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Chad Moyer | KTIC Radio

Chad Moyer

Welcome to the KTIC Agriculture Information blog!!! Check back here for the latest in ag news and information, from local events to international happenings and government reports that affect your operation. Please email with suggestions! -Chad Moyer, Farm Director, KTIC Radio
Friday August 18 Ag News

Fifth Grade Students from Northeast Nebraska to Gather at Ag Festival

More than 300 fifth graders will be attending the event that includes hands-on interactive learning about Nebraska’s number one industry, agriculture.

Fifth graders from across Northeast Nebraska will attend the Growing Potential Ag Festival held at the park in Jackson, Neb. Learning stations set up throughout the park will engage students on every aspect of agriculture, including harvest, planting, processing, and soil. There will be live animals and real machinery in the park for the kids to see up close.

Location:  North John and Mechanic Streets in Jackson, Neb.
When:  Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

This event is organized and presented by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation and the Northeast Corn Growers Association. Sponsors and volunteers include American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Siouxland Ethanol, Pender Implement Company, CHS, Dekalb, Producers Hybrids, Croplan, Stine, DynaGrow, Pioneer, Sietec, Mycogen, Allegiant, Channel, Dixon County Farm Bureau, Keiser Ag and Irrigation, and FFA Chapters from Pender and Wisner.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

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

               High-quality corn silage often is an economical substitute for some of the grain in finishing and in dairy rations.  And corn silage can be an important winter feed for cow-calf producers.  All too often, though, we fail to harvest silage to get its best feed value.

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

               Normal corn, though, is often chopped for silage too dry, below sixty percent moisture.  Then it's difficult to pack the silage adequately to force out air.  The silage heats, energy and protein digestibility declines, and spoilage increases.  If your silage is warm or steams during winter, it probably was too dry when chopped.

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

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

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


Visitors to the 148th Nebraska State Fair Aug. 25 to Sept. 4 in Grand Island will celebrate the people, products and talent of the state. The fair is a chance for thousands of youth who participate in Nebraska 4-H – sponsored by Nebraska Extension – to share what they have learned and worked on throughout the year. 

"At the fair, we celebrate the success of thousands of youth who have learned and grown through 4-H," said Kathleen Lodl, associate dean of Nebraska Extension and 4-H program administrator. "It's also an opportunity for youth to discover areas they'd like to learn more about and meet other 4-H members with similar interests from across the state."

Nebraska 4-H members will give a variety of presentations focused on agriculture Aug. 26 at Raising Nebraska. Past presentations have included topics such as popcorn and pig ear notching.

This year, Chef Peter Dale will provide cooking demonstrations alongside 4-H youth Sept. 2 and 3. Dale, named "The People's Best New Chef Southeast" by Food and Wine magazine in 2012, has opened several restaurants including Empire State South, a southern farm-to-table restaurant in Atlanta.

A new display at Raising Nebraska this year is "The Amazing Egg," an interactive experience in which visitors can discover the intricate structure of an egg, get an extreme close-up look at the surface of a shell and manipulate a virtual yolk. Visitors will learn how often a chicken lays an egg, how many eggs a chicken lays in a year and why some eggs are brown and others are white.

Visitors can download the 4-H at Nebraska State Fair app to keep track of events, results and exhibit maps. The app can also be used to play the Seek and Scan game, which allows visitors to scan symbols on signs next to static exhibits to display videos.  

Beyond 4-H activities, fair visitors can sample many Nebraska foods at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Food Processing Center display in the 4-H-FFA Building.

Several food companies will offer samples and information. Visitors can try salsa, pickles, soups, lemonade, seasoning blends, jellies, barbecue sauces, popcorn, sunflower seeds, marinades and more.

"Nebraska food companies provide samples to remind their customers about the products and also introduce their products to potential customers," said Jill Gifford, manager of the Food Processing Center's National Food Entrepreneur Program. "This exhibit is a must-see destination for many visitors."

Companies scheduled to participate include: Preferred Popcorn, Chapman; Hiland Dairy and Prairie River Honey Farm, Grand Island; Kiehl and Stroh, Hastings; Balabans, Henderson; Hills Sunflower Seeds and Valhalla Bee Farm, Lincoln; Holen One Farms, Loomis; Mellor Seasoning, Omaha; Country Rhoads Jelly, Superior; and Double K Popcorn, Valentine.

Fans of the popular lawn-and-garden TV series "Backyard Farmer" are invited to attend a live taping Aug. 30 in the Raising Nebraska Building. A special question-and-answer session with the panelists is 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., followed by the live taping at 4 p.m. The episode will air at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 on NET.

Red Out Day is Sept. 3. Fairgoers are encouraged to wear red and come to the Family Fun Zone Stage at 4 p.m. for a Husker pep rally. Fans can cheer along with Husker cheerleaders and have the opportunity to win prizes. To follow the event on Twitter, use "#UNLREDOUT."

For more information on the Nebraska State Fair, including schedules, visit or

Farmers are Using Additional Methods to Access the Internet

In 2017, USDA-NASS added two additional methods that farmers could select for accessing the Internet. Fiber-optic and mobile Internet service for a cell phone or other device are the two access methods added to the Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report. Fiber-optic was used by 8 percent of the farms, and mobile Internet service was used by 17 percent. However, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection continues to be the most common method of accessing the Internet, with 29 percent of the farms in the United States using it, down from 30 percent in 2015. A satellite connection, at 21 percent, remained steady from 2015. Other reported methods of accessing the Internet include cable modem service, dialup service, and other or don't know. Cable modem service is at 15 percent, up 3 percentage points from 2015. Dialup service is at 2 percent, down 1 percentage point from 2015. Other or unknown is at 8 percent, up 3 percentage points from 2015.

Nationally, 73 percent of farms have computer access. Of those farmers having computer access, 72 percent, up 1 percent from 2015, own or lease a computer. Computer access by national sales class is 71 percent for sales class $1,000--$9,999; 70 percent for sales class $10,000--$99,999; 76 percent for sales class $100,000--$249,999; and 85 percent for sales class $250,000 or more. 

Computer usage for farm business at 47 percent nationally, is up 4 percentage points from 2015. This compares with usage by the four geographic regions: West (49 percent), North Central (50 percent), Northeast (48 percent), and the South (42 percent). Comparing computer usage by crop and livestock farms nationally, 52 percent of the crop producers use the computer for farm business, compared to 42 percent of the livestock producers. A new questions in 2017, reported 39 percent of producers nationally use a tablet or smart phone for farm business. 


According to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, 78 percent of Nebraska farms had access to computers in 2017. This compares to the national average of 73 percent. 75 percent of farms in Nebraska had internet access, unchanged from the last time this data was collected in 2015.


Seventy-four percent of Iowa farms own or lease a computer, 2 percentage points higher than the U.S. percentage, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service Farm Computer Use report. Seventy-six percent of Iowa farms report having access to a computer, unchanged from 2015. Farms using computers for their farm business increased to 55 percent, up 2 percentage points from 2015 and still well above the national percentage, which rose to 47 percent.

Seventy-four percent of Iowa farms have Internet access, unchanged from 2015. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection is now the most common method of accessing the Internet, with 26 percent of farms in Iowa with access to the Internet utilizing DSL. In 2017, dialup service declined to 3 percent, down from 5 percent in 2015. The proportion of Iowa farms using satellite service decreased to 18 percent and cable modem service increased to 8 percent.

July Milk Production in the United States up 1.8 Percent

Milk production in the United States during July totaled 18.2 billion pounds, up 1.8 percent from July 2016.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,940 pounds for July, 20 pounds above July 2016. The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.40 million head, 74,000 head more than July 2016, but 1,000 head less than June 2017.


Milk production in Iowa during July 2017 totaled 434 million pounds, up 2 percent from the previous July according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during July, at 217,000 head, was the same as last month and 3,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,000 pounds, up 15 pounds from last July.

New executive director named for Iowa Farm Animal Care Initiative

Mike Telford has been named the Executive Director of Iowa Farm Animal Care (IFAC), a unique coalition that includes veterinarians, animal behavior scientists and farmers committed to addressing Iowans’ questions regarding farm animal care.

Telford is taking the helm from Denny Harding, who helped launch IFAC four years ago.  Harding says although just a handful of calls have come in since the inception of the program, each one is important, because IFAC is unique as an early intervention and education tool. “IFAC fills an important role as an entity that ensures the compassionate care of farm animals, and answers the questions consumers have about Iowa livestock farming.  The expertise we have at IFAC, from both the veterinary, animal rescue, industry and statewide law enforcement is unique, not just to Iowa, but to the nation,” says Harding.

Telford has an extensive agricultural background. He began his career as a farm broadcaster for WHO radio and television before becoming the Chief Executive Officer for the Iowa Pork Producers Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Council, where he managed staff in the areas of promotion, policy, research and consumer information at the state and national level for the pork industry. He has also served as the Chief Executive Officer and Director of External Affairs for the Iowa State University Agricultural Foundation, managing investments related to farms, grants and scholarship programs.

Through its On Site Evaluation Team of experts, IFAC addresses concerns regarding farm animal care by tapping the combined strength and expertise of Iowa State University Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Ag and Life Sciences, as well as the Iowa State Veterinarian’s Office at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in response to questions consumers have about farm animal care.

As Executive Director of IFAC, Telford will help fulfill the initiative’s vision that ensures “every farm animal in Iowa receives responsible, humane care.” He will also oversee the advisory committee which includes Dr. David Schmitt, State of Iowa veterinarian; Iowa Secretary of Ag Bill Northey; Tom Colvin, executive director of the Animal Rescue League; and Doug Gwinn, Johnson County sheriff.

 Iowans with questions can visit the new mobile friendly website at or call 1-800-252-057.  "Livestock farmers understand how important it is for consumers to know more about how their food is grown and animals are raised. The Iowa Farm Animal Coalition provides a place where Iowans can go for information on the latest standards of care and learn more about how responsible livestock farmers care for their animals,” said Telford. “We encourage anyone who has a question or a concern about farm animals to contact us.”

The free resource, sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA), is also available to farmers who may need assistance in livestock care.

2017 U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange Highlighted by Purchase Agreement Signing for More Than $1.5 Billion of U.S. Soy

Soy buyers from more than 55 countries gathered in Omaha, Nebraska, this week to attend the annual U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange event. A trade delegation from China, representing more than 10 companies, opened the event by signing contracts worth more than $1.5 billion of U.S. Soy.

China remains the No. 1 customer of U.S. Soy, buying more than one of every four rows of soybeans growing in U.S. farm fields. In a separate transaction, more than $5 billion of contracts were signed just last month by another Chinese trade delegation in Des Moines, Iowa.

Chinese demand for U.S. soybean meal is growing alongside its growing economy. As China’s population grows and becomes wealthier, it’s consuming more protein-rich meat. The sustainability, exceptional composition and consistent reliable supply of U.S. Soy – components of the U.S. Soy Advantage – make it a preferred feedstock for swine, poultry and aquaculture alike.

“These purchase agreements are indicative of the strong relationship between the United States and China and the strength of the trade industry in general” says Xiaoping Zhang, USSEC Country Director – China. “For 35 years, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) has helped foster a dialog between the U.S., as suppliers of soy and soy products, and China, as end users. U.S. soybean farmers are really listening to Chinese demands and delivering attributes like sustainability and reliability.”

USSEC made sure that the Chinese trade delegation saw these attributes for themselves in U.S. farm fields.

“The Chinese trade delegation did a lot more than sign purchase agreements on this visit to the U.S.,” says Jim Miller, USSEC chairman of the board. “As our guests, they also toured U.S. soybean farms. This experience afforded buyers the rare opportunity to meet their suppliers firsthand and see sustainable practices up close.”

While in the U.S., members of the Chinese trade delegation joined more than 600 attendees from across the globe at the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Omaha, Nebraska. The relationships forged at this event helped lay the groundwork for 2018 purchase agreements to come.

ACE honors ethanol industry contributors with 2017 awards

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) honored a select group of ethanol advocates for their contributions to the ethanol industry during its 30th annual conference this week in Omaha.

The most prestigious award, the Merle Anderson Award, named after the organization’s founder, is given to individuals who display unmatched support and dedication to ACE and the domestic ethanol industry. This year’s award winner was Doug Durante, executive director of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition. Todd Sneller of the Nebraska Ethanol Board presented Durante with this honor.

“Like Merle Anderson and the many distinguished award recipients recognized by his namesake award, Doug Durante has worked for many years as a tireless champion for ethanol and clean fuels,” Sneller said. “We’ve been fortunate to have the partnership of Durante and his contributions to the ethanol industry over the past 35 years.”

ACE also gives out the Grassroots Award, which is given to a devoted individual or organization that often perform “behind the scenes” to advance the cause of ethanol. Siouxland Ethanol LLC was presented with this year’s award by Liz Bunkers, ACE director of member and industry relations, for the plant’s efforts to go above and beyond to cultivate interest in higher ethanol blends in their community and throughout the country.

“The efforts of this group provide a shining example to others who seek to replicate their success,” Bunkers said. “They have hosted E15 and E30 fuel promotion events and they have worked hard to educate their neighbors about the clean air benefits of our high-octane, low-carbon fuel.”

ACE senior vice president Ron Lamberty presented Bosselman Enterprises LLC with the Paul Dana Marketing Vision award. The award is presented to an individual or company that has exhibited leadership in ethanol marketing.

“ACE members recognize Bosselman Enterprises for leadership in committing to offer consumers choice at the pump, including the sale of higher blends like E15 and E85,” Lamberty said.  “The steps taken to provide customers with both choice at the pump, and knowledge through the distribution of informational brochures, sets Bosselman apart as a leader among convenience store chains.”


In response to a motion from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a supporting brief by the National Pork Proudcers Council that highlighted previous challenges faced by pork producers when filing air emissions reports, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit this week agreed to delay until Nov. 14 onerous and unnecessary farm air emissions reporting requirements. The court left open the possibility of a further extension beyond this date. The motion was made on the grounds that approximately 63,000 farms affected by this reporting requirement would need time to prepare and so “regulatory and administrative approaches to address these reporting obligations” could be explored. NPPC welcomes the decision and continues to work with the EPA on regulatory approaches to limit the burden of reporting on producers.

Pork Checkoff Hosts Negotiated Hogs Educational Workshop

The National Pork Board is hosting the inaugural Negotiated Pigs Educational Workshop to be held at the FFA Enrichment Center, 1055 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy, Ankeny, Iowa, on September 7, 2017.  This workshop is inteneded for those producers who are interested in increasing their skills and confidence in negotiating pigs on the cash market.  This is an opportunity to understand why negotiated hogs are important to the industry, how to use information and resources available from USDA, understand the packers' perspective, and learn from those in the industry most actively engaged in this activity every day. 

When:  September 7, 2017 8:30 AM  -  5:00 PM
Where:  FFA Enrichment Center, Ankeny, Iowa 50023
More Info and Register:

U.S. Soybean Farmers See Demand-Building Investments

Demand drives profitability, and the checkoff aims to build soybean demand in both domestic and international markets. There are several areas of opportunity that offer an optimistic outlook for soybean demand. U.S. soybean farmers were able to see some of the domestic demand-building opportunities through the soy checkoff’s 2017 See for Yourself (SFY) program from Aug. 7-11.

“Being able to see firsthand some of the ways my soybeans are used was a unique experience,” said Nathan White, a Missouri soybean farmer and SFY participant. “The SFY program gave me an opportunity to meet some of my end users and witness all the different ways U.S. soy is being promoted right in my backyard.”

Participants kicked off the program with the opportunity to tour a biodiesel facility, Mid-America Biofuels. Through investments from the soy checkoff, U.S. soybean farmers helped establish the biodiesel industry. Using more than 5.5 billion pounds of U.S. soybean oil in 2015, the biodiesel industry is a significant customer for U.S. soybean farmers and accounts for more than a quarter of all soybean oil used domestically. Biodiesel is an important investment for farmer checkoff dollars because as the biodiesel industry advances, so do demand opportunities for U.S. soybean oil.

High oleic soybeans give the U.S. soy industry an opportunity to win back market share and increase demand from end users looking for an oil that performs under high-heat conditions. Participants were able to learn more about the checkoff’s work with other industry organizations while touring a DuPont Pioneer facility. High oleic soybeans add to farmer profit opportunities by offering premium prices without a significant change to their production practices. The soy checkoff will continue to invest and build demand for high oleic soybeans because it fills a need for the No. 1 oil market – food.

The development of new soy-based products diversifies demand. Creating more end uses for soybeans will continue to build demand for U.S. soy and maximize profit opportunities for farmers. Participants saw this firsthand at the John Deere® assembly plant. John Deere® uses soy-based, sheet-molding compound for their HarvestForm™ tractor and combine. The soy checkoff continues to partner with private companies to produce soy-based products and ingredients, increasing demand of U.S. soy in non-food uses.

“The checkoff works around the world on behalf of U.S. soybean farmers, but we also do a lot domestically,” said Jimmy Sneed, Mississippi soybean farmer and United Soybean Board’s Audit & Evaluation Committee chair. “This year’s program was an opportunity to have our participants see and understand the checkoff’s domestic footprint and all that happens right in their own backyards. I think the farmers not only saw activities demonstrating how the checkoff works to develop profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers right now, but they also learned how the checkoff is looking to the future to stay in front of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week extended until Sept. 27 its public comment period on plans to repeal the Waters of the U.S. regulation (WOTUS). Earlier this year, the Trump administration ordered a review of the WOTUS rule, which broadened the EPA’s regulatory authority over waterways to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as those that farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also expanded the EPA’s authority to include farm lands adjacent to such waters. Public comments can be filed here... 

Agriculture Advances Ag Literacy with Teacher Resource Grants

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture presented teacher resource grants to 50 educators to help celebrate the Foundation’s 50th anniversary. Teachers may use the $50 grants to purchase agricultural literacy materials from the Foundation’s online store for classroom use.

“Our aim in presenting these grants is to advance agricultural literacy by providing teachers with classroom materials to share with their students and fellow teachers,” said Julia Recko, director of education outreach at the Foundation. Educators employed by a school and working in grades K-12 were eligible to apply for the grants.

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is working to rebuild the bonds of trust between American consumers and the people who proudly grow their food, fiber and energy. Learn more at

 AGCO Opens Nominations for 12th Annual Operator of the Year

AGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO) today announced the opening of nominations for AGCO Application Equipment’s 12th Annual Operator of the Year. The award recognizes the value of the hard work professional applicators do caring for crops and customers across the country, as well as their involvement in their communities.

Professional applicators spend long hours in the field every season, using technologically advanced application machinery like a RoGator® or a TerraGator® to accurately and efficiently apply fertilizer and crop protection products on millions of crop acres, helping farmers achieve their best possible yield.

“One important aspect of the Operator of the Year program is that nominations are submitted by those who know the operator’s work best,” said Mark Mohr, tactical marketing manager with AGCO. “They fully understand the sacrifices, hard work and precision that goes into being a professional applicator. And, AGCO realizes the critical role they play in helping farmers provide food, fiber and fuel to the world.”

The Operator of the Year program is open to all ag retailers and custom applicators in the United States, regardless of the equipment brands used in their application fleets.** A panel of judges from AGCO will evaluate nominees based on their performance both in the field and in the community, including criteria such as skill, dedication and customer service, as well as community involvement.

“What makes these applicators critical is their application expertise, customer knowledge and philosophy of treating each field as if it were their own,” added Mohr.

Ag retailers can submit nominations for the 12th Annual Operator of the Year at now through October 23, 2017.

The list of nominees will be narrowed to four finalists. Finalists will be guests of AGCO at the 2017 Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Conference & Expo, Nov. 28-30 at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona. The 12th Annual Operator of the Year winner will be announced Nov. 29 at the conference and presented the grand prize, a new Harley-Davidson® motorcycle.

Thursday August 17 Ag News

August Rural Mainstreet Index Falls Below Growth Neutral:  More than Half of Bankers Report Drought Impacts

After plummeting in July, the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index increased slightly for August, but remained below the 50.0 threshold according to the latest monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.  

Overall: The index, which ranges between 0 and 100, increased to a weak. 42.2 from 40.7 in July which was the index’s lowest level since November of last year.

“We continue to record economic weakness stemming from low agriculture commodity prices and fallout from the drought in parts of the region. Approximately 57.6 percent of bankers reported drought conditions were having a negative impact on agriculture production in their area, “said Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University's Heider College of Business. 

Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for August rose to 43.0, its highest level since July 2014 and up from last month’s 36.6. This is the 45th straight month the index has fallen below growth neutral 50.0.

This month, and in August 2016, bank CEOs were asked the value of cash rents for cropland (not pasture) in their area. On average bankers reported a yearly cash rent of $241 per acre, which is down from 12 months earlier when bankers indicated $252 per acre. This represents a decline in yearly per acre cash rents of 4.3 percent over the past year.  

On average bankers expect farmland prices to decline by another 3.5 percent over the next year.  This is an improvement from this time last year when bank CEOs, on average, projected a 6.9 percent decline.

The August farm equipment-sales index increased to 25.6 from 20.0 in July. This marks the 48th consecutive month the reading has remained below growth neutral 50.0.
Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for August inched forward to 42.9 from July’s 42.1. The state’s farmland-price index expanded to 43.5 from last month’s 37.5. Nebraska’s new-hiring index stood at a solid 55.2, but down from 62.5 in July.

Iowa: The August RMI for Iowa expanded to 42.3 from 41.7 in July. Iowa’s farmland-price index for August advanced to a weak 43.1 from 37.3 in July. Iowa’s new-hiring index fell to 52.5 from July’s healthy 60.7.

Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in nonurban agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of a 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities and their projected economic outlooks six months down the road. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are included. The survey is supported by a grant from Security State Bank in Ansley, Nebraska.

This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey in 2005.

Beef expo scheduled for Sept. 9-10-Ag complex once again event’s site

Members of the Agri-Business Council of the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce under the direction of co-chairs Susan Risinger Green and Jean Schmeckpeper and show organizers Kurt Dostal, Tony Schwartz and Kally King are readying the final details for one of the state’s premier 4-H and FFA market beef shows on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 9-10.

The 68th annual Norfolk Beef Expo will again be held at the Northeast Community College Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex near the intersection of Highway 35 and Benjamin Avenue. Any member of a Nebraska 4-H club or FFA chapter — who is at least 8 years of age and not older than 19 years of age on Jan. 1, 2017 — is eligible to participate. Each showman may exhibit two market calves, with a $25 entry fee per head.

Steer and heifer entries for the Norfolk Beef Expo will be received from 4 to 6 p.m. only on Saturday, Sept. 9. 

Based on its popularity the past three years, this year’s expo will include a team fitting competition. The contest — sponsored by Lakeside Equipment Company and Sullivan Supply — will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9.

The public is welcome to attend judging of the calves by class beginning at 9 a.m. on Sunday. Selection of the junior, intermediate and senior showmanship winners will follow, with cash prizes awarded to the top three showmen. 

Selection of the grand and reserve champion market heifers and steers begins at 5 p.m., Sept. 10, followed immediately by the premium auction. The grand and reserve champion steers and heifers are required to be sold. The premium will be on a per-head basis. Each exhibitor is limited to one entry in the premium auction. The public is also invited to attend and participate in the auction. 

Entry forms must be completed and signed by the county Nebraska Extension educator or FFA adviser and sent to the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce office. Entries must be postmarked no later than Friday, Sept. 1.  Entries also can be hand-delivered to a beef expo committee member or to the Norfolk Area Chamber office by Tuesday, Sept. 5.  Details are at

As an added educational component for the youths, this year’s expo will again include a carcass contest with the entries to be evaluated on both quality grade and yield grade.

Prize money will be awarded to the top five exhibitors thanks to sponsors Reigle Cattle Company, LLC and Bank First. This year’s beef expo corporate sponsors are Progressive Nutrition, Sapp Bros. Petroleum, Aschoff Construction, Nucor, Agrex Inc., and Northeast Community College Agriculture Department.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

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

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

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

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

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

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

Experts highlight high-octane ethanol future at ACE conference

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), which concluded today, hosted a panel dedicated to discussing the shift to high-octane fuel. The panel of three experts checked some of the most important boxes to make the transition of motor fuel to high-octane ethanol blends—infrastructure, engine testing and regulations.

Trey Binford, product manager of North America Dispensers at Wayne Fueling Systems, discussed the infrastructure component. He explained why Wayne differentiated itself as the first equipment manufacturer to exclusively offer fuel dispensers UL-listed for E25 to gasoline retailers in North America. They manufacture two different ethanol dispensers: Ovation and Helix. Binford explained some pointers with conference attendees he shares with retailers.

“It’s important to have ethanol represented at all pumps rather than just a few,” Binford says. “Building a consistent experience for the consumer is good.”

Brian West works at the Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and shared the testing underway on engines to help demonstrate the benefits of high-octane fuel to help automakers meet fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets.
“Engines can make more torque and power with higher octane fuel, and ethanol is very effective at boosting the octane number,” West said. “A new high-octane fuel could make better use of ethanol’s properties, moving the U.S. toward multiple goals.”

Adam Gustafson, partner at Boyden Gray & Associates, rounded out the panel discussing regulation. Gustafson is currently helping lead an effort to navigate the regulatory roadways which will enable automakers and consumers to experience the benefits of high-octane fuel and shared an update on this effort’s progress with conference attendees.

“It’s an important moment for the ethanol industry,” Gustafson said. “We’re erasing infrastructure barriers and providing the data we need for higher ethanol fuels in the marketplace. All that remains now is to remove regulatory barriers that stand in the way of mid-level ethanol blends. Now, EPA is inviting comment on the role high-octane fuel can play in meeting CAFE-GHG standards. This is a game-changing opportunity.”

 Smith Applauds Trump Administration Agreement to Send U.S. Pork to Argentina

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after the Trump administration finalized an agreement to restore trade access for U.S. pork to Argentina for the first time since 1992.

“More good news for Nebraska agriculture today, as the Trump administration continues opening more markets to producers,” Smith said.  “In June, U.S. beef producers gained access to China’s market, bringing an end to a 14-year ban.  Now, our pork producers can sell to Argentine consumers for the first time in 25 years.

“I applaud these efforts to bolster U.S. agriculture.  It is vital we continue working to increase market access for producers.”

Smith serves on the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade, and is the founder and co-chairman of the Modern Agriculture Caucus. 

Ricketts, Ag Director Celebrate Opening of Argentina to U.S Pork

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach issued statements following news that the Trump Administration has reached an agreement with Argentina that opens another market for U.S. agricultural products.

“President Trump’s deal to reopen Argentina to U.S. pork exports is good news which will help grow agriculture and the pork industry in Nebraska.  Nebraska’s number one industry relies on strong export markets for our high quality products, such as the pork our farmers and ranchers raise,” said Governor Ricketts.

“This new opportunity for Nebraska pork producers provides access to new consumers for the high quality pork raised in Nebraska,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach.  “Other countries in Central and South America have already shown strong demand and this can only enhance the sales in the region.”

“The opening of pork markets such as Argentina helps our Nebraska pork industry by providing additional customers for our products.  Pork is the number one protein product consumed worldwide.  Our family farmers are proud to help supply these international markets,” said Al Juhnke, Executive Director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association

Fischer: U.S. Deal with Argentina Will Expand Opportunities for NE Pork Producers

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement today after President Donald Trump announced a new U.S. deal to export American pork to Argentina:

"I am pleased the administration has negotiated a deal with Argentina, which will expand market access opportunities for Nebraska’s pork producers. Nebraska ranks sixth in the nation in hog production and this new agreement will provide consumers in Argentina with high quality pork from our state. I applaud the administration for following through on its promise to get better deals for our producers who work hard to feed the world every day." 


The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) applauds the Trump administration for negotiating U.S. pork access to the Argentine market. Argentina was among several countries with non-science based barriers to U.S. pork imports. With today’s White House announcement, trade-dependent U.S. pork producers now have unfettered access to this large pork-consuming nation.

“U.S. pork producers are the most competitive in the world and we have long sought the opportunity to provide affordable, high-quality pork in Argentina,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff. “We thank Secretaries Perdue and Ross, and their teams at the USDA and the Department of Commerce, as well as U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer and his team, for their diligent work to win Argentine market access.”

Maschhoff added, “We also thank Vice President Pence for his efforts, including a recent visit to Argentina, to move a trade agreement that promises significant U.S. economic benefits over the finish line.”

The U.S. pork industry, which has been the world’s largest exporter of pork over the last 10 years, depends on exports for growth. Exports added $50 -- representing 36 percent of the $140 average value of a hog -- to every U.S. hog marketed in 2016. NPPC continues to urge the administration to negotiate market access in other countries, such as India and Thailand, that remain closed to U.S. pork due to non-science based trade restrictions.

South Korea Lifts U.S. Poultry Ban

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that the government of South Korea has lifted its ban on imports of U.S. poultry and poultry products, including fresh eggs. Korea had imposed the ban in response to a recent detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

On August 11, the United States notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that it is now free of HPAI. This notification removed any justification for U.S. trading partners to restrict imports of U.S. poultry due to HPAI concerns. Currently, Korea imposes a ban on all U.S. poultry in response to any HPAI detection, but USDA continues to work with Korean officials towards limiting any future import restrictions to the affected area, consistent with OIE guidelines.

“The United States has the strongest avian influenza surveillance program in the world and we were at once able to quickly identify, confine, and control this most recent disease outbreak. Our hope is that Korean officials will recognize that our system works and will move towards a regional approach in the event of any future findings of bird flu,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “South Korea is one of our best trading partners, and we want to continue being their most dependable supplier of high-quality food and farm products. Korea’s lifting of its most recent ban is an important move for our poultry and egg industries, but it is still just the first step.”

In 2014, the last full year without any HPAI-related trade restrictions in place, South Korea purchased $122 million in U.S. poultry products, including eggs, making it the United States’ tenth-largest market. South Korea’s imports from all sources exceeded $350 million in 2016, but only $39 million came from the United States.

Korea has also announced a temporary measure that will allow U.S. eggs and egg products to enter the country duty free in the face of a shortage of domestic supplies. Earlier this year, USDA worked with Korea’s agriculture ministry to reopen the market for U.S. eggs and egg products, but imports were again restricted after the HPAI detection in Tennessee. Year-to-date exports through June have totaled $12 million, up nearly $10 million compared with the same period last year.

Farm Journal's Midwest Crop Tour Kicks Off Next Week

The 25th annual Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour kicks off next Monday, August 21, with participants taking on the challenging task of gauging this year's corn and soybean crops. Weather extremes at both ends of the spectrum this season, from drought in some parts of the Midwest to too much moisture in others, are impacting crop performance and will be reviewed each evening as scouts share their daily crop reports.

"Our job is to peg potential yield numbers to these really varied conditions we're seeing out there this summer," says Chip Flory, Farm Journal Pro Editorial Director. "Our measurements are critical, but it may actually be the qualitative observations of our scouts that will prove most important to people."

During Crop Tour, a group of more than 100 growers, industry experts and media reporters will scout about 2,000 fields in seven Midwest states during the four-day event, Aug. 21-24. The "Eastern leg" of the tour begins sampling in western Ohio, working its way across Indiana, Illinois, eastern Iowa and then southern Minnesota. The "Western leg" begins in southern South Dakota, then goes across eastern Nebraska, western Iowa and into southern Minnesota.

A summary of the Tour's findings will be presented at the Rochester, Minn., Event Center the evening of Aug. 24. Thursday's grand finale also includes a taping for the weekend edition of "U.S. Farm Report" and is followed up with Pro Farmer's national corn and soybean yield predictions and market impact analysis in Friday's Pro Farmer newsletter.

Farm Management Specialists Answer Extreme Weather Questions

Iowa farmers have seen their fair share of extreme weather conditions during the 2017 growing season. Farmers in the southeast and northwest portions of the state are dealing with drought, while those in the north and northeast have seen extensive flooding.

Losses due to drought and flooding are insurable under multiple peril crop insurance, and the August issue of Ag Decision Maker seeks to answer frequently asked questions about crop insurance. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach farm management specialists Charles Brown and Steve Johnson authored the article.

3 cobs of field cornApproximately 90 percent of the 23.5 million of acres of corn and soybeans planted in 2017 are insured using Revenue Protection multiple peril crop insurance. Once an insured farmer recognizes crop loss they should notify their insurance agent within 72 hours of discovering the damage. Despite damage to a crop, farmers should continue caring for it using “good farming practices” and get permission from the insurance company before destroying or putting any crop to an alternative use.

The spring price for calculating the minimum guaranteed revenue for corn is $3.96 per bushel and $10.19 per bushel for soybeans. This will be calculated again in October to get a fall or harvest price. If the harvest price is higher than the spring price, the harvest price will be used to calculate the guaranteed revenue. There is a maximum of twice the projected 2017 price for the harvest price; $7.92 per bushel for corn and $20.38 per bushel for soybeans.

Provided their claim is for more than $200,000, farmers will be asked to verify their production, which includes a three-year audit.

Additional questions answered in the article include:
-    What is the difference among insurance units?
-    When will farmers be receiving indemnity payments for their crop insurance losses?
-    Can indemnity payments for drought be deferred for income tax purposes until 2018?

Further resources and information on issues related to drought can be found at the ISU Extension and Outreach “Dealing with Drought” webpage....

NGFA, Ag Transportation Working Group, urge STB to hold CSXT accountable for service failures

The Agricultural Transportation Working Group - a diverse network of national farm, commodity group and agribusiness organizations, including the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) - called upon the Surface Transportation Board (STB) today to aggressively continue its efforts to examine the underlying reasons for the precipitous, deteriorating rail service being provided by CSXT.

"We are concerned that CSXT's already-chronic service problems may only worsen as demand for rail service increases during the fall peak season, which will include near-record grain and oilseed harvests," states the letter, which was signed by 18 national producer, commodity and agribusiness organizations.

The groups noted that America's transportation infrastructure - including freight rail - is an "essential component of U.S. agriculture's world-class productivity and competitiveness, which contribute substantially to American job creation, U.S. economic growth and world food security."

The letter outlined a litany of significant service-related problems experienced thus far by CSXT's agricultural rail customers. The organizations asked the agency to continue to press the railroad for its plan to rectify the harm it has caused to its customers over the past few months and to restore service to levels that comply with CSXT's statutory obligations to provide reasonable service upon reasonable request.

The working group expressed its appreciation for the STB's action in sending its July 27 letter to CSXT President and CEO E. Hunter Harrison requesting that senior CSXT railroad officials engage in weekly conference call updates with the agency's Rail Customer and Public Assistance Office, as well as for its follow up letter sent Aug. 14 to Harrison expressing continued concern and requesting specific data addressing various service-performance indicators. However, the organizations urged the STB to take additional actions to facilitate the restoration of service before the peak fall shipping season.

"We respectfully believe that the gravity and widespread geographical nature of CSXT's service disruptions warrant further action by the (STB) to determine the underlying causes, the short- and long-term implications to rail customers, and the adequacy of any service recovery plan(s) being contemplated by CSXT," the letter states.

Among several specific requests, the groups asked the STB to hold CSXT accountable to meet specific, measurable targets for restoring service under its recovery plan, to explore ways to provide additional transparency regarding substantive information on CSXT's service performance that would be valuable to rail users in their logistics planning, and to promptly resume activity on existing Board proceedings related to enhancing rail competition, particularly to replace the agency's outdated rules governing reciprocal switching that could help alleviate some of the harm incurred by shippers captive to an incumbent railroad by enabling them to receive service from an alternative carrier.

Increase in Ethanol Production Likely to Outpace Near-Term Demand

According to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division, the ethanol market will soon face worsening slim-to-negative profit margins, which could potentially push the industry toward consolidation. However, producers that are well-capitalized with strong balance sheets and cash reserves will be in the best position to weather the softening market.

The report, “Ethanol’s Growth Path: Output and Export Uncertainties Both Rising,” outlines how an ethanol market fueled by corn prices at multi-year lows, coupled with reinvestment into production capacity, will push supply past demand growth.

“Forecasts indicate that total ethanol production by 2020 will have increased by approximately 850 – 900 million gallons, compared to 2017 levels,” said Tanner Ehmke, CoBank senior economist. “Without a substantial increase in domestic demand or exports to clear excess supplies, ethanol producers are facing a downturn over the medium term. Those who have access to multiple transportation markets and have invested in new technology will be leaner and more cost efficient, enabling greater flexibility to endure prolonged periods of low prices.”
Multiple Variables Complicate Demand Picture

Domestic demand for gasoline blended with ethanol has been strong over the last 18 months, as low fuel prices resulted in consumers driving more. A second bright spot for ethanol has been continually rising ethanol blend rates at the pump. While E-10 (gas containing 10 percent ethanol) remains the dominant fuel blend, consumers are increasingly buying higher blends like E-15 (15 percent ethanol).

However, the longer-term picture for ethanol in gasoline is less optimistic. In 2017, export weakness and lower distillers grains (DDGS) prices have hurt margins.

Exports of ethanol, particularly to Brazil and China, have been strong over the last year, but that picture has changed significantly and the outlook for future ethanol exports suggests a continued decrease over the foreseeable future.

China has effectively ceased ethanol imports from the U.S. following its implementation of a 30 percent tariff on U.S ethanol. Exports to Brazil are also expected to erode as Brazilian sugar refiners come back online following a sugar crop failure in 2016, which led to the country’s heavy reliance on ethanol imported from the U.S.

Growth of U.S. exports to new markets such as India, Mexico and Indonesia, where governments are seeking to improve air quality, is possible, but will likely take time to fully materialize.
Who Will Weather the Storm

While a market correction is anticipated over the next two years, it is not expected to be as severe as prior corrections. Tight margins, limited profitability and consolidations are anticipated for the ethanol industry in the near future. However, ethanol producers who survived the last market correction have become wiser about the vagaries in the market and hedge their inputs and products—corn and ethanol—via the futures markets.

“More idling of production is expected in the next 18 – 24 months and aging facilities could be retired,” adds Ehmke. “Financially weak and less efficient producers who have limited access to dependable corn supplies and transportation risk being consolidated. But given the recent profitability, those producers with favorable cash positions and technology-driven efficiencies will have greater flexibility to endure prolonged periods of low prices or higher production costs.”

A brief synopsis of the report, “Ethanol’s Growth Path: Output and Export Uncertainties Both Rising,” is available on the CoBank YouTube channel.

Deadline Approaching for Producer Feedback on FARM Program Resources and Tools

Dairy producers have until Sept. 10 to complete a survey asking about their perceptions of the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program and how it can continue to improve the resources it offers farmers.

The voluntary survey, conducted by the FARM Program in conjunction with Colorado State University, probes producers’ knowledge of FARM and the value it provides to their operations. The results will help FARM’s Animal Care program better provide cooperatives and farmers with the appropriate guidance and materials required of program participants. Survey questions address topics such as the producer’s familiarity with the program, where they seek additional FARM Program information, and why stewardship practices are important to them.

The study, titled “Dairy Producer Perceptions of the National Dairy FARM Program,” is being led by Dr. Noa Román-Muñiz and Kayla Rink from Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Sciences. The survey is confidential and only summarized data will be shared with the primary researchers, so participants cannot be identified directly. Those interested in taking the survey can do so by clicking here.

The information gleaned from this survey will also help advance the FARM Program by increasing its efficiency and impact for farmers, and help staff understand producers’ needs. Improving the FARM Program will assist the dairy industry in forming uniform objectives on animal welfare.

Processors and cooperatives interested in distributing the survey to their members can contact or Kayla Rink at Colorado State ( Individual producers can take the online version or contact the FARM Program to be mailed a copy.

Wednesday August 16 Ag News

Ricketts Highlights Value-Added Ag Investment Successes, Growth Strategies

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts highlighted the continuing success of his administration in growing Nebraska through value-added agriculture.  The Governor’s comments came at the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual conference held in Omaha.

“The ethanol industry is a prime example of how we can add value to the agriculture commodities that we grow right here in Nebraska,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Through the process of turning corn into ethanol, several other co-products are produced, including distillers grains, corn oil, corn syrup, and dry starch.  This is the type of value-added agriculture that helps create jobs, increase demand of locally-grown commodities and attract new businesses which is all part of growing Nebraska.”

Governor Ricketts, chairman of the Governor’s Biofuels Coalition, is a strong advocate of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) to help provide stability and certainty for partners in the ethanol industry.

Nebraska is the second largest producer of ethanol in the United States, with the industry continuing to invest in their facilities.  In the past two years, companies have invested more than $190 million in ethanol plants in Jackson, Fairmont, Adams, Columbus, and Kearney to increase capacity and product diversification.

“Nebraska has all the resources necessary for companies to be successful when they invest in our state,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Working with my agencies, we have been successfully pursuing several strategies to grow value-added agriculture.  These programs are designed to attract additional business and support private-sector firms adding value to Nebraska’s quality ag commodities.”

In addition to successes in the area of ethanol, Nebraska has seen millions of dollars of investments by other types of value-added agriculture firms. These investments include:
·       A $300 million dollar investment by Costco in a chicken processing facility near Fremont.
·       The Hendrix Genetics chick hatchery in Grand Island, a $40 million capital investment.
·       Novozymes, a company that produces enzymes for the production of ethanol, is investing $36 million to expand its current facility in Blair.
·       Evonik and their business partner, Royal DSM, are spending $200 million to build a facility in Blair to make omega-3 fatty acids.
·       Cargill, a well-established meat processor in Nebraska, is investing $111 million to convert its Columbus plant to a cooked meats operation, which will double the employment and size of the plant.

Representatives from a number of major value-added investments praised the work of state officials in making Nebraska a great place to do business:

“In Costco’s experience, Nebraska has earned its place as one of the best states in the country to do business.  We selected Nebraska for our first-ever poultry processing facility because of its welcoming communities, central location, and hardworking ag producers who have embraced our project.  As we considered locations, state officials made themselves available to our team, delivered a customer-friendly experience, and successfully made the case that Nebraska was the best place for us to build this value-added operation that will serve to grow our trusted brand for years to come,” said Jeff Lyons, Costco Senior Vice President GMM of Fresh Foods.

“Nebraska is a great place to do business for several reasons.  The people are outstanding.  Friendly, honest and hardworking.  We have developed a specific culture here at Novozymes, and that great culture is because of the people that come here every day, ready to make a difference.  Nebraska is also a great place to do business because of the support that we get from everyone in Blair and Washington County, all the way to Governor Ricketts who supports our industry every chance that he gets.  Lastly, I see our partnerships with other local companies as extremely helpful in delivering our product to our customers in an efficient, timely manner and with the best quality.  When you consider these and other reasons, Nebraska is clearly a great place to do business.” said Kyle Nixon, General Manager of Novozymes in Blair.

“As one of the nation’s top popcorn production states, popcorn is a high-quality, value-added product that creates new opportunities and jobs for Nebraska’s farm families.  Governor-led trade missions and Nebraska’s international trade team have helped Preferred Popcorn establish partnerships around the globe that are helping us grow our business and Nebraska,” said Norm Krug, CEO of Preferred Popcorn in Chapman.

During the news conference, the Governor and others outlined several of the strategies the state has been using to land new value-added agriculture investment.

Biofuels Infrastructure

The Nebraska Energy Office is supporting over $5 million of investment in order to make higher blends of ethanol available to Nebraska drivers. The total number of pumps offering E-15, E-85, and other high-ethanol blends are expected to nearly double statewide. Since 2015, 70 pumps at 19 retail outlets have received grant funding, using funds from USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Program.

“Nebraska is among the top states producing ethanol for motorists around the country, and the world,” said Energy Office Director David Bracht.  “Nebraska drivers now have more access to higher-ethanol blend fuels like E-85 and E-15, which burn cleaner than regular fuels and save money.”

The Business Innovation Act

The Business Innovation Act, which encourages and supports the transfer of Nebraska-based technology and innovation for statewide economic growth through a series of grants and investment programs, further prioritizes innovation in value added agriculture by making value added agriculture projects eligible for a lower matching requirement.

Companies like Quantified Ag, a precision livestock analytics company that makes beef supply better by providing feedlot workers with the tools to identify sick animals sooner and more accurately, have received Business Innovation Prototype and Academic R&D value added agriculture funding to develop and test their technology.

“The Prototype grant came in at just the right time.  With the funding from DED, product development was able to continue during the time before getting investment, which was really important to keep the company going,” said Quantified Ag CEO Vishal Singh.

IntelliFarm, a company that develops ag-based products designed to grow efficiency within Nebraska’s number one industry, received Business Innovation SBIR and Seed Investment funding to develop and commercialize agriculture decision-making technology.

“IntelliFarm’s ongoing work in research and product development is aligned with our company’s overall efforts to protect agricultural equipment, which is integral to a producer’s operational success,” said IntelliFarm CEO and President Steve Tippery.  “Having an opportunity to receive assistance from two of Nebraska’s Business Innovation Program funds has been an important component of our company’s growth in the past two years.”

International Trade Missions

Governor Ricketts has led four international trade missions over the last two and a half years, and is planning a fifth to Japan in September.  These missions have led to new direct foreign investment from international firms, including the investment from Novozymes mentioned above.

The state’s international trade programs have also supported IntelliFarm’s international efforts.  Intellifarm has participated in Nebraska’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, to expand sales into international markets.  Through STEP participation, IntelliFarm has been able to conduct international market research, obtain helpful market feedback, and connect with industry partners regarding initial innovative product development projects.

Livestock Development

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) implements the Livestock Friendly County program and livestock siting assessment matrix.  These tools help county and local officials encourage appropriate development of cattle, hog, and poultry facilities.

“Development of new and expansion of existing livestock facilities generates additional revenue for Nebraska farm and ranch families, while also adding value to the abundance of row crops we grow in Nebraska,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach.  “Livestock development will continue to create new opportunities to grow Nebraska.”

Online Permitting

In an effort to expedite the permitting process and increase customer service, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has developed an online permit application process.  This effort has greatly reduced the time of the permitting process making it easier to begin construction.

Site and Building Development Fund

Another incentive that DED utilizes is the Site and Building Development Fund (SBDF).  As local economic development teams emphasize efforts to grow Nebraska’s workforce, recruiting and retaining skilled labor often work in tandem with a region’s overall industrial readiness.  The SBDF is a tool designed to help Nebraska communities and organizations with competitive attraction and expansion projects.

Murdock-based Oxbow Animal Health develops and markets fortified food and supplements dedicated to small animal nutrition in 35 countries.  In 2017, the company will celebrate the grand opening of its 247,000 square foot business campus in southwest Omaha.  Oxbow’s executive team worked with DED to secure a $200,000 Site and Building Development Fund Grant for the project, as well as $64,000 in Customized Job Training.

“Over the past 17 years, our company has grown from 20 to 140 employees,” said Oxbow Animal Health Founder and President, John Miller.  “Industry partnerships and state resources have both contributed to Oxbow’s growing workforce and global presence.  SBDF has enabled our company to move closer to a larger labor pool for additional access to skilled workers.”  

A STEP grant and The Nebraska Center Japan in Yokohama, Japan, helped Oxbow translate marketing materials that target Japanese customers, conduct market visits, form a strategic plan for doing business in Japan, and negotiate distribution agreements.

An Oxbow executive said these efforts contributed to a 92% increase in sales in Japan following the signing of a new distribution agreement in 2014.  Also the STEP grant opened up opportunities for Oxbow in Greece, where the company conducted seminars for top veterinarians, and developed customized marketing pieces, resulting in a 128% sales increase in the country.

During the past four years, Nebraska’s STEP Grant has assisted 77 small businesses with 453 unique activities, generating more than $42 million in increased exports to date.  Participation in the STEP Grant Program has assisted non-exporting small businesses enter international markets and opened new and expanding markets for current small business exporters.  STEP clients have identified international buyers as well as agents and distributors abroad.  Additional assistance has been provided to translate materials and websites, as well as support 3rd party product testing to meet the needs of our international customers.

Transportation Innovation Act

Last year, Governor Ricketts successfully championed the Transportation Innovation Act, which included the Economic Opportunity Program overseen by the Nebraska Department of Transportation.  The objective of the program is to finance transportation improvements to attract and support new business and existing business expansions in the state.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Did you have downy brome, cheatgrass, or wild oats in your pasture this spring?  Although difficult, they can be controlled and your pasture revitalized.

               Winter annual bromes often invade thin or overgrazed pastures in fall and early spring.  Livestock dislike grazing them, so over time they can take over and make large patches of pasture nearly worthless.

               By far the most effective chemical control method is to spray six to eight ounces of Plateau or imazapic herbicide per acre during September.  This pre-emerge treatment will prevent most annual bromes from developing.

               If spraying gets delayed into October, however, it is likely that some, or maybe a lot of these grass seedlings will have already emerged.  When this situation exists, add an adjuvant like a non-ionic surfactant or methylated seed oil to the spray mix for better control of emerged seedlings.  Expect a bit of injury to your perennial grasses, however.

               In warm-season grass pastures and rangeland, there is another option.  You can use glyphosate herbicides after top growth of these grasses has died due to a hard freeze or two.  This can kill emerged annual brome seedlings without harming the desirable grasses.  However, do not use glyphosate in cool-season pastures because it will injure or kill the pasture grasses as well.

               These treatments may need to be repeated for a couple years to prevent reoccurrence of these weedy grasses.  But with proper grazing management and other practices, your pastures can develop thicker, more competitive stands of the more desirable grasses.

              It takes a long, dedicated process to recover pastures overtaken by winter annual bromes.  There are no shortcuts.

NSP Board Re-elects Officers and Members

The National Sorghum Producers board of directors elected officers and re-appointed three individuals to the board last week during its annual August board meeting.

NSP board member Don Bloss of Pawnee City, Nebraska, was re-elected chairman and board member Dan Atkisson of Stockton, Kansas, was re-elected vice chairman. Kendall Hodgson of Little River, Kansas, was elected treasurer.

Additionally, Atkisson, Larry Dahlsten of Lindsborg, Kansas, and Tom Willis of Liberal, Kansas, were all re-elected to three-year terms on the board.  

“These three gentlemen have been a huge asset to the NSP board of directors, each bringing in a wealth of leadership and knowledge," Bloss said. “We look forward to their continued leadership in moving the sorghum industry forward.”

Atkisson is a farmer and rancher in northwest Kansas and grows 500 acres of sorghum. He is an active member of many other boards in his state and region and was a member of Kansas Agricultural and Rural Leadership Class XI. Atkisson has helped bring producer energy to the board, which he feels is a critical component to future momentum during this pivotal stage in the sorghum industry.

Dahlsten is a sorghum producer from central Kansas. He is an active member of his community, region and state having served on the Bethany Lutheran Church board, the Smoky Valley Rural Electric Cooperative Board and many others. He enjoys agriculture and the challenges and opportunities it presents and looks forward to continuing to serve and advance the sorghum industry.

Willis is the CEO of for Conestoga Energy Partners LLC and grows sorghum in southwest Kansas. He has, and will continue to, play an integral role in increasing the value of sorghum and communicating its potential as a feedstock to other producers. 

Changes to the NSP board of directors are effective October 1, 2017.

Farmers elected to Iowa Soybean Association board of directors

Seven farmers have been elected to advance the competitiveness of the Iowa and U.S. soybean industries as directors of the Iowa Soybean Association.

Newly elected to three-year terms on the board are: Casey Schlichting, Clear Lake (District 2); Jeff Frank, Auburn (District 4); and Tom Adam, Fairfield (District 9).

Re-elected directors include: Chuck White, Spencer (District 1); Morey Hill, Boone (District 5); Lindsay Greiner, Keota (At Large); and Steph Essick, Dickens (At Large).

They will be officially seated at the association’s September board meeting.

Retiring directors are: Wayne Fredericks, Osage and Mark Jackson, Rose Hill. Randy Souder of Rockwell City served one term representing farmers in District 4.

“Our outgoing directors have shown outstanding dedication and service during their terms, and we are grateful,” said Bill Shipley, ISA president elect. “We congratulate the newly elected directors and welcome the fresh perspectives they bring to the work of our board.”

Joining Shipley and the recently elected directors on the ISA board are: ISA President Rolland Schnell, Newton (District 5); Mark Vosika, Pocahontas (District 1); April Hemmes, Hampton (District 2); Suzanne Shirbroun, Farmersburg and Rick Juchems, Plainfield (District 3); LaVerne Arndt, Sac City (District 4); Robb Ewoldt, Blue Grass and Dave Walton, Wilton (District 6); Jeff Jorgenson, Sidney (District 7); Warren Bachman, Osceola and Randy Miller, Milo (District 8); Pat Swanson, Ottumwa (District 9); Brent Renner, Klemme and Tim Bardole, Rippey (At Large).

Iowa Cattlemen and Friends raise $3 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities

Records were broken at the 35th annual Governor’s Charity Steer Show, which raised over $274,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa.  This year’s event featured the highest selling auction, including breaking the cumulative $3 million mark. The money raised benefits the Ronald McDonald Houses of Des Moines, Iowa City, and Sioux City.  All of the houses are located near hospitals and provide a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children.  The Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association sponsor the annual steer show and auction, which was hosted by Governor Kim Reynolds on August 12, 2017 in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair.

Since its inception in 1983, the Governor’s Charity Steer Show has raised over $3.2 million for the Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa.  This year’s event included 25 steers, the Iowa youth that raised them, and celebrity showpersons, including Governor Kim Reynolds, who competed for the title of “Judge’s Choice.”

The official steer show judges for this year’s show included Mark Core and Bailey Boyert from Pleasantville, Iowa. The judges selected the steer “Smokin’ Willie,” shown by Governor Kim Reynolds, for overall grand champion honors. The Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association sponsored the steer and McDonald’s of Iowa City, Coralville, Ames and Des Moines (including JKB Restaurants and J&D Restaurants) purchased the steer for $17,000. There was additional support from Governor Kim Reynolds for $1,000 and Cody Von Glan Friends and Blazin ‘B’ Ranch for $500. The steer was raised by Cody Von Glan of Vail.

The steer raised and shown by 11-year-old Alec Gotto of Dyersville was selected by the crowd for the title of “People’s Choice.”  Alec, who is paralyzed from the neck down, led the steer, “Thanks A Million,” from his wheelchair. Alec’s family has personally used the Ronald McDonald House Charities in the past and was eager to “give back” to a charity that helped them. The steer was sponsored by the Volunteer Boards of Iowa Ronald McDonald House Charities and purchased by Briarwood Healthcare Center – Iowa City for $11,000.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, earned the Showmanship Award from Cassie Johnson, who served as the event’s Showmanship Judge.  Northey’s steer, “Hershey,” was sponsored by the Friends of Floyd County and Corporate Farmer.  The steer was raised by Jayden Jorgensen of Rudd and purchased by Friends of Floyd County & Corporate Farmer for $14,700 along with additional support from Dunlap Sale Barn for $450.

Emcees for the show were farm broadcaster Bob Quinn, WHO Radio, and Michelle Rook, WNAX Radio. A special guest appearance from Ronald McDonald kept the show lively.  The auctioneers for the auction were Phil Schooley from Bloomfield, Will Epperly from Dunlap, Russele Sleep from Bedford, and Jared Miller from Leon.  Catching bids alongside the auctioneers were Mike Sorensen, Austin Brandt, and Ross Butler of Livestock Plus, Tom Rooney of The Midwest Marketer, and Jason Lekin of Tama Livestock Auction.

Sukup Mfg. to Open New Iowa Office

Sukup Manufacturing Co. announced it will open an office location in the Iowa State University Research Park in Ames, Iowa, after September 1.

"Sukup Manufacturing has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, which has created the ideal time to grow in locations. We view opening this new office in Ames as an opportunity to capitalize on the engineering and technical expertise of both students at Iowa State University and professionals at the Iowa State University Research Park. Proximity to these exceptional institutions will only allow Sukup Manufacturing to leverage additional talent and realize further growth and success," said Charles Sukup, company president.

"Precision agriculture is the future of the industry," said Emily Schmitt, general counsel for Sukup Manufacturing. "Innovation and technology are key to our company's future. What better place than the Iowa State University Research Park to access the skills, knowledge, and resources to bring technology to farmers and help them be more productive than ever before?"

Sukup Manufacturing Co. is the world's largest family-owned and operated grain storage, drying and handling equipment manufacturer headquartered in Sheffield, Iowa, and covers 1,000,000 sq. ft. of office, manufacturing and warehouse space. The company employs over 600 people, making it one of the largest employers in North Central Iowa. Three generations of the family are now active in the business.

Sukup's product line includes on-farm and commercial grain bins, portable and tower dryers, centrifugal and axial fans and heaters, stirring machines, bin unloading equipment and bin floors and supports. Sukup also manufactures a line of material handling equipment that includes bucket elevators, drag conveyors and chain loop conveyors, as well as a line of steel buildings.

SHIC Works to Validate Methods to Monitor Feed for Swine Pathogens

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) recently funded a study to be conducted by Kansas State University researchers to investigate using dust samples to monitor for swine pathogens in US feed mills. There is potential for the findings to lead to development of a diagnostic laboratory panel of assays where a single submitted swab of feed mill dust could be analyzed for multiple feed-based bacteria and viruses – a low-cost tool that could be used to help address feed safety.

This research will use Senecavirus A (SVA) to validate detection techniques. Transmission of SVA needs more research, including if feed plays a role, but this project will offer a look into prevalence and high-risk locations for SVA entry into the feed system, adding another piece of information about the virus. At the same time, this research could possibly lead to development of centralized protocols for dust sampling that can be a convenient and cost-effective surveillance tool for feed-based pathogens.

While the implications for the US industry are clear, researchers are equally as interested in the outcomes in a broader application. These same tools and strategies can be employed to minimize the risk of Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) entry into feed mills – including for other viruses such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

Funded by America’s pork producers to protect and enhance the health of the US swine herd, the Swine Health Information Center focuses its efforts on prevention, preparedness, and response. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research for the benefit of swine health. For more information, visit

Pruitt Urges Ranchers to Submit WOTUS Comments

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association today released a video featuring Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, in which Pruitt urges farmers and ranchers to submit official comments on the repeal of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule before the Agency's deadline of Monday, Aug. 28, 2017.

"When comments are made a part of a record - as rule-making - we have an obligation to review them," Pruitt says in NCBA's video. "It helps inform our decision-making process; it helps us make better decisions. And so we want farmers and ranchers across this country to provide comments."

The video was filmed during a visit that Pruitt and his senior staff made earlier this month to the Frasier Ranch, located just outside Last Chance, Colorado. During the visit, part of the Administrator's nationwide "State Action Tour," Pruitt met with and solicited input from several dozen local ranchers about how to proceed after the Obama-era WOTUS is repealed.

"We're trying to fix the challenges from the 2015 rule, where the Obama Administration re-imagined their authority under the Clean Water Act and defined a Water of the United States as being a puddle, a dry creek bed, and ephemeral drainage ditches across this country, which created great uncertainty... and we are fixing that, and then we're hearing from stakeholders about how to get it right as we go forward," Pruitt said.

NCBA has helped lead the charge against the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. rule, and cattle producers can file official comments through the group's website at or at

NCBA's video with Pruitt can be viewed at:

Price of 10-34-0 Up From Previous Month; All Other Fertilizer Prices Lower

Average retail prices for all but one of the eight major fertilizers were lower the second week of August 2017 compared to a month earlier, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

The average price of 10-34-0 was $440 per ton the second week of August, up 2% from $431 the second week of July.

Prices for all other major fertilizers were lower from the previous month, with anhydrous showing the largest drop. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $419 the second week of August, down 7% from $451 the second week of July.

UAN28 also showed a fairly significant drop in price from the previous month. The fertilizer had an average price of $224 the second week of August, down about 5% from its average price of $235 the second week of July.

The remaining five major fertilizers all saw smaller price declines from the previous month. DAP had an average price of $434/ton, MAP $462/ton, potash $339/ton, urea $311/ton and UAN32 $258/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.34/lb.N, anhydrous $0.26/lb.N, UAN28 $0.40/lb.N and UAN32 $0.40/lb.N.

Prices for all retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. Five of the eight major fertilizers are double digits lower.

Anhydrous is 20% lower than a year ago, 10-34-0 is 17% lower, UAN32 is 14% lower, UAN28 and urea are both 10% lower, DAP and MAP are both 4% lower, and potash is about 2% lower.

Illinois Pig Farmer Shares Perspective of Gene Editing on Animal Agriculture

Science and ethics experts took part in a first-of-its-kind conference on the role of gene editing. CRISPRcon – a summit named for the genome editing technique creating Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) – brought together a diverse set of panelists to discuss this emerging technology.

CRISPR technology allows for precise changes to be made to the DNA of living cells, which holds the potential to eradicate diseases, transform agriculture and enable massive leaps forward in environmental and life science. Through a series of keynote speakers, panels and interactive discussions, CRISPRcon offered a single forum for those with a stake in gene editing to share ideas, ask and answer questions and explore the path forward.

Included on the panel of speakers at the two-day event was Thomas Titus, a pig farmer from Illinois. Titus was one of only two farmers who presented among the scientific experts, physicians, patients, environmentalists, consumers and community leaders to explore a wide range of potential applications for gene editing. The future of gene editing spans many aspects of life – from human and animal health to agriculture and conservation.

“Gene editing will have great impact on the future of farming, and especially on livestock production,” Titus said. “Although in its very early stages of development and acceptance, gene editing could ultimately be used to make pigs resistant to diseases, thereby improving food safety, animal welfare and the environmental impact of agriculture.”

Titus, who raises pigs and also grows grain on his Illinois farm, was part of a panel discussing where CRISPR technology could take society by 2050. His appearance was supported by the Pork Checkoff and National Pork Producers Council. Other panelists included representatives from the Center for Genetics and Society, the Institute for the Future, PICO National Network and The Breakthrough Institute.

“Today’s consumer is educated, and asking questions about where their food comes from and how it is raised,” Titus said. “That’s why I welcome every chance I get to talk about today’s pork production. I appreciated the opportunity to once again open my barn doors to share how I raise pigs with these key influencers in food production.”

Other topics addressed during the conference included societal perception and acceptance of CRISPR application in surgery, human health and food production and conservation.

