoses. A 120-foot sprayer has 96 nozzles and screens — lots of places for residue to hide. Dirty screens can continually contaminate the rest of the system, and as much as 15 gallons of residue can remain in the system after cleaning.

Hose quality also affects how clean a sprayer can get. The higher quality, the better. Poorer quality hoses that crack allow residues to be impregnated in the hose. Tests at Mississippi State University show a synthetic rubber hose had the greatest herbicide carryover damage. An ethylene-centered hose had better cleanout.

Even minute amounts of residual herbicide can affect a crop: One drop of dicamba can cause significant visible crop response on nearly three acres of conventional soybeans. If just one drop of herbicide can visibly affect a crop, 15 gallons of spray solution can do much more damage — especially if the next crop sprayed is a specialty crop, fruit or vegetable.

The following steps can help ensure a clean sprayer:
-    Clean all spray equipment as soon as possible after use. The longer a cleaner can be left in the sprayer and the more it can circulate through the booms, the better. Residues left in the sprayer can gum up and become even harder to clean out.
-    Follow all label instructions — it's the law.
-    Use the right products, including plenty of water and cleaning compounds.
-    Allow the correct amount of time for cleaners to work.

Also check guidelines in the newly revised NebGuide, Cleaning Pesticide Application Equipment (G1770).



Nebraska: Strong Industrial Sector, Farms Still Struggling


Thanks to an assist from a stronger industrial sector, Nebraska will record solid economic growth through 2020 -- though the state's farm economy will continue to limp along.

The manufacturing, construction and service industries will lead the way in adding jobs and expanding the state's economy, according to the new long-term forecast from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Bureau of Business Research and the Nebraska Business Forecast Council.

This will also raise non-farm income in the state. Non-farm income will grow between 3.6 and 3.8 percent each year, according to Eric Thompson, economist and director of the Bureau of Business Research.

"This growth is sufficient to exceed inflation and population growth, meaning real per capita income in Nebraska will grow from 2018 to 2020," Thompson said.

Manufacturing in Nebraska is experiencing its strongest growth since the Great Recession of 2008, and the forecast predicts the manufacturing sector will add 2,800 jobs over the next three years. Non-durable goods manufacturing will add most of those jobs, augmented by a new poultry facility slated to open in Fremont in 2019.

Thompson and his colleagues predict that durable goods manufacturing will expand more slowly because of a sluggish farm economy and a skilled worker shortage.

"In particular, implement manufacturers will be affected by weak domestic demand due to stagnant farm incomes," Thompson said.

With continued population growth and tax dollars being allocated to fix state infrastructure, including the recent increase in the gasoline tax to fix state roadways, the construction industry is expected to add 3,200 jobs through 2020.

Residential construction will be strongest in Omaha and Lincoln, but also in growing micropolitan areas such as Grand Island, Kearney and Fremont. These factors, along with a growing office space sector, will support increased construction activity.

Nebraska's largest employer, the services sector, will add between 4,800 and 6,100 jobs each year, and will account for more than half of overall Nebraska job growth during the forecast period.

Thompson said health care employment will grow the most at 1.3 to 1.5 percent, boosted by population and income growth, as well as an aging populace. Professional and business services, as well as the hospitality segment, will also grow more than 1 percent each year.

"Real income growth is supporting leisure spending," Thompson said.

Farm income is expected to lag, especially in 2018

Thompson and his fellow economists expect farm income to fall by 6.7 percent this year, attributable to a cut of $430 million in government payments to ag producers.

There will be a rebound though, in 2019 and 2020. Farm income will rise by more than 5 percent each year, as a new federal Farm Bill takes effect and commodity prices remain stable.

Budget challenges at the state level will limit state and local government job growth through 2019. In 2020, 600 Federal government jobs will be added as the decennial census takes place.

The Nebraska Business Forecast Council is composed of John Austin, Bureau of Business Research (retired); David Dearmont, Nebraska Department of Economic Development; Chris Decker, Department of Economics, UNO; Scott Hunzeker, Nebraska Department of Labor; Ken Lemke, Nebraska Public Power District; Scott Loseke, Nebraska Public Power District; Brad Lubben, Department of Agricultural Economics at Nebraska; David Rosenbaum, Department of Economics and Bureau of Business Research at Nebraska; HoaPhu Tran, Nebraska Department of Revenue; and Eric Thompson, Department of Economics and Bureau of Business Research at Nebraska.



Beef. It's What's For Dinner. Debuts Virtual Reality Ranch Tours at FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen


In a first for the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, Beef. It's What's For Dinner. will offer attendees an on-site virtual reality ranching experience. Through this technology, attendees will have an opportunity to virtually visit a farm or ranch where they can explore how cattle are raised to produce high-quality beef. Following the FOOD & WINE Classic, the 360-degree videos will be available to public to provide consumers with an in-depth look at cattle farming and ranching.

In addition to debuting virtual reality videos, as the exclusive protein sponsor of the 2018 FOOD & WINE Classic, the Beef Checkoff funded Beef. It's What's For Dinner. will showcase all things beef at the event. Attendees will have an opportunity to talk with ranchers about what it's like to raise cattle and produce beef, watch a beef cutting demonstration by a meat scientist, and sample on-trend beef recipes.

"We know people want to learn more about where their food comes from, but not everyone can visit a farm or ranch," said Alisa Harrison, senior vice president, Global Marketing and Research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. "Our new 360-degree videos offer an opportunity to learn more about how cattle are raised and become immersed in ranching experiences from anywhere at any time."

The three 360-degree videos transport the viewer to a ranch to experience some of the different ways cattle are raised.
-    Triple U Ranch – A look around Triple U Ranch shows a family-owned diversified farm and ranch in Iowa where they have a cow-calf operation, a small feedyard, and grow crops to feed to their cattle. The ranch was started in the 1940's and has been in the family and had cattle on it ever since. Jessica Utesch Wilson, who manages the mama cow and calf part of the ranch, was raised there and is raising her kids on the land.
-    Bracket Ranch – A peek into the Brackett family's life at Brackett Ranch on the Oregon and Idaho border shows unparalleled beauty. The Bracketts and their four kids raise cows and calves on private and federal public lands. By ranching on public lands, the Brackett family is helping preserve water and plants, controlling fires, and protecting wildlife habitat.
-    Easterday Ranches – The tour of Easterday ranches takes you to a state of the art feedyard in Washington with more than 70,000 head of cattle and thousands of acres of onions, potatoes, corn and wheat where they take pride in caring for their cattle and producing lean beef in the most efficient and sustainable way possible. The Easterday family has been in the Columbia River basin for four generations.

"We are excited to be part of the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen," added Harrison. "Cattle farmers and ranchers care deeply about the beef they produce, and it is an honor to showcase their hard work and highlight beef, from pasture to plate, at one of the world's premier food and wine festivals."

For a look at all things beef including the 360-degree videos, information on cuts and cookery, a robust collection of beef recipes, and the video that relaunched the Beef. It's What's For Dinner. brand, visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.



Iowa Beef Center Announces 2018 Beef Feedlot Short Course


Based on the success of the initial beef feedlot short course in 2017, Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University has planned a second event set for July 31-Aug. 2 in Ames. IBC program specialist Erika Lundy said the 2018 “Iowa Beef Center Feedlot Short Course” will provide classroom and hands-on instruction in a variety of topics, along with sessions at the Iowa State Beef Nutrition Farm and Couser Cattle Company in Nevada.

“Just as for our first short course last year, we’re bringing in outside experts to help provide in-depth information on feed, data management, bunk management and health issues,” Lundy said. “We received many good comments and helpful feedback from our first group of participants, which helped us decide to move forward with the event again this year.”

Lundy said the attendance limit remains at 30 to encourage networking between attendees and presenters, and to allow demonstrations to be interactive and hands-on for all. Participants also will become Beef Quality Assurance certified during this short course.

The program will be held at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center in Ames, and runs from 1 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31, through noon on Aug. 2. The $350 per person registration fee covers transportation to and from classroom facilities and local feedlots, handouts and meals. The registration deadline is midnight, July 24 or if the course limit of 30 is reached. Any cancellation requesting a refund must also be received by midnight, July 24. See the short course website for registration information and links at http://www.aep.iastate.edu/feedlot.

Participants are responsible for making their own lodging arrangements, if needed. A  block of rooms is available at the Sleep Inn & Suites, 1310 Dickinson Ave, Ames for those wishing to stay in Ames. Call 515-337-1171 for reservations.

“Because our agenda was designed with managers and employees in mind, we anticipate high interest again this year,” Lundy said. “People who want to attend need to act quickly to ensure their registration.”

Short course presenters:
        Dr. Chris Clark, beef specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
        Bill Couser, Couser Cattle Company, Nevada, Iowa
        Dr. Garland Dahlke, assistant scientist, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University
        Dr. Grant Dewell, beef veterinarian, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
        Dr. Terry Engelken, associate professor, Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, Iowa State University
        Dr. Jenna Funk, post-doctoral research associate, Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, Iowa State University
        Dr. Dan Loy, director of the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University
        Erika Lundy, extension program specialist, Iowa Beef Center
        Dr. Robbi Pritchard, feedlot consultant, Aurora, South Dakota
        Dr. Dan Thomson, professor of production medicine, Kansas State University

Topics that will be covered at the short course include:
        Bunk management and the basics of starting cattle on feed
        Feed mixing demonstration and evaluation
        Managing and identifying cattle health issues in the feedlot and confinement
        Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification
        Facility design and chute side BQA
        Data management
        Acclimating new calves
        Feedlot nutrition

Visit www.aep.iastate.edu/feedlot for online registration and additional course details.



Farm Bureau Hails District Court WOTUS Decision

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall


“A federal district court ruling in Georgia late last week has effectively suspended the flawed ‘Waters of the United States’ rule from taking effect in 11 more states that challenged its legality. The 2015 rule is now stayed in a total of 24 states. While the ruling was a clear validation of many concerns that Farm Bureau has expressed about the rule, we need to continue to work diligently to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to formally repeal the rule. The illegal rule is overbroad, vague and confusing, and it goes far beyond the intent of Congress when it passed the Clean Water Act. This overreach and confusion has created a situation where farmers and ranchers would need to hire a team of lawyers and consultants to perform many ordinary farming practices on their land. EPA should ditch this rule for good and replace it with a proposal that offers both clean water and clear rules—one that is easy to interpret and allows farmers and ranchers to continue to feed, clothe and fuel our nation.”



NFU and SDFU Concerned EPA REGS Rule Would Restrict Use of Higher Blends of Ethanol


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently considering a proposed rule that would ban use of E16 or higher blends of ethanol in non-flexible fuel vehicles. The rule is raising flags amongst farm groups who are concerned such a rule would devastate the growth potential for markets for American grown and produced biofuels.

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson and South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke today sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, urging EPA not to finalize the proposed rule, Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support (REGS), as it is written.

“If the REGS rule were finalized as proposed, it would codify a ban on E16+ fuel blends in non-flexible fuel vehicles,” said the letter. “This would unduly restrict use of ethanol’s ‘clean octane’ in the U.S. gasoline market, inflicting severe damage on the nation’s family farmers, and the public health and welfare.”

Johnson and Sombke urged EPA not to finalize this provision, and for the agency to correct its misinterpretation of the Clean Air Act’s “substantially similar” provision, which is being used now to limit the use of higher blends of ethanol in gasoline.

“The most cost effective and environmentally safe way for EPA to comply with Section 202(l) (of the Clean Air Act) is to encourage the widespread use of EXX/E30 blends in 98 – 100 RON higher octane gasoline” said the letter. “This is consistent with automakers’ requests to support higher octane fuels. Unfortunately, the REGS proposed rule would do the exact opposite—it would prevent their use.”

Johnson and Sombke noted that EPA recently recognized the economic and environmental benefits of higher blends of ethanol, and that an EPA decision to move forward with a ban on E16+ blends in non-flex fuel vehicles would undermine those benefits.

“Higher octane, lower carbon fuels made with mid-level ethanol blends will provide enormous societal benefits, and represent a win-win-win for automakers, consumers, the environment, and farmers,” said the letter. “However, finalization of the prohibition of these fuels as proposed in the REGS rule would deprive the nation of such benefits.”

“For that reason, we respectfully request that you remove the above-referenced provision limiting the use of mid-level ethanol blends from any final REGS rule and issue a new interpretation, clarifying that the Clean Air Act’s ‘substantially similar’ provisions for gasoline no longer require a cap on ethanol.”



CropLife America Selects Novak as Next CEO


CropLife America (CLA), the leading association for the U.S. crop protection industry, has selected its next president and CEO. “I’m pleased to announce that Mr. Chris Novak has been selected by our Board’s search committee to become just the fifth staff leader of our association in its 85-year history. Chris brings a wealth of agriculture trade association and industry experience to CLA, in particular his recent roles as CEO of the National Corn Growers Association and National Pork Board,” noted CLA Board Chairman and Bayer North America President and CEO of the Crop Science Division Jim Blome. “With his broad experience and years of working alongside CLA as a key ally, Chris knows our association and industry and is eminently qualified to succeed our long serving CEO, Jay Vroom.”

“I’m grateful to the CLA board for their confidence in my ability to step into this leadership role and carry forward a legacy of vision and focus for ag technology into the future,” explained Novak. “Farmers and food consumers alike depend on the kind of innovation that CropLife members bring to ag production, whether it be for food, fiber or renewable fuel production. The benefits of pesticide products, which also protect public health, are enormous and will only grow as the world population expands and dietary expectations evolve.”

Novak has also held leadership positions for key Indiana commodity organizations, and earlier in his career worked at Syngenta, the American Soybean Association and on Capitol Hill. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Purdue University, a law degree from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University. He and his wife Julie have three children and currently live in St. Louis County, MO.

“CLA is fortunate to recruit Chris to lead its staff,” stated Jay Vroom, CLA president and CEO since 1989.  “I’ve worked alongside Chris on many issues of common interest to our respective associations and most recently have co-chaired the production ag CEO Council over the past three years. He brings great knowledge and energy to the leadership of CropLife.” Vroom announced his intent to retire from CLA last fall in California at the organization’s annual meeting.

Russell Reynolds Associates assisted the CLA Search Committee in this successful recruitment. Novak will begin full time employment with CLA on August 20, 2018.



Friday June 8 Ag News
2018-06-09T07:18

Platte Valley Cattlemen tour Set for June 18th
Lucas Luckey, Platte Valley Cattlemen President


It is time once again for our annual feedlot/agri-business tour. This year’s tour will be held on Monday June 18th.  We will be visiting the Tom Russkamp farm between Howells and Dodge, where they are using a cow/calf confinement barn. Then we will be moving on to West Point Design in West Point, where we will tour their manufacturing facility. Finally, we will head over to Knobbe Feedyard for a tour of their facility and have a steak supper.

This year we have a tour bus sponsored by First National Bank that will be departing from Wunderlich’s in Columbus at 12:30 pm. From there we will go to Creston to pick up any one that would like to meet there, the bus will be parking by Alice’s so please park accordingly. We will leave Creston at 1pm then we will make one more stop at Platte Valley Equipment of Clarkson for anyone who would like to meet us there. We will depart from Platte Valley Equipment at approximately 1:30 and head to the Russkamp Farm.

Please let Lucas or Boyd know if you will be riding the bus and what location you will be getting on at.
Lucas Luckey - 402-910-0373
Boyd Hellbusch - 402-920-0699

If you want to drive on your own or just join us at one or two stops here are the directions:

2:00 pm Russkamp Farm
Go 3 miles East of Howells on HWY 91 then turn North at the Olean Church sign. Go 2 miles north to the county correction line, go east a little ways then turn north again and go 1 mile. Turn west and go ½ mile and the Farm is on the south side of the road.

3:30 pm West Point Design
About a mile or so south of West Point on Hwy 275 east side of the road.

5:00 Knobbe Feedyard
From West Point go west on HWY 32 for 1½ miles then turn South on Road 15 (black top), go 1 mile south.

6:00 pm. Steak supper at Knobbe feedyard.

Please thank the following supporters of this year’s tour:
* Bank of the Valley (refreshments)
* First National Bank (bus transportation)
* Knobbe Feedyard  (meal locations & side dishes)
* Tom Russkamp and West Point Design
* Cumming County Feeders (grill and labor)

We look forward to having you with us on the 18th!



NCW Beef Ambassador Contest Results


The Nebraska CattleWomen Consumer Education and Promotion committee held the 2018 Nebraska Beef Ambassador on June 6 in Grand Island.  Seven contestants competed in three areas; Consumer Promotion, Media Interview and Issue Response.  The winners will be volunteering over the next year at several promotional and education events across Nebraska.  The committee would like to that the judges and volunteers who helped with the contest. 

Collegiate winners 
 1st Devin Jakub, Brainard
2nd Dakota Lovett, Bladen
3rd Savannah Schafer, Nehawka

Senior winners 
1st Hannah Pearson, Valentine
2nd Rachel Smith, Osceola

The 2019 contest will be held June 5 in Columbus.



PASTURE WEED CONTROL IN SUMMER

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist


               Early to mid-June is a popular time to spray pasture weeds and woody plants.  But, is it a smart thing to do?

               Why do you spray weeds in pasture?  Is it to kill plants that are poor forage – or is it just force of habit and to make the pasture look nicer?

               Now I've got to admit, I often suggest using herbicides in pastures.  Herbicides like Plateau in warm-season pastures or 2,4-D, Grazon, or ForeFront in any grass pasture are most popular.  But the more experience I get with grazing and pasture management, the less spraying I do.  In fact, anytime a pasture is sprayed, it suggests that the grazing management has not been as effective as it could be or maybe the owner just wants a quick fix.

               Okay, so what am I talking about?  Well, several things really.  First, for pasture to be profitable, it must have high management input but controlled dollar input.  And spraying costs money.  Money we might save with better grazing management.  Second, livestock eat many plants we call weeds.  And when they do, these plants no longer are weeds.  In fact, many weeds can be good feed if grazed while young and tender.  Third, unpalatable weeds usually become established in pastures after grass is weakened by severe grazing, and they thrive when grazing management fails to encourage vigorous grass regrowth.  And finally, unless pasture and livestock are managed to benefit both plants and animals, the weeds will be back despite your spraying.

               So why spray pastures?  If you graze properly but you wish to speed up the process of replacing uneaten weeds with vigorous grass, that's a very good reason.  Otherwise, spraying may be simply cosmetic and a waste of money.

PROPER HAY STORAGE

               Did you make any good quality hay yet?  To keep it valuable and in good shape, proper storage is needed.

               I've said it before and I'll say it again – your hay is only as good as it is the day you feed it or sell it.  No matter how good your hay is today, between now and feeding time, every windstorm, every rain event is going to steal nutrients from every exposed bale and stack.

               So what are you going to do about it?  Hopefully, one of the things you do is store that hay, especially your best hay, in a manner and location that will minimize nutrient losses caused by weathering.

               Weathering tends to lower the yield and nutrients available from your hay by about one percent for each month of exposed storage.  High value, high quality hay that will be sold or fed to high value animals like dairy cows and horses should be stored under cover.  A hay shed, a partially used machine shed, or any other shelter with a roof will be better than exposing your hay to what Mother Nature dishes out this summer.  Plastic wraps can be very effective, too, when good quality plastic is wrapped around bales enough times.

               Next best may be tarps, especially heavy-duty ones that can be tied down without tearing in the wind.  Plastic also works, but it takes special care and a lot of luck to fasten down plastic well enough so it doesn't get ripped during storms.

               If uncovered storage is your only option, place bales and stacks on an elevated site with good drainage so moisture won't soak up from the bottom.  Don't stack round bales or line them up with the twine sides touching – rain will collect where they touch and soak into the bale.  Also, allow space for air to circulate and dry the hay after rain.

               Good hay can stay that way. But it’s up to you to make it so.



Senate Agriculture Committee Leaders Find Common Ground in Bipartisan Farm Bill


U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., today released the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The Committee will meet to consider the legislation at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time on June 13. Click here to watch live.

“When Ranking Member Stabenow and I started this journey in Manhattan, Kansas, last year, we made a commitment to make tough choices and produce a good, bipartisan Farm Bill,” said Chairman Roberts. "I’m pleased that today marks a big step in the process to get a Farm Bill reauthorized on time.”

“Whether it’s low prices, over burdensome regulations, or unpredictable trade markets, it’s no secret that farmers and ranchers are struggling. That’s why we need a Farm Bill that works for all producers across all regions. Simply put, our producers need predictability – and that’s just what our bill provides.”

“From day one, Chairman Roberts and I agreed we would craft a bipartisan bill that works for farmers, families, and rural communities,” said Ranking Member Stabenow. “The 2018 bipartisan Senate Farm Bill goes above and beyond to provide certainty for rural America and our diverse agricultural economy in Michigan and throughout the country."

“From revitalizing small towns, to promoting good stewardship of our land and water, to expanding local food economies, this Farm Bill is a major bipartisan victory.”

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 provides certainty and predictability for producers across all regions, as well as those in need of assistance, by:

Providing Certainty for Farmers, Ranchers, and Growers
-    Preserving and strengthening crop insurance and other risk management tools for commodity, dairy, livestock, and other producers
-    Providing flexibility for producers during times of natural disasters
-    Continuing and strengthening export and trade-related programs
-    Supporting agriculture research and encouraging research partnerships that make farmers more productive and profitable

Strengthening Integrity and Food Access for Families
-    Strengthening the integrity of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
-    Building on successful public-private partnerships and job training to improve SNAP participants’ path to sustainable employment
-    Protecting food assistance for families and expanding access to healthy foods
-    Reducing burdensome paperwork for seniors in need of assistance

 Strengthening Voluntary Conservation and Forest Management
-    Investing in voluntary conservation on working lands and expanding regional partnerships that leverage private funds to address natural resource concerns and improve water quality
-    Providing forest management reforms to federal land managers and protecting against wildfires
-    Securing opportunities for outdoor recreation by adding 1 million new acres to the Conservation Reserve Program and strengthening voluntary public access

Investing in Rural America
-    Connecting rural America by expanding high-speed internet
-    Fighting the opioid epidemic with prevention and treatment efforts
-    Investing in water infrastructure for rural communities
-    Preserving renewable energy investments that lower utility bills and support energy installation jobs

Growing the Diversity of the American Agricultural Economy
-    Supporting farmer veterans and new farmers beginning careers in agriculture
-    Strengthening local food economies that enable farmers to sell their products to their neighbors
-    Growing emerging opportunities in organic production and urban agriculture
-    Bolstering biodefense preparedness efforts to protect United States agriculture and food.



Senate Agriculture Committee Releases Farm Bill


U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement today after Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) released the text of the 2018 Farm Bill:

“Today the initial text of the 2018 Senate farm bill was released. As a member of the Agriculture Committee, I will continue to work with my colleagues during the bill markup next week. I look forward to working with Chairman Pat Roberts and the other members of the committee to provide certainty and predictability for our Nebraska agriculture producers who feed the world.”



Center for Rural Affairs: Senate farm bill is promising, but has concerns


Today, the Senate Agriculture Committee released its draft of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, commonly known as the farm bill.

Center for Rural Affairs Policy Associate Anna Johnson said the released draft provides needed support for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities; however, the decision to remove funding for conservation and the entrepreneurial programs that rural Americans rely on must be addressed.

Conservation
"We appreciate that this bill strengthens the underlying policy for conservation programs,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, these changes are undercut by a decrease in funding for working lands conservation."

Much of the bill’s content to strengthen the underlying policy for conservation programs is derived from the Give our Resources the Opportunity to Work (GROW) Act, introduced by Sens. Ernst (R-IA), Grassley (R-IA), Brown (D-OH), and Casey (D-PA).

“We like to see that many elements of the GROW Act are included,” Johnson said. “These policy proposals, such as improving coordination between the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, will help strengthen these programs. We applaud the committee for working across party lines to advance these proposals.”

Rural development
"Rural development receives similar treatment,” Johnson continued. “The committee draft identifies efficiencies by combining several programs. But, these programs are made less effective by damaging spending cuts."

The draft supports beginning, socially-disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers; on-farm value-added production; local foods; and farmers markets. However, it cuts permanent funding for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, which helps establish businesses and create jobs in rural communities.

“This program plays a critical role in helping individuals start new business in rural towns across the nation,” Johnson said.

Crop insurance and structure
"On crop insurance, the bill makes needed improvements that will better recognize the role of conservation in risk management," Johnson said. "This is a missed opportunity for advocates of structural reform. The bill is missing caps on crop insurance and fails to limit subsidy payments to those who are truly actively engaged in farming."

Improvements to crop insurance include better access for diversified operations and beginning farmers, and a stronger link between crop insurance and conservation.

The draft also does not limit subsidies for crop insurance premiums, and Johnson calls on the Senate to enact these reforms.

Conclusion
“As this bill moves forward through the Senate Agriculture Committee and to the Senate, we will work to strengthen and improve its support of conservation, beginning farmers, and rural communities,” Johnson said.

The current farm bill expires Sept. 30, 2018. The House of Representatives failed to pass its draft, H.R. 2, in a vote on May 18. Another vote is scheduled in the House for June 22.



FMD Language In Senate Agriculture Panel’s Farm Bill


The National Pork Producers Council was encouraged that the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry included in its 2018 Farm Bill — the text was released today — language establishing a vaccine bank to deal with an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD).

FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. Although the disease was last detected in the United States in 1929, it is endemic in many parts of the world.

Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said the agriculture panel will mark up its bill June 13. The full House is expected to vote on its measure, which also includes FMD language, June 22.

“This is encouraging news for the livestock industry,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio, and chairman of NPPC’s Farm Bill Policy Task Force. “With a vaccine bank, we’ll finally be able to adequately prepare for an FMD outbreak. But we do need mandatory funding to make it work.”

NPPC has been urging lawmakers to include for each year of the next five-year Farm Bill mandatory funding of $150 million for the vaccine bank, $70 million in block grants to the states for disease prevention and $30 million for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), which provides diagnostic support to assist in managing diseases in the United States.

Currently, the United States does not have access to enough FMD vaccine to handle more than a small, localized outbreak. According to Iowa State University economists, an FMD outbreak in the United States, which would prompt countries to close their markets to U.S. meat exports, would cost the beef and pork industries a combined $128 billion over 10 years if farmers weren’t able to combat the disease through vaccination. The corn and soybean industries would lose over a decade $44 billion and $25 billion, respectively; and economy-wide job losses would top 1.5 million.

“Having a vaccine bank will mitigate the economic harm of an outbreak,” Heimerl said. “Pork producers thank the Senate agriculture committee, Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow for their efforts on this very important issue for livestock agriculture.”

In late April, 15 senators, led by John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., urged Roberts and Stabenow to include FMD language in the Senate Farm Bill, saying in a letter that a vaccine bank “would help to adequately address risks to animal health, livestock export markets, and industry economic stability.”



NAWG Comments on Senate Agriculture Committee’s 2018 Farm Bill


Today, the Senate Committee on Agriculture introduced its version of the 2018 Farm Bill. In response, NAWG President Jimmie Musick made the following statement:

“NAWG commends the Senate Agriculture Committee for working together to introduce a bi-partisan bill that supports farmers and agriculture. While NAWG is still reviewing the language of the bill, we see several provisions that are very positive for wheat farmers.  

“NAWG is pleased that this process is moving forward with support from both sides of the aisle, and we urge both Chambers to complete action on a full Farm Bill reauthorization before the current one expires on September 30th.” 



ASA Applauds Senate Leadership on Release of Farm Bill


The American Soybean Association (ASA) today applauded the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee on release of their draft farm bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

“The farm bill is vital legislation, not just for American farmers but for consumers in our country and abroad who depend on us to provide food, fiber and fuel,” said ASA Vice President and Kentucky soybean grower Davie Stephens. “We’re grateful to Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow for their bipartisan effort and for taking this important step toward completing the farm bill this year.”

Stephens continued, “Farmers need the certainty of a new five-year bill to manage continuing low crop prices and farm income as well as volatile conditions affecting our vital export markets. We urge the Senate Committee to act on this legislation as soon as possible and for the full Senate to consider it before the July Congressional recess.”

Authorizations under the current Agriculture Act of 2014 will expire at the end of September 2018.



Senate Ag Committee Releases Farm Bill Draft


In light of the economic storm farmers and ranchers are facing, the American Farm Bureau Federation said the Senate Agriculture Committee’s release this afternoon of its draft farm bill text is “a crucial step to move the farm bill process forward.” The committee is scheduled to mark up the bill on Wednesday, June 13.

“Farm income is at a decade low. Farm debt is on the rise and international markets for our farm goods are in jeopardy. The Senate Agriculture Committee, led by Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, have worked hard to address those economic challenges and assemble a bipartisan bill that provides the clarity, policy certainty and vital risk protection tools that our farmers need now more than ever,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a statement.

Farmers and ranchers are looking forward to next week’s mark up and to working with the Senate to get the bill approved, according to Duvall.

“It is important that the Senate bill strike a balance that will help set the overall congressional tone for getting the farm bill done this year,” he said.



Crop and Pest Management Training Offered at Field Diagnostic Clinic


Now that crops are in the ground and growing, what happens over the next few months will drastically impact yields this fall. The Iowa State University Field Extension Education Laboratory will hold the 2018 Field Diagnostic Clinic, a full day of interactive conversations, to cover issues that may occur this summer.

The 2018 Field Diagnostic Clinic is provided to update farmers, crop advisers, agronomists and agribusiness professionals on pests, weeds and diseases that impact corn and soybean fields. The event will be held on July 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will provide information on crop scouting and field diagnostic knowledge.

“Crop advisers and farmers are constantly learning more about crop management and issues within their fields,” said Warren Pierson, coordinator of the Field Extension Educational Laboratory. “This program brings many things that they may see once every 5-10 years. When you don’t deal with these problems all the time, it can be difficult to remember.”

Participants will have the opportunity to see issues that occur in crop fields including diseases, weeds, nutrient deficiency, and herbicide and fertilizer injury. Most of these will be shown with live plants in a field plot setting and although these happen, some do not occur often enough for people to easily remember the symptoms, said Pierson.

The clinic will be hosted by ISU Extension and Outreach and feature crop management specialists and researchers, as well as ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists. New to this year’s clinic will be a session on soil and tissue sampling analysis.

“Soil sampling to the correct depth and tissue testing properly are important for valid test results,” Pierson said. “Farmers and agronomists make fertilizer application decisions based on these results and they may have costly consequences in the form of fertilizer, applications, testing itself, as well as possible yield loss if the process is not completed correctly.”

FEEL is located at 1928 240th St. near Boone. Check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. on July 11, with opening comments at 8:55 a.m. The clinic will adjourn at 4 p.m.

Advance registration is required to attend this clinic. Registration is $125 prior to midnight, June 29 and $150 after. Registrations must be received prior to midnight, July 6. Registration includes refreshments, lunch and course materials. Attendees have the option to purchase “A Farmers Guide to Corn Diseases” (IPM 76) at a 50 percent discount (a total cost of $15). Additional workshop information and online registration with credit card is available at www.aep.iastate.edu/feel/diagnostic.

Descriptions of the sessions included in the clinic, can be found online as well at http://www.aep.iastate.edu/feel/diagnostic.



2018 Carcass Challenge is Complete


The Iowa Cattlemens Association is celebrating the conclusion of the 8th successful year of the Carcass Challenge program. Over the years, many cattlemen from around the state have contributed calves to this fed steer contest to support ICA and see how their cattle stack up.

About the Carcass Challenge program:

As Iowa’s only statewide fed-beef competition, the ICA Carcass Challenge was created to:
-    Showcase Iowa’s beef cattle genetics, feedyard management, and modern technology.
-    Offer Iowa’s cattle industry a fun and competitive statewide fed-beef contest to highlight Iowa’s beef production advantages.
-    Generate additional non-dues ICA revenue to grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.
-    Provide leadership and learning opportunities through the ICA Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program (YCLP).

Each November, sponsors donate 700 lb. steer calves to compete in this prestigious Iowa fed-beef contest. Steers complete 180-200 days on feed to an average 1,400 lb., market-ready end point.

Cash prizes and special awards are presented to contributors of the Top 10% of individual steers based on the “Retail Value per Day on Feed,” recognizing both feedyard performance and end carcass merit. A $5,000 cash prize is awarded to the Champion Steer donor(s). Awards for outstanding individual carcass results are also presented. Every effort is made to deliver maximum cattle efficiency, carcass value and net revenue of all steers.

This year, 75 steers were entered into the contest from various breeders across the state with several different breed compositions represented. The steers were delivered in November and harvested at the Tyson plant in Dakota City the last week of April.

“We were excited to work with Kennedy Cattle Company of Atlantic, Iowa to feed the steers again this year,” says Casey Allison, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association staff. “Throughout the testing period, we collected data on the growth progression of each animal by utilizing ultrasound technology, EID’s and recording weights on test, at the interim period and off-test weights.” Steer donors and YCLP participants received regular communication throughout the test via email to stay up to date on progress in the feedyard.

The expertise and guidance of David Trowbridge and Faye French with Gregory Feedlots alongside Matt Groves with the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity enabled ICA to provide more in-depth data analysis, building on one of the program’s core goals - sharing educational information with donors. In addition to several performance tabulations, charts and graphs show donors how the cattle performed, both individually and compared to their pen mates. This provokes conversation about how and why the management decisions from birth to harvest impact how or if an animal maximizes its genetic potential.

Thanks to the program’s primary sponsor, Elanco, for donating the animal health products, Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity Co-op for facilitating data collection at the plant and assistance with marketing, Kennedy Cattle Company (Zak and Mitch Kennedy) for feeding the steers, The CUP Lab for interpretation of the ultrasound scan images, Shnurman Sire Services for ultrasounding the steers, Thielen Trucking for hauling the cattle to the plant, and FNB Bank for sponsoring breakfast at our Open House.

As in years past, the Carcass Challenge proved that Iowa is a national leader in producing and feeding high quality cattle and beef. Comparing this year’s Carcass Challenge steers to the national benchmarks from the 2016 National Beef Quality Audit, 7% more of the cattle graded as yield grades 1, 2 or 3 compared to the national average while nearly 50% fewer Carcass Challenge steers were marked as yield grades 4 and 5. As yield grade correlates to value, these figures speak to the economic advantage Iowa cattle offer.

When it comes to quality grade, an overwhelming 81% graded prime or choice compared to the national average at 71%. There were 34%  fewer steers that fell in the select or no roll category.

The top gaining steer averaged 5.5 pounds per day, the highest marbling steer had a marbling score of 734, and the overall winner marked a Retail Value per Day on Feed of an extremely impressive $7.52.

This is a true testament that not only can Iowa cattle compete, but they can and do lead the way nationally.

Winners

Retail Value per Day on Feed: The program awards cash prizes to the top 10% of steers for Retail Value per Day on Feed. This is a dollar value that accounts for hot carcass weight, percent retail product, carcass price, and days on feed, balancing the important factors that ultimately drive profitability.

    Raised by Radloff Angus; sponsored by the Winneshiek, Clayton and Fayette County Cattlemen’s Associations - This purebred Angus steer gained the highest of the pen for the first half of the feeding period at 6.86 pounds per day and recorded on overall Average Daily Gain for the entire test of 5.5 pounds. At slaughter, he hung a 988 pound carcass and had the highest dress percent of the top 10% of the steers in the contest and a 15.1 inch ribeye. This steer secured his title as Champion by performing well across the board and marking a $7.52 Retail Value per Day on Feed, setting him apart from the second place by a whopping $0.72. This steer earned a $5,000 prize and the travelling trophy.

    Raised by Collison Angus; sponsored by Collison Veterinary Service of Rockwell City and Lytton Farm Equipment - The 2nd place steer is a January born registered Angus steer sired by EXAR Denver. He recorded an Average Daily Gain of 4.99 pounds and went off test at 1611 pounds. This steer graded Choice and qualified for Certified Angus Beef for a $52.29 premium and maintained efficiency with a 6.24 feed to gain ratio. This steer marked a Retail Value per Day on Feed of $6.80.

    RL Fleckvieh, B&B Farm Store, Buchanan County Cattlemen’s Association, and Winthrop Vet Clinic - Placing 3rd is a Simmental/Red Angus/Fleckvieh cross steer with a yield grade 1 and quality grade of choice that captured a $64.22 premium. He had a ribeye area of 16.53 inches. This steer gained an average of 4.38 pounds per day and hung a 988 pound carcass. He boasts a Retail Value per Day on Feed of $6.78.

    Raised by Longinaker Farms, sponsored by Longinaker Farms and the Taylor County Cattlemen’s Association - The 4th place steer is by an Angus bull and out of a Red Angus cow. Born in March and weaned in September, he entered the test period at 720 pounds and went off at 1374 pounds, giving him an Average Daily Gain of 4.61 pounds. Another yield grade 1, Choice steer, this steer’s data shows a $6.63 Retail Value per Day on Feed.

    Raised by Lawton Simmentals, sponsored by Lawton Simmentals and the Greene County Cattlemen’s Association - In 5th place is a Simmental steer born in March that was creep fed before weaning in August. He gained an average of 4.59 pounds throughout the test and gained exceptionally well especially in the first half of the test period gaining almost 5 pounds per day. At slaughter he received a $58 premium as a yield grade 1 and quality grade choice with a 16 inch ribeye. This steer’s Retail Value per Day on Feed came out at $6.60.

    Raised by Jeff Kock, sponsored by the Carroll County Cattlemen’s Association - Placing 6th is an April born steer sired by a Charolais bull and an Angus cross cow. This steer was not creep fed, but entered test at 871 pounds and gained an average of 4.42 pounds per day. A yield grade 1 and quality grade choice, he had a ribeye area of 16.54 inches and showed a Retail Value per Day on Feed of $6.50.

    Pixley Family Simmentals, Sterling Family Cattle Company, and the Iowa Simmental Association - Placing 7th is a Simmental steer born in April. He was creep fed and weaned in early September and went on test at 912 pounds. He gained an average of 4.27 pounds per day and weighed 1519 pounds when he went off test. He recorded an impressive ribeye area of 16.83 and had a Retail Value per Day on Feed of $6.45.

Highest Average Daily Gain: raised by Radloff Angus in Luana, Iowa and donated by the Winneshiek, Clayton, and Fayette County Cattlemen. The winner is a purebred Angus steer that went on test at 783 pounds and went off test at 1566 pounds, giving him an Average Daily Gain of 5.5 pounds.

Largest Ribeye Area: Bloomfield Livestock Auction and Schooley Cattle. The winner had a ribeye area of 18.24 inches, which is all the more impressive when compared to the national average of 13.9. He is a March-born simmental steer sired by LLSF Pays To Believe.

Highest Marbling Score: Brian McCulloh, Woodhill Farms. An Angus, March-born steer, he scanned an impressive intramuscular fat percentage of 8.66% which converts to a marbling score of 734 which qualifies as slightly abundant. Unsurprisingly, this steer graded prime for a $66.92 premium.

Chef’s Award: Brian McCulloh, Woodhill Farms. This award is presented to the steer with a 12 to 14 inch ribeye with the highest marbling score. Sired by Tehama Sierra Cut Z118, the winning Angus steer had a ribeye area of 13.71 inches and slightly abundant marbling with a %IMF of 8.66%.

Thanks to our primary sponsor, Elanco for donating the animal health products, Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity Co-op for facilitating data collection at the plant and assistance with marketing, Kennedy Cattle Company (Zak and Mitch Kennedy) for feeding the steers, The CUP Lab for interpretation of the ultrasound scan images, Shnurman Sire Services for ultrasounding the steers, Thielen Trucking for hauling the cattle to the plant, and FNB Bank for sponsoring breakfast at our Open House.

For a summary of performance and carcass data from the 2017-2018 Carcass Challenge visit our website at https://www.iacattlemen.org/carcasschallenge.aspx.



Lindsay Corporation and Farmers Edge Announce Global Partnership to Accelerate Digital Transformation on the Farm


Lindsay Corporation (NYSE: LNN), a leading global manufacturer/distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, and Farmers Edge, a global leader in decision agriculture, today announced a new strategic partnership that will deliver an unmatched suite of ag tech and digital agronomy solutions for their customers.  

The collaboration will link digital agronomic tools to empower growers with data-driven, field-centric insights

This unique collaboration between Lindsay Corporation and Farmers Edge provides farmers with a simple solution to easily access field-centric data and deep insights they need to make informed decisions and get the most out of every acre. Growers who utilize both FieldNET®, a fully integrated wireless management tool, and the Farmers Edge digital platform will have the ability to seamlessly share key data back and forth between the two platforms - which will help optimize water application and other inputs while growers work to maximize yields and profitability. As part of the agreement, the Farmers Edge suite of digital agronomic tools will be offered via Lindsay Corporation's vast global network of over 350 Zimmatic® dealers.

Syncing technologies brings exciting new capabilities, broadens service offerings, and strengthens digital connectivity on the farm. When growers' data comes to life in charts, graphs and reports, they start to see things they've never seen before. These unbiased insights help growers base farm management decisions on data, not marketing campaigns, traditional practices, or gut instincts. Better decisions, grounded in trusted data and supported by the power of analytics, can help transform farming operations into profitable businesses. 

"We're proud to partner with Farmers Edge to provide our customers with yet another powerful advancement within our industry-leading irrigation management solution. Among other things, this collaboration will allow us to provide our FieldNET customers exclusive access, within the irrigation management industry, to daily, high-resolution satellite imagery from Farmers Edge," said Brian Magnusson, vice president of technology at Lindsay Corporation. "The collaboration of these two powerful ag tech platforms will give customers an unmatched irrigation management solution, helping growers maximize the value of their farm data to drive increased profitability."

"Our strategy is rooted in whole-farm integration. Data integration is critical to help growers make the best possible decisions, maximize farm productivity and efficiency," said Wade Barnes, CEO of Farmers Edge. "This partnership is another piece of the puzzle in our execution to build one digital platform that unlocks the value of data and addresses all aspects of farm management - from seeding to harvest, and everything in between, including irrigation management."



Farm Bureau Files Brief Supporting Water Rule Opponents


The American Farm Bureau Federation, together with a broad coalition of other farm and business groups, today filed a brief in support of 13 states challenging the EPA’s 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule before a federal district court in North Dakota.

The brief explains how EPA repeatedly broke the law in writing a rule that would vastly expand its Clean Water Act regulatory authority to cover small and isolated land and water features.

According to the brief, the 2015 rule “reads the term navigable out of the [Clean Water Act] and asserts jurisdiction over remote and isolated features that bear no meaningful relationship to ‘navigable waters.’”  The coalition also argues that the rule is unconstitutionally vague because it “gives malleable discretion to bureaucrats to determine which land features are jurisdictional ‘waters’ and which are not.”

Background: This is one of several lawsuits in federal district courts challenging the 2015 waters of the United States rule. Most of these lawsuits, including the North Dakota case, were delayed while the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and then the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether the court of appeals or the district courts have the power to hear the suits. That issue was resolved in favor of the district courts in early 2018, and the North Dakota case was the first to resume.

The North Dakota court previously issued an order blocking implementation of the 2015 rule in the 13 states involved in the case. The Sixth Circuit also granted a nationwide stay of the rule, but that stay was lifted after the court was found to lack jurisdiction. Meanwhile, EPA has issued a separate new rule delaying application of the 2015 rule while the agency reconsiders the proper scope of “waters of the United States.” Unless and until the agency permanently repeals the 2015 rule, state and private litigants will continue to pursue judicial relief invalidating the rule. 



AFBF Adds New Economist is its Team


The American Farm Bureau Federation announced that Michael Nepveux has joined the organization as an economist in the Public Affairs Department. Nepveux will play an important role in conducting economic research and analysis on a broad range of factors related to agricultural commodity markets and policy.

"Michael brings experience in livestock market analysis, agricultural policy and land value assessment to the table," said Dale Moore, vice president of public affairs. "AFBF will greatly benefit from his experience and insights."

Nepveux comes to AFBF from Informa Economics' Agribusiness Consulting Group, where he was a consultant charged with conducting market, policy and economic research and analysis in several fields including agriculture, agricultural risk management, transportation and renewable energy. His prior experience also includes student internships with the Agriculture Department's Foreign Agricultural Service and the House Agriculture Committee.

Nepveux earned a bachelor's degree in agribusiness and economics and a master's degree in agricultural economics, both from Texas A&M University.



Thursday June 7 Ag News
2018-06-08T05:46

World Meat Congress Gives Nebraska Producers Global Perspective on Trade

Trade talk dominated the World Meat Congress as more than 700 attendees from more than 40 different countries met in Dallas, Texas from May 30–June 1 to discuss the obstacles producers are facing.

Ed Lammers, of Hartington, Neb. was one of those attendees. A United Soybean Board member, Nebraska Soybean Board ex-officio and U.S. Meat Export Federation executive committee member, Lammers noted this was the first time the World Meat Congress had been held in the United States in 20 years.

Throughout the course of the congress, Lammers had conversations with an Irish ambassador, a German journalist and a British geneticist about trade concerns and cultural perceptions of producers.

He said his biggest takeaway came from a Mexican trade representative.