U.S., Canadian and Mexican Farm Groups Support Modernized NAFTA

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and Mexico’s Consejo Nacional Agropecuario (CNA) today sent a joint letter to Canadian, United States and Mexican government officials reiterating their calls that NAFTA re-negotiations should aim to modernize the agreement, rather than dismantle it.

The AFBF, CFA, and CNA agree that agriculture represents one of NAFTA's biggest success stories. Agricultural reciprocal trade between the three countries has grown exponentially since the agreement was implemented more than 20 years ago.

CFA President Ron Bonnett, strong in his support of the agreement, says that “NAFTA has boosted the incomes of millions of farmers and has facilitated the development of profitable export markets.”

In their discussions, the three Presidents agreed on the need to build on the original agreement's success by looking for ways to increase trade volumes.

“When it comes to overall positive results for North America’s farmers and ranchers, NAFTA has proved itself as a solid foundation for trade. Just as farmers have new tools and technology for food and fiber production, we believe that an updated NAFTA agreement can help the three nations become even stronger trading partners,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said.

CNA President Bosco de la Vega, reflecting on the economic benefits of trade, said it is very clear, “The NAFTA agreement has had a positive impact for the agricultural sector, including the exponential increase in trade flows between its partners; currently NAFTA markets are characterized by high level of complementarity, the possibility to face the challenge of food security in a better way, an open trade system with clear and fair rules. Taking these into account, we believe that today the NAFTA members have a big opportunity to even increase this positive outcome.”

All parties further commit to meeting with their governments to insist that NAFTA re-negotiations should be built on the principle of "doing no harm."

NAFTA discussions should seek:
1. Increased and improved regulatory alignment.
2. Improved flow of goods at border crossings.
3. Further alignment of sanitary and phytosanitary measures using a science-based approach.
4. Elimination of non-science based technical barriers to trade.
5. Revisions that reflect technological advances since implementation such as digital trade, etc.

Agriculture industries in each NAFTA country would greatly suffer from disruptions to trading relationships developed over the last 23 years. Farmers have increased productivity and improved their competitiveness to address the rapidly growing demand worldwide for healthy and sustainable food products. Losses due to NAFTA changes would severely stunt this progress.

AFBF, CFA and CNA are committed to working with their respective administrations to ensure that a modernized NAFTA continues to be a success story for all farmers.

U.S. Grains Council Statement On Start Of NAFTA Modernization Talks

President and CEO Tom Sleight

"As formal renegotiation discussions for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) begin in Washington, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) will be engaging closely to help achieve a conclusion that provides our members and our customers long-term certainty and creates a new platform for growth and integration of our regional feed and fuel industries.

"The Council has worked diligently for decades in both Canada and Mexico, building trusted relationships that are supported by strong policy in NAFTA. This agreement and the trade it has spurred have been critical to the growth of the U.S. feed grains industry. It is a foundational agreement in our global trade policy.

"Both farmers and negotiators must understand how important these markets - and free trade - are to agriculture’s profitability. We appreciate our government's receptiveness in acknowledging that NAFTA is and will continue to be critical to our sector and hearing the improvements we would make to the 23-year-old pact. We look forward to these continued conversations as the trilateral negotiations evolve.”

 NFU Urges Smooth, Transparent Transition to a Fair Trade Framework

Trade representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico will meet here today to begin an official renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The renegotiation provides the Trump Administration with an opportunity to fulfill one of the president’s top campaign promises – a reset of the U.S. trade agenda.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson urged the administration to restore balanced trade and domestic sovereignty that have been traded away in past agreements, noting NFU has long supported a transition to a fair trade framework.

“For decades, farming and rural communities across the country have suffered lost jobs, lowered wages, and fleeting economic liberty as a result of our nation’s free trade agenda,” said Johnson. “The Trump Administration must use this opportunity to reset that agenda by instituting a new, fair trade framework that works for family farmers, ranchers, and rural residents. NFU urges them to do so in a fashion that is transparent to the American public and does not upset the positive trade relations the U.S. agriculture community relies upon.”

Over the past several decades, the United States entered into free trade agreements with 20 countries, maintaining a trade agreement framework that advanced the interests of multinational corporations at the expense of family farmers, ranchers, and rural workers. This free trade framework began with the U.S. entering into NAFTA in 1994.

“NAFTA established a set of trade parameters that have benefitted corporate America at the expense of rural American communities and economies,” said Johnson.

Johnson noted that NAFTA was the first U.S. trade agreement to include the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) arbitration procedure, which allows foreign companies to sue governments over laws that undermine their profits. These suits go before foreign tribunals, and their results can ultimately dictate U.S. laws.

“Provisions like ISDS tip the scales in favor of multinational corporations, consolidating money and power into the hands of few. They need to be eliminated through this renegotiation process to support vibrant family farm operations and rural communities,” he said.

Johnson noted the president also has the opportunity to restore facets of U.S. sovereignty, like the ability to implement Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) on meat products. Just two years ago, a challenge from Canada and Mexico ultimately convinced Congress to repeal the COOL law, which was supported by more than 90 percent of American consumers.

“We can not allow the interests of foreign governments and multinational corporations to dictate our laws here at home,” said Johnson. “The repeal of COOL is a perfect example of just how much of our sovereignty we’ve traded away through trade deals. This issue must be addressed in the NAFTA renegotiation. Any provisions keeping the U.S. from instituting COOL or any other commonsense law need to be struck from all of our trade agreements moving forward.”

 “National Farmers Union supports the President’s stated intent to reset our flawed trade agenda,” said Johnson. “We will remain adamant that this process must produce a fair trade framework that balances trade and benefits the livelihoods of all Americans.”

Alliance releases report from 2017 Animal Rights National Conference

The Animal Agriculture Alliance released a report today detailing observations from the Animal Rights National Conference, held August 3-6 in Alexandria, Va. The event was hosted by the Farm Animal Rights Movement and sponsored by Compassion Over Killing, Mercy for Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and The Humane League, along with other animal rights activist groups. According to conference organizers, nearly 2,000 individuals were present at the event, described as “dedicated to the vision that animals have the right to be free from all forms of human exploitation.”

“The speakers at this year’s Animal Rights National Conference made their goals clear – ending all forms of animal agriculture, regardless of how well animals are cared for,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “Their persistent focus on pressure campaigns targeting restaurant, retail and foodservice brands is of great concern to the Alliance and our members. We encourage anyone with a vested interest in producing, processing or selling meat, poultry, eggs and dairy, to read this year’s report and hear how determined these groups are to eliminate food choices and make our society vegan.”

Activists in attendance were encouraged to be as extreme as necessary to advance their goals. “Breaking the law can often be a good thing to do,” said Zach Groff, Animal Liberation Collective. Groff spoke about the ‘nature of confrontational activism’ such as “protests, open rescues from farms without permission, vigils…” According to Groff, “this is a type of activism that can often upset people, it can rile people up.”

A major focus of this year’s conference was on pressuring restaurant, retail and foodservice brands to adopt certain policies, with the end goal of forcing them to stop selling animal products. In one session on “Engaging Institutions,” a speaker from The Humane League said the group had “basically harassed” one national sandwich chain with a campaign. When an audience member commented about ‘humane’ policies not being as good as complete liberation, Krista Hiddema, Mercy for Animals (Canada), hinted at no animal products being sold as the end goal, stating “we’re never going away.” Hiddema also stated that “we [the animal rights movement] are winning against the largest organizations in the world,” and “they are terrified of us.”

Other speakers shared Hiddema’s confidence in the movement’s success, with Jon Camp, The Humane League, stating “they [food companies] don’t make policies due to altruism, they do it because of the pressure.” David Coman-Hidy, also with The Humane League, told attendees to research companies before launching a campaign, asking “what can we use to make them look like hypocrites?” Coman-Hidy emphasized “we are not here to negotiate,” and activists “are essentially a pain in the neck for companies.” He suggested that attendees should attempt to damage companies’ brand reputations, stating “I recommend putting blood drips on their logo.”

Consistent with previous years, another key message from conference speakers was for attendees to focus efforts on eliminating farms of all types and sizes, not only the large-scale, modern operations (declared to be “factory farms”) that have historically been targeted. “Please, stop saying “factory farming” – it’s done its job,” said Hope Bohanec, projects manager, United Poultry Concerns as she emphasized that farms of all sizes are equally cruel. Bohanec continued to accuse the food industry of “humane washing” and trying to “dupe the public.” Bonahec touched on recent movements to go ‘cage-free,’ stating that all animal agriculture is bad, regardless of what labels say.

One speaker was ridiculed by the audience for his ‘Reducetarian’ approach, which encourages people to reduce, but not necessarily eliminate, meat consumption. An audience member stated that veganism is a lifestyle, not a diet, and that “’reducetarianism’ is the animal rights version of greenwashing” (trying to make an organization seem more environmentally responsible than it actually is).

Several speakers and panels also discussed animal agriculture’s impact on the environment, a talking point the Alliance has seen animal rights activist groups relying on more heavily in recent years. Jeffrey Cohan, Jewish Veg, stated that “we know animal agriculture is the leading cause of pollution on our planet.” Lisa Kemmerer, author, Sister Species and Eating Earth, said “eating hamburgers is like driving a bulldozer over the rainforest” and “being an environmentalist who is not vegan is nonsense on stilts.”

Also speaking at the conference were: Nick Cooney (founder of The Humane League) and Vandhana Bala, Mercy for Animals; Ingrid Newkirk, PETA; Erica Meier, Compassion Over Killing; Steven Wise, Nonhuman Rights Project; Anita Krajnc, Toronto Pig Save; Bruce Friedrich, Good Food Institute; and Paul Shapiro, Josh Balk and Kristie Middleton, all with the Humane Society of the United States.

The 2017 Animal Rights National Conference Report, which includes personal accounts of speaker presentations and general observations, is available to Alliance members in the Resource Library on the Alliance website. The Alliance also has reports from previous animal rights conferences accessible to members on the Alliance website.

Smithfield Foods Acquires KC Sausage Company

Smithfield Foods has bought out the remaining stake in private-label sausage manufacturer Kansas City Sausage Company, after investing in a 50-50 joint venture back in 2013.

The sausage maker has operations in Des Moines, Iowa -- where it produces premium raw materials for sausage, as well as value-added products including boneless hams - as well as in its home town of Kansas City, Missouri.

Its Kansas City plant is the newest and most modern sausage processing facility in the US, Smithfield said, and is designed to deliver optimum efficiency to the company's retail and foodservice customers.

The move comes after Smithfield revealed investment of $25 million in Chef'd, joining the likes of Campbell's and online grocery company Fresh Direct in putting money behind the U.S. meal kit provider.

Tuesday August 15 Ag News

Ricketts, Nebraska Trade Leaders Outline Principles for NAFTA Modernization

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska’s leaders in international trade outlined principles for North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) modernization ahead of planned negotiations on the agreement.  Negotiations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico are scheduled to begin in Washington, D.C. on August 16, 2017.

“We urge the President and his team to prioritize growing market access, especially in the areas of agriculture and manufacturing, during their discussions on NAFTA modernization,” said Governor Ricketts.  “It is crucial that these discussions at a minimum maintain the provisions that have helped make Canada and Mexico Nebraska’s top trading partners.  Both of these markets are vital to growing Nebraska.  The President has delivered before, and I’m confident he and his team can deliver during the upcoming negotiations.”

The Governor outlined three principles he is urging the Trump Administration to follow as they sit down at the negotiation table:

·       Maintain market access: Negotiations should focus on growing market access with our North American partners, especially in the areas of agriculture and manufacturing.  Any changes should protect access to these markets as well as access for international firms who do business and invest in Nebraska.

·       Reduce tariff & non-tariff barriers: While NAFTA provides tariff-free trade for a variety of Nebraska commodities, there are still opportunities to reduce or eliminate tariffs on dairy, poultry, eggs, and wine as well as other non-tariff barriers on products, such as ethanol, and regulatory issues.

·       Reflect technological advances: A modernized NAFTA should reflect technological advances made since the original agreement was put in place in 1993.  For Nebraska, many of these advances have come in the areas of biotechnology and crop science.

Members of the Governor’s trade council also issued statements ahead of NAFTA negotiations:

“Nebraska's economic growth is largely dependent on free and fair trade with foreign nations.  In 2015, Nebraska exported $8 billion of goods – a 238% increase from a decade earlier.  Of that amount, more than $6 billion of Nebraska exports were manufactured goods, and it is estimated that more than 270,000 jobs in Nebraska depend on trade.  The State Chamber supports continued elimination of export barriers and expansion of trade opportunities so Nebraska businesses can create more good jobs in our state,” said Barry Kennedy, President of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

“From an agricultural perspective, it is imperative that NAFTA negotiations stand firm on the principle of maintaining and even expanding the market access our agricultural products have with both Canada and Mexico.  Those efforts must include reduction and elimination of tariffs, elimination of non-tariff trade barriers, as well as improvements in regulatory equivalency between NAFTA trade partners.  It is also important that a modernized NAFTA agreement update food safety rules, create opportunities for inclusion of new standards for both crop and livestock biotechnology, and eliminate provisions to limit restrictions on common name products produced in the U.S. Improvements in these areas will help make NAFTA a model for future U.S. trade agreements,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau President.

“Agriculture is Nebraska’s number one industry, and robust exports of both agricultural and manufacturing products are vital to the strength of our economy.  As the leaders of Nebraska’s public, land-grant university system, which has a rich history of driving economic growth in our state and beyond, we think it’s critical for U.S. negotiators to look for ways to expand agricultural and manufacturing trade so we can continue to build a strong economy in Nebraska and across the country,” said University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Doug Kristensen, and University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska Medical Center Chancellor Jeffrey Gold, M.D.

“Nebraska is the top U.S. state for red meat exports and trade is integral to our business.  Nebraska producers exported $1.126 billion in beef and beef products last year, and product equivalent of 2,600 head of cattle is exported nationwide from our state every day.  There is no question that NAFTA is responsible for much of this success, as Nebraska’s beef producers depend on access to top markets like Canada and Mexico.  Any potential renegotiation of NAFTA must protect the market access and scientific standards that the agreement has provided for Nebraska’s beef industry for the past 24 years,” said Nebraska Cattlemen President Troy Stowater.

“With Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers being leaders in corn, red meat and ethanol production and Mexico and Canada being our leading trading partners, we encourage the administration to build upon access for corn in all forms,” stated David Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board.

“Open trade as provided by the NAFTA agreement with Mexico and Canada is extremely important to our Nebraska pork producers.  These family farmers depend on stable, free trade agreements with countries around the world as an important economic piece of their livestock operations,” said Al Juhnke, Executive Director, Nebraska Pork producers Association

“The US sorghum industry has long-standing trade relationships with agricultural businesses in Mexico.  We support the Governor’s efforts and the principles he is putting forward as they will help strengthen those existing relationships as well as expand partnerships into new areas of Mexico,” said Mike Baker, Chairman of the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board.

“World growth in market demand for bioscience technologies in health, food, fuel and farming creates new opportunities for growth in the life sciences industry, adding high-wage jobs in Nebraska and expanding our economy.  Bio Nebraska stands with Governor Ricketts core principles and encourages President Trump to seek a mutually-beneficial NAFTA modernization process,”  Phil Kozera, Executive Director of Bio Nebraska Life Sciences Association.

“Many of NBDC’s small business clients have been exporting their products to serve customers in Mexico and Canada.  It is vital to Nebraska’s small businesses – and a growing contingent of small business exporters – that these market remain, at least, as open as they have been in the past,” said Catherine Lang, State Director for the Nebraska Business Development Center.

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Following corn silage harvest, your ground can lay bare for seven to nine months.  Instead, let’s plant some crops to grow and cover it until next season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACE elects board of directors at annual conference

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) announced the re-election of several board members and the election of one new representative to the organization’s board of directors during its annual meeting prior to ACE’s 30th annual conference in Omaha.

Nine incumbents were re-elected to the board of directors for three-year terms:
 ·    Todd Sneller, representing the Nebraska Ethanol Board
 ·    Ron Wetherell, representing Little Sioux Corn Processors, and
 ·    Chuck DeGrote, representing Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company
 ·    Trevor Hinz, representing ICM Inc.
 ·    David Kolsrud, representing Badger State Ethanol
 ·    Troy Knecht, representing the South Dakota Corn Growers Association
 ·    Greg Krissek, representing the Kansas Corn Growers Association
 ·    Gary Marshall, representing the Missouri Corn Growers Association
 ·    Chris Wilson, representing Mid-Missouri Energy

One new member was elected to serve on the board of directors for a three-year term:
 ·    Neal Kemmet, representing Ace Ethanol (and Fox River Valley Ethanol)

Kemmet replaces Bob Sather of Ace and Fox River Valley.  Kemmet is the president and general manager of the companies.

“The ACE board of directors is a dedicated group of active volunteers who represent the grassroots diversity of our entire membership,” said Brian Jennings, ACE executive vice president. “Our members can be rest assured they are well-represented by the resolve, expertise and experience the board members bring to the table and ACE is grateful for their support and leadership.”

FFA chapters selected for grants

Five FFA chapters were selected by the Nebraska FFA Foundation to receive grants for various programs in their local chapters. The following chapters received grants:

The Mead FFA chapter received a grant for "Blooming Smiles." This is an FFA project in which the chapter collects donated flowers from funerals, weddings, etc. and repurposes them as floral arrangements for community members, as random acts of kindness. The chapter plans to expand the operation by purchasing a floral cooler and floriculture products to make this community service project easier.

The Randolph agricultural education program will be investing the grant awarded to them for a powder coating system. The school has already invested in the computer numerical controlled plasma cutter and design software.

Johnson-Brock High School has a new agricultural education program this school year. They were awarded a grant for curriculum needs to develop a successful program. They will be purchasing textbooks, laboratory materials and rebuilding a greenhouse.

The Red Cloud agricultural education program was awarded a grant to build a greenhouse. The agricultural education program received a lot across from the school through a local business donation. The greenhouse will be built on this lot.

The Holdrege agricultural education program was also awarded a grant to purchase plant systems CASE equipment. The instructor at Holdrege will be implementing the plant systems Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education and will be purchasing sensors, probes and equipment to implement this curriculum.

Nebraska Land Values Update
JD Maxson, Western Area Sales Manager, Farmers National Company

Lower land values in Nebraska have not slowed the sales volume for Farmers National Company. Grain and livestock prices both have an impact on Nebraska land values across many regions of the state.  

Our number of sales is up 10 to 20 percent over last year and good quality land is definitely in demand. The value of top quality land has declined a moderate amount, whereas lower quality land has taken more of a drop.  

Land auctions continue to be a primary way of selling ag land in much of the state and Farmers National Company auctions achieve a successful sale 95 percent of the time despite buyers being more cautious. Private treaty sales are being used more in the case of lower quality land and grazing acres. Local farmers and ranchers are the predominate buyers as they seek to purchase land that may only come up for sale once in many generations.  

We have only seen a couple stress sales where the owner/operator needs to shore up working capital. Depending on the season and commodity prices, we could see more of these types of sales this fall if the state’s farm economy stays soft. Buyers and sellers are paying close attention to the farm and ranch economy as they consider a land transaction.

Blogger Named Inaugural Beef Advocate of the Year

The beef advocacy program supported by the beef checkoff has named blogger and cattlewoman Anne Burkholder as the recipient of the first Advocate of the Year award. The award recognizes an outstanding participant in the Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program, which trains members of the beef community to engage with consumers and answer their questions about beef and beef production.

A Florida native, Burkholder moved to Nebraska with her husband in 1997 to run a family feed yard that had been in her husband’s family since the 1970s. Since then, the mother of three started a successful blog entitled “Feed Yard Foodie” and works for Progressive Beef to ensure that its supply chain is producing high-quality, sustainable beef.

While many beef advocates grow up with an agricultural background, Burkholder grew up a self-proclaimed jock in Palm Beach County, Florida, and attended Dartmouth University where she majored in psychology. This unique perspective allows her to relate to consumers who may not be familiar with beef production.

"Managing a feed yard for 20 years inspired me to learn to identify and fill meaningful gaps. With thousands of cattle relying on me each and every day, recognizing if an important gap existed between the care that I offered and what the animal needed was absolutely critical for good welfare. This same philosophy of working to 'fill the gap' extends to all of the areas of my life, including beef advocacy,” explains Burkholder. “A gap clearly exists between the truth of how beef is raised and the general consumer knowledge of the beef industry. As someone actively engaged in caring for cattle and raising beef, it is my job to help fill that gap with truthful information.”

Burkholder’s passion for communicating with consumers led her to become an early graduate of the checkoff’s Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program. She has taken that training, paired with her firsthand experience, to another level. She has participated in national media interviews and high-profile panel discussions to share beef’s positive story with consumers around the country.

“Feed Yard Foodie is a natural extension of me. It creates appropriate transparency as I try to bridge the seemingly unending chasm between urban and rural America. I truly believe that 'together we are stronger,' and my advocacy efforts focus on finding common ground with those who were not granted the blessing of living on a farm," says Burkholder.

Burkholder is no stranger to awards. Awarded the BEEF Magazine Trailblazer award in 2014, she was named to Vance Publishing’s 40 under 40 in agriculture in 2013, and in 2009, awarded the Beef Quality Assurance Producer of the Year award. 

The Advocate of the Year is selected by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor of the beef checkoff which manages the MBA program, and state checkoff staff as the standout advocate among the 12 monthly award winners in 2016.

Find out more about the Masters of Beef Advocacy program at To learn more about your beef checkoff investment, visit

Results of 2016 National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit to be Shared at Sept. 7 Web Broadcast

Findings from the beef checkoff-funded 2016 National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit will be shared with media at a web broadcast featuring the study’s principal investigators on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 3 p.m. CT. This exclusive first-viewing of the research presents data and their implications for beef production in the critical cow and bull market. It’s the first update of this data since 2007.

It’s estimated that cull cows and bulls represent up to 20 percent of the beef market in the United States. The data from this research, gathered in 18 packing plants across the United States that process cull cows and bulls, focuses on different aspects of cow and bull raising, transportation and marketing and how they affect traits such as lameness, muscle score, bruising, carcass defects and numerous other product attributes.

Among those presenting at the web-based event are:
-    Jeff Savell, Texas A&M University
-    Keith Belk, Colorado State University
-    Deb VanOverbeke, Oklahoma State University

The web broadcast is being hosted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. Expected length is 90 minutes.

To RSVP for the Sept. 7 live webcast or find out more about the research, contact Jesse Fulton at, or 303/850-3461. Details about access to the event will be shared with those who RSVP for the event.

This research complements, but is separate from, the checkoff-funded 2016 National Beef Quality Audit of steers and heifers. For information on that recently-released research go to

Keep Pork Trade Flowing In Updated NAFTA, Says NPPC

With negotiations set to begin tomorrow, the National Pork Producers Council today repeated its request that a “modernized” North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) maintain the zero-tariff rate on pork traded in North America.

President Trump has made updating the 23-year-old trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico a priority since before taking office and even considered withdrawing from the agreement. The initial NAFTA renegotiation talks start here tomorrow.

NPPC has been one of the leading agricultural voices in support of the agreement, issuing a white paper and twice testifying before congressional committees on the benefits of the pact.

“Canada and Mexico are top markets for our pork, so, obviously, we don’t want any disruptions in our exports to those countries; we need to keep pork trade flowing,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “We want to reiterate to the Trump administration that NAFTA has been a boon to the U.S. pork industry and to all of American agriculture.”

Since NAFTA went into effect Jan. 1, 1994, U.S. trade north and south of the borders has more than tripled, growing more rapidly than U.S. trade with the rest of the world. Canada is the No. 2 market for U.S. agricultural products; Mexico is No. 3. In 2016, America’s farmers exported more than $38 billion of products to the two nations, or 28 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports. Those exports generated more than $48 billion in additional economic activity and supported nearly 287,000 U.S. agricultural jobs.

For the U.S. pork industry, Canada is the No. 4 market, and Mexico is No. 2. Last year, the industry shipped almost $799 million of pork to Canada and nearly $1.4 billion to Mexico. Those exports help support more than 16,000 U.S. jobs.

“U.S. pork trade with Canada and Mexico has been very robust, and we need to maintain and even improve that trade,” Maschhoff said. “We will continue to work with the administration to make sure that happens in a modernized NAFTA.”

Corn Farmers Grow Leadership Skills through Training Program

Corn growers gathered in Minneapolis, Minn. last week for the first session of the NCGA Leadership Academy, co-sponsored by Syngenta. This year's class includes 15 aspiring leaders from nine states. Upon completion of the program in January, the participants will join more than 500 colleagues who have graduated from this program in the past 30 years.

At the meeting, participants got an up-close look at NCGA from President Wesley Spurlock, a Leadership Academy alumnus. Spurlock also provided an insightful examination of the main issues facing the association, and the nation's corn farmers, today.

The farmers attending took part in public speaking exercises and social media advocacy training as well as association management skill building. In addition, the class enjoyed a look at the future trends that will impact the industry and a comprehensive economic forecast given by futurist Bob Treadway. Also offering presentations focused on core communications, the training provided not only tools but insight into how they can be applied most effectively.

"As a Leadership Academy graduate, I have a deep appreciation for the confidence and skills attendees develop in such a short time," Spurlock said. "The Syngenta speakers, as well as the many outside experts brought in, have an incredible ability to hone in on precisely what will be most beneficial for our participants.

"As NCGA's President, I am excited to see new leaders who want to take on an active role in the association. When these volunteers come together, you can feel their commitment to the industry. It is heartening to know that such strong farmer leaders will carry on our mission well into the future."

This year's Leadership At Its Best Class includes: Jeff Burg (S.D.); Paul Cernik (Neb.); Kelly Harsh (Ohio); Wayne Humphreys (Iowa); Matt Lambert (Mo.); Dennis McNinch (Kan.); Curt Mether (Iowa); Lenny Evans Miles, Jr. (Md.); Matt Moreland (Mo.); Erin Rios (Kan.); Allen Rowland (Mo.); Troy Schneider (Colo.); Scott Stahl (S.D); Travis Strasser (S.D.); and Mark Wilson (Ill.).

Open to all NCGA membership, Leadership At Its Best provides training to interested volunteers of all skill levels.  The second session, which will be held this January in Washington, addresses public policy issues, working with the Hill and parliamentary procedure.  Through this program, participants build the skill set needed to become a more confident public speaker with a solid background in the procedures and processes used by NCGA and many state organizations.

Johnson-Hoffman Elected as GRSB Vice President

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) is proud to announce the election of Ms. Nicole Johnson-Hoffman as the new Vice President of the GRSB.

Ms. Johnson Hoffman was elected to the position by the GRSB Board of Directors following the stepping down of former Vice President Mr. Francisco Beduschi Neto.

Currently based in the greater Chicago area, Ms. Johnson-Hoffman works as the Chief Sustainability Officer and Senior Vice President for OSI Group, a leading meat and food supplier to some of the world’s biggest brands. She has been a part of the meat industry for nearly 12 years and has been involved in agriculturally-based businesses for over 20 years.

Having grown up on a small farm in Minnesota, Ms. Johnson-Hoffman says agriculture is her life’s work, and is proud to be a part of helping to feed the world and provide a beneficial part of people’s diets.

“I love being able to work with producers and collaborate with people from across the supply chain,” said Ms. Johnson-Hoffman of her work with OSI. The company has over 65 locations in 17 countries, and has been a longtime member of GRSB as well as an active participant in regional efforts in the US, Europe and Australia. In her current position, Ms. Johnson-Hoffman is responsible for the continuous development of the company's global sustainability strategy, sustainability leadership and direction to the company’s global team. She explained that she finds great service and meaning in her work.

Ms. Johnson-Hoffman is excited to begin her tenure with the GRSB Executive Committee and is proud of the work the Roundtable is currently doing for the global beef industry. She believes roundtables are an optimal way to accomplish things when bringing together parties with differing opinions, and result in much more valid outcomes.

“GRSB creates a powerful space for different points of view to come together to achieve common goals,” said Ms. Johnson-Hoffman. She is proud to support the Roundtable’s inclusive values and the welcoming of all perspectives. She believes that GRSB has a unique platform to allow “mining for conflict” which can help build trust and be a unifying tool in an industry of varying opinions where agreement is not always the goal.

Her focus as the new Vice President is to grow membership, engage new people and bring new perspectives to these important discussions.

“We are accountable to our stakeholders and members for delivering outcomes,” she said, “That is ultimately the true measure of our success.”

Ms. Johnson-Hoffman believes that one of the most impactful things that the Roundtable has been able to accomplish is giving the beef industry a world definition for what beef sustainability is through the principles and criteria they have set in place which allow for flexibility.

“GRSB has recognized that there are many unique situations for beef sustainability across the supply chain and has crafted a definition that can meet those unique needs,” she said.

Ms. Johnson Hoffman received her B.A. in International Relations from St. Cloud State University before going on to receive her doctorate in law from the University of Minnesota Law School. Before joining OSI Group in the fall of 2016, Johnson Hoffman spent 20 years at Cargill. She has been a part of the GRSB Board of Directors for four years and was the founding Chair of the Board of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

GRSB would like to thank former Vice President, Mr. Francisco Beduschi Neto, for his fantastic contributions to the Roundtable during this tenure. Mr. Beduschi Neto is the former president of the Brazilian Roundtable for Sustainable Livestock and the members of GRSB wish him all the best.

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative developed to advance continuous improvement in sustainability of the global beef value chain through leadership, science and multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration. The GRSB envisions a world in which all aspects of the beef value chain are environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable.

August 14 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending August 13, 2017, cool, wet conditions dominated the weather pattern, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 14 percent very short, 38 short, 47 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 14 percent very short, 39 short, 47 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 4 percent very poor, 9 poor, 24 fair, 46 good, and 17 excellent. Corn dough was 65 percent, behind 72 last year, and near the five-year average of 66. Dented was 14 percent, near 16 last year, and behind 19 average.

Soybean condition rated 4 percent very poor, 8 poor, 27 fair, 50 good, and 11 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 97 percent, equal to both last year and average. Setting pods was 78 percent, near 79 last year and 80 average.

Sorghum condition rated 3 percent very poor, 3 poor, 30 fair, 50 good, and 14 excellent. Sorghum headed was 77 percent, behind 85 last year, but equal to average. Coloring was 12 percent, behind 24 last year, and near 13 average.

Oats harvested was 95 percent, ahead of 88 last year, and near 93 average.

Alfalfa condition rated 4 percent very poor, 13 poor, 33 fair, 39 good, and 11 excellent. Alfalfa third cutting was 77 percent complete, near 74 last year, and ahead of 65 average. Fourth cutting was 16 percent complete, near 15 last year.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 6 percent very poor, 23 poor, 38 fair, 28 good, and 5 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 14 short, 84 adequate, and 0 surplus.


All of Iowa experienced cooler than normal temperatures with very little precipitation scattered across the state during the week ending August 13, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included applying fungicides and insecticides, hauling grain, and haying.

Topsoil moisture levels fell to 30 percent very short, 33 percent short, 37 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. According to the August 8, 2017 U.S. Drought Monitor, Iowa’s region of drought expanded to 40 percent of the state including portions of 23 counties in severe drought. Subsoil moisture levels rated 25 percent very short, 33 percent short, 42 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. That is the highest percentage of very short subsoil moisture supplies since the first week of November 2013.

Sixty-two percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, 6 days behind last year. Eight percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, one week behind average. Corn condition declined to 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 27 percent fair, 52 percent good and 9 percent excellent.

Soybeans blooming reached 94 percent, 5 days behind last year and 4 days behind average. Eighty-two percent of soybeans were setting pods, 3 days behind last year but 2 days ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 4 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 49 percent good and 7 percent excellent.

Ninety-five percent of the oat crop for grain or seed has been harvested, equal to average.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 65 percent complete, 8 days ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of average.

Pasture condition was reported as 45 percent poor to very poor, the highest percentage reported in those categories since the beginning of April 2014. Cooler temperatures improved livestock conditions, but supplemental feeding has been required and ponds are drying up in some areas.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Corn condition improved slightly from the previous week while soybean condition was down by 1 percentage point, according to USDA's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

USDA estimated that 62% of corn was in good-to-excellent condition at the end of last week, up slightly from 60% the previous week. Corn progress continued to lag behind the normal pace with 97% of the crop silking as of Sunday, down from 99% a year ago and below the five-year average of 98%. Sixty-one percent of corn had reached the dough stage, down from 70% a year ago, and down from the five-year average of 62%. Sixteen percent of corn was dented, down from 19% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 20% dented.

Soybean progress, on the other hand, was slightly ahead of normal with 94% of soybeans blooming as of Sunday, even with a year ago and above the five-year average of 93%. Seventy-nine percent of soybeans were setting pods, which is up from 78% a year ago and above the five-year average of 75%.  Soybean condition fell slightly from 60% good to excellent the previous week to 59% good to excellent this past week.

Meanwhile, USDA reported that 97% of winter wheat had been harvested as of Sunday, even with a year ago and above the five-year average of 96%.

Forty percent of spring wheat was harvested, down from 45% a year ago, but above the five-year average of 35% harvested. Thirty-three percent of spring wheat was rated good-to-excellent, up 1 percentage point from 32% the previous week.

Sorghum was 31% coloring, behind the average of 38%, and mature was 21%, also behind the average of 25% mature. Sorghum condition improved to 64% good to excellent from 61% good to excellent the previous week.

Barley was 52% harvested as of Sunday, ahead of the average pace of 40%. Oats were 66% harvested, behind the average of 72%.

Cotton was 98% squaring, 80% setting bolls and 10% bolls opening compared to an average pace of 99% squaring, 81% setting bolls and 10% bolls opening. Cotton condition improved to 61% good to excellent from 57% good to excellent the previous week. Rice was 91% headed, ahead of the average of 83%, and 12% of rice was harvested as of Sunday, ahead of the average of 9% harvested.

Monday August 14 Ag News

Check Soybean Fields for Evidence of Soybean Stem Borer
Robert Wright - NE Extension Entomologist

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

Soybean Stem Borer Description and Injury

Soybean stem borers are the immature stages of a long-horned beetle, Dectes texanus. The adults lay eggs in the upper leaf canopy, typically in the leaf petiole. Larvae feed by tunneling within the soybean plant. At this time of year larvae move from the leaf petiole into the main stem of the soybean plant, and at that time the leaf dies. These leaves are easily detached from the stem, and a circular tunnel can be seen where the leaf petiole was attached to the main stem.  As larvae grow larger, they continue to tunnel within the main stem, and by the end of the growing season they have tunneled to the base of the plant where they overwinter. In preparation for overwintering, they hollow out a cell at the base of the plant, which weakens the stem and makes it more susceptible to breakage.

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

Property Taxes, Trade, Among Nebraska Farm Bureau List of Policy Priorities

Improving Nebraska’s tax system to reduce the overreliance on property taxes and expanding markets for Nebraska agricultural commodities through international trade are among the list of policy priorities adopted by the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s State Board of Directors during the organization’s board meeting held Aug. 8 in Norfolk.

“We deal with many issues today in agriculture, but it’s important we focus our time and resources on the issues that are key to helping the bottom line for our members and for agriculture as a whole,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “The recent board action updated our priorities to reflect the organization’s top five state and top five national issues.”

Included on the list of state issues is the need to address the high property tax burden on Nebraskans. According to Nelson, finding a solution to the property tax issue has consumed much of Farm Bureau’s time and efforts for the last several years and has continued since the close of the 2017 legislative session.

“We’re working with a wide array of partners, rural and urban, to identify the concepts and ideas that can generate real and meaningful property tax reforms. Nebraska doesn’t have to be a high property tax state. Working together, we can change that. We’re committed to doing so,” said Nelson.

The national list includes the need for expanded trade opportunities for Nebraska agricultural commodities and products.

“Today, roughly one-third of U.S. gross cash farm income is directly attributable to trade. The ability to move our Nebraska agricultural commodities into these markets is critical. Continuing to build upon our relationships with our international partners is a must,” said Nelson.

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s state priority list includes:
-    Improving Nebraska’s tax system to reduce the overreliance on property taxes.
-    Growing Nebraska’s livestock sector.
-    Expanding farm and ranch access to high quality broadband Internet service statewide.
-    Proactive engagement on both state water quality and quantity issues.
-    Working for sound infrastructure and agriculture transportation policies.

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s national priorities list includes:
-    Expanding markets for Nebraska agricultural commodities through International trade.
-    Reducing unnecessary regulations and working for regulatory reform.
-    Working to lower health care costs for farm and ranch families.
-    Improving the federal tax code through tax reform.
-    Developing a Farm Bill that provides a workable safety net for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.

“Certainly, these aren’t the only issues that our organization is engaged in, but by focusing in these areas we can help improve the environment and create opportunities for our farm and ranch members to be successful,” said Nelson.

2017 Feeding Quality Forum - The Great Plains' premier feeding seminar

Aug. 29, 2017
Embassy Suites - Omaha-La Vista Hotel and Conference Center
12520 Westport Pkwy
La Vista, NE 68128
Aug. 31, 2017
Clarion Inn
1911 E. Kansas Avenue
Garden City, KS 67846

Don’t miss your chance to hear industry experts share current insight on market conditions, value-added programs, price discovery, and genetic value differences of feeder cattle and feed intake. It’s all part of the Great Plains’ premier feeding seminar.

9:30 - 10:30 a.m. - Protein and Feedstuff Market Outlook – Dan Basse, President, AgResource Company (LaVista location)
Ben Buckner, AgResource Chief Grain Economist (Garden City Location)

10:45 - 11:30 a.m. - Value-Added Programs: Feeding for Market Opportunities – Doug Stanton, Vice President, Sales and Customer Development, IMI Global
11:30 - 12:15 p.m.  -  The Importance of Price Discovery – Ed Greiman, Superior Livestock Auction
12:15 - 12:30 p.m. - Presentation of the 2017 Industry Achievement Award to: Lee Borck, President, Innovative Livestock Services

12:30 - 1:45 p.m. - Lunch featuring Certified Angus Beef ® brand cuts

1:45 - 2:30 p.m. - Genetic Value Differences of Feeder Cattle: Illustration and Opportunities – Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, Supply Development, Certified Angus Beef LLC

2:25 p.m. - Feed Intake and Feedlot Cattle Performance – Richard Zinn, Ph.D., Professor, UC Davis Department of Animal Science

To register and get more information, click here....

Irrigation Field – August 30th

Amy Timmerman – NE Extension Educator

Midplains Ag, UNL Extension and Nebraska Soybean Board are excited to have Ben Buckner of AgResource present “Change afoot in the world grain markets”.  

Ben has been with  AgResource since 2008, specializing in grains market research, and has been in commodity markets analysis since 2005. Ben began his career with the Research department at the Iowa Grain Company in 2007. Ben hails from Nashville, TN, and graduated from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, with a degree in economics.

Come August 30 to Holdt Farms/Midplains Ag 3 south and 5.5 west of Elgin.   Hear Ben and several others present about markets, weather, irrigation and water management. Have lunch provided by Nebraska Soybean Board and meet with local ag vendors.   Cabin Realty will have free ice cream in their booth.   There will be demonstrations throughout the day.


Entrepreneurs looking to start a food business are encouraged to register for the National Food Entrepreneur Program offered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Food Processing Center. The program, which began in 1989, helps people develop their products and businesses.

The program begins with a one-day Recipe to Reality seminar, which explores key issues in deciding to start a food business. Discussion includes business planning, labeling, product development and food safety, promotion, and costs and pricing.

"The seminar helps participants understand the basics of starting a food company, including the challenges they will need to overcome," said Jill Gifford, program manager. "This seminar allows attendees to understand and determine if starting a food business is the right choice for their situation."

Following the seminar, participants can choose to enter Product to Profit. This second phase of the program provides entrepreneurs with confidential and individualized assistance in starting their own food business and bringing their product idea to the market.

Suzi Broadwater, president of Wicked Lix, used the program to launch her company, which produces a variety of wine- and spirit-infused fruits.

"The Recipe to Reality seminar was just the beginning of the invaluable counseling our startup company received through the National Food Entrepreneur Program," she said. "We have continued to use their team as a resource on key decisions regarding every aspect of launching our new business in Nebraska. I highly recommend that any entrepreneur who is serious about their business explore the benefits of attending the seminar and leverage the program experts for ongoing crucial guidance.”

Recipe to Reality seminars are offered throughout the year. The last two seminars for 2017 are Aug. 19 and Oct. 28 at the Food Processing Center, 1901 N. 21st St. Pre-registration is required.

To register for a seminar or receive an information packet, contact Gifford at 402-472-2819 or

For more information, visit

Value-Added Investments Grow Agriculture

Governor Pete Ricketts

Investments in the area of value-added agriculture are helping to grow our state’s number one industry.  Many people think of traditional row crops when they think of agriculture, however, modern-day technology and innovations are helping the industry add value to Nebraska’s traditional commodities.  This is great news for all Nebraskans because it’s attracting new investments, creating jobs, and increasing local demand for raw commodities across our state.  Highly-respected national and international companies are putting down roots here with new value-added operations, and many well-known local firms are expanding their existing operations.

A recent investment from Costco is a great example of how value-added agriculture creates new opportunities for the next generation of farm families.  In June, Costco broke ground on their first-ever chicken processing plant, a $300 million investment which will create 800 new jobs in Fremont and opportunities for over 100 farmers through a poultry grower network.  The project is estimated to add $1.2 billion to Nebraska’s economy, and will impact more than simply the market for chicken.  Some of that value will also be realized through increased demand for locally grown corn and soybeans.

In Grand Island, Hendrix-ISA is building a chick hatchery, which begins operation this month.  This $40 million project will create over 40 new jobs.  Additionally, ten area farmers will be building feeder barns to serve the hatchery’s needs.  This will further increase the demand for locally produced crops, which the farms will need to feed the chickens.

The ethanol industry is another great example of value-added agriculture in Nebraska.  Nebraska is the second largest ethanol producing state in the nation.  In the past two years, ethanol plants in Jackson, Fairmont, Adams, Columbus, and Kearney have invested approximately $190 million in new technology as they increase capacity and diversify their products.  In addition to the billions of gallons of ethanol manufactured each year, these facilities also produce distillers’ grains, corn oil, corn syrup, dry starch, and specialty livestock feeds.  The billions of bushels of corn consumed by the state’s ethanol plants each year support demand for our quality Nebraska commodities.

While Nebraska’s ability to produce corn has not only attracted ethanol plants to the state, our ethanol plants, like Cargill in Blair, in turn have attracted bioscience companies such as Novozymes to Nebraska.  Novozymes produces enzymes for renewable fuels.  Recently, the Denmark-based company announced that it plans to invest $36 million to expand its facilities in Blair.  The Cargill campus in Blair also recently attracted a $200 million investment from Evonik, a German company that will produce omega-3 fatty acid oil, drawing on raw commodities in the area.

Meanwhile, Nebraska continues to lead the nation in commercial red meat production, one of our greatest valued-added ag success stories.  Cattle and hog operations across the state are the biggest consumers of Nebraska corn, soybeans, and other feed stocks, supporting commodity prices and creating thousands of jobs.  In turn, meat processors such as Cargill, Smithfield, and others are investing money in their facilities to produce and increase sales of Nebraska meat products and generate additional money to our state’s economy.

Growth in livestock hasn’t happened by accident – it’s been the product of support from both the industry and the state.   Through the Department of Agriculture, we have established a variety of programs that have helped support this kind of livestock expansion.  These include the Livestock Friendly County Program and the Livestock Siting Assessment Matrix, which help create greater predictability for producers looking to expand or add livestock to their operation.  While we have already had significant investments, there is still plenty of room for additional growth and expansion.

International trade missions are another key strategy my administration has been using to grow value-added ag.  Trade missions help cultivate investments in products from the crops and livestock we raise as well as attract companies to manufacture and process those products in Nebraska.  For example, the Novozymes investment I mentioned above came on the heels of a trade mission I led to Copenhagen to help make the case for expanding their Nebraska presence.  This year, I am leading trade missions to Canada and Japan, which will give us the opportunity to show our appreciation for two of our biggest trading partners, increase market access for our products, and pitch Nebraska as a great place to do business.

In the coming years, value-added agriculture will only continue to grow in importance as farming techniques, biotechnology, and science continue to advance.  These advances will continue to help create new jobs and provide an in-state market for Nebraska’s quality commodities and livestock.  It’s all helping grow Nebraska!  If you have thoughts on the subject of value-added agriculture or other thoughts you’d like to share, please contact my office by emailing or calling 402-471-2244.

CWT Assists with 1.6 Million Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 11 requests for export assistance from Bongards Creamery, Dairy Farmers of America and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold). These cooperatives have contracts to sell 1.601 million pounds (726 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in Asia and the Middle East. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from August through November 2017.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 46.988 million pounds of American-type cheeses and 3.013 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 18 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 501.485 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

NMPF Statement on Comments from Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland

Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, NMPF

“In her speech to Parliament today, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland seems to want it both ways – free trade with the United States in areas where Canada is competitive, but high protectionist walls when it comes to keeping out U.S. dairy imports. Moreover, Minister Freeland’s comments Monday about the dairy trade elements of the upcoming NAFTA talks are completely misleading.

“For too long, Canada has relied on government controls on farm milk production to boost prices, while minimizing dairy imports to limit competition. By comparison, the United States has slashed its government involvement in dairy markets, and relies on exporting its products to global customers to a greater degree than ever before.

“That’s why the United States and other major dairy exporting nations, including Mexico and Argentina, are so upset with Canada’s latest Class 7 pricing scheme that is designed to undercut world market prices and unfairly dump Canada’s surplus milk at the expense of the United States and other exporters. Ironically, Canada’s so-called ‘supply management’ system is failing to manage supply. Despite having no domestic market for more milk solids, the government there has sharply increased farm level production quotas, resulting in an accompanying spike of almost 300 percent in Canadian milk powder exports in 2017 so far. These exports are only made possible because Canada manipulates domestic pricing through the Class 7 subsidy scheme.

“Canada cannot be allowed to maintain a system that establishes one of the highest milk prices in the world within its borders while using world markets as a dumping ground for a huge increase in its production. While it has the right to choose its own domestic farm policies, Canada doesn’t have the right to use those policy tools to manipulate global dairy markets to the benefit of Canada’s lucrative dairy industry, and the detriment of the rest of the world’s dairy exporters.

“Regarding Minister Freeland’s comment that the United States should be grateful that it sells more dairy products to Canada than it imports, this is hardly an example of a ‘good deal’ for farmers in the United States or consumers in Canada. Much of what the United States exports to Canada is ultimately shipped back out under Canadian import for re-export programs. Canada has been refusing to share details of imports and exports under those programs, but the reality is that much of the dairy the United States ships to Canada doesn’t stay in Canada.

“The Canadian supply management program was basically ignored in 1993 when NAFTA was first negotiated.  As the next generation of NAFTA arrives, here’s hoping that Canada is finally ready to have its dairy sector play by the same set of rules everyone else has been operating under for years.”

Friday August 11 Ag News

Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation Awards First Rural Radio Foundation Scholarship

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation awarded the Nebraska Rural Radio Foundation Scholarship in Honor of Max & Eric Brown to Sasha Taylor of Ainsworth.

The $2,000 scholarship awards non-traditional students, age 25 or older, living in Nebraska’s rural communities. Taylor is pursuing a nursing degree through Mid-Plains Community College at the Valentine Extended Campus.

Taylor’s long term goal is to remain on the family farm with her husband and children and continue to raise them in the rural lifestyle. After her youngest child starts kindergarten, she wants to make a positive commitment to the quality of life in rural Nebraska by providing access to healthcare close to home.

“There is a need for nurses in my community, and I have a passion for helping people,” Taylor said. “This scholarship will help me pursue training to be a nurse in my home community, and I am grateful for the support of my education and my community’s continued success.” she continued.

“Sasha has shown a commitment to rural Nebraska and agriculture,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “It is because of outstanding individuals like Sasha that the future of Nebraska is in good hands.”

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation took over the Nebraska Rural Radio Foundation Scholarship in Honor of Max & Eric Brown when the Nebraska Rural Radio Foundation dissolved in April of this year.

AWI Urges Defunding, Closure of USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center Following Appalling New Inspection

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is calling on Congress to permanently revoke all research funding of the USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska. The request follows a July 2017 inspection report—recently published on the USDA’s website—that details multiple instances of direct non-compliant veterinary care and animal handling resulting in significant animal suffering. This appalling inspection further validates allegations brought to light in a January 2015 New York Times investigative story about the facility.

“MARC is one of the most high profile cases of research on animals gone awry to date,” said Cathy Liss, AWI president. “Despite over two and a half years of adverse publicity and multiple site visits, the facility continues to severely mistreat the animals under its care. After the revelations about MARC surfaced in 2015, Congress sent a strong message that animal abuse at federal agencies will not be tolerated. We are now asking Congress to permanently revoke MARC’s funding and work toward closure of the facility.”

The July 11–13 inspection report summarizes the findings of four inspectors, including the regional director. It details outrageous incidents and circumstances of animal cruelty, including
·         an untreated lamb unable to bear weight on his right rear limb;
·         two lame bovines who were left untreated;
·         observed medical issues during the inspection that were not documented nor conveyed to the attending veterinarian;
·         several animals in the feedlot area showing symptoms of severe heat distress—including open mouth breathing with tongue protruding, excessive drooling, and increased respiratory rate; and
·         pigs who were lame and pigs who had sustained numerous, untreated fight wounds on their head, neck and bodies because no attempt was made to minimize aggression and competition during co-mingling.

Upon release of the New York Times article, which described indefensible acts that have taken place at MARC over the past several decades, AWI wrote to former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. In its correspondence, AWI recommended an immediate investigation with appropriate corrective action, including possible closure of the facility. Members of Congress also wrote to the secretary to decry the deplorable conditions at MARC.

Vilsack responded by convening a four-member independent panel to examine MARC’s policies, procedures, animal handling and research oversight—but in an announced site visit, not an unannounced inspection. Not surprisingly, the panel found “no evidence of poor animal handling, animal abuse, or inadequate veterinary care.”

Congress was unimpressed with this cursory review, and responded by withholding 5 percent—$57 million—of funding from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), citing its “continue[d]...deep disappointment” with the USDA’s response. Five months later, Congress expressed continued frustration with the USDA, stating in report language accompanying the omnibus spending bill that “despite having nearly a year … the Department has provided a wholly inadequate public response to the allegations of animal mistreatment at MARC and it has been delinquent in providing necessary information and updates to the Committees.”

A subsequent, heavily redacted audit by the USDA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) concluded that the ARS provided insufficient oversight of animal welfare at MARC; nonetheless, the OIG claimed it “did not find evidence indicating a systemic problem with animal treatment and care.”

However, the inspection report made public today clearly demonstrates there is a systemic problem at MARC—and apparently has been for years. Because of this, AWI—in addition to asking Congress to permanently revoke research funding for MARC—is urging all federal agencies conducting animal experimentation to be subject to unannounced inspections and oversight by the USDA. Currently, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) exempts federal research facilities from such oversight, placing AWA compliance with the federal agency conducting the research—an enormous conflict of interest.

“We have a terrible situation already because the protections offered by the Animal Welfare Act are denied to farm animals used in agricultural research,” added Liss. “The animal suffering is intensified when federal agencies are required by current law to self-police, making them virtually unaccountable for the suffering they inflict. MARC is a clear example of this broken system. Funded by taxpayer dollars, these agencies need to be held accountable.”

To view the inspection report, visit

Ricketts, Trade Delegation Return from Canadian Trade Mission

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska trade delegation returned from a trade mission to Canada which highlighted the positive relationships Nebraska has developed with its largest export partner.  The Governor and his team are enthusiastic about growing opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers in the state.

“As Nebraska’s largest export market and fourth largest agriculture export market, Canada is our state’s best customer,” said Governor Ricketts.  “This trade mission allowed us to express our thanks to our best customer, and promote additional ways for companies looking to do business and help grow Nebraska.”

The trade delegation included officials from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), and representatives from agricultural and economic development groups including Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Corn Growers, Nebraska Cattlemen Association and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.

“As Nebraska’s largest export market for ethanol and second largest for pork, Canada is a key market for growing agriculture,” said NDA Director Ibach.  “The meetings and events held throughout the trade mission allowed Nebraska’s ag producers to make the case firsthand for Nebraska’s quality commodities.”

During the trip, delegates traveled to Toronto and Ottawa where they participated in a U.S. Consulate briefing and met with the Ontario Ministry of International Trade as well as the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.  Delegates also held a roundtable discussion with the U.S. Consul General for Toronto, as well as attended a reception and meal hosted by the Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs that featured Nebraska beef.

DED Director Courtney Dentlinger’s presentation, “Why Nebraska,” showcased the state’s central location, quality products, and dedicated workforce as ideal for Canadian companies looking to do business for the first time here or expand their current operations.

“Nebraska businesses have built strong relationships in Canada,” said Dentlinger. “We have significant investment from Canadian companies in our state.”

The Governor’s trade mission to Canada took place before the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations begin at the federal level, giving the Nebraska delegation and its Canadian hosts the opportunity to talk about NAFTA while looking for ways to modernize and improve the agreement.

Nebraska farmers encouraged to submit comments to the EPA regarding WOTUS and RFS

Nebraska corn farmers now have an opportunity to share their opinions with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on two issues impacting agricultural policy and regulation. Farmers are encouraged to take advantage of the open comment period to show their support of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and call for the repeal of the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

The 2015 WOTUS rule has been widely criticized for unconstitutionally overextending the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Through this regulation, critics say the government has too much power to control smaller bodies of water, such as puddles on farmland and in ditches.

“As farmers, we must align together to repeal the 2015 WOTUS rule,” said Dan Wesley, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “Many of us have small puddles on our farms that we only see after a heavy rain, which are unnecessarily regulated. The WOTUS regulations make it difficult and expensive to farm our lands by requiring unnecessary permits and environmental assessments.”

The RFS has promoted economic growth for farmers and rural communities through the development and enhancement of biofuels, such as corn-based ethanol. The amount of renewable fuels blended into the U.S. fuel supply is set by the RFS. In addition to making strides towards energy independence, the RFS has been successful in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the RFS also establishes GHG reduction criteria.

The EPA is responsible for ensuring the fuel sold in the U.S. contains the correct volume of renewable fuel. Each year on November 30, the EPA sets the annual renewable volume obligation (RVO) for the following year. For the 2017 year, the RVO was calculated at 15 billion gallons for conventional ethanol, which is in line with RFS statute and Congress’ intent.

“We’ve made great progress with corn-based ethanol,” said David Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Ethanol is produced more efficiently than ever, it’s high performing and is cleaner burning than ever before. EPA must maintain the progress of the RFS and issue the 2018 RVO on time and in accordance with the law.”

Through the National Corn Growers Association’s website, farmers have an opportunity to take advantage of the open comment period to voice their opinions on WOTUS and the RFS. To comment on the repeal of the 2015 WOTUS rule, farmers can visit by August 28, 2017. To comment on RFS and RVO, visit by August 31, 2017.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Pastures are drying up rapidly following our hot July temperatures with little rain in many areas.  How will your grazing plans change if you don’t receive any more rain this growing season?

               Many years as August rolls around we can pretty much tell how much longer are pastures will be able to provide adequate grazing.

               This year, I’m pretty lucky.  My pastures in southeast Nebraska have received adequate rainfall.  As I walked or drove through most of my pastures last weekend, I estimated the grazing days I expect from my remaining brome regrowth, my warm-season grass pastures, and the amount of regrowth I think will occur even without more rain.  With careful management, I think they will last until October, maybe even November.

               I emphasize the words “careful management”.  Cool-season grasses basically are done growing unless they receive quite a bit of rain in late August and September.  Warm-season grass pastures aren’t much different.  With adequate moisture, plants will continue to get taller as they form seedstalks but they’ll produce only a little new leafy growth.  That helps hay yield but doesn’t do much for grazing.

               That means we may need to get by with what we currently have available.  Stretching grazing for as long as possible takes planning.  And the sooner, the better.  Plans on how the remaining pasture forage will be rationed to the animals is especially important.  One of the best ways to stretch pasture is to limit access to just a couple days worth of grazing at a time to reduce trampling waste.  I am using temporary electric cross fences to do this.  Extra tall grass might be windrowed and grazed to reduce trampling.  Managed effiently, pastures will last much longer.

               My planning just about guarantees I’ll have pasture until corn stalks are ready.  What about you?


               What’s the secret to getting sorghums, sudans, and millets dry enough to bale?  I hear that question every year and you know what, there is no secret.

               Most summer annual forage grasses have large, coarse stems that dry slowly when cut for hay.  It is not unusual for windrows to lay in the field for two weeks and still not be dry enough to bale safely.  So it’s important to use every method known to get them dry.

               Begin by cutting when plants are only about 3 feet tall to reduce volume and have smaller stems.  Now may be too late for that advice this year, however.  Also, be sure to crimp the hay as it is being cut to crack open stems and allow moisture to escape more easily.

               I like to cut high, leaving 8 to 10 inches of stubble to hold hay off the ground for faster drying and to encourage more rapid regrowth.  But, some growers prefer to cut as short as possible to slow down regrowth, hoping of get the hay dry before regrowth grows into it.

               When you first cut the hay, spread it out in as wide a swath as possible.  This exposes more of it to sunlight energy that is critical for drying.  After the exposed top surface is mostly dry start raking to turn and expose wetter portions to sunlight and wind.  Effective raking probably is more skill and art than it is science, but do your best to just flip the windrow over and keep it loose and fluffy.  And lay newly raked hay onto dry ground if at all possible.  It usually takes several rakings to fully dry these annual grasses.

               It’s really hard to tell when the stems are dry enough to bale so it often helps to use a propionic acid-based preservative when baling to reduce the risk of mold and heat damage to the hay.

               Annual grasses are difficult to dry.  By using these steps, and with a little luck with weather, it can be done.

Animal scientist joins NCTA faculty

Beef cattle and animal nutrition are among specialties for a new faculty member at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

Meredith (Bremer) Cable of rural Bertrand joins NCTA on Monday as an assistant professor of animal science, and starts work with students as classes begin Aug. 21, said Doug Smith, chair of the NCTA Animal Science and Agricultural Education division.

“We welcome Meredith Cable to our academic faculty where she will assist NCTA faculty this fall semester while transitioning into a full teaching load in January,” Smith said.                                                                                                                     

Cable will concentrate on range management and other duties while training with Jo Bek who ends her 39-year teaching career at NCTA in December.

Cable’s responsibilities will include teaching, sponsoring student clubs such as Collegiate Cattlemen, and assisting Smith with initiatives such as meats science, the NCTA beef cattle teaching herd and campus feedlot.

“I enjoy research and livestock nutrition, and the opportunity to be in a teaching setting with the college’s farm laboratory here in Curtis and the grazing initiatives in off-site partnerships and resources,” Cable said.

She received her bachelor’s degree in animal science and master’s in ruminant nutrition from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a native of St. Edward, Nebraska, where she was raised in a diversified operation of crop, cow-calf and feedlot enterprises.

From 2015-2016, Cable served as the  Beef Systems Extension Educator in the Nebraska Extension four-county area of Sheridan, Dawes, Box Butte and Sioux  Counties. For the past year, she has been the business manager for JKS Farms north of Kearney.

She also is a volunteer advisor with the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition, a non-profit statewide organization of education and technical assistance for operators of grazing lands.

Cable and her husband, Cory, live south of Bertrand, where in her limited free time she enjoys horseback riding and playing the guitar.

Nebraska Farmers Union Says Preferred Pipeline Route is Still a Risky Shortcut

Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) urges Nebraskans with interest in the proposed Keystone XL routes to go to the Nebraska Public Service (PSC) website to view the three primary routes under consideration:

NeFU says that a view of the three Keystone XL routes proposed by the foreign pipeline company TransCanada including the Preferred Route under consideration by the Nebraska Public Service Commission shows that the three routes share similar geological characteristics. All three routes go through miles of sandy porous soils subject to wind erosion, leaching, and overlay water tables close to the surface, and are shortcuts through sandy soils.

“All three routes, the Sandhills Alternative Route, the Keystone Mainline Alternative Route, and the Preferred Route pose similar threats to groundwater, especially during the spring of the year when the pipes carrying the tarsands oil would be at or below the groundwater levels.  When the leak occurs, it will cause immediate contamination of both the underground and surface waters because of the porous soils and high water levels.  That is why it is so important to get the route right in the first place,” said John Hansen, NeFU President.

NeFU says all three proposed routes are physical shortcuts through parts of the Sandhills stemming from TransCanada’s desire to take advantage of Nebraska because the Legislature had not yet established a state siting and routing process for oil pipelines.  “TransCanada asserted the Nebraska Legislature could not establish a state process for oil pipelines because siting and routing was a federal issue, notwithstanding the fact that they were already working with other states along the pipeline route that had state siting and routing processes for oil pipelines in place.  That was a purposeful deception made for financial gain,” said NeFU President John Hansen who represents NeFU in the Legislature.

John Hansen asks the PSC to remember that TransCanada actively lobbied against all of the Legislature’s efforts to establish a state siting and routing process.  “They undermined their own credibility in the lawmaking process when they knowingly misrepresented the legal fact that oil pipeline and siting is a state responsibility and obligation.  They did so after NeFU and the Nebraska Sierra Club circulated an on point Congressional Research Service legal study that concluded that siting and routing was the responsibility of the Nebraska Legislature.  They undermined their credibility with landowners when they misrepresented simple facts as to who had signed easements, the eminent domain process, and their own legal status by threatened to use the eminent domain process when they had no such authority.  The way TransCanada has treated Nebraska landowners is shameful.  Nebraska should not reward such inappropriate corporate behavior,” Hansen said.

NeFU urges the Nebraska Public Service Commission to reject TransCanada’s Preferred Route.   The route is a foolish and unnecessary shortcut that endangers the world’s largest underground water supply, the fragile and remote Niobrara River basin, Nebraska’s agricultural economy, and the downstream water consumers.  The Public Service Commission should force TransCanada to use the established, safer, more appropriate route they already have in place in eastern Nebraska.  