“As producers, we need to continue to voice our concerns to the industry, and to do so boldly,” Lammers said. “I thought that carried a lot of weight and opened up a lot of ears.”

Speakers at the congress also covered technology, branding, economics, industry trends and science-based production.

Lammers said there was a focus on producing enough food for the growing global population and urged soybean farmers to support animal agriculture with their product.

“As U.S. producers, it should be our moral prerogative to produce food for the world, while keeping sustainability in mind,” Lammers said.



Wheat Stem Maggot Adults Observed in South Dakota


The adult wheat stem maggots have been observed in winter wheat fields across South Dakota. However, experts from SDSU Extension, North Dakota and Nebraska say chemical management is not recommended.

"Wheat stem maggot feeding, it is still considered a minor injury and chemical management is not recommended," explained Adam Varenhorst, Assistant Professor & SDSU Extension Field Crop Entomologist. "The adults don't cause significant injury, the larvae of the wheat stem maggot cause white or bleached wheat heads later in the season."

Wheat that is damaged by the wheat stem maggot results in a white/dry head and stem to the first node where the flag leaf is attached. Researchers at SDSU Extension are working collaboratively with researchers from North Dakota and Nebraska to determine peak wheat stem maggot adult flights.

Are wheat stem maggots in your fields?

The wheat stem maggot adults are small yellow flies about one-fifth of an inch long with bright green eyes.

Adults have three black stripes present on their thorax, with the middle stripe longer than the other two. Adults also have a segment on their head that extends forward beyond the eyes. Adults of the wheat stem maggot are nectar feeders and lay eggs on the leaves and stems of wheat plants.

"Magnification may be required for identification," Varenhorst said.

When the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow into the stem and begin feeding near the flag leaf. This feeding prevents nutrient flow to the head.

A larger concern is that in 2017, wheat stem maggot feeding caused significant stand loss to corn fields in Nebraska. Researchers are working to determine the factors that contributed these unusual infestations.



Crop Management Clinic Provides Training on Crop and Pest Management


With Iowa’s planting season drastically impacted by cold and wet weather earlier this spring, now more than ever it is important to make sure crops are efficiently managed to ensure the best yields possible.

Many factors, including weather, pests, crop prices, input costs and crop growth and development, can have negative impacts on crops, potentially harming yields during harvest. Adequately prepare for this season by brushing up on crop management skills with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach researchers, management specialists and field agronomists.

Iowa State University’s Field Extension Education Laboratory (FEEL) will host the Summer 2018 Crop Management Clinic, July 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The clinic provides interactive workshops and discussions to give patrons the best tools, resources and means-tested strategies to make the best crop management decisions in their corn or soybean fields.

“We have many demonstration plots that are set up to exemplify current research outcomes and mirror different management practices. Seeing some of these issues and management solutions in person is invaluable,” said Warren Pierson, coordinator of the Field Extension Educational Laboratory. “We encourage participants to go into these plots and dig or cut plants up to get a better idea of what is happening. Integrated crop management is important to make crop production and management decisions that are economical, and don’t result in negative consequences on the environment, and the future use of management tools.”

This event is open to anyone who has an interest in crop production and management. ISU Extension and Outreach will have a variety of agronomic professionals teaching the importance of water quality, pest and nutrient management and factors affecting yield that can occur in corn and soybean fields. As an intermediate level course, some of the topics covered will be geared toward crop management for future seasons, such as nematode management, full season weed control, and hybrid and seeding rate decisions. Other topics will benefit the attendees this summer and fall with decisions about fungicide applications, nitrogen management decisions, and soil health and indicators of soil health.

For a complete list of topics and instructors, visit the clinic website at www.aep.iastate.edu/feel/management.

FEEL is located at 1928 240th St. near Boone. Plan to arrive at 8:30 a.m. for registration with opening comments beginning at 8:55 a.m.

Advance registration is required to attend this event. Early registration is $125 and must be completed before midnight, June 29. Late registration is $150 until midnight, July 6. Registration includes refreshments, lunch and course materials. Additional information and online registration is available at http://www.aep.iastate.edu/feel/management. For any additional questions please visit the website above and take advantage of this growing season in crop management. This clinic qualifies for six continuing education credits for Iowa Certified Crop Advisers, subject to board approval, in the following categories: 1.0 nutrient management, 2.5 pest management, 1.5 soil and water management, 1.0 crop management.

For assistance with registration, receipts, cancellation or questions on the status of your registration contact ANR Program Services at 515-294-6429 or anr@iastate.edu.

Introductory field diagnostics July 11

A Field Diagnostic Clinic will take place the day prior, July 11, at FEEL. Attendees of this session receive a 50 percent discount on the purchase of “A Farmers Guide to Corn Diseases” discount (a total cost of $15). Visit www.aep.iastate.edu/feel/diagnostic if interested in attending the Field Diagnostic Clinic.



USDA Announces $309 Million Investment in Rural Electric Utilities


Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $309 million in 16 projects (PDF, 107 KB) to improve rural electric infrastructure in 12 states.

“Robust, modern infrastructure is a foundation for quality of life and economic opportunity no matter the zip code in which you live,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in addressing rural infrastructure needs to support a more prosperous future in rural communities.”

Hazlett made the announcement here today during a visit to the Central Iowa Power Cooperative. One of its members, Farmers Electric Cooperative in Greenfield, Iowa, is receiving a $1.4 million USDA loan to invest in smart grid projects. Farmers plans to install more than 5,800 single-phase meters and additional meter reading equipment in its west-central Iowa service area.

Hazlett also announced that Harrison County REC, in Woodbine, Iowa, is receiving a $6 million loan to build 20 miles of electric line, improve 57 miles and make other system improvements. Its loan includes $578,000 for smart grid projects.

The loans announced today are being made through USDA’s Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee program. It helps finance generation, transmission and distribution projects; system improvements; and energy conservation projects in communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

Farmers Electric Cooperative and Harrison County REC join many other rural electric cooperatives and utilities that partner with USDA to use smart grid for computer applications, two-way communications, geospatial information systems and other tools to increase the reliability and efficiency of electric power systems.

Today’s investments will build or improve 1,660 miles of electric line serving rural homes, farms and businesses. USDA is funding infrastructure improvements for utilities in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota and Washington.

Funding for these loans was included in the FY 2018 Omnibus spending bill. It allocates significant resources for infrastructure investments, including $6.25 billion to USDA for electric loans. The measure also directs Secretary Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.

In addition to funding in the 2018 Omnibus bill, President Trump has proposed a $200 billion infrastructure investment plan that allocates 25 percent ($50 billion) to rural projects.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.



Strong April for U.S. Red Meat Exports, Including New Volume Record for Pork


April exports of U.S. pork, beef and lamb were sharply higher than a year ago in both volume and value, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports set a new volume record, fueled by tremendous demand in Mexico, while beef exports posted the best-ever results for the month of April.

April pork export volume was 230,049 metric tons (mt), up 13 percent from a year ago and topping the previous high set in November 2016. April export value was $584.1 million, also up 13 percent. For January through April, pork export volume was 4 percent ahead of last year’s record pace at 866,346 mt, while value increased 9 percent to $2.29 billion. (For pork muscle cuts, excluding variety meat, April was also a record volume month at 184,487 mt, up 18 percent from a year ago. Muscle cut export value was $480.6 million, up 14 percent.)

Exports accounted for nearly 30 percent of total pork production in April, up from 28.4 percent a year ago, while the percentage of muscle cuts exported also increased significantly (25.8 percent, up from 23.5 percent). Through April, the percentage of total production exported was fairly steady with last year at 27.4 percent, while muscle cuts jumped from 22.8 percent to 23.5 percent.

April pork export value averaged $58.45 per head slaughtered, up 6 percent from a year ago, while the January-April average increased 5 percent to $55.69.

Beef export volume was 111,213 mt in April, up 11 percent year-over-year. Export value was $676.7 million, up 23 percent and the fourth-highest on record. Through the first four months of 2018, exports were up 10 percent in volume to 429,286 mt. Export value was $2.59 billion, 20 percent above last year’s record pace.

Exports accounted for 14.1 percent of total beef production in April, up from 13.6 percent a year ago. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.3 percent, up from 10.6 percent. For January through April, exports accounted for 13.4 percent of total production and 10.8 percent for muscle cuts, each up about half a percentage point from last year.

Beef export value averaged $328.46 per head of fed slaughter in April, up 16 percent from a year ago. Through April, per-head export value averaged $318.91, up 17 percent.

Even with growth in red meat production, both pork and beef exports have accounted for a larger share and contributed more dollars per head, indicating strong international demand.

Huge month for pork to Mexico; exports to Korea continued to surge

Mexico was again the pacesetter for pork exports in April, with volume reaching 79,019 mt – up 34 percent from a year ago and the second-largest on record. Export value to Mexico was $134.1 million, up 28 percent. Through the first four months of 2018, exports to Mexico were 7 percent above last year’s record volume pace at 282,675 mt, with value up 6 percent to $505.4 million.

Maintaining this pace will be challenging, however, with Mexico announcing retaliatory tariffs on imports of most U.S. pork products effective June 5. The tariff rate on chilled and frozen pork muscle cuts is 10 percent until July 5, when it is set to increase to 20 percent.

“The outstanding April performance for pork exports to Mexico really underscores the importance of this market to the U.S. industry and how it has been such a reliable trading partner for hams, picnics and other pork cuts,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “USMEF will continue to emphasize the quality and consistency of U.S. pork to red meat customers in Mexico and make every effort to help U.S. suppliers retain their business. But make no mistake about it, the U.S. industry is going to have to fend off competitors who suddenly have a significant tariff rate advantage and see a clear opening into the Mexican market.”

Pork exports to South Korea continued to build momentum in April, with volume (25,370 mt, up 74 percent) and value ($74.1 million, up 81 percent) increasing significantly from a year ago. Through April, exports to Korea are on a record pace, climbing 44 percent in volume to 94,888 mt, valued at $276.1 million (up 55 percent). Strong growth in consumer demand and duty-free access under the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) have fueled a rapidly expanding presence for U.S. pork in Korea.

While pork exports to the China/Hong Kong region were below year-ago levels in April, shipments remained relatively strong despite the additional 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork that took effect April 2. It is likely, however, that the trade impact will show up more dramatically in May export data and in coming months. The tariff increase essentially tripled China’s standard rate on frozen pork imports, taking it from 12 percent to 37 percent (the increase does not apply to Hong Kong, which still charges zero duty). April exports to China/Hong Kong were 41,567 mt, down 14 percent from a year ago, but slipped only slightly in value to $95.9 million. For January through April, exports to China/Hong Kong were 15 percent below last year’s pace in volume (153,248 mt) but steady in value at $356.6 million.

“It is encouraging to see that pork volumes to China/Hong Kong held up fairly well in April, but the tariff disadvantage is still having a negative impact on the U.S. industry and has pressured prices for key export items,” Halstrom noted. “It’s another situation in which our competitors are capitalizing on the extra cost associated with importing U.S. pork.”

For January through April, other highlights for U.S. pork include:

-    Exports to leading value market Japan were 1 percent below last year’s pace in volume (132,534 mt) but increased 1 percent in value ($544.8 million). This included a 5 percent decrease in chilled pork volume (68,532 mt), valued at $330 million (down 1 percent).
-    Strong growth in Colombia pushed pork exports to South America up 23 percent from a year ago in volume (39,520 mt) and 24 percent in value ($96.7 million).
-    Led by mainstay markets Honduras and Guatemala and sharply higher shipments to Panama, exports to Central America climbed 23 percent from a year ago in volume (26,459 mt) and 27 percent in value ($63.3 million).
-    Pork exports achieved solid growth in the Philippines and more than doubled from a year ago to Vietnam, as exports to the ASEAN region increased 20 percent in volume (15,435 mt) and 31 percent in value ($43.8 million).

Asian markets and Mexico highlight strong April for beef exports

Japan maintained its position as the leading volume and value market for U.S. beef, with April exports totaling 25,650 mt (up 9 percent from a year ago) valued at $166.6 million (up 16 percent). Through April, exports to Japan were steady with last year’s volume at 98,090 mt while value increased 10 percent to $626.1 million. This included a 4 percent increase in chilled beef to 47,322 mt, valued at $375 million (up 17 percent). Frozen shipments have regained momentum now that the 50 percent safeguard duty rate has expired. But with a 38.5 percent rate in place for both chilled and frozen beef, the U.S. remains at a large disadvantage compared to its top competitor, Australia.

U.S. beef continues to build tremendous momentum in South Korea, where April exports were up 62 percent from a year ago in volume (19,185 mt) and 72 percent in value ($134.8 million). For January through April, exports to Korea climbed 31 percent to 71,094 mt, valued at $501 million (up 45 percent). Chilled exports totaled 15,480 mt (up 29 percent) valued at $148 million (up 40 percent). In contrast to Japan, U.S. beef has a slight tariff advantage versus Australia, as KORUS was implemented earlier than the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

“The enthusiasm for U.S. beef in these markets may be at the highest level I’ve ever seen,” Halstrom said. “In nearly every segment of the retail and restaurant sectors, U.S. beef is attracting new customers with a wider range of cuts and menu items. It’s an exciting trend that’s not just limited to Japan and Korea, with U.S. beef’s popularity also strengthening in other Asian markets and in the Western Hemisphere.”

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

-    In Mexico, exports were 5 percent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (78,435 mt) and 16 percent higher in value ($342.4 million). Demand was especially strong in April, as exports totaled 21,396 mt (up 22 percent and the largest since August), while value increased 33 percent to $92.1 million.
-    Exports to China/Hong Kong increased 23 percent in volume (46,043 mt) and surged 51 percent in value to $352.4 million. China still accounts for a small portion of these exports, as shipments to China were 2,299 mt valued at $21.3 million. China reopened to U.S. beef in June of last year. While U.S. beef is not yet subject to retaliatory duties in China, it remains on the proposed retaliation list with a possible additional tariff of 25 percent.
-    Taiwan continues to display a growing appetite for U.S. beef, especially for chilled cuts. Exports to Taiwan were 30 percent above last year’s pace in volume (17,500 mt) and 42 percent higher in value ($168.7 million). Chilled exports were up 43 percent in volume (7,605 mt) and value ($96 million), as U.S. beef captured 74 percent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market.
-    Steady growth in the Philippines and a tripling of exports to Indonesia pushed exports to the ASEAN region 35 percent above last year’s pace in volume (14,865 mt) and 37 percent higher in value ($82 million).
-    Exports to South America were up 14 percent in volume (8,971 mt) and 28 percent in value ($43.5 million), with the main destinations being Chile, Peru and Colombia. Leading market Chile was up 20 percent in volume (4,137 mt) and 14 percent in value ($22.5 million), though shipments slowed in March and April following a strong start to the year.

Solid April for lamb exports as 2018 rebound continues

April exports of U.S. lamb were well above last year’s low totals in both volume (973 mt, up 97 percent) and value ($1.9 million, up 48 percent). Through the first four months of 2018, exports climbed 39 percent in volume (3,457 mt) and 16 percent in value ($7.3 million). Growth was driven by stronger variety meat demand in Mexico and larger muscle cut shipments to the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Canada. Gabon and Angola also show promise as potential growth destinations for lamb variety meat.



Senate Agriculture Committee Leaders Announce Farm Bill Consideration


U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., today announced the Committee will hold a business meeting to consider the 2018 Senate Farm Bill. Legislative text and summaries will be available at ag.senate.gov prior to the meeting.

“We are pleased to announce the Senate Agriculture Committee’s timely consideration of the 2018 Farm Bill,” the Senators said. “It has been more than a year of travelling across the country listening to farmers, ranchers, rural communities, and those in need. Now the time has come to put what we’ve learned into a bipartisan bill that will provide much-needed certainty for agriculture, families, and rural America.”

Date:   Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Time:   9:30 a.m.
Place:  328A Russell Senate Office Building



GIAF Exports To FTA Partners Stay Strong In 2017/2018


After a record-breaking year, exports to the 20 countries with which the United States has free trade agreements (FTAs) have remained steady at 39 million metric tons thus far in 2017/2018 (September 2017-April 2018), according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and analysis by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). These trading partners continue to represent some of the largest and most loyal customers for exports of U.S. corn, barley, sorghum, ethanol, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and other coarse grain products.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) once again ranks as the top FTA for grain-related trade. U.S. exports to Mexico and Canada benefit from geographic proximity and the duty-free access provided by NAFTA. Since its inception in 1994, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico tripled and quintupled, respectively.

This growth continues as the Council works to find new areas of demand for U.S. coarse grains and co-products, like ethanol and DDGS, in NAFTA markets. Overall grain in all forms (GIAF) exports to the two countries are up nearly 5 percent year-over-year to 20.3 million tons. Mexico, Canada or both countries currently represent either the first or second largest markets for corn, ethanol, DDGS, barley, beef, pork, poultry and coarse grain products.

Mexico is the largest market for U.S. corn, so far increasing purchases by 8 percent from last year despite ongoing NAFTA talks. Mexico set a new record for U.S. corn purchases in 2016/2017, making Mexico’s increases this year even more notable.

Canada continues to import U.S. ethanol to cover domestic demand, representing the top market among U.S. FTA partners and second largest market for U.S. ethanol overall. Those gallons contribute to U.S. ethanol’s record-setting export streak, increasing 27 percent year-over-year to FTA partners to 381 million gallons. FTA partners South Korea and Colombia also are purchasing substantially more ethanol this marketing year, with increases of 71 percent to 44.9 million gallons and 239 percent to nearly 24.4 million gallons, respectively.

Mexico is responsible for the lion’s share of barley exports to FTA partners, increasing 15 percent to 267,000 tons (12.3 million bushels), thanks to growing demand from Mexico’s large industrial and small craft brewers. Overall, barley exports to FTA partners are up 3 percent year-over-year to 339,000 tons (nearly 15.6 million bushels).

Both Mexico and Canada are using more U.S. DDGS to meet growing demand for feed. Israel and Morocco, also both FTA partners, have realized double-digit growth in exports of DDGS, at 10 and 11 percent respectively. DDGS exports to FTA partners in total are up 5 percent from last year at this time to 3.23 million tons.

Trade disruptions with China continue to rattle the sorghum market, even as the Council and its sorghum partners work to educate world buyers about purchasing opportunities. Overall, sorghum exports to FTA partners are down significantly year-to-date. However, South Korea’s increased purchasing - from 637 tons (25,000 bushels) last year at this time to 58,300 tons (2.29 million bushels) demonstrates the power of staying well-connected and communicative with loyal buyers. The increase in tonnage was a direct result of the Council’s efforts to assist buyers and sellers in rerouting sorghum exports bound for China.

The enduring strength of demand from FTA partners once again emphasizes the importance of the market access provided by these agreements. Working to defend and expand markets allows the Council to do what it does best - capture short-term opportunities and build long-term demand for U.S. coarse grains and co-products.



Farmer Co-ops Applaud Introduction of the Accurate Labels Act


The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today praised introduction of legislation that will help ensure that consumer product labels are based on science and common sense. The Accurate Labels Act (ALA), introduced in the Senate by Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and in the House by Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), would ensure that state and local labeling laws follow those two basic criteria.

“Consumers deserve clear, accurate and meaningful labels on the food and other products they buy. In too many cases today, state laws like California’s Proposition 65 make this impossible; under that law, a profusion of labels based on dubious science means that consumers are confused and likely to treat the labels as visual white noise,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “The ALA will reestablish some common sense by making states and localities ‘show their work’ when setting out requirements for mandatory warning labels.”

The ALA has three main objectives:
-    Establish science-based criteria for all new state and local labeling requirements by making states and localities document the science behind their proposed labeling mandates;
-    Allow state-mandated product information to be provided through SmartLabelTM and on web sites;
-    Ensure that covered product is risk-based.

“I would like to applaud the leadership of Senator Moran and Representatives Kinzinger and Schrader in introducing this legislation. They recognize that a growing number of proposals for state and local warning labels threaten to make a tangled patchwork of requirements that will confuse consumers and add new burdens on co-ops and their farmer-owners,” Conner continued. “NCFC urges the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee to schedule hearings as soon as possible to hear more about this problem and the need for the ALA.”



Bayer Closes Monsanto Acquisition


Bayer successfully completed the acquisition of Monsanto on Thursday. Shares in the U.S. company will no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with Bayer now the sole owner of Monsanto Company. Monsanto shareholders are being paid 128 U.S. dollars per share. J.P. Morgan assisted Bayer with processing the purchase price payment for the largest acquisition in the company’s history. According to the conditional approval from the United States Department of Justice, the integration of Monsanto into Bayer can take place as soon as the divestments to BASF have been completed. This integration process is expected to commence in approximately two months.

“Today is a great day: for our customers – farmers around the world whom we will be able to help secure and improve their harvests even better; for our shareholders, because this transaction has the potential to create significant value; and for consumers and broader society, because we will be even better placed to help the world’s farmers grow more healthy and affordable food in a sustainable manner. As a leading innovation engine in agriculture, we offer employees around the world attractive jobs and development opportunities,” said Werner Baumann, Chairman of the Bayer Board of Management. “Our sustainability targets are as important to us as our financial targets. We aim to live up to the heightened responsibility that a leadership position in agriculture entails and to deepen our dialogue with society.”

“Today’s closing represents an important milestone toward the vision of creating a leading agricultural company, supporting growers in their efforts to be more productive and sustainable for the benefit of our planet and consumers,” said Hugh Grant, outgoing Chairman and CEO of Monsanto. “I am proud of the path we have paved as Monsanto and look forward to the combined company helping move modern agriculture forward.”

Liam Condon, member of the Bayer Board of Management, will lead the combined Crop Science Division when the integration commences. Until that time, Monsanto will operate independently from Bayer.



USDA Announces Producer Approval of California Federal Milk Marketing Order


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that California dairy producers have voted to approve a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) for the entire State of California. As a result of this favorable vote, USDA today published a final rule in the Federal Register indicating that approval. The new California FMMO will be implemented October 17, 2018, with publication of the Announcement of Advanced Prices and Pricing Factors, and affected parties must comply with all provisions beginning November 1, 2018. USDA will work over the next few months to educate handlers who will become regulated by the new FMMO.

California represents over 18 percent of all U.S. milk production and is currently regulated by a state milk marketing order administered by California Department of Agriculture (CDFA). Once this new FMMO is established, over 80 percent of the U.S. milk supply would fall under the FMMO regulatory framework.

FMMOs are legal instruments that regulate the sale of milk between dairy farmers and the first buyer. Where appropriate, the California FMMO adopts the uniform order provisions contained in the 10 current FMMOs in the national system. These uniform provisions include, but are not limited to, dairy product classification, end-product price formulas, and the producer-handler definition. The new FMMO recognizes the unique market structure of the California dairy industry through tailored, performance-based standards to determine eligibility for pool participation. The order also provides for the recognition of producer quota as administered by the CDFA.

The entire record of the rulemaking is available at www.ams.usda.gov/caorder.



Wednesday June 6 Ag News
2018-06-07T06:09

Fischer on Today’s Trade Meeting With President Trump

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after attending a meeting on trade at the White House with President Donald Trump:

“Today, I had the opportunity to visit once again with President Trump in person at the White House for a discussion focused on trade. The president shared an update on the status of negotiations, and outlined his priorities and strategy moving forward. I was encouraged by our productive conversation and I appreciate the president’s openness about these critical issues for Nebraska.”



Horse Owner Workshops coming to the area

Brandi Salestrom, CVA West Point

Starting June 18, CVA will be hosting 3 Horse Owner Workshops to educate horse owners on changes coming to Purina horse feeds. In June, Purina will be launching a new line of Strategy  GX and Strategy Healthy Edge formulated with Outlast gastric support supplement. The Outlast product contains calcium and magnesium that function to create a buffer for stomach acid and raise pH levels. This is a top-dress supplement and can also be fed as a snack before a stressful event. The current Ultium product is also offered with the Outlast Gastric Care formula. It contains a full serving of the Outlast supplement in addition to having high-quality protein and fiber sources .

Gastric ulcers are directly correlated to stressful environmental factors such as intense exercise, performance events, trailering or lack of contact with other horses. Studies have found that approximately 60% of show horses and 90% of racehorses develop moderate to severe ulcers. Ulcers can also be attributed to diet-related issues such as receiving inadequate forage, being fed meals greater than 6 hours apart, living in a stall without turnout or eating a diet with a high starch content. When the pH of the stomach drops below normal levels and pressure is increased due to a stressful event, inflammation and erosion develop in the stomach and intestinal lining, creating discomfort.

To learn more about these and other Purina horse products we invite producers to attend a Horse Owners Workshop during our events taking place. The first is in Wisner featuring Cody Marx who will be doing a ground work/driving demonstration at the Wisner River Park Arena starting at 6pm along with Libby Michaud of Purina discussing Purina horse feed and supplements. The second workshop is June 25 in Leigh at the Colfax County Fairgrounds starting at 6pm featuring Brandi Salestrom and Cassidy Curtis who will be working with 4Hers to prepare for State Horse Show and local county fairs. Libby Michaud will also be present to visit about Purina horse feed.  The final workshop is July 9th in Oakland at the Burt Co. Fairgrounds at 6pm where Brandi and Cassidy will also be working with 4Hers along with Libbys Purina horse feed presentation. For all 3 workshops supper will be provided and there will be feed specials and drawings throughout the evening. Contact Brandi at 402-870-1602 for more information.



National Pork Board Elects New Officers


Steve Rommereim, a pork producer from Alcester, South Dakota, was elected president of the National Pork Board at the organization’s June board meeting in Des Moines, Iowa. The National Pork Board’s 15 farmer-directors represent America’s pig farmers.

“This is an exciting time to raise pigs, and I am honored to be elected to serve America’s pig farmers,” Rommereim said. “A decade ago, the We CareSM initiative was introduced during World Pork Expo to allow producers to demonstrate the care they take every day on their farms. Today, We Care continues to show pig farmers’ focus on doing what’s best for people, pigs and the planet. I look forward to continuing the great work already underway through many Pork Checkoff efforts.”

Rommereim is the owner, manager and operator of Highland Swine, which markets 10,000 pigs annually. He also grows corn and soybeans, as well as has a cow/calf operation.

Serving with Rommereim on Pork Checkoff’s executive officer team are David Newman, a pork producer from Jonesboro, Arkansas, as vice president and Mike Skahill, from Williamsburg, Virginia, as treasurer. Terry O’Neel, a pork producer from Friend, Nebraska, will serve as immediate past president. The four executive officers will serve one-year terms in their positions effective at the close of the June board meeting.

“In the year ahead, the Pork Checkoff will focus on driving consumer demand through sustainability,” Rommereim said.  “We will do this through programs that build the Secure Pork Supply plan and work to move fresh pork domestically and to market U.S. pork beyond our borders.”
 
Additional Biographical Information

Steve Rommereim is the owner, manager and operator of Highland Swine in South Dakota. Highland Swine markets 10,000 pigs annually. He also grows corn and soybeans, and has a cow/calf operation. In March, Rommereim was elected to serve a second term on the National Pork Board. He served as the 2017-2018 vice president and interim treasurer. During his tenure on the National Pork Board, he has served on numerous committees. The Operation Main Street speaker has served as a South Dakota delegate to the Pork Industry Forum since 2003. Rommereim was on the National Pork Board’s Plan of Work Task Force in 2009. He is past president of the South Dakota Pork Producers Association, serving on its board from 2001 to 2011. He also is past president of Agriculture United for South Dakota and serves on the South Dakota Animal Industry Board.

David Newman of Jonesboro, Arkansas, owns and operates a farrow-to-finish Berkshire farm in Myrtle, Missouri, that markets pork directly to consumers throughout the U.S. Newman is also an associate professor of Animal Sciences at Arkansas State University where he teaches and conducts research, with an emphasis in meat science.

Newman serves on the Swine Health committee and previously chaired the Domestic Marketing committee and served on the Producer Services committee. He also participated in the Pork Leadership Academy.

Michael Skahill of Williamsburg, Virginia, is a vice president for Smithfield Foods. Smithfield Foods is a vertically integrated operation from production to retail marketing. The company markets 16 million pigs annually.

Skahill serves on the National Pork Board Trade Committee, the U.S. Meat Export Federation Pork and Allied Industries Committee and chairs the trade committee for the North American Meat Institute. Skahill also served on the National Pork Board 2015-2020 Strategic Plan committee.

Terry O’Neel, was elected to his second board term in 2016, most recently serving as president of the board. He served as the 2016-2017 vice president and as the 2015-2016 treasurer. O’Neel also served on the Domestic Marketing, Producer Services and Pork Quality, Safety and Human Nutrition committees. He has hosted farm tours for the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska, the International Water for Food Project and various service, student and youth groups. He served as president of the Nebraska Pork Producers Board in 2007.



USDA Announces National Pork Board Appointments


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of six members to serve on the National Pork Board. Five appointees will serve three-year terms and one appointee will serve the remaining two-year portion of a vacant position.

The appointed members are:
-    Gary Asay, Oscon, Ill.
-    Rich Deaton, New Madison, Ohio
-    Pat FitzSimmons, Dassel, Minn.
-    David Newman, Myrtle, Mo.
-    Bill Tentinger, Le Mars, Iowa
-    Todd Erickson, Northwood, North Dakota (2-year term)

“The National Pork Board works to help increase domestic demand for pork both domestically and internationally. Last year, nearly $6.5 billion of U.S. pork was sold in more than 100 countries around the world,” said Perdue. “I truly appreciate the time and expertise these individuals have agreed to give guiding the board to help their industry thrive.”

The National Pork Board is composed of 15 pork producers who are nominated by the National Pork Producers Delegate Body, which is made up of 160 producer and importer members. The program is administered under the authority of the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1985.

Since 1966, Congress has authorized the establishment of 22 industry-funded research and promotion boards. They empower farmers and ranchers to leverage their own resources to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides oversight, paid for by industry assessments, which ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity for participating stakeholders.

More information about the board is available on the AMS National Pork Board webpage https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/research-promotion/pork and on the National Pork Board website www.pork.org.



Iowa Beef Producer Bus Tour to Kansas Planned


A three-day bus trip to Kansas in August will offer Iowa beef producers the opportunity to tour beef industry breed organizations, visit a variety of private and Kansas State University facilities, and talk with successful producers and researchers. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Joe Sellers said the Aug. 22-24 trip will provide a wealth of information, experiences and discussion opportunities to tour attendees.

cattle on pasture.The trip begins Thursday, Aug. 22 with the bus departure from Ames at 7:30 a.m., Lucas County Fairgrounds in Chariton at 9:45 a.m. and Decatur City at 11 a.m. Tentative stops include American Hereford Association headquarters, American Angus Hall of Fame, Judd Ranch, Kniebel Cattle Company, Tiffany Feedlot, Fink Beef Genetics, Valley Oaks Steaks, Kansas State University Beef Unit and feed efficiency barn. Tour sponsors are Midwest Heritage Bank, Zoetis Animal Health and the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State. A full itinerary is under development.

Both overnight stays will be at the Hampton Inn in Manhattan, Kan. See a tour flyer for more information on the tour, travel and lodging.... http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/events/ISUBeefBusTour2018.pdf.

“Participants are responsible for their own room reservations, a registration fee of $115 fee payable to Lucas County Extension, and some meals during the trip,” Sellers said. “Preregistration for the bus must be made by July 22 to assure access to a seat.”

A block of rooms is being held under “ISU Extension beef tour” until July 22. Rate listed is for standard rooms with two queen beds or one king bed, not including tax, and includes free breakfast and pool access. Contact the Hampton Inn to make your lodging arrangement at 785-539-5000.

To register for the bus tour, send a check for $115 per person to Lucas County Extension, 48293 Hy Vee Rd, Chariton, Iowa 50049. For more information on the trip or transportation, contact Sellers by phone at 641-203-1270 or email at sellers@iastate.edu



Reports Update Research Results at Iowa State University Research Farms


The results of more than 120 agricultural research trials conducted last year at Iowa State University’s Research and Demonstration Farms are available online and can be downloaded at no charge.

“These research reports are a valuable resource for farmers, agricultural educators and agribusiness people needing the latest information on crops, soils, horticulture and livestock management,” said Mark Honeyman, associate dean for operations for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The college, in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, conducts research on Iowa farmland every year. Staff at the farms also coordinate demonstration trials with producers on their farms in those areas.

The reports are annual agricultural research and demonstration project updates, offering updates on agricultural research and agricultural-related scientific activities. They are available at  https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/farmprogressreports/.

The reports are organized by year, going back to 2000. To browse the reports by year, use the "Select an issue" drop-down menu in the left sidebar. Searches by subject or other information also are offered.

Land, climate and agricultural enterprises vary considerably from one area of Iowa to another. To find solutions to problems in each area and to study the impacts of regional differences, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences puts scientists in the fields of research farms across Iowa. Iowa State farms near Ames are used for intensive studies and for teaching purposes.

Local nonprofit associations of farmers and agribusinesses own eight of the 13 research farms and lease them to Iowa State long term. ISU owns the other five. In central Iowa, ISU partners with affiliate organizations to own land for research.



Videos Are Guides to Crop and Pest Management Techniques


The Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management program is introducing a YouTube channel that promotes efforts of Iowa State scientists and researchers who provide means-tested crop and pest management solutions to stakeholders in Iowa and beyond.

At the Integrated Pest Management Iowa State University channel, viewers will find content detailing the efforts and reaches of the IPM program, best practices and information, as well as demonstrations on how to properly identify and evaluate various insect and disease pests and their impacts on field crops.

Integrated Pest Management YouTube channel screen shot."With the creation of a specified channel for Iowa State IPM, the IPM program will be able to diversify the information and content we create to make it more adaptive, more understandable and more effective in promoting our message," said Daren Mueller, IPM director and professor of plant pathology and microbiology at Iowa State.

"The use of video will further our mission to inform farmers, gardeners and agribusiness professionals of the best crop and pest management techniques, to not only create optimal yields, but to prevent pest resistance and other adverse consequences of chemical misuse," he said.

In addition, the new channel features videos from the ISU Extension and Outreach Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic about identifying horticultural diseases and pests in homes and gardens, as well as showcases "How To..." videos about sampling and pest prevention.

The channel also features custom playlists of video content created outside of the Iowa State IPM program, as a way to communicate the efforts and research of various departments across several universities in the region to promote the overall mission of Integrated Pest Management: helping stakeholders effectively and safely manage pests.

The YouTube channel is one of several ways the IPM program will promote means-tested practices for crop and pest management. Viewers have the option to subscribe to the channel and stay informed of all new videos. To stay up-to-date activities on all IPM topics, follow the program on Twitter @IPM_ISU.



NMPF Board Renews Cooperatives Working Together


The board of directors of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today voted to extend funding through 2021 for Cooperatives Working Together (CWT), the farmer-funded export assistance program that assists member cooperatives in exporting dairy products.

CWT’s three-year extension comes at a time of growing U.S. milk production, weak global dairy prices and increased worldwide competition. CWT is the only program of its kind that enables farmers to fund a private enterprise that increases the competitiveness of U.S. dairy exports. NMPF developed and manages the 16-year-old self-help program.

“CWT is a unique and highly cost-effective tool for America’s dairy farmers, and the ongoing commitment of America’s dairy cooperatives to the program sends a signal to dairy producers at home, and dairy exporters abroad, that the United States will maintain a strong competitive stance in the global dairy market,” said NMPF Chairman Randy Mooney, a dairy farmer from Rogersville, Missouri.

CWT is a voluntary membership program funded by contributions from NMPF’s member cooperatives and more than 100 individual farmers. The funds raised from the CWT membership fee of $0.04/cwt. help maintain U.S. exports in an increasingly competitive world market.

CWT’s member cooperatives submit bids requesting help with sales in specific foreign markets. After independent review and justification, bids are either accepted or CWT makes a counteroffer. Financial assistance is provided only after the sale is completed.

Through the first five months of 2018, CWT has facilitated the sale of 56 million pounds of dairy products, representing the equivalent of 648 million pounds of milk. Since the export assistance program’s inception in 2003, it has helped members sell 887 million pounds of dairy products, the equivalent of more than 11.1 billion pounds of milk.



April Ethanol, DDG Exports Up From 2017


The U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday that U.S. exports of goods and services totaled $211.2 billion in April, up $0.6 billion from March. Imports totaled $257.4 billion, down $0.4 billion on the month. The resulting trade deficit of $46.2 billion for April was the lowest in seven months.  USDA later provided more details for exports of ethanol, biodiesel and distillers grains.

USDA said U.S. exports of ethanol totaled 162.3 million gallons in April, up 86% from a year ago. Brazil was the top destination again in April, accounting for 38% of U.S. exports, followed by Canada and a surprise purchase from Oman. For the first four months of 2018, U.S. ethanol exports were up 44% from a year ago.

U.S. exports of biodiesel totaled 30,649.1 metric tons in April, down 23% from a year ago. Canada was the top destination in March again, taking a whopping 96% of U.S. exports. So far in 2018, U.S. exports of biodiesel are up 30% from a year ago.

U.S. exports of distillers grains totaled 997,633 metric tons in April, up 15% from a year ago. Mexico was the top export destination again in April, accounting for 18% of the total and followed by Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand. The first four months of U.S. distillers grains exports were down 7% in 2018 from a year ago.



EIA: Ethanol Stocks Up, Demand Down


Domestic ethanol plant production held steady during the week-ended June 1 with supply up 2.8% as demand slumped, the Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday, June 6. EIA reports ethanol inventories gained 634,000 barrels (bbl) to 21.897 million bbl during the week profiled, 0.5% below the same week in 2017.

Plant production was unchanged at 1.041 million barrels per day (bpd) during the week-ended June 1, and 42,000 bpd higher than the same time in 2017.

Four-week average production at 1.042 million bpd as of June 1 was 28,000 bpd higher than the corresponding four weeks in 2017.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, tumbled 40,000 bpd to 901,000 bpd during the week profiled, down 8,000 bpd versus a year ago. For the four weeks ended June 1, blending demand averaged 932,000 bpd, down 7,000 bpd versus same period in 2017.



Court Finds Cattle Producers Harmed by Lack of COOL


The U.S. District Court Eastern District of Washington granted summary judgment to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a lawsuit filed by R-CALF USA and the Cattle Producers of Washington (CPoW). The lawsuit alleged that the USDA was unlawfully allowing imported beef to be both sold to consumers without a country of origin label and sold to consumers with a "Product of USA" label even if the animal from which the beef was derived was born, raised and slaughtered in a foreign country.

The court, after finding that cattle producers demonstrated they had suffered financial harm as a result of the lack of country of origin labeling (COOL) on imported beef, and that the financial harm they suffered was "fairly traceable" to the USDA's actions, nevertheless ruled against the cattle producers.

"The fact that the court agreed with us that independent pork and beef producers are harmed by COOL makes it even clearer that the Trump Administration and Congress must act now to protect them," said David Muraskin, lead counsel for R-CALF in the suit.

"This movement has been gaining ground outside of court, and we expect it to continue doing so despite this ruling," he added.

The court determined that the cattle producers were time-barred from prevailing in their case because the regulations that allowed the removal of COOL labels on imported beef was promulgated in 1989 and the statute of limitations expired in 1995. The court did not agree with the cattle producers that the clock should have been reset after the 2016 repeal of the COOL for beef. Neither R-CALF USA nor CPoW were formed in time to have challenged the 1989 regulations prior to 1995.

Moreover, the court found that Congress' act of repealing COOL for beef signified its clear intent to allow imported beef to be sold to consumers without COOL markings.

"While obviously disappointing, the outcome of this case highlights the urgent need for the new Administration and new Congress to reverse the harm to U.S. cattle producers brought about by the actions of the previous Administration and Congress," said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

"President Trump now has the opportunity to immediately reinstate COOL in his ongoing renegotiation of NAFTA as well as by initiating a rulemaking within USDA to require imported beef to bear its foreign marking through retail sale, just as the COOL rule effectively did from 2009 through 2015," he added.

R-CALF and CPoW are also represented in this case by Beth Terrell and Blythe Chandler of Terrell Marshall Law Group in Seattle, and J. Dudley Butler of the Butler Farm and Ranch Law Group in Benton, Mississippi.



Retail Prices for Most Fertilizers Finally Move Lower


Average retail fertilizer prices finally began to decline the fourth week of May 2018 as spring application wrapped up, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. After weeks of prices for a few fertilizers moving slightly lower and then rising again, this is the first week most fertilizer prices are lower.

Prices for five of the eight major fertilizers were lower compared to last month, marking the first week since October 2017 that prices for a majority of fertilizers were lower. While none were down significantly, the fact that most prices were lower is a significant milestone.

DAP had an average price of $483 per ton, MAP $504/ton, urea $364/ton, anhydrous $504/ton and UAN32 $276/ton.

Prices for the remaining three fertilizers were slightly higher than they were the previous month. Potash had an average price of $354/ton, 10-34-0 $439/ton and UAN32 $276/ton.

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

Six of the eight major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices pushing higher in recent months. Both 10-34-0 and anhydrous are now up 1%, potash is 4% higher, MAP is 7% more expensive, urea is 8% higher and DAP is 11% more expensive compared to last year.

The remaining two fertilizers are lower in price compared to a year prior. UAN32 is 1% lower while UAN28 is 3% less expensive looking back a year.



ACE Statement on White House Indefinitely Delaying RFS Changes


American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings released the following statement following news that President Trump decided to indefinitely delay a memo proposing changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) including allowing refiners to get RIN credits on exports of renewable fuel.

“ACE extends our gratitude to Republican and Democratic Senators, especially Iowa Senators Grassley and Ernst, for convincing the White House not to proceed with changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard. We appreciate the President in this case sided with farmers over oil refiners and EPA Administrator Pruitt. We also thank our grassroots members who contacted their Members of Congress and the White House.

“Granting RVP relief for E15 in exchange with export RIN credits for refiners would have unquestionably been a loss for rural America and consumers because the benefits of selling E15 year-round would have been wiped out by export RINs.

“Where does this leave us today? 

“The President has promised to allow E15 use year-round but EPA has failed to make good on his promise.  Meanwhile, EPA’s misuse of the RFS has resulted in at least 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol demand destruction through small refinery waivers which have driven RIN values down by more than 70 percent this year. ACE has joined with allies to litigate the ‘hardship’ waivers but damage has already been done as ethanol blending is down despite the fact that gasoline use is on the rise.  We need EPA to follow through on the President’s promise that E15 use will be allowed year-round and to stop the secret refinery waivers. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to grow demand for ethanol.”



Science Community Recognizing the Need to Enter a National Public Relations Dialogue

   
When a group of scientists, academics, and processing engineers get together for a technical conference to discuss the latest in corn uses and corn processing you don’t expect a big discussion on communications and public relations to break out. But that’s exactly what happened during the opening session of the 2018 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference in St. Louis.

It seems the growing communication challenge between the public and farmers is also being felt in the scientific and technical communities. Those attending CUTC’s general session concurred that there is a compelling need to develop techniques and messages that help bridge between how consumers “feel” and what they need to “know.”

Since 1987, CUTC has brought together leading innovators in the corn industry. The biennial conference provides a venue that allows scientific exchange and engaging discussions for researchers, farmers and other industry leaders.

“CUTC provides a great opportunity for attendees to interact with key stakeholders throughout the supply chain, sharing each other’s needs, priorities and successes,” said NCGA Market Development Director Jim Bauman. “A lot of planning goes into providing high-quality sessions around the topics of production, processing and utilization. But it’s often the unplanned, free-flowing conversations, such as the discussion on the need for additional consumer outreach, which encourages many of CUTC’s attendees to return year after year.”

Bauman said, “scientific advancements in agriculture possess the ability to provide a solution to many current and projected future social issues. However, if consumer’s understanding and comfort with modern science doesn’t increase, it will slow or even prevent the implementation of new technology designed to sustainably increase the production, processing and utilization of U.S. corn.”



Novel People Movement Management Technology Helps Reduce Swine Disease Transmission


Managing the movement of people within and between production facilities and systems is a major challenge in reducing the potential for disease outbreaks in swine operations. Research continues to show that pathogens such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv), porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and other economically important swine disease are readily transferred by people, increasing the likelihood of disease spread from infected to naïve farms. 

Thomas D. Parsons, VMD, PhD, Director of the Swine Teaching and Research Center, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine, says comprehensive, on-farm and system-wide biosecurity protocols set the foundation for any disease control program, and they can have a tremendous impact on farm production and profitability.

“The stakes are raised today with the higher health status on many farms, especially with the intensity of production and concentration of farms and animals in many areas,” Dr. Parsons explains. “Managing the movement of people and their access to facilities based on who they are, where they’ve been, disease status and other factors is key to any successful biosecurity program.”

Monitoring and controlling the movement of farm personnel and visitor traffic within and between farms should be top-of-mind with farm owners and managers says Kent Andersen, director of marketing for NoveTechnologies, LLC, in Omaha, Neb. “Even with all the automation, filtration systems and other disease-mitigation technology in use on many swine farms, human movement continues to be a major contributor to disease spread on all swine farms.”

Andersen cites 2017 research conducted by the University of Minnesota on PEDv transmission via farm personnel and contaminated personal protective equipment, which demonstrated the importance of sound biosecurity procedures in lowering the risk of PEDv transmission between groups of pigs. In the research study, groups of pigs where high levels of biosecurity where maintained had lower/no incidence of disease or infection compared to those with low biosecurity.

To help farm owners and managers more effectively manage worker and visitor movement on farms, and reduce potential for disease transmission, NoveTechnologies developed Protocol, a new 3D biometric identification and premise access system. This near-real-time, 24/7 monitoring and permission-granted security system, allows workers and visitors access to defined areas/facilities and may provide additional information about other areas or farms visited.

“Unlike key cards, passcodes and other passive systems, Protocol consists of a simple, entry-installed 3D imaging camera and keypad, along with cellular modem and cloud-based software program. This allows owners and managers to accurately identify and approve who enters their facilities, know when they entered, and monitor and track their access to other Protocol-monitored areas with the farm,” Andersen explains.

“More important, these types of networked, permission-granted facility-access systems permit the collaborative sharing of worker and visitor information among connected farms as part of an area-wide surveillance network to further reduce or prevent the incidence of human-vectored disease outbreaks within a region,” Andersen adds. “Considering the high cost that disease outbreaks have on swine farms, user-defined, controlled-access systems like Protocol can have a positive impact on farm production and profitability by helping to reduce transmission.”



Novus International Provides Solutions for Industry Pain Points at World Pork Expo 2018


At this year's World Pork Expo, Novus is taking its science-based approach a step further by not only providing the latest research and data to attendees, but also addressing true industry pain points that swine producers face daily.

The Novus Knowledge Center tent showcases content and easy-to-follow visuals designed to offer quality information to a broad range of audiences, from producers to nutritionists, veterinarians, and university personnel.

"Those wanting to see performance data, those who want to see how our products will be beneficial in their day-to-day operations and for the audiences who simply love swine production, they will get a better understanding of where different Novus products play a role in solving their production challenges," said Bob Buresh, executive manager of technical services for North America at Novus. "This year, we really wanted to address common problems producers in this industry are facing on a daily basis and how our products can help."

Novus will also be hosting its annual Pig Pickin' event on Thursday evening at 5:45 p.m. at the tent (G272) along Grand Avenue on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, will be in attendance to help pull the pork provided by the National Pork Producers Council and prepared by Lynch's BBQ. Guests are invited to enjoy the pork and interact with Secretary Naig as well as Novus experts.



Animal Agriculture Alliance announces new board representatives


The Animal Agriculture Alliance announced today six new member representatives and 14 renewed seats to its Board of Directors. The Alliance’s Board of Directors is listed on its website at: http://animalagalliance.org/about/#board.

“We are excited to welcome new people to our Board of Directors and continue fostering strong relationships with our members as we work together to help ensure farmers and ranchers are represented in food discussions and decisions while bridging the communication gap between farm and fork,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO.

The following new representatives joined the Board of Directors.
-Michelle Tollefson, representing Bayer HealthCare, joined the board and the executive committee. Bayer HealthCare has been on the Alliance board for 12 years.
-Dave Pyburn, DVM, representing National Pork Board, also joined the board and executive committee. National Pork Board has served on the board since 2000.
-Paul Schlegel, interim representative for the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF has been on the board since the Alliance's inception in 1987.
-Evelyn Greene, representing American National CattleWomen Inc. ANCW has been on the board since 2008.
-Lisa McComb, representing Dairy Management Inc. This will be DMI’s third year serving on the board.
-Marc Reiner with United Soybean Board which has been an Alliance board member since 2006.

Several companies and associations renewed their seat on the Alliance’s Board of Directors.
-National Turkey Federation, represented by Joel Brandenberger, Board Treasurer
-American Feed Industry Association, represented by Sarah Novak, Board Chairperson-elect
-Smithfield Hog Production, represented by Ashley DeDecker, PhD
-American Veal Association, represented by Adnan Aydin, PhD
-Elanco Animal Health, represented by Colleen Parr Dekker
-Iowa Soybean Association, represented by Aaron Putze
-Merck Animal Health, represented by Judson Vasconcelos, DVM, PhD
-National Chicken Council, represented by Tom Super
-New Mexico State University, represented by Robert Hagevoort, PhD
-Nutrien, represented by Adam Proctor
-Texas Cattle Feeders Association, represented by Josh Winegarner

“We value the expertise and leadership each of our board members brings to the table,” said Hannah Thompson-Weeman, Alliance vice president of communications. “Having such a diverse and dedicated board helps the Alliance to be strategic and represent the entire barnyard in everything we do.”



Tuesday June 5 Ag News
2018-06-05T10:47

NE Extension Feedlot Webinar on Antimicrobial Resistance, June 27
Nebraska Extension is offering a new way to get information on timely beef topics in a series of hosted webinars. The webinars will be on select Wednesdays 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. CST, and will feature discussions from participants to determine educational needs on new topics, presentations by experts, and updates on current activities. The educational presentations will be recorded and posted at beef.unl.edu for later viewing.

Past webinar topics and speakers included:
•    February 28 – Impact of BRD on Subsequent Performance, Dr. Clint Krehbiel
•    March 28 – Heat Stress Preparedness, Terry Mader
•    April 25 – Runoff Pond Monitoring Requirements, Amy Schmidt
•    May 30 – Fly Control in the Feedyard, Dave Boxler

The final webinar in the series is set....
•    June 27 – Antimicrobial Resistance: Is it Everywhere?   Speaker:  Terry Arthur

To join the webinars live visit, https://unl.zoom.us/j/801256438. To access the webinars using a telephone, dial 408-638-0968 or 646-876-9923. The meeting ID is 801-256-438.

For more information, contact Galen Erickson at 402-472-6402 or gerickson4@unl.edu.



NeBC Director's Conference Call


The Nebraska Beef Council will host a Board of Director's conference call on Friday, June 8, 2018 beginning at Noon central to discuss foreign marketing. For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at pam@nebeef.org.



NE Jr. Beef Expo Results


June 2-3, 2018
Northeast Community College, Norfolk, NE

Kolton Rasmussen, Newman Grove, NE, received Supreme Market Animal honors. Kolton represented the Chianina breed and received $200 from the NJBE. Cassidee Stratman, West Point, NE, received Reserve Supreme Market Animal honors. Cassidee represented the Chianina breed and received $125 from the NJBE.

Congratulations to Berren Strope, O'Neill, NE, for the Supreme Overall High Percentage Breeding Female. Berren represented the Maine Anjou breed and received $200 from the NJBE. Congrats also to Abby Nelson, Valparaiso, NE, for the Reserve Supreme Overall High Percentage Breeding Female. Abby represented the Simmental breed and received $125 from the NJBE.

Congratulations to Abby Nelson, Valparaiso, NE for the Supreme Overall Low Percentage Breeding Female. Abby represented the Maine Anjou breed and received $200 from the NJBE. Congrats also to Jaclyn Frey, Albion, NE, for the Reserve Supreme Overall Low Percentage Breeding Female. Jaclyn represented the Chianina breed and received $125 from the NJBE.

Abby Nelson, Valparaiso, NE also won the Supreme Bred & Owned with the same ½ blood Simmental/Maine Anjou in the Bred & Owned Division and received a $200 check from the NJBE and Berren Strope, O’Neill, NE, won Reserve Bred & Owned and received a check for $125 at the NJBE.

Winning Supreme Sr. Showmanship was Abby Nelson, Valparaiso, NE, representing the Simmental breed.  She won a $200 check from the NJBE and Reserve Supreme Sr. Showmanship honors went to Tejlor Strope, O’Neill, NE representing the Shorthorn breed. Tejlor received a $125 check from the NJBE.

Winning Supreme Jr. Showmanship was Berren Strope, O’Neill, NE, representing the Maine Anjou breed.  He won a $200 check from the NJBE and Reserve Supreme Jr. Showmanship honors went to Dylan Russman, Wisner, NE representing the Charolais breed. Dylan received a $125 check from the NJBE.

Receiving the 2018 NE Jr. Beef Expo Overall Supreme Honors- Senior Division in all contests held on Saturday went to Trisha Dybdal, Newcastle, NE representing the Charolais breed. She received a jacket sponsored by Citizens State Bank, Ericson, NE. 

Reserve Overall Supreme Honors -Sr. Division in all contests held on Saturday went to Abby Nelson, representing the Simmental breed. She received a jacket sponsored by G-S Livestock Productions, Greg and Susan Gehl, Ericson, NE.

Receiving the 2018 NE Jr. Beef Expo Overall Supreme Honors- Junior Division in all contests held on Saturday went to Madison Hirschman, St. Paul, NE representing the Red Angus breed. She received a jacket sponsored by Citizens State Bank, Ericson, NE. 

Reserve Overall Supreme Honors -Jr. Division in all contests held on Saturday went to Dax Behmer, representing the Charolais breed. He received a jacket sponsored by G-S Livestock Productions, Greg and Susan Gehl, Ericson, NE.

Winning the $500 scholarship from the NJBE was Neleigh Gehl, Ericson, NE.  Her parents are Greg and Susan Gehl, Ericson, NE.



NAYI PROMOTES LEADERSHIP, CAREER OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH IN AG


The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI) is a unique experience for students interested in agriculture to learn about leadership, personal growth and ag-related career opportunities. More than 200 Nebraska high school juniors and seniors will serve as delegates at this year’s 47th annual NAYI, July 9-13, in Lincoln. NAYI is sponsored in part by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA).

"NAYI is an excellent way for Nebraska's youth to explore agricultural career opportunities and increase their knowledge and passion for agriculture,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “NAYI is the longest running program of its kind in the nation, helping to ensure that there are enough young professionals interested in ag-related careers to meet the growing needs of agriculture in the future.”

During the five-day Institute held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus, delegates participate in agriculture policy and group discussions as well as career development activities. Motivational speakers and a farm management program help delegates grow their leadership potential and strengthen their pride in Nebraska agriculture. The week also provides delegates an opportunity to network with industry leaders, top-notch speakers and ag representatives.

Since its start, NAYI has shared the importance of agriculture with nearly 6,200 youth from across the state. Delegates apply for and are selected to attend the Institute free of charge due to numerous donations from agricultural businesses, commodity groups and industry organizations.

“I thank all of our sponsors for their investment in Nebraska youth and agriculture and for their continued support of NAYI,” said Wellman. “Their generous contributions have helped make NAYI a strong foundation for the youth of Nebraska and the future of our farming, ranching and ag-related industries.

NAYI events and additional youth learning opportunities throughout the year are organized by the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC). NDA selects Council members who are passionate about agriculture and who want to teach young Nebraskans about the state’s leading industry. This year’s Council is comprised of 21 college-age men and women from across the state. To learn more about NAYC or NAYI, visit the NAYI website at nda.nebraska.gov/nayi/. Or, keep an eye on NAYI activities on Facebook by searching and liking the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute, and/or on Twitter, by following the_nayc or #NAYI18.



Formation of Nebraska Food Council leads to statewide food assessment


In Nebraska, residents spend nearly $5 billion annually on food. Approximately 90 percent of that money leaves the state, according to a 2015 Center for Rural Affairs report.

The study prompted Center staff to take a deeper look into food systems in their home state. Staff hosted a public panel and discussion alongside expert Mark Winne, a community food systems and food policy council expert. The conversation centered on what makes strong, regional food systems and how food policy councils inform the public and policymakers.

“Food and economic security in rural communities is directly related to community development,” said Sandra Renner, project specialist at Center for Rural Affairs. “We found, in many rural areas, food purchased at grocery stores is imported, and dollars spent for this food ultimately end up out of state.”

As a result of the dialogue, partners from across the state formed the Nebraska Food Council. Members include Robert Bernt, Clear Creek Organics, Spalding; Katie Jantzen, West End Farm, Plymouth; Vern Jantzen, Nebraska Farmers Union, Plymouth; Brent Lubbert, Big Muddy Urban Farm, Omaha; Shawn Koch, ASC Lockers, West Point; Denny Hogeland, KDK Meats, Bridgeport; Beth Kearnes Krause, Nebraska Food Cooperative, Julian; Nazim Khan, executive chef, Bryan Medical Center, Lincoln; Nathan Morgan, The Big Garden, Omaha; Jessica Davies, Panhandle Public Health, Hemingford; Ashley Frevert, Community Action of Nebraska, Lincoln; Chuck Francis, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln; Vanessa Wielenga, University of Nebraska Extension, Lincoln; and Terrell McKinney, Nebraska Appleseed, Omaha.

“Members of the council hope to provide opportunities for local food system leadership to the general council membership, local councils, and members of the ad hoc committees,” said Renner. “The council focuses on issues like equitable food access, land access, capital needs for beginners, developing markets, and distribution networks.”

The partners will also concentrate on engaging underserved voices in the food system, supporting food councils across the state.

The first project is a statewide food system assessment conducted in partnership with Megan McGuffey, a Ph.D candidate studying food and farm issues at University of Nebraska - Omaha. Results will be released this fall.

For more information, or to get involved, contact Sandra Renner at sandrar@cfra.org or 402.687.2100 ext. 1009 or visit cfra.org/growing-healthy-food-systems. Upcoming workshops for local food system leaders will be posted at cfra.org/events.

The Nebraska Food Council is supported by a steering committee, Center for Rural Affairs, and Nebraskans for Peace, and is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Community Food Systems planning grant.



WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS TO RESULT FROM NEW RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN MONSANTO AND IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY


Monsanto Company, along with its subsidiary, The Climate Corporation, today announced a partnership with the Iowa State University (ISU) Department of Agronomy to create an infrastructure project designed to monitor water quality and downstream nitrate loss. The project will provide researchers with valuable information on management practices that help keep nitrogen fertilizer from entering surrounding waterways.   

 Monsanto and The Climate Corporation invested more than $300,000 to fund the initial installation of the infrastructure, which features a system of drainage tiles and water monitoring equipment on 30 acres of ISU research plots. The installation will be owned and operated by the University.

 “We are fortunate to partner with Iowa State University on agricultural research that advances innovation to solve challenges like water quality,” said Sam Eathington, chief science officer of Monsanto and The Climate Corporation. “Insights from this research will help stakeholders across the industry better understand how modern agriculture practices and technologies drive productivity, optimize the use of key inputs and deliver sustainability benefits on the farm.”

 Nitrogen is a nutrient critical for plant growth and development, and the addition of nitrogen fertilizer is a common practice in crop management. Climactic conditions such as heavy rainfall and temperature changes, combined with the natural soil processes can lead to situations where nitrogen is susceptible to loss to nearby waterways. The research conducted within this new infrastructure will produce water samples, flow information and weather data against a backdrop of different farming application practices and nitrogen use in order to better understand which practices can reduce nitrate runoff.

 “Farmers are the primary benefactors of this partnership with Monsanto and The Climate Corporation,” said Dr. Kendall Lamkey, department chair of the Iowa State University Department of Agronomy. “Our goal is always to conduct research that makes their lives easier, more productive and more profitable while minimizing the impact to our natural resources.”

 The ISU Department of Agronomy is currently in the process of identifying the best site for this project. Under consideration are three ISU-owned farms located between Ames and Huxley, Iowa.



GLISAN HIRED AS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST FOR THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND LAND STEWARDSHIP


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced that Dr. Justin Glisan has been hired as the new State Climatologist within the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. He started on May 29, 2018. He replaces Harry Hillaker, who retired earlier this year following a 37 year career with the Department.

“The weather is always a lively topic of conversation and we are excited to have Dr. Glisan on board in this important role. The State Climatologist ensures we have comprehensive weather records for the state so we can put current weather events in the correct historical context,” Naig said.
As the State Climatologist, Dr. Glisan will compile and process Iowa climate data for current and future weather data research needs. This includes preparing the weekly weather summary for the Iowa Crop Progress and Condition Report from April 1 through Nov. 30 and the monthly Iowa weather summary.

Dr. Glisan graduated from Iowa State University in 2012 and continued as a post-doctoral atmospheric scientist until he was hired as a research atmospheric scientist by Iowa State. He’s also participated in many research projects at Iowa State University and the University of Missouri, including in-depth research on extreme precipitation and temperature extremes and their causal mechanisms.



Iowa Learning Farms Webinar on Creating Conservation Legacy through Farm Lease


An Iowa Learning Farms webinar will cover how to leave a conservation legacy by writing conservation into farm leases and how to incorporate cover crops on acres with manure application. The webinar will air Wednesday, June 20 at 12 p.m.

Sara Berges, project coordinator with the Allamakee Soil and Water Conservation District, has worked for the Allamakee SWCD for eight years coordinating different watershed and county-wide projects. Berges is currently funded through a grant with the Leopold Center that allows her to work with landowners to add conservation in farm leases by updating conservation plans. As an extension of this work, she helps producers write legacy reports that document their conservation efforts and goals for their land.

“Conservation is often left out of lease discussions, but it is vital for ensuring that the land is able to be farmed for years to come,” Berges said. “I want people to look outside the conservation box, start with a conversation, and brainstorm about what can work and why.”

Another part of the project involves helping producers figure out how to include cover crops on acres that have manure application.

“Cover crops are the biggest topic in conservation practices right now but are often not planted on acres with manure application due to timing issues,” Berges said. “This project’s focus is working with landowners and producers to figure out how to make these different things work for their operations.”

The Iowa Learning Farms webinar series takes place on the third Wednesday of the month. To watch, go to https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/ shortly before 12 p.m., June 20 and log in through the guest option. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for watching at any time at https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.



U.S. Pork Producers Respond to Mexican Retaliation


Mexico today levied punitive tariffs – 10 percent effective today, escalating to 20 percent on July 5 – on unprocessed pork (not including variety meats) in retaliation for tariffs on its metal exports to the United States. Mexico’s decision follows similar retaliation in early April by China, which imposed additional 25 percent tariffs on U.S. pork, reducing live hog values by as much as $18 per animal on an annualized basis. The following statement may be attributed to Jim Heimerl, NPPC president and a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio.

“The toll on rural America from escalating trade disputes with critically important trade partners is mounting.  Mexico is U.S. pork’s largest export market, representing nearly 25 percent of all U.S. pork shipments last year. A 20 percent tariff eliminates our ability to compete effectively in Mexico. This is devastating to my family and pork producing families across the United States.

“We appreciate the variety of interests and issues the Trump administration is balancing in its trade negotiations with Mexico, China and other countries. While producers are trying to be good soldiers, we’re taking on water fast. The president has said that he would not abandon farmers. We take him at his word.”

The U.S. pork sector sustains more than 500,000 jobs across rural America. More than 110,000 of these jobs are directly tied to exports of American pork.



Farmers for Free Trade Statement on Mexican Retaliation on 232 Tariffs


Farmers for Free Trade Deputy Director Angela Hofmann released the following statement after the immediate imposition of tariffs of 10 and 20 percent on U.S. ag exports in retaliation for steel and aluminum tariffs.

“These tariffs will exact immediate and painful consequences on many American farmers.  Hog, apple, potato and dairy farmers are among those suddenly facing a 10 or 20 percent tax hike on the exports they depend of for their livelihoods. Farmers need certainty and open markets to make ends meet. Right now they are getting chaos and protectionism.

“The Mexican market has been a windfall from American farmers. Over the last 25 years, American exports to Mexico have increased fivefold. Escalating trade tensions that have resulted in today’s tariffs put that growth at risk.

“These are self-inflicted wounds. Farmers deserve better.”



USDA and FDA Announce Key Step to Advance Collaborative Efforts to Streamline Produce Safety Requirements for Farmers


As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ongoing effort to make the oversight of food safety stronger and more efficient, USDA and FDA today announced the alignment of the USDA Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices Audit Program (USDA H-GAP) with the requirements of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA’s) Produce Safety Rule.

The new step is part of an ongoing effort to streamline produce safety requirements for farmers. The joint announcement was made by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., during a visit by the Secretary to the FDA’s White Oak campus in Silver Spring, Md.

“Government should make things easier for our customers whenever possible and these important improvements help accomplish that goal,” said Secretary Perdue. “Specialty crop farmers who take advantage of a USDA Harmonized GAP audit now will have a much greater likelihood of passing a FSMA inspection as well. This means one stop at USDA helps producers meet federal regulatory requirements, deliver the safest food in the world and grow the market for American-grown food. This is an important first step. We look forward to continuing to work with FDA, other government agencies and especially our state partners to ensure proper training of auditors and inspectors, and to help producers understand changes in the audit.”

While the requirements of both programs are not identical, the relevant technical components in the FDA Produce Safety Rule are covered in the USDA H-GAP Audit Program. The aligned components include areas such as biological soil amendments; sprouts; domesticated and wild animals; worker training; health and hygiene; and equipment, tools and buildings. The alignment will help farmers by enabling them to assess their food safety practices as they prepare to comply with the Produce Safety Rule. However, the USDA audits are not a substitute for FDA or state regulatory inspections.

“We’re committed to working with USDA to pursue our shared goal of advancing food safety in a way that is efficient and helps farmers meet our regulatory standards. By working together, our two programs can advance these efforts more effectively,” said Commissioner Gottlieb. “Today’s announcement will help FDA and states better prioritize our inspectional activities by using USDA H-GAP audit information to prioritize inspectional resources and ultimately enhance our overall ability to protect public health. Inspections are key to helping to ensure that produce safety standards are being met, but they only provide a snapshot in time. Leveraging the data and work being done by USDA will provide us with more information so that we can develop a clearer understanding of the safety and vulnerabilities on produce farms as well as concentrate our oversight and resources where they are most needed.”

The Produce Safety Rule, which went into effect on Jan. 26, 2016, establishes science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. The rule is part of the FDA’s ongoing efforts to implement FSMA. Large farming operations were required to comply with the rule in January 2018. However, the FDA had previously announced that inspections to assess compliance with the Produce Safety Rule for produce other than sprouts would not begin until Spring 2019. Small and very small farms have additional time to comply.

The USDA Harmonized GAP Audit Program is an audit developed as part of the Produce GAP Harmonization Initiative, an industry-driven effort to develop food safety GAP standards and audit checklists for pre-harvest and post-harvest operations. The Initiative is a collaborative effort on the part of growers, shippers, produce buyers, audit organizations and government agencies, including USDA. The USDA Harmonized GAP audit, in keeping with the Initiative’s goals, is applicable to all fresh produce commodities, all sizes of on-farm operations and all regions in the United States. For more information visit: www.ams.usda.gov.

Today’s announcement builds on a formal agreement signed earlier this year outlining plans to increase interagency coordination regarding produce safety, inspections of dual-jurisdiction facilities and biotechnology activities. The FDA and USDA are committed to continuing to work collaboratively to ensure that the requirements and expectations of the USDA H-GAP Audit Program remain aligned with the FDA’s Produce Safety Rule.

Farmers who are interested in learning more about this alignment and what they can do to prepare for compliance with the Produce Safety Rule can contact their regional representative of the Produce Safety Network or find more information at www.FDA.gov.



Ag Transportation Summit to focus on linking growing U.S. ag production  with expanding demand


"Connecting Growing Supply with Growing Demand" will be the theme and focus of the third Agricultural Transportation Summit conference to be conducted on July 25-26 at the Westin Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Va.

Jointly hosted by the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and Soy Transportation Coalition (STC), and sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service, this year's conference will occur at a particularly pivotal time as the U.S. transportation network is challenged to move increasing volumes of agricultural products and other freight.

The summit will bring together leaders from agricultural producer and commodity organizations, agribusinesses, Congress and government agencies to focus on the importance of rail, inland waterways, ports and truck transportation to the competitiveness and profitability of U.S. agriculture. Another goal of the summit is to galvanize stakeholders to proactively promote modernization of the U.S. transportation infrastructure and to develop and coordinate strategies for pursuing future enhancements. The conference will begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, July 25, and conclude on Thursday, July 26.

"U.S. farmers continue to demonstrate an ability to feed a growing and hungry planet," said STC Chairman Gerry Hayden, a soybean, corn, wheat and cattle producer from Calhoun, Ky. "However, to remain profitable, we must not only produce what customers demand but also be able to transport it to them in a cost effective, reliable manner. Several aspects of our transportation system are under some stress in that regard, and those challenges must be addressed for U.S. agriculture to remain competitive."

"Each of our transportation modes is facing challenges that we need to work collaboratively to address," added NGFA Chairman Eric Wilkey, president of Arizona Grain Inc., Casa Grande, Ariz. "Over the past year, the lack of predictable, reliable rail service has affected shippers and receivers adversely in several regions, leading to plant shutdowns or slowdowns in several instances. Also looming is the continued challenge of rehabilitating the locks and dams on the inland waterways system that are well beyond their 50-year life span. There also are challenges facing the motor carrier industry, whether it be the condition of our roads and bridges, costly regulatory requirements or access to drivers in a tight labor market."

NGFA and STC emphasized the importance of agricultural shippers and receivers, and agricultural producers, as well as representatives of the transportation sector, attending this year's event.  

"It's important that agricultural stakeholders, transportation providers from all three modes and government come together to ensure that the U.S. transportation system remains a key competitive advantage for U.S. agriculture," NGFA and STC said.

Overview of Ag Transportation Challenges: An overview of the conditions and challenges confronting agricultural transportation will be presented by Ken Eriksen, senior vice president for energy and transportation at Informa Economics, Memphis, Tenn.

Rail Session: Key executives U.S. Class I railroads will engage in an interactive question-and-answer session on ways to ensure sufficient rail capacity is available to serve U.S. agriculture. Confirmed speakers include representatives from BNSF Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, CSX Transportation Co., Norfolk Southern Railway, Kansas City Southern Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Canadian National Railway also has been invited to participate. Surface Transportation Board Chairman Ann Begeman, whose agency is responsible for regulatory oversight of the freight rail industry, also is confirmed to address the summit on key rail policy initiatives.

Inland Waterways and Ports: The top official for the federal agency responsible for construction, operations and maintenance of the inland waterways system and ports - Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James - will headline the waterways and ports session. Other confirmed speakers include Michael Toohey, president and chief executive officer of Waterways Council Inc., which represents the barge and towboat industry. The conference also will feature a port panel consisting of Sean Duffy, executive director of the Big River Coalition, Tom Capozzi, chief sales officer for the Port of Virginia, and Mark Wilson, executive director of the Port of Kalama, Wash. The port session will be moderated by Jim Walker, director of navigation policy and legislation for the American Association of Port Authorities.

Motor Carrier Focus: A top executive officer of one of the nation's leading motor carrier companies has been invited to discuss the technology changes occurring in trucking, as well as the labor and regulatory challenges being confronted by the sector. In addition, a panel of state transportation department directors from Iowa, Michigan and North Dakota will discuss how their states are approaching transportation infrastructure needs, including highways, rural roads and bridges, and inland waterways.

Innovation Sessions:
The summit also will feature two sessions on emerging technology and innovations in transportation. Sal Litrico of American Patriot Holdings LLC, Miami, Fla., will discuss a new technology for shipping containers. Another session will examine the use of block chain technology in the transportation sector, as well as a project being developed by NGFA to enable barge shippers to utilize electronic transmission of barge-trading documents, including bills of lading.

Special Workshop on Prioritizing Ag Infrastructure Projects: As an add-on to the formal program, there also will be a luncheon and special workshop conducted on July 26 from noon to 4:30 p.m. by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service concerning a research project being conducted on how to prioritize future transportation infrastructure investment for agricultural export supply chains. Importantly, this will be the final opportunity for agricultural stakeholders to provide input on the research before the project concludes. The research is being conducted for USDA by Washington State University and Texas A&M University's Transportation Institute and AgriLife Extension.

Registration: The early bird registration fee is $295 per person until July 7. Onsite registration is $350 per person. Register and get more information online here at www.ngfa.org



June 4 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US
2018-06-04T10:58

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION

For the week ending June 3, 2018, there were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 14 short, 81 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 21 short, 74 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 12 fair, 78 good, and 9 excellent. Corn emerged was 92 percent, near 89 last year and 88 for the five-year average.

Soybean condition rated 0 percent very poor, 0 poor, 14 fair, 78 good, and 8 excellent. Soybeans planted was 95 percent, ahead of 89 last year and 86 average. Emerged was 77 percent, ahead of 58 both last year and average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 7 poor, 27 fair, 49 good, and 16 excellent. Winter wheat headed was 72 percent, well behind 95 last year, but near 70 average.

Sorghum planted was 81 percent, ahead of 68 last year and 69 average.

Oats condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 26 fair, 66 good, and 4 excellent. Oats emerged was 96 percent, near 98 both last year and average. Headed was 39 percent, behind 58 last year, but ahead of 30 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 8 poor, 32 fair, 49 good, and 8 excellent.



IOWA CROP PROGRESS & CONDITION REPORT


Warm weather with variable precipitation helped crop development across the State during the week ending June 3, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included cutting and baling hay, planting and spraying.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 15 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 15 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus. Although south central Iowa subsoil moisture supplies improved slightly, over seventy percent remains short to very short.

Nearly all of the corn crop has been planted, with 91 percent of the crop emerged. Eighty-one percent of the corn crop was rated in good to excellent condition.

Soybean growers have 93 percent of the expected crop planted, 12 days ahead of the 5-year average. Seventy-two percent of soybeans have emerged, 4 days ahead of last year. The first soybean condition rating of the season came in at 0 percent very poor, 1 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 63 percent good, and 17 percent excellent.

Ninety-eight percent of the expected oat crop has emerged, with 19 percent headed, equal to the average. Eighty-two percent of the oat crop was rated in good to excellent condition.

Hay conditions improved to 69 percent rated good to excellent.

Pasture conditions also improved to 63 percent rated good to excellent. Warm temperatures and periods of rain continue to fuel pasture and hay development. Above normal temperatures caused stress for cattle.



USDA - Corn Planting Almost Completed


Corn planting was 97% complete as of Sunday, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.  Nationwide, corn planting progress jumped five percentage points last week, up from 92% the previous week.  Corn emergence, at 86% nationwide as of Sunday, was slightly ahead of last year's 84% and three percentage points above of the average pace of 83%.  Corn condition last week was rated 78% good to excellent, one percentage point down from the previous week's rating of 79%.

Soybean planting was estimated at 87% complete, according to NASS. That's 12 percentage points ahead of the average of 75%. 68% of soybeans were emerged, ahead of 55% last year and ahead of the average of 52%.

Winter wheat was 83% headed, behind last year's 86% and equal to the five-year average. Winter wheat condition last week was rated 37% good to excellent, down from the previous week's rating of 38%.

Spring wheat was 97% planted as of Sunday, compared the average pace of 94%. 81% of the crop was emerged, compared to the five-year average of 82%.

Cotton was 76% planted as of Sunday, compared to 62% last week, 78% last year and 76% average. Rice was 95% emerged, compared to 85% last week, 90% last year and a 91% average.

Sorghum was 61% planted as of Sunday, compared to 49% last week, 53% last year and a 54% average.

Barley was 97% planted, compared to the average pace of 95%. 82% of the crop was emerged as of Sunday, compared to an average of 83%. Oats were 98% planted, compared to 94% last week, 99% last year and a 98% average. 90% of oats were emerged, compared to 82% last week, 95% last year and an 93% average.



Monday June 4 Ag News
2018-06-04T10:57

Community Leaders Push to Unleash Nebraska Biofuels

In a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, 55 community leaders from across the Midwest offered their support to combat “special interests seeking to undercut homegrown biofuels and deprive American farmers of a vital market for U.S. crops.” Among the signers were 11 public officials from Nebraska, including State Senators Williams, Hughes, Watermeier, Linehan, Brasch, Briese, Kolterman, Lowe and Friesen, Regent Paul Kenney and Geneva City Council President Eric Kamler.

The officeholders noted that farm income stands at a 12-year low, leaving “too many families struggling, concerned about foreclosure or worse.” They also cautioned that “the ripple effect of an agricultural decline won’t be limited to rural communities.”

To restore growth, they urged Secretary Perdue to act swiftly on the president’s pledge to lift outdated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restrictions against the summer-time sales of E15, a motor fuel containing 15 percent ethanol. Biofuels like ethanol play a central role in driving Nebraska agricultural revenues and rural manufacturing.

“The rules were drafted long before lower-cost E15 was introduced, resulting in standards that restrict E15 while permitting less eco-friendly options to be sold all year ,” wrote the community leaders. “A fix cannot come soon enough – for farmers, for biofuels producers, or for drivers who prefer to save money while supporting clean air and American jobs.”

The letter was offered in a show of support for an ongoing campaign organized by Growth Energy, America’s leading trade association of biofuel producers and supporters. Under Growth Energy’s leadership, rural advocates from across the country have urged policymakers in Washington to unleash America’s vast renewable resources to lower fuel prices, strengthen U.S.
energy security, protect the climate, and put an end to a farm crisis that threatens to put an entire generation of farmers out of business.

“Starting June 1, outdated federal regulations cut off millions of drivers from a lower-cost fuel that supports farmers and rural manufacturing,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, referring to the EPA rules on Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) . “President Trump promised Midwest lawmakers that he would fast-track a fix, and Secretary Perdue is working with the Environmental Protection Agency on a solution, but time is running out. Farmers cannot afford to be locked out of the market for another driving season, especially when we could be holding down quickly-rising gas prices .”

In their letter, Midwest officials stressed that farming communities are counting on Secretary Perdue “to be rural America’s most powerful voice in the White House and at the table with the EPA,” where a fix has remained stalled since it was first promised by Administrator Scott Pruitt in 2017.

“E15 makes sense, it’s homegrown, renewable and cheaper. Plus it really adds value to the number one industry in our state”, said Senator Curt Friesen of Henderson, NE, who signed the letter to Secretary Perdue.



IA FARMERS, ADMINISTRATION URGE EPA ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT TO LIFT “UNNECESSARY AND RIDICULOUS” RESTRICTION ON SUMMER SALES OF E15


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), yesterday called on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to remove an unnecessary barrier to summer time sale of E15. E15 (a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) has been approved for all 2001 and newer vehicles, however, current rules restrict the sale of E15 between June 1 and September 15 to flex-fuel vehicles.

At a White House meeting on global agricultural trade issues on April 12, President Trump called the restriction “unnecessary and ridiculous” and indicated his support for the year-round sale of E15. Despite this, beginning today, June 1, the EPA will require fuel retailers in Iowa to re-label their fuel pumps and limit E15 sales to only flex-fuel vehicles.

“The state of Iowa is the national leader in biofuels production. This E15 sale restriction gives consumers less choice and will force them to buy more costly fuel at the pump. I call on Administrator Pruitt to take immediate action, follow through on President Trump’s commitment and use enforcement discretion to allow uninterrupted sales of E15 to all 2001 and newer vehicles this summer,” Naig said.

Until the formal rulemaking process to remove the E15 restriction is completed, Naig and Shaw are calling on Administrator Pruitt to not enforce the E15 summer time restriction given the order by President Trump. E15 is higher octane than the most commonly used fuel, E10, and is typically priced five to ten cents less. E15 is approved for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles, which account for over 90% of fuel purchases.

“The President has ordered EPA to remove the E15 restriction,” Shaw said. “It is unclear why it is taking EPA so long to follow through on the President’s order, but until the formal rulemaking process is completed, Pruitt should take action today to ensure motorists have access to the lowest-cost fuel choice on the market for regular vehicles. In Iowa alone, consumers could save tens of millions of dollars this summer if given the option of E15,” said Shaw.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship regulates and examines all fuel pumps, commercial scales, and fuel quality, and inspects over 42,000 fuel pumps annually.



Ricketts Celebrates Dairy Month, Highlights Opportunities for Processors


On Saturday, Governor Pete Ricketts proclaimed June as Dairy Month in Nebraska during a ceremony at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.  Dairy Month is celebrated in Nebraska each June to highlight the importance of Nebraska’s dairy farmers to agriculture and our state’s economy.

“Economic development and creating job opportunities is all about capitalizing on what you do best, and nobody is better at agriculture and livestock production than Nebraska,” said Governor Ricketts.  “We are always looking to grow Nebraska by encouraging expansion in our agriculture industry.  Attracting additional dairy processers and producers is an important part of growing Nebraska agriculture.  Nebraska has a compelling story to tell prospective dairy processors and producers, and we are working together to attract more of them to our state.”

Overall cow numbers in Nebraska are up 15 percent from 2014 and farmers statewide have plans to add more than 10,000 cows in the near future.  Nebraska’s dairy herd produces over 24,000 pounds of milk per cow per year, ranking it sixth in the nation in terms of productivity.  Currently, Nebraska is a net exporter of milk, sending two million pounds out of the state every day.

“A processor who comes to Nebraska will have immediate access to milk produced right here, and dairy farmers will be thrilled to reduce their transportation costs in the process,” said Rod Johnson, executive director of the Nebraska State Dairy Association.  “The next dairy processor to stake a claim in Nebraska is going to have the pick of the litter in terms of location and the opportunity to connect with dairy farmers.  We call it the ‘First Mover’s Advantage.’”

The Grow Nebraska Dairy initiative includes representatives of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraska Public Power District, the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska State Dairy Association, and the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska.

“We have the cows.  We have dairy farmers ready to grow,” said Mat Habrock, NDA assistant director.  “We have the water and the feed.  We have affordable, reliable power.  We have shovel-ready sites and welcoming communities.  And we have a statewide commitment to growing dairy processing in Nebraska.”

To learn more about the “First Mover’s Advantage” and the potential for dairy processing in Nebraska, visit http://NebraskaMilk.com or contact Rod Johnson at rod@nebraskamilk.org or 402-853-2028.



Farm and Biofuel Coalition Demands that EPA Account for Lost Volumes Due to Secretive, Retroactive Small Refinery Exemptions


Today a coalition of biofuel and agriculture groups petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to change its regulations to account for lost volumes of renewable fuel resulting from the unprecedented number of retroactive small refinery exemptions from Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligations recently granted by EPA. The parties on the petition are the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Growth Energy (Growth), National Biodiesel Board (NBB), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and National Farmers Union (NFU).

This petition comes days after several ethanol and farm groups challenged three specific small refinery exemptions granted by EPA. While the lawsuit in the Tenth Circuit challenged those exemptions as wrongly decided, this petition to EPA seeks a broader, forward-looking remedy to account for the collective lost volumes caused by the unprecedented number of retroactive small refinery exemptions.

“EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has had a fire sale on small refiner exemptions for anyone with a stamp and an envelope, making a mockery of the President’s commitment to a 15-billion-gallon RFS for conventional biofuel. This must end. We take no pleasure in having to litigate to protect the integrity of the RFS, but it appears we have no other recourse,” said RFA CEO Bob Dinneen.

The existing regulation for calculating the annual percentage of renewable fuels to be blended into transportation fuel does not provide a means to “true up” the annual standards for any retroactive small refinery exemptions, i.e., exemptions granted after the renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for that year have been finalized. As a result, any volumes covered by such exemptions are lost.

But EPA’s continued use of its regulation in the face of its recently and greatly expanded use of retroactive small refinery exemptions is now arbitrary and capricious. News reports within the last 60 days reveal a flood of more than two dozen retroactive small refinery hardship exemptions have already been granted this year.

“While our preference would be for EPA to follow the rule of law and make good on the President’s repeated promises to support the RFS, Administrator Pruitt continues to hand small refinery waivers out like trick-or-treat candy so we are left with no other choice than to ask the Court to uphold the RFS as the law of the land,” said ACE CEO Brian Jennings.

“These lost volumes are having a negative effect on the nation’s corn growers at a time when net farm income is projected to hit its lowest point in 12 years,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “When EPA waives these volumes, that translates into lost demand opportunities for corn growers, who expect that EPA should implement and enforce the RFS as intended by Congress.”

“The demand destruction that we are seeing as a consequence of these small refiner waivers has got to stop,” said Roger Johnson, President NFU. “Our nation’s farm families count on the RFS to stimulate demand, and we must hold EPA accountable for its recent subversive actions to undo years of progress.”

“Because EPA issued these retroactive exemptions under the cover of night, our organizations had no choice but to take steps that we hope will bring more transparency and accountability to the small refiner exemption process,” said Donnell Rehagen, CEO, NBB. “This petition is intended to shine some light on a process that has been shrouded in darkness and secrecy, and ensure EPA adopts a process for evaluating waiver petitions that remains faithful to the spirit and intent of the law.”

“The EPA’s dramatically expanded practice of granting small refinery exemptions and failing to reallocate the obligations undermines the RFS and has already reduced volume obligations by hundreds of millions of gallons,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said. “America’s farmers are the ultimate victims of the agency’s giveaways to refiners, and this abuse of power has to stop.”

“EPA’s retroactive waivers have cut more than a billion gallons from the renewable fuel obligations for 2016 and 2017, which has a devastating impact on advanced biofuels. The excess RINs from EPA’s waivers will continue to suppress demand for advanced biofuels for 2018 and 2019,” said Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President of BIO.

RFA, ACE, NBB, Growth, NCGA, BIO, and NFU also filed suit in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the same issue. However, the petitioners at the same time requested that the court stay proceedings for a period of time.



PASTURE WEED CONTROL IN SUMMER

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist


               Early to mid-June is a popular time to spray pasture weeds and woody plants.  But, is it a smart thing to do?

               Why do you spray weeds in pasture?  Is it to kill plants that are poor forage – or is it just force of habit and to make the pasture look nicer?

               Now I've got to admit, I often suggest using herbicides in pastures.  Herbicides like Plateau in warm-season pastures or 2,4-D, Grazon, or ForeFront in any grass pasture are most popular.  But the more experience I get with grazing and pasture management, the less spraying I do.  In fact, anytime a pasture is sprayed, it suggests that the grazing management has not been as effective as it could be or maybe the owner just wants a quick fix.

               Okay, so what am I talking about?  Well, several things really.  First, for pasture to be profitable, it must have high management input but controlled dollar input.  And spraying costs money.  Money we might save with better grazing management.  Second, livestock eat many plants we call weeds.  And when they do, these plants no longer are weeds.  In fact, many weeds can be good feed if grazed while young and tender.  Third, unpalatable weeds usually become established in pastures after grass is weakened by severe grazing, and they thrive when grazing management fails to encourage vigorous grass regrowth.  And finally, unless pasture and livestock are managed to benefit both plants and animals, the weeds will be back despite your spraying.

               So why spray pastures?  If you graze properly but you wish to speed up the process of replacing uneaten weeds with vigorous grass, that's a very good reason.  Otherwise, spraying may be simply cosmetic and a waste of money.



FY 2018 Exports Forecast Up $3.0 Billion to $142.5 Billion; Imports at $121.5 Billion

USDA Economic Research Service

Fiscal year 2018 agricultural exports are projected at $142.5 billion, up $3.0 billion from the February forecast, primarily due to expected increases in corn and cotton exports. Corn is forecast up $1.3 billion to $10.3 billion on both larger volumes and higher unit values, as weather-reduced crop prospects in South America improve U.S. export opportunities into the summer. Overall grain and feed exports are forecast at $31.2 billion, $1.5 billion higher than the February projection. Cotton exports are forecast up $800 million to $6.2 billion due to strong foreign demand. Oilseeds and products are forecast at $31.5 billion, up $400 million from increased trade of soybean products. Livestock, dairy, and poultry exports are raised by $100 million to $30.6 billion, as higher dairy exports more than offset reductions in variety meats and hides and skins; beef, pork, and poultry forecasts remain unchanged. Horticultural product exports are unchanged at $34.5 billion.

U.S. agricultural imports in fiscal year 2018 are forecast at $121.5 billion, up $3.0 billion from the February forecast. Horticultural products and the livestock, dairy, and poultry category both have significant upward adjustments. The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is unchanged at $21.0 billion.

See the complete report here....
https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/89164/aes-104.pdf?v=43251.



On World Milk Day, DFA Celebrates and Rejuvenates an Age-Old Classic with the Debut of Mülü


Consumers are constantly chasing and looking for the next big trend in health drinks. As each new beverage hits the market, many forget about the original health drink: milk. Recognizing some may need a reintroduction to what this wholesome beverage provides, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is shaking up the dairy industry and shifting milk’s status quo. On World Milk Day, June 1, say hello to DFA’s Mülü, otherwise known as milk – the original energy-packed, vitamin-rich, one-ingredient superdrink.

Milk offers eight grams of high-quality protein per every eight ounce serving, more calcium than seven cups of broccoli and five essential vitamins (A, D, B2, B12 and B3) – all without added sugar.

“Milk has been around for thousands of years, and during that time, the new and flashy has overshadowed what we know to be true,” said Monica Massey, senior vice president and chief of staff at Dairy Farmers of America. “Research shows milk provides nutrition that is an important part of a balanced diet that no other beverage can deliver. Dairy has the power to nourish the body, bring joy to your day and enhance the way we experience food.”

DFA’s Mülü campaign repackaged milk with a new, modern look and a fresh name, along with a fun and interesting marketing campaign, to give milk the attention it deserves. The Mülü campaign coincides with World Milk Day, a day recognized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to share and celebrate the important contributions that the dairy industry adds to nutrition, sustainability, economic development and livelihoods.

In addition to online videos, social channels, billboards and a website to tease and intrigue consumers about the launch of Mülü, DFA, in Kansas City, their headquarters, took Mülü to the streets on June 1 to share the benefits of milk. Consumers had the opportunity to sample Mülü, a flashy beverage promising benefits the other superdrinks can’t. With Mülü, consumers get a second “first impression” of milk.