Iowa Farmers Union to Host Farm Bill and Rural Issues Sessions

As Congress begins to set the direction of farm policy that will impact farmers, rural residents, and consumers, the Iowa Farmers Union will be holding Farm Bill Listening Sessions at three locations in Iowa. The general public is invited to voice their opinion to help set the agenda for rural America and the 2018 Farm Bill.

"These sessions are designed to hear the goals and concerns of Iowans as we enter the farm bill debate," said Iowa Farmers Union President Aaron Lehman. "Farm income is expected to drop for the fourth consecutive year. The recent massive wave of consolidation in agribusiness results in fewer choices for farmers and consumers. Farmers are being asked to do more and more to protect our landscape and water. We have big challenges to address and we want to hear the concerns of Iowans."

Each session will focus on a different topic: safety net issues in Decorah and conservation issues in Washington and Orient. All Farm Bill and rural issues will be open for discussion at every session. Practical Farmers of Iowa and Center for Rural Affairs are co-sponsors and will help provide expertise and guidance to the discussion.
- Decorah -- Aug. 23, 1 p.m. -- Decorah Public Library, 202 Winnebago St.
- Washington -- Aug. 24, 10 a.m. -- Washington Public Library, 115 W. Washington St.
- Orient -- Aug. 25, 10 a.m. -- Wallace Country Life Center, 2773 290th St. (Located just off the Henry A. Wallace Road (P-33). From I-80, take Exit 93 at Stuart and travel south 12 miles to Highway 92.Turn west and travel 2 miles, then south 5 miles on the Henry A. Wallace Road. The Center is 1/4 mile west on 290th St.)

Farm Economy May Be Starting to Stabilize

The prolonged downturn in the farm economy continued in the second quarter of 2017.

However, data from the Kansas City Fed’s Survey on Agricultural Credit Conditions shows the farm economy may finally be starting to stabilize.  While economic conditions did continue to weaken in the second quarter, the pace of that deterioration has slowed.

While the farm loan repayment rate continued to decrease, the change from a year ago wasn’t as sharp as it’s been in recent years. 37 percent of bankers surveyed in the Tenth District reported a decrease in repayment rates from a year ago, which is the lowest rate since mid-2015.

In a similar situation to credit conditions, farm sector income continued to weaken but not as rapidly as in recent years. Most Tenth District bankers expect the decline in farm income to be slower this year than in 2016. 85 percent of those same bankers say the decline in farm income continues to pressure economic activity in rural areas.

Farmland values also continue to trend lower along with the decline in farm income. The value of cropland and ranch land continued to drop in the Tenth District for the sixth straight year.

House Looks to Debate Ag Spending Bill in September

The House Rules Committee announced Monday a plan to debate the final eight remaining fiscal 2018 appropriations bills, including agriculture, in a single package upon return from the August recess. House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) has said the panel will issue a deadline for amendment submission prior to the end of the August recess. Sessions said amendments would not be allowed to move money from one part of the bill to the other. The Rules Committee is expected to limit the number and type of amendments that get debated.

U.S. Tractor Sales Up in July, Combines Down

The Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly "Flash Report" shows that the sale of all tractors in the U.S. in July 2017, were up fractionally compared to the same month last year.

For the seven months in 2017, a total of 135,267 tractors were sold which compares to 128,105 sold through July 2016 representing a 6% increase for the year.  Two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 3% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up 4%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were down 24%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were unchanged.  Meanwhile, combine sales were down 4% for the month.

For the year, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are up 11% over last year, while 40 & under 100 HP are down .4%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are down 16%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are down 6%.   Sales of combines for the year total 2,079 a decrease of 6% from 2017.

NGFA commends FDA for delaying animal food facility inspections under FSMA

The NGFA today commended the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its decision to delay until the fall of 2018 inspections of the hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls requirements implemented under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine Director Dr. Steve Solomon on Aug. 10 announced the one-year delay from the upcoming Sept. 18, 2017, compliance date in place for large animal food facilities (facilities that are part of a company with 500 or more employees) during the opening day of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) annual meeting in Bellevue, Wash.

"We believe it is both prudent and appropriate for FDA to delay inspections of this portion of the FSMA animal food rule to provide additional time for FDA to develop and issue guidance - which now isn't expected to begin until early next year - and to enable companies to focus on implementing the current good manufacturing practice provisions, which form the foundation of an effective animal food safety plan and which for the first time will apply to all animal food manufacturers," said NGFA Senior Vice President for Feed Services David Fairfield.  "The NGFA continues to receive questions from member companies about certain aspects of the hazard analysis and preventive controls requirements that need to be addressed by FDA through guidance, and this extension of the inspection date will be useful in improving the prospect for successful education, training and inspection efforts to bring about compliance."  

During his AAFCO remarks, Solomon also provided an update on the agency's work to publish guidance on the FSMA animal food rule, stating the agency hopes to issue final current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) guidance by the end of this year and the first portion of draft preventive controls guidance by "early" next year. FDA's guidance for the preventive controls will consist of several separate documents, with the first document addressing food safety plans, hazard analysis, animal food hazards, preventive controls and preventive control management components.

In addition, consistent with the delay of inspections for the preventive controls requirements, Solomon said FDA will not start inspections at animal food entities covered by the FSMA-related foreign supplier verification program (FSVP) rule until the fall of 2018. Solomon stressed that importers of foreign animal food products should be working now to obtain their Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as part of complying with the new requirements.

In a related development, FDA recently provided more information about upcoming FSMA compliance dates. In a question-and-answer article posted on the agency's website, Jenny Murphy, consumer safety officer at FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, explained what animal food facilities can anticipate in the next phase of implementation. Murphy noted there will be an increased level of FDA oversight of CGMPs with more routine inspections occurring after the September compliance date. The Sept. 18, 2017, date is when small animal food facilities (facilities that are part of a company with less than 500 employees) are to be in compliance with the CGMPs. FDA expects to conduct at least 500 animal food CGMP inspections during fiscal year 2018, which runs from Oct. 1, 2017, through Sept. 30, 2018. While large companies also will be required to meet the preventive controls requirements on Sept. 18, she noted FDA will not be conducting routine regulatory inspections for those requirements until the fall of 2018.

Thursday August 10 Ag News


Based on August 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2017 corn production is forecast at a record high of 1.74 billion bushels, up 2 percent from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Acreage harvested for grain is estimated at 9.50 million acres, down 1 percent from a year ago. Average yield is forecast at 183 bushels per acre, up 5 bushels from last year.

Soybean production in Nebraska is forecast at a record high of 328 million bushels, up 4 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 5.65 million acres, is up 10 percent from 2016. Yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, down 3 bushels from last year.

Nebraska's 2017 Winter wheat crop is forecast at 46 million bushels, down 35 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain, at 1.00 million acres, is down 24 percent from last year. Average yield is forecast at 46 bushels per acre, down 8 bushels per acre from 2016.

Sorghum production, of 10.1 million bushels, is down 43 percent from a year ago. Area for grain harvest, at 110,000 acres, is down 37 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 92 bushels per acre, down 10 bushels from last year.

Oat production is forecast at 1.50 million bushels, unchanged from last year. Harvested area for grain, at 25,000 acres, is unchanged from last year. Yield is forecast at 60 bushels per acre, unchanged from 2016.

Dry edible bean production is forecast at 4.37 million cwt, up 58 percent from last year. The average yield is forecast at a record high of 2,570 pounds per acre, up 300 pounds from last year. Acres planted by class are as follows: Pinto, 98,000; Great Northern, 56,000; Black, 8,600; Light Red Kidney, 11,000; Chickpeas, 5,200; All Other, 6,200.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.57 million tons, up 11 percent from 2016. Area for harvest, at 48,400 acres, is up 1,200 acres from last year. Yield is estimated at a record high of 32.4 tons per acre, up 2.5 tons from a year ago.

Alfalfa hay production is forecast at 2.93 million tons, down 6 percent from last year. Expected yield, at 3.80 tons per acre, is down 0.35 ton from last year. All other hay production is forecast at 2.21 million tons, down 16 percent from last year. Forecasted yield, at 1.30 tons per acre, is down 0.25 ton from last year.


Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.46 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 188 bushels per acre, a decrease of 15 bushels per acre from last year. If realized, this will be the third highest yield and production on record behind 2016 and 2015, respectively. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 13.5 million acres. An estimated 13.1 million of the acres planted will be harvested for grain.

Soybean production is forecast at 557 million bushels. If realized, this will be the second highest on record behind last year’s 572 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 56.0 bushels per acre, 4.5 bushels less than 2016. If realized, this will be the third highest yield on record behind 2016 and 2015, respectively. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 10.0 million acres with 9.95 million acres to be harvested.

Oat production for grain is forecast at 3.46 million bushels. The expected yield is 72.0 bushels per acre, down 4.0 bushels from 2016 but up 3.0 bushels from the July forecast. An estimated 48,000 acres will be harvested for grain.

Iowa hay yield for alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures is expected to be 3.60 tons per acre with a total production of 2.66 million tons, up 15 percent from the previous year. The projected yield for other hay is 2.00 tons per acre, with production at 740,000 tons, down 18 percent from 2016.

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

Corn Production Down 7 Percent from 2016

Soybean Production Up 2 Percent from 2016
Cotton Production Up 20 Percent from 2016
Winter Wheat Production Up 1 Percent from July Forecast

Corn production is forecast at 14.2 billion bushels, down 7 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 169.5 bushels per acre, down 5.1 bushels from 2016. If realized, this will be the third highest yield and production on record for the United States. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.5 million acres, unchanged from the June forecast but down 4 percent from 2016.

Soybean production is forecast at 4.38 billion bushels, up 2 percent from last year. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 49.4 bushels per acre, down 2.7 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at a record high 88.7 million acres, unchanged from the June forecast but up 7 percent from 2016. Planted area for the Nation is estimated at a record high 89.5 million acres, also unchanged from June.

All cotton production is forecast at 20.5 million 480-pound bales, up 20 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average 892 pounds per harvested acre, up 25 pounds from last year. Upland cotton production is forecast at 19.8 million 480-pound bales, up 19 percent from 2016. Pima cotton production is forecast at 770,000 bales, up 35 percent from last year.

All wheat production, at 1.74 billion bushels, is down 1 percent from the July forecast and down 25 percent from 2016. Based on August 1 conditions, the United States yield is forecast at 45.6 bushels per acre, down 0.6 bushel from last month and down 7 bushels from last year.

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.29 billion bushels, up 1 percent from the July 1 forecast but down 23 percent from 2016. Based on August 1 conditions, the United States yield is forecast at 50.0 bushels per acre, up 0.3 bushel from last month but down 5.3 bushels from last year. The area expected to be harvested for grain or seed totals 25.8 million acres, unchanged from last month but down 15 percent from last year. Hard Red Winter production, at 758 million bushels, is up less than 1 percent from last month. Soft Red Winter, at 306 million bushels, is up less than 1 percent from the July forecast. White Winter, at 223 million bushels, is up 3 percent from last month. Of the White Winter production, 18.8 million bushels are Hard White and 204 million bushels are Soft White.

Durum wheat production is forecast at 50.5 million bushels, down 12 percent from the July 1 forecast and down 51 percent from 2016. The United States yield is forecast at 27.2 bushels per acre, down 3.7 bushels from last month and down 16.8 bushels from last year. Expected area to be harvested for grain or seed totals 1.86 million acres, unchanged from last month but down 21 percent from last year.

Other spring wheat production is forecast at 402 million bushels, down 5 percent from the July 1 forecast and down 25 percent from last year. Area harvested for grain or seed is expected to total 10.5 million acres, unchanged from last month but down 7 percent from last year. The United States yield is forecast at 38.3 bushels per acre, down 2 bushels from last month and down 8.9 bushels from last year. Of the total production, 364 million bushels are Hard Red Spring wheat, down 5 percent from the previous forecast and down 26 percent from last year.

Blue Jackets, Bright Futures Program

It’s so much more than just a jacket…

For those of us who have worn the FFA jacket in the past know with complete certainty the outcomes of being an FFA member are far-reaching. You can provide a new member with a lifetime of opportunities, experiences and connections…so much more than just a jacket. Please consider a tax-deductible gift of $100.00 to provide a new FFA jacket and tie/scarf through the Blue Jackets, Bright Futures Program. Donations can be made online by visiting

Hundreds of students are headed back to school in the next few weeks, and that means that there will be hundreds of new FFA members starting their journey in this organization! Those new members are going to need their FFA Jacket in order to participate in activities. Through the Blue Jackets, Bright Futures program students have the opportunity to receive a free FFA Jacket and tie or scarf.  Students go through an application process and will be selected by a committee. You can be sure that those students who receive this gift will be deserving and will take pride in their new jacket! The foundation provided over 260 jackets last year to deserving members…maybe this year they can provide 300 jackets to new members. A reminder that all donations are a tax-deductible gift. Each jacket with a tie or scarf is $100.00.

You are encouraged to donate online on the Nebraska FFA Foundation website, .

Iowa State University Field Day Aug. 24 to Focus on New Crop Forecasting Project

An Iowa State University project to forecast and evaluate real-time soil and crop conditions in specific fields will be the subject of a field day Aug. 24 at the Agricultural Engineering/Agronomy Farm near Boone.

The Forecast and Assessment of Cropping sysTemS (FACTS) project uses information from 33 cropping systems across Iowa to answer questions about the impact of current weather conditions on crop yields, as well as the status of soil, water and nitrogen availability. Details about the project are available at:

Its goal is to provide quantitative answers to questions that farmers commonly ask, such as:  the potential yield, nitrogen availability and the yield effects of using more nitrogen, planting more seeds or having more soil moisture available.

The field day, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 9 a.m. with registration. The program starts at 9:30 a.m. at the farm, which is located at 1308 U Ave., Boone. It will conclude with lunch served at noon.

The speakers scheduled to present include:
-        Kendall Lamkey, chair of the Department of Agronomy, opening remarks and vision
-        Sotirios Archontoulis, assistant professor of agronomy, FACTS overview, soil and water dynamics and root depths
-        Mike Castellano, associate professor of agronomy, soil nitrogen dynamics
-        Andy Vanloocke, assistant professor of agronomy, evapotranspiration stations
-        Dennis Todey, director of the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, 2017 weather
-        Mark Licht, assistant professor of agronomy, 2017 yield predictions

Understand Safety when Dealing with Hydrogen Sulfide

The risks of hydrogen sulfide in swine operations have been known for years, but beef operators also need to be aware of the dangers this gas can pose. Increasing this awareness led Dan Andersen, assistant professor and agricultural engineering specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, to create a series of four publications that provide information and resources to help farmers stay safe when working with manure.

“One breath of hydrogen sulfide at 500 parts per million is enough to render someone unconscious almost immediately,” Andersen said. “Once you realize the gas is a problem it’s usually too late. Hydrogen sulfide gas smells at 1-2 ppm, but levels above that knocks out your ability to smell, so our natural detection system goes away.”

Information about the importance of monitoring for hydrogen sulfide and the types of monitors available for purchase is available in publication AE 3603, “Hydrogen Sulfide Safety – Monitoring.” Monitors are available from ISU Extension and Outreach agricultural engineering specialists who have several models for farmers to test.

“Personal protection meters are a low cost investment, usually around $200, that will notify you if gas is present,” he said. “These instruments can be taken anywhere and are always monitoring the air.”

The second publication in the series, “Hydrogen Sulfide Safety – Manure Agitation” (AE 3604), discusses how to stay safe when agitating manure.

“Manure that is stagnant and sitting around has minimal loss of hydrogen sulfide,” said Andersen. “These levels of hydrogen sulfide are typically not hazardous. But when the manure is agitated and the crust is disrupted, hydrogen sulfide levels can elevate quickly.”

The final two publications in the series focus on barn ventilation for both cattle and swine facilities. “Hydrogen Sulfide Safety – Barn Ventilation at Cattle Facilities” (AE 3605) and “Hydrogen Sulfide Safety – Swine Barn Ventilation” (AE 3606) discuss how to set up a ventilation strategy when working with manure.

“The most important thing to do is to try to maximize airflow,” Andersen said. “When agitating there should be at least a 10 mile per hour breeze and fans can be set up to bring in additional air.”

Proper positioning can also help minimize risks of exposure to gas.

“Think about where you are setting up,” Andersen said. “Don’t stand downwind from the barn if at all possible.”

USDA to Survey Pork Producers for Inventories, Intentions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is contacting producers for the September Hogs and Pigs Survey. The agency will survey pork producers for detailed information on market hog and breeding stock inventories as well as pig crop and farrowing intentions.

NASS will mail the questionnaires to all producers selected for the survey in late August. To ensure all survey participants have an opportunity to respond, NASS interviewers will contact producers who do not respond by mail or online to conduct telephone and personal interviews.

The data gathered in these quarterly surveys allow NASS to accurately measure and report conditions and trends in the U.S. pork industry over the course of the year. The information is used by all sectors of the industry to help make sound and timely business decisions.

NASS will publish the survey results in the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on Sept. 28.

Exports of U.S. Feed Grains In All Forms Setting Records As End of Marketing Year Nears

Exports of U.S. feed grains in all forms (GIAF) are up 20 percent year-over-year from September-June to 96.9 million metric tons, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and analysis by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).

With only two months left in the 2016/2017 marketing year, exports by this measure that is inclusive of feed grains and the products they produce could set a new record high, a result of attractive U.S. prices and diligent work by the Council to maintain long-time trading partners and find new areas of near-term demand.

U.S. ethanol exports have already reached a new all-time high at 1.15 billion gallons this marketing year, according to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, surpassing the 1.09 billion gallons exported in 2011/2012. Ethanol exports to Brazil more than quadrupled to 438 million gallons, even though purchases are expected to slow in coming months.

Exports of U.S. ethanol to Canada, a key partner through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), also increased to 263 million gallons, a five percent growth compared to the same time the year prior. And India set a new record for U.S. ethanol purchases, more than doubling year-over-year to 116 million gallons.

Exports of U.S. corn increased 36 percent year-over-year to 49.9 million tons (1.96 billion bushels), already exceeding export totals for the last five marketing years.

U.S. corn exports to Japan, the traditional top customer of U.S. corn, are up 48 percent compared to the same time the year prior to 11.5 million tons (453 million bushels), surpassing last year’s total with two months of sales remaining. U.S. corn sales to several countries have already outpaced historical sales, including a new record set for exports to Saudi Arabia, the highest exports to Taiwan since the 1994/1995 marketing year and the most corn exported to South Korea in the last 10 marketing years.

The Council is also seeing increased demand for U.S. DDGS as a result of price and efforts to promote the product in a diverse set of markets.

Sales of U.S. DDGS dropped significantly from the two largest traditional markets - China and Vietnam. While this void had a substantial impact, it left ample supply for other world buyers to purchase - and USGC programs throughout the world are helping end-users learn how to incorporate U.S. DDGS into their rations. As a result, overall purchases are only just behind last year’s export pace at 9.32 million tons. In contrast, exports to Mexico, this year’s top market, are up nine percent year-over-year to 1.69 million tons.

Turkey now ranks as the second largest market for U.S. DDGS with exports that nearly doubled year-over-year to 1.11 million tons, the largest amount since the country started purchasing DDGS in 2004/2005. U.S. DDGS exports to South Korea and the European Union also set new sales records at 847,000 tons and 792,000 tons, respectively.

In contrast, U.S. barley exports are down significantly, driven by a drop in sales to the top traditional customer, Mexico. But, exports to Canada and Japan jumped substantially, both already exceeding their total purchases last marketing year, to 62,700 tons (2.88 million bushels) and 22,900 tons (1.05 million bushels), respectively. In Japan, the Council’s market promotion efforts are building demand for barley food-based products, directly benefitting U.S. producers through this increase in sales. Please note the marketing year for barley differs from that of corn and runs June-May.

Export sales of U.S. sorghum also decreased significantly thus far in the marketing year. However, China kept its status as the largest customer with 3.94 million tons in purchases from September-June. Yet U.S. sorghum exports to Japan more than doubled to 182,000 tons, the highest amount in the last five years, while Mexico increased purchases of U.S. sorghum six percent year-over-year to 524,000 tons.

As the 2016/2017 marketing year comes to an end, the Council and members are celebrating a strong export year, while at the same time preparing for a challenging 2017/2018 marketing campaign.

Engagement with both long-standing trading partners and opportunistic buyers combined with attractive prices have allowed U.S. feed grains and co-products to move into markets old and new. As the current marketing year ends and the new one begins, this work on market access, technical education and trade servicing will become increasingly important to secure U.S. market share and continue the Council’s mission of enabling trade, developing markets and improving lives.

Soy Growers Urge Budget Office to Keep Biotech Disclosure Rule on Track

Soy growers are working to make sure the establishment of a national, comprehensive rule for the labeling of bioengineered food products is a still on track.

The American Soybean Association (ASA), along with several other ag organizations, sent a letter this week requesting a meeting with Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In the letter, the groups expressed concerns that the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act is on the “inactives” list.

“The bill was supported by over 1,100 local, state, and national groups representing U.S. producers, cooperatives, agribusinesses, processors, seed makers, handlers, food and feed manufacturers, restaurants, lenders, and retailers,” the letter states. “Congress provided two years for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promulgate regulations implementing the Act.”

The groups said that with the statutory deadline only a year way, every phase of the rulemaking process is critical and urged the OMB to work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to move quickly through the rulemaking process.

Protect Applied Manure Straight From the Manure Pit to the Field

Farmers who use liquid manure to fertilize corn crops can now mix Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer in their pit for easy application to protect applied nitrogen.

Field studies conducted by Dow AgroSciences and several Midwestern universities show notable corn and silage yield increases when manure is applied with Instinct. Maximizing manure with Instinct reduces leaching and denitrification, regardless of whether spring- or fall-applied, leading to increased yield opportunity at harvest while protecting the environment.

The yield advantage lies in the results

Research from the University of Minnesota shows Instinct applied with fall swine manure provided 10 to 12 bushels per acre yield increase and reduced grain moisture of approximately 1.3 percentage points at harvest.1

Gary Asay grows corn and soybeans on the family farm he took over near Osco, Illinois, 42 years ago. The larger part of his operation is made up of hogs, which he started raising full time after college graduation. Fall-applied manure is the only fertilizer he uses on his corn acres. In 2016, Asay participated in a field trial using Instinct on 10 acres.

“I saw a 10-bushel per acre yield increase with Instinct over the nonstabilized applied manure on side-by-side plots,” Asay says.

Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer with manure made simple

Studies conducted by Dow AgroSciences show Instinct can be uniformly mixed throughout the manure pit, a convenient and sound agronomic practice for protecting nitrogen loss.

When standard agitation procedures are followed, uniformity of Instinct was approximately 96 percent to 110 percent of average concentration throughout the manure pit, says Eric Scherder, Ph.D., field scientist, Dow AgroSciences.

Applying Instinct with manure helps maximize every gallon applied to fields by keeping more nitrogen available for plant uptake.

“Instinct doesn’t allow farmers to add more manure; however, it will help maximize every gallon applied by keeping more nitrogen available rather than leaching or denitrifying,” Scherder says. “Instinct inhibits the conversion of ammonium to nitrates, keeping nitrogen in the ammonium form longer, leading to more readily available nitrogen so crops get the nitrogen they need during critical growth stages.”

The environment can also benefit

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the technology used in Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer the EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2016 for providing both economic and environmental benefits to farmers. In recognizing Instinct, the EPA states that in 2014 the chemistry has added an additional 50 million bushels of corn and removed more than 600,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Green Chemistry Challenge Award is an impressive and significant achievement of which we are very proud,” says Kenny Johnson, nitrogen stabilizers product manager, Dow AgroSciences. “Specific to Instinct, our internal studies found an 8.7 bushel per acre advantage in 124 trials. Instinct is proven to be an effective nitrification inhibitor that provides tremendous value to manure applications, the environment and farmers’ bottom lines.”

 USDA Must Continue to Proactively Address Climate Change

As family farmers and ranchers navigate warmer temperatures and increased weather variability as a result of climate change, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will play a vital role in helping producers adapt to and mitigate the adverse impacts of climate volatility.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today, highlighting the important work the USDA is carrying out on climate change and urging the Secretary to expand these efforts.

“Climate change is underway, and it is undermining the livelihoods of American family farmers and global food security,” wrote Johnson. “We appreciate the many critical, laudable steps that the USDA has undertaken to help family farmers and ranchers cope with changing weather conditions and participate in climate change mitigation. We urge you to amplify USDA’s commitment to these efforts, and to think creatively about more opportunities to connect with family farmers and ranchers on climate change.”

Johnson pointed to several examples of the important work being done at the USDA on the climate change front, including:
·         The Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) efforts to engage producers on the benefits of enhancing soil health and climate resiliency;
·         The regional Climate Hub’s efforts to disperse location-specific information on changing weather conditions and what they mean for agriculture among producers;
·         The innovative work of the Climate Change Program Office and Office of Environmental Markets, which establish opportunities for producers to receive value for environmental services, diversifying farm income, and ultimately reducing the need for regulation; and
·         The many research endeavors that find new ways for producers to improve their margins while reducing greenhouse gasses, and to make their operations more resilient to climate interference, based on sound science and free of political interference.

Johnson noted that the USDA has the expertise to navigate very difficult issues and the ability to carefully craft messages that resonate with family farmers and ranchers.

“While climate change can often be a tough issue to broach in many communities, there is little doubt that farmers and ranchers want to do the right thing and leave the land in a better state than they found it,” said Johnson. “USDA agencies, like the NRCS, are extremely effective at connecting with producers and landowners – regardless of their views on climate change – and encouraging them to take action.”

“Through heightened awareness, effective communication, and continual education on climate change, we can secure the best possible results for American agriculture and the global food system,” Johnson added.

“NFU has been dedicated to working proactively with farmers on climate change for years and would welcome the opportunity to assist or collaborate with you on this critical work,” he concluded.

Wednesday August 09 Ag News


Those interested in learning about pollinators are encouraged to attend Nebraska Extension’s pollinator field day Aug. 18 at the First Northeast Bank of Nebraska, 448 S. 13th St., Tekamah, Neb.

Over 75 percent of all flowering plants and crops rely on animals to carry pollen from one flower to another. Most of these pollinators are insects. Honeybees are common pollinators, along with butterflies, moths, beetles and flies. Attendees at this field day will learn more about different kinds of pollinators, their importance and steps that can be taken to help pollinators.

Morgan Sapp with the USDA Farm Service Agency will discuss options for pollinator habitats in conservation reserve program plantings, and Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist Scott Schmidt will talk about programs to support developing pollinator friendly habitats around an acreage, farm or home.

Following the classroom portion of the day, at 10:30 a.m., participants will travel eight miles out of town to Extension Educator John Wilson’s home to view the pollinator friendly landscaping and pollinator plantings in CRP as well as the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s bee research that is being conducted at his home.

Extension Educator Judy Wu-Smart will provide visitors the opportunity to put on bee suits and get up close with the hives. Wu-Smart and her students will be opening several monitored hives for participants. She will also demonstrate the hive weight bars that measure the weight of the hive to determine the amount of honey produced inside.

To RSVP for pollinator day, email John Wilson at or call 402-374-2929.

Women who own or manage land are invited to conversation

Women who share in the ownership of farmland, have inherited land, or lease their land to tenant farmers are invited to ‘Caring for Our Land: Conservation Conversations’ on Wednesday, Aug. 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The event, hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs and the Women, Food, and Agricultural Network, will include a light lunch, networking, and sharing. The conversation will be held at Metro Community College, Fort Dodge Campus, 5370 North 30th St., Omaha.

“Much has changed in how we think about and manage the land,” Starkweather said. “Conservation practices have been modified or replaced with more holistic and nurturing options that improve and sustain the soil and other natural resources on a single farm, while also positively impacting the community and entire watershed.”

The conversation will include the benefits of conservation. Women from agricultural and conservation agencies will join in the discussion.

The cost is $10 per person. Pre-registration is required by Aug. 17 at or by contacting Starkweather at 402.617.7946 or Attendance is limited.

The event is sponsored by U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.


            John Widdowson, Chairman of the Nebraska Brand Committee, announced today that he has appointed longtime Brand Committee employee G. David (Dave) Horton to serve as the Committee’s Interim Executive Director.  Horton’s interim appointment becomes effective September 1, 2017.

            The announcement of an interim Executive Director came as a result of the resignation of current Executive Director William (Bill) Bunce effective August 31, 2017.  Bunce has accepted employment with the American Brahman Breeders Association in Houston, Texas, and will serve as its Executive Vice-President.

            Chairman Widdowson stated, “On behalf of the entire Committee, I want to thank Bill Bunce for his outstanding work on behalf of the producers and beef industry in Nebraska.  While we are disappointed Bill is leaving our great state, we understand the tremendous opportunity he has been presented and wish Bill and his family nothing but the best.”

            “It has been an honor to work for the Nebraska Brand Committee in furthering its mission.  The Committee is comprised of some of the finest individuals I have had the pleasure of working with in my nearly 30 years of employment in the livestock industry.  While I wish I could have remained in Nebraska, I simply could not pass up the opportunity to return to Texas to lead the world registry for Brahman cattle,” explained Bunce.

            Dave Horton has been employed by the Nebraska Brand Committee for 43 years, presently serving as a criminal investigator.  His vast experience and industry knowledge will assist the Committee as it transitions to a new Executive Director.

            The Committee will formally consider a recruiting and selection process for a new Executive Director at its next quarterly meeting.

Nebraska's Largest Classroom Open Aug. 28-31

Nebraska's Largest Classroom, sponsored by Green Line Equipment, is a self-guided field trip where students and teachers have the opportunity to enjoy hundreds of exhibits, view entertainment at every turn, and learn about Nebraska. Public and home schools are invited to participate in Nebraska's Largest Classroom and must pre-register. Admission is free for K-6th grade students. It will run Aug. 28 to Aug. 31 beginning at 9 a.m. at the 148th Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.

The Nebraska State Fair will provide complimentary gate admission to a maximum of a 1 to 5 (teacher/sponsor) to student ratio. Additional sponsors beyond the 1 to 5 ratio will be required to purchase gate admission tickets.

The Nebraska State Fair offers a lunch program for Nebraska's Largest Classroom participants. Lunch will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each lunch costs $2, last year's lunch included a hot dog, bag of chips, fruit, dessert, and beverage. The 2017 Nebraska's Largest Classroom lunch is still to be determined. Advance registration for the lunch program is required. Lunch registrations will not be accepted the day of Nebraska's Largest Classroom.

For more information, call the fairgrounds at 308-382-1620.

Food, Agriculture, Welfare and Sustainability Experts to Judge 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Finalists

In its ongoing effort to build consumer trust and foster greater transparency about U.S. pork production methods, the National Pork Board today announced its expert judging panel for the 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM. The award, now in its third year, recognizes a pig farmer who best represents the ethical principles of U.S. pork production.

Members of the five-member panel include Brittni Furrow, Walmart’s Senior Director of Sustainability; Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane; Kari Underly, a third-generation butcher, author and principal of Range®, Inc., a meat marketing and education firm; Dr. J. Scott Vernon, professor, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, Cal Poly; and Brad Greenway, the 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year and chairman of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.

“Transparency is about sharing your story and literally opening the barn doors on pig farming,” said Terry O’Neel, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “We are so pleased to have a diverse, accomplished team of experts to assist in judging this year’s finalists. As in the past, it remains critical that this panel is fair, objective and brings diverse points of view to the process.”

Looking forward to the finalist judging slated for August 30, Ganzert said, “As an animal lover and the leader of the country’s first national humane organization, I am honored to again serve as a judge for America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. American Humane celebrates all those, including our nation’s farmers, who care for animals and work hard to ensure they are treated humanely. Today, more than ever, it is important not only to point out where progress is needed, but to recognize when we get it right.”

Joining Ganzert on the judging panel will be Walmart’s Brittni Furrow. “Farming has never been more in focus for today’s retail consumers. They do not just expect food producers to be ethical and sustainable, they demand it,” she said. “This award raises awareness on the importance of adopting best-in-class agricultural practices being employed by our nation’s farmers.”

The judges will evaluate and score a video produced at the finalists’ farms and then conduct in-person interviews with them. The public can view the farmers’ videos and vote for a favorite from August 30 through September 13 by going to The final winner will be announced during National Pork Month on Oct. 3, 2017.

Thanksgiving Dinner…State Fair Style

The Iowa Turkey Federation is committed more than ever to demonstrating the versatility of turkey and introducing you to new ways of enjoying this powerful protein year-round! Building on the success of the 2016 People’s Choice Best New Fair Food, Not Your Mamma’s Taco, team turkey dedicated themselves to present yet another exciting turkey offering to this year’s fair.

Imagine combining Grandma’s turkey dinner into one indulging bite…

We have taken our love for the traditional holiday favorites and added the flair of the fair! Fair-goers look forward to experiencing known flavors in a unique way. We have the perfect “on-the-go” meal that you can pick up and eat…no silverware needed, with the fried goodness the fair is known for. For only $6 you get 4 Thanksgiving Balls to enjoy by yourself or to share with a friend, as we know you may need to save room to try many more of the top new fair foods! Not only do the Thanksgiving Balls fit all the criteria to be listed as “Healthy Fare,” they were also selected as a top ten semi-finalist in the 2017 Best New Fair Food contest.

“Nothing compares” to all the best parts of a Thanksgiving dinner…at the Iowa State Fair!

If you missed the opportunity to relish a ‘Not Your Mamma’s Taco’ last year, it is not too late! We are offering these delicious and healthy (also on the Healthy Fare list) turkey tacos again this year. They have received raging reviews and you will not be disappointed.

In addition to our latest flavors, the Turkey Grill will also be serving the all-white meat shredded turkey sandwich and the classic two pound turkey drumstick you have all come to love.

Farm Credit Services of America Mobilizes to Help South Dakota Producers Impacted by Drought

Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) today announced the mobilization of staff and financial resources to support the cooperative’s producer-owners impacted by drought.

More than three-quarters of South Dakota is in moderate to severe drought and much of the remainder of the state is struggling with abnormal dryness. Yield expectations are down as a result, and acreage enrolled in USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has been released by USDA for grazing.

“This drought is a hardship for South Dakota’s agricultural producers. It is one more potential impact to farm incomes already affected by low commodity prices,” said Doug Stark, FCSAmerica’s president and CEO. “Our financial cooperative exists to ensure farmers and ranchers have a dependable lender to see them through tough times. We’re putting our financial strength to work for our customers.”

FCSAmerica serves more than 10,000 farmers and ranchers in South Dakota, the vast majority of whom have seen crops and pastures impacted by drought. Bob Schmidt, FCSAmerica’s senior vice president for the state, said local teams are working with customers to identify strategies to help them manage through the challenges.

"Many of our South Dakota team members have agricultural backgrounds that, paired with years of lending experience, provide a unique understanding of our customers’ current needs,” Schmidt said. “We encourage all those affected by the drought to visit their local FCSAmerica office to discuss their credit. Our crop insurance agents also are available to meet with customers.”

FCSAmerica has customers in areas of Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming who also are seeing damage to crops and pastures. The cooperative is monitoring developments and responding to emerging needs.

Fertilizer Prices Continue to Slide Lower

Average retail prices for all eight major fertilizers were lower again the first week of August 2017, continuing a trend that has lasted for the past several weeks, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

Only one fertilizer had a significant price drop compared to a month earlier. Anhydrous showed another large decrease in price, down 10% compared to last month. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $418 per ton.

The remaining seven fertilizers had lower prices compared to last month, but none of these fertilizers were down significantly. DAP had an average price of $434/ton, MAP $463/ton, potash $339/ton, urea $311/ton, 10-34-0 $426/ton, UAN28 $227/ton and UAN32 $262/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.34/lb.N, anhydrous $0.25/lb.N, UAN28 $0.40/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

All retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. Five of the eight major fertilizers are double digits lower.

Anhydrous is now 24% lower from a year ago while 10-34-0 is 22% less expensive, UAN32 is 15% lower and both urea and UAN28 are 11% less expensive. DAP is 6% lower, MAP is 5% less expensive while potash is 2% lower.

ASA Works to Find Answers on Herbicide-Related Damage

Following reports of dicamba-related damage to soybean crops, American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Illinois farmer Ron Moore releases the following statement committing the association’s resources to the pursuit of a solution:

“The issues surrounding dicamba-related damage to crops are serious ones, and as the representative organization for the nation’s soybean farmers, ASA is invested in bringing all parties together to find answers and solutions. To do so, we remain in constant contact with those companies selling dicamba-based products, and we are coordinating both with the United Soybean Board and checkoffs at the state level to draw on the data generated by their research into crop damage. We are also working alongside state departments of agriculture and land-grant universities as they investigate to understand what has happened in each specific incident and why.

“The first step in this process is for all parties to determine whether the reported damage is from dicamba or other potential causes. If injury from dicamba spray is indeed the root cause, we next need to understand how this happened. It is at this point that we are confronted with more questions than answers. Investigation and research is needed to determine whether damage stems from any number of factors, including off-label application, product performance or other issues specific to dicamba technology, off-label use of older formulations more prone to volatilization, unusual weather or ground saturation conditions that caused volatilization, use of certain adjutants or tank-mixes leading to volatilization, or other factors. We need all parties at the table to establish answers to these and other questions so that proper action can be taken to both protect crops, and protect access to this technology.

“We understand and support action to abate what is a critical issue in many soybean-growing states, and we understand those actions may include increased education, enforcement, or restrictions. It is important however that we are able to get answers to these questions and establish a path forward as soon as possible so that additional education or other actions can be put in place before next growing season.

“It’s important to note, too, that this discussion is larger than one specific product; farmers need and want new modes of action to tackle the ongoing issue of herbicide-resistant weeds. At the same time however, farmers need assurance that their own and their neighbors’ crops aren’t going to be damaged as a result of normal and label-compliant product use.”

AFBFoundation for Agriculture, National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization Strengthen Collaboration

Leaders of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization announce a newly established partnership to strengthen collaboration between the two groups.

The Foundation and NAITCO signed a memorandum of understanding outlining how the two organizations will work together to create a more agriculturally literate society.

“Farm Bureau has worked closely with National Agriculture in the Classroom for years to help students, teachers and parents learn about where food comes from and who grows it,” said Foundation Chairman Zippy Duvall, who also serves as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We look forward to building on our success through this official partnership.”

The Foundation and NAITCO will work together to encourage young Americans to pursue higher education and career opportunities in the food and agricultural sciences, in addition to providing resources to assist K-12 educators interested in integrating information about food and agriculture across curricula. The two organizations will also partner on communications and promotions as part of the agreement, in addition to collaborating on workshops and educational events.

“The memorandum of understanding recently signed by National Agriculture in the Classroom and the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture solidifies an already strong partnership between two organizations dedicated to agricultural literacy outreach in K-12 classrooms across the country,” said Willie Grenier, president of the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization and executive director of Maine Agriculture in the Classroom. “We’re proud to have such a strong advocate of educating K-12 teachers and students about the importance of agriculture by our side, and look forward to a robust collaboration between our two organizations for many years to come.”

Soil Health Partnership, NCGA Endorse New List of Soil Health Measurements

The Soil Health Partnership has endorsed a set of 19 soil health measurements, encouraging the agriculture industry to quickly adopt them. Once widely adopted, the indicators are expected to help farming become more sustainable and precise in areas such as nutrient management.

Research shows that the benefits of improving soil health include: Improved crop yield, enhanced water quality, increased drought resilience and flood resistance, and decreased greenhouse gas emissions.

After three years of collaboration with scientific and agricultural partners, the Soil Health Institute announced its endorsement of the “Tier 1” national soil health measurements earlier this week. Examples of the specific Tier 1 measures include organic carbon, pH, and available water holding capacity. A complete list of all 19 endorsed soil health measurements is available at the Institute’s website.

“We recognize the vigorous scientific collaboration that went into the development of this list of indicators, and urge the widescale adoption of them,” said Nick Goeser, director of the Soil Health Partnership, and National Corn Growers Association director of soil health and sustainability. “We encourage farmers and agronomists to test soil on a regular basis, and use these indicators as business management tools to help them make smart decisions on the farm.”

Goeser added he hopes the new guidance on soil health indicators will lead to a faster implementation of practices that will improve soil health, like reducing the intensity of tillage to build soil organic matter.

An initiative of NCGA, the Soil Health Partnership is a data-driven program working to quantify the benefits of practices that support soil health, including reduced tillage, the use of cover crops, and advanced nutrient management, from an economic as well as environmental standpoint.

CoBank Reports Higher Quarterly Net Income

CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, announced financial results for the second quarter and first six months of 2017.

The bank experienced loan volume growth in all three of its operating segments, and credit quality and earnings remained strong. Net income for the second quarter increased 7 percent to $259.8 million, compared to $243.3 million in the second quarter of 2016.

For the first six months of 2017, net income was $522.6 million, a 7 percent increase from $486.6 million in the same period of 2016.

The bank benefited during the quarter and year-to-date periods from a lower provision for loan losses.

Higher average loan volume was a key driver of the increase for both the quarter and year-to-date periods, partially offset by decreases in fair value accretion income related to CoBank's merger with U.S. AgBank in 2012.

Tuesday August 8 Ag News

Gov. Ricketts Begins Trade Mission to Canada

This morning, Governor Pete Ricketts is kicking off his first trade mission to Canada, leading a Nebraska trade team on the state’s first official trade mission to the country.  During the five-day trade mission, delegates will meet with government, agricultural, and manufacturing officials in Toronto and Ottawa.

“As Nebraska’s largest export market and fourth largest agriculture export market, Canada is vitally important to the state,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Appreciation is a key component of any relationship.  During this mission, we are thanking our best customer for their current business, identifying ways to expand our positive trade relationship with Canada, and utilizing this opportunity to open new doors for Nebraska companies to grow their businesses.”

The Governor is leading the delegation along with Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach and Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) Director Courtney Dentlinger.  Representing the agricultural community are Mark McHargue, Nebraska Farm Bureau; Eric Kamler, Nebraska Corn Growers and Nebraska Corn Board; and Galen Frenzen, Nebraska Cattlemen Association.  Mindy Ruffalo, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, will also accompany the delegation for part of the trip.

The Governor’s Office, NDA, DED, and Canadian officials developed the itinerary for the trade mission, which includes a U.S. Consulate briefing and meetings with the Ontario Ministry of International Trade as well as the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.

Later in the week, delegates will participate in a roundtable discussion with the U.S. Consul General for Toronto, as well as attend a reception and meal hosted by the Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs.  The meal will feature Nebraska beef.

“In 2016, total agricultural exports from Nebraska to Canada equaled an estimated $468 million out of a total agriculture export value of $5.4 billion,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach.  “During this trip, we look forward to meeting with representatives from the Canadian Pork Council and the Canadian Cattlemen Association to share information about Nebraska’s quality beef and pork.”

Nebraska beef products are Nebraska’s number one agricultural export to Canada, totaling $138.2 million dollars in 2015.  Pork is Nebraska third highest agricultural export to Canada, with $61.3 million dollars of exports.  

During visits with the U.S. Consulate in Toronto and the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, the delegation will learn more about Canada’s economic and social structures in an effort to understand how those affect the Nebraska manufacturing and agricultural sectors.

“Nebraska businesses have built strong relationships in Canada, and we have significant investment from Canadian companies in our state,” said DED Director Courtney Dentlinger.  “This mission allows us to express our thanks to our largest trading partner, and to promote additional opportunities to grow Nebraska's economy.”

To help showcase how critical NAFTA is to Nebraska and our trading partners, Canadian and Nebraska business leaders will participate in a NAFTA Workshop to discuss and learn more about Canadian food regulations as we continue to export food products to the country, and the implications the Canadian Safe Food Act has for both Canadian and U.S. companies.

“International trade and engagement is a crucial part of our state’s long-term growth,” said Governor Ricketts.  “That’s why my administration is continuously pursuing new strategies for expanding international markets, attracting new investment, and building the state’s profile internationally.  We are committed to maintaining a competitive edge in a global economy.” 


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Are you grazing cattle on rented pastures?  If so, the current drought or abnormally dry conditions may force some important decisions.

               No matter if you own the cattle or own the pasture, or maybe both, when dry weather reduces pasture growth way below original expectations, adjustments are needed. Continuing to graze while ignoring the dry weather and reduced pasture growth risks damage to both the pasture and the livestock.  Landowners risk having the pasture become overgrazed, resulting in future weed problems, reduced long-term production, and lowered value.  The cattle owner risks poor performance or health of the livestock due to less forage and lower quality feed.  This can lead to higher supplemental feed costs or being forced to sell the cattle.

               Ideally, you have a written lease and have included clauses that identify conditions that require removal of animals.  If so, good for you.  Check those conditions now and act on them if needed.

               Unfortunately, many pastures are rented without written leases or without drought clauses.  If this describes your situation, now might be a good time to initiate discussion about how you will handle the grazing if growing conditions don’t improve enough soon.  Planning now helps avoid arguments and panicky decisions later.

               This discussion should include who makes the decision to remove the cattle and what criteria will be used to base that decision.  Also discuss any adjustment in rent because less grazing was provided.  Usually, it is best to design the agreement so both landowner and cattle owner share in losses associated with drought.  This may be especially important if you hope to conduct business together in the future.

               Drought can cause a lot of headaches.  But good planning and communication can reduce some of the pain.


The Nebraska Soybean Board held an election in July for the Director Seats in District 5, 7 and At-Large. Nebraska soybean farmers in those districts (5 & 7) voted with the following results:

District 5 (Counties of Cass, Johnson, Lancaster, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee and Richardson)
                Andy Dunn, Falls City, NE – Richardson County
                Daryl Obermeyer, Brownville, NE – Nemaha County - Re-elected
                Brent Steinhoff, Syracuse, NE – Otoe County
The re-elected Director, Daryl Obermeyer, will begin his second term on the board.

District 7 (Counties of Adams, Buffalo, Clay, Franklin, Hall, Kearney, Nuckolls and Webster)
                Doug Saathoff, Trumbull, NE – Adams County - Elected
                Cecil Schriner, Hildreth, NE – Franklin County
The elected Director, Doug Saathoff, will begin his first term on the board.

                Greg Anderson, Newman Grove – Madison County - Re-elected
                Nathan Dorn, Firth, NE – Gage County

The elected Director, Greg Anderson, will begin his second term on the board.

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

The elected directors will serve a three-year term beginning October 1, 2017 and ending September 30, 2020.

Growing In-Demand Soybeans Can Boost Profitability for Farmers

The farm economy has been in a holding pattern for years now, and managing for the future is more important than ever. On his family farm in the Shenandoah Valley, Marty Kable has had to make some tough decisions. This year, he, along with farmers in 12 states around the U.S., planted high oleic soybeans to increase his profit potential. In total, U.S. soybean farmers planted 650,000 acres of the premium soybeans this year.

Kable has actually increased acreage for High Horizons Farm, Inc., on the eastern tip of West Virginia, through careful management and support from his team – his wife and two sons who join him on the operation as well as experts like his agronomist, Bob Chandler.

When margins are tight, farmers start to look toward cutting costs to make ends meet, but Kable takes a different approach. “You can’t cut too many costs or you start reducing your crop’s performance,” he says. “We’re doing everything we can, from seed selection to inputs, to produce the best yield on any given acre.”

And this year, Kable’s seed decision made a big market impact. “Counting the double-crop that will be going in behind wheat, we’ll have a total of 2,376 acres of high oleic soybeans,” Kable says. “There was a lot of interest in the ag community around me, and we tested the varieties on our land last year. We saw yield that was as good as – even better than – anything else we planted, so the results were encouraging to grow more this year."

Kable’s agronomist, Bob Chandler, agrees. “I also sell seed for several thousand acres of soybeans in this area. More than half of those acres are in high oleic varieties this year,” he says.

What’s so attractive about high oleic soybeans? Beyond the competitive yield, Kable says he likes growing a product that has a defined market. His high oleic acres are contracted with Perdue AgriBusiness, which processes the soybeans for premium soybean oil used by restaurants, food companies and in non-food applications because of its high-heat and shelf stability.

End-use customers want more of the oil than processors have in stock, so they offer a premium for high oleic soybeans to farmers who grow them. The biggest difference between growing high oleic and conventional soybeans, Kable says, is that farmers keep them separate to deliver them to the contracted processor – and that it comes with added profit.

For farmers, high oleic soybeans help build long-term soybean oil demand. Growing high oleic takes some of the commodity soybean oil off the market, and replaces it with a growing supply of high oleic soybean oil to meet end-user needs.

“All our beans this year are high oleic,” Kable says, “due in part to the profit opportunity for our farm and for all soybean farmers. We like to stay up on anything new and exciting in the industry, and high oleic has real potential to add demand for U.S. soybean farmers.”

ISU Extension and Outreach offers publications to help farmers monitor their fields

Crop scouting allows farmers to monitor the growth of their crops and address any issues that arise during the growing season.

“Crop scouting is foundational to making in-season management decisions,” said Adam Sisson, extension specialist for the Integrated Pest Management program at Iowa State University. “If you don’t know what you are attempting to manage, it can easily lead to mismanagement or spending money that could otherwise have been saved. Identification is always the first step to proper management.”

Getting into the field on a regular basis is the first step to scouting.

“Start by getting a good big picture of the field to see if there are any large problem areas,” Sisson said. “But don’t stop there. Walk into the field and get a good representative sample. Look at individual plants to determine their condition. Also, have a good idea of what an ideal field should look like at the time as it helps you know if something has gone wrong.”

Sisson also recommends scouting as often as possible, focusing on insects, weeds, disorders and diseases that are affecting that year’s crop. But while the focus of scouting is on the current crop, taking past practices into account as well can be helpful for a proper diagnosis of issues.

“If you come across a problem, there are pieces of information from previous growing seasons that can be useful in determining what caused the issue,” Sisson said. “Herbicides from past years can carry over from season to season. Also if this is the second or third consecutive year the same crop has been planted in that field there may be diseases from the past that remain in the crop residue.”

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has a series of resources designed to help farmers scout their crops for potential issues to be managed.

    Corn and Soybean Field Guide (IPM 1): This publication combines the previously separate Corn Field Guide and Soybean Field guide into a single volume. It provides tools for identifying insects, diseases and disorders of corn and soybean in the Midwest.

    Corn and Soybean Field Guide Web Book (IPM 81): The web book takes the information from IPM 1 and moves it to an online medium complete with videos, slide shows, interactive graphs, simulations and virtual quizzes.

    Corn Diseases (IPM 5): An updated version of this pub will be available by Sept. 1, providing information on how to identify corn diseases and provide general recommendations for disease management.

    Weed Identification Field Guide (IPM 3): This is a revised and expanded pocket-sized guide for farmers and agronomists to use for weed identification in Iowa corn and soybean fields.

    Speed Scouting for Soybean Aphid (CSI 15): A tool for growers to monitor soybean aphid populations in their fields by using a speed scouting technique. The publication provides instructions on speed scouting and guidelines for recording soybean aphid sightings in the field.

    Fungicide Classification (IPM 80): Repeated use of fungicides with the same mode of action can result in the selection of fungicide-resistant strains of plant pathogens. This publication (in poster format) divides fungicides into six modes of action to provide for greater diversity in the fungicides used.

Research: Milk Proteins Higher Quality Than Plant Proteins

When it comes to protein, research continues to suggest milk has some of the highest quality protein available, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Researchers used a new scoring system, which is believed to be more accurate, to measure the quality of milk proteins and plant proteins, and they confirmed milk proteins ranked as some of the highest quality proteins available, especially compared to plant-based proteins like soy and pea protein. A protein's quality indicates how easily it can be digested and used in our bodies.

Milk proteins were ranked as "excellent" quality sources of protein, whiles soy proteins were ranked lower as "good" quality sources. Pea protein scored too low to qualify for a protein quality claim.

From muscles to hair and bones to teeth, our bodies need protein to be healthy and strong. This is especially true for growing kids. With 8 grams of high-quality protein in each 8-ounce glass, real milk offers between 2 to 7 more grams of protein compared to non-dairy alternatives like almond or rice drinks. Pairing a glass of real milk with your meals is an easy way for you and your kids to get protein you need.

Antimicrobial Resistance: What Beef Producers Should Know

Join Dr. Bob Smith for a free webinar Thursday, August 10 at 3 p.m. CST, hosted by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture on behalf of the beef checkoff. The webinar will allow beef producers the unique opportunity to explore antimicrobial resistance in the U.S. and provide a forum to share knowledge around antibiotic stewardship.

Click here to register....

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit

Beef - A WISE Choice!

Polly Ruhland, Cattlemen's Beef Board CEO

"Diets are boring!"

"I hate trying to lose weight, it's no fun."

"Who wants to eat salad for dinner every night?"

Do these sound like excuses you’ve heard from friends or family when it comes to exercise to lose weight?

Well, if you missed it, the news is out and it’s exciting:  the new Beef WISE study found that lean beef, as part of a healthy, higher-protein diet, can help people lose weight while maintaining muscle and a healthy heart.

The Beef WISE Study adds to the growing body of research demonstrating the role of lean beef in heart-healthy diets and strong bodies. This includes another beef-checkoff funded study called BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet), and independent research DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).

Building on Previous Research

In recent years, higher-protein diets have become a popular diet strategy for weight loss. Dietary recommendations such as the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans may suggest that eating patterns with lower intake of red meats are associated with a reduced risk of obesity. However, these recommendations to limit red meat are based primarily on observational studies, whereas clinical trials such as the three I mentioned largely found no detrimental impact of lean red meat consumption on markers of cardiometabolic health during weight loss or weight maintenance.

Red meat is a major contributor of protein in the American diet and represents 58 percent of all meat consumption in the United States, thus its exclusion from the diet can pose as a barrier to sticking with a higher-protein diet for the long-term.

A Protein-Conscious Consumer Environment

Few clinical trials have compared different high-quality protein sources to understand their effectiveness in a weight loss or maintenance diet. The Beef WISE study did a direct comparison of the State of Slim eating plan with half the participants consuming four or more weekly servings of lean beef as the only source of red meat, compared to participants who did not consume any red meat during the study. Subjects in both groups lost equal amounts of body weight and fat mass while preserving muscle.

The WISE study, made possible by a research grant from your checkoff, demonstrates that lean beef doesn’t have to be restricted in a higher-protein diet and is just as effective as other protein choices in supporting healthy weight loss and leaner bodies.

In order to get this good news out to health and fitness leaders, your checkoff sent custom emails along with a press release to approximately 150 targeted media outlets and reporters. These selected outlets cover health and fitness for consumers or are nutrition/science-focused publications

Be proud of your checkoff’s work in this arena as this study is great news for people who enjoy beef but may have been told they should avoid it while following weight loss diets. It underscores, once again, lean beef can be part of a healthy, higher-protein diet for weight loss.

Congress Poised for Tax Code Overhaul

A joint statement on tax reform released recently by Republican congressional leaders and administration officials signals that lawmakers plan to make good on their promise to overhaul the tax code as soon as this fall.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are encouraged to see that key congressional leaders and the administration understand how important tax reform is to all Americans. Fixing our tax system now is crucial to creating economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers and other family-owned businesses. This is especially important as farmers continue to face down tough economic challenges,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in response to the statement.

Among farmers’ and ranchers’ top priorities are comprehensive tax reform that helps all farm and ranch businesses; the reduction of combined income and self-employment tax rates to account for any deductions or credits lost; and cost-recovery tools like allowing businesses to deduct expenses when incurred; and a continuation of cash accounting, Section 1031 “like-kind exchanges,” and the deduction for state and local taxes.

The repeal of estate taxes and the continuation of stepped-up basis, along with reduced capital gains taxes, are important as well.

“Not only will reform strengthen our economy, but by addressing key issues like overall tax rates, capital gains taxes and enhanced expensing, it will be good for farms and other businesses,” Duvall said.

The group of congressional leaders and administration officials who released the joint statement on tax reform includes House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas).

In the statement, the group issued its support for lower taxes for individuals and businesses, with specific references to reduced business tax rates, expanded expensing and permanence. Noticeably absent is the border adjustment tax championed by House leadership.

MAIZALL Moves Forward in Collaborative Work for Corn Farmers

Last month, a delegation from the International Maize Alliance (MAIZALL), including NCGA Past and MAIZALL current President Pam Johnson, met with their South American counterparts in Argentina to collaborate on strategic planning for MAIZALL and to meet with a number of senior Argentine government officials.

While the participants in MAIZALL compete for markets abroad, they came together to reaffirm their commitment to and discuss their work toward common goals that benefit corn farmers in America, Brazil and Argentina. MAIZALL works to: enhance public support for trade, grow public understanding of and support for biotechnology; encourage transparent, predictable, science-based regulatory systems; promote synchronicity in approval processes; and encourage trade-enabling low level presence policies.

During the meetings, the board also re-established its priority activities. It was determined that tier one priorities included: working through the World Trade Organization to engage China and Europe; advancing harmonization; increasing outreach in Africa; and improving communications. In addition to these top-tier goals, the partners will also continue addressing crop protection and maximum residue levels issues and advancing sustainability.

The MAIZALL Board met with the Ministry of Agro-Industry of Argentina, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange, the Institute for International Agriculture Negotiations, ArgenBio, the Argentina Seed Association, Aapresid, and the Agriculture Committee of the Chamber of Deputies.

These meetings focused primarily on efforts to cooperate on access issues in markets such as China and the African continent. MAIZALL received substantial feedback on how they could continue to collaborate to further these initiatives. Additionally, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange invited MAIZALL to participate in a side event to the WTO Ministerial in December 2017.

"I have been working with MAIZALL since its inception and am impressed by how it has grown into a successful model for collaboration around a common purpose related to agricultural innovation," said Johnson. "This meeting brought the principals together to confer and renew our commitment to this important work. Following the dialogue, we emerged reinvigorated and eager to elevate our engagement even further."

The delegation included, in addition to Johnson, U.S. Grains Council Chairman Chip Councell, USGC Former Chairman Julius Schaaf, USGC Director of Industry Relations and Manager of Global Biotechnology Andrew Conner.

MAIZALL was formalized in June of 2013 with the signing of a MOU in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  MAIZALL is a farmer led, private sector partnership of three countries and four associations representing the major maize producers and exporters of the Americas: MAIZAR (Argentina); ABRAMILHO (Brazil); the National Corn Growers Association; and the U.S. Grains Council (United States).

Dow DuPont Merger to Occur on August 1

DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that all required regulatory approvals and clearances have been received in order to close their merger by the end of the marketing day on August 31, 2017.

Shares of Dow and DuPont will cease trading at the close of the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the month.

Shares of DowDuPont will begin trading on the NYSE under the stock ticker symbol "DWDP" on September 1.

The companies continue to expect the intended spin-offs to occur within 18 months of closing.

Tyson Posts Better-Than-Expected Earnings

Tyson Foods Inc reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results on Monday, sending its shares up 5 percent, and said it would ramp up chicken production in the face of record demand from U.S. consumers. According to Reuters, the company spent more money on advertising and marketing for chicken in the third quarter ended on July 1, bringing down operating income for that segment.

Still, the company is working to increase its production capacity for fully cooked chicken and raw meat sold in packages in grocery stores to meet demand, Chief Executive Officer Tom Hayes said on a conference call with analysts.

Tyson is "essentially busting at the seams on both those areas," he said. "What we are focused on is making sure our supply meets our demand, and we're having a challenge right now."

U.S. per capita consumption of chicken is expected to hit a record high this year, according to National Chicken Council annual data that runs from 1965.

Sales of chicken have increased as consumers seek more protein in their diets. It is cheaper than beef and pork and considered more healthy.

Tyson said its sales volumes for chicken rose 1.6 percent in the third quarter ended on July 1, and average prices were up 2.9 percent.

Beef prices rose 5.3 percent on average, while pork prices rose 3.3 percent. Sales volumes for each were up less than 1 percent.

For the fiscal year, Tyson raised the low end of its profit forecast by 5 cents a share to $4.95, excluding special items. It kept the top end at $5.05 per share.

The company said it expected sales of more than $38 billion. It previously said they would remain flat at $36.88 billion.

For the quarter, Tyson said profit dropped 22 percent in its chicken unit, and operating margins fell to 10.4 percent from 13.9 percent. The company expects those margins to remain around 10 percent next year, with a nearly 3 percent growth in volume.

Net income attributable to Tyson fell nearly 8 percent to $447 million from $484 million a year earlier. Excluding items, earnings of $1.28 per share beat the analysts' average estimate of $1.18, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

August 8 Crop Progress & Condition Reports - NE - IA - US


For the week ending August 6, 2017, temperatures averaged six to eight degrees below normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation ranged from half an inch to two inches across most of the State. The cooler temperatures and rain alleviated some stress seen in corn and soybeans caused by prior dry conditions. There were 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 21 percent very short, 39 short, 40 adequate, and 0 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 20 percent very short, 38 short, 42 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Field Crops Report:
Corn condition rated 5 percent very poor, 11 poor, 25 fair, 43 good, and 16 excellent. Corn silking was 97 percent, near 98 last year, and equal to the five-year average. Dough was 40 percent, near 44 last year, and behind 45 average. Dented was 3 percent, behind 8 last year and 10 average.

Soybean condition rated 4 percent very poor, 9 poor, 29 fair, 48 good, and 10 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 94 percent, near 93 both last year and average. Setting pods was 65 percent, near 62 last year and 63 average.

Sorghum condition rated 3 percent very poor, 3 poor, 30 fair, 51 good, and 13 excellent. Sorghum headed was 59 percent, behind 69 last year, and near 61 average. Coloring was 4 percent, equal to last year, and near 6 average.

Oats harvested was 91 percent, ahead of 84 last year, and near 88 average.

Alfalfa condition rated 4 percent very poor, 14 poor, 37 fair, 38 good, and 7 excellent. Alfalfa third cutting was 65 percent complete, ahead of 56 last year and 50 average. Fourth cutting was 12 percent.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 15 percent very poor, 20 poor, 37 fair, 25 good, and 3 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 5 percent very short, 12 short, 83 adequate, and 0 surplus.


All of Iowa experienced cooler than normal temperatures and most of the State received below normal precipitation during the week ending August 6, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included applying fungicides and insecticides, hauling grain, and haying.