“Ultimately, we strive to make an impact with the Mülü campaign, hoping to pleasantly surprise consumers and reintroduce a household staple that we don’t always remember to appreciate,” said Massey. “World Milk Day and Mülü celebrates what milk has always been: a drink with incredible benefits, fit for adults and kids alike.”

As part of  World Milk Day, DFA members, employees and local community partners were encouraged to raise a glass of milk to celebrate the global impact of dairy and its nutritional benefits. DFA pledged to

donate one dollar to the Great American Milk Drive, up to $10,000, for every photo posted raising a glass of milk on social media with the hashtags #RaiseAGlass, #WorldMilkDay and @dfamilk.

Check out @DrinkMulu on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about the benefits of milk. For more information, visit drinkmulu.com.



CWT Assists with 900,000 Pounds of Cheese Export Sales


Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 892,8872 pounds (405 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in Asia and Central America. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from June through October 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 35.261 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 11.035 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 10.183 million pounds of whole milk powder to 25 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 648.087 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Totals have been adjusted for cancellations.

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

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



 NMPF Thanks USDA for Extending Margin Protection Program Sign-up Window


The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today expressed thanks to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for his department’s decision to give dairy farmers additional time to review their 2018 coverage options in the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Monday it is extending the June 1 sign-up deadline to Friday, June 8.  NMPF, along with key members of the U.S. Senate, had recently asked USDA to consider giving farmers additional time to enroll in, or adjust their existing coverage in, the MPP for calendar year 2018.

“We believe an extension of the sign-up period beyond the June 1 deadline will be beneficial in recruiting as many farmers as possible into the program,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “In particular, the late spring planting in numerous dairy states, especially in the Midwest, means that many farmers have been in their fields in recent weeks and unable to sit down and make decisions about their risk management options available through USDA.”

Dairy producers must select new coverage in the MPP for 2018, even if they enrolled during the previous sign-up period last fall. Coverage choices made this spring for calendar year 2018 will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018. Producers can participate in either MPP or the Livestock Gross Margin program for dairy (LGM-Dairy), but not both.

NMPF also thanked members of the Senate for making a similar request to USDA to allow farmers additional time to enroll in the MPP. Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Rob Portman (R-OH) spearheaded a bipartisan letter making the request on May 31, and Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) advocated strongly for an extension to build on their success earlier this year in making legislative improvements to the structure of the MPP.

Mulhern also complimented USDA for planning to issue payments starting this week to farmers already enrolled in the MPP, saying that the “timely issuance of payments to producers will send an important signal to additional producers who are considering enrolling.”

USDA’s web tool allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. NMPF’s Future for Dairy website also offers informative resources and tools to help farmers determine the best insurance options for their operations.



USDA Dairy Products April 2018 Production Highlights


Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.07 billion pounds, 0.9 percent above April 2017 but 3.7 percent below March 2018.  Italian type cheese production totaled 452 million pounds, 0.8 percent above April 2017 but 6.2 percent below March 2018.  American type cheese production totaled 441 million pounds, 1.4 percent above April 2017 but 0.6 percent below March 2018.  Butter production was 175 million pounds, 8.3 percent above April 2017 but 3.7 percent below March 2018.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with April 2017)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 166 million pounds, down 3.8 percent.
Skim milk powder - 49.3 million pounds, down 1.8 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with April 2017)
Dry whey, total - 85.3 million pounds, up 0.7 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 93.9 million pounds, down 2.5 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 40.7 million pounds, down 3.3 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with April 2017)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 63.6 million gallons, down 8.8 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 39.8 million gallons, down 3.6 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 3.65 million gallons, down 3.5 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 5.57 million gallons, down 12.8 percent.



Bayer Drops Monsanto Name, Easing Reputational Headache


Bayer's decision to drop the Monsanto name following its $66 billion takeover of the U.S. agro-chemical giant should help it leave behind some of the reputational concerns associated with the brand. Monsanto has drawn criticism from environmental activists for its promotion of genetically-modified organisms and its pursuit of legal action against farmers who break rules associated with its products. Bayer CEO Werner Baumann says he plans to improve stakeholder engagement and listen to the company's critics. "Agriculture is too important to allow ideological differences to bring progress to a standstill," he says.



DowDuPont's Seed Business Plays Catch-Up


DowDuPont's crop-seed business is rebounding from a cold, wet spring that kept farmers out of the fields, and postponed DowDuPont's seed sales, driving a 39% decline in 1Q profits from the company's agriculture unit. "The shift has happened," CEO Ed Breen tells investors at a Bernstein conference. He points to USDA data released Wednesday showing that US corn farmers now have 92% of this year's crop in the ground, two percentage points ahead of the five-year average. Breen reiterates confidence in DowDuPont's projection for a big rebound in its agriculture business in 2Q.



Trump Voters in Midwest States Losing Faith in Administration's Commitment to Renewable Fuels


New polling shows that voters across three Midwestern states are disappointed with Trump Administration decisions they view as broken promises of support for local agriculture and renewable fuels industries.

In a survey of voters in Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota, respondents overwhelmingly say they support federal policies to encourage growth in biodiesel and renewable fuels use. Their support cut across party lines, with more than two-thirds of Republicans and nearly three-quarters of Independents saying they support U.S. efforts to boost the expansion of the biodiesel industry. In total, 73 percent of voters agreed.

In the 2016 election, then-candidate Donald Trump’s performance in the three states surveyed demonstrated strong support for his public statements that he would support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires minimal volumes of biodiesel and other advanced biofuels be included in the nation’s transportation fuels portfolio.

A substantial majority of voters in these Midwestern states, including 63 percent of Independents, say EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s efforts to lower demand for biofuels does not reflect the President’s promise to support renewable fuels and the RFS.

National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik said the response from Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota accurately represents the opinion of America’s Heartland, which propelled President Trump to the White House. NBB sponsored the survey.

In one such instance of his promises, then-candidate Trump addressed the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in January 2016: “The RFS… is an important tool in the mission to achieve energy independence for the United States. I will do all that is in my power as president to achieve that goal.”

More than 80 percent of Republican voters in the survey said it was important to them that President Trump keep his promise to defend the RFS.

“When candidate Trump promised he would be their defender in Washington, DC, farming communities turned out to the polls in big numbers for him in November of 2016,” Kovarik said. “To be frank, rural voters haven’t seen that similar support reciprocated from EPA Administrator Pruitt and that’s reflected in the survey.”

After years of steady growth in the biodiesel industry, President Trump’s administration changed gears for 2018. For the first time, the biomass-based diesel category volumes of the RFS remained flat at 2.1 billion gallons. The advanced biofuels category, for which biodiesel also qualifies, was reduced.

Beyond the lack of growth in the RFS, President Trump’s EPA has provided numerous exemptions for refiners, including one of the largest in the U.S., that excuse them from fulfilling their obligations to blend biofuels at their facilities. There are also reported discussions in the White House of other measures that would have a damaging effect on the RFS, including allowing exported biofuels to generate credits toward refiners’ obligations under the RFS.

Additionally, Farmers have seen the commodity prices of their crops plummet as a result of trade fights with China and just saw the new Farm Bill fail in Congress.

“Midwestern voters are desperate to see some positive signal from President Trump and Congress,” Kovarik said. “Income from farming has plummeted more than 50 percent. It’s at its lowest point in a dozen years. Zero growth again in the RFS from the Trump Administration would only make it worse.”

Around 50 percent of biodiesel is produced from soybean oil, a byproduct of processing the beans for protein in food products. This system has provided another source of income for soybean farmers and the added value means they’re able to make the protein available at lower prices.

Additionally, biodiesel is made from recycled cooking oil and waste fats.

Other conclusions from the survey include:
-    Sixty-seven percent of conservative voters surveyed in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri support higher biodiesel volumes under the RFS.
-    More than 55 percent of Independent voters in Iowa, the top biodiesel producing state in the country, support higher biodiesel volumes under the RFS. President Trump in 2016 was the first Republican to top 50 percent in a presidential election in nearly 30 years.

The survey was conducted by Moore Information with funding from the National Biodiesel Board. Moore Information is a leading national opinion research and strategic analysis firm, serving a wide spectrum of clients in politics, government, and corporate and public affairs. The survey was comprised of 1660 total randomly selected registered voters (Iowa 510, Minnesota 580, Missouri 570).



Final Day of World Meat Congress Focuses on Consumer Trends, Production Technology


The 2018 World Meat Congress concluded Friday with sessions focused on consumer trends and education, as well as an in-depth look at cutting-edge technologies reshaping meat production around the world. The 22nd World Meat Congress was held in Dallas May 31 and June 1. Hosted by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the International Meat Secretariat (IMS), the event drew about 700 participants from more than 40 countries.

Friday’s keynote speaker was best-selling author Jeff Fromm, whose books include Marketing to Millennials, Millennials with Kids and Marketing to Gen Z. Fromm is also a partner at Barkley, a company that assists with establishment and enhancement of brands and helps businesses identify emerging consumer trends.

Fromm told the audience that food has become more than just a category of products consumers buy and enjoy – it is also a means of expression.

“How many of you used to have fashion as the thing that drove you, as a young person, to sort of express yourself?” he asked. “Today’s modern consumer expresses themselves through food. Discretionary purchases on food have increased at a dramatic rate, at a time when discretionary purchases on fashion haven’t. So they are trading ‘category: fashion’ for ‘category: food’ as a way to express themselves.”

Fromm said farmers and ranchers, and those in meat processing and merchandising, absolutely must better connect with consumers by sharing details of the story behind their products.

“Today’s consumer is a ‘pro-sumer,’ which means they are going to co-create their story and it’s about ‘Brand Me,’” Fromm explained. “And the reality is, that consumer has a lot of expectations. They expect to have a seat at the table. And if you’ve heard in the past that it’s just about being transparent, our research suggests that’s going to get you a ‘C’ on your report card. In ‘Tomorrowland,’ you’re going to have to offer proof that the story you are living is real – which is a step beyond transparency.”

Following Fromm’s address, World Meat Congress attendees learned about new tools to improve food safety, the value of gene editing to the world’s food production systems and the impact of blockchain technology in a panel discussion titled, “On the Cutting Edge: What’s New in the Red Meat Supply Chain?”

Dr. Gary Smith, a visiting professor in the animal science departments at Texas A&M University and Colorado State University, moderated the panel of scientists deeply involved in cutting-edge research into technologies that are quickly changing how meat and other foods are being produced, managed and delivered.

The panel featured Gary Rodrigue, blockchain food trust leader for the IBM Corporation; Dr. Martin Wiedmann, Gellert family professor in food safety at Cornell University; and Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, cooperative extension specialist for animal genomics and biotechnology at the University of California-Davis.

Blockchain technology is a tool that presents tremendous opportunities for innovation and more trustworthy global business transactions. While the term “blockchain” is often confused with cryptocurrency, Rodrigue explained that the blockchain technology he was focusing on is quite different, and that it “is going to change every aspect of your business – it’s going to change how supply chains are managed.”

Wiedmann, whose academic program is to develop and communicate the scientific knowledge needed to prevent and control foodborne and zoonotic diseases caused by bacteria, explained the value of genome sequencing and other scientific tools used to monitor and trace incidents such as outbreaks of listeria or salmonella. He also shared other aspects of his research, which is focused on developing a better understanding of the pathogenesis, ecology, evolution and transmission of bacterial foodborne diseases.

Van Eenennaam, whose program at UC-Davis focuses on research and education around the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems, explained the value of gene editing. For example, research is underway to utilize gene editing to prevent such diseases as African swine fever in hogs and tuberculosis in cattle.

“What better way to approach dealing with disease than through genetic improvement?” she noted.

In a session titled, “Societal Norms and Implications for the Industry,” panelists focused on the fact that consumers are growing more informed and demanding about the specific food production practices and attributes of the products they buy. They noted that the meat industry and other food industry sectors must strive to find ways of meeting these growing expectations while also delivering affordable, sustainable food supplies.

Moderated by Mary Ann Binnie, manager of nutrition and industry relations for the Canadian Pork Council, the panel featured Lisa Watson, social responsibility officer at the Innovative Center for U.S. Dairy, Justin Ransom, Ph.D., senior director of sustainable food strategy for Tyson Foods, and Roxi Beck, consumer engagement director at the Center for Food Integrity. Beck is also vice president of Look East, a public relations agency focused on growing trust in products, processes, people and brands in the food and agriculture industry.

IMS Secretary General Hsin Huang assembled a panel of industry experts to illustrate the critical issues on which IMS advocates for the global meat industry. IMS engages with international and intergovernmental organizations to promote a fact-based and science-based approach to public policy and establishment of international standards.

The panel featured Dr. Bernard Vallat, president of the French Federation of Charcutiers, Caterers and Meat Processors (FICT), who discussed key issues related to animal welfare, antibiotic use in animals and antibiotic resistance. Jurgen Preugschas, director of the Western Hog Exchange, focused on sustainable livestock production practices, and Shalene McNeill, Ph.D., R.D., executive director for human nutrition research at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association offered her thoughts on dietary guidelines and the importance of educating key audiences about the nutritional value of red meat and its role in a balanced diet.

The day’s final panel focused on the consumer of tomorrow, and what the red meat industry must do to properly identify and address the desires and expectations of future generations. Moderated by Mick Sloyan, pork strategy director with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board of the United Kingdom, the panel featured Melissa Brewer, director of communications for Certified Angus Beef ®, who explained the history behind the company’s brand and how it thrives on authenticity and a proven track record of meeting customers’ quality expectations. Michael Uetz, managing principal of Midan Marketing, a full-service marketing firm dedicated to serving meat industry clients, focused on demographic trends and explained that meat consumers are segmented – ranging from “voracious carnivores” to “wavering budgeteers” to “selective foodies.” Pol Moragas, deputy secretary general of Spain’s Business Federation of Meats and Meat Industries (FECIC), discussed industry research that underscores the importance of developing and maintaining consumer loyalty – an ever more daunting challenge as he foresees the future.

“From my very humble viewpoint, the consumer of the future is hyper-influenceable and not at all loyal,” he cautioned.

Speaking for IMS, Huang saw the 22nd World Meat Congress as a valuable, insightful experience for all participants.

“We are coming from different production systems and different animal species, but we all are facing similar challenges,” he said. “So this meeting was a great opportunity to come together to network and to address these challenges. USMEF did tremendous work in pulling together a great lineup of speakers, and Dallas was a wonderful location for the event.”

At the closing ceremony, IMS President Guillaume Roué and USMEF CEO Emeritus Philip Seng thanked attendees for their participation and support and introduced pork industry leader Pedro Tabaras, president of Granjas Carroll de Mexico. In an IMS tradition, Seng “passed the IMS flag” to Tabaras, who invited the audience to take part in the next World Meat Congress, which will be held in Cancun in 2020.



Friday June 1 Ag News
2018-06-01T11:48

Nebraska Farm Bureau to Hold Agriculture Issue Listening Sessions

The Nebraska Farm Bureau will hold a series of listening sessions across the state in June. The sessions are open to the public and will provide farmers and ranchers with the opportunity to share their thoughts on issues impacting their operations.

“Nebraska Farm Bureau was founded by farmers and ranchers who understood the importance of working together to solve problems that were impacting their livelihoods and their communities. These listening sessions will give farmers and ranchers the chance to talk about issues of concern directly with Nebraska Farm Bureau leadership and staff so we can continue to work together to address issues,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

Listening sessions are scheduled for:

Mon., June 25 – Ainsworth
City of Ainsworth Conference Center
606 East 4th Street
Ainsworth, NE 69210

Tues., June 26 – Gering
Legacy of the Plains Museum
2930 Old Oregon Trail
Gering, NE 69341

Wed., June 27 – Hastings
Adams County Fair Grounds
Community Service Building
947 South Baltimore Ave.
Hastings, NE 68901

Thu., June 28 – West Point
Nielsen Community Center
200 Anna Stalp Ave.
West Point, NE 68788

All listening sessions will begin with a social at 6 p.m. local time, to be followed by a meal and program at 6:45 p.m. Those interested can RSVP by texting NEFB to 52886. RSVPs are appreciated, but walk-ins are welcome.



Iowa Corn Reaches Iowans with “Farmers Care About the Water We Share” Message


Iowa corn farmers know the importance of our state’s water, it’s one of our shared resources vital to growing their crops. That’s why Iowa Corn farmer-leaders want all Iowans to know what farmers are doing to be sure the water our families drink is as pure as it can be. What better way to reach Iowans with this message than engaging people at some of Iowa’s most popular summertime attractions. Iowa Corn launched the “Farmers Care About the Water We Share” effort at this past Tuesday’s Iowa Cubs baseball game where farmers and their families greeted fans with free water bottles, having conversations and directing them to the new iowacorn.org/H20 website.

“It was great to be able to visit with people about why I care about water quality and leaving the farm in better shape for my kids,” said Michael Fritch, a farmer from Mitchellville, Iowa. “We need to continue to all work together to protect our state’s water.”

Look for farmers at future events around the metro including:
-        Big Creek Lake on Saturday, June 2
-        Iowa Speedway in Newton for the Iowa Corn 300 on July 8
-        Iowa State Fair including Iowa Corn day on August 17
-        Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series on September 8th with kickoff at 4:00 P.M. in Kinnick Stadium

The new webpage includes a video from Iowa Nice Guy talking about how Iowans can help protect Iowa’s water quality, why farmers care about the water we share, and tips on what we all can do to improve our state’s water. Want to know more, go to  iowacorn.org/H20.



USDA Reopens Application Period for Producers Recovering from Cattle Loss, Other Disasters


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting disaster assistance program applications on June 4 from agricultural producers who suffered livestock, honeybees, farm-raised fish and other losses due to natural disasters.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is reopening the application period for two disaster assistance programs in response to statutory changes made by Congress earlier this year.

“When disasters hit, help is as close as your USDA service center,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “After any catastrophic event, an eligible producer can walk into any one of our local offices and apply for help.”

Beginning June 4, FSA will accept new applications for losses for calendar year 2017 or 2018 filed under the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) or Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP). Producers who already submitted applications and received decisions on their applications for these years do not need to file again, but they can reapply if they have additional losses or their application was disapproved because it was filed late.

In February, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which made several changes to these two disaster programs, including:
-    Removing ELAP’s $20 million fiscal year funding cap, enabling FSA to pay producers’ 2017 applications in full and their 2018 applications as soon as they are approved.
-    Removing the per-person and legal entity annual program payment limitation of $125,000 for LIP for 2017 and future years. (The income limitation applies as it did before, meaning producers with an adjusted gross income of more than $900,000 are not eligible.)
-    Changing LIP to allow producers to receive a payment for injured livestock that are sold for a reduced price due to an eligible event. Previously, the program only covered financial loss for livestock death above normal mortality.

Producers interested in LIP or ELAP should contact their local USDA service center. To apply, producers will need to provide verifiable and reliable production records and other information about their operation.

Drought, wildfires and other disasters continue to impact farmers and ranchers, and LIP and ELAP are two of many programs available through USDA to help producers recover. Learn more at https://www.usda.gov/disaster.



USDA Resumes Continuous Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment


As part of a 33-year effort to protect sensitive lands and improve water quality and wildlife habitat on private lands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will resume accepting applications for the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Eligible farmers, ranchers, and private landowners can sign up at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office between June 4 and Aug. 17, 2018.

“The Conservation Reserve Program is an important component of the suite of voluntary conservation programs USDA makes available to agricultural producers, benefiting both the land and wildlife. On the road, I often hear firsthand how popular CRP is for our recreational sector; hunters, fishermen, conservationists and bird watchers,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “CRP also is a powerful tool to encourage agricultural producers to set aside unproductive, marginal lands that should not be farmed to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, provide habitat for wildlife and boost soil health.”

FSA stopped accepting applications last fall for the CRP continuous signup (excluding applications for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and CRP grasslands). This pause allowed USDA to review available acres and avoid exceeding the 24 million-acre CRP cap set by the 2014 Farm Bill. New limited practice availability and short sign up period helps ensure that landowners with the most sensitive acreage will enroll in the program and avoid unintended competition with new and beginning farmers seeking leases. CRP enrollment currently is about 22.7 million acres.

2018 Signup for CRP

For this year’s signup, limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment. They include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. To view a full list of practices, please visit the CRP Continuous Enrollment Period page.

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

USDA will not open a general signup this year, however, a one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants with expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less. Producers eligible for an extension will receive a letter with more information.

CRP Grasslands

Additionally, FSA established new ranking criteria for CRP Grasslands. To guarantee all CRP grasslands offers are treated equally, applicants who previously applied will be asked to reapply using the new ranking criteria. Producers with pending applications will receive a letter providing the options.

About CRP

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

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

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

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



Farm Organizations Look for Negotiations with China to Achieve Durable Market Access


Eighteen U.S. agricultural organizations sent a letter to President Trump on May 31, 2018, expressing hope that he will “prioritize negotiations with China to resolve many longstanding obstacles to U.S. agricultural exports while avoiding mutually destructive tariffs.”

The organizations agree that there are certainly major problems in the U.S. trade relationship with China, and they stated that the Trump Administration has “rightfully identified many unfair trading practices by China that harm the U.S. economy.” The groups want to see a “major recalibration of our trade relationship with China” that would result in U.S. producers “receiving the full benefits of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization.”

Instead of seeing tariffs imposed, the groups support “establishing normal commercial relations with China based on predictability, transparency, and market openness.” These organizations hope that there will be serious, productive, substantive negotiations that will result in “durable market access” for U.S. producers and “policymaking transparency” by Chinese authorities.

“The reputation of U.S. agriculture as a reliable supplier to the world is critical to the future of the industry,” the groups wrote. “We strongly encourage negotiations leading to open and predictable trade, particularly in cooperation with other countries in the region that share our concerns about China’s mercantilist policies.”

The following organizations signed the letter to President Trump:
American Farm Bureau Federation
American Soybean Association
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Barley Growers Association
National Corn Growers Association
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Sorghum Producers
National Sunflower Association
United Fresh Produce Association
U.S. Canola Association
U.S. Dry Bean Council
U.S. Grains Council
U.S. Soybean Export Council
U.S. Wheat Associates
USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council
USA Poultry & Egg Export Council
USA Rice Federation
Western Growers



Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production


Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 498 million bushels in April 2018. Total corn consumption was down 5 percent from March 2018 but up 2 percent from April 2017. April 2018 usage included 91.2 percent for alcohol and 8.8 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.10 million bushels, up 14 percent from March 2018 and up 4 percent from April 2017. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 445 million bushels, was down 6 percent from March 2018 but up 3 percent from April 2017. Corn consumed in April 2018 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 91.1 percent and 8.9 percent respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.83 million tons during April 2018, down 6 percent from March 2018 but up 5 percent from April 2017. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.39 million tons in April 2018, down 1 percent from March 2018 but up 7 percent from April 2017.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 305 thousand tons during April 2018, down 5 percent from March 2018 and down 12 percent from April 2017. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 255 thousand tons in April 2018, down 8 percent from March 2018 and down 10 percent from April 2017.



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


Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.15 million tons (172 million bushels) in April 2018, compared to 5.47 million tons (182 million bushels) in March 2018 and 4.51 million tons (150 million bushels) in April 2017. Crude oil produced was 1.96 billion pounds down 5 percent from March 2018 but up 13 percent from April 2017. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.44 billion pounds during April 2018 decreased 1 percent from March 2018 but increased 10 percent from April 2017.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 152 thousand tons in April 2018, compared to 164 thousand tons in March 2018 and 164 thousand tons in April 2017. Canola crude oil produced was 131 million pounds down 6 percent from March 2018 and down 7 percent from April 2017. Canola once refined oil production at 109 million pounds during April 2018 was down 10 percent from March 2018 and down 14 percent from April 2017. Cottonseed once refined oil production at 40.3 million pounds during April 2018 was down 17 percent from March 2018 and down 16 percent from April 2017.

Edible tallow production was 82.6 million pounds during April 2018, down 5 percent from March 2018 but up 14 percent from April 2017. Inedible tallow production was 305 million pounds during April 2018, down 11 percent from March 2018 but up 5 percent from April 2017. Technical tallow production was 92.8 million pounds during April 2018, down 7 percent from March 2018 but up 3 percent from April 2017. Choice white grease production at 104 million pounds during April 2018 decreased 5 percent from March 2018 but increased 3 percent from April 2017.



Day One of World Meat Congress Features Ag Ministers, Trade Policy Experts, Leading Economic Analysts


On a day filled with breaking trade news, World Meat Congress attendees heard from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and his counterparts from Canada and Argentina, along with leading experts in the areas of trade policy and economic analysis. The 22nd World Meat Congress is being held in Dallas May 31 and June 1, hosted by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the International Meat Secretariat.

Perdue delivered Thursday’s keynote address, reminding the audience of the millions of consumers who benefit from agricultural innovation, advancement and trade.

“There are many businesses out there that you could be involved in, but just think about the noble cause of feeding people,” Perdue said. “Canada, the U.S., Mexico and other nations will compete, as we should, but hopefully we can do that in a wholesome and healthy fashion. Competition is good because it drives all of us to be better, and we want to be better for mankind.”

Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay emphasized that the red meat industry is a critical economic engine for Canada and many other countries represented at the World Meat Congress.

“The red meat sector is vital to our economies,” he said. “In Canada the red meat industry is our largest food-manufacturing sector. It is one of the largest employers in the Canadian food industry, and it drives over $8 billion in agriculture and agri-food exports.”

MacAulay explained that the industry faces a daunting task of meeting rapidly growing demand for red meat, while also protecting land, air and water resources and reducing its environmental footprint.

“The good news is, I firmly believe that we are up to the challenge,” he said. “I firmly believe that we can supply the growing demand for meat in the 21st century in a sustainable way, because our industry has a track record to prove it.”

Argentine Minister of Agro-industry Luis Miguel Etchevehere noted that his nation knows all too well the negative impact protectionism imposes on agricultural producers, and reversing this damage is a priority for President Mauricio Macri, who was elected in 2015 on a pro-trade agenda.

“I come from a country where a former government prohibited the exportation of beef because of a demagogic policy aimed at having very cheap beef for many years,” Etchevehere explained. “That produced a 12 million head reduction in our beef cattle stock, and it was a very big mistake. When President Macri arrived, he did the opposite. He opened the economy and we continue to work on opening markets, because we know that we must have access to enough markets for our industry to reach its full potential.”

When Perdue and MacAulay met with reporters following the World Meat Congress general session, NAFTA was naturally the lead topic.

“I just visited with Minister MacAulay and we both acknowledged that we have too much in common to allow trade disruptions to divide us,” Perdue said. “I’m hopeful that we can get back to the business of talking about how we can resolve this issue and do right and feed everyone. NAFTA has been generally good for agriculture in most aspects. But we need to make sure that we have equivalency in food safety, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, and then let our producers compete.”

“What we want to see happen is, I think, what most American farmers want,” said MacAulay. “I’ve had the opportunity to be in this country quite a number of times and I’ve never met anybody, practically, who’s not saying that NAFTA is vitally important to the agricultural sector. So representing agriculture in my country it would be pretty wise for me to make sure that I promote NAFTA and make sure that we come up with a deal that’s even better.”

Kenneth Smith, chief NAFTA negotiator for the Mexican Ministry of Economy, was also a featured speaker at the World Meat Congress. Smith participated in a panel discussion on the future direction of the global trading system. The panel also included Ken Isley, administrator of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and Jesus Zorrilla, agriculture minister-counsellor at the European Union delegation to the United States. The panel was moderated by Darci Vetter, former chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Meeting with reporters covering the World Meat Congress, Smith emphasized that Mexico will not be rushed into revising NAFTA, despite concerns about Mexico’s upcoming presidential election and the mid-term U.S. elections this fall.

“We will negotiate as long as it takes, and we will not rush into closure if the substance is not there,” Smith said. “The substance must guide the negotiation, so regardless of the political process in Mexico or the (U.S.) elections in November, we will continue negotiating and we will close only when Mexican priorities have been addressed and we can come back to our country and say we have an upgraded NAFTA.”

While NAFTA promised to be a hot topic at the World Meat Congress, the discussion intensified after the Trump administration announced that beginning June 1, steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union will be subject to higher tariffs. Both Mexico and Canada announced their intention to impose countermeasures. A statement from USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom is available online.

In the panel discussion, Vetter asked Zorrilla to explain how the EU’s entry into new trade agreements has advanced the competitiveness of its meat sector.

“Only two years ago, the trade priority of the European Union was a trade agreement with the U.S.,” Zorrilla explained. “But now we are in discussions with Indonesia and we have signed an agreement with Vietnam. In addition to Korea (where the EU has a free trade agreement in place) and Japan (an economic partnership agreement that has been reached but not yet ratified), we are also in discussions with the Philippines, so in that region we see great opportunity. Also in our agreements with more competitive meat-producing countries like Canada and Mexico, we will partially open our market and that will bring competition. It will increase cooperation and we will have very solid relations with those countries.”

Building on earlier comments from Perdue, Isley reiterated the United States’ commitment to science-based meat trade.

“It’s our belief that we need to apply sanitary and phytosanitary standards that are risk-based, that are scientifically based and that are uniformly applied,” he said. “Given those circumstances, we feel very confident that U.S. agriculture, our farmers and ranchers, can compete very favorably in the global marketplace with our abundance of products that are safe, nutritious and in demand throughout the world.”

Markets that pose definite challenges but also provide great opportunities for red meat exporters were the focus of the panel discussion titled, “A World of Change: Factors Affecting Red Meat Trade.” USMEF Economist Erin Borror served as moderator for the presentation, which opened with a broad look backward and forward at world meat production, consumer demand and trade. Timely topics such as obstacles in trade negotiations and the effects of potential trade wars were a big part of the discussion.

Experts from China, Mexico and Russia each offered insights into the factors that are expected to fuel the world’s red meat industry in the near future.

Amy Xu, general manager of the import division for China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO), Pablo Sherwell, head of RaboResearch Food and Agribusiness - North America, and Daniil Khotko, a leading industry analyst for IKAR, a company that monitors and forecasts Russia's agricultural commodity markets, made up the panel.

They were joined by Michael Drury, chief economist for McVean Trading and Investments, who has extensively studied China and the effect its economic growth has on the rest of the world.

“The goal of the panel is to try to really hit on areas that are fast-changing and less understood,” said Borror. “It was an opportunity to bring experts from these markets and hear what’s happening on the ground – things that may not be readily accessible via data. It’s a chance to learn from inside the market as to what is driving economic growth and demand for red meat.”

China’s speedy rise as a dominant import market and the fierce competition to meet its growing demand drew strong interest from World Meat Congress attendees.

Xu explained that China's domestic pork production is rebounding. Pork import opportunities still exist, although questions remain as to the extent that future growth in pork consumption will create a need for more imports. The country’s growing demand for imported beef is expected to continue, Xu said, but she noted that Chinese consumers remain price-driven.

“Opportunities do exist for high-end beef cuts, because a segment of the population is able and willing to pay the price,” Xu said. “U.S. beef is on the high end of the price scale, but there is great interest in U.S. beef.”

Challenges faced in Russia include questions about the expansion of domestic pork production, whether the country’s limited pork exports will achieve a major growth cycle and what effect this might have on Russian consumers who are sensitive to pricing. Russia’s beef industry is already hampered by price issues.

Still, Russian livestock producers have an eye on the global market. In the foreseeable future, Khotko feels Russia is more likely to become a competitor than a customer of U.S. pork and beef.

Borror pointed out that Mexico's domestic beef and pork sectors have attracted significant investment, but production growth may be offset by growing consumption, especially when it comes to pork.

“Mexican consumers have a much more positive view of pork than they did 20 years ago, and they are learning to eat pork in new ways,” said Sherwell. “Also, economic growth in Mexico has changed people’s diets. We’ve seen more protein put into their diets and consumption rates have climbed.”

Drury focused his remarks on three key factors: complacency, especially with regard to a coming recession; volatility; and the speed at which change occurs, particularly in China. He highlighted that we live in a global economy, largely fueled by multinational companies, and offered insights on how future political shifts could have implications for international trade. Drury also noted that he doesn’t see the Trump administration changing its approach to trade.

The World Meat Congress concludes Friday with panel discussions on the latest in red meat production technologies, the impact of consumer demands and societal norms on food production practices and preparing for tomorrow’s consumer. Friday’s keynote speaker is best-selling author Jeff Fromm, whose books include Marketing to Millennials, Millennials with Kids and Marketing to Gen Z. For more details, visit www.2018wmc.com.



NCGA Calls for Year-Round E15


Consumers across the country will lose access to the option of E15 today, just as families plan to hit the road on summer vacation and gas prices are on the rise. Despite President Trump’s repeated commitment to year-round E15, an outdated regulatory barrier still limits the ability of fuel retailers to offer ethanol blends greater than 10 percent in most of the country from June 1 to September 15.

The National Corn Growers Association is urging the Environmental Protection Agency to expeditiously take steps to remove this barrier and allow for year-round sales of ethanol blends greater than 10 percent, such as E15.

“E15 is typically more affordable at the pump and is better for the environment,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “There is no good reason to limit access to E15 in the summer, which is an especially busy time for families making more stops to refuel.”

Federal law and regulations limit the amount of evaporative emissions from vehicle fuel, which is measured by its Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP). Fuels blended with up to 10 percent ethanol have a one-pound RVP waiver because ethanol-blended fuels reduce tailpipe emissions. To date, EPA has declined to grant a similar waiver to E15, even though research shows E15 produces the same or fewer evaporative emissions as E10. E15 is currently sold at more than 1300 stations in 29 states.

At a May 8 White House meeting, President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to providing RVP parity for E15 and allowing consumers to have more choice at the pump year-round. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, has yet to announce the necessary regulatory steps to make this a reality. NCGA believes EPA should address the RVP regulatory barrier separately and should not combine the agreed-upon RVP fix with proposals damaging to our export markets such as offering biofuels credits on ethanol exports.



USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for June 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for June 2018. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for June is 2.250 percent, up from 2.125 percent in May.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during June is 3.250 percent, up from 3.125 percent in May.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for June are as follows, 2.625 percent with three-year loan terms, up from 2.500 percent in May; 2.875 percent with five-year loan terms, up from 2.625 percent in May; 3.000 percent with seven-year loan terms, up from 2.750 percent in May; 3.000 percent with 10-year loan terms, up from 2.875 percent in May and; 3.000 percent with 12-year loan terms, up from 2.875 percent in May.



Thursday May 31 Ag News
2018-05-31T10:23

Fischer Welcomes Announcement of New Guidance on Hours of Service Rules for Livestock and Ag Haulers

Today, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released clarifying guidance on hours of service exemptions for haulers of agricultural commodities, including livestock, and personal conveyance. U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, chairman of the Senate Surface Transportation Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement:

“It is clear the hours of service regulations for truck drivers are inflexible and fail to consider many of the unique operations occurring everyday across the country. This is especially true for livestock haulers, who transport a live and perishable product. Issuing this clarifying guidance is a step in the right direction to provide flexibility in the hours of service rules. I look forward to continuing to work with U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez to explore all avenues, including possible legislation, to provide flexibility for livestock and ag commodity haulers,” said Senator Fischer.

The FMCSA’s guidance on ag commodity haulers’ hours of service clarifies the 150-air mile radius exemption from hours of service for ag commodity haulers.  According to the guidance, time within the 150-air mile radius driving to, loading, or driving away from a source will be exempted from hours of service.  Only after a driver has exited the 150-air mile radius will the driver’s hours of service time begin.  However, if a driver reenters the 150-air mile radius from the source of the load, his or her time will again begin exempted from hours of service.  The guidance clarifies the definition of a source to mean any place an ag commodity is loaded.

FMCSA also updated its guidance on personal conveyance, which is when a driver utilizes his or her commercial motor vehicle for personal use during off-duty time.  This guidance clarifies that a driver can use a commercial motor vehicle for personal use, such as driving to a place to rest, regardless of whether the vehicle is loaded or not, as long as the driver has been released from work.

Senator Fischer has been working closely with the Administration for the past year to provide flexibility for ag and livestock haulers.  She raised this issue with Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao during the secretary’s visit to Nebraska in August 2017.  She followed up with letters to Secretary Chao and the FMCSA in September and November.  Earlier this year, she met with both the Administrator and Deputy Administrator of the FMCSA on multiple occasions to highlight the concerns raised by Nebraskans regarding hours of service, including a meeting with Nebraska livestock representatives.  She also joined 29 of her colleagues in sending a letter earlier this month requesting the FMCSA to examine ways to provide flexibility in the hours of service rules for all drivers.



AFAN Announces a New Service: Producer Empowerment Workshops


AFAN announces a new service that provides Producer Empowerment Workshops designed for agriculture producers who want to expand their operations by adding livestock. The curriculum covers a range of topics important to producers, from how the zoning process works to how to communicate with community leaders, decision makers and the media. Workshop participants receive a binder with helpful resources that will prepare them to navigate the often complicated expansion process easier and more effectively. The half-day workshops will walk producers through the ins and outs of dealing with zoning boards and prepare them to answer concerns from neighbors and community leaders. Workshops can be designed to address issues specific to each livestock group or more broadly designed to include information encompassing several types of livestock.

Agri-businesses, financial organizations, clubs and other producer groups interested in scheduling a Producer Empowerment Workshop are to contact Ashley Babl, Livestock Programming Coordinator. AFAN will work with your organization to make arrangements and invite your customers and/or members to the workshop.

Contact Ashley Babl at 402-421-4416 or AshleyB@a-fan.org.



New FieldNET® Modem Will Support 4G LTE Technology


Lindsay Corporation (NYSE: LNN), a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, today announced that FieldNET technology soon will be available with 4G LTE functionality.

The new cellular Category M1 (Cat-M1) modem has been certified and approved by a major wireless carrier as a network ready-to-integrate device that supports 4G LTE technology in the United States. LTE Cat-M1 is a low-power technology that allows growers to connect to the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices. The new FieldNET Cat-M1 offers extended range and compatibility with current and future FieldNET products.

"The 4G LTE modem will provide our U.S. customers with a simple, reliable and cost-effective wireless management solution for new systems or for upgrading existing FieldNET products," said Reece Andrews, product manager for FieldNET and Irrigation Controls. "This innovative device is another example of our commitment to provide growers with the tools they need to make faster, better-informed irrigation decisions."

The most-awarded pivot telemetry in the industry, FieldNET offers seamless remote monitoring and control, integrating a grower's irrigation tools and systems. The platform, which is compatible with almost any electric pivot brand, delivers real-time information, so growers can see exactly what their systems are doing and control them quickly and easily from a smartphone, tablet or computer.

A phased roll-out for the Cat-M1 is expected begin in June 2018.



Lindsay's FieldNET Advisor™ Adds New Crops, Regions and Productivity Features


Lindsay Corporation (NYSE: LNN), a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, has added new features to further enhance FieldNET® technology and extend its capabilities to more growers around the world.

"The new features will give growers an increased level of customization and mobility, while helping them be even more precise when deciding when, where and how much to irrigate," said Brian Magnusson, vice president of technology at Lindsay Corporation. "These enhancements are the result of Lindsay's commitment to accelerate the development and deployment of precision irrigation technologies to help growers around the world make the most of every drop of water."

FieldNET is a fully integrated wireless management tool that gives growers the ability to remotely monitor and control entire irrigation systems, regardless of electric pivot brand. Offering an added level of decision support, FieldNET Advisor gives growers science-based recommendations to help them make faster, better-informed irrigation decisions.

When it launched in 2017, FieldNET Advisor covered corn and soybean crops in the U.S. and Canada. With the latest enhancements, the technology now extends to 21 crops, including alfalfa, barley, cotton, dry edible beans, peanuts, popcorn, potatoes, sorghum, sugarbeets, sweet corn, sugarcane and wheat. In addition, the technology is expected to be available later this year in several new countries - Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, Tasmania, Turkey, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Growers can now view irrigation recommendations from FieldNET Advisor via the FieldNET app, providing growers with an added level of convenience and mobility.

"From virtually anywhere, with a smartphone or tablet, growers can now check soil water depletion and irrigation recommendations, access field-specific weather information, make real-time modifications to location-specific crop growth stages, soil moisture levels or rainfall data, have full access to the daily VRI prescriptions and more," Magnusson said. "We also have enhanced the web version of FieldNET Advisor to improve the user experience and deliver many powerful new features."

Some of the key new features include:
-   A new "Irrigated Area" page that allows users to further customize the irrigated area that FieldNET Advisor uses to generate irrigation recommendations. It also allows users to select certain areas of the field that they may want to avoid or ignore when determining irrigation application and VRI prescriptions.
-    The addition of an "Unmanaged" crop zone to the crop type list, which allows growers to define a crop zone and irrigation depth for areas of the field with crops that are not currently supported by FieldNET Advisor.
-    Integration with a global soil database to provide more precise soil data for areas outside of the U.S.
-    The addition of in-field adjustment pages that allow growers to update FieldNET Advisor based on field observations.
-    Added displays and enhanced charting to allow growers to more easily visualize crop water usage, irrigation schedules and rainfall events throughout the entire growing season.
-    Integration with Growsmart™ Rain Buckets to utilize rain bucket data.
-    The ability to prioritize different soil areas within a field based on past or present productivity and profitability.
-    Enhanced irrigation management settings that allow growers to account for various water restrictions, dynamically optimize VRI prescriptions and irrigation schedules and customize irrigation management by crop zone.
-    Yield prediction graphics based on potential crop water stress that allow growers to visualize and analyze potential yield loss data for irrigated and unirrigated portions of a field.

"These updates and features give growers more control over the inputs and data used in FieldNET Advisor," Magnusson said. "We know that every operation is unique, so we've given growers the ability to edit information based on the specifics of their operation and what they're seeing in their fields. This increased level of customization and precision is critical as growers look for ways to produce more with less."



Baker Named Director of Beginning Farmer Center


Dave Baker has been named director of the Beginning Farmer Center, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach announced Wednesday.

Baker, who has been serving as interim director since January 2018, previously was the Beginning Farmer Center’s Farm Transition Specialist. He has been with the center since 2006.

“Dave has been invested in the Beginning Farmer Center for many years, working to help those who want to farm get their operation started,” said Jay Harmon, interim director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University. “His leadership will continue to positively impact farmers across Iowa.”

Baker holds a bachelor’s degree in facility management from Troy University and received his MBA in business management from Southwest Minnesota State University. Prior to joining ISU Extension and Outreach, Baker owned and managed a farm in northwest Iowa, consisting of corn, soybean, hay, cattle, hogs and poultry.

“I look forward to leading the Beginning Farmer Center and serving farm families with succession planning needs,” Baker said. “The transition of Iowa’s farms is never complete as there will always be the next generation to consider.”

Created by the Iowa Legislature in 1994, the Beginning Farmer Center assists in facilitating the transition of farming operations from established farmers to beginning farmers.



USMEF Statement on Possible Retaliatory Tariffs; More Details to Come


Today the Mexican Ministry of Economy announced that in retaliation for new tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum imports, Mexico intends to impose tariffs on some U.S. pork cuts and pork products. Full details – such as the tariff rate and the exact products to which the tariffs could apply – are not entirely clear at this time. USMEF will provide more information as these details become available. In 2017, Mexico was the largest volume market for U.S. pork exports at more than 800,000 metric tons, valued at $1.51 billion.

Statement by U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom

It will be very unfortunate if U.S. pork exports to Mexico, which deliver tremendous benefits to both the U.S. supply chain and to Mexican consumers, importers, processors, retailers and restaurants, no longer enjoy duty-free access to this critical market. It is especially frustrating to see U.S. pork caught up in a dispute that has nothing whatsoever to do with pork trade. If these tariffs are implemented, they will negatively impact millions of consumers and thousands of people in the meat and livestock industries on both sides of the border. USMEF is hopeful that this impasse will be resolved as soon as possible, with duty-free access for U.S. pork maintained. This is especially important now that key competitors such as the European Union are making market access gains in Mexico and view it as a promising market for their pork products.

Canada’s Department of Finance also announced that the Canadian government intends to impose countermeasures in response to the steel and aluminum tariffs.



NPPC Statement on Latest Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

Jim Heimerl, president of the National Pork Producers Council


The National Pork Producers Council has consistently stated its concern about retaliation against U.S. agriculture, including pork, in response to tariffs placed by the United States on steel and aluminum imports. Today’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Mexico and Canada, critical export markets, significantly heightens our concern as Mexico is already threatening to retaliate against U.S. pork. U.S. pork shipped $1.5 billion of product to Mexico, its largest export market, and $792 million to Canada, its fourth-largest market, last year. 

Global export market uncertainty has resulted in considerable lost value for U.S. pork producers. According to Iowa State University Economist Dermot Hayes, hog futures dropped $18 per animal, amounting to a $2.2 billion loss on an annualized basis, since March 1 when speculation about U.S. pork access to the critical Chinese market began.

The market disruption caused by export market uncertainty comes at a time when U.S. pork is expanding production to record levels. Five new pork processing plants have recently opened or will soon begin operations, increasing U.S. pork production capacity by approximately 10 percent from 2015 levels by next year. Exports accounted for more than $53 of the average $149 value of a hog last year and support over 110,000 U.S. jobs.

We call for an end to these trade disputes so that hard-working U.S. pig farmers can do what they do best: meet global demand for one of our nation’s most competitive export products, one that favorably impacts U.S. trade imbalances with countries around the world.



Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding U.S. Tariffs on Canada, Mexico, European Union


“For months we’ve warned of the risks involved for farm and ranch families as the Trump administration continues to pursue policies that target our closest trading partners.”

“Today’s announcement that Mexico, Canada, and the European Union, three of the top agriculture trading partners for Nebraska agriculture commodities, will no longer be exempt from these tariffs only creates additional uncertainty in agricultural markets and in the minds of farm and ranch families.”

“The announcement regarding steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico, Canada, and the European Union puts more than $1.8 billion in annual Nebraska agricultural exports at risk. This action, as well as the decision to move forward with $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese products and services, will have consequences for Nebraska families who put food on our tables, clothes on our backs, and fuel in our tanks.”



Tariffs Put U.S. Farmers in Jeopardy


North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the following statement after the White House announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, triggering potential retaliatory actions against American agriculture.

“Farmers are busy with planting season but are moving forward without knowing who will buy their crop when it’s harvested later this year. With a 52 percent drop in net farm income over the last five years and depressed commodity prices, this is not the time to face such a burden. This uncertainty impacts every step of the agriculture economy, from securing financing to marketing.

“Imposing tariffs has the potential to undermine positive relationships with our closest allies and erode long-standing market access. NCGA urges policymakers to strengthen cooperation with our trading partners and stay at the negotiating table.”



U.S. Grains Industry Watches For Retaliation Following New Tariffs Implementation


As new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports go into effect for some of the United States' closest allies, the U.S. grains industry is watching closely for retaliations that impact sales of U.S. corn, sorghum, barley and their related products, including ethanol and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed on Thursday that discussions to continue extensions of tariff waivers for Mexico, Canada and the European Union - three of the largest markets for U.S. grains and related products - had failed. As of June 1, they will join a large group of countries facing new tariffs of 10 percent on aluminum imports and 25 percent on steel imports, applied under Section 232 of U.S. trade law.

At press time, it appeared neither Mexico nor Canada had added feed grains or ethanol to their initial retaliation lists, though it is expected those lists will evolve as trade tensions ramp up. The European Union previously announced its countermeasures would include a 25 percent tariff on both U.S. feed and sweet corn, which is largely blocked due to biotechnology concerns. Several other U.S. agricultural products were implicated, including some pork products going to Mexico and a variety of specialty crops. Yogurt and various prepared foods were among the agricultural and food products targeted by Canada.

“Based on information we have heard from our customers and past experience, we have every reason to believe U.S. agriculture, including the products we represent, will be among the most vulnerable to countermeasures from our trading partners," said U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight in a statement.

"We had strong hopes this situation would be averted permanently, but it now appears we need to prepare for retaliation and its direct impact U.S. farmers. Our global staff is doing this to the best of their abilities as we continue to follow new developments.”

Many countries are already facing the new tariffs, which initially went into effect in March. Those include China, which on April 2 counter-imposed tariffs of 15 percent on imported U.S. ethanol and 25 percent on imported U.S. pork. Japan, Turkey, Russia and India also face the tariffs and have said they would retaliate but have not issued lists or their lists did not include U.S. grain products. Quota agreements on steel and aluminum to stave off tariffs have been reached with South Korea, Australia, Argentina and, tentatively, Brazil.

The Section 232 tariffs are in addition to tariffs proposed under Section 301 of U.S. trade law, particularly targeted at China, and a plethora of other trade policy issues, negotiations and concerns.




USDA Reopens Application Period for Producers Recovering from Cattle Loss, Other Disasters


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting disaster assistance program applications on June 4 from agricultural producers who suffered livestock, honeybees, farm-raised fish and other losses due to natural disasters.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is reopening the application period for two disaster assistance programs in response to statutory changes made by Congress earlier this year.

“When disasters hit, help is as close as your USDA service center,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “After any catastrophic event, an eligible producer can walk into any one of our local offices and apply for help.”

Beginning June 4, FSA will accept new applications for losses for calendar year 2017 or 2018 filed under the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) or Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP). Producers who already submitted applications and received decisions on their applications for these years do not need to file again, but they can reapply if they have additional losses or their application was disapproved because it was filed late.

In February, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which made several changes to these two disaster programs, including:
  - Removing ELAP’s $20 million fiscal year funding cap, enabling FSA to pay producers’ 2017 applications in full and their 2018 applications as soon as they are approved.
  - Removing the per-person and legal entity annual program payment limitation of $125,000 for LIP for 2017 and future years. (The income limitation applies as it did before, meaning producers with an adjusted gross income of more than $900,000 are not eligible.)
  - Changing LIP to allow producers to receive a payment for injured livestock that are sold for a reduced price due to an eligible event. Previously, the program only covered financial loss for livestock death above normal mortality.

Producers interested in LIP or ELAP should contact their local USDA service center. To apply, producers will need to provide verifiable and reliable production records and other information about their operation.

Drought, wildfires and other disasters continue to impact farmers and ranchers, and LIP and ELAP are two of many programs available through USDA to help producers recover. Learn more at https://www.usda.gov/disaster.



RVP Period to Begin at Highest Fuel Cost to Consumers in Years


Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) restriction on E15 sales across most of the country during the summer driving season – June 1 to September 15. The ban on E15 comes at a time when American drivers would most benefit from relief at the pump. Instead, consumers are barred from purchasing lower cost fuel at a time when gas prices are approaching a national average of $3 per gallon – higher than they have been in years.

“Every summer, earth-friendly E15 is held to tougher standards than other fuels sold year-round, cutting off sales and imposing needless costs on retailers and consumers alike,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “The Environmental Protection Agency must act to fulfill President Trump’s promise to ‘unleash E15’ by cutting this arcane regulation – saving retailers millions of dollars in labeling costs and letting rural America succeed in the marketplace unhampered.”

E15 retailers face costs of up to $1.5 million dollars each year just to relabel pumps around RVP, while others markets are entirely shut off for consumers because retailers cannot adjust for these astronomical barriers.

“RVP relief now means lifting our rural economy out of the worst crisis in a generation, with farm income plunging to a 12-year low,” said Skor. “And it means putting our industry on the path to an additional 1.3 billion gallons of ethanol demand within five years.”

Through an ongoing digital advocacy campaign Growth Energy is mobilizing rural America to call on the Administration to follow through on President Trump’s promise to make E15 available year-round, a move that would boost farm income amid the sharpest agricultural downturn since the 1980s.

E15 is approved by the EPA for use in nine out of 10 cars on the road, and it can be found at over 1,300 locations in 29 states. By providing regulatory relief to American fuel retailers, Growth Energy says the administration can hold down fuel costs, keep the air clean, and provide a vital market for more than two billion bushels of surplus grain.




NGFA asks Senate appropriators to fully fund CFTC


In a letter to the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Financial Services Subcommittee, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and several other significant U.S. agricultural producer and agribusiness groups urged the lawmakers to incorporate the full budget of $281.5 million requested by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

"The commission's responsibilities have expanded dramatically in recent years, but funding has not kept up," noted the NGFA and 15 other ag groups in a May 31 letter submitted to Subcommittee Chairman James Lankford, R-Okla., and Ranking Member Christopher Coons, D-Del. "For U.S. agricultural futures markets that are utilized extensively by our members to manage their market and business risks, this regulatory oversight is absolutely crucial."

The groups outlined several rulemakings and other initiatives at the CFTC that have direct bearing on price-discovery and risk-management functions that affect U.S. agriculture that could be hampered without adequate funding, including:
 -    Issuance of a Speculative Position Limit Final Rule: "As this very important rule moves toward final status, it is imperative that CFTC has sufficient staff and resources to get the rule right."
-    Regulating Automated Trading/High-Frequency Trading: "Commission oversight continues to be needed to help ensure that high-frequency trading doesn't overwhelm or otherwise adversely impact agricultural futures contracts."
-    Block Trading: "Now that block trading has been extended to agricultural contracts (by the CME Group), close scrutiny is merited by the commission to preserve appropriate liquidity and transparency for agricultural futures markets."

    CFTC Commitments of Traders Report: "Enhancements to provide additional frequency and transparency are needed, but will require personnel and technology resources" from the agency.  This report is important in providing transparency regarding participation in U.S. futures markets.

The letter also emphasized that the CFTC needs funding to hire important personnel. "Without sufficient resources to staff the commission and invest in needed technology upgrades, the CFTC's ability to perform these important functions, as well as to continue its core regulatory mission, will be undermined," the letter noted.

The groups sent a similar letter to House appropriators on May 9, but that committee approved only a slight increase in the CFTC budget from the current $249 million to $255 million.



Land O'Lakes, Inc. Announces CEO Retirement


Land O'Lakes, Inc. announced today that Chris Policinski will retire as Land O'Lakes President and Chief Executive Officer, effective June 30, 2018. Policinski was appointed President and CEO of the Fortune 216 farmer-owned cooperative in 2005.

"On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Chris for his many years of service on behalf of the company and the results he has generated," said Pete Kappelman, Chairman of the Land O'Lakes, Inc. Board of Directors.

"It's been a privilege to help lead Land O'Lakes through a period of growth and innovation," said Policinski. "My deepest thanks go to the members and employees who have made our success possible and who have created the opportunities ahead."

Policinski's tenure has been marked by significant growth in the size of the company which is twice the size today than it was when he assumed leadership nearly 13 years ago. In addition, Policinski oversaw global expansion in recent years with joint ventures in both South Africa and Kenya, and the biggest merger in the company's history with United Suppliers in 2016. In addition, Policinski has championed Land O'Lakes' continued investment in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. community in which the company is headquartered.

With nearly 40 years of experience in the food industry, Policinski held positions with Kraft General Foods, Bristol-Myers Squibb and The Pillsbury Company before joining Land O'Lakes. In addition, he is active at the board level with various industry associations, trade groups and corporations.

Today's announcement is part of a leadership succession plan directed by the board. In addition to forming a search committee to identify a permanent CEO, the board has appointed Peter Janzen as interim CEO to ensure a smooth transition and continued execution of the company's business plans.  Janzen, Land O'Lakes, SVP, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer, will postpone his recently announced retirement to serve the company as requested by the Board until the new CEO has been named. Janzen has been with the company for his entire career, joining Land O'Lakes, Inc. in 1983.



Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. Launches Commodity Crop Marketing Platform


Farmer’s Business Network, Inc., the independent farmer-to-farmer network, together with its affiliate companies, today announced the launch of its Commodity Crop Marketing platform to help farmers make better decisions when marketing their grain.

For many farmers, crop marketing is notoriously stressful and time-consuming. Information is available, but it’s often hard to know what’s important versus what’s noise. It’s even harder to turn that information into accurate decision making. Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. is looking to help reduce farmers’ marketing pain points and make better decisions.

“After talking to hundreds of members, farmers kept telling us they wanted more marketing support but it needed to be affordable.” said Devin Lammers, Head of FBN Commodity Crop Marketing. “FBN Commodity Crop Marketing provides an extensive and affordable suite of crop marketing services that can help farmers make better decisions through data driven, personalized, and actionable advice, and take action on those decisions through independent cash contracts and brokerage.”

FBN Commodity Crop Marketing offers the following products and services to help make the grain marketing process simpler, more efficient, and transparent:

-    FBN Cash Grain Management: A premium crop marketing advisory service that provides subscribers with a personal grain marketing manager to advise on marketing strategies, provide selling recommendations, and a personalized marketing plan.

-    FBN Market Intelligence: A subscription content service providing commodity markets news, analysis, and insights through email newsletters, custom reports, webinars and in-person meetings [included in Cash Grain Management]

-    FBN Brokerage: A low cost commodity brokerage account where members can trade on the futures market at significantly lower cost than typical Ag brokerages.

-    FBN Cash Contracts: Forward contracts that allow FBN members to take forward positions with more options and flexibility than those that come with traditional contracts.

Farmers are looking for new crop marketing solutions.

“Farmers Business Network has clearly been a disruptor in crop inputs. The crop marketing world needs the same thing and now it has it,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, Nebraska farmer and FBN member. “FBN has really shown itself in the last few years that they are capable of gathering, producing and generating good data, quickly. Good data leads to good decision making especially when you’re marketing your crop. And with the speed that FBN can deliver info, we’ll be able to respond and make better decisions quicker than we’ve ever been able to.”

The FBN network is dedicated to building an independent farm economy that is efficient and boosts farmers’ profitability.

“We are building advisory services that are accurate, easy and affordable,” said Lammers. “We are matching that with tools that keep farmer decision making independent, allowing farmers to develop better strategies and maximize basis. In the end, we want to enable farmers to become their own elevators.”

Building Out a Full Crop Marketing Platform

Commodity Crop Marketing builds on FBN Crop Marketing, which launched initially in 2017, with FBN Profit Center.

    FBN Profit Center automatically analyzes the estimated profitability of thousands of bids based on each farmer's individualized costs of production, transportation, and storage – and identifies the best options. Farmers also get automatic alerts for “in-the-money” bids, delivered right to their phones.

Creating a Full Profit System to Put Farmers First℠

The idea for the FBN network originated from farmers who wanted to create an independent, farmer-driven information and commerce network. The FBN network makes fair market input prices, real-world seed performance or optimal grain delivery points transparent in a no frills way – driven by member-contributed statistics from its millions of acres of member farms.

With the price transparency and online purchasing through FBN Direct, farms have commonly saved tens of thousands on inputs in a single year. Combined with the FBN analytics platform – the industry’s most advanced farm analytics system – and FBN Crop Marketing, farmers now have a full profit system with the FBN network.

The FBN network is available throughout the United States and prairie provinces in Canada. For more information, visit farmersbusinessnetwork.com.



Wednesday May 30 Ag News
2018-05-31T06:06

CropPro/GuideOne Crop Hail Named Peril Policy Cancellations

On May 10, 2018, the Nebraska Department of Insurance became aware of a pending cancellation of a large number of crop hail named peril (crop hail) policies issued to Nebraska growers by CropPro, a managing general agent of GuideOne Mutual Insurance Company. The reason given for the possible cancellation was the failure of CropPro to secure reinsurance. On May 11, CropPro began to issue notices of cancellation on many, but not all, crop hail policies issued in Nebraska. This cancellation notice did not apply to federally reinsured multi-peril crop insurance (MPCI) that was sold in conjunction with the private crop hail policies.

Since the issuance of the cancellation notices, the Department became aware of two pieces of misinformation provided to growers and insurance producers:
· First, emails from CropPro to insurance producers indicate that the Nebraska Department of Insurance required CropPro to cancel policies. This statement is false. The decision to cancel the policies was a decision made by CropPro.
· Second, emails from CropPro to insurance producers indicate grower losses will not be paid. This statement is false. GuideOne, as the insurer who issued the policy, will be responsible for any covered losses, subject to the provisions of the policy, that occur while the policy is in force. This includes policies that were not cancelled or replaced, as well as covered losses occurring while cancelled policies were still in force (between the policy’s effective date and the effective date of the cancellation).

RMA Bulletin

On Friday, May 28, 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency (RMA), issued a bulletin in response to the market disruption caused by CropPro’s decision to cancel a large number of crop hail policies in Nebraska. The bulletin allows growers to transfer their MPCI coverage back to the approved insurance provider who insured the MPCI policy in 2017. The window for transfers is 15 business days from May 28. The bulletin can be found on the RMA’s website at https://www.rma.usda.gov/bulletins/managers/2018/mgr-18-005.pdf.

Talk with your Insurance Agent

Each individual grower is unique and this situation involving misinformation, cancellations, and transfers is unusual and confusing. Nebraska growers affected by CropPro are encouraged to reach out and contact their insurance producers (agents) to determine their insurance needs and options for the 2018 growing season.



USE GRAZING TO CONTROL PASTURE WEEDS

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Pasture weeds are a problem for many of us.  It’s a challenge to control or prevent them in the first place.  The right grazing practices, though, can help reduce this problem.

               If you have weedy pastures, first ask yourself – Why?   Nearly always the existing forage stand was not thick or vigorous enough to out-compete invading weeds.  So the first step in pasture weed control must be to manage pastures so they can be competitive.  That may include fertilizer, extra seeding, and especially well-managed grazing.

               Once weeds become a problem, though, control strategies must be used.  One technique is to heavily stock a pasture, maybe with a ten-fold higher concentration of animals per acre than usual, for a very short time.  Only do this if your good grass is healthy.

               Use temporary cross fences to create small enough areas to achieve these high animal concentrations.  If this is done while weeds like crabgrass, foxtail, lambsquarter, and field bindweed are still young, many of them will be eaten readily.  Animals even eat cheatgrass, downy brome, and sandbur when plants are young.  Once they form seed stalks, though, cattle almost totally reject them.  Be sure to remove animals while desired grasses still have a few leaves remaining so they regrow quickly and compete with any recovering or new weeds.

               Some established weeds, especially perennials, aren’t controlled easily with grazing.  Clipping or spraying these weeds when their root reserves are low and to prevent seed production will reduce their pressure.  But remember, they will return quickly unless follow-up grazing management keeps your pasture healthy, vigorous, and competitive.

               Pasture weeds are troublesome, but proper grazing helps control them.



University, SNR to Host Soil Moisture Workshop


The leading scientists in soil moisture sensing, monitoring and modelling from the top universities, federal agencies and national laboratories in the United States will meet June 4 to 7 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the eighth annual MOISST Workshop: From Soil Moisture Observations to Actionable Decisions.

The workshop provides a unique opportunity for the researchers to exchange ideas and develop collaborations, said Trenton Franz, one of the workshop organizers and a hydrogeophysicist at the School of Natural Resources.

"The exchange of water between the land surface and the atmosphere is critical for understanding the water and energy cycles," Franz said. "The feedback between land surface and atmosphere is critical to issues such as drought monitoring and short-term weather forecasting."

A nationwide interest in better understanding these relationships has experts pushing to establish a national soil moisture monitoring network, and one goal of the workshop is to stimulate progress toward realizing the vision of the National Soil Moisture Network, which aims to integrate diverse sources of soil moisture observations, including federal and state in-situ monitoring networks, satellite remote-sensing missions, and numerical models.

The workshop, hosted by Nebraska at the School of Natural Resources, will also: * Provide a highly focused venue for presenting cutting-edge research and new concepts related to soil moisture monitoring. * Highlight new applications of soil moisture data and identify application-oriented research needs.

The workshop will include special sessions by the National Drought Mitigation Center. Invited speakers are from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and various universities and laboratories around the country.



Climate Assessment Response Committee to Meet


Mat Habrock, assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, has scheduled a meeting of the Climate Assessment Response Committee (CARC) for June 4. 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.



Fuel Your Summer Road trip with Iowa’s Homegrown Fuel


Planning a summer vacation or a weekend getaway? You probably don’t put much thought into which gas station you stop at, but by making pit stops at stations with higher blends of homegrown ethanol including E85, could save you money. Determine the best fuel for your vehicle by using our  Vehicle Fuel  Finder  to find out! 

E85 is a fuel made up of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.  E85 can be used to fill up your “flexible fuel” vehicles.  As the summer driving season begins, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is already warning drivers that they likely see the highest gasoline prices in four years. Pump prices have already begun to increase, so make the right choice for your vehicle to save money for what matters most.

As of Tuesday, May 22 the current price for unleaded gasoline averaged $2.84 across Iowa according to AAA. This is up $.05 from last week and $.58 higher than one year ago. The national average on the same day was $2.95, up $.06 from last week’s price. However, ethanol is helping to offset higher prices, and 10 percent ethanol blends (E10) alone could save consumers at least $39 billion this year, according to an analysis  released by the Renewable Fuels Association. The current Des Moines Terminal/Rack Prices are $2.16 for E10 and E85 is priced at $1.76 per gallon.



Crop Rotation Changes May Impact Manure Management Plans


As June approaches, some northern areas of the state have experienced delays in corn planting due to a cold spring that turned wet. Producers considering changes to crop rotation should pay attention to the impact it has on manure management plans.

The Iowa Administrative Code only allows a maximum of 100 pounds N per acre manure application on ground to be planted to soybean. However, it does allow fields that had liquid manure applied at rates intended for growing corn to be switched to soybean on or after June 1 with no penalty of over-application of manure nitrogen. Thus if a field planned for corn has not been planted and will be switched to soybean, this can be done. Producers should document the changes in crop rotation, application methods and other changes in their annual manure management plans.

Given it has been a wet spring in some areas, nutrient management and specifically, nitrogen loss may be top of mind. Livestock producers with Iowa DNR manure management plans are reminded if they have already applied the maximum nitrogen rate to the field, they can't apply additional sources of nitrogen unless the need is confirmed by the use of a Late Spring Nitrate Test. This test measures nitrate-N concentration at the 0-12 inch depth.

Results can be interpreted by the ISU Extension and Outreach publication "Use of the Late-Spring Soil Nitrate Test in Iowa Corn Production" (CROP 3140), which considers both the original fertilizer source and the amount of rain that occurred in May (excessive is more than five inches in May). When adding extra nitrogen, be sure to document soil sample results and reference the publication to interpret the test results in management plans.

While fall provided favorable application conditions, and periods in March were favorable, producers should plan ahead if not as much manure as normal is applied in the spring. Having a plan in place will help prevent potential issues from turning into problems. Keep an eye on storage, and have a plan for needed action.



Iowa Farm Bureau appoints Marty Schwager as Field Service Director


Marty Schwager has been named Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Director of Field Service, succeeding longtime IFBF employee Joe Johnson in the role. Johnson, who was recently named IFBF Executive Director, says Schwager’s reputation for building successful coalitions with business and industry groups, legislators and farmers will help meet Farm Bureau’s goals as the 100-year-strong farm organization moves forward.

“Marty is widely recognized within the organization and across the industry for his forward-thinking passion for ag, diplomacy and ability to reach common ground to achieve goals.  For all those reasons and more, he is perfectly suited to work with our staff and farm leaders as we come together to find solutions for the next century of issues for agriculture,” says Johnson.

Prior to being named Director of Field Service, Schwager served in several roles at IFBF, including State Lobbyist, National Lobbyist and Regional Manager. Schwager’s long service to agriculture also includes working as Director of Producer Education for the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA), overseeing the Pork Quality Assurance program and Swine Welfare Assurance program, along with other producer and consumer educational efforts.  In addition to his agriculture expertise, the Clive resident served as president of the Clive Chamber of Commerce and as a volunteer for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.

“I’m honored to take on this new role within Farm Bureau.  I am motivated by our members and staff and look forward to seeing what we can accomplish for Farm Bureau and Iowa agriculture moving forward,” says Schwager.

Schwager earned his Agricultural Business bachelor of science degree and his Master of Agriculture degree from Iowa State University.



Iowa Farm Bureau appoints Kevin Kuhle as State Policy Advisor


Kevin Kuhle has been appointed to State Policy Advisor for Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Government Relations team, effective June 1, 2018.  Kuhle replaces Marty Schwager, who was recently named IFBF Field Service Director.

Kuhle has served as IFBF’s National Policy Advisor for the past five years. Prior to joining IFBF, his political experience included working for Representative Lee Hein in the State Capitol, and developing extensive election and policy experience with numerous National, State, or Congressional level political campaigns.

IFBF’s Director of Government Relations, Don Petersen, says Kuhle’s experiences, as well as his passion for agriculture and collaborative skills will help sustain Farm Bureau’s reputation as Iowa’s oldest and strongest grassroots farm organization.

“Kevin’s political savvy will assure a seamless transition in representation for our organization and the thousands of Iowans who come together each year to form our policies.  Kevin never loses sight of the people he works for---the farmers who have made Farm Bureau the 100-year strong organization that serves agriculture and rural Iowans now, and into the future,” says Petersen.  

Kuhle received his bachelor’s degree from Drake University in politics and public relations and resides in Des Moines with his wife and son.

“I look forward to working with my talented colleagues and farm leaders at the Statehouse, who work so hard to represent Iowa agriculture.  I am eager to begin this new challenge,” says Kuhle.



An 8-Billion-Pound Market for Beef


From restaurants and resorts to cafeterias and mess halls, the foodservice industry represents the majority of away-from-home food purchases - and an 8-billion-pound market for beef.

The newly released, checkoff-funded "2017 Foodservice Volumetric Study" shows foodservice demand grew for the second year straight. According to the research, foodservice demand for U.S. beef is making a comeback after four years of decline.

Now in its 15th year, the annual study measures beef and chicken use in the foodservice industry. In 2017, the study:
-    Measured beef use by segments and cuts
-    Assessed chicken volume and penetration
-    Analyzed category usage trends and menu positioning

According to the study, 97 percent of foodservice operators serve beef. Beef saw the highest gain in volume of all proteins, up 221 million pounds, or 2.8 percent. Key findings include:
-    Beef accounts for 16 percent of total food purchases made by operators
-    Ground beef represents the largest share in pounds and dollars and grew the most in both pounds and dollars in 2017
-    Demand for pre-cut steaks declined as more operators are purchasing roasts (subprimal and ribs) to cut into steaks
-    Barbecue trends led to 8 percent growth in beef rib volume

Since 2003, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, working on behalf of the beef checkoff, has engaged Technomic to perform the annual study to assess trends and inform marketing strategies. A total of 964 operators participated in the 2017 research study.

The increase in beef popularity in the foodservice industry should continue into 2018 as indicated by the USDA's beef supply forecast. The forecast states that consumers are projected to eat 9.6 percent more beef in 2018 than in 2015.



Pork Checkoff Showcases U.S. Pork at Launch of World Meat Congress


Leaders from around the globe are gathering in Dallas this week for the 2018 World Meat Congress (WMC). Key international stakeholders and National Pork Board leadership and staff will engage in real-time discussions of issues affecting the international marketplace for pork and other commodities. The WMC is a biennial event – held in the U.S. for the first time in over two decades – that brings together 700 of the world’s meat industry thought leaders.

The National Pork Board is one of the title sponsors of the event and will leverage that sponsorship to showcase U.S. pork in a variety of ways, including at the opening reception and a pork-themed luncheon. Also, board members and producer members of the Checkoff’s International Marketing Committee will network with key international stakeholders to share details about sustainability on today’s pig farms and to discuss emerging issues facing the industry.

“We’re excited to be here in Dallas talking about U.S. pork not as a commodity, but as a unique and special product with a story,” said Terry O’Neel, National Pork Board president and a producer from Friend, Nebraska. “As an industry, we have harnessed our collective strength to elevate our position in international markets, which has led to a record-setting global demand for U.S. pork.”

The pork industry is not unique in its growing dependence on exports to deliver returns to pork producers. In the last 10 years, U.S. agriculture has grown rapidly, shifting from exporting relatively few products to becoming heavily reliant on consumers outside of the U.S. and their intention to demand and buy American-grown products.

“It is critical that the U.S. pork industry diversify its global market opportunities,” said Craig Morris, vice president of international marketing at the National Pork Board. “No longer can we just be concerned with commodity volume. We proved this in 2017 when the top markets for U.S. pork included Mexico, Japan and China/Hong Kong. And although exports were down overall to China last year, U.S. pork variety meat exports set an all-time export record surpassing $1 billion in total value.”

At the World Meat Congress, U.S. pork industry leaders and pig farmers will have the opportunity to personally connect with world leaders, gaining invaluable insights that will continue the record-breaking pork export trajectory. Through speakers and networking opportunities, attendees will build relationships to elevate the Pork Checkoff’s international marketing efforts. The important contacts and conversations will aid in developing international marketing strategies designed to grow U.S. pork demand abroad.

As part of its sponsorship, the Pork Checkoff is sponsoring the keynote address by award-winning author and Forbes contributor Jeff Fromm, an expert on emerging consumer trends. Fromm, who has authored several books on reaching young consumers, says that food has moved from a mere menu item to a form of self-expression.

“Today’s young consumers are passionate about food; it is a ‘badge’ product,” Fromm said. “We used to express ourselves through clothing, but now it is food culture driven by the young consumer who can often afford to buy anything they wish.”

With both millennial and Generation-Z consumers (born 1996 to 2010) using food to curate their identity, the rules of food production and promotion are changing, with a focus moving from transparency to proof of performance.

“As an industry, food marketers must shift from ‘story telling’ about a product into ‘story living,’ or showing how the young consumer can integrate a product into their life,” Fromm added. “For example, today’s Gen Z consumer literally has an empty spice cabinet and they look to food merchandisers to fill that gap through innovative, seasoned product offerings. This delivers to the young consumer something they need and do not already have.”

The World Meat Congress continues through June 1, allowing time for producer leaders in attendance to exchange ideas and share strategies to face challenges and overcome barriers to international marketing. Insights, such as those shared by Fromm and other speakers, will generate conversations that will lead to critical relationship building. The conference provides a historic opportunity to gather critical insights and showcase the superiority of U.S. pork production to key international customers.

“The Checkoff will work hard to ensure that U.S. pork is literally at the center of the plate and top of mind for each conference attendee,” O’Neel said. “The insights we gain here will help us to better target future international markets and better understand the global consumers’ unique preference with the goal to increase U.S. pork consumption around the world.”



2018 World Pork Expo Showcases Everything Pig


A record-setting trade show, expanded seminar lineup, elite swine shows, and an abundance of delicious pork are all part of the 2018 World Pork Expo, June 6-8, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) since 1987, Expo has become the must-see event for anyone involved in the U.S. or global pork business.

“As we mark 30 years of Expo, it’s exciting to see how the event has evolved and grown,” says Jim Heimerl, NPPC president and producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “It not only reflects the vibrancy of the U.S. pork industry, but also the connectedness of the global marketplace. For anyone involved in pork production, Expo is a wonderful opportunity to discover new technologies, exchange ideas and plan for the future.”

Organizers expect approximately 20,000 producers, employees, industry specialists and other pork professionals, including 1,000 international visitors, to participate in Expo’s three days.
More products, more companies, more exhibits

From the beginning, Expo has featured the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, but this year, it’s even bigger. New to Expo, the Jacobson Exhibition Center (JEC) will join the Varied Industries building to display products, services and technologies from more than 500 U.S. and international companies.

“This will be our biggest trade show ever,” says Doug Fricke, Expo director of trade show marketing for NPPC. “Adding JEC and the expanded space also allows for bigger and more elaborate displays; companies are really rolling out the red carpet. All aspects of pork production, from the ground up, will be represented within the trade show.”

Visitors also will find more outdoor exhibits throughout the fairgrounds. On display around the swine, sheep and cattle barns will be products and services associated with live-hog shows. In all, Fricke estimates Expo’s trade show will exceed 360,000 square feet, making it more than 40,000 square feet larger than in 2017.

This year’s expansion extends to the hospitality tents, which will increase from 52 to 60, giving allied industry and producers more opportunities for one-on-one interaction.

Trade show doors will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, and Thursday, June 7, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 8.

Live-hog shows and youth educational events

The World Pork Expo Junior National is another event that continues to grow and draw participants from across the nation. This premier youth live-hog exhibition begins on Monday, June 4. In addition to show ring competition, the event includes judging contests, certification programs, Skillathon and other educational activities.

Hosted by the National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred, this year’s Junior National has set another record with 1,450 youth from 34 states entered to participate. That compares to 1,050 exhibitors from 32 states in 2017. The final hog numbers won’t be determined until the actual event but are expected to exceed the 2,500 pigs exhibited last year.

Also taking place in the swine barn on Friday, June 8, is the open show, presented by the National Swine Registry, Certified Pedigree Swine and American Berkshire Association. Divisions include Berkshire, Chester White, Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace, Poland China, Spotted, Yorkshire and crossbred breeding swine, with a sale on Saturday morning, June 9.

Free seminars and entertainment

Educational opportunities have long been a centerpiece of Expo. This year, a record 20 seminars are on the schedule for Wednesday, June 6, and Thursday, June 7. Throughout both days, experts will present the latest innovations and insights into pork production and management at the PORK Academy and Business Seminars. Pork producers, their employees and other pork professionals will have access to experts on a wide range of topics, including sow productivity, water quality and manure management, antibiotic use and resistance, optimizing piglet growth, export and domestic pork marketing strategies, and much more.

MusicFest lights up the stage on Thursday, June 7, from 4:30 to 8:00 p.m. Presented by NPPC, Expo visitors can enjoy a summer evening with the free concert and lots of grilled pork. First up will be the R&B and classic country sounds of Josh Hoyer, a Nebraska native and contestant on season 12 of The Voice. Headlining the evening is The Big Noise, led by Cactus Moser, a musically adventurous group that has recorded and toured with Wynonna Judd over the past five years.

The Big Grill, another long-time Expo staple, will serve free pork lunches from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. all three days of the show. Manned by Iowa pork producers and industry personnel, the Big Grill dishes up an estimated 10,000 pork lunches each year.

Don't miss out

The final countdown to the 2018 World Pork Expo is underway, but there’s still time to make plans to attend.

“If you haven’t been to Expo in a while, this is the year to make a return trip. You’ll be amazed to see how much it’s changed,” says Heimerl. “Expo is a great place to discover what’s new, as well as learn and compare what you will need for your business in the years to come.”

Online registration is available until 5 p.m. CST on May 31. The pre-Expo registration fee is $10 for adults and children 12 years and older, $1 for children ages 6 to 11, and no charge for children 5 years and younger. Onsite registration takes place at Gate 15, with an entrance fee of $20 per adult and $3 for children ages 6 to 11 years. In all cases, the price includes entry for all three days of Expo. A special rate of $10 is available for adults arriving on Friday.

For all the latest updates and details to plan your visit, including room availability at official World Pork Expo hotels, maps and exhibitors, go to Expo’s website. Also connect with Expo by following us on Twitter and Facebook and tagging your posts with the hashtag #WPX18.

Be sure to download the World Pork Expo app, available on Google Play and the Apple store. It will help you navigate the fairgrounds, identify exhibitors that you want to visit and keep you on schedule.

The 30th World Pork Expo has something for everyone, so don’t miss out on everything pig, June 6-8 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.



Half of Fertilizers Continue Higher


Prices for half of the eight major fertilizers continue to be mostly higher, according to prices tracked by DTN for the third week of May 2018. Like off and on in recent weeks, there are some possible signs that fertilizer prices may be weakening.

Four of the eight major fertilizer were once again higher in price compared to last month, although none were up a considerable amount. MAP had an average price of $504/ton, potash $354/ton, 10-34-0 $439/ton and UAN28 $241/ton.

The other four fertilizers were slightly lower in price compared to the previous month. DAP had an average price of $483/ton, urea $364/ton, anhydrous $504/ton and UAN32 $276/ton.

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

Six of the eight major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year, with prices pushing higher in recent months. Both 10-34-0 and anhydrous are now up 1%, potash is 4% higher, urea is 6% more expensive, MAP is 7% higher and DAP is 11% more expensive compared to last year.

The remaining two fertilizers are lower in price compared to a year prior. UAN32 is 1% lower, while UAN28 is 3% less expensive.



Ethanol Coalition Files Suit Against EPA’s Secretive Small Refinery Exemptions


The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and National Farmers Union (NFU), with support of Farmers Union Enterprises, today filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to challenge several waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted in secret to profitable refining companies.

The petitioners are challenging three EPA decisions, made under unusually clandestine proceedings, to exempt refineries in Wynnewood, Oklahoma; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Woods Cross, Utah from the RFS requirements of the Clean Air Act. The Wynnewood refinery is owned by Wynnewood Refining Company, a subsidiary of CVR Energy, and the Cheyenne and Woods Cross refineries are owned by Holly Frontier Corporation. The companies have since estimated in financial disclosures that the exemptions have saved them a collective $170 million in compliance costs.

When Congress enacted the RFS program a decade ago, it sought to protect certain small refineries from the law’s impacts temporarily by providing an exemption for refineries with no more than 75,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil throughput. After a two-year blanket exemption expired, Congress also allowed those same refineries to ask for extensions of the temporary exemption if they could show that compliance with the RFS program was causing that particular facility a “disproportionate economic hardship.” Until late last year, EPA only granted a handful of exemptions per year. EPA denied many extension requests, presumably because the refineries failed to meet one or more of these requirements for an extension. In recent months, EPA has granted over two dozen exemptions—including the ones challenged here—without providing any basis for its reversal.

“EPA is trying to undermine the RFS program under the cover of night,” said Bob Dinneen, CEO and President of RFA. “And there’s a reason it has been done in secret – it’s because EPA is acting in contravention of the statute and its own regulations, methodically destroying the demand for renewable fuels,” continued Dinneen. “With the little information we’ve been able to piece together through secondary sources, it’s clear that EPA has been extending these exemptions to refineries that didn’t qualify for them.”

Although EPA typically publishes its proposed actions and final decisions in the Federal Register, EPA has not followed those protocols for small refineries; nor has EPA even informed the public by any means that it had received or acted on such carve-out requests. Instead, the petitioners learned of the unprecedented number of exemptions second-hand, through media reports and secondary sources. 

“EPA left us with no choice but to challenge their systematic cuts to ethanol blending in the U.S. by distorting the intent of the law to grant secret hardship waivers to refineries which in some cases exceed the definition of ‘small’ and fall short of demonstrating ‘disproportionate economic hardship,’” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “We cannot sit by and allow EPA to violate the RFS which requires increasing the use of renewable fuels in the U.S.”

The petition also notes that EPA has consistently rejected all attempts to bring greater transparency to the small refinery exemption extension process. EPA has refused to provide even the most basic information requested in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from RFA and other parties. More surprisingly, the Agency has also ignored demands from members of Congress for the same essential facts.

“EPA’s improper handling of the RFS has significantly cut demand for biofuels grown and produced by American family farmers and their communities. The success of the law lies in the requirement that certain amounts of renewable fuel be blended into our transportation sector. Yet EPA has unlawfully allowed massive refineries to skirt compliance with these requirements, effectively reducing the amount of renewable fuels blended into the transportation sector by more than one billion gallons. These actions must be reversed immediately,” according to Roger Johnson, President NFU.

The petitioners are not challenging EPA’s underlying authority to exempt certain small refineries; rather they are challenging three granted exemptions as abuses of EPA’s authority. EPA should be forced to explain why an otherwise profitable refinery faces disproportionate hardship from compliance with the RFS. We want EPA to explain why it is reasonable for HollyFrontier, which apparently could not afford to comply with the RFS, could nonetheless afford to undertake a $1 billion stock share repurchase program during the same time—and that’s before the company received over $300 million in tax cuts last year. Likewise, the petitioners would like to understand how EPA could find hardship at CVR Energy, which reported a $23 million profit in the biofuels credit market in the first quarter of 2018 due to what it called a lower RFS obligation.

“With their rapidly rising profits, it’s difficult to see what economic hardship these refineries are facing. The apparent lack of hardship raises serious questions of why EPA granted these exemptions, which is compounded by the fact that there is zero transparency in EPA’s small refinery exemption process,” said Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “America’s corn farmers, who are expecting their fifth consecutive year of low commodity prices and who are experiencing the lowest net farm incomes since 2006, understand economic challenges. When refineries are reporting profit increases and repurchasing stock shares, we expect EPA to explain why these refineries were granted exemptions from their RFS volume obligations.”

In practice, EPA is attempting to use the small refinery exemptions to waive a significant part of the annual volumes of renewable fuel that are otherwise required to be blended into transportation fuel. Based on EPA data, RFA estimates that small refinery exemptions granted for the past two years have effectively reduced volumes of renewable fuel by as much as 1.6 billion gallons. In enacting the RFS program, however, Congress did not envision the small refinery exemption process would be abused in such a way.



New Study Shows Chinese Regulatory Delays Costing Rural Jobs & Economy


America’s farmers’ access to biotechnology seeds has been impeded by regulatory delays in China, costing the overall U.S. economy both jobs and billions of dollars in economic output, according to a study released today by Informa’s Agribusiness Consulting Group in tandem with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

“This report further confirms something that we have already known: China’s biotech approval process has functioned in an unpredictable manner that compounds delays and has global ramifications,” said Don Duvall, a farmer from Illinois and Chair of the National Corn Growers Association’s Freedom to Operate Action Team . “For American agriculture to achieve its full potential, farmers need access to both the most cutting-edge technologies as well as to international markets.”

More timely biotech import approvals would benefit China, as well as ag exporters such as the United States, Argentina and Brazil, by increasing food security and decreasing food prices for Chinese consumers while boosting farmer incomes and allowing for the use of more sustainable farming practices.

According to the report, limiting farmers’ access to technology and forgoing productivity gains has had profound effects in the U.S. over the last five years. Namely, these delays have:
·      Limited farm incomes by $5.3 billion
·      Prevented the creation and support of over 34,000 jobs
·      Prevented wage growth of nearly $4.6 billion
·      Reduced potential economic output by nearly $7 billion
·      Reduced potential business sales by nearly $15 billion

Looking ahead, should China adopt regulatory practices that allow for more timely commercial introductions of products, the U.S. could see the following economic benefits unlocked:
·      Increase in farm income by over $5 billion
·      Over 19,000 jobs would be created and supported
·      Increase in wages by nearly $4.4 billion
·      Increase of potential GDP by over $7.3 billion
·      Increase of business sales by nearly $15 billion

The NCGA is continuing efforts to work with the U.S. government in urging China to adopt a science-based regulatory system that ensures both proper oversight of new technologies as well as an efficient and effective review process.



ASA Underscores Importance of U.S. Trade with China


The American Soybean Association (ASA) reiterated its significant concern with the Administration’s decision yesterday to move forward and apply a 25 percent tariff on nearly $50 billion in goods imported from China.

The looming threat of tariffs creates uncertainty in the marketplace and for soy growers, whose livelihoods rely on the ability to export their crops and products to China.

“This is real money to a soybean farmer trying to determine when to sell their crop,” said ASA President and Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer. “Farm income is projected to be the lowest in more than five years and farmers cannot afford to have the bottom fall out now.”

ASA continues to ask the Administration to work with soybean farmers to find ways to reduce our trade deficit by increasing competitiveness rather than erecting barriers to foreign markets, and is confident in this week’s negotiations.

“We are very pleased to have USDA send some of their best negotiators in agriculture to this week’s meeting with officials in China,” Heisdorffer added. “Soybeans lead the way for agricultural trade with China, accounting for nearly $14 billion in exports to China annually. As we have called for months, we believe soybeans can be part of the solution and we’re hopeful to be a part of the conversation this week.”



NGFA recommends changes to FDA's draft guidance on FSMA importing rules


The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) has submitted a statement to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommending that the agency make several changes to its draft guidance to better inform importers on how they may comply with the import rules established under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The statement covers FDA's draft guidance for industry entitled, "Foreign Supplier Verification Programs for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals." The guidance, when finalized, is intended to provide the agency's thinking on how importers of human or animal food can comply with the regulation on foreign supplier verification programs (FSVP).

NGFA's statement also included recommendations on certain FSVP issues that, if implemented, would result in meaningful reduction in regulatory burdens and costs on the regulated industry, while still enabling FDA to fulfill its public health mission and statutory obligations under FSMA.

Among the recommendations made by the NGFA were that FDA should:
-    Provide a more proactive system to inform entities when they have been named as the importer for purposes of the rule to avoid inaccurate or false designations that would create potential compliance obligations.

-    Designate pulse raw agricultural commodities (e.g., dry peas, lentils, chickpeas, and dry beans) as "grain," so that the agency's previously announced enforcement discretion for certain importers of grain raw agricultural commodities intended for further processing would be appropriately extended to such commodities.

-    Clarify that the agency intends to exercise enforcement discretion for animal food contact surfaces with regard to FSVP requirements.

-    Limit the scope of potential economically motivated adulteration hazards that importers need to consider to those for which there has been a pattern of economic adulteration in the past.

-    Update its website to provide clearer and more concise information pertaining to countries the agency recognizes as having a food safety system that is comparable or equivalent to that of the United States.



USDA Providing $8.89 Million for Risk Management Education


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) today announced the availability of $8.89 million for risk management education and training programs. The funding will allow organizations such as universities, county cooperative extension offices, and nonprofit organizations to develop training and educational tools to help farmers and ranchers learn how to effectively manage long-term risks and challenges.

Interested organizations may apply by submitting documentation required as part of the Risk Management Education Partnerships Request for Applications (RFA). The applications are then reviewed, and awardees enter into cooperative agreements that are managed by RMA’s Risk Management Education Division.

“Risk Management Education helps ensure that farmers and ranchers know and understand what tools are available to them and how to plan for unknown weather and financial situations. We work with private organizations to help us reach a wide range of producers, and connect them with resources from RMA, as well as from our partner agencies within USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area, the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service,” said RMA Administrator Martin Barbre.

Agriculture is an inherently risky business. The farm safety net provides producers and owners various methods to mitigate production and revenue risks and helps to maintain a healthy rural economy.

Available funding includes $4.73 million for the Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States Program for crop insurance education programs where there is a low level of Federal crop insurance participation and availability. The targeted states are Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Additionally, $4.16 million in funding is available for the Risk Management Education Partnership Program, which provides funding for the development of general nationwide crop insurance education as well as other risk management training programs for producers.