Topsoil moisture levels declined to 24 percent very short, 32 percent short, 44 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. According to the August 1, 2017 U.S. Drought Monitor, Iowa’s region of severe drought expanded to include 16 counties in south central and southeast Iowa. Subsoil moisture levels rated 19 percent very short, 32 percent short, 48 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Ninety-five percent of Iowa’s corn crop has reached the silking stage, 5 days ahead of the five-year average. Forty-two percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage, 4 days behind last year. Corn condition declined to 2 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 26 percent fair, 53 percent good and 11 percent excellent.

Soybeans blooming reached 89 percent, 1 week behind last year and 3 days behind average. Two-thirds of soybeans were setting pods, 5 days behind last year but equal to average. Soybean condition rated 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 50 percent good and 9 percent excellent. Eighty-eight percent of the oat crop for grain or seed has been harvested, 1 day ahead of average.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay was nearly complete. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 38 percent complete, 3 days ahead of average. Hay condition dropped to 51 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition also dropped to 34 percent good to excellent. Cooler temperatures improved livestock conditions, but supplemental feeding has been required in some areas.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Corn condition was down just 1 percentage point from the previous week while soybean condition was up by 1 point, according to USDA's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

USDA estimated that 60% of the U.S. corn crop was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, Aug. 6, down from 61% the previous week. Ninety-three percent of corn was silking as of Sunday, down from 96% a year ago and below the five-year average of 94%. Forty-two percent of corn was in the dough stage, down from 50% a year ago, and down from the five-year average of 44%. Seven percent of corn was dented, down from 8% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 11% dented.

While corn condition was down 1 point, soybean condition improved by 1 point, from 59% good to excellent the previous week to 60% good to excellent this past week, USDA said. USDA estimated 90% of soybeans were blooming as of Sunday, even with a year ago, but above the five-year average of 88%. Sixty-five percent of soybeans are setting pods, which is down from 67% a year ago, but above the five-year average of 62%.

Spring wheat also saw a 1-percentage-point increase in condition, from 31% good to excellent the previous week to 32% good to excellent this past week. Twenty-four percent of spring wheat was harvested, down from 27% a year ago, but above the five-year average of 21% harvested.

Meanwhile, winter wheat harvest progressed to 94% complete as of Sunday, up from 93% a year ago and above the five-year average of 92%, USDA said.

Sorghum was 62% headed and 26% coloring, compared to 49% and 23% last week, 72% and 30% last year, and averages of 63% and 32%. Sorghum condition held steady from the previous week at 61% good to excellent.

Barley was 25% harvested as of Sunday, behind 29% last year but ahead of the average pace of 22%. Oats were 50% harvested, compared to 35% last week, 66% last year and a 59% average.

Cotton was 93% squaring, 58% setting bolls and 8% bolls opening compared to an average pace of 96% squaring, 68% setting bolls and 7% bolls opening. Cotton condition improved slightly to 57% good to excellent from 56% good to excellent the previous week. Rice was 84% headed, ahead of the average of 72%, and 9% of rice was harvested as of Sunday, ahead of the average of 5% harvested. Rice condition improved slightly to 72% good to excellent from 71% good to excellent the previous week.

Monday Aug 7 Ag News

Continued Scouting Urged for Southern Rust Now in 26 Counties
Tamra Jackson-Ziems, Extension Plant Pathologist

Southern rust has now been confirmed in corn in 26 Nebraska counties. As we confirm more Nebraska counties with southern rust, it's important to know that the vast majority of rust reports have been sparse and no fungicide application was required at this time.

A few localized areas, especially where it was first reported, have required fungicide applications.

Rust will continue to build in the coming weeks and the weather, particularly warm humid conditions, will largely determine disease progression. Continued scouting is important as southern rust infection during the grain-fill through dough stages can cause critical injury.

Counties where southern rust has been confirmed...  Adams,  Antelope, Boone, Buffalo, Butler, Cass, Clay, Dodge, Fillmore, Gage, Hamilton, Holt, Jefferson, Kearney, Lancaster, Nemaha, Nuckolls, Otoe, Platte, Richardson, Saline, Saunders, Seward, Stanton, Thayer, York. 

Please continue to scout frequently for this disease and share observations and samples with the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic so we can track its development.

Thank you to all who have submitted samples to help outline and better understand the movement and severity of southern rust in Nebraska this year.

Using Manure as an Aid in Reducing Erosion and Runoff 
Rick Koelsch - NE Livestock Environmental Engineer

Manure’s impact on formation of larger and more stable soil aggregates was the focus of an earlier article. This article reviews the soil erosion and runoff benefits resulting from changes to soil’s physical characteristics from manure.

Charles Wortmann and Dan Walters, faculty in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, provide several important insights in a field research initiative that monitored soil erosion, runoff, and phosphorus (P) loss from replicated field plots over three cropping seasons immediately after manure application and four subsequent years when no manure was applied. This article reviews results published in a Journal of Environmental Quality article, Phosphorus Runoff During Four Years Following Composted Manure Applications, and related information.

Take Home Message
This research demonstrates that manure has significant value for reducing runoff and erosion. By itself, it can't solve the soil erosion shown in Figure 1, but when used in combination with other soil management practices, manure can protect our soils and limit agriculture’s environmental costs. In some instances, however, manure can be an environmental negative if phosphorus is allowed to accumulate in soils. To achieve the environmental benefits of manure and minimize the risks, manure application rates and frequency of re-application to the same field must maintain soil P levels near the agronomic levels required by the selected crops.

Wortmann and Walters’s primary intent was to understand P losses from manure application; however, they also observed several important impacts on soil physical and chemical characteristics. A low and high P composted beef manure was applied to replicated runoff plots (measuring 12 by 36 feet) with a median slope of 5.5% and soil series of Pohocco silt loam. Manure was applied to meet crop nitrogen requirements for three years in a row. Runoff plots were evaluated for these three cropping seasons immediately following manure application as well as three additional cropping seasons with no manure application. All erosion, runoff, and P loss resulting from natural rainfall and pivot irrigation was quantified from March through August of each of the six cropping seasons.

Lesson 1: Compost application reduced erosion…
and runoff by approximately two-thirds during the three cropping seasons following manure application. Improvements in soil water holding capacity and soil infiltration rates were responsible for the lower runoff and erosion levels. One would expect less total sediment, nitrogen, and pesticide levels reaching nearby surface water based on these results. However, increased P levels in neighboring surface waters is an expected negative environmental impact.

Lesson 2: Manure application had a residual benefit…
for runoff and erosion that persisted for at least the next three cropping seasons (blue bars in Figure 2). This research observed approximate reductions in runoff of 40% and of erosion, 55%. The reduced runoff also suggest additional soil moisture storage and greater crop resiliency to dry periods.

Lesson 3: Additional soil quality benefits…
were observed for soil bulk density, soil organic matter, and pH. Although visual evidence of compost disappeared within one year, soil organic matter content and pH benefits of manure were observed four years after the last manure application.

Lesson 4: Increased soil P levels…
were significant as a result of three consecutive years of compost manure application and producing increased P movement in runoff and erosion. Application to meet crop N requirements applies more P than is required for crop production. Repeating this practice three years in a row, in addition to applying a high P compost (manure from cattle fed diet with distillers grains), further aggravates this negative environmental impact. If manure is to be applied at a nitrogen-based rate, it is desirable both economically and environmentally to not reapply manure to the same field until soil P levels return to a level requiring additional P supplementation. For some manures with a low N to P ratio, it may be desirable to apply manure at a rate equal to the P removed by the next three to five cropping seasons and then supplement with commercial nitrogen fertilizer to meet crop N requirements. This strategy will produce economic and environmental value, while minimizing the P impact on local surface water.

Manure’s economic and soil improvement benefits should both be recognized and built into successful cropping systems. Thanks to the work of Wortmann and Walters, we have better insights as to how manure can improve the physical characteristics of soils thus reducing runoff and erosion.

You're Invited to an Employment Law Training

Date: August 30
Location:  Ramada in Columbus, NE
9:00 am to 12:00 pm - Employment Law Training
Lunch provided
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm - Poultry 101

Date:September 22
Location:  Venue restaurant in Lincoln, NE
1:00 pm to 4:30 pm - Employment Law Training
4:30 pm - Refreshments

Employment law training will be provided by Mark Fahlson, Partner with Rembolt Lutdke Law Firm.  His practice area focuses on employment and labor law.  Participants will be provided with a resource toolkit to take with them.

RSVP to Lori Anderson at or 402-421-4472.  Both meetings are hosted by the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska. 

Stock Realty & Auction Co. Now BigIron Realty

A well-known real estate company is changing its name, but not the way it does business. Stock Realty & Auction Co. is now BigIron Realty, adopting the BigIron brand used by the online and onsite equipment auction business started by Ron and Mark Stock. The Stock brothers began their real estate careers to focus on farm and ranch land sales. The company is based in Nebraska and is licensed to do business in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, South Dakota, Missouri, Minnesota and Oklahoma. Mark Stock says they plan to expand the BigIron Realty network throughout the Midwest and are recruiting new real estate agents. 

“We started in the real estate business to help serve farmers and ranchers,” said Stock. “Now we look to provide the same level of hometown service to landowners across the country. We thought it was a good time to adopt the BigIron name that farmers know and trust.”

In addition to their BigIron businesses, the Stock brothers both farm. Mark Stock says their roots in agriculture are important as they help farmers and landowners sell their precious resource.

“The decision to sell a farm or ranch can be difficult for families,” said Stock. “But our experience helps us handle each sale with respect and understanding while making the process as easy as possible. As we grow, we’ll look for partners who have the same philosophy of service.”

BigIron Realty provides a full range of real estate services and farm management. For more information visit

ACE conference reveals global ethanol demand opportunities

The 30th annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) conference Aug. 15-17 in Omaha will highlight key efforts underway here and abroad to set the stage for higher ethanol blends.

One of this year’s featured speakers is Jim Galvin, CEO and Director of Lakeview Energy and the appointed leader of the U.S. Grains Council Advisory Team for Ethanol. Galvin will provide an update on market trends, factors driving (and restricting) global demand for ethanol and co-products, and implications of trade policy reform on the U.S. ethanol industry.

“We need to ensure that biofuels and ag commodities do not get caught up in trade wars or retaliatory responses from other countries as the current Administration navigates through its reviews of existing trade deals and develops new ones,” Galvin said. “The importance of exports for ag and more recently for biofuels cannot be underestimated by this Administration as tariffs would be extremely disruptive at a time when we see plentiful global supplies of these commodities.”

Galvin added that two critical issues facing the industry are remaining price competitive on the world market for octane and having efficient logistics to get product to export destinations. “At a government level, we see increased attention by some countries on considering imposing import duties on our ethanol,” Galvin said. “We as an industry need to vigorously defend against these barriers to free and open trade.”

Ethanol is becoming more widely used and accepted as part of the global fuel transportation mix, evidenced by the sale of U.S. ethanol to countries like China and South Korea in recent years. Policies are also emerging for the inclusion of greater biofuels in a country’s fuel mix to help improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The recent announcement by Mexico to adopt an E10 fuel is a prime example of this, Galvin said.

Kristy Moore, owner of KMoore Consulting LLC, has spent time in Mexico assisting with efforts for this market prospect. Moore will also speak at ACE’s upcoming conference. “The Mexico opportunity for ethanol is exciting for two key reasons: size of the market potential and geography,” Moore said. “Currently, Mexico consumes about 12 billion gallons of gasoline per year (BGY)—this is just under California gasoline consumption (15 BGY) and more than the size of the Texas gasoline market.   Mexico has never allowed ethanol blended gasoline, therefore the U.S. supply of gasoline, which nearly all of it contains 10 percent ethanol, was off limits.  Mexico is a brand-new market  opportunity.”

More on our agenda is available here... Online registration has been extended until this Wednesday, Aug. 9.

International Buyers of U.S. Soy Convene in Omaha

Nearly 60 percent of the soybeans currently growing in America’s soybean belt are exported. Soy exports generated more than $24 billion of revenue for the United States last year, and this number is growing alongside global populations and economies.

This month, many of the farmers who grow U.S. Soy will have the opportunity to meet the international buyers who purchase it. The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) will host its 5th annual U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange Aug. 15-17 at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center, and attendees will represent a significant amount of U.S. Soy purchased.

“The United States is a top supplier of the world’s soy, thanks to the sustainable, consistent supply and exceptional composition that U.S. soybean farmers provide,” says Jim Miller, USSEC chairman of the board. “To maintain this leadership position, it’s imperative that we meet and exceed our customers’ demands. This event opens an important dialog that spans the soy value chain, from the U.S. soybean farmer to the end user.”

More than 250 international buyers from 50 countries are expected to attend the 2017 U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange, in addition to 350 U.S. soybean farmers, exporters, traders and other industry representatives. They will attend trade team buyer/supplier meetings, enjoy a networking reception at the Joslyn Art Museum and participate in key discourse on recent global and commercial issues affecting international soy and grain markets.

Perhaps the most valuable takeaway from the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange is the relationships forged during it. Following the event, groups of international attendees will visit U.S. farms for a firsthand glimpse of sustainable U.S. soybean farming practices.

Indiana soybean farmer and USB director Mike Beard hosted a group of international buyers on his farm before the 2016 U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange.

“I think I learned as much from them as they did from me,” he recalls. “It’s important to hear what your customers are asking for; after all, without them we don’t have a market for our product. Marketing is all about relationships, and developing relationships with our international customers creates mutually-beneficial opportunities.”

USSEC is hosting the event in conjunction with the Midwest Shippers Association. For additional information, visit

Growing Trade with Canada
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts

This week, I am leading a trade mission to Canada.  The importance of Canada as a trading partner that is helping grow Nebraska cannot be overstated.  Canada is Nebraska’s largest export market and fourth largest agriculture export market.  In 2016, total agricultural exports from Nebraska to Canada equaled an estimated $468 million out of a total agriculture export value of $5.4 billion.  In addition to our important trade relationship, Nebraska and Canada are both celebrating our 150th birthdays this year, a special occasion which we will be highlighting along the way!

Our historic partnership is why I chose to lead what is quite possibly the first-ever, Governor–led Nebraska trade mission to Canada.  Why travel to Canada when Nebraska already has such a great relationship?  We cannot take our best customers for granted.  Appreciation is one of the most important aspects of any partnership, so we are taking the time to thank our largest export market for their business while solidifying our current relationships with government officials and investors.  This mission can also help open new doors and new opportunities for Nebraska ag producers and businesses looking to grow.

The timing of this trade mission is critical, as negotiations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico are set to begin on the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  NAFTA has been pivotal to growing Nebraska agriculture, our state’s number one industry.  According to the USDA Economic Research Service, exports from Nebraska to free-trade agreement markets grew 104 percent from 2005 to 2015, with growth in NAFTA trade far outpacing our trade with other partners.  As NAFTA negotiations have begun, Nebraska ag producers and I have been working together to showcase how critical this agreement is to the future of the farm families who help grow our state.

This week, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Economic Development, as well as ag producers will be joining the mission.  During our visit we will share the story of Nebraska and the high quality commodities produced by our farm and ranch families with current and potential investors.

While in Canada, we will sit down for a roundtable discussion with the United States Consul General for Toronto, as well as a reception and meal featuring Nebraska beef that will be hosted by the Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs.  Nebraska beef products are Nebraska’s number one agricultural export to Canada, totaling $138.2 million in 2015. 

My cabinet directors and I will also have the opportunity to meet directly with the Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.  This meeting will provide us an opportunity to share our thanks for the market access Nebraska products enjoy in Canada as well as a conversation about future growth opportunities.

Additionally, we plan to meet with the Canadian Pork Council and the Canadian Cattlemen Association at the U.S. Embassy.  Pork is Nebraska’s third highest agricultural export to Canada, providing $61.3 million of exports.  We look forward to sharing Nebraska’s beef and pork story with these two organizations. 

During the trade mission, participants will also receive a number of briefings on trade issues.  The Nebraska Department of Agriculture is hosting a workshop on the Safe Foods for Canadians Act.  This workshop, which is also open to Canadian businesses, will allow for an open discussion about how the Act will change the way we export food products to Canada.  During visits with the U.S. Consulate in Toronto and the US Embassy in Ottawa, the delegation will learn more about Canada’s economic and social structures and how those affect the Nebraska manufacturing and agricultural sectors.

Trade missions like these have allowed Nebraska to build on relationships that have been helping grow our state for 150 years.  Nebraska has achieved great growth through trade over the years because of an ongoing commitment by our agriculture and business communities to raising Nebraska’s international profile.  As work begins on modernizing NAFTA, it is more important than ever that we demonstrate our appreciation for our state’s largest customer, and this trade mission will help do just that.  If you have any questions about the trade mission or any other matter, I hope you will contact my office by emailing or calling 402-471-2244.

June Results Confirm Strong First Half for U.S. Red Meat Exports

U.S. pork and beef exports continued to trend above year-ago levels in June, capping a very strong first half of the year. According to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), exports also achieved higher values on a per-head-slaughtered basis and accounted for a steady-to-higher percentage of total production.

June beef exports were the largest of 2017, reaching 109,554 metric tons (mt) – up 11 percent year-over-year and the largest June total since 2011. Export value increased 10 percent to $602.5 million. For January through June, beef exports were up 12 percent in volume (606,876 mt) and 15 percent in value ($3.35 billion) compared to the first half of last year.

Exports accounted for nearly 13 percent of total U.S. beef production in June and 10 percent for muscle cuts only – each about even with a year ago. The ratios were the same for January through June, which was also steady with the first half of last year. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $264.51 in June, up 6 percent from a year ago. Through June, per-head export value was up 8 percent to $269.21.

Pork exports totaled 200,229 mt in June, up 6 percent year-over-year and the largest June volume on record, valued at $527.1 million, up 4 percent. This pushed the first-half total to 1.25 million mt valued at $3.21 billion – up 13 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

Exports accounted for 27 percent of total pork production (up more than one percentage point from a year ago) in June and 22 percent for muscle cuts only (steady with last year). For the first half, with production at a record pace, both ratios increased significantly from a year ago. The percentage of total production jumped from 25.3 percent to 27.8 percent, and for muscle cuts the increase was from 21.4 percent to 23 percent. Export value per head slaughtered in June was up 1 percent to $53.41 and the first-half average increased 12 percent to $54.09.

“In this time of large red meat production, the upward trend in per-head export value and in the percentage of production exported is especially critical to the industry,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “These metrics confirm that we’re not simply exporting more red meat because more is available – those exports are also generating excellent returns. It was also gratifying to see that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed in June due to an expansion of exports, knowing that the red meat industry made another solid contribution toward that effort.”

Chilled beef to Asia drives first-half growth, but exports increased to most destinations
Beef exports to leading market Japan continued to gain momentum in June, with volume up 7 percent to 27,521 mt and value up 13 percent to $174.4 million (the highest since 2000). First-half exports to Japan exceeded last year’s pace by 23 percent in volume (150,812 mt) and 28 percent in value ($905.8 million). This included a 40 percent increase in chilled beef exports to 70,807 mt, valued at $511 million (up 38 percent), as the U.S. captured more than 50 percent of the chilled beef market. While demand for U.S. beef is very strong in Japan’s retail and foodservice sectors, frozen exports to Japan face a higher tariff rate through March 2018. See more details on this issue online.

June exports to South Korea were the largest since January at 14,701 mt, up 14 percent from a year ago, valued at $92.4 million (up 20 percent and the highest of 2017). First-half exports to Korea were up 13 percent in volume (83,357 mt) and 21 percent in value ($527.7 million). The U.S. also captured more than 50 percent of Korea’s chilled beef market as chilled exports totaled 18,816 mt (up 83 percent year-over-year) valued at $166 million (up 86 percent).

Other first-half highlights for U.S. beef exports included:
-    Exports to Taiwan totaled 20,376 mt (up 19 percent from a year ago) valued at $179 million (up 26 percent). This included chilled beef exports of 8,178 mt (up 19 percent) valued at $93.5 million (up 22 percent) as the U.S. captured more than 70 percent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market.
-    After a slow start to the year, exports to Hong Kong rebounded to post double-digit first-half gains in both volume (56,846, up 11 percent) and value ($357.4 million, up 17 percent).
-    Exports to Mexico increased 3 percent in volume (114,923 mt) while slipping 3 percent in value ($459.7 million). But muscle cut exports to Mexico – mainly shoulder clods, rounds and other end cuts – fared better, increasing 9 percent in volume (61,782 mt) and 2 percent in value ($353.8 million).
-    Led by a doubling of exports to Vietnam and Indonesia and strong demand in the Philippines, exports to the ASEAN region increased 85 percent in volume (20,532) and 61 percent in value to $99 million.
-    Fueled by strong growth in Chile, Guatemala and Colombia, exports to Central and South America increased 11 percent in volume (19,137 mt) and 5 percent in value ($83.8 million). Exports to Brazil, which began in late April, totaled 412 mt of muscle cuts and 651 mt of variety meat at a combined value of $2.6 million.
-    After reopening in 2016, South Africa quickly emerged as the fourth-largest destination for U.S. beef variety meat, with first-half exports (mainly livers) reaching 7,849 mt – an increase of nearly 500 percent from a year ago – valued at $6 million.

First-half pork export growth led by Mexico, Korea, South America
Pork exports to leading volume market Mexico remained on a record pace in June, increasing 19 percent year-over-year in both volume (64,712 mt) and value ($124.9 million). This pushed the first-half total to 398,565 mt (up 23 percent) valued at $731.6 million (up 29 percent). A major factor behind this increase is that Mexican consumers are eating significantly more pork, both imported and domestic. Over the past 10 years, Mexico’s annual per-capita pork consumption has increased by about one third, and is expected to reach 18 kilograms this year (carcass weight equivalent), based on USDA estimates. Over the same period, Mexico’s pork production has increased by 30 percent.

June exports to leading value destination Japan were below year ago levels, dipping by 8 percent in volume (30,401 mt) and 10 percent in value ($124.3 million). But first-half totals remained higher than a year ago at 200,175 mt (up 4 percent) valued at $810.6 million (up 8 percent). Chilled pork exports to Japan declined 2 percent to 107,032 mt, but value increased 5 percent to $501 million. The U.S. holds 55 percent of the chilled pork market in Japan and continues to face growing competition from Canadian pork.

Other first-half highlights for U.S. pork exports included:
-    Capitalizing on rapid growth in home meal replacement items and other foods that emphasize convenience, as well as duty-free status for most cuts under the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, pork exports to South Korea climbed 31 percent from a year ago to 94,545 mt, valued at $258.5 million (up 38 percent). With a strong second half, exports to Korea could exceed the record set in 2011, when Korea was facing a domestic pork shortage due to foot-and-mouth disease. This year Korea’s imports have been driven by strong consumer demand, as Korea’s domestic pork production is slightly ahead of last year’s pace.
-    While exports to China/Hong Kong fell below last year’s pace in volume (271,297 mt), value still increased 3 percent ($558.4 million). This reflected the strong price commanded for pork variety meat, as first-half variety meat exports to the region climbed 19 percent in volume (172,269 mt) and 28 percent in value ($367.2 million).
-    Led by exceptional growth in Colombia and Chile, pork exports to Central and South America were up 51 percent in volume (81,930 mt) and 56 percent in value ($200.3 million). Exports also doubled to Peru and solid increases were achieved in Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
-    Strong growth in the Dominican Republic pushed pork exports to the Caribbean up 36 percent in volume (26,984 mt) and 35 percent in value ($63.7 million). Exports also increased to the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti and Barbados.
-    Larger shipments to the Philippines and Singapore helped drive exports to the ASEAN region up 20 percent in volume (23,207 mt) and 28 percent in value ($59 million).
-    Led by the above-mentioned success in China/Hong Kong, pork variety meat exports achieved exceptional growth in the first half, increasing 19 percent year-over-year in volume (286,787 mt) and 32 percent in value ($580.3 million). Additional markets contributing to this growth included Mexico, Canada, Chile, Colombia and the Philippines. Variety meat export value averaged $9.78 per head slaughtered in the first half, up $2.10 from a year ago.

Lamb exports continue to show improvement
U.S. lamb exports exceeded year-ago levels for the second straight month in June, reaching 642 mt (up 40 percent) valued at $1.75 million (up 58 percent). First-half lamb exports were still down 13 percent from a year ago in volume (3,755 mt) but increased 10 percent in value to $9.6 million. For lamb muscle cuts only, first-half exports were up 20 percent in both volume (1,079 mt) and value ($6.6 million) including year-over-year growth to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and Taiwan.

USMEF Statement on West Coast Port Labor Contract Extension

On Aug. 4, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that its members have approved a three-year extension of the labor contract covering 29 West Coast ports. The contract between ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) now runs through June 30, 2022. U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng issued the following statement:

“USMEF is pleased that ILWU and PMA pursued this early contract extension, which is a positive development for U.S. exporters and for the entire U.S. economy. The severe congestion we saw in the West Coast ports in 2014 and 2015 created major logistical problems for U.S. red meat exporters and prompted some international customers to seek alternative suppliers. The contract extension helps ensure that the United States will continue to live up to its reputation as a reliable red meat supplier. It is very good news for everyone in the supply chain – from farmers and ranchers to processors and traders – and for our customers in key Asian and Latin American markets.”

Seasonal Weakness Anticipated
Stephen R Koontz, Ag and Resource Econ., Colorado State University

Fed cattle, calf, and beef prices have been strong through the spring and early summer.  Domestic demand and product movement from featuring was excellent.  And even trade volumes were strong relative to the prior year.  However, recent weeks have seen carcass values backed off of $250/cwt levels by over 20%.  Larger marketings of fed cattle will happen and fall run of the calves will start early due to dry weather in the north plains states.  What are some likely market drivers as we move into late summer?

USDA Cattle on Feed reports have shown heavy relative-to-prior-year placements since March.  Placements over this four month span have been 11-16% above the prior year.  Heavier marketings were observed in June and these will continue well through October.  The seasonal increase in slaughter weights is underway albeit starting, and luckily, 20-30 pounds behind last year.  Current carcass weights are 12-13 pounds, or about 1.5%, behind last year.  Calculations of the inventory of cattle on feed >90 days and >120 days show the volume coming and what the market will have to address this late summer and early fall.  Both of these calculated inventories are well below last year communicating that marketings have been timely to aggressive through summer.  This will continue to hold some strength in fed cattle prices.  However, the inventory of animals on feed >120 days dropped sharply while the inventory >90 increased sharply.  Showlists are clean but very big numbers are coming.  Marketings through August and September will determine market price dynamics from October into next year.  With strong marketings then prices will just soften through the fall.  While if there is any slowdown in marketings for the next two months and if showlists become abundant then prices will move down sharply.  There is considerable downside risk for cattle and beef markets and the cattle side especially.

However, the futures are price appropriately - October live cattle is at a discount to August - to show market participants that this is coming.  And prices in general have been stronger than originally forecast.  Domestic demand is likely not as strong as in the spring with the elevated featuring that was done.  But the world economy continues to post good news and trade volumes are surprisingly strong.  There was some evidence in the spring that this was policy-trade-related just-in-case buying.  But it continues to persist and therefore has some fundamental justification.  But in the end, potential bullish news is hard to find.

What do the technical say?  The sharp up-moves seen in live and feeder cattle contracts during the spring have stopped and are unlikely to continue.  Resistance was established in early May for all summer and fall contracts.  This resistance was tested and held in early June and then again in mid-July.  Any up trend that you can identify from the spring moves is broken.  Thus, seasonal weakness into the fall is in the cards on the charts.  I advocated that producers establish some price protection in my prior two contributions to this newsletter.  Those that did so should be comfortable.  And my recommendations have not changed.

USDA and SCORE Launch Innovative Mentorship Effort to Support New Farmers and Ranchers

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with officials from SCORE, the nation’s largest volunteer network of expert business mentors, to support new and beginning farmers. Today’s agreement provides new help resources for beginning ranchers, veterans, women, socially disadvantaged Americans and others, providing new tools to help them both grow and thrive in agri-business.

“Shepherding one generation to the next is our responsibility. We want to help new farmers, veterans, and people transitioning from other industries to agriculture,” said Secretary Perdue. “They need land, equipment, and access to capital, but they also need advice and guidance. That's what SCORE is all about.”

SCORE matches business professionals and entrepreneurs with new business owners to mentor them through the process of starting-up and maintaining a new business. USDA and its partners across rural America are working with SCORE to support new farming and ranching operations, and identify and recruit mentors with a wealth of agricultural experience.

Secretary Perdue announced the new partnership in Des Moines during the Iowa Agriculture Summit. Perdue was joined by Steve Records, Vice-President of Field Operations for SCORE in signing a Memorandum of Understanding that will guide USDA and SCORE as they partner in the mentorship effort, which will soon expand to other states.
“SCORE’s mission to help people start and grow vibrant small businesses is boosted by this new partnership with USDA. America’s farmers, ranchers and agri-businesses will benefit from the business knowledge and expertise SCORE can offer,” said Records. “The partnership allows both SCORE and USDA to serve more people while providing America’s farmers added support to lead to more sound business operations, create profitable farms with sustainable growth and create new jobs. We are excited at the opportunity to extend SCORE’s impact to our farmers and the agriculture industry.”
SCORE mentors will partner with USDA and a wide array of groups already hard at work serving new and beginning farmers and ranchers, such as the Future Farmers of America, 4-H, cooperative extension and land grant universities, nonprofits, legal aid groups, banks, technical and farm advisors. These partnerships will expand and integrate outreach and technical assistance between current and retired farmers and agri-business experts and new farmers.

This joint initiative leverages SCORE’s 10,000 existing volunteer mentors and USDA’s expertise and presence in agricultural communities to bring no-cost business mentoring to rural and agricultural entrepreneurs. This initiative will also be another tool to empower the work of many community-based organizations, cooperative extension and land grant universities, working with beginning farmers in their communities. SCORE mentorship will also be available to current farmers and ranchers. Anyone interested in being a mentor can get more information and sign up on the USDA New Farmers’ website at

CWT Assists with 352,740 Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 3 requests for export assistance from member cooperatives that have contracts to sell 352,740 pounds (160 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from September through November 2017.

So far, this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 45.388 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 3.013 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 18 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 486.712 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Totals adjusted for cancellations received.

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.

The Andersons Reports Lower Sales, Net Income

The Andersons reported a second quarter 2017 net loss attributable $26.7 million, or $0.94 per diluted share, on revenues of $1 billion. During the second quarter of 2017, the company recorded a non-cash and nondeductible goodwill impairment charge of $42 million or $1.48 per share related to the Plant Nutrient segment. Adjusted net income attributable to the Company for the period of $15.3 million, or $0.54 per diluted share, was a six percent improvement over the net income of $14.4 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, on revenues of $1.1 billion recorded in the same period of 2016.

"For the third successive quarter, our Grain Group recorded significantly improved year-over-year results. The second quarter improved by approximately $20 million, primarily because the group continued to earn better space income," said CEO Pat Bowe. "These results have transpired even as low grain prices have discouraged growers from selling old crop corn, and the market is encouraging the group to hold grain to earn storage income farther into the season. The Grain Group's affiliates also improved their performance year-over-year."

Bowe adds that ethanol margins were lower year-over-year for the quarter as supply outpaced demand, and the group is still dealing with both vomitoxin-related discounts and otherwise low distilled dry grain with solubles (DDGS) values relative to corn. The Rail Group's base leasing income and utilization improved sequentially, perhaps signaling a modest market upturn.

Syngenta licenses Enlist™ events

Syngenta announced today that it has entered into non-exclusive licensing agreements with Dow AgroSciences LLC and M.S. Technologies, L.L.C. for the Enlist E3 Event in soybeans in the United States, Canada and Latin America, and the Conkesta Enlist E3 stack in soybeans in Latin America, with options for global rights for both.  Syngenta has also entered into a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Dow AgroSciences for global rights for the Enlist event in corn. Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

“We will now have the opportunity to incorporate these traits into our genetics to provide growers additional seed and trait options with greater genetic diversity,” said Jeff Rowe, Syngenta president of Global Seeds and North America, “This is another step in delivering on our commitment to enhance our seed offering and ensure continued choice for growers.” 

“The Enlist System of novel traits and advanced herbicides along with Conkesta, represents the most complete and effective line of weed and insect control. We are pleased to license these innovative technologies, aligning to our strategy of ensuring broad availability to farmers across the Americas who need this technology to continue advancing their productivity,” said Joe Vertin, global business leader, Enlist Weed Control System, Dow AgroSciences.

"We at MS Technologies are extremely pleased that Syngenta has chosen to license Enlist E3 soybeans and Conkesta E3 soybeans," says Joe Merschman, president of MS Technologies. "Having Syngenta on board will allow us to work jointly to deliver high-yielding elite soybean genetics and exceptional weed control to even more soybean growers."

Monsanto and Valent U.S.A. LLC Announce Expanded Partnership in Roundup Ready PLUS® Crop Management Solutions

Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) and Valent U.S.A. LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Chemical Company, Limited, announced today their expanded partnership in the 2018 Roundup Ready PLUS® Crop Management Solutions platform.

Several key changes provide soybean, corn and cotton growers with the most effective solutions to be more productive. Valent will offer Valor® and Fierce® brands as the exclusive preemergence PPO residual herbicides in the program. In addition, new products will be added to the program, including solutions for control of tough weeds, such as new Mauler™ Herbicide and a line extension of the longest lasting residual, Fierce, with Fierce MTZ Co-Pack. Valor SX Herbicide will again be part of the program for 2018. Rowel® Herbicide and Rowel FX Herbicide will be phased out to streamline product offerings.  Valent's line of postemergence herbicides, including Cobra® and Select Max® Herbicide with Inside Technology™, will remain in the program.

In addition, growers will have access to the latest insecticide solutions from Valent in the 2018 program. Asana® XL Insecticide, an industry leader for broad spectrum foliar insect control and Zeal® SC, a proven residual miticide, will both be offered in the 2018 program. Valent and Monsanto are pleased to offer a broader range of insecticide solutions that will help growers maximize yields and protect their acres throughout the growing season.

"We're very excited about our partnership with Valent," said Scott Burchette, Monsanto North America Crop Protection Systems Lead. "The goal of Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions is all about partnering with industry leading suppliers to deliver simple and effective options to combat herbicide-resistant weeds. Together with Valent, we are creating even more value through expanding product offerings while creating a better experience for retailers and growers alike."

"Valent looks forward to expanding our collaboration with Monsanto and Roundup Ready PLUS for the 2018 growing season and beyond," said Trey Soud, director of row crops for Valent U.S.A. LLC. "Growers trust the Fierce and Valor brands to protect their fields against a broad spectrum of weeds, and with the addition of Zeal SC and Asana XL, we are able to uphold our commitment to creating long-term value for growers through integrated agrosolutions."

The full portfolio of Valent soybean, corn or cotton crop protection products that will be endorsed in the 2018 Roundup Ready PLUS platform include Valor EZ, Valor XLT, Valor SX, Fierce, Fierce XLT, Fierce MTZ Co-Pack, Mauler, Chateau® Herbicide, Cobra, Select Max, Asana XL and Zeal SC.

Friday August 4 Ag News

21st Annual Capital City Ribfest - August 17-19, 2017
Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, NE

2017 Ribfest Live Auction - Saturday, August 19, 2017

Make plans to join us at the 21st Annual Capital City Ribfest on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at the Festival Space Parking Lot north of Pinnacle Bank Arena. This major pork promotion is a great opportunity for you to see the investment of pork checkoff dollars at its best. Back by popular demand is the Live Auction during our VIP Event.

Social Hour: 4:00 p.m.
Dinner: 5:00 p.m.
Live Auction: 5:30 p.m.
Live Music: 7:00 p.m.

Tickets and gate passes will be mailed. If you have any questions, please contact Sandra at (531) 500-3505 or RSVP's by August 11, 2017.

 Smith Releases Media Schedule for August 7-9

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released his media schedule today for August 7-9.  The events listed below are for planning purposes only and are not open to the public unless otherwise noted.


3:00 p.m. MT
Arthur County Mobile Office (OPEN TO THE PUBLIC)
A mobile office allows constituents to meet directly with Congressman Smith about federal issues and take advantage of the services available through his office.
Arthur County Library
205 Fir Street, Arthur


8:30 a.m. CT
Coffee with the Medicine Creek Chamber of Commerce
Curtis Senior Center
119 Center Avenue, Curtis

10:30 a.m. CT
Coffee at the Gosper County Senior Center (OPEN TO THE PUBLIC)

Gosper County Senior Center
406 Ripley Street, Elwood

12:00 p.m. CT
Lunch with the Holdrege Chamber of Commerce
Taste of Texas BBQ
302 East Avenue, Holdrege


7:30 a.m. CT
Speak at Nebraska Chamber Legislative Summit
Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum
28210 W. Park Highway, Ashland

Falls City
2:30 p.m. CT
Coffee with Falls City Chamber of Commerce (OPEN TO THE PUBLIC)
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
117 E. 17th Street, Falls City

The Temperature to Thaw Colostrum is just as Important as Colostrum Itself

Kim Clark, UNL Dairy Extension Educator

It is no secret that colostrum provides the antibodies a calf needs to build immunity.  The antibodies, specifically called immunoglobulins in colostrum, are absorbed in the calf’s small intestine in the first few hours of life.  After the first four hours of life, the absorption of immunoglobulins decreases.  Therefore, it is important that newborn calves receive colostrum within four hours of birth.

In many cases, high quality colostrum is frozen for use when calves are born.  The quality of the colostrum is measured when it is fresh, placed into a bag for freezing and then labeled with the quality of the colostrum and the date the colostrum was produced. High quality colostrum is measured using a Brix refractometer and should read 22% or greater. Anything less than 22% is lower quality and does not help the calf build up immunity.  The quality of colostrum is equally, if not more important, as providing the calf colostrum in the first few hours of life.

It is a common practice, when a calf is born to remove frozen colostrum from the freezer to thaw in hot water and then continue to perform newborn calf cares.  The water temperature to thaw the colostrum should be between 120° F and 140° F (49-60° C).  Water temperature above 140° F (60° C) is inactivating the immunoglobulins in the colostrum, thus decreasing the amount of immunoglobulins absorbed in the small intestine.  When we test the quality of colostrum, we measure the amount of total immunoglobulins.  We do not have instruments to measure the amount of active and inactive immunoglobulins. Immunoglobulins may be deactivated if the water temperature gets too hot, which is why we do not recommend a water temperature above 140° F (60° C) for thawing.

Typically, water heaters are set to produce water of 170 -180° F (77-82° C).  If we would thaw colostrum with water from a water heater and then measure the quality of the colostrum, the quality will measure the same as when it was fresh, but the amount of active immunoglobulins will be decreased. Therefore, the quality of the colostrum has decreased and calves are not receiving the antibodies they need for immunity.  If you are using water from a hot water heater, fill a 5 gallon bucket about 1/3 full with hot water and mark that line on the inside of the bucket.  Stick a thermometer in the water and begin adding cold water until the temperature is between 120° F and 140° F (49-60° C).  When the water temperature is in that range, make another mark on the inside of the bucket.  The first mark shows how much hot water to put in the bucket first, and the second mark shows how much cold water to add to ensure a safe temperature to thaw colostrum.  A good rule of thumb is if the water is too hot for you to stick your hand into, it is too hot to thaw colostrum.

As the newest calf is born and you prepare newborn calf cares, keep in mind these three reminders.
1)     Feed high quality colostrum (22% Brix or greater) within four hours of birth.
2)     The water temperature to thaw colostrum should be between 120-140° F (49-60° C).
3)     Measuring colostrum quality measures the total amount of immunoglobulins; the number of inactive immunoglobulins increases as the colostrum becomes too hot thus reducing colostrum quality fed to the calf.

Another Successful Year for Nebraska Cattlemen During the 2017 Road Trip

Nebraska Cattlemen staff traveled across the state for the 4th year in a row en route to eight towns from east to west during the annual NC road trip. Location stops for staff included Fremont, Albion, Cairo, Nelson, Oxford, Gothenburg, Anselmo and Alliance.

The NC road trip is designed as an educational opportunity for members and guests with an interest in Nebraska's cattle industry. This year, topics included beef trade to China, updates to the federal electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, a review of the 2017 legislative session in Nebraska as well as an update on property tax reform and relief. The road trip also incorporated a new segment, Affiliate 101, which focused exclusively on membership.

"It was a great opportunity to catch up on federal regulations and the latest from the state legislature. I appreciate Nebraska Cattlemen's keeping members current on upcoming issues and changes facing the cattle industry." Stated Kelly Terrell, Gothenburg, Nebraska Cattlemen YCC Participant.

"It was an honor to be a sponsor of the 2017 NC Road Trip this past July.  I was extremely impressed with the talent, knowledge and commitment of the NC Staff.  They were well-prepared and provided a concise breakdown of the issues facing our industry and organization. Thank you for letting Samson Verified be a part of your 2017 Road Trip." Said Scott Mueller, Samson Verified Beef.

NC would like to thank the following sponsors for this year's Road Trip: Samson Verified, IMI Global, Aurora Cooperative, Cappel Sales, Fontanelle Hybrids, Titan Machine, Boone County Bank, Ford Farms, Cattlemen's Nutrition Services, South Central Cattlemen, Banner Capital Bank, First Central Bank, First State Bank, First Bank and Trust, South Central State Bank, Laird Feeds, Broken Bow Animal Hospital, Evans Feeds Co, VC Howard Hay Company / Howard Transportation and Zoetis

Nebraska Cattlemen staff enjoys the opportunity each July to connect with members near and far. Attendance continues to grow each year and NC looks forward to planning for 2018.

NE Cattlemen Events being planned for State Fair

Nebraska Cattlemen's Day:  The Nebraska State Fair will host its 5th annual State Fair Cattlemen's Day in cooperation with the Nebraska Cattlemen Association and the Sandhills Cattle Association. This day celebrates the Nebraska Beef Industry. Tickets to the State Fair Cattlemen's Day barbeque are available through the State Fair Livestock Office by calling 308-384-0624 or by email at:

Beef for Troops:  The Farmer-Stockman Council of Nebraska Cattlemen will once again be honoring veterans and active duty service members at the Nebraska State Fair in the Beef Pit!  Gift certificates for beef are purchased with donated funds and randomly given to veterans and active duty service members who come by the Nebraska Cattlemen Beef Pit at the Nebraska State Fair.  If you wish to make a monetary contribution to the Beef for Troops program please contact the Nebraska Cattlemen at 402-475-2333 or Bonita Lederer 402-450-0223  Checks need to be received by Nebraska Cattlemen on or before August 15...
Nebraska Cattlemen
ATTN: Jen Critser
1010 Lincoln Mall, Ste. 101
 Lincoln, NE 68508
Memo Line on your check "Beef for Troops"

NE CattleWomen - Consumer Promotion and Education Committee:  Help is needed at Nebraska's Largest Classroom at the Nebraska State Fair on Monday, August 28, Tuesday, August 29 and Thursday, August 31... 8:30-3:00.  You can work a 4 hour shift or the full day.  Spend time visiting with fair attendees as they walk through the Nebraska State Fair Livestock Birthing Pavilion.  Volunteers are needed each day 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.  Work a shift when you are attending the fair and help share your love and knowledge of the industry.  Contact Gina Hudson at 402-469-3157 if you're interested.

Farm and Ranch Clinics This Month

Farmers and ranchers are invited to attend a FREE clinic.  The clinics are one-on-one, not group sessions, and are confidential.  The Farm Finance clinic gives you a chance to meet with an experienced Ag law attorney and Ag financial counselor.  These clinic staff specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters. 

August Clinic Dates and Locations:
North Platte - Thursday, August 10, 2017
Fairbury - Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Lexington - Thursday, August 17, 2017
Norfolk - Thursday, August 24, 2017
Valentine - Friday, September 1, 2017

To register for a FREE clinic or to receive more information about our services, call Michelle and the Rural Response Hotline: 1-800-464-0258.


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

    “The State Fair is a wonderful showcase of Iowa agriculture and we are excited to have fairgoers stop by and have some fun and learn a bit about how important agriculture is in our state. I hope Iowans will stop by our booth to have some fun, but also take the opportunity to engage in a conversation about our exciting and diverse agriculture industry,” Northey said.

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

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

    The Iowa Century Farm and Heritage Farm Awards will be presented on Thursday, Aug. 17 starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Livestock Pavilion.  Everyone is invited to attend and help recognize the families receiving the awards.  Century Farm awards recognize farms that have been in the same family for 100 years and Heritage Farms awards recognize farms that have been owned by the same family for 150 years.

    There are 354 Century Farm winners and 119 Heritage Farm winners that will be recognized this year.  The awards are sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau.  The full list of families being recognized is available at under “Hot Topics.” A full list of all past Century Farm recipients is available at

    On Wednesday, Aug. 16 starting at 10:00 a.m. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Northey and Iowa DNR Director Chuck Gipp will recognize 81 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award winners.  The awards will be presented at the Penningroth Center inside the Cattle Barn and recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality.

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

    At 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 15 the Department will be recognizing the winners of the 2017-2018 From the Farm to You Calendar drawing contest in the Agriculture Building.  Kids from across the state submitted pictures for the calendar.  Copies of the calendar are available to fairgoers at the Department’s booths in the Ag Building and the Varied Industries Building.

    Northey will also participate in the 2017 Governor's Charity Steer Show on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 4:00 p.m., in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair.  Northey will be showing a steer owned by Jayden Jorgensen from Charles City.  Immediately following the competition the steers will be sold at auction with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa.

    “More than 1 million visitors attend the fair each year and it is a great opportunity to learn more about what we do on our farms and why.   Seeing the animals in the livestock barns, visiting the animal learning center, seeing the 4-H and FFA students compete or just enjoying some of the amazing food, everyone at the fair will be able to experience the very best of Iowa agriculture,” Northey said.

    The Iowa State Fair runs from Aug. 10 to 20 at the state fairgrounds in Des Moines.

Governor’s Charity Steer Show celebrates 35th year at Iowa State Fair

The 2017 Iowa Governor's Charity Steer Show will mark the 35th consecutive year the beef industry has raised funds to help families who utilize the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa.

This year, the show ring competition takes place Saturday, Aug. 12, at 4:00 p.m., in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair. Celebrities will lead 25 steers around the ring, vying for the championship designation, showmanship honors, and the People’s Choice award. Immediately following the competition, the steers will be sold at auction with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa. Both the show ring event and the auction are open to the general public.

Since the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association began the Governor’s Charity Steer Show in 1983, the effort has raised more than $2.97 million for the Des Moines, Iowa City and Sioux City Ronald McDonald House Charities. The houses provide a "home away from home" for families of seriously ill children being treated in area hospitals and have served nearly 45,000 families. 

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

Youth participating in the 2017 Governor’s Charity Steer Show will also learn additional information about the beef industry on Thursday, and volunteer some time with the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Des Moines on Friday, Aug.11.

Participants in this 35th anniversary event include Governor Kim Reynolds, who will host the show. Mark Core and his daughter Bailey Boyert of Pleasantville will serve as the official steer show judges for this year’s event and Cassie Johnson of Cushing has been selected to serve as the event’s Showmanship Judge.

Emcees for the event include Bob Quinn of WHO Radio and Michelle Rook of WNAX Radio. The auctioneers are Phil Schooley of Bloomfield, Will Epperly of Dunlap, Russele Sleep of Bedford, and Jared Miller of Leon. Assisting the auctioneers catch bids in the ring are Tom Rooney of The Midwest Marketer; Mike Sorensen, Ross Butler, and Austin Brandt of Livestock Plus; and Jason Lekin from Tama Livestock Auction.

IFBF offers 'Winning the Game' workshop to aid in post-harvest marketing

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is partnering with Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach to bring the “Winning the Game” series to 10 locations across the state. The goal of these workshops is to assist farmers in creating post-harvest marketing plans to put into practice in a no-risk environment.

“Crop marketing plans and tools take on increased importance in these times of continued tight crop margins. This workshop will help farmers focus on moving grain from storage to the market and using market indicators to make a decision,” said IFBF Commodity Services Manager Ed Kordick.

This year’s featured lesson, “Launch and Land Your Post-Harvest Marketing Plan,” will guide participants through six different marketing styles that explore seasonal patterns. A realistic market simulation will help farmers experiment with various exit strategies and further their understanding of the purpose of a “carry” and why it is important in crop marketing.

“This workshop offers practical education based on historical market factors.  The simulation lets farmers practice the techniques during the workshop,” said Kordick. Past participants not only noted the information presented as being valuable and easy to understand, but most planned to implement the concepts learned at the workshop.

Thanks to local sponsorships, the seminars are free of charge; however, space is limited. Registrations will be taken at the door, but pre-registration is appreciated for participant materials.

Dates and locations.....
8/21 9:00AM   Western Iowa Tech Community College - 200 Victory Drive, Cherokee Ia. 712-225-6196
8/21 6:00PM   Iowa Lakes Community College - 3200 College Drive, Emmetsburg Ia. 712-852-2865
8/23 6:30PM   Franklin Co. Farm Bureau - 1323 Olive Ave., Hampton Ia. 641-456-4767
8/24 9:00AM   The Watering Hole (formerly Center Inn) - 209 Mail Street, Readlyn Ia. 319-352-3667
8/25 1:00PM   Peosta Community Center - 7896 Burds Road, Peosta Ia. 563-556-5275
8/28 1:00PM   Swan Lake Education Center - 22676 Swan Lake Trail, Carroll Ia. 712-792-2364
8/29 6:30PM   Story County Extension - 220 H. Ave, Nevada Ia. 515-382-6551
8/30 6:00PM   Clarinda Lied Center - 1140 E Main Street, Clarinda Ia. 712-542-5171 
8/31 6:30PM   Lynn Dunn Memorial Building, Linn County Fair Grounds - 201 Central City Road, Central City Ia. 319 393-3276
9/7 6:30PM   New London Community Hall - 112 West Main Street, New London Ia. 319 385-3174 or  319 752-2729


National Pork Producers Council newsletter

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) this week announced it expects a three-year contract extension with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) to pass with a 67 percent approval vote from its members. This is positive news for the U.S. economy and pork industry as the agreement eliminates the possibility of any near-term disruption of West Coast port service. In 2015, a nine-month labor dispute at ports from Seattle to San Diego slowed the flow of U.S. exports. As a member of the Ag Transportation Coalition and of the Ports Coalition, NPPC continues to work for port accessibility and continuity of service.


In a letter sent today to President Trump, the Rebuild Rural Coalition, which includes 200 organizations – including NPPC – offered its support for the Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure and asked that it include representatives with specific experience and expertise in rural infrastructure. The council has been charged with studying and making recommendations on needed infrastructure projects in several sectors, including surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resources, renewable energy generation, electricity transmission and broadband. “Our nation’s rural towns, cities and counties face unique challenges, and the Coalition strongly believes the Council will benefit from a diverse perspective,” wrote the coalition, whose organizations represent rural communities, U.S. agricultural producers, rural businesses and rural families.

June Ethanol Exports Up From Year Ago

The U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday that U.S. exports of goods and services totaled $194.4 billion in June, up $2.4 billion from May. Imports totaled $238.0 billion, down $0.4 billion from May. USDA later provided more details for exports of ethanol, biodiesel and distillers grains.

USDA said that U.S. exports of ethanol totaled 92.7 million gallons in June, up 71% from a year ago. Canada took over the top spot from Brazil as the top destination, accounting for 27% of the total with Brazil second. U.S. ethanol exports were up 28% in the first half of 2017 from a year ago. 

U.S. exports of biodiesel totaled 31,833 metric tons in June, up 3% from a year ago. Canada continued to be the dominant destination for U.S. biodiesel exports in June, once again taking 92% of the total. In the first six months of 2017, U.S. biodiesel exports were down 13% from a year ago. 

U.S. exports of distillers grains totaled 889,114 metric tons in June, down 12% from a year ago. Mexico was the top export destination again in June, accounting for 20% of the total and followed by South Korea, Turkey and Canada. In the first half of 2017, exports of U.S. distillers grains were up 4% from a year ago.

Thursday August 3 Ag News


Nebraska's farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, decreased from 2016, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Farm real estate value for 2017 averaged $2,900 per acre, down $50 per acre (2 percent) from last year.

Cropland value decreased 6 percent from last year to $4,550 per acre. Dryland cropland value averaged $3,550 per acre, $250 lower than last year. Irrigated cropland value averaged $6,180 per acre, $380 below a year ago. Pastureland, at $930 per acre, was $20 higher than the previous year.

Cash rents paid to landlords in 2017 for cropland were mixed from last year. Irrigated cropland rent averaged $238 per acre, $5 below last year. Dryland cropland rent averaged $149 per acre, $1 lower than a year earlier. Pasture rented for cash averaged $25 per acre, $1 above the previous year.


Iowa’s farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $8,000 per acre in 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Land Values 2017 Summary. This is up $150 per acre or 2 percent from last year’s level.

Cropland value increased 1 percent from last year to $8,100 per acre. Pasture, at $3,100 per acre, decreased $300 per acre from a year ago.

Cropland cash rent paid to Iowa landlords in 2017 averaged $231.00 per acre according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Non-irrigated cropland rent averaged $231.00 per acre, down $4.00 from a year earlier. Irrigated cropland rent averaged $240.00 per acre. Pasture rented for cash averaged $54.00 per acre, up $2.00 from the previous year.

Agricultural Land Values Highlights

The United States farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $3,080 per acre for 2017, up $70 per acre (2.3 percent) from 2016 values. Regional changes in the average value of farm real estate ranged from a 8.7 percent increase in the Pacific region to 1.8 percent decrease in the Northern Plains region. The highest farm real estate values were in the Corn Belt region at $6,260 per acre. The Mountain region had the lowest farm real estate value at $1,130 per acre.

The United States cropland value remained unchanged at $4,090 per acre from the previous year. In the Southern Plains region, the average cropland value increased 6.0 percent from the previous year. However, in the Northern Plains region, cropland values decreased by 4.4 percent.

The United States pasture value increased by $20 per acre (1.5 percent) from 2016 values. The Delta region had the highest increase of 2.9 percent from 2016. The largest decrease, at 1.7 percent, was in the Corn Belt region.


Farm and Ranch Production Expenditures in Nebraska totaled $21.7 billion in 2016, down 4 percent from a year earlier, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Livestock expenses, the largest expenditure category, at $6.17 billion, decreased 9 percent from 2015. Rent, the next largest total expense category at $2.56 billion, decreased 1 percent from 2015. Feed, the third largest expense category, at $2.47 billion, decreased 7 percent from 2015.

Livestock expenses accounted for 28 percent of Nebraska's total production expenditures. Rent accounted for 12, feed 11, and farm services 9 percent.

The total expenditures per farm or ranch in Nebraska averaged $448,760 in 2016, down 4 percent from 2015. The livestock expense category was the leading expenditure, at $127,479 per operation, over 6.5 times the national average. Rent expenditures, at $52,893 per operation, were over 3.5 times the national average. The average feed expenditure, at $51,033, was nearly 2 times the national average. Farm services expenditures per operation, at $40,909, were 2 times the national average.

These results are based on data from Nebraska farmers and ranchers who participated in the Agricultural Resource Management Study conducted by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Producers were contacted in January through April to collect 2016 farm and ranch expenses.


Iowa farm production expenditures totaled $26.3 billion in 2016, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Farm Production Expenditures Annual Summary report. This was 5 percent below the 2015 total expenditures. Feed expense, which rose slightly to $5.21 billion, represented the largest single production expense in Iowa in 2016, accounting for 20 percent of the total. Livestock, Poultry, and Related purchases, which fell 26 percent to $3.78 billion, were the second largest expense, and accounted for 14 percent of total expenditures. Rent expense fell 10 percent to $3.57 billion, and accounted for 14 percent of the total. The largest percentage decreases from last year were for Livestock, Poultry and Related Expenses (down 26 percent), Trucks and Autos (down 24 percent), and Rent (down 10 percent). Fertilizer expenses (down 8 percent) and Fuel expenses (down 4 percent) also decreased from 2015.

2016 United States Total Farm Production Expenditure Highlights

Farm Production Expenditures in the United States are estimated at $346.9 billion for 2016, down from $362.8 billion in 2015. The 2016 total farm production expenditures are down 4.4 percent compared with 2015 total farm production expenditures. For the 17 line items, 5 showed an increase from previous year, while the rest showed a decrease.

The four largest expenditures at the United States level total $171.4 billion and account for 49.3 percent of total expenditures in 2016. These include feed, 16.0 percent,  farm services, 12.0 percent, livestock, poultry and related expenses, 11.5 percent, and labor, 9.8 percent.

In 2016, the United States total farm expenditure average per farm is $169,035, down 4.1 percent from $176,181 in 2015. On average, United States farm operations spent $27,092 on feed, $19,491 on livestock, poultry and related expenses, $20,319 on farm services, and $16,616 on labor. For 2015, United States farms spent an average of $28,408 on feed, $20,202 on farm services, $22,047 on livestock, poultry and related expenses, and $15,443 on labor.

Total fuel expense is $11.3 billion. Diesel, the largest sub component, is $7.4 billion, accounting for 65.5 percent. Diesel expenditures are down 7.5 percent from the previous year. Gasoline is $2.1 billion, down 8.7 percent. LP gas is $1.2 billion, down 14.1 percent. Other fuel is $640 million, down 1.5 percent.

The United States economic sales class contributing most to the 2016 United States total expenditures is the $1,000,000 - $4,999,999 class, with expenses of $113.0 billion, 32.6 percent of the United States total, down 5.2 percent from the 2015 level of $119.2 billion. The next highest is the $5,000,000 and Over class with $80.6 billion, down from $81.3 billion in 2015.

In 2016, crop farms expenditures decreased to $177.0 billion, down 1.8 percent, while livestock farms expenditures decreased to $169.9 billion, down 6.9 percent. The largest expenditures for crop farms are rent at $24.8 billion (14.0 percent of total), labor at $24.6 billon (13.9 percent), and farm services at $22.9 billion (12.9 percent). Combined crop inputs (chemicals, fertilizers, and seeds) are $52.8 billion, accounting for 29.8 percent of crop farms total expenses. The largest expenditures for livestock farms are feed at $54.1 billion (31.8 percent of total), livestock, poultry and related expenses at $38.1 billion (22.4 percent), and farm services at $18.8 billion (11.1 percent). Together, these line items account for 65.3 percent of livestock farms total expenses. The average total expenditure for a crop farm is $187,948 compared to $152,995 per livestock farm.

The Midwest region contributed the most to United States total expenditures with expenses of $108.9 billion (31.4 percent), down from $113.1 billion in 2015. Other regions, ranked by total expenditures, are the Plains at $89.0 billion (25.7 percent), West at $71.4 billion (20.6 percent), Atlantic at $42.1 billion (12.1 percent), and South at $35.5 billion (10.2 percent). The Plains decreased $4.52 billion from 2015, which is the largest regional decrease.

Combined total expenditures for the 15 estimate states is $228.0 billion in 2016 (65.7 percent of the United States total expenditures) and $238.0 billion in 2015 (65.6 percent). California contributed most to the 2016 United States total expenditures, with expenses of $34.2 billion, (9.9 percent). California expenditures are down 3.8 percent from the 2015 estimate of $35.5 billion. Iowa, the next leading state, has $26.3 billion in expenses, (7.6 percent). Other states with more than $20 billion in total expenditures are Texas with $23.9 billion and Nebraska with $21.7 billion.

Planned Grazing Field Day to be held August 16th

     A Planned Grazing Field Day will be held Wednesday August 16, 2017 starting at 5:00 p.m. south of Battle Creek, NE.   Joyce Reicks, Soil Conservation Technician with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) says, “The grazing field day will provide an opportunity for producers and others to visually learn grazing principles, to help encourage, plan, and implement effective grazing management systems.”  She added, “Those attending the field day will be able to see practices implemented and hear successes and challenges from fellow, area producers.”

     Grazing plans, proper forage utilization and drought contingency plans will be covered by Nadine Bishop, NE State Range Specialist.  Jesse Haen, NRCS Resource Conservationist and Curt Becker, LENRD Projects Manager will cover cost-share available for planned grazing systems and there enhancements.   Randy Guill, Farm Service Agency (FSA) CED in Madison County, will cover the FSA livestock programs available and Wayne Ohnesorg, UNL Extension Entomologist, will help answer pasture pest questions.

     The first stop at 5:00 p.m., will be a tour and visit at the Charles & Elizabeth Orton farm, located from Battle Creek, approximately 2.5 miles south on Highway 121, to 836 1/2 Rd, then ¼ mile west on north side of road.

     The second stop will be a visit to the Brad Prauner farm, from the Orton farm, back to Highway 121, 1.5 miles north to 838th Rd, 2 miles east to 548th Ave, then 1 mile south on west side of road (or from Battle Creek on Hwy 121, south to 838th Rd., east 2 miles to 548th Ave., then 1 mile south on west side of road).

     The field day is free, water and cookies will be provided by the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD).  For more information, please contact the Madison County NRCS office @ 402-371-5350, Ext 3.  Participants should plan on driving their own vehicles to the sites, or plan your own carpooling.

 What You Should be Thinking About When Beginning to Chop Corn Silage

Paul Kononoff, Dairy Extension Specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Back to school, state fair and corn silage harvest. This is a busy time of year and there are many things consuming our thoughts; however, there are a few key items that we should be thinking about to make sure the corn silage we harvest today will yield high quality feed for the year to come.

Maturity. There is probably no bigger question than when to start chopping and, assuming weather cooperates, the optimal time is dependent on plant maturity. Generally speaking the energy content of a corn plant increases up to about 2/3 milkline, and beyond this point, we see decreased stover (fiber) digestibility and kernels (starch) that are resistant to digestion. Research from University of Wisconsin has shown that the digestibility of fiber is highest when whole plant dry matter ranges from 35 – 40 % DM, which is the optimal range to have corn silage

Kernel processing. Kernel processing usually increases starch digestibility, and this effect is likely greatest in mature corn plants. Recommendations from University of Wisconsin suggest that producers should target 0.75 inch theoretical length of cut (TLC) with an initial processor roll clearance of 0.12 inches; however, producers should inspect chopped material and make sure that kernel breakage is adequate and potentially make necessary adjustments. In general the kernel should be well damaged not simply “scuffed” or “nicked.”  If there is plugging at the processor rolls the TLC should be reduced.