A broad range of risk management training activities are eligible for funding consideration under these programs, including training on Federal crop insurance options, risk analysis, and changes to the crop insurance program. Partners also can train farmers at all levels on risk management options that help secure local food systems and strengthen rural communities.

Information about how to apply to these programs is available at Grants.gov (www.grants.gov). For information about the Risk Management Partnership program, search by catalog of federal domestic assistance (CFDA) for 10.460 and information on the Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States can be found by searching for 10.458.

Applications for both programs are due by 5:00 p.m. EDT on July 30, 2018. All applications must be submitted electronically through the Results Verification System website (rvs.umn.edu) and received by the deadline.

For the 2017 crop year the Federal crop insurance program insured 311.4 million acres, with 1.12 million policies and $106 billion worth of coverage as of May 4, 2018.

RMA works with private partners to assist producers, especially limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally underserved farmers and ranchers, in effectively managing long-term risks and challenges. For more information about RMA, its programs, or to volunteer to serve as a reviewer, visit www.rma.usda.gov.



NFU Condemns DOJ Approval of Monsanto Acquisition by Bayer


The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today approved German drug and chemical giant Bayer’s $62.5 billion acquisition of Monsanto. The deal will consolidate control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market and create the largest seed and crop chemicals company in the world.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the announcement:

“Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto culminates the latest and most disturbing round of consolidation amongst the handful of companies that control both U.S. and global agricultural markets. Three massive companies now control the markets that supply agricultural inputs like seeds, traits and chemicals. This extreme consolidation drives up costs for farmers and it limits their choice of products in the marketplace. It also reduces the incentive for the remaining agricultural input giants to compete and innovate through research and development.

“While we appreciate the significant divestitures agreed to as part of this approval, Farmers Union condemns DOJ’s continued rubber-stamping of mergers in the food and agriculture arena. We will now focus our efforts on ensuring the promises made by Bayer and Monsanto throughout this approval process are kept. The company must continue to increase the productivity of American family farmers by delivering localized solutions in seed, trait, and crop chemical innovation.”



Tuesday May 29 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US
2018-05-29T11:09

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION

For the week ending May 27, 2018, there were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 18 short, 71 adequate, and 7 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 24 short, 70 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 16 fair, 77 good, and 6 excellent. Corn planted was 96 percent, near 94 last year and 95 for the five-year average. Emerged was 81 percent, ahead of 73 both last year and average.

Soybeans planted was 87 percent, ahead of 73 last year and 72 average. Emerged was 53 percent, well ahead of 32 last year and 33 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 7 poor, 25 fair, 53 good, and 14 excellent. Winter wheat headed was 37 percent, well behind 82 last year, and behind 49 average.

Sorghum planted was 56 percent, ahead of 45 last year and 50 average.

Oats condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 27 fair, 65 good, and 4 excellent. Oats emerged was 93 percent, near 97 last year and 96 average. Headed was 16 percent, behind 27 last year, but near 14 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 8 poor, 34 fair, 48 good, and 7 excellent.



IOWA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION REPORT


A hot and dry week across much of the State allowed Iowa farmers 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 27, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 12 percent short, 77 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 5 percent very short, 12 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus. South central Iowa continues to struggle with subsoil moisture supply availability with three-quarters rated short to very short.

Iowa growers have planted 96 percent of the expected corn crop, with 77 percent of the crop emerged. Farmers in the northern one-third of the state were able to plant over 20 percent of their corn during the previous week which leaves less than 10 percent still to be planted.

Soybean growers have 81 percent of the expected crop planted, a week ahead of the 5-year average. Forty-four percent of soybeans have emerged, three days ahead of last year.

Nearly all the expected oat crop has been planted, 1 week behind average. Ninety-five percent of the crop has emerged, 2 days behind last year. Four percent of the oat crop has headed, 4 days behind both last year and the average.

Hay conditions improved slightly to 65 percent good to excellent.

Pasture conditions also improved to 60 percent good to excellent. Warm temperatures and improved soil moisture levels strongly supported pasture and hay growth. Extreme temperatures resulted in reports of heat stress in cattle herds.



US Corn Planting Progress Surpasses Five-Year Average


Corn planting progress reached 92% complete nationwide as of Sunday, May 27, 2018, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service weekly Crop Progress report released Tuesday. The report was delayed a day due to the Memorial Day holiday.

Nationwide, corn planting progress jumped 11 percentage points last week, up from 81% the previous week. Corn planting was also 2 percentage points above the five-year average of 90%.

Corn emergence, at 72% nationwide as of Sunday, was slightly ahead of last year's 70% and 3 percentage points above of the average pace of 69%.

Soybean planting was estimated at 77% complete, according to NASS. That's 15 percentage points ahead of the average of 62%. 47% of soybeans were emerged, ahead of 34% last year and ahead of the average of 32%.

Winter wheat was 73% headed, behind last year's 79% and behind the average of 75%. Winter wheat condition last week was rated 38% good to excellent, up from the previous week's rating of 36%.

Spring wheat was 91% planted as of Sunday, compared the average pace of 89%. 63% of the crop was emerged, compared to the five-year average of 68%.

Cotton was 62% planted as of Sunday, compared to 52% last week, 61% last year and 59% average. Rice was 98% planted, compared to 93% last week, 96% last year and 95% on average. 85% of the crop was emerged, compared to 74% last week, 83% last year and an 83% average.

Sorghum was 49% planted as of Sunday, compared to 39% last week, 43% last year and a 44% average.

Barley was 93% planted, compared to the average pace of 91%. 68% of the crop was emerged as of Sunday, compared to an average of 72%. Oats were 94% planted, compared to 86% last week, 95% last year and a 95% average. 82% of oats were emerged, compared to 67% last week, 90% last year and an 86% average.



Tuesday May 29 Ag News
2018-05-29T11:08

Syngenta GMO Settlement Claims Due October 12, 2018 
J. David Aiken - NE Extension Water and Agricultural Law Specialist


Eligible producers and landlords must file their claims online no later than October 12, 2018 to be eligible to share in the settlement. If an applicant doesn't have internet access, they can call 1-833-567-2676 to request a paper form to be filed by the deadline.

The federal judge presiding over the Syngenta class action lawsuit granted preliminary approval for the $1.51 billion Syngenta GMO corn lawsuit settlement on April 10, 2018. Written settlement notices have been mailed to corn producers, crop-share and some variable cash rent landlords, grain handling facilities, and ethanol production facilities beginning on May 11, 2018. This newsletter focuses on the claims process for corn producers and eligible landlords.

What happened on May 11? On May 11, 2018, a claim settlement information packet was mailed to eligible corn producers, landlords, and others. Eligible producers and landlords may file their claims immediately, and must have them filed no later than October 12, 2018 to be eligible to share in the settlement.

What is in the settlement information packet? The settlement packet includes detailed information regarding the Syngenta class action lawsuit and the settlement process. You should read this information carefully. The packet describes the information needed to file your claim.

What corn producers are eligible? Producers who priced corn for sale between September 15, 2013 and April 10, 2018, and who have not opted out of the class action lawsuit or settlement are eligible to receive settlement payments. Producers who planted Viptera or Duracade seed are in a different payment category but are eligible to participate in the settlement payout.

How are claims filed? You can file your claim online at https://www.cornseedsettlement.com/ or with a paper claim form (call 1-833-567-2676). You can download a claim form and fill it out to help you complete the online claim form. The deadline for filing your claim is October 12, 2018.

How will payments be made? Essentially, payments will be based on the number of corn acres (as per your FSA Form 578 or RMA crop insurance information) times the average county yield as determined by USDA NASS data for each crop year. More information on this topic is included in the Iowa State publication referenced at the end of this newsletter and in the settlement packet.

What is the payment process? On or around November 15, 2018, the judge will hold a “fairness” hearing on whether to approve the settlement as fair, reasonable and adequate. Also, Syngenta will have a limited opportunity to withdraw from the settlement if too many producers have opted out of the settlement. If the judge approves the settlement, Syngenta must pay the settlement amount into the settlement fund no later than April 1, 2019 or 30 days after the judge approves the settlement, whichever is later. If producers object to the settlement plan, it could be a year or so before payments are made.

More detailed information about the settlement process is available from the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law & Taxation at http://www.calt.iastate.edu/blogpost/corn-farmers-may-begin-filing-claims-syngenta-settlement-may-11.



Ruminant nutrition expert to speak at Nebraska Ethanol Board meeting June 8


The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet Friday, June 8, at 8:30 a.m. The meeting will be held at the Hyatt Place hotel (600 Q St.) in downtown Lincoln.

The board welcomes Galen Erickson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor of animal science and beef feedlot extension specialist, as the keynote speaker during the board meeting. Erickson will discuss distillers grains and the changing feed rations used for cattle.

Erickson is renowned for his ruminant nutrition research, and has done extensive work with cattle at feedlots. His work includes $7.94 million in research grants, and hundreds of publications including journal articles, extension reports, meeting abstracts and book chapters.

Erickson will speak at approximately 10 a.m. Highlights of the meeting agenda is as follows:
    UNL Faculty Presentation
    Marketing Programs
    E30 Road Test in Legacy Vehicles
    Presentation: Galen Erickson, UNL professor of animal science
    Ethanol History Project Update
    State and Federal Legislation
    Ethanol Plant Reports

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



Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics in June 


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

Clinic Sites and Dates
    Fairbury — Wednesday, June 6
    Grand Island — Thursday, June 7
    Norfolk — Tuesday, June 12
    North Platte — Tuesday, June 12
    Lexington — Thursday, June 21

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



Flame-Weeding Workshop to be at Haskell Ag Lab 


A full-day flame weeding workshop will be held at the Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord Aug. 13. The day will begin with registration at 9:30 a.m. and end at 5 p.m., and include lunch. The lab is at 57905 866 Road, Concord, in northeast Nebraska.

The program will cover proper flaming to control more than 10 major Midwestern weeds in seven agronomic crops (field corn, sweet corn, popcorn, soybean, sorghum, sunflower and wheat).

Attendance is limited to 30. The registration fee is $100 to cover the cost of educational materials; lunch is included for one. Lunch for an additional spouse/guest is $10.

Partial scholarships may be available to certified organic farmers from Nebraska.  For more information on registration or the agenda, contact Dee Foote at 402-584-3837 or dfoote2@unl.edu.



EVALUATE FORAGE STATUS ON MEMORIAL DAY

Bruce Andersson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Memorial Day is a good time to examine the status of hay and forage programs for the year.

               Many hay and forage jobs should be completed, or at least started, by Memorial Day.  For example, all perennial grasses or legumes should be planted by now.  If you have planting still to do -- wait until August.

               Spraying for musk thistle needs to occur before Memorial Day.  Plants that have started to grow tall usually are not completely killed by spraying.  Digging may be your best option now.

               Another job is fertilizing warm-season grasses with nitrogen.  Complete it by Memorial Day or very soon afterwards.

               For high quality hay, your alfalfa should have been cut already. Later cutting might give hay that’s good enough for many livestock, but there is little chance of getting dairy quality hay any more this cutting.  And start planning now for any possible shortages.

               Memorial Day also marks the start of the planting season for summer annual grasses for many folks.  Sudans and forage sorghums can be planted now.  Millets, though, should wait to be planted in a couple of weeks.

               Memorial Day is a good time to estimate if your pastures will have enough moisture to produce the growth needed by your livestock this year.  If drought has caused reduced growth, adjust animal numbers now before it's too late.  Summer rains are not likely to allow you to catch up completely.  And if growth is abundant, maybe you can cut some for hay instead or stockpile it for winter grazing.

               Follow through with this Memorial Day evaluation and many hay and forage problems will be solved, or at least foreseen.



Nebraska farmers urge Senate to fund conservation in the farm bill


Thirty-five Nebraska farmers, in support of conservation and beginning farmer programs in the 2018 farm bill, recently signed and sent a letter to Deb Fischer, Nebraska’s senior U.S. senator.

“The farm bill is a critical piece of legislation that provides farmers and ranchers with the tools they need to preserve Nebraska’s agricultural future,” the farmers wrote. “We ask that you do everything you can to support and protect conservation and beginning farmer policy in the farm bill. This will help build a bright and better future for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities in our state.”

The farmers ask Fischer to protect working lands conservation programs, such as the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program.

“Conservation practices build soil health, preserve clean water, and fortify pastureland,” they wrote. “These practices also provide an important opportunity for farmers and ranchers to improve the resiliency of their land and reduce their risk during future droughts and other pressures.”

In addition, they request Fischer to preserve programs that assist beginning farmers in accessing land, credit, risk management strategies, and education.

“The future of Nebraska agriculture lies both in the land and in the people,” the letter states. “The farmers and ranchers who are starting out today are the established producers of tomorrow.”

By county, the signers are: Adams: Paul Swanson; Antelope: George Rethmeier; Boone: James Vanderloop Jr.; Burt: Russell Bryant; Butler: Al Moravec and Diane Schroeder; Cedar: Marnie Schieffer; Custer: David and Cornelia Hansen; Dixon: Anthony Rohan; Dodge: Chris Armstrong, Wayne Panning, and Ben Schole; Douglas: Russell Bryant; Gage: Gayland Regier; Holt: Carroll D. Marcellus and Kim Mosel; Howard: Mena Sprague; Kearney: Kevin Raun; Keith: Dennis Demmel; Knox and Madison: Wyman McCain; Lancaster: Brian Brhel, Todd Eggerling, Steve Hollman, and Steve McConnell; Madison: Gary Wolken; Nance: Jim Knopik; Saunders: Merlin Fick, Josh Hladik, and David and Jordan Rasmussen; Seward: Del Ficke and Matthew Hendl; Sherman: Kevin Fulton; and York: Kerry Hoffschneider.

To view the letter, visit cfra.org.



IOWA FARM TO SCHOOL PROGRAM TO REMAIN ACTIVE THIS SUMMER WITH “ROOT FOR RADISHES” CAMPAIGN


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today highlighted exciting Farm to School opportunities planned for 2018 starting with “Root for Radishes,” the Iowa Farm to School program’s summer campaign.

“Radishes are one of the first fresh vegetables available each summer and this program is a great way to let students learn about and enjoy locally grown produce,” Naig said. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s consumers and giving them the opportunity to try fresh fruits and vegetables can help shape their food choices and future food purchases.”

The Summer Food Service Program, administered by the Iowa Department of Education, provides nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas during the summer months. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is partnering with the Iowa Department of Education, Food Corps and summer feeding sites across the state as part of the initiative.

Mini-grants of up to $150 are available to support sites by offering them assistance to purchase things like local produce, cooking supplies, and educational resources. Assistance in identifying local farmers, planning activities, help leading education activities and more is also available. You can find a map of participating sites here.

Summer feeding site sponsors, community partners, local food advocates, farmers, volunteers and teachers will all be involved in this campaign and will offer kids the opportunity to focus on local produce through educational activities such as gardening, taste tests, cooking and nutrition education.

“From school gardens and farm field trips to local food on school lunch trays, farm to school activities help students learn more about where their food comes from and how to make healthier choices, while also creating new markets for local and regional farmers and food producers,” Naig said.

2018 Iowa Farm to School Conference

The 2018 Iowa Farm to School Conference, to be held June 28-29 at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny and will highlight opportunities to better connect local farms with school lunch programs.

The conference will begin with appetizers created from locally sourced items and networking on the evening of June 28th and continue all day June 29th.

Leaders in Iowa’s Farm to School movement will present and highlight momentum that has been built around Farm to School and facilitate connections between partners. Everyone is invited to participate, including local farmers, food service staff, educators, food hub operators and students.  To learn more about this opportunity or register go to:  https://www.extension.iastate.edu/localfoods/iowa-farm-to-school-conference-2018/

October 11, 2018 is Iowa Local Food Day!  Learn more about this exciting Farm to School opportunity by visiting the new website www.iowalocalfoodday.org/.



Pork Checkoff Announces Sponsored Activities at the 2018 World Pork Expo


The Pork Checkoff has an exciting lineup of Checkoff-sponsored events scheduled for World Pork Expo, June 6-8, 2018, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. World Pork Expo attendees can stop by the Varied Industries Building (booth No. 122) or the Pork Checkoff Hospitality Tent to learn more about Checkoff programs and initiatives.

Pork Checkoff Hospitality Tent (north of the Varied Industries Building)
-    Breakfast will be offered beginning at 7:30 a.m. while supplies last. Stop by for snacks daily. 
-    Live morning radio program including markets, weather and interviews with industry leaders.
-    Enjoy a free business luncheon Wednesday and Thursday at noon. Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University, will present a weather outlook, and Steve Meyer and Joe Kerns, Kerns & Associates, will present market and grain outlooks. 

Pork Checkoff Booth (No. 122 in the Varied Industries Building)
-    Have questions about Checkoff-funded education, research and promotion activities? Stop by to learn about Checkoff programs and initiatives and pick up new resources.
-    Learn how you can better incorporate We Care into your farm and what Secure Pork Supply means for your farm.

The PORK Academy, sponsored by the Pork Checkoff, will offer educational seminars for producers on the latest trends in pork production. For a list of the sessions and topics covered, visit www.pork.org/wpx.

Also, producers will have the opportunity to become certified in PQA Plus® program at sessions held in conjunction with World Pork Expo.

As in years past, the Pork Checkoff will provide dinner on Tuesday and lunch on Thursday and Friday for junior swine exhibitors and their families. The Pork Checkoff also will sponsor activities at the World Pork Expo Junior National Hog Show. For details, visit National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred.



Trade Retaliation Hurting U.S. Pork Producers


The National Pork Producers today called for a swift resolution of the United States-China trade dispute, paving the way for increased U.S. pork exports to the world’s largest pork-consuming nation. According to Iowa State University Economist Dermot Hayes, U.S. pork producers have lost $2.2 billion on an annualized basis due to events leading up to and following China’s 25 percent punitive tariffs in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel.

“U.S. pork has invested significantly to ramp production to capitalize on growth opportunities around the world, including China and other markets throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” said Jim Heimerl, a Johnstown, Ohio pig farmer and president of the National Pork Producers Council. “We applaud the administration for making the expansion of agriculture exports a cornerstone of the discussions with China. We hope the next round of trade talks with China results in improved market access to a critical export market for U.S. pork and other farm products.”

“Since March 1, when speculation about Chinese retaliation against U.S. pork began, hog futures have dropped by $18 per animal, translating to a $2.2 billion loss on an annualized basis,” said Iowa States’ Hayes. “While not all of this lost value can be attributed to trade friction with China, it is certainly the main factor.”

The market disruption caused by export market uncertainty comes at a time when U.S. pork is expanding production to record levels. Five new pork processing plants have recently opened or will soon begin operations, increasing U.S. pork production capacity by approximately 10 percent from 2015 levels by next year. Exports accounted for more than $53 of the average $149 value of a hog last year and support over 110,000 U.S. jobs. The United States has, on average, been the top global supplier of pork over the last ten years.

“We produce the safest, highest-quality and most affordable pork in the world,” Heimerl added. “We are dependent on exports and are one of the few sectors of the U.S. economy that can immediately reduce the trade imbalance with China, where pork represents approximately ten percent of the consumer price index. Eliminating punitive tariffs and improving access to China by eliminating or reducing tariffs on frozen and chilled pork would result in an explosion of pork exports, contributing significantly to U.S. economic growth and reduction of the trade deficit.”



Minnesota Pig Farmer Shares Perspective on Gene Editing in Animal Agriculture


Pork producer Randy Spronk will represent the farm perspective during an ethics panel at CRISPRcon, June 4-5, in Boston. Through speakers, panels and interactive discussions, CRISPRcon offers a forum for gene editing stakeholders to share ideas, ask and answer questions, and explore the future of the technology. Spronk will join researchers, academics, human health experts, agriculture professionals, non-profit leaders and regulators at this conference organized by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT.

The future potential benefits of gene editing spans many aspects of life – from human and animal health to agriculture and conservation. Gene editing makes precise, intentional and beneficial changes in the genetic material of living things. As one of the tools used for gene editing, CRISPR technology shows tremendous promise for improvements in human health and food production.

“Gene editing will give us, as farmers, more options in how we produce pork in a way that is responsible for people, pigs and the planet,” said Spronk, a third-generation farmer from Edgerton, Minn. Spronk is a former president of the National Pork Producers Council who, along with his son, raises pigs, soybeans and corn.

Spronk will participate in the CRISPRcon closing panel, “Infinity and Beyond? Exploring and Determining Limits for Gene Editing.” Other panelists are Nnimmo Bassey, Health of Mother Earth Foundation; George Church, Wyss Institute at Harvard Medical School, and Rev. Kevin Fitzgerald, Georgetown University. The panel will be moderated by Tamar Haspel, Washington Post columnist. Spronk’s participation at CRISPRcon is supported by the Pork Checkoff and National Pork Producers Council.

One of the most devastating diseases to pigs is Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS). Before gene editing, there has not been an effective cure for the PRRS virus, which results in tremendous suffering and often premature death of affected pigs. Through gene editing, genetic resistance to PRRS can be created through a process that mirrors what could happen naturally or through traditional genetic selection. Decreasing PRRS cases would alleviate pigs’ suffering, reduce the use of medically important antibiotics, and help farmers keep pace with the growing demand for more and better food, while using fewer natural resources.

The agriculture community is keenly aware of uses for gene editing that can bring benefit to people through improved health and food, to pigs through enhanced animal welfare, and to the planet by producing more food with reduced natural resources.

“As a farmer and pork producer, I believe we should openly and transparently communicate the potential benefits and responsible use of gene editing,” Spronk said. “I welcome every chance I get to talk to people about how I farm, and the CRISPRcon event will provide a national platform to visit with many others about how we can use gene editing to improve food production.”



Ethanol Coalition Files Suit Against EPA’s Secretive Small Refinery Exemptions


The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and National Farmers Union (NFU), with support of Farmers Union Enterprises, today filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to challenge several waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted in secret to profitable refining companies.

The petitioners are challenging three EPA decisions, made under unusually clandestine proceedings, to exempt refineries in Wynnewood, Oklahoma; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Woods Cross, Utah from the RFS requirements of the Clean Air Act. The Wynnewood refinery is owned by Wynnewood Refining Company, a subsidiary of CVR Energy, and the Cheyenne and Woods Cross refineries are owned by Holly Frontier Corporation. The companies have since estimated in financial disclosures that the exemptions have saved them a collective $170 million in compliance costs.

When Congress enacted the RFS program a decade ago, it sought to protect certain small refineries from the law’s impacts temporarily by providing an exemption for refineries with no more than 75,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil throughput. After a two-year blanket exemption expired, Congress also allowed those same refineries to ask for extensions of the temporary exemption if they could show that compliance with the RFS program was causing that particular facility a “disproportionate economic hardship.” Until late last year, EPA only granted a handful of exemptions per year. EPA denied many extension requests, presumably because the refineries failed to meet one or more of these requirements for an extension. In recent months, EPA has granted over two dozen exemptions—including the ones challenged here—without providing any basis for its reversal.

“EPA is trying to undermine the RFS program under the cover of night,” said Bob Dinneen, CEO and President of RFA. “And there’s a reason it has been done in secret – it’s because EPA is acting in contravention of the statute and its own regulations, methodically destroying the demand for renewable fuels,” continued Dinneen. “With the little information we’ve been able to piece together through secondary sources, it’s clear that EPA has been extending these exemptions to refineries that didn’t qualify for them.”

Although EPA typically publishes its proposed actions and final decisions in the Federal Register, EPA has not followed those protocols for small refineries; nor has EPA even informed the public by any means that it had received or acted on such carve-out requests. Instead, the petitioners learned of the unprecedented number of exemptions second-hand, through media reports and secondary sources. 

“EPA left us with no choice but to challenge their systematic cuts to ethanol blending in the U.S. by distorting the intent of the law to grant secret hardship waivers to refineries which in some cases exceed the definition of ‘small’ and fall short of demonstrating ‘disproportionate economic hardship,’” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “We cannot sit by and allow EPA to violate the RFS which requires increasing the use of renewable fuels in the U.S.”

The petition also notes that EPA has consistently rejected all attempts to bring greater transparency to the small refinery exemption extension process. EPA has refused to provide even the most basic information requested in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from RFA and other parties. More surprisingly, the Agency has also ignored demands from members of Congress for the same essential facts.

“EPA’s improper handling of the RFS has significantly cut demand for biofuels grown and produced by American family farmers and their communities. The success of the law lies in the requirement that certain amounts of renewable fuel be blended into our transportation sector. Yet EPA has unlawfully allowed massive refineries to skirt compliance with these requirements, effectively reducing the amount of renewable fuels blended into the transportation sector by more than one billion gallons. These actions must be reversed immediately,” according to Roger Johnson, President NFU.

The petitioners are not challenging EPA’s underlying authority to exempt certain small refineries; rather they are challenging three granted exemptions as abuses of EPA’s authority. EPA should be forced to explain why an otherwise profitable refinery faces disproportionate hardship from compliance with the RFS. We want EPA to explain why it is reasonable for HollyFrontier, which apparently could not afford to comply with the RFS, could nonetheless afford to undertake a $1 billion stock share repurchase program during the same time—and that’s before the company received over $300 million in tax cuts last year. Likewise, the petitioners would like to understand how EPA could find hardship at CVR Energy, which reported a $23 million profit in the biofuels credit market in the first quarter of 2018 due to what it called a lower RFS obligation.

“With their rapidly rising profits, it’s difficult to see what economic hardship these refineries are facing. The apparent lack of hardship raises serious questions of why EPA granted these exemptions, which is compounded by the fact that there is zero transparency in EPA’s small refinery exemption process,” said Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “America’s corn farmers, who are expecting their fifth consecutive year of low commodity prices and who are experiencing the lowest net farm incomes since 2006, understand economic challenges. When refineries are reporting profit increases and repurchasing stock shares, we expect EPA to explain why these refineries were granted exemptions from their RFS volume obligations.”

In practice, EPA is attempting to use the small refinery exemptions to waive a significant part of the annual volumes of renewable fuel that are otherwise required to be blended into transportation fuel. Based on EPA data, RFA estimates that small refinery exemptions granted for the past two years have effectively reduced volumes of renewable fuel by as much as 1.6 billion gallons. In enacting the RFS program, however, Congress did not envision the small refinery exemption process would be abused in such a way.



NFU Condemns DOJ Approval of Monsanto Acquisition by Bayer


The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today approved German drug and chemical giant Bayer’s $62.5 billion acquisition of Monsanto. The deal will consolidate control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market and create the largest seed and crop chemicals company in the world.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the announcement:
“Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto culminates the latest and most disturbing round of consolidation amongst the handful of companies that control both U.S. and global agricultural markets. Three massive companies now control the markets that supply agricultural inputs like seeds, traits and chemicals. This extreme consolidation drives up costs for farmers and it limits their choice of products in the marketplace. It also reduces the incentive for the remaining agricultural input giants to compete and innovate through research and development.

“While we appreciate the significant divestitures agreed to as part of this approval, Farmers Union condemns DOJ’s continued rubber-stamping of mergers in the food and agriculture arena. We will now focus our efforts on ensuring the promises made by Bayer and Monsanto throughout this approval process are kept. The company must continue to increase the productivity of American family farmers by delivering localized solutions in seed, trait, and crop chemical innovation.”




CWT Assists with 4.5 Million Pounds of Cheese, Butter and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales


Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 202,825 pounds (92 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese, 1.661 million pounds (753 metric tons) of butter and 2.646 million pounds (1,200 metric tons) of whole milk powder, to customers in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from May through October 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 35.360 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 11.035 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 10.183 million pounds of whole milk powder to 25 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 649.002 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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



U.S. Dairy Groups Ask FDA Not to Use Same Imported Food Safety Oversight for Dairy as Being Applied to Foreign Shellfish


U.S. dairy producers and manufacturers offered to collaborate today with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to continue fostering dairy food safety and job growth, as the agency develops procedures for regulating imported foods, including shellfish and dairy.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) today asked for further engagement with FDA on ways to facilitate U.S. dairy exports, while expressing concerns that the manner in which the U.S. government is handling shellfish trade would pose a deep concern if that same process were applied to the trade of dairy foods.

At issue is FDA’s determination of whether a foreign country has “equivalent” food safety parameters as the United States. Equivalence is a process by which FDA can recognize other countries’ food safety measures as meeting an equivalent level of protection as provided by U.S. food safety measures, such as those mandated by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference or the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments.

In a letter sent today to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, NMPF and USDEC praised the commissioner’s commitment to “unlock economic opportunity…by creating new market access” and outlined the various ways in which the agency’s actions on dairy equivalence would need to differ dramatically from the process followed for establishing bilateral shellfish equivalency to safeguard U.S. consumers while addressing job-constraining foreign barriers to U.S. dairy products.

This spring, FDA published a notice in the Federal Register soliciting comments on its proposed finding that the EU’s food safety system for certain raw shellfish is equivalent to that in the United States. The notice represented the first time the agency has issued an equivalence determination. NMPF and USDEC filed detailed comments analyzing the notice’s potential implications for America’s dairy industry as FDA continues its ongoing Grade “A” dairy equivalence assessments of New Zealand, the European Union and Canada.

“While we recognize that the U.S. government has international obligations to be responsive to trading partners’ equivalency requests while still upholding high U.S. food safety standards, our trading partners likewise have their own obligations to not impose unduly burdensome or trade-distorting measures on U.S. exports,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.

“As part of the administration’s efforts to expand the U.S. economy and grow American jobs, FDA has a responsibility to safeguard our consumers while also working in tandem with our trade agencies to tear down foreign barriers to U.S. products,” Mulhern continued. “FDA’s scarce resources are best spent pursuing these goals in concert with one another by working with their inter-agency partners to make the best use of the agency’s skilled staff and taxpayer funds. Trade needs to be a two-way street; some of our trading partners understand that better than others.”

USDEC’s Chief Operating Officer, Matt McKnight, noted another area of the Notice that would be problematic were it applied to dairy trade: “American dairy producers in every state are governed by a uniform dairy food safety program which is overseen by FDA and provides consistently high food safety results for U.S. products exported all around the world, regardless of where in this country they were made.”

McKnight continued: “A dairy export deal that allowed only two states to access a foreign market, as is the case under this shellfish proposal, would create unacceptable commercial inequities in our industry. Our exporters face a lot of roadblocks around the world, particularly in the EU market. We look forward to working with FDA to fully address those barriers and ensure that all U.S. dairy products from all U.S. states have an equal opportunity to benefit from the agency’s work to tackle countries’ unjustified or overly burdensome requirements on American-made products.”

In the letter, NMPF and USDEC reiterated that their joint comments did not scrutinize the technical merits of FDA’s decision on the safety of EU shellfish, but rather focused on the process employed with the goal of ensuring it is not replicated with respect to dairy trade. The two organizations seek to work in partnership with FDA to pursue a dairy model that will successfully uphold U.S. food safety standards while facilitating the resolution of barriers to U.S. exports that limit job growth in the dairy sector.



Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. certified as Ag Data Transparent


Farmer’s Business Network, Inc., the leading and rapidly growing independent farmer-to-farmer network, recently completed Ag Data Transparent (ADT) third-party certification affirming that the FBN network’s data and analytics services are private and secure.

“The FBNSM network was created to help put Farmers FirstSM through the power of networking farmers and farm data,” said Charles Baron, co-founder of the FBN network. “Our values and mission have been crystal clear from inception and have never changed. We fight for our farmer members and their profitability. Transparency is a core philosophy of ours, and something we support wholeheartedly, whether in ag input markets or in ag data.” 

Ag Data Transparent is a non-profit corporation backed by a consortium of farm industry groups, commodity organizations and ag technology providers in order to bring transparency, simplicity, and trust into the contracts that govern precision agricultural technologies. Ag Data Transparent certification verifies that a business is following specific, fair guidelines for companies collecting, storing, analyzing, and using farmer's ag data.

“It is great to have Farmer’s Business Network, Inc., on board with the Ag Data Transparent effort,” said Ag Data Transparent Administrator Todd Janzen. “Achieving the Ag Data Transparent certification shows that the FBN network takes farmers’ concerns with of data privacy seriously.”

“FBN members use data analytics to gain yield with hybrid selection, reduce seed and chemical costs through price and genetic transparency, and market their crops aided by their precision field data,” said Baron. “The value created for growers from using data can be incredible -- tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in gains in a season. So we’re proud to achieve the Ag Data Transparent certification so growers step confidently into farming’s digital age.”

The FBN network provides farmers an independent, farmer-driven information and commerce network. In the past, important information such as fair market input prices, real-world seed performance, or optimal grain delivery points were hidden from farmers or difficult to determine. The FBN network makes all this information transparent in a no frills way – driven by member-contributed data from its over 23 million acres and 6,600 member farms.

Farmer’s Business Network, Inc., recently announced its international expansion to Canada in the first quarter of 2018. The FBN network is available throughout the United States and prairie provinces in Canada.

For more information, visit www.farmersbusinessnetwork.com.



Friday May 25 Cattle on Feed + Ag News
2018-05-26T04:29

NEBRASKA CATTLE ON FEED UP 9 PERCENT

Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.66 million cattle on feed on May 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 9 percent from last year.  Placements during April totaled 420,000 head, up 6 percent from 2017. Fed cattle marketings for the month of April totaled 430,000 head, up 10 percent from last year. Other disappearance during April totaled 20,000 head, up 5,000 head from last year.



IOWA CATTLE ON FEED REPORT


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 730,000 head on May 1, 2018, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 1 percent from April 1, 2018 but up 7 percent from May 1, 2017. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 555,000 head on feed, down 3 percent from last month and down 6 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,285,000 head, down 2 percent from last month but up 1 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during April totaled 80,000 head, a decrease of 25 percent from last month and down 16 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 34,000 head, down 11 percent from last month and down 17 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 114,000 head, down 21 percent from last month and down 16 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during April totaled 87,000 head, down 6 percent from last month but up 6 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 47,000 head, down 8 percent from last month and down 18 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 134,000 head, down 7 percent from last month and down 4 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 5,000 head.



United States Cattle on Feed Up 5 Percent

   
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.6 million head on May 1, 2018. The inventory was 5 percent above May 1, 2017. This is the second highest May 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

By State                (1,000 hd  - % May 1 '17)

Colorado .......:              940           98       
Iowa .............:               730          107     
Kansas ..........:            2,290          100         
Nebraska ......:            2,660          109      
Texas ............:            2,630          107       

Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.70 million head, 8 percent below 2017. Net placements were 1.63 million head. During April, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 320,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 230,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 415,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 445,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 205,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 80,000 head.

By State                (1,000 hd  - % April '17)

Colorado .......:              145            94     
Iowa .............:                80            84     
Kansas ..........:              380            90      
Nebraska ......:              420           106       
Texas ............:              385            84    

Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.80 million head, 6 percent above 2017.  Other disappearance totaled 63,000 head during April, 5 percent below 2017.

By State                (1,000 hd  - % April '17)

Colorado .......:             150           120    
Iowa .............:              87           106      
Kansas ..........:             420           109     
Nebraska ......:             430           110      
Texas ............:             445            99     



Heat Stress Resources 


Temperatures are climbing it's a good reminder to take the appropriate precautions to keep your cattle herd safe and well.

Key Points to Reduce Heat Stress
-    Supply access to abundant fresh water.  For every 1,000 lb of weight, cattle can require at least 20 gallons of water per day when the ambient temperature is above 80°F.
-    Provide sprinklers to wet pen floor.  Use sprinklers with large droplet size to keep pen floor and mounds cool for cattle to rest on.
-    Provide shade in pens.  Shading has shown to reduce solar heat load by 5-10°F for cattle resting under it.
-    Allow Airflow.  Move cattle away from windbreaks and allow as much airflow through the pens as possible during high heat and humidity events.
-    Process cattle in early mornings.  If cattle need to be handled, it is recommended to do it during early mornings before 10:00 a.m..

Nebraska Extension BQA Heat Stress Resources HERE...  https://bqa.unl.edu/heat-stress-resources



Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Announces Scholarship Recipients


The Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation (NCF) is pleased to announce it has awarded $54,200 in scholarships to students furthering their education goals in the 2018-2019 academic year.

“The Foundation strongly believes in the importance of a sound education for tomorrow’s industry leaders,” says Scott Knobbe, president of the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation. “Due to the generosity of many donors and the success of our Retail Value Steer Challenge fundraising project, the Foundation is able to provide this funding to these outstanding students to aid in their academic career.”

The 2018 Nebraska Cattlemen Beef State Scholarship was awarded to Hannah Esch of Unadilla. This premier scholarship is a $10,000 scholarship that was established in 2014 to support outstanding junior, senior or graduate level Nebraska resident students enrolled in a Nebraska college or university pursuing a beef industry related degree. Esch will be a junior this fall at the University of Nebraska pursuing an Animal Science degree, with minors in the Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars and Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship programs.

In addition to the Beef State Scholarship, the Foundation awarded 41 additional scholarships to the following students:
Chase Albers, Wisner – $1,200 Todd Ricenbaw Memorial Scholarship
Jayde Atkins, Broken Bow – $1,000 West Central Affiliate Scholarship
Mckenzie Beals, Friend – $1,200 Bill Heller Memorial Scholarship
Mekenzie Beattie, Sumner – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Sheldon Beierman, Albion – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Colten Bergt, Amherst – $1,200 Martin Viersen Range Management Memorial Scholarship
Emmet Caldwell, Edgar – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Corey Conway, Campbell – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Kailey Conway, Campbell – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Cassidy Curtis, Royal – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Payton Flower, Scottsbluff – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Austin Freeman, Pierce – $1,200 Nebraska Cattlemen Beef Pit Scholarship
Neleigh Gehl, Ericson – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Kathlyn Hauxwell, McCook – $1,200 Ron and Shirley Huss Scholarship
Colin Ibach, Sumner – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Devin Jakub, Brainard – $1,200 Bill Pullen Scholarship
Marissa Kegley, Kearney – $1,200 Col. Melvin Huss Memorial Scholarship
Sarah Kesterson, Bridgeport – $1,200 Donavan Yoachim Memorial Scholarship
Eric Klitz, West Point – $1,200 Bill Briggs Family Memorial Scholarship
Felicia Knoerzer, Elwood – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Malina Lindstrom, Elm Creek – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Jason Line, Miller – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Kelsey Loseke, Blair – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Shayln Miller, Norfolk – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship

Amanda Most, Ogallala – $1,200 Frank and Shirley Sibert Scholarship
Krista Ott, Wisner – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Kelsey Phillips, Mullen – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Jason Rainforth, Scribner – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Ralston Ripp, Kearney – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Jessica Rudolph, Gothenburg – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Alyssa Schmale, Carroll – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Ryan Schroeder, Lincoln – $1,200 Vance Uden Memorial Scholarship
Hannah Settje, Raymond – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Renae Sieck, Martell – $1,200 Vance Uden Memorial Scholarship
Isaac Stallbaumer, Oconto – $1,200 Cattlemen’s Open Scholarship
Colton Thompson, Eustis – $1,200 Clarence and Lois Jean Hartmann Scholarship
Emilye Vales, DeWitt – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Logan Van Anne, Gering – $1,200 Jim & Helen Gran Scholarship
Wesley Wach, Wauneta – $1,200 Robert F. Lute II Memorial Scholarship
Maverick Widdowson, Kearney – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
Elizabeth Yrkoski, Fullerton – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship

All scholarship recipients will be recognized at the Nebraska Cattlemen Midyear Meeting in Grand Island, Thursday, June 7, during the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Lunch.



NFBF taking applications for NRRF Scholarship


The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is now accepting applications for the Nebraska Rural Radio Foundation Scholarship in Honor of Max & Eric Brown.  This is a great opportunity for a non-traditional student!

Criteria:
- Must be 25 years old or older.
- Be legal residents of the United States.
- Show demonstrated commitment to the future of the industry of agriculture and rural communities in Nebraska.
- Be enrolled in post-secondary education institutions in Nebraska including, but not limited to - community college, technical school, or training programs.

Applications are due June 1.

Apply here: https://nefbfoundation.org/images/FOUndation/PDFs/2017-Application-Rural_Radio_Foundation_Scholarship.pdf



Iowa to Mark 5th Anniversary of Nutrient Reduction Strategy

A broad cross section of Iowa political, agricultural and community leaders will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy at 10:30 a.m. on May 29 at the Iowa State University BioCentury Research Farm, 1327 U Ave. near Boone.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, Bill Ehm, Environmental Services Division Administrator for the Iowa DNR, Hongwei Xin, Interim Director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and Assistant Dean for Research with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University, and EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford will speak at 11 a.m. to attendees.

The event is to celebrate the many farmers, landowners, communities, business, stakeholders and partners that have helped support the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy over the past five years and share the vision for the Strategy over the next 5 years and beyond.



Aspiring Iowa Ag Leaders Embark on Mission to Japan and Vietnam


Members of the Iowa Corn Leadership Enhancement and Development (I-LEAD) program Class 8 traveled to Japan and Vietnam on an international trade mission in March to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the global food system and to develop a deeper admiration for the views of U.S. agriculture’s international customers. The mission served as the capstone event as Class 8 wraps up their two-year program. Iowa Corn is now accepting applications for I-LEAD Class 9 at http://www.iowacorn.org/ilead. Iowa Corn developed the I-LEAD program in recognition that the future of Iowa agriculture depends on developing leaders who have a passion for agriculture.

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” stated ILEAD Class 8 Member TJ Page. “I would absolutely recommend it to anyone. I grew both personally and professionally from the experience. During the mission, we discovered how important agriculture is to each of these countries and what they import and export with the United States. We saw first-hand the work of U.S. Grains Council and the U.S. Meat Export Federation and how it translates back from the Iowa Corn Promotion Board’s investments.”

I-LEAD Class 8 began their journey in Vietnam with a briefing from a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) representative about the importance of Vietnam to U.S. agriculture exports.  Page said you could tell that Vietnam is a market ready to expand. “Outside China, it is one of the fastest growing economies, with additional economy prosperity, there will come an even greater need for protein. It is estimated that by the year 2050, Vietnam’s population will increase by 40 million and currently 60 percent of family income in Vietnam goes to food. They buy food daily and there is very little cold storage. There is also a huge market potential for U.S. ethanol. The sheer number of mopeds in South Vietnam was amazing. They cause 30 percent more emissions than a standard vehicle, and you see people wearing masks because of the air pollution. That’s a fantastic opportunity for cleaner-burning ethanol.”

Vietnam buys about $3 billion in U.S. agriculture products every year.  Many expect that number to increase as the country’s population increases and the citizens gain more wealth.  Vietnam has signed onto Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), so this will put the U.S. at a possible disadvantage with other competing countries importing to Vietnam.  

The class toured the Interflour port to see where bulk ships of imported grains offload into Vietnam. Vietnam buys about 8 million metric tons of corn and 1.2 million metric tons of DDGS every year.  The class also visited an ethanol plant outside of Ho Chi Min City.  In 2007, Vietnam passed an E5 ethanol mandate but has been in a trial period until 2018. The class also had dinner with grain buyers from Vietnam.  They discussed the opportunities and challenges the grain buyers face when importing corn.

“The mission provided class members the opportunity to meet with grain buyers and explore the region’s food, feed and fuel needs,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association Director Roger Wuthrich, a farmer from Bloomfield. “We gained insights about their ethanol industry and opportunities to increase ethanol blends.”

Next, I-LEAD Class 8 traveled to Tokyo, Japan which currently has the 3rd  largest GDP in the world, and a population of 130 million people.  However, due to aging citizens, the population is expected to decrease to 90 million people by 2060.  Japan also has a very open trade policy with trade agreements with many of America’s agricultural competing countries.

“We can learn a lot from Japan’s culture, the respect they convey to one another and the cleanliness of their cities,” explained Page. “History and culture are extremely important to the Japanese. It was important for us to get an understanding of the culture before meeting with Japanese companies.”

The class explored the AEON supermarket to understand how corn and meat products are sold in stores.  Page said Japan shoppers recognize U.S. products on the store shelves and will pay more for quality products. He said U.S. products have a good reputation for quality there.

They then traveled to Yamanashi Prefecture and had a courtesy call with the Vice  Governor.  Following a typhoon that hit  Japan in 1959, Iowa sent over hogs and corn to help the citizens of Yamanashi. The citizens, grateful for the aid, formed a sister-state relationship with Iowa which has lasted ever since.  The class learned about this relationship on their visit. 

One of the final stops in Japan included a tour of an agricultural high school.   Half of the high school graduates will attend college and the other half will enter the workforce. “When team members showed the students photos of their farms, they were amazed at the size of their operations. We were impressed by their high-tech classrooms and their student-run ice cream shop business,” said Page.

While on the mission, class members blogged about their experience, you can view their blog at http://www.iowacornstalk.com/.



SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES AGRICULTURAL FUNDING BILL


The Senate Appropriations Committee this week approved the fiscal 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill on a 31-0 vote. The legislation provides $145.1 billion in funding for fiscal 2019 – which begins Oct. 1 – to support federal agriculture, conservation and nutrition programs, $6.1 billion above the president’s budget request. Among the departments the measure funds are the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The Senate committee approval comes after the House Committee on Appropriations approved its version of the bill last week.



Expo Offers Information on Manure


North Dakota livestock producers and custom animal manure applicators will have a chance to improve their knowledge of manure nutrient use during the 2018 North American Manure Expo.

North Dakota State University Extension has teamed up with South Dakota State University, SDSU Extension and regional partners to host the event, which will be Aug. 15-16 at the Swiftel Center in Brookings, S.D.

"The North American Manure Expo will be a great opportunity for producers and custom applicators to learn about topics such as using manure as a crop fertilizer, nutrient management planning, soil health and water quality," says Mary Berg, Extension livestock environmental management specialist at NDSU's Carrington Research Extension Center.

The program will include a trade show; a manure agitation demonstration; a pump school; and educational sessions on topics including manure spreader calibration, manure-spreading equipment, water quality impacts of manure application during the winter, manure pit safety, spill prevention and response, and the economic value of manure as it relates to soil health. Participants also may take tours on moving manure on dairies, manure management systems and swine manure storage.

The expo is free of charge, but organizers encourage those planning to attend to preregister. The tours cost $20 and registration is required.  Details are here... http://www.manureexpo.org/



Dairy Farmers Have Until June 1 to Apply for Improved Safety Net under Dairy MPP


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds dairy farmers of the June 1 deadline to enroll in the improved Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy).  Many producers will see payments in early June, depending on the coverage they elect.

The program protects dairy producers by paying them based on the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost.  The 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act made several changes to the safety net program to provide better protections for dairy producers from shifting milk and feed prices.

“MPP-Dairy is an important, improved safety net tool for the dairy industry,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “We encourage all dairy producers to carefully weigh their options and make their way to one of our 2,100 FSA county offices nationwide to discuss signing up for the program before the June 1 deadline.”

Updates include:
-    Calculation of the margin period is monthly rather than bi-monthly.
-    Covered production is increased to 5 million pounds on the Tier 1 premium schedule, and premium rates for Tier 1 are substantially lowered.
-    An exemption from paying an administrative fee for limited resource, beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged producers. Dairy operators enrolled in the previous 2018 enrollment period that qualify for this exemption under the new provisions may request a refund.

Signup for 2018 will be retroactive to Jan. 1, of this year.  Margins for February and March 2018 have already been announced and payments for those months, along with potential payments for April, will be issued in June based on producer elections.

All dairy operations must make new coverage elections for 2018, even if the operation was enrolled during the previous 2018 signup period. Dairy producers should use the MPP-Dairy Decision Tool for support in making related enrollment decisions.

All dairy operations interested in MPP-Dairy coverage must sign up during the enrollment period and submit form CCC-782 to FSA to enroll. Dairy operations may still “opt out” by not submitting a form.

For more information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/dairy.



Dairy Outlook Report Continues to See Optimism for the Future


Just in time for summer, dairy producers are slowly starting to reap the benefits of good domestic sales and stronger exports. That's the assessment of Dr. Bob Cropp with the University of Wisconsin-Extension. In his monthly Dairy Situation and Outlook report, the professor emeritus said May is already experiencing increases in dairy product prices after exports set a record high in March on a total volume basis surpassing the previous record set in early 2014.

"If these dairy product prices can hold, average May prices compared to April on the CME could average about 4 cents per pound higher for butter, about 14 cents for cheddar barrels, four cents for 40-pound cheddar blocks, eight cents for nonfat dry milk, and three cents dry whey," Cropp noted. "As a result the May Class III price would be near $15.25 compared to $14.47 in April the low of $13.40 back in February. The May Class IV price would be near $14.45 compared to $13.48 in April and the low of $12.87 back in February."

His summary further stated that the price of butter, cheese, nonfat dry milk and dry whey remain lower than and competitive with world market prices. But milk prices are expected to strengthen and possibly top out in October or November.

"The degree of strength will continue to depend upon the level of milk production and dairy exports," he said. "The summer weather, quality of forages harvested and the condition of the corn and soybean crop that will impact feed costs will have a bearing on milk production this summer, fall and into winter."

Meanwhile, the USDA's recent April milk production report also shed some positive news for milk prices. Compared to April 2017, milk production was just 0.6-percent higher and milk cow numbers declined by 2,000 head from the month earlier. Cropp has been saying for months that milk production will need to slow down if prices are going to catch its footing again.

All told, the retired professor says the Class III milk price could reach near $16 by June and reach even higher in July and beyond. Cropp further expects dairy margins to improve, but that depends on what feed prices do over the remainder of the year.



U.S. Ethanol Exports Running Above Year-Ago Levels


For the 2017/18 marketing year, U.S. year-to-date exports of corn-based ethanol reached approximately 982 million gallons, up 16 percent from the past year, according to the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.

Although Brazil imposed a 20 percent tariff (40 million gallons per quarter) on imports of U.S. ethanol at the beginning of the marketing year, it has not affected demand as expected.

Brazil continued as the top importer of U.S. ethanol, with 348 million gallons, up 13 percent from last year.

U.S. exports of ethanol to China, currently the fourth largest importer of U.S. ethanol, reached 77 million gallons, up 57 percent compared to last year.

Year-to-date exports of ethanol to Europe and South Korea are also up compared to the same time last year.



New Study: ‘Efforts to Limit HPO Would Increase Risks to Farmers’


Just before the U.S. House of Representatives was set to vote on a Farm Bill amendment that would’ve crippled crop insurance, a Kansas State University economist sent key policymakers a note alerting them to a new study that shed light on the negative impact of reducing revenue insurance coverage.

The study he circulated was not produced by Kansas State, but its contents were so timely and so significant, that he felt compelled to help its authors at the University of Illinois spread the word.

That paper, by Illinois professors Gary Schnitkey and Jonathan Coppess, examined how farmers use revenue crop insurance tools like the Harvest Price Option (HPO) to help them forward contract their commodities.

“Recent criticism of crop insurance suggests that amendments could be placed in the Farm Bill to curtail HPO coverage,” the authors wrote.  “As a result, understanding farmers pre-harvest hedging activities is important.”

Very little information existed about how farmers use these kinds of techniques, so Schnitkey and Coppess began their work with a survey of Midwest growers.

“Survey results indicate that farmers use what can be termed prudent hedging strategies prior to harvest for marketing their crops,” the authors explained.  In fact, the survey found that 84% of Midwest farmers hedged a portion of their anticipated crop.

The study succinctly explained how it works:
Pursuant to a forward contract, a farmer agrees to deliver grain to a country elevator or processor at some point in the future, often near harvest time, but based on futures market prices at the time of the contract. This legally-binding contract locks in the price for the delivered grain as a hedge against lower prices at the time of delivery. While advantageous to the farmer in terms of protecting against lower prices, it also comes with risks that prices will increase, often as a result of lower yields for the crop nationally. In extreme situations, a farmer with significant yield losses may not have enough bushels to fulfill the contractual obligations and will need to purchase bushels to make delivery; bushels purchased in such a situation could well be at a higher price than the farmer contracted.

And that’s where HPO comes in.  Farmers pay more for the insurance option. It indemnifies losses at harvest-time prices rather than planting-time prices, enabling farmers to purchase enough commodity off the open market to fulfill their forward contract.

Without access to HPO, as some agricultural opponents are advocating, farmers would reduce pre-harvest hedging, the study found, and introduce even more risk into farming.  This is particularly troubling considering the survey also found that the farmers who most use these techniques also report to obtain the bulk of their families’ incomes from the farm.

“In other words, those impacted the most by this policy change (eliminating HPO) are those who most rely on farming for their family income,” the study concluded.  “Congressional efforts to limit HPO would increase risks to farmers.”

Lawmakers in the House overwhelmingly defeated the amendment designed to harm crop insurance, though it still needs to pass the Farm Bill.  The Senate is slated to begin its Farm Bill deliberations soon, where critics are again expected to attack HPO and other components of farmers’ primary risk management tool.



Thursday May 24 Ag News
2018-05-24T11:12

Coalition Focuses on Protecting Nebraska Water Users

The Lower Platte River Basin Coalition, which includes all seven Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) in the Loup, Elkhorn, and Lower Platte River Basins, and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NeDNR) has, after several years of work, adopted and now initiated implementation of a voluntary basin-wide water management plan that sets criteria for managing new water development in the Lower Platte River (basin). The jointly-developed plan implements goals and objectives that work to protect the existing domestic, agricultural, and industrial water uses in the Basin.  The Coalition partners worked to use the best available science to evaluate the balance of supply and demands in the Basin that begins in Nebraska’s water-rich sandhills and ends at the confluence of the Platte and Missouri Rivers, covering more than 25,000 square miles, or nearly one-third of Nebraska.

This unique Basin provides water for irrigation that sustains the area’s agricultural economy, drinking water for more than half of Nebraska’s residents, as well as other important industrial and instream water demands.

“This proactive partnership worked to voluntarily develop a plan for the future conjunctive management of the groundwater and surface water systems in this important river basin,” Russell Callan, General Manager, Lower Loup NRD, said.  “Nebraska’s locally-driven groundwater management system, through NRDs, is a unique and strong approach for our state. This comprehensive basin-wide plan is another example of local and state jurisdictional entities working in partnership to protect all of Nebraska’s water users, protecting lives, Nebraskans’ property and our economic future, Callan said

For more than 45 years, locally-elected NRD boards have successfully worked to address local groundwater quantity and quality management challenges. Water managers have recognized that what occurs in the sandhills of the upper portions of the Loup and Elkhorn Basins impacts the Lower Platte River Basin near Lincoln and Omaha’s water supplies in the lower portion of the Basin. Likewise, changes in a variety of water demands in the lower part of the Basin can impact the upper portion of the Basin. This Basin planning effort improves the collaboration between groundwater and surface water jurisdictions and managers across the whole Basin and establishes a framework for continually assessing impacts and identifying opportunities for more efficient uses of Nebraska’s water. The plan also encourages local NRD and stakeholders to work together with the state to consistently gather and share data, apply technical analyses that will be used for long-term monitoring, and establish benchmarks to maintain water sustainability across the entire Basin.

“The fact that seven locally elected boards with varying local priorities were able to voluntarily sit down with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and develop a plan that works to protect all water uses now and for the future, as a foundation to grow our economy, while also ensuring our most precious natural resource is protected, is a valuable outcome for all water users in the state,” said Jeff Fassett, Director of NeDNR.

Results from the water balance study that was developed by the Coalition indicated that, on an average annual basis, supply in the Basin exceeds the existing demands. Recognizing the opportunity this presents, but also wanting to be always aware of periodic droughts and protective of the long-term sustainability of the Basin’s water supply, the Coalition partners developed a measured, incremental approach to allowing additional new uses. The adopted plan developed targets for allowable development at no more than 10% of the current identifiable long-term average excess waters during the first five-year increment of the plan. It is up to each local NRD board, along with NeDNR, to determine if and how they want to allow for the development of any new groundwater and surface water uses. The plan also lays out a process for annual collection and reporting of important data that will be used to monitor the plan’s implementation. Each member will report to the Coalition annually on any new water uses and their associated streamflow depletions or projects developed to mitigate streamflow depletions.

“While this first increment uses the best science available today, an incremental approach ensures we will continue to use the best available science,” Mike Sousek, General Manager, Lower Elkhorn NRD, said. “We want Nebraskans to benefit from the available excess water, but we also want to avoid a situation where we exceed the available secure and reliable water supplies. This careful, incremental approach and annual reporting will allow us to continually assess changes, adapt, and adjust as needed to ensure existing users are protected,” Sousek said.

While the long-term historic Basin streamflows highlight the overall positive balance in the Basin, unfortunately, much of the identified usable supplies occurs during the non-peak water use season, or fall and winter months, when demands for the excess water are much less. But to water managers in the Basin, this average excess supply represents an opportunity for implementing more effective management strategies going forward.

“This plan is a proactive approach to address sound water management, which is the number one priority in the world,” said John Winkler, General Manager, Papio-Missouri River NRD.  “By capturing and storing some of the water during the non-peak period, those flows can be retimed for delivery during the peak demand periods, not only helping to meet demands during times of drought or when dry conditions warrant, but also mitigating flood potential during extreme excess flow events,” Winkler said.

Other efforts by the Lower Platte South, Lower Platte North, and Papio-Missouri River NRDs, in partnership with the Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD), the Lincoln Water System, and NeDNR are looking at opportunities to further address drought periods and when peak demands overlap periods when streamflows are at their lowest.

“The Basin-Wide Plan is really a step forward for everyone in the Basin,” Paul Zillig, General Manager, Lower Platte South NRD, said.  “In conjunction with our own drought mitigation planning, the plan allows for potential upstream development, while protecting existing and future municipal, industrial, and instream water demands downstream.”



Ricketts Welcomes Indonesia’s Consul General to Nebraska


Today, Governor Pete Ricketts welcomed Indonesia’s Consul General, Rosmalawati Chalid.  Ms. Chalid serves as the Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia in Chicago.

“Nebraska and Indonesia not only share important trade relationships, but also partner to address global challenges related to food shortage, water conservation, and land use,” said Governor Ricketts.  “The State of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska will continue working together to deepen our trade and research ties.”

Nebraska exported around $82 million in products to Indonesia in 2016, over three-quarters of which were agricultural or food-related, such as beef, soybeans, and animal feed.  Indonesia has the world’s fourth-highest population, which is expected to increase to 322 million by 2050, giving Nebraska products great growth opportunities.  The population’s consumption of beef, for example, is anticipated to double.

Consul General Chalid expressed her country’s desire to deepen the trade and investment relationships between Indonesia and Nebraska.

"Indonesia would like to develop more strategic trade partnerships with Nebraska, as well as seek potential products for export and import cooperation on both sides,” the Consul General said.

During the visit, Ms. Chalid invited Nebraska business leaders to attend an upcoming international trade conference. 

“To familiarize themselves with Indonesia’s best products, as well as to explore trade and investment opportunities and establish networking with Indonesian business leaders, I would like to invite Nebraska businesses to attend the 33rd Trade Expo Indonesia on October 24-28, 2018,” the Consul General said.

Nebraska and Indonesia share a history of collaboration.  With half of Indonesia covered in pristine natural forests, its government is committed to maximizing local agricultural yields to support the growing population, while minimizing impacts to the environment.  Nebraska’s agricultural expertise has been valuable to this effort.

In 2016, Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture recruited researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), led by agronomist Patricio Grassini, to deploy a cutting edge technique used in countries around the world to increase crop production.  The “Global Yield Gap Atlas,” developed by UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR), can estimate gaps between crop potential and actual yields on a given piece of land, based on soil and water conditions.  This helps researchers identify regions with the greatest potential for crop intensification.  It can also help governments gain a better understanding of quantities of food that can be grown at home, versus amounts that need to be imported.  Today, the Atlas is being used in at least 15 Indonesian provinces to intensify rice and corn production.

In 2016, researchers from Indonesia’s Agency for Agriculture Research and Development visited Lincoln for a six-week agricultural training program, learning about techniques such as crop modeling and soil analysis, and interacting with farmers and equipment manufacturers to gain firsthand experience.

“The research partnerships that have evolved between Indonesia and Nebraska have been invaluable in our efforts to ensure a sustainable, secure food system to support our growing population, while safeguarding our environment,” said Chalid. “They have also helped all parties involved gain more expertise working together to solve problems that impact the world as a whole.”

Following a meeting with Governor Ricketts and a press conference, Ms. Chalid and her delegation visited with representatives from IANR, LI-COR Biosciences, and the U.S. Grains Council.  Topics centered on strengthening the trade and agricultural partnerships between Indonesia and Nebraska.



Record High Pork Production for April


Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.28 billion pounds in April, up 8 percent from the 3.97 billion pounds produced in April 2017.

Beef production, at 2.12 billion pounds, was 8 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.64 million head, up 7 percent from April 2017. The average live weight was up 9 pounds from the previous year, at 1,334 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.1 million pounds, 4 percent above April a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 42,800 head, up 10 percent from April 2017. The average live weight was down 12 pounds from last year, at 245 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.14 billion pounds, up 8 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.99 million head, up 7 percent from April 2017. The average live weight was up 2 pounds from the previous year, at 287 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 12.4 million pounds, was up 8 percent from April 2017. Sheep slaughter totaled 181,000 head, 1 percent above last year. The average live weight was 137 pounds, up 9 pounds from April a year ago.

By State            (million lbs    -    % April '17)

Nebraska ........:          635.6            107      
Iowa ...............:          630.5            111      
Kansas ............:          453.4            110      

January to April 2018 commercial red meat production was 17.4 billion pounds, up 4 percent from 2017. Accumulated beef production was up 4 percent from last year, veal was up 1 percent, pork was up 5 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was up 4 percent.



IOWA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE SUSPENDS GRAIN DEALER LICENSE OF REDWOOD COMMODITIES GROUP OF MISSION, KANSAS

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has immediately suspended the grain dealer license for The Redwood Commodities Group, LLC of Mission, Kansas. As a result of this action, Redwood Commodities Group is forbidden to operate as a grain dealer within Iowa until further order of the Department and must surrender any grain dealer certificates to the Department.

The suspension is based upon the company’s failure to file the required information with the Grain Warehouse Bureau in accordance with Iowa Code 203. The Redwood Group’s license was suspended in accordance with Iowa Code Chapter 203.  A hearing on the Department’s action is set for June 25, 2018.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Grain Warehouse Bureau regulates and examines the financial solvency of grain dealers and grain warehouse operators. The functions of the Bureau include: warehouse licensing, warehouse examination, grain dealer licensing and grain dealer examinations.



Farm And Ethanol Plant Tours Highlight Biofuel Opportunities For Asian Buyers, Regulators


Following the Ethanol Summit of the Asia-Pacific held this week in Minneapolis, visitors from more than 17 countries in Asia and Oceania are touring the U.S. Midwest to learn how the U.S. ethanol industry developed and helps meet the country’s – and the world’s – biofuels goals.

Four teams of producers, traders, government officials and business people are in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Wisconsin, hosted by state corn organizations and local ethanol facilities, sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), which works to develop overseas demand for U.S. feed grains and their products, like ethanol.

Their visits follow the Summit activities, hosted with Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association, that offered participants access to high-level U.S. ethanol industry members and extensive information on how ethanol is used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), improve air quality, and provide economic benefits to ethanol stakeholders.

“We appreciate our state partners hosting these important groups of high-level officials from Asia so they have a better understanding of our ethanol story in the U.S.,” said Deb Keller, U.S. Grains Council Chairman and Iowa farmer. “Allowing these representatives to see the entire ethanol value chain – from farmers to industry – will give them a clearer idea of how ethanol contributes meaningfully to the environmental, human health and economics benefits of those who use them.”

The post-Summit tours provide an on-the-ground experience including stops at gas stations, feedlots, farms and, of course, ethanol plants.

A team including participants from China, Korea and Taiwan is visiting Iowa; a team including participants from India, Bangladesh and the Philippines is visiting Kansas; a team with participants from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam is visiting Nebraska; and a team with participants from Australia, Myanmar, Pakistan and New Zealand is visiting Wisconsin.

“The U.S. Grains Council has been working with many of our Asian partners for years, and while there are occasional trade hurdles to surpass, each understands how important open and ongoing trade efforts are, especially regarding ethanol,” said Keller. “We appreciate just how helpful our Asian partners are in developing the ethanol markets in this region of the world,” said Keller.

The U.S. Grains Council is working strategically in international ethanol market development with partners including Growth, RFA, corn state checkoffs and others in the U.S. ethanol industry. This builds on nearly 60 years of work in overseas offices building demand for U.S. corn, sorghum and barley growers as well as ethanol and DDGS producers.

“The combination of global presence, market access and market development works to ensure this long-standing partnership between the United States and our Asian trading partners is here to stay,” said Keller. 



Senior Administration Officials to Address Pork Producers at World Pork Expo


Ambassador Gregg Doud, chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and Greg Ibach, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, will address investors of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) at World Pork Expo on June 6 and 7. Under Secretary Ibach speaks on June 6; Ambassador Doud speaks on June 7. Hosted by NPPC in Des Moines, Iowa each year, World Pork Expo is the world’s largest pork sector gathering of its kind.

“We are honored to have Ambassador Doud and Under Secretary Ibach join us at World Pork Expo,” said Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio and president of the National Pork Producers Council. “We look forward to hearing from two senior Trump administration officials who play a major role in setting policy and creating export opportunities at a time when U.S. pork’s growth prospects have never been greater.”

Ambassador Doud’s confirmation as USTR’s chief agricultural negotiator on March 1, 2018, was widely supported by pork producers and other American farmers. He previously served as president of the Commodity Markets Council and was a senior aide to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Ambassador Doud grew up on a farm in Kansas.

Mr. Ibach’s confirmation on October 26, 2017, as USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs was also widely supported by American agriculture. He is responsible for facilitating domestic and international marketing of U.S. agricultural products and ensuring the health of animals and plants. He oversees the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. A farmer from Nebraska, Mr. Ibach previously served as Nebraska’s Director of Agriculture.



House to Vote Again on Farm Bill on June 22


The House on passed a resolution that action on the farm bill "may continue to be postponed through the legislative day of Friday, June 22, 2018."

The resolution follows the House's failure to pass the farm bill last Friday and the introduction of a motion to reconsider the bill. A roll call vote on Friday was interrupted, but the measure to postpone action was included in a rule on other legislation.

House leadership's plan to bring up the farm bill for another vote appears to be dependent on the resolution of conflict among House Republicans over how to handle the immigration issue. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said he is staying on the sidelines of the immigration battle but watching it closely, Politico reported.

Meanwhile, the Food and Environment Reporting Network said today that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., told a Bloomberg reporter that the markup on the committee's farm bill will be June 6.

A Roberts spokesperson said no date has been set, but Roberts said last week he hopes that he and Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., can make a joint announcement this week on a date for the markup of a bipartisan bill.



H-2A Agricultural Worker Visa Modernization Joint Cabinet Statement

Secretary Acosta, Secretary Nielsen, Secretary Perdue, and Secretary Pompeo


When President Trump addressed the American Farm Bureau Federation in January of this year, he reminded the audience that his commitment to our farmers has been clear since the day his Administration began:  “From that day on, we have been working every day to deliver for America’s farmers just as they work every single day to deliver for us.” 

In keeping with that commitment, our Departments are working in coordination to propose streamlining, simplifying, and improving the H-2A temporary agricultural visa program – reducing cumbersome bureaucracy and ensuring adequate protections for U.S. workers.

The Trump Administration is committed to modernizing the H-2A visa program rules in a way that is responsive to stakeholder concerns and that deepens our confidence in the program as a source of legal and verified labor for agriculture – while  also reinforcing the program’s strong employment and wage protections for the American workforce.  In addition, by improving the H-2A visa program and substantially reducing its complexity, the Administration also plans to incentivize farmers’ use of the E-Verify program to ensure their workforce is authorized to work in the United States.

As the agencies tasked with administering or facilitating the H-2A visa program, and thus closest to farmer and labor stakeholders, the Departments of State, Agriculture, Labor, and Homeland Security are embarking on a process to modernize the H-2A visa program by clarifying and improving the regulations governing the program.  We look forward to delivering a more responsive program soon.



Sorghum Checkoff Announces Leadership Sorghum Class IV


The Sorghum Checkoff is pleased to announce the members of Leadership Sorghum Class IV. Leadership Sorghum is a program hosted by the Sorghum Checkoff designed to develop the next generation of sorghum leaders and advocates.

“The success of any industry lies within its ability to create leaders,” said Verity Ulibarri, Sorghum Checkoff Chairwoman. “With the growing population and demand for agricultural products, we need producers to promote our industry in a positive, well-informed way, and Leadership Sorghum serves this purpose.”

Fourteen farmers from five states have been selected to participate in the program’s fourth class:
Auden Aranda - Keyes, Oklahoma
John Bergkamp - Garden Plain, Kansas
Jon Berning - Scott City, Kansas
Dustin Borden - Gruver, Texas
Michael Brooks - Walsh, Colorado
Matthew Davis - Manhattan, Kansas
Jaden DeVore - Cheney, Kansas
Jace Gibbs - Dighton, Kansas
David Junker - McCook, Nebraska
Larry Kendig - Osborne, Kansas
Kevin Pshigoda - Perryton, Texas
Cole Rohr - Quinter, Kansas
Tony Watson - Healy, Kansas
Matthew Winters - Canyon, Texas

“Leadership Sorghum benefits the sorghum industry by developing leaders for tomorrow and prepares the producer to advocate on a local, regional and national platform,” said Shelee Padgett, Leadership Sorghum program director. “Producer leaders are essential to moving our industry forward, and we are excited for the opportunity to work with Class IV so they can become better equipped to advocate for their operation and our industry.”

Through both hands-on and classroom-style education, participants will gain an understanding of how sorghum moves through the value chain, how checkoffs and interest groups interact on behalf of the industry and what the future holds for the crop. Leadership Sorghum also provides professional development training and networking opportunities. For more information about the Leadership Sorghum program, visit www.LeadSorghum.com.



IGC Shaves Down 2017-2018 Global Grain Forecast


The International Grains Council (IGC) said Thursday that it has trimmed its forecast for global grain production in 2017-2018 to 2,091 million metric tons due to lower expected soybean production.

The new forecast is a decrease of 2 million tons from the previous 2,093 million-ton forecast and a 2.3% drop from the previous season's record 2,139 million tons, the IGC said.

The IGC raised its 2018-2019 production forecast, upping last month's estimate by 1 million tons to 2,089 million tons. That figure would mark a second season of declining production after 2016-2017's record high. The IGC data revealed that an increase in corn and rice forecasts outweighed reduced soybean and wheat predictions.

Driving the fall in the 2017-2018 global grain forecast was a 3 million-ton drop in expected soybean production, now seen at 336 million tons. Corn forecasts shed 2 million tons to 1,044 million tons and the IGC's rice estimate rose by 2 million tons to 488 million tons. The report said estimated wheat production remained at 758 million tons.



Bushel Announces $7M Investment


Bushel™ today announced a $7 million private investment round to accelerate its patent-pending digital platform for the grain industry.

The funding was led by private investors in the agriculture and software industries. The investment will be used to expand Bushel’s reach; accelerate new features, research and development and customer success; and continue evaluating strategic acquisition opportunities.

Nearly a year following its launch in June 2017, Bushel has expanded its footprint from ten pilot locations in North Dakota to more than 400+ elevator and ethanol plant locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. More than 20,000 growers have access to Bushel-powered apps today.

"This investment will allow us to continue the acceleration of Bushel’s product roadmap, while continuing to onboard and serve grain facilities on the Bushel platform,” said Jake Joraanstad, Bushel CEO and co-founder. “Our vision for Bushel is to be the number one digital platform for the grain industry that strengthens, and makes more efficient, the relationship between grain buyers and growers.”

Bushel has been adopted by many of the leading grain elevators, cooperatives and ethanol plants in the U.S. and Canada, including Landus Cooperative, Agtegra and Flint Hills Resources. These companies provide branded versions of Bushel’s mobile platform to growers so they can access real-time information on scale tickets, contract settlements, cash-bids and more. Growers are quickly adopting Bushel because it is a free, convenient and efficient way to do business online with their trusted grain buyers.

“Over the last two decades software for grain facilities has not changed much,” said Ryan Raguse, Bushel chairman and co-founder. “Our Bushel platform embarked on a journey to change that. Our software feels easy to use because it was thoughtfully designed and built by highly collaborative software engineers, designers, and a team full of people who understand the fundamentals of farming.”

Bushel incorporates a wide variety of technologies to power the robust, efficient and scalable digital platform. The incorporated technologies allow fragmented systems to better interact, a secure cloud-based infrastructure, an API to scale for an evolving and expanding ecosystem and best-in-class communication capabilities.

Bushel’s last funding round raised $1.5 million in June 2017 through private investors. In December 2017, Myriad Mobile acquired Omaha-based iNet Solutions Group, including their FarmCentric agribusiness platform. Just last week, Bushel launched eSignature capabilities within the Bushel platform as a premium feature add-on. Myriad Mobile’s custom software development division will continue to provide ongoing strategy, design and development services, with a particular interest in agriculture-based client work.



Brookside Agra Establishes Product Protocol for Safe, Odor-free Composting of Animal Carcasses


With increasing concerns over ground water contamination, aesthetics and expenses associated with traditional burying, burning and pick-up of animal carcasses, today's animal farmers are turning to a more acceptable, cost-effective method of carcass disposal -- composting.

Turning the carcasses of poultry, swine, horses, cattle and other animals into a rich humus that can be used/sold as a fertilizer or soil amendment has become a profitable solution for many animal farmers; the downside is the strong odors, insects and varmints that can accompany carcass composting.

Brookside Agra has formulated an all-natural solution with its Advanced Bio Pro Concentrate™ and composting protocol. Advanced Bio Pro Concentrate is an innovative, all-natural proprietary liquid blend of stable, highly active microorganisms, enzymes and bio-stimulants  that degrade  ammonia ions, amines, hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans. When mixed with water and applied to animal carcasses, Advanced Bio Pro Concentrate works to increase the activity rate of both naturally occurring and bio augmented microbes to:
-    Remove 95% of odor within three days
-    Absorb odors until bacteria can digest organics
-    Reduce composting time by 30-50%
-    Reduce ammonia emission by 50% within minutes
-    Control hazardous gases
-    Help meet discharge parameters
-    Eliminate fruit fly and mosquito larvae

Advanced Bio Pro Concentrate is also safe and effective for eliminating odors and controlling insects and varmint in swine buildings, poultry houses, manure piles, pet runs, food processing areas, garbage holding areas, processing plants, barns, trailers and more.  Advanced Bio Pro Concentrate is recognized on the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) list which is approved by the FDA and AAFCO.

Brookside Agra has developed an effective, simple protocol for using Advanced Bio Pro Concentrate to compost animal carcasses. A video explaining the process can be viewed online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2_bysyZoXY.



Wednesday May 23 Ag News
2018-05-23T11:16

Sasse Introduces Livestock Haulers Legislation

Today, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse led a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act. Currently, overly strict trucking regulations from the Department of Transportation require mandatory rest time that put livestock at risk, especially during summer or winter months. Senator Sasse’s bipartisan legislation would give American agriculture the flexibility to safely transport livestock.

“Nebraska’s economy runs on agriculture," said Senator Sasse. "Our ranchers and haulers are professionals who make the well-being of livestock their top priority and that includes safe transportation. The Department of Transportation’s current regulations endanger livestock during hot summers and cold winters — which Nebraskans know well — causing significant stress on the animals and concern for the drivers. This bipartisan bill is good for our ranchers, good for our haulers, and good for our livestock.”

Background:

On December 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) required commercial vehicle drivers to install an electronic logging device (ELD) in their truck to track compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) rules. FMCSA exempted livestock haulers from this requirement until March 18, 2018 and a congressional delay has extended it through September 30, 2018.

Currently, for livestock and insects, HOS rules require that haulers turn on their ELD after they cross a 150-air mile radius of the origin of their load (such as cattle).  After crossing a 150-air mile radius, haulers must start tracking their on-duty time and can only drive 11 hours before taking a mandatory 10-hour rest time.

The inflexibility of these regulations will be costly for haulers and place the well-being and welfare of insects, cattle, hogs, and other livestock at risk. Current law does not allow flexibility for livestock and insects to reach their destination given the vast geography of production and processing facilities, most often spanning from coastal states to the Midwest.  Extended stops for a hauler, which would be necessitated by these HOS regulations, are especially dangerous for livestock during summer or winter months; high humidity and winter temperatures with below freezing windchills cause significant stress on livestock.

The Transporting Livestock Across America Safely (TLAAS) Act addresses these problems and eases the burden of these far-reaching HOS and ELD regulations for haulers of livestock or insects.

Specifically, the Sasse legislation:

-    Provides that HOS and ELD requirements are inapplicable until after a driver travels more than 300-air miles from their source. Drive time for HOS purposes does not start until after 300-air mile threshold. 
-    Exempts loading and unloading times from the HOS calculation of driving time.
-    Extends the HOS on-duty time maximum hour requirement from 11 hours to a minimum of 15 hours and a maximum of 18 hours of on-duty time.
-    Grants flexibility for drivers to rest at any point during their trip without counting against HOS time.
-    Allows drivers to complete their trip – regardless of HOS requirements – if they come within 150-air miles of their delivery point.
-    After the driver completes their delivery and the truck is unloaded, the driver will take a break for a period that is 5 hours less than the maximum on-duty time (10 hours if a 15-hour drive time).  

Sasse was joined by Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Doug Jones (D-AL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Jon Tester (D-MT).



Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Sen. Sasse Bill to Address Livestock Transport


“On behalf of the members of the Nebraska Farm Bureau I want to thank Sen. Ben Sasse for introducing the ‘Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act.’ Today, livestock haulers are forced to operate under strict regulations that fail to recognize the unique needs that exist in the transport of live animals, including bees. In many instances, these regulations force drivers to have animals on trucks longer than necessary, needlessly exposing them to the elements in winter and summer months. Sen. Sasse’s legislation will drive needed changes to ensure our transportation regulations reflect the ideals of modern livestock farming and transport that are founded in the principals of reducing animal stress.”

“This is an important issue as livestock and agriculture production are major contributors to Nebraska’s local and state economies and the ability to transport livestock in timely and safe manners plays a major role in the success of Nebraska’s livestock sector.”

“We are fortunate to have both of our senators working to address this long-standing issue. Sen. Deb Fischer has also been very active in working with the Trump Administration to address our concerns through the regulatory process. We appreciate the work of both Sen. Fischer and Sen. Sasse to provide a one-two punch of both regulatory and legislative solutions to provide flexibility to farmers, ranchers, and truckers who have long struggled to operate within the current regulatory framework.”



NCBA Applauds Introduction of Legislation Addressing Hours of Service Changes for Livestock Haulers


The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today applauded the introduction of the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely (TLAAS) Act, saying it would reform federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules in a way that ensures animal welfare, highway safety, and the well-being of livestock haulers. The bill was introduced today by U.S. Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Jerry Moran of Kansas, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Jon Tester of Montana, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Marco Rubio of Florida, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Pat Roberts of Kansas, and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

“The current Hours of Service rules for livestock haulers present big challenges for our industry and can often jeopardize the health and well-being of livestock,” said NCBA President and fifth-generation California rancher Kevin Kester. “Hauling livestock is inherently different than hauling products like paper towels or bottles of water. Live cattle can’t simply be left unattended in a trailer – especially in very hot or cold weather – for extended periods of time, and this bill takes that into account. Senator Sasse deserves a lot of credit for his leadership on this issue, and we thank all of the original cosponsors who stepped up to show their support for livestock haulers and cattle producers across this country.”

Livestock haulers are scheduled to have to start using Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to track their driving times and distances on Oct. 1, 2018. Under current rules, they would be required to turn on their ELDs after crossing out of the 150-air-mile radius from their loading point, after which they can only drive for 11 hours before taking a mandatory 10-hour break.

The TLAAS Act takes into full consideration the fact that there are living and breathing animals on the trailer that must be kept moving, and that they must get to their destination as quickly and as safely as possible.  This bill provides for more drive time for livestock haulers, as well as granting the flexibility for drivers to rest at any point during the trip without the break counting against HOS time. This bill also allows for another 150 air mile exemption on the back end of a livestock haul to account for the wait time that occurs when unloading live animals.

“Given the unique nature of livestock hauling – often very long distances between cow-calf operations and feedlots or processing facilities – and the fact that we’re transporting live animals that must be treated humanely – this legislation is vitally important and I think it strikes a balance coupled with common sense for everybody involved,” Kester added. “I hope Congress will pass this bill as quickly as possible so we can have this issue resolved before the ELD mandate for livestock haulers goes into effect on Oct.1.”



WELLMAN PARTICIPATES IN TRADE MISSION TO CHINA, HIS FIRST AS NDA DIRECTOR


Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman is currently attending his first international trade mission as NDA director. Wellman is part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade mission to Southern China, May 21-25, 2018. The trade mission trip, led by USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, includes government ag leaders and representatives from many agribusiness companies and organizations.

“Southern China is a major import hub and a growing market for U.S. agricultural products,” said NDA Director Wellman. “Like Nebraska-led trade missions, USDA trade missions open doors and deliver results for farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.”

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service staff members living in China helped arrange meetings between trade mission delegates and representatives of companies in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Guangdong Province, where Guangzhou and Shenzhen are located, is the largest province in all of China in terms of population, GDP, retail and e-commerce sales.

“Consumers around the world want to know more about their food and Nebraska agriculture,” said Wellman. “This trade mission is an excellent chance to interact with consumers and agribusiness leaders in Southern China, show them the quality ag products that the state has to offer, and learn first-hand about potential opportunities and strategies for boosting Nebraska’s ag exports to that region.”

In 2016, total agricultural exports from Nebraska to China equaled an estimated $1.43 billion. That includes Nebraska’s top five ag export items to China: soybeans and soybean products; hides and skins; distillers grains; ethanol; and sorghum.

Wellman stressed the importance of growing Nebraska’s ag exports and commodities in China citing recent increases in beef and pork exports to the country.

Less than a year ago in June, 2017, a Nebraska delegation went to Beijing and Shanghai to celebrate the arrival of Nebraska beef into China for the first time in 14 years. In 2017, beef exports from Nebraska to China were $17.5 million, and Nebraska’s share of the U.S. beef exports to China was 56.6 percent, according to the USDA Global Agricultural Trade System.

Nebraska pork exports to China are increasing, as well. In 2017, pork exports to China were $15.7 million, up 24 percent from the previous year.

“The key to export success is building on existing relationships and creating new opportunities in international marketplaces,” said Wellman. “Being a part of a U.S. trade mission is beneficial too, as opening world markets and keeping them open depend a lot on trade agreements and protocols negotiated at the federal level.”

During this trade mission, the USDA will host several events to promote U.S. agricultural products. During the scheduled business meetings, there will be opportunities for the group to discuss demand and learn more about Chinese inspection procedures and processes.

“I’d like to thank Gov. Ricketts and his administration for continuing to encourage global trade and the opportunities it creates for Nebraska ag producers and agribusiness leaders to sell their products to the world,” said Wellman.



Groundwater Levels Rise 0.87 Feet on the Average in the Upper Big Blue NRD


During April-May 2018, the NRD measured 542 observation wells throughout the District and then averaged the data of all these wells.  Overall, the spring 2018 average measurement for the groundwater level change shows a rise of 0.87 feet from last spring.  The findings show that the spring 2018 average groundwater level is 3.89 feet above the “Allocation Trigger.”  As a result, there will be no allocation restrictions for the 2019 irrigation season.

The District goal is to hold the average groundwater level at, or above the 1978 level.  In 2005, the District average groundwater level reached the “Reporting Trigger” initiating groundwater users to report annual groundwater use to the District and to certify their irrigated acres.  If the District average level falls below the 1978 level (“Allocation Trigger”), groundwater allocation will begin.

Observation wells are measured in the spring of each year, allowing the water table to rebound from the previous irrigation season.  The observation wells measured are uniformly distributed and represented geographically throughout the District to provide an accurate profile of the District average.  Each well measured is assigned an area of the District based on distances to other measured wells.  This method of averaging is called the Thiessen

polygon method, and gives the average groundwater level change calculation a weighted average.  For more information, please visit www.upperbigblue.org or call (402) 362-6601.  



Registration Open for Midwest U.S.-Japan Conference in Omaha


Registration is open until Aug. 29 for the 50th Annual Conference of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association (MWJA) being held Sept. 9-11 in Omaha.

MWJA and its partner organization -- the Japan Midwest-U.S. Association -- are the preeminent organizations dedicated to promoting economic relationships between the Midwestern U.S. and Japan. MWJA's U.S. member states include Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The annual conference is considered to be the pinnacle forum for discussions about Japanese/Midwest economic relations. The conference alternates each year between Tokyo and a Midwestern city.

Registration for the conference can be accessed at www.midwest-japan.org/.

Approximately 400 dignitaries, diplomats and corporate executives are expected to be in attendance this year. This includes Governor Pete Ricketts; the governors of Midwestern states and Japanese prefectures; American and Japanese cabinet secretaries; and other government and corporate officials. Top representatives from numerous Japanese companies -- including Kawasaki, Marubeni, Toshiba, Kikkoman, Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi and others -- will also be in attendance.

The conference is being held at the Hilton Omaha. Along with multiple speakers and plenary sessions, highlights will include a welcome luncheon at Kaneko -- Omaha's internationally renowned arts and cultural center, founded by Japanese ceramics artist Jun Kaneko -- and a farm-to-table themed banquet featuring Nebraska beef and produce.

A 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner by Kawasaki Heavy Industries will be held at Durham Museum on Sept. 10, with an Anniversary Cocktail Reception featuring Heritage Railcars by Union Pacific.

The conference website, which includes a full event schedule, can be found at www.midwest-japan.org.

More information about this year's event can be obtained through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development's (DED) Daniel Jackson at 402-802-5317 or daniel.jackson@nebraska.gov. For questions concerning registration, contact DED's Lori Shaal at 402-471-3780 or lori.shaal@nebraska.gov.



Hiland Dairy Launches New Ice Cream Packaging Along with Three New Flavors


Made with fresh, pure milk from local Hiland Dairy farmers, Hiland Ice Cream is a timeless treat synonymous with summertime. And, to celebrate summer, Hiland Dairy is introducing three new ice cream flavors of its premium ice cream:
    Hiland Time Traveler — Inspired by the revolutionary new Time Traveler roller coaster at Silver Dollar City, billed as the world's fastest, steepest and tallest spinning coaster. The new ice cream flavor features French silk ice cream spun with marshmallow bonbons, chocolate flakes and thick fudge sauce.
    Caramel Waffle Cone — Caramel ice cream with milk chocolate swirls and fudge covered waffle cone pieces.
    Cherry Chocolate Chunk — Cherry-flavored ice cream with pieces of real cherries and chocolate chunks.

All three new premium flavors are available in 48-ounce and 16-ounce containers and are available at retail locations where Hiland Dairy products are sold.

In addition to the new flavors, Hiland Dairy is introducing new packages that feature crisp graphics with light blue backgrounds. More importantly, Hiland redesigned the packaging in response to consumer and grocer requests for more food label transparency and less packaging waste.

"The new packages align with our improved transparency in food labeling, which we began implementing earlier this year with double labels on our milk products," said Rick Beaman, vice president, Hiland Dairy.

"We also wanted our ice cream packaging to create less consumer waste in landfills, and that's part of our commitment to sustainability and preserving the planet for future generations," Beaman said. "And, as we celebrate 80 years of Hiland Dairy, we thought a new ice cream package would help celebrate our longevity."



USDA Invests $256 Million in Water Infrastructure in Rural Communities -- Nebraska Receives $2.7 Million


Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $256 million in 81 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas in 35 states.

   “No matter what zip code you live in, infrastructure is a foundation for quality of life and economic opportunity,” Hazlett said. “Through strong partnerships, USDA is ensuring that rural communities have the modern, reliable infrastructure they need to prosper.”

   The City of Randolph, Nebraska is the recipient of $2,760,000 that will widen the Middle Logan Creek channel through town and replace the bridges that are constructed over this channel. This project will help move most of the city out of the flood plain. Moving the city out of the flood plain will rid the city of the cumbersome regulations and allow the city to develop further economically. The flood plain has limited the city's ability to attract residents and businesses since flood plain regulations restrict how buildings are constructed, and flood insurance for these properties can be expensive. Being in a flood plain also limits assistance from other federal and state economic development programs. Additional funding is provided in the amount of $8,521,884 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along with contributions from the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resource District, $1,970,156; Cedar County, $120,000; and Pierce County, $75,000.

   The recently enacted Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes a significant boost in financial support for water and wastewater projects. It provides $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.2 billion in FY 2017. It also directs Agriculture Secretary Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.

   In addition to funding in the 2018 Omnibus bill, President Trump has proposed a $200 billion infrastructure investment that allocates 25 percent ($50 billion) to rural projects.

   The loans and grants Hazlett announced today are being awarded through USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funds can be used to finance drinking water, storm water drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

   In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.



Darling Acquires Protein Conversion, Used Cooking Oil Business


Darling Ingredients Inc., Irving, Texas, announced that is has acquired substantially all of the assets of Kruger Commodities, Inc. including protein conversion facilities in Hamilton, Mich., and Tama, Iowa, along with a protein blending operation and used cooking oil collection business in Omaha, Neb., to support its low carbon fuel initiative at Diamond Green Diesel.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to add the Kruger Commodities operations to Darling's global platform," said Randall C. Stuewe, Darling chairman and CEO. "This long established, family owned business is a natural fit to the Darling network and will help us to better serve our customers and growing feedstock demand from Diamond Green Diesel, our low carbon fuel facility located in Norco, La."

Darling is a global developer and producer of sustainable natural ingredients from edible and inedible bio-nutrients, creating a wide range of ingredients and customized specialty solutions for customers in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, food, pet food, feed, industrial, fuel, bioenergy and fertilizer industries.

With operations on five continents, the company collects and transforms all aspects of animal by-product streams into useable and specialty ingredients, such as gelatin, edible fats, feed-grade fats, animal proteins and meals, plasma, pet food ingredients, organic fertilizers, yellow grease, fuel feedstocks, green energy, natural casings and hides. The company also recovers and converts recycled oils (used cooking oil and animal fats) into valuable feed and fuel ingredients, and collects and processes residual bakery products into feed ingredients.