Take measures now to control losses later.  Dr. Keith Bolson, Professor Emeritus of Kansas State University, notes that proper packing and sealing has the potential to decrease dry matter losses by 5 – 10 %. He recommends that the proper silage density is 15 – 16 lbs per ft3 (44 – 48 lbs fresh weight bulk density ft3).

Safety. When the frenzy of chopping begins is critically important that saftey remains a priority. Dr. Bolsen outlines several precaustions that must be taken when harvesting corn silage.
-    Use tractors with roll-over protection structures (ROPS) and seatbelts.
-    Use low-clearance, wide front end tractors equipped with well-lugged tires with added front and back weights.
-    Never fill higher than the sidewall.
-    Use lights if filling the silage structures at night.
-    Form a  progressive  wedge  of  forage when filling bunkers or piles this provides a slope for packing, and a 1 to 3 slope, or shallower.
-    Backing up a slope can prevent rollbacks on steep slopes.
-    If using dump trucks make sure they are on a stable surface s and remember they are less stable when the bed is raised.

Iowa State University Field Day to Highlight Sustainable, Organic Research and Practices Aug. 22

Iowa State University’s Organic Agriculture Program will sponsor a field day devoted to organic research and production practices Aug. 22 at the Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm near Greenfield.

The field day will start at 4 p.m. with a light supper at 5:30 p.m. The farm is located at 2557 Norfolk Avenue, Greenfield, which is two miles south of Greenfield on Highway 25, one mile east and one half mile north.

The farm is owned by the Wallace Foundation for Rural Research and Development and operated by the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The field day is supported by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

The Organic Agriculture Program has studied best management practices for maintaining high yields while enhancing soil and water quality for transitioning and certified organic farmers. Through timely weed management, longer crop rotations and appropriate manure-based fertilization the program has demonstrated comparable organic corn, soybean, oat, alfalfa, vegetable and fruit yields to conventional crops. More information about the program is available at:

The field day will begin with a farm tour of the Long-Term Agroecological Research experiment, a comparison of organic and conventional crops, and the Organic Vegetable Research (OVR) experiment, which compares performance of organic production with cover crops versus tilled and mulched systems. The OVR partnered with Bill Tracy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a trial of organic sweet corn varieties, which are bred for insect and disease tolerance, along with excellent taste.

Cynthia Cambardella, a USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist and Iowa State associate professor, will present soil and water quality data. She has documented a 50 percent reduction in nitrate loading from organic vs. conventional systems at her Ames research site.

Mike Witt of ISU Extension and Outreach will discuss issues facing producers this summer, including insects and disease, herbicide drift and weather problems, which affected planting and potential yields from drought stress.

Denise O’Brien of Rolling Acres Farm in Atlantic will speak after dinner highlighting organic practices on her certified organic integrated vegetable/livestock farm. Since 1976, O’Brien and Larry Harris have been committed to organic production and cultivating local food. She will share tips for successful organic production and discuss this year’s growing and marketing opportunities and challenges.


The rendering industry is ready to supply increased volumes of feedstocks for biodiesel production if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) increases its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes in 2018 and 2019, said Doug Smith of Baker Commodities in testimony at the agency’s public hearing August 1 in Washington, D.C.

Higher RFS volumes beyond EPA’s proposal will further increase U.S. biodiesel production, Smith explained.  “A stronger RFS will grow jobs, clean our air by reducing emissions, and promote domestic energy production.”

The biodiesel industry currently uses 32 percent of the billions of gallons of rendered animal fats and used cooking oil produced each year in the U.S.  Rendering is a green industry that sustainably upcycles used cooking oil, animal fats, yellow grease, and brown grease into feedstocks for biodiesel and renewable diesel.

Smith testified on behalf of the National Renderers Association, the California Biodiesel Alliance, and Baker Commodities of Vernon, California.

For consumers, substitution of biodiesel and biodiesel blends is the easiest way to achieve immediate reductions in diesel emissions.  In addition, biodiesel consumers and blend users save money, making biodiesel a cost-effective, renewable alternative fuel,” Smith explained.

EPA has greatly underestimated the potential of the biodiesel industry to increase production given current and projected capacity, said Smith. He urged EPA to set the RFS for advanced biofuels in 2018 at a minimum of 5.25 billion gallons, an increase from the 4.24 billion gallons proposed by the agency.  The 2019 RFS for biomass-based diesel should be at least 2.75 billion gallons, Smith recommended, above the 2.1 billion gallons advocated by EPA.

About 3,200 new jobs are created for every 100 million additional gallons of biodiesel production.  The rendering industry also provides thousands of full-time jobs across the country in rural and urban communities.

Increases in RFS volumes will encourage the confidence to invest which creates jobs here at home and contributes to overall U.S. economic growth.   Higher RFS volumes will also continue to stimulate important new innovation in feedstock development.  If higher RFS volumes are not adopted by the EPA, the relatively young biodiesel industry may stagnate, harming consumers, the environment, and jobs.

 Senator to Introduce Bill Increasing Funds for Farmer Loan Programs

Sen. John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, is planning to re-introduce a bill to increase maximum loan amounts to grant farmers the flexibility they need to operate in times of low commodity prices.

The Capital for Farmers and Ranchers Act would increase the maximum loan amount that an individual farmer, producer or rancher is able to receive under the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Direct and Guaranteed Loan Programs for Farm Operating Loans and Farm Ownership Loans.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) supports this legislation, which would allow growers to continue operating their farms, even during tough years when revenue is low. In June, ASA wrote to Congressional appropriators, asking for additional funding for FSA loan programs, as debt to asset ratios, working capital and cash flow are projected to weaken further this year and “FSA loans serve as an important lifeline for many distressed producers.”

“Inadequately funding FSA would be a disservice to our hardworking farmers and ranchers, who are dedicated to feeding our nation and the world,” the letter states.

USDA Dairy Products June 2017 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.03 billion pounds, 3.2 percent above June 2016 but 2.5 percent below May 2017.  Italian type cheese production totaled 449 million pounds, 3.1 percent above June 2016 but 0.8 percent below May 2017.  American type cheese production totaled 404 million pounds, 3.0 percent above June 2016 but 5.3 percent below May 2017.  Butter production was 141 million pounds, 4.8 percent below June 2016 and 14.0 percent below May 2017.

Dry milk powders (comparisons with June 2016)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 164 million pounds, up 11.6 percent.
Skim milk powders - 40.0 million pounds, down 28.4 percent.

Whey products (comparisons with June 2016)
Dry whey, total - 87.6 million pounds, up 9.8 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 96.7 million pounds, up 3.2 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 39.9 million pounds, up 5.0 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons with June 2016)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 75.5 million gallons, down 2.0 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 45.5 million gallons, up 5.8 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 3.61 million gallons, down 1.8 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 6.04 million gallons, down 5.8 percent.

 Land O’Lakes, Inc. reports results for second quarter 2017

Land O’Lakes, Inc. today reported quarterly net sales of $3.7 billion and net earnings of $113 million in the second quarter ending June 30, 2017 compared to net sales of $3.5 billion and net earnings of $134 million for same period in the prior year. Year-to-date net sales totaled $7.3 billion with net earnings of $223 million compared to net sales of $7.1 billion and net earnings of $238 million for same period in the prior year. Year-to-date results include an unrealized hedging loss of $4 million as compared to an unrealized hedging gain of $26 million for the same period in 2016.

“As a company focused on growth, I am pleased with the first half of the year. We are up in volume in most of our key categories,” stated Chris Policinski, Land O’Lakes, Inc. president and CEO. “We continue to be in a position to deliver strong full-year performance.”

Earnings from Operations, excluding the impact of unrealized hedging gains and losses, were $262 million for the six months ended June 30, 2017, up 8% from 2016 levels. Results were driven by strong performance in the Crop Inputs and Animal Nutrition segments, partly offset by lower performance in Dairy Foods and investments in Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN. Earnings in Crop Inputs were driven by higher volumes in both seed and crop protection products. The Animal Nutrition segment delivered higher margins and improved product mix, which more than offset a decline in livestock volumes. Dairy Foods benefited from higher margins on retail branded products, but overall margins were lower due to declines in global milk powder markets which impacted pricing.

The company continued its investment in facilities and growth in strategic markets. Purina Animal Nutrition opened a new facility in Caledonia, New York, to replace the plant destroyed by fire in November 2014. During the first quarter, Land O’Lakes announced the acquisition of Vermont Creamery announced to accelerate growth in its important Dairy Foods business with trusted brands and innovative products. The company also its increasing commitment to achieve meaningful goals in and to shape the future of environmental sustainability in an announcement with Walmart.

Organic Family Farmers Deserve Strong Standards and Enforcement

The American family farmers and ranchers who grow and raise organic foods and goods for our nation adhere to strict standards – set by the National Organic Program under guidance of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) – that protect the integrity of the industry. So when major producers and importers of organic products fail to comply with these standards, it puts organic family farmers and ranchers at a major disadvantage.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson highlighted the importance of strong U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) enforcement of the NOSB standards in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today.

“While the U.S. farm economy continues to cause stress in rural America, one bright spot remains: organic agriculture,” said Johnson. “Critical to the success of organic family farming is the integrity of the organic seal. Recently, the integrity of the organic label has been publicly challenged.”

Johnson pointed to two major examples of behavior that has challenged the integrity of the organic label. The first addressed longstanding concerns that the nation’s largest organic milk producer, Aurora Organic Dairy, has not complied with the Organic Access to Pasture rule.

“This rule attempted to create consistency across the standards applied to organic dairy operations both out of fairness to the organic producers and transparency to consumers,” said Johnson. “Unfortunately, a rule or regulation is only as good as its enforcement.  In this instance, enforcement of the regulations for the largest organic milk producer failed. This is harmful not only to the reputation of the organic program, but also to the farmers who played by the rules.”

Johnson also cited recent imports of corn and soybeans from Eastern Europe that were fraudulently labeled “organic.”

“U.S. farmers have entered into organic production to capture added value on their farms using a management-intensive method of production,” he said. “The fraudulent imports caused a drastic reduction in prices of organic grain and caused consumers to have suspicion in the veracity of the program. U.S. farmers cannot compete with these unfair trade practices.”

Johnson recognized the challenges facing USDA’s National Organic Program and it’s ability to police the industry. Organic agriculture has exploded in popularity in recent years, and additional resources for auditing and enforcement have not been made available.

“However, NFU urges USDA to act swiftly and decisively to address both of these issues,” said Johnson. “Family farmers and ranchers depend on USDA and the accredited certifying agents to enforce the organic program’s rigorous, NOSB-driven standards. NFU stands ready to assist USDA in maintaining the strong standards and enforcement associated with the National Organic Program.”

AGCO Intivity Center Marks Five-Year Anniversary

Intivity Center®, the official visitor center for AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO) in North America, commemorates five years of operation this summer. Opened in June 2012, this state-of-the-art center is the gateway to the company’s Jackson, Minn., manufacturing facility and features exhibits depicting the evolution of the agricultural equipment brands manufactured there. Since its grand opening, more than 21,000 people from 47 U.S. states and 43 countries and provinces have visited Intivity Center to learn more about agricultural equipment and future AGCO innovations coming to the industry.

“If you haven’t visited Intivity Center yet, we invite you to come see us! This is a destination for agricultural equipment enthusiasts of all ages, particularly those who are loyal to brands such as Massey Ferguson® and Challenger®, as well as RoGator® and TerraGator® application products,” says Jay Mulso, Intivity Center manager. “This facility showcases AGCO’s commitment to developing innovations and providing the technology in all our equipment.”

Vintage machines, documentary videos and historical timelines detail the foresight of farmers and early engineers, and the innovations they developed to solve crop production challenges. Interactive displays show how major components, such as the industry’s first continuously variable transmission, work. Visitors also will get a glimpse into AGCO innovations in development around the world.

The opening of Intivity Center, which is a 17,000-square-foot, high-tech facility, coincided with a 75,000-square-foot expansion of AGCO’s manufacturing center in Jackson, Minn., which brought manufacturing of high horsepower tractors to the facility and represented a $17 million investment by the company. Since its opening in 1963, the Jackson campus has grown to nearly 196 acres, with 24 of those under roof.

Today, the company builds premium tractors like Massey Ferguson and Challenger wheel tractors, Challenger track and 4-wheel-drive articulated tractors, as well as RoGator and TerraGator application equipment, in Jackson.

“AGCO produces a high proportion of our high-horsepower tractors and spray equipment for North America here in Jackson — close to our customers. The machines are proudly assembled in the USA, and manufacturing them here allows us to configure the machines to match the production systems used by North American farmers,” says Mulso.

In the five years since Intivity Center opened, visitors include individuals from North America, South America, Europe, Russia, South Africa, Canada, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and more.

Unique, Fresh Metal experience in Jackson

At their dealer’s invitation, customers who purchase a new tractor or application machine can experience a unique delivery program called Fresh Metal. When a customer’s machine is scheduled to come off the assembly line, the new owner receives a personal tour of the factory to see the steps AGCO takes to produce a quality product. The new owner also receives a tour of Intivity Center, lunch, a gift package and a commemorative brick placed in a special display at the facility. Before taking delivery of the new piece of equipment, an AGCO representative acquaints the new owner with the machine’s key features and operation.

Intivity Center is located at 202 Industrial Parkway, Jackson, near the intersection of Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 71 in southwest Minnesota. The center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tours are conducted every Monday and Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. Intivity Center is free to the public and open to visitors of all ages; however, manufacturing center tours are available only to ages 12 and older, and require reservations, which can be made through a convenient online process at

“We invite agricultural equipment enthusiasts to visit Intivity Center to see some of the most advanced agricultural equipment made by a company with a longstanding commitment to farmer-focused innovation,” says Mulso.

Wednesday August 2 Ag News


Harkamal Walia, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been awarded a $5.78 million National Science Foundation grant to explore the affects of high nighttime temperatures on wheat and rice.

The stress of high nighttime temperatures can lead to severe losses in the yield and quality of crops. These losses are particularly high for wheat and rice, two major cereal crops worldwide. During the four-year project, Walia's team will investigate genes and genetic variants in wheat and rice to identify genetic markers and physiological characteristics tied to heat tolerance.

"The effect of high daytime temperatures on crop resilience has been studied, but this project will give us the opportunity to study the impact of high nighttime temperatures," said Walia, who received the award from the NSF's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR. "Models suggest a greater widespread increase in nighttime temperatures than in daytime temperatures, so we need to develop rice and wheat resilient to these conditions."

Walia will lead a multidisciplinary team of Nebraska researchers, including Gota Morota, assistant professor of animal science; Toshihiro Obata, assistant professor of biochemistry; Hongfeng Yu, assistant professor of computer science and engineering; Chi Zhang, associate professor of biological sciences; and Qi Zhang, assistant professor of statistics. The team will also collaborate with researchers from Arkansas State University and Kansas State University.

The team will use a sophisticated image-based phenotyping system that takes high-resolution images of the plants as they endure simulated nighttime conditions. Software processes the images, detecting daily differences among the varieties that are not visible to the human eye. Matching slight variations with differences in each plant's genetic makeup will allow the team to identify the genes responsible for heat tolerance.

"We're hoping to gain a better physiological and genetic understanding of the heat stress responses," Walia said. "This knowledge will drive the development of crops that are more resilient to higher temperatures in terms of yield and quality."

Rice is one of the most important crops for global food security. According to Walia, the crop provides 60 to 65 percent of the daily caloric intake for people who live on less than $1 per day. Wheat is the most widely grown crop in the world and an important commodity for Nebraska. Together, wheat and rice account for more than 50 percent of the world's calorie consumption.

"Genetic improvement of crops for tolerance to increased heat, drought and salinity stress are an important component of an integrated approach toward global food security," said Walia, who will work closely with industry partners to translate discoveries into useful genetic and phenotypic markers. "Nebraska is perfectly poised to lead research of this kind because we've invested in the Greenhouse Innovation Center at Nebraska Innovation Campus."

The Greenhouse Innovation Center is 45,000 square feet of greenhouse and headhouse space. The facility features state-of-the-art computer environmental controls, a high-throughput plant phenotyping system and optimal air circulation. The greenhouses are heated and cooled with sustainable energy.

EPSCoR is designed to fulfill the NSF's mandate of promoting scientific progress nationwide. Twenty-four states and multiple U.S. territories are eligible to compete for funding under EPSCOR's Research Infrastructure Improvement Track 2 investment strategy. RII Track 2 awards build national research strength by initiating collaborations across institutions in two or more EPSCoR jurisdictions and establishing regional partnerships with government, higher education and industry that create lasting improvements in infrastructure and research development.

Public Hearings Scheduled at the Upper Big Blue NRD

The Upper Big Blue NRD Board of Directors have scheduled two Public Hearings.  The first is the FY2018 Budget scheduled for Thursday, August 17, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., with the August NRD Board Meeting to follow.  A second Public Hearing for the FY2018 Tax Request is scheduled for Monday, September 18, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.  The September 18th date will also be the September NRD Board Meeting following the hearing.

These Public Hearings will be conducted at the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District office building located at 319 East 25th Street, York, Nebraska.  The proposed budget and tax request for FY2018 continues to include safety measures for protecting District citizens and enhancing the delivery of quality services. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend these Public Hearings.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               CRP has been released for haying and grazing in many areas because of drought.  So what can you expect from this hay as a feed for your animals?

               Just how good of a feed is CRP hay?  Well, to be perfectly honest, I really don't know.  The biggest complicating factor is how much old residue from previous years is in the hay.  This residue contains only 3 or 4 percent protein and maybe 40 percent TDN.  So, the more residue in the hay, the lower the hay's nutrient level is going to be.  And animals aren't going to be too anxious to eat it either.

               My best guess is that most brome or fescue-type CRP hay will be just a little worse than regular brome and fescue hay because most of these fields had relatively low amounts of residue.  Brome and fescue harvested as hay in August or later, though, is very mature, so protein probably will be less than 9 percent and TDN barely over 50 percent.

               Warm-season grass hay, like switchgrass or native mixtures, likely will suffer more from old residue.  Protein might be only 5 percent and TDN about 50 percent if much residue is present.  Of course, if the field was harvested last year or residue was burned off of these warm-season grass CRP fields this spring, the hay quality will be better, probably around 7 to 8 percent protein and 50 to 55 percent TDN.  And most important of all, your animals will eat it much better.

               For your fields, though, these estimates could be way, way off.  So this year, more than ever, get a forage test of hay quality to learn exactly what you have to feed.  Then you can design proper feeding and supplement programs to use this hay effectively.

               CRP hay can be a very useful feed.  But since it's difficult to predict its feeding value, forage test to know what you have.

Webinar: Antimicrobial Resistance and Beef Producers

A free webinar hosted by NIAA on behalf of the Beef Checkoff will allow beef producers a unique opportunity to explore antimicrobial resistance in the U.S. and provide a forum to share knowledge around antibiotic stewardship.

No matter if you're top of class in terms of your knowledge and practice of stewardship and antimicrobial resistance or brand new to this complex topic, there's massive value in attending. Why? Continuous improvement (of course) and the webinar features one of the best in the beef industry; Dr. Bob Smith, DVM, who will lead dialogue around:
- Current state of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
- Human Health--What's being done to combat AMR?
- Three areas of focus for beef producers to combat AMR.
- Sharing best practices in engaging around antibiotic stewardship with those outside of the beef community.

Dr. Smith is a veterinarian who provides service to feedlot clients in nine states. The practice oversees health care for feedlots that have a combined one-time capacity for over 1 million cattle. He's been involved in BQA since the early 90's and is currently the Vice-Chair of the BQA Advisory board. For 25 years, he was on clinical faculty at Oklahoma State University and he's served as president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the Academy of Veterinary Consultants and the Western Veterinary Conference, and has edited both the Bovine Practitioner and the Veterinary Clinics of North America Food Animal Practice since 1999.

Dr. Smith has engaged in AMR work at local, state, and national levels and brings an unmatched skill-set into this space and organizers hope producers will join in Aug. 10.

It's simple to join. To attend you'll need a phone line and internet connected computer (or if you only have access to a phone line, you can listen in on the audio only without the slides). Simply click the following link to register: You will receive login information after you've completed this step.

Additionally, producers are encouraged to read the 2016 Antibiotic Symposium White Paper to gain a national perspective of how stakeholders are working together for better solutions for animal agriculture and human health. Dr. Smith was one of ten beef producers who attended the Antibiotics Symposium on behalf of the beef checkoff last fall, and he'll be sharing his experiences during this webinar focused on a collaborative and continued dialogue about antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance.

Click to read the White Paper at

Keller Elected U.S. Grains Council Chairman, First Woman To Hold The Office

Deb Keller, a farmer from Clarion, Iowa, was elected as U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chairman Wednesday at the organization’s 57th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in Vancouver, Washington.

In accepting the chairman’s gavel, she also made history as the first female selected for the role in the organization’s nearly 60 year history.  Keller’s experience as a strong advocate for trade will amplify the Council’s mission of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives.

“Thinking ahead, I see so many areas for growth, but I also see challenges that will take much time and patience to see through,” Keller said in her incoming chairman’s remarks. “After working with our delegates, the board and our staff both internationally and domestically, I know we can be successful together.”

Keller introduced the theme of the upcoming year - “Friends and Frontiers” - reflecting both the opportunities and difficulties of the current trade environment. She shared how her personal experiences traveling with the Council, hosting teams of international customers and serving on USGC Advisory Teams (A-teams) have broadened her understanding of what it takes to make trade happen and how trade benefits her own farm.

“We all know how important it is to maintain our relationships with our old friends,” she told the delegation. “And we are also looking to the future, to new opportunities. Those new frontiers exist throughout our industry and around the globe. There are so many places where we must continue to work to build new demand for today and tomorrow.”

Keller has previously served as the lead of the Council’s ROW (Rest of World) A-team, as well as the chair of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and a member of the National Corn Growers Association's (NCGA's) Research and Business Development Action Team.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Purdue University and has farmed in Wright County, Iowa, for more than 25 years with her husband, Gary, whom she met while working in a corn field.

The 2017-2018 USGC Board of Directors

At the Vancouver meeting, the USGC Board of Delegates also elected new members of the Council’s Board of Directors. That body now includes:
-    Deb Keller, Chairman, Iowa Corn Promotion Board
-    Jim Stitzlein, Consolidated Grain and Barge Co., Vice Chairman
-    Darren Armstrong, Corn Growers Association of North Carolina, Inc., Secretary/Treasurer
-    Philip “Chip” Councell, Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, Past Chairman
-    Tom Sleight, President and CEO
-    Ray Defenbaugh, Big River Resources LLC, Agribusiness/Ethanol And Co-Products Sector Director
-    Craig Floss, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Checkoff Sector Director
-    Greg Hibner, J.D. Heiskell Hawkeye Gold Office, Agribusiness Sector Director
-    Charles Ray Huddleston, Texas Grain Sorghum Association, Sorghum Sector Director
-    Philip McCoun, Kentucky Corn Promotional Council, At-Large Director
-    Tom Mueller, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Corn Sector Director
-    Jim Raben, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, At-Large Director
-    Mark Seastrand, North Dakota Barley Council, Barley Sector Director
-    Jim Stuever, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, At-Large Director
-    Chad Willis, Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, At-Large Director

The new Board of Directors seated Wednesday will serve until July 2018.

Anhydrous, Urea Prices Lower Again

Some retail fertilizers -- mainly nitrogen fertilizers -- continued to see significant price decreases the fourth week of July 2017, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN. Once again, prices for all eight of the major fertilizers were lower compared to a month earlier.

Only two fertilizers had significant price drops compared to a month earlier. Anhydrous showed another large decrease in price, down 13% compared to last month. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $423 per ton.

The other fertilizer with a sizeable retail price decline was urea. The nitrogen fertilizer was down 7% compared to last month and had an average price of $308 per ton.

Prices for the remaining six fertilizers were lower compared to last month, but not by significant amounts. DAP had an average price of $434/ton, MAP $462/ton, potash $338/ton, 10-34-0 $425/ton and UAN32 $265/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.34/lb.N, anhydrous $0.26/lb.N, UAN28 $0.41/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

Prices for all retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. Five of the eight major fertilizers are double digits lower.

Both 10-34-0 and anhydrous are now 22% lower from a year ago while both urea and UAN32 are 13% lower and UAN28 is 11% less expensive. Both DAP and MAP are 6% lower while potash is 5% lower.

EIA: US Ethanol Stocks Down

The Energy Information Administration in their weekly support report Wednesday showed declines in ethanol inventory and plant production in the United States during the final week of July while blending demand again rose.  The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed fuel ethanol stocks tumbled during the week-ended July 28 by about 600,000 barrels (bbl), or 2.8%, to 20.9 million bbl, while 300,000 bbl, or 1.5%, higher than a year ago.

Domestic plant production fell 10,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 1.0%, to 1.012 million bpd during the week reviewed, while down 2,000 bpd year-on-year. For the four weeks ended July 28, fuel ethanol production averaged 1.012 million bpd, up 3,000 bpd against year prior.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a gauge for ethanol demand, increased 6,000 bpd, or 0.6%, to 951,000 bpd while unchanged year-on-year. For the four-week period ended July 28, blending demand is up 1,000 bpd.

Fuel ethanol imports totaled 38,000 bpd last week, with the supply shipped to the West Coast, the data showed.

Gulf of Mexico ‘dead zone’ is the largest ever measured

Scientists have determined this year’s Gulf of Mexico “dead zone,” an area of low oxygen that can kill fish and marine life, is 8,776 square miles, an area about the size of New Jersey. It is the largest measured since dead zone mapping began there in 1985.

The measured size is close to the 8,185 square miles forecast by NOAA in June. 

The annual forecast, generated from a suite of NOAA-sponsored models, is based on nutrient runoff data from theU.S. Geological Survey. Both NOAA’s June forecast and the actual size show the role of Mississippi River nutrient runoff in determining the size of the dead zone.

This large dead zone size shows that nutrient pollution, primarily from agriculture and developed land runoff in the Mississippi River watershed is continuing to affect the nation’s coastal resources and habitats in the Gulf.

These nutrients stimulate massive algal growth that eventually decomposes, which uses up the oxygen needed to support life in the Gulf. This loss of oxygen can cause the loss of fish habitat or force them to move to other areas to survive, decreased reproductive capabilities in fish species and a reduction in the average size of shrimp caught.

The Gulf dead zone may slow shrimp growth, leading to fewer large shrimp, according to a NOAA-funded study led by Duke University. The study also found the price of small shrimp went down and the price of large shrimp increased, which led to short-term economic ripples in the Gulf brown shrimp fishery.

A team of scientists led by Louisiana State University and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium collected data to determine the size of the dead zone during a survey mission from July 24 to 31 aboard the R/V Pelican.

“We expected one of the largest zones ever recorded because the Mississippi River discharge levels, and the May data indicated a high delivery of nutrients during this critical month which stimulates the mid-summer dead zone,” said Nancy Rabalais, Ph.D., research professor at LSU and LUMCON, who led the survey mission.

“Having a long-term record of the size of the Gulf of Mexico dead zone is vital in forecasting its size, trends and effects each year,” said Steven Thur, Ph.D., acting director of NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science. “These measurements ultimately inform the best strategies for managers to reduce both its size and its impacts on the sustainability and productivity of our coastal living resources and economy.”

Previously the largest Gulf of Mexico dead zone was measured in 2002, encompassing 8,497 square miles. The average size of the dead zone over the past five years has been about 5,806 square miles, three times larger than the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force target of 1,900 square miles.

NOAA funds monitoring and research efforts to understand the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico through its Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems & Hypoxia Assessment program, known as NGOMEX. The annual dead zone measurement is used by the Gulf of Mexico/Mississippi River Watershed Nutrient Task Force to determine whether efforts to reduce nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River basin are working. New initiatives such as the Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast are designed to help farmers apply fertilizer at optimum times to limit nutrient runoff to the Gulf. 

IA commends Sens. Udall and Portman for introducing the Water Efficiency Improvement Act of 2017

With the EPA’s WaterSense program currently under consideration for elimination, Sens. Tom Udall and Rob Portman stepped up to the plate by introducing the Water Efficiency Improvement Act of 2017 to authorize the program. Sens. Udall and Portman now join various other members of Congress, from both parties, in supporting this program that requires congressional authorization before it is able to receive direct funding from Congress.

The Water Efficiency Improvement Act of 2017 is the first bill that strictly focuses on authorization, without any spending limits attached to the program. The bill authorizes the WaterSense program to identify and promote water-efficient products, buildings, facilities, processes and services under the following categories:
-    irrigation technologies and services
-    point-of-use water treatment devices
-    plumbing products
-    reuse and recycling technologies
-    landscaping and gardening products, including moisture control or water-enhancing technologies
-    whole-house humidifiers
-    water-efficient buildings or facilities

The Irrigation Association has expressed its gratitude towards Sens. Udall and Portman and will continue to focus advocacy efforts on the authorization of the WaterSense program.

Fall Feed Outlook: What to expect as we approach the fall cattle run

Brian R. Williams, Asst. Extension Prof., Dept of Ag Econ, Mississippi State University

There is no doubt that cattle feeders are closely watching the conditions of the corn and soybean crop in the field right now. Although many spring-calving producers will likely not market their calves for another month or two, we could see a few more feeder cattle than normal hit the market during August and September. Much of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and even a large portion of the Sandhills in Nebraska are in a severe drought or worse. I fully expect to see many producers in the drought-stricken Northern Plains begin to pull calves off of pasture and market them earlier than usual to relieve some of the stress on pastures and to cut down on the amount of hay that has to be fed. But, where will those cattle go? It is a bit too early for them to be sent south to go on wheat pasture. Producers in the Corn Belt are going to be more concerned with getting their crops out of the field than taking on stocker cattle in August or September. That really only leaves two places for them to go: back to grass further south or to the feedlot. The latest cattle on feed report has already shown evidence of the latter. June placements in South Dakota were up a whopping 67 percent from a year ago. While those were likely not spring-born calves, it does show signs that producers in the Northern Plains are trying to relieve some of the grazing pressure on the dry pastures. As we move forward, it is likely that Northern feedlots will be looking to pick up some discounted lightweight feeder calves and grow them on cheap corn...that is if the corn is actually cheap.

Looking at the current corn crop, it does look like we will have a smaller harvest than we did a year ago. Planted acres are estimated at 90.9 million acres, which is down 3 percent from a year ago. The most recent crop progress report has the U.S. corn crop at 61% good or excellent condition compared to 66% good or excellent condition a year ago at this time. At this point in the season, it looks like we will fall short of the record yields that were posted a year ago and some suggest that we may even see yield fall below the trend. However, even with lower corn production than a year ago, there is still a whole lot of corn still sitting in storage. And, while yields may fall short of the trend line yields it won't be all that bad. That is going to continue to pressure corn prices lower, particularly as we inch closer to harvest. December corn futures have already begun a slow downward march, trading a full 30 cents lower than the early July high. If the weather holds out across the Corn Belt and there are no major hiccups over the course of the next month, the fundamentals suggest that corn will continue to trend lower through harvest. While lower corn prices will be a disappointment for U.S. crop producers, it could provide a much needed boost to the cattle industry. Lower corn prices could help to boost feedlot demand for lighter weight cattle at a time when we will likely see larger supplies of those same cattle. That could help to add some support for feeder cattle prices just as many producers are looking to unload.

Hot Industry Topics Addressed in Expo Seminars

World Dairy Expo® features the best and the brightest during its world-class seminars. This year’s Expo Seminars include topics on robotic milking systems, A2 milk, transition cow health, mycotoxin in feedstuffs, consumer perceptions, cover crops and future farm labor.

Continuing education credits are obtainable by members of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) and the American Association of State Veterinary Boards – RACE Program (RACE).

Seminars will be showcased Tuesday through Saturday in the Mendota 2 meeting room, located in the Exhibition Hall. Additionally, all seminars will be recorded and available for online viewing upon completion. A special thank you to the following sponsors for making Expo Seminars possible: Compeer Financial, Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc., Phibro Animal Health Corp. and Feed Supervisor Software.

Following is the schedule of Expo Seminars.

Tuesday, October 3, 1:00 p.m.
“Building A Stronger Dairy Producer-Banker Relationship”
Arthur Moessner, Vice President – Dairy Team Lead, American AgCredit
Sponsored by: Compeer Financial
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

Wednesday, October 4, 11:00 a.m.
“Economics of Robotic Milking Systems”
Dr. Larry Tranel, Dairy Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
Lance and Jonna Schutte, Owners, Jo-Lane Dairy
Doug Gernes, Owner, Gernes Dairy, LLC
Sponsored by: Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc.
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

Wednesday, October 4, 1:00 p.m.
“Making Sense of Dairy and Anti-Inflammation: Yogurt, Obesity and A2 Milk”
Dr. Bradley Bolling, Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

Thursday, October 5, 11:00 a.m.
“Health and Immunity in Transition Cows”
Dr. Marcus Kehrli, Director, National Animal Disease Center – USDA-ARS
Sponsored by: Phibro Animal Health Corp.
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

Thursday, October 5, 1:00 p.m.
“Limiting Mold and Mycotoxin Problems in Dairy Herds”
Dr. Lon Whitlow, Professor Emeritus, North Carolina State University
Sponsored by: Feed Supervisor Software
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

Friday, October 6, 11:00 a.m.
“Consumer and Public Perceptions of the US Dairy Industry: Implications for Practices, Policy and Market Demand”
Dr. Christopher Wolf, Professor, Michigan State University
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

Friday, October 6, 1:00 p.m.
“Cover Crop Management for Dairy Producers”
Dr. Karla Hernandez, Forages Field Specialist, South Dakota State University Extension
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

Saturday, October 7, 11:00 a.m.
“Who Will Work on America’s Farms in 2025?”
Dr. Don Albrecht, Director, Western Rural Development Center
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

For over five decades, the global dairy industry has been meeting in Madison, Wis. for World Dairy Expo. Crowds of nearly 75,000 people from more than 100 countries attended the annual event in 2016. WDE will return Oct. 3-7, 2017 as attendees and exhibitors are encouraged to “Discover New Dairy Worlds.” Visit

Legendary Seedsman Don Funk re-launches Midwest Seed Genetics

Don Funk, founder of Channel Bio Corp, is leading a team of entrepreneurs to launch Midwest Seed Genetics across the Corn Belt for the 2017/2018 growing season.  In 2001, Funk purchased Midwest, a small, sleepy seed company, and turned it into a regional powerhouse.  He is re-acquiring the brand for the purpose of providing farmers meaningful choice in the dynamic future that awaits agriculture.

"Over the last several years, we've been closely watching the seed industry, spending a great deal of time listening to both farmers and seed industry professionals," says Funk. "While there is great excitement for what the future holds, there is also frustration and dissatisfaction.   The people of agriculture are being left behind.  We will put them first again."

"Most importantly, we will bring unique, high-performance, product choice to the American farmer.  We're also stripping away the complexity, gimmicks and inefficiency the industry has created so we can put more money into our customer's that is theirs to begin with."

In preparation for the launch, Funk is assembling a core team to drive Midwest into the future. "We're focused on people who share a great entrepreneurial spirit as well as a belief the seed industry is weighted down with inefficient practices.  I'm excited to work with extremely capable people who are focused on bringing real value to farmers for decades to come."

Funk continues, "While the seed industry turns inward, focused mainly on itself, we will practice a philosophy we call Outward Focus, providing product choice and an experience based on what our customers tell us they want, rather than on what we decide is good for them."

"Some may say this is largely going back to what worked best in the past.  We would absolutely agree with them.  We know from experience, if we help farmers succeed they will take us with them.  The next generation of farmers is rightfully looking for the best - the best product, the best service, the best experience.  We won't provide anything less."

Tuesday August 1 Ag News

Nebraska Pork Producers Association Hosts Webinar August 15th at Noon on Trade and Regulations

Nebraska Pork Producers Association is hosting a one-hour online webinar on Tuesday, August 15th, beginning at noon. The webinar will focus on the changes and future of trade and regulations on a national scale under the Trump administration.

Registration for the webinar can be accessed by visiting Participants are encouraged to register for the webinar, several days in advance and will receive an email with the direct link for the webinar. There is no fee to participate in the webinar.

National Pork Producers Council will discuss the many changes the Trump administration has made in areas such as trade agreements, 2018 Farm Bill, immigration and EPA regulations, with a specific focus on impact to the pork industry. Come listen how there topics could have an impact on your farm.

Nebraska Pork Producers Association will be hosting a webinar on the second Tuesday of every month from noon to one o’clock. The September 12th webinar will cover Farm-Level Crisis Planning with Cindy Cunningham of National Pork Board. For additional information on webinar topics and speakers go to


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Is planting alfalfa in you plans yet this year?  This is a good time to plant and replace fields that have dried up or thinned out.

               Alfalfa planted in late summer establishes well when moisture is available.  Be sure to plant early enough, though, so alfalfa has six to eight weeks between emergence and freeze back to develop good cold tolerance.  In northwest Nebraska or southern South Dakota, you probably need to plant soon – in the next week or two.  But only if you also have moisture present for seeds to germinate.  Any delay is likely to cause poorer stands.  In southeast Nebraska you can plant as late as Labor Day but earlier is better.  In central Kansas alfalfa can be planted as late as mid-September.

               Proper seedbed preparation is crucial for late summer plantings.  Good seed-to-soil contact and weed control are critical, both when seeding into tilled, prepared seedbeds or into wheat stubble.  Conserve soil moisture whenever possible, and put extra effort into getting a firm, firm seedbed.  Extra packing often gives faster and more uniform emergence.

               Whenever seeding alfalfa in late summer, be especially wary of grasshoppers.  They sometimes seem to come from nowhere, and they love to eat new alfalfa seedlings.  Spray field margins with insecticides before planting if necessary.

               One important caution — never plant into dry soil.  In the Great Plains, August plantings into dry soil may lie dormant for several weeks until it rains.  Too little time then will remain for seedlings to develop good cold tolerance.  Many failures occur because fall rains come too late or not at all.

               But if you have moisture, then plant.  With some help from Mother Nature, good hay is just a spring away.

Safe, healthy agricultural workers is topic of Aug. 15 Omaha Science Café

Ellen Duysen, coordinator and outreach specialist for the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health will discuss what is needed for safe and healthy agricultural workers at the next Omaha Science Café at 7 p.m. on Aug. 15 at the Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St.

Duysen said that raising hogs, cattle and “three rascally boys” on farms in Colorado and Iowa have provided her with an understanding of the many hazards related to farming and ranching. She has put these experiences into practice while working with farmers and ranchers in an effort to reduce agricultural injury and fatality rates.

Using a novel outreach approach, CS-CASH is partnering with Omaha photographer, Jake Rogers, using his artistry to convey safe farming practices to Nebraska farmers. Duysen and Rogers hope that these impactful images will speak to the agricultural community, leading to safer and healthier work habits and environments.

This café is part two of a two-part café partnership with the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and its current exhibition, David Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily.

Science Cafés involve a face-to-face conversation with a scientist about current science topics. They are open to everyone (21 and older) and take place in casual settings like pubs and coffeehouses. Each meeting is organized around an interesting topic of conversation. A scientist gives a brief presentation followed by a Q-and-A period.

Pizza will be provided for the first 50 people. For more information about Science Cafes, go to   

President Approves Disaster Declaration For Nebraska

Today, President Donald Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Nebraska. The declaration prompts the release of federal funds for Nebraska communities as they recover from the severe storms that took place from June 12-15. U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who led the congressional delegation requesting the disaster declaration, issued the following statement:

“I appreciate President Trump’s prompt response to our delegation’s request. Eighteen Nebraska counties face significant damages due to the severe storms in June. This declaration will help our communities with their rebuilding and recovery efforts.”

From June 12-15, 2017, 18 Nebraska counties suffered major damages from six tornadoes, strong winds, and golf-ball-to-baseball-sized hail. The inclement weather resulted in more than $13,780,024 worth of damages across Nebraska.

Ricketts Thanks President Trump for Disaster Declaration

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that President Donald J. Trump had approved a disaster declaration for Nebraska following storms in June.  The declaration releases federal funds to aid 18 Nebraska counties in their recovery efforts.  Governor Ricketts submitted a letter requesting the declaration last month.

“Thank you to President Trump and his team for approving this declaration,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Our communities are resilient, and this assistance will help Nebraskans accelerate their efforts to fully recover from the severe weather and tornadoes that impacted our state in June.”

Ricketts Applauds EPA Support for the RFS

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts, chairman of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, testified at a public hearing held by the Environmental Protection Agency on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).  During the hearing, Governor Ricketts praised the agency’s commitment to the RFS and the biofuels market.

“The importance of creating certainty and the stability that comes with it cannot be overstated.  Releasing these volume proposals in a timely manner allows for planning and stability in the market,” said Ricketts.  “Biofuels are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing a cheaper, cleaner octane booster, and driving economic development in our states.”

In Nebraska alone, the ethanol industry provides over $5 billion of investment to the economy.  Across the nation, it has created over 300,000 jobs and added $32 billion to the overall economy.  Governor Ricketts encouraged the EPA to increase its support for ethanol and biofuels, stating that Nebraska has the potential to greatly increase its current biofuel output.

Alverson Advocates for a Strong RFS at EPA Hearing

Renewable fuels benefit our economy, our energy security, and our environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should set a strong volume for all renewable fuel types, National Corn Growers Association Board member Keith Alverson testified today at an EPA hearing on the 2018 renewable fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“My local ethanol plant was constructed one year prior to my college graduation. That plant and the economic opportunity it created is a large part of what enabled me, as well as other young farmers, to return to the farm,” said Alverson, a sixth-generation farmer from Chester, South Dakota. “Because ethanol production is a vital market for corn farmers, we are pleased EPA proposed an implied volume of 15 billion gallons for conventional renewable fuel.”

While praising the EPA’s proposed volume for conventional renewable fuels, Alverson expressed concern that EPA proposed an overall volume of renewable fuels that is 40 million gallons below 2017 figures, and a cellulosic biofuel volume that is 73 million gallons lower.

“Corn farmers recognize the strong link between first- and second-generation biofuels and the role corn fills in producing the next generation of homegrown fuel that increases our energy security and lowers costs for consumers,” said Alverson.

“We ask the EPA to maintain the proposed conventional fuel requirement in the final rule… [but] set higher final volumes for cellulosic, advanced and total biofuels in order to draw the continued investment and innovation needed to maintain the expansion of cellulosic and advanced fuel production.

“As EPA noted in the proposed rule, many ethanol producers are investing in new technologies to produce cellulosic ethanol at existing facilities. NCGA urges EPA to work with producers to fully quantify this production and consider all 2017 cellulosic data,” Alverson testified.

EPA is currently accepting public comments on the proposed 2018 volumes. Supporters are urged to submit comments today via The deadline is August 31.

ASA’s Heisdorffer: EPA Should Raise RFS Biodiesel Volume to 2.75 Billion Gallons

American Soybean Association (ASA) Vice President and Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for biomass-based diesel to at least 2.75 billion gallons for 2019 and to increase total Advanced Biofuels volumes to 5.25 billion gallons in 2018. During a hearing in Washington Tuesday morning, Heisdorffer noted that the biodiesel industry has expanded markets for farmers and livestock producers and created new jobs and economic growth, particularly in rural America. Biodiesel production creates a value-added market for the co-product soybean oil generated by the growing global demand for protein meal.

“The biodiesel industry has provided these benefits without any significant disruption or adverse impacts to consumers,” Heisdorffer testified. “Our industry has always advocated for RFS volumes that are modest and achievable and we have met or exceeded the targets each and every year that the program has been in place.”

Heisdorffer also runs a hog operation in his hometown of Keota, and noted that the biodiesel industry presents an added benefit for the livestock industry. “The market outlet that biodiesel provides for soybean oil also benefits livestock production by improving the margins for soybean processing and lowering the cost of soy meal used for livestock feed,” he stated. “A 2015 analysis … showed that biodiesel resulted in lower feed costs for U.S. livestock producers that ranged from $21 to $42 per ton, totaling $5.9 to $11.8 billion in total value.”

NBB Has Strong Showing at RFS Public Hearing, Calls for Higher Biodiesel Volumes

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public hearing on the proposal for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) had several witnesses testify before the EPA staff and advocate for higher volumes of advanced biofuels and biomass-based diesel.

“The current numbers shortchange the progress we have made. They are a step back for the RFS, job creation, small businesses and rural economies. Let me assure you—these steps backwards are not about paper but people,” said Donnell Rehagen, chief executive officer at the National Biodiesel Board.

NBB supports increases in the volume requirements, believing the agency must be more aggressive in meeting Congress’s goals to prioritize and move this country toward advanced biofuels. This would create jobs, improve the economy and benefit public health and the environment throughout the country.

The EPA proposal would maintain the minimum required biomass-based diesel volumes at 2.1 billion gallons for 2019. The EPA also proposed to set the 2018 RFS for advanced biofuels based on a minimum applicable volume of 4.24 billion gallons, a decrease from 4.28 billion gallons for 2017. A final rule is anticipated this fall.

With a group of roughly 20 speakers, NBB flagged key data and information for EPA staff as they take comments on this proposal. Specifically, NBB discussed market realities and underutilized capacity, the impacts on small businesses and manufacturing, feedstock availability and consumer choice.

On market realities and underutilization

“The market today has shown it can be used in a variety of locations, in all temperatures and in numerous, diverse applications. This market extends across the country—in rural areas, in urban areas, on-road, off-road and even in homes, buildings and factories. That’s the flexibility of biodiesel, which can be used throughout the distillate fuel market. This market is expected to increase, and the RFS program should ensure continued growth in renewable fuels for that market,” said Scott Fenwick, technical director at the National Biodiesel Board.

“EPA’s current proposed volumes would stall biodiesel, an important Iowa manufacturing sector, at a time when it is already operating below its capacity. The U.S. can meet production demand and has substantial room for growth, which EPA’s proposal does not acknowledge,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

“Domestic production capacity is significantly underutilized, with 4.2 billion gallons of registered capacity according to EPA’s own assessment. This doesn’t even include non-registered plants or foreign production we expect will continue to reach our shores. EPA’s proposal doesn’t acknowledge the ability of the domestic industry to step up to the plate when given proper signals by EPA,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer at the National Biodiesel Board.

On small businesses, investments and manufacturing

“While we have looked at expanding our biodiesel production, the continual uncertain [renewable volume obligations] RVO policy has stymied our expansion appetite,” testified Ron Marr of the Minnesota Soybean Processors.

“We, and many other small producers, have had to struggle in a difficult business environment when EPA proposes RVOs that are well below what the biodiesel industry can produce. NBB has proposed very reasonable volumes of at least 2.75 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel in 2019 and at least 5.25 billion gallons of advanced biofuels for 2018. These volumes are well within the capabilities of the biodiesel industry and should be strongly considered. Anything less certainly misses the opportunity to help meet the objectives of the RFS and perpetuates the difficult business climate in which small producers like Newport Biodiesel must operate,” said Bob Morton of Newport Biodiesel.

“If EPA were to leave the biomass-based diesel RVO at 2.1 billion gallons for 2019—or worse—reduce the RVOs based on ill-conceived and illogical arguments, EPA not only will badly damage American investment made in this industry, but will severely limit and discourage further investment and growth in this important manufacturing sector,” said Paul Teta, VP and General Counsel at Kolmar Americas, Inc.

On feedstock availability and impacts to the farming economy

“The U.S. soybean harvest last year was a record 4.3 billion bushels—380 million bushels larger than the previous year. Those additional bushels represent an extra half a billion gallons of vegetable oil that the global market has had to absorb resulting in lower prices for agricultural producers and lower profit potential. USDA forecasts a similar crop of 4.25 billion bushels in 2017. I note these examples of excess supplies as our modeling results indicate RVOs could be increased to levels supported by the National Biodiesel Board and feedstock prices would still be less than their five-year average,” testified J. Alan Weber, partner at MARC-IV.

“Biodiesel also makes farming more profitable. It contributes about 63 cents per bushel of soybeans, while lowering the price of meal for livestock producers and the food supply. … Biodiesel has revitalized many rural areas of Iowa, and reversing course would harm those communities,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

On consumer choice

“Consumers choose biodiesel. They choose it because of the lower costs at the pump, because it provides better lubricity than petroleum diesel and because of the air quality benefits for their communities,” said NBB’s Scott Fenwick.

On the law’s requirements

The RFS—a bipartisan policy passed in 2005 and signed into law by President George W. Bush—requires increasing volumes of renewable fuels to be blended into the U.S. fuel stream.

“The RFS was designed to drive investment and innovation by providing stability and incentives for the development of clean alternative fuels. This proposal falls short of that goal. This proposal only perpetuates the status quo that Congress decisively sought to change in passing the RFS—the lack of real, sustainable alternatives to petroleum, particularly diesel fuel,” said NBB’s Anne Steckel.

“The biomass-based diesel industry has responded to Congress’ directives under the RFS program. It has made investments, it has diversified its feedstocks and it has become more efficient—all the while, promoting the goals of the program: creating a better environment, improving the economy, and strengthening this country’s energy independence and security,” said NBB’s Doug Whitehead.

The law is divided into two broad categories: conventional biofuels, which must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent, and advanced biofuels, which must have a 50 percent reduction. Biodiesel is the first advanced biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide and has made up the vast majority of advanced biofuel production under the RFS to date.

Hormel to Expand Kansas Bacon Plant

Hormel Foods Corp. plans to add a new 156,000-square-foot processing facility to its Dold Foods facility in Wichita at a cost of about $50 million.

In addition to the construction project, Hormel plans to invest $82 million in new machinery and equipment over the next five years, bringing the total capital expenditure of the project to $132 million.

The company has asked the Wichita City Council for an economic development tax exemption to support the expansion. The expansion is expected to add 384 jobs to the area. Hormel currently employs 275 at the Dold Foods facility, which Hormel acquired in 1984. The plant produces sliced bacon for national retail and food service customers. The plant produces sliced bacon for national retail and foodservice customers.

City government documents state that Hormel qualifies for a 100 percent, five-plus-five year tax exemption -- with the exception of any capital outlay levy assessed by the local school district -- based on the company's capital investment and job creation.

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

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 4.62 million tons (154 million bushels) in June 2017, compared to 4.74 million tons (158 million bushels) in May 2017 and 4.62 million tons (154 million bushels) in June 2016, according to USDA-NASS. Crude oil produced was 1.81 billion pounds down 2 percent from May 2017 but up 1 percent from June 2016. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.35 billion pounds during June 2017 decreased 7 percent from May 2017 and decreased 2 percent from June 2016.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 167 thousand tons in June 2017, compared to 114 thousand tons in May 2017 and 202 thousand tons in June 2016. Canola crude oil produced was 138 million pounds up 48 percent from May 2017 but down 21 percent from June 2016. Canola once refined oil production at 124 million pounds during June 2017 was up 24 percent from May 2017 but down 22 percent from June 2016. Cottonseed once refined oil production at 46.4 million pounds during June 2017 was up 33 percent from May 2017 and up 24 percent from June 2016.

Edible tallow production was 69.9 million pounds during June 2017, down 5 percent from May 2017 and down 6 percent from June 2016. Inedible tallow production was 268 million pounds during June 2017, down 17 percent from May 2017 and down 8 percent from June 2016. Technical tallow production was 78.5 million pounds during June 2017, down 27 percent from May 2017 and down 20 percent from June 2016. Choice white grease production at 118 million pounds during June 2017 increased 8 percent from May 2017 and increased 2 percent from June 2016.

USDA-NASS Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 490 million bushels in June 2017. Total corn consumption was down 4 percent from May 2017 but up 2 percent from June 2016. June 2017 usage included 91.0 percent for alcohol and 9.0 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 2.77 million bushels, down 10 percent from May 2017 but up 7 percent from June 2016. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 437 million bushels, was down 3 percent from May 2017 but up 2 percent from June 2016. Corn consumed in June 2017 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 89.5 percent and 10.5 percent respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.82 million tons during June 2017, down 5 percent from May 2017 and down 4 percent from June 2016. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.25 million tons in June 2017, down 8 percent from May 2017 but up 2 percent from June 2016.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 341 thousand tons during June 2017 and up 3 percent from June 2016. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 298 thousand tons in June 2017, down 5 percent from May 2017 and down 5 percent from June 2016.

Flour Milling Products Production Highlights

All wheat ground for flour during the second quarter 2017 was 224 million bushels, up slightly from the first quarter 2017 grind of 224 million bushels but down slightly from the second quarter 2016 grind of 224 million bushels, according to USDA-NASS. Second quarter 2017 total flour production was 104 million hundredweight, down slightly from the first quarter 2017 but up 1 percent from the second quarter 2016. Whole wheat flour production at 5.33 million hundredweight during the second quarter 2017 accounted for 5 percent of the total flour production. Millfeed production from wheat in the second quarter 2017 was 1.57 million tons. The daily 24-hour milling capacity of wheat flour during the second quarter 2017 was 1.62 million hundredweight.

Durum wheat ground for flour and semolina production during the second quarter of 2017 totaled 15.7 million bushels, down 6 percent from the first quarter 2017 but up 2 percent from the second quarter 2016. Second quarter 2017 durum flour and semolina production was 7.53 million hundredweight, down 6 percent from the first quarter 2017 but up 3 percent from the second quarter 2016. Whole wheat durum flour and semolina production was 108 thousand hundredweight, down 35 percent from 166 thousand hundredweight in the first quarter 2017 and down 33 percent from 162 thousand hundredweight from the second quarter 2016. Second quarter durum wheat millfeed production was 109 thousand tons and the daily 24-hour milling capacity for durum and semolina production was 127 thousand hundredweight.

Rye ground for flour during the second quarter of 2017 was 445 thousand bushels, down 3 percent from the first quarter 2017 and down 29 percent from the second quarter 2016. Rye flour production during the second quarter of 2017 was 215 thousand hundredweight, compared to 222 thousand hundredweight in the previous quarter and 303 thousand hundredweight in the same quarter for the previous year. The daily 24-hour milling capacity for rye milling was 9.39 thousand hundredweight for the second quarter 2017.

Advisory Teams, Delegates Deliberate USGC Strategy In Vancouver

Members and delegates of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) deliberated priorities and activities during meetings Tuesday of the organization’s Advisory Teams, commonly known as A-teams, as well as at a general session of the USGC Board of Delegates.

The plenary conversations explored how the Council can capture new demand, including that for ethanol in Mexico, as well as the role of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Market Development (FMD) program and Market Access Program (MAP) in helping the Council drive export growth. Delegates also heard details of the Council’s newly-released demand model, which seeks to understand long-term growth potential in global markets and inform USGC strategy.

“By its very nature, the Council’s work must look at today and far into tomorrow, managing the need to be responsive to market conditions now with seeking and developing robust markets for future years and future generations,” Deb Keller, USGC vice chairman, told delegates in the general session.

“The work our team in Washington has been doing to look at where demand will be over the next several decades is revealing - and offers important context for our discussions about trade policy, programs and how we manage this organization.”

USGC’s A-teams, comprised of subject matter experts, provide critical insight and guidance for the organization as well further encourage member participation in USGC export market development efforts.

The Council operates seven advisory teams focused on key regions - Asia, Western Hemisphere and the Middle East and Africa - and topics - ethanol, trade policy, value-added products and innovation and sustainability.

USGC delegates also met Tuesday in sector-specific groups, including for corn, barley and sorghum producers as well as agribusinesses and general farm organizations.

The Council will utilize the input gathered from these meetings to guide development of the Council’s operational blueprint and strategic planning.

“Our program today focused on the changing environment of trade that affects the Council’s daily work,” Keller said. “Our speakers updated our delegates on issues that affect the cornerstones of our work and, in turn, our teams discussed how to more effectively carry out programs and support our offices overseas.”

Meetings in Vancouver will continue on Wednesday with business meetings of the full USGC Board of Delegates and Board of Directors as well as election of new Council Board of Directors members.

Agriculture Secretary Perdue to Kick Off “Back to Our Roots” RV Tour

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that he will embark on a five-state RV tour, titled the “Back to Our Roots” Tour, to gather input on the 2018 Farm Bill and increasing rural prosperity.  Along the way, Perdue will meet with farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers, students, governors, Members of Congress, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees, and other stakeholders.  This is the first of two RV tours the secretary will undertake this summer.  In making the announcement, Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:

“The ‘Back to our Roots’ Farm Bill and rural prosperity RV listening tour will allow us to hear directly from people in agriculture across the country, as well as our consumers – they are the ones on the front lines of American agriculture and they know best what the current issues are,” Perdue said.  “USDA will be intimately involved as Congress deliberates and formulates the 2018 Farm Bill.  We are committed to making the resources and the research available so that Congress can make good facts-based, data-driven decisions.  It’s important to look at past practices to see what has worked and what has not worked, so that we create a farm bill for the future that will be embraced by American agriculture in 2018.”

This first RV Tour will feature stops in five states: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.  For social media purposes, Secretary Perdue’s Twitter account (@SecretarySonny) will be using the hashtag #BackToOurRoots.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for August 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for August 2017. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for August is 1.250 percent, up from 1.125 percent in July.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during August is 2.250 percent, up from 2.125 percent in July.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for August are as follows, 1.500 percent with three-year loan terms, unchanged from 1.500 percent in July; 1.875 percent with five-year loan terms, up from 1.750 percent in July; 2.125 percent with seven-year loan terms, up from 2.000 percent in July; 2.250 percent with 10-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.250 percent in July and; 2.375 percent with 12-year loan terms, up from 2.250 percent in July.

Farmers Reach out to Thank Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) joined in the effort to thank Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who recently visited the Norman family on their 2,500 acre cattle ranch in South Dakota.  Zuckerberg has also previously visited the Grant family in Wisconsin on their beef and dairy cattle operation, then shared their stories on his social media accounts. In reflecting on both visits, Zuckerberg spoke positively about the farm families and their hard work. Mark has embarked on a personal challenge to visit every state in the U.S. that he has not visited before.

Mark Zuckerberg has more than 93 million followers on Facebook and his posts have been far-reaching. Both farm posts earned more than 270,000 reactions and thousands of comments - mostly positive, but some very negative.

This thank-you letter was sent to Mark Zuckerberg for recognizing the hard working efforts of our industry. We also encourage you to take the time today to personally thank Mark for the support he has given the agricultural community. In doing so, please use the social media hashtag #farmersthankmarkz on your post.

Farm Bureau Decries D.C. Circuit’s “Endangered” Wolf Ruling, calls for reform

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a thriving population of 4,000 Gray Wolves that threatens farmers and ranchers in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin was somehow endangered. This ruling defies common sense.

“The court handed down this opinion despite an abundance of scientific and commercial data showing no material threat to the wolf population. Neither the goals outlined in various recovery plans nor the aggressive and successful leadership to save the wolves in affected states moved the court to do the right thing.

“Congress needs to take action to reform the broken and outdated Endangered Species Act. There’s no question the wolf packs have recovered. We only wish we could say the same of farms and ranches within their reach.”

NGFA, NAEGA outline trade priorities for Trump administration

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) submitted a joint statement to the Trump administration this week regarding the performance of free trade agreements.

In response to a solicitation for comments from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) regarding the administration's assessment of free trade agreements and the nation's trade relations with other members of the World Trade Organization, the NGFA and NAEGA identified opportunities to update and modernize U.S. free trade agreements and highlighted the urgency in initiating trade negotiations with key Asia-Pacific markets.

Withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement "has created a void that foreign export competitors are aggressively exploiting to the detriment of U.S. agricultural exports and our nation's economy," stated the NGFA and NAEGA.

The two groups said key areas that would preserve and enhance U.S. agricultural competitiveness and facilitate trade include not only expanded market access and tariff concessions, but also:
-    improved regulatory consistency and cooperation;
-    removal of non-tariff barriers that lack scientific merit;
-    enabling innovation of information technologies;
-    recognizing comparable regulatory systems for assessing the safety of plant breeding technologies;
-    developing a consistent approach for managing low-level presence (LLP) of biotechnology-enhanced products that have undergone a safety assessment and are approved for use in a third country, but not yet approved for import by a U.S. free trade agreement-member country; and
-    ensuring safe and orderly passage for rail and truck freight transportation.

 The organizations also noted their concern about the trading relationship between the United States and the European Union (EU), given the "many unscientifically based and unjustified barriers" erected by the EU to block U.S. grain and other agricultural products from entering its market. "NGFA and NAEGA urge the administration to work with the European Union to remove the barriers and promote a better trading relationship," the comments stated.

The NGFA and NAEGA concluded by noting they are eager "to work actively, constructively and expeditiously with President Trump and the administration's trade team" to develop strategies that will "preserve, improve and build upon existing and new trade relationships to benefit U.S. and world consumers."

ADM Reports Second Quarter Earnings

Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) today reported financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2017.

“We continued to deliver on our strategic plan and capitalize on improving conditions in some markets to achieve strong 39 percent year-over-year earnings growth,” said ADM Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano.

“Our actions in the first half of the year reflect ADM’s continuous efforts to create shareholder value. We are diversifying our capabilities and geographic reach through acquisitions and organic expansions. We are aggressively managing costs and capital, and taking additional portfolio actions; and we are ahead of pace to meet our 2017 target of $225 million in run-rate savings.

“With these collective actions, we expect to deliver solid year-over-year earnings growth and returns in 2017, and we are poised to be an even stronger company in 2018.”

Ag Services delivered its fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year increases in operating profits.

In Merchandising and Handling, North America Grain results increased significantly over the prior year with strong carries in wheat, corn and soybeans. Global Trade generated solid results and was up over the year-ago quarter, benefiting from improved margins, favorable timing effects and actions to improve performance.

Transportation decreased from the prior-year period, primarily due to river conditions and lower freight rates.

Milling and Other delivered solid results on steady margins and favorable merchandising.

Corn Processing results were up from the year-ago quarter. Higher volumes and improved margins in North America Sweeteners and Starches contributed to another strong performance. Bioproducts results increased over a weak prior year, with an improvement in ethanol margins.