In addition, the company provides environmental services, such as grease trap collection and disposal services to food service establishments and disposal services for waste solids from the wastewater treatment systems of industrial food processing plants. The company sells its products domestically and internationally and operates within three industry segments: Feed Ingredients, Food Ingredients and Fuel Ingredients.



Fertilizers Continue Mostly Higher


According to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the second week of May 2018, prices continue to be mostly higher. There appeared to be signs over the last few months that prices may be turning lower, with multiple fertilizers having lower prices, but so far this trend has not developed.

Like last week, seven of the eight major fertilizer were higher in price compared to last month, although none were up a substantial amount. MAP had an average price of $505/ton, potash $354/ton, 10-34-0 $439/ton, anhydrous $510/ton, UAN28 $241/ton and UAN32 $276/ton.

The remaining fertilizer was slightly lower in price compared to the previous month. DAP had an average price of $483/ton.

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

Six of the eight major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices pushing higher in recent months. Both 10-34-0 and anhydrous are now up 1%, potash is 4% higher, urea is 5% more expensive, MAP is 7% higher and DAP is 11% more expensive compared to last year.

The remaining two fertilizers are lower in price compared to a year prior. UAN32 is 2% lower while UAN28 is 3% less expensive, looking back a year.



Growth Energy Issues Statement on Marathon EPA Waiver Application


Today, Marathon Petroleum Corp, one of the largest refining companies in the United States, requested a "hardship waiver" from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to exempt one of its facilities from its requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard. In response to this request, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement.

"Two of the largest corporations in the country are set to create an oil monopoly, and they are still expecting ‘small refiner’ handouts. This is what happens when EPA regulators are permitted to ignore the president’s commitments to rural communities. These waivers have already siphoned billions away from farm families to enrich some of the world’s largest oil companies as well as a few well-connected investors like Carl Icahn. Those gallons need to be restored and American consumers need immediate, year-round access to E15."

Statement from Chuck Grassley, Iowa Senator

“That an oil company making billions of dollars in profits even thinks it has a shot at receiving a ‘hardship’ waiver proves how broken this process is. The statutory volume obligation for conventional biofuels is 15 billion gallons annually. That’s what Congress intended. That’s the spirit of the law. That’s what President Trump promised. Any changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard have to fix this embarrassing loophole and guarantee 15 billion gallons of ethanol actually get blended.”

Statement from Brooke Coleman, Executive Director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council

“This is the theatre of the absurd. Marathon wants a small refinery hardship waiver at the very moment it is seeking to become the nation’s largest refiner by acquiring Andeavor for $23 billion. The federal government should be protecting consumers by scrutinizing mergers like this instead of handing out dividends to multibillion dollar oil companies seeking to monopolize critical energy sectors. Marathon is giving it a shot because Scott Pruitt is doing everything he can to line refiners’ pockets even if it means making a mockery of the President’s commitments to rural America.”



Growth Energy Releases Statement on Upcoming RFS Meeting Between EPA, USDA


Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement in advance of Thursday’s meeting between the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture to discuss the president’s plan to preserve U.S. biofuel production:

“We’re pleased the USDA is taking up the president’s call to action and pressing for an immediate E15 fix, before the start of the summer driving season. As Secretary Perdue has noted, a flood of illegitimate waivers from the EPA has resulted in 'demand destruction' for U.S. farmers at a time when rural communities can least afford it. Even petroleum giants like Marathon are now expecting ‘small refinery’ handouts.

“Regulators should, instead, focus on the president’s plan to reallocate lost biofuel gallons that were siphoned away by EPA waivers. President Trump promised to protect statutory targets under the RFS, and we support Secretary Perdue’s efforts to ensure the EPA upholds that commitment to rural families.

“There is no reason to delay action or attach unrelated gimmicks designed to benefit a few refinery owners. EPA Administrator Pruitt should stand by his word in 2017, when he vowed not to pursue an export scheme that would cannibalize demand for U.S. biofuels, destroy farm income, and spark retaliatory tariffs against the entire fuel and farm supply chain.



Tuesday May 22 Ag News
2018-05-22T11:49

AFAN Announces its Individualized One-on-One Resource for Ag Producers Considering Expansion or Relocation

AFAN is making an enhanced resource available to agriculture producers who are considering expanding or relocating their livestock operations in Nebraska. This service provides individualized help that walks producers through the many, often complicated, steps required to gain approvals for moving or expanding their operations by connecting the producer with the organizations and resources to accomplish their goals.  

One-on-One, headed by Will Keech, AFAN’s Director of Livestock Development, provides person-to-person assistance navigating a range of critical issues.  Keech will help you navigate Nebraska’s state and county regulations, such as zoning restrictions, which often vary from state to state and county to county.

AFAN can assist you throughout the process, from opening discussions to the necessary paperwork. AFAN can offer guidance on site selection, financing and construction. Keech will help you open lines of communication with state agencies, agriculture groups, and the communities in which you are interested in building. And AFAN can be an advocate for producers throughout the entire county planning/zoning approval process. 

“One-on-One draws upon AFAN’s network of partners and specialized resources to provide this individualized support,” says Kristen Hassebrook, AFAN’s Executive Director. “Will Keech provides the upfront expertise in this process and helps producers connect with the right research, financial, and legal experts to help them navigate successfully through the approval process.”

Producers interested in setting up a One-on-One consultation for their operations are to contact Will Keech at 402-326-8232 or at willk@a-fan.org.



A TALE OF TWO REGIONS

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist


               East versus west.  Wet versus dry.  Looks like we are starting this year with very different conditions depending on where you live.

               If you pay any attention to weather reports, you probably have noticed that we Nebraskans are experiencing two very different worlds of weather.  Much of the Sandhills as well as the Panhandle have received relatively abundant precipitation this spring, certainly enough to give pastures a good start.  Unfortunately, much of southern and eastern Nebraska are dry and getting drier.

               Why is this important?  I think it’s important for you to realize this when you read or listen to farm and ranch advice – advice in magazines, in newspapers, even on the radio like from me.  Most advice assumes certain kinds of growing conditions.  Advice for good moisture locations usually isn’t suitable for dry areas and recommendations dealing with drought rarely optimize production where rainfall is good.

               I know you recognize this difference, but sometimes when advice is given it isn’t all that clear what weather conditions are required for that advice to be useful.  For example, I often discuss fertilizing grasses during spring but sometimes I don’t comment much on fertilizing relative to spring soil moisture conditions.  That advice assumes that moisture will be adequate to take advantage of the potential growth stimulation by the fertilizer.  So – the advice is good for folks in areas with adequate moisture but should be ignored or at least modified if you are in drought.

               This kind of confusion or apparently misleading advice is likely to continue until either all of us are in full drought or the entire region is back to good moisture.

               Until then, only use the advice that fits your conditions.



Losey Honored as Nebraska Young Dietitian of Year


Audra Losey, Nebraska Extension educator in Douglas-Sarpy counties accepted, the Young Dietitian of the Year award by the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year award recognizes the competence and activities of younger dietitians in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and their continued participation in Academy affairs.

Audra has served in a leadership role with NAND and most currently serves as the Nebraska House of Delegates representative. Audra also demonstrates leadership in her position with Nebraska Extension. She leads the NAP SACC Go program in Douglas and Sarpy counties. NAP SACC stands for Go Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for childcare, a program designed to promote healthy child development by supporting healthy eating physical activity for children with childcare providers. NAP SACC improved the policies, practices, and overall environment of childcare.



NEBRASKA CHICKEN AND EGGS


All layers in Nebraska during April 2018 totaled 7.76 million, down from 8.25 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Nebraska egg production during April totaled 192 million eggs, down from 203 million in 2017. April egg production per 100 layers was 2,472 eggs, compared to 2,455 eggs in 2017.



IOWA CHICKEN & EGGS


Iowa egg production during April 2018 was 1.31 billion eggs, down 3 percent from last month but up 1 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average number of all layers on hand during April 2018 was 56.6 million, down slightly from last month but up 3 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for April were 2,322, down 2 percent from last month and down 3 percent from last year.



April Egg Production Up 1 Percent


United States egg production totaled 8.79 billion during April 2018, up 1 percent from last year. Production included 7.65 billion table eggs, and 1.14 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.06 billion were broiler-type and 79.6 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during April 2018 totaled 386 million, up 3 percent from last year. April egg production per 100 layers was 2,277 eggs, down 2 percent from April 2017.
                                   
All layers in the United States on May 1, 2018 totaled 385 million, up 3 percent from last year. The 385 million layers consisted of 322 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 59.3 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.46 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on May 1, 2018, averaged 75.8 eggs per 100 layers, down 1 percent from May 1, 2017.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 12 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during April 2018 totaled 58.9 million, up 12 percent from April 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 56.6 million on May 1, 2018, up 17 percent from a year ago.

Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 215 thousand during April 2018, down 12 percent from April 2017.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 1 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during April 2018 totaled 803 million, up 1 percent from April 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 691 million on May 1, 2018, up 4 percent from a year ago.

Leading breeders placed 7.71 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during April 2018, up 9 percent from April 2017.



Crop Rotation Changes May Impact Manure Management Plans


As June approaches, some northern areas of the state have experienced delays in corn planting due to a cold spring that turned wet. Producers considering changes to crop rotation, should pay attention to the impact it has on manure management plans.

The Iowa Administrative Code only allows a maximum of 100 pounds N per acre manure application on ground to be planted to soybean. However, it does allow fields that had liquid manure applied at rates intended for growing corn to be switched to soybean on or after June 1 with no penalty of over-application of manure nitrogen. Thus if a field planned for corn has not been planted and will be switched to soybean, this can be done. Producers should document the changes in crop rotation, application methods and other changes in their annual manure management plans.

Given it has been a wet spring in some areas, nutrient management and specifically, nitrogen loss may be top of mind. Livestock producers with Iowa DNR manure management plans are reminded if they have already applied the maximum nitrogen rate to the field, they can’t apply additional sources of nitrogen unless the need is confirmed by the use of a Late Spring Nitrate Test. This test measures nitrate-N concentration at the 0-12 inch depth.

Results can be interpreted by the ISU Extension and Outreach publication “Use of the Late-Spring Soil Nitrate Test in Iowa Corn Production” (CROP 3140), which considers both the original fertilizer source and the amount of rain that occurred in May (excessive is more than five inches in May). When adding extra nitrogen, be sure to document soil sample results and reference the publication to interpret the test results in management plans.

While fall provided favorable application conditions, and periods in March were favorable, producers should plan ahead if not as much manure as normal is applied in the spring. Having a plan in place will help prevent potential issues from turning into problems. Keep an eye on storage, and have a plan for needed action.



Iowa Corn Farmers Host Ethanol Summit of the Asia Pacific Tour Trade Team


Following the  Ethanol Summit of the Asia-Pacific  in Minneapolis this week the U.S. Grains Council will hold post Summit tours for participants to be able to see the full production and value of U.S. ethanol. One such team will be arriving in Iowa this week to see U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) production and supply. The delegation will consist of high-level government and industry representatives from Korea, Taiwan, China, and Singapore. They will visit corn farms, ethanol plants, feed mills, fuel retailers, elevators and co-ops.

The Asia-Pacific region represents substantial market potential for increased U.S. ethanol exports. While current ethanol usage remains low, it’s the fastest growing fuel consuming region in the world. Air quality concerns required these countries to look to blending more ethanol into their fuel supply for its high octane and low-carbon advantages in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving air quality.

On Thursday, May 24 the team will tour the Absolute Energy ethanol plant in St. Ansgar, Iowa. From there, they will visit the farm of Iowa Corn Promotion Board Director Chris Edgington, a farmer from St. Ansgar who raises corn and soybeans, and operates a swine finishing operation. The next stop will be the Hansen Ag Learning Center at Iowa State University in Ames where they will learn about the latest DDGS research with Dr. John Patience.

Other stops will include the Iowa Corn office where the team will receive an overview of the organization and a briefing on Iowa’s ethanol industry, the Magellan Fuel Terminal in Pleasant Hill, Key Coop Agronomy and Feed Mill Center in Grinnell, and the family farm of Iowa Corn Promotion Board Director Roger Zylstra, a farmer from Lynnville who raises corn and soybeans, finishing hogs and cattle.



USDA Cold Storage April 2018 Highlights


Total red meat supplies in freezers on April 30, 2018 were up 4 percent from the previous month and up 7 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 2 percent from the previous month and up 3 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 5 percent from the previous month and up 9 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 9 percent from last month and up 93 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on April 30, 2018 were up 2 percent from the previous month and up 7 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 9 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 7 percent from last month and up 5 percent from April 30, 2017.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on April 30, 2018 were up 2 percent from the previous month and up 3 percent from April 30, 2017.  Butter stocks were up 12 percent from last month and up 5 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on April 30, 2018 were down 7 percent from last month and down 24 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 9 percent from last month and down 6 percent from a year ago.



Farmers Union Urges Immediate Action on E15 Waiver


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delay in allowing year-round use of E15 gasoline threatens harm to markets for family farmers, according to National Farmers Union (NFU). NFU President Roger Johnson today wrote to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, urging EPA to immediately institute a waiver for summertime sales of E15.

Johnson noted that year-round use of E15 would have significant benefits for farmers, the economy, energy independence, and the environment. Currently, an arbitrary restriction on use of E15 in summer months is limiting the amount of ethanol that can be blended into the nation’s transportation fuel supply. Yet while EPA has been actively working on allowing year-round use of E15 since October 2017, and President Donald Trump committed to allowing an E15 waiver earlier this year, EPA has yet to take any action or provide any time table as to when a waiver can be expected. This delay in issuing a waiver is threatening to upend any potential benefits of a waiver in the upcoming summer months of 2018.

“It is now May, and the summer restrictions on E15 for this year are looming with no apparent movement from EPA on this issue,” said Johnson in his letter to Administrator Pruitt. “Year-round use of E15 is not a new issue for EPA; this has long been supported by the biofuels industry and agriculture. We urge you to act in an expedited manner to follow President Trump’s direction to allow the use of E15 this summer.”

Johnson noted that farmers are currently facing severe economic difficulties, and that recent actions by EPA, such as granting numerous small refinery exemptions with little information to the public, have exacerbated these difficulties by undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard and demand for higher blends of ethanol. Johnson said a waiver on E15 is an important first step to mitigating these issues and moving the country towards use of higher blends of ethanol, like E30.

“Farmers have worked hard to build value-added markets,” he said. “The RFS and E15 provide significant economic opportunities for farmers facing increasing uncertainty and loss of demand. EPA must provide appropriate signals to the market, and this Administration must follow through on its promises.”



FSA County Committee Nominations Launch June 15


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages America’s farmers and ranchers to nominate candidates to lead, serve and represent their community on their local county committee. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept nominations for county committee members beginning Friday, June 15, 2018.

Producers across the country are already serving on committees where they play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA, making important decisions on programs dealing with disaster and conservation, emergencies, commodity price loan support, county office employment and other agricultural issues.

“Our county committees make decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally to best serve the needs of agriculture in their community,” said Acting FSA Administrator Steve Peterson. “We strongly encourage all eligible producers to visit their local FSA office today to find out how to get involved in their county’s election. There’s an increasing need for representation from underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers.”

Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated farmers and ranchers serve on FSA county committees, which consist of three to 11 members and meet once a month, or as needed. Members serve three-year terms.

Producers can nominate themselves or others. Check your local USDA service center to see if your local administrative area is up for election this year.  Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, may also nominate candidates to better serve their communities. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program and reside in the area where the election is being held.

To be considered, a producer must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. All nomination forms for the 2018 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2018. Visit farmers.gov for more information.



Membership Advocacy Is the Foundation of a Strong Organization


National Corn Growers Association has been around for – decades but when it comes to membership this farmer-led, and driven, organization is reinventing itself every day. With so many issues and outside forces impacting corn growers a strong collective voice is more important today than ever.

That’s why NCGA will be hosting a new, interactive program that will focus on member advocacy on July 25-27, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While some of the foundational recruiting methods haven’t changed, our target grower population has changed dramatically, according to Mike Shelby, NCGA association and membership services manager.

“As a grassroots advocacy group, numbers still count and when you are a shrinking part of the population, we need every farmer to join and weigh in on the issues including the next generation. So, we must ask ourselves what motivates a millennial grower to belong to a trade association today? How do we market to a younger, and more diverse grower population?” Shelby said.

That discussion will be paired with a communications training with a focus on social media and grassroots training. Getting to a busy target audience like farmers requires the right motivation and articulating the value proposition of membership, Shelby noted.

“This much we know, if we want to reach the next generation of grower-members, we need to build the next generation of ambassadors to reach them,” Shelby said. “And that’s a fundamental challenge we will tackle because it is critical to a successful future for every corn farmer and their family.”

 To find out more about this opportunity, please contact the membership manager at your state corn association. Or, membership questions can be directed to Mike Shelby at shelby@ncga.com.



Argentina Grain Workers Obey Government Order to End Strike

Crushing plant workers in Argentina said on Friday they would obey a government order to lift a strike and enter mediation as soon as they received it.

The labor ministry on Friday ordered a "mandatory reconciliation" that would end the strike, which started on Thursday to protest lay-offs earlier this year by global grains trader Cargill, reports Reuters.

"We always abide by these resolutions, when it arrives we will do so," said Marco Pozzi, secretary for one of the unions that participated in the strike.

U.S.-based Cargill has faced several walk-offs since January after it laid off dozens of workers in an effort to restructure and reduce costs at some of its operations in Argentina, the world's No. 1 exporter of soyoil and meal.

Cargill said in a statement on Friday that it had replaced the workers with new employees that had identical contracts. It denied that working conditions had deteriorated.



May 21 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US
2018-05-22T06:22

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION

For the week ending May 20, 2018, there were 4.3 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 15 short, 72 adequate, and 11 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 22 short, 72 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn planted was 88 percent, near 86 last year, and equal to the five-year average. Emerged was 53 percent, near 49 last year, and ahead of 48 average.

Soybeans planted was 68 percent, ahead of 50 last year and 51 average. Emerged was 25 percent, ahead of 12 both last year and average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 6 poor, 31 fair, 51 good, and 11 excellent.  Winter wheat headed was 4 percent, well behind 57 last year and 29 average.

Sorghum planted was 31 percent, ahead of 17 last year, and near 27 average.

Oats condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 20 fair, 72 good, and 4 excellent. Oats planted was 95 percent, near 99 last year and 98 average. Emerged was 86 percent, behind 96 last year and 91 average. Headed was 1 percent, near 5 last year and 3 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 11 poor, 31 fair, 46 good, and 9 excellent.



IOWA CROP PROGRESS & CONDITION REPORT


Wet field conditions and scattered rains limited Iowa farmers to 3.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 20, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 5 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus.  Subsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 10 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus.  South central Iowa reported the lowest levels of subsoil moisture with over two-thirds short to very short.

Iowa growers have planted 86 percent of the expected corn crop, 5 days behind last year. The north central district planted nearly half of their expected corn crop this past week. Fifty-three percent of the crop has emerged, one day behind last year. Soybean growers have 58 percent of the expected crop planted, 2 days ahead of the 5-year average.

One-quarter of the expected soybean crop across Iowa was planted this past week. Northwest and north central Iowa remain well behind the other districts with less than one-third of their soybean crop planted. Eighteen percent of soybeans have emerged, two days ahead of last year.

Nearly all the expected oat crop has been planted, over 1 week behind last year and 4 days behind average. Eighty-six percent of the crop has emerged, 5 days behind last year.

Hay conditions improved to 64 percent good to excellent. Pasture conditions also improved, reaching 56 percent good to excellent. Warmer temperatures and rain have promoted good pasture and hay growth. Overall, livestock conditions are good with little stress, but muddy feedlots continue to be an issue.



US Corn Planting Progress Catches Up to Average; Northern States Still Behind


Corn planting progress reached 81% complete nationwide as of Sunday, May 20, equal to the five-year average, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

Nationwide, corn planting progress jumped 19 percentage points last week, up from 62% the previous week. States showing the largest gaps behind their five-year averages were Pennsylvania, which was 29 points behind average; South Dakota, 15 points behind average; Michigan, 13 points behind average; Wisconsin, 10 points behind average; and Minnesota, 7 points behind average.

Corn emergence, at 50% nationwide as of Sunday, was slightly behind last year's 51% but ahead of the average pace of 47%.

Soybean planting remained ahead of average nationwide, except in the Northern states. Fifty-six percent of the crop was planted as of Sunday, according to NASS, 12 percentage points ahead of the average of 44%. Twenty-six percent of soybeans were emerged, ahead of 17% last year and also ahead of the average of 15%.

Winter wheat was 61% headed, behind last year's 71% and also behind the average of 64%. Winter wheat condition held steady last week at 36% good to excellent, still the crop's lowest rating since 2014-15. DTN's winter wheat condition rating of 58 points was also the lowest in four years.

Spring wheat was 79% planted as of Sunday, near the average pace of 80%. Thirty-seven percent of the crop was emerged, behind the five-year average of 52%.

Cotton was 52% planted as of Sunday, compared to 36% last week, 49% last year and 45% average. Rice was 93% planted, compared to 83% last week, 90% last year and 89% on average. Seventy-four percent of the crop was emerged, compared to 61% last week, 77% last year and a 74% average.

Sorghum was 39% planted as of Sunday, compared to 32% last week, 36% last year and a 38% average.

Barley was 81% planted, behind the average pace 84%. Forty-five percent of the crop was emerged as of Sunday, compared to an average of 58%. Oats were 86% planted, compared to 72% last week, 94% last year and a 91% average. Sixty-seven percent of oats were emerged, compared to 48% last week, 81% last year and a 77% average.



Monday May 21 Ag News
2018-05-22T06:21

Lower Elkhorn NRD receives Nebraska Environmental Trust grant for monitoring project

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) recently announced that they will receive $65,720 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the “Lower Elkhorn Real-Time Monitoring Well Network Telemetry Project” project.  The Trust Board announced funding for the project at its April meeting in Lincoln.  The project is one of the 105 projects receiving $18,301,819 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year.  Of these, 66 were new applications and 39 are carry-over projects.

     The LENRD is committed to the conservation of groundwater and recognizes the significant value a reliable groundwater source has for its constituents.  In an effort to proactively manage and conserve groundwater, the LENRD proposes the Lower Elkhorn Real-Time Monitoring Well Network Telemetry Project.  LENRD Assistant General Manager, Brian Bruckner, explains, “The ability to utilize real-time data when making management decisions is necessary for the LENRD to proactively manage the groundwater supply in northeast Nebraska.  This project will result in real-time access to groundwater level data by any individual with internet access.”

     The Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Assessment (ENWRA) and the University of Nebraska Conservation and Survey Division (CSD) fully support this effort, and are committed to providing assistance to the LENRD for this project.  This grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust will enable the LENRD to install telemetry equipment on its established groundwater well monitoring network at 45 well sites.  In return, the LENRD will install and maintain all components of the project, including all staff time and travel costs and any subscription fees or web platform development fees.  The LENRD will also purchase 14 replacement transducers.  These transducers have reliably provided data to the LENRD, but require periodic replacement to ensure that accurate data continues to be collected.  ENWRA will purchase and install one telemetry system and purchase two replacement transducers for the nested well site, as well as assisting the LENRD with data processing and evaluation.  CSD will contribute staff time and resources to evaluate well sites and provide a detailed aquifer description.  The partnership between the LENRD, NET, ENWRA, and CSD will result in an innovative method of collecting and disseminating vital groundwater level data to all entities and individuals that can utilize the information when making management decisions.

     The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $289 million in grants to over 2,000 projects across the state. Anyone – citizens, organizations, communities, farmers and businesses – can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska.  The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore our natural resources for future generations.



Hoegemeyer® Growth Strategy Increases Customer Focus and Support

            Hoegemeyer Hybrids will expand its regional presence and become the Western Corn Belt regional seed brand for Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont. As part of the change, personnel from Curry and its Elk Point, SD, office will join Hoegemeyer, along with several Western Corn Belt experts from Prairie Brand® and NuTech®.

           To support this growth strategy, the Hoegemeyer brand will continue to draw from the seed production strength and expertise of the Western Integrated Seed team located in Hooper, NE. This change is part of the newly announced Corteva Agriscience™ multi-channel, multi-brand seed strategy for the U.S., which will expand access to the company’s genetics, technology and traits.

           Stephan Becerra, General Manager of Hoegemeyer Hybrids, sees tremendous potential in the change. “The fact that we are a regionally focused brand, but we are driven by the Corteva Agriscience™ world-class technology product engine, provides our customers and our employees with a really bright future,” Becerra said.

           He also sees value in the institutional knowledge Hoegemeyer will gain, as experienced seed professionals from other brands join the Hoegemeyer team. “We have to learn from, and take the very best of, all of the different brands that are going to be part of Hoegemeyer going forward. That, along with our continued focus on our customers’ needs and expanding our agronomic resources to support our products, will reinvigorate our brand and ensure that it will be successful for a long time to come.”

           Mark Kallsen, former Curry Seed General Manager and now Hoegemeyer Business Leader, noted, “What Curry Seed stands for will remain in the future Hoegemeyer. We have similar business cultures. Curry and Hoegemeyer have a legacy of working together in research and development to serve customers in the Western Corn Belt. We’re excited for this opportunity.”

           Popular products from Curry Seed, as well as from Prairie Brand and NuTech will continue to be available through Hoegemeyer Hybrids.

           Becerra said that with the backing of Corteva Agriscience™, Hoegemeyer can operate as a regionally focused seed company who is very close to the customer, while enjoying the advantages of scope and scale of a major agriculture company. “Corteva Agriscience™ will be one of the largest seed technology engines in the world. Being a part of that engine will give Hoegemeyer a huge competitive advantage in the marketplace,” Becerra noted.



CVA Announces Change in Ownership of Progressive Ag Partners, LLC


Central Valley Ag Cooperative (CVA) has announced a buyout of the joint venture with Cargill in Progressive Ag Partners, LLC (PAP), located in Bradshaw, NE. This buyout will give CVA full ownership of PAP effective June 1, 2018.

“This buyout enables CVA to provide more strategic focus on specialty crops for our customers,” said Matt Ashton, CVA Sr. VP of Grain. “We continue to look for ways of bringing value to our customers, and we view PAP in Bradshaw as a strategic asset for our specialty crop programs. Additionally, PAP members will now be eligible for patronage from CVA, adding even more value for them as a result of this change.”

PAP was a joint venture, formed in September of 2002 between CVA and Cargill, offering the buying, selling and storage of grain from producers in the Bradshaw, NE area.



Register Today for the 2018 Corn Grower Open!


Registration is now open for the 2018 Corn Grower Open. The 8th annual event, hosted by the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, will take place Friday, August 3rd, at the York Country Club.

This year sign-in will begin at 9 AM with tee-off slated for 10 AM.

Cost per person is $125 or $500 for a full team. If you do not have a full team, but would still like to play, submit your registration form and they will pair you up with one of the gracious sponsors. Completed forms may be mailed to the office or emailed to mwrich@necga.org.

Pre-payment is required. Space is limited, so be sure to register as soon as possible. All members are welcome!

If you know a business who would like to sponsor this event, please refer them to this page... http://necga.org/2018/05/register-today-for-the-2018-corn-grower-open/ , or contact the NeCGA office at (402) 438-6459.



NFBI Averages Show Crop Operations Buoyed Up by Livestock in 2017

Tina Barrett - Executive Director of Nebraska Farm Business Inc.

The 2017 averages from farm and ranch operations serviced by Nebraska Farm Business, Inc. were recently released. These averages represent 119 farms across the state participating in this financial management program.

Each year the data collected from these farm records is averaged to provide participants with information to benchmark their operations. Taking a closer look at these averages also indicates shifting trends across these farms and ranches.

This was the fifth consecutive year with lower accrual net farm incomes. This year’s numbers were lower than in the previous eight years. While the downturn in the agricultural economy was not expected to be resolved quickly, the lower incomes have continued to put financial stress on many operations. The good news is that average incomes in Nebraska were higher in 2017 than in 2015 and 2016, and there was a slightly positive increase in net worth for the first time since 2014.

As we dig deeper into the data, we see that crop operations (those that receive more than 70% of their net farm income from the sale of crops) actually saw a 20% decline in net farm income from 2016 to 2017 while operations with a heavy beef influence saw significant increases in net farm income. Those increases were significant enough to cause the average income overall to be higher.

Click here to see the entire summary..... https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2018/nfbi-averages-report-shows-crop-operations-buoyed-livestock-2017



USDA TO ASK ABOUT 2018 CROPS, STOCKS, INVENTORIES AND VALUES


During the next few weeks, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct two major inquiries, contacting nearly 4,300 producers across Nebraska to determine crop acreage and stock levels as of June 1, 2018.

“These are two of the most important surveys NASS conducts, due to the widespread and significant impact of their results,” explained Dean Groskurth, Director of the Northern Plains Regional Field Office. “When producers complete these surveys, they contribute essential information that determines the expected acreage and supply of major commodities for the 2018 crop year. The results are necessary for everyone who relies on agriculture for their livelihoods.”

Data for the June Agricultural Survey are gathered via the Internet, mail, phone, or by in-person interview. For the June Area Survey, trained National Association of State Departments of Agriculture enumerators representing NASS visit select tracts of land to interview the operators of any farm or ranch within that selected tract. Producers are asked to provide information on planted acres, acres expected to be harvested, and grain stocks. This survey also collects data on livestock inventory, cash rents, land values, and value of sales.

“NASS protects the privacy of all respondents and publishes only state- and national-level data in these reports, ensuring no operation or producer can be identified. I urge all producers to respond to these surveys when contacted, and thank them for their cooperation,” said Dean Groskurth.

NASS will publish the results in a series of USDA reports, including the Acreage and Grain Stocks reports, on June 29, 2018. Survey data also contribute to NASS’s Crop Production reports, Small Grains Summary, Farms and Land in Farms, and Land Values reports, as well as various livestock reports, including Cattle, Sheep and Goats, and Quarterly Hogs and Pigs.



HASTENING HAY DRY-DOWN

Bruce Anerson, NE Extension Forage Specialist


               Haying season is here, along with potential rains.  We need ways to hasten hay dry-down to beat the weather.  

               Does it seem to you that clouds and rain are here just about every other day when your hay is ready to cut?  Rain obviously is a problem when making hay, but why am I also talking about clouds?  Well, other than rain itself, the most important weather factor that affects rate of hay dry-down is sunlight.  Temperature, humidity, soil moisture content, and wind speed all are important, but solar radiation has the greatest impact on drying rate.  In fact, research has shown as much as a 10-fold increase in drying rate as solar radiation changes from heavy cloud cover to full sunlight.  No other factor affected drying rate even half as much.

               So how do you use this information?  Obviously, you can’t control how much sunlight you receive.  But, you can watch weather reports and try to cut hay during sunny weather.  Okay – that states the obvious.  Another thing you should do, though, is spread your cut hay out in as wide a swath as possible to expose more hay to direct sunlight.  This does two things.  Sunlight keeps stomates open on the leaves, which is the fastest way for moisture to exit the plant.  Stomates in the dark inside or bottom of windrows will close, preventing rapid moisture loss.  Wide windrows also enables your hay to absorb as much sun energy as possible to heat and evaporate moisture out of your hay.  This may bleach hay more than thick windrows, but fast dry-down usually is more valuable than green color.

               Also, mechanically condition your hay and turn it gently after tops get dry to expose moist hay under the swath to hasten dry-down.

               Make hay while the sun shines is an old, old saying but today’s science has shown how true it really is.



How Are They Shedding?

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator 


As we move through spring and into summer, many cattle are shedding off their winter coats and exhibiting a slick or summer hair coat. The earlier cattle in environments that have hot and humid summer conditions shed their winter hair coat, the less heat stress they tend to experience. Dr. Jared Decker from the University of Missouri and Dr. Jane Parish from Mississippi State University, who are beef genetics specialists, recently published a fact sheet at eBeef.org titled “Hair shedding scores: A tool to select heat tolerant cattle.”

In the fact sheet they highlighted that cattle adapted to their environments tend to be more productive and profitable as they require fewer inputs and interventions. Bos indicus breeds of cattle as well as hybrids and composites having Bos indicus influence have both anatomical and physiological advantages that make them better equipped to deal with heat stress. The majority of Bos taurus breeds of cattle in this country originated from Europe where the environment tends to be more moderate in summer high temperatures than many areas of the United States in the summer. Even though that is the case, Bos taurus cattle can be selected for greater heat tolerance, allowing them to be more productive in environments prone to heat stress.

One of the characteristics that Dr. Decker and Dr. Parish identified of cattle that are better adapted to handle heat stress is early hair coat shedding. Heat loss can be directly related to hair shedding. Hair shedding also can be an indicator of nutrition and immune status. Research has shown that calves from cows that shed their winter hair coat earlier tend to weigh more at weaning. Early research is also indicating that early hair coat shedding may have a greater influence on reducing heat stress than hair coat color.

Fortunately, hair shedding is estimated to be a moderately to highly heritable trait and selection can be used to make genetic change. In the fact sheet they recommend visually scoring cattle hair shedding and then ranking them on a five point scale. A score of 1 indicates an animal that has a slick, short summer coat, while a hair score of 5 indicates an animal that still has a full winter coat. Scores 2 through 4 indicate varying degrees of shedding. Representative pictures of hair shedding scores are included in the fact sheet.

Mid-May is identified as a being an ideal time to evaluate and score cattle on hair shedding for cattle producers in the Southeastern United States. The ideal date may be later for cattle producers further north. Once the eye is trained, hair scores are easy to collect and can be done as cattle pass through a chute or can be done while cattle are out on pasture. Cow-calf producers in hot and humid environments that are purchasing bulls and retaining replacements from those sires may benefit from using hair shedding scores in their selection process. Selection pressure can be applied directly to replacement heifers as well. Identifying cattle that shed earlier will help in selecting for cattle that are better adapted to hot or humid environments. For more information see the fact sheet “Hair shedding scores: A tool to select heat tolerant cattle” at http://www.eBEEF.org.



House Members Call for End to Thailand’s Ban on U.S. Pork


Members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Virachai Plasai, ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the United States, calling for the removal of restrictions on imports of U.S. farm products, including U.S. pork. The bipartisan letter – signed by 44 members and sponsored by Representatives David Young, R-IA, and Ron Kind, D-WI – calls for the suspension of U.S. trade benefits enjoyed by Thailand if it does not respond with reciprocal access.

“It’s time for Thailand to end its unwarranted ban on U.S. pork,” said Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio and president of the National Pork Producers Council. “We thank Representatives Young and Kind for leading this call to action on behalf of American pork producers and other farmers.”

Last week, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) agreed with a request from the National Pork Producers Council to review Thailand’s eligibility for the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program because of that country’s failure to provide access to its market for U.S. products, including pork. NPPC is urging the Trump administration to withdraw or limit the benefits Thailand receives under the preferential trade program, which gives duty-free treatment to certain goods entering the United States. The program allows for removal of a country’s benefits if it fails to provide the United States “equitable and reasonable access” to its market.

According to the letter to Ambassador Plasai, “If significant progress is not made, we anticipate that the United States may soon consider whether it is appropriate to suspend some of Thailand’s GSP benefits in order to ensure better compliance with the letter and spirit of the eligibility criteria.”  



PORK Academy Seminars Provide Producers On-Farm Insights


The Pork Checkoff’s Producer Opportunity for Revenue and Knowledge (PORK) Academy sessions will return to World Pork Expo, with seminars held Wednesday, June 6, and Thursday, June 7, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. The annual sessions help educate pig farmers on the latest trends in pork production.

“PORK Academy allows producers to hear industry news firsthand from experts,” said Andrew Reinecker, chair of the Pork Checkoff’s Producer and State Services Committee and a pig farmer from York Springs, Pennsylvania. “The Checkoff funds numerous programs, and this is a chance for attendees to learn more about each aspect of the industry. Bringing producers and industry professionals together offers networking opportunities as well.”

The 2018 PORK Academy seminars will be held at the Varied Industries Building, Room C, at World Pork Expo. Following are the topics and schedule.

WEDNESDAY- JUNE 6, 2018
Varied Industries Building – Room C

9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.                                                                         
Sow Lifetime Productivity
Dr. George Foxcroft, University of Alberta, Canada
Increasing the number of pigs sows produce during their time in the herd is critical for whole-farm productivity and producer profitability. This session will share Checkoff-funded research results that will help pig farmers better select and manage gilts during development for increased longevity and productivity.

10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Opportunities for Genetic Improvement
Thomas Titus, TriPork, Inc.
New tools for genetic improvement of pigs are continually being developed by scientists, geneticists and pig breeding companies. The tools are then incorporated in developing the gene pool of the U.S. herd to produce pigs that are more efficient and productive. One new technology that has the potential to make a significant impact of pork production is gene editing. In this session, Titus will discuss what this means for his operation and how he is engaging conversation about gene editing through conferences and social media.

11:15 a.m. – Noon       
Secure Pork Supply
Dr. Pam Zaabel, Iowa State University
What can producers do to prepare for a foreign animal disease outbreak? While putting measures in place during an outbreak can be overwhelming, Zaabel will present steps producers can take now to begin implementing the Secure Pork Supply plan on their production sites. The new Secure Pork Supply website will be highlighted.

Noon – Lunch provided in the Pork Checkoff Hospitality Tent
12:30 p.m. – Weather Outlook, Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University
1:30 p.m. – Market and Grain Outlook, Steve Meyer and Joe Kerns, Kerns & Associates

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Improving Sow Survivability
Dr. Jason Ross, Iowa State University
Over the past several years, the incidence of prolapse in sows has increased on many pig farms. Since many factors may contribute to this issue, pinpointing the cause has proven to be difficult. In 2017, the Pork Checkoff funded a research project to help pig farmers better understand these factors. In this session, Dr. Ross will provide insight into this emerging issue.

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Euthanasia Research and Resources
Caitlyn Mullins, North Carolina State University
This session will provide information on available Pork Checkoff resources, including materials on on-farm euthanasia methods and a demonstration of new online tools.

THURSDAY – JUNE 7, 2018
Varied Industries Building – Room C

9:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Antibiotic Use and Resistance
Dr. Heather Kittrell, Iowa State University
Dr. Kittrell will discuss the history of antibiotic resistance, the mechanisms by which resistance occurs and steps that veterinarians and producers can implement to reduce antibiotic resistance while improving animal welfare.
           
10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Environmental Permitting and Water Quality Issues Facing Pork Producers
Michael Fomica, Environmental Policy Counsel, National Pork Producers Council
This session will provide an update on current and emerging federal water quality, reporting, environmental permit regulations and their impacts on pork producers.

11:15 a.m. – Noon       
A “Fresh” Perspective: Driving Key Cutout Sales
Kiersten Hafer, Clemens Food Group
The love for bacon seems eternal, but beyond crispy strips of deliciousness, what are the opportunities for the pork belly and the pork shoulder? How can the value of the loin be increased? In this session, the Checkoff’s Domestic Marketing team will discuss efforts to change consumers’ perspectives on fresh pork and to put more pork in their shopping carts.

Noon – Lunch Provided in the Pork Checkoff Hospitality Tent
12:30 p.m. – Weather Outlook, Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University
1:30 p.m. – Market and Grain Outlook, Steve Meyer and Joe Kerns, Kerns & Associates

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
A Digital Revolution: Pork’s People-Driven Marketing Strategy
Steve Lerch, Google
The marketing landscape has evolved from one built on best guesses to being driven by data detailing human behavior both online and offline, allowing companies to be more precise with their messages than ever before. Learn how the National Pork Board is harnessing the art and science of marketing to break down walls, to add value to consumers’ lives and to drive sales.

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
International Marketing Update
Craig Morris, National Pork Board
Dermot Hayes, Iowa State University
This session will provide an overview of U.S. pork exports, the National Pork Board’s International Marketing strategy and the outlook for U.S. pork sales abroad. Attendees will learn about the National Pork Board’s current and future emphasis on elevating international marketing as a path toward ensuring U.S. producer profitability during this period of domestic expansion.

For more information about Pork Checkoff-sponsored events and activities at World Pork Expo, call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675. For information about other World Pork Expo activities, visit www.worldpork.org.



CWT Assists with 7.1 Million Pounds of Cheese, Butter and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales


Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 381,400 pounds (173 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese, 104,720 pounds (48 metric tons) of butter and 6.614 million pounds (3,000 metric tons) of whole milk powder, to customers in Asia, Central America, and Europe. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from June through October 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 35.157 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 10.698 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 7.538 million pounds of whole milk powder to 25 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 620.228 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

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



New ‘Got Jobs?’ Campaign Demonstrates Dairy’s Substantial Impact on US Economy, States and Local Communities


Most Americans know milk and other dairy products are an essential part of a healthy diet. But less well-known is dairy’s contribution to the health of the U.S. economy and the economies of every state across the country. A new storytelling campaign launched today by the U.S. dairy industry aims to shine a brighter, data-driven spotlight on the positive effects of dairy’s economic engine.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) are collaborating to create the new “Got Jobs? Dairy Creates Jobs, Exports Create More” campaign. Over the next year, they will share in-depth data and compelling narratives featuring hardworking dairy farmers, innovative dairy company employees, resourceful retailers and many others throughout the food supply chain at GotDairyJobs.org.

Dairy Delivers℠

The U.S. dairy products industry supports nearly 3 million workers, generates more than $39 billion in direct wages and has an overall economic impact of more than $628 billion, according to IDFA’s economic impact tool, Dairy DeliversSM. The tool also examines dairy’s economic ripple effect on other sectors of the national economy, showing dairy is responsible for $24.9 billion in state and local business tax revenues and another $39.5 billion in federal business tax revenues.

“With the Trump administration’s current focus on global trade, it’s important for consumers and policymakers to understand how dairy drives the American economy,” said

Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA. “The United States needs sound trade policy that will place the U.S. dairy industry on a level playing field with global competitors. Backed by fair and proactive trade policies, the U.S. dairy industry will continue to keep and create jobs in states across the country.”

Easy-to-access Information

The new campaign provides a clearinghouse of information at GotDairyJobs.org. The site will offer monthly features, videos and plenty of hard facts that demonstrate dairy’s continued impact on jobs, tax revenue and communities around the country. Using #GotDairyJobs, the dairy industry will amplify the campaign and create the dairy jobs conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“Dairy has a positive story to tell, affecting a wide swath of America, creating jobs and tax revenue in rural, suburban and urban communities,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC, who saw dairy’s impact first-hand as U.S. Agriculture Secretary. “I’m delighted we now have a go-to place where people can find state-by-state data and compelling human stories that reinforce the same message: `Dairy creates jobs and exports create more.’”

Farm to Table

“As milk continues its journey from farm to table, it becomes a job-creation machine, employing farm workers, truck drivers, construction workers, factory workers, retailers and even cargo ship captains navigating the ocean to ports in fast-growing countries demanding more dairy than their own countries can produce,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “The United States is uniquely positioned to meet this growing global need, which allows U.S. dairy to provide opportunities for job creation and growth in the United States.”



Land O'Lakes, Inc. Now Accepting Applications for 2018 Dairy Accelerator Program


Land O'Lakes, Inc. is now accepting applications for the second year of its Dairy Accelerator program, which launched in 2017 and provides support and mentorship to dairy entrepreneurs. The deadline for applications is June 29.

"The inaugural Land O'Lakes Dairy Accelerator was a tremendous success in our eyes. We were thrilled to share our knowledge and expertise with the five participating companies and, in turn, learned equally as much from them, especially about the importance of creativity and agility in innovation today," said Raquel Melo, vice president of Innovation and New Business Development at Land O'Lakes, Inc.

The Land O'Lakes Dairy Accelerator is looking for United States-based entrepreneurs passionate about moving their companies to the next level. The company must utilize dairy as a primary ingredient but can use any aspect of dairy including but not limited to: yogurt, cheese, whey or other milk-based proteins or ingredients. However, it's highly encouraged that new innovations not focus on butter.

Selected participants will receive a $25,000 stipend in order to attend, and contribute to the three-month accelerator program in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. The accelerator program will provide mentorship and seminars that focus on several areas, including finance, brand building, manufacturing, sales and leadership development. At the conclusion of the program, participants will be able to present their proposals and new business ideas to Land O'Lakes, Inc. leadership.

Participating companies of the 2017 Dairy Accelerator included Beehive Cheese, Petit Pot, Dreaming Cow, Jouzge and Yooli. Of the experience, Petit Pot founder Maxime Pouvreau said, "In a short period of time we really transformed our business. We were ready to make changes, we just didn't have the framework. The Dairy Accelerator provided the seed."

The deadline for applications is 11:59 p.m. CDT June 29, 2018. Applicants accepted into the program will be notified in late July. The accelerator program runs from mid-September to mid-December 2018 and will be held in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Selected participants must agree to all terms and conditions in order to participate in the Land O'Lakes Dairy Accelerator program. Land O'Lakes does not require equity from the participating companies. More information can be found at www.dairyaccelerator.landolakesinc.com.