Oilseeds Processing benefited from the diversity of its feedstocks, products and geographies; however, overall results were down compared to the second quarter of 2016. Weak margins in both global soybean crush and South American origination impacted Crushing and Origination results. Softseeds earnings were higher as a result of leveraging the business’s global flex capacity to capitalize on margin opportunities.

Refining, Packaging, Biodiesel and Other had solid results in all regions, with South America refined and packaged oils and the global peanut business contributing to strong performance in the quarter. North America Biodiesel results also improved over the prior-year quarter, which was impacted by unfavorable timing effects.

Asia experienced another good quarter, growing significantly over the prior-year period due both to ADM’s increased ownership stake in, and strong results from, Wilmar.

WFSI was in line with the prior-year quarter. WILD Flavors delivered double-digit operating profit growth with strong sales globally. Specialty Ingredients was down for the quarter.

July 31 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US

For the week ending July 30, 2017, temperatures averaged near normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Significant rainfall of an inch or more was received across most of the State. A few north central counties received as much as four inches of rain. Winter wheat harvest was completed for majority of the State. There were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 22 percent very short, 40 short, 38 adequate, and 0 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 19 percent very short, 41 short, 40 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 4 percent very poor, 10 poor, 25 fair, 47 good, and 14 excellent. Corn silking was 91 percent, near 93 last year and 90 for the five-year average. Dough was 17 percent, behind 23 last year and 25 average.

Soybean condition rated 4 percent very poor, 9 poor, 27 fair, 52 good, and 8 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 87 percent, near 85 last year and 86 average. Setting pods was 47 percent, ahead of 40 last year, and near 45 average.

Winter wheat harvested was 99 percent, near 96 last year, and ahead of 90 average.

Sorghum condition rated 3 percent very poor, 4 poor, 31 fair, 48 good, and 14 excellent. Sorghum headed was 26 percent, behind 40 both last year and average. Coloring was 2 percent, near 1 last year and 3 average.

Oats harvested was 89 percent, ahead of 74 last year and 78 average.

Alfalfa condition rated 5 percent very poor, 15 poor, 32 fair, 40 good, and 8 excellent. Alfalfa third cutting was 48 percent complete, ahead of 38 last year and 35 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 13 percent very poor, 20 poor, 38 fair, 26 good, and 3 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 4 percent very short, 14 short, 82 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:

Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps at:

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:


Iowa remained mostly dry with scattered reports of rainfall during the week ending July 30, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included applying fungicides and insecticides, harvesting oats, and haying.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 22 percent very short, 31 percent short, 45 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. South central Iowa reported two-thirds of topsoil moisture as very short. According to the July 25, 2017 U.S. Drought Monitor, parts of south central Iowa were considered under severe drought conditions. Subsoil moisture levels fell to 19 percent very short, 31 percent short, 48 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.

Ninety-one percent of Iowa’s corn crop has reached the silking stage, 3 days behind last year but 5 days ahead of the five-year average. Nineteen percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage, 4 days behind last year and 2 days behind average. Corn condition declined to 2 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 25 percent fair, 52 percent good and 13 percent excellent.

Soybeans blooming reached 85 percent, 4 days behind last year but 1 day ahead of average. Fifty-two percent of soybeans were setting pods, 2 days ahead of average. Soybean condition decreased slightly to 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 51 percent good and 9 percent excellent.

Seventy-three percent of the oat crop for grain or seed was harvested, 1 day ahead of average.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 95 percent, 4 days ahead of last year and nearly two weeks ahead of average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 22 percent complete, 1 day ahead of average. Hay condition dropped to 54 percent good to excellent, while pasture condition was rated 37 percent good to excellent. Reduced temperatures improved livestock conditions; however, supplemental feeding of hay and rotation of pastures were reported due to lack of rain causing poor pasture conditions.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Corn and spring wheat conditions continued to decline last week while soybean condition improved slightly, according to USDA's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

USDA rated corn condition at 61% good to excellent as of Sunday, July 30, down 1 percentage point from the previous week's 62%.  Corn development was lagging slightly behind the normal pace with 23% of the crop in the dough stage as of Sunday, down from 28% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 25%.

In contrast to corn, soybean conditions improved slightly last week, according to USDA. Fifty-nine percent of soybeans were rated good to excellent as of Sunday, up 2 percentage points from 57% the previous week.  USDA estimated that 82% of soybeans were blooming as of Sunday, down from 84% a year ago, but above the five-year average of 80%. Forty-eight percent of soybeans were setting pods, which is down from 51% a year ago but above the five-year average of 45%.

Meanwhile, spring wheat conditions continued to decline last week to 31% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from 33% the previous week.  USDA estimated that 9% of spring wheat was harvested as of Sunday, even with a year ago and even with the five-year average of 9% harvested.

Winter wheat harvest progressed to 88% complete as of Sunday, even with a year ago and above the five-year average of 86%, according to USDA.

Sorghum was 49% headed and 23% coloring, compared to 38% and 21% last week, 59% and 26% last year, and averages of 52% and 28%. Sorghum condition improved to 61% good to excellent, compared to 59% the previous week.

Barley was 6% harvested as of Sunday, behind 10% last year and also behind the average pace of 9%. Oats were 35% harvested, compared to 24% last week, 51% last year and a 45% average.

Cotton was 87% squaring and 46% setting bolls, compared to 77% and 36% last week, 91% and 53% last year, and 91% and 53% on average. Cotton condition improved slightly to 56% good to excellent from 55% the previous week. Rice was 64% headed, compared to 49% last week, 69% last year and a 57% average. Rice condition declined slightly to 71% good to excellent from 72% the previous week.

Monday July 31 Ag News

Following June Storms, Nebraska Congressional Delegation Makes Disaster Declaration Request

U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), Don Bacon (NE-02), and Adrian Smith (NE-03) have written to President Donald Trump outlining Nebraska’s request for a federal disaster declaration. Their request comes as a result of storms, which hit the state from June 12-17, 2017.

Over 18 Nebraska counties suffered major damages from six tornadoes, strong winds, and golf-ball-to-baseball-sized hail. The inclement weather resulted in more than $13,780,024 worth of damages across Nebraska. Approval of the disaster declaration would make federal assistance available to areas affected by the storm.

A copy of delegation’s letter to President Trump is below.
We write in support of Governor Pete Ricketts’s request for a major disaster declaration, which followed the storms occurring between June 12-17, for the subsequent eighteen Nebraska counties: Banner, Box Butte, Butler, Cass, Cuming, Dodge, Douglas, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Morrill, Polk, Sarpy, Saunders, Sheridan, Sioux, Thurston, and Wayne. We also support Governor Rickett’s request for Hazard Mitigation statewide.

The strong winds, including six tornadoes and golf-ball-to-baseball-sized hail, produced extensive damage across the state. Public power districts are reporting damages in excess of $13,780,024. The damage included, but is not limited to: electrical distribution infrastructure and facilities throughout the affected areas, public and private property severely damaged by large hail, public and private structures destroyed or severely damaged by straight-line winds and tornados, injury and death to livestock, and irrigation systems damaged or destroyed.

As our communities recover and rebuild, the federal government has a duty to support our state with its restoration efforts.

Frogeye Leaf Spot in Soybeans in Eastern Nebraska

Loren Giesler - NE Extension Plant Pathologist

Frogeye leaf spot is occurring across much of Nebraska's soybean production area. Over the past couple of years this disease has spread to the northern border of Nebraska and this year it is pretty common across the eastern third of the state. While many fields will only have minor disease development there are some with significant levels and a history that could require a fungicide application.


Infection can occur at any stage of soybean development, but most often occurs after flowering and is typically in the upper canopy. Initial symptoms are small, dark spots on the leaves. Spots eventually enlarge to a diameter of about ¼ inch and the centers of the lesions become gray to brown and have a reddish purple margin. Individual leaf spots can coalesce to create irregular patterns of blighting on the leaf. As the soybean leaf matures, it becomes less susceptible to infection, often confining damage to the upper canopy.

 The overall best application timing for frogeye management is in the R3 to early R4 growth stages and in many fields this is now or very close. This is one of the diseases that will be controlled very well with any of the strobilurin fungicides labeled for Nebraska However, strobilurin fungicide resistance to the disease has been reported in other parts of the U.S. Make sure to use a good combination fungicide product to avoid the development of strobilurin resistance.

Future Management

This disease is residue borne and will continue to be in the field when you find it. In future years, if significant development occurs, growers should consider using resistant soybean varieties to manage the disease.

Phytophthora Root and Stem Rot Developing in Soybeans

Kyle Broderick - Coordinator of the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic

Cool conditions this spring prevented Phytophthora root and stem rot from causing many problems early in the growing season. However, as soils have warmed, this fungus has become active in irrigated fields and those that have received significant rain events over the past couple weeks. This soilborne disease, caused by Phytophthora sojae, has been confirmed in Lancaster, Saunders, Wayne, Harlan, and Hall counties in 2017 and is expected to be in other fields across the state.

Occasional stunted, wilted plants in the middle of otherwise healthy fields may be due to Phytophthora root and stem rot. This disease is most severe in poorly drained or flooded areas, including tire tracks from an irrigation system or low spots in a field. In the past we have observed that when drought-stressed fields receive heavy rains filling soil water levels to field capacity, it can result in significant disease development.

Phytophthora root and stem rot can damage plants throughout the year, causing pre- and post-emergent damping off in seedlings, and stem and root rots at later growth stages. Root and stem rots appearing this time of year are related to the level of genetic resistance in the plant.  Reddish-brown to black lesions start at the soil line and may extend several nodes up the stem. As the disease continues to develop, roots and stems turn brown and chlorotic or yellow, leaves wilt, but the petioles remain attached.

Management for this disease occurs prior to planting by selecting seed for genetic resistance and using seed treatment fungicides. Past studies funded by the soybean checkoff have shown that the use of resistance with good tolerance scores were the best genetic traits to select. Keeping a detailed field history of varieties planted and seed treatments applied will help guide management decisions the next time soybeans are planted. Accurate diagnosis is key to determining proper management practices when planting soybeans in the future.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               How should you manage pastures to maximize growth from recent rain?  Stay tuned and I’ll discuss how you can get all the new grass growth possible from this much needed moisture.

               Some drought-parched areas received enough rain recently to give pastures a much needed boost.  Some green is starting to return to these hills and the cows sure appreciate it.

               As we all know, though, it will take a lot more rain to bring things back to normal.  Since that’s unlikely, it’s important to make the most of this recent moisture.

               Grazing fresh growth as soon as it develops is not your best option.  Avoid as much as possible the extreme temptation to give cows access to this nice green feed right away.  When you graze plants as they start to grow, it lowers their rate of growth and reduces their water use efficiency by allowing more soil moisture to escape as evaporation instead of first going through the plant to support growth.

               A better move is to restrict animal access to as little land area as possible so the maximum number of pasture plants get to grow without potential grazing pressure.  Even feed hay instead of grazing to stretch the number of acres given a chance to grow.

               If our prayers are answered and more rain comes, you will be able to start grazing later on with expectations that regrowth will occur.  But if it doesn’t rain, at least all the moisture you did receive will have been used to support growth instead of just evaporating away.

               When rain produces fresh green growth after an extended dry period, it’s hard to delay grazing.  But that is what you must do to maximize growth from limited moisture.

USDA Invests $15.7 Million to Improve Livestock and Aquaculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced 40 grants totaling more than $15.7 million for agricultural research on the production of beef, dairy, poultry, pork, and fish that people consume every day. The funding is made possible through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

"To ensure a healthy and safe food supply, we need innovations," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "NIFA investments help foster the discovery and translation of new knowledge into science-based management practices to help America's agricultural enterprises thrive and meet growing consumer demand."

The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative is America's flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. The AFRI Foundational program supports research in several priority areas, including animal breeding, reproduction, nutrition and growth. These grants help improve the quality and efficiency of animal production in a variety of ways, such as through the creation of genetic databases, enhanced breeding methods, and research on the cellular, molecular, genetic, or whole-animal aspects of reproduction, nutrition, growth, and lactation.

Fiscal year 2016 grants include those listed below.
Animal Reproduction
- University of Nebraska, Lincoln, $465,000
- University of Nebraska, Lincoln, $480,000
- University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, $480,000

More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website.

CommonGround Program Celebrates Seven Years of Advancing Conversations About Food Among Farmers and Consumers

More than 200 women farmers across the country are advancing conversations about food and farming between consumers and farmers as part of the CommonGround program.

Many of these women farmers will gather to celebrate the program’s success and discuss future plans during the 7th annual CommonGround National Conference today through Aug. 2.

CommonGround provides a platform for women farmers to share their personal experiences, as well as science and research, to help consumers sort through the myths and misinformation surrounding food and farming, said Cathryn Wojcicki, communications manager for the National Corn Growers Association.

“Over the last seven years, our farmer volunteers have made millions of positive impressions about farming through media interviews, local events and social media efforts,” Wojcicki said. “We’re gathering this week to celebrate our achievements and talk about how we can reach even more people.”

CommonGround was developed in 2010 by farmers through two national checkoffs, the United Soybean Board (USB) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) as a way to address consumer’s growing demand to know where food comes from and what’s in it. Since 2010, the CommonGround program has grown from 14 farmer volunteers in five states to more than 200 volunteers in 19 states.

Joan Ruskamp, a cattle feeder from Dodge, Nebraska, became a CommonGround volunteer in 2011 as a way to have transparent and real conversations with other moms about food and farming.

“CommonGround has given me the skills and confidence to engage in conversations with consumers about how their food is grown, specifically related to the work that my husband and I do on our farm,” Ruskamp said.

Ruskamp didn’t expect the advocacy program to provide her with leadership skills that would strengthen her business and personal relationships. She says she’s been able to apply the leadership skills learned through CommonGround to her cattle operation as well as her family.

When we started CommonGround seven years ago we had no idea the program would contribute to the growth of such amazing agricultural leaders, says Missy Morgan, associate director of CommonGround.

“CommonGround’s transparent style has allowed for a unique two-way conversation among women who are able to connect based on shared values. This builds trust and creates an environment for more impactful conversations about how food is raised between women farmers and women raising their families in urban areas”, Morgan said.

“Our women farmers have earned people’s trust and respect. They really have compassion for moms, because for the most part our farmers are also mothers,” Morgan said. “They know how much moms care about giving their children the best, safest foods, because they care about that too.”

CommonGround meets annually to provide farmer volunteers with informing insights regarding food and agriculture. During the CommonGround National Conference, farmer advocates will have the opportunity to hear new consumer research, and also network with women farmers from other states.

Learn how food goes from farm to table and join the conversation at

Green Plains Reports Second Quarter 2017 Financial Results

Omaha-based Green Plains Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRE) today announced financial results for the second quarter of 2017. Net loss attributable to the company was $16.4 million, or $(0.41) per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2017 compared with net income of $8.2 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, for the same period in 2016. Revenues were $886.3 million for the second quarter of 2017 compared with $887.7 million for the same period last year.

"While ethanol margins were weak, our food and ingredients and ag and energy segments generated over $17 million in quarterly EBITDA led by strong performance from Fleischmann's Vinegar and our cattle operations, further validating the strategy we put in place," said Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer. "We proactively took action against the weakened ethanol margin environment by idling approximately 50 million gallons, or 40%, of production capacity in June. While we have returned to full production, we will remain disciplined in our response to supply/demand imbalances. Although volumes were lower this quarter, the partnership segment contribution was strong with over $16 million of EBITDA."

"Both U.S. and global demand remain strong for ethanol. U.S. ethanol exports are 48% ahead of last year through May, putting us on pace to export between 1.1 to 1.3 billion gallons this year," Becker added. "We are encouraged by the recent change allowing 10% ethanol blends in a large portion of Mexico and the momentum we are seeing with E15 station adoption, which has increased demand for higher blends in the U.S."

During the second quarter, Green Plains produced 275.5 million gallons of ethanol compared with 274.3 million gallons for the same period in 2016. The consolidated ethanol crush margin was $18.9 million, or $0.07 per gallon, for the second quarter of 2017 compared with $42.3 million, or $0.15 per gallon, for the same period in 2016. The consolidated ethanol crush margin is the ethanol production segment's operating income before depreciation and amortization, which includes corn oil production, plus intercompany storage, transportation and other fees, net of related expenses.

"Our segment EBITDA, excluding ethanol production and corporate activities, was approximately $71 million for the first half of 2017 and we expect these segments will generate approximately $150 million of EBITDA this year, including our stake in Green Plains Partners, which remains a significant driver of value for our shareholders," commented Becker. "Our strategy to diversify our revenue and income streams and provide more predictable cash flows for Green Plains' shareholders remains a key focus of our growth objectives."

Revenues attributable to the company were $1.8 billion for the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, compared with $1.6 billion for the same period in 2016. Net loss for the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, was $20.0 million, or $(0.51) per diluted share, compared with net loss of $15.9 million, or $(0.42) per diluted share, for the same period in 2016.

"During the quarter, the platform generated free cash flow and we continue to maintain ample liquidity," stated Becker. "We invested $51 million of growth capital during the quarter to acquire two cattle feed yards, expand vinegar production capacity and continue constructing our new export terminal in Beaumont. We used $8.5 million of cash, along with 2.8 million shares of common stock, to extinguish $56.3 million of convertible debt, paid $4.7 million in dividends and ended the quarter with $225 million of total cash on the balance sheet and $171 million of available liquidity."

"While we're not happy with the bottom line results this quarter, our balance sheet remains strong and we will continue to focus on growing and diversifying our business going forward. Based on current markets, we expect better performance in the third and fourth quarters and will move quickly to reduce volatility and lock away margins as they expand from here."

USGC Delegates Hear Why Trade Is Critical To U.S. Agriculture’s Growth During Summer Meeting

Experts on the year’s most pressing topic for U.S. agriculture - trade - stirred the thoughts of U.S. Grains Council (USGC) delegates during the first day of the 57th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in Vancouver, Washington.

“Every farmer needs to work to be a foreign policy expert as much as we are crop or market experts,” Chip Councell, USGC chairman and farmer from Maryland, told the delegation. “This meeting serves as part of an ongoing series of events and information that make up a ‘trade school’ meant to help you know as much as possible about these important topics.”

The first of day of meetings in Vancouver focused on the critical role trade plays in the growth of U.S. agriculture.

Darci Vetter, former chief agricultural negotiator with the U.S. Trade Representative, gave a keynote emphasizing the need for all in agriculture to not only understand the current trade environment, but also communicate its importance on the local, state and national levels.

“All of you should consider yourselves ambassadors of trade,” Vetter said. “Recurring, persistent conversation about trade is what will turn the tide. We have to tell that story.”

The next two speakers discussed Frontier Asia and the current geopolitical environment. Yadong Liu, president of the China Energy Fund Committee, spoke on China’s increasing influence on global trade through the One Belt, One Road iniatitive. Dr. Stephen Haggard, director of the Korea-Pacific program at the University of California-San Diego, followed with an outline of developments in the Asia-Pacific region, focusing on the potential impacts of recent tensions with North Korea.

The morning general session concluded with a briefing from representatives from the Washington State Department of Agriculture on the important role commodity inspections play in keeping U.S. trade moving. The presentation preceeded a moderated boat tour of local export infrastructure.

Through the next two days of meetings, discussions by Council members and delegates will continue to focus on the shifts in trade and trade policy discussions across commodities, sectors and countries around the world.

“Trade is in a time of change, and that makes the work of the Council more important than ever,” Councell said. “It is good to see these issues getting the attention they deserve. What we are talking about here is critical to our profitability.”

FDA Authorizes Qualified Health Claim for Soy Oil

Soybean oil can be part of a healthy diet. Now soybean farmers – and food manufacturers alike - can proudly tout its heart-health benefits. Thanks to a petition for a qualified health claim just authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA), soybean oil – and products containing soybean oil – can use a heart-health claim on packaging, menus and more.

The claim is similar to those associated with canola and olive oil and states that eating 1.5 tablespoons of soybean oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when replacing saturated fat and not increasing calories. The FDA announced this week that it had no objections to the claim for foods that qualify. The application for the claim was submitted by Bunge, one of the leading soybean processors in the country.

“The food industry is by far our largest customer for soybean oil and by submitting this claim Bunge is really looking out for soybean farmers and our long-term profitability,” says John Motter, United Soybean Board chairman and soybean farmer from Jenera, Ohio. “This claim really helps U.S. soybean farmers maintain their competitiveness in this critical market and helps us compete with other oils that have become synonymous with heart health.”

The American Heart Association recently went on record regarding the cardiovascular benefits of the fats found in soybean oil.

“We conclude strongly that lowering intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, like those found in soybean oil, will lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease,” said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, co-author of “Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease, A Presidential Advisory from the American Heart Association” published in June, 20171.
These positive movements for soybean oil will help in U.S. markets primarily, but the checkoff will use the claim to position U.S. soy in international markets where health-conscious decisions are also being made.

As for the U.S., food companies interested in using the claim on food products with at least 5.0 grams of soybean oil per serving can use the full statement below when also meeting applicable criteria for saturated and trans fat, cholesterol and sodium, and in some cases the presence of one of six beneficial nutrients identified by FDA. The authorized claim language is as follows:

“Supportive but not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 1½ tablespoons (20.5 grams) daily of soybean oil, which contains unsaturated fat, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. To achieve this possible benefit, soybean oil is to replace saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product contains [x] grams of soybean oil.”

ASA Welcomes Approval of Soybean Oil Heart Health Claim

The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed news today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a qualified health claim linking consumption of soybean oil to reduced risk of coronary heart disease. The petition, filed by Bunge North America, pointed to the potential heart health benefits of soybean oil, and manufacturers may now communicate that soybean oil may reduce coronary heart disease risk and lower LDL-cholesterol when replacing saturated fat and not increasing calories. ASA President Ron Moore, a farmer from Roseville, Ill., applauded the news in a statement Monday.

“The cooking oil market is extremely important for U.S. soybean farmers, and the newly-approved health claim will enable manufacturers of soybean oil to communicate to consumers about the heart-healthy benefits of soybean oil. As we compete within the market against other cooking oils, having FDA recognize the ability of soybean oil to provide a superior omega-3 fatty acid profile while also lowering bad cholesterol levels is a benefit to consumers and to producers alike. Heart-healthy soybean oil creates a potential for growth in a time when net farm income is down. This development is a welcome one, and we congratulate the Bunge team for their work in seeing it to fruition.”

CWT Assists with 304,238 Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 2 requests for export assistance from member cooperatives that have contracts to sell 304,238 pounds (138 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese to customers in Asia. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from July through October 2017.

So far, this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 45.035 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 3.013 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 17 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 483.456 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Totals adjusted for cancellations received.

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 Statement on July 31 Letter to FDA from Good Foods Institute Seeking Changes in Dairy Food Definitions

Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, NMPF

“The Soy Foods Association’s 20-year-old petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is as inappropriate today as it was when it was filed in 1997, and the Good Foods Institute (GFI) is mistaken for trying to revive those old arguments today. Nothing has happened in the intervening time period to allow the combination of soy powder, water, emulsifiers, stabilizers, sugar, sodium and added vitamins to magically become milk. Regardless of what food technologists might try, milk still only comes from mammals.

“The efforts of GFI and other groups to alter food standards that have been in place for decades – allowing manufacturers of imitation dairy foods to append a plant name like almond, soy, hemp or quinoa in front of legally defined dairy terms such as milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream – falsely suggests that the products are nutritionally equivalent. They are not. This is a transparent attempt to profit from milk’s good name by emulating the wording, but not the superior nutrition, of our products. It is misleading and deceptive to allow these nutritionally inferior imitators to use our hard-won reputation to their advantage.

“What’s more, this request is not only inconsistent with U.S. food standards, it’s also inconsistent with regulations used by most other nations, which don’t allow plant-based imitators to co-opt dairy-specific terms. Ironically, in GFI’s first request to FDA in March, the organization admitted that in China – supposedly the original source of ‘soy milk’ – the more common term used in Mandarin for soy beverages is ‘dòu jiāng,’ which translates to bean slurry. At least that is a more accurate and legally compliant product description.”

New Era of Burndown Control Awaits U.S. Farmers

Trials across the Midwest and Midsouth conducted by farmers and retailers through Dow AgroSciences’ Field Forward™ on-farm research program showed superior burndown control on tough broadleaf weeds using Elevore™ herbicide.

Powered by a new Group 4 growth regulator herbicide developed by Dow AgroSciences called Arylex™ active, Elevore is proven to effectively control labeled broadleaf weeds, including glyphosate- and ALS-resistant marestail, lambsquarters, cutleaf evening-primrose and henbit. elevore + arylex logo.jpg

Elevore, which will be labeled for use prior to planting soybeans, corn and cotton, will be available to farmers for the 2018 spring burndown season.

“We targeted glyphosate-resistant marestail between 5 and 8 inches in trials through Field Forward trials and are seeing superior control,” says Jeff Ellis, Ph.D., field scientist, Dow AgroSciences. “Elevore provided excellent activity on marestail across a wide range of geographies and at various heights, including 8-inch-tall marestail, preventing regrowth so farmers can plant into a clean field.”

Marestail is the first annual broadleaf weed with documented glyphosate resistance. If left uncontrolled, herbicide-resistant marestail can present huge challenges for farmers at planting and throughout the growing season. A single female marestail plant can produce approximately 200,000 seeds that are transported by wind, perpetuating the spread of herbicide-resistant populations.

The low use rate of 1 ounce per acre makes Elevore an excellent fit in reduced- and no-till production systems for burndown applications before planting soybeans, corn and cotton. The no-till fit has retail agronomists like Levi Lehmkuhl, Hiawatha, Kansas, eager to incorporate Elevore™ herbicide into burndown program recommendations for his customers. More than 90 percent of soybean and corn acres in his northeastern Kansas trade territory are no-till.

“I went to the field every day after application and, the first three days, I questioned if anything was going to happen because nothing had really changed in the appearance of the weeds,” Lehmkuhl says. “And then I went over the next day, and things were completely wilted. The appearance had changed drastically — overnight. Elevore had smoked everything in its path.”

Visual signs of control don’t appear immediately because the active ingredient in Elevore herbicide, Arylex™ active, is absorbed by the plant’s cells, where the herbicide binds with specific auxin receptors in the cell’s nucleus. The delayed response is due to the gradual, albeit complete, absorption process. Once absorbed by the plant’s nucleus, Arylex active halts growth and the plant dies, providing complete control.

“Arylex active provides systemic control and does a great job of virtually eliminating the chance for regrowth of targeted plants,” Ellis says. “Symptoms on targeted plants are shown as typical auxin responses followed by necrosis and death. This type of plant control gives growers peace of mind that their fields will be cleaner at planting.”

Elevore should be applied with commonly used residual herbicides, such as Surveil® herbicide, and burndown tank-mix partners, including 2,4-D and glyphosate, up to 14 days before planting soybeans.

Friday July 28 Ag News

CPM Hoop Barn Tour

Date: August 1st, 2017
Purpose: To network with other producers that have hoop buildings or that are inquiring about building one
Event Organizer: Cody Sweeter-Beef Cattle Consultant, Central Plains Milling in Howells and Columbus

Tentative Agenda
8:45- Meet in Brainard
9:00- Leave from Brainard Location

9:15-10:00- First stop at Victor Bohuslavsky, Brainard
From the south edge of Brainard by the baseball field.  Go West on the black top and follow the curve south.  Continue 1 mile south of the curve to Road 29 and then go west 1 mile to Road R and then go north and you will see on the west side of the road.  (There is no house there, but there are some other out buildings and grain bins.)

10:15- 11:00- Steve & Tyler Rezac, Valparaiso
From Valparaiso.  Go north on Highway 79 2 miles to County Road D and then go West for 1 mile to County Road 29.  Go north a little over ½ mile and you will see it on the east side of the road.

11:30-12:15- Lunch in Wahoo

12:30- 1:15- Meduna Family Farms, Colon
From Colon.  (North of Wahoo)  Go north on the black top road for 3 miles to County Road T.  Go East for 1 mile to County Road 15 and you will see it on the east side of the road.

1:30-2:00- Dave & Andy Chvatal, Malmo
From Malmo.  Go north 1 mile to County Road P.  Go east 1 mile to County Road 21 and then go north about ¾ of a mile and you will see it on the east side of the road.

2:45-3:30- Daryl Crook, Rising City
From Rising City.  On Highway 92 go east of Rising City 1 mile to Road F.  Then go north 1 ¾ miles and he is on the east side of the road.  You can see his place.

4:00-5:00- Columbus Feedmill

5:00- Dinner @ Columbus

If you are interested in going on the tour, please contact Cody Sweeter, cell: (402) 367-2840 or email: to inform him if you are interested in riding the van or following along in your own vehicle.  The event is free to attend. You will be responsible for any meals purchased during planned meal stops.


Maximize Your Forage Quality by Attending The Midwest Forage Clinic, hosted by Central Plains Milling in Howells and Columbus. 


10:00am Check In and Donuts/Coffee
-    Proper Forage Preparation
-    Daily Bunker Management
-    Bunker Sizing
-    Bunker De-Facing
-    Bunker Nutrient Profiles
-    Silage Nutrient Testing
-    Mixing and Delivery System
-    Why Forage Preservatives
12:00    FREE Burger Buffet
1:30     Adjourn


BQA Workshop Offers Certification for NW Iowa Producers

Major beef packers are requiring that feedlot producers who sell cattle to their plants must be Beef Quality Assurance certified. To help northwest Iowa cattle producers accomplish this, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association are co-sponsoring a BQA workshop on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office from 10 a.m. to noon.

ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist Beth Doran said that while the certification is mandatory for producers in order to sell to packers, the information producers receive from the BQA session is valuable in and of itself.

“Consumer surveys indicate that consumers want to know how the beef they eat is raised,” Doran said. "The BQA program addresses this and provides best management practices regarding cattle care and handling, management of feed ingredients and medication, biosecurity and record keeping."

Other topics featured at the workshop include feedlot self-assessments, current and future trends in beef production, and results from the 2016 National Beef Quality Audit. This audit focused on cattle transportation, animal identification, carcass quality and animal well-being. One message from the audit was consistent and important – BQA is an important strategy to increase consumer confidence. The program flyer has all the details for the session.

Workshop participants will obtain their BQA certification, which will be effective three years from the training date. To maintain integrity of the BQA program, all BQA certification in Iowa is administered by the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

There is no cost to attend the workshop, but participants are encouraged to preregister to assure adequate materials by contacting Doran by phone at 712-737-4230 or

IFBF Park at '17 State Fair showcases agriculture's presence in everyday life

The 2017 Iowa State Fair is right around the corner and fairgoers will have a chance to win great prizes and play games at Farm Bureau Park while learning how “Farmers Help Produce More than Produce.” This year’s theme is designed to show Iowans that Iowa agriculture provides numerous products we rely on every day.

For example, did you know soybeans are being used to make antifreeze for vehicles and toilet seats, or that cattle help make buttons for clothing and the bristles of paint brushes?  With the help of special “decoder” glasses, state fairgoers will see many more examples like these at Farm Bureau Park, as they view large displays of livestock and farm equipment that have hidden images on them made from Iowa-grown crops and livestock.

“We encourage fairgoers to stop by Farm Bureau Park to see how agriculture weaves its way unexpectedly into our everyday lives. Farm Bureau members will also be on-hand to answer questions pertaining to agriculture, and share information about how they grow and raise food today, as well as how agriculture impacts all our lives,” says Craig Hill, IFBF president.  “This year we will also be celebrating the recognition of 353 Century Farms and 114 Heritage Farms that have been in the same family for 150 years or more.  This longtime history of farming embraces qualities important to all Iowans like hard work, innovation and love of family.”

Visitors to Farm Bureau Park will have a chance to play free games to win great prizes, including $500 in groceries.  Those who sign up to join Iowa Farm Bureau at the fair can also win $2,000 in ethanol fuel. Current members are encouraged to bring their ‘member thank you coupon’ from the Spokesman to receive a special gift while supplies last. They can also enter various drawings to win a zero-turn John Deere lawn tractor, a Fisher Price Power Wheels F-150 or a 24-month lease on a 2017 Ford F-150 or a Morton Building and Cat® compact track loader.

There is something for all ages at Farm Bureau Park.  Every day a variety of health screenings such as blood pressure, hearing, skin cancer and lung health checks will be available. During Farm Bureau Day on Tues., Aug. 15, chefs from across the state will bring their best recipes, grills and smokers to the Grand Concourse for the 54th annual IFBF Cookout Contest, hoping to win bragging rights with a category prize or to be named the overall Cookout Champion. On Thurs., Aug. 17, Iowa’s next batch of entrepreneurs are invited to the Park for a free business consultation with IFBF’s Renew Rural Iowa program director and associates. Find a full schedule at  

Smith Statement on Japan Raising Tariff on U.S. Beef

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after Japan announced it will raise its tariff to 50 percent on frozen beef from the U.S. and other countries with which it does not currently have trade agreements.

“U.S. beef producers have already been placed at a competitive disadvantage in the Japanese market due to our country’s inaction on trade,” Smith said.  “Australia’s trade agreement with Japan has brought the tariff on its frozen beef down to 27 percent, compared to the nearly 40 percent tariff applied to U.S. beef.  Now, with this hike to 50 percent, our producers will face nearly double the tariff as their Australian counterparts.

“We know U.S. beef tastes better, and our efficient producers can meet demand from Japanese consumers if trade barriers are removed.  We can’t afford to wait any longer to work on a bilateral agreement with Japan, which is why I introduced a resolution in the House to urge the Trump administration to begin the process of establishing a trade agreement with this top trading partner.”

Smith serves on the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade policy.  He introduced H. Res. 236, his resolution calling on the Trump administration to begin the process of establishing a trade agreement with Japan, in March.

Ricketts Comments on Japan Beef Tariff Increase

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that Japan had raised their tariff to 50 percent on frozen beef from the United States.

“I call on Congress and the Trump Administration to redouble their efforts to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with Japan to address the beef tariff rates as well as other agricultural market access issues similar to what would have been covered under the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Governor Ricketts.  “As announced, I will be leading a trade mission to Japan in early September.  Our beef community can rest assured these tariffs rate increases will be at the forefront of our discussions in Japan.”

The Governor went on to say that the announcement that Japan has decided to raise its tariff on frozen beef from the U.S. will have a serious economic impact on Nebraska’s beef community.  Japan is Nebraska’s number one export market for beef products with a value of over $316 million in 2016 alone.

This increase in the tariff rate will place Nebraska beef exports at an even greater competitive disadvantage with other countries that Japan has free trade agreements with like Australia and the newly announced European Union agreement.  It is anticipated that this will shift purchases from frozen to fresh triggering beef safeguard tariff increases on fresh beef as well later this year compounding the impact to Nebraska’s beef exports.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Japan Increasing Tariff on Frozen Beef

“The Japanese government’s announcement today to increase its tariff on frozen beef is a big blow to Nebraska’s beef producers. In 2016, Nebraska exported over $316 million in beef and beef products to Japan which accounted for 16 percent of the total U.S. beef exports to this important customer. What makes this action worse is that the United States recently walked away from an agreement, the Trans Pacific Partnership, which would have rendered this action meaningless. Now is the time for the Trump administration to follow through on their promise for a “better deal” for Nebraska’s cattlemen and women, and now is the time for a bilateral agreement with Japan.” 

Statement of Secretary Perdue Regarding Japan's Planned Increase of Tariff on U.S. Frozen Beef

The government of Japan has announced that rising imports of frozen beef in the first quarter of the Japanese fiscal year (April-June) have triggered a safeguard, resulting in an automatic increase to Japan's tariff rate under the WTO on imports of frozen beef from the United States.  The increase, from 38.5 percent to 50 percent, will begin August 1, 2017 and last through March 31, 2018.  The tariff would affect only exporters from countries, including the United States, which do not have free trade agreements with Japan currently in force.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement:

“I am concerned that an increase in Japan's tariff on frozen beef imports will impede U.S. beef sales and is likely to increase the United States’ overall trade deficit with Japan.  This would harm our important bilateral trade relationship with Japan on agricultural products.  It would also negatively affect Japanese consumers by raising prices and limiting their access to high-quality U.S. frozen beef.  I have asked representatives of the Japanese government directly and clearly to make every effort to address these strong concerns, and the harm that could result to both American producers and Japanese consumers.”

U.S. exports of beef and beef products to Japan totaled $1.5 billion last year, making it the United States’ top market.

NCBA Responds to Japan Raising Tariff on U.S. Beef Imports: "Underscores Urgent Need for Bilateral Trade Agreement"

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Craig Uden issued the following statement in response to the announcement that the Government of Japan is triggering the safeguard tariff increase on frozen beef imports:

“We're very disappointed to learn that the tariff on frozen beef imports to Japan will increase from 38.5 percent to 50 percent until April 2018. Japan is the top export market for U.S. beef in both volume and value, and anything that restricts our sales to Japan will have a negative impact on America’s ranching families and our Japanese consumers. NCBA opposes artificial barriers like these because they unfairly distort the market and punish both producers and consumers. Nobody wins in this situation. Our producers lose access, and beef becomes a lot more expensive for Japanese consumers. We hope the Trump Administration and Congress realize that this unfortunate development underscores the urgent need for a bilateral trade agreement with Japan absent the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Background: Japan was the top export market for U.S. beef, valued at $1.5 billion in 2016. According to data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation, first quarter U.S. beef sales to Japan increased 42 percent over 2016. In addition to the United States, the 50 percent safeguard tariff also applies to imports from Canada, New Zealand, and other countries that do not have a free trade agreement with Japan.


South Korea this week requested that the Trump administration postpone any review of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) until its new trade minister is appointed. The request comes after USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer requested a review of the agreement in a July 12 letter to Korea’s former minister of trade. In response, South Korea suggested that both sides “objectively examine, analyze and assess the effects” of KORUS before this meeting takes place. Based on the trade agreement, the two countries must meet within 30 days of the initial request, or by Aug. 11.

NCGA Applauds Decision on 2014-16 Renewable Volume Obligations

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled today in favor of the National Corn Growers Association and other renewable fuels advocates, agreeing with the petitioners that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) erred in how it interpreted and used the “inadequate domestic supply” waiver in the Renewable Fuel Standard law in setting renewable fuel volumes for 2014-2016. 

In Americans for Clean Energy et al v. Environmental Protection Agency, the Court vacated EPA’s decision to reduce the total renewable fuel volume requirement in 2016 and remanded the rule to EPA for further consideration.

The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association:

“Today’s Court decision is a win for farmers, the biofuels industry, and consumers. This ruling affirms our view that the EPA did not follow the law when it reduced the 2014-2016 renewable fuel volumes below levels intended by Congress. The Court held that EPA was wrong to interpret the phrase ‘inadequate domestic supply’ to mean ‘inadequate domestic supply and demand.’ We agree with the Court that effectively adding words to the law through this interpretation simply exceeds EPA’s authority.

“We appreciate the Court honoring Congress’ intent. Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard to help increase American energy independence and provide cleaner fuel choices for consumers by opening a closed fuel market and forcing the oil industry to allow competition in. Whether there is an adequate supply of renewable fuel to meet volume standards is not the same as how much fuel is used. Or, in the Court’s own words, ‘The fact that a person is on a diet does not mean there is an inadequate supply of food in the refrigerator.’

“Corn farmers have done our part to help expand the supply of renewable fuel, as well as help support use of renewable fuels with retailers and consumers. We look forward to working with the EPA to ensure that going forward, the Agency follows the law when implementing the RFS.”

Growth Energy: Court Decision on 2016 RVOs Is a Win for Consumers

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) flawed methodology used to reduce the 2016 total Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

This decision was in response to a joint petition filed in January 2016 to hear a challenge to the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016. Growth Energy along with Americans for Clean Energy, American Coalition for Ethanol, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, and the Renewable Fuels Association filed this petition.

“We’re very pleased with the court’s ruling, which restores Congressional intent and will ensure that renewable fuels continue to play a growing and important role in America’s fuel mix,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said.

“This is a major win for consumers, who save money when American biofuels can compete at the pump with foreign oil. Every year, American biofuels get more affordable and more sustainable. Ethanol slashes greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent, and biofuel production supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the U.S. We appreciate the court recognizing the value of the RFS, and we look forward to working with the EPA to make sure that America’s biofuel targets reflect the goals set down in law.”

Crude Futures Settle at 2-Month Highs

Spot-month oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange had their biggest weekly gains this year, and September West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil on the IntercontinentalExchange settled at their highest price points since May with RBOB and ULSD futures registering settlement highs last reached in mid-April.

The rally was underpinned by signs the domestic oil market is heading toward rebalancing supply with demand, while the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is reaffirming their efforts to cut the global supply overhang through an 18-month agreement capping their production.  Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Nigeria all pledged to further curb crude exports and production starting as early as next month.

Midweek data from the Energy Information Administration showed total U.S. petroleum stocks were drawn down by 9.5 million barrels (bbl) as products demand edged up 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) to above 21.0 million bpd.

U.S. crude oil inventories fell 7.2 million bbl to 483.4 million bbl during the week-ended July 21, the lowest since the first week of January, and supply dropped to a 1.4% deficit versus the same week in 2016. Total U.S. crude production fell 19,000 bpd to 9.41 million bpd during the week reviewed, up 900,000 bpd year-over-year, EIA said.

EIA also reported midweek that gasoline demand neared a record weekly high during the week ended July 21.

Showcase Helps Expand Red Meat Exports to Rapidly-growing Latin American Region

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) held its seventh annual Latin American Product Showcase July 26-27 in Cartagena, Colombia. This year’s event was the largest to date, with 56 exporting companies welcoming about 140 meat buyers from 18 countries throughout Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The showcase was conducted with funding support from the Nebraska Beef Council, the Beef Checkoff Program and the Pork Checkoff.

“This event just continues to gain momentum year after year,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president for marketing. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for U.S. exporters, because visiting personally with the range of buyers we have here would require a month or more of travel on their own – but here, they can do it in two days. And it’s not just the number of buyers attending, it’s the quality of buyers – real decision-makers who are here to conduct business.”

This sentiment was echoed by Josy Castro, lead sales manager for Latin America for Atlanta-based trading company Interra International, a longtime USMEF member.

“This year I have really noticed that all of the customers who are here are very qualified – people who are already importing products and have experience with the process,” she explained. “This is always a productive event for Interra, but I want to extend a big kudos to USMEF for attracting such a strong lineup of customers this year.”

“We serve every type of foodservice establishment, from family-owned restaurants to large restaurant chains to all-inclusive hotels,” said Pablo Salazar of Atlantic Foodservice, Colombia’s largest beef importer and one of the country’s largest buyers of imported pork. “We have good relationships with our suppliers, but an event like this allows us to build on those existing relationships as well as to meet with traders and explore new options for our customers. I can save two or three months of travel with a showcase like this, so it’s a very worthwhile event for our company.”

Importers from Brazil attended the showcase for the first time, with Brazil having opened to U.S. beef earlier this year. Buyers from Ecuador returned to the event this year, as Ecuador recently eliminated temporary import duties that had made it a difficult market for U.S. exporters to serve.

Dawn Caldwell, a cattle producer who serves on the Nebraska Beef Council and as vice chair of the Federation of State Beef Councils, attended the showcase for the first time. She noted that the experience confirmed the Nebraska Beef Council’s decision to help fund the Latin American Product Showcase when it was first launched in 2011.

“Nebraska Beef Council has supported this event from the get-go, and we’ve always had great reports from producers who have attended,” Caldwell said. “So I’m glad that I now get to see the showcase for myself, and what a great investment it has been. We as producers don’t always understand everything that’s involved in getting our beef on the consumer’s plate, especially in another country. So I have really learned a lot here, talking with meat exporters and traders of every size and scope.”

Missouri pork producer Everett Forkner represented the National Pork Board at the showcase, and expressed similar feelings about the return on investment it provides for the U.S. pork industry.

“A real highlight of my tenure with the National Pork Board has been the alignment we’ve had with USMEF and the marketing effort that they are making worldwide,” Forkner said. “This showcase is a great example of that effort. Being able to attend this event has really opened my eyes to the tremendous opportunities we have, not only in Colombia but in all of Latin America. I also had a chance to visit cold storage facilities here in Colombia that are as modern and up-to-date as any in the world and to visit a retailer that has 435 outlets carrying U.S. pork. Seeing this modern infrastructure makes me feel very good about the amount of U.S. pork we are going to be able to market internationally.”

Larry Marek, an Iowa producer of soybeans, corn, cattle and hogs, traveled to the showcase representing the United Soybean Board. He said the level of activity gave him added confidence in the soybean industry’s investments in red meat exports.

“I’ve never attended an event like this before, so I’m really impressed and surprised at the demand for our products and the magnitude of activity,” Marek said. “A large volume of U.S. red meat is already entering this region and there’s definitely going to be growth in the future.”

In addition to the main showcase and ample networking opportunities for both buyers and exporters, the event also included educational seminars. Representatives of Midan Marketing, a Chicago-based firm that services meat industry clients, shared insights designed to help businesses in the Latin American region successfully merchandise more U.S. red meat. Michael Uetz and Maggie O’Quinn discussed trends in consumer behavior in their “Modernization of Retail and Foodservice Marketing” presentation. This included a discussion of recent changes in shopping and dining practices, and how companies can capitalize. The Midan team’s second presentation, “Digital Marketing: Proven Strategies to Drive U.S. Red Meat Sales,” underscored the value of a meat distributor or retailer being able to tell its unique story online in the digital age.

Prior to joining Midan Marketing, O’Quinn represented Certified Angus Beef (CAB) in Latin America for many years. She was very impressed with the growth in U.S. exports to the region and with the high level of interest in U.S. products.

“For me this event was a real homecoming, and it’s just amazing to see the exponential growth in the amount of business for U.S. exporters,” she said. “I appreciate the investment the exporters are making in this region, and it’s so exciting to see red meat importers in these countries rewarding the United States with a lot of business. It certainly sends a great economic signal back to U.S. cattle producers and hog farmers that these buyers appreciate the great quality of U.S. meat and they need more product.”

USMEF representatives in the region, including Gerardo Rodriguez (Central America), Jessica Julca (South America) and Elizabeth Wunderlich (Caribbean) also presented valuable information in the educational seminars, discussing emerging demand trends in the foodservice, retail and processing sectors. USMEF Chef German Navarette provided guidance on how to prepare beef and pork variety meat items and other underutilized cuts.

“Product-wise, these presentations provide a lot of great information,” said importer Jose Escobar of El Salvador-based food distributor Diaco. “It is very helpful to know about pricing trends and the availability of different cuts. For example, I’m taking back a couple of products such as pork rib tips and brisket bones, that I wasn’t familiar with before.”

Buyers and exporters also had an opportunity to tour the Port of Cartagena, one of Colombia’s busiest ports. Several participants in the tour were impressed with the advances in automation at the port and other methods being used to move cargo quickly and efficiently.

The Latin American region is a destination of increasing importance for U.S. red meat. Last year the region accounted for nearly 180,000 metric tons (mt) of U.S. pork exports, valued at $438 million. U.S. beef exports in 2016 totaled about 59,000 mt valued at $332 million.

Study Finds Essential Oils Help with Livestock Digestion

Kansas State University researchers have found that essential oils can play a role in livestock health.

Essential oils are removed from plants and distilled into concentrated forms that distributors say support immunity and other functions of the body.

In a study, professors Evan Titgemeyer and T.G. Nagaraja found that limonene, which is in lemon oil, and thymol, which is in thyme oil, help combat a harmful bacterium in cattle stomachs. The bacterium, Fusobacterium necrophorum, makes dietary protein less available to the animal.

The results have been published in the Journal of Dairy Science and the Journal of Animal Science.

The Food and Drug Administration has issued guidance to minimize the use of some antibiotics in livestock. The FDA's guidance aims to avoid exposing people's food to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to Nagaraja, a university distinguished professor of microbiology in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine.

As the researchers started studying alternative treatments to antibiotic use, one of their team members, Eman Elkaweel, who was then a graduate student in animal science, suggested a substance that was new to the professors.

"She wanted to test some products that might have the potential to be used in her home country of Egypt, so we contacted a company that sold products containing essential oil components," said Titgemeyer, who is a professor and graduate program director in the animal sciences and industry department in the College of Agriculture.

With funding from DSM Nutritional Products Inc., which supplies nutritional solutions for animal health, Nagaraja and Titgemeyer tested five essential oil components: eugenol, guaiacol, limonene, thymol and vanillin. They wanted to determine the compounds' ability to inhibit growth of Fusobacterium necrophorum. Limonene and thymol performed best. Follow-up testing between the two showed that limonene was slightly more effective than thymol and nearly as effective as tylosin, a commonly used antibiotic and feed additive used to hinder bacterial growth and the incidence of liver abscesses in cattle.

"While livestock producers often turn to antibiotics, our study shows that some essential oils also can inhibit microbial growth," Titgemeyer said. "Certain essential oil compounds can target specific bacterial populations and optimize animal health."

Tax Reform Crucial for America’s Farmers, Ranchers

Congressional leaders and administration officials have released a statement on tax reform that addresses many issues of importance to America’s farm and ranch families. The following statement about that action may be attributed to Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation:

“America’s farmers and ranchers are encouraged to see that key congressional leaders and the administration understand how important tax reform is to all Americans. Fixing our tax system now is crucial to creating economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers and other family-owned businesses. This is especially important as farmers continue to face down tough economic challenges.

“This move sets the stage for Congress to put tax reform on its agenda. Not only will reform strengthen our economy, but by addressing key issues like overall tax rates, capital gains taxes and enhanced expensing, it will be good for farms and other businesses.

“Our farmers and ranchers face numerous challenges and it is important to recognize this creates special circumstances in regard to taxes. We look forward to working with Congress to move tax reform forward and do it in a way that benefits farm and ranch families and all Americans.”

Share Your Conservation Story and You Could Be a Winner

Share the story of how conservation is part of your farm operation, and you could be the next winner of a Conservation Legacy Award. This awards program showcases farm management practices of U.S. soybean producers that are both environmentally friendly and profitable.

All U.S. soybean farmers are eligible to enter to win a Conservation Legacy Award. Entries are judged on soil management, water management, input management, conservation, environmental management and sustainability. Three regional winners and one national winner are selected.
Award Winners Receive:
• An expense paid trip for two to Commodity Classic, Feb. 27 – March 1, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif.
• Recognition at the ASA Awards Banquet at Commodity Classic.
• A feature on your farm and conservation practices in Corn & Soybean Digest and a special online video.
• Potential opportunity to join other farmer-leaders on a trip to visit international customers of U.S. soybeans.

The Conservation Legacy Awards are sponsored by the American Soybean Association, BASF, Corn & Soybean Digest, Monsanto, the United Soybean Board/soybean checkoff and Valent U.S.A.

More information on past winners of the award and how to submit your application is available here.... applications must be submitted by Sept. 8, 2017.

Thursday July 27 Ag News


The 19th annual soybean management field days, scheduled for Aug. 8-11, will focus on staying competitive in a global marketplace, increasing profits and meeting the world's growing food and energy needs starting in Nebraska. The field days will offer producers research-based information to improve their soybean profitability.

The field days are sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff in partnership with Nebraska Extension and are funded through soybean checkoff dollars. The efforts of the checkoff are directed by the United Soybean Board.

The event consists of four stops across the state, each with replicated research, demonstration plots, lunch and time for questions. Producers can obtain ideas and insight about the challenges they face in producing a quality crop at a profitable price in today's global economy.

Presenters include specialists and educators from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and industry consultants. Topics include early season crop stress effects on production, insects and seedling diseases; maturity group and traits, cover crops and weed management; spraying new herbicide formulations in soybeans; marketing and policy outlook; and impact of tillage on seeding rates, evapotranspiration and soil factors affecting yield.

Agronomists and plant disease and insect specialists will be available to address production-related questions. Participants can bring unknown crop problems for identification.

The field days begin with 9 a.m. registration and conclude at 2:30 p.m. Free registration is available the day of the event. Dates and locations are:
> Aug. 8, West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 W. State Farm Road, North Platte
> Aug. 9, Tad Melia Farm near Ord
> Aug. 10, Jim Gerdes Farm near Auburn
> Aug. 11, Tim Gregerson Farm near Tekamah

For more information on the field days and driving directions to the sites, visit or contact the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff at 800-852-BEAN or Nebraska Extension at 1-800-529-8030.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               It’s almost August and fall is just around the corner.  Could you use some extra pasture or hay in late September and October?  Oats might be your answer.

               Oats may be one of our most under-used fall forages.  That's right.  Plain old dull oats.  It grows fast, thrives under cool fall conditions, has good feed value, and can produce over 2 tons of hay or pasture yet this year.  Plus, it dies out over winter, so it protects soil without causing planting problems next spring.

               To plant oats, drill about 3 bushels of oats per acre in early August for maximum yield potential.  A fully prepared seedbed usually is best, but you can plant oats directly into wheat stubble or other crop residues if weeds are killed ahead of planting.  Even flying oats onto corn or bean fields severely damaged by weather or to be chopped early for silage can work, although rye tends to work better for flying on seed.  Avoid fields with herbicide carryover, and topdress 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre unless the previous crop was heavily fertilized.

               With good moisture, oats will be ready to graze about 6 to 8 weeks after emergence.   Calves and yearlings can gain over two pounds per day.  But be careful to avoid grass tetany on lush oat pasture; ask your veterinarian if you should supplement with magnesium.  Also, don't suddenly turn livestock out on oat pasture if they have been grazing short or dry pastures.  Sudden respiratory problems can occur.

               For hay, cut oats soon after plants begin to dry out following a killing freeze, or cut earlier if plants reach a desirable growth stage.  Oats can accumulate nitrates, so test hay before feeding.

               If you have good soil moisture, give fall oats a try.  Some of your best forage growth may still be ahead of you.

New additive makes biodiesel the cleanest liquid fuel in the U.S.

The California Air Resource Board announced July 20, 2017 that they have certified a biodiesel additive that will make B20 blends in California the cleanest proven and tested diesel fuel with the lowest emissions profile available anywhere in the U.S.

“Biodiesel has been a key to help California meet its intense carbon reduction goals. With this announcement, America’s Advanced Biofuel will continue to deliver a cleaner burning, American made alternative under the state’s low carbon fuel standard,” said Donnell Rehagen, National Biodiesel Board CEO. “This success wouldn’t have been possible without the strategic funding partnership of the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB).”

The additive takes already clean-burning biodiesel and ensures it reduces every measurable regulated emission, including NOx (nitrogen oxides), when blended with California’s unique diesel formulation called CARB diesel. NBB led the initial research and development into the additive with funding support from NSB to maintain biodiesel’s competitive advantage under the state’s low carbon fuel standard.

NSB and NBB board member Greg Anderson of Newman Grove says the approval of the additive opens the door to new opportunities and demonstrates the value of NSB’s investment in biodiesel research.

“American biodiesel production adds demand for soybean oil that brings significant value to our industry,” said Anderson. “Maintaining biodiesel’s role as a clean-fueling option in the largest diesel market in the country is significant to ensuring future growth.”

The ability to grow biodiesel volumes in California doesn’t just benefit residents of the state or biodiesel producers, it also benefits soybean farmers in the Midwest.

“More demand for biodiesel, regardless of where the fuel is used, means added value to soybean farmers across the country,” said NSB Chairman Tony Johanson. “Biodiesel demand adds 11 cents per pound to soybean oil value, which results in an increased value of 63 cents per bushel for soybeans. As an organization dedicated to advancing Nebraska soybean farmers’ interests, supporting biodiesel is a no-brainer.”


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey producers in 32 states, including Nebraska, for its County Agricultural Production Survey (CAPS).

“County-level yields have a direct impact on farmers around the State. USDA’s Farm Service Agency uses the data in administering producer programs such as the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) included in the 2014 Farm Bill, and in determining disaster assistance program calculations,” said Dean Groskurth, director of the NASS Northern Plains Field Office. “NASS cannot publish a county yield unless it receives enough reports from producers in that county to make a statistically defensible estimate. So, it is very important that producers respond to this survey. In 2016, NASS was unable to publish several large producing counties due to a lack of sufficient number of responses.”

“As required by Federal law, all responses are completely confidential,” Groskurth continued. “We safeguard the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. Individual responses are also exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.”

Many producers respond by mail or on-line via NASS’s secure reporting website. If not enough responses are received from a county, NASS will begin contacting producers by phone or in person. County-level data for winter wheat and oats will be available Thursday, December 14th.

Webinar Looks at Expectations for Cow-Calf Producers

Have the lows been established for the cattle industry? With the magnitude of the breaks and rallies that we have experienced across the entire cattle industry thus far that question is on everyone’s mind. An upcoming free CattleFax webinar will address that question as well as provide an outlook for the cow-calf and entire beef industry for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018.

The CattleFax Trends+ Cow-Calf Webinar will be at 5:30 p.m. MT, Aug. 30, 2017. To participate in the webinar and access program details, producers and industry leaders simply need to register online at!/about

One of the most aggressive U.S. beef cowherd expansions in the last four decades has increased beef supplies and caused cow-calf profitability to be reduced back towards long term levels. As profits have narrowed well-informed producers can maintain healthy margins by adjusting production, marketing and risk management plans with increasing supplies in mind.

CattleFax analysts will discuss a variety of topics in the one-hour session, including:
-    Cattle and feedstuff market projections for the next 12 to 18 months
-    Calf market expectations for fall and into 2018.
-    Long-term outlook of cowherd expansion
The Trends+ webinar series informs cattle producers about current market conditions and provides providing decision-friendly advice regarding management decisions. The analysis and strategies shared through the webinar series has reached more than 4,500 producers, and sponsorship from Elanco Animal Health is making the seminar free for all attendees.

Japan’s Frozen Beef Safeguard Triggered in First Quarter of Japanese Fiscal Year

Today the Japanese government released its June import figures for frozen beef. From this data it now is clear that imports during the first quarter (April 1-June 30) of Japan’s fiscal year, from the United States and other countries covered under Japan’s “safeguard” mechanism, were large enough (by a margin of just 113 metric tons) to trigger an increase in the duty charged on imports of frozen beef from these countries. The rate will increase from 38.5 percent to 50.0 percent for the remainder of the current fiscal year (through March 31, 2018).

“USMEF recognizes that the safeguard will not only have negative implications for U.S. beef producers, but will also have a significant impact on the Japanese foodservice industry,” explained U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng. “It will be especially difficult for the gyudon beef bowl restaurants that rely heavily on Choice U.S. short plate as a primary ingredient. This sector endured a tremendous setback when U.S. beef was absent from the Japanese market due to BSE, and was finally enjoying robust growth due to greater availability of U.S. beef and strong consumer demand. USMEF will work with its partners in Japan to mitigate the impact of the safeguard as much as possible. We will also continue to pursue all opportunities to address the safeguard situation by encouraging the U.S. and Japanese governments to reach a mutually beneficial resolution to this issue.”

As agreed to in 1994 in the WTO Uruguay Round, Japan maintains separate quarterly import safeguards on chilled and frozen beef, allowing imports to increase by 17 percent compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The duty increases from 38.5 percent to 50 percent when imports exceed the safeguard volume. Japan’s frozen beef imports in the 2016 Japanese fiscal year were lower than in previous years, thus the growth in imports during this first quarter of the current fiscal year exceeded 17 percent, driven in part by rebuilding of frozen inventories and strong demand for beef in Japan’s foodservice sector. The most recent quarter saw strong growth in imports from all of Japan’s main beef suppliers.

The implications for U.S. beef exports are significant because U.S. frozen beef now faces an even wider tariff disadvantage compared to Australian beef. The duty on U.S. frozen beef imports, effective Aug. 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018, will be 50 percent while the duty on Australian beef will remain at the current rate of 27.2 percent, as established in the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA). The snapback duty of 50 percent will apply to frozen imports from suppliers that do not have an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with Japan, which are mainly the U.S., Canada and New Zealand.

Conditions have changed since the quarterly safeguards were established in 1994, and the growth in Japan’s imports this year has not adversely impacted Japan’s domestic beef producers. Prices for wagyu carcasses and wagyu feeder cattle are down from the record highs of last year, but are otherwise the highest in recent history. Japan has also moved away from the quarterly safeguard mechanism in its recent trade agreements. Through the JAEPA, Japan transitioned from quarterly safeguards to annual safeguards, which are much less likely to be triggered. The snapback duties on Australian beef have also been reduced, minimizing any potential impact on trade. Japan also agreed to similar terms in its economic partnership agreement with Mexico and in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

U.S. Beef Industry Highlights Success of Korea Free Trade Agreement

The CEOs of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the North American Meat Institute, and the U.S. Meat Export Federation today sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and Ambassador Robert Lighthizer of USTR to highlight the success the U.S. beef industry has experienced with its exports to South Korea since the entry into force of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). The industry letter was prompted by the recent announcement from the Trump Administration that there will be a special session with South Korea to discuss potential changes to the KORUS. The meeting will be held in Washington, D.C., in August.

“Simply put, KORUS created the ideal environment for the U.S. beef industry to thrive in South Korea," the letter said. "We would not support any changes in the terms of the KORUS that would jeopardize either our market share or the significant investment that has been made in rebuilding Korean consumer confidence in the safety, quality, and consistency of U.S. beef.”

Together, the three U.S. beef industry associations represent the entire beef value chain, from ranchers to feedlot operators to meat packers and export trading companies, and they are united in the position that continued access to the South Korean market on the terms that were negotiated in the KORUS is essential to the future health of the U.S. beef industry.

The letter states that “Under KORUS, the U.S. beef industry has seen an 82 percent increase in annual sales to South Korea, from $582 million in 2012 to $1.06 billion in 2016, making South Korea the second largest export market for U.S. beef. Many cuts like short ribs and chuck rolls receive a significant premium in South Korea over prices in the U.S. market. KORUS established strong science-based trade measures and a schedule for the elimination of South Korea’s 40 percent tariff on U.S. beef—terms that have allowed the U.S. beef industry to be very competitive in South Korea.”

The letter further states that “implementing KORUS before the Australians implemented their free trade agreement with South Korea has given U.S. beef a significant tariff rate advantage in South Korea, and the United States is now the leading source of beef imports in South Korea.”

The U.S. beef industry is a vitally important part of the U.S. agricultural economy and one of the largest employers in rural communities across the United States. Exports are a critical component of the continued profitability of the U.S. beef industry and make a significant contribution to the positive balance of trade that the United States enjoys in food and agricultural products. Last year, we sold $6.3 billion of U.S. beef to foreign consumers, with exports to South Korea, accounting for 17 percent of the total.

Corn Farmers Call for Faster Access to New Technology

Farmers attending last week’s National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Congress called for faster access to new biotechnology-enhanced crop traits.  The move reflects growing frustration among NCGA members over excessive regulatory delays in the international marketplace.

“Farmers recognize that a strong, science-based, regulatory system is essential to reassure consumers about the safety and quality of our crops,” said Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Stratford, Texas and NCGA president.  “At the same time, when it takes four to six years, or more, to secure regulatory approvals in certain markets, it is clear that a country’s regulatory system is broken.”

The NCGA’s new policy supports the commercialization of new biotechnology-enhanced corn traits that: a) have been approved by the U.S. and Japan; and b) have faced delays of more than 30 months from any government with a non-functioning regulatory system.  By comparison, there are biotechnology traits that have been awaiting regulatory approval in certain markets for the past 48 to 72 months.

“Biotechnology has been an important tool for farmers who are working to fight weeds and insects, maintain productivity, and reduce our use of natural resources,” said Don Duvall, a farmer from Carmi, Illinois and chairman of the NCGA’s Freedom to Operate Action Team.  “The farmers on our team proposed this policy as a first step toward addressing what we see as a pending crisis in how new innovations come to market.  We will continue working with the Trump Administration, Congress and our partners in the supply chain, to identify and promote solutions that can ensure faster access to these important new tools while also mitigating disruptions to trade.”

The new policy relies upon World Trade Organization standards that define a functioning regulatory market as a science-based system that is free of political influence.  The policy was adopted by NCGA’s Corn Congress, a 127-member delegate body that represents 49 affiliated state corn organizations from 28 states.

 NPPC Backs EPA Request To Delay Emissions Reporting Requirements For Farms

On a day when the process for withdrawing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule formally was initiated, the National Pork Producers Council filed a brief in support of EPA’s recent motion to delay a federal court order requiring farms to begin onerous and unnecessary air emissions reporting.

An April 11 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected an EPA exemption for farms from reporting emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). CERCLA mainly is used to clean hazardous waste sites but has a federal reporting component, while EPCRA requires entities to report on the storage, use and release of hazardous substances to state and local governments, including first responders. The agency limited EPCRA reporting of emissions to large, confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), requiring them to make one-time reports.

In exempting agriculture from the reporting requirements, EPA reasoned that emissions from farms might exceed thresholds that would trigger responses under CERCLA, but responses would be “unnecessary, impractical and unlikely.” (Agitating a manure pit, for example, could result in the release of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide in amounts that exceed reportable levels, but the gases would dissipate quickly, so no response would be warranted.)

EPA asked the Court of Appeals to delay enforcement of emissions reporting until Jan. 17, 2018, on the grounds that the approximately 63,000 farms affected need time to estimate their emissions and to explore additional “regulatory and administrative approaches to address these reporting obligations.”

In its supporting brief, NPPC argued that enforcing the reporting requirements on farms before EPA can provide them with guidance “will trigger confusion among farmers and agencies without benefiting the public.”

Public Comment Period Opens for WOTUS Rule Withdraw

The Trump administration today formally initiated the process to repeal the WOTUS rule, proposing a regulation rescinding the rule and opening the regulation to public comment. The WOTUS rule, which went into effect in 2015 but was put on hold by a federal court, broadened the EPA’s regulatory authority over waterways to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters.

Comments supporting the repeal can be filed at or by following this link:

WOTUS Argument Date Announced

The Supreme Court announced October 11 as the date to hear arguments on where the “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) case will take place.  Farm groups, manufacturers, along with many states and environmental groups believe that district courts should handle the matter, but the federal government believes the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, who ruled they should hear the case, is the proper court level. This kicks off a 30-day comment period on withdrawing the Obama-era “waters of the U.S” rule. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers are publishing a proposal that would kill the existing WOTUS rule and reinstate the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act the way it existed before 2015. The administration announced its plan June 27, but the formal release of the proposal was held up by a formatting problem with the Federal Register.

Conaway, Peterson Announce Farm Bill Listening Session in Illinois

Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (MN-7) announced a committee listening session, “The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field,” at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois to gather input from farmers, ranchers and stakeholders. Upon announcement the chairman and ranking member made the following remarks:

“As our committee travels across the country gathering input from farmers, ranchers and stakeholders, the Farm Progress Show – in the center of the country – seems like the natural next stop. U.S. production agriculture is widespread and diverse, so we need to hear from a broad cross-section of producers to craft a farm bill that represents all commodities and stakeholders. I’m looking forward to a productive conversation in Illinois and encourage area stakeholders to attend and share their ideas for improvements to our next farm bill,” said Chairman Conaway.

“The committee’s listening sessions allow us to build on the input we’ve already received in Washington by hearing firsthand accounts of how farm bill programs are, or maybe aren’t, working across the countryside. Bringing the committee to Decatur will give area stakeholders an opportunity to weigh in on what they would like to see in the next farm bill,” said Ranking Member Peterson.

Listening Session Schedule:
Aug. 30, 2017, Decatur, Ill.
Farm Progress Show
Beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Further details related to the listening session will be forthcoming.

NAWG and the National Wheat Foundation Host a Wheat Summit

Today, the National Association of Wheat Growers, in conjunction with the National Wheat Foundation, held a Wheat Summit to address and collaborate on the challenges and opportunities facing the wheat industry. The Summit was attended by more than 20 industry professionals from across the wheat value chain.

NWF Executive Director Chandler Goule made the following statement:

“Wheat growers across the country have experienced a multitude of challenges the past couple of years, with record low commodity prices coupled with weather and disease problems affecting the crop. These hurdles are not only exclusive to wheat growers, but can impact every entity in the value chain.

“The National Wheat Foundation and the National Association of Wheat Growers brought these groups together to strengthen the relationships within the industry and improve collaboration on common issues. These wheat industry sectors are interconnected and facilitating open communication will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire chain.”

While the wheat value chain encompasses multiple companies, organizations, and third parties, the Summit hosted representatives from American Bakers Association, American Seed Trade Association, Ardent Mills, Bayer, Bimbo Bakeries, BNSF Railway, Cargill, CropLife America, Food Marketing Institute, General Mills,  Grain Food Foundation, Grocery Manufacturers Association, National Wheat Improvement Committee, North American Millers Association, SNAC International, Syngenta, U.S. Wheat Associates, Wheat Foods Council, and Wheat Quality Council.

IGC Cuts 2017-18 Grain Production Forecast on Dry Weather

The International Grains Council cut its forecast for global total grains production by 11 million tons month-on-month to 2,038 million tons -- a drop of 4% from the previous season's record -- due to dry weather across North America, Australia, and the European Union, the body said Thursday.

The IGC inched its monthly output forecast for 2016-17 up to 2,126 million tons in July, from its estimate of 2,124 million tons given at the end of May. This represents a 5.7% year-on-year increase.

The grains body's change to its 2017-18 estimate came after a forecast of 2,049 million tons last month. The new forecast means that global grain output is expected to fall 86 million tons, or 4.1% year-on-year in 2017-18.

Of the 11 million ton reduction in forecast production for 2017-18, the IGC says wheat and maize account for 3 million tons and 5 million tons of that decrease, respectively.

The IGC downgraded its corn production forecast to 1,020 million tons from 1,025 million tons and its soybean forecast to 345 million tons from 348 million tons. The body forecast wheat production at 732 million tons from 735 million tons.

Aside from dry July weather and its impact on wheat, the IGC blamed a pullback in yields as likely to hurt soybeans as being behind its cut.

The council said the downward revision for 2017/18 comes after adverse weather conditions in the northern hemisphere over recent weeks.

The IGC's slight increase of its 2016-17 figure comes mostly from an increase in its forecast for corn production in Argentina and Brazil and a marginal increase in soybean production in the same countries.

Wheat was last 0.84% higher at $4.82 a bushel, corn was last 0.58% up at $3.88 a bushel, soybeans were last 0.50% up at $10.05 a bushel.

Syngenta Reports Lower Quarterly Earnings

Syngenta underlined the difficulties facing agrichemicals groups in South American market as it unveiled a 4.2% drop in quarterly sales, in its first results statement since being bought by ChemChina.

Swiss-based Syngenta, which was bought by ChemChina last month for $43bn, revealed sales of $3.21bn for the April-to-June period, down from $3.35bn a year before, accelerating the pace of deterioration from the 0.9% seen in the previous quarter.

According to, the group noted "cold weather and low disease pressure" which curtailed sales in its European, African and Middle Eastern division, although it added that "the impact of these conditions on crop protection volumes was partially offset by the successful launches of Solatenol," a fungicide, in Europe.

In Asia, sales dropped 5.2% to $455m, undermined by "dry conditions in Australia", where spreading drought is raising concerns of a sub-20m-tonne wheat crop, besides by a chance of sales taxes in India which is seen as incentivising a switch in trade to the current quarter.

However, the steepest drop in sales was in Latin America, where sales for the April-to-June quarter, at $482m, slumped by 25% year on year, undermined by a drop in farmer spending on agrichemicals, in the face of weaker crop prices, which has caught out peers too.

The comments come less than a month after rival Bayer warned of a E300m-400m earnings hit from measures to curtail its own agrichemical stocks in Brazil, warning of an "unexpectedly high channel inventory level of crop protection products".

The shake-up is seeing Bayer, for instance, renegotiate a contract with crop enhancement group Plant Impact over supplies of a spray aimed at boosting soybean yields.

Inocucor Announces Plans to Open U.S. Headquarters and Production Facility in Denver

Inocucor Corporation, a developer and producer of powerful biological crop inputs for agriculture, announced it will open its 30,000-square-foot U.S. headquarters and commercialization office at 7304 South Joliet Street in Centennial, Colo.

Inocucor uses a patented fermentation process to combine multi-strains of bacteria and yeasts into powerful soil and plant optimizers that are safe for people and the environment. These products naturally improve crop yields, shorten growing periods and create healthier, more resilient soils for farmers and greenhouse growers.

Concurrent with the Denver headquarters and production facility opening this fall, Inocucor will be doubling its existing 10,000-square-foot lab and offices in Montreal. The Montreal facility will become its Technical Center of Excellence for technology innovation, new-product development, fermentation process development and pilot production. This entity will continue to be called Inocucor Technologies Inc. and will remain its Canadian headquarters.

Inocucor currently employs approximately 30 people in Montreal and the U.S. The company plans to add another 50 high-level scientific and managerial staff in both in its Montreal and Denver operations over the next 18 months.

The company's move to Denver is supported by a performance-based Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit of $1,322,918 approved by Colorado's Economic Development Commission.

"Inocucor is a leader in the emerging sector of specialty ag biologicals," said Inocucor's President and CEO Donald R. Marvin, a Denver resident. "We are one of a handful of companies that have successfully commercialized microbial crop inputs based on a microbial consortia technology that improve the plant microbiome, which translates into healthier soils and improved water quality. The result for the grower is improved crop yields and reduced need for pesticides and chemical fertilizers."

Marvin said Inocucor will grow organically with its patented proprietary microbial consortia technology while also pursuing strategic acquisitions and product development partnerships in North America, Latin America and Western Europe.

Inocucor's flagship product, Garden Solution®, soon to be rebranded in the U.S. as Synergro™, is a live-cell formulation for high-value produce, such as strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce and broccoli. Synergro Free™ is a cell-free bio-fertilizer additive to existing plant nutrients for commodity row crops, such as soybean, corn and wheat. Inocucor’s new-product development pipeline includes bio-control formulations that combat economically devastating diseases in crops such as strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes.

In the U.S., Garden Solution (Synergro) is OMRI Listed® nationally and OIM-registered in California for organic production. It is registered for use in 22 U.S. states. Synergro Free is registered in 17 U.S. states. Both products are among the first microbial products of their kind to be registered in Canada. Synergro is also a Pro-Cert Approved Input for use in organic growing in Canada.

Inocucor recently completed the $38.8 million CAD ($29 million USD) first close of its Series B financing round, with lead investor TPG Alternative and Renewable Technologies (San Francisco) and participation from Cycle Capital Management (Quebec), Desjardins Innovatech (Quebec) and Closed Loop Capital (U.S.).

Wednesday July 26 Ag News


Nebraska crop producers are joining others across the country in facing potential issues related to dicamba, a herbicide for broadleaf weed control.

While the product has been available for a number of years, this was the first year that dicamba-tolerant Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean and new dicamba-based formulations were made commercially available in Nebraska.

An estimated 500,000 acres of dicamba-tolerant soybean were planted this year across the state, but growers are concerned about broadleaf crops sensitive to the herbicide.

Amit Jhala, Nebraska Extension weed management specialist, has been responding to those concerns.

"Several dicamba-sensitive crops are planted in Nebraska, so it's important for producers to be familiar with dicamba injury symptoms," Jhala said. "Some of the soybean fields I have visited this season have had symptoms similar to those caused by dicamba, from one end to the other, suggesting off-target movement through volatility."

Symptoms include leaf tip wrinkling and cupping of young leaves with low doses of contamination and puckering and leaf elongation with higher doses.

Non-dicamba-tolerant soybean, grape, tomato, watermelon, pumpkin and several minor vegetable crops are all dicamba sensitive. Issues arise when there is off-target movement of the herbicide through physical drift, volatility, temperature inversion or tank contamination.

Producers in Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee and Mississippi also have reported significant potential dicamba damage.

"Once dicamba injury symptoms are identified, the first thing the grower should do is scout the field to get a sense of the damage," Jhala said. "It's also important at that time to start communication with your neighbors and pesticide applicators."

Local extension offices can serve as timely resources during the process, Jhala said. Extension educators are in constant communication with producers, so they will have a sense of how widespread the issue may be.

Growers who wish to file a complaint should contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

For updates on dicamba contamination, as well as Nebraska Extension information on crop production and pest management, visit


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has experienced an increase in herbicide misuse complaints alleging crop damage due to herbicide products containing dicamba.  NDA’s pesticide and fertilizer program staff are actively investigating these complaints for noncompliance with state and federal laws, but cautions producers that these investigations will not characterize crop damage; acres involved or estimated dollar losses.

During NDA applicator training sessions, NDA strongly encourages all users of herbicides and pesticides, to be attentive to label requirements when selecting and applying products, to be aware of vegetation on surrounding properties, and to be vigilant of weather conditions.  Meticulous cleaning of tanks, hoses and nozzles used for applications is necessary to prevent chemical carryover to the next application.  Caution is especially important as farmers have more and varied choices in genetics and crop protection pairings. This has increased the incidence of crops with differing chemical tolerance being planted side by side.

NDA supports the development of new technologies in the agricultural industry, and stands ready to assist the agricultural community as it determines how to implement the new technologies to be more efficient and sustainable in producing the food supply for a growing world.

NDA does not plan to limit use of dicamba in Nebraska at this time, and will work with state and federal stakeholders, industry leaders and farmers to seek appropriate action to take in the future.  

For more information about the NDA pesticide program please visit:  

Nebraska Soybean Board to Hold 2017 Soybean Management Field Days

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) is hosting its annual Soybean Management Field Days Aug. 8–11. The Field Days are taking place in four different locations throughout Nebraska: North Platte, Ord, Auburn and Tekamah, respectively. NSB is partnering with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) Extension to provide growers with research-based guidance on growing better soybeans and operating their farms. At each location farmers can choose from several one-hour presentations available from 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Admission is free and includes a complimentary lunch.

One key theme for this year’s Field Days is pest management, including insects and weeds. Test plots at each site are devoted to trials of new herbicide formulations aimed at resistant weeds. Another session will focus on the impact of adverse weather around planting time. Additional presentations cover agronomic topics such as soil health and best practices for planting. Growers will also get tips on marketing to get the best return on their crop.

NSB Executive Director Victor Bohuslavsky says topics are chosen based on surveys of soybean growers to ensure that Field Days are relevant to farmers.

“The big picture of this whole event is to get research results back to the producers that is unbiased. This is research done by the University of Nebraska and funded by the soybean checkoff,” said Bohuslavsky. “We want that information in the hands of farmers to provide value to their operations.”

Registration for the events begins at 9 a.m. each day. CCA credits are available for participants.

For more information on presentation topics and directions to each location, visit, or call 1-800-852-BEAN (2326).

Robots Bring the Future to Nebraska

They aren't science fiction or philosophizing droids, but Nebraska just might have some of the hottest robots going. Two dairy farms in the state - Demerath Farms in Plainview and Brett Beavers' farm in Carleton - now employ robots to feed, milk and care for their cows!

Robotic dairy operations give farmers more control over their schedules and more time to do the things they simply couldn't get to before - cleaning stalls more often, for example - and it eases shortage of skilled labor in the industry.

"Procedures with the robot are the same procedures that happen with a traditional dairy operation, except it's a robot doing it all - cleaning the cow, attaching the cups on the udder, feeding, monitoring cow health, and more," said Rod Johnson, director of the Nebraska State Dairy Association and senior industry-relations manager for Midwest Dairy Association.

"And when it comes to milking, the farmer gets a lot of additional information than a traditional milking provides: The robots are testing the milk, the temperatures, weighing the cow and feeding them. And the feed robot is called Juno," Johnson added. "It pushes the feed up to the cow and makes sure the cows can reach it at all times. It really ups the information and technology on the farms where it's in use."

It's sort of like a Fitbit for dairy cows.

Kim Clark, dairy educator with Nebraska Extension, said the robots really step up the game for farmers. "Milking is a 365-day-a-year, 24 hours a day, seven-days-a-week job, so there's really no break for the dairy farmer," Clark said. "One of the biggest reasons for having these robots is time, so the farmer can devote more time to caring for his animals and their overall health. But it's also been difficult to get labor on the farms - labor that knows how to milk the cows or has any animal experience and background."

Brett Beavers, who started his 240-cow robotic dairy near Carleton, thanks to a tour of robotic dairies that AFAN took him on, says the robots have allowed him the flexibility to engage more with his family.

"On all the farms I've toured, everyone said it's life-changing," Beavers said. "You're still going to put in the hours that you do in a traditional setup, but those hours are now flexible. So now I can help coach my kids' T-ball team, because we can work around our family's schedules.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               When pastures are short and low quality during summer, what can you graze to maintain animal performance?  Maybe alfalfa is your answer.

               Most pastures have difficulty providing abundant, high quality grazing throughout the summer, regardless of whether they are drought stressed or not.  Yearlings and calves can really use better pasture at this time.  Both drought-stunted alfalfa and well-growing alfalfa might fill that role of a better quality temporary pasture.

               But, how do you get started and how do you avoid problems with bloat?  Begin by dividing fields so animals graze no longer than four days at a time on any one area.  Be sure you are able to provide drinking water in each division.  One rule of thumb is that one ton of standing alfalfa hay will provide about 45 cow days of grazing.  If you estimate your alfalfa would yield one ton of hay if you cut it right now, then one acre should feed 45 cows for one day.  If possible, also limit the size of paddocks to 10 acres or less to get more uniform grazing.  After grazing a paddock, plan grazing and haying so at least 35 days of regrowth will occur before harvesting the same area again.

               To reduce bloat risk, begin grazing alfalfa after it begins to bloom.  Short, drought-stunted, yet blooming alfalfa often is pretty safe.  Also, be sure animals are full before first turning onto alfalfa and never let animals get hungry.  In addition, begin grazing mid-afternoon and do not turn them onto fresh alfalfa that is moist with dew, rain, or irrigation.  Yearlings tend to bloat less than cows, but feeding supplements like poloxalene and rumensin can help reduce bloat for all classes of cattle.

               These precautions and management practices can help you use alfalfa for pasture and overcome the late summer pasture slump.

Upper Big Blue NRD Receives Prestigious National Grant

The Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District was one of 19 districts in 14 states awarded a National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) grant to boost technical assistance capacity for urban agriculture conservation projects.  The grant amount is $50,000 and was the only award in the State of Nebraska.

The Upper Big Blue NRD will be using these funds to help underwrite a special project that it is involved with helping the City of York improve its wellfield by planting cover & rotational crops, berry shrubs, a business-sponsored community garden, and a pollinator habitat within the city wellfield acreage.  Called “Project GROW” (Growing Rotational crops On Wellfields), the goals are to improve soil health, erosion control, non-leaching of nitrogen into the water table, and increasing water holding capacity in the soil, all culminating to protect York’s water quality at the wellfield.

According to David Eigenberg, General Manager of the Upper Big Blue NRD, “On behalf of the NRD Board of Directors, we are grateful and enthusiastic about such an opportunity to further the mission of sustaining Nebraska’s natural resources in York and across the District.  This grant provides a national scope of what the NRD and the City of York can accomplish together in partnership.”

NACD established the Urban Agriculture Conservation Grants Initiative in 2016 to help conservation districts and their partners provide much needed technical assistance for agricultural conservation in urban areas with limited access to fresh and healthy foods. Since then, NACD has awarded a total of $3 million in grants to 61 conservation districts in 30 states through this initiative.

“Today, 86-percent of Americans live in urban areas, which cover just 28-percent of the nation’s land area. The landscapes our customers own and manage have changed since the Dust Bowl when many of our nation’s 3,000 conservation districts were first established, and so has conservation districts’ approach to serving them,” NACD President Brent Van Dyke said.

“A majority of conservation districts are now involved in some form of urban and community conservation work. As a delivery system, and as a conservation family, we’ve risen to the challenge of providing world-class technical support whenever – and wherever – it is needed,” Van Dyke continued.

The Upper Big Blue will begin preparations to implement “Project GROW” this fall after harvest at the wellfield acreage.

Blue Eye Mold Threatens Stored Grain

Due to a combination of temperature and humidity last fall, producers need to be aware of the high risk of blue eye mold, a fungus that grows on corn kernels.

Blue eye mold appears as a blue line down the middle of a corn kernel, where the germ is located. The fungus invades the kernel and feeds on the high fat oil located in the germ. There is no way to get rid of blue eye mold, but there are ways to control its spread. 

Carbon dioxide monitoring is one way to observe corn conditions in bins. However, blue eye mold does not grow at a fast enough pace to give off a detectable amount of heat.

“Aerating the corn with humid air, like what the state has been experiencing recently, will make the mold grow,” said Charles Hurburgh, grain quality and handling specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “If the dew points get down to the 40s and 50s relative humidity then fans should be run. Additionally, grain that is still cold from the winter should not be warmed.”

Although feed mills and ethanol plants can use the moldier corn, blue eye kernels are graded as damaged. If feeding it to animals, mix with sound corn at a reasonable amount for the species consuming it.

An elevator will purchase blue eye kernels and count them as damaged. Typically, the grading limit on number two yellow corn has a maximum of five percent damaged kernels.

Ethanol plants may buy corn affected by blue eye mold, although they prefer not to as the risk for having a fermentation problem is higher. The fermentation may not be as clean because the mold interferes with the yeast. Fermenters can get stuck, requiring corrective antibiotic use.

“With a two billion bushel surplus for this year, some of this corn is going to last into 2018. Ideally this fall, sell the old corn and replace it with the new in the bins,” said Hurburgh.

For more information about the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, visit

Crop Pest Management is Focus of ISU Field Lab August Programs

Crop diseases, crop pest resistance and management, and Palmer amaranth in conservation plantings are some of the topics that will be covered this August at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Field Extension Education Laboratory in Boone, Iowa. Farmers, agronomists, crop consultants and interested persons will have the opportunity to hear the latest research and management information from ISU Extension and Outreach experts and industry professionals at each of the three programs offered.

“We have some great learning opportunities lined up this August at the Field Lab,” said Warren Pierson, coordinator at the Field Extension Education Laboratory. “Upcoming workshops and clinics will touch on current, critical issues regarding crop pest management, and provide attendees with educational materials and resources, along with hands-on learning.”

Managing Palmer Amaranth in Conservation Plantings, scheduled for Aug. 3, is a new program specifically addressing the issue of Palmer amaranth in conservation seed from other areas of the country.

“The goal of the program is to address concerns and explain the best management strategies for managing Palmer amaranth and give tips for successful conservation plantings,” said Pierson.

The Aug. 16 Crop Disease Clinic will be led by Alison Robertson, associate professor and extension crop plant pathologist, and Daren Mueller, associate professor and extension crop plant pathologist at Iowa State University. They will spend half the day discussing crop disease identification and diagnostics and research updates. The other rest of the day will be a walk-through of corn and soybean plots where Mueller and Robertson will talk about present diseases, scouting methods and treatment options. 

At the SCN and Soybean Aphid Resistance Management Workshop Aug. 17, Greg Tylka, professor and extension nematologist, and Erin Hodgson, associate professor and extension entomologist at Iowa State University, will present on soybean cyst nematode and soybean aphid, two pests that reduce soybean yield and are becoming resistant to commonly used pest management tools. The workshop will include presentations, demonstrations and plot tours, with a focus on resistance, pest biology, management and scouting.

The Field Extension Education Laboratory is located at 1928 240th St., Boone, Iowa. Advance registration is required for each event. See below for the full list of workshops, dates and registration deadline information. For more information on the Field Extension Education Laboratory and its events, visit

August 2017 Events
Aug. 3: Managing Palmer Amaranth in Conservation Plantings; registration deadline midnight, July 31
Aug.16: Crop Disease Clinic; registration deadline midnight, Aug. 9
Aug. 17: SCN and Soybean Aphid Resistance Management Workshop; registration deadline midnight, Aug. 9

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

Iowa State University Research Farm Near Lewis to Host Field Day Aug. 17

Iowa State University’s Armstrong Research and Demonstration Farm will present a variety of agricultural topics at a field day Aug. 17.

The field day will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon, with lunch following. Registration begins at 9 a.m. There is no charge for attending the field day, which is open to the public.

Iowa State assistant professor and cropping systems specialist Mark Licht will begin the program speaking about yield response to delayed corn and soybean planting dates. Tim Youngquist, STRIPS project farmer liaison, will feature the soil, water and wildlife benefits of growing row crops integrated with prairie strips. A high-tech cattle feed bunk that measures individual feed intake will be demonstrated by Garland Dahlke, Iowa State assistant scientist.

The Armstrong Research Farm is located at 53020 Hitchcock Ave. near Lewis, which is 13 miles southwest of Atlantic on Highway 6, one-half mile south on 525th Street and three-quarters of a mile east on Hitchcock Avenue.

EIA: US Ethanol Stocks, Production Down

The Energy Information Administration's weekly supply report released midmorning Wednesday showed steep decreases in U.S. ethanol inventories and plant production while blending demand rose during the third week of July.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed fuel ethanol stocks tumbled during the week-ended July 21 by 6.0 million barrels (bbl), or 4.7%, to 21.5 million bbl. Supply was 1.1 million bbl, or 5.4%, higher than for the corresponding week a year ago.

Domestic plant production fell 14,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 1.4%, to 1.012 million bpd during the week reviewed, while up 14,000 bpd, or 1.4%, year on year. For the four weeks ended last week, fuel ethanol production averaged 1.015 million bpd, up 11,000 bpd, or 1.1%.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a gauge for ethanol demand, increased 24,000 bpd, or 2.6%, to 945,000 bpd. Blending demand is up 9,000 bpd, or 1.0%, year on year. For the four-week period ended July 21, blending demand was down 2,000 bpd, or 0.2%.

Nitrogen Fertilizer Prices Slip Lower

For the third week in a row, average retail fertilizer prices continued to decrease the third week of July 2017. Once again, all eight of the major fertilizers had lower prices compared to a month earlier.

Only three fertilizers had significant price drops. With the sidedressing season pretty much completed, anhydrous showed a large drop in prices, down 14% compared to last month. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $425 per ton the third week of July 2017.

Also considerably lower were urea, which was 7% lower compared to the previous month, and UAN28, which was 6% less expensive. Urea had an average price of $309/ton and UAN28 $229/ton.

The remaining five fertilizers had lower prices compared to last month, but none of the price drops were significant. DAP had an average price of $435/ton, MAP $464/ton, potash $339/ton, 10-34-0 $425/ton and UAN32 $265/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.34/lb.N, anhydrous $0.26/lb.N, UAN28 $0.41/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

Prices of all retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. Five of the eight major fertilizers are double digits lower.

Both 10-34-0 and anhydrous are now 22% lower from a year ago while both UAN32 and urea are now 13% lower and UAN28 is 12% less expensive. Both DAP and MAP are 6% lower while potash is 5% lower.

NCBA Testifies on Capitol Hill: “Please Do No Harm!”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) CEO Kendal Frazier today testified on Capitol Hill in support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and warned Congress against using the treaty’s renegotiation to resurrect failed policies like mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL.)

“Quite frankly, it is difficult to improve upon duty-free, unlimited access to Canada and Mexico, and we are pleased to see the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announce its support for continued reciprocal duty-free access,” Frazier told members of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. “Even still, our message remains the same: please do no harm and do not jeopardize our access.”

Frazier pointed out that on average, Canada and Mexico have been two of America’s top five export markets for beef, with approximately $1 billion each in annual sales. While spotlighting the benefits that NAFTA has delivered for cattle and beef producers, Frazier also discussed the ways in which mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling hurt producers when it was tried previously.

“COOL was U.S. law for over six years and failed to deliver on its promises to build consumer confidence and add value for our producers,” Frazier pointed out. “Instead, COOL resulted in a long battle in the World Trade Organization - with the United States facing the promise of more than $1 billion dollars in retaliatory tariffs from Mexico and Canada unless COOL was repealed. Canada and Mexico still have the authority to retaliate against the United States if COOL is brought back into effect – and rest assured they will retaliate against us if necessary.”

“We must learn from the mistakes of the past and not repeat them,” Frazier concluded. “We encourage you to build on the success that current NAFTA provisions have given U.S. beef producers.”

NAWG to House Panel Examining NAFTA: Do No Harm 

Today, the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing to discuss possible opportunities for agriculture in the renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

NAWG President and Sharon Springs, Kansas farmer David Schemm made the following statement:

“NAWG’s number one priority in the NAFTA renegotiation is ‘Do No Harm.’ After viewing the administration’s objectives for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAWG is optimistic. The objectives identify agriculture as an area to maintain and improve market access. This is crucial for wheat growers who have seen significant gains in the Mexican market since NAFTA was implemented.

“NAWG agrees that renegotiation can set the stage for a stronger trade agreement, but as any trade agreement covers many different areas, we must ensure that a meaningful ag piece of the renegotiation process doesn’t get undermined or retaliated against.

“There are several elements of the trade agreement that could be re-examined and modernized. A good place to start is with the updated rules on sanitary and phytosanitary health and safety standards that the three countries already agreed to as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiation.

“NAWG will continue to engage with the U.S. government and Congress through the renegotiating process.” The first round of negotiations will begin on August 16, 2017 in Washington, DC., NAWG supports the confirmation of Greggory Doud as the chief agricultural negotiator before the renegotiations begin.

NGFA: STB must reject railroad attempts to reverse protections for rail users

The National Grain and Feed Association urged the Surface Transportation Board's (STB) Regulatory Reform Task Force to reject attempts by monopolistic freight railroads to rescind the few remaining statutory protections afforded to rail users under the Staggers Rail Act.

"The statutory obligation of the Board to foster competition and prevent abuse of market power by what essentially are two duopolistic Class I railroads - two in the West and two in the East - is needed more sorely now than ever before," the NGFA said in both written and oral statements submitted to the STB task force this week. The NGFA made the statements in response to the STB's request for comments in response to President Trump's executive order asking that agencies identify rules and practices that are burdensome, unnecessary or outdated.

The NGFA said it supports several proposals contained in the 90-day status report prepared in May by the STB task force, including those addressing outdated environmental rules; antiquated procedural and filing rules; and regulations that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient or excessively burdensome.

The NGFA also supported the Task Force's decision to review the suggestions of rail shipper stakeholders on the STB's rules governing rate reasonableness, revenue adequacy, reciprocal switching and market dominance. And it asked the task force to recommend that the agency reform its rules regarding ex parte communications to allow increased dialogue and information-exchange between stakeholders and Board members and staff, with proper safeguards for transparency.

The NGFA also urged the STB regulatory reform task force to recommend that the agency take the following actions to protect the limited safeguards that still remain to protect rail users from the exercise of "unfettered market power" by large railroads:
-    Redouble the agency's efforts to revamp its rate-reasonableness rules to create a cost-effective, workable methodology for agricultural shippers to challenge unreasonable freight rail rates.
-    Revise outdated rules governing reciprocal switching, which would give rail users, on a case-by-case basis, the right to access lines of competing carriers in exchange for a reasonable switching charge to access customers and markets that cannot be reached using a single railroad. No shipper has attempted to use the STB's existing flawed rules for nearly 30 years, the NGFA pointed out.
-    Maintain the STB's existing regulations that require Class I railroads to report service performance metrics and to file summaries of agricultural transportation contracts.
-    Review STB rules and policies related to revenue adequacy.

In doing so, the NGFA adamantly opposed recommendations by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and its freight rail clients to misuse the regulatory reform proceeding to pursue their long-sought goal of rescinding or rendering useless each of these protections granted by the Staggers Rail Act and other federal rail laws. "The task force must not allow the AAR or its freight rail members to hijack this important regulatory reform initiative in an overt attempt to secure significant policy changes that are inconsistent with existing law and legislative intent, are the subject of ongoing STB proceedings, or for which they have been unsuccessful in securing through the agency's open and transparent rulemaking process," the NGFA concluded.

ACE encourages ethanol advocates to submit comments on RFS

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) encourages ethanol advocates to utilize its Legislative Action Center to participate in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s comment period on the proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard. Comments must be submitted on or before Aug. 31.

ACE expressed gratitude toward EPA’s proposal to maintain the 15-billion-gallon conventional biofuel blending requirement in its July 5 proposed RVOs, and encourages EPA to utilize the comment period to fine tune the cellulosic and advanced blending targets so further investment can be made in domestic cellulosic and advanced biofuel facilities. It’s important for EPA to hear that they are likely underestimating the volume of cellulosic biofuel which can be produced and used in 2018, particularly from corn kernel fiber technologies. ACE supports making a reasonable increase in cellulosic volumes for 2018.

ACE is also grateful EPA is holding a public hearing on the proposed RVOs, scheduled next Tuesday, Aug. 1 in Washington, D.C. However, given the delay in issuing the proposal, ACE reiterates the importance of EPA Administrator Pruitt moving this process forward in a timely manner to meet the final rule publishing date of Nov. 30.

“We urge the Agency to expedite the process of finalizing strong blending targets to help restore confidence to the rural economy and reassure retailers that it makes sense to offer E15 and flex fuels like E30 and E85 to their customers,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE. “The RFS is meant to drive increasing levels of domestic biofuel production and use. This issue is of paramount importance to America’s farmers—who are reeling from oversupplies and low prices—and the rural communities that depend upon a strong farm economy.”

Growth Energy, RFA, USGC Statement on Delay of Decision to Impose U.S. Ethanol Import Tariff

The Executive Management Committee of CAMEX, Brazil’s Chamber of Foreign Trade, announced Tuesday a 30-day delay of a decision on a pending proposal to impose a 20 percent tariff on U.S. ethanol imports. The proposal would allow 500 million liters annually of U.S. ethanol imports (132.1 million gallons) before triggering the tariff. The following is a joint statement on this action from U.S. Grains Council (USGC) President and CEO Tom Sleight, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen and Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor:

“We are encouraged to see Brazil’s postponement on a decision regarding a pending proposal to impose tariffs on U.S. ethanol imports. This decision should not be taken lightly, as imposing tariffs on U.S. ethanol imports will hurt Brazilian consumers by driving up their costs at the pump. Additionally, this action on U.S. ethanol imports will go against Brazil’s own longstanding view that ethanol tariffs are inappropriate and will harm the development of the global ethanol industry. We will continue to work towards educating Brazilian policymakers on how misguided this tariff would be, which would harm consumers by denying them access to the lowest cost, cleanest and highest octane source of fuel in the world. This proposal, if implemented, would have wide-ranging and long-standing impacts on both our industries and the global fuel supply.”

 AGCO to Acquire Precision Planting from The Climate Corporation

AGCO, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, announced today that a definitive agreement has been signed for AGCO to acquire the Precision Planting LLC equipment business.

“Precision Planting is a strong business that plays an essential role in the growth and adoption of innovative precision ag practices that help farmers enhance their productivity,” said Mike Stern, chief executive officer for The Climate Corporation. “As a leading global equipment manufacturer, AGCO is uniquely positioned to enable broader distribution of Precision Planting technology and will continue the development of innovative products that improve the efficiency and productivity for farmers around the world.”

“The acquisition of Precision Planting will solidify AGCO as one of the global leaders in planting technology and strengthen our position as a full line partner for professional farmers across the globe,” said Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.

The Climate Corporation’s Climate FieldViewTM digital agriculture platform will retain connectivity with Precision Planting’s 20/20 SeedSense monitor.

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

Tuesday July 25 Ag News

ACE welcomes Governor Ricketts to 30th annual conference

The 30th annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) conference will host Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts as the keynote speaker during the general session on Wednesday, Aug. 16 of the upcoming Aug. 15-17 event being held at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Omaha.

“Ethanol has been a great success story in Nebraska communities and communities all across the heartland,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “We look forward to hosting the 30th annual conference of the American Coalition for Ethanol in Omaha this year.”

 “We’re thrilled Governor Ricketts can join us as we gather together in his home state of Nebraska to discuss pressing industry issues,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE. “The governor has served as a great advocate for Nebraska’s ethanol industry, and we look forward to hearing his perspective from recent meetings he’s had with President Trump and EPA Administrator Pruitt on the energy and policy issues impacting this industry.”

The 2017 ACE conference general session will kick off on Wednesday, Aug. 16 with an update from ACE leadership. The successes of last year and highlights of upcoming projects and opportunities for ACE members will be provided by Duane Kristensen, ACE board vice president representing Chief Ethanol Fuels; Brian Jennings, ACE executive vice president; and Ron Lamberty, ACE senior vice president. Gov. Ricketts keynote address will follow these updates.

Next on the agenda lineup is a presentation from Jim Galvin, the appointed leader of the U.S. Grains Council Advisory Team for Ethanol and director and CEO of Lakeview Energy. Galvin will provide an update on the industry’s export market development strategy—market trends, global demand factors and implications of Trump administration trade policy reform on the U.S. ethanol industry. 

The general session on Wednesday will conclude by taking a deeper dive into market development efforts here at home. Fuel marketers Charlie Bosselman, owner of Bosselman Enterprises, and Bob O’Connor, owner of JETZ Convenience Centers, will share lessons learned from making the switch to offer higher ethanol blends at their stations and provide an update on how E15 and flex fuels are impacting their bottom line.

An award ceremony and lunch will follow the general session panels. Prospective attendees are being urged to register online and make hotel reservations now before registration rates rise Aug. 1 and the conference room block closes tomorrow, July 26.

Rohwer Testifies at Senate Hearing on 2018 Farm Bill

Crop insurance and commodity title programs have been critical for helping farmers survive sustained low commodity prices, and they should be maintained in the next farm bill, National Corn Growers Association Board member Bruce Rohwer testified today at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on risk management tools and the 2018 Farm Bill.

“Crop insurance and commodity title programs are particularly important to family farmers who earn a majority of their household income from the farm. Without crop insurance and commodity title payments, the financial wherewithal of these farms would likely face serious erosion in the current environment,” said Rohwer, who raises corn and soybeans and runs a sow farrow-to-finish operation in Paullina, Iowa.

Rohwer noted that corn prices have averaged below $4.00 per bushel since 2013, and are projected to average $3.35 this marketing year. The annual crop value of corn fell from nearly $77 billion in 2011 to just over $51 billion in 2016, the effects of which have been felt throughout the agriculture industry. Restoring a strong farm economy is good not only for farmers, but also the businesses they support, Rohwer testified.

“The sharp drop in farm income increases the financial stress for farmers, as well as employees of agriculture-related businesses, such as equipment manufacturers. Everyone tied to the ag economy is affected,” said Rohwer.

“That’s why it is more important than ever to strengthen our position in current markets and develop new uses to increase demand for our crop. A robust livestock industry, expanding exports, and a growing renewable fuels industry are central to corn farmers achieving more profitable and resilient farm operations.”

In the meantime, Rohwer testified, commodity title programs and the federal crop insurance program are essential risk management tools for farmers, and they must be maintained in the 2018 Farm Bill.

“Overall, the commodity program reforms authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill have performed as they were designed. They are delivering assistance when it’s needed, and only when it’s needed.”

ASA’s Scott Testifies on Farm Bill Risk Management Programs

Soybean farmer Kevin Scott testified on the importance of risk management programs within the nation’s farm legislation at a hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee this morning in Washington. Scott, who serves on the Board of Directors of the American Soybean Association (ASA) and as an at-large ASA Governing Committee member, detailed for the Committee the ways that programs within the commodities and crop insurance titles of the farm bill work together and may be improved moving forward to help producers in a time of economic uncertainty on the farm. Scott also testified on positive changes the Committee could make with regard to wetlands conservation, an important issue in his home state of South Dakota.

In his comments on Title I, Scott stated that the two main programs within that title—the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs--have worked as intended. “(ASA) supports reauthorizing ARC and PLC as choices on a farm-by-farm and crop-by-crop basis,” he stated. “We also support offering an option to reallocate crop acreage bases or to update bases to reflect recent planting history, and to update program payment yields, if funding is available to do so.”

Scott suggested that the more accurate yield data generated by USDA’s Risk Management Agency should be used to calculate payments, instead of the current policy of using yields reported to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and further recommended that payments under Title I should continue to be based on average planting of covered commodities in recent years, rather than on current-year plantings. “Decoupling encourages farmers to follow market signals rather than prospects for receiving government payments,” Scott said.

Regarding crop insurance, Scott noted the strong support of ASA for strengthening the program, calling it an essential tool for managing risk. “Crop insurance is now widely acknowledged as the most valuable part of the farm safety net,” Scott said.

Scott also took the opportunity to discuss the need for changes to the way USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service determines wetlands for the purposes of farm bill conservation programs. “Ensuring that, as farmers, we are good stewards of our environment is paramount to ASA. One of the ways we do so is by conserving our wetlands,” Scott said. “However, the process at NRCS for determining the existence of wetlands has become slow and burdensome to producers … There is such a backlog of applications waiting on NRCS in our area that producers can wait years before they know what they can or cannot do on their land.”

Scott suggested several fixes, including third-party determinations, deadlines for NRCS determinations, establishment of a determination as a final action that would allow for an immediate appeal in District Court, and reallocation of NRCS resources to states where the wetland determination backlog is largest.

ICBA Proposes Five Goals for New Farm Bill & Ways to Prevent Next Farm Crisis

The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today urged Congress to adopt a new long-term farm bill incorporating five broad goals and offered enhancements to USDA programs to prevent a farm credit crisis. Testifying before the Senate Agriculture Committee’s “Commodities, Crop Insurance & Credit” hearing, ICBA witness Brenda Kluesner, a loan officer and crop insurance manager for Royal Bank in Cassville, Wis., advocated for Congress to adopt a dynamic new multi-year farm bill upon expiration of the current bill to provide continuity and enable agricultural producers and their lenders to engage in multi-year business decision making.

Kluesner urged Congress to authorize permanent funding mechanisms for USDA farm loan programs and USDA’s Business and Industry program in years where demand for program loans exceed appropriated funds. She also noted more robust and better-financed USDA guaranteed lending programs through the 2018 farm bill will help avoid a farm credit crunch and prevent an exodus of producers from the agricultural sector.

ICBA’s five principles for consideration in the next farm bill include:
-    providing producers ample funds for commodities, crop insurance and credit programs to help them weather a potential farm income or farm credit crisis,
-    considering any program changes, including outside the current farm bill, that benefit producers and their community banks,
-    directing agencies to reduce regulatory burdens and prohibit regulations not based on statutory language or that add unnecessary regulatory burdens,
-    requiring federal agencies’ rules to treat all categories of program participants fairly, and
-    requiring direct loan programs to compliment, not undercut, private sector lending.

To meet the growing demand for these programs, Kluesner encouraged Congress to provide adequate funding, raise loan limits, minimize origination fees and paperwork requirements, and provide uniform financing requirements for USDA loans across state lines in addition to other recommendations.

“Congress has the power to help avoid a farm credit crisis,” Kluesner said. “A strong farm safety net for commodities, and a strong crop insurance program, are both vital to producers and community banks. By enhancing, streamlining and adjusting the USDA guaranteed lending programs in the next farm bill, we will ensure that they fulfill their potential to be a key component of the farm safety net and help prevent the next farm credit crisis.”

 NFU President Urges Senate Agriculture Committee to Strengthen Farm Safety Net

Family farmers and ranchers are enduring a severely depressed farm economy, with projections pointing to a prolonged period of depressed commodity prices. To ensure the growth and success of family farm agriculture, Congress must strengthen the overall farm safety net, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson told the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture today.

In his oral testimony to the Committee’s hearing on “Commodities, Credit, and Crop Insurance: Perspectives on Risk Management Tools and Trends for the 2018 Farm Bill,” Johnson urged senators to improve the farm bill safety net, protect crop insurance, and improve access to credit.

“We continue to witness pressure in the countryside as commodity prices remain low and farmers and ranchers struggle to adjust,” Johnson told members of the Committee. “We are three years into this downturn, and forecasts by USDA point to a prolonged period of depressed prices. Given this scenario, NFU believes that the farm bill safety net should provide meaningful assistance in two fundamental circumstances: when disaster strikes and when prices are low and remain below the cost of production for extended periods of time. These two scenarios have separate solutions, the first is crop insurance and the second is commodity programs.”

Johnson noted that much discussion and debate around the 2018 Farm Bill has centered on programs that fit a particular budget. “Using the budget as a starting and ending point for the nation’s agriculture safety net is problematic from our perspective,” he said. “Feeding the nation is a national security priority and should be treated as such.”

To that end, Johnson urged the Committee to raise reference prices under the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, improve the operability of Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), return cotton as a covered commodity, and rework the dairy safety net.

Johnson also stressed the vital importance of crop insurance, an essential risk management tool for family farmers, which is constantly under threat of budget cuts in Congress. He applauded changes contained in the 2014 Farm Bill pertaining to the policies such as the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) and Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP), which have proven an important springboard for farmers, especially beginning farmers, into crop insurance.

“We should continue to look for ways to incentivize wider adoption of risk management tools through the Farm Bill,” he added.

Finally, Johnson emphasized the need to provide producers with access to credit, especially during times of financial strife. He noted that in fiscal year 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) set a new record across its loan portfolio, with obligations of direct and guaranteed operating and farm ownership loan funds reaching $6.3 billion.

“At the same time servicing metrics associated with the program got worse as delinquencies rose across the portfolio and debt restructuring increased,” Johnson said. “Among private sector lending, confidence is down and stress on portfolios are up according to both public and private reports. Nearly 90 percent of agricultural lenders have seen an overall decline in farm profitability in the last 12 months.”

“There are many challenges facing agriculture today,” Johnson concluded. “This committee has a challenging task ahead of it as it begins to grapple with these problems. The farm bill safety net needs to be improved, crop insurance needs to be protected, and access to credit needs to be increased all for the benefit of family farmers. Our collective challenge is to continue working to provide help when and where needed – and to encourage the continued growth and success of our most vital industry – agriculture.”

NPPC Supports Legislation To Stop States From Dictating Production Practices In Other States

Stating that “pork producers, not animal-right activists, lawmakers or regulators, should make the decisions about what production practices are best for their animals and for producing safe food,” Neil Dierks, CEO of the National Pork Producers Council, today in congressional testimony pledged the organization’s support for legislation that would prohibit a state from imposing tax or regulatory burdens on businesses, including pork operations, that are not physically present in the state.

The ‘‘No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017,’’ H.R. 2887, introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., would stop states from adopting laws and regulations that ban the sale of out-of-state products that don’t meet their criteria.

Massachusetts, for example, last year approved a ballot initiative that outlaws in the state the use of gestation stalls for housing sows, battery cages for egg-laying hens and crates for veal calves and prohibits the sale of out-of-state pork, eggs and veal from animals kept in the banned housing. The California Legislature in 2010 adopted a similar sales prohibition after voters in the state in 2008 approved a nearly identical ban on animal housing.

NPPC has fought such bans, which have been pushed by animal-rights groups. Nine states have banned, through legislation or ballot measures, gestation stalls, battery cages and veal crates, but only California and Massachusetts extended the bans to sales in their state of products produced anywhere in the country that don’t comply with their housing standards.

“Changes in production practices should be driven by the marketplace, not government fiats or even ballot initiatives,” Dierks told the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, during its hearing on the growing problem of states regulating beyond their borders.

He pointed out that, while states have the prerogative – however ill-advised or uninformed – to ban certain agriculture production practices for their farmers, they shouldn’t be allowed to adopt laws or regulations that dictate the practices of farmers in the other 49 states.

That restraint of interstate commerce, Dierks told the panel, would appear to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which gives absolute power to Congress to regulate such trade.

The Sensenbrenner bill would prohibit state intrusions on the sovereignty of other states, limiting state taxation and regulation to persons and entities that have a “physical presence” in the state.

Farm Bureau Presents Farm Bill Goals to Congress

Congress must counter a steep, four-year drop in commodity prices that has left farmers and ranchers in worse shape than any time since the farm depression of the 1980s, Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney told the Senate Agriculture Committee today.                                                                                                    

Haney’s testimony cited growing losses in farm country that increasingly threaten the livelihoods of millions of Americans.

“2017 and 2018 will be a critical period for farmers and ranchers,” Haney told the committee. “Farmers and ranchers are tightening their belts and paying very close attention to their individual financial situations. Simply put, they are in greater need of strong, secure safety net programs and risk management tools than has been the case for several years.”

To offset the effects of deteriorating farm and ranch conditions, Haney said, Congress should:
-    Protect current farm bill spending.
-    Maintain a unified farm bill that includes nutrition programs and farm programs together.
-    Ensure any changes to current farm legislation be an amendment to the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 or the Agricultural Act of 1949.
-    Prioritize top funding concerns -- risk management tools, which include both federal crop insurance and Title I commodity programs.
-    Ensure programs are compliant with World Trade Organization agreements.

Haney also urged Congress to maintain robust funding for conservation programs that encourage environmentally sensitive farming practices as well as the periodic withdrawal of land from active use.

NMPF Urges FDA: Enforce U.S. Standards for Dairy Food Labeling

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) long absence of enforcement of its own food standards has allowed the marketing of hundreds of deceptively labeled dairy imitators – a situation requiring immediate action by the federal government, National Milk Producers Federation officials told the agency during a high-level meeting in Maryland today.

Food policy staff from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), led by President and CEO Jim Mulhern, met with key FDA regulators to discuss the dairy organization’s concern over the agency’s persistent inaction toward the misleading labeling practices of plant-based food manufacturers. During the last two decades, plant-based “milk” imitators have flooded the market, using dairy terminology and imagery to advertise their products as suitable replacements for cow’s milk, despite the fact that they are nutritionally inferior. While FDA’s own standards of identity clearly stipulate that products labeled as “milk” must come from a lactating animal, the agency has consistently turned a blind eye to violations of these standards, thereby encouraging these imitation dairy manufacturers to inappropriately use that term, as well as other dairy product terms like “cheese,” “yogurt,” and “ice cream.”

“Today’s meeting with FDA allowed us to convey our concern that in the absence of enforcement of existing clear and consistent regulations, well-defined product labels lose their meaning,” said Mulhern. “In the case of imitation milks, these beverages are nothing but a factory-made slurry of ground-up nuts or seeds combined with water, sugar, emulsifiers and thickeners. By comparison, cow’s milk has attracted and nourished generations, and built a reputation as a natural food with a consistent package of nine essential nutrients. It is misleading and deceptive to allow these nutritionally inferior imitators to use our hard-won reputation to their advantage.”

NMPF surveyed imitation dairy beverages in the marketplace and concluded that none of the imitation products matched the nine essential nutrients found in cow’s milk. The strongest discrepancies were noticed in amounts of protein, sodium and potassium. While almond “milk” has become the most popular dairy alternative, it fails to deliver one of real milk’s core nutrients: protein; almond beverages contain just 1 gram per serving, compared to real milk’s 8 grams (other popular milk imitators, including rice- and coconut-based beverages, also offer little to no protein). The survey also highlighted the amount of sodium added to dairy imitators for flavor. About two-thirds of the products surveyed contained more sodium than cow’s milk (which is all naturally occurring), some close to double the amount. A similarly large majority failed to offer the same amount of potassium – one of three nutrients most lacking in Americans’ diets, according to government dietary research.

NMPF executives pointed out that the current federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans admonish consumers that “other products sold as ‘milks’ but made from plants are not included as part of the dairy group [of recommended foods] because their overall nutritional content is not similar to dairy milk.”

“Beyond the wide variation in the presence of many nutrients, not one of these imitators had the same amount of nine essential nutrients in real milk,” said Beth Briczinski, NMPF’s vice president for dairy food and nutrition. “Some may add food-grade calcium salts or a few vitamins, but none matches milk’s complete nutritional profile. This discrepancy is about more than words; it’s a matter of the public being served nutritionally inconsistent, inferior products that desperately want to ride the coattails of and associate themselves with a superior food.”

The meeting also allowed NMPF to highlight the fact that FDA is out of step with its international counterparts, including Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union. Each country actively polices improper labeling of imitation dairy products; Canada requires U.S.-based companies to change the wording on their labels to comply with the country’s own rules, for example, requiring that the product marketed as “almondmilk” in the United States be labeled as “almond beverage.” Meanwhile, the EU Court of Justice determined last month that products not sourced from an animal cannot bear the terms “milk,” “cheese” and so on.

“These countries prove that by actively enforcing standards of identity, dairy-free alternatives and real milk can co-exist without conflict,” said Mulhern. “We are not trying to eliminate the marketing of these foods. We want to end the consumer deception associated with these products and for FDA to enforce its regulations on product integrity. We will continue to push on this issue until FDA acts to ensure dairy standards are enforced.”

New Additive Hands Biodiesel the Win as Cleanest Liquid Fuel in the U.S.

The California Air Resource Board announced on July 20, 2017 that it has certified a biodiesel additive that will make B20 blends in California the cleanest proven and tested diesel fuel with the lowest emissions profile available anywhere in the U.S.

“Biodiesel has been a key to help California meet its intense carbon reduction goals. With this announcement, America’s Advanced Biofuel will continue to deliver a cleaner burning, American made alternative under the state’s low carbon fuel standard,” said Donnell Rehagen, National Biodiesel Board CEO. “Biodiesel will gladly take the role as the cleanest certified diesel fuel available.”

The additive takes already clean-burning biodiesel and ensures it reduces every measurable regulated emission, including NOx, when blended with California’s unique diesel formulation called CARB diesel. NBB led the initial research and development into the additive to maintain biodiesel’s competitive advantage under the state’s low carbon fuel standard.

Branded VESTA™1000, the CARB certified additive ensures compliance with the January 1, 2018 implementation of CARB’s Alternative Diesel Fuel Regulation. A 20 percent blend of biodiesel with VESTA™ 1000 reduced NOx by 1.9 percent and particulate matter by 18 percent compared to CARB diesel fuel. California Fueling, LLC will produce the formula, and Pacific Fuel Resource, LLC will deliver the product to market. The two companies will work cooperatively with NBB members as well as those in the California fuel community to support the ongoing use of biodiesel diesel blends up to B20.

“This impressive NBB-led effort, over the course of the past eighteen months, has resulted in a first-of-a-kind CARB approval, which enables biodiesel to be the renewable fuel of choice to meet California’s stringent LCFS carbon reduction requirements,” said Pat McDuff, CEO, California Fueling, LLC.

“As a result of this effort, biodiesel will continue to play a major role in helping Californians meet their renewable energy and clean air goals,” said Paul Nazzaro, President, Pacific Fuel Resource, LLC. “By increasing biodiesel use up to a B20 blend, estimated to be an additional 600 million gallons of cleaner-burning biodiesel annually, California can now achieve its goals under the LCFS.”

Calf Crop Points Towards Larger Beef Supplies

James Mintert, Purdue University

USDA provided several key updates last week when it released the July Cattle inventory report along with its monthly Cattle on Feed report. The mid-year cattle inventory report provided the first estimate of the 2017 calf crop, which at 36.3 million head was 3.5 percent larger than the 2016 calf crop. The year-over-year increase in the calf crop's size was slightly larger than in 2016, when the U.S. calf crop increased 2.9 percent compared to the prior year. This is the third consecutive year that the calf crop size has increased after bottoming out at 33.5 million head in 2014. The calf crop increase continues to point to larger slaughter cattle supplies in both 2018 and 2019, despite the downturn in profitability experienced by U.S. cow-calf operations.

Year-to-year comparisons of other data included in the cattle inventory report are not possible since USDA did not publish the mid-year report last year because of budget pressure. Despite that shortcoming, the report does provide some key insights into developing changes in the industry. The July 1 all cattle and calves inventory estimate was 102.6 million head, which was the first time the July inventory was above 100 million head since 2011. The beef cow inventory of 32.5 million head was 6.6 percent larger than two years ago and was the largest July inventory since 2008. Both of these estimates are consistent with the expansion observed on the January inventory report.

Although it's not clear from the report that beef industry expansion has come to a grinding halt, it does suggest expansion interest is waning. For example, the number of beef heifers being held by producers for herd replacement on July 1st was 2 percent smaller than in 2015 and, when expressed as a percentage of the beef cow inventory totaled just 14.5 percent. In contrast, when the beef industry was expanding rapidly this ratio climbed above 15 percent. Additionally, the ratio of female (cow and heifer) slaughter relative to steer slaughter has been above a year ago 5 out of the last six months, the exception occurring in February. The increase in female relative to steer slaughter suggests herd expansion has slowed, if it has not actually come to a complete halt.

USDA's Cattle on Feed report confirmed that the on feed inventory remains well above last year. Early in 2017 the on feed inventory was very near a year earlier, but net placements on feed have been substantially above the prior year every month except February. The placement build-up means that, despite a good marketing pace throughout 2017, pushed the on feed inventory up with a July 1 inventory that was 4.5 percent above the prior year. The combination of a larger cattle on feed inventory and larger placements both point to fed cattle marketings during the last half of 2017 remaining above 2016's.

Commercial cattle slaughter was 6.5 percent larger during the first half of 2017 than in 2016. But cattle weights were lower than a year earlier, averaging 1.7 percent below the January-June 2016 average. As a result, beef production during 2017's first half increased just 4.8 percent compared to the same period in 2016. The on feed inventory and placement pattern both point to beef production remaining above a year earlier throughout the rest of 2017, although the year-over-year increases are expected to moderate.

Recent eastern Corn Belt calf prices, although based on seasonally small summer calf marketings, have been modestly higher than a year ago. Prices in Kentucky markets reported by USDA for 500-600 pound steers averaged in the mid-$150s during the first half of July, compared to the mid-$140s a year earlier. Prices are likely to remain near that range, with seasonal weakness expected in October when calf marketings increase. Last year prices for 500-600 pound steers in Kentucky dropped into the $112 to $120 range in October and early November. Prices for 500-600 pound Kentucky steers this fall are expected to be somewhat stronger than in fall 2016, but feed grain price movement between now and fall could have an effect on prices. If feed prices remain near recent levels, prices in Kentucky markets for 500-600 pound steers could average in the $120s to the $130s.

New Legislation Would Delay Logging Device Requirements for Drivers

A recently introduced bill would provide a much-needed delay to the problematic electronic logging device mandate for certain drivers, which is set to go into effect in December, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The Farm Bureau-backed ELD Extension Act of 2017 (H.R. 3282) would delay the mandate for two years to allow stakeholders to work with FMCSA to address numerous unresolved issues.

“This delay is necessary to adequately account for costs, allay technology concerns, minimize impacts to livestock and other live animals under our members’ care and allow for the proper training to ensure uniform compliance and enforcement,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall wrote in a letter to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas).

Unless Congress acts, carriers and drivers who are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s ELD rule must install and use ELDs by Dec. 18. While most farmers and ranchers should be exempt because they can claim covered farm vehicle status, drivers who haul livestock, live fish and insects are likely to fall under the requirements.

Drivers who have to use ELDs would be limited to current hours of service rules, which restrict a driver to only 14 “on duty” hours, with no more than 11 active driving hours. Once a driver hits those maximum hour allotments, he must stop and rest for 10 consecutive hours, which would be problematic when transporting livestock and other live animals.

The requirements imposed by the mandate would be harmful to both small business owners, who could be forced out of the marketplace, and livestock, which could suffer if they were no longer hauled by highly skilled and trained drivers and stockmen, Duvall wrote.

“Time spent on a truck can be stressful for cattle and other live animals. Unnecessary stops or multiple loads and unloads add additional stress resulting in potential livestock weight loss and increased animal sickness and death,” he said.

Now is the time to plan for cover crops

When it comes to growing cover crops, some common advice from the more than 100 farmers enrolled in the Soil Health Partnership is “start small.” The SHP is encouraging farmers new to cover crops to start small, but start now.

A cover crop is a crop planted primarily to reduce soil erosion, improve soil health, and protect water quality, among other benefits. Typical varieties in the Midwest include cereal rye, oats and tillage radish.

David Moose, an Auburn, Ill. farmer enrolled in the SHP program, has grown cover crops on his farm for several years. Kneeling in his black soil at a November field day, Moose pulls up a tiny green plant. The cereal rye’s thin roots extend deeper into the soil than looks possible.

“This root is already nearly 12 inches long,” Moose says. “It will grow to be another one or two feet down in the soil, providing a nice environment for worms, and creating channels for water to go down deep. I don’t have to rip up the soil for this to happen.”

Growing cover crops, usually in fall and winter, can provide striking benefits to soil health, including:
-    Erosion Prevention. Reducing the soil’s exposure to wind and water can help keep precious topsoil in place.
-    Restoring Organic Matter.  Some components of organic matter can help bind soil together, store water and nutrients that plants need, and sustain helpful bacteria and fungi.
-    Improved Soil Structure and Soil Pores. Compacted soils do not have enough room for the plant roots to grow. Improving soil structure and pores helps hold soil in place and retains water for plants to use.
-    Weed Suppression. Cover crop residue left between rows can help prevent weeds from growing. Vigorous cover crops also show promise for suppressing difficult-to-kill weeds.
-    Nutrient Storage. After the corn and soybean harvest, cover crops take up extra nutrients, like nitrogen, preventing losses to air and water. When cover crops decompose, these nutrients get re-released over time back to the next cash crop.
-    Biodiversity. Each plant brings its own set of characteristics which make the farm’s “ecosystem” more diverse. They can also provide wildlife habitat.

“If you have been on the fence about cover crops, you still have time this year to try it! Late July through August is the time to buy cover crop seed and get the seeding method lined up,” said Elyssa McFarland, Eastern Iowa SHP field manager. “You don’t have to cover your entire farm. Just start small in an area that you feel your soils could be most improved. Have a goal!”

McFarland says there are usually several local resources to help farmers get started, including seed companies and other ag retailers, state commodity groups, extension offices and local Natural Resources Conservation Service offices. The SHP is also hosting or partnering on a series of Field Days this summer and fall.

An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the goal of the Soil Health Partnership is to quantify the benefits of sustainable ag practices, including cover crops, from an economic standpoint.

“Through our long-term data collection on real working farms, we hope to demonstrate to farmers that healthy soil is also more productive soil, and can do things like improve yields over time,” McFarland says.

Moose looks forward to seeing data, but he says he already knows the combination of cover crops and no-till has been good for his business.

“I am not losing soil; I’m building soil,” Moose says. “I’m getting by with less labor, less equipment. And with the research of the Soil Health Partnership, I expect we’ll see more proof of the benefits of cover crops.”

 New NK® Corn and Soybeans offer growers science-driven boost to seed portfolios

The NK® seeds portfolio is expanding to offer growers more cutting-edge options in 2018, with Syngenta announcing the release of 31 new hybrids and 21 new varieties.

They reflect a continued investment by Syngenta in advancing the retail seeds industry. All NK Corn and Soybeans are driven by the latest scientific advances, with researchers using a complex system of analytics that helps to pinpoint and develop the characteristics most likely to help growers maximize yields. The result is a range of hybrids and varieties that delivers results.

“As with all our products, the new NK hybrids and varieties originated from our proprietary pool of genetics – meaning that when growers add them to their seed portfolios, they’re adding something truly different,” said Scott Erickson, head of product marketing, soybean seed at Syngenta. “With NK, growers can plant the seeds of change. It’s a great recipe to help spread risk while maximizing opportunity.”

The 2018 class of NK Soybean varieties delivers elite genetics to protect against a range of diseases and pests including sudden death syndrome (SDS) and soybean cyst nematodes (SCN). NK Soybean varieties offer growers the industry’s best SDS ratings when compared to major competitors’ varieties, with an average 1.3-point advantage for relative maturities – a critical benefit given that there are no in-season options currently available to combat this yield-robbing disease.

In addition, 18 of the new varieties include Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® trait technology, offering growers another tool to manage against weed resistance.

Many of the new NK Corn hybrids are similarly backed by advanced, high-performing traits and technologies. The Agrisure® traits portfolio offers best-in-class insect control, water optimization and herbicide tolerance to protect genetic yield potential. For the 2018 season, growers will have access to eight new Agrisure Artesian® hybrids and 15 new hybrids featuring the Agrisure Viptera® trait. Additionally, five new hybrids featuring the Agrisure Duracade® trait will be available in select geographies under a Syngenta grain-use marketing program.

“Introducing 10 new genetic families, the 2018 NK hybrids will continue to enable growers to diversify genetics across their fields,” said Joe Bollman, corn product marketing manager at Syngenta. “With greater genetic choice and proven performance, NK Corn is a worthy investment.”

All 2018 NK Corn hybrids will follow the new naming system introduced earlier this year that clearly identifies hybrid relative maturity.

In select locations, NK retailers will also offer nine new Enogen® hybrids, featuring an in-seed innovation that benefits growers marketing grain to ethanol plants and those producing grain or silage for livestock feed. In the ethanol market, Enogen grain enhances the ethanol production process by improving process efficiency, while the same technology helps increase the value of corn as feed for dairy or beef cattle due to improved digestibility.

Monday July 24 Crop Progress Report + Ag News


For the week ending July 23, 2017, temperatures averaged four to eight degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Measurable rainfall was received in the northern and southeastern parts of Nebraska. Winter wheat harvest was wrapping up for the region. There were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 31 percent very short, 40 short, 29 adequate, and 0 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 24 percent very short, 42 short, 34 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 5 percent very poor, 10 poor, 24 fair, 49 good, and 12 excellent. Corn silking was 76 percent, near 78 last year and 74 for the five-year average. Dough was 9 percent, near 11 last year and 12 average.

Soybean condition rated 5 percent very poor, 10 poor, 26 fair, 53 good, and 6 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 79 percent, ahead of 72 last year, and near 75 average. Setting pods was 26 percent, ahead of 16 last year, and equal to average.

Winter wheat harvested was 93 percent, near 90 last year, and ahead of 77 average.

Sorghum condition rated 4 percent very poor, 5 poor, 28 fair, 48 good, and 15 excellent. Sorghum headed was 10 percent, behind 22 last year and 23 average.

Oats condition rated 2 percent very poor, 3 poor, 37 fair, 50 good, and 8 excellent. Oats mature was 96 percent. Harvested was 76 percent, ahead of 63 both last year and average.

Alfalfa condition rated 6 percent very poor, 15 poor, 33 fair, 38 good, and 8 excellent. Alfalfa second cutting was 96 percent complete, ahead of 90 last year and 83 average. Third cutting was 22 percent, near 19 last year.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 14 percent very poor, 20 poor, 39 fair, 24 good, and 3 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 6 percent very short, 13 short, 81 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:

Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps at:

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:


Above normal temperatures were accompanied by widely varying rainfall and some severe weather during the week ending July 23, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included hauling grain, applying herbicides and insecticides, cultivating, and haying.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 20 percent very short, 32 percent short, 45 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Over 90 percent of south central Iowa’s topsoil falls into the short to very short moisture level categories, while 99 percent of northeast Iowa’s topsoil falls into the adequate to surplus categories. Subsoil moisture levels rated 14 percent very short, 32 percent short, 52 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.

Seventy-four percent of Iowa’s corn crop has reached the silking stage, 4 days behind last year but 2 days ahead of the 5-year average. Corn conditions deteriorated slightly to 2 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 24 percent fair, 55 percent good, and 13 percent excellent.

Nearly three-quarters of the soybean crop was blooming, with 30 percent of soybeans setting pods, 1 day ahead of average. Soybean condition also dropped slightly with 62 percent rated good to excellent.

Oats coloring reached 89 percent, one week behind last year. Forty-one percent of oats for grain or seed have been harvested, 4 days behind last year. Oat condition rated 71 percent good to excellent. Crops were described as suffering from heat stress and lack of moisture across much of the state.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 90 percent complete and third cutting reached 8 percent, 5 days behind average. Hay condition rated 61 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition continued to decline with just 41 percent good to excellent. High temperatures and humidity were reported to cause normal summer heat stress to livestock, with some reports of heat-related deaths.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Soybean, corn and spring wheat condition ratings all worsened in the last week, according to USDA's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

Soybeans were rated 14% poor to very poor in the week ended July 23, compared to 11% last week. Fifty-seven percent of the crop was rated good to excellent, compared to 61% last week.  Sixty-nine percent of soybeans are blooming, while 29% are setting pods. That compares to 52% and 16% last week, 74% and 33% last year and averages of 67% and 27%.

Corn conditions were rated 12% poor to very poor, compared to 11% last week. Sixty-two percent of the corn crop was rated good-to-excellent.  Sixty seven percent of the corn is silking and 8% is in the dough stage, compared to 40% and NA last week, 76% and 12% last year and averages of 69% and 13%.

Spring wheat was rated 40% poor to very poor, compared to 41% last week. Thirty-three percent of spring wheat was rated good-to-excellent.  Winter wheat is 84% harvested, compared to 75% last week, 82% last year, and an 80% average. 

Sorghum is 38% headed and 21% coloring, compared to 31% and 20% last week, 48% and 22% last year, and averages of 42% and 25%. Sorghum condition worsened to 59% good to excellent, compared to 63% last week.

Barley is 97% headed, compared to 89% last week, 97% last year and a 97% average. Barley condition worsened, with more of the crop moving into the fair rating and out of the good to excellent category.

Oats are 24% harvested, compared to 14% last week, 35% last year and a 31% average.

Cotton is 77% squaring and 36% setting bolls, compared to 70% and 26% last week, 84% and 43% last year, and 84% and 41% on average. Cotton condition worsened in the past week. Rice is 49% headed, compared to 33% last week, 55% last year and a 44% average.

Southern Rust Confirmed in Corn in 8 Eastern Nebraska Counties 

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant Pathologist

Southern corn rust was confirmed in Seward County July 19, York County July 18, Cass and Fillmore counties July 17, and in Cloud County in north central Kansas July 14. (It had previously been confirmed in five more southern Kansas counties.) Southern rust was also confirmed on samples from Richardson, Nemaha, Otoe, and Thayer counties July 20.  The disease is likely elsewhere and fields, particularly in southern Nebraska, should be scouted frequently for this disease in the coming weeks.

Southern rust is caused by an aggressive fungus that can cause disease rapidly in susceptible corn hybrids under favorable weather conditions. If it becomes severe, it can cause significant yield loss in susceptible hybrids. Producers and crop advisors should be monitoring fields closely for this disease.

Favorable Weather

Current weather conditions are very favorable for development and spread of southern rust. The pathogen does not overwinter so its spores (urediniospores) must be blown into the area by wind from the south.  The fungus needs moisture to germinate and infect, so high relative humidity, rainfall, and irrigation will hasten disease development. Warm temperatures favor southern rust development, especially temperatures in the upper 70s to lower 80s F, even if they occur overnight.


A new southern rust tracking website has been created to help document the distribution of the disease...  Please help us keep the map updated by sharing corn samples with southern rust. Samples submitted to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic that are microscopically confirmed will be highlighted in red on the map. Other samples that look probable for southern rust in photos will be highlighted in yellow to indicate that the disease is “suspected” until a positive sample is submitted from that county.


Most corn hybrids are susceptible to the southern rust fungus. Foliar fungicides can effectively manage the disease. Most systemic fungicides can provide protection of leaves from future infections for up to 21-28 days.

The wide range of planting dates across Nebraska this year has resulted in a wide range of corn growth and reproductive stages in fields, some of which are still in the vegetative growth stages.  Later planted fields that are earlier in their maturity are at the greatest risk for yield loss if the disease develops there soon. Southern rust can take days to several weeks to develop once it’s identified in an area, so immediate treatment may not be necessary for most fields. Spraying early may mean a second application is necessary later in the season to protect plants during later grain-fill stages as the disease increases in severity once the fungicide has worn off.

If you're unsure of what you're seeing, submit a sample to the UNL Plant & Pest Diagnostic Clinic for help identifying this or other diseases.  For more information see the Nebraska Extension NebGuide, Rust Diseases of Corn in Nebraska (G1680).

Although at Low Levels, Soybean Aphids Are in Northeast Nebraska

Thomas Hunt - NE Extension Entomologist
Keith Jarvi - NE Extension Educator
Wayne Ohnesorg - NE Extension Educator

Although it has been too hot for soybean aphids to thrive, we are beginning to see them in northeast Nebraska soybean fields, albeit at extremely low levels. The infestations appear to have occurred fairly recently, as the aphids were only observed on leaves that had not yet expanded completely. One could consider many fields to be “seeded” with soybean aphid, and if (or maybe we should say when) temperatures decline, we could see soybean aphid populations increase significantly.

In past years we have monitored soybean fields that were almost devoid of aphids in mid-July grow to well over 2000 aphids per plant by mid-August. It’s time to review soybean aphid biology and management, and if you have not started to scout for aphids, start now.

More information here...

View High-Tech Sensors in Action at Project SENSE Updates

Project SENSE update sessions are planned in five locations across Nebraska in August. Project SENSE (Sensors for Efficient Nitrogen Use and Stewardship of the Environment) focuses on improving the efficiency of nitrogen fertilizer use. During the sessions, growers will learn how to outfit and implement the project’s nitrogen management strategy on their operations.

Strategies which direct crop nitrogen status at early growth stages are a promising way to improve nitrogen fertilizer efficiency and improve groundwater nitrate levels.  Growers will see a live demonstration of the project’s high clearance nitrogen applicator outfitted with active crop canopy sensors. Attendees will learn how producers are conducting research trials on their own fields in partnership with the Project SENSE team.  There will also be a fixed wing drone exhibition, weather permitting.

Update sessions will take place on the following days:
-    Aug. 4, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: From Hebron, ¾ mile east of HWY 81 on River Rd.
-    Aug. 7, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: 548 Rd. 14, Schuyler
-    Aug. 14, 5 – 7 p.m.: From Monroe 3 miles south on Monroe Rd. then 3.5 miles east
-    Aug. 16, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.: From Chapman, west on G Rd. to 2nd Rd., north to K Rd., east 1 mile to 3rd rd., south ½ mile
-    Aug. 22, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: 3730 Denton Rd, Beaver Crossing

Lunch will be provided. Pre-registration is due two days in advance for meal-planning purposes. To pre-register, call 308-754-5422 or email

For more information, visit Certified Crop Adviser credits are available.

Project SENSE is a collaborative effort between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Nebraska Corn Board, five Natural Resources Districts (Central Platte, Little Blue, Lower Loup, Lower Platte North, and Upper Big Blue) in Nebraska, and producers participating in the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               This summer’s heat and humidity makes it abundantly clear how important adequate water is for your pastured livestock.  Let’s discuss ways to provide water throughout your pastures.

               This summer has been especially hot and muggy.  While it may be uncomfortable for you and me, it is particularly hard on livestock out on pasture.  To help them thrive, or even just survive, under these conditions, they need plenty of good, clean water.

               Not only do they need plenty of good, clean water – they need it close by.  Once upon a time, it was common to make cattle walk a mile or more to water.  And they’d do it.  But just think how hard it is on animals in this heat and humidity.  Once they get to the water, the last thing they want to do is turn around and go way back where they came from to graze.  As a result, they stay fairly close to the water.   In fact, research shows that when cattle need to travel more than 1000 feet to water, they spend less time grazing, they burn off pounds walking, and they graze distant areas incompletely.

               So – how can you improve your water distribution?  More ponds, wells, windmills, and dugouts will help, but they can get expensive.  Plus, they can only be placed in certain locations and can’t be moved.  So my preference often is to use a pipeline.  They can be put almost anywhere.  And if you want to add more water locations, pipelines can be tapped into anywhere along the line.  In many areas, you might qualify for cost-share dollars to help pay for the installation.  You also can leave your pipe on top of the ground, saving trenching costs, if you only need water during the growing season.

               Over time, these water improvements pay for themselves with better grass and improved animal performance.

USDA Cold Storage  June 2017 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on June 30, 2017 were down 3 percent from the previous month and down 7 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 10 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 5 percent from the previous month and down 4 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 29 percent from last month and down 65 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on June 30, 2017 were up 4 percent from the previous month and up 4 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 3 percent from the previous month but down 1 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 7 percent from last month and up 12 percent from June 30, 2016.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on June 30, 2017 were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 5 percent from June 30, 2016. Butter stocks were down 1 percent from last month and down 5 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were down 2 percent from last month and down 4 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 1 percent from last month but down 2 percent from a year ago.

Japanese-based Marubeni Acquires U.S. Beef Packer

Creekstone Farms, the Arkansas City, Kan.-based packing company with $550 million in sales last year, has been sold to Japanese trading house Marubeni. Creekstone, the 12th largest U.S. packing firm, was owned by private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners. A Japanese news source reported the deal to be worth $170 million.

Marubeni already owns an Australian feedlot, which means the company now has interests in two of the world's largest beef producing and exporting countries. International business analysts believe Marubeni sees changes in trade policy among major economies as business opportunities, and is making a play to be on the leading edge of U.S. beef exports to China with its purchase of Creekstone.

Creekstone processed about 250,000 cattle last year, about 20% of which was exported to Europe, Japan and other countries. It received a license to export to China soon after the ban was lifted last month. Marubeni says it has targeted sales of $620 million from Creekstone by 2020 through increasing exports to China and other destinations.

CWT Assists with 1.4 Million Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted five requests for export assistance from member cooperatives that have contracts to sell 1.4 million pounds (640 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese to customers in Asia, the Middle East and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from July through October 2017.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives that have contracts to sell 45.7 million pounds of American-type cheeses and 3 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 17 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 489.8 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

Friday July 21 Cattle on Feed Report + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.23 million cattle on feed on July 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 2 percent from last year. Placements during June totaled 425,000 head, up 16 percent from 2016. Fed cattle marketings for the month of June totaled 530,000 head, up 4 percent from last year. Other disappearance during June totaled 15,000 head, unchanged from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 670,000 head on July 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 1 percent from June 1, 2017, but up 10 percent from July 1, 2016. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 500,000 head on feed, down 9 percent from last month and down 8 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,170,000 head, down 5 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 June totaled 72,000 head, a decrease of 15 percent from last month but up 33 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 36,000 head, up 3 percent from last month, but down 29 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 108,000 head, down 10 percent from last month but up 3 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during June totaled 80,000 head, down 2 percent from last month, but up 11 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 84,000 head, up 22 percent from last month and up 14 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 164,000 head, up 9 percent from last month and up 12 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 4,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 4 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.8 million head on July 1, 2017. The inventory was 4 percent above July 1, 2016. The inventory included 6.96 million steers and steer calves, up 1 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 64 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 3.86 million head, up 11 percent from 2016.

Placements in feedlots during June totaled 1.77 million head, 16 percent above 2016. Net placements were 1.71 million head. During June, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 375,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 315,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 430,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 385,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 170,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 95,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during June totaled 1.99 million head, 4 percent above 2016. Other disappearance totaled 56,000 head during June, 8 percent below 2016.

United States All Cattle on Feed Up 6 Percent from 2015

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 12.8 million head on July 1, 2017. The inventory was up 6 percent from the July 1, 2015 total of 12.1 million head. Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for 84.5 percent of the total cattle on feed on July 1, 2017, down 0.1 percent from 2015.

July 1 Cattle Inventory Up 4 Percent from 2015

All cattle and calves in the United States, as of July 1, 2017, totaled 103 million head. This is 4 percent above the 98.2 million head on July 1, 2015.

All cows and heifers that have calved, at 41.9 million head, are 5 percent above the 39.8 million head on July 1, 2015. Beef cows, at 32.5 million head, are up 7 percent from two years ago. Milk cows, at 9.40 million head, are up 1 percent from 2015.

All heifers 500 pounds and over, as of July 1, 2017, totaled 16.2 million head. This is 3 percent above the 15.7 million head on July 1, 2015. Beef replacement heifers, at 4.70 million head, are down 2 percent from two years ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 4.20 million head, are unchanged from 2015. Other heifers, at 7.30 million head, are 9 percent above two years earlier.

Calves under 500 pounds in the United States, as of July 1, 2017, totaled 28.0 million head. This is 5 percent above the 26.7 million head on July 1, 2015. Steers weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 14.5 million head, up 3 percent from two years ago. Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 2.00 million head, up 5 percent from 2015.

Calf Crop Up 3 Percent from 2016

The 2017 calf crop in the United States is expected to be 36.3 million head, up 3 percent from last year's calf crop and up 6 percent from 2015. Calves born during the first half of 2017 are estimated at 26.5 million head. This is up 4 percent from the first half of 2016 and 8 percent above 2015. An additional 9.80 million calves are expected to be born during the second half of 2017.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 12.8 million head on July 1, 2017. The inventory is up 6 percent from the July 1, 2015 total of 12.1 million head. Cattle on feed, in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head, accounted for 84.5 percent of the total cattle on feed on July 1, 2017. This is down 0.1 percent from 2015. The combined total of calves under 500 pounds and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds (outside of feedlots) is 37.0 million head. This is 5 percent above the 35.4 million head on July 1, 2015. 


All layers in Nebraska during June 2017 totaled 8.04 million, down from 9.20 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Nebraska egg production during June totaled 202 million eggs, down from 223 million in 2016. June egg production per 100 layers was 2,516 eggs, compared to 2,418 eggs in 2016.


Iowa egg production during June 2017 was 1.31 billion eggs, down 3 percent from last month but up 10 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average number of all layers on hand during June 2017 was 54.7 million, up 1 percent from last month and up 7 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for June were 2,396, down 4 percent from last month but up 3 percent from last year.


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is providing information to Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers in need of assistance due to prolonged dry conditions in the state.

“The U.S. Drought Monitor has updated its drought status. In Nebraska, abnormally dry conditions in parts of the state have intensified.  The Department is receiving reports of rapidly deteriorating pasture and field conditions,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach. “In response to the worsening conditions, we are outlining several tools that are available for farmers and ranchers to utilize.”

Emergency Haying and Grazing of CRP

Several counties in Nebraska are authorized for emergency haying or grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres. This is a result of U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue making the authorization available for counties in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota in D2 or greater stages of drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Any county in Nebraska with a border that falls within 150 miles of those D2 or greater designated drought areas in those three states are eligible for the emergency haying or grazing. A map of those counties can be found at

Landowners interested in emergency haying or grazing of CRP acres must contact their local FSA office for details on eligibility requirements and prior to taking any action on CRP acres. To find a local FSA office, go to

Haying of Roadside Right-of-Ways

The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) authorizes permitted haying of roadside right-of-ways. Permitted haying is allowed by abutting land owners until July 31st, and open to the public for permitted haying beginning August 1st. For details on haying roadside right-of-ways and to obtain permits contact the NDOT Maintenance Office in your district.

NDA Hay Hotline

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture offers a resource for farmers and ranchers looking to buy or sell hay. The Hay & Forage Hotline can be found on the NDA website.  Sellers can post their information on the site themselves or contact NDA at 800-422-6692. The list of sellers is posted on the website and is updated on a regular basis.

Fire Suppression Efforts

On July 18th, Governor Ricketts authorized the issuance of an Emergency Proclamation relating to fire retardant materials. This proclamation will allow the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency to replenish fire retardant materials which have been partially depleted by fire suppression efforts in Nebraska and by assisting other states with wildfires which have been aided by drought conditions. The proclamation will allow the Adjutant General greater flexibility for wildfire suppression efforts.

The NDA Drought Central Website contains information on all these programs and will be continually updated with valuable resources. It can be found at

“My agency and I appreciate the proactive response by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Governor Ricketts and the resources being made available through various agencies of the State of Nebraska,” said Ibach. “NDA will continue to monitor the states drought conditions closely and provide further assistance when appropriate.”

NE Corn Board to Meet

The Nebraska Corn Board will hold its next meeting on Friday, August 25, 2017 at Embassy Suites located at 1040 P Street in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The meeting is open to the public, providing the opportunity for public comment.  The Board will conduct regular board business and hold election of officers.  The meeting is open to the public.  A copy of the agenda is available by writing the Nebraska Corn Board, PO Box 95107, Lincoln, NE  68509, sending an email to or by calling 402/471-2676.

Public event set to talk taxes and sustaining vibrant communities

A community conversation on the ongoing property tax debate is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 1. This public event, hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs, will be held at Lazy Horse Vineyards, 211 Road 20, Ohiowa, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The discussion will focus on the tax debate stemming from this year’s legislative session and the impact of proposals on local residents, schools, and governments.

Superintendent Stephen Grizzle, of Fairbury Public Schools, and Eric Kamler, farmer and Geneva City Councilman, will attend the meeting to share local perspectives on the Nebraska tax system.

“The legislative session ended without a solution or clear path forward to the property tax challenge,” said Jordan Rasmussen, policy program associate with the Center for Rural Affairs. “Yet the property tax burden continues to weigh heavily upon rural communities, from residents and farmers, to the school systems and local governments that rely on tax funding to do their work.”

Residents are invited to join the conversation on the balance among property taxes, education, and public safety cuts.

“Approaching our current tax environment can be complicated,” said Rasmussen. “Residents need to weigh in as our representatives work toward solutions that sustain the vibrant rural communities we call home.”

For more information or to RSVP, contact Henry Miller at 402.687.2100 ext. 1011 or

Farmer-Leaders Elected to Board of Directors for Iowa Corn

Iowa Corn announced today the results of the Board of Directors elections for the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB).

Those elected as ICGA Directors will continue to bring grassroots policy issues forward and be the collective voice for 7,500 corn farmer-members, lobbying on agricultural issues at the state and federal level. They include:
    District 3- Mark Mueller, Bremer County *
    District 4- Jolene Riessen, Sac County
    District 9- Roger Wuthrich, Davis County *
                                           *For those re-elected

Since 1978, Iowa corn farmers have elected their peers to serve on the ICPB to oversee the investment of funds generated by the Iowa corn checkoff. ICPB Directors will continue to promote a thriving Iowa corn industry through research into new and value-added corn uses, domestic and foreign market development and providing education about corn and corn products. These individuals include:
    District 1-Kelly Nieuwenhuis, O’Brien County *
    District 3-Greg Alber, Buchanan County *
    District 6- Pete Brecht, Linn County *
    District 9- Stan Nelson, Des Moines County​   
                                                          *For those re-elected

Both organizations are charged with creating opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. Elected Directors will begin to serve on September 1st, 2017.

ICGA Members Take Ag Priorities to Washington, D.C. during Corn Congress

Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) farmer-leaders convened in Washington, D.C. this week with other corn farmers from across the country to advocate for key agricultural issues as part of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Congress meeting. The Iowa delegation, including ICGA directors, grassroots members, the Iowa Corn Collegiate Advisory Team (CAT) and the Iowa Corn Leadership Enhancement and Development (I-LEAD) Class 8 visited 50 Congressional offices, many of which represented areas outside the Corn Belt because it is important that all member of Congress understand the importance of American agriculture. These Capitol Hill meetings focused on:
-    Expanding consumer access to higher blends of ethanol
-    Funding for critical trade promotion and export programs (MAP and FMD)
-    Agricultural priorities for the renegotiation of NAFTA

“Corn is a widely universal topic; it touches almost every area of everyone’s life,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) President Kurt Hora, a farmer from Washington. “This year, we had the opportunity to talk with non-Iowa, non-corn states on the Hill and we had a lot of great conversations. I appreciate all of the offices and staffers that took the time to meet with us on our issues. ICGA and NCGA work hard to keep a strong voice on the Hill.”

Iowa Corn farmer-leaders on Monday and Tuesday participated in NCGA Action teams to help set the direction of many key programs and activities. On Wednesday, farmers attending Corn Congress heard from Mexican Ambassador Gerónimo Gutiérrez about the prospects of modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Ambassador Gutiérrez expressed a strong desire to continue strengthening agricultural trade between the U.S. and Mexico.

In addition to meetings on the Hill, ICGA delegates debated their priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill and approved national policy resolutions. NCGA Director Bob Bowman also received recognition for his service as a retiring director of the board.

 “We’re advocating for a fully funded Farm Bill that will help meet farmers priorities with crop insurance and funding for export programs,” said Hora. “The Federal Crop Insurance programs were written in a way to provide a basic level of risk protection to help offset bad economic times and severe weather. We’re seeing its importance again this year as areas in the Midwest struggle with weather.”

Farmers gather in Ames to manage risk in a downturned ag economy

Managing costs, staying ahead of wild market swings and finding efficiency through data mining were key issues experts addressed at Iowa Farm Bureau’s fifth annual Economic Summit held yesterday in Ames.

Chad Hart, Assoc. Prof of Economics at Iowa State University, ISU, stressed the importance of farmers staying engaged in trade negotiations, because of its importance to what farmers grow and sell. “Where would soybeans be without international trade? Would we need to produce four billion bushels of beans? Keeping farmers involved in free trade agreement discussions is crucial, but not all U.S. consumers understand that.  “Take a look at meat exports. Do Americans know our biggest market for growth in meat exports is India? There has been a 2,000 percent growth in exports to them in the last two decades in beef.  India has 1.2 billion people and 80 percent are Hindu, 20 percent aren't, but that 20 percent adds up to a lot of beef.  Muslims won’t eat pork, they’ll eat beef; Hindu won’t eat beef, they’ll eat pork and everyone eats chicken,” says Hart.

Managing risk and staying optimistic through wild grain market swings will also be important for Iowa farmers in 2018.  Don Roose, president, U.S. Commodities, Inc., gave attendees the 2018 crop and livestock outlook. “This is a year when we have smaller crops and smaller demands, so it’s important to take advantage of risk management, since we have large world supplies in commodities—that is the dominant issue not the grain side.  On the livestock side, the takeaway on the cattle market is that our supplies are going to be up in the next two quarters and our demand is going to be stagnant.  So, this is the time of year where you really have to be keenly aware of the weather forecast and do some proper risk management.”

Dr. Michael Castellano, Soil Health, Cover Crops & Nutrient Management associate professor at ISU, advised farmers on the importance of soil health.  “Can we have it all: yields, soil health, and water quality? The answer is yes; there are ways we can do it.  Many great practices are reducing nitrate loads and can be custom-fitted for each farm.  Improved fertilizer management will not get us to our goal because fertilizer is not the root problem of water quality challenges, and it’s not the answer to improvement.  Improved nitrogen fertilizer management can make a very small impact, but looking at other more effective practices is what will help us progress and move toward reaching our water quality goals,” says Castellano.  “For example, edge of field practices including saturated buffers, bioreactors, wetlands, and drainage management, as well as in-field practices including cover crops like alfalfa and rye have shown the greatest percentage of nitrate load reduction, according to data compiled from the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.” 

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s Director of Research and Commodity Services, Dave Miller, says, it’s crucial to keep farming sustainable in Iowa, since one out of every five jobs in the state comes from agriculture.  “Farmers are very engaged in improving environmental sustainability as well as economic stability of their farms, and the information they sought at this summit proves they are committed to staying nimble.

IFBF young farmer advisory committee welcomes new officers

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Young Farmer Advisory Committee has elected new leaders for 2017.  These officers and new district representatives will work to unite young farmers in Iowa through various programs and events, including the biggest event: the IFBF Annual Young Farmer meeting, which draws a diverse array of young farmers and agribusiness leaders together.   IFBF Young Farmer leaders elected to key positions in 2017 include:
Laura Cunningham, Floyd County, Chair
Brianne Streck, Woodbury County, Vice-Chair
Mary Beth Jackson, Mahaska County, Secretary
Hannah Johnson, Davis, Historian
Ben Pullen, Clay County, PR Chair

Laura Cunningham and her husband, Aaron, live near Nora Springs and co-own SkyView farms, a direct-market Angus cattle operation. Laura graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in ag business and works full-time in marketing for Latham Hi-Tech Seeds. Laura enjoys camping, boating on Clear Lake, refinishing furniture, running and taking day trips via airplane to see friends or family as Aaron has his pilot’s license.

“The face of Farm Bureau and agriculture is far more diverse than it’s ever been, and today being a Farm Bureau leader is about seeking opportunities that unite, not divide. As chair, I look forward to working with the committees to help guide the work they do to bring people together and plan young farmer engagement programs and events in their districts.  This is a role that means a lot to me both as a young farmer and as a woman,” said Cunningham.

“Like many I know, I have always worked hard to get my work done and on our farm, gender has never mattered. I believe it’s the same on many farms today.  I hope I can inspire other young women to lead, to help them find and embrace opportunities that exist for them in agriculture, because I know first-hand there are many who are there to cheer us on along the way.”    

Brianne Streck, her husband, Grant, and their three children live southeast of Moville. They grow corn, soybeans, hogs and currently two bucket calves. Brianne works as a grain merchandiser at Flint Hills Resources, helping farmers sell corn and purchase distillers grain. She and Grant are both 4-H volunteers, and Brianne volunteers as a superintendent at the Woodbury County Fair. She also enjoys gardening and cheering on the Cyclones.

Mary Beth Jackson and her husband, Mike, along with their three kids live near Oskaloosa where they grow corn, soybeans, cover crops and custom feed hogs. Mary Beth also has an off-farm job selling Premier Design Jewelry. She is very active in her community, serving on the advancement committee for a local Christian grade school, leading a mom’s bible study group and being an adult leader for GEMS, a club for young girls that resembles scouts but with a Christian-focused twist.

Hannah and her husband, Brett, live on part of the farm Hannah grew up on near Bloomfield. They raise commercial cow-calf pairs and club lambs which they market to 4-H and FFA members in the Midwest. Hannah works as an agriculture education teacher and FFA advisor for the Moulton-Udell Community School District.   She and Brett are both involved in coaching the Davis County 4-H and FFA livestock judging team, and they both travel during the summer judging county fairs in Iowa and Missouri. Hannah also coaches a junior high volleyball team.

Ben Pullen, his wife, Bri, and three children live on a farm outside of Spencer where they raise sheep and have recently begun direct niche-marketing with Hereford pigs. Ben works full-time as a Youth Program Specialist for Iowa State University Extension, working with 4-H, and Bri is a paraeducator.  The couple is very involved in Clay County 4-H, serving on swine and static exhibit committees.  Ben, as a former special education teacher, says education is his career, but agriculture is his passion.

Sharing the story of agriculture is a passion shared by all Young Farmer Advisory Committee members, especially since Iowa agriculture is diverse in both what is grown and who is growing it.  Forty-five percent of Iowa Farm Bureau county boards have women in leadership roles, and the average age of a county president and vice president is 42 years old. This means half of members in these leadership roles are less than the age of 42. Many are involved in the IFBF Young Farmer Program, available for Farm Bureau members ages 18-35, which provides leadership and participation opportunities to nurture the prosperity of young farmers and their families.

The program advisory committee plans various events around the state each year, including an annual statewide conference each January that brings hundreds of young farmers together.  This year’s IFBF Young Farmer conference will take place Feb. 2-3, 2018 at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona. 


Ten livestock haulers from Iowa, as well as several U.S. pork producers, traveled to Washington this week to meet with government officials about a pending mandate from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that requires all commercial vehicle operators to track their hours of service with electronic logging devices after Dec. 18, 2017. The mandate is not practical for livestock transportation and could lead to animal welfare issues. The group met with Congressman Brian Babin, R-Texas, who introduced legislation this week, the “Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Extension Act of 2017,” that would delay the ELD mandate by two years, allowing the FMCSA to find a workable solution for livestock production and transportation.

Expansion in Soy Acres Drives Checkoff Investments

The U.S. soybean industry is turning a corner. This year, soy acres closed in on corn acres, narrowing the gap between the two crops. At the United Soybean Board’s (USB) July meeting, the booming supply of soy was a topic of discussion – as was the need for continued strong demand. Conversations shifted from increasing volume to maximizing value to set farmers up for long-term profitability.

As USDA reports a record high of 89.5 million planted acres, the farmer-leaders are investing checkoff dollars both inside the bean to improve the meal and oil, and beyond the bean to meet evolving end-user demands sustainably. Continuous improvement in U.S. soy keeps preference strong. In terms of soybean meal, the farmers discussed a growing interest in who is purchasing and using U.S. soy and how to meet their needs for a quality product through innovative research and measurement. For soybean oil, the farmers looked to leverage rapidly expanding technologies, including high oleic, and to also diversify the investment portfolio through industrial uses. The board also elevated the conversation on sustainability and tools to meet the needs of the future, including plant breeding innovations. This portfolio of investments helps to maximize farmer profit opportunities long term.

“U.S. soybean farmers and their checkoff are working toward the best of both worlds – quantity and quality,” says USB Chair John Motter. “Farmers need to be able to make decisions on not just how many acres, but what’s in those acres. We’re focused on getting more value per acre returned to farmers.”

It is a pivotal time for soybeans, and it’s also a momentous time for the soy checkoff. In addition to investing checkoff funds in research, promotion and marketing that look beyond the bushel, the farmer-leaders took this time to leverage the experience and expertise of USB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Becherer to make investments for the future and to position the checkoff for its next CEO. Becherer, who is set to retire at the end of 2017, was recognized for his contributions and 29-year service to the industry this week.

“Finding, launching and leveraging profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers is a constantly evolving mission for USB,” Becherer says. “Checkoff investments made by U.S. soybean farmers grew the value of U.S. soy over the past 25 years through innovative investments and partnerships with industry. We look forward to continuing to do so for the next 25 years to maximize value for U.S. soy and maximize profit opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers.”

Second Quarter Grain Inspections Reach Record High

In 2017, total second quarter inspections of grain (wheat, corn, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. ports reached a record 29.8 million metric tons (mmt), according to USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

This amount is up 23 percent from the same period last year and 37 percent above the 5-year average.

Inspections of soybeans and wheat increased from last year, but corn inspections remained unchanged. During the second quarter, outstanding export sales of soybeans and wheat were well above the same time last year.

For the same period, outstanding export sales of corn were down from the same time last year.

For 2017/18, USDA's export projections in the July World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report are down from the previous marketing year for corn and wheat, but up for soybeans.

Second quarter grain inspections increased 57 percent in the Pacific Northwest, also reflecting a 43 percent jump in PNW rail deliveries to port.

U.S. fuel ethanol production continues to grow in 2017

Through the first six months of 2017, U.S. weekly ethanol production averaged 1.02 million barrels per day (b/d), an increase of 5% over the same period in 2016. On a weekly basis, U.S. ethanol production set a record of 1.06 million b/d in the week of January 27, 2017, and it has averaged near or above 1 million b/d in every week of 2017 except for a few weeks in April, when ethanol plants typically undergo seasonal maintenance. If ethanol production remains relatively high through the second half of the year, as EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) expects, 2017 will set a new record for annual fuel ethanol production.

Corn is the primary feedstock of ethanol in the United States, and large corn harvests have contributed to increased ethanol production in recent years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the United States produced a record 15.1 billion bushels of corn in the 2016–17 harvest year, 11% more than the 2015–16 harvest. Increased corn production and relatively stable corn prices have helped make increased ethanol production more profitable and less susceptible to corn price shocks that had affected ethanol profitability and output in the past.

U.S. ethanol plant capacity increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2017, reaching a nameplate capacity of approximately 15.5 billion gallons per year in January. Total ethanol production is expected to reach 1.02 million barrels per day in 2017, a rate equivalent to 15.8 billion gallons. Annual ethanol production is able to exceed capacity for two reasons: new production capacity has likely been added since the January 2017 capacity survey date, and many ethanol plants are able to operate at levels beyond their nameplate production capacity.

In the United States, ethanol is primarily used as a blending component in the production of motor gasoline and mainly blended in volumes up to 10% ethanol, also known as E10. In recent years, ethanol production increased as a result of higher Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) targets and growth in domestic motor gasoline consumption, almost all of which is now blended with 10% ethanol by volume. Demand for higher ethanol blends such as E15 and E85 remains limited.

U.S. motor gasoline consumption has grown the past four years, increasing from 8.7 million b/d in 2012 to 9.3 million b/d in 2016, resulting in an increase of 7% in additional ethanol demand by way of E10 blending that has helped to support consistent growth in ethanol production over the same period.

Exports of ethanol have also been increasing. Through the first four months of 2017, U.S. gross ethanol exports have averaged 96,000 barrels per day—40% higher than exports during the same period in 2016—and the highest level on record for that period of the year. In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA forecasts that U.S. ethanol net exports will reach nearly 80,000 b/d in 2017, likely surpassing the previous record of 70,000 b/d set in 2011.

Through the first half of 2017, increasing ethanol production rates have outpaced domestic E10 gasoline demand and export growth, leading to elevated ethanol inventory levels at a time when they are typically falling to meet peak driving demand. As of July 14, 2017, weekly ending stocks of ethanol reached 22.1 million barrels, 5% higher than the same time last year and 13% higher than the previous five-year average. Ethanol inventories reached a record level of 23.7 million barrels for the week ending March 31, 2017.

NCGA Statement on the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act

The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association regarding the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517):

“Corn farmers appreciate the work of Senator Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) and the bipartisan Senate sponsors of the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act to advance this legislation.  While this legislation will not move to a committee markup at this time, we will continue to back efforts to remove this unnecessary roadblock to consumer choice that saves drivers money and is better for the environment.

“It is unfortunate that some have turned a focused effort to remove an outdated regulatory barrier into a referendum on a wide range of other issues unrelated to a simple question, which is whether a consumer choice barrier for three months of the year is still justified. As experts testified to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, this barrier has no environmental or economic justification. On the narrow question of whether retailers who offer consumers an approved fuel choice for 9 months out of the year should be allowed to offer that choice for all 12 months of the year, we think most agree this straightforward fix is common sense.

“Corn farmers stand behind ethanol as an American-made, renewable fuel that increases our energy independence while reducing emissions and improving air quality. We will continue working to see this barrier removed so consumers can have cleaner fuel options year-round.”

Growth Energy statement on the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement in response to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works’ (EPW) decision to not consider the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517) before Congress adjourns for the August recess:

“We are disappointed the EPW committee decided not to consider the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517) before August recess. We will continue to work with our bipartisan sponsors to enact this bill to provide drivers across the country cleaner fuel options year-round that are better for the environment and save Americans money every time they fill up the gas tank.”

National FFA Organization Names 2017 American Star Award Finalists

Today, the National FFA Organization selected 16 students from throughout the United States as finalists for its 2017 top achievement awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience.

The American Star Awards represents the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. The award recognizes FFA members who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through the completion of a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows members to learn by doing. Members can own and operate an agricultural business, intern at an agricultural business or conduct an agriculture-based scientific experiment and report the results.

Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.

The finalists include:

American Star Farmer

Joseph Arnold of the Lac qui Parle Valley FFA Chapter in Minnesota
Nickolas James Vollmer of the Merino FFA Chapter in Colorado
Jake Fanning of the Laverne FFA Chapter in Oklahoma
Mark Cavallero of the Madera FFA Chapter in California

American Star in Agribusiness

Nathan M. DeYoung of the Shenandoah FFA Chapter in Indiana
Austin D. Nordyke of the Hugoton FFA Chapter in Kansas
Audra Montgomery of the Carrington FFA Chapter in North Dakota
Shaun Wenrick of the Anna FFA Chapter in Ohio

American Star in Agricultural Placement

Matthew S. Ries of the Lomira FFA Chapter in Wisconsin
Devin Debruhl of the Shenandoah FFA Chapter in Indiana
Kellie Mae Einck of the South O’Brien FFA Chapter in Iowa
Bailey Wilson of the Pilot Point FFA Chapter in Texas

American Star in Agriscience

Chrysta Noelle Beck of the Pettisville FFA Chapter in Ohio
Elizabeth Baker-Mikesell of the Greenwood FFA Chapter in Pennsylvania
Leah Danielle Hefty of the DeKalb FFA Chapter in Indiana
Loren Gregory King of the Branch Area Career Centers FFA Chapter in Michigan

Visit for more information about the American Star Awards.

A panel of judges will interview finalists and select one winner for each award at the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 25-28 in Indianapolis. The four winners will be announced during an onstage ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 26.

ADM Crop Risk Services, Case IH, Elanco and Syngenta sponsor the American FFA Degree recognition program.

Thursday July 20 Ag News

Rural Mainstreet Index Experiences Biggest Fall in Almost Nine Years:
Drought Conditions Weighing on Region’s Farms

After rising to growth neutral for two straight months, the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index fell below the 50.0 threshold for July according to the latest monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.  

Overall: The index, which ranges between 0 and 100, tumbled to 40.7, its lowest level since November of last year, and down from 50.0 in June.

“This is the largest one-month decline we have recorded since November 2008, or in the middle of  the national recession, “said Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University's Heider College of Business. “Drought conditions in portions of the region, combined with weak grain prices, negatively affected economic conditions, and the economic outlook for a large share of bank CEOs this month,”

Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for July sank to 36.6 from June’s 40.0. This is the 44th straight month the index has fallen below growth neutral 50.0.

This month, and in July 2016, bank CEOs were asked to project the percentage of grain farmers likely to experience negative cash flows for 2017. On average, bankers expect 15.1 percent of grain farmers to suffer negative cash flows for 2017. This is an improvement from last year when 19.1 percent anticipated negative cash flows for 2016.  

The July farm equipment-sales index fell to 20.0 from 26.2 in June. This marks the 47th consecutive month the reading has dropped below growth neutral 50.0.
Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for July sank to 42.1 from June’s 51.4. The state’s farmland-price index declined to 37.5 from 40.9 in June. Nebraska’s new-hiring index stood at a strong 62.5, but down from 67.4 in June.

Iowa: The July RMI for Iowa tumbled to 41.7 from 50.5 in June. Iowa’s farmland-price index for July dipped to 37.3 from 40.5 in June. Iowa’s new-hiring index for July remained healthy at 60.7, though it was down from June’s 64.3.

Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in nonurban agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of a 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities and their projected economic outlooks six months down the road. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are included. The survey is supported by a grant from Security State Bank in Ansley, Neb.

This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey in 2005.

ACE conference breakout sessions explore key industry issues

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) announces more details on the breakout sessions for this year’s 30th annual conference coming up Aug. 15-17 in Omaha. Prospective attendees are being urged to register online by Aug. 1 and make hotel reservations by July 25 to get the best conference rates.

The breakout sessions will be held concurrently in three rounds on the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 16, following the morning general session panels and keynote address from Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts. The breakout sessions reiterate this year’s conference theme of “Tested. Proven. Driven.”

“Our conference theme is Tested. Proven. Driven. which describes not just our molecule but the people of the ethanol industry as well,” said Brian Jennings, ACE executive vice president. “Time and time again, our industry (and our product) rises above the many tests and hurdles in our path.   We’re committed to the success of farmers, rural communities and to making ethanol the consumer fuel of choice.”

Breakout sessions tailored to ethanol plant boards of directors are included in the conference agenda. Kcoe Isom will lead one session providing boards of directors with a framework for understanding their roles and responsibilities. Another discussion, led by Ascendant Partners, will focus on succession planning and retention for ethanol company boards. Additionally, CPA firm Eide Bailly will cover best practices and safeguards to protect shareholders and ensure ethanol plants are protected from fraud.

New technology and efficiency improvements are other topics to be discussed during the ACE conference breakout panels. Fluid Quip Process Technologies will share opportunities for diversification in the ethanol industry. Representation from ICM Inc. will shed light on plant efficiency improvements that focus on creative solutions to move toward product diversification for long-term profitability. Christianson’s biofuels consultants will illustrate the industry’s progress by sharing trends in ethanol efficiencies using data from their biofuels benchmarking program.

Two of this year’s breakout sessions will cover retail-related subjects. A panel of two ethanol plants, Glacial Lakes Energy and Siouxland Ethanol, will provide examples of how well-executed retail promotions can successfully introduce higher ethanol blends. Also, fuel marketers Bosselman Enterprises and Husker Ag will share how ethanol producers and fuel marketers are improving the availability of competitively priced ethanol through direct marketing.

“The agenda is focused on what is being done to grow demand for ethanol here at home, through E15 and flex fuels, and around the world, based on ethanol’s octane and carbon reduction value,” Jennings said.

To learn more about the breakout sessions and conference agenda, click here...


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today reminded Iowa farmers that funds are available to help install practices focused on protecting water quality.  Practices eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fertilizer.

The cost share rate for first-time users of cover crops is $25 per acre, no-till or strip till are eligible for $10 per acre and farmers using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer can receive $3 per acre. Farmers are eligible for cost share on up to 160 acres.

First-time users that apply by July 28 will be the first applications funded.  First-time users that apply after July 28 will still receive priority consideration, but funds will also be made available to farmers that have used cover crops in the past for cost share assistance at $15 per acre.

“We already have $1.8 million in applications from more than 800 farmers interested in trying a new practice on their farm to better protect water quality. However, we do have some funds available, both for first time users and those interested in trying cover crops again. I hope interested farmers will contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District soon to learn more about the assistance that is available,” Northey said.

Farmers are also encouraged to visit their local Soil and Water Conservation District office to inquire about additional opportunities for cost share funding through other programs offered at their local SWCDs.

The cost share assistance was announced on May 11.  Since then, the Governor has signed into law $10.575 million to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.

In the 4 years this statewide program has been available over 4,800 farmers, with participants in each of Iowa’s 99 counties, have put in nutrient reduction practices on more than 455,000 acres.  The state provided about $9.3 million in cost share funding to help farmers try a water quality practice and Iowa farmers provided more than $9.3 million of their own resources to support these water quality practices.

USDA Opens More Land for Emergency Haying and Grazing

Today, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is authorizing the use of additional Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands for emergency grazing and haying in and around portions of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota affected by severe drought. USDA is adding the ability for farmers and ranchers in these areas to hay and graze CRP wetland and buffer practices.

“We are working to immediately address the dire straits facing drought-stricken farmers and ranchers,” said Perdue. “USDA is fully considering and authorizing any federal programs or related provisions we have available to meet the immediate needs of impacted producers.”

For CRP practices previously announced, including those authorized today, Secretary Perdue is allowing this emergency action during and after the primary nesting season, where local drought conditions warrant in parts of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota that have reached D2, or “severe”, drought level or greater according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. This includes counties with any part of their border located within 150 miles of authorized counties within the three states, and may extend into Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wyoming. All emergency grazing must end Sept. 30, 2017 and emergency haying must end Aug. 31, 2017.

The Secretary said that epic dry conditions, as high as D4 in some areas, coupled with an intense heatwave have left pastures in poor or very poor condition resulting in the need for ranchers to, at best, supplement grain and hay and at worst, sell their herds.

Landowners interested in emergency haying or grazing of CRP acres should contact the Farm Service Agency (FSA) office and meet with the local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff to obtain a modified conservation plan to include emergency haying/grazing.  Individual conservation plans will take into consideration wildlife needs.  CRP participants are reminded that a certain percentage of fields must be left unhayed or ungrazed.

Additional information about the counties approved for emergency haying and grazing and the eligible CRP practices in this area is available at

Record Total Red Meat and Pork Production for June

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.35 billion pounds in June, up 3 percent from the 4.23 billion pounds produced in June 2016.

Beef production, at 2.28 billion pounds, was 4 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.86 million head, up 6 percent from June 2016. The average live weight was down 13 pounds from the previous year, at 1,321 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.3 million pounds, 1 percent below June a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 40,400 head, up 7 percent from June 2016. The average live weight was down 23 pounds from last year, at 268 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.05 billion pounds, up 2 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.87 million head, up 3 percent from June 2016.  The average live weight was down 1 pound from the previous year, at 279 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 12.4 million pounds, was down 7 percent from June 2016. Sheep slaughter totaled 188,000 head, 4 percent below last year. The average live weight was 132 pounds, down 4 pounds from June a year ago.

By State  (million pounds, - % of June '16)

Nebraska ........:         687.6            100      
Iowa ...............:         577.8            102      
Kansas ............:         499.6            106      

January to June 2017 commercial red meat production was 25.4 billion pounds, up 4 percent from 2016. Accumulated beef production was up 5 percent from last year, veal was down 2 percent, pork was up 3 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 5 percent.

NMPF Applauds Senate Appropriations Leaders on Dairy Safety Net Improvements

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today applauded the inclusion of improvements to both the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) and the cotton program in the Senate Appropriations Committee mark-up of its fiscal year 2018 agricultural appropriations bill.

“We very much appreciate the leadership of Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to help address critical shortcomings in the dairy and cotton safety net programs through the agricultural appropriations bill,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “The enhancements to the dairy Margin Protection Program contained in the bill would strengthen the program and help pave the way for additional necessary improvements in the upcoming farm bill,” Mulhern said.

The appropriations bill makes two important changes to the MPP that were included in NMPF’s farm bill proposal: It would reduce premiums paid by dairy farmers for the first 5 million pounds of milk coverage in the program, as well as change the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s calculation of the actual margin from a two-month average margin to monthly.

“By making the dairy safety net program more affordable,” Mulhern said, “this legislation will ensure that more farmers have access to better protection against catastrophic losses, likes those we experienced in 2009 and 2012. While there is more work to do to make the MPP the effective safety net that it was envisioned to be, these improvements are a great start.”

Mulhern lauded the work by Cochran and Leahy – the chairman and ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, respectively – as well Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee, for their critical work on this issue. He said NMPF was pleased to work with the four principals to achieve these important improvements for dairy and cotton. “This bi-partisan collaboration is a clear affirmation of how to get important work done,” Mulhern said.

While these provisions do not resolve all the problems with the MPP, Mulhern said enacting these changes will be a major help. “NMPF will continue to work with Congress and the Administration through the farm bill process to address other problems so that the MPP can truly provide real safety net support. While the MPP remains a work in progress, this development is a major step in the right direction.”

June Milk Production up 1.7 Percent

Milk production in the 23 major States during June totaled 16.9 billion pounds, up 1.7 percent from June 2016. May revised production at 17.8 billion pounds, was up 1.9 percent from May 2016. The May revision represented an increase of 17 million pounds or 0.1 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,939 pounds for June, 13 pounds above June 2016.  This is the highest production per cow for the month of June since the 23 State series began in 2003.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.73 million head, 83,000 head more than June 2016, and 4,000 head more than May 2017.


Milk production in Iowa during June 2017 totaled 426 million pounds, up 2 percent from the previous June according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during June, at 217,000 head, was the same as last month and 4,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,965 pounds, the same as last June.

April-June Milk Production up 1.8 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the April - June quarter totaled 55.3 billion pounds, up 1.8 percent from the April - June quarter last year.  The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.40 million head, 29,000 head more than the January - March quarter, and 76,000 head more than the same period last year.


Milk production in Nebraska during the April-June 2017 quarter totaled 360 million pounds, up 3 percent from the April-June quarter last year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 60,000 head, unchanged from the same period last year.

NMPF Proposal to Improve H-2A for Dairy Advances Thanks to Rep. Newhouse

In a meeting today with Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern expressed appreciation on behalf of the nation’s dairy farmers for the congressman’s work to advance NMPF’s proposal to expand the H-2A farm worker visa program to include year-round employees on dairy farms.

During consideration Wednesday of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s annual funding bill, Rep. Newhouse offered an amendment that would allow farm employers to use the H-2A visa program to hire foreign workers, regardless of whether those employees are engaged in temporary or seasonal work. NMPF and leaders of its Immigration Task Force worked with Rep. Newhouse and Appropriations Committee leaders to advance the proposal so that dairy farmers can more readily use the H-2A visa program to fill their need for year-round workers. The amendment was adopted by the House Appropriations Committee with bipartisan support.

“Expanding the scope of the H-2A farm worker visa program is part of the continuing effort of NMPF and its members to find solutions to the labor challenges facing America’s dairy industry,” Mulhern said. “Dairy farmers have cows that need to be milked twice a day, every single day, yet they largely have not been able to utilize the H-2A visa program because of how the U.S. Department of Labor interprets the existing program, which restricts the visas only to the temporary and seasonal labor needs of agricultural employers,” he said.

NMPF Immigration Task Force Chairman Mike McCloskey, a Fair Oaks, Ind., dairy farmer, said the H-2A changes are an important first step to address the labor challenges facing U.S. dairy farmers. “We have been working with the administration to correct this, and now, thanks to Rep. Newhouse and many other legislators on both sides of the aisle, we have additional support to prompt the Department of Labor to expand the scope of the H-2A program beyond just seasonal jobs. This will make the H-2A program much more attractive and valuable to America’s dairy farmers.”

While the Newhouse measure has drawn criticism from some farm union organizations, NMPF believes creating an additional legal pathway for workers to connect with farm employers deserves bipartisan support. “This measure simply broadens an existing program for farm workers to recognize the unique needs of dairying,” Mulhern said. “It is critical to the vitality of the U.S. dairy industry and the fate of thousands of farm workers that our government creates and supervises a system that provides secure, legal employment. We hope the merits of this approach will surmount any opposition,” he said.

Mulhern said he was pleased that other dairy groups that have not been involved in this effort have since expressed appreciation for the NMPF-backed proposal. He said NMPF’s Immigration Task Force, which represents NMPF member co-ops and state dairy associations across the country, have been working on these issues for years, and is pleased to see progress in this effort. In addition to working with Rep. Newhouse and leaders of the House Appropriations and Judiciary committees, NMPF’s immigration efforts have involved extensive outreach to Trump Administration officials in a comprehensive effort to address the workforce needs of farm employers.

Beyond the efforts to improve the H-2A program, Mulhern said he is optimistic that NMPF’s work with the House Judiciary Committee will soon result in an agricultural visa program bill.

“This amendment is a great complement to our long relationship and work with House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and other members of Congress to address the need for a legal, reliable supply of farm workers,” said Mulhern. “We still need broader legislation that addresses the limited labor supply available to America’s farm employers. It’s in the best interest of all parties to acknowledge the deficiencies of the current system, where many of our farm workers are not legally documented, and where many employers don’t have access to a viable guest worker program.”

He added that NMPF and its members “remain committed to a long-term solution to the crisis of farm labor shortages in rural America. We need to maintain our current workforce while creating a sensible, workable means of filling farm jobs in the future. We will continue to work with Congress and the administration toward that end.”

2017 USGC Trade Team Season In Full Swing

The 2017 U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team season is in full swing with more than two dozen teams from around the world scheduled to traverse U.S. farm states throughout the summer and fall.

“Trade teams provide truly unique opportunities to help familiarize our international customers with the U.S. grain export system,” said Kimberly Atkins, USGC vice president and chief operating officer. “These face-to-face interactions develop critical connections that open new markets and instill long-term trust in the United States supply chain from the farm to delivery.”

The Council’s trade teams focus on providing a complete look at the U.S. grain or ethanol value chains. As such, they have diverse itineraries that can include visits to seed technology providers, equipment manufacturers, ethanol plants, grain trading companies and transportation facilities in addition to interacting directly with U.S. corn, barley or sorghum farmers.

One such team of craft brewers from Mexico recently completed their trade team visits to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The brewers on the team told the Council the trip expanded not only their view of U.S. barley and malt, but also their vision for doing business with U.S. producers.

“We got to see much more about one of our basic ingredients than we ever knew before,” said Alejandro Cortés, the head brewer for Cervecería de Colima, who participated in team activities. “The trip was great in terms of focusing on different parts of barley, from breeding to agronomics and the malthouses as well.”

The ultimate goal of this knowledge gained and these relationships established is increased purchases of U.S. feed grains and co-products. But these outcomes can also build trust with government officials, policy-makers and members of the international press.

A Japanese media team focused on ethanol recently traveled to Washington, D.C., and Nebraska to demonstrate the positive impacts of corn-based ethanol. Like others, members of this trade team took what they learned home to provide better insights and information about U.S. feed grains and co-products.

“By seeing U.S. grain and export systems firsthand, the Council facilitates not only short-term sales, but also long-term, loyal customers,” Atkins said. “Showing the pride that U.S. farmers have in their crops as well as their commitment to provide a high-quality product goes a long way to growing the global grain market.”

NCGA Welcomes McKinney Nomination at USDA

The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association on Indiana Agriculture Director Ted McKinney’s nomination for Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a new post created under the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Congratulations to Ted McKinney on being named Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. NCGA has long advocated for a dedicated position at USDA focused on increasing global demand for U.S. agriculture, and pushed for this in the last farm bill. We thank the Trump Administration for listening, and continuing to move that process forward. Trade is more important than ever for farmers to overcome this challenging farm economy.

“Mr. McKinney is an excellent choice to fill this new role. He has a longstanding record of service to the agriculture industry, and will be a strong advocate for U.S. agriculture on the global stage. We urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm him, so that our industry is in the best position to capitalize on increased global demand for our products.”

“We also thank the Administration for heeding our call for a full leadership team at USDA, making several appointments in the last week. We urge that process to continue. There is much work to be done, and we are eager to work together to build a stronger farm economy and move agriculture forward.”

ASA Supports McKinney, Clovis Nominations at USDA

The American Soybean Association (ASA), which represents growers of the nation’s largest agricultural export, expressed its support today for Ted McKinney to fill the newly established Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs post at USDA, and Sam Clovis as Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics.

“The U.S. exports well over half of the soybeans we produce, and agriculture is one of only a handful of business sectors in the country with a positive trade balance--$17 billion last year. That success abroad leads to success here at home, returning billions to the economy and supporting more than a million jobs. Ted McKinney is a person that understands the global nature of our business, and has represented farmers well in both the public and private sectors,” said ASA President Ron Moore, a soybean farmer from Roseville, Ill. “In his role as director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and is his previous leadership roles within the agriculture industry, Ted has exemplified the understanding of how as American farmers our work impacts and is impacted by the world around us. ASA supports Ted’s nomination and looks to the Senate to quickly confirm him.”

McKinney’s prospective position in the newly-created Undersecretary for Trade post at USDA is one that ASA and other agriculture groups have long advocated for, including in a letter to the White House in late February.

Moore also added ASA’s support for Clovis, saying that “Dr. Clovis’ Iowa and rural Kansas roots will serve him well as the department moves to serve farmers in the fields of research and economics. Dr. Clovis understands the importance of agricultural research to farmers, our ongoing success, and the success of future generations of farmers. He also is well acquainted with the economic issues facing farmers and ranchers. We will look to Dr. Clovis to help advance USDA’s mission in these important fields.”

U.S. Wheat Organizations Applaud McKinney Nomination for USDA Post

On July 19, 2017, the Trump Administration announced a declaration of intent to nominate Ted McKinney for Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In May, the USDA created the new Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs position, as directed by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“McKinney’s leadership experience as Indiana’s Agriculture Director and longstanding background in trade make him an ideal candidate for this position,” said David Schemm, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and a wheat farmer from Sharon Springs, Kansas. “The U.S. wheat industry applauds the Administration’s choice and calls for a quick confirmation hearing in the Senate.”

Indiana Agriculture Director Ted McKinney spent over 30 years in various roles with Dow AgroSciences and Elanco, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company.

“McKinney has been a champion for U.S. agriculture throughout his career and clearly understands the importance of access to foreign markets,” said Mike Miller, chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and a wheat farmer from Ritzville, Wash. “We look forward to working with him and his team at USDA to expand trade opportunities for U.S. farmers.